“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.
Every person who has been misled by Henry George’s defence of interest should read William Hanson’s new book pointing out his fallacies and learn therefrom that all usury is plunder.
“La Raison” of Brussels chronicles the death, at the age of seventy, of an Anarchist of long standing, Thomas Bronsin. He was a man of rare energy and a writer of great talent, and once had the honor of being sentenced to death in France for being engaged in a conspiracy against the life of Napoleon III., to say nothing of numerous imprisonments for his services in the cause of Liberty.
Liberty is asked by a friend to answer this question: “What is a monopolist?” Here is the answer: A monopolist is any person, corporation, or institution whose right to engage in any given pursuit of life is secured, either wholly or partially, by any agency whatsoever,— whether the nature of things or the force of events or the decree of arbitrary power,— against the influence of competition.
“Trade unions are wholly non-political,” says Ben Butler. This would be important, were it only true, but I am sorry to say it is very far from the truth. Trade unions are largely composed of men who imagine that there is relief from injustice in the ballot-box, and many of them believe Ben Butler when he tells them they can secure their rights by voting for him. When the members of trade unions learn that their emancipation from slavery to capital depends upon their being “wholly non-political,” there will be some hope for them.
The extract from “Die Zukunft” in another column shows that that paper and Liberty are substantially at one. But when Liberty, in answering “Le Revolte,” said that the revolution must take place largely in ideas before it can produce its permanent effects in actual life, it used the word revolution in the larger sense that involves a fundamental change in our industrial, economic, and social systems. It by no means intended to undervalue the single revolutionary acts defended by “Die Zukunft,” which it regards, in certain exigencies, not only as justifiable, but as highly useful in bringing about that revolution in ideas which is of prime necessity. “Die Zukunft” is requested to note this important distinction.
Bakounine’s “God and the State” bids fair to receive the universal circulation that it deserves. Through its publication in the San Francisco “Truth,” and through the large sales, both in this country and England, of my own translation, of which several editions have already been exhausted, it has been read by many thousands of English-speaking people. It is gratifying to know that the Germans, who need its truths more perhaps than people of any other nationality, are now to have an opportunity of knowing them through the enterprise of “Die Zukunft,” which is publishing it serially with a view to its later appearance in pamphlet form. The people of Spain are being similarly favored by the “Revista Social.” Whether there is an Italian edition or not I do not know. If not, there probably soon will be.
A sign of the times. An eight-page Texas daily and the most influential in that State, the Galveston “News,” is filling its editorial page with articles that, though not professedly Anarchistic, are really so. Somebody on the staff has got brains and is allowed to use them, which is a phenomenal thing in daily journalism.
A new paper about the size of Liberty has begun to come monthly from Clinton, Iowa. It is called “Foundation Principles,” costs fifty cents a year, and is edited by Lois Waisbrooker. One of its foundation principles is “that all gain coming from the use of natural wealth belongs to the party through whose labor it is secured, and not to some other claimant — that no man nor set of men has the moral right to hold land not in actual use from those who need it, and that rent taken for the use of such land is robbery, and illegal when measured by the law of natural justice.” Holding this, “Foundation Principles” interests me and so far commands my approval. It is intensely earnest and in a degree intelligent. But its editor will try in vain, as others have before her, to distract the attention of any great number of her fellow-Spiritualists from the “summerland,” and her own ardent interest in this earth and its welfare will not be used to the best advantage until she learns that all government of man by man is tyranny. In this direction, however, there is hope, for I observe that she is reading Proudhon. No one can read Proudhon carefully and intelligently and still cling to Joel Densmore’s reactionary faith in majority rule as a means of securing justice.
How the light does spread! An order came to this office a few days ago from Nanaimo, British Columbia, accompanied by the cash, for twenty dollars’ worth of the various pamphlets advertised in Liberty. James Young, who sent the order and whom I take to be a workingman representing himself and a few of his companions, wrote as follows: “The pamphlets are wanted not for sale, but for gratuitous circulation. We mean to educate public opinion here up to the necessity of dealing with burning questions of the day, and for that purpose propose to spend so much money as we can spare.” Accordingly two hundred and eighty-two pamphlets were sent at wholesale rates. Judging from past experience, I estimate that this lot of pamphlets, if wisely distributed, will make at least ten converts to Anarchy. That’s at the rate of two dollars a convert. Pretty cheap missionary work! If you don’t believe it, ask the Christian church. The supporters of that institution pay as high as ten thousand dollars apiece for the salvation of souls. Should not Anarchists, then, who can spread their gospel so much more cheaply and effectively, improve every opportunity to do so? Let laboring people everywhere follow the example of our brave British Columbia friends in educating public opinion. Would that not be better than wasting their limited means in sustaining comparatively useless strikes and utterly mischievous political parties? “Oh!” but I hear some short-sighted operative exclaim, “we cannot feed our children on educated public opinion.” Yes, you can, indirectly. That is to say, you can feed your children on what you produce if you are allowed to keep it, and public opinion, once educated, will see that it is no longer stolen from you.
The Atheist’s Prayer.
[Translated from the French of Jean Richepin by Benj. R. Tucker.]
Who then are you? Speak out at last. The hour is come.
You cannot always keep your tongue within your head.
Appealed to you have all men, wept and wailed have some.
Why have you nothing said?
Why stay you in the sky, huge bronze of livid hue,
With mocking smile on lips that all speech else avoid?
Impenetrable face and phantom form, are you
Of brain and heart devoid?
Why do you nothing say? Why do we see dencribed
No wrinkle, stubborn spectre, on your brow austere?
Why that stupid air and aspect circumscribed?
Are you too deaf to hear?
If you speak not, then try at least to understand.
Despise me, if you will, but let me see, I pray,
Your face relax to show that I may lift a hand
And you know what I say.
To transform into faith the doubt that me o’erpowers
You need but put a yes into those eyes I spy.
You need but make a sign; my hate no longer towers;
It at your feet will die.
O Mystery proud, wrapped in your dismal veils,
He whom men call father should be one indeed.
If you are my creator, in the shades and vales
How can you see me bleed?
How can you see me humbly kneeling on the stone,
My arms stretched toward you, drowned my voice in accents wild,
And yet no tear beneath your eyelid trickling down?
Am I, then, not your child?
Alms give, in pity’s name! So poor am I and weak!
I am not wicked. Good be thou, and look at me.
My poor love-laden heart has nought that it can seek
But to exhale to thee.
But no! I still see on your face that stupid smile.
My cries, my tears, my insults bear no fruit, I fear.
No, you do not speak; you have no thoughts the while;
You have no ears to hear.
Then, after all, do you exist? When I sound space,
Within the infinite depths your shape I never miss.
Is what I see, perchance, the refiex of my face,
Mirrored in that abyss?
Is it my soul that lends a soul unto the world?
Were my heart’s dream no more an object of my thought,
Would you in vain, like image on the wild waves whirled
When sun goes down, be sought?
Yes, yes, your haughty silence now is solved for aye.
But I too long have suffered; revenge is now my share.
These lips henceforth shall be of blasphemy the way,
Never again of praver.
O God, thou floating fog above a field of lies!
O God, thou ain mirage of wishes here below!
Thy glory and thy pride but from our dreams arise.
Without us, thou must go.
One by One They See the Light.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Enclosed you will find one dollar to pay for Liberty. I am well satisfied with your effort to make your paper instructive, and I hope you will long continue live and improve it. I shall always feel myself under obligations to it for the new ideas I have got from it. Through reading the “National Reformer” twenty years ago I was enabled to shake myself free from the dogmas of the church, and through reading Liberty I think I can see how all laws and governments of human creation can be abolished and the human race be benefited. Since I commenced to read your paper, I have come to the conclusion that they are not all liberals who profess to be. They are like the church people; they say: “Thus far shalt thou go and no farther.”
Newton, Iowa, August 21, 1884.
What’s To Be Done?
By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 49.
“I am very glad for Mademoiselle Rosalsky. Life in her family was so painful to her that she would have been contented in any family at all endurable. But I never should have hoped to find her a home like yours.”
“Yes, N. told me that her family life was very bad.”
“Very bad indeed!” And Lopoukhoff told Madame B. such facts as she would need to know in order to avoid, in her conversations with Verotchka, touching on subjects which would give her pain by reminding her of her former troubles.
Madame B. listened with much interest, and finally, grasping his hand, she said to him:
“Enough, Monsieur Lopoukhoff; I shall have a nervous attack; and at my age of forty years it would be ridiculous to show that I cannot yet listen in cold blood to a story of familly tranny, from which I suffered so much when young.”
“Permit me to say another word; it is of so little importance that perhaps it is not necessary to speak of it. Nevertheless it is better that you should be informed. She is fleeing from a suitor whom her mother wishes to force upon her.”
Madame B. became thoughtful, and Lopoukhoff, looking at her, in his turn became thoughtful too.
“This circumstance, if I mistake not, seems of more importance to you than to me?”
Madame B. seemed utterly disconcerted.
“Pardon me,” he continued, seeing that she did not know what to say,— “pardon me, but I perceive that you regard this as an obstacle.”
“Yes, it is a very serious matter, Monsieur Lopoukhoff. To leave the house of her parents against their will would alone be certain to cause a grave quarrel. But, as I have already told you, that might be overlooked. If she only ran away from their coarseness and tyranny, that could be settled with them in one way or another; in the last extremity a little money would set everything right. But when such a mother forces a marriage, it is evident that the suitor is rich, very rich in fact.”
“Evidently,” said Lopoukhoff in a very sad tone.
“Evidently! Monsieur Lopoukhoff, he is rich, evidently, that is what has disconcerted me. Under such circumstances the mother could not be satisfied in any way whatever. Now, you know the rights of parents. They would halt at nothing; they would begin an action which they would push to the end.” Lopoukhoff rose.
“There is nothing further to say except to ask you to forget all that I have said to you.”
“No, no, stay. I wish first to justify myself in your eyes. I must seem to you very bad. That which should attract my sympathy and protection is just what holds me back. Believe me, I am much to be pitied. Oh, I am much to be pitied!”
She was not shamming. She was really much to be pitied. She felt keenly; for some time her speech was incoherent, so troubled and confused was she. Gradually, nevertheless, order was restored in her thoughts, but even then she had nothing new to say, and it was Lopoukhoff’s turn to be disconcerted. Consequently, after allowing Madame B. to finish, though not listening very closely to her explanations, he said:
“What you have just said in your justification was needless. I remained in order that I might not seem impolite and that you might not think that I blame you or am offended. Oh! if I did not know that you are right! How I wish you were not right! Then I could tell her that we failed to come to an agreement, that you did not suit me. That would be nothing, and we should still retain the hope of finding another place and reaching the deliverance so long awaited. But now what shall I say to her?”
Madame B. wept.
“What shall I say to her?” repeated Lopoukhoff, as he went down the stairs, “What will she do? What will she do?” thought he, as he turned from the Rue Galernaia into the street leading to the Boulevard Konno-Gvardeisky.
It goes without saying that Madame B. was not as entirely right as the man who refuses the moon to a child. In view of her position in society and her husband’s powerful connections, it was very likely, and even certain, that if she had really wished Verotchka to live with her, Maria Alexevna would have been unable to prevent it or even to cause any serious trouble either to herself or to her husband, who would have been officially responsible in the matter and for whom Madame B. was afraid. Madame B. would simply have been put to a little inconvenience, perhaps even to a disagreeable interview or two; it would have been necessary to demand such protections as people generally prefer to utilize in their own behalf. What prudent man would have taken any other course than Madame B.’s. And who is obliged to do more? We have no right to blame her. Nor, on the other hand, was Lopoukhoff wrong in despairing of Verotchka’s deliverance.
For a long time, a very long time, had Verotchka been sitting on the bench at the place agreed upon, and many times had her heart begun to beat faster as she saw in the distance a military cap.
“At last! There he is! It is he! My friend!” She rose suddenly and ran to meet him. Perhaps he would have regained his courage by the time he reached the bench, but, being taken unawares, he could show only a gloomy countenance.
“Yes, my friend.”
“And it was so sure? How did it happen? For what reasons? Speak, my friend.”
“Let us go to your house ; I will escort you, and we will talk as we walk; presently I will tell you the whole story, but first let me collect my thoughts; it is necessary to devise some new plan and not lose courage.”
Having said his, he seemed calmer.
“Tell me directly. I cannot bear to wait. Do I understand that it is necessary to devise some new plan and that your first plan is not at all feasible? Is it, then, impossible for me to be a governess? Oh! unfortunate that I am!”
“You are not to be deceived? Yes, then, it is impossible. That is what I intended to tell you, but patience, patience, my friend! Be firm. Whoever is firm always succeeds at last.”
“Yes, my friend, I am firm; but it is hard!”
They walked for some time without saying a word.
Lopoukhoff saw that she had a bundle under her cloak.
“I beg you,” said he, “my friend, allow me to carry that.”
“No, no, it does not trouble me; it is not at all heavy.”
Again silence was resumed, and thus they walked for a long time.
“If you knew, my friend, that I have not slept for joy since two o’clock this morning. And when I slept, I had a marvellous dream. I dreamed that I had been delivered from a damp cellar, that I was paralyzed, that I was cured; then, that I ran gaily in the country with a multitude of young girls, who like me had come from dark cellars and been cured of paralysis, and we were so happy at being able to run freely in the fields! Alas! my dream is not realized. And I, who thought to go back to the house no more!”
“My friend, let me carry your bundle; you cannot keep its contents secret from me.”
And once more they walked in silence.
“All was so arranged,” said Lopoukhoff, at last; “you cannot leave your parents against their will. It is impossible, impossible . . . . . But give me your arm.”
“No, do not be troubled; this veil stifles me, that is all.”
She raised her veil.
“Ah! I am better now.”
“How pale she is! My friend, do not look at things in the worst light; that is not what I meant to say to you; we shall find some means of accomplishing all.”
“What! accomplishing all! You say that, my friend, to console me. There is nothing in it.”
He did not answer.
“How pale she is! How pale she is! There is a way, my friend.”
“I will tell you, when you are a little calmer. You will have to think it over coolly.”
“Tell me directly. I shall not be calm until I know.”
“No, you are getting excited again; now you are in no condition to come to a serious decision. Some time hence . . . . Soon . . . . . . Here are the steps. Au revoir, my friend. As soon as I find you in a condition to give me a cool answer, I will tell you the rest.”
“Day after to-morrow, at the lesson.”
“That is too long.”
“I will come to-morrow expressly.”
“No, I will not let you. Come in with me. You say I am not calm enough, that I cannot form a well considered judgment. So be it; but dine with us, and you shall see that I am calm. After dinner mamma is going out, and we can talk.”
“But how can I go in? If we enter together, your mother’s suspicions will be aroused again.”
“Suspicions! What matters it? No, my friend, that is still another reason why you should go in. My veil is raised, and perhaps I have been seen.”
“You are right.”
Maria Alexevna was much astonished at seeing her daughter and Lopoukhoff come in together. She fixed her piercing eyes upon them.
“I have come, Maria Alexevna, to tell you that I shall be busy day after to-morrow, and will give my lesson to-morrow. Allow me to take a seat. I am very tired and weary. I should like to rest a little.”
“Indeed! What is the trouble, Dmitry Sergueitch? You are very sad. Have they come from a lovers’ meeting,” she continued to herself, “or did they simply meet by chance? If they had come from a lovers’ meeting, they would be gay. Nevertheless, if the difference in their characters had led them into any disagreement, they would have reason to be sad; but in that case they would have quarreled, and he would not have accompanied her home. On the other hand, she went straight to her room without so much as looking at him, . . . . . . and yet they did not seem to be at variance. Yes, they must have met by chance. Nevertheless, he must be watched.”
“Do not trouble yourself on my account, Maria Alexevna,” said Lopoukhoff. “Don’t you think that Vera Pavlovna looks a little pale?”
“Verotchka? She sometimes does.”
“Perhaps it was only my imagination. My head whirls, I must confess, under so much anxiety.”
“But what is the trouble, then, Dmitry Sergueitch? Have you quarreled with your sweetheart?”
“No, Maria Alexevna, I am well satisfied with my sweetheart. It is with her parents that I wish to quarrel.”
“Is it possible? Dmitry Sergueitch, how can you quarrel with her parents? I had a better opinion of you.”
“One can do nothing with such a family. They demand unheard-of impossibilities.”
“That is another thing, Dmitry Sergueitch. One cannot be generous with everybody; it is necessary to keep within bounds. If that is the case, and if it is a question of money, I cannot blame you.”
“Pardon my importunity, Maria Aiexevna, but I am turned so completely upside down that I need rest in pleasant and agreeable society. Such society I find only here. Permit me to invite myself to dinner with you, and permit me also to send your Matroena on a few errands. I believe Dencher’s cellar is in this neighborhood, and that he keeps some very fair wines.”
A scowl came over Maria Alexevna’s countenance at the first word about dinner, but her face relaxed when she heard Matroena’s name and assumed an inquiring expression which seemed to ask: “Are you going to pay for your share of the dinner? At Dencher’s! It must be something nice, then!” Lopoukhoff, without even raising his eyes, drew from his pocket a cigar case, and, taking from it a piece of paper which it happened to contain, began to write upon it with a pencil.
“May I ask you what wine you prefer, Maria Alexevna?”
“To tell the truth, Dmitry Sergueitch, I do not know much about wine, and seldom drink it: it is not becoming in women,” (One readily sees from a glance at your face that you do not generally take it. )
“You are quite right, Maria Alexevna, but a little maraschino does no one any harm; it is a young ladies’ wine. Permit me to order some.”
“What sort of wine is that, Dmitry Sergueitch?”
“Oh! it is not exactly wine, it is more of a syrup.” Drawing a bill from his pocket, he continued: “I think that will be enough,” and after having looked at the order, he added: “But, to make sure, here are five roubles more.”
It was three weeks’ income and a month’s support. No matter, there was nothing else to be done; Maria Alexevna must be generously dealt with.
Maria Alexevna’s eyes glistened with excitement, and the gentlest of smiles unconsciously lighted up her face.
“Is there also a confectioner’s near here? I do not know whether they keep walnut cake ready made,— in my opinion, that is the best kind of cake, Maria Alexevna,— but, if they do not keep it, we will take what they have. It will not do to be too particular.”
He went into the kitchen, and sent Matroena to make the purchases.
“We are going to feast to-day, Maria Alexevna. I desire to drown in wine my quarrel with her parents. Why should we not feast? My sweetheart and I are getting on swimmingly together. Sometime we shall no longer live in this way; we shall live gaily; am I not right, Maria Alexevna?”
“You are quite right, little father, Dmitry Sergueitch. That is why you scatter money,— something I never expected of you, as I thought you a selfish man. Perhaps you have received some earnest money from your sweetheart?”
“No, I have received no earnest money, Maria Alexevna, but if one has some money perchance, why should he not amuse himself? Earnest money! There is no need of any earnest money. The affair must be as clear as day; otherwise suspicions would be excited. And, moreover, such things are degrading, Maria Alexevna.”
“Such things are degrading, Dmitry Sergueitch; you are right; such things are degrading. In my opinion one ought always to be above such things.”
“You are quite right, Maria Alexevna.”
They passed the three-quarters of an hour which they had to wait for dinner in agreeable conversation on lofty matters only. Among other things Dmitry Sergueitch, in an outburst of frankness, said that the preparations for his marriage had been progressing finely of late. And when will Vera Pavlovna’s marriage take place?
On that point Maria Alexevna can say nothing, for she is far from desiring to coerce her daughter.
“That is right; but, if my observations are correct, she will soon make up her mind to marry; she has said nothing to me about it, but I have eyes in my head. We are a pair of old foxes, Maria Alexevna, not easily to be entrapped. Although I am still young, I am an old fox just the same; am I not, an old fox, Maria Alexevna?”
“Truly you are, my little father; you are a cunning rogue.”
This agreeable and effusive interview with Maria Alexevna thoroughly revived Lopoukhoff. What had become of his sorrow? Maria Alexevna had never seen him in such a mood. Making a pretence of going to her room to get a pocket-handkerchief, she saw fine wines and liquors that had cost twelve roubles and fifty copecks. “We shall not drink more than a third of that at dinner,” thought she. “And a rouble and a half for that cake? Truly, it is throwing money out of the window to buy such a cake as that! But it will keep; we can use it instead of confectionery to regale the gossips with.”
All this time Verotchka remained in her chamber.
“Did I do right in making him come in? Mamma looked at him so steadily!
“In what a difficult position I have put him! How can he stay to dinner?
“O my God, what is to become of me?
“There is a way, he told me; alas! no, dear friend, there is none.
“Yes! there is one: the window.
“If life should become too burdensome, I will throw myself out.
“That is a singular thing for me to say: if life should become too burdensome,— and is my life now such a joy?
“To throw one’s self out of the window! One falls so quickly! Yes, the fall is as rapid as flight; and to fall on the sidewalk, how hard and painful it must be!
“Perhaps there is only the shock, a second after which all is over, and before the fatal moment you are going through the air which opens softly beneath you like the finest down. Yes, it is a good way.
“But then? Everybody will rush to look at the broken head, the crushed face, bleeding and soiled. If, before leaping, you could only sprinkle the spot where you are to fall with the whitest and purest sand, all would be well.
“The face would not be crushed or soiled, nor would it wear a frightful aspect.
“Oh, I know; in Paris unfortunate young girls suffocate themselves with charcoal gas. That is good, very good. To throw yourself out of the window,— no, that is not fitting. But suffocation,— that’s the thing, that’s the thing.
“How they do talk! What are they saying? What a pity that I cannot tell what they say!
“I will leave a note telling all.
“How sweet the memory of my birthday when I danced with him! I did not know what true life was.
“After all, the young girls of Paris are intelligent. Why should I not be as intelligent as they are? It will be comical: they will enter the chamber, they will be unable to see anything, the room will be full of charcoal gas, the air will be heavy; they will be frightened: ‘What has happened? Where is Verotchka?’ Mamma will scold Papa: ‘What are you waiting for, imbecile? Break the windows!’ They will break the windows, and they will see; I shall be seated near my dressing table, my face buried in my hands. ‘Verotchka! Verotchka!’ I shall not reply.
“‘Verotchka, why do you not answer? Oh, God, she is suffocated.’ And they will begin to cry, to weep. Oh, yes, that will be very comical, to see them weep, and Mamma will tell everybody how much she loved me.
“But he, he will pity me. Well, I will leave him a note.
“I will see, yes, I will see, and I shall die after the fashion of the poor girls of Paris. Yes, I will certainly do it, and I am not afraid.
“And what is there to be so afraid of? I will only wait until he tells me the way of which he speaks. Ways! There are none. He said that simply to calm me.
“What is the use of calming people when there is nothing to be done? It is a great mistake; in spite of all his wisdom, he has acted as any other would. Why? He was not obliged to.
“What is he saying? He speaks in a gay tone, and as if he was joyful.
“Can he, indeed, have found a way of salvation?
“It does not seem possible.
“But if he had nothing in view, would he be so gay?
“What can he have thought of?”
“Verotchka, come to dinner!” cried Maria Alexevna.
Pavel Konstantinytch had just come in, and the cake had been on the table for some time,— not the confectioner’s but one of Matruma’s, a cake stuffed with meat, left over from the day before.
“Maria Alexevna, you have never tried taking a drop of brandy before dinner? It is very good, especially this brandy made from bitter orange. As a doctor, I advise you to take some. Taste of it, I beg of you.”
“No, no, thank you.”
“But if, as a doctor, I prescribe it for you?”
“The doctor must be obeyed, but only a small half-glass.”
“A half-glass! It would not be worth while.”
“And yourself, Dmitry Sergueitch?”
“I? Old as I am? I have made oath” . . . .
“But it is very good! And how warming it is!”
“What did I tell you? Yes, indeed, it is warming.”
(“But he is very gay. Can there really be a way? How well he acts toward her, while he has not a glance for me! But it is all strategy just the same.”)
They seated themselves at the table.
“Here, Pavel Konstantinytch and I are going to drink this ale, are we not? Ale is something like beer. Taste, Maria Alexevna.”
“If you say that it is beer, why not taste of it?”
(“What a lot of bottles! Oh, I see now! How fertile friendship is in methods!”)
(“He does not drink, the cunning rogue. He only carries the glass to his lips. This ale, however, is very good; it has a taste of krass, only it is too strong. After I have united Michka and Verka, I will abandon brandy, and drink only this ale. He will not get drunk; he does not even taste of it. So much the better for me! There will be the more left; for, had he wanted to, he could have emptied all the bottles.”)
“But yourself, why do you not drink, Dmitry Sergueitch?”
“Oh, I have drank a great deal in my time, Maria Alexevna. And what I have drank will last me a good while. When labor and money failed me, I drank; now that I have labor and money, I need wine no longer, and am gay without it.”
The confectioner’s cake was brought in.
“Dear Matroena Stepanovna, what is there to go with this?”
“Directly, Dmitry Sergueitch, directly,” and Matroena returned with a bottle of champagne.
“Vera Pavlovna, you have not drank, nor have I. Now then let us drink too. To the health of your sweetheart and mine!”
“What is that? What can he mean?” thought Verotchka.
“May they both be happy, your sweetheart and Verotchka’s!” said Maria Alexevna; “and, as we are growing old, may we witness Verotchka’s marriage as soon as possible!”
“You shall witness it soon, Maria Alexevna. Shall she not, Vera Pavlovna?”
“What does he really mean?” thought Verotchka.
“Come, then! Is it yes, Vera Pavlovna? Say yes, then.”
“Yes,” said Verotchka.
“Bravo! Vera Pavlovna, your mother was doubtful; you have said yes, and all is settled. Another toast. To the earliest possible consummation of Vera Pavlovna’s marriage! Drink, Vera Pavlovna! Be not afraid. Let us touch glasses. To your speedy marriage!”
They touched glasses.
“Please God! Please God! I thank you, Verotchka. You console me, my daughter, in my old age!” said Maria Alexevna, wiping away the tears. The English ale and the maraschino had quickened her emotions.
“Please God! Please God!” repeated Pavel Konstantinytch.
“How pleased we are with you, Dmitry Sergueitch!” continued Maria Alexevna. getting up from the table; “yes, we are well pleased with you! You have come to our house and you have regaled us; in fact, we might say that you have given us a feast!” So spoke Maria Alexevna, and her moist and hazy eyes did not testify in favor of her sobriety.
Things always seem more necessary than they really are. Lopoukhoff did not expect to succeed so well; his object was simply to cajole Maria Alexevna that he might not lose her good will.
Maria Alexevna could not resist the brandy and other liquors with which she was familiar, and the ale, the maraschino, and the champagne having deceived her inexperience, she gradually grew weaker and weaker. For so sumptuous a repast she had ordered Matroena to bring the samovar when dinner was over, but it was brought only for her and Lopoukhoff.
Verotchka, pretending that she wanted no tea, had retired to her room. Pavel Konstantinytch, like an ill-bred person, had gone to lie down as soon as he had finished eating. Dmitry Sergueitch drank slowly; he was at his second glass when Maria Alexevna, completely used up, pleaded an indisposition which she had felt since morning, and withdrew to go to sleep. Lopoukhoff told her not to trouble herself about him, and he remained alone and went to sleep in his arm-chair after drinking his third glass.
“He too, like my treasure, has entered into the Lord’s vineyard,” observed Matroena. Nevertheless her treasure snored loudly, and this snoring undoubtedly awakened Lopoukhoff, for he arose as soon as Matroena, after clearing the table, had betaken herself to the kitchen.
“Pardon me, Vera Pavlovna,” said Lopoukhoff, on entering the young girl’s room,— and his voice, which at dinner had been so loud, was soft and timid, and he no longer said “My friend,” but “Vera Pavlovna,” — “pardon my boldness. You remember our toasts; now, as husband and wife cannot be separated, you will be free.”
“My dear friend, it was for joy that I wept when you entered.”
He took her hand and covered it with kisses.
“You, then, are my deliverer from the cellar of my dream? Your goodness equals your intelligence. When did this thought occur to you?”
“When we danced together.”
“And it was at the same moment that I too felt your goodness. You make me free. Now I am ready to suffer; hope has come back to me. I shall no longer stifle in the heavy atmosphere that has oppressed me; for I know that I am to leave it. But what shall we do?”
“It is already the end of April. At the beginning of July I shall have finished my studies; I must finish them in order that we may live. Then you shall leave your cellar. Be patient for only three months more, and our life shall change. I will obtain employment in my art, though it will not pay me much, but there will be time left to attend to patients, and, taking all things together, we shall be able to live.”
“Yes, dear friend, we shall need so little; only I do not wish to live by your labor. I have lessons, which I shall lose, for Mamma will go about telling everybody that I am a wretch. But I shall find others, and I too will live by my labor; is not that just? I should not live at your expense.”
“Who told you that, dear Verotchka?”
“Oh! he asks who told me! Have not you yourself always entertained me with such ideas, you and your books? For your books are full of such thoughts. A whole half of your books contains nothing but that.”
“In my books? At any rate I never said such a thing to you. When, then, did I say so?”
[To be continued.]
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, not hindered or driven by oppression, not deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
The Foundations of Trade.
In a Connecticut court, some time ago, a man was tried for obtaining money by false pretences. He had sold some diamonds which the buyer took to be old mine stones, but which, when washed, proved to be Cape diamonds and not worth the price paid. The judge, whose name was Deming, discharged the man, and gave his reasons for so doing in these words:
If a seller knows of a defect in his goods and does not reveal it, he may be and probably is guilty of a moral fraud, but this moral fraud has not yet grown into a legal fraud. There must be active fraud, for the law does not compel a seller to disclose all that he knows; if it did, it would sap the foundation of trade.
I am forced to admire the candor of the judge who so freely admits that the law has failed in all these thousands of years to get itself into complete accord with right, when the claim of jurists, legislators, and rulers the world over is that the law is the crystallization of human wisdom, and that it is necessary as a means of forcing men to be moral. This judge is apparently something of a liberal in law, as the first New England “come-outers” were liberals in religion, and I advise him to cast aside some more of his legal superstition and inquire whether the law itself is not a moral fraud. He seems to understand the principle, or rather the lack of principle, which lies at the foundation of the disorderly system of exchange called trade. All our buying and selling is based upon fraud. The best business man is he who best conceals what he knows, obtains goods for less than their value, and sells them for more than their cost. To eliminate moral fraud from the system of exchange would, in the opinion of a learned judge, sap the foundation of trade. It would make cost the limit of price, abolish interest, and make it inexpedient for one man to cheat another. And such a condition of business, thinks the learned judge, would be incompatible with the prosperity of traders. The traders themselves think the same thing, or rather they imagine that disaster would follow honest dealing because they do not think at all. If they could be induced to think without prejudice on this subject of exchange, they would see that the great moral fraud which pollutes all the channels of commerce is the monopoly of credit protected by the conspiracy against prosperity called government. Every existing bank of issue is a legalized fraud. It issues money which is a fraud on the people, and cheats them by charging them interest for service which is wholly imaginary. When the bank gets four per cent., interest, it swindles the borrower out of three and one-half per cent., for the cost of its service is not more than one-half of one per cent. The merchant who borrows of the bank must figure the interest in the cost of his goods, and the merchant who does not borrow figures imaginary interest the same way. And so everybody cheats everybody else, until the process gets down to the laborer, who has to bear the burden without being able to shift it. That any honest condition of trade is possible does not occur to the merchant, who sees that, in order to steer clear of bankruptcy, he must practice the moral fraud which the law sanctions. If the merchant would take the trouble to read the series of articles on “Liberty and Wealth” written by “H” for Liberty, he would discover how banking and trading can be carried on without fraud, moral or active, and would learn that the foundations of trade based upon the cost principle could not be sapped by full disclosure of the truth about everything connected with a business man’s affairs.
Anarchism, True and False.
There seems to be no end of those singularly ordered minds who can conceive of no radical system of reform except something is to be torn down, ripped up, blown to pieces, or annihilated after some terrible fashion. These persons will have it that the Anarchist is a mere destructionist,— that he is bent upon levelling down all existing institutions. They see blood in his eye and dynamite in his boots as they sadly inquire: “Well, what do you propose to substitute in their place, after you have levelled down all existing institutions?”
The philosophy of Anarchism has nothing whatever to do with violence, and its central idea is the direct antipodes of levelling. It is the very levelling purpose itself projected by republican institutions against which it protests. It is opposed, root and branch, to universal suffrage, that most mischievous levelling element of republics. Its chief objection to the existing State is that it is largely communistic, and all communism rests upon an artificial attempt to level things, as against a social development resting upon untrammelled individual sovereignty. Sifted to its elements, the government of the United States is after all nothing but a mild form of State Socialism. The true Anarchist indicts it largely on this very ground. He is opposed to all manner of artificial levelling machines. How pitiful the ignorance which accuses him of wanting to level everything, when the very integral thought of Anarchism is opposed to levelling!
Unfortunately for the integrity of true Anarchistic thought, there is a class of ranting enthusiasts who falsely call themselves Anarchists, but who have in reality never repudiated the central idea upon which the existing State is founded. As types of these we may cite Burnette G. Haskell of the San Francisco “Truth” and Johann Most of the “Freiheit.” The class represented by Haskell are State Socialists who, while shouting the battle cry of “the revolution” and calling for the overthrow of existing institutions, have absolutely nothing more in their proposed machine than an enlargement of the destructive central principle which generates all that is reprehensible in the existing order. These men want more government, more centralization, more absorption of individual concerns by the central machine,— in short, in the last analysis, more politics. They are not Anarchists in the logic of individualistic thought. They are masquerading in a livery that does not belong to them.
Herr Most occupies the still more ridiculous position of a State Communist, if indeed such a term is comprehensible. Communism is indeed levelling, and hence Anarchism is utterly and radically opposed to it. Communism being impossible in Nature, its propagandism and proposed realization can rest upon nothing short of violence. Herr Most boldly accepts the situation; hence he would destroy and confiscate property by whatever methods might seem effectual, sparing not the torch, dynamite, or any of the terrible devices of Pluto. He would assassinate rich men by the wholesale, and drive all enemies of his schemes from the earth. When the morning sun of successful revolution shall rise, he would then organize all the concerns of men into communes and level all human conditions with a vengeance. Yet Herr Most calls himself an Anarchist. I would not disturb him in whatever satisfaction he may find in that name but for the very serious reason that he is no Anarchist at all. The man who wrote “Die Eigenthums-Bestie” expresses the very methods of remedial organization which it is the bottom purpose of Anarchism to protest against. All Communism, under whatever guise, is the natural enemy of Anarchism, and a Communist sailing under the flag of Anarchism is as false a figure as could be invented.
The Anarchist does not want to destroy all existing institutions with a crash and then inaugurate the substituting process on their ruins. He simply asks to be let alone in substituting false systems now, so that they may gradually fall to pieces by their own dead weight. He asks the humble privilege of being allowed to set up a free bank in peaceable competition with the government subsidized class bank on the opposite corner. He asks the privilege of establishing a private post office in fair competition with the governmentally established one. He asks to be let alone in establishing his title to the soil by free occupation, cultivation, and use rather than by a title hampered by vested rights which were designed to keep the masses landless. He asks to be allowed to set up his domestic relations on the basis of free love in peaceable competition with ecclesiastically ordered love, which is a crime against Nature and the destroyer of love, order, and harmony itself. He asks not to be taxed upon what has been robbed from him under a machine in which he has practically no voice and no choice. In short, the Anarchist asks for free land, free money, free trade, free love, and the right to free competition with the existing order at his own cost and on his own responsibility,— liberty.
Is there any violence in all this? Is there artificial levelling? Finally, is there any want of readiness to substitute something in the place of what we condemn? No, all we ask is the right to peaceably place Liberty in fair competition with privilege. Existing governments are pledged to deny this. Herein will reside the coming struggle. Who is the party of assault and violence? Is it the Anarchist, simply asking to be let alone in minding his own business, or is it the power which, aware that it cannot stand on its own merits, violently perpetuates itself by crushing all attempts to test its efficiency and pretensions through peaceable rivalry?
The Morality of Mediation.
There is war between France and China, waged by the former to extend her power and gain control of trade, and by the latter for self-protection. So long as they damage only each other and convert only Frenchmen and Chinamen into fertilizing material, the world looks on unmoved, and lifts no finger to stop the wholesale murder. But let them embarrass that great cheating operation known as commerce, and all the great nations will arise in righteous indignation and demand that the unholy conflict be stopped. The species of “morality” which is at the bottom of the proposition that the quarrel be settled by American arbitration is well illustrated in the New York “Herald’s” editorial on the subject. The Herald says the cost to China must be reckoned in human lives, “for these Chinese have a deplorable habit of gathering in forts, about a thousand or two thousand together. Then the invaders come and kill them all, resisting to the last.” This great mirror of modern civilization then goes on to compare China to an apartment house, in which all nations are tenants, and France to a tenant having a row with the landlord and threatening to smash all the crockery in the place. “We admire you,” says the “Herald” to France, “but when it comes to a question of crockery we venture most humbly to protest. Bully your landlord if you will, for he is a feeble creature. But, by every saint in the calendar, we implore you to spare our kitchen utensils.”
Well put, indeed! Go on, France; bombard cities and massacre Chinamen to your heart’s content, and the governments of the world will not interfere with your amusement. Human bodies are cheap. Smash them, blow them to shreds, sink them in iron coffin-ships! They are easily replaced. In fact, there are too many of them, and they cumber the earth. Besides, your rotting brother makes excellent manure to stimulate the growing of crops for the rest of us to eat. Kill the cook if you please, but punch holes in the bottom of the kettles if you dare. The Chinaman is weaker than you, and it is therefore none of our business to interfere when you thrash him. It is the fashion now to rob, swindle, and abuse those who are unable to protect themselves. Force is the only moral law we recognize. But beware how you interrupt the flow of commerce, which is of more importance to us than justice, honor, or human life. Capital is our god, and the usurer is its prophet, and in defence of these we will sacrifice our lives, fortunes and sacred honor, and paint the planet red with the blood of toilers. Oh, a great and glorious thing is modern civilization!
Liberty and Wealth.
The New Harmony: Smiths Conversion.
I called at the Smiths’ by appointment to finish my account of New Harmony. Smith gave me a great surprise. Without a greeting of any kind, not even asking me to sit down, he pulled a crumpled paper out of his pocket, and said:
“Wife and I have talked it thoroughly over, and, strange to say, we have agreed on the following three things.”
I sank into a chair, he did the same, and the wife entered with her knitting.
He proceeded to read:—
“1. The country needs a uniform currency,— not a ‘legal-tender,’ but an equitable-tender. The Greenback theory of National money is suicidal. No currency can be the currency of the people which the people are not free to accept or reject at any moment.
“2. What is wanted to give circulation to money is established credit. In other words, it must be redeemable. There must be substantial security, so that every individual receiving it is assured that he is not holding only a bit of paper which has neither father, mother, uncle, aunt, or cousin,— no responsible paternity or relative he can reach.
“3. Money, must not only be issued with the responsibility and security definitely understood and approachable; it must be issued as cheaply as possible. Neither government nor favored individuals must be able to claim any other monopoly than they can establish by virtue of those two conditions: security and cheapness.”
Mr. Jonathan Smith handed me the slip of paper when he had concluded the reading, and remarked:—
“You can keep that as a landmark.”
And Mrs. Smith added: “You will credit us with having made some progress in the last few days.”
“Yes,” cried Smith, “I caught on the other night after you left, and wife and I have talked a steady stream ever since. It was as if I had suddenly turned a corner of the street I’d been traveling all my life, and a new idea revealed itself. From that moment the whole business has fallen into shape, and we haven’t disputed a word since. We thought we had started life together, Sarah and I, twelve years ago; but it was a mistake. We’ve been traveling different roads ever since. Now, for the first time, we go together, because our minds go together. Sarah, I must own, got the start of me. She tumbled, as the boys say, to the idea, as you know, almost at the start. But you see, her mind wasn’t preoccupied with old rubbish. You see a woman has the advantage in looking at a new idea. She hasn’t so many old ones to get rid of.”
Smith laughed heartily, as he always does when he believes he has perpetrated a joke.
“Now,” said he, “there is no need of your describing that New Harmony factory. We know all about it. When I was a boy, I used to drop a lump of saleratus into a glass of cider. Of course I knew what the result would be every time. Just so with equity in business,— labor for labor. The thing settles itself. You’ve only got to work out the details. Its just as though you had a measuring stick,— so many feet, so many yards.”
“Not quite so easy as that,” interposed Mrs. Smith. “But, of course, the whole business is simplified where you have a standard, a rule of exchange, labor for labor, or property for property according to the cost of producing it.”
“Well, as to that factory,” Smith continued. “In the first place, the rooms are well ventilated. Then, no one works more than eight hours a day. There are no puny children there dying by inches. They have struck an average day’s work, or hour’s work, perhaps. The head of the establishment works more hours and gets more pay. But the rest get all they need or want. Since the distinction, if they get ambitious in such a community, is not one of wealth, but of intellectual attainment, nobody cares to have the reputation of a Gould or Vanderbilt. They would regard the richest man in the world as a fool, or as foolish. The idea of turning one’s self into a mere money chest! Ha! ha! ha! what a dunce!”
Smith’s laugh was exhilarating.
I confess I was quite taken back by the whole exhibition. I never expected to see in him so great a transformation.
Then came into my mind the saying: “Marvel not that I said ye must be born again.”
Smith was born again.
And if Smith,— why not all the world,— everybody,— anybody?
I agreed with him that there was no need of our going on with reports from New Harmony. He and his wife had already arrived on the spot, and they could explore at leisure.
“We shall do more than explore,” cried Smith; “we shall start in business at once. You see yonder store on the corner, or what used to be a store. Well, we have an eye on it. We may open there before the winter sets in. We’ll just toss a lump of equity into this hum-drum, rantankerous old town, and see if the lump won’t leaven.”
“Capital idea!” I exclaimed.
“And Sarah will do missionary work. She has already an essay begun on the subject for the Dickens Club this winter. You see the Dickens Club have an original essay for some one of its members every month, and the subject is always left to the writer. Luck favors, points the way. Sarah is the appointee for the next essay. What do you suppose is the subject she has already chosen? And the essay, too, is half-written. It is — she can tell you herself.”
“I have chosen,” said Mrs. Smith, “this, but I may change it. ‘The New Harmony — Liberty, Equality, Fraternity — Considered.’”
“That is capital!” I exclaimed. “Now I will go, I would like to stay and talk till morning. But it is a habit so many have. They waste all their energies in talk, in telling what they are going to do. When they get ready they are like the Dutchman who went so far back to get a good start for a jump that, when he returned to the jumping place, he was all out of breath. Let us avoid too much preliminary.”
I confess to a little diplomacy. I was talking to Smith. I knew he would have approved those sentiments before his awakening, but I was fearful, from the signs already shown, lest he might get himself drunk with the new wine of Harmony, and so lose his hold on the project of a store on the corner.
A corner store is a simple matter.
An ambitious man with imagination once enthused might very easily leave that behind him as a mere dot on the realm of great things he was destined to accomplish.
I know very well, when two or more kindred spirits get together and go over the field of reform, they are pretty sure to plan work for the generations to come instead of for themselves. They see so far and so much. After that, it is difficult to compress themselves into the lesser practical scope of one mortal’s ambition.
The question was: Would Jonathan Smith set about reforming the whole world, or would he content himself with a grocery store in Springville?
When I reached home, I own that I was half ashamed of having indulged myself in this petty egotism: as if the Smiths could not manage themselves!
Suppose they do or don’t establish a grocery-store?
If they do, it will be because they are up to it.
If they don’t, it will be because they are not up to it.
It is only a question of fact.
Or did any little word about doing first, and reserving the too-much-talk till old age creeps upon us, for instance, have some part in determining what the fact shall be?
In other words, was Smith’s character at all affected by my speech?
On the whole, I incline to think we are none of us cast-iron.
We are souls, and impressionable.
I hope I made a good impression on Smith.
There will be no need of my reporting his grocery store in Liberty.
The world will announce the fact,— if he succeeds.
As to Mrs. Smith’s essay,— I’m sure of that.
She is a woman who will do all she undertakes.
I like a woman who can sit serenely, and knit, knit, knit,— but to whom the world is as an open secret.
When the winter comes, I shall ask Liberty to print Sarah Smith’s essay in full.
If the Dickens Club of Springville have aught to say, after its reading, worth remembering, Liberty shall also receive its comments.
And now, reader, a word to you.
I was fully intending to go on for some little time and tell the Smiths all about the New Harmony factory, and there were several other things on my mind.
But when he took the wind all out of my sails,— although he omitted much,— I lost interest in it.
When one suddenly is led to experience a new sensation, other sensations drop out and for the time are forgotten.
Smith’s conversion so astonished me, I felt and still feel as though the old world was propped up anew.
At any rate my vocation at the Smiths’ was gone.
I am not altogether sorry, though my story was spoiled.
However, let us go on serenely.
’Tis a wise world,— in the long run,— and will take care of itself.
But I should as soon think of suicide as of forgetting that I am, as you are, whoever you are, a GOOD-FOR-SOMETHING PART OF THAT WORLD.
Free Societies Again.
To the Editor of Liberty:
In your criticism of my article on “Free Societies” I find much with which I substantially agree. I clearly perceive the necessity for constructive Anarchistic work in the large cities. I believe that from the great armies of the artisans and the wage workers shall come the practical exemplification of the principles of individual self-sovereignty, voluntary mutualism, and industrial equity, on a more extended scale, perhaps, than from any other source. The multiform interests, the various and contrasting if not conflicting industries, the cosmopolitan nature of the population, the close contact and swift interchange of ideas, and the terrible presence of want in that human hive, the city, all tend to the questioning and final rejection of the Old, to the examination and final acceptance of the New.
In so far, then, as the application of Anarchistic principles in the cities is concerned, we are agreed. But there are some other considerations, which you overlook in your reply to me, and one of these is the fact that I said nothing against such work. I simply filed a demurrer to Elisee Reclus’s sweeping indictment of isolated societies, and advanced a few arguments and cited some facts in support of my contention that they are not only necessary, but in the highest degree useful. And this leads directly to the consideration of another part of the subject, one seemingly overlooked by you.
The industrial and social emancipation of the rural and village populations cannot safely be permitted to lag behind that of the cities. The food supply of the world comes almost entirely from the people who in one way and another attend to the cultivation of the soil, and these rapidly-filling ranks of production must be organized upon the basis of the principles of the new industrial civilization. We are accustomed to boast of the purity and devotion to liberty of the country populace, but never was boasting more inappropriate and misplaced. If ignorance and mis-education regarding natural law are purity, then indeed are the masses of the farming population pure; while their conception of liberty is that embodied in a majority despotism which lays its hand upon and controls every private concern of the individual. Necessarily scattered and isolated, farmers have not been able to co-operate to any extent worthy of mention, and the work of production is carried on in a most laborious and wasteful manner. Working from twelve to sixteen or more hours per day (a longer day than that of my wage worker), exposed much of the time to the inclemencies of the weather, attendance upon services in the country or village school-house or church about their only recreation (?), all having little time and many less inclination to read, and shut out, by their situation, from most other sources of knowledge,— what wonder that the average farmer is old before his time, that he is away behind the age at and that the condition of his wife is still more deplorable than his? With her it is a ceaseless round of drudgery from morning until night, and it may with absolute literalness be said of her that her work is never done. She has no time to read, no time for recreation, and her nearest neighbor may be a half-mile or a mile away. Who shall wonder, then, that she often knows nothing outside of the details of her housework and the latest neighborhood gossip? Who shall wonder that the statistics of our insane asylums show a larger relative proportion of demented from the class of farmers’ wives than from any other?
The isolated farm on the one hand, the overgrown city on the other, are types of a civilization that is doomed. The Co-operative Township must come; how soon, will depend upon the practical intelligence of those who perceive the necessity for it. Today our work is to lay the foundations; tomorrow shall build the superstructure. But while the existing order stands, we must be preparing for that which is to succeed it, and one of the most imperatively necessary of our tasks is the practical emancipation of the city millions. This I clearly perceive and keenly realize, and in so far I am at one with you in all you say touching the urban applications of Anarchistic ideas. At the same time, I am as fully convinced as ever of the necessity for a rural practicalization of the same ideas. Let those who prefer to do their share of the work of liberation in the great centres of population do so, while those whose tastes and aptitudes lead them to attempt the same work in the country and small towns should cheerfully be conceded the right so to do without being reproached for alleged selfishness and egotism.
In the opening sentence of the next to the last paragraph of my former article I wrote, “In one other way,” etc., while the compositor makes it appear as, “In no other way,” etc. And in this one other way, the avoidance of social ostracism is to be found, as you concede, one of the strongest arguments in favor of the Free Society. The industrial and sexual emancipation of the race will come at very nearly the same time, if they are not, indeed, completely co-incident. But while this shall prove true, ae a general statement, there will be many exceptions, and it will be found that the old social superstitions linger in many a brain where the truths of industrial equity had long since found lodgment. And it is precisely in this department of the family life that ostracism will then be, as it is now, most cruel and most potent. By many, liberty will not be tolerated here when they shall accept it everywhere else. And in the cities, where economical liberty may be accepted by all classes, the devotees of all creeds, and people of all races, it will be found most difficult to clear away the mists of ignorance and prejudice which obscure and prevent a dispassionate examination of this subject. Men who, with comparative ease, may be made to see that “cost the limit of price” is the truest rule of self-interest in commercial transactions may be as blind as moles to the subtler but none the less sure operation of the same law in the realm of sex and its manifestations. To be sure, we have in large cities a less proneness to meddle with the domestic affairs of others, and this immunity from Paul Pryism may to some extent countervail the disadvantages attending attempted applications of the principles of sexual self-government in such communities, but not wholly, I think.
At all events, there are large numbers of earnest radicals who prefer, and therefore are best fitted for, rural life, and there, in the country, is where they can do the most for the common cause, and where, too, they can make homes which shall be cities of refuge for those, especially women and the old, who wither beneath the frosty frown of Mrs. Grundy, or, having “fought the good fight” through the summer and autumn of life, now seek a quiet corner in which to rest and congenial minds to cheer and solace their few remaining days. One word of repetition: Let us not forget that we cannot all live in cities, that millions must till the soil, and that the gospel of Anarchism is as much for them as for the other millions of the cities. Then hail to the practical exponents of Liberty wherever found, whether in the million-peopled City, the Township Commonwealth or the Co-operative Home! All are needed, all are useful, all will do the best where they do the freest.
Kiowa, Kansas, August 14.
[Amen and Amen! These wise and broad and generous sentiments I fully share. Far be it from me to dictate to any one his course or to denounce the followers of any policy that accords with the principle of Liberty! But between two ways I simply advise that which seems to me the wiser. I appreciate the density of the ignorance pervading rural districts and the importance of dissipating it. But how? That is the question. Through the cooperative township, I do not doubt. But how get the co-operative township as a widespread institution? It, should not be forgotten that the city is and must be and ought to be the centre of distribution. Nearly all tends toward the city, and nearly all goes from it again in new forms and new directions. And this is as true of ideas and institutions and systems as it is of material wealth. A few earnest workers may form a co-operative township here, a few more another there, and still others a third yonder, and at these oases the weary traveller may find, rest and refreshment, but the desert will be as arid as of old. The world will not be dotted with these co-operative townships as it should be until the Anarchistic principle underlying them has become a power and an actuality in the very centres of our civilization. — Editor Liberty.]
Then and Now.
Continued from No. 49.
The State and Selfishness.
Boston, September 6, 2084.
My Dear Louise:
In my last letter I mentioned that I was to attend a novel entertainment with Mr. De Demain as escort. The concert hall is an immense building in the West Roxbury park and will seat twenty thousand people. I think Mr. De Demain said. I should judge there were that many present on the evening when my kind friend and I were of the number. There is a large circular platform in the centre of the hall on which the performances are given. This performance it is about as hard for me to describe as a musical concert would be for one who had never seen a musical instrument or heard a tune. The effect is produced by a series of harmonious blendings of innumerable colors and forms with an occasional discharge of noiseless pyrotechnics. Objects made of twenty different materials and of a hundred different shapes and shades of color, calcium lights, different colored fires, stereoscopes, and many mechanical contrivances unseen, help to make up a grand and pleasing entertainment, the whole a sort of gigantic kaleidoscope with additions and improvements. I never spent two hours more pleasantly than I did gazing at the blending of colors and forms that night. Returning home, Mr. De Demain discoursed something as follows, often interrupted, of course, by questions from me:
“Music is by no means a thing of the past. Wagner, Mozart, Haydn, and a dozen more whose names you are familiar with, as well as musicians of more modern times and just as great masters of the art, have thousands, millions of admirers. But while music has the same basis as the concert which you attended tonight,— harmony,— the former appeals to the passions, while the latter does not. Music fired the soul for war and warmed the heart for love; such harmony as you witnessed tonight soothes the mind for sleep, or for calm, dispassionate thought. It makes men thinkers,— dreamers if you will,— instead of fighters and lovers. Music is like wine, it inflames and stimulates for the moment; such a concert as you saw tonight is like a mild narcotic, it quiets the animal and thus allows the man more freedom. Man has improved much under a century of Anarchy, and this is an outgrowth of it. As man grows wiser and better, he constantly devises means and conceives sentiments whereby he becomes still wiser and still better. Improvement brings with it still greater possibilities for improvement. So this entertainment, a result of improved conditions of life and purer sentiment, is also the cause of still better conditions, by stimulating thought, and of still purer sentiment.”
“Is it not,” asked I, “because man is so much better and wiser today than he was two centuries ago that Anarchy is so successfully practised?”
“It is because of Anarchy that man is so much better and wiser. Said they who opposed it in your time, ‘Oh, yes, Anarchy will do when all men are perfect, or nearly so, but for it to be a success man must be divested of his selfishness. He must be willing to help his brother for his brother’s sake, and the world for the sake of the world. Man today is too much of a selfish animal for Anarchy, and he will be for several centuries’ — and after delivering themselves of this wise remark, they would turn on their heels and walk away.
“Selfishness is certainly a strong quality of man’s nature, and Anarchy recognizes this fact and provides for it. The State was constantly demanding that man disregard self for the benefit of other selves with whom he had no sympathy and who had no moral claim upon him. The State said to man, ‘you must be unselfish; you must aid and love all mankind unless I specify certain individuals or nations that you must hate and strive to injure all possible.’ Anarchy says, ‘selfishness is a part of man’s individuality; let it act freely, and human discretion will curb it enough.’
“The State gathered everything within its grasp and doled out a small quantity to this one and a large quantity to that one, and there was in consequence constant wrangling. The worst feature of selfishness was continually being brought to the surface. If no one man has a chance for more than a dozen, most men will be satisfied with a dozen, but if one man is to have a hundred, all men desire a hundred. This is the sort of selfishness fostered by the State. Anarchy simply says to all men, ‘here is the earth with plenty for all, help yourselves.’ It is selfishness that prompts man to take his fair share, but it is a natural and entirely proper selfishness, and Anarchy sees wisely that it is so and does wisely in allowing it to act without restraint or irritation. Thus are prevented many of the crimes for whose punishment States were thought necessary.”
“You say Anarchy invites everyone to take his fair share from the bounties of the earth; how is it determined what shall be a fair share?” asked I.
“By the labor expanded in wresting wealth from nature’s grasp, not, as was formerly the case, by the ingenuity displayed in robbing the less ingenious. Under the State the conditions of social life were so arranged, or disarranged rather, that the individual life of everyone was a constant struggle. The poor man struggled against absolute want, the well-to-do struggled to become better-to-do and not to become worse, the rich struggled to become more and more rich, struggling constantly, too, against those less rich who struggled to be richer. The State was like an unhealthy marsh from which arose and spread abroad miasmic particles (laws) which irritated the human tissues until a fever ensued which gnawed at the stomach and tore at the brain. This fever became so prevalent that most men believed it the natural state of man’s system, and they looked upon those who had not this fever as the ones diseased. Truly all the world was mad, and those few who were sane were looked upon by insane humanity as being most insane.
“Struggle has been succeeded by progress. The wild-eyed, hot-breathed god of greed has abdicated in favor of the clear-eyed, sweet-faced, plump-formed goddess of plenty. Every man knows that nature has locked up for him in her storehouse enough for all at least of his more pressing needs, and his individual labor is the only key by means of which his store can be got. The robber has no means of entry. There is no State with a duplicate key which it may give up at will to the plunderer.”
“Man, then, has fallen into a state where he is without ambition or energy beyond enough to provide himself daily with food, clothing, and shelter?” I suggested.
“No, man is still an ambitious and energetic creature, as you may imagine by what you have seen during your stay among us. He has lost, however, certain ambitions and energies. He is no longer ambitious to rule his fellow man or to rob his fellow man that he may become a millionaire. The energy formerly expended in the struggle for wealth and power is now turned into other channels. Such an entertainment as we have enjoyed tonight is a far better result of man’s energy than the accumulation of a fortune. There is about so much force and ingenuity in man, and it is bound to work itself out in some way. If this force and ingenuity is expended in gaining wealth by legalized robbery of those who labor, it cannot be used in devising means whereby more wealth can be produced with less labor, or whereby man may be made happier. Enough human energy was expended in warfare during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries to have pushed humanity ahead at least ten centuries, had there been no wars.”
“I judge from what you say that warfare is a thing of the past.”
“Yes, war was simply a means whereby States decided their quarrels. The abolishment of the State was the abolishment of war. No human force is wasted in that way now, no human lives are lost, no accumulated wealth is squandered.”
Mr. De Demain said “Good night,” for we had reached my room, and I also will say “Good night” to you.
[To be continued.]
A Politician in Sight of Haven.
By Auberon Herbert.
[From the Fortnightly Review.]
Continued from No. 49.
“And now,” said Angus, “leaving further consideration of the principles, let me ask you for the net result. How would you give practical effect to such views?”
“The government, as pointed out by Mr. Spencer, must confine itself simply to the defence of life and property, whether as regards internal or external defence. You can defend neither of these systems, both of which involve the use of force, on true moral grounds; they can only be imperfectly defended under the law of self-preservation, which we extend to others beyond ourselves. But in the world as it is, those who use force must be repelled — and effectively repelled — by force. By their own act they place themselves in the force-relation, and, barbarous as is the relation, we must accept it just as far as they thrust it on us. Farther the Government must not go. It must not attempt any service of any kind for the people, from the mere mechanism of carrying their letters to that most arrogant and ill-conceived of all universal schemes, the education of their children. All services which the people require must be done by themselves, grouped according to their wants and their affinities in their own natural groups, and acting by means of voluntary association. The system would be one of free-trade carried out logically and consistently in every direction. We should then be quit both of the politician, with that enormous bribing power which he proposes by offering services to one part of the people at the cost of another part, and of that fatal compression of ideas, energies, and experimental efforts which results whenever universal systems are imposed upon a nation. Those people who wish to make their fellow-men wise, or temperate, or virtuous, or comfortable, or happy by some rapid exercise of power, little dream of the sterility that belongs to the universal systems which they so readily inflict on them. Some day they will open their eyes and see that there never yet has been a great system sustained by force under which all the best faculties of men have not slowly withered.”
“As regards property, what would be the system which a Government ought to defend?” said Angus.
“There is no choice except between an open market in all things — that is, free acquisition and complete ownership — or a more or less socialistic Government. If Government undertakes in any way the task of arranging and distributing property, it at once enters on the force-relation. It presumes to set itself above all fixed moral relations of men, and to create for them out of its imagination the conditions under which they are to stand to each other. And notice that free trade and free acquisition of all property stand and fall together. Either a man may do the best for himself with his faculties, or he and his faculties may be sacrificed for the advantage of others. Our great effort at this moment should be to reconcile our people heartily to private property, whether in land or in any other thing (Mr. Spencer draws a line between the two, but I am unable to follow him), and to lead them to see that no nation can in any true sense be free which allows a Government of the day to model and remodel that which touches a man’s life so nearly as his property. That English land is not largely held by the small owners is a great public calamity, but it is not to be repaired by the greater one of small or big confiscations. Remove at once — as you would have done years ago, had the Liberal party remained true to its traditions, and not gone popularity and sensation hunting, under Mr. Gladstone’s leadership — all legal impediments that yet exist to free sale. Insist that the living owner should be the full owner in the sight of the law courts; avoid all ridiculous measures for patching up the present landlord and tenant system, and the land will soon naturally and healthily find its way into the hands of the people. Any way, it is better to bear the evils of delay than to demoralize a whole nation in their spirit and their aims by accepting the bribes of the politician to take from the few to give to the many.”
“And taxes, Mr. Markham?” asked Angus.
“All taxes must be voluntary,” said Markham.
“Voluntary!” said Angus, drawing the longest of breaths.
“There is no moral foundation for taking taxes by force. Those who pay taxes have not put themselves outside the reasonable relation, and therefore you cannot justly compel payment at their hands. The Dissenters were on the right track when they refused to pay Church-rates, and every measure to which a man objects is a Church-rate if you have the courage and the logic to see it. Your present plan, Mr. Bramston, is to tread men’s objections as mere soil under your feet. It won’t do. No plan by which one man treads another man’s freedom of action underfoot will do. Besides, Mr. Bramston, can you not see what lies before you in the near future? This unjustifiable power of taking money from others, even from those unborn, has led to such extravagance, such waste, and such heavy burdens that the people everywhere, improving upon the honest methods of the politicians, are beginning to ask the question, ‘Granted that, as you teach us, our wishes are the law of right, why should we pay debts we have never incurred?’”
“And what about the debt itself?” asked Angus.
“An upright people, not trained to juggling metaphysics about the right and the convenient, will redeem, and ought to redeem, every penny of it. But they must do so voluntarily. The question has its difficulties, but I can find no right to force payment from those who did not contract it, great as I think would be the wrong towards the holders if it were not paid. I should give the holders a mortgage on all existing national property.”
“And the franchise?” asked Angus.
“The franchise would depend on the payment of an income-tax for which everybody, down to the lowest workman, would be voluntarily liable. Everybody, man or woman, paying it would have the right to vote; those who did not pay it would be — as is just — without the franchise. There would be no other tax. All indirect taxation, excise and customs, would be abolished, freeing the trading genius of the country with results that we can scarcely foresee.”
“And could you ask the workmen to accept such a tax?” said Angus.
“If you wish to treat them as equal reasonable beings with yourself and to speak the truth to them, if you wish them to cultivate the highest kind of self-respect, to despise all favors and bribes, and to share power because they share burdens — yes,” replied Markham. “If you mean to continue the politician’s game, to trade upon the selfishness and the unfairness that are in human nature, to tread the principle of true equality under foot, and buy all those who can be bought for your side — no.”
“And municipal government, with its care of streets?” asked Angus.
“You must let me reserve that matter for our next talk.”
“And existing institutions — the Established Church, the House of Lords, the Crown — what would you do?” asked Angus.
“I fear that I must look upon them all as signposts that point the wrong way and condemn themselves. All privileged and artificial institutions, whether for the few or the many, are destructive and anarchical in their character, as they obscure our perception of the great and simple moral relations on which our dealings with each other must be founded. Our subject is to teach the people to look on the equal and universal relations that are cheated by liberty as the most sacred thing in the world, and we must spare no darling institution of any class tending to perpetuate the idea of privilege.”
“And Ireland?” asked Angus.
“Ireland must decide for herself,” said Markham. “Why not grant its freedom for the sake of principle instead of for the sake of convenience, as you will do in a few years. But the landowners should be bought out; and if the north-east of Ireland elects to stay with England, let it do so.”
“Would Mr. Spencer agree to such applications of his principles?” asked Angus.
“I fear that Mr. Spencer would dissent. You must not regard him as responsible for the corollaries which I have drawn.* He would say that a truly equitable social system can be reached only as fast as men themselves become truly equitable in their sentiments and ideas, and in the meantime we must decide as well as we can on the relatively right, referring continually to the absolutely right, with the view of taking care that we move towards it, and not away from it,” replied Markham.
“And now once more for the net result,” said Angus. “What would be the effect of carrying out such a policy?”
“Why, such a lightening of the ship as would give her power to float in any weather. You are sadly weighing and crippling her now. You do not recognize how enormous is the amount of enterprise and energy that is restrained by this ever-encroaching matter of politics; not simply because whenever the State undertakes a great service even those who possess the most energy cease to think and to combine and to attempt for themselves, but by the sheer misdirection of effort. How many men there are who could give more time and thought to their own work — which is the true way of benefiting others — if they were not obliged to be politicians. You have made these bloated politics of such importance that the busiest workers can neither afford to follow them with any care nor yet to neglect them. To all such men they are a perpetual vexation and distraction. If you wish to economise the best brain-energy of the country, reduce politics to the humble sphere that belongs to them, reduce Mr. Gladstone and Lord Salisbury to the smaller proportions for which two such men, highly gifted as they are, are fitted; disband this frightful standing army of politicians that, like other armies, eats up the people whom it claims to serve, and return it to useful occupations in civil life. Our great object should be not on bring to an end the wasteful processes of Government work — the overgrown departments, the official mismanagements, the heavy burden of taxation, the inumerable occasions of rivalry, of personal ambition, and corrupt uses of power — but to recall all human effort from a wrong direction and to put it in the one right track. We have to make each man a profitable worker by leaving him with undivided energies for his own work instead of letting him attempt to direct the work of others, and to place him under the one true and natural condition that his reward shall be all he can get in a free world, self-earned, and not adjusted for him by others. Achieve this great though simple result, and we should bring about a mental regeneration within a nation as great as if, in their external relations, nations were to abandon the idea of war. Of all perverted industries, that of accumulating force, whether in great bodies of soldiers or great bodies of electors, is the most wasteful and disastrous, not only because, as we have seen, the effort to obtain the possession of force is in itself an immense consumption of energy that should go for other things; not only because, so long as men are intent upon becoming tho holders of power, they are blind to the true remedies; not only because systems founded on force are fatal to the two conditions of difference and competition, apart from which unfitness can never be changed into fitness; not only because all fixed laws of moral right and wrong disappear in the presence of force; not only because the world can find no repose or security as long as all the great matters of life are left in suspense, to be shaped and reshaped by those who have climbed yesterday or to-day to power; but because, so long as we live under force, compelling and compelled, so long the affections and sympathies of men for men — all that is lovely in human nature — must remain sealed from breaking into universal blossom, like the plants of the earth remain sealed so long as winter is with them. Man is predestined to find his complete happiness, as Mr. Spencer teaches, only when the happiness of others becomes to him an integral part of his own; but this development of his nature cannot take place unless he is living under those true conditions which belong to a free life. So long as force is paramount, so long must men stand in hate and fear of each other, and the old saying, homo homini lupus, remain true.”
“And now, Mr. Markham, granting the force that there is in much that you say, there remains the great question — is it possible to look on such a view as practical?”
“Practical!” said Markham, slowly shaking his head. “And do you think, Mr. Bramston, that you politicians are the practical people? Under the name of serving your party you press on along an unknown road, no man really taking the responsibility of his own actions, no man knowing, or even trying to know, where he is going. How would any politician of the day meet my demand if I were to ask him to sketch the future of England as he desired and as he expected to see it? Would he not excuse himself from the task; or, had he the courage to attempt it, would not his picture consist of a few incongruous conceptions thrown together, some not possible, some not probable, resembling in its want of definite ideas an animal drawn by a child, with the wings of a fowl and the legs of a horse? And yet in the midst of such mental incoherence you have the courage to act as if you were assured that the power in your possession were a divine gift, and that some shaping hand that you do not see would interpose to give order and meaning to what you do. Practical, Mr. Bramston! Is it practical to have created the relations that exist between you and the people? You meet them not to speak the truth, not to confess real difficulties, not to try to understand the real conditions under which men have to live, not to raise them in their self-respect, not to check the human tendency to selfishness and violence, and to bring out the reasonable self, but you speak to them as holders of power on whom power confers the right to be a law to themselves; and this you do in order that you may extract their votes from them. You are but courtiers of the people, as your fathers before you were courtiers of kings and emperors. If you call this practical, Mr. Bramston, I desire myself to have no share in what is practical. Practical! And do you think that when to-morrow succeeds to this reckless competition of parties, and you are called upon to deal with the greed you have appealed to, the expectations you have raised, the rash beginnings you have made, to-morrow, when the untruth, the weakness, and the personal rivalries of men who lead the people, not by real convictions but by beliefs assumed at the moment, when all these ugly things come home to roost, when that dangerous lust of power which is in all human breasts, and can only be conquered by the sense of the rights of others has taken its full possession of us, do you think in that day of consequences that you will be satisfied that you were the practical people? Practical! And yet you do not see the meaning of the very things which you are doing. You call yourselves Tory, and Whig, and Radical,— there is as much meaning in the names of Shiite ana Sonnite; there was more in those of Guelph and Ghibelline. Can you not see that there are only two creeds in the world possible for men; that there are only two sides on which a man can place himself? Are you for a free world, or for a world placed under authority? Are you Socialist, a believer in the majority, a believer in force, or do you take your stand on the fixed and inalienable rights of the individual? These mixed and party systems, by which you set so much store, are only half-way huts in which the race sojourns for a clay, and then burns behind it. Because you yourselves are confused, indistinct, and inconsistent in your ideas, do you think that the race, as a race, will stand forever, like recruits beating the ground in the drill-yard and march nowhither? Time is a great logician, and succeeding generations will eitner press steadily on to the system that is the perfection of force, Socialism, or to the perfection of liberty, complete Individualism. If men believe that they may rightly use force to gain any of their objects, they will claim in their supposed interest to use it for all their objects; if force is not a right weapon, then they will altogether abandon it. On which side then do you take your stand? I look at the parties of today and I can get no answer. Is Mr. Gladstone, with his many regrets and apologies, is Lord Salisbury, with his easy adaptiveness, for or against liberty? The one and the other seem to me equally ready to betray it for their necessities. But whatever be the issue of the present, that the world will remain in Socialism — of that I can have no fear. The system is doomed by the great laws as inexorably as the Tower of Babel. I do not say it may not descend upon us for a time, like a great pall, blotting out all hopes of progress in our time. It may be that the race must pass through their season of it, as men pass through some delirious illness. After all it is only an old story repeating itself. Socialism is but Catholicism addressing itself not to the soul but to the senses of men. Accept authority, accept the force which it employs, resign yourself to all-powerful managers and infallible schemers, give up the free choice and the free act, the burden of responsibility and the rewards that come to each man according to his own exertions, deny the reason and the self that are in you, place these in the keeping of others, and a world of ease and comfort shall be yours. It is a creed even more degrading than Catholicism, but it offers more tangible bribes for its acceptance. Still, Mr. Bramston, we must fight on. As the old darkness and mental cowardice come back upon us, we can only trust that the old light and courage and faith that protested may come back also. Mr. Spencer has set us a bright example of fearlessness in thought and speech. No man quite knows what that magical weapon, truth, can do when he sets himself resolutely to use it. I would rather choose it for our side than either Mr. Gladstone’s eloquence or Mr. Chamberlain’s organization. But the night is fast stealing away. I shall be glad to meet you again. Meanwhile study Mr. Spencer until his methods of order and reason become an intellectual necessity to you. And now, are you a reader of Browning? If so, repay me for my long talk by reading me Galuppi whilst I light my evening pipe.”
“What a strange evening’s work,” said Angus to himself as his foot crossed the threshold. “Voluntary taxation, and ministers out of employment! How those dear wise fools in the House would shout at the idea; but then every fish believes in the swim to which he belongs. Ah!” he sighed as he walked along the Embankment, and the blue smoke of his cigar parted the fresh night air, “if this were the disentanglement of the mess,— the perfect creed of liberty, the true acceptance by each man of the rights of the other, and yet———”
* Perhaps I should here point out quite distinctly that the proposal made by Mr. Markham to place taxation on a voluntary basis, whether in itself a right or wrong deduction from Mr. Herbert Spencer’s principle, has never received Mr. Herbert Spencers approval; but, as I have some grounds for believing, would be looked on by him as an unpractical and undesirable arrangement. — A. H.
Anarchy and the Revolution.
Between our comrades in thought, “Le Revolte” on one side and Liberty on the other, there was a while ago a discussion going on, during which Liberty defined the position of each as follows:
What does “Le Revolte” desire? The abolition of the State.
Liberty desires the same.
“Le Revolte” desires the abolition of force and compulsion in every form.
Liberty desires just the same.
So, then, “Le Revolte” and Liberty desire quite the same. Now we come to the how.
“Le Revolte” would win liberty through a speedy, violent, bloody revolution.
Liberty believes that before such a revolution can and will take place, and especially before it can bear good fruit, there must be a revolution in the views and opinions of a greater number of people, and that the violent and bloody character of the revolution is perhaps necessary, but not commendable.
We leave to our readers to judge of the ideas which, in such a manner, “Le Revolte” and Liberty present, and to compare them with our view, which here follows:
We see in the social revolution not a single, sanguinary struggle, after the close of which the new society will be announced and established; but, on the contrary, a long series of struggles, partly, perhaps, violent and sanguinary, and partly economical and social, every one of which takes a step on the necessary road of progress. Indeed, we believe that we find ourselves, in a certain manner, already in the revolution and steadily advancing therein. This revolution was, in a way, begun by Hodel’s shot, and from that on till today every revolutionary deed has brought with it just such a revolution in views and sentiments as that demanded by Liberty. So will it go on; so will every revolutionary act win new adherents to the Anarchistic idea, who, in their turn, become agitators through revolutionary acts.
The social revolution is neither made nor begun nor ended with any act whatever. Of it are true the poet’s words: “I was; I am; I will be.”
The idea of Liberty that the social revolution must first be preceded by a similar one in the views and opinions of a great number of men seems to us for these reasons inapplicable. Just as little the idea of “Le Revolte,” as presented on another page.
Quite truly has Liberty asserted that Anarchy is something quite independent of and separate from the revolution, and that variously differing sentiments in regard to means to be adopted may hold steadfastly in view this common aim. In this consists the decided superiority of the Anarchist over the Social Democrat,— that the aim is “Abolition of the State and the removal of all authority and force.” By the side of this tactical differences are immeasurably small. Every one desires the social revolution; only here and there are superficial differences of opinion.
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.