Yves Guyot on the violence and lawlessness inherent in socialism (1910)

Yves Guyot

Found in Socialistic Fallacies

2010 is the 100th anniversary of the publication of Yves Guyot’s book on Socialistic Fallacies. In this work the French laissez-faire economist and politician Yves Guyot (1843-1928) points out the inherent lawlessness and violence in socialist policies and how they will lead inevitably to the coming to power of a new “Caesar”:

Socialist policy is a permanent menace to the liberty and security of citizens, and cannot therefore be the policy of any government, the primary duty of which is to exact respect for internal and external security. If it fail therein, it dissolves and is replaced by anarchy; and inasmuch as everyone has a horror of that condition which betrays itself by the oppression of violent men, banded together solely by their appetites, an appeal is made to a strong government and to a man with a strong grip, and the risk is incurred of falling back into all the disgraces and disasters of Cæsarism.

There are three words which Socialism must erase from the facades of our public buildings—the three words of the Republican motto:—

Liberty, because Socialism is a rule of tyranny and of police.

Equality, because it is a rule of class.

Fraternity, because its policy is that of the class war.

2010 is the 100th anniversary of the publication in English of Guyot’s Socialist Fallacies. In the title Guyot is making reference to two precursors, Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850). The former wrote The Book of Fallacies (1824) and the latter wrote Economic Sophisms (1845), both of which were intended to debunk the political and economic errors and myths of their day. Guyot attempts to do the same for turn of the century France.

One of his targets is the motto of the French state - “Liberty. Egality. Fraternity” - which arose during the French Revolution and was used by socialists in the1848 Revolution and then which became adopted officially in the Third Republic. Under socialism these three ideals are transformed into “Tyranny. Class rule. Class War.” This quote is also interesting because like his older colleague, Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912), Guyot predicts the rise of socialist ideas and with it, the inevitable coming to power of new “Caesars” who will destroy individual liberty. Little did they realize how destructive the new socialist Caesars like Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, and Mao would be in the 20th century.