Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina

Chapter 28 (continued)

"Yes, but I was very much interested by your irritable neighbor," said Levin, sighing. "He's a clever fellow, and said a lot that was true."

"Oh, get along with you! An inveterate supporter of serfdom at heart, like all of them!" said Sviazhsky.

"Whose marshal you are."

"Yes, only I marshal them in the other direction," said Sviazhsky, laughing.

"I'll tell you what interests me very much," said Levin. "He's right that our system, that's to say of rational farming, doesn't answer, that the only thing that answers is the money-lender system, like that meek-looking gentleman's, or else the very simplest.... Whose fault is it?"

"Our own, of course. Besides, it's not true that it doesn't answer. It answers with Vassiltchikov."

"A factory..."

"But I really don't know what it is you are surprised at. The people are at such a low stage of rational and moral development, that it's obvious they're bound to oppose everything that's strange to them. In Europe, a rational system answers because the people are educated; it follows that we must educate the people--that's all."

"But how are we to educate the people?"

"To educate the people three things are needed: schools, and schools, and schools.

"But you said yourself the people are at such a low stage of material development: what help are schools for that?"

"Do you know, you remind me of the story of the advice given to the sick man--You should try purgative medicine. Taken: worse. Try leeches. Tried them: worse. Well, then, there's nothing left but to pray to God. Tried it: worse. That's just how it is with us. I say political economy; you say--worse. I say socialism: worse. Education: worse."

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