A Blupete Biography Page

Pantisocracy, Part 2 to the Life & Works of
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A pantisocracy, as was dreamt up by Coleridge and Southey, is a societal setup based on the doctrine of aspheterism, viz., that there ought to be no private property. The pantisocrats were devotees of William Godwin. Godwin had brought out his work Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Political Justice, or more simply, Political Justice in 1793. Godwin foresaw a time when "there will be no war, no crimes, no administration of justice, as it is called, and no government. Besides this, there would be neither disease, anguish, melancholy nor resentment. Every man will seek with ineffable ardour the good of all."

Professor C. H. Herford:

"... Godwin saw in government, in law, even in property, and in marriage, only restraints upon liberty and obstacles to progress. Yet Godwin was not, strictly speaking, an anarchist. He transfered the seat of government from thrones and parliament to the reason in the breast of every man. On the power of reason, working freely, to convince all the armed unreason of the world and to subdue all its teeming passion, he rested his boundless confidence in the 'perfectibility' of man' --."7
Thus Godwin believed it was impossible to be rationally persuaded and not act accordingly, and that therefore, man could live in harmony without law and institutions; he believed in the perfectibility of man. This, of course, is the pantisocracy which Coleridge and Southey felt they could take steps to create: it would be a society of men that would exclude the notion of property rights, that, in its place was to be "fraternal equality and a participatory government by all, for all." If, the schemers thought, "fear, selfishness, deceit and desultory hatred" could not be eliminated amongst themselves; then, by proper steps, it might be eliminated from their offspring. That being done everything would work just fine and the participates would then lead happy and productive lives. For pantisocracy to work, it was thought, it was necessary that things get started by a collection of individuals dedicated to its principles, isolated from those who might corrupt the system. It was determined that "twelve gentlemen of good education and liberal principles" should embark for America with twelve ladies; they determined, after a year's preparation, that they would set sail for America in April of 1795. Something was to get in the way of these dreams and plans: it was in the delightful forms of the Fricker sisters.



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