Vol. X.
<No. 3.


“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.”

John Hay.

On Picket Duty.

Jones wore an old hat which Smith thought looked disreputable. In order to make him dress better, Smith stole Jones’s hat. This is the essence of government.

The speakers at the Prohibitionists’ annual convention at Prohibition Park can’t understand how it is that the four million voting church members do not prevail against the few hundred thousand voters directly or indirectly interested in the liquor trade. The explanation is very simple: the four million voters are fond of a drink and don’t propose to deny themselves the pleasure. To be sure, the drinking of liquor is against their creeds, but who is innocent enough to suppose that they take their creeds seriously?

The English conservatives are depressed, and the Liberals full of confidence and enthusiasm. It is conceded on all hands that, were a general election ordered now, the Liberals would be returned to power. Only a few weeks ago it was generally believed that there was no chance of Liberal success, and that the Conservatives were masters of the situation. What has happened since then to work such a great change in public opinion and feeling? Ah, Ladas has appeared on the scene! And who is Ladas? A great statesman or orator or organizer? So the traveller from Altruria might think; but we know better. Ladas is a colt. At first sight it seems strange that a colt should determine the fate of great political parties, but a little reflection removes the element of surprise. The colt has won the Derby race, and the voters are mostly asses.

“What all this currency agitation is bringing out clearly,” says the New York “Evening Post,” “is that in a democracy there is no safety for business or for contracts if government has anything to do with currency but to stamp and weigh it. The power of making things legal tender, now that the standard of value has got into politics, and has votes taken and ‘papers’ read on it, is sure to be abused. It is at the bottom of all the financial disorder which reigns in America today, — Populism, Coxeyism, Kellyism, and bimetallism. Some day, after probably a long period of confusion and suffering, the government will coin all the gold and silver that are brought to it, and see that bargains made in either are fulfilled, but nothing more.” In other words, monopoly is becoming impossible. Everything that gets into politics in this way must be dropped altogether sooner or later. Does not this show that all doubtful subjects will have to be taken out of politics?

The newspapers are abusing and ridiculing Anthony Comstock because he, in his ignorance, does not know the difference between a classic, like “Tom Jones,” and a yellow-covered cheap novel. These “literary” newspapers have no objection to the suppression of cheap novels that are below or above Comstock’s standard of decency, but they stand up for Fielding and Encaccio and Balzac. Comstock’s position is more logical and consistent than theirs. If “indecency” in literature is to be suppressed, all indecency, wherever found, should be treated alike. Why should Fielding and Shakespere be allowed to say things which others are prohibited from saying? The fact that a man has greater talent does not license him to commit crime. The idea of allowing an official or an editor to tell us what books are legal in spite of indecency and what are to be condemned because of it! Every editor or official has his own standard, and the confusion would be greater than ever. Comstock is an ignoramus, but it needs an ignoramus to enforce a fool statute.

When the striking miners seize a coal train or obstruct its passage, the plutocratic editors howl and foam at the mouth. Governors and sheriffs are savagely denounced for hesitating to use force against the “lawless mobs” when property, private property, is attacked. But when the railroad companies seize coal in transit, in spite of the protests of shippers and consignees, the plutocratic newspapers are dumb, and their zeal for private property vanishes. The excuse of the railroads for such highhanded measures is that they carry the United States mails, and as the government may seize anything it chooses, those in its employ derive a similar privilege from their relation to the chief pirate. The government enters into a contract with the railroads, and pays them for their services (far more than they are worth, doubtless). That such a contract confers upon the companies the right to steal and plunder is an unheard-of proposition, but they are perfectly safe in advancing it. What paper will oppose the railroads? As for the striking miners, let them advocate free and private mails.

Political events in France serve to illustrate the farcical nature of parliamentary government. The Perier ministry having been over-thrown on a minor question affecting the interests of railroad employees (I believe it related to the privilege of attending some sort of convention), the Dupuy ministry naturally felt called upon to pretend particular sympathy with labor. This was done in a promise “to push forward democratic measures, and especially to give attention to the bills before the committees relating to social problems (!) and workingmen’s pensions [“social problems and workingmen’s pensions” is good], with the object of improving the condition of workingmen in town and country.” This vague declaration secured the new ministry a vote of confidence. Of course, Dupuy will be overthrown in a few weeks, but what does he care? The experience is not new to him. When he is not premier, he is president of the chamber of deputies, the deputies who defeat him one day triumphantly electing him presiding officer on the following day. This delightful farce is having a long run, and the workingmen seem to enjoy it — with the exception of a Valliant or Henry, who gets tired and interrupts the performance by exploding a bomb.

Anthony, Censor.

[New York Sun.]

Oh, Anthony, Saint Anthony, the world is very evil,

And this generation calls on you to act your saintly part;

To fight the good fight valiantly and exorcise the devil

Of lubricity from history and literature and art.

The books, the books, my Anthony, that you will have to wade through!

Will you start off with the classics, as about the fiat and worst?

Anacreon and Ovid, here Bohn’s libraries will aid you,

Aristophanes and Sophocles and other works accurst.

Then the wicked, wicked pages of the medieval ages,

Their mysteries and histories, their poems and romance;

The infamy of alchemy, the sophistry of sages,

And, above all, Oh! Saint Anthony, the ribaldry of France.

Books too numerous to mention need immediate attention;

Very wicked, sinful things are read and written in these days.

Shakspere must not be forgotten, his Lucrece is simply rotten,

And you’ll have a perfect picnic when you expurgate his plays.

Do not leave a single reader of the wickedness of Ouida,

Frown, Oh, frown on Tess’s, Dodo’s, and the Yellow Aster’s sin.

Don’t let Harper’s finish Trilby, you can’t tell how bad she will be,

And stop the sale at once of Sarah Grand’s unearthly Twins.

The list is long and life is short, Oh, Anthony Censorius!

You cannot read them through, but there is one thing you can do,

Put all books in one glorious index erpurgatorius

Until each one is scrutinized and authorized by you.

C. S. A.

“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.

The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.

Ten Minutes With a Labor Editor.

Editor Hudspeth, of the “Western Laborer,” has not neglected the criticisms which Liberty made a few weeks ago on his curious notions of competition, monopoly, etc. On the contrary, he very promptly answered them, — if his remarks may be with any degree of propriety called an answer.

The first point demanding attention is that having reference to the “postal question,” which Editor Hudspeth declared “settled,” and which Liberty, in common with all men of sense and business experience, knows is as unsettled as anything can be. Liberty remarked that “the postal question is settled only in the sense that it is not a political issue at present.” Mr. Hudspeth’s rejoinder was as follows: “The fact that no party can find any political capital in the subject of the postal system, is the very best evidence that the postal question is settled as fairly as any economic question can be settled by government, or by a people not wise enough to live and do business in philosophic Anarchy. The statement that the postal department is not self-supporting, is not true. It is made by capitalists who view the Socialistic tendencies of the times with alarm, and is repeated by Anarchistic dreamers of perfection on whom the doctrine of Socialism has about the same effect as the red flag has on a bull.” Here we have one philosophic and deductive statement, and one assertion of an alleged fact. The wise remark is that the best evidence that the postal question is settled is found in the circumstance that no political party attempts to make an “issue” of it. Yet its author pretends to be a believer in the principle of equal freedom! Now, equal freedom is not at present a political issue; nobody (in politics) wants it, nobody comprehends it, nobody appreciates it. We have in politics Republicans, Democrats, Populists, State Socialists, and Single-Taxers; none of these would adopt a platform of equal freedom, — a clear, brief, precise, unmistakable platform having but one plank and covering every relation of life. There is no political capital in such an issue. Yet, according to our labor editor’s philosophy, the fact that equal freedom is not made an issue is the very best evidence that it is here, complete, realized, won. The preternatural imbecility of such a conclusion is painfully manifest.

Will Mr. Hudspeth rejoin that the “liberty” issue is settled in the sense that the people have as much liberty as they desire and are fit for? That would be entirely irrelevant, since the question is as to equal liberty. Does the fact that equal liberty is not demanded in platforms prove that we possess it, or that there is no such thing conceivable? To say that a question has not been raised, owing to the ignorance of the voters and politicians, is one thing; to say that a question is settled, — that there is no issue, — is a totally different thing. Hence the fact that the postal system is not an issue does not prove that it is not rotten and worthless, but simply that ignorance and habit prevent the people from appreciating the possible issue. As to reformers, they do not raise this issue for the very good reason that, like Mr. Hudspeth, they are ignorant of the significance of equal freedom and Will have neither free mails nor free currency nor anything else demanded by equal freedom.

Secondly, Mr. Hudspeth flatly denies that the post office is not self-supporting, and talks rubbish about capitalist and Anarchist inventions. As his test of truth are the contents of the political platform, so it appears that his test of fact is his own limited knowledge. What he does not know is not true. Alas! then, I fear, nothing is true. Let Mr. Hudspeth write to his congressman, or read the reports of the postmaster-general. He will find that the deficiency this year, as was stated in Liberty, is seven millions. In England the deficiency is also very great. To deny facts that play havoc with one’s narrow little notions is a childish course.

The second point worth referring to in Mr. Hudspeth’s comments bears on the relation between monopoly and competition. Liberty having ridiculed the affirmation that “competition is the secret of monopoly,” Mr. Hudspeth tries to improve his case by an explanation. He says: “The Laborer’ was speaking of our present system of competition, not competition as a principle. When this is understood, the sarcasm of our smart contemporary loses its force. As a principle, coöperation is as much to blame for the existence of monopolies as is the principle of competition. The members of trusts coöperate and use competition to kill off weak competitors. Speaking more strictly, the secret of monopoly lies in the existence of such wise-acres as Benjamin R. Tucker, who edits Liberty.”

Perhaps Mr. Hudspeth had some idea in mind when he wrote the above; if so, he failed to express it. The sentences are utterly devoid of meaning as they stand. Competition as a principle is not the secret of monopoly, but our present system of competition is the secret of our present system of monopoly. As a principle, coöperation is as much the secret of monopoly as competition. What mysterious formulas! But, even interpreted in the most favorable sense, Mr. Hudspeth’s explanation does not strengthen him. Our present system of competition is not due to our monopoly, for monopoly abhors competition. The little competition there is, is due to the degree of freedom we enjoy; more freedom means more competition. Monopoly, on the other hand, in so far as it is detrimental, is due entirely to legal privilege and class legislation, to denials of freedom. Any monopoly that is the result of competition, or of coöperation under free conditions, is not a source of oppression and extortion; the monopolies that oppress and extort derive their power from privilege.

The secret of monopoly, whether present or any other, is not competition, whether present or any other. It is privilege and injustice. The “Laborer’s” statement is nonsensical, either in its original or amended form, but it is to be remembered that the statement was not made “strictly speaking.” “Speaking more strictly,” then, what is the secret of monopoly, Mr. Hudspeth? The existence of such men as the editor of Liberty? Nonsense; the mere existence of superior ability, while it naturally drives the “Laborers” to the wall, whenever the two come into competition, does not necessarily create an injurious monopoly. Ability may be used for good as well as evil. Under freedom, ability would be deprived of its power for evil, and its monopoly would be advantageous to the world. Under present conditions, ability devoted to anti-social purposes is the secret of much evil, but not of monopoly. The most wicked of men would be harmless if the State abstained from arming them with privilege.

In conclusion, it is hoped that the readers will not condemn too unqualifiedly either Mr. Hudspeth or the writer who has been indulgent enough to devote so much space to the labor editor’s feeble efforts. Y.

Natural Monopolies.

The history of the water works of Denver contains a very good lesson for people with State Socialistic tendencies. When the Denver Water Company started in business, it charged $7.00 per season of six months for supplying water to a seven or eight-room house (without bath). The water was taken out of the Platte river, just above the city, and was of very poor quality. The machinery used was not equal to the demand made upon it, and, in short, the whole system was unsatisfactory. Fortunately the city is so situated that excellent water can be struck in any locality at a depth of less than one hundred feet. Taking advantage of this fact, the owners of large buildings sank artesian wells. Owing to lack of patronage, the Denver Water Company failed, and the business was purchased by the American Water Company. This new company immediately cut prices twenty per cent., put in new fillers and better machinery, and commenced work to take water from Cherry Creek, where a better quality could be obtained. (This last enterprise was abandoned, however, owing to litigation.) About three years ago, after a long fight with the city, during which that protector of monopolies tried to tear up its pipes, a new company managed to secure a franchise and started a lively competition. It took its water from the foothills, conducted it to the city through pipes, and secured sufficient force from gravitation to render pumping engines unnecessary. They relied upon the superior quality of their water to defeat the American Company. This resulted in the latter company reducing their rates to fifty per cent. of the old schedule, instead of thirty per cent. The cut was met by the new concern, which afterwards gave their water free to whoever would connect with their main. The American Company then cut their last rate fifty per cent. (making it only twenty-five per cent. of the original rate). This has been the condition for over a year; one company giving water free, the other charging only twenty-five per cent. of their original rate. Some months ago the American Company failed and went into the hands of a receiver. About two weeks ago, however, the two companies consolidated, and it is expected that the rates will soon be increased. One safeguard still remains, — the possibility of digging wells. But even this is in danger of being removed by the monopoly-protecting State, for a city ordinance is on the records which empowers the Health Department to close up wells within the city limits. While the outcome of this is what might be expected under the present financial system, yet the whole business shows us what may be done with “natural monopolies” when a little competition is permitted, even under the present system. F. D. T.

A judicial ass in Philadelphia, Judge Butler, has refused to naturalize a man who, in answer to a question, openly stated that he was a “Socialist.” The judge, it is said, arrived at his decision after a careful reading of the platform of the Socialistic Labor Party. He found the proposals of the said platform to be inconsistent with the spirit of our “free institutions.” It would be useless to waste words on this Dogberry, but the New York “Sun’s” approval of his act cannot be passed over. In his war upon everything that is progressive and true and just, Dana generally displays a certain ability which makes him dangerous, but in the present instance be is guilty of a piece of stupidity which exposes him to the only weapon he fears, — ridicule. He says that the Philadelphia Dogberry’s decision “is timely, sound, and wholesome,” and here is his reasoning: “Admittedly a Socialist is a man who owes allegiance to no single country. He wipes away all frontiers, knocks down all mountains, and bridges all oceans. He is altogether too big a fellow to fit in one nation only. Consequently, he wants to be a citizen of the world. Well, let him take out his papers as such. This country has no use for him.” These are the views of a man who was a member of the Brook Farm group, an editor of a Fourierist organ, and a defender of radical reform. This is the talk of a man who now pretends to know what liberty is and to fight for it. This is the reasoning of a man who regards himself as a scholar, philosopher, and thinker. Really, what is the trouble with the old mischief-maker and humbug?

After a ten days’ debate, the House of Representatives voted last week to reject the bill for the repeal of the law taxing State bank circulation. Only eight of the Northern Democrats voted for repeal; the Southern members, on the other hand, were almost a unit in favor of repeal. Even if the bill had passed the House, our House of Magnates would have killed it or buried it in committee; but the emphatic rejection of the measure by the popular branch of Congress shows how little of a reform party the Democratic party is. There are a few progressive men among the younger Democrats, but their political influence at present is nil. They are not the party, as even the editor of “Puck” must have discovered by this time. By the way, why does not the “Sun” denounce the House for this violation of the promise in the national platform with regard to the bank tax? If the Democrats who support a tariff bill with protective features are traitors and cowards, what are those who defy the plain and unmistakable plank demanding the unconditional repeal of the said tax?

The Democratic senators have evidently decided to take the tariff out of politics. The new tariff differs little from that of McKinley, and the Republicans are entirely satisfied with it. The tariff will not be an issue in the next national campaign; it will have been taken out of politics, though not in a way to please the tariff reformers and Single Tax friends of Democracy.

The sort of protection the people need, says George E. Macdonald, is protection from their protectors, though no political party has taken this view of the matter. Well, according to Mr. Hudspeth, this latter fact is the best evidence that Macdonald is wrong. That test is a great discovery.

Ambrose Bierce’s Lie.

The writings of Ambrose Bierce in Sunday’s “Examiner” have kept the dry-rot from entering many minds by vigorous, keen, unsparing treatment of conventionalities. But in grappling with the philosophy of Anarchism, as his reason contracted his sarcasm expanded, so that at present the only means he employs is scurrility. Having a high regard for this social philosophy, and seeing it continually misconstrued and reviled by this able writer, I thought a ray of light might be cast on his intellectual horizon by sending him a copy of “Instead of a Book.” I did so, and to my utter astonishment his acknowledgment of the receipt of the book in his department of the paper was as follows:

Thank you; you are at least civil, and in an Anarchist this is much, indeed. But the book you send contains nothing new. I detest “Philosophical Anarchism,” not because I do not know what it is, but because I do.

On Sunday, May 13, 1894, he was asked by a correspondent to define several schools of reform, and among others, Anarchism. This is his definition:

“The Anarchist is a kind of lunatic who believes that all crime is the effect of laws forbidding it — as the pig that breaks into the kitchen garden is created by the dog that chews its ear ! The Anarchist favors the abolition of all law and commonly belongs to an organization which secures his allegiance by solemn oaths and dreadful penalties.”

Such a definition of an Anarchist from a writer of his ability, who asserts that he understands Anarchism, clearly shows either that he lied when he claimed to comprehend it, or else that he deliberately lies when defining it for the comprehension of others.

J. Wilson Coburn.

San Francisco, Cal.

[If Mr. Bierce’s “civil” correspondent says unpleasant things about him now, Mr. Bierce can blame nobody but himself for this change of tone and manner. People who ignorantly lie and distort and misrepresent have no right to demand civil treatment. To be polite to a humbug and bigoted falsifier is to sacrifice the interest of truth, manliness, and fairness. Mr. Bierce is an able man, and has less excuse than the average writer for his idiotic treatment of Anarchism.]

Congress and the Tax on Circulation.

The following resolutions have been adopted by the Single Tax Society of Philadelphia:

Whereas, the Single Tax Society of Philadelphia learns with regret and shame that the repeal of the Federal tax of 10 per cent. on money issues has been prevented by the votes of men calling themselves Democrats;

And whereas, this tax, if enforced, prohibits such private issues as ended the late financial panic, certified checks, clearing house certificates, and circulating notes like those of the Johnson Company, described by Congressman Tom L. Johnson before the House on January 10 and 19; therefore be it resolved,

That Republican Congressmen, in voting unitedly against repeal have acted in accordance with the Republican policy of a strong central government supported by legalized monopolies fastened upon the people with the plea of protection, whether from foreign-made goods or home-made money;

That Populist Congressmen, in voting unitedly against repeal, have emphasized the thorough ignorance of the Populist party in matters of finance and its purpose that class legislation shall not be abolished, but simply turned to the advantage of others than its present beneficiaries;

That so-called Democratic congressmen who voted against repeal have given the lie to the most direct and Democratic plank in the Chicago platform, to the Democratic doctrines of local option, home rule, and personal liberty, and to the Eighth Commandment;

That Congressman James G. Maguire, of California, in voting for repeal, has stood for the Democratic principle that it is no function of government to undertake to protect people from the results of their own ignorance, for the Single Tax principle that all taxes should be abolished except one upon the rental value of land, and for the common sense principle that in absolute freedom for everyone to issue what money he will, and not in governmental restriction, is the only solution to the money problem whose discussion blocks the way of free trade and single tax.

Anarchist Letter-Writing Corps.

The Secretary wants every reader of Liberty to send in his name for enrolment. Those who do so thereby pledge themselves to write, when possible, a letter every fortnight, on Anarchism or kindred subjects, to the “target” assigned in Liberty for that fortnight. All, whether members or not, are asked to lose no opportunity of informing the secretary of suitable targets. Address, Stephen T. Byington, East Hardwick, Vt.

The Lynchburg “Earth” sends me three sample copies, containing letters from three members of the corps, with two editorials in comment on the letters. It congratulates itself on the number of “letters from the North from thinking men, endorsing and amending our views,” which show the wide extent of the “Earth’s” influence. It calls a good Anarchistic letter on juries “sensible,” approves the idea that protection should be paid for like insurance, but interprets it to mean protective tariff, and closes by saying: “We have several other letters on the same subject from New York and Massachusetts which will appear next week.” The letters are better than the editorials, though, as much as the work of a man who knows what he is writing about is better than that of one who doesn’t. The “Earth’s” subscribers are getting some good reading.

Suggestion No. 4. — Get an Anarchistic friend to join the corps. There is no reason why our numbers should not be doubled. Every one can help; if you are inexperienced in such writing, you will learn to swim by swimming, and your friend can give better help as one of our regular men than as a guerrilla.

Target, Section A. — The “Evening Observer,” Dunkirk, N. Y., professes to permit free discussion through its columns of all matters that pertain to the public good.

Section B. — The “Farmer’s Voice,” 334 Dearborn street, Chicago, Ill., said editorially May 5: “No worse tyranny than that of party has ever existed. It is thus because the victim knows that he can be free if he likes, and yet knows that he has not the moral courage to assert his freedom; and that sort of slavery is ten thousand times worse and more galling than that in which the slave or serf bag never a dream of freedom.” The editor prints letters to a limited extent. Be brief.

“The garden of the laws is full of ironical plants, of unexpected Mowers and by no means its slightest charm is this subversion of the natural order, whereby appear at the end of stems and branches fruit just the opposite of that which is promised by the essence of the tree or bush. The apple-tree bears figs, and the cherry-tree medlars: plants yield sweet potatoes, and hollyhocks salsify. It is delicious.” Séverine.

The Beauties of Government.

In the Predicament of Tantalus.

[New York Sun.]

Police Sergeant William Blair became heir to $25,000 or more by the death of his uncle, Lewis R. Blair, the Astor House barber, but, on account of the peculiar laws which affect the probating of wills in this State, he will be unable to get this inheritance unless he can raise money enough to pay the expenses of the witnesses for the relatives who have given notice that they will contest the will.

The property consists of about $100,000 in real estate and $25,000 in cash, to be divided among ten persons. Sergeant Blair is an executor as well as a legatee, but, owing to the contest brought by the other beneficiaries and a number of the late barber’s relatives who live in the northern part of the State, the entire estate has been placed in the hands of M. J. Scanlan as temporary administrator. Section 2,672 of the Civil Code of Procedure states that the temporary administrator must deposit all funds of an estate in his care with a trust company, and he may not spend any funds from the estate except for funeral expenses, or referee’s or stenographer’s fees. Section 2,618 says:

Any party who contests the probate of a will may, by notice filed with the surrogate at any time before the proofs are closed, require the examination of all the subscribing witnesses to a written will, or of any other witnesses whose testimony the surrogate is satisfied may be material; in which case all such witnesses who are within the State and are competent and able to testify must be so examined.

In the contest over the will of the late Jesse Hoyt, ex-Surrogate Rollins gave it as his opinion that the duty to produce the witnesses devolves upon the proponent. As executor of the will, the duty devolves upon Sergeant Blair to propone the will to the surrogate. Sergeant Blair, being as he asserts, a man of small means, with his salary as his only means of support, is unable to produce the ten or twenty witnesses from up the State, as he cannot afford to pay their expenses to and in this city. He cannot secure any money from the estate to pay these expenses, as the law is clear as to the bills that the temporary administrator is entitled to pay.

Lawyer James O’Neill, who is Sergeant Blair’s counsel, said:

“It is a great misfortune for a poor man to inherit a fortune. In this instance, if Blair is unable to raise $400 or $500, he cannot get the $25,000 he is heir to. Even if the will is successfully contested, Blair will get that much. The changes would be to the detriment of certain others of the beneficiaries. It is usually the case that rich people inherit, and they can afford to pay for the transportation of their witnesses. Blair, as a poor man, cannot. But the most absurd point of all is that the law requires the executor to pay the expenses, not only of his own witnesses, but of all the contestants. If Blair cannot borrow enough money to do this, the estate will remain in the hands of the administrator until it is eaten up by fees and litigation, or until the law is changed.”

The case came up before Surrogate Arnold, when Lawyer O’Neill moved for an allowance from the estate to pay the expenses of the witnesses. At the time he made the motion he said he knew the surrogate could not grant the allowance, but he wanted to go on record with the motion to show the injustice of the law. Surrogate Arnold reserved decision.

“Perhaps he will find a way to beat the devil around the stump,” said Mr. O’Neil, “but I don’t see how he can, as the law is absolutely clear.”

[The question is often asked: What would become of inheritance if the State were abolished? Why, it would be protected if it should need protection; but it is questionable whether it would need it after the abolition of the State, its chief invader. The State, in one of its branches, is a gigantic machine for thwarting, harassing, and bleeding inheritance. If it were abolished, nothing worse would happen than the starvation of the officials and the lawyers.]

They Were Not in the Toothpullers’ Trust.

[New York Sun.]

Gustav Wittenberg, who was arrested on January 24 on the complaint of the County Medical Society for practising dentistry without a license, pleaded guilty in the General Sessions before Judge Cowing. He was flushed and nervous.

“I can’t put my hand on the section in the Code that prescribes the punishment for your offence, Wittenberg,” said Judge Cowing. “What do you think that the punishment is?”

“I don’t know,” replied Wittenberg nervously. “I know that I only put some cotton in a man’s tooth when it was aching.”

“Well, Wittenberg,” said Judge Cowing, “what would you think if the punishment should turn out to be imprisonment for life?”

It was evident from Wittenberg’s face just what he did think.

“Well,” said Judge Cowing, “I have found the section now. I see that it does not provide imprisonment for life.”

Wittenberg’s face brightened amazingly.

“I think I will be easy with you this time, Wittenberg,” said Judge Cowing, “as it is your first offence.” I fine you $10.”

Wittenberg smiled broadly and dived his hand into his pocket for the money. Then he looked grave. It was evident that he did not have $10 in that pocket. He searched all of his pockets, and finally made up the $10 in bills and small change. And then he was released.

Before Judge Martine, Oscar Dobroczynaki also pleaded guilty of practising dentistry illegally.

“You have been convicted of this offence before, Dobroczynaki,” said Judge Martine, “and you were fined on your plea of guilty in the Special Sessions within a few months ago.”

“Yes, sir,” he replied; “that is true. In the old country, when a man pays a fine for such an offence as this, the fine pays his license, and he can go ahead. I thought it was the same in this country.”

He was fined £150, and paid the fine with three $50 bills from a large roll.

[To pull a tooth by the permission of nobody but the owner subjects the puller to a pulling of his purse without his permission and even against his will. In the eyes of the State invasion is the only virtue. It is now a crime for the unlicensed dentist to pull teeth, even at the request of the owners; it would not be surprising if it were presently made a duty of the licensed dentist to pull every decayed or aching tooth, even though the owners forbade it. It would make a pretty companion-piece to compulsory vaccination. Oh, for a dentist, licensed or unlicensed, who will pull the teeth of the State!]

The State as Physician.

[New York Recorder.]

When Manuel Betts brought his wife and three children from their simple home in the Azores and took up his residence in a neat little cottage near the Erie Basin, in Brooklyn, he was a giant in stature; he had enjoyed perfect health ever since he was 15 years old and recovered from the small-pox. He built up a nice little business as a boss stevedore, and was giving his children an education according to the tenets of the land of freedom, when suddenly his zeal regarding his adopted country received a tremendous setback.

He was sitting by the front window of his cottage on Sullivan, near Conover street, when there came a rap on the door. He opened it, and a man, accompanied by two policemen, entered.

“I have come to vaccinate you,” said the man abruptly and roughly. “Come, get ready.”

“But I have had the small-pox,” objected the Azorean giant. “I had it when I was 15 years old.”

“That makes no d — d difference,” said the visitor. “You’ve got to take It again.”

Now, Manuel Betts is a Christian man, but he lost patience at this treatment. “I’ll be d — d if you do,” he said.

The next thing that Manuel Bette knew four more policemen were in the house, and he was pinned against the window jamb. He struggled to get free, and he gave the six brawny officers a fight to hold him, but six to one was too heavy odds against him, and he had to succumb. His arm was bared by force, his captors tearing off the sleeve, and not taking the trouble to cut it decently. Then his arm was scraped violently, an extra large place, and the virus well rubbed in. Then, while he was held fast, the attacking party went at his family, and all the other inmates of the house, two women and three screaming and terrified children, went under the knife of the vaccinator.

The poison took mightily in the arm of the giant. It laid him low. It made him sick. It frightened him so that he called in another physician to see what might be the danger of the consequences. Yesterday (June 2) he was still feeling bad, and he said that he did not think he would ever regain his former health and strength.

“It is an outrage,” said he to a “Recorder” reporter. “By what right can these men break into a man’s own house and poison him that way? Why, when they had me pinned there they might have done anything they wished to my family or my furniture, and I was powerless to prevent them. It is curious freedom you have in this country. We are simple folks on the island that I come from, but we never heard of any such thing as this.”

A huge crowd collected in front of the house of Manuel Betts while this outrage on the part of the “Health” Department of Brooklyn was going on, and the indignation flamed high. It would not have taken much more than a hint to set the mob on fire and cause them to do violence to the doctor and policemen who perpetrated such a wrong in the name and under the mantle of the law.

The State as Censor.

[New York Tribune.]

Anthony Comstock made a visit to the Custom House a few days ago upon the invitation of Deputy Naval Officer H. W. Gourley to inspect a fine old lithograph picture of the “Rape of Lucretia,” recently brought here from the Berlin Museum. Mr. Gourley’s sense of modesty had been hurt by the picture, and he considered that it should not have been admitted as a work of art. He also felt hurt because the collector had not consulted him before he admitted it, and so, upon his own responsibility, he sent for Mr. Comstock.

Mr. Comstock came, and the two went to the Barge Office, but the picture was not there, having been released by the collector’s orders as a work of art. Mr. Gourley was pained at this, and Mr. Comstock tried to suppress his feelings. They both felt that the collector should have consulted them about the picture, but the collector conveyed to them in a delicate way, but one which could not be mistaken, that he was running the affairs of the Custom House.

There is a good deal of gossip going on among the people at the Custom House about the affair, and the general opinion prevails that Mr. Gourley was interfering with something with which he had nothing to do. Three years ago Mr. Comstock was at the Custom House, protesting against the detention of some books belonging to a friend of his. In fact, he made a tremendous fuse because the books of his friend had been detained. Later he was allowed to look at the books. They were the most awful specimens of obscenity he had ever seen. That was the last visit he made to the Custom House until yesterday.

The State as Protector.

[New York Tribune.]

Bolton Hall, the well-known lawyer, who has an office in the Trinity building, and who lives at No. 48 West Nineteenth street, sent the following letter to the police commissioners today:

“Gentlemen: — Last evening, at 5:30, I passed the Second Precinct station, Church street, and noticed outside the door a good venders’-cart overturned on the curbstone, and with the bananas lying on the ground. After looking about for a few moments to see if an owner appeared, I went into the station and civilly asked the officer in charge if he knew it was there. He replied evasively that he “had only just arrived.” I then asked him to look on the blotter to see if there was any account of it or its owner. Instead of doing so he asked me my name, then my address, then my business, then whether I was busy; all of which I told him. The doorkeeper or attendant told me that a peddler bad been brought in. Then I asked the officer again if he thought it was right to let a poor man’s property be abused in that way, even though he had been arrested. Thereupon he asked me whether I had been drinking mixed ale or beer, and what business it was of mine.

“I told him he knew very well that I had not been drinking anything. He then called an officer and directed him to show me the door. The officer took hold of my arm and told me I would be locked up if I did not go. The officer in charge said I was interfering with him. This morning I sent a note, asking for the name of the officer in charge of the desk. The sergeant sent back word, asking what I wanted to know for, and when I returned an answer that I meant to complain of him, he sent word again that “he did not ow,” a manifest falsehood, as the blotter is before him. I now complain to your honorable board of that officer in charge of the desk from 5:30 to 5:40 on May 1, for neglect of duty in failing to care for property in front of his station, and belonging to an arrested person, and for using grossly insulting language to a citizen, as well as for the assault in directing the officer to put me out For the last, I shall seek civil damages.”

The State as Judge.

[New York Sun.]

Berlin. — The trial of the editors who criticised the police for their unprovoked attack on the unemployed near the Friedrichshain in January last, has excited much blood. No unprejudiced person here doubts that the police acted with an excess of zeal, even if they did not really cause all the disturbance which they affected to quell. Nevertheless, the editors on trial were browbeaten as if they were common criminals, and were sentenced to punishment far beyond reason or precedent. Judge Brausewetter’s conduct during the trial has been denounced unanimously by the newspapers. Besides examining the witnesses in the manner of a zealous attorney, and trying all devices to entrap them into dangerous admissions, he browbeat the prisoners’ lawyers and treated the prisoners’ statements with contempt.

“You don’t believe what you are saying,” and You know nothing of the sort,” were his repeated interpolations in the testimony for the defence. “What has public opinion got to do with these charges, anyhow?” he exclaimed angrily in response to one witness’s statement. “There’s no such thing as public opinion. You say that the police provoked the people. That is a crazy aspersion upon the police. I was not there, but I can tell you just what happened. The crowd would not disperse, and the police were obliged to interfere.”

“These meetings of the unemployed mean simply agitation against the propertied classes,” roared the judge at one of the editors who was testifying in his own defence. “You agitators sit easy and comfortable at home, leaving those whom you have led astray to get into jail.”

Sluggish as public opinion is in Germany, it has been aroused by theme extraordinary judicial utterances. The “Killnbiche,” the “Voesiache,” and the “National-Zeitung,” and even the semi-official “Hambargische Correspondent” and “Dreedener Nachrichten,” have published scathing comments on the trial. They do not content themselves with demanding a revision of the sentences, but call for a new trial and a formal reprimand for Brausewetter. The “National-Zeitung,” which, besides being a temperate journal, is closely connected with high cabinet officials, has exhausted a strong vocabulary in its efforts to express adequately its opinion of Brausewetter. It even denounces him as an agent provocateur who laid a trap for one witness for the defence and then sent him to prison for perjury. Public indignation will hardly be allayed until the government takes steps to discipline him.

The misconduct of the same judge two years ago caused the Ministry of Justice to issue a special order advising judges not to refer from the bench to politics or current social problems, nor to assume positions indicating a prejudice in cases under trial. If the government should fail to act now, the affair will be made the subject of an interpellation in the Landtag immediately after the reassembling of the deputies.

[New York Sun.]

Berlin. — The Brausewetter scandal has assumed national dimensions. Few persons hesitate to say that the judge disgraced the bench by usurping the functions of the prosecuting attorney in the trial of Prussian editors last week, and the newspapers throughout the Empire agree, as rarely before, in admonishing the government to act quickly in response to public opinion. The popular agitation has increased in the last three days until it promises to raise the most important political questions in both Landtag and Reichstag. Not only is a reform of judicial methods called for, but also the greater freedom of the press from police restraint is demanded as an immediate necessity.

The Berlin Association of Solicitors and King’s Counsels sent to the Ministry of Justice a memorial affirming that both Brausewetter and the Crown Prosecutor violated the rules of professional etiquette by their conduct during the trial of the editors, most notably in treating the defendants’ counsel with studied disrespect. The memorial also declares that it will be impossible to elicit the truth in any case if the practices of distorting evidence and repressing counsel in the defence of clients be allowed. While the members of the Berlin bar show their determination to vindicate their own and the people’s rights, the journalists and publicists consider Brausewetter’s sneering remarks about the newspapers more as an attack upon the rights of a free press. A meeting has already been called at the Journalists’ Club to protest against the license allowed the courts and police in dealing with the newspapers and general public. The excessive sentences passed on the editors found guilty of insulting the police will probably be reversed on appeal. It is too late, however, to accomplish much with this partial redress. Now that the movement is well under way, nothing will satisfy the public except reforms which will render impossible such travesties of justice in the future.

Apart from Brausewetter’s browbeating and the hectoring of all the defendants’ witnesses by the Crown Prosecutor, the trial of the editors showed a bad side of the Berlin police. The prosecution was forced to admit that, at the meeting at the Friedrichshain on January 18, the police had their agents provocateurs. These agents, disguised as workingmen and armed with rubber life-preservers, attacked both women and men as they left the place of assembly. The police spy, Brandt, it was proved, had received from the police money with which to publish and distribute fly sheets and placards inciting the unemployed to violence. Judge Brausewetter astonished the audience by holding that these police methods wer perfectly justifiable, and condemning the press criticisms of them as conscienceless and immoral. Although reporters of the Conservative journals, not even excepting the old Tory “Kreuzzeitung,” made virtually the same statements as did the “Tageblatt” and other progressive organs, and Conservative and Radical editors spoke with equal severity of the police outrages, all the editors sentenced were selected with care from the Liberal and Social Democratic ranks.

[New York Sun.]

Berlin. — Judge Brausewetter, who misbehaved so flagrantly several weeks ago at the trial of the Prussian editors, has triumphed over public opinion and the whole Berlin bar. The Emperor came to his rescue, and peremptorily ordered the Prussian ministers to support him. Dr. von Schelling, the Minister of Justice, had expressed his disapproval of Brausewetter’s conduct. He wished his ministerial colleagues to agree to dismiss Brausewetter, and censure the public prosecutor, not only in response to the memorial from the Berlin Bar Association, but also in respect of public opinion, as expressed in the unanimous protests of the newspapers. Emperor William interfered with an emphatic declaration to the effect that Schelling’s view of the case found no favor with him, and that the Brausewetter affair should be ignored. Schelling at once resigned. The emperor refused to accept his resignation, evidently with a view to avoiding further public clamor. He subsequently told the ministers to take steps to suppress the agitation against Brausewetter. The result is that the semi-official press has become dumb on the subject of judicial abuses.

Government Taxation.

To the Editor of Liberty:

The necessity of a new assessment in this State (Maryland) has been universally admitted for several years, and members of the general assembly have given general assurance that such a bill was forthcoming; but the legislature has again adjourned, and there is to be no reassessment. What does it mean? The tax dodgers and their organs and silent supporters have fought the measure to its death; consequently the inequality of property valuation remains as always. For illustration observe the Baltimore “News” of April 8, 1894, from which it appears that the assessment in 1892 of four metropolitan dailies is as follows: The Baltimore “Sun,” $8,583; the “American,” $2,500; “Herald,” $5,000; the “News,” $85,000. It can readily be seen from these figures that the “News” is paying considerable more taxes than all the other newspapers combined. The reason assigned for this inequality is that the “Sun” is the recognized tax-dodgers’ organ, the “American” a silent supporter of Gorman, and the “Herald” non-committal; but the “News” is a hard ring fighter. It is said the first three in the list are worth thirty times their assessed value. Not long since the “American” boasted of having purchased a new press which cost $80,000, — a very great improvement their equipment, etc. Is it any wonder that honest and sorely oppressed taxpayers feel outraged when such glaring inequalities escape the notice of men appointed to administer the duties of their office without fear or favor t The same inequalities exist here in Frederick county. A striking instance of knavish or tyrannical municipal government is exhibited here in the adjustment of the value of property of the writer, agent for owners thereof. The facts and circumstances are briefly as follows. The property consists of an industrial plant, some tenement houses, and eighteen acres of land used as gardens for dwellings, and mill yard, etc. The land can only be used for gardens when there are tenants to occupy the houses; it has no value except for agriculture. The industrial plant, or factory, was destroyed by fire last September, and thus offers no further employment for the occupants of the tenement houses, which in consequence have become vacant The board of county commissioners, representative men of the county, of course, have conceded that they were justified in allowing an abatement on the former valuation, i. a., the assessed value of the whole before the conflagration, but could not allow a rebate equivalent to the pro rata valuation of the destroyed factory, to say nothing of the reduced value of the dwellings, since they must stand empty and deteriorate in consequence of the destruction of the factory. The board also admitted that the premises could have no other source of productivity or value than surrounding property (which is farming) in view of the empty houses until employment should be offered to people who would occupy them, and should be assessed according to the value of other farm lands in the immediate neighborhood or adjoining property. In the face of these admissions they turn against what they concede to be the true basis and assess for more than the full value of these buildings and land when the factory was in full operation, not in accordance with surrounding properties nor the legal seven-tenths basis rate of full value; in other words, they do not allow full pro rata abatement for the property destroyed, and ignore the fact of the non-occupancy of the buildings as well as the basis of proportionment according to surrounding premises. The eighteen acres and buildings are assessed at $8,000, which, according to the law of assessment as it stands, is supposed to be seven-tenths of its full value; therefore the estimated value is $4,285.70, more than twice as much as the owners agree to sell out for. The taxes demanded on this insignificant property are more than those of one of the great dailies of the city of Baltimore. Who ever heard of more unjust discrimination and disregard of the true principle of equality of taxation? The writer has repeatedly appealed to the honorable board of commissioners and especially the representative commissioner from the district in which the said property in question is located, but in vain. At first they replied that we would undoubtedly get a reassessment this year and it would be properly settled by the assessors, but we will get no assessment, and it is too late now for adjustment, since they have made the levy which takes effect May 1. The only course for present owners to avoid paying the exorbitant tax in this case is to sell the property, and they have so decided. It is predicted that the property will not bring $1,500. The board, though they may be representative men, are not by any means just and honorable, and will do more for the cause of liberty and the abolition of the present status of government than ton of dynamite. Z.

Anarchism and Christianity.

It is generally held, both by Christians and by Anarchists, that Anarchism and Christianity are irreconcilably opposed. This is queer, too, if you look at it in the right way. Stirner and Mackay say that, properly speaking, the State is a sort of god in the minds of its supporters. Such a belief in it is a plain breach of the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” If these thinkers rightly apprehend the idea of the State, it is as contrary to the religious commandments as to the commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.”

One reason very commonly given on each side is that the other side acknowledges the opposition, — as if the majority of either party were anxious to be found in harmony with the other. But it is very inconsistent for a man who believes that Christians are fools to accept their judgment as conclusive on the logical relation of a religious dogma to a political dogma. Substitute “Anarchists” for “Christians,” and that is still true. Let us quit trying to settle the question by authority, then, and take it up by argument.

It seems to be generally held by Anarchists, — not by Christians, — that, because a Christian holds himself bound to obey God, he must by analogy hold himself bound to obey government. Then, since God is a monarch, Christians ought to support monarchy and oppose democracy. But the analogy is hardly sound. Orthodox Christianity holds that God is infinitely powerful, infinitely wise, and infinitely good; that he made us, and that we could not live a moment if he ceased to support our life; and that he has earned our gratitude by making the greatest possible sacrifice for us. Somewhere among these six points the Christian finds his reason for obeying God. Analogy cannot bind him to obey the State also unless all or some of these things are true of the State. And the man who believes that the State has these attributes (as some men seem to believe) will probably think it fit to obey the State, whether he is a Christian or not.

Belief in God cannot, therefore, bind a man to believe in the State, unless the State has God at its back. Has it? This is the point at which Christians generally will oppose me. I must now make a distinction between Christians. I do not know what Catholic orthodoxy is; I understand that no one knows except Catholic priests, and very few of them. Therefore I cannot discuss the relation between Rome and the State. But Protestant orthodoxy is measured by conformity to a well-known book, which is accessible to all. Let us see, therefore, what the Bible says about government.

First, as to the texts supposed to show a divine origin for government. The fact that government was established by the law of Moses may be set aside by the well-known principle that many things in that law, fitted to the uncivilized early Hebrews, are not to be taken as models in a more advanced state of society. “Because of the hardness of your heart” Moses gave you a law that you ought now to have outgrown (Matt. 19: 8). This text is fatal to any attempt to make Moses’ law permanently binding.

“My son, fear thou Jehovah and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change; for their calamity shall rise suddenly.” (Prov. 24:21–22, compare Eccl. 8: 2–4.) The man who would quote these texts against Anarchism must meet the ad hominem test of applying them equally to every attempt to overthrow a monarch and substitute a republic. If they mean this, they mean that too. But it is well known that the books from which these texts are taken contain many maxims of practical wisdom which have nothing to do with moral duty. Such texts as Prov. 22: 24, 26; 23:9; Eccl. 10:4, are good business advice, but are to be disregarded where higher considerations come in. So with this advice not to be revolutionary: consider it as a maxim showing the way to prosperity, and it is highly sensible; but the man who cares more for his cause than for cash and cushions may properly neglect it. Old Testament prophets repeatedly did so.

To Job 34: 18, Eccl. 10: 20, the same answer may be made, with the additional one that this only tells how it is proper to treat a king when you choose to have one, but does not touch the case of a people preferring not to have one.

If any one tries to get a religious sanction for government out of “the oath of God” in Eccl. 8:2, the argument will be a boomerang; for it will follow that there is no such sanction for one who has not taken the oath of allegiance, or who “affirmed” instead of swearing. Then the inherent sanctity of government will be gone.

In “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice,” Prov. 8:15, it is Wisdom, not God, that speaks. The point is simply that wisdom is an essential part of a king’s equipment. It does not follow that wisdom might not be more manifest, and God’s will better done, in a free organization.

In the New Testament, Matt. 17:27 is not to the point, for it speaks of a voluntary religious tax, not a compulsory civil tax. “Government” in 2 Pet. 2:10 (old version) is a loose translation; the same language is better translated in Jude 8. Modern commentators almost unanimously agree that the powers meant are not earthly ones.

In “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” Matt. 22:21, the argument is ad hominem against the Jews, based on their practical recognition of Caesar’s sovereignty. The principle involved seems to be this: When you accept an authority as practically satisfactory for the wants of society, you must not throw society into confusion by contumacy for the sake of casuistic quibbles or sentimental patriotism. It does not touch the case of men throwing off a rule which they complain of on grounds of practical oppression. The Jews’ acceptance of the symbol of Caesar’s sovereignty proved that they found submission to him practically better than resistance. Jesus tells them that in that case there is no reason for not submitting.

Last comes the well-known group of texts, “Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God. — For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wherefore ye must needs be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’s sake. For, for this cause ye pay tribute also; For they are ministers of God’s service, attending continually upon this very thing.” — Rorn. 18:1–7. “Put them in mind to be in subjection to rulers, to authorities.” Tit. 8: 1. “Be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evil-doers and for praise to them that do well. Honor the king.” 1 Pet. 2:13–17.

Note first the repeatedly expressed ground of the argument, the statement that rulers only punish men for doing wrong. If any ruler begins to punish men for doing right, these texts no longer support that ruler. The commands cannot be more universally applicable than the statements of fact on which they are based. This is self-evident, and has always been the interpretation of sensible men.

It is worth while, in the next place, since we meet various heterogeneous ideas of “government,” to ask in what sense Paul and Peter endorsed it. The answer seems to be that what they wanted was an efficient social organization for putting down crime, using force when necessary for the purpose. They enjoined the support of a compulsory monarchical organization, as being the best or only thing then accessible to supply this want. But they no more forbid voluntary organization than they forbid democratic organization. The voluntary defensive association which Anarchism contemplates can claim the support of these texts just as well as any other form of social order. It will be “a power which is,” therefore “ordained of God.” Paul’s words are impartial toward all such powers. It does not appear that it is the power’s business to undertake the punishment of all sin.

It remains as an independent question whether resistance to the powers that be, with a view to establishing other and better powers, is forbidden. My answer would be this. Whenever people choose to establish a new power, that becomes the power that is, and the old State is under condemnation in trying to crush it, provided only that the new power is a de facto one. At the moment of establishing a new power, all hostile jurisdiction of the old power ceases. The phrases, “powers that be,” “ordinance of man,” make the de jure relation depend wholly on the de facto relation. Any orderly power that can establish itself is right, according to these texts.

The ad hominem argument, which I used on my first text, applies equally to every text that has followed. None of them can be made to support government without equally supporting monarchy; none of them can be made to condemn a peaceful or bloody revolution to overthrow our national government without equally condemning the two revolutions, bloody and peaceful, by which that government was established. Let any Christian who opposes me on Scriptural grounds put his argument through this sieve, and make sure that it is not as hard on one part of his political principles as mine is on another part.

Another ad hominem argument is furnished by comparing texts on slavery, like I Pet. 2:18. These urge slaves to live orderly under slavery; but nobody now believes that this makes slavery right. No more, then can the exhortation to live orderly under government make government right.

I believe I have discussed all the texts which commonly are, or plausibly can be, cited against Anarchism. If any one can show that I have omitted or misinterpreted any, I will thank him for the correction.

Now, does the Bible contain texts favoring Anarchism? I think so. It is said, Judg. 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” We are not to understand perfect Anarchy, of course; but a condition so near it as to seem like that in contrast to the later kingdom. This condition continued till the people, feeling its inconveniences, demanded a settled monarchical government like that of other nations. Jehovah answered in condemnation, “They have rejected me, that I should not be king over them.” I Sam. 8: 7; 10:19. The argument is precisely the same with which I began this article, that allegiance to a ruler, as commonly understood, is incompatible with the undivided allegiance which God requires. The common view of the State always puts the State in God’s place more or less. To look at the State as the benefactor without which we could have no social prosperity or public morality, is to disregard, more or less, God’s claim to that honor. If pious people falsely believe the State to be God’s way of giving blessings, this no more makes my statement false than the other fact, that pious Catholics believe the saint or the image to be God’s way of giving blessings, makes it false that they are transferring part of God’s worship to the saint.

I might quote much more, if I were as willing to rest my case on doubtful interpretations as the opponents of Anarchism sometimes are. But I will only add that all the texts which condemn murder, robbery, and oppression, necessarily condemn an institution whose essence is murder, robbery, and oppression.

The practical conclusion of my argument is, to Christians, that they should become Anarchists: to Anarchists, that they should not make this a reason against becoming Christians, and that they should make more effort to convert Christians to Anarchism. The reason why so few Christians are reached is that you don’t try to reach them. Christians have been active in all past great movements for civil and political liberty; there is no reason why they should not be now. Their help will be worth as much in the conflict, whether of bullets, ballots, or passive resistance, as anybody else’s.

This article will be read mainly by infidels. I ask you to show it to the Christian neighbor whom you think most competent to give an intelligent and unprejudiced opinion on my argument, and get his opinion, remembering, of course, that open-mindedness toward Anarchism is not to be looked for from more than one man in a hundred, Christian or heathen.

Stephen T. Byington.

A Sample Brick.

The subjoined letter is a sample brick of the Anarchist Letter Writing Corps. As the readers are doubtless interested in the progress of the work carried on by our propagandists, I deem it desirable to publish occasionally a copy of a letter addressed to or printed by the innocent targets of the corps:

To the Editor of the Earth:

A friend refers to me a string of editorial “beliefs” which lately appeared in “The Earth.” I am especially interested in the following: 1) “The present jury system is a humbug”; 2) “Every political party should become responsible and its platform should be in the nature of a contract, and its officers should be compelled under penalty of dismissal for failure to carry out its contract”; 8) “District courts should be abolished, and supreme courts as well; an advisory board should be elected for life (and good behavior) in each district”; 4) “Compulsory education throughout the Union.” All of which satisfies me that “The Earth” is in travail and ideas of importance may be expected. The trial by jury, if exercised as originally intended, would fill the bill. The election of twelve men, drawn at random from a wheel containing the names of the whole body of citizens and given the power to judge, not only of the facts, but the law, and the justice of the law and the nature and extent of the penalty. This would do away with all necessity of courts as now administered, as well as your idea of an advisory board. As to number 2, I would dispense with the services of all political parties. What good do they subserve? Get down your ledger and balance their accounts of good and evil. Why should their contract be any better performed than their platform and promises are now f Could you hope to elect a better class of men on a contract? Why should we elect them anyhow and give them sovereign power over our person and property? Delegating power to strangers and often to persons whom we would refuse admittance to our homes as unfit associates, what hope is there that a better condition can be brought about by changing the forms of politics? A scientist and disinterested observer of social events has said: The most popular forms of government engender the worst forms of politics and foster states of mind that exclude all considerations of a scientific nature. . . Nothing is more notorious than that under the working of our popular political institutions the best men go to the wall and the worst men come to the front. By the very conditions of the case it is the crafty operators, the long-headed managers, caucus manipulators, party intriguers, and brazen, indefatigable demagogues who secure the offices.”

Emerson has said, “the word politics signifies cunning, intimating the State is a brick.” I can understand that men in trade and commerce, desiring special privilege in their line, whereby they may obtain a monopoly or so manipulate matters as to obtain an advantage over others, securing wealth by other than natural methods, should favor certain policies of government which could not be obtained except by political methods. John Ruskin said: “Every grain of calculated increment to the rich is balanced by its mathematical equivalent of decrement to the poor.” Every dollar gained by legislative enactment is a dollar lost by some other party. Hence, justice to all denies special favors to any. Put on your thinking cap, Mr. Editor, and take up our system of taxation. May you not evolve a “belief” that it is unjust to force a man to pay for another’s benefit? In fact, will not a righteous conception of justice force you to a “belief” that all indirect taxation whatever should be abolished? Nay, more, will it not engender a “belief” that any system of compulsory taxation is wrong? What difference is it to me, if I am forced to hand over a certain amount of money, whether that force takes the shape of a highwayman or a tax collector? In either case I am robbed. But how could any system of government be sustained except by compulsory taxation? It may be asked; and I answer, it would no doubt result in some system or institution very dissimilar from any now extant. It would be a mutual aid establishment, a voluntary association. I know that thousands of such associations are mutually insuring their members now, and these are very gladly paying their assesments. Self-interest would soon extend these associations, taking up all the necessary functions of government, rendering the good and rejecting the bad. We boast that our government is of the people and for the people. But, as a matter of fact, it is of the politicians and for the politicians. Your belief No. 4 I must oppose on general principles. All compulsory and prohibitory laws tend to defeat the very object for which they are established. What we want is to remove the obstacles which now prevent the laborer from giving his child an education. This can only be done by denying capital the advantages which it now enjoys. Make occupancy and use the only title to land. This would destroy rent. Let individuals freely compete with government in the issuance of money. This would monetize all wealth and destroy interest. Take from government the right to licence, tax, restrict, prohibit, or in any way interfere with trade and commerce. This would introduce free competition, which would soon reduce the price of commodities to the cost of production, which in turn would destroy profit and retire to limbo the whole shooting match of capitalism, — money markets, stock exchange, Wall street gambling, corners in trade, trusts and combinations, overproduction, inflation and contraction of currency, bursting warehouses and starving poor. Give us more liberty and light, less law and license; more freedom and less formality, a fair field and no favors.

A. L. Ballou.

The Redemption of the Slaves.

  1. Spuller, who was formerly, as a disciple of Gambetta, one of the bitterest advocates of State suppression of clericalism, now finds, as a member of the French cabinet, that the votes of the clericals are necessary to the campaign against liberty which the government is carrying on, and accordingly he has suddenly discovered in France what he calls “a new spirit of tolerance” toward the Church. The phrase, “the new spirit,” has become a bye-word in political discussion, and Rochefort, in the following article in “L’Intransigeant,” comments on one of its first results:

The express train that bears the new spirit and its fortune threatens already to run off the track. Such is the effect of trying to go too fast. To announce that every layman arraigned and convicted on a charge of relations with the Anarchists will be considered as belonging to an association of malefactors, while every priest caught in the act of subsidizing the dynamiters will continue to enjoy impunity and the protection of the government was a little too strong a dose of iniquity and good pleasure.

Now, “Le Temps” declares, with an ease that is full of significance, that the ecclesiastics who have sent post-office money orders to the comrades are not accomplices, but victims. They have been impelled to these acts of liberality, not by love of Anarchy, but by fear of it. Fright alone has driven them to this method of life insurance. They receive subscriptions for the redemption of the little Chinese about to be thrown into the Yellow River, and they use the funds to guarantee themselves against death by explosion.

A little more and Casimir would ascend the tribune to ask an appropriation to reimburse these unfortunates for the sums which they have had the weakness to hand over to the Anarchists in exchange for a permit to walk the streets.

The government does not even perceive the insult which it offers to the clergy in accusing them of having done simply through cowardice what other attribute to rascality and to hatred of the Republic. So, to save their own skins, these men of God would go so far to sacrifice the skins of others as to supply those who threaten them with the funds needed for the manufacture of their weapons.

It seems that the priests, whose only excuses for existence are charity, devotion, and love of the neighbor, would say frankly to the bomb-throwers:

“You need money in order to make your implements. We hold it at your disposal. Only it is agreed that, though you may attack the cafes, the theatres, or even the Chamber of Deputies, you shall spare the vestries and the parsonages.”

We are a long way, it will be confessed, from a certain Jesus of Nazareth, whom the most stupid of legends presents to us as having allowed himself to be fastened to a cross until death ensued, in order to redeem us from “original sin.”

The church has always seemed to us very dangerous to the purses of the imbeciles who bleed themselves to support it. From the moment that it imperils public safety and the lives of citizens there is nothing left but to dissolve it and to confiscate the wealth which it uses so detestably.

Whether it furnishes capital to Anarchy out of sympathy or out of fear, the result is exactly the same for those who are bombarded, and the country can make no distinction between the bombieusards and the bondieusards.*

But saviours of the stamp of Perler and Raynal have entered into such formal contracts with the holy-water sprinklers of the Chamber and the Senate that they have had to become dynamiters themselves in order to save their majority from impending dissolution. Without pity for the wives and children of Anarchists, they basely plead extenuating circumstances in favor of priests caught with their hands in picrate of potash. And they force the journals whose presses they grease to repeat incessantly:

“Yes, it is deplorable, but what could you expect? These poor priests were in a panic, and everybody knows that panic-stricken people do not reason.”

Their patron gave his life for his lambs; they give their lambs to save their own lives. It is quite a different thing, and yet they are paid as if it were the same thing.

And the most curious feature of the matter is that the members of the cabinet now find themselves powerless to break with these celestial dynamiters. The moment they should take a single step against this propaganda by money order, they would be dropped by the forty clericals who fished them out yesterday and who tomorrow, if the contract should be broken, would help to drown them.

They have condemned themselves to perpetual clericalism. Under penalty of immediate overturn, they will follow the clergy even to murder. In truth, society is well defended by these knights of green powder, and we may congratulate ourselves on having fallen into such good hands.

When he proclaimed himself a conservative, Casimir ought at least to have explained to us that what he meant to conserve was his own life and millions, but that for ours he cared not a fig.

* It is impossible to render to English this play upon words.

Appreciation Liberty Is Proud Of.

[Der Arme Teufel.]

It may not be known to many of our readers that Tucker publishes his Liberty regularly once a fortnight. Liberty is as thorough and to the point as ever, but at the same time, it seems to me, more varied in tone, particularly in regard to the splendid translations from French periodicals. Tucker’s linguistic accomplishments alone place him and his publications high above his contemporaries and fellow-knights of the pen. In him it is pardonable to take the latter to task, as follows: “It is very unfortunate that most of our journalists are ignorant of other languages; familiarity with French and German journalism would open their eyes to their own puerility and baseness and make them ashamed of themselves. The few American journalists who read French, gradually and unconsciously acquire the habit of discussing matters in a liberal and civilized manner.” I will add that Liberty, which I should welcome into every home into which “Der Anne Teufel” enters, is the best medium to diffuse the knowledge of that American English language which is frequently forgotten in the din of the vulgar tones of the newspapers and politicians,

The Political Show.

[New York Sun.]

Old platforms removed in a skilful manner, estimates of culmination furnished. On public view, the finest collection of atrocities ever exhibited. Photogravure copies of the beautiful painting, “The Sugar House and the White House,” given to every paying visitor. Don’t fail to take in the new McPherson Automatic Telgram Sender, the greatest wonder of the age. Also the Voorhees Talking Hat. Protection guaranteed or money refunded. Pledges broken while you wait. Highest prices given for cast-off promises. Come early and see the Populist Wolf Show. No extra charge. Woolly Horse and Wild Ass Amusement Company (Limited), Washington, D. C.

P. S. — All obligations of this company will be promptly paid upon presentation on June 82, 1799.

[But where are the Republicans, Hill, and the “Sun’s” “revenue tariff” men of straw? Let us have the full programme.]

Not a Political Issue.

[George E. Macdonald In the Truth Seeker.]

As to the tariff, I still regard it as an act of confiscation. The sort of protection the people just now stand in need of is protection from their protectors, and they will continue to need it so long as the tariff iniquity is permitted to exist. No political party, so far as I know, has taken this view of the matter. It is not, therefore, a political question, but one of right, honesty, and common sense, which can scarcely be called political factors.

Liberty’s Typography.

The typographical reform adopted by Liberty consists in the abolition of the process known among printers as “justification.” Under this new system, when the compositor, as he approaches the end of the line, finds that there is not sufficient room for an additional word or syllable, instead of filling the line by increasing the size of the spaces between the words, fills it with little blocks of metal known as quads, without disturbing the original spacing. In consequence of this, the reading matter does not present as straight an edge at its right side as at its left.

Æsthetically the new method is an improvement, because all inequality between the spaces in any given line and in the spacing of two lines in juxtaposition is eliminated. The spaces between the words remain equal in all parts of the column, the result being pleasing to the eye and serving to facilitate the task of reading. Commercially the new method is advantageous because it is much cheaper, nearly thirty per cent. being saved on the composition, and because it simplifies the work of composition and enables unskilled labor to take the place of skilled. The new method is available for book work and requires no capital for its adoption.

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Liberty’s Library

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.