Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VIII: Against the Law - Socialistic Fallacies
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CHAPTER VIII: Against the Law - Yves Guyot, Socialistic Fallacies 
Socialistic Fallacies (London: Cope and Fenwick, 1910).
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Against the Law
“The will of your class”—Edgar Quinet: democracy and the law—The disciples of force—The class war according to Aristotle.
In the “Communist Manifesto” (§45) Karl Marx says: “What is your law, unless it be the will of your class?” Socialists are logical in making light of the advice given by Edgar Quinet to the democracy to “cling inflexibly to the law.” Yet where will it go, if it does not cling to it? If it travels without a compass, does it expect to take a reasonable course? Does not the whole of history teach us how deceptive and precarious are the triumphs of force? Does not the history of our insurrections contain the most terrible lessons? Socialists may celebrate the anniversary of the Commune; do they look upon it as a victory?
Even admitting that they are strong enough to succeed in giving a legal aspect to their policy of pillage by a second-hand majority in an assembly, they would only find themselves on the morrow in the presence of ruins and would be obliged to reconstitute a legal system which recognises the capacity of each individual to own property and to contract.
The Socialists have consistently attacked me, and rightly so, for I attacked them at the time when the Radical party placed itself at their disposal.
The members of the Socialist party claim equality before the law, and protection for their goods and persons, and declare themselves, at the same time, to be a party committed to social war, in search of the best means of robbing you. I really cannot conduct colloquies in an amicable way with people who force me to keep my hand on my purse.
This class war is of far earlier date than the great industries. The honour of discovering it is not to be ascribed to Karl Marx. Twenty-three centuries before his time Aristotle said: “The demagogues, when the multitude are above the law, are always cutting the city in two by quarrels with the rich.”1
In the cities of Greece they demanded the confiscation of lands and the cancellation of debts, and they expected to throw the whole burden of fiscal charges upon the rich. The Socialists of to-day are merely plagiarists of the demagogues whose works Aristotle had beheld. Only, in those days of servile labour, a man who neither owned land nor carried on a small trade, could not live except by the generosity of the public treasury, and he was obliged to assume these advantages for himself by the conquest of power. Nowadays, the exercise of a profession or trade guarantees him the enjoyment of normal resources, and he knows that, if he goes too far in his threats or his measures against the capitalist, he will dry them up at the fountain-head. The demagogues of old threw the cities in which they were dominant into anarchy, and most frequently it was a stranger who came to re-establish an oligarchy or a tyranny.
Aristotle, “Politics,” v. chap. ix. §10 (Jowett's translation).