“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.
The man or woman who does not send me twenty-five cents for a copy of “The Wind and the Whirlwind,” now ready in parchment covers, will miss an opportunity of getting the prettiest ornament for his or her library table that was ever offered in the market for that sum of money, to say nothing of the surpassing merit of the poem itself. The ordinary price for such a book is at least fifty cents.
The stupid brutality of the capitalist proprietor is marvellous. In Ohio he teaches the disinherited a most dangerous lesson by ordering three thousand hand grenades to be used against striking miners. Is it any wonder that the oppressed rent-payer regards dynamite as a legitimate weapon for use against the robber landlord? Does the idiot of a proprietor imagine that he can compete with the great mass of mankind in throwing hand grenades, that he sets the fashion of solving economic problems with such logic?
A friend and subscriber in the Empire State writes as follows: “Shall I give you another opportunity to ’study human nature,’ and say my little say on the ‘story’ subject? J. W. P. certainly did ‘cut off his own rose.’ He might have forgiven the story for the sake of the rest. Not that even can spoil Liberty. I mean a story; generally they are especially to be shunned if they have a moral. Yet the one you are giving us is charming. We all know there are stories, and stories. I think whoever fails to read George Cable’s ’Old Creole Days’ loses a feast.”
Lysander Spooner tells me that he is somewhat surprised to find many people whom he had regarded as rather old-fogyish in sympathy with his lately published “Letter to Scientists and Inventors.” I cannot share his astonishment. It is just what I expected. The monopoly of knowledge is an old-fogy idea, and old fogies will indorse old-fogy ideas even when so progressive a man as Mr. Spooner puts them forth. On the other hand, of the people who indorse Mr. Spooner’s views on freedom of banking I doubt if he will find one in fifty to approve his stand in favor of a “corner” in truth.
Imitating the attitude of the Pacific Coast people towards the Chinese, the citizens of Pennsylvania are becoming very much exercised in their minds anent the Hungarian laborers in that State. But these obnoxious people seem to be well thought of at home. So well, indeed, that the powers that be will not let them go away. It appears from the report of the United States consul-general at Vienna that seven peasants of Galicia sold their farms last February, and, being furnished by friends in this country with tickets to take them across the ocean, went to the railway station with their families to start. There they were met by government officials, who compelled them to return to their homes, after which the government declared the sale of their farms null and void. And so it goes. One government forbids certain people to come in, another forbids certain people to go out, and between them all the bewildered individual has a very pleasant time of it. What will be the next freak of tyranny, I wonder?
I notice that the “Transcript” foolishly indorses as sound political economy a mass of rubbish written by M. L. Scudder, Jr. A specimen of the “great, good sense” detected by the “Transcript” economist in the work is this: “Mr. Vanderbilt is receiving a proportionately small and a well-earned part of the profits of the greatest economical device of modern times.” This is the most impudent thing I have had the bad luck to hear from a “political economist” recently.
The British usurers who hold the bonds which enslave Egypt want their interest, and the government, which exists only to protect robbers, has issued orders to the Egyptian tool called Minister of Finance to insist upon the immediate payment of arrears of taxes. This means simply ruin and starvation for the wretched fellaheen. Cultivators of the soil must sell their crops standing for whatever they can get. In the case of cotton the crop will have to be sold three months before the harvest, and at a sacrifice of forty per cent, below the normal value. Poor Egypt is but following the road to destruction over which Ireland and India have been driven by the robber landlords and money lenders of England.
What a splendid battle for Anarchy “Edgeworth” is waging all along the radical line! One can scarcely pick up a liberal paper without finding one or more telling broadsides from his pen, and what he says is almost sure to be the most interesting feature of the issue. The “Radical Review” is just now on the anxious seat regarding Anarchistic doctrines, and is advocating Democracy as preferable to Anarchy. Were it not for “Edgeworth,” I should be obliged to steal a couple of hours from time that belongs to other duties and dispose of the criticisms brought forward by my fellow-journalist, Schumm; but “Edgeworth” has picked up the gauntlet, greatly to my joy, and I shall watch the contest from afar with I perfect confidence as to the result. Meanwhile I recommend the editor of the “Radical Review” to follow the essay by Auberon Herbert now running through these columns, and find therefrom what true Democracy is.
The “Radical Review” favors me with a very pretty and handy little volume containing a collection of articles written from time to time for its columns over the signature of “Wheelbarrow.” Its too clumsy title is “Signing the Document, The Laokoön of Labor, Chopping Sand, and Other Essays.” It deals with various incidentals of the labor problem in a very homely and forcible style, and many of the positions taken are sound. But while workingmen will find many of their own foolish ideas refuted in this book, they will get from it little or no knowledge as to the principal methods by which they are robbed of the products of their labor or as to the possibility of stopping this robbery. The author seems to have “caught on” to a good many of the minor truths of the so-called “science” that passes for political economy, but has not detected its major fallacies. Until a writer has succeeded in the latter respect, he cannot treat the labor question fundamentally. Indeed as a rule, he will say some very stupid things, and “Wheelbarrow” is not an exception. But his plain, pleasant, unpretentious manner of writing is very captivating, and those who send fifty conts for & copy to the “Radical Review, Chicago, Illinois,” will receive in return a very enjoyable book.
Deep beneath the firm set earth
Where volcanoes have their birth,
Where, engraved on leaves of atone,
Are pictured ages past and gone,
Far from God’s own blessed light,
There the miner tolls In night!
Tenant of the depths below,
Working with his pick and crow.
Not for him the painted mead,
Sacrificed to serve man’s need.
Not for him the sweet perfume
Of flowers in their spring-tide bloom;
From life’s early morn a slave,
Earth’s to him a living grave.
First, a father tending well,
Next, a youthful sentinel;
Careful, watching day by day,
Close to keep his guarded way
When his lamp, with fitful blaze,
Tells of “choke-damp” in the ways!
Or, when flickering, it proclaims
Gas is oozing from the veins,
To be diligent on guard,
And with care keep watch and ward!
Tracer next, a human soul
Harnessed to a car of coal;
Last, u miner bold and brave,
Kin to Christ, but Mammon’s slave!
Look upon him as he stands,
Picking coal with grimy hands.
Think, in all this world of strife,
Not for him the joys of life;
Yet his labors, stern and dire,
Furnish us with needed fire!
Is it not for us, in turn,
All his wants and woes to learn?
Is it not our duty true,
His hard path with flowers to strew?
With a shrug or with a sigh
Let the Pharisee reply:
“Ignorant, and low and mean,
Man or beast, or step between,
So he does his duty true,
What’s his lot to me or you?
He was to the manner born,
Let him to his task return!
Man, beware the murd’rer’s sin,
Have you your duty done by him?
He for us has wrought his best,
Let him in his turn he blest.
Sovereigns crowned with right to rule,
Free from despotism’s school,
Here we know no great, no small,
“All for each, and each for all!”
Not forgotten in our plan
Any one who works for man!
Therefore, mark! In such as he
Lies our nation’s destiny;
And, as such our cares engage,
We solve the problem of the age.
And, on basis firm and grand,
Plant the future of our land.
R. W. Hume
A Tribute to an Unselfish Worker.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I was glad to see what my friend, John R. Kelly, is doing as a light-spreader in Ireland. No man in the Anarchistic movement is better able to do such work; and I must express my appreciation of this particular line of action on his part, as he knows the wants of those people, and has the supply. I am pleased to see him unelfish in this most necessary and holy work of dragging my countrymen from the heritage and bondage of savages, who, as Pope said, are wickedly wise and madly brave.
New York, July 31, 1884.
What’s To Be Done?
By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 47.
“Has she a dowry?”
“Not at present, but she is to receive an inheritance.”
“A large inheritance?”
“A hundred thousand?”
“Well, how much, then?”
“There is no occasion to say; it is enough that it is large.”
“In money also,”
“In lands perhaps, as well?”
“And in lands as well.”
“And when will the nuptials take place?”
“You do well, Dmitry Serguéitch, to marry her before she has received her inheritance; later she would be besieged by suitors.”
“You are perfectly right.”
“But how does it happen that God sends her such good fortune without any one having found it out?”
“So it is: scarcely any one knows that she is to receive an inheritance.”
“And you are aware of it?”
“Why, certainly; I have examined the documents myself.”
“Myself. It was there that I began.”
“Of course; no one in possession of his senses would venture far without authentic documents.”
“Yes, you are right, Dmitry Serguéitch. But what good fortune! you owe it probably to the prayers of your parents? ”
The tutor had pleased Maria Alexevna first by the fact that he did not take tea: he was a man of thoroughly good quality; he said little: hence he was not a giddy fellow; what he said, he said well, especially when money was in question; but after she found out that it was absolutely impossible for him to pay court to the daughters of the families where he gave lessons, he became a godsend incapable of over-estimation. Young people like him rarely have such characteristics. Hence he was entirely satisfactory to her. What a positive man! Far from boasting of having a rich sweetheart, he allowed, on tne contrary, every word to be drawn from him as if by forceps. He had had to look long for this rich sweetheart. And one can well imagine how he had to court her. Yes, one may safely say that he knows how to manage his affairs. And he began by going straight to the documents. And how he talks! “No one in possession of his senses can act otherwise.” He is a perfect man.
Vérotchka at first had difficulty in suppressing a smile, but little by little it dawned upon her — how could it have been otherwise — it dawned upon her that Lopoukhoff, although replying to Maria Alexevna, was talking to her, Vérotchka, and laughing at her mother. Was this an illusion on Vérotcnka’s part, or was it really so? He knew, and she found out later; to us it is of little consequence; we need nothing but facts. And the fact was that Vérotchka, listening to Lopoukhoff, began by smiling, and then went seriously to thinking whether he was talking not to Maria Alexevna, but to her, and whether, instead of joking, he was not telling the truth. Maria Alexevna, who had all the time listened seriously to Lopoukhoff, turned to Vérotchka and said:
“Vérotchka, are you going to remain forever absorbed and silent? Now that you know Dmitry Serguéitch, why do you not ask him to play an accompaniment while you sing?” These words meant: We esteem you highly, Dmitry Serguéitch, and we wish you to be the intimate friend of our family; and you, Vérotchka, do not be afraid of Dmitry Serguéitch; I will tell Mikhail Ivanytch that he already has a sweetheart, and Mikhail Ivanytch will not be jealous. That was the idea addressed to Vérotchka and Dmitry Serguéitch,— for already in Maria Alexevna’s inner thoughts he was not “the tutor,” but Dmitry Serguéitch,— and to Maria Alexevna herself these words had a third meaning, the most natural and real: We must be agreeable with him; this acquaintance may be useful to us in the future, when this rogue of a tutor shall be rich.
This was the general meaning of Maria Alexevna’s words to Maria Alexevna, but besides the general meaning they had also a special one: After having flattered him, I will tell him that it is a burden upon us, who are not rich, to pay a rouble a lesson. Such are the different meanings that the words of Maria Alexevna had.
Dmitry Serguéitch answered that he was going to finish the lesson and that afterward he would willingly play on the piano.
Though the words of Maria Alexevna had different meanings, none the less did they have results. As regards their special meaning,— that is, as regards the reduction in the price of the lessons,— Maria Alexevna was more successful than she could hope; when, after two lessons more, she broached the subject of their poverty. Dmitry Serguéitch haggled; he did not wish to yield, and tried to get a trekhroublovy (at that time there were still trekhroublovys, coins worth seventy-five copecks, if you remember); Maria Alexevna herself did not count on a larger reduction: but, against all expectation, she succeeded in reducing the price to sixty copecks a lesson. It must be allowed that this hope of reduction did not seem consistent with the opinion she had formed of Dmitry Serguéitch (not of Lopoukhoff. but of Dmitry Serguéitch) as a crafty and avaricious fellow. A covetous individual does not yield so easily on a question of money simply because the people with whom he is dealing are poor. Dmitry Serguéitch had yielded; to be logical, then, she must disenchant herself and see in him nothing but an imprudent and consequently harmful man. Certainly she would have come to this conclusion in dealing with any one else. But the nature of man is such that it is very difficult to judge his conduct by any general rule: he is so fond of making exceptions in his own favor! When the college secretary, Ivanoff, assures the college councillor, Ivan Ivanytch, that he is devoted to him body and soul, Ivan Ivanytch knows, as he thinks, that absolute devotion can be found in no one, and he knows further that Ivanoff in particular has five times sold his own father and thus surpassed Ivan Ivanytch himself, who so far has succeeded in selling his father but three times; yet, in spite of all, Ivan Ivanytch believes that Ivanoff is devoted to him, or, more properly speaking, without believing him, he is inclined to look upon him with good-will; he believes him, while hot believing in him. What would you? There is no remedy for this deplorable incapacity of accurately judging that which touches us personally. Maria Alexevna was not exempt from this defect, which especially distinguishes base, crafty, and greedy individuals. This law admits exceptions, but only in two extreme cases,— either when the individual is a consummate scamp, a transcendental scamp, so to speak, the eighth wonder of the world of rascality, like Ali Pasha of Janina, Jezzar Pasha of Syria, Mahomet Ali of Egypt, who imposed upon European diplomats (Jezzar on the great Napoleon himself) as if they had been children, or when knavishness has covered the man with a breast-plate so solid and compact that it leaves uncovered no human weakness, neither ambition, nor passion for power, nor self-love, nor anything else. But these heroes of knavishness are very rare, and in European countries scarcely to be found at all, the fine art of knavery being already spoiled there by many human weaknesses. Therefore, when any one shows you a crafty knave and says: “There is a man who cannot be imposed upon,” bet him ten roubles to one, without hesitation, that, although you are not crafty, you can impose on him if you desire to; with equal promptness bet him a hundred roubles to one that for some special thing he can be led by the nose, for the most ordinary trait, a general trait, in the character of crafty men, is that of letting themselves be led by the nose in some special direction. Did not Louis Philippe and Metternich, for instance, who are said to have been the shrewdest politicians of their time, allow themselves nevertheless to be led to their ruin, like sheep to the pasture? Napoleon I was crafty, much craftier than they, and is said to have had genius. Was he not neatly stranded on the island of Elba? That was not enough for him; he wished to go further, and succeeded so well that that time he went to St. Helena. Read Charras’s history of the campaign of 1815, and be moved by the zeal with which Napoleon deceived and destroyed himself! Alas ! Maria Alexevna too was not exempt from this unfortunate tendency.
There are few people whom great perfection in the art of deceiving others prevents from being deceived themselves. There are others, on the contrary, and many of them, whom a simple honesty of heart serves to surely protect. Ask the Vidocqs and Vanka Cains of all sorts, and they will tell you that there is nothing more difficult than to deceive an honest and sincere man, provided he has intelligence and experience. Honest people who are not stupid cannot be seduced individually. But they have an equivalent defect,— that of being subject to seduction en masse. The knave cannot capture them individually, but collectively they are at his disposition. Knaves, on the contrary, so easy to deceive individually, cannot be duped as a body. That is the whole secret of universal history.
But this is not the place to make excursions into universal history. When one undertakes to write a romance, he must do that and nothing else.
The first result of Maria Alexevna’s words was the reduction in the price of the lessons. The second result was that by this reduction Maria Alexevna was more than ever confirmed in the good opinion that she had formed of Lopoukhoff as a valuable man; she even thought that his conversations would be useful to Vérotchka in urging her to consent to marry Mikhail Ivanytch; this deduction was too difficult for Maria Alexevna ever to have arrived at it herself, but a speaking fact occurred to convince her. What was this fact? We shall see presently.
The third result of Maria Alexevna’s words was that Vérotchka and Dmitry Serguéitch began, with her permission and encouragement, to spend much time together. After finishing his lesson at about eight o’clock, Lopoukhoff would stay with the Rosalskys two or three hours longer; he often played cards with the mother and father, talked with the suitor, or played Vérotchka’s accompaniments on the piano; at other times Vérotchka played and he listened; sometimes he simply talked with the young girl, and Maria Alexevna did not interfere with them or look at them askance, though keeping a strict watch over them nevertheless.
Certainly she watched them, although Dmitry Serguéitch was a very good young man; for it is not for nothing that the proverb says: The occasion makes the thief. And Dmitry Serguéitch was a thief,— not in the blameworthy, but the praiseworthy sense; else there would have been no reason for esteeming him and cultivating his acquaintance. Must one associate with imbeciles? Yes, with them also, when there is profit in it. Now, Dmitry Serguéitch having nothing yet, association with him could be sought only for his qualities,— that is, for his wit, his tact, his address, and his calculating prudence.
If every man can plot harm, all the more a man so intelligent. It was necessary, then, to keep an eye on Dmitry Serguéitch, and that is what Maria Alexevna did, after keen reflection. All her observations only tended to confirm the idea that Dmitry Serguéitch was a positive man of good intentions. How, for instance, could any one see in him the propensities of love?
He did not look too closely at Vérotchka’s bodice. There she is, playing; Dmitry Serguéitcj listens, and Maria Alexevna watches to see if he does not cast indiscreet glances. No, he has not the least intention! He does not even look at Vérotchka at all; be casts his eyes about at random, sometimes upon her, but then so simply, openly, and coldly, as if he had no heart, that one sees in a moment that he looks at her only out of politeness, and that he is thinking of his sweethearts dowry; his eyes do not inflame like those of Mikhail Ivanytch.
How else can one detect the existence of love between young people? When they speak of love. Now they are never heard to speak of love; moreover, they talk very little with each other; he talks more with Maria Alexevna. Later Lopoukhoff brought books for Vérotchka.
One day, while Mikhail Ivanytch was there, Vérotchka went to see one of her friends.
Maria Alexevna takes the books and shows them to Mikhail Ivanytch.
“Look here, Mikhail Ivanytch, this one, which is in French, I have almost made out myself: ‘Gostinaia.’* That means a manual of self-instruction in the usages of society. And here is one in German; I cannot read it.”
“No, Maria Alexevna, it is not ‘Gostinaia;’ it is destiny.” He said the word in Russian.
“What, then, is this destiny? Is it a novel, a ladies’ oracle, or a dream-book?”
“Let us see.” Mikhail Ivanytch turned over a few pages.
“It deals with series;** it is a book for a savant.”
“Series? I understand. It treats of transfers of money.”
“And this one in German?”
Mikhail Ivanytch read slowly: “On Religion, by Ludwig,” — by Louis Fourteenth.*** It is the work of Louis XIV; this Louis XIV was a king of France, father of the king whom the present Napoleon succeeded.”
“Then it is a pious book.”
“Pious, Maria Alexevna, you have said it.”
“Very well, Mikhail Ivanytch; although I know that Dmitry Semguéitch is a good young man, I wish to see: it is necessary to distrust everybody!”
“Surely it is not love that is in his head: but in any case I thank you for this watchfulness.”
“It could not be otherwise, Mikhail Ivanytch; to watch is the duty of a motner who wishes to preserve her daughter’s purity. That is what I think. But of what religion was the king of France?”
“He was a Catholic, naturally.”
“But his book may convert to the religion of the Papists?”
“I do not think so. If a Catholic archbishop had written it, he would try to convert, it is unnecessary to say, to the religion of the Papists. But a king cares nothing about that; a king, as a prince and wise politician, wishes piety simply.”
That was enough for the moment. Maria Alexevna could not help seeing that Mikhail Ivanytch, while having a narrow mind, had reasoned with much justice; nevertheless she wished to place the matter in the clearest light. Two or three days later she suddenly said to Lopoukhoff, who was playing cards with her and Mikhail Ivanytch:
“Say, Dmitry Serguéitch, I have a question that I wish to ask you: did the father of the last king of France, whom the present Napoleon succeeded, ordain baptism in the religion of the Papists? ”
“Why, no, he did not ordain it, Maria Alexevna.”
“And is the religion of the Papists good, Dmitry Serguéitch?”
“No, Maria Alexevna, it is not good. And I play the seven of diamonds.”
“It was out of curiosity, Dmitry Serguéitch, that I asked you that; though not an educated woman, I am interested just the same in knowing things. And how much have you abstracted from the stakes, Dmitry Serguéitch?”
“Oh, that’s all right, Maria Alexevna; we are taught that at the Academy. It is impossible for a doctor not to know how to play.”
To Lopoukhoff these questions remained an enigma. Why did Maria Alexevna want to know whether Philippe Egalité ordained baptism in the religion of the Papists?
May not Maria Alexevna be excused if she ceases now to watch the student? He did not cast indiscreet glances; he continued himself to looking at Vérotchka openly and coldly, and he lent her pious books: what more could one ask? Yet Maria Alexevna tried still another test, as if she had read the “Logic” which I too learned by hears, and which says that “the observation of phenomena which appear of themselves should be verified by experiments made in accordance with a deliberate plan in order to penetrate more deeply into the mysteries of their relations”
She arranged this test, as if she had read the story told by Saxon, the grammarian, of the way in which they put Hamlet to the test in a forest with a young girl.
Test À La Hamlet.
One day Maria Alexevna said, while taking tea, that she had a severe headache; after having drank the tea and locked up the sugar-bowl, she went to lie down. Vérotchka and Lopoukhoff remained alone in the parlor, which adjoined Maria Alexevna’s sleeping-chamber. A few moments later, the sick woman called Fédia.
“Tell your sister that their conversation prevents me from sleeping; let them go into another room; but say it politely, in order that Dmitry Serguéitch may not take offence; he takes such care of you!” Fédia did the errand.
“Let us go into my room, Dmitry Serguéitch,” said Véra Pavlovna, “it is some distance from the chamber, and there we shall not prevent Mamma from sleeping.”
That was precisely what Maria Alexevna expected. A quarter of an hour later she approached with stealthy step the door of Vérotchka’s chamber. The door was partly open, and between it and the casing was a crack which left nothing to be desired. There Maria Alexevna applied her eyes and opened her ears.
And this is what she saw:
Vérotchka’s room had two windows; between the windows was a writing-table. Near one window, at one end of the table, sat Vérotchka; she was knitting a worsted waistcoat for her father, thus strictly carrying out Maria Alexevna’s recommendation. Near the other window, at the other end of the table, sat Lopoukhoff: supporting one elbow on the table, he held a cigar in his hand, and had thrust the other hand into his pocket; between him and Vérotchka was a distance of two arckines,**** if not more. Vérotchka looked principally at her knitting, and Lopoukhoff looked principally at his cigar. A disposition of affairs calculated to tranquilize.
And this is what she heard:
. . . “And is it thus, then, that life must be regarded?” Such were the first words that reached the ears of Maria Alexevna.
“Yes, Véra Pavlovna, precisely thus.”
“Practical and cold men are therefore right in saying that man is governed exclusively by self-interest?”
“They are right. What are called elevated sentiments, ideal aspirations,— all that, in the general course of affairs, is absolutely null, and is eclipsed by individual interest; these very sentiments are nothing but self-interest clearly understood.”
“But you. for example,— are you too thus governed?”
“How else should I be, Véra Pavlovna? Just consider what is the essential motive of my whole life. The essential business of my life so far has consisted in study; I was preparing to be a doctor. Why did my father send me to college? Over and over again he said to me: ‘Learn, Mitia; when you have learned, you will become an office-holder; you will support us, myself and your mother, and you will be comfortable yourself.’ That, then, was why I studied; if they had not had that interest in view, my father would not have sent me to school: the family needed a laborer. Now,for my part, although science interests me now, I should not have spent so much time upon it if I had not thought that this expense would be largely rewarded. My studies at college were drawing to an end; I influenced my father to allow me to enter the Academy of Medicine instead of becoming an office-holder. How did that happen? We saw, my father and I, that doctors live much better than government functionaries and heads of bureaus, above whom I could not expect to rise. That is the reason why I entered the Academy,— the hope of a bigger piece of bread. If I had not had that interest in view, I should not have entered.”
“But you liked to learn at college, and the medical sciences attracted you?”
“Yes. But that is ornamental; it helps in the achievement of success; but success is ordinarily achieved without it; never without interest as a motive. Love of science is only a result; the cause is self-interest.”
“Admit that you are right. All the actions that I understand can be explained by self-interest. But this theory seems to me very cold.”
“Theory in itself should be cold. The mind should judge things coldly.”
“But it is pitiless.”
“For senseless and mischievous fancies.”
“It is very prosaic.”
“The poetic form is not suited to science.”
“So this theory, which I do not see my way to accept, condemns men to a cold, pitiless, prosaic life?”
“No, Véra Pavlovna: this theory is cold, but it teaches man to procure warmth. Matches are cold, the side of the box against which we scratch them is cold, fagots are cold; but the fire which prepares warm nourishment for man and keeps him warm none the less springs from them; this theory is pitiless, but by following it men cease to be wretched objects of the compassion of the idle. The lancet must not yield; otherwise it would be necessary to pity the patient, who would be none the better for our compassion. This theory is prosaic, but it reveals the real motives of life; now, poetry is in the truth of life. Why is Shakspere a very great poet? Because he has sounded remoter depths of life than other poets.”
“Well, I too shall be pitiless, Dmitry Serguéitch,” said Vérotchka, smiling; “do not flatter yourself with the idea that you have had in me an obstinate opponent of your theory of self-interest, and that now you have gained a new disciple. For my part, I thought so long before I ever heard of you or read your book. But I believed that these thoughts were my own, and that the wise and learned thought differently; that is why my mind hesitated. All that I read was contrary to what went on within me and made my thought the object of blame and sarcasm. Nature, life, intelligence lead one way; books lead another, saying: This is bad, that is base. Do you know, the objections which I have raised seemed to me a little ridiculous.”
“They are indeed ridiculous, Véra Pavlovna.”
“But,” said she, laughing, “we are paying each other very pretty compliments. On one side: Be not so proud, if you please, Dmitry Serguéitch. On the other: You are ridiculous with your doubts, Véra Pavlovna!”
“Ah! Yes!” said he, smiling also, “we have no interest in being polite to each other, and so we are not.”
“Good, Dmitry Serguéitch; men are egoists, are they not? There, you have talked about yourself; now I wish to talk a little about myself.”
“You are perfectly right; every one thinks of himself first.”
“See if I do not entrap you in putting some questions to you about myself.”
“So be it.”
“I have a rich suitor. I do not like him. Should I accept his proposal?”
“Calculate that which is the most useful to you.”
“That which is the most useful to me? You know I am poor enough. On the one hand, lack of sympathy with the man; on the other, domination over him, an enviable position in society, money, a multitude of adorers.”
“Weigh all considerations, and choose the course most advantageous for you.”
“And if I should choose the husband’s wealth nd a multitude of adorers?”
“I shall say that you have chosen that which seemed to you most in harmony with your interests.”
“And what will it be necessary to say of me?”
“If you have acted in cold blood, after reasonable deliberation upon the whole subject, it will be necessary to say that you have acted in a reasonable manner, and that you probably will not complain.”
“But will not my choice deserve blame?”
“People who talk nonsense may say what they will; but people who have a correct idea of life will say that you have acted as you had to act; if your action is such and such, that means that you are such an individual that you could not act otherwise under the circumstances; they will say that your action was dictated by the force of events, and that you had no other choice.”
“And no blame will be cast upon my actions?”
“Who has a right to blame the consequences of a fact, if the fact exists? Your person under given circumstances is a fact; your actions are the necessary consequences of this fact, consequences arising from the nature of things. You are not responsible for them; therefore, to blame them would be stupid.”
“So you do not recoil from the consequences of your theory. Then, I shall not deserve your blame, if I accept my suitor’s proposal?”
“I should be stupid to blame you.”
“So I have permission, perhaps even sanction, perhaps even direct advice to take the action of which I speak?”
“The advice is always the same: calculate that which is useful to you; provided you follow this advice, you will be sanctioned.”
“I thank you. Now, my personal matters are settled. Let us return to the general question with which we started. We began with the proposition that man acts by the force of events, that his actions are determined by the influences under which they occur. If stronger influences overcome others, that shows that we have changed onr reasoning; when the action is one of real importance, the motives are called interest and their play in man a combination or calculation of interests, and consequently man always acts by reason of his interest. Do I sum up your ideas correctly?”
“See what a good scholar I am. Now this special question concerning actions of real importance is exhausted. But in regard to the general question some difficulties yet remain. Your book says that man acts from necessity. But there are cases where it depends upon my good pleasure whether I act in one way or another. For example, in playing, I turn the leaves of my music book; sometimes I turn them with the left hand, sometimes with the right. Suppose, now, that I turn with the right hand; might I not have turned them with the left? Does not that depend on my good pleasure?”
“No, Véra Pavlovna; if you turn without thinking about it, you turn with the hand which it is more convenient for you to use. There is no good pleasure in that. But if you say: ‘I am going to turn with the right hand,’ you will turn with the right hand under the influence of that idea; now that idea sprang not from your good pleasure, but necessarily from another thought.”
Here Maria Alexevna stopped listening.
“Now they are going into learned questions; those are not what I am after, and furthermore I care nothing about them. What a wise, positive, I might say noble, .young man! What prudent rules he instils in Vérotchka’s mind! That is what a learned man can do: when I say these things, she does not listen, she is offended; she is very obstinate with me, because I cannot speak in a learned way. But when he speaks in this way, she listens, sees that he is right, and admits it. Yes, it is not for nothing that they say: ‘Knowledge is light, and ignorance darkness.’***** If I were a learned woman, should we be where we are? I should have lifted my husband to the rank of general; I should have obtained a position for him in the quartermaster’s or some similar department; I should have made the contracts myself, for that is no business for him; he is too stupid. Would I have built such a house as this? I would have bought more than a thousand lives.
“As it is I cannot do it.
“One must first appear in the society of generals in a favorable light,— and I, how could I appear in a favorable light? I do not speak French!
“They would say: ‘She has no manners; she is fit only to bandy insults on the Place Sennaia.’ And they would be right. Ignorance is darkness. Knowledge is light. The proverb is a true one.”
This conversation, to which Maria Alexevna had listened, produced in her, then, the definitive conviction that the interviews between the two young people were not only not dangerous to Vérotchka (she had been of that opinion for some time), but that they would be even useful to her in inducing her to abandon, as her mother desired, the foolish ideas which she had adopted as an inexperienced girl, and in thus hastening her marriage to Mikhail Ivanytch.
The attitude of Maria Alexevna towards Lopoukhoff is not without a certain comic side, and Maria Alexevna is represented here under a somewhat ridiculous light. But really it is against my will that things present themselves in this aspect. If I had seen fit to act in accordance with the rules of what we call art, I should have carefully glided over these incidents which give the romance a tinge of the vaudeville. To hide them would have been easy. The general progress of the story might well be explained without them. What would there have been astonishing if the teacher had had opportunities (without entering into relations with Maria Alexevna) to talk, were it only rarely and a little at a time, with the young girl, in the family where he gave lessons? Is it necessary to talk a great deal to make love spring up and grow? Maria Alexevna’s aid has been wholly unnecessary to the results that have followed the meeting of the two young people. But I tell this story, not to win a reputation as a man of talent, but just as it happened. As a novelist, I am sorry to have written a few pages that touch the level of the comic.
[To be continued*]
* Gostinaia is the Russian equivalent of the French word salon, meaning drawing-room primarily, and derivatively fashionable society.
** Series-paper-money at interest. The book was Considérant’s “Social Destiny.”
*** Ludwig Feuerbach, whom the officer in his simplicity had identified with Louis XIV.
**** Two and one-third feet.
***** A Russian proverb.
“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.
A Greenbacker in a Corner.
To the Editor of Liberty:
In Liberty of June 28 you refer to a writer in the “Essex Statesman,” of whom you say that he “gets down to bottom truth” on the tariff question by averring that “Free Money” and “Free Trade” are corollaries of each other.
Every Greenbacker (I am one) of brains perceived this simple (I might say axiomatic) doctrine the moment he thought at all on it.
Monopoly of money is through interest; monopoly of trade is through taxing (tariffs): so, if you would overthrow all monopoly, you have only to secure currency unloaded with interest, and their doom is recorded.
There is no more rational reformer in existence than the “Greenbacker” who is a Greenbacker in the only rational sense of the word,— that is, a believer in “a non-interest-bearing currency.”
It is amusing, this prating of “secured money”! Liberty ought to see that a currency “based” on any “security” other than its inherent function and non-discountableness would rob those who used it.
If the whole community co-operate in its issue and use, and “fix” no limit to its quantity or use, such currency would be perfect as to all qualities, and rob none; and such money is “full legal tender” under any name you choose to label it.
As I have taught this doctrine for more than ten years. I hope you will give a corner to this brief “brick” in Liberty.
Wells Mills (Geere), Nebraska, July, 1884.
I have given Mr. Benton his “corner,” and I think he will have difficulty in getting out of it. Let me suppose a case for him. A is a farmer, and owns a farm worth five thousand dollars. B keeps a bank of issue, and is known far and wide as a cautious and honest business man. C, D, E, &c., down to Z are each engaged in some one of the various pursuits of civilized life. A needs ready money. He mortgages his farm to B, and receives in return B’s notes, in various denominations, to the amount of five thousand dollars, for which B charges A this transaction’s just proportion of the expenses of running the bank, which would be a little less than one-half of one per cent. With these notes A buys various products which he needs of C, D, E, &c., down to Z, who in turn with the same notes buy products of each other and in course of time come back to A with them to buy his farm produce. A, thus regaining possession of B’s notes, returns them to B, who then cancels his mortgage on A’s farm. All these parties, from A to Z, have been using for the performance of innumerable transactions B’s notes based on A’s farm,— that is, a currency based on some security “other than its inherent function and non-discountableness.” They were able to perform them only because they all knew that the notes were thus secured. A knew it because he gave the mortgage; B knew it because he took the mortgage; C, D, E, &c., down to Z knew it because they knew that B never issued notes unless they were secured in this or some similar way. Now, Liberty is ready to see, as Mr. Benton says it ought to see, that any or all of these parties have been robbed by the use of this money when Mr. Benton shall demonstrate it by valid fact and argument. Until then he must stay in his corner.
A word as to the phrase “legal tender.” That only is legal tender which the government prescribes as valid for the discharge of debt. Any currency not so prescribed is not legal tender, no matter how universal its use or how unlimited its issue, and to label it so is a confusion of terms.
Another word as to the term “Greenbacker.” He is a Greenbacker who subscribes to the platform of the Greenback party. The cardinal principle of that platform is that the government shall monopolize the manufacture of money, and that any one who, in rebellion against that sacred prerogative, may presume to issue currency on his own account shall therefor be taxed, or fined, or imprisoned, or hanged, or drawn and quartered, or submitted to any other punishment or torture which the government, in pursuit and exercise of its good pleasure, may see fit to impose upon him. Unless Mr. Benton believes in that, he is not a Greenbacker. And I am sure I am not, although, with Mr. Benton, I believe in a non-interest-bearing currency.
Worse and Worse.
It is well, perhaps, that my collaborator, “X.,” before administering to James Gordon Bennett, Jr., for his shameful and cowardly abuse of Kropotkine in prison, the deserved castigation that appeared in the last number of Liberty, did not see the letter written by Kropotkine which occasioned the editorial in Mr. Bennett’s “Herald.” Had it met his eye in season, I fear his violence (somewhat immoderate I thought at first) would have become virulence, and not inexcusably either. That he and others may now appreciate the real enormity of the “Herald’s” offence against truth and decency, I give below in parallel columns Kropotkine’s “whimper” and what the “Herald” said about it:
From the London “Times.”
A correspondent sends us the following extract from a letter received from Prince Kropotkine:
“I have not written to you all this time because I was compelled to write for the ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica,’ with which I was in arrear on account of my illness; and I did not answer your question about my setting free because I know nothing about it. You know my opinion as to this. I submit to the force that rules, instead of right, and nothing more. I did not try to escape when I was the arrest of my co-religionists, but remained quietly at Thonon. It is not my habit to avoid any responsibilities that may devolve upon me. When brought before the Court I did not defend myself — merely spoke out my opinions. When pressed to apppeal I frankly refused, saying that I would never ask justice from any Court whatever. So also I shall never attempt to being those who govern us to more reasonable opinions. I know nothing about my liberation beyond what is said in the newspapers, which my wife may read here. And these say that though the Commission has proposed to set me free, M. Jules Ferry personally opposed it.
“My own opinion is that so long as M. Ferry governs France, and the reports of his secret police are considered the best sources of information, we have merely to stay quietly at Clairvanx and do our best not to die of anemia and scurvy. My health is slowly improving; the acute phase of scurvy is passing away, and I feel my strength gradually returning. Accustomed in former times to work ten and twelve hours a day, I now esteem myself happy when I can write throughout a week two hours a day. If I do more, my qums begin to bleed again; they swell, and a fluxion of all the tissues in the mouth sets in. These continued swellings have produced alvéolo-périostite, and the doctors fear (I may have) ostéo-périostite. At any rate, my teeth are all dropping out. Last week I pushed out with my tongue a great canine tooth, quite sound, and the doctor says I shall lose in the same way all four teeth, which are also quite sound.
“However, autumn being near, my health may improve, and if no complications come, it may continue so until toward the end of winter, when the scurvy will come on again worse than ever. But all this is a bagatelle. We are so happy, my wife and myself, that we can work together for several hours per day, that we think and speak more about our literary undertakings than about other things.”
From the New York “Herald.”
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 anemia.” 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.
Wilful ignorance and unspeakable malice find their lowest depth in the words of the “Herald” quoted above. It is not necessary that I should know the writer of such a thing to confidently declare that he is a knavish fool. If he does not know that Prince Kropotkine has done more to increase the common store of knowledge of the world than all the kings, statesmen, and officers of whom he speaks, it is because he is too stupid to read. But mere stupidity does not explain his false representation of the character of Kropotkine’s works. Deliberate mendacity and malicious intent are his only excuses. He rejoices in the sufferings of one whose life has been devoted to the noblest works and hopes that he will “die like a dog.” He knows nothing about the anarchical writings of Kropotkine, and yet he says they teach assassination, and he gloats like a ghoul over the prospects of a fellowman’s death by scurvy. The “natural end of nihilism,” he calls this rotting to death in a prison. Poor, contemptible, editorial fool! Fortunate for him and for all knaves and dastards, if the system of authority, of which Prince Kropotkine is a victim, shall come to a natural end, and not go down amid flame and tumult.
The Ballot as a Substitute for Brains.
Liberty sees no emancipation for the wage-working people of this country, until they get over the political craze. It is the jackass in their path which they ignorantly believe they must fall down and worship. They must learn to think. They don’t think; they don’t want to think. They let their minds run in the groove of habit, and imagine they are doing some tall thinking in a practical direction. They seem to say: “Now let us do something for ourselves. Let us take our grievances and cast them all into the ballot box. Then we’ll wake up some fine morning, and find that our wrongs are all righted and we are in clover.”
But I am told that this is unfair. The workingman votes for some well-understood practical reform. For instance, a workingman said to me: “We propose to limit the income of capitalists, and force them into sharing with us the profits. What we ask is a fair share of the profits.”
“A fair share!” said I. “How do you know what a fair share is?”
“Ah! that is hard to tell; but some profits would be better than none.”
Nor would he consider the question long enough to arrive at any idea beyond this: form a party, elect a congress of your own, and it will settle what a fair share is. That is, he refused to think; he could do better; he could vote, and elect some one to do his thinking for him. Yet all the time he was saying of the men already voted into office that they may think and act for the people, “What a set of damned rascals and thieves the politicians be!” But, oh, the men he would vote for would not be “either thieves or politicians; they would be honest men,— all; all honest, honorable men.” I told him he was shiftless, lazy, stupid. It was his business to do his own thinking until he arrived at definite conclusions, and then, if he wanted any assistance in carrying those conclusions into practical life, it would be time enough to call on others for assistance. For instance, what ground had he to ask his employer for a share of his profits, little or large? He hadn’t the slightest rational conception of the situation. He didn’t know that his employer was cheating him: he only guessed so. “Of course,” he said, “he has a right to be recompensed for the use of his capital, but he takes too much,— so much I can’t well live.” The “fair share” he was after was so much as would let him live in accordance with his desire. If he could only get a law passed to that effect! Foolish fellow! Foolish workingmen! If you have any rights you ought to be able to state them to your “bosses,”— the capitalists who are defrauding you. You should be able to run the line and show your employers in precise terms what your claim is. Now you measure all things by the size of your bellies. What is the response? “Your bellies be damned. Get smaller ones.” No, your fair sham is the just share, not of profits, but of the wealth produced. To find out that, you have got to do some thinking. All the legislatures this side the kingdom won’t help you. You must cudgel your own brains, and not go on shirking the responsibilities of freemen.
If ye are men, arise, think, and be free!
Morality and Purity Cranks.
When the spiritual soil of a human being is of such composition that bigotry and hypocrisy are native growths, it is immaterial what creed, doctrine, or system of religious thought he or she may happen to subscribe to. Even though such people publish themselves as agnostics, liberals, or Free Religionists, the essential instinct of spiritual despotism undergoes no further transformation than an added load of falsehood and deceit.
When such natural bigots secede from Orthodoxy and become advanced Unitarians or Free Religionists, the original Puritanic virus which formerly expended itself in Sunday-school gush and prayer-meeting conundrums is obliged to seek an outlet somewhere, and upon material too that is eminently respectable, as an atonement for the secession from Orthodoxy.
This most respectable, convenient, and accessible outlet is found in what they call “morality” coupled with that ever-present auxiliary, “purity.” Of course it never occurs to them that morality and purity are unknown quantities, alone answerable to the tribunal of the individual judgment and conscience. With cool effrontery they set up standards, ways, and methods of conduct, and then simper, scold, and dictate over other people’s ways and walks in life, while they never forget to inflict whatever penalties of social ostracism lie within their power to execute upon people who morally choose to mind their own business.
My reflections are called to this subject by a recent communication of Mrs. Elizabeth B. Chace of Valley Falls, R. I., to the Providence “Journal,” calling for the suppression of a lately established show in that city. Not belonging to the order of moral cranks and having long ago turned my back upon their standards of respectability, I thought I would visit the show (a species of fairness which Mrs. Chace would not be guilty of) and see whereof the shocking immoralities consisted. In this high ethical principle of always scoring your fun out of any newly-discovered smut before going for it, I am sustained by the practice of a no less eminent moral authority than Anthony Comstock, the great American ethicus and defender of purity.
I found the show-place to be simply a capacious tent stretched upon a half-acre lot and filled, outside of the stage, with rows of seats, after the manner of an ordinary circus. Here some fifteen hundred people were gathered not a few of whom were refined looking ladies. Mrs. Chace, in her communication, whines over the fact that the victims of this immoral show aro chiefly young working people who are obliged to remain in the city through the Summer. Yet Mrs. Chace is one of the most prominent factory operators in the State. Her tenement houses are said to even outshame Fall River, while it is the uniform testimony of factory operatives that her mills are among the most despotic and poverty-breeding to be found in New England.
If Mrs. Chace had been generous enough to have visited the show in person, she would have heard it explained in a touching song from the stage entitled: “I’m but a poor working girl,” why these people were obliged to stay in the city all Summer, while such as she can rusticate and recuperate upon their earnings, and why also they were obliged to patronize a ten-cent show. Nearly every piece brought out on the stage was a device in some form or other to protest against the unjust system of labor slavery by which the like of Mrs. Chace manage to get what does not belong to them. Every single sentimental song ended in an appeal from the robbery of industrial tyrants to the moral sense of the public. Verily, this show was immoral judged by the factory ethics of Valley Falls, but so far as any nasty hints or smutty language is concerned, there was not the slightest touch of it, and not a single woman appeared upon the stage whose legs were visible above the tops of her boots. When the show was over, the manager invited the most scrupulous parents to send their boys and daughters without hesitation, as the strictest propriety was scrupulously enforced upon the stage. I came away from the show with a mind much refreshed by the funny features of such an exhibition, and with a heightened sense of morality and purity such as will strengthen me in the battle for labor against its robbers. I only wished that Mrs. Chace might have been there.
The sickening gush and cant of some of these ethical cranks is not a whit less contemptible than the orthodox bigot’s whining over the Blood of the Lamb and other insane trumpery. Morality is an individual concern, and its definition and pursuit belong to no one but the sovereign individual himself. Having read the ethical formulas of nearly all existing and extinct religions, I find the greatest morality and purity over residing in that terse canon, the plain English of which is: Mind your own business.
Liberty and Wealth.
New Harmony: Success.
“I noticed as I passed along the streets that there were few blocks of houses, or houses crowded together. Each had ample space surrounding it, but no fences anywhere appeared. Gardens, separated only by some slight hedge or path, were to be seen in the height of cultivation.
“My companion’s home was on high ground overlooking the western slope of the city. He showed me at once the commanding view possible for all the dwellers on that side of the hill.
“The family consisted of himself and wife, and a young lady of intelligence who was introduced as his granddaughter. Tea over, we adjourned to the library,— a well-furnished room, the walls being lined with books.
“‘I keep a sort of circulating library,’ said he; ‘those who wish come on certain days for what they want. It was accumulated gradually for my own needs, but I do not care to keep the books idle, as mere curiosities, and I have in a sense passed by them.’
“Miss Arkwright, the granddaughter, remarked: ‘Grandfather isn’t a bookworm himself, but he seems to prescribe books as a sovereign remedy for everybody else.’
“Further conversation followed, but soon the old gentleman desired to continue his story. His wife observed she had heard it the thousandth time, but kept, up her interest, and she sometimes had to correct John in his facts.
“‘And I,’ said the granddaughter, ‘have to watch them both to see that they don’t improve upon it from year to year.’
“‘Let me see,’ he began, ‘I had got where Sangerfield and his party proposed to settle with us, and occupy the houses as abandoned property. Somehow they didn’t “catch on,” as the boys say now-a-days, very well to our ways and customs. It took: them some weeks to face about and see that we as a rule started from a standpoint almost the reverse of theirs. Individual sovereignty was so new an idea to them, even the logical Sangerfield was often far astray. And what astonished him more than all else was the fact that even our children could almost look over the sides of their cradles and put him right. He quoted the Scripture himself, “A little child shall lead them,” and again, “He hath witheld it from the wise and prudent and revealed it anto babes and sucklings.”
“‘One day he went to Warden, and said he thought, as the community was growing, there would ere long be a pressing call for a criminal code. There should be a catalogue of crimes and penalties, so that, in the event of trespass, no one could plead ignorance of the law. In the nature of things there would undoubtedly appear at least one Judas to every twelve disciples, or some Cain who would compel the rest to drive him from the face of the earth. Why should we not be ready for all emergencies?
“‘Warden smiled and replied quietly: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. I would not catalogue either crimes or virtues. Let us, as Paul advised, avoid the snares of the law,and stand fast in the liberty wherewith we have been made free. Let us speak the truth from day to day in faith, trusting human nature under the sway of humane sentiments, expecting good results. Behold a new truth:
A truth which is of knowledge and of reason;
Which teaches men to mourn no more, and live;
Which tells them of things good as well as evil,
And gives what Liberty alone can give.
The counsel to be strong, the will to conquer,
The love of all things just and kind and wise,
Freedom for slaves, fair rights for all as brothers,
The triumph of things true, the scorn of lies.
“‘“If we detail the vices and crimes of the ages past, we shall do more harm than good; offer suggestions to innocence. Prohibition will find antagonism, and create the disposition to do the very things that are forbidden. There is a great deal of philosophy in the old adage, ‘forbidden fruit is the sweetest.’”
“‘Sangerfield was always disturbing his own peace of mind with some vision of impending evil, and framing a law to avert it, or to punish the imaginary offender. Finally a case occurred. His own son, a youth of twenty years, grossly insulted a young lady, and would have proceeded to violence, but that he discovered some one approaching. Sangerfield’s grief and dismay were soon drowned in a realization that the opportunity had arrived for him to vindicate and enforce his hobby. He came forward for a Roman father’s triumph. He called for jail, courthouse, judge, and jury. The offender must be dealt with without mercy, and an example be set for the rising generation. He insisted so much that finally a meeting of all the people was summoned, a sort of general court. Sangerfield brought his prisoner, and made a great speech. The boy had struck at a father’s heart; but that father, who could forgive an only son for almost any personal grievance, could in no case swerve one iota from his duty to society. Let the criminal be held to strictest account. Warden said he apprecidated the readiness of Sangerfield to deliver his own son up to judgment, but he thought it was too late in the day. Judgment had already been passed. The young man, in a moment of passion, had lost his reason, and he must be aware that the act was universally condemned. Perhaps no one would more strongly denounce his conduct than he himself would. The punishment, too, was already being inflicted by the altered change of feeling toward him. Go where he would, meet whom he would, he would meet some one judging his deed and condemning it. It would be a work of time for him to reinstate himself in the friendly regard of the community. Shutting him up in a prison cell would be a release rather than a punishment. No, let him go free and face his act, and live it down. No one but would forgive him when he, to quote the Scripture, did “works meet for repentance.”
“‘The result was the young man went about his business, and gradually the affair was forgiven, if not forgotten. He is living now, and is one of the best, most earnest and influential men we have. But the old gentleman never got over his disappointment.
“‘Our community now numbers seven thousand souls, and our government consists only of a few patrolmen for the evenings, who look after the boys, allay disturbance, or take some very unruly fellow to his own home. We have found this arrangement sufficient to serve all our needs. Society here is protected in other ways,— by our industries, our habits of forbearance, and the democratic respect for one another which our state of perfect freedom inspires. We make no professions, but we for some reason instinctively strive to stand well in one another’s esteem. Our whole life is a constant school in that direction. About every kind of business known in a city of this size is carried on here. Our motto is: LABOR FOR LABOR. We have a bank which issues the money current in all our local transactions. In our dealings with the outside world we have of course to use the world’s money. You may be interested in our banking system. If so, I will tell you something about it.’
“I replied that I should like very much to know how their bank was managed; also how business generally was concerted, especially where a large number of hands were employed in one concern. In fact, I wanted to understand as thoroughly as I could the whole working of their industrial system.
“‘Well,’ he said, ‘to-morrow you shall go and see for yourself. You can visit the banks, the several stores, and the large manufacturing establishment just down the river, where three hundred or more men and women are at work running the looms of the mill. It is what you would call a cotton factory.
“‘What about your school?’ I asked. ‘Have you a common school, or free school?’
“‘Oh, no,’ Miss Arkwright broke in, ‘in this city of freedom there’s nothing free, in that sense. Everybody pays for what he gets and takes his choice. The nearest approach to a common school is Phillip Morse’s, and he gets so many pupils because his is the best managed and the cheapest. Some, however, like Sarah Baker’s school best, and are willing to pay more, thinking it superior.’
“I said that I supposed they had established a uniformity of prices. If it was ‘labor for labor,’ why should one school be dearer than another?
“The old gentleman turned to his granddaughter, as though he expected her to continue the conversation, and she responded:—
“‘Oh, for that matter, everyone is perfectly free to set any price he pleases on his services, and so, on the other hand, everybody is free to call on him for his services or not.’”
“Why,” Smith exclaimed, interrupting my recital for the first time that evening, “that is precisely as it is here and everywhere. Competition settles the thing.”
I replied that the same thought was running through my mind, but that Miss Arkwright went on without any suggestions from me to explain that in the absence of laws securing monopoly as a privilege, competition being thus left free and unshackled, the equitable price was uniformly reached. H.
Then and Now.
Continued from No. 47.
Individual Rule Instead of Majority Rule.
Boston, August 9, 2084.
My dear Louise:
Without governments, how can crime be prevented or suppressed? I know that this is the question which you most want answered. I will allow Mr. De Demain to tell you in the language, as near as I can remember, in which he told me:
“Did government ever prevent crime altogether, or even materially lessen it? Under the strongest governments does not history show that crimes have been most frequent? Hundreds, thousands, millions of laws, even the commands of gods, coupled with the threats of endless torture, have not prevented crimes. Some crimes it is perfectly natural for man to commit, and so long as man continues to be man,— that is, an animal,— he will continue to be an offender. The only excuse governments ever had for existing was that they were necessary to prevent crime and punish criminals. Ostensibly they were organized and maintained to protect the weaker as against the stronger, but you know well that a government that did this never existed. Governments are strong, and draw the strong about them; did a state ever protect the weak from itself?
“Let me read you from this book, which contains stories for the children, a little legend:
“‘In the midst of a most beautiful country there was a mighty castle, from whose turrets one might watch the toiling, sweating, tired, and hungry people throughout the length and breadth of the land. The people called it the Strong Castle, or the Castle of State.
“‘Tradition said that soon after the first conquest of the country a monster, half god and half beast, volunteered to protect the conquerors and their heirs and assigns forever in their possession of the country,— the land, its products, and their increase. This was a pleasing promise. The monster said: “Give up all you possess to me, and I will loan it to you for a small annual rental. This is merely that I may say to other monsters like myself, ‘This is all mine,’ when really, of course, it is yours.” So all property was given up to him. Then he said to the people: “Now, upon the condition which I shall name, you may dwell upon these lands, but you must never forget that you are simply my slaves. You must give up to me, if I ask it, even your lives. Here is a list “of the things you must not do at all, and another of the things you must not do without my consent. I shall add to both as often as it suits my convenience. As a reward for your generosity to me, I will see that you are properly punished when you do what I have commanded that you shall not do.”
“‘So ran the tradition. After a few generations men gathered about the Strong Castle and took upon themselves the work of mediators between the people and the monster. The monster was never seen, but these mediators, who were variously termed princes, lords, and statesmen, made known to the people his commands and gathered the tributes. For centuries, the people never questioned the right of the monster to command and rob them. These mediators were clever men, and they said to the people: “If this monster ir be killed, some other monster, still more terrible, will devour you, or you will devour each other. You are a bad lot.” So he who said: “Let us pay no more tribute to this monster; let us slay him, and pall down his Strong Castle,” was answered thus: “But these mediators, who are men of great brain, say we could not do without him; if he were killed, we should immediately be possessed of the desire to set upon and slay each other.” And the people contented themselves with this answer, and worked on with the sweat streaming from their brows. But there were murmurings and muttered curses, and distrust and threats. Finally one morning the people formed into a body and marched up to the Strong Castle. The Mediators blew trumpets and flourished swords. They threatened, then argued, then pleaded, but to no avail. The people said: “We will slay the monster.” They rushed upon the Castle and broke down the palisades and gates. “The monster! the monster!” they shouted, but there was no monster found. The mediators had thrown off their priestly garments and mixed with the people. The Castle was deserted and quiet. The monster was a myth, and the people saw how they had been duped. The Strong Castle was pulled down, and, when the sun set, the people had done the grandest day’s work of all time.’
“Government was the great landlord, or rather the great all-lord,” said Mr. De Demain,— “for it not only loaned the land, but all other privileges worth the having. It gathered to itself with its strong hand all rights pertaining to business, labor, capital, money, religion, marriage, morals, etc, etc., and farmed them out. The state, in some of its phases, was like a meddlesome old woman; in others, like a heartless robber; in others, like a scheming villain.
“There is a government today, but no governments. Instead of being governed by a despotic king, a despotic parliament, or a despotic republic,— a government of the people, by the people, for the people,— we have a government of the individual, by the individual, for the individual.”
“But,” I asked, “does not this prevent all harmonious action?”
“Just the opposite. All collective action under the system of individual rule is harmonious. Individuals with the same purpose in view act together and act as a unit. There is no ruling of minorities by majorities.”
“But take a community of five thousand people. Four thousand desire to do something to which one thousand are opposed. The thing will benefit the four thousand in favor, but will injure the one thousand opposed. What is the result?”
“Such a state of affairs is very rare, but when it does occur, arbitration is resorted to. Government does not step in and say the majority is right, as was always the case under the old system. Why, man contains all of justice that exists between man and man. How absurd it is for man to set up an abstraction, and call upon it to decide the question of right or wrong. If the strong in numbers are given the power to rule the weak, they will do so, and call such rule right. If they are not given such power, such action becomes crime. In your time the State licensed majorities to commit crime; to rob, torture mentally and physically, and even to commit murder. Minorities were given over as fit prey to majorities. There was an absolute standard of right and wrong set up; the majority was right and the minority wrong. Now, the natural justice — that is, the man — decides.”
“Suppose,” asked I, “that in a town of five thousand inhabitants four thousand wish to construct and maintain a system of water works, and the remaining one thousand are opposed to the scheme,— what is the result?”
“Why, simply this, the four thousand construct and maintain the water works and reap the advantages. Under the government of majorities the one thousand people would be obliged to pay a tax for the building and working of something they did not want.
“This, I trust, shows you how Anarchy prevents thousands of crimes, and how, instead of producing discord and disorder, it produces harmony and freedom. Humanity is something like a dish of cane syrup; if you keep stirring it, it granulates; if you leave it alone, it crystallizes.
“The next time we meet I hope to explain further how Anarchy makes impossible most of the crimes that governments had to deal with. After that I will explain how it punishes,” and I, Louise, will be faithful in my note-taking and in writing out those notes for you.
[To be continued.]
A Politician in Sight of Haven.
By Auberon Herbert.
[From the Fortnightly Review.]
Continued from No. 47.
“Do you then condemn the use of force for all purposes?” asked Angus.
“Will you undertake to define for me the purposes for which I am and for which I am not to use force? For myself I fail to be able to do it. I cannot suppose that three men have power to compel two men in some matters without finding myself presently obliged to conclude that the three men must decide what these matters are, and therefore that they have powers of applying force in all matters. Between the some purposes and the all purposes I can find no settled boundary. You cannot draw, and no man living can draw, a force-line. If you sat down with Mr. Gladstone to-day to do it, to-morrow his exigencies would have eaten out the line, and its authority would be gone, at all events for our planet. Do not let us play with these things, and build up pleasant fictions that are of no value. Either a state of liberty — that is, a state where no physical force is applied by man to man — is the moral one, or we must recognize force as rightly applied by those who possess it for all purposes that they think right.”
“Now I become more and more puzzled,” said Angus. “May not the majority apply force for what we call good, and not for bad purposes?”
“Please to define good and bad purposes. You will find that your definitions hold as much meaning as a sieve holds water. If vou wish to see how hopeless is the task, read Sir F. Stephen’s book, in which he tells us not to employ compulsion, even if calculated to obtain a good object, if it involves ‘too great an expense.’ What possible binding power is there in such a rule over the minds of men? Where is the common standard of measurement? Who sees with the same eyes the accompanying expense or the resulting good? It is far better to look the truth in the face and to say that when you sanction force for good purposes yon sanction it for all occasions which the holders of power think good.”
“But can one be sure that force is a bad thing in itself?” said Angus.
“Do you not see, first, that — as a mental abstract — physical force is directly opposed to morality; and, secondly, that it practically drives out of existence the moral forces? How can an act done under compulsion have any moral element in it, seeing that what is moral is the free act of an intelligent being? If you tie a man’s hands there is nothing moral about his not committing murder. Such an abstaining from murder is a mechanical act; and just the same in kind, though less in degree, are all the acts which men are compelled to do under penalties imposed upon them by their fellow-men. Those who would drive their fellow-men into the performance of any good actions do not see that the very elements of morality — the free act following on the free choice — are as much absent in those upon whom they practice their legislation as in a flock of sheep penned in by hurdles. You cannot see too clearly that force and reason — which last is the essence of the moral act — are at the two opposite poles. When you act by reason you are not acting under the compulsion of other men; when you act under compulsion you are not acting under tho guidance of reason. The one is a force within you and the other is a force without. Moreover, physical force in a man’s hand is an instrument of such brutal character that its very nature destroys and excludes the kindlier or better qualities of human nature. The man who compels his neighbor is not the man who reasons with and convinces him, who seeks to influence him by example, who rouses him to make exertions to save himself. He takes upon himself to treat him, not as a being with reason, but as an animal in whom reason is not. The old saying, that any fool can govern with bayonets, is one of the truest sayings which this generation has inherited and neglected. Any fool can reform the surface of things, can drive children by the hundreds of thousands into schools, can drive prostitutes out of public sight, can drive dram-drinking into cellars, can provide out of public funds pensions for the old, hospitals for the sick, and lodging-houses for the poor, can call into existence a public department and a population of officials and inspectors, provided that he has the handling of money that does not belong to him, and a people not trained to inquire beyond the present moment, and ready to applaud what has a surface look of philanthropy; but what is the good of it all when he has done it? To be compelled into virtue is only to live in order to die of dry rot.”
“I see the conflict between reason and force,” said Angus; “still, I hesitate in the matter. It is clear that I cannot use force to make people reasonable? Why may we not compel them to educate their children, to give up public-houses, to only work a certain number of hours in the day, and many other things of the same kind? May not force be the instrument of reason?”
“It would be false to call such acts reasonable. You may use your own reason when you say that compulsory education, or compulsory temperance, is good for certain people, and proceed to carry it out; but in so acting you disallow the existence of reason in those whom you compel. You have placed them in a lower rank to yourself, you retaining and using your reason, they being disfranchised of it. Now this unequal relation between men, in which the reason of some is replaced by the reason of others, is one that reason acting universally rejects as a denial of itself. Why should your reason be recognized and not that of the man you compel? Moreover, from a reasonable point of view, can you not see that the very idea of force necessarily involves a fatal absurdity? If A has power over B, you must assume that in the first instance he has power over himself; no man can be master of another man and not master of himself. But if so, then B (unless you assume unequal rights as the basis of social order) is also master of himself, which entirely destroys any rightful power on the part of A to be his master and to make him act against his will.”
“I must confess, whether I agree or not with the abstract condemnation of force,” said Angus, “that I sometimes regret to see the love of force and the belief in it growing so fast upon us. All our would-be reformers can only suggest compulsion of some kind. The word is always in their mouth.”
“Yes, the mood is on us,” said Markham, “and utterly debasing it is. We are filled with the Celtic spirit of wishing to govern and be governed; we creep into one pitiful refuge after another, as if anything could save us from our appointed heritage of the free reason and the free act. But I live in faith, Mr. Bramston. Exoriare aliqiuis! The time will come when some Englishman of sturdy common sense, a new marlellus monachorum, will arise to rout these good gentlemen that wish to tie the English people to their apron-strings, to smash these pagan revivals of Catholicism, this blind submission to authority, to strip these ‘cloistered virtues’ of their seeming excellence, and bid the people live in a free world, gaining their own good, trampling on their own sins, and making their own terms with their own souls. But let me ask you, Mr. Bramston, have you read Mr. Herbert Spencer’s writings? We shall do little good unless you have done so. We owe to him the placing of this great truth, that man must be free if he is to possess happiness on its deepest and truest foundations. No discursive talk of ours will really help you until you have felt the marvellous power with which he has read the wider and deeper meanings of the world, and given order to our disorderly conceptions of it.”
“I must confess with shame that I have never read his writings. I have always believed him to be the great teacher of laissez-faire, and everybody to-day supposes that laissez-faire lies on the other side of the horizon behind us.”
“Ah,” said Markham, “I fear that all you political gentlemen live in a greater state of ignorance than most of us. How can it be otherwise? With your committees and debates, and speeches to prepare, you have but little time for watching the graver discussions that are going on. Like lawyers in busy practice, you have no mental energy left to give to abstract questions; and yet I do not notice that any of you are wanting in courage when you come to deal with the very foundation of social things. So the world believes in the failure of laissez-faire? No, Mr. Bramston, it is not laissez-faire that has failed. That would be an ill day for men. What has failed is the courage to see what is true and to speak it to the people, to point towards the true remedies away from the sham remedies. But read Mr. Spencer and see for yourself. Believe me, you are not fit to be exercising power over others until you have done so. You had better leave some of your Blue Books unread than remain in ignorance of his work.”
“What is that work as regards politics?”
“He has made the splendid attempt,” replied Markham, “to give fixity and order to our moral ideas, and to place the relation of men to each other on settled foundations. The love of disorder is so great in the human mind that probably men will yield but slowly to his teaching, perhaps not till they have passed through many troubles. But it is along the track that he has opened out to them, and that track only, that every nation must escape anarchy* and find its happiness.”
“And the drift of his other work?”
“I should say that the result was to make the world, as a whole, reasonable to men. He has connected all human knowledge, establishing interdependence everywhere; he has taught us to see that everything in the world is part of a great growth, each part, like the different structures of a tree, developing to its own perfect form and special use, whilst it remains governed by the whole. He has helped us to rise everywhere from the reason that governs the part to the reason that governs the whole; and in tracing back this great growth of the past, compound form rising out of simple form, he has shown us the long, slow preparation towards perfection through which the world has travelled and yet has to travel. It is scarcely too much to say that he has given us a past and he has given us a future. In a time of sore need, when the old meanings were splintered to drift-wood, he has seen that the true meaning of the world was to be found, and in finding it he has restored to us the possibilities of a higher religious faith. The influence of modern science has been to make men too easily satisfied with their own separate and fragmentary knowledge. Each man has settled down in his niche in the vineyard, and there labored industriously and successfully, but with his eyes closed for the wider meanings. To read a learned paper before a learned society, to be highest authority on some special subject, have been objects which have unduly influenced our generation; and it is only such a work as Mr. Spencer’s that recalls us to the truth that the use of knowledge is not simply to annihilate a rival on some particular subject that we look on as our private property, but to lead men to understand the great whole in which they are included — to bring that whole into perfect agreement with human reason. Specialism, however necessary, is not the end of science. The end of science is to teach men to live by reason and by faith, by grasping the great meanings of life, and by seeing clearly the conditions under which they can give effect to those meanings. How little science yet helps us in our general conceptions of life you can see by the quiet ignoring amongst politicians of the vital meaning which Darwin’s discoveries have for them. And hence it is that, great as has been the multiplication of scientific facts, they have done but comparatively little to reform the ideas and reshape the conduct of men. Our intellectual life still remains thoroughly disorderly, notwithstanding stray patches of science and order introduced into it. It is here that we have so much to gain from Mr. Spencer. We owe to him our power to realize the harmony and unity embracing all things, the perfect order and the perfect reason, and thus to walk confidently with sure aims; and instead of being content to leave science as the technical possession of a few, he has, in a true sense, given it to the people by insisting on the universal meanings and making them accessible to all men.”
“On what foundation does Mr. Spencer place political liberty?” asked Angus.
“He founds it on the right of every man to use the faculties he possesses. It is evident, as he insists, that all sciences rest on certain axioms. You remember Euclid’s axioms, such as ‘a whole is greater than its parts,’ and you can easily perceive that any science, however complicated it may be, owing to its dependence on other sciences that have preceded it, must rest on its own axioms. Now politics are the science of determining the relations in which men can live together with the greatest happiness, and you will find that the axioms on which they depend are, (1) that happiness consists in the exercise of faculties; (2) that as men have these faculties there must be freedom for their exercise; (3) that this freedom must rest on equal and universal conditions, no unequal conditions satisfying our moral sense.”
“Why do you insist on my treating these truths, if truths they are, as axioms?” asked Angus.”
“Because you cannot contradict them without involving yourself in what is inconsistent and absurd, without giving up the belief that the world is reasonable, and, therefore, that it is worth our while to try to discover what we ought to do. Place before your mind the opposites of these statements, and try to construct a definite social system out of them. Happiness is not the exercise of faculties; men having faculties ought not to exercise them; the conditions as regards their exercise should be unequal and varying. Can you seriously maintain any of these statements? When you propose unequal conditions of freedom do you offer a standing ground which men universally could accept, which they could look upon as the perfect condition of their existence?”
“But might I not claim greater freedom for the abler and better man, for the more civilized race?”
“Why should you? What does any man or any race want more than freedom for themselves? Admit that any one may take more than his share; that is, in other words, that he may restrain by force the exercise of the faculties of others, and in what a sea of moral confusion you are at once plunged. Who is to decide which is the better man or the more civilized race, or how much freedom is to be allowed or disallowed? To settle this question men must act as judges in their own case; and this means that the strongest will declare themselves the most civilized, and will assign such portions of freedom as they choose to the rest of the nation, or the rest of the world, as the case may be. Are you prepared for this?”
“I agree in some measure,” said Angus; “but how can you persuade the strongest not to use their strength?”
“Only by strengthening human belief in reason, by bringing men to see that the moral system regulating their actions towards each other is as true and fixed as the system of the planets, its parts as orderly, its whole as reasonable; and that force — I mean in every case physical compulsion of one man by another — has no possible place in it.”
“But can men see this reasonableness, this orderliness, of which you speak?”
“Surely,” replied Markham. “Is it not plain that between the world, the outcome of the highest reason, and the human reason as it evolves, harmony is ever growing? The evolution of the human mind means that its power increases to read order everywhere; and it is only as it perceives order that it can gain perfect confidence in its own conclusions. You must remember that a science is not a mere mass of separate truths or conclusions which may, so to speak, lie anywhere as regards each other in the same heap. As Mr. Spencer has so well pointed out, men at first begin by learning the detached truths, and then in later stages see that each truth has its own place in an indissoluble and reasonable whole, which whole, as we learn to perceive it, gives certainty to the separate truths. The separate truths are like beads before they are strung on a string, and which do not gain their full meaning until the string is there. Take Mr. Spencer’s example of astronomy. By countless observations you learn that the orbits of planets are ellipses of a certain kind, and then presently you learn the great central cause in obedience to which these forms are what they are; you have gained a master-key which, as you know, will unlock every fact, whether at present within or not within your observation, in the group that belongs to it. Hence it arises that a separate truth only becomes really known when you know the system of which it forms a part. Is it different in moral matters? Do you think that there are order and system for the facts that concern the planet and not for the facts that concern the human mind; for mineral and for plant, and not for the relations in which men are to live towards each other? Do you think that with order and system in every other part of the universe that here you suddenly enter a territory sacred to disorder and conflict, a sort of moral Alsatia, where alone the writ of the Great Power does not run? Surely you cannot defend such a belief. Surely you have some faith in the perfect reasonableness that underlies and over-arches everything. To the politician it may be torture to believe that social and political questions are parts of a reasonable whole, and can only be rightly dealt with in strict obedience to that whole. His own course is just so much easier as he may disregard this reason of the whole, as he may by turns plead the law or the exception, as he may ignore all fixed moral relations of men to each other, as he may urge plaintively that all is so uncertain and subject to change, and claim permission to deal with the circumstances that exist as the light of the moment and the ever urgent personal interest may direct. The world does not see the impertinence and the danger of such claims. It will do so as the consequences of existing mental disorder thicken upon it.”
[To be continued.]
* Wherever the words “anarchy” and “socialism” appear in this essay, they are used, the one in the ordinary sense of confusion, and the other in the limited sense of State socialism. The author either is not aware that there is a school of Anarchistic socialism, or has not discovered that its teachings In regard to liberty are almost identical with his own. — Editor Liberty.
“God” in Poetry.
To the Editor of Liberty:
You tell Mr. Beecher that he and his “fellow-Christians don the outgrown garments of a barbarian theology, and persist in walking the streets at noonday”; and you advise them to put away their Bibles, and read them in their closets as the “childish prattle” of their ancestors, etc. And when you published Robert Buchanan’s “Freedom’s Ahead,” you took care to call attention to the poet’s foolish error in speaking of Freedom as the “Lord’s” handmaid.
I agree with you fully and heartily in these criticisms of Beecher and Buchanan; but what are we to think when we find Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, clothed in these same “outgrown garments,” stalking through nearly four pages of Liberty, and repeating, not once merely, but thirty times, the offence against truth which you had justly laid at Buchanan’s door?
The reformer of today has no business with the gods. To call on them is a sign of weakness, and mars the beauty of all that he says and does. The burden of Mr. Blunt’s poem is that “God’s” designs in regard to Egypt, were thwarted by England, and that “he” will yet revenge her wrongs. What nonsense! And it is nonsense that is beginning to stick in the throat of the “common man” as well as in that of the thinker. His common sense asks, “Is England more powerful than ‘God’? And why should Egypt’s children be butchered now, even if their children are to be free and happy?” And thus half of the force of the poem is wasted.
Mr. Blunt writes well; but the utter falsehood of his central idea spoils his work largely, making its moral deceptive and misleading.
Let us apply the same rule to Blunt that we do to Buchanan.
Kiowa, Kansas, July, 1884.
[My Western friend and “son of the morning,” who, bearing aloft his Luciferan torch, is dispelling the darkness of the prairies, is heartily welcome to his protest, the justice of which I freely admit, while not quite agreeing to its timeliness. When printing Mr. Buchanan’s poem, I rebuked the author as I did, knowing that his work had already won, as it deserved, an enduring place on the scroll of literary fame, and that no criticism, however just, could endanger it or do aught but set it in a clearer light. Mr. Blunt’s poem on the contrary, though even greater than Buchanan’s, is as yet scarcely heard of in the world. It is struggling up the stream of adverse criticism, and one voice added to the current, might sweep it away forever, and deprive humanitarian literature of a priceless treasure. When we know the sun and the value of its rays, we can safely talk about the spots upon it. But the dawn of a new luminary of Mr. Blunt’s brilliancy I, for one, will greet only with a joyful “All hail!” Were I to do otherwise, however, I could not in this case see quite as black a blemish as Mr. Walker paints. The burden of Mr. Blunt’s poem is not that God’s design has been thwarted in Egypt, but that Liberty and Justice have been thwarted there. If the poet should be convinced that God’s design is one thing and Liberty another thing, I am confident that he would quickly choose between them, and choose rightly. His “central idea” is not false, but true, and springs from the love of Liberty in his heart, of which his outgrown theological garments are but the wrappings. When Mr. Beecher shall make his face so inspiring that everybody but Mr. Walker will forget to laugh at his protruding extremities, he may “stalk” through four pages of Liberty and more, outgrown garments and all; and I’m not sure that in such a case it wouldn’t be the graceful thing for Mr. Walker and myself, rationally clad though we may be, to withdraw for a while, and give him room. But to reassure my Western comrade of my sympathy with him and my appreciation of the luminous pathways which he is cutting in all directions through the wilds of frontier superstition, let him and all others understand that, when God is in question, I am “agin” him first, last, and always; and hereafter let every column of Liberty, in prose or rhyme, be read in the light of this declaration. — Editor Liberty]
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.