“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.”
Priest — King — Burgher — Serf.
Priest — Age of Gregory VII.
Kneel! Henry, kneel! Strip oil thy coat of mail,
In penitential garment kiss the feet
Which spurn thee; thou should’st deem it penance meet
For God’s Anointed, who has dared to rail
At him whom men as Christ’s vice-gerent hail,
Gazing with awe, who deem thy act replete
With Christian love, thy penitence concrete,
For now, henceforth, must unity prevail.
Bend! rebel, bend: Authority is one,
Else God is myth, and men with joy elate
See o’er thy prostrate form God’s Holy Son,
Whose church triumphant hails this welcome hour
When monarch, burgher, serf, bow’neath her power
Nor dream in store for them more-gracious fate.
King — Age of Louis XIV.
Down, scheming burghers! Cease, and ne’er again
Of rights communal prate, nor still give swing
To hopes illusory that rights can spring
But from thy sovereign’s will. By law attain
What law permits, and swell the glad refrain
Which through the sculptured temple’s arches ring,
Where churchmen kneel before their Son and King,
And shout: Authority is one,— not twain,—
Else God is myth. E’en downcast eyes behold,
As God’s Anointed’s faintest wish is heard,
The gleaming sabres dash, and forth thy gold
From hidden coffers leap; bow low thy head,
And back with serfs thy humble pathway tread,
And write across thy bill of rights: Deferred.
Burgher — Age of Malthus.
Peace, restless serfs! Disturb not with thy groans
The self-complacent ease plebeian lords
Display, nor curse with bitter, railing words
The law and order which from childhood’s moans
Extract new pomp and rack thy aching bones.
For luxuries, or make thy secret hoards
Procure for them what social life affords
To nameless lust, where wealth for all atones.
Keep silence, mob! Authority is one,
Else God is myth, and priest and king unite
Behind the burgher, once his battle won:
The priest to bless, the king to give his sword,
And hail a people’s abstract will as
Lord In States where wealth alone is divine right.
Age of Man.
Fraternity! a plant from lowly seed,
First strove for growth when social life began
In stony soil with prehistoric man.
And twin ad its tendrils round each loving deed;
Impressed and shaded by the noxious weed
Authority, still om its rootlets ran
Beneath the soil where none its course could scan
In guest of life, till warmth and heat should speed
Its growth, and burst on men in full-blown flower;
When priestly stake mid kingly sword shall lay
At rest, divorced from burgher’s bastard power.
Hark! Time declares Fraternity is one,
Else progress is a myth, and ’neath the sun
The priest — king — burgher — serf are one for aye!
Dyer D. Lurn.
Prohibitionists the Criminals.
What is a crime? Naturally, to do wrongful violence, or to defraud another,— hence, to prevent another from exercising his right. It is, then, a crime to use force to prevent another from doing what is not a crime. Drinking and selling liquor are not crimes. Then the attempt to suppress drinking and selling liquor is a crime. When the law hung *** and burned witches the law committed a crime, or words have no real meaning.
To the Editor of Liberty:
There is great temptation for lucid men of principle to anathematize thus all kinds of politicians, without the necessary distinction of degrees, although, when the proposition is stated abstractively, it is evident that principles are as worthless without accommodations of policy, as is policy without principle. Besides different degrees of enlightenment, equally compatible with sincerity, we are apt to assume different social data. For Anarchism, by immediate surcease of police forces, it is evident, for example, that a city like New York must be inappropriate. Its social datum is intelligence with a fair normal average of character, such as is found in many rural settlements and small towns, with the material means of production and distribution. No living tissue excludes physiology, but the physiologist will not select a parasitic growth nor the seat of an abscess for illustrations of organic law. Anarchism, or the evolution of spontaneities, is predicable of normal humanity, not of monstrosities.
Invest X, or invest Macdonald, with real dictatorship over New York or Boston, and it is probable that either would use his power in similar and sanatory measures, physical and moral. It would only be at an advanced period that their methods might diverge. That the “Truth Seeker” has been a receptacle for much crude trash of State Socialist tendency is to be deplored; yet a paper that is earnest in combatting all clericalism should hardly be stigmatized by classing it with dilettanteisms of the “free religions” leather or with ancient petrifactions.
Our Only Safety.
At an anti-vaccination meeting held at New Mills, England, on June 20, the following letter was read from Mr. Auberon Herbert:
Let me tender my hearty tribute of respect to all of you who are fighting the anti-vaccination battle. I am paying you no idle compliment when I say that I think your leading men have more devotion to liberty as principle — a principle that is to save us in all things — than any other men whom I know of at the present day. Every man is for liberty when he finds himself in some particular hole that is specially uncomfortable to himself, but his liberty and his love for it generally end as soon as he himself is out of that particular hole; and when once out of it, he is only too often quite ready to lend a hand in digging any number of holes for others. Now, what we want is not this love of liberty, which anybody can possess, when, having neglected her all our lives, we turn to her to help us in some hour of pressing need, but a steady, consistent, unfaltering belief in liberty as our life companion, through good report and evil report, in good season and in evil season,— a belief that all human social intercourse must be grounded on the widest personal rights. Force and moral force can never abide in the same dwelling. One casts the other out. Why should I reason with a man whom I am ready to bring by coercion to my point of view? Never was a time when the great doctrine of liberty needed more resolute and faithful preaching than at present. Our public men of the present day think it is quite enough to throw open the gates and give power to the people, whilst they themselves have no fixed ideas as to what are the limits of power, as to what are the rights of the individual. For myself, I think the political vote, so far as it belongs to any, belongs equally to all. I can draw no distinction in the matter; but I say that more than ever, as the number of votes becomes large, it is necessary, vitally necessary, to build up a steady sense of principle as regards the use of power in the minds of the people. Without that principle there is danger; with that principle there is none. I trust to nothing but this one thing for public safety. No second Chambers, armies, police, political safeguards, can give us more than a fleeting protection for the moment. The only safety is in reverence for liberty, reverence for the free rights of others. And as our public men on neither side have yet been able to arrange their own ideas on this great subject, and to know clearly what they themselves believes it behoves us all to go straight to the people and teach the great principle with all the force that is in us. I take my stand on this simple ground. There is no right to compel others to serve our own interests, or to accept our own views. There is but one rightful use of force,— that of restraining force, that of restraining forcible aggressions upon the free rights of thinking, acting, and possessing that belong to us all.
Judges the Dangerous Criminals.
[Ed. W. Chamberlain in John Swinton’s Paper.]
I have in my possession the deposition of Ambrose H. Purdy, who for eight years acted as public prosecutor in the United States Circuit Court in New York city, where Judge Benedict, during that time, presided. Mr. Purdy testifies:
Q. Don’t you think that your services in that case were just as valuable as those of the defendant’s counsel? A. No, nor in any Government case; because we don’t put a man on trial until we have two-thirds or nine-tenths the best of the case before we start, and the lawyer on the other side has harder work. It is easier for the district attorney. You have all the power of the Government of the United States behind you, and you have all the detectives you want, who will swear almost anything you want them to swear to, and you have all the jurors, because they are paid by the United States, and they don’t pay the jurors as they are paid in this court,— there they are paid so much a day, and the verdict is for the Government every time.
No more truthful description of Judge Benedict’s court could be given. This short paragraph tells the whole story of fraud, corruption, and outrage: Until very recently, a person accused of an offence in court had no opportunity to testify in his own behalf, and today the farce is enacted of an appeal from this court to a court composed of three judges, one of whom is the trial judge himself. The proceedings in this court are a mockery of justice and a disgrace to humanity. I believe many innocent men have gone down to an ignominious doom from this court. I can certainly name several. Here Mr. Edward Lange and the philanthropist, Dr. Foote, were convicted. The conviction of D. M. Bennett in this court shocked the moral sense of the world. It was said of it that “it was a predetermined fact that conviction had to be had, and that everything was conducted to that end with such unsparing disregard, of the ordinary rules of justice, law, and fair-dealing that no other result than that arrived at could have been expected.”
I write today only to perpetuate the evidence of Mr. Purdy, and bring it to me notice of those who are interested. Rev. J. M. Pullman said once, at a dinner given to Henry George, that the most dangerous criminals are those who live under frescoed ceilings. We might truthfully go farther, and say that, of all criminals who live under frescoed ceilings, the most dangerous are the criminals who occupy places on the bench of justice.
Why Labor Resorts to Monopoly.
It is agreeable work for organship to tell strikers that “monopoly methods will never win.” It is totearably true as regards strikers. But what have not monopoly methods won? Have they cot won money, and land, and free grase, and the inside track in transportation and exchange? Have they not won fortunes, in iron and cotton mills, and shipbuilding, and sugar refining, and speculating in convict labor, and in many other ways? If monopoly methods were not allowed to win the prizes of fortune, the strikers would perhaps not be led to so foolishly imagine that they too can practise monopoly methods and win.
Paternalism and State Socialism.
Governor Hoadley is reported as saying: “I do not believe that regulation and taxation are eternal.” The Inter-Ocean calls this a state socialist idea. On the contrary, it is the opposite. The state socialists, extending what the Republican party began, would regulate everything, have the government own everything, take all products as taxes, and pay all wages out of the public treasury. Paternalism with class monopolies is state socialism in a grode, rudimentary form, without even the possible equities of such an evil, arbitrary system.
A Letter to Grover Cleveland:
His False, Absurd, Self-Cortradictory, and Ridiculous Inaugural Address.
By Lysander Spooner.
[The author reserves his copyright in this letter.]
But perhaps the most brilliant idea in your whole address, is this:
Every citizen owes the country a vigilant watch and close scrutiny of its public servants, and a fair and reasonable estimate of their fidelity and usefulness. Thus is the people’s will impressed upon the whole framework of our civil policy, municipal, State, and federal; and this is the price of our liberty, and the inspiration of our faith in the republic.
The essential parts of this declaration are these:
“Every citizen owes the country a vigilant watch and close scrutiny of its public servants, . . . . . . and this is the price of our liberty.”
Who are these “public servants,” that need all this watching? Evidently they are the lawmakers, and the lawmakers only. They are not only the chief “public servants,” but they are absolute masters of all the other “public seivants.” These other “public servants,” judicial and executive,— the courts, the army, the navy, the collectors of taxes, etc., etc.,— have no function whatever, except that of simple obedience to the lawmakers. They are appointed, paid, and have their duties prescribed to them, by the lawmakers; and are made responsible only to the lawmakers. They are mere puppets in the hands of the lawmakers. Clearly, then, the lawmakers are the only ones we have any occasion to watch.
Your declaration, therefore, amounts, practically, to this, and this only:
Every citizen owes the country a vigilant watch and close scrutiny of ITS LAWMAKERS, . . . . and this is the price of our liberty.
Sir, your declaration is so far true, as that all the danger to “our liberty” comes solely from the lawmakers.
And why are the lawmakers dangerous to “our liberty”? Because it is a natural impossibility that they can make any law — that is, any law of their own invention — that does not violate “our liberty.”
The law of justice is the one only law that does not violate “our liberty.” And that is not a law that was made by the lawmakers. It existed before they were born, and will exist after they are dead. It derives not one particle of its authority from any commands of theirs. It is, therefore, in no sense, one of their laws. Only laws of their own invention are their laws. And as it is naturally impossible that they can invent any law of their own, that shall not conflict with the law of justice, it is naturally impossible that they can make a law — that is, a law of their own invention — that shall not violate “our liberty.”
The law of justice is the precise measure, and the only precise measure, of the rightful “liberty” of each and every human being. Any law — made by lawmakers — that should give to any man more liberty than is given him by the law of justice, would be a license to commit an injustice upon one or more other persons. On the other hand, any law — made by lawmakers — that should take from any human being any “liberty” that is given him by the law of justice, would be taking from him a part of his own rightful “liberty.”
Inasmuch, then, as every possible law, that can be made by lawmakers, must either give to some one or more persons more “liberty” than the law of nature — or the law of justice — gives them, and more “liberty” than is consistent with the natural and equal “liberty” of all other persons; or else must take from some one or more persons some portion of that “liberty” which the law of nature — or the law of justice — gives to every human being, it is inevitable that every law, that can be made by lawmakers, must be a violation of the natural and rightful “liberty” of some one or more persons.
Therefore the very idea of a lawmaking government — a government that is to make laws of its own invention — is necessarily in direct and inevitable conflict with “our liberty.” In fact, the whole, sole, and only real purpose of any lawmaking government whatever is to take from some one or more persons their “liberty.” Consequently the only way in which all men can preserve their “liberty,” is not to have any lawmaking government at all.
We have been told, time out of mind, that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” But this admonition, by reason of its indefiniteness, has heretofore fallen dead upon the popular mind. It, in reality, tells us nothing that we need to know, to enable us to preserve “our liberty.” It does not even tell us what “our liberty” is, or how, or when, or through whom, it is endangered, or destroyed.
1. It does not tell us that individual liberty is the only human liberty. It does not tell us that “national liberty,” “political liberty,” “republican liberty,” “democratic liberty,” “constitutional liberty,” “liberty under law,” and all the other kinds of liberty that men have ever invented, and with which tyrants, as well as demagogues, have amused and cheated the ignorant, are not liberty at all, unless in so far as they may, under certain circumstances, have chanced to contribute something to, or given some impulse toward, individual liberty.
2. It does not tell us that individual liberty means freedom from all compulsion to do anything whatever, except what justice requires us to do, and freedom to do everything whatever that justice permits us to do. It does not tell us that individual liberty means freedom from all human restraint or coercion whatsoever, so long as we “live honestly, hurt nobody, and give to every one his due.”
3. It does not tell us that there is any science of liberty; any science, which every man may learn, and by which every man may know, what — is, and what is not, his own, and every other man’s, rightful “liberty.”
4. It does not tell us that this right of individual liberty rests upon an immutable, natural principle, which no human power can make, unmake, or alter; nor that all human authority, that claims to set it aside, or modify it, is nothingbut falsehood, absurdity, usurpation, tyranny, and crime.
5. It does not tell us that this right of individual liberty is a natural, inherent, inalienable right; that therefore no man can part with it, or delegate it to another, if he would; and that, consequently, all the claims that have ever been made, by governments, priests, or any other powers, that individuals have voluntarily surrendered, or “delegated,” their liberty to others, are all impostures and frauds.
6. It does not tell us that all human laws, so called, and all human lawmaking,— all commands, either by one man, or any number of men, calling themselves a government, or by any otner name — requiring any individual to do this, or forbidding him to do that — so long as he “lives honestly, hurts no one, and gives to every one his due” — are all false and tyrannical assumptions of a right of authority and dominion over him; are all violations of his natural, inherent, inalienable, rightful, individual liberty; and, as such, are to be resented and resisted to the utmost, by every one who does not choose to be a slave.
7. And, finally, it does not tell us that all lawmaking governments whatsoever — whether called monarchies, aristocracies, republics, democracies, or by any other name — are all alike violations of men’s natural and rightful liberty.
We can now see why lawmakers are the only enemies, from whom “our liberty” has anything to fear, or whom we have any occasion to watch. They are to be watched, because they claim the right to abolish justice, and establish injustice in its stead; because they claim the right, to command us to do things which justice does not require us to do, and to forbid us to do things which justice permits us to do; because they deny on right to be, individually, and absolutely, our own masters and owners, so long as we obey the one law of justice towards all other persons; because they claim to be our masters, and that their commands, as such, are authoritative and binding upon us as law; and that they may rightfully compel us to obey them.
“Our liberty” is in danger only from the lawmakers, because it is only through the agency of lawmakers, that anybody pretends to be able to take away “our liberty.” It is only the lawmakers that claim to be above all responsibility for taking away “our liberty.” Lawmakers are the only ones who are impudent enough to assert for themselves the right to take away “our liberty.” They are the only ones who are impudent enough to tell us that we have voluntarily surrendered “our liberty” into their hands. They are the only ones who have the insolent condescension to tell us that, in consideration of our having surrendered into their hands “our liberty,” and all our natural, inherent, inalienable rights as human beings, they are disposed to give us, in return, “good government,” “the best form of government ever vouchsafed to man”; to “protect” us, to provide for our “welfare,” to promote our “interests,” etc., etc.
And yet you are just blockhead enough to tell us that if “Every citizen” — fifty millions and more of them — will but keep “a vigilant watch and close scrutiny” upon these lawmakers, “our liberty” may be preserved!
Don’t you think, sir, that you are really the wisest man that ever told “a great and free people” how they could preserve “their liberty”?
To be entirely candid, don’t you think, sir, that a surer way of preserving “our liberty” would be to have no lawmakers at all?
What’s To Be Done?
By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 66.
Likewise, if I had been superior in mind and character to Dmitry Serguéitch; if he himself, before the birth of my passion, had been one of the two heroes of a certain anecdote which once made us laugh so heartily,— all would have been arranged, he would have submitted. The anecdote was of two gentlemen who, after having conversed some time and being pleased with each other, desired to make each other’s acquaintance:
“I am Lieutenant So-and-So,” said one, with an air of dignity.
“And I am the husband of Madame Tedesco,” said the other.
If Dmitry Serguéitch had been the husband of Madame Tedesco, why, then he would have had no need to resort to extremities, he would have submitted to his fate, he would have seen nothing offensive to him in his submission, and everything would have been delightful. But his relations with me and with Alexander were not at all of such a character. In no respect was he either our inferior or our superior; this was evident to all. My liberty could depend only on his good will and not at all on his weakness. You cannot deny it, my friend.
What, then, was my situation? I saw myself dependent on his good will. That was why my situation was painful to me, that was why he deemed it useful to adopt his noble resolution. Yes, my friend, the cause of my feeling, which forced him to this step, was much more deeply hidden than he explains in your letter. The overwhelming degree of gratitude no longer existed, To satisfy the requirements of society would have been easy in the way proposed by Dmitry Serguéitch himself, and, after all, these requirements did not affect me, living in my little circle, entirely beyond the reach of gossip. But I remained dependent upon Dmitry Serguéitch. That was the painful part of it. What had my view of the change of our relations to do with this? Dmitry Serguéitch remained the master. Now, you know and approve my feeling: I do not wish to be dependent upon the good will of any one, though he were the most devoted of men, the man whom I most esteemed, in whom I believed as in another self, and in whom I had full confidence. I do not wish it, and I know that you approve this. But why so many words? Why this analysis of our inmost feelings, which no one would have gone into? Like Dmitry Serguéitch, I have a mania for undressing my feelings in order that I may say: It is not my fault, but the result of a circumstance beyond my control? I make this remark because Dmitry Serguéitch liked remarks of this character. I wish to insinuate myself into your mind, my friend. But enough of this! You have had so much sympathy for me that you have thought nothing of the few hours required to write your long and previous letter. From it I see (whether from Dmitry Serguéitch’s style or yours),— yes, I see that you will be curious to know what became of me after Dmitry Serguéitch left me to go to Moscow and then to come back and die. On his return from Riazan he saw that I was embarrassed. This was manifest in me only in his presence; as long a- he was at Riazan, I did not think so much about him. But, when he started for Moscow, I saw that he was moratating something grave. He settled up his affairs at St. Petersburg. He had been waiting for a week only to get everything arranged for his departure, and why should I not have foreseen this? During the last days I sometimes saw sadness on his face, on that face which knew so well how to hide secrets. I foresaw that something decisive was to be expected. And when he boarded the train, I was so sad! The next day and the day after my sorrow increased. Suddenly Macha brought me a letter. What a painful moment! What a painful day! You know it. How much better I know now the strength of my attachment for Dmitry Serguéitch! I had no idea myself that it was so deep. You know the strength of our mutual attachment. You certainly know that I had then decided to see Alexander no more; all day I felt that my life was broken forever, and you know of my childish enthusiasm when I saw the note of my good, my very good, friend, the note that changed completely all my thoughts (notice the prudence of my expressions; you must be contented with them, my friend). You know all this, because Rakhmétoff, after escorting me to the train, went to accompany you to the station; Dmitry Serguéitch and he were right in saying that I ought nevertheless to leave St. Petersburg in order to produce the effect so much desired by Dmitry Serguéitch that he inflicted upon me to achieve it such horrible torments for an entire day. How grateful I am to him for having had so little pity on me! He and Rakhmétoff were also right in advising Alexander not to appear before me or escort me to the station. But, as I no longer needed to go as far as Moscow, it being necessary only to leave St. Petersburg, I stopped at Novgorod. A few days later Alexander came there with the documents establishing the loss of Dmitry Serguéitch. We were married a week after this loss, and have lived almost a month at Tchoudovo (A railway station and large village situated about sixty-five miles from St. Petersburg) near the railroad, in order that it may be easy for Alexander to go three or four times a week to his hospital. Yesterday we returned to St. Petersburg, and that is why I am so late in answering your letter. It has remained in Macha’s box, who had almost forgotten it. And you have probably framed all sorts of ideas in consequence of receiving no reply.
I clasp you in my arms, my friend.
I grasp your hand, my dear; only I beg you not to send compliments, at least to me; else I will let my heart flow out before you in a torrent of adoration, which would certainly be disagreeable to you in the highest degree. But do you know that for us to write so briefly to each other shows considerable stupidity in me as well as in you? It seems that we are somewhat embarrassed in each other’s presence. Supposing that this were pardonable in me, why should you feel any embarrassment? Next time I hope to talk freely with you, and I shall forthwith write you a heap of St. Petersburg news.
These letters, while perfectly sincere, were indeed a little exclusive, as Véra Pavlovna herself remarked. The two correspondents evidently tried to make the painful shocks which they had felt seem less intense to each other. They are very shrewd people. I have very often heard them — them and those like them — say things which made me laugh heartily in the midst of their pathetic assertions that such and such a thing was nothing and could easily be endured.
I laughed at such assertions when made privately to me, a stranger. And when I heard them said before a man who could not help listening, I corroborated them, and said that such and such a thing was indeed nothing. An honest man is very queer; I have always laughed at them when I have met them.
They are sometimes even absurd. Take, for example, these letters. I am a little accustomed to such things, being on terms of friendship with them, but on an entire stranger what an impression they must make,— on the reader with the penetrating eye, for instance!
The reader with the penetrating eye, who has already had time to get clear of his napkin, pronounces sentence, shaking his head:
“Bravo! Do me the favor of saying one word more.”
“The author also is an immoral man to approve such things,” says the reader with the penetrating eye, adding to the sentence.
“No, my dear, you are mistaken. There are many things in this that I do not approve, and, to tell the truth, I do not even approve any of it. It is all much too ingenious, much too far-fetched; life is much simpler.”
“Then you are still more immoral?” asks the reader with the penetrating eye, opening his eyes wide, astonished at the inconceivable immorality into which humanity has fallen in my person.
“Much more immoral,” I say, and no one knows whether I am telling the truth or laughing at the reader with the penetrating eye.
The correspondence lasted three or four months longer,— actively on the part of the Kirsanoffs, negligently and inadequately on the part of their correspondent. The latter soon ceased to answer their letters; they saw that his sole intention was to communicate to Véra Pavlovna and her husband the thoughts of Lopoukhoff, and that, after having fulfilled this duty, he deemed further correspondence useless. Having obtained no reply to two or three letters, the Kirsanoffs understood him and stopped writing.
Véra Pavlovna is resting on her soft couch, waiting for her husband to come back from the hospital to dinner. Today she does not care to make pastry for dinner; she prefers to rest, for she has worked hard all the morning. It has been so for a long time, and it will be so for a very long time to come: she is starting another workshop for seamstresses at the other extremity of the city. Véra Pavlovna Lopoukhoff lived on the island of Vassilievsky, Véra Pavlovna Kirsanoff lives on the Rue Serguievskaïa, her husband requiring rooms in the neighborhood of the Wyborg district.
Madame Mertzaloff proved equal to the management of the shop on the island of Vassilievsky, which was quite natural, she and the shop being old acquaintances. On her return to St. Petersburg Véra Pavlovna saw that she did not need to visit the shop often to see that things went well, and, though she continued to visit it almost daily, it was solely because she was drawn by her sympathy. It must be added, however, that her visits were not quite useless, for Madame Mertzaloff often needed her advice; but that took very little time, besides being needed less and less frequently. Madame Mertzalotf will soon have as much experience as herself, and will be able to conduct things herself. After her return to St. Petersburg Véra Pavlovna visited the island of Vassilievsky more as a dear friend than as an indispensable person; what, then, was to be done? Establish a new workshop for seamstresses, in her own neighborhood, at the other end of the city.
So, in fact, a new shop was established in one of the smaller streets between the Rue Basseinaia and the Rue Serguievskaia. Here there is much less work than in the first shop: the first five ot the working-girls are from the old shop, where their places have been filled by others; the rest of the force is made up of acquaintances of the seamstresses in the old shop. So, everything is half done, to start with. All the comrades are perfectly familiar with the purpose and organization of the shop; the young girls came filled with a desire to establish promptly in the new shop the organization which had been effected so slowly in the old. Oh! now the organization went ahead ten times faster than then, and with three times less embarrassment. But none the less there was a great deal of work to be done, and Véra Pavlovna was tired, as she had been yesterday, and day before yesterday, and as she had been for about two months. Two months only, although six months had elapsed since her second marriage; after all, it was very necessary that she should allow herself a honeymoon; now she had resumed work.
Yes, she had worked a great deal; now she was resting and thinking of many things, especially of the present; it is so beautiful and so full! So full of life that but little time is left for memories; memories will come later. Oh! much later! Not in ten years, nor even in twenty, but later still. Nevertheless, they do come even now, though rarely. At this moment, for example, she is recalling what has most impressed her. Here is what her memory brings back to her.
“My darling, I am going with you.”
“But you have not your things.”
“I will go tomorrow, since you will not take me with you today.”
“Reflect, meditate. And await my letter. It will reach you tomorrow.”
There she is on her way back from the station to the house; what does she feel and what does she think as she comes back with Macha? She hardly knows, herself, so shaken has she been by the rapid shaping of events. It is but twenty-two hours since he found in his room the letter which she had written, and already he is gone! How quickly, how suddenly! At two o’clock in the morning she foresaw nothing of this. He waited till, conquered and exhausted by fatigue, she was overcome by sleep; then lie enterh her room and said a few not over-sensible words as a scarcely comprehensible preface to this bit of information:
“I have not seen my old parents in a long time; I am going to see them; they will be very glad.”
Only that, and then he went out. She ran after him, although he had made her promise not to do so.
“Where is he, then? Macha, where is he, where is he?”
Macha, who was still engaged in clearing the tea-table just left by visitors, answered:
“Dmitry Serguéitch went out; he said, as he passed by, ‘I am going to walk.’” She had to go back to bed. How could she sleep? She did not know that his departure was to take place in a few hours. He had said that they still had time to talk over all these things together. And when she awoke, it was time to go to the station.
All this passes before her eyes like a flash, as if it had not happened to her, but had been the experience of some one else, which had been told to her hastily. Only on reaching the house does she regain possession of herself, and begin to think: What is she now? what is to become ot her?
Yes, she will go to Riazan. She will go. To do otherwise is impossible. But the letter? What will it say? Why wait, for it before deciding? She knows the contents in advance. No, it is necessary to wait until the letter comes. But what is the use of waiting? She will go. Yes, she will go. She repeats it to herself for one, two, three, four hours. But Macha, getting hungry, is already calling her to dinner for the third time, and this time she orders rather than calls; well, it is at least a distraction.
“Poor Macha, she must be very hungry on my account. Why did you wait for me, Macha? You would have done better to dine without waiting for me.”
“That cannot be, Véra Pavlovna.”
And again the young woman reflects for two hours:
“I will go. Tomorrow. Only I will wait for the letter, for he begged me to. But, whatever its contents,— I know what it will contain,— I will go.”
That is what she thinks; but is that really all? No, her thought still runs upon five little words: He does not wish it, and these five little words dominate her thought more and more. The setting sun finds her still absorbed. And just at the moment when the importunate Macha comes to demand that she shall take tea, six words add themselves to the five: Nor do I wish it either. Macha has entered; she has driven away these six new bad little words. But not for long. At first they do not dare to make their appearance, and give place to their own refutation: But I must go; but they yield only to come back escorted by this refutation. In a twinkling they return to Véra Pavlovna’s thought: He does not wish it — Nor do I wish it either. For half an hour they dance a saraband in her brain; then against these words so often uttered, I will go, rush these three, Shall I go? But here comes Macha again.
“I gave a rouble to the bearer, Véra Pavlovna, for it was written on the envelope that, if he brought the letter before nine o’clock, he should he given a rouble; if after that, only half as much. Now, he brought it before nine o’clock. To go faster he took a cab; ‘I did as I promised,’ he said to me.”
A letter from him! She knows what it contains: “Do not come.” But she will go just the same; she does not wish to listen to this letter. The letter contains something else,— something which cannot he disregarded:
“I am going to Riazan, but not directly. I have many business matters to attend to on the way. Besides Moscow, where press of business will oblige me to spend a week, I must stop at two cities this side of Moscow and three places the other side, before reaching Riazan. How much time I shall have to sacrifice in this way I cannot tell. For instance, I have to collect some money from our commercial representatives, and you know, my dear friend [these words, dear friend were repeated in the letter that I might see that he was still well-disposed towards me; how I kissed these words!],—you know, my dear friend, that, when one has to collect money, he often has to wait several days where he expected to stay but a few hours. So I absolutely cannot fix the day of my arrival at Riazan, but it surely will not be immediately.”
Véra Pavlovna still remembers word for word the contents of this letter. What, then, is to be done? He deprives her of all dependence upon him by which she may remain attached to him. And the words, I must go to him, change into these: Nevertheless I must not see him, and in the latter sentence the word him refers to another person. She repeats these words for an hour or two: I must not see him. Of this thought is born another: Is it possible that I wish to see him? No. When she goes to sleep, this last thought gives way to another: Will it he possible for me to see him? No answer, but a new transformation: Is it possible that I may not see him? And she sleeps till morning in this last thought: Is it possible that I may not see him?
And when she awakes very late in the morning, all the thoughts of the evening before and of the night give way to these two, which clash against each other: I will see him! I will not see him! That lasts all the morning. I will see him No! no! no! But what is she doing? She has taken her hat, she looks in the glass instinctively to see if her hair is in order, and in the glass she sees her hat; everything vanishes then before these three, words: “No going back! No going back! No going back!”
“Macha, do not wait for me to come to dinner, I shall not dine at home.”
“Alexander Matvéitch has not yet returned from the hospital,” says Stépane to her, calmly. Indeed, there is no reason for Stépane to he astonished at the presence of Véra Pavlovna, who had come very often lately.
“I suspected as much, but it makes no difference; I will wait. Do not tell him that I am here.”
She takes up a literary review,— yes, she can read, she sees that she can read; yes, now that there is no going back, now that her resolution is taken, she feels very calm. Evidently she reads but little, or perhaps not at all; she looks the room over and begins to arrange things, as if she were at home; evidently she does not do much arranging, but she is calm: and she can read and occupy herself with matters in general; she notices that the ash-pan is not empty, that the tablecloth needs straightening, and that this chair is not in its place. She sits down and thinks: No going back, no choice, a new life is about to begin. That lasts an hour or two.
A new life is about to begin. How astonished and happy he will be! A new life is about to begin. How happy we are! A ring; she blushes slightly and smiles; the door opens.
He staggers; yes, he staggers; he has to support himself against the door, but she runs to him, and, kissing him, says:
“My dear, dear friend! How noble he is! How I love you! I could not live without you!”
What took place then, how they crossed the room, she does not remember; she only remembers running to him and kissing him; for that matter, he remembers no more than she. They only remember tnat they passed by arm-chairs and by the table, but how did they leave the door?.....Yes, for a few seconds their heads were turned, their sight disturbed by this kiss.....
“Vérotchka, my angel!”
“My friend, I could not live without you. How long you have loved me without telling me so! How noble you are, and how noble he is, too!”
“Tell me, then, Vérotchka, how this has happened.”
“I told him that I could not live without you; the next day— that is yesterday — he went away; I desired to follow him; all day yesterday I thought that I should go to him; yet here I have been waiting a long time.”
“But how thin you have grown in the last two weeks, Vérotchka! How delicate your hands are!”
He kisses her hands.
“Yes, my friend, it was a painful struggle! Now I can appreciate how you have suffered to avoid disturbing my peace. How did you succeed in maintaining such self-possession that I noticed nothing? How you must have suffered!”
“Yes, Vérotchka, it was not easy.”
And he still covers her hands with kisses. Suddenly she begins to laugh:
“Ah! how inattentive I am to you! You are tired, Sacha, you are hungry!” She escapes and runs away.
“Where are you going, Vérotchka?”
But she does not answer; already she is in the kitchen, talking to Stepane in gay and urgent tones.
“Get dinner for two! Quick, quick! Where are the plates, and knives and forks? I will set the table. Bring in something to eat; Alexander is so tired from his hospital duties that his dinner must be served in a hurry.”
She returns with the plates, on which rattle knives, forks, and spoons.
“You know, my darling, that the first thought of lovers at the first interview is to dine as quickly as possible,” says she, laughing.
He laughs also, and helps her set the table; he helps her much, but delays her still more, for he is constantly kissing her hands.
“Ah! how delicate your hands are!” And he kisses them again.
“Come to the table, Sacha, and be quiet!”
Stepane brings the soup. During dinner she tells him how this all happened.
“Ah! my darling, how we eat for lovers! It is true, though, that yesterday I ate nothing.”
Stepane enters with the last dish.
“Stepane, I have eaten your dinner.”
“Yes, Véra Pavlovna, I shall have to buy something at the shop.”
“Do so, and now you must know that in future you will always have to prepare for two, not counting yourself. Sacha, where is your cigar-case? Give it to me.” She cuts a cigar herself, lights it, and says to him:
“Smoke, my darling; meantime I will prepare the coffee; or perhaps you prefer tea? Do you know, my darling, our dinner ought to be better; you are too easy with Stepane.”
Five minutes later she returns; Stepane follows her with the tea-service, and, as she comes in, she sees that Alexander’s cigar has gone out.
“Ha! ha! my darling, how dreamy you have become in my absence!”
He laughs too.
“Smoke, then,” and again she lights his cigar.
In recalling all this now. Véra Pavlovna laughs over again: “How prosaic our romance is! The first interview and the soup; our heads turned at the first kiss, then a good appetite,— what a strange love - scene I It is very queer. And how his eyes shone! But indeed they shine still in the same way. How many of his tears have fallen on my hands, which were then so delicate, but which certainly are not so now. But really my hands are beautiful; he tells the truth.” She looks at her hands and says: “Yes, he is right. But what has that to do with our first interview and its accompaniments? I sit down at the table to pour the tea.
“‘Stepane, have you any cream? Could you get some that is good? But no, we have not time, and surely you would not find any. So be it, but tomorrow we will arrange all that. Smoke away, my darling; you are all the time forgetting to smoke.’”
The tea is not yet finished when a terrible ring is heard; two students enter the room in all haste, and in their hurry do not even see her.
“Alexander Matvéitch, an interesting subject!” they say, all out of breath; “an extremely rare and very curious subject [here they give the Latin name of the disease] has just been brought in, Alexander Matvéitch, and aid is needed immediately; every half-hour is precious. We even took a cab,”
“Quick, quick, my friend, make haste!” says she. Not till then do the students notice her and bow, and in a twinkling they drag away their professor, who was not long in getting ready, having kept on his military overcoat. Again she hurries him.
“From there you will come to me?” says she, as she takes leave of him.
In the evening he makes her wait a long time. It is ten o’clock, and he does not come; eleven,— it is useless to expect him. What does it mean? Certainly she is not at all anxious; nothing can have happened to him; but why is he obliged to stay with the interesting subject? Is he still alive, this poor interesting subject? Has Sacha succeeded in saving him? Yes, Sacha was, indeed, detained a long time. He does not come till the next morning at nine o’clock; till four he has remained at the hospital.
“The case was very difficult and interesting, Vérotchka”
“But why did you rise so early?”
“I have not been in bed.”
“You have not been in bed! To avoid delaying your arrival you did not sleep last night! Impious man! Go to your room and sleep till dinner-time; be sure that I find you still asleep.”
In two minutes he was driven away.
Such were their first two interviews. But the second dinner went off better; they told each other of their affairs in a reasonable manner. The night before, on the contrary, they did not know what they vere saying. They laughed, and then were gloomy. It seemed to each of them that the other had suffered the more.
Ten days later they hired a little country-house on the island of Kamennoy.
It is not very often that Véra Pavlovna recalls the past of her new love: the present is so full of life that but little time is left for memories. Nevertheless these memories come back oftener and oftener, and gradually she feels the growth within her of a certain discontent, faint, slight, vague, at first,— a discontent with whom, with what?
To be continued.
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, nor hindered or driven by oppression, nor deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
Vaccinate the Doctors with Cold Lead!
Three cheers for the plucky French Canadians of Montreal! — the first large body of people, so far as I know, to make a righteous and indignant stand to the extent of physical resistance against the tyrannical law of compulsory vaccination. The disorder and destruction in that city will be apt to make the legal poisoners pause. It is to be hoped that every doctor will be made to feel a certainty that if he enters a house, against the will of the occupants, to put vaccine virus in their arms, they will put a bullet in his brain. The law of self-defence, higher than any statute, will justify the act.
The bigoted vaccinationists plead necessity, that mother of so many crimes. “See,” they say, “the small-pox in Montreal is raging almost exclusively among these unvaccinated French Canadians.” Very likely; but, if so, this is a coincidence, not a cause. Small-pox attacks the French Canadians of Montreal, not because they are French Canadians or because they are unvaccinated, but because in that city they are the working class, the poor and miserable, the half-fed, half-clothed, and half-sheltered, the people who are forced by the monopolies created by these very authorities to live in filth, squalor, and wretchedness, surely generative of disease and death.
Misery, as Gramont truly said in an article copied in the last number of this paper, is the Pandora’s box from which plagues and all other evils are constantly escaping, and we must find the key to lock it up. When we have found it, even though vaccination were the preventive that it is claimed to be, there will be no more need to employ it, either by compulsion or otherwise.
“Ignorance, superstition, medical science, and the laws of sanitation,” says a Boston newspaper, “are the forces opposed to each other today in Montreal.” Not a bit of it. Liberty and tyranny are the forces face to face in Montreal, and, whichever carries the day there, there can be no doubt which will carry it ultimately the wide world over.
A Dead Dream of Communism.
In company with my esteemed humanitarian friend, Dr. T. Dwight Stow, of Mexico, New York, I lately visited the Oneida Community, so well known among social scientists as a very interesting experiment by which to practically apply communism to all the relations of life,— industrial, social, and domestic.
Alighting from the train at Oneida station on the New York Central railway, a beautiful ride of some three miles brought as to the Community. Its externals, as to sightly buildings, beautilul grounds, and fruitful fields, might without exaggeration be almost likened to Paradise; and that the experiment has been a complete financial success is immediately evidenced in the surroundings, so delightfully cradled among the Onoundaga hills.
But, as is already widely known, this exceptionally favorable experiment by which to test the merits of communism in practice has yielded complete disaster, and every trace of it has been completely wiped out upon the deliberate verdict of the whole Community, headed by its founder, John Humphrey Noyes, that it was impossible of successful application. “We are now a cold-blooded joint stock corporation of the most rigid order,” said an old member, who had come to Oneida with Mr. Noyes in 1838 and passed through all the heroic struggles which finally made the community a financial success.
“But such a success, even industrially,” said I, “is a record, which, if it can be credited to communism, is an astonishing fact. You started with a sawmill and log-house in a forest, with starvation staring you in the face, and have developed a property which has been valued at six hundred thousand dollars. The disciple of communism in the midst of this luxuriant garden and these splendid buildings will not be set back, from the mere fact that your social system on the domestic side would not hold together.”
Ah!” said the old man, “strictly speaking, there has never been any communism here on the industrial side. It has been individualism of the most rigid and uncompromising order. Communism only existed in the external form, but never in spirit and essence. The exponent of that individualism was John Humphrey Noyes. He was leader, dictator, body and soul of the so-called community. The moment his splendid intellect, iron will, and wonderful directing capacity went out from under the institution, it immediately crumbled to pieces through its own integral incohesiveness. Left to its power to stand alone on the merits of its organic strength as a pure community, it was as weak as an infant, and fell to the ground helpless, to be raised by the resources of joint stock cooperative individualities. This is the plain fact of the matter, sad as is the lesson to the disciples of communism.”
I could not suppress a certain feeling of regret and sadness, as I saw the complete wreck of such hopes for communism as lay before me. Of the less than one hundred members who remained, out of a once flourishing family of three hundred or more, most of them had married under the existing Christian system, and all sexual liberty had been rigidly banished. The savage jaws of existing privileged capital were firmly fastened into the throat of this giant among the hills, which so much struggle and sacrifice had reared. What possibilities, under Liberty, lie here! thought I, and yet they must all be carried out and buried, while heartless capital stays to devour the carcass of that radical delusion, communism.
The fate which has followed this notable experiment of pure communism is sure to follow that sickly half-breed known as “Anarchistic communism”; and to my mind the former is far more respectable than the latter, for it is a definable attempt at something tangible, while the latter is a vague and illogical self-contradiction. All communism is at war with Nature, but is doubly contemptible when it attempts to sneak under the mantle of Anarchism. The true Anarchism must be careful never to be found walking with it, and it is the most pernicious of bed-fellows.
Tramps or Coupon-Cutters,— Which?
The silly Greenbackers, whose numbers, I am happy to say, are growing steadily and beautifully less, met in State convention in Boston a few days ago, nominated a State ticket, and put up one of those rickety scaffoldings known as a political platform. If, among the thousands of Massachusetts statutes, there is one to punish incompetent builders, I should like, Anarchist though I am, to see its severest penalty applied to the persons responsible for this structure. Here is a specimen of one of its joints.
One plank “condemns an attempt to create an aristocracy of office-holders,” and the one adjoining it “recommends the election of legislators such as are not overburdened with private affairs and are willing to give their time to the duties of the office.”
If the latter plank does not contemplate an “aristocracy of office-holders,” pray, what does it mean? If the Business of legislation were in any sense an honest one, it should be entrusted to the men best fitted for it, no matter in what class they might be found, and they should be equitably paid for any damage to their private affairs resulting from their public duties. But this is a direct proposal to vest the business of legislation in the hands of members of the privileged classes, who, having ample time left after cutting their coupons, can well afford to give it to the manufacture of arrangements by which to get more coupons to cut.
To be sure, this is as it should be. The coupon-cutters, either directly or indirectly, are always the bottom tyrants, or rather the top ones, and it is just as much the business of tyrants to govern as of thieves to steal. But it certainly involves what the Greenbackers pretend to abhor,— an aristocracy of officeholders.
Unless, indeed, these hitherto solemn lunatics have suddenly developed a trace of sanity and humor, and are aiming at a legislature of tramps,— these being the only other class of people, outside the jails and asylums, “not overburdened with private affairs.” It would give me infinite delight to see a legislature of tramps on Beacon Hill. It would stand an excellent chance of being the last Great and General Court ever to be convened in the Old Bay State,— a consummation most devoutly to be wished.
Freethought Antics at Albany.
The Freethinkers had a queer time at Albany. Secretary Putnam, in the innocence of his generous heart, favored Mr. E. H. Heywood, among other editors of Liberal papers, with a complimentary ticket to the sessions of the convention. Mr. T. B. Wakeman, learning of this action of the naughty and wayward secretary, grew nervous, and stupidly wrote a letter to Mr. Heywood asking him not to attend. It is needless to say that Mr. Heywood attended. Evidently Mr. Wakeman doesn’t know Mr. Heywood. Mr. Seward Mitchell attended also, and busied himself in the sale of his singular hotch-potch of sense and nonsense entitled, “The World’s Reformer.” One constituent of this hotch-potch was a poem by Frances Rose McKinley entitled, “The Reign of Love and Freedom,” the language of which so shocked the Albanian authorities that they arrested Mr. Mitchell forthwith. Perhaps by this time he would have been occupying Mr. Bennett’s honored cell in the Albany penitentiary, if, thanks to Mr. Wakeman, Mr. Heywood had not been “on deck.” He was saved, however, by the latter’s persuasive eloquence, which so impressed the judge that that dignitary told Mr. Mitchell he might go if he would not do so again. Mr. Mitchell went and did not do so again,— that is, he did not sell any more of his literature, but he gave it away, and the recipients gave him such money as they chose. And so “The World’s Reformer” continued to reform.
But by this time the poor Freethinkers were in a state of extreme agitation,— in fact, all torn up by the introduction, of these discordant notes into their annual jubilee. The leaders put their heads together in the hotel lobbies. Hurried consultations were held among the faithful. Brave old Elizur Wright, who has smelled the smoke of other battles and fellowshipped with cranks for the better part of a century, seemed the only man among them who was unterrified. Mr. Wakeman met Mr. Heywood in the Delavan House and attempted to reason with him. Additional evidence that he is not well acquainted with that gentleman. When he knows him better, he will realize that it is as impossible to reason with Mr. Heywood as it is to snub him. Mr. Courtlandt Palmer, happening along, tried the latter course, refusing his hand to Mr. Heywood; notwithstanding which this same Mr. Palmer delivered an address to the convention in which he said many things that would cause many people to refuse their hands to Mr. Palmer. The upshot of all this hubbub was that a letter from Mr. Palmer appeared in the Albany “Journal,” Utterly disowning and casting out Mr. Mitchell and denying all responsibility for him; after which the timid breathed more freely, and, gradually forgetting that they had ever been frightened, soon turned round and began to laugh at Mr. Palmer for his fussy fastidiousness.
Meanwhile the serenity of the sessions had not been entirely unruffled, the vexed question having arisen whether free competition should be allowed among all shades of Liberals in the sale of their literature in the hall, or an exclusive monopoly of that business should be given to the “Truth Seeker.” Finally one Mr. McCabe of Albany, who seems to have been a sort of master of ceremonies, announced that the committee had decided that the “Truth Seeker” alone should be allowed to sell. At this the timid representative of the “Index” immediately shut up shop, but the bold Josephine Tilton, who was selling Liberty and other Anarchistic documents, kept right on, and further remonstrance on the part of Mr. McCabe was necessary before she could he stopped. The “Truth Seeker” says that Mr. McCabe was once a Roman Catholic. May Liberty venture to suggest that he is a good deal of a Roman Catholic still? Endeavors to ascertain who the members of the “committee” were and what action they really took proved fruitless, and a strong suspicion was harbored by some that Mr. McCabe was a self-constituted committee of one. Rumor had it that Macdonald of the “Truth Seeker” had a finger in the matter, but this is not certain. He is known, however, to have remarked that the Liberals, “having won the victory on the dirty business,” would do well to stick hereafter to the strictly religious. My genial but pious friend Eugene evidently fancies that he can wash away the stains of “Cupid’s Yokes” and D. M. Bennett in the blood of Anti-Christ.
But Miss Tilton was not baffled, after all. The sympathetic and simply-minded proprietor of the hall (he couldn’t have been much of a Liberal, it seems to me) failed to exactly see the justice of the committee’s decision, and so provided a table for Miss Tilton on a landing of the stairs, at which the ascending auditors left so much of their spare silver in exchange for the Gospel of Anarchy that they had but little, when they reached the hall, to pour into the “Truth Seeker’s” coffers.
How we Liberals love one another! Fortunately the Angel of Anarchy, bearing healing in her wings, has come to harmonize us all. Meanwhile lovers of buffoonery may congratulate themselves that Gilbert and Sullivan drew their ideas of Liberalism from the British House of Commons. If they had ever attended a convention of American Liberals and seen how the lines that divide the factions cross and recross and intersect and confuse and obliterate each other, they would have impaired their admirable opera, “Iolanthe,” by leaving out the following lines:
For every boy and every gal
That’s born into this world alive
Is either a little Libe-ral
Or else a little Conserva-tive.
Basic Principles of Economics: Rent.
In following up the issues made by Mr. Tucker in the August number of Liberty I am not quixotic enough to defend Proudhon either against Mr. T. or against his own possible inconsistencies. Only two of his works (recommended by Mr. T.) have been open to me. What I have to say stands upon its own merits, appealing to reason and the instinct of justice.
1. “The fiction of the productivity of capital.”
In productivity for human needs or desires, human activity is implied. No one pretends that capital or the results of past labor can in this point of view be independent of actual labor. Ripe grain or fruit in field or orchard is a capital; its use implies the labor of gathering and storing, milling, cooking, etc. But these consummating works would be impossible without the capital of the harvest, the result of previous culture, which, whether by the same or by different laborers, is equally an integrant factor in productivity and justly entitled to its proportionate share of the fruits.
Now, go back a year or more. Before the culture in question, capital existed as the result of clearing, fencing, ditching, manuring, etc., without which the culture would have been fruitless or impossible. Such previous works, then, are, equally with the two later, integrant of productivity, and have just claims to be satisfied in the repartition of the harvest. Previous to these three kinds of works, there has often been expenditure of effort in discovery or exploration, in conquest of territory, to which the State falls heir, and on the strength of which it levies tribute under title of entry fees or purchase money.
In the precited series, the second term in order of succession has absorbed the first, so that the entry or purchase fee is added to the claim for preparatory works, whose aggregate constitutes the basis of rentals. Mr. Tucker says that the “liquidation of this value, whether immediate or gradual, is a sale, and brings a right of ownership, which it is not in the nature of rent to do. To call this rent is inaccurate.” Now, this is a question of the use of language. Accuracy here, as I maintain, consists in the use of words in their usual sense. I protest against neologies, or arbitrary definitions, in economics that make words squint, as a perfidy of Socialism which engenders vain logomachies and retards the triumph of justice. The liquidation of the value precited, the result of preparatory works, may be effected either by sale or by rentals. Sale is often impossible or unfeasible; it would be so at present for my own farm. Now, comes in the idea that each payment of rent, shall constitute an instalment of purchase money. This is Proudhon’s theory of liquidation with a view to the independent proprietorship of the soil by its farmers. It is viable for rentals during a term of successive years, but is inapplicable to many cases like the following. By expenditure of unpaid labor during several years I have prepared a field for cotton culture. An immigrant, needing to realize the results of labor more promptly than would he possible if he began by performing upon forest land the kind of work I have already done, offers me a fourth of the crop for the use of my field. This is rent. The crop from which it is paid leaves the soil poorer in proportion, and the fences, etc., will need repair at an earlier period. Tims each crop may be estimated as lessening the original value of productivity by about one-tenth, sometimes as much as one-fourth. Now, the tenant profits three times as much as I do at the cost of my preparatory labors. The loss by cropping, of this value, is the just basis of rent, which leaves no proportion of purchase title to the tenant during one or a few seasons who does not manure or repair fences. The tenant who does this, and thus reproduces the original value, justly enters into proprietorship, and his rentals ought to be regarded as instalments of purchase money. There lies the practical difference.
It is necessary to face the facts, and to avoid confusion by abstract terminology. There is just rent, and there is unjust rent, or the legal abuse of the rental system. Abate the public nuisance of legislation, and these matters are naturally arranged by contract between farmers.
The equitable relations between actual labor and the previous labors that constitute capital in the soil, or immovable upon it, vary with time, place, and circumstance. Rulings concerning them, reduced to the precrustean measures of law, if just for some cases, must be unjust for others. Private contracts only can approximate to justice, and how nearly they do it is the affair of the contracting parties, defying all prescriptive formulas.
The two works which I recommended to Edgeworth are among Proudhon’s best, but they are very far from all that he has written, and it is very natural for the reader of a very small portion of his writings to draw inferences which he will find unwarranted when he reads more. This is due principally to Proudhon’s habit of using words in different senses at different times, which I regard as unfortunate. Now, in the article which gave rise to this discussion, Edgeworth inferred (or seemed to infer), from the fact that some of Proudhon’s transitional proposals allowed a share to capital for a time, that he contemplated as a permanent arrangement a division of labor’s earnings between labor and capital as two distinct things. Lest this might mislead, I took the liberty to correct it, and to state that Proudhon thought labor the only legitimate title to wealth.
Now comes Edgeworth and says that he meant by capital only the result of preparatory labor, which is as much entitled to reward as any other. Very good, say I; no one denies that. But this is not what is ordinarily meant by the “productivity of capital,” and Edgeworth, by his own rule, is bound to use words in their usual sense. The usual sense of this phrase, and the sense in which the economists use it, is that capital has such an independent share in all production that the owner of it may rightfully farm out the privilege of using it, receive a steady income from it, have it restored to him intact at the expiration of the lease, farm it out again to somebody else, and go on in this way, he and his heirs forever, living in a permanent state of idleness and luxury shnply from having performed a certain amount of “preparatory labor.” That is what Proudhon denounced as “the fiction of the productivity of capital,” and Edgeworth, in interpreting the phrase otherwise, gives it a very unusual sense, in violation of his own rule.
Moreover, what Edgeworth goes on to say about the proportional profits of landlord and tenant indicates that he has very loose ideas about the proper reward of labor, whether present or preparatory. The scientific reward (and under absolutely free compe-tition the actual reward is, in the long run, almost identical with it) of labor is the product of an equal amount of equally arduous labor. The product of an hour of Edgeworth’s labor in preparing a field for cotton culture, and the product of an hour of his tenant’s labor in sowing and harvesting the crop, ought each to exchange for the product of an hour’s labor of their neighbor, the shoemaker, or their neighbor, the tailor, or their neighbor, the grocer, or their neighbor, the doctor, provided the labor of all these parties is equally exhausting and implies equal amounts of acquired skill and equal outlays for tools and facilities. Now, supposing the cases of Edgeworth and his tenant to be representative, and not isolated; and supposing their, to produce, not for their own consumption, but for the purpose of sale, which is the purpose of practically all production,— it then makes no difference to either of them whether their hour’s labor yields five pounds of cotton or fifteen. In the one case they can get no more shoes or clothes or groceries or medical services for the fifteen pounds than they can in the other for the five. The great body of landlords and tenants, like the great body of producers in any other industry, does not profit by an increased productivity in its special field of work, except to the extent that it consumes or repurchases its own product. The profit of this increase goes to the people at large, the consumers. So it is not true (assuming always a regime of free competition) that Edgeworth’s tenant “profits three times as much” as Edgeworth because of the latter’s preparatory labors. Neither of them profit thereby, but each gets an hour of some other man’s labor for an hour of his own.
So much for the reward of labor in general. Now to get back to the question of rent.
If Edgeworth performs preparatory labor on a cotton field, the result of which would remain intact if the field lay idle, and that result is damaged by a tenant, the tenant ought to pay him for it on the basis of reward above defined. This does not bring a right of ownership to the tenant, to be sure, for the property has been destroyed and cannot be purchased. But the transaction, nevertheless, is in the nature of a sale, and not a payment for a loan. Every sale is an exchange of labor, and the tenant simply pays money representing his own labor for the result of Edgeworth’s labor which he (the tenant) has destroyed in appropriating it to his own use. If the tenant does not damage the result of Edgeworth’s preparatory labor, then, as Edgeworth admits, whatever money the tenant pays justly entitles him to that amount of ownership in the cotton field. Now, this money, paid over and above all damage, if it does not bring equivalent ownership, is payment for use, usury, and, in my terminology, rent. If Edgeworth prefers to use the word rent to signify all money paid to landlords as such by tenants as such for whatever reason, I shall think his use of the word inaccurate, but I shall not quarrel with him, and shall only protest when he interprets other men’s thought by his own definitions, as he seemed to me to have done in Proudhon’s case. If he will be similarly peaceful towards me in my use of the word, there will be no logomachy.
The difference between us is just this. Edgeworth says that from tenant to landlord there is payment for damage, and this is just rent; and there is payment for use, and that is unjust rent. I say there is payment for damage, and this is indemnification or sale, and is just; and there is payment for use, and that is rent, and is unjust. My use of the word is in accordance with the dictionary, and is more definite and discriminating than the other; moreover I find it more effective in argument. Many a time has some small proprietor, troubled with qualms of conscience and anxious to justify the source of his income, exclaimed, on learning that I believe in payment for wear and tear: “Oh! well, you believe in rent, after all; it’s only a question of how much rent;” after which he would settle back, satisfied. I have always found that the only way to give such a man’s conscience a chance to get a hold upon his thought and conduct was to insist on the narrower use of the word rent. It calls the attention much more vividly to the distinction between justice and injustice. If in thus I am guilty of neology, I am no more so than in my use of the word Anarchy, which Edgeworth adopts with great enthusiasm and employs with great effect. If the “squint” is what he objects to, why does it annoy him in one case and please him in the other?
I must add that, after what I said in my previous answer in opposition to legislative interference for the control of rents, etc., it seems hardly within the limits of fair discussion to hint that I am in favor of “procrustean measures of law.” Certainly, Edgeworth does not directly say so, but in an article avowedly written in answer to me I cannot see how the remark is otherwise pertinent.
Then and Now.
Mr. De Demain Tells How the Rich Shut out the Poor.
Boston, October 3, 2085.
My Dear Louise:
Since writing you last Mr. De Demain and I have had very few warm discussions. I realize that he belongs to an advanced age, and I to an old one, which have many things not in common. We do not stand on the same ground, and in consequence, if we were to argue for years, we should not convince each other. Then he has the living facts of the present on his side in many cases, and I find it hard work to argue against facts, especially with one who has shown himself so able to handle them. I now usually let my arguments, or would-be arguments, take the form of questions, and, like the over-smart and self-confident debater, “merely ask for information,” when I think I see an opportunity to trip my adversary by throwing a block in the way.
A few days ago Mr. De Demain was reading to me from a very interesting book on the history of the twentieth century, making verbal notes of his own, as he proceeded, for my benefit. He was in the midst of the section devoted to the last decade of state government in America, just before the final acceptance of Anarchy by the people, and was commenting on the passage which told of the struggle made by the rich against the coming new order of things.
“Why was it, Mr. De Demain,” I asked, “that there was always such a cry made by the poor against the rich? Was it not jealousy, in the main? The rich man did not consume very much more than the poor man,— not enough more, at any rate, to cause famine or even scarcity.”
“You ask a very old question and one that has been answered time and time again. It is the same question that the wise statisticians asked two hundred years ago, and they massed their figures like an army to prevent invasion of the rich man’s territory. The statisticians were the generals of the rich lords of the earth. Their armies were figures which they brought up in terrible array of long columns to frighten the slow-witted, unmathematical poor. But the guns of this terrible army were Quaker guns, and the army itself was composed of nothing but ingeniously contrived scarecrows. The people did not for a long time, however, know that they were being fooled. A dummy will serve the purpose of a genuine, flesh-and-blood man — to scare crows.
“The figures laboriously made by the statisticians did not show why the rich men kept the poor men poor. They were not arranged for that purpose. There are truths that figures will not show; there are truths that statisticians, never mind how careful their investigations or how correct their comparisons, may not know. It was not the direct robbery of the poor by the rich that kept the poor in poverty. It was that the rich monopolized all the means of wealth,— including brain development, born of leisure and opportunity.
“This statistics ignored. This the people, in their blind ignorance, did not see.
“It was, as I said, not so much that the rich took big tolls from the earnings of the poor, but they also fenced in the opportunities by means of which the poor could obtain wealth easily. A child born to poor parents found, as soon as he began to realize his necessities, that almost everything had been monopolized by those who had been so supremely fortunate as fo be born before him. He found signs stuck up every way he turned, saying, ‘This is mine; keep off!’ All of Nature’s raw material, except the air which wandered through the public streets and the few rays of sunlight that struggled in between the tops of high buildings mid the lofty branches of grand old elms that shaded the lawns of the wealthy, was locked up. The only key was money, and he soon found that to be locked up, as well. There was a big placard posted across the faces of the earth, and on it was written:
“In order to be able to exist at all, the poor unfortunate found it necessary to beg for an opportunity to toil. He went to one of the landlords of the world, and asked that he might be allowed to take some of this monopolized raw material and turn it into what the people desired. The landlord figured on the profit. If it looked big enough, he accepted the service of the poor beggar; if it did not, he pointed to the placard, and said, ‘Go!’
“It was not what the rich used that made them obnoxious to the poor; it was what they monopolized and did not use. They owned the land and all upon it and within it. The poor, in order to live, must, whether they would or no, become employees, and submit to the terms of their employers or starve.
“This in your time, I believe, was looked upon as quite the proper thing. No one but Anarchists dreamed that men did not possess the right — except by might — to gather within their grasp Nature’s resources, and demand heavy rent for their use, retaining the privilege to oust a tenant at any time and for any cause or without cause.
“I have before explained to you how the rich, with the aid of the government, monopolized money, the only means by which the poor might get possession of the raw material, so abundantly furnished by Nature, with which to add to the wealth of the world.”
Mr. De Demain continued at considerable length on this subject, but my letter is already long, so I must conclude his remarks for your benefit some other time.
Solution of the Currency Question.
Much as may be urged for the continuance of silver coinage as against the proposal for a return to gold alone under present restrictions, the chief importance of it is the practical necessity of a supply of money or currency. Simply as a standard either gold or silver might do. It would matter but little how soon government suspended the coinage of silver, if citizens were free to organize their currency banks as they organize other institutions. Government fixes the standard of weights and measures, but government does not take to itself a monopoly of the manufacture of pound weights, scales, and yardsticks. Good paper can readily be made, bottomed upon property valuable in gold. Permit financial freedom, and strong institutions will arise to do for exchange what the express companies have done for transportation. Anything which can he either deposited or mortgaged can be made the oasis of currency. The government’s transaction with the national banks shows the process with bonds. The silver certificate is another instance. Certificates of silver bullion would do as well. At least it seems to he the right of free men to be free from prohibition as to the use of such certificates, if it suits their judgment to use them. The warehouse receipt is suggestive of a scientific currency which might render producers and consumers secure against speculative corners in gold or silver coinage and against disaster from a temporary or local famine in either coinage.
But the laws of the United States government at present prevent this free exercise of a natural right. Were it not for this, there are many solid values — a majority of all exchangeable values — which could at pleasure be mobilized to the great relief of the owner and the employment of labor. What might be called interest for mutual bank money, based on deposit or warehouse receipts or mortgages, would be rather an expense charge for conducting the bank business than interest proper. National banks have got their currency from government without paying interest. This points the way to relief for the farmer, manufacturer, and merchant, without, however, making the government the depositary. Suppose that the government’s standard is gold. Then, instead of having bank currency on a pretended basis of gold, the actual things of value, such as insured buildings, ships, stocks of merchandise, and sundry commodities, including gold and silver, can be pledged to a bank organized for the purpose in every city, as valued in gold, and a propouion of the value issued in notes. Each borrower would agree to receive the bills of the bank in trade. This feature constitutes a mutual bank. It is simply a contrivance by which property-owners join together to give their notes a secondary and mere convenient form. With their notes to the bank they deposit mortgages, and the mutual bank notes are but the representatives of the mortgages, as the national bank notes are the representatives of the deposited bonds. A mortgage or a thousand-dollar bond can not be cut up and circulated in fragments, but nine hundred dollars in currency is issued on deposit of a thousand-dollar bond, and it may modestly be Stated that, if fifty or even twenty-five per cent, were issued on mortgage of available good security, at only cost of supervision, the currency question would be solved, and the basis might remain gold, for the values of property in the country would give the volume, even while gold furnished the standard.
But what, it may be asked, prevents people from getting money by deposit of mortgages? Do they not obtain it every day? What prevents the United States from issuing to the bank hard money instead of currency on deposit of bonds? If the government issued hard money, it would have to borrow it. It would have to pay interest for it. Therefore, to loan without interest it must make the currency. One goes to a bank, deposits a note with security, and borrows money, which the bank does not make, but has earned or borrowed, Hence the bank must charge a certain rate of interest, because money is scarce and wanted, and therefore commands interest everywhere. But, if the bank could make and issue the currency for mutual use among its depositors and those who see fit to accept it, the currency could be supplied at cost, or as near cost as the bank saw fit to cut its profit. Combination among citizens and competition among banks I would settle this, and let it not be deemed that one thousand I or ten thousand substantial citizens in a place could not, with their property and mutual acceptance, make a bank with paper as good as gold. It would be free from all danger in gold panics. The specie basis banks break at such times because they pretended to have gold, and people know or believe it is a fiction. If they pretended only to have the mortgagee of a large proportion of the property in the city, land every mortgagor was bound by his voluntary and legal agreement to receive the notes in trade, and the bank was I bound to nothing but to return the mortgages to the proper parties whenever they wanted to cancel them and brought in the currency which had been loaned, or its equivalent, the bank could not experience a run. The bank would always I be the secure depositary and creditor, instead of being indebted to whomsoever might hold one of its notes.
The old system has always organized panics and disaster. It may be well to consider a plan by which government would be rid of other function in regard to money than supplying the standard citizens’ banks supplying the volume, and each man possessed of imperishable property obtaining currency at a minimum cost and adding his proper proportion to the mutual guarantee. Every detail is a fit subject for the reasonable judgment of individuals organizing as for any business purpose.
The Beliefs of Anarchists.
[“An English Anarchist” in London Justice.]
It passes as a truism that public opinion — the expression of the collective moral sense — is the real sovereign of today. Its sanction has replaced the old religious sanctions as a moral restraint. Law is supposed but to give voice to its mandates, and deliberative assemblies to be its humble servants. It is admitted that the voice is muffled and unintelligible, and that the servants are treacherous and remarkably ineffective; but it is supposed that Democracy can change all that by judicious lopping and enlargement. In that supposition we Anarchists do not agree. We believe,— not only what all thinkers already admit, that a large proportion of the misery of mankind is attributable to bad Government,— but that Government is in itself essentially bad, a clumsy makeshift for the rule of each man by his own reason and conscience, which, in the present stage of civilization, has served its turn.
The idea of government sprang in barbarous times from the authority of the leader in war, and the patriarchal rule of the head of the family; it grew up in the superstition born of the fears of an ignorant age; and on the brute instincts and childishness, the ignorance and fears of mankind it has prospered ever since, until progress began slowly and surely to cut away the ground under its feet.
Whilst government was viewed as a divinely appointed arbiter in the affairs of the uninspired commonalty, it was naturally deemed its duty to watch over its subjects in all their relations, and provide, not only for their protection from all force or fraud but its own, but for their eternal welfare. But now that government and law are looked on as mere conveniences, forms destitute of sanctity, and possessing no authority but such as the aggregate of the nation are pleased to allow, it may be worth considering if the collective life of the community cannot find expression in some fashion less costly in time, wealth, and human freedom. The future of Democracy in England, as depicted by the “Pall Mall Gazette” for August 11, is not very reassuring to any but ambitious politicians. “The time in fact is already upon us, when there is no vital difference between parties, only an unscrupulous scramble for place.” If Liberals, however, strike out in a new direction, and accept the policy of opposition to the powers of Parliament, vindicated by Mr. Herbert Spencer, they can hardly fail to reduce the authority of representative government to so thin a semblance that true Liberty will be plainly visible behind it, and Liberalism be forced by a logical necessity into Anarchism. For representation — the middle-class panacea for all ills, now on its trial — recognizes in theory the right of each individual to govern himself, whilst at the same moment it forces him to delegate that right to a representative, and, in return, bestows the privilege of a practical claim to tyrannize over every one else. The freedom of the collectivity to crush the individual is not, however, true Liberty in the eyes of Anarchists. It is one of those shams which the Revolution is to destroy.
We believe opinion to be the real and inevitable expression of collective existence in civilized communities, and that its natural outlets in the public press, in literature and art, in societies, meetings, voluntary combinations of all sorts, and social intercourse are amply sufficient to enable it to act as a binding and corrective force in a society relieved from privileges and private property. Even now it is the strongest deterrent front crime; even now its punishment is the bitterest, its reward the highest, and its rule of conduct the most absolute for the average mortal. Yet, unfortunately, its sense of right and wrong is coutinually blunted and falsified by the action of the authorized exponent of justice. At the present day law is supposed in the abstract to represent the moral sense of the community as against its immoral members. Practically it cannot do so. Public morality is continually fluctuating, and, by changing as fast as its want of dignity will admit, law cannot keep up with it, and only succeeds in stereotyping the mistakes from which opinion is just shaking itself free, and fitting old precedents upon new conditions, where naturally they look absurd and do mischief. Being framed to suit a variety of cases, no two of which are alike, it is actually unjust in every one, and, moreover, becomes so complicated that, after all the efforts of a specially trained class to expound it, its awards are uncertain and mysterious to all concerned. The modes of punishment are necessarily brutal and degrading, not only to those who suffer, but to those who inflict them, and its attempts to enforce contracts and settle disputes cause at least as much suffering as they avert. Law stands, and — from what experts say of the difficulties of reform —must ever stand, hopelessly in the way of morality, rendering a higher conception of it impossible to the mass of mankind, and consequently to the public opinion which represents them.
When the collective moral sense is relieved of the incubus of law, it may still be unjust in many instances, but its injustice will take a less permanent form and one more capable of rectification, whereas its sense of justice may he perpetually widened and increased by the growth of knowledge and human sympathy. Certainly, judging from its present influence, it will be strong enough to serve as a restraint upon those individuals who refuse to respect the rights of others. But when Society has ceased deliberately to condemn certain of its members to infamy and despair from their birth, there are both physical and moral grounds for the belief that the “criminal classes” will cease to exist. Crime will become sufficiently rare to give the mass of the imputation courage to face the fact that moral depravity, like madness, is a terrible affliction, a disease to be carefully treated and remedied, not punished and augmented by ill-treatment. We know this now, but we are too cowardly or too Pharisaical to admit it.
Prevention, however, is better than cure, and the surest mode of securing virtuous citizens, as well as healthy public opinion, is by a sound system of education. The rough discipline of the Revolution will clear the air of many prejudice, and serve to raise men’s minds to a higher conception of justice and of duty, but it is on the training of children that the justice of society mainly depends. I wish I could quote the flue passages in which Michael Bakounine outlines the Anarchist theory of education in his “Dieu et I’Etat,” but that would be trespassing too far upon your space. Suffice it to say, that Anarchism considers that the one end and aim of education is to fit children for freedom. Therefore it teaches, firstly, that intellectual training should be scientific, cultivating the reason and leading it to understand and recognize the immutability of the laws of nature, and to conform to them in all things, taking knowledge of them for rule and guide in place of the arbitrary enactments of men; and, secondly, that moral training, starting with the necessary absolute authority, should proceed by the gradual removal of restraints, and by the inculcation of personal dignity and responsibility, respect for others, and the worship of truth and justice for their own sake, to form free men and women filled with reverence and love for the freedom of their fellows. This view of the subject is familiar also to readers of Mr. Herbert Spencer.
The creed of Anarchism is the cultus of Liberty, not for itself, but for what it renders possible. Authority, as exercised by men over their fellows, it holds accursed, depraving those who rule and those who submit, and blocking the path of human progress. Liberty indeed is not all, but it is the foundation of all that is good and noble; it is essential to that many-sided advance of man’s nature, expanding in numberless and ever-conflicting directions, which Walt Whitman likens to the weather, “an infinite number of currents and forces, and contributions and temperatures, and cross purposes, whose ceaseless play of counterpart upon counterpart brings constant restoration and vitality.” For is not the tendency of all rules and organizations to stiffen into set shapes, destitute of life and meaning, one of the chief causes of social deterioration?
Viewed in relation to the thought waves of our times, the strength of Anarchism seems to us to lie in its full recognition and acceptance of two lines of thought, which, though their respective champions delight to pose them as in hopeless conflict, are uniting to bring about the social revolution, i.e., Individualism and Socialism. It ignores neither the splendid triumphs of Individualism in thought and action, nor the need for brotherly association which Mazzini considered years ago as the primary necessity of modern Europe; but it holds that the longing for freedom, and the growing sense of the dependence of each on all, the responsibility of all for each, are advancing side by side, and that one cannot be sacrificed to the other without provoking a violent reaction. Therefore do Anarchists oppose all measures which tend to increase the power and influence of governments, even if their immediate result seem to be an improvement in the condition of the people. Anarchism is a new faith, as yet imperfeetly formulated, and it has been met in the society of privilege with such bitter persecution that it has retorted with the violence of despair. Contemned, hunted down, reviled, calumniated even in death, the existence of all Anarchist on the Continent at this moment is scarcely more endurable than that of a Christian in the days of the Roman Empire, victim like himself of the hatred of the world for an enthusiasm of humanity beyond its comprehension
An Enemy of Society.
Hanc pestem reipublicae. — Cicero.
Methought I saw a dark, deflant face
With fierce lips set in everlasting scorn.
And backward-blown wild locks, by storm-btasts torn.
Sad eyes, deep-caverned, not without the grace
Of tenderness, that found no resting-place
In that despairing work! whereinto born
He knew not how to make it less forlorn.
And so defied, and died: men call him base.
I saw this man: before his feet there knelt
A hunted, haggard slave, with fettered limbs
And branded check, and, “Nay—thy lot is mine,”
Smiled he, and raising, flung an arm round him.
“Who art thou?” And before I heard, I felt
His answer, “Lucias Sergius Catiline.”
The People’s Great Need.
[Patrick K. O’lally in the Woman’s World.]
A disenthralled, developed individuality, with an intelligent conviction of one’s own possibilities,— yes, of his own omnipotence,— is the great need of the AUTHORITY-ridden, LAW-ridden, GOVERNMENT-ridden, CHURCH-ridden, demented, and prostituted things called “the people.” They are lawed out of everything,— out of nature with open eyes and pendant arms. Pretty soon even Satan will consider them unworthy his industry.
“Revenge,” said Lord Bacon, “is a sort of wild justice.” It will be our aim in future numbers to show, all official disclaimers and professions of fine moral sentiment to the contrary, that Justice as now administered is nothing better than a sanctimouious and hypocritical form of revenge.
Uncle Sam the Real Culprit.
[Joseph A. Labadie in the Detroit Labor Leaf.]
I hope that it is true that the Knights of Labor had nothing to do with the brutal massacre of the Chinese in Rock Springs, Wyoming. An order whose field of operation is world-wide, and which knows no race, no creed, no sex, cannot be so inconsistent and so unjust as to countenance a war of races. It is my opinion that this cry against foreigners is redounding much more to the benefit of the capitalist and monopolist classes than it is to the working class. If our masters can only keep up the race prejudices, and pit us against the foreigners in the scramble for the dear privilege of using Nature’s bounteous gifts, which, under existing law, are absolutely under their control, there is little fear that their unjust privileges will be questioned in such a manner as to endanger them. While it may be true that the Chinese, the Hungarians, the Bulgarians, the Poles, and the other nations of the earth are not so highly “civilized” as we are, yet this is no reason why we should deny them the same rights we claim for ourselves. It is the right of every human being to live wherever he chooses on this earth. There is a good deal of nonsense in the idea that this is “our” country. Who are “we,“ anyway? Are we not “foreigners,“ or the direct descendants of foreigners? No more of this earth rightly belongs to any individual or set of individuals than is necessary for the maintenance of their own existence. There is room in America for a hundred times more people than are now here. But monopolists would make us believe that these poor wretches — who are brought here by themselves for their own ignoble purposes, by the way — are responsible for our poverty. This is not true. No one who is willing to work and earn his own living can be the cause of another’s poverty. He who stands between the laborer and the natural means of producing wealth is the real cause of poverty. We are wont to look upon Uncle Sam as the protector of the poor, of the laborer. This is a great mistake. Uncle Sam is the aider and abettor of the robbery that is continuous and that keeps you and me living from hand to month. Does not Uncle Sam uphold landlordism in all its injustice and brutality? Does not Uncle Sam sustain a law of his own making that no individual or set of individuals shall exercise the right, of issuing notes as money who has less than fifty thousand dollars? Does not Uncle Sam establish agencies all over the world that induce laborers to some here who are cheaper than those at home to work for his privileged class? Does not Uncle Sam put on a high duty to prevent you and me from buying goods wherever we can do the best, thereby forcing us to buy of his pet robbers? Uncle Sam is really at the bottom of nearly all this misery and degradation, and a great deal of it would be abolished if he would only withdraw the support of his strong arm from these pickpockets, and say to the people: “Here is a broad extent of territory that will furnish a good living to every one who will work. No one shall have more than he can use for himself and family, and I believe, if I only let you alone, this matter will regulate itself, because no one will buy or rent what he can get for nothing, and there is enough for all if no one has more than he needs. As for the matter of a medium of exchange, I don’t know much about that, anyway, as you know by my bungling attempts in that direction heretofore. and you will have to settle that among yourselves. In the matter of transportation, you all seem to be interested in having the best kind of facilities for doing that, and I guess your self-interest will lead you to finding out the best way of getting your good to market without my assistance. Come to think the matter all over, I guess you folks can take much better care of yourselves than I can, because I see that, whenever I try to help one fellow, it is always at the expense of somebody else; so I’ll just retire from business. I never was much of a business man, anyhow.” But Uncle Sam won’t say anything of the kind, because he is one of the biggest thieves in the lot, and he is bound to stay by the gang. If we could only get the old man out of the way, class conflicts, race contlicts, economic injustice, and social degradation would gradually die out. This kind of talk may be treason to Uncle Sam, but it is patriotism to the human race.
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.