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Differences Between Bakunin and Godwin


Quotes are all from Bakunin. The page of quotes was collected by someone who likes Bakunin.
If God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish Him. - God and the State, 1871
Godwin didn't hate God.
Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, and socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality. - Federalism, Socialism and Anti-Theologism, 1867
Godwin didn't criticize freedom itself.
There can be no equality between schoolmaster and pupils. - The Bear of Berne and the Bear of St.Petersberg, 1870
Godwin said there can and should be such equality.
No one should be entrusted with power, inasmuch as anyone invested with authority must, through the force of an immutable social law, become an oppressor and exploiter of society. - Statism and Anarchy, 1873
Godwin didn't see the people in power as exploiters. He saw them as victims, too, of bad ideas.
No theory, no ready-made system, no book that has ever been written will ever save the world. I cleave to no system, I am a true seeker. - correspondence, n.d.
Godwin didn't trash theories.
Let us put our trust in the eternal spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unsearchable and eternally creative source of all life. The urge to destroy is also a creative urge. - Reaction in Germany, 1842
Godwin didn't trust destruction and annihilation.
One must distinguish between the prejudices of the people and those of the privileged classes. The prejudices of the masses are based only on their ignorance and run counter to their own interests, where the prejudices of the bourgeoisie are based precisely on their interests. Which of the two is incurable? The bourgeoisie, without any doubt. - The Politics of the International, 1869
Godwin said the prejudices of the privileged classes were *not* in their interest. That means they would voluntarily change things if they understood more.
Everywhere religious or philosophical idealism(the one being simply the more or less free interpretation of the other) serves today as the banner of bloody and brutal material force, of shameless material exploitation. - The Knouto-Germanic Empire, 1871
Godwin never writes stuff that sounds like that.
I am a fanatic lover of liberty, considering it as the unique condition under which intelligence, dignity, and the happiness of men can develop and grow; not that purely formal liberty, conceded, measured, and regulated by the State, an eternal lie. No, I mean the only liberty truly worthy of the name, liberty that consists in the full development of all the powers - material, intellectual, and moral - that are latent faculties of each; liberty that recognizes no other restrictions than those outlined for us by the laws of our own individual nature, so that properly speaking, there are no restrictions...

I mean that liberty of each individual which, far from halting as at a boundary before the liberty of others, finds there its confirmation and its extension to infinity; the illimitable liberty of each through the liberty of all, liberty by solidarity, liberty in equality; liberty triumphing over brute force and the principle of authority which was never anything but the intellectualized expression of that force; liberty which, after having overthrown all heavenly and earthly idols, will found and organize a new world, that of human solidarity, on the ruins of all Churches and all States. - The Paris Commune and the Notion of the State
I bolded the three parts of the quote I'm commenting on, and replied to them in order.

Godwin thought we should live according to objective morality, not follow our individual nature.

Godwin thought our liberty did need to halt at the boundary of the liberty of others.

Godwin didn't want to create any ruins, i.e. didn't want to destroy things.

Elliot Temple on March 16, 2009


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