versal association than can guarantee the rights of all individuals without exception, not only the rights of the living, but of those who are yet unborn, and who will take their places in the generations to come. Now this universal and imperishable association which includes all the individuals on a particular portion of the planet, and which extends its action and its thought to successive generations, is the nation.
If, then, we invoke the nation, we do so in order to insure the rights of the individual in the fullest and most universal sense. Not a single human being for a single moment of time should be excluded from the sphere of rights. Not one should be in danger of becoming the prey or the instrument of another individual. Not one should be deprived of the sure means of labouring freely without servile dependence on any other individual.
In the nation, therefore, the rights of all individuals are guaranteed, to-day, to-morrow, and for ever. If we transfer what was once the property of the capitalist class to the national community, we do not do this to make an idol of the nation, or to sacrifice to it the liberty of the individual. No, we do it that the nation may serve as a common basis for all individual activities. Social rights, national rights, are only the geometric locus of the rights of all the individuals.
Social ownership of property is merely opportunity of action brought within the reach of all.