Aid yourself, and Heaven will aid you!

Since the human race has been tossing about on the face of its globe, it has struggled with no other task; for it the same care is ever recurrent, — that of assuring its subsistence while going forward in the path of discovery. In order that such clearing of land may not become a ruinous speculation, a cause of misery, in other words, in order that it may be possible, it is necessary, therefore, to multiply still further our capital and machinery, discover new processes, and more thoroughly divide labor. Now, to solicit the government to take such an initiative is to imitate the peasants who, on seeing the approach of a storm, begin to pray to God and to invoke their saint. Governments — today it cannot be too often repeated — are the representatives of Divinity, — I had almost said executors of celestial vengeance: they can do nothing for us. Does the English government, for instance, know any way of giving labor
to the unfortunates who take refuge in its workhouses? And if it knew, would it dare? Aid yourself, and Heaven will aid you! This note of popular distrust of Divinity tells us also what we must expect of power, — nothing.

P.J. Proudhon – The Philosophy of Misery


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