“The Only Means” by Leo Tolstoy

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets (Matt. ⅶ. 12).

1

There are more than one thousand millions of working people in the world. All the bread, all the commodities of this world, everything men live and are rich by, — all that is made by the working people. But the working people live in constant need, ignorance, slavery, and contempt of all those whom they dress, feed, provide for, and serve.

The land is taken away from them and considered to be the property of those who do not work upon it; thus, to gain his sustenance from it, a labourer must do everything which the owners of the land demand of him. But if the labourer leaves the land and goes to work in factories or plants, he falls into the slavery of the rich, for whom he must all his life work ten, twelve, and fourteen hours a day, doing somebody else’s monotonous, tedious, and frequently injurious work. If he manages to provide for himself on the land or in doing somebody else’s work, so as to be able to feed himself without suffering want, he will not be left alone, but they will demand of him taxes and, besides, will take him for three, four, or five years into the army, or will compel him to pay special taxes for military affairs. If he wants to use the land, without paying for it, or if he arranges a strike and wants to keep other labourers from taking his place, or refuses to pay the taxes, they send the army out against him, wound and kill him, and by force compel him to work and to pay taxes as before.

Thus, the working people live throughout the whole world, not like men, but like beasts of burden, who are compelled all their lives to do, not what they need, but what their oppressors want, and for which their oppressors give them precisely as much food, clothing, and rest as they need in order to be able to work without cessation. But that small part of men which lords it over the working people enjoys everything which the masses produce, and lives in idleness and mad luxury, uselessly and immorally wasting the labours of millions.

Thus lives the majority of men in the whole world, not only in Russia, but also in France, in Germany, in England, in China, in India, in Africa, — everywhere. Who is to blame for it? And how can it be mended? Some say that those are to blame who, without working on the land, own it, and that the land ought to be given back to the working people; others say that the rich are to blame, who own the implements of labour, that is, the factories and plants, and that it is necessary that the factories and plants should become the property of the working people; others again say that the whole structure of life is to blame, and that it is necessary to change this whole structure.

Is this true?

2

, during the coronation of Nicholas Ⅱ., the masses in Moscow were promised a free treat of wine, beer, and lunch. The masses moved toward the place where the food was distributed, and a crush ensued. Those in front were knocked off their feet by those who were behind them, and these, in their turn, were pushed by those still farther back, and all, without seeing what was going on in front, pushed and crushed one another. The feeble were knocked off their feet by those who were stronger, and then the stronger people themselves, jammed in and suffocating, fell and were trampled upon by those who were behind them and could not arrest the motion. Thus several thousand people, old and young, men and women, were crushed to death.

When all was over, people began to reflect as to who was to blame for it. Some said that the police were to blame; others said that the managers were to blame; others again said that the Tsar was to blame, for having invented this stupid kind of a celebration. All, but themselves, were blamed. And yet it would seem clear, only those were to blame who, to be the first to get a handful of cakes and a beaker of wine, rushed forward, without paying any attention to any one else, and pushed and crushed the others.

Does not the same happen with the working people? The working people are worn out, crushed, turned into slaves, only because for the sake of insignificant advantages they themselves ruin their lives and those of their brothers. The working people complain of the landowners, the government, the manufacturers, the army.

But the landowners use the land, the government collects the taxes, the manufacturers dispose of the workmen, and the army suppresses the strikes, only because the working people not only aid the landowners, the government, the manufacturers, the army, but themselves do all that of which they complain. If a landowner is able to use thousands of desyatlnas of land, without working it himself, he does so only because the working people for their advantage go and work for him, and serve as his janitors, outriders, and clerks. In the same way the taxes are collected by the government from the working people, only because the working people, with an eye to a salary, which is collected from them, become elders, tax collectors, policemen, custom-house servants, border guards, that is, aid the government to do what they complain of. Again the working people complain that the manufacturers lower the wages and make the men work longer and ever longer hours; but this, too, is done only because the working people knock down one another’s wages and, besides, hire out to the manufacturers as receivers, superintendents, janitors, and chief workmen, and for their masters’ advantage search, fine, and in every way oppress their brothers.

Finally the working people complain that the army is sent out against them, when they want to take possession of the land which they consider their own, or do not pay the taxes, or arrange strikes.

But the army consists of soldiers, and the soldiers are the same working people who, some from advantage, others from fear, enter military service and make under oath a promise which is contrary both to their consciences and to the divine law recognized by them, that they will kill all those whom the authorities shall order them to Mil.

Thus all the calamities of the working people are caused by themselves.

They need only stop aiding the rich and the government, and all their calamities will be destroyed of themselves.

Why, then, do they continue to do what ruins them?

3

Two thousand years ago people began to be acquainted with God’s law that it is necessary to do unto others as one would have others treat us, or, as this is expressed by the Chinese sage Confucius, “Do not do to others what you do not want that others should do to you.”

This law is simple and comprehensible to every man, and obviously gives the greatest good accessible to men. And so it would seem that, as soon as men have learned this law, they ought immediately to carry it out to the best of their ability, and ought to use all their forces for the purpose of teaching this law to the younger generations and familiarizing them with its execution.

Thus, it would seem, all people ought to have acted long ago, since this law was almost simultaneously expressed by Confucius, by the Jewish sage Hillel, and by Christ.

Especially the men of our Christian world, it would seem, ought to have acted thus, since they recognize as the chief divine revelation that Gospel in which it says directly that this is the whole law and the prophets, that is, all the teaching which men need.

Meanwhile almost two thousand years have passed, and men, far from executing this law themselves and teaching it to their children, for the most part do not know it themselves, or, if they know it, consider it to be unnecessary or impracticable.

At first this seems strange, but when one considers how people lived before the discovery of this law, and how long they lived thus, and how incompatible this law is with the life of humanity as at present constituted, one begins to understand why this happened so.

This happened so because, while men did not know the law that for the good of all men each ought to do unto another what he wished that others should do to him, each man tried for his advantage to have as much power over other men as possible. Having seized such power, each man, to be able without molestation to enjoy it, was compelled in his turn to submit to those who were stronger than he, and to aid them. These stronger ones, in their turn, had to submit to those who were still stronger, and to aid them.

Thus, in those societies which did not know the law that we ought to treat others as we wish that others should treat us, a small number of men always ruled all the rest.

And so it is comprehensible that, when this law was revealed to men, the small number of men who ruled the rest not only did not wish to accept this law, but could not even wish that people over whom they ruled should learn of it and accept it.

A small number of ruling people have always known full well that their power is based on this, that those over whom they rule are constantly at war with each other, each trying to make the others submit to him. And so they have always employed all means at their command in order to conceal the existence of this law from their subjects.

They do not conceal this law in that they deny it, — which is, indeed, impossible, since the law is clear and simple, — but in that they put forth hundreds and thousands of other laws, recognizing them as more important and obligatory than the law about doing unto another as one would that others should do to oneself.

Some of these people, the priests, preach hundreds of church dogmas, rites, sacrificial ceremonies, prayers, which have nothing in common with the law about doing unto others as one would that others should do to oneself, — giving them out as the most important laws of God, the non-performance of which leads to eternal perdition.

Others, the rulers, accepting the doctrine invented by the priests and regarding it as the law, on its basis establish governmental decrees which are directly opposed to the law of mutuality, and under the threat of punishment demand that all men shall perform them.

Others again, the learned and the rich, who do not recognize God or any obligatory law of His, teach that there is only science and its laws, which they, the learned, reveal and the rich know, and that, for all people to fare well, it is necessary by means of schools, lectures, theatres, concerts, galleries, assemblies to acquire the same idle life which the learned and the rich live, and that then all that evil from which the working people suffer will come to an end of its own accord.

Neither of these deny the law itself, but side by side with it put forth such a mass of every kind of theological, governmental, and scientific laws, that amidst them that clear and all-accessible law of God, the fulfilment of which indubitably liberates the majority of men from their sufferings, becomes imperceptible and even entirely disappears.

It is this that has produced the remarkable fact that the working people, who are crushed by the governments and by the rich, continue generation after generation to ruin their lives and the lives of their brothers; and, having recourse, for the sake of alleviating their condition, to the most complicated, cunning, and difficult of means, such as prayers, sacrificial ceremonies, the humble execution of governmental demands, unions, savings-banks, assemblies, strikes, revolutions, fail to have recourse to the one means, the fulfilment of the law of God, which certainly frees them from all their calamities.

4

“But is it possible that in so simple and short an utterance, as the one that men must act toward others as they wish that others should act to them, is contained the whole law of God and all the guidance of human life?” will say those who are used to the intricacy and confusion of the theological, governmental, and scientific considerations.

To such people it appears that the law of God and the guidance of human life must be expressed in diffuse, complicated theories, and so cannot be expressed in such a short and simple utterance.

Indeed, the law about doing unto another as we would that others should do to us is very brief and very simple, but it is this very brevity and simplicity that show that this law is true, indubitable, eternal, and good, a law of God, worked out by a millennial life of the whole of humanity, and not the production of one man or of one circle of men, which calls itself the church, the state, or science.

The theological reflections about the fall of the first man, about his redemption, about the second advent, or the governmental and scientific disquisitions about parliaments, supreme power, the theory of punishment, of property, of values, the classification of the sciences, natural selection, and so forth, may be very astute and profound, but are always accessible to but a small number of men. But the law about treating other people as we would that others should treat us is accessible to all men, without distinction of race, faith, culture, or even age.

Besides, the theological, governmental, scientific reflections, which are regarded as the truth in one place and at one time, are regarded as a lie in another place and at another time; but the law about treating others as we would that others should treat us is regarded as true wherever it is known, and never ceases to be the truth for those who have once learned it.

But the chief difference between this law and all other laws, and its chief advantage, is this, that all the theological, governmental, and scientific laws not only do not pacify people and give them the good, but frequently cause the greatest enmity and sufferings.

But the law about doing unto others as we would that others should do to us, or about not doing unto others as we would that others should not do to us, can produce nothing but concord and the good. And so the deductions from this law are infinitely beneficent and varied, defining all possible relations of men among themselves, and everywhere putting concord and mutual service in the place of discord and struggle. If only men, having freed themselves from the deceptions which conceal this law from them, would recognize its obligatoriness and would work out all its applications to life, there would appear that science, now absent, but common to all men and most important in the world, which would show how on the basis of this law are to be settled all conflicts, both of separate individuals among themselves and between separate individuals and society. If this now lacking science were established and worked out, and if all adults and all children were taught it, as now they are taught harmful superstitions and frequently useless and harmful sciences, the whole life of men would be changed, and so would all those grievous conditions in which now the vast majority of them live.

5

In the Bible tradition it says that God gave His law to men long before the law about not doing to others what we do not want that others should do to us.

In this law there was the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” This commandment was for its time as significant and as fruitful as the later commandment about doing to others what we would that others should do to us, but to it befell the same as did to this later commandment. It was not directly rejected by men, but, like the later commandment of mutuality, it was lost amidst other rules and precepts, which were recognized as of equal or even greater importance than the law of the inviolability of human life. If there were but this one commandment, and Moses, according to tradition, had brought down on the tables, as the only law of God, nothing but the few words, “Thou shalt not kill,” men ought to have recognized the obligatoriness of fulfilling this law, for which no other obligation could be substituted. And if men had recognized this law as the chief and only law of God, and had carried it out strictly, as they now carry out the celebration of the Sabbath, the worship of the images, communion, the non-eating of pork, and so forth, the whole of the human life would have been changed, and there would be no possibility for war, nor slavery, nor the rich men’s seizure of the land of the poor, nor the possession of the products of labour by the many, because all this is based only on the possibility or on the threat of murder.

Thus it would be if the law, “Thou shalt not kill,” were recognized as the only law of God. But when, on a par with this law, they recognized as just as important the commandments about the Sabbath, about not pronouncing God’s name, and other commandments, there naturally arose, besides, new decrees of the priests, which were recognized as of equal importance, and the one greatest law of God, “Thou shalt not kill,” which changed the whole life of men, was drowned among them, and not only did it become not always obligatory, but there were also found cases when it was possible to act quite contrary to it, so that this law has not even to this day received the significance which is proper to it.

The same happened with the law about acting toward others as we would that others should act toward us.

Thus the chief evil from which men suffer has for a long time not consisted in this, that they do not know God’s true law, but in this, that men, to whom the knowledge and the execution of the true law is inconvenient, being unable to destroy or overthrow it, invent “precept upon precept and rule upon rule,” as Isaiah says, and give them out as just as obligatory as, or even more obligatory than the true laws of God. And so, the only thing that now is needed for freeing men from their sufferings, is this, that they should free themselves from all the theological, governmental, and scientific reflections, which are proclaimed to be obligatory laws of life, and, having freed themselves, should naturally recognize as more binding upon them than all the other precepts and laws, that true, eternal law, which is already known to them, and gives, not only to a few, but to all men, the greatest possible good in social life.

6

“But,” will say some, “no matter how correct the law about doing to others what we would that others should do to us may be in itself, it cannot be applied to all cases in life. Let men recognize this law to be always binding, without any exceptions whatever, and they will be compelled to recognize as inadmissible the use of any violence by any set of men upon any other, since no one wants any violence to be used against him. But without the use of violence over some people the individual cannot be made safe, property cannot be protected, the country cannot be defended, the existing order cannot be maintained.”

God says to men: “In order that you may everywhere and always be well off, fulfil my law about doing to others what you would that others should do to you.”

But men who established a certain order in in England, Germany, France, or Russia say: “Suppose we should fare worse, if we fulfilled the law given to us by God?”

We accept a law which is made by an assembly of men, no matter how strange it may be and by what bad men it may be made, and we are not afraid to fulfil it; but we are afraid to fulfil the law which is not only in agreement with reason and conscience, but which is also directly expressed in the book which we accept as God’s revelation, as though saying: “Suppose something bad should result from it, or that it should lead to disorder.”

Is it not obvious that the men who speak and think so are not speaking of order, but of that disorder in which they live and which is advantageous for them?

Order is in their opinion a state in which they are able to feast on other people; but disorder is that state when the people devoured wish that men should stop devouring them.

Such considerations show only that the men who belong to the small number of the ruling class feel, for the most part unconsciously, that the recognition of the law about doing unto others as we would that others should do unto us, and its fulfilment by men, not only destroys their advantageous social position, but also reveals all their immorality and cruelty. These people cannot reflect differently.

But it is time for the working people, who are driven off the land, crushed under taxes, driven to convict labour in factories, changed into slave soldiers, who torture themselves and their brothers, to understand that only the belief in the law of God and its fulfilment will free them from their sufferings.

The non-fulfilment of this law and the ever increasing calamities resulting from it urge them to it. It is time for the labouring people to understand that their salvation lies only in this, that they need but begin to fulfil the law of mutuality, in order that their situation should at once be improved, — and it will be improved in proportion as the number of men who act toward others as they would that others should act toward them shall be increased.

And this is not mere words, not abstract reflections, like the religious, governmental, socialistic, scientific theories, but an actual means of liberation.

The theological, governmental, and scientific reflections and promises afford the good to the working people, some in the world to come, and others in this world, but at such a distant future, that the bones of those who live and suffer now will long ago have rotted; but the fulfilment of the law about doing unto others what we would that others should do unto us immediately and incontestably improves the condition of the working people.

Even if all the working people did not see clearly that by working on the lands of the capitalists and in their factories they give the capitalists the chance of using the products of the labours of their brothers, and thus violate the law of mutuality, or, if they saw it and through want did not have the strength to decline such work, the refraining from such work, even by a few, would embarrass the capitalists and would at once improve the general condition of the working people. And the refraining from a direct participation in the activity of the capitalists and the government in the capacity of overseers, clerks, collectors of taxes, custom-house servants, and so forth, who obviously are opposed to the law of mutuality, would still more improve the condition of the working people, even if not all should be able to abstain from such an activity. And the refusal of the working people to take part in the army, which has murder for its aim, — an act most opposed to the law of mutuality, — and which of late has been more and more frequently directed against the labourers, would absolutely change the position of the working people for the better.

7

God’s law is not God’s law because, as the priests always assert in regard to their laws, it was in a miraculous way enunciated by God himself, but because it faultlessly and obviously points out to men that path which, if they travel upon it, will certainly free them from their sufferings and will give them the greatest internal — spiritual — and external — physical — good, and this will be attained not by a chosen few, but by all men without any exception.

Such is the law of God about treating others as we would that others should treat us. It shows to people that, fulfilling it, they will certainly receive the inner, spiritual good of the consciousness of agreement with the will of God and of the increase of love in themselves and in others, and at the same time in social life the greatest certain good accessible to them; and that, in departing from it, they certainly make their condition worse.

Indeed, it is obvious to every man who does not take part in the struggle of men among themselves, but observes life from without, that the people who struggle among themselves act precisely like gamesters who give up their certain, though insignificant, property for the very doubtful possibility of its increase.

Whether a working man who underbids his companions or who goes to work for the rich or enters military service will improve his condition, is as doubtful as this, whether the gamester will win in putting up his stake.

There can be thousands of casualties by which his condition will remain such as it is, or even get worse than it is. But it is unquestionable that his agreement to work for smaller wages or his readiness to serve the capitalists and the government will make the condition of all the working people, and his with theirs, slightly worse, — and this is as unquestionable as that the gamester will certainly lose the stake which he risks.

For a man who does not take part in the struggle, but observes life, it is obvious that just as in games of hazard, in lotteries, in the exchange, it is only the keepers of the gambling-houses, of the lotteries, and of the brokers’ offices who get rich, while all players get ruined, so also in life it is the governments, the rich, in general the oppressors, who become enriched; but all the working people who, in the hope of improving their situation, depart from the law of mutuality, only make the situation of all working people worse, and consequently their own situation together with the rest.

God’s law is God’s law even because it defines man’s position in the world, showing him that better thing which he can do while in this position, both for his spiritual and for his carnal life.

“Therefore take no thought,” it says in the Gospel in explanation of this law, “saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” And these are not mere words, but the explanation of man’s true position in the world.

If a man only does what God wants of him, and fulfils His law, God, too, will do for him everything which he needs. Thus the law about doing unto others as we would that others should do unto us refers to God as well. For Him to do to us what we would that He should do to us, we must do for Him what He wants us to do. What He wants us to do is, that we should treat others as we would that others should treat us.

The only difference is this, that what He wants of us He does not need for Himself, but for ourselves, giving us the highest accessible good.

8

The working people must purify themselves, in order that the governments and the rich should stop devouring them.

The itch develops only on a dirty body, and feeds on that body only so long as it is dirty. And so, for the working people to free themselves from their wretchedness, there is but one means, — to purify themselves. But to purify themselves, they must free themselves from the theological, governmental, and scientific superstitions, and believe in God and His law.

In this does the one means of salvation lie.

Take an educated and a simple, unlettered working man. Both are full of indignation against the existing order of things. The educated working man does not believe in God or in His law, but knows Marx and Lassale, and watches the activity of a Bebel or a Jaurès in the parliaments, and delivers fine speeches about the injustice of the seizure of land, the implements of labour, against the hereditary transmission of property, and so forth.

The unlettered working man, though he does not know any theories, and believes in the Trinity, the redemption, and so forth, is also provoked against the landowners and capitalists, and considers the whole existing order to be wrong. But give a working man, either an educated or an uneducated one, the chance of improving his situation by producing some articles cheaper than others, though this may ruin tens, hundreds, thousands of his brothers, or the chance of taking with a rich man a place which gives him a big salary, or of buying land and himself starting an establishment with hired labour, and nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand will do so without hesitation, and will often defend their agrarian rights or the rights of the employers with even more zeal than landowners and capitalists who are to the manor born.

But that their participation in murder, that is, in military service or in the taxes which are intended for the support of the army, is not only a morally bad act, but also very pernicious for their brothers and for themselves, — the same which forms the foundation of their slavery, — does not enter the heads of any of them, and all either gladly pay their taxes for the army, or themselves enter the army, considering such an act to be quite natural.

Could such people have led to the formation of a different society from that which now exists?

The working people find the cause of their condition in the greed and cruelty of the landowners, capitalists, violators; but all, or nearly all, working people, without faith in God and His law, are just such, though much smaller, or unsuccessful, landowners, capitalists, and violators.

A village lad, being in want of earnings, comes to the city, to a peasant of his own village, who is acting as coachman at the house of a rich merchant, and asks the coachman to find a place for him at lower wages than what is customary. The village lad is prepared to take the place; upon arriving the next morning, he accidentally hears in the servants’ room the complaints of the old man who has lost his place, and who does not know what to do next. The lad is sorry for the old man, and he refuses the place, because he does not want to do to another man what he does not want that others should do to him. Or a peasant, with a large family, accepts the well-paid place of steward on the estate of a rich and strict landowner. The new steward feels that his family is provided for, and is glad to take the place, but, upon beginning his duties, he has to mulct the peasants for permitting their horses to graze in their master’s fields, to catch the women who are collecting fagots in their proprietor’s forest, to lower the wages of the labourers and to make them exert their last bit of strength in work. And the steward who has taken this new place feels that his conscience does not permit him to busy himself with these matters, and he gives up his place, and, in spite of the reproaches and complaints of his family, is left without a place, and does something else, which gives him much less of an income. Or again, a soldier is brought with a company against some rioting labourers and is commanded to shoot at them; he refuses to obey, and for this suffers cruel torments. All these men act so because the evil which they do to others is visible to them, and their heart tells them outright that what they are doing is contrary to the law of God about not doing to another what we would not that others should do to us. But when the working man knocks down the price of labour and does not see those to whom he does wrong, the evil which he causes his brothers through it is not diminished thereby. And when a working man goes over to the side of the masters, and does not see or feel the harm which he does his own, the harm none the less remains.

The same is true of a man who enters military service and who prepares himself, if necessary, to kill his brothers. If, upon entering military service, he does not yet see whom and how he is going to kill, when he learns to shoot and to stab, he must understand that he will have to kill people some day. And so, for the working people to free themselves from their oppression and slavery, they must educate in themselves a religious feeling, which forbids everything that makes the general position of their brothers worse, even though this deterioration may not be perceptible to them. They must religiously abstain, as now people abstain from eating pork or any other meat on fast-days, from working on Sundays, and so forth, in the first place, from working for capitalists, if they can get along at all without doing so; in the second place, from offering to do work at less than the established wage; thirdly, from improving their condition by passing over to the side of the capitalists, by serving them; and, fourthly, above all else, from participation in governmental violence, — be it police, custom-house, or general military service.

Only by such a religious relation to the form of their activity can the working people be freed from their enslavement.

If a labourer is prepared from advantage or fear to agree to join the organized soldier murderers, without feeling the slightest compunction, if, for the increase of his well-being, he is prepared calmly to deprive his needy brother of his earnings, or for the sake of a salary to go over to the side of the oppressors, by helping them in their activity, — he has no cause for complaint.

No matter what his condition may be, he creates it himself and cannot himself be anything but an oppressed man or an oppressor.

Nor can it be different. So long as a man does not believe in God and His law, he cannot help but desire to get for himself in his short life as much good as possible, independently of what consequences this may have for others. And as soon as all men wish for themselves as much good as possible, independently of what this will do to others, no matter what order may be introduced, all men will form themselves into a cone, at the apex of which will be the rulers, and at the base the oppressed.

9

In the Gospel it says that Christ pitied men for being exhausted and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd.

What would He feel and say now, if He saw men not only exhausted and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd, but thousands of millions of men in the whole world, generation after generation, ruining themselves in beastly labour, in stupefaction, ignorance, vices, killing and tormenting one another, in spite of the fact that the means of freeing oneself from all these calamities was given two thousand years ago?

The key which unlocks the lock of the chain that fetters the working masses is placed near them, and they needs only take the key, open the chain, and be free. But the labouring people have not been doing this; they either undertake nothing and surrender themselves to gloom, or wound their shoulders in tugging at the chain, in the hope of breaking the unbreakable chain, or, what is still worse, like a chained animal which rushes against him who wants to free it, attack those who show them the key which unlocks the lock of their chain.

This key is the belief in God and His law.

Only when men will reject those superstitions in which they are carefully brought up, will believe that the law about doing unto others as we would that others should do unto us is for our time the chief law of God, will believe in this, as they now believe in the celebration of the Sabbath, the observance of fasts, the necessity of divine services and communion, the fivefold prayers, or the fulfilment of the oath, and so forth, and, believing in this, will fulfil this law before any other laws and precepts, — will the slavery and the wretched condition of the working people be destroyed.

And so the working people themselves must first of all, without respect for the old habits and traditions and without fearing the external persecutions from church and state and the internal struggle with their relatives, with boldness and determination free themselves from the false faith in which they are educated, more and more elucidate to themselves and to others, especially to the younger generations and to children, the essence of the faith in God and of the law of mutuality which results from it, and follow it to the best of their ability, though this following may present a temporary discomfiture.

Thus must the working people themselves act.

But the men of the ruling minority, who, making use of the labours of the working people, have acquired all the advantages of culture and so are able clearly to see the deceptions in which they keep the working people, if they truly wish to serve the working people, must first of all with their example and by their words try to free the working people from those religious and governmental deceptions in which they are entrapped, and must not do what they are doing now, when, by leaving in force, supporting, and even strengthening with their example these deceptions, especially the chief, the religious deceptions, they offer ineffective and even injurious medicines, which not only do not free the working people from their wretchedness, but even make their condition worse and worse.

No one can tell, whether this will ever or anywhere be realized. One thing is certain, and that is, that this means can free a vast number of men — all working people — from their humiliations and sufferings.

There is and there can be no other means.

Yásnaya Polyána, .

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