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"Why, liberty of the press is only permission of the press, and the State never will or can voluntarily permit me to grind it to nothingness by the press."
Let us now, in conclusion, bettering the above language, which is still vague, owing to the phrase 'liberty of the press,' rather put it thus: "liberty of the press, the liberals' loud demand, is assuredly possible in the State; yes, it is possible only in the State, because it is a permission, and consequently the permitter (the State) must not be lacking. But as permission it has its limit in this very State, which surely should not in reason permit more than is compatible with itself and its welfare: the State fixes for it this limit as the law of its existence and of its extension. That one State brooks more than another is only a quantitative distinction, which alone, nevertheless, lies at the heart of the political liberals: they want in Germany, i. e., only a 'more extended, broader accordance of free utterance.' The liberty of the press which is sought for is an affair of the people's, and before the people (the State) possesses it I may make no use of it. From the standpoint of property in the press, the situation is different. Let my people, if they will, go without liberty of free press, I will manage to print by force or ruse; I get my permission to print only from -- myself and my strength.
If the press is my own, I as little need a permission of the State for employing it as I seek that permission in order to blow my nose. The press is my property from the moment when nothing is more to me than myself; for from this moment State, Church,
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people, society, etc., cease, because they have to thank for their existence only the disrespect that I have for myself, and with the vanishing of this undervaluation they themselves are extinguished: they exist only when they exist above me, exist only as powers and power-holders. Or can you imagine a State whose citizens one and all think nothing of it? It would be as certainly a dream, an existence in seeming, as 'united Germany.'
The press is my own as soon as I myself am my own, a self- owned man: to the egoist belongs the world, because he belongs to no power of the world.
With this my press might still be very unfree, as e. g. at this moment. But the world is large, and one helps himself as well as he can. If I were willing to abate from the property of my press, I could easily attain the point where I might everywhere have as much printed as my fingers produced. But, as I want to assert my property, I must necessarily swindle my enemies. 'Would you not accept their permission if it were given you?' Certainly, with joy; for their permission would be to me a proof that I had fooled them and started them on the road to ruin. I am not concerned for their permission, but so much the more for their folly and their overthrow. I do not sue for their permission as if I flattered myself (like the political liberals) that we both, they and I, could make out peaceably alongside and with each other, yes, probably raise and prop each other; but I sue for it in order to make them bleed to death by it, that the permitters themselves may cease at last. I act as a conscious enemy, overreaching them and utilizing
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The press is mine when I recognize outside myself no judge whatever over its utilization, i.e. when my writing is no longer determined by morality or religion or respect for the State laws or the like, but by me and my egoism!"
Now, what have you to reply to him who gives you so impudent an answer? -- We shall perhaps put the question most strikingly by phrasing it as follows: Whose is the press, the people's (State's) or mine? The politicals on their side intend nothing further than to liberate the press from personal and arbitrary interferences of the possessors of power, without thinking of the point that to be really open for everybody it would also have to be free from the laws, from the people's (State's) will. They want to make a "people's affair" of it.
But, having become the people's property, it is still far from being mine; rather, it retains for me the subordinate significance of a permission. The people plays judge over my thoughts; it has the right of calling me to account for them, or, I am responsible to it for them. Jurors, when their fixed ideas are attacked, have just as hard heads as the stiffest despots and their servile officials.
In the "Liberale Bestrebungen"* Edgar Bauer asserts that liberty of the press is impossible in the absolutist and the constitutional State, whereas in the "free State" it finds its place. "Here," the statement is, "it is recognized that the individual, because he is no
*II, p. 91ff. (See my note above.)
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longer an individual but a member of a true and rational generality, has the right to utter his mind." So not the individual, but the "member," has liberty of the press. But, if for the purpose of liberty of the press the individual must first give proof of himself regarding his belief in the generality, the people; if he does not have this liberty through might of his own -- then it is a people's liberty, a liberty that he is invested with for the sake of his faith, his "membership." The reverse is the case: it is precisely as an individual that every one has open to him the liberty to utter his mind. But he has not the "right": that liberty is assuredly not his "sacred right." He has only the might; but the might alone makes him owner. I need no concession for the liberty of the press, do not need the people's consent to it, do not need the "right" to it, nor any "justification." The liberty of the press too, like every liberty, I must "take"; the people, "as being the sole judge," cannot give it to me. It can put up with me the liberty that I take, or defend itself against it; give, bestow, grant it cannot. I exercise it despite the people, purely as an individual; i.e. I get it by fighting the people, my -- enemy, and obtain it only when I really get it by such fighting, i. e. take it. But I take it because it is my property.
Sander, against whom E. Bauer writes, lays claim (page 99) to the liberty of the press "as the right and the liberty of the citizens in the State". What else does Edgar Bauer do? To him also it is only a right of the free citizen.
The liberty of the press is also demanded under the
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name of a "general human right." Against this the objection was well-founded that not every man knew how to use it rightly, for not every individual was truly man. Never did a government refuse it to Man as such; but Man writes nothing, for the reason that he is a ghost. It always refused it to individuals only, and gave it to others, e. g. its organs. If then one would have it for all, one must assert outright that it is due to the individual, me, not to man or to the individual so far as he is man. Besides, another than a man (a beast) can make no use of it. The French government, e. g., does not dispute the liberty of the press as a right of man, but demands from the individual a security for his really being man; for it assigns liberty of the press not to the individual, but to man.
Under the exact pretense that it was not human, what was mine was taken from me! What was human was left to me undiminished.
Liberty of the press can bring about only a responsible press; the irresponsible proceeds solely from property in the press.
For intercourse with men an express law (conformity to which one may venture at times sinfully to forget, but the absolute value of which one at no time ventures to deny) is placed foremost among all who live religiously: this is the law -- of love, to which not even those who seem to fight against its principle, and who hate its name, have as yet become untrue; for they also still have love, yes, they love with a deeper and more sublimated love, they love "man and man-
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If we formulate the sense of this law, it will be about as follows: Every man must have a something that is more to him than himself. You are to put your "private interest" in the background when it is a question of the welfare of others, the weal of the fatherland, of society, the common weal, the weal of mankind, the good cause, etc.! Fatherland, society, mankind, must be more to you than yourself, and as against their interest your "private interest" must stand back; for you must not be an --egoist.
Love is a far-reaching religious demand, which is not, as might be supposed, limited to love to God and man, but stands foremost in every regard. Whatever we do, think, will, the ground of it is always to be love. Thus we may indeed judge, but only "with love." The Bible may assuredly be criticized, and that very thoroughly, but the critic must before all things love it and see in it the sacred book. Is this anything else than to say he must not criticize it to death, he must leave it standing, and that as a sacred thing that cannot be upset? -- In our criticism on men too, love must remain the unchanged key-note. Certainly judgments that hatred inspires are not at all our own judgments, but judgments of the hatred that rules us, "rancorous judgments." But are judgments that love inspires in us any more our own? They are judgments of the love that rules us, they are "loving, lenient" judgments, they are not our own, and accordingly not real judgments at all. He who burns with love for justice cries out, fiat justitia, pereat mundus!
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He can doubtless ask and investigate what justice properly is or demands, and in what it consists, but not whether it is anything.
It is very true, "He who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." (1 John 4. 16.) God abides in him, he does not get rid of God, does not become godless; and he abides in God, does not come to himself and into his own home, abides in love to God and does not become loveless.
"God is love! All times and all races recognize in this word the central point of Christianity." God, who is love, is an officious God: he cannot leave the world in peace, but wants to make it blest. "God became man to make men divine."* He has his hand in the game everywhere, and nothing happens without it; everywhere he has his "best purposes," his "incomprehensible plans and decrees." Reason, which he himself is, is to be forwarded and realized in the whole world. His fatherly care deprives us of all independence. We can do nothing sensible without its being said, God did that, and can bring upon ourselves no misfortune without hearing, God ordained that; we have nothing that we have not from him, he "gave" everything. But, as God does, so does Man. God wants perforce to make the world blest, and Man wants to make it happy, to make all men happy. Hence every "man" wants to awaken in all men the reason which he supposes his own self to have: everything is to be rational throughout. God torments himself with the devil, and the philosopher does it
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with unreason and the accidental. God lets no being go its own gait, and Man likewise wants to make us walk only in human wise.
But whoso is full of sacred (religious, moral, humane) love loves only the spook, the "true man," and persecutes with dull mercilessness the individual, the real man, under the phlegmatic legal title of measures against the "un- man." He finds it praiseworthy and indispensable to exercise pitilessness in the harshest measure; for love to the spook or generality commands him to hate him who is not ghostly, i.e. the egoist or individual; such is the meaning of the renowned love-phenomenon that is called "justice."
The criminally arraigned man can expect no forbearance, and no one spreads a friendly veil over his unhappy nakedness. Without emotion the stern judge tears the last rags of excuse from the body of the poor accused; without compassion the jailer drags him into his damp abode; without placability, when the time of punishment has expired, he thrusts the branded man again among men, his good, Christian, loyal brethren, who contemptuously spit on him. Yes, without grace a criminal "deserving of death" is led to the scaffold, and before the eyes of a jubilating crowd the appeased moral law celebrates its sublime -- revenge. For only one can live, the moral law or the criminal. Where criminals live unpunished, the moral law has fallen; and, where this prevails, those must go down. Their enmity is indestructible.
The Christian age is precisely that of mercy, love, solicitude to have men receive what is due them, yes, to bring them to fulfil their human (divine) calling. Therefore the principle has been put foremost for intercourse, that this and that is man's essence and consequently his calling,
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to which either God has called him or (according to the concepts of today) his being man (the species) calls him. Hence the zeal for conversion. That the Communists and the humane expect from man more than the Christians do does not change the standpoint in the least. Man shall get what is human! If it was enough for the pious that what was divine became his part, the humane demand that he be not curtailed of what is human. Both set themselves against what is egoistic. Of course; for what is egoistic cannot be accorded to him or vested in him (a fief); he must procure it for himself. Love imparts the former, the latter can be given to me by myself alone.
Intercourse hitherto has rested on love, regardful behavior, doing for each other. As one owed it to himself to make himself blessed, or owed himself the bliss of taking up into himself the supreme essence and bringing it to a vérité (a truth and reality), so one owed it to others to help them realize their essence and their calling: in both cases one owed it to the essence of man to contribute to its realization.
But one owes it neither to himself to make anything out of himself, nor to others to make anything out of them; for one owes nothing to his essence and that of others. Intercourse resting on essence is an intercourse with the spook, not with anything real. If I hold intercourse with the supreme essence, I am not holding
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intercourse with myself, and, if I hold intercourse with the essence of man, I am not holding intercourse with men.
The natural man's love becomes through culture a commandment. But as commandment it belongs to Man as such. not to me; it is my essence,* about which much ado** is made. not my property. Man, i.e. humanity, presents that demand to me; love is demanded, it is my duty. Instead, therefore, of being really won for me, it has been won for the generality, Man, as his property or peculiarity: "it becomes man, every man, to love; love is the duty and calling of man," etc.
Consequently I must again vindicate love for myself, and deliver it out of the power of Man with the great M.
What was originally mine, but accidentally mine, instinctively mine, I was invested with as the property of Man; I became feoffee in loving, I became the retainer of mankind, only a specimen of this species, and acted, loving, not as I, but as man, as a specimen of man, the humanly. The whole condition of civilization is the feudal system, the property being Man's or mankind's, not mine. A monstrous feudal State was founded, the individual robbed of everything, everything left to "man." The individual had to appear at last as a "sinner through and through."
Am I perchance to have no lively interest in the person of another, are his joy and his weal not to lie at my heart, is the enjoyment that I furnish him not to be more to me than other enjoyments of my own? On the contrary, I can with joy sacrifice to him num-
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berless enjoyments, I can deny myself numberless things for the enhancement of his pleasure, and I can hazard for him what without him was the dearest to me, my life, my welfare, my freedom. Why, it constitutes my pleasure and my happiness to refresh myself with his happiness and his pleasure. But myself, my own self, I do not sacrifice to him, but remain an egoist and -- enjoy him. If I sacrifice to him everything that but for my love to him I should keep, that is very simple, and even more usual in life than it seems to be; but it proves nothing further than that this one passion is more powerful in me than all the rest. Christianity too teaches us to sacrifice all other passions to this. But, if to one passion I sacrifice others, I do not on that account go so far as to sacrifice myself, nor sacrifice anything of that whereby I truly am myself; I do not sacrifice my peculiar value, my ownness. Where this bad case occurs, love cuts no better figure than any other passion that I obey blindly. The ambitious man, who is carried away by ambition and remains deaf to every warning that a calm moment begets in him, has let this passion grow up into a despot against whom he abandons all power of dissolution: he has given up himself, because he cannot dissolve himself, and consequently cannot absolve himself from the passion: he is possessed.
I love men too -- not merely individuals, but every one. But I love them with the consciousness of egoism; I love them because love makes me happy, I love because loving is natural to me, because it pleases me. I know no "commandment of love." I have a fellow-feeling with every feeling being, and their torment
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torments, their refreshment refreshes me too; I can kill them, not torture them. Per contra, the high-souled, virtuous Philistine prince Rudolph in The Mysteries of Paris, because the wicked provoke his "indignation," plans their torture. That fellow-feeling proves only that the feeling of those who feel is mine too, my property; in opposition to which the pitiless dealing of the "righteous" man (e. g. against notary Ferrand) is like the unfeelingness of that robber [Procrustes] who cut off or stretched his prisoners' legs to the measure of his bedstead: Rudolph's bedstead, which he cuts men to fit, is the concept of the "good." The for right, virtue, etc., makes people hard-hearted and intolerant. Rudolph does not feel like the notary, but the reverse; he feels that "it serves the rascal right"; that is no fellow-feeling.
You love man, therefore you torture the individual man, the egoist; your philanthropy (love of men) is the tormenting of men.
If I see the loved one suffer, I suffer with him, and I know no rest till I have tried everything to comfort and cheer him; if I see him glad, I too become glad over his joy. From this it does not follow that suffering or joy is caused in me by the same thing that brings out this effect in him, as is sufficiently proved by every bodily pain which I do not feel as he does; his tooth pains him, but his pain pains me.
But, because I cannot bear the troubled crease on the beloved forehead, for that reason, and therefore for my sake, I kiss it away. If I did not love this person, he might go right on making creases, they would not trouble me; I am only driving away my
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How now, has anybody or anything, whom and which I do not love, a right to be loved by me? Is my love first, or is his right first? Parents, kinsfolk, fatherland, nation, native town, etc., finally fellowmen in general ("brothers, fraternity"), assert that they have a right to my love, and lay claim to it without further ceremony. They look upon it as their property, and upon me, if I do not respect this, as a robber who takes from them what pertains to them and is theirs. I should love. If love is a commandment and law, then I must be educated into it, cultivated up to it, and, if I trespass against it, punished. Hence people will exercise as strong a "moral influence" as possible on me to bring me to love. And there is no doubt that one can work up and seduce men to love as one can to other passions -- if you like, to hate. Hate runs through whole races merely because the ancestors of the one belonged to the Guelphs, those of the other to the Ghibellines.
But love is not a commandment, but, like each of my feelings, my property. Acquire, i.e. purchase, my property, and then I will make it over to you. A church, a nation, a fatherland, a family, etc., that does not know how to acquire my love, I need not love; and I fix the purchase price of my love quite at my pleasure.
Selfish love is far distant from unselfish, mystical, or romantic love. One can love everything possible, not merely men, but an "object" in general (wine, one's fatherland, etc.). Love becomes blind and crazy by a must taking it out of my power (infatuation),
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romantic by a should entering into it, i.e. by the "objects" becoming sacred for me, or my becoming bound to it by duty, conscience, oath. Now the object no longer exists for me, but I for it.
Love is a possessedness, not as my feeling -- as such I rather keep it in my possession as property -- but through the alienness of the object. For religious love consists in the commandment to love in the beloved a "holy one," or to adhere to a holy one; for unselfish love there are objects absolutely lovable for which my heart is to beat, e. g. fellow-men, or my wedded mate, kinsfolk, etc. Holy Love loves the holy in the beloved, and therefore exerts itself also to make of the beloved more and more a holy one (a "man").
The beloved is an object that should be loved by me. He is not an object of my love on account of, because of, or by, my loving him, but is an object of love in and of himself. Not I make him an object of love, but he is such to begin with; for it is here irrelevant that he has become so by my choice, if so it be (as with a fiancée, a spouse, etc.), since even so he has in any case, as the person once chosen, obtained a "right of his own to my love," and I, because I have loved him, am under obligation to love him forever. He is therefore not an object of my love, but of love in general: an object that should be loved. Love appertains to him, is due to him, or is his right, while I am under obligation to love him. My love, i.e. the toll of love that I pay him, is in truth his love, which he only collects from me as toll.
Every love to which there clings but the smallest
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speck of obligation is an unselfish love, and, so far as this speck reaches, a possessedness. He who believes that he owes the object of his love anything loves romantically or religiously.
Family love, e. g. as it is usually understood as "piety," is a religious love; love of fatherland, preached as "patriotism," likewise. All our romantic loves move in the same pattern: everywhere the hypocrisy, or rather self-deception, of an "unselfish love," an interest in the object for the object's sake, not for my sake and mine alone.
Religious or romantic love is distinguished from sensual love by the difference of the object indeed, but not by the dependence of the relation to it. In the latter regard both are possessedness; but in the former the one object is profane, the other sacred. The dominion of the object over me is the same in both cases, only that it is one time a sensuous one, the other time a spiritual (ghostly) one. My love is my own only when it consists altogether in a selfish and egoistic interest, and when consequently the object of my love is really my object or my property. I owe my property nothing, and have no duty to it, as little as I might have a duty to my eye; if nevertheless I guard it with the greatest care, I do so on my account.
Antiquity lacked love as little as do Christian times; the god of love is older than the God of Love. But the mystical possessedness belongs to the moderns.
The possessedness of love lies in the alienation of the object, or in my powerlessness as against its alienness and superior power. To the egoist nothing is
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high enough for him to humble himself before it, nothing so independent that he would live for love of it, nothing so sacred that he would sacrifice himself to it. The egoist's love rises in selfishness, flows in the bed of selfishness, and empties into selfishness again.
Whether this can still be called love? If you know another word for it, go ahead and choose it; then the sweet word love may wither with the departed world; for the present I at least find none in our Christian language, and hence stick to the old sound and "love" my object, my -- property.
Only as one of my feelings do I harbor love; but as a power above me, as a divine power, as Feuerbach says, as a passion that I am not to cast off, as a religious and moral duty, I -- scorn it. As my feeling it is mine; as a principle to which I consecrate and "vow" my soul it is a dominator and divine, just as hatred as a principle is diabolical; one not better than the other. In short, egoistic love, i.e. my love, is neither holy nor unholy, neither divine nor diabolical.
"A love that is limited by faith is an untrue love. The sole limitation that does not contradict the essence of love is the self-limitation of love by reason, intelligence. Love that scorns the rigor, the law, of intelligence, is theoretically a false love, practically a ruinous one."* So love is in its essence rational! So thinks Feuerbach; the believer, on the contrary, thinks, Love is in its essence believing. The one inveighs against irrational, the other against unbelieving, love. To both it can at most rank as a splen-
*Feuerbach, "Essence of Chr.," 394.
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didum vitium. Do not both leave love standing, even in the form of unreason and unbelief? They do not dare to say, irrational or unbelieving love is nonsense, is not love; as little as they are willing to say, irrational or unbelieving tears are not tears. But, if even irrational love, etc., must count as love, and if they are nevertheless to be unworthy of man, there follows simply this: love is not the highest thing, but reason or faith; even the unreasonable and the unbelieving can love; but love has value only when it is that of a rational or believing person. It is an illusion when Feuerbach calls the rationality of love its "self-limitation"; the believer might with the same right call belief its "self-limitation." Irrational love is neither "false" nor "ruinous"; its does its service as love.
Toward the world, especially toward men, I am to assume a particular feeling, and "meet them with love," with the feeling of love, from the beginning. Certainly, in this there is revealed far more free-will and self-determination than when I let myself be stormed, by way of the world, by all possible feelings, and remain exposed to the most checkered, most accidental impressions. I go to the world rather with a preconceived feeling, as if it were a prejudice and a preconceived opinion; I have prescribed to myself in advance my behavior toward it, and, despite all its temptations, feel and think about it only as I have once determined to. Against the dominion of the world I secure myself by the principle of love; for, whatever may come, I -- love. The ugly -- e. g. --makes a repulsive impression on me; but, determined to love, I master this impression as I do every antipathy.
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But the feeling to which I have determined and -- condemned myself from the start is a narrow feeling, because it is a predestined one, of which I myself am not able to get clear or to declare myself clear. Because preconceived, it is a prejudice. I no longer show myself in face of the world, but my love shows itself. The world indeed does not rule me, but so much the more inevitably does the spirit of love rule this spirit.
If I first said, I love the world, I now add likewise: I do not love it, for I annihilate it as I annihilate myself; I dissolve it. I do not limit myself to one feeling for men, but give free play to all that I am capable of. Why should I not dare speak it out in all its glaringness? Yes, I utilize the world and men! With this I can keep myself open to every impression without being torn away from myself by one of them. I can love, love with a full heart, and let the most consuming glow of passion burn in my heart, without taking the beloved one for anything else than the nourishment of my passion, on which it ever refreshes itself anew. All my care for him applies only to the object of my love, only to him whom my love requires, only to him, the "warmly loved." How indifferent would he be to me without this -- my love! I feed only my love with him, I utilize him for this only: I enjoy him.
Let us choose another convenient example. I see how men are fretted in dark superstition by a swarm of ghosts. If to the extent of my powers I let a bit of daylight fall in on the nocturnal spookery, is it per-
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chance because love to you inspires this in me? Do I write out of love to men? No, I write because I want to procure for my thoughts an existence in the world; and, even if I foresaw that these thoughts would deprive you of your rest and your peace, even if I saw the bloodiest wars and the fall of many generations springing up from this seed of thought -- I would nevertheless scatter it. Do with it what you will and can, that is your affair and does not trouble me. You will perhaps have only trouble, combat, and death from it, very few will draw joy from it. If your weal lay at my heart, I should act as the church did in withholding the Bible from the laity, or Christian governments, which make it a sacred duty for themselves to "protect the common people from bad books."
But not only not for your sake, not even for truth's sake either do I speak out what I think. No --
I sing because -- I am a singer.
But I use* you for it because I -- need** ears.
Where the world comes in my way -- and it comes in my way everywhere -- I consume it to quiet the hunger of my egoism. For me you are nothing but --my food, even as I too am fed upon and turned to use by you. We have only one relation to each other, that of usableness, of utility, of use. We owe each
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other nothing, for what I seem to owe you I owe at most to myself. If I show you a cheery air in order to cheer you likewise, then your cheeriness is of consequence to me, and my air serves my wish; to a thousand others, whom I do not aim to cheer, I do not show it.
One has to be educated up to that
love which founds itself on the "essence of man" or,
in the ecclesiastical and moral period, lies upon us as a "commandment."
In what fashion moral influence, the chief ingredient of our education,
seeks to regulate the intercourse of men shall here be looked
at with egoistic eyes in one example at least.
Those who educate us make it their concern early to break us of lying and to inculcate the principle that one must always tell the truth. If selfishness were made the basis for this rule, every one would easily understand how by lying he fools away that confidence in him which he hopes to awaken in others, and how correct the maxim proves, Nobody believes a liar even when he tells the truth. Yet, at the same time, he would also feel that he had to meet with truth only him whom he authorized to hear the truth. If a spy walks in disguise through the hostile camp, and is asked who he is, the askers are assuredly entitled to inquire after his name, but the disguised man does not give them the right to learn the truth from him; he tells them what he likes, only not the fact. And yet morality demands, "Thou shalt not lie!" By morality those persons are vested with the right to expect the truth; but by me they are not vested with that
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right, and I recognize only the right that I impart. In a gathering of revolutionists the police force their way in and ask the orator for his name; everybody knows that the police have the right to do so, but they do not have it from the revolutionist, since he is their enemy; he tells them a false name and --cheats them with a lie. The police do not act so foolishly either as to count on their enemies' love of truth; on the contrary, they do not believe without further ceremony, but have the questioned individual "identified" if they can. Nay, the State -- everywhere proceeds incredulously with individuals, because in their egoism it recognizes its natural enemy; it invariably demands a "voucher," and he who cannot show vouchers falls a prey to its investigating inquisition. The State does not believe nor trust the individual, and so of itself places itself with him in the convention of lying; it trusts me only when it has convinced itself of the truth of my statement, for which there often remains to it no other means than the oath. How clearly, too, this (the oath) proves that the State does not count on our credibility and love of truth, but on our interest, our selfishness: it relies on our not wanting to fall foul of God by a perjury.
Now, let one imagine a French revolutionist in the year 1788, who among friends let fall the now well-known phrase, "the world will have no rest till the last king is hanged with the guts of the last priest." The king then still had all power, and, when the utterance is betrayed by an accident, yet without its being possible to produce witnesses, confession is demanded from the accused. Is he to confess or not?
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If he denies, he lies and -- remains unpunished; if he confesses, he is candid and -- is beheaded. If truth is more than everything else to him, all right, let him die. Only a paltry poet could try to make a tragedy out of the end of his life; for what interest is there in seeing how a man succumbs from cowardice? But, if he had the courage not to be a slave of truth and sincerity, he would ask somewhat thus: Why need the judges know what I have spoken among friends? If I had wished them to know, I should have said it to them as I said it to my friends. I will not have them know it. They force themselves into my confidence without my having called them to it and made them my confidants; they will learn what I will keep secret. Come on then, you who wish to break my will by your will, and try your arts. You can torture me by the rack, you can threaten me with hell and eternal damnation, you can make me so nerveless that I swear a false oath, but the truth you shall not press out of me, for I will lie to you because I have given you no claim and no right to my sincerity. Let God, "who is truth," look down ever so threateningly on me, let lying come ever so hard to me, I have nevertheless the courage of a lie; and, even if I were weary of my life, even if nothing appeared to me more welcome than your executioner's sword, you nevertheless should not have the joy of finding in me a slave of truth, whom by your priestly arts you make a traitor to his will. When I spoke those treasonable words, I would not have had you know anything of them; I now retain the same will, and do not let myself be frightened by the curse of the lie.
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Sigismund is not a miserable caitiff because he broke his princely word, but he broke the word because he was a caitiff; he might have kept his word and would still have been a caitiff, a priest-ridden man. Luther, driven by a higher power, became unfaithful to his monastic vow: he became so for God's sake. Both broke their oath as possessed persons: Sigismund, because he wanted to appear as a sincere professor of the divine truth, i. e., of the true, genuinely Catholic faith; Luther, in order to give testimony for the gospel sincerely and with entire truth. with body and soul; both became perjured in order to be sincere toward the "higher truth." Only, the priests absolved the one, the other absolved himself. What else did both observe than what is contained in those apostolic words, "Thou hast not lied to men, but to God?" They lied to men, broke their oath before the world's eyes, in order not to lie to God, but to serve him. Thus they show us a way to deal with truth before men. For God's glory, and for God's sake, a -- breach of oath, a lie, a prince's word broken!
How would it be, now, if we changed the thing a little and wrote, A perjury and lie for -- my sake? Would not that be pleading for every baseness? It seems so, assuredly, only in this it is altogether like the "for God's sake." For was not every baseness committed for God's sake, were not all the scaffolds filled for his sake and all the autos-da-fé held for his sake, was not all stupefaction introduced for his sake? And do they not today still for God's sake fetter the mind in tender children by religious education? Were not sacred vows broken for his sake, and do not
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missionaries and priests still go around every day to bring Jews, heathen, Protestants or Catholics, to treason against the faith of their fathers -- for his sake? And that should be worse with the for my sake? What then does on my account mean? There people immediately think of "filthy lucre". But he who acts from love of filthy lucre does it on his own account indeed, as there is nothing anyhow that one does not do for his own sake -- among other things, everything that is done for God's glory; yet he, for whom he seeks the lucre, is a slave of lucre, not raised above lucre; he is one who belongs to lucre, the money-bag, not to himself; he is not his own. Must not a man whom the passion of avarice rules follow the commands of this master? And, if a weak goodnaturedness once beguiles him, does this not appear as simply an exceptional case of precisely the same sort as when pious believers are sometimes forsaken by their Lord's guidance and ensnared by the arts of the "devil?" So an avaricious man is not a self-owned man, but a servant; and he can do nothing for his own sake without at the same time doing it for his lord's sake -- precisely like the godly man.
Famous is the breach of oath which Francis I committed against Emperor Charles V. Not later, when he ripely weighed his promise, but at once, when he swore the oath, King Francis took it back in thought as well as by a secret protestation documentarily subscribed before his councillors; he uttered a perjury aforethought. Francis did not show himself disinclined to buy his release, but the price that Charles put on it seemed to him too high and unrea-
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sonable. Even though Charles behaved himself in a sordid fashion when he sought to extort as much as possible, it was yet shabby of Francis to want to purchase his freedom for a lower ransom; and his later dealings, among which there occurs yet a second breach of his word, prove sufficiently how the huckster spirit held him enthralled and made him a shabby swindler. However, what shall we say to the reproach of perjury against him? In the first place, surely, this again: that not the perjury, but his sordidness, shamed him; that he did not deserve contempt for his perjury, but made himself guilty of perjury because he was a contemptible man. But Francis's perjury, regarded in itself, demands another judgment. One might say Francis did not respond to the confidence that Charles put in him in setting him free. But, if Charles had really favored him with confidence, he would have named to him the price that he considered the release worth, and would then have set him at liberty and expected Francis to pay the redemption-sum. Charles harbored no such trust, but only believed in Francis's impotence and credulity, which would not allow him to act against his oath; but Francis deceived only this -- credulous calculation. When Charles believed he was assuring himself of his enemy by an oath, right there he was freeing him from every obligation. Charles had given the king credit for a piece of stupidity, a narrow conscience, and, without confidence in Francis, counted only on Francis's stupidity, e. g., conscientiousness: he let him go from the Madrid prison only to hold him the more securely in the prison of conscientiousness, the great
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