fbpx

Tolstoy On Violent Revolution

Running on the coat-tails of yesterday’s post, here is an excerpt I found particularly interesting in The Kingdom of God is Within You. Make of it what you will.

—-

“Some persons maintain that freedom from violence, or at least a great diminution of it may be gained by the oppressed forcibly overturning the oppressive government and replacing it by a new one under which such violence and oppression will be unnecessary, but they deceive themselves and others, and their efforts do not better the position of the oppressed, but only make it worse. Their conduct only tends to increase the despotism of government. Their efforts only afford a plausible pretext for government to strengthen their power.

“Even if we admit that under a combination of circumstances specially unfavorable for the government, as in France in 1870, any government might be forcibly overturned and the power transferred to other hands, the new authority would rarely be less oppressive than the old one; on the contrary, always having to defend itself against its dispossessed and exasperated enemies, it would be more despotic and cruel, as has always been the rule in all revolutions.

“While socialists and communists regard the individualistic, capitalistic organization or society as an evil, and the anarchists regard as an evil all government whatever, there are royalists, conservatives, and capitalists who consider any socialistic or communistic organization or anarchy as an evil, and all these parties have no means other than violence to bring own to agreement. Whichever of these parties were successful in bringing their schemes to pass, must resort to support its authority to all the existing methods of violence, and even invent new ones.

“The oppressed would be another set of people, and coercion would take some new form: but the violence and oppression would be unchanged or even more cruel, since hatred would be intensified by the struggle, and new forms or oppression would have been devised. So it has always been after all revolutions and all attempts at revolution, all conspiracies, and all violent changes of government. Every conflict only strengthens the means of oppression in the hands of those who happen at a given moment to be in power.”

LCI posts articles representing a broad range of views from authors who identify as both Christian and libertarian. Of course, not everyone will agree with every article, and not every article represents an official position from LCI. Please direct any inquiries regarding the specifics of the article to the author. 

Interested in Contributing? 

LCI accepts guest submissions by high-quality writers. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, click here to send us mail.

Don't Miss an Article! Sign up Today!

Whenever there’s a new article, you’ll get an email once a day! 

*by signing up, you also agree to get weekly updates to our newsletter

Headline

Never Miss A Story

Get our Weekly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.

Think you know Romans 13?

Sign up for our Romans 13 Toolkit to learn how a libertarian Christian understands Romans 13.*

*by signing up, you also agree to get weekly updates to our newsletter

Current Events Analyzed by Libertarian Christians