Tolstoy: Principles for a New World Order
Publisher: Shepheard-Walwyn | ISBN: 0856831344 | edition 1992 | PDF | 192 pages | 8.92 mb
Biographers have hailed Leo Tolstoy as a literary giant but have misunderstood or misrepresented what he regarded as his most important work, namely his attempt to formulate a consistent philosophy which took its inspiration from the Sermon on the Mount but addressed itself to the political and economic problems of the day. This is the first comprehensive treatment of this endeavour which occupied the last 30 years of his life. David Redfearn explains how Tolstoy came to realize that the state existed to protect and preserve the privileges of the few and that the Church connived at the situation. As the truth of this became more and more obvious to him, he abandoned his literary career and set out to explore the true meaning of Christianity and to devise a system for securing economic justice. Redfearn points out that this endeavour took many years and in the process Tolstoy went down a number of blind alleys, thus giving rise to inconsistencies. His own position as one of the privileged class exacerbated the situation, because he was torn between his desire to practice his philosophy and his duty to his family.
It is therefore on his mature philosophy that this part of his life should be judged. One of the great influences of his life, one which helped him clarify his economic thinking, was the work of his contemporary, the American social reformer Henry George. He was so impressed that in 1902 he urged the Tsar to introduce the tax and land tenure reforms advocated by George - to no avail. The full text of his letter is reproduced in the book. In his foreword Dr. Gorelov reveals that Tolstoy's later works are once more being studied by reformers in Russia seeking an alternative social philosophy to Marxism and capitalism. David Redfearn argues that Tolstoy's work is equally relevant to the industrialised West and the Third World for it was essentially a critique of the capitalist system.
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