The Extremes

By Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1852)

Entry 10699


From: holdoffhunger [id: 1]


Revolt Library Anarchism The Extremes

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(1809 - 1865)

Father of Anarcho-Mutualism

: ...he turned his talents instead to the printer's trade, a profession which gave birth to many anarchists, but the first to call himself an anarchist was Proudhon. By mid-century, Proudhon was the leading left intellectual in France or for that matter, all of Europe, far surpassing Marx's notoriety or Bakunin's. Proudhon... (From: Dana Ward Bio.)
• "Revolutions are the successive manifestation of justice in human history. — It is for this reason that all revolutions have their origins in a previous revolution." (From: "Toast to the Revolution," by Pierre-Joseph Proudh....)
• "The revolution, in that epoch, without abandoning its first given, took another name, which was already celebrated. It called itself philosophy." (From: "Toast to the Revolution," by Pierre-Joseph Proudh....)
• "What is your flag? Association! And your motto? Equality before fortune! Where are you taking us? To Brotherhood!" (From: "Toast to the Revolution," by Pierre-Joseph Proudh....)

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The Extremes

Avoid the extremes, and seek the happy medium, says the Wisdom of the Nations.

That aphorism, of course, is very true: but it must be well understood.

It is up to philosophy to look into it and demonstrate it.

I say that every extreme, in itself, is false and implies a contradiction; but by extreme I mean the element constitutive of every synthesis, an element to which it does not [ ], which constitutes it [i.e. synthesis] that much better as it is found employed more energetically.

Thus, the proprietor is a constitutive element of the social order, necessary, indispensable.

To deny it implies a contradiction.

In the common language we say: Property must be curbed, not pushed to the extreme.

I will correct that language, which lacks scientific exactitude, and say: property, in itself, strong or weak, powerful or controlled, as you like, is exclusive, fraudulent, sinful, selfish, and wrong; it contains within it, theft.

However, that same property, such as it is, is indispensable to human order; and it is even because of this that it is necessary. Remove that individualist character, and [ ] you render it powerless….

It is not the extreme, [ ] property, that is to be avoided: that extreme always exists, since it is the very principle….

Here, all the happy mediums in the world are lies, pure arbitrariness.

It is necessary to balance property with a contrary principle, which is, as you prefer, collectivity or community.

(There is no moderate community: community in itself is as bad as property…. It calls, not for a corrective, shears, a gardener to fight it, a [ ] to geld it: it needs a balance.

The two principles must be joined, married, mutually penetrating, in a manner to form a [ ]…. Thus:

Theory: Everything that can be appropriated must be appropriated; everything that can be grouped, even among the things appropriated, must be grouped.

(Similarly with Competition, Credit, Government, etc.; division of labor, collectivity.)

Other antinomies are subject to a different law, for example, that of Dead weightlive weight. It is certain that we tend, and will constantly tend, to reduce one and increase the other: that is the law of Progress. Cf. [ ] Dead weight, live weight, pages 11–12.

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August 27, 2021; 5:24:33 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
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