Outlooks from the New Standpoint

By E. Belfort Bax | Go to book overview

THE ORATOR OF THE HUMAN RACE.

The eighteenth century was in full swing. Louis Quinze furniture decorated the houses of the wealthy. "Wit," "verses," and carefully elaborated repartee varied by excursions into the regions of "philosophy," formed the staple of social intercourse in the salons of the aforesaid houses. Travelling was not much more easy or less attended with danger than had been the case in the previous century. "Crackskull Heath" and distinguished highwaymen in the environs of London were living realities. The superstructure of feudal Europe—withered and dead—was still standing in its main outlines. The new culture of the "age of reason" had not as yet penetrated to any considerable extent below the surface of society, that is the wealthy and educated classes, although signs were not wanting of its beginning to do so. Such was the world—the world of Goethe's Dichtung und Wahrheit, and the world of Rousseau's Confessions—into which the future Orator of the Human Race was born.

Jean-Baptiste Cloots, or Klootz, first saw the light on the 24th of June, 1755, in the valley of Gnadenthal, a few miles from the town of Cleves, near the Dutch frontier of Westphalia. His father, the Baron Von Cloots, possessed a château in the midst of a well-cultivated domain. The Cloots family, though an ancient line of nobility, had acquired wealth in the then leading commercial city of Amsterdam, sometime during the seventeenth century. The district of Cleves, during the infancy of Jean-

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Outlooks from the New Standpoint
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface. vii
  • I *
  • The Orator of the Human Race. 1
  • The Decay of Pagan Thought. 39
  • II 65
  • Liberalism V. Socialism. 67
  • The Curse of Law. 91
  • A Socialist's Notes on Practical Ethics. 109
  • The Economical Basis of History 125
  • Individual Rights Under Socialism. 143
  • Marriage. 151
  • III 161
  • Courage. 163
  • The Practical Significance of Philosophy. 179
  • Note on "Now." 199
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