“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.
John Swinton convicts me of doing him an injustice in a paragraph in the last number of Liberty,— an injustice, however, which is more formal than real. Still, if is an injustice, and should be righted. In the next number I shall find space to right it.
See the advertisement of John F. Kelly’s “Taxation or Free Trade?” on another page. This sixteen-page pamphlet, which I sell at three dollars per hundred copies, is the best document in existence for distribution among Henry George’s followers.
The New Bedford “Standard” thinks it very doubtful whether I will “succeed in materializing Proudhon’s ideas in this country,” and indeed, when I saw it announced in the same paragraph that the “Proudhon Library” begins with the “System of Ecumenical Contradictions,” I began to share its despairing view.
The Greek Socialistic paper, “Arden,” is noticed elsewhere by one of the finest Hellenists in New England. Will the editor of the “Workmen’s Advocate,” who, writing in the shadow of Yale, translates the name of the journal by the word Labor, note the translation given in Liberty,— “utterly,” “unreservedly”? He and C. S. Griffin probably studied Greek together. Perhaps it is Yale’s shadow that causes the total darkness prevailing in this editor’s mind, regarding not Greek alone, but many other matters.
The “Workmen’s Advocate” sees no field for the “Proudhon Library,” for the reason that, “since Marx and the vigorous Socialist agitation, it is hard to grovel among the dry bones of exploded theories and fanciful notions clothed in the threadbare garments of a worn-out philosophy.” The theory upon which Marx’s fame rests is that of “surplus value”; now, this theory Proudhon propounded and proved, long before Marx advanced it and, if it is one of the “exploded theories” referred to, Marx has been exploded with it. If it is not one of them, perhaps it would be well to specify some of them. I would suggest to the Socialists that they translate Marx’s answer to Proudhon’s “Economical Contradictions” and publish it when that work finished in the “Proudhon Library.” Then we shall where the explosion will take effect.
In these days of sore trial to Rev. Dr. Edward McGlynn, late of St. Stephen’s, who of all men should have been expected to stand by his side, speaking words of cheer for him and chastisement for his foes? Who, indeed, but Patrick Ford? Yet the “Irish World,” though printing, to be sure, a great deal that other papers say, is as dumb as an oyster editorially. Where is the lash that ought at this moment to be descending upon the shoulders of His Arrogance Corrigan? Up Patrick Ford’s coat-sleeve, and he dares not draw it out. That he can ply the lash with terrific effect when he chooses and has the bravery to do so, he has amply proven in the past. But he has felt the lash as well as plied it. He stands in awe and dread of the lashing voice of Rome. Once or twice already in his life he has heard it hiss past his ear and felt it cut his hide, and he has cringed and crawled, as he cridges and crawls now. I am glad to see strong indications that Dr. McGlynn is made of sterner stuff.
Mr. Pinney, editor of an exceedingly bright paper, the Winsted “Press,” recently combatted prohibition in the name of liberty. Thereupon I showed him that his argument was equally good against his own advocacy of a tariff on imports and an exclusive government currency. Carefully avoiding any allusion to the analogy, Mr. Pinney now rejoins: “In brief, we are despotic because we believe it is our right to defend ourselves from foreign invaders on the one side and wild-eat swindlers on the other.” Yes, just as despotic as the prohibitionists who believe it is their right to defend themselves from drunkards and rumsellers. In another column of the same issue of the “Press,” I find a reference to a “logical Procrustean bed” kept, in Liberty’s office to which I fit my friends and foes by stretching out and lopping off their limbs. It is a subject on which the dismembered Mr. Pinney speaks feelingly.
I congratulate Henry George upon his manly stand in his new paper against the warfare of the Church of Rome upon Dr. McGlynn, and I cannot regard as anything but folly John Swinton’s protest against it as a distraction that may prove fatal to the unity of organized labor. In so far as Mr. Swinton aims at the destruction of all sources of usurious income, his attitude in economics is far superior in scope and consistency to the narrow and childish policy of Henry George, who aims to destroy but one form of usurious income and proposes no effective method of doing even that. But Mr. Swinton falls below Henry George when he lays supreme stress upon the union of labor’s forces, regardless of the only conditions upon which permanent union is possible, chief among which is Liberty. To be sure, Mr. George, as John F. Kelly has well shown, is no friend of Liberty in principle, but in this Dr. McGlynn matter he is certainly on Liberty’s side, and, instead of thwarting the labor movement by the attitude he has taken, he is doing it a splendid service.
I am asked by Henry Seymour, editor of the London “Anarchist,” on what authority I found my statement that he and the International Publishing Company are one. On the tone of Mr. Seymour’s letters to me at the time of the formation of the Company and on the general character of its publications and policy. Mr. Seymour says that, I have jumped at conclusions, and that he is not the Company, for he has a partner in it who is a State Socialist. Very likely Charles A. Dana has a Republican partner in the “Sun” corporation, but that does not alter the fact that practically Mr. Dana is the “Sun.” It was in the same sense that I declared Mr. Seymour to be the International Publishing Company. If this was a jump at conclusions, what, is the following? “Mr. Tucker, if I am correctly informed, gets his living by writing political articles for a daily newspaper, while denouncing all he writes about in Liberty once a fortnight.” Prolonged study of this sentence has not yet enabled me to determine whether I am charged with denouncing in the daily newspaper what I write in Liberty or with denouncing in Liberty what I write in the daily newspaper. In either ease it is a lie, and Mr. Seymour’s informant is a liar. I do not write political articles for a daily newspaper. In the newspaper office where I am employed I do a certain sort of literary drudgery which those who do it are in the habit of describing facetiously as “putting commas into other men’s copy.” For the opinions and policy of the paper I am neither more nor less responsible than the compositors who set the type.
The Unknown God.
“When therefore ye ignorantly worship... declare I unto you.”
Stand it up against high heaven,
So the fettered alll may see!
Show them how we worship Freedom
In this land where none are free.
Ay. uprear your beanteous statue,
‘Mid the cannons’ cursed roar,
While the millions cheer amt chatter,
Thronging all the ships and shore.
Ever thus, when substance passeth,
Do men wave the symbol high;
Ever, when the Truth is dying,
Wears its name some new-born Lie.
Tyrants, is there one among you
Knows the import of this act?-
Knows, ere long, this god ye blaspheme
Will become a god in fact?
Dare ye thus, with graven image.
Mock the world’s high hope and God?
Dare ye, ’neath its sacred shadow,
Ply the lictor’s axe and rod?
Know ye not the bones are waking
In the valley of the dead?
Note ye not the ravens feeding
Hungry mouths that wail for bread?
Do ye think like fools we listen,
When ye mock us: “Ye are free!”?
Think ye to your empty idol
We have come to bend the knee
Let me tell you, proud-faced despots,
Ye build wiser than ye know;
Freedom’s torch will light her heroes,
Light them to your overthrow.
She will spurn from ’neath her sandals.
Foul in tilth, your hated name;
Theirs will glisten on her tablets,
Sculptured deep hy hand of Fame.
Hear ye not those plaints of anguish?
No, your war-dogs bay too loud;
See ye naught of starving faces;
No, they shun your brutal crowd.
Listen then, and blanch and startle,
To that distant, awful roar;
Listen, to that wind-swept whisper;
“Tyrants, Death is at the door”
See! — Look there! — ye vampires,
Out upon Truth’s flashing sea,
See that tidal-wave, foam-crested,
Rolled from far Immensity!
’Tis the Wave of Revolution.
Breaking o’er your fated land.
Not one barrier ye have lifted
Shall its sweeping surge withstand.
Prostrate falls your god of metal
From its base on hearts of stone;
In its stead - behold the glories
Of the Great the real, White Throne!
Headlong falls your bellow idol,
Broken o’er your ruined land
Burying deep your institutions
In Oblivion’s wave-washed sand.
Smiling there with torch uplifted —
See! — the sweet, the Unkown GOd;
Look! — the olive’s tender wreathings
Twine the lictor’s broken rod.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
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. 91.
Socialism demands the proper, legitimate, and just reward of labor. It demands that the interests of all shall be so arranged that they shall cooperate, instead of clashing with and counteracting each other. It demands economy in the production and uses of wealth, and the consequent abolition of wretchedness and poverty. To what end does it make these demands? Clearly it is in order that every human being shall be in the full possession, control, and enjoyment of his own person and modes of seeking happiness, without foreign interference from any quarter whatsoever. This, then, is the spirit of Socialism, and it is neither more nor less than a still broader and more comprehensive assertion of the doctrine of the inherent Sovereignty of the Individual. The Socialist proposes association and combined interests merely as a means of securing that which he aims at,— justice, cooperation, and the economies of the large scale. Hence it follows that the Democrat resists and the Socialist advocates Association and Communism for precisely the same reason. It is because both want identically the same thing. The Democrat sees in connected interests a fatal stroke at his personal liberty,— the unlimited sovereignty over his own conduct,— and dreads the subjection of himself to domestic legislation, manifold committees, and continual and authorized espionage and criticism. The Socialist sees, in these same arrangements, abundance of wealth, fairly distributed among all, and a thousand beneficent results which he knows to be essential conditions to the possession or exercise of that very Sovereignty of the Individual. Each has arrived at one half the truth. The Socialist is right in asserting that all the conditions which he demands are absolutely essential to the development of the individual selfhood. He is wrong in proposing such a fatal surrender of Individual liberty for their attainment as every form of amalgamated interests inevitably involves. The Democrat is negatively wrong in omitting from his program the absolute necessity for harmonic social relations,— wrong in supposing that there can always be a safe and legitimate exercise of those rights which he declares to be inalienable, short of those superior domestic arrangements which the Socialist demands. It is futile, for example, to talk of removing the restraints of law from marriage, thus guaranteeing freedom in “the pursuit of happiness” in that relation, before the just reward of labor and the consequent prevalence of general wealth shall have created a positive security of condition for women and children. Hence the blunder of Democracy in the old French Revolution, and hence the absolute dependence of Democracy, for the working out of its own principles, upon the happy solution of all the problems of Socialism. Hence, again, the natural affinity of Democracy and Socialism, and the reason why, despite their mutual misunderstanding, they have recently fallen into each other’s embrace, in France, resounding in the ears of terrified Europe the ominous cry Vive la Republique Démocratique et Sociale.
The blunder of Socialism is not in its end, but in its means. It consists in propounding a combination of interests which is opposed by the individualities of all nature, which is consequently a restriction of liberty, and which is, therefore, especially antagonistic to the very objects which Socialism proposes to attain. It is this which prevents the harmony of Democracy and Socialism, even in France, from becoming complete, and which renders inevitable the disruption of every attempted social organization which does not end disastrously in despotism,— the inverse mode in which nature vindicates her irresistible determination toward Individuality. Let that feature of the Socialist movement be retrenched, and a method of securing its great ends discovered which shall not be self-defeating in its operation, and from that point Socialism and Democracy will blend into one and, uniting with Protestantism, lose their distinctive appellations in the generic term of Individual Sovereignty.
Such a principle is already discovered. It is capable of satifactory demonstration that out of the adoption of a simple change in the commercial system of the world, by which cost and not value shall be recognized as the limit of price, will grow, legitimately, all the wealth-producing, equitable, cooperating, and harmonizing results which Socialism has hitherto sought to realize through the combination or amalgamation of interests, while, at the same time, it will leave intact, the individualities of existing society, and even promote them to an extent not hitherto conceived of. It is not now, however, the appropriate time to trace out the results of such a principle. We are concerned at present with Individuality and the spirit of the age as connected with governmental affairs.
It is already the axiom of Democracy that that is the best government which governs least,— that, in other words, which leaves the largest domain to the Individual sovereign. It may sound strange, and yet it is rigidly true, that nothing is more foreign to the essential nature of Democracy than the rule of majorities. Democracy asserts that all men are born free and equal,— that is, that every individual is of right free from the governing control of every other and of all others. Democracy asserts also, that this right is inalienable,— that it can neither be surrendered nor forfeited to another Individual, nor to a majority of other Individuals. But the practical application of this principle has been, and will always be found to be, incompatible with our existing social order. It presupposes, as I have said, the preliminary attainment of the conditions demanded by Socialism. The rule of majorities is, therefore, a compromise enforced by temporary expediency,— a sort of half-way station-house, between Despotism, which is Individuality in the concrete, and the Sovereignty of every Individual, which is Individuality in the discrete form.
Genuine Democracy is identical with the no-government doctrine. The motto to which I have alluded looks directly to that end. Finding obstacles in the present social organization to the realization of its theory, Democracy has called a halt for the present, and consented to a truce. The no-government men of our day are practically not so wise, while they are theoretically more consistent. They are, in fact, the genuine Democrats. It is they who are fairly entitled to the sobriquet of “The unterrified Democracy.” They fearlessly face all consequences, and push their doctrine quite out to its logical conclusions. In so doing, they repeat the blunder which was committed in France. They insist upon no government higher than that of the Individual, while they leave in existence those causes which imperatively demand, and will always demand so long as they exist, the intervention of just such restrictive governments as we now have.
It results from all that has been said that the essential principle of Protestantism, of Democracy, and of Socialism, is one and the same; that it is identical with what is called the spirit of the present age; and that all of them are summed up in the idea of the absolute supremacy of the Individual above all human institutions.
What, then, the question returns, is to be the upshot of this movement? If every department of modern reform is imbued with one and the same animating principle; if there be already an obvious convergence, and, prospectively, an inevitable conjunction and cooperation of the three great modern revolutionary forces, Protestantism, Democracy, and Socialism; if, even now, in their disjointed and semi-antagonistic relations, they prove more than a match for hoary conservatism; if, in addition, material inventions and reforms of all sorts concur in the same direction; if, in fine, the spirit of the age, or, more properly, of modern times, and which we recognize also as the spirit of human improvement, tends continually and with accelerated velocity toward the absolute Individualization of human affairs,— what is the inevitable goal to be ultimately reached? I have said that in religious affairs the end must be that for every man shall be his own sect. This is the simple meaning of Protestantism, interpreted in the light of its own principles. If the occasion were appropriate, it would be a glorious contemplation to dwell upon that more perfect harmony which will then reign among mankind in the religious sphere,— a unity growing out of infinite diversity, and universal deference for the slightest Individualities of opinion in others, transcending in glory that hitherto sought by the Church in artificial organizations and arbitrary creeds, as far as the new heavens and the new earth will excel the old.
Socialism demands, and will end by achieving, the untrammeled selfhood of the Individual in the private relations of life, but out of that universal selfhood shall grow the highest harmonies of social relationship. It is not these subjects, however, that are now especially appropriate. Let us restrict our specific inquiry to the remaining one of the three spheres of human affairs which we have in the general view considered conjointly,— namely, that which relates to human government.
Is it within the bounds of possibility, and, if so, is it within the limits of rational anticipation, that all human governments, in the sense in which government is now spoken of, shall pass away, and be reckoned among the useless lumber of an experimental age,— that forcible government of all sorts shall, at some future day, perhaps not far distant, be looked upon by the whole world, as we in America now look back upon the maintenance of a religious establishment, supposed in other times, and in many countries still, to be essential to the existence of religion among men; and as we look back upon the ten thousand other impertinent interferences of government, as government is practiced in those countries where it is an institution of far more validity and consistency than it has among us? Is it possible, and, if so, is it rationally probable, that the time shall ever come when every man shall be, in fine, his own nation as well as his own sect? Will this tendency to universal enfranchisement—indications of which present themselves, as we have seen, in exuberant abundance on all hands in this age—ultimate itself, by placing the Individual above all political institutions, the man above all subordination to municipal law?
To put ourselves in a condition to answer this inquiry with some satisfactory decree of certainty, we must first obtain a clear conception of the necessities out of which government grows; then of the functions which government performs; then of the specific tendencies of society in relation to those functions; and, finally, of the legitimate successorship for the existing governmental institutions of mankind.
I must apologize as well for the incompleteness as for the apparent dogmatism of any brief exposition of this subject. I assert that it is not only possible and rationally probable, but that it is rigidly consequential upon the right understanding of the constitution of man, that all government, in the sense of involuntary restraint upon the Individual, or substantially all, must finally cease, and along with it the whole complicated paraphernalia and trumpery of Kings, Emperors, Presidents, Legislatures, and Judiciary. I assert that the indications of this result abound in existing society, and that it is the instinctive or intelligent perception of that fact by those who have not bargained for so much which gives origin and vital energy to the reaction in Church and State and social life. I assert that the distance is less today forward from the theory and practice of Government as it is in these United States, to the total abrogation of all Government above that of the Individual, than it is backward to the theory and practice of Government as Government now is in the despotic countries of the old world.
The reason why apology is demanded is this: So radical a change in governmental affairs involves the concurrence of other equally radical changes in social habits, commerce, finance, and elsewhere. I have shown already, I think, that Democracy would have ended in that, had it not been obstructed by the want of certain conditions which nothing but the solution of the problems of Socialism can afford. To discuss the changes which must occur in every department of life, in order to render this revolution in Government practicable, and to provide that those changes now exist in embryo, would be to embrace the whole field of human concerns. That is clearly impossible in the compass of a lecture. But it is equally impossible to adjust the radical changes which I foretell in Government to the notion of the permanency of all other institutions in their present forms. What, then, can be done in this dilemma? I am reduced to a method of treating the subject which demands apology, both for incompleteness and apparent dogmatism. I perceive no possible method open to me but that of segregating the subject of Government from its connection with other departments of life, and deducting from principles and rational grounds of conjecture the changes which it is destined to undergo; and when those changes involve the necessity of other and corresponding changes elsewhere, to assert, as it were, dogmatically, without stopping to adduce the proofs, that these latter changes are also existing in embryo, or actually progressing.
I return now to the necessities out of which Government grows. These are in the broadest generalization: 1. to restrain encroachments, and 2. to manage the combined interests of mankind.
First, with regard to restraining encroachments and enforcing equity. Is there no better method of accomplishing this end than force, such as existing Governments are organized to apply? I affirm that there is. I affirm that a clear scientific perception of the point at which encroachment begins, in all our manifold pecuniary and moral relations with each other, an exact idea of the requirements of equity, accepted into the public mind, and felt to be capable of a precise application in action, would go tenfold further than arbitrary laws and the sanctions of laws can go, in obtaining the desired results. In saying this, I mean something definite and specific. I have already adverted to the discovery of an exact, scientific principle, capable of regulating the distribution of wealth, and introducing universal equity in pecuniary transactions,— an exact mathematical gauge of honesty,— which, when it shall have imbued the public mind, and formed the public sentiment, and come to regulate the public conduct, will secure the products of labor with impartial justice to all, and tend to remove alike the temptations and the provocations to crime. What that principle does in the sphere of commerce is done in the social and ethical spheres by the doctrine of the Sovereignty of the Individual. Both give to each his own, for it must be continually remembered that the doctrine of Sovereignty of the Individual demands that I should sedulously and religiously respect your Individuality, while I vindicate my own. These two ground principles, with a few others incident thereto, once accepted and indwelling in the minds of men, and controlling their action, will dispense with force and forcible Government. The change which I contemplate in governmental affairs rests, therefore, upon these prior or concurrent changes in the commercial, ethical, and social spheres. Statesmen and jurists have hitherto dealt with effects instead of causes. They have looked upon crime and encroachment of all sorts as a fact to be remedied, but never as a phenomenon to be accounted for. They have never gone back to inquire what conditions of existence manufactured the criminal, or provoked or induced the encroachment. A change in this respect is beginning to be observed, for the first time, in the present generation. The superiority of prevention over cure is barely beginning to be admitted,— a reform in the methods of thought which is an incipient stage of the revolution in question. The highest type of human society in the existing social order is found in the parlor. In the elegant and refined reunions of the aristocratic classes there is none of the impertinent interference of legislation. The Individuality of each is fully admitted. Intercourse, therefore, is perfectly free. Conversation is continuous, brilliant, and varied. Groups are formed according to attraction. They are continuously broken up, and re-formed through the operation of the same subtle and all-pervading influence. Mutual deference pervades all classes, and the most perfect harmony, ever yet attained, in complex human relations, prevails under precisely those circumstances which Legislators and Statesmen dread as the conditions of inevitable anarchy and confusion. If there are laws of etiquette at all, there are mere suggestions of principles admitted into and judged of for himself or herself, by each individual mind.
Is it conceivable that in all the future progress of humanity, with all the innumerable elements of development which the present age is unfolding, society generally, and in all its relations, will not attain as high a grade of perfection as certain portions of society, in certain special relations, have already attained?
Suppose the intercourse of the parlor to be regulated by specific legislation. Let the time which each gentlemen shall be allowed to speak to each lady be fixed by law; the position in which they should sit or stand be precisely regulated; the subjects which they shall be allowed to speak of, and the tone of voice and accompanying gestures with which each may be treated, carefully defined, all under pretext of preventing disorder and encroachment upon each other’s privileges and rights, then can any thing be conceived better calculated or more certain to convert social intercourse into intolerable slavery and hopeless confusion?
It is precisely in this manner that municipal legislation interferes with and prevents the natural organization of society. Mankind legislate themselves into confusion by their effort to escape it. Still, a state of society may perhaps be conceived, so low in social development that even the intercourse of the parlor could not be prudently indulged without a rigid code of deportment and the presence of half a dozen bailiffs to preserve order. I will not deny, therefore, that Government in municipal affairs is, in like manner, a temporary necessity of undeveloped society. What I affirm is that along with, and precisely in proportion to, the social advancement of a people, that necessity ceases, so far as concerns the first of the causes of Government referred to,— the necessity for restraining encroachments.
The second demand for Government is to manage the combined interests of society. But combined or amalgamated interests of all sorts are opposed to Individuality. The Individuality of interests should be as absolute as that of persons. Hence the number and extent of combined interests will be reduced with every step in the genuine progress of mankind. The cost principle will furnish in its operation the means of conducting the largest human enterprises, under Individual guidance and control. It strips capital of its iniquitous privilege of oppressing labor by earning an income of its own, in the form of interest, and places it freely at the disposal of those who will preserve and administer it best, upon the sole conditions of returning it unimpaired, but without augmentation, at the appropriate time, to its legitimate owners.
A glance at the functions which Government actually performs, and the specific tendencies which society now exhibits in relation to those functions, will confirm the statement that all, or most of, the combined interests of society will be finally disintegrated and committed to individual hands. It is one of the acknowledged functions of Government, until now, to regulate commerce. But, as we have already seen, the spirit of the age demands that Government shall let commerce alone. In this country, an important Bureau of the Executive Department of Government is the Land Office. But the public domain is, we have seen, already demanded by the people, and the Land Office will have to be dispensed with. The Army and Navy refer to a state of international relations of which every thing begins to prognosticate the final extinction. The universal extension of commerce and intercommunication, by means of steam navigation, railroads, and the magnetic telegraph, together with the general progress of enlightenment, are rapidly obliterating natural boundaries, and blending the human family into one. The cessation of war is becoming a familiar idea, and, with the cessation of war, armies and navies will cease, of course, to be required. It is probable that even the existing languages of the earth will melt, within another century or two, into one common and universal tongue, from the same causes, operating upon a more extended scale, as those which have blended the dialects of the different countries of England, of the different departments of France, and of the kingdoms of Spain into the English, the French and the Spanish languages, respectively. We have premonitions of the final disbanding of the armies and navies of the world in the substitution of a citizen militia, in the growing unpopularity of even that ridiculous shadow of an army, the militia itself, and in the substitution of the merchant steamship with merely an incidental warlike equipment instead of the regular man-of-war. The Navy and War Departments of Government will thus be dispensed with. The State Department now takes charge of the intercourse of the nation with foreign nations. But with the cessation of war there will be no foreign nations, and consequently the State or Foreign Department may in turn take itself away. Patriotism will expand into philanthrophy. Nations, like sects, will dissolve into the individuals who compose them. Every man will be his own nation, and, preserving his own sovereignty and respecting the sovereignty of others, he will be a nation at peace with all others. The term, “a man of the world,” reveals the fact that it is the cosmopolite in manners and sentiments whom the world already recognizes as the true gentleman,— the type and leader of civilization. The Home Department of Government is a common receptacle of odds and ends, every one of whose functions would be better managed by Individual enterprise, and might take itself away with advantage any day. The Treasury Department is merely a kind of secretory gland, to provide the means of carrying on the machinery of the other Departments. When they are removed, it will of course have no apology left for continuing to exist. Finances for administering Government will no longer be wanted when there is no longer any Government to administer. The Judiciary is, in fact, a branch of the Executive, and falls of course, as we have seen, with the introduction of principles which will put an end to aggression and crime. The Legislature enacts what the Executive and Judiciary execute. If the execution itself is unnecessary, the enactment of course is no less so. Thus, piece by piece, we dispose of the whole complicated fabric of Government, which looms up in such gloomy grandeur, overshadowing the freedom of the Individual, impressing the minds of men with a false conviction of its necessity, as if it were, like the blessed light of day, indispensable to life and happiness.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 91.
“The Duchess, the disastrous Lady Ellen!” exclaimed Sir Richard, eagerly.
“Yes, she,” said the priest, who turned again, letting fall his cassock, which he had lifted up to the knees, and making a wry face; “but I should have preferred that the name had not been cited, that we had expressed ourselves with veiled words, that we had understood each other without being explicit. A certain obscurity seemed to me favorable to our explanation: the shade covers propositions which one would not make in full sunlight, and the confessional, in the darkest part of the church, is kept in a mysterious penumbra, where the sinner, with bent head, reveals secrets which he would hide carefully in the depths of his soul, if he were asked to disclose them under the tapers of the altar or the light of the porch....”
And, in truth, an embarrassment seized Bradwell, who had become quite calm again, but who, having betrayed so freely his liaison with the wife of Sir Newington, with the wife of his father, felt how greatly he had failed in his duty as a gallant man, and his uneasiness extended to Marian, who, reddening, dared no longer look at him.
So much so that the situation became difficult, intolerable, inextricable, and that Sir Richard, ashamed, purple, furious with himself, desired now to disappear as soon as possible, and would have left abruptly, in a gust of wind, in his inability to invent a plausible way of escape.
The priest, happily, cut short the constraint which all, including himself, felt, and which, if prolonged, would spoil all, preventing the success which he had promised himself to achieve by his step.
“I will see you again this evening,” said he to the young man, taking leave of him with an affectionate, paternal grasp of the hand. “I made allusion just now to the privileges of the confessional; alone with Marian, we will talk as if I were receiving her at the tribunal of penitence... Au revoir!”
“Thank you!” said Bradwell, taking his leave and saluting Treor’s granddaughter with an awkwardness which would certainly have been ridiculous under any other circumstances, but which denoted a complete suspension of his former vindictiveness.
And when the door closed on him, the abbe returned to Marian, taking her hands in an easy, caressing way, and inviting her to listen to him with attention, and, above all, to heed his advice; he implored it of her!
“We have only a little time to ourselves; let us talk little, let us talk well, or rather be silent yourself, my dear child, and be for me all ears and all heart. I declare to you that it is the voice of the Lord which converses with you,” he concluded, investing his priestly air with unusual circumstance.
And, after his traditional pause, letting go the young girl’s hands, walking rapidly through the room, veiling the tone of his phrases, with his chin in his band, he began upon his subject:
“You love Sir Richard, Marian. Before the events which disturb our unhappy country, and expecting them to lay it waste, sowing everywhere misery and ruin, you have several times avowed it in your confessions.”
“Yes!” said she.
“I have myself advised you to stifle this love, or at least quiet it, inasmuch as you did not know the intentions of Sir Bradwell in regard to you. In his rank, with his birth, it was to be feared, if he distinguished you, if he sought your society, it would not be from a commendable motive. I forewarned you against his fascinations, against the perils of a passion which sometimes ends in dishonor.”
“And I took it kindly”...
“Today, it is no longer the same,” said the priest, stopping, with folded arms, before his sheep. “Richard has formally declared himself; I have heard him. It is not a mistress whom he is deceiving, whom he is urging; it is a respected wife to whom he aspires. You repulse him, you have not the right.”
“Oh!” exclaimed the young girl.
But father Richmond did not permit her to formulate her protest.
“You have not the right,” repeated he, “for the reasons that I stated in presence of Sir Bradwell, and because, in constraining so your heart, in breaking his, in drawing on your cause the worst calamities, you only obey a guilty watchword, a criminal countersign, both sealed with a sacrilegious vow.”
“Pardon me,” said Marian, “we have not time to discuss this subject.”
Although knowing the moments were counted and that he had himself stated the urgency of brevity, Sir Richmond, like the majority of his colleagues whom discourses from the height of a pulpit render necessarily prolix, not accustomed to limiting himself, elaborated endless phrases and wandered off into useless digressions. Now he had prepared his theme to develop it methodically, in the logical, progressive order of arguments carefully accumulated. The remark of the young girl nonplussed him, showing a lack of deference with regard to the word of God which exhaled from his lips, as he had forewarned Marian.
But he did not entirely lose his bearings on that account, and, descending from the heights, he resumed familiarly, and not without malice, knowing the feminine nature by constant association with it and not fearing to come directly to the point: “Lady Ellen is Richard’s mistress; she has inveigled him, like a wicked princess in a fairy story; she is corrupting his body, she will ruin his soul. What do I say? If Bradwell should die today, what account would he render of his acts at the tribunal of the Most High? The lover of his father’s wife, ignominy! All the commandments of the church, of God, outraged. Shameless, the work of the flesh accomplished under conditions which one shrinks from relating and which Catholicism punishes with the most extreme torture, even with the stake! And, in another world, an eternity of pain among the orbs of hell!”
“Why has he committed this inexcusable crime, worse than murder?” said Marian, coldly, in whom, all at once, virtue and the chastity of her nature rebelled indignantly.
“Why? but am I not explaining it to you?” replied the abbe, inventing, in order to sustain his position, the circumstances of the crime. “Why? Because, eudowed with an incomparable beauty, full of the voluptuousness which intoxicates, a nest of enticing lasciviousness, she has contaminated the unfortunate Richard with her sorceries, like a poor innocent boy, and no adviser has shown him the peril, no friend has extended the hand to keep him from falling into the alluring atmosphere of delicious vice.”
The priest watched Marian closely. Was the effect being produced on which he counted? He smiled shrewdly, with an imperceptible half-closing of the eyelids. Evidently she was seizing the bait. Now her breast was heaving under her dress, her nostrils contracted, the tears gathered and were forced back into her throat, a hissing sound escaped from her clenched teeth, and in the pupils of her eyes something of defiance gleamed.
At once she deplored the position of Richard, irresponsible, fallen unwittingly into the snares of an enchantress, enervated by the carnal philters which she distilled; and a desire to struggle against Lady Ellen, to snatch her prey from her, invaded her, exciting the woman and the lover to the contest.
The feeling of her woman’s power, of which she had been ignorant, was suddenly awakened in her; and, surprised, bewildered, proud of this power of influence which she had never before suspected, there came to her an irresistible, childish desire to use it.
In the past she had loved Sir Richard without reasoning, without accounting for it to herself, without reflecting, without dreaming, consequently, of defending herself from this capture of her soul, from this penetration of her being; and probably she would have been more inclined to believe herself the subject.
The pain of her sacrifice, when she had taken the pledge required by the League, the inefficacy of this oath, which was binding only on her acts, but could not modify her heart, could not repress its beatings, could not change its preoccupations,— such reasons confirmed her in the idea of this subjection.
Spontaneously, in her revolt against the atrocities committed by the English, she had at the time included Richard in the reprobation which she vowed against them; the solemn kiss given to Paddy sealed, in her intention, the official rupture with Sir Bradwell; it had sufficed to see him, to learn of his interventions in favor of the conquered, to see him at work in various circumstances, to lose the courage and the force to persevere in this indifference, or, rather, hostility.
And after that she met him so often on the road! He prowled about, he stood taciturn, disconsolate, so constantly, so long, for hours, with death in his soul, about their house, impatient and feverish if, at last, she did not appear at a window; rejoiced and revived, when she went out into the street to get something for the house, to speak with a neighbor who called her, to caress the children whom their mothers were leading!
It was stronger than she; in spite of her inmost resistance, of the scruples of a severe conscience, in spite of the fear of this sin which was always dragging her along, at last she ended by showing herself and did not always succeed in avoiding Richard with her look.
Then, evidently, she imagined herself dominated, subjugated; simple and without coquetry, she did not reflect that the attraction, at least, was reciprocal, and now, the priest, after having won her interest, repeated that she held in herself a sure power over Richard, a considerable power. And not only to command the son of Newington, free and in love only with her, but capable, in a struggle of which Sir Bradwell would be the object, of winning the victory over the Duchess, so wonderfully pretty, so armed with seductions, so artful, so refined, surrounded with all the resources of princely luxury.
“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.
Six Cents a Week for a Library.
Subscriptions to the “Proudhon Library” are coming in as a rate not altogether disappointing, while not indicating, on the other hand, of highly flattering immediate success. If the rate keeps up, it will sustain the enterprise. It is incumbent upon the renders of Liberty to keep it up. If every one of them would subscribe, the “Library” would be a success from the start, and till additional subscribers would serve to lessen the cost of the future volumes. It is a source of amazement to me that men and women who have long been subscribers to Liberty and who profess the greatest interest in its work should need any urging to induce them to support a project which cannot fail to give its work a most powerful impetus.
Some complain, I know, that the price is high. Even if this complaint were well-founded, it would afford no large number of Liberty’s readers a valid excuse for withholding their support. Whatever relation the price may bear to the cost of publication, in itself three dollars a year is not a very large sum to pay for what one really wants very much indeed. On the contrary, it is very insignificant. Why, it is only six cents a week. How many readers has Liberty who do not spend that amount regularly for things which, if the question were squarely put to them, they would at least profess to want much less than they want the “Proudhon Library?” That it has a few such I believe, but I doubt if their number exceeds a dozen. Even the average workingman, oppressed and robbed as he is, can afford three dollars a year for whatever single thing he may regard as a necessity only second to that of his bare food, clothing, and shelter; and, if he refuses to pay it for the “Proudhon Library,” it may be put down for a certainty, whatever his professions, that he is not actually hungering and thirsting after that author’s writings. But I believe that such hunger and thirst do afflict nearly all of Liberty’s friends, and that they will hasten to satisfy their cravings when once they realize that they can get this wonderful set of books by sending me three dollars every year, or one dollar and a half every six months, or seventy-five cents every three months, or, if even that is too great it strain, then by simply putting aside six cents every Saturday night and sending me a quarter of a dollar at the end of each month.
Not only, however, is the price of the “Proudhon Library” not absolutely high,— it is not even relatively high. It is no rash assertion to say that there is very little literature published anywhere at as low prices, in proportion to excellence of quality and the extent of the demand, as those of the books and pamphlets issued in connection with Liberty, and to this rule the “Proudhon Library” is no exception. It is all very well to talk glibly of popular prices, but popular prices can be placed upon none but popular books. Anarchistic books are unpopular, and the wonder is that they are sold as cheap as they are. When the people are as anxious to read Proudhon as Dickens, they will have the opportunity to do so at as little cost. Or, to take a fairer comparison, insider the recently published English translation of Marx’s “Capital.” I have not seen it yet, but it is probably little, if any, larger than the “Economical Contradictions,” while in the matter of book-making it cannot well surpass the “Proudhon Library.” Moreover, considering Marx’s celebrity and the strength of the State Socialists, the market for “Capital” in the present and the immediate future must be ten times as great as for the “Economical Contradictions,” and the price therefore should be very much lower. Yet the two volumes of “Capital” sell for $5.75 (possibly this includes duty), while subscribers to the “Proudhon Library” will obtain the two volumes of the “Contradictions” for $5.00 or less, including binding.
So much for those who criticise the price. There are still others who criticise the project itself. I have just heard of one man, an intelligent member of one of the professions, who thinks that I overrate Proudhon. I question very much whether he has acquired the competency to judge in this matter by reading Proudhon. Be that as it may, to this criticism I have at hand a very much better answer then any that I could make myself, in the following letter written by one of the very few people in th is country who are intelligently familiar with Proudhon’s writings:
Dear Mr. Tucker:
You can scarcely imagine how pleased I am that, you have undertaken the publication of the “Proudhon Library.” If it meet with the success it deserves, the sales should be extremely large. There can be no doubt in the mind of any unprejudiced reader of his works that he must be classed in in the front rank of the men of this century. As an economist he is without a peer. According to my judgment, there is no modern sociological writer, not even excepting Herbert Spencer, destined to have a greater influence upon the future. That Spencer has had a greater influence upon me is true; but that is simply because I became acquainted with his writings earlier, and, therefore, there was not so much left for Proudhon to do.
As you know, however much of a worshipper of Man I may be, I have no worship for men, and I have, not made an idol of Proudhon. I can see his faults, his divergencies from principle, his government-patronized bank, his plans of taxation, reduction of wages, and the like; but, if it can be truly said of any man, it can of Proudhon that his faults were those of his time, his virtues his own. With the chiefs of all the other Socialist schools ottering immediate happiness to the proletariat on condition of its embracing their various governmental schemes, and with that proletariat clamoring to him for something materially beneficial at once, the wonder is that he remained so steadfast to liberty. It should be enough for us to know that he developed and demonstrated the general principles of moral or, if you will, social action, and that he showed how government taxation and the arbitrary interference of man with man could be dispensed with. This abides with us forever as of permanent value, even though he himself occasionally yielded in his practice to the feelings and opinions of his time.
I have spoken of Proudhon from an Anarchistic standpoint, but no sociologist of any school can affod to be without him. The dialectic skill displayed in the “Economic Contradictions,” the broad sweep and masterly generalizations of the “General Idea of the Revolution,” equalled only by Buckle’s, the ready wit of the newspaper controversies, the deep insight into the nature of the social organism exhibited in the ”Philosophy of Progress,” in which work he demonstrates Man as ihe efficient cause and maker of men, an idea since so beautifully worked out by Clifford, are all too valuable to exist only in French. They ought to be accessible to all civilized peoples.
If I could onty reach them, I would urge personally upon each of Liberty’s readers to do his utmost to make the publication a success, and I am sure that, when they became acquainted with the works, they would thank me for my urging. You may put me down for twelve copies, and, if necessary for the success of the enterprise, I will take up to forty. Yours truly,
John F. Kelly.
This temperate and strong judgement I follow, even in its qualifications. Proudhon was not perfect, and his shortcomings are patent to those who read him. I would even go farther than Mr. Kelly, and advert to an error far more serious than the mere temporary yielding to the temptation to compromise for the attainment of immediate results,— I mean Proudhon’s Archistic, reactionary, and almost brutal attitude towards the movement for the emancipation of woman. But, even in his discussion of woman and marriage, he said many very original, very true, and very imponant things.
In regard to his government-patronized bank, it should be stated, to prevent, misunderstanding, the Exchange Bank proposed by Proudhon was simply to exemplify his idea that the Bank of France could be run on mutualistic principles, and was subordinated in his mind to his Bank of the People, which was not to be a governmental institution. He believed in utmost freedom of banking.
I hope that Mr. Kelly’s letter, by its sound estimate of Proudhon’s character and importance, and the example set by its writer of whole-hearted and open-pocketed cooperation in a work so valuable, will bear abundant fruit in many quarters.
An Object Lesson in Communism.
What a practical lesson in the beauty of the formula “To each according to his needs,” the State Socialists and Communists have received in the bill of expenses presented by the son-in-law and daughter of Karl Marx to the committee of the Socialistic Labor party.
Dr. and Mrs. Aveling, being exquisitely refined, cultivated persons, with none of that ill-breeding which characterizes the upper classes of America, have, of course, needs of which the vulgar dwellers on the “east-side” can form no conception. Can the wretched sewing-woman, with her low instincts, who feels extremely happy if, by the most strenuous exertion, she can obtain twenty-five dollars in a month, realize how much Mrs. Aveling’s role as sentimentalist to the travelling troupe of scientific socialists is enhanced by twenty-five dollars’ worth of corsage bouquets, or how, after severe mental strain caused by her folding her pretty hands and saying with an infantile lisp and smile: “Brothers, come and join us, work with us shoulder to shoulder, and heart to heart,” (which position, by the way, is very unfavorable to work of any kind), she needs to be soothed, by the fragrant aroma of a cigarette, to have her exhausted vitality restored by wine-supper, or to be distracted by a visit to the theatre? What idea can an east-side man form of Dr. Aveling’s need of hotel accommodations at the rate of twenty-one dollars a day, after the worry he has been subjected to by those “rude and harsh” Anarchists, who so confused him that he cannot even remember who was his own father-in-law, and oblige him to make up questions and answer them himself? No, these “unkind” and uncultivated east-siders can form no conception of these needs, and hence object to footing the bills. I think however, that they are beginning to have a slight conception that, however much “surplus value” may be created by their labor, none whatever has been created by that of the distinguished expounders of scientific socialism.
But to be serious, there is a wholesome lesson for all students of society who have eyes to see it, in this farce, and that is that the needs of each, whether rude or refined, should be satisfied at his own expense, and not at the expense of his fellows. If the very apostles of State Socialism, at that stage of development in which all sects are parest (when they are still on trial before the public), cannot refrain from such shameful extortion, what tearful depredations may we not expect when State Socialism is an established fact, when officialism has full sway, and each official is to decide for himself what part of the common funds his needs require is utterly and absolutely impossible for such a state of society to continue, as it carries within it the germ of its own destruction, and it could only end in the wildest kind of chaos, or in a despotism worse than the world has yet seem.
Gertrude B. Kelly.
[The foregoing needs to be supplemented by a statement of facts. A few weeks ago the New York “Herald” reported great agitation in the Executive Committee of the Socialistic Labor Party in consequence of a difficulty in settling with the Avelings, and charged that the latter, after receiving thirteen hundred dollars for thirteen weeks’ work, put in an additional bill of six hundred dollars, which included such items as twenty-five dollars for corsage bouquets for Mrs. Aveling, fifty dollars for cigars for the doctor and cigarette for his wife, one hundred dollars for theatre tickets, and forty-two dollars for two days’ board and wine bill at a Baltimore hotel. Over this bill there was a war of words, which ended in the refusal of the Committee to allow the bill and in the payment of one hundred dollars instead. These charges were taken up by the other New York dailies and reiterated with slight variations. As to their truth various opinions prevailed. Some, knowing the Avelings, believed the charges; others, knowing the press, looked on them as capitalistic lies; each of these conclusions being, in my judgment, a warrantable inference from its premises. The prevailing uncertainty was increased by the silence of some of the Socialist organs, the tergiversation of others, and a cabled denial of each charge by Doctor Aveling himself. Finally, the “New Yorker Volkszeitung,” representing the faction favorable to the Avelings, settled the matter by a long editorial, from which the following is an extract: “The capitalistic press has within the last few days been in a paroxysm of delight through the fact that Edward Aveling, of London, on his return to this city, after a three months’ tour of agitation throughout the United States in the interest of Socialism, presented a bill which exceeded the sum calculated by the National Executive of the Socialistic Labor Party some five or six hundred dollars. The bill contained, furthermore, a class of expenses which a labor agitator, who must know that the funds to defray the agitation expenses almost exclusively flow from the pockets of hard toiling workers, should certainly have refrained from ringing in. The National Executive Committee made this point, very clear to Mr. Aveling: the objectionable items were stricken from the bill, and the overcharges reduced to one hundred dollars, which were paid.” This remarkable admission has since been clinched, according to the New York “Herald,” by the receipt from Aveling of the one hundred dollars paid, which puts the treasurer of the party in possession of the nucleus of a conscience fund contributed by one of the shining lights. Is anything more needed in vindication of Liberty’s course in exposing this despicable charlatan? — Editor Liberty.]
The Great American Quackery.
The disinherited are being driven to the last ditch of despair, and, if they will not lie down and die peaceably therein, they must soon stand upon the edge and defend themselves against all the forces and resources of sham civilization. The weapons they have forged are in the hands of the enemy and are turned against their own breasts, and the most deadly of these weapons is the pen. It is wielded by men whose ignorance is equalled only by the malignity with which they misuse whatever knowledge they happen to possess. In the daily papers of this country the working people are maliciously misrepresented, their aims misstated, and their actions lied about most damnably. The press boasts of being a public instructor, a disseminator of information, a dispeller of darkness, a Liberty Enlightening the World. In truth it is a false teacher, an apostle of ignorance, an extinguisher of light, a false and misleading beacon. When Henry George was a candidate for mayor of New York, the daily papers did nothing but lie about him. They said he promised to give every poor man a fine house and to divide the property of the rich. His speeches were misreported by ignorant, stupid reporters, and then garbled by editors to fit lying editorials. Abram S. Hewitt, who probably knew he was lying, said George was “a Socialist, a Communist, and an Anarchist,” and the papers echoed that absurd statement. They might as well have called him a Mussulman, a Roman Catholic, and an Atheist. The paper owned by Cyrus Field pretends to inform its readers about the various phases of Socialism. The value of its information may be estimated from its assertion that “P. J. Proudhon was a Communist, but not an Anarchist,” and that all writers on Socialism have been “ignorant men.” Some villainous fool, who perpetrates crimes of the mind for “Puck,” solemnly asserted that Henry George’s followers were men who saw in his election “alluring prospects of opportunity for riot and rapine.” Nearly all the papers said nearly the same thing. They all regard the workingman, who protests even with the impotent ballot against, the conspiracy of capitalists and politicians, as a potential criminal.
In the cable reports of the Trafalgar square demonstration, printed on Monday, November 21, appeared these words: “When the speaking began, there were present five thousand Socialists, twenty-five thousand unemployed workmen and criminals, and twenty thousand spectators.” Unemployed workmen and criminals are classed together. Was it a mere accident of speech that joined them? Not at all. The same report says the paraders carried banners bearing “incendiary inscriptions,” and then it gives samples of the incendiarism. One of them was: “Work for all; overwork for none.” That is incendiary. The man who demands an opportunity to labor is a criminal, a dangerous person, and, when he meets other unemployed men to voice his protest against enforced idleness, the State calls out the troops. The papers call these starving workmen “the mob.”
The newspapers are clamoring for the execution of seven Chicago men who dared to exercise the right of free speech. They fear that these men may not be murdered if public prejudice is allowed to cool, and so they invent lies to fan the flames. The story about an attempt to poison Armour, a scoundrel who gets up corners in the food supply, is a palpable fabrication. If such an attempt was made, it was a bogus affair concocted by Armour himself to create feeling against the striking workmen. No conspirators ever told their plans definitely and succinctly on a street corner in the presence of strangers. The whole thing is a lie. The daily press is a gigantic, organized lie, a conspiracy of knaves and fools against human rights and the veracities of this world. The writers of able editorials are as a rule either politicians, blind to the facts of life, or intellectual prostitutes. Capital has learned the power of the press, and shrewdly controls what it would otherwise have most cause to fear. A man with clear eyesight and some loyalty in the heart of him cannot be an editor of any important paper. To retain such a place, he must keep silent when the truth within him clamors for utterance; he must give facts a false color and twist them to the policy of the paper; he must write what he does not believe; he must mislead his readers, abuse honest men, and applaud knaves. In short, he must be a poor, lying dastard. And he must deafen the public car with brazen trumpeting about the freedom and independence of the press. Of all the dismal quackeries in this quack-infested world, the American daily newspaper is the most utterly despicable. It poisons the streams of knowledge at their source, and make people drunken with its distillation of lies. The capitalistic cancer has eaten its vitals out.
A Principle of Social Therapeutics.
The idea that Anarchy can be inaugurated by force is as fallacious as the idea that it can be sustained by force. Force cannot preserve Anarchy; neither can it bring it. In fact, one of the inevitable influences of the use of force is to postpone Anarchy. The only thing that force can ever do for us is to save us from extinction, to give us a longer lease of life in winch to try to secure Anarchy by the only methods that can ever bring it. But this advantage is always purchased at immense cost, and its attainment is always attended by frightful risk. The attempt should be made only when the risk of any other course is greater. When a physician sees that his patients strength is being exhausted so rapidly by the intensity of his agony that he will die of exhaustion before the medical processes inaugurated have a chance to do their curative work, he administers an opiate. But a good physician is always loth to do so, knowing that one of the influences of the opiate is to interfere with and defeat the medical processes themselves. He never does it except as a choice of evils. It is the samewith the use of force, whether of the mob or of the State, upon diseased society; and not only those who prescribe its indiscriminate use as a sovereign remedy and a permanent tonic, but all who ever propose it as a cure, and even all who would lightly and unnecessarily resort to it, not as a cure, but as an expedient, are social quacks.
Having been severely censured by Mr. Harman for an alleged tardiness in informing my readers of the fact that “Mr. and Mrs. Walker,” as the “friendly” “Truth Seeker” calls them, were forbidden to write for publication, I now hasten to apprise them of another fact in relation to that affair, just come to the surface, which will throw some light on the issue between us, albeit, I fancy, Mr. Harman will exhibit very little thankfulness for my promptness on this particular occasion. I wish my readers to learn that I have done the “Lucifer” people great injustice in underrating their intellectual capacities and clearness of perception and in making it out that they fail to understand the absurdity of their position. Mr. Harman raises himself and his own above all such suspicious by his recent explicit declaration that it was fully known to them at the time the “autonomistic” marriage was “practicalized” that they could claim the same as a perfectly legal marriage in case the State shoould feel itself disobeyed, and that they went, through all those ceremonies for no other reason than their solicitude for Lillian’s welfare and desire to avoid persecution, entertaining the confidence that marriage by contract would be declared valid marriage if the matter should be brought, before a competent court. It is to be deeply regretted that this important declaration was not made sooner; it would have saved considerable time and space and powder.... What? Do I hear the reader say that such a declaration makes the case still uglier for the “Lucifer” people? Does he think it was hypocrisy on their part to proclaim it all “autonomistic” marriage and play the part of defiant disregarded of the law, when they really thought otherwise and expected the State to declare them loyal children? Well, I am happy to be able to reassure him, and set his agitated mind at rest. There was no hypocrisy about it. Only, Mr. Harman used the word “legal” in two senses, and the word “autonomistic” in a Pickwickian sense. Surely, you have no objection to that; for do you not use the word “Christian” sometimes in two different senses?
The “Index” is dead and buried. Its funeral was preceded by a sort, of “wake,” during which the chief mourners whacked each other’s skulls with their shillalahs in a manner that made Liberty’s “Donnybrook fair” appear like an interchange of the mildest pleasantries. I was particularly pleased at the neat and efficacious manner in which Editor Potter flourished his blackthorn while cracking the narrow pate of his predecessor, Francis E. Abbot. But he struck him one blow which seemed to me decidedly unbecoming. — at least, in an “Index” editor. He said: “Mr. Abbot has been altogether ‘too previous’ in making his Protest.” This is out of keeping with “Index” traditions and in violation of its manual of tactics. I know, for I was once engaged in a little scrimmage in the “Index” columns myself, and had the rules enforced on me. In the course of it an article of mine was rejected, one of the reasons given being my “wretched slang use of the word ‘tumble,’” Editor Potter adding: “Even if in all other respects the article had been wholly unobjectionable, I could not have printed it with that blot, on its otherwise excellent English.” And now Mr. Potter makes his final bow to his readers in seventeen columns of vigorous and excellent English, but blotted with a wretched slang use of the words “too” and “previous.” It does make a difference whose ox is gored.
E. L. Green has moved his “Freethinkers’ Magazine” from Salamanca to Buffalo, New York, where he publishes it in greatly improved form, with T. B. Wakeman as his associate editor. It is certainly a handsome publication,— in this respect in striking contrast with most radical periodicals. But when Mr. Green calls it “the finest appearing Freethought journal ever issued in America,” lie oversteps the boundaries of truth. If he will refresh his memory, he will recollect that I once published a magazine called the “Radical Review,” beside which, for typographical beauty and richness, the “Freethinkers’ Magazine” seems commonplace, and which many competent judges pronounced not only the handsomest Freethought magazine ever published in America, but the handsomest magazine of any kind ever published anywhere. Furthermore, between the “Proudhon Library” (though that is not exclusively a Freethought publication) and the “Freethinkers’ Magazine” there is, from a typographical standpoint, a yawning gulf.
The New York “Times” says that Henry George stood higher in public esteem at the beginning of his canvass for the mayoralty than at the end of it. Goodness gracious! and yet at the end of it he got sixty-eight thousand votes! Mighty lucky for the “boys” that election day didn’t come at the beginning of the canvass, now wasn’t it, Mr. “Times”?
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. 91.
Finally, there is the category of the loving believers. This is the least numerous, the most amiable, but not the least dangerous. Jesus Christ, the greatest among them, was, without doubt, of this class. Let us hope that Mazzini will be its last representative in the history of the religious aberrations of civilized humanity. I have said that this category of believers is not the least dangerous. And, in truth, their first wrong consists precisely in serving as passports, and almost always also as tools and bait, for the hypocrites and violent believers. When society, tired of the falsehoods of the former and the cruelty of the latter, seems on the point of disgust with a religion which produces so much misery and horror, it is pointed to some simple, good, narrow, saintly man, and his sympathetic, venerable, look disarms suspicions and hatred. These men are very rare; so the leaders of the churches appreciate them highly, and generally know how to put them to excellent use. Time it was that at the epoch when the cruel persecutions practised by the Jesuits upon the Protestants, the Vaudois, were drenching Savoy with blood, there was in this very order of the Jesuits, in Switzerland, a bishop, a saintly man, Francois de Sales, whose heart, overflowing with love, made more conversions than all the cruelties of the church.
Heart overflowing with love! That is the true, accurate definition of these men. They are, I repeat, excessively rare. But they exist, and each of us has met one at least in our lives. When they are very strong, and, what is more, very intelligent, as Jesus Christ doubtless was, they found new religions, provided the spirit of their age is at all ready for the foundation of a new religion. Or they seek to found it and are disappointed, when the tendency of the surroundings and the times is opposed to it, as is happening to Mazzini. But ordinarily, with the exception of some who are geniuses “crowned with virtue,” these men, profoundly, intimately, lovingly religious, form no school; for what predominates in them is not mind, but heart; is not thought, but love. They are religious, but they are not theologians. Their faith, indefinite and not firmly settled, is only a very imperfect expression of that love which is called divine because it is excessively rare, and which really overflows their whole being. Contrary to those who enlighten without warming, they warm all those who surround them without enlightening them, exciting love, never thought.
Mazzini, by his intelligence, is infinitely superior to these obscure lovers. But he does not equal them in love. They are so full of it that, in spite of their faith, they have the power of bravely loving pagans, atheists. Mazzini is too theological for this; he detests atheists, and, like Christ, if he had the power, would take the scourge to drive them from his dear Italy, considering them as corrupters of his predestined people.
Let us leave, then, to flourish in peace those sweet religious souls, loving and obscure, who perfume with their native grace their little unknown corners, and study in Mazzini himself the ravages which theology can and must work in the greatest souls, the noblest hearts, the loftiest minds.
* * *
Doubtless few men are capable of loving as Mazzini loves. Whoever has had the good fortune to approach him personally has felt the influence of that infinite tenderness which seems to penetrate his whole being, has felt his soul kindled by the beams of that indulgent and delicate goodness which shines in his look, at once so serious and so sweet, and in his fine and melancholy smile. Whoever approaches him, sees him, and hears him, has no difficulty in discovering, under his most simple and least affected exterior, his great intelligence, his great heart above all, and character which, by its extraordinary purity, seems to tower above all the miseries of this world. He does not overwhelm, he encourages, he provokes confidence. Few men, I believe, think as little of themselves as Mazzini. Behold the terrible revolutionist who has brought so many bad nights to most of the sovereigns and. governors of Europe!
I am now giving my personal impressions. For I also had the happiness of meeting Mazzini, very often even, during the whole of the year 1862, at London. I shall never forget the noble welcome which he gave me when I arrived in that city, escaping from Siberia where I had been exiled for life and where I had lived four years, after having passed almost eight in different fortresses of Saxony, Austria, and Russia. I am, indeed, eternally indebted to Mazzini, for even before knowing me other than by name, he generously took up my defence against the infamous calumnies which German emigrants, Jews especially, with that noble delicacy, justice, and good taste which distinguish them, had endeavored to disseminate regarding me, not so much from personal hatred of me as from a general hatred for Russia, for the Slavs, and particularly for my compatriot, Alexander Herzen, who naturally did not fail to answer them; which 1 could not do, confined as I was in the Russian fortresses and later in Siberia, not even knowing that I was being attacked in this base fashion.
Herzen even told me that Citizen Karl Marx, who became later one of the principal founders of the International and whom I had always considered as a man endowed with a great intelligence and profoundly, exclusively devoted to the grand cause of the emancipation of labor, had taken an active part in these calumnies. I was not altogether astonished, knowing by my past experience—for I had known him since 1845—that the illustrious German Socialist, to whose great qualities I have always rendered and shall never fail to render full justice, has, nevertheless, in his character certain traits which one would be less astonished to meet in a Jewish devotee of belles lettres, corresponding for German newspapers, than in such a serious and ardent champion of humanity and justice. Therefore, arriving in London in 1862, I abstained from calling on him, naturally having little desire to renew acquaintance with him. But in 1864, as 1 was passing through London, he came to see me himself, and assured me that he had never taken any part, directly or indirectly, in these calumnies, which he had himself considered as infamous. I had to accept his word.
However that may be, Mazzini nobly took up my defence. Do I need to say that I was profoundly attached to this admirable individuality, certainly the purest and grandest that I have ever met in my life. I love Mazzini, and I venerate him today as much as I did nine years ago, and yet I must combat him. I must put myself by the side of Marx against him. It is a fatality from which all my convictions, my religion, no less profound and sincere than his own, will not grant me escape.
* * *
Mazzini, I have said, overwhelms no one; that is true. But he is himself overwhelmed by his God, and in this overwhelming, of which he is the first victim, he makes his friends, his party, more or less participate. Such is the real cause, in my opinion, of the present isolation of this party in the midst of the Italian nation, of its sterility and of its powerlessness, more and more visible.
This distressing powerlessness and sterility is read in every line printed, every thought expressed, in the properly Mazzinian journals. Open “L’Unita Italiana,” or even “La Roma del Popolo,” which are today the two principal organs of this party, and you will at once feel an indescribable stifling atmosphere, a breath of death, like the odor of corpses or dried mummies. It is a current, once limpid, but today struck with stagnation, whose waters flourish, as old age flourishes, without motion, without communication with waters more alive. In the midst of the immense social movement which has invaded the human world, drawing it irresistibly towards the realization of the grandest things that ever the imaginations of men have dreamed, they remain there, motionless, isolated, strangers to this development of life which is going on around them, to the aspirations, even, of this people which they pretend to govern and save, ignoring or misunderstanding the ideas as well as the facts which envelop them on all sides; and, their eyes fixed unalterably on Savonarola and Dante, they chant their old litanies, as the Jews recite the verses of the Talmud in the hope of raising again by this means the forever fallen walls of Zion.
What is the cause of this stagnation, of this death? Ah! it is because God has smitten them with his favor. God is a terrible companion. He overwhelms, he absorbs, he annihilates, he devours, he distorts, he dissolves, or else he withers, all that has the misfortune to approach him from near or from far. Whatever has been done to humanize him a little during recent centuries, he remains always the ancient Jehovah, the egoistic, the jealous, “the cruel God of the Jews!” and he has ended by reigning also over Mazzini. He has bewildered, perverted, and made barren the noblest intellect of this century. This is one more terrible grievance that we have against him.
Mazzini, by the natural impulse of his heart, loves men, and, more passionately still, he loves Italy. But this love is paralyzed or at least warped by the exclusive and jealous influence of the divine phantom, of the ideal Me exaggerated to the Absolute, which, unconscious of itself, adores itself in the person of an imaginary God, hiding in this way from all the world as well as from himself, in the heights of a fictitious heaven, his supreme egoism. And he who serves this God must sacrifice everything to him, even his country; he who loves God cannot really love anything else in the world. He must detest the world; and if, urged by an invincible need of the heart, he wishes to love it, it still must be only for the glory of God, in order to transform the world into a stepping-stone to the divine glory.
Mazzini loves most certainly Italy; but he loves her as Abraham loved his son Isaac, ready to sacrifice him, if it must be, on the altar of his God, who, like the God of the Christians and the Jews, of which he is only the somewhat illogical continuation, measures the love of his faithful by the grandeur of their sacrifices. Sacrifice, which, according to the doctrine of Mazzini, constitutes the supreme virtue, is in truth the foundation, at once cruel and mystical, of all real religious worship; for in every religion which takes the adoration of divinity seriously, cruelty and love are but one. Has not God himself given an example, forever memorable, to men, in sacrificing his only son and causing him to be assassinated by the Jews, his chosen people, in order, he says, to gratify his pitiless vengeance, otherwise called eternal justice? Divine justice, as we see, feeds on human blood, as divine wisdom feeds on human absurdities. This justice united to this wisdom constitutes what is called divine love.
To be continued.
A Remarkable Letter by Carl Schurz.
In a German book, recently come under my notice, entitled “Memoiren eine Idealisten,” I find a remarkable letter by Carl Schurz, which I consider worthy of being placed before the readers of Liberty. The letter was addressed to the authoress of the hook mentioned, about 1849, shortly after the young revolutionist’s flight from Germany and his emigration to this country. In this letter he gives his impressions of the new life to which he had become a witness, together with some eminently sound and practical reflections on liberty and its application to social affairs. He was certainly at that time in sight of haven, in the noble sense of Auberon Herbert, and in view of his splendid talents, it is greatly to be regretted that he again lost sight of it in his subsequent career as a public man.
The letter reads:
“I have not yet seen, but I have already learned a great deal in America. It is the first time that I live in a democratic country, and notice the behavior of a free people. I confess, without blushing, that in this regard I had formerly entertained but faint notions. My political opinions have undergone a sort of inner revolution since I read in the book which alone contains the truth,— the book of reality. When I imagine the majority of those hot-headed professional revolutionists, as the emigration develops them, or the majority of those liberal-minded ladies of the cultured classes, with their sentimental democracy, placed amid the conditions of this country, and consider how they would grow extremely abusive,— the former over the character of the bourgeoisie and the intrigues of the clergy, the latter over the unbridled spontaneity of the people,— and how they would arrive at the conclusion that there is nothing to this Eldorado,— then I become somewhat fearful concerning the future European republic which is to have its pillars in the two segments mentioned. Indeed, the first sight of this country fills one with mute astonishment. Here you see the principle of individual liberty carried to the last consequences, the concept of the freely-enacted law; there you see the crassest religious fanaticism disporting itself in brutal acts; — here you see the great mass of the working people pursuing their emancipation in the fullest liberty, while close by the speculative spirit of capital launches out in unheard of enterprises; — here a party that calls itself democratic, and that is at the same time the main support of the institution of slavery, there a party that thunders against the heaven-crying wrong of slavery, but bases all its arguments on the authority of the Bible, and exists in an incredible state of mental dependence; — here the irrepressible spirit of emancipation, there the active last of oppression: — all this in liberty, intermingled in motley confusion, and side by side. The democrat, recently from Europe, who has hitherto lived in the world of ideas, and has had no opportunity of seeing these ideas embodied in human nature, questions himself, somewhatpuzzled: ‘Is this a free people? Is this real democracy? Is democracy a fact, if it harbors all there contradictory principles within its womb? Is this my ideal?’ Thus he asks himself doubtingly, and enters with uncertain step into this new, realy new world. He observes and reflects, sloughs off gradually, one by one, the prejudices with which Europe burdened him, and comes finally to the solution of the riddle: Yes, so are the people when they are free. Liberty breaks the letters of development asunder. All forces, ad imperfections, the good and the bad, everything is to be seen in the light of the day and in its working mood; the struggle of principles proceeds unchecked; external liberty only reveals the foes that must be conquered before we can gain innner liberty. Who desires liberty must not be surprised if men do not show themselves better than they are. Liberty is the only condition in which it is possible for men to know themselves, because it alone offers them the opportunity of acting out their true lives. Thereby the ideal is not realized, to be sure, but it would be a foolish undertaking to force the ideal in spite of the people. In this country the Jesuits are accorded free scope, they are neither killed nor expelled,— for democracy postulates the liberty of every confession so long as it does not limit the civil liberty of others; they are not fought with weapons of official power, but merely by public opinion. That is not only more democratic, but also more substantial, for, if the battle of public opinion against mental dependence proceeds slowly, it is simply proof that the people are not yet riper. This struggle has the advantage that it always keeps equal pave with the mental state of tthe masses and this account its victories are slower, less brilliant, but more enduring and thorough-going. Thus is it here in all things. European revolutionist prews impatient over it, and would like to put in some hard hits; but the people are so consituted as to refuse to be knocked into reason, and it is in nature of democracy that, within its contines public opinion rules, not as it ought to be, but as it is. It is any firm conviction that the European revolutionists will force a next revolution on the side of the reaction by their mere lust of governing, by their mere desire to make things quickly and positively better. Every glance at the political life of America confirms my conviction that the task of the revolution can be nothing but the removal of obstacles in the way of the will of the people, i.e., the overthrow of all authority, in the institutions of the State, and of all barriers to individual liberty so far as that is at all possible. The people will than have full sway, commit many stupidities, etc., but that is their way. If you wish to forestall things and thereafter grant the people freedom, they will commit stupidities none the less, in spite of all your artificial efforts to the contrary. But every stupidity committed absolves something, while the finest measure taken in advance of the popular understanding absolves nothing until the people are ripe for it. Until then, whatever you have forestalled must be maintained a force de l’autorite or it is unsettled. But if it is maintained by force of authority, it fares ill with democracy. Here in America you can daily see to how small a degree it is necessary to govern the people. Indeed, what in Europe one would mention with a shudder, Anarchy, prevails here in finest. There are governments, but no masters; governors, but they are agents. Whatever America boasts of in the shape of great institutions of learning, of churches, of gigantic means of communication, etc., is allowing to the spontaneous association of private citizens, and not to the authority of officialism. We behold here the productivity of liberty. Here you see a costly church,— a stock company have built it; there a university,— a wealthy man has left a magnificent legacy for educational purposes, this serves now us capital stock, and the university is founded almost on private subscriptions; there an orphan asylum of white marble,— a wealthy citizen has built it; and so on ad infinitum. One learns here for the first time how superfluous government is in many respects in which it is deemed indispensable in Europe, and where the possibility of doing something excites the desire of doing it.”
So far Carl Schurz. I submit it to the readers of Liberty, Does he not preach fist-class Anarchistic doctrine? When he wrote the above letter, he had certainly completely mastered the problem of liberty, and that is the first, requisite for a man contemplating the service of the people. Not only had he mastered the problem of liberty, he also had the courage of calling it by its true name, Anarchy. It is of small consequence that he erred in declaring the conditions of this country those of Anarchy, for it is to he remembered that at the time of the above letter we were in many respects practically nearer Anarchy than at the present time, when we are fast becoming one of the most law-ridden people on the globe. But in truth we had not advanced so far. Schurz beheld the facts in somewhat too rosy a light. That, not ever, is of small consequence. The important thing to be noted is the precedence given by him to the principle of individual sovereignty and spontaneity over the popular principle of compulsion and arbitrary legislation as an agency in social evolution, together with the correct statement of the task of the coming revolution, viz., the overthrow of the barriers to individual liberty. Unless the people thoroughly master the problem of liberty, they will pass through the impending social crisis with little profit, and the problem of labor will remain unsolved. Indeed, I share the fear expressed in the above letter that, the desire of many revolutionists, to make things quickly and positively better through the machinery of government, originating in their blindness to perceive the saving force of liberty, will defeat their very purposes and intentions. They appear to be unable to see that in the present state of the world all true reform work is necessarily of a negative character, that it consists principally in the removal of the usurpations of the State, and of the restrictions placed upon individual initiative on all sides.
It was a great thing in Carl Schurz, more than three decades ago, to have appreciated these points at their true worth, to have been so sober minded and clear-sighted with regard to the methods of social progress and revolution as he appears, it have been in the light of his letter. It was a deplorable thing to him to abandon the ideal he had embraced for the vain prizes of political life.
There seems to be something in politics fatal to honesty and truth. In partial confinrmation of this statement, I direct attention to Edmund Burke’s splendid “Essay in Vindication of Natural Society,” written when he became a politician, and which contains more helpful truth than the entire work of his political career, to the noble labors of Auberon Herbert on behalf of liberty since he abjured politics, and to the above letter of Carl Schurz, written when he was yet innocent of political ambitions. I believe Wendell Phillips was correct when, among other sharp things, he used to say that you can always get the truth from an American statesman after he has turned seventy, or given up all hope of the presidency. “They tell us that until this year they have not been able to survey Mt. Washington; its iron centre warped the compass. Just so with our statesmen before they reach seventy; their survey of the State is ever false. That great central magnet in Washington deranges all their instruments.” A similar thought must have been in the mind of Emerson, that great Anarchist, when he spoke of “our pitiful politics, which stake every gravest national question on the silly die, whether James or whether Robert shall sit in the chair and hold the purse”; when he predicted the regeneration of society, “not through any increased discretion shown by the citizens at elections, but by the gradual contempt into which official government falls, and the increasing disposition of private adventurers to assume its functions”; or when he directed attention to “the severity of censure conveyed in the word politic, which now for ages has signified canning, intimating that the State is a trick.”
Had Carl Schurz possessed the character to turn a deaf ear to the misleading voice of political ambition, and with his great abilities entered the knightly service of that social ideal which by his letter he appears to have seen so clearly with his inner eye, he would have placed this country under greater obligations to himself than it will one day acknowledge. Better save one’s self-respect and merit the gratitude of a redeemed future than bask in the sunshine of popular applause and vulgar success.
St. Paul, Minnesota.
Autonomy and Marrriage.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Your postal is at hand. In regard to the Waiker-Harman controversy I will say that, technically, your position taken in Liberty, October 30, seems to me undoubtely incorrect, and from your position, as editor of an Anarchistic paper, most obligatory for you to pursue. Either Mr. Walker is married, or he is not; there can be no mixing and shuffling, on the ground of constructive definitions, as to his idea of “essential” marriage. Nor can he stand on the universal principles of the common law or civil and constitutional liberty, as a part of the State, to down the canon and statute law, since these have ever existed in the nature of things, independent of the State.
While it is Mr. Walker’s privilege, personally, to select his own line of defence, he cannot consistently hold it up as a banner, for all non-believers in the State to rally under.
Whatever may have been Mr. Walker’s justification, in his own mind, for taking the course he has, the fact must nevertheless remain that “marriage” is an institution. While the common law may recognize nature in voluntarily getting in, there is no necessity for such recognition in getting out, all autonomistic protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. Any public declaration of marriage, therefore, is practically a committal. Perfect autonomy,— not automaton,— it seems to me, would have reserved matters, since there was no binding consideration in the contract, until they arose, one at true, separate and distinct, to one’s self.
Then all this blood and thunder is technically reduced to a non-essential three-dollar fee, or form, which is the only issue between the plaintiff and defendant, and which there is little doubt but that the higher court will award in the defendant’s favor. The autonomistic mouse, through its “essential” construction would bring to it the mountain of the State, but behold, the mountain. by the definition of fact, has brought the mouse to it.
On the other hand I believe Mr. Walker’s attitude arises, as in his position towards Malthusianism, from a personal, not a true and systematic acceptance of definitions as existing. We may be pardoned, in an ad hominem sense, for sometimes using words in a double sense, provided the context shows in which sense we use them. But among students tais is never necessary, but leads to great confusion. One thing should go with one name, and one name with one thing, and they should both be verified by the facts of history from a scientific standpoint.
Furthermore, we shall have to admit that from Mr. Walker’s construction and contract, he is intending all that the most correct statement could demand. This is evidenced by his tenacity to a principle, which no three-dollar fee or form can fitly represent; it is further corroborated by the virus of Valley Falls.
Moreover, outside of any belief or disbelief as to marriage, the fact must be patent to all fair-minded observers that Mr. Walker, however much we may accept or reject his opinions, is a peaceable citizen and is being grossly persecuted by an organized crime, called the State.
Therefore, while no Anarchist can contribute to the defence, as stated, they may contribute to him personally, for agitation and fair play, which, though not strictly in line, is proving a valuable auxiliary against tyranny and in favor of liberty.
Liberty attacks the State, the “Truth Seeker” attacks the Church, the “Word” attacks Madam Crundy, but “Lucifer” is not content, in its own way, without attacking all three. Yours truly,
C. T. Fowler.
Kansas City, Mo., November 18, 1886.
What is the Moral?
To the Editor of Liberty:
With all my respect and reverence for your noble work I cannot resist reproaching you for giving too nmvh credit to the intelligence of the property-beast of Washington Territory who discharged brother Alexis Vanderbeck for subscribing to and reading Liberty. Though not knowing the fact, I would bet ten subscriptions to this paper against one that the barbarian is as ignorant of Liberty’s principles and methods as a tiger of philanthropy; but he discharged brother Vanderbeck because he believed that Liberty, being an Anarchistic journal, advocates what he thinks to be Anarchistic methods,— namely, dynamite, bombs, and revolvers. I am rather inclined to believe that, had Mr. Vanderbeck showed his employer certain articles in Liberty whereby he could perceive your position toward Herr Most and the Chicago Communists, he would not have been discharged. On the other hand, there are thousands of employers who would discharge their employees for reading a paper even as harmless as the “Workmen’s Advocate” of this city. The fact, however, is that the beasts of property, like the beasts of prey, fear for force rather than for theories.
New Haven, Conn., January 2, 1887.
[As to the motives which governed Mr. Vanderbeck’s employer. Mr. Franklin’s supposition may be correct, or mine may be. If hegives him any satisfaction to think that his is correct, I am equally satisfied to have him think so. It is not a point about which I am strenuous. It is of little consequence to me whether Mr. Vanderbeck’s employer is a fool or not. But I should like to know the moral of Mr. Franklin’s letter. What lesson am I to learn from it? If Mr. Vanderbeck’s employer discharged him because he feared force rather than theories, and would not have done so had he known Liberty’s real position, would Mr. Franklin have me, therefore, begin to preach force rather than theories? Has he gone back to his old position that this is not a revolution of ideas? If so, why did he ever forsake his first love, “Freiheit,” and bestow his affections upon Liberty? Or has he arrived at the conclusion of the “Workmen’s Advocate” that Liberty is engaged in a flank movement in the interest, if not in the pave of capital? No, it cannot be that; for he talks about my “noble work.” What does my “noble work” consist in if not in trying to spread theories and abolish force? As far as I know, that is the only work I have had on hand. Again I ask: What is the moral? — Editor Liberty.]
Line It With Briars.
[New York Truth Seeker.]
Mr. Editor: Brother Wetzel is right about the Walker infringement, case upon patent-right marriage. We do not want the law to decree and construe cohabitation as legal marriage,— no such obtusive, invasive tyranny. Legal marriage be hanged! Let every tub stand on its own bottom. Let those who want legal marriage get it legally,— go where they have it to sell, buy it, and pay for it like a man; and those, that prefer the simon-pure, unadulterated article of natural marriage, brew it at home and “say nothing to nobody.”
No, all roads do not, and should not, lead to legal marriage; and as to the old and much-traveled route, do not let us shorten it an inch, or make cheap and easy, as Walker is trying to do. It’s good enough as it is, considering where it leads to. The toll ought to be five hundred dollars instead of five, and the red tape without beginning or end. The road in should be lined with briars and ballasted with brimstone and blasted hopes. The road out is the one that needs working. Make it wide and smooth and straight and free of toll, with free lunch and a band of music at every mile-post.
Wm. S. Allen.
St. Joseph, Missouri, November 24, 1880.
Socialism in Modern Athens.
Twenty-five or thirty centuries ago there were Socialists in the primitive Athens. Plato was one of them with his ideal Republic. The comic poet Aristophanes ridiculed these primitive framers of imaginary social systems in his comedy entitled “The Birds.” He called his ideal commonwealth of birds “Cloud-cuckootown.” Aristophanes himself was a regular mosshack, fine poet though he was. The Athens of today has its Socialists also and social reformers. Before us is a radical monthly publication of the social reform sort printed in Romaic, or modern Greek, which is very like in appearance and vocabulary to the Greek of Xenophon. The name of our Athenian cotemporary is “Arden,” which, being interpreted, signifies “utterly,” “unreservedly.” It seems that the publication of “Arden” was interrupted for a time by the late war fever at Athens, but now that the famous town has resumed its normal mode, the editor of “Arden” resumes his publication in the cause of social reform. In his address to his readers he professes to be able to point out a cure for all social ills. He would have everybody do such portion as he can of the world’s work, receiving pay according to his production. In this way he thinks that poverty and selfishness would be abolished and there would be a cessation of that anxiety about the morrow which wears out both soul and body. The editor of “Arden” seems to be orthodox after the manner of the Greek Church, for he would not disturb the morastories in the possession of their lands. He quotes several of the loqia or sayings of Jesus, using as a motto the injunction to take no thought for the morrow in reference to food, drink, or raiment. His paper, he says, will keep us readers posted in the struggle for social change, which is going on all over the world. The table of contents of “Arden” presents quite a variety of interesting and readable matter. It is evidence that the modern Athenians are truly modern.
The Rational Utilitarian Philosophy.
In Mr. J. F. Kelly’s able article on George’s “Protection or Free Trade,” I perceive, as the editor of Liberty has justly observed, that Stirner’s views and my own have been misapprehended. To us liberty is a good in itself and the means of all other good. We study direct and also remoter results. I generalize, like Mr. Kelly, and about murder I generalize like Mr. Kelly.
This word murder denotes killing, but it connotes also that the killing is not approved according to a rule, law, or generalization.
As to the end justifying the means, that sentiment is foreign to my standpoint. The justification intended by theology and “humanism” is not an adjustment of means to ends, but the gaining the approval of some supernal power.
Like Stirner, I simply do my own will. I act from desire, not from awe. Those who do their own will we classify as distinct from those who act under awe and obedience to supposed moral obligations,— whether conceived as commands or the equivalent impression,— from a source outside the individual, telling him to submit himself and forego his own inclinations. Holding that awe is a pernicious influence, otherwise called religion and superstition, we hold to egoism, — defined as acting out one’s self.
To thy own self be true,
And it must follow as night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
I should not infer from Mr. George’s words, “supporting any measure that will attain that object,” that he, a rabid governmentalist, meant more than measures of legislation.
As Mr. Kelly speaks of a tendency to “disrupt society,” I will note that Stirner has used the word society in such a way that the dissolution of society by individuals becoming independent has no more terrors, when understood, than Proudhon’s dissolution of property,— society standing for the invasive community in all its spontaneous forms beyond the family.
Fantasies of Martyrdom.
The Edwin-Lillian affair seems to be changing its aspects and the erethism of weakness that was simply deplorable in the vain bravado of an experienced man against the force of prejudice and law combined cannot be reproached to the young girl’s enthusiasm for the rights of personal liberty, to the idea of which she immolates her actual personal liberty. The original protest against legal marriage having caved in, this brave child comes to the rescue of her discomfited over by making a new issue with authority about who shall pay the prison fees. It seems hardly credible, seeing the levity of the offence against her august majesty, that Madam Grundy will take Lillian at her word and let a minor ro in jail. If she is liberated, in consideration for her tender a re and her father’s expressed willingness to pay for her, Edwin will come in somehow for a share in the benefit, and probably the couple will give Valley Falls a wide berth for the future. In that case, the little unpleasantness incurred by defiance of the known hostility of a prejudice robust enough to threaten lynching may pay in recitation on the lecture stage. Misfortunes, errors, and even crimes serve good artistic purposes in tragedy; so, in obtaining the public ear, if one has not been a great success in something, the next best chance is to have been a conspicuous failure in “minding his own business,” especially in love affairs. Besides, “self respect” and mutually agreable marriage terms are such good things that society asks a high price for them.
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.