Richard Melson

October 2006

Professor Talmon Part II

VOLONTE UNE I9 means that the barrier between the Legislature and the Executive must be broken down so as to insure prompt action. Government action must no longer be slow and complicated as it was in the past, when nothing but informal and casual contact was maintained between the two branches of the administration. Robespierre had moved very far from his savage denunciation of the " intrigues " between the Rolandist Ministry and the Girondist leaders in the Assembly, and from the principle that no deputy could be a Minister L of State. What Robespierre was proposing was government by I a Committee emanating from the Convention. All executive powers, rendered practically unlimited Owing to the Revolutionary character of the Government' were to be handed over to a " faithful commission ", " d'un . . . patriotisme epure, une commission si sure que lton ne poisse plus cacher ni le nom des trustees ni la frame des trahisons." It was to be a Committee of the most faithful and most ruthless. This was the conception underlying the regime of the Committee of Public Safety and Jacobin dictatorship, a regime designed to make the Revolutionary purpose triumph at all costs, and not to realize liberty in the sense of free self-expression; a system which replaced the principle of popular choice by the principle of the infallibility of the enlightened few in the central body acting in a dictatorial manner through special agents appointed by themselves. " The two opposite genii . . . contesting the empire of nature, are in this great period of human history interlocked in a mortal combat to determine irretrievably the destinies of the world, and France is the stage of this redoubtable struggle. Without, all tyrants are bent upon encircling you; within, all the friends of tyranny are banded in a conspiracy: they will go on plotting, until _all hope will have been wrested from crime. We have to strangle internal as well as the external enemies of the Republic, or perish with her; and, in a situation like this, your first maxim of policy must be the guiding principle that the people shall be led by reason, but the enemies of the people by terror "-thus spoke Robespierre. War ! The state of war ! This means a state of emergency, above all an atmosphere of " rise and kill him, or he still kill you". If you credit your opponent with such a fixed resolution, you are free of all obligations towards him, legal, moral or other. Doing justice, observing the code of law, become L meaningless; sheer mockery, when demanded. The supreme law is salvation achieved by the annihilation of the enemy. The war is global; global, for the theatre of operations is global; global, because all lives, all possessions and all values are involved, all assets and all means mobilized. This being so, the war has no fixed or limited front. It is not the battlefield alone where the fight takes place. Every preventive action taken to weaken the enemy, to sow confusion in his ranks, to impoverish him or to undermine his morale, to uncover his flank or to deceive and to get him into a trap, is legitimate, is a laudable act; indeed, a sacred duty. From the point of view of those engaged in the battle on your own side, the fact of war changes the whole scale of values. A war entails direction of the war-operations by a supreme command acting in strictest secrecy, with all possible speed, employing every means of surprise, not hampered by any checks or control; furthermore, by a supreme command composed of men especially, or rather exceptionally, qualified for the task: endowed with the gift of leadership, trustworthy, ruthless, energetic and pure. In short, all emphasis comes to be placed on personal qualities, Robespierre elusive quality of virtue. The democratic test of election, of preliminary, reiterated and confirmed authorization for the democratic execution by appointed, supervised and responsible leaders of decisions publicly debated, clearly defined and resolved upon, relegated into the background. It is impossible to debate in public' or to prescribe how to act in the heat of battle, under the impact of unforeseen mortal contingencies.

The men in the supreme command will know best how to act. Authorization to and control of leaders must make place for implicit trust, a priori consent, unconditional obedience. The relationship between the leaders and the led assumes the character of a personal relationship. However much a salvationist creed may try to ignore the personal element in the realm of pure theory, in so much as in course of time it evolves into a war of the elect against the condemned, it must resort to the personal leader-saviour, endowed with unique qualities, eliciting filial love and obedience from the led. The latter are soldiers in a global struggle. Soldiers do not argue, but carry out orders. Sometimes these orders seem contradictory, often outrageous, but the soldier must assume that however inexplicable and wrong they may appear in the narrow context surveyable by him, they form part of the grand strategy of the global war, and thus are perfectly logical and desirable moves, when viewed from the point of view of the whole. And so the suspension of personal judgment is a categorical imperative, and the very opposite of characterlessness and moral nihilism. The personal element becomes all-important for another reason. If the power of the supreme command must be so boundless, its action so rapid and ruthless, placed in wrong hands it will surely become the most terrible power for evil, in proportion to the means at its disposal. " Plus son pouvoir est grand, plus son action est libre et rapide; plus il doit etre dirige par la bonne foi. Le jour ou il tombera dans des mains impures ou perfides, la liberte sera I perdue; son nom deviendra le pretexte et ['excuse de la contrerevolution meme. Son energie sera celle d'un poison violent." Hence the supreme and sacred duty of watching over the men holding the rudder, of purging the supreme command all the time from the contaminated or contaminable. Who will perform the task ? Certainly not the ordinary soldiers. The result would be anarchy. They have not in any case the means of knowing what is going on in the headquarters. It must be the purest of the ensemble at the supreme command, in fact the strongest. This is the reason for Robespierre's maniacal insistence on the personal purity of the leaders of the Revolution, of his obsessive campaign against the " corrupt ". These were in in-is eyes more dangerous than the open counter-revolutionaries, because they could as it were by one move turn the Revolution into counter-revolution. Impure, corrupt, was, of course, considering Robespierre's mentality, any one who opposed him or differed from him, or showed an open mind and receptive spirit to things outside the orbit of ascetic Jacobin virtue. Nearly everyone felt in peril when listening to Robespierre's denunciation of the unnamed impure in the Convention and on the two supreme Committees who must be weeded out, and to Robespierre's " woe, woe to him who names himself ". In the circumstances of war, in face of the cosmic stakes, and the titantic powers at hand, the sole means of purging an impure was of course killing him, just as the sole defense by the impure was to kill the accuser. " I1 faut guillotiner, ou s'attendre a l'etre "-as the shrewd and adroit Barras put it. A brief outline of the regime of the Committee of Public Safety will bring home the antithesis reached by the Jacobin idea in the course of the Revolution.

The Jacobin dictatorship was an improvisation. It came into existence by stages, and not in accordance with a blue-print. At the same time, it corresponded to, and was the consequence of, a fixed attitude of mind of its authors, intensified and rendered extreme by events. The Comite de defense (generate) set up on January 1st, 1793, was the immediate parent of the Committee of Public Safety. It was made to sit en permanence on March 25th Reorganized and strengthened, it entered on April 6th upon its unbroken and undisputed reign as the Committee of Public Safety. Its duties were to supervise and accelerate the work of the Provisional Executive Council, and it had powers to suspend the orders of the Council and to take any steps it considered necessary for the defense and safety of the country, and to have them executed forthwith by the Council. Although it emanated from the Convention, was responsible to it and was appointed originally only for executive duties, the Committee of Public Safety soon acquired an absolute ascendancy over the Convention, deprived the Executive Council of all powers, and in fact as well as, in the Course of time, law brushed aside all institutions of elected democracy. On October 10Th, I7g3, the Executive Council, Ministers, commanding generals and -all constituted authorities were placed under its supervision. The Representatives on Mission, with practically unlimited powers and subordinated directly to the Committee, were the arms of the latter in the provinces. The decrees of April 8th and 30th, 1793, gave them powers to supervise " most actively " the agents of the Executive Council, the armies, army supplies, to prevent sabotage and the squandering of public money, to fight defeatism and attempts on morale, and to keep up the Republican spirit in the army and in the rear. On a motion of Billaud-Varenne on November I8th, 1793 (28 Brumaire), they were granted powers to supervise and overrule local authorities, and to prosecute local officials for defaults, and to replace them without elections, it being implied that the local Jacobin Club would be consulted. Following Danton's intervention of a few days earlier, the Convention on December 4th (I4 Frimaire) appointed national agents to the smaller administrative units with similar overall powers as those held by the Representatives, held directly from the Committee of Public Safety. These agents were to replace the elected procureurs- syndics of districts and procureurs de Commune, and their substitutes. They were vested with powers of enforcing laws, of tracking down sabotage and incompetence, of purging the local administration and the local Comites de surveillance whose task was to watch over aliens and suspects. The national agents as " agents of the whole people " were to replace local representatives brought to power by " the influence of family fortune" and family ties. A decree of 5 Brumaire suspended election of municipal bodies altogether. This extreme form of centralization based upon the contrast between the oneness of the national interest and the singleness of the general will, on the one hand, and the partial character of the regional units, on the other, reached thus its climax in a centralized dictatorship of a small body, simultaneously a part of the Legislative and an Executive. " Le depot de Execution des lois est enfin confide a des depositaires responsables" was Danton's comment. This dictatorship was a single party dictatorship. Its laws and decrees clearly envisaged the closest co-operation between the agents of the dictatorial Committee and the local popular societies, that is to say, the Jacobins, a network of societies, with no place in the Constitution or in the official framework of administrative institutions. At the same time all public meetings other than of Jacobin clubs were forbidden as subversive of the unity of the government and tending to federalism. All Revolutionary armies, which had been raised locally *om among the zealots and maintained at the expense of the rich to watch over counter-revolutionaries and to combat federal uprisings, were dissolved, to leave only the Revolutionary army of the Convention common to the whole of the Republic. On April 1st, 1794 (I2 Germinal), Carnot moved that a vast country like France could not be governed by a government which was not in the closest and permanent touch with the various parts-" ramasse et dirige ses forces vers un but determine ". The Committee of Public Safetv should therefore be the organ which does all the thinking, proposes all major measures _ to the Convention, and acts on its own in urgent and secret matters; , a plan that would seem unexceptional to-day to people accustomed ~ to centralized cabinet government, but extraordinary at the-im~ r it we as expounded. On April 2nd the Provisional Executive 1 Council was abolished. The Committee of Public Safety remained the supreme and sole executive body with twelve especially appointed commissions under it. The sample of the sovereign people, Paris, was destined to lose the special position for which the Jacobins had fought so hard against the G*ondists, in the advance towards extreme centralization. The law of I4 Frimaire forbade the formation of any central committee of the Sections. All the insurrections and journe'es of the earlier days were hatched in and carried out by the ad hoc organized central Committees. To deal a blow against the Hebertists, who were the masters of the Commune, the Sections were forbidden to correspond with the Commune, and were instructed to maintain direct contact with the Committee of General Security, the auxiliary body of the Committee of Public Safety. Only three months earlier (September sth) the Sectional assemblies had been renovated and given powers to arrest suspects. The same law had fixed two Section meetings per week-which was already a restriction of the principle of permanence-and a salary of forty sons for every attendance so as to attract and enable the right type of sans-culottes to be there. Hebert and his friends paid with their lives for the last attempt at a popular insurrection made before 9 Thermidor against the Convention and the Committee of Public Safety, after the Hebertists had been denounced by Robespierre for their violent actions against religious worship. Hand in hand with centralization went the organization of terror. The vital decrees were passed in the later part of March and early in April, 1793, and were largely due to Robespierre and Marat, the latter having consistently agitated for personal dictatorship " to save liberty by violence ". Whole groups of people were outlawed. People who took part in counter-revolutionary riots and persons seen with a white ribbon or other royalist and rebellious insignia were deprived of such legal safeguards as criminal procedure and jury; if apprehended and found guilty, they were to be execute! within twe~r-h`~ Emigres were outlawed, banished for ever, and their goods confiscated, and enemies of the Revolution and aristocrats were put " hors de lot". The law on the " din arming of suspects " defined as " suspects" not only members of the outlawed classes and their families, like the nobility and Irk fractory clergy, but anyone recognized as such by the authorities. The law on the suspects of September I7th went a step further.

It declared suspect all who had befriended tyranny, federalism and counter-revolution by deed, word or by the way of personal I relations; persons who failed to pay their taxes; people not I furnished with cartes de civisme from their Sections; suspended or dismissed officials; nobles, their relatives and relatives of e'migre's; persons unable to bring evidence of their rightful means of earning a living and of their patriotic conduct in the past. Concierges had earlier been ordered to post the names of the inhabitants of the houses in their charge, and private homes were opened to search. The decree of March 2Ist set up in every commune Comite's de surveillance, recruited from the most faithful and charged with general supervision over aliens and suspects, drawing up lists of the latter, and revising the certificates of " civisme ". On March 28th a syccial law fixed the death penalty for journalists and pamphleteers calling for the dissolution of the Convention, the re-establishment of the monarchy, and attacking -the people's sovereignty. On April 1st the parliamentary immunity of deputies to the Convention was suspended. The Revolutionary Tribunal was properly set up, after having had a fleeting existence as Tribunal Criminal Extraordi1'aire, on April 5th. It was on that day freed from the supervision by the special Conventional Committee, to which its predecessor was subject. Moreover the need for Conventional authorization to start proceedings was waived. Denunciation by one of the established authorities or by an ordinary citizen was to be a sufficient ground, except in case of deputies, commanding generals and similar high dignitaries. The jury was to vote and make its declarations publicly and " a haute voix ". There was no appeal, and the punishments were death and confiscation of property. The month of October, which saw the Republic triumphant on all war fronts, instead of seeing the Terror abate, marked its intensification against the leading political groups and personalities in opposition. The signal event was the trial and execution of the twenty-two Girondist deputies expelled from the Convention on June 2nd, among them Vergniaud, Gensonne, Brissot, Lasource (Roland committed suicide, Mme Roland was guillotined). They were delivered by the . Convention to the Tribunal on a unanimous vote, and were sentenced unanimously after proceedings lasting three days, the time thought sufficient for the jury to have their " conscience sufficiently enlightened ", so as to be able to dispense with further examination of evidence and witnesses. Four days were also thought sufficient to enlighten the conscience of the jury on the crimes of Hebert, Momoro, Vincent, Anacharsis Cloots and their friends, sentenced on March 24th, 1794. Danton, Desmoulins, Philippeaux were sent to the guillotine about a fortnight later, also at the end of four days, after the Convention had at the instigation of Saint Just voted them unanimously " hors des debate ", as guilty of plotting to destroy the Revolutionary Government and restore the Monarchy. Political centralization focused in the Committee of Public Safety was followed by judicial centralization focused in the Revolutionary Tribunal in Paris. Saint-Just carried, in April, a motion that all persons accused of conspiracy wherever they be should be brought before the Revolutionary Tribunal in Paris. The decree of May I 8th (29 Floreal), proposed by Couthon, the third, crippled member of the Robespierrist triumvirate, and executor of the rebellious city of Lyons, suppressed all Revolutionary Tribunals and Revolutionary Commissions outside Paris. Then on dune 10Th, 1794, came the famous laws of Prairial-suggested by 'Couthon. They marked the-crowning point of the Terror and were based on the axiom that the annihilation of the enemies of the Revolution took prudence- over formal justice. 'Any kind of evidence, material, noral, or verb al " que p cut naturellement ob tenir l' assentiment de it esprit juste et raisonable" was declared acceptable as legal evi`''lence, the need for examining witnesses being dispensed with. The right of the defendant to plead before the Revolutionary Tribunal was suspended. The right to denounce conspirators and persons guilty of " incivisme" was accorded to all citizens. The right of delivering suspects to the Tribunal was extended to the two Committees (Public Safety and General Security), the Public Prosecutor, Representatives on Mission and the Convention. The Convention was deprived of its exclusive right of handing over deputies to the Tribunal. This measure sent a shudder down every spine in the Convention. It drove those who felt themselves most menaced, Fouche, Ta]lien, Barras, Freron, to desperation, and together with the disagreements between the Robespierrists and their colleagues on the execution of Saint-Just's laws of Ventose on the expropriation of the suspects and the distribution of their property to poor patriots, brought down Robespierre and his system on 9 Thermidor. Although the Robespierrists were outdistanced in sheer terrorist passion by those who destroyed them, they were nevertheless among the chief apostles of Terror. The redoubtable ' , Bureau de Police, the special and most exclusive department of the l I Committee of Public Safety, set up to keep a watch and prosecute in the first place civil servants, was presided over by them, especially Saint-Just. As early as August pith, 1793, Robespierre formulated the philosophy of Terror by demanding that the Revolutionary Tribunal be freed from all encumbrances of old-fashioned legal restraints to pass death sentences, the only type of punishment appropriate in the circumstances of treason. Jacobin dictatorship rested~wo pillars: the fanatical devotion of the faithful, and stringent orthodoxy. The combination of the two was the secret of Jacobin strength, and a new phenomenon in ~,nodern political history. Having started as a movement for popular self-expression and permanent debate, to share in joyous , communion the experience of exercising popular sovereignty, Jacobinism soon developed into a confraternity of faithful, who must lose their selves in the objective substance of the faith to regain their souls. Submission became in due course release, obedience was turned into freedom, membership to the Jacobin clubs became the outward sign of belonging to the elect and pure, participation in Jacobin fetes and patriotic rites a religious experience. Inside the clubs there was going on an unceasing process of self-cleansing and purification, entailing denunciations, confessions, excommunication and expulsions. The dictatorship of the Committee of Public Safety was thus no mere tyranny of a handful of men clinging to power and In possession of all the means of coercion, no mere police system in a beleaguered fortress. It rested on closely knit and highly disciplined cells and nuclei in every town and village, from the central artery of Paris to the smallest hamlet in the mountains, composed of men only waiting with enthusiastic eagerness for a sign, no more to express their spontaneous urge for freedom, but their Revolutionary exaltation through obedient and fervent execution of orders from the centre, the seat of the enlightened and infallible few. In the way of pure improvisation there grew up in Revolutionary France an unofficial organization of French democracy, duplicating as it were the official organism and its parts, manning the Revolutionary armies, and the Comite's de surveillance, engaging in the task of what Robespierre called " colerer " the sans-culottes, that is to say the task of indoctrinating and making them ready to deal with the wicked rich, the federalists and other counter-revolutionaries, often, again as Robespierre urged, especially staying behind, when others had been sent to the front, to watch the rear and fight the internal enemy; dominating by their ceaseless vigilance all assemblies, managing all elections, providing, as instructed, the right Interpretation of all events. The official dogma claimed that the Jacobins were the people 1 They could possible regular as a partial will, as just a party like other parties. Robespierre had said that the " Jacobin society was ' by its very nature incorruptible. It deliberated before an audience of a few thousand' persons so that its whole power lay in public opinion, and it could not betray the interests of the people." Camille Desmoulins had earlier in the Revolution called the popular societies the inquisitorial tribunals of the people. He used the term with fervent approval. What he meant to say was that they were the open forum for ideas to be scrutinized, clarified and purified through free and continuous discussion. Desmoulins lived to' realize to the full the horror of the popular inquisition which'he so enthusiastically helped to build up. It was in the course of that dramatic clash at the Jacobin Club, when Robespierre, who earlier had half patronizingly, half menacingly admonished him not to be so flexible and volatile in his opinions, called for the burning of Camille's Vieux Cordelier, the proofs of which Desmoulins was in the habit of showing to the Incorruptible for approval. " Burning is no answer," whispered the darling of the Revolution. And so the postulate of plebiscitary popular sovereignty came to fruition in the rule of a small fraction of the nation; the idea of unhampered popular self-expression in an ever narrower path of exclusive orthodoxy, and a ban on the slightest difference of opinion and sentiment. It is enough to read the records of the Jacobin Club in the last months before Thermidor, the indicting speeches of Robespierre and Saint1ust or the references given by Crane Brinton in his study on the provincial Jacobin societies to realize to what lengths this process had gone. To have remained silent on some past and half ┐forgotten occasion, where one should have spoken; to have spoken where it was better to hold one's peace; to have shown empathy where eagerness was called for, and enthusiasm where diffidence was necessary; to have consorted with somebody whom a patriot should have shunned; avoided one who deserved to be befriended; not to have shown a virtuous disposition, or not to have led a life of virtue-such and other " sins " came to be counted as capital opulence, classifying the sinners as members of that immense chain of treason comprising the foreign plot, Royalism, federalism, bureaucratic sabotage, food speculation, immoral wealth, and vicious selfish perversion. Special lists were drawn up for aspirants to admission and affiliation to elicit answers as to the attitude taken up in the past to, and as to the present appreciation of, every event of the Revolution. The ascendancy of Robespierre appears from the Jacobin records to have become truly religious. A disapproving word, a mere glance from the Incorruptible were enough to ensure the immediate expulsion of any speaker whom Robespierre felt to have gone a little too far, even though only a few seconds earlier tile orator had been wildly applauded. Virtue had been " put on the agenda " to confound the wicked. Robespierre and Saint-Just were the " apostles of virtue ", as the insurrectionary Manifesto of the Commune on 9 Therrnidor called them. It is important to throw a glance at least at the evolution of foreign policy in the Revolution from the angle of the global war for liberty. Similarities between the two spheres, internal and external policy, abound. The Revolution, bred on a humanitarian philosophy, started on a most pacifist note. Men were deeply convinced that the natural state among nations was that of peace. All trouble came from the dynasties in pursuit of selfish aggrandizement. They divide nations and cause all wars. Hence the famous declaration, which the realistic Mirabeau viewed with such skepticism, that France renounces war as an instrument of national policy and expansion. The complex factors, political and psychological, conscious and unconscious, which created in France an almost universal desire for war against, old Europe, cannot be analyzed here. Clearly, the dynamism of a Messianic creed was spilling over. There was hardly a person among the Revolutionaries who was not, when the war broke out, convinced that FronrP had tar' with and would do nothing to sublusrate nations and seize their territory. For the Revolution was fighting a common global struggle for the liberation of peoples from the yoke of dynastic tyrannies, and for a harmonious union of nations. When liberating alien territory, France would not interfere with the wishes of the liberated population, and would not impose any regime. .But these good intentions were doomed to remain an academic postulate. ~ loo free a people, to enable it to make a free choice, what the Revolution proclaimed its duty to do, obviously entailed the immediate abolition of the feudal system,-and the introduction of the principle of popular sovereignty. -- Such an initial step could not be termed non-interference. As the war was global, France could not possibly leave feudal enemies in power and at large to sabotage her war effort and stab her in the back But also from the point of view of the local Revolutionaries, who found themselves in a situation similar to that of the French Revolutionaries fighting their own counter-revolutionaries, only aggravated by the fact of collaboration with a foreign power, there was the supreme necessity of suppressing the counter-revolutionary enemy by all means. France was shedding her blood, spending her energies and impoverished resources; she was on the brink of bankruptcy and famine, with inflation running wild-who could demand from her that she should also bear the costs of liberating other peoples ? Indeed, it was only fair that they should pay for I l their liberation themselves. " The war must pay for itself" The foreign nations must accept the dreaded worthless French assignat. The feudal lords, the Church, the rich in general must be soaked I L The confiscated feudal property would come into the hands of the lower orders, while the poor would be spared impositions and taxation. Whole classes would thus become vitally interested in the victory of the Revolution, and a tremendous social and economic Revolution would have been achieved: " Guerre aux chateaux paix aux chaumieres " was the famous formula of Cambon. The i war is global-this was the underlying thesis of the famous Declar- | ation of November Igth, 1792, that France pledges herself to hasten to assist every people wishing to become free. It was a blank e cheque given to any rebellion in any part of the world, and from I the point of view of old Europe, an imperialist French provocation I designed to foment rebellion everywhere in order to justify French aggression and conquest. ~ On December 1st came the extension of the November' l VOLONTE UNE ~ 3 I Declaration. It declared that a liberated population, which failed to adopt the institutions of liberty and popular sovereignty, thereby declared itself a friend of tyranny and an enemy of France in the global war. A time limit was later set for the liberated peoples to show convincingly where they stool And so the freedom of choosing liberty, which the Revolution set out-to give to the nations, became transformed into an obligation to choose liberty. But the French were far from admitting to themselves-or to others-that they were violating the freedom of the liberated populations. There could be no doubt about the ultimate wishes of the peoples concerned. They were terrorized by their old masters, timid and backward, and they must be freed, without regard to their inhibitions. Popular assemblies must be summoned to adopt by acclamation the institutions of liberty. Naturally, feudal and clerical reactionaries must be excluded and prevented from intimidating the people and falsifying its true will. In Belgium and elsewhere Revolutionary leadership was weak and inexperienced, and the masses under the spell of the Church. French commissars must therefore be sent to arrange elections, and to take charge of affairs, till the liberated people will have given itself a free Constitution, and shown ability to live in accordance with it. The global war, requiring a Revolutionary regime at home, necessitated a similar regime towards the peoples abroad, in order to force the nations to be free: " Ce pouvoir revolutionnaire qui n'est qu'un pouvoir protecteur de la liberte politique a son berceau," as Brissot put it. In 1790, Burke lamented the disintegration of the French body politic by the spirit of anarchical individualism. In 1796, he stood aghast before a wholly new phenomenon: a State as an " armed doctrine ", quite unlike any ordinary community, whose growth is haphazard, whose movements are hampered by the inertia or resistance of infinite interests, traditions and habits, and " which makes war through wantonness, and abandons it through lassitude ". Revolutionary France " is struck out at a heat . . . systematic . . . simple in its principle, it has unity and consistency perfection ; it Is able to mobilize men and resources and to subordinate all to the single principle of its being-" the production of force ", to further the cause of the Revolution. " Individuality . is left out of their scheme of government. The state is all in all." 1 .

Chapter Four ULTIMATE SCHEME

(a) THE POSTULATE OF PROGRESS AND FINALITY No longer necessary as a defensive weapon, the Terror was gradually becoming an instrument for the enthronement of a positive purpose. This purpose was the natural and harmonious system of society prophesied by the philosopher. The existence of such an order was a certainty. It had been on the way since the first days of the Revolution. It would have been there already, if it were not for the selfishness and perversion of some people. In fact to Robespierre victory in the national war was not the main purpose. He feared a too speedy and too victorious end to the war. It would knock the bottom out of the Terror, as " it is natural to slumber after victory ". The enemies of the people wishing to detract popular attention from their crimes, were endeavouring to concentrate all eyes on the victories in the external war. But the real victory will be the one which " the friends of liberty will win over the factions". " C'est cette victoire qui appelle chez les peoples la paix, la justice et le bonheur." A nation does not become illustrious by beating down foreign tyrants and enchaining other peoples. " Ce fut lo sort des Domains et quelques autres nations; notre destinee, beaucoup plus sublime, est de fonder sur la terre ltempire de la sagesse, de la justice et de la vertu." In brief, to enthrone the exclusive Jacobin pattern. kit is vital for the understanding of Jacobinism to remember all the time that the Jacobins sincerely and deeply believed that their terrorist dictatorship, even when maintained for no compelling reason of defence, was nothing but a prelude to a harmonious state of society, in which coercion would become necessary. The regime of force was merely a provisional phase, an inescapable evil at a deeper rev&1 and within a broader context no dictatorship at al: Jacobinism was nurtured on a deep eighteenth-century faith in man, his essential goodness and perfectibility, and on the belief continuous social progress, at the end of which there was some terminus of social integration and harmony. Not a permanently pessimistic conception of man and society bred Jacobin Terror, but an impatient hope, exasperated by obstacles, which ardent faith refused to acknowledge as natural or inevitable. The mixture of Messianic hope and despairing doubt gives to the Jacobin attitude a peculiar passionate urgency and poignancy. There is grandeur in it, as well as monumental self-deception and naivete. Robespierre and Saint-Just seem to vibrate with the faith in a short cut to salvation. " It is time to fix clearly the aim of the Revolution and the terminus (terme) at which we wish to arrive," declared Robespierre solemnly in one of his last speeches. He was proposing to " take the universe into confidence about the political secrets of the French people ", and to map out the goal across the maze of pragmatic and so often contradictory moves and incongruous happenings: " idee simple et importance qui semble n'avoir jamais ete aper,cue". When laying down the scheme of the Republican Institutions for the Utopia of the future, Saint-Just in the same spirit expressed his astonishment that nobody had thought of the scheme before. He could hardly believe that truths so obvious, principles so salutary, remedies so imperative, measures so practicable, should not have occurred to anybody before. Both he and Robespierre, like most of their generation, firmly believed that legislation was an easy science. All evils and all diversity of regimes were the result of the mistaken view that it was a difficult art. Men's hearts could be formed by laws. Men were meant to realize their destiny and achieve happiness in a harmonious social system, easily brought about by legislation and education. Their faith was, however, checked by the disconcerting and dismal fact that things so obvious, simple and necessary failed to be applied throughout all the centuries of man's career on earth. Robespierre paraphrased Rousseau's famous opening paradox of the Social Contract, declaring in his great speech on Religious Ideas that while Nature NvaS telling us that man was born for liberty, the experience of centuries showed him everywhere a slave; while man's rights were engraved in his heart, his humiliation was writ large across history. Surveying the annals of man, Saint-Just similarly concluded with dismay that " all arts had produced their marvels, only the art of government has produced nothing but monsters ". " D'ou vient melange de genie et de stupidite ? " asks Robespierre in reference to the wonderful progress of the arts and sciences, and man's total ignorance of the elementary notions of political morality, of his rights and duties. Robespierre's answer is that all the rulers of the past, bent upon nothing else than upon retaining their power, had nothing to fear from scientists and artists, but very much from " philosopher rigides et defenseurs de lthumanite ". They could afford to encourage the former, but had to persecute the latter. The Revolution was in this respect an apocalyptic moment in history, the most important event in the career of man upon earth, totally different from such episodes as the Cromwellian and American Revolutions, outbreaks prompted by local grievances and driven by limited aims. The French Revolution had as its aim " to put back the destinies of liberty in the hands of truth which is eternal, rather than into the hands of men who pass". This juxtaposition and this contrasting of an objective and eternal truth with the passing character of man should be noted. " Vous commencez une nouvelle carriere ou personne ne vous a devances." On more than one occasion did Robespierre proclaim that Revolutionary France was thousands of years ahead of all other nations. " All must be changed in the moral and political order," exclaims Robespierre, and his words are re-echoed by Saint-Just. At the moment of the Revolution, the world resembled the globe, half of it was already enlightened, while the other part was still plunged in darkness. And here faith and desperate anxiety alternate. At first there was boundless hope. Thus in his speech in the Constituante on the unrestricted freedom of the press, Robespierre claimed that the time had come for all truths to be spoken out- " routes seront accueillies par le patriotisme ". As late as July 8th, 1792, Robespierre hoped that the regeneration of the French people could be accomplished without bloodshed. After the execution of the King he still hoped that after this " great exception " the death penalty would no longer be applied. As late as February, 1793, 14 claimed that the new order was already so deeply rooted in French society that no real reaction was possible. Human reason had been on the move for quite a time " slowly and by detours, and yet surely ", and now the world was witnessing the wonderful spectacle of " a democracy affirmed in a vast empire ". " Those who in the infancy of public law and in the midst of servitude have been stammering contrary maxims, did they foresee the marvels accomplished in one year ? " Quite a different mood is expressed in Robespierre's last speech, where he confessed to see only dupes andiripons in the world, and only very few generous men loving virtue for its own sake and disinterestedly desirous of the people's happiness. A similar sentiment is expressed in a striking passage in Saint-Just's Institutions Republicans written some time in 1794. Its epigrammatic style breathes an uncanny air, the air of the Terror at its height. " No doubt, the time to do good has not yet come. The particular good that one may do is a palliative. We have to wait for a general evil that would be great enough for public opinion to experience the need of proper measures to do good. That which produces the general good is always terrible, or appears bizzare, when started too early. The Revolution should halt at the perfection of happiness and public liberty by the laws. Its tides have no other objectives, they must overthrow all that opposes them." " People speak of the height of the Revolution ? Who will fix it ? There have been free peoples who have fallen from greater heights." The elation at what had been so miraculously achieved, the amazement at ideas having become flesh, are matched by the anxiety lest men falter, and " intrigue " succeeds in overpowering virtue for generations. It is " now or never", for in case of failure the reaction would be commensurate to the distance covered by the Revolution, as if the Revolution were about to reach the peak of a sharp slope. If there was no advance to the summit, there would be a headlong fall into the abyss. Passionate faith enmeshed in anxiety and despair breaks forth time after time. Repeatedly Robespierre and Saint-Just declared that this or that decree or purge was the last, the very last, and the one sure to inaugurate the natural order. " If only they had thought of that particular thing, the l'~stitutions Republicaines, all the evils might have been avoided, all the crimes would not have happened !" exclaims Saint-Just.

(b) THE DOCTRINAIRE MENTALITY Here we are face to face with the Messianic doctrinaire as a historic phenomenon. He is a compound of two things, inner fanatical certainty, and what may be called a pencil sketch of reality. The pencil lines represent the external facets of social existence, in fact the sinews of the institutional framework. The flesh of the intangible, shapeless living forces, traditions, impondErables, habits, human inertia and lazy conservatism are not there. They are ignored. Left out of account are also the uniqueness and the unpredictability of human nature and human conduct, which result either from the irrational segments ill. our being, or from man' egotism. The Revolutionary doctrinaires convinced that his pencil sketch is the only real thing, that it sums up all that matters. He experiences reality, not as an inchoate static mass, but as a denouement, a dynamic movement towards a rational solution. The amorphous fleshy mass is unreal, and can be brought into shape in accordance with the pencil pattern. It is not something that is, but something that fails to be, that is not yet what it should be. Similarly, human idiosyncrasies and peculiarities that interfere with the rational working of the systematic, abstract pattern are not something that must be taken for granted, but an accident to be prevented, removed or avoided. Nor is the fact that a triumphant doctrine is after all embodied in the living personalities of those in charge, and is thus bound to receive their personal imprint and become distorted, ever noticed. Hence patterns of Left totalitarianism are so universalist in their character, and ignore completely national and local characteristics, just as they seem completely unaware of the problem of the personal element in leadership and oblivious of the place of the actual human personality in the working of politics. It is their nemesis and one of the ironies of history that the personal leader, like a dens ex machina, is thrown up by the movement of realization to become its most vital factor and its embodiment, the head of the militant confratemity of the elect in its struggle against all the powers of darkness. When the Revolutionary doctrinaire is thwarted by the inchoate, " unreal " mass of flesh and the " irrational " egotistic behaviour of men, his impatience turns into exasperation. The resisting forces appear a dumb, stupid mass that will not budge, for no other reason than sheer obstinacy, or-in the case of individuals-perversion and egoism. This resistance appears to the Revolutionary the more baffling and exasperating, because at the great moment of the Revolutionary climax of popular self-expression the enthusiasm appeared to be so general, so active and so single-minded. The fact is that the Revolutionary spasm is in the emotional sense a magnificently simplified formula of existence reduced to a single emotion, as the pencil sketch is in the intellectual sphere. The undiluted Revolutionary ecstasyls of very short duration. Soon men drift back into the morass of obtuse conservatism, selfishness or neutral privacy. The impatience and violence of the rationalist doctrinaire soon turns the initial mass enthusiasm into resentful hostility towards the Revolutionary pattern. It has always happened in modern Revolutions that as the inner dynamism of the pencil-sketch Revolution continued to throw forth ever more extreme doctrinaires, the inarticulate masses grew increasingly more indifferent and hostile to the Revolutionary endeavour. The case of religion in the French Revolution is the classical example of the clash between the rationalist doctrine and the forces of irrational conservatism. No other factor was so fatal to the Revolution as the attack on the Church. The new, ever increasing rigidity of the pattern has always resulted in sharper and sharper clashes, greater fissures and splits at the top. Fanatical dictatorship causes the problem of human egotism to grow more acute in relation to the advance of Gleichschaltung. And so it happened that many a Revolutionary who started with and put his trust in the institutions of a pencil-sketch doctrine to solve all problems, hoping that conditions and men would fall in by themselves into the harmonious whole, ended with a desperate determination to create like Moses a new type of man and a new people. At the beginning of the French Revolution there was the Declaration of the Rights of Man, at its height Saint-Just's Institutions Re'publicaines, Robespierre's cult of the Supreme Being and the Lepeletier scheme of Spartan Education, adopted by the Incorruptible after the Revolutionary nartyr's death. The doctrinaire never thinks of the pencil sketch in terms of coercion. It is not intended to interfere with freedom; on the contrary, it is designed to secure it. Only the ill-intentioned, the selfish and perverse can complain that their freedom is violated. They are guilty of sabotage, refusing to be free, and misleading others. They cannot be given freedom to do their evil deeds, for they are at war with the pattern of freedom that continues to unfold itself till its full realization. Liberty can be restored only after this has come to an end, only when the enemy has been eliminated and the people re-educated, that is to say, when there will be no longer any opposition. So long as there is opposition there can be no freedom. " The Revolution will come to an end ", said Robespierre in the Speech on the Principles of Political Morality, " in a very simple Nay, and without being harassed by the factions, when all people will have become equally devoted to their country and its laws. But we are still far from having reached that point.... The Republican Government is not yet well established, and there are factions." The Revolutionary Government has two objects: the protection of patriotism and the annihilation of aristocracy. The goal will never be achieved as long as the factions continue to sabotage the effort. " It will be an impossible thing to establish liberty on unshakable foundations as long as any individual can say to himself: ' if to-day aristocracy is triumphant, I am lost.' " The " institutions sages " of the Utopian pattern can be founded only on the ruins of the incorrigible enemies of liberty. Robespierre used in this context the term democracy. It meant to him, on the one hand, a form of government, and on the other, a social and moral pattern. As a form of government it signified, innocuously enough, a state of things where the sovereign people, guided by laws made by itself, was making by itself all that it could do by itself, and through chosen representatives what it could not do by itself Robespierre came out strongly against direct democracy on this occasion. There was no need for it any longer; the people had trustworthy representatives. As a social and moral pattern democracy was the only system capable of fulfilling the wishes of Nature, realizing the destinies of mankind, and making good the promises of philosophy by the enthronement of egalitarian virtue, which is another name for the universal preference of the general interest over the private good, for love of country and equality and the death of egoism. The reign of virtue could not be established as long as there were parties, which were by definition selfish factions. And so to obtain the rule of virtue the war of liberty against tyranny must first be brought to an end, the factions annihilated, and the storm of the Revolution overcome by the Revolutionary Government. " Votre administration dolt etre le resultat de ['esprit du gouvernement revolutionnaire, combine avec les principes generaux de la democratic." Liberty has however no meaning without freedom to oppose, and without there being anybody to oppose. The vision of unfettered freedom at the end of the days, and the prophecy of the cessation of the conflict between freedom and duty, in spontaneous obedience without a sense of constraint, turns out to be a fiction, I wherever there is an idea of a fixed pattern ofthings to be enthroned by a sustained effort.

Saint-Just would have passionately repudiated any suggestion of dictatorship as a permanent form of government. It is baffling to read on the same page expressions of the human liberal eighteenth century spirit, juxtaposed with the most bloodthirsty denunciations. What Saint1ust had to say on power might have come straight from the pen of Lord Acton. " Power is so cruel and evil that if you release it from its inertia, without giving it a direction (regle), it will march straight on to oppression.... One wants to be rigid in one's principles, when destroying an evil government, but it is rare that one should not reject the same principles, to substitute for them one's own will, as soon as one comes to govern oneself" Saint-Just professed to be particularly fearful of a provisional form of government, since it was based upon the suppression of the people, and not on law or natural harmony. It was an invitation to any usurper to establish a tyranny by the promise of peace and order, and an excellent excuse to crush all opposition. In the Constitutional debate he warned the Convention that even the rights of man and constitutional liberties could become a weapon in the hands of a " gentle tyrant " who had designs on the freedom of the nation. Not force, but wisdom, should be used in dealing with the people, for the people were essentially good and just, and could be governed without being enslaved or becoming licentious. Man was born for peace and happiness and for life in society. His misery and corruption were the results of insidious laws of domination, and of the doctrine of man's savage and corrupt nature. Having let themselves be persuaded by the tyrants that they would destroy each other if left free, the peoples bent their heads to the yoke of despotism and grew demoralized under its corroding influence. " Every people is made for virtue . . . it should not be forced it should be led by wisdom. The French are easy to govern; they want a mild constitution.... This people is lively and suited for democracy, but it should not be worn out too much by the encumbrance of public affairs. It should be governed without weakness, I but also without constraint." I Fundamental in all this is Saint-Just's conviction that there was an inherent harmony in society. The task of a government was not to unpose its own will or its own pattern upon a society, but to remove the impediments to that harmony, a purpose for which to terror had been instituted. Harmony was bound to come into its own, when all elements of social existence had been put in their proper place. " Le government est plutot un ressort d'harmonie que d'autorite." The abolition of tyranny was bound to bring man back to his true nature. " Item la tyrannic du monde, vous y retablirez la paix et la vertu." The people would find its happiness by itself The Government's task was not so much to make men happy as to prevent them from becoming unhappy. " Do not oppress, that is all. Everybody will know how to find his own happiness." A people once infected with the superstitious belief that they owed their happiness to their Government would not present it for long. Crowds thronging the antechambers of tribunals and state offices were eloquent evidence of the rottenness of the Government. " C'est une horreur qu'on soil oblige de demander justice." The private lives of citizens should be interfered with as little as possible. " The liberty of a people is in its private life; do not disturb it. Disturb no one but the evil-doers." Force should be used only to protect the " state of simplicity' against force itself, and nothing should be imposed except probity, and respect for liberty, nature, human rights and the national representation. , There was meant to be a social order in which men's sentiment and actions would by themselves set themselves into so harmonious a pattern that all coercion would be superfluous. With laws to his nature, man would cease to be unhappy and corrupt. Ev having become alien to his interests, justice would become the permanent and determining interest and passion of all, and libert would reign supreme. The Revolutionary task is to make " nature and innocence the passion of all hearts". Such a change can b brought about earlier than people think, declares Saint-Just. This faith is deeply rooted in the eighteenth-century premises -- reaffirmed by Robespierre in his speeches on the Revolutionary order. The Revolutionary aim was to vindicate the idea of costar pragmatism on earth, and so arrange things that all that was moo would also be useful and politic, and what was immoral would b impolitic, harmful and counter-revolutionary. Robespierre distinguished-in line with Rousseau-two kinds of self-love, one v and cruel, which seeks one's own exclusive good in the misery o others, and the other, which, generous and benevolent, confounds in our well-being with the prosperity and glory of the country. Of the marriage of the natural order and man's virtuous disposition there would be born the identity of the personal and general good. Real democracy would thus come into fruition, since men would be obeying nothing but their own virtuous disposition, and would not need the master, who is indispensable where virtue is not natural and spontaneous. The supreme aim of politics was therefore, as Mably maintained, to direct human hearts, to educate men, to repress the " moi personnel " and the proclivity for small, petty things. According to the direction given to human passion, man could be elevated to the skies or debased to the lowest pit. " Le but de toutes les institutions sociales, c' est de les diriger vers la patrie, qui cst a la fois le bonheur public et le bonheur privet" If politics were to the eighteenth century a question of ethics, the problem of the rational and final social order was a question of attuning hearts. This was the vital discovery made by the Jacobins, after the disappointment with popular sovereignty and its institutions as virtue-releasing forces. the new and continuing disagreements could not, or at least could no longer or not fully, explained in terms of the conflict between Royalism and Revolution or between ruling and ruled classes, and there were many factors to obscure the social and economic problem. " A quoi se reduit done cette science mysterieuse de la politique et de la legislation ? A mettre dans les lois et darts l'admir,Zistration les vcrites morales releguees dans les livres des philosopher, et appliquer a la conduite des peoples les notions triviales de probite He chacun est force d'adopter pour sa conduite privee." AD is reduced to a question of morality, and consequently education. All the rest will follow, claims Saint-Just. Objective factors are left out of account, only human consciousness matters. The irrational anti-social, anarchical elements in man are considered accidental; only the rational and social part of human nature is acknowledged as real and permanent. The former exist, for surer but can be made to efface themselves before the latter. Man, an] I consequently society as a whole, may be shaped anew-" Quel est is but ou nous tendons ? " asks Robespierre. His long answer may be treated as mere verbiage and turgid preaching. But, once , more, Robespierre believed that the vision he was spinning was f something attainable, real, and full of precise, compact meaning. sl" The passage from crime to virtue " to be accomplished by the Revolution meant to Robespierre a real event, a turning point, new birth, a definite date, like the passage from a class society to classless society was to mean to Communist Messianism. The aim is " the peaceful enjoyment of liberty and equality-; the reign of that eternal justice, the laws of which are engraved not on marble or stone, but in the hearts of all men, even in that of a slave who forgets them or a tyrant who denies them. We want an order of things where all base and cruel passions would be chained all the benevolent and generous passions awakened by the laws, where one's ambition would be to merit glory and to serve his country; where distinctions have no other source than equality itself; where the citizen is subordinated to the magistrate, the magistrate to the people and the people to justice; where the country insures the well-being of every individual, and where every individual enjoys with pride the prosperity and glory of his country; where all souls grow greater through the continuous interchange of republican sentiments, and by the need to merit the esteem of a great people; where the arts would be the ornament of that liberty which ennobles them, and commerce the source of public wealth and not only of the monstrous opulence of a few houses. We want to substitute in our country morality for egoism, probity.for honour, principles for habits, duties for good manners, the empire of reason for the tyranny of fashion, the contempt of vice for the contempt of misfortune; pride for insolence, greatness of soul for vanity, love of glory for the love of money; good men for good companyment for intrigue, genuus for bet esprit, truth for brilliance . . . a people magnanimous, powerful, happy, for a people amiable, frivolous and miserable, that is to say all the virtues and all the miracles of the Republic for all the vices and absurdities of the Monarchy." Has there ever been such a state on earth ? Throughout the centuries of uninterrupted tyranny and crime, history knows only of one brief spell of liberty in a tiny corner of the earth-Sparta " brille comme un eclair dans les tenebres immerses." This is the key to the understanding of Robespierre and Saint-Just: Sparta as the ideal of liberty. " Let us beware of connecting politics with moral regeneration -a thing at present impracticable. Moralism is fatal to freedom "- wrote Desmoulins. For the creation of this ideal Robespierre falls back upon the civil religion and Saint-Just upon a Utopian scheme of moral legislation called by him Republican Institutions. In both cases the motive is despair in the spontaneous will of man as the sovereign agent. More than disillusionment-desperate fear. Man had to be remade.

(d) SAINT-JUST' S INSTITUTIONS REPUBLICAINES Saint-Just developed a mystical faith in the power of his Republican Institutions to check man's anti-social arbitrary urges, to regenerate the French people and to reconcile all contradictions in a perfect harmony founded upon virtue. They were to be the crowing of the Revolution, the seal upon the Revolution. " Un etat ou ces institutions manquent n'est qu'une Republique illusoire." They were the essence of a Republic, for the superiority of a Republic over a Monarchy was precisely in this, that the latter had no more than a government, while the former also had Institutions to realize the moral purpose. " C'est par la que vous annoncerez la perfection de votre democratic . . . la grandeur de vos vues, et que vous haterez la perte de vos ennemis en les montrant difformes a cote de vous." Clearly, he thought of the Republic in terms if not of the Church, at least of a spiritual community, and of the Institutions as inaugurating the " passage from crime to virtue ". In Saint-Just's last and heroic (undelivered) speech of 8 Thermidor in defence of Robespierre the Republican Institutions appear as the panacea that had fatally been ignored, and which alone, as said before, can save the situation, making all the difference between total damnation and total salvation. The factions will never disappear till the Institutions have produced the guarantees, put a limit to authority and put " human pride irrevocably under the yoke of public liberty ". Saint-Just implores Providence to give him a few days more " pour appeller sur les institutions les meditations dupeuple franc,ais". All the tragedy they had been witnessing would not have occurred under their rule. " ns seraient vertueux peut-etre, et ntauraient point pense au mal ceux dontj'accuse ici." The speech ends with a formal proposal for immediate consideration of the scheme of the Republican Institutions. Saint-Just's scheme of regeneration was intended to offer a cure for the corroding influence of power and the danger of the substitution of the ruler's personal will for the law as well as to shape a universal pattern of moral behaviour. The proposed Institutions were to lay down so precise and detailed a system of laws that no room would be left for arbitrary human action, or indeed for spontaneity. People would not be obeying men, but laws, laws of reason and virtue, and therefore of liberty. Politics would thus be entirely banished. " We have to substitute with the help of the Institutions the force and inflexible justice of the laws for personal influence. The Revolution will thus be strengthened; there will be no jealousies, no factions any longer; there will be no pretentious claims and no calumny . . . we have . . . to substitute the ascendancy of virtue for the ascendancy of men.... Make politics powerless by reducing all to the cold rule of justice." The Institutions would be a more effective brake on antirevolutionary tendencies than the Terror. For the Terror comes and goes according to the fluctuations of public opinion and sentiment, and the reaction to terror has normally been an excessive indulgence. The institutional laws would secure " a durable severity". The Institutions were calculated to make the art of government simpler, easier and more effective. For instance, more wisdom and greater virtue would be needed for the exercise of the only of censorship over conduct-an idea particularly dear to Saints Just-in a weak government than in a strong one, that is to say, in a regime based upon Institutions. For in a weak government all depended on the character of the men in charge, whereas in a strong regime the laws provided for everything and secured a perfect harmony, in excluding all the unpredictable elements in human behaviour. " Dans le premier, il y a une action et reaction continuelle des forces particulieres; dans le second, il y a une force commune dont chacun fait partie, et qui concourt au meme but et au meme Lien." In his fear of human egotism and, above all, of the competition between personalities, Saintlust devised a most paradoxical plan As there should be fewer institutions and fewer men in charge, and since it was essential that an institution should operate by its own harmony and without being thwarted by the interplay and clash of men's arbitrary wills, it was-he thought-important to reduce the number of people in the institutions and the constituted authorities In this connection Saint-Just called for a re-examination of collective magistratures like the municipalities, administrative bodies, Comity╣s''rveillar~ce, etc., to see whether the placing of " the functions of these bodies in the hands of a single official in everyone of them would not be the secret of a solid establishment ofthe Revolution ". Into this context have to be set the nearly identical statements of Barere, Prieur de la Cote-d'Or, Baudot and Lindet, according to which Saintlust at a joint meeting of the two Committees on s Thermidor proposed the setting up of a government by " patriotic reputations (or deputations ?) pending the establishment of the Republican Institutions ". Barere quotes him as saying that it was imperative to hand over dictatorial powers to a man " endowed with su~lcient genius, strength, patriotism and greatness of soul . . . sufficiently imbued with the spirit of the Revolution, the spirit of its principles, its various phases, actions and agencies-to take upon himself the full responsibility for public safety and the n~aintenance of liberty . . . a man enjoying the favour of public opinion and the confidence of the people . . . " " Cet homme, je declare que c'est Robespierre, lui senl peut sauver l'lltat," SaintJust is reported to have said, in the spirit, one may add, of his famous statement-" il faut dans toute Revolution un dictateur pour sauver ['{tat par la force, ou des censeurs pour le sauver parla vertu". From both statements there is only a short step to the generalized theory of Revolutionary dictatorship as formulated later by Babenf and Buonarroti. A dictator " qui puisse repondre . . . du maintien de la liberte . . ."-the dictatorship of Robespierre would have been a " dictatorship of liberty". Fearing the competition of men, Saint-Just was thus driven back to the idea of one man. Believing in the power of institutions to achieve everything and to eliminate the rule of men, he had nevertheless to fall back upon the single-mindedness and smooth efficiency secured by a single mind. Saint-Just got himself involved in the inevitable contradictions presented by the two irreconcilable principles: sovereignty of the people and an exclusive doctrine. While anxious to expel the arbitrariness of man and all opposition by an all-embracing yet exclusive system of laws, Saint-Just was not less keen to preserve the active interest of the people in their own a┐C ┐airs. He abhorred nothing more than the monopolization of public affairs by bureaucracy, ambitious professional politicians and seekers of office. He feared nothing more than the indifference of the masses. He was to see this happen, and to admit to himself that very few people were interested in anything but their private affairs, and that most people took a " lache plaisir a se meter de rien ". The magistrate) were rapidly usurping the Government as well as the popular societies, destroying the young French democracy, whose very essence was the supremacy of the people and not of of licials. " Of done est la cite ? " he asked himself in despair. " Wile est preside usurpee par les fonctionnaires." A spirit of clique and caucus was abroad. The Terror has frightened away the citizens. I' La Revolution est glacee; tous les principes vent affaiblis; il ne reste que des bonnets rouges portes par ['intrigue. L'exercise de la terreur a blase le crime comme les liqueurs fortes blasent le palais" Saint-Just's community of the future is placed under the auspice' of the Supreme Being. " The French people ", he declares, " recog nize the Supreme Being and the immortality of the soul." The temples of the civic religion, where incense would be burnt for twenty-four hours a day, were to be the communal centres of the Republic. All laws were to be announced there and all civil acts apart from special patriotic fetes-were to take place there and be the character of religious rites. Although all cults would be pe mitted, the external rites other than of the civil religion would b banned. The Institutions lay down a detailed scheme of a Spartan type for the education of youth by the State. The conduct of young people as of civil servants was to be publicly scrutinized every ten days the temple. Every person above the age of twenty-five was declare every year who were his friends and his reasons for breaks friendships. Friends would be held responsible for each other Disloyal and ungrateful persons would be banished. Prescription concerning marriage, military discipline, were similarly spartan! Solemn patriotic fetes were to inspire the people with civic piety and national pride.

(e) THE CIVIL RELIGION AND CONDEMNATION OF INTELLECTUALS Individual spontaneity has thus been replaced by the object) postulate of virtue; freedom by the (uncoerced) acceptance or obligation; the idea of liberty by the vision of an exclusive pattern. The other vital value in eighteenth-century philosophy, rationalism, svas in the end made to give place to mysticism. There was always the unresolved ambiguity in the eighteenth century, especially Rousseauist, juxtaposition of the two qualities of I the eighteenth-century ideal-its objective, eternal character, and | itS being engraved in human hearts. The unresolved ambiguity seemed to resolve the question of coercion. Since the objective truth was also immanent in man's consciousness, there was no external coercion in forcing him to follow it. There was also another ambiguity; on the one hand, the optimistic hope that man (or the people) rendered free, and thus also moral, would I see the truth and follow it; on the other, there was the fear of I human arbitrariness and hubris. It soon developed in the case of Robespierre into a distrust ofthe intellect. We saw him demanding that liberty be put into the hands of " the truth that is eternal ", instead of being in the hands of men who are passing creatures. Robespierre and Saintlust grew suspicious of the intellect, as well as of wit. The sophisms of the brilliant debater, the flexibility and individualism of the intellectual, appeared no less dangerous than the partial interests in the earlier days of the Revolution. Robespierre began to dream of " a rapid instinct which without the belated help of reasoning " would lead man to do good and shun evil. " La raison particuliere de chaque homme" was a sophist, too easily yielding to the whisper of passion and too easily rationalizing it. In one of his last speeches Robespierre made a violent attack on the intellectuals, the men of letters, who had " dishonoured themselves " in the Revolution. The Revolution was the achievement of the simple people carried by their instinct and unsophisticated natural wisdom. " A la honte eternelle de ['esprit, la raison du peuple en a fait seule tons les frais.... Les prodiges qui ont immortalise cette epoque ont ete operes sons vous et malgre vous." Any simple artisan had shown more insight into the rights of man than the writers of books, who, nearly Republicans in 1788, emerged as defenders of the King in 1793, like Vergnizud and Condorcet. Robespierre takes up the cudgels for Rousseau of the Profession de foi d'un Vicaire Savoyard against the atheism of the Encyclopacdists, and declares the battle to be resumed. On his orders the busts of Helvetius and Mirabeau in the Club are pulled down and broken. A war is declared on sophists.

The only power that can still the pernicious sophistic instill is religion, the idea of an authority higher than man, which the final sanction of morality. " What silences or replaces tl~ pernicious instinct, and what makes good the insufficiency of hum. authority, is the religious instinct which imprints upon our sq~ the idea of a sanction given to the moral precepts by a power Cat iS higher than man. A crude Voltairian attitude has been read into Robespierre`'~ utterances on the subject. He laid himself open to the charge of opportunist social utilitarianism by his clumsy statement that tell was not interested in religion as a metaphysician, but as a statesman and social architect, to whom what was useful in the world and good in practice was true, whatever its metaphysical validity. What Robespierre wanted to say was not that since the populace would not be moved by rational arguments to behave ethically, but by the fear of God, religion had to be simply invented for the sake of the social order. He wanted to say that in the light of cosmic pragmatism factual existencewas sufEiicientlyproved bylogical and pragmatic coherence. The postulate of justice and meaning in the universal and social order was a sufficient proof of the existence of Divinity Without Divinity, transcendental reward end punishment, the logical and righteous structure ofthe universe and society would be without a basis. The absence of such a logical cohesion was unthinkable, God therefore existed, and the soul was immortal. The test al social cohesion was truer and more vital than scientific, philosophical and theoretical tests. The life of a community was too solemn a fulfilment to be tossed about by blind forces, which mete out thi same fate to good and bad, patriots and egoists, and leave th oppressed with no consolation, victims of triumphant evil selfish ness: " this kind of practical philosophy which, by turning egoism into a system, regards human society as a war of cunning, success as the criterion of justice and injustice, probity as a matter oftaste " Morality is what it is, not because God has ordered it and we have to obey. We do not fulfil ourselves in the fruition of God The starting point and the sole and final criterion is the existence of men in society; the absolute postulate, the morality that sustains it The fully integrated community becomes thus the highest fulfilment, the highest form of worship. Providence hovers over it. |

Chapter Five THE SOCIAL PROBLEM

(a) THE INCONSISTENCIES

THE great dividing line between the two major schools of social and economic thought in the last two centuries has been the attitude to the basic problem: should the economic sphere be considered an open field for the interplay of free human initiative, skill, resources and needs, with the State intervening only occasionally to fix the most general and liberal rules of the game, to help those who have fallen by the wayside, to punish those guilty of foul play and to succour the victims thereof; or should the totality of resources and human skill be ah initio treated as something that should be deliberately shaped and directed, in accordance with a definite principle, this principle being-in the widest sense-the satisfaction of human needs. Whereas the latter attitude puts all stress on the injury caused to the weak by the cupidity of those who succeed in monopolizing all the resources, and on the disorder and confusion brought about by the lack of general direction; the former maintains that State-guaranteed social security would take away all incentive to exertion-the fear of poverty and the hope of gain and distinction- and thus cause a lowering of vitality and a weakening of all productive effort, in addition to the stifling of freedom by centralized regimentation. At bottom the whole debate centres round the question of human nature: could man be so re-educated in a socially integrated system as to begin to act on motives different from those prevailing in the competitive system ? Is the urge for free economic initiative nothing else than rationalized greed or anxiety, bound to die out in an order guaranteeing equal economic well-being, as the Collectivist ideology teaches ? It has been shown that eighteenth-century thinkers, while holding fast to the idea of a rational, not to say scientific, system of society, I fought shy of the latter conception of the social-economic problem, which would appear to have been inherent in the postulate of the natural order. Jacobinism may be regarded as the eighteenth century attitude on trial. The Jacobin inhibitions on the subject of property and their reluctance to face the social-economic issue on their own general premises were the main cause for the Utopian, mystical character of their vision of the final social order as the reign of virtue. In a sense the evolution of Jacobin thinking on the question of property throughout the Revolution would appear as a gradual liberation from inhibitions, effected under the impact of events, and leading to a total liberation in those post-Thermidorian Jacobins and Robespierrists who joined the plot of Babeuf, and reinterpreted the idea ofthe natural order into terms of economic communism. The Jacobins were not abreast with the masses in the Revolution. Carried away by the idea of the rights of man and the Revolutionary hope of salvation, and exasperated by famine and shortage, the masses confusedly and passionately clamoured that the Revolution should carry out its promises, that is to say, should make them happy. However anarchical and crude the agitation of the Enrages under the leadership ofJacques Roux and Varlet, however naive the socialism of such pamphleteers as Dolivier, Lange of Lyons, Momoro and others, the whole social movement in the Revolution derived from the Messianic expectation engendered by the idea of the natural order, and went beyond the spasmodic social protest and the clamour for instant relief. But these agitators, with or without a programme, successful or not as spokesmen of pressure groups, did not make policies. The Revolution was steered by the Jacobins at the vital period. ~ Their whole thinking dominated by the idea of a rational and natural order, the Jacobins were most reluctant to yield to the view that there was an inconsistency between a rational political-ethical system and free economics. The Revolution forced upon them lessons against their own grain. There was a definite social dynamism in the idea of unlimited popular sovereignty. The poor were the vast majority ofthe nation, and thus entitled to dictate conditions to the small minority ofthe rich. The issue received a definite social complexion with the exclusion ofthe poor from the active political life of the nation. It created the consciousness and sealed the fact of conflict. Moreover, owing to reminiscences of antiquity, the democratic popular ideal was always associated with the social radicalism of the great legislators of ancient Greece and Rome, Lycurgus, Solon, the Gracchi, with the abolition of debts owed to landlords, redistribution of land, and in general the rule of the poor over the rich. Moral asceticism had always glorified the austere virtues of the poor, and condemned the vices of wealth. The fact also was that as soon as the feudal system was abolished and the rule of wealth affirmed, the propertied classes, the bourgeoisie and the richer peasantry, having well benefited from the sale of confiscated Church property, began to wish for a halt to the Revolution. They felt their property and their new gains in danger of attack Fom Revolutionary dynamism. While they were turning against the Revolution, the Revolution was becoming more and more identified with the poor and propertyless, above all in the mind of Robespierre. And yet, the Jacobin attitude remained ambiguous and inconsistent to the end. The incongruities in it were only finally resolved in Babouvism. And so almost ironically the chain of laws and decrees which led to the establishment of an economic dictatorship, which violated every principle of private property and free economics, was started by the Convention on March I8th, 1793, with the unanimous vote of the death penalty against anyone proposing the lot agrafre or any plan " subversive of landed, commercial and industrial property ". As late as November, 1792, Saint-Just proclaimed in his famous and most gloomy speech on Supplies his dislike of " lois violentes sur le commerce ". He came out firmly ~ favour of free trade, and suggested that the Convention should place freedom of trade " sons le sauvegarde du people meme ", although he made the reservation that unrestricted economic liberty " une tres grande verite en these generate ", may require some reinterpretation in the context of the evils of Revolution. There was also the necessity of teaching virtue to a people demoralized by the crimes of the Monarchy. A year and four months later, on February 26th, 1794 (8 Vent6se, an II), Saint-Just made the meaningful statement that in the social domain the force of circumstances was leading the Revolution " a des resultats aux-quels nous n'avons pas tense ". He was proposing the confiscation of all the possessions of the suspects and their distribution to the poor on the ground that the right to property was conditional on political loyalty. In the last few months or weeks before their downfall the Robespierrists began dimly and reluctantly to perceive that their rational and final system, to have any meaning and to last, must carry with it a correspondmg change-over in the social and economic conditions. And so on the very eve of his execution (7 Thermidor, July pith, 1794)

Saint-Just coupled together in a flicker of comprehension the idea ofthe Institutions with a Revolutionary social programme: " creel des institutions civiles et renverser ['empire de la richesse ". But as will be shown, even in this resolve there were inherent reservations that were calculated to vitiate the general postulate. (b) CLASS Policy Political rather than social considerations gave rise to Jacobiu class orientation. Thus Saint1ust arrived at the conclusion that the Revolution was menaced by a fatal contradiction between the Revolutionary form of government and social realities. He dis. covered that the wealth of the nation was to be found in the may in the hands of the enemies of the Revolution. The working people, the real supporters of the new regime, depended for their existence on their enemies. The interests of the two classes being irreconcilable, the outcome could only be a class policy favouring the class supporting the Republic, and carried out at the expense of the possessors of wealth. To Saint-Just such a policy came to mean the realization of democracy. Robespierre's thinking evolved in a similar way. His famous Catechism opens with the question, " What is our aim? " As answer is-the execution ofthe Constitution in favour ofthe people " Who are the enemies ? " The answer is-the vicious and the rich, who are the same. To the question on the possibility of union of the popular interest and the interest of the rich and (their) government, Robespierre gives the laconic answer " never ". Th last question and answer was crossed out by the Incorruptible, be the very fact of it having beenjotted down shows where his though were wandering. In another of Robespierre's notes we read that all internal dangers came from the bourgeoisie. In order to defeat the bourgeoise " il faut rallier le people ". The people must be paid and maintained at the expense of the rich: paid for attendance at public assemblies, armed and maintained as Revolutionary are out of special levies on the rich whom they were to watch, finally subsidized and provided for by the Government at the expense of the producers and merchants. These were the premises ofthe economic dictatorship which came into being alongside the political terrorist dictatorship in 1793, and to the emergence of which Rotespierre and Saint-Just made a substantial contribution, although in a way only yielding to the violent pressure of the Enrages and the inescapable necessities of the situation: war, inflation and economic disintegration. The first series of decrees were issued on May 4th, 1793, after the assembly of Paris mayors and municipal officers had declared the people in " a state of revolution " till supplies had been secured, and demanded fixed prices for corn and what amounted to an abolition of the corn trade, in so far as mediation between producers and consumers was concerned. The decrees of the Convention ordered producers to make declarations on their produce, under penalty of confiscation. Private houses and stores were opened to search. Corn and flour were to be sold only on the public market. A " prix maximum " was fixed. A forced loan of a milliard francs, the first of the enforced loans and levies on the rich, was launched. On July z7th, 1793, on a motion of Billaud-Varenne (his Elements de Retpublicanisme deserve attention as an exposition of Jacobin social philosophy alongside of Saint-Just's Institutions Republicaines), the Convention voted the famous decree on the suppression of food speculation. This law put an end to freedom of trade and secrecy of commerce in practically all commodities except luxury articles. It was followed by a decree on the greniers d'ahondance, which fumed all bakers into State employees, although it failed to build up the State granaries. On September 28th came the law on the " general maximum ", fixing prices of all commodities and wages, to be supplemented, at least in Paris, by a system of rationing. In forcing sellers to sell at a loss, and without compensation, the law was no less a class measure than the progressive tax, the forced loans, the special levies on, and requisitions from, the rich, all designed to pay for the war and to maintain the poor. More than that, it was calculated to reduce small tradespeople and artisans to the position of wage earners. In fact, on I5 Floreal a decree was passed allowing for the mobilizing of all engaged in the production and circulation of goods of prime necessity. Penalties were provided for shirkers as guilty of conspiracy. On October wand, the three-man Commission des Subsistances was appointed to take over the economic dictatorship of the whole of France, and to put an end to the alleged sabotage and incompetence of the local authorities, who had been in charge of the execution of the economic decrees till then. From this there was only one step to the nationalization of industries.

The idea was not indeed quite absent from the minds of thol responsible for the social policies of the Revolution. So Chaumet~ urged the Convention " to concentrate its attention on raw material and factories, in order tO place them under requisition by fixing penalties for those holding or manufacturing goods who allow therr to be idle; or even to place them at the disposal of the Republic which has no lack of labour to turn them all to a useful purpose " As a Representative of the people on mission Saint-Just displayed an example of dictatorial action and class policy at their highest He would order houses of speculators, defaulters against the " maximum " and hoarders to be razed to the ground, he would| requisition in eight days s,ooo pairs of shoes and 15,000 shirtl (" dechaussez tons les aristocrates "), order the Mayor of Strasbour: to deliver on the same day IOO,OOO livres of the levy imposed uper| the rich for the benefit of the poor patriots, war widows and w: orphans; he would have the richest individual who had not paic his share of the nine million enforced loan within twenty-four hot exposed on the guillotine for three hours; double and treble th amount to be paid for any delay; seize in twenty-four hours z,oon beds, requisition all overcoats, and so on.

(C) FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS ~ A class policy provoked by a Revolutionary and war-tim emergency may be nothing more than an empirical ad hoc police and need not entail deliberate and planned shaping of the social an economic life in tote. There are, however, clear indications thy Robespierre and Saint-Just felt themselves, however reluctantly, driven beyond such empiricism in the direction of integral planning in accordance with a definite principle. Thus in his speeches oil Supplies and on the Declaration of the Rights of Man (I79;'. Robespierre made the emphatic distinction between the old we), and the postulate of a new deal in the economic sphere, which would| correspond to the great political change-over that had taken plea l Robespierre objected to the approach of the Convention to tll problem, on the grounds that it accepted as the highest authorill the contradictions and vagaries of former royal ministers. Tl legislation of the first two Revolutionary Assemblies on this sulk had been in the old style, because the interests and the prejuce which were the basis oftheir policy had not changed. The defenders of hungry citizens and the spokesmen of the poor were in the eyes of the earlier Assemblies dangerous agitators and anarchists. The Assemblies and their governments employed bayonets to calm alarms and to still famine. Their idea of unrestricted freedom of commerce put a premium on bloodsucking. It was an essentially incomplete system, because it had no bearing upon the " veritable principle ". What was this principle ? ,It was that the question of supplies must be considered not from the angle of commerce, that is to say of the rich and the ruling classes, but from the point of view of the livelihood of the people. The distinction is of capital importance. It may make the difference between free economics and planned society. The awareness of the necessity of a fundamental principle is what matters most here. Thus in his speech on the Declaration, dealing this time not with trade but with the more fundamental problem of private property, Robespierre declared: " posons done de bonne foi les principes du droit de propriety." It was the more necessary as prejudice and vested interest had combined to spread a thick fog over the issue. It was in connection with the social problem that Saint-Just declared that those who made Revolutions by halves were digging their own graves, and spoke ofthe " quelques coups de genie ", which were still needed to save the Revolution, to make a " true Revolution and a true Republic ", and to render democracy unshakable, and Robespierre admonished the Assembly to remember that they were starting a new career on earth, " ou personne ne vous a devances ". Reechoing Robespierre, Saint-Just spoke in the fragments on the Republican Institutions of the need of a " doctrine which puts these principles into practice and insures the well-being of the people as a whole ". He reached this conclusion from another angle as well. He had realized the insufficiency of ethics and politics alone to insure a rational order. The enthronement of Republican vertu must proceed on a par with social and economic reform. These matters, he realized, " were analogous, and could not be treated separately ". The French economy, shattered by inflation and war, could not be stabilized, without the triumph of morality over avarice. At the same time moral reform could not be initiated in an atmosphere of general distress, and a pauper would never make a sel┐C ┐respecting proud citizen. " Pour reformer les mccurs il faut commencer par i contenter les besoins et l'intere~t." The Revolution could never be securely established as long as the poor and unhappy could be incited against the new order. The fundamental principle postulated by the Robespierrists referred to a postulate which was not concerned with the expansion of economic activity and the increase of wealth-values not much in favour with them, but with economic security for the nation, which in fact came to mean the masses Robespierre declared that the wealth of a nation was essentially common property, in so far as it supplied the pressing needs of the people. Only the surplus may be considered as individual property, to be disposed at will, speculated with, hoarded and monopolized From this point of view food must be regarded as being outside the sphere of free trade, because it concerned the people's right to and means of preserving their physical existence. Freedom of trade in this case would be tantamount to the right of depriving the people of their life: freedom of assassination. It mattered little whether non-essential goods had a free market, were hoarded and sold at a high price, for the lives of the people were not dependent on them It was quite natural for Robespierre to reject the view that property was made sacred and legitimate by the mere fact of its existence, its being established and time-honoured. There was a need for a moral principle as a basis for the idea ofproperty. Private property was not a natural right, but a social convention. A declaration consecrating all established property as natural would be a declaration in favour of speculators and the rich, and not for man and the people. The right of property must at least (like the more sacred, because natural, right to liberty) be restricted by the rights and needs of others. Property is a right to enjoy and dispose of that portion of the national wealth which is guaranteed by He law. Any possession or traffic violating the security, liberty, existence and property of others is illicit and immoral. The poor and propertyless had a sacred claim on society to a livelihood in the form of employment-the 1848 right to work-or social assistance. This was the debt the rich owed to the poor. This debt should be shed through progressive taxation, which would also tend to level possessions and income For as Robespierre had said in an early speech on the right of bequest, the Social Contract, far from promoting Inequality, must be designed to counteract the tendency towards inequality and strive to restore by all means natural equality. It is vital to realize that what was meant here was not the right of the unfortunate pauper to charity and the duty of the Government to come to his assistance, but the idea that the needs of the poor were the focus and foundation stone of the social edifice. " The bread given by the rich is bitter," declared Saint-Just. " It compromises liberty; bread is due to the people by right in a wisely regulated State." Economic dependence of man on man stands condemned. The State must remove it. The State has the authority to employ, make changes and dispose of all the goods and assets which make up the nation's wealth, if private property is ultimately no more than a concession made by the State. SaintJust threw out a number of slogans which were to become the catchwords of Babeuf. " Les malheureux vent les puissances de la te r re, its ont le droll de p arler en maitre s aux go uverne men t s qui les negligent." The welfare of the poor was the primary task of government. " The Revolution will not be fully accomplished as long as there is a single unhappy person and pauper in the Republic." Very significantly Saint-Just, usually the least cosmopolitan of the Revolutionary leaders, strikes a solemnly propagandist note when dealing with the social problem. " Que ['Europe apprenne que vous ne voulez plus un malheureux ni un oppresseur sur le territoire fran,cais, que cet exemple fructifie sur la terre, qu'il propage ['amour des versus et le bonheur ! Le bonheur est une idee neuve en Europe !" This idea of happiness, seized upon by Babenf and nineteenth-century successors of Jacobinism up to 1848, was in its decant tone new and upon a totally different plane from the right to happiness of Locke and the fathers of the American Constitution, as well as from the right to social assistance recognized in the famous Report of the Duc de la Rochefoucauld in the Constituent Assembly. Saint1ust introduced a new and additional consideration to the analysis of the question of private property. He added to Robespierre's moral and social arguments a political consideration. The right to property, as said before, became for him conditioned on political loyalty. One who had shown himself an enemy of his country, that is to say a counter-revolutionary, had no right to possess property. Only the man who had contributed to the liberation of the fatherland had rights. The property of the patriots was sacred, but the possessions of the conspirators " vent la , pour tons les malheureux ". The practical and immediate applica tion of this principle were Saint-Just's famous lois de Ventose on the confiscation of the property of the suspects and its distribution among the poor patriots, the carrying out of which was prevented by the events of Thermidor, but which was designed to bring about a vast transfer of property, indeed a social revolution. And yet, the main feature of Jacobin thinking on the social problem was its lack of coherence. The Jacobin attitude shows unmistakable signs of embarrassment throughout. It has often been suggested that the more "socialist" utterances of Robespierre and Saint-Just were mere lip service, designed to counteract the agitation of the Enrages, and paid by men who were at heart typical representatives of the bourgeoisie. This was not really the case. Robespierre's statements expressing an anti-bourgeois class policy are to be found in his confidential notes, not intended for publication. Words of appeasement and reassurance directed to the possessing classes, in an incidentally nonchalant and contemptuous tone, appear in Robespierre's public utterances, but have no counterpart in his carpet. If a person's most genuine sentiments are those which he keeps to himself, it follows that not Robespierre's socialism but his conservatism is to be taken as an expression of opportunism. This does not, however, exhaust the case. What is quite clear is that neither Robespierre nor Saint1ust felt themselves to be part and parcel of the proletarian class fighting for its liberation against the propertied classes. On occasion Robespierre, it is true, could adopt a vocabulary not far removed from the language of the Enrages: if the people are hungry and persecuted by the rich, and can get no help from the laws which are supposed to protect them, they are justified " in looking afta themselves " against the bloodsuckers. He had nevertheless nothing but words of condemnation for the tactics and temperament of the Enrages, " who would cut the throat of any shopkeeper because he sells at high prices". He considered them crazy anarchists and tools of a counter-revolutionary conspiracy. The Robespierrist point of departure was not class consciousness, but the idea of social harmony based on the egalitarian conception of the rights of man. The aim was not the triumph of one class and the subjugation of the other, but a people where class distinctions have ceased to matter. The upper classes constituted a factor violating these principles, and had therefore to be brought to their knees. The mass of the people was thought to have no anti-social interests. It was virtuous and free from hubris and the vices engendered by wealth. Hence, on the one hand, what may be called the patronizing attitude of Robespierre and Saint-Just towards the proletariat and, on the other, their anxiety not to drive things to a breaking point. In a characteristic passage of a late speech, Saint1ust expressed his impatient disapproval of people of the artisan and working class who, instead of sticking to their jobs like their honest hard-working fathers, had completely yielded to their passion for politics, were thronging to public meetings and hunting for political jobs. In one of his last speeches and some time after the promulgation of the Laws of Ventose, Saint-Just urged upon the Convention the necessity of calming public opinion on the question of the security of property, especially ecclesiastical and emigre' property bought recently from the State. " It faut assurer tous les droits, tranquilliser les acquisitions; it faut meme innover le mains possible dans le regne des annuites pour empecher de nouvelles craintes, de nouveaux troubles." Robespierre felt a good deal of embarrassment that he, the moralist contemptuous of money, was being driven to make money appear the decisive factor in the social order. In this embarrassment there was, of course, also an element of fear, and a subconscious wish to evade the issue. He reassured the " ames de bone ", the haves, that there was no need for them to become alarmed for their property. The sans-cutoftes, following eternal principles and not considering the " chetive merchandise " a sufficiently lofty aim, did not ask for equality of goods, but only for an equality of rights and an equal measure of happiness. Opulence was not only the prize of vice, but its punishment. " L'opulence est une infamie," said Saint-Just. The children of a righteous and poor Aristides, brought up at the expense of the Republic, were happier than the offspring of Crassus in their palaces, taught Robespierre. Robespierre feared damning the propertied class as a whole, and without reprieve, for the sole sin of owning wealth. What mattered was the disposition of a man. In the good old tradition of Catholic homiletics Robespierre taught that a man may own much wealth, and yet not feel rich. He opposed on occasion a motion whereby members of the Convention would have to declare their fortune. He would not agree that that was the final test of patriotism. The test was a lifelong dedication to virtue and the people. Not even the visible signs of service, such as taxes paid, and guards mounted-Pharisaic phylacteries-were the criterion, but the disposition externalized in a general and continuous attitude. A very elusive test indeed. On one occasion Robespierre declared that " La Republique ne convient qu'au people, aux hommes de routes les conditions, qui ont une ame pure et elevee, aux philosopher amis de l'humanite, aux sansculottes ". He condemned the factions who had just suffered their doom for having tried to frighten the bourgeoisie with the spectre of the agrarian law and worked to separate the interests of the rich from those of the poor, by presenting themselves as the protectors of the poor. The ultimate test was virtue; only, while the people were virtuous almost by nature (and definition), the rich must make a great effort. Saint-Just endeavoured to give a more concrete meaning to virtue in the social sense. He declared labour an integral part virtue, and idleness a vice. There was, according to him, a direct relationship between the amount of labour and the growth of liberty and morality in a country. The idle class was the last support of the Monarchy: " promene ['ennui, la fureur des puissances et le degout de la vie commune." It must be suppressed. Everyone must be compelled to work. Those who do no work have no rights in a Republic. " It faut que tout le monde travaille ct se respecte." The postulate of a definite principle for the management of the economic life of the nation voiced by Robespierre and Saint1ust, although suggesting an effort at overall planning and direction by the State, turns Out to be something very remote from State ownership of the means of production, or collectivism. It envisages social security and the economic independence of the individual, guaranteed and actively maintained by the State. It is a mixture of restrictionism and individualism. It denies freedom of economic expansion out of fear of inequality and out of asceticism, and l yet is motivated by a secret wish to restore freedom of trade Robespierre rejected complete equality of fortune quite emphatic ally as a chimera, and a community of goods as an impracticable dream, running counter to man's personal interest. The lot agraere was a phantom invented by the knaves to frighten the fools The problem of social security was not to Saint-Just a questio of the dole and charity, not even of pensions, but of legislation to' prevent poverty. Man was not born for the alms-house, but to contented and independent citizen. In order to be so, everyone ought to have land of his own to till. Land should be provided for everyone, either through the expropriation of the opponents of the regime, or from the large State domain especially built up for the purpose. Only invalids should be placed in a position of receiving charity. The duty of the State was to give to all Frenchmen the means of obtaining the first necessities of life, without having to depend on anybody or anything but the laws, " et sans dependence mutuelle darts fetal civil". Security must be accompanied by equality, it too enforced by the State with the help of restrictive laws. There must be equality. There should be neither rich nor poor. A limit to the amount of property owned by one person would have to be fixed. Only those should be considered as citizens who possess nothing beyond what the laws permit them to own. Excessive fortunes would be gradually curtailed by special measures, and their owners would be compelled to exercise severe economy. Indirect inheritance and bequests should be abolished. Everyone should be compelled to stork. Idleness, hoarding of currency and neglect of industry should be punished. Every citizen would, in the scheme of the Institutions Republicaines, render an account every year in the cornInunal Temple of the use of his fortune. He would not be interfered with unless he used his income to the detriment of others. Gold and silver, except as money, would never be touched in Saint-Just's Utopia. No citizen would be allowed to acquire land, open banks or own ships in foreign countries. Austerity in food and habits was to be observed. For instance, meat was to be forbidden on three days of the decadi, and to children altogether up to the age of sixteen. The public domain, at Rousseau's advice made as large as possible, was to serve as a national fund to reward virtue and to compensate victims of misfortune, infirmity and old age, to fmance education, to give allowances to newly married couples and, as said before, to offer land to the landless. " Land for everybody "-this, if anything, sums up the Jacobin social ideal: a society of self-suff~cient small-holders, artisans and small shopkeepers. The combination of a small plot of land and virtue would secure happiness. Not the voluptuous happiness of Persepolis, but the bliss of Sparta. " Nous vous offrimes le bonheur de Sparte et celui d'Athenes de la vertu. . . de l'aisance et de la mediocrite . . . le bonheur qui nait de la jouissance de necessaire sans superfluity . . . la haine de la tyrannic, la volupte d'une cabana et d'un champ fertile cultive par vos mains . . . le bonheur d'etre libre et tranquille, et de jouir en paix des fruits et des mccurs de la Revolution; celui de retourner a la nature, a la morale et de fond la Republique . . . une charrue, un champ, une chaumiere a l'ab~ de la lubricite d'un brigand, voile le bonheur." Land ownership was in Saint-Just's reactionary Utopian vision the sole guarantee of social stability, personal independence and virtue. The reform envisaged in the Laws of Ventose on the confiscation of the property of the suspects and its distribution to poor patriots was to be a first step in the direction of an overall reform designed to give land (or some property) to everyone. The latter idea was formulated in the Institutions Republicaines written in Pluviose, that is to say, before the Laws of Ventose. There is no reference in the Institutions to the right to property being conditional on political allegiance. It would therefore be legitimate to conclude that the Ventose project was not merely another act of repression taken against the suspects or an ad hoc demagogical measure designed I to take the wind out of the sails of the Enrages, but was meant as a I part of a comprehensive social programme. It was appreciated as such by contemporaries as well as by the Babouvists. There is one aspect in Saint-Just's doctrine of " land for everybody", which had failed to receive the attention it deserves, and which goes to prove two important things. The first is the fact that however Utopian and fanciful the plan, it originated at least partly in the realities and difficulties of the hour, above all in the crisis in food supplies. Secondly, on closer scrutiny the plan, while prima facie bearing the character of a State-planned overall reform, turns out to be a policy designed to create the conditions for free trade. This is the measure of Jacobin inconsistencies and grave inner difficulties in the matter of property and economics. The exposition of the reasons for the establishment of a society of small-holders in the Institutions Re'publicaines begins with the difficulties in the circulation of corn. Easy circulation is essential where few owned property and few had access to raw materials In his inveterate dislike of restrictions on trade and deep reluctance to accept the fixing of" maximum" prices by the State, Saint-Just declared that grain would not circulate where its price was fixed by the Government. If it was " taxed " without a reform of conduct, avarice and speculation would be the result. In order to reform .

I conduct, a start must be made to satisfy needs and interests. Everyone must be given some land. Should there be a distribution of land on the lines of a lot agrarian reform, on the principle that the State had the power to change all property relations as it pleased ? No. Even the Laws of Ventose did not contain an attack on the principle of private property as such, but made it conditional only on political allegiance. Apart from his genuine faith in private property, Saint-Just was too much of a responsible statesman, too vitally interested in the success of the sale of national property and the policy of assignats, the Revolutionary paper money, which had the national property as its cover (ecclesiastic, emigre and other confiscated property) and u pon which the fate of the regime depended, to frighten the potential purchasers of national property into believing that their property was insecure and might be taken away from them. But Saint-Just himself gives the clue to his intentions in the famous sentence found among his papers: " ne pas admettre partage des proprietes, mais le portage des fermages." It appears that notwithstanding his desire that everyone should have some landed property in order to be happy and free, the redistribution of land was less important to him than its breaking up into small units of cultivation, units not necessarily held as an inalienable property, but as " fermages " on rent. The multiplicacion of such units seemed to Saint1ust the best guarantee of the free circulation of grain and of its reasonable price. The greater the number of sellers, the fewer the buyers, the better the supply, the lower the price. This reasoning is already to be found in Mably, the bitter opponent of free trade in grain, and in an article by Marat of September sth, I79I, which must have influenced Saint-Just, and which reveals striking similarities with Saint-Just's treatment of the subject. Marat suggested that landowners should be forced to divide their large property into small-holdings, without the Government resorting to the lot a~raire and to a redistribution of land. Marat's explanation of his plan would probably fill in the details of Saint-Just's thinking. Both seemed to be primarily concerned with the actual crisis of supplies, and the problem of satisfying the needs of the poorer classes. Neither of them liked the idea of keeping prices down by the law of maximum, for such a law in the opinion of both was calculated to ruin the producers and to discourage agriculture. A remedy was to be found in the law of supply and demand. Since the price of a commodity was determined by the proportion of buyers to sellers, it was essential to multiply thee number of farmers. Many journeymen could be transformed into small farmers. The number of sellers of agricultural produce would be immensely increased, and the number of buyers proportionately diminished. A healthy equilibrium and prosperity would be restored. Marat insisted that the State and not the landowners should have the power to select the farmers. State control I of leases was probably also envisaged by Saint-Just. Moreover, Marat envisaged a very large State domain which would farm out to landless peasants. In terms similar to those oq Saint1ust (about the correlation between the social realities and the form of government) Marat thought that his plan would bring the civil order nearer to the natural order by a greater facility of cultivation and a more equal distribution of the fruits of the land. In addition, it would re-establish the balance between the price of food and the price of manufactured goods, and finally abolish all monopoly in the fruits of the land. The more farmers there would be, the fewer the journeymen, and thus the wages of the journeymen would increase. On the other hand, the more farmers, the greater the competition in the sale of produce. Furthermore, the people on the land, assured of their needs, would be interested in getting the best value for their surplus " and the free trade in corn would be restored by itself ". It was this freedom of trade which most of the leaders of the Revolution were grieved to be compelled to restrict, and which, finally, by devious ways and State interference, they hoped to restore.

CONCLUSIONS Totalitarian democracy, far from being a phenomenon of recent growth, and outside the Western tradition, has its roots in the common stock of eighteenth-century ideas. It branched out as a separate and identifiable trend in the course of the French Revolution and has had an unbroken continuity ever since. Thus its origins go much further back than nineteenth-century patterns, such as Marxism, because Marxism itself was only one, although admittedly the most vital, among the various versions of the totalitarian democratic ideal, which have followed each other for the last hundred and fifty years. It was the eighteenth-century idea of the natural order (or general will) as an attainable, indeed inevitable and all-solving, end, that engendered an attitude of mind unknown hitherto in the sphere of politics, namely the sense of a continuous advance towards denouement of the historical drama, accompanied by an acute awareness of a structural and incurable crisis in existing society. [his state of mind found its expression in the totalitarian democratic Edition. The Jacobin dictatorship aiming at the inauguration of F reign of virtue, and the Babouvist scheme of an egalitarian communist society, the latter consciously starting where the former left off, and both emphatically claiming to do no more than realize eighteenth-century postulates, were the two earliest versions of modern political Messianism. They not only bequeathed a myth and passed on practical lessons, but founded a living and unbroken radiation. Totalitarian democracy early evolved into a pattern of coercion and centralization not because it rejected the values of eighteenth century liberal individualism, but because it had originally a too perfectionist attitude towards them. It made man the absolute point of reference. Man was not merely to be freed from restraints. 111 the existing traditions, established institutions, and social arrangements were to be overthrown and remade, with the sole purpose Of securing to man the totality of his rights and freedoms, and berating him from all dependence. It envisaged man per se, ipped of all those attributes which are not comprised in his Common humanity. It saw man as the sole element in the natural order, to the exclusion of all groups and traditional interests. T reach man per se all differences and inequalities had to be eliminate And so very soon the ethical idea of the rights of man acquired the character of an egalitarian social ideal. All the emphasis came be placed on the destruction of inequalities, on bringing down privileged to the level of common humanity, and on sweeping away all intermediate centres of power and allegiance, when the social classes, regional communities, professional groups or corporations. Nothing was left to stand between man and the State. The power of the State, unchecked by any intermediate agencies, became unlimited. This exclusive relationship between man and State plied conformity. It was opposed to both the diversity wed goes with a multiplicity of social groups, and the diversity result. from human spontaneity and empiricism. In Jacobinism individualism and collectivism appear together for the last time precarious<!l balanced. It is a vision of a society of equal men re-educated the State in accordance with an exclusive and universal patter Yet the individual man stands on his own economically. He con forms to the pattern of the all-powerful State inevitably, but al; freely. Communist Babouvism already saw the essence of freedom in ownership of everything by the State and the use of public fort to ensure a rigidly equal distribution of the national income, a' spiritual conformity. Man was to be sovereign. The idea of men per se went together with the assumption that there was some common point where men's wills would necessarily coincide. The corollary was tendency to plebiscitary democracy. Men as individuals, and groups, parties or classes, were called upon to will. Even partial was not the final authority, for it was also a corporate body wit an interest of its own. The only way of eliciting the pure general: will of men was to let them voice it as individuals, and all at the; same time. -I It was impossible to expect all men, especially those enjoying privileged position, to merge their personalities immediately m common type of humanity. Unlimited popular sovereignty Pa expected to offer to the unprivileged majority of the nation, the is to say to men nearest the idea of man per se, the power to overrule the minority of the privileged by vote, and if necessary by dire coercive action. This conception of the sovereignty of the peon .

I was inspired not so much by the desire to give all men a voice and a share in government as by the belief that popular sovereignty would lead to complete social, political and economic equality. It regarded, in the last analysis, the popular vote as an act of self identification with the general will. This conception of popular sovereignty asserted itself as soon as it began to be seen that the will of the majority would not necessarily be the same as the general will. So the seemingly ultra-democratic ideal of unlimited popular sovereignty soon evolved into a pattern of coercion. In order to create the conditions for the expression of the general will the elements distorting this expression had to be eliminated, or at least denied effective influence. The people must be freed from the pernicious influence of the aristocracy, the bourgeoisie, all vested interests, and even political parties so that they could will what they were destined to will. This task thus took precedence over the formal act of the people's willing. It implied two things: the sense of a provisional state of war against the antipopular cements, and an effort at re-educating the masses till men were able to will freely and willingly their true will. In both cases the idea of free popular self-expression was made to give place to the idea that the general will was embodied in a w leaders who conducted the war with the help of highly organized bands of the faithful: the Committee of Public Safety governing in a Revolutionary manner with the help of the Jacobin clubs, and the Babouvist Secret Directory supported by the Equals. In the provisional state of Revolution and war, coercion was the natural method. The obedience and moral support given by a unanimous vote bearing the character of an enthusiastic acclamation became the highest duty. The suspension of freedom by the legalized Violence of Revolution was to last till the state of war had been replaced by a state of automatic social harmony. The state of war would go on until opposition was totally eliminated. The vital Act is that the Revolutionary suspension came to be regarded by the survivors and heirs of Jacobinism and Babouvism as far from having come to an end with the fall of Robespierre and the death of Babouf, and the triumph of the counter-revolution. In their view the Revolution, although overpowered, continued. It could not come to an end before the Revolutionary goal had been achieved. The Revolution was on, and so was the state of war. So long as the struggle lasted the vanguard of the Revolution was free from all allegiance to the established social order. They were the trusted of posterity and as such were justified in employing whatever mean`' were necessary to the inauguration of the Millennium: subversion I when in opposition, terror when in power. The right to Revolution I and the Revolutionary (provisional) dictatorship of the proletariat I (or the people) are two facets of the same thing. Extreme individualism thus came full circle in a collections pattern of coercion before the eighteenth century was out. AU t' elements and patterns of totalitarian democracy emerged or were outlined before the turn of the century. From this point of view the contribution of the nineteenth century was the replacement of the individualist premises of totalitarian democracy by franld collectivist theories. The natural order, which was originally conceived as a scheme of absolute justice immanent in the general wit of society and expressed in the decisions of the sovereign people was replaced by an exclusive doctrine regarded as objectively am scientifically true, and as offering a coherent and complete answer to all problems, moral, political, economic, historical and aesthetic Whether approved by all, by a majority, or by a minority, d' doctrine claimed absolute validity. The struggle for a natural and rational order of society soon came to be considered as a conflict between impersonal and amoral historic forces rather than between the just and the unjust. This tendency was confirmed by the increasing centralization of political and economic life in the nineteenth century. The organization o' men in the mass made it far easier to think of politics in terms o. general movements and disembodied tendencies. Nothing could be easier than to translate the original Jacobin conception of a conflict endemic in society, between the forces of virtue and those of selfishness, into the Marxist idea of class warfare. Finally, tub Jacobin and Marxist conceptions of the Utopia in which history W2' destined to end were remarkably similar. Both conceived it a. complete harmony of interests, sustained without any resort to form although brought about by force-the provisional dictatorship As a conquering and life-sustaining force political Messianism spent itself in Western Europe soon after 1870. After the Commune, the heirs of the Jacobin tradition abandoned violence and began to compete for power by legal means. They entered parliaments and governments and were incorporated by degrees into the life of the democracies. The Revolutionary spirit now spread east wards until it found its natural home in Russia, where it received a new intensity from the resentment created by generations of oppression and the pre-disposition of the Slavs to Messianism. Its forms were modified in the new environment, but no entirely new patterns of thought or organization were created in Eastern Europe. lee vicissitudes of the totalitarian democratic current in nineteenth century Western Europe and then in twentieth-century Eastern Europe are intended to form the subject of two further volumes of this study. The tracing of the genealogy of ideas provides an opportunity for stating some conclusions of a general nature. The most important lesson to be drawn from this inquiry is the incompatibility of the idea of an all-embracing and all-solving creed with liberty. The two ideals correspond to the two instincts most deeply embedded m human nature, the yearning for salvation and the love of freedom. To attempt to satisfy both at the same time is bound to result, if not in unmitigated tyranny and serfdom, at least in the monumental hypocrisy and self-deception which are the concomitants of totalitarian democracy. This is the curse on salvationist creeds: to be born out of the noblest impulses of man, and to degenerate into weapons of tyranny. An exclusive creed cannot admit opposition. It is bound to feel itself surrounded by innumerable enemies. Its believers can never settle down to a normal existence. From this sense of peril arise their continual demands for the protection of orthodoxy by recourse to terror. Those who are not enemies must be made to appear as fervent believers with tee help of emotional manifestations and engineered unanimity at public meetings or at the polls. Political Messianism is bound to replace empirical thinking and free criticism with reasoning by definition, based on a priori collective concepts which must be accepted whatever the evidence of the senses: however selfish or evil the men who happen to come to the top, they must be good and infallible, since they embody the pure doctrine and are the people's government: in a people's democracy the ordinary competitive, self-assertive and anti-social instincts cease as it were to exist: a Workers' State cannot be imperialist by definition. The promise of a state of perfect harmonious freedom to come after the total victory of the transitional Revolutionary dictatorship represents a contradiction in terms. For apart from the improbability-confirmed by all history-of men in power divesting themselves of power, because they have come to think themselves superfluous; apart from the fact of the incessant growth of centralize forms of political and economic organization in the modern world making the hope of the withering away of the State a chimera; the implication underlying totalitarian democracy, that freedom could not be granted as long as there is an opposition or reaction to fear, renders the promised freedom meaningless. Liberty vail be offered when there will be nobody to oppose or differ-in other words, when it will no longer be of use. Freedom has no meaning without the right to oppose and the possibility to differ democratic-totalitarian misconception or self-deception on this point is the reduction of absurdum of the eighteenth-century rationalist idea of man; a distorted idea bred on the irrational faith that the irrational elements in human nature and even " different experience: of living " are a bad accident, an unfortunate remnant, a temporal aberration, to give place-in time and under curing influences-t some uniformly rational behaviour in an integrated society. The reign of the exclusive yet all-solving doctrine of totalitarian, democracy runs counter to the lessons of nature and history Nature and history show civilization as the evolution of a multiplicity of historically and pragmatically formed clusters of soci existence and social endeavour, and not as the achievement of abstract Man on a single level of existence. With the growth of the Welfare State aiming at social security the distinction between the absolutist and empirical attitude a politics has become more vital than the old division into capital). and social-security-achieving socialism. The distinctive appeal ~ political Messianism, if we leave out of account the fact of America laissez-faire capitalist creed, it, too, deriving from eighteenth-century tenets, lies no more in its promise of social security, but in its having become a religion which answers deep-seated spiritual needs. The power of the historian or political philosopher to influence events is no doubt strictly limited, but he can influence the attitude' of mind which is adopted towards those developments. Like a psychoanalyst who cures by making the patient aware of his sup conscious, the social analyst may be able to attack the human urge which calls totalitarian democracy into existence, namely the longing for a final resolution of all contradictions and conflicts into a state of total harmony. It is a harsh, but none the less necessary task t drive home the truth that human society and human life can never state of repose. That imagined repose is another name for security offered by a prison, and the longing for it may in a sense be an expression of cowardice and laziness, of the inability to I face the fact that life is a perpetual and never resolved crisis. All that can be done is to proceed by the method of trial and error. This study has shown that the question of liberty is indissolubly intertwined with the economic problem. The eighteenth-century idea of a natural order, which originally shirked the question of a planned rational economic order, assumed full significance and began to threaten freedom only as soon as it became married to the postulate of social security. Is one therefore to conclude that economic centralization aiming at social security must sweep away spiritual freedom? This is a question which the progress of economic centralization has rendered most vital. This volume does not presume to answer it. Suffice it to point out that liberty is less threatened by objective developments taking place as it were by themselves, and without any context of a salvationist creed, than by an exclusive Messianic religion which sees in these developments a solemn fulfillment. Even if the process of economic centralization (with social security as its only mitigating feature) is inevitable, it is important that there should be social analysts to make men aware of the dangers. This may temper the effect of the objective developments.

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