“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.
Whatever is is natural; therefore, there can be nothing supernatural.
Wages is not slavery. Wages is a form of voluntary exchange, and voluntary exchange is a form of Liberty.
Henry Maret, the bravest and most consistent writer for the daily press of Paris, has started a daily journal of his own, called the “Radical.” Success to it.
Henry Ward Beecher says the great vices of politics are lying and whiskey. Judging by the Plymouth preacher, the great vices of religion are lying and “nest-hiding.”
How grand a motto that inscribed upon the banner under which MM. Lacroix and Revillon fought against Gambetta for his seat in the chamber of deputies: “By Liberty towards Justice!”
The trembling tyrant, Alexander III., immured in his winter palaces and Moscow fortresses, is beginning to realize the force of Danton’s remark before execution: “Better be a poor fisherman than meddle with the government of men.”
“The Church pronounces a thing right (or wrong); therefore it is right (or wrong),” says the religious fanatic. “The State pronounces a thing wrong (or right); therefore it is wrong (or right),” says the political fanatic. Both agree in condemning as a blasphemer and enemy of order the atheist and anarchist who trusts in growing human reason and experience as the sole, though fallible, criteria of morality.
With that reformatory movement which calls for the abolition of the presidency and the senate we have no sympathy. German in its origin, we believe, it is at all events German in character. Its realization would be a long step in the centralization and strengthening of power. If there must be power, let us divide it; if there must be State, let us cripple it all we can. The agencies of tyranny often obstruct one another. Until Liberty induces the people to abolish the house of representatives, let the president and the senate be retained to keep it in check.
David Dudley Field, in the International Law Congress, offers a resolution that assassination of royal robbers and murderers shall not be included in political crimes, and that nations shall refuse asylum to those guilty of it; and it is passed by acclamation. A guilty conscience makes cowards of our national thieves. The Field family may well tremble in fear of that day when the swindled toilers shall have nothing more — not even a vote — of which to be robbed. Mr. Field, the Working-People’s International Association will have something to say, authoritatively, about the comity of nations. It may reverse your decision, and where will your band of brothers be then? One Field upon the supreme bench to promulgate decisions formulated by another Field at the bar in the interest of still a third Field in copartnership with the Republican swindlers who compose the rings and control the monopolies, is a very nice little family arrangement, certainly; but, when the great human family once fathoms the secret of its operation, the secret of its operation, the lesser will be speedily subordinated to the greater, and may thank its stars if it be not utterly crushed by the fall.
The shortest way to change a radical into a conservative, a liberal into a tyrant, a man into a beast, is to give him power over his fellows. Witness the recent vote in the British Commons on the abolition of the death penalty. Under the administration of the Tories every member of the present ministry voted against the gallows. Under Gladstone’s rule John Bright alone remains true to his record; while Sir William Harcourt, whose name stands on the list of previous years in antagonism to capital punishment, went so far as to speak in its favor. Such is the effect of a little brief authority.
Our memory recalls no “give-away” so delightfully innocent as that of the Catholic bishop of Ohio, who, in a recent proclamation ordering a certain number of prayers per day in his diocese, for the recovery of President Garfield, gravely added that, “in case of the president’s death, the prayers should be continued during the week following that event, for the welfare of the country.” That it is to say, having prayed the president to death, his priests must next try to pray the country to death. It is impossible to caricature the Christian system, there being a point beyond which absurdity cannot go.
“There will be no perfect government until men grow from the one-man idea to the all-men idea,” says that ablest of Greenback papers, the “Chicago Express.” Precisely so; because, the best government being that which governs least, the perfection of government is none at all, a result involved in the all-men idea. But Republicans, Democrats, Prohibitionists, Greenbackers, Socialists, Eight-Hour men, and all governmental schools of reformers seem as yet to have got no further than the majority-of-men idea. The Woman-Suffragists, it is true, do a trifle better in standing for the majority-of-men-and-women idea; but up to the present time Liberty and the Anarchists possess a monopoly of the all-men, or better, all-people idea. Possess, we were careful to say; not enjoy: for, being in this, as in all things, anti-monopolists, we should be only too glad to see it diffused throughout the world, to the achievement of which end we are doing our level best.
Europe is becoming thickly dotted with Anarchistic newspapers. Besides the appearance of the clandestine sheet, “Der Kampf,” referred to by our foreign correspondent in another column, an announcement is made of a new Italian journal, “L’Insurrezione,” to be published weekly in London by the well-known Italian revolutionist, Enrico Malatesta, Carlo Cafiero, and Vito Solieri. While holding communism in anarchy as the social ideal and the free action of the natural laws of man and society as the scientific method of its attainment, it looks upon the State as the supreme obstacle in the way of the application of this method, and therefore regards Insurrection (its name) as the first of duties. It will undoubtedly render valuable aid to the revolutionary cause, and every one who reads Italian should forward $1.60, plus foreign postage, for a year’s subscription, to Vito Solieri, 8 Windmill Street, Tottenham Court Road, London, W, England.
“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.
Land and Liberty
Within the past two years the above heading probably has decorated every public bulletin-board in this country and Great Britain. Yet probably it owes its prominence to the mere accidental alliteration, and has no rational significance to the average mind.
What has land to do with liberty, or liberty with land? Certainly, if political liberty is meant, the Land Leaguers are strangely adrift, for in the very country to-day where savage despotism reigns and liberty is almost unknown, the people possess, occupy, and enjoy the soil with a liberality equalled by no other, while in that country said to have the most liberal, popular, and truly representative constitution on earth, the people are practically cut-off from free and equitable enjoyment of the soil. Russia is as far ahead of Great Britain in the matter of popular enjoyment of the land as Great Britain is in advance of Russia in the matter of political liberty. Again, in Switzerland and the United States, both republics, we find in the former a most liberal and equitable distribution of the land, while in the latter land monopoly is scarcely less formidable, and vastly more threatening for the future, than in Great Britain.
The sense in which our friends are prompted to associate land with liberty probably arises from the very natural feeling that, were the land more widely distributed, the rent-tax now levied upon the mass of farmers in Ireland would be lifted from their shoulders, and they would attain to greater liberty in the sense that any other animal acquires greater liberty through a lessening or removal of its load. A very elementary idea of liberty this, but logical as far as it goes.
But since the rent-tax is only one form of profit-theft, why land and liberty any more than every other article of commerce, and liberty? For it is by no means certain that land-monopoly is the chief source of profit-theft. It is the original (temporal) source, and a very good basis upon which to attack profit-theft; but it is, after all, only one source. Behind the wide range of profit-plunder lies the concrete embodiment of the whole iniquity — usury.
The problem, then, upon closer analysis, reduces itself to this affirmation: Destroy usury, and you attain liberty. That greatest of all powers for good now working on this planet for the emancipation of oppressed humanity, the “Irish World,” has got so far with the problem. “Usury is theft!” it cries out to 100,000 profit-ridden slaves every week, and it means by usury every species of something-for-nothing tribute, whether it be in the form of rent, interest, or ordinary profits in the realm of trade.
But the “Irish World,” glorious as is its work and mission, has yet one more stage in the problem to conquer. Who is responsible for usury? Who sustains it? Who backs it with artillery? Usury, left to its merits as a voluntary social arrangement, not stand for a day. As Patrick Ford well knows, the insignificant banditti known as landlords, who enslave Ireland, would run for their lives, or sink to their knees like cars whining for mercy, were not a police force of 100,000 men kept at their backs against the protest of 5,000,000 people.
The State, then, is the author and defender of usury, as it to-day holds its murderous grasp at the throat of Ireland. And who is the State? The landlords, as the “Irish World” has reiterated a hundred times. Why, then, not abolish the State, and get down to the hard-pan of the whole problem?
Ah! but here we touch delicate ground. The “Irish World” will never reach that third and last stage of the problem of liberty. It is with a feeling of deep regret that we now indulge in a little plain talk, but duty will not permit us to talk otherwise, if we talk at all, and silence would be a crime against liberty. The moment the “Irish World” attacks the State, it attacks the pope, the bishops, the priests, and the whole tribe of spiritual usurers, who knew their art well before the first temporal landlord was born.
Spiritual usurers! Yea, these are tho worst abominations in the whole series. “The monopolizing of natural wealth,” cries the “Irish World,” “is the bottom crime!” But we have natural wealth spiritual and natural wealth temporal. We have landlords spiritual and landlords temporal. Yea, and the landlords spiritual are the creators, abettors, supporters, and defenders of the landlords temporal. The very Christian God to whom the “Irish World” appeals every week is the Father of usury, and his agents, the ecclesiastics, from the pope down to the pettiest priest who demands an admission-fee at the church-door for the supposed benefit of enjoying the sacraments, are spiritual landlords’ bailiffs. These so-called sacraments — what are they but spiritual natural wealth monopolized by these mitred and surpliced thieves, and rented out for profit? If there is any power for good in this world that it pains us to criticise, it is Patrick Ford’s great “Industrial Liberator.” But a more pitiable plight never fell to the lot of a beneficent organ of light and truth. It has reached the second stage of solution in the problem of liberty, but can never get any further so long as it remains the “Irish World” with that phallic symbol, the cross, at the top.
The State is the immediate supporter and defender of usury. Behind the civil state is the spiritual state. Both have one common cause, the enslavement of the masses. Behind the whole is God, the author and finisher of usury and every other enslaving device that paves the way for man’s inhumanity to man. Liberty aims to abolish them all, and all superstitious reverence for their unholy offices. Liberty alone has mastered the third stage of the problem of emancipation, and proposes to stand upon the logic of it without fear or favor. Come with us, good friends, and then you will not only know what “Land and Liberty” means, but, in solving the whole problem of liberty, all those other good things will be added unto you.
A B-B-ird with W-W-W-One F-Feather.
Whether due to the appearance of Liberty, or to some other cause, certain it is that, for some reason or other, a tremendous hubbub has been kicked up in the columns of the “Free Religious Index” regarding the different varieties of Liberalism. The last number fairly swarms with frantic attempts at their classification. Its essayist of the week, Mr. Charles Ellis, analyzes them; its estimable editor pro tem., Mr. B. F. Underwood, “differentiates” them; his equally estimable wife, Sara, discriminates between them; and last, though not least, Mr. H. Clay Neville of Missouri, who is an old hand at the game, reconstructs for the hundredth time his familiar but distinctive categories. As a result we find ourselves neatly divided off into convenient compartments, each with its appropriate label; and very nice labels some of them are. Had we found them in the pages of the “Congregationalist,” we certainly should have expected to see Joseph Cook’s signature beneath them. Beginning with “anarchists” (which is not offensive unless applied with a sneer), the list goes on through “vagarists,” “iconoclasts,” “stench-hunters,” “superficial and erratic persons with crotchets in their heads,” “blind and foolish fanatics,” “pirates upon the open sea of society,” “dissonant hooters,” “radical yawpers,” “breeders of communism, free-love, and cancerous curses,” and “libertines,” till finally, after taking in “villains, thieves, prostitutes, liars, and murderers,” it lumps all other Liberals than those of the “Index” school together under the general head of “the whole crew of social fiendism.” The upshot of which is that Messrs Ellis, Underwood, et al., have decided that they know it all, and, so deciding, have resolved upon their attitude toward other Liberals and Liberalism, namely, to “come out from among them, and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing.” Such conduct as this on the part of the “Free Religious Index” entirely upsets the theory of association held by Lord Dundreary, which that unappreciated philosopher was wont to elaborate in the following unique fashion: “They say that b-b-b-birds of a f-f-feather f-flock tog-g-g-gether. Now, w-w-what d-damned nonsense that is! Th-th-think of a h-h-whole lot of birds w-w-with only w-w-w-one feather. Only w-w-one of those birds c-c-c-could have that feather, and h-h-h-he’d f-fly all on w-w-one side. Besides, n-no bird would be such a d-d-damned fool as to g-g-go off in a c-corner and f-f-flock all by himself.” A great mistake, m’lud and philosopher! There are just such birds. And one of them, with its sorry and solitary feather of “Free Religion” feebly flapping in the breeze of Liberty, is flocking all by itself at No. 3 Tremont Place, Boston.
Shall We Tease Our Big Papa?
Before these lines are read, President Garfield possibly will die; but, though written while his life is hanging in the balance, their lesson will in no case be impertinent, and may not be lost. From this preliminary remark we proceed to say that, if our contemporaries think prayer for the recovery of the president will influence heavenly powers, we trust they will make them; but we should be more impressed were they to act squarely in the full consistency of their faith. Yet, of all the secular editorials that have fallen under our notice, not one has so much as given a hint of an expectation that the slightest notice will be taken of the universal church’s praying by the supposed being to whom the prayer is addressed. On the contrary, we are as good as given to understand that it is not the god, but the president, whose mind is to be influenced. In other words, our editorial brothers do not calculate on moving the Christian God, but think the president will be greatly cheered and benefited. Let the always pious Boston “Advertiser” bear witness. After approving of the proposed day of prayer, it simply adds: “It will be an unspeakable consolation to the president and his family, and help to support them through whatever trial may be in store for them.” We hope this may prove to be true; but, all the same, we are called upon, in the larger interest of fact and of truth, to press the circumstance into their service. How, then, does the case stand? Several questions rush forward to be answered. Two are sufficient for our present use.
Will the consolation of the patient sufferer at the White House be found in the knowledge that the god of heaven has been petitioned to come to his aid, or in the feeling that it is his countrymen who have been thus solicitous in his behalf? Or, will both considerations have their influence upon him? Our own view of the universe does not admit of what we must call such a besieging of divine will. God, if he exists at all, is not a being to be moved by human beseeching. To suppose that we are never effectually and tenderly cared for except when the god is aroused to special action by our supplications, is to suppose so ill of the god that we do ourselves, as we do the god, the grossest injustice. It is an injustice to the god to suppose that he sits unheedful, uncaring, awaiting united prayers; and it is an injustice to our own capacity for good tease and right behavior to forget, like little children in their impatience, so simple and reasonable a proposition as this — that, if there be a god, he can never need our besieging as a preliminary step to the doing of his duty. The old Bible text, “Wait on the Lord, and be still,” is quite to our mind, if we may take the last two words to mean, “Be still; do not tease, worry, or pray.” And we should venture to hope that it is this view of the case that the president is disposed to take, but for the reflection that it would involve a keen regret on his part that his countrymen do not all share the same high thought. And especially if it be true, as the “Advertiser” has asserted, that he will derive “unspeakable consolation” from the prayers of the churches, do we restrain the hope that he has lost this popular superstition concerning prayer, as our editorial brethren appear to have done; for, in this hour, we look for a genuine foundation to all the president’s hopes. If he is consoled by these offered prayers, we trust it will not be merely because his countrymen have offered them, but quite as certainly because he honestly believes the god is in need of them. What we seek is the truth, the fact; and meantime, before these blessings shall cover the earth as the waters the sea, we ask for consistency, for intellectual integrity, for sincerity.
Two Kinds of Communism.
We do not believe in communism in the economic sense of the word. To us it seems, for many reasons, an impossible and undesirable form of society. Proudhon described it accurately as well as epigrammatically when he called it the “religion of poverty.” But it is not our special business to antagonize the voluntary communism vigorously pictured by W. H. Riley in another column. He, and those of his friends who agree with him, may attempt any associative experiment they please; Liberty will look on with interest and report results.
It is compulsory communism of the Bismarckian stamp that we combat. It is the needle-gun socialism of Ferdinand Lassalle that we oppose. Statecraft is our enemy, whether it be that advocated by Jay Gould in the New York “Tribune,” or that advocated by our good friend, W. G. H. Smart, in a note printed elsewhere in this journal, — a note, by the way, so good-humored, so straightforward, so utterly void of the circumlocution too frequently characteristic of Mr. Smart’s newspaper articles, that we publish it with great pleasure. Space is lacking to meet his points now. Nevertheless, one misapprehension should be corrected immediately. We do not believe that any one can “stand alone.” We do wish “social ties and guarantees.” We wish all there are. We believe in human solidarity. We believe that the members of society are interdependent. We would preserve these interdependencies untrammelled and inviolate. But we have faith in the sufficiency of natural forces. Motives and good impulses aside, we have no sort of sympathy with these multitudinous groups of so-called socialists, of all colors, stripes, and propensities, with each its little scheme for bursting the bonds by which nature unites us and tying men and women together anew with artificial chains. None of them, whatever they may claim, believe in the unity of the race. All its members, in their opinion, need to be cemented into unity, and for this purpose each has his patent glue. They wish a manufactured solidarity; we are satisfied with the solidarity inherent in the universe. When Mr. Smart has whipped the Universe, “body, soul, and breeches,” Liberty too will throw up the sponge.
Pity, but not Praise.
Under ordinary circumstances a man’s dying hours are no time to recall his errors. But the extravagant language used by press and people, especially the Democratic press and people, in connection with President Garfield’s present danger, may excuse now what otherwise would be out of place. As to the act committed by Guiteau all sensible men agree. Nothing but its insanity saved it from being dastardly, bloodthirsty, and thoroughly devilish, without reason, proper motive, or excuse. No man regrets it more than we do, and no one would condemn it more strongly than we, had it been the work of a responsible mind. For the Guiteau style of assassination we have no apology. But how about the victim? Does the fact that a man has been shot change his moral character? One year ago four-fifths of the Democrats and no small percentage of the Republicans (journals and citizens alike) believed General Garfield to be a bribed man and a perjurer, and publicly branded him as such. Now nearly all who made those charges vie with the most ardent of his admirers in ascribing to him all the virtues in the calendar raised to their highest power. What has happened within twelve months to alter General Garfield’s moral status? A few more people have voted for him for the office of the presidency than voted for his competitor, and he has been shot by a crazy man. Will any one soberly maintain that these facts are sufficient, not only to erase the memory of crime, but to lift the man guilty of it to a moral height rarely reached by the most stainless of his fellows? For ourselves we believed the gravest of the charges against the president from the first, and the fact that we sincerely hope for his recovery does not lighten the weight of the evidence that supported them; though we would not reassert them now, did not others retract them without reason.
And why this universal lamentation? The death of General Garfield before his nomination for the presidency would have caused no greater agitation of the nation’s heart than would the death of Senator Edmunds or Senator Davis to-day. And yet whatever gratitude he is entitled to from his countrymen he earned before that event. The fact is that the people do not mourn for the man. A spirit of flunkyism still pervades the masses, and only the insignia of office call forth this inordinate sorrow and extravagant expression of grief. Let there be sympathy for the sufferer; let the desire for his recovery be that which every person with a heart would naturally feel; but let there be no bowing before his official station merely for its sake, and, above all, let none who have bitterly denounced him in the past condemn, by eulogy to-day, their previous utterances as insincere and their utterances of the future as unworthy of the slightest confidence.
The Boston “Advertiser,” relict, continues in deep mourning for her long-lost love, the whipping-post. Time cannot assuage her grief nor dry her tears. Sweet are the memories of her halcyon days, — the agonizing shrieks of denuded women in the marketplace, the hissing lash that stained their fair, white skin with blood. The leopard may change his spots, but his thirst for blood is insatiable. The wrinkled dame, to solace her declining days, would have us re-adorn our public squares, now graced with such mementos of man’s growing sense of Liberty and love as the emancipation group, with the antique, chaste, and Christian whipping-post. But really we couldn’t, you know. Liberty has too great a regard for the grandam’s weak backbone to subject it to such a risk, seeing that those Socialists who are not Anarchists may yet get possession of the government and interpret freedom of the press for themselves, as the masters of the “Advertiser” now interpret it to suit their purposes. It is upon vandals such as mutilate the sentient plants in the Public Garden that she would use the lash, though horrified when crowned usurpers and assassins are hoist with their own petard. We suspect that the old lady would emigrate to St. Petersburg, chief city of the land of the knout, except for the danger of having to face the dreaded alternative of Siberia or dynamite.
The Springfield “Republican” is nothing, if not inaccurate. A few weeks ago it announced Dr. Nathan-Ganz as still in jail, and not many days later it crammed three lies into three lines by describing the editor of Liberty as a resident of Princeton and editor of the “Word,” calling the latter a “recently-deceased journal.” Now, the facts about these matters are that Dr. Nathan-Ganz, in the absence of evidence against him, was discharged five months ago; that the editor of Liberty left Princeton five years ago; that he is not editor of the “Word;” and that the “Word” still lives. And yet the “Republican” prides itself on being a news paper. Perhaps it gets all its news now from that pseudo-nihilist, John Baker, who supplies its columns with irregular instalments of lies about the Russian revolution and revolutionists.
An omnipresent person necessarily would be shapeless and inert.
Communism versus Commercialism.
The only society in which the rights of individuals will be respected will be a communistic society, in which the partnership will always be voluntary. Where the right to secede is not recognized — in a family, a state, or a federation of states — there exists subjection, slavery.
All the frenzied babble about the rights of majorities to govern other than themselves must cease. Between kingcraft and communism there is no logical or permanent abiding-place. The rights of all individuals must be recognized as equal, or, sooner or later, we must submit to the “divine rights of kings” — supreme thieves.
Already, in these States, we have an upper ten and an upper ten thousand — virtually ten kings and ten thousand peers of the realm — whose wealth is stolen from the people by the vilest monopolies, usurpations, usuries; and this devilish aristocracy is not despised, but admired. To-day this aristocracy is more powerful and vicious than that of Britain, and the vox populi is now really less effective in the United States than it is in the United Kingdom.
Commercialism is organized discord. Communism is organized harmony. Commercialism is compulsory conflict. Communism is voluntary concert. WM. Harrison Riley.
A Welcome and a Warning.
Dear Mr. Tucker,— I am very much obliged for Liberty. I can give it no higher praise than to say that it is as good as, and no better than, I expected from you. Barring the doctrines it teaches,— some of them,— I have not a criticism to make nor an improvement to suggest. The “heading” — a point about which I claim to be a judge — is striking and artistic, and you are quite right in calling it “a real work of art.” I am glad you have chosen the word “Liberty” — with every letter standing alone — for your title; it is decidedly suggestive of “individual sovereignty.” By the way, one criticism: why have you connected the letters of the word at the head of the second page? You ought not to be inconsistent. You believe that every man — and woman too — can stand alone, and that he or she ought to be let to stand alone. You don’t want any social ties or guarantees. Though I should think that the very pronouns “he” and “she” ought to convince you that the two sexes cannot stand alone. And if the two sexes cannot be independent of each other, much less can they, individually or collectively, be independent of that large entity we call “society.”
I welcome your paper with congratulation and sincerity. At last we have a frank, honest, outspoken, and aggressive advocate of egoistic liberty. Now we shall know what “An-archism” (with or without the hyphen, and in the truest sense of the word) means. You have thrown down your gauntlet in the face of society, including Mrs. Grundy and Mr. Grundy and all the little Grundys. And you have thrown it down especially in the face of the Socialists. That is good. We shall not be slown in taking it up. Socialists of all kinds — and you know there are many kinds — will go for you. They will neither ask nor give quarter. It is true, we have a common enemy. Our great battle is not with each other, but with the gross tyranny called — falsely — “society” to-day. But I recognize that we have to whip you, “body, soul, and breeches,” before we shall be fairly ready to show an unbroken front to our and your more powerful enemy.
In your first number you have defined the State. You have made of it the great Tyrant. We will show you the State in another aspect. We will convince you that a part is not greater than the whole. We will show you an individual that is composed of all individuals; an individual that is indivisible, immortal, and supreme.
But I must stop. You have hoisted the banner of Egoistic Liberty. You spell the word with disconnected letters. It means An-archy.
We will meet you with the flag of “Freedom,” and we will write the word with a running hand. It will be Social Freedom — Society.
W. G. H. Smart.
Mattapan, Mass., Aug. 9, 1881.
A pious lady of Providence, who had been a long sufferer from asthma, and had been taking faith as a remedy and calling upon divine aid as a sure cure, lately became discouraged, and sent for a physician. His remedies soon afforded relief, and one day, after a season of thought, as he was about to go, she exclaimed:
“Doctor, I have been calling on God for fifteen years. Finding no relief from that source, and concluding that he either did not mean to help me, or else was getting old and hard of hearing, I called on you. You have helped me, and in the future I shall bet on you every time”
“Ah, madam,” responded the doctor, “you labor under a misapprehension. God has become a homoeopath, and of late years answers no allopathic calls.”
“Hurrah!” shouted the happy lady, as the doctor closed the door; “even God himself begins to quicken under the impulses of modern progress. There is yet hope for afflicted humanity.”
Names are indeed but smoke that hide the glow
Of heaven, the poisonous breath of ages flown,
When neither earth nor heaven were truly known
And roof’d fond man a godful sky-arch low.
Though that in gone, dull bigots still repeat
The empty formulas of creeds outworn,
As if to fixed ideas the race was born
And Dulness o’er us held perpetual seat.
Blow, breath of Reason, with a cyclone’s might,
And sweep the rubbish of the past away!
While earthwide flashes thy meridian day,
Purging of every tribe the mental sight,
Cumber the earth too long a Church and State
Which own no ties with things of current date.
Our European Letter.
[From Liberty’s Special Correspondent.]
Rotterdam, Holland, August 20. — How they turn and twist! How they try to laugh and ridicule in order to lissimulate their fright, whistling, like boy in a dark room, to keep up their courage, our good bourgeois souls!
In spite of all their noisy contempt, — too noisy to be sincere, — our Congress must have given them a very serious bellyache, for they trumpet through all their newspapers that “the English government is now making earnest inquiries about the numbers and names of the delegates to the late Revolutionary Congress, in order to commence a prosecution against them.” Well, up to to-day, the Dutch have never hanged any one before catching him; neither, I suppose, have the English.
The reconstitution of the “International” was, at all events, a splendid stroke. New sections and groups are sending in their adhesions with astonishing rapidity. We expect that the United States, so ably represented at the Congress, will soon show that the hopes now inspiring the whole proletarian world anew with confidence and courage find a hearty echo within their borders. I submit to you the idea of an American Congress for the constitution of a national organization on the basis of, and in harmony with, the ideas of the “International.” I consider this of vital importance and of little difficulty, the more so, as you have now in “Liberty” a new organ at your disposition.
By the way, curious news comes by cable over the big pond from your “free country.” Hartmann — misting? Vanishing before the brawling of a few stupid five-cents-a-columners? Indeed, I rated his courage higher; for, without doubt, there was and is no danger that the United States would deliver a political refugee over to Russia. And even should its government be so hypocritical, so infamous, so base, there is still something be- sides the government, namely, the people, who would never allow the perpetration of so monstrous a villany. Hartmann, by this inconsiderate act, made himself ridiculous, a very bad sequel to the seven columns of “revelations” in the “New York Herald,” which were not altogether to the taste of his friends in Europe. When the cruel and heartless war of European governments forces us to these inevitable and only means of resistance, we use them, considering them as a sacred right; but we use them always with a deep regret that they are the only ones, and never try to achieve notoriety for courage or intrepidity by telling our story to urbi et orbi.
Germany and France are now in full electoral limitation. A curious phenomenon in the former country is the fact that, for the first time, the elections will have a purely economical background, and that the old political parties are decomposing to make room for a new, economical organization. The formation of an anti-Semitic party is based on reasons purely economical. The agitation is not directed against the Jewish religion, that having nothing to do with it. This stratagem, low and vile as it is, was one of Bismarck’s master-strokes. The masses are always fond of seeking the cause of their misery in a positive being, in a visible, existing person, instead of in the system of exploitation itself. The misery and poverty which in some German provinces, by the ridiculous and disastrous financial schemes of Bismarck, have reached their highest point, must now find an object against which to direct their growing dissatisfaction. If they should find out the real cause, the State would be lost; therefore it must be the Jews. The Social Democrats, who, in the late parliament, had thirteen seats, will get this time only three or four, at the utmost, five. Some of their constituents have gone to the Progressist and liberal bourgeois party, but the larger part, appreciating at last the delusion of suffrage, will abstain from voting, and intend to store up their election tickets to serve at the proper time — which they await none too patiently — as wadding for their rifles.
I am able to give you the first announcement of an important piece of news. When you receive this letter, the first number of the clandestine German periodical, “Der Kampf” (The Fight), printed in Germany itself on the secret press of the Executive Committee, will have appeared. This is the first step in the line of the new tactics, political and economical terrorism, — the first sign of the life of a new clement in German socialistic agitation, to be soon followed by a series of acts.
The high court of Berlin gave its decision this week in the famous “high treason” process against forty-four of our friends. About thirty were discharged after nine months of detention, some were sent down to lower courts, and eleven are spared for the final trial in October. There is another process for high treason against fourteen persons, the result of which wilt be awaited by them with all tranquillity of soul, for they had the impoliteness not to accept the invitation of the Prussian government to appear, preferring to remain at London and Paris. Bismarck’s satisfaction will therefore be most platonic in its nature.
The Mistake of American Socialists.
A correspondent writing from this country to “Le Revolte,” explains in a few words the true cause of the very slow progress of socialism in the United States. He says:
Socialistic propagandism in the United States is more difficult than elsewhere because of the extreme variety of nationalities composing the working class, each nationality coming here imbued with different aspirations, different culture, and wholly different social conceptions. In spite of this the labor movement is developing with considerable rapidity in the United States. Unfortunately it still allows itself to be directed by the so-called “Socialistic Party,” which accustoms the workers to content themselves with the trifles which the well-fed are pleased to throw them from time to time, so that when a revolutionist ventures to demand all rights in their fullness, they get as scared as the devil.
Compliments from Liberty’s Friends.
Yours is the best first number that I have ever seen. — James Parton.
Such an instance of multum in purvo in journalism I have never seen before. I read it all through, and have returned to it occasionally, as one takes a sip of ginger tonic. Intensity of conviction and conciseness and audacity of statement meet in it. — B. W. Ball.
The principles which Liberty advocates will do much to make society better. — New Bedford News.
Liberty is a twelve-column journal containing a great amount of radical news and excellent editorials on progressive themes. — Fall River Herald.
The first number is bright and snappy, abounding in clever hits and appropriate selections — Boston Globe.
It announces that it “will be edited to suit its editor, not its readers,” and we have not the least doubt that this is precisely true. “Down with Authority” is the “war cry” of the journal, and this theory it steadfastly and strongly maintains. Those who have no sympathy with its views will enjoy the sharp, incisive manner in which they are presented. — New Bedford Mercury.
Liberty is one of the grandest words in the language, and of course it is a grand name for a paper, a radical or liberal one, we mean, such as Mr. Benj. R. Tucker’s Liberty. . . . . As Mr. Tucker has ability and industry, radicalism and independence, he will make an interesting and suggestive paper. — Boston Investigator.
We are not one of those who would have Liberty speak by the assassin’s bullet or the thunder of bombs tossed at individuals. But this we will say, that Liberty has the most beautiful exposition in the typography of its heading that we have seen for many a day. — Washington National View.
Here comes another paper. Its name is Liberty and its birthplace is Boston. Of all the bold little sheets that reach our table, Liberty is the boldest and most daring. May Liberty never die. — Indianapolis Sun.
Liberty is intelligent and vigorous, has opinions, character, and will command attention from its first issue; a bright, smart, timely journal, which live people will find it unsafe not to subscribe for. — Princeton Word.
It is outspoken on all social questions, and affords spicy reading to those who are not troubled with orthodoxy. — Nebraska City Press.
A very newsy sheet. — Galena Industrial Press.
It is ably edited and neatly printed, and looks as though it had come to stay. — Brooklyn Blade.
“Who is the Somebody?” from Liberty, is far the most able article we have seen in reply to the inquiry put forth by “Truth.” — Worcester Republic.
More Liberty! I thought I had all I wanted, but your supply finds an unexpected demand. Many journals, new and old, are sent to me at this office, but yours is the only one I have read through from end to end. Couldn’t find any good place — no, I mean bad place — to let go. Your blazoning the demands and conditions of Liberty thus on paper must go far toward securing the real article for all the people in their daily lives. — T. C. Lelund, Sectary of the National Liberal League.
All hail to Liberty! “Not the daughter, but the mother of order.” That is the key-note of the new revolution. — E. C. Walker, Secretary of the Iowa State Liberal League.
Liberty, a new paper in the interest of any except existing interests, and edited on the principle that “whatever is is wrong,” has just appeared. . . . . For a thorough-going Nihilistic-Socialistic-Democratic sheet, Liberty takes first rank. Its editor, Mr. B. R. Tucker, has an advantage over many of his own way of thinking. He knows what he dislikes, and if the sheet is edited in a manner to shock conservative and pious people, it will at least be edited with brains and rare skill in the presentation of alleged facts. Extra-radical radios will find the sheet interesting; the pious and conservative folks will also find it of interest to read, on the same principle that Rowland Hill read play-bills — that “it is necessary to know what the devil is doing.” Mr. Tucker is a disciple of Proudhon, whose famous memoir, “What is Property?” he has “done” into good English — the only translation, at least this side of the Atlantic, of this remarkable work, the cardinal principle of which is that “Property is Robbery.” . . . . In the present state of public feeling, it required a little pluck to publish a sheet which finds less fault with regicide than tyranny, and reserves scruples of compassion for the oppressed rather than the oppressor. But Mr. Tucker has the courage of his opinions, and those good people who are ready to see the cloven foot in this remarkable sheet will, like the poet Coleridge, be compelled to “admire the devil’s evident talents.” — *Boston Correspondent of the Fall River Advance.
Kicks and Cuffs from Liberty’s Foes.
We do not know who supplies the reading matter, but if any one man does it all, he must be the embodiment of Philips, Ingersoll, Denis Kearney, Leo Hartmann, Joaquin Miller, and a great many other one-idea men, who amuse and vex the world. — Lowell Times.
There comes to this office the first number of a paper the proper title of which would be “Universal Anarchy,” though it bears a more respectable name. It denounces government. It lauds assassination. Its creed seems to be, No God, no law, no restraint. — Boston Watchman.
Liberty, a little fortnightly “organ” of the American admirers of Nihilism and Bob Ingersoll, makes its appearance in Boston, Benjamin R. Tucker, editor and publisher, who announces that he doesn’t write to please his readers, but himself, and, if they don’t like it, they can let it alone. No. 1 contains praises of Leo Hartmann (the Russian nihilist, now in America), Most, Ingersoll, Voltaire, Judge Hoar of Massachusetts, et als.; has a portrait of Sophie Perovskaya, “liberty’s martyred heroine, hanged April 15, 1881, for helping to rid the world of a tyrant,” and an alleged poem in praise of her, and written by Joaquin Miller, as arrant a fraud and humbug as “Citizen George Francis Train,” of whom some mention is also made. — Hartford Times.
Boston is blessed with a new paper which calls itself “Liberty,” and which one Benjamin R. Tucker edits. — Boston Herald.
The trinity it worships is Guiteau, Hartmann, and Sophie Perovskaya. — New Haven Register.
What but anarchy can be expected of a cause which boasts of such champions? — Philadelphia News.
A new paper with the somewhat suspicious title of “Liberty,” has been launched upon the uncertain sea of journalism. Its editor and publisher is Mr. B. R. Tucker, formerly editor of a more pretentious and much better publication, the “Radical Review.” When we see a man, and especially a young man, starting out with an honest purpose in an enterprise of this kind, it pains us to be unable to give him and it our approval and encouragement. But in the present instance we can give the new candidate for public favor no cordiality of greeting. We have respect for the editor’s sincerity; that as much as we can say in commendation of the work he has undertaken. Not only is his paper not needed here, but it is worse than superfluous in any civilized community. The tendency of its doctrines is pernicious, and its influence, if it has any, is dangerous. Its name is a mockery of the thing. Its teaching is opposed to the necessary restraints of authority, and, that Rubicon passed so early, the end is chaos. Its contempt for religious institutions is in natural harmony with its opposition to social order. We trust folly has not obtained hold enough upon the people of Boston to give this paper even a sickly support. We certainly should not have taken so much space to speak of it, had we not hoped and thought that the editor was better than his work. We trust the latter will die speedily and that the former will live and learn better. — Boston Post.
Liberty is merely another little pimple on the skin of a social state temporarily made unhealthy by an overdone of foreigners. As soon as it has discharged the pus — “laudable” or otherwise — that is in it, this redness (and Mr. Tucker) will subside, and the church and the State will go on as before — only bettered, in so far as the common air will have been somewhat purified by the operation. — Boston Congregationalist.
It is safe to wager that the only thing it will succeed in destroying is its publisher’s bank account. — Norristown Herald.
From progressive Boston comes the last foul birth of disordered thought. On August 6 there was published the first number of Liberty, a paper which might well be printed with the carmine which distinguishes the credentials of the committee of assassination. Parsing over the indecency and ostentatious impiety which embellish its pages, it is enough to remark that there is now published in the United States a paper which, however insignificant, has for its object the extinction of all rule, whether of “pope, king, or czar,” “priest, president, or parliament;” and which justifies, as means to this end, the dagger, the bullet, and the bomb. This is bringing one side of nihilism very near home to us indeed — St. Paul Pioneer-Press.
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.