“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.
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, these three; but the greatest of these is Liberty.
Formerly the price of Liberty was eternal vigilance, but now it can be had for fifty cents a year.
Individuals on becoming adults gain their freedom. Are nations never to attain their majority?
The effect of one-half of our laws is to make criminals; the purpose of the other half is to punish them.
Holding a monopoly, the banker is the worst enemy of the human race, being its chief despoiler; without that monopoly, he is its best friend, being its greatest civilizer.
It is needless to call attention to the style of our head. It was designed by Mr. Ipsen, 18 Post Office1 Square, Boston, who, catching with artistic insight the true spirit of our purpose, has produced what every epicure in typography must pronounce a triumph of genius and a real work of art, remarkable for its originality, vigor simplicity, and strange grace.
Liberty takes pleasure and pride in its ability to present to the readers of its first issue the first authentic likeness published in America of the most famous and heroic of that little Russian band styled by the “Pall Mall Gazette” an “army of avenging angels,” Sophie Perovskaya. We reproduce it from a photograph privately forwarded to us from a number distributed at London revolutionary congress, and can answer for its accuracy as a representation of the features of that noble girl. From time to time, as occasion offers, we shall print other portraits of various heroes and heroines of revolution and radicalism.
The arrival of Leo Hartmann in America is a notable event in the history of progress, his mission one with which all friends of Liberty must sympathize, and his self-introduction by a letter to the “New York Herald” giving a true and detailed account of the Moscow mine conspiracy, one of the most thrilling, absorbing, dramatic, and convincing newspaper articles ever printed. The latter shows him as a fine writer, an heroic worker, a grand man. Liberty extends to him its most cordial salutation and right hand of fellowship, and hopes, if he visits Boston, to welcome him in person, when it will do all in its power to aid him and his good cause.
It may be well to state at the outset that this journal will be edited to suit its editor, not its readers. He hopes that what suites him will suit them; but, if not, it will make no difference. No subscriber, or body of subscribers, will be allowed to govern his course, dictate his policy, or prescribe his methods. Liberty is published for the very definite purpose of spreading certain ideas, and no claim will be admitted, on any pretext of freedom of speech, to waste its limited space in hindering the attainment of that object. We are not afraid of discussion, and shall do what we can to make room for short, serious, and well-considered objections to our views. But propagandism through the press is an expensive luxury, and it costs us too much to strike the many blows we have to give to warrant us in furnishing our opponents the hard-earned facilities of returning them.
Liberty’s Martyred Heroine.
Hanged April 15, 1881,
For Helping to Rid the World of a Tyrant.
Down from her high estate she stept,
A maiden gently born,
And by the icy Volga kept
Sad watch, and waited morn;
And peasants say that where she slept
The new moon dipped her horn.
Yet on and on, through shoreless snows
Stretched tow’rd the great north pole,
The foulest wrong the good God knows
Rolls as dark rivers roll.
While never once for all these woes
Upspeakes one human soul.
She toiled, she taught the peasant, taught
The dark-eyed Tartar. He,
Inspired with her lofty thought,
Rose up and sought to be,
What God at the creation wrought,
A man! God-like and free.
Yet e’er before him yawn the black
Siberian mines! And oh,
The knout upon the bare white back!
The blood upon the snow!
The gaunt wolves, close upon the track.
Fight o’er the fallen so!
And this that one might wear a crown
Snatched from a strangled sire!
And this that two might mock or frown,
From high thrones climbing higher,
To where the parricide looks down
With harlot in desire!
Yet on, beneath the great north star,
Like some lost, living thing,
That long line stretches black and far
Till buried by death’s wing!
And great men praise the goodly czar —
But God site pitying.
. . . . . . . . .
The storm burst forth! From out that storm
The clean, red lightning leapt!
And lo, a prostrate royal form!
Like any blood, his crept.
Down through the snow, all smoking warm,
And Alexander slept!
Yea, one lies dead, for millions dead!
One red spot in the snow
For one long damning line of red;
While exiles endless go —
The babe at breast, the mother’s head
Bowed down, and dying so!
And did a woman do this deed?
Then build her scaffold high,
That all may on her forehead read
The martyr’s right to die!
Ring Cossack round on royal steed!
Now lift her to the sky!
But see! From out the black hood shines
A light few look upon!
Poor exile, see! from dark deep mines,
Your star at burst of dawn!
A thud! a creak of hangman’s lines —
A frail shape jerked and drawn!
The czar is dead; the woman dead.
About her neck a cord.
In God’s house rests his royal head —
Hers in a place abhorred;
Yet I would rather have her bed
Than thine, most royal lord!
Yea, rather be that woman dead,
Than this new living czar,
To hide in dread, with both hands red,
Behind great bolt and bar —
While like the dead, still endless tread
Sad exiles tow’rd their star.
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, not hindered or driven by oppression, not deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
Liberty enters the field of journalism to speak for herself because she finds no one willing to speak for her. She hears no voice that always champions her; she knows no pen that always writes in her defence; she sees no hand that is always lifted to avenge her wrongs or vindicate her rights. Many claim to speak in her name, but few really understand her. Still fewer have the courage and the opportunity to consistently fight for her. Her battle, then, is her own to wage and win. She accepts it fearlessly, and with a determined spirit.
Her foe, Authority, takes many shapes, but, broadly speaking, her enemies divide themselves into three classes: first, those who abhor her both as a means and as an end of progress, opposing her openly, avowedly, sincerely, consistently, universally; second, those who profess to believe in her as a means of progress, but who accept her only so far as they think she will subserve their own selfish interests, denying her and her blessings to the rest of the world; third, those who distrust her as a means of progress, believing in her only as an end to be obtained by first trampling upon, violating, and, outraging her. These three phases of opposition to Liberty are met in almost every sphere of thought and human activity. Good representatives of the first are seen in the Catholic Church and the Russian autocracy; of the second, in the Protestant Church and the Manchester school of politics and political economy; of the third, in the atheism of Gambetta and the socialism of Karl Marx.
Through these forms of authority another line of demarcation runs transversely, separating the divine from the human; or, better still, the religious from the secular. Liberty’s victory over the former is well-nigh achieved. Last century Voltaire brought the authority of the supernatural into disrepute. The Church has been declining ever since. Her teeth are drawn, and though she seems still to show here and there vigorous signs of life, she does so in the violence of the death-agony upon her, and soon her power will be felt no more. It is human authority that hereafter is to lie dreaded, and the State, its organ, that in the future is to be feared. Those who have lost their faith in gods only to put it in governments; those who have ceased to be Church-worshippers only to become State-worshippers; those who have abandoned pope for king or czar, and priest for president or parliament,—have indeed changed their battle-ground, but none the less are foes of Liberty still. The Church has become an object of derision; the State must be made equally so. The State is said by some to be a “necessary evil;” it must be made unnecessary. This century’s battle, then, is with the State: the State, that debases man; the State, that prostitutes woman; the State, that corrupts children; the State, that trammels love; the State, that stifles thought; the State, that monopolizes land; the Stale, that limits credit; the Stats, that restricts exchange; the State, that gives idle capital the power of increase, and, through interest, rent, profit, and taxes, robs industrious labor of its products.
How the State does these things, and how it can be prevented from doing them, Liberty proposes to show in more detail hereafter in the prosecution of her purpose. Enough to say now that monopoly and privilege must be destroyed, opportunity afforded, and competition encouraged. This is Liberty’s work, and “Down with Authority” her war-cry.
No Substitutes for the Ghosts.
The wise “Boston Herald” thinks that Mr. Robert Ingersoll has little to offer in place of the Christian consolation which he assails, and that all sensible people have long ago abandoned the preposterous doctrines he is still laughing at. Thus we have two counts against the great infidel orator. Consider each of them.
1. “Nothing to offer.”
He walks through the heavens and finds no “ghosts.” He isn’t afraid, and tells other people not to be.
Nothing to offer in the place of the “ghosts”?
Well, who is to blame?
Robert, or the Universe?
No “ghosts;” no “god.”
That is, no monstrosities.
Only simple Nature manifesting itself in human souls.
No big soul, or universal “boss.”
Now, is that a gain, or a loss?
And, finally, no Christian “scheme of salvation” to illustrate the awful God’s predicament,— a world of immortal souls, all of whom he must eternally torment, unless he can become his own son, and go down among them, and be killed.
Tragedy or comedy, one hardly knows which; well, Robert says it is all foolishness, no particle of truth in it.
That is, people have been believing something that isn’t so, and he isn’t going to invent another story to put in its place.
No, he has nothing to offer as an offset.
We suppose the moral of his teaching might be summed up, say, in two aphorisms, thus:—
Don’t believe foolish things in order to be happy.
Stick to what you can know, and don’t go guessing.
One other occurs to us: —
God is good sense; if you have it, use it; if you have it not, strive for it.
2. “Ingersoll is fighting old beliefs almost universally abandoned.”
Then why murmur, gentle “Herald,” because he offers nothing in their place?
— Let no one suppose we do not treat serious subjects reverently; but, just as “all is not gold that glitters,” so all is not serious when superstitious ignorance is solemn.
The Anatomy of Liberty.
Nine-tenths of life is spent in complaining of wrongs and trying to abolish them. The average man or woman goes to bed with some wrong hanging on the eyelids. He or she awakes, and generally the first thought is of some wrong. The bed is wrong; the breakfast is wrong; somebody’s talk or treatment is wrong; some law or custom is wrong; two-thirds of everything is wrong.
The great field of reform deals negatively with nothing but wrongs. The whole of Ireland to-day is a sad theatre of wrongs. The laborer is complaining of wrongs. The woman suffragists are advertising wrongs all over the land. So is the prison reformer, the temperance advocate, the greenbacker, the infidel, and even the politician.
Yet summon the whole army of reformers together and ask them, individually, to define what a wrong is in its essence, and probably not one in a hundred would have an intelligent idea. Restricted suffrage, land monopoly, the wage system, and currency limitations, they say, are wrongs; but until they have analyzed the essential nature of a wrong, their efforts, as is practically the case, are as liable to be aimed against ultimate liberty as for it.
A re-former is one who proposes to construct a new form, or alter an old form, of social practice so as to make it better accord with the conditions of well-being. But the majority of reformers are utterly incapable of defining where the old form violates some immutable principle. The average standard of condemning a thing as wrong is that it works injustice to some class of individuals. But this is no valid scientific basis. For the class that is injured perhaps a much larger class is benefited by the social practice complained of. The bulk of reforms come to nothing simply because they represent nothing but wars of classes. It is selfishness in contact with itself. In Ireland they say: “Landlord rights mean tenant wrongs.” So everywhere capitalist rights mean labor wrongs. The real thing which must yet be settled before there will ever be any logical and effectual basis of reform is this: What is a right and what is a wrong in human relations? There are no class rights and class wrongs. A thing is right, now and forever, because it accords with the immutable law of our being. It is wrong, now and forever, because it is opposed to that law. What is that law as it pertains to human relations? is the problem of Liberty.
But the lamentable inability of reformers to define wrongs is an infinitely less serious matter than their methods of abolishing them. Every wrong, as the reader who follows us in succeeding numbers will discover, is the result of some violation of the law of true liberty, and can generally be directly traced to the said violation. The law of liberty is spontaneous association by natural selection. The first condition of its normal operation is that the basic factor of social existence, the individual, shall be left entirely and absolutely free to regulate his life as experimental contact with other equally free individuals may seem to direct.
Bear in mind that liberty does not preclude regulation. But regulation, under the law of liberty, comes of selection and voluntary assent. Under its operation, security of life and possession, that bogus pretext which is made the chief apology for so-called governments, is as much more firmly assured as are the normal processes of Nature more effectual than the artificial expedients of man.
The antipode of liberty is artificial, arbitrary, pro forma intervention between individuals who are seeking the best results of experimental association. Its concrete expression is Authority. Its organized exercise is known as Government. Now, the most lamentable spectacle to-day, next to rampant despotism itself, is the short-sighted reformer attempting to secure greater liberty by advocating the method of more authority, more intervention, more government. In the case of Irish landlordism, the greenback movement, suffrage reform, and socialism, the wrong pretested against is, in every case, an actual one, and the motive of the protestants a noble one, but the method proposed in every case by which to abolish the wrong hinges upon the very despotic element which created that wrong and perpetuates it. Landlordism in Ireland, so far from being a voluntary regulation between the landlord and his victim is an artificial contrivance of despotism, created by the few magnates who style themselves the government. Left to its merits as a voluntary arrangement of associative life, it could not stand an hour. It is forced upon five millions of people by some two thousand absentee thieves. And yet the great bulk of Irish land reformers seem to expect that, by a change of engineers, the machine of the future will be run for different and better purposes than the present one.
What is true of the land reformers is equally true of the currency and suffrage reformers. And the worst spectacle of all is that of the socialists, who expect to mitigate the deadly power of the government machine by enlarging it and extending its capacity for despotism into the remotest concerns of life. All these misguided propagandists are yet blind to the main spring of the whole scheme of despotism. Curiously enough, the leaders, many of them, are aware of the mischief which that superstitions fiction, the “Government of God,” has exercised in stultifying rational progress, but forget that the State is simply the old fiction arranged to play upon men in the practical economies of life.
Theocracy is the original machine invented to enslave the race. It set up a king in the person of God. Two thousand years ago it took on an heir apparent in the form of Christ, a prince made more in conformity with the intelligence of the age. The powers were subsequently distributed into the hands of other agents, known as popes and graded ecclesiastics. The distributing, segregating process has gone on till we have the modern republic. But all forms of government are radiations from the parent trunk. The reformer who abolishes the fiction God as a factor of authority in human concerns can never stop, if he is logical, till the whole machine of government which grows out of it is also abolished. He then stands upon a clean, rational basis. The man who clings to that superstition known as the State, and boasts of having flung away the fetters of theology and priestcraft, does not understand himself. The State is as much a theological superstition as the doctrine of the atonement. It is simply the human side of theology. It is only another application of the idea of authority, which is the central idea of theological despotism. All this we propose to illustrate and amplify, as Liberty goes out upon its mission of enlightenment, from issue to issue.
“Who is the Somebody?”
“Somebody gets the surplus wealth that Labor produces and does not consume. Who is the Somebody?” Such is the problem recently posited in the editorial columns of the “New York Truth.” Substantially the same question has been asked a great many times before, but, as might have been expected, this new form of putting it has created no small hub-bub. “Truth’s” columns are full of it; other journals are taking it up; clubs are organizing to discuss it; the people are thinking about it; students are pondering over it. For it is a most momentous question. A correct answer to it is unquestionably the first step in the settlement of the appalling problems of poverty, intemperance, ignorance, and crime. “Truth,” in selecting it as a subject on which to harp and hammer from day to day, shows itself a level-headed, far-sighted newspaper. But, important as it is, it is by no means a difficult question to one who really considers it before giving an answer, though the variety and absurdity of nearly all the replies thus far volunteered certainly tend to give an opposite impression.
What are the ways by which men gain possession of property? Not many. Let us name them: work, gift, discovery, gaming, the various forms of illegal robbery by force or fraud, usury. Can men obtain wealth by any other than one or more of these methods? Clearly, no. Whoever the Somebody may be, then, he must accumulate his riches in one of these ways. We will find him by the process of elimination.
Is the Somebody the laborer? No; at least not as laborer; otherwise the question were absurd. Its premises exclude him. He gains a bare subsistence by his work; no more. We are searching for his surplus product. He has it not.
Is the Somebody the beggar, the invalid, the cripple, the discoverer, the gambler, the highway robber, the burglar, the defaulter, the pickpocket or the common swindler. The aggregate of wealth absorbed by these classes of our population compared with the vast mass produced is a mere drop in the ocean, unworthy of consideration in studying a fundamental problem of political economy. These people get some wealth, it is true; enough, probably, for their own purposes: but labor can spare them the whole of it, and never know the difference.
Then we have found him. Only the usurer remaining, he must be the Somebody whom we are looking for; he, and none other. But who is the usurer, and whence comes his power? There are three forms of usury: interest on money, rent of land and houses, and profit in exchange. Whoever is in receipt of any of these is a usurer. And who is not? Scarcely any one. The banker is a usurer; the manufacturer is a usurer; the merchant is a usurer; the landlord is a usurer; and the workingman who puts his savings, if he has any, out at interest, or takes rent for his house or lot, if he owns one, or exchanges his labor for more than an equivalent, — he, too, is a usurer. The sin of usury is one under which all are concluded and for which all are responsible. But all do not benefit by it. The vast majority suffer. Only the chief usurers accumulate: in agricultural and thickly-settled countries, the landlords; in industrial and commercial countries, the bankers. Those are the Somebodies who swallow up the surplus wealth.
And where do the Somebodies get their power? From monopoly. Here, as usual, the State is the chief of sinners. Usury rests on two great monopolies,— the monopoly of land and the monopoly of credit. Were it not for these, it would disappear. Ground-rent exists only because the State stands by to collect it and to protect land-titles rooted in force or fraud. Otherwise the land would be free to all, and no one could control more than he used. Interest and house-rent exist only because the State grants to a certain class of individuals and corporations the exclusive privilege of using its credit and theirs as a basis for the issuance of circulating currency. Otherwise credit would be free to all, and money, brought under the law of competition, would be issued at cost. Interest and rent gone, competition would leave little or no chance for profit in exchange except in business protected by tariff or patent laws. And there again the State has but to step aside to cause the last vestige of usury to disappear.
The usurer is the Somebody, and the State is his protector. Usury is the serpent gnawing at Labor’s vitals, and only Liberty can detach and kill it. Give laborers their liberty, and they will keep their wealth; as for the Somebody, he, stripped of his power to steal, must either join their ranks or starve.
A portion of the report submitted to the public by a majority of the Westboro Reform School trustees concerning the recent investigation of the management of that institution, is indicative of the rapidity with which the sentiment of prudery is disappearing. We quote the passage referred to: “The trustees, with no less sincerity than the outside public, desire to avoid the necessity of corporal punishment, but they are satisfied that to boys of this character, addicted, as many of them are, to that secret vice which kills both body and soul, solitary confinement offers temptation and opportunity; and this consideration has induced many thoughtful persons to consent to the occasional use of this form of punishment, which they consider less harmful than confinement.” These words are notable because the report containing them is signed by three men and two women, as follows: Samuel R. Heywood, George W. Johnson, Anne B. Richardson, Elizabeth C. Putnam, Lyman Belknap; and, in a less general but more amusing sense, because the first-named gentleman, Mr. Samuel R. Heywood, is an eminently pious and proper deacon in a leading Orthodox church of Worcester, Mass., and a brother of the author of that now famous pamphlet, “Cupid’s Yokes,” at whose plainness of speech on delicate topics in the past he has frequently expressed his disgust. Truly, the influence of the editor of the “Word” is making itself felt in an unexpected quarter.
What a wonderful achievement is the “Irish World” newspaper! Telling the most unpopular truths without reserve, it has, nevertheless, by the very energy of its earnestness, attained a circulation that places it high among the first journals of tho world. Liberty is not always satisfied with it, and does not find it always consistent, but, all things considered, deems it the most potent agency for good now at work on this planet.
Who says there is no hope for humanity when no less a man than Judge E. R. Hoar of Concord, Hoar the haughty, Hoar the unbending, Hoar the stiff-necked, who was hitherto supposed to have lost all interest in his fellow-man, actually casts his eyes close enough to the ground to discover that a wretch in a Washington jail is being wronged, remembers that the most hated man in the world has rights that should be respected, and publicly protests against the official tyranny that is persecuting Guiteau, the assassin? The upstart district attorney of the District of Columbia, who issued the impudent order to the warden, directing Guiteau to be subjected to peculiar and unusual treatment while held to await the action of the grand jury, cannot feel altogether comfortable under the following rebuke from a former attorney-general of the United States: — “The warden is undoubtedly responsible for the safe custody of the prisoner, and should use all proper precautions against escape. But he has not yet been tried, or found guilty of any crime; and is, in view of the law, only held for trial. No man has a legal right to punish him until he has been tried and convicted, and then only by the punishment to which he is sentenced. To subject him to any privation or indignity not required for his safe-keeping is illegal, and should not escape condemnation because this poor wretch is the object of universal odium. If he has a friend or relative, or wishes to see a legal adviser, why should he not be allowed to see them? The district attorney is the officer who is to represent public justice in the prosecution of alleged criminals. What authority of law has he to ‘direct’ a jailer upon the subject of indulgences to be permitted to unconvicted prisoners?” Manly words, Judge Hoar! Liberty thanks you for them.
Governor O. M. Roberts of Texas is a man above his business. So high-minded a man ought not to be occupied in the contemptible employment of ruling others. In responding to the rather presumptuous request of Governor Foster of Ohio, that all the governors in the United States join in proclaiming a day of thanksgiving for the recovery of President Garfield, Governor Roberts said: “I do not deem it consistent with my position as governor to issue a proclamation directing religious services where the Church and State are, and ought to be, kept separate in their functions.” We do not appreciate the governor’s logic, there being no more reason for separating the Church from the State than for separating the post-office, the school, or the hospital from the State. Liberty requires that every institution be separated from the State until there shall be no State left. But, despite his inconsistency, the governor’s position evinces a spirit of sincerity and conscientiousness very rare in officials, and commanding the warmest respect.
Citizen George Francis Train, from his stamping-ground in Madison Square, notifies Premier Gladstone that, if he attempts to Herr Most O’Donovan Rossa, or “Freiheit” the “United Irishman,” or touch “my Irish boys,” he (G. F, T.) shall put on a few additional turns of the psycho twist. When the Pagan Dictator resumes the Head Centreship, let Great Britain tremble! Dynamite is not a circumstance to psychology, and the peanut diet can see a glass bomb and go it several czars better, with an occasional Victoria thrown in.
The president has too many doctors, and the doctors have too many interviewers. The people wish to know the truth from day to day, and the president needs the best of care. Neither are possible while the doctors are on their stilts before the country and the newspapers are besieging them. Let the doctors have peace at Washington, and let the best doctor have sole charge, even though Dr. Bliss should disappear.
Among ordinary political journals west of the Mississippi, the “Virginia City Chronicle” generally takes the lead in liberality of spirit. With all the more sorrow, then, we chronicle the fact that its recent classification of John Brown with Booth and Guiteau as “America’s three noted assassins” is as villainous an outrage as was ever heaped upon a sacred memory.
Gone from bad to worse, — the young woman of Chicago, who a fortnight ago left a house of ill fame to join the church.
Et Tu, England!
England’s treachery to Liberty by stabbing her in Johann Most’s person in an hour of trial, is thus fitly characterized by “Le Revolte”: —
“Most is sentenced to sixteen months at hard labor.”
Such is the news that has astounded the whole European press. Even the conservative journals of Switzerland regard this sentence as “too severe” for a press offence. For having dared to print what nine-tenths of Europe thought, what two-thirds of the English themselves have expressed in private conversation; for having had faith in the honesty of England, whose constitution was not designed as a trap, — Most is condemned to climb for months over the paddles of a wheel, or undergo some other physical or moral torture not less odious and degrading.
The scoundrels composing the governing classes of England, glad to find an opportunity of rendering a small service to Alexander or to William, to be paid for in ringing coin, have made haste to consign to prison the journalist who believed in their bottomless boasts of the liberty of the press. And those same hypocritical bigots, who but yesterday approved the execution of the Czar, or said that the proceedings against Most were without justification, will now bend before the judge’s decree, will discover that Most is a convict, and will not dare, cowards that they are, to breathe a word in protest, will not dare to rouse public opinion to reverse the judgment.
Oh! if Most had opened the veins of a sultan hostile to England; if he had massacred, one after another, a few dozen of Afghan princes; if he had chopped off the heads of a few hundred Indians in revolt against England’s yoke; if he had foundered in mid-ocean, with cargo and crew, a vessel insured in an American company, — oh! then these same radicals and liberals would have gone all lengths to set him at liberty. But he approved the execution of a tyrant whose son promises not to march his soldiers against Merv. That is enough; hue and cry against Most!
But wait! The day is not far off when revolutionary socialism shall plant itself in your midst, as well as everywhere else, and then, be sure, you will pay dearly for this sentence.
Identity of Liberty and Justice.
“Alceste,” the brilliant French writer who, living in Paris, writes “Letters from Paris” to the newspapers of that city, said in a recent communication:
The administration, the army, the courts, the world of finance, the various professions learnedly defended at the Garden of the Hesperides where the dragon guards the golden fruit, all are combined to crush the multitude. And we see the laws on the press itself, through the complicity of governments and the treason of the people’s elect to their trust, directed against Liberty.
For Liberty is the great enemy of the privileged classes. Liberty is Justice.
It took me many years to study and observation to discover this identity of Justice and Liberty. The idea of this new world came to me as a presentiment before I clearly saw it. Political economy first led me to put my finger on this truth that Liberty is equal to property, and that to attack the first was to attack the second. Those laws, then, professedly protective of social order were both criminal and unjust. The movement of the English Anti-Corn-Law League finished my enlightenment, and my belief in the complete identity was confirmed by Proudhon, who demonstrated that no Liberty can spring from the absolute and at the same time from it can emanate no Justice. Only by the elimination of the absolute, parent of the regime of authority, can Justice and Liberty be achieved. Denial of the latter is denial of the former.
Labor Cutting its Own Throat.
In the columns of “Le Revolte,” an excellent Anarchistic journal published at Geneva, occur the following admirable comments on the late riots at Marseilles between French and Italian laborers, ostensibly because of the Tunisian troubles, but really because of the effect of Italian labor on wages, the situation at Marseilles being similar in kind to that produced by the Chinese at San Francisco; —
Our readers abroad already know from the daily journals the particulars of the recent sad occurrences at Marseilles. As the French troops, returning from Tunis, were entering the city, a few people, excited by the rascally opportunists who seek to awaken in France the spirit of exclusive patriotism, rushed upon the Italian club-house under the pretext that hisses for the troops had proceeded therefrom. We can hardly believe that the club-house was the source of the hisses, as there was no one in it at the time. But, even if it was, what right have French workingmen to do with the malice of the Italian bourgeoisie against the French bourgeoisie arising from the act of the latter in depriving the former of a field of exploitation in Tunis. Let the bourgeoisie quarrel among themselves; it is not for laborers to interfere.
But the altercations, succeeding one another, soon took on quite another character. French laborers rushed upon Italian laborers to drive them from Marseilles, where they come to work at cheap rates and reduce wages. Knife-thrusts, men thrown into the water, dozens severely wounded, a few killed, — those are the results of the sad days during which workingmen, allowing themselves to be excited by the dregs of the bourgeoisie press, cut one another’s throats, instead of going in a body to demolish the presses of the journals that stirred up, by their false stories, a spirit of hatred between laborers of two nationalities.
The scoundrels who wish to achieve an autocratic reign in France desire war; they hope to stifle in a foreign war the revolution which they feel approaching, and which, bursting out in France, would embrace all Europe. That deputy tearing down the Italian escutcheon, does he not show clearly the aim of opportunism? A war in order to obtain the dictatorship, to drown in the blood and smoke of battle the socialistic movement, — such is their object. And we, workingmen, shall we be stupid enough to become the instruments of their machination, the accomplices of the aspirants for power?
No! It is not by hunting down the starving men that came from Italy that the French laborer will succeed in improving his condition. It is by establishing an international alliance of the exploited of all countries in order to oppose to the international league of the famishers the international league of the famished. Let us not whet our knives for workingmen more wretched than ourselves. Let us whet them for the exploiters, the international bourgeoisie; and let us learn to strike hard that we may kill the venomous beast which feeds on our blood, sowing among us the seeds of hatred in order the better to rule us. Let us raise the flag which is the standard of all the oppressed, without distinction of race or nationality, the banished flag which makes our oppressors tremble, the flag of the International Working-People’s Association.
Crumbs from Liberty’s Table.
Bob Ingersoll is really logical, and has the best of the argument on the Protestant side. He is carrying out the Protestant principle to its legitimate deductions. If Protestants attack the Catholic Church, they use his principles; if they want to answer him, they fall back on ours. They are utterly irrational. They have started him on his course, and then tell him to halt midway. Why should he listen to them, or obey their dictation? Are they infallible guides of the human mind, after teaching their followers that neither Christ’s Church nor any power on earth can prescribe limits to the liberty that Christ has left to his followers? Ingersoll only follows out their rule in explaining Scripture by his private spirit against Christianity or against the arbitrary limits these men have prescribed. — Rev. James A. Corcoran.
Roscoe Conkling suggests the propriety of attaching more severe penalties to the assassination, or attempts at assassination, of high public officers than are inflicted for a like crime against common people. The sentiment to which Mr. Conkling has given utterance is a sentiment that is unworthy of him as a man, and especially unworthy of him as a constitutional lawyer and a legislator. This last week has been prolific in conceptions and in utterances that might be natural and regular in Russia or Persia, but that are degrading to those who have inherited a lot and part in our American commonwealth, and disgusting to persons of sound minds. — New York Sun.
Rev. Dr. Newman of New York tells us that the crime of Guiteau shows three things; first, that ignorant men should not be allowed to vote; second, that foreigners should not be allowed to vote; and third, that there should not be so much religious liberty. It turns out, first, that Guiteau is not an ignorant man; second, that he is not a foreigner; and third, that he is a Christian. Now, because an intelligent American Christian tries to murder the president, this parson says that we ought to do something with ignorant foreigners and infidels! This is about the average pulpit logic. — R. G. Ingersoll.
The British aristocracy have decided that it is not at all inconsistent with the character of an English gentleman to commit a felonious assault upon an unprotected young lady in a railway carriage. The Congregationalist church of New York has declared that a convict, a torturer of helpless babes, may be a good Christian and pastor of a church, and that his trial and conviction are merely “rumors” that the church need take no cognizance of. Valentine Baker is a high-toned English gentleman, and Shepherd Cowley is a good, pious New York clergyman. — Boston Globe.
The inability to think has always been a characteristic of tyrants, and any evidences given by them of the possession of reasoning faculties never fail, to astonish the world. But a certain amount of thinking must be done in this world, and, when a ruler fails to do his share, his subjects invariably do it for him. Then it is time for somebody to prepare for trouble. If the czar could only think, he would understand that, when the king will not use his head, it is right that the people should remove it from his shoulders; but the czar is exhibiting his pitiful inability to even learn the lessons of the past, and, after a few more warnings, the bang of another bomb will, in all human probability, gather Alexander to his imperial fathers. — Boston Globe.
Destruction is only a weapon in our hand, not by any means the aim and purpose of our struggle. — Leo Hartmann, Nihilist.
The Liberty of Parents.
In the following extracts from an editorial in “La Verite,” a daily paper published in Paris, is a lesson for the large number of so-called radicals in America afflicted by the compulsory education craze:—
To make it allowable to render education absolutely compulsory, it is necessary in the first place that the education be useful to its recipient beyond all question, and in the second place that it be under the control of heads of families. The latter may be neither owners nor masters of their children, but, after all, they clearly have as many rights over them as the cabinet ministers and their agents.
Further, instruction in agriculture, stock-raising, carpentry, shoe-making, weaving and I know not what else, is education quite as truly as that in the rules of grammar, penmanship, and the imperfect chronology called history in the primary schools, though mingled with fabulous fictions and follies. Instruction of the former kind has at least this advantage over the other, — that it teaches the pupil a trade by which he may live, and which therefore he can not know too soon. Unless it allows pensions to all the children, or teaches them that practical knowledge of labor which they would acquire at home, the State has no right to waste their precious time as a sacrifice to the academical systems of the cabinet.
There are some radicals who can not tolerate the idea that the children of farmers, artisans, and shopkeepers should learn to read on the knees of their mothers, while aiding in farm and household tasks, instead of under the ferules of official instructors. Parents are entirely willing that others should teach their children to read in their own way and should give them religious instruction, provided they themselves are left free to give to theirs the instruction and especially the education that seems to them good, either by themselves or with the co-operation of such teachers as they may choose.
For my part, while regretting that others teach their children notions and ideas which I believe to be false, I yet prefer to leave them complete liberty in this respect in order to retain my own, not wishing the law to compel me to hand over my children to-day to the education of the present University and to-morrow perhaps to I know not what coterie or religious faction which may chance to step into power in the place of our present masters.
The Penalty of Treason to Liberty.
The spirit of liberty, says Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in whatever form it comes, whether as African, Chinese, Woman, Nihilist, Socialist, Communist, will assert itself and avenge its wrongs. Ariosto tells a pretty story of a fairy, who by some mysterious law of her nature was condemned to appear at certain seasons in the form of a foul and poisonous snake. Those who injured her in the period of her disguise were forever excluded from participation in the blessings which she bestowed in her power. But to those who, in spite of her loathsome aspect, pitied and protected her, she afterwards revealed herself in the beautiful and celestial form which was natural to her, accompanied their steps, granted all their wishes, tilled their homes with wealth, made them happy in love and victorious in war. Such a spirit is liberty. At times, she takes the form of a hateful reptile. She grovels, she hisses, she stings. But woe to those who in disgust shall venture to crush her. And happy are those who, having dared to receive her in her degraded and frightful shape, shall at length be rewarded by her in the time of her beauty and glory.
Game for the Fool-Killer.
The life of Queen Victoria has been more than once attempted, and so far, thank God! not a hair of her head has suffered harm. An unseen power has warded off the assassin’s bullet, so that she has not even once been wounded. Why this preservation amid repeated danger? Because wherever the Church of England service is read, and also that of the Reformed Episcopal Church in its integrity, prayers are ever offered on behalf of the Queen and her Royal family. And why do we hope and believe to-day that the life of President Garfield will also be preserved, unless it be because Christians are praying for him everywhere, and because, furthermore, we trust that personally his life is hid with Christ in God. — W. H. Cooper of St. John.
Guiteau’s crime was but the action of a demoniacal wretch, of a brute in human form, impersonating in himself the atheistic, the nihilistic, the communistic, the anarchic, the thuggish, the pistol and blood idea of the Old World. — President Garfield’s Pastor.
When the life of the chief magistrate of a country is assailed there is not only the malice of murder in the act, but an attack upon authority — now the authority of God. Kings and magistrates hold from God. Their power is from God; not from the people, except indirectly. Hence any attack upon a magistrate, as a magistrate, is an attack upon God. There will be added for one month the prayer propuce in all masses, and in all the churches of this diocese will be recited for the same time and intention five “Our Fathers” and five “Hail Marys” immediately after all public services. — Catholic Bishop Gilman of Ohio.
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.