Economic Sophisms/89

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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"not only compatible, but strictly allied with each other, and, so to speak, identical, I should have endeavoured to forget what I had learned, and I should have asked:

"How God could have willed that men should attain prosperity only through Injustice and War? How He could have willed that they should be unable to avoid Injustice and War except by renouncing the possibility of attaining prosperity?

"Dare I adopt, as the basis of the legislation of a great nation, a science which thus misleads me by false lights, which has conducted me to this horrible blasphemy, and landed me in so dreadful an alternative? And when a long train of illustrious philosophers have been conducted by this science, to which they have devoted their lives, to more consoling results—when they affirm that Liberty and Utility are perfectly reconcilable with Justice and Peace—that all these great principles run in infinitely extended parallels, and will do so to all eternity, without running counter to each other,—I would ask. Have they not in their favour that presumption which results from all that we know of the goodness and wisdom of God, as manifested in the sublime harmony of the material creation? In the face of such a presumption, and of so many reliable authorities, ought I to believe lightly that God has been pleased to implant antagonism and dissonance in the laws of the moral world? No; before I should venture to conclude that the principles of social order run counter to and neutralize each other, and are in eternal and irreconcilable opposition—before I should venture to impose on my feUow-citizens a system so impious as that to which my reasonings would appear to lead,—I should set myself to reexamine the whole chain of these reasonings, and assure myself that at this stage of the journey I had not missed my way."

But if, after a candid and searching examination, twenty times repeated, I arrived always at this frightful conclusion, that we must choose between the Right and the Good, discouraged, I should reject the science, and bury myself in voluntary ignorance; above all, I should decline all participation in public affairs, leaving to men of another temper and constitution the burden and responsibility of a choice so painful.