Fourier’s response to the Gazette de France — II

SECOND PART OF FOURIER’S REFUTATION OF THE GAZETTE OF FRANCE.

For some time past the secret influence of the philosophic Pandemonium had enjoined the discipline of general science in the press, concerning the science of “attractive industry,” but the indiscreet Gazette has disobeyed the word. It is proverbially noted for its gossiping propensity, and notwithstand the tactics of obscurism, one of its scribes, inspired with a new idea, has aimed a fatal blow of calumny against my principle, by charging them with insult to our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The cause of this attack was a speech made by one of my partisans, at a scientific meeting on the subject of attractive industry; alter which, the orator, Mr. V. Considerant, took part in a religious controversy, a subject quite foreign from my science; and, therefore, whatever may have been said on such a question, does not, in the least, affect my responsibility. I never interfere with the religious opinions of those who adopt my principles of science, nor do I deem it necessary for me to do so.
Why should I be more intolerant than the Pope himself, who forms alliances and enters into contract with people who deny the Divinity of Christ? The agent of the Pope, in contracting for a loan with an Israelite banker, does not make s point of attacking his religion; and why should I, a simple individual of no authority, take upon myself to force conformity with my religious feelings and opinions? Some of my partisans are Jews; and what have I to do with that? My science, being purely industrial, is equally free to all religious sects; and though I am myself a Christian, I only teach the science of attractive industry; and neither my religion, nor my science, are affected by the peculiar opinions on religion held by those who advocate my theory.
If, then, it were true, (but it is not.) that the orator, Mr. V. Considerant, had professed opinions in opposition to the Gospel, my principles could not be held responsible for his errors, or for any opinions contrary to my own.
But the fiery Gazette has brought my name in question, and declaimed against what its scribes are pleased to call Fourierism, indicating my theory of attractive industry. Amongst a number of perfidious misrepresentations, the scribes have manufactured and inserted a dozen lines or more, in which Jesus Christ is really insulted, but, by the scribe of the Gazette, who has falsely attributed them to Mr. Considerant, whose written and spoken opinions are diametrically opposed to those attributed to him by the impious journalist.
Mr. Considerant immediately threatened the Gazette with an action for libel and defamation, if his own reply were not immediately inserted; but the perfidious journal, not daring to refuse insertion, evaded the effect of justice, by an unfair manœuvre in the printing, and a delay of three weeks time in its edition for the provinces.
These scribes say that “I wish to be the God of the material World,” and sometimes they dub me with the title of “Messiah.” What a pity it is they do not add a handsome pension to these Godlike honors!
Is it, then, pretending to deity one‘s-self, when one simply follows the divine precept,—“Seek, and ye shall find?” and having discovered any of the laws of God and Nature, is it infringing on the power of God merely to explain those laws to man? Did Kepler and Newton pretend to be gods when they discovered and made known the laws of God concerning our solar system and the mechanical equilibrium of celestial bodies?
On the contrary, I am, perhaps, the only person who has fully ruined those who really usurp the right of God. I have proclaimed the principle of a Universal Providence, and, in virtue of that principle, the necessity of seeking for the pre-ordained laws of harmony and unity relating to society, instead of trusting to the arbitrary laws of man. Jesus Christ himself repeatedly enjoined us to seek for God’s social code of laws, and predicted its discovery when truly sought; and if those who take credit to themselves for ultra-piety, had sufficient hope and faith in Providence, they would adhere to the letter of the Gospel dispensation, and believe our Saviour, who assures us that his Heavenly Father’s Providence extends even to the numbering of the hairs of our heads. It is, indeed, injurious to our Maker to doubt his Providence in pre-ordaining laws of social harmony for man, when he see that, from the greatest to the smallest works of his creation, he has provided laws of unity and harmony for their correlative conditions. Having provided laws of social unity for the enormous globes revolving in infinity, and also for the smallest insects inhabiting those globes, how is it possible to think he would neglect to make a similar provision for the social regulation of mankind? “ Has he not provided for the fowls of the air, and how much more worthy are we than they?”
It is impious, then, to doubt the Providence of God; and Jesus Christ has told us that our duty is to ” seek that we may find” the code of social harmony and justice which our Heavenly Father has prepared for us Irma all eternity. It is, in fact, impossible to think that God has not provided for the most imperious of our wants, a code of harmony for human society, to regulate industrial economy, producing an abundance of worldly comforts, for the happiness of all in perfect justice, and applicable to all the nations of the earth without exception.
The discovery of this code of social laws, is the task assigned to us by Christ himself, concerning this probationary state in which we should prepare for an hereafter; but philosophy has left us neither faith nor‘ hope in the universality of God’s providence, nor a spirit of charity extending to the whole of human-kind.
Philosophy only talks of gaining riches for one or two nations of the earth, leaving the rest to languish in ignorance and misery. Forgetting that God is the Creator of the I whole universe, and that his laws are made for all his creatures,—from the greatest to the smallest, the planet to the insect,—our modem legislators and philosophers have usurped the power of God; neglected the study of his laws of harmony, and made society the tool of men like Bartholus, Cujas, Mirabeau, and Target, of whom it may be said with truth, that they usurp the power of God in governing society by arbitrary rule, instead of following the precepts of the Gospel, and studying the will of Heaven: for, not only do they themselves refuse to study the will of God revealed to us in his eternal laws of mental, moral, and mechanical attraction, but they even vilify and persecute whoever questions their sophistical infallibility.
Christ has plainly told us what we are to think of such scribes and philosophers. “Ye hypocrites,” says he, “well did Essias prophecy of you, saying,—This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honor me -with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the mmandments of men.”—(St. Matth. xv. 7, 8, 9.)
It is utterly false, then, to say that I pretend to be a God, either of the Material or the spiritual world. I render to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar; and to God, that which belongs to God, the right of legislating for humanity. But why should the scribes of the Gazette accuse me of wishing to be the “God of the material world” more particularly? This is a point requiring explanation.
It is said that my principles are subversive of Christianity, because they tend to harmonize in regular development, those passions or sources of activity in the human soul, which Christ enjoined us to subdue and mortify. Now, in the first place, nothing could tend more to subdue the passions in perfect harmony, than my science of passional mechanism and attractive industry, which prevents excess by infinite variety of action ; and as for the doctrine of mortification, it is not true that Christ intended it to last for ever. It was only meant to last during the periods of social incoherency which mark the progress from the fall of man to the full regeneration; and in these periods of ignorance, privation and injustice, it is absolutely necessary; but when, ” by seeking, we have found the kingdom of Heaven and its justice,” which means the laws of moral equilibrium in the physical and mental activity or human society, there will be no longer any need of an oppressive discipline to make us pure in heart and mind. We shall then be governed by a law of love in expansive equilibrium, infinitely more efficient than the law of fear, and compressive self-denial.
We must, of course, admit that the law of self-denial and positive restraint is absolutely necessary in the present state of things; but Christ, in telling us to “seek the kingdom of heaven and its justice, that all worldly comforts may be added unto us,” has also given a foretaste of physical enjoyment to those who manifested faith in his prediction. At the feast of Cana, did he not change the water into excellent wine? and did he not multiply the loaves and fishes to feed the multitude whose faith had led them to the desert with him? This miracle, he worked to recompense their faith in trusting to his power without anxiety for their own comfort. He himself took pleasure in speaking of his own dependency: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no where to repose his head.”
He also rebuked those who accused him of faring sumptuously; saying,—“John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine ; and ye say, He hath a Devil. The Son of Man is come eating nd drinking and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of all her children.” It is evident, therefore, that he deemed wisdom quite compatible with worldly comfort, and in order to join precept with example, he took his seat at a table served with delicacies, in the house of a publican who invited him; and when the courtezan anointed his hair with perfume, he rebuked the publican who blamed her for her services. To the woman herself he said, “Thy sins are forgiven: thy faith hath saved thee.” Compassionating with the sex that is most oppressed, he pardoned Magdalene and the adulteress, rebuking those who had accused .them. Nor did he forget to say, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”—(St. Matth. xi. 30.)
It is clear, then, that our Redeemer was no enemy to riches and refinement; all he commanded was, that to worldly pleasures we should add a genuine faith in universal providence, and a proper use of heaven’s bounty, in seeking for the kingdom of justice and the science of social harmony.
Nor be it said that Christ, in speaking of the kingdom of Heaven and its justice, alluded to a future life alone, where worldly comforts are spoken of in allegory, for he knew well that neither food nor raiment would be wanting there. lt is not, then, of a future state he speaks, in promising us worldly blessings: and, the better to prevent mistake, he adds, ” Let those hear who have ears to hear,” meaning that his parables were true both ways, and that there are two kingdoms of heaven; one already in existence, and another to be finally established upon earth.
Philosophers deny all this, and ridicule the notion of a better state of things, because it has been hidden from their mental vision; and the unreflecting public fondle the delusion. This state of things is spoken of in Scripture, where it says—” They are as the blind leading the blind.”
St. Mark has tnily said of these, ” Ye neither understand the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”
A single instance of the power of God is quite enough to prove that the pretensions of philosophy to regulate society are incomparably deficient. The sole power of distributing our faculties, gives our Maker the facility of rendering any social law attractive and complete; while philosophers, who have no such power, can never make us like their schemes in opposition to our nature.
On the other hand, we are sure to err in misery by submitting to the arbitrary laws of human reason, which are not attractive to our innate feelings: for philosophy has not the power of altering our faculties, so as to adapt them to a liking for oppression, poverty, prisons, hulks, taxation, and anxiety, with all the other “graces” of human legislation and “liberal perfection.”
These considerations are alone sufficient to inform us that God must have originally made a plan for social happiness, and that it is our duty to obey the Gospel, in “seeking for the kingdom of Heaven and its justice,” revealed to us in all the laws of natural phenomena in matter and in mind.
Such will be the mechanism of passional attractionand industrial economy. And Jesus no doubt alluded to the scientific mission of an interpreter of these laws, when he Said, “ I speak to you in parables; but he who will come after me, will speak to you in spirit and in truth.” He who wished “that the things of Cæsar should be given unto Cæsar, and that the things of God be rendered unto God,” also wished that human reason should be left to do the work imposed on it by God; and thus reveal to 111811 the kingdom of Heaven and its justice, in the scientific mechanism of attractive industry based upon the principles of moral and religious unity.
As John the Baptist came before Christ with the mission of precursor, to announce the coming of the word, so another was to come after Christ with the mission of coadjutor, to study and reveal the laws of social mechanism by which peace and plenty will reward the general practico of truth and justice, and the human race commence the work of absolute regeneration.
This is the task of the Messiah, of whom M. de Lamartine, in his conversations with Indy Esther Stanhope on Mount Lebanon, spoke as being ” yet to come,” affirming “that those who are now living will see him with their own eyes, and for whose mission all things seem to be preparing in the world.”
But here, again, we may apply the words of Christ, ” Do not ye after their works, for they say and do not.”—St. Matthew, xxiii. 3.)
If it be true ” that a man is soon to appear with an extraordinary mission in science, and that, as all things are prepared in this world for his coming, we shall certainly see him in person;” how comes it, that when he has actually made his appearance and proved his mission by revealing a new science that will solve all the problems of social and political harmony,—how comes it, say, that all the learned world refuse to hear him, and absolutely form a coalition of obscurism to prevent the public from acquiring a knowledge of his science, or even of his existence, though he can prove that he has nrictly followed the injunctions of our Saviour, and that he speaks in the simple, clear, and natural spirit of mathematical truth which children may understand ; and the science which he thus reveals will teach us how to banish from the earth those hideous social ulcers, poverty, crime, slavery, mercantile fraud, and all the moral evils so much loathed in the sight of God?
 We have many philosophers who speak and write piously, because piety is now-a-days a political instrument; but it is not so easy to find people who are really pious in fulfilling the commands of Christ. If our philosophers were truly pious, they would say, “This theory of attractive industry should be carefully examined and tested by experience, for, if it be really true and practicable, its results would be prodigious.Besides creating wealth in great abundance, it would totally eradicate the germs of revolution; and of moral and religious discipline, it certainly affords the most secure foundation. In our present moral theories, we do indeed inculcate a love of honest industry, but then we must admit that little has been done to render it attractive. This author says he has discovered the science of attractive industry in conformity with the natural impulsions of mankind, and that, besides being proved by all the principles of science, his theory may easily be tested by a limited experiment on a single parish containing three or four hundred families. This is a great advantage compared to the dangers of political reforms affecting a whole nation by every new experiment. Should the experiment fail altogether, it will only affect a single parish, and if it be found defective in some of its parts only, we can probably correct its defects, and improve it as a whole.”
This would be the language of impartiality, but it is not to be expected from the learned corporations of this bouted centre of civilization, Paris.
The title of “Messiah” is, however, as applied by M. de Lamartine, in speaking of the man whose mission was announced by Christ, improperly applied to a mission of mere science. John the Baptist was the prophet whose mission was that of a pre-cursor to Jesus Christ, and my mission is that of the prophet post-cursorand coadjutor, announced by Christ to solve the Christian problem, and complete the scientific part of human regeneration with respect to industry alone and social equity; but I am not a Messiah, though the Gazette de France, in its furious attacks, accuses me of being in pretension both a “God” and a “Messiah.”
There is nothing mystical in a purely scientific mission; and though the function of a prophet and coadjutor in human regeneration has fallen to my lot, it is not the Irission of one specially elected, like John the Baptist, but a mission open to all the human race, any one of whom was free to study and interpret the social code of laws devised by God to introduce on earth “the kingdom of Heaven and its justice,” whenever human reasonshould perform the task imposed by Christ, of “seeking till we find; asking that it may be given; and knocking that it may be opened unto us;” to see and understand the laws of social harmony and passional attraction.
I have performed this mission in accordance with the bidding of our Saviour, by leaving the beaten track of arbitrary speculation and the cunning of philosophers, of whom the world’s Redeemer said,—“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”—(SL Mal. xii. 34.) ” Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites, for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity-.”—(St. Matth. xxiii. 27, 28.)
These words are truly applicable to those philosophers of our day, who laud the present state of civilization as the beau-ideal of society, though it is based on the most odious principles, such as the following, which are openly professed:
“It is absolutely necessary to keep the multitude in poverty in order to enrich the few, and, not being able to prevent the horrors of this state of things, we must learn to look upon them as necessary evils.”These maxims are indeed worthy of a sect which holds the principles of sceptical philosophy, and publicly asserts ” that the mass of the people can never be happy until the last of the kings shall have been strangled with the gut-strings of the last of priests,” and whose watch-word in the work of human massacre, is “Down with the impostor,” (écrasez l’infâme,) meaning Jesus Christ. ls it a wonder, then, that these philosophers oppose my doctrine, which was announced by Christ himself as the industrial mechanism of truth and the spirit of social harmony, to he revealed by the interpreter of God’s social code, who was to come after Christ?
Let me not be misunderstood in saying this; for I ask nothing for myself, neither mediately nor immediately. My mission is to speak the truth, and minister to the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ has said, ” He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you, hut the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever l have said unto you.” —(St. John, xiv. 24, 25, 26.) Now the literal meaning of the words Holy Ghost being the spirit of truth, it is clear that every principle of truth and harmony is an emanation of the Holy Ghost, or the universal spirit of truth, and, in this sense, the science of social harmony is the social “comforter,” explaining all things relating to the practice of truth and justice upon earth.
We may again repeat with Christ, that “the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”—(St. John, iii. 19.) This is true of the present state of philosophy, containing at least one hundred thousand different and contradictory systems, none of which will bear the light of a comparison with that science of social mechanism and attractive industry it has been my lot to discover; and which consists in harmonizing all our instincts and desires by means of an industrial and domestic combination, the leading springs of which are,—@
1. Regularly graduated scales of discord and natural inequalities.
2. The proper combination of series and groups in the functions of industry.
3. Variety of occupation, and ii free choice of function, subject only to real skill and due qualification.
Whether this be or be not the true principle of industrial mechanism and social harmony, there can be no doubt that the present age, so frequently convulsed by the disastrous innovations of unsound philosophy, has need of some new science to secure stability and peaceful progress. After trusting to political and moral theories in vain for centuries and centuries past in misery, it is natural to try another mode of innovation, which, if even inefficient, is at least secure from danger and convulsion. Those who have property at stake might certainly to tire of a philosophy which only serves to generate iniquity, and oppose the influence of pernicious doctrines by s principle which is, in all respects, the very opposite. The arbitrary doctrines of philosophy would vanish into darkness and oblivion as soon as the real principles of social policy were practically tested; for this is the principle of which Christ has said, “Et portæ inferi non prævolebunt.”
What are these “Gates of Hell” of which he speaks? there are, at least, two which are easily recognized: intolerant philosophy, and j the spirit of self-righteousness which is not less intolerant. Both of these are worshippers at the same shrine of superstition: that of a PASSIVE and INERT resignation to the principle of evil and the honors of competitive society. The one tells us that “crime and misery are the necessary results of civilization, and that we must submit to them patiently without hoping to avoid them;” the other tells us ” that we must resign ourselves to suffering in this world, in order to obtain our reward in the next:” but those who preach these doctrines, take very good care not to follow them themselves. They invariably secure for themselves as much as they can of the comforts of life, and then deliberately tell their starving brethren to suffer patiently the wrongs which they endure.
It is no doubt proper to resign ourselves with patience and forbearing, as long as society remains in ignorance and poverty; but Christ himself has told us that this state of things was not to be perpetual, and that it was our duty to escape from it as soon as possible, by seeking the kingdom of Heaven and its justice, that all worldly comforts might be added unto us abundantly.—He expressly told us also to be active in our faith, and not to indulge our idleness in a passive and inert resignation to the principle of evil; but to seek that mechanism of the science of attractive industry and combined economy.
What can be the cause of this passive and inert resignation to the principle of evil, in the church? During eighteen centuries the ministers of Christ have warned us against the baneful doctrine. of philosophy;  was it not their duty, therefore, to follow the injunctions of our Saviour, and seek, till they discovered, the science of social harmony, and its principles of truth and practical equity? But, supposing their efforts to have been constant, thong inadequate, is it not, at least, their duty to protect the man who has devoted thirty-eight years of a laborious life to the seeking and discovering of the principles of justice and social regeneration?
The Church has evidently lost her equilibrium: she has been betrayed into the hands of vain philosophy; for those who call themselves the “pillars of the Church,” are neither more nor less than skeptical philosophers.
What are these scribes of the Gazette, but sceptics in disguise, forming a pandemonium of obscurism? proscribing every attempt at social progress, and supporting the monopoly of privilege and sophistry.—Its proceedings in 1829 were more scandalous than those of any other journal published in Paris. It is a well known fact, that the most abominable system of intimidation was used to terrify those amongst the public functionaries who did not generally purchase the Gazette.
These pretended champions of religion, are betraying both the monarch and the Church, for no party is more deeply interested in the welfare of the people, than the clergy of the Church of Rome, and the King of the French nation, who is more or less suspected by all the kings of Europe.
The vessel of St. Peter has evidently lost its rudder, for, during the last half century, it has been so badly governed, that the clergy have lost almost all their former influence; and as for the throne of France, it is so far humbled, that it dares not venture to resist the influence of American chicanery, which has recently constrained us to admit a doubtful claim upon our treasury.
All parties, then, are equally interested in the progress of truth and general prosperity; and, as all the schemes of fanciful philosophy have failed, it is but rational to expect a contrary result from the practical application of those principles which are, in all their bearings, the very opposite of incoherency and individualism.
It is in vain for the blind members of the Church to think, that if it were possible to establish harmony and justice in society, Christ himself would have revealed to us the science of its organization; for, I have already proved that he commanded us to seek it in ourselves, and by the aid of human reason, in connexion with an ACTIVE faith in Providence and all his promises.
Ministers of the Church,—you whose mission it is to call sinners to repentance—are you not sinning, yourselves, against the doctrines of Christianity? By adopting the tactics of sceptical obscurism, and opposing my theory by your premeditated silence, are you not opposing the will of your master, who announced the scientific mission of human regeneration?
You are witnesses to the declining influence of Christian principles and the spreading influence of mystical and sceptical philosophy; and though you may deem these systems of philosophy too absurd to be generally introduced, still it is your duty to be active in your opposition; for the general aberrations of material and inductive philosophy may give rise to sects whose doctrines would be no less offensive than the Atheism of the Owenites, and the spoliating tendencies of St. Simonism in its doctrines of inheritance. If you remain blind to the duties of your mission, you will shortly have in Europe as many heterogeneous sects of religious doctrines as there are in America, and civil war is almost the inevitable product of this religious anarchy.
In this dilemma, your only safety lies in bringing into practical consistence my principles. which will rapidly supersede the influence of your natural enemies, the sceptical philosophers.
You need not be alarmed at the risk of fostering an error; for, one single experiment would prove it to be true or false without endangering the present constitution of society. Remember, also. that the most useful discoveries have been generally ill received at first: the simple grain of coffee, and that very useful root the potato, were prohibited as poisons, by the learning of a Parliament. The first inventors of steam-engine were most of them insulted, and some of them were even put to death. Columbus was banished for announcing even the probable existence of a New Continent, and the thunder of an excommunication was hurled upon his head from the Holy See of I Rome; then, surely, you should pause before you condemn.
And yet, we can hardly expect to find wisdom and discernment in the Church, when we see the Universal Bishop stigmatising equally both friends and foes. In the last index, published at Rome, we find names classed together without any rule of justice. The Church, in her distress, has lost her mental equilibrium and discernment. She has inconsiderately classed the name of the celebrated Christian poet, De Lamartine, with that of St. Simon, the avowed opponent of the Roman clergy; and to make the matter worse, my name has been connected with the enemies of property, although my principles would introduce at least twenty-four new source of security to private property, in addition to those which are already in existence.
It is a strange anomaly, that the Christian Pontiff should denounce the only man who has demonstrated, by mathematic revelation, the necessary existence of a God, and the universality of Providence. Before my discovery, the very existence of Deity was questioned in the name of science; but this delusion of Atheism, arising from the aberrations of reason, is now completely dissipated in the sphere of real science. These errors of the Church prove that vain philosophy has stolen its way into the Vatican, and the bewildered Pope of Rome is now the dupe of scepticism.
This language may be deemed severe, but no one has so good a right as I to call the Church to an account for her neglect of duty. lam, perhaps the only innovator, having every chance of founding a new religious sect, who has not thought of doing such a thing. My doctrine satisfies, at once, the natural desires of both soul and body, in this world and in the next: l have had, therefore, several chances of founding a religious sect, which no man ever had before.
But my mission is not to create a new sect; in fact, I look upon all religious schisms as brands of discord: and, as my task is to conciliate all parties in both Church and State, by the institution of attractive industry and social equity, I am opposed to all the arts of policy which would cause disturbance, and class me amongst mere turbulent agitators. I disavow also, beforehand, whoever might, when I am gone, make any such abuse of my conciliatory principles, which serve invariably the interests of all parties.
[To those who have “ears to hear,” and “eyes to see,” nothing can be more beautifully clear than Fourier’s elucidation of the Gospel; but many there are, within and without the pale of the Christian Church, whose mental visions is too much obscured to recognize the light. The Church itself has long been more or less eclipsed by negative philosophy; but soon, we feel convinced, the shadow of uncertainty will gradually vanish, and leave the type of unity to re-assert her mission by dispensing light and heat, in spirit and in truth, to all the human race.]

[Source: The Phalanx, 1, 14 (July 13, 1844) 205-209.]

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2214 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.