The Production of Security/9

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The Regime of Terror


Suppose nevertheless that the partisans of an artificial organization, either the monopolists or the communists, are right; that society is not naturally organized, and that the task of making and unmaking the laws that regulate society continuously devolves upon men, look in what a lamentable situation the world would find itself. The moral authority of governors rests, in reality, on the self-interest of the governed. The latter having a natural tendency to resist anything harmful to their self-interest, unacknowledged authority would continually require the help of physical force.

The monopolist and the communists, furthermore, completely understand this necessity.

If anyone, says M. de Maistre, attempts to detract from the authority of God's chosen ones, let him be turned over to the secular power, let the hangman perform his office.

If anyone does not recognize the authority of those chosen by the people, say the theoreticians of the school of Rousseau, if he resists any decision whatsoever of the majority, let him be punished as an enemy of the sovereign people, let the guillotine perform justice.

These two schools, which both take artificial organization as their point of departure, necessarily lead to the same conclusion: TERROR.