In anarchy, consumption feeds itself by production. It would make no more sense to a humanispherean that a man might be forced to work, than that he might be forced to eat. For natural man, the need to work is as pressing as the need to eat. Man is not all stomach: he has arms and a brain, and apparently this is so he might work. Work, whether manual or intellectual, is the food which makes him live. If a man has no needs but those of the mouth and stomach, he is no longer a man, but an oyster, in which case, nature, in place of hands, which are attributes of his intelligence, would have given him, like a mollusk, two shells.—And idleness! Idleness! Do you cry to me, you civilizées?
Idleness is not the daughter of liberty and human genius, but of slavery and civilization; it is something foul and against nature, that one could only encounter in some Sodom, old or new. Idleness is not a pleasure, it is a gangrene and a paralysis. The bygone societies, the old worlds, the corrupt civilizations could only produce and spread the same scourges. Humanisphereans satisfy naturally the need for the exercise of the arm, as well as that of the stomach. It is no more possible to ration the appetite for production that the appetite for consumption. It is up to each to consume and to produce according to their strengths, according to their needs. By bending all beneath a uniform remuneration, one would starve some and cause others to die of indigestion. Only the individual is capable of knowing the proportion of labor that his stomach, his brain, or his hand can digest. One rations a horse at the stable; the master allocates to domestic animal so much food. But in liberty the animal rations itself, and the instincts offer it, better than the master, that which suits its temperament. Wild animals scarcely know disease. Having all in profusion, they do not fight among themselves to pull up a blade of grass. They know the wild meadow produces more pasturage than they are able to graze, and they mow it in peace, one beside the other. Why do men wrest consumption from one another, when production, by mechanical forces, furnishes more than their needs?
—Authority is idleness.
—Liberty is labor.
The slave alone is lazy, rich or poor:—the rich, slave to prejudice, to false science; the poor, slave to ignorance and prejudices,—both slaves of the law, the one to suffer it, the other to impose it. Isn’t it suicide to dedicate its productive faculties to inertia? The inert man is not a man; he is less than a brute, because the brute acts in the measure of its means, and obeys its instinct. Whoever possesses a particle of intelligence could at least obey it. And intelligence is not idleness; it is fertilizing movement. It is progress. The intelligence of man is his instinct, and that instinct says to him without ceasing: Labor; put the hand and the brow to the work; produce and discover; productions and discoveries, these are liberty. Those who do not work, do not enjoy. Work is life.—Idleness is death!
L’égoïsme, c’est l’homme : sans l’égoïsme, l’homme n’existerait pas. C’est l’égoïsme qui est le mobile de toutes ses actions, le moteur de toutes ses pensées.