Essays and criticism on Leo Tolstoy - Tolstoy, Leo
Leo Tolstoy Essays | GradeSaver
When he was eighty years old, Tolstoy spoke to the SwedishPeace Congress of 1909. To the millions of money and millionsof soldiers in the power of the governments making war he posedthe dilemma of the truth that killing people is murder and thattherefore war is contrary to Christian teaching. Thus he suggestedthat they draw up an appeal to all people for peace. He couldnot predict what society would be like without armies and wholesalemurders; but he believed that if people were guided by reasonand conscience instead of by threats of murder, they would beno worse off than they were under the current conditions. Thushe hoped that the truth might expose the hypocrisy of the governmentleaders.
Essays and criticism on Leo Tolstoy - Critical Essays
A year before he died, Tolstoy wrote a pamphlet called . Although he considered the socialistideal bankrupt, he referred to the "iron" law of wagesthat German socialists used to describe the current slavery ofworkers; but Tolstoy did not believe this law was immutable. Hecomplained that in Russia one-third of a peasant's income wastaken in taxes; yet only two percent of state revenue was spenton education, which is the greatest need of the people. He arguedthat the laws on land, taxes, and property caused slavery, andto improve the lives of workers these laws must be changed. Tolstoyfelt that legislation had been used as organized violence to allowsome people to oppress others. Thus he took the radical positionof suggesting that violent governments must be abolished, andthe way to do that was for the majority of people to refuse tosupply such governments soldiers and money. Thus each person shouldrefuse to serve in the military or in any part of a violent government,should not voluntarily pay taxes used for violence, and shouldnot appeal to government violence in order to protect property,possessions, or oneself and others. Tolstoy was aware that suchrefusals could lead to imprisonment, but he believed this wasthe most effective way to bring about the changes needed to liberatepeople from slavery to violent institutions.
He also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays
When reading any of Tolstoy’s works the reader can tell that Tolstoy is an anarchist, and those anarchist beliefs expressed in his books have inspired many great leaders and revolutionaries, like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr....