Fourier’s response to the Gazette de France — I

FOURIER‘S REPLY TO THE GAZETTE DE FRANCE,
in which his doctrines were grossly misrepresented as being anti-christian.
“Having been publicly calumniated in the columns of a daily newspaper, by some pseudo-Christians, who are evidently influenced by that false pride which they pretend to condemn, it is my duty to refute their sophistry, and show the inconsistency of those absurd critics and false prophets who publicly admit the want of that very discovery of practical truth, which they blindly calumniate in my theory.
“‘Tant de fiel entre-t-il den l‘âme des dévots?’”
Boileau.
Yes: Uncharitable feeling and angry prejudice possess the souls of pseudo-saints and scribbling hypocrites, who treat religion as a mere material of mercantile monopoly. These pious mountebanks would plead as zealously for Judas as for Jesus, if money could be gained by it. The most trifling incident furnishes them with p. pretext for opposition against the Government of the day; to sound a general alarm, and raise a cry of “the Church in danger,” “religion undermined,” and “Jesus Christ insulted.” And all this is merely to secure a “living,” or realize one hundred francs per column in a newspaper. Calumny, in fact, is a. fruitful source of profit in mercantile Paris.
A science which reveals the secret of abolishing slavery, banishing poverty, preventing crime, and neutralizing false doctrines, such as atheism, materialism, and other philosophical aberrations, has provoked the angry censure of the Gazette de France, in one of its recent numbers, (December, 1835.) The writer in the Gazette is indignant at the very mention of such a thing as the discovery of the science of human destiny, showing the wisdom of the Creator to be greater than that of philosophy with regard to the passions and instincts of the human race, and the industrial mechanism of society.
Up to the present time, the Creator of all things. who has displayed so much wisdom in the mechanism of the material universe, had not manifested the same harmony in the social world, which appears to have been subject to the Evil Spirit during the last 5000 years, since the fall of man; and this apparent lack of Providence has brought into repute a false philosophy or scientific superstition, amongst atheists, materialists, and matter-of-fact-mongers generally, who point to the falsehood and injustice of society as a matter-of-fact proof against a ruling Deity, omnipotent, omniscient and infinitely good.
This want of faith is now proved to he unreasonable, as well as irreligious, by the new science which demonstrates that the passions and instincts of mankind are subject to a two-fold mechanism in society,— the one being false and sinful, the other just and true. In the first, we are doomed to misery; in the second, to redemption.-— (The science of social harmony may be deemed the forerunner of that spirit of the Holy Ghost, which Christ has promised should regenerate the world, and introduce the kingdom of heaven and its justice on earth.—E. P.) This science demonstrates that which we are told in Scripture, i. e. that the fall of man is not permanent and irreparable, but accidental and redeemable. After the fall of man, the false mechanism of the passions was a necessary and an inevitable transition ; but this subversive state has been unnecessarily prolonged, and more particularly since the mission of Christ, by the aberrations of philosophy, and the indolence of pseudo-Christians. The work of regeneration may, however, be at once commenced by a practical demonstration of attractive industry and associative economyapplied to a school of three or four hundred children, and proving its efficiency on a larger scale, by which the whole human race may gradually and speedily emerge from the gloomy maze of barbarism and anarchial civilization.
When we see the possibility of realizing these effects, may we not conclude that the real cause of anger in those who oppose us by calumny, is the fear of such a change tending to expose the deeds of false piety, and tear away the mask from those pseudo-Christians, who, having neither faith, hope, nor charity, nor a true conception of God’s power, degrade his providence, by supposing that the sufferings of humanity are. agreeable in his sight.
We must not he deceived by the mere diferences of profession: there are false prophets and arrogant philosophers amongst both priests and laymen. I am not, however, to he duped by their disguise, and whether their sophistry assume the name of religion or philosophy, I shall show their impious tendency in striving to mislead us with regard to the will and the wisdom of our Maker.
They pretend that religion is subverted, and Jesus Christ insulted, by my theory. How can Christ be insulted by the discovery of those principles of peace and harmony which he himself taught us to seek, and, which may be said to realize his own views, by a practical solution of the Christian problem? He preached the doctrine of freedom to the captive, and consolation to the poor. His Gospel has been the principal means of effecting that general emancipation from personal slavery, which was deemed impossible by the philosophy of antiquity ; and my theory of attractive industry and united economy will help to complete the work of redemption by banishing poverty and emancipating labor from the bondage of indirect slavery and mercantile anarchy. One practical demonstration of this theory will be the signal for universal emancipation, to be effectcd simultaneously in all parts of the globe.
Three hundred millions of slaves and‘ serfs may be rapidly introduced to freedom without any risk of lessening labor, and without incurring the expense of fiscal ransom in imitation of the twenty millions lately squandered by the English Government in blind concession to the clamors of an ill-advised philanthropy.
Such limited and partial applications of the principles of freedom only serve to excite ferment and rebellion amongst the majority of slaves still held in bondage, andparticularly amongst those of the Brazils, whose numbers are said to exceed five millions, augmented by a yearly importation? of forty thousand, in spite of the prohibitionary regulations. These slaves are said ; to be in a state of permanent conspiracy.—l Rebellion has already broken out amongst them in Bahia and Para, where much blood has been shed, and these commotions, may be deemed a prelude to the general massacre of the white population, unless a more effcient principle of manumission be speedily and generally adopted.
In the United States of America, those who speak of abolishing slavery are subject to Lynch law, and dispatched without ceremony. A strange result, indeed, in a Republican country, that a man’s life should be forfeited by democratic slave-holders, for having listened only to those who promulgate the doctrines of liberty. Such, however, is the fact; the fruit of modern theories of mercantile economy and sceptical philosophy.
It is of paramount importance, then, that the king, the ministers, and the parliament in France, should be duly informed of the folly of sacrificing ten millions sterling to the injudicious manumission of one thousandth part of the slaves on the globe, when the whole may be rapidly emancipated by the gradual extension of social combination, and without any danger to property and industry.
The associative method of emancipation being based on the principle of attractive industry, will render the arts of producing wealth infinitely more agreeable than any of the ordinary pursuits of pleasure in the present suite of things; and the three classes who are now the least inclined to useful industry.—that is, the free savage, the uncontrolled child, and the voluptuous sybarite,—will then become the most active and untiring agents of production.
The owners of slaves would soon be reimbursed by those whom they had held in bondage, and who, when industry became a pleasure, would soon enrich themselves, and liquidate collectively, by gradual instalments, the debt of their emancipation.
Poverty would speedily be banished from the earth ; the produce of combined and attractive industry would soon be so abundant, that a decent minimum of subsistence might easily be guaranteed to the most humble classes of society; even to those individuals who could not labor for themselves.
That these results should irritate in prospect the writer of the Gazette, is somewhat strange. He is perfectly free, however, to plead for the continuance of poverty and slavery; but it will not be very easy to persuade the Christian public that the final destruction of these social calamities would be an insult to Jesus Christ.
During the last thirty years, the newspaper scribes have assailed me by calumny in a great variety of forms, but none of them had ever before ventured to assert that my principles were contrary to Christianity.Fortunately, however, the Evangelists are there to prove whether my theory or the declaration of the Gazette is most accordant with the principles of truth and charity; and which is the most worthy of confidence, the doctrines of the Gospel or those of the Gazette!
There have been two instruments of Divine Providence with whom I could not disagree without denying my own principles; and these were, Jesus Christ and Newton. (And be it understood that in speaking here of Jesus Christ in connexion with Newton and himself, Fourier does not pretend to compare his own discovery of the laws of passional or moral attraction, and Newton’s discovery of the laws of gravitation or material attraction, with the Divine mission of Jesus Christ, any further than in such degrees as one class of truths stand related to another in the universal principle of justice and harmony.) Jesus Christ foretold the discovery and the practical application of the principles of peace and social harmony, and he forcibly enjoined his followers to seek the kingdom of Heaven and its justice, but they have hitherto failed in practising his precepts. They have, indeed, refused the task of discovering the practical mechanism of Christian principles; and in their mental darkness they have said, that truth and justice were impracticable in this world.
Sixteen hundred years, however, after the birth of Christ, Newton discovered the principles of attraction which regulate the material harmony of the world, but he neglected the mechanism of moral harmony, the principles of which it has fallen to my lot to discover in obedience to the will of Christ, whose positive injunctions, were—“Seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you; ask and it shall be given; for there is nothing covered that shall not be known, neither hid that shall not be revealed.” The principles of passional attraction and repulsionare exactly analogous to those of material attraction and repulsiondiscovered by Newton, and both are perfectlyin accordance with the precepts of the Gospel, notwithstanding the contracted views and the blind apprehensions of pseudo-Christians.
How is it possible, then, that I could be in contradiction with my two guides in science and religon? I defy the world to prove that in my writings there is a single phrase alluding to Christ which does not venerate his wisdom and his goodness. And the unscrupulous Gazette has the audacity to publish throughout the land that my doctrines are an insult to Jesus Christ! But I will confound the authors of this foul calumny, both mediate and immediate. I say mediate and immediate, because I know that the writer in the Gazette is only the tool of the Philosophical Pandemonium, who play their game in secret, and constitute a central power of obscurism to swamp whatever happens to expose their ignorance.
After trying to traduce my principles in the sphere of science, the philosophical clique is now trying to prove that I am an enemy to Christianity. It is really an amusing novelty to see philosophers become the advocates of Jesus Christ. They were not so anxious about either him or his doctrine when both were really attacked by Saint-Simonism, which was just on the point of raising in the church a greater schism than that of either Arius or Luther.
I am not, otherwise. displeased that the scribes of the Gazette should have entered this field of discussion, in which it will be easy to unmask them. Jesus Christ himself shall be my advocate; I desire no other aid than that of his Gospel.
It will be easy to show that the scribes of the Gazettehave but an imperfect idea of the meaning of Holy Writ, and that it is impossible to have a full knowledge of scriptural revelation without understanding the eternal laws of passional attraction as they are revealed to us in human nature and universal analogy. In the time of the apostles, the Doctors of Divinity were in a similar state of darkness to that which obscures the mental vision of the present age. When they accused Jesus of contradicting the scriptures, he exposed their ignorance, saying—“Do ye not, therefore, err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God.” (St Mark, xii. 24.) In this manner Christ proved the incapacity of the self-righteous scribes and philosophers of that period ; and the eternal truths which he then uttered will amply suffice to confound the intolerant hypocrites of the present day. But let us look into the Gospel for the light which is to guide us. Are we not therein told, that :—
24. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.
25. “Therefore, I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26. “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns (as you have the power of doing;) yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27. “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature ?
28. “And why take ye thought for raiment? consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29. “And yet, I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.
30. “Wherefore,  if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you? O, ye of little faith?
31. “Therefore, take no thought, saying, what shall we eat? or, what shall wedrink? or, wherewithal shall we be clothed!
32. “For your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things.
33. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” (St. Matth. vi.)
Here is the two-fold destiny of humanity announced by Christ himself: a better state of society which he calls the “kingdom of God and of justice:” a state of things in which we may enjoy all the necessary comforts of life without care and anxiety. And be it remembered that these injunctions relate to this world as well as to another; for we are expressly told that, if we neglect the kingdom of God in this world, we shall lose it in the next. It is evident, however, that the comforts of life and the quietude of mind, promised by Christ when we shall have established the kingdom of justice and harmony upon earth, are refused to us in those iniquitous states of society, called barbarism and competitive civilization, in which physical privation, moral depravity, mental delusion, and sectarian discord are gradually descending into the deepest regions of iniquity, instead of vanishing progressively before the light of truth and justice and religious unity.
It may be said that we are more advanced than the Jews were in the time of Christ ; but I think we have but little to boast of in the present day, when it is an acknowledged fact, that two thirds of the French nation, or 22 millions out of 33, are limited to the miserable pittance of three-pence farthing a day for their entire sustenance, food, clothing, fire, lodging, and recreation. No wonder that they still exclaim, “What shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed?” when those who ought to guide them and strengthen their faith, refuse to seek the kingdom of God and his justice, and prefer the reign of fraud, depravity, misery, and unbelief.
And yet Christ has promised us an abundance of worldly comforts and peace of mind; but on condition that we first seek the kingdom of Heaven and its justice.—What, then, is the kingdom of Heaven for which we are told to pray, that the will of God may be done in earth as it is in Heaven? It is the reign of social harmony, by means of moral regeneration, and the establishment of attractive industry with united economy, in which state of society the practice of truth and justice would lead to wealth and honor, while falsehood and injustice would lead to shame and trouble. In such a state of things, the religious and the worldly motives would unite in harmony: the terrestrial would be consonant with the celestial destiny; and the will of God be done in earth as it is in Heaven.
But let us not be misunderstood to mean that physical comfort would stand in lieu of moral and religious duty: we mean no such thing: but we do mean to say, that physical privation leads to crime, and stands in the way of religious progress. So far, then, industrial harmony would aid the work of moral regeneration.
As far as our worldly condition is concerned, the new order of things would realize the kingdom of God and his justice upon earth ; and the most superficial calculation of its advantages proves that Christ was truly inspired in promising us worldly comforts in abundance with perfect peace of mind, whenever we think proper to organize society according to the principles of justice. The discovery of these principles was not difficult for any person truly desirous of finding them, for, in my writings, I have shown that there were at least sixteen different modes of making the same discovery.
(See my Treatise on Domestic and Agricultural Association, vol. i. pages 108 and 342.) Our Saviour was constantly exhorting the Jews to make this discovery assigned to human reason. He not only told them to “Seek and they would find,” but he also assured them that, “There was nothing covered that should not be revealed, neither hid that should not be known.”
Some of our pseudo-Christians will perhaps affirm, that if it were possible to organize a better state of society, he would have revealed to us its laws; and our sceptical philosophic will perhaps” inquire, also, why he did not, if his mission were divine, reveal the scientific principles of social unity? I will tell them:—It was not his mission to reveal the principles of worldly . science. The discovery of Nature’s laws is a task assigned to human reason. Jesus came to prepare us for another world, and to ‘warn us of the errors of human judgment. He admonished us of our want of faith and hope in God, and of the danger of confiding too exclusively in mere philosophers, who live by sophistry, and who, enriching themselves by misleading the minds of the people, will not submit, as I have done, to the patient and laborious study of a new science, during thirty-eight years, without a chance of worldly profit, and with the certainty of being paid by insult and by calumny.
Christ did all he could, in consistency with his special mission, to guard us against the aberrations of philosophy; and he told us to seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all worldly things should be added unto us. He knew that philosophers were misleading us, and he told us so, but the Jews scoffed at his warnings and crucified his body; and, by allowing his Gospel to become a dead letter, we have crucified his spirit.
It was possible to discover the science of social unity when Christ appeared, or he would not have enjoined us to search for its laws; but the arrogance of blind philosophy has continued to mislead us ever since.~ We have not sought the kingdom of justice with a true spirit, and thence it is we have not found it. In India, excessive superstition ; in China, the spirit of familial and patriarchal immobility, have obstructed scientific progress and discovery.
In the Western world, before the time of Christ, the light of science was sufficient to have led to the discovery of social unity, had philosophy been based upon a true religious faith. The priests of ancient Egypt are said to have been deeply versed in learning, and, at a later date, the sciences were much advanced in Greece. In Rome, still later, the scientific means of progress were abundant; but all have failed, from want of a sufficient faith in Providence, and too much confidence in human sophistry.
When all these means had failed, Christ himself appeared to stimulate our intellectual energies, and bring salvation to our sinking souls. His missions, as well as that of his immediate apostles, was positiveand ACTIVE, with respect to our celestial destiny and the salvation of our souls; but it was PASSIVE or negative, with respect to our terrestrial destiny and the welfare of our bodies. It is the task of human reason to seek the kingdom of Heaven, and establish its justice upon earth; and as Christ could not reveal to us the ordinary principles of science, without subverting the decrees of destiny and opposing the will of his Heavenly Father, he confined himself to stimulating our intellectual faculties, by telling us to “seek for the laws of social harmony, that all worldly comforts might be added unto us abundantly;” giving us at the same time positive assurance that “ there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid, that shall not be known.”
As it was not his special mission to reveal those positive principles of worldly science assigned to human reason as its mission of discovery, he was the more particular in exhorting us not to be misled by false philosophy; and foreseeing the consequences of erroneous doctrines, he deemed it necessary to warn us of the danger; saying,
15. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps’ clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves ”
16. “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (St. Matt. vii.)
Now, what are the fruits which society has reaped from philosophical theories?—-Have they not always been the same calamities of poverty, crime, bloodshed, and oppression, varied in form and in degrees of intensity? In all ages, and particularly within the last century, have not the different sects of philosophy been constantly undermining the principles of Religion, the rights of property, and the laws of order in Society? The most recently hatched sects of Philosophers in Europe, the Jacobins and Saint-Simonians in France, and the Socialists in England, have been more or less hostile to Religion, to Government, and the rights of private property. Instead of “rendering unto Cesar the things which belong to Cæsar, and to God the things which are of God,” they seem fiercely disposed to spoilate both one and the other in the name of liberty, while they sacrifice private property on the altars of equality and anarchy. And what is still more strange, apparently, they wish to strangulate the right of private judgment wherever it be found to question the, decrees of sceptical philosophy and fragmentary science. The very mention of a new science unknown to the doctors of philosophy, irritates their nerves, offends their pride, and calls forth their intolerant obscurism. Not one of them have ever deigned to look into the new science of passional attraction or attractive industry. If they speak of it at all, it is only to calumniate, but it will soon be proved that the real science of association is more liberal than all the sects of liberal philosophy; for it serves the sects of liberal philosophy; for it serves the interests of all classes without disturbing either property, government or religion,
The philosophers have neither discovered the true principles of social harmony them. selves, nor are they willing to allow the possibility of such a discovery being made by others. Jesus Christ reproached them for this same spirit of obscurism, which neither seeks the kingdom of justice, nor allows others to reveal its laws:-
“Woe unto you lawyers!” he exclaims, “For ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye enter not in yourselves, and them that were entering ye hindered.” (St. Luke, xi. 52.)
I believe I am the only person who has strictly followed, in this respect, the injunctions of our Saviour. I have sought, and I have found, because I went in perfect faith and humility of spirit, to the original source of Nature, and there discovered those unknown principles of social unity and moral harmony to which philosophy has hitherto denied existence. Having steered my course in perfect independence in the unknown spheres of science, like Columbus sailing boldly in an unknown sea, I naturally met with an unknown world.
The pride of philosophy is humbled by my discovery, which proves the inutility of their speculations in Morals, Metaphysics, Politics, and Economism ; and thence it is that sceptical arrogance feigns to treat my theory with ridicule; but finding that mockery leads many to a serious inquiry, they have now thought proper to adopt another sort of tactics, traducing my principles in the name of Christianity; but here, again, they are easily refuted, as I shall amply prove in my next article. [To be continued.]
Source: The Phalanx, I, 13 (June 29, 1844) 185-187. 
About Shawn P. Wilbur 2215 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.