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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/419

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ELISEE RECLUS AND HIS OPINIONS.

a profound study of the laws of history. The chessboard is before us—we have but to win the game." In eloquent pages he then sets forth the objects of the great general revolution he longs for. Religion, war, and marriage are denounced in fervent terms; even universities and engineers come in for the general denunciation. Some one must suffer in such a general disturbance—let it be the rich, say some agitators; not so, says Reclus, there must be no suffering class. There will come a day when wisdom shall be stronger than power, but to this end all bonds must disappear, and patriotism among the rest. He points out in one passage how the present French revolution has but assumed the arms and the ways of the Government it succeeded, and is a despotism in all but in name. Anarchy, the human ideal, can never come from the republic, which is a form of government. Science itself has become the ally of power: witness anthropometry, which he holds is turning the whole of France into a prison. Hereupon follows a tirade in praise of the International, with allusions to the eight-hour movement and the 1st of May. **So the great days approach; evolution is finished, revolution will not lag far behind. Is it not accomplished from day to day before our eyes? The time will come when evolution and revolution will succeed each other, when we shall pass from desire to action, from the idea to the realization; it is thus that life works in a healthy organization, be it man or the world."

Thus far the thinker Reclus leads us, leaving us at last with this oracular prediction. The frank, outspoken sentences of Prince Kropotkine have a less melodious but more powerful and awakening ring: "Why should I be moral?" he asks. "Why is one line of conduct good and another bad? All the motives which were placed before us in the past have gone away." He is as iconoclastic as his companion—nay, more so. None of the old rules have any force for him, yet even for him there exists a right and a wrong—the right and wrong of the hive and of the anthill, in which he sees the only fundamental rule of right and wrong; in this not differing at all from Christian thinkers, who also hold that that which is good for the human race, which in effect produces or permits the human creature to obtain the largest amount of pleasure and to submit to the smallest amount of pain, is good, while its reverse is bad. Very paradoxical is this Russian prince. Thus, he maintains that in some forms of society even cannibalism is a virtue, especially the devouring of the aged and infirm. He is decidedly unjust to Christianity, which enjoins the doing to others as we would they should do unto us, crediting that system only with an order to abstain from doing to others that which we do not desire should be done to us. It seems as if he really anticipated with desire