“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
Vanderbilt is dead. Another bad man gone right!
I hereby pledge myself to contribute the largest block of marble that I can find for the base of a monument to be erected in memory of William H. Vanderbilt, on the single condition that I may have carved upon its face, in the largest letters that it will accommodate, the bloated brute’s most famous utterance: “The public be damned!”
The Montreal “Star” defends the murder of Louis Riel on the ground that he incited the Indians to revolt. “To raise the Indians,” it says, “is regarded by every government which has them under its control as a crime which deserves death, for it is a crime against all the laws of humanity, Indian warfare being a war of extermination, without quarter, without mercy for defenceless people, for women and children. It is the greatest possible outrage on civilization, and a crime which falls outside the class of political offences.” It would be interesting to know why it is worse to kill defenceless women and children than to kill men, even if they have weapons in their hands, who have been conscripted by government and made to fight against their will. The difference between the so-called crimes against civilization and the crimes of civilization lies principally in this,— that the latter are committed behind a veil of hypocrisy and pretence which enables their perpetrators to pass for virtuous men at the same time that they are more cruel than the barbarians.
It is difficult to believe in the honesty of “Zeno,” the State Socialist, when he bases a two-column article in the Denver “Labor Enquirer” on the assumption that Bakounine in his “God and the State” favors the arbitrary closing of dram-shops and churches. “Zeno” quotes this sentence: “In substituting for the at once illusory and brutal enjoyments of bodily and spiritual licentiousness the enjoyments, as refined as they are abundant, of humanity developed in each and all, the social revolution alone will have the power to close at the same time all the dram-shops and all the churches.” This shows, “Zeno” asserts, that Bakounine was not an opponent of the State as such, but only wanted to substitute; a new State for the existing States. Now, the context of Bakounine’s remarks on this point shows conclusively that the idea of closing dram-shops and churches by authority never entered his head. He explains that the working-people now have no escape from the dreariness of their lives, narrowed by poverty and drudgery, except by debauchery — of their bodies in the dram-shops and of their minds in the churches. But the social revolution, he claims, by abolishing poverty and creating a wide range of enjoyments for the people, will take away the patronage of the dram-shops and the churches, and thus result in their closing. This is his meaning, perfectly plain to any man who understands English. I venture to assert that no man in America, except “Zeno,” got the idea from reading “God and the State” that its author favored the prohibition of dram-shops and churches. And I don’t more than half believe that “Zeno” did. It looks very much as if “Zeno,” fearing the effect of Bakounine’s tremendous onslaught on State Socialism, felt the necessity of combatting him, and saw no other way to do it successfully than to attribute to him opinions which he never thought of championing.
Whenever Horace Seaver, editor of the “Investigator,” has anything particularly stupid to say in answer to a contributor to Liberty,— something so stupid that he does not care to be held responsible for it, lest he may be forced into a hole similar to that in which I planted him a fortnight ago,— instead of printing it, man-fashion, in his editorial column, he writes a professed communication to himself, appends some nom de plume as a signature, dates it from some obscure village in a remote corner of the State, and prints it among the correspondence of his paper. Before he does it again, he should learn to disguise his style. Such a communication appeared in the last number of the “Investigator,” signed “Anti-Anarchist” and dated from Swansea, in attempted answer to remarks made by Henry Appleton in a lecture at Newark. Mr. Seaver’s stock phrases, hackneyed arguments, and stereotyped style are so manifest in this letter that they disclose at once its real authorship. In vain does the ostrich of Paine Hall hide his head in the sand, forgetting that he long since made every diligent reader of the “Investigator” familiar with other parts of his anatomy.
“The Brockton manufacturers and the Anarchist say the rule of the majority is interference. The labor reformer and the church say government is order.” The man who made this remark in the Boston “Globe” last Sunday is the same George E. McNeill who, in company with his old-time crony, Ira Steward, Eleanor Rockwood, and other mischief-makers, once attempted to capture the New England Labor Reform League by force of numbers, and commit it as a body to the support of the eight-hour movement. The League was founded by a little body of earnest men and women interested in the labor movement, for the purpose of holding conventions for its public and free discussion. Most of them had definite convictions of their own, but no one in joining the League was committed to any belief. The purpose was not to vote principles or measures down or up, but to compare and study them in the interest of truth and justice. Here McNeill and his pals thought they saw their opportunity. So they planned and plotted and caucused, by day and by night, and entered the League convention ready for action. There was an all-day fight, and the founders of the League had to resort to all sorts of tactics to prevent the passage of the eight-hour resolution. But the invaders were successfully resisted, and a clause put in the Constitution that prevented any such attempts thereafter. It is easy to see now how these invaders excused themselves for thus attempting to enter an organization, divert it from its purpose, and compel its initiators to either leave it or accept doctrines which they did not believe. They acted, in accordance with the view now enunciated by McNeill that government is order and that numbers have a divine right to rule. Their conduct then is an index to the greater enormities they will commit if they ever get control, as they hope to, of congress and the legislatures. McNeill is guilty of another wrong when he associates the Brockton manufacturers and the Anarchists. Manufacturers, as a class, in Brockton or elsewhere, are scheming knaves, who favor liberty wherever it is for their interest to do so and oppose it everywhere else. Anarchists are social philosophers, who favor liberty everywhere and always in the interest of the equal rights of all mankind. To class the two in the same category is an attempt to slur the Anarchists by artful insinuation.
“American,” who does such admirable paragraphing for “Lucifer,” calls me to account for classifying S. P. Putnam as an Anarchist, inasmuch as that gentleman, before the New York Liberal Club, spoke as follows of Colonel Ingersoll: “No one in the world had a deeper insight into the wrongs of labor; no one had more sympathy with the oppressed, and, when the workingmen were ready to vote and to act, they would find no grander leader than Robert G. Ingersoll.” “American” adds that either I must be mistaken or Mr. Putnam is somewhat inclined to “slop over.” The latter is the true explanation. I call Mr. Putnam an Anarchist, first, because he calls himself one, and, second, because in his best moments, when truest to his ideal and his convictions, all the positions that he takes are Anarchistic. But he is subject to frequent lapses, being unfortunately, not an uncompromising reformer, but a politician and a trimmer. Consequently he is wasting opportunities and powers that might be utilized to great advantage. I have labored with him, but in vain, to show him the error of his ways. He persists in lagging in the rear of the Liberal army when he ought to be in the advance-guard. But there is this to be said for him,— that his eyes are not in the back of his head; hence he knows the advance-guard from the rear, and is constantly reminding those around him of the necessity of accelerating their pace. It is too small business for a man of his calibre, but such as it is we must be thankful for it and give him the credit of being an Anarchist at heart.
On the Wrong Track.
[Dallas Morning News.]
The Ingersoll secularists are on the wrong track in wanting to tax church property. It is not by taxation that freedom is advanced.
Why herald far and wide with loud acclaim
The empty boast that human souls are freed
From bondage to the mediaeval creed,
That would our thoughts in narrow compass frame
To see no wrong in kingly acts, nor blame
The lusty monk who proved salvation’s need
By acts of rapine, fraud, or bestial deed,
That would dark Moslem’s cheek suffuse with shame,—
When liberty is but an idle dream
To those whose lives are in the market sold,
And woven into fabrics with such art
That every tear, and groan, and bursting heart,
New lustre gives to vie with jewels’ gleam
To robe In splendor Christ’s successor — Gold!
As mountaineers from crag to crag oft leap
Ascending nature’s rough-hewn mountain sides,
And feel new life invoke still hardier strides
As nearer grows their goal; and as each heap
Of jutting rocks where wild winds fiercely sweep
Is passed with fearless step,— so Progress guides
The proletaires o’er rocky paths where danger hides
Behind each crag, till they who erst did creep
In fear, now feel their pulses quicker beat
As they drink in the freer mountain air,
And looking back see far beneath them lie
The vale wherein as slaves they thought to die,
Then serfdom’s wastes, and wages’ hard escheat,
And now the promised land of freedom fair.
Dyer D. Lum.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 70.
“Admirable!” said the Duchess, whose face lighted up a minute; “but what I am curious to know,” added she, the dark look returning, “is in what way she recited this lesson. With warmth? volubility? the same passion that she showed in the scandalous scene just before? or very gravely, coldly? or perhaps juggling the words, with regret just when she was promising to feel none? Was she sad, and was her voice sure or trembling?”
She awaited in a profound perplexity Casper’s response. He was in no haste, dallying purposely, maliciously, while a perverse joy gleamed from his eyes under the bloated lids.
He decided, however, to reply, excusing himself for his delay in furnishing the information requested by the necessity of recalling perfectly the scene which he now retraced as if it were still before him.
“Certainty the young lady did not seem joyous; in reality, she brooded rather as in a reverie and a sadness; but she conquered both, and said it all very fluently, only with a voice that was, at moments, a little husky. On the whole, she took her oath like one who sacrifices much, but who will not fail in keeping her promise.”
He scrutinized the fixed eyes of Ellen persistently and with a very complex expression, into which entered an offer of unlimited connivances; but the Duchess did not analyze it; a wholesome relaxation took place in her mind, driving out all the feverishness which had accumulated. Now Newington applauded the metamorphosis which became outwardly apparent. The frown disappeared, and the whole face relaxed and blossomed into a smile.
She had quite recovered her serenity, manifesting the calm of one from whose breast an enormous weight had been lifted and whose lungs once more performed their function. A trace even of frolic appeared in the corners of her sly mouth and sparkled in the contracted pupils of her eyes, and her whole look seemed turned again to thoughts which made her gay.
Casper put on his cap and gained the door, which Newington indicated to him by a sign; she wished to detain him, would rather retire herself, having, without rhyme or reason, disturbed an interview which was, perhaps, important.
“No, no, let him go!” ordered the Duke, resolutely. “He remains at my discretion, but as for you I consider it a rare good fortune to have you near me.”
Usually, when he proffered this complaint, she slipped away, never at a loss for pretexts, or repulsed him sharply; but this evening she did not run away when he testified — oh! sweetly, and with the accent of a prayer — the audacious desire to keep her alone with him. Her face did not even cloud when he went so far as to touch slightly with his leg the folds of her skirt and to possess himself anew of her perfumed hand, caressing with his fingers the soft flesh.
She even pushed her condescension so far as to excuse herself for having left him to take supper alone in the dulness and anguish of waiting; but they had ventured so far with Richard that the horses, covered with sweat, panting, worn out, would have returned foundered or even have died on the way.
And she gayly rehearsed the sequel of their Odyssey.
“Behold us quite out in the country, quite in the woods, dismounted, constrained to return on foot, tired, lame, bruised by the rough stones of the road, losing our way, and tempting the knife or bullet of the assassin. The horses rested themselves in the inn before a plentiful provender, and we profited by the occasion to eat, on a rickety table, the most infamous cookery.”
“Which you did not touch.....they shall bring you a lunch.”
“Thank you; on the contrary, I ate ravenously.”
“Accept: some delicate game, preserved fruits, and light cakes,.....and if you will not admit me to your table, I will serve you.”
“Like a blonde and curly-haired page.”
“Oh! cruel lady, to laugh at me for my white hairs when she gave them to me by her severity.”
“Admit that the gift is in keeping with your age. Sixty years!”
“One would think me twenty more by the filial distance at which you hold me.”
“I could grandly pass for your daughter.”
Newington, sighing with sadness, touched to the heart by this remark so unceasingly revived by Ellen, would have liked, anticipating it, to escape its sound, and he lifted a fine steel hammer on the clear dome of a large bronze bell to summon a lackey. She stopped him.
She had need of nothing, absolutely, except a little rest; admitting that her adventure had left her with a certain lassitude.
“That is just it,” said Newington, without too much concealing the vexation he felt. “It is for another to escort you with a party in which you shine, in the intoxication of the open air, of the ride which stirs your blood, of the obstacles which you overcome; and for me, you grant me on your return, bruised and slightly...cross, moments which you measure with parsimony.”
Lady Ellen merited the reproach and avowed it; only, he would not deprive her of distractions when they were so few and so little varied?
“By no means,” observed the Duke; “but why not associate me with them rather than Richard? Am I not worth as much as he for an attendant? He has never possessed my fearlessness, nor conquered savage horses, nor crossed Ireland at one stretch, nor kept in the saddle for weeks, dismounting only to change horses!”
“Yes, you accomplished all those feats, but formerly, at his age,” insinuated the Duchess, not without malice.
“I defy him still,” replied Newington, “and I suspect that you simply find more pleasure in his society than in mine.”
“Really, if he was not my son, I should be, actually jealous of him, and conceive a hatred for him.”
“Seriously?” demanded the Duchess, who, doubtless to punish him for this blasphemy, added:
“See what inevitably happens to those old men who, having sons in a situation to establish themselves, commit the presumptuous imprudence of marrying all the young ladies themselves”...
Whether it was meant as a jest, or a lesson in which was mingled the bitterness of a regret, Newington took the remark amiss, and answered it sharply, as cutting in his turn:
“In any case, my dear, Sir Bradwell is even less suited to you than I am.”
“For what reason?”
“Because he is younger than you, and with his twenty-five years he has a right to a fiancee of seventeen.”
“Of seventeen! Marian’s age,” murmured (this was too much for her) Lady Ellen, biting her lips; and under her pointed teeth trickled the pearls of her blood.
“Pardon!” said, presently, the Duke; “let us stop this quarrel in which we mutually exasperate each other. It is quite in vain, since evidently, if you preferred Richard to me, you would not inform me!”
And he offered her his hand, he solicited peace; but she preserved an obstinate taciturnity, keeping her ear open, as at first, to the sounds from without and trembling every second.
“You are sulky with me?” interrogated Newington ....“No....You are thinking of something else.”
The stifled tones of her contialto testified to the contrary, and the Duke insisted. Then she pretended that it was the wind that howled rinforzando in the woods; she mistook it for outcries, and, as if incredulous of the belief which she professed, Newington shook his head.
“I assure you,” said she; “and in your castle, moreover, perpetual terrors thus assail me. In summer, at night, if I lean out of my window to breathe the perfume of the flowers which are scattered through the garden, suddenly the aspect of a monster in the heavens, having the air of barking at the clouds or at the stars, draws from me a cry and chills my blood. These are chimeras, emerging from the battlements.”
“We will dispel them tomorrow.”
“No, for you would have to destroy the whole structure and its dependencies. Everything there causes me sudden frights,— the dancing shadows of the towers, the sound of steps on the flag-stones of the corridors, the resonance of voices under the arches of the cathedral, and suddenly, when one expects it the least, in the cold and dark winter evenings, the flapping of wings, the doleful outcry of a night bird which starts up beside one and flies away frightened by the lights.”
“Oh! well! We will raze the stones of this terrible manor haunted with so much that is frightful,” said Newington, deliberately, “and build in its place a comfortable and pleasant habitation; moreover, this plan will better suit your beauty and grace, and harmonize more with your tastes.”
“And the insurgents would penetrate it as they would a mill. Does it not seem to you, then, more practicable to emigrate into some one of your properties in England?”
Lady Ellen, in propounding this question, which expressed the favorite idea that she had had steadily in view for months, used all her customary flatteries, but with no happier result than usual; the Duke responding, as always, with some dilatory plea.
Today, above all, when sedition was muttering, what cowardice! what disgrace to put the channel between one’s self and the danger! This desertion before the enemy, he would not counsel even to her, a woman. Nevertheless, if her courage could not lift itself to the height of events; if she apprehended that her nerves would prove unequal, when the time came, to the thunder of battle, the sight of massacres, he would not force her in any way to remain, he would accede entirely to the proposition that she should go to England; she could remain there till the complete, definitive restoration of peace!
Such an accusation of cowardice, the scorn in which the Duke enveloped his authorization to run away from the quarrel, these lashes veined with purple the pallor of her skin under the powder, and, in the delirium of a rage which blinded her, she had a mad desire to reveal to him, brutally, impudently, the real reasons for which she abhorred this residence at Bunclody and why she spoke so unceasingly of exile.
The avowal, which would have avenged the injury of which the vivid redness of her face still bore token, lay close to her agitated lips that trembled like leaves in the wind; but she reflected in time on the thundering wrath it would unchain in Newington. She had never drawn it upon herself, but had often witnessed it, and violences without name signalized it. He would strike her surely, he would drag her by the hair, he would be in a frantic, wild rage over her aching, expiring body; he would kick her, he would pound her; he would kill her with the fiendish pleasure of a savage and a madman.
So, fretting inwardly, swallowing this dangerous confession, dissimulating as best she could a rancor that she inwardly promised herself to satisfy with usury later, she approved her husband’s opinion, so thoroughly in accord with the laws of honor.
Then, pleading anew her fatigue, she bowed ceremoniously, and, pushing with her satin shoe the stiff train of her dress, she walked unsteadily toward the threshold of the room.
But the Duke stopped her, pleading, with his arms humbly extended.
No, she ought not to leave him without a reconciliation, without a proper explanation. Too long had she refused herself, insensible to his claims, to his timid requests, to the court of a timorous admirer who humbled his pride, to the sorrows of a bashful lover. Would it be eternally the same?
“However,” sighed he, at the end, “I work with all my might to make myself endurable.”
“Not at this instant, nevertheless” responded she, dryly, “since I plan to go to my apartments, and you prevent me.”
“I will not prevent you if you permit me to accompany you.”
“I know the way!”
“As for me, I forget it, and I insist on learning it again.”
He grew excited; a trace of irritation rose in his prayer; the Duchess took offence at it.
“Oh! Oh! ‘I insist,’” repeated she twice over, emphasizing the word which he had never used to her before.
By an attitude pleasantly repentant, in which passion played the part of submission, the Duke tried to extenuate the offence which had vexed Ellen,— justly, on the whole,— not being one of those wives who are driven to their sensual obligations as a slave stifled in a harem.
But she received too haughtily this apology, judging it a hypocritical and mocking comedy; she divested herself neither of her queenly stateliness, which was outraged, nor of her marble coldness, and stilt exaggerated the wounding of her forgotten dignity, promising in her incensed pride to harbor in herself eternal resentment.
Then the patient giant who had been gentle and self-restrained, became exasperated; the crouching lion kicked.
And, peevish, pushing her back regardlessly into the room, Newington let loose all the rancor he had been storing up.
He had respected her caprices, endured her whims, piatiently — with an angelic patience — believing that she was passing through a crisis now that her thirtieth year was approaching; but condescension and duplicity had bounds; she had driven him to them. So much the worse for her! Hereafter, she would recogntee in him a master!
Surprised, giddy, amazed by such invectives following such an explosion of physical violence, Lady Ellen questioned herself. Had she understood rightly? Did she comprehend the meaning of the phrases which succeeded each other, hurried, sharp, brutal? Was it to her, the Duchess, that Newington addressed them with this insolent authority, this voice of which the tumult drowned the fury of the tempest roaring through the corridors, and which, overhead, on the roofs, threatened to demolish the chimneys?
Wounded in her vanity as a woman flattered, heretofore, by all,— the Duke as well as others,— touched in her glory of a queen abjectly courted, a revolt arose in her, covering her skin with quivering papillæ.
The last words, above all, sounded in her ears with all the resonance of a convent bell:
“A master!” she recognize in Newington a “master”!
A master in this man whom she had cordially detested already, and whom she hated with all her might now that he had treated her harshly. A master, and not only one who would demand an account of her time, but who would dictate to her how she should employ it, would order her to give up her rides over hill and valley where she escaped from him and principally in order to be alone, without annoyances, without witnesses, free from surprises, in the deserted country, in the depths of deaf woods, in a tête-à-tête with her lover!
Yes, her lover, Sir Richard, her lover for some months, notwithstanding the difference in their ages. Only live years, that is not an abyss? And never,— they said it to her daily, and she did not doubt it,— never had she possessed so many charms; never had her beauty, now at its height, been so enticing, so strong! Ah! the sarcasms of the Duke àpropos of her thirty years fell flat! Richard, on that account, had been averse to making her his wife!
He had taken her for a mistress while waiting, waiting to marry her later on the death of his father, very soon perhaps, for one dies easily after the sixtieth year, and when one is passionate and does not always confine one’s self to strict sobriety! Now that the Irish had taken up the matter, tormented, like her, with haste for the disappearance of a tyrant, things would precipitate themselves, surely!
She hoped it at least, so intensely that it seemed to her that her wishes ought to constrain fate to obey. And it was at this moment, it was in the midst of this altitude of her mind, that the Duke, awkwardly, in the manner of a boor, of a drover speaking to his wife, to his female, notified her to consider him as her master!
Her master, this soldier rated as a horse-jockey, demanded of her marks of tenderness, and would, at a fixed time,— whenever a frenzy should stir his blood, by night, by day, on leaving his homeric repasts, with color brisk, ear crimson, and mouth moist with lust, force her to submit to his kiss, his entwinings, his embrace!
To be continued.
Then and Now.
Money-getting and Pleasure-getting.
Boston, December 12, 2085.
My Dear Louise:
You may judge from what I have written you, I think, that the people today are not great money-getters,— that their ambition does not lead them to desire immense wealth. I think a few quotations from Mr. De Demain may give you a better conception of the matter than you have yet had.
“Ambition is energy. It is something more than desire; it has in it the element of action. It is, besides, imitative. Those who, in any age, achieve a success which is called either great or glorious set the standard of ambition which is followed by the rank and file of humanity. In the time of Alexander every boy desired to become a conqueror; so in the days of Caesar and Napoleon. In your own time, two hundred years ago, every boy desired to be a millionaire. Poor young men were encouraged by being told that Jay Gould was once a poor young man. Almost every man, until his hair was white and his steps faltering, cherished the hope that some morning he would awake and find himself possessed of a fortune. All looked upon money secured as the proof of success. Fame was desired simply as a means of gold-getting. Religion was affected because it gave an air of respectability which paved the way to wealth. Learning was sought for because through it money might be made. Wealth was the goal, and, no matter how miasmic the meadows, how high the hills, how rugged the roads, that lay between, the journey must be that way. There were pleasant paths in other directions, but there were no pots of gold at the end of the beautiful rainbows which lay in the direction of their termini.
“Ah, what terrible tracts those were over which men toiled for the sake of gasping with their last breath: ‘I am rich’! Light burdens only could be carried across that dreary desert. Men, to lighten their load, threw away love, friendship, honor, health. Where one reached the journey’s end, a thousand sank by the wayside. Perhaps a passer-by would say ‘poor fellow,’ as he saw an old-time friend sink exhausted, dying, but there was no time for more. To stop, with that mad, endless procession pushing on from behind, meant death.
“That path, marked with the whitened skulls of millions, is no longer travelled. There is no one thing today, except happiness, after which all are striving. There are little merry parties on all the pleasant paths. Those whose burdens are heavy loiter behind; those who are fleet are at the front. A weak or tired one may stop, and not fear being trampled to death by a madly-rushing herd.
“Ambition today is individual. The people’s desires are for things that money will buy, and not for the money. The desire for money simply is unnatural. Whenever it shows itself today, we look upon it as a sure sign of lunacy. The desire for things which add to the comfort and convenience, and consequently the happiness, of the individual is natural. To satisfy such a desire is a healthy ambition, and the result is all sorts of labor-saving contrivances and all sorts of pleasent pastimes.
“It is not natural for man to be idle. Because humanity today is not struggling for money, it is not to be supposed that there is any less energy leavening human action. I must repeat what I have already told you,— and not only told you, but shown you by many examples,— that ambition is as strong as ever, but it is thrown, by means of the different and far superior conditions under which men and women live, into other paths.
“The chief aim of the people is to enjoy, and the inventive genius which is natural to humanity — I say natural, because in your time it was supposed to be an outgrowth of patent laws — works itself out in contrivances which add to this enjoyment. The question is not, ‘Will this make me richer?’ but, ‘Will this make me more happy?’ Happiness is surely a more worthy ambition than wealth, even if the struggle of humanity be not so feverish.”
From what I have myself seen, I think that Mr. De Demain is right. I believe that the people of today do strive more for happiness than for wealth. They all appear prosperous, but there are none who are so very much richer than others. The contrivances for amusement which Mr. De Demain mentions are of countless number. I should much like to describe for you some of the most ingenious of them, but I can tell you better than I can write, and I may possibly see you soon.
A Letter to Grover Cleveland:
His False, Absurd, Self-Contradictory, and Ridiculous Inaugural Address.
By Lysander Spooner.
[The author reserves his copyright in this letter.]
But although the monopoly of money is one of the most glaring violations of men’s natural right to make their own contracts, and one of the most effective — perhaps the most effective — for enabling a few men to rob everybody else, and for keeping the great body of the people in poverty and servitude, it is not the only one that our government practises, nor the only one that has the same robbery in view.
The so-called taxes or duties, which the government levies upon imports, are a practical violation both of men’s natural right of property, and of their natural right to make their own contracts.
A man has the same natural right to traffic with another, who lives on the opposite side of the globe, as he has to traffic with his next-door neighbor. And any obstruction, price, or penalty, interposed by the government, to the exercise of that right, is a practical violation of the right itself.
The ten, twenty, or fifty per cent, of a man’s property, which is taken from him, for the reason that he purchased it in a foreign country, must he considered either as the price he is required to pay for the privilege of buying property in that country, or else as a penalty for having exercised his natural right of buying it in that country. Whether it be considered as a price paid for a privilege, or a penalty for having exercised a natural right, it is a violation both of his natural right of property, and of his natural right to make a contract in that country.
In short, it is nothing but downright robbery.
And when a man seeks to avoid this robbery, by evading the government robbers who are lying in wait for him,— that is, the so-called revenue officers,— whom he has as perfect a right to evade, as he has to evade any other robbers, who may be lying in wait for him,— the seizure of his whole property,— instead of the ten, twenty, or fifty per cent, that would otherwise have been taken from him,— is not merely adding so much to the robbery itself, but is adding insult to the robbery. It is punishing a man as a criminal, for simply trying to save his property from robbers.
But it will be said that these taxes or duties are laid to raise revenue for the support of the government.
Be it so, for the sake of the argument. All taxes, levied upon a man’s property for the support of government, without his consent, are mere robbery; a violation of his natural right of property. And when a government takes ten, twenty, or fifty per cent, of a man’s property, for the reason that he bought it in a foreign country, such taking is as much a violation of his natural right of property, or of his natural right to purchase property, as is the taking of property which he has himself produced, or which he has bought in his own village.
A man’s natural right of property, in a commodity he has bought in a foreign country, is intrinsically as sacred and inviolable as it is in a commodity produced at home. The foreign commodity is bought with the commodity produced at home; and therefore stands on the same footing as the commodity produced at home. And it is a plain violation of one’s right, for a government to make any distinction between them.
Government assumes to exist for the impartial protection of all rights of property. If it really exists for that purpose, it is plainly bound to make each kind of property pay its proper proportion, and only its proper proportion, of the cost of protecting all kinds. To levy upon a few kinds the cost of protecting all, is a naked robbery of the holders of those few kinds, for the benefit or the holders of all other kinds.
But the pretence that heavy taxes are levied upon imports, solely, or mainly, for the support of government, while light taxes, or no taxes at all, are levied upon property at home, is an utterly false pretence. They are levied upon the imported commodity, mainly, if not solely, for the purpose of enabling the producers of competing home commodities to extort from consumers a higher price than the home commodities would bring in free and open market. And this additional price is sheer robbery, and is known to be so. And the amount of this robbery — which goes into the pockets of the home producers — is five, ten, twenty, or fifty times greater than the amount that goes into the treasury, for the support of the government, according as the amount of the home commodities is five, ten, twenty, or fifty times greater than the amount of the imported competing commodities.
Thus the amounts that go to the support of the government, and also the amounts that go into the pockets of the home producers, in the higher prices they get for their goods, are all sheer robberies; and nothing else.
But it will he said that the heavy taxes are levied upon the foreign commodity, not to put great wealth into a few pockets, but “to protect the home laborer against the competition of the pauper labor of other countries.”
This is the great argument that is relied on to justify the robbery.
This argument must have originated with the employers of home labor, and not with the home laborers themselves.
The home laborers themselves could never have originated it, because they must have seen that, so far as they were concerned, the object of the “protection,” so-called, was, at best, only to benefit them, by robbing others who were as poor as themselves, and who had as good a right as themselves to live by their labor. That is, they must have seen that the object of the “protection” was to rob the foreign laborers, in whole, or in part, of the pittances on which they were already necessitated to live; and, secondly, to rob consumers at home,— in the increased prices of the protected commodities,— when many or most of these home consumers were also laborers as poor as themselves.
Even if any class of laborers would have been so selfish and dishonest as to wish to thus benefit themselves by injuring others, as poor as themselves, they could have had no hope of carrying-through such a scheme, if they alone were to profit by it; because they could have had no such influence with governments, as would be necessary to enable them to carry it through, in opposition to the rights and interests of consumers, both rich and poor, and much more numerous than themselves.
For these reasons it is plain that the argument originated with the employers of home labor, and not with the home laborers themselves.
And why do the employers of home labor advocate this robbery? Certainly not because they have such an intense compassion for their own laborers, that they are willing to rob everybody else, rich and poor, for their benefit. Nobody will suspect them of being influenced by any such compassion as that. But they advocate it solely because they put into their own pockets n very large portion certainly — probably three-fourths, I should judge — of the increased prices their commodities are thus made to bring in the market. The home laborers themselves probably get not more than one-fourth of these increased prices.
Thus the argument for “protection” is really an argument for robbing foreign laborers — as poor as our own — of their equal and rightful chances in our markets; and also for robbing all the home consumers of the protected article — the poor as well as the rich — in the prices they are made to pay for it. And all this is done at the instigation, and principally for the benetit, of the employers of home labor, and not for the benefit of the home laborers themselves.
Having now seen that this argument — of “protecting our home laborers against the competition of the pauper labor of other countries” — is, of itself, an utterly dishonest argument; that it is dishonest towards foreign laborers and home consumers; that it must have originated with the employers of home labor, and not with the home laborers themselves; and that the employers of home labor, and not the home laborers themselves, are to receive the principal profit of the robbery, let us now see how utterly false is the argument itself.
1. The pauper laborers (if there are any such) of other countries have just as good a right to live by their labor, and have an equal chance in our own markets, and in all the markets of the world, as have the pauper laborers, or any other laborers, of our own country.
Every human being has the same natural right to buy and sell, of and to, any and all other people in the world, as he has to buy and sell, of and to, the people of his own country. And none but tyrants and robbers deny that right. And they deny it for their own benefit solely, and not for the benetit of their laborers.
And if a man, in our own country — either from motives of profit to himself, or from motives of pity towards the pauper laborers of other countries — chooses to buy the products of the foreign pauper labor, rather than the products of the laborers of his own country, he has a perfect legal right to do so. And for any government to forbid him to do so, or to obstruct his doing so, or to punish him for doing so, is a violation of his natural right of purchasing property of whom he pleases, and from such motives as he pleases.
2. To forbid our own people to buy in the best markets, is equivalent to forbidding them to sell the products of their own labor in the best markets; for they can buy the products of foreign labor, only by giving the products of their own labor in exchange. Therefore to deny our right to buy in foreign markets, is to forbid us to sell in foreign markets. And this is a plain violation of men’s natural rights.
If, when a producer of cotton, tobacco, grain, beef, pork, butter, cheese, or any other commodity, in our own country, has carried it abroad, and exchanged it for iron or woolen goods, and has brought these latter home, the government seizes one-half of them, because they were manufactured abroad, the robbery committed upon the owner is the same as if the government had seized one-half of his cotton, tobacco, or other commodity, before he exported it; because the iron or woolen goods, which he purchased abroad with the products of his own home labor, are as much his own property, as was the commodity with which he purchased them.
Therefore the tax laid upon foreign commodities, that have been bought with the products of our home labor, are as much a robbery of the home laborer, as the same tax would have been, if laid directly upon the products of our home labor. It is, at best, only a robbery of one home laborer — the producer of cotton, tobacco, grain, beef, pork, butter, or cheese — for the benefit of another home laborer — the producer of iron or woolen goods.
3. But this whole argument is a false one, for the further reason that our home laborers do not have to compete with “the pauper labor” of any country on earth; since the actual paupers of no country on earth are engaged in producing commodities for export to any other country. They produce few, or no, other commodities than those they themselves consume; and ordinarily not even those.
There are a great many millions of actual paupers in the world. In some of the large provinces of British India, for example, it is said that nearly half the population are paupers. But I think that the commodities they are producing for export to other countries than their own, have never been heard of.
The term, “pauper labor,” is therefore a false one. And when these robbers — the employers of home labor — talk of protecting their laborers against the competition of “the pauper labor” of other countries, they do not mean that they are protecting them against the competition of actual paupers; but only against the competition of that immense body of laborers, in all parts of the world, who are kept constantly on the verge of pauperism, or starvation; who have little, or no, means of subsistence, except such as their employers see fit to give them,— which means are usually barely enough to keep them in a condition to labor.
These are the only “pauper laborers,” from whose competition our own laborers are sought to be protected. They are quite as badly off as our own laborers; and are in equal need of “protection.”
What, then, is to be done? This policy of excluding foreign commodities from our markets, is a game that all other governments can play at, as well as our own. And if it is the duty of our government to “protect” our laborers against the competition of “the pauper labor,” so-called, of all other countries, it is equally the duty of every other government to “protect” its laborers against the competition of the so-called “pauper labor” of all other countries. So that, according to this theory, each nation must either shut out entirely from its markets the products of all other countries; or, at least, lay such heavy duties upon them, as will, in some measure, “protect” its own laborers from the competition of the “pauper labor” of all other countries.
This theory, then, is that, instead of permitting all mankind to supply eaeh other’s wants, by freely exchanging their respective products with, each other, the government of each nation should rob the people of every other, by imposing heavy duties upon all commodities imported from them.
The natural effect of this scheme is to pit the so-called “pauper labor” of each country against the so-called “pauper labor” of every other country; and all for the benefit of their employers. And as it holds that so-called “pauper labor” is cheaper than free labor, it gives the employers in each country a constant motive for reducing their own laborers to the lowest condition of poverty, consistent with their ability to labor at all. In other words, the theory is, that the smaller the portion of the products of labor, that is given to the laborers, the larger will be the portion that will go into the pockets of the employers.
Now, it is not a very honorable proceeding for any government to pit its own so-called “pauper laborers” — or laborers that are on the verge of pauperism — against similar laborers in all other countries: and all for the sake of putting the principal proceeds of their labor into the pockets of a few employers.
To set two bodies of “pauper laborers” — or of laborers on the verge of pauperism — to robbing each other, for the profit of their employers, is the next thing, in point of atrocity, to setting them to killing each other, as governments have heretofore been in the habit of doing, for the benefit of their rulers.
The laborers, who are paupers, or on the verge ot pauperism — who are destitute, or on the verge of destitution comprise (with their families) doubtless nine-tenths, probably nineteen-twentieths, of all the people on the globe. They are not all wage laborers. Some of them are savages, living only as savages do. Others are barbarians, living only as barbarians do. But an immense number are mere wage laborers. Much the larger portion of these have been reduced to the condition of wage laborers, by the monopoly of land, which mere bands of robbers have succeeded in securing for themselves by military power. This is the condition of nearly all the Asiatics, and of probably one-half the Europeans. But in those portions of Europe and the United States, where manufactures have been most extensively introduced, and where, by science and machinery, great wealth has been created, the laborers have been kept in the condition of wage laborers, principally, if not wholly, by the monopoly of money. This monopoly, established in all these manufacturing countries, has made it impossible for the manufacturing countires to hire the money capital that was necessary to enable them to do business for themselves; and has consequently compelled them to sell their labor to the monopolists of money, for just such prices tis these latter should choose to give.
It is, then, by the monopoly of land, and the monopoly of money, that more than a thousand millions of the earth’s inhabitants — as savages, barbarians, and wage laborers — are kept in a state of destitution, or on the verge of destitution. Hundreds of millions of them are receiving, for their labor, not more than three, five, or, at most, ten cents a day.
In western Europe, and in the United States, where, within the last hundred and fifty years, machinery has been introduced, and where alone any considerable wealth is now created, the wage laborers, although they get so small a portion of the wealth they create, are nevertheless in a vastly better condition than are the laboring classes in other parts of the world.
If, now, the employers of wage labor, in this country,— who are also the monopolists of money,— and who are ostensibly so distressed lest their own wage laborers should suffer from the competition of the pauper labor of other countries,— have really any of that humanity, of which they make such profession, they have before them a much wider field for the display of it, than they seem to desire. That is to say, they have it in their power, not only to elevate immensely the condition of the laboring classes in this country, but also to set an example that will be very rapidly followed in all other countries; and the result will be the elevation of all oppressed laborers throughout the world. This they can do, by simply abolishing the monopoly of money. The real producers of wealth, with few or no exceptions, wjll then be able to hire all the capital they need for their industries, and will do business for themselves. They will also be able to hire their capital at very low rates of interest; and will then put into their own pockets all the proceeds of their labor, except what they pay as interest on their capital. And this amount will be too small to obstruct materially their rise to independence and wealth.
“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.
A few weeks ago I sent advertisements of the story, “Ireland,” now running in these columns to the most prominent Irish weeklies of the country through Dodd’s advertising agency. In these advertisements the fact was casually and innocently mentioned that among the regular contributors to Liberty were “Honorius” and “Phillip,” former staff-correspondents of the “Irish World,” who write for Liberty over the signatures of “X” and “H” respectively. Knowing that these men had endeared themselves by their writings to the readers of the “Irish World” beyond any other men ever connected with that paper, my purpose (a perfectly legitimate one) was to inform these readers and Irish people generally where their writings can now be found. I supposed that I was honoring the “Irish World” by announcing that two such men had ever lent it their cooperation, little supposing that its editor, Patrick Ford, was ashamed of either of them.
Great was my mistake. The advertisement duly appeared in the other Irish weeklies, but not in the “Irish World.” At first I supposed the omission was due to some failure of the mails or some oversight in the business office or composing room, and did not give it much thought. But after a reasonable time, no explanation arriving, the advertising agency was directed to inquire into the matter. It was like pulling teeth to get a reply. Days went by without any.
Meanwhile, however, I unexpectedly received an explanation of the mystery through another channel. “Honorius” himself sent me a copy of a letter which he had received from Austin E. Ford, whippersnapperin-chief to the Great Light-Spreader. He also favored me with a copy of his reply. This interesting and instructive correspondence is herewith printed.
I wish you would stop using the name of the “Irish World” in connection with your lectures and your newspaper articles. You know well that we do not agree with your ideas, and that it is unfair to make us a party to them as you do by the use of the “Irish World’s” name. I hope you will stop it, for I should be sorry to see Patrick mentioning the matter in the papers, as he will most certainly, if the thing is continued.
There is no personal ill-feeling in this. The desire is simply that you speak for yourself, and let us do the same for ourselves.
Yours very truly,
Austin E. Ford.
New York, November 21, 1885.
Your note is received. I do not know that I have ever tried to identify the “Irish World” with my propaganda, except that I may have occasionally mentioned the fact of my having been one of its staff correspondents,— an unimpeachable right of mine, which I shall always exercise whenever it suits my convenience, just as I sometimes mention the fact of my former connection with Brown University and other establishments. My right to publish my biography, or emphasize some of its experiences, even though they bear upon the “Irish World,” is one that I do not propose to alienate, even by courtesy; for on that score I owe the “Irish World” nothing.
The men who have mentioned me in connection with the “Irish World” are such as have engaged me to lecture for them, and they have done it entirely on their own responsibility. You must therefore settle your scores with them. The editors of various labor and reform papers have also mentioned “Honorius” in connection with my views. It is withthem you must settle rather than me; and, since you have put yourself into my hands, I will turn your note over to them, if you desire it. The chief sinner in this regard is Benj. R. Tucker, who, I understand, is to boom me as a lecturer in the next, number of Liberty, and may possibly refer to me as “Honorius” of the “Irish World.” If he does, then Mr. Tucker is the man to tackle; and, if you will have the kindness to tread on the tail of his coat, I have no doubt he will accommodate you.
You kindly and patronizingly remark that “you should be sorry to see Patrick mentioning the matter in the papers, as he will most certainly, if the thing is continued.” I sympathize with you in your anticipated sorrow, as such an advertisement would be a most coveted prize and recoil upon Patrick above all other men. I address you as a friend when I say that, in a public advertising scheme of Patrick versus “Honorius,” Patrick has everything to lose and “Honorius” everything to gain. If you think otherwise, then proceed.
“The way of the transgressor is hard.” The “Irish World,” once the hope of the poor and lowly, has gone back on essentially all that endeared it to humanity’s best hopes. It is morally ready to be carried out and buried. I have hoped and prayed that that kind Providence which always moved Patrick to act wiser than he knew would yet bring him back to his senses. If it does not, and his mission as an evangelist of the new light is closed, I cannot stop to bother with Patrick, but must go ahead about my business, though a thousand Patricks whine over their grave-clothes in my path.
With the same kindly feelings which you express, I am Yours most truly,
Providence, November 24, 1885.
The foregoing reply of “Honorius” so effectually disposes of the ridiculous threats and dictatorial pretensions of his whilom employer that there is little need for me to add anything to it. But it will complete the history of the matter if I add that, after being repeatedly pressed by the advertising agency for a reply, the “Irish World” finally answered that the advertisement had been rejected as objectionable, that one of its employees had been directed at the time to say so by letter, and that he claims to have obeyed orders. Those can believe the last two clauses of this answer who choose to.
But think of it! These men, admiring the paper which at that time was doing battle for justice in such seemingly manful fashion, spent their best efforts for it and its cause at wretchedly low wages,— “Honorius” especially being employed in the office and doing for a weekly pittance a vast amount of journalistic drudgery in addition to writing his signed articles, and that, too, in the years when the paper, a splendid piece of property, was at the height of its prosperity,— and now Patrick Ford, jealous of their fame, tries to extinguish it by forbidding them to use, or even mention, the signatures over which they wrote in his columns. After driving them from his support by his own false and cowardly policy, and by mutilating some of their articles and rejecting others (although they alone were responsible for the opinions expressed), he now, with most magnificent assurance, assumes the right to prevent them from informing the world that they are not yet in their graves, and makes himself a laughing-stock by threats of public exposure and repudiation. O presumption, thy name is Patrick!
A Familiar Type of Moral Coward.
There is always a certain set of panicy brains and cowardly hearts who live in eternal anxiety lest they should be “identified” with somebody or something that is off-color and of ill-repute among the mass of every-day fools who make up what is called “society.”
A few weeks ago, as is widely known, a clique of politico-liberal braves met at Albany, but, upon the presence of a no greater scare than that of E. H. Heywood and Seward Mitchell with free-love pronunciamentos in their hands, were transformed into a circus scarcely less ridiculous than that presented when two hot chestnuts are thrown into a cage of monkeys. It was not enough that the speech of these aforesaid free-lovers was securely gagged at the start: it was held that their mere presence was a menace and an insult to the convention, since it “identified” it as a body with free-love. “Not that we have anything against free-love per se,” argued they, knowing well that, whereas Heywood and Mitchell were “pure” in practice by the standards of society, most of them had been practising it for years in a nest-hiding sort of a way; oh, no! it was not this; tliey simply demanded that the convention should not be identified with such doctrines. Brave talk, this, from men who virtually were the convention.
A few years ago I was engaged to lecture before the Land League in New Bedford, and Ben Butler was announced on the same bill-board. A professor of Brown University, who unfortunately bore my name, was seized with the moral tremens upon hearing of it, and immediately telegraphed to all the New Bedford papers praying that his name might not be “identified” with socialistic and communistic theories. I can pardon the kind of intellectual baboon that fills a chair in Brown University while practising such antics, but have nothing but unmitigated contempt for such cowardly pranks among professing liberals.
The last panicy clown in the reform world to come before my notice is Patrick Ford, who does not want the “Irish World” “identified” with Anarchistic views, even to the extent of an Anarchist’s mentioning the fact that he was ever connected with that paper. Well, Ford is excusable for much, too, but Courtlandt Palmer, way up in dialectics, ethical science, Comtism, and all the exquisite agonies of “culture,” and a liberal too, is a rare bird of another stripe. How can such a lofty and polished figure, so sweetly gloved and booted, be seized with a fear lest anything could even remotely identify him with the unclean thing free-love? It is preposterous.
When Garrison was heroically storming the American conscience at the butt-end of the “Liberator,” no one ever heard him whining lest he should be “identified” with some reputed unclean or tabooed thing. He had no time for such trifles. When John Brown was defying American law and custom and treading under foot the fiction of property as against the right of a man to himself, no cowardly fear ever touched him lest he should be “identified” with thieves and brigands. When Wilberforce herded with dirty and drunken sailors during twenty years in the forecastles of ships in London docks to gather knowledge of the slave trade, he had no time to write to the London papers protesting against being identified with the views entertained by sailor boarding houses. Men of this stamp are so wholly absorbed in grand moral purposes that they spurn to belittle themselves by whining over things that incidentally touch their skirts as they push forward.
But men of little moral purpose above self-inflation are naturally timid as to what they are “identified’ with. Egotism is the chief plank in their platform. At bottom they are after prestige, fame, popularity, or some other personal phantom. Their anxiety over what they may possibly be identified with is a sure sign of moral disease and mental smallness. He in whom the love of truth, for the truth’s own sake, is incarnate rides serenely above the distorted representations of malignant men, and cares little what he is identified with. The thousand and one canting humbugs who go about stickling for their identities are generally people who, when shaken up and sifted for all they are worth as moral forces, have really no identities worth quarreling over.
Rent: Parting Words.
The terminology employed by me in the preceding numbers of Liberty needs no defence, as I have used common words in their usual sense without regard to the technicalities of schoolmen.
My admission that payments by a tenant beyond restoration of all values removed by crops, and during the years of culture, should justly be reckoned as purchase money, has nothing to do with terminology; it employs no words in an unusual sense. Therein consists, however, my radical accord with Proudhon and other modern socialists, and it cuts to the root of the tribute paid to idle landlords. The rent on real estate in cities has a compound basis, for, in addition to the equivalent for repairs and taxes common between it and agricultural rent, it includes an increment that may or may not have been earned by the owner and which is generally due to the concurrence of many individuals actuated by commercial and other social interests. A vortex, the site of which is determined by some local advantage, sucks in the population and resources of a large area.
The ethical title to the unearned increment of market values in real estate reverts to the municipal autonomy (1), but its legal title is now vested with individuals, and is the unjust basis of fortunes, like that of the Astors in New York city. Such titles carry with them at least hygienic duties, and certain tenement blocks are fairly indictable under existing laws as public nuisances.
Market gardens near cities partake of this compound basis of values, but for agricultural lands generally labor is the only factor of value and title of rent. “Reduction to Procrustean codes of law of these relations between past, and present labor which constitute capital in the soil” is an archonistic vice which I do not attribute to Mr. Tucker, but I perceive in his reply some twinges of conscience which accuse his semi-allegiance to “Pantarchate” doctrines. One of these he brings forward in the formula of exchange of labor, hour for hour; an arrangement the feasibility of which is narrowly limited in practice, and which, even when feasible, must be subordinate to personal contracts under individual sovereignty. (2) The pretension to generalize it is purely conventional and foreign to economic science. (3)
Aiming at equalitariau justice in labor exchange, Marx takes from statistical tables the average life of laborers in each department, including even the manipulation of poisons; then, if the span of life in these is reduced to, say five years, while in farm work it is sixty, he makes one hour of the latter exchange for twelve of the former.
Is it necessary to expose the puerility of such speculative views? With a despotic capitalism will cease the necessity for murderous industries. Honest labor owns no fealty to the royalty of gold; hence will abandon the quicksilver works of the Rothschilds, which have for their chief object the extraction of gold, to be kept in vaults as the basis of currency. The Labor and Produce Exchange Bank annihilates at one blow the industrial and the financial slavery.
Honest labor has no use for those paralyzing paints which are compounded with white lead. It will forge its plows as they were forged before capitalism dictated that sharpening process, to the dust of which so many lives are sacrificed by artificial phthisis. I make bold to declare that not a single murderous function will remain after the emancipation from the prejudice of government, for the political and the economic despotisms are Siamese twins. But that will not equalize exchanges, hour for hour, a system whose occasional feasibility cannot go behind personal contracts, and for Anarchists must be optional with individual sovereignty. It is a rickety child of the “Pantarchate,” that needs to be bolstered with half a dozen ifs. Not only is it incalculable for exchanges between the simpler forms of labor and those requiring years of previous study, or a costly preparation; (4) but even in agriculture or mechanics, labor is little more than the 0 that gives value to judgment and skill, without which its intervention is not only worthless, but often detrimental. (5) A mere plowman in my orchard may ruin my fruit crop by a day’s faithful work, or a surgeon cripple me for life by an operation however well intended, and, mechanically, well performed. (6)
The employer is naturally and ethically the appraiser of work, and what he wants to know is, not the cost in time or pains, but the probable value of the result, before proposing terms to labor. (7) Then the estimate of costs enters into the laborer’s answer, but, as he most often accept work the unforeseen costs of which exceed the compensation, it is unjust to restrict him from indemnifying himself on other occasions, by computing the value of his work to the employer. (8)
The “cost limit of price” doctrine is another economic fantasy (9) that flouts practical expediency, and, while qualifying particular estimates, can never become a general law.
The ethical validity of investment of past labor as the basis of rent does not need to lean upon the broken reed that Mr. Tucker supplies in his “if its result would remain intact, the field lying idle,” etc. He knows it could not remain intact, for such field would grow up in grubs and the fences would decay during idleness, but it does not follow that the field would lie idle because not rented, nor would my loss in that case be a just reason why I should not share in the fructification of my past labor by another man’s actual labor. (10) My illustration of the mechanism and conditions of the productivity of capital stands for itself and by itself; it is not a gloze or commentary upon Proudhon. His ideas and mine both harmonize with the facts of the case; that is our agreement, it is not an affair of mere verbiage.
The field in question owed its whole productivity to my previous labor. Other land contiguous was free to my tenant’s occupation and use, but, though of equal original capacities, was rejected by him as a non-value. This is true of most agricultural land. Only by contiguity to cities, or in certain exceptional sites, has land any appreciable value independent of labor, in this country.
I stated that, in making a crop upon the basis of values accumulated in the soil by my previous labor, the tenant, paying one-fourth, profited three times as much by my previous labor as I did. This is the conventional award to his season’s labor; it may be more or less than relative justice, but conventional rules or customs are infinitely preferable to arithmetical computations of a balance by the hours of labor. Farmers are not apt to he monomaniacs of book-keeping. Instead of profited, I might have written shared. The term profit touches a hyperaesthetic spot in the socialist brain, and makes thought fly off at a tangent. (11) Mr. Tucker’s commentary here is to me a mere muddle of phrases which it does not appear profitable to analyze.
There is no squint in our use of the word Anarchy. There is a squint in employing it as a synonym with confusion. (12)
(1) This smacks of Henry George. If the municipality is an organization to which every person residing within a given territory must belong and pay tribute, it is not a bit more defensible than the State itself,— in fact, is nothing but a small State,— and to vest, in it a title to any part of the value of real estate is simply land nationalization on a small scale, which no Anarchist can look upon with favor. If the municipality is a voluntary organization, it can have no titles except what it gets from the individuals composing it. If they choose to transfer their “unearned increments” to the municipality, well and good; but any individual not choosing to do so ought to be able to hold his “unearned increment” against the world. If it is unearned, certainly his neighbors did not earn it. The advent of Liberty will reduce all unearned movements to a harmless minimum.
(2) There it is again. After admitting that I do not want to impose this principle of exchange, why does Edgeworth remind me that it must be “subordinate,” etc.? When forced to a direct answer, he allows that I am not in favor of legal regulation, but immediately he proceeds with his argument as if I were. Logic commands him for a moment; then he lapses back into his instinctive inability to distinguish between a scientific principle and statute law.
(3) Who pretends to generalize it? Certainly no Anarchist. The pretension is that it will generalize itself as soon as monopoly is struck down. This generalization, far from being conventional, depends upon the abolition of conventions. Instead of being narrowly limited in practice, the labor measure of exchange will become, through Liberty, an almost universal fact.
(4) Why incalculable? Suppose a boy begins farm labor at fifteen years of age with a prospect of fifty years of work before him at one thousand dollars a year. Suppose another boy of the same age spends ten years and ten thousand dollars in studying medicine, and begins practice at twenty-five years of age with a prospect of forty years of work before him. Is it such a difficult mathematical problem to find out how great a percentage the latter must add to his prices in order to get in forty years as much as the farmer gets in fifty, and ten thousand dollars besides? Any schoolboy could solve it. Of course, labor cannot be estimated with the same degree of accuracy under all circumstances, but with the cost principle as a guide a sufficient approximation to equity is secured, while without it there is nothing but hap-hazard, scramble, and extortion. Edgeworth is mistaken, by the way, regarding the paternity of this principle. It is not a child of the “Pantarchate,” or at any rate only an adopted child, its real father having been Josiah Warren, who hated the “Pantarchate” most cordially.
(5) I have never maintained that judgment and skill are less important than labor; I have only maintained that neither judgment nor skill can he charged for in equity except so far as they have been acquired. Even then the payment is not for the judgment or skill, but for the labor of acquiring, and, in estimating the price, one hour of labor in acquiring judgment is to be considered equal — not, as now, to one day, or week, or pehaps year of manual toil — but to one hour of manual toil. The claim for judgment and skill is usually a mere pretext made to deceive the people into paying exorbitant prices, and will not bear analysis for a moment.
(6) What has this to do with the price of labor? Imagine Edgeworth or any other sensible man employing an incompetent surgeon because his services could he had for a dollar a day less than those of one more competent! The course for sensible and just men to follow is this: Employ the best workmen you can find; whomsoever you employ, pay them equitably; if they damage you, insist that they shall make the damage good, so far as possible; but do not dock their wages on the supposition that they may damage you.
(7) On the contrary, the employee, the one who does the work, is naturally and ethically the appraiser of work, and all that the employer has to say is whether he will pay the price or not. Into his answer enters the estimate of the value of the result. Under the present system he offers less than cost, and the employee. is forced to accept. But Liberty and competition will create such an enormous market for labor that no workman will be forced by his incompetency to work for less than cost, as he will always be in a position to resort to some simpler work for which he is competent and can obtain adequate pay.
(8) The old excuse: to pay Paul I must rob Peter.
(9) No, not another; the same old fantasy, if it be a fantasy. The fact that Edgeworth supposes the exchange of labor for labor to be a different thing from the “cost limit of price” doctrine shows how little he understands it.
(10) Edgeworth admitted in his previous article that he could ask nothing more than that his field should be restored to him intact, and that anything his tenant might pay in addition should be regarded as purchase money: now he not only wants his field restored intact, but insists on sharing in the results of his tenant’s labor. I can follow in no such devious path as this.
(11) It would have made no difference to me, had Edgewrorth said “shared” instead of “profited.” In that case I should simply have said that neither landlords nor tenants as such (where there is freedom of competition) share in the results of the extra fertility of soil due to preparatory labor, but that those results go to the consumers. And Edgeworth’s reply would have been the same,— that my remarks were a “muddle of phrases.” Such a reply admits of no discussion. Only our readers can judge of its justice. One of the most intelligent of them does so judge in the brief communication following this article. In saying that “farmers are not apt to be monomaniacs of bookkeeping,” Edgeworth is probably not aware that he is calling Proudhon (with whom he so obstinately insists that he is in accord) hard names. The statement occurs over and over again in Proudhon’s works that book-keeping is the final arbiter in all economical discussion. He never tires of sounding its praises. And this great writer, whose “radical accord” with Edgeworth “is not a matter of mere verbiage,” was one of the most persistent champions of the cost principle and the exchange of labor hour for hour.
(12) I presume I am entirely safe in saying that the word Anarchy is used in the sense of confusion a thousand times where it is used once in the sense of Liberty. Therefore Edgeworth’s closing assertion that “there is no squint in our use of the word Anarchy” and that “there is a squint in employing it as a synonym with confusion” shows how much reliance can be placed upon his opening assertion that in this discussion he has “used common words in their usual sense.”
A Southern Journalist’s Opinion.
Dear Mr. Tucker:
I am delighted with every issue of your paper. Your reply to Edgeworth on the question of rent is very just.
J. L. Walker.
Galveston, Texas, October 11, 1885.
An Error of the Monometallists.
One of the questions which the gold monometallic money men do not appear to ask themselves is this: Is it necessary to have any money at all? It will always be found that they favor something along with gold, to wit, bank-notes on a semi-fiat basis. An insufficiency of money would be a great evil, however perfect the money might be. Future debts may be made payable in a money apparently fixed in value, but the debtor has first to get that money. How does he know what his wheat or cotton or labor will bring next year? As he can not know this, he can not know how much effort it will require to pay a debt. Gold is not really fixed in value. For example, if another nation demonetizes silver, gold gets a greater value by reason of greater demand. The present power of gold is largely the result of restrictive laws in many countries, and therefore not an economic truth. Gold has appreciated. Silver, like it and all other commodities, varies in value, but to measure silver by the gold standard is begging a question. Let silver and gold be compared with the average of commodities, and see which metal will most nearly purchase things on an average as ten years ago. It is silver. Therefore, the creditor is equitably paid in silver, for he ean take the silver and buy the things he could have bought with his gold or silver or greenbacks ten years ago. But with gold he can now buy more.
What’s To Be Done?
By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 70.
Hearing of her shop by chance,— they told me of but one,— I came directly to her without recommendation or pretext, and simply told her that I was much interested in her shop. We became friends at our first interview, and the more easily because in her husband, Kirsanoff, I found again that Doctor Kirsanoff who rendered me so great a service, you remember, five years ago.
After talking with me for half an hour and seeing that I was really in sympathy with these things, Véra Pavlovna took me to her shop, the one which she personally superintends (the other shop is now in charge of one of her friends, also a very excellent person). I wish now to give you an account of the impression made upon me by this first visit. This impression was so vivid and new that I hastened to write it in my journal, long since abandoned, but now resumed in consequence of a peculiar circumstance which I perhaps will tell you about some time. I am very glad that I thus fixed my thoughts; otherwise I should now forget to mention many things which struck me at the time. Today, after two weeks, what astonished me so much seems ordinary. And, curiously enough, the more ordinary I find it all, the more I become attached to it.
Having said thus much, dear Polina, I now copy my journal, adding to it some later observations.
We then went to the shop. On entering, I saw a large room, well furnished and containing a grand piano, as if the room belonged to the residence of a family spending four or five thousand roubles a year. It was the reception room; the-sewing-women also spent their evenings there. Then we visited the twenty other rooms ocupied by the working-women. They are all very well furnished, although the furniture is not alike in all of them, having been bought as occasion required.
After seeing the rooms where the working-women slept, we went into the rooms where they worked. There I found young girls very well dressed in inexpensive silk or muslin. It was evident from their gentle and tender faces that they lived comfortably. You cannot imagine how I was struck by all this. I made the acquaintance of several of these young girls on the spot. All had not reached the same degree of intellectual development: some already used the language of educated people, had some acquaintance with literature, like our young ladies, and knew a little about history and foreign countries; two of them had even read a great deal. Others, who had been in the shop but a short time, were less developed, but still one could talk with any of them as with a young girl who has received a certain amount of education. Generally speaking, the degree of their development is proportional to the time that they have been in the shop.
We stayed there to dinner. The dinner consists of three dishes; that day they had rice soup, baked fish with sauce, and veal; after dinner tea and coffee were served. The dinner was so good that I ate with great relish; I should not consider it a privation to eat so always, and yet you know that my father has always had a very good cook.
When we returned to Véra Pavlovna’s, she and her husband explained to me that there was nothing astonishing in this. All that I saw, they said, was due to two causes.
On the one hand a greater profit for the sewing-women, and on the other a greater economy in their expenses.
Do you understand why they earn more? They work on their own account, they are their own employers, and consequently they get the part which would otherwise remain in their employer’s pocket. But taht is not all; in working for their own benefit and at their own cost, they save in provisions and time; their work goes on faster and with less expense.
It is evident that there is a great saving also in the cost of their maintenance. They buy everything at wholesale and for cash, and consequently get everything cheaper than if they bought on credit and at retail.
Besides this, many expenses are much diminished, and some become utterly useless.
According to the calculation made for me by Kirsanoff, the sewing-women, instead of the hundred roubles a year which they ordinarily earn, receive two hundred, but, by living in cooperation and buying everything at wholesale and in quantities not exceeding the wants of the association (for instance, the twenty-five working-women have only five umbrellas), they use these two hundred roubles twice as advantageously.
Such is the marvel that I have seen, dear Polina, the explanation of which is so simple. Now I am so accustomed to this marvel that it seems strange to me that I was ever astonished at it. Why did I not expect to find everything as I did find it?
Write me whether you can interest yourself in a shop of this sort. I am doing so, Polina, and find it very pleasant.
New Characters and the Conclusion.
Mademoiselle Polosoff said in her letter to her friend that she was under obligations to Véra Pavlovna’s husband. To understand this it is necessary to know who her father was.
Polosoff had been a captain or lieutenant, but had resigned his office. Following the custom of the good old days, he had led a dissipated life and devoured a large inheritance. After having spent all he had, he reformed and sent in his resignation, in order to make a new fortune. Gathering up the debris of his old fortune, he had left about ten thousand roubles in the paper money of that time.* With this sum he started as a small dealer in wheat; he began by taking all sorts of little contracts, availing himself of every advantageous opportunity when his means permitted, and in ten years he amassed a considerable capital. With the reputation of so positive and shrewd a man, and with his rank and name well known in the vicinity, he could select a bride from the daughters of the merchants in the two provinces in which he did business. He reasonably chose one with a dowry of half a million (likewise in paper). He was then fifty years old; that was twenty years before the time when his daughter and Véra Pavlovna became friends, as we have seen. With this new fortune added to his own, he was able to do business on a large scale, and ten years later he found himself a millionaire in the money then in circulation. His wife, accustomed to country life, had kept him away from the capital; but she died, and then he went to St. Petersburg to live. His business took a still better turn, and in another ten years he was reputed to be worth three or four millions. Young girls and widows set their caps for him, but he did not wish to marry again, partly through fidelity to his wife’s memory, and still more because he did not wish to impose a step-mother upon his daughter Katia, of whom he was very fond.
Polosoff’s operations grew larger and larger; he might already have been the possessor, not of three or four millions, but of a good ten, had he taken the liquor privilege; but he felt a certain repugnance to that business, which he did not consider as respectable as contracts and supplies. His millionaire colleagues made great fun of this casuistry, and they were not wrong; but he, though wrong, held to his opinion. “I am a merchant,” said he, “and I do not wish to get rich by extortion.” Nevertheless, about a year before his daughter made Véra Pavlovna’s acquaintance, he was furnished with only too glaring a proof that his business at bottom was scarcely distinguishable from the liquor monopoly, although in his opinion it differed much.
To be continued.
* A silver rouble, in the money of today, is worth three and one-half times as much as paper rouble.
“Culture” and Thought.
“They are but giants while we kneel.”
Having heard all my life from those who claimed to know that the difference between the rich and the poor was due to the superior thinking powers of the former, I went to a meeting of the Newark Bureau of Associated Charities, where it was advertised that the Rev. Edward Everett Hale would speak on the “Abolition of Poverty.” The meeting, which was a very large one, was held in a church, and there were none of those poor coats and bonnets which we have been taught to associate with lack of brains, but a grand array of costly over-coats, and seal-skin sasques, and Paris bonnets, which evidently denoted in their possessors an unusual amount of intelligence. Here, thought I, is a grand opportunity for hearing words of wisdom; now that the cultured classes are awakened to the fact that there is poverty, and that it is removable, the solution of the labor question will receive a wonderful impetus, and the only reason that this question has not received its solution before is that these powerful minds have been directing their attention elsewhere.
The meeting opened by the president stating that the object of the society was the Abolition of Poverty, surely a very large object, and one well worthy of our support, and that its methods of work consisted in Investigation, Cooperation, and Sympathy. The investigation was designed to discover the causes of poverty, but I noticed that the society, which has four paid superintendents who devote their whole time and energy to the work, and an executive committee of forty ladies who have nothing else to do, after four years’ investigation, has not yet discovered that monopoly has any share in the production of poverty; strange, is it not, with such brains! The cooperation consisted in focussing the rays of the organization on any object considered “worthy of charityand the sympathy,— I have forgotten how the sympathy acted, probably a tear dropped now and then.
The annual report of the society was then read, showing that in this city of Newark 3147 families, representing 13.798 persons, had applied for relief. It certainly is time that the question of the abolition of poverty were taken into earnest consideration, when one in every eleven of the population of a small city like this, is so reduced as to have to solicit relief from a charitable society.
The first speaker, a Rev. Dr. Wilson, told us that poverty and riches were increasing simultaneously; that every day the rich were growing richer and the poor poorer; that the gulf between them was widening, etc.; and that the most touching sight in the world was that of the laboring man up with the lark [Do larks inhabit the tenement-house regions?] and away to work, but unable by the most unremitting toil to earn enough to keep body and soul togethe; it almost made him shed tears to witness it. But as it was a natural law that things tenden to propagate themselves, he could see nothing through the ages but wealth multiplying on the one hand, and poverty and crime on the other, unless we took in the holy power of prayer. The reverend gentleman did not say to whom or how or how often the prayer should be administered, nor how its curative effects would manifest themselves.
Then appeared Monsignor Doane, a very much over-fed and sleek-looking man, with a very low brow, but who neverletheless represented abstinence and culture, who talked about the intemperance of the working-classes. A on higher than us had said, “the poor ye shall have always with you,” and he thought there was a necessary and an unnecessary poverty, the unnecessary poverty being caused by drinking; for instance, he knew a mechanic who was earning fifteen dollars a week, and who lost twenty-two and one-half dollars by being idle ten days after a spree. There was a great deal of talk about abolishing poverty, as there was about abolishing landlordism, but poverty and landlordism were both legitimate, and could never be abolished. Perhaps they can, some day, Monsignor, and you and your intemperance with them!
Next was Mr. Lyman Abbott of the “Christian Union,” who was the only man that showed any comprehension that there was a labor question, and who consequently did not at all appeal to the sympathies of the audience. He called attention to the fact that crime and intemperance were almost entirely dependent on poverty; that poverty could not be relieved by a soup-house here, or a dollar there, or a sewing-society somewhere else; that there was a broader, a deeper, and a greater question to be solved than the relief of the mere temporary needs of the people, when statistics showed that in Germany the wages of the skilled mechanics were only $105 a year, that in Italy and France and Austria things were very much the same, that in England many thousands were on the verge of starvation, and that in this country, which claimed, and claimed truly, twenty-five years ago, that no man able and willing to work, and no woman capable, strong, and well, but could find bread and butter too,— that this claim could no longer be made, for there were now at least five hundred thousand people in this rich country of ours who could find neither bread nor work, who were in what Carlyle called the Englishman’s Hell, the hell of enforced idleness. This question of ill-paid, under-paid, or no labor, which soup-houses or organized charity will not solve, Mr. Abbott said, is making itself heard in St. Louis in dynamite under the ears, in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Chicago in armed men patrolling the streets, and in New York in street processions advocating the hanging of Jay Gould. Unless the Church can produce its Savonarola, who will have purification at all hazards; unless the State can produce statesmen who are pledged to lessen the burdens of the poor, and put down the gambling in Wall Street,— society is doomed to a greater than the French Revolution. Mr. Abbott drew a very vivid picture of what it is to be a man face to face with the terrible question of finding bread for his wife and little ones, near and dear to him as the best-beloved darlings of the rich, and unable by the most strenuous exertion to keep the wolf from their door. Is it any wonder that such a man walking along one of the well-lighted avenues of an evening, and looking into the beautifully-curtained windows where everything seetns so delightful, should harbor dangerous thoughts against society, and should ask himself why they should have so much and he so little, who is every bit as good as they are. Then he pictured the pure young girl with a mother and little sister looking to her for support, who sees on one ide of her the false bad man with gold in his hand, and, on the other, a respectable, virtuous life for sixty-five cents a day. What wonder that she succumbs, and that a pure woman, with noble instincts and generous heart as ever beat in human bosom is lost to herself and to society forever because she must take to the only means which will support life in her and her loved ones!
Then came the climax, culture shone forth resplendent, and the great question was illuminated in a manner truly wonderful. Mr. Hale proved that five hundred thousand out of work was not very much in such a large country as this (I hope the five hundred thousand will take this to heart; it may help to allay the pangs of hunger); that organized charity was capable of settling the whole question; that what was wanted was compulsory education in technical schools, ladies’ societies in which working girls who earned only sixty-five cents a day should be taught to sew better so that in time they might earn seventy or even seventy-five cents; and that what paupers and criminals needed were personal friends — gentlemen, and especially ladies, who need not give up their society connections to do it — to go down to them in a spirit of friendliness, and with the Holy Spirit! I wonder how much Holy Spirit it would take to prevent Mr. Hale’s descent into vice if he were earning sixty-five cents a day. Mr. Hale spoke against the old system of charity, the system of out-door relief, etc., under which men went from one distributing place to another to draw wood, coal, provisions, etc., much, my dear friends, as you go from place to place to draw your dividends. I wonder if the reverend gentleman saw how very apt his illustration was, how the cases were, in fact, identical, both the drawing of dividends and the drawing of wood, coal, and provisions signifying the taking something and giving nothing in return.
The only gleam of comfort to be derived from such an affair as the above-described, to a hater of the existing social order, is in the recognition of the fact that we are not governed by an aristocracy of intelligence; that, if there is any difference in intelligence between the governing and the working classes, it is in favor of the latter, despite all their disadvantages: that the power of original, independent thought amongst the cultured classes is very rare; and that their morality is at as low an ebb as.their intelligence. It is a significant fact that the word justice never once occurred in their immense avalanche of language; perhaps it is too hard a word; it certainly is not so soft and pretty as charity, to be touched by those with soft hands.
It is comforting, on the whole, to reflect that true culture, true intelligence, and true morality can never be gained at the expense of our fellow-creatures, and that, if the exploiters succeed in dwarfing our growth, they none the less sarely dwarf themselves, and inevitably tend to their own destruction.
Gertrude B. Kelly.
In Memory of Elizur Wright.
To the Editor of Liberty:
At a meeting of the National Defence Association held Wednesday evening, November 25, 1885, the following resolutions were adopted concerning the death of our late president, the Hon. Elizur Wright:
Resolved: That, in the death of the Hon. Elizur Wright, the president of this association, the cause of liberty has suffered an irreparable loss, being thereby deprived of the services of one of the staunchest advocates of freedom, who for more than half a century has devoted himself with unflagging courage to the cause of the oppressed and to the vindication of personal rights.
Resolved: That the example of this heroic officer of the defence association shall stimulate its members to still greater exertions in behalf of personal liberty, for which, to the hour of his death, our beloved leader was ready to sacrifice himself to the utmost.
Resolved: That we extend to his family our heartiest sympathy, and believe that in the hour of affliction they will find noble consolation In the memory of his years of devotion to the highest welfare of humanity.
Resolved: That a copy of these resolutions be sent by the secretary of this association to the family of our deceased president.
E. B. Footr, Jr., Secretary.
New York, November 27,1885.
The thought of presenting new ideas in the form of a novel — that is, of embodying abstract principles in certain individuals is — an excellent one, for many persons who would never read a philosophical dissertation may, by the interest excited in these imaginary beings and their views of life, be led to examine the principles themselves, which otherwise would probably never have attracted their attention. The signal success which Tchernychewsky’s novel has achieved in awaking thought on the marital relations has very clearly shown the value of this mode of presentation.
It is, therefore, with delight that we have a now effort in a similar direction. The novel, “The Dawning,” recently publishedd by Lee & Shepard, will, we hope, find a large number of readers. It relates the history of a young Bostonian, moving in aristocratic circles, whose grandfather was an abolitionist, and whose mother was endowed with a very strict sense of justice. This young man, gifted with finer than the ordinary sensibilities, entered Harvard with the purpose of studying law, believing in his innocence law and justice to be identical, but found, long before his studies were completed, that law consisted merely of a mass of technicalities and precedents, with which justice had nothing whatsoever to do. Consequently he gave up the idea of devoting himself to it, but, on looking around to see to what to turn his attention, found that the church, literature, etc., were as corrupt as the law; that nothing was respectable but that which favored injustice. Though not by any means an agitator, he found himself, for simply stating his views of right when almost forced to do so, tabooed by cultured society as a “disturber” and upsetter of social order. Nobody argued with him except so far as to say, that things had always been so, and consequently must be right.
The extent to which the son’s love of truth was due to the influence exerted over him by his mother is very beautifully depicted by the author: “If in his later years the lines of justice were distinctly drawn in his character, her hand was the first to trace them. If the idea of absolute right became the controlling guide of his life, she planted the seeds of it.”
The character of the heroine, Grace Temple, for which the author vouches as being drawn from real life, is a type of noble and true womanhood. Let us hope that New England produces many such women, though it has not been our good fortune as yet to meet them. Her gradual awakening from being a mere butterfly of fashion to a sense of the injustic prevailing in society, her complete acceptance of the truth as soon as discovered, and her determination to work for its success, are admirably portrayed. Her remarks before the “Ladies’ Mission for the Encouragement of Workingmen’s Wives,” where the orthodox cant in reference to idleness, extravagance, and intemperance being the causes of poverty is being aired, are extremely good; among others, this: — “It does not lie in our life to reproach them for their vices till we pay them their honest due.” Her answer to her lover when he asked her in marriage is characteristic: “She who accepts the treasure of your affections should be one whose dearest aims and highest purposes can unite with yours.” The lover is completely surprised. He had never thought of a cultivated woman’s having any aim or purpose but that of presiding over her home gracefully.
The pride of the working-people who will accept no favors at any man’s hands, and wish for nothing but what is theirs by right, is well pictured in the Bracketts and the Stearns. The grand nobility of the woman who is willing to work at “setting type” from six in the morning till seven at night, and do all her housework afterwards, in order that her children should never be disgraced by eating the bread of charity is very touchingly portrayed. How little the rich know what a pride poor people have in their independence! It would open the eyes of many besides Grace Temple to realize this fact, though Dickens long ago pointed it out in a still lower class in the character of Betty Higden. Stearns, the workingman-reader of Buckle, who turns to Buckle for consolation in his darkest hours, and spends his nights at the S. R. C. trying to discover the causes of social inequality, is a very good type of the thoughtful, earnest workman, who talks somewhat “like a book.” We may remark, by the way, that those who understand and appreciate Buckle and Spencer are not the college-students who read so many chapters as a task, but the thoughtful mechanics who study them line by line, and page by page, after a long day’s work, or in the intervals when no work is to be had, and starvation stares them in the face. This character of Stearns, with his comprehensive views, and in all its nobility, is by no means overdrawn.
The hero’s (and we suppose the author’s) ideas of justice and right are, in the main, partly clear, but there is one point to which we wish to draw attention, in order that it may not mislead the reader. He makes this statement (page 334): “After labor has received its dues, the natural profits of capital remain.” There are no natural profits of capital. It is labor only that produces, and, if labor receive all its products, there is nothing left for capital. The author also derides the doctrine of self-interest, as if self-interest were incompatible with the highest hopes and aspirations of men, whereas true self-interest to incompatible with anything else, it being impossible to reach the highest development our-selves without lifting all the others up also.
But the book is, on the whole, so good, and breathes such pure sentiments, that we are convinced that no one can read it without being elevated thereby, and we especially recommend it to those young men and women who are just entering upon life, and have not yet decided what part to take in it. It may help them to see, in the words of the author, “that it is not what a man gains, but what he strives for, that indicates the tone and fibre of his character,” and that true happiness lies not ill the beaten paths of the world, but in the comparatively untried paths of justice and truth.
The Order of Progress.
[C. L. James.]
I maintain that every recorded “improvement in the people” was preceded by an “improvement in the government,” and that every such improvement consisted in having less government than before.
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.