“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.”
Anarchists’ Aims Stated in Rhyme.
Written for and published in the Melbourne (Australia) “Punch,” as a rejoinder to a caricature in that paper representing the Anarchists’ club of that city as in favor of an immediate and equal division of property, especially rum and tobacco.
I say, Mr. Punch, are you rogue or else fool?
Or is’t that you live upon libel?
So slander the Anarchists’ Club as a rule?
For if you’ve been there,
False witness you bear,
And show small respect for your Bible.
You say that we Anarchists are a rough lot,
Who’d dispossess every possessor,
You’re aware’tis the lust thing we’d do, are you not?
For to murder and rob
Is an old Archist job.
Did you know that before? — Pray confess, sir.
You say we desire to be fed by the State;
’Its a lie, you old scribe,— ’tis a lie;
For we seek to abolish that engine of hate,
To leave each one free
To pursue honesty,
And earn his own victuals or die.
What we seek to remove are the thieves from our lands,—
The curse of man’s life on this earth,—
The usurers, all those who empty our hands,—
The cute politician,
Who gets a position,
And robs us all round from our birth.
You may stick to your money, and roll in your traps,—
I assure you that we’ve no objection;
But we all do object to being robbed by you chaps
Who grab up the soil,
And live on our toil,
And fleece us at every election.
We don’t want your drinks nor your ’bacca for nought;
We don’t want to live without work;
Nor yet for you drones do we wish to be sport.
But we’d give to each neighbor
The fruits of his labor,
And starve out the paupers who shirk.
Just work for your own, and don’t live on another,
And stick to your carriage and pub.
Don’t live on the sweat of the brew of your brother,—
But set to and labor,
’Twill please every neighbor,
Including the Anarchists’ Club.
David A. Andrade.
A Lay of the Land.
Can wrong with time a right become — a lie with rev’rent age grow true?
Pillage grow rightful property, no longer to the plunder’d due?
Can what I wrest from one, or ten, to my first, tenth descendant be
Transmitted with a better claim than any that exists in me?
Do I hold that with better right than lie who, centuries ago,
Or filch’d it with a cozener’s craft, or wrench’d it with a felon’s blow?
Out on the shibboleth of law — of right of conquest; lapse, or use,
That sanctifies a century’s to shield another day’s abuse! —
That arrogates to aftertime a title to immunity
Because it heretofore can show a record of impunity.
Out on the cobwebs, custom-spun, to trammel slaves and tangle fools
With the tain sophistry, chicane, and subterfuge of quirks and rules; —
The fog of feudal villeinage — the darkness of a harb’rous day,
Which, had men’s brains avail’d their arms, had ages since been swept away.
But ay the scales are falling fast, no more avails the raaster-plea
That compacts with iniquity perforce of its antiquity.
And they who the half-gospel preach, “that strong is strong and might is might,”
The other half shall shortly learn, “that wrong is wrong and it right is right!”
J. H. Dell.
The Dog and the Wizard: A Fable.
Note. — This fable I found in the “Book of Ego,” a quaint and curious volume treating of divers topics in a peculiar and many-sided fashion. Feeling that it might interest and edify some, I have transcribed it.
On a certain time, in a certain land, a very cunning and deceitful wizard turned a man into a dog, in order that he might the more completely become his slave. And the dog, after the fashion of dogs, served his master very faithfully, but received little but kicks, cuffs, contemptuous looks, and the assignment of still harder tasks in return.
But it happened that one day, while they were in the forest, the dog killed game and was about to devour it, being in great need of food. But his master took it from him, and, after flaying it and cutting off the meat very carefully, he threw the dog the bones, saying: “Here, you dull dog, this is your portion. You have done nothing but stupidly chase and kill this creature,— and even that you could not have done, if I had not first given you permission,— while I have had all the labor of dividing it, of keeping you from wastefully devouring it, and of cutting out these bones for you, to say nothing of the expense of maintaining these great game preserves upon which your life depends; for, if I did not maintain them, you would get no game and would perish of hunger. Therefore the meat is my just portion. No doubt you would enjoy the meat yourself, but you would find that it would make you sick. Besides, you are such a stupid dog, you would never know how to dress and cook it, you would only tear it, and waste it, and befoul it with dirt. Now, therefore, be contented with these bones, like a good dog, and you will become very sleek and happy.”
And the dog, being very hungry and tired and much befuddled by the sophistry of his master, fell to, and gnawed very cheerfully at the bones for a while. But, finding that they in no wise satisfied the pangs of his hunger, he arose, and chased the wizard, and snatched the meat from him. Then the wizard was very wroth, and pursued the dog, upbraiding him harshly, calling him an “ungrateful dog” and a “thievish dog.” But the dog growled savagely, and replied: “You neither made this forest, nor its game; they are no more yours than mine. But I having caught and killed this meat, it is mine, for I have earned it. You have done nothing but frighten and wheedle me out of it. Therefore you are a thief and a liar, and, if you do not depart from me, I will set my teeth in you.” And the wizard, perceiving that the dog’s eyes were now opened, and that he was really stronger than he, was sore afraid, and departed, complaining bitterly. And the dog ate freely of this meat which he had earned and recovered, and lo! — he became a man again, beautiful, and happier than ever before.
There seems to be no moral given with this fable, and indeed it appears somewhat obscure. I do not see but every reader must search for it himself. Some wiseacres have indeed surmised that the wizard’s name was Capitalism and the dog’s Proletariat, that the bones were Wages and the meat Produce. But this is a mere matter of conjecture. Howbeit, I cannot divest myself of a suspicion that the allegory is in some wise prophetic, and refers to things future as well as past and present.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
Another Plea for the Plumb-Line.
Though we admit that it is good that partial changes should take place, since they cannot be final, or the condition of things they bring about, he long enduring, what have we to do with helping them on, save by steadily enunciating our principles?
Can we pretend to push forward some measure which we know is impracticable or useless, loudly crying out on practicality meanwhile? Can we who preach the downfall of hypocrisy make friends with the compromise which we despise? Can we who preach freedom fetter our souls from the outset by cowardly acquiescence with a majority which we know is wrong? A thousand times no!
Again, we are but a few, as all those who stand by principles must be until inevitable necessity forces the world to practise those principles. We are few, and have our own work to do, which no one but ourselves can do, and every atom of intelligence and energy that there is amongst us will be needed for that work; if we use that energy and intelligence for doing work which can be done just as well by men who are encumbered with no principles, we waste it; and we had then better confess ourselves beaten, and hand over our work to others who understand better what a party of principle means. Whatever of good may go with the stumbling, compromising kind of Socialism, let it be done at least by those who must do it; do not let us do their work as well as our own. We must wait and they must act; let us at least not confuse our ideas of what we are waiting for by putting a false issue before ourselves.
A Compliment from an Enemy.
Maxime Du Camp is a reactionist of the most hopeless sort, and how he ever happened to write the following words passes my comprehension; but I find them in “Le Révolté” credited to him, and deem them well worth reprinting here.
Is it possible that this old hydra of Anarchy, after being crushed to the earth in literature, painting, and sculpture, is not dead yet? I do not know, but it seems to me that it has never been understood. It is ugly, I admit with all my heart; but may not its ugliness be a mask? Let us tear it off boldly, and behind it we shall find perhaps the pale, ecstatic, and dreamy visage of that perennial young man called progress! Alas! was not Galileo an Anarchist? Society somewhat resembles a woman: some day she loses her shape, her countenance changes, her health gives way; she feels great pains within her; she cries, she prays, she despairs; she calls everybody to witness her sufferings; she believes that she is going to die; and suddenly she brings into the world a crying child who makes her proud, and who perhaps at some future day will save humanity.
A Frank Confession.
[Kansas City Journal.]
The philosophy of majorities is not always realized. Napoleon said that he always found providence on the side of the heaviest battalions, and this is but another way of saying that a score of men can conquer ten men. So, if people resort to force to secure an end, the mathematics of force declares that, all things being equal, the most numerous army conquers. As in human government, even in this advanced age, civil authority rests on the last analysis of power, physical force,— we have adopted the ballot instead of the bayonet as the means of ascertaining which side the force lies on. And we submit to this fact, when known, because to resist would only bring us to the same necessity after the destructive proceis of force.
A Protest from Australia.
At a recent meeting of the Melbourne Anarchists’ Club the following resolution was adopted for transmission to the governor of Illinois:
This meeting, convened by the Melbourne Anarchists’ Club, while not endorsing all the principles and methods of social reform advocated by the Anarchists now under sentence in Chicago, expresses its warmest sympathy with them in their present unfortunate position, and strongly condemns the tyranny of those in authority, who have so persistently endeavored to effect what we hold to he nothing short of a legal murder, in order to ultimately achieve the end of stifling freedom.
A young couple appears to rent a suite.
The janitor shows them the rooms; the visitors seem delighted.
Suddenly the janitor approaches them, and says discreetly: “Monsieur and Madame are not married for good?”
“Oh, yes, we are.”
“Ah! then I regret to tell Monsieur that it is of no use to talk; the landlord dislikes to have scenes made in his house.”
The Science of Society.
By Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Cost the Limit of Price:
A Scientific Measure of Honesty in Trade As One of the Fundamental Principles in the Solution of the Social Problem.
Continued from No. 96.
28. The mere reading of this program will suggest the immensity of the scope to which the subject extends. In the present volume I have selected a single principle,— the third among those above name,— and shall adhere to a pretty thorough exposition of it, rather than overload the mind of the reader by bringing into view the whole of a system, covering all possible human relations. A few minds may, from the mere statement of these principles, begin to perceive the rounded outlines of what is, as I do not hesitate to affirm, the most complete scientific statement of the problem of human society, and of the fundamental principles of social science which has ever been presented to the world. Most, however, will hardly begin to understand the universal and all-pervading potency of these few simple principles, until they find them elaborately displayed and elucidated. At present I must take the broad license of asserting that they are Universal Principles, and referring the reader, for what I mean by a universal principle, to what I have to say of the one which I have selected for a particular explanation,— “Cost the Limit of Price.”
29. As a mere hint, however, in relation to the others, let us take the last, “Adaptation of the Supply to the Demand.” This seems to be a formula relating merely, as, in fact, it does relate mainly, to ordinary commerce,— trade,— commerce in the minor sense. In that sense, it expresses an immense want of civilized society,— nothing less, as Carlyle has it, than a knowledge of the way of getting the supernumerary shirts into contact with the backs of the men who have none. But this same principle introduced into the parlor becomes likewise the regulator of politeness and good manners, and pertains therefore to commerce in the major sense as well. I am, for example, overflowing with immoderate zeal for the principles which I am now discussing. I broach them on every occasion. I seize every man by the button-hole, and inflict on him a lecture on the beauties of Equitable Commerce; in fine, I make myself a universal bore, as every reformer is like to be more or less. But at the moment some urbane and conservative old gentleman politely observes to me, “Sir, I perceive one of your principles is, “The Adaptation of the Supply to the Demand.” I take the hint immediately. My mouth is closed. I perceive that my lecture is not wanted,— that he does not care to interest himself in the subject. There is no demand, and I stop the supply.
But you are ready to say, Would not the same hint given in some other form stop the impertinence of over-zealous advocacy in any case? Let those answer who have been bored. But suppose it did, could it be done so gracefully, in any way, as by referring the offender to one of the very principles he is advocating, or which he professes? Again: grant that it have the effect to stop that annoyance, the hint itself is taken as an offence, and the offended man, instead of continuing the conversation upon some other subject that might be agreeable, goes off in a huff, and most probably you have made him an enemy for life. But, in my case, it will not even be necessary for the conservative old gentleman to remind me,— I shall at once recollect that another of my principles is, “The Sovereignty of the Individual.” One of the highest exercises of that sovereignty is the choice of the subjects about which one will converse and upon which he will bestow his time; hence I recognize cordially his right to exclude my subject, and immediately, gracefully, and good-humoredly I glide off upon some other topic. Then, by a law of the human mind, which it is extremely important to understand, and practically to observe, if it be possible that there should ever arise a demand with him to hear any thing about that subject, my uniform deference for even his prejudices will hasten the time. Indeed, all conservative old gentlemen, who hate reform of all sorts as they do ratsbane, would do well to make themselves at once familiar with these principles, and to disseminate them as they means of defending themselves. Do you begin to perceive that such a mere tradesman-like formula, at first blush as “The Adaptation of the Supply to the Demand,” becomes one of the highest regulators of good manners — a part of the ethics of conversation,— of the “Equitable Commerce” of gentlemanly intercourse,— as well as what it seems to be, an important element of trade; and do you catch a glimpse of what I mean, when I say that it is a universal principle of commerce in the major sense?
30. The doctrine of Individuality is equally universal. I have only to say here that it means the next thing to every thing, when you come to its applications. It means, as applied to persons, that every human being has a distinct character or individuality of his own, so that any attempt to classify him with others, or to measure him by others, is a breach of his natural liberty; and, as applied to facts, that no two cases ever occurred precisely similar, and hence that no arbitrary general rule can possibly be applied to cases not yet arisen. It follows, therefore, that all laws, systems, and constitutions whatsoever must yield to the individual, or else that liberty must be infringed; or, in other words, that the Individual is above Institutions, and that no social system can claim to be the true one, which requires for its harmonious operation that the Individual shall be subjected to the system, or to any institutions whatsoever.
We are taught by it that all combinations of interest whatsoever are limitations upon the exercise of the individuality of the parties, or restrictions upon natural liberty. Hence also, by Individuality, the true practical movement begins with a complete disintegration of all amalgamated interests, such as partnerships, in a manner peculiar to itself. Hence, again, to the casual observer, this movement seems to be in exact antagonism to Association, and the views of Socialism of all the various schools. A more thorough acquaintance with the subject will show, however, that this individualizing of all interests is the analysis of society, preliminary to association as the synthesis,— as much association as is demanded by the economies, being a growth of that cooperation of interests — not combination or amalgamationwhich results form the operation of the Cost Principle. (3, 37.)
31. The Sovereignty of the Individual grows out of the more fundamental principle of Individual, as stated in No. 1 of this series. A special occasion called for that treatise, and limited it to a particular application. The extensive nature of the subject in its numerous ramifications will demand a separate work upon Individuality and the Sovereignty of the Individual, which, while they are distinguishable as principles, stand, nevertheless, closely related to each other.
32. A Circulating Medium Founded on the Cost of Labor is, perhaps, not so properly a principle as an indispensable instrument for carrying the Cost principle into practical operation. It is a monetary system, holding to the true or equitable system of Commerce a relation quite similar to that which specie and bank notes now hold to the present false and dishonest system. The subject of equitable money will be treated of more at large in the subsequent chapters, and does not require any further explanation at this point. As such a circulating medium is one of the necessary conditions of working out the true societary results, it is classed with principles, along with the means of the solution. (69, 245.)
33. It is claimed that within the circle of these five principles or efficient powers is found every condition of the complex development of a true social order, or, in other words, a full and perfect solution of the social problem stated above. Is that statement of the problem sufficiently comprehensive? Does it include, either directly or consequentially, all which has ever been aimed at by social reformers of any school, and all which is requisite to the full harmony and beauty of human relations? If that be so, and if the assumption just stated be made good, both by exposition and practical results, then have we at length a theory of society strictly entitled to the appellation of a Science,— a movement, precise, definite, and consequential, adequate, on the one hand, to meet the demands of the most exacting intellect, and sufficiently beneficent, on the other, to gratify the desires of the most expansive philanthropy, while in its remoter results it promises to satiate the refined cravings of the most fastidious taste.
34. This volume treats professedly upon the Cost Principle. Still each of the principles above stated will necessarily be referred to from time to time. It will perhaps be well, therefore, that the particular discussion of the principle, which I have selected for present consideration should be prefaced by a brief statement of the interrelations and mutual dependence of these several principles upon each other.
It is especially appropriate that something should be shown which will bridge over the seeming gap between so metaphysical a statement as that of the Sovereignty of the Individual, as set forth in the preceding Number, and the merely commercial consideration of an appropriate limit of price. An integral view of the connections of the different parts of this system of principles can only be a final result of a thorough familiarity with their detailed applications and practical effects. At the same time the fact that they are connected and mutually dependent will appear upon slight examination. For the rest, I must take the license to assert, with great emphasis, the existence of so intimate a relation between them that, if any one of them is omitted, it is totally impossible to work out the proposed results. The others will remain true, but any one of them, or any four of them, are wholly inadequate to the solution. This connection may be established by beginning almost indifferently at any point in the circle. Let us assume, as a starting point, The Adaptation of the Supply to the Demand.
35. By Adaptation of the Supply to the Demand is meant a sufficiency of any variety of product, present at every time and place, to meet the want for that particular product which may be felt at the same time and place. It is wholly from the defect of such arrangements, in the existing commercial system, as would secure such an adaptation of supply to demand, that society is afflicted with periodical famine or scarcity, or, on the other hand, with gluts of the market, and consequent sacrifice and general bankruptcy, and, far more important than all, because more continuous, with what is called an excess of labor in the various labor markets of the world, by which thousands of men and women able to work and willing to work are deprived of the opportunity to do so. There is no reason in the nature of the case why there should not be as accurate a knowledge in the community of the statistics of supply and demand as there is of the rise and fall of the tides, nor why that knowledge should not be applied to secure a minute, accurate, and punctual distribution of products over the face of the earth, according to the wants of various countries, neighborhoods, and individuals. The supposed excess of labor is no more an excess than congestion is an excess of blood in the human system. The scarcity of the circulating medium which is now in use, and which is requisite for the interchange of commodities, is regarded by those who have studied this subject profoundly as the principal difficulty in the way of such an adjustment, but that scarcity itself is only a specific form and instance of the general want of adaptation of supply to demand, which extends far beyond all questions of currency,— the supply of circulating medium being unequal to the demand for it, owing to the expensiveness of the substances selected for such medium, and their consequent total unfitness for the purpose.
36. It follows from what has been said that appropriate arrangements for the adaptation of supply to demand are a sine qua non of a true social order. But the existence of such arrangements is an impossibility in the midst of the prevalence of speculation. But speculation has always existed, and is inherent in the present commercial system, and consequently no adequate adjustment of supply to demand has ever been had, or can ever be had, while that system remains in operation. It is the business of speculation, and hence of the whole mercantile profession, to confuse and becloud the knowledge of the community upon this very vital point of their interests, and to derange such natural adjustment as might otherwise grow up, even in the absence of full knowledge on the subject,— to create the belief that there is excess or deficiency when there is none, and to cause such excess or deficiency in fact when there would otherwise be none, in order to buy cheap and sell dear. Speculation is not only the vital element of the existing system of Commerce, but it will always exist upon any basis of exchange short of the Cost Principle. The Cost Principle extinguishes speculation, as will be shown in the sequel, Herein, then, is the connection between these two of the five conditions of social order. (158.)
37. Let us return now to The Sovereignty of the Individual. This has been shown in the previous work to be also a sine qua non of true human relations. The Sovereignty of the Individual, which is merely the complete enjoyment of personal liberty, the unimpeded pursuit by every individual, of his own happiness in his own way, and the development of his own inherent selfhood, is, in fact, the apex, or culminating point, of the true harmony of society. It was also demonstrated that this Sovereignty cannot possibly be indulged, without continual encroachments upon the equal Sovereignty of others, in any other mode than by a complete disintegration of interests,— a total abandonment of every species of combined or amalgamated ownership, or administration of property. Individuality of Character teaches, in this manner, that, in order to the harmonious exercise of the Sovereignty of the Individual, a disconnection of interests must be had, which is in turn nothing else than another application of the same all-pervading principle of Individuality. Such, then, is the intimate connection between Individuality and Sovereignty of the Individual. (3, 30)
38. But again: what is to be the consequence of this general individualization of interests? Such is, to a very great extent, the order of the actual condition of ownership and administration in our existing society, which is, nevertheless, replete with social evils. Indeed, hitherto those evils have been attributed by Social Reformers, to the prevalent individualization of interests among men, more than to any other cause. Hence they have made war upon it, and proposed combined or amalgamated interests, or extensive partnership arrangements, as the only possible means of securing attractive industry, and cooperation, and economy in the production and uses of wealth. We now assert that, in order to secure what is more important than all else, the possibility of the free exercise of Individual Sovereignty, an indispensable condition is a still greater amount than now exists of Individuality, or disconnection in the property relations of men. We affirm that nearly all that there is good in existing society results from that element. What then follows? Do we abandon the high aims of other Socialists in other respects? Is all thought of cooperation and the economies surrendered by us? Clearly they are, unless some new and hitherto undiscovered element is brought in. To go back from the present field of effort of the Social Reformers to so much of Individuality as can exist in the present order of society, and stop at that alone, is evidently to return to the present social disorder, in which it is sufficiently demonstrated by experience that the exercise of the Sovereignty of the Individual — the point we aim to secure — is itself just as impossible as the other conditions desired. But why is it impossible? For the reason that Individuality of interests, upon which that exercise rests, is itself only partially possible in a social state in which there is a general denial of equity in the distribution of wealth,— equity being what the Cost Principle alone can supply. If the woman, or the youth under age, is denied the means of acquiring an independent subsistence, by the fact that they receive less than equivalents for their industry, they are necessarily thrown into a state of dependence upon others. The exercise of their own Sovereignty, then, is obviously an impossibility for them. There are thousands of women, for example, in the higher ranks of society, who never felt the luxury in their lives of spending a shilling that they knew to be actually their own, and never applied to their fathers or husbands for money without the degrading sense of beggary. On the other hand, the husbands and fathers are involved, by the same false pecuniary relations, in an unnecessary and harassing responsibility for the conduct and expenditure of every member of their families, which is equally destructive of their own freedom, or the exercise of their own Sovereignty over themselves. It is the same in the existing relations of the poor and the rich, the hireling and the employer, the master and the slave, and in nearly all the ten thousand ramified connections of men in existing society. By refusing equity in the distribution of wealth; by reducing the earnings of women, and youths, and hired men, and slaves below equivalents; by thus grasping power over others, through the medium of an undue absorption of the products of their industry,— the members of community are brought into the relation of oppressors and oppressed, and both are together and alike involved in a common destiny of mutual restrictions, espionage, suspicions, heartburnings, open destructive collisions, and secret hostility, and each is thereby shorn of the possibility of exercising his prerogative of sovereign control over his own actions.
39. Government of all sorts is adverse to freedom. It destroys the freedom of the subject, directly, by virtue of the fact that he is a subject; and destroys equally the freedom of the governor, indirectly, by devolving on him the necessity of overlooking and attempting, hopelessly, to regulate the conduct of others,— a task never yet accomplished, and the attempt at which is sufficiently harassing to wear the life out of the most zealous advocate of order. With the greater development of the individuals to be governed the task becomes proportionally the more onerous, until, in our day, the business of governing grows vulgar from its excessive laboriousness.
40. All combinations of interest imply and involve the necessity of government, because nature demands and will have an individual lead. The denial of equity implies and involves the necessity of combination of interest, by throwing one part of the community into a state of dependence upon the other, authorizing mutual supervision and criticism, and creating mutual restriction and hostility.
41. A man of wealth is said, among us, to be a “man in independent circumstances”; but in truth the man of wealth of our day has not begun to conceive the genuine luxury of perfect freedom,— a freedom which, by immutable laws, can never be realized otherwise than by a prior performance of exact justice.
42. The principles here asserted are universal. The same causes that are upheaving the thrones of Europe are disturbing the domestic tranquility of thousands of families among us. Red Republicanism in France, African Slavery in America, and the mooted question of the rights of women are one and the same problem. It is the sole question of human liberty, or the Sovereignty of the Individual; and the sole basis upon which the exercise of that Sovereignty can rest is Equity,— the rendering to each of that which is his. The Cost Principle furnishes the law of that rendering. That, and that alone, administers Equity. Hence it places all in a condition of independence. It dissolves the relation of protectors and protected by rendering protection unnecessary. It takes away the necessity resulting from dependence for combinations of interest and government, and hence for mutual responsibility for, and interference with, each other’s deportment, by devolving the Cost, or disagreeable effects, of the conduct of each upon himself,— submitting him to the government of natural consequences,— the only legitimate government. In fine, the Cost Principle in operation renders possible, harmless, and purely beneficent the universal exercise of Individual Sovereignty.
43. Hence it follows that the Cost Principle underlies Individuality, or the disconnection of interests, in the same manner as Individuality itself underlies and sustains the Sovereignty of the Individual. Hence, again the Cost Principle is the basis principle or foundation upon which the whole fabric of social harmony rests, as the Sovereignty of the Individual is, as has been said, the apex, or culminating point of the same fabric,— the end and purpose of a true social order. Herein, then, is their intimate and necessary relation to each other.
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. 96.
Pastoral peoples likewise can make no great use of slaves, and, living almost exclusively on the milk and flesh of their flocks, they could not maintain a great number. They seek, moreover, the plains, broad spaces, the immense prairies, capable of supporting their flocks. Far from seeking other tribes, like the hunting peoples, they avoid them; war, consequently, is not frequent among them, and no war, no slaves. When one pasturage is destroyed, they go in search of another; vagabonds on the earth, they observe only the changes of temperature and climate, seeking water first of all, and have no other guides in their periodical transmigrations than the stars in the sky. They were the first founders of astronomical science and of star worship. The patriarchalism, the natural and traditional authority of the fathers of families, of the ancients, is already strongly developed in their bosom, but it is still only a matter of custom. It does not become a right, founded on land and hereditary property and consecrated by religion, as with the agricultural nations. Pastoral peoples remain peaceable so long as they find pasturage sufficient for their flocks; but at last there comes a time when many nomadic tribes encounter each other, and the plain becomes too small for all. Then, urged on always by this supreme and inevitable law of the struggle for life, they stain the plain with the blood of their battles and are transformed into warlike peoples, after which, mingling in a single mass, too numerous henceforth to find its food on the plains, they fall upon agricultural countries, which they conquer, and forcing into submission to their yoke, like slaves, peaceful populations devoted to agriculture, they found States.
Such was the natural and real process by which the first States in history were founded, without any intervention of legislators or divine prophets. The brutal fact of brigandage, conquest, and slavery, the material and real base of all States, past and present, has always preceded the idealization of this fact by some sort of religion and legislation. First the conqueror, the fortunate brigand, the hero of history, founds the new State; then, and often directly with him, come priests, prophets, and legislators at the same time, who consecrate in the name of their God, and establish as legal foundations, the very consequences of this accomplished fact.
The following is a universal rule, demonstrated by the history of all religions: No new religion has ever been able to interrupt the natural and inevitable development of social facts, nor even to turn it aside from the path traced for it by the combination of real forces, whether natural or social. Often religious beliefs have served as a symbol for nascent forces at the very moment when these forces were about to accomplish new facts: but they have always been the symptoms or prognostics, never the Teal causes, of these facts. As for these causes, we must seek them in the ascending development of economic wants and the organized and active forces of society, not ideal, but real; the ideal always being only the more or less faithful expression, the last resultant, as it were, whether positive or negative, of the struggle of these forces in society.
This idea, so true, announced and developed more than twenty years ago principally by Karl Marx, is necessarily combatted by Mazzini, who, a logical idealist, imagines that in the history of humanity, as well as in the development of the properly material world, ideas, first causes, and successive manifestations of the Divine Being, precede and create facts.
“Religions govern the world,” he says. “When the men of India believed that they were born, some of the head, others of the arms, and still others of the feet of Brahma, their God, they regulated society, in conformity with this division, in castes, by assigning to the first, hereditarily, intellectual work, to the second a military status, and to the last servile tasks; and they condemned themselves thereby to an immobility which still continues and which will continue as long as the faith in this principle lasts.” *
Mazzini is so much of an idealist that he does not perceive that, in citing the religion of the Brahmins as an example, he proves just the contrary of what he wished to demonstrate, unless he is willing to admit this absurd supposition, that an entire people, at first free, was able to submit itself voluntarily to the most grievous and abject slavery, simply because priests had come to tell them and had succeeded in convincing them that they were formed of the feet of Brahma! The establishment of castes in the East India having been, according to Mazzini, only the consequence of the revelation of this religious doctrine, must he not conclude that, before it had been revealed, there did not exist this hereditary inequality in the Indies? What follows, then? That a people comparatively free and composed of citizens living in equality has freely consented to descend so low, to become a people of pariahs, with no other reason for so doing than a new religious propaganda. But would not that be a miracle? I can assure Mazzini that, if he would take the pains to prove to us its historical authenticity, this miracle would alone suffice to convert us once for all to all the religious absurdities. Why does he not at least try to explain the possibility of it? That in itself would be an immense victory for his faith against this poor human reason which he maltreats horribly in all his writings.
To explain so surprising a fact, one must suppose:
Either that the people of the Indies naturally love slavery, that they seek misery, tortures, and shame, as others seek liberty, riches, joys, and honor. But such a people is simply an impossibility, for we see that everything which lives, not only men, but the lowest, the smallest animal on this earth, rebels instinctively and just as far as it can, against every attempt to deprive it of its independence,— that is, of the conditions of its existence and of its natural development;
Or else that Brahma, the incarnation of Mazzini’s eternal Divinity at that epoch of history and in that country, himself descended in person, invested with his overwhelming power, from his heaven, to impose this hard slavery upon the peoples of the Indies. But Mazzini, while professing a fanatical faith in and an ardent worship for his God, refuses him the pleasure and the right of revealing himself directly, of showing himself personally on the earth.
If the Brahmins had at least promised the Indian people eternal happiness in return for temporary privations, sufferings, and slavery, as the Christian priests still do today when they come to preach submission and-resignation to the proletariat of Europe. But no; the Brahmins have been, in this respect at least, much more honest than our priests; they demand all and promise nothing. In their religion there is neither deliverance nor salvation for the parias, either in this world or the other; for them there is only eternal slavery.
There remains, therefore, only one supposition: this is that the priests of Brahma, his revealers, his prophets, had been endowed by him with such eloquence and such great powers of persuasion that, without recourse to supernatural means, to miracles,— since Mazzini himself denies the possibility of this sort of miracles,— without recourse even to force, that last and powerful argument of all historical religious,— by the sole power of their divinely inspired propaganda, they were able to convert the masses and subject them to this eternal slavery.
They came to say to free men, who only the day before had been more or less their equals: “Wretches I prostrate yourselves! and know that, having come from the foot and perhaps from a still baser part of the body of Brahma, you must serve us eternally as slaves, because we came, some from his head, others from his arm!” And the millions of free Hindoos, suddenly converted by this divine eloquence, flung themselves on the ground, crying with one voice: “Yes, we are wretches, parias, and we will serve you as slaves!”
Of all the suppositions which Mazzini’s singular theory imposes on us this is the least absurd, and yet it is so absurd that our good sense, sustained by all we know of the nature and habitual practice of men, revolts. We can conceive that men to whom these same revealers of the religion of Brahma had said, to some: “You must be the supreme arbiters of nature because you come from the head of Brahma,” and to others: “You are free and strong, and you must command because you come from his arm,” would have responded in unison: “Yes, you are a thousand times right, and may Brahma be greatly blessed! We will direct and we will command, and the vile rabble shall work for us, obey us, and serve us!” We can conceive this, because man is generally disposed to believe in what it is for his interest to accept. But to imagine that the masses, living men, in any stage whatever of civilization, could have accepted freely, simply in consequence of an entirely moral propaganda, a belief which, without the least hope and without the least compensation, condemns them to the state of pariahs is simply to show misunderstanding, not to say ignorance, of the most elementary bases of history and of human nature.
It is evident that this acceptation of the religion of the Brahmins by the Hindoo masses could not have been free, but that it was preceded and produced by the fact of their very real and wholly involuntary slavery, under the yoke of the” conquering tribes who came down from the plateau of the Himalayas upon the Indies,— a slavery of which this religion and this worship have been only the expression and later theological explanation. The hereditary castes, therefore, were not formed as a consequence of the theological vagaries of the Brahmins. They had a much more real foundation, and especially were the last resultant of a long struggle between different elements, between many social forces, which, after a long conflict, ended in a certain equilibrium that is now known as the social order of the Hindoos.
We know so little of the history of those far-away times and countries. The tribes who descended from the Himalayas to conquer the Indies had, undeniably, already had a previous history of struggles, of social relations more or less determined, of germs of political institutions, in short, a religion, or even several religions, which had been the expression of all these historical realities. All these matters are entirely unknown to us. What we can and must suppose is that the invading power was not a simple power, but, on the contrary, very complex, a combination, not fixed, but moving and living, of popular elements and of diverse social forces which were constantly being modified and transformed within it. It must have been the same with the conquered tribes. The meeting of all those elements, each of which tended naturally to absorb all the others, must have produced a terrible and long struggle,— the eternal struggle for life, that supreme law of nature and society,— and the material result of this struggle was precisely the establishment of new relations between all these different social forces, in conformity with the relative and real power or weakness of each,— the at first wholly material institution of castes by the brutal triumph of preponderant forces.
To be continued.
* “Doveri dell’ nomo.”
“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.
A Princely Paradox.
Prince Kropotkine’s effort at fixing the “Scientific Bases of Anarchy” for the benefit of instruction-seekers in the London “Nineteenth Century” was at once a source of great disappointment and genuine pleasure to me. The disappointment was caused by the fact that the essay leaves me as completely in the dark as I was prior to its perusal in regard to that peculiar and mysterious trick by which men who are in the habit of daily offering worshipful prayers to the heavenly queen of Liberty manage to sandwich in a big slice of Communistic slave-heresy between their Anarchistic professions. To the uninitiated it has always seemed that absolute liberty — individualism — and the climax of despotic regulation,— Communism,— like two parallel lines, can never come in contact, and “Communistic Anarchism” sounded like a square triangle, an honest government, a right wrong, a Scientific State Socialist, or an autonomistic marriage. No amount of diligent research has thrown any light on this puzzling subject, and I was almost prepared to turn away from it in disgust, when the announcement of the appearance of Kropotkine’s article again revived my hope, only, as I remarked, to end in disappointment. But it is precisely this fact that no logical justification, no rational explanation, and no “scientific” reasoning has been, is, will be, or can be advanced in defence of that unimaginable impossibility, Communistic Anarchism, that makes me as jubilant as one who discovers his strongest adversary’s most fatally weak point should be. Prince Kropotkine is undoubtedly the most prominent Anarchistic writer and agitator in Europe; and, if ever he utterly fails to account for the presence of Communism in his philosophy, it evidently does not belong there.
First of all, we are given a definition of a Kropotkinian Anarchist which is truly original. An Anarchist is a person who, on the one hand, arrives at the “ultimate conclusion of Socialism,— that is, at a complete negation of the wage system and Communism,— and, on the other, at the conclusion that the ultimate aim of society is the reduction of the functions of government to nil.” Those who may be inclined to foster the suspicion that such an individual has been driven mad by learning during the long and exhausting process of arriving an such an extraordinary combination of conflicting conclusions will be reassured when they are informed that this Anarchist starts out with the conviction, “common to all Socialists, that the private ownership of land, capital, and machinery has had its time.” Not only is such “private ownership of requisites for production neither just nor beneficial,” but, aside from all considerations of this kind, we are compelled to recognize that we are reduced to a state of pitiful helplessness before the “tendency towards integrating our labor for the production of all riches in common, so as to finally render it impossible to discriminate the part due to the individual.” Of course, when it comes to that, rather than commit suicide, we shall probably accept the inevitable in a spirit of due resignation, and be content to dance to the music of “to each according to his needs,” etc., but, while it is yet not impossible to discriminate the part due to the individual, shall we be suffered to make our own terms and take what we can without any examination as to our needs, as to whether we are entitled to such things as cigars, bouquets, and theatre tickets, which the scientific and intellectual rank of the Avelings made needful to them, or whether bread and water fully satisfy our vulgar needs? No, frowns Kropotkine, “canals, railways, machines, and works of art, all these have been created by the combined efforts of generations past and present. Who is, then, the individual who has the right to say I have produced this, it belongs to me?” In a word, nobody can claim anything. It is clearly evident that there is no use for us to resist any longer. We belong to society, to which we must consecrate all our powers and capacities, while society has to take care of us, marry us, prescribe the number of children we are to bring into the Communistic world, and dispose of our remains after merciful death relieves us from this bondage (or perhaps society will also fix the time and mode of our deaths).
But, to be serious, is it not discouraging to have to witness the at once sad and comic spectacle of such a man as Prince Kropotkine exhausting his power in the attempt to ride two horses with the result of finding himself stretched on the ground, terribly bruised and disfigured, at the very starting point, when he could safely and speedily “get there” riding that noble animal, Liberty? Why is it that people will not see the truth, which is so simple and plain? What the Anarchistic Communists really want is equality of opportunities, and if they should make a determined and special effort to understand themselves, they would probably succeed in cleaning up the fog and confusion which prevent them from grasping the idea that free competition not only destroys the vitality of idle capital and secures to the laborer his natural wages,— an exact equivalent of his product,— but also places “at the disposal of all” the “means of production and of satisfaction of all needs of society.” Under Liberty the idle capitalist will have nothing but his accumulations to draw upon, and the laborer will receive neither more nor less than the full value of his product,— which will be equal to its cost; hence all those things which have been “created by the combined efforts of generations past and present” are in no danger of being monopolized by any one individual or set of individuals. It is not necessary for us to “discriminate the part due to the individual.” What our chief concern should be is the establishing of such conditions as will naturally tend to accomplish this result,— the giving of his due to each producer. And these conditions are found in the “dissolution of government in the economic organism.”
A Puppet for a God.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Please accept my thanks for your candid answer to my letter of November 11, 1886. It contains, however, some points which do not seem to me conclusive. The first position to which I object is your statement that voluntary association necessarily involves the right of secession; hereby you deny the right of any people to combine on a constitution which denies that right of secession, and in doing so attempt to force upon them your own idea of right. You assume the case of a new State attempting to impose its laws upon a former settler in the country, and say that they have no right to do so; I agree with you, but have I not as much reason for assuming a State including no previous settler’s homestead and voluntarily agreeing to waive all right of secession from the vote of the majority? In any such State I claim, then, that any number becoming an Anarchist, or holding any views differing from those of the general body, is only right in applying them within the laws of the majority.
Such seems to me to represent the condition of these United States; there is very little, if any, record of any man denying the right of the majority at their foundation, and, in the absence of any such denial, we are forced to the conclusion that the association and the passage of the majority rules were voluntary, and, as I said before, resistance to their government beyond the legal means by an inhabitant is practically denying the right of the others to waive the right of secession on entering into a contract. The denial of any such right seems to me to be irrational.
Of course none of this applies to the Indians, who never did and never will come into the government. I do not, however, think that their case invalidates the argument.
In the second place, I object to your quotation of my phrase, “grand race experience,” as grandiloquent. If we have anything grand, it is this “race experience”; denying its grandeur, you either deny the grandeur and dignity of Man, or else, as you seem to do, you look hack fondly to some past happy state in some “Happy Valley” of Eden from which man has been falling till now he can say, “all the evils with which mankind was ever afflicted were products of this ‘grand race experience.’” It does indeed seem to me to be to you a “spook” and more: an ogre, The Devil going about devouring all good, rather than, as it seems to me, the manifestation of Divinity,— the divinity of Man, which has produced, not alone the evil in us, but has produced us as we are, with all our good and ill combined.
It is the force which is as surely leading us up to Anarchy and beyond as it has led us from the star-dust info manhood. It is the personification of our evolution, and, while no man may either advance or retard that evolution to any very considerable extent, still it seems to me that much more can he accomplished by acting with it than across its path, even though we may seem to he steering straight towards the harbor for which it is tacking.
The other night I attended a meeting of the Commonwealth Club of New York City, and there listened to the reading and discussion of a paper by Mr. Bishop of the “Post” on the effects of bribery at elections, concerning the amount of which Mr. Wm. M. Ivins had given so many startling figures at an earlier meeting. Mr. Bishop recited the long list of party leaders, and characterized them in their professions and practices.
The whole unsavory story, only too familiar to us all, did not daunt him in his belief that the government is a part of the true curve of development, but only incited the proposal of a remedy, which consisted in substituting the State for the party machine in the distribution of the ballots and in the enactment of more stringent bribery and undue influence acts,— in fact, a series of laws similar to those English laws of Sir Henry James, which are in force there at the present time and which seem to act to a certain extent beneficially.
In closing, after recognizing the difficulty in passing any reform measures, he quoted Gladstone’s memorable appeal to the future for his vindication, claiming a common cause with all reformers and with Time which is fighting for them.
The reading of this paper was followed by an address from Mr. Simon Sterne, advocating the minority representation of Mill, and one by Mr. Turner who appealed for an open ballot.
Immediately Mr. Ivins rose, and, after showing that no open ballot could be free, as even asking a man for his vote is a form of coercion, proceeded on the lines of Mr. Bishop’s closing quotation to show that the reform then proposed was but a link in the long chain which is leading us irresistibly onward; that not in State supervision, or in minority representation, or in any measure at present proposed, was there an adequate solution of the problem, but that they were each logical steps in progress. Progress which may end in a State Socialism or in Anarchy or in what not, but at any rate in The End which is right and inevitable. We cannot any of us turn far aside the course of this progress, however we may act. We can but put our shoulder to the wheel and give a little push onwards according to our little strength. Except at great epochs, the extremists diminish their effect by diminishing their leverage; the steady, every-day workers who strive for the right along the existing lines purify the moral tone of the times and pave the way for those great revolutions when the world seems to advance by great bounds into the future.
Should we not, then, strike hands with these men of the Commonwealth Club, and, burying our differences of ultimate aims, if differences exist, work in and for the present?
I sat at that dinner with Republicans and Democrats, Free Traders and Protectionists, all absorbed with the one idea of advancement and working for that idea with heart and soul. Their influence will he felt, felt not only now, but in the future, even the future of a happy Anarchy; reaching out after and touching that state before some of its more uncompromising adherents.
When the days are ripe for a revolution, then let there be no compromise; the compromise will come in spite of us. But to fly against the wall of an indolent public sentiment is folly, while each man, Anarchist or not, can do something towards the purification of the existent order of things, or at least should withhold the hand of hindrance from earnest workers in that field.
Frederic A. C. Perrine.
7 Atlantic St., Newark, N.J., April 1, 1887.
[When I said, in my previous reply to Mr. Perrine, that voluntary association necessarily involves the right of secession, I did not deny the right of any individuals to go through the form of constituting themselves an association in which each member waives the right of secession. My assertion was simply meant to carry the idea that such a constitution, if any should he so idle as to adopt it, would be a mere form, which every decent man who was a party to it would hasten to violate and tread under foot as soon as he appreciated the enormity of his folly. Contract is a very serviceable and most important tool, but its usefulness has its limits; no man can employ it for the abdication of his manhood. To indefinitely waive one’s right of secession is to make one’s self a slave. Now, no man can make himself so much a slave as to forfeit the right to issue his own emancipation proclamation. Individuality and its right of assertion are indestructible except by death. Hence any signer of such a constitution as that supposed who should afterwards become an Anarchist would be fully justified in the use of any means that would protect him from attempts to coerce him in the name of that constitution. But even if this were not so; if men were really under obligation to keep impossible contracts,— there would still be no inference to be drawn therefrom regarding the relations of the United States to its so-called citizens. To assert that the United States constitution is similar to that of the hypothesis is an extremely wild remark. Mr. Perrine can readily find this out by reading Lysander Spooner’s “Letter to Grover Cleveland.” That masterly document will tell him what the United States constitution is and just how binding it is on anybody. But if the United States constitution were a voluntary contract of the nature described above, it would still remain for Mr. Perrine to tell us why those who failed to repudiate it are bound, by such failure, to comply with it, or why the assent of those who entered into it is binding upon people who were then unborn, or what right the contracting parties, if there were any, had to claim jurisdiction and sovereign power over that vast section of the planet which has since been known as the United States of America and over all the persons contained therein, instead of over themselves simply and such lands as they personally occupied and used. These are points which he utterly ignores. His reasoning consists of independent propositions between which there are no logical links. Now, as to the “grand race experience.” It is perfectly true that, if we have anything grand, it is this, but it is no less true that, if we have anything base, it is this. It is all we have, and, being all, includes all, both grand and base. I do not deny man’s grandeur, neither do I deny his degradation; consequently I neither accept nor reject all that he has been and done. I try to use my reason for the purpose of discrimination, instead of blindly obeying any divinity, even that of man. We should not worship this race experience by imitation and repetition, but should strive to profit by its mistakes and avoid them in future. Far from believing in any Edenic state, I yield to no man in my strict adherence to the theory of evolution, but evolution is “leading us up to Anarchy” simply because it has already led us in nearly every other direction and made a failure of it. Evolution, like nature, of which it is the instrument or process, is extremely wasteful and short-sighted. Let us not imitate its wastefulness or even tolerate it if we can help it; let us rather use our brains for the guidance of evolution in the path of economy. Evolution left to itself will sooner or later eliminate every other social form and leave us Anarchy. But evolution guided will try to discover the common element in its past failures, summarily reject everything having this element, and straightway accept Anarchy, which has it not. Because we are the products of evolution we are not therefore to be its puppets. On the contrary, as our intelligence grows, we are to be more and more its masters. It is just because we let it master us, just because we strive to act with it rather than across its path, just because we dilly-dally and shilly-shally and fritter away our time, for instance, over secret ballots, open ballots, and the like, instead of treating the whole matter of the suffrage from the standpoint of principle, that we do indeed “pave the way,” much to our sorrow, “for those great revolutions” and “great epochs” when extremists suddenly get the upper hand. Great epochs, indeed! Great disasters rather, which it behooves us vigilantly to avoid. But how? By being extremists now. If there were more extremists in evolutionary periods, there would be no revolutionary periods. There is no lesson more important for mankind to learn than that. Until it is learned, Mr. Perrine will talk in vain about the divinity of man, for every day will make it more patent that his god is but a jumping-jack. — Editor Liberty.]
Annie Besant and G. W. Foote, two English atheists and the former a recent convert to Socialism, debated the question, “Is Socialism Sound?” at the London Hall of Science on the four Sunday evenings of February. Both debaters failed to follow the logic of their respective positions, Mrs. Besant stopping short of Communism in State Socialism, and Mr. Foote stopping short of Individualism in Land Nationalization. The consequence was that they made mince meat of each other, but failed to give the public any complete and satisfactory idea of either side of the question. I refer to it chiefly for the purpose of commenting upon Mrs. Besant’s impeachment of the translation of Proudhon’s La propriété, c’est le vol by the sentence, “Property is robbery,” as rough and inaccurate. The nearest equivalent of propriete, she said, would be “estate.” Mrs. Besant is grossly in error. Neither word, “property” nor “estate,” taken in its ordinary meaning, represents Proudhon’s idea, which was legally privileged wealth. But the word “property” comes as near to his thought in English as the word propriété does in French, and the two words, in their economic significance, are almost exact equivalents. The fact which Mrs. Besant fails to notice is that Proudhon intended his use of the word propriété to be startling in its novelty; consequently any translation of his phrase which failed to represent this intention would fail of the effect he desired and designed.
I am requested to state, and to ask other papers to copy the statement, that in Montana there are more laborers, skilled and unskilled, than are needed, that wages there are rapidly going down, and that men in search of work should not visit that territory. Liberty willingly gives circulation to this warning, but accompanies it with the remark that, when the laborers of Montana find out that what they really need is not less labor, but more capital in the shape of a larger monetary representation of existing wealth, and insist on getting it by the only means which will permanently and successfully secure it,— free competition in banking,— they will no longer need to warn off strong arms and skilled hands anxious for occupation, but will welcome them as inevitable contributors to the general prosperity. While the money monopoly lasts, however, those who go there will either die themselves or cut the throats of those already there. But where, then, shall they go?
The United States government made a treaty with the Crow Indians guaranteeing to them the possession of certain laud in common “so long as grass grows and water runs.” Commissioner Atkins wants the tribe to give up the land, but the Indians point to the treaty. Mr. Atkins says: “If this government can annul State laws by decisions of the supreme court, and otherwise control States through a central power, as the war decided it could, then its power over the Indian is just as great, and no independent nation can exist within our borders, and Congress has power to deal with the Indian as it sees fit. If we cannot carry this matter by persuasion, we must resort to other means.” In plain terms, the government can and will perpetrate any infamy that brute force is capable of achieving. In what respect does a republic differ from any other form of despotism?
Afraid of a Better Article.
A sample of grease for table use, which Professor White half pronounced to be oleomargarine, the government chemists decided to be butter. The professor,to abolicate his opinion, declares that oleomargarine is about the same as butter, only differing from butter, if at all, in being better butter than butter itself. This goes to show what real urgency there was for the oleomargarine tax. The dairy formers, imperiously claiming the fostering care of a paternal government, needed no protection against an inferior article in their line of production; it was only an equal or superior article which they had reason to dread in the field of free competition.
I thank John F. Kelly for his labor and thought on “Morality and its Origin.” His first paragraph contains two good Egoistic expressions. He is saying and doing of his own desire what some would persuade us not to expect except from a sense of obligation or duty.
To my understanding there is no inconsistency in my articles. Language is algebraical, and ideas of right can be resolved into ideas of power, capacity, and need, and these into the things in which, for the process of reasoning, power is assumed to inhere. It is noticeable that among the people the idea of right is giving place to that of ability. I am glad Mr. Kelly has seen Stirner’s book. If he has read it very carefully and with perfectly open mind, I wonder that he still requires any definition of Egoism. If Stirner said hard things of right and truth, he also said that man is a phantom. This should challenge careful reading. Egoism deals with facts, breaks and dissolves the dominion of ideas, and does not propose to reestablish it in definitions and doctrines. Things can be perceived and named; motives, actions, and consequences appreciated and described. Observe in the following quotation how Stirner uses the word truth in its real sense:
The discoverer of a great truth well knows that it may be useful to other men, and, as a greedy withholding would bring him no enjoyment, he communicates it. — Der Einzige and sein Eigentum, p. 136.
Here I may introduce a sentence from page 130 on progress:
The men of future generations will yet win many a liberty of which we do not even feel the want.
Certainly the abstract idea of right is in opposition to that of might. Force is real and, in many forms, independent of sensation and sentiment. Therefore it is said that might transcends right. A declaration of rights is often the pitiful expression of a lack of power. Just now a report says that a speaker at Chicago declared they had a right to overthrow society by force. I call that idea a foolish phantasy, the abstract, fixed, fanatical idea of right severed from circumstances which determine abilities. The devotee of the fixed idea is mad. He either runs amuck, or cowers as mesmerized by the idea. The New York “Standard” says of the rich: “It is no excuse for them that the poor would do the same thing.” Say rather it is only an excuse. Moralists labor in long discussions of such excuses. Egoism would render such excuses impotent and such a line of discussion unnecessary. M. Harman of Kansas has suggested going on unoccupied land and fighting it out there, because the abstract right appears, though the fight would be a losing one: idiocy produced by the fixation of the idea, or a foolish phantasy. The same remark for the “Truth Seeker’s” suggestion to Henry Appleton that, if one objects to taxation, one “ought” not to walk on pavement laid with means derived from taxation. The same for punctilios about oath-taking, about telling the truth under all circumstances, about keeping promises because they are promises,— a weakness which delays the dissipation of that intrusive despotism which alone desires to fortify itself by exacting promises. By action showing quiet contempt for undesired fancied duties to ideas and “principles,” the principal himself, Ego, reduces bigotry and all tyranny to despair, and compels the importunate to desist from what they soon discover to be useless. Egoism has many practical suggestions for people in business, love, and other relations, and especially for the Anarchistic propaganda.
The intellect which has physical forces at command sometimes crushes the idealist; then what becomes of the ideas which were in his brain? The utilitarian definition of right has its meaning in that course of conduct which a utilitarian association finds desirable for itself; but, when an individual attempts to judge what is best for everybody, he is apt to make mistakes, and when he sacrifices his own welfare to an idea of the general welfare, he may see shrewder individuals profiting by his error; and, though the moralist may pronounce his conduct admirable, the result is not happy. Egoism helps the utilitarians and all others to comprehend the logic of the existence of bodies. Each body makes its declarations of what it wants as if it were an Ego. If the persons composing it are not real Egos, they will probably take the reason of the association for their reason and sacrifice themselves in circumstances where conditions are not reciprocal, or as assumed in the theory. But the real Ego has a sure rule in himself for himself. Each person is a fact.
The man who wrings from another the fruit of his labor excites me to hostility by this wringing, or wrong, because I will not suffer it if I can help it; but my suffering is not a contest between a moral principle and my own self, but the result of an offence to myself, an obstacle to the realization of my desire.
A theologian, a moralist, and myself condemn rape, and will try to prevent it. The first says that he bases his action upon the law of God, which he obeys. The second says that he bases his action upon a moral law, which he obeys. These are ideas of duty. The theologian cannot conceive that he would be moved to prevention without the law of God; hence he distrusts the moralist as having only a shadowy sanction to control him. The moralist smiles contemptuously at the obtuseness of the theologian, but suffers from his bigotry. Then the moralist turns upon me and treats me as the theologian treated him. My natural inclinations are “not sufficient restraint,” he thinks, and so forth, and not sufficient incitement to do well. But really I am well, when I am whole, and holiness is but a fantastic image, made by ignorance, of wholeness. And when I am well, I shall want to do well. The first two may preach duty to the rapist. Suppose they succeed in restraining him hy that influence. It must he so powerful, if it overcomes his will, as to make him subject to indoctrination in general. If to the views of the theologian, then he is ready for religious fanaticism, and — misery of parodies — the very same authority will teach him, now subject to its doctrines, that with religious sanction he may bind a woman to himself in marriage and commit rape upon her person as often as he likes. Moralisin offers no better “guarantee,” none whatever in fact. To dominate and control the man it must, have an influence over him which, after restraining him from committing the offence in question, will fit him to commit any offence against persons when the moral idea, the greatest good of humanity, dictates it. Filled with the idea that he is a vessel of humanity devoted to the welfare of the “social organism,” what guarantee is there that he will not become the instrument of Huxley in extirpatpating Anarchists as carbuncles upon the said organism? What guarantee can there be that the moralized rapist will not, hy force of the very idea to which he surrendered,— the idea, namely, of duty to the social organism,— become persuaded that the social organism needs scientific culture at the root as well as the pruning already mentioned, and that consequently in the cause of humanitarian science it may become his duty to commit a number of scientific rapes upon a number of women, whose Egoism, however, is detestably refractory to the sacrifice demanded by the general welfare. The dog returns to his vomit. My simple Egoism may not furnish abstruse arguments against rape, but it will not furnish the respect which now maintains rape as the recognized method of propagation and would render my life a forfeit if I followed my native impulse and slew a dozen rapists a day. But they believe that they are doing right. It is the general welfare which overrides the welfare of the individual woman.
I think the world is well stocked with sympathy. I see much expense at funerals; a wonderful amount of patriotism, ready to war for fixed ideas; the red Cross society is liberally supported; even money-lenders are sincerely quick to relieve their victims; and an anaesthetic bullet has been invented.
As for men, or men, animals, and plants, being an organism, I do not need to discuss that. I should have to inquire as to the specific and individual characteristics of the organism. The idea is doubtless a relief from the mechanical idea of political institutions. We have the phenomena of life before us, and can judge of them as they present themselves. If I am a molecule or anything else in an organism, that is all right. I am what I am. And if old theology was a reflection of man, then surely Egoism is the fulfillment of the world’s travail, for God is pictured as acting spontaneously, without a thought of duty, or pressure against his inclinations, and yet the source of all good. But if it is suggested by the moralist that I shall waive anything upon being convicted of being part of an organism, my stubborn personality may defeat the scheme, as Egoistic anti-prohibitionists defeat prohibitory laws which lack only the consent of victims. I shall not waive anything, and yet I shall be as serene and content to be a molecule, if I am one, as to be anything else, even a grain of iron tonic for the organism, or the grain of strychnine that sends it to kingdom come, or a flea upon a dog (the flea and the dog being parts of the same organism?)
Mr. Kelly’s sketch of morals does not effectively antagonize Egoism, because sympathy for persons is Egoistic when it is natural. I do not attack that feeling as superstitious, and I do not attack any feeling upon the ground that the person cannot account for it. I attack an superstitious what is called moral obligation, the oppressive sense of duty, a trace of which is conveyed in Mr. Kelly’s words, “this feeling that one should so act.” Genuine personal sympathy is spontaneous. It is possible that Mr. Kelly’s is wholly so. In places he writes somewhat like an Egoist of fine sentiment, but his entire misapprehension about Egoism, as repeatedly explained, goes further than his particular use of the words “should” and “ought” and his talk about morality to show that he cannot be an Egoist. For, had he been an Egoist, he would have “caught on” to some of the numerous statements by Stirner or myself which would show him that Egoism, or selfhood, has nothing in the world to do with broad or narrow caricatures upon it. If a man is small or large in capacity or range of capacities, yet if he owns himself and is awed by no command, bewitched by no fixed idea or superstition, but does everything with a sense that his acts are his own genuine, personal, sovereign choice,— under whatever pressure of material circumstances and necessary yielding thereto,— then the man is an Egoist, or one conscious that he is a genuine Ego, an individual, a free man according substantially to Proudhon’s definition of a free man, printed as a motto in Liberty last year. If the moralists, like the theological religionists, are so sceptical about personal character as to have no confidence in its produeing good behavior, the Egoist will only say this,— that he discovers in himself nothing which he can call moral obligation. You may therefore observe his ads if you care to do so, and perhaps you will discover that what you vainly attributed to the restraint of moral obligation is the spontaneous nature of yourself, but debased with the alloy of scepticism as to your own personal character. In this view, what becomes of the proposed just mean between Egoism and Altruism? It is, of course, the result of a ridiculous perversion of terms. In the first place Egoism was degraded together with human nature, its subject, to the greater glory of God. Then, Egoism having been assigned the popular meaning which implies that a man without an infusion of divine grace or moral efficacy will simply grub to satisfy hunger and vanity, Altruism was invented to mean doing acts to benefit others. There are no Egoists who do not do many acts to help others. Generosity is perfectly Egoistic. There is no quality so distinctively so, in contrast with dutiful moralism. It is a flower of character, without the slightest taint or smut of moral police forces in the forum of consciousness. Popular instinct and common sense recognize this fact even in the narrowest phase of individuality,— egotism. People tlatter a man’s vanity, i.e. rouse his self-appreciation,— when they want to profit, by his generosity. Vanity is a mortal foe to reverence.
The Egoist aets to gratify himself and not from a foreign motive. But are all aets Egoistic? All acts of unadulterated Egos are so. We cannot ignore the plain fact that men succumb to the domination of ideas. They are from infancy taught to believe and to practise and obey, and to regard Egoism as the worst of all faults, and reverence, dutifulness toward something or other, as necessary; some standard outside of their own tastes and desires as authoritative and guiding; some things as sacred, not to be touched or brought into question. This is religion, and, as diluted, moral obligation; and it is so proved by the dread that everything will go wrong if men have only their own desires and intelligence as factors determining their conduct, or liberty and intelligence, as Proudhon has defined them. We call the anti-Egoistic influence fixed ideas, or spiritual domination. We say that we will possess ideas, but they shall not possess us. But for the surrender to fixed ideas and the drilling and teaching which maintain their dominion, the State and the Church would be only so many men, their sacredness gone. How long would their power endure against the surprise, ridicule, indifference, or aversion of a mass of Egoists? Superstition is a plant which grows from any hit of root left in the ground. If there is a single thing in which the individual shrinks from pursuing that in which he is most interested, or if he submits to control by ideas which have not come in the way that makes them part of himself, he is undone, precisely as, if any branch of government is established, it may bring back the whole apparatus of despotism. Freethinkers as to theology have changed masters when they have become moralists or remained patriots. Charles Bradlaugh wrote in his paper that the shores of England seemed to him more sacred than any others. To the Egoist there is nothing sacred. But, when Bradlaugh took an oath, and stated that his views were too well known for there to be any misunderstanding about it, be was in line with the Egoistic method of reducing bigotry: teaching the bigots that cob-webs do not bind real persons.
The secularists had their chance when their term was new, and they started officially non-political and with an intention to treat theology simply as a topic for individual expressions. Secularism itself was put forward as holding nothing sacred. But in a short time its founder, G. J. Holyoake, recanted by declaring that the secular is sacred in its influence on life and character. After that it could not be Egoistic, and for want of Egoistic affirmation it missed advancing to Anarchism, and reverted to an anti-theological protest,— the old formula of wailing “rights of conscience.”
To those who believe that Liberty will produce a better order than authority I would suggest a reconsideration if they have condemned Egoism. It is certain that whatever gets to the form of desire must be gratified or repressed. The habit of repressing certain desires for personal motives, wisdom, will be much more valuable to the individual than the habit of repressing them from a sense of cosmic duty. Whoever has outgrown that enslaving idea and found that the sun is not blotted out of his sky hits gained an experience which he would not relinquish for all the treasures of other men. Egoism is the solid base of Anarchism and of atheism. Though it does not necessarily render each Egoist agreeable to all other Egoists, it destroys the awe, reverence, and obedience upon which all despotisms thrive.
It is difficult to imagine all men as knowing what are the needs of all other men in taste and sympathy. It is less difficult to imagine all men as having become Egoists. Then, with the general diffusion of economic science rendering any overreaching conduct impossible in either case, Egoism seems to offer the advantage that it affords no leverage for any disposition which may arise to meddle with or exploit tastes and sympathies; while it utterly extirpates the moral craze or fanatical motive.
Let us suppose all men Egoists. How would the pope persuade people to support him? How would Bismarck persuade Germans that they have an individual interest in holding Alsace? How would Lord Salisbury persuade Englishmen that they have an interest in holding Ireland? How would Grover Cleveland persuade us to support him and coerce the Mormons? Yet natural sympathy would give all the aid required hy any Mormon woman who wanted leave her husband. In fact, if she were an Egoist, she can be restrained only by physical force; but we know neither compulsion nor any indoctrination in moral duty is necessary to cause natural affection. Egoism therefore points to a general letting alone, and to the consequent growth of people fitted by environment to live and let live. In this light the ridiculous dispute as to whether duality or variety in love is the better plan is simply referred to natural inclinations. The fittest will survive: an axiom which bespeaks the supremacy of material conditions, unconscious forces in part and other forces of which there is no consciousness in me. It means that that will survive which can survive. It does not mean that that which is judged most moral will survive. A hardy negro sailor would survive where Herbert Spencer would be drowned. The Egoists will survive in the long run, as they carry no useless baggage and keep their eyes open. They seek to disprove all things which they are able to disprove by scrutiny and shaking, and consequently they get rid of those unsound combinations among which unsound men are trying to survive. By getting at the unshakable for conditions the Egoist will attain the greatest simplicity of formula and the most solid basis for himself to be a survivor. Fittest for what? and how fit? For survival, and by ability to survive. The hyena steals the babe. The fittest (subject) survive, (predicate); or the survivor (subject) is called the fittest (predicate) without other idea or evidence of fitness. The ideal is that which is desired. Moralists ignore the potency of tilings in relation to produce desired results by generating personal desire to the point of efficient action.
The manners that best serve men, from any point of view can be determined only according to the character of the men concerned. For equitable commerce I need men of understanding and purpose, and first of all I need real men Then I can hope that economic science will be appreciated. As for the Egoists who prey upon the masses, they do so be cause the masses are exploitable material, easily beguiled filled with spiritual ideas, and entertained with moral doctrines.
The spiritual man is mad. We can do nothing with me who are not substantially whole men. Mr. Kelly’s idea that “society” may be diseased suggests for me the analogy o minds diseased. At least they are perverted, stuffed wit bigotry, and notions of fate, charms, luck, national glory party, duty, self-sacrifice, belief in their own tendency wickedness, therefore of the need of restraint. They are indoctrinated, not educated; taught to believe and to distrust their own nature even by moralists who do not suspect that moralism is in degree the same scepticism as religious faith. For education we need to begin with this: Be yourself. I affirm, not as a reason, but as a result, behavior satisfactor to others in a greater degree than from any moral system I affirm that selfhood is the law of nature (to use a convenient expression generalizing facts, not meaning a law to be obeyed and that mind ) are poisoned, debauched, deflected, and subjugated, that men are rendered insane, when they give them consent to place their mental centre of gravity outside o themselves; then they are not genuine individuals. The attraction of the outer world is for the Ego as a complete person acting without sense of pressure or dictation. For result if you say that some Egos are narrow and “selfish,” I say prefer them as narrow Egos rather than take the chances of what may happen should they acquire a “sense of duty” and become patriots, moralists, or exponents of any fixed idea whatever. Egoism is sanity. Non-Egoism is insanity.
Egoistic interest includes “all that may become a man.” Egoistic prudence is calculation as to the means of satisfying a desire or avoiding an undesired issue. It regards the good of another when I really desire that good. I watch the rising of good-will in myself and permit no idea to become my master. Ideas are my furniture, my possession. Feelings shall not he imparted to me; but they may be aroused. Egoistic self-denial will now be clear. Egoistic beneficence exist now. Egoistic justice and practical duty will be constituted in and by the presence of Egos and their mutual requirements. In dealing with insane people we cannot do any other justice than to do the best we can. The Ego who does no feel any sentiment for company can “flock by himself,” but when dealing with other Egos, he will find an adjustment established in all transactions upon the basis of the utter impossibility of any one who may be deficient as compared with others in sentiment, getting what he does not earn.
What boots it to preach ideas of Right and Wrong as motives? If you find believers, they are stuffed with your idea and have no root in themselves. But if you dispel fixed ideas and cultivate persons, you will have the sentiments and actions natural to real and unadulterated persons. There may be much seeming self-sacrifice, but, if it is made with pleasure, it is not self-sacrifice. If it is not made with personal satisfaction, it is insanity; it is real self-sacrifice. There is no just mean about the matter. If there an exact relation between myself and the rest of men, it will, I am sure, find its solution in my acting as a sovereign individual. I shall discover whether they are such or not, and treat them accordinglv. But thus I act at all events, and kindly to the weak. Let nature use me, if she will and can; I can at least say that she shall use me only condition that her organic purposes are effected by organic processes, and that my conscious will and satisfaction is the stamp of genuineness upon her processes so far as I am concerned. Digestion and assimilation, please: no hypodermic injections of spiritual powers. What is that power which would consricpt me, or come in, not at the door, but another way, climbing over the wall? It is a thief and a robber.
If without restraint I am dangerous in act, then put physical restraint upon me. That is your affair. If murder is the tendency of a mind unawed, the social sanction will want an eclesiastical despotism. If conscience means simply sentiment, not the conscience which does make cowards of all victims of spiritual hallucinations, I have nothing here to say of conscience. The tendency to murder is commonly asserted against Anarchy by all advocates of government. We reply as Anarchists that governments murder their millions, and so the dozen murders which might occur under Anarchism in a year would not seem to be much of an argument. I can leave the matter there in the same terms for Egoism, substituting spiritual ideas — i. e., fixed ideas — for government. And as government reposes upon the fixity of idea of i the people regarding the need of government, it is essentially dependent upon the continuance of the fixed idea. Egoism dissolves, not one fixed idea merely, but the habit and faith of fixity, therefore all, and furnishes the condition for the final eradication of all political domination; for it will not be thought that a dominion of military power would be possible without a glamour of belief or fixed idea in the people. So long, however, as moralists have influence to persuade men that they cannot and ought not to trust themselves as natural sovereigns obeying only the promptings of their own instincts, judgment, and natural sentiments, they will persuade them to a habit of deferring to doctrines of Right and Wrong, ideal, fantastic, utterly subversive of spontaneous action, and tending to continue and renew the influence of teachers and expounders; and these will have opportunity to build up hierarchies and governments. The treacherous enemy in the citadel is the fixed idea. Until the fixity is dissolved, the victim will demand only reforms and obtain only changes of masters.
Of course selfhood asserts itself against the physical tyranny of other persons, whether singly or aggregated, infamity, tribe, elan, nation; but self-ownership, so far as outward appearances are concerned, is largely admitted, and would follow as a result, if subjection were not secured by means of ideas. The power of the government to collect taxes; that of landlords to collect rent and hold open land,— would be exhausted and would utterly fail if it had not consent in the victims generally either directly to these exactions or to the system of which they are parts. We take liberty when ve no longer fed bound. The bondage of idea is now the great bondage. In matters already viewed Egoistically, such as drinking, sexual intercourse, gain, authority is practically defeated. Authority, whether of Egoists or fanatics, can be overthrown only by Egoism. The harlot, the gambler, the usurer, the libertine, persist in their individual course because they are not amenable to authoritative control except by actual, constant watching, and this would be too expensive. Their example teaches passive resistance, but passive resistance can come only when, as in these cases, the idea of duty to obey is removed. Egoism dispels it altogether, and exhibits the reality, Ego. Religion and moralism say that we may have passions, but we must not allow our passions to enslave us. The Egoist extends the suggestion to include ideas, he has ideas, but he remains the master of them, fully aware that any of them might grow upon him and enslave him, if permitted, such is the tendency to give to airy nothings a local habitation and fortify it against its owner. Moralism may say we ought to be free because that is beat for the totality. The Egoist says, to himself at least, “I am the master of myself.” Then he acts of course according to his natural character under the circumstances in which he may be placed. The Egoist cannot be bound, except in physical bonds, because there are no others. With the moralist, the stone is around the fruit to hold it in. With the Egoist, all the precious thoughts which are supposed by the moralists to create obligations are possessions which create desires; and personality cannot lead to all sorts of contradictory desires. No moral law is needed to prevent a nightingale from adopting the habits of a raven. The Egoist realizes that he is truly an animal, and that ideas have just as much existence as language, no more,— that is, they are processes. All the ideas he has he will use as he sees fit. If of a speculative intellectual turn, the Egoist cannot doubt that there is the greatest good for all in Egoism, and, as he can find satisfaction in proving it, he may undertake to do so.
Anarchism is the direct outgrowth of the natural fact of Egoism direct outgrowth against the visible enemy sustained upon the weakness of invaded and debauched personality. The new creation, in effect, is a banishment of unreal fascinations. Let there be men, and there are men, whole men.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 96.
It came from the castle, surely, and it was not the discharge of a single musket at a beast or a burglar, or the weapon of a drunkard emptied at the moon, but a roaring and prolonged rattle of musketry, of firing by platoons.
Instantly, Edith had a presentiment of what was happening.
“Michael, my son, killed!” said she, breathless, terrible, a fury.
And, dishevelled, her whole body shaken by a revengeful wrath, drawn up as if to hurl itself better, she rushed at Newington, who, unmoved before the daggers, before the guns, trembled in the face of this feeble, tottering old woman, whom a child might have knocked down with a push.
“My son,” repeated she, “they have murdered him. Ah! Duke! Duke of Death, your promises, your word!... infamous before, you are perjured now!”
She brandished her thin fist, the bones of which were prominent under the driedup, blue skin, and slapped the face of the Duke, whose wrath, however, still further roused by this offence, was tempered by the desire to exonerate himself.
“First,” said he, “no one or nothing has proved that the prisoner has been executed.”
“I can prove it,” said a new arrival, Nelly Burke.
She was on her way home, after the mass, and, on the road which overhung Cumslen-Park, she had seen perfectly, by the light of the lanterns, Arklow’s son led into the garden, fastened to a tree, and shot by the soldiers, at the command and before the eyes of the Duchess, leaning, during the preparations, against the balcony of a window.
“So be it!” said Newington; “but I am not a party to this execution. Admit, moreover, that it would be past comprehension if I had ordered it while you held me in your clutches. Yet concealed under this curtain, this old woman immediately betrayed me, she crying: ‘Vengeance!’”
Notwithstanding the correctness of this observation, they muttered sarcasms upon his courage; not even hesitating to throw it in his face that he was pleading with fear in his breast....
He pronounced this word in a thundering voice reinforced by the sound of his chest as he struck it roughly to affirm his personality, the bravery which they doubted!
This monosyllable, so accented, signified more than all phrases, all protests, and called up his brilliant past as a soldier, his boldness, his wounds, his exploits, the orders of the day in which his commanding generals praised him. And since, against all right and fairness, they suspected him of fear, well he accepted joint responsibility with the Duchess, from whom the order emanated, and he applauded this measure, only regretting that he had not been there to witness the spectacle. They hooted at him in mad rage.
“Shoot him, then, at once and without further beating about the bush!” said different voices in a tumult, an exasperation which Nelly Burke increased. She related that she had not only seen this horrible picture, but a hasty movement where the Britons were stationed, like an alarm, during which the lieutenant went up to Lady Ellen’s apartments to talk with her, while the men took up their guns, put on their cross-belts, and prepared to set out.
“To come here to deliver him!” they said, pointing to Newington.
“They must take away nothing but a corpse!”
“Only,” said Paddy, “we will demand a reward of Lady Ellen.”
“We shall have made her a widow, and she can marry Sir Richard.”
“It is for that purpose, moreover, that she has had Michael killed.”
“You lie!” cried Bradwell, entering by breaking the door and followed by an escort of soldiers.
Then, addressing the Duke:
“Help yourself, sir, and you are free!”
Newington had not waited for the invitation. Discharging his two pistols at once, he knocked down the two nearest aggressors, who parried while falling, and, though wounded himself, a ball in his shoulder and a stab in his thigh, he forced a passage with vigorous lunges of his weapons, receiving a shower of balls which lodged in his thick clothing, were flattened against the walls, and riddled the chest.
“But the children in the other room?” cried some one.
Marian, at the commencement of the hubbub, had taken them all out into the court, pushed them into the cellar, and, barricading them, quieted the fears of the smaller ones, and restrained the larger ones, who wished to plunge into the disturbance. Reassured as to the fate of the children, the hosts of the elect renewed, in the house invaded by the soldiers, the struggle which had been commenced, frightful in such a small space, where the musketry rattled, causing happily more noise than harm, with epic hand-to-hand struggles, the wounded stamped upon, and dagger-thrusts showered without cessation; blood streamed and spurted from the wounds, flooding the floor, staining the walls, and sprinkling in places the beams of the ceiling.
In vain Sir Bradwell tried to stop this butchery. He was ignorant of Marian’s decision in regard to him, not having seen the priest again and with good reason, and he did not yet dream of undertaking the atrocious work with which he had menaced the young girl some minutes before. Reentering the castle after leaving Treor’s house, and hearing of the preparations for the execution of Michael Arklow, he had made inquiries, and, learning from whom the orders came, he had gone to the apartments of the Duchess, and, questioning her, had had his suspicion aroused by her evasive answers, her annoyance at being questioned, her joy, her triumph when the little soldier, with a shattered skull, whirled round on himself and then lay stretched, with folded arms, on the ground.
But it was not so much this death that rejoiced her; and she did not feast herself again with the sight of the young corpse; she listened in the direction of the village, and the clamors which soon reached her ears from the dwelling of Marian’s grandfather transported her with joy.
But her spite almost immediately manifested itself. The tumult increased; it lasted, contrary to her expectations; doubtless this disappointed her so much that finally, forgetting Richard’s presence, she said aloud:
“What! they do not reply by the execution of the other! They are amusing themselves by insulting him: what are they waiting for?” And, her cheek red with wrath against these “imbeciles,” she inveighed against them, urged them on through the intervening space as if they could hear her at that distance and succumb to the suggestion of her ungovernable will....
“Ah! the old woman has not unmasked him yet, does not understand the gunshots; and these cries are not addressed to him!”
To be continued.
The Tyranny of Majorities.
Tyranny is the arbitrary dominion of one man over some other man, or a class of men over another class.
The difference between the rule of a class and that of a majority is vital.
Class rule continues the same so long its the ruling class continues.
No matter how often the individuals change, the monied class is the same in spirit and character.
But, as Proudhon says, the minority of today will be in the majority tomorrow, so that, the tyranny, so much feared by some, is only for a day.
Thus, while class rule perpetuates itself so long as it is tolerated, the rule of the majority brings its own remedy for any wrong.
As the primitive man always believes the false and does the wrong where there is a possible better, why, majorities are always wrong at first.
Majorities are always wrong as compared with the future, but always right as compared with the past.
When I was a boy, most people thought slavery to be right. Humanity is advancing continually.
So that under the rule of the majority we get the best expression of public sense of right.
Look back on the history of the world, and we find that the tyranny of all time has been that of the few over the many.
The crowd, the multitude, may do great wrong,— may rob the few and hew down the aristocrats, as in France in the great Revolution of 1789,— but tyranny comes always from the few.
Perfect freedom is not, yet. The great mass of mankind are mentally servile.
That degree of freedom enjoyed by any people is the outward manifestation of what exists in the brains of said people.
Well, some few see a truth before the many. And, as Emerson says, the truth rests with the minority, and for a time with a minority of one.
But can that one rule? No. But the time is coming when the Teacher will he our bes man, though not, perhaps, our ruler.
Even if I admit that the majority is tyrannical, you can suggest nothing better. Somebody must govern. And while the dictation of the majority may not be altogether agreeable, yet the rule of one man, or even of an oligarchy, is intolerable.
But, if the majority is in the wrong, why, I’ll go to work and teach them better.
[The mistake of “Apex” is rooted in the error that whoever holds an opinon on any subject must necessarily try to impose it upon others by force and compel them to act in accordance therewith. This is exactly the point denied by the opponents of majority tyranny, who are likewise opponents of majority tyranny, monarchical tyranny, and oligarchical tyranny. People who hold opinions may properly regulate their own lives by them, but they must not be allowed to regulate the lives of others against their will. If any attempt the latter course, whether they constitute a minority or a majority, it is for the victims to resist then, by whatever method they may deem most effective. And the Anarchists are doing just what “Apex” advises,— that is, teaching people better, to the end than those who know better may be, not necessarily a majority, but strong enough to protect themselves against invasion and tyranny. As soon as any large and compact body of people know the Anarchistic doctrine that there is no function for the government of man by man, they will throw off all tyranny, and this same knowledge will prevent them from becoming tyrants in turn. But, if they are taught “Apex’s” doctrine that the method of progress and enlightenment is by the imposition of one doctrine after another, they will know no method of avoiding tyranny except by becoming tyrants. What matters it that a given form of tyranny, or a given direction of tyranny, is for a day, if tyranny itself persists? — 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.