The twilight of the optimistic civilization
Added: 2017-10-30
Added: 2017-10-30


First edition: „Droga”, 1931, nr 4.




The reasons for today's economic crisis, a world-wide phenomenon of hitherto unbelievable sizes, are complex, and this makes it difficult to identify them and, more importantly, remove them. Undoubtedly, it is on the line of periodic turning points occurring in the capitalist system against the background of overproduction, whose detection is the main historical merit of Karl Marx's economic thought. However, Marx's theory of the catastrophe which must follow the last, largest of these series of turning points, has been overthrown by his successors. “The fear of a general and permanent crisis is childish,” wrote one of them (Artur Labriola: “Karl Marx, l'economiste, le socialiste”, p. 236). If even Marxists shared this conviction before the war, why is the fear of the universality and intensity of today's crisis, Anno Domini 1931, already present in the capitalist camp today? It results from facts that are related to today's historical situation, and do not take place within any system of detached economics.

In the process of constant increase – from the moment of l'armistice –  in the bankruptcy of yesterday's economic system on a global scale, an important role is played by the Third International. Surely, the crisis as a periodic turning point within the capitalist world develops and overcomes automatically. Certainly, there is an automatic destruction of part of the capital, or rather only the capitalists, “without a single atom of wealth perishing”, as the quoted Labriola says. But this does not exhaust the situation, since its automatic development may be influenced by the opponents of the capitalist system, ruling in a large part of the world, inhabited by almost one tenth of humanity, and having a wide range of influence also on external areas. Of course, this is not the only non-economic cause of the crisis. The pursuit of the emancipation of exploited nations, the struggles of exploiters among themselves – the world war has virtually not ended, but continues as an economic war – the pursuit of the working class to exploit the capitalist spheres (Au XIX-e siècle de travail a et le la vache à lait du capital. Au XX-e le capital sera la vache à lait du travail[i], writes a young radical journalist, Bertrand de Jouvenel[ii]), these are all factors that cause a deep decay of the political system. There is no doubt that the Soviet offensive against capitalist states is a particularly serious danger to this regime.

Thus, the World War continues in changed forms; it goes on as a blood and iron race, as a job race[iii]. In the new post-1918 Poland desiring to move to the non-historic conditions of existence as soon as possible, there was one man who first understood that truth; it was the Chief. And he forced the whole country to break with the ways of comfortable but short-distance lifestyle and take a seat among the struggling nations, taking part in this fight not as a tool of any foreign interests, but as the creator of its own power.

Let us realize, however, that if the war continues, then in that case, just like the world war was a symptom of the crisis of the former order of civilization, but also its source, the starting point for the post-war destruction of old values, its continuation is both a symptom of prolonged disease and the source of its further destruction. Admittedly, it is only recently that people have been talking about the “moral demobilization” of European nations. This agitation is apparently ceasing. Today, the nations of Western Europe are preparing violently for war with the Soviets, probably only an economic one. Although we have a lot of tendency to consider the five-year plans as a kind of Potemkin’s bluff[iv], the results of the five-year economic plan are already causing the greatest concern for the defenders of the capitalist West looking into the near future

After all, the “astrologists” of liberal economics are still reminding us that the restoration of the automatic nature of economic processes constitutes the only reliable means for today's ailments. Here, however, it is important to note that this “return to liberalism”, in order to give the expected results, would have to be universal. It is similar to any other disarmament: the question arises: Who will be first? It would be necessary to persuade the Bolsheviks to start. Apart from the Soviet revolution, one would actually have to cross out a whole range of other facts. Thus, fascism, and economic nationalism in Central Europe, and reparations and war debts (a factor seriously affecting the current situation), and the emancipation of overseas countries (one would have to force the Chinese and Indians to buy English percales again). Without catching up with all these facts, today no one seriously thinks about restoring economic liberalism.

Regardless of whether, according to historical materialism, we will consider moral facts as a function of economic phenomena, or if, as old Fustel de Coulanges wanted[v], we will think that le monde de formes materielles change parce que l'homme change[vi], we must recognize the interdependence of mental and economic facts. Well, it can be said that today's man has lost faith in the canons of former economic life. Instead of recognizing that any natural development of economic life leads to the best results without fail, he doubts the survival of an uncertain situation and mobilizes the state apparatus against this uncertainty. After all, this is just one side of the general bankruptcy of beliefs and ways of thinking of the 19th century.




Romanticism was never the prevailing ideology of the 19th century. It was only an expression of the opposition of intellectual spheres against the life concepts prevailing in the bourgeois class. Romantics would begin their careers as sworn devotees of ancien régime, wearing white bows and pronouncing le roë instead of le roi, and ended up as glorifiers of the renewal of moral mankind by the proletariat. It is clear that all these positions were of non-historic nature, whereas the content of the 19th-century history was filled with the bourgeoisie's struggle for power and prosperity, and that in Western Europe the bourgeoisie was dominant in every respect for most of this century.

Economic ideologies are of course in the closest relation to the needs of the classes that make them. It is not a coincidence that socialist statism developed in Bismarck's Germany, which corresponded to the young phase of a large-scale economy under state protection, while at the beginning of the 19th century, when this economy reached maturity, there was a reversal from this ideology to economic liberalism or Marxism. However, representatives of economics teaching it at their lecturer’s benches, make immeasurable efforts to treat their subject of study as an exact science, so independent of the social environment, as, for example, physics or chemistry; the futility of these worthy attempts is quite obvious.

The modern social economy was created by the bourgeoisie ruling in Western Europe and it is the most perfect product of its rationalist culture. The 18th century still weighs heavily on it too, its l’age raisonnable[vii], so far unimpeded by humanity, to which it would be more correct to use a contemptuous term: siècle stupide[viii] than in the case of the 19th century. In economics, the 18th century means the physiocrats. After all, let us not forget that they are the fathers of modern economics and they have marked out these paths that it has been following consistently. The optimistic conviction about the existence of a “natural order”, universal and irresistible, occupied by a completely free individual, which ensures them greatest prosperity, a categorical veto against attempts to disrupt this natural order (“laisser faire”[ix]), a dogma establishing the identity of a personal interest with interest of the community, a hedonistic starting point in determining the motives of human activity – this is the complex of views that the physiocrats formulated and that became the permanent elements of the bourgeois economic culture.

There are of course different phases in the development of science that expresses this culture. All you have to do is grab a textbook on the history of economic doctrines to find an enumeration; so we have to mention the “liberals” sensu stricto first (the bourgeoisie realizes its aspirations), then the optimists (Bastiat[x], 1850, the moment preceding the direct victory of the bourgeoisie), and finally the “hedonists”. Liberalism, optimism, and hedonism, however, must be regarded as completely inseparable concepts. They also occur together in every representative of this economic culture. The relationship here is that liberalism is an outflow of hedonism, and optimism – its justification.

And thus the whole complex of constantly returning judgements... Their subject is homo oeconomicus, or a theoretical man, and at the same time, a rational man-model. The economic genesis always sounds like this: on a desert island there are two black men, one of which catches fish and the other..., etc. Of course, from the economic relations established by these black men, an infallibly purely abstract reconstruction of this “natural order” is achieved, which, surprisingly, coincides with the capitalist system. Always the same idiotically rationalist 18th century, the same look at the man of nature shared by Rousseau; only that the small burgher from Geneva believed that under the influence of civilization, the natural order of humanity became contaminated, while his successors in the 19th century regard the system in which they live as natural and the best. It is natural because it has established the freedom of profit, which is the main motive of human action. It is the best because the personal interest coincides with the general interest, and therefore the general interest is most respected if the personal one is secured.

When stating the constant return of such views in the liberal economy, by no means do we want to deny that its principles have been subject to a vast historical evolution, along with the technical evolution that took place during the 19th century, and the changes in the economic system that followed. Nevertheless, the persistence with which the complex of liberal ideas was sustained until recent times needs to be raised, although they were strongly attacked all the time – especially by German thinkers and scholars. One could say – lucus a non lucendo[xi]that we are dealing with a kind of religion. A religion of the capitalist system and the social class prevailing in it.




I have had multiple opportunities to emphasize the closeness of the relationships that can be found between political and economic liberalism.

The state's liberal system is only a consequence of economic liberalism. Clearly, the practical freedoms are an important condition for the functioning of the economic system, based on the principles of the “classical” economy. The state is a necessary evil here. “Every government is bad, even the best one,” said Godwin[xii] at the end of the 18th century. Because every government is an organization of coercion, it works “only through the use of force” (Bastiat). Any liberal could agree with Bakunin's saying[xiii] that force is a “permanent denial of freedom”. This resulted in the necessity of establishing a state that would be limited to 1) guaranteeing the individual's freedom and security, while 2) being an expression of the will and wishes of all individuals. The concept of all individuals, in the face of the practical impossibility of achieving their total unanimity was replaced by the concept of majority, and the majority is obtained through a universal vote.

In addition, all the dogmas of political liberalism coincide most closely with the ideas developed by the classical economy. It has a source in the main idea of individual’s interest being put on the pedestal. This is followed by the perception of society as the sum of individuals who are the only interesting part, the community has only those powers for which the individuals have consented (in theory – all of them, in practice – the majority). The collective interest is the sum of individual interests, and thus the interest of the individual and the general interest are necessarily identical. Faith in the existence of “natural order” moves liberalism towards political life, where the free game of interests, expressed in the electoral act, creates the best harmonies without fail. In the political zone, the abstract “homo oeconomicus” turns into an abstract citizen. But he does not cease to be an infallible machine.

Parliamentary democracy is also the most beautiful quintessence of rationalist optimism. Today we have already learnt about its weaknesses. But all you have to do is read some of its defenders to discover this hint of perfection, which is the subject of almost religious faith.

“The chosen ones of the democracy are not officials who receive a payment suitable for their job, trained to perform their functions through technical adoption, nor are they officials serving to defend traditions in current works: they are lay bishops whose people’s acclamation gave them unlimited power. Since they are gathered at the legislative assembly, they have the light of the general will that allows them to speak what to do in matters that they only know superficially.” In this way, Sorel made fun of the quasi-religion of the liberal system, enumerating its “dogmas”: people's sovereignty, the general will, a parliamentary delegation (in the study called “Religious nature of socialism”, published in Matériaux d’une théorie du prolétariat[xiv]). Of course, we find similar accents in another writer attacking the liberal system of the state – Benoist[xv].

These illusions of defenders of parliamentary democracy who think that all voters must elect the most convenient representatives, while those who are gathered in the parliament give voice with their resolutions both to the general will and to the will of a collective intellect equipped with quasi infallibility, have their source in the culture of rationalistic optimism, passed down by the 18th century to the 19th century. “God included the unwavering pursuit of good in the soul of every human being in order to make it known, gave people light, capable of guiding them”, says Bastiat, and this thought would be a more faithful document of this culture, if in the quoted phrase ‘God’ was replaced by ‘nature’.

This optimism is called “naïve”. However, when it comes to Bastiat, he was not so much naive as he was sincere and prudent. He develops the way of thinking of his age and his class, which leads him to extremes. He shared “naivety” with the entire elite of bourgeois society over several generations – the elite that formulated the “immortal principles” of freedom and equality and, unfortunately, their such insufficient application.

The belief complex, based on rationalist optimism, is not exhausted in these areas of economics and politics, whose points of view have been the basis for discussing it so far. Nature and reason entwined in harmony calling for constant but spontaneous progress in the development of humanity, manifested equally strongly in the fields of intellectual and moral culture. The constant anti-Christian note in the intellectual life of the French liberal bourgeoisie, that is the avant-garde of the culture discussed here, is not accidental: Christianism – at least in its deep deposits – is irrational and pessimistic. Hence, Christian minds in the 19th century revealed reactionary or revolutionary romanticism, being in opposition to the prevailing class and its ideology, rejecting its “immortal principles.” The important religion in the rationalist-optimistic culture is the religion of knowledge. We have already defined a number of its dogmas. The last and most important dogma remains to be established. We are talking about the idea of automatic and permanent progress of humanity.

After all, it has been hard to say anything new on this subject since Sorel wrote his “Les illusions du progres”[xvi]. In addition, nowadays, we do not need to reveal the dangers of this ideology.

We would just like to draw attention to the particularly characteristic fact that the generation that lived during the French Revolution believed that in its progress, humanity is approaching its final stage (total perfection). Their optimism was almost unlimited. Godwin believed, for example, that technological progress would allow such a development of production pretty fast, that half an hour of work would be enough to get rid of all the needs of the individual, while the development of the power of reason would remove all conflicts and establish general harmony between people. At the same time, the noble Condorcet[xvii] in his “Historical Image of the Progress of the Human Mind” predicted that men, although still mortal, would manage to extend the time of their life unlimitedly; this is how great the power of knowledge was soon to become. Actually, in the name of this impending moment of realization of the unlimited bliss of the human race, the ideologues of the bourgeois revolution took responsibility for the atrocities of terror; “innovators” – as Sorel writes – “were definitely unrelenting, wanting to destroy the destructive influence that bad citizens could have caused, disrupting the work of regeneration of humanity; indulgence was an immoral weakness, because it resulted in no less than sacrificing the happiness of the crowds to the whims of incorrigible people”.

We have established the first peak of the optimistic culture; it falls during the time of the French Revolution. The second peak is the mid-19th century, the moment of the victory of the bourgeoisie in France, and the triumph of liberalism in England (Cobden[xviii]), illuminated by the Bastiat’s lighthouse, suddenly lit and then put out. We experienced the third and last peak of this culture after the end of the World War.

It seemed to the followers of the ideas carried into the world by Woodrow Wilson that the Great War was the last war, just like the ideologues of Jacobin terror thought that the Great Revolution was the last revolution. With the fall of the last despotic regime of Kaiser, an age of happiness, was supposed to come, an era guaranteed by new institutions: by the League of Nations maintaining a peace between free nations and by the International Labour Office for the reconciliation of social classes. It seemed that in this situation humanity would quickly enter the era of prosperity which could guarantee it social harmony by providing workers with the wealth they created together with capitalists. It seemed that finally “knowledge” would take over the world.

“It dreamed for a short time, it was rudely awakened” – humanity!




So far, we have analysed the opposition against the culture of liberalism, based on the premises of rationalism and optimism, among the Romantics in the first half of the 19th century. It was completely ineffective and had no impact on the development of modern civilization.

The opposition was exacerbated when a new force appeared on the historical scene, namely the revolutionary proletariat. Admittedly, socialism transplanted many features of liberalism: this applies to both pre-Marxists, who as utopians constituted only an extreme type of ideologues of the bourgeoisie[1], but also to Marx and his disciples. But at the same time it relentlessly attacked the existing social system and the class prevailing in it: it believed in a catastrophe that would bring about its complete destruction and the establishment of a new civilization by the proletariat.

In the thirty years that have passed since Marx's death (1883) until the outbreak of World War II, there was a major evolution of socialism. As already stated, the makings of this evolution can be seen at the source of this current, in its creators, emerged from the bosom of the enlightened bourgeoisie who took from it the rationalism in the materialistic form, the hedonistic point of view applied to the worker, and the optimistic religion of progress. This did not affect the mood of the struggling proletariat until its ranks was niggled by the belief in the upcoming catastrophe of the bourgeois world. This state of affairs changed when major socialist groups entered parliaments, taking part in the life of the liberal bourgeois state. At that moment, the assimilation of the working class into bourgeois state through the “tame” and revisionist socialism went at a rapid pace.

However, it is not a coincidence that the same thirty years bring a new series of rebellions of the intellectual elite against the bourgeoise civilization. This process is closely related to the weakening of faith in the dogmas of liberalism in the ranks of their followers. Instead of certainty, there is searching, instead of the natural order – its denial: both the classical economy and the accompanying theory of the liberal state constantly modify their theses, weakening them. These processes, constituting a prelude to the general thought crisis, are greatly influenced by the evolution of exact sciences: there is an increasingly bold formulation of relativistic positions, taking away the possibility of rationalistic explanation of the world once and for all. The religious response represented in particular by Pius X[xix], the attempts at the Nietzschean renaissance of antiquity, the progress of irrational philosophies, the search for new ways in literature and art – all this in the last three decades before the war is a symptom of the crisis of civilization from the ideological and moral perspective.

The bourgeois society has not yet won the final victory over the ancien regime in Central and Eastern Europe, but has already entered into a period of internal weakness. It would be extremely interesting to examine this situation dialectically in connection with the changes of the capitalist system in economic life. There is no doubt that this system enters the period of financial imperialism, investigated by Hilferding (see: St. Świaniewicz, Lenin jako ekonomista, Vilnius 1930, and a series of my articles in “Przełom”, called “Przez lunetę syndykalizmu”). The imperialist (in economic sense) financial circles begins to destructively affect the productive bourgeoisie, which is the actual social support of the liberal civilization.

World War was itself a symptom of the disintegration of the capitalist world (especially if it is understood as a conflict of the new German liberal empire and the two former empires of this type), and it enormously accelerated this decomposition, bringing to the world a period of four years of destruction, which mainly affected the productive bourgeoisie. But the process of civilization degradation started before the war. After all, the genesis of these various factors, which today attack the liberal state on all sides by eliminating them, must be transferred to pre-war times.

Humanity lost these beliefs which mainly constituted the ideological content of the 19th century, having their roots, however, in the previous century. Our thought here comes back to the statement expressed at the outset of these considerations. The bankruptcy of beliefs that are like the religion of yesterday's system, being a consequence or a symptom of the process of its fall, has itself a powerful impact on the further course of this process, contributing to the destruction of the edifices built by the previous generations. The yesterday's regime could probably endure much more serious difficulties than those the world is currently struggling with, if these beliefs survived. But how can we believe in the future of liberal society, since what we are seeing today is: “townie the barricades!" The productive bourgeoisie itself, liquidated on both sides by the forces operating within the liberal state, by “banks and sickness funds”, through the financial plutocracy and through radical ochlocracy, launches an attack on the liberal state by supporting fascist revolutions. As if in the political drama they were not just a stage on the way to a new society, a new civilization.




Therefore, we have every right to say that a certain form of civilization is going bankrupt. To this extent, we can agree with the numerous voices that have been announcing the fall of Western civilization since 1918. If we refer to Western civilization as a whole of history, stretching from the Pericles[xx] and Plato through the Roman world, the Middle Ages, Renaissance, to our times, then of course the thesis of “fall” is completely absurd. This civilization will be continued by the European nations in new forms. One can only talk about closing a certain phase in the development of this civilization. We define this phase when speaking about the rationalist and optimistic civilization.

These terms, which I recently put forward during the lecture on this issue I gave in Warsaw, raised some objections. However, we must uphold them in their entirety, as they are the only ones that explain the essence of the closing period. In particular, the entire complex of beliefs associated with the liberal and capitalist socio-political system that can be described as optimistic. Belief in the cultural order, in the harmony of individual interests, in the automatic progress of mankind, in the blessings of knowledge and technology, the liberal attitude in political and economic issues stemming from this faith – all this adds up to this optimistic faith in the “goodness of the human race” (the term of Erasmus Majewski[xxi], who after the war published a brochure, to which we do not owe much, called “Bankructwo pieniądza papierowego oraz cywilizacji, opartej na wierze w dobroć rodzaju ludzkiego”). Its source and justification is associated with the rationalist view of the world. It involves, as William James[xxii] determined (quoted after Sorel’s “Materiaux d'une theorie du proletariat”) “a complete change of the real world made by the rationalists for the ideal, well-ordered world, where everything is precisely determined (fou tout est net)”. This results in deformation of reality, extremely beneficial for the ruling class. The individual moves simultaneously in two worlds: in the world of utopia, created by the rationalist doctrine (Sorel was quite right to consider the liberal economy as a utopian system), where there is complete harmony, and in a world of brutal real exploitation, concealed and justified simultaneously by prevailing ideology.

Optimistic civilization is created by those classes which, in the social order they establish, take over the wealth created at the expense of the weaker classes or dependent nations (English wealth gathered through domination over Indians); it is a civilization based on the morality of use, rejecting positions suitable for warriors and for employees. Hence the hedonistic moment playing such a great role in it.

The natural consequence of this civilization is Quietism, non-historicism. History, as a struggle between states and groups for power, is the same sad necessity as the very existence of a state. The historical forces still operating in the world forum have the reason to exist only as tools of the prevailing social stratum, which, hedonistic in itself, uses them to maintain its hegemony. There are wishes to make the church and the state, religious and patriotic desires come down to the role of these tools. All this, however, is theoretically irrelevant to historical processes of an automatic nature, restoring harmony where it is disturbed, and constantly moving humanity along the path of progress.

This attitude towards history turned out to be lethal for the ruling bourgeoisie. The forces it used as its tools turned against it. Like the sorcerer’s apprentice from Goethe's ballad, it could not control those dark, amorphous powers it had created itself.




It is not the first phase of the optimistic civilization, the decline of which we are experiencing today. History has already known optimistic civilizations, which in turn would give way to pessimistic ones.

The classical Greek civilization was pessimistic until the times of the rationalist revolution conducted by sophists and by the Socrates followers. Early Christianity was pessimistic as well, continued through the Middle Ages, contaminated, however, by the strong influence of Hellenism. That Alexandrian civilization, to which Nietzsche had so much antipathy, was an optimistic one too. Just like Renaissance, continued by the rationalistic era of the “Enlightenment”, which already created the sources of this last phase of optimistic civilization whose bankruptcy must in turn bring a renaissance of pessimistic civilization.

If in recent years there have been repeated announcements of “returning to the Middle Ages”, they undoubtedly arise from the desire to determine more precisely this evolution towards a pessimistic civilization, which is known to us in the form of the Middle Ages. We do not think, however, that the new civilization would have too many features that would make it medieval – apart from that most popular commonality of starting points – that it would not be rationalistic or optimistic. The differences between us and the people of the Middle Ages, stemming from completely different ways of production, are too serious to make the return to the Middle Ages possible. For the same reason, one can postulate a return to the antiquity, in particular to its pessimistic phases, only with some reservations.

However, in the attitudes towards life taken by the citizens of Ancient Greek republics, we can see more moments that can influence our period than in the medieval world. Sorel and his student Edward Berth argued that the revolutionary proletariat is undertaking a work that can be described as the reconstruction of ancient polis. The analogy lies in the social criterion applied by the Greeks to the activities of the individual. The existence of this criterion, stemming from the irrational, biological and mystical concept of the relationship between individuals and the state, allows us to evaluate today's anti-liberal revolutionary trends as a striving for the renaissance of an ancient state.

One can also point to other features of the Greek civilization before Socrates, which may return in the civilization of the coming period. Greek tragedy is a reflection of this human attitude to the world (transferred into the literary realm), which was formed in the bosom of polis, forcing the individual to the highest strain of their spiritual and physical strength in the service of the community. It presents us with people fighting, overcoming their fate in battle. People who could repeat the words put in Caesar's mouth by Norwid[xxiii]:

Heroism is the only complete rest.

The age is coming in which humanity will seek salvation from such people. On the ruins of ideals of the Quietist civilization, they will establish tablets of new moral values.

[1] This was applied even more to anarchists from the late 19th century, despite their attacks against property rights.

[i] French: “In the 19th century, work was a cash cow of capital. In the 20th century, capital becomes a cash cow of work.”

[ii] Bertrand de Jouvenel des Ursins (1903-1987) – French political scientist, political and economic thinker. In his youth, he was an activist of the Republican Syndicalist Party, later – of the nationalist French Popular Party. After World War II, he held conservative-liberal positions.

[iii] Paraphrase of the words of Józef Piłsudski, included in the speech delivered in Poznań on October 26, 1919.

[iv] In 1787, Empress Catherine II (1729-1796) travelled across the Dnieper. The governor of the adjacent provinces, Prince Grigory Potemkin (1739-1791), to prove his success as a manager, used portable façades of the villages, mounted along the river bank. When Catherine's ship appeared in the field of view, servants dressed as peasants cheered in honour of the ruler.

[v] Numa Fustel de Coulanges (1830-1889) – French historian. Author of works such as: Polybe ou la Grèce conquise par les Romains (1858), La Cité antique (1864), Histoire des institutions politiques de l'ancienne France (1875), La monarchie franque (1888).

[vi] Fr. “the world of material forms changes because the man changes”.

[vii] Fr. “rational age”; a term used by supporters of Enlightenment ideas.

[viii] Fr. “stupid age”. An allusion to the book Le Stupide XIX-e siècle (1922) by Léon Daudet.

[ix] Fr. “let do” – the slogan of French supporters of economic liberalism in the 19th century.

[x] Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) – French economist. A supporter of the free market on the economic level and of limited government on the political level. Author of works such as: Sophismes économiques (1845-1848), L’État (1848), Justice et fraternité (1848), Propriété et loi (1848), Harmonies Économiques (1848-1850), Capital et rente (1849), Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (1850).

[xi] Latin “a grove (so called) from the absence of light”; figuratively: the essence of a given phenomenon lies in a feature that it does not have.

[xii] William Godwin (1756-1836) – English pastor and political thinker. Theoretician of anarchism. Author of works such as: An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and It's Influence on General Virtual and Happiness (1793), Things As They Are (1794), Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1798).

[xiii] Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876) – Russian thinker and political activist. Theoretician of collectivist anarchism and Pan-Slavism. He tried to take part in the Greater Poland uprising (1848), participated in the Spring of Nations in Germany (1849) and in an unsuccessful expedition to help the January Uprising (1863).

[xiv] Fr. “Materials for the theory of the proletariat”; a 1919 work by Georges Sorel.

[xv] Charles Benoist (1861-1936) – French diplomat and political thinker; royalist. French deputy in Hague, later an activist of the French Action. Author of works such as: La Crise de l'État moderne (1896-1935), Le Machiavélisme (1907-1936), Les Maladies de la démocratie. L’art de capier le suffrage et le pouvoir (1929), La Monarchie française (1935).

[xvi] Fr. “Illusions of progress”, 1908 work by Georges Sorel.

[xvii] Nicolas de Condorcet (1743-1794) – marquis; French mathematician and political thinker. During the revolution in France, he was active within the Girondins. He was murdered. Author of works such as: De l'admission des femmes au droit de cité (1790), Esquisse d'un tableau historique des progrès de l'esprit humain (wyd. pośmiertne 1795).

[xviii] Richard Cobden (1804-1865) – English economist and politician. He founded the Anti-Corn Law League (1838); acting as its head, he led to the abolition of “corn laws” (1846). Member of the House of Commons (1847-1857, 1859-1865). Supporter of free trade and the elimination of customs barriers, in which he saw a way to consolidate international peace.

[xix] St. Pius X (Giuseppe Sarto, 1835-1914) – Pope of the Catholic Church from 1903. In his encyclicals, he condemned the heresy of Mariavitism (Tribus circiter, 1906) and modernism (Pascendi dominici gregis, 1907); he introduced the obligation to take an Oath Against Modernism (1908) by ordained priests. He was canonized in 1954 by Pope Pius XII (1876-1958).

[xx] Pericles (died 429 BC) – Greek politician. From 444 BC until his death, annually elected the strategist (army commander) of Athens, where he was an actual leader. Reformer of Athenian democracy, which he transformed into the rule of the first citizen.

[xxi] Erazm Majewski (1858-1922) – Polish archaeologist, sociologist, historian of philosophy and writer. Author of works such as: Nauka o cywilizacji (1908-1923), Biologiczne kryteria cywilizacji i znaczenie jej dla biologii i filozofii (1909),

[xxii] William James (1842-1910) – American psychologist and philosopher. The creator of the philosophical trend called pragmatism. Author of works such as: The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (1902), Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (1907), The Meaning of Truth: A Sequel to “Pragmatism” (1909).

[xxiii] Cyprian Kamil Norwid (1821-1883) – Polish poet, writer and playwright of the Romantic period, called the “fourth bard” or “late bard”. In his works strongly saturated with philosophy of creativity, he expressed Catholic and conservative ideas. Author of poems such as Promethidion (1851), Quidam (1855-1857), Assunta (1870), prose poems such as Black Flowers and White Flowers (1856), and a drama Cleopatra and Caesar.

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