“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
In the next number of Liberty will begin the serial publication of a new essay by Dyer D. Lum, entitled: “Eighteen Christian Centuries: or, The Evolution of the Gospel of Anarchy. An Essay on the Meaning of History.” It will prove a most valuable contribution to the literature of the Anarchistic movement.
“Freiheit,” the organ of the firebugs, says that no workingman should ever be seen with a copy of Liberty in his hand. Does the workingman who is translating out of Liberty for “Freiheit” Sophie Kropotkine’s interesting novelette, “The Wife of Number 4,237,” shut himself up in a closet with his dictionary, or does he hire some bourgeois to hold the paper for him?
Instead of meeting my charges, “Freiheit” continues to discuss my motives. First it was jealousy that prompted me; now, it seems, it was greed. According to “Freiheit,” I was after gold, and so offered to sell my story to the New York papers. This is an absolute lie. I never offered to sell the story anywhere, never received a cent for it, never shall receive a cent for it, and am actually out of pocket in consequence of having come into possession of the facts about the firebugs.
The fact that Liberty is obliged to give short instalments of “The Wife of Number 4,237” is a very awkward one for “Freiheit,” which is publishing a German translation of the same from these columns. As “Freiheit” appears weekly, the story does not advance rapidly enough to keep it supplied. When thus forced to omit it, the editor inserts a paragraph saying that, “owing to press of matter;” the usual instalment of Sophie Kropotkine’s novelette is left out of the current number. This is one of the minor lies that Most does not scruple to tell. “Freiheit” is not only a firebug organ, but a humbug organ.
Tchernychewsky’s wonderful novel, “What’s To Be Done?” is concluded in the present issue, and will appear a few weeks hence as a large and handsome volume at a very moderate price. This romance occupies a unique place in literature. It is written with a simplicity and elevation of tone never attained, in my judgment, by any other writer of fiction. To the youth of Russia of both sexes it has been an ever-flowing fount of inspiration for more than twenty years, and mainly to its influence is their present progressive spirit to be attributed. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” itself was not more potent in moulding public opinion. It has been translated into many European languages, but never before into English. I look for great results from its circulation in this country.
“The Credit Foncier of Sinaloa” issues a calendar every month to its subscribers, in which, opposite each day of the month, appears a quotation from some representative author. On Sunday, May 30, 1880, the readers of that paper, which “asks for duty and not for liberty,” and “for State responsibility for every person at all times and in every place,” are invited to reflect upon the following remark of that eminent Anarchist, Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The less government we have, the better — the fewer laws and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal government is the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual.” The devil may be able to quote scripture to his purpose, but the authoritarian who attempts to quote Emerson is pretty sure to do so to his discomfiture.
Miss Rose Cleveland is said to have delivered her-self of the following: “I approve of evening dress which shows the neck and arms. I do not approve of any dress which shows the bust. Between the neck and the bust there is a line always to be drawn, and it is as clear to the most frivolous society woman as to the anatomist.” This attempt on the part of the “first lady of the land” to draw the line where modesty ends and immodesty begins is perhaps even less excusable than that of her brother, in his message to congress regarding Mormonism, to draw the line between marital virtue and vice. The president can at least claim to speak from experience. It was amply proven before his election that he is only a de jure bachelor, while the public have no evidence that his sister is not a de facto maiden. It certainly is to be hoped that no woman not a superannuated virgin would ever have given evidence of the prudish lunacy betrayed in the remarks attributed to Miss Cleveland.
The Time Has Come to Choose.
E. C. Walker, by way of comment on Liberty’s exposure of the firebugs, writes in “Lucifer” as follows:
It is none too soon that the warning has been sounded. For a long time I have been satisfied that the revolutionists were determined to precipitate a conflict upon us, but I was not prepared for the revelation of depravity which Mr. Tucker makes; and yet I ought not to be surprised, for men who will deliberately invoke the arbitrament of the sword and torch and bomb before they have made an attempt to establish a better order of things through peaceful agencies are men with whom human right and human lives count for little. Bad as is our existing system, it is perfection compared with the iron despotism which these men seek to establish. While fiercely denouncing the tyrannies of our present government, they know, many of them, nothing whatever of natural rights and individual liberty. They aim to destroy one tax-gathering machine simply that they may set up another in its place. These may seem harsh words for one reformer to use regarding others, but they need to be said. I know personally very many of these men, and I can cheerfully bear witness to their personal probity and intense desire to destroy the wrong and lift up the right; but I have never been able to disguise from myself the fact that they have no clear conceptions of the underlying causes of the evils against which they contend, and the further fact that their sole proposed remedy is in bloodletting. They are not able to tell us how the wholesale slaughter of the laboring men of the nations is going to establish equitable principles in economic and social life, and the society which they propose to establish in place of the old is to be based upon the principle that the individual is nothing and the society everything. They would have us wade through our brothers’ blood from the bad to the almost infinitely worse. They intend no such result as this, but from the sown dragon’s teeth of violence and personal subordination shall spring only the terrible growths of hatred, murder, and most horrible despotisms.
Anarchism stands for the rights of the individual man as against the assumed mastership of any State, nation, commune, or other collectivity. It defends the right of individual initiative, of personal choice in every department and activity of life. Anarchists can not and will not defend or apologize for the criminals who use it as a rallying word to call their followers to the field of rapine and carnage. We will not he held morally responsible for the crimes of those men, for we have ever exposed the fallacy of their principles, and denounced their methods as in everyway reprehensible.
Friends of peace, of construction, of liberty, of personal ownership,— separate yourselves alike from the governmentalists on the one hand, and the paternal Socialists, the self-styled “Anarchistic-Communists,” on the other. This is the crisis hour; how will you choose?
Another Brave Man Stands Up.
John Shrum, Secretary of Scammonville Group, I.W.P.A.:
Dear Comrade,— I have read over carefully Tucker’s article in Liberty of March 27, and I cannot find anything in it to warrant your assertion that he condemns the whole International for the acts he denounces so bravely and fearlessly. He certainly blames John Most. He says that Most knew of the acts of those men; and when asked by Justus Schwab to sever his connection with them, Most refused, and now denounces Schwab in his “Freiheit,” although Schwab is well known to be a good man. He (Tucker) certainly denounces, as he has always denounced, the doctrines of the Communists who call themselves Anarchists, and denies their right, as he has always done, to the title of Anarchist. He is, and has always been, right in this, as no Communist can claim to be an Anarchist. The two are as opposite as the poles, Communism being the very perfection of collective despotism, while Anarchism is the very perfection of Individual Liberty.
If the Communists are really desirous of realizing their doctrines, they have ample opportunity to do so in the present State. The United States government is getting ready to own the railroads and the telegraphs, and if Parsons and all the other Communists only throw themselves into the work with a will, it is a question of but a very short time when the United States will own the mines and factories, as well as all the other industries of the country,- with Parsons and other leaders as the distributing officers of the Great American Commune. It is all bosh for the Communists to shout for the destruction of the present system, when it is drifting as fast as it can to a Communism only a little less despotic than that of the shrieking Communists themselves.
Parsons said at Scammonville last summer that any man brave enough to desire to work outside of the Communistic groups, after the Revolution, would soon be compelled by ostracism and the freezing-out process to attach himself to some group, no matter what his opinions were, or how uncongenial to him those with whom lie had to associate. If this would not be the perfection of Tyranny, I want to know what is. To what a dead level of mediocrity this would reduce men, were such tyranny possible! But, thank Progress, this can never be possible among men who have the least conception of Liberty. Tucker is right when he calls upon the Anarchistic press everywhere to denounce the crimes he exposes in his paper. “He who is not against their crimes is for them.” The cause of true revolution cannot he forwarded by hiding such atrocities, or associating with their perpetrators.
If any members of the International believe in such acts, and call them revolutionary, then honest revolutionists can have no affiliation with them, and a revolt brought about by them would not be a benefit, but a curse,— a reign of plunder and murder, like the reign of Robespierre and other demons of the French Terror,— resulting in sending thousands of innocent people to the scaffold and the prison. An able, true Anarchist said once: “Correct ideas precede successful action.” The Communists of Chicago who call themselves Anarchists have not correct ideas; the revolutionists of Denver, who do not know whether they are Anarchist, Socialist, or Communist, but believe they are a mixture of all three, are as far from correct as the Chicago fellows; and the Socialists of San Francisco, who are now busy fighting the poor, harmless Chinaman, badly need the light of Tucker’s Liberty to dispel their gloom.
Revolutionists who desire correct ideas, and are honest in their desire for a state of society founded on Justice, should read Liberty, the only paper in America that advocates the complete emancipation of Labor (the “Alarm” to the contrary notwithstanding), the only paper that advocates the abolition of all government of man by man,— perfect Individual Sovereignty,— peaceful, harmonious, pure, unadulterated Anarchy.
Yours for truth,
Columbus, Kansas, April 14, 1886.
[Haven’t you forgotten “Lucifer,” Friend McLaughlin? — Editor Liberty.]
What’s To Be Done?
By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 79.
“She is brave!” exclaimed the three young people.
“I believe you!” said Mossoloff, with satisfaction.
“Have you known her long?”
“Almost three years.”
“And do you know him well?”
“Very well. Do not be troubled, I beg,” he added, addressing the members of the well-behaved party: “it is only because she is tired.”
Véra Pavlovna cast an interrogative glance at her husband and at Beaumont, and shoot her head.
“Tired! You are telling us tales,” said Kirsanoff.
“I assure you. She is tired, that’s all. She will sleep, and it will all pass over,” repeated Mossoloff in an indifferent and tranquil tone.
Ten minutes later Katérina Vassilievna returned.
“Well?” asked six voices. Mossoloff asked no question.
“She went to bed, began at once to doze, and probably is now fast asleep.”
“Didn’t I tell you so?” observed Mossoloff. “It is nothing.”
“She is to be pitied, nevertheless,” said Katérina Vassilievna. “Let us keep separate in her presence. You stay with me, Vérotchka, and Charlie with Sacha.” “But we need not trouble ourselves now,” said Mossoloff, “we can sing, dance, shout; she is sleeping profoundly.”
* * *
If she was asleep, if it was nothing, why should they trouble themselves? The impression made by the lady in black, which had disturbed their peace for a quarter of an hour, passed away, disappeared, was forgotten, not quite, but nearly. The evening gradually became what former similar evenings had been, and soon gayety reigned.
Gayety not unmixed, however; five or six times the ladies looked at each other with an expression of fear and sadness. Twice, perhaps, Véra Pavlovna said furtively in her husband’s ear: “Sacha, if that should happen to me?” The first time Kirsanoff made no answer; the second he said: “No, Vérotchka. that cannot happen to you.”
“Cannot? Are you sure?”
And Katérina Vassilievna also furtively said twice in her husband’s ear:
“That cannot happen to me, Charlie, can it?”
The first time Beaumont only smiled in a half-hearted and not very reassuring manner; the second he answered:
“In all probability that cannot happen to you.”
* * *
But these were only passing echoes, and were heard only at the beginning. But in general the evening went off joyously, and half an hour later quite gayly. They chattered and played and sang.
“She sleeps profoundly,” Mossoloff assured them, and he set the example. In truth they could not trouble her sleep, because the room where she was lying down was a long distance from the drawing-room, three rooms away at the other end of the suite.
* * *
Therefore the evening’s revelry was completely restored.
The young people, as usual, now joined the others, now separated from them; now in a body, now not; twice Beaumont had joined them: twice véra Pavlovna had turned them away from Beaumont and from all serious conversation.
They babbled a great deal; a great deal too much; they also discussed things together, but much less.
* * *
All were together.
“Well, what is there of good or evil?” asked the young man who a little while before had assumed a tragic attitude.
“More evil than good,” said Véra Pavlovna.
“Why so, Vérotchka?” said Katérina Vassilievna.
“At any rate life does not go on without it,” said Beaumont.
“An inevitable thing,” affirmed Kirsanoff.
“Altogether evil,— that is, very good,” decided, he who had started the question. His three companions nodded their heads, and said: “Bravo, Nikitine!”
* * *
The young people were by themselves.
“I never knew nim, Nikitine; but you seem to have known him?” said Mossoloff, inquiringly.
“I was then a mere boy. I saw him.”
“How do your memories seem to you? Do they tell the truth? Do they not exaggerate through friendship?”
“Has no one seen him since?”
“No. Beaumont was then in America.”
“Indeed; Karl Iakovlitch, I beg your attention for a moment. Did you not meet in America this Russian of whom they have been talking?”
“What caprice has entered my head?” said Nikitine: “he and she would make a good pair.”
“Gentlemen, come and sing with me,” said Véra Pavlovna. “Two volunteers! So much the better.”
Mossoloff and Nikitine remained by themselves.
“I can show you a curious thing, Nikitine,” said Mossoloff. “Do you think she is asleep?”
“Only you must say nothing about it. Afterwards, when you know her better, you can tell her that you saw her. But no one else. She does not like that.”
* * *
The windows of the room were raised a little.
“It certainly is the window where the light is.”
Mossoloff glanced in that direction.
“Yes, do you see?”
The lady in black was sitting in an easy chair, near the table. With her toft elbow she was leaning on the table; her hand lightly sustained her bowed head, covering her temple and a part of her hair. Her right hand was placed on the table, and her fingers rose and fell mechanically, as it playing some air. The lady’s face wore an immovable expression of reverie, sad, but still severe. Her eyebrows came together and slightly parted again, and vice versa.
“Always this way, Mossoloff?”
“Do you see? But come; else we shall take cold. We have been here a quarter of an hour.”
“How unfeeling you are!” said Nikitine, looking steadily at his companion, when they passed by the reflector in the ante-room.
“By constantly feeling one becomes unfeeling, my dear. To you it is a novelty.”
The refreshments were brought in.
“The brandy must be very good,” said Nikitine. “but how strong it is! It takes one’s breath away!”
“What a little girl! Your eyes are red!” said Mossoloff.
Everybody began to make fun of Nikitine.
“Oh! that’s only because I am choked up; were it not for that, I could drink,” said he, in self-justification.
They took note of the time. It was only eleven o’clock; therefore they could chatter half an hour longer; there was time enough.
Half an hour later Katérina Vassilievna went to awaken the lady in black. The lady came to meet her on the threshold, stretching as if she had just been asleep.
“Did you sleep well?”
“How do you feel?”
“Marvellously well. I told you before that it was nothing. I was tired, because I had been acting so wildly. Now I shall be more prudent.”
But no, she did not succeed in being prudent. Five minutes later she had already charmed Polosoff, was giving orders to the young people, and drumming a march or something of the sort with the handles of two forks on the table. At the same time she was urging a departure, while the others, whom her sauciness had already made quite gay, were not in such a hurry.
“Are the horses ready?” she asked, after having eaten.
“Not yet; the order to harness them has just been given.”
“Unendurable! But if that is the case, sing us something, Véra Pavlovna: I have heard that you have a fine voice.”
Véra Pavlovna sang.
“I shall ask you to sing often,” said the lady in black.
“It is your turn, it is your turn,” they cried on all sides.
The words were no sooner uttered than she was at the piano.
“All right! I do not know how to sing, but to me that is no obstacle! But, ladies and gentlemen, it is not at all for you that I sing; I sing only for my children. Children, do not laugh at your mother!”
She improvised a few strains on the piano by way of prelude.
“Children, do not laugh; I shall sing with expression.”
And, with a squeaking voice, she began to sing:
Un pigeon moite....
(A watered dove)
The young people shouted in surprise and the rest of the company began to laugh, and the singer herself could not help laughing too; but, after stifling her laughter, she continued, in a voice that squeaked twice as much as before:
Gémissait la nuit et le jour;
(AVailed night and day)
Il appelait son cher a———
(He called his dear I———)
At this word her voice trembled and at once failed her.
“It does not come; so much the better, it ought not to come; something else will come to me; listen, my children, to the teaching of your mother: do not fall in love, and be sure that you do not marry.”
She began to sing in a full, strong contralto:
Il y a bien des beautés dans nos aoules;
(There are many beauties in our Caucasian villages)
Des atres brillent dans la profondeur de leurs yeux;
(Stars shine in the depths of their eyes)
Il est bien doux de les aimer, oui, c’est un grand bonheur;
(It is very sweet to love them, yes, it is a a great happiness)
this is a stupid “but,” my children,—
Mais la liberté de garcon est plus joyeuse.
(But the bachelor’s liberty is more joyous)
this is no reason,— this reason is stupid,— and you shall know why:
Ne te marie pas, jeune homme,
(Do not marry, young man)
(Listen to me)
“Farther on comes a piece of nonsense, my children; this too is nonsense, if you like: one may, my children, both fall in love and marry, but only by choice, and without deceit, without deceit, my children. I am going to sing to you of the way in which I was married; the romance is an old one, but I also am old. I am sitting on a balcony in our castle of Dalton; I am a fair-skinned Scotchwoman; the forest and the Bringale River are before me; some one stealthily approaches the balcony; it is certainly my sweetheart; he is jpoor, and I am rich, the daughter of a baron, a lord; but I love him much, and I sing to him:
La ralde cote de Bringale est belle,
(The steep hill of Rrtngiue is beautiful)
Et verte est la foret an tour,
And green is the forest around)
Ou mon ami et moi trovous notre asile du jour,
(Where my friend and I find our retreat by day)
for I know that in the daytime he hides and changes his retreat every day,
Asile plus chéri que la maison paternelle.
(A retreat dearer Ilian the paternal roof)
For that matter, the paternal roof was not indeed very dear. So I sing to him: I will go with you. How do you think he answers me?
Tu veux, vierge, etre mienne,
(You wish, virgin, to be mine)
Oublier ta naissance et ta dignité;
(To forget your birth and your dignity)
for I am of high birth,—
Mais d’abord devine
(But first guess)
Quel est mon sort.
(What my lot is)
“You are a hunter?” I say. “No.” “You are a poacher?” “You have almost guessed it,” he says.
Quand nous nous rassemblerons, enfants des ténebres,
(When we shall gather, children of darkness)
for we, ladies and gentlemen, are children of very bad subjects,—
Il nous faudra, crois-moi,
(It will be necessary for us, believe me)
Oublier qui nous sommes d’abord,
(To forget who we were at first)
Oublier qui nous sommes maintenant,
(To forget who we are now)
he sings. “I guesses! long ago,” I say; “you are a brigand.” And it is really the truth, he is a brigand,— yes, he is a brigand. What does he say then, gentlemen? “You see, I am a bad sweetheart for you.”
O vierge, je ne suis pas l’homme digne de tes voeux;
(O virgin, I am not a man worthy of your vows)
J’habite les forets épaisses;
(I dwell in the thick forests)
that is the absolute truth,— “thick forests”; so he tells me not to accompany him.
Périlleuse seta ma vie,
(Perilous will be my life)
for in the thick forests there are wild beasts,—
Et ma fin sera biou triste.
(And my end will be very sad)
That is not true, my children; it will not be sad; but then I believed it, and he believed it too; nevertheless I answer him in the same way:
La raids cote de Briagaie est belle,
(The steep hill of Bringale is beautiful)
Et verte est la foret autour,
(And green is the forest around)
Ou mon ami et moi trouvous notre asile du jour,
(Where my friend and I find our retreat by day)
Asile plus chéri que la maison paternelle.
(A retreat dearer than the paternal roof)
Indeed, so it was. Therefore I could reget nothing: he had told me where I was to go. Thus one may marry, one may love, my children,— without deceit and knowing well how to choose.
La lune se leve
(The moon rises)
Lente et tranquille,
(Slowly and peacefully)
Et le jeune gnerrier
(And the young warrior)
Se prépare au combat.
(Prepares for the combat)
Il charge son fusil,
(He loads his gun)
Et la vierge lui dit:
(And the virgin says to him)
“Avec audace, mon amour,
(Boldly, my love)
Confie-toi a ta destinée.”
(Entrust yourself to your destiny).
With such women one may fall in love, and one may marry them.”
(“Forget what I said to you, Sacha; listen to her!” whispers one of the women, pressing his hand. — “Why did I not say that to you? Now I will speak of it to you,” whispers the other.)
“I allow you to love such women, and I bless you, my children:
Avec audace, cher amour,
(Boldly, dear love)
Confie-toi a ta destinée.
(Entrust yourself to your destiny)
I have grown quite gay with you; now, wherever there is gayety, there should be drinking.
Hé! ma cabaretiere,
(Ho! my hostess)
Verse-moi de l’hydromel et du vin,
(Pour me some mead and wine)
Mead, because the word cannot be thrown out of the song. Is there any champagne left? Yes? Perfect! Open it.
Hé! ma cabaretiere,
(Ho! my hostess)
Verse-moi de l’hydromel et du vin,
(Pour me some mead and wine)
Pour que ma tête
(That my head)
(May be gay)
Who is the hostess? Me:
Et la cabaretiere a des sourciU noirs
(And the hostess has black eyebrows)
Et des talons ferrés!
(And iron heels)
She rose suddenly, passed her hand over her eyebrows, and stamped with her heels.
“Poured! Ready! Ladies and gentlemen, you, old man, and you, my children, take it and drink it, that your heads may be gay!”
“To the hostess, to the hostess!”
“Thanks! to my health!”
She sits down again at the piano and sings:
Que le chagrin vole en éclats!
(Let sorrow fly away in shouts)
and it will fly away,—
Et dans des coeurs rajeunis
(And into rejuvenated hearts)
Que l’inalterable joie descende!
(Let unalterable joy descend)
and so it will, probably.
La sombre peur fuit comme un ombre,
(Dark fear flees like a shadow)
Des rayons qui apportent le jour,
(Rays that bring the day)
La lumiere, la chaleur, et les parfums printaniers
(Light, warmth, and the spring perfumes)
Chassent vite les ténebres et le froid:
(Quickly drive away the darkness and cold)
L’odeur de la pourriture diminue,
(The odor of decay diminishes)
L’odeur de la rose croit sans cesse.
(The odor of the rose ever increases)
Change of Scene.
“Au passage!” said the lady in black to the coachman, though now she was no longer in black: a light dress, a pink hat, a white mantilla, and a bouquet in her hand. She was no longer with Mossoloff alone: Mossoloff and Nikitine were on the front seat of the barouche; on the coachman’s seat was a youth; and beside the lady sat a man of about thirty. How old was the lady? Was she twenty-five, as she said, instead of twenty only. But if she chose to make herself old, that was a matter for her own conscience.
“Yes, my dear friend, I have been expecting this day for more than two years. At the time when I made his acquaintance (she indicated Nikitine with her eyes), I only had a presentiment; it could not then be said that I expected; then there was only hope, but soon came assurance.”
“Permit me!” says the reader,— and not only the reader with the penetrating eye,but every reader,— becoming more stupefied the more he reflects: “more than two years after she had made Nikitine’s acquaintance?”
“But she made Nikitine’s acquaintance at the same time that she made that of the Kirsanoffs and the Beaumonts, at the sleighing-party which took place towards the end of last winter.”
“You are perfectly right.”
“What does this mean, then? You are talking of the beginning of the year 1865?”
“But how is that possible, pray?”
“Why not, if I knew it?”
“Nonsense! who will listen to you?”
“You will not?”
“What do you take me for? Certainly not.”
“If you will not listen to me now, it is needless to say that I must postpone the sequel of my story until you will deign to listen. I hope to see that day ere long.”
April 4 (16), 1863.
A Letter to Grover Cleveland:
His False, Absurd, Self-Contradictory, and Ridiculous Inaugural Address.
By Lysander Spooner.
[The author reserves his copyright in this letter.]
But perhaps the most absolute proof that our national lawmakers and judges are as regardless of all constitutional, as they are of all natural, law, and that their statutes and decisions are as destitute of all constitutional, as they are of all natural, authority, is to be found in the fact that these lawmakers and judges have trampled upon, and utterly ignored, certain amendments to the constitution, which had been adopted, and (constitutionally speaking) become authoritative, as early as 1791; only two years after the government went into operation.
If these amendments had been obeyed, they would have compelled all congresses and courts to understand that, if the government had any constitutional powers at all, they were simply powers to protect men’s natural rights, and not to destroy any of them.
These amendments have actually forbidden any lawmaking whatever in violation of men’s natural rights. And this is equivalent to a prohibition of any lawmaking at all. And if lawmakers and courts had been as desirous of preserving men’s natural rights, as they have been of violating them, they would long ago have found out that, since these amendments, the constitution authorised no lawmaking at all.
These amendments were ten in number. They were recommended by the first congress, at its first session, in 1789; two-thirds of both houses concurring. And in 1791, they had been ratified by all the States: and from that time they imposed the restrictions mentioned upon all the powers of congress.
These amendments were proposed, by the first congress, for the reason that, although the constitution, as originally framed, had been adopted, its adoption had been procured only with great difficulty, and in spite of great objections. These objections were that, as originally framed and adopted, the constitution contained no adequate security for the private rights of the people.
These objections were admitted, by very many, if not all, the friends of the constitution themselves, to be very weighty; and such as ought to be immediately removed by amendments. And it was only because these friends of the constitution pledged themselves to use their influence to secure these amendments, that the adoption of the constitution itself was secured. And it was in fulfilment of these pledges, and to remove these objections, that the amendments were proposed and adopted.
The first eight amendments specified particularly various prohibitions upon the power of congress; such, for example, as those securing to the people the free exercise of religion, the freedom of speech and the press, the right to keep and bear arms, etc., etc. Then followed the ninth amendment, in these words:
The enumeration in the constitution, of certain rights, [retained by the people] shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Here is an authoritative declaration, that “the people” have “other rights” than those specially “enumerated in the constitution”; and that these “other rights” were “retained by the people”; that is, that congress should have no power to infringe them.
What, then, were these “other rights,” that had not been “enumerated”; but which were nevertheless “retained by the people”?
Plainly they were men’s natural “rights”; for these are the only “rights” that “the people” ever had, or, consequently, that they could “retain.”
And as no attempt is made to enumerate all these “other rights,” or any considerable number of them, and as it would be obviously impossible to enumerate all, or any considerable number, of them; and as no exceptions are made of any of them, the necessary, the legal, the inevitable inference is, that they were all “retained”; and that congress should have no power to violate any of them.
Now, if congress and the courts had attempted to obey this amendment, as they were constitutionally bound to do, they would soon have found that they had really no lawmaking power whatever left to them; because they would have found that they could make no law at all, of their own invention, that would not violate men’s natural rights.
All men’s natural rights are co-extensive with natural law, the law of justice; or justice as a science. This law is the exact measure, and the only measure, of any and every man’s natural rights. No one of these natural rights can be taken from any man, without doing him an injustice; and no more than these rights can be given to any one, unless by taking from the natural rights of one or more others.
In short, every man’s natural rights are, first, the right to do, with himself and his property, everything that he pleases to do, and that justice towards others does not forbid him to do; and, secondly, to be free from all compulsion, by others, to do anything whatever, except what justice to others requires him to do.
Such, then, has been the constitutional law of this country since 1791; admitting, for the sake of the argument — what I do not really admit to be a fact — that the constitution, so called, has ever been a law at all.
This amendment, from the remarkable circumstances under which it was proposed and adopted, must have made an impression upon the minds of all the public men of the time; although they may not have fully comprehended, and doubtless did not fully comprehend, its sweeping effects upon all the supposed powers of the government.
But whatever impression it may have made upon the public men of that time, its authority and power were wholly lost upon their successors; and probably, for at least eighty years, it has never been heard of, either in congress or the courts.
John Marshall was perfectly familiar with all the circumstances, under which this, and the other nine amendments, were proposed and adopted. He was thirty-two years old (lacking seven days) when the constitution, as originally framed, was published (September 17, 1787); and he was a member of the Virginia convention that ratified it. He knew perfectly the objections that were raised to it, in that convention, on the ground of its inadequate guaranty of men’s natural rights. He knew with what force these objections were urged by some of the ablest members of the convention. And he knew that, to obviate these objections, the convention, as a body, without a dissenting voice, so far as appears, recommended that very stringent amendments, for securing men’s natural rights, be made to the constitution. And he knew further, that, but for these amendments being recommended, the constitution would not have been adopted by the convention. *
The amendments proposed were too numerous to be repeated here, although they would be very instructive, as showing how jealous the people were, lest their natural rights should be invaded by laws made by congress. And that the convention might do everything in its power to secure the adoption of these amendments, it resolved as follows:
And the convention do, in the name and behalf of the people of this commonwealth, enjoin it upon their representatives in congress to exert all their influence, and use all reasonable and legal methods, to obtain a ratification of the foregoing alterations and provisions, in the manner provided by the 5th article of the said Constitution; and, in all congressional laws to be passed in the meantime, to conform to the spirit of these amendments, as far as the said Constitution will admit. — Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 3, p. 661.
In seven other State conventions, to wit, in those of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina, the inadequate security for men’s natural rights, and the necessity for amendments, were admitted, and insisted upon, in very similar terms to those in Virginia.
In Massachusetts, the convention proposed nine amendments to the constitution; and resolved as follows:
And the convention do, in the name and in the behalf of the people of this commonwealth, enjoin it upon their representatives in Congress, at all times, until the alterations and provisions aforesaid have been considered, agreeably to the 5th article of the said Constitution, to exert all their influence, and use all reasonable and legal methods, to obtain a ratification of the said alterations and provisions, in such manner as is provided in the said article. — Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 2, p. 178.
The New Hampshire convention, that ratified the constitution, proposed twelve amendments, and added:
And the Convention do, in the name and behalf of the people of this State, enjoin it upon their representatives in congress, at all times, until the alterations and provisions aforesaid have been considered agreeably to the fifth article of the said Constitution, to exert all their influence, and use all reasonable and legal methods, to obtain a ratification of the said alterations and provisions, in such manner as is provided in the article. — Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 1, p. 326.
The Rhode Island convention, in ratifying the constitution, put forth a declaration of rights, in eighteen articles, and also proposed twenty-one amendments to the constitution; and prescribed as follows:
And the Convention do, in the name and behalf of the people of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, enjoin it upon their senators and representative or representatives, which may be elected to represent this State in congress, to exert all their influence, and use all reasonable means, to obtain a ratification of the following amendments to the said Constitution, in the manner prescribed therein; and in all laws to be passed by the congress in the mean time, to conform to the spirit of the said amendments, as far as the Constitution will admit. — Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 1, p. 335.
The New York convention, that ratified the constitution, proposed a great many amendments, and added:
And the Convention do, in the name and behalf of the people of the State of New York, enjoin it upon their representatives in congress, to exert all their influence, and use all reasonable means, to obtain a ratification of the following amendments to the said Constitution, in the manner prescribed therein; and in all laws to be passed by the congress, in the mean time, to conform to the spirit of the said amendments as far as the Constitution will admit. — Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 1, p. 329.
The New York convention also addressed a “Circular Letter” to the governors of all the other States, the first two paragraphs of which are as follows:
The Circular Letter,
From the Convention of the State of New York to the Governors of the several States in the Union.
Poughkeepsie, July 28, 1788.
Sir, We, the members of the Convention of this State, have deliberately and maturely considered the Constitution proposed for the United States. Several articles in it appear so exceptionable to a majority of us, that nothing but the fullest confidence of obtaining a revision of them by a general convention, and an invincible reluctance to separating from our sister States, could have prevailed upon a sufficient number to ratify it, without stipulating for previous amendments. We all unite in opinion, that such a revision will be necessary to recommend it to the approbation and support of a numerous body of our constituents.
We observe that amendments have been proposed, and are anxiously desired, by several of the States, as well as by this; and we think it of great importance that effectual measures be immediately taken for calling a convention, to meet at a period not far remote; for we are convinced that the apprehensions and discontents, which those articles occasion, cannot be removed or allayed, unless an act to provide for it be among the first that shall be passed by the new congress. — Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 2, p. 413.
In the Maryland convention, numerous amendments were proposed, and thirteen were agreed to; “most of them by a unanimous vote, and all by a great majority.” Fifteen others were proposed, but there was so much disagreement in regard to them, that none at all were formally recommended to congress. But, says Elliot:
All the members, who voted for the ratification [of the constitution], declared that they would engage themselves, under every tie of honor, to support the amendments they had agreed to, both in their public and private characters, until they should become a part of the general government. — Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 2, pp. 550, 552–3.
The first North Carolina convention refused to ratify the constitution, and
Resolved, That a declaration of rights, asserting and securing from encroachments the great principles of civil and religious liberty, and the inalienable rights of the people, together with amendments to the most ambiguous and exceptionable parts of the said constitution of government, ought to be laid before congress, and the convention of States that shall or may be called for the purpose of amending the said Constitution, for their consideration, previous to the ratification of the Constitution aforesaid, on the part of the State of North Carolina. — Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 1, p. 332.
The South Carolina convention, that ratified the constitution, proposed certain amendments, and
Resolved, That it be a standing instruction to all such delegates as may hereafter be elected to represent this State in the General Government, to exert their utmost abilities and influence to effect an alteration of the Constitution, conformably to the foregoing resolutions. — Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 1. p. 325.
In the Pennsylvania convention, numerous objections were made to the constitution, but it does not appear that the convention, as a convention, recommended any specific amendments. But a strong movement, outside of the convention, was afterwards made in favor of such amendments. (“Elliot’s Debates,” Vol. 2, p. 542.)
Of the debates in the Connecticut convention, Elliot gives only what he calls “A Fragment.”
Of the debates in the conventions of New Jersey, Delaware, and Georgia, Elliot gives no accounts at all.
I therefore cannot state the grounds, on which the adoption of the constitution was opposed. They were doubtless very similar to those in the other States. This is rendered morally certain by the fact, that the amendments, soon afterwards proposed by congress, were immediately ratified by all the States. Also by the further fact, that these States, by reason of the smallness of their representation in the popular branch of congress, would naturally be even more jealous of their rights, than the people of the larger States.
It is especially worthy of notice that, in some, if not in all, the conventions that ratified the constitution, although the ratification was accompanied by such urgent recommendations of amendments, and by an almost absolute assurance that they would be made, it was nevertheless secured only by very small majorities.
Thus in Virginia, the vote was only 89 ayes to 79 nays. (Elliot, Vol. 3, p. 654.)
In Massachusetts, the ratification was secured only by a vote of 187 yeas to 168 nays. (Elliot, Vol. 2, p. 181.)
In New York, the vote was only 30 yeas to 27 nays. (Elliot, Vol. 2, p. 413.)
In New Hampshire and Rhode Island, neither the yeas nor nays are given. (Elliot, Vol. 1, pp. 327–335.)
In Connecticut, the yeas were 128; nays not given. (Elliot, Vol. 1, p. 321–2.)
In New Jersey, the yeas were 38; nays not given. (Elliot, Vol. 1, p. 321.)
In Pennsylvania, the yeas were 46; nays not given. (Elliot, Vol. 1, p. 320.)
In Delaware, the yeas were 30; nays not given. (Elliot, Vol. 1, p. 319.)
In Maryland, the vote was 57 yeas; nays not given. (Elliot, Vol. 1, p. 325.)
In North Carolina, neither the yeas nor nays are given. (Elliot, Vol. 1, p. 333.)
In South Carolina, neither the yeas nor nays are given. (Elliot, Vol. 1, p. 325.)
In Georgia, the yeas were 26; nays not given. (Elliot, Vol. 1, p. 324.)
We can thus see by what meagre votes the constitution was adopted. We can also see that, but for the prospect that important amendments would be made, specially for securing the natural rights of the people, the constitution would have been spurned with contempt, as it deserved to be.
And yet now, owing to the usurpations of lawmakers and courts, the original constitution — with the worst possible construction put upon it — has been carried into effect; and the amendments have been simply cast into the waste baskets.
Marshall was thirty-six years old, when these amendments became a part of the constitution in 1791. Ten years after, in 1801, he became Chief Justice. It then became his sworn constitutional duty to scrutinize severely every act of congress, and to condemn, as unconstitutional, all that should violate any of these natural rights. Yet he appears never to have thought of the matter afterwards. Or, rather, this ninth amendment, the most important of all, seems to have been so utterly antagonistic to all his ideas of government, that he chose to ignore it altogether, and, as far as he could, to bury it out of sight.
Instead of recognizing it as an absolute guaranty of all the natural rights of the people, he chose to assume — for it was all a mere assumption, a mere making a constitution out of his own head, to suit himself — that the people had all voluntarily “come into society,” and had voluntarily “surrendered” to “society” all their natural rights, of every name and nature — trusting that they would be secured; and that now, “society,” having thus got possession of all these natural rights of the people, had the “unquestionable right” to dispose of them, at the pleasure — or, as he would say, according to the “wisdom and discretion” — of a few contemptible, detestable, and irresponsible lawmakers, whom the constitution (thus amended) had forbidden to dispose of any one of them.
If, now, Marshall did not see, in this amendment, any legal force or authority, what becomes of his reputation as a constitutional lawyer? If he did see this force and authority, but chose to trample them under his feet, he was a perjured tyrant and traitor.
What, also, are we to think of all the judges,— forty in all,— his associates and successors, who, for eighty years, have been telling the people that the government has all power, and the people no rights? Have they all been mere blockheads, who never read this amendment, or knew nothing of its meaning? Or have they, too, been perjured tyrants and traitors?
What, too, becomes of those great constitutional lawyers, as we have called them, who have been supposed to have won such immortal honors. as “expounders of the constitution,” but who seem never to have discovered in it any security for men’s natural rights? Is their apparent ignorance, on this point, to be accounted for by the fact, that that portion of the people, who, by authority of the government, are systematically robbed of all their earnings, beyond a bare subsistence, are not able to pay such fees as are the robbers who are authorized to plunder them?
If any one will now look back to the records of congress and the courts, for the last eighty years, I do not think he will find a single mention of this amendment. And why has this been so? Solely because the amendment — if its authority had been recognized — would have stood as an insuperable barrier against all the ambition and rapacity — all the arbitrary power, all the plunder, and all the tyranny — which the ambitious and rapacious classes have determined to accomplish through the agency of the government.
The fact that these classes have been so successful in perverting the constitution (thus amended) from an instrument avowedly securing all men’s natural rights, into an authority for utterly destroying them, is a sufficient proof that no lawmaking power can be safely intrusted to any body, for any purpose whatever.
And that this perversion of the constitution should have been sanctioned by all the judicial tribunals of the country, is also a proof, not only of the servility, audacity, and villainy of the judges, but also of the utter rottenness of our judicial system. It is a sufficient proof that judges, who are dependent upon lawmakers for their offices and salaries, and are responsible to them by impeachment, cannot be relied on to put the least restraint upon the acts of their masters, the lawmakers.
Such, then, would have been the effect of the ninth amendment, if it had been permitted to have its legitimate authority.
* For the amendments recommended by the Virginia convention, see “Elliot’s Debates,” Vol. 3, pp. 657 to 663. For the debates upon these amendments, see pages 444 to 452, and 460 to 462, and 466 to 471, and 579 to 652.
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, nor hindered or driven by oppression, nor deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
Stop the Main Leak First.
In answer to my article, “Free Money First,” in Liberty of March 27, in which was discussed the comparative importance of the money and land questions, J. M. M’Gregor of the Detroit “Labor Leaf” says: “I grant free money first. I firmly believe free money will come first, too, though my critic and myself may be widely at variance in regard to what would constitute free money.” I mean by free money the utter absence of restriction upon the issue of all money not fraudulent. If Mr. M’Gregor believes in this, I am heartily glad. I should like to be half as sure as he is that it really is coming first. From the present temper of the people it looks to me as if nothing free would come first. They seem to be bent on trying every form of compulsion. In this current Mr. M’Gregor is far to the fore with his scheme of land taxation on the Henry George plan, and although he may believe free money will be first in time, he clearly does not consider it first in importance. This last-mentioned priority he awards to land reform, and it was his position in that regard that my article was written to dispute.
The issue between us, thus confined, hangs upon the truth or falsity of Mr. M’Gregor’s statement that “today landlordism, through rent and speculation, supports more idlers than any other system of profit robbing known to our great commonwealth.” I take it that Mr. M’Gregor, by “rent,” means ground-rent exclusively, and, by the phrase “supports more idlers,” means takes more from labor; otherwise, his statement has no pertinence to his position. For all rent except ground-rent would be almost entirely and directly abolished by free money, and the evil of rent to labor depends, not so much on the number of idlers it supports, as on the aggregate amount and quality of support it gives them, whether they be many or few in number. Mr. M’Gregor’s statement, then, amounts to this,— that ground-rent takes more from labor than any other form of usury. It needs no statistics to disprove this. The principal forms of usury are interest on money loaned or invested, profits made in buying and selling, rent of buildings of all sorts, and ground-rent. A moment’s reflection will show any one that the amount of loaned or invested capital bearing interest in this country today far exceeds in value the amount of land yielding rent. The item of interest alone is a much more serious burden on the people than that of ground-rent. Much less, then, does ground-rent equal interest plus profit plus rent of buildings. But to make Mr. M’Gregor’s argument really valid it must exceed all these combined. For a true money reform, I repeat, would abolish almost entirely and directly every one of these forms of usury except ground-rent, while a true land reform would directly abolish only ground-rent. Therefore, unless labor pays more in ground-rent than in interest, profit, and rent of buildings combined, the money question is of more importance than the land question. There are countries where this is the case, but the United States is not one of them.
It should also be borne in mind that free money, in destroying the power to accumulate large fortunes in the ordinary industries of life, will put a very powerful check upon the scramble for comer-lots and other advantageous positions, and thereby have a considerable influence upon ground-rent itself.
“How can capital be free,” asks Mr. M’Gregor, “when it cannot get rid of rent?” It cannot be entirely free till it can get rid of rent, but it will be infinitely freer if it gets rid of interest, profit, and rent of buildings and still keeps ground-rent than if it gets rid of ground-rent and keeps the other forms of usury. Both, however, have got to go. Give us free money, the first great step to Anarchy, and we’ll attend to ground-rent afterwards. We’ll send it to the limbo of all other frauds without the aid of Henry George or his theories.
Boycott the State.
So Jay Gould is to be boycotted by the Knights of Labor!
If there were weeds growing in your garden, would you snip off the top of one of them, expecting to exterminate them all, or would you dig them all up, root and branch? If you did the former, you would give more room to the surrounding weeds, and they would grow the ranker. If you pulled them up, every one of them, you would do about the right thing.
The weeds in the social garden are the monopolies, and the rankest of all is the monopoly of the State, from which all other monopolies get sustenance. Don’t lop off a little branch like Jay Gould, but pull up the whole rank growth and burn it.
Jay Gould, so far as any one knows, has got his millions according to law, and holds them with the sanction of the State. He has got more than others simply because he has taken more advantage of the opportunities afforded by the State.
Knights of Labor, and you who are not knights, if you wish to make it impossible for men like Gould to exist, boycott the State!
And in order to do this, boycott the ballot.
This may look like a desperate remedy, but it is a desperate case.
C. M. H.
Learn Before You Teach.
Will the editor of the London “Anarchist” accept an item of advice from the editor of Liberty? Namely, that, before issuing another number of his paper, he should take a vacation sufficiently long — whether one month, or twelve months, or twelve years — to enable him to study the questions he is publicly discussing and find out his attitude upon them, to the end that he may thereafter utilize his commendable zeal as a propagandist with some consistency and effect. He started his paper as an Anarchistic Socialist, standing squarely upon the principles of Liberty and Equity and advocating them with considerable intelligence and power. But in a recent issue he abandoned Equity by repudiating the Socialistic theory of value and adopting one which differs but little, if any, from that held by the ordinary economist, and in the next issue after it, or the next but one, he abandoned Liberty by vaulting into communism. These two remarkable feats in intellectual gymnastics are not more inconsistent with the original attitude of their hero than they are with each other. If amid this network of inconsistencies any reader of the “Anarchist,” which now announces itself an organ, can find in its editorial columns any coherent body of doctrine signifying to him of what it is an organ, his eyes are sharper than mine.
It had been my intention to reason with Mr. Seymour on his rejection of the cost principle, but I am glad to say that Mr. John F. Kelly, of Hoboken, got the start of me, and sorry to say that his experiment has shown me the futility of such a course. Mr. Kelly gave Mr. Seymour the benefit of a column and a half of as calm, clear, cogent, and compact reasoning as often finds its way into print, and it elicited from him naught but a few straggling sentences each seemingly struggling to surpass its predecessor in the extremity of its inanity. I attribute this, not to any deficiency in Mr. Seymour of native intellectual power, but to a premature assumption of the functions of a public teacher. Attracted by the fundamental force of ideas theretofore unknown to him, he rushed into print as their champion before his mind had thoroughly assimilated them and could withstand any and all assaults upon them. Now he finds himself confronted with arguments which he has never considered, and which a little quiet thought and study would enable him to meet; but, finding no time for this in the whirl of his revolutionary work, he runs up against one of them and is stunned into acquiescence, and, before he has fairly recovered, gets a buffet from the opposite direction, which demoralizes — or dementalizes — him more than ever.
It is lamentable. Mr. Seymour is a most earnest young man, and his enthusiasm commands my admiration; but I am compelled to say that the present intellectual status of his paper positively dishonors and disgraces a cause whose foremost representatives and advocates have been acknowledged, even by its bitterest opponents, to be possessed of more than ordinary mental grasp. I say this with the more reluctance from the fact that the “Anarchist” descended from Liberty in a direct line, and has been a source of great pride to its ancestor. It is distressing to disown one’s progeny, but occasionally it has to be done.
Liberty and Compromise.
The longer I live and the more I see, the more firmly do I become a believer in religion. For what is the essence of religion, after all, but strong reliance in the conviction that the central principle of the universe is perfection? Call it God, natural law, or whatever you will, the aggregate of all is towards the good, the true, and the just. He whose moral nature is so diseased as not to feel this is the only infidel I can conceive.
“Never has the interest in politics been at so low an ebb in the history of this country as now,” said a leading politician to me the other day, “and yet,” he added, “never before have such momentous issues been before the country as now.”
In the above admission I see a sign of the times having the deepest and most gratifying significance. The so-called labor question is before the country. The papers are full of it. It floods the pulpits and surges upon every hearthstone. Railroad men and merchants tremble. It overflows into congress. The president issues messages upon it. Everybody is stirred. And yet never in the history of this country were politics at so low an ebb as now.
The fact is that the industrial question is a social question, and that there is sufficient overweight of intelligence among the workingmen to conduct it largely upon social methods, without calling upon politics. Though it be true that the boycott and other of these social methods grievously violate individual right, I confess that to my mind the penalty which liberty must pay to ignorance in this case is very tolerable beside the steady drift towards social methods in place of political.
The great issues that are coming to shake society will be social rather than political. This can mean nothing else than that a great tidal wave is in motion towards Anarchism. In its first stages there will naturally be cardinal crimes against individual liberty; but let us not lose temper on this account, and ignore the great revolution that is slowly developing in the methods of social amelioration.
The Knights of Labor are the first crude expression of the new social drift in this country. The order needs seasoning with ideas, and its platform in many respects proclaims a square assault upon individual right. Yet, taken for all in all, it is farther divorced from politics than any other reform organization in history. Whether politics will yet overshadow and capture it is the critical issue in its life. Possibly such will be its fate; but no matter. Profiting by experience, the next great labor organization that rises from its ashes will take a farther step away from politics.
Ideas permeate the masses slowly. It is the individual who impregnates the mass with true germs. The aggregate expression of liberty will long be cumbrous and contradictory, but the germ lives. He who holds a large-rounded faith in an irrepressible drift towards true foundation principles will not fly off and proclaim a sweeping repudiation of an organization which must first creep and get off its swaddling clothes before it can stand erect upon the eternal foundation rock of Individual Sovereignty. A steady inoculation with true germs, wherever the opportunity offers, is the duty of the Anarchist, but we should not rashly cast away from us the body because it was not born whole.
Such a course I do not regard as compromise, in the sense of denying one’s principles and acting the role of a studied liar and hvpocrite. The present collectivized character of society is such that, wherever social aggregations exist, a conglomerate alloy of liberty and despotism is found jumbled together. The most that an Anarchistic reformer can be able to accomplish in one short life is to diligently impregnate the mass with the true germ of liberty, and gradually the gold will separate from the alloy. In how far he himself becomes corrupted by the process of temporizing with despotism must rest upon his own individual discretion and character. The result upon his individual integrity measures his manhood and is the test of his moral weight. Without such tests no man can demonstrate what he amounts to as a factor for good.
But all men are differently organized. In the last analysis the only definition of a true man is one who acts out his own nature,— is true to his own instincts. The radical weakness of men is that one nature, seeing truth and consistency through its own glass, is prone to rash and uncharitable interpretations of the conduct of another. If liberty bears upon its saving wings one glory above all others, it is that unlimited largeness which accords full faith to all creeds, judgments, and acts of men which are honest results of the fidelity of the Individual Sovereign to himself. And who is constituted the final judge but the Individual himself?
Comments on the Foregoing.
Mr. Appleton having abandoned the personalities with which he began this discussion, it is my pleasure to follow his example. What he calls the “steady drift towards social methods” is a source of greater gratification to no one than to myself. Having been engaged for years in working with others to help in creating that drift, it would be strange indeed were I to look upon its progress as other than a most encouraging sign of the times. But it would be equally strange were my comrades and I to now abandon the methods that have proved so potent in creating the drift. The question now is not whether “the penalty which liberty must pay to ignorance is tolerable,” — the word must begs the question,— but whether this ignorance can be dissipated, and whether the same methods that dissipated so much of ignorance as has gone will not best dissipate that which remains. Why should we treat the ignorance that now retards the progress of this drift otherwise than we treated that which so long prevented it from starting? Why adopt the cork-screw when the plumb-line has served so well? Having held up truth in all its splendor as a beacon for wanderers sailing in the dark, why dim its lustre by accepting an admixture of error before the wanderers have reached port?
If the next great labor organization that rises from the ashes of the Knights of Labor shall take a farther step away from politics, it will do so only because more men than ever before see the folly of compromising. The power that will influence the Knights of Labor or their successors to take such a step will be by so much weakened whenever a man who knows the truth compromises with the Knights of Labor. And, by the way, the statement that the Knights of Labor is “farther divorced from politics than any other reform organization in history” is a most loose and thoughtless one. Scores of exceptions to it might be cited. For the present, let the Anti-Slavery Society prior to the war and the Irish Land League in its earlier stages suffice. The demands of the Knights of Labor, if realized, would extend the sphere of government an immense distance beyond its present limits? Is that divorce from politics?
“We should not cast away the body because it was not born whole,” nor should we, having whole bodies or being members of such, incorporate ourselves with diseased organizations which are to perform their most important function in contributing their corpses as fertilizing material for healthier growths. The inoculator of true germs generally stands outside of his patient.
In his concluding paragraphs Mr. Appleton drops his defence of the wisdom of compromise to champion the liberty of compromise. That is the last liberty that I should ever have thought of as needing vindication. I have never assailed it, and I never knew it to be assailed. It is the one liberty that, from time immemorial, men have enjoyed in its completeness. It is the one liberty that the oppressors of mankind have always rejoiced to see the people utilize. It may be exercised with impunity. The compromiser has not to fear the dungeon or the rack or the stake. To his conduct attaches but one penalty,— that of criticism. However much an individual sovereign he may be, that he cannot escape. He may act as he pleases and compromise as he pleases, but others will always think what they please and say what they please concerning the wisdom of his conduct. Unless, indeed, after publicly inviting them to do so, he privately begs them not to. In such cases the love of mercy and of peace will sometimes prevail.
Schleman (whose real name is Scharf), one of the firebugs alluded to in Liberty’s exposure, has been sentenced to two months in the penitentiary, and his companion, Charles Willmund, who was arrested with him and also belongs to the gang, is to be an inmate of the State prison for three years and a half. Now that Most and his fellows are rushing so madly to their own destruction, it is to be hoped that the authorities will not help to save him by prosecuting him for revolutionary utterances, as it is reported that they intend to do. As long as the struggle is between the State and the firebugs, Anarchists can watch with non-partisan calmness the combat of these opposing scoundrels; but when the issue of liberty of speech is joined between the State and a revolutionist, every Anarchist must stand with the revolutionist, though he be as detestable a person as John Most. “Freiheit” says that Willmund owes his fate to Bachmann and Schwab! Nonsense! He owes it to his own folly and to Most’s teachings.
Comrade McLaughlin of Kansas desires to warn all Anarchists against ordering books of P. Argyriades, editor of “La Question Sociale,” 52 Rue Monge, Paris. A money order was sent to him last June for the purchase of certain books which he advertises. It is almost certain that he received it, but, although a letter of inquiry has since been sent, nothing has been heard from him and no books have been received. Readers of Liberty will remember that I charged “La Question Sociale” with dishonesty a year ago.
“The Beast of Communism.”
The article printed below was rejected by the Chicago “Alarm,” in spite of the fact that its author, Dyer D. Lum, the “Alarm’s” ablest editorial writer, asked its insertion in that paper as a matter of justice to himself:
The recent article from the pen of Mr. Tucker in the columns of Liberty, exposing an alleged conspiracy on the part of certain Communist-Anarchists in New York for the systematic commission of arson for the purpose of obtaining funds from insurance companies, calls for attention on our part. If the data on which the charge is made be indeed facts, then Mr. Tucker’s scathing denunciation of these moral crimes is fully justified. Unfortunately, men in whom I have the greatest confidence, and in whose word I have unbounded trust, have reason to believe that the charge is true.
Certainly no one who has had intimate acquaintance with Justus H. Schwab and knows his character and sterling merits will for a moment believe that he has broken with the “Freiheit” from moral cowardice or desire to please the police! If John Most had said that Mr. Schwab had been deceived by cunningly devised tales, and so misled into severing his connection with the “Freiheit,” his denial might be treated with more respect. Mr. Schwab, as I understand, has made no public accusation; as an Anarchist he has simply asserted his right to sever association with men whose methods he disapproves; and to those who know his character, his devotion to principle in the past, and his manly, straight-forward adherence to the cause we advocate, assault upon his character and motives is not the proper method to establish innocence or to prove ignorance.
Liberty calls upon every Anarchistic journal to copy the exposure and send it forth with the stamp of approval. For myself, as a writer for these columns, I feel in honor bound to denounce such alleged acts. I agree entirely with Liberty that “property, as it now exists, backed by legal privilege, is unquestionably a horrible monster, causing untold and universal suffering,” but I doubt the justice of calling such acts as are related the product of the “Beast of Communism.” For the same reason which led Liberty to give the article this title, another paper might amend by substituting the Beast of Anarchy. Such acts as related are simply scoundrelism pure and simple. Men like the writer, or Justus H. Schwab, who believe communism (or better, comunalism) to be a question of administrative detail, and who emphatically “deny all external authority over the individual, whether that of the present State or that of some industrial activity or commune which the future may produce,” will not take an epithet for an argument, certainly not from those who have daily to explain that their use of the word Anarchy is not the defence of its popularly received significance. As to Scoundrelism there can be no controversy; invasion of natural rights by either a Communist or a State is equally damnable.
Dyer D. Lum.
[Perhaps the best evidence that my phrase, “Beast of Communism,” did no injustice to the “Alarm” school, in whose interest Mr. Lum may be presumed to have principally spoken, is to be found in this rejection of his article denouncing the crimes referred to, whereby the “Alarm” virtually accepts a share in the responsibility for these crimes. No matter how you qualify the “Beast,” the “Alarm” is clearly on its side. I am happy to know that, in taking that position, it necessarily sacrifices Mr. Lum’s cooperation in future. But if those Communists who utterly disbelieve in all forms of authority feel that my unfortunate phrase has done them any injustice, I beg their pardon, and express the hope that no odium may attach to them in consequence. It is not true, however, that the phrase, “Beast of Communism,” is unjust in the same sense that the phrase, “Beast of Anarchy,” would be, if similarly applied. The criminals in question, whatever they may call themselves, are not Anarchists, inasmuch as they do not believe in liberty, but are Communists, inasmuch as they believe in common property. And since they attempt to justify their conduct by the doctrine of common property which has been taught them, it may be said, and not unfairly, that the doctrine caused their acts; but, as they have never been taught Anarchy and know nothing about it, Anarchy cannot be held responsible for their misdeeds. — Editor Liberty.]
Encouraging Words from Topeka.
[Topeka Daily Citizen.]
Mr. Benj. R. Tucker, of the Liberty, is waging a very bitter, but wholly justifiable and commendable, warfare against the fire-eating John Most. He has the sympathy of every decent person in this action. No paper in the conntry is more independent than Liberty. It always says what it means and means what it says.
The Wife of Number 4,237.
By Sophie Kropotkine.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 79.
A terrible cry, escaping from the poor woman’s breast, made the guard recoil. Her knees bent, she felt herself giving way, when she perceived the chief guard who had evinced some sympathy for her the day before. She ran towards him, with the secret hope that he would contradict this terrible news.
Unhappily, it was only too true. It was precisely to invite Madam to go to the clerk’s office and receive twenty-two francs which remained of Jean Tissot’s money that the chief guard had come. There were also his effects . . .
Julie did not hear. Pale as a sheet, her eyes dilated, she leaned against the door, trying to articulate some words. They hardly succeeded in comprehending her, when she said in a stifled voice:
“You will let me say adieu? . . .”
Absolutely impossible. The regulations were opposed to it.
“At one o’clock you will see the funeral procession. Keep near that gate, by the side of the guard-house; I will show it to you. You can follow the procession as far as the cemetery.”
Julie followed the guard, without a word, to the guard-house. There she sank down on the outer steps.
No sobs, no tears. Motionless, like one of those statues on which the sculptors of the middle ages have fixed the sufferings of a humanity given over to pestilence, famine, and the stake, she fixed her dry, undeviating eyes on the door by which was to go out all that was dearest to her in the world.
She saw nothing, heard nothing. The passers-by stared at her, opened their eyes wide, on seeing this expression of anguish. A child stopped, and wished to accost her, but recoiled before this fixed gaze. The soldiers of the guard went on talking and jesting by her side. Julie did not notice them; she saw only the door-way.
Suddenly she trembled and with a bound threw herself towards the door, behind which a grave voice chanted the prayer for the dead.
The folding doors opened. At the head of the procession, a prisoner, in brown jacket and pantaloons, with gray hair floating in the wind, advanced slowly, carrying a great cross and trying to recite in a composed voice the Latin of the prayer. A priest, in white, followed him, looking out with an indifferent eye on the court which opened before him. Four prisoners, also in brown jackets, brown caps without binding falling over their eyes, marched in step with their heavy wooden shoes, carrying the coffin covered with a gray cloth, and a large white cross.
Four other prisoners, glad to get outside the walls, followed them to relieve the bearers. Two guards, with blue cloaks over their shoulders, were talking with the man who had opened the door for them.
No one else,— not a friend, not a comrade from the work-shop who might have been allowed to follow the procession. A great black dog,— the undertaker’s,— with drooping head, brought up the rear, and he alone seemed to be penetrated with the gravity of the moment.
With a heart-rending cry, Julie threw herself towards the coffin.
“Jean! Jean dear! if I could only see you!” she cried.
With one movement she snatched away the pall and uncovered the white pine coffin. She tried to lift the lid.
Two guards seized her by the arms, removing her gently.
“Be quiet, the bier is nailed.”
“Let me see him, let me just embrace him one last time,” implored Julie, struggling. “Wretches! to kill a man, and not even permit one to give him a last adieu!”
“Come! come! no noise!” replied a guard, while the coffin, re-covered with the gray cloth, moved on, tossing heavily on the men’s shoulders. “There must be no outcry here! You must keep quiet, if you wish to be permitted to follow the procession.”
Julie suddenly comprehended the horrible reality. Since her Jean had entered those walls, he belonged to her no more. Even dead, she had no right in him; an outside, brutal force had taken possession of him, and could even prevent his wife from following him to his last resting-place.
Without saying a word, Julie disengaged herself from the guard: she rejoined the procession, and placed herself by the side of the dog. Her suffering face suddenly took an expression of fixed determination; was a plan ripening in her head?
The cemetery was divided into two parts: one for the administration, the other for the prisoners. Here, crosses, flowers, protected by railings; there, an uncultivated field, three large deep trenches, serving as common graves. They deposited the coffin on the edge of one of these trenches.
Julie did not approach. She, here, was only a stranger; she held herself aloof.
She saw the coffin descend into the trench, where there was still room for other unfortunates. She became all attention when the grave-diggers set to work; all her heart-strings quivered each time that a shovel-full fell heavily on the coffin. She counted them, and seemed to measure with her eyes the bed which was being piled up.
She did not approach the grave till the grave-diggers had finished their work, and then fell on her knees upon the freshly-disturbed earth, which still bore traces of the wooden shoes.
The guards, the priest, moved by this silent grief, drew back a few steps. Now, left alone, she could abandon herself to her grief. An absolute silence reigned all about her . . . .
But it was necessary to return: they were going to close the cemetery . . .
The priest approached Julie, who rose and suddenly recoiled. He tried to speak to her of a world where there would be neither pleasures nor pains; she did not listen; she only understood that she could not remain any longer, that she must leave. The same force still interposed.
To be continued.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 79.
Even at that moment, in Arklow’s house and informed of the presence of this personage, Harvey was restating his opinion of him:
“He follows me so closely that his course cannot be the result of chance. At Tipperary I met him in the hollow of a road; it was not the desire to blow my brains out that he lacked; but I looked at him in such a way that, although he was travelling with his clerk, he refrained from doing so, and, being uneasy, even offered me, in an obsequiously wheedling way, his goods. I was amused by his fear and his hypocrisy, and I begged him to rent, me a seat in his carriage; he pretended — quite disconcerted and his heart in his shoes — that we were not going in the same direction, and that he was in a hurry. Nevertheless, some minutes after, I heard him trotting at my heels.”
“I don’t know whether he is accustomed to war,” said Arklow, “but, emboldened by the accumulation of troops in the vicinity, I dread him. I think it prudent for you to go away as soon as it is dusk; I will conduct you, through the woods, to a safe place, where a horse, all ready, is waiting every day. Do you feel stronger?”
“My feet are still excessively tender; fortunately, my body is reduced so much that it does not weigh upon them too heavily, and, once in the saddle, I will answer for it that I do not fall into the clutches of the bandits.”
“Be careful! no rashness!” begged Edith, who showed motherly solicitude for the sick man.
“I promise you, brave, exquisite woman; I owe myself to the cause; my life, I believe, is necessary to it; I have yet to preach the good word in various places, and I will double, like game, to escape the hunter, till the near day when we shall ourselves hunt the others.”
“As soon as possible!” said Arklow.
“If the signal depended only on me, I should not delay it. But I, no more than you, my good friend, am the master of our destinies; they are in other hands than mine. I have been intrusted for the present with the mission of preacher of the crusade; but my role, that which I am burning to fill, is the role of soldier. Ah! to lead you to battle, to victory, to deliverance: that is my only ideal, my one longing!”
“It is just that the Directory, as its name indicates, should judge the situation and decide the measures to be taken!” said the old sailor.
Edith was moving about in the house, preparing a collation: cold food which her guest could carry in case unexpected meeting, fear of ambuscades, or pursuits should compel him to wander about for some time at random. She rolled up strips of linen and got together some fresh herbs to be applied in compresses in case his wounds should reopen.
At the word Directory she interrupted her cares, and her heart beat violently as, forgetful of the reality, of Harvey, of her husband, and clearing distances, mountains, and vast seas, she suddenly discerned her son, her Michael, embarking free, radiant, and with his forehead, clear and high, turned towards his native land.
The Directory, at one of its first meetings,— and this was more than six months before,— had decreed the recall of all the sons of Erin, however far away chance or the rigorous necessities of life had exiled them. Especially those whom the despotism of England had forced into the king’s armies must break their chain, and the youngest, most robust, and most valorous of Ireland must hasten to lend the assistance of their arms to their brothers dwelling on the native soil.
As soon as the news had reached down there,— she knew her Michael,— he had escaped and had braved all dangers, baffled all supervision, eluded all vigilance, and was now sailing over the ocean, and approaching the soil of a free State. Without rest, without weariness, moreover, sustained by love of country, by filial love, he would pursue his onward way. The sympathies of the nations for the persecuted island, the universal hatred of the peoples for Great Britain, the admiration of all for a patriot hurrying to perform his duty, would level all difficulties, and furnish him the means of regaining his country.
The Plumb-Line at New Haven.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Miss Gurtrude B. Kelly’s paper on “Anarchism and Expediency” is certainly a remarkable production and a very valuable work for Anarchistic propaganda. The Equal Rights Debating Club of New Haven did not fail to do full justice to the bright lecturer, whom every intelligent person in the room declared to be a rising star. Not always can we tell a good thing when we see it, the degree to which we are impressed by a thing being dependent not only upon the nature of the thing itself, but upon the state of our own susceptibility and readiness to receive such impressions. The Club is not ignorant of the teachings of the Anarchical school. Knowing just so much of it as to admire its ideal, admit the truth and beauty of its basic principles, the questioning, the doubt, and the opposition mainly lay on the practical side of the issue. The question was: “Is it practicable? can it be realized here and now?” Thus Miss Kelly’s lecture was well calculated to supply a want strongly felt by her auditors.
Miss Kelly maintained that strict adherence to principle is not only a good policy for social reformers to adopt, but the only policy that can bring them any nearer to their goal or make future progress at all possible. She argued that in this question of Right versus Expediency, or Principle versur Policy, the first is really the easier to ascertain, and, therefore, the wiser to follow. The light of Expediency is treacherous, misleading, and unsteady. Trying to be “practical,” we become mentally confused, and lose all means of controlling our actions. We never know where we stand and how near we are to the promised land. On the other hand, adopting a principle for our guide and keeping straight on through calm and storm, we are sure to reach our destination sooner or later. The man of principle is the true leader, the mover and saviour of the blind and unhappy masses, while the time-server, though called a leader and enjoying for a time popular favor, is actually a slave to the prejudices and passions of the multitude and is led and used by them.
Supporting her a priori arguments by facts and experience, she took up one by one the practical remedies, the expedient solutions of the burning questions of the day, as proposed by our popular leaders, and mercilessly destroyed them, showing most conclusively that, instead of relieving the patient, these quack remedies would still more endanger his condition. The eight-hour movement, the union label, cooperative schemes, Malthusianism, and other remedies severally advanced as immediate solutions of the labor problem were minutely examined, and the striking and evident conclusion was that these palliatives would never effect any change at all, and that, after much time, labor, and suspense, we would find ourselves near our starting point, more perplexed and despairing than ever.
“I warn you,” said Miss Kelly earnestly, “against the ‘practical’ philosophers who profess contempt for abstract principles, who denounce every radical reformer as a dreamer and crank, and who claim to have invented self-operating patent reform machines. A ‘practical’ reformer is a shortsighted and dull-headed person, incapable of deep insight or wide generalization. Seeing only immediate causes and results, he cannot be trusted or relied upon in the task of working out our social salvation.
“If you understand the truth and logic of Liberty-the-mother-of-order philosophy, you will readily conceive the folly of those who want to solve social problems by methods of coercion, legislative enactments, or forcible measures. Tyranny is a two-edged sword. The strong are brutalized and degraded in the exercise of their tyranny, while the weak become slaves, cowards, and nobodies under its yoke. Only free individuals can live in harmony, and only under diseased conditions can their interests be antagonistic.”
At the close of her speech no one manifested a desire to take issue with her or attempt to refute her logic. A reporter of a local paper wittily said that Miss Kelly made a wholesale conquest of the Equal Rights Debating Club. But for more than two hours she was kept answering questions and giving explanations. The meeting lasted three hours, and Miss Kelly practically did all the talking. Encouraging the cross-examiners, she said that we Anarchists are not like the State Socialists, who are afraid of Liberty and seek to crush the spirit of opposition, or like the Christians, who fear Mormon competition. We invite criticism and want to be tested. And I am proud to say that the questions and points raised were not of that frivolous character to which we have been accustomed in like cases, as “How would you build railways under Anarchy?” or “What if a highwayman should knock you down?” but such as gave credit to the auditors and good working material to the lecturer.
If farther proof is needed to settle this vexed question of Right versus Expediency, the two New Haven meetings addressed by Miss Kelly and Mr. Appleton afford it. The esteem, the admiration, the influence that they had in New Haven,— to what are these due if not to their plumb-line radicalism? After all, in truth there is a magical power which is sure to work on everybody of moral worth and brains. When the Club wanted a man of brains and courage to speak on labor organization, it did not go to the every-day labor reformers, but chose Mr. Appleton, because they know him to be an uncompromising, plumb-line champion at truth, popular or unpopular. His whole speech then was an attack on the Expediency philosophy, and yet ho was not only respectfully treated by his un-Anarchistic listeners, but admired and openly praised to such a degree that he confessed on his way to the depot to being very proud of it. It was, he said, one of the best moments of his life! Truly, virtue is its own reward! His latest, you may well imagine, was a surprise to me.
Bachmann and the International.
Inasmuch as the writer of the following letter, M. A. Bachmann, formerly editor at “Die Zukunft,” the only German Anarchistic paper ever published in America has been wantonly branded as a Prussian spy by the Chicago “Arbeiter-Zeitung” for no other reason than that he has had the manliness to denounce the criminals who call themselves Communistic Anarchists (the character of these criminals being perfectly well known to the editor of the “Arbeiter-Zeitung,” August Spies), my intelligent and earnest German comrade’s explanation of his connection with the International and revelation of some of its inside history are timely and interesting:
To the Editor of Liberty:
Allow me through the colunns of your paper to present to such people as it may interest in consequence of recent events some details regarding my connection with the New York Group of the International Working People’s Association.
In January, 1881, the New York Section of the Socialistic Labor Party split, in consequence of the arrival of the German ex-deputy, Hasselmann, and the dissatisfaction caused by the alliance of that party with the National or Greenback party, into two parts of about equal strength. One part, the parliamentary Socialists, favoring participation in elections, succeeded in retaining the name, New York Section of the Socialistic Labor Party; the other part, with real Anarchistic tendencies, adopted the name, Internationale Arbeiter Association (International Working People’s Association). As early as 1881 I gave a lecture before the members of that organization — having become a member myself — on the subject, “Socialism and Anarchism,” and Comrade J. H. Schwab attended the congress of radical Socialists at Chicago, where a programme was adopted far more radical and Anarchistic than the one laid down in the Pittsburg proclamation in October, 1883. In the fall of 1882 John Most arrived in the United States, and, after a little hesitation on account of a rival organization founded by Hasselmann and called the Social Revolutionary Club, joined the Internationale Arbeiter Association, which organization elected him a delegate, together with three others, to the Pittsburg convention held in the fall of 1883. Returning from there, on motion of Most, nearly all the members of the organization which had delegated him joined individually the so-called new organization, styled: International Working People’s Association, German Group, New York; but I, for one, did not, and have never been a member, received a card, or paid dues. The reason which Most gave to me for founding a new organization was that he thought such a stratagem would break up the rival organization, the Social Revolutionary Club, although Most admitted that it consisted of only a baker’s dozen of incurable cranks.
In spite of the fact that I never formally joined Most’s organization, I was regarded as a member thereof; and, desiring to do somewhat in spreading the philosophy of Anarchism, and considering that this appeared the most promising field for agitation, I silently accepted a position which by right did not belong to me. Then and there I found out that it requires a certain prominence in such organization to influence others. I gained some prominence, but, in order to accomplish that, I had to keep silent where I ought to have spoken and to take part in a great many doings which a sober second thought obliged me to condemn. I was allowed to write for the journals of the International Working People’s Association, but I had to modify and shape my words, not according to my conviction, but to suit the test and the ideas of an indistinct majority of its members. I stood all this for a while, but gradually I was compelled either to sink my entire individuality in the flattening sea of collectivism or to rebel. After a battle with myself, I chose the latter course. Articles stating and defending this decision in Numbers 37 and 38 of “Die Zukunft” raised a storm of indignation against me, and I was compelled not only to resign a membership which I never formally had, but to give up writing for “Die Zukunft” and participating in the meetings and lectures held under the auspices of the aforesaid organization.
Thus fruitlessly and disagreeably ended my agitation, and I even lost sight of the few more intelligent who had attentively listened to me.
Penetrated with the spirit of the “Freiheit,” the members of the New York German Group of the International have become rude and devoid of all the better and more refined qualities of mankind. Day by day grows this spirit of rudeness and fanatical unreasonable desire for merciless cruelty. When the erring Stellmacher murdered the poor Eisert children, he followed the cruel dictates of the necessity appearing before him. Certainly he would have preferred not to do so,— would, if possible, have avoided such a measure. Such is the instinct planted in the heart of every well-meaning human being. It was left for the German Group of the International to rejoice over it, and I have had to listen to a great many as they in all earnest advocated the murder of all children of capitalists because they are the offspring of tyrants.
I shall have nothing to conceal. I have erred in allowing myself to be carried along all the way from the temple of lofty humanity into the barracks of vile blasphemy, ignorance, and rudeness. May my example he a warning to others!
M. A. Bachmann.
New York, April 19, 1886.
Great Homer Sometimes Nods.
An “X” that is no unknown quantity, and whose quality of thought is congenial to me, lapses occasionally into verbal aberrations from his true conception, as I deem in his slur against “property” in Liberty of March 27; as previously, in the London “Anarchist,” he had equally provoked misconception by endorsing the term government. “X” certainly shares our holy horror of the latter, and our respect for the former, either absolutely or relatively to an ethical order. Were he a lawyer, a politician, a speculator, or a bourgeois nincompoop, he might reply that property is what the laws define as such; but were he any one of those animals, he could not rise above the legal definition to defy property as a social fraud.
The intellect of “X” naturally despises legal definitions, and, as an artist, recognizes property as the extension of his personality over subject nature, self-limited by his recognition of other personal attributes. I employ here a transcendental idiom of thought, because I am sure of being understood, and it is more deferential. I am not now writing an essay upon property, nor am I seeking to convict “X” of an error. I simply question the policy of his exposing himself to misconception by outsiders in using the word in a sense which applies merely to its abuses,— i.e., to the infractions on true property. Natural minds, while they may have for property as legal a respect of expediency, have also an instinctive sentiment of natural or ethical property, and do not understand, that “X,” in condemning it, refers merely to the law’s abuses. I remain as usual,
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.