The Theory of Taxation

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Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

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[These are rough, in-progress translations, intended for the use of participants in the Proudhon seminar. Please do not copy or cite without permission. ] Shawn 01:54, 19 August 2008 (UTC)


Relation of the State and Liberty, according to modern right

Modern right, in inaugurating itself in the place of ancient right, has done a new thing: it has put in the presence of one another, on the same line, two powers which up to now have been in a relation of subordination. These two powers are the State and the Individual, in other words, Government and Liberty.

The Revolution, in fact, has not suppressed that occult, mystic power, that is called the sovereign, and that we more willingly call the State; it has not reduced society to lone individuals, compromising and contracting with one another, J.-J. Rousseau's Social Contract has given us to understand.

No. Government, Power, State, however you name it, is found, under the ruins of the ancien regime, complete, perfectly intact, and stronger than before. What is new since the Revolution is Liberty, I mean the condition made of Liberty, its civil and political state.

Let us note besides that the State, as the Revolution has conceived it, is not a purely abstract thing, as some supposed, Rousseau among others, a sort of legal fiction; it is a reality as positive as society itself, as the individual even.