AN APPEAL TO RUSSIANS.
have read, and by so doing make it as pitiful, helpless, and
perverted as yourselves.
You say you want a just organisation oflife, but in fact you
can exist only under an irregular, unjust organisation. Should
a really just organisation be established, with no place for those
who live on the labour of others, you all : landlords, merchants,
doctors, professors, and lawyers, as well as factory-hands,
manufacturers, workshop-owners, engineers, teachers and producers
of cannons, tobacco, spirits, looking-glasses, velvet, etc., together
with the members of the Government—would starve to death.
Whatjw* need is not a really just order of life: for nothing
would be more dangerous for you than an order in which everyone
had to do work useful to all.
Only cease to deceive yourselves : consider well the place you
hold among the Russian people and what you are doing, and it will
be clear to you that your struggle with the Government is the struggle
of two parasites on a healthy body, and that both contending
parties are equally harmful to the people. Speak, therefore, of
your own interests; but do not speak for the people. Do not lie
about them, but leave them in peace. Fight the Government, if
you cannot refrain ; but know that you are fighting for yourselves
not for the people, and that in this violent struggle there is not only
nothing noble or good, but that your struggle is a very stupid and
harmful and, above all, a very immoral affair.
Your activity aims, you say, at making the general condition
of the people better. But that the people's condition should be
better, it is necessary for people themselves to be better. This is
as much a truism, as that to heat a vessel of water, all the drops
•n it must be heated. That people may become better, it is
necessary that they should turn their attention ever more and more
to their inner life. But external public activity, and especially
public strife, always diverts men's minds from the inner life ; and,
therefore, by perverting people, always and inevitably lowers the level
° gCneral mora%, as has everywhere been the case, and as we
now see most strikingly exemplified in Russia. This lowering of