Wednesday, August 30, 2006


In preparation for my workshop at the Edmonton Anarchist Bookfair this weekend I came across this; P.J. Proudhon's definition of libertarianism, the supersession of both communism and property/invidualism in favour of the law of liberty, from What Is Property.

Then, no government, no public economy, no administration, is possible, which is based upon property.

Communism seeks equality and law. Property, born of the sovereignty of the reason, and the sense of personal merit, wishes above all things independence and proportionality.

But communism, mistaking uniformity for law, and levelism for equality, becomes tyrannical and unjust. Property, by its despotism and encroachments, soon proves itself oppressive and anti-social.

The objects of communism and property are good — their results are bad. And why? Because both are exclusive, and each disregards two elements of society. Communism rejects independence and proportionality; property does not satisfy equality and law.

Now, if we imagine a society based upon these four principles, — equality, law, independence, and proportionality, — we find: —

1. That equality, consisting only in equality of conditions, that is, of means, and not in equality of comfort, — which it is the business of the laborers to achieve for themselves, when provided with equal means, — in no way violates justice and équité.

2. That law, resulting from the knowledge of facts, and consequently based upon necessity itself, never clashes with independence.

3. That individual independence, or the autonomy of the private reason, originating in the difference in talents and capacities, can exist without danger within the limits of the law.

4. That proportionality, being admitted only in the sphere of intelligence and sentiment, and not as regards material objects, may be observed without violating justice or social equality.

This third form of society, the synthesis of communism and property, we will call liberty.[12]

In determining the nature of liberty, we do not unite communism and property indiscriminately; such a process would be absurd eclecticism. We search by analysis for those elements in each which are true, and in harmony with the laws of Nature and society, disregarding the rest altogether; and the result gives us an adequate expression of the natural form of human society, — in one word, liberty.

Liberty is equality, because liberty exists only in society; and in the absence of equality there is no society.

Liberty is anarchy, because it does not admit the government of the will, but only the authority of the law; that is, of necessity.

Liberty is infinite variety, because it respects all wills within the limits of the law.

Liberty is proportionality, because it allows the utmost latitude to the ambition for merit, and the emulation of glory.

We can now say, in the words of M. Cousin: “Our principle is true; it is good, it is social; let us not fear to push it to its ultimate.”

Man’s social nature becoming justice through reflection, équité through the classification of capacities, and having liberty for its formula, is the true basis of morality, — the principle and regulator of all our actions. This is the universal motor, which philosophy is searching for, which religion strengthens, which egotism supplants, and whose place pure reason never can fill. Duty and right are born of need, which, when considered in connection with others, is a right, and when considered in connection with ourselves, a duty.

And for those familar with Thelema and Aleister Crowley there is a similarity between Proudhon's definition of Liberty and that of Liber Oz.


"the law of
the strong:
this is our law
and the joy
of the world." AL. II. 2

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." --AL. I. 40

"thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay." --AL. I. 42-3

"Every man and every woman is a star." --AL. I. 3

There is no god but man.

1. Man has the right to live by his own law--
to live in the way that he wills to do:
to work as he will:
to play as he will:
to rest as he will:
to die when and how he will.
2. Man has the right to eat what he will:
to drink what he will:
to dwell where he will:
to move as he will on the face of the earth.
3. Man has the right to think what he will:
to speak what he will:
to write what he will:
to draw, paint, carve, etch, mould, build as he will:
to dress as he will.
4. Man has the right to love as he will:--
"take your fill and will of love as ye will,
when, where, and with whom ye will." --AL. I. 51
5. Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights.
"the slaves shall serve." --AL. II. 58

"Love is the law, love under will." --AL. I. 57

Also See


For a Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing

Find blog posts, photos, events and more off-site about:
, , , , , , , ,

agorism, counter-economics, left libertarian, new libertarian or Movement of the Libertarian Left.

, , , , , , ,

No comments: