The French Revolution of 1789 proclaimed upon its banners the slogans of liberty, equality, and property – which are key to the liberal vision of men and society. Disregarding the semantic content attached to these terms during the revolution, including, in particular, the period of the Jacobin dictatorship and the attempted creation of what essentially was a new society, these slogans convey a vision of the individual liberated from the ties of feudalism and, therefore, free and equal to other individuals, whose property – the fruit of one’s economic activity – was the sole determinant of the individual’s economic status. According to Marx and Engels, these slogans were important – just like the revolution itself – from the historical standpoint, and to increase the production capacity necessary to bring communism closer. Nevertheless, they contained a mystification of reality. The mystification involved formally leveling people of different social classes who espoused divergent class goals. Historical progress was supposed to bring about communism in which social classes cease to exist along with the state and law. The individuals then truly become free and equal. In the author’s view, however, an analysis of the initial assumptions leads to the conclusion that the adopted conception of liberty perceived as an awareness of the necessity and the class-based character of the socialist regime, which was supposed to precede communism, does in no way mean that individuals are free and equal in the political tradition of Western Europe founded on liberalism
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Uniwersytet Wrocławski. Pracownia Badań Praw Orientalnych
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