The fact is, I do perceive a source of strong solidarity between the upper and lower classes, and, just as the accusation goes, it’s religious in nature. As Haga argued, it’s ultimately not even about the 99%; it’s about the 100%. Class differences are to be rectified, but humanity is then to be reconciled; and it cannot be reconciled in any other way. What is good for the lower classes materially is good for the upper classes spiritually; and their cooperation exists in the overt liberation of the lower class.

It’s fair to say that it’s because I’m religious that I’m nonviolent. The universal solidarity created by the spiritual dimension of human existence is precisely the reason for my conviction that nonviolent change is a real possibility: if change were irreducibly opposed to the interests of the upper classes, then only force could ever effect it. But because it is the common interest of all mankind, it might instead be the result of peace.

One might ask: is the liberation of the lower class also in its own spiritual interest? Yes, deeply so, the act of seizing it is.

What about the state of having it? In countless ways, yes. Living in inhumane conditions does terrible violence to the recognition of one’s own humanity. But even then there is hope- as the humanity of the oppressed can never be extinguished, the recognition of their own humanity will rise again and again. It can never be permanently suppressed.

And the act of the bourgeoisie who follows my advice, selling his belongings to give them to the poor; for whom is it beneficial, and in what way? It is beneficial to him spiritually, and to the poor materially.

Is it also beneficial to the poor spiritually? Yes, many would attest that evangelism is indeed beneficial, though few would deny that the true benefit of the thing is in the response. It is not what goes into a person that purifies them, but what comes out of them. But I will contend that it is enough that it benefits the poor materially- that this is valuable for its own sake.

Why, when I have said that all the material gain in the world is not worth one’s soul? Because the only reason excessive wealth is an abomination is that money really does matter- because all parties involved care about and need it.

Slavery is not an abomination only because it involves the grievous sin of slaveowners. It is also an abomination because it involves the unbearable suffering of slaves. No suffering is too great to be worth bearing if it is for conscience, but suffering itself is no neutrality- it is an evil.

And the liberation of the lower class, is it beneficial to the rich spiritually? Yes, it is evangelism and surely beneficial, though the true benefit is in the response. It is beneficial spiritually to the rich because it may inspire them to become revolutionaries.

The only sense in which it is not beneficial is for the upper class materially. But material benefits in excess of need, and those stolen from the poor, do not produce lasting happiness.


Talk back, yo. :)

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