Commentary: Appeal to the Princes to Bring About Social Justice

By: The FHE Team

The comte de Saint-Simon was a “utopian socialists,” He proposed that production and distribution be carried out by a large centralist state. The leaders of society would be industrialists who would found a national community based upon cooperation that would eliminate the poverty of the lowest classes. He implicitly rejected class struggle.

Do we as a society support through political activism the laws and restrictions destined to widen the classes to a few, do we support the infinite diversity and personal liberty that enhance individual differences enough to prevent the formation of new classes, or are there other choices? What is the new utopian ideal?

Appeal to the Princes to Bring About Social Justice

Original Work by Comte de Saint-Simon

Princes, What is, in the eyes of God and Christians, the nature and character of the power which you exercise? What is the basis of the system of social organization which you seek to establish? What measures have you taken to ameliorate the moral and physical existence of the poor classes? You call yourselves Christians and still you found your power upon physical force. You are still only the successors of Caesar, and you forget that the true Christians set as the ultimate end of their work the complete annihilation of the power of the sword, the power of Caesar, which by its is essentially provisional. And this is the power which you have undertaken to form as the basis of social organization! According to you, the initiative to perform all the general reforms which the progress of enlightenment has been calling for is left to this power exclusively. In order to support this monstrous system you keep two million people under arms. All the tribunals had to adopt your principle and you have made the Catholic, Protestant and Greek clergy profess loudly the heresy that Caesar’s power is the regulating power of the Christian society.

While reminding the nations of the Christian religion by the symbol of your union, while making them enjoy a peace which, for them, is the first of all goods, you have nevertheless not aroused their gratitude toward yourselves. Your personal interest dominates too much in the combinations which you present as being of a general interest. The supreme European power which lies in your hands is far from being a Christian power, as it should have become. Ever since you have acted, you have displayed the character and the insignia of physical force, of anti-Christian force.

All the measures of whatever importance which you have taken since you united one with another in the Holy Alliance, all these measures tend toward worsening the lot of the poor classes, not only for this actual generation, but even for the generations to come. You have raised the taxes, you raise them every year in order to cover the increase of expenses brought about by your armies of soldiers and by the luxury of your courts. The class of subjects to which you grant special protection is the aristocracy, a class which, like you, founds its rights upon the sword. However, your blamable conduct seems excusable from several angles: that which has led you into error is the approval received by your efforts to smash the power of the modern Caesar. While fighting him, you have acted in a very Christian manner, but so it was only because in his hands the authority of Caesar, which Napoleon has conquered, had much more force than in yours where it has come only by heritage. Your conduct has also another excuse: It should have been the task of the clergymen to stop you at the edge of the abyss; instead they precipitated themselves into it, together with you.

Excerpted from The Work of St. Simon