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By Peter Kropotkin CHAPTER I The Present Need of Determining the Bases of Morality When we cast a glance upon the immense progress realized by the natural sciences in the course of the nineteenth century, and when we perceive the promises they contain for the future, we can not but feel deeply impressed by the idea that mankind is entering upon a new era of progress It has, at any rate, before it all the elements for preparing such a new era. In the course of the last one hundred years, new branches of knowledge, opening entirely new vistas upon the laws of the development of human society, have grown up under the names of anthropology prehistoric ethnology (science of the primitive social institutions), the history of religions, and so on. New conceptions about the whole life of the universe were developed by pursuing such lines of research as molecular physics, the chemical structure of matter, and the chemical composit...


THE HERALD OF LITERATURE. [PRICE TWO SHILLINGS.] THE HERALD OF LITERATURE; OR, A REVIEW OF THE MOST CONSIDERABLE PUBLICATIONS THAT WILL BE MADE IN THE COURSE OF THE ENSUING WINTER: WITH EXTRACTS. LONDON: PRINTED FOR J. MURRAY, NO. 32, FLEET-STREET. M DCC LXXXIV. TO THE... (From : Gutenberg.org.)

Modern Science and Anarchism Peter Kropotkin Translated by David A. Modell and published by The Social Science Club of Philadelphia in 1903. IV. But it must not be forgotten that Comte wrote his Positivist Philosophy long before the years 1856-1862, which, as stated above, suddenly widened the horizon of science and the world-concept of every educated man. The works which appeared in these five or six years have wrought so complete a change in the views on nature, on life in general, and on the life of human societies, that it has no parallel in the whole history of science for the past two thousand years. That which had been but vaguely understood--sometimes only guessed at by the encyclopædists, and that which the best minds in the first half of the nineteenth century had so much difficulty in explaining, appeared now in the full armor of science; and it presented itself...

This text is from my copy of Kropotkin, P. "The State: Its Historic Role," London: Freedom Press, 1946. Section I In taking the State and its historic role as the subject for this study, I think I am satisfying a much felt need at the present time: that of examining in depth the very concept of the State, of studying its essence, its past role and the part it may be called upon to play in the future. It is above all over the question of the State that socialists are divided. Two main currents can be discerned in the factions that exist among us which correspond to differences in temperament as well as in ways of thinking, but above all to the extent that one believes in the coming revolution. There are those, on the one hand, who hope to achieve the social revolution through the State by preserving and even extending most of its powers to be used for the revolution. And there are those like...

II THE STATE UNDER the influence of socialism, most liberal thought in recent years has been in favor of increasing the power of the State, but more or less hostile to the power of private property. On the other hand, syndicalism has been hostile both to the State and to private property. I believe that syndicalism is more nearly right than socialism in this respect, that both private property and the State, which are the two most powerful institutions of the modern world, have become harmful to life through excess of power, and that both are hastening the loss of vitality from which the civilized world increasingly suffers. The two institutions are closely connected, but for the present I wish to consider only the State. I shall try to show how great, how unnecessary, how harmful, many of its powers are, and how enormously they might be diminished without loss of what is useful in its activity. But I shall admit that in certain directions its functions ought to b...

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