“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.
By the tardy act of the president of France Prince Kropotkine and Louise Michel are free. Doubtless they come out of prison intenser rebels than they went in, and will devote themselves to Anarchistic propagandises with more energy than ever.
Liberty is in receipt of the first number of the “Irish Echo,” an eight-page monthly journal devoted to the worthy purpose of cultivating the Irish language and publishing its copious literature. P. J. O’Daly is the editor, and it is published at fifty cents a year by the Philo-Celtic Society, 176 Tremont St., Boston, Mass.
I owe it to Henry Appleton to state that my paragraph in the last issue of Liberty quoting him as advising the newsdealers to join the Knights of Labor did not represent him accurately. He did not so advise the newsdealers. I was misled by the fact that, in advising the newsdealers to organize, he at the same time remarked upon the power that had been attained by the Knights of Labor. It was the easier for me to make this mistake because I knew that there was talk of the newsdealers joining the Knights. Tn his editorial in another column, “Whither are we Drifting?” Mr. Appleton speaks with no uncertain sound of such organizations as the Knights of Labor, and leaves no doubt as to his real opinion of their principles and methods.
The New York “Sun” professes to think it very funny that some of John Ruskin’s admirers propose to honor him with a testimonial as a political economist instead of as a writer. Nevertheless the time is fast approaching when it will be recognized that Ruskin’s economic teachings are as much more important than his work in art and literature, great as the latter has been, as the subject-matter of political economy is of more vital and fundamental interest to humanity than that of either art or literature. Mr. Dana is wise in contenting himself with ridiculing Mr. Ruskin. He is too shrewd to attempt to controvert him. Ruskin’s analytical exposure of the thievery by which riches are now accumulated will stand the test of ages and prove the greatest of his many services to the world.
Dr. P. P. Field told the Manhattan Liberal Club recently that the Anarchist and the State Socialist must be reconciled in order to have a harmonious society, and that to this end “the State Socialist will have to recognize that the principle of freedom or individuality cannot be ignored, and the Anarchist will have to recognize that the principle of order or government, or superiorities, etc., etc., cannot be ignored.” That is to say, today John Smith is a State Socialist and John Brown is an Anarchist, and consequently there is no harmony; tomorrow John Brown must become a State Socialist and John Smith must become an Anarchist, and then there will be harmony. What bosh this eclecticism is! If Dr. Field means by the principle of government the principle at the bottom of a social order in which the individual is made subordinate to no extraneous will, the Anarchist recognizes it already and always has recognized it. But that is not at all what the State Socialist means by government. If there is to be any reconciliation, the State Socialists have got to come to the Anarchists, for the Anarchists will never go to the State Socialists,— no, not one step.
Anarchy and Pantarchy.
The article of J. Wm. Lloyd in Liberty of December 26 is so strikingly clear in its discrimination, so strong in its conclusions, and so fairly open to counter-statement when wrong, that I am tempted to say a word front my own point of view. The expressions that I wish to eriticise are these:
And this question of human right must be studied from the standpoint of the individual, Nature having made no collective reason to attend to the needs of all humanity, but only individual reasons to the needs of individuals. And this is the true standpoint from which to study the needs of humanity. Those reformers who have endeavored to legislate for the individual from the standpoint of humanity have usually only succeeded by their Jack O’Lanterns in leading him into deeper swamps, from which he must extricate himself as best he may. But no reformer ever secured justice for any single man without benefiting all men for all time. The simple truth is grander than the most glorious error. But there is no real conflict here. From a philosophical elevation the needs of the individual and of the race are seen to be identical. Why, then, is it not as well to take humanity for a starting point as to take the individual? Because the only way to adequately understand the needs of the whole is to understand the needs of the parts.
That Nature has made no collective reason to attend to the needs of all humanity, but only individual reasons to attend to the needs of individuals, is a statement that may he permitted to stand, in its first branch as to the absence of a collective reason,— although this may be and is questioned,— but that the individual reasons have no other function than to attend to the needs of individuals is demurred to. Our individual reasons have, on the contrary, two opposite things to attend to,— one the needs of individuals, and, second, the needs of the collective whole; and hence to study the needs of humanity from the point of view of individuals is no more the true standpoint than the other; and finally, there is, third, the point of intermediation and reconciliation between the other two.
When Mr. Lloyd appeals to the failure of legislative reforms in the past, from the standpoint of humanity, he ceases to be the philosophical thinker, and becomes only the commentator upon the bungling facts of an unscientific historical past. He returns to his character as a thinker when he says “no reformer ever secured justice for any single man without benefiting all men for all time.” That is true, not literally, but ideally; but it is just as true that no reformer would ever attain to and promulgate a just system of the collective truths of humanity without ideally benefiting all the individuals of all time. But he adds: “There is no real conflict here. From a philosophical elevation the needs of the individual and of the race are seen to be identical.” This is a radical mistake. It is precisely at this point that Mr. Lloyd and nearly every other approximately radical thinker slide away from the demands of vigorous logical analysis and fall into error. There is a very real conflict between the two things. From a still higher philosophical elevation the needs of the individual and the needs of the race are seen to be never identical, but always in opposition to each other. They are, however, reconcilable, and it belongs to social science to reconcile them. The first step in doing this is to recognize their separateness and oppositeness, to draw in a word rigorously the line of difference between identity and reconcilableness. They concern the same subject-matter as viewed from the two opposite ends of the stick; and can never be made one; although we, in our consideration of them, may harmoniously oscillate between the two. If two points approximate each other until they occupy the same position, they are identified, or become one, obliterating their difference. This is identity. But, if the two points remain distinct, they are always antagonistic, each asserting its supremacy, or giving emphasis to itself and endeavoring to subordinate the other. Anything to be, at all, must assert itself, as against the whole universe, and is therefore in essential antagonism with whatsoever it is contrasted. It is only, then, by inserting an intermediate point around which they shall oscillate, admitting the element of time, change of the point of view, or continuous alternation, which is the method of harmony — an immensely different thing from mere identity; and the comprehension of which makes the true or integral philosopher in the place of the partisan or mere social sectarian,— although this last is the more effective man for the special occasion. Whosoever fails to do this and gives a supreme emphasis to one or the other end of the stick or beam cants it, and himself is dealing in cant, however philosophical and discriminating he may seem to be. It is not with the compulsion of legislation that we are now to compare the freedom of Anarchy, but with the supreme compulsion of philosophical analysis, definition, and demonstration; to all which Mr. Lloyd should himself, with his order of mind, be eminently amenable. It is this oscillation of harmony between the principle of freedom and the principle of order, which Pantarchism contrasts with Anarchism, pure and simple.
It is not true that the only way to adequately understand the needs of the whole is to understand the needs of the parts. It is just as true that to adequately understand the needs of the parts it is indispensable to comprehend the needs of the whole, and to take always as one of our points of departure the Unities of the Race, in respect to Religion, Government, Social Constitution, Language, and the like; in a word, to be Pantarchical in our outlook no less than Anarchical.
The question may arise why is it necessary to make so much ado about an abstract discrimination like that between identification, which wipes out or slurs over differences, and harmony, which reconciles them. The reply is perhaps now obvious from the illustrations that have been made. But it should be added that, in matters of this kind, the least things are the greatest things; and the minutest lines of discrimination, the most important, from their consequences. In this case the mere failure to comprehend this difference between sameness and difference — with reconciliation — leaves Individualists insusceptible to the claims of the Higher Integration; while with it understood and adopted, they become at once amenable to the whole immense scope of Pantarchal philosophy. If, then, “Christianity says carry neither sword nor shield, and Anarchy says carry your sword for protection and use it only when your shield will not avail”: then Pantarchism says do one or both according to exigency and adaptation; and, whenever the time has arrived, “beat your swords into plonghshares and your spears into pruninghooks and learn war no more”; that is to say, become peaceful social reconstructionists, instead of either victims, or soldiers in revolt, and to that end study and avail yourselves of Universological Sociology.
Stephen Pearl Andrews.
[It seems to me that Mr. Andrews himself illustrates the insignificance of his distinction by the insignificance of its practical application in the matter of the sword and shield. His fancied distinction between Pantarchism’s advice regarding their use and that of Anarchism is no distinction at all. Mr. Lloyd was distinguishing between Anarchy and Christianity. Christianity tells the world to beat its swords into ploughshares at once, without regard to seeming exigency. Of course, if this is done, Pantarchism’s advice to use the sword or not according to exigency becomes vain words. But Mr. Lloyd repudiates Christianity’s counsel, and adopts that of Anarchy, which, as he states it, is substantially the same as that of Pantarchism. Knowing his readers not to be infants, Mr. Lloyd did not feel it necessary to explain that Anarchy’s advice does not involve carrying the sword after there is no longer any liability of need of it, or even carrying it at the side when the need is not imminent. Anarchy and Mr. Lloyd say that, as long as there is any liability of needing a sword, a sword shall be available, and that, when this liability disappears, the sword shall be beaten into a ploughshare. If Mr. Andrews does not understand this to be Anarchistic doctrine, he needs to study Anarchism much more than Mr. Lloyd needs to study Universological Sociology. — Editor Liberty.]
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 73.
The two ministers nodded assent, and the florid Englishman resumed:
“That is the point to which I wish to come; the agitators, really the responsible ones, in an insurrection, are the criminals whose capture is of most importance, that they may be chastised in an exemplary manner.”
The priest and the pastor gave another sign of assent; Lichfield had expressed an indisputable truth; it admitted, however, one limitation; the torment inflicted on the instigators should not prevent the punishment of those who allowed themselves to be drawn in.
“They are not less guilty for listening to a disloyal voice,” said Father Richmond, forgetting for an instant his breviary.
“When the voice of God by our mouths,” interrupted Sir Archibald, filling his nostrils — not without staining his lips — with some perfumed Spanish snuff, which he took from a little gold box, “forbids them to seek here below the degrading satisfactions of base sensual appetites.”
“When the sublime higher aspirations,” concluded Sir Richmond, “the blessings of the soul and spiritual riches are largely reserved for them.”
Well and good! The Englishman shared their opinion; he insisted, nevertheless, that they should make the punishment of the leaders a hundred times stronger. This was, moreover, the opinion of the governor; he did not waste his time by setting a price on the heads of small fry, and he offered large premiums for those of the leaders.
“Ah!” said the priest and the curate, both at once.
Lichfield, whose insignificant china-blue eyes glittered like gold, stealthily observed them both; he resumed:
“Yes, amounts sufficient to assure tranquillity, ease, and ever, luxuries for the rest of his days to whoever gets the chance to lay his hand on the neck of one of these disturbers.
“For Harvey, the royal treasury will pay twenty-five thousand pounds sterling to whoever delivers him up, dead or alive.”
“Really!” said the priest.
The curate protested that he would willingly apprehend the individual in question, if they really attributed such high importance to his capture; but he would make it a duty and refuse the money, believing that to touch the price of blood, no matter whose, would dishonor him; but neither of the two priests knew this precious Harvey from Eve or Adam; they heard his name for the first time.
“You have perhaps seen him without suspecting his personality,” said the merchant; “according to the latest news, in the region from which I come, and through which he had passed, they pretended that he was shaping his course in this direction.”
At their request, he began to give in detail his description: “a high distinction and an extraordinary resolution, the glance of an eagle, a courage that overcomes all obstacles.”
“Precisely; so far many persons would answer to this compromising description,” said the priest, with a comical inquietude and thinking of himself.
But Tom changed his mind, pretending the need of evidence more ample and clear.
Secretly he added:
“Evidently these two soothsayers have not perceived the bird, and it is useless, it would be absurd, to excite the desire to hunt on the same scent as ourselves.”
Tom Lichfield of Canterbury, member of divers societies, Philadelphian and temperance, united other titles with these: he was, for instance, something of a spy in the service of England. Leaving to Madame Lichfield the management of his bazaar in Glasgow, he ran through Ireland, buried in his camlet seat, with open eyes and attentive ears, informing the government of Great Britain on what he saw, foresaw, observed, heard, and conjectured.
But if be was numbered among the agents of the secret police of King George, it was in the character of a benevolent and sharp merchant.
One afternoon he had returned to his domicile with beaming countenance, rubbing his hands and kissing on her smooth forehead his tall wife, whose complexion was that of ivory grown yellow with years.
“Good business?” the lady had laconically asked, without removing the goose-quill which she held in her jaws, while with her dry fingers she refolded an invoice-bill.
“Excellent! I leave in four hours for green Erin.”
“A pleasure trip?” interrogated the shopkeeper, in stern astonishment.
“I!” said the big man, with an air of saying: “For whom do you take me?” angry that this other self misconceived him to this extent.
And in order to lose no time, time being money, he informed his wife immediately of the matter which occasioned his satisfaction.
“Forty thousand pounds at one stroke!” said he.
“Ah! in what length of time?”
“Two months, three at most.”
“A little long! Forty thousand net?”
“On the sugars, the oils, the old laced coats?”
“On the head of Harvey, on which a price has been set; I had neglected to tell you about it; I must deliver it at the latest under ninety days, or else it will be an ordinary operation.”
“You must know who this Harvey is.”
“What does that signify?”
“A rascal who intends to throw off from Ireland the yoke of the metropolis.” “Go on, go on. That is his affair . . . Talk about ours . . .”
“To lessen for myself the difficulties of the duty, I have addressed to the lord-lieutenant a petition, bearing most respectable and most eminent signatures, offering to go to watch the action of the conspirators and to keep him informed; he accepts.”
“Perfect! the reward?”
“Adequate: three pounds daily for travelling expenses, and two for incidental outlays.”
“Patience! At the same time, I wrote to my societies of Southampton, of Merioneth. of Dolgelly; I offered myself to the committee of Philadelphians, proposing likewise to make a trip of two or three months across the afflicted sister island to carry her the consolations, exhortations, and assistance for which her desperate situation makes her clamorous; they have complied:”
“And will pay your expenses and something besides.”
“Almost as much as the government, for distributing their aid among the most worthy.”
“Perfect!” said Madame Lichfield, whose epidermis reflected for an instant the beaming radiance of her husband’s face.
“Wait,” said her husband, who squared himself triumphantly with swelling abdomen and a cunning smile on his artful face; “wait, that is not the entire combination.”
But she, having a sudden intuition of what he was preparing to reveal, imposed silence upon him by a gesture, and said volubly:
“We will pack up and make into a bundle all the shop-worn goods that have been banished to the garret: earthen-ware, broken china; threadbare, stained,and moth-eaten cloth; battered utensils, full of holes; and there you will get rid of these in exchange for the money of those who have any, taking, in the case of the poor, the relief money which you will have charitably poured out; giving with one hand, seizing again with the other.”
“Agreed,” said Lichfield, who, for the second time, kissed his intelligent companion and associate.
And since he had set foot on Irish soil, success had generously favored his undertaking, promising soon to crown it.
Long ago rid of his stock of shop-worn goods, he had several times renewed it, and always realized enormous profits. In the towns he bought up all the odd remnants that he could find, and converted them into gold. Taking down from their hooks in second-hand clothing stores the ghosts of old garments, he covered with them the shivering bodies of ragged beggars, and, in return for his generosity, which brought him benedictions accompanied by fast-flowing tears, he pocketed sums which would have paid for clothes from the shops of the bast makers in London.
As for Harvey, he had at several times failed to nab him, to use his expression, missing him only by a few hours, devouring space with his unpretentious, snorting, and freaky steed, which still kept something of the rapidity which had formerly won him twenty prizes on the race-course, in addition to an extraordinary endurance.
Today he counted on surprising the agitator at Bunclody, or in the vicinity, and not missing him; he had even commenced a letter to Madame Lichfield, in which he announced to her the good news, in a handwriting whose characters danced madly up and down the pages, in his joy at having at last attained his object.
In approaching the village, they had now reached a point where the mud huts rose one above another, and forms of angular spectres, emaciated and cadaverous, outlined themselves timidly at the doors and windows, attracted by the noise of the vehicle, and held by the spectacle of the two priests flanking Tom Lichfield in shocking fraternity.
“Permit me, gentlemen,” begged the merchant, several consecutive times, speaking to his fellow-travellers and stopping the vehicle. Then, a bundle under his arm, decanters in his pockets, he effected with these shadows one of his customary little transactions, selling at the most exorbitant prices a waistcoat, a pair of breeches, or a cap; then, selling them a drink of gin, he resumed his place, the copper, silver, or gold of his societies jingling clear and cheerfully in his pocket.
With the waiting at these stations, or lulled by the roll of the carriage, the ecclesiastic and the minister at last went to sleep, Sir Archibald’s mouth still stretched in a yawn wide enough to break his jaws, Sir Richmond’s lips closed in the pious kiss he had given his breviary, which now lay under his shoes.
They were suddenly wakened by a wild croaking, something like a chorus of frogs and crows in a quarrel, and they started up from their sleep, dishevelled, livid, rubbing their eyes, not knowing what peril assailed them.
It was only William Grobb, who, without warning, as they went through the street of Bunclody, cawed and croaked his clap-trap merchandise.
“Knives, scissors, thread, needles, kitchen utensils, forks, skillets, saucepans, brooms, dusters, stockings, skirts, cloaks, caps, head-dresses, shoes.”
“Be quiet!” cried out his patron.
But, bewildered by his own uproar, he continued his enumeration, and went through the whole customary rigmarole:
“Men’s coats, waistcoats, trowsers, coffee, whisky, brandy, smoking tobacco, and pipes of all shapes . . .”
“Silence there!” roared Lichfield, inwardly laughing at the piteous look of the priests, who were scandalized by this not exactly triumphal entry among their flocks, offended in their priestly dignity by this canticle of trumpery intoned without deference to their character before they had left the carriage!
“Knives, scissors, needles, kitchen utensils,” began the clerk again. He had gone no farther, when Lichfield, springing from his seat, struck him a fearful blow with the strap across the calves of his legs.
But no public laughter greeted the representatives of the Most High here below, and, as they descended from the carriage with bulging backs that they might not have to face the scoffers, discreet though they were, their faces were suffused with blushes up to their ears, and even under the caps which they had pulled furiously down over their heads.
Notwithstanding the clap-trap of William Grobb, almost no one appeared at the doors or windows; only three or four women interrupted their preparations for supper to turn the cause of this unusual howling.
Tom Lichfield, who kept an eye on everything, remarked, at the first furtive examination, an abnormal anxiety on the faces, explicable only by the gravity of the moment, the imminence of the conflagration.
Freed from all constraint by the departure of the holy men, who took each his own way without thanking him, the ingrates, he pushed through the village now inviting his clerk to recommence his song of “scissors, knives, needles,” and mingling with the young fellow’s deep baritone, which, however, was as thin as a clarionet, his own tenor, surprising in such a pumpkin.
Nevertheless, they modulated their couplets in the most enticing ways, setting them off with appoqgiature, without rousing the inhabitants, for the peremptory reason that the inhabitants had almost entirely deserted their houses for their rendezvous in the woods with the agitator.
That morning Paddy Neill, visiting all the houses, less to stimulate their zeal than to exhort them to prudence, had appointed the meeting for nightfall; and, in little bands of three or four, by twos, or singly, the Bunclodyans, disarming dangerous suspicion by taking twenty different ways, directed their steps toward the appointed place, Dead Man’s Quarry.
They reached there only by widening the paths followed by stags and deer, by almost tumbling down the steep inclines, clinging by the branches of shrubs and tufts of heath. The quarry, at its base, was hollowed out into caves accessible to hundreds of individuals.
During the previous insurrections, after their defeat, the people of several hamlets and two villages had lived there, eluding all search; only to find, on the return of peace, their huts razed to the ground, and to be caught and exterminated en masse, in consequence of regaining confidence too soon. The rest had been transported or exiled.
As the agitator was not at liberty to choose his road, patrols of the English regiments and, above all, of the terrible regiment of Ancient Britons furrowing the roads and running over the fields, rummaging through the underbrush, three Bunelodvans waited for him at three different points to lead him to this quarry: Paddy at Chanvrand, Treor at Fornelos, and Casper, the gelder, at the farm of Emeric Barleitt, the countryman whose legs Gowan had broken.
But it was several mortal hours past the time when they conjectured approximately that he might arrive, according to calculations which took account of a thousand possible delays.
The expanse of sky faded perceptibly; among the bushes the beasts began to move towards the meadows; rooks flew about before going to sleep, and, scenting this mass of men below, uttered cries of fear, filling the air with an ominous clamor.
With the twilight, anguish took possession of all hearts, and those who kept silence most obstinately in order not to demoralize the others decided to tell what apprehensions tortured them.
The blood-hounds of the “Infernal Mob” were very keen, always in the saddle, this evening here, tomorrow thirty leagues away, fantastic, demons! They did not sleep; they heard, at incommensurable distances, imperceptible noises; they had the eyes of birds of prey, and the cunning of sorcerers at divining a secret.
“Or inventing a torture!” said Arklow, Edith’s husband.
“That is true!”
And Arklow, to support what he said, cited the case of the shepherd, Vill, whom they had tied to four horses, because he refused to indicate a hollow in a pasture where the patriots hid some ammunition.
“With Casper,” growled Pat Burn, the ironmonger, “it will not be necessary, I am afraid, to tear him to pieces to make him blab.”
When the lot fell upon Casper, among the three to go to meet Sir Harvey, Pat Burn had insinuated that the gelder smelt like a traitor.
And he now repeated his suspicions.
“He never looks you in the face,” added he; “and, of all the United Irishmen, he is the only one who keeps on drinking; he swallows gin like a goat’s skin, while the others, even those in most need of caution, have restricted themselves to a rigorous régime of water. And then where does he get the money that he spends in the taverns? He does not work!”
To be continued.
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.]
If, now, it be asked, what is this constitutional “obligation of contracts,” which the States are forbidden to impair, the answer is, that it is, and necessarily must be, the natural obligation; or that obligation, which contracts have, on principles of natural law, and natural justice, as distinguished from any arbitrary or unjust obligation, which lawmakers may assume to create, and attach to contracts.
This natural obligation is the only one “obligation,” which all obligatory contracts can be said to have. It is the only inherent “obligation,” that any contract can be said to have. It is recognized all over the world — at least as far as it is known — as the one only true obligation, that any, or all, contracts can have. And, so far as it is known — it is held valid all over the world, except in those exceptional cases, where arbitrary and tyrannical governments have assumed to annul it, or substitute some other in its stead.
The constitution assumes that this one “obligation of contracts,” which it designs to protect, is the natural one, because it assumes that it existed, and was known, at the time the constitution itself was established; and certainly no one “obligation,” other than the natural one, can be said to have been known, as applicable to all obligatory contracts, at the time the constitution was established. Unless, therefore, the constitution be presumed to have intended the natural “obligation,” it cannot be said to have intended any one “obligation” whatever; or, consequently, to have forbidden the violation of any one “obligation” whatever.
It cannot be said that “the obligation,” which the constitution designed to protect, was any arbitrary “obligation,” that was unknown at the time the constitution was established, but that was to be created, and made known afterward; for then this provision of the constitution could have had no effect, until such arbitrary “obligation” should have been created, and made known. And as it gives us no information as to how, or by whom, this arbitrary “obligation” was to be created, or what the obligation itself was to be, or how it could ever be known to be the one that was intended to be protected, the provision itself becomes a mere nullity, having no effect to protect any “obligation” at all.
It would be a manifest and utter absurdity to say that the constitution intended to protect any “obligation” whatever, unless it be presumed to have intended some particular “obligation,” that was known at the time; for that would be equivalent to saying that the constitution intended to establish a law, of which no man could know the meaning.
But this is not all.
The right of property is a natural right. The only real right of property, that is known to mankind, is the natural right. Men have also a natural right to convey their natural rights of property from one person to another. And there is no means known to mankind, by which this natural right of property can be transferred, or conveyed, by one man to another, except by such contracts as are naturrally obligatory; that is, naturally capable of conveying and binding the right of property.
All contracts whatsoever, that are naturally capable, competent, and sufficient to convey, transfer, and bind the natural right of property, are naturally obligatory; and really and truly do convey, transfer, and bind such rights of property as they purport to convey, transfer, and bind.
All the other modes, by which one man has ever attempted to acquire the property of another, have been thefts, robberies, and frauds. But these, of course, have never conveyed any real rights of property.
To make any contract binding, obligatory, and effectual for conveying and transferring rights of property, these three conditions only are essential, viz., 1, That it be entered into by parties, who are mentally competent to make reasonable contracts. 2. That the contract be a purely voluntary one: that is, that it be entered into without either force or fraud on either side. 3. That the right of property, which the contract purports to convey, be such an one as is naturally car pabie of being conveyed, or transferred, by one man to another.
Subject to these conditions, all contracts whatsoever, for conveying rights of property — that is, for buying and selling, borrowing and lending, giving and receiving property — are naturally obligatory, and bind such rights of property as they purport to convey.
Subject to these conditions, all contracts, for the conveyance of rights of property, are recognized as valid, all over the world, by both civilized and savage man, except in those particular cases where governments arbitrarily and tyrannically prohibit, alter, or invalidate them.
This natural “obligation of contracts” must necessarily be presumed to be the one, and the only one, which the constitution forbids to be impaired, by any State law whatever, if we are to presume that the constitution was intended for the maintenance of justice, or men’s natural rights.
On the other hand, if the constitution be presumed not to protect this natural “obligation of contracts,” we know not what other “obligation” it did intend to protect. It mentions no other, describes no other, gives us no hint of any other; and nobody can give us the least information as to what other “obligation of contracts” was intended.
It could not have been any “obligation” which the State lawmakers might arbitrarily create, and annex to all contracts; for this is what no lawmakers have ever attempted to do. And it would be the height of absurdity to suppose they ever will invent any one “obligation,” and attach it to all contracts. They have only attempted either to annul, or impair, the natural “obligation” of particular contracts; or, in particular cases, to substitute other “obligations” of their own invention. And this is the most they will ever attempt to do.
Assuming it now to be proved that the “obligation of contracts,” which the States are forbidden to “impair,” is the natural “obligation”; and that, constitutionally speaking, this provision secures, to all the people of the United States, the right to enter into, and have the benefit of, all contracts whatsoever, that have that one natural “obligation,” let us look at some of the more important of those State laws that have either impaired that obligation, or prohibited the exercise of that right.
1. That law, in all the States, by which any, or all, the contracts of persons, under twenty-one years of age, are either invalidated, or forbidden to be entered into.
The mental capacity of a person to make reasonable contracts, is the only criterion, by which to determine his legal capacity to make obligatory contracts. And his mental capacity to make reasonable contracts is certainly not to be determined by the fact that he is, or is not, twenty-one years of age. There would be just as much sense in saying that it was to be determined by his height, or his weight, as there is in saying that it should be determined by his age.
Nearly all persons, male and female, are mentally competent to make reasonable contracts, long before they are twenty-one years of age. And as soon as they are mentally competent to make reasonable contracts, they have the same natural right to make them, that they ever can have. And their contracts have the same natural “obligation” that they ever can have.
If a person’s mental capacity to make reasonable contracts be drawn in question, that is a question of fact, to be ascertained by the same tribunal that is to ascertain all the other facts involved in the case. It certainly is not to be determined by any arbitrary legislation, that shall deprive any one of his natural right to make contracts.
2. All the State laws, that do now forbid, or that have heretofore forbidden, married women to make any or all contracts, that they are, or were, mentally competent to make reasonably, are violations of their natural right to make their own contracts.
A married woman has the same natural right to acquire and hold property, and to make all contracts that she is mentally competent to make reasonably, as has a married man, or any other man. And any law invalidating her contracts, or forbidding her to enter into contracts, on the ground of her being married, are not only absurd and outrageous in themselves, but are also as plainly violations of that provision of the constitution, which forbids any State to pass any law impairing the natural obligation of contracts, as would be laws invalidating or prohibiting similar contracts by married men.
3. All those State laws, commonly called acts of incorporation, by which a certain number of persons are licensed to contract debts, without having their individual properties held liable to pay them, are laws impairing the natural obligation of their contracts.
On natural principles of law and reason, these persons are simply partners; and their private properties, like those of any other partners, should be held liable for their partnership debts. Like any other partners, they take the profits of their business, if there be any profits. And they are naturally bouud to take all the risks of their business, as in the case of any other business. For a law to say that, if they make any profits, they may put them all into their own pockets, but that, if they make a loss, they may throw it upon their creditors, is an absurdity and an outrage. Such a law is plainly a law impairing the natural obligation of their contracts.
4. All State insolvent laws, so-called, that distribute a debtor’s property equally among his creditors, are laws impairing the natural obligation of his contracts.
If the natural obligation of contracts were known, and recognized as law, we should have no need of insolvent or bankrupt laws.
The only force, function, or effect of a legal contract is to convey and bind rights of property. A contract that conveys and binds no right of property, has no legal force, effect, or obligation whatever.*
Consequently, the natural obligation of a contract of debt binds the debtor’s property, and nothing more. That is, it gives the creditor a mortgage upon the debtor’s property, and nothing more.
A first debt is a first mortgage; a second debt is a second mortgage; a third debt is a third mortgage; and so on indefinitely.
The first mortgage must he paid in full, before anything is paid on the second. The second must he paid in full, before anything is paid on the third; and so on indefinitely.
When the mortgaged property is exhausted, the debt is cancelled; there is no other property that the contract binds.
If, therefore, a debtor, at the time his debt becomes due, pays to the extent of his ability, and has been guilty of no fraud, fault, or neglect, during the time his debt had to run, he is thenceforth discharged from all legal obligation.
If this principle were acknowledged, we should have no occasion, and no use, for insolvent or bankrupt laws.
Of course, persons who have never asked themselves what the natural “obligation of contracts” is, will raise numerous objections to the principle, that a legal contract binds nothing else than rights of property. But their objections are all shallow and fallacious.
I have not space here to go into all the arguments that may be necessary to prove that contracts can have no legal effect, except to bind rights of property; or to show the truth of that principle in its application to all contracts whatsoever. To do this would require a somewhat elaborate treatise. Such a treatise I hope sometime to publish. For the present, I only assert the principle; and assert that the ignorance of this truth is at least one of the reasons why courts and lawyers have never been able to agree as to what “the obligation of contracts” was.
In all the eases that have now been mentioned,— that is, of minors (so-called), married women, corporations, insolvents, and in all other like cases — the tricks, or pretences, by which the courts attempt to uphold the validity of all laws that forbid persons to exercise their natural right to make their own contracts, or that annul, or impair, the natural “obligation” of their contracts, are these:
1. They say that, if a law forbids any particular contract to be made, such contract, being then an illegal one, can have no “obligation.” Consequently, say they, the. law cannot be said to impair it; because the law cannot impair an “obligation,” that has never had an existence.
They say this of all contracts, that are arbitrarily forbidden; although, naturally and intrinsically, they have as valid an obligation as any others that men ever enter into, or as any that courts enforce.
By such a naked trick as this, these courts not only strike down men’s natural right to make their own contracts, but even seek to evade that provision of the constitution, which they are all sworn to support, and which commands them to hold valid the natural “obligation” of all men’s contracts; “anything in the constitutions or laws of the States to the contrary notwithstanding.”
They might as well have said that, if the constitution had declared that “no State shall pass any law impairing any man’s natural right to life, liberty, or property” — (that is, his natural right to live, and do what he will with himself and his property, so long as he infringes the right of no other person) — this prohibition could be evaded by a State law declaring that, from and after such a date, no person should have any natural right to life, liberty, or property; and that, therefore, a law arbitrarily taking from a man his life, liberty, and property, could not be said to impair his right to them, because no law could impair a right that did not exist.
The answer to such an argument as this, would be, that it is a natural truth that every man, who ever has been, or ever will be, born into the world, necessarily has been, and necessarily will be, born with an inherent right to life, liberty, and property; and that, in forbidding this right to be impaired, the constitution presupposes, implies, assumes, and asserts that every man has, and will have, such a right; and that this natural right is the very right, which the constitution forbids any State law to impair.
Or the courts might as well have said that, if the constitution had declared that “no State shall pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts made for the purchase of food,” that provision could have been evaded by a State law forbidding any contract to be made for the purchase of food; and then saying that such contract, being illegal, could have no “obligation,” that could be impaired.
The answer to this argument would be that, by forbidding any State law impairing the obligation of contracts made for the purchase of food, the constitution presupposes, implies, assumes, and asserts that such contracts have, and always will have, a natural “obligation”; and that this natural “obligation” is the very “obligation,” which the constitution forbids any State law to impair.
So in regard to all other contracts. The constitution presupposes, implies, assumes, and asserts the natural truth, that certain contracts have, and always necessarily will have, a natural “obligation.” And this natural “obligation” — which is the only real obligation that any contract can have — is the very one that the constitution forbids any State law to impair, in the case of any contract whatever that has such obligation.
And yet all the courts hold the direct opposite of this. They hold that, if a State law forbids any contract to be made, such a contract can then have no obligation; and that, consequently, no State law can impair an obligation that never existed.
But if, by forbidding a contract to be made, a State law can prevent the contract’s having any obligation, State laws, by forbidding any contracts at all to be made, can prevent all contracts, thereafter made, from having any obligation; and thus utterly destroy all men’s natural rights to make any obligatory contracts at all.
2. A second pretence, by which the courts attempt to evade that provision of the constitution, which forbids any State to “pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts,” is this: They say that the State law, that requires, or obliges, a man to fulfil his contracts, is itself “the obligation,” which the constitution forbids to be impaired; and that therefore the constitution only prohibits the impairing of any law for enforcing such contracts as shall be made under it.
But this pretence, it will be seen, utterly discards the idea that contracts have any natural obligation. It implies that contracts have no obligation, except the laws that are made for enforcing them. But if contracts have no natural obligation they have no obligation at all, that ought to be enforced; and the State is a mere usurper, tyrant, and robber, in passing any law to enforce them.
Plainly a State cannot rightfully enforce any contracts at all, unless they have a natural obligation.
3. A third pretence, by which the courts attempt to evade this provision of the constitution, is this: They say that “the law is a part of the contract” itself; and therefore cannot, impair its obligation.
By this they mean that, if a law is standing upon the statute book, prescribing what obligation certain contracts shall, or shall not, have, it must then be presumed that, whenever such a contract is made, the parties intended to make it according to that law; and really to make the law a part of their contract; although they themselves say nothing of the kind.
This pretence, that the law is a part of the contract, is a mere trick to cheat people out of their natural right; to make their own contracts; and to compel them to make only such contracts as the lawmakers choose to permit them to make.
To say that it must be presumed that the parties intended to make their contracts according to such laws as may be prescribed to them — or, what is the same thing, to make the laws a part of their contracts — is equivalent to saying that the parties must be presumed to be given up all their natural right to make their own contracts; to have acknowledged themselves imbeciles, incompetent to make reasonable contracts, and to have authorized the lawmakers to make their contracts for them; for if the lawmakers can make any part of a man’s contract, and presume his consent to it, they can make a whole one, and presume his consent to it.
If the lawmakers can make any part of men’s contracts, they can make the whole of them; and can, therefore, buy and sell, borrow and lend, give and receive men’s property of all kinds, according to their (the lawmakers’) own will, pleasure, or discretion; without the consent of the real owners of the property, and even without their knowledge, until it is too late. In short, they may take any man’s property, and give it, or sell it, to whom they please, and on such conditions, and at such prices, as they please; without any regard to the right of the owner. They may, in fact, at their pleasure, strip any, or every, man of his property, and bestow it upon whom they will; and then justify the act upon the presumption that the owner consented to have his property thus taken from him and given to others.
This absurd, contemptible, and detestable trick has had a long lease of life, and has been used as a cover for some of the greatest of crimes. By means of it, the marriage contract has been perverted into a contract, on the part of the woman, to make herself a legal non-entity, or non compos mentis; to give up, to her husband, all her personal property, and the control of all her real estate; and to part with her natural, inherent, inalienable right, as a human being, to direct her own labor, control her own earnings, make her own contracts, and provide for the subsistence of herself and her children.
There would be just as much reason in saying that the lawmakers have a right to make the entire marriage contract; to marry any man and woman against their will; dispose of all their personal and property rights; declare them imbeciles, incapable of making a reasonable marriage contract; then presume the consent of both the parties; and finally treat them as criminals, and their children as outcasts, if they presume to make any contract of their own.
This same trick, of holding that the law is a part of the contract, has been made to protect the private property of stockholders from liability for the debts of the corporations, of which they were members; and to protect the private property of special partners, so-called, or limited partners, from liability for partnership debts.
This same trick has been employed to justify insolvent and bankrupt laws, so-called, whereby a first creditor’s right to a first mortgage on the property of his debtor, has been taken from him, and he has been compelled to take his chances with as many subsequent creditors as the debtor may succeed in becoming indebted to.
All these absurdities and atrocities have been practiced by the lawmakers of the States, and sustained by the courts, under the pretence that they (the courts) did not know what the natural “obligation of contracts” was; or that, if they did know what it was, the constitution of the United States imposed no restraint upon its unlimited violation by the State lawmakers.
* It may have very weighty moral obligation; but it can have no legal obligation.
“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 Question of Construction.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Instead of fearing the effect of Bakounine’s “God and the State“ on State Socialism, I said, in the review of which you took notice lately, that the work could not be regarded as refuting State Socialism. State Socialists advocate all the liberty Bakounine asks for. The passage which you say was the basis of my criticism was only a part of that basis. It is as though a jury should acquit a man by disregarding part of the evidence.
While one may infer from the passage that the power of the revolution would be in its effects, it is not so stated, and it contains as much despotism as anything in State Socialism upon which you base your charges of despotism. The strength of the objections to State Socialism lies in objecting to something else.
Another passage confirms my view, but that you omit. It reads: “Until then the people, taken as a whole, will believe; and if they have no reason to believe, they will at least have the right.” This, in connection with the power of the revolution, and another sentence to the effect that churches must be turned into schools, is ample reason for my conclusions. Why should a man say that a right will be enjoyed until a certain time, unless it is implied that the right ceases when that time arrives? I will leave it to any of those who, in your opinion, understand English. I did not say Bakounine would have another State instead of the present one, but I wished to show that the Anarchist always falls into the inconsistency of advocating measures that can only be carried out by a combination of the people, in effect a State. This is because every reformer naturally concludes that whatever he himself regards as justice cannot be despotism if it prevailed. Bakounine says plainly that the rearing of youth should be done in the absence of liberty. The mass of men are as ignorant of true socialism as infants. In their ignorance they want churches. They will want them until taught better, but cannot be taught until the revolution changes the churches into schools. This is the only inference from Bakounine’s words. Mere abolition of government will not close churches. State Socialism gives local option in churches and all things besides.
Chicago, December 21, 1885.
Having impugned “Zeno’s” honesty in these columns, I deem it fair to print the above, though it only confirms my belief that he is an artful dodger rather than an earnest seeker after truth. With such a man it is unprofitable to discuss. I simply reproduce the passage from Bakounine referred to, and leave it to the judgment of my readers whether Zeno’s construction or mine is the proper one.
There is another reason which explains and in some sort justifies the absurd beliefs of the people,— namely, the wretched situation to which they find themselves fatally condemned by the economic organization of society in the most civilized countries of Europe. Reduced, intellectually and morally as well as materially, to the minimum of human existence, confined in their life like a prisoner in his prison, without horizon, without outlet, without even a future if we may believe the economists, the people would have the singularly narrow souls and blunted instincts of the bourgeois if they did not feel a desire to escape; but of escape there are but three methods,— two chimerical and a third real. The first two are the dram-shop and the church, debauchery of the body or debauchery of the mind; the third is social revolution. This last will be much more potent than all the theological propagandism of the freethinkers to destroy the religious beliefs and dissolute habits of the people, beliefs and habits much more intimately connected than is generally supposed. 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. Till then the people, taken as a whole, will believe; and, if they have no reason to believe, they will have at least the right.
In explanation of the word “right,” of which “Zeno” makes so much, it should be said that the French word droit, from which I translated it, has as many different meanings as its nearest English equivalent, “right,” and that its use breeds even more confusion. Bakounine uses it here, not in the sense of prerogative, but in the sense of justification or excuse. He means to say that, until the social revolution comes, the people, though they will have no well-founded reason for believing in religion or in rum, will he (to use his own phrase in the opening sentence of the passage quoted) “in some sort justified” in believing in them,— that is, excusable in consequence of the necessity of seeking relief from their cramped condition. I reiterate my claim that the context shows to any man who understands English that Bakounine was not advocating the closing of dram-shops and churches by authority, but showing how the social revolution would lead to their disappearance through its influence on the lives of the people. It is so plain that I feel ashamed of any man who would compel me by his quibbles to waste so much space in correcting his misrepresentations. Equally misleading is “Zeno’s” reference to Bakounine’s “sentence to the effect that churches must be transformed into schools.” The sentence is as follows: “Instruction must be spread among the masses without stint, transforming all the Churches, all those temples dedicated to the glory of God and to the slavery of men, into so many schools of human emancipation.” The idea simply is that the people, when educated, will transform their churches into schools. The words do not carry the slightest hint that any who may still be foolish enough to want churches should not be allowed to have them.
Whither are we Drifting?
A sort of tidal wave in the direction of labor organization seems to be in motion at present. Even the “intelligent American mechanic” is caught up on the wave, and nightly are fresh thousands enrolled in the unions in various parts of the country.
Yet, when one reflects upon the underlying moral basis at bottom, it is doubtful whether anything of social significance is being accomplished, save a hastening of that condition of general demoralization which only the thunders and lightnings of revolution can clear up.
Capital, the creature of monopoly, in behalf of which the State has its being, represents in its administrative capacity pure force. Labor, its slave, never having had any other lesson but force before it, seeks to imitate its master by developing counter force. Hence labor organization; labor organization meaning nothing but a war of force against force. A strange comment, indeed, is it upon twenty centuries of Christianity that even the clergy are enlisting in this barbarous scheme, and have no higher conception of the true moral principles of the universe than to coach and flatter labor upon a basis which, when summed up, might well be called the gospel of brutality.
Already has this depraved drift borne such fruits as a demand for the expulsion of the Chinese and other human beings from American soil. Already has the device of the Boycott been carried to such a degree of invasion upon individual right as to resemble oriental despotism. That fresh forms of primeval barbarism will be set in motion as organized labor “shows its strength” is next to certain. But when the highhanded despotism of the slave, crazed with newly-acquired engines of coercion, becomes intolerable to those who hold personal rights sacred, what then? He has been drilled and encouraged in the exercise of brute force by the best classes. He has been taught that force is a valid moral principle. He will fight by the grace of God, and savage revolution must arbitrate.
True Anarchists, therefore, see nothing in the prevailing drift but the certain burial of moral and intellectual forces in society and the hastening of social chaos. We have now an era of lying, theft, and blackmail in trade. VVe are steeped in political corruption over the ears. Hypocrisy has become a legitimate trade, the compromise of intellectual and moral integrity a fine art.
Now added to all this come the hosts of labor into the field on no better moral basis than brute force. When this rotten pot will explode is uncertain, but that its doom is fixed is not uncertain. History will surely repeat itself among us, unless Anarchism gets sufficient hold upon society to infuse the new life which is alone potent to save.
The Senator and the Editor.
Lubricating the Bearings.
Introducing the senator to the reader in the last Liberty, we intimated that where the senator fell short in “alluding to the conditions and jealousies and disorders that are disturbing society in almost every part of the civilized world” the editor had persevered,— that is, he had gone forward in the same line of thinking until some semblance, at least, of remedial measures had been commended, if not advocated.
The reader will remember that the “little squeak in the corner” had fixed the editor’s attention.
He had exclaimed: “Senator, you are no average politician in office. You are a philosopher in action! You think of men as human beings. You shape your course to secure for them the happiest conditions of living.”
After which our editor — shall we say, “in action”? — proceeds with his effort to carry the senatorial utterance to some sort of a finish.
“That these conditions,” he remarks, “are not everywhere fulfilled in this country, highly favored as we are, is painfully evident to those who give any attention to the subject. There are little squeaks in our social machinery which do call for attention, though they may not yet threaten an explosion.
[We venture to supply italics for emphasis, and to cut sentences for brevity; but our report shall remain a true one].
“Now, what is the origin of this function in our social machinery? As the senator affirms, the origin is to be sought in some wrong or injustice.
“The bearings are too close.
“Or, they want lubricating.”
We are now ready to suspect that the editor will proceed to show in respect to the relations between capital and labor where the injustice and wrong have crept in, and in what way the too close bearings are to be lubricated.
So we advance with some eagerness to the discovery.
“Capital is wrong when it insists that it shall have power to dictate the conditions upon which it will employ, direct, and pay labor.
“It has no right to say it will buy labor as it buys bales of hay.
“In a country where slavery has been abolished the laborer is entitled to a voice in fixing the terms on which he will work.
“But, labor has no right to assume to do this alone.
“For, capital is not a fund to enable labor to earn and receive wages of its own fixing.
“It is money employed by its rightful owners to earn more money. If it chooses to take the trouble and risk of earning more by active employment than by idly lying by at interest, it is certainly entitled to a potential voice in its own management.”
What have we now obtained?
We have got labor emancipated — that is, we have laborers living in a country where slavery has been abolished.
Therefore, the laborer is “entitled to a voice in fixing the terms on which he will work.”
We have capital “entitled to a potential voice in its own management.”
The reader will probably pause here and ask himself: “What is a voice? And what is a potential voice?”
The editor has not told him.
He can not tell himself.
But, oh! go a little further:
“Equal rights are secured by the method of CONFERENCE and ARBITRATION. The friction between money capital and labor capital will be greatly diminished by its employment.
“There is no lubricator like good feeling, but justice and fair play will prevent the ominous ‘little squeak.’” Are you satisfied, reader?
No more are we.
Do you ask why?
This that our editor applauds and heralds as the final adjustment, the lubricating feeling, the justice and fair play between capital and labor, appears to us none other than a cunningly devised makeshift.
There may indeed be a lubricating feeling playing through it.
Capital and labor may now, as formerly they did not, nod one to the other.
There may, in short, be established a truce.
But that which was “wrong at bottom” remains wrong at bottom still.
— We were on the eve of thrusting in here our own opinions, when what we really desire to do is first to get our editor well and fully reported.
Therefore, we quote again:
“The more careful adjustment of the relations between employer and employed, for which Senator Edmunds pleads, calls for something besides justice dictated by self-interest.
“It requires that every one of us must perforce look out for the welfare of each and every brother man, or we shall fail in trying to look out for our own . . . . . The thing that is ‘wrong at bottom’ in this country is that wealth is commonly used too selfishly. What is needed to ease the friction is an application of the Socialism of the golden rule.”
Here now is a sound as of a coming revelation,— an intimation of editorial sanity.
But let us see the direction it takes. Our editor shall explain for himself what he means by the “Socialism of the golden rule.” This he has done in the following words:
“The great and growing disparity between the gains of money and muscle, between the results of financiering skill and mental or manual labor, is producing the condition of ‘instinctive and intrinsic discontent’ of which Senator Edmunds spoke. And while no chimerical notions of a ‘fair division’ of property are likely to make headway in a country where the chances are theoretically and legally so equal as they are here, and where the majority of fortunes were made by their possessors, it is yet true that, as our society grows older and its conditions become more fixed, the fortunate possessors of wealth owe an obligation to their fellows which too few of them have yet shown that they acknowledge or appreciate.”
In a preceding paragraph the editor has said:
“No man’s welfare is properly considered who cannot, by the exercise of industry, temperance, and prudence, maintain himself in comfort, and make some provision, even though it be but a little, for the inevitable sickness or old age.”
Now we have exhausted our editor’s editorial. Its points are all before the reader.
Is the reader prepared to have us say, At length we have, if not a complete solution, then, the key of complete solution of the relation between capital and labor?
We put ourselves in the reader’s place, and respond: “A little oil has been poured on the troubled waters, but the waters remain.”
Then let us recapitulate, that the editor’s views may, if possible, be shown in greater unity and clearness.
For removing the friction between capital and labor, the editor has advocated:
1. Conference and arbitration.
2. Wealth used less selfishly.
Under the first head we have capital reduced to a “potential voice,” while labor is promoted to “a voice,” in determining on what terms they will work together. When this “potential voice” and this “a voice” can not agree of themselves what is fair and just, they exercise equal right of appeal to a court of arbitration. Thus, it is assumed, an era of good feeling will be established, and “there is no lubricator like good feeling.”
All of which is reassuring; but are we not left still in the dark? Could we have had just one ray of light to illumine the little query: To what principle of justice, to what idea of fair play, shall this court of arbitration make appeal in order to do no “wrong at bottom” to either party? we should have gone to our rest far better satisfied.
Or, does our editor think of this high court of pacification only as a court of compromise? (Of course not, for justice is what he is after.)
There is barely an intimation of the editor’s idea of justice in the remark quoted: “No man’s welfare is properly considered who cannot....maintain himself in comfort,” etc. But how many difficulties arise immediately? Not the least of them would be that of determining where “comfort” for the workingman ended and luxury began. His employer with a “potential voice” might speedily pronounce judgment, out the grand court of arbitration!
As to the growth of that “something besides justice dictated by self-interest,” we are not exactly sceptical. In a sense there is not space here to define we think there is already much of that sort of thing, and that there is a likelihood of there being a vast deal more in the glorious future.
But a self-interest dictated by the charity of the enlightened rich man who says: “I must look out for the welfare of each and every brother man in order to look out for my own,” is hardly the goal of the poor man’s ambition.
As to the “communism of the golden rule,” there may be somewhat in that.
Patient reader! As we left you in some uncertainty of mind in regard to our senator, so now we dismiss you once more, this time with a doubt in your mind as to the editor.
However, in another communication, we shall review the whole matter, and do our best at clearing it up.
Let Them Fight.
One of my friends is president of a Boston banking institution. He knows that I believe in Anarchy, and often argues with me on the subject. “I appreciate the reasons,” said he, in course of a recent conversation, “why you should be opposed to such governments as those of Russia, Turkey, Persia, and like despotic countries; but, where the will of the people is the law of the land, as it is here, I do not see what right you have to object.”
I told him, as I had done twenty times before, why I objected to anything but individual rule, and finished by seeming to change the subject and asking him what he thought of silver coinage.
If he had been an infernal machine, specially contrived to blow up our great and glorious government, and I had touched a match to the fuse, the effect could not have been more startling.
“Folly, stupid, suicidal folly, on the part of the government, nothing less!” said he. “Why, a schoolboy can see the result. Everybody will be ruined if this thing is kept up much longer. The business man suffers and the laborer suffers, and nobody is benefited but the few silver-mine owners and the congressman in their employ.”
By this time I was laughing heartily, and he stopped in his tirade to ask what I found so humorous.
“This is the government of the people,” I said, “not like that of Russia. There is certainly no despotism in the rule of the people! If our government coins these silver dollars that you object to, you must be wrong in objecting, for the government cannot be wrong.”
“Wrong? Why of course it’s wrong! You know enough of business to see that it is ruining the country. The folly if congress in not stopping it at once is more than folly; it is asinine, it is criminal.”
And in this strain he continued, as all the editors, bankers, business men, and many others have been doing for the past year.
I am delighted at this state of things, and every other Anarchist should be as much pleased. Let them fight. When they have slain each other, we will bury the carcasses so that they will fertilize the field which thereafter we will till.
C. M. H.
Clear-Sighted Emergency Men.
Peter O’Neil, Crowley Branch,
Irish National Emergency Association,
176 Tremont Street, Boston, January 13, 1886.
To the Editor of Liberty:
The O’Neil Crowley Branch of the Irish National Emergency Association instructs me to send you a complimentary ticket to an entertainment which we give on the seventeenth instant, as an indication of their appreciation of the inestimable service which you are rendering humanity through the columns of Liberty by enunciating and inculcating those grand, fundamental principles of social science, Anarchy (as its enemies and their parrot-dupes call it) or Auto-archy, which alone are destined by spontaneous, individual development, mental and physical, to emancipate man from the despotism, the ignorance, and the arrogant, aggressive orthodoxy of the Divine-Right-of-the-Majority absurdity organized as the STATE.
When mankind shall be rescued from, or, by the fruition of purely Anarchistic principles, shall develop out of, the present popular state of selfish savageism, which canonizes the hypocrite, immortalizes the legal robber, and pauperizes the honest, frugal, industrious child of Nature, then it will not be for the preservation of a nation, race, or creed that we shall be working. These are simply specimens of a “Kings’ Evil,” or the evil of an hierarchy, whereby humanity, or what should constitute humanity, is demonized into sections, and each individual is “civilized” by mutual antagonisms, not only into being the enemy of his brother neighbor, but into acting industriously the real, interested enemy of himself (paradoxical as it may seem), all becoming, by an ill-concealed strategy, the dupes, the subordinated, subservient slaves, of a democratic and a theocratic organization of federated parasites, alias “The Government,” “The Authorities”!
Then, Mr. Editor, those causes of human degradation, impoverishment, and ignorance which now seem to prove a secret, intelligent perversion, if not a complete inversion, of the blessings of Nature as they are permitted to relate to us by those whom we were, in our simplicity, wont to look upon as our guides and protectors, will be eliminated. And a resultant, harmonized, universal fraternity, an Anarchistic Humanity, spontaneously evolved or formulated, will, under Liberty and Intelligence, be actualized. The Individual will be the Unit thereof, and Segregation the principle of its immutable concordance. Science will then demonstrate that the Individual Person is The All potentially, requiring only mental development for universal recognition.
P. K. O’LALLY, Secretary.
Church and State.
Twin relics of a superstitious age
When man incarnates God in Church and State,
These foul abortions, spared as yet by fate,
With palsied limbs still swagger on the stage,
Mere shadows of what Time’s historic page
Reveals, when o’er the prostrate soul they sate
And laughed to scorn the thought aught could abate
The arm of force, which shook with deadly rage
When Freedom raised her lowly head. And yet
In Freedom’s brighter light their shadows wane,
Though armed knights give place to trading souls
Who dream not that the wave of progress rolls
O’er planks worm-eaten, and will not forget
Within a common grave to end their reign.
“For Fatherland ’tis sweet to die!” Ah! yes,
When Fatherland is freedom, hope, and peace,
We but defend our own, and leave the lease
Intact; but when we miss the soft caress
That freemen feel, nor find protection bless
Our efforts, dooming us for others’ ease
By subtle laws unwritten ne’er to cease
To walk life’s treadmill round, and fiercely press
For e’en that boon, we waken from the dream.
Yet, as we ope our eyes to meet our fates,
Within each comrade’s glance we catch a gleam
Of hope, who stretch their hands from rival States
And cry: “Our country yet shall be the site
Of freedom. Workers of all lands, unite!”
There is no pause. Still forward in the van
The standard flies for which our fathers bled,
The arming hosts are still by Progress led,
Who ne’er has ceased man’s winding path to scan
Since first the cry for liberty began.
And with hot zeal from field to field has sped
Victorious, as e’er before him fled
Coercion’s hordes, who strove to quench in man
The fire that burns within his ardent soul,
And leads him on to wider, freer life
Than Church or State would grant.’Tis Progress calls
Her sons again to storm the dungeon walls
That hold the means of life, and beats the roll
That bids the proletaire forth to the strife.
Dyer D. Lum.
What’s To Be Done?
By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 73.
The council looked at the patient, sounded her chest once more to decide whether it ought to accept or reject this proposition, and, after a long examination, much blinking of the eyes, and stifled murmurs against Kirsanoff’s unintelligible science, it came back to the room adjoining the sick chamber and pronounced this decree: The patient’s sufferings must be terminated by a fatal dose of morphine. After this proclamation, Kirsanoff rang for the servant and asked her to call Polosoff into the council-chamber. Polosoff entered. The gravest of the sages, in a sad and solemn form and a majestic and sorrowful voice, announced to him the decree of the council.
Polosoff was thunderstruck. Between expecting an eventual death and hearing the words: “In half an hour your daughter will be no more,” there is a difference. Kirsanoff looked at Polosoff with sustained attention; he was sure of the effect; nevertheless it was a matter calculated to excite the nerves; for two minutes the stupefied old man kept silent.
“It must not be! She is dying of my obstinacy! I consent to anything! Will she get well?”
“Certainly,” said Kirsanoff.
The celebrities would have been seriously offended if they had had time to dart glances at each other signifying that all understood that this urchin had played with them as if they were puppets; but Kirsanoff did not leave them time enough for the development of these observations. He told the servant to take away the drooping Polosoff, and then congratulated them on the perspicacity with which they had divined his intention, understanding that the disease was due to moral suffering, and that it was necessary to frighten the opinionated old man, who else would really have caused his daughter’s death. The celebrities separated each content at hearing his perspicacity and erudition thus attested before all the others.
After having given them this certificate, Kirsanoff went to tell the patient that the policy had succeeded. At his first words she seized his hand and tried to kiss it; he withdrew it with great difficulty.
“But I shall not let your father visit you immediately to make the same announcement to you: I have first to give him a lesson concerning the way in which he must conduct himself.”
He told her what advice he was going to give her father, saying that he would not leave him until he should be completely prepared.
Disturbed by all that had happened, the old man was very much cast down; he no longer viewed Kirsanoff with the same eyes, but as Maria Alexevna had formerly viewed Lopoukhoff when, in a dream, she saw him in possession of the lucrative monopoly of the liquor business. But yesterday Polosoff naturally thought in this vein: “I am older and more experienced than you, and, besides, no one in the world can surpass me in brains; as for you, a beardless boy and a sans-culotte, I have the less reason to listen to you from the fact that I have amassed by my own wits two millions [there were really but two millions, and not four]; first amass as much yourself, and then we will talk.” Now his thought took this turn: “What a bear! What a will he has shown in this affair! He understands how to make men bend.” And the more he talked with Kirsanoff, the more and more vividly was painted upon his imagination this additional picture, an old and forgotten memory of hussar life: the horseman Zakhartchenko seated on the “Gromoboy”* (at that time Joukovsky’s ballads were still fashionable among young ladies, and, through them, among civil and military cavaliers), the Gromoboy galloping fast under Zakhartchenko, with torn and bleeding lips.
Polosoff was seized with fright, on hearing, in answer to his first question: “Would you really have given her a fatal dose?” this reply, given quite coldly by Kirsanoff: “Why, certainly.”
“What a brigand!” said Polosoff to himself. “He talks like a cook wringing a hen’s neck.”
“And you would have had the courage?” continued he, aloud.
“Of course; do you take me for a wet rag?”
“You are a horrible man,” said and repeated Polosoff.
“That only means that you have never seen horrible men,” answered Kirsanoff, with an indulgent smile, at the same time saying to himself: “You ought to see Rakhmétoff.”
“But. how did you persuade all these physicians?”
“Is it, then, so difficult to persuade such people?” answered Kirsanoff, with a slight grimace.
Then Polosoff recalled Zakhartchenko saying to Lieutenant Volynoff: “Must I break in this long-eared jade, your highness? I am ashamed to sit upon her.”
After having put a stop to Polosoff’s interminable questions, Kirsanoff began his instructions.
“Do not forget that human beings reflect coolly only when not thwarted, that they get heated only when irritated, and that they set no value on their fantasies if no attempt is made to deprive them of them and they are left free to inquire whether they are good, or bad. If Solovtzoff is as bad as you say,— and I fully believe you,— your daughter will see it for herself, but only when you stop thwarting her; a single word from you against him would set the matter back two weeks, several words forever; you must hold yourself quite aloof.”
The instructions were spiced with arguments of this sort: “It is not easy to make yourself do what you do not wish to do. Still, I have succeeded in such attempts, and so I know how to treat these matters; believe me, what I say must be done. I know what I say; you have only to listen.”
With people like Polosoff one can act effectively only with a high hand. Polosoff was subdued, and promised to do as he was told. But while convinced that Kirsanoff was right and must be obeyed, he could not understand him at all.
“You are on my side and at the same time on my daughter’s side; you order me to submit to my daughter and you wish her to change her mind. How are these two things to be reconciled?”
“It is simple enough; I only wish you not to prevent her from becoming reasonable.”
Polosoff wrote a note to Solovtzoff, begging him to be good enough to call upon him concerning an important matter; that evening Solovtzoff appeared, came to an amicable but very dignified understanding with the old man, and was accepted as the daughter’s intended, on the condition that the marriage should not take place inside of three months.
Kirsanoff could not abandon this affair: it was necessary to come to Katérina Vassilievna’s aid to get her out of her blindness as quickly as possible, and more necessary still to watch her father and see that he adhered to the policy of nonintervention. Nevertheless, for the first few days after the crisis, he abstained from visiting the Polosoffs: it was certain that Katérina Vassilievna’s state of exaltation still continued; if he should find (as he expected) her sweetheart unworthy, the very fact of betraying his dislike of him — to say nothing of directly mentioning it — would be injurious and heighten the exaltation. Ten days later Kirsanoff came, and came in the morning expressly that he might not seem to be seeking an opportunity of meeting the sweetheart, for he wished Katérina Vassilievna to consent with a good grace. Katérina Vassilievna was already well advanced on the road to recovery; she was still very pale and thin, but felt quite well, although a great deal of medicine had been given her by her illustrious physician, into whose hands Kirsanoff had resigned her, saying to the young girl: “Let him attend you; all his drugs cannot harm you now.” Katérina Vassilievna welcomed Kirsanoff enthusiastically, but she looked at him in amazement when he told her why he had come.
“You have saved my life, and yet need my permission to visit us?”
“But my visit in his presence might seem to you an attempt at interference in your relations without your consent. You know my rule,— to do nothing without the consent of the person in behalf of whom I wish to act.”
Coming in the evening two or three days afterwards, Kirsanoff found the sweetheart as Polosoff had painted him, and Polosoff himself — behaving satisfactorily: the well-trained old man was placing no obstacles in his daughter’s path. Kirsanoff spent the evening there, not showing in any way whatever his opinion of the sweetheart, and in taking leave of Katérina Vassilievna he made no allusion to him, one way or another.
This was just enough to excite her curiosity and doubt. The next day she said to herself repeatedly: “Kirsanoff did not say a word to me about him. If he had left a good impression on him, Kirsanoff would have told me so. Can it be that he does not please him? In what respect can he be displeasing to Kirsanoff?” When the sweetheart returned the following day, she examined his manners closely, and weighed his words. She asked herself why she did this: it was to prove to herself that Kirsanoff should not or could not have found any out about him. This was really her motive. But the necessity of proving to one’s self that a person whom one loves has no outs puts one in the way to find some very soon.
A few days later Kirsanoff came again, and still said nothing of the sweetheart. This time she could not restrain herself, and towards the end of the evening she said to Kirsanoff:
“Your opinion? Why do you keep silence?”
“I do not know whether it would be agreeable to you to hear my opinion; I do not know whether you would think it impartial.”
“He displeases you?”
Kirsanoff made no answer.
“He displeases you?”
“I have not said so.”
“It is easy to see that he does. Why, then, does he displease you?”
“I will wait, for others to see the why.”
The next night Katérina Vassilievna examined Solovtzoff more attentively yet.
“Everything about him is all right; Kirsanoff is unjust; but why can I not see what it is in him that displeases Kirsanoff?”
Her pride was excited in a direction most dangerous to the sweetheart.
When Kirsanoff returned a few days afterwards, he saw that he was already in a position to act more positively. Hitherto he had avoided conversations with Solovtzoff in order not to alarm Katérina Vassilievna by premature intervention. Now he made one of the group surrounding the young girl and her sweetheart, and began to direct the conversation upon subjects calculated to unveil Solovtzoff’s character by dragging him into the dialogue. The conversation turned upon wealth, and it seemed to Katérina Vassilievna that Solovtzoff was far too much occupied with thoughts about wealth; the conversation turned upon women, and it seemed to her that Solovtzoff spoke of them much too lightly; the conversation turned upon family life, and she tried in vain to drive away the impression that life with such a husband would he perhaps not very inspiring, but rather painful, to a woman.
The crisis had arrived. For a long time Katérina Vassilievna could not go to sleep; she wept in vexation with herself at having injured Solovtzoff by such thoughts regarding him. “No, he is not a heartless man; he does not despise women; he loves me, and not my money.” If these replies had been in answer to another’s words, she would have clung to them obstinately. But she was replying to herself; now, against a truth that you have discovered yourself it is impossible to struggle long; it is your own; there is no ground for suspicion of trickery. The next evening Katérina Vassilievna herself put Solovtzoff to the test, as Kirsanoff had done the evening before.
To be continued.
* The name of a ballad by Joukovsky, a romantic poet of the beginning of this century.
Death of a Notable Nihilist.
On November 11, 1885, at Nijnaia Kara, Siberia, died Doctor Weimar, who was banished on suspicion of indirect participation in Solovief’s attempt upon the life of Alexander II. in 1879.
Solovief, it will be remembered, both at his preliminary examination and during his trial, refused to betray any of his companions. He steadily persisted in saying that he had made the attempt of his own volition, had received no orders, and had no accomplices. He was condemned to death on June 6. With heroic stoicism he listened to the death sentence, and, when conducted to the scaffold, his firmness did not abandon him. He died courageously, carrying with him to the grave his secret and the names of his accomplices and political fellow-workers.
As for Weimar, all that they succeeded in proving against him during the trial was the not very important fact that he had accompanied and recommended an individual who bought the revolver which Solovief used. He was further charged with having frequented the society of Pierre Lavroff during a visit to Paris. On these charges alone he was banished to Siberia.
Now that Weimar is dead, there is no further reason to conceal the fact that he took a prominent part in several other perilous enterprises of the Russian revolutionists. Notable among them was his participation in the miraculous escape of Kropotkine. It was Weimar who furnished and drove the horse and carriage that took away the fugitive. It was his horse also that was used by those who executed General Mezentsof, chief of the secret police and an intimate friend of the czar.
It will be remembered that the general was killed on August 16, 1878, in broad daylight, on one of the principal streets of St. Petersburg. The chief of the secret police was in the habit of taking a walk every morning, in company with his friend, Lieutenant-Colonel Makaroff. On that morning, at nine o’clock, they were accosted by two well-dressed gentlemen, apparently from twenty-five to thirty years of age. One of them struck General Mezentsof with a dagger in the left side, a little below the heart; the other fired a pistol at Colonel Makaroff, but failed to hit him. The authors of these two attacks then got into a carriage drawn by a superb horse elegantly harnessed, which was waiting for them at a distance of a few stops; the horse, which is now known to have belonged to Weimar, started off at the top of its speed. The chief of police died that afternoon at five o’clock. Since that time neither the horse nor the executors of justice have ever been discovered.
A Woman’s Warning to Reformers.
Can man be free if woman be a Slave?
Chain one who lives, and breathes this boundless air,
To the corruption of a closed grave!
Can they whose mates are beasts condemned to bear
Scorn heavier far than toil or anguish dare
To trample their oppressors? In their home,
Among their babes, thou know’st a curse would wear
The shape of woman — hoary Crime would come
Behind, and Fraud rebuild Religion’s tottering dome.
Another instance that no wrong can be done to any class in society without part at least of the evil reverting to the wrong-doers is furnished in the fact that women always have been, and still are, one of the most important factors in the counter-revolution.
Men, for some purpose of their own, which they probably best understand, have always denied to women the opportunity to think; and, if some women have had courage enough to dare public opinion, and insist on thinking for themselves, they have been so beaten by that most powerful weapon in society’s arsenal, ridicule, that it has effectually prevented the great majority from making any attempt to come out of slavery. Woman, entirely deprived of all intellectual enjoyment, and of all opportunities for mental growth, has been forced back upon her emotions for all the pleasure that there is in her life, and it is in this that the church always has had, and always will have, its strongest support. If you men are so constituted that you are satisfied to meet daily in the most intimate relationship persons who have no sympathy with any thought, hope, or aspiration of yours; if you are satisfied that your own homes are just the places where you are least understood; if you have no interest in the emancipation of woman for her own sake,— you ought to have some for the sake of your sons, for the sake of the cause to which you profess to be attached.
Look around you, and see how many of the children of reformers enter the reform movement. Scarcely one in a hundred; and why? Because the influence of the mother has been acting in a contrary direction. The church is wiser than you; it knows the influence of the mother on her children; it knows what a great force is needed to shatter the ideas formed in early life; it knows that its power can never be broken as long as the women are within its folds, and consequently exerts all its influence to have the future mothers entirely under its control. Do you know that there is a large society of working-girls, directed by philanthropic ladies in New York, Yonkers, and Hoboken, and probably in other cities, in which the girls are given lessons in embroidery, art, science, etc., and are incidentally told of the evils of trades-unions, the immorality of strikes, and of the necessity of being “satisfied with the condition to which it has pleased God to call them”? Do you know that it is the very best and brightest of the working-girls that are being entrapped into these organizations, the girls with a yearning for higher culture, greater growth, than the narrow conditions of their life afford them?
How long are you going to be blind to the fact, which the backward Russian long ago recognized, that, unless you convert the women, you are engaged in but a Sisyphus labor, that what you gain in one generation is lost in the next, and all because women are supposed to have no intelligence to which you can appeal. You do not know whether they have inteligence or not, for you have never tried to find out. There are even Anarchists of my acquaintance who, when their wives or sisters enter the room, immediately change not only the serious topics of conversation, but change the very tones of their voices, in order to come down to the level of the supposed inferiority. Well, I give you warning of what persistence in this line of action will lead to; what you build up, the women will pull down. On yowr own heads be the penalty, if you fail to heed it.
Gertrude B. Kelly.
In J. K. Ingalls’s “Social Wealth,” several passages leave the cursory reader in doubt of the author’s definite aims. Among these, in the beginning of his criticism upon that unflinching defender cf capitalism and land monopoly, Mr. Mallock, (p. 161), he writes: “Mr. Mallock thinks a remedy like ‘nationalization of the land,’ or ‘limitation of estates in land,’ would be like prohibiting the sale of knives, because they were sometimes used feloniously to take life.” Here it would seem to be assumed by Mallock end allowed by Ingalls that nationalization of the soil is a process analogous to limitation of proprietorship, which is contrary to all our experience thus far, in the management of public lands, either by the United States or by particular States. Mr. Ingalls has also cited many historians to prove that the same betrayal of trust and privilege extended to monopolists, while disinheriting the mass of citizens, have ensued upon the national assumption of property in the soil of conquered countries in the Roman, the German, the English, and other traditions. Everywhere, with a fatal monotony to the slaves rescued from carnage by cupidity, the serfdom of the victors has succeeded, and both now stand upon the dreary level of an exploited proletariat. The Nation, the State, Government, has ever been an intermediary organ of spoliation, confiscating the soil from its cultivator and organizing landlordry.
Is Mr. Ingalls a State Socialist appealing to Government as a remedy for the evils it has caused? No; if nationalization is here quoted as a remedy against monopoly, it is ouly by deference to the reputation of Alfred Russell Wallace, who has artificially connected the limitation of proprietary land tenure with the revival of those feudal traditions which in the English land laws are still vivacious, and acknowledge the supreme title of the State as feudal chief.
Mr. Wallace pays homage to this in a quit-rent tax to be levied on the original value of the land distinguished from values added by labor, as in H. George’s plan, though not, as in the latter, levied up to its full value. This distinction would of necessity be arbitrary, be left to somebody’s discretion, or else really unequal by its assumption of equality; since between values and areas there is no parity.
For the rest, Mr. Wallace proposes occupancy as a principle of limitation, but no definite areas and no basis on which to compute them are stated. No British subject is to be excluded from occupancy, and sales freely allowed; but subletting prohibited,— a fantastic scheme of legislation. Mr. Ingalls relies exclusively on public opinion enlightened by science and the sense of justice for the restoration of the soil to the laborer; who on his side may help public opinion with a patent cyclone wire-fence cutter and a few bullet-headed arguments.
Mr. Wallace’s prospective liberality is not to touch any living soul among the privileged, but he forgets to add that it begs the question of that posterity which, educated in privilege, will have its own say about the execution of the new legislation, when it comes to the scratch. This legislation for the exclusive benefit of future generations may be admirably conservative in its intentions to avoid revolutionary bloodshed; it recommends itself especially to the priests, from whose promised treasures in heaven it has taken the quiescent hint, and both systems require equal doses of faith. Mr. Wallace, be it remembered, is not merely a naturalist, which is positive, but an evolutionist, which is comparative, and a spiritualist, which is superlative, and may carry the endowment of prophecy. The feature of compulsory taxation, as applied to land per se, as an original value belonging to the State, representing the collective humanity, is a bit of political quackery common to Wallace and to George. The “Summary,” quoted from Wallace, does not provide for the limitation to which it alludes, in the clause of occupying ownership, which, by the employment of machinery and hired labor, might legally cover any number of acres. Probably Mr. Wallace has not formulated his plan in a business way, but merely suggested its aims and directions.
As to the extension by that promising youth, Clark, in the “higher law of property,” to “the bounty of Nature in the whole material universe outside of man,” reverting to Humanity, alias Uncle Sam, by a two per cent. death rate, Ingalls, no longer restrained by his respect for popular reputations, fearlessly pricks the economic bubble.
He computes that two per cent. on all assets, including land, would amount to a double tithe, which State and Church may share, and he says of Taxation, that its power is the very essence of despotism. About this artifice for “correcting Nature’s blunders,” he remarks: “What neither George nor Clark seem capable of comprehending is that the civil power to collect rent, make compulsory exchanges, and enforce unequal contracts is the evil to be abated, and not the inability of Nature to bestow her bounty as she desires, or to effect the economy she intends.”
How loose a thinker, and at the same time how besotted with the arrogance of despotic capitalism using government as its tool, is Henry George appears from a paragraph quoted by Ingalls, which begins with “All taxes must come from the produce of land and labor, since there is no other source of wealth than the union of human exertion with the material and forces of Nature,” and ends with “We can tax land whether cultivated or uncultivated or left waste, wealth whether used productively or unproductively, and laborers whether they work or play.” This metaphysical humbug about Nature as a preface to the most fantastic and arbitrary legislation, so fashionable with our demagogues, gives a pitiful idea of the public intelligence on which it can impose, and which mistakes for original genius of statemanshlp the rehash of a criticism upon patent abuses, now ventilated for the hundred thousandth time, and which St. Simon, Fourier, Owen, and Proudhon completed in the last generation.
Mr. Ingalls in several places flouts “the empiricism of political platforms,” the petrifaction of legal enactments, speak of the multitude “fruitlessly following the ignis fatuus of legislating justice into human relations and rectifying wrong by use of the ballot,” “organizing temperance by legal prohibition,” etc.
He alludes here and there to Anarchy as if deferring to conventional prejudices; yet, to be a pronounced Anarchist, he lacks only the courage of his convictions.
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.