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Sunday's quotation

Posted by Helen Sunday, April 08, 2007

I expect we shall have some alternative quotations, all or most of military nature and that is fine with me. However, I thought I'd get in there first.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the first anarchist thinker, who came up with that fatuous statement about all property being theft is not usually somebody I quote freely. He was unusual in one respect: unlike the overwhelming majority of anarchist and socialist thinkers he did come from a poor family. His parents were peasants and he worked as a cow-herd in his childhood.

He did get some education through his parents' efforts, worked as a printer and taught himself many things, including Latin. He emerged as a leading thinker on the left in his thirties.

The following comment seems to me to encapsulate a good deal of truth.

To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-ridden, regulated, penned up, indoctrinated, preached at, checked, appraised, seized, censured, and commanded by beings who have neither title, knowledge, nor virtue.
This applies to all parties and all political systems (so, please, no displays of Blair Derangement Syndrome), though it was particularly apposite for mid-nineteenth century France.

Of course, Proudhon, being an anarchist did not bother to discuss too much what government should be like, wanting to dispose of it completely and have life run by various forms of co-operatives, syndicates and mutural societies instead.