<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"wealth, have become sufficiently numerous, and sufficiently strong to defend themselves. Does this mean that they are no longer plundered ? Not at all ; they are plundered as much as ever, and, what is more, they plunder one another.
Only, the agent employed has been changed; it is no longer by force, but by cunning, that they seize upon the public wealth.
To rob the public, we must first deceive it. The trick consists in persuading the public that the theft is for its advantage; and by this means inducing it to accept, in exchange for its property, services which are fictitious, and often worse. Hence comes the Sophism,—Sophism theocratic, Sophism economic, Sophism political, Sophism financial. Since, then, force is held in check, the Sophism is not only an evil, but the very genius of evil. It must in its turn be held in check also. And for that end we must render the public more cunning than the cunning, as it has already become stronger than the strong.
Good Public! it is under the influence of this conviction that I dedicate to you this first essay—although the preface is strangely transposed, and the dedication somewhat late.