“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.
I am obliged to postpone till the next issue a letter from J. Wm. Lloyd exposing E. C. Walker’s inconsistency in claiming that he is legally married.
“Fortunately for the new party vote on the 2d of November,” says “John Swinton’s Paper,” “Archbishop Corrigan’s pastoral letter’ was not issued till after the election.” And how much crowing and blowing is it wise to indulge in over the votes of men who will change their ballots at an archbishop’s bidding? The man who attempts to effect the Social devolution by permission of the Catholic Church may prosper in his insane purpose for a day, but his ultimate fate will be crushing disaster as sure as eggs are eggs and superstition is superstition.
I wonder if the managers of the Sinaloa enterprise intend to adopt Fourier’s suggestion of marching the toilers to the places of work in regiments, with banners and bands of music. I shouldn’t be surprised if such really were the intention. Yet, no matter how near they may seem to come to the realization of the desideratum of “Attractive Industry,” I think that, if a popular vote shall be taken on the question, the toilers will declare in favor of marching home, from the places of work, with music and fireworks, instead of from home and to the places of work. However, I may be wrong. If the Bosses of Sinaloa are to have their way, the homes of the toilers are not likely to be more pleasant than the workshops.
With the end of this year the “Index” will die, after seventeen years of life, such as it was. For the first year or two of its existence it did a useful work, but since then it has been rather a hindrance than a help to Liberalism. It is to be succeeded by a Chicago weekly called “The Open Court” and edited by B. F. Underwood and Sara A. Underwood. Most of the “Index” contributors will write for the new paper. There is said to be no lack of capital behind the enterprise, but it will all be needed unless Mr. Underwood makes a very much better paper than the “Index” has been. The source of this capital has not been publicly announced, but it is generally understood that the money is to come from a large manufacturer of La Salle, Illinois, named Hegeler, who is reputed to be an enthusiastic follower of Herbert Spencer. A short time ago there was a report current that the “Index” would have another successor in the shape of a journal to be published in New York under the editorship of Moncure D. Conway. This news was too good to be true. Nevertheless it is Mr. Conway’s desire to edit a paper, and I hope it may be realized.
On January 8, 1887, Henry George will publish the first number of the “Standard,” a weekly newspaper “for all who work with hand or brain.” Mr. George announces that it is his purpose “to make a newspaper that, while keeping abreast of the times in all the main departments of human thought and interest, and affording a field for the free discussion of social and political topics by the ablest writers, shall give earnest support to the great movement that is now beginning for the abolition of monopoly and the recognition of natural rights,— a paper so full and strong and fair as to meet the desires of our friends and command the respect of our opponents.” Mr. George has the journalistic faculty in a marked degree, and ought to produce a readable paper. I am glad that he makes this venture, because it will do more than anything else to force to an issue the question whether the doctrine of taxation of land values as a panacea for society’s ills can retain and increase the hold upon the public mind which it has secured in such a phenomenally short time. With its editor’s prestige, the “Standard” should certainly be a financial success. The subscription price is $2.50 a year, and the address is “Box 2051, New York.”
George E. Macdonald, the “Truth Seeker’s” “man with the badge-pin,” whose clever reports of the Liberal Club meetings are often the most readable part of the paper, and who, as a humorist, is worthy of rank with the best of the professionals, had an experience last election day, in the capacity of poll-clerk in one of the New York election districts, of which he has given “Truth Seeker” readers a long and amusing and instructive account, the upshot of which is that his experience has made him “heartily sick of the whole business,” and has convinced him that “not more than half the voters vote with any object in view, and that that object is likely to be lost through the carelessness, dishonesty, or incompetency of those who receive, record, and count the ballots,” although he admits that the election machinery is pretty nearly perfect. Well, Mr. Macdonald, what are you going to do about it? You cannot seriously suppose that the appointment of women as election inspectors, as you suggest, would do more than slightly modify the evils of which you complain. And if this would not remedy it, what will? And if nothing will, how long are you going to uphold the political system of which such evils are the inevitable product? In other words, when will you declare yourself an Anarchist?
J. Wm. Lloyd, in “Lucifer,” rightly condemns the anxiety of some Anarchists to drop the name. He holds that it accurately expresses the negative side of their principle. But he thinks that they should also have a name expressive of its positive side. Describing this positive side as “voluntary cooperative defence,” he suggests the names Defendocrat and Defendocracy, and calls for criticism upon them. I have secondary objections to them, but my primary objection is that they are needless, for the reason that Anarchism has no positive side. The positive work of any movement is something which remains to be done after its negative work has been accomplished, or else something distinct from its negative work, but which may be done simultaneously with it. Anarchism means the abolition of invasion. In what respect is voluntary cooperative defence distinct from abolition of invasion, and, after the abolition of invasion, where will the necessity of defence arise? It is true that we may wear our swords for a while after putting our foes to flight, but for so remote and insignificant a feature of our struggle we need not trouble ourselves to find a name. Our names are all right, and we have enough of them. Our principal need at this juncture is of men who will stand consistently for the ideas which these names represent.
My Wichita Falls comrade, Mr. Warren, falls into error when he accuses me of “adopting the nomenclature of a class with whom no individualist could harmonize,” meaning, I suppose, by this class the Communists who call themselves Anarchists. Is Mr. Warren aware that the Chicago men never dreamed of adopting the name Anarchist until long after Liberty was started, and that the Communistic Anarchists of Europe did not so style themselves until nearly forty years after Proudhon used the name, for the first time in the world, to designate a social philosophy? Proudhon was an individualist, and to him and those who fundamentally agree with him belongs, by right of discovery and use, the employment of the word Anarchy in scientific terminology. We individualists hold the original title, and we do not propose to be evicted by the first upstart Communist who comes along with a fraudulent claim. Mr. Warren should read history. However, I can freely forgive almost any error about words to a man who sees ideas with the clearness, and holds to them with the steadfastness, indicated by Mr. Warren’s letter in another column, written in criticism of E. C. Walker and Lillian Harman. He disposes of Mr. Walker’s sophistry most effectively. But let not Mr. Warren be discouraged. This man and that man may drop out of our ranks, but the number of people who understand the principle of Liberty and are disposed to stand by it is growing every day. One swallow does not make a summer, and the whole flock of snow-birds now twittering in “Lucifer’s” dominions cannot make winter there. The glorious sun of Liberty is rising in the east, and no part of the world can escape its light and heat.
Not since the first appearance of Henry George’s light above the horizon have its rays been subjected to any such keen and searching analysis as that which they must now suffer under the prismatic criticisms of John F. Kelly. Ingalls, Hanson, Leavitt, Edgeworth, and others have dealt Georgeism some hard blows, but Mr. Kelly’s acute reasoning does more,— it undermines it; or, better still, it points out how completely, in his latest work, George has undermined himself. With marvellous clearness Mr. Kelly indicates that the real politico-economic alternative lies deeper than that between protection and free trade, and necessitates a choice not simply between free trade and that particular form of taxation known as a protective tariff, but between free trade and all forms of taxation whatsoever, including the taxation of land values. Further, Mr. Kelly deftly turns one of George’s strongest arguments for free trade against his deductions from the Ricardian theory of rent, and shows that, if the protective tariff which George so hotly opposes were levied on nations producing most advantageously, for the benefit of an international treasury, it would not differ in principle from the tariff which George is so ardently in favor of levying on the more advantageous land sites for the benefit of the national treasury. And again, in striking contrast to George’s lame and illogical solution of the tariff question by imposing a tax on land, Mr. Kelly sets up the efficacious and consistent Anarchistic solution by abolishing the tax on money. On the whole, no stronger article has ever appeared in Liberty than that in this number from Mr. Kelly’s pen. Aside from his incidental thrust at Tak Kak, whose doctrine he incorrectly states, I find the argument so good that I shall print it in pamphlet form forthwith. If George is the honest investigator that I take him to be, he will see that he cannot afford to ignore Mr. Kelly’s criticisms. Liberty’s columns are open to him, if he wishes to reply.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 89
But, an idol with ears that heard not, with eyes that saw not, Sir Richard Bradwell remained cold as ice and hard as stone, and neither the intoxicating fragrance of Lady Ellen’s superb body, nor the knowing promises of her eyes, nor the chant of her words, sweet and swelling like a canticle of canticles, moved him.
Under these ways of the irresistible siren was outlined, in spite of everything, the abominable author of assassinations. This whole being fashioned for pleasure revealed the monstrous aspect of the Fates who cut off the thread of our days: the bones of her slender Angers clicked like the steel of daggers, the passionate phrases of her mouth burst forth like the detonations of murderous fire-arms, and there emanated from her, from her neck, from her breasts which stood out beneath her low-necked dress, from her lustrous hair, an acrid odor of blood which suffocated him.
And he did not conceal it from her, nor that this impression would not, in the future, be effaced; that it would, on the contrary, be emphasized if she did not amend, and he would curse her tomorrow, pitying her today, if she persevered in this tragic and villainous path to which she had committed herself.
Then, suddenly, to save himself from her seductive attempts, the danger of which he knew, and the efficacy of which had been of old too often established, he rushed to the side of Lord Muskery, who was passing with a lively skip, having succeeded, some minutes before, in kissing the long nails of Lucy Hobart.
“Without having moved you?”
“My answer is unchangeable!”
Christmas eve, having slipped into Treor’s house, during the master’s absence, Sir Richard was vainly begging Marian to listen to him.
She had not had the strength, on perceiving who entered, to drive him away, to evict him immediately like an intruder, like an enemy; his countenance bore witness to so much trouble; she knew so well the purity of his intentions, and with what a tender, respectful passion she had inspired him.
“You will never be my wife?” continued Richard.
“Still,” said he, “you have loved me, and not so long ago,— a few months only. We met in the fields, in the woods where you led the children to teach them to spell the Irish books which our stupid authorities prohibited, and I helped you often in your task. Sometimes, in turning the leaves, our fingers touched. Today you would refuse to give me your hand, even as a comrade.”
“You are the enemy!”
“You know well that I am not, and that I protest energetically against the persecutions of which you are the object.”
“That is to your credit, but the honor of the oppressed consists in not distinguishing between the oppressors, in breaking every bond of friendship with any one belonging to their race.”
“Oh, the injustice which those grand, solemn words contain! So, whether I am kind or cruel to your friends, you will hate me just the same.”
“I do not hate you!”
“But you no longer love me?”
“Who has told you that I loved you?” said the young girl with a start, her tremor contradicting her denial and her voice quivering.
“No one has told me, you least of all; but everything in your manner with me of late, everything in the emotion which you felt near me, in the impatience, the joy which you showed on my arrival, the sadness at my departure, gave me to understand it. Oh! I did not plnme myself upon it, believe me, to importune you, to dare to beg a rendezvous without the witnesses who always accompanied you.”
“It is true!”
“You love me, then?”
“And you love me no longer?”
“Do not question me. Events separate us. They dig each day between us an abyss more profound, a river of blood! Forget by-gone days!”
“No! and I will not take my leave unless you promise me to reconsider your cruel decision to which I would not have submitted had I not been sure of your crime.”
Excessively moved by this recollection so delicately evoked, Marian paled and faltered, closing her eyes, in which, amid the trembling lashes which fringed them, stood pearly tears.
And Sir Richard comprehended that the sentiment of the old time still lived within her, and, in an outburst of intense happiness, he seized her hand and covered it with tender kisses; but she withdrew it promptly, offended. After the categorical declarations which she had just made to him, this effusion constituted an offence, and now she invited him to go without delay, without respite. She would not pardon him unless he obeyed quickly, submissive and repentant.
He was obstinately opposed to leaving, to being dismissed. It was senseless, when they both loved each other, to sacrifice themselves to considerations of race.
“Though one has undertaken to utterly annihilate the other,” said the young girl, “and by the most atrocious means. You refuse to comprehend this, and yet a different attitude on my part would scandalize you,— yes, render me odious in your eyes; at least, I hope so. If I were indifferent to the massacres which succeed each other, and of which your people make heartless sport while my friends mourn, and with which yours are always surrounding us, what a heart of bronze, what a despicable soul would be mine!”
“Weep for those whom you love and whom they kill, curse their assassins, but do not confound me in the hatred which you vow to the executioners,— me who join in your just wrath against them, and who share your pity for the victims!”
“Alas! are you not the son of one of our most ferocious persecutors, of Lord Newington, this man of prey? The balls of his muskets have killed our past, and have laid in the bloody grave of my brothers the future which might have smiled upon us.”
At the name of the Lord, Sir Richard clenched his fists, and an explosion of savage hatred shook him at the same time that a flash of wild hope crossed his mind. The Duke, whose image Marian called up as an obstacle to their happiness, he abhorred at this moment. He could have desired to learn suddenly of his death, and he thought with satisfaction of the thousand perils which menaced him,— the chances of war, the snares of the conquered, and especially the relentless plotting of Lady Ellen.
And he who had testified to the Duchess such vehement indignation at the idea of impious murder which she cherished, would have actually, willingly urged her to hasten the denouement of her plots; perhaps he would have put his hand to the sacrilegious work!
But this odious impulse did not last long, and he immediately reflected that perhaps this intrusion of the Duke in the midst of his tender dream was the revenge for the injury of which he had been so shamefully culpable in regard to him.
He had possessed himself of his wife in a cowardly, disloyal, treacherous way, and Lord Newington, in retaliation, frightened Marian, splashed him with the blood in which he rode up to the breast of his steed, and caused the fiancee whom Bradwell coveted to refuse him.
Nothing could be more just!
Then the young man’s animosity turned against the Duchess.
It was true that the initial responsibility was not Lady Ellen’s. He had desired her, had long importuned her in unceasing courtship, sown with snares; at last, weary of unsuccessful stratagems, of profitless ambuscades, of ineffectual artifices, a madness, because of his repeated checks, seizing him, he had had recourse, to force; but, in the sequel, when his consciousness of guilt awoke, did she not lull it with the sweet murmur of magic words, with the warmth of her embraces? When remorse assailed him, did she not smother it with the clasp of her muscles, stamped with an infernal magnetism?
Vainly he had tried to break the bonds of this fatal passion; the Duchess had set herself against it, and, by the love-potion which her whole being distilled, she held him unceasingly, and kept him enthralled in a subjection from which he could never free himself.
Never! above all since Marian would not consent to aid him and since she alone, the only being in the world capable of exorcising it, shrank from the salutary task of combatting and overcoming the influence which bewitched him.
In this very instant when he was inwardly invoking her help, she urged him anew to go away, to return to Cumslen-Park, to the castle, and Ellen waited for him there, impatient and finely dressed, knowing that the Duke would be absent.
He daily defended himself from her caresses, and daily he fell back into his slavery, languid and feverish, becoming from day to day less capable of resistance and without energy to flee.
For hours he would escape her, retrenching himself in the chaste sphere of his love for the granddaughter of Treor. But suddenly, far from the Duchess, at distances really enormous, a sensation would imprint itself in his flesh, which immediately sent an imperious thrill through his whole body; an intoxication enervated him; irresistible desires took possession of him, and brought him back close to her whom he anathematized, whose death he sometimes wished, and whom he would finally hurry to rejoin, in terrible apprehension of not finding her or of being repulsed by her.
On a few rare occasions he had rebelled against the cowardice of his senses; he had succeeded in fleeing twenty leagues away and staying there half a week. This was after getting a glimpse somewhere of Marian’s serene profile, respectfully saluting her, and receiving from her a furtive good-morning, discreet, however, and full of reserve.
This viaticum was sufficient to start him on one of his journeys of refuge; but, in the end, the salutary impression would be dissipated, melted away by the ardent, corrosive breath of the unworthy passion, and, slowly at first, then more rapidly, then with a speed which bordered on vertigo, he would regain the castle and fall again into the power of the wicked enchantress.
“Speak!” repeated the young girl for the second or third time, now disturbed at this meeting already too prolonged, and afraid that some one would come in.
“Marian!” said Sir Bradwell, in the tone of a prayer.
And he was on the point of opening his mournful heart, of revealing all,— his criminal love for the Duchess and the assistance of which he was in need.
But the sound of steps outside was heard, and Treor’s granddaughter really feared a surprise. They would not suspect her of doing wrong. Still, under the circumstances, Sir Bradwell’s presence would seem singular. Besides, it would be embarrassing; people would consider themselves compromised; and she begged him to leave the place.
As he still did not go, in spite of her incessant entreaties, she gave him to understand, trusting to his faithfulness, that her father was going to have a re-union of friends, it being Christmas, and that she must prepare the house for the children who were coming, in the sadness of this dreadful winter,— perhaps the last,— to amuse themselves with some playthings and to participate in a meagre repast furnished just to keep up the tradition.
Treor had been obliged, in the persistent absence of the priest, to celebrate a kind of mass in his capacity of descendant of the elect of the parish, and doubtless the ceremony was in progress. Directly they would leave the church, and the children would not be long in reaching the house. The parents would follow them closely. How could Sir Richard’s presence be explained?
Already the singing could be heard,— a canticle which terminated the ceremony, or which, at least, was intoned after the first part. In twenty minutes they would arrive.
“Go, I beg you!” Marian went on repeating.
“I remain!” said Sir Richard.
Marian, while speaking, busied herself in stirring the fire, and, in the great fireplace, lay whole branches of larch-trees, which curled up, and threw out sparks of fire; she turned her head quickly, doubting if she had understood, and if it was Sir Richard whom she heard. The accent so sweetly sad with which up to that time he had lulled her differed so much from the rough, brutal accent with which he had just pronounced his last words! And she rose up, stupefied at the change wrought in him.
His countenance, usually rather cold, rather severe, but which kindness softened, and which, above all, the love which he showed her smoothed,— this face, a moment before so expressively affectionate, breathed now a secret irritation, a kind of wildness convulsing the features and twisting the mouth, ordinarily so correct, but the under lip of which, a simple, hardly perceptible white line, betrayed, beneath the calmness of the whole, a slumbering cruelty, just as the narrow forehead, contracted between the temples, indicated a decided obstinacy; and his eyeballs, of a pale topaz, in which sometimes glistened the gold of exquisite tenderness, now radiated gloomy fire.
The young girl experienced an emotion of painful fear, and reiterated, but more imperiously, the order that he should go, to which he showed himself more deaf than before. Then she became really angry.
Remain in spite of her! Marian asked him where he believed himself to be that he should speak in that way; she had received him without animadversion, almost, as a brother, and, because of her gratitude for the service rendered, that she might thank him for his intervention when the odious soldier was about to do violence to her. But truly now she recognized no longer his nobility.
By virtue of what right would he remain against her will in this house? By virtue of the order putting the village outside of the king’s peace? Then she herself would retire and warn Treor; she would inform all the invited guests to seek elsewhere a free roof under which they could meet, provided always Sir Bradwell would permit them, and would not rout them out of their new refuge either alone or escorted by the Ancient Britons, of whom he seemed now quite worthy to take the command.
“Pardon!” said he all at once, coming out of a profound meditation into which his mind had suddenly fallen, while his contracted features relaxed and the sinister flames which had been burning in his eyes went out.
And again, with a softened face, slightly ashamed, he begged Marian to excuse a temporary fit, altogether ill-timed and improper, but spontaneous, of involuntary madness. A wicked rage had passed over him against these Irish who revolted, who would not passively accept the yoke of the conquered; formerly the same wrath had animated him against the oppressors. Love had unsettled him, wiped out his sense of justice; he had considered only his passion, had seen only the obstacles raised across its path and whence they arose, and a blind anger had taken possession of him against the people from whom they emanated.
Now, he had no feeling in his heart, in regard to the sons of the “old woman,” save the keen and glowing sympathy which they had always inspired in him; he framed the most sincere, the most ardent vows for their success; and, the platonism of desire not seeming to him of a nature to aid powerfully enough these unfortunate people who were so worthy, he proposed to enter with them into bonds of more effective solidarity.
Quite himself again, breathing deeply, and with the resplendent air of pride and joy of one conscious of harmony between the resolves of his conscience and the acts which he has determined to perform, he opened his heart to his thoughts and reassured Marian, who, with her ear close to the door, or opening the window-shutters, was on the watch to see whether they were returning from the mass.
“I remain,” repeated he, “but to put my hand, guiltless of blood, in that of your father, in those of your friends, in those of your brothers, and I will say to them: ‘Your cause, legitimate and sacred, I will content myself no longer with accompanying with vain admiration and idle words of encouragement. It was chance that placed me among your enemies; it omitted fashioning me in their image. I feel as you do the horror of their conduct as highway robbers. The little which comes to me of their wealth has doubtless been acquired by depredations which despoil you. The luxury in which I participate has been stolen from your miseries. Forget that I have so long withheld what belongs to you; I despoil myself to restore it to you; accept me in your ranks as one of your own!’”
To be continued.
The Political Theology of Mazzini
By Michael Bakouine,
Member of the International Association of Working-People.
Translated from the French by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 89.
5. That, once clearly understanding itself and organized nationally and internationally, there will be no power in the world that can resist it.
6. That the proletariat ought to tend, not to the establishment of a new rule or of a new class for its own profit, but to the definitive abolition of all rule, of every class, by the organization of justice, liberty, and equality for all human beings, without distinction of race, color, nationality, or faith,— all to fully exercise the same duties and enjoy the same rights.
7. That the cause of the workingmen of the entire world is solidary, across and in spite of all State frontiers. It is solidary and international, because, pushed by an inevitable law which is inherent in it, bourgeois capital, in its threefold employment,— in industry, in commerce, and in banking speculations,— has evidently been tending, since the beginning of this century, towards an organization more and more international and solidary, enlarging each day more, and simultaneously in all countries, the abyss which already separates the working world from the bourgeois world; whence it results that for every workingman endowed with intelligence and heart, for every proletaire who has affection for his companions in misery and servitude, and who at the same time is conscious of his situation and of his only actual interests, the real country is henceforth the international camp of labor, opposed, across the frontiers of all countries, to the much older international camp of exploiting capital; that to every workingman truly worthy of the name, the workingmen of foreign countries, who suffer and who are oppressed like himself, are infinitely nearer and more like brothers than the bourgeois of his own country, who enrich themselves to his detriment.
8. That the oppression and exploitation of which the toiling masses are victims in all countries, being in their nature and by their present organization internationally solidary, the deliverance of the proletariat must also be so; that the economic and social emancipation (foundation and preliminary condition of political emancipation) of the working-people of a country will be for ever impossible, if it is not effected simultaneously at least in the majority of the countries with which it finds itself bound by means of credit, industry, and commerce; and that, consequently, by the duty of fraternity as well as by enlightened self-interest, in the interest of their own salvation and of their near deliverance, the working-people of all trades are called upon to establish, organize, and exercise the strictest practical solidarity, communal, provincial, national, and international, beginning in their workshop, and then extending it to all their trade-societies and to the federation of all the trades,— a solidarity which they ought above all scrupulously to observe and practise in all the developments, in all the catastrophes, and in all the incidents of the incessant struggle of the labor of the workingman against the capital of the bourgeois, such as strikes, demands for decrease of the hours of work and increase of wages, and, in general, all the claims which relate to the conditions of labor and to the existence, whether material or moral, of the working-people.
Is it not true that all these affirmations and all these counsels are so simple, so natural, so legitimate, so true, and so just that a government must have deliberately determined upon brutal iniquity and the flagrant violation of all human rights, like the Russian government, for example, or like that of the present French Republic, to dare avow that the propaganda and the putting in practice of these truths are contrary to its existence, and to have the cynical courage to openly and rigorously proceed against them. Such a government, formidable as may be, or rather, as may appear, the organization of its material power, will not be able to maintain itself lone against the irresistible tendencies of the century, and the more violence it shows the sooner it will perish. Thus we see that the statesmen of Germany, who certainly will not be accused of ignorance, or of want of foresight, or of exaggerated tenderness for the popular cause, or of weakness, since they are found at the head of the most powerful State in Europe, and who have never failed to interpose in our path as many obstacles as they could,— we see, I say, that they take good care, nevertheless, not to openly and violently proceed against the propaganda and legal agitation, or against the public organization, of the Social-Democratic party. The day when, imitating the summary proceedings of the French and Russian governments, they shall have recourse to open violence, the government of Germany will betray the beginning of its downfall.
But let us leave the governments, and return to this proletariat, which contains the lightning that must exterminate all the injustices and absurdities of the present, and the fruitful elements that must constitute the future.
The labor associations most devoted to Mazzini,— those which, consequently, whether through Mazzinian propaganda or through the official action which today no longer disdains to descend to the lower strata of society, will be the most obstinately prejudiced against the International,— when they have heard the explanation of its programme and when they are convinced that this great association aims at absolutely nothing else than their moral and human emancipation by means of a radical amelioration of the material conditions of their labor and their existence, produced solely by the association of their own efforts, will all say, as we have often happened to hear in other countries: “What! Is that what this International of which we have heard so much evil believes and wishes? But we have been thinking, feeling, and wishing the same thing for a long time. Then we also belong to the International!” And the workingmen will be amazed that an association founded exclusively in the interest of the people has been attacked by men who call themselves the friends of the people, and they will finish by concluding, not without much reason, that these pretended friends are in reality enemies of popular emancipation.
The great error of Mazzini and of all the other persecutors and slanderers of the International, consists in imagining it as an association more or less secret and artificial, which sprang unexpectedly, arbitrarily, with all its principles and all its organization, from the brain, naturally inspired by evil, of one or a few individuals, as the Republican Alliance sprang from the brain, doubtless divinely inspired, of Mazzini.
If the International were really such, it would be a weak, insignificant sect, lost in the midst of so many other still-born sects. No one would deign to speak of it. Who disturbs himself today about the deeds and movements of the Republican Alliance? On the contrary, the International has become today the object of universal attention,— the hope of the oppressed, the terror of the powerful of the world. Hardly seven years old, it is already a giant.
A few individuals, however great their genius might be, could never have created an organization, a power, so formidable. Therefore the very intelligent and very devoted men who are found among those generally called the first founders of the International have been in a way only its very fortunate, very skilful midwives. But it is the laboring masses of Europe which have given birth to the giant.
That is what Mazzini refuses to comprehend, and what, in his two-fold character of believing idealist and self-styled revolutionary statesman, he will probably never succeed in comprehending.
As an idealist, he cannot do otherwise than deny the spontaneous development of the real world and what we call true force, the logic or reason of things. And the moment he believes in God, he is forced to believe that not only ideas, but the life and movement of the material world come from God,— all the more, then, the religious, political and social, and intellectual and moral evolutions of humanity.
As a statesman, he must scorn the masses. Urged by his generous heart and loving to do them the most good possible, he must consider them as absolutely incapable of guiding themselves, of governing themselves, and of producing the least good thing by themselves.
And, in reality, we know, and later we will prove, that Mazzini, preeminently a religious man and founder or revealer of a new religion, which he himself calls the Religion of Association and of Progress, affirms the permanent and progressive revelation of God in humanity, by means of men of genius crowned with virtue and of the nations the most advanced in the realization of the law of life. He is deeply convinced that upon Italy today is again incumbent the high mission of interpreter or apostle of this divine law in the world; but that, to fulfil thus mission worthily, the Italian people must first be thoroughly imbued with the Mazzinian spirit, and by means of a Constituent Assembly entirely composed of Mazzinian deputies, give itself a Mazzinian government. At this price, but only at this price, he promises her, for the third time in her history, the supremacy (moral only, and not Catholic this time, but Mazzinian), the sceptre of the world.
From the moment that the initiative of the new progress must proceed from Italy, and, what is more, from exclusively Mazzinian Italy,— that is, from an excessively small minority which, by I know not what miracle, is to represent the whole nation,— it is clear that the International, which is born outside of Italy and entirely outside of the Mazzinian party and Mazzinian principles, must be declared null and void by Mazzini.
We also know that Mazzini, preeminently a politician and dogged partisan of a unified and powerful State, proclaims that upon the State alone is incumbent the duty and the right of administering to the whole nation a uniform education, strictly in conformity with the dogmas of the new religion which the coining Constituent Assembly, met at Rome, again become the capital of the world, and, without doubt, divinely inspired (the Constituent Assembly, not Rome — but perhaps Rome also?), will have proclaimed as the sole national religion, in order that the nation may become one in thought, as it will be in acts. We know that, beyond the unification produced artificially, from above to below, by this so-called national education, Mazzini does not recognize in the popular masses, which he always calls multitudes (only the adjective vile is lacking, but it is implied), the character of a people, and refuses them, consequently, what we call the popular initiative.* But the International has sprung properly from the spontaneous initiative of the laboring masses, not instructed, not warped, not mutilated by the Mazzinian education; therefore it is evident that it must be rejected and disparaged by Mazzini.
There is nothing more strange than to see the unheard-of pains which Mazzini takes to persuade the public, the militant youth and, above all, the working people of Italy, that the International is nothing but a mockery, an unfortunate abortion all ready to dissolve, and that all which is related of its present power is ridiculously exaggerated.
Does he himself believe what he says? Out of respect for his high sincerity we must think that he does; but the respect which his intelligence inspires in us commands us to suppose the contrary. For, alter all, Mazzini is not only an idealist and a theologian, the inspired revealer of a new religion,— he is at the same time a consummate conspirator, a man of action, a statesman. It is true that many of his own friends (I will not give their names, not wishing, in imitation of Mazzini, to sow or increase discord in the Mazzinian camp, this being a proceeding which I leave to the theologians),— yes, many of his nearest friends nave often declared to me that his religious hallucinations, projecting their fantastic and delusive light on his judgments, on his acts, have always perverted them, and that, in spite of all his great intelligence, they have always prevented him from appreciating things and facts at their true value. So it is, they have said to me, that, living in a perpetual illusion, and considering the world only through the prism of his imagination haunted by divine phantoms, be has always exaggerated the strength of his own party and the weakness of his enemies.
To be continued.
* That the Mazzinians may not be able to reproach me with misrepresenting Mazzini’s ideas, I reproduce his own words: “But in order that a people may be, it must be one; . . . . in order that universal suffrage, abandoned to the caprice of the moment and remaining without counsel and without normal morality, may not repent the sorrowful spectacle of the last half-century, voting today for tyranny, tomorrow for the republic, and the next day for the constitutional monarchy, universal suffrage must be the expression of a national inspiration. And there is no tuition except where there exists the perception of a common aim, solemnly expressed in a compact, communicated and developed by education.” — La Roma del Popolo, August 31, 1871.
What is this compact? A real Procrustean bed prepared long since by Mazzini, on which to stretch, willingly or unwillingly, this poor Italian nation. In examining closely the theologico-political system of Mazzini, I shall necessarily return to this question.
“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.
The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.
No Half Loaf, But a Crumb of Stale Bread.
Mr. Harman, the editor of “Lucifer,” “respectfully commends to the careful consideration of Comrades Tucker, Warren, Heywood, and ‘Tritogen’” a letter from Dr. E. B. Foote, Sr., printed in “Lucifer” of November 13. Before tendering any advice of this kind, it would be becoming in Mr. Harman to give his readers a chance for “careful consideration” of the criticisms passed upon his erring children by the aforesaid comrades. But thus far he has taken precious good care that they shall not get a glimpse of them, although Mr. Walker has been allowed to fully state himself to Liberty’s readers. Still, I have followed Mr. Harman’s advice and carefully considered Dr. Foote’s letter.
What does he say? That I, in my editorial entitled, “Not Compromise, But Surrender,” am “wonderfully clear and logical from an Anarchial standpoint," but that he [Dr. Foote] is “enough of an ‘opportunist’ to accept of half a loaf when I [he] cannot get a whole one.” Looking further on to find out what this half loaf is which Dr. Foote thinks that Mr. Walker and Miss — beg pardon — Mrs. Harman have gained, I find it to be the privilege of getting legally married without solemnly promising to love each other as long as they live, thereby avoiding the necessity of sacrificing their personal honor by violating such promise in case they should wish to get legally divorced. To say nothing of the fact that there can be no sacrifice of personal honor in violating a promise intrinsically impossible of fulfilment, and that therefore the gain of this privilege would be a very trifling matter, they have not gained even this, for it was theirs before. It is open to any couple to go before a justice of the peace and make a very simple legal marriage contract without promising to love each other. What becomes of the gain, then? Half a loaf, indeed! It’s but the merest crumb,— and stale bread at that.
Such being the result of my careful consideration of Dr. Foote’s letter, I now begin to suspect that Mr. Harman himself has not considered it as carefully as he might have, and in turn I commend it to him. Has he observed Dr. Foote’s admission that my criticism is “wonderfully clear and logical from an Anarchial standpoint”? If this be true, then Mr. Walker’s course can be logical only from some standpoint other than “Anarchial.” In other words, he has surrendered his standpoint,— which has been the harden of my contention. My criticism was one addressed by an Anarchist to Anarchists for the purpose of showing them that, as Anarchists, it is their business, not to sustain E. C. Walker, but to oppose him. The minute he ceases to act from an Anarchistic standpoint, that minute he ceases to be of interest to Anarchists except as an enemy. Whether he acts logically from some other standpoint is a matter of no moment.
But why does “Lucifer” content itself with answering its critics through Dr. Foote, instead of meeting them itself? The only attempt that it has made in this direction is the following:
Our contention is not for marriage as a Legalized Institution, but simply and squarely for freedom of contract. We use the word marriage for want of a better term. We have all the while distinctively and in most emphatic language opposed marriage so far as it implies a surrender of any natural right of man, and especially of woman. If marriage, to be recognized as such by the law, implies or compels the surrender of any natural right, then the defendants in this prosecution are not legally married; and it is safe to predict that they never will be. But if the law concedes to us the right to make our own civil contract in the conjugal relation, without any more preliminaries than are required for other civil contracts, then so much the better for the law! We shall then have gained a clear Autonomistic victory. What more would you have, Messrs. Heywood, Tucker, ‘Tritogen,’ Warren, et al?
Nothing more, in truth; but, if the law should concede that right, it would thereby take its hands off the conjugal relation altogether, and there would be no such thing as legal marriage. It is precisely the regulation by law of conjugal contracts, whether in the method of forming them or in the obligations resulting from them, that constitutes legal marriage. By however simple a method Mr. Walker and Mrs. Harman may have formed their contract, in claiming it as legal marriage and securing (if they did) judicial acknowledgment thereof they fastened upon themselves the duties and obligations of legal marriage and so surrendered their natural rights, notwithstanding Mr. Harman’s assertion that they have made no such surrender. Mr. Harman’s defence of Mr. Walker is inconsistent with Mr. Walker’s defence of himself. In what a muddle people find themselves when once they deviate from the path of right reason!
Stick to the plumb-line.
Just for a handful of silver he left us,
Just for a ribbon to tie in his coat.
To the earnest Anarchistic worker one of the saddest sights is the continuous desertion from our ranks, the tendency displayed on all sides to quit us for the power and places the world has to offer. Many join us in that full flush of enthusiasm following the perception of the grandeur and the truth and the justice of our ideas, but they gradually come to realize that devotion to truth means the giving up of all the “prizes of life”; that they are liable to be misunderstood and contemned and reviled; that success, if ever attainable, is at a very considerable distance; that neither fame nor fortune is to be achieved on the way; that others are not as ready or as willing as they were to accept the ideas; and then they become sick and faint at heart, give up the labor movement altogether, or, what is far more common, turn their attention to those phases of it in which fame and popularity are more easily attained. To judge of the sincerity of a man’s Anarchistic convictions one has only to watch his behavior through such a political excitement as we lately had in New York, if there is any of the old authoritarian spirit in him, any longing for fame, it inevitably shows itself at such a time, and he throws himself again into the giddy whirl of polities.
A prominent Anarchist in Newark “allowed” himself to be put up as the labor candidate for Congress. In his letter of acceptance to the workingmen, he told them: “You are well aware that as between the economic and political methods of achieving industrial emancipation, I have always given the former the preference, as likely to lead, in my estimation, to more fruitful and permanent results, although at the same time admitting that the pursuit of the political method would result in temporary advantage,” a mere juggling with words, a mere playing with his own conscience, for he is well aware that the people do not know the meaning of the terms he employs, and he does not intend that they should. When the charge is brought against him by the opposition that he is a Socialist and an Anarchist, and his friends deny it indignantly, he vouchsafes no word to explain what the “superiority of the economic method” means. — Let him go!
To him and to others who are tempted to do as he has done,— sell their souls for applause,— I would recommend the following passage from George Eliot, as it voices the warning which I wish to convey to them much more forcibly than I can:
An early deep-seated love to which we become faithless has its unfailing Nemesis, if only in that division of soul which narrows all newer joys by the intrusion of regret and the established presentiment of change. I refer not merely to the love of a person, but to the love of ideas, practical beliefe, and social habits. And faithlessness here means, not a gradual conversion, dependent on enlarged knowledge, but a yielding to seductive circumstances; not a conviction that the original choice was a mistake, but a subjection to incidents that flatter a growing desire. In this sort of love it is the forsaker who has the melancholy lot; for an abandoned belief may be more effectively vengeful than Dido. The child of a wandering tribe, caught young and trained to polite life, if he feels a hereditary yearning, can run away to the old wilds and get his nature into tune. But there is no such recovery possible to the man who remembers what he once believed without being convinced that he was in error, who feels within himself unsatisfied stirrings toward old beloved habits and intimacies from which he has far receded without conscious justification, or unwavering sense of superior attractiveness in the new. This involuntary renegade has his character hopelessly jangled and out of tune. He is line an organ with its stops in the lawless condition of obtruding themselves without method, so that hearers are amazed by the most unexpected transitions,— the trumpet breaking in on the flute, and the oboe confounding both.
Gertrude B. Kelly.
The State Socialists of the country, having been lulled to sleep by the monotonous and spiritless music of labor reform, and having slept soundly for a number of years, suddenly awoke and bestirred themselves. They realized that they were almost entirely forgotten, and were greatly alarmed at the indications of the development and spread of the Anarchistic movement. It was necessary to check this dangerous epidemic, which threatened to carry off every member of the diseased Authority family, and extraordinary measures were decided upon. A revival of the State Socialist propaganda was started, and Sam Smalls imported from distant lands to carry on the missionary work. If the “daughter in flesh” of Marx, his son in law and “in spirit,” and a professional labor bamboozler cannot move the social infidels, there is assuredly no hope for them. Each of these three missionaries excels in some line or other of the work, and so they were to specialize the task and perform different functions. Herr Liebknecht, the Talmage of State Socialism, was to damn the heretics, rave and curse, abuse and threaten, in short, strike terror into the hearts of the wicked and the weak. Dr. Aveling was to personify the dignity and authority of Scientific Socialism,— the label under which they are trying to smuggle the productions of their impotent heads, and in the selection of which name they show the same sagacity that a certain schoolboy exhibited when, having finished a drawing in accordance with the teacher’s directions, he made the inscription, “this represents a deer,” being conscious of the fact that it might very easily be taken for something else. Finally, those whom Dr. Aveling’s “science” would fail to inspire with worshipful reverence, and who would not even be frightened into submission by Herr Liebknecht’s loud-mouthed insolence, Eleanor M. Aveling was bound to move, not literally by tears, but by touching and sentimental appeals.
Well, the campaign is nearly over, and what is the result? A complete fiasco and a disgraceful bankruptcy. The “distinguished guests from abroad” heve made fools of themselves, disgusted all their sensible friends, and thrown discredit on their cause. To the State Socialists who are honest and intelligent enough to feel grievously disappointed we offer our sincere condolences. It is a painful duty for us to add to their sorrow by bringing into notice things they would wish to see forgotten; but, as the purpose of the campaign, was, according to their repeated statements, the utter annihilation of the Anarchists, we do not see how we can avoid making this summary.
With regard to the efforts of Eleanor Marx Aveling we have very little to say. “Scientific” Socialism is something she never laid claim to. With her, Socialism is a religion, and she eloquently and earnestly appeals to us to believe and be saved. It is certain that she succeeded in making one convert at least, Dr. Aveling having confessed to us that she exercised a great influence over him; but site seems to have over-taxed herself in that supreme effort. We leave her with the assurance of our distinguished consideration.
It is perhaps in accordance with the law of the fitness of things that the expounder of Scientific Socialism should be virtually a know-nothing; and the spectacle of men venturing upon a fight against things they do not understand is also common enough. But we at least expected to find in Dr. Aveling a sincere and honorable man, a gentleman, and a man of honor. He proved himself to be a fraud, a charlatan, and a quack. Having made the statement in the N. Y. “World” that he is opposed both to the ends and means of Anarchism, he had the shamelessness to say, when publicly convicted of gross ignorance of the subjects he dealt with, that he did not know that Anarchism had any ends at all. Having boasted of his readiness to meet and refute all opposition, he cowardly retreated at the very first challenge, and systematically barred out fair discussion and criticism from his public lectures. No doubt, this was simple prudence on his part, but, unfortunately, he forgot himself for a moment, and let out the whole secret. Yielding to the temptation of appearing before the public as “the only original Jacob” of socialism, he crossed swords with Prof. T. Davidson, and the wound he received is mortal to him as a “Scientific Socialist.” The “effort to clear away current misunderstandings of Socialism” took the shape of an exceedingly silly and stupid letter to the N. Y. “World,” in which the reader was assured that, “while we cannot speak with either the eloquence, the power, or the command of the father of one of us in the flesh and of both of us in the spirit, we have striven to say no word that we do not believe he, the teacher of all scientific socialists, would have indorsed.” Professor Davidson did not seem to be much frightened by the ghost of the “father,” and the quack was unmasked. It is to be hoped that Aveling’s American experience will make him a wiser, if not a better, man.
And what is to be said of that demagogue and humbug, Liebknecht? Very little needs to be said to characterize the man who slandered the heroes of the Paris Commune and denounced them by wholesale as robbers, thieves, drunkards, and the vilest wretches, and who told the reporters of capitalistic papers that the Anarchists were all liars, lunatics, hirelings in pay of detectives, and criminals. But much can be said when we come to think that such as he head the procession of the proletariat and play the part of leaders and teachers. And very little faith and confidence can be had in the men who listen to and applaud a “leader” who preaches absolute obedience and who demands of them as blind a trust in himself as the devout Roman Catholic extends to his priest.
When we turn our eyes from this disgusting and revolting scene of quackery, false pretence, and presumptuous ignorance to the free, intelligent, and earnest men and women who have enlisted under the banner of true Anarchism, and who are bound to attract the brainiest and brightest elements of society, we cannot but feel proud of the work we are engaged in and of the place our movement is to take in social evolution.
The Chicago “Tribune” of November 27 says that Chief Justice Scott (of the Supreme Court of Illinois) has granted a supersedeas in the case of the Anarchists, upon the ground:
That in criminal cases, the law imposes on the courts a solemn and responsible duty to see that no injustice is done by hasty action, passion, or prejudice, or from any other cause.
The Boston “Daily Advertiser” of November 29 has a long editorial to show that, if a new trial should be had, there is no reasonable ground to expect that the Anarchists will be convicted.
These things indicate that trial and conviction by newspapers is not perfectly certain to insure the hanging of innocent men.
There will, of course, be great mourning among the newspapers, but we hope their grief will be assuaged by time.
Forbidden to Write for Publication.
Dear Mr. Tucker:
I sent a letter to you yesterday, which I intended should be private, but, as the sheriff has issued his edict that we shall write no more for publication in “Lucifer” or any other paper, I will ask you to publish it. You can now have the opportunity of proving beyond dispute that we are un-Anarchistic, because, no matter what you may say, we cannot answer from this place.
Our letters to friends, such as the one I wrote to you, are too much for our sheriff. He has unbounded faith in “Law” and the Christian religion, and he thinks that we are building up our wicked publication by sending copy to it. He says that “the girl has been making her brags that you [we] are going to wear the county out,” and so he says that we shall have the full benefit of our determination. E. C. is to be kept in “solitary confinement” in a cell where we cannot see each other, and we are to have our “punishment” as much in the spirit of Judge Crozier’s decision as it is possible to make it. And yet, sad to say, our consciences are no more “pliable” than previous to this tightening of the screws! We are as determined as ever, and have not changed our opinions in the least.
Cell 1, The Jail, Oskaloosa, Kansas, November 4, 1886.
[The letter referred to never reached me. It was probably detained by the sheriff. I regret very much that the prisoners are to be subjected to further hardships. As to answering me, however, they need not feel disturbed, for they have a worthy champion in Mr. Harman, who is still free and in a position to answer me if he chooses to. — Editor Liberty.]
Inconsistency at Its Climax.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Although I have one communication lying on your table (or in the waste basket) with little prospect of its publication, I venture a few lines on another topic, a more vital one, hoping it may meet a more cordial reception.
There is trouble at Valley Falls, as your readers already know. That trouble concerns us all, and is more serious than is yet generally understood. If we are to judge by the contents of “Lucifer,” the radical family have failed to comprehend the situation. Perhaps there is no radical family. I have counted the conductors of “Lucifer” among the must consistent and steadfast of individualists. I have myself been criticised by them for what they regarded my conservatism. I have received less mercy from Walker, if possible, than from yourself. Probably, the trouble with all of us is that we are individualists, and, as such, persist in refusing to follow in each other’s ruts; but that is of no consequence, just now.
Well, in the plentitude of his individuality, friend Walker has gone and perpetrated what he terms an “autonomistic marriage.” He has formed a sexual relation with a young woman, based on mutual consent and choice; which relation is to continue so long as the mutual consent continues, and no longer. It is also expressly agreed that the woman shall retain her maiden name, and all the rights she ever had, including that of forming similar relations with others. Now, everybody knows such a relation is not marriage; and, if it were, no genuine individualist, or autonomist, or Anarchist, would have any use for it. Had this relation been formed without any announcement or ceremony of any kind, it would have been strictly autonomistic, though not in any sense marriage. But friend Walker was not content with this. He wanted all the world to know what he had done; and so he called his friends together and enacted it into a ceremony. This was a mistake, a foolish, unnecessary, and inconsistent act. It did not absolutely destroy the autonomistic character of the arrangement. It still was not marriage; and to label it “autonomistic marriage” was a glaring contradiction in its own terror. All this could have been overlooked, because, as yet, the principle of freedom had not been violated; no right had been abandoned. I perceived, however, at a glance, that the enemies of freedom, and of the “Lucifer band,” would have an immense advantage over them, in the fact that this neat little radical wedding could be construed as a genuine legal marriage, and that it would be so construed, by the shrewd enemies of freedom, and that they would avail themselves of that advantage. I wrote, therefore, to friend Harman, warning him of their mistake. My letter was in form for publication, but I requested that it be withheld, if in his opinion it would give too much “aid and comfort to the enemy.” I received a card accepting it for publication.
In the meantime another issue of “Lucifer” came, with news of the arrest, on a charge of living together as husband and wife, without being married; not of fornication, as “autonomistic marriage,” in the language of the law, is called. The technical line of defence was not announced in that issue, but we were assured that they would “stand for the inalienable natural rights of men and women, the dignity of the person,” etc., and that the battle would be fought “to the last.” There was a good deal of valiant talk in that number of “Lucifer,” and I felt proud of our champion, notwithstanding his indiscretion; but in due time “this cause coining on for trial,” behold this valor had nearly all oozed out. The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge of living together as man and wife, but not without being married. He had been legally married, and of course intended to carry out the requirements of the law in good faith. The court held that, though his marriage was valid, so far as binding them was concerned, they still had not compiled with the law in a way to shield them from punishment.
Friend Walker knew that the court was right; that he had not complied with the law, and did not intend to; that this was the very thing he had proposed never to do; but, instead of standing to his position, and taking his punishment, and denouncing the law, he stood by his defence. He had fulfilled the law; and he denounced the court, and the jury, and the prosecuting attorney, and the witnesses, and the people, because they differed with him as to the “true intent, and meaning” of the law.
I was surprised and disappointed. I had looked for a desperate fight, and a legal defeat; but I was wholly unprepared for the announcement of an ignominious surrender. I had learned to view with composure the spectacle of the Knights of Labor throwing stones at their Chicago friends; I had concluded to ignore the inconsistency of Tucker, Walker, and others, in adopting the nomenclature of a class with whom no individualist could harmonize, and in undertaking to reconstruct the dictionary for their benefit. I had heard of the candidacy of Henry George for the office of mayor of New York, and I thought no inconsistency under heaven could disturb my equilibrium; but I was mistaken. The news of Walker’s surrender, and of his querulous adherence to the mere form of his marriage, did quite upset me. But I had riot yet readied the climax of my astonishment. One man, or two, or three, may, at any time, fail us; but lo! each successive “Lucifer” came, crammed with “letters from friends,” breathing nothing but commendation and approval. Some of these came from the scarred veterans of a hundred battles. Had all these lost their wits?
Seeing all this, I wrote again to “Lucifer,” and requested that this second letter be substituted for the first. I gave my best thought, and begged to know who, if any, remained at the front. “Lucifer” is said to belong to its subscribers and patrons. All are entitled to a hearing in its columns; but just now the policy is modified. My letter is held over, from week to week, in order to give place to others containing only justification and approbation. I have made no complaint. I imagine our friends do not dare publish anything in criticism of their course. The safety of the press and material depends on the united support of the entire liberal army. Let individualists take warning. If you will marry, do it in the regular way. Marriage is marriage. There is no merit in the “autonomistic” way of getting into it. If you believe in freedom, and desire to work effectually for it, keep out of the institution altogether. I wonder if any still have the courage to do that. How is it, friend Tucker, in your corner of the world? In the west, the prospect is gloomy. The “Central Radical League” is still-born, “Lucifer” advocates marriage, and we no longer know on whom to rely.
Wichita Falls, Texas, November 4, 1886.
Mr. T. Wetzel, Shake!
[New York Truth Seeker.]
Mr. Editor: Will some one kindly inform us what Mr. E. C. Walker is fighting for? Not for the principles of free love or free love marriage surely, for he claims an ironclad, bulletproof legal marriage. So far as free love principle is concerned, he surrendered at the first shot. I am surprised to see so many old free lovers getting excited over this affair. They seem to think that they have treed a coon, but, when they have cut the tree down, they will find to their disgust that there is no coon in it,— not even a measly ’possum. It is a mere quibble as to the best form for a legal marriage, a dispute as to the difference ’twixt tweedledum and tweedle-dee. If, as Walker claims, the form is not essential, what is the good of fighting about it? Better fight for something that is essential.
The fracas reminds me of the senseless wrangle among Christians about the form or mode of baptism. Walker’s form of marriage, like the Presbyterian form of baptism, is undoubtedly the best, because there is less of it. But the game is scarcely worth the ammunition. He loaded up for a bear and fired off at a chipmunk.
Kansas City, Missouri, November 3, 1886.
The Science of Society.
By Stephen Pearl Andrews.
The True Constitution of Government
Sovereignty of the Individual as the Final Development of Protei tantism, Democracy, and Socialism.
Continued from No. 89.
The doctrine of the Sovereignty of the Individual — in one sense itself a principle — grows out of the still more fundamental principle of “Individuality,” which pervades universal nature. Individuality is positively the most fundamental and universal principle which the finite mind seems capable of discovering, and the best image of the Infinite. There are no two objects in the universe which are precisely alike. Each has its own constitution and peculiarities, which distinguish it from every other. Infinite diversity is the universal law. In the multitude of human countenances, for example, there are no two alike, and in the multitude of human characters there is the same variety. The hour which your courtesy has assigned to me would be entirely consumed, if I were to attempt to adduce a thousandth part of the illustrations of this subtile principle of Individuality, which lie patent upon the face of nature, all around me. It applies equally to persons, to things, and to events. There have been no two occurrences which were precisely alike during all the cycling periods of time. No action, transaction, or set of circumstances whatsoever ever corresponded precisely to any other action, transaction, or set of circumstances. Had I a precise knowledge of all the occurrences which have ever taken place up to this hour, it would not suffice to enable me to make a law which would be applicable in all respects to the very next occurrence which shall take place, nor to any one of the infinite millions of events which shall hereafter occur. This diversity reigns throughout every kingdom of nature, and mocks at all human attempts to make laws, or constitutions, or regulations, or governmental institutions of any sort, which shall work justly and harmoniously amidst the unforeseen contingencies of the future.
The individualities of objects are least, or, at all events, they are less apparent when the objects are inorganic or of a low grade of organization. The individualities of the grains of sand which compose the beach, for example, are less marked than those of vegetables, and those of vegetables are less than those of animals, and, finally, those of animals are less than those of man. In proportion as an object is more complex, it embodies a greater number of elements, and each element has its own individualities, or diversities, in every new combination into which it enters. Consequently these diversities are multiplied into each other, in the infinite augmentation of geometrical progression. Man, standing, then, at the head of the created universe, is consequently the most complex creature in existence,— every individual man or woman being a little world in him or herself, an image or reflection of God, an epitome of the Infinite. Hence the individualities of such a being are utterly immeasurable, and every attempt to adjust the capacities, the adaptations, the wants, or the responsibilities of one human being by the capacities, the adaptations, the wants, or the responsibilities of another human being, except in the very broadest generalities, is unqualifiedly futile and hopeless. Hence every ecclesiastical, governmental, or social institution which is based on the idea of demanding conformity or likeness in any thing, has ever been, and ever will be, frustrated by the operation of this subtile, all-pervading principle of Individuality. Hence human society has ever been and is still in the turmoil of revolution. The only alternative known has been between revolution and despotism. Revolutions violently burst the bonds, and explode the foundations of existing institutions. The institution falls before the Individual. Despotism only succeeds by denaturalizing mankind. It extinguishes their individualities only by extinguishing them. The Individual falls before the institution. Judge ye which is best, the man-made or the God-made thing.
In the next place this Individuality is inherent and unconquerable, except, as I have just said, by extinguishing the man himself. The man himself has no power over it. He can not divest himself of his organic peculiarities of character, any more than he can divest himself of his features. It attends him even in the effort he makes, if he makes any, to divest himself of it. He may as well attempt to flee his own shadow as to rid himself of the indefeasible, God-given inheritance of his own Individuality.
Finally, this indestructible and all-pervading Individuality furnishes, itself, the law, and the only true law, of order and harmony. Governments have hitherto been established, and have apologized for the unseemly fact of their existence, from the necessity of establishing and maintaining order; but order has never yet been maintained, revolutions and violent outbreaks have never yet been ended, public peace and harmony have never yet been secured, for the precise reason that the organic, essential, and indestructible natures of the objects which it was attempted to reduce to order have always been constricted and infringed by every such attempt. Just in proportion as the effort is less and less made to reduce men to order, just in that proportion they become more orderly, as witness the difference in the state of society in Austria and the United States. Plant an army of one hundred thousand soldiers in New York, as at Paris, to preserve the peace, and we should have a bloody revolution in a week; and be assured that the only remedy for what little of turbulence remains among us, as compared with European societies, will be found to be more liberty. When there remain positively no external restrictions, there will be positively no disturbance, provided always certain regulating principles of justice, to which I shall advert presently, are accepted and enter into the public mind, serving as substitutes for every species of repressive laws.
I was saying that Individuality is the essential law of order. This is true throughout the universe. When every individual particle of matter obeys the law of its own attraction, and comes into that precise position, and moves in that precise direction, which its own inherent individualities demand, the harmony of the spheres is evolved. By that means only natural classification, natural order, natural organization, natural harmony and agreement are attained. Every scheme or arrangement which is based upon the principle of thwarting the inherent affinities of the individual monads which compose any system or organism is essentially vicious, and the organization is false,— a mere bundle of revolutionary and antagonistic atoms. It is time that human system builders should begin to discover the universal truth. The principle is self-evident. Objects bound together contrary to their nature must and will seek to rectify themselves by breaking the bonds which confine them, while those which come together by their own affinities remain quiescent and content. Let human system makers of all sorts, then, admit the principle of an infinite Individuality among men, which can not be suppressed, and which must be indulged and fostered, at all events, as one element in the solution of the problem they have before them. If they are unable to see clearly how all external restrictions can be removed with safety to the well-being of society, let them, nevertheless, not abandon a principle which is self-evident, but let them modestly suspect that there may be some other elements in the solution of the same problem, which their sagacity has not yet enabled them to discover. In all events, and at all hazards, this Individuality of every member of the human family must be recognized and indulged, because first, as we have seen, it is infinite, and can not be measured or prescribed for; then, because it is inherent, and can not be conquered; and, finally, because it is the essential element of order, and can not, consequently, be infringed without engendering infinite confusion, such as has hitherto universally reigned, in the administration of human affairs.
If, now, Individuality is a universal law which must be obeyed if we would have order and harmony in any sphere, and, consequently, if we would have a true constitution of human government, then the absolute Sovereignty of the Individual necessarily results. The monads or atoms of which human society is composed are the individual men and women in it. They must be so disposed of, as we have seen, in order that society may be harmonic, that the destiny of each shall be controlled by his or her own individualities of taste, conscience, intellect, capacities, and will. But man is a being endowed with consciousness. He, and no one else, knows the determining force of his own attractions. No one else can therefore decide for him, and hence Individuality can only become the law of human action by securing to each individual the sovereign determination of his own judgment and of his own conduct, in all things, with no right reserved either of punishment or censure on the part of any body else whomsoever; and this is what is meant by the Sovereignty of the Individual, limited only by the ever-accompanying condition, resulting from the equal Sovereignty of all others, that the onerous consequences of his actions be assumed by himself.
If my audience were composed chiefly of Catholics, or Monarchists, or Anti-Progressionists of any sort, I should develop this argument more at length, for, as I have said, it is the real issue, and the only real issue, between the reformatory and the conservative portions of mankind; but I suppose that I may, with propriety, assume that I am before an auditory who are in the main Protestant and Democratic, and, assuming that, I shall then be authorized to assume, in accordance with the principles I have endeavored to develop, that they are likewise substantially Socialist, according to the definition I have given to Socialism, whether they have hitherto accepted or repudiated the name. It is enough, however, if I address you as Protestants and Democrats, or as either of these. I shall therefore assume, without further dwelling upon the fundamental statement of those principles, that you are ready to admit so much of Individuality and of the Sovereignty of the Individual as is necessarily involved in the propositions of Protestantism or Democracy. I shall assume that I am before an assembly of men and women who sympathize with ecclesiastical and political enfranchisement,— who believe that what the world calls Progress, in these modern times, is in the main real and not sham progress, a genuine and legitimate development of the race. Instead, therefore, of pursuing the main argument further, I will return to, and endeavor more fully to establish, a position which I have already assumed,— namely, that, by virtue of the fact of being either a Protestant or a Democrat, you have admitted away the whole case, and that you are fully committed to the whole doctrine of Individuality and the Sovereignty of the Individual, wherever that may lead.
I assert, then, the doctrine of Individuality, in its broadest and most unlimited sense. I assert that the law of genuine progress in human affairs is identical with the tendency, to individualize. In ecclesiastical affairs it is the breaking up of the Church into sects, the breaking up of the larger sects into minor sects, the breaking up of the minor sects, by continual schism, into still minuter fragments of sects, and, finally, a complete disintegration of the whole mass into individuals, at which point every human being becomes his own sect an his own church. Does it require any demonstration that this is the natural tendency and the legitimate development of Protestantism, that it is in fact the necessary and inevitable outgrowth of its own fundamental principle. The History of all Religions in Protestant Christendom is becoming already too voluminous to be written. With the multiplication of sects grows the spirit of toleration, which is nothing else but the recognition of the sovereignty of others. A glance at the actual condition of the Protestant Church demonstrates the tendency to the obliteration of Sectarianism by the very superabundance of sects.
In the political sphere the individualizing tendency of Democracy is exhibited in the distribution of the departments of government into the hands of different denositaries of power, the discrimination of the chief functions of government into the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary, in the division of the Legislature into distinct branches, in the representative system which recognizes the Individuality of different confederated states, and of different portions of the same state, in the divorce of the Church and State, and yet more strikingly than all in the successive surrender to the Individual of one branch after another of what was formerly regarded as the legitimate business of government.
Under the old order of things, government interfered to determine the trade or occupation of the Individual, to settle his religious faith, to regulate his locomotion, to prescribe his hours of relaxation and retirement, the length of his beard, the cut of his apparel, his relative rank, the mode of his social intercourse, and so on continuously, until government was in fact every thing, and the Individual nothing. Democracy, working somewhat blindly, it is true, but yet guided by a true instinct, begotten by its own great indwelling vital principle, the Sovereignty of the Individual, has already substantially revolutionized all that. It has swept away, for the most part, in America at least, the impertinent interference of government with the pursuits, the religious opinions and ceremonies, the travel, the amusements, the dress, and the manners of the citizen. One whole third of the field heretofore occupied by government has thus been surrendered to the Individual. To this point we have already attained, practically, at the precise stage at which we now are in the transition from the past to the future model of the organization of society.
George’s “Protection or Free Trade.”
Whatever Mr. George has to say on any subject is sure to be said in an interesting manner. No one can state the truth better than he, and whim he is arguing falsely, the glamour of his style is apt to hide his want of logic. It is to these qualities, no doubt, that the success of his writings is due, and nowhere are they more conspicuous than in the book now before me.
Mr. George professes to be a free trader, not in the ordinary narrow sense of wishing the abolition of customs duties, but in the higher and wider sense of desiring the total abolition of all shackles on production or distribution, whether they exist nominally for protection or for revenue. Of course in this latter sense internal taxes must be placed in the same category as duties. It can scarcely be necessary to tell the readers of Liberty that, in spite of his professions, Mr. George is not a free trader in this broad sense, and he scarcely begins his book before he demonstrates it. Free trade, being the abolition of taxation, means the removal of politics from the field of industry. In a word, free trade is but another name for Anarchy. But Mr. George proposes to attain free trade through politics, relying upon universal suffrage. Can anything be more inconsistent than to seek freedom of industry and of the individual through political control of industry and majority rule? The true free trader, the Anarchist, rejects all such methods. Long before a majority of free traders could be elected to congress an intelligent minority of the people could of themselves establish free trade by simply refusing to pay taxes. Besides, it is not reasonable to expect a body of tax-eaters like congress to abolish taxation; the most it will do is to change its form, and in reality this is all that Mr. George wishes.
That the fundamental conception of free trade, the right of each to do as he pleases, provided he does not directly infringe on the equal rights of his neighbors, is lacking to him, the following passages will show:
I differ with those who say that with the rate of wages the State has no concern. I hold with those who deem the increase of wages a legitimate purpose of public policy. To raise and maintain wages is the great object that all who live by wages ought to seek, and workingmen are right in supporting any measure that will attain that object. . . Where the wages of common labor are high and remunerative employment is easy to obtain, prosperity will be general. . . . If we would have a healthy, a happy, an enlightened, and a virtuous people, if we would have a pure government, firmly based on the popular will and quickly responsive to it, we must strive to raise wages and keep them high. I accept as good and praiseworthy the ends avowed by the advocates of protective tariffs. [The italics are mine.]
Such is the Georgian philosophy, the new revelation which is to save the world. Liberty is not a good in itself; but is something to besought, after or trodden under foot according as it seems likely to produce immediate material advantages or not. Mr. George does not believe in taking a general principle as a guide; each particular action must be judged by its results,— that is, its direct results. This doctrine, also taught by some ultra-individualists like Stirner and “Tak Kak,” is really only the revival of the Jesuit maxim that the end justifies the means. As an individual murder may produce beneficial results,— say an increase of wages,— Mr. George, Mr. Stirner, and “Tak Kak” ought, according to their philosophy, to approve of it; but the true individualist, the holder of the utilitarian philosophy in its higher form, is bound to condemn the murder, because to generalize murder, as praise of a particular murder tends to do, would disrupt society and ultimately prove injurious to the greater number, if not to all, of the individuals composing it.
It seems strange to see a writer who dedicates his book to Condorcet decrying steadfast adherence to general principles, and yet such is the ease with Mr. George. He is inclined to look with favor on the principle of laissez faire, yet he will abandon it at any moment, whenever regulation seems more likely to produce immediate benefits, regardless of the evils thereby produced by making the people less jealous of State interference.
The same passages would seem to indicate that Mr. George’s knowledge of political economy is as rudimentary as his comprehension of liberty. To say that high wages cause prosperity is so ridiculous a misplacing of cause and effect that no one can be guilty of it who is not either ignorant of the first elements of economic science or a demagogue pandering to the prejudices of the masses whom he professes to instruct. When prices rise, wages are always the last to go up, a sufficient evidence that the increase in prosperity is not due to the higher wages, it is true that, in so far as the higher wages expresses a greater proportion of the total product going to labor, the increase does tend to sustain the prosperity, as it prevents the market’s becoming glutted as soon as it otherwise would. But the increase in wages usually but little exceeds the amount necessary to make up for the increased cost of provisions,— the not increase being due to the sharper competition between employers for labor, and this in turn being generally due to the reduction of interest, a greater freedom of the circulating medium, just as the periods of prosperity are usually ended by interest’s going up and the market’s being glutted. Then factories close, mortgages are foreclosed; and the amount of trade being lessened, the rate of interest falls, causing the market to become slowly depicted, and so a new cycle begins. It was by similar reasoning to this on wages that Mr. George attempted to show in “Progress and Poverty” that interest is not injurious, as high rates prevail when business is prosperous and wages high, ignoring, as in the present case, that the rate of interest is always low when the prosperous period begins. If Mr. George would only absorb and assimilate another incomplete State-Socialistic work, Kellogg’s “New Monetary System,” he might produce a thorough and homogeneous book and, perhaps, at the same time escape from the meshes of governmentalism.
Mr. George poses as the reconciler of labor and capital; but except in so far as he unites them by directing their attention to private landlordism as a common enemy (and this does not amount to much, for no sharp line can be drawn between capitalists and landlords; the functions of both are often united in the same person), he is stirring up strife between them. He refuses to tell us what is the just rate of wages, and what is the just rate of interest; but tells us instead that wages and interest are both just and natural. Now, wages and interest are both drawn from the products of labor, since Mr. George assures us that “labor creates all wealth,” and that the three great orders of society are “workingmen, beggarmen, and thieves”; and, if we do not know what is the true wages of labor, if labor should take, as Mr. George says, all it can get without being scrupulous as to the means, what is there to prevent its absorbing the interest altogether? And how are the interests of the dividend-eating capitalist and the wage-earning laborer to be regarded as identical? Besides, as Mr. George makes it evident in another place that he does not regard the capitalist as a workingman, it would be interesting to know whether he is to be regarded as a beggar or a thief, and what the rights of either may be.
Surely it must be evident to any one that, if the amount going to the laborer is increased without the total products of his labor being increased to the same extent, the shares of the landlord and capitalist, either or both, must be reduced. And if wages were reckoned, as they ought to be in scientific works on political economy, in fractions of the product, no one would dare to state such a proposition as that of the identity of interests.
It is not surprising after this to learn that Mr. George is an a priori philosopher and decries reliance upon “long arrays of statistics” and “collocations of laboriously ascertained facts.” Why should he resort to such tiresome expedients when it all exists in his own mind and has only to be evolved? I wonder did Mr. George ever hear of the experience of that German philosopher of his school, who, relying on the theorem that all external things are but manifestations of the ideas within, set himself to work to develop the idea of a camel. Mr. George attempts to prove that social questions may be settled without experiment, and, to illustrate tells us a story of how he settled a physical question — the explanation of the flotation of iron ships — in that manner when he was a boy. His results were not quite so unsatisfactory as those of the German professor, for George had the memory of previous experiments to draw upon, while the professor had never seen a camel. The a priori method is serviceable only when its deductions are from general ideas, which latter are the result of induction from “collocations of laboriously ascertained facts.”
On page 27 occurs the following statement: “For the largest communities are but expansions of the smallest communities, and the rules of arithmetic by which we calculate gain or loss on transactions of dollars apply as well to transactions of hundreds of millions.” This is all very true; but, when it is inferred from it that we can consider the interests of an individual as if he formed no part of a community, and then generalize to the interests of the community by simple multiplication, it is utterly and outrageously false.
Mr. George does not seem able to comprehend the truth lying at the bottom of the notion about the balance of trade, though he comes a little nearer than the ordinary free trade economists to doing so. He accepts unhesitatingly the doctrine that international trade, and domestic trade likewise, consists simply in the exchange of products against products. This being so, of course, he can see no evil resulting from an excess of imports; it is simply getting a great deal for a little. He goes on to show historically that an excess of exports over imports does not mean prosperity, but is, in fact, generally a form of tribute to a foreign country, as in Ireland, India, and Egypt today. But at the present time products are not exchanged directly against products; they are exchanged through the medium of money, and this has more than the confusing effect that Mr. George attributes to it, for money is a privileged commodity and has a sort of royalty attached to it.
What would Mr. George think of a man, without an income, who should continue to buy on credit instead of going to work? or, what amounts to the same thing, of one whose purchases exceeded his income? He would reply, no doubt, that such a state of affairs could ouly exist for a short time, and that a person guilty of such extravagance would soon have to live on less than his income, and he might even possibly admit that, on account of the existence of interest, this second state might become permanent. If two nations start out on equal terms, and the imports of one exceed those of the other, just as in the case of the individual, the nation is running into debt. When the debts have sufficiently accumulated, the direction of motion of products is changed, the previously over-importing nation beginning to send away more than it gets, the balance being paid for by receipts for rent and interest. It is singular that Mr. George fails to see this, for he states that the excess of our exportation at present is largely due to our having to pay interest on bonds and rent on lands owned here by English capitalists. A little reflection ought to suffice to show him that the ownership of the bonds and lands referred to must have originated in overimportation on our part at some previous period.
Now, as to the effect of money. Mr. George has attempted to justify the taking of interest; but, leaving out of sight the fallacy of his argument, he has never shown, nor, as far as I know, attempted to show, that interest could persist if the royalty of gold and silver were destroyed, and the making and issuing of money thrown open to free competition like any other enterprise. The absurdity of the rule of the precious metals Mr. George is beginning to see; but he has little notion of its fatal influence, and, free trader though he calls himself, he has no idea of free banking. Our overimportations are at first paid for in specie; then, specie becoming rare, and it being supposed necessary as a basis for our financial system, we must borrow it from those countries which have it,— that is, those from which we have been importing. We thus get into debt, and, if the over-importation continues, we continue to do so at an ever-accelerating rate. If it were not for the existence of interest, we might recover from the evil, in a short time. It would only be necessary to increase our exports for a time to such an extent as to counterbalance the previous excess of imports. But, owing to the existence of interest, we may make our exports considerably greater than our imports, and yet ever remain in debt, as is Egypt’s condition. The effects of free money would be in fact still greater. We should be prevented from running into debt to any extent. For no nation would continue for any length of time selling to us and taking our non-interest-bearing money in exchange. It would accept our money only as a means of getting our goods, and it would get them as soon as it could. Were it not for the royalty of the precious metals, products would be exchanged against products, so that exports and imports would always nearly balance each other, an excess of one at any time being balanced soon after by an excess of the other. Mr. George may say that this is no argument against international free trade, for, as he points out, the same movement may take place within the limits of one country, as here between the east and west. But Mr. George looks on such concentration of wealth as an evil, and he is, also, a nationalist. Now, free trade opens the way to a still greater concentration, and tends to subordinate one country to another. Of course from our stand-point international free trade is no evil, for it is not the cause of the greater concentration, but its condition. In what I have said I have not been arguing against international free trade, but in favor of free money as the more important issue, and the very phenomenon to which Mr. George calls attention is proof that I am right. Free trade, domestic or foreign, works no harm where a proper financial system exists; but as long as we have a false financial system, the thing called free trade can do no good. In fact, when we speak of free trade in its higher sense, it presupposes free money, for interest is the greatest burden to which trade is subjected.
There is one passage in Mr. George’s book which is of so much importance in its bearing on his theory of rent that I think it desirable to quote it in full.
But let us suppose two countries, one of which has advantages superior to the other for all the productions of which both are capable. Trade between them being free, would one country do all the exporting and the other all the importing? That, of course, would be preposterous. Would trade, then, be impossible? Certainly not. Unless the people of the country of less advantages transferred themselves bodily to the country of greater advantages, trade would go on with mutual benefit. The people of the country of greater advantages would import from the country of less advantages those products as to which the difference of advantage between the two countries was least, and would export in return those products as to which the difference was greatest. By this exchange both peoples would gain. The people of the country of poorest advantages would gain by it some part of the advantages of the other country, and the people of the country of greatest advantages would also gain, since, being saved the necessity of producing the things as to which their advantage was least, they could concentrate their energies upon the production of things in which their advantage was greatest. This case would resemble that of two workmen of different degrees of skill in all parts of their trade, or that of a skilled workman and an unskilled helper. Though the workman might be able to perform all parts of the work in less time then the helper, yet there would be some parts in which the advantage of his superior skill would be less than in others; and as, by leaving these to the helper, he could devote more time to those parts in which superior skill would be most effective, there would be, as in the former case, a mutual gain in their working together. — pp. 155–6.
This seems a most clear and convincing statement as far as it goes. What I wish to draw attention to is its contradiction of the theory of rent as taught by Mr. George and his disciples. Rent is not with them, as with us, the price which monopoly exacts for the use of the soil, but is an eternal natural phenomenon, due to the difference in value of different soils. Thus, in regard to cultivated lands, they call the difference in product, with equal amounts of labor, between the poorest land cultivated and any other, the rent of the latter. The only effect of monopoly, they say, is to cause the rent to pass into the hands of an idle proprietor instead of remaining in those of the cultivator. In either case they tell us that rent does not enter into price, that being determined by the cost on the poorest land in cultivation, so that the rent would be a free gift to the cultivator or the monopolist, as the case might be, and it is on this that they base their claims for its confiscation, Now, however, Mr. George, in order to sustain his free trade theories, tells us that the difference in natural advantages of two countries simply calls them to a differences in function; that rent enters into price; and that, consequently, the people of the poorer land will profit by the riches of their neighbors. When I say that rent enters into price, I mean that, the difference in function having been established and monopoly being gone, prices will be so much lower by the amount that would have been paid to the monopolist. According to Mr. George’s pet theory, the people of the richer country should have paid rent to a joint State, so that the latter might use it to equalise the wealth of the two countries. But here we have his avowal that the same result is attained by the natural laws of trade without any of the waste or corruption necessary with governmental methods. It is true that as absolute a level of equality may not be reached by the natural as by the artificial method; but it must be borne in mind that the equality attained in the latter way is reached more by depressing those well off than by raising the poor. The equality of conditions it assures us is of the same kind as the equality of food secured to the two cats by the monkey in Aesop’s story. It rests with Mr. George to show us why the laws of trade which served to equalize the conditions of two nations should not be equally efficient in internal affairs; for since, as Mr. George admits, a nation is an arbitrary political division, there is nothing illegitimate in our supposing it reduced indefinitely in size until it vanishes, and up to the limit, according to another of Mr. George’s statements, the free trade argument must remain true. Is, then, rent to be paid simply because the State exists? And is the State to exist merely because rent is to be collected?
Mr. George attributes, and rightfully, the failure of free trade to produce useful effects to a greater and overpowering evil’s being left untouched; but, being possessed by a fixed idea, he takes a narrow view of the question. He likens the producer to a traveler who at various points along his road is attacked by robbers and relieved of portions of his wealth. There is one robber, however, who is stronger and bolder than the rest, and who, standing at the end of the line, completely strips the traveler. This “robber that takes all that is left” is private property in land acting through rent. This illustration is peculiarly unfortunate, for more reasons than one. In the first place the method of reform that would naturally suggest itself to any one is the destruction of the robber. Mr. George, however, permits him to live and follow his calling, and then has the police to interfere and take from him his ill-gotten wealth, which they, the police, then proceed to use for the benefit of the traveler, say in improving the road over which he travels, so that he may be able to carry a greater burden the next time to be despoiled of in turn, It is to be noticed that, even if the police were to turn over the traveler’s wealt to him directly, to do with as he pleased, he would still labor under the disadvantage, not incurred in the simpler system of killing the robber, of having to support both the robber and the police.
Another weak feature in the comparison is that in real life the robbers do not rob serially, but all together, and that any one of them is capable of entirely despoiling the traveler, though, on account of differences of strength between themselves, the shares they actually get are unequal. It is therefore entirely idle to think of benefiting the traveler by attacking one of the robbers only, even though he were to be destroyed, and that Mr. George does not think of doing.
To come from the illustration to the facts, any one of the various forms of usury, though they differ today in the amounts they take, is more than capable, when acting alone, of absorbing the entire increase of the world. To benefit the producer, therefore, usury itself must be destroyed.
Mr. George, as I said, does not propose to destroy private property in robbery directly; he simply intends to have the police throttle the robber after the robbery has been effected and take from him his booty to use for the general good (the good of the police?). This leads to a curious contradiction in his views. When arguing against private property in land, he tells us of the “robber who takes all that is left”; but, when arguing in favor of his governmental scheme, it would appear that he thinks a comparatively light tax would be sufficient to prevent the evil. Now, either the tax is to be practically equal to the rent, or it is not. If it is not, then the robber will continue to grow fat on the difference, and, if it is, then the people will be dependent on the good-will and good management of the government for all but the merest necessaries of life. One of the benefits Mr. George attributes to his scheme is that of the suppression of all forms of taxation except that on rent, which, he says, will give an immense impetus to the industry. Now, according to his own theory, the benefits of this change must be absorbed by the rent, and so go either to the idle landholder or his superiors, the police. And that this is George’s real wish there is some reason to suppose. He favors the immediate taking over by the local or national governments of all railroads, telegraphs, gas- and water-works, and all other industries when sufficiently developed. His apparent liking for freedom seems to be due to his looking on it as a stimulus to production. His system is to the ordinary State Communism as the present system is to chattel slavery. The hope of being able to accumulate serves today to make the toilers work more energetically, but in the end they are as surely despoiled as were the chattel slaves. Mr. George’s plan is to continue the present system, modifying it only by putting the State in as chief usurer (Mr. George is now a Greenbacker) instead of leaving it, as at present, simply the protector of the usurers.
On the whole, after a calm and unprejudiced reading of his book, I see no reason to change the opinion at which I arrived some years ago,— that in Mr. Henry George liberty has one of her bitterest and ablest foes.
John F. Kelly.
Save Me from My Friends!
To the Editor of Liberty:
Gail Hamilton, in a very clever article on “Words” in a recent number of the “North American Review,” makes the very correct observation that the greater part of the writings of our critics and commentators is valueless, because the critics do not know how to read. To these we must add another class of critics,— critics whose interest it is to misrepresent and misinterpret the utterances of an antagonist. Apropos of my article on the “Philosophical Anarchists” in Liberty of July 31, the editor of the London “Anarchist” has this to say:
Victor Yarros takes Liberty severely to task for its vacillating language of late. Mr. Tucker says force is only justifiable when the right of free speech is denied. That is to say, Mr. Tucker is only going to maintain his right to remain an eternal wind-bag.
I have never known Liberty to show any sign of wavering in the faith or of lowering its flag; consequently, I could not have taken it severely to task for a sin it did not commit. Mr. Seymour certainly has the distinction of being “a reader with a penetrating eye.” As to Liberty’s position on the question of force, it is unassailable, and Mr. Seymour is shrewd enough not to attempt any serious argumentative attack. The following remarkable words cannot be too often quoted: “It is because peaceful agitation and passive resistance are, in Liberty’s hands, weapons more deadly to tyranny than any others that I uphold them, and it is because force strengthens tyranny that I condemn it. War and authority are companions; peace and Liberty are companions. . . . . It is foolish in the extreme, not only to resort to force before necessity compels, but especially to madly create the conditions that will lead to this necessity.”
Let the impartial reader contrast the brilliancy of these guiding ideas with the confused and senseless utterances of the brainless, passion-drunk howlers, and say who is the real wind-bag.
Mr. Seymour’s position on this question,— indeed, on any question,— I have never been able to find out. He treats everything in a truly cavalier fashion, and is very careful not to commit himself by any definite statement, so that you can never charge him with inconsistency or vacillation. I should very much like to reason with Mr. Seymour, but the experience of those who have tried it before is not encouraging.
Yours for common honesty,
[We shall now see how studiously Seymour will refrain from copying this crushing retort. If he reprints it, he will do so only to defeat my prediction that he will not. — Editor Liberty.]
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.