“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.
The Boston “Herald” recently published a letter from H. M. Bearce, over a column in length, on the labor problem, of which the writer finds the solution in the works of Proudhon. I shall present some extracts from the letter in the next number of Liberty.
The first number of Mr. Underwood’s new paper, “The Open Court,” is at hand. Except that it is made up in thirty-two small pages appearing fortnightly instead of twelve larger ones appearing weekly, it is the “Index” over again. The writers are the same, the subjects are the same, the style is the same, the dreariness is the same; in short, the “Open Court” will evidently be a paper in which a large amount of ability and learning will run to waste. The subscription price s three dollars a year, which may be sent to “B. F. Underwood, P. O. Drawer F, Chicago, Illinois.”
“The costs of the Colin Campbell trial,” says a New York “World” cable despatch, amount to about $175,000. It is supposed that the Duke of Argyll will have to bear almost, the whole of this expense, and, as he is a poor man, it will almost ruin him.” Will some one please pass round the hat? It is often remarked that the standard of riches is vastly higher than it was fifty years ago, but probably few imagine that it has reached so dizzy a height that a man who can pay out $175,000 and remain solvent may be considered poor. At this rate the English language will not hold out.
The Detroit “Labor Leaf” has passed from the hands of John K. Burton into those of Captain John M. McGregor, and will henceforth be known as “The Advance and Labor Leaf.” It has also been enlarged from four pages to eight. As Captain McGregor is an ardent disciple of Henry George, the tone and attitude of the paper are likely to be more positive than before,— I wish I could syv more positive for political and economic truth instead of for error. That it will continue to be edited with ability and earnestness there can be no doubt. It is gratifying to find that Labadie’s “Cranky Notions” are not to be abandoned. They have always been the best things in the paper, and probably will lose nothing in wit and wisdom.
The letter in another column from Adolph Fischer, one of the brave and unfortunate seven who are threatened with the gallows in Chicago, was sent to me by Comrade Lum to show me that he at least is an Anarchist, though most of his comrades are really State Socialists. I am very glad to admit that, if none of them had said anything more in conflict with individual liberty than this letter, I never should have criticised them as I have done. Mr. Fischer’s declarations in favor of absolute individualism are so positive that I can hardly imagine him denying the freedom of production and exchange as his comrades do. And yet he should have explained more clearly his meaning in referring to the “infamous institution of private property.” If he simply distinguishes, like Proudhon, between property and possession, why does he use the word private? If not, his remark is tainted with authority.
“Freiheit,” in making quotations from No. 1 of the “Proudhon Library,” attempts to show that the Communism and Socialism which Proudhon attacked were simply the utopias of Cabet, Fourier, and others, and not at all Anarchistic Communism. As the school of Anarchistic Communism did not exist in Proudhon’s day, of course be could not have attacked it specifically; what Liberty maintains is that most of the arguments with which be assailed the utopias apply equally well against Anarchistic; Communism. The extract from Proudhon given in the last issue of Liberty showed conclusively what kind of Socialism be considered not utopian. In it he declared that the whole of Socialism is contained in the principles laid down in the articles of association of his “People’s Bank,” and that everything outside of these is utopian and chimerical. But “Freiheit” sees no virtue whatever in the “People’s Bank.” It is plain, then, that Proudhon, if alive, would consider “Freiheit’s” Communism utopian.
I must refer once more to the Winsted “Press" and its editor. It is lamentable to set; so bright a man as Mr. Pinney wasting his nervous force in assaults on windmills. But it is his habit, whenever he finds it necessary or thinks it timely to say something in answer to free money advocates, to set up a windmill, label it free money, and attack that. An instance of this occurs in a scolding article on the subject in his issue of February 17, as the following sentence shows: “We had a little taste of this free currency in the day of State wildcat banking, when every little community had its State bank issues." The italics are mine,— used to emphasize the substitution of the windmill State for the giant Freedom. How could State bank issues he free money? Monopoly is monopoly, whether granted by the United States or by a single State, and the old State banking system was a thoroughly monopolistic system. The unfairness and absurdity of Mr. Pinney’s remark become apparent with the reflection that the principal English work relied upon by the friends of free money, Colonel Greene’s “Mutual Banking,” was written expressly in opposition to the then existing State banking system, years before the adoption of the national banking system. Mr. Finney would not fall hack upon this idiotic argument, if he had a better one. That he has none is indicated by his saying of free money, as he says of free trade: “In theory the scheme is plausible. In practice it would probably be an abomination.” Mr. Finney’s old conservative, cowardly. Calvinistic; refuge. When drives into a corner on a question! which turns on the principle of Liberty, he has but one resort, which amounts practically to this: “Liberty is right in theory everywhere and always, but in certain cases it is not practical. In all cases where I want men to have it, it is practical; but in those cases where I do not want men to have it, it is not practical." What Mr. Pinney wants and does not want depends upon mental habits and opinions acquired prior to that theoretical assent to the principle of liberty which the arguments of the Anarchists have wrung from him.
My paragraph on John Swinton’s “Thought” strikes Henry Seymour as inharmonious with what I wrote: some time ago in defence of Anarchy, finding in it; evidence that no longer stick to the cost principle. “The cost idea is a positive institution,” he avers, and of course I could not sneer at the notions of others regarding the necessity of plans and systems for our social salvation if I were not entirely free from them myself. At any rate, I am asked “in all earnestness” to explain myself. To careful readers of Liberty such explanations are superfluous. It has been stated on more than one occasion, and it must be self-evident to every intelligent Anarchist who has given the subject the slightest consideration, that free competition and the substitution of the cost principle for that of value, in exchange, bear to each other the relations of cause and effect. The cost “institution” in the economic relations is what the variety institution is in the sexual. No sexual reformer would seek to enforce variety; but, recognizing that, under proper conditions, when woman shall he socially and industrially independent of man, variety would be just as natural as monogamy is now, the reformer makes war upon sexual slavery and tries to bring about the necessary change in the conditions. To enforce the cost principle would he equally absurd. On the contrary, it, is precisely because this principle is absolutely essential in the final and harmonious solution of the problem of exchange that individual sovereignty and unrestricted exercise of individuality must be fully secured, for these are the sole conditions of developing and maintaining beneficial institutions and of the disappearance of all impediments to progress. Here, as everywhere, Liberty is the mother of harmony. Seymour and Edgeworth, blind to their own logic, denounce the cost idea as one of the State Socialistic lunacies. What, then, does the cry for a free field, equal opportunities, and equitable exchange mean? Profits to all are tantamount to profits to none,— cost. Profits to a few mean robbery of others,— monopoly. Andrews and Warren, realizing this, make individual sovereignty and the cost, principle the essential conditions; of a true civilization, but Liberty settles the matter to the satisfaction of all parties by explaining that the cost institution is but one of the logical results and practical expressions of the broad and general principle of individual sovereignty, and, consequently, that the only way to “enforce” it is to establish the reign of its parent cause.
Proudhon’s Works a Source of Health.
Dear Mr. Tucker:
I am glad that you have hit upon the plan of issuing Proudhon’s works in monthly parts, which will not lessen their beauty and value in volumes. Proudhon hud such wonderful intelligence, coupled with such unswerving determination to reveal truth, that his writings are not only in the highest degree instructive, but refreshing and encouraging, — a source of health and gladness to all those who can read them, and are not afraid of the truth. His command of language and his scholarship fully lilted him to lead in the revolution. The defenders of organized plunder have tried to keep silence about the ideas which Proudhon has made plain, and to discuss silly Communistic schemes instead. Anybody who will advocate a government can got a hearing, and the orthodox plunderers will proceed to prove that the new scheme of government is either worst than theirs, and ought therefore to he rejected, or better than theirs, and therefore “impracticable.” But when they read in Proudhon or in other works, what is simply true, and candidly stated, both the litterateur and the politician turn away, saying; “That will not do. It would overturn all institutions, and, first of all, the mention of it would ruin our position.” Their position depends upon the favor of capitalists. Well, I believe that it is within the power of us laboring people — of those of us who know these things — to end this pitiful state of affairs by spreading the light. We all need Proudhon’s thought, even for mental health. As one to whom both languages are familiar, I can say that your translation is admirable. Yon have my subscription for ten copies. I should not consider myself an Anarchist if the effective desire to buy and circulate these books did not arise in me. Those who read only English can’t it without your translation. Yours cordially,
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. 93.
In order to this consummation, two conditions are indispensably necessary: the first is the cordial and universal acceptance of this very principle of the absolute Sovereignty of the Individual,— each claiming his own Sovereignty, and each religiously respecting that of all others. The second is the equitable interchange of the products of labor, measured by the scientific law relating to that subject to which I have referred, and the consequent security to each of the full enjoyment and unlimited control of just that portion of wealth which he or she produces, the effect of which will be the introduction of general comfort and security, the moderation of avarice, and the supply of a definite knowledge of the limits of rights and encroachments.
The instrumentalities necessary for hastening the adoption of these principles are likewise, chiefly, two: these are, first, a more intense longing for true and harmonic relations; and, secondly, a clear intellectual conception of the principles themselves, and of the consequences which would flow from their adoption. The first is a highly religious aspiration, the second is a process of scientific induction. One is the soul and the other the sensible body, the spiritual substance and the corporeal form, of social harmony. The teachings of Christianity have inspired the one, the illumination of science must provide the other. Intellectual resources brought to the aid of Desire constitute the marriage of Wisdom with Love, whose progeny is Happiness.
When from the lips of truth one mighty breath
Shall, like a whirlwind, scatter in its breeze
The whole dark pile of human mockeries,
Then shall the race of mind commence on earth,
And, starting fresh, as from a second birth,
Man, in the sunshine of the world’s new spring,
Shall walk transparent, like some holy thing.
It would, perhaps, be injudicious to conclude this exhibit of the doctrine of the Individual Sovereignty, without a more formal statement of the scientific limit upon the exercise of that Sovereignty which the principle itself supplies. If the principle were predicated of one Individual alone, the assertion of his Sovereignty, or, in other words, of his absolute right to do as he pleases, or to pursue his own happiness in his own way, would be confessedly to invest him with the attributes of despotism over others. But the doctrine which I have endeavored to set forth is not that. It is the assertion of the concurrent Sovereignty of all men, and of all women, and, within the limits I am about to state, of all children. This concurrence of Sovereignty necessarily and appropriately limits the Sovereignty of each. Each is Sovereign only within his own dominions, because he cannot extend the exercise of his Sovereignty beyond those limits without trenching upon, and interfering with, the prerogatives of others, whose Sovereignty the doctrine equally affirms. What, then, constitutes the boundaries of one’s own dominion? This is a pregnant question for the happiness of mankind, and one which has never, until now, been specifically and scientifically asked, or answered. The answer, if correctly given, will fix the precise point at which Sovereignty ceases and encroachment begins, and that knowledge, as I have said, accepted into the public mind, will do more than laws, and the sanctions of laws, to regulate individual conduct and intercourse. The limitation is this: every Individual is the rightful Sovereign over his own conduct in all things, whenever, and just so far as, the consequences of his conduct can be assumed by himself; or, rather, inasmuch as no one objects to assuming agreeable consequences, whenever, and as far as, this is true of the disagreeable consequences. For disagreeable consequences, endurance, or burden of all sorts, the term “Cost” is elected as a scientific technicality. Hence, the exact formula of the doctrine, with its inherent limitation, may be stated thus: “The Sovereignty of the Individual, to be exercised at his own cost.”
This limitation of the doctrine, being inherent, and necessarily involved in the idea of the Sovereignty of all, may possibly be left with safety, after the limitation is understood, to implication, and the simple Sovereignty of the Individual be asserted as the inclusive formula. The limitation has never been distinctly and clearly set forth in the announcements which have been made either of the Protestant or the Democratic creed. Protestantism promulgates the one single, bald, unmodified proposition that in all matters of conscience the Individual judgment is the sole tribunal, from there is no appeal. As against this there is merely the implied right in others to resist when the conscience of the Individual leads him to attack or encroach upon them. It is the same with the Democratic prerogative of the “pursuit of happiness.” The limitation has been felt rather than distinctly and scientifically propounded.
It results from this analysis that, wherever such circumstances exist that a person cannot exercise his own Individuality and Sovereignty without throwing the “cost”, or burden, of his actions upon others, the principle has so far to be compromised. Such circumstances arise out of connected or amalgamated interests, and the sole remedy is disconnection. The exercise of Sovereignty is the exercise of the deciding power. Whoever has to bear the cost should have the deciding power in every case. If one has to bear the cost of another’s conduct, and just so far as he has to do so, he should have the deciding power over the conduct of the other. Hence dependence and close connections of interest demand continual concessions and compromises. Hence, too, close connection and mutual dependence is the legitimate and scientific root of Despotism, as disconnection or Individualization of interests is the root of freedom and emancipation.
If the close combination, which demands the surrender of our will to another, is one instituted by nature, as in the case of the mother and the infant, then the relation is a true one, notwithstanding. The surrender is based upon the fact that the child is not yet strictly an Individual. The unfolding of its Individuality is gradual, and its growing development is precisely marked, by the increase of its ability to assume the consequences of its own acts. If the close combination of interests is artificial or forced, then the parties exist toward each other in false relations, and to false relations no true principle can apply. Consequently, in such relations, the Sovereignty of the Individual must be abandoned. The law of such relations is collision and conflict, to escape which, while remaining in the relations there is no other means but mutual concessions and surrenders of the selfhood. Hence, inasmuch as the interests of mankind have never yet been scientifically individualized by the operations of an equitable commerce, and the limits of encroachment never scientifically defined, the axioms of morality, and even the provisions of positive legislation, have been doubtless appropriate adaptations to the ages of false social relations to which they have been applied, as the cataplasm or sinapism may be for disordered conditions of the human system. We must not, however, reason, in either case, from that temporary adaptation in a state of disease to the healthy condition of society or the Individual. Much that is relatively good is only good as a necessity growing out of evil. The greater good is the removal of the evil altogether. The almshouse and the foundling hospital may be necessary and laudable charities, but they can only be regarded by the enlightened philanthropist as the stinking apothecary’s salve, or the dead flies, applied to the bruises and sores of the body politic. Admitted temporary necessities, they are offensive to the nostrils of good taste. The same reflection is applicable to every species of charity. The oppressed classes do not want charity, but justice, and with simple justice the necessity for charity will disappear or be reduced to a minimum. So in the matter before us. The disposition to forgo one’s own pleasures to secure the happiness of others is a positive virtue in all those close connections of interest which render such a sacrifice necessary, and inasmuch as such have hitherto always been the circumstances of the Individual in society, this abnegation of selfhood is the highest virtue which the world has hitherto conceived. But these close connections of interest are themselves wrong, for the very reason that they demand this sacrifice and surrender of what ought to be enjoyed and developed to the highest extent. The truest and the highest virtue, in the true relations of men, will be the fullest unfolding of all the Individualities of each, not only without collision or injury to any, but with mutual advantage to all,— the reconciliation of the Individual and the interests of the Individual with society and the interests of society,— that composite harmony, or, if you will, unity, of the whole, which results from the discrete unity and distinctive Individuality of each particular monad in the complex natural organization of society.
The doctrine of Individuality, and the Sovereignty of the Individual, involves, then, at this point, two of the most important scientific consequences, the one serving as a guiding principle to the true solution of existing evils in society, and to the exodus out of the prevailing confusion, and the other as a guiding principle of deportment in existing society, while those evils remain. The first is that the Sovereignty of the Individual, or, in other words, absolute personal liberty, can only be enjoyed along with the entire disintegration of combined or amalgamated interests; and here the “cost principle” comes in to point out how that disintegration can and must take place, not as isolation, but along with, and absolutely productive of the utmost conceivable harmony and cooperation. The second is that, while people are forced, by the existing conditions of society, to remain in the close connections resulting from amalgamated interests, there is no alternative but compromise and mutual concession, or an absolute surrender upon one side or the other. The innate Individualities of persons are such that every calculation based upon the identity of tastes, or opinions, or beliefs, or judgments, of even so many as two persons, is absolutely certain to be defeated, and as Nature demands an Individuality of lead, one must necessarily surrender to the other whenever the relation demands an identity of action. To quarrel with that necessity is a folly. To deny its existence is a delusion. To enter such combinations with the expectation that liberty and Individuality can be enjoyed in them is a sore aggravation of the evil. Mutual recrimination is added to the inevitable annoyance of mutual restriction. Hence a right understanding of the scientific conditions under which alone Individuality can be indulged, a clear and intelligent perception of the fact that the collisions and mutual contraventions of the combined relation result from nothing wrong in the associated Individuals, but from the wrong of the relation itself, goes far to introduce the spirit of mutual forbearance and toleration, and thus to soften the acrimony and alleviate the burden of the present imperfect and unscientific institutions of society.
Hence, again, as self-sacrifice and denial to one’s self of one’s own abstract rights is an absolute necessity of the existing order of things, there is a mutual necessity that we claim that of each other, and, if need be, that we enforce the claim. Herein lies the apology for our existing Governments, and for force as a temporary necessity, and hence the doctrine of Individuality, and the Sovereignty of the Individual, while the most ultra-radical doctrine in theory and final purpose ever promulgated in the world, is at the same time eminently conservative in immediate practice. While it teaches, in principle, the prospective disruption of nearly every existing institution, it teaches concurrently, as matter of expediency, a patient and philosophical endurance of the evils around us, while we labor assiduously for their removal. So far from quarreling with existing Government, when it is put upon the footing of temporary expediency, as distinguished from the abstract principle and final purpose, it sanctions and confirms it. It has no sympathies with aimless and fruitless struggles, the recrimination of different classes in society, nor with merely anarchical and destructive onslaughts upon existing institutions. It proposes no chaotic, abrupt and sudden shock to existing society. It points to a scientific, gradual, and perfectly peaceable substitution of new and harmonious relations for those which are confessedly beset, to use the mildest expression, by the most distressing embarrassments.
I will conclude by warning you against one other misconception, which is very liable to be entertained by those to whom Individuality is for the first time presented as the great remedy for the prevalent evils of the social state. I mean the conception that Individuality has something in common with isolation, or the severance of all personal relations with one’s fellow-men. Those who entertain this idea will object to it, because they desire, as they will say, cooperation and brotherhood. That objection is conclusive proof that they have not rightly comprehended the nature of Individuality, or else they would have seen that it is through the Individualization of interests alone that harmonic cooperation and universal brotherhood can be attained. It is not the disruption of relationships, but the creation of distinct and independent personalities between whom relations can exist. The more distinct the personalities, and the more cautiously they are guarded and preserved, the more intimate the relations may be, without collision or disturbance. Persons may be completely individualized in their interests who are in the most immediate personal contact, as in the case of the lodgers at an hotel, or they may have combined or amalgamated interests, and be remote from each other, as in the case of partners residing in different countries. The players at shuttlecock cooperate in friendly competition with each other, while facing and opposing each other, each fully directing his own movements, which they could not do if their arms and legs were tied together, nor even if they stood side by side. The game of life is one which demands the same freedom of movement on the part of every player, and every attempt to procure harmonious cooperation by fastening different individuals in the same position will defeat its own object.
In opposing combinations or amalgamated interests, Individuality does not oppose, but favors and conducts toward cooperation. But, on the other hand, Individuality alone is not sufficient to insure cooperation. It is an essential element of cooperative harmony, but not the only one. It is one principle in the science of society, but it is not the whole of that science. Other elements are indispensable to the right working of the system, one of which has been adverted to. The error has been in suppressing that, because the Individuality which is already realized in society has not ultimated in harmony, that Individuality itself is in fault. Instead of destroying this one true element of order, and returning to a worse condition from which we have emerged, the scientific method is to investigate further, and find what other or complementary principles are necessary to complete the well-working of the social machinery.
Regretting that the whole circle of the new principles of society, of which the Sovereignty of the Individual is one, cannot be presented at once. I invite you, Ladies and Gentlemen, as occasion may offer, to inform yourselves of what they are, that you may see the subject in its entire connection of parts. In the meantime I submit to your criticism, and the criticism of the world, what I have now offered, with the undoubting conviction that it will endure the ordeal of the most searching investigation, and with the hope that, however it may shock the prejudices of earlier education, you will in the end sanction and approve it, and aid, by your devoted exertions, the inauguration of the True Constitution of Government, with its foundations laid in the Sovereignty of the Individual.
End of part first.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 93.
And Marian, who was arranging the Christmas-tree on a table and finishing hanging to the fir branches the toys and candles, by knots of green ribbon, suddenly interrupted her work to support the miserable woman, who was tottering on her legs and who stretched out her arms to recover her balance.
“Pardon, Edith, pardon!” said she. “I lay my hand too heavily on your bleeding wounds. Compose yourself.... You have no news of Michael? No news is good news. You would have heard if any misfortune had come to him.”
The young girl gently helped the trembling widow to sit down, and then reached for a vial of liquor in the cupboard to revive her; but Edith pushed away the flask, not wishing any.
In truth, she existed by an inconceivable miracle, nourishing herself on air, so to speak, consenting to take nutriment—and in what quantities—only in her hours of prostration, when her friends forced her like a child, reprimanding her, scolding her, invoking the name of the prisoner to compel her, if she desired tosee him again, to sustain herself.
She had obeyed, that she might not die before the time fixed by Newington for Michael’s deliverance; but today all her wishes were summed up in the longing not to survive her execrable bargain. She had confidence in the word of Lord Newington; he would keep his promise, but she did not feel the courage to face her son afterwards.
No, in future a thick purple would hide her, and Michael would read her infamy, her rascality, on her shamed face, through her lowered eyelashes, in the stammering of her utterance.
For she would not dare to rejoice openly that he was safe and free, and he, a deserter, not being able to explain his unexpected pardon, recalling the scene in the park when the bullets had been spared only after a cry which she had uttered, would guess the enigma of the clemency of his executioners.
Yes, to die presently, before the close of the appointed hour, such was the Christmas to which she aspired: an instantaneous death,— to be extinguished with the lights on the Christmas tree! But, now, a revival of energy was necessary in order to send Marian away and permit the Duke to slip into the house.
A shadow rested on the window, filling the whole width of the casement, and, by its great height and imposing breadth, was recognizable as that of Newington, who was growing imprudent, audacious, because of their too long delay in giving him entrance and because perhaps he was getting chilled through just to be able to see the conspirators assemble without securing for himself a hiding-place within hearing of their resolutions and thus possessing himself of the plans of the executive committee at Dublin.
Marian, who had recommenced her work of organizing the festival promised the children, had turned her back to the window; but Edith was facing the panes of glass upon which a low drumming of fingers had attracted her attention; frozen, she motioned to the shadow to go away; then, with lungs terribly oppressed, with her heart so compressed as to draw from her cries, she expressed her astonishment that the young girl had not gone with the children to the church.
“And who would have prepared these surprises for them, my good friend?
Would you yourself have had the patience, if you had come sooner?”
“What is there left to do, now?” asked the widow. “To light the candles when the tumult of the band shall announce its arrival.... I will do it, if you wish; you go and say some prayers.”
Marian looked at her. Why this exhortation all at once? Why, above all, did not Edith think rather of praying herself? And Arklow’s widow, seeing what question the young girl was asking herself, said: “Because I, you see, do not feel the strength to move; I could not walk twenty steps at this moment, outside, in the cold, in the night which agitates me and which is peopled with phantoms!”
“And yet,” said Treor’s granddaughter, touched, “you wish that God might be interested in your lot, that he might be moved to pity over your heartbreaking miseries? Take my place here, I will run to pray for you at the church, where perhaps I should not have gone for myself, in view of the horrors which heaven authorizes.”
Quickly, with a turn of her hand covering her head with a hood, reminding Edith a last time not to fail to light the tree for the return of the children, embracing her closely and offering her forehead like a loved and affectionate daughter, she left.
Immediately, coming out of an intensely dark corner, Newington introduced himself into the house, frightening the widow, who was anxiously awaiting him, and who, at the last, hoped that he would renounce his project, through fear or prudence, perhaps simply tired of waiting.
“You!” exclaimed she, hiding her eyes and tottering again.
He checked her and roughly asked: “You have not spoken?”
“I have been a coward!”
“You will say nothing?”
“I shall contmue to be an infamous wretch.”
“Good! but no emotion,” said he, taking off his cloak and throwing it over his arm, fixing in the holsters of his belt of gold silk the pistols whose emblazoned hilts glittered in the light of the fire, and assuring himself that his sword moved freely in its scabbard.
“No emotion,” he repeated, “it would betray us both, and consequently a third, him whose safety you have so much at heart.”
The bells rang out gaily in a light peal, and in the clear atmosphere of the limpid night rose the songs of the children.
“It is the end of the mass, is it not?” said Newington.
“Yes,” said Edith, in desperation and hurrying at the same time to light the wax-candles, as Marian had charged her. “Well! Where shall I conceal myself?” appealed the Duke.
“Oh! Find a place for yourself!”
Now the folding doors of the church opened noisily, and the troop of the faithful vacated the temple and dispersed, grouping themselves in families, to regain their homes after good-nights and wishes for a New Year, better than its predecessors, the dawn of an era of liberty!
Most of them started towards Treor’s dwelling, and Paddy Neil, with the children at full gallop, very soon burst into the house, just as Newington had concealed himself in a retreat in the wall, covered by a curtain. The curtain still moved, visibly conforming to the body and legs of Newington, and every one would surely have remarked this peculiarity except for the marvellous attraction of the superb tree, gilded in its nimbus of dancing lights in which tiny tin household toys shone like silver, dolls’ hair glistened, the tinsel of artificial jewelry blazed like diamonds, and the trimming on the rich dresses of marionettes sparkled dazzlingly.
And Paddy, taking down one by one all the splendors of this dream of paradise, read the names inscribed on the articles, selected in concert with Marian, who had now arrived, and distributed the gifts to the recipients amid a tumult of joyous hurrahs, clapping of hands, and frantic capers. As he went on, commenting on the prize which fell to each, he won the approbation of the grown persons who came in, filling the too small house.
“Sheep,” said he; “just what we are, only we are tired of being sheared.... A watch...; although it does not go, it will strike, all the same, the hour of our deliverance.”
“A doll!” cried a radiant child, admiring the toilet of a puppet; and she added: “As magnificently dressed as Lady Newington!”
“With more heart underneath and less coquetry,” continued Paddy.
“Soldiers! soldiers!” exclaimed a boy, who was already ranging them in line on the edge of a table and taking aim at them.
To be continued.
The Political Theology of Mazzini
By Michael Bakouine,
Member of the International Association of Working-People.
Translated from the French by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 93.
“There is no antagonism between matter and mind: matter gives forms to thought, symbols to ideas, modes of communication between beings.” Whence it would result that, if God were only pure mind, his thoughts would be eternally formless, indeterminate, void; if, on the contrary, God were mind and matter at the same time, absolute thought eternally lost and dispersed in the immensity of the material universe and eternally seeking to find itself again there, coming perceptibly, little by little, but never in a complete manner, to the consciousness of itself in the historic development of the collective consciousness of men, we should end in the purest Hegelian pantheism. But Hegel, at least, never speaks of God; he speaks of the Absolute; and no one, it must be said, has dealt this poor Absolute such rough blows as Hegel himself, for as fast as he built him up, he demolished him by his pitiless logic, so that, much more than Auguste Comte, he may be considered the real father of modern scientific atheism. Ludwig Feuerbach, the most sympathetic and the most humane of German thinkers, has seen the real executor of his will, much more truly and much more effectively than poor Chaudey was for Proudhon, whom he served, not as executor of his will, but as the real digger of his grave. Would Mazzini be such a Pantheist as Hegel, or even as Spinoza? Doubtless not, since he always speaks of God as a personal being, having consciousness of himself outside of the world, outside of this poor matter which he is supposed to have created. This is the dilemma from which Mazzini, in spite of all the artifices of his language, cannot escape: either God is identical with matter, lost in matter, reaching consciousness of himself—and always in an excessively incomplete and relative manner—only in the consciousness of living and thinking beings in the universe, and then he is an impersonal God, never succeeding in lifting himself quite up to himself, and thinking and willing nothing of himself, for to think and to will one must first be a person; or he is a complete person, having outside of matter or of the world full consciousness of himself, and then he is absolutely separated from matter and the world, and the antagonism between matter and mind, fundamental principle of every consistent and serious theology, exists in all its force, forever irreconcilable, whatever Mazzini may say and do. It does not suffice to affirm or deny arbitrarily; it is necessary to prove. But Mazzini never descends to proofs; he affirms what is agreeable to him, and denies what is disagreeable to him. That is his whole philosophy. It is very convenient for him who writes, but not at all satisfactory or edifying to him who reads. It is the most absolute individualism applied to dialectics, transforming the latter into rhetoric. Moreover, in saying that “matter gives modes of communication between beings,” Mazzini tacitly affirms that beings, not only the supreme Being, God, but imperfect beings, human souls, exist outside of matter, and that matter forms only a means of communication, a kind of bridge, between them, at the same time that it constitutes their prison.
“The body, decreed by God as a limit of the individual [that is, his prison] and as a means of transmission between his own life and the external world, is not the seat of evil and temptation. When the evil and temptation exist, they exist in the Me; the body is only an instrument serving for translation of good or evil into deeds, conforming to our free choice.”
Here we have one of the most original peculiarities in Mazzini’s theological system. He places the origin of evil, not in the body, not in the material world, as many, though not all, theological Christians have done; and Mazzini is wrong in reproaching Christianity with not having affirmed before him that the origin of evil is iii the Me, the exclusively spiritual and immortal being, of man. Christianity had symbolized this same idea in the myth of Satan, an incorporeal being, who, nevertheless, was the first to rebel against God, tired of seeing and hearing from morning till night the myriads of slave angels, cherubs, seraphs, and archangels chant their eternal hallelujah to eternal haughtiness, to the divine egotist.
According to the Mazzinian as well as the Christian doctrine, Evil is the Satanic revolt of man against divine authority, a revolt in which we, on the contrary, see the fruitful germ of all human emancipations. As the Fratricelli of Bohemia in the fourteenth century, the revolutionary Socialists recognize each other today by these words: In the name of him to whom wrong has been done, hail! Only, the Satan, the conquered but not pacified rebel, of today, is called the Commune of Pant. It is easy to see why all the Christian and Mazzinian theologians, their masters, the Pope and Mazzini, at their head, should have excommunicated the rising of the heroic Commune. This was at last the audacious realization of the Satanic myth, a revolt against God; and today as always the two opposing parties are ranged, the one under the standard of Satan or of liberty, the other under the divine banner of authority. What we call liberty, Mazzini calls egoism; what constitutes in our view the ideal sanction of all slavery, the prostration of man before God and before the authority of that State-Church which, if one is to believe Mazzini, is his permanent revelation on earth, he calls supreme virtue.
We also, we curse egoism; but egoism consists, in our opinion, not in the revolt of the human individual against God,— such revolt, we have said, is the supreme condition of all human emancipations, and consequently of every human virtue, because there can be no virtue where slavery prevails,— but in the revolt against that law of solidarity which is the natural and fundamental base of all human society; in that tendency, as well of individuals as of privileged classes, to isolate themselves in an ideal world, whether religious, or metaphysical, or political and social, apart from the mass of the people,— an isolation which has never any other aim, or any other real result, than the domination over the masses and their exploitation, as much for the profit of these individuals as of these classes. The law of solidarity being a natural law, no individual, however strong he may be, can escape it. No one can live humanly outside of human society: good or bad, afflicted with idiocy or endowed with the greatest genius, all that he has, all that he can do, all that he is, he owes to the collectivity, to it alone. Then it is impossible to separate himself from it; but he can, when this natural and unavoidable collectivity which we call society is so stupidly sheepish as to permit it,— he can oppress and exploit it to his exclusive profit and to the detriment of all; and the best means of doing it is to give to egoism the form of a religious thought and aspiration.
When the historic world, considered especially from the standpoint of the development of economic and social realities, always accompanied moreover by a parallel development of ideas,— when this world is ripe for the triumph, either of a class or of any people whatever, then God, who has always taken the part of the strongest, or who, according to a very graphic expression of Frederick the Great, is always on the side of the largest battalions,— the good God, rousing from his age-long sleep, and giving a signal contradiction to the morality which has been preached in his name in the past century, intervenes again in the human world and reveals a new law to some man of genius crowned with virtue. The new religion is propagated and founded, doubtless not to the profit of this man or of his first followers, who almost always become its victims, but to the profit of that new class which organizes a new exploitation in the shadow of this new thought, divinely inspired.
As for the revealers, the prophets, the Messiahs, they have, the high compensation of contemplating and adoring their own Me in what they believe to be God; more than that, of imposing it, in the name of God, on the whole world. So Mazzini, who, in the name of this new religion of which he is the prophet, means to impose, on Italy first and then, by means of Italy duly educated,— that is, muzzled and emasculated,— on all other countries, a new political and social order,— Mazzini does not care in the least to question the needs, tendencies, and aspirations of Italy and of other countries, in order to conform thereto this new order; this order has been revealed-to him from on high, by the very inspirations of his Me which contemplates itself through the false prism of divinity. From this ardent preaching he will naturally derive no profit for himself. His satisfaction, if he can triumph, will be wholly ideal and moral. But, however sublime and pure it may appear, this satisfaction will be no less the triumph of supreme Egoism,— that of having imposed on the world his thought. It is, I think, the manifestation of the most transcendent Individualism, not satanic, but divine. God, then, is the superb isolation of the Me adoring itself; it is easy to see that he must become the patron of the material Me imposing itself, dominating, oppressing, exploiting.
Satan is quite the contrary; he is not at all egoistical. The Biblical legend shows him to us, rebelling not only for himself, but for entire humanity; and he has really sacrificed himself, since, rather than renounce this principle of revolt which must emancipate the human world, he has allowed himself to be condemned to eternal torments, if we are to believe the Holy Scriptures. So does the Commune today, whose glorious representatives, men, women, and children, suffer themselves to be assassinated, shot, mitrailleused, transported, or tormented in infamous hulks, rather than deny the principle of deliverance and salvation. What does Mazzini wish, then? Is not this a sublime sacrifice? But Mazzini is unwilling to recognize this sacrifice. And why? Because it has not been imposed on them from on high as a duty commanded by God himself; because it was a spontaneous act, commanded or rather inspired, not by a metaphysical or abstract duty, but by a sublime passion, by the passion for liberty. And liberty, whatever Mazzini may say about it, and whatever all the idealists in the world may say with him about it,— they, naturally, comprehending nothing of this word, and, when the thing is presented to them, detesting it,— liberty, by its very nature, excludes egoism; it cannot be simply individual (such liberty is called privilege); the true, human liberty of a single individual implies tho emancipation of all; because, thanks to the law of solidarity which is the natural basis of all human society, I cannot be, feel, and know myself really, completely free, if I am not surrounded by men as free as myself, and because the slavery of each is my slavery.
* * *
Here I touch one of the fundamental points of Mazzini’s theological morality. We know that he has founded his whole theory on the exclusive idea of Duty. On the other hand, he bitterly reproaches the French Revolution for having founded its theory on the idea of Rights. He attributes to the latter theory, which he considers entirely false, the numerous failures of this revolution hitherto.
Here is his reasoning:
“Certainly, there exist rights; but where the rights of one individual are found in contradiction with the rights of another, how can we hope to reconcile them, to put them in harmony, without recurring to something superior to all rights? And where the rights of one or more individuals are in opposition with the rights of a country, to what tribunal will you have recourse? If the right to well-being, to the greatest possible well-being, belongs to all men, who shall decide the question between the laborer and his employer? If the right to existence is the first and the most inviolable right of every man, who can command the sacrifice of his own existence for the amelioration of the existence of another? Will you command it in the name of Country, of society, in the name of the multitude of your brothers?
But what is Country from the standpoint of the theory of which I speak, if not the place where our individual rights are best assured? What is society, if not a convention of men mutually pledged to sustain by the force of many individuals the- rights of each? And you, after having taught the individual for fifty years that society is constituted to assure him the exercise of his rights, will you now demand of him that he sacrifice all his rights to society, that he submit himself, in case of need, to all privations, to fatigues, to prison, and to exile for the amelioration of this society? After having preached in every way to men that the aim of life is well-being, will you, all at once, enjoin them to lose well-being and, if need be, life itself, to free the country from a foreign yoke, to obtain better conditions of existence for a class which is not theirs? After having spoken to them so long in the name of material interests, will you pretend that, when they see before them riches and power, they are not to extend the hand to seize it, even to the detriment of their brothers?
“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.
L’Etat, c’est l’Ennemi.
Since the occasion when you so arbitrarily side-tracked me in the editorial columns of Liberty, certain notions of self-respect in connection with your attitude towards me have hid me pause whenever I attempted to state my present position, and wherein I fuel that I have outgrown the partial methods by which you seek to deal with existing social maladjustments. I did send a communication to the “Truth Seeker,” but Macdonald, though he had just published your communication, chose to even out-do your side-tracking method of discipline by dumping me out of his columns altogether. But, lest I should he suspected of sneaking out of the ranks through cowardice, policy, or some other unworthy consideration, I will waive my own personality in behalf of right thinking, and state my ease as fully as space and the magnitude of the subject will permit.
Every subject dealing with radical reform has two main terms,— viz., its basic philosophic statement, and its resultant protest. The basic statement, or affirmation, of our propaganda is the Sovereignty of the Individual, around which the whole science of Individualism is built,— conditioned by liberty and the cost principle. (1) Its protest is aimed at arbitrary force which ignores individual consent, and the label which you borrowed from Proudhon by which to designate it is “Anarchism.”
Fully at one with Josiah Warren’s grand affirmation, I was as fully at one with the righteousness of your protest, and, paying little regard as to whether you grabbed the beast of authority by the head or the tail, pulled off my coat and went in with you to haul him out of his hole. Whether this business was called Anarchy or not was to me, for the time being, of little account, being sure that it was righteous and telling business.
But few numbers of Liberty had appeared, when the esteemed personal friends whom I had induced to subscribe for it all had me by the collar with this one question: “Well, allowing that your protest is all right, what have you to substitute for the existing order?”
“Why,” I replied, “the order contemplated grows out of the science of Individualism, the corner-stone of which is our basic philosophic affirmation.”
“Oh, yes, I see,” replied a Judge of the United States Circuit Court; “then you and Tucker belong to an order of social scientists who put their protest ahead of their affirmation, and thus propose to move society tail-end-to. Where is your constructive side? Give us that, and the protest, which is simply its logical deduction, will take care of itself.” I replied to him and others that the paper was small and new, but that the constructive end would certaiuly be held up on a level with the protesting. So I set to work, and for a long time was hem upon making every article of mine bear upon our philosophy. I think a review of the first volume of Liberty will show! that nearly every article explaining its philosophy and method was from my pen. (2)
But the temptation to fight and kick and scratch and bite, instead of educate and construct, was constantly after me. Many a resolve did I make to leave the fighting department to you, and attend strictly to the educational, but, alas! proved too weak, till finally a well-developed habit of personal sparring, countering, dropping to avoid punishment, etc., resulted in something akin to outright “slugging,” when the proprietor of the ring put me outside the ropes, while Sister Kelly flung after me the taunt of compromise, and Brother Lloyd cried out: Is this a free fight? (3)
Now, friend Tucker, these not very enviable experiences were the result of one fatal mistake in the beginning of your work,— and one which a truly scientific propagandist should never fall victim to. It is that you projected your propaganda from the protest rather than from the basic affirmation of Liberty. The affirmation is primary, the protest is secondary. Though the protest logically leads hack to the affirmation, the process is always the unnatural one of walking backwards. If you develop your propaganda logically from step to step, as projected from your affirmation, the protests go along with it and are always fortified in the accompanying philosophical base of supplies. Meanwhile education and construction are the natural work in hand. But if you start out by deploying recklessly ahead with your protest, the process of walking backwards to your base of supplies is so unnatural, and the temptation to fight instead of construct so great, that you soon light yourself so far away from your supplies that the objector naturally cries out on every side: “Well, what have you behind you, whither would you lead us, and what shall protect us when you get there?” You must therefore take every individual recruit hack to your philosophical commissary department, where you do not take it with you. (4)
As to the term Anarchism, I have grown to he convinced that it is partial, vague, misleading, and not a comprehensive scientific complement of Individualism. If it means a protest against the existing political State, then I am of course an Anarchist. You say that it means more, and includes a protest against every invasion of individual right. But this is merely a convenient assumption, not warranted by its etymology, which is purely of political origin. Proudhon, from whom you borrowed it, used it only when speaking of political application of government. Most, Parsons, and Seymour base their protest against the existing political State on Communism, their model of social order. You base yours on voluntary cooperation of individual sovereigns,— your model. Now, if Anarchism is merely a protest against the existing State, then, as friend Morse truly says, you have no more right to say that they are not Anarchists than they have to say that you are not one. If you are all Anarchists, and become such from principles in direct antagonism to each other, then who is an Anarchist and who is not, and what reliability attaches to it as a scientific protest? (5)
Moreover, every man has the right to he understood. If you stretch the scope of Anarchy beyond the political sphere, then it plainly comes to mean without guiding principle,— the very opposite of what Individualism logically leads to. Anarchy means opposed to the archos, or political leader, because the motive principle of politics is force. If you take the archos out of politics, he becomes the very thing you want as an Individualist, since he is a leader by voluntary selection. It will not do, then, to stretch the scope of Anarchism beyond political government, else you defeat your own purpose. It must, therefore, stay within the boundaries of politics, and, staying there, is only a partial and quite unscientific term to cover the whole protest which complements Individualism. (6)
When I am asked if I am an Anarchist, the person who asks it wants to know if I am the kind of person he thinks I am,— one believing in no guiding principle of social administration. In duty to myself I am obliged to say no. This is the eternal mischief which follows from defining one’s self through his protest, rather than his affirmation. It is a position which everyone owes to himself to keep out of, where the protest is deduced from a philosophical system. All the Protestant sects define themselves by their affirmations and not by their protests, and so should all scientific systems of sociology. The protest is none the less strong — yea, far stronger — when carried along as a complement to the principles which create it, rather than as a main term,— the creature usurping the domain of its ereator. (7)
As an Individualist, I find the political State a consequent rather than an antecedent. By making your protest your main term, the State must be made antecedent, which it is not. If you think the State the efficient cause of tyranny over individuals, I take it you are beclouded in a most radical delusion, into which I could easily turn a flood of fight, had I not already encroached too much on your space. The State is a variable quantity. — expanding just in proportion as previous surrenders of individual sovereignty give it material. The initial cause is, however, the surrendering individual, the State being only possible after the surrender. Hence the individual is the proper objective point of reform. As he is reformed, the State disappears of itself. (8)
This subject is so rich in thought that I could fill the whole edition of Liberty, and then not have said half that is still pertinent to what I have begun. Having already spent too much of my life in fighting and trying to pull things around by the tail rather than by the head and heart, I propose to spend the remainder of it in constructive edueatioual work. Fighting with tongue and pen is simply a process of spiritual killing, differing from other killing only in method. While there is so much pressing constructive work to he done, I prefer to leave the fighting fine of propaganda to those whose temperament and constitution make them better fighters than builders. So go on kicking up the Anarchistic dust at the tail end of the beast of despotism, but pardon me if, having been a reform tail-twister all my fife, I am trying to get a little nearer the head and horns of the beast and finish up my work on that end.
Unnatural government inevitably follows unnatural conditions, and mere scolding and kicking and protesting to all eternity will never change this stern law of nature by which she secures self-preservation. That diseased form of social administration known as the State belongs in nature to that diseased condition known as centralization, in place of localization. New York and other cities, the places where the State chiefly draws its material for rent, usury, and individual slavery in general, are ulcers on the face of this planet. Localize their populations over the soil, with individuals not only claiming, but utilizing, their right to the soil and other means of sovereignty, and nineteen-twentieths of the State in this country would cease to be. Yet thousands of miserable servile wretches in New York will go to labor meetings and shout, “The land belongs to the people!” while they can not be coaxed or whipped out of this stinking nest of usury and political corruption, though you should offer them plenty of good land for nothing. In fact, large tracts across the river in New Jersey can he had for next to nothing, the young men of those sections preferring to let their fathers’ homes and lands rot and run to waste in order to crowd into New York with the rest of the vulgar herd, with future visions of duplicated Jay Goulds in mind. I say that, until we can get more manly and sober incentive into individuals, the New Yorks and Chicagos will press and stink themselves into such intolerable political corruption and general demoralization that the merciful torch alone can rid humanity of them. To cry Anarchy in such communities is futile, unless you ery it in its worse sense, and that is already well nigh realized.
Yet, friend Tucker, you have always treated with contempt my proposal to warn individuals to get out of these cities and colonize on the soil, under conditions that alone make voluntary government possible. You say great cities are blessings, and that the proper thing for these low-motived, noisy wretches who ery in labor meetings, “The land for the people!” is to stay right here and fight it out. You seem possessed with the unfortunate delusion that natural government is possible in this crowded hole, where even the rich sleep in brown-stone stalls, and the surroundings of great masses of the people are more than beastly. So long as industry, commerce, and domicile are centralized, the necessary conditions of individual sovereignty are physically impossible, while usury is invited, and the patched-up fraud which goes by the name of government becomes the necessary arrangement for holding the diseased conditions together, pending the inevitable day when fire and dynamite will come to remove these social ulcers, in order that the general body social may survive. I sincerely hope you will look into these matters more seriously, and insist on localization, the social expression of Individualism. (9)
The name Liberty, so artistically inscribed on your editorial shingle, expresses neither the affirmation nor the protest of our system, but is simply an auxiliary term between them. I think it unfortunate that your paper was not named “The Individualist,” and I have in mind a name even nearer the centre than that. Had our propaganda been started on the centre from the first, we should probably have been far along in the constructive educational work, rather than come to whipping about in the tangle-brush of misunderstanding. But it is probably all for the best, and, whatever may be the mistakes of its pioneers, the new structure is bound by and by to take definite shape and avert the social suicide which the existing order is so rapidly precipitating. (10)
The foregoing article has been in my hands some time, the pressure on these columns having compelled its postponement. To this delay of several weeks in publication, however, I am the more easily reconciled by the fact that its writer had himself affected its timeliness nearly as much as was possible, by a delay of several months in its preparation. The “arbitrary side-tracking” of which he complains, and out of which it grows, occurred last August, and, if his defensive protest seems at all stale in February, it should he remembered that it would not have charmed by its freshness in January. But principles never grow old, and, looked at in their light, Mr. Appleton’s words are as wise or as foolish today as they ever were or ever will be.
Speaking exactly, all voluntary acts are arbitrary, inasmuch as they are performed in the exercise of will, and in that sense of course the “side-tracking” of Mr. Appleton was an arbitrary act. But in no objectionable sense was it arbitrary, in no sense was it despotic. Mr. Appleton having announced that the principal object for which he and I had so long editorially cooperated had become to him a secondary and comparatively trivial object, it should have been evident to him, as it was to me and to nearly everybody else, that our cooperation in future could not be what it had been. After such a declaration, my act became a matter of course. Instead of being despotic, it was almost perfunctory, he took the side track himself; I but officially registered his course.
I appreciate the spirit of condescension and self-abasement which has finally permitted Mr. Appleton to continue controversy with so unworthy an antagonist as myself and to place himself on a level with that inferior race of beings who write for Liberty non-editorially, and in this obliteration of self I feebly emulate him by consenting to let him fill these columns with his defance or explanation after he had ignored the invitation which I had extended him to do so long enough to ascertain that tie could he procure its publication elsewhere.
After these preliminaries, I may proceed to consider Mr. Appleton’s arguments, numbering the points as I deal with them, to avoid the necessity of repeating the statements criticised.
(1) I do not admit anything, except the existence of the individual, as a condition of his sovereignty. To say that the sovereignty of the individual is conditioned by Liberty is simply another way of saying that it is conditioned hv itself. To condition it by the cost principle is equivalent to instituting the cost principle by authority,— an attempted fusion of Anarchism with State Socialism which I have always understood Mr. Appleton to rebel against.
(2) To bear out this statement Mr. Appleton would have to prove himself the author of nearly every article that appeared in the first volume of Liberty, whereas, as a general thing, he wrote but one article for each number. Nine-tenths of the editorial matter printed in Liberty has been written to explain its philosophy and method. It is true that Mr. Appleton has used the words philosophy and method oftener than any other writer, but mere repetition of the words is neither philosophical nor rationally methodical. I am far from saying here that Mr. Appleton’s articles were not philosophical; I am only insisting that their philosophical character was not due to the use of the word philosophy, and that others which used the word less frequently or not at all were quite as philosophical as his.
(3) Whatever fighting Mr. Appleton has done in Liberty, he has done of his own motion. It has always been his privilege to use these columns as freely as he chose (within certain limits of s***) for “constructive educational work” on the basis of individual sovereignty. He has written as he pleased on what subjects he pleased, with seldom even a suggestion from me. In any conflict with me he has always been the attacking party.
(4) It is true that the affirmation of individual sovereignty is logically precedent to protest against authority as such. But in practice they are inseparable. To protest against the invasion of individual sovereignty is necessarily to affirm individual sovereignty. The Anarchist always carries his base of supplies with him. He cannot fight away from it. The moment he does so he becomes an Archist. This protest contains all the affirmation that there is. As I have pointed out to Comrade Lloyd, Anarchy has no side that is affirmative in the sense of constructive. Neither as Anarchists nor — what is practically the same thing — as individual sovereigns have we any constructive work to do, though as progressive beings we have plenty of it. But, if we had perfect liberty, we might, if we chose, remain utterly inactive, and still be individual sovereigns. Mr. Appleton’s unenviable experiences are due to no mistake of mine, but to his own folly in acknowledging the pertinence of the hackneyed cry for construction, which loses none of its nonsense on the lips of a Circuit Cdurt Judge.
(5) I have asked friend Morse whether he ever made the statement here attributed to him, and he says that he never did. But I scarcely needed to ask him. He and I have not kept intellectual company these fifteen years to the end that he should so misunderstand me. He knows perfectly well that I base my assertion that the Chicago Communists are not Anarchists entirely on the ground that Anarchism means a protest against every form of invasion. (Whether this definition is etymologically correct I will show in the next paragraph.) Those who protest against the existing political State, with emphasis on the existing, are not Anarchists, but Archists. In objecting to a special form or method of invasion, they tacitly acknowledge the rightfulness of some other form or method of invasion. Proudhon never fought any particular State; he fought the institution itself, as necessarily negative of individual sovereignty, whatever form it may take. His use of the word Anarchism shows that he considered it coextensive with individual sovereignty. If his applications of it were directed against political government, it was because he considered political government the only invader of individual sovereignty worth talking about, having no knowledge of Mr. Appleton’s “comprehensive philosophy,” which thinks it takes cognizance of a “vast mountain of government outside of the organized State.” The reason why Most and Parsons are not Anarchists, while I am one, is because their Communism is another State, while my voluntary cooperation is not a State at all. It is a very easy matter to tell who is an Anarchist and who is not. One question will always readily decide it. Do you believe in any form of imposition upon the human will by force? If you do, you are not an Anarchist. If you do not, you are an Anarchist. What can any one ask more reliable, more scientific, than this?
(6) Anarchy does not mean simply opposed to the archos, or political leader. It means opposed to arché. Now, arché, in the first instance, means beginning, origin. From this it comes to mean a first principle, an element; then first place, supreme power, sovereignty, dominion, command, authority; and finally a sovereignty, an empire, a realm, a magistracy, a governmental office. Etymologically, then, the word anarchy may have several meanings, among them, as Mr. Appleton says, without guiding principle, and to this use of the word I have never objected, always striving, on the contrary, to interpret in accordance with their definition the thought of those who so use it. But the word Anarchy as a philosophical term and the word Anarchist as the name of a philosophical sect were first appropriated in the sense of opposition to dominion, to authority, and are so held by right of occupancy, which fact makes any other philosophical use of them improper and confusing. Therefore, as Mr. Appleton does not make the political sphere coextensive with dominion or authority, he cannot claim that Anarchy, when extended beyond the political sphere, necessarily comes to mean without guiding principle, for it may mean, and by appropriation does mean, without dominion, without authority. Consequently it is a term which completely and scientifically covers the individualistic protest.
(7) The misunderstandings of which Mr. Appleton has been a victim are not the result of his defining himself through his protest, for he would not have avoided them had he defined himself through his affirmation and called himself an Individualist. I could scarcely name a word that has been more abused, misunderstood, and misinterpreted than Individualism. Mr. Appleton makes so palpable a point against himself in instancing the Protestant sects that it is really laughable to see him try to use it against me. However it may be with the Protestant sects, the one great Protestant body itself was born of protest, suckled by protest, named after protest, and lived on protest until the days of its usefulness were over. If such instances proved anything, plenty of them might be cited against Mr. Appleton. For example, taking one of more recent date, I might pertinently inquire which contributed most to the freedom of the negro,— those who defined themselves through their affirmations as the Liberty Party or as Colonizationists, or those who defined themselves through their protests as the Anti-Slavery Society or as Abolitionists. Unquestionably the latter. And when human slavery in all its forms shall have disappeared, I fancy that the credit of the victory will be given quite as exclusively to the Anarchists, and that these latter-day Colonizationists, of whom Mr. Appleton has suddenly become so enamored, will be held as innocent of its overthrow as are their predecessors and namesakes of the overthrow of chattel slavery.
(8) It is to be regretted that Mr. Appleton took up so much space with other matters that he could not turn his “flood of light” into my “delusion” that the State is the efficient cause of tyranny over individuals; for the question whether this is a delusion or not is the very heart of the issue between us. He has asserted that there is a vast mountain of government outside of the organized State, and that our chief battle is with that; I, on the contrary, have maintained that practically almost all the authority against which we have to contend is exercised by the State, and that, when we have abolished the State, the struggle for individual sovereignty will be well-nigh over. I have shown that Mr. Appleton, to maintain his position, must point out this vast mountain of government and tell us definitely what it is and how it acts, and this is what the readers of Liberty have been waiting to see him do. But he no more does it in his last article than in his first.And his only attempt to dispute my statement that the State is the efficient cause of tyranny over individuals is unfilled to two or three sentences which culminate in the conclusion that the initial cause is the surrendering individual. I have never denied it, and am charmed by the air of innocence with which this substitution of initial for efficient is effected. Of initial causes finite intelligence knows nothing; it can only know causes as more or less remote. But using the word initial in the sense of remoter, I am willing to admit, for the sake of the argument (though it is not a settled matter), that the initial cause was the surrendering individual. Mr. Appleton doubtless means voluntarily surrendering individual, for compulsory surrender would imply the prior existence of a power to exact it, or a primitive form of State. But the State, having come into existence through such voluntary surrender, becomes a positive, strong, growing, encroaching institution, which expands, not by further voluntary surrenders, but by exacting surrenders from its individual subjects, and which contracts only as they successfully rebel. That, at any rate, is what it is today, and hence if is the efficient cause of tyranny. The only sense, then, in which it is true that “the individual is the proper objective point of reform” is this,— that he must be penetrated with the Anarchistic idea and taught to rebel. But this is not what Mr. Appleton means. If it were, his criticism would not be pertinent, for I have never advocated any other method of abolishing the State. The logic of his position compels another interpretation of his words,— namely, that the State cannot disappear until the individual is perfected. In saying which, Mr. Appleton joins hands with those wise persons who admit that Anarchy will be practicable when the millennium arrives. It is an utter abandonment of Anarchistic Socialism. No doubt it is true that, if the individual could perfect himself while the barriers to his perfection are standing, the State would afterwards disappear. Perhaps, too, he could go to heaven, if he could lift himself by his boot-straps.
(9) If one must favor colonization, or localization, as Mr. Appleton calls it, as a result of looking “seriously” into these matters, then he must have been trifling with them for a long time. He has combatted colonization in these columns more vigorously than ever I did or can, and not until comparatively lately did he write anything seeming to favor it. Even then he declared that he was not given over to the idea, and seemed only to be making a tentative venture into a region which he had not before explored. If he has since become a settler, it only indicates to my mind that he has not yet fathomed the real cause of the people’s wretchedness. That cause is State interference with natural economic processes. The people are poor and robbed and enslaved, not because “industry, commerce, and domicile are centralized,” — in fact, such centralization has, on the whole, greatly benefited them,— but because the control of the conditions under which industry, commerce, and domicile are exercised and enjoyed is centralized. The localization needed is not the localization of persons in space, but of powers in persons,— that is, the restriction of power to self and the abolition of power over others. Government makes itself felt alike in country and in city, capital has its usurious grip on the farm as surely as on the workshop, and the oppressions and exact ions of either government nor capital can he avoided by migration. L’Etat, c’est l’ennemi. The State is the enemy, and the best, means of fighting it can only be found in communities already existing. If there were no other reason for opposing colonization, this in itself would be sufficient.
(10) I do not know what Mr. Appleton means when he calls Liberty an auxiliary term between the affirmation and the protest of our system, and I doubt if he knows himself. That it expresses practically the same idea as “The Individualist” and is a much better name for a papers think most persons will agree. If, “had our propaganda been started on the centre from the first, we should probably have been far along in constructive educational work,” and if, assuming that we are not far along in it, it is still “probably all for the best,” then it is probably all for the best that our propaganda was not started on the centre, assuming that it was not so started; and in that ease what is all this fuss about? Optimists should never complain.
A Chicago Anarchist on Anarchy.
Dear Comrade Lum:
It occurs to me as if our Social Democratic friend M. has ceased corresponding with me on the subject of Anarchism vs. State Socialism. I hope I have not offended him. If you should cross his path, please tell him so. I wrote in my last letter to him that I understood the real issue to he: “centralism vs. decentralism,” and that State Socialism and capitalism represented the one side of the question, and Anarchism the other. No doubt, thus placing our Social Democratic friend in the same line with the capitalists has offended him a little, for he is quite as energetic an enemy of the present order of things as I am or you are; but, to speak the truth, isn’t this really a fact? M.’s hobby-horse is his suggestion that “without State and law a general confusion would prevail and everybody would do as he pleases.” The first part of this sentence is pure imagination, but, us to the last part, that’s exactly what we want. We want a state of society where an individual “can do what he pleases.” At the first glance this assertion sounds a little bold, but I insist upon its correctness. Thy advocates of the maintenance of the State, of centralistic society, in arguing the necessity of authority, look upon things through the spectacles of custom and prejudice; they think that men, or at least a number of men, are naturally evil disposed and born criminals, and I claim that this is not so. Examine the history of crime, and you will find that all crimes, all outrages upon soeiety, can be traced back to the infamous institution of private property, to the enslavement of men by men,— in short, to the unjust organization of society. I defied M. to name a single exception. Men, as a rule, cannot be different from what the influences under which they live compel them to be; men are but the reflex of the circumstances which surround them. Civilized men, when free (certainly, I allude not to such “freedom” as we American “sovereigns” enjoy),— i. e., when their right to live is not encroached upon by others,— would have no earthly reason or desire to do wrong to their fellow-men, say just for amusement or pastime. Only persons with defective brains, maniacs, would do this under these circumstances, and society would know how to take care of such mentally sick people as well as it does of people with bodily diseases. If this, however, should be the case; if the human race cannot he ennobled; if the human being is below the standard of a wild beast,— then we should give up our struggle for the emancipation of mankind; then it would he better that Mother Nature should bring her forces into play and wipe such a damnable race from the face of the earth, without giving a second Noah a chance to escape; as was the case — so a legend tells us — at the time of the deluge. But, comrade Lum, I am not a pessimist: I know that the time is not very distant when humanity will give credit to its name, when the human family will live happily, when no member thereof will place obstacles in the way of free development of others, thus keeping them in subjection and misery.
What the Anarchists want to abolish is authority, the rule of men over men,— i. e., the State. Authority presupposes submission, and the outcome of this is a tyranny. Tyranny is damnable under any circumstances, no matter whether it is organised by one man or by a majority over a minority. If you, for instance, are robbed, it makes no difference to you whether the robbing party consists of one man or a thousand; the fact would remain that you are robbed, and you would feel it in one instance just as keenly as in the other. And so it is with the oppressed.
Now, friend Lum, just think of a Socialistic State! Such an hermaphrodite would necessitate, if not the same, then at least similar machinery to that used today. There would be, in the first place, the inevitable law-manufactories, legislative assemblies. As laws are most decidedly enacted to he enforced against somebody, and as this again necessitates individuals who act as executive spirits, we have again the pleasure to see the historical policeman as he lives and thrives. Sheriffs, judges, mayors, and other “servants of the people,” without whom a State cannot exist, would also he in their glory again.
Any Social Democrat cannot possibly overlook the fact that a Socialistic State would divide society into two classes, as well as the State of today. Instead of the bourgeoisie and prolétariat of the present State, the Socialistic State would consist of a distinct bureaucracy and the toiling masses. “But,” say our Social Democratic sophists, “the main mission of the State is to control and regulate the production and consumption. You Anarchists want individualism, decentralization, to rule supreme, and this means that everybody should isolate himself, that a man should produce in isolation,— i. e., make his own shoes, clothing, frying-pan, sausages, night-cap, tooth-brush, furniture, etc., and build his own house.” Nonsense! The Anarchists do not advocate such fiddle-faddle, but nevertheless this talk in opposition to Anarchism is stereotypical. Individualism means not that a man should hide himself, should avert the society of his fellow-men,— in short, isolate himself. It is a natural impulse in men to associate with their fellow-men. Indeed, a human being would be most unhappy had he not intercourse with other members of his race. Held the Anarchists such views, why, then they ought to be sent to some asylum as misanthropes.
Far from being isolated in an Anarchistic form of society, the individuals would associate into organizations for various purposes, and, first of all, for the purpose of production and consumption. A man would really be an idiot, would he produce single-handed, perhaps fourteen or sixteen hours a day, when, by cooperating with others, he can accomplish a better result in the fifth part of that time, perhaps two or three hours. Common sense would thus induce a man to cooperate with others, and voluntary cooperation with others for the attainment of a certain purpose does by no means exclude individualism.
It occurs to me that the eventual establishment of a Socialistic State would not end the social troubles, and that hostilities would break out anew, perhaps not immediately after the removal of the capitalistic State, but at least in future generations. The bureaucracy, the machinery of State, would try to maintain the State under any circumstances, just as the ruling class in the modern State does, even should a majority in time become opposed to centralized society, thus necessitating a second bloody struggle, a second revolution. Therefore: Hasten the downfall of the capitalistic State and proclaim individualism, i. e., absolute personal liberty.
But, comrade Lum, I remember just now that I am writing this letter to an Anarchist, whose views are quite identical with mine; I had imagined, in my ardor, that I was corresponding with our friend M. Yours fraternally,
Cook County Jail, Chicago, February 1, 1887.
Morality and Its Origin.
To the editor of Liberty:
I am pleased to have to apologize to Tak Kak for misinterpreting him, and my pleasure is limited only by the smallness of the apology required. If his last note worn such as to make me unqualifiedly withdraw what I asserted of him, my pleasure would he greater that his could possibly be. But this unqualified withdrawal I cannot make, and for two reasons. In the first place, the misinterpretation of his views was chiefly his own doing; and in the second, accepting his last ante as a correct statement of them, I am compelled to continue to regard them its far from sound.
If Tak Tak had from the first expressed himself as in the two articles recently printed editorially, but he always appeared its the champion of “inalienable rights,” the passage to which he takes exception would never have been written. But, on the contrary, his early articles, like Stirner’s book, unndertook to demonstrate that the idea of right is it foolish phantasy, or that there are no rights but mine,— that is to say, that there are no rights, only mights. An inalienable right, on the other hand, is one that exists in spite of physical force, in suite of statute, law, in spite of contracts and convention.
Tak Kak made a strong plea for explitude in the use of words; and complained bitterly of the “Christian” terminology because of its vagueness, and because the terms as in their popular use carry with them certain implications difficult to get rid of, yet necessary to disallow. I was justified, then, I think, in assunming that Tak Kak would either introduec an entirely new terminology, or, when he substituted one old term fm another, use the substitute in its popular sense. He did not do the first, and did the second to such an extent as but to make confusion worse confounded. The terms morality, truth, virtue, and right were discarded as superstitious and in their places were put prudence, egoism, and the like. Now, I think a little consideration will show us that, faulty and misleading as the old terms may be, they are superior to the substitutes, that these tatter are not throughout used in their popular sense, and that, were they so, they would be untenable.
Morals are, in the primitive sense, the manners and customs of a people, and hence, in the secondary, derivative sense, good, manners and customs,— that is, such as tend to perpetuate the social life. Now, the manners that best serve towards perpetuating society cannot owe their effectivity in any wise to their being the result either of statute law or of any arbitrary convention. They owe their power to their being in accord with the inherent laws of the social organism, and any departure from them must be regarded as a societary disease. Since the earliest times in the history of the race, human groups have been coming into conflict, or at least competition with each other, and natural selection acting on them has, on the average, preserved those which best observed the societary laws,— those which at any given time were most moral. This selection, combined with the influence of heredity, has given us in each generation people less and less inclined to infringe on the rights of their neighbors, until, at last, we have, to a great extent, become what Spencer calls organically moral. (The process, in fact, had been going on for ages before the human race could be said to have an existence. As one writer has said, man became man when he first, felt sorry for having done wrong.) Observe here that this result has been obtained by selection of groups, and also that reason has had little or nothing directly to do with it. Our forefathers were not solidary because they had calculated that it was to their advantage to be so, but those groups which acted solidarity were on that account selected for survival; and now, we, the result of this process of selection going on for ages, respect the rights of others, not because we calculate that it is to our benefit to do so, so as not to provoke retaliation, but because we suffer in sympathy with the pains of others, because our moral sense is hurt when injury is done them. It is this feeling that one should so act as not to injure others that Tak Kak attacks as superstitious, merely because most of those possessing it are unable to give any rational explanation of how they come to possess it, though from the nature of the case it is not to be expected that they should have the knowledge required. As a defender of instinct, however, he might have been willing to place the moral instinct on at least, as high a plane as the others. From all that precedes it follows that Tak Kak’s crusade, as long as actions produce results, can never succeed in making people unmoral,— to borrow Bagchot’s term,— for that would be to assume mat an action or its direct opposite can be performed indifferently: it could, at most, but make people immoral,— that is, anti-social,— which, natural selection being still at work, would ultimate in their making way for a better race.
Of course the popular judgment may be in error as to what is really moral; of course priests and others claiming to be the official guardians of morality have committed great outrages in its name; but our very protests against these outrages and errors are proofs of the existence of something just, and true, of some standard to which human action ought to conform. Besides, were we to throw morality overboard for such reasons, liberty would have to go too.
Now as to egoism, which Tak Kak would substitute for morality. The word has two meanings, a broad scientific, and a narrow popular one. Tak Kak has never said in which sense he used it. My judgment is that he has used it indiscriminately in both, and transferred statements proven true for one sense to the other, as if the two were exactly alike. If we regard, as we may legitimately do, all forces pushing us to action as pleasures,— relief from pain being classed as a pleasure,— and all those tending to make ns abstain as pains,— deprivation of pleasure being counted a pain,— then it is evident that, however we may art, we act egoistically, since we only act because the pleasures exceed the pains. But note here that this law of human action, like the general law of action of which it is but a special form, that motion takes place along the line of least resistance, follows immediately from the definition, and that it is absolutely incapable of experimental demonstration. For the only proof that can be given that any action is pleasurable rattier than painful is to show that it is performed; that is, we have to fall back upon the general principle that actions are performed because they are pleasurable, the very thing requiring demonstration.
Taking egoism in this broad sense, however, there can be no objection to it. It in no way excludes altruistic motives as determining human actions,— altruism simply becomes one of the forms of egoism. But it is absurd, using the term in this broad sense, * of the superiority of egoism for, in order that egoistic action should be superior, there must be some kind of action that is not egoistic. It is fair to assume, then that, when Tak Kak writes of the superiority of egoism, he uses the word in its popular sense, and means that purely self-regarding actions are superior to other-regarding or altruistic ones. Now, if we regard social life as a benefit,— and that we do is self-evident,— this proposition is false; for though a wrong done is always followed by evil consequences, these consequences, in fact, being the proof of the wrong, yet the units constituting the social organism are so discrete in their character that the punishment of the wrong-doing may not fall on the wrong-doer,— nay, indeed, as is familiar to readers of Spencer, the ill effects may not reach the wrong-doer’s class for generations. Such being the case, egoistic motives of the narrow kind can never be sufficient, to restrain men from evil-doing. Some immediate sanction is; required, and this sanction is found in the feeling of sympathy; with the sufferings of others and the shock to the moral sense at the sight of wrong-doing. Of course these feelings of sympathy and indignation are, in the broad sense of the word, just as egoistic as is the desire to profit at the expense of another; but the real question is this: When such feelings and desires come into conflict, which ought to triumph? I admit that in any given case the stronger will do so, without, any recard to its being the better; but it is in our power, when the conflict is not raging, so to cultivate either set of sentiments as to tend to give that set the preponderance in the next battle. To deny that we can do this is to deny that our conduct can be guided, and the issue between myself and Tak Kak is simply as to how it is to he guided. Perhaps it may make the subject a little clearer if on a moment we neglect our own actions and look at those of others. Are we not to condemn a man who, in the pursuit of his own pleasure recklessly tramples on the rights of others, even though he may not injureours? I think the general reply will be in the affirmative, and yet this condemnation is all that ethical writers mean when they speak of the social sanction of morality.
Though I believe Tak Kak has advanced in many ways beyond the founder of his school, Hobbes, yet I am compelled to look on the latter as the more logical. He believed that there is no natural morality; that there is no method of action which is in itself either right or wrong; that, society, instead of being an organism obeying the laws of its own nature, is merely the result of an artificial convention, a “social conract”; and, consequently, he argued that force must be lodged with some person or persons to determine the nature of, and enforce this contract. That is, from the necessity of preserving social relations and the non-existence of natural; morality he deduces despotism. Austin followed in the same track, declaring moral rules to he efficacious only as the commands of the sovereign, and the existence of a sovereign a necessity. Like Hobbes, he looked on anarchy as simply a temporary state in which the question of location of sovereignty is being fought out. On the other hand, the evolutionary school, which I strive to represent, and into which, some day, I hope to have the pleasure of welcoming Tak Kak, holds, and thinks itself able to demonstrate, that society is an organism; that consequently, like all other organisms, it must have special methods of functional activity; that neither statute law nor private contract can alter these methods except injuriously; that they can be changed beneficially only by growth; that, while, the organism being only of low type, its units are discrete enough to allow them to have special interests capable of being subserved at the expense of the general welfare, yet selection has made them of such a kind that self-seeking of that nature entails upon them pain due to their sympathy with their fellows, and to conscience, or self-judgment in the name of the community, as Clifford defines it; and that, through the continued evolution of society and the development of such feelings, an equilibrium mobile must at last be reached, in which each individual will do of his own desire, through organic morality, just that which regard for the interests of his fellows would make him do. Then we shall have reached that state which we all desire, that state in which the greatest happiness of each coincides with the good of all. This evolutionary theory of morals calls on no one for extreme self-sacrifice; it recognizes the utility, nay, the necessity, of egoism in the narrower sense; it acknowledges that a society based on pure altruism is just as impossible as one based on pure egoism; or, to put it differently, that, just as, in the one case, the individual would be reduced to misery by the destruction of society, so, in the other, society would be destroyed by the annihilation of the individual; and it simply asks, therefore, that a due balance be maintained between the egoistic and altruistic sentiments.
At first sight, the theory outlined above may seem inconsistent with that of Buckle, which teaches that all future advances in society are to he expected from the development and spread of intelligence; but the two are in substantial accord. For the effective morality of any individual is the product of his moral sentiments by his intelligence. If either factor be constant, the product will vary directly as the other. Now, Buckle’s studies led him to the conclusion that the moral sentiments are already developed as far as it is possible for them to develop, while intelligence is capable of indefinite expansion. The improvement, nevertheless, remains a moral one, for, were the factor of moral sentiments to become zero, the product also would be zero. I think this a good opportunity to point out to one of my critics that men are not guided by their desires arid their intelligence, but are guided to the satisfaction of their desires by their intelligence. The first statement, is about as absurd as it would be to say that a locomotive is guided by steam pressure and an engineer.
Tak Kak quotes the lines beginning, “To thine own self be true,” and makes of them a profession of faith. Aside from the fact that Stirner, with whom Tak Kak says he agrees, calls truth the last of the superstitions, I think it will be generally admitted that “Be true to yourself” has not the same signification as “Be selfish.” The first is an appeal to one to be guided by certain motives as higher than others, and, in fact, the last line in the quotation distinctly alleges an altruistic motive for being true. Instead of being the cry of a “conscienceless criminal,” it is a plea for being guided by the individual conscience.
To avoid misconception, I wish to state here that the passage in my review to which Tak Kak took exception formed no part of the main argument. Being but incidental, I did not think it necessary to develop my own views; I was concerned only to show that George’s idea of means being of no consequence, was destructive and anti-social. It, will be seen from the present writing that I do not regard the reasons then given by me as sufficient to prevent murder’s being done when it could be done safely. The reasons there given amounted to no more than the direct reactive effect and the social sanction. I ought also to say, in reply to Tak Kak, that I did not charge either himself or George with directly justifying murder. I have no doubt that either of them would do what he could to prevent a murder’s being committed. What I did say was that murder, whenever it could be safety and advantageously done, was the logical outcome of their arguments.
Motion, as Spencer has shown, is always of a rhythmic character, and, religion having been to closely associated in the popular mind with morality,— the religious sanction being for a long time the chief one,— it is but natural that, in the violent repulsion to religion caused by the discovery of the falsity of all the formal kinds, we should he torn loose from morality also. On the return swing, however, we pick up again the good we thoughtlessly allowed ourselves to lose. We may throw out the baby with the dirty water; but it is certain that, if we do, we will not allow it to stay out. To those who are interested in this subject, and who wish to see how a system of morality can he established without relying on any superstition, I would most earnestly recommend the study of Kingdon Clifford’s lecture — “On The Scientific Basis of Morals.” They can be had anywhere for, I think, fifteen cents, and, like all that Clifford wrote, are worthy of the most careful attention, even from those who find themselves unable to accept his conclusions.
John F. Kelly.
Hoboken, January 29, 1887.
Mr. Franklin on Methods.
To the Editor of Liberty:
In my letter to Liberty, which appeared in your issue of January 22, I intended to make a simple statement of the general position of employers in regard to labor papers, That my statement is correct I know from a number of events which have happened to myself and to others. But when I said that the property-beasts fear for force rather than for theories, it did not necessarily follow that I would have Liberty advocating absolute force, for by frightening the beast we would make it only more furious and violent, but would gain nothing. To say, however, that theories alone could make the beast harmless seems to me equally fallacious. You cannot abolish governments and monopolies by arguing principles with their representatives. Or do you really think that Grover Cleveland would give up his position if he read Lysauder Spooner’s letter to him? In my view, the only way to abolish the present system is resistance, passively if it is available, by force if it is necessary and advisable, but at any rate by not supporting it materially. I did not forsake my “first love,” “Die Freiheit,” because it advocates absolute force, and I did not bestow my affections upon Liberty because it absolutely condemns force; but I did so because “Die Freiheit” advocates Communism, which is inconsistent with the basic principles of Anarchism. In regard to means and methods, Liberty thus far has said very little, so that it is very difficult for me to say definitely what they are and whether I agree or disagree with them. From its criticisms on the Walker-Harman case, however, Liberty seems to prefer to have the people do their business in full accordance with the laws, employing and paying the ***, but at the same time protesting against its interference, rather than to have them do their business in their own way, leaving the State alone, but, when prosecuted, simply claiming that they have violated no law. To such methods I am diametrically opposed, for I know that, as long as people will support the State materially, no matter how bitterly they may denounce it theoretically, they can lessen not a particle of it. But, on the other hand, let the people not support the State materially, and it must go down to zero before long. For, after all, it is the material, not the moral, support which keeps the State in existence.
New Haven, Conn.
P.S. — The last number of the “Workmen’s Advocate” has just reached me with an article from an “infatuated” liar infatuatiogly slandering Miss Kelly. Judging by the progress which the “Advocate” hand has made in lying about and misrepresenting persons and affairs since the Avelings were in this city, I am inclined to believe that they, the Avelings, were right in demanding six hundred dollars for cigars, wines, corsage bouquets, etc., for their lessons by themselves were very effective, at least for the “Advocate” land. But we will probably have Miss Kelly here soon. For the really intelligent workingmen of this city are anxious to hear her again. Then “Infatuated” will have another opportunity to infatuate, and Mr. Busche, the editor of the “Advocate,” will inquire once more: “What is liberty, and what is it good for anyway?”
[The tone of Mr. Franklin’s previous letter led me to believe that it was written for my benefit, and not seeing the application, I asked for an explanation. It appears now that it was not, but that in the matter of methods we substantially agree. My only object in spreading theories is to induce people to passively resist oppression. I do not think that theories alone can accomplish anything, nor do I expect Grover Cleveland to resign at Lysander Spooner’s invitation. Mr. Franklin’s statement that he would not have Liberty advocate absolute force disposes of my question about “Freiheit,” but it may not be out of place to remind him that his forsaking of “Freiheit” on account of its Communism was equivalent to forsaking it on account of its advocacy of force, for the reason that Communism of the “Freiheit” sort, being, as Mr. Franklin states, “inconsistent with the basic principles of Anarchism,” is dependent upon compulsion for its establishment and its maintenance. Mr. Franklin misunderstands my position on the Walker-Harman matter. I simply said that, if the parties mentioned were not in a position to act Anarchistically, I could excuse them for compromising under protest and aeknowledging their compromise, but that, if, in order to secure immunity, they should take steps whereby they would assume the marital obligations and suffer the marital disabilities imposed by the State, and then should deny that they had compromised, but should declare instead that, they had acted Anarchistically and should appeal to Anarchists for support, I should criticise and oppose them. They took the latter course, and I kept my word. I am as much opposed to material support, of the State as Mr. Franklin is, and I fancy that thus far it has been much less successful in obtaining my material support than in obtaining that of Mr. Walker and Mr. Franklin; but I do not find it necessary to get legally married in order to get an opportunity to decline paying taxes. — Editor Liberty.]
Don’t keep Liberty to yourself, share it with others!
Leonard E. Read: Accent On The Right: To Frederic Bastiat (1801–1850), who sought for truth rather than outcome and never witnessed the fruits his labor bore. Obedience to conscience was his first rule; we witness the results.
Leonard E. Read: Anything That’s Peaceful: Many favor peace but not many favor the things that make for peace. — Thomas à Kempis
Leonard E. Read: Awake for Freedom’s Sake: Finally, share with others. Forget about “reforming” them! The more we share, the more we learn. This is in the interest of self and freedom!
Leonard E. Read: Castles in the Air: If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. — Henry David Thoreau
Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State: Political philosophy is dominated by a myth, the myth of the necessity of the state. The state is considered necessary for the provision of many things, but primarily for peace and security. In this provocative book, Gerard Casey argues that social order can be spontaneously generated, that such spontaneous order is the norm in human society and that deviations from the ordered norms can be dealt with without recourse to the coercive power of the state.
Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers: Murray Rothbard: Murray Rothbard (1926–1995) was an economist, historian, philosopher, and legal theoretician. His work was unified by a passionate and resolute commitment to a libertarianism that may be characterized as ‘anarcho-capitalism’ and which implied a belief that even the legal system may be provided privately without the need for a coercive collective authority. Hence, anarcho-capitalists envisage a society where the traditional role of government is wholly subsumed by private, profit-making enterprises and all social relationships are ultimately founded upon consent.