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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 548 pages of information about The Ancient Regime.

VII:  THE LOST CHILDREN.

The lost children of the philosophic party. — Naigeon, Sylvain Maréchal, Mably, Morelly. — The entire discredit of traditions and institutions derived from it.

We stop here.  It is pointless to follow the lost children of the party, Naigeon and Sylvain Maréchal, Mably and Morelly, the fanatics that set atheism up as an obligatory dogma and a superior duty; the socialists who, to suppress egoism, propose a community of property, and who found a republic in which any man that proposes to re-establish “detestable ownership” shall be declared an enemy of humanity, treated as a “raging maniac” and shut up in a dungeon for life.  It is sufficient to have studied the operations of large armies and of great campaigns. —­ With different gadgets and opposite tactics, the various attacks have all had the same results, all the institutions have been undermined from below.  The governing ideology has withdrawn all authority from custom, from religion, from the State.  Not only is it assumed that tradition in itself is false, but again that it is harmful through its works, that it builds up injustice on error, and that by rendering man blind it leads him to oppress.  Henceforth it is outlawed.  Let this “loathsome thing” with its supporters be crushed out.  It is the great evil of the human species, and, when suppressed, only goodness will remain.

“The time will then come[42] when the sun will shine only on free men recognizing no other master than Reason; when tyrants and slaves, and priests with their senseless or hypocritical instruments will exist only in history and on the stage; when attention will no longer be bestowed on them except to pity their victims and their dupes, keeping oneself vigilant and useful through horror of their excesses, and able to recognize and extinguish by the force of Reason the first germs of superstition and of tyranny, should they ever venture to reappear.”

The millennium is dawning and it is once more Reason, which should set it up.  In this way we shall owe everything to its salutary authority, the foundation of the new order of things as well as the destruction of the old one.

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Notes

[1] “Discours de la Methode.”

[2]This is evident with Descartes in the second step he takes. (The theory of pure spirit, the idea of God, the proof of his existence, the veracity of our intelligence demonstrated the veracity of God, etc.)

[3] See Pascal, “Pensées” (on the origin of property and rank).  The “Provinciales” (on homicide and the right to kill). —­ Nicole, “Deuxième traité de la charité, et de l’amour-propre” (on the natural man and the object of society).  Bossuet, “Politique tirée de l’Ecriture sainte.”  La Bruyère, “Des Esprits forts.”

[4] Cf.  Sir.  John Lubbock, “Origine de la Civilisation.” —­ Gerand-Teulon, “Les Origines de la famille.”

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