“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.
Henry Seymour is out with a new monthly,— the “Revolutionary Review.” The change is in the title.
“It may as well be plainly understood,” says the “Workmen’s Advocate,” “that there is nothing common between Anarchy and Socialism, neither objective nor tactical, and any attempt to hinder the natural progress of Socialist propaganda will be met with such lawful measures as may be expedient and effective.” We’re little, but oh, my!
Because Liberty called attention to John Most’s condemnation of such economic doctrines as are taught in the “Alarm,” the editor of that paper accuses me of trying to breed dissension between him and his German fellow-revolutionist. The accusation is unjust. I have not tried to breed dissension; I have simply noted dissent, and dissent expressed so violently as to amount to contemptuous denunciation. Either the editor of the “Alarm” doesn’t know dissent when he sees it, or else he is so much meeker than the “Boston Quakers” that he is willing to let John Most spit in his face without resenting it.
Judge Gary of Chicago, having to pass upon a “color-line” case recently, rendered his decision in favor of the rights of the negro. But if Judge Gary had occupied the bench thirty years ago, and John Brown, who was so largely instrumental in accomplishing the revolution by virtue of which the black man is now able to vindicate his rights in court, had been brought before him on a charge of treason, it can scarcely be doubted that he would have sentenced his prisoner to be hanged with as little compunction as he showed in condemning Spies and his comrades to the gallows and with the same shedding of crocodile tears.
Morgan, the State Socialist “Boss” of Chicago, in an interview with a reporter of the “Herald” of that city regarding the advocacy of force, refers to Mrs. Parsons and William Holmes, saying of the latter: “Holmes personally is a very nice fellow, but he is one of the Ben-Tucker-Boston-Liberty sort of Anarchists, who believe in the most absolute and unrestrained individual liberty, and has no following whatever.” Poor Holmes! After losing no opportunity for years of emptying upon me and upon my teachings the vials of his scornful wrath, to think that he should be publicly dubbed a Ben-Tucker Anarchist by little Tommy Morgan,— this is indeed the unkindest cut of all!
The Boston “Transcript” having declared, in answer to a State Socialistic correspondent, that the present tendency to State Socialism is not in the line of evolution, the correspondent came back with the rejoinder that the very existence of such a tendency proves it to be a result of evolution. Thereupon the “Transcript” effectively disposed of this infantile conception of the development theory by pointing out that in searching for the lessons of evolution merely ephemeral phenomena are not to be considered among its fruits, but only those manifestations that persist. The “Transcript’s” correspondent seems to be a person of some education; yet it is hardly conceivable that any well-informed and thinking man should need to have it explained to him that the doctrine of the survival of the fittest, although involving as a logical necessity the continual existence of the less fit in some form or other, does not therefore stamp the less fit with the seal of its approval. If the argument of the “Transcript’s” correspondent were sound, not only State Socialism but Theosophy or any other craze that gets floated for a time by a wave of popular credulity might be successfully sustained by it.
The readers of the “Truth Seeker” are struggling with the hen-and-egg “chestnut”: “If a hen and a half lay an egg and a half in a day and a half, how many eggs will six hens lay in seven days?” Among those who have grappled it is C. L. James, of Eau Claire, the well-known “Communistic Anarchist” and Malthusian economist. He offers this answer: “Let us translate the data into decimal fractions, and we have 1.5 hens lay 1.5 eggs in 1.5 days. All these may, according to the familiar rule, be multiplied by ten without changing their relations. Therefore fifteen hens will lay fifteen eggs in fifteen days; and therefore, again, one hen lays one egg a day. Six hens in seven days will lay six times seven, or forty-two eggs.” According to Mr. James’s reasoning, then, if one man can make one pair of shoes in one day, we need only apply the “familiar rule” to find that ten men can make ten pairs of shoes, not in one day (or perhaps even less) as we bourgeois Anarchists claim, but in ten days. Coming from a Communistic Anarchist, this is the severest blow at his sect’s dogma of the immense advantage of associative production that I have ever seen dealt it. Or is his arithmetic no better than his Anarchism? I fear the latter is the true explanation. But if not, Malthusianism too must go by the board. Let us apply the “familiar rule,” Mr. James, and see. We will assume that one couple produces, on an average, one child in one year. (It is a large allowance, but it will be seen, as the demonstration proceeds, that we can afford to be generous with the Malthusians.) We will assume further that there are a billion couples on the planet. (More generosity on our part.) From these data it follows by the “familiar” Jamesian mathematics that a billion couples will produce a billion children in a billion years. Now, if there are only a billion births in a billion years, there can be only one birth a year, on an average. Supposing the annual death-rate to be one in thirty, in a population of two billion the number of deaths per year would be sixty-six million. Now, with one birth and sixty-six million deaths every year, it is obvious that the time when population will exceed the capacity of the earth to support it lies in a future literally infinitely remote, for in a trifle over one generation the earth will be cleared of humanity altogether. It seems strange that mathematics, upon which Malthus founded his doctrine, should be the death of it in the hands of one of his disciples.
I may be often inaccurate, I may be careless in speech, I may often unconsciously contradict myself, but I never willingly do any of these, or confuse.
The difficulty you find in my two-fold use of the term communism does not exist, I will venture to say, in the minds of the sympathetic readers of my words who recognize the connection between thought and deed.
There is an internal communism, which is sympathy (I call this communism because sympathy is essentially a homogeneity or oneness of feeling, an abolition, or, at least, non-recognition of separateness in the mental sphere, and because I observe that between lovers and friends this feeling is continually expressing itself with the voice of imperious instinct: To each according to his necessity, from each according to his ability), and an external communism, which is the ideal of the internal materialized. Therefore my saying that communism was all right as long as there was sympathy, amounted merely to a declaration that external communism was correct where and while internal communism supported it — i. e., while mutually agreeable and serviceable — in accord with liberty. And I opposed all schemes looking to external communism’s enforced continuance where this mutual consent, pleasure, and service had ceased.
That is all; and I do not yet see how any one who had followed my argument could have been confused.
Enforcement is a confession that the internal communism no longer exists; being, while it does exist, unnecessary. Therefore, while I distinctly approved of that home communism which exists where a host throws open his home to his guest, I disapproved of the communal home as a settled arrangement; because its tendency is to compel communism, and for other reasons which I gave. And I carefully explained that just as altruism, designed to benefit the individual, would, in excess, injure the individual, so also communism, having for itself a similar end, being in fact a form of the same thing, needed to be carefully guarded lest it become an invader.
You say: “No amount of mere strength, however great, can achieve the social revolution.” Your words are as ambiguous as my own. Knowledge and intellect are the strongest kinds of strength. Will no amount of knowledge and intellect, united to the numerical and physical streugth already possessed by the workmen of the world, achieve what we wish? Of course by “mere strength” you mean physical, militant force, but you no more unmistakably say so than I entered into fastidiously unmistakable explanations of my use of the word communism; you leave a little to the intelligence of the reader, so did I. J. Wm. Lloyd.
[Mr. Lloyd may not see how any one could have been confused by his first article, but it was precisely because it did confuse me, and because I knew of several others whom it similarly confused, that I criticised him from the standpoint of that confusion. I have entertained no such conception of Mr. Lloyd’s meaning as I get from his present article, and it seems to me that, in leading him to state himself correctly, I have done him a service. It evidently seems to him that I have simply been hypercritical, and hence he retaliates by trying to convict me of similar ambiguity. Clearly my language was not ambiguous to him, for he interprets it correctly. Does he know of any one who interprets it otherwise? If he does, then I thank him for making my position more lucid. If not, I must look upon his final paragraph as a circuitous method of saying Tu quoque, and the argumentative value of “You’re another” was long since given its true estimate. Perhaps this is as good a place as any to explain that my brief, curt, crisp method of controversy is employed with the intent of presenting my point to the general reader in as condensed, clear-cut, and striking a form as I know how to give it. As a general thing, I have neither time nor space to obscure the issue with amenities. I think and write anatomically, and consequently am bristling with sharp corners. These may be disagreeable, but they are useful. In my judgment, the way to know truth is to study it in the skeleton first, and clothe it with flesh and blood later. But because every man is liable to get a dig from my sharp elbows, it does not follow that I am every man’s enemy. I expect my friends to know me as a friend, as I am sure my foes will know me as a foe. Certainly the difference between my attitude towards such a man as Mr. Lloyd and my attitude towards the Zenos who twist and the Appletons who lie is sufficiently wide to be grasped. — Editor Liberty.]
Love, Marriage, and Divorce,
And the Sovereignty of the Individual.
Henry James, Horace Greeley, and Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Comments and Reply by Mr. Andrews.
Continued from No. 140.
What possible ground has Mr. James or anybody for assuming that I or any set of representative free lovers have ever pronounced in favor of the emancipation of mankind from their own consciences, from the sense of justice toward all others, or from the claims of their own higher natures? My understanding of the subjects is that they, of all people, are precisely the champions of those higher mental qualities and states; and that, if they sin at all, it is in their readiness to trust too much to the elevating and regulative potency of just those elements. If we understand ourselves, this is the only quarrel we have with the community at large; and we are the representative people of just those things which Mr. James supposes we have cast overboard. His indictment of us is no other than a subtle and highly spiritualized repetition of the same estimate of us and our doctrines which the common vulgar herd of crude, undeveloped, and themselves merely passionally organized people attribute to us, in a purely external and unspiritualized way. It holds curiously the same relation, as a mistake, to the common vulgar blunder of the people which Swedenborg’s and, if I understand him aright, Mr. James’s idea of marriage holds to the common external legal understanding of it. The blunder of the vulgar public, partly innocent and natural misapprehension and partly malignant perversion, has long ceased to astonish or disturb me; but the rarefied and attenuated and transcendental mistake of our present learned and acute critic is a psychological curiosity on the one hand and, on the other, a startling surprise.
Now, the doctrine of free love is not even anti-marriage in the external or legal sense of the term, any more than the doctrine of free worship in our churches is anti-worship; certainly, therefore, it is not anti-marriage in respect to the spiritual conception of marriage entertained by Mr. James. It is simply opposed to the legal imposition of marriage as a uniform and compulsory mode of adjusting the sexual relations of society and may be said perhaps to be equally opposed to the dogmatic imposition, upon all of us, of precisely Mr. James’s idea, or anybody’s idea of spiritual marriage. It is simply and wholly the doctrine of “hands off,” or of remitting the jurisdiction of the subject to the parties concerned; of freedom to marry externally and by express contract for those who desire so to marry; of freedom to be married ever so closely and exclusively, in the spiritual sense, for those who believe in it and desire it; and of equal freedom for those who believe in neither to regulate their love relations in accordance with whatever ideas they do entertain. The doctrine pronounces absolutely nothing with regard to the truth or falsehood of any of those ulterior doctrines, but simply prohibits the interference of anybody with the affairs of others, in this respect, for the purpose of enforcing their own individual or collective beliefs. The whole doctrine of free love is, therefore, rigorously contained in what Mr. James defines as the negative side of that doctrine. It has no other side whatever; and upon this side of the subject Mr. James affirms that he is infinitely in accord with us. The other side of the doctrine — what he calls the positive side, and attributes to us — is, as I have previously said, purely a figment of his own imagination, and would be as abhorrent to me, if I recognized it as really existing anywhere, as it is or can be to him.
I have said that free love has no positive side in Mr. James’s sense. It is a purely negative doctrine, or merely the doctrine of “hands off.” This is as true of it as it is of Protestantism, which is negatively a denial of the authority of Rome, but which may be positively stated as the right of private judgment in matters of conscience. Every negative doctrine or doctrine of mere freedom may be thus counterstated and thrown into positive form; and, in that sense, free love may be said to have an affirmative side in the assertion of the right to be left free; but this is in no measure what Mr. James embraces in his conception of the positive side of the doctrine, which is, namely, the assertion of the supremacy of the lower and material or animal nature over the higher, intellectual, and spiritual nature, in the individual and in society at large. The inversion which does place the lower nature above I abundantly recognize and deplore as an existent fact of the world’s history hitherto, and it is the earnest desire to remedy that inversion which makes me a free lover,— believing that the complete emancipation of woman would tend especially in that direction; but formulated as a doctrine, and put forth by rational thinkers as something true or desirable, I have never met with it anywhere, and am not aware of its existence. The mere assertion of the right of the individual to decide for himself whether he will subordinate love to marriage or marriage to love, is neither a denying nor an affirming of the essential subordination of either to the other. It is simply an emancipation of them both, and in equal degree, from anybody’s dogmatic and authoritative decision of that question, and is fully covered by that which Mr. James holds in common with us.
I have said that on the whole ground really covered by free love Mr. James announces that he is in full accord with us. But even here he is laboring under some measure of mistake. He more than accords with us. He overstates the doctrine. He believes, apparently, in an unbounded license for those who are under bondage to their own appetites and passions, and holds them exempted from all responsibility, on the ground that they are themselves enslaved to those appetites, and are not, on that account, responsible and accountable human beings. This is to say that they are free, and to be left free, because they are not free,— a doctrine to which I can only assent in a transcendental, ethical sense. This doctrine of freedom without limitations, taken as a basis of social regulation, surpasses everything that free lovers contend for. The doctrine which we affirm is, on the contrary, a doctrine of very stringent and rigorous limitations. It is the doctrine of the freedom of the individual, only so long as he does not encroach upon the equal freedom of all other individuals. This doctrine, which is feared as license, is, when examined, found to be a tremendous two-edged sword; inasmuch as, while it confers freedom on those who deserve it, it authorizes the rigid constraint of just these inferior natures who are not entitled to it; for it is they, chiefly, who are prone to encroach, and to endeavor to enforce their views and desires upon others. Just those persons, therefore, who, Mr. James says, with a certain ethical truthfulness, are not responsible, are those whom our doctrine holds to a rigorous accountability. The doctrine which we propound seems to the thoughtless to be a doctrine of license; but it, in fact, tenders freedom only upon terms with which none but the very most progressed natures are competent to comply: upon the terms, namely, of a profound and reverential regard for the freedom of all others who in turn do not encroach; and the same doctrine authorizes the most rigorous calling to account and the most desperate fighting, if need be, in respect to all those who fail to come up to the high demands of this chivalric code of mutual peace and amity. Mr. James’s doctrine, on the contrary, as loosely stated by him, I should pronounce to be a doctrine of real license or authorized licentiousness, if I did not bear in mind that he is hardly ever engaged in discussing the civil and practical and sociological questions about which we are talking, and that he is, as it were, hurried away, even when he attempts politico-social and sociological matters, by the impetuosity and soaring of his genius into the empyrean heights of purely transcendental ethics. Freedom with him does not here mean therefore the freedom of the citizen at all; and what he says would not have the slightest practical bearing upon the methods of treating ignorant and aggressive offenders; but he means, I suppose, freedom and bondage in a strictly metaphysical sense as affecting the will.
This whole lower stage of the evolution of mind, in which the appetites and passions are dominant and the intellectual and spiritual nature undeveloped, is what I denominate technically the naturismus of the mind, whether of the individual or of the community. The second stage of mental evolution, in which, as Mr. James so aptly expresses it, “my intellectual day does eventually break,” is then what I denominate the scien-tismus; and what Mr. James, in his blind technicality, calls “society” near the close of his article (blind, I mean, in the sense that he does not sufficiently distinguish it as a technicality), and there defines to be the reconciliation of that hell of the passions and this heaven of the intellect and the spirit, is what I denominate the artismus of the mental evolution. I require these technicalities — naturismus, scientismus, and artismus — for universological purposes, because the same principles and the same distribution of principles occur in all the other sciences as well as in social science, and, consequently, in situations where terms derived from social distinctions would be quite inadmissible. I think, also, that these terms, understood and familiarized in this special application of them, will considerably facilitate our mutual understanding of each other in this discussion.
At the next turn of Mr. James’s statement his conception and mode of expression are so peculiar that I venture to attempt to make my understanding of them understood by the reader. Although he has described the prior and, as I think I may say, the objective state of the affectional or sentimental part of the mind, and its stage of evolution, as a state of bondage, and denied to it any freedom, he now speaks of it as a state of freedom to act, or, as I think we may say, of projective freedom; and he contrasts with this a newer state of the affections which is interior, or I think we may say subjective, to which he attributes another kind of what he denominates freedom,— “freedom to suffer or to be acted upon,” — a freedom to receive mental impressions and revolve them subjectively, which we might perhaps call a receptive freedom. “My life is not,” he says, “any longer outwardly, but altogether inwardly constituted or energized, and disdains any outward responsibility,” etc. This distinction is certainly well taken to complete the metaphysical view of the unismus of mind by presenting its objective and subjective sides; but neither has it anything to do with the civic relations of individuals as covered by the doctrine of free love. Mr. James then arrives at and proceeds to define what he supposes to be the point of disagreement. This subject I have already considered, and have shown that he is wholly mistaken, and that no such disagreement exists. I will, in a few words, however, state wherein there are, or probably are, some palpable differences between us.
I have already done this in part, in saying that Mr. James’s statement of the crude freedom of individuals is altogether too lax for us. Free love with me — and it is generally safer to state one’s own views than to assume to represent any considerable number of persons — is merely an extension, or a special application rather, of Josiah Warren’s doctrine of the Sovereignty of the Individual, which, when stated in full, is always accompanied by a prohibition of encroachment. It is, therefore, merely a doctrine of the mutual adjustment of relations in freedom between parties mutually desirous of doing right, and who recognize their mutual equality as a basis. It has no application, therefore, to undeveloped parties incapable of the mutual application of principles; to the unjust or those who are not disposed to live on principle; or, in fine, to any but those who know enough and are good enough to apply and live by the principle. In respect to all the rest of mankind I am free to regulate my life according to the exigencies of the case, in the absence of this readiness on their part to adopt and act upon a principle of right, regulating freedom. If I were the Czar of Russia, I should be just as free, unhindered by any theory I hold of human rights, to enact and enforce stringent laws, according to my judgment of the stage of development in that country, as if I held no sociological doctrines whatsoever. As a political ruler, with power and responsibility for social order, I should not be trammelled or hampered by sociology or ethics, beyond the legitimate claims of one sphere of affairs to influence every other sphere. I might then and there enact laws, and be engaged in enforcing them, which I might be, here and now, engaged in breaking and encouraging others to break. Even here, as a legislator, I might favor and help enforce laws politically which, as a social agitator, I would treat with contempt and try to induce the people to despise. I am no silly doctrinaire, propounding theories of life which are wholly impracticable, but simply a social scientist, dealing in social solutions. J. Stuart Mill, if he had understood Mr. Warren or me, would never have written his work on “Liberty” so loosely worded in limiting the right of the State as to have laid himself open to the raking fire of James Fitzjames Stephen; and so Mr. James, with a right study of the subject, would not state the non-accountability of crude offenders so wildly.
Allow me to explain upon a branch of the subject which I am here led into, and which I do not remember ever to have treated upon. There are three quite distinct, almost wholly different spheres of collective human affairs to be considered, which we may call: 1, The ordinary politico-civic sphere, mainly practical and only slightly scientific — the unismus of this series; 2, The sociologico-ethical sphere, which is rigorously scientific, adjusting by principles and exact definitions the social relations of individuals in society, in so far as they desire to know and are ready to regulate their mutuality by exact knowledge,— the sphere of Warrenism, and by derivation of free-loveism,— the duismus of this series; 3, The transcendental ethical sphere, partly practical, spontaneous, natural; partly scientific; but, in the major part, sentimental or artismal; regulating the individual conduct relating to others in foro consciencinæ, or as regards the individual’s approbation or disapprobation of his own such conduct, in view of his own respect for the Most High,— which last is the trinismus of this series.
It is in this last, or trinismal sphere that we find Mr. James usually speaking, but not always. Sometimes he is talking in the unismus. But of the duismus, the scientific and truly regulative sphere, he really knows nothing, and is sure to misunderstand anybody who speaks in it. He is not always, I say, in the third sphere. When he talks of “progressively enlarging the grounds of divorce,” he is talking in the first sphere — politico-civic — like an ordinary mortal, and infers to actual legislation, to take place in legislature, congress, or parliament; but when, a few paragraphs further on, he talks of “the non-accountability to one’s fellow-men for the exercise of one’s appetites and passions, because of one’s own bondage to the same,” he has suddenly, and it would seem unconsciously, vaulted up into the trinismus. He does not mean that it would do for any mundane legislature to conduct government on that principle, but only that in ethical strictness there is no holding ground for the flukes of the anchor of conscience.
When, in the middle field between these extremes, Mr. James attempts to state our doctrine, he wholly fails, for want of the habit of scientific exactitude. “Your doctrine, if I rightly understand it, is,” he says, “two-fold, namely: First, that men are de jure exempt from outward liability, which is liability to other men for the indulgence of their appetites and passions; second,” etc. Now this is not my doctrine, out a perfect caricature of my doctrine, in so far as I have ever propounded any doctrine on the subject. I do not hold that men are de jure exempt, etc., except conditionally, the condition being that they know how to abstain, and will abstain, from encroachment upon the rights of other people,— the sovereignty of the individual [only] at his own cost, which makes a wholly different thing of the whole doctrine.
To be continued.
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. B. Tucker.
Continued from No. 140.
“And my journals,” cried Louchard, taking Pauline in his arms and saying to her in a voice thick with wine: “Let us collaborate!”
Loiseau poured bumper after bumper, meanwhile making notary’s puns, stamped.
All, earned away by this example and spirit, drunk with wine and tobacco, began to talk and shout, and finally separated into couples, laughing, dancing, leaping, and singing between kisses and hiccoughs:
Vive l’Opéra, vive l’Opéra!
La rifla, fla, fla!
The waiters had retired respectfully, foreseeing that the smoking-room was to be a scene of orgy, and leaving a free field for the gentlemen and ladies.
When they left the Maison d’Or an hour later, a rag-picker, busily filling his basket with the remains of Mardi Gras, watched them pass, more or less carried by lackeys and waiters, and murmured:
“To think that once I was like that! Except that I had no valets to put me in my carriage. It’s a fine way to behave! Fashionable society, filthy society. . . . But I must fill my basket. Then I can buy a beautiful bouquet of violets for Mam’zelle Marie.”
And Father Jean resumed his task, paying no further attention to the revellers.
On this night of Mardi-Gras, among other oddities of the Carnival, the curious lingerers upon the boulevards saw, gliding along the sidewalks and spattering herself from the gutters, a young girl dressed as a bride, fleeing in the direction of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine.
It was Marie. She hurried past the pedestrians, doubling her pace, running, flying, without noticing a man covered with a quiroga, who was following her, persistently regulating his pace by her own.
Thus, one following the other, they reached the Rue Sainte-Marguerite, where an important scene in our drama was then being enacted.
A woman draped or rather hidden in a large shawl had just climbed the stairs leading to Marie’s room. She carried a little basket carefully wrapped under her arm.
She knocked at the young working-girl’s door, calling in a smothered voice: “Mademoiselle Marie, open the door; it is I, your customer, Mme. Potard. I bring you work. And then I want to talk with you on serious business.”
And in a still lower voice the nocturnal visitor added:
“She is so good! she will accept for a trifle.”
But receiving no reply, she turned the key, which had been left in the lock by mistake, and half opened the door.
“Nobody here!” she exclaimed. “What luck!”
She entered Marie’s room as if accustomed to the place, knowing the nooks and comers, and disappeared in a sleeping-room adjoining the chamber, returning empty-handed two seconds later.
“Absent at this hour!” she said as she started off. “So much the better. No one to share with me. I can keep the whole.”
She slapped her pocket, felt and fumbled, looked about in agitation, and then began to cry:
“Oh! my God! I have lost, lost all; what a misfortune. Oh! no, it is not possible; I must make a thorough search!”
She went back into the sleeping-room, and then returned in anguish.
“Nothing there, nothing here, nothing anywhere! Quick. . . . I must hurry back over the route by which I came. The package must have fallen in the street or in the doorway. I felt it but a little while ago.”
Then, mortally anxious, she continued:
“Perhaps somebody has already found it and fled. People are such rascals in these days. I must find it again. I must start at once.”
She was already on the landing, but suddenly she drew back behind the steps leading to Jean’s garret.
“Somebody coming!” she exclaimed.
Marie bad just entered hastily, closing the door after her and this time taking the key.
The working-girl’s mysterious customer went down the stairs like a shadow and disappeared.
Alone in her room, Marie lighted her lamp and saw the dress, torn, soiled, ruined. Then, with dishevelled hair and haggard eyes, in a desperate mood, she fell sobbing upon a chair.
“What a night!” she murmured. “What a sin and what a punishment! Where has this cursed dress taken me? How am I to pay for it? Where can I get the money that it cost?”
She took off the nuptial finery and put on her own poor garments.
“All that I have will not be enough, no!” she continued, beside herself. “An abuse of confidence, almost a theft, prison perhaps. . . . What shame! Never, never. Death rather! . . . Besides, why live? I know what it is now; I have seen the abyss to the bottom. Oh! these pleasures are crimes; these joys regrets; this happiness remorse. They horrify me. Thank God! I succeeded in getting away. I will never go back. No, no, I do not wish to fall to such a depth again, and remain there as so many do.”
For a few moments she said no more, reviewing in her imagination the incidents of this disastrous Carnival night.
“And yet I am afraid,” she groaned at last. “Beside the man who insulted me, the one who defended me was so noble and so beautiful”. . .
But she immediately reacted against this cry of her heart.
“Ah! if I were to yield again. There, vice and dishonor; here, struggle and despair! Neither the one nor the other: death! I shall die at least virtuous, still worthy of my poor mother.”
She rose, possessed by a fixed idea, and continued with a sudden firmness:
“I will rejoin her. It is over.”
Then, remembering the only being in the world who was interested in her and whom she loved, the unhappy girl went to her table and said with emotion:
“Ah! a word first to my good old neighbor.”
And with a feverish hand she wrote these few words:
“Farewell, Father Jean, I throw off the collar of poverty, I do not wish to put on that of shame; I can live no longer, I want to die. I charge you with the sale of my poor furniture and the payment of the proceeds for the spoiled dress. If the money should be refused, it will serve to bury me beside my mother. To reward you for the trouble I leave you, in memory of me, my father’s watch.”
And she signed her name,— Marie Didier; then, rising again, she said simply and more resolutely:
With a firm step she left her room and climbed the steps leading to her old friend’s habitation.
Scarcely had she gone out when the man in a cloak who had followed Marie along the boulevard and faubourg pushed into the room after a moment’s hesitation.
“This dress!” he exclaimed, perceiving the wedding garment. “She lives here, then. Poor girl! she has come home again. I have followed her, and, as it were, in spite of myself. But where is she? Shall I wait for her? Leave some money? Yes, but how much? I will wait.”
He sat down, surveyed the room,— something new to him,— and said to himself:
“What neatness, it is fascinating; and what poverty, it is edifying. My heart beats violently. It is strange. I never felt such an emotion. It is not on account of the duel, for I have fought ten of them. It is not love, for I think no more of that. But perhaps I am not as dead as I thought. God grant it! Let us live! I ask nothing better than to love.”
He looked again at the dress, with the lace, which his foot had torn, dragging on the floor.
“Lucky awkwardness,” he exclaimed.
And trying to recover from this spontaneous impulse, he laughed at it.
“Pshaw! I am having another attack. Love at a masquerade, the ideal at the ball-room of Musard and Chicard! It is absurd. We do not meet angels in hell . . . . unless they go there to save devils.”
He shook his head with more of formal scepticism than of conviction.
“No, no,” said he, “no more miracles. This girl is as earthly as the others. In spite of her halo . . . I simply come to repair a rent.”
He interrupted himself; the door of the room had opened again, and Marie, entering, uttered a cry of fright on perceiving a stranger in her apartment.
Camille rose and bowed with involuntary respect. He was more and more under the influence of her charm. The young girl, in her modest garments, seemed to him as beautiful as in her silk dress, and purer.
“It is I, Mademoiselle,” said he, bowing again, “fear nothing. I saw you go away so distressed and offended that I could not help following you. I beg you to be kind enough to accept an apology for our rudeness and the compensation that I owe you for this dress.”
Marie made an imperative gesture of refusal; and, in a hurry to end the scene, she said:
“I thank you, Monsieur; you owe me nothing, and I beg you to leave me.”
Camille bowed, and surreptitiously leaving his purse, filled with gold, on the table, he said:
“I go, Mademoiselle.”
And already he was outside.
Marie, having seen his whole proceeding, recalled him.
“Monsieur, monsieur, you forget”. . . .
She handed him his purse.
Camille shook his head negatively.
“You forget yourself,” Marie then said, insisting and forcing him to take back his money.
The young man went out in a sort of enchantment.
“Oh! I am afraid of the duel now,” he exclaimed, “of killing or dying. If I live, I will return.”
He met Father Jean, whom in his agitation and in the darkness of the stairway he failed to recognize.
The old rag-picker, before going up to his wretched lodgings, placed a bouquet of flowers upon his young protégée’s door knob, and then climbed to his garret. Marie bolted her door, saying:
“Now for the end!”
Then, looking at her rose-bush, she added:
“Ah! my poor flowers, they will survive me. Let them not die with me!”
She watered them.
“And you, poor bird, go free!” she added.
She opened the cage and the window for her goldfinch.
“Now I must address this garment.”
And she wrote: “Mademoiselle Claire Hoffmann, Hotel Hoffmann, Faubourg Saint-Honoré,” folded the dress, wrapped it up, pinned the address upon the bundle, and prepared everything for her suicide. She pulled back the bolt, placed a napkin over the keyhole, stuffed a skirt beneath the door, stopped up every crevice through which air could come in, put some charcoal in the chafing-dish, lighted it, stirred the fire, watched it burn for a moment, and knelt before the portrait of her parents.
Kneeling and already weakened by the fumes of the charcoal, Marie, feeling the approach of suffocation, uttered this prayer:
“O my father, my mother, I rejoin you, receive me! God, forgive me!”
Then a feeble cry fell upon her ear.
Listening in the direction of the sleeping-room, she said:
“What’s that? My head swims; I heard a cry there.”
She rose quickly, went into the adjoining room, and came back with a basket, saying:
“A child! a child! a poor little child, here, in my room, alive! O heaven! Who can thus have abandoned her babe? The poor little thing is cold!”
Covering him up, she continued:
“He suffers! he groans! Ah! it is the charcoal. . . . Air, air.”
She broke a pane of glass, and put out the fire with her water-pitcher.
“What shall I do? Kill him with me?”
Then, as if inspired, she said:
“Oh! I had not the strength to live for myself alone! I will live, I will live for him. Mother, you wish it, do you not? You who toiled so hard for me. I will follow your example; I accept this duty, this happiness. Yes, yes, I accept! henceforth I shall not be alone. Ah! dear child, I will be your mother; for your sake, I take heart and strength again. For you I banish despair and pain. I will work day and night, if need be; and, if I die in the task, God at least will forgive me for this suicide. Linen, linen, my best linen for my baby’s swaddling-clothes!”
And taking a new chemise from her bureau, she tore it up and began to sew ardently by the child’s side.
Sorting the Rags.
On his return from his night’s work, Father Jean had closed his door and dropped his basket with a sigh of relief, saying to himself:
“I will do my sorting. Meanwhile Mam’zelle Marie will rise, and I cannot go to bed without saying good morning to her and hearing her say good night to me.” Twenty years, as we have said, had passed over the head of the rag-picker.
He was an old man already, but of a green old age.
All that is old is not always bad.
Good wines and good people do not lose in growing old. Old wood, old books, old pictures, old friends are the best.
Still there is an end to everything.
There comes a time when old age becomes dryness, when the heart shrivels and wrinkles like the forehead. There comes an age when all illusions are lost, all tears shed, all affections gone; when what are called the bumps of the good passions, love, devotion, etc., sink into holes, and when those of the bad rise into mountains; when man relapses into infancy. “This age is pitiless.” Second childhood is worse than the first; the senile egoism of reenvelopment is uglier than development; it loves nothing but the past, has no eyes for the good and glasses for evil only, believing everything dead because it is dying. Which caused the poet Anacreon to say: “Whom the gods love die young,” and Béranger: “My children, God grant you an early death!”
Jean had escaped to some extent this law of human decrepitude. He was endowed with such vitality that he necessarily remained sound and strong, and, though his head had turned white, his heart was still red.
Jean, like a philosopher worthy of the name, was sociable as well as solitary. He loved to talk to himself in his garret, when he could not talk to Marie, whom he had watched, aided, and protected, as in former days her mother, with honorable intentions, as he said.
So on this night, believing his young friend to be sleeping the sleep of innocence, he busied himself with his rags and old paper, lighting his candle and emptying his basket upon the middle of his garret-floor.
“Let us empty the casket,” said he, in his good-natured, jesting way . . . “the basket of silver-ware, the hamper of jewels, the hunt after relics. . . . Let us see if I have done a fine day’s work on my Mardi-Gras, if I shall find anything of value in this residue of Paris. It is a small affair, Paris, as seen in the basket of a rag-picker . . . neither good nor beautiful, the balance-sheet.”
And folding his arms, he said:
“To think that I have all Paris, all society, in this wicker-basket! My God, yes, everything passes through it, rose-leaves and paper-leaves; everything ends there, sooner or later, in the basket.”
He stirred the heap with his foot.
“Love, glory, power, wealth, into the basket! into the basket, refuse of all sorts! Everything comes to it, everything holds to it, everything falls into it. . . What a melting-pot! Everything reduces to rags, tatters, shards, stumps, dish-cloths.” And, sitting down on his stool, between the heap and the basket, with the commercial tranquillity of an expert, testing, judging, and measuring everything by its value, volume, or weight, he said, starting upon his inventory:
“Let us see!”
Thrusting his hook through the first paper within his reach and bringing it under his eyes, he deciphered with difficulty:
“General Union Association for the exploitation of gold mines in Auvergne and railroads in Mexico. Baron Hoffmann & Co. Capital: One hundred millions. Shares, one hundred francs each. A good investment”. . .
“Rag!” exclaimed Father Jean, disdainfully throwing the paper back into the basket.
He took a poster and read:
“Concert of the celebrated pianist without hands, given for the benefit of deaf-mutes, in the Hall des Menus-Plaisirs.”
“Shard!” said he, throwing the programme together with a broken plate into the basket.
He picked up another poster, still reading with his jocular curiosity:
“Overture of the grand ball of the Opera, with new waltzes and quadrilles.” “Sock!” he sneered, sending it to keep company with an old shoe.
With the end of his hook he lifted a bit of embroidered uniform and threw it after the rest.
“Old clothes!” he exclaimed.
A knot in a buttonhole making a spot of red on the end of a piece of black cloth attracted also his piercing hook as well as his Parisian raillery. He took it and looked at it for a moment.
“Ribbon, tag,” he said, sending the Legion of Honor into the basket also.
A big heap of papers bearing the title: “The Knights of the Moon.”
“A newspaper novel,” said he; “into the basket!”
“No, into the lodge! The janitress has asked me for these contrivances. Much good may it do her! . . . Ah! a pamphlet!”
“Reception speech made before the French Academy.”
He seized an old wig and threw both into the basket under the same heading:
A new poster appeared. He examined it with the same interest.
“Monseigneur’s directions for Lent.”
“Holy-water sprinkler!” he cried, joining it with an aspergillum in the hamper. Another poster which he read more attentively.
“Police ordinance. — Rag-pickers are forbidden to tear down posters.”
“Pardon!” he exclaimed.
And passing to a letter written on pink paper:
“Dear angel, my blood, my life, my soul, all for you”. . .
He stopped, and for a good reason.
“Ah! a blot . . . and not of ink. . . . Into the basket! into the basket!”
He took next a pamphlet and deciphered:
“Memoir on the civil list, by Timon. Twelve millions.”
The pamphlet went to join the rest. But suddenly Father Jean seemed embarrassed.
He had just perceived in the midst of his dirt-pile a crown branded with a flower-de-luce.
“There,” said he, shaking his head, “is something that was worth twelve millions when it was in fashion. What a loss!”
He tried it on, and looking at himself complacently in his remnant of mirror, he said with a laugh:
“Father Jean, king of France! A good nightcap.”
But wrath followed his irony.
Suddenly the rag-picker tore the royal diadem from his head and hurled it into the filth.
“No,” he cried in horror, “I should dream of blood! Into the basket! Into the basket, like the rest.”
He remained silent for a moment after this execution.
Good Father Jean, perfect image of the sovereign people . . . . king in name, but slave in fact, a landless subject, like his English namesake, King John, without fireside, without family, having nothing of sovereignty, or even of humanity.
A man by nature, a citizen by law, but in reality a serf, a helot, a parish, a bastard disinherited by that step-mother who is country only to the eldest, the legitimate, the elect of patrimony, the only sovereigns, those who have all the attributes of royalty, three in number,— the vote that disposes, the soil that feeds, and the weapon that defends.
With his jesting patience and his common sense of the people, Jean resumed the course of his reflections:
“And to think that all that will be made anew, fine glazed paper, stamped, bank bills and billets doux, letters of exchange and of love, of birth and of death, books and journals, all the bric-a-brac of civilization . . . . and that it will come back here again and always, even to extermination, in the basket. O cast-off clothing of the late Madame Night-Before! O superb scraps, this is your humiliation, this is the general rendezvous, the common grave, the end of the world, the last judgment! And the rag-picker the supreme judge. . . . Jean, the residuary legatee of Paris. . . . Yes, but held for no debts beyond the assets. And what is left for the inheritance? There! a bone. . . . How it has been cleaned and dissected! It was a ham. The master had it first, then the valet, then the dog . . . and I afterwards . . . consequently there is nothing left. Well! I must eat my dry bread. . . . Obedience to Monseigneur’s directions.”
He took a piece of brown bread from his pocket, and lifted a newspaper with the end of his hook.
“A piece of bread to eat,” said he, “and a piece of newspaper to read: the two nourishments, for one does not live by bread alone. Eating and reading, as at the restaurant. What more? Too happy the rag-picker who finds his bread in the dirt-pile and his knowledge in filth. Good appetite. . . . Waiter, the newspaper. . . . Here, there it is, Monsieur! . . . Thank you . . . ah! no, to be sure, one does not say thank you . . . it is bad form”. . .
After having swallowed his little loaf with his night-tramp’s appetite, he began to read the newspaper, using a straw as a tooth-pick.
“Readers whose subscriptions expire are requested”. . .
“They always begin that way,” he exclaimed. “But that doesn’t concern me; I get my journal free. Let us have a look at the news.”
He began to read in a low voice, and soon was sleeping the sleep of the subscriber.
* * *
Jean slept until his stool slipped from under him, when, his head plunging into his rags, he awoke with a start, his journal in his hand.
He resumed his jocular soliloquy:
“These buffoon newspapers always have that effect upon me. It is with journals as with oysters, they need to be eaten fresh. But I must not speak evil of old papers; they are the best part of my property. Long live the liberty of the press and of the basket!”
He flung the journal into a corner.
“Here I am, at the bottom of the heap,” said he, resuming his interrupted task. “The best for the last.”
And with a thrust of his hook he lifted a package of bluish paper, saying:
“I found this coming back to the faubourg, almost at the door. What is it? My sight is dim”. . .
He drew nearer to the candle and read:
“Bank of France. . . One thousand francs”. . . .
“One, two, three. . . Ah! my God, a fortune. . . . Ten bills! Ten thousand francs. . . Poor devil who lost them!”
But reflection corrected this spontaneous cry of his noble and honest nature.
“Not so poor, when one can thus lose ten thousand francs at once. . . . Are they good? . . . They seem to be. They are very ugly”. . .
And then he cried:
“Ah! if they were all mine . . . what a dowry for Mam’zelle Marie!”
He shook his head as he concluded:
“Now I must put them carefully away, until I can return them. . . . Suppose some one should take them from me first! Ah! but it is unhealthy to have bank bills. Already I have a fever of fear . . . fear lest I may be robbed. Such things happen. I saw much more taken at the Quai d’Austerlitz. I will stuff them into the pocket-book of that poor Didier, which has held many others. Who knows? Perhaps they have been in it before. Well! at any rate I will put them in my table. . . . I will lie on them. . . . I shall sleep no more”. . . .
He rose, went to his table, pulled out the drawer, took the pocket-book, and observed a folded letter bearing his name.
“Now what’s this?” he exclaimed, in surprise. “O heaven!” he cried, mad with despair. “Marie! foolish child! to die! And Father Jean? Do not die, Marie, live! Your mother does not want you to die. I want you to live, do you hear? Wait! wait for me, we are rich!”. . .
And he rushed down the steps, the bank-bills in one hand,— the letter in the other, and screaming in anguish:
“Oh! if I am not too late!”
“Some one comes,” exclaimed Marie; “suppose they want to take him back again.”
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.
Mr. Pentecost’s Belief in the Ballot.
I greatly admire Hugh O. Pentecost. He is a growing and a fair-minded man. His “Twentieth Century,” now published weekly in an enlarged form, is doing a useful work. He already accepts Anarchy as an ultimate, and the whole tenor of his writings is leading him on, it seems to me, to a casting-off of his devotion to the single tax movement and to reforms still more distinctly State Socialistic and to a direct advocacy of Anarchistic principles and methods. It is because I believe this that I feel like reasoning with him regarding a vital inconsistency in his discourse of January 13 on “Ballots or Bullets?” in which, moreover, the tendency referred to is especially marked.
After laying it down as a principle that force is never justifiable (and, by the way, I cannot accept so absolute a denial of force as this, though I heartily agree that force is futile in almost all circumstances), he goes on as follows: “If it is not justifiable for the establishment and maintenance of government, neither is it justifiable for the overthrow or modification of government. . . . The intellectual and moral process of regeneration is slower than force, but it is right; and when the work is thus done, it has the merit of having been done properly and thoroughly.” So far, excellent. But mark the next sentence: “The ballot is the people’s agency even for correcting its own evils, and it seems to me a social crime to refrain from its use for regenerative purposes until it is absolutely demonstrated that it is a failure as an instrument for freedom.”
Now, what is the ballot? It is neither more nor less than a paper representative of the bayonet, the billy, and the bullet. It is a labor-saving device for ascertaining on which side force lies and bowing to the inevitable. The voice of the majority saves bloodshed, but it is no less the arbitrament of force than is the decree of the most absolute of despots backed by the most powerful of armies. Of course it may be claimed that the struggle to attain to the majority involves an incidental use of intellectual and moral processes; but these influences would exert themselves still more powerfully in other channels if there were no such thing as the ballot, and, when used as subsidiary to the ballot, they represent only a striving for the time when physical force can be substituted for them. Reason devoted to politics fights for its own dethronement. The moment the minority becomes the majority, it ceases to reason and persuade, and begins to command and enforce and punish. If this be true,— and I think that Mr. Pentecost will have difficulty in gainsaying it,— it follows that to use the ballot for the modification of government is to use force for the modification of government; which sequence makes it at once evident that Mr. Pentecost in his conclusion pronounces it a social crime to avoid that course which in his premise he declares unjustifiable.
It behooves Mr. Pentecost to examine this charge of inconsistency carefully, for his answer to it must deeply affect his career. If he finds that it is well-founded, the sincerity of his nature will oblige him to abandon all such political measures as the taxation of land values and the government ownership of banks and railroads and devote himself to Anarchism, which offers not only the goal that he seeks, but confines itself to those purely educational methods of reaching it with which he finds himself in sympathy. T.
Two Renegades, Instead of One.
A late number of Liberty’s brave and brilliant Detroit contemporary, “Der Arme Teufel,” contained two articles by the editor, Robert Reitzel, whose juxtaposition emphasized the striking contrast between them. One was entitled “A Renegade,” and was aimed at George Chainey, who, after having worked Materialism and Spiritualism for all they were worth, has now gone back into the arms of the Church. The mercenary hypocrite was made the target of Reitzel’s unique satire, and every reader familiar with Chainey and his career rejoiced in the effectiveness of the shafts. But over the other article the judicious grieved. Under the heading “Only a Woman” a tribute of praise was paid to Victoria C. Woodhull, who is a much more despicable renegade than Chainey, inasmuch as she has not only denied the faith, as he has done, but has boldly and baldly and shamelessly declared that she never accepted the faith, professed it, or worked for it. My good comrade Reitzel is clearly unacquainted with the career of this loathsome adventuress, and has been taken in by some prospectus she has sent him in which she unfolds her latest scheme for the elevation of woman in general and Victoria C. Woodhull in particular to a conspicuous height. The fact that John Most has copied Reitzel’s article into “Freiheit” indicates that others are liable to be grossly misled into giving honor to one to whom it is not due, and hence I deem it incumbent upon me, as a watchful guardian against traitors to liberty, to reproduce, for the benefit of those who have either forgotten it or never saw it, the repudiation of free love which Mrs. Woodhull published in 1880. In that year she and her sister, Tennie Claflin, unable to live longer by their wits on this side of the Atlantic, went to England on a hunt for rich husbands. They have since bagged their game. But in order to do this they had first to rid themselves of the reputation of free lovers. Therefore Mrs. Woodhull sent a letter to the editor of the London “Court Journal,” which was published in that paper and thereby circulated among the English aristocracy. The letter began with a long whine about the abuse with which the English press had received the writer, and concluded with the following astounding declarations:
My name has been most unrighteously associated with what is known by the name of “Free Love.” No viler aspersion was ever uttered. No greater outrage could be inflicted on a woman. No deeper wrong could be done to the innocent. And here, sir, it behooves me to mention the manner in which my name first got mixed up in connection with a small section of the American community called “Free Lovists,” for whom, ever since I became acquainted with the principles, I have entertained the profoundest abhorrence. For several years I was the ostensible editor of a New York journal, the main object of which was the elevation of woman, politically, morally, and religiously. I did my best to conduct the paper and to keep it true to the purposes with which it set out. It happened, however, that I could not always read and select the contributions sent me for insertion therein. My lecturing engagements in distant parts of the States, sometimes extending over one hundred nights, prevented such rigid supervision, or, indeed, any supervision at all. Still I had not the slightest apprehension that any matter should find its way into the columns of my journal calculated to lower its tone or taint its character. But so it was. Articles favoring free love appeared without my knowledge or sanction, which startled the readers of my hitherto spotless print. But the evil done did not rest here. I became inculpated as though I was morally responsible for utterance and doctrines which I loathe and abhor from the depths of my inmost being. I now openly avow, with all the earnestness of righteous indignation, that during no part of my life did I favor Free Love even tacitly. With the feelings that should actuate every sanctified wife and mother of a family, I regarded it with loathing when once I got a slight idea of its character and the deep infamy to which it led. And such is my state of feeling at the present time. I only wish that this honest, unreserved declaration, which, through your kindness, I am enabled to make, would exonerate me from any degree of responsibility in the matter, silence serpent tongues, and clear my reputation from the slur which ignorant, unthoughtful, or vindictive persons have cast upon it, reckless of the result. In further justification of my innocence it is my intention to republish my journal in London at once. Therein full particulars shall be given of the manner in which articles got into “Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly” bearing my signature. Those articles I utterly repudiate, more especially the one known as “The Beecher article,” the writers of which acknowledged the authorship of the same at the Beecher trial under oath.
I remain, sir, yours faithfully,
Victoria C. Woodhull.
8 Gilston Road, West Brompton, December 29, 1880.
When one considers that there are thousands on thousands of people in the United States who have heard Mrs. Woodhull proclaim in person from the lecture platform that she had a right to change her lover every night, and would do so if she chose, and that she would rather be the mother of twelve healthy children by twelve different men than the mother of twelve sickly children by one man, it is fairly appalling to contemplate the degree of effrontery required for the publication of the series of monstrous lies constituting the foregoing extract. They really need no refutation. The facts are too well-known. That Mrs. Woodhull dictated the free-love policy of “Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly,” there is not the smallest particle of doubt. For months I was an almost daily visitor at the publication office and was familiar with the management of the paper, and I can say from personal knowledge that Mrs. Woodhull’s disclaimer of responsibility is not in the least warranted by the facts. In those days I believed in her, and I still think she did a great and useful work. Furthermore, I have no sort of sympathy with those who ignorantly abuse her out of mere prejudice against the radical doctrines which she then taught. But I know her now to be one of the most dangerous and unscrupulous of women, and when I see a man like Reitzel misled as I have been, I must lift a warning voice. I am sure that my sham-hating comrade of Detroit will see his error the moment he reads the above, and will lose no time in confessing it to the readers of “Der Arme Teufel.” T.
Rent, and Its Collection by Force.
To the Editor of Liberty:
In cheerfully accepting Mr. Yarros’s invitation (November 10) to continue the discussion relating to the equity of land ownership, I should be pleased to know what proof is required in referring the term rent to the Ricardian definition. The theory of rent was not at all involved. A definition being merely a declaration of the meaning of a term, a connecting link between a concept and a word, it is assailable if the declaration is indefinite, not otherwise. The repetition of the definition of rent in my own words should, however, have sufficed, unless Mr. Yarros denies that local opportunities can affect the efficiency of labor, and that men are willing to pay for their control an annual tribute. But aside from this, the opposition to Ricardo’s doctrine appears groundless. The colored clergyman’s assertion that “de sun do move” would hardly shake Yarros’s confidence in the doctrine promulgated by Galileo, nor will the statement that the so-called Ricardian theory of rent is “too abstract to be of practical utility” prevent the owners of ground-rents from receiving a very concrete unearned profit. Notwithstanding all attacks, Ricardo’s reasoning on rent has, as yet, not been successfully refuted, and had he but applied the same reasoning to the question of capital-profit, society might today be much further advanced in its conception of equity.
Referring to “Egoist’s schemes,” while obviously ignorant of the method I advocate, he concludes that Egoist is a follower of Henry George; yet, if he were to submit my arguments to Mr. George for approval, he might possibly find that those which I consider most fundamental would be repudiated. I take the standpoint of the egoist pure and simple, who knows no motive of conduct but self-interest, but who tries to be less short-sighted than others. While doubting that a single tax on land values can solve the social question, I am convinced that the correct solution of the problem will naturally lead to the nationalization of rent.
My worthy opponent begs the question when he calls on me “to show that the evil complained of is far-reaching and deeply felt,” as if the extent of the result should determine a social wrong; and the assertion “liberty is clearly inadequate to remedy it” is true, if by liberty absolute non-interference is understood. But the same reason that forbids non-interference between man and animal, when their interests collide,— namely, egoism, from which the law of the survival of the fittest is derived,— will render such liberty impossible even between man and man. Hence I reiterate that Anarchy, or social non-interference, is impossible except to those who elect that others survive.
I must, however, confess that I may not fully grasp what its advocates exactly mean by Anarchism. Referring to the reply to my letter, in the issue of December 15, I cannot harmonize the sentiments of an opponent of even a temporary monopoly of inventors and authors with the defence of an indefinite monopoly of the discoverer of a gold-mine. Moreover, the reference to the “law of equal liberty” appears to me inconsistent with your standpoint. If I understand this law, it can be thus expressed: Given a community of intelligent beings, who wish to live in peace and enjoy a maximum of happiness, what must they do to attain this result? Proposition: They must mutually combine and form such an agreement as will secure equal freedom to all: and if any one takes liberties at the expense of others, he must be restrained, even by force, if necessary.
This, however, appears to me a sound democratic doctrine and a repudiation of the doctrine of non-interference. Without a forcible measure against transgressors, equal freedom is unattainable. Force, therefore, appears to be a most important factor in political economy, the creator of all rights. Now, in respect to rent I would advocate compulsion against those only who violate the law of equal freedom in relation to local opportunities. Surely, if I had discovered a gold mine, unless I knew that the supreme power of society would protect me unconditionally in the sole possession, I would willingly give the economic rent, in order to prevent others, less blessed in the possession of natural opportunities, from doing that which their egoism would naturally prompt them to do. This you appear to recognize in your answer. (2) Only those who fail to see that peaceful enjoyment of man’s labor depends upon social equality will expect to occupy land free, for the possession of which others are willing to give a consideration, and they must suffer the natural consequences, either by the invasion of the State, in confiscating rent, or by the more disastrous interference in the form of social disturbances and revolutions.
You are correct in surmising that I can recognize no right but that of might or ability, not referring, of course, to that concept of the ambiguous term “right” which is synonymous with righteousness,— and as to that might which results from the social compact, I must accept it as a social right, whether or not it is in harmony with my notions of what it should be. This, however, does not prevent me from protesting and agitating against any of the laws that violate equity, being convinced that inequitable laws will bring disaster unless abolished before the oppression leads to extreme measures. Enlightened self-interest is no doubt the most forcible incentive to maintain equity, and history amply proves that the strong will never enter into a compact with the weak unless their power is threatened. This does not preclude the power of the weaker from being reinforced by the compassion of a portion of the strong; sentiment, in this sense, has often an indirect influence in the distribution of the social power. Our aim, as individualists, should therefore be to so direct the power of the State that it will maintain the equal liberty of all. Egoist.
[Mr. Yarros attends elsewhere to the first part of Egoist’s letter. In the last part I find so little attempt to meet the various considerations which I have advanced that I have not much to add by way of comment. The monopoly of mining gold at a particular point exists in the physical constitution of things, and a pooling of the results thereof (which would be a virtual destruction of the monopoly) can only be directly achieved in one of two ways,— mutual agreement or an invasion of liberty. The monopoly of inventors and authors, on the contrary, has no existence at all except by mutual agreement or an invasion of liberty. It seems to me the difference between the two is sufficiently clear. Egoist’s statement of the law of equal liberty is satisfactory. Standing upon it, I would repel, by force if necessary, the confiscator of rent on the ground that he “takes a liberty at the expense of others.” I have no objection to forcible measures against transgressors, but the question recurs as to who are the transgressors. If the piece of land which I am using happens to be better than my neighbor’s, I do not consider myself a transgressor on that account; but if my neighbor digs some of my potatoes and carries them off, I certainly consider him a transgressor, even though he may name his plunder economic rent. But Egoist, viewing this case, considers me the transgressor and my neighbor the honest man. I believe that education in liberty will bring people to my view rather than his. If it doesn’t, I shall have to succumb. It is to be noted that Egoist makes no further reference to my argument regarding skill. I urged that the levelling of inequalities in land logically leads to the levelling of inequalities in skill. Egoist replied that skill is inseparably attached to the individual, while land is not. I rejoined that the results of skill are not inseparably attached to the individual, and that the right of might recognizes nothing sacred about the individual. To this Egoist makes no reply. Hence my argument that the nationalization of rent logically involves the most complete State Socialism and minute regulation of the individual stands unassailed. — Editor Liberty.]
Liberty and Rent.
With all due respect to Egoist, I am compelled to say that he dealt very unsatisfactorily in the paragraphs devoted to me with the problems I had submitted to his consideration. But in order to render further discussion more purposeful and intelligent, I think it necessary to begin this reply by answering Egoist’s last question and by establishing a better mutual understanding as to the meaning attached to the term Anarchism.
By Anarchism I do not imply “social non-interference,” but rather political non-interference. I believe that evolution is gradually lifting us out of the present absurd and humiliating system of human relations into a higher rational state where brute force, imposition, and usurpation will be minimized and the reign of free contract, mutualism, and equity permanently assured. Looking at the affairs of the world from the standpoint of an individualist with a free mind, I find no justification for the existence of political government. My intellect and my social sympathies dictate to me the law of equal liberty (as Egoist defines it), and I am confident that time will multiply the number of those taking my view of things till it is sufficient for the successful introduction of reformed relations. As men have come to regard government by right divine as a superstition and imposture, so must they learn to know that all the forms of wholesale and reciprocal human meddling and regulation covered by the term “democratic-rule” are unjust as well as unwise. And Anarchy will be that stage of social development when men definitely and understandingly reject all schemes of irresponsible government and decide that in the interest of their peaceful and progressive existence adherence to the principles of equal liberty and equal opportunity is absolutely essential.
This in the first place. I am also convinced that enlightened and humane beings will discard all present methods for enforcing regard for social laws. Except in rare and extreme cases, direct physical force must cease to be a factor in dealing with offenders. Granting the largest amount of personal independence to individuals, society will find the means of securing for its few fundamental maxims the protection and zealous care of all rational persons in its purely passive power of withholding the abundant and inestimable benefits of citizenship from all deliberate destroyers of harmony and social well-being. So, then, Anarchy also means a state of society in which civilization is guaranteed and preserved by civilized and humanitarian methods, in which brute force is reluctantly resorted to in cases permitting no better way of bringing a criminal to terms, and in which exceedingly few “crimes” will remain, the individual being free to follow his own inclinations in all directions not positively and immediately injurious to his fellows. (Egoist will recall Humboldt’s definition of positive injury, or invasion, which was cited in Liberty in support of Mr. Lloyd.)
Under such a system of social arrangements, it is evident that the principle of letting well alone would be set aside in those cases only in which the necessity for some artificial contrivance to correct a serious natural inequality was beyond reasonable dispute. Individual liberty would be the rule; conventional limitations the exception. Now the issue between myself and Egoist is as to the attitude of the men enjoying the advantages of (what I call) Anarchistic relations on the question of landholding and rent. It instantly becomes clear that their taking, or not taking, any action in the matter of equalizing unearned increments would altogether depend on the quantitative importance of these increments. Were there no economic rent, the use-titles system, would certainly commend itself as the most expedient and equitable. Economic rent assumed, the problem society has to solve is whether the former is on the whole productive of such appreciable infractions of equality as to make it advisable for it to create a special institution for the control and neutralization of this natural obstacle. There may be a vast number of slight inequalities in nature which it is preferable to ignore, and there are no doubt many unfavorable circumstances which man must persistently endeavor to overcome. I am not begging the question when I call upon Egoist “to show that the evil complained of is far-reaching and deeply felt”; on the contrary, I am putting it in the only correct form. “The extent of the result,” does not, to be sure, “determine a social wrong,” but economic rent cannot be called a social wrong: it is rather a ready natural fact somewhat subversive of man’s ideal, and the degree and extent of the mischief it works should very properly determine the course of social action. Just suppose we discover that the expense of collecting the rents exceeds the sum total of the rents to be collected: would it be an act of wisdom to maintain the office, or would it be thought best to abolish it and leave the unearned increments in private hands?
“Hence I reiterate” that before we are invited to join in repairing the wrong resulting from the law of rent, Egoist must prove his case, must demonstrate the truth of the claims of his school. “Ricardo’s reasoning has never as yet been refuted,” he tells us, but this is simply because nothing of a tangible nature has been offered us to contend with. Sceptical doubt is considered sufficient opposition to the Andersonian hypothesis. If Egoist really thinks that the revolt against the absolute maxims of the old school is of no more account than the colored minister’s bold denial of Galileo’s doctrine, he is to be envied, though wondered at. The impression which the study of economics gives me is that we have got no farther with the subject of rent than the definition of the term. To clamor for practical action before the theoretical argument is anything like well-advanced is to rely on the dullness of the auditors. And especially inexcusable is such thoughtlessness on the part of those who have had to repudiate the old theories of finance and population. In this connection, I must not fail to remind Egoist that his disagreement with George in matters theological does not relieve him from the task of reconciling the signal contradiction and opposition between the logic of international free trade and the logic of inland taxation of rent. Egoist, as a free-trader, holds that liberty of exchange between richer and poorer nations would prove advantageous to both; it is for him, then, to explain his suppression of free exchange between parties similarly related but living in closer proximity. Such of us as do not believe the present state of the world to be eternal, but look forward to a future when all nations shall be united by bonds of interest and sympathy, cannot escape the alternative of either demanding a universal human rent fund or dispensing with limited local ones.
What Egoist declines to do, Mr. G. B. Shaw has freely performed. In a recent lecture before the English Fabians he developed the theory of rent and detailed the process by which the social ills spread and grow out of private property in land. I expect to pay some attention to that argument at no distant time. Meanwhile I should wish Egoist and everybody to read that part of Mr. Shaw’s lecture in which it is admirably pointed out how impossible it is to stop at confiscation of rent, and how unavoidable it becomes to follow up that line in the direction of all-round State Socialism.
The Wrong Road to Improvement.
The September number of the “Stationary Engineer” contained the following protest, by A. Lawson, of San Francisco, against the proposed law compelling engineers to take out a license:
The aim of the N. A. S. E., as published to the world, is substantially moral, intellectual, and physical improvement. While applauding this, I strongly object to the means you employ in trying to have it accomplished.
Adding more laws to the enormous mass of those already on our statute books, and employing more political bummers to sell useless and ridiculous pieces of paper to one set of toilers, by which pieces of paper those toilers become to a certain degree endowed with privileges over and above other toilers, will inevitably assist in making society, if possible, more topheavy than it is now, and consequently tend towards crushing deeper into misery the lower order of toilers on whom the social structure ever must depend.
I cheerfully and reverently recognize the beneficent law of nature which causes a tribe of stinging parasites to spring into existence wherever moral or physical filth provides them with sustenance; hence it might possibly tend towards our further advancement in the natural sciences to a while longer toil and endure injustice, pain, and agony in order that a lot of poisonous drones may revel in luxury and fatten off the products of our useful exertions; but, speaking for myself, I believe that the time is near at hand when humanity will no longer worship the useless, evil, and injurious part of themselves, nor allow it to enact and enforce so-called laws and regulations by which the useful part is forever ground down and sacrificed in order that the honorable robber, the reverend beggar, and all other comparatively harmless ornamental dudes, dudines, and dudelets should flourish.
Being among those who refuse to follow blind leaders, but insist on thinking a little for themselves, I will gladly submit to be called all the hard names that are or may be invented for such social “outcasts.” Yet universal history tells me that but for rebellious and heretical individuals during human existence on this earth of ours progress would have been impossible. The great mass of “loyal law-abiding” persons require something to butt against and spend their fury on, and I shall therefore be greatly pleased if you will invite and lead on a vigorous onslaught against foolish cranks, including myself, not because I am thirsting for notoriety or because I desire to in the least interfere with a single one of my fellow beings’ right to do and accomplish whatever he might see fit, but merely to assist all in my power to help the thinking portion of toilers towards truth and justice, knowing full well how thankless and hopeless is the effort.
Under the above title Mrs. Mona Caird has contributed a second article to the “Westminster Review,” supplementary to the first, which attracted so much attention. The entire article is well worth reading; here, however, room can be spared only for one-third of it, the concluding portion.
Wherever we find affection in marriage regarded as essential or desirable, there we have a higher form of society, a higher level of morality, and, above all, a more progressive tendency. Beginning with pure savagery, we pass on to more or less civilized countries in different stages of development: India, Persia, China, Turkey, Italy, Germany, France, America, and England (the list is not intended to be arranged in order of precedence). The rule holds good, more or less strictly, in all these cases. And now the foremost countries have to go a step further, and emphasize still more the importance of the bond of affection and friendship, and the baseness of a union sanctioned only by a mere legal formality.
In connection with this part of the subject Mrs. Carlyle’s delightful comment must not be forgotten. “I do think,” she says, “there is much truth in the German idea, that marriage is a shockingly immoral institution, as well as what we have long known it for,— an extremely disagreeable one.”
Also for our souls’ sake let us contemplate the idea of the Mrs. Grundys of the Zambesi being horribly shocked when they heard of the English custom of monogamy. The Makalolo women, according to Livingstone, did not think it at all respectable. No doubt they hurried all their young persons out of ear-shot as rapidly as they could!
Marriage has been defined as a contract between two persons and the State. Because of the children the State is said to have a special concern in the master.
This is no doubt true, but it means rather less than is generally supposed.
The State has a concern in everything that affects a human being, down to the minutest details of his daily life. It matters to the State every time a man smokes more cigars than are good for him, every time a woman pinches in her waist. It matters to the State very much when men grow absorbed in the business of money-making, and have no time or ability to assist in the development of a higher type of manhood. It matters to the State perhaps even more when women give themselves up wholly to the care of their house-holds and the rearing of their children, rendering themselves unfit for their task, and sending forth into the already over-burdened world swarms of ill-trained, stupid, prejudiced human beings, whose influence upon their fellows is evil and retrograde.
All these things concern the State nearly, but the State cannot send inspectors into our homes to count the cigars of the men, and inquire into the system of education adopted by the women.
In the marriage contract the State has a deep concern, but it does not follow therefrom that it has a right to interfere.
When the parents begin to starve and abandon their children, the State naturally steps in to protect its helpless members, but, until the couple sin in that way, why should the State make up its mind that they intend to do so? It might at least give them the benefit of the doubt.
There are plenty of laws to protect children from ill-treatment, under which the parents would be punished when the offence was committed. Why then interfere with the freedom of contract in advance, on the assumption that the parents are certain to commit this cruelty?
The children appear to be regarded as the principal difficulty in the introduction of new marriage laws, although this is a Protestant country where divorce is allowed, and where in consequence the question has already had to be faced. It is strange, too, that this has not long ago been regarded as a difficulty quite apart from all questions of divorce. The child of average parents is sacrificed in the most ruthless manner to tradition, ignorance, and prejudice, yet nobody comes to the rescue. Marriage is a “sacred” institution, and it does not matter what goes on under cover of its sanctity!
It is assumed that a child’s welfare is sacrificed when the parents cease to live together (even if they habitually pelt one another with crockery). This idea will probably, before long, come to be looked upon as a superstition. In fact, there is a vast amount of superstition clinging about all our ideas regarding the relations of parent and child, and of domestic life generally, the superstition leading to a complicated system of self-sacrifice through which the amiable group mingle at last in a general holocaust, whose fumes rise to heaven in invocation of the family deities.
Why this universal slaughter of driven cattle? Will not the gods be otherwise appeased? If we did but know it, the more they are fed, the greedier they become.
Is the usual relation between fathers and sons such that one can imagine the son’s existence blighted by the removal of the paternal influence? As a rule, the best influence in a boy’s or a young man’s life comes to him outside the home. He is respectful to, and perhaps fond of, his mother; but he does not (poor fellow, he cannot) treat her as a friend. She knows nothing, understands nothing; she has close-set, narrow little ideas, trim little maxims, wise little copy-book precepts to suggest as solutions to the hard problems of life. In short, our present parental and filial relations, taking the average of parents and children, are not so admirable as to make it worth while — even if it were just — to bind together husband and wife in a life-long bondage, and to sacrifice the freedom of the marriage relation. To make this sacrifice of the man and the woman, for the sake of providing the children at all hazards with a constant supply of parents, is unjust and inexpedient. It would be so, even if divorce necessarily implied that children and parents were to be parted for ever, which it does not. Divorced parents, of course, are bound equally with other parents to provide for their children, and to entrust their training to competent hands,— a condition, by the way, which they by no means always fulfil while they remain united. They are bound to see that all is well done in this respect, but they are not bound to remain under one roof in order that their children may enjoy the convenience of having both parents simultaneously within easy reach.
There is not sufficient ground in experience for believing that the mother and father are certain or even likely to be the best trainers for their children. Surely, it cannot be denied that the average mother is totally unfitted for her difficult and most important task. How many women, according to popular notions, make good step-mothers? Yet no woman who has so little sense of justice as to treat children less kindly because they are not her own is fit to bring up children at all. There is no reason for surprise that the ordinary mother should not understand principles whose application demands time and study which can only be bestowed on the business of one’s life; but none the less do the children suffer, none the less are they defrauded of the inheritance of the ages. They ought to be habitually in the society of those who not only have special sympathy with young minds and a special gift for attracting their love and confidence, but a thorough knowledge of the laws of health and of mental and moral development. During a certain portion of the day — for instance, that which is now presided over by nurses — all little girls and boys might enjoy the advantage of coming within the influence of such “heaven-born” friends of children. Nature, be it remembered, takes no count of motive: a child suffers just as much from the mistakes of a devoted mother as it suffers from wilful ill-treatment. We ought to consider, also, the enormous amount of energy that would be set free in our homes by this extension of the principle of the division of labor. Only by division of labor really excellent work is possible; only, therefore, by breaking down our old idea that the mother should always take charge of her child, or rather that she should not allow one more competent than herself to do so. Some one less competent, as, for instance, the average nursemaid — who has not even maternal affection as a motive for good treatment,— is not objected to by popular feeling.
And now for a suggestion which will appear, at first sight, to contradict the foregoing. I would propose that this system of educating from infancy by specialists should be prolonged when boys and girls grow older, and that, if possible, they should continue to spend part of their time in their own homes, and not be sent away to public schools at a distance. While the mother would partly surrender her child’s training to more able hands, the home-influence might, nevertheless, be much longer preserved in the boy’s life (of course a girl has it, and too much of it, till she marries).
And now, supposing such a system to become general, groups of from eight to ten children received daily by cultivated women in their own homes, wherein lies the special difficulty about the children of divorced parents? The agreement in the contract would arrange how they were to be educated, and with whom they were to live, for how long, and so forth, down to the minutest details. Divorce, it must be repeated, need not part parents and children, though if such parting should become necessary (as it sometimes does without divorce), there would be real homes for the children to go to, preferable beyond all comparison to the houses of relatives or friends. Some day we shall look back with amazement at our folly in giving the raw material of society into ignorant hands, to be mangled and destroyed; some day a mother’s affection will show itself, not in industrious self-sacrifice, which reduces her to a pulpy nonentity, feeble in body and mind, and generally ends in bringing her child to a similar condition, but in a resolve to take the full advantage of all that science is busily providing for those who will accept her bounties. The mother will recognize at the same time that self-immolation is obsolete, even among Indian widows, and that, as a civilized human being, she is acting immorally when she voluntarily permits herself — a unit of society — to degenerate in mind or body.
When the hour strikes, when the conscience of women is redirected, and the aspect of her duty changes, the prophetic saying of Emerson will be at last understood: “We shall one day learn to supersede politics by education.”
With regard to the custody of children and the respective claims of the parents, current ideas are scarcely on a higher plane than they were centuries ago, when women were openly and ostensibly treated as the property of men.
Just as the slave-girl belongs to her master, with all the children that she may have, so the wife belongs to her husband, and her children also. According to the odious current phrase, the wife “presents” her lord with a son or a daughter. This mode of regarding the matter is surely a conclusive argument against the doctrine of inborn moral ideas. The mother undergoes weariness and torture during her best years; she risks her health, her life, her reason, and very frequently bids farewell to physical well-being and buoyancy of mind altogether through the perpetual strain, anxiety, and worry entailed by the cares of a family.
Yet high-minded men — and women too — see no injustice or hardship in depriving a mother of the child that has cost her so dearly; they claim for the father equal rights in deciding its destiny, and indeed many people actually go so far as to consider them superior to the mother’s. Clearly our ideas of morality are the offspring of custom, and have nothing to do with an “eternal principle” planted within our hearts. It must be a strange sort of “eternal principle” which would sanction our present barbarous notions. It is often urged indeed that, since the father works for his children and provides for their food and education, he ought to have the supreme authority over them. But it is forgotten that every woman — speaking generally — who is at the head of a house works at least as hard, in a different way, as her husband, and that this makes them quits so far, although the woman’s work is not paid for and is therefore underrated.
Over and above that unpaid labor, the wife has borne and reared the children, and from the very nature of the case has therefore a superior claim. An uncle or a friend might work for the children far harder than the father ever works, but he could not by that means assume rightful authority to direct their career, although the parents would naturally take the benefactor into their counsels. The mother’s right rests upon her unique relationship to the child. The sentiment of justice insists that every one shall enjoy the results of his toil and suffering, and, if this sentiment is listened to, the supreme authority must certainly be assured to the mother in cases of dispute. The bread-winner, of course, has a strong claim to be consulted, and in practice there would seldom be any need to consider these points of justice; things would arrange themselves; nevertheless, they ought to be thought out and decided, and, if the plan of offering a choice of contracts to couples should come to be adopted, these are questions which would require very careful and unprejudiced consideration.
Religion, philosophy, commerce, industrial methods, and all the departments of science and art are open to criticism and re-direction according to the needs and desires of the age; even domestic life must submit to be scrutinized, even the institution of marriage cannot remain motionless on its pedestal, while other things are moving on.
Our present twin-system of marriage and prostitution will be attacked from different standpoints, but the attack will be persistent, and the blows thick and fast. Prostitution is as inseparable from our present marriage customs as the shadow from the substance. They are the two sides of the same shield, and not the deepest gulf that ever held human beings asunder can prevent the burning vapors of the woman’s Inferno which is raging beneath our feet from penetrating into the upper regions of respectability and poisoning the very atmosphere.
Practical people think the Inferno necessary, and that the higher and happier marriage is a dream impossible to realize. The twin-system they believe must go on eternally, the division of women into two great classes, both necessary to the community (on the “practical” hypothesis); the one class deliberately cut off, as far as “society” has any say in the matter, from hope and from help for evermore.
The same idea — the purchase of womanhood — in more or less attractive garb, under more or less attractive conditions, rules from base to summit of the social body. “But the world is blind, and every redemption must be purchased with blood.”
Like “Nature” in her singular “Dialogue with a stranger”* society might exclaim, looking back to her former state: “What I now am was once, even as a hope, a great way off. If I had hope then, I may well hope now. I was once a mere boiling cauldron of horrible confusion under darkness and tempest; and passions and forces raged through and through me; yet I hoped even then, and all along through the wild ages I hoped on. The worst is past.”
The worst is past because we have fixed our eyes upon the morning, because, after all these centuries of conflict, sympathy has been born into the world! “Life is comic and pitiful as soon as the high ends of being fade out of sight and man becomes near-sighted and can only attend to what addresses the senses.” But this near-sightedness disappears at the command of sympathy, which discloses to all eyes the universal tragedy which has no last act, and upon which no curtain falls. It is only by love, led by knowledge, that the world can be saved. We are all actors in this great and mysterious tragedy, and our hope, is in each other. If we lose our unity, we lose everything. But we shall not lose our unity; the spirit of it is growing and spreading far and wide; it means a new era, a new departure in the history of the world. At the very root of our social life, in the relations of man to woman, we shall place sympathy and freedom, and from that source will spring, in the good time that is coming, the universal brotherhood.
* “Morgenröthe.” John Pulsford.
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.