“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.
Mr. Beecher, referring lately to Blaine’s questionable character, said: “It is a truism to say that all public men should be above suspicion.” In view of certain letters which have not yet passed into ancient history, it behooves Mr. Beecher to keep as quiet as possible upon the matter of suspicion. It is not unfair to presume that more men suspect Mr. Beecher than any other man living.
For myself at least, and for all Anarchists who in this instance will allow me to speak for them, I wish to make public acknowledgment to the editors of the Chicago “Radical Review” of our gratitude for their hospitality to Anarchistic ideas and the service which, not Anarchists themselves, they are nevertheless rendering to Anarchy by doing all that they can to secure it an impartial hearing. This expression of thanks is especially prompted by the space which they give to “Edgeworth’s” contributions, their own discussions of Anarchism and editorial reviews of Anarchistic works, and their eagerness to do justice to Kropotkine by reprinting Liberty’s recent editorial, “A Hireling’s Measure of a Hero.”
The “Radical Review” includes Huxley among the many English scientists who petitioned the French government for Kropotkine’s release. He is not entitled to be credited with so great an honor. To his everlasting shame be it said that, when asked to sign the petition, he refused, saying that it was the right and duty of society to imprison, or kill if need be, men whose writings threaten society’s life. Suppose Huxley had lived four hundred years ago and written then the scientific works which he has published within twenty years,— what would have become of him if the powers that then were had applied to him his own a theory of the rights and duties of society? To answer the question is to refute his theory and expose the spirit of the man. The value of his scientific researches is not to be underrated, but none the less is he a bigot of a very narrow type. There’s splendid material in him for a first-class State Socialist.
Some months ago the New York “Times” asked the question whether there is “anything to prevent Mr. Thurber from issuing one million one dollar notes on his personal credit, if he can get anybody to take them,” and the New York “Sun” answered: “Nothing but the statutes of this State and the tax of ten per cent, imposed upon such notes by the laws of the United States.” The other day the “Sun,” trying to show that absolute free trade prevails within the limits of the United States, said: “All the inhabitants of the United States, no matter what their origin, no matter from what nationality they draw their lineage, are all citizens of one united republic, without any tax or impost upon their intercourse with each other.” Have the New York statutes against free banking and the United States tax on free banking been repealed lately? If so, Liberty has not heard of it. If not, will the “Sun” undertake to reconcile its statements? No, it Will not; for, knowing that it could not succeed, it dares not try, as failure would oblige it to “shine” for a while on a monopoly to which its rays would be fatal.
In “Die Zukunft” the Germans have a weekly revolutionary organ much more consistently Anarchistic than Most’s “Freiheit.” All friends of Liberty who read German are hereby earnestly advised to subscribe or it by sending $1,50 to “1230 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia.”
Among the advertisements in this issue will be found an announcement of a new and important book of nearly two hundred pages written by William Hanson of New York. It consists of several critical essays, the principal of which is devoted to an exposition of the fallacies in Henry George’s two works, “Progress and Poverty” and “Social Problems.” The others deal with “Macieod’s Economics,” “The Ethics of Protection and Free Trade,” and “The Industrial Problem Considered Apriori.” Mr. Hanson, though comparatively unknown, is one of the sincerest and clearest writers on the labor question now living, and I am greatly interested in all that he writes. In the present volume I cannot agree to all his definitions nor can I subscribe to all his ideas, but he wages earnest war on interest, rent, and profit, which he expects to abolish, not by enacting new laws, but by repealing old ones. In that respect his programme is identical with Liberty’s. Therefore I hope for a large sale for his book and mean to do what I can to circulate it. A copy will be mailed to any one sending me a dollar.
The editor of the “Radical Review” says that, even though Anarchy be humanity’s goal, it must necessarily be approached very gradually, and that he shall devote his energies to the “complete democratisation of the government,” feeling sure that he is “thus only advancing towards individual sovereignty.” This is the policy adopted by the Republicans, the Democrats, the State Socialists, the Greenbackers, the Anti-monopolists, the Woman Suffragists, the Prohibitionists, the Liberal Leaguers, and all other factions that play any part, or desire to play any, in American politics. All think, or pretend, that they are serving liberty and democracy. Will the editor of the “Radical Review” do me the favor to examine their platforms and report how many measures he finds in them that, if realized, would not involve direct or indirect, and, in either case, outrageous, invasions of individual sovereignty, and, instead of a “simplification of the functions of the government,” an extension and complication thereof? Let him honestly answer to himself how many of these measures he approves and give me the result. Then I can judge how far he actually proposes to simplify the government. Then I can tell him whether he is really on the road to Anarchy or not. And I can tell him now that no material and important simplification of government will take place until the Anarchists, by steady propagandism and persistent endeavor, have made themselves a force of such influence that they can begin their policy of worrying government into smaller and ever smaller proportions and finally to death. The world is fast dividing itself into two schools, the Authoritarians and the Libertarians, the Archists and the Anarchists, and between these all men, Mr. Schumm with the rest, must sooner or later choose. He cannot work with one to serve the other, try as he may. The struggle has already begun and it may last long, but the result is sure.
Vos Deos Laudamus:
The Tory Journalists Anthem.
[Pall Mall Gazette.]
“As a matter of fact, no man living, or who ever lived — not Cesar or Pericles, not Shakespere or Michael Angelo — could confer honor more than he took on entering the House of Lords” — Saturday Review, December 15, 1883.
Clumsy and shallow snobbery — can do no hurt.” — Ibid.
O Lords our Gods, beneficent, sublime,
In the evening, and before the morning flames,
We praise, we bless, we magnify your names.
The slave is be that serves not; his the crime
And shame, who hails not as the crown of Time
That House wherein the all-envious world acclaims
Such glory that the reflex of it shames
All crowns bestowed of men for prose or rhyme.
The serf, the cur, the sycopnant is he
Who feels no cringing motion twitch his knee
When from a height too high for Shakspere nods
The wearer of a higher than Milton’s crown.
Stoop, Chaucer, stoop: Keats, Shelley, Burns, bow down:
These have no part with you, O Lords our Gods.
O Lords our Gods, it is not that ye sit
Serene above the thunder, and exempt
From strife of tongues and casualties that tempt
Men merely found by proof of manhood fit
For service of their fellows: this is it
Which sets you past the reach of Time’s attempt,
Which gives us right of justified contempt
For commonwealths built up by mere men’s wit:
That gold unlocks not, nor may flatteries ope,
The portals of your heaven; that none may hope
With you to watch how life beneath you plods,
Save for high service given, high duty done;
That never was your rank ignobly won;
For this we give you praise, O Lords our Gods.
O Lords our Gods, the times are evil: you
Redeem the time, because of evil days:
While abject souls in servitude of praise
Bow down to heads untitled, and the crew
Whose honor dwells but in the deeds they do,
From loftier hearts your nobler servants raise
More manful salutation: yours are bays
That not the dawn’s plebeian pearls bedew;
Yours, laurels plucked not of such hands as wove
Old age its chaplet in Colonos’ grove.
Our time, with heaven and with itself at odds,
Makes all lands else as seas that seethe and boil;
But yours is yet the corn and wine and oil,
And yours our worship yet, O Lords our Gods.
Algernon Charles Swinburns.
Two Ways of Looking at It.
Six days, stern Labor shuts the poor
From nature’s careless banquet hall;
The seventh, an angel opes the door,
And smiling, welcomes all.
Paraphrased, but More Truthful.
Six days, at labor toil the poor
To find their lot no better grown;
The seventh, rank bigots shut the door
To pleasure, for the church still holds her own.
Let’s Make a Thorough Job of It.
[San Francisco “Wasp.”]
General Ben Butler’s plan of pensioning every man who was a soldier in the civil war, regardless of when, where, how, or why he served, is a good plan, but it does net go far enough. Military service was nos the only kind that helped to save the country. The patriots who filled the civil offices,— they also helped to prill us through. Let them be pensioned. Let everybody be pensioned, for all would have held office if they could. True, some were too young and some not yet born; but is youth a crime, that this great, rich country should discriminate against it?
A Politician in Sight of Haven.
By Auberon Herbert.
[From the Fortnightly Review.]
Continued from No. 48.
“But do you mean, the world being as it is,” said Angus, returning to the old point of attack, “that we can get through it without force? Why, even a London street after dark may require one to use force to protect himself.”
“I have not said that. Sir months ago I knocked a scoundrel down who had snatched a lady’s watch from her, and handed him over to the police. I do not say we can get through life without using force; but when we do so in the simplest and apparently most justifiable case, even to repel force, we are outside the moral relation, and are simply living again in that force-relation in which a man as half animal once lived, and in which the animals now live. Underneath all life lies the great law of self-preservation (a law which we may fulfil either by using force as the animals do, or by universally accepting the reasonable relation which, forbidding force, guarantees equal freedom to all), and those who use force may compel us to live towards them in the force-relation; but the important thing is to see that it is only when we are living in the reason relation that we have distinct moral guidance to tell us what are right and what are wrong actions, and that in the force relation we must act often by guess-work and always without certain guidance”
“Why am I without moral guidance in the force-relation? Were you not right in knocking the thief down?”
“My justification was, that he had established between himself and the rest of society the force-relation, and therefore I had to deal with him as I should have dealt with a wild beast that had attacked me. The act on my part was so far a moral one inasmuch as I obeyed the derived moral command to help my neighbor; but being an act done in the force-relation, brute strength being simply opposed to brute strength, it is impossible that I should have that guarantee of certainty as regards right conduct, which can only exist where my actions are in harmony with the whole moral system. Mr. Spencer has stated this with his usual admirable force. ‘Ethics, or the principles of right conduct, ignore all crime and wrongdoing. It simply says such and such are the principles on which men should act, and when these are broken it can do nothing but say they are broken.’ Thus if there is a command that says,‘Thou shalt not lie,’ you have no certain guidance from that command or from any part of the moral system which is subordinate to it when you have once told a lie and choose to persist in it. It may be expedient to tell or not to tell another lie: many excellent secondary reasons, such as regard for your friend, may urge you to do so, but all fixed guidance is lost, for when once the coherence of the system is broken, the law of lesser authority being obeyed and the law of higher authority disobeyed, only conflict and contradiction can arise. To obtain certain guidance you must obey the moral laws in the order of their imperativeness; and whilst in my case I obeyed a derived law which bade me help my neighbor, I was outside the primary law which forbids the use of force. I did no wrong towards the thief, as far as I could judge, but I was acting on a personal judgment that might lead me right or wrong.”
“Why do you speak of the act of helping your neighbor as a derived law, and that of not using force as the primary law?” asked Angus.
“Speaking rationally, do not honesty and justice precede generosity? To employ force to a man is to deprive him of what be rightly possesses, the freedom to use his faculties, and therefore is an act which I am bound not to do. To assist him by any gift or service of mine is an act which I am only bound to do in an inferior sense; it is but a development, important as it is, from the imperative command to respect a man’s rights.”
“Might not some person try to make the laws change place, and insist that to help your neighbor was the primary law?”
“Yes,” replied Markham, “if they had no fear of plunging into Serbonian bogs. Which neighbor am I to help, and in what fashion? Am I to help one at the expense of another? Am I, like Robin Hood of old, to take the purse of the rich man and give it to the poor? Try to construct a definite and certain system that is really to guide men in their dealings with each other on such a foundation. You may amuse yourself some day for half an hour, Mr. Bramston, by trying to do it, but you will hardly obtain any other result.”
“I see the difficulty,” replied Angus slowly. “To say we must do good to thers means nothing unless there is some fixed system which allows us to define precisely the nature and conditions of this ever-elusive good.”
“Exactly; there must be a fixed system, and that system must spring from rights. Without rights, no system; without system, no guidance. If you wish to realize the moral confusion that results where rights are neglected, glance at the world of to-day, and observe the good qualities which impede rather than assist the general cause of good. Do we not see Nihilists and Invincibles devoting themselves in the spirit of self-sacrifice in order to obey an order of assassination; slave-owners showing kindness to their slaves; politicians carrying out what they believe to be useful measures for the people by appealing to selfish passions and infringing upon the rights of others; Socialists hoping to regenerate the world by deciding in what way and to what extent men shall exercise their faculties. These and a thousand other examples show us that actions springing from good qualities, but done in disregard of primary and moral commands may increase the sum total of unhappiness instead of happiness.”
“What do you mean when you speak of primary and derived laws?” asked Angus.
“Necessarily at the beginnings of social life men’s actions are confused and in conflict with each other. Presently a stage is reached at which reason asserts its claims to regulate these acts, and then, as we have already seen, it requires of men to respect each other’s rights. This, though the necessary condition of all happiness, is not sufficient for the perfecting of it. A second command — inferior in authority and definiteness — succeeds to the first and bids us not only respect rights but also feelings, so far at least as such feelings do not tend to restrict rights. There are many actions which we have, as far as the first command is concerned, a right to do, but which, as they cause unnecessary pain to others, we ought to abstain from doing. To these actions Mr. Spencer gives the name of negative beneficence. Again, succeeding to these acts of abstention are the acts of positive beneficence, the direct acts which men do for the sake of increasing the happiness of others; acts which, as human nature evolves, will become more and more a necessary and integral part of the happiness of each man. But you can readily see that to add to the happiness of our neighbor, or even to avoid giving him unnecessary pain, excellent as such acts are, are of little moral value unless you begin by respecting his rights. Except on such a foundation they cannot lead to the settled happiness of men; they can only lead to such confusion between good and evil as we see around us at present. And now observe a further development. From respecting rights we learn to recognize the self in each man as the true governing centre of his actions. We learn to see the false side of those great systems which lower and debase a man by offering him comfort whether it be intellectual or material comfort — at the price of liberty, which weaken his self-guidance and his self-responsibility, and make him but a semi-conscious unit in Churches and parties. We see that all social as well as political systems must be framed not only to make him in higher matters the possessor of his own soul, but in matters of everyday life the intelligent director of his own energies. Do you see how fruitful, how far-reaching, will be the influence of this recognition of the self in each man? Our every act towards others will be shaped and determined by it. Is it a matter of helping some fellow-man in distress, we shall ask, ‘Am I merely lifting the man by an external machinery out of a momentary trouble at the cost of depressing rather than increasing his own self-helping energies?’ Of assisting masses of men to better their position,‘Can I rightly lighten the burdens of one man by increasing the burdens of another, to however small an extent, and however easily the latter may be able to bear it? Can I do so without weakening in all minds the sense of the universal agreement, and in the minds of those who are helped that self-respect which should only claim free-play for the energies of each?’ Of spreading opinion and bringing others within a Church or party, ‘Have I joined these men to myself by the true and pure conviction of each soul, or have I treated them as a mere crowd, to be moved as I wished by machinery, to be bribed and cajoled and driven towards the ends that I desired?’ Of education, ‘Am I mechanically impressing the self of my own opinions on another mind? Am I merely gaining the ends on which the world of the day sets store, and content for the sake of these to follow such lifeless and mechanical methods as promise the readiest success? Am I willing to make my own task easier by employing systems of bribes and threats, or is my one effort to develop another equal being that shall be strong in its own self-confidence and able by its own reason to make a life for itself?’ There is no part of human life, no question of morality, that will not be illumined by the light thrown from that intense respect for each human self which in due time will succeed to the perfect recognition of each other’s rights. The creed of rights leads as certainly to the elevation of the human race as the creeds of Socialism, founded on force, lead to the degradation of it.”
“Could you summarize for me what you said?” asked Angus.
“Using the fewest words, I should say all truths belong to their own system. There is not such a thing as a stray or independent truth in existence; and it is only as you know the system to which the truths belong, that you know with certainty the truths themselves. Moral truths, then, like physical truths, are united in a system, and as this system must rest on certain assured foundations, the question is on what foundations does it rest? The answer is, in Mr. Spencer’s words, on the freedom of men to exercise their faculties. From these foundations arises a coherent and harmonious moral system governing our political and social systems, and illuminating the most complex questions of human conduct. Apart from this foundation, morality is a mass of indistinct and contradictory commands, men often obeying a derived command whilst they disobey a primary command.”
“In all you have said you have only used a deductive argument,” said Angus; “will you not sacrifice to the gods of the present time by speaking inductively?”
“Ah! that greatest of all inductions! Some younger man with fuller stores of knowledge must give that induction to the world. It will be for him to follow the history of liberty as he would follow a great river in the East, whose banks are covered with rejoicing crops, whilst away from it all remains desert. You can see for yourself how vast is the material that is waiting to be used. Has any race of men ever fairly tried even the humblest experiment of freedom and found it fail? Have not the human faculties grown in every field just as freedom has been given to them? Have men ever clung to protection and restraint and officialism without entangling themselves deeper and deeper into evils from which there was no outlet? But to-night we cannot enter upon these wide fields. There is only one group of facts, those that belong to the history of plant and animal, at which we can glance. See how clearly under Darwin’s revelations comes out the saving meaning that there is in competition, the destructive meaning that there is in protection. Protect the plant and animal by some mere external protection, as that of an island or an impassable barrier, and you reserve it for certain destruction when the day comes in which at last the life that has ranged over wider spaces and become better adapted to the conditions of existence enters into competition with it. The very conditions that seemed to protect it have ensured its destruction. Had it not been protected it had passed through the same gradual adaptations that other life elsewhere has passed through. It was separation from the mainland that preserved the Australian marsupials, that has made islands such as Madagascar the interesting relic-houses of a life that had not been competent to survive unless protected. So also has it been that the European plants, which by ranging over wider tracts have more thoroughly undergone selection, have beaten the native plants of La Plata, New Zealand, and, in a lesser degree, of Australia, whilst speaking generally the plants of these countries cannot obtain a footing in Europe: that the intertropical mountains lost their true vegetation, and accepted those hardier forms which in the Glacial period were able to reach them; that the wingless and defenceless birds, such as those of Mauritius, and Bourbon, and Rodriguez, have only been found where beasts of prey were absent. But why multiply examples? The history of the world turns upon the fact of the hardier forms, perfected by a wider and sharper competition, inevitably replacing the weaker forms. And do you not also see how the lower kinds of self-protection die out before the higher kinds? The huge armor-plates and spikes that once protected animal life are replaced by higher organizations, better adaptations of bone and muscle, and therefore quicker movements, by improved special organs, by increasing size of brain. It is the same with men. The clumsy restrictions and defences which parliaments provide must give place to those higher forms of self-protection which depend upon mental qualities. Is it not plainly one and the same sentence which nature speaks to planis, to animals, and to men, ‘Improve in the true way or be destroyed?’ She affixes everywhere her two great conditions of improvement, variety (or difference), that born in the physical and in the intellectual world brings into existence the beginnings of higher life — and competition,that selects for survival these all-precious beginnings out of the midst of the lower forms; whilst outside these conditions she reserves no way of salvation. It is wrong and unfaithful to disguise or evade these truths. Whatever it costs, you must say plainly to all men that variety and competition are the only conditions of their advance, and that these conditions can only exist under a system of perfect liberty. All infringements of liberty sin in a twofold way. They tend to uniformity by excluding natural variety, and they give external protection at the cost of preventing the development of self-protection, saving the pain of the present by doubling it in the future. Does such a law seem hard to you? If so, remember that it is not a competition like that of animals and savages, to be decided merely by physical force or cunning, but one in which the more powerful brain, the truer perception, the more temperate habit, the more upright conduct, shall prevail in the end, and that thus the better type shall be always evolving, while the pain of the passage from the unlit to the fit grows less and less.”
[To be continued.]
What’s To Be Done?
By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 48.
My determination to tell things, not in the easiest way, but as they actually occurred, causes me still another embarrassment: I am not at all contented to have Maria Alexevna represented in a ridiculous light by her reflections upon the sweetheart which her fancy had pictured as Lopoukhoff’s; by her fantastic way of guessing the contents of the books given by Lopoukhoff to Vérotchka; by her questions about Philippe Egalité and his pretended Papist absolutism and about the works of Louis XIV. Every one is liable to mistake; the errors may be absurd, when the individual tries to judge in matters of which he is ignorant; but it would be unjust to infer from the blunders of Maria Alexevna that these were the sole cause of her favorable attitude towards Lopoukhoff. No, her queer ideas about the rich sweetheart and the piety of Philippe Egalité would not have obscured her good sense for a moment, if she had only noticed anything suspicious in Lopoukhoff’s acts and words. But he so conducted himself that really there was nothing to be said. Though naturally bold, he did not east indiscreet glances at a very pretty young girl; he did not follow her assiduously; he sat down without ceremony to play cards with Maria Alexevna without betraying any sign that it would give him greater pleasure to be with Véra; when left with Véra, he held such conversations with her that Maria Alexevna regarded them as the expression of her own thought. Like her, he said that self-interest is the motive of human actions; that there is no sense in getting angry with a rascal and reminding him of the principles of honor, inasmuch as the rascal acts in accordance with the laws of his own nature under the pressure of circumstances; that, given his individuality, he could not help being a rascal, and that to pretend otherwise would be an absurdity. Yes, Maria Alexevna had reason to think that she had found in Lopoukhoff a kindred spirit.
But here is Lopoukhoff seriously compromised in the eyes of an enlightened public from the very fact that Maria Alexevna sympathizes with his way of looking at things. Not wishing to deceive any one, I do not hide, as I might have done, this circumstance so injurious to Lopoukhoff’s reputation; I shall even go farther and explain that he really deserved the friendship of Maria Alexevna.
From Lopoukhoff’s conversation with Vérotchka, it is plain that his way of looking at things might appear better to persons of Maria Alexevna’s stamp than to those holding fine ideas; Lopoukhoff saw things in the aspect which they present to the mass of mankind, minus those holding lofty ideas.
If Maria Alexevna could rejoice at the thoughts that he had voiced regarding Vérotchka’s projected marriage, he, on his side, could have written beneath the drunken usurer’s confession: This is true. The resemblance in their actions is so great that enlightened novelists holding noble ideas, journalists, and other public teachers have long since proclaimed that individuals like Lopoukhoff are in no wise distinguishable from individuals like Maria Alexevna. If writers so enlightened have thus viewed men like Lopoukhoff, is it for us to blame Maria Alexevna for coming to the same conclusions about this Lopoukhoff that our best writers, thinkers, and teachers have arrived at?
Certainly, if Maria Alexevna had known only half as much as our writers know, she would have had good sense enough to understand that Lopoukhoff was no companion for her. But, besides her lack of knowledge, she had still another excuse: Lopoukhoff, in his conversations, never pursued his reflections to their conclusions, not being of those amateurs who try very hard to inspire in Maria Alexevna the high thoughts in which they take delight themselves. He had good sense enough not to undertake to straighten a tree fifty years old. He and she understood facts in the same way and reasoned accordingly. Being educated, he was able to draw from facts certain inferences never dreamed of by people like Maria Alexevna, who know only their habitual cares and the routine aphorisms of every-day wisdom, proverbs, maxims, and other old apothegms ejusdem farince. If, for instance, in talking with Vérotchka, he had undertaken to explain what he meant by “self-interest,” Maria Alexevna probably could have seen that his idea of self-interest was not exactly the same as her own; but Lopoukhoff did not explain himself on this point to the usurer, nor even to Vérotchka, the latter knowing his meaning from the books which had occasioned their conversation. On the other hand, in writing “This is true” under the confession made by Maria Alexevna when drunk, Lopoukhoff would have added: “But, whereas, by your own admission, the new order of things will be better than the old, we should not oppose those who joyfully and devotedly labor to establish it. As for the stupidity of the people, though it is indeed an obstacle, you will admit that men would soon become wise if they saw that it was for their advantage to become so, a fact which they have not yet been able to perceive; you will admit also that it has not been possible for them to learn to reason. Give them this possibility, and you will see that they will hasten to profit by it.”
But the conversation with Maria Alexevna never went to that point, not from reserve, although he was reserved, but simply from good sense and the same feeling of propriety which prevented him from talking to her in Latin or entertaining her with accounts of the progress recently made in medicine, which would have interested him only. He had good sense and delicacy enough not to torment people with discourse beyond their grasp.
I say all this only to justify Maria Alexevna’s oversight in not understanding in time what sort of a man Lopoukhoff was, and not at all to justify Lopoukhoff himself. To justify Lopoukhoff would not be a good thing. Why? That you shall see later, reader. Those who, without justifying him, would like, from motives of humanity, to excuse him, could not do so. For instance, they might say in his excuse that he was a doctor and an investigator of the natural sciences, circumstances which dispose one to accept the materialistic way of looking at things. But with me such an excuse is not a valid one. Many other sciences lead to materialism, as, for instance, the mathematical, historical, social, and, in short, all the sciences. Is that to say that all the geometers, astronomers, historians, economists, jurists, publicists, and other savants are materialists? Very far from that. Lopoukhoff could not then be justified. The compassionate people who do not justify him might say further in his excuse that he is not entirely without praiseworthy qualities: voluntarily and firmly he decided to renounce the advantages and preferences which he might have demanded of life in order to work for the benefit of others, finding in the pleasure resulting from this work his own enlightened self-interest; the good and pretty young girl with whom he has fallen in love he regards with so pure an eye that there are not many brothers who so regard their sister. But to this latter excuse it would be necessary to reply that, generally speaking, there is no man entirely without good qualities, and that the materialists, whatever they may be, are always materialists, and are shown by that very fact to be low and immoral men who must never be excused, since to excuse them would be to compromise with materialism. So, not justifying Lopoukhoff, we cannot excuse him. And there is no longer any room to justify him, since the defenders of fine ideas and noble aspirations, who have stigmatized the materialists, have made such a line showing of wisdom and character in these latter days in the eyes of good men, materialists or not, that to defend any one from their blame is useless and to lend attention to their words at least superfluous.
The question as to what is the true way of looking at things certainly was not the principal object of Vérotchka’s interviews with Lopoukhoff. As a general thing they talked very little with each other, and their long conversations, which occurred but rarely, turned on general questions alone. They knew further that they were watched by two very experienced eyes. Consequently they seldom exchanged words on the subject which most interested them, and, when they did, it was usually while turning the leaves of music books.
It should be said also that the subject which so preoccupied them and about which they had so little chance to talk was not, as may be supposed, the expression of their inmost feeling. Of this feeling they had said not a word since the vague phrases of their first interview, and they had no time to discuss it during such moments as they were able to seize in which to talk freely and which were entirely devoted to Vérotchka’s situation. How could she escape from it? How could she get a foothold on the stage? They knew that the theatre presents many dangers for a young girl, but that these dangers might be avoided by Vérotchka’s firmness.
Nevertheless one day Lopoukhoff said to Vérotchka:
“I advise you to abandon the idea of becoming an actress.”
“Because it would be better for you to marry your suitor.” There the conversation stopped. These words were said at the moment when Vérotchka and he were taking their music books, he to play, she to sing. Vérotchka became very sad and more than once lost the time, although singing a very well known piece. While looking for another piece, Vérotchka said: “I was so happy! It is very hard for me to learn that it is impossible. I will take another course; I will be a governess.”
Two days later she said to him:
“I have found no one who can secure me a place as governess. Will you do it yourself, Dmitry Serguéitch? I have only you to ask.”
“It is very unfortunate that I have so few acquaintances to aid me. The families where I have given and still give lessons are all relatively poor, and the people of their acquaintance are almost as badly off. No matter, I will try.”
“My friend, I take all your time, but what am I to do?”
“Véra Pavlovna, my time is not to be spoken of when I am your friend.” Vérotchka smiled and blushed; she had not noticed that her lips had substituted the name “My friend,” for that of Dmitry Serguéitch.
Lopoukhoff smiled too.
“You did not intend to say that, Véra Pavlovna. Withdraw the name if you regret having given it.”
“It is too late,— and then . . . . I do not regret it,” replied Vérotchka, blushing more deeply yet.
“You shall see, if opportunity offers, that I am a faithful friend.”
They shook hands.
Such were their first two interviews after the famous soirée.
Two days afterwards appeared in the “Journal of Police” an announcement that a noble young girl, speaking French and German, etc., desired a place as governess, and that inquiries concerning her could be made of such a functionary at Kolomna, Rue N. N., house N. N.
Lopoukhoff did indeed have to spend much time in Vérotchka’s matters. He went every morning, generally on foot, from Wyborg to Kolomna to see the functionary of his acquaintance who had consented to do him a service in this connection. It was a long distance, but Lopoukhoff had no friends in his position nearer to Wyborg: for it was necessary that this friend should satisfy many conditions; among other things essential were a decent house, a well-regulated household, and an air of respectability. A poor house would have presented the governess in too disadvantageous a light; unless the person recommending had an air of respectability and lived, at least apparently, in comfort, no good opinion would have been formed of the young girl recommended. His own address? What would have beer thought of a young girl who had no one to answer for her but a student! Therefore Lopoukhoff had much to do. After getting from the functionary the addresses of those who had come to find a governess, he started out to visit them: the functionary told them that he was a distant relative of the young person and only an intermediary, but that she had a nephew who would not fail to go in a carriage the next day to consult with them more fully. The nephew, instead of going in a carriage, went on foot, examined the people closely, and, as goes without saying, almost always found something which did not suit him. In this family they were too haughty; in another the mother was good, the father stupid; in a third it was just the reverse; in still another it would have been possible to live, but the conditions were above Vérotchka’s means; or else English was required, and she did not speak it; or else they wanted not exactly a governess, but a nursery-maid; or again the people suited, but they were poor themselves, and had no other room for the governess than the children’s chamber, where slept two large girls, two little boys, a nursery-maid, and a nurse.
The advertisement was kept in the “Journal of Police,” and applicants continued to call on the functionary. Lopoukhoff did not lose hope. He spent a fortnight in his search. Coming home on the fifth day weary after his long tramp, Lopoukhoff threw himself on the sofa, and Kirsanoff said to him:
“Dmitry, you no longer work with me as you did. You disappear every morning and one evening out of two. You must have found many pupils. But is this the time to accept so many? For my part, I desire to give up even those that I have. I possess seventy roubles, which will last during the remaining three months of the term. And you have saved more than I,— one hundred roubles, it seems to me.”
“Even more,— one hundred and fifty roubles; but it is not my pupils that keeps me, for I have given them all up save one: I have business on hand. After I have finished it, you will have no more reason to complain that I lag behind you in my work.”
“What, then, is the business?”
“This: in the family where I still give lessons, an excessively bad family, there is a very remarkable young girl. She wishes to become a governess and leave her parents, and I am searching for a place for her.”
“She is an excellent young girl?”
“‘Tis well, then. Search.”
And the conversation ended there.
Well, Messrs. Kirsanoff and Lopoukhoff, learned men that you are, you have not thought to remark that which is most remarkable. Admit that the qualities which you seem to prize most are good; but are they all? What! Kirsanoff has not even thought to inquire whether the young girl is pretty! And Lopoukhoff has not thought to say a word about it! Why did not Kirsanoff think to say to his friend: “Have you, then, fallen in love that you take such an interest in her?” And it did not occur to Lopoukhoff to say: “She interests me much;” or, if he did not wish to say that, he at least failed to ward off such a conjecture by saying: “Do not think, Alexander, that I have fallen in love.” They both thought that, when the deliverance of a person from a dangerous situation was in question, it was of very little importance whether the person’s face was beautiful, even though it were a young girl’s face, and still less whether one was in love or not. The idea that this was their opinion did not even occur to them; they were not aware of it, and that is precisely the best feature of it. For the rest, does this not prove to the class of penetrating readers — to which belong the majority of aesthetic littérateurs, who are endowed with exceptional penetration — does this not prove, I say, that Kirsanoff and Lopoukhoff were dry people, absolutely without the “aesthetic vein?” That was the expression in vogue but a very short time since among the aesthetic and transcendental littérateurs. Perhaps they still use it. No longer associating with them, I cannot say. Is it natural that young people as devoid as they of taste and heart should otherwise interest themselves in a young girl? Certainly they are without the aesthetic sentiment. According to those who have studied the nature of man in circles endowed with the aesthetic sentiment even to a greater degree than our normalien aesthetic littérateurs, young people in such a case should speak of woman from a purely plastic standpoint. So it has been, and so, gentlemen, it still is. But not among youth worthy of the name. That were a strange youth, gentlemen!
“Well, my friend, have you found nothing yet?”
“Not yet, Véra Pavlovna; but do not lose courage, keep up your hope. We shall finally find a suitable place.”
Oh, if you knew, my friend, how hard it is for me to stay here! As long as I saw no possible way of deliverance from this perpetual humiliation, I forced myself into a sort of excessive insensibility. Now I stifle in this heavy and putrid atmosphere.”
“Patience, Véra Pavlovna, we shall find something.”
Such conversations as this occurred at intervals for a week.
“Patience, Véra Pavlovna, we shall find something.”
“My friend, what an embarrassment for you! How much time lost! How shall I repay you?”
“You will repay me, my friend, if you do not take offence” . . . . .
Lopoukhoff stopped and became confused.* Vérotchka glanced at him; he had really said what he intended to say, and was awaiting a reply.
“But why should I take offence? What have you done?”
Lopoukhoff became still more confused and appeared distressed.
“What is the matter, my friend?”
“Ah! you did not notice it?” He said this in a very sad tone, and then burst ut laughing. “Ah! how stupid I must be! Pardon me, my friend!”
“But what is the trouble?”
“Nothing. You have already repaid me.”
“Oh, that! What a queer man you are! Well, so be it, call me so.”
The following Thursday witnessed the test á la Hamlet according to Saxon, the Grammarian, after which Maria Alexevna relaxed her supervision a little.
Saturday, after tea, Maria Alexevna went to count the linen which the laundress had just brought.
“It looks, my friend, as if the affair was about to be arranged.”
“Yes? Oh! so much the better! And let it be quickly. I believe that I should die if this should last longer. But when and how?”
“All will be decided to-morrow. I am almost certain of it.”
“Tell me about it, then.”
“Be calm, my friend, you may be noticed. There you are, leaping with joy, and your mother liable to come in at any moment!”
“But you came in yourself so radiant with joy that Mamma looked as you for a long time.”
“Therefore I told her why I was gay; for I thought it would be better to tell her, and so I did say to her: ‘I have found an excellent place.’”
“Insufferable that you are! you give me all sorts of advice, and not a word have you told me yet. Speak, then!”
“This morning Kirsanoff — that, you know, my friend, is my comrade’s name—”
“I know, I know; speak, speak quickly.”
“You prevent me yourself, my friend.”
“Indeed! Still reprimands instead of reasonable speech. I do not know what I shall do with you; I would put you on your knees, if it were not impossible here; I order you to kneel when you get home, and Kirsanoff shall write me whether you have done proper penance.”
“So be it, and I will keep silence until I have done my penance and been pardoned.”
“I pardon, but speak quickly, insufferable!”
“I thank you. You pardon me, Véra Pavlovna, when you are the guilty one yourself. You are constantly interrupting.”
“Véra Pavlovna? What do you mean by that? Why do you no longer say my friend?”
“It is a punishment, my friend, that I desired to inflict upon you; I am an irritable and severe man.”
“A punishment? You dare to inflict punishments on me! I will not listen to you.”
“You will not?”
“No, I will not. What more is there to hear? You have told me almost all,— that the affair is nearly finished, and that tomorrow it will be decided; you know no more than that yourself today. What could I hear? Au revoir, my friend!”
“But listen a little, my friend; my friend, I beg of you.”
“I do not listen, and am going away.” She came back nevertheless. “Speak quickly, and I will interrupt you no more. Ah, if you knew what joy you have caused me! Give me your hand. See how heartily I shake it.”
“And tears in your eyes . . . . . why?”
“Thank you, thank you!”
“This morning Kirsanoff gave me the address of the lady who expects me to call tomorrow. I am not personally acquainted with her: but I have often heard her spoken of by the functionary, our mutual friend, and again he has been the intermediary. The lady’s husband I know personally, having met him several times at the house of the functionary in question. Judging from appearances, I am satisfied that the family is a good one. The lady said, when giving her address, that she was satisfied that we could agree upon terms. Therefore we may consider the business almost finished.”
“Oh! what happiness!” repeated Vérotchka. “But I wish to know immediately, as quickly as possible. You will come here straightway?”
“No, my friend, that would awaken suspicion. I must come here only at lesson-time. This is what we will do. I will send a letter by city post to Maria Alexevna announcing that I cannot come on Tuesday to give the usual lesson, and will come on Wednesday instead. If I say Wednesday morning, that will mean that the affair has terminated successfully; if Wednesday evening, that it has fallen through. But it is almost certain to be Wednesday morning. Maria Alexevna will tell Fédia, as well as yourself and Pavel Konstantinytch.”
“When will the letter get here?”
“So late! No, patience will fail me. And what am I going to learn from the letter? A simple ‘yes,’ and then to wait till Wednesday! It is actual torture! My friend, I am going to this lady’s house. I wish to know the whole at once. But how shall we fix that? Oh, I know; I will wait for you in the street, until you come away from her house.”
“But, my friend, that would be still more imprudent than for me to come back here. It is better, then, that I should come.”
“No, perhaps we could not talk together here. And in any case Mamma would be suspicious. It is better to follow my suggestion. I have a veil so thick that no one will recognize me.”
“Perhaps, indeed, it is possible. Let me think a little.”
“There-is no time to lose in long reflections. Mamma may enter at any moment. Where does this lady live?”
“Rue Galernaia, near the bridge.”
“When will you be there?”
“At noon: that is the hour she fixed.”
“From noon onward I will be seated on the Boulevard Konno-Gvardeisky, on the last bench on the side near the bridge. I told you that I would wear a very thick veil. But here is a signal for you: I will have a music roll in my hand. If I am not there, it will be because I have been detained. No matter, sit down on the bench and wait. I may be late, but I will not fail to come. How good I feel! How grateful I am to you! How happy I shall be! What is your sweetheart doing Dmitry Serguéitch? You have fallen from the title of friend to that of Dmitry Serguéitch. How contented I am! How happy I am!”
Vérotchka ran to her piano, and began to play. “What a degradation of art, my friend! What has become of your taste? You abandon operas for galops.”
“Abandoned, utterly abandoned!”
A few minutes later Maria Alexevna entered. Dmitry Serguéitch played a game of cards with her; he began by winning; then he allowed her to recover her losses, and finally he lost thirty-five copecks; it was the first time he had let her win, and when he went away, he left her well contented, not with the money, but with the triumph. There are joys purely ideal, even in hearts completely sunk in materialism, and this it is that proves the materialistic explanation of life unsatisfactory.
Vérotchka’s First Dream.
Vérotchka dreamed that she was shat up in a dark and damp cellar. Suddenly the door opened, and she found herself at liberty in the country; she began to run about joyfully, saying to herself: “How did I keep from dying in the cellar?” And again she ran about and gamboled. But suddenly she felt a stroke of paralysis. “How is it that paralysis has fallen upon me?” thought she; “only old people are subject to that, old people and not young girls.”
“Young girls also are subject to it,” cried a voice. “As for you, you will be well, if I but touch you with my hand. You see, there you are, cured; arise.”
“Who speaks thus to me? And how well I feel! The illness has quite gone.” Vérotchka arose; again she began to run about and play, saying to herself: “How was I able to endure the paralytic shock? Undoubtedly because I was born a paralytic, and did not know how to walk and run; if I had known how, I never could have endured to be without the power.”
But she sees a young girl coming. How strange she is! her expression and manner are constantly changing; by turns she is English and French, then she becomes German, Polish, and finally Russian, then English again, German again, Russian again,— and yet why do her features always remain the same? An English girl does not resemble a French girl, nor a German a Russian. She is by turns imperious, docile, joyful, sad, gentle, angry, and her expression always indicates the feeling of the moment. But she is always good, even when she is angry. That is not all; she suddenly begins to improve; her face takes on new charms with every moment, and, approaching Vérotchka, she says to her: “Who are you?”
“Formerly he called me Véra Pavlovna; now he calls me ‘my friend.’”
“Ah! it is you, the Vérotchka who has formed an affection for me.”
“Yes, I love you much. But who are you?”
“I am the sweetheart of your sweetheart.”
“Of which sweetheart?”
“I do not know. I am not acquainted with my sweethearts. They know me, but I cannot know them, for I have many. Choose one of them; never take one elsewhere.”
“I have chosen” . . . .
“I have no need of his name; I do not know them. But I say to you again, choose only among them. I wish my sisters and my sweethearts to choose each other exclusively. Were you not shut up in a collar? Were you not paralysed
“Are you not free now?”
“It is I who delivered you, who cured you. Remember that there are many who are not yet delivered, who are not yet cured. Go, deliver them and cure them! Will you do it?”
“I will do it. But what is your name? I wish to know it.”
“I have many names. I tell to each the name by which he is to know me. As for you, call me Love of Mankind. That is my real name; but there are not many people who know it; you, at least, shall call me so.”
Then Vérotchka found herself in the city; she saw a cellar where young girls were shut up. She touched the lock, the lock fell; she said to the young girls: “Go out!” and they went out. She saw then a chamber where lay young girls who had been paralyzed; she said to them: “Arise!” They arose, and all ran into the country, lighted-hearted and laughing: Vérotehka followed them, and in her happiness cried out:
“How pleasant it is to be with them! How sad it was to be alone! How pleasant it is to be with tge free young girls who run in the fields, agile and joyous!”
Lopoukhoff, overburdened with cares, had no longer any time to see his friends at the Academy. Kirsanoff, who had not ceased to associate with them, was obliged to answer a hundred questions about Lopoukhoff: he revealed the nature of the affair that occupied his friend, and thus it was that one of their mutual friends gave the address of the lady on whom Lopoukhoff is about to call at this stage of our story. “How fortunate it will be, if this succeeds!” thought he, as he walked along; “in two years, two and a half at most, I shall be a professor. Then we can live together. In the meantime she will live quietly with Madame B., provided Madame B. proves really to be a good person whom one cannot mistrust.”
Lopoukhoff found in Madame B., an intelligent and good woman, without pretentions, although the position of her husband would have warranted her in having many. The conditions were good, Vérotchka would be well situated there; all was going on famously, then, and Lopoukhoff’s hopes had not been groundless.
Madame B., on her side, being satisfied with Lopoukhoff’s replies regarding Vérotchka’s character, the affair was arranged, and after a half hour’s talk, Madame B. said: “If my conditions suit your young aunt, I beg her to take up her quarters here, and I should be pleased to see her as soon as possible.”
“She will be satisfied; she has authorized me to act for her. But now that we have come to an agreement, I must tell you (what it was needless to tell you before) that this young girl is not my relative. She is the daughter of the functionary in whose family I give lessons. She had no one but me whom she could trust in this affair. But I am almost a stranger to her.”
“I knew it, Monsieur Lopoukhoff. You, Professor N. (the name of the friend who had given the address), and your comrade esteem yourselves so highly that one of you can form a friendship for a young girl without compromising her in he eyes of the two others. Now N. and I think the same, and, knowing that I was looking for a governess, he felt justified in telling me that this young girl is not related to you. Do not blame him for being indiscreet; he knows me very well, believe myself also worthy of esteem, Monsieur Lopoukhoff, and be sure that I well know who is worthy of being esteemed. I trust N. as I trust myself, and N. trusts you as he trusts himself. Let us say no more on that point, then. But N. did not know her name, and it will be necessary for me to know it, since she is to come into our family.”
“Her name is Véra Pavlovna Rosalsky.”
“Now, I have an explanation to make to you. It may seem strange to you hat, careful as I am of my children, I have decided upon a governess for them vhom I have not seen. But I made the bargain with you because I know well, very well indeed, the men who compose your circle, and I am convinced that, if one of you feels so keen an interest in a young person, this young person must be a veritable treasure to a mother who desires to see her daughter become worthy of the esteem of all. Consequently to make inquiries about her seemed to me a superfluous indelicacy. In saying this I compliment, not you, but myself.”
[To be continued.]
* Perhaps the English reader will be at a loss to understand Lopoukhoff’s confusion unless informed that the words rendered here and on a previous page as “my friend” have in the original significance more tender which no English word exactly conveys.
“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.
Labor’s New Fetich.
General Butler’s long-expected letter is out at last. The question now is how many it will hoodwink. Among these at least will not be Liberty. Would that as much could be asserted of all who think they believe in Liberty. But the political habit is a clinging one; the fascinations of political warfare seldom altogether lose their charm over those who have once been under its influence; traces of faith in its efficacy still linger in the minds of those who suppose themselves emancipated; the old majority superstition yet taints the reformer’s blood, and, in face of the evils that threaten society’s life, he appeals to its saving grace with the same curious mixture of doubt and confidence that sometimes leads a wavering and timorous Infidel, when brought face to face with the fancied terrors of death, to re-embrace the theological superstition from which his good sense has once revolted and to declare his belief on the Lord Jesus, lest, as one of them is said to have profanely put it, “there may be, after all, a God, or a Christ, or a Hell, or some damned thing or other.” To such as these, then, Butler will look for some of his strength, and not be disappointed.
The audacity of this demagogue’s utterances, the fearlessness with which he exposes such shams and frauds and tyrannies as he does not himself champion, the fury of his onslaught on those hypocrites in high places to dislodge whom for his own benefit and glory he himself hypocritically espouses the cause of the people, all tend to fire such radical hearts as have no radical heads to guide tnem, and accordingly we see on every hand reformers of every stripe, through their press and on their platforms, enlisting in the service of this incarnation of reaction, this personification of absolutism, this total stranger to the principle of Liberty, this unscrupulous plunderer of labor, this servant of the fearful trinity of the people’s enemies, being at once an insincere devotee of the Church, a steadfast lover of a mammoth and omnipotent State, and a bloated beneficiary of the exactions of Capital.
The platform announced in his letter is a ridiculous tissue of contradictions and absurdities. Anti-monopoly only in name, it sanctions innumerable monopolies and privileges, and avowedly favors class legislation. As far as it is not nondescript, it is the beginning of State Socialism,— that is, a long step towards the realization of the most gigantic and appalling monopoly ever conceived by the mind of man. One sentence in it, however, commands my approbation: “The laboring man votes for his Fetich the Democratic party, and the farmer votes for his Fetich, the Republican party, and the result is that both are handed over as captives to the corruptionists and monopolists which ever side wins. Mark this: the laborers and the people never win!” True, every word of it! But why not go a little farther? Suppose both laborer and farmer vote for their new Fetich, Ben Butler and his party of State Socialism, what will be the result then? Will not both be handed over as captives to a band of corruptionists as much larger and greedier as the reach and resources of the government are made vaster, all in the service and pay, not of a number of distinct and relatively weak monopolies, but of one consolidated monopoly whose rapacity will know no bounds? No doubt about it whatever. Let those who will, then, bow before this idol,— no Anarchistic knee shall bend. We Anarchists have not come for that. We come to shatter Fetichos, not to kneel before them,— no more before Fetich Butler than Fetich Blaine or Fetich Cleveland or Fetich St. John. We are here to let in the light of Liberty upon political superstition, and from that policy can result no captivity to corruption, no subserviency to monopoly, only a world of free laborers controlling the products of their labor and growing richer every day.
If Liberty has a weak-kneel friend who is contemplating a violation of his Anarchistic principles by voting just for once, may these golden words from John Morley’s work on “Compromise” recall him to his better self!
A principle, if it be sound, represents one of the larger expediencies. To abandon that for the sake of some seeming expediency of the hour is to sacrifice the greater good for the less on no more creditable ground than that the less is nearer. It is better to wait, and to defer the realization of our ideas until we can realize them fully, than to defraud the future by truncating them, if truncate them we must, in order to secure a partial triumph for them in the immediate present. It is better to bear the burden of impracticableness than to stifle conviction and to pare away principle until it becomes mere hollowness and triviality. What is the sense and what is the morality of postponing the wider utility to the narrower? Nothing is so sure to impoverish an epoch, to deprive conduct of nobleness and character of elevation.
The Popular Paradox.
During the last few weeks I have had letters from a number of people who think much about the social problem,— representative people from that large class of men and women who have gone far enough to recognize and deplore the present evil, almost far enough to doubt the present system, but who are afraid to put their faith in anything else. The views they take of Liberty and its principles are instructive, for they show how much mistaken confidence these people instinctively put in the present system with its tried-and-found-wanting, cure-all, patent medicines of legislation and education. After seeing with what a death-like grasp even people who can think and feel hold on to methods and systems which they almost or entirely doubt, it is no longer strange that the world does not move any faster than it does. It is almost marvellous that a deeply-ploughing social reform should make any progress at all.
Says one,— a man who has thought much and earnestly about the existing condition of things, until, as one must who thinks but can not see that the only way out is by an entirely new road, he has bocome a confirmed pessimist,— “I have no longer any faith in legislation, but I have at least a hope in education.” Confessing with a sadness sufficient to weigh down a whole lifetime the evils of present civilization, this man hangs all his hope for the human race upon that slender “at least a hope in education!” A woman of unusually bright and keen intelligence, but who has such a zealous interest in everything which labels itself for the good of the race that she can’t let go the old and take chances with the new, confesses: “I suspect I am as good an Anarchist as you are. The difference is, I won’t own up.”
Another, the daughter of two reformers, who has inherited from both of them the courageous, independent, justice-loving spirit with which they have lived and worked and who has “thought herself sore” over the dark problem of evil and suffering, says that Liberty is “well-meaning, but wild.” Still another, this time a man who long ago cast behind him many of the beliefs that still shackle most men’s minds, writes in this way, after speaking of the deep interest with which he has read Liberty and particularly Tchernychewsky’s story: “You say that I will probably not agree with all that the editors of Liberty say. I do not, most emphatically. If they could live among men, women, and children, as I have lived in the seventeen years of my work as a ‘country doctor,’ neither of them would write so confidently of social reforms, You know, my friend, that I am no medievalist in opinion. In fact, I sometimes question myself if I am not too chimerical in my hopes and aspirations for our enslaved fellow-beings. But these men, it does seem to me, are wasting talents that might be of much good to humanity. The iconoclast is sometimes needed. But he who builds better than his fathers did is worth twice the one who simply tears down the old homestead. Let the old house rot down. It served its duty in its time. Let us not condemn it to the flames because it is too narrow for our needs of today.”
Now, what do such people as these, and their number is legion, most need? They are all whirling about in that paradoxical doubt of and confidence in the present way of carrying on the world. They are all of them convinced of deep, underlying wrong and injustice somewhere, but they hold fast to the system which has produced the very things they deplore in the firm belief that sometime it will work better. They have too little faith in the innate sense of justice and right with which men are endowed and too much confidence in education and legislation,— even the man who says he has lost all faith in the latter will applaud “a good law” and say there was need of it.
They have not got far enough to see that the natural uprightness of men is oftener bent and twisted and dwarfed than trained and cherished by education, and that the “you shall” and “you shan’t” of legislation will poison what education leaves. Even the man who wants “the old house to rot down” fails to see that, as long as it stands, people will believe in it, and that Liberty, which he condemns, is merely trying to convince people that they need a new one, which he himself evidently believes.
When one considers that these quotations represent pretty well the condition of mind in which the majority of thinking people have tangled themselves up, it needs a good deal of courage and of faith in human nature to keep up one’s hope for the outcome of it all. But the fact that these people have got even this far is proof enough that they will go farther some time; or, if they don’t, their children will. And when one remembers the reverence with which most people regard the inheritance from the past, it becomes wonderful that social reform has gone even as far as it has.
Anarchistic Campaign Notes.
The interest which the Anarchist takes in politics is the interest which one takes in his chief enemy. Whatever signs he observes of demoralization, corruption, bribery, and infamy in general among politicians and political parties is a source of gratification to him, as all these are significant evidences of the slow suicide that is yet sure to remove the organized enemy of Liberty. There is no such thing as purifying politics. If they could be purified, they would cease to exist. The beast was born radically unclean. Filth is its native element, and it must die in its own wallow. The Anarchist is only concerned to see it hasten its death as fast as possible.
It is astonishing to me how any intelligent and high-minded man can contemplate the present political muddle without a disgust that should force him back upon first principles and lead him to repudiate the whole swindle from top to bottom. Here is Blaine, a notorious rogue, whose record even under the prevailing low standard of political decency forces the self-respecting element of his own vile party to vomit him up. Opposed to him is Cleveland, a great bull-headed compound of nescience and wilful contempt of the producing masses in the service of usury and privilege. The only ragged end left in the tail of the political kite is Butler. I have tried long and impartially to respect him in the light of a necessary evil and disturber of the political peace, but cannot hazard my integrity any longer with this skulking fraud.
On the subscription lists of Liberty there are not a few brave and honest reformers whom I love and respect that are near the point of taking the veil, giving all politics and political methods the farewell hand forever and coming out clean-handed Anarchists. But in this man Butler they still seem to cherish the lingering hope that some promise for labor and Liberty still resides in politics. I ask them to look squarely at the doings of this scamp for the past few weeks. Having secured the nominations of the Greenbackers, Anti-monopolists, and labor element through equivocal plodges that might be repudiated if necessary, Butler tucks them into his tail pocket and goes as delegate to a Democratic convention in search of a nomination, using his previous nominations as a whip. When I saw this little game so woefully miscarry, I nevertheless felt somewhat like condoning it (though it was a dishonest and dishonorable trick on its face), thinking that Butler had done it all merely as a means of shaming and rebuking the Democracy. I of course expected that ho would immediately announce himself squarely as the independent candidate of the Greenbackers, Anti-monopolists, and workingmen, and preface his position with a statement of principles such as no politician in a presidential race had ever yet issued. Yes (I confess it with shame), I too was soft enough to expect all that.
The subsequent dénouement of this pitiful comedy is well known. Through a dexterous use of silence and equivocation Butler managed to mouse with his prey until the late ceremonies attending the Greeley expedition. Thither he repaired in his yacht ostensibly booked for Halifax, and on one dark night in company with the Secretary of the Navy be steamed out alone into the blue waters. Before the next morning’s sun arose he had determined to run, and the long-sought tidings were communicated to Brother Dana of the New York “Sun.”
Liberty’s space is precious, even if further comment on this sickening business were necessary. I ask serious-minded reformers if it is this kind of political kangaroo that still withholds them from joining the Anarchistic ranks? I know that they expect nothing from the old parties. What in the name of human sanity have they to expect from Butler? True, he is a capital political demoralizer, but high-minded men cannot afford to toy with bulls in the political china-shop, however much they may enjoy the fun as outsiders. Tickle the bull under the tail, if you will, to enhance the destruction, but vote not at all.
The pending compaign is doing splendid work for the cause of Anarchy. It will surely open many people’s eyes, and I doubt not that many an honest and serious man will be ready to walk away from the whole business forever before this circus is ended and the clowns retire. It is of little consequence which of these three rogues is elected or defeated. The only lasting gain will reside in whatever progress is made towards defeating the ballot-box itself.
Liberty and Wealth.
New Harmony: Its Institutions.
“I passed the next day in sight-seeing. To a casual observer, New Harmony presented in its outward appearance nothing to suggest that it differed materially from a hundred other towns of its size dotting that and adjoining counties. True, there was a certain individuality in the style of its houses, and a little more of method, perhaps, in the general structure of the place. One thing the city had managed to secure which John — the old gentleman, whose full name I learned only at breakfast that morning — John Meredith pointed out with pride. It needed no index finger, however, to call my attention to the happy foresight which had provided so large and beautiful a park in the very heart of the town. But it proved to be an afterthought, after all, as the old man explained. The credit, he said, belonged wholly to young Sangerfield, whose early misdeed he had related the evening before. It was he who suggested that the spot should be dedicated as an open common for themselves and their heirs forever. In this way he made perpetual atonement for the past.
“‘But who cares for it?’ I asked, ‘and keeps it in such good condition?’
“‘Sangerfield did for twenty years,’ was the reply. ‘You see yonder box on the old elm? That’s the contribution box for the common. Every spring the keeper announces the needed expenditure and the amount of individual assessment, as near as he can calculate, and I do not remember that there was a failure to respond but once. Then, there was some proposed improvement the people disliked, and they withheld their money.’
“I asked him to explain what he meant by dedicating the common forever. Was it so fixed that the generations to come could not convert it into building lots, if they so chose?
“‘Oh, by no means!’ he exclaimed; ‘we can do that to-morrow, if we please. We think future generations will know what they want as well as we do. If they don’t, it’s not our concern. We don’t bind ourselves even beyond tho year’s contract.’
“‘Suppose someone should take a notion to build a house or a shed there. Would he have a right?’ I asked this only to bring out his full meaning.
“‘He would have no equitable right. Let me tell you one thing, as a matter of experience. Under our system everybody is put on his good behavior. He has, moreover, a pride in the matter, not to be intellectually wrong in assorting his rights. You see, our social relations are a constant problem, new complications arising which are to be solved by our rule of freedom and equity. A man is ashamed to get beaten in the game, so to speak. Our people are made by this constant exercise of their intellectual faculties quick-witted; at the same time, as you can readily see, they are likely to have a steady growth in their morals. We claim we have struck the idea of self-government in its truest and simplest form. We have equal opportunities, equal burdens. We have no artificial inequalities to contend against. Even those which nature has preordained are softened and fall into harmony instead of discord. One might imagine there would be danger that the superior minds would take on aristocratic airs and cause ill feeling. But, practically, the reverse has occurred. It is one of our most cherished notions that superiority in any department is to be recognized and cherished. We divide according to our natural gifts. Each strives to do the thing he feels himself fitted for, and, as work of all descriptions is regarded as honorable, very little trouble arises. I might go on in this strain, but we must walk along. We will call at Wright’s store, at Farnham’s bank, and Glover’s factory. These will introduce you practically to our ways of doing business.’
“Wright turned out to be a quiet sort of a man. He kept open books. Whoever chose could see what he paid for things and what wore his running expenses, including all cost, wear and tear, and outlay of whatsoever kind, adding to this the amount of personal labor required for the management. This sum total was distributed, in fixing the price, over the principal articles of sale. It was rather a nice calculation and required a special talent. Several had essayed it and failed. Wright had taken this store from one Simpson, who was really the originator and the most successful operator up to his time they had had in that line. But he instructed Wright so thoroughly that the people had noticed little difference in the management. Wright employed several assistants, all of them having opportunity, as the world says, to learn the business. But in learning this business no boy was initiated into the art of lying or cheating. Wright was, if anything, morbidly jealous in that direction. If any doubted his word, there was the record in minutest detail. Let any one impeach it who could.
“I asked if he had no competition, and was informed that there was another store near by and two others on the other side of the hill. But competition was only possible in matters of economy or ability to conduct the business. The four stores were required to supply the needs of tho community, and there was virtually no competition. In fact, the owners consulted with and gave one another points. So long as Wright is kept as busy as he cares to be, he is in no way disturbed that Morgan finds enough to do. If Morgan’s success should take Wright’s customers from him, and he be unable to continue, he would have to bow to the inevitable and turn to some other occupation. He is, however, reasonably sure against a disaster of that sort, for he couldn’t stock his store to begin with without the cooperation of others. It was the merit of a system, where the ruling principle was ‘labor for labor,’ that there were few very poor: all who were willing to work could earn a living and lay somewhat by for a rainy day. And as none could be very poor, so none could become very rich. No capitalist or money-king could arise to lord it over his fellows. The result of labor for labor was a democratic simplicity. It created and sustained a mutual dependence. For this reason, a man starting any kind of business on other than a comparatively limited scale required the goodwill and support of others. He must be able to borrow capital in accord with his plans.
“This was the way he would stock a store. A, B, C, and others have credit at Farnham’s bank, or they establish credit by depositing their notes there to the amount required, which notes are satisfactorily secured — at least, Farnham believes them to be — by improvements upon land or any real estate, or even by promises of labor. In exchange, they receive Farnham’s notes, or the current money of the town. This they lend to Wright, and receive his promise or private note, which he redeems in due time as his business becomes established. This is but one way. The problem has a variety of solutions.”
“It’s a way sometimes practised now,” said Smith, ironically; “Jones borrows money on his I O U of Tom, Dick and Harry, starts business, busts up, and pays Tom and Dick and Harry with, ‘I’m very sorry, I’m sure.’”
I replied that the cases were not parallel, because the one was conceived and carried out under an entirely different set of circumstances from the other. Of course, there were the elements of mutual confidence and honor in each, but the inducements and opportunities of success and honest dealing were wholly changed. The one borrower took his chances under an antagonizing, cut-throat system; while the other went forward backed by a system of things which harmonized interests and caused all whom it might concern to desire the individual’s success and prosperity. In New Harmony, the idea that one man could be benefited by the failure of another seemed to be exploded. Success there means simply the opportunity for labor, and the more labor done, the greater the production and the aggregate wealth.
Smith inquired after Farnham’s bank. “Hasn’t it a gold basis?”
To this I replied in Alexander Farnham’s own words: “No more than it has a cabbage basis, or a beet basis . Gold, iron, cabbage, beet are but so many products representing human labor; they are worth precisely the cost of producing or obtaining them. ‘Farnham’s bank’ is a labor bank. All the money I issue is labor money. It is a convenient medium of exchange. It secures to each person using it the equivalent of his labor; at least, that is what it calls for. I issue my note of promise to pay so many hours of labor. My labor dollar is two hours’ labor. It might be ten, but for greater convenience I have adopted two. The community know I’m good for it, because it knows, or may know, if it cares to investigate, that the notes of others which I hold are all secured by substantial salable property.”
When I asked what hindered him, when he once had the confidence of the community, from an overissue, from circulating any judicious amount of money not so secured, he replied that, supposing he was disposed to do so, there were innumerable checks on any such conduct. His accounts could be examined at any time by all who chose, and as a rule he had insisted on such an examination by competent parties at least once a year. Besides, there were too many concerned in the labor of conducting the bank to make any risk of that kind appear to be worth one’s while.
“A nice-looking thing, as a theory,” exclaimed Smith; “but practically, in my opinion, all such wildcat arrangements won’t work. In a country like this we must have a uniform currency, with a solid basis,— not a little, sentimental, tinkering sort of job.”
I gave him tho last word, and the conversation was postponed to another evening.
To be continued.
Then and Now.
Continued from No. 48.
Some Things Anarchy Had to Contend with.
Boston, August 23, 2084.
My Dear Louise:
I most sincerely trust that these arguments of Mr. De Demain will not cause you to distrust even, to say nothing of hate, governments. We women, above all others, should use our utmost endeavor to defend the State from the attacks of its enemies. How carefully it looks after all our interests, asking in return nothing, or, at least, nothing more than taxes! Of course we ought to have the right to vote, but it is not the fault of the State that we do not. No, no! Governments were given to man by God. Man must not abolish them. If he does, as he has here, I am sure there is a terrible punishment in store for him.
What if Anarchy has proved a blessing to the many? Is it the many that this world is for? Did not God anoint kings and watch over and care for a people that he called “his people”? Were not all other peoples prey for “his people”? Were not the armies of his people made strong with afflatus that they might overcome the other peoples of the earth? Should it not be so today? Should not the people of wealth, superior intelligence, and education be God’s chosen, and should they not conquer and rule the earth? Happiness is not for the many, but for the favored few. It is a divine gift to superior beings. Must we share it with the common herd? Must we be regarded as simply shareholders with all others in the world? No,no! Anarchy is a conception of man: the State is a conception of God. What if man’s scheme does appear better for man than God’s? Are we to trust it? No, no!
These arguments against Anarchy are all-powerful: it is not god-given; it makes happiness a privilege of all; it does not allow a small, and consequently select and educated, minority to set up a standard of right by which all must gauge their moral yardsticks.
Louisa,— in strict coulidence,— I am convinced that Anarchy is better, far better, for the majority than the government of the State, but power, wealth, and privileges are lost through it to the few. We, so long as we are of the few, must oppose it; we, so long as we are of the few, and consequently of the strong, can oppose it. We can say to the many: ”You have the right to become one of the few, if you can;” and so they praise us for being just. We have hoodwinked the people for so many generations that — but it is no use. Anarchy is today a fact. In spite of all you and I may do, our children’s children will know from experience the true meaning of Anarchy.
Mr. De Demain is still very kind and patient toward me, and really seems to enjoy giving me little lectures on individual government and its results. By the way, I think I forgot to write you before that he is a fine-looking young man of about thirty-five. He is a teacher in Harvard College.
“Are you still interested in the subject of crime and its prevention and punishment under Anarchy?” asked he, when he called just after I sent you my last letter. I, of course, was only too glad to have him continue the subject, which he did as follows:
“With governments were wiped out directly one-half the crimes in the calendar. The State always regarded it a most serious crime to compete with it in any branch of business which it monopolized, and it monopolized, or granted as a monopoly, the most important of all busiuess ventures, money-issuing. As you know, without having your attention called to the fact by me, States named in laws hundreds of things — for instance, Sabbath-breaking, refusal to pay taxes for the privilege of voting, peddling without a license, etc., etc. — as crimes, which were crimes simply because the State said they should be so considered.”
“But,” said I, “Vox populi, vox dei.”
“The voice of the people,” replied he, “does not mean the voice of the majority even of the people, much less a minority, which always, even with the most liberal suffrage, decided such questions. The voice of the people that are willing to abide by that voice — not that are compelled to — is the voice of god, in fact is god — the only god we acknowledge.
“Anarchy was as a seed. How the first germ was produced we cannot tell. It grew, and produced a hundredfold. The plant became indigenous to every climate, so strong, so healthy, so hardy was it. As it was found impossible to root it out, many for a time took it for a weed. But as it flourished, mankind began to taste its fruit and seek its shelter. When the few saw its blessings, they cultivated it, and it throve so under care that it soon shaded every highway of life, and its fruit was the food of all. Its growth was more wonderful than that of the mustard seed of the Bible parable, and instead of being, like the grown mustard seed, simply shelter to the birds of the air, it was a shelter to all mankind.
“In order for you to clearly understand how Anarchy superseded governments, it will be necessary for you to read the history of the past century, the twentieth. I trust that you will do so during your stay with us. You had the founders of Anarchistic liberty about you in the world from which you came. You called some cranks, some idle theorists, some assassins. They put their shoulders to the wheel of the wagon of the world, and tried to push it out of the deep and muddy ruts in which it was slowly lumbering along. It carried a pretty heavy load. In it, comfortably seated, were statesmen, politicians, bankers, stock gamblers, priests, poets, novelists, college professors, school teachers, editors, and literary men of all classes. They did not care to get out and make the road any better. They jeered at the Anarchists, and in every possible way hindered their work. But the worst part of the load was the great middle class of humanity, who kept climbing on and tumbling off; now struggling inharmoniously to drag the wagon with the hope of soon being able to ride, now riding with the constant fear that at any moment they might be obliged to get out and help to keep the thing from going out of sight altogether in the mud. They never thought that a better road-bed would improve matters. The sturdy toilers at the wheels appealed to the reason of the strong, comfortably seated inside, and the weak ones struggling outside, but the brain is a hard thing to move. It is the stomach that must be touched. This the Anarchists saw at last, and a scheme was devised whereby the muddy road was dried and made hard, and the wagon rolled on, carrying comfortably all humanity. What this scheme was history will tell you.
“Anarchy, like the religion of Jesus Christ, took hold slowly at first on the people’s minds. To those who were liberal enough to take oven a superficial view of it it appeared a beautiful theory, but utterly impracticable. It was a noble, pure conception — too noble and pure for ordinary humanity. To those who would not even look at its surface, but who persisted in looking over it at an imaginary figure in the background, it was something worse than a crime. It was absurd. It meant chaos. It was the distorted conception of dangerous maniacs. Thinking men — that is, men who were commonly in the habit of thinking on other subjects — occasionally picked up stray bits of Anarchistic literature, and from a hasty glance at them formed their conception of the thing itself. They simply went far enough to discover that Anarchy meant abolition of majority rule, and they were so imbued with the idea that society, composed of good and bad men, could not exist, except as a mass of warring people, without such rule, that they set it down as impossible. These were the men who kept on fighting religious superstition after religious superstition was dead. They delighted in creating imaginary dragons and other terrible monsters, and then sallying forth with lance in hand and riding at them full tilt. Their most pleasant pastime was in stuffing the skin of a dead belief with straw and then kicking the straw out of the skin all over the country. They became so engrossed in this seed-bag fox hunting that the real, live fox was stealing and eating their poultry under their very noses. To them the Anarchists were good, able, well-meaning men, but very deluded, very cranky. They had pity for them, pity that so much brain should go to waste when it might be devoted to devising new means whereby old-time and long-since-dead monsters might be revivified and then slain.
“Visionary men, so the Anarchists were called by the liberal; bad men they were called by the bigoted: but they were the least visionary of all men and not one-tenth part so bad as those who called them bad. Their labor was to improve the conditions under which humanity labored, knowing that by this means, humanity would be improved. Those who opposed them said: ‘Let us improve humanity, and then the conditions under which humanity lives will improve.’ Which was the more visionary scheme? How was humanity to be improved? The liberals said by education; the bigots said by religion. Could anything have been more visionary? At the rate education was improving humanity two centuries ago, several more centuries would yet have to elapse before it would have secured much better conditions, and several cycles would have still to elapse if religion were relied upon.”
Mr. De Demain had called to invite me to a company him to a concert, not of music, but of color and motion. It is a now idea in amusements, and I shall tell you about it in some future letter.
[To be continued.]
Rogues Fallen Out.
The bolt of some of the Republican politicians and journals may be of service to men who are still deluded by this game of politics but are inclined to search for the true meaning of things. The bolters claim to be the best men in the party. They are distinguished from the other knaves by being called “the better element,” and they assume that their desertion from the ranks proves the superiority of their virtue and honesty. It simply proves that they are arrant hypocrites and liars. Three months ago they were protesting that the party to which they belonged was honest, capable, patriotic, and incorruptible, and that the charges of rascality made by their opponents were lies out of whole cloth. Today they holy-roll their eyes, avert their laces in pious horror, declare that the nominee of their party is the incarnation of evil, and protest that the party itself has become so rotten that they can no longer remain in its company. They knew all about the moral decomposition of the party during all the time that they were vouching for its purity. They knew when they voted for Garfield that his character was more pitifully despicable than Blaine’s. They know now, as they have declared thousands of times, that the Democratic politicians are knaves and tricksters, and yet they propose to join these unspeakable scoundrels in deceiving the people. I hope this squabble among the thieves will open the eyes of some men to the fact that politics is a confidence game and government a knavish trick. The fashion of bolting having been set, let the people bolt the whole scheme, and leave the ballot-boxes to be fashioned into coffins for the acts of Congress, if they want to be free.
To the Anarchists of All the World.
The following Invitation to attend a universal Anarchistic Congress, to be held at Barcelona, proceeds from the Federal Commission of the Workingmen’s Federation of the Spanish Region, to which Liberty is indebted for a copy. The awkward construction of the sentences should be pardoned, as the translation into English was evidently the work of some Spaniard having but an imperfect knowledge of English.
Fellows: — The Regional Congress of Valencia having resolved that a Cosmopolite one should be held at Barcelona on the 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th of September, 1884, in which we all who on this planet profess the immortal principle of ANARCHY might agree about a line of conduct most conducive to our object, as well as on the economical conditions and the resolution of the problems of exchange and solidarity in the Society of the future, we have the grateful satisfaction of inviting you to take share in this Congress, by which there are to be discussed and analyzed the highest interests for the emancipation of the disinherited class.
At the present historical moments when both the aristocracy of blood and that of money, shrouded up in their most stupid pride, declare themselves inept and unable of contributing to the constant social evolution determined by the rapid progress of modern civilization; and when the middle classes, source of life of the present Society, are going to destroy one another by the pitiless competition which forms their way of existence collectively and individually, and whose immediate victim is always the producer, the proletarian; when all governments attending to the egoistical principle of nationality and promoting the immoral sentiment of patriotism that hallows their tyranny, try to sow hatred between brother nations in order to obtain a fictitious enlargement and sham glory at the cost of the annihilation and ruin of their brethren, and when the tyrants, both that rely on the armies and that rest on their capital, only devise to agree in fighting its, the victims of the bourgeois State and the theology of money,— it is just for us workingmen to meet, to discuss, and to find the means to put an end as soon and completely as possible to this concept and corrupting Society whose unchecked individualism legitimates the social crime of man’s exploitation by man and the tyranny and despotism of a few privileged gentlemen over all other mankind.
We are well aware that both capital and government, joining inevitably to fight us, will most likely intend hindering us from meeting publicly and as freely as would be convenient for our purposes; if such be the case, we shall hold our Congress as best we can, but WE SHALL HOLD IT. Wo are partisans to the principle that LIBERTY IS NEVER TO BE RENOUNCED, and therefore, publicly, privately, or in both ways, according to circumstances, WE SHALL HOLD OUR CONGRESS IN BARCELONA (SPAIN) during the days of September 24tb, 25th, 26th, and 27th, 1884.
If you agree in partaking of this Anarchist manifestation in order to share in the discussion of the order of the day inserted at the end of this convocation, you may enter in communication with the Federal Commission writing under the direction we give you separately.
We think it superfluous, dear fellows, recommending you the necessity of sending good delegations to this Congress, as the importance of the points to be discussed is so notorious. Nor do we consider It necessary recommending you the utmost circumspection in this matter before we know exactly the intentions of the Spanish government about this Congress, which, though they cannot but be bad as becoming authoritative governors, notwithstanding can be so more or less.
In order that all may understand the importance of the points to be discussed and that at the same time they may be studied by the collectivities, we publish the following
Order of the Day.
Verification of deeds and constitution of Congress.
Election of reporting Commissions.
Reading of communications and telegrams.
Account of the Commission that organized the Congress.
Line of conduct to be adopted in face of the contingencies that may arise.
What are the means to hasten, prepare, and organize Social Revolution.
Setting up of an economic system that warrants liberty, thoroughly prevents man’s exploitation by man, and establishes mutuality of relations and exchanges indispensable in order to live the life of civilization and satisfy its ever increasing wants.
How is Anarchy to be practised in order to save liberty, and what are the means to prevent and baffle the attacks it may be exposed to from mismanagement, criminality, vice, etc., etc.
Is it convenient that the propaganda in defence of proletarian interests and liberties should be identical in all countries? If so, in what direction is it to be carried on?
Account given by the delegates of the state of workingmen’s organization in their respective countries.
Pact of Friendship and solidarity among the Anarchist workingmen of all regions.
Convenience of publishing a quarterly Bulletin supplying an exact account of workingmen’s doings all over the world. If agreed, what are to be the resources, the spot, the editors, and the language of the paper?
Manifest to all workingmen of the whole world.
Besides the aforesaid order of the day, the Federations and Sections may send beforehand or by means of their delegates other topics for discussion, which will be included in the general propositions.
We hope to receive statement of arrival of this circular from all persons who get it, and wish the Societies to inform the Federal Commission of the Spanish Region whether they mean to send a delegate of their own, or to have themselves represented by other delegates; all of them will be received at the railway station or at the landing place of the port of Barcelona by workingmen commissioned especially for this purpose.
Expecting your answer with eagerness, we beg to wish you Health, Union, Anarchy, and the speedy triumph of Social Revolution.
The Federal Commission.
Spain, May 1, 1884.
Don’t keep Liberty to yourself, share it with others!
Leonard E. Read: Accent On The Right: To Frederic Bastiat (1801–1850), who sought for truth rather than outcome and never witnessed the fruits his labor bore. Obedience to conscience was his first rule; we witness the results.
Leonard E. Read: Anything That’s Peaceful: Many favor peace but not many favor the things that make for peace. — Thomas à Kempis
Leonard E. Read: Awake for Freedom’s Sake: Finally, share with others. Forget about “reforming” them! The more we share, the more we learn. This is in the interest of self and freedom!
Leonard E. Read: Castles in the Air: If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. — Henry David Thoreau
Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State: Political philosophy is dominated by a myth, the myth of the necessity of the state. The state is considered necessary for the provision of many things, but primarily for peace and security. In this provocative book, Gerard Casey argues that social order can be spontaneously generated, that such spontaneous order is the norm in human society and that deviations from the ordered norms can be dealt with without recourse to the coercive power of the state.
Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers: Murray Rothbard: Murray Rothbard (1926–1995) was an economist, historian, philosopher, and legal theoretician. His work was unified by a passionate and resolute commitment to a libertarianism that may be characterized as ‘anarcho-capitalism’ and which implied a belief that even the legal system may be provided privately without the need for a coercive collective authority. Hence, anarcho-capitalists envisage a society where the traditional role of government is wholly subsumed by private, profit-making enterprises and all social relationships are ultimately founded upon consent.