Frases de Étienne de La Boétie

Étienne de La Boétie foto
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Étienne de La Boétie

Data de nascimento: 11. Novembro 1530
Data de falecimento: 28. Agosto 1563

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Étienne de La Boétie foi um humanista e filósofo francês, contemporâneo e amigo de Michel de Montaigne . Poucos anos antes de morrer, aos 32 anos, Étienne de La Boétie deixou em testamento seus escritos a Montaigne, o qual, mais tarde, destacou os méritos nos Ensaios e em várias cartas, apontando este autor como um importante homem daquele século.

Traduções de obras clássicas greco-romanas eram comuns entre os studia humanitates, por isso entre os trabalhos de Étienne de La Boétie estão as traduções do grego para o francês de obras de Xenofonte e Plutarco - Étienne escreveu também algumas obras originais, a sua obra mais famosa é seu "Discurso da Servidão Voluntária," escrita no século XVI, depois da derrota do povo francês contra o exército e fiscais do rei, que estabeleceram um novo imposto sobre o sal. A obra se mostra como uma espécie de hino à liberdade, com questionamentos sobre as causas da dominação de muitos por poucos, da indignação da opressão e das formas como vence-las. Já no título aparece a contradição do termo servidão voluntária, pois como se pode servir de forma voluntária, isto é, sacrificando a própria liberdade de espontânea vontade? Na obra, o autor pergunta-se sobre a possibilidade de cidades inteiras submeterem-se a vontade de um só. De onde um só tira o poder para controlar todos? Isso só poderia acontecer mediante uma espécie de servidão voluntária. Ele afirma então que são os próprios homens que se fazem dominar, pois, caso quisessem sua liberdade de volta, precisariam apenas de se rebelar para consegui-la. Étienne afirma que é possível resistir à opressão, e ainda por cima sem recorrer à violência - segundo ele a tirania se destrói sozinha quando os indivíduos se recusam a consentir com sua própria escravidão. Como a autoridade constrói seu poder principalmente com a obediência consentida dos oprimidos, uma estratégia de resistência sem violência é possível, organizando coletivamente a recusa de obedecer ou colaborar.

Graças a suas reflexões profundas sobre a condição humana e a liberdade, La Boétie é considerado um filósofo de tradição libertária e um precursor do pensamento anarquista.

Citações Étienne de La Boétie

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„Poor, wretched, and stupid peoples, nations determined on your own misfortune and blind to your own good! You let yourselves be deprived before your own eyes of the best part of your revenues; your fields are plundered, your homes robbed, your family heirlooms taken away. You live in such a way that you cannot claim a single thing as your own; and it would seem that you consider yourselves lucky to be loaned your property, your families, and your very lives.“

— Étienne de La Boétie
Context: Poor, wretched, and stupid peoples, nations determined on your own misfortune and blind to your own good! You let yourselves be deprived before your own eyes of the best part of your revenues; your fields are plundered, your homes robbed, your family heirlooms taken away. You live in such a way that you cannot claim a single thing as your own; and it would seem that you consider yourselves lucky to be loaned your property, your families, and your very lives. All this havoc, this misfortune, this ruin, descends upon you not from alien foes, but from the one enemy whom you yourselves render as powerful as he is, for whom you go bravely to war, for whose greatness you do not refuse to offer your own bodies unto death. He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you. Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had no cooperation from you? What could he do to you if you yourselves did not connive with the thief who plunders you, if you were not accomplices of the murderer who kills you, if you were not traitors to yourselves? You sow your crops in order that he may ravage them, you install and furnish your homes to give him goods to pillage; you rear your daughters that he may gratify his lust; you bring up your children in order that he may confer upon them the greatest privilege he knows — to be led into his battles, to be delivered to butchery, to be made the servants of his greed and the instruments of his vengeance; you yield your bodies unto hard labor in order that he may indulge in his delights and wallow in his filthy pleasures; you weaken yourselves in order to make him the stronger and the mightier to hold you in check.

„Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you?“

— Étienne de La Boétie
Context: Poor, wretched, and stupid peoples, nations determined on your own misfortune and blind to your own good! You let yourselves be deprived before your own eyes of the best part of your revenues; your fields are plundered, your homes robbed, your family heirlooms taken away. You live in such a way that you cannot claim a single thing as your own; and it would seem that you consider yourselves lucky to be loaned your property, your families, and your very lives. All this havoc, this misfortune, this ruin, descends upon you not from alien foes, but from the one enemy whom you yourselves render as powerful as he is, for whom you go bravely to war, for whose greatness you do not refuse to offer your own bodies unto death. He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you. Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had no cooperation from you? What could he do to you if you yourselves did not connive with the thief who plunders you, if you were not accomplices of the murderer who kills you, if you were not traitors to yourselves? You sow your crops in order that he may ravage them, you install and furnish your homes to give him goods to pillage; you rear your daughters that he may gratify his lust; you bring up your children in order that he may confer upon them the greatest privilege he knows — to be led into his battles, to be delivered to butchery, to be made the servants of his greed and the instruments of his vengeance; you yield your bodies unto hard labor in order that he may indulge in his delights and wallow in his filthy pleasures; you weaken yourselves in order to make him the stronger and the mightier to hold you in check.

„The fundamental political question is why do people obey a government. The answer is that they tend to enslave themselves, to let themselves be governed by tyrants. Freedom from servitude comes not from violent action, but from the refusal to serve. Tyrants fall when the people withdraw their support.“

— Étienne de La Boétie
This quote is a paraphrase of the contents of the first chapter of Discourse on Voluntary Servitude. The quote appears in an edition titled Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude edited by Murray Rothbard and Harry Kurz (1975), p. [http://books.google.com/books?id=6o-8P3iqf7IC&pg=PA39 39].