“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.”
On Picket Duty.
I observe that J. M. L. Babcock declares very positively in the “Twentieth Century” that Buckle is an abler thinker than Stirner. How does he know? I will bet the drinks with Mr. Babcock that he has never opened a book written by Stirner.
“Most of us” says John Morley, “feel pleasure in reading the matchless banter with which Voltaire assailed his theological enemies.” What a humiliating confession! Does not “Today’s” reviewer assure us that such a desire for blasphemous solace betokens a lingering fear of the terrors of hell, an imperfect emancipation from the narrowest conception of Christianity?
Comrade Mackay honors Liberty with the first copy of his new book, “The Anarchists,” that issued from the press. It is a beautifully-printed volume. Being written in German, I cannot read it; but my friend Schumm is translating it for me, and I hope to publish it as an English book in September next, if not earlier. Mr. Schumm tells me that he is convinced, from such parts of the work as he has read already, that it will prove one of the most effective means of propagandism that the cause of Anarchy has ever enjoyed. He tells me also that it is a work of art; but this goes without saying to those who know Mackay’s poems. I am eager to know what sort of reception the new work will get in Germany. Perhaps Comrade Mackay will favor Liberty with a letter on the subject.
J. W. Sullivan writes in the “Twentieth Century”: “‘Freedom,’ an Anarchist-Communist journal, says of William Morris: ‘Comrade Morris is not avowedly an Anarchist by conviction; but in character he is a born Anarchist, and in very much of his writing — for instance, “News from Nownere” — the most hypercritical of Anarchists would have to borrow a pair of spectacles to discover serious points of disagreement.’ By which, it is to be supposed, ‘Freedom’ would mean Anarchist-Communist.” The “it is to be supposed” is delightful. Mr. Sullivan is an individualist and, finding no trace of individualism or Anarchism in “News from Nowhere,” he naturally “supposes” that “Freedom” speaks of the so-called Anarchistic Communists, whose hatred of liberty is as intense as their ignorance of its true import and real efficacy is profound. But is it possible that the associate editor of the “Twentieth Century” does not know that its publisher recommends and advertises Morris’s book as an individualistic novel,— in fact, as the novel of individualism? Or “is it to be supposed” that the associate editor of the “Twentieth Century” deliberately chose this indirect way of contradicting and discrediting the publisher’s absurd pretence?
A writer in the “Twentieth Century” says with reference to the law of equal liberty: “The word law has one of two significations: it refers either to a regulation ordered by authority or to a brief and comprehensive explanation of a whole series of natural phenomena. In neither of the above categories can the above law (?) be placed. In fact, it is not a law, but a formula, a mere statement of what Mr. Spencer believed ought to be the rights of man.” The law of equal liberty is a brief and comprehensive generalization from a whole series of social phenomena. And because this law is a clear induction from the phenomena presented by various societies,— phenomena which, if we did not know this law, would remain to us without coördination,— it is advanced as a statement of what the rights of man ought to be. Equal liberty is valued for the resulting human happiness, and that equal liberty is indispensable to social order, peace, and progress,— the conditions as well as elements of happiness,— is provable by the past and present. No à priori assumption is lurking in the argument to vitiate it. The same writer says: “Society will not be guided by formulas.” What then will it be guided by if not by scientific principles and formulas? What guidance is superior to that afforded by scientific knowledge?
The editor of the “Voice” writes as follows in response to a recent paragraph in Liberty: “The editor of Liberty wants to know whether we are ‘prepared to justify Prohibition by the novel argument implied in the expression “slow poison to the tinkling of cut-glass decanters,” used in reference to liquor-dealers’ business.’ Most assuredly. We are prepared to show, by the deliverances of science, that ‘alcohol is an irritant poison.’ We are prepared to show, by common observation, that people are induced, by all manner of incitements, to drink that irritant poison, most of them being ignorant of the fact that it is poison. We are prepared to show, by the investigations of the British Medical Society, that that poison kills thirty thousand persons every year in England and Wales, and, by a fair inference, an equal number in this country.” Now, does the editor of the “Voice” remember assuring Mr. Yarros that “we are not trying, as Prohibitionists, to remedy ‘human weakness, vice, and disease’; we are trying to protect ourselves and society in general from the consequences of that weakness, vice, and disease. We are not trying to protect a man from his own folly or weakness, but to protect others from his weakness and folly. If A wants a drink and B sells it to him, who is wronged? No one, if A does not drink to excess. What right then has Government to interfere? None at all, if that specific act of sale is all there is to the question.” Does he remember making these assertions and explanations? If he does not, let him read his own paper of last January. If he does, will he tell us how he reconciles his January position with his midsummer mad. . . — I mean science?
The editor of the “Truth Seeker,” who finds in Ingersoll that perfection which he fails to find in the Christian’s Jesus, is as pained and angered by rational criticism of his idol as the pious Christian is by any attempt to apply to Jesus the test of common sense. The sharp comments called forth by Ingersoll’s eloquent cant in defence of things as they are naturally move our good Ingersollian disciple to attack the infidel critics in the true old Christian fashion. He says that it is mild language to call their statements lies; that the Socialists and Anarchists object to the common sense which Ingersoll applies to the labor question and wag malicious tongues at a man too big for them to comprehend; that only “little people, so short-sighted that they cannot see their own limitations, jump around him and call him ‘shallow,’” and that “there is small hope of getting the envious and dishonest social critics of Colonel Ingersoll to do him justice.” To refute the critics’ statements the editorial apologist reprints certain very familiar Ingersollian utterances, mostly platitudinous, vague, and contradictory. Now, I cannot undertake to enlighten the editor of the “Truth Seeker,” having no confidence whatever in his capacity or receptiveness. I can only repeat that I know Ingersoll to be utterly incompetent to discuss scientific economics, politics, or ethics. When he loses himself in the mazes of shallow talk I am not surprised. If Ingersoll’s nonsense appears to the editor of the “Truth Seeker” sterling and profound sense, the inevitable inference is that he is even more ignorant than Ingersoll is. And to show what a pitch of stupidity he can attain I only need to refer to his characterization of the editor of Liberty as a “self-elected spokesman of ‘Philosophical Anarchy’ and self-appointed corrector of the human race.” Who elected Macdonald spokesman of Freethought (limited) and corrector of the human race?. Or is it proper to be a theological corrector of the human race and improper to be a political and social corrector of the human race?
Horace L. Traubel, in a letter to the “Open Court,” while denying that Walt Whitman ever applied for a pension, suggests that “an abstract question might be asked, viz., whether as fulfillment of justice men who sacrifice health in hospitals are not as much entitled to governmental guarantees as men who travel the life of a forager and fighter.” General Trumbull, in response, says: “I do not believe that either of them ought to have a pension. I believe that pensioning is one of the most corrupt and corrupting of governmental usurpations; but if compelled to decide between the male nurse and the soldier, I should say give it to the soldier. If the question were between the soldier and the female nurse, I might vote the other way.” With General Trumbull’s antipathy toward pensioning no sensible person can find fault; but the implied notion that it is manlier work to destroy lives than to save them no truly civilized nature will find acceptable. There can be no stronger evidence of the dehumanizing and degrading effect of militarism than this contempt of professional men-killers for the feelings on which true society rests. General Trumbull adds: “So far as the praise of the male nurse reproaches me for having been a soldier instead of a nurse, I will bear it with such penitential humility as I can. In the excitement of the great struggle for liberty I did not notice it. . . Still, should the dispute have to be fought out again, I should probably act as I did before; for looking back at the conflict in the calm and quiet of old age, I am rather gratified than otherwise that I fought for the preservation of the American republic and the overthrow of slavery.” There are two other things which the General failed to notice in the excitement of the great struggle, as he fails to notice them in the excitement of his present polemical struggle. The first is that the great struggle was not a struggle for liberty in any sense, but a struggle against liberty in a most living sense, on the part of General Trumbull and his fellow-patriots: slavery was not originally an issue in the war, and its abolition was reluctantly acquiesced in, as a war measure, rather than eagerly determined upon in the interests of civilization. The second thing General Trumbull overlooks is that the evils, present and to come, that may be directly traced to the great struggle are worse than the slavery which it incidentally and accidentally abolished.
“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.
E. C. Walker, formerly editor of “Fair Play” and now a regular contributor to the columns of Liberty, is also an authorized agent for Liberty and for all books and pamphlets published by Benj. R. Tucker.
A New Book Given Away With Each Renewal. — Payment of subscriptions and of renewals is required in advance. The names of subscribers not heard from within two weeks after expiration of subscription are removed from the list. But to every subscriber who sends his renewal for one year, accompanied by the cash, so that It reaches the publisher not later than two weeks after it is due, will be sent, postpaid, any book published in the United States that the subscriber may select, provided that its retail price does not exceed 50 cents if published by Benj. R. Tucker, or 25 cents if published by any other publisher. This is a permanent offer, and enables every promptly-paying subscriber to get a new book each year free of cost. But only one book will be given at a time, no matter how low the price of the book selected.
Morley’s Defence of Democracy.
The remarkable volume of essays recently published by John Morley contains, besides much perfect literary criticism and other admirable matter, his reply to Sir Henry Maine’s attack upon Democracy. That John Morley is much more successful and instructive as a literary critic and philosophical historian than as a sociologist and political advocate scarcely needs saying. He is one of the few, very few profound thinkers and students who have preserved their faith in the excellence and virtue of democratic government; and modern radical individualism, with which he certainly cannot be unfamiliar, fails to enlist his sympathy or elicit his acquiescence. That so clear and logical a mind should be reconciled to such an impossible and indefensible system as democracy, and should do such scant justice to a movement so vigorous, so significant, and so certain of ultimate victory as that carried on by the various divisions of the great individualist army against the prevailing political order, must remain an enigma, a puzzle. John Morley has always been on hand to look after the interests and fortunes of democracy when these were threatened from the camp of the reactionary opponents of popular government, of the tories and champions of monarchic principles. But he has never attempted to join issues with the radical opponents of popular government, with those whose point of view is higher than his own, and who oppose democracy, not because it is too great a concession to individual sovereignty, but because it is an insufficient recognition of liberty, because it has ceased to respond to the spirit of the age and the needs of advanced humanity. It were to be wished that he would decide to participate in the debate between democracy and progressive individualism, and give utterance to his doubts, fears, misgivings, and tendencies of thought. Meanwhile it may not be unprofitable to glance at the defence of democracy which he has made and at the arguments with which he sought to confute the position of Sir Henry Maine.
Describing the politicians’ methods under democracy, Sir Henry Maine contemptuously says that “an audience of roughs or clowns is boldly told by an educated man that it has more political information than an equal number of scholars.” By “roughs” and “clowns” Sir Henry Maine means the artisans of the town and the agricultural laborers, as he himself explains. These epithets shock and offend Mr. Morley, and very properly so; but the charge cannot be overthrown or denied. The majority of the voting “sovereigns” are utterly incompetent to decide the issues on which political campaigns are generally fought, and the demagogues seeking their votes (and most of the candidates are demagogues) do boldly tell them that they are perfectly fitted to pass upon the various complex problems of political relations, and need have no apprehensions of any sort as to the social effects of their action. Mr. Morley, however, while not categorically affirming the wisdom of the electors, attempts to break the force of Sir Henry Maine’s serious charge by claiming that, even if true, it does not affect the essential nature of popular government. “So far from being the least fit for political influences of all classes in the community,” he says, “the best part of the working class forms the most fit of all others”; and he approvingly quotes Frederic Harrison’s statement that, “electing or the giving an indirect approval of government, is another thing [than governing], and demands wholly different qualities. These are moral, not intellectual, practical, not special gifts,— gifts of a very plain and almost universal order.” But what a lame and impotent apology we have here! Observe, in the first place, that Mr. Morley’s estimate of the qualifications of the average voter by no means coincides with that of Mr. Harrison. Mr. Morley simply falls into question-begging when he speaks of the fitness of the “best part” of the working classes. The best part is numerically insignificant, and Sir Henry Maine might admit all that is said in their behalf without thereby weakening his case in the smallest degree. Secondly, even assuming that Mr. Morley is prepared to amend his statement and endorse Mr. Harrison’s estimate of the qualification of the working people, it is difficult to believe that the kind of democracy Mr. Morley cherishes is no better than that under which the people content themselves merely with indirectly approving their government. It is fairly presumable that Mr. Morley’s ideal is “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” a genuine democracy, actual majority rule. But such a system is impossible if the voters are only “morally” fitted to give “indirect approval” of government, for this means, of course, that they vote for men, not for measures, that they select and elect honest and upright representatives, to whom they leave the settlement of those great problems to the comprehension of which they are not intellectually equal. Why, even that form of democracy which we enjoy (?) today is greatly superior to that implied in the Morley-Harrison argument. That men are often voted for rather than measures is true; but when such issues as Home Rule, Tariff, or Church Disestablishment are involved, surely less attention is paid by the average voter to the standard-bearers than to the platforms. And the cry of the ordinary political reformer, the independent voter, has long been distinctly, “Measures, not Men,” just as the ideal of the most progressive men in the ranks has long been the referendum, which reduces men to nothing and makes measures everything. Now, it is clear that, when measures are voted for, the moral qualifications admired by Mr. Morley count for very little. To choose between free trade and the tariff intellectual qualities are necessary,— information, logic, insight, discrimination. The same is obviously true in questions of financial reform, taxation, and industrial legislation. It is difficult to believe that Mr. Morley has not thought of all this, and yet Mr. Harrison’s position is referred to by him as one in which democracy is fortified against the attacks of Sir Henry Maine.
No, Mr. Morley cannot accept the Harrison view, which, emanating as it does from the Comtian source, is intelligible enough and quite consistent with the general Comtian philosophy. Mr. Morley is no partisan of benevolent despotism, and his democracy must in fairness be taken in the best and most ideal sense. But if so, why does he hesitate to admit the truth of the Maine accusation? Why, instead of begging the question (as in the remark about the “best part” of the working classes), and inconsistently supporting himself by the distinction between intellectual fitness and moral fitness (in doing which he is unjust to himself as well as to democratic principles), does he not admonish his opponent that the present form of democracy is far from perfect, and that the thing to criticise is not the admittedly unsatisfactory form of today, but the ideal for which all earnest democrats are working and hoping? Can it be shown that even under the most perfect form of democracy there will be ignorant roughs and clowns on the one hand, and demagogues ready to flatter and pander to them on the other? If not, then Sir Henry Maine’s criticism falls to the ground.
That Mr. Morley did not adopt this line of defence must, I think, be regarded as an indication of his own uncertainty and troubled state of mind; and the inference is almost inevitable that in his inmost soul he feels that the vice pointed out by Sir Henry Maine is inherent in democracy,— that “roughs” and “clowns” and demagogues will always be with us if political evolution has reached the highest condition possible and progress in that sphere is at an end. And indeed there is nothing in either the present state or the future prospects of democracy to reassure, inspire, or encourage those who see no way out of democracy but the one which leads back into monarchy and despotism. The purest and truest democracy is that in which the majority actually rule. Now, although many of us have long been painfully aware of the fact that the world is governed with very little wisdom, yet even that little wisdom the majority certainly lack. Just at present the demagogue is hesitating between the various forms of State Socialism. Realizing that a stubborn adherence to the present system, to things as they are, is likely to alienate from him the affections of the majority, he is rehearsing the part of State Socialist, and there can be no doubt that he will successfully play it. Nor can there be any doubt that the “roughs” and “clowns” will be pleased with his new part, since State Socialism promises to make them respectable and equal with those now above them. But Mr. Morley is one of those who believe that State Socialism, instead of raising the “roughs” and “clowns” to a higher level, would degrade those that are now intellectually and morally elevated, and would make roughs and clowns of all of us. Hence he cannot congratulate democracy on the tendencies it is beginning to manifest and on the direction it is likely to take.
And this brings us to the second charge against democracy,— the charge, namely, that it is hostile to science. Mr. Morley enters a halting denial of this charge, saying: “Democracy will be against science, we admit, in one contingency: if it loses the battle with the Ultramontane Church. The worst enemy of science is also the bitterest enemy of democracy: c’est le cléricalisme. The interest of science and the interest of democracy are one. ‘Modern politics,’ said a wise man (Pattison, Sermons), ‘resolve themselves into the struggle between knowledge and tradition.’ Democracy is hardly on the side of tradition.” But not to be on the side of tradition does not necessarily involve being on the side of science and knowledge. There is another alternative: speculation, illusion, utopia. State Socialism is certainly not favorable to science, and yet, as was pointed out, democracy courts the former and may merge into it. It is true that the interest of the people and the interest of science are one; but this lesson the people need to learn. Until they learn it, there is no guarantee that they will not continue to injure their own real interests as well as those of science by absurd and mischievous measures. In fact, not only is such a course antecedently probable, but all the evidence afforded by the brief existence of democracy goes to show that the natural tendency of democracy is toward utopia and away from science. To say that the interests of democracy (meaning the masses) are identical with the interests of science is as truistic as it is irrelevant to any discussion turning on the vital distinction between real interest and fancied interest, true interest and narrow interest. Is it not true that the highest and best interest of any man, whether of the people or the aristocracy, is identical with that of science? Unquestionably; but it is also true that ignorance and bias and passion generally cause men to promote severally their lower and narrower interests to the neglect, and often to the ruthless sacrifice, of their higher interests. Have, then, the people, who have but lately come into power, so much more discretion and wisdom than the minority, that Mr. Morley may confidently count on their acting with science rather than in ignorant and reckless opposition to it?
Another proposition which Sir Henry Maine sought to enforce is that democracy is of all kinds of government by far the most difficult. In response to this, Mr. Morley, besides denying that any such proposition can be established, declares that “it would not be of the first order of importance if it were true.” It is clear that from Mr. Morley’s point of view no other response could be made. Difficulties, it is agreed on all hands, should be avoided wherever it is possible; simplicity is very generally preferred. But there are other considerations to be taken into account, and democracy, though more difficult, may have other advantages which entitle it to rank higher than the other simpler political systems the world has known. But suppose a new system is presented which, equal in all other respects with democracy, is superior to it in respect of simplicity? The consideration of the difficulty of democracy at once becomes of the first order of importance. It should be added, perhaps, that such a system is not likely to be discovered; the system which will supersede democracy will be superior to it in every respect, and of course in deciding between such a system and democracy the question of simplicity is not of the first order of importance.
As to the assertion that the proposition that democracy is the most difficult form of government cannot be shown to be true, it is easy to contradict and refute it. No doubt, as Mr. Morley holds, “none of the properties of popular government are independent of surrounding circumstances, social, economic, religious, and historic,” and no doubt “all the conditions are bound up together in a closely interdependent connection, and are not secondary to, or derivative from, the mere form of government.” But all this is true of any government, and democracy in this respect presents no exception. The important point is that a consensus subsists among these various circumstances and factors, and that the consensus of a given social system may be compared with the consensus of any other social system. Facts may be so grouped as to be comprehended in their ensemble, and this makes it possible for us to judge of the merits of political systems as wholes.
But “what is to become of us,” asks Mr. Morley in mock despair, “thus placed between the devil of mob ignorance and corruption, and the deep sea of genteel listlessness and superficiality?” Yes, we invite Mr. Morley to answer in all seriousness, and tell us what is to become of us, seeing that the present condition of democracy is profoundly unsatisfactory and its prospects more deplorable and disappointing still. It is wonderfully easy to say that salvation will come, and that some happy solution will be found. It is easy to express confidence in the future of humanity, to protest a firm belief in progress. But Mr. Morley is a philosopher and a scientific student of history; we have a right to expect more than these vague and dim prophecies from him. We want guiding principles, definite conclusions, and rational explanations. If he cannot afford us these, we have, at least, the right to expect him to study the modern individualist movement and give us his opinion on the philosophic merits of the solutions which it offers. We want to know why Mr. Morley is not an individualist in the modern sense of the word, and wherein, in his judgment, individualism is faulty or unjust to democracy which it aims to dethrone. V. Y.
A Bigot’s Dilemma.
The “Woman’s Journal,” which makes a special business of championing the rights of women, joins the “Boston Herald” and the New York “Nation” in boycotting “The Rights of Women.” I sent an advertisement of the book to that paper, and by return mail came a letter from Henry B. Blackwell, the editor, asking for a copy of the book for review. In the innocence of my heart I fancied that Mr. Blackwell, overjoyed at the appearance of a book so thoroughly in his own line, could not possess his soul long enough to wait for it to arrive by the usual channel of delivery. Nevertheless, as the “press copies” were not ready to go out, I was obliged to keep him waiting. A few days passed, and then a portly Englishman toiled up two flights of stairs and came panting into my office, anxious to know whether I received a letter from Mr. Blackwell. It transpired that he was the business manager of the “Woman’s Journal.” He informed me that the paper would soon go to press, and that Mr. Blackwell was in a great hurry for the book. As the “press copies” were to be mailed that day, I, still a victim of my native simplicity, delivered one then and there to the fat and breathless admirer of the fair sex, whereupon he made a descent of the stairs which, if less laborious, was more speedy than his ascent. “Evidently,” thought I, “the ‘Woman’s Journal’ sees that the publication of this book is an important event in the history of the emancipation of woman, and is anxious for an ‘exclusive.’” Imagine, then, my discomfiture when the paper appeared, not only without a review, but without my advertisement I And later, when my advertising agent came to tell me that the “Woman’s Journal” declined to insert my advertisement, my naïve confidence in human nature disappeared forever. Then the truth dawned upon me. It was not the public critic, but the private censor, that had been in such a haste to get the book, for review. Mr. Blackwell had feared that the title of the book would soil his immaculate columns, and had not had the manliness to frankly offer me the insult of the doubt that lay in his cowardly heart. His hypocrisy, however, has placed him in an awkward situation. If, after refusing the advertisement, he prints the review for the purpose of which he ostensibly procured the book, he will necessarily stultify himself; if, on the other hand, he prints no review, he will be guilty of obtaining property under false pretences. I shall look with some interest to see whether this man, whom Theodore Tilton once truly described as “a martinet who never had a drop of radical blood in his veins,” prefers to be considered a fool or a knave. His preference, however, will not affect the conclusion, for his is a dilemma neither horn of which excludes the other. T.
A New Advocate of Free Banking.
In another column appears an interesting account of the Alliance banking scheme about to be inaugurated in Kansas. The plan is not a new one; from the description given it appears to be almost identical with the scheme devised by the French socialist Proudhon in 1849, when he organized the Banque du Peuple. This was an association of twenty thousand laborers who pledged themselves to take the paper of the bank in lieu of cash, and Proudhon believed that this, circulating among the people, would take the place of gold and silver coin. The bank advanced to any member, on articles produced by him, four-fifths of their value in its own notes, charging no interest for the loan. On security being given, it would advance upon work not yet done. The experiment was not long tried. The government closed the bank for violation of the laws of trade, and Proudhon and his followers claimed that the experiment was never fairly tried.
The same principle, varied a little in application, is about to be tried in Kansas, and the world will watch the experiment with great interest. If it should prove a success, great changes in business methods would follow. We fear, however, that the experiment will be interrupted in the same manner as before. Every corporation which has issued paper designed to be a circulating medium has come in contact with the law imposing a ten per cent, tax on bank circulation other than that of national banks. Various manufacturing concerns have met this difficulty in their efforts to circulate “scrip,” or notes payable in merchandise at the company’s store.
Here is one of the many instances going to show the folly of the law. It stops the advance of commercial methods with a hard and fast rule against any change from the present system. It amounts to saying there shall be no progress. What was objected to on constitutional grounds becomes a proper enterprise when undertaken by private capital, and it is a bad law which stops such an interesting experiment looking to progress.
Anarchism Invading the Alliance.
Great interest attaches to the attempt of the Alliance men in Kansas to put their sub-treasury plan into operation by means of private capital.
When it becomes the work of private enterprise, no one can gainsay the propriety of the effort, and the only question which remains is that of business success.
A telegram from Abilene, Kan., gives an interesting outline of the plan. The following is the substance of it:
“After a week’s consultation the State committee has formulated a plan, originated by J. C. Hopkins, of the New York Economic club, and who was a prominent figure at the Cincinnati convention, which practically places the subtreasury scheme of the National Farmers’ Alliance in the hands of private capitalists in Alliance ranks. Mr. Hopkins has been in Kansas for a week and is with members of the executive committee in Keno county endeavoring to induce well-to-do Alliance men at Hutchinson to put the plan into immediate operation. The executive committee has given the plan its endorsement, and every county Alliance is being urged to adopt the scheme.
“The plan is to establish a bank in each county in the State under the direction of the local Alliance exchange. The capital stock is to be furnished by private subscription as in other banks, except that so far as possible the subscribers are to be members of the Alliance. In connection with each bank an elevator or storehouse is to be built. A farmer may then dump his grain into the elevator, receiving for it a check for eighty per cent, of the market value of the grain deposited. By paying a small percentage for storage and insurance he will be allowed to keep his grain in such depository until such a time as he may deem best to place it upon the market. Corn, wheat, rye, oats, tobacco, cotton, silk, castor beans, or any imperishable farm product, the price of which is not liable to too great fluctuations, is to be received at the depositories and deposit checks issued for eighty per cent, of its value.
“The amount of grain deposited in this way must not exceed the amount of capital stock in the bank. If the bank has five hundred thousand dollars subscribed, only that much value of grain can be deposited, and the checks issued will be only four hundred thousand dollars. As soon as the capital stock of a bank is subscribed twenty per cent, must be paid in. Of this one-half must be deposited in the home bank to take up checks offered there, and the balance deposited in Chicago or New York. The projectors expect to found State banks in each State as soon as possible, having them under the control of the State Alliance.
“The checks to be issued by the subtreasury banks are peculiarly devised and are printed in high colors. Some have already been printed, and the Alliance officers think it will be utterly impossible to counterfeit, or, at least, harder than a national bank note. Each depositor receives one of these highly colored check books, with the checks made out in small amounts, not exceeding eighty per cent, of the value of his grain or other products deposited. These are made payable in gold or silver at any of the Alliance banks, and it is intended that they shall circulate as money. They are first made out in the name of the depositor, and afterward endorsed by him and made payable to bearer.
“Said one of the executive committee to the correspondent of the ‘Herald:’ ‘These checks will pass current among our people when it becomes known that the collateral behind them is absolutely safe, and they will be accepted in general transactions the same as bank notes. There is, of course, no way to make a man accept these checks, but neither is there to make him take a bank note, but he is always glad to get one. It is better than the subtreasury scheme, as it will be operated by private capital, and we can get the thing into operation at once. It is bound to increase our circulation, and there is an abundance of eastern capital ready to take hold as soon as we get it started. The other banks will probably oppose it because it will do away with their high rates of interest.’”
The Twin Leeches.
[The unpopularity of Ouida among the purists, priests, and patriots does not appear very strange after one has read a few of her novels, as witness the following excerpts. — E. C. W.]
The worthy doctors summoned to the presence of the heir confirmed the statements of the major-domo, and lost themselves, as doctors love to do, in endless mazes of technical conjecture and suggestion; they were pompous, servile, verbose, important, and wore sombre, melancholy countenances, as beseemed quacks who were beholding their patron and protector perish. — Ruffino.
If any vague, dim glimmerings of repentance were now passing through that dulled brain, of what worth were they? What compensation would they be to all those whom in their lives he had oppressed and tortured? — Ruffino.
The country herself was like a lamb torn by the jaws of two quarrelling wolves: the one the Church, avaricious, cruel, and blind; the other, the Government, insatiate, despotic, and torturing. The one was as bad as the other, and each alike was the foe, the oppressor, and the thief of the nation on which it was fastened. Neither Church nor Government could help him, for he abhorred them both, and saw that both alike were the leeches that drained the blood of the people. — Ruffino.
“I will do what I can to do good to the people, and bind myself neither to Church nor State” thought Castiglione; and it is the only resolve which a man can take which has any wisdom in it, for the Church and the State alike emasculate and imprison those who remain subject to their dictations. — Ruffino.
Utter poverty and friendlessness are crimes punishable and punished in every State. — Ruffino.
All the lads go into the regiments; all grist comes to the mill; anybody is good enough to be shot at by the blacks, or killed of thirst. That is what we pay taxes for — to lose our lads and bury good money in foreign sands. It is all wrong, Trottolino, all damnably wrong. The boys and the money are the strength of the country, and they throw both away as if they were mildewed barley. — Trottolino.
Poor little Trottolino! One among thousands of country lads tom from their peaceful hills and vales, their quiet meadows, and their gladsome vineyards, to swell the ranks of ill-clad, ill-fed, ill-treated conscripts, kennelled in filth, pushed to and fro in cattle-trucks, weighted with loads like panting pack mules; forced down under the brutalizing machine of military life, which presses out Nature from the very veins and bones of its victims, and shapes from the warm, living flesh a puppet, a tool, a thing, a creature without eyes or ears or sense or will of its own; a plaything for death, a missile in the merciless hands of the State. Poor little Trottolino! — Trottolino.
“A good lad, a happy lad, a useful lad!” thought the old man as he sat in the porch smoking his last pipe before bedtime. “And the fools send him to go mad, and rot like spoiled fruit, far away at the other end of the world. Tax, tax, tax! Slaughter, slaughter, slaughter! That is the only tune they play to us; and we are such besotted asses that we turn our purses inside out and give our boys to feed the carrion birds, to please them.” — Trottolino.
But a simple, happy, useful life was gone forever, and by its loss the world was so much the poorer. He had been blithe and harmless as a swallow in the April air, as a leveret in the fields of June; and the State had taken him, and jammed him under its iron heel, and crushed him into nothingness, body and soul.
And it is for this fate that women bring forth male children; to this end that the people strain and travail, and are stripped of their hard-won earnings.
“War hath three daughters,” said a great king once: “Fire, and Blood, and Famine.” And these three devour the nations, yet the nations crawl in the dust and kiss their feet! — Trottolino.
An American Myth.
Congress, at its last session, instructed the President to negotiate with Great Britain and Mexico to prevent the entry of Chinese workmen into the United States. Great Britain promptly referred the matter to the Canadian government, and appeared entirely willing to indulge our government in its treatment of Chinese laborers. But the Mexican Government respectfully declined to co-operate, calling our attention to the fact that the Mexican constitution guarantees every man a right to enter and go out of the republic without a passport. American love for personal liberty is largely a myth. So engrossed are the people with wealth-pursuing activities that the principles of political freedom are to them meaningless and glittering generalities. They have ceased to care for liberty, all they demand is certainty. It matters little to them whether they have free trade or a high tariff, monopoly or competition, laws to encourage immigration or laws to restrict the same; they simply ask to have the thing settled and disposed of, so as to be able to adapt themselves to the new conditions. Only let us know what you propose to do, and we shall be satisfied. A modest request, surely, but scarcely in keeping with the traditions and character of a free people.
Don’t keep Liberty to yourself, share it with others!
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.