“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
The “Truth-Seeker” reports Stephen Pearl Andrews as saying at a recent meeting of the Liberal club that hereafter he should have something to say in that paper, from time to time, on the labor question. At which Liberty rejoices.
“Is money a creation of God? or, Is money a creation of Law?” asks the St. Louis Jeffersonian, a new-comer among Liberty’s exchanges. It is neither. It is born of social necessity acting upon individuals, associations, and governments.
According to an ingenious English authority, the cause of famine in India is the excessive prevalency of the goat. The theory is that the goats destroy the trees, and the consequent decay of forests decreases the average rainfall. No theory is too silly for England to announce for the purpose of diverting attention from the real cause of the abject poverty of the laborers of India. The reason why the people starve is so plain and simple that it is passed over without notice by the ingenious theorists. It can be stated in a few words, and no profound “political economist” is required to demonstrante the fact. The laborers of India are robbed by England of the food which they produce.
Sarah M. Chipman, whose letter printed in another column was refused publication by the journal to which it was sent and has since fallen into my hands, has compressed into a few lines more solid sense regarding the charges against Cleveland’s moral character than has appeared in all the editorials of all the newspapers of all the political parties put together. There could be nothing more hypocritical, considering the source from which they come, than the two charges against Cleveland which seem to be damaging him most seriously,— first, that he once lived with a woman out of wedlock, and, second, that, being a sheriff, he performed the official duty of hanging two men who had been sentenced to death. The idea that any lapse from so-called virtue should unfit a man for high official station in Washington, that sink of sexual vice and domestic corruption in which none wallow more deeply than our congressmen, is so supremely absurd that the editors and stump-orators who prate about it so sanctimoniously in public cannot discuss it in private with sober faces. As for the “hangman” charge, to realize its hypocrisy one need only ask himself whether, had the judge who sentenced Cleveland’s victims been running for the presidency, his act would ever have been alleged as a disqualification for the office. An Anarchist might well complain of both judge and sheriff for being concerned in an act of murder, but it is inconceivable that any honest believer in the State should have aught to say to any executive officer thereof who had done no graver wrong than to faithfully obey the State’s commands except “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy lord, the people!” Of the three prominent candidates in the field Cleveland is as clearly the strongest morally as he is the weakest intellectually.
“The most effective measures which sovereigns could take to root out this dread evil [Anarchism] would be to satisfy their subjects with equal justice and liberty.” That is, the best way to get rid of Anarchism is to make it an actuality. O sapience, thy name is the Boston “Advertiser!”
“A Politician in Sight of Haven,” the wonderfully fine and forcible essay by Auberon Herbert recently published serially in Liberty to the great delight of its readers, is now ready in pamphlet form at the low price of ten cents. See advertisement in another column. I expect this little work to take high rank for efficiency in Anarchistic propagandism.
Samuel P. Putnam’s latest novel, “Waifs and Wanderings,” has been published in book form by the Truth Seeker Company, as may be seen by reference to the advertising columns. I have not had time to read the work. Fortunately for Mr. Putnam, he has other admirers with more leisure, who will surely read his book to see, if for no other reason, whether the great skill as a writer which the author has shown in two so distinct fields as dialectics and poetry extends as well into that of romance.
John W. Garrett, the Railroad King, is dead, and I am glad of it. He spent his life in stealing twenty millions from suffering laborers, which he had the impudence in his will to order his sons to distribute back to them in very small part in the form of charity, and in killing off brakemen at the rate of one an hour, as “K” explains on another page. His heartless utterance, “These brakemen pay for each other,” will go down in the history of infamy by the side of Vanderbilt’s “The public be damned.” These capitalists may thank their stars and the human forbearance of their victims if some day they do not pay for each other and for Garrett at a more bleeding rate of interest than ever they were able to exact.
Liberty has a friend in New York whose loyalty to the Anarchistic movement cannot be doubted. There is no better test of such loyalty than readiness to open the purse, provided one has a purse to open; and by that test Liberty knows the friend in question to be often tried and never found wanting. But his idea of the best way of helping Anarchism publicly is a curious thing to me. In answer to my criticism that the People’s Party movement is a step towards despotism and away from Anarchy, he writes me that he recognizes “the difference in direction between the People’s Party and Anarchy,” but thinks “it would be easier to swing way back from the People’s Party to Anarchy than to convert the ordinary mind directly to Anarchism.” If this is the case, the ordinary mind must be a very extraordinary thinking apparatus. I am surprised that my friend, who is an active Freethinker, does not pursue a similar policy in his efforts for liberalism in religion. To be consistent he ought to join the Society of Jesus and give his allegiance to the Pope. This is the policy, pushed in a reversed direction, of the Boston “Advertiser,” alluded to in another paragraph, which seeks to abolish Anarchism by giving all men liberty. My New York friend similarly hopes to abolish despotism by making all men slaves. This treatment of the “ordinary mind” is not justified by history, which teaches that slavery so dwarfs men mentally that they will patiently suffer under bonds because ignorant of the blessings of freedom.
For the People.
[New York Independent.]
We are the hewers and delvers who toll for another’s gain,
The common clods and the rabble, stunted of brow and brain.
What do we want, the gleaners, of the harvest we have reaped?
What do we want, the neuters, of the honey we have heaped?
We want the drones to be driven away from our golden hoard;
We want to share in the harvest; we want to sit at the board;
We want what sword or suffrage has never yet won for man,
The fruits of his toil, God-promised, when the curse of toil began.
Ye have tried the sword and sceptre, the cross and the sacred word,
In all the years, and the kingdom is not yet here of the Lord.
We are tired of useless waiting; we are tired of fruitless prayers.
Soldier and churchman and lawyer — the failure, is it not theirs?
What gain is it to the people that a God laid down his life,
If, twenty centuries after, his world be a world of strife?
If the serried ranks be facing each other with ruthless eyes
And steel in their hands, what profits a Saviour’s sacrifice?
Ye have tried, and failed to rule us; in vain to direct have tried.
Not wholly the fault of the ruler; not utterly blind the guide;
Mayhap there needs not a ruler; mayhap we can find the way.
At least ye have ruled to ruin; at least ye have led astray.
What matter if king or consul or president holds the rein,
If crime and poverty ever be links in the bondman’s chain?
What careth the burden-bearer that Liberty packed his load,
If Hunger presseth behind him with a sharp and ready goad?
There’s a serf whose chains are of paper; there’s a king with a parchment crown;
There are robber knights and brigands in factory, field, and town.
But the vassal pays his tribute to a lord of wage and rent;
And the baron’s toil is Shylock’s, with a flesh and blood per cent.
The seamstress bends to her labor all night in a narrow room;
The child, defrauded of childhood, tip-toes all day at thd loom;
The soul must starve; for the body can barely on husks be fed;
And the loaded dice of a gambler settle the price of bread.
Ye have shorn and bound the Samson and robbed him of learning’s light;
But his sluggish brain is moving; his sinews have all their might.
Look well to your gates of Gaza, your privilege, pride, and castel
The Giant is blind and thinking, and his locks are growing fast.
James Jeffrey Roche.
An Always Fatal Fever.
The chase after “glory” is the principal occupation of European governments. England goes to Egypt for “glory’s” sake, and it is “glory” that the French are after in Tonquin. The “glory” fever always ends disastrously for the people afflicted by it. Therefore, may the world get rid of “glory.”
[E. C. Walker In “Lucifer.”]
There is no more sure and prolific cause of moral deterioration than that of political strife. It is a very pest-house, scattering the seeds of moral depravity by every agency that comes in contact with it. To win success at the polls men forget the generous impulses of their youth, the reasoned creeds of their maturer years, and plunge into the cesspools of filth; become willing adepts in all the trickery and deceit inseparable from ballot-boxisms; forswear their cherished convictions in their fanatic attempts to overcome the ignorance and prejudice of voters, and waste their energies in a warfare whose full cup of victory is more poisonous than its dregs of defeat are bitter.
The game of voting is a Circe whose beauty and song lure only to degradation and destruction. Fortunately, men are beginning to realize this, and there is yet hope for our people, though the millions are still her victims, and men of titanic intellect slavishly lay their foreheads in the dust at her feet.
In this campaign we behold the spectacle of men who make no secret of their contempt for our old social system lending themselves to the unclean work of making political capital out of the charges of sexual irregularity made against one of the presidential candidates. They are honest men, but they are in the foul ditch of politics and must utilize every weapon that is thrown in their way.
What’s To Be Done?
By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 51.
“Well, let, us do so. But how have you managed to arrange everything so soon? How well you know how to do things!”
“I will tell you on the way; come, let us go.”
On leaving the cab, they went through long corridors leading to the church; there they found the doorkeeper, whom they sent to Mertzaloff’s, who lived in this same building with the interminable corridors.
“Now, Vérotchka, I have another request to make of you. You know that in church they bid the newly-married to kiss each other.”
“I know it, but how embarrassing it must be!”
“That we may be less confused when the time comes, let us kiss each other now.”
“Very well, let us kiss each other, but can it not be dispensed with there?”
“At the church it is impossible to avoid it; therefore we had better prepare for it.”
They kissed each other.
“Dear friend, how fortunate we are in having had time to prepare; there is the doorkeeper coming back already.”
It was not the doorkeeper coming back,— he had gone to look for the sexton; it was Kirsanoff who entered; he had been waiting for them at Mertzaloff’s.
“Vérotchka, I introduce to you that Alexander Matvéiteh Kirsanoff, whom you detest and wish to forbid me to see.”
“Véra Pavlovna, why would you separate two such tender hearts?”
“Because they are tender,” said Vérotchka, extending her hand to Kirsanoff. She became thoughtful, though continuing to smile. “Shall I love him as well as you do? For you love him much, do you not?” she added.
“I? I love no one but myself, Véra Pavlovna.”
“And him also?”
“We have lived without quarreling, that is enough.”
“And he loves you no more than that?”
“At least I have not remarked it. For that matter, let us ask him: do you love me, Dmitry?”
“I have no particular hatred for you.”
“Well, if that is the case, Alexander Matvéitch, I will not forbid him to see you, and I will love you myself.”
“That is much the better way, Véra Pavlovna.”
Alexey Pétrovitch came.
“Here I am; let us go to the church.” Alexey Pétrovitch was gay and even in a joking mood; but when he begun the service, his voice became a little tremulous. “And if they should bring suit? Go to your father, Natacha, your husband can no longer support you; now, it is not a happy existence to live at your father’s expense while your husband is still living.” But after having said a few words, he completely regained his self-possession.
During the ceremony Natalia Andrevna, or Natacha, as Alexey Pétrovitch called her, came. When all was over, she invited the newly-married couple to go home with her; she had prepared a little breakfast; they went, they laughed, they danced a couple of quadrilles, they even waltzed. Alexey Pétrovitch, who did not know how to dance, played the violin. Two short hours passed quickly by. It was a joyous wedding.
“I believe that they are already waiting dinner for me at home,” said Vérotchka; “it is time to go. Now, my darling, I will be patient three, four days in my ‘cellar’ without fretting too much. I could even live there longer. Why should I be sorrowful? What have I to fear now? No, do not escort me; I will go alone; we might bo seen.”
“Oh, the devil: they will not eat me; do not be so anxious on my account,” said Alexey Pétrovitch, in escorting Lopoukhoff and Kirsanoff, who had remained a moment longer to give Vérotchka time to go; “I am now very glad that Natacha encouraged me.”
On the morrow, after four days’ search, they found satisfactory rooms at the end of the fifth line on the island of Vassilievsky.
His savings amounting in all to one hundred and sixty roubles, Lopoukhoff and his comrade had decided that it would be impossible for them to furnish rooms themselves; so they rented three furnished rooms with board of a petit bourgeois* couple.
The petit bourgeois was an old man, passing his days peacefully beside a basket filled with buttons, ribbons, pins, etc., and placed against the wall of the little garden situated on the Perspective Moyenne between the first and second lines, or in conversation with his wife, who passed her days in repairing all sorts of old clothes brought to her by the armful from the second-hand stores. The service was performed by the proprietors themselves.
The Lopoukhoffs paid thirty roubles a month.
At that time — that is, ten years ago** — life in St. Petersburg was still comparatively inexpensive. Under these circumstances the Lopoukhoffs with their resources could live for three or even four months; ten roubles a month would pay for their food. Lopoukhoff counted, in the course of these four months, on obtaining pupils, literary work, or occupation in some commercial house.
On Thursday, the day when the rooms were found (and excellent rooms they were, that had not been easily found), Lopoukhoff, coming to give his lesson, said to Vérotchka:
“Come tomorrow; here is the address. I will say no more now, lest they may observe something.”
“Dear friend, you have saved me!”
But how to get away from her parents? Should she tell them all? So Vérotehka thought for a moment; but her mother might shower blows upon her with her fists and lock her up. Vérotchka decided to leave a letter in her room. But when Maria Alexevna manifested an intention of following her daughter to the Perspective Nevsky, the latter went back to her room and took the letter again; for it seemed to her that it would be better and more honest to tell her to her face what had been done. Would her mother come to blows with her in the street? It would be nececsary only to keep a certain distance from her, then speak to her, jump into a cab, and start off before she could seize her by the sleeve.
And thus it was that the separation was effected near Rousanoff’s perfumery.
But we have witnessed only half of this scene.
For a minute Maria Alexevna, who was suspecting nothing of the sort, stood as if thunderstruck, trying to understand and yet not at all comprehending what her daughter said. What did all that mean? But her hesitation lasted only a minute, and even less. She suddenly began to hurl insults, but her daughter had already entered the Nevsky; Maria Alexevna hurried a few steps in that direction; it was necessary to take a cab.
“Where do you wish me to take you, Madame?”
Which way should she go? She thought she heard her daughter say Rue Karavannaia; but she had turned to the left along the Nevsky. What course should she take?
“Overtake that wretch!”
“Overtake, Madame? But tell me where I am to go? What course shall I take? The price, in short.”
Maria Alexevna, utterly beside herself, insulted the coachman.
“I see that you are drunk, Mistress,” said he, and he drove off.
Maria Alexevna followed him with her insults, called other coachmen, and ran now one way, now another, brandishing her arms; at last she started under the colonnade, stamping with rage. A half-dozen young people, venders of all sorts of eatables and knick-knacks, gathered around her, near the columns of the Gastinoi Dvor. They admired her much; they exchanged remarks more or less spicy, and bestowed upon her praises, not without wit, and advice that testified to their good intentions. “Ah! what an excellent lady! So early, and drunk already! Excellent lady!”
“Mistress, do you hear? Mistress, buy a half-dozen lemons of me; they are good things to eat after drinking, and I will sell them to you cheap.”
“Do not listen to him, Mistress; lemons will not help you any; you would do better to take a drink of something strong.”
“Mistress, Mistress, what a powerful tongue you have! Are you willing to match it against mine on a wager?”
Maria Alexevna, now no longer knowing what she was about, slapped the face of one of her tormenters, a boy of about seventeen, who put his tongue out, not without some grace; the little merchant’s cap rolled off into the dirt, and Maria Alexevna, thus enabled to get her hand into his hair, did not fail to grasp it by handfuls. The other scamps, seeing which, were seized with an indescribable enthusiasm:
“That’s it! Hit him! Now then! Bravo, the mistress!”
“Lick him, lick him, Mistress!”
Others said: “Fedka,*** defend yourself, hit her back!”
But the majority were on Maria Alexevna’s side.
“What can Fedka do against this jolly old girl? Lick him, lick him, Mistress; the scamp is getting no more than he deserves.”
In addition to the speakers many spectators had already gathered: coachmen, warehouse-men, and passers-by were approaching in crowds; Maria Alexevna seemed to come to her senses, and, after having by a last mechanical movement pushed away the head of the unfortunate Fedka, she crossed the street. Enthusiastic tributes of praise followed her. She became conscious that she was going home when she had passed the carriage-way of the Corps des Pages; she took a cab, and reached the house in safety. On arriving she administered a few blows to Fédia, who opened the door; rushed to the brandy closet; administered a few blows to Matrœna, who had been attracted by the noise; made for the closet again; ran into Vérotchka’s room, and came back to the closet a third time; ran again into Vérotchka’s room, and stayed there a long time; and then began to walk up and down the rooms scolding and reviling; but whom should she hit? Fédia had fled to the kitchen stairs; Matrœna, peeping through a crack into Vérotchka’s room and seeing Maria Alexevna start in her direction, had precipitately fled toward the kitchen, but, not being able to reach it, had rushed into Maria Alexevna’s bed-room and hidden under the bed, where she remained in safety awaiting a more peaceable summons.
How long did Maria Alexevna scold and vociferate, walking up and down the empty rooms? It is impossible to say exactly, but for a long time apparently, since Pavel Konstantinytch on his arrival was received also with blows and insults. Nevertheless, as everything must end, Maria Alexevna cried at last: “Matrœna, get the dinner ready!” And Matrœna, seeing that the storm was over, came out from under the bed and set the table.
During dinner Maria Alexevna left off scolding and contented herself with muttering, but without offensive intentions and simply for her own satisfaction; then, instead of going to lie down, she took a seat and remained alone, now saying nothing, now muttering; then she stopped muttering, and at last cried out:
“Matrœna, wake your master, and tell him to come to me.”
Matrœna, who, expecting orders, had not dared to go away, either to the cabaret or anywhere else outside of the house, hastened to obey.
Pavel Konstantinytch made his appearance.
“Go to the proprietor and tell her that your daughter, thanks to you, has married this blackguard. Say: ‘I was opposed to my wife.’ Say: ‘I did it to please you, for I saw your consent was lacking.’ Say: ‘The fault was my wife’s alone; I carried out your will.’ Say: ‘It was I who arranged this marriage.’ Do you understand me?”
“I understand, Maria Alexevna; you reason very wisely.”
“Well, start then! If she is at dinner, let that make no difference; have her called from the table. Make haste, while she is still in ignorance.”
The plausibility of the words of Pavel Konstantinytch was so evident that the proprietor would have believed the worthy steward, even if he had not been endowed with the faculty of presenting his ideas with humility, veneration, and in a persuasive and respectful manner; but this power of persuasion was so great that the proprietor would have pardoned Pavel Konstantinytch, even if she had not had palpable proofs of his misunderstanding with his wife.
Was it not evident that he had put his daughter in relations with Lopoukhoff in order to avoid a marriage embarrassing to Mikhail Ivanytch.
“What were the terms of the marriage?”
Pavel Konstantinytch had spared nothing in order to give his daughter her marriage portion; he had given five thousand roubles to Lopoukhoff, had paid the expenses of the wedding, and established the couple in housekeeping. It was he who had carried the notes from one to the other. At the house of his colleague, Filatieff, chief of the bureau and a married man, added Pavel Konstantinytch,— yes, it was at his house, your excellency, for although I am an humble man, your excellency, the virgin honor of my daughter is dear to me,— it was at his house, I say, that the meetings took place, in my presence; we were not rich enough to employ a teacher for an urchin like Fédia; no, that was not a pretext, your excellency, etc.
Then Pavel Konstantinytch painted in the blackest colors the character of his wife. How could one help believing and pardoning Pavel Konstantinytch? It was, moreover, a great and unexpected joy. Joy softens the heart. The proprietor began her notice of discharge by a long condemnation of Marin Alexevna’s abominable plans and guilty conduct, and at first called on Pavel Konstantinytch to turn his wife out of doors. He begged her not to be so severe.
She spoke thus only for the sake of saying something. Finally they agreed on the following terms:
Pavel Konstantinytch held his stewardship; the apartments fronting on the street were taken away from him; the steward was to live in the rooms farthest in the rear; his wife was not to show herself about the front of the establishment where the proprietor’s eye might fall upon her, and she was to go into the street only through the carriage-way, which was far from the proprietor’s windows.
Of the twenty roubles a month formerly added to his pay fifteen were taken back and five left as a reward for the zeal shown by Pavel Konstantinytch in carrying out the proprietor’s will and to make good the expenses occasioned by his daughter’s marriage.
Maria Alexevna had thought of several plans as to the way in which to deal with Lopoukhoff when he should come in the evening. That nearest her heart consisted in hiding two man-servants in the kitchen who, at a given signal, should throw themselves upon and beat him unmercifully. The most pathetic consisted in hurling from her own lips and those of Pavel Konstantinytch the paternal and maternal curse on their rebellious daughter and the ruffian, her husband, insisting at the same time on the import of this curse, the earth itself rejecting, as is well known, the ashes of those whom their parents have cursed. But these were dreams, like those of the proprietor in wishing to separate Pavel Konstantinytch from his wife; such projects, like poetry in general, are desired less to be realized than to relieve the heart by serving as a basis for solitary reflections leading to no results and for explanations in future interviews: that is how I might have developed affairs, that is how I desired to develop them, but through goodness of heart I allowed myself to relent. The idea of beating Lopoukhoff and cursing her daughter was the ideal side of Maria Alexevna’s thoughts and feelings. The real side of her mind and soul had a tendency much less elevated and much more practical,— an inevitable difference, given the weakness of every human being. When Maria Alexevna came to her senses, near the carriage-way of the Corps des Pages, and comprehended that her daughter had actually disappeared, married, and escaped, this fact presented itself to her mind in the form of the following mental exclamation: “She has robbed me!” All the way hone she did not cease to repeat to herself, and sometimes aloud: “She has robbed me!” Consequently, after delaying a few minutes through human weakness to tell her chagrin to Fédia and Matrœna,— every individual allows himself to be dragged by the expression of his feelings into forgetting in his fever the real interests of the moment,— Maria Alexevna ran into Vérotchka’s room. She rushed to the dressing-table and the wardrobe, which she reviewed with a hasty glance. “No,” said she, “everything seems to be here.” Then she proceeded to verify this first tranquillizing impression by a detailed examination. Everything, indeed, was really there, except a pair of very simple gold ear-rings, the old muslin dress, and the old sack that Vérotchka had on when she went out. Regarding this real side of the affair, Maria Alexevna expected that Vérotchka had given Lopoukhoff a list of the things belonging to her which he would claim: she was fully determined to give up no article of gold or anything in that line, but only the four plainest dresses and the most worn linen: to give nothing was impossible; noblesse oblige,— an adage of which Maria Alexevna was a rigid observer.
Another question of real life was the relations with the proprietor; we have already seen that Maria Alexevna had succeeded in settling it satisfactorily.
There remained the third question: what was to be done with the guilty, that is, with her daughter and the son-in-law that had been thrust upon her? Curse them? Nothing easier, only such a curse must serve as a dessert to something more substantial. Now, this substantial something could take but one practical shape, that of presenting a petition, bringing a suit, and arraigning before a court of assizes. At first, in her fever, Maria Alexevna viewed this solution of the question from her ideal side, and from this point of view it seemed very seductive to her. But in proportion as her mind became calmer, the affair gradually assumed another aspect. No one knew better than Maria Alexevna that all lawsuits require money, much money, especially lawsuits like this which pleased her by its ideal beauty, and that, after dragging for a long time and devouring much money, they end absolutely in nothing.
What, then, was to be done? She finally concluded that there were but two things to do,— give herself the satisfaction of abusing Lopoukhoff as much as possible, and save Vérotchka’s things from his claims, to which end the presentation of a petition would serve as a means. But at any rate she must roundly abuse him, and thus derive all the satisfaction she could.
Even this last part of the plan was not to be realized.
Lopoukhoff arrived, and began in this tone: “We beg you, my wife and I, to be kind enough, Maria Alexevna and Pavel Konstantinytch, to excuse us for having without your consent” . . . .
At this point Maria Alexevna cried out:
“I will curse her, the good — . . . !” She could not finish the epithet good-for-nothing. At the first syllable Lopoukhoff raised his voice:
“I have not come to listen to your insults, but to talk business. And since you are angry and cannot talk calmly, I will explain myself in a private interview with Pavel Konstantinytch; and you, Maria Alexevna, will send Fédia or Matrœna to call us when you have become calmer.”
As he spoke, he led Pavel Konstantinytch from the parlor into the small room adjoining, and his voice was so strong and positive that there was no way to overmaster it. So she had to reserve her remarks.
Having reached the parlor door with Pavel Konstantinytch, Lopoukhoff stopped, turned back, and said: “I would like nothing better than to make my explanation to you also, Maria Alexevna, if you desire, but on one condition,— that I may do so undisturbed.”
Again she began her abuse, but he interrupted her: “Well, since you cannot converse calmly, we leave you.”
“And you, imbecile, why do you go with him?”
“Why, he drags me after him.”
“If Pavel Konstantinytch were not disposed to give me a quiet hearing. I would go away, and that would be perhaps the better course: what matters to me, indeed! But, why, Pavel Konstantinytch, do you consent to be called such names? Maria Alexevna knows nothing of affairs; she thinks perhaps that they can do God knows what with us; but you, an officeholder, must know how things go on. Tell her, therefore, that things having reached this point, she can do nothing with Vérotchka and still less with me.”
“He knows, the rascal, that nothing can he done with him,” thought Maria Alexevna, and than she said to Lopoukhoff that, though at first her mother’s feelings had carried her away, she was now in a condition to talk calmly.
Lopoukhoff and Pavel Konstantinytch retraced their steps. They sat down, and Lopoukhoff begged her to listen patiently until he had finished all that he had to say, after which she might have the floor. Then he began, taking care to raise his voice every time that Maria Alexevna tried to interrupt him, which enabled him to carry his story to its conclusion. He explained that it was impossible to unmarry them, that there was no chance therefore for Storechnikoff, and that it would be useless trouble, as they knew themselves, to begin a suit. That for the rest they could do as they pleased, and that, if they had an abundance of money, he would even advise them to try the courts; but that, all things considered, there was no occasion for them to plunge into the depths of despair, since Vérotchka had always rejected Storechnikoff’s proposals and the match therefore had always been chimerical, as Maria Alexevna had seen for herself; that a young girl nevertheless must marry some time, which means as a general thing a series of expenses for the parents,— that is, the dowry first, the wedding next, but especially the dowry.
Whence Lopoukhoff concluded that Maria Alexevna and Pavel Konstantinytch ought to thank their daughter for having got married without occasioning them any expense.
Thus he spoke for a full half-hour.
When he had finished, Maria Alexevna saw that to such a rascal there was nothing to say, and she placed herself first on the ground of sentiment, explaining that what had wounded her was precisely the fact that Vérotchka had married without asking the consent of her parents, thus lacerating the maternal heart; the conversation, transferred thus to the subject of maternal feelings and wounds, naturally had for either party no more than a purely dialectical interest: they could not help going into it, the proprieties required it; so they satisfied the proprieties. They spoke, Maria Alexevna of how, as an affectionate mother, she had been wounded, Lopoukhoff of how, as an affectionate mother, she need not have been wounded; when, finally, they had filled the measure of the proprieties by digressions of a proper length upon sentimental grounds, they approached another subject equally demanded by the proprieties,— that, on the one side, she had always desired her daughter’s happiness, while he answered, on the other, that that was clearly indisputable; when the conversation on this point had likewise attained the proper length, they entered on the subject of farewells, giving that also the amount of attention required bv the demands aforesaid, and reached the following result: Lopoukhoff, comprehending the confusion into which the maternal heart had been thrown, did not beg Maria Alexevna for the present to give her daughter permission to see her, because that perhaps would add to the strain on the maternal heart, but Maria Alexevna would not be slow in finding out that Vérotchka was happy, which of course was always Maria Alexevna’s first desire, and then, the maternal heart having recovered its equanimity, she would be in a position to see her daughter without having to suffer thereby. This agreed upon, they separated amicably.
“Oh, the rascal!” said Maria Alexevna, after having shown her son-in-law to the door.
That same night she had the following dream:
She was seated near a window, and she saw a carriage, a splendid carriage, passing in the street; this carriage stopped, and out of it got a beautiful lady followed by a gentleman, and they entered her room, and the lady said to her: “See, mamma, how richly my husband dresses me!” This lady was Vérotchka. Maria Alexevna looked at her: the material of Vérotchka’s dress was really of the most expensive sort. Vérotchka said: “The material alone cost five hundred roubles, and that is a mere bagatelle, mamma, for us; of such dresses I have a dozen; and here is something that cost still more, see my fingers!” And Maria Alexevna looked at Vérotchka’s fingers, and saw rings set with huge diamonds! “This ring, mamma, cost two thousand roubles, and that one four thousand more; and just glance at my breast, mamma; the price of this brooch was still greater; it cost ten thousand roubles!” And the gentleman added, the gentleman being Dmitry Serguéitch: “All these things are just nothing at all for us, my dear mamma, Maria Alexevna! The really precious stuff is in my pocket; here, dear mamma, see this pocket-book, how it is swollen! It is full of hundred-rouble notes. Well, this pocket-book is yours, mamma, for it is a small matter to us! Here is another more swollen still, dear mamma, which I will not give you; it does not contain small currency, but large bank-bills and bills of exchange, and each of these bank-bills, each of these bills of exchange, is worth more than the whole pocket-book which I have given you, dear mamma.”
“You knew well, my dear son, Dmitry Serguéitch, how to make my daughter and our whole family happy; but where do you get so much wealth?”
“I have bought the privilege of liquor-selling, mamma!”
And, on waking, Maria Alexevna said to herself: “Truly, he must go into the business of liquor-selling.”
Eulogy of Maria Alexevna.
You now cease to be an important personage in Vérotchka’s life, Maria Alexevna, and in taking leave of you the author of this story begs you not to complain if he makes you quit the scene with a dénoument not wholly to your advantage. Do not think yourself diminished in our eyes. You are a dupe, but that can in no degree change for the worse our opinion of your judgment, Maria Alexevna: your error does not testify against you. You have fallen in with individuals such as previously you had not been in the habit of meeting, and it is not your fault if you have made a mistake in judging things according to your experience. Your whole past life had led you to the conclusion that men are divided into two classes,— fools and knaves; whoever is not a fool is a knave, an absolute knave,you have supposed; not to be a knave is necessarily to be a fool. This way of looking at things was very just, Maria Alexevna, was perfectly just until these latter days. You have met very well-spoken people, and you have observed that all of them, without exception, were either rascals, deceiving men with fine words, or big, stupid children, unacquainted with life and not knowing how to manage their affairs. Consequently, Maria Alexevna, you have placed no faith in fine words; you have regarded them either as nonsense or as falsehoods, and you were right, Maria Alexevna. Your way of looking at men had already been completely formed when you for the first time met a woman who was neither a foll nor a rascal; therefore it is not at all astonishing that you were disconcerted by her, not knowing what course to take, what to think of her, or how to treat her. Your way of looking at things had already been completely formed when you for the first time met a man of heart who was not an artless child, but who knew life quite as well as you, judged it quite as justly, and knew how to conduct his affairs quite as well; therefore, again, it is not at all astonishing that you were deceived and took him for a sharper of your own sort. These errors, Maria Alexevna, in no wise diminish my esteem for you as a prudent and reasonable woman. You have lifted your husband from his obscurity, you have provided for your old age,— good things not easily accomplished. Your methods were bad, but your surroundings offered you no others. Your methods belong to your surroundings, but not to your person; therefore the dishonor is not yours, but the honor is to your judgment and strength of character.
Are you content, Maria Alexevna, to see your good qualities thus recognized? Certainly, you ought to be, since you never pretended to be agreeable or good. In a moment of involuntary sincerity you even confessed your wickedness and rudeness, and you never considered wickedness and rudeness as qualities that dishonored you, understanding that you could not have been otherwise, given the conditions of your life. Therefore you should be but little disturbed because these tributes to your intelligence and strength of character are not followed by tributes to virtues which you admit that you do not possess, and which you would consider rather as follies than as good qualities. You would have asked no other tribute than that which I have accorded you. But I can say in your honor one word more: of all the persons whom I do not like and with whom I should wish to have no dealings, you are of those whom I should like the best. To be sure, you are pitiless when your interest is at stake. But if you have no interest in doing evil to any one, you will not do it, having nothing in view but the satisfaction of your petty and stupid passions. You reason that it is not worth while to lose one’s time, labor, and money for nothing. It is needless to say that you would have taken pleasure in roasting your daughter and her husband over a slow fire, but you succeeded in repressing the spirit of revenge that had taken possession of you and in reflecting coldly upon the matter, and you recognized that roasting was not of the question; now it is a great quality, Maria Alexevna, to be able to recognize the impossible. After recognizing this impossibility, you did not allow yourself to begin an action which would not have ruined the individuals who have offended you; you perceived that all the little annoyances which you might have caused them by such an action would have cost you many greater embarrassments and sacrifices, and so you did not bring an action. If one cannot conquer his enemy, if for the insignificant loss that one can inflict on him one must suffer a greater loss, there is no reason for beginning the struggle. Understanding that, you had good sense and valor enough to submit to the impossible without uselessly injuring yourself and others,— another great quality. Yes, Maria Alexevna, one may still have dealings with you, for your rule is not evil for evil even to your own injury, and that in an extremely rare quality, a very great quality! Millions of men are more dangerous than you, both to themselves and to others, although they may not have your surly countenance. You are among the best of those who are not good, because you are not unreasonable, because you are not stupid. I should have liked very well to reduce you to dust, but I esteem you; you interfere with nothing. Now you are engaged in bad business in accordance with the exigencies of your surroundings; but if other surroundings were given you, you would willingly cease to be dangerous, you would even become useful, because, when your interest is not at stake, you do not do evil, and are capable of doing anything that seems advantageous to you, even of acting decently and nobly. Yes, you are capable, Maria Alexevna, and it is not your fault if this capacity of yours is in a state of inertia, and if in its stead capacities of an opposite nature are at work; you none the less possess it, which cannot be said of everybody. Base people are capable of nothing good, but you, you are only bad, not base. Consequently you are above many men in point of morality!
“Are you content, Maria Alexevna?”
“Have I any reason to be content, my good sir, when my affairs are in such a bad way?”
“It is for the best, Maria Alexevna.”
The Life of Véra Pavlovna with her Husband, and the Second Love.
Three months had passed since the marriage. Lopoukhoff’s affairs were going on well. He had found some pupils, work at a book-puhlisher’s, and, more than all, the task of translating a geographical treatise. Véra Pavlovna, too, had found two pupils; who, though they did not pay her very largely, were better than none. Together they were now earning eighty roubles a month. With this sum they could live only in a very moderate way, but they had at least the necessaries. Their means continuing to increase, they counted on being able in four months more to furnish their rooms (and later that is what they did).
Their life was not arranged quite as Véra Pavlovna had planned it on the day of their betrothal, half in sport, half in earnest, but nevertheless it did not lack much of it.
Their aged landlady and her husband had a great deal to say about the strange way in which the newly-married couple lived,— as if they were not husband and wife at all, as if they were one knows not what.
“Therefore, according to what I see and what you say, Petrovna, they live — how shall I say — as if they were brother and sister.”
“Nonsense! What a comparison! Between brother and sister there is no ceremony; is there none between them? He rises, puts on his coat, sits down, and waits until I bring the samovar. After having made the tea, he calls her; she too comes in all dressed. Is that the way brother and sister do? This would be a better comparison: it sometimes happens that among people in moderate circumstances two families live for economy’s sake in one and the same suite. They resemble two such families.”
“How is it, Petrovna, that the husband cannot enter his wife’s room? She is not dressed. Do you see? How does that seem to you?”
“And what is better yet, when they separate at night, she says: ‘Good night, my darling; sleep well!’ Then they go, he to his room, she to hers, and there they read old books, and sometimes he writes. Do you know what happened one night? She had gone to bed and was reading an old book; I suddenly heard through the partition — I was not asleep — I heard her rise. What do you think she did? I heard her place herself before her mirror to arrange her hair, do you understand? Just as if she were going to make a visit. Then I heard her start. I went out into the corridor, got up on a chair, and looked through the transom into her husband’s room. On reaching the door she said:
“‘Can I come in, my darling?’
“And he answered: ‘Presently, Vérotchka; wait a moment.’ He was in bed also; he made haste to dress. I thought he was going to put on his cravat next, but be did not. After he had arranged everything, he said:
“‘Now you can come in, Vérotchka.’
“‘I do not understand this book,’ she said to him; ‘explain this to me.’
“He gave her the explanation.
“I Pardon me, my darling, for having disturbed you.’
“‘Wherefore, Vérotchka? I was not busy; you did not disturb me.’
“And out she went.”
“She simply went out?”
“She simply went out.”
“And he did nothing?”
“And he did nothing. But that is not the most astonishing part of it; the most astonishing thing is that she should have dressed to go to his room and that he should have dressed to receive her. What does that mean?”
“I think, Petrovna, that they must be a sect; there are all sorts of sects, you know, in that line.”
“So there are. Very likely you are right.”
“Danilytch, I have asked them about their ways.
“‘Do not be offended,’ I said, ‘at what I am going to ask you, but of what faith are you?’
[To be continued.]
* A French translation of the Russian word metschanins, signifying a separate social class above the peasants and below the merchants.
** Now thirty years ago.
*** Fedka, a diminutive of Fœdor in popular usage.
“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 American Monarchy.
For more than ten years the subject of saving brakemen’s lives by using automatic couplers has been discussed in Massachusetts. When the possibility of so decreasing the dangers of railroading was first recognized, I do not know,— probably many years ago. Inventors have given much thought and time to the matter, and have patented over three thousand devices of varying degrees of merit and demerit. But the crude link and pin arrangement is still in almost universal use, and kills ten brakemen a day in this country. There is an association of Master Car-Builders, which meets annually in Massachusetts. Ten years ago some of its members reported that an automatic freight-coupler of some kind should be used. Since then the railroad commissioners and the legislature have threatened periodically to compel the railroads to protect the lives of employees, and the managers of railroads have secured delays by representing that the Master Car-Builders were deliberating and would agree upon some standard device. The Master Car-Builders — they have adopted a false name, for they are servile creatures of the railroad bosses — have pretended to deliberate for ten years, and have agreed upon nothing except to leave the brakemen to their fate. I asked a brakeman the other day why the Car-Builders did not adopt some safety coupler.
“Why don’t I go to the president and advise him to smoke more expensive cigars?” he retorted. “Couplers cost money, and these fellows, who call themselves master car-builders and are not masters of their own consciences even, know that the bosses don’t want to spend any money to save our lives. It doesn’t cost a damned cent to cut a brakeman in two.”
And that is the bottom fact of the whole business. In his own domain the “Railroad King” is an absolute monarch and demands an abject submission of all his employees. The “master” mechanic enters the president’s or superintendent’s office hat in hand, and when the great man arrogantly demands “what in hell” he wants, presents his request or report in trembling humility.
“Why do not the brakemen demand of the bosses that something be done to make their chance of getting killed a little less than one in eight?” I asked my brakeman.
Again he replied with a question: “Why don’t the Russian peasants tell the Czar how to run his country?”
“They do try that.”
“Yes, and his nibs sends them to Siberia. What’s the use of talking? If we could earn $1.85 a day anywhere else, we wouldn’t stay in this business, but work is scarce and brakemen are plenty. What’s the odds if three or four thousand poor boys like me get the life smashed out of them every year? I get caught between these cars some day. They scoop me up, take me home in a blanket, and send up the alley for another fellow. There’s lots of poor boys up the alley.”
An inventor went to the president of a great trunk line not long ago and said he had something which would save the lives of three thousand brakemen a year, and he would like to have the device tried.
“I haven’t the time to try new inventions,” replied the railroad king. “Besides, the brakemen pay for each other on the mutual insurance plan.”
The inventor pondered a moment, and then said: “But this is cheap, and will save you one hundred thousand dollars a year in pins.”
The king sent his “master” mechanics to test the invention, and adopted it.
Such is the American monarchy. It has appropriated land enough to make thirty-three States as large as New Hampshire, and disinherited the people. It rules the country and wrings taxes from the pockets of the producers. To maintain its power and fill its treasury it slaughters one worker every working hour of the year. It respects no man’s rights, not even his right to life. It will not be overthrown by legislation. It was born of legislation, and it has grown in power so great that it now controls its parent. Legislation and the American monarchy exist together. They must disappear together.
A wealthy capitalist, of eminent respectability stopped me the other day and asked me for whom I should vote at the coming presidential election. I quietly informed him that I should probably not vote for anybody. This answer happens to be quite a respectable one just now, for many a goodly man of the high-toned ethical and Sunday-school order goes about sulking most grievously at Blaine’s immoralities.
“But whom would you vote for, if you voted for anybody?” continued the gentleman.
“I should certainly vote for James G. Blaine,” was my prompt reply.
The gentleman patted me on the shoulder, and in a very gracious and patronizing way congratulated me that I had finally come to see the error of my ways as a labor reformer of the more fanatical type, assuring me that, after all, the Republican party was the party of culture, respectability, and character, while the Democracy was made up largely of the ignorant rabble. “Of course,” said he, “you believe in the protection of American labor and so do I; therefore Blaine is my man, and we must overlook the little indiscretions of his early days in the interest of the country at large.”
Great was the chagrin of my gracious friend when I informed him that, as an Anarchist, my chief interest was to see the greatest rogue in the field elected, and that, while my personal preferences were for John L. Sullivan or Jay Gould, Blaine seemed to be the most acceptable candidate now soliciting my suffrage.
One redeeming act of Blaine’s campaign career would stand significantly in his favor had there been any conscience and conviction in it. He calls upon the fathers and mothers of the land to attest the sacredness of a free-love marriage. When E. H. Heywood was sent to jail for advocating the same kind of marriage which Blaine calls upon the fathers and mothers of America to sanctify, the unjust judge ruled that the advocacy of any form of marriage outside the legally ordered one constituted obscenity, and largely because of that ruling poor Heywood was sent to jail. Heywood was not obscene, as a more enlightened posterity will yet attest to his lasting honor; nor is Blaine obscene, but he is none the less an infamous rogue calling upon the fathers and mothers of America to accord good faith to a form of marriage for the defence of which Heywood suffered martyrdom in a felon’s cell. As a conscientious free lover, then, he cannot stand, and his career as a practical one can only be entered on the account of pure roguery.
Such a man championing the protection of American labor — a swindle most foul and infamous, devised to perpetuate the slavery of working people and heap up the already colossal mountain of privilege — is the natural choice of the Anarchist, convinced as he is that the sooner American politics hangs itself by its own rope the sooner those now suffering in the bonds of monopoly will be set free. Unto this last resort of saving itself through heroic treatment labor is being steadily driven. The longer its torture on the way to a radical settlement through the alternating “bamboozlement” of political parties, the longer an inevitable settlement is postponed. The party that can perpetuate its grip with a tricky and audacious rogue at its head is best hastening a settlement that promises to be real. The more infamous the rogue that, it can triumphantly carry into the presidential chair, the sooner is the dawn of Liberty foreshadowed.
Therefore Blaine is my candidate. Bring out the brass bands and let the eyes of the rabble be feasted with cloth of gold, gilded battle-axes, and plumed casques. Let American labor be protected by these swindlers till, goaded by hunger and galling slavery, an army of Anarchists shall silently grow around the mines, the looms, and the forges, and open a campaign of radical self-defence before which the shows and tricks of politics will rapidly skulk out of sight.
To the Editor of Liberty:
You have a dangerous way of sporting polarized words. The fifth paragraph, second column, first page, of your issue of June 28, is tremendous, and all the more so because you simply quote the most respectable economists. I, knowing what you mean, and being able to complete that aspect of the subject by its complemental and correlative truths, am not ruffled; but I tremble in sending the number to persons I wish to convert, and whom this will prejudice against you.
Hence my anxiety for the identification of your propaganda with the more catholic view which I give. You think of property in the sense of its abuses and the wrongs committed in its name. I, who exploit nobody, but who find the fruits of my own labor stolen by neighbors, my fences taken down to let my stock out and other people’s into my pasture, who must work gratuitously for scoundrels under pain of having fire set to my premises as has been already done, naturally feel that, if property means robbery, it is not the proprietor who is the robber.
The existing laws only prevent a man from righting his own wrongs. They indirectly protect thieves, great and small. Poor as I am, did I not affect still greater poverty, if I showed anything worth stealing, my life would not be worth a month’s purchase in this church and law beridden district. I say abolish the laws, not because property is robbery, but because they help robbers against proprietors. The grievances of small properties justly acquired to labor by labor reproach on the one side the sneak thief of our State revenue by indirect taxation; on the other side, corruption of morals by our combined system, political and religious. A crooked and dishonest legislation coincides with the doctrines of vicarious atonement and salvation by faith, to abort the germ of natural integrity and degrade the ideal of justice in the public mind. Pietism, undermining morality, receives the sanction of protective laws enforcing the Sabbath and exempting church property from taxation. I am, then, taxed vicariously to uphold both a clerical privilege and the propaganda of dishonesty by the pulpit, while at the same time my industrial energies are paralyzed by one-seventh for the benefit of weeds and thieves of every species.
The legislation thus inflicted upon me and other small proprietors by the majority of stupidities, the stupidity of majorities, and the intelligence of knavery, is in itself a bicomposite robbery. First, we are robbed by the taxes to create and support it against our wills and interests. Second, after paralyzing the spontaneous moral energies of the people, and discrediting “Lynch law,” it effectually substitutes nothing, but leaves the administration of laws utterly at the caprice of paid and privileged parties. Of this I have personal proof here. Absent one night on a mission of medical charity, my house was broken into and robbed. A relative of the burglar, to whose house he carried the spoil, dropped a clew, which, by paying a constable and search warrant, I followed up successfully. Possessed of material proofs and personal evidence, I applied to the State solicitor and to the Grand Jury in session for a true bill. They both ignored the application. I tried again another solicitor and another Grand Jury, with the same simply negative result. I was not rich enough to bribe the public servants for whose salaries I was taxed.
Still more important than dynamite is it that Anarchism should be correctly understood by the numerous class of small proprietors of land and real estate, who are not generally of an intellectual culture competent to digest paradoxes. “Property is robbery” may amuse philosophers and please ruffians, but alienates plain, well-meaning persons bent on justice, neither more nor less, and whether more or less directly dependent on their daily toil. You cannot expect them to have read Proudhon or his commentators. When I first saw the motto in question, I took for granted that its author was a communist, and so will others.
The difference between Proudhon and “Edgeworth” is this,— that much of what “Edgeworth” regards as the abuses of property Proudhon looks on as essentials of property, without which property ceases to be property. Proudhon denied that property is a natural right, and maintained that it is a law-made institution. He said, as Henry Clay said, that that is property which the law makes property; only, instead of inferring therefrom that property should be upheld, as Clay did, he concluded that for this very reason it should be denounced and abolished. After the appearance of the second memoir of Proudhon’s “What is Property?” Blauqui (the economist, not the revolutionist,), to whom it was addressed, wrote the author a very complimentary letter, in which he took occasion to make a criticism similar to “Edgeworth’s.” Proudhon answered: “The intelligence expended in the warfare of words is like that employed in battle: it is intelligence wasted. M. Blauqui acknowledges that property is abused in many harmful ways; I call property the sum of these abuses exclusively. To each of us property seems a polygon whose angles need knocking off; but, the operation performed, M. Blauqui maintains that the figure will still be a polygon (an hypothesis admitted in mathematics, although not proven), while I consider that this figure will be a circle.” Of these angles, or abuses, Proudhon had enumerated the three principal ones in his second memoir as follows: 1. Gratuitous appropriation of collective wealth; 2. Inequality in exchange; 3. The right of profit or increase. The circle that would remain after these angles had been knocked off, the necessary, immutable, and absolute element in the idea of property that would remain after property had been abolished, he defined thus: Individual and transmissible possession; susceptible of exchange, but not of alienation; founded on labor, and not on fictitious occupancy, or idle caprice. Now, whatever the words used, the substance of this position is “Edgeworth’s,” and all who think and read can understand it if they will. Such people I do expect to read Proudhon and his commentators, and for the present such are the only ones that need to. They will transmit the ideas to the people in every-day, humdrum style, without paradox and without any troublesome originality. The people will grasp them and live them. Then, after the experience of a generation of Anarchistic life has fitted them for it, the masses of mankind will turn with grateful and loving hands the pages of Proudhon, appreciate the depth of his thought, and enjoy its subtlety. And “Edgeworth,” if still existent anywhere in space, will say to himself: ‘How disturbed I was about nothing!” — Editor Liberty.]
The Power of Passive Resistance.
“Edgeworth” makes appeal to me through “Lucifer” to know how I propose to “starve out Uncle Sam.” Light on this subject he would “rather have than roast beef and plum pudding for dinner in sæculâ sæculorum.” It puzzles him to know whether by the clause “resistance to taxation” on the “sphynx head of Liberty on ‘God and the State’” I mean that “true Anarchists should advertise their principles by allowing property to be seized by the sheriff and sold at auction, in order by such personal sacrifices to become known to each other as men and women of a common faith, true to that faith in the teeth of their interests and trustworthy for combined action.” If I do mean this, he ventures to “doubt the policy of a test which depletes, not that enormous vampire, Uncle Sam, but our own little purses, so needful for our propaganda of ideas, several times a year, distrainment by the sheriff being in many parts of the country practically equivalent to tenfold taxes.” If, on the other hand, I have in view a minority capable of “successfully withdrawing the supplies from Uncle Sam’s treasury,” he would like to inquire “how any minority, however respectable in numbers and intelligence, is to withstand the sheriff backed by the army, and to withhold tribute to the State.”
Fair and pertinent questions these, which I take pleasure in answering. In the first place, then, the policy to be pursued by individual and isolated Anarchists is dependent upon circumstances. I, no more than “Edgeworth,” believe in any foolish waste of needed material. It is not wise warfare to throw your ammunition to the enemy unless you throw it from the cannon’s mouth. But if you can compel the enemy to waste his ammunition by drawing his fire on some thoroughly protected spot; if you can, by annoying and goading and harassing him in all possible ways, drive him to the last resort of stripping bare his tyrannous and invasive purposes and put him in the attitude of a designing villain assailing honest men for purposes of plunder,— there is no better strategy. Let no Anarchist, then, place his property within reach of the sheriff’s clutch. But some year, when he feels exceptionally strong and independent, when his conduct can impair no serious personal obligations, when on the whole he would a little rather go to jail than not, and when his property is in such shape that he can successfully conceal it, let him declare to the assessor property of a certain value, and then defy the collector to collect. Or, if he have no property, let him decline to pay his poll tax. The State will then be put to its trumps. Of two things one,— either it will let him alone, and then he will tell his neighbors all about it, resulting the next year in an alarming disposition on their part to keep their own money in their own pockets; or else it will imprison him, and then by the requisite legal processes he will demand and secure all the rights of a civil prisoner and live thus a decently comfortable life until the State shall get tired of supporting him and the increasing number of persons who will follow his example. Unless, indeed, the State, in desperation, shall see fit to make its laws regarding imprisonment for taxes more rigorous, and then, if our Anarchist be a determined man, we shall find out how far a republican government, “deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed,” is ready to go to procure that “consent”,— whether it will stop at solitary confinement in a dark cell or join with the Czar of Russia in administering torture by electricity. The farther it shall go the better it will be for Anarchy, as every student of the history of reform well knows. Who can estimate the power for propagandism of a few cases of this kind, backed by a well-organized force of agitators without the prison walls? So much, then, for individual resistance.
But, if individuals can do much, what shall be said of the enormous and utterly irresistible power of a large and intelligent minority, comprising say one-fifth of the population in any given locality? I conceive that on this point I need do no more than call “Edgeworth’s” attention to the wonderfully instructive history of the Land League movement in Ireland, the most potent and instantly effective revolutionary force the world has ever known so long as it stood by its original policy of “Pay No Rent,” and which lost nearly all its strength the day it abandoned that policy. “Oh, but it did abandon it!” “Edgeworth” will exclaim. Yes, but why? Because there the peasantry, instead of being an intelligent minority following the lead of principles, were an ignorant, though enthusiastic and earnest, body of men following blindly the lead of unscrupulous politicians like Parnell, who really wanted anything but the abolition of rent, but were willing to temporarily exploit any sentiment or policy that would float them into power and influence. But it was pursued far enough to show that the British government was utterly powerless before it; and it is scarcely too much to say, in my opinion, that, had it been persisted in, there would not to-day be a landlord in Ireland. It is easier to resist taxes in this country than it is to resist rent in Ireland; and such a policy would be as much more potent here than there as the intelligence of the people is greater, providing always that you can enlist in it a sufficient number of earnest and determined men and women. If one-fifth of the people were to resist taxation, it would cost more to collect their taxes, or try to collect them, than the other four-fifths would consent to pay into the treasury. The force needed for this bloodless fight Liberty is slowly but surely recruiting, and sooner or later it will organize for action. Then, Tyranny and Monopoly, down goes your house!
“Passive resistance,” said Ferdinand Lassalle, with an obtuseness thoroughly German, is the resistance which does not resist. Never was there a greater mistake. It is the only resistance which in these days of military discipline resists with any result. There is not a tyrant in the civilized world to-day who would not do anything in his power to precipitate a bloody revolution rather than see himself confronted by any large fraction of his subjects determined not to obey. An insurrection is easily quelled; but no army is willing or able to train its guns on inoffensive people who do not even gather in the streets but stay at home and stand back on their rights. Neither the ballot nor the bayonet is to play any great part in the coming struggle; passive resistance and, in emergencies, the dynamite bomb in the hands of isolated individuals are the instruments by which the revolutionary force is destined to secure in the last great conflict the people’s rights forever.
The Majority Monster.
A Jewish Rabbi asks the New York school authorities to excuse Hebrew children from attendance on Jewish holidays, and pertinently calls attention to the fact that Catholic holidays are observed by the closing of the public schools. The school commissioners refuse to grant his request, giving as a sufficient reason for their refusal the explanation that the children of Israel are in the minority and therefore not entitled to any consideration. This is a distinctively American idea, that only the majority has any rights, and it has so fixed itself in the American mind that it has evicted whatsoever conception of justice may have had original tenancy therein. The divine right of the majority to rule is the first article of American faith. No matter how unjustly the majority exercises its power; no matter though the rights of the minority are ignored, violated, denied absolutely,— the greater number can do no wrong. The American loudly proclaims that one man is as good as another and has the same rights, but he stoutly maintains that one man is not as good as two others and that equality of rights disappears in the presence of numerical disproportion. The Jewish children of New York are to be punished by the imposition of extra tasks and by loss of credit marks for being true to their religious faith and observing the fasts and feasts of the Synagogue, because they are in the minority.
This superstitious worship of numbers is as degrading, as senseless, as absurd as the reverence of breech-clouted savages for a mud god. The exercise of majority power is as tyrannical as the rule of a Czar and much more liable to be foolish. The majority has no settled purpose, no consistent plan of government. It is a headless monster blindly trampling upon human rights, without brains to direct its feet and lacking the wit to be consecutively wicked. America worships this imbecile thing and calls herself free. Americans bow down before it and boast of the dignity of manhood. Its blundering, insensate bulk goes stumbling, crashing along, smashing somebody’s house here, falling into a pit there, bruising itself, trampling upon men and women, and making progress in the main toward the brink of a slumbering, smouldering volcano. And millions of men watch its progress in admiration and praise its marvellous wisdom, its clear vision, and its perfect justice. Some day it shall surely arrive at the brink and go plunging down amid flame and molten fire to nethermost depths of destruction, if a world of fools shall not in time acquire reason enough to bury the beast quietly and cease this mad devil’s-dance of politics around the ballot-box.
The present issue ends the second volume of Liberty. I am preppared to furnish bound volumes, of which I have a limited number, at two dollars each, in tho same handsome style in which the first volume was issued. Those who had the first will surely want the second, and so will many others. Send in your orders early.
Then and Now.
Boston, October 4, 2084.
My dear Louise:
This strange country seems more strange to me daily, as I know it and its people and customs better. It seems more like a dream, a perplexiag though pleasant dream, than it does like a reality. I often think that, instead of actually being here, two hundred years away from you, that I am sitting on the beach near my own dear old home, listening to the monotonous sound of the waves at my feet blending with the murmurings of the wind to form what was always a harmony that made me think and theorize and dream. Sometimes I try to rouse myself from my reverie and shake off this that seems so much like a vision. But it is useless. I am in a real world, among real people.
When I tell Mr. De Demain that everything is so strange to me, he smiles and says nothing is strange but myself, and he adds, although I suppose I should not tell it, that I am not so very strange to him.
When I tell my friend that this world doesn’t seem real, that it seems simply a dream, an ideal conception, he grows earnest, and tells me that nothing could be less a dream than the state of human society today. “Why!” says be, “Anarchy is the most practical thing the world ever knew, but the governments of two hundred years ago, and back as far as history reaches, were based upon dreams. You remember the preamble to the constitution of your country and the things that it set forth as being the objects of the government to be based upon that constitution. Liberty and justice! could anything have been more ideal than this? A splendid ideal, truly, but the fault of the government was that it forced liberty and justice to always remain ideal and not real. Anarchy halts at that point where constitutions are made. Theologians of the olden time held that God, defined, and consequently limited, would cease to be God. So we hold that liberty and justice, defined, ahd consequently limited, would cease to be liberty and justice. History proved that Anarchy is right in holding this.
“In looking over a file of newspapers of a couple of centuries ago, recently, I ran across a number of speeches and editorials calling upon government officials of all kinds to run the government, national, state, and municipal, on business principles. Now, those principles are just the ones which govern society today. The people do not grant the privilege of government to an individual or set of individuals as a monopoly, as did the people of the time from whence you came. Trade is not hampered by monopoly; it is governed simply by the influence of a healthy competition. Anarchy is a very matter-of-fact, every-day, businesslike thing. There is nothing abstract or ideal about it. In itself, now that we have it, it isn’t much. It can be defined in a very few words for one who has never lived under the dark shadow of the State. But in defining Anarchy to one like you, it is necessary to compare it with the State. I must tell you what Anarchy is not. I must tell you of the crimes that it does not commit, the misery that it does not cause, the false relations in which it does not place man. I have tried to do this in my talks with you. If you understood the meaning of true business principles, I should tell you simply this: Anarchy means the state of society when governed by true business principles. I suppose now it will be necessary for me to explain to you briefly what true business principles are, and to state them very briefly I will say:
“First: Perfect freedom of exchange. This, of course, makes an untaxed and perfectly free currency necessary.
“Second: Cost must limit price. This, of course, makes interest impossible.
“Third: Individuals must own only what has been produced by human labor. This, of course, means that man cannot hold property in anything produced by nature without the aid of man’s hand.
“Fourth: Law must be simply justice defined in individual cases. This, of sourse, makes congresses, legislatures, and the like unnecessary.
“These are the fundamental principles of Anarchy. Don’t they strike you as being much more practical than ideal?”
Mr. De Demain seems to be a very practical man. I find that he is not looked upon by his friends as being at all visionary. He is considered at the college as a very able man, and has the reputation of being a most excellent teacher. Can it be, after all, that the whole system upon which society of your time is based is false? Can it be that Anarchy is the key to the whole problem of life? Cau it be that Anarchy answers forever the question, Is life worth living?
Louise, help me to answer these questions.
“That Wicked Fairy, the Reaction.”
In European politics, in France especially, this “Reaction” has followed like the swing of a pendulum every popular movement towards emancipation. First, let us deal with its accessory causes, so that the essential one may appear in a clarer light. Loca! and temporary accesories hold the balance in forces between the liberals and the dynastics, the former animated by philosophy and indignation, the latter by religion and hereditary tradition. Whenever one party, after having gained the ascendant, is depressed by failure to realize the expected goods, the other party seizes its opportunity; but the party of despotism being strongest in discipline, is more capable of prolonging sway by the intervention of the army.
Next comes centralization, represented by Paris versus the provinces.
The Parisians are, by the law of nutural selection, the most ambitious, enterprising, and active-minded of the French people. They are also most immediately under the authority of the powers that be, and have the best opportunity of discerning their strong and weak points. Hence the first revolutionary impulse is Parisian, while numerical majorities remain in provincial *** , or opposition of purpose, which gradually awakens from the potential state to demonstrative act, and combines when the defeated Parisian party in a counter movement.
On the other hand, these considerations are offset by the general fact that to the victors accrue the spoils of place and pelf, satisfactions of interest, which men do not willingly renounce and which they seek to render permanent by their organization. But as there are always more ambitions than places, more hopes than fulfilments, so success leaves a legion of disappointments, either ready to coalesce with the reaction, or at least indisposed to reist it. Government means privilege. Such oscillations are then inherent to all party domination. Whatever be the principles paraded, be sure that personal ambitions are the main motors.
To these general considerations, add, for particular occasions, the influence of individual character, viz., Napoleon I; the prestige of a name, viz., Napoleon III, the nephew of his uncle, faithful to his memory in one point at least, the contempt of moral obligation.
As the prophet of old found honeycomb in the carcass of a lion, and the boa-constrictor has manurial values, let us utilize the perfidy of this imperial scoundrel in teaching cooperative labor that all hope of help from the State is for it leaning on a reed that will break and pierce its hand.
No one acquainted with the history of France during the first half of this century, especially with the forms of its socialist propaganda, and who has read Louis Napoleon’s book written at the fortress of Ham, can doubt his intelligence of the cooperative labor movement, any more than his power to have revolutionized industrial France by favoring or even by just letting it alone, as his uncle might have done from the intuition of high policy. His conduct in suppressing it is typical of the State, the more completely because he had no personal prejudice against it, but had on the contrary accepted it intelligently, as a solution of the social problem and the true path of labor to prosperity.
The State as Empire, whether its figure head be a Napoleon, a Bismarck, or a Czar, is fatally enslaved to capital, is but the tool of its tyrannical monopoly and privilege, exploiting labor by the proletariat, cheating it by the arbitrary money of banks, and narcotizing it with church drugs.
Pass to the arch type of constitutional governments, the State of Great Britain. Here we find the ruined castles of military feudalism replaced by that stronger invisible fortress of privilege, the public debt, a trifle of four billions, the interest on which secures the olium cum dignitate of capital, and which, bolding an equal monopoly of education as of money, subordinates to its aristocratic purposes, to hold the neck of Labor under foot, the pens of a Carlyle, a Darwin, a Huxley, and a Spencer, neither more nor less than that of Malthus, and the statesmanship of Gladstone alike with Disraeli’s.
Turn to the United States after a century of republican experience with the popular ballot and “representation,” is the time-honored despotism of Capital stronger, or weaker, than upon the day when Independence was declared?
Is it in despotic Russia, or in our “free Republic,” that we find tracts as big as the State of Rhode Island under private fence; control of money by an individual, rising from millions into billions; control of transportation, or the privilege of levying an arbitrary tax upon produce, vested in three or four persons for their own private use, as in the vast and fertile realm of California? Where is it, in New York or St. Petersburg, that laborers enough to make a formidable army are always seeking work, and perishing by starvation wages even when they get it? Tens of thousands asking for work in vain, while other tens of thousands work at starving wages, and the very benevolence of capital, embodied in a Henry Bergh, embracing in its sympathies turtles with horses, stares human destitution in the face, coldly ascribing its impotence to laziness, denouncing all pity for the criminals engendered by poverty, and whom the iniquities of capital have rendered desperate. Is Bergh eccentric? Well, then, what do you say to that type of intellectual philanthropy, Wendell Phillips? Here was a man whose noble sincerity und love of public uses endorses that which I now make of his name in the interests of Labor. Born to the privilege of wealth and social rank, he devoted the flower of his life to the efort of transforming a slavery at least compatible with healthful life and affording guarantees of this by the master’s interest, to another, to the other slavery, without such guarantees of subsistence, whose economic cowhide is hunger and cold, and whose only mercy is the shortening of the span of life. Finally, too proud to confess Othello’s occupation gone, his combative philanthropy confronted the iniquities of capital upon the rostrum. He died leaving the quarter of a million dollars, not to the emancipation of Labor which produced the goods his fortune represents, but to privilege embodied in private individuals, who, however virtuous, were neither needy nor laborious.
I disparage not the gift sublime of eloquence; I contest not the right of the lodestone to the metal that it draws from the argosies of commerce on their passage; I begrudge not the power that wealth gives to one whose luxury was charity; but, like himself, I prize justice higher still, in afirming labor the producer of all material goods, and the laborer their rightful heir. Wendell Phillips’ residuum sufficed to have equipped for agricultural independence by their work a thousand families of starving hirelings.
Will you answer, O Labor, that this amateur champion of your cause was yet, like myself, not to the manor horn, a son of toil, and that, while grateful for our sympathy, you hope better from your own men? Then listen to Jesus. He was one of you, born in a stable, trained to the carpenter’s bench, subsisting on your free good will, dying by the spite of your intimate enemies, the priests and the proprietary pillars of the State. What says the friend of the poor laborer,— he who, in default of justice, promises salvation?
“Whose image and superscription” is this upon your coin, upon the bank note, on the bond? “It is Ceasar’s.” “Render, then, unto Ceasar, the things which are Ceasar’s,” the money which represents all property in this world, life included. Caesar is the State. Have you had enough yet of rendering to the State? This State is not Rome. It is one of your creating, your preserving, by the ballot! You vote your own tribunes that encourages armies. You are free to be miserable, and miserably free. Yes, you are free,— free as the mouse between the cat and the trap; free between starving with wages and starving without work; free between the revenue taxes and the county jail or chain gang. Above all, you are free to be represented. You are represented in having dined well when your congressman picks his teeth on the capitol steps. You are represented into paying tax on everything you buy, in order to keep up a stylish Custom House establishment with a margin of profits for buying more representatives and keeping your party in power. You are represented by the wealth of Uncle Sam’s pet companies protected in their manufactures from competition with the European, so that, when you pay higher for a poorer piece of goods, you may boast of your charity towards rich folks. You are represented into doing a hundred things you never dreamed of, going to war among the rest,— free to shoot at your neighbors on the other side of a State line, or be shot down as deserters upon this side of it. You are represented out of some, other things, your land, or right of settlement, and home among the rest. What a fine thing is liberty, with representation!
You are represented as allowing eight per cent. legal interest on money or goods, while the average increase of real values never exceeds two per cent., and while you actually pay twenty per cent. for goods advanced to you — sometimes as high as one hundred and twenty per cent. So it is at the Eagle and Phoenix factory store at Columbus, Georgia. The British Lion licks his greasy paws over three per cents. The American Eagle looks down on him with pity.
When Brother Jonathan pays for his ticket in the palace car of the express train to Tophet, he expects to get through by daylight. Capital knows that America is the promised land of Usury, and Labor, honest Labor, takes care that the promise be fulfilled to the letter of the bond untaxed. Labor is the man after King David’s heart, “that putteth not his money out to usury, but sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not.”
John Swinton, friendly to cooperation, you call on Labor to assert its rights by the ballot. You apply the hair of the dog to the bite. But, to vote down capital, do you not appeal to an intelligent will already crushed, or non-existent save in a small minority of cultivated minds among the oppressed? Is not Comstock ahead of you, using the republican powers conferred by the ballot for censorship of the press through the mails? And this death blow at free thought is struck by the hired assassin in clerical employ, adopted by the State into its own police corps and approved by the “Index” of “free religion” at the “hub” of Republican enlightenment.
To the ballot the church owes its privileged evasion of taxes and control of every seventh day. To the ballot trace back and by the ballot are defended all iniquitous privileges in the control of land, of money, and armed force, together with the cormorant army of office holders whose supreme reason of existence is the maintenance of the party in power. Promiscuous suffrage only lacks women and children to render its corruption universal and its imbecility idiotic. Already its delegates plot to break up laborers’ councils, as in Europe. The gag first placed upon the press is next to be applied to the mouth of Labor. Capital contemplates a despotism even more complete than that of Russia, where the rudimental organization of townships is an inherent custom which guarantees to Labor the right of discipline and local administration.
Officers of the United Stales Army travelling in Russia report with gratulation the extraordinary cordiality of Russian officers, and the general favor in which the United States are viewed by the privileged and educated Russian. Weary of their clumsy knock-down dragout, whipping post, and Siberia chain-gang system of keeping the subject people quiet, they can but admire the genius of the ballot by which so much trouble is saved government and sheep come up to he sheared at their own accord.
In this so-called free Republic the laboring masses, by the suicide of foliy at the ballot, are nearer to losing every vestige of personal liberty, or property, than their worst abused brothers of Europe. Such is the truth and the beauty, the wisdom, and the grace, the goodness and the power and the glory, of that divine institution called popular government. And no doubt it is as good as any other kind of State or general Government. We would not change with Russia nor with Germany. Europe envies American privileges. European capital invests in our soil and mines, in our Government bonds and in our sweat. When the advocates of reform by the ballot ask for patience with the slow diffusion of intelligence among the masses, their hopes take for granted a progress, where, practically, movement is retrograde. For one workingman whose heart warms to emancipation, ten are frozen by oppression, and ten more, raw emigrants, come into the country ready to sell their arms to capital. The cause you advocate, John Swinton, has lost ground year by year in the United States, and lost it by the very means to which you now appeal. Brave man, honest man, drop the prism of illusion and look at the bare facts! Labor, cease your vain idolatry of man worship! You have nothing to expect save from yourself, from your collective soul, cooperation.
To frustrate the perfidies of reaction, we must not be satisfied to change the forms of government, but to annul that power called the State, as well as that power called the Church. These constitutions of privilege removed, the essentials of administration remain in the local judiciary in awaiting the complete organization of Labor. Religion is untouched in its proper spheres of spiritual culture and public morality. If prejudices are too strong to permit the immediate dissolution of general governments, at least, lot labor put no trust in them! The fatal mistake of revolutionary workingmen in France (good Louis Blanc as their spokesman) has been to expect from an improvised natural government organizations of employment and awards to labor, for which, however good its will, it was incompetent alike by talent, by authority, and by funds. These workmen were spiritual babies in leading strings, crying to an imaginary mammy. Americans, even if besotted with the fatuities of communism, should know better than that: know that they must organize themselves, employ themselves, reward themselves. They have before them the practical successes of the Shakers, the Oneida communists, and others whose industrial order has been constantly cooperative, however varied their religious ideas or their social habits. Communism goes hand in hand with despotism, but it is comparatively easy to escape from the pressure of despotism, in any local association, and this facility keeps the exercise of despotic authority within tolerable limits, by the policy of corporate self-preservation. Higher forms of cooperation, which, instead of levelling interests and truncating sentiments, harmonize both in their social equilibria, belong to the domain of a science which is not our present theme. Rudimental suggestions of it may, however, be found in tlie European history of Trades organizations in Barcelona, the great Italian and some other cities, and their revival during the last half century.*
* See the works of:
Balmez: Catholicity und Protestantism.
Charles Bray: Philosophy of Necessity.
Charles Fourier: New Industrial World.
Victor Consldérant: Destinée Sociale.
An Anarchistic Daily Journal.
The following admirable editorial from the Galveston “Daily News” of August 14 is but the first of a series of quotations, longer or shorter, which Liberty intends to make from time to time from that paper, pronounced by the New York “Sun” the most influential journal in Texas, and yet, despite its support of Cleveland and some other inconsistencies, advocating Anarchistic ideas with splendid ability and earnestness:
A paper called the “Broadaxe,” of Nashville, Tenn., says: “This is a free country. No Christian is under compulsion to vote for either bad men or bad principles. He is not required to make a choice of evils. He is to choose the right every time.” Suppose there are two non-committal candidates, representing party names merely, how can he choose the right? He is free to stay at home on election day. This is an unsatisfactory freedom. Other voters will determine the election, and he will be ruled with the rest of the body politic. One thing is sure; if he has property, he will scarcely be excused from paying taxes. The “Broadaxe” thinks it is right in supporting St. John for the presidency. It can not have any idea that he will be elected. The voter who supports a hopeless minority candidate virtually protests against the administration that will be established and then submits. There is very little poetry in the matter. He has to submit to some interferences with his liberty, but, if he be a Prohibitionist, he submits to a determination by the majority that there shall not be chosen a political mechanism for repressing their liberties in that particular. There are some reasons for feeling that the assertion in the Declaration of Independence in favor of personal liberty has not been fully appreciated. Personal liberty implies a great deal, yet it is capable of being reduced to a simple expression. It is something very different from having a vote to determine which set of men shall be the rulers or tyrants. Mere power of government — for one set of men who happen to be a majority, to make others submit, to anything that the majority see fit to impose — is tyranny. Political contests are notoriously to determine which shall be the rulers. But, if there is anything real in personal liberty, it is something that does not depend upon accidents of majority and minority opinion. Inalienable rights are spoken of,— life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Prohibitionist says: “You may pursue what we consider is your proper happiness. If you want another sort of happiness, you are wrong, and your liberty shall be curtailed.” Majorities, as majorities, can not determine what is truth or what is agreeable to individuals. This fact, in connection with the declaration of inalienable rights, puts every inquiring mind upon the search for a rule to determine what is warrantable liberty and what is unwarrantable liberty, or license. Clear thinkers have formulated the rule that each person shall have the right to pursue his own liberty at his own cost. Society can not go into every nicety of indirect consequences. The evil of attempts to completely regulate all actions that may in some slight measure affect the welfare of others would be so obvious that only conspicuous invasions of others’ liberty can well be prevented by positive law. And after all, any seeming disadvantage from personal liberty is believed to be more than compensated by the elevation of intelligent personality through experiences of benefits attained and injuries suffered in the exercise of individual discretion. That liberty shall not be exercised at the expense of the equal rights of others is clear, but in a wide circle of relations this can not be done without provoking reprisals by neighbors, so that numerous invasions of personal rights are checked and the disposition to perpetrate them is cured by the spontaneous action of society. It still remains true, therefore, that, even while society become more complex, less law is needed. The more laws, the worse government. The fewer laws, the less despotism of unreasoning majorities. The cure for the abuses of freedom is more freedom. Prohibition tends to a communistic tyranny. And let it be noted that minorities do not obtain their rights from majorities. Majorities can do nothing for the rights of minorities but respect them. The law fails and falls into disrespect when it assumes to interfere with natural personal liberty. This may be the purport of a law even when in form it appears to be the opposite. For example, a prohibitory law gives an officer a legal right to interfere with the liberty of exchanging whiskey for money. But a land-grab law, apparently the opposite, is not really anything different. Under the form of giving certain persons too much kind for too little consideration, it is really giving them the police power of the government to prevent other people from going upon the land and occupying it for homes as they would do in the exercise of their natural liberty and equal rights. Under the marriage laws of England a husband can get an order of court to follow his erring wife and take her back to his house by force. This is contrary to the American theory and practice. Personal liberty stands first, and no violation of a civil contract forfeits it. If there are any exceptions in practice, they are the results of Oriental and European ideas of government clinging to legislative and judicial systems established partly under the influence of democratic ideas, partly under English traditions. Personal liberty has never had a fair trial, and therefore condemnation of the principle is not justifiable. Excessive drinking, gambling, and prostitution have never been suppressed by law, and it is contrary to human nature to suppose that they ever can be. Every effort to suppress vice by force seems to identify vice with personal liberty, and this principle or instinct is so precious that the vice will be sustained by being so temporarily identified. Jefferson swore eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the mind of man. A tyranny over the body and its natural appetites is a tyranny over the mind. Jefferson rated the value of intelligence and spontaneous action of virtue in the highest terms when he said that, if he had to choose between a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, he would choose the latter. Government can do nothing for the people in their private concerns pertaining to happiness except to mar where it restricts their liberties. It could strike down crime if it would simplify itself. Actually, it does not punish crime as a rule, and yet it is absurdly contended that the political machine can and ought to regulate morals. Wherever it meddles with such matters it is a tyranny without the least beneficial effect, but on the contrary aggravates every social disease.
A Vexed Question in a Nutshell.
To the Editor of the ------:
I have read carefully whatever has come to my notice relative to the moral character of Mr. Cleveland, Democratic candidate for president. And it seems to me that such controversy is quite unnecessary, for the whole question is in a nutshell, so to speak.
First, is sexual intercourse morally wrong? If it is, then NO civil law can make it right, and no married man or woman should have the inconsistency to speak against Cleveland.
Is it morally right? Then no legal sanction is necessary.
Don’t you see?
The asserted abuse by Cleveland of the women in question would, if true, have some force, if no men under the law abused their wives. But the truth is, no man ever yet lived who has not abused his wife, if he has had one. If he has not possessed a wife, he has abused some other woman, or himself. You men know how ’tis yourselves. Selah! It looks to me like pot calling kettle black. Doubtless a mote is in tbeir brother’s eye, but I think their vision is similarly obstructed.
Yours for truth and common sense,
Sarah M. Chipman.
Brockton, Mass., September 27, 1884.
Don’t keep Liberty to yourself, share it with others!
Leonard E. Read: Accent On The Right: To Frederic Bastiat (1801–1850), who sought for truth rather than outcome and never witnessed the fruits his labor bore. Obedience to conscience was his first rule; we witness the results.
Leonard E. Read: Anything That’s Peaceful: Many favor peace but not many favor the things that make for peace. — Thomas à Kempis
Leonard E. Read: Awake for Freedom’s Sake: Finally, share with others. Forget about “reforming” them! The more we share, the more we learn. This is in the interest of self and freedom!
Leonard E. Read: Castles in the Air: If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. — Henry David Thoreau
Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State: Political philosophy is dominated by a myth, the myth of the necessity of the state. The state is considered necessary for the provision of many things, but primarily for peace and security. In this provocative book, Gerard Casey argues that social order can be spontaneously generated, that such spontaneous order is the norm in human society and that deviations from the ordered norms can be dealt with without recourse to the coercive power of the state.
Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers: Murray Rothbard: Murray Rothbard (1926–1995) was an economist, historian, philosopher, and legal theoretician. His work was unified by a passionate and resolute commitment to a libertarianism that may be characterized as ‘anarcho-capitalism’ and which implied a belief that even the legal system may be provided privately without the need for a coercive collective authority. Hence, anarcho-capitalists envisage a society where the traditional role of government is wholly subsumed by private, profit-making enterprises and all social relationships are ultimately founded upon consent.