From “The Kingdom of God Is Within You” by Leo Tolstoy

“In spite of the unceasing efforts of those who happen to be in authority to conceal this and attribute some other significance to it, authority has always meant for man the cord, the chain with which he is bound and fettered, or the knout with which he is to be flogged, or the ax with which he is to have hands, ears, nose, or head cut off, or at the very least, the threat of these terrors. So it was under Nero and Ghenghis Khan, and so it is to-day, even under the most liberal government in the Republics of the United States or of France. If men submit to authority, it is only because they are liable to these punishments in case of non-submission. All state obligations, payment of taxes, fulfillment of state duties, and submission to punishments, exile, fines, etc., to which people appear to submit voluntarily, are always based on bodily violence or the threat of it.” – Leo Tolstoy

One thought on “From “The Kingdom of God Is Within You” by Leo Tolstoy

  1. “All state obligations, payment of taxes, fulfillment of state duties, and submission to punishments, exile, fines, etc., to which people appear to submit voluntarily, are always based on bodily violence or the threat of it.”

    The problem here is ‘men.’ Those very same men felt no guilt whatsoever to treat others, particularly women and children, to large doses of submission to their particular will; to fail to recognize that those women and children had the same right to freedom from the cord. And for the most part, all the efforts that untie the cord on non-men are perceived as cords on men.

    So I don’t really buy this whole business about freedom from cords; it’s nonsense that protects one class at the expense of others; a notion that the social compacts that work for their own class is the true state of cordlessness. But cordlessness is itself a cord, there is no truly free state, only social compacts that minimize the cords tug for the maximum number of people.

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