“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.
It is not surprising to hear that Henry George regards Liberty as “cranky.” All the defenders of despotism do.
Since European socialists began to circulate their revolutionary literature in hermetically-sealed cans of condensed milk, that heretofore mild and inoffensive commodity has become a greater terror to the “effete monarchies” than dynamics.
“Irish landlordism,” says Nasby, “is condensed villainy.” So it is. And landlordism of whatever nationality is villainy also, however diluted or rarefied or tempered. The land question is a universal question, and it is confusing to discuss universal questions from national standpoints.
What must the cultured editors who rave about Guiteau think of Walter Savage Landor, more highly cultured than they, who once told N. P. Willis that he had “a purse of five hundred sovereigns always ready to bestow on any one who will rid the earth of a tyrant — even an American president”?
A good illustration of the wantonness with which States spend their subjects money is seen in Queen Victoria’s expenditures of $75,000 in sending special missions to Madrid and Dresden to invest the Kings of Spain and Saxony with the Garter. How long do working people intend to pay tribute to an institution which consumes their earnings thus?
The following is the number of socialists expelled from three important towns in Germany: Berlin, 155; Hamburg and environs, 195; Leipzig, 70; total, 420. Most of these have wives, children, and relations dependent upon them for bread. The majority have emigrated to England or America. Four had been previously members of parliament. Their names are Messrs, Fritzeche, Vahlteich, Reimer, and Hasselmann.
Stephen Pearl Andrews, after comparing us to a “drunken man,” complains of our discourtesy in calling him God Almighty,— a title, by the way, which we never applied to him. As Dickens’s barber says, we must “draw the line somewhere.” Mr. Andrews, it would seem, in the matter of opprobrious epithets, draws the line beyond drunkard and this side of God. It is well to be given some idea, in advance, of the stand and of the courtesy to which members of the Pantarchy will be expected to conform.
Liberty, during its brief young life, has received many compliments, from sources high and low, of which it may well be proud; but nothing has pleased us more than the following simple, but significant words from the letter of a lady who has been procuring subscribers in the mines of Pennsylvania. Sending a fresh list of names, she adds: “More miners promise to subscribe, but they have not had steady work this month and are all poor. The paper is a bomb in the mines. Each fortnight for three months I have had the paper read aloud to the men, and it is beginning to tell, as it always will when it and its like reach the people for whom they are written.” News like this is of the most cheery sort. When the common people, as our faithful co-worker truly says, begin to appreciate the principles which Liberty stands for, the welcome Social Revolution is at hand. The coming day, all hail!
Force is seldom justifiable as a method of reform, but the impetuous revolutionists who believe in and uses it is much less vitally in error than the wicked hypocrite who pretends to see no distinction between force used in vindication of rights and force used in their violation.
Only one daily paper within our knowledge, the Virginia City “Chronicle,” has told the plain truth about the recent Irish convention. These are its words: “The Irish national convention at Chicago did but one thing worthy of notice, or of benefit to Ireland. It subscribed several thousands dollars for the Irish Land League. The resolutions adopted were tame, commonplace, and — not to put to fine a point on it — cowardly. Designedly silent, as the press of the country is, as a whole, on the subject, and timid as was the Chicago convention, the world will soon have to recognize that fact that Ireland is engaged in a struggled to do away with private ownership of the soil.”
The mountebank Talmage, preaching against profanity, soberly told his congregation last Sunday of a man who indulged in it while walking on a railroad track. Suddenly a train came along and killed him. The body, when picked up, exhibited neither bruise or scar, death having resulted solely from the cutting out of the man’s tongue by the locomotive. How many members of Talmage’s church believe this yarn? How many of them believe that Talmage believes it himself? If any, are they not fools? Are not the others hypocrites? On this showing, is not the Tabernacle congregation made up solely of knaves and idiots? Does its moral and intellectual quality differ from those of other Orthodox congregations otherwise than in degree?
It will be remembered that our discussion with Mr. Babcock on the rightfulness of usury led a friend to suspect that Liberty was willing to deny herself by advocating anti-usury law. A subsequent editorial distinguishing between usury as a civil right and usury as a moral right quieted his fears. The same editorial, however, has led another critic to accuse us of abandoning our anti-usury ground and making legality the standard of morality. Strangely enough, the ideas entertained by this critic on political and economic questions are substantially identical with Liberty’s. The sole trouble with him is that, having accustomed himself to write the English language viciously, he is no longer able to understand it when written well. But may we say to him, once for all, that a man has a civil right to take usury from another, provided he can get it with the other’s consent in the face of free competition, but that he has no moral right to take it as a commercial transaction in which he pretends to be governed by the true principles of commercial equity; and, consequently, that wealth acquired by usury under a voluntary regime IS the holder’s in the sense that no one is entitles to dispossess him of it, but IS NOT the holder’s in the sense that he has acquired it, as the usurer now pretends, by giving him an equivalent for it. It is to be hoped that this language will prove intelligible to our critics, but, if it does not, he may continue his criticism without further attention from us.
“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.
Guiteau’s “Devilish Depravity.”
Some of those sainted spirits, those God-anointed souls, who edit our political papers, and who evidently came down from a higher sphere, to shed the light of their holiness, for a brief period, upon this dark and wicked world; and who know, by their spiritual intuitions, that there is nothing, this side of heaven, so sacred in itself, or so important to mankind, as the government of the United States, have apparently exhausted their illuminating powers, in the effort to make us see and realize the indescribable wickedness of killing a president. To their minds, there has not been, on this planet, another crime so atrocious, or at least eighteen hundred years. The horror, which men anciently felt at the killing of a king, a God-anointed king, was hardly exceeded, or even equaled, by that which these angelic spirits feel at the killing of a president. To describe the act by the simple name of murder, as in the case of common mortals, conveys no idea of its intense wickedness. To speak of it simply as the act of an insane man, exasperates them to fury. It seems to make maniacs of them. That anybody has a right to be so insane as to kill a president, is what they cannot comprehend, and will not listen to. Their ethereal natures seem to realize that if, after they have come down from heaven to earth, to assist and guide in the election of a president, and have succeeded in converting a piece of common clay into a sort of earthly god, and given him power to reward the righteous, who voted for him, and punish the wicked, who voted against him, he can be killed like any common mortal, all their labor in electing him is lost, their plans for governing the world frustrated, their sacred system of rewards and punishment unceremoniously demolished, their own vocation on earth at an end, and they themselves necessitated to return, in disappointment and disgust, to that higher sphere, from which they ought never to have descended.
It does not assuage, but only aggravate, their sorrow, to assure them that presidents are not only mortal, but vulnerable; that nature made them so, and there is no help for it; that the system of rewards and punishments, which they are appointed to administer, is likely to make enemies of friends; that kings — the immediate predecessors of the presidents, and whose duties and powers, with little qualification, have been devolved upon the presidents — have, as a rule, been a very bad set — the robbers, oppressors, and destroyers of mankind; that the presidents have not yet proved, beyond controversy, that they are very much better than the kings; or that they hold their power by a tenure less bloody than did the kings; or that, whether good or bad, they are necessity to the well-being of the world. It serves no purpose to assure them that presidents are neither the fathers nor mothers of the people whom they attempt to govern; that, whether this one, or that one, lives or dies, the sun will still rise and set; that summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, will succeed each other as before; and that we shall, no doubt, have very much left to enjoy, and, if pious, to be thankful for.
All such philosophy as this is wasted upon these consolable editors; and, in fact, upon all others who had expected offices or rewards at the hands of the late president.
One would think that, like reasonable beings, finding that neither their sorrow, nor their anger, could avail to bring back their idol, they would be content, like the ancients, to simply deify him, or demi-deify him; to place him in their political pantheon, and tell their posterity what he was, and what he did.
One might even think that the experience of the last twenty years, and even the last ninety years, with all the blood, and poverty, and misery, with which they have been filled, might lead these serene and philosophic souls to enquire whether our system of governing men by editors , congresses, and presidents, does not cause ten thousand times as much bloodshed and misery as it prevents; and whether something better cannot be devised.
And, finally, one might imagine these angelic spirits, would try to be at least reasonable and just, if they could not be merciful, to the one who took the late president’s life; that they would not call so frantically for vengeance, until it was proved that he was a fit subject for it.
But of all this moderation and reason, they seem to be incapable. In the cases of the ordinary homicides, of which they inform their readers, they do not indulge in any violent demonstration of surprise, grief, or anger. They evidently consider them merely common human occurrences, such as are to be expected of weak, or wicked human nature. And they wait very patiently and coolly until courts and juries shall have given their verdicts as to the moral responsibility of the actors.
But, for Guiteau, they have none of this mercy or justice. They have apparently exhausted their vocabularies in the vain attempt to describe the moral nature of the man, who could kill a president. To call him a madman, fanatic, a man mentally diseased, or congenitally malformed, does not satisfy, or even soften their rage. They are not content with describing him by such terms as wretch, monster, assassin; for they see that neither wretch, monster, nor assassin fitly describes a man, who, in open day, before a hundred people, kills another, towards whom he had no personal ill will, and form whose death he could reasonable expect to derive no benefit from whatever.
Puzzled to account for an act, for which they can assign no rational motive, they seem at last to have hit upon a term that describes their general sentiments, by attributing Guiteau’s act to his “devilish depravity.”
We confess that we may not fully understand the legal meaning of this term. It is associated, in our minds, with certain theological ideas, that are now somewhat stale, if not entirely obsolete. It seems to imply that there is, somewhere in the universe, such a being as a devil, and that he has power to deprave weak human beings, who, but for him, might have been quite innocent, and worthy persons.
If this solution of the mystery is to be accepted as the true one — that is, if there really be a devil, and if he has succeeded in “depraving” Guiteau to the extent supposed — it is evident that Guiteau is one of the most unfortunate and pitiable of the human race; and that all this rage against him is misdirected. We believe that the most dreadful of all theologians, who have believed in a devil, ad in his power to “deprave” mortals, have had some pity on those, upon whom he has laid his spell. We believe that, at least, Edwards and Hopkins, and perhaps John Calvin himself, would have been gratified to know that a man, depraved by the power of the devil, would not be held to the sol responsibility of his acts. But our divinely appointed political editors seems to have less mercy for sins committed, under the instigation of the devil, against a successful political, than Edwards, or Hopkins, or Calvin had for sings committed, under similar instigation, against God.
We would mercifully advise these heaven-sent editors, before they return to their celestial abodes, to recall their senses, if they have any, and listen to reason; to reflect that even though their special mission on earth may have proved a failure, the world may, perhaps, get on without them; that if presidents should occasionally be killed by lunatics or others, we have plenty of material of which to make more; that even the government of the United States may continue to stand for quite as much as it is worth and quite as long as it ought to, in spite of all the Guiteaus by whom it may be assailed. A government that is afraid of Guiteau, is not long for this world.
And, finally, let us whisper, in the ears of these editors, that they themselves, and such as they, are doing more to destroy this government and to prove that it ought to be destroyed, than all the Guiteaus they will ever see.
But this is no new occupation with them. Ever since they came on the earth, they have been trying to prove that the government of the United States ought to be destroyed; and, with the aid of presidents, congress, etc., they will doubtless succeed, unless they can be induced to go back to the skies.
Organization at Chicago.
The late Irish National Convention at Chicago was an assemblage of something like one thousand delegates, who had come together to transact a little plain business. All that was accomplished could have been accomplished in less than two hours on business principles. But the convention lasted three days, and two days out of the three were consumed in effecting what is called “permanent organization,”— that is, in appointing a committee on credentials, a committee on rule of order, and a committee on permanent organization. We propose to indulge in a little plain talk on what this “permanent organization” business meant, which may possibly open the eyes of the Irishmen as to what the whole swindle known as organization is intended to effect.
In the first place, a large number of credentials were bogus. The New York delegation — the largest present — was chiefly recruited from the war clubs of New York city, and its members were sent to serve the vile purpose of Tammany Hall. the boon allies of John Kelly’s gang were a clique of Chicago politicians, who also cooked up a good supply of bogus credentials. Now, in order to cover up this fraud, it was necessary to so “fix” the committee on credentials as to make the job a success. And it was a sucess, even to the extent of “firing out” almost the only honest organization in Chicago, the “Spread the Light Club,” consisting of active workingmen whose only crime was that they could not be bought up and bullied by the Chicago political ring.
The committee on rules of order also wasted a whole day, but the Reverend chairmen knew the main rule of order well, without the assistance of the committee. It was simply to recognize the political bosses, and to feed the machine as had been previously arranged by the leading rogues who were so scrupulous about organization. A most unblushing outrage was committed in the face of these rules of order,— that of ignoring point blank such as had decency enough to protest against the exclusion of the “Spread the Light” men.
To sum up the whole swindle, the purpose of organization at the Chicago convention was in keeping with its purpose almost everywhere. It was to cheat the bulk of honest men who had come there out of fulfilling the very purpose for which they had come. So near did John Kelly’s gang come to gobbling up the whole Land League business and making it the property of Tammany Hall that the escape was only due to an accidental and unanticipated alliance of the Ford and Collins parties, aided by the co-operation of the priests.
The organization craze is the chief enemy of progress. It is made the instrument of a conspiracy of the few against the many. The State is simply an organization on a large scale. The professional politician is always great on organization. Organization debauched the Chicago convention, and it will debauch Irish liberty if the Irishmen do not sometime learn that political anarchy is the only road to any national independence that is worth recognizing or laboring for.
“The Land for the People.”
The natural wealth of the earth belongs to all the people. The land, the coal, the minerals, the water courses,— all that furnishes the basis of the prime opportunities for human well-being should be the common possession of all.
The above proposition is practically accepted by the leading thinkers and agitators of the world. The socialists declare it as the bottom plank of their system. The communists of course avow it. The “Irish World” cries it aloud from week to week. John Stuart Mill affirmed it almost in so many words. Herbert Spencer reiterates it constantly, and even Froude and John Bright have repeatedly accepted it by inference. Liberty affirms it too; so one main and vital proposition is generally admitted by all shades of advanced reformers.
But at the point where this proposition is accepted begins the great socialistic controversy in which we find ourselves at uncompromising war with social democrats, the communists, and the whole rank and file of government regulationists. “By what method do you propose to give every man a fair opportunity to enjoy all these ‘natural gifts’?” “How can you best secure this natural wealth to all the people?” These questions which tower in importance above all others which now confront thinking men.
Now, Liberty’s way of getting all these good things to the people is to put every man on his own merits. The very purpose of that machine called the State is to set an artificial patent man-trap, by which the intended servile classes shall be crippled in the race for natural wealth and natural opportunities.
Years ago the natural wealth of the public waters was not interfered with by legislation. Go to the shores of our bays and rivers, and the poor fishermen, if not already starved out or forced into the service of big operators, will recall with a sigh the good old days when all poor men fared alike and could make a living out of the public waters. But since politics have become a thieving trade, legislation has so “put a job” on natural water privileges that the poor are practically evicted and choked off, while the big concerns who dictate the legislation scoop up he fisherman in their politico-industrial nets under the current despotic wage system.
Cease to protect landlords in their monopoly of the land through the State, and the land will readily revert to the people. It will revert, too, speedily, with little expense, and with less violence, injustice, and dissatisfaction than under our boasted law-and-order arrangements. The island of Ireland belongs to the people, as Bishop Nulty and the “Irish World” assert. But why do the people not enjoy it? Simply because their wits are not awakened to their real enemy, the State. Acting better than it knows, the Land League, as a power for Liberty, is only strong in the fact that is has been this expression of practical revolt against the British State. The London “Times,” more sagacious than the blind leaders of the League, foresees that a successful strike against that tax known as rent is only a step, which needs to be followed by a strike against that other tax which needs to be followed by a strike against that other tax which is levied to support the State in order that the tap-root of the whole scheme of landlordism may be reached.
And yet the mass of Irishmen are so swallowed up in the delusion that society is impossible without a State that the craze of Irish national independence came near capturing the recent convention at Chicago, and threatens to yet the beneficent work of the Land League movement. The prospective Irish State will be the same machine, under another banner, that now has the Irish tenant by the throat. The American republic is to-day more favorable to landlords than is the government of England. A late editorial in the New York “Tribune” produced unanswerable proof that the laws of this country are vastly more favorable to the landlord and more sever to the tenant than the laws which hold sway in Ireland. Unless Irish human nature is the one exception of the world, the coming Irish republic will be simply a reproduction of the machine which inevitably provides that the land shall not come into the hands of the people. The very purpose of the State is to make the mass of the people the slaves of the privileged classes. The State, in its very nature, cannot be of the people and by the people. It is of the few and by the few by virtue of its organic structure.
Until these bottom facts of despotism can be gotten into the heads of the Irish leaders, the land war will flounder along blindly. The leaders of the movement are to-day ignorant of the only saving grace there is “no rent.” When the London “Times” says that “no rent” is but the stepping-stone to “no taxes,” it shows a far keener insight into the situation than Parnell and his infatuated companions who cry for Irish national independence. Stop feeding the infernal machine which alone protects the landlord in his piracy, and the game is up with one stroke. To institute another machine in its place is simply to invite the Irish to practice upon their own race what the hated Saxon has been practicing all these centuries, and to substitute the Irish swindle for the English is about the extent of the average Irishman’s aspiration. Nothing better can be expected till the agitation shall call forth somebody who has the sense and courage to supplement Michael Davitt’s “no rent” with “no taxes” and “no State.” Then this now useless cry of “the land for the people” will begin to mean something for Ireland and the whole human race. A sort of blind Providence has driven Ireland into the “no rent” resolve, but her vaunted leaders are ignorant of its real significance. They are mere children besides such men as Michael Bakounine, the founder of Nihilism, and are entitled only to the credit of blindly acting better than they know.
Guiteau is proving himself so bright and sharp, that his enemies infer that he is not insane now, and probably was not on the second of July. They appear to have forgotten that,
Great wit to madness near is allied
And thin partitions do their bounds divide.
Yet such is, no doubt, very often the fact. A great many men, of extraordinary brilliance of mind, have been insane on some one or more subjects, while rational on others. In regard to other men, of this class, the question has been a doubtful one, whether they were insane, or not. The famous John Randolph, of Virginia, was one of these. His will was contested on the ground that he was insane. And although, if we remember rightly, it was sustained upon the ground that he was sane when he made it, yet it was quite a general opinion that, during the latter part of his life, his mind was not sound; that if he was not absolutely and unquestionably insane, he was so plainly on the verge of insanity, that any clearly irrational act would have been accepted as proof of insanity.
And the same has been true of so many persons, of high nervous temperaments, and brilliant intellects, that if they had committed any clearly irrational or heinous acts, it would have been set down to insanity as a matter of course. And the more heinous, or irrational, the act, the stronger would have been considered the proof that it was committed under an insane impulse or delusion.
It is contrary to nature that sane men, of brilliant minds, should do grossly absurd and irrational acts. The more proof, therefore, that is brought now, to show that Guiteau was ever a sane and rational man, the more proof we have that, when he did a thoroughly irrational act, he was not in possession of his ordinary reason.
If an insane act--an act for which no rational motive can be discovered — be not, of itself, the best proof of insanity, what better proof can we have?
Guiteau is proving, every day, and every hour — apparently to the satisfaction of every body — that he has a very high nervous temperament, and a badly balanced, or rather unbalanced, mind; and that, if he is not absolutely insane, he is on the very verge of insanity; that he is in that condition where any great and unusual excitement would, for the time, upset him. When, therefore, he had done an utterly irrational act, the only rational interpretation of it is that he was insane.
Mr. W. G. H. Smart desires to make a correction. Referring to his last issue, he writes: “After ‘Do you not see my meaning?’ I should have said, and meant to say, ‘That,’ besides its natural inherent productivity, ’the productive property or potentially possessed by any material substances,’ &c., ‘is invested in it precisely as it is invested in a man’s brain, and is of precisely the same kind. It is capital,’ &c.” Mr. Smart gently chides us for not noticing and repairing his omission of the first of the foregoing italicized phrases; from which it appears that he expects us, who confess the we cannot understand even what he does say, to understand also all that he does not say. His correction disposes of but one of several errors which we pointed out and which still stand as such. His present communication we have not space to print in full, but, lest he may attribute our failure to do so to a disinclination to see his withering words in print, we give the following precious bit: “I might take exception to the closing part of your letter on the ground of some degree of discourtesy, but perhaps dogmatism and — may I say conceit — are among the sacred prerogatives of Liberty. At all events I forbear. I can well afford to be pronounced ignorant on the same place of paper and by the same man that calls Herbert Spencer a fool.” We forbear, too, except to add that we have never called Herbert Spencer a fool. Our words were that on one occasion he “made a complete fool of himself.” There is an important distinction between a man who is, or is made a fool, and one who temporarily makes a fool of himself. This distinction Mr. Smart forcibly illustrates in his own person. He is no fool, but he frequently makes a fool of himself; for instance, when he tried to show the other day in the Boston “Herald” that Bismark is a socialist bent on accomplishing the ends of socialism. Comparatively few persons are fools, but nearly all sometimes make fools of themselves. The editor of Liberty has not “conceit” enough to claim exemption from this rule.
Another priest has lifted his voice against the Land League, Bishop McQuaid of Rochester, who virtually prohibits Catholics under his care from connection with that organization. The advice of Bishop McQuaid, like that of any other man, should be carefully weighed, and taken at its intrinsic value; but, when this would-be mental slave-driver gives his advice in the tone of command, he should be met with contemptuous defiance. If Ireland would cast off the chains that bind her industrially and politically, the first insurrection of her people must be against the spiritual bondage of the Roman Catholic church,— an insurrection which many begin, as well as anywhere, with the throttling of the tyrannical overseer who rules the Rochester plantation with the double-thonged lash of excommunication in this world and damnation in the next.
The interpreters of Mr. Frothingham are becoming bewilderingly numerous. The latest addition to the list is M. J. Savage, who claims to speak under Mr. Frothingham’s sanction; but, his interpretation of the latter’s views widely differing from the original “Evening Post” interview, which Mr. Frothingham has pronounced substantially correct, those interested are getting pretty well mixed and Mr. Frothingham pretty well advertised. Indeed, the cynical might fairly be pardoned a suspicion that the whole affair is but a shrewd scheme to increase the sales of the forthcoming “Life of George Ripley.” Mr. Frothingham, presumably, is incapable of entertaining such a design, but he could not have carried it out more successfully had he deliberately set about it.
There is no better definition of anarchy than Proudhon’s: “The dissolution of government in the economic organism.”
Over the waves doth hear
The martial bugle-blast?
Coercive threats in Freedom’s name,
Blinding the world at last?
Now shall the “evil” fear,
Their “virtues” all reclaim,—
Viola of wrath for them uncork
Who wield old Satan’s three-pronged fork.
Curing ills is thy sole right?
Ah! hear the demonic laughter!
Oh! where shall end this war of might,
And what is the promise hereafter?
Come away! Come away!
Come to the halls of peace!
In patience there seek the eternal;
They ways, be they fair and fraternal;
Truth wins, but doth no sceptre hold:
Her voice, forever free and bold
To tell thee plainly to thy face
If thou’rt unwelcome to thy race,
Still waits upon thy sluggard pace.
For men must grow,
And men must know,
Ere they consent to yielding,
Be that yielding sane and true.
By growing, not by slaughter,
The worlds are made anew.
The Evolution of Liberty.
For centuries there has been a ceaseless struggle for freedom. In the strife for individual sovereignty against subservience to aristocracy, kings, and nations the proudest empires of time have been rocked to their foundations and the scepters of demised monarchs shaken from their grasp and trampled in the dust at their feet.
From the ancient idea of freedom, when the interest of the State was supreme and that of the individual secondary, has grown, or unfolded, an enlarged conception of Liberty, which has energized its champions to acts of exalted heroism and sublime self-endurance, immortalizing a long catalog of heroes who have lived, suffered, and died for Liberty.
Look to-day in whichever direction you will, there is strife, ambition, aspiration, struggle, discontent, and disorder. The soul cries out from it’s enslavement of past ages for broader, higher, greater Liberty, for complete moral, physical, and political freedom, not only in its aspirations, but in its limitless capabilities of thought and power. In every direction the force which is to break down the barriers of the past is gathering.
The impending change is not superficial, but affects the very foundations of social and political systems. The German government sees the danger of cheap grain to its landed interests,— the effect of American prosperity. England’s ten thousand landlords think more of theft and opulence than they do of the property, independence, and happiness of five million Irishmen. Russia rejoices in exercising brute force against intelligence and skill. Lamartine has said: “It is the destiny of every government which outrages humanity to fall.” Watch, and await the issue! Which will win?
The growth of individual Liberty is encroaching on the domain of law. Law-books filled with new laws by the thousand may be made and multiplied by the million, and so may courts of justice (?), but the doom of both is sealed.
In the evolution of Liberty man’s old, barbaric, inefficient laws are driven back as effectually as steam drivers out hand-power. The principle which will prevail in the determination of law in the future will be the Preponderance of Right. Justice will be Justice, the unchanging, everlasting will to give each man his right. Precedent will lose its grip, and Reason be enthroned. Wealth which enthralls and powers which debases will give place to wealth which ennobles and power which subdues. Decisions will not then be made in conformity to a law which declares its authority to be above and independent of the people, but with the thought in mind that law is but an agent, a servant, and that the good of the people is first.
Mighty agencies are at work all about us. Chaos, disorder, call it what you will,— it means but one thing, Revolution! And then comes Liberty! the talismanic word is echoed from shore to shore throughout the world. For all ages the impress of freedom has been irrevocably stamped upon humanity from its birth. It is the star of hope which guides us onward and upward, never forsaking us while life lasts. It is the uncharted prerogative of humanhood. Deprived of freedom, man is not man. A soul fails to be a soul in proportion as it is lacking in intelligence and freedom. Liberty! the one great universal idea of every soul!
Easier were it
To hurl the rooted mountain from its base
Than force the yoke of slavery upon men
Determined to be free.
Above the din of conflict and the tread of war-horses of despotism is borne in clarion notes the cry for freedom. From the distant snow-clad hills of Russia we hear its echoes, coming as a wall of anguish from the chained gangs of Russian serfs toiling in Siberian mines. From the bogs of Ireland, from the homeless peasants of Italy, from the starving and suffering everywhere the same appeal goes up. All nature takes up the refrain, giving ever-swelling voice to the people’s cry for Liberty.
Mr. Babcock Once More.
Friend Tucker:— I am inclined to think that I did not see Mr. Babcock’s “first statement;” else I should not have misunderstood him. No matter,— I see the point now.
“Is the plough-lender entitled to pay for the use of the plough?”
Now then, understanding that said pay for the use of the plough means something for the privilege of its use over and above the just cost of the plough, I answer most emphatically, No!
“If not, why not?”
First, the sale of a privilege is the taking of some thing of value for no thing of value.
This truth does not appear at first glance, I grant; nevertheless, it is a truth.
All men may have hats, and all hat yet be valuable; but, if all men have the same privilege, that privilege is not a thing of value. You cannot sell it.
Again,— all honest trade implies an exchange of labor. Therefore, the plough-maker is entitled to full and just compensation for his labor, and nothing more.
The loaning of anything for an increase — increase without labor — is usury. And usury is the great source of avarice. The history, the philosophy, and the arithmetic of usury prove that its first cause is monopoly and its final cause robbery.
Lending money or goods for increase is impossible of perpetuity. The debts of the world can never be paid. The sale of privilege is the highwayman’s method of getting a living without work. You may change the form, but the same vile characteristics remain. The plough-maker may sell his plough in one trade or ten, but he shall take no advantage of the farmer’s necessity. The advantages of labor-saving tools belong to all men. That there is a profit or advantage in trade, I grant, but it belongs to no one nor to a class.
Under a condition of freedom — that is, a condition where free competition prevails — that profit will be distributed among all classes.
As thing are now, all advantages of trade, and also the advantages of improved machinery, go to the idle class,— the money-lenders, the land-renters, the plough-lenders, etc.
And the result is, as J. S. Mill puts it: more machinery, more profit, less wages; until the lenders have bought all the goods they want. The workers are destitute and cannot buy. So trade stops, the factories stop, and the would-be producers produce no more,— are out of work and compelled to take the streets as tramps. Is the picture correct? Does Mr. Babcock like it?
Yours for honest trade, goods for goods, labor for labor, but not one cent for privilege.
Colleges and universities where necessities in the middle ages in the absence of the printing press to diffuse ideas broadcast as the sun diffuses light. Now, however, it is not necessary to go to Harvard College in order to become intelligent in any language, art, science, or system of reflective thought. Harvard College is a resort of the sons of wealthy people,— speculators in mining stocks, railroad stocks, oil stocks, iron, wheat, hay, cotton, etc.,— of the songs of mill-owners, railroad managers, and manufacturing bosses. The final cause of Harvard college now seems to be boating and athletics. Its students are largely snobs, over-dressed, over-fed, over-wined, over-heered, over-theatred, and in the state of animalism and sensualism which a life of luxury and needless wealth means. A real student, who means business, can acquire a better literature, scientific, and philosophic education in a remote rural abode well stocked with books than he can at Harvard University. a university like Harvard is a case of atrophy, of useless survival. Ideas, thoughts, knowledge now sow the very winds, so that we almost inhale them with the very atmosphere. A college of university now is not only useless,— is, in the case of such centers of gifted youth and snobbish rowdyism as Harvard, positively pernicious. All our American colleges are run in the interest of defunct theologies and orthodoxies. To be a president of professor one must be a conformist to some list of articles or faith,— in other words, must have his brain locked and battened down under hatches, away from the light and air of current though, truth, and knowledge. The only college which New Hampshire has within its limits — vis., Dartmouth — is ran under the supervision of a sort of Calvinistic inquisitor, who hates science and modern thought, to use a vulgar illustration, worse than an elephant hates tobacco. An attempt was recently made to oust him by some New York friends and patrons of the college in the interest of the institution, but piety was victorious. This college, like the railroads of New Hampshire, is supported by the people of other States. Meantime, its theological incubus still broods over it, diffusing such a pungent odor of Calvinism that students are beginning to give it a wide berth. Before closing, let me say that one of the pleasures of European travel for a dweller in these parts is due to the fact that a foreign trip takes him beyond the sight, sound, and smell of Harvard College and the “Atlantic Monthly” with its editorial and contributional clique of literary confectioners and syllabub fictionists, who occasionally pose at the Brunswick Hotel as the Shahs and Grand Moguls of the American mind.
Congratulations from Europe.
Liberty is in receipt of the following hearty letters of congratulation, fro European co-workers, on the action of the Chicago socialistic-revolutionary congress:
Fellow Comrades:— The fact that we have just now for the first time received information of the holding of your Congress, which took place in Chicago, is the cause of this delayed communication on our part.
Our comrades in America have given evidence that they are conscious not only of their own unhappy class antagonisms and their causes,— the existing social institutions,— but also of the means and methods for the liberation of the enslaved proletariat.
They have further shown that they are determined to continue as formerly, with energy and zeal, in the only way toward liberation of the laboring classes which is possible to-day,— that of social revolution.
The refusal to participate in elections and the recommendation of armed organizations are clear signs of intelligent advance of our American comrades, to whom we hereby express our warmest sympathy and recognition.
The Congress held in Chicago indicates, moreover,a further mighty step forward in the labor movement in America: and, if our comrades there march bravely on in the direction which they have taken, the day of liberation from the yoke of capital, of social and political slavery, is for the working people no longer distant.
Hail to the Social Revolution!
In behalf of the Communistischen Arbeiter-Bildungs-Verein, 6 Rose Street, Soho Square.
London, W., England, November 28, 1881.
A Word to “Basis.”
My Dear Sir:— I cannot consider what you say, for you ignore about everything I say.
Your statements are superficial, and, as I see them, false. We must have facts for a basis. You talk of personal economy; I am consider public economy,— quite another thing.
I will give one statement of fact that proves about all you say to be other than correct.
In the State of Indiana, in one year, ending May, 1880, the farmers’ mortgage debts increases over fourteen millions of dollars.
Please consider this, and you will be forced to give up your primitive notions.
My dear sir, the sun does not go around the earth every twenty-four hours, although all primitive people think it does.
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.