Economic Sophisms/130

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<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"And they continue to have slaves. Nothing appears to them more natural and legitimate. Do modern reformers expect that their system of morals will ever be as universally accepted, as popular, of as great authority, and be as much on men's lips, as the Gospel? And if the Gospel has not been able to penetrate from the lips to the heart, by piercing or surmounting the formidable barrier of self-interest, how can they expect that their system of morals is to work this miracle?

What! is slavery then invulnerable? No; what has introduced it will destroy it, I mean self-interest; provided that, in favouring the special interests which have created this scourge, we do not run counter to the general interests from which we look for the remedy.

It is one of the truths which political economy has demonstrated, that free labour is essentially progressive, and slave labour necessarily stationary. The triumph of the former, therefore, over the latter is inevitable. What has become of the culture of indigo by slave labour?

Free labour directed to the production of sugar will lower its price more and more, and slave property will become less and less valuable to the owners. Slavery would long since have gone down of its own accord in America, if in Europe our laws had not raised the price of sugar artificially. It is for this reason that we see the masters, their creditors, and their delegates working actively to maintain these laws, which are at present the pillars of the edifice.

Unfortunately, they still carry along with them the sympathies of those populations from among whom slavery has disappeared, and this again shows how powerful an agent public opinion is.

 

If public opinion is sovereign, even in the region of Force, it is very much more so in the region of Craft [Ruse]. In truth, this is its true domain. Cunning is the abuse of intelligence, and public opinion is the progress of intelligence. These two powers are at least of the same nature. Imposture on the part of the spoliator implies credulity on the part of those despoiled, and the natural antidote to credulity is truth. Hence it follows that to enlighten men's minds is to take away from this species of spoliation what supports and feeds it.

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