“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.
Louise Michel is improving her time during her long imprisonment at Clermont by writing a school-book for young children.
From the first plank of the Prohibition platform: “The Prohibition party, in national convention assembled, acknowledge Almighty God as the rightful sovereign of all men, from whom the just powers of the government are derived.” From the Declaration of Independence: “All governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.” From the sixth plank of the Prohibition platform: “We repudiate Americans who hold opinions contrary to and subversive of the Declaration of Independence.”
It is distasteful to me to print in Liberty compliments personal to myself, but the letter from Ireland in another column is so full of information that is encouraging to all Anarchists that I waive my repugnance. “Only two hundred followers of Proudhon in the whole world,” quoth Johann Most. Is it not singular that fifty of them should be concentrated in the little parish of Brosna, County Kerry? If the same had been true of all the parishes in Ireland, the “Pay no rent” policy would have been carried to a successful issue.
A reduction of wages was made in the wire mills of New Jersey early in the year because the increased demand caused by the barbed-wire fence business had fallen away, resulting, the manufacturers said, in over-production. In this case I approve the use of the term “over-production.” Barbed-wire fences are not useful products of industry. The people are kept off the land by them and prevented from earning a living by their labor, in order that a few capitalists may appropriate great stock ranches. The barbed-wire fence is a mischievous contrivance, and has been over-produced.
Liberty’s experiment in publishing a radical serial story proves satisfactory in more ways than one. It affords the editor an interesting study of human nature. Dr. Lazarus, as my readers know, was “thrilled with surprise at its excellence;” another sends ten dollars in support of the paper, but doesn’t know whether he will read the story; a third complains because larger instalments are not given; nearly every new subscriber straightway sends for the back numbers, that he may lost none of Tchernychewsky’s highly interesting novel; and now comes the following protest from an old subscriber in Morris, Illinois: “Please stop Liberty when my subscription expires. I want something more than stories. I can pick up stories anywhere. I am interested in your writings and in many of your contributors, but stories are most too thick. Respectfully, J. Wood Porter.” I fear that’s what’s the matter with Mr. Porter,— he’s “most too thick.” Well, individualism is Liberty’s doctrim and it accepts the results. “Every one to his taste!” as the old woman said when she kissed her cow. I believe it was Goethe who wrote:
One thing will not do for all.
Each one take what he can carry;
Each one say where he shall tarry,
And take heed lest he should fall!
Readers are asked to note the following corrections of errors that occurred in “Edgeworth’s” articles in Liberty of June 28: “Non mihi tantas componere lites,” instead of “Non mihi vanitas componere lites;” “first tillage after clearing,” instead of “first tillage of the clearing;” “Nature, Deity & Co.,” instead of “Nature, Duty & Co.;” “Beckoned to a porpoise, and gave the charge,” instead of “Beckoned to a porpoise, and gave the nod.”
I suppose Beacon Street and the Back Bay would be surprised, if not greatly amused, to hear anybody say that slavery exists in Boston today as an established institution. Nevertheless it is true. The principal dry goods houses have a compact not to hire help from each other or to encourage any advance of salary. The daily papers report that a Philadelphia house sent an agent to Boston recently to engage men, and of course many Boston clerks were anxious to apply. The large dry goods houses sent out floor walkers and deputy managers to stand at the office of application and spot all clerks. The result was a big black list and a number of dismissals. If that is not slavery, it is something worse.
The excellently-written article by E. C. Walker printed in this issue sets forth considerations in favor of isolated communities for reformatory purposes which are forcible and weighty, especially that of preventing, by the avoidance of social ostracism, the constant and serious drain upon the radical forces. Nevertheless, Reclus is right, all things considered. It is just because Mr. Walker’s earnest desire for a fair practical test of Anarchistic principles cannot be fulfilled elsewhere than in the very heart of existing industrial and social life that all these community attempts are unwise. Reform communities will either be recruited from the salt of the earth, and then their success will not be taken as conclusive, because it will be said that their principles are applicable only among men and women well-nigh perfect; or, with these elect, will be a large admixture of semi-lunatics among whom, when separated from the great mass of mankind and concentrated by themselves, society will be unendurable, practical work impossible, and Anarchy as chaotic as it is generally supposed to be. But in some large city fairly representative of the varied interests and characteristics of our heterogeneous civilization let a sufficiently large number of earnest and intelligent Anarchists, engaged in nearly all the different trades and professions, combine to carry on their production and distribution on the cost principle and to start a bank through which they can obtain a non-interest-bearing currency for the conduct of their commerce and dispose their steadily accumulating capital in new enterprises, the advantages of this system of affairs being open to all who should choose to offer their patronage,— what would be the result? Why, soon the whole composite population, wise and unwise, good, bad, and indifferent, would become interested in what was going on under their very eyes, more and more of them would actually take part in it, and in a few years, each man reaping the fruit of his labor and no man able to live in idleness on an income from capital, the whole city would become a great hive of Anarchistic workers, prosperous and free individuals. It is such results as this that I look forward to, and it is for the accomplishment of such that I work. Social landscape gardening can come later if it will. It has no interest for me now. I care nothing for any reform that cannot be effected right here in Boston among the every-day people whom I meet upon the streets.
I am indebted to Lysander Spooner for a copy of a very able and interesting pamphlet, written by him and recently published by Cupples, Upham & Co., entitled “A Letter to Scientists and Inventors, on the Science of Justice, and their Right of Perpetual Property in their Discoveries and Inventions.” The author’s object is to show that scientists and inventors have a right of property in their discoveries and inventions the world over and for all time, and that they should not only take measures to vindicate their own rights, but should see to it that a right of property in all the discoveries and inventions of the past be forthwith restored to the heirs of the men who discovered and invented them, so far as they can be found and identified. So profound is my respect for Mr. Spooner’s enthusiasm and intellectual acumen that I always think twice before disputing whatever proposition be may put forward, but, having thought much more than twice upon that above stated, I must frankly say that I can conceive nothing more unreasonable. Nobody has any right to monopolize a fact of nature. That is fundamental and axiomatic. That the fact that some individual, perhaps by industrious exercise of his ingenuity, perhaps by sheer good luck, has discovered some fact of nature which some one else would have discovered sooner or later if he had not, should debar all other individuals for all time from using said fact of nature without his consent or only on payment of such price as he may exact seems to me too patently false and outrageous to be refuted by argument. Why, if such were the case, and the heirs of James Watt could be found, they would be justified in taking possession of pretty nearly all the wealth now existing in civilized countries, for there is precious little of it in the production of which the steam-engine did not play a part. A reductio ad absurdum, indeed! Every discoverer of a fact in nature has a right to decent pay for his labor in discovering it, and an decent people who benefit by it will contribute their share of his reward, and such indecent people as refuse to do so may be rightfully compelled by whatever means of enforcing justice are in vogue. Further than this, all patents and copyrights are robberies. But Mr. Spooner will answer that this doctrine would strike down the greatest stimulus to invention. Not at all. Unless I am greatly mistaken, the most valuable inventions are achieved by men who work at them less from hope of reward than from love of knowledge and investigation. How much more would this be the case if the great mass of mankind, under the absolute freedom of commerce and banking in which Mr. Spooner and I both so heartily believe, had leisure for something more than the mere struggle for their daily bread and butter! Then nature’s secrets would be wrested from her much faster than ever before, and the world’s wealth would be increased a thousand fold. Free money will secure the rights of all, those of scientists and inventors with the rest. It is almost needless to say, in conclusion, when addressing the readers of Liberty, who are also the readers of Mr. Spooner, that his new pamphlet abounds incidentally in heavy blows at shams and frauds and superstitions delivered in the author’s inimitable and crushing style.
What’s To Be Done?
By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 46.
All that may be said of Lopoukhoff can be repeated of Kirsanoff.
At the present stage of our story Lopoukhoff was absorbed by this thought: How to arrange hos life after ending his studies? It was time to think about that: there were but a few months left. Their projects differed little.
Lopoukhoff felt sure of being received as a doctor in one of the military hospitals of St. Petersburg (that is considered a great piece of good fortune) and of obtaining a chair in the Academy of Medicine.
As for being simply a practitioner, he did not dream of it.
It is a very curious trait, this resolution of the medical students of these last ten years not to engage in practice. Even the best disdained this precious resource of the exercise of their art, which alone would have assured their existence, or accepted it only provisionally, being always ready to abandon medicine, as soon as possible, for some auxiliary science, like, physiology, chemistry, or something similar. Moreover, each of them knew that by practice he could have made a reputation at the age of thirty, assured himself a more than comfortable existence at the age of thirty-five, and attained wealth at forty-five.
But our young people reason otherwise. To them the medical art is in its infancy, and they busy themselves less with the art of attending the sick than with gathering scientific materials for future physicians. They busy themselves less with the practice of their art than with the progress of beloved science.
They cry out against medicine, and to it devote all their powers; for it they renounce wealth and even comfort, and stay in the hospitals to make observations interesting to science; they cut up frogs: they dissect hundreds of bodies every year, and as soon as possible, fit themselves out with chemical laboratories.
Of their own poverty they think little. Only when their families are in straitened circumstances do they practice, and then just enough to afford them necessary aid without abandoning science; that is, they practice on a very small scale, and attend only such people as are really sick and as they can treat effectively in the present deplorable state of science,— not very profitable patients as a general thing. It was precisely to this class of students that Lopoukhoff and Kirsanoff belonged. As we know, they were to finish their studies in the current year, and were preparing to be examined for their degrees; they were at work upon their theses. For that purpose they had exterminated an enormous quantity of frogs.
Both had chosen the nervous system as a specialty. Properly speaking, they worked together, mutually aiding each other. Each registered in the materials of his thesis the facts observed by both and relating to the question under consideration.
But for the present we are to speak of Lopoukhoff only.
At the time when he went without tea and often without boots, he gave himself up to some excesses in the matter of drinking.
Such a situation is very favorable to these excesses: to say nothing of the fact that one is then more disposed to them, one is influenced by the further fact that it is cheaper to drink than to eat or dress, and Lopoukhoff’s excesses had no other causes. Now he led a life of exemplary sobriety and strictness.
Likewise he had had many gallant adventures. Once, for example, he became enamored of a dancing girl, What should he do? He reflected, reflected again, and for a long time reflected, and at last went to find the beauty at her house. “What do you want?” he was asked. “I am sent by Count X with a letter.”
His student’s costume was easily mistaken by the servant for that of an officer’s amanuensis or attendant.
“Give me the letter. Will you wait for a reply?”
“Such was the Count’s order.”
The servant came back, and said to him with an astonished air:
“I am ordered to ask you to come in.”
“Ah! is it you,” said the dancing girl; “you, my ardent applauder! I often hear your voice, even from my dressing room. How many times have you been taken to the police station for your excess of zeal in my honor?”
“That is not often. And why are you here?”
“To see you.”
“Exactly; and what then?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, I know what I want; I want some breakfast. See, the table is laid. Sit you down, too.”
Another plate was brought. She laughed at him, and he could not help following her example. But he was young, good-looking, and had an air of intelligence; his bearing was original; so many advantages conquered the dancing girl, who for him was very willing to add another to her list of adventures.
A fortnight later she said to him:
“Now are you going?”
“I was already desirous of doing so, but I did not dare.”
“Well, then, we part friends?”
Once more they embraced each other, and separated in content.
But that was three years ago, and it was already two years since Lopoukhoff had entirely given up adventures of that sort.
Except his comrades, and two or three professors who foresaw in him a true man of science, he saw no one outside the families where he gave lessons. And among them with what reserve! He avoided familiarity as he would the fire, and was very dry and cold with all the members of these families, his pupils of course excepted.
Thus, then, Lopoukhoff entered the room where he found at the tea-table a company of which Verotchka was one.
“Take a seat at the table, please,” said Maria Aloxevna; “Matroena, another cup.”
“If it is for me, I do not care for anything, thank you.”
“Matroena, we do not want the cup. (What a well-brought-up young man!) Why do you not take something? It would not hurt you.”
He looked at Maria Alexevna; but at the same moment, as if intentionally, his eyes fell on Verotchka, and indeed perhaps it was intentional. Perhaps even he noticed that she made a motion, which in Verotchka meant: Could he have seen me blush?
“Thank you. I take tea only at home,” he answered.
At bottom he was not such a barbarian; he entered and bowed with ease.
“This girl’s morality may be doubtful,” thought Lopoukhoff’, “but she certainly blushed at her mother’s lack of good-breeding.”
Fedia finished his tea and went out with his tutor to take his lesson.
The chief result of this first interview was that Maria Alexevna firmed a favorable opinion of the young man, seeing that her sugar-bowl probably would not suffer much by the change of lessons from morning to evening.
Two days later Lopoukhoff again found the family at tea and again refused a cup, a resolution which drove the lust trace of anxiety from Maria Alexevna’s mind. But this time he saw at the table a new personage, an officer, in whose presence Maria Alexevna was very humble.
“Ah! this is the suitor!” thought he.
The suitor, in accordance with the custom of his station and house, deemed it necessary; not simply to look at the student, but to examine him from head to foot with that slow and disdainful look which is permitted in people of high society.
But he was embarrassed in his inspection by the fixed and penetrating gaze of the young tutor. Wholly disconcerted, he hastened to say:
“The medical profession is a difficult one, is it not, Monsieur Lopoukhoff?”
“Very difficult, sir.” And Lopoukhoff continued to look the officer in the eye.
Storechnikoff, for some inexplicable reason, placed his hand on the second and third buttons from the top of his tunic, which meant that he was so confused that he knew no other way out of his embarrassment than to finish his cup of tea as quickly as possible in order to ask Maria Alexevna for another.
“You wear, if I mistake not, the uniform of the S regiment?”
“Yes, I serve in that regiment.”
“How long since?”
“Did you enter the service in that same regiment?”
“Have you a company?”
“Not yet. (But he is putting me through an examination as if I were under orders).”
“Do you hope to get a company soon?”
“Not so very soon.”
Lopoukhoff thought that enough for once, and left the suitor alone, after having looked him again in the eye.
“’Tis curious,” thought Verotchka; “’tis curious; yes, ’tis curious!”
This ’tis curious meant: “He behaves as Serge would behave, who once came here with the good Julie. Then he is not such a barbarian. But why does he talk so strangely of young girls? Why does he dare to say that none but imbeciles love them? And . . . . why, when they speak to him of me, does he say: ‘That does not interest me.’”
“Verotchka, will you go to the piano? Mikhail Ivanytch and I will take pleasure in listening to you,” said Maria Alexevna, after Verotchka had put her second cup back upon the table.
“I beg you to sing us something, Vera Pavlovna,” added Mikhail Ivanytch gently.
“This very well means: ‘I will do it in order to be in peace,’” thought Lopoukhoff.
He had been there five minutes, and, without looking at her, he knew that she had not east a single glance at her suitor except when obliged to answer him. Moreover, this look was like those which she gave her father and mother, cold and not at all loving. Things were not entirely as Fedia had described them. “For the rest,” said Lopoukhoff to himself, ‘probably the young girl is really proud and cold; she wishes to enter fashionable society to rule and shine there; she is displeased at not finding for that purpose a suitor more agreeable to her; but, while despising the suitor, she accepts his hand, because there is no other way for her to go where she wants to go. Nevertheless she is interesting.”
“Fedia, make haste to finish your tea,” said the mother.
“Do not hurry him, Maria Alexevna; I would like to listen a little while, if Vera Pavlovna will permit.”
Verotchka took the first book of music which fell under her hand, without even looking to see what it was, opened it at hazard, and began to play mechanically. Although she played thus mechanically and just to get rid as soon as possible of the attention of which she was the object, she executed the piece with singular art and perfect measure; before finishing she even put a little animation into her playing. As she rose, the officer said:
“But you promised to sing us something, Vera Pavlovna; if I dared, I would ask you to sing a motive from ‘Rigoletto.’” That winter la donna e mobile was very popular.
“Very well,” said Verotchka, and she sang la donna e mobile, after which she rose and went to her room.
“No, she is not a cold and insensible young girl. She is interesting.”
“Perfect! was it not?” said Mikhail Ivanytch to the student, simply and without any look of disdain; (“it is better not to be on a bad footing with spirited fellows who question you so coolly. Talk amicably with him. Why not address him without pretension, that he may not take offence?”)
“Perfect!” answered Lopoukhoff.
“Are you versed in music?”
“Hm! Well enough.”
“Are you a musician yourself?”
“In a small way.”
A happy idea entered the head of Maria Alexevna, who was listening to the conversation.
“On what instrument do you play, Dmitry Sergueitch?” she asked.
“I play the piano.”
“Might we ask you to favor us?”
He played a piece, and sufficiently well. After the lesson Maria Alexevna approached him, told him that they were to have a little company the following evening in honor of her daughter’s birthday, and asked him to be good enough to come.
“There are never very many at such companies,” thought he; “they lack young people, and that is why I am invited; all the same, I will go, if only to see the young girl a little more closely. There is something in her, or out of her, that is interesting.”
“I thank you,” he answered, “I will be there.”
But the student was mistaken as to the motive of this invitation: Maria Alexevna had an object much more important than he imagined.
Reader, you certainly know in advance that at this company an explanation will take place between Lopoukhoff and Verotchka, and they will form an affection for each other.
It had been Maria Alexevna’s desire to give a grand party on the evening of Verotchka’s birthday, but Verotchka begged her to invite nobody; one wished to make a public show of the suitor; to the other such a show would have been distressing. It was agreed finally to give a small party and invite only a few intimate friends. They invited the colleagues of Pavel Konstantinytch (at least those of them whose grade and position were the highest), two friends of Maria Alexevna, and the three young girls with whom Verotchka was most intimate.
Running his eyes over the assembled guests, Lopoukhoff saw that young people were not lacking. By the side of each lady was a young man, an aspirant for the title of suitor or perhaps an actual suitor. Lopoukhoff, then, had not been invited in order to get one dancer more. For what reason, then? After a little reflection, he remembered that the invitation had been preceded by a test of his skill with the piano. Perhaps he had been invited to save the expense of a pianist.
“I will upset your plan, Maria Alexevna,” thought he; so approaching Pavel Konstantinytch, he said:
“Is it not time, Pavel Konstantinytch, to make up a game of cards; see how weary the old people are getting!”
“Of how many points?”
“As you prefer.”
A game was forthwith made up, in which Lopoukhoff joined.
The Academy in the district of Wyborg is an institution in which card-playing is a classic. In any of the rooms occupied by the crown students it is no rare thing to see thirty-six hours’ continuous playing. It must be allowed that, although the sums which change hands over the cloth are much smaller than those staked in English club-rooms, the players are much more skilful. At the time when Lopoukhoff was short of money, he played a great deal.
“Ladies, how shall we arrange ourselves?” said some one. “Tour a tour is good, but then there will be seven of us and either one dancer will be lacking, or a lady for the quadrille.”
When the first game was over, one young lady, bolder than the others, came to the student and said:
“Monsieur Lopoukhoff. are you going to dance?”
“On one condition,” said he, rising to salute her.
“What is it?”
“That I may dance the first quadrille with you.”
“Alas! I am engaged; I am yours for the second.”
Lopoukhoff bowed again profoundly. Two of the dancers played tour a tour. He danced the third quadrille with Verotchka.
He studied the young girl, and became thoroughly convinced that he had done wrong in believing her a heartless girl, marrying for selfish purposes a man whom she despised.
Yet he was in the presence of a very ordinary young girl who danced and laughed with zest. Yes, to Verotchka’s shame it must be said that as yet she was only a young person fond of dancing. She had insisted that no party should be given, but, the party having been made,— a small party, without the public show which would have been repugnant to her,— she had forgotten her chagrin. Therefore, though Lopoukhoff was now more favorably disposed toward her, he did not exactly understand why, and sought to explain to himself the strange being before him.
“Monsieur Lopoukhoff I should never have expected to see you dance.”
“Why? Is it, then, so difficult to dance?”
“As a general thing, certainly not; for you evidently it is.”
“Why is it difficult for me?”
“Because I know your secret, yours and Fedia’s; you disdain women.”
“Fedia has not a very clear idea of my secret: I do not disdain women, but I avoid them; and do you know why? I have a sweetheart extremely jealous, who, in order to make me avoid them, has told me their secret.”
“You have a sweetheart?”
“I should hardly have expected that! Still a student and already engaged! Is she pretty? Do you love her?”
“Yes, she is a beauty, and I love her much.”
“Is she a brunette or a blonde?”
“I cannot tell you. That is a secret.”
“If it is a secret, keep it. But what is this secret of the women, which she has betrayed to you, and which makes you shun their society?”
“She had noticed that I do not like to be in low spirits; now, since she told me their secret, I cannot see a woman without being cast down; that is why I shun women.”
“You cannot see a woman without being cast down! I see you are not a master of the art of gallantry.”
“What would you have me say? Is not a feeling of pity calculated to east one down?”
“Are we, then, so much to be pitied?”
“Certainly. You are a woman: do you wish me to tell you the deepest desire of your soul?”
“Tell it, tell it!”
“It is this: ‘How I wish I were a man!’ I never met a woman who had not that desire planted deep within her. How could it be otherwise? There are the facts of life, bruising and crushing woman every hour because she is woman. Consequently, she only has to come to a struggle with life to have occasion to cry out: Poor beings that we are, what a misfortune that we are women! or else: With man it is not the same as with women, or, very simply: ‘Ah, why am I not a man!’”
Verotchka smiled: “It is true; every woman may be heard saying that.”
“See, then, how far women are to be pitied, since, if the profoundest desire of each of them were to be realized, there would not remain a single woman in the world.”
“It seems to be so,” said Verotchka.
“In the same way, there would not remain a single poor person, if the profoundest desire of each poor person were to be realized. Women, therefore, are to be pitied as much as the poor, since they have similar desires; now, who can feel pleasure at the sight of the poor? It is quite as disagreeable to me to see women, now that I have learned their secret from my jealous sweetheart, who told me on the very day of our engagement. Till then I had been very fond of the society of women; but since I have been cured of it. My sweetheart cured me.”
“She is a good and wise girl, your sweetheart; yes, the rest of us poor women are beings worthy of pity. But who, then, is your sweetheart, of whom you speak so enigmatically?”
“That is a secret which Fedia will not reveal to you. Do you know that I share absolutely the desire of the poor,— that there may be no more poverty, and that a time may come, be it nearer or farther, when it will be abolished and when we shall know how to organize a system of justice which will not admit the existence of poor people?”
“No more poor people! And I too have that desire. How can it be realized? Tell me. My thought has given me no information on this subject.”
“For my part I do not know; only my sweetheart can tell you that. I can only assure you that she is powerful, more powerful than all the world beside, and that she desires justice. But let us come back to the starting-point. Though I share the hopes of the poor concerning the abolition of poverty, I cannot share the desire of women, which is not capable of realization, for I cannot admit that which cannot be realized. But I have another desire: I would like women to be bound in ties of friendship with my sweetheart, who is concerned about them also, as she is concerned about many things, I might say, about all things. If women cultivated her acquaintance, I should no longer have to pity them, and their desire: ‘Ah, why am I not a man!’ would lose its justification. For, knowing her, women would not have a destiny worse than that of men.”
“Monsieur Lopoukhoff! another quadrille! I desire it absolutely!”
“I am content.” And the student pressed the young girl’s hand, but in a manner as calm and serious as if Verotchka had been his comrade or he her friend.
“Which, then?” he added.
Maria Alexevna strolled around them several times during this quadrille.
What idea would she have formed of their conversation, if she had heard it? We who have heard it from end to end will declare frankly that such a conversation is a very strange one to occur during a quadrille.
Finally came the last quadrille.
“So far we have talked only of myself,” began Lopoukhoff, “but that is not at all agreeable on my part. Now I wish to be agreeable; let us talk about you, Vera Pavlovna. Do you know that I had a still worse opinion of you than you had of me? But now . . . . . . . well, we will postpone that. Only there is one question I should like to put to you. When is your marriage to take place?”
“I have been certain of it for the last three hours, ever since I left the game to dance with you. But why is he treated as your affianced?”
“Why is he treated as my affianced? Why? The first reason I cannot tell you, for it would give me pain. But I can tell you the second: I pity him. He loves me so dearly. You will say that I ought to tell him frankly what I think of our projected marriage; but when I do that, he answers: ‘Oh! do not say so! That kills me; do not say so!’”
“The first reason, which you cannot tell me, I know; it is that your family relations are horrible.”
“For the present they are endurable; no one torments me; they wait, and almost always leave me alone.”
“But that cannot last long. Soon they will press you. And then?”
“Do not be troubled. I have thought of that and have decided Then I will not stay here. I will be an actress. It is a very desirable career. Independence! Independence!”
“Yes, that gives pleasure too. But the principal thing is independence. One does as she likes, one lives as she likes, without asking the advice of any one, without feeling the need of any one. That is how I should like to live!”
“Good, very good! Now I have a request to make of you,— that you will allow me to gather information which will aid you to an entrance.”
“Thank you,” said Verotchka, pressing his hand. “Do so as quickly as possible. I so much wish to free myself from this humiliating and frightful situation. I said, indeed: ‘I am tranquil, my situation is endurable;’ but no, it is not so. Do I not see what they are doing with my name? Do I not know what those who are here think of me? An intriguer, schemer, greedy for wealth, she wishes to get into high society and shine there; her husband will be under her feet, she will turn him about at pleasure and deceive him. Yes, I know all that, and I wish to live so no longer, I wish it no longer!” Suddenly she became thoughtful, and added: “Do not laugh at what I am going to say: I pity him much, for he loves me so dearly!”
“He loves you? Does he look at you, as I do, for instance? Tell me.”
You look at me in a frank and simple way. No, your look does not offend me.”
“See Vera Pavlovna, it is because . . . . . But never mind . . . . . And does he look at you in that way?”
Verotchka blushed and said nothing.
“That means that he does not love you. That is not love, Vera Pavlovna.”
“But” . . . . Verotchka did not dare to finish.
“You intended to say: ‘But what is it, then, if it is not love?’ What is it? What you will. But that it is not love you will say yourself. Whom do you like best? I do not refer now to love, but friendship.”
“Really? No one. Ah, yes. I did happen to meet not long ago a very strange woman. She talked to me very disparagingly of herself, and forbade me to continue in her society; we saw each other for a special purpose, and she told me that, when I should have no hope left but in death, I might apply to her, but not otherwise. That woman I love much.”
“Would you like to have her do something for you which would be disagreeable or injurious to her?”
Verotchka smiled. “Of course not.”
“No. Well, suppose it were necessary, absolutely necessary to you that she should do something for you, and she should say to you: ‘If I do that, I shall be very miserable myself.’ Would you renew your request? Would you insist?”
“I would die first.”
“And you say that he loves you. Love! Such love is only a sentiment, not a passion. What distinguishes a passion from a simple sentiment? Intensity. Then, if a simple friendship makes you prefer to die rather than owe your life to troubles brought upon your friend,— if a simple friendship speaks thus, what, then, would passion say, which is a thousand times stronger? It would say: Rather die than owe happiness to the sorrow of the one I love! Rather die than cause her the slightest trouble or embarrass her in any way! A passion speaking thus would be true love. Otherwise not. Now I must leave you, Vera Pavlovna; I have said all that I had to say.”
Verotchka shook his hand. “Well, au revoir! You do not congratulate me? Today is my birthday.”
Lopoukhoff gave her a singular look. “Perhaps, perhaps!” he said; “if you are not mistaken, so much the better for me!”
“What! so quickly, and against all expectation!” thought Verotchka, on finding herself alone in her chamber after the guests had gone. “We have talked only once, half an hour ago we did not know each other, end already we are so intimate! How strange!” No, it is not strange at all, Verotchka. Men like Lopoukhoff have magic words which draw to them every injured and outraged being. It is their sweetheart who whispers such words to them. And what is strange indeed, Verotchka, is that you should be so calm. Love is thought to be a startling feeling. Yet you will sleep as calmly and peacefully as a little child, and no painful dreams will trouble your slumbers; if you dream, it will be only of childish games or dances amid smiling faces.
To others it is strange; to me it is not. Trouble in love is not love itself; if there is trouble, that means that something is wrong; for love itself is gay and careless.
“Yes, it is very strange,” still thought Verotchka; “about the poor, about women, about love, he told me what I had already thought.
“Where did I find it? In books?
“No; for everything in them is expressed with so much doubt and reserve that one believes she is reading only dreams.
“These things seem to me simple, ordinary, inevitable in fact; it seems to me that without them life is impossible. Yet the best books present them as incapable of realization.
“Take Georges Sand, for instance; what goodness! what morality! but only dreams.
“Our novelists are sure to offer nothing of the kind. Dickens, too, has these aspirations; but he does not seem to hope for their realization; being a good man, he desires it, but as one who knows that it cannot come to pass. Why do they not see that life cannot continue without this new justice, which will tolerate neither poverty nor wretchedness, and that it is towards such justice that we must march? They deplore the present, but they believe in its eternity, or little short of it. If they had said what I thought, I should have known then that the good and wise think so too, whereas I thought myself alone, a poor dreamer and inexperienced young girl, in thus thinking and hoping for a better order!
“He told me that his sweetheart inspires all who know her with these ideas and urges them to labor for their realization. This sweetheart is quite rigt; but who is she? I must know her; yes, I must know her.
“Certainly, it will be very fine when there shall be no more poor people, no more servitude, and when everybody shall be gay, good, learned, and happy.”
It was amid these thoughts that Verotchka fell into a profound and dreamless sleep. No, it is not strange that you have conceived and cherished these sublime thoughts, good and inexperienced Verotchka, although you have never even heard pronounced the names of the men who first taught justice and proved that it must be realized and inevitably will be. If books have not presented these ideas with clearness, it is because they are written by men who caught glimpses of these thoughts when they were but marvellous and ravishing utopias; now it has been demonstrated that they can be realized, and other books are written by other men, who show that these thoughts are good, with nothing of the marvellous about them. These thoughts, Verotchka, float in the air, like the perfume in the fields when the flowers are in bloom; they penetrate everywhere, and you have even heard them from your drunken mother, telling you that one can live in this world only by falsehood and robbery; she meant to speak against your ideas, and, instead of that, she developed them; you have also heard them from the shameless and depraved Frenchwoman who drags her lover after her as if he were a servant, and does with him as she will. Yet, when she comes back to herself, she admits that she has no will of her own, that she has to indulge and restrain herself, and that such things are very painful. What more could she desire, living with her Serge, good, tender, and gentle? And yet she says: Even of me, unworthy as I am, such relations are unworthy. It is not difficult, Verotchka, to share your ideas. But others have not taken them to heart as you have. It is well, but not at all strange. What can there be strange, indeed, in your wish to be free and happy? That desire is not an extraordinary discovery; it is not an act of heroism; it is natural. But what is strange, Verotchka, is that there are men who have no such desire though they have all others, and who would, in fact, regard as strange the thoughts under the influence of which you fall asleep, my young friend, on the first evening of your love, and that, after questioning yourself as to him whom you love and as to your love itself, you think that all men should be happy and that we should aid them to become so as fast as possible, it is very natural, nevertheless; it is human; the simple words, “I wish joy and happiness,” mean, “It would be pleasant to me if all men were joyous and happy;” yes, Verotchka, it is human; these two thoughts are but one. You are good, you are intelligent; but excuse, me for finding nothing extraordinary in you; half of the young girls whom I have known and whom I know, and perhaps even more than half — I have not counted them, and it matters little, there are so many of them — are not worse than you; some there are — pardon me for saying so — who are even better.
Lopoukhoff believes you a marvellous young girl. What is there astonishing in that? He loves you,— and that is not astonishing either. It is not astonishing that he loves you, for you are lovable, and if he loves you, he must necessarily believe you such.
Maria Alexevna had loitered about Lopoukhoff and Verotchka during their first quadrille; during the second she could not do as much, for she was entirely absorbed in the preparation of a repas a la fourchette, a sort of improvised supper. When she had finished, she looked about for the tutor, but he had gone. Two days later he returned to give his lesson. The samovar was brought, as always during the lesson. Maria Alexevna entered the room where the tutor was busy with Fedia to call the latter, a duty which had hitherto been Matraena’s; the tutor, who, as we know, did not take tea, wished to remain to correct Fedia’s copy-book; but Maria Alexevna insisted that he should come with them a moment, for she had something to say to him. He consented, and Maria Alexevna plied him with questions concerning Fedia’s talents and the college at which it would be best to place him. These were very natural questions, but were they not asked a little early? While putting them, she begged the tutor to take some tea, and this time with so much cordiality and affability that Lopoukhoff consented to depart from his rule and took a cup. Verotchka had not arrived; at last she came; she and Lopoukhoff saluted each other as if nothing had occurred between them, and Maria Alexevna continued to talk about Fedia. Then she suddenly turned the conversation to the subject of the tutor himself, and began to press him with questions. Who was he? What was he? What were his parents? Were they wealthy? How did he live? What did he think of doing? The tutor answered briefly and vaguely: He had parents; they lived in the country; they were not rich; he lived by teaching; he should remain in St. Petersburg as a doctor. Of all that nothing came. Finding him so stubborn, Maria Alexevna went straight to business.
“You say that you will remain here as a doctor (and doctors can live here, thank God!); do you not contemplate family life as yet? Or have you already a young girl in view?”
What should he say? Lopoukhoff had almost forgotten already the sweetheart of his fancy, and came near replying, “I have no one in view,” when he said to himself: “Ah! but she was listening, then.” He laughed at himself, and was somewhat vexed at having employed so useless an allegory. And they say that propagandism is useless! Go to, then!
See what an effect propagandism had had upon this pure soul disposed so little to evil! She was listening! Had she heard? Well, it was of little consequence. “Yes, I have one,” answered Lopoukhoff.
“And you are already engaged?”
“Formally? Or is it simply agreed upon between you?”
Poor Maria Alexevna! She had heard the words, “my sweetheart,” “your sweetheart,” “I love her much,” “she is a beauty.” She had heard them, and for the present was tranquil, believing that the tutor would not pay court to her daughter, and for this reason, the second quadrille not disturbing her, she had gone to prepare the supper. Nevertheless, she had a desire to know a little more circumstantially this tranquilizing story.
Lopoukhoff replied clearly, and, as usual, briefly.
“Is your sweetheart beautiful?”
“Of extraordinary beauty.”
[To be continued.]
“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.
Which is the Heretic?
Some time ago one of Liberty’s friends in Jersey City wrote to me asking for the addresses of men in various parts of the country whom I thought would be willing to canvass for subscriptions to “Le Revolte,” the French Anarchistic journal published at Geneva, and suggesting that I keep the address and terms of “Le Revolte” standing in Liberty’s advertising columns. It should be added that he disclaimed any authorisation from “Le Revolte” to ask these favors of me. I sent him the addresses asked for, with this message,— that, whereas Liberty was the first paper to introduce the name of “Le Revolte” to the English-speaking citizens of America and had done all it could to commend it to them by ardent praise and long and continual quotations from its columns, “Le Revolte,” so far as I could remember, had never even mentioned Liberty’s name, that, while I greatly admired “Le Revolte,” and was very much in sympathy with its teachings, I felt that it ought to be a little more observant of the principle of reciprocity in courtesy; and that Liberty would not print a regular advertisement of “Le Revolte” unless “Le Revolte” would do the same for Liberty. My Jersey City friend answered that he would communicate my message to “Le Revolte.” He evidently did so, for “Le Revolte” of June 8 contained the following among its answers to correspondents:
- of Jersey City. — Thanks for the addresses; we shall write to them at once. As for the journal in question, its ideas more nearly resembling those of bourgeois society than our own, we cannot recommend it as Anarchistic.
This result was what I expected, but I propose to examine, nevertheless, how far this judgment from “Le Revolte” is justifiable. Wherein do Liberty and “Le Revolte” agree? Wherein do they differ?
“Le Revolte” desires the abolition of the State.
So does Liberty.
“Le Revolte” desires the abolition of usury in all its forms.
So does Liberty.
“Le Revolte” would accomplish this revolution by armed insurrection and seizure of all existing wealth.
Liberty, believing that the revolution must take place very largely in ideas before it can become of permanent effect in actual life, would accomplish it by starting a new economic organization, independent of the State and in violation of its laws, which should gradually spread until it should absorb so large a portion of our industrial life that its organized refusal to contribute to the support of the State would cause the State to collapse, at the same time not denying the necessity of preceding this by forcible revolution in countries where power is so absolute that the course above outlined cannot be pursued until it has been shaken and weakened by dynamite.
“Le Revolte,” after the revolution, would have all wealth held and administered in common by societies of working-people. Whether it would allow John Smith to produce and manufacture goods and sell them to whoever might wish to buy, and to hire John Brown to work for him for wages if it were John Brown’s preference to be hired, or whether it would prevent these things by force, it has frequently been urged to say, but never has said. It asserts very loudly and frequently that it is in favor of absolute individual liberty, but it carefully and studiously avoids any specific declaration of belief in that liberty which its assertion of common property seems at least to deny.
Liberty, after the revolution, while doubting the advisability and practicability of the communistic life advocated by “Le Revolte,” would stoutly maintain the right of that journal and its friends to live that life on a voluntary — that is, an Anarchistic — basis, and the right of all others to live by such other principles as might seem to them wise, believing at the same time that the final outcome of social endeavor will take the form of a mutualistic organism in which production and exchange will be effected on the cost principle to the exclusion of all forms of capitalistic increase.
Does not the parallel drawn above show that, if any suspicion is to be cast upon the orthodoxy of the Anarchism of either of the journals in question, it will not rightfully fall upon Liberty? Does it not also show that the charge of Liberty’s sympathy with bourgeois life is false, since bourgeois life is entirely dependent upon that income from capital which Liberty would inevitably cut off, not by legislation, but by the repeal of privilege?
Having said thus much, I now desire to reconsider my determination not to further advertise “Le Revolte,” and herewith urge every reader of French who may see this article to send $1.06 in United States postage stamps to “Le Revolte, Rue des Grottes, 24, Geneva, Switzerland,” for a year’s subscription to that journal. Disagreeing with it in some things as I do, I nevertheless sympathize much more than I differ, and cheerfully acknowledge that, in loftiness of tone, energy of propagandism, and ability of discussion, it stands head and shoulders above any other French socialistic journal that I know.
A Self-Explanatory Appendix.
Dear Mr. Tucker:
I noticed in the last number of “Le Revolte” a note addressed to E. S. of Jersey City, calling an unnamed journal bourgeois, and refusing to recognize it as Anarchistic. I understand that Liberty is the paper to which reference is made. I look on this as narrow-mindedness on the part of the communists of “Le Revolte.” They will not tolerate anything but entire agreement with their views. It matters not that the true individualists have the same aim as themselves, that their roads lie together for a long way, till the accomplishment of the revolution, and that after the revolution, the individualists as partisans of complete liberty would place no hindrances in the way of their organizing in whatsoever way they fancied, simply claiming the same right for themselves,— all this matters nothing to orthodox communists, the individualists are ontside the fold, they are bourgeois, and must be damned; and as the next world has lost its terrors, care must be taken to make the damnation effective now.
John F. Kelly.
Newark, N. J., June 24, 1884.
The Blessings of Poverty.
The stolid equanimity with which the average well-to-do man accepts the existing social conditions and the philosophy with which he views the poverty of others are the greatest and most exasperating obstacles in the way of social reform. Last winter I picked up one of the “better-element” Boston papers, and read this editorial paragraph: “An open winter is favorable to the very poor, as they can pick up their fuel while the ground is loose and the weather not extremely cold.”
It made me tingle with indignation at first, it seemed so coldly cruel, so utterly heartless; but, after all, it may have been written by a kind-hearted man in a spirit of pity for the poor. Still, the sentence stands as an expression of the kind of thinking done by most persons on this subject of poverty; and it well illustrates the bourgeois interpretation of laissez faire. “Let things be as they always have been” is the dictum of the comfortable better-element philosophers. In political economy they have a creed based upon the doctrine of the total depravity of society. They believe in poverty as the providentially-ordained condition of a large portion of the human race, and they regard themselves as the elect. Of course they are sorry for the poor, just as they are sorry for those who are unable to shake off the burden of original sin and are drifting rapidly hellward. That poverty is a disease of the social system capable of being cured does not occur to them.
With the benevolent motive of making the unfortunate contented in the position in which they have been placed by an inscrutable but doubtless well-intentioned God, these good people preach the pleasures of destitution, the simple joys of unsatisfied hunger, the ecstasy of want, and piously exalt their voices in praise of the contented mind. The highest virtue in their estimation is stolid resignation to “the decrees of Providence,” as they are pleased to term the consequences of social disorder and civilized cannibalism. Coal enough is mined to warm all the houses in the cities, but it is kept by the proprietors for a rise in the market, while the miners remain idle and hungry because of over-production. There is much coal, these political economists tell us, but “the poor can pick up their fuel while the ground is loose.” An open winter is kinder to the poor than are the laws of supply and demand as misunderstood and hampered by society.
If our comfortable, well-to-do friends and able editors would try to understand why there are any poor and how poverty can be abolished, instead of congratulating the disinherited wretches on their splendid chances for picking up stray barrel-staves and shingles, while the ground is loose, to keep themselves from freezing, they might begin to entertain doubts about the providential origin of misery and want. But let an Anarchist begin to explain to them how poverty can be banished from the world, and they fall back upon their interpretation of laissez faire, and tell him that he must not tear down the barriers until he can put something better in place, as though it were not enough to get the barriers torn down and let men follow unobstructed paths. It is difficult to overcome this stolidity of the well-fed citizen and dull-witted newspaper editor, but it may be done in time. How a little experience in picking up fuel while the ground is loose would quicken the perceptions of some people!
A Hireling’s Measure of a Hero.
In the New York “Herald” of July 17 appeared the following editorial effusion:
A Whimpering Anarchist.
Prince Kropotkine complains that he is dying in jail and prays to be released. He should have taken counsel with his doctor before he wrote his anarchical tracts. There is something inexpressibly pitiful in this lament of a social outlaw. All over Europe his disciples are plotting murder. They are reading his works, and, when their courage fails them, are taking heart by reading them again. And while kings, statesmen, officers, are being marked down for assassination, the assassins’ instigator complains that he is dying “of scurvy and anaemia.” This is the natural end of nihilism. A little bluster, a little bravado, a little theatrical display. Then protests, tears, lamentations, and the death of a dog.
I believe in a certain system of eternal revendication which, for want of a more scientific nomenclature, I am willing to call the law of the moral universe. The man who starts out with a certain internal contrivance called a newspaper and deliberately makes of it a literary brothel is a moral fiend against whom the ruling purposes of associative life are in natural conspiracy.
Such a man was the elder Bennett, a depraved and rotten moral monster who postulated the success of the “Herald” upon rotating lying and an utter abnegation of truth, honor, consistency, and integrity. The lawless and lustful loafer who figures as his son is of nothing so boastful as of the ancestral tablets on which the record is exposed for half a century of where the “Herald” could boldly unsay to-day what it said yesterday, and could traduce, malign, and destroy at random the many victims with whose welfare and reputations it saw fit to sport.
Anarchism is the natural and inevitable provision of Nature for her own vindication against a drift of moral rottenness of which the Bennetts have been among the chief promoters in American society. It is the integrity of the moral universe itself in self-defence which some day, the nearness of which the “Herald” seems painfully to sense, will mark this vile scamp of a Bennett and his paid editorial whores as among the first and swiftest fruits of the revolution.
As for that noble and tender soul, Prince Kropotkine, his very mission involves the saving of such wretches as Bennett from the assassin’s knife through the issuance of tracts and other moral agencies in which a plea for reason and justice is offered to avert a revolution of blood and violence. If the prostituted whelp who for hire wrote the above paragraph would read but a few lines of Kropotkine’s “Letters to Young People,” he would see that his cowardly assault is upon the very man who tried to rescue the “Herald” editorial mob and its chief from the lampposts which are waiting for their necks in the streets of New York.
It is not the disciples of Kropotkine who are plotting murder all over Europe. The true disciples of Kropotkine are plotting reason, passive resistance, and bloodless non-conformity, while simply asking to be let alone in the exercise of their natural rights. It is the desperate victims of a murderous social system which the “Herald” is trying to defend with lies and calumny that are plotting murder in Europe, and may yet be plotting it at an uncomfortable distance from Bennett’s den of editorial liars and harlots if the voice of such moral saviours as Kropotkine continues to be brutally suppressed in dungeons.
Bluster, bravado, and theatrical display are terms which, when applied to the gentle and dignified Kropotkine, brand their author as a cowardly and infamous scoundrel upon whom it is not worth the while to waste any words outside the vocabulary of damnation. Yet Kropotkine would be the last to deny full liberty of speech and press to even such vile calumniators as this. Bennett and his prostituted tribe may yet wake up some morning and find out to whose lot the protests, tears, lamentations, and death of a dog will fall, and cowards of their stripe would be the first to call upon even the whimpering Anarchist to save them.
Liberty and Wealth.
New Harmony: Light.
“The old man paused for a moment. A smile of satisfaction played across his face as he glanced in the direction of the city.
“‘You will pardon me,’ he resumed, ‘if for a moment I indulge a feeling of pride. Never can I recur to the dawn of our long, bright day but the joy of that awakening moment thrills me again: rejuvenates me, so that I almost long for the divine elixir that I may become young, and live my life over again. It is so great and satisfying a pleasure to have lived and been associated with the greatest achievement the world has known. My dear sir, what can be nobler, what aim higher than that which seeks to place the whole human family on a pedestal of power, with mutual respect, a common prosperity, and liberty — that inspiration of all achievement that is great and glorious in human existence — assured to all, even the humblest!
“‘But, enough of this! Let me stick to my story.
“‘I said we were prosperously situated for the winter. Indeed, we had enough and to spare. But we were not idle. We all agreed it was best to put in at least four hours each day at what we might call work. The rest of the time we devoted to study, to pleasure, each, in fact, following his or her own inclination.
“‘One day I said to my wife: “Is it now Paradise?”
“‘“No,” she replied, “Paradise ought to mean something possible for all the world. We get along so well because we are all so well acquainted, and have passed through a common experience, Our trials have united us as one family. But let Tom, Dick, and Harry — I mean the good, bad, and indifferent of all the world — come here, and I fear the whole of us would be by the ears again.”
“‘Something like this had been the thought running through my own mind. So I said to others, as I met them: “Isn’t it about time to consider ourselves and our prospects a little further?” But it seemed to be the general opinion that we better let well enough alone. “Do the thing next needed,” said the same man who had given us the suggestion that saved us the spring before, “and don’t look ahead too far.”
“‘But it happened not long after that the thing next needed was to settle the very question wife and I had pondered. A party of twenty strangers came in upon us, and wanted to settle and live in New Harmony. We had done no advertising: no reporter had been to see us; but these people had heard of us, and came one thousand miles on faith. They wanted to see our constitution. They asked about our principles, our politics, and our religion.
“‘I ought to confess that our happy family was thrown at once into a state of excitement. The old Adam cropped out in a number of ways. The croakers began. Evil days were before us; let them go by themselves, and form a community of their own, some said. This, however, was contrary to all our better instincts, and low prudence and caution soon gave way to a determination to solve the problem of expansion then and there. We needed a spokesman. All eyes turned to Joseph Warden. “Do the thing next needed, Joseph,” I exclaimed. He invited the new comers to join us all in our public reading room. He took a seat, and we gathered about him. For a little time we sat in silence. Then Warden asked the visitors to state their purpose in coming. One of their number replied that they had understood that New Harmony was a place where the people had all things in common. It was Scripture doctrine, and they were Christians. They wanted to join a society in which private property was unknown.
“‘At this point Warden smiled and said: “Then you have made a mistake in coming here, for we have somehow felt from the beginning that private individual property was a real and a sacred thing. I don’t know that any of us ever said so before in so many words. The question has never arisen.”
“‘The man replied that he was somewhat astonished, in fact, much astonished, at such a declaration. But he would like to be instructed in regard to New Harmony and its institutions. He felt strongly that there must be some kind of a Providence in the journey of himself and friends. Perhaps their coming was not a mistake. If they knew just what the people of New Harmony did propose, what they believed in, they could judge the better.
“‘Wife whispered to me: “He’s the man to frame constitutions, and so on.”
“‘I smiled. Warden caught my eye, and looked himself much amused.
“‘“Well,” he said, the smile still lingering in the corners of his mouth, “we are in one sense, my friend, a poverty-stricken people. We haven’t any institutions to speak of. All we can boast are certain outgrowths of our needs, which, for the most part, have taken care of themselves. We have, perhaps, an unwritten law, or general understanding, though no one to my knowledge has ever tried to state it. We all seem to know it when we meet it, and, as yet, have had no dispute about it. It may be said in a general way, however, as a matter of observation, that we are believers in liberty, in justice, in equality, in fraternity, in peace, progress, and in a state of happiness here on earth for one and all. What we mean by all this defines itself as we go along. It is a practical, working belief, we have. When we find an idea won’t work, we don’t decide against it; we let it rest; perhaps, later on, it will work all right. I don’t know as there is much more to say.”
“‘The man was evidently disappointed. Warden’s talk seemed trivial to him. It gave him the impression, he said, that the people had not taken hold of the great problem of life in a serious and scientific manner.
“‘Warden replied that if the gentleman would define what he meant by the terms serious and scientific, they would be better able to determine the matter. If he meant by serious anything sorrowful or agonizing, they could plead guilty; in that sense, they were not serious. If their life was declared not scientific in the sense that it was not cut and dried, planned, laid out in iron grooves, put into constitutions, established in set forms and ceremonies, he was right. They had neither seriousness nor science after those patterns. “But we have,” he said, “a stability of purpose born of our mutual attractions and necessities, and a scientific adjustment, we think, of all our difficulties as well as of our varied enterprises. Always respecting each other’s individuality, we apply common sense to every situation, so far as we are able.”
“‘The man responded that they were not there to question the earnestness of purpose or the practical intelligence of the citizens of New Harmony. Far otherwise. And yet, it did seem to him, so novel was their plan of organization, that it was little more than a rope of sand. There seemed to be nothing binding or stable in its character. In that respect he must say they were disappointed. But for one he should be very glad to dwell in New Harmony for a season, at least. He turned abruptly to his companions and said: “All who are with me in this, please raise your right hands.” Every hand went up.
“‘Warden smiled, and said he hoped their stay would be a common benefit.
“‘There being no public house in the place, they had been entertained at private residences since their arrival.
“‘It was the Rev. Mr. Sangerfield who had been put forward as their speaker. He was a large man with an iron cast of countenance, and spoke with great moderation and precision. Somehow we none of us quite fancied him, but then, he was in the world, as my wife said, and it was our business to be able to live on peaceable terms with all sorts of people. We couldn’t expect our seclusion to be forever respected.
“‘The reverend gentleman consulted awhile with the others, and then rose and said that he had a few questions to ask by way of information. In the first place, as they proposed to settle, for one year at least, he would like to inquire as to tenements. He had noticed several unoccupied houses; were they for rent? That was the first time the word had been used in our midst. It created quite a sensation. In fact, we all laughed. Sangerfield looked embarrassed, but Warden explained that the idea of rent was new to them. The parties who built the unoccupied houses had gone, and anybody was free to occupy them. It would be only right, though, to keep them in repair, and leave them in good condition.
“‘Sangerfield said he should suppose that property left in that way would be appropriated by the town, become public property. That was the usual custom.
“‘Warden replied with a smile that the usual custom had seldom been adopted in such matters at New Harmony. There was no public property.
“‘“Indeed!” Sangerfield exclaimed. “Whose property is this building we are in? Is it not the property of the town?”
“‘He was informed that it belonged to one Simeon Larger.
“‘“Oh! you rent it of him?” said Sangerfield.
“‘“No, not exactly;” said Warden. “He is paid for the wear and tear of the building, and for his trouble in taking care of it”
“‘“Who pays him” Sangerfield asked, “if not the public? How do you raise the money? Impose a tax?”
“‘“We tax ourselves voluntarily. There is no trouble in that respect. Everyone is free to contribute according to his or her means. It is one of the points we think we have scored in behalf of Liberty. And here let me say that all property in New Harmony is private property. Everything has an individual owner, and is under individual management. Everything represents so much labor. We know just what it has cost, and if the individual parts with it in any way, he is recompensed according to his sacrifice. He receives either so much other property, or a labor-note secured by property that has so much labor-value, or a note promising so much labor. Thus you see what we do in all instances is to exchange equivalents of labor. What nature does we do not court in business exchanges. In nature we have common property. In labor each has what he does.”
“‘“I am only mystified,” said Sangerfield, smiling. “I think we better take the houses, as you say, and then live and learn. I think we will promise you for six months, at least, to live here like children at school. We will put ourselves under your instruction. We thought we had somewhat to teach. But it is all based on communistic principles. Here we find you arriving apparently at the same results — peace, plenty, brotherly Christian love — on exactly opposite principles. Instead of having all things in common, you have all things separate, so to speak. I can see at once that you thereby avoid a certain confusion which, I confess, has already crept into our own affairs. We thought, to avoid strife and pauperism, we should hold all things as common property. But this has occurred in several istances. There has been a little feeling on the part of some that in all cases they had not received their just share. A dispute might easily have arisen under more pressing circumstances that would have been fanned into a flame of passion. This friction you seem to escape. If, now, you have also set the limit to individual greed, I do not see why you have not solved the problem.”
“‘At this point we of New Harmony broke into applause, rather demonstrative, I fear.
“‘“If, I said,” Sangerfield continued; “it may be a small if; there may be no if at all. We will wait and see.”’
“At this point the old man said:
“‘You see I am spinning the thing out at great length. Walk with me into the city, and tarry a few days, and if you will be interested in the continuation, we can talk at our leisure.’
“I readily assented to this proposition. The old man rose at once and led the way, taking my arm. As we went along he said: ‘This is no experiment. It is a practical success. What we have done, all the world may do, will do, of its own accord, one day.’
[To be continued.]
Then and Now.
Continued from No. 46.
She Finds a World Without Governments.
Boston, July 26, 2084
My Dear Louise:
Since I last wrote you, I have been trying to solve the problem how these people get along without governments and statesmen. To one like you, so interested in the woman suffrage and temperance movements of your time, I am sure my researches will be entertaining and perhaps instructive.
My very learned man calls to see me often, and we have some very spirited discussions, but, although of course I will not own it, he usually gets the better of the argument. You see he has the advantage of practical illustration on his side. But in spite of the fact that he can prove that the world can get along without governments, he can’t convince me that the people are as happy as they are in the dear old world in which you live. How can they be without the strong hand of the law to rely upon? How can they be without such great and good men as Mr. Arthur, Mr. Edmunds, Mr. Lodge, Mr. Long, Mr. Curtis, and others like them to look after the public welfare?
But when I say this to Mr. De Demain (for this is the name of my learned man,— Paul De Demain), he says, “Bosh!”
I asked him how the people get along without systems of government.
He said: “Five hundred years ago the world found it impossible to get along without strong religious government. The government of the priesthood was the governor of individuals and governments. It ruled states and kings and extended into the household, exerting its sway over all the minor affairs of life. It had, as you well know, such power in most ‘civilized’ countries that all were forced to submit to it or die. You cannot have forgotten how the Huguenots were treated, how the Puritans were exiled, and how they in turn exiled and murdered the Quakers. Have you any doubt that the religious government of five or six hundred years ago was as strong as the civil government of two hundred years ago?”
Of course, I am a reasonable creature, and I was forced to tell him that I had no doubt.
“But,” he continued, “two hundred years ago you managed very nicely to do without any religious government,— that is, without any religious government that had power to control. You could believe the teachings of one man or set of men or not, as you pleased. There was no spiritual government except that of the individual, and that, too, in spite of a widespread sentiment in favor of religious things and forms. Your ancestors who first settled Boston and vicinity believed it was impossible for a people to exist without a strong religious government. They believed that happiness and prosperity both depended upon such a government. But their descendants in two hundred years found that they could live and be at least just as happy and just as prosperous without any religious control, and human nature had not improved to such a tremendous extent either. As you know, thought took a wider range as soon as religious governments were thrown over, and you became a greater, if not a happier, people.”
“Yes, but,” I replied, “as you acknowledge, religious feeling remained, and, if it did not govern with the outward forms of the olden time, it still governed.”
“Certainly,” said Mr. De Demain, “but religions feeling and religious government are things entirely different. One governs the individual through the individual alone (and such government is liberty), while the other governs the individual through the community (and such government is slavery).
“Yes,” continued Mr. De Demain, in a half-soliloquy, “your forefathers thought the same about religious government that your people of 1884 thought about civil government. If it were given up, all sorts of crime would be committed, and the world would give itself up to all sorts of excesses. Murders, robberies, and rapes would be committed daily by the thousands, and there would be no remedy. But religious government passed away, and thoughtful people saw that the world was no worse; in fact, that it kept constantly getting better. People stopped wondering ‘How shall we get along without religion?’ We don’t wonder now how we manage to get along without civil governments, but we do wonder how the people got along with them for so many centuries.”
I suggested that religious government was necessary for the people during the earlier centuries of the world, and that without it they would never have reached that state where such government would be unnecessary.
Mr. De Demain laughed at the paradox, and answered the sentiment. Said he: “You could as well say that it was a good thing for the world to believe for centuries that the Earth was flat. Or you might argue that it was better for the world that the powers of steam and electricity were unknown for so many centuries. It was perhaps a splendid thing for humanity that the art of printing was unknown during the time when Grecce was ages ahead of the rest of the world, but I am sure you do not believe it. Two hundred years ago the world said Anarchy would do for the Millennium. The world should have seen, as we have proved, that Anarchy would bring the Millennium.”
I trust, Louise, that you may be able to find arguments that will answer those of Mr. De Demain. If you can, write them out for me, and I will hurl them at him. He is to explain to me how society exists under individual self-government. I will tell you about it in my future letters.
[To be continued.]
A Politician in Sight of Haven.
By Auberon Herbert.
[From the Fortnightly Review.]
In a small but cheerful lodging overlooking the Thames, Angus found Markham. After a few words he began to pour out his old troubles. Was it possible to act honestly with party? Did it not lead to a constant sacrifice of convictions, or, indeed, learning to live without them? And then was party itself, morally speaking, better off; would not convictions, if simply and straightforwardly followed, place the party that so acted at a fatal disadvantage in its struggles with its rival? Were not politics an art in which a clever manipulation of the electors, and a nice opportunism in selecting measures that satisfied one portion of the people without too much offending another portion, possessed the first importance, while the high motives and great causes to which all politicians loved to appeal were as bits of broken mosaic that the Jew dealer throws in as a make-weight to complete the bargain?
“What course is open to a man,” he asked, “who wishes, above all, to be honest and to speak the truth; who wishes neither himself to be corrupted nor to corrupt the people; who has no desire to preserve any privileges for the richer classes, but yet will not go one step beyond what he believes to be just in gaining the favor of the masses? The common theory of modern government seems to be that we have given power to the people, and therefore, whatever may be our own opinions, we must acquiesce in their wishes. We may dexterously pare a little off here and there, at this or that point, but having placed power in their hands, we must accept and act upon their views. Should it happen that we can add a little semi-spontaneous enthusiasm on our own account, why, so much the better. Now, with this theory I cannot come to terms. I stick at the old difficulty. Shall a man look first and foremost to his own sense of what is right, or shall he follow his party?”
“Does not the question answer itself when stated in words?” replied Markham. “If the world is to make any real improvement, does it not depend more upon the individual resolution to see what is true, and to do it, than upon any possible combination into which men may enter? Is not the great thing that we have to hope for that a man should cherish and respect his own opinions beyond every other thing in life, so that it should be impossible for him to act in disregard of them? What form of slavery can be more debasing than that which a man undergoes when he allows either a party or a Church to lead him to and fro when he is in no real agreement with it? Truth to your own self or faithful service to your party? Can you hesitate about the choice?”
“But might he not say,” urged Angus, “‘the highest truth to me personally is to follow faithfully my own party? I feel that I am doing the best of which I am capable when I act under and obey a man whose capacity and devotion to great ends I believe. I prefer his judgment to my own. I do not trust my own views as regards all these complicated questions of the day: but I have faith in those who lead us, and wish to strengthen their hands in all ways possible.’”
“Yes, a man might speak in that sense who accepts the Catholic theory; who is ready to hand himself over to authority, and believes that he need not solve great questions himself, but may leave others to do it for him. If he slavishly give up the attempt to bring this world and that higher part of himself, his own intelligence, into harmony with each other; if he be content to act without seeing the just and the true and the reasonable in all that he does, then he may use this language, and plead an easy faith and easy devotion in excuse for effacing his own reason and making default, as far as he is concerned, in the great plan of the world. Your words are well chosen to snare a man’s soul, but they cannot alter the fact that you are born a reasonable being, and that there is no rightful deliverance from the use of your own reason.”
“But is not party a necessity?” replied Angus. “Here are two great parties in existence, and is it not a ‘counsel of perfection’ to say that a man must follow his sense of right, and act in complete independence of party? Suppose all the clearer-sighted and nobler-minded men did this, and retired from party, would it improve matters?”
“Have a little faith, Mr. Bramston, in right for right’s sake. More good will come from the best men being true to themselves than from any co-operation of theirs with others. Unless the good man keeps true to himself, you will get but little profit from his goodness which is sacrificed in order that he may work with others.”
“But is not party,” again urged Angus, “a reasonable thing in itself? Is not co-operation a natural and right means by which men unite their strength to obtain certain results?”
“Yes,” replied Markham, “as an instrument, as a means toward a distinct end. A party organized for some common purpose in which men distinctly and definitely agree, in which each unit preserves his own consciousness and volition, is a natural and right instrument for men to use. But you politicians, Mr. Bramston, make party an end and not a means. You do not strive to live in real harmony with your opinions; you care far more to be one of a party to shout with it, fight with it, win with it.”
“But suppose for a moment,” said Angus, “that my sense of right went entirely with the most popular measures of the party; supposing that I sincerely approved of every gift which it was possible to take from the richer and give to the poorer. Suppose that I were Bastian — you probably know Bastian — with only this difference, that I believed heart and soul in what I promised, and so long as these services were done for the people I cared but little what was the exact form that they took?”
“And suppose the party were divided by two rival schemes for endowing the people?”
“I probably should be guided by the wishes of the people,” said Angus, hesitatingly.
“Yes; that is pretty nearly the only answer which is left you. As you have dismissed your own intelligence as your guide, what else can you do but follow the wishes of the people? And now please to say, Mr. Bramston, however good may be your intentions, is this a true position for any man to hold? Has he the right as regards himself to give others the keeping of his intelligence, to become in consciousness as a polype that leads but a semi-detached life in the polype group?Can he really help his fellow-men by such mental subservience and denial of his own reason? Do you think that progress lies before us if we simply exchange holy mother Church for holy mother Party?”
“And yet,” said Angus, hesitating, “granted that men ought not to accept a party programme any more than they accept a Thirty-nine Articles, granted that no man who has freed his mind can take either his theology or his politics in a lump from others, still practically if any Government is to do great services for the people, if it is to educate them, if it is to give them decent dwellings, to improve their sanitary condition, and on all sides to soften and improve the circumstances of life, I cannot disguise from myself that I can do more towards this end by simply supporting the Government than by insisting on my own opinions.”
“Ah, Mr. Bramston, you are introducing a large ‘if.’ You ask me if a body we call Government, enjoying certain honors and rewards at the expense of its rival, has for its object, in all the greatest matters that affect human life, to proclaim a certain number of universal schemes, be it for education, for regulating labor, for providing against distress, or for adding to the comforts of existence, whether in such a case we must not dismiss our separate intelligences to the second place, and simply support the Government against the rival that waits to dislodge it. To which question I at once answer ‘yes;’ as I should if you asked me whether the men who make up an army sent to conquer a neighboring country had better give up their own judgment in all things and be moved at will by the hands of their general. Defeating an enemy and defeating a political rival have only too many points in common; and in either case separate intelligences would be a great hindrance to success. It would be best in both cases — to use the mildest phrase — that they should be disciplined.”
“Is it a fair comparison, Mr. Markham, between what men do in war and what they do in politics?” asked Angus, forgetting that he himself had often compared the two parties to two armies. “We utmost all condemn war and its violence; you cannot compare these with the peaceful methods of discussing and voting.”
“Are you sure,” replied Markham, “that the two systems are so far apart? In war you use force, in politics you only imply force, but it is still there. What reason can you find why twelve millions of men should accept the views of sixteen millions after they have voted, except that it is taken for granted that the sixteen millions could smash up the twelve millions, or as many of them as was necessary, were it a trial of strength between them? You take numbers because they represent force, as conclusive of the verdict in what we call a constitutional country; but can you give me any moral reason that will bear five minutes’ examination why you should do so, or why three men should compel two men to accept their views of life? Of course you cannot. Any moral scheme built upon numbers must break to pieces under its own inconsistencies and absurdities. There is only the one reason that superior numbers imply superior force. The sixteen millions are presumably stronger than the twelve, and therefore the twelve submit without having recourse to practical tests.”
“But is it impossible,” said Angus, “to defend the authority of numbers? May it not be right that if five men differ, the two should give way to the three? It would be absurd to ask the three to submit to the two.”
“Why should either two men live at the discretion of three, or three at the discretion of two? Both propositions are absurd from a reasonable point of view. If being a slave and owning a slave are both wrong relations, what difference does it make whether there are a million slave-owners and one slave, or one slave-owner and a million slaves? Do robbery and murder cease to be what they are if done by ninety-nine per cent. of the population? Clear your ideas on the subject, Mr. Bramston, and see that numbers cannot affect the question of what is right and wrong. Suppose some man with the cunning brain of a Napoleon were to train and organize the Chinamen, and then should lead them to annex such parts of the West as they desired; on your theory of numbers, if they exceeded the population of the country they appropriated it would be all right.”
“I do not say that it is a satisfactory answer; but might not a majority inside a country afford a right method of decision, without extending the rule to the ease of one country against another?”
“On what ground?” said Markham. “From where are the rights to come which you have so suddenly discovered? Do you think that the moral laws that govern men are made to appear and disappear at our convenience? Forget that you are a politician, Mr. Bramston, and admit that if you can plead any moral law as against the numbers of a stronger race, you must be able to plead it equally against the stronger part of a nation, you must be able to plead it whether on behalf of two men against three, or of one man against a million. Either there are or are not moral conditions limiting force, but if they exist they cannot depend upon numbers.”
“Then you would condemn the Birmingham doctrine of the sovereign rights of a majority, and refuse to treat it as the foundation-stone of democratic government,” said Angus. “Bright preaches the doctrine eloquently, but I am continually doubting the easygoing philosophy which assumes that the majority will always be on the right side and will only ask for what is just.”
“I share the common respect which England has for Mr. Bright,” said Markham. “We all instinctively feel that he is more of a man with living beliefs, and less of a politician, than the rest. But can anything be less defensible than his position? He declares force to be no remedy; he declares war, which is force nakedly asserted, to be wrong; but he looks on the outcome of the ballot-box, which is as much force as the orders issued by a Prussian field-marshal, and is only obeyed because it involves the breaking of heads when necessary, almost as a divine and inspired thing. What is the difference between force calling itself force or wrapped up in platform phrases, so long as it has the same self?”
“Then you reject the rights of the majority, and with them the theory of democratic government?”
“I believe myself more democratic than your politicians,” said Markham, “but I reject utterly their view of what democracy is. They have not the courage to bid the people to accept universal conditions, but wish, in imitation of departed kings and emperors, to build anew every sort of artificial privilege, as if such privileges, for whomsoever they are created, ever had lasted or could last in defiance of moral law. Well, Mr. Bramston, the world has lived through many lies; it has lived through the priestly lie, the kingly lie, the oligarchical lie, the ten-pound-housoholder lie, and it has now to live through tho majority lie. These other lies are gone to their own place, and this last lie will follow after them. The law of equal freedom andequal justice knows none of them.”
(To be continued.)
To the Editor of Liberty:
In the able article from the pen of Elisee Reclus which you republish from the “Contemporary Review,” our author, speaking of the various small societies organized by reformers, says, among other things:
Yet even were they perfection, if man enjoyed in them the highest happiness of which his nature is capable, they would be none the less obnoxious to the charge of selfish isolation, of raising a wall between themselves and the rest of their race; their pleasures are egotistical, and devotion to the cause of humanity would draw hack the best of them into the great struggle.
The fundamental error in the above is the idea that men who have become members of such societies have thereby ceased to participate in the “great struggle.” So far is this from being true, that it is doubtful if there are any who have suffered more for the great cause than have those who have attempted the reorganization of some portion of society upon a basis more nearly approaching our ideal of liberty and equity. They may have erred — indeed, most of them have erred — in the methods chosen through which to realize their dreams of a bettered humanity, but theirs has been a rocky and thorn-strewn pathway, the labor has been arduous, the light of hope dim and flickering; the contumely, hatred, and persecuting opposition of the world have been theirs, and small indeed the reward they have earned by their “selfish isolation!”
Most cordially could I concur with Elisee Reclus in condemnation of any movement looking to the withdrawal of good brain and earnest purpose from the field of active conflict, for I keenly realize that there is needed in every community a portion of the leaven of Liberty,— a missionary of the gospel of Justice. But what we most need today is a practical application of the principles of Anarchy upon a scale that shall challenge the attention of the slothful masses. By this I do not mean a large organization, but small groups here and there formed upon the principles of voluntary mutualism, held together alone by the affinity of common interests and kindred aspirations. We believe that all forms of compulsive government are usurpations, that it is possible to have peace and order and prosperity where no man is called master and where Liberty compels the observance of all reciprocal duties by the force of its own beauty and desirableness alone. Theorizing is all well in its place, but practical application of principles is infinitely better. The apostle of Anarchy, in preaching that gospel, is doing a grand educative work, but the man who lives it in a free group of men and women exerts a tenfold power for good. In every department of human activity, in the gratification of every impulse of our mental, emotional, and physical natures, is needed an immediate exemplification of the beautiful truths of Anarchism, of self-government.
In no other way can such free groups be made immediately useful; in fact, it is the imperative necessity for free social life which forces them into existence. In ordinary society the companions and children of radicals are ostracised to the fullest possible extent. Their sensitive natures are wounded at every turn by the stinging gibes and cold neglect of those with whom they are compelled to associate if they have the companionship of their fellows at all. They are made to feel that they are the associates of social pariahs, of men who are at war with the cherished institutions of a barbaric past. There is no outlet for the current of human sympathies which wells from their hearts, save the channels polluted by the filth of superstitions and gross, all-prevailing tyrannies. These women and children must either starve their social natures or drift with the stream of popular prejudices, and so drifting they often — nay, in most instances — carry with them the men to whom they are bound by the various ties that build up and conserve the family life. It is this that has lost to the cause of reform the services of more men than can be easily numbered. It is safe to say that a vast majority of the men who at one time or another in their lives espouse the cause of radicalism are lost to us in a short time because the pressure brought to hear upon them through their families is too great to be endured. They must either give up their progressive work or sacrifice all home attractions and duties.
All this is sad, but it is all true. And the only possible remedy that I can see is in the formation of such societies as those condemned by Elisee Reclus, societies which shall be at once refuges for the non-combatants and coigns of vantage for the warriors of freedom.
Kiowa, Kansas, June, 1884.
Washington Irving’s Opinion of Laws.
[Knickerbocker’s History of New York.]
In those days did this embryo city [New York] present the rare and noble spectacle of a community governed without laws; and thus, being left to its own course, and the fostering care of Providence, increased as rapidly as though it had been burtbened with a dozen panniers full of those sage laws that are usually heaped on the backs of young cities — in order to make them grow. And in this particular I greatly admire the wisdom and sound knowledge of human nature displayed by the sage Oloffe the Dreamer and his fellow legislators. For my part, I have not so bad an opinion of mankind as many of my brother philosophers. I do not think poor human nature so sorry a piece of workmanship as they would make it out to be, and, as far as I have observed, I am fully satisfied that man, if left to himself, would about as readily go right as wrong.
John F. Kelly.
The Progress of Anarchy in Ireland.
Dear Mr. Tucker:
I enclose a letter from Ireland to show you how Liberty is received there. Brosna, from which place it comes, is a small place in Kerry, which is visually looked on as about the most backward county in Ireland. Yet it appears that Anarchistic ideas have only to be preached there in order to be adopted. The writer seems to have unbounded admiration for you and your associate.
John F. Kelly.
Newark, N. J., July 1, 1884.
My Dear Mr. Kelly:
I have received two copies of Liberty of May 17 and 31, for which you will kindly accept our best thanks. I would have written long ago, but really there was nothing of any great importance to be noted. You will be glad to hear that the working-men everywhere are learning to take care of their own business,— never again to be the “cranks” they were. They want more knowledge, no doubt, but, as it is, I am of opinion their demand would have come to the front long ago were it not for government opposition.
All the county conventions yet held have been captured by the priests and the parliamentarian party. Just what had been expected. Working-men of course were not represented. I notice, however, that at the latest meetings held their cause has received considerable attention. It is very encouraging to see how Liberty has been enlarged, and a good prospect of having it issued regularly every fortnight. I presume that Mr. Kelly, assistant editor, is a friend of yours. [Yes, a friend because a comrade in the cause, but unfortunately not a personal acquaintance.] He is a wonderful man, and his articles are among the best I ever met.
We hear something of a great row which took place, it appears, in New York lately,— a fight between Messrs. Ford and Sheridan. I have not heard much about the affair yet, but our Irish leaders (?) eifloy it very well in this country.
We have started a Labor Brass Band in Brosna. Its members are all readers of Liberty. There are about fifty followers of Proudhon in this parish. The editors of the “Freiheit” and weathercock “Herald” might not believe so much, however. But the names of Liberty’s editors will live in their works side by side with the immortal author of “What is Property,” and will perpetuate themselves in the majesty of great memories when it won’t be known if Messrs. Most and Bennett were ever born.
Arguing with a follower of Henry George a few days ago, a reader of Liberty was asked: “Why don’t ye disciples of Liberty — true social and industrial reformers — bring forward your plan in book or pamphlet form like George and others, and show the world that your system is the best?” We give the best answers we can to all questioners, and will continue to spread the best light at our command.
I am yours for liberty and the just rights of all,
Brosna, County Kerry, Ireland, June 15, 1884.
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.