Vol. V.
<No. 17.

“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!

Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;

And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”

John Hay.

On Picket Duty.

Mr. Powderly tells the Knights of Labor that ten thousand dollars a year spent for lectures would be of more service to labor than three hundred thousand dollars a year wasted in strikes. The truth of your proposition, Mr. Powderly, is entirely dependent upon your selection of a lecturer.

The “Workmen’s Advocate” declines my challenge to test, by quotations from Proudhon’s works, the assertion which it reproduced from the Chicago “Labor Enquirer,” that Proudhon is a State Socialist. Very well; then let it keep all such statements out of its columns henceforth. The “Labor Enquirer” itself is yet to be heard from.

The “Truth Seeker” takes the “Investigator” mildly to task for preparing a “probably correct list of Liberal papers” in which more than half of the Liberal press did not figure. But the “Truth Seeker” fails to notice the “Investigator’s” most unpardonable error, which was one of inclusion instead of omission and consisted in the placing of its own name in the list.

Soon after the appearance in this paper of J. Wm. Lloyd’s letter to the Chicago Communists, which has excited so much admiration, the Chicago “Alarm” printed an answer to it by Mrs. Lucy Parsons. Comrade Lloyd sent the “Alarm” a reply. The “Alarm” rejected his article. “Lucifer,” which had previously reprinted the original article and Mrs. Parsons’s reply, prints the rejected rejoinder in its issue of March 9.

A writer in the San Francisco “Examiner” points out that marine boilers, which must be inspected by a government officer and run by an engineer who carries a governmental certificate of his efficiency, blow up about three times as often as land boilers, which have no such inspection and which are run by engineers who have no certificates save their own reputations. The point is a pretty one for the State Socialists and the governmentalists to consider.

Working with limited time, a limited force, and limited material, and having to undergo the numerous delays incidental to the starting of any new enterprise, I have found it necessary to slightly interrupt the regularity of Liberty’s appearance in order to achieve the issue of the early numbers of Libertas. This accounts for the delay of one week in the publication of this number. I hope to issue the next on April 14. As soon as Libertas gets fairly started, it will not be allowed to interrupt or delay the regular fortnightly publication of Liberty.

The time of the trial of E. C. Walker, M. Harman, and George Harman, on a pretended charge of circulating obscene literature, but really for the crime of using the columns of “Lucifer” for the free and open discussion of sexual questions, is now near at hand. Liberty at this distance is powerless to help them save by Urging all who can to contribute money to their defence. The article which I reprint from “Lucifer” on another page exhibits the nature of the infamous legislation under which they are persecuted and the shameful manner in which it was procured. Money may be sent to “E. C. Walker, Valley Falls, Kansas.”

The Winsted “Press” announces its approaching demise. Thus will disappear the bravest and brightest paper published within Connecticut’s borders. For many years now its editor, Lucien V. Pinney, from his country home, has spoken his most radical thought with utter fearlessness and scattered it throughout an unappreciative world. I am sure that he has enjoyed his work and does not feel that it was wasted. It is to be hoped that the eminent talents which he has displayed in the conduct of his journal are not to be long diverted from radical propagandism. In this hope I say to my Connecticut comrade (comrade in much, though not in all), Au revoir!

Kropotkine has an article in “La Révolte” in which he labors to show that there is no difference between Communism and Individualism. In it is to be found a plentiful supply of the usual phrases about “leaving to each his liberty of action,” but no explicit statement in regard to the real question whether Communism will permit the individual to labor independently, own tools, sell his labor or his products, and buy the labor or products of others. In fact, all the phrases are set at naught by one little parenthetical remark, which sheds a flood of light upon the conception of Individualism entertained by the Kropotkinians: “Exchange implies a certain dose of equivalence contrary to individualism.”

An editorial contributor to the official German Socialist sheet, “Der Sozialist,” lays it down that an Anarchist must necessarily be either a fool or a knave. While the Anarchists cannot be truthfully said to feel much respect for the mental calibre of men who preach the silly and ignorant creed of Compulsory Solidarity and Despotic Organization of Universal Happiness (otherwise called State Socialism), or much confidence in men whose Socialism begins at the ballot-box and political agitation, they are yet prepared to believe that among the Socialists there are men of more than average intelligence and of very deep sincerity. But I am sure that all of these will unhesitatingly sustain the Anarchists in the emphatic declaration that the “comrade” cited above is certainly both a fool and a knave. And, unless he hastens to reveal his identity, they will also have to admit that he is a coward.

Of recent conversions to Anarchy the most surprising to me is that of M. D. Leahy, who is at the head of the Freethought University in Liberal, Missouri. Until lately I had supposed him to be simply an Infidel of the ordinary type “playing second fiddle” to that founder of Liberal and hater of Liberty, G. H. Walser. And when he associated himself with C. M. Overton for the publication of the “American Idea,” he did not rise much higher in my opinion, for the character of that paper as it first appeared, with its Anarchistic opposition to prohibition, its Authoritarian opposition to free love, and its moral horror of Egoism, gave no evidence of power to intelligently follow a principle. But dissensions came, Overton went out, and now the paper appears under the management of M. D. Leahy and W. S. Allison. It is much reduced in size and is far from a model of elegant typography, but it has gained those immense virtues,— intelligence, manliness, and consistency. It is now a stanch and straight advocate of Anarchism, as is shown by the article elsewhere reproduced from its columns. To take such a step in the bigoted town of Liberal requires no small degree of courage, and I should much like to see Mr. Leahy encouraged in his course by generous subscriptions to his paper, which is issued weekly at one dollar a year. Address “American Idea, Liberal, Missouri.”

A New Anarchistic Ally.

[Editors of American Idea.]

To play our little part, to strike our feeble stroke, to be one unassuming but fearless soldier in the never-ending battle of the ages, the battle between liberty and slavery, between growth and stagnation,— this is the fight of the “American Idea.”

This fact has been dwelt upon and elucidated ever since our first issue, and yet the question is asked: “Why don’t you go for the Bible, show up its absurdities, attack the church, and expose its nefarious schemes?” As we have said before, our fight is a fight with the principle of orthodoxy, the subordination of man to man. It is to this principle we can trace all of the inequalities, misery, and suffering of the race. Religious systems are but one manifestation of this terrible principle. But ’tis not in religious systems that this principle wages its most cruel war against humanity; it is in governmental systems its most hideous features are seen. Hence in our war with orthodoxy we regard the Christian system as but one of its weaker fortresses. Again, we aim to strike directly at the principle, knowing that, when the principle is overthrown, the system must fall. To labor to destroy the system without striking at the principle which underlies it would be wasted time and energy, as the work must needs be done again.

We do not wish to be understood, as we heard a prominent liberal (?) express himself recently, that we have no fight to make with the church, that it is doing a good and needed work. O, no, we have, as every true liberal has, a fight with the church; but we do have a greater and more important fight,— a fight with the spirit of orthodoxy in government. The spirit of orthodoxy, paternalism, for they are one, is securing as deadly a grip upon our system of government as it has upon Russia. The difference is it has not yet united its two strongholds, State and Church, as completely as in Russia, but that time is coming. Don’t undertake to scare us now by shouting “Anarchy.” We are not afraid of words. We simply demand that in this government the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the principles for which American Revolution was fought and won, be carried out. If that be Anarchy, then were Paine and Jefferson Anarchists, and we are proud of the leadership. Let this once be done, and such a spirit of independence will be infused into our people that the church will crumble and decay as if by magic.

This is why our efforts are not entirely expended in attacks upon the fallacies of revelation. To get out of the church and to get out of orthodoxy are two entirely different things. We prefer that the man who finds out that Jonah didn’t swallow the whale and thereby gets out of the church, but retains all of the spirit of orthodox paternalism, should have remained in the church. Our observation is that he becomes a more bigoted opponent of human liberty, and by his assuming the name, Liberal, he becomes a burden to the cause of Liberalism. The work of attacking the church is being well done by able lecturers and journals; we desire to enter the ranks, where the brunt of the battle is waged and soldiers are more needed.

Moral Littleness of Non-Egoists.

[George Eliot.]

In proportion as morality is emotional,— i. e., has affinity with art,— it will exhibit itself in direct sympathetic feeling and action, and not as the recognition of a rule. Love does not say, “I ought to love”; it loves. Pity does not say, “It is right to be pitiful”; it pities. Justice does not say, “I am bound to be just”; it feels justly. It is only where moral emotion is comparatively weak that the contemplation of a rule or theory mingles with its action, and in accordance with this we think experience, both in literature and life, has shown that the minds which are preeminently didactic, which insist on a “lesson,” and despise everything that will not convey a moral, are deficient in sympathetic emotion.

Love, Marriage, and Divorce,

And the Sovereignty of the Individual.

A Discussion


Henry James, Horace Greeley, and Stephen Pearl Andrews.

Introductory Chapter.

Continued from No. 120.

He has been a sort of John the Baptist, if you will, one crying, literally, in the wilderness, “prepare the way,” but with no power to lead the way himself. His mission was to agitate powerfully and successfully – not to organize. He has no complete theory of his own, can not comprehend the theories of others, and has little practical talent for construction. He feels keenly the evils around him, those, at least, growing out of the first grade of human wants, and grasps eagerly at the first contrivances suggested by any body, for immediate or apparent relief. In all this he differs from Mr. James, who ranges ideally in a much higher sphere, who is an astute, and terribly searching and merciless, though not altogether a sound and reliable, critic of the old, and who, as respects the future, belongs to the school of Seers and prophets, not that of the Philosophers or rational thinkers, a mere jet d’eau of aspiration, reaching a higher elevation at some points than almost any other man, but breaking into spray and impalpable mist, glittering in the sun, and descending to earth with no weight or mechanical force to effect any great end. It is not such men, one or both, whom the world now chiefly needs.

Josiah Warren, an obscure, plain man, one of the people, a common-sense thinker, the most profoundly analytical thinker who has ever dealt with this class of subjects, has discovered principles which render the righteous organization of society as simple a matter of Science as any other. “The Sovereignty of the Individual,” with its Limit, and “Cost the Limit of Price,” will make his fame, and mark an epoch in the world’s history. The realization of the results of those principles is already begun upon a scale too small, and with a quietness too self-reliant to have attracted much of the public notice; but with a success satisfactory and inspiring to those practically engaged in the movement. It is something to be able to affirm that there is at least one town in existence where women and children receive equal remuneration for their labor with men, not from benevolence, but upon a well-recognized principle of justice, and by general concurrence, without pledges or constraint.

Mr. Warren is the Euclid of Social Science. He may not understand Algebra, the Differential Calculus, or Fluxions, but all Social Science, and every beneficent, successful, and permanent Social Institution ever hereafter erected, must rest upon the principles which have been discovered and announced by him. There is no alternative; and reformers may as well begin by understanding that they have a Science to study and a definite work to perform, and not a mere senseless, and endless, and aimless agitation to maintain. The work demands pioneers, men who have muscles, and brains, and backbones. It needs men who are architects, and can see intellectually the form, and proportions, and adaptations of the whole immense edifice to be erected; and stone-cutters, and masons, and builders of every grade; men, especially at this stage, who can go down to the foundations and excavate the dirt and lay the mudsills of the social fabric. The Greeleys and the Jameses are not such men. They must bide their time, and when the work is done, they will, perhaps, tardily recognize the fact, though they could not, a priori, comprehend the principles, upon which it was to be accomplished.

It was for the purpose of foreshadowing the entire extent of the work to be performed, of expounding the principles that are now known, of provoking discussion, opposition, criticism by the ablest pens, of every point I had to propound, that I desired the use of the columns of the Tribune. It was mere accident – the fact that discussion was already pending, and that further discussion was invited – which determined the point of beginning to be the subject of Marriage and Divorce. It is such information as I possess upon the whole scope of interests in which Mr. Greeley is supposed to take a special interest, and of which the Tribune newspaper is regarded as, in some sense, the organ in this country, that I desired to lay before the world, through its instrumentality. It is that information which, worth much or little, Mr. Greeley refuses to permit his readers to obtain. How far the narrowness of such exclusion comports with the pretensions of that sheet, will be judged of differently, doubtless, by different individualities.

Mr. Greeley has no conception, and never had, of the entirety of the Social Revolution which is actually, if not obviously, impending; which, indeed, is hourly progressing in our modern society. He is not a Socialist in any integral, revolutionary, and comprehensive sense. He has no comprehension of so broad an idea as a Universal Analogy. he does not know that it is impossible that some one grand department of social affairs, the love relations for example, should be exactly right upon their old chance foundation, in the absence of science, reflective or foreseeing, and that all other departments have been radically wrong; just as impossible as it is for one member of the human body to be in a state of perfect health, and all the rest to be grievously, almost mortally, diseased. Ignorant of this great fact, and mistaking doctrinal preconceptions or personal preferences for principles, his opinions are a mosaic of contradiction. He is a queer cross between ultra Radicalism and bigoted Orthodoxy, vibrating unsteadily betwixt the two. Hence, as I have said, he is totally unreliable as a leader, and must be an object of constant annoyance and disappointment to his followers and friends, as he is of mingled ridicule and contempt, to personal enemies who recognize no compensations in the really excellent traits of the man.

As an antagonist, or an umpire between antagonists, Mr. Greeley is unfair, tricky, and mean. Owing to the want of consistency in his own mind, and his liability to side-influences of all sorts, he is practically dishonest to an eminent degree. It is with reference to unconsciousness and want of design in his prevarications that I have pronounced him honest. Honorable, in the chivalric sense of the term, he has no pretensions of any sort to be regarded. He is lamentably wanting in the more gentlemanly attributes of the man. Whoever looks for delicate consideration for the sensibilities of another, urbanity of manners, magnanimity, or even that sturdy sense of fair-dealing, of which noble specimens may be seen in the English peasant or prize-fighter, must look elsewhere. Perhaps no better illustration can be given of some of these defects as an impartial journalist and high-minded opponent, than the following two facts: My communications in this Controversy were freely placed at the disposition of Mr. James before they were published, to be conned and studied by him, and were so conned and studied by this latter gentleman, and one of them written round and half replied to in an answer by him to “The Observer,” in order that his reply to me might be dispatched by a dash of the pen, and a mere reference to what he had already written.

The other illustration is the fact, that while Mr. Greeley has refused to allow me to reply to his own and Mr. James’s arguments, he has reserved from the public all knowledge of such refusal. He has not had the decency to inform his readers that he has chosen to end the discussion abruptly, and that I am not permitted to reply. He has done what he could, therefore, to leave the impression upon their minds that I have been silenced, not by the tyrannical use of arbitrary power, but by the force of logic; thus stealing the reputation for victory in a battle which he was wanting in the courage to fight. Such an issue with Mr. Greeley was, perhaps, not very surprising from the estimate I am now inditing of his organization, propensities, and order of culture. With Mr. James, I confess it was somewhat different. I thought him to have been bred in a circle which, with other faults in abundance, cherishes, nevertheless, a high-minded and chivalric bearing toward antagonists, no less than gentle courtesy toward one’s friends. Fidgety exertions, by personal influence in that quarter, to suppress the criticism of an opponent, and an unmannerly readiness to avail oneself of the improprieties of Editors and Sub-Editors in communicating information which ought to be reserved, were obstacles in the way of a fair hearing which I did not anticipate.

It is appropriate that I should mention the origin and antecedents of this Discussion. Mr. James published, in the Tribune, a very saucy and superficial review of a work by Doctor Lazarus, entitled, “Love vs. Marriage,” in which the whole gist of the argument lay in the sheer and naked assumption that the Family, not the Individual, is the nucleus of society. Out of this grew up a discussion between him and the editor of the New-York Observer, an influential and highly respectable religious newspaper of this city, of the Presbyterian denomination, who took Mr. James to task for some of his heresies, and Mr. Greeley also, for allowing the discussion of such subjects at all in his paper. The replies of Mr. James, in which he stated his own positions on the marriage question, seemed to me, while abounding certainly in vigorous invective, so inconsequential and loose in their reasoning, that I ventured, under the general statement of Mr. Greeley that he wished the whole subject thoroughly discussed, to put to Mr. James a few questions, consistent replies to which would have greatly cleared the understanding of his positions, and strengthened the cause of Freedom, which he assumed to defend. What followed will appear by the discussion itself.

The scope of my present design does not include the publication of the discussion between Mr. James and the Observer. I shall begin, nevertheless, with one of the replies of Mr. James to that opponent, as well from its necessary connection with what follows, as for the purpose of enabling the reader to judge to what degree Mr. James entitles himself to delicate and considerate treatment by his own habitual suavity of manner. I regret any appearance of unfairness in omitting the exceedingly able and caustic replies of “The Observer,” but my limits preclude so extensive a republication, my purpose being to present here what was excluded from publication elsewhere.

Before closing this Introduction, I wish to make a few remarks upon the general subject, and especially as respects the dangerous and eminently detestable nature of my principles and views.

The priestly bigot and intellectual tyrant believes in all honesty that Freedom of Thought and of Conscience are dangerous things for those over whom his influence rules, because he begins by the assumption that he is a useful person, and that the function he performs and the influence he exerts are essential, indispensable even, tot he well-being of the people. He can not be pronounced dishonest on the mere ground that his interest is involved, since the people themselves, whose interest is really adverse, admit and entertain the same idea. It is usually ignorance on both sides; more rarely the relation of impostor and dupe. It is the first assumption which vitiates both his and their whole subsequent chain of reasoning. It is obvious enough that Freedom of Thought and Conscience do tend to shake that Authority which all parties have begun by admitting it to be indispensable to maintain. Hence Freedom of Thought and Conscience are bad things. No reasoning can be more conclusive, the premise being assumed. Hence investigation is stifled, until men grow bold enough to ask, What is the use of the priestly bigot and intellectual tyrant at all?

So in the political sphere. The petty Prince of some obscure Principality, perhaps honestly desires the education and advancement of his subjects. He encourages schools, literature, and the Freedom of the Press; but he has never had any other thought than that all this is to go along with the statu quo, in relation to himself and his right to reign. Presently the diffusion of learning and the awakening of mind begin to show themselves in bold and still bolder speculations about Self-Government, monarchical usurpations, and other matters which threaten danger to statu quo. Our benevolent despot, who has all along tacitly assumed, in perfect good faith, the indispensableness of his own princely services, is alarmed, and attempts to impose limits and restraints upon discussion, for the good of the people. This is all the more difficult for the education they have already received. Speculation grows bolder and resistance more rampant, as the result of the attempt. Repression, at all hazards, then becomes the only resort of the unconscious tyrant, who, at every step, has acted, as he thinks, for the best good of his thankless and rebellious subjects. Submission or bloodshed and butchery, are their only alternative. Reaction and Revolution are arrayed in deadly hostility against each other, and the monarch and the conservative portion of the people are driven to the only conclusion to which they can arrive; that education and mental enlargement are destructive and bad things – a diabolical element in human society. The fatal blunder is the assumption, as a starting-point, that there is something now existing which must not, in any event, be changed. To keep good this assumption, nothing must be changed, for when change begins it will not respect your bounds and limits. Hence ignorance and universal immobility must be sedulously preserved. No sound philosophy can ever exist which is tainted by veneration for the sanctities of the old.

The new in one thing necessitates the new in all things, to the extent that adaptation and adjustment may demand. Let him who is unready for such sweeping revolution, withhold his hand before he begins to agitate for Reform. Prejudice and philosophy do not, and can not, comport with each other.

In the same manner freedom is the open boast, the watchword, and the rallying cry of all the most advanced nations of Christendom. But there is a tacit assumption in the midst of all this that the family institution must forever remain intact. It is the social idol, as royalty has been the political and the Church the religious idol of mankind. This assumption rests, as in the other cases, upon another, namely, the utility, the indispensableness of that institution, first, to the preservation of purity in the intercourse of the sexes, and secondly, to the proper care and affectionate culture of children, and finally, to the protection and support of the weaker sex. Sexual purity, the preservation of offspring, and the security of the weaker sex, are intuitively felt to be right and good; hence the family, it is assumed, is sacred and divine, and hence, again, that in no case must it be questioned or assailed. But freedom for the affections is liable to pass the limits of the family, and freedom (of this sort) is therefore a bad thing. Hence, at this point, a reaction against freedom.

The general human mind seldom makes mistakes in reasoning. The error, if there be one, is more commonly the false assumption of some fact or facts to reason from, or else incompleteness in carrying on the process to its final results. If the fact be so, that purity can be cultivated and preserved, children properly reared, and women protected, only in the family, all the other consequences logically follow, and there is one species of human freedom – an exception to the general estimate of that attribute of manhood – a curse and a blight instead of a blessing, a thing to be warred on and exterminated; not to be aspired after, lauded, and cherished.

It is certainly a legitimate question to ask, Is the fact really so? Are the three desiderata I have indicated only attainable through a certain existing institution which mankind have, marvelously enough, had the wisdom to establish – in the midst of their general ignorance and undevelopment in all other respects – upon precisely the right basis?

First, then, as respects the first point, the preservation of sexual purity. To determine whether perpetual and exclusive marriage is essential to that end, we must first answer the question: What constitutes purity? To this question, the common, I may say the vulgar answer, Mr. Greeley’s answer, is fidelity to the marriage relation (or, in the absence of that bond, no sexual relations at all). Put into categorical formula, the two propositions are then simply as follows: 1. The marriage institution is sacred because it is indispensable to the preservation of purity. 2. Purity is the preservation of the marriage institution. Of course this rotary method of ratiocination is simply absurd, and can not, for a moment, satisfy the really philosophical or inquiring mind.

Let me, then, give a different answer to this question and see who will demur. Sexual purity, I will say, is that kind of relation, whatever it be between the sexes, which contributes in the highest degree to their mutual health and happiness, taking into account the remote as well as the immediate results.

If this definition is accepted, then clearly the whole field is open to new, radical, and scientific investigation, physiological, psychological, and economical, infinitely broader and more thorough than the world has ever yet even thought of applying; and he must be a fearful Egotist who, in the present stage of our experience, can venture to affirm that he knows the whole truth, the final word of Science, on the subject. One thing only is certain, namely, that absolute Freedom, accompanied, too, by the temporary evils of an ignorant abuse of that Freedom, is a condition precedent, even to furnish the facts upon which to reason safely at all upon the matter. Any settlement of the question by us now would have hardly as much value as a decision made in the heart of Russia upon the best form of Human Government. No pretension can be made that Purity, in the sense in which I use the term, has ever yet been attained by laws to enforce it. Prostitution, in Marriage and out of it, and solitary vice, characterize Society as it is.

To be continued.

The Rag-Picker of Paris.

By Felix Pyat.

Translated from the French by Benj. B. Tucker.

Part First.

The Basket.

Chapter I.

The Hotel D’Italie.
Continued from No. 120.

No sympathy, no commiseration, not a trace of charity. His whole aristocratic person from head to foot was marked me. “When Adam delved and Eve span, Satan was the gentleman,” say the English.

Organs develop in proportion to their exercise. The egoistic conscience, exaggerated by the enjoyment of rights without duties; the patrician hand strengthened by fencing; the foot weakened by riding; the forehead narrowed by idleness and raised by pride; carriage, gesture, voice, and mien,— everything about him was proud, haughty, arrogant, insolent even, scornful and vainglorious even in his fall; everything went to show that he was not there in disguise, or as a wanderer, still less as an habitué but as an intruder, one who had fallen, a ruined man, some waif from high society aground in this mire after a hurricane.

From what social sphere had this accidental visitor fallen? Doubtless from the highest. In this gentleman there was none of the emotion common in the parvenu who has to resume his station after having risen above it. His top was the opposite pole of this bottom. In fact, his red beard showed the feudalist, the descendant of the ancient conquerors of Gaul, the blue blood of the Frank, of a refugee of ’93, of an ex-nobleraan returned from the emigration. Apparently born with a silver spoon in his mouth, brought up on an indemnity of a billion francs granted to his family by the Restoration, he must have eaten everything, even honor. He seemed reduced, by reason of miscalculations or misdeeds, through fear or embarrassment or both, to such a pass that he no longer knew where to lay his head, constrained and conducted to this last extremity by necessity.

He hesitated, advancing, retreating, trembling, at the entrance of this hell which Dante did not describe, the Paris of the poor, and he turned away his head as if he were about to commit a crime.

Just at that moment, on the other side of the street, the door of a night-shelter opened.

Then he saw a file of vagabonds more destitute than himself, not having in their pockets even the two cents necessary for the furnished lodging or any fat stored under their skins for the winter season. They surely had not been able to make carnival, and mournfully marched past an indifferent keeper, who counted the heads of these emaciated cattle as fast as they entered a shed, which was once a stable, but had been passed over from horses to the needy recipients of public charity. The stranger saw the keeper gruffly repel the wretches at the end of the line, shouting at them: “That will do, the rest of you!” and shutting the door in their faces after first hanging up the sign: Full, as if the building were an omnibus.

The unfortunate surplus, punished for their tardiness and left to await some more favorable turn, threw a look of despair at this word as inexorable as the lasciate, envying the lucky ones with the usual vengeful feeling of the unlucky, grinding their teeth and sneering:

“Dogs’ weather! Weather for dogs! One would not put a dog outside,” and other sorry jests with which every good Frenchman relieves himself when vexed.

These suffering souls scattered at random, cursing and swearing.

“That is the fate that awaits me tomorrow, if not tonight,” said the stranger, taking out two cents and throwing away his empty purse. “Let us go in; perhaps I shall sleep. And he who sleeps dines!”

And, as if moved by a sudden determination, he lowered his hat over his eyes; a squall of wind and snow entirely enveloped him and drove him by force into the caecum of the Hotel d’Italie.

He gave up his coin at the door, groped along the passage, and, for good reason, passed by the restaurant of the establishment without stopping. From it came the deadened sound of drinking songs, idiotic laughter, and atrocious conversation, accompanied by the shrill notes of a Neapolitan bag-pipe. At last, passing the rope-ladder which led to the choicer lodgings in the front part of the upper story, he found himself in a large court-yard at the back, a veritable pit, which seemed better calculated for wild beasts than men and was surrounded with gloomy and illsmelling structures, dens of assassins and burrows of harlots, where swarmed, pell-mell, in unclean promiscuity, the lowest and floating population of the hotel There he contemplated with stupor and aversion, but without compassion, the singular companions who were moving about like transparencies in the pale moonlight.

Near him a real swarm of maggots, a group of puny and vicious children, poisonous mushrooms growing out of the civilized muck-heap, were amusing themselves in twisting and biting each other while scraping rabbit-skins. Girls and boys, half naked, shivering, found sport and warmth in brazen words and dirty plays; pollutations of the social sewer, flowers of crapulence and fruits of the gallows, spoiled in the germ, and ripening in this hot-house of debauchery and need for prison crops and scaffold harvests!

Farther on, their alcoholic parents, incurable, eaten to the marrow with corruption, were picking over rags, old iron, and bones, or tying up bundles of old papers, chewing tobacco, drinking, and beating the children, for diversion from work as dirty as their hearts and hands. A few old women whom the others looked up to, the privileged persons of this Gomorrah, were making pancakes in the open air over improvised stoves, thus exciting the envious appetite of the hungry beggars stretched upon rickety benches or seated on dilapidated chairs, who watched these culinary preparations without saying a word, mouths open and stomachs empty.

Suddenly the intruder was pushed violently against the wall by a man who was running away at the top of his speed, followed by the cries and yells of the crowd. All present, rag-pickers, tramps, beggars, thieves, and prostitutes, had left their work or their leisure to rush towards the corner of the court whence the cries came.

The stranger, who had recovered his equilibrium, ran to the spot with the others, and there a frightful picture met his gaze.

A man lay on his back in the gutter, a knife planted in his heart!

A queen of this Louvre, gamey, hideous, with blackened eyes, half drunk, dishevelled, and bending over the victim, was trying to lift up the body, which the mud of the gutter, fitting burial-place, was covering more and more.

The keeper of the hotel came running in, furiously gesticulating.

“Another man stabbed in my house!” he cried. “Who did it? They will surely close up the hotel!”

The fury rose in a frenzy.

“It was that rascal of an Italian,” she exclaimed, tearing the knife from the wound, which covered her with a spurt of blood. “Yes, out of jealousy; I would not have him. Then he killed my man. Where is the biffin de contrebande that I may kill him in his turn?”

And she fell back upon her dead in the gutter.

Such scenes were of too frequent occurrence in the Hotel d’Italie to cause long-continued excitement. They carried the body of the murdered man into the kennel of his woman, and went about other matters.

The murderer was a naturalized rag-picker. This biffin de contrebande, as the girl had called him, this jealous Italian who had come to carry on a two-fold foreign competition with the natives, left behind him unfortunately the apple of discord,— a new wicker basket and a bright steel hook.

They threw themselves greedily upon these precious articles. A hubbub ensued. Each one wanted the property of the fugitive, who certainly would never return to claim it.

Matters were beginning to get warm and knives were being opened, when one of the old women with the pancakes, a fat Minerva, anxious about her pastry, raised her voice in the dispute, crying:

“Idiots! Why don’t you draw lots instead of fighting?”

Goddess Reason does not lose her rights, even among brutes. The word was listened to and peace restored.

“Stop! to be sure I she is right!” they cried on all hands.

“A pencil!” solicited the over-ripe Minerva. “Mossieu doubtless has a pencil?” she said to the stranger, who mechanically complied with her request.

They arranged themselves in a circle. Each one wrote or dictated his name. A hundred square pieces of old paper, taken from the bundles, were thrown into the hat which the fugitive had left in the gutter. The stranger alone remained indifferent to the general excitement. He had even turned about already to seek his bed.

“Hey, there, bourgeois!” shouted La Sagesse, with an air of raillery. “Then you do not want to win the basket? You are utterly disgusted, black eoat!” Thus appealed to, he retraced his steps, as if yielding to a suggestion or inspiration, or at any rate to a sudden resolution; and, taking from his pocket a glazed and emblazoned card, he tore it in two and quickly threw one of the pieces into the improvised urn. Straightway he tried to take it back.

He was too late.

A sort of Belgian Hercules who was managing the lottery, by the right of might, had shaken the hat and mixed up the names.

“The game is done. Nothing else goes!” he cried, suspiciously, announcing the drawing.

“Bah!” exclaimed the stranger, bitterly. “Why not? Let fortune have her way. This would be a means of livelihood worth keeping.”

“The hand of innocence, if possible,” again cried the Hercules of the North, laying the hat upon a chair.

A puny, emaciated creature, a mother holding in her arms a child as thin as herself, was pushed forward.

The excitement redoubled, eyes glittered, and hearts beat viplently, all heads gravitating to the centre of the circle.

The mother bent over that the baby’s little hand might be within reach of the hat.

The child fumbled a moment in the urn and drew out the torn card.

“Garousse,” read the mother, and all eyes sought the winner.

“Ah!” exclaimed the Hercules, “it is really the Duke de Crillon-Garousse. Surely Monseigneur has not won. That would be too much luck.”

The winner had made a negative gesture.

“So your name is Garousse?” continued the Hercules, ill-naturedly. “You are lucky. The finest name and the finest basket in France.”

And spitefully he placed the basket on the stranger’s back.

The ill-natured Hercules, with his square Flemish head, avenged himself and the others for not having won the basket. Feeling that he was sustained by the spite which all shared, he tried to pick a quarrel.

“If it is not you, it is your brother. Isn’t it so? You belong to the family?”

“No,” said Garousse, blushing. “There is more than one ass named Martin.” “Less ass than fox. I believe you cheated. You put in your name twice.” “Yes, he tore his card in two,” exclaimed a voice from the mass jealous at seeing its possessions go to the “black coat.”

Foreign competition and the national spirit all united against the intruder, and had already attacked Garousse and driven him against the wall to take away the basket, which he was on the point of surrendering, when suddenly the police burst into the court.

They came to verify the crime committed by the Italian, and open, as usual, a platonic inquest over this murder, which was to remain unpunished. The officers, who never visited the place save in a body and were of no use there except to clear it out, saw familiar faces and began a battle. Save himself who can!

In the confusion, Garousse, unknown to all, was able to slip away and gain his liberty.

When he found himself outside, he answered with a Satanic laugh the irony of fate.

“Oh, yes, what luck! I shall never again complain of not being fortunate. I have won the basket...and the street. Free and a rag-picker! Ha, ha, ha! Fate has served me well this time, and well disguised poverty for my Mardi Gras!” And, with basket on back and hook in hand, he fled from the Paris of rag-bags to the Paris of money-bags.

Chapter II.

The Hotel Crillon.

Garousse walked, or rather ran, flew as if he had wings on his back, as if the basket were the cloak of Nessus, in spite of the blinding snow and the biting north wind.

His teeth chattered with cold, hunger, horror, and terror.

On he went, bewildered, like the Jew of the legend, minus the five sous, like the dead man of the ballad, the plaything, the prey of an intense night-mare, the victim, not the punisher, of his passions, of an ungovernable somnambulist’s course, of an infernal hallucination, and of his own execration.

Finally he stopped short, saying:

“One must live!”

And going up to a huge pile of filth, a muck-heap which promised rich results, he gave his first thrust with his hook; then, raising it and at the same time his head, he gave a cry, a shriek:

“At my own door...Oh!”

He has read, in letters of gold, beneath a coat of arms: Hotel Crillon-Garousse.

A fatal force had led him back to his splendors, as the stag to the spot from which the dogs have started him, as the moth to the flame.

He had returned, insensibly, unconsciously, spontaneously, in a straight line from the Faubourg Saint-Marcel to the Faubourg Saint-Germain, Rue de Lille, to the very threshold of his dwelling, then brilliant and flaming with all the luxury of a fashionable ball.

A line of carriages was passing through the carriage-way ornamented with green shrubbery; their masked occupants were getting out, dressed in elegant or marvellous costumes; valets in magnificent livery were spreading Persian carpets under the carriage-steps and escorting the guests under silk umbrellas, like offerings to social magnificence.

A feeling of supreme revolt took possession of the ducal rag-picker.

“My hotel, my carriages, my servants! Others have them all...No, they are mine. House, friends, women, flowers, diamonds, treasures, all belong to me, to me, the Duke de Crillon-Garousse. This is my masquerade...Well! am I not disguised, too? So much the worse if the women run away from me, the master of this residence, where I have spent fortune and honor!”

And fascinated, dazzled, delirious, dragged on by the illusion of the charm and the music of the ball-room, he said:

“I will go in.”

He took one step and remained nailed to the spot.

He had seen his successor...and his mistress, arm in arm. Doubly succeeded! This was the last blow, the thrust of the knife...Misery was his sole mistress now.

To be continued.

“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.

The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.

“The Heroes of the Revolution of ’71.”

As a fitting commemoration of the birth of the Paris Commune, and as a premium to subscribers to Libertas and all new subscribers to Liberty, I have issued a magnificent double-page picture, executed in the finest style of process work, of nearly all the principal members of the Commune and those who were more or less directly connected with the revolutionary movement in France in 1871. This picture is prepared directly from a very rare collection of photographs in my possession, of many of the most important of which, if I am rightly informed, only three copies are in existence.

The photographs are fifty-one in number, and include the following: Blanqui, Flourens, Rigault, Pyat, Elisée Reclus, Delescluze, Cluseret, Ferré, Rossel, Rochefort, Maret, Valles, Allix, Parent, Gambon, Champy, Assi, Pindy, Lefrancais, Arnould, Amouroux, Lisbonne, Trinquet, Vésinier, Johannard, Miot, La Cécilia, Chalain, Razoua, Dereure, Vermorel, Grousset, Courbet, Pothier, Vermesch, Pilotell, Cremieux, Maroteau, Lissagaray, Mégy, Dacosta, Humbert, Lafontaine, Urbain, Moilin, and others. Besides containing these portraits, the picture is embellished with appropriate mottoes from Proudhon, Danton, Tridon, Blanqui, Pyat, J. Wm. Lloyd, and August Spies.

New subscribers to Libertas or to Liberty for one year will receive this picture, printed on light paper. Others who desire the picture may secure it by sending ten cents for a copy.

Many will wish to frame and hang this picture. For that purpose an edition has been printed on heavy plate paper, a copy of which will be mailed, carefully rolled, on receipt of twenty-five cents.

All orders should be sent to Benj. R. Tucker, Box 3366, Boston, Mass.

March 18, 1871.

The Commune!

What revolutionist, what soldier of progress, what man of thought and social sympathies, does not feel his heart swell with pride, euthusiasm, and gladness at the mention of that word! What reactionary, what cold-blooded oppressor of the people, what guilty conspirator against liberty and true order, does not turn pale at this same word!

Neither the proletaire nor the bourgeois will ever let the memorable days of the Paris Commune be forgotten. That first great battle between the lords and serfs of the present economic system has enlightened the world as to the real character of the combatants and has warned it as regards the meaning of a victory for one or the other army. The history of the Commune is the history of the heroism, humanity, and grandeur of the proletaire, and of the infamy, crime, and murderous cruelty of the legalized pirates and plunderers. This is the reason why the entire force of the revolution feels and acts at one in this matter, why the different elements of the labor movement find themselves prompted by one impulse and thoroughly united in their sentiments on the day they celebrate the Rise of the Paris Commune; and this is why the whole body of capitalist hirelings and champions unceasingly labors to cover the facts and truths of that historic period with a mountain of diabolical lies, base slanders, and outrageous distortions.

Success for the Commune was impossible. It was not in any sense the outcome of an evolutionary process. By the logic of rapid events, from a movement against the treacherous and humiliating policy of Thiers and his co-conspirators, organized by officers and soldiers in the interest of national and patriotic ends, it quickly developed into a political revolution having for its end the municipal independence of Paris and home rule for other industrial centres of France, finally assuming the character of a veritable Socialist and Communist movement under the guidance of Internationalists and radical Collectivists. Thiers, the shrewd and keen politician, was, perhaps, the only man in France who foresaw this development and who therefore sought to disarm the workingmen of Paris before they perceived the tendencies of the situation. Having failed in his attempt, he determined to reject all compromises and temporary reconciliations, but accepted the alternative of a complete defeat for his class or as complete a victory. He triumphed, and we know how.

Those who imagine that the Commune could have won through violence and reprisals do not understand that epoch. Plentiful supplies, good soldiers, military skill, and trained officers would no doubt have enabled the Commune to resist much longer than it did, and probably would also have had the effect of checking the monstrous barbarity of the cowardly Versailles government; but of victory for the Commune there was no possibility.

We Anarchists forget the faults of the Commune, its arbitrary and authoritarian legislation, its weakness and blunders, and remember its sublime heroism, simplicity, honesty, courage, and sincerity. Above all, we are proud of its humanity, love of peace, and moderation. What a contrast it presents to the “law and order” of Thiers and to the “civilization” of which Marshal Mac Mahon and Marquis de Gallifet are the standard-bearers.

We cherish the memory of the dead heroes of the Commune, and we bow before the living. Workingmen of Paris, we salute you!

V. Yarros.

Cases of Lamentable Longevity.

The Emperor William is dead at the age of ninety-one. His was a long life, and that is the worst of it. Much may be forgiven to a tyrant who has the decency to die young. But to the memory of one who thus prolongs and piles up the agony no mercy can be shown. As Brick Pomeroy says, there is such a thing as enough. In ninety-one years of such a man as William, Germany and the world had altogether too much. However, it is not kings alone that live too long. That awful fate sometimes befalls poets. Among others it has overtaken Walt Whitman. That he should live long enough to so far civilize his “barbaric yawp” as to sound it over the roofs of the world to bewail Germany’s loss of her “faithful shepherd,” and should do it too by the unseemly aid of the electric telegraph at the bidding of a capitalistic newspaper and presumably for hire, thus presenting the revolting spectacle of a once manly purity lapsing into prostitution in its old age, is indeed a woful example of superfluity of years. The propensity of poets of the people, once past their singing days, to lift their cracked voices in laudation of the oppressors of the people, burning what they once worshipped and worshipping what they once burned, tends to reconcile one to the otherwise unendurable thought that Shelley and Byron were scarcely suffered to outlive their boyhood. The fall of Russell Lowell was a terrible disappointment to those who never tire of reading the “Big’low Papers” and know “The Present Crisis” by heart, but the bitterness of their cup is honey beside the wormwood which all lovers of “Leaves of Grass” must have tasted when they read the lament of the Bard of Democracy over the death of the tyrant William. As one of his most enthusiastic admirers, I beseech Walt Whitman to let the rest be silence, and not again force upon us the haunting vision of what he once described, in the days when he still could write, as a “sad, hasty, unwaked somnambule, walking the dusk.”


Beauties of Altruism.

In endeavoring some days ago to secure photographs of a few members of the Paris Commune whose faces do not appear in the picture recently issued, I was confronted with a charming sample of “altruistic” conduct which cannot be other than interesting and instructive to the readers of Liberty. Knowing that John F. Kelly had a collection of photographs, I wrote him a letter asking him to lend me some of them for a few days and expressing a special desire for Louise Michel’s picture. His answer was so characteristic of the moralist that I desired to print it. So I asked his permission in these words, as nearly as I can remember them: “Presuming that you will not object to seeing your letter in print, it is my intention to publish it in the next issue of Liberty. If my presumption is erroneous, a letter mailed on Monday, March 26, will reach me in season to prevent the publication.” Mr. Kelly replied thus: “You will no doubt do as you please. He who criticises a letter which he refuses to publish can have but few scruples about publishing one without permission.” In view of this answer, no one, I think, will accuse me of breach of confidence in publishing the appended letter, which, beyond the explanation that the Gallifet referred to in the closing sentence was the French general chiefly responsible for the massacre of the Communists, needs no comment whatever.


Dear Mr. Tucker:

Your letter did not arrive until late this morning, as the governmental special delivery system is peculiar. Consequently with the best will in the world I could not send you any pictures in time. But even if the letter had come in time, I should have been unable to aid you, for the only person directly connected with the Commune whose portrait I have in such shape that I could send it is Louise Michel, and I cannot help thinking that her picture would be entirely out of place in a supplement to an egoistic journal. If I had a portrait of Gallifet, it would be at your disposal.

Yours truly, John F. Kelly.

61 E. Seventh Street, New York, March 12,1888.

Better an Open Foe than a False Friend.

The time has come to publicly brand Samuel P. Putnam, president of the American Secular Union, as the miserable coward, hypocrite, and wretch that he is. For a long time I tried to believe him sincere in the protestations in favor of Anarchy which he was always so lavish with in his private intercourse with Anarchists, and tried to excuse his public equivocation on the ground that he really thought it the best method of reaching the Anarchistic goal. But his course since he went to the Pacific coast with George Macdonald to start a paper called “Freethought” makes unavoidable the conclusion that, however much he may really believe in the correctness of the Anarchistic doctrine, his public compromises are motived by no desire for Anarchy’s advancement, but by some desire to which he would as soon sacrifice Anarchy as anything else. In an early issue of his paper he attempted to show that theology and Anarchy stand on the same ground, and that free-thought is opposed to both. And now he prints, without a word of comment or protest, a communication from O. S. Barrett of Adrian, Mich., headed “Anarchy Condemned” and containing the following sentences:

A copy of your journal is before me. The first thing to attract my attention is, “Who Preaches Anarchy?” You certainly take the right view of that pernicious creed. The advocates of that murderous doctrine ought to have the heavy hand of good law and good government placed with a squelching force upon them. . . . There is only one way to deal with those who advocate Anarchy, and those who try to practically carry it out; and that is to make an example of its agitators. Hang every one of them, and expose their carcasses to view, as a warning to others who are so inclined.

Thus Putnam allows himself to be interpreted in his own paper as favoring the hanging of every Anarchistic agitator. And yet this man subscribed to Liberty for years, occasionally contributed a dollar or two to its support, emphatically asserted to its editor his sympathy with his views, and painted in his romances attractive pictures of the Anarchistic ideal. It is well that the hypocrite has at last unmasked.


The Real and the Ideal.

“Individualism vs. Anarchy” is the title of a long editorial in “Jus” devoted to the consideration of the points which I raised in a recent rejoinder to a criticism that paper had made against me. It finds itself “quite prepared to endorse the conclusions” reached by me on the question of Majority Rule and ballot-box methods. I regret that space forbids the quoting here of the very original and logical arguments which “Jus” advances in support of our common view in addition to my own. But, when it comes to the second part of my article, it openly declares war. The reader will remember that, in discussing the question of coercing the non-aggressive, I charged “Jus” with identifying itself with the State, and pointed out the inconsistency of such conduct with the demands of Individualism. Referring to my accusation, “Jus” says:

Can “Jus” be fairly charged with siding with the State? Yes. In this fourth quarter of the nineteenth century “Jus” does side with the State in its performance of functions which should be performed by the whole people, which will some day be done by voluntary cooperation, and some of which, but for the existence of the State, even now might already be done by voluntary cooperation. But the fact remains that these things must be done, and that the State is the only organization which can do them.

V. Yarros writes as if Evolution had begun at the beginning and gone on to the day in which Kosmos was pleased to evolve him — and then stopped. The absolutely perfect is what in his opinion we are now ripe for. Probably he would not even now grant representative institutions to the Zulus, any more than he would adopt “free trade in education” in his own nursery. Nor can we detect in this ignorant, superstitious, selfish, and vulgar population any signs that Englishmen (either here or in America) have as yet reached the zenith of their development. Beyond the advent of V. Yarros (which we recognize and rejoice at), we see little reason for assuming that Anglo-Saxondom is already sufficiently matured to assume the toga virilis of absolute Anarchy, so honestly and so ably advocated and expounded in Liberty. Till that time comes, “Jus” will continue “to side with law and order,” and with the State as the best organization available for the maintenance of the same. On the recognition of our present imperfect social development rests the distinction between absolute philosophical Anarchy and individualism.

Now, what have the Anarchists to say for themselves? Do they really ignore the fact of our “present imperfect social development,” and believe that we are “ripe” for the “absolutely perfect”? If this assumption be correct, not only is there a vital distinction and real difference between the Anarchy of Liberty and the Individualism of “Jus,” but intelligent and practical reformers would be justified in pronouncing us idealists and dreamers and in proclaiming Individualism the only rational and wise thing, both in theory and in practice. Unfortunately for “Jus,” its distinction is based on a misconception. We are under no delusion as to the state of our social development. We recognize with “Jus” that absolute Anarchy is at present impossible. Indeed, we are Necessitarians to the point of holding that the non-existence of Anarchy in itself proves that the world is not yet ready for it.

What, then, is our complaint against “Jus”? Simply this,— that while it believes with us that society tends toward Anarchy; that progress must proceed on the line of more and more liberty and less and less State regulation; that active, earnest, and intellectually well-equipped minorities can, through passive and skilful resistance to obnoxious laws and sober appeals to the judgment of the people, achieve wonderful success in reducing the influence and necessity of authority,— it practically does next to nothing in the matter of abolishing the State. Instead of “putting its shoulder to the wheel” of evolution and helping us to weaken the State, it “sides” with it and strengthens it by adhesion and support. Certainly “Jus” must understand that Anarchy will never come if we all side with the State and trust in a factor outside of us. Though changes are made in time, they are not made by time, but by advanced and radical reformers, whose rebellion against the past makes progress possible.

Anarchists do not desire to abolish the State in a day. It can only be abolished slowly, gradually, little by little. But that this may be done, all those who clearly perceive the desirability of a higher stage of development must separate themselves from the old fabric and announce to the world their aspirations and endeavor in the most unmistakable terms. Thus the numbers of the advance guard of evolution increase, and the line between the past and the future grows more and more distinct and visible.

Ours is a critical time. Various pressing problems are demanding immediate solution, and on-all hands we see people rising who offer to save society by extinguishing the individual and bring peace and order by the iron hand of despotic rule. Shall we let the mass follow them, or shall we boldly come forward and lead it in the opposite direction? It is necessary to move on; it is no longer possible to occupy the middle ground. Those who are not with us, are against us. We ask “Jus” to be more definite, explicit, plain, and outspoken. These are now the requisites of leadership and influence. It’s always a pity to see fine qualities and superior ability wasted, but in a crisis this becomes a calamity.

V. Yarros.

The Sexual Freedom of Women.

This subject of the liberty of woman and the state in which she now is, upon which there have been several interesting contributions in Liberty of late, is one of the most interesting and complicated in all the range of existing social conditions. To say that a woman has the same right to freedom that a man has and that she alone should decide whether or not she will enjoy that right is a truism to the ears of all who have learned the A B C of individualism. But it is the opening to a subject upon which there is more ignorance to the population and more talk to the area of ignorance than upon any other subject in which men and women interest themselves, except, perhaps, that of probation after death. I mean the subject of sexual relations, which is very much in need of investigation at the hands of men of science whose only aim would be to reach the truth. However, this is not what I started out to say. I was about to say, when the size of the subject interrupted me, that the average woman of any grade of society who really wishes this liberty, takes it. But having done so, she never fails to condemn, hunt down, and cast out any other woman who has done the same thing and has been found out. The conventional code of morals on the sexual question is in a queer state, but it has been so undermined and hollowed out by imprisoned nature that it is already “tottering to its fall.”

It seems to me that the point to be attacked is not the question of the woman’s right to sexual freedom. Her own nature can be trusted to settle that for her in the way that will be the most conducive to her own happiness. The weak point — and at the same time the most important point — in all this conventional morality is that prostitution, which Christianity and morality have been fighting for ages, and conventional marriage, the door to respectability, stand upon the same principle,— a principle that is essentially evil,— namely, the principle that a woman’s sexual favors are rightfully a matter of commerce. The only important difference between the two conditions is that prostitution gets better pay than marriage. But the idea that a woman is entitled to support from the man to whom she grants herself is ingrained in the minds of both men and women.

It is this idea that must be knocked to pieces before women can be free, in any sense of the word.

And back of this is the still greater truth that women must learn to be self-supporting. Else, they will always be slaves.

F. F. K.

No Golden Mean.

[Gramont in L’Intransigeant. — Translated for Liberty by F. R. C.]

I can understand the people who say:

“Liberty is a pest. To give the people liberty is to unchain a ferocious beast. Let us have no liberty! Down with this mad folly! Nations must be governed, led, guided, subdued, restrained, and held in leading strings. If you slacken the rein, all is lost. There is only one system: authority,— absolute, uncontested, uncontrolled authority. The people are children who must be kept in tutelage. In this only is their safety; only by this can they live and prosper, be preserved from dangers without and within, protected from their enemies — and from their selves.”

Such language has two merits. It is clear, and it is logical. The theory which it expresses is a tenable theory. I do not consider it a good one; I profess an opinion diametrically opposed to it. But I can understand perfectly that to certain minds the ideas which I have stated seem correct. Political truths unfortunately are not demonstrated by the same kind of evidence as geometrical truths, for instance; and though it would never occur to any man to maintain that the sum of the angles of a triangle is not equal to two right angles, he would argue for hours on the question whether authority is better than liberty or vice versa.

Of these two classes of individuals,— those who wish liberty and those who demand authority,— both can not be equally in the right; if one is right, the other must necessarily be wrong.

But it must be recognized that both are equally consistent with themselves and draw logical deductions from their premises, from their initial argument.

The thing that seems odd to me is that there should be that class which is sometimes called the “happy medium,” and which I will call, if you please, the class which must be taken in a lump; these are the men who hope to reconcile those two incompatible terms, liberty and authority, and to make a system by taking a little of both and welding them together. As if welding was possible, as if they could hold together!

The man who says: “I am for liberty, but not for license!” or again: “I am for authority, but not for absolutism!” does not perceive that he establishes a distinction so fanciful that it is impossible to act upon it in reality.

Indeed, how, by what subtle process can the place, the point, the boundary, be determined where liberty ends and license begins? By the aid of what infallible criterion can it be decided whether a given act is legitimately authoritarian or damnably arbitrary.

Let us take an example,— and, in order to preserve all possible impartiality, we will take one outside of politics.

You admit, you say, the liberty of the pen, but you wish to do away with its disadvantages? It has some, it must have some,— because it is granted to men, who are creatures essentially weak and imperfect. One of its disadvantages is that it allows the publication of works in which there is no respect shown to decency. What would you do?

You would proscribe the books you judge dangerous to public morality? So be it. By what will you recognize them? How far will your tolerance go? Where shall it stop? At what point of grossness will you begin to prosecute? How will you distinguish an artistic or scientific work from a simple impure speculation? By the merit of its method? by its style? And who then shall decide this?

Besides, everything is relative. A book dangerous in certain hands is not at all so in others. There are medical books which it would be very imprudent to give into the hands of young girls. Nevertheless it is necessary that they should be written and freely circulated.

When we start on this road, to what end will it lead us? To this,— the prosecution of “Madame Bovary,” a masterpiece, perfectly chaste in form and deeply severe in principles.

The truth is that there is no criterion, no means of fixing the boundary between liberty and license.

That liberty can be abused is very true. Authority also has its abuses. But is not liberty with all its disadvantages worth far more than authority with its disadvantages? This is the whole question. To expect to amalgamate authority and liberty so that we shall have only the advantages of both without the disadvantages of either is an idea which, in spite of its practical appearance, is the most chimerical of utopias.

A choice must be made, compromises and distinctions given up, and a stand taken for one side or the other,— for absolute authority or liberty without restrictions.

Three Remarkable Things About Liberty.

[Workmen’s Advocate.]

There’s a paper published in Boston that for skilful manipulation of words, conscienceless misrepresentation, and the aggressive self-assertion of its editor, is remarkable. Liberty is its title.


What man is there so bold that he should say,

“Thus and thus only would I have the sea”?

For whether lying calm and beautiful,

Clasping the earth in love, and throwing back

The smile of heaven from waves of amethyst;

Or whether, freshened by the busy winds,

It bears the trade and navies of the world

To ends of use or stern activity;

Or whether, lashed by tempests, it gives way

To elemental fury, howls and roars

At all its rocky barriers, in wild lust

Of ruin drinks the blood of living things,

And strews its wrecks o’er leagues of desolate shore; —

Always it is the sea, and all bow down

Before its vast and varied majesty.

And so in vain will timorous men essay

To set the metes and bounds of Liberty.

For Freedom is its own eternal law.

It makes its own conditions, and in storm

Or calm alike fulfills the unerring Will.

Let us not then despise it when it lies

Still as a sleeping lion, while a swarm

Of gnat-like evils hover round its head;

Nor doubt it when in mad, disjointed times

It shakes the torch of terror, and its cry

Shrills o’er the quaking earth, and in the flame

Of riot and war we see its awful form

Rise by the scaffold, where the crimson ax

Kings down its grooves the knell of shuddering kings.

For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!

Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;

And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.

John Hay.

Whither Are We Drifting?


Probably no law that ever was enacted has contributed more to bring the whole body of the law into contempt and disrepute than the infamous law which is known as the Comstock or Blackmail Law. To those who try to find some good in the motives or purposes of those who procured its enactment, the emphatic answer is that there is no good in it. No honest prosecution has ever taken place under this law. No case can be pointed to of a conviction under this law which has been honestly prosecuted for an honest purpose. Nor can it be shown that any punishment inflicted under this law has ever had the effect of making the victim or the community any purer or better. This law, as will be seen by the statute book, was passed March 3, 1873. The readers of the “Light-Bearer” ought to know just what that fact means, and, as they may not readily Bee what it means, we will tell them. It means that this law was by trickery and fraud rushed through in the confusion and uproar of the closing hours of the most corrupt Congress ever convened in this country. It was passed without debate between one and two o’clock on Sunday morning, March 2, and signed by the president Monday night, with no thought or deliberation on the part of any body, amid a vast number of bills of all sorts. One of the individuals interested in pushing this vile law through this debauched Congress was Comstock himself, of whom it is not necessary here to say anything. Another was a theological hypocrite who publicly announced that he believed in deceit. Another was a person who violated the law himself, and through his money or personal influence managed to escape prosecution and go scot free. And there were others of morals equally eccentric whose trickery aided in the passage of this law.

The history of those times is too well known to leave a doubt as to the way in which the enactment of the Comstock Law was procured. And having thus gotten their law, the filthy gang for whose use it was made violate every principle of honesty and decency and enforce their law to silence arguments which they cannot otherwise answer, to suppress thought, to threaten science, to pry into the confidences of the mails, and to limit liberty.

And now just a few questions:

Whither are we drifting?

Where are the “landmarks” of that liberty for the vindication of which the American Republic was founded?

Of what avail are our much-lauded “Declaration” and our “National Constitution” when their most vital principles are openly, boastingly outraged by a semi-religious Association through laws of its own formulating,— laws that make it and its agents the irresponsible censors over public morals?

Where are the safeguards against theologic despotism,— from which our forefathers fled,— when the citizen is subject to arrest and imprisonment, and his property seized and destroyed, without even the form of trial, but merely on the “information” of a spy and blackmailer sent out by the aforesaid semi-religious Association self-styled the “Society for the Prevention of Vice”?

Then, if the case should come to trial, where is the rational ground of hope that justice will be done to the accused, when it is remembered that there is absolutely no standard as-to what is “vicious” in literature or in art except the preconceived notions, the prejudices, of the prosecutor, the judge, and the jurors? That is to say, when all that is needed to secure a conviction is to bring the suit before a judge and jury whose prejudices are in favor of the prevailing theologic, and against the scientific, code of morality?

Then, in case the “agent” should make a mistake in selecting his field of operations and the accused should be set free, where is redress to come from for loss of time, loss of property, damage to business,— to say nothing of indignities suffered, resulting often in loss of health, while under arrest and in prison? Against Comstock & Co. there is absolutely noredress! They are no more amenable to the tribunals designed for the protection of the citizen against official (officious) invasion than were their prototypes, the religions Inquisitors of the sixteenth century.

Again we ask:

Whither are we drifting?

The “One Man.”

A typical individual who in the eyes of many demonstrates beyond all doubt the impossibility of realizing Anarchistic views, is the dreaded “One Man,” who persistently refuses-to do what the others decide. If a picnic is to be arranged in common, the “one man” will not join in; if the Fourth of July is to be celebrated, he will celebrate the fifth; if a social excursion is to be made into the country, he will refuse to share the costs; if the other seek to hasten their evolution into angels, he will draw his devilish mantle still closer around him, in order to make an escape impossible; thereby he prevents entire mankind from attaining to that condition wherein laws will no longer be needed.

It is strange what a taming influence the laws exercise over the “one man.” In the absence of law he feels a constant pricking in his fingers to throw stones into his neighbor’s windows; he would build his dwelling continually diagonally across the street; towards railroads he entertains such intense hatred that he would forever place dynamite bombs under the track; even the unobstructed passage on the streets vexes him, wherefore he never shovels the snow off of his sidewalk. Neither the fear of a drubbing nor lynching will deter him from indulging in these everlasting chicaneries against his fellow-men. But all this instantly changes when laws are made. Before these the “one man” crouches in supernatural awe. While a thousand lynchers, with a noose around his neck and drawn over the limb of a tree, would have elicited from him but a scornful sneer, he becomes tame, repentant, and contrite when the arm of the law in the shape of a constable is stretched out after him, when lawyers, judges, and jurymen enact the solemn ceremony of a legal proceeding before his eyes. But should he advance up to the regulation gallows, the solemn awe of this-sublime instrument will cause such a transfiguration of his entire being as to give him on his way fine prospects for high legal posts of honor in the hereafter.

Mankind have therefore well-founded reason for showing the law that idolatrous veneration which (exhibited by republicans adoring liberty) in the profane view of infidel Anarchists is fetichism pure and simple over again. Of what use would all the achievements of science and industry be to us without law? Should the inhabitants of a city decide on establishing a system of electrical street illumination, the “one man” would infallibly cut the wires. The electrical fire-alarm would be impossible on his account; for he would continually set the apparatus in motion, so that only confusion could arise out of it. On account of this “one man” we could no longer delight in the undisturbed blessings even of older institutions without law. Gaslighting we should have to give over, for the “one man” would tap the pipes; water-works would be impossible, for he would always want to build his cellar where there would be a water-pipe; water-closets would have to be abolished, for the “one man” would stop up the conduits.

This condition of things would prove most disagreeable to the land-speculators, for wherever they should sell a building lot, or a farm, or a piece of woodland, they would have to fear that just there the “one man” would erect his cottage or arrange for pasturage or his potato-patch.

Thus we all have good cause to be thankful to the law for its restraining influence on the “one man”; we can enjoy our property in peace and participate in all progressive achievements. But those whom fate has not endowed with the means required to gain access to these things are in consequence of the law at least relieved of the temptation to assume the róle of this “one man,” whereby they would call down upon themselves the execration of all good men in the here and now and be assigned a place with the eternally damned in the hereafter.

Like mankind, so also the angels have reason to be thankful to the law; for if the “one man” should succeed in entering heaven without previously having been tamed, he would simply make impossible the eternal hallelujah by singing street-songs.

However, this subject may be looked at in a wholly different light, so that only the “one man” himself should have cause for being thankful to the law. With the aid of the law he can gratify his desire of vexing others and tyrannizing over them much more easily than if he were restricted to his own faculties only. If, as mentioned in the beginning, picnics, Fourth-of-July celebrations, excursions into the country, etc., are the matters of concern, he can vex the others without the law only by not joining them; but, if he has the law to rely on, he can, as in the Polish diet, prevent the others by his veto from doing what he does not like. While privately he might annoy his fellow-men only by throwing in windows, blockading the street, preventing railroad communication, he may, with the aid of the law, appropriate houses, streets, and railroads, and thus make all mankind tributary to himself. In the indulgence of the first-mentioned smaller pleasure he would always have to run the risk of a drubbing or lynching; but in the last-mentioned greater pleasure the law places him above all danger, while his fellow-men can resist the oppression of the “one man” in the natural and customary manner only on peril of their lives.

It is therefore not to be wondered at that nowadays the “one man” should appear as the* most zealous defender of law and order, and that he should seek to fortify the faith of his fellow-men that without these things they could not live at all. The cutting of electrical wires, the tapping of gas-pipes, the tampering with the water-works, the stopping-up of the sewage, are really paltry pleasures, when one can secure a property-title to all these things and then give his fellow-men the alternative of either paying or getting nothing.

From the point of view of the “one man” the tender solicitude for the law may therefore be explained, but it cannot be explained from the point of view of the others.

Paul Berwig.

A Difference of Words Only.

To the Editor of Liberty:

I think there is no controversy between Mr. J. Wm. Lloyd and myself, though he regards “all acts as Egoistic,” while I use the term Egoism, like Stirner, for acts of normal self-possession and self-expression, excluding blind crazes, fanaticism, the influence of fixed ideas, hypnotism dominating the subject and rendering him more of an automaton than of an individual, although he goes through the motions. Rewards and punishments promised and threatened appeal to the Egoism of ignorant believers, but there is also an anti-individualistic craze or fascination in religion, and love, and business, when the idea rides the man. In the last analysis it is a question of sanity or insanity. Egoism is sanity. So we use the term, and as Stirner’s book, “Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum,” has long been before the world, his admirers have a good possessory title to this term.

Mr. Lloyd started to sketch the man who “needs to know,” but he gives us the portrait of one who has become so far differentiated from the class that now he knows his need, and is actually exercising care in transforming himself, with the conscious wish and distinct purpose to reach that condition wherein he will no longer “need to know” at every turn that particular acts are going to be calculably profitable to him. If I admire this man for what he is making of himself, I still imply that I did not admire him for what he was.

  1. — I don’t like soldiers.

  2. — Do not say that. Here is a worthy man. He is a soldier, but he abhors war. He has sworn never to fight except for liberty, and to live as a civilian as soon as he can. Now, do you not like this soldier a little?

  3. — I do.

Tak Kak.

An Anarchist Without Knowing it.

Mr. Benj. R. Tucker:

Dear Sir,— Thanks for the two copies of Liberty.

After reading the same thoughtfully through, I find the paper well worth having; in fact, I consider it worth much to every seeker of truth. I send you enclosed fifty cents in stamps, and subscribe to the same for half a year.

Anarchism can have no terror to me, nor can it have to any one who understands it or wants to understand it. But by misrepresentation and slander, Anarchism and Anarchist do, in the eyes of most people, mean something else than they are. This it will take some time for truth to penetrate and alter.

To my surprise do I find that my views of the subjects treated in your paper are in substance the same as those held by you and your correspondents. While being somewhat of a philosopher and a radical thinker, I hardly ever read any strictly Anarchistic literature. And although I, with all my heart, sympathized with those brave but unfortunate men in Chicago during their trial and execution,— one of the most infamous judicial crimes ever committed in the history of man,— yet I never considered myself as an Anarchist.

I have, with you, come to the conclusion that the sovereignty of the individual, which I understand you call the main principle of Anarchism, is an absolute necessity, if liberty, justice, love, and happiness ever are to become the rule and not the exception in the hearts and homes of man. This is a fact which will be more and more understood as the people gain knowledge and learn to use reason in the place of superstition and creeds.

I do not believe in any “Revolution” except in that of the human mind, nor do I know if you do. But as the mind is liberated from its prison and changes views, other things, political and social, will necessarily have to change accordingly.

“Revolution” would bring only terror and do no good as long as the average human mind is not sufficiently liberated and advanced to be a guarantee for a change to the better thereafter.

The idea of authority, except that of the laws of nature and that of man’s own individual conscience, is old nonsense. Authority was made by man to rule man. It has its root in ignorance, in the belief in a supreme being, a ruler over all and everything, of whom absolutely nothing is yet known. Laws were made by the few to rule and suppress the many, and these, instructed as they were that the laws came from their gods, submitted in their credulity and ignorance. Results: today we have written laws enough under which to bury the whole population, and many more are being made every year. A man no longer knows for himself when he is right and when he is wrong. It takes one man, two men, a lifetime of study to find this out; yet right is made wrong and wrong right to a great majority of men. When absurdity reaches that point, it is time for its downfall.

State Socialism is no remedy. It would necessitate even more laws,— would be contrary to liberty. Everything must be simplified. All authority, all rulership, must gradually return to individuality, whence it started and where it belongs.

I believe, however, in cooperative socialism by communities and localities. Not only would it be a great step in the right direction of itself, and the only possible one as long as machinery and modes of production are not more simplified and cheapened, but it would also help considerably to educate the masses and liberate minds.

I desire to say one word more. I have been satisfied long ago that among you many of the sincerest, ablest, and best of men are to be found,— men with more heart for the misery and sufferings of mankind than all the rest of the world and all the gods combined,— yet there has hardly been a crime committed under heaven that you have not been accused of in one way or another by the tyrants and capitalists or by ignorance. Small as your reward has been, you have at least one consolation. All the reformers and lovers of mankind who are now honored in their graves as heroes and great men were the Anarchists and Socialists of their time, and received the same treatment as you while living. Your endeavor for liberty’s sake will, however, be fully recognized by coming generations. Already we have the great joy of seeing liberty and truth more and more rapidly gaining a foothold everywhere. — Yours for liberty and truth,

S. Running.

Menomonie, Wisconsin, February 13, 1888.

What is Rent?

[Galveston News.]

Whether one hires a furnished room, an unfurnished house, or a vacant lot, the payment is popularly called rent. At once the payment on account of improvements is sought to be distinguished from the payment on account of permission to occupy the land. Political economy deals with rent as it is conceived after eliminating the compensation for improvements, just as the same science deals with profit in an abstract sense, whereas in the popular sense profit is mixed with wages of superintendence, results of applied talent, etc. The Henry George men flatter themselves that in distinguishing land rent from compensation for improvements they have got at pure economic rent and adhered to it. Mr. George starts with Ricardo, and he and his followers appear to be alike unconscious when they wander from the economic basis. Taking fertility of land as a type of advantages and assuming settlement to be free, the Ricardian philosophy shows that the choicest soils would be preferred, and that, when these were occupied, a resort would be had to soils yielding less returns to labor. Then the extra yield of the choicer soils over the poorest in cultivation would constitute the advantage, before unknown, which would command an annual premium. This is economic rent and its origin. If there is any other equally unforced increment of benefit from location, the difference in favor of the best over the alternative location is the same in principle as fertility. Yet when an intelligent critic — Mr. J. F. Kelly before the Twentieth Century club — took up the Ricardian theory of rent and stated its development, showing that resort to poorer land preceded the rise of Ricardian rent, a Henry George school critic replied that he could show that, on the contrary, high rents forced a resort to poorer lands. But this is using the term rent in the wholly different sense of the price paid to buy off the monopolist. This is not economic rent at all. So Henry George in his paper pictures a poor man standing on a piece of ground with one full sack representing his bare living. On other pieces of ground there are in addition from one to fourteen sacks, the property of the monopolist. Now, the truth is that the fourteen sacks were not produced from that piece of ground and were no more produced by it than is the money in the treasury produced by the stamps on beer barrels and cigar boxes. The fourteen bags are the product of other places, worked by other people, laid under tribute, not by any actual occupancy of that piece of ground, but by a general system of keeping other ground unoccupied. The ability to keep the poor land wholly out of use would enhance the charge for using the good land; and the ability to keep the good land out of use would make a charge upon land which, on the Ricardian assumption, was free for occupancy. The exactions of monopoly may be called rent, but that is popular language, and those who use it should not profess to be following in the terms and logic of Ricardo. If rent is that premium which is offered for the best over the less desirable under free occupancy, there is no rent until there is a lack of highly desirable land. Compare the idea with that of profits. Would it be reasonable and logical for Henry George, after discussing pure profit,— the vanishing quantity as it would exist under entire freedom of industry,— to then turn and speak of the fifty or eighty per cent, legalized stealings of the tariff barons as “profit”? — to then promise the great income which could be had if government taxed away “profit”? The answer would be: this is a muddle. He has glided from the economic abstraction to the gross concretion of monopolistic tribute which exists not a day longer than the statutory measures which give it continuous force as a blood-sucking apparatus.

Altruists Build in the Air.

[E. D. Linton.]

I have unbounded faith in what is called human selfishness. I know of no other foundation to build upon. When we cease quarrelling with this indestructible instinct of self-preservation and learn to use it as one of the greatest forces of nature, it will be found to work beneficently for all mankind, and “the stone which has been rejected by the builders will become the chief corner-stone.”

Cranky Notions.

It is with a good deal of hesitancy that I venture into a public discussion with my good Comrade Yarros, because his keen intellect and power of argument and satire may put me and my plain, homely speech and notions to ridicule, and of course I don’t like to be ridiculed. But I enter this controversy as a pupil with his teacher with a view of clearing some point that is not already clear to both. The division he has made of my argument meets my approval, and the propositions “that experience establishes the possibility of trades unions shortening their hours without proportionately reducing their wages,” and “that reduced hours mean increased opportunities for study and development,” seem to me to need no argument to prove them true. These facts lie on the surface, and possibly may have led me to “justify all sorts of conclusions.” Time and book-learning are short with me, and in consequence my language may not always carry with it my exact meaning, but in this case my comrade is in error when he says my assertions on the eight-hours movement mean more than I meant they should. The working people through organization do have it in their power to gain concessions from their employers, even under present conditions, but they may not have the power to gain all that is necessary to make them socially, economically, and politically free. If they did not have this power, I should lose hope of Anarchy ever being attained, because I am of the opinion that trades unions and other associations exercising the powers of passive resistance can accomplish what cannot be accomplished by the ballot. I have been taught that Anarchy was to be inaugurated by simply refusing to recognize the State when we get enough who think Anarchy is right and that we stand a fair show of carrying our point by passive resistance. The Irish “struck” against rent when the no-rent manifesto was issued, and I believe, if that policy had continued, the cause of freedom and justice would be much further advanced than it is today. If the people have not the power under present conditions to change anything, how are they ever to better their conditions? Shorter hours of work will give time to see the evils more clearly and learn the true remedies. When we change from a ten hours workday to a nine or an eight-hours workday, things are not what they were, and this advantage gives us a better chance to change other things. I remember in my younger days, when I worked in the woods logging, that, when we got a big log that was hard to handle, we used our canthooks and handspikes wherever we could get a “bite,” and each “bite” gave us a better advantage to roll the log where we wanted it. All these palliatives or half-measures are “bites,” and we should make the most of them. I was clear in my statement that the Detroit printers “gained” two hours a week without a reduction, and that is the fact. They work on time. I am free to admit that there are many things in connection with these economic problems that I do not see, and some no doubt lie in plain sight of those who have stronger mental vision, but I never refuse to look with all my might in the direction my teachers point. Comrade Yarros must not think that I spend a great amount of time over the eight hours movement, because I too believe, if those who see that the real conflict is between those who hold privileges granted and upheld by the State and those who do not hold such privileges would lose no opportunity to make this fact clear, that the road to better conditions will be shortened very much. Even though the effect of the eight hours agitation be traced to machinery, etc., does not that show that the “poor o’erlabored wights” are thinking how they can reap some of the benefits of improved methods of producing wealth? Does Comrade Yarros claim that the shortening of hours would have come as a necessary effect of the introduction of machinery, etc., did the agitation for short hours not take place? When I speak at an eight-hour meeting, I do not oppose the getting of eight hours if they can, but I do not fail to show what I believe is a better way to relieve the working people of their present burdens. I do not know whether Comrade Yarros has had much experience in dealing with working people or not, but my experience teaches me not to directly oppose and condemn what they believe will be to their good, but rather to show them that, while their methods might accomplish what they desire, there are other and better ways to get what belongs to them. I would like my good comrade to instruct me in the following questions: 1. If it is not possible for the working people to gain concessions from the privileged class and better their conditions through organization and united action, how are they to accomplish their emancipation? 2. Is it not true that most of the Anarchists of today have arrived at their present thought through and by the discussion of half-way measures?

Joseph A. Labadie.

Moralists Are Necessarily Collectivists.

[G. Mazzini.]

Morally the theory which places the source of all authority, of sovereignty, in the Ego, in individual reason and individual will, leads, by force of logic, to placing it in the sum of individual instincts, appetites, and passions, and practically to the worship of personal interests; less dangerous, because restrained within reasonable limits, in those whom circumstances have rendered worthy, but sheer egotism in the rest.

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Liberty’s Library

Leonard E. Read: Accent On The Right: To Frederic Bastiat (1801–1850), who sought for truth rather than outcome and never witnessed the fruits his labor bore. Obedience to conscience was his first rule; we witness the results.

Leonard E. Read: Anything That’s Peaceful: Many favor peace but not many favor the things that make for peace. — Thomas à Kempis

Leonard E. Read: Awake for Freedom’s Sake: Finally, share with others. Forget about “reforming” them! The more we share, the more we learn. This is in the interest of self and freedom!

Leonard E. Read: Castles in the Air: If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. — Henry David Thoreau

Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State: Political philosophy is dominated by a myth, the myth of the necessity of the state. The state is considered necessary for the provision of many things, but primarily for peace and security. In this provocative book, Gerard Casey argues that social order can be spontaneously generated, that such spontaneous order is the norm in human society and that deviations from the ordered norms can be dealt with without recourse to the coercive power of the state.

Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers: Murray Rothbard: Murray Rothbard (1926–1995) was an economist, historian, philosopher, and legal theoretician. His work was unified by a passionate and resolute commitment to a libertarianism that may be characterized as ‘anarcho-capitalism’ and which implied a belief that even the legal system may be provided privately without the need for a coercive collective authority. Hence, anarcho-capitalists envisage a society where the traditional role of government is wholly subsumed by private, profit-making enterprises and all social relationships are ultimately founded upon consent.