“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.
There must be a limitation to great fortunes, says Henry George, “but that limitation must be natural, not artificial. Such a limitation is offered by the land value tax.” What in the name of sense is there about a tax that makes it natural as distinguished from artificial? If anything in the world is purely artificial, taxes are. And if they are collected by force, they are not only artificial, but arbitrary and tyrannical.
It looks very much as though Anthony Comstock were about to renew the campaign against Freethinkers which, after several reverses, he dropped a few years ago. Probably he has been laying his wires in the interval, and thinks now that he has only to say the word to rush into prison all those who dare to think and communicate their thought. Following the arrest of M. Harman, G. S. Harman, and E. C. Walker in Kansas, with which it is not unlikely that Comstock was in some way indirectly connected, comes the arrest in Virginia by one of his agents of that respectable old lady of Quaker lineage, Mrs. Elmina Drake Slenker, who so frequently contributes to nearly all the Liberal papers and regularly edits a department of the Boston “Investigator.” Her offence consists of the circulation through the mails of what some people consider a very naughty book called “Diana.” One is not required to pats upon the wickedness or the wisdom of this work in order to determine that, if it is Mrs. Slenker’s pleasure to circulate it, it is also her prerogative, with which if any one interferes, he must expect to encounter the hostility of all by whom such prerogative is valued. As Liberty is certainly to be numbered among these, it will cordially cooperate in an uncompromising struggle against Anthony Comstock or any of his ilk. If my readers feel like taking a hand, I would advise them to put themselves in communication with Dr. E. B. Foote, Jr., 120 Lexington Avenue, New York City, who, as Comstock’s most vigilant antagonist, will tell them in what way they can be of most service. Of Mrs. Slenker it should be added that, when she was arraigned at Lynchburg, she admitted circulating the book, defended her conduct, declined to take the oath on the Bible, refused lawyer’s services until she could get counsel from New York, was placed under bonds, and could not furnish bail, in consequence of which she is now in jail at Wytheville, Virginia, awaiting her trial, which will probably occur in Abingdon next July before the United States District Court.
I am expecting now from day to day to receive the first number of a new Anarchistic journal from Melbourne, Australia, which was issued, if the promise of the prospectus was fulfilled, on April 2. It is a child of Liberty, has been christened Honesty, and will prove, I have no doubt, a chip of the old block. It announces itself as “a fearless journal of radical social reform, specially studying and criticising all the ‘live’ questions of the day of a political and social nature, and explaining their relation to the welfare of the people as a whole.” It will be “the working-people’s paper, championing the interests of all who work mentally and manually to support themselves, and opposing every scheme, whether legal or illegal, by which they are robbed.” Its principles are formulated thus: “1, Equal Liberty for all; 2, Equality of opportunity for all; 3, Freedom of exchange and distribution; 4, The right of the laborer to the full fruits of his labor; 5, The total abolition of all imposed authority, privilege, monopoly, and exploitation.” The first of these includes those that follow, but it has been used so unintelligently and indiscriminately by antagonistic schools that it has to be amplified to secure explicitness. To the readers of Liberty it is needless to say that our intelligent, earnest, brave, and active Comrade Andrade probably has the principal finger in this Anarchistic pie, which alone should be sufficient recommendation. “Honesty” will be published monthly at threepence a copy. The yearly subscription price is not given, but I am sure that one dollar would cover it and pay the foreign postage also. Remittances should be made to “The Cooperative Publishing Company, 9 Alexandra Theatre, Exhibition Street, Melbourne, Australia.” Let us help the new enterprise all we can. Liberty feels safe in the assertion that this latest addition to her progeny is born after the normal period of gestation, and that there is little danger of its following in the footsteps of that product of a miscarriage, its elder brother in London. Long live “Honesty”!
I am in receipt of a communication from E. C. Walker and his wife which it is not my purpose to print. It protests because I did not accompany my recent statement that they “have paid the costs which they were never, never, never going to pay, and are out of jail,” with a statement of the reasons why they paid the costs. Inasmuch as it was not my intention in the paragraph quoted to reflect upon the wisdom of these reasons, and inasmuch as I entirely approve them, and inasmuch as an exhibition of the excellence of these reasons, some of which at least were operative at the time of their previous determination to stay in jail, could only bring into sharper contrast the silliness of this determination, and inasmuch as it was at the latter that my paragraph was aimed, I do not see why I was bound, even in fairness, to print the reasons. Neither their strength nor their weakness were essential to my point. But granting that fairness required this, it is still a great piece of impudence on the part of any editor of “Lucifer” to appeal to me for fairness. When Mr. Walker, after his arrest, outlined his defence in a loiter to me, I at once wrote him my objections and informed him what course I should have to take. In reply he sent me an elaborate defence of his defence. I printed this reply in full, and answered it squarely from the standpoint of principle, carefully eschewing personality. “Lucifer” printed Mr. Walker’s article, but never printed my reply or my original letter. From the beginning up to the present it has never presented to its readers the grounds of my criticism. On the contrary, it has printed attack after attack upon me from correspondents who, if they had any acquaintance with my position (of which they generally gave no evidence), did not gain it through reading “Lucifer.” Further, its editorial columns have teemed with uncalled-for reflections on my motives and unwarrantable impeachments of my courage, and in one instance it has gone so far as to aid and abet a tattling busybody in the circulation of meddlesome gossip about my private affairs. And now, in a communication headed “Hear All Sides, Then Decide,” E. C. Walker and his wife coolly write to me: “We ask for fair play from the editor of Liberty.” “Let Messrs. the assassins begin,” said Alphonse Karr, in answer to the opponents of capital punishment. So I say to the “Lucifer group,” when they plead for fair play: Let those begin who first were unfair.
Of the attitude of Liberty towards the compulsory methods of the Knights of Labor I did not suppose there was any room for doubt after the criticisms of them that have appeared in these columns; but, as a friend of the paper seems a little fearful that the paragraph in the last issue regarding the boycott of the New York “Sun” may mislead, I give here, from his private letter, the words which he writes about it: “When you support K. of L. boycotts, do you take into account that they are decreed by the majority of a representative body and are enforced by penalties,— that is, that any one refusing to boycott will lose his employment if the leaders have the power to get him discharged? Against a spontaneous boycott I have nothing to say. That the ‘Sun’ is deserving of boycotting I am ready also to admit; but the majority of those who abandon it do so, not because they have become disgusted with its course, but because they have received orders from above. I think your experience with leaders of the McNeill type ought to convince you too that they will order a boycott on a journal, not because of its unfairness, but merely because it is in their way, and that they would adopt more expeditious measures, were they in their power. These people differ only from the State by not resorting to physical force, and that is simply because the State won’t let them.” To all of which I have only to say: Amen and Amen! My friend’s criticism would apply equally to my support of the original Irish boycott, which, as events have proved, was clapped on and taken off at the bidding of leaders some of whom were knaves and some cowards, and from motives quite as questionable as those which actuate the leaders of the Knights. Further, the tenant who did not choose to boycott was often boycotted. Nevertheless I did not sympathize with the howl of the frenzied landlords against the right to boycott, and I remain equally unmoved to pity by a similar howl on the part of the frenzied “Sun.” If the “Sun” would base its protest on the Anarchistic grounds where my friend stands, it would have my sympathy, but it does not; on the contrary, in declaring that it is but a step from the right to boycott to assassination, it is as distinctly Archistic as are the Knights themselves.
That Famous Victory for Anarchy.
[Moses Hall In New Thought.]
Mr. Walker and Lillian are out of jail, Mr. Harman having paid their costs. He could not well ran the paper without their assistance, and so, under protest, he paid the costs and took them out of jail. Now, we understand, Edwin and Lillian are in something of a quandary as to what to do. The court has pronounced them legally married, yet they dare not live together as husband and wife, for their enemies are ready to pounce upon them again. They do not like to live apart, for that is a surrender to their enemies and a violation of their own feelings. They will not leave the State; that would be fleeing before their enemies. They do not wish to take out a license and get married legally, for that is an acknowledgment of the very thing they deny,— that is, that the State has a right to interfere with their love affairs. Which of these roads they will pursue they have not yet decided. After due deliberation, they will, under protest, take the one which seems the most consistent.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 98.
“We will conquer!”
“Even against numbers!”
“No matter how many!”
And the soldiers on the French vessels, who, during useless engagements, might be prevented from landing for their work of salvation by regiments unexpectedly arriving from other directions, and might perhaps be triumphantly bombarded by artillery whoso passage would not be obstructed!
These arguments prevailed over the unchained fury, and John Autrun, the sergeant of the Ancient Britons, who had joined the Irish on his recovery, worked with the agitator to convince those most difficult to reach, through motives of prudence.
They came to a halt, and he, perched on an eminence, like a preacher, made a speech to them.
“Comrades,” said he, with the inspired air of a believer, his eyes lost in vacancy, “it is a long time since my heart was dedicated to your cause. What caused my delay in actually devoting to you my assistance was my faith in a certain prophecy. I have read in the Bible, and more brilliant minds than my own have explained to me by texts too long to quote and which they have marvellously interpreted, that the resolution of the Irish to shake off the impious yoke of England would be spent in vain, until a landing of French troops should aid them. This is about to be accomplished, and our cause will triumph from that very moment; but if it is not effected, our hope founders with the vessels which were bringing us deliverance and will vanish with the wind which shall fill their retreating sails.”
“The sergeant is a Presbyterian,” shouted some of the Irish, eager for the hand-to-hand fight; “the prophecies of his religion can not weigh on our minds!”
But Edith, up to that time taciturn, buried in her bleeding memories, bent under the burden of her incipient treason, which she did not consider redeemed by her subsequent conduct, when she had unmasked Newington,— Edith, straightening up in her ragged mourning garments, sculpturesque and like an imposing priestess, emphasized the assertion of John Autrun.
“We are going,” said she, “to the headland from which Saint Patrick once threw into the sea the reptiles of all species which infested our soil.
“Is not the Englishman a serpent more unclean than all the others? Our patron, the venerated saint, in inspiring our chiefs with the idea of enticing him to this cliff, has, in his designs, decreed that this new reptile which entwines us, which smothers us in its folds, which dishonors the ground on which it crawls, the green grass in which it hides,— Saint Patrick has decreed that this new reptile shall be hurled by us into the sea, the immense tomb!”
And, believing in this double augury, obeying at last, beginning again the patriotic song which so electrified the soldiers of Sir Harvey again took up their march.
Their steps lengthened unconsciously, and they very soon drew near and attained the blue horizon of the rocks which scaled the plateau of the headland. These rocks perforated the cold skies, of a grayish hue like that of oxydized metal; while on the left, overhanging apparently the road, stretched the broad expanse of ocean, its thick, gloomy azure spotted with flakes of foam lashed by the north wind.
A unanimous clamor arose all at once, a triple hurrah filled the air, frightening from their eyries the eagles which began to wheel about. Gliding over the waves like a flock of gigantic white birds, the French fleet was distinctly discerned, and from the perfectly perceptible growth of its sails, they calculated that it would make land in the course of the day, before the setting of the sun which did not yet touch the zenith.
And the repeated shouts of joy, the cheers for France, for Ireland, for Hoche, for Harvey, mingled in succession, continued, deafening even the gulls poised on the reefs of the shore, who flew about in bewilderment, like the great red eagles, in their surprise.
But, at the same time, anxiety found its way into the hearts of some.
The swell, already heavy, seemed to increase with every moment; the crest of the waves, rising higher each minute, was fringed with a more abundant foam, and on the surface of the sea, very clear till then, the dust of the spray began to make a sort of mist in which the ships were effaced like fleeting outlines.
And a sudden rise of wind was noted, which blew now with unprecedented violence, in gusts, causing the vessels to heel to starboard at intervals.
Then they rose again, advanced rapidly, heeled again, ran along at a sharp incline in spite of the reefs taken in the sails, straightened once more, and pursued their way without accident, without obstruction.
Nevertheless, anguish seized even the least impressionable, on account of the intense blackness of the sky, which was covered with gathering clouds, piled up in a disorderly way, in menacing calmness.
The stiff breeze blew the clouds from three or four different directions and piled up in one heap all the sweepings of the rest of the heavens, and now the entire horizon, sky and sea, was black as ink, excepting the spitting waves which were breaking with increasing wrath. They could feel that the tempest was on the point of bursting with the utmost fury.
So, little by little, sustained by voices which grew less numerous each instant and which were scattered over the whole length of the column, and then by isolated voices, the songs ceased entirely, the universal ardor was extinguished, and a feeling of sad and hopeless resignation spread imperceptibly through the ranks, in spite of the efforts, of the leaders and the attempts of Paddy to enliven by his droll jests, by his joyous nonsense, all these patriots determined to do their duty, to fight like dogs, to die like heroes, but without immediate advantage.
In the future they would serve as examples to their descendants who would rise again for deliverance; but that was all!
The prophecy of the sergeant was now running in their heads, and they were considering the end which he had foreseen when preaching submission to the orders of Sir Harvey.
No landing of the French; it was useless to count on salvation.
Edith’s prediction did not revive their confidence. The widow had no other source of inspiration than herself; she made an absolutely artificial comparison of the English and the reptiles, and, to sustain her position, inferred a similar fate for both. In truth, the process lacked weight and bore marks of the poor woman’s mental incoherence.
She now repeated her prophecy in vain; they no longer believed in it; and certain individuals thought that she continued to hold a shining ray of hope before their eyes from fear that they would remember her treason and blame her for the approaching defeat of the Irish forces.
A little reflection would have shown them that no connection could have existed between the bargain accepted by the unhappy woman and the disaster which they feared for the fleet; they could not have imagined that Newington, bound by his son’s oath to send no messenger to the reinforcements of the king to urge them to hasten, but not bound regarding the hurricane, had let it loose upon the French vessels.
Nevertheless, refraining from reasoning, considering only the result, these people looked upon the mother of the soldier Michael as a bringer of ill-luck, attributing to her unconsciously an influence on events; and in proportion as the fury of the wind increased, driving the ships over the waves and seeming on the point of crushing them between the sky and sea, they made Edith responsible for the unavoidable catastrophes.
They arrived at the foot of the hill where they were to take their position, and the military preparations of Sir Harvey, in distributing the roles for the defence, caused a favorable diversion from the pernicious direction which had been taken by the minds of the troops, who possessed both the virtues and the vices of the race,— not only its prompt enthusiasm, patriotic delirium, impetuosity of action, obstinacy in abnegation, endurance of suffering, and disdain of death, but also its superstitious fear, mental discouragement, and fatal susceptibility to impression.
The gravity of the moment, the grandeur of the mission which they assumed, the impatience for the battle suddenly metamorphosed them, restoring their energy which for an instant had wavered and weakened. Their spirits were revived by the intoxication of the powder which they inhaled while biting their cartridges and loading their weapons, by the ringing sound of the pikes and scythes which they clashed against the rocks, by the slightly swaggering call with which they summoned their enemies to appear as soon as possible, without delay, to measure themselves with these Irishmen, generally so submissive and who had borne torture end massacre without resistance, today, as they had done two days before, under Treor’s roof. Ah! the cursed Englishman would learn to know his gentle victim as a tiger when once aroused to fight.
The approaches to the cliff guarded by pikemen in case of an assault; each rock furnished with a squad to vigorously resist the passage of any scaling-party and cover the mountain like a wall to be protected from the encroachments of thieves; on each step of the gigantic staircase a post of mowers to hew down the assailants, cut off their heads like ripened grain, sever their arms and legs, and split their chests in two; and, at the summit, the riflemen, all furnished with fire-arms, whose projectiles, from afar, would riddle with implacable hail every regiment of redcoats which should present itself, dismounting the chiefs, and throwing headlong, with their four feet in the air, the horses of the artillery,— with all these dispositions, there would be no God if the English should take possession of the plateau. And if they should not advance further, but should try to turn the cliff and come back over the sands, then from the heights they would roll down boulders which would fall like rain on their backs, flatten them out like crabs, and drive them into the sand like nails under the hammer.
Long live Ireland!
Unfortunately the hurricane redoubled, the clouds, like a charge of cavalry, rushed along, launching the blinding and freezing rain, the stiff hands of the soldiers could hardly hold the frozen butt-ends of their rifles and muskets and the streaming handles of the pikes, and the contingent destined for the occupation of the summit of the heights saw immense water-spouts shoot upwards to unprecedented elevations and fall upon the vessels, which disappeared for an instant under the brutal avalanche.
And now they had to contend with a head wind and were obliged to tack repeatedly, which delayed their anchoring in the roadstead. Provided no new difficulty presented itself, they might impede the march of the king’s troops, in case they should not succeed in annihilating them.
In the far distant fields Paddy perceived compact black masses, difficult at first to distinguish from the surrounding woods with their low vegetation and gloomy thickets, but impossible of confusion by any one acquainted with the topography of the neighborhood. Besides, they displaced each other and approached with a celerity which was appreciable even at that distance.
Soon, moreover, gleams of light enveloped in white smoke arose, accompanied by a dry rattling of musketry in answer to the gunshots from the neighboring bushes, shots which were carefully husbanded and expended, and the curious and comforting spectacle was afforded of engagements begun at ten different points, in the vicinity of the neighboring villages, from each of which the bells sounded the tocsin announcing the arrival of the army, calling on the armed Irishmen roundabout to be on their guard, and, like a sonorous Sursum corda! warning them that the hour had struck for supreme heroisms!
The bells of Whitestone sounded so loudly that, to use Paddy’s expression, one might have thought that he was wearing them as ear-rings.
“Which proves,” remarked one of his comrades, “that the wind is increasing furiously.”
“And which diminishes proportionally the chances of the landing of the French,” reasoned another, in a tone of sad disappointment.
And truly, alas! the foreboding of this man seemed well-founded; suddenly a sail, breaking loose, slapped madly in the wind, clinging to the masts; disabled transport-ships, their masts gone, were turned from their course in the tempest; and waves as high and massive as mountains lifted the vessels to prodigious heights and engulfed them in bottomless abysses.
The firing on land increased.
All the wood-lands, on both sides of the roads, were crowned with smoke, and the volleys which came from them were responded to by the marching troops, whose energetic defence soon repaired the trouble made in their ranks by surprises.
At the first word of warning they plunged into the thickets, to the sound of the trumpets, amid furious volleys; then the reports followed each other only at intervals, growing fainter in the midst of the uproar; and, with oppressed hearts, the Irish with Sir Harvey and Treor waited with unspeakable anxiety for the end of the skirmish, the events of which, surely terrible, escaped them.
What unknown would disengage himself from these mysterious hand-to-hand fights?
Who would conquer,— their enemy or their friends and brothers? On which side were the dead falling in greater numbers?
Suddenly some isolated individuals would emerge precipitately from the copses, followed by others, thinly scattered at first and then more numerous, in bands which would often rest for a minute, then rally, and re-enter the depths of the woods, but which often also retreated, either still coolly firing, while breaking, as they were pursued step by step, or running away without looking behind, in mad panics!
From that distance it was impossible to recognize the nationality of those who were disbanded. Were the English repulsed, or their own comrades dislodged? Even with his glass, so obscured was the light by the increasing tempest, Sir Harvey could not immediately discern, and they held their breaths until he was able to decide.
In general, however, almost all the way along the line, the enemy retreated, and the trumpets sounding the retreat indicated to the Bunclodyans to which side victory leaned, which, nevertheless, was not settled, the king’s regiments resolving not to retreat, re-forming quietly, and rushing back, refreshed, to the rescue.
And through the hearts of Sir Harvey’s soldiers again passed the impressions of anxiety, of hope, of pain, and of joy. Sometimes the Irish, at the end of one of these renewed attacks, would be obliged to abandon their positions, but not as runaways, only leaving to station themselves elsewhere on the route of the temporary victors and to again dispute their passage energetically and triumphantly.
In any case, though success should remain with the English, some time must elapse before they would reach the plateau; and meanwhile, to occupy and distract themselves, many of these forced spectators of a long drama, which never flagged though cut up into many acts, lighted their pipes at which they warmed their benumbed linger fingers, and the smoke of which, driven furiously back towards the sea, recalled their attention to that part of the tragedy. In that direction the outlook was bad for Ireland!
Whirlpools of water and wind were assailing the ships; and while, near one of the villages, skirmishers were attacking the unsuspecting artillery on the flank, cutting the hamstrings of the horses which drew the cannons and powder-carts, spiking the guns, and setting fire to powder which blazed into the air for several miles, the tempest was undertaking to engulf the fleet, or at least to drive it, terribly damaged and disabled, along the shores of Ireland.
Already the greater part of the transport-ships were heading in the other direction, absolutely unable to struggle against the elements, and the rest, sustaining by turns serious damages, cordage broken, shrouds demolished, and the bowsprit torn out as neatly as the stem of a fruit, could not be slow in following their example.
To be continued.
The Political Theology of Mazzini
By Michael Bakouine,
Member of the International Association of Working-People.
Translated from the French by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 98.
But let us clearly understand each other. When I speak of the moral force of nations in general and of the Germans in particular, I take good care not to confound it with human, absolute morality. I well know that this word absolute, applied to human morality, will sound badly in the ears of many of our friends, materialists, positivists, and atheists, who have declared war to the death against the absolute in whatever form it may appear, and with much reason, for the Absolute, taken in the absolute sense of the word, is absolute nonsense. So it is not of this absolute Absolute, it is not of God, that I speak. I do not know this gentleman; I am as ignorant of him as they are themselves. The absolute which I mean is relative only to humanity. It is that universal law of solidarity which is the natural base of all human society, and of which all historical developments have been and are only successive expressions, manifestations, and realizations.
Every real being, composite or simple, collective or individual, every intelligent, living being, organic or even inorganic, has a principle which is peculiar to it, which is not imposed on it from on high by any supreme Being whatever, but which is inherent in it, which constitutes it, and makes it remain what it is, as long as it is, and all the successive developments of which are only necessary manifestations. Without doubt, at least in my mind, this principle, which is, in reality, nothing else than this being’s manner of existence and development, is only the resultant, more or less prolonged and constant, but never eternal, of an indefinite multitude of natural actions and reactions, of a combination of causes and effects,— a combination which, while always modifying itself somewhat, continues to reproduce itself, so long as it is not forced to change its direction or its nature, and transform itself into some new combination, by the action of new causes, more powerful than those which first gave it birth; then the being which is the product of this disappears with what we call its principle. Thus it is that we see many species of animals remain today what they have been for more than three thousand years. Many others have completely disappeared from the earth, and, naturally, their particular principles, which constituted their particular being, have also disappeared with them. Our planet and our solar system itself, having had a beginning in the eternal Universe, must necessarily have an end; in some millions of years the earth will be no more, and with it, and perhaps even before it, will also disappear the human race with all its principles, with all the laws inherent in its being.
We have no occasion to be troubled. A few millions of years are the same as eternity to us. The ambitious idealists who talk of eternity, without finding, for the most part, enough depth in themselves to fill an existence of sixty years, usually imagine much less than that. In reality, a single million of years surpasses the power of our imagination. We have hardly the history of the last three thousand years, and it appears to us eternal and humanity already so old! Let us, then, fill the present with our best, prepare, as far as our means and strength allow, for the nearest future, and leave the care of far-off times to come to the men or the new beings of those times.
It suffices us to know that every real being, so long as it exists, exists only by virtue of a principle which is inherent in it and which determines its particular nature,— a principle which is not imposed on it by any divine law-maker whatever, but which is the prolonged and constant resultant of a combination of natural causes and effects; and which is not enclosed in it like a soul in its body, according to the absurd imagination of the idealists, but which is in reality only the inevitable and constant mode of its real existence.
The human race, like all the other animal races, has inherent principles which are peculiar to it, and all these principles are summed up in or reducible to a single principle which we call Solidarity.
This principle may be formulated thus: No human individual can recognize his own humanity, or, consequently, realize it in life, except by recognizing it in others and by cooperating in its realization for others. No man can emancipate himself save by emancipating with him all the men about him. My liberty is the liberty of everybody, for I am really free, free not only in idea, but in fact, only when my liberty and my right find their confirmation, their sanction, in the liberty and right of all men, my equals.
What all other men are is of great importance to me, because, however independent I may imagine myself or may appear by my social position, whether I am Pope, Czar, or Emperor, or even prime minister, I am always the product of the lowest among them; if they are ignorant, miserable, enslaved, my life is determined by their ignorance, misery, and slavery. I, an enlightened or intelligent man, for example,— if such is the case,— am foolish with their folly; I, a brave man, am the slave of their slavery; I, a rich man, tremble before their misery; I, a privileged man, turn pale before their justice. In short, wishing to be free, I can not be, because all the men around me do not yet wish to be free, and, not wishing it, they become instruments of my oppression.
This is not imagination, it is a reality, the sad experience of which the whole world is undergoing today. Why, after so many superhuman efforts, after so many revolutions, always at first victorious, after so many painful sacrifices and so many struggles for liberty, does Europe still remain a slave? Because in all the countries of Europe there is still an immovable mass, immovable at least in appearance, which up to this time has remained inaccessible to the propaganda of ideas of emancipation, humanity, and justice,— the mass of the peasants. It is this which constitutes today the power, the last support and the last refuge of all despots, a real club in their hands to crush us, and, in so far as we shall fail to fill them with our aspirations, our passions, our ideas, we shall not cease to be slaves. We must emancipate them to emancipate ourselves.
Considering western humanity, including America, the Roman, German, and Anglo-German nations, as the most civilized and relatively the most liberal portion of the world, we find even in Europe a black point which menaces this civilization and this liberty. This point is a whole world, the world of Slavs, which up to the present time has been almost always the victim, rarely the hero, and still less the conqueror of history, having been by turns the slave of the Huns, of the Turks, of the Tartars, and, above all, of the Germans. Today it is rising, moving, organizing itself spontaneously, creating slowly a new power, and beginning to demand with a loud voice its place in the sun. What makes its demands still more menacing is that, at the eastern extremity of the European continent, there is an immense empire of more than seventy millions of inhabitants, half Slavs, half Finns, and in part Germans and Tartars, as despotic as possible, founding its enormous power as much on its inaccessible geographical position as on the mass of its innumerable peasants, and raising against the flag of Pan-Germanism hoisted in a manner so grievous for the liberty of the whole world, by the modern patriotism of the Germans, the no less grievous and menacing flag of Pan-Slavism.
The Germans, in all their present publications, laugh at this, or, rather, pretend to laugh at it. For, infatuated as they are with the easy victories which their traditional discipline and their morality of voluntary slaves have just won over the disorganization and the merely transient demoralization of France, they well know, and have known for a long time, that, if there is a danger which they really need to fear, it is that with which the eastern Slav threatens them.
They know it so well that there is no race which they detest more; in all Germany, except the German proletariat in so far as it is not misled by its leaders, and except the immense majority of the German peasants who do not come into immediate contact with the Slav peasants, this hatred is a universal and profound sentiment. The Germans detest this race for all the harm which they have done it, for all the hatred which by their ages of oppression they have inspired in it, and for the instinctive, irresistible terror which its awakening causes them. This intense mutual hatred, mingled with terror on the one side and a deplorable desire for vengeance on the other, disturbs the mind of the Germans and makes them commit many injustices and follies.
Their relations to the Slavs are absolutely the same as those of the English towards the Irish race. But there is an immense difference between the present policy of the English and that of the modern Germans. The English, notwithstanding the reputation for egoism and brutal narrowness which people have been ready to attribute to them, have been and are still the most humanely practical and the most really liberal people of Europe. After having treated the Irish people like a race of pariahs for almost three centuries, they have at last come to see that this policy was as iniquitous as dangerous to themselves, and they have just entered resolutely upon the broad road of reparation. They have already yielded much to Ireland; urged on by the logic of this new road, at once salutary and humane, they will doubtless finish by yielding to her the last, the greatest reparation,— that autonomy which the Irish have, for centuries, demanded with a loud voice, an autonomy of which the radical transformation of all the economic relations prevailing there today will necessarily be the inevitable accompaniment and, as it were, the last word.
Why do not the Germans follow the example of England? Why do they not try to gain the sympathies of the Slavic peoples by the broadest recognition of their right to live, to arrange and organize themselves as they please, and to speak whatever language they like,— in a word, by the most complete recognition of their liberty? Instead of this, what are they doing? They are themselves pushing the Slavic peoples into the arms of the Czar of all the Russias by this odious threat of forced Germanization and the annihilation of the entire Slavic race in the grand centralization of the Pan-Germanic State. This is at once a great wrong and a great folly.
And unfortunately it is not only the conservatives, nor even the modern liberals and progressives, of Germany, who make this threat; these, on the contrary, are paying very little attention at present to Slavic affairs, absorbed as they are in the contemplation of their patriotic triumphs. No, it is the Republicans,— what do I say? — it is the workmen of the Social-Democratic party of Germany who, in imitation of their leaders, confounding Pan-Germanism with Cosmopolitanism, are pretending that the Slavic peoples of Austria should freely annihilate themselves in the grand Pan-Germanic and so-called popular State.
Let us hope that the General Council of the International Association of Workingmen, which has so well understood the Irish question, as it has recently proved by undertaking the defense of the autonomy of Ireland against the supremacy of England,— let us hope that, inspired by the same principles and urged on by the same sentiment of humanitarian equity, it will give to its friends and intimate allies, the leaders of the Social-Democratic party of Germany, the counsel to recognize as soon as possible, with all its political, economic, and social consequences, the complete liberty of all the Slavic peoples.
If it does not do this, it will prove that, led principally by the Germans, it comprehends justice and humanity only when they are not found in opposition to the immeasurably ambitious and vain designs of the Germans; that it also, like the leaders of the Social-Democratic party, with respect to the Slavic race at least, confounds Pan-Germanism with Cosmopolitanism,— a deplorable confusion, absolutely contrary to the most fundamental principles of the International, and which can serve only the Reaction.
Yes, the Reaction, for, I repeat it once more, the inevitable consequence of such a policy is to throw all the Slavic peoples of Europe into the arms of the Russian Czar. And then will arise a formidable struggle between the disorganized and demoralized West of Europe and the moralized Eastern Slavs,— that is, the Slavs united by hatred of the Germans.
That will be a real catastrophe for humanity; for, even supposing that the Germans triumph at first, which is not at all probable, they must maintain the Slavs in slavery by force, they must sacrifice everything to the formidable development of their armed forces, they must, in a word, continue to form a powerful military State,— that is, they must themselves remain slaves, and a permanent menace against liberty in all the countries of Europe. This is an inevitable result and, at the same time, a triumphant demonstration of that law of solidarity which is the fundamental law of humanity.
If, on the contrary, the Slavs triumph, under the colors of the Czar of Russia, it will be all over with humanity for a long time. There will remain only a single way of salvation for the Germans and for the entire West of Europe,— namely, to liberate and revolutionize the Slavic peoples, including the Empire of Russia itself, as quickly as possible. In no other way can there be any triumph except for the most pitiless, the most brutal, the most inhuman reaction. Any other path can end only in the ruin of all human civilization, at least for many centuries.
To be continued.
“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.
The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.
The London State Socialist papers are constantly producing new and fresh evidence of the completeness and thoroughness of their “scientific” know-nothing-ism. Mrs. Besant’s defence of their doctrines was pronounced excellent by the unsuspecting simpletons, while, in truth, she was guilty of criminal carelessness in introducing elements so foreign and antagonistic to her system in their nature as to fatally impair it and engender the process of its dissolution. For such amazing shallowness I have not been prepared, though nobody can possibly have a poorer opinion of the mental calibre of State Socialist “scientists” than the one formed in my mind by observation and analysis. I rather expected, at the time I made my criticisms, that the State Socialists would most positively deny Mrs. Besant’s statements and question her right to claim membership in their circle. But on such a point to find myself mistaken will always give me pleasure, and such disappointments are very easily assuaged.
Right here, however, attention must be paid to a class of thinkers who, though adhering to authoritarian Socialism, are yet, withal, not of the hopeless sort, and may be characterized as “State Socialists with a progressive tendency.” P. Lavroff, for one, is a good example of this type of Socialists. Very well, they rejoin, admitting that your criticism is well-founded and that the ideas of Mrs. Besant are incompatible with the immobility and permanency of the State, whence the necessity for such permanency? State Socialism is merely a transition, a step, the next stage of evolution, and, while favoring it for the time it may require to accomplish our purpose of destroying monopoly, exploitation, and privilege, we are perfectly willing, after poverty has vanished and social harmony is established, to slacken the reins of power, relax the pressure upon the individual, and allow the largest practicable amount of personal freedom. You Anarchists should understand that we love liberty, independence, and all the other valuable things of which you are so passionately fond with as much ardor as any properly-balanced man can be capable of, but we are in a state of war and forced to submit to some hardships and privations for the sake of achieving a great and complete victory over the enemy. State Socialism is a reaction made necessary by the logic of events. But it is not a finality. “It would seem,” writes M. Lavroff in the “Messenger of the People’s Will,” “that there is no raison d’etre for Anarchism as a distinct and independent movement, since even Marx and Engels declared that the immediate care of the Socialistic State, after its triumphant and secure establishment, will be its own gradual disappearance and the reduction of its sphere and functions to next to zero.”
Before a re-rejoinder is attempted, it is important to ascertain whether the Socialists of this newly-developed type, frequently met with of late, really and fully appreciate the significance of their admissions and qualifications. State Socialism rests on the affirmation of the supremacy of society over the individual. Majoritism, the denial of individual liberty, the substitution of compulsory cooperation for private enterprise and free competition, State control over the agencies of production and distribution, State regulation of domestic affairs, etc., etc., logically and unavoidably grow out of the first fundamental assertion. No considerations of expediency and artificially-created necessities can come in or have any bearing upon the decision as to the truth or falsity, right or wrong, of that basic principle. If that fundamental assertion is held to be true, then the State is eternal and compulsion the condition of social life. If, on the contrary, the sovereignty of the individual is acknowledged, and society regarded purely as a relation, then Anarchy is the normal and healthy condition of society and liberty the law of social existence and harmony. All those who profess readiness to accept Anarchy at some time thereby condemn State Socialism for all time. Authoritarians attribute all our existing maladjustments and discord to lack of regulation, lack of control over individual action, to competition and liberty; accordingly, law, control, restriction, and individual subordination are prescribed as remedies. Were their diagnosis correct, it is plainly in strict obedience to the law that like causes produce like effects that, if, at any time, the disease-breeding elements of competition, private interest, and liberty should again take root and begin to develop in society, the present experience will simply be repeated, and the identical remedies be found necessary for the restoration of well-being. But, if no danger is apprehended from the growth of these forces in a new State, is it not highly absurd to ascribe to them the evils of the existing State? And if it be conceded that other elements are at work to which the evil can be traced, what becomes of the claims of the State Socialists with the progressive tendency? What need of any intermediate despotism, if it is not individual initiative and private interest that constitute the stronghold of the enemy?
Perhaps, in truth, we hear it said, the Anarchists are right, not only in insisting upon liberty as the condition of social life, but even in adopting it as a means of realizing that condition; perhaps, in fact, the thing to be done by us in the here and the now is the work of removing artificial barriers and restraints, of abolishing legal privileges and arbitrary interference with economic laws; perhaps, if we could follow our programme undisturbed, we would ultimately achieve our aims; but we are powerless and helpless before the coming revolution, we cannot control or direct it, and the logic of events is independent of our ideas and preferences. We must prepare for the worst, and try to do the best under all circumstances. When the revolution breaks out, and general expropriation of capitalists follows, shall we not be forced to adjust ourselves to a sort of Communistic arrangement, at least until it becomes possible to introduce changes with safety?
These perplexed minds will easily solve their difficulties when they once assimilate the vital truth that the social revolution will not be accomplished in a day, and that the economic emancipation of the world can never be brought about by the methods which have been employed in political and religious struggles. Whatever trouble the mad folly and violent fury of the exploiters and tyrants, or the ignorance, passion, and despair of the victimized and starved slaves, may plunge us into, we must not be stayed in our work. Whether they will delay or hasten the true reformation of society is a question to be considered. But that reformation will be the result of a slow and gradual process of introducing and inaugurating new economic forces and elements which will tend to modify the existing relations and change the conditions of life. Revolutions may come and revolutions may go, but the work of enlightenment, of intelligent adaptation to surroundings, and of disseminating ideas of a happy life full of attractive labor and elevated thought remains forever.
The Morality of Terrorism.
E. Belfort Bax has an article on “Legality” in the London “Commonweal” which for the most part is by no means bad. He denies the obligation to respect legality as such, and in the light of this denial discusses the policy of terrorism and assassination. Respecting this policy, he declares, as Liberty has frequently declared before him, that it should be used against the oppressors of mankind only when they have succeeded in hopelessly repressing all peaceful methods of agitation. If he had stopped there, all would have been well. But not satisfied with characterizing the policy as inexpedient save under the conditions referred to, he must needs go further and brand it as immoral. Then he becomes ridiculously weak. He is led to the conclusion that in Russia terrorism is both morally justifiable and expedient; that in Germany, though morally justifiable, it is for various reasons inexpedient; and that in England it is neither morally justifiable nor expedient. Liberty agrees that terrorism is expedient in Russia and inexpedient in Germany and England, but it will be many years older than now before it assumes to set any limit on the right of an invaded individual to choose his own methods of defence.
The invader, whether an individual or a government, forfeits all claim to consideration from the invaded. This truth is independent of the character of the invasion. It makes no difference in what direction the individual finds his freedom arbitrarily limited; he has a right to vindicate it in any case, and he will be justified in vindicating it by whatever means are available. The right to take unoccupied land and cultivate it is as unquestionable as the right to speak one’s thoughts, and resistance offered to any violation of the former is no less self-defence than resistance offered to the violation of the latter. In point of morality one is as good as the other. But with freedom of speech it is possible to obtain freedom of the land and all the other freedoms, while without it there is no hope save in terrorism. Hence the expediency — yes, the necessity — of terrorism to obtain the one; hence the uselessness and folly of employing it to obtain the other. So, when Mr. Bax says that the Russian who shall kill the Czar will act wisely, but that the Englishman who should kill Salisbury would act foolishly, he wins Liberty’s approval; but when he makes this Russian a saint and this Englishman a knave, this approval must be accompanied by protest.
Mere Land No Saviour for Labor.
Here is a delicious bit of logic from Mr. George: “If capital, a mere creature of labor, is such an oppressive thing, its creator, when free, can strangle it by refusing to reproduce it.” The italics are mine. If capital is oppressive, it must be oppressive of labor. What difference does it make, then, what labor can do when free? The question is what it can do when oppressed by capital. Mr. George’s next sentence, to be sure, indicates that the freedom he refers to is freedom from land monopoly. But this does not improve his situation. He is enough of an economist to be very well aware that, whether it has land or not, labor which can get no capital — that is, which is oppressed by capital — cannot, without accepting the alternative of starvation, refuse to reproduce capital for the capitalists.
It is one thing for Mr. George to sit in his sanctum and write of the ease with which a man whose sole possession is a bit of land can build a home and scratch a living; for the man to do it is wholly another thing. The truth is that this man can do nothing of the sort until you devise some means of raising his wages above the cost of living. And you can only do this by increasing the demand for his labor. And you can only increase the demand for his labor by enabling more men to go into business. And you can only enable more men to go into business by enabling them to get capital without interest, which, in Mr. George’s opinion, would be very wrong. And you can only enable them to get capital without interest by abolishing the money monopoly, which, by limiting the supply of money, enables its holders to exact interest. And when you have abolished the money monopoly, and when, in consequence, the wages of the man with the bit of land have begun to rise above the cost of living, the labor question will be nine-tenths solved. For then either this man will live better and better, or he will steadily lay up money, with which he can buy tools to compete with his employer or to till his bit of land with comfort and advantage. In short, he will be an independent man, receiving all that he produces or an equivalent thereof. How to make this the lot of all men is the labor question. Free land will not solve it. Free money, supplemented by free land, will.
Yarros and Tucker, Box 3366.
I was not a little amused, in my pioneer home, at the contents of No. 95. I felt as though “Overlook” had received a surprise party, so many criticisms and compliments were fired at me together. And I laughed to myself as I wondered what my exquisite Bostonian friends would have thought of their “artist,” had they seen him that same day ploughing sand and mauling logs. Possibly that he took more interest in the “ulterior” object of his art than in its execution.
Comrade Yarros, that puissant pounder of grandmothers, flaps and crows so long and so loud, and with such perfectly charming condescension, aberration, cheerfulness, and conceit, that my sympathies are at last fully aroused. Who could bear to hit him now? To stick even a pin into such a happy bubble would be atrocious. Though, to be sure, he would never find it out, but, dimly realizing that something had happened, would immediately begin to shout that some other fellow had “busted.” Rest thee, my shillalah! The man is entirely out of his head now, and there is no longer any sense in whacking that cracked and empty receptacle. Dost thou not comprehend that it claims to have broken thee, instead of thou, it? Lethe. Let us have peace.
But I owe my magnanimous comrade an apology. It seems that when he speaks furiously about “war” and “bomb-throwing on our own account,” etc., he “never means nothing, nohow,” and it is “grossly unjust” to claim he does. Pardon, Comrade, I’ll never do it again. I perceive we are fellow poets.
Howbeit, as Mr. Yarros has button-holed the bewildered reader and taken him to a peep-hole in the wall of the Non-Existent, and there, by the aid of “the light that never was on sea or land,” hilariously revealed to him my utterly “licked” and discomfited effigy, it may not be out of order for me to casually remark that I acknowledge no such conversion or defeat. Instead of admitting a “right-about-face,” I gently assert that my face is about right and always has been. My second article was a straightforward continuation of the ideas broached in my first, and I still serenely stand by my “truisms,” vice-reform, purity, morality, and grandmother.
But, seriously, I am very glad to find that Comrade Yarros and I are after all so well agreed, and that our difference was mainly a misunderstanding about terms and meanings,— a misfortune that has happened before to much greater philosophers than “we uns.”
Comrade Tucker decks me out in an “old, idealistic, reactionary doctrine,” and then sets Ruskin, Proudhon, and Tchernychewsky upon me. “God’s teeth!” as Queen Elizabeth used to swear, does it take three such mighty men as that to whip me? And Ben Tucker behind? Then that’s the most flattering compliment yet. Verily, I had better reach for my sling and betake me to the brook for a scripfull of smooth stones.
But, before we fight, let’s see if there be no misunderstanding here. I think there usually is when Comrade Tucker and I fall to criticising.
Let me explain. I find there are certain relations of phenomena to us so pleasing that we call them charming. Art appears to me to be the conscious and purposeful evolution, construction, and reconstruction of these charms,— the skilful production of pleasant relations. Thus the musician produces charming relations between sound and the ear, the painter betweeir form and color and the eye, the cook, the chef de cuisine, between viands and the gustatory nerves, etc.
Wherever intelligent action produces charm, either in reality or by imaginative description, there we have art. I find then that art has for its direct object, first, pleasure to the nerves of sense, and, second, if it be really and in the best sense “high” or “fine” art, happiness, or the pleasure of self-perfecting, of healthful development. And I fully agree with Comrade Tucker and his giants that, in this sense, an artist’s “superiority in his profession is directly proportional to the degree in which he is absorbed by the object of his art.” In fact, the expression he criticises was intended to assert the same thing. For, lying beyond or outside, ulterior, to these direct objects of art, I find various other objects, which cannot be neglected, but which the true artist dare not dwell upon. Thus, in the economy of nature and society, the artist needs food, shelter, money, reputation, etc., and these become ulterior objects of his art; yet the painter who thinks too much about his dinner or his reputation will not paint so good a picture, or earn so good a dinner or reputation, as one who is more absorbed in his art. So, too, the necessities of nature and society insist upon the reproduction of the species, which becomes the ulterior object of love; yet the lover who thinks more about babies than he does about his caresses (the lover is almost the only artist who deals in the charms of touch) dovelops his manhood loss, and the womanhood of his fellow artist less, and thus is, everyway, less successfully fitted for parentage than the one who thinks mainly about the art of loving and his pleasure in it.
Really, all this seems so truistic to me that I begin to fear Yarros will be getting up a little war-dance in his corner, with consequence disastrous to somebody’s grandmother.
But, Comrade Tucker, I am somewhat puzzled by some of your other and older criticisms. You first told me positively that “Anarchism has no positive side,” and then, in reply to “X,” admitted that the affirmation of individual sovereignty was in practice inseparable from the protest of Anarchy; which seemed not only an admission that Anarchy had a positive (i. e., affirmative) side, but, perhaps, opposed to your previous claim that the positive work of any movement was something “distinct” from its negative work. Neither had I before understood you to point out to me that “Anarchy has no side that is affirmative in the sense of constructive.” I naturally supposed that your assertion, “Anarchism has no positive side,” meant that Anarchism was a pure negation. Now, it seems to me that we do have constructive work to do, and that it is practically inseparable from our negative work. Every theoretical scheme, every cooperative combination in the interests of liberty, belongs to this constructive side. Was not Proudhon’s Bank of the People such a construction? Is not every book and paper written and printed in the service of freedom such constructive work?
I raise these objections modestly, not captiously, nor with any fondness for mere arguments or names. Names are to me but tools to be used or disused according to fitness. I am not stubborn, Comrade, though independent, and would much sooner follow than fight you if you will only make it more convenient.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
Grahamville, Florida, March 27, 1887.
[The new dress in which Comrade Lloyd clothes his error does not make it less erroneous. It is the same old error still. In its old garb it read: “The true artist cares more for his art and his pleasure in it than for its ulterior object.” In its new it reads: “Art has for its direct object, first, pleasure to the nerves of sense, and, second, . . . . happiness, or the pleasure of self-perfecting, of healthful development.” As the former sentence was written in regard to the relation of the pleasures of love-making to the production of offspring, it was obvious that the word “ulterior” was used in the sense of later in time of achievement, and not in the sense of incidental or external or secondary in importance. So interpreted, the words “ulterior object” in the first sentence correspond to the last clause of the second sentence. After making this substitution, the absurdity of Mr. Lloyd’s original statement must be manifest even to himself. For it would then read as follows: The true artist cares more for pleasure to the nerves of sense than for the pleasure of healthful development. That is what Mr. Lloyd really said, whether he fully realized it or not; and that is the doctrine of “art for art’s sake,” which I criticised him for thus espousing. Now, however, relying on his analogy between food and offspring as related to art, he claims that he meant by “ulterior object” some such incidental or external object as food, shelter, etc. But this analogy, instead of justifying Mr. Lloyd’s statement, simply establishes his confusion of thought. For food under ordinary circumstances is properly classed as a means of pleasure to the nerves of sense,— in other words, an insufficiency of it means temporary physical suffering, and even the total lack of it and the consequent starvation might be more endurable than the life-long suffering which bad art might cause,— while the production of offspring is a matter seriously and permanently affecting the happiness and development of the parents. Hence he who cares more for his day’s dinner than for his picture is not a true artist, just as he who cares more for the pleasures of love-making than for the quality of his offspring is not a true artist. Here, I suppose, Mr. Lloyd would bid me consider his perfectly true remark that the painter who dwells upon his dinner will not paint so good a picture or earn so good a dinner (not necessarily the latter, though, unless tomorrow’s dinner is meant instead of today’s), and that the lover who dwells upon babies will not caress so artistically or produce so good a baby. Again Mr. Lloyd is in confusion,— this time confusing the idea implied in the words “care for” with the idea implied in the words “dwell upon.” The true artist-lover refrains from dwelling upon babies precisely because he cares more for babies and knows that that is the way to produce satisfactory ones, but the true artist-painter refrains from dwelling upon his dinner simply because he cares but precious little comparatively whether he gets a dinner or not. Each of these true artists “cares” less “for his art and his pleasure in it” and his pleasure in the immediate results of it “than for its ulterior object.” As to the nature of Anarchism, I think that what I said in my paragraph in No. 90 was sufficiently clear. I certainly do not feel at all complimented at hearing from Mr. Lloyd that he thought me silly enough to maintain that Anarchism rests on no positive principle. It would be a very weak intellect indeed that couldn’t see that the negation of authority implies affirmation of individual sovereignty. When I told Mr. Lloyd that Anarchism has no positive side, the very next sentence showed that I meant that it had no “positive work” to do. Individual sovereignty is not something to be built; it exists the moment the obstacles to its exercise are removed. Mr. Lloyd had been saying that Anarchism was positive because there was a work of “voluntary cooperative defence” to be done, and I pointed out to him that this was not positive, but negative work. By no means, however, did I say that there is no positive or constructive work to be done; I simply denied that such work was Anarchistic. I am glad that Mr. Lloyd mentioned the Bank of the People; it gives me a good illustration. If a Bank of the People were to be established, not with any hope of its being allowed to live and do its economic work, but simply for the purpose of propagandism, in order to direct attention to the outrageous denial of free banking and thereby secure the overthrow of the money monopoly, it would be an example of Anarchistic work, but it would be negative. If, however, there were no money monopoly, and a Bank of the People were to be started purely for its economic benefits, that would be positive, constructive work, but it would not be Anarchistic. There will be no Anarchistic work to do after the people become free. To the amount of constructive work there will be no limit, but its object will not be to make the people free, but to enable them to more completely satisfy their wants. — Editor Liberty.]
The Poet Shelley on Monogamy.
I never was attacked to that great sect
Whose doctrine is that each one should select
Out of the crowd a mistress or a friend,
And all the rest, though fair and wise, commend
To cold oblivion; though it is in the code
Of modern morals, and the beaten road
Which those poor slaves with weary footsteps tread
Who travel to their home among the dead
By the broad highway of the world, and so
With one chained friend, perhaps a jealous foe,
The dreariest and the longest journey go.
True love in this differs from gold and clay,
That to divide is not to take away.
Love is like understanding, that grows bright,
Gazing on many truths; ’tis like thy light,
Imagination, which from earth and sky.
And from the depths of human fantasy,
As from a thousand prisms and mirrors, fills
The universe with glorious beams, and kills
Error the worm with many a sunlike arrow
Of its reverberated lightning. Narrow
The heart that loves; the brain that contemplates,
The life that wears, the spirit that creates,
One object and one form, and builds thereby
A sepulchre for its eternity!
Mind from its object differs most in this:
Evil from good; misery from happiness;
The baser from the nobler; the impure
And frail from what is clear and must endure.
If you divide suffering or dross, you may
Diminish till it is consumed away;
If you divide pleasure and love and thought,
Each part exceeds the whole; and we know not
How much, while any yet remains unshared,
Of pleasure may be gained, of sorrow spared.
This truth is that deep well whence sages draw
The unenvied light of hope; the eternal law
By which those live to whom this world of life
Is as a garden ravaged, and whose strife
Tills for the promise of a later birth
The wilderness of this elysian earth.
Percy Bysshe Shelley.
The Science of Society.
By Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Cost the Limit of Price:
A Scientific Measure of Honesty in Trade As One of the Fundamental Principles in the Solution of the Social Problem.
Continued from No. 98.
63. It is important for reasons of practical utility to arrive at a general or average estimate of the relative repugnance of different kinds of labor, especially of the most common kinds, and that is done under the operation of the Cost Principle, as hereafter pointed out (195); but, as we have seen, if we had already arrived at it, it would not be a sufficiently accurate measure of Equity to be applied between individuals; while, on the other hand, this average itself can only be based upon individual estimates. The average which now exists in the public mind, by which it is understood that field labor, in cultivating grain, for example, is neither the hardest nor the easiest kind of work, and that sewing or knitting is not so repugnant as washing or scrubbing, rests upon the general observation of individual preferences.
64. It follows, therefore, in order to arrive at a satisfactory measure of Equity, and the adoption of a scientific system of commerce: 1. That some method must be devised for comparing the relative repugnance of different kinds of labor. 2. That, in making the comparison, each individual must make his or her own estimate of the repugnance to him or her of the labor which he or she performs, and 3. That there should be a sufficient motive in the results or consequences to insure an honest exercise of the judgment, and an honest expression of the real feelings of each, in making the comparison.
65. I. — That some method should be devised for comparing the relative repugnance of different kinds of labor. This is extremely simple. All that is necessary is to agree upon some particular kind of labor, the average repugnance of which is most easily ascertained, or the most nearly fixed, and use it as a standard of comparison, a sort of yard-stick for measuring the relative repugnance of other kinds of labor. For example, in the Western American States it is found that the most appropriate kind of labor to be assumed as a standard with which to compare all other kinds of labor is corn-raising. It is also found, upon extensive investigation, that the average product of that kind of labor, in that region, is twenty pounds of corn to the hour. If, then, blacksmithing is reckoned as one half harder work than corn-raising, it will be rated (by the blacksmith himself) at thirty pounds of corn to the hour. If shoemaking be reckoned as one quarter less onerous than corn-raising, it will be rated at fifteen pounds of corn to the hour. In this manner the idea of corn-raising is used to measure the relative repugnance of all kinds of labor.
66. II. — That, in making the comparison, each individual must make his or her own estimate of the repugnance to him or her of the particular labor which he or she performs. This condition must be secured, both for the reasons already stated, ana because another equally important principle in the true science of society is the Sovereignty of the Individual. The Individual must be kept absolutely above all institutions. He must be left free even to abandon the principles whenever he chooses. The only constraint must be in the attractive nature and results of true principles.
67. III. — That there should be a sufficient motive in the results or consequences of compliance with these principles to insure an honest exercise of the judgment, and an honest expression of the real feeling of each in making his estimate of the relative repugnance of his labor. The existence of such a motive can only be shown by a view of the general results of this entire system of principles upon the condition of society, and upon the particular interests of the individual. These results must be gathered from a thorough study of the whole subject, in order to establish this point conclusively to the philosophic mind. The force of a public sentiment rectified by the knowledge of true principles will not be lost sight of by such a mind. (229.) The particular remedial results of deviations from the principle of Equity upon the interests of the individual will be specifically pointed out in the subsequent pages. (72–76.)
68. If an exchange could be always made and completed on the spot, each party giving and receiving an equivalent,— that is, an amount of labor, or a product of labor, which had in it an amount of repugnance or cost just equal to that in the labor or product for which it was given or received,— the whole problem of exchanges would be solved by the simple method just stated. There would in that case be no necessity for a circulating medium, or for any thing to perform the part which is performed by money in our existing commerce. But such is not the case. Articles are not always at hand which have in them the same amount of cost; indeed, it is the rare exception that exact equivalents can be made upon the spot in commodities which are mutually wanted. Besides, it may frequently happen that I want something from you, either labor or the products of labor, when you, at the time, want nothing of me. In such a case the exchange is only partially completed on the spot, the remaining part waiting to be completed at some future time, by the performance of an equivalent amount of labor, or the delivery of products or commodities having in tnem an equivalent amount of labor.
69. In such a case as that just stated, it is proper that the party who does not make his part of the exchange on the spot should give an evidence of his obligation to do so at some future time, wnenever called upon,— and this is the origin of what is called the Labor Note, which is the form assumed by “Equitable Money,” the fourth among the elements of the solution of the Problem of Society. The party who remains indebted to the other gives his own note, provided the other consents to receive it, for an equivalent amount of his own labor, or else of the standard commodity,— say so many pounds of corn, specifying in the note the kind of labor, and the alternative. As it may happen that the party receiving the Labor Note may not require the labor itself, or that it may be inconvenient for the party promising to perform it when it is wanted, it is provided that the obligation may be discharged, at the option of the party giving the note, in the standard commodity instead. On the other hand, although the party receiving the note may not want the labor himself, yet some person with whom he deals may want it, and hence he can pass the note to a third party who is willing to receive it for an equivalent amount of labor, or products, received from him. In this manner the Labor Note begins to circulate from one to another, and the aggregate of Labor Notes in circulation in a neighborhood constitutes the neighborhood circulating medium, dispensing, so far as this Equitable Commerce extends, with money altogether, or, rather, introducing a new species of paper-money, based solely upon individual responsibility.
70. The use of the Labor Note is not, as has been already observed, strictly a principle of Equity, and partakes more of the nature of a contrivance than any other feature of the system of Equitable Commerce; but yet it seems to be a necessary instrument to be employed in the practical working of the system. The Theory of Equity is complete without it, but the necessity for its use arises from the practical fact that exchanges cannot in every case be completed on the spot. Hence a circulating medium of some sort is indispensable, and in order that the system may remain throughout an equitable one, in practice as well as in theory, the circulating medium must be based on equivalents of labor or cost between individuals.
The features of the Labor Note are peculiar, and the points of difference between it and ordinary money are numerous and far more important than at first appears. They are as follows:
71. I. — Its cheapness and abundance. As it costs nothing but the paper upon which it is written, printed, or engraved, and the labor of executing and signing it, it may be said, for practical purposes, to cost nothing. The great fault of our existing currency is its expensiveness and scarcity. It is upon these properties that the whole system of interest or rent on money is founded, a tribute to which the rich as well as the poor have to submit, whenever they want a portion of the circulating medium to use. To show that this is a real and frightful evil in gold and silver currency, and consequently in all money of which gold and silver are the basis, demands a distinct treatise on money. Under the Labor Note system, every man who has in his possession his ability to work, or his character, or in these elements variously combined, the assurance of responsibility or the basis of credit, has always by him as much money as he needs. He has only to take his pen from his pocket and make it at will. There can be no such cases as happen now, of responsible men worth their tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in property, but absolutely destitute of money, and forced to submit to the shaving process of bankers, brokers, and Jews.
72. II. — Being based on individual credit, it makes every man his own banker. This feature of the Labor Note system is substantially contained in the preceding statement, but the more important consequences of this fact remain to he pointed out. Bankers are proverbial for their anxiety to maintain their credit unimpaired and unsuspected. With them distrust is synonymous with the ruin of their business. Under this system every man, woman, boy, and girl, assuming the character of a banker, becomes equally solicitous about the maintenance of his or her credit. Upon the goodness of their reputation for punctuality of redemption depends tho fact of their always having change in their pockets. Honesty comes then to a good market, and finds at once a pecuniary reward. If one’s credit is suffered to fall into disrepute among his neighbors, he is left positively without money or the means of obtaining it, and reduced to the necessity of making all his exchanges on the spot. He is put pecuniarily into Coventry. Both the superior advantages of possessing credit, and the greater inconvenience of losing it, conspire, therefore, to install the reign of commercial honor and common honesty in the most minute and ordinary transactions of life among the whole people. The moralist who is wise will perceive herein an engine of reform immensely important to subserve his ends. This result is already satisfactorily proven in practice at one point, where this system of exchanges has been introduced, in the fact that every person is anxious to obtain the Labor Notes of others for use and to abstain, so far as he can, from issuing his own; as well as in the general solicitude for the preservation of credit, and the general promptitude in redeeming the notes that are issued. Notwithstanding the fact that, in so small a circle, it is only a part of the pecuniary transactions of the community which can be carried on upon the Cost Principle,— ordinary money having to be used in all transactions with the world outside, and even within the community, for those things which were purchased outside and which cost money,— still these results have been strikingly exhibited in practice.
73. III. — It combines the properties of a circulating medium and a means of credit. These qualities have been substantially stated above as separate attributes of the Labor Note system; but the advantage of their combination in one and the same instrumentality of Commerce is worthy of a distinct observation. At the end of the third year from the commencement of the settlement above referred to, there were eighteen families having two lots of ground, each with houses — nine brick and nine wooden ones — and gardens of their own, nearly the whole of which capital was created by them during that period. The families, without exception, came there quite destitute of worldly accumulations. Thirty dollars in money was probably the largest sum possessed by any of them. Others landed there with five dollars and ten as the whole of their fortune. They were nearly all families who had been exhausted in means as well as broken down and discouraged in spirit by successive failures of community, or association attempts at reform. The success they have thus achieved, in so snort a time, has resulted entirely from their own labor, exchanged so far as requisite and practicable upon the Cost or Equitable Principle, facilitated by the instrumentality of the Labor Note.
74. A family arriving without means at the location of a village operating on the Equitable Principle, if their appearance or known character inspires sufficient confidence in the minds of the previous settlers, can immediately commence operations, not upon charity, but upon their own credit, issuing their Labor Notes — men, women, and youths — so far as their several kinds of labor are in demand, procuring thereby the labor of the whole village in all the various trades necessary to construct them an edifice, and supply them with the necessaries of life, so far as the size of the circle renders it possible to produce them on the spot. Labor, even prospective labor, thus becomes immediate capital. Interest and profits being discarded, the amount of capital thus existing in labor is greatly augmented. The fact that the labor of the women and children is equally remunerated with that of the men again adds to the amount of combined capital in the family. By the operation of these several causes, a family which has been struggling for years, in the midst of the competition of ordinary Commerce and the oppressions of capital, with no success beyond barely holding on to life, may become in a short time independent and well provided. Such are the legitimate workings of the true system of Commerce, and so far as it has been tested by practical operations the resuits hare entirely corroborated the theory.
To be continued.
Intelligent Egotism Anti-Social.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Tak Kak says that language is algebraic, and in that I fully agree with him; but I can not help entertaining the suspicion that his algebra was learned in the school of that celebrated mathematician who demonstrated that the moon is made of green cheese. Anyhow, the method of demnonstration is the same,— that of using one symbol in two or more senses in the same argument. Another reason for the mathematical comparison is that the argument has not convinced me that egoistic hedonism could ever produce a happy society except in that mathematician's paradise, space of four dimensions, in which spheres can be turned inside out without cutting or tearing them, and all sorts of wonderful tricks performed. Now, without a happy society, however much a “ghost” society may be, while there may be some happy individuals, individuals at large (ghosts also?) must be unhappy, for to say that society is happy is only a convenient way of saying that the units composing it are happy. That society is not a ghost to most of us, however, including even some of the most “advanced”; that we are all influenced somewhat by the thought that “all men born are mortal, but not man,” — will be evident on a little reflection. For the number who would relax their efforts in behalf of a better state of affairs on being informed that they had but a few years to live is comparatively small, while, on the other land, scarcely one of us would persevere, were we to learn that the world's existence was to be as limited. I doubt if even Tak Kak himself would subscribe for ten copies of Proudhon under such conditions. And, after all, what is here superstitious in my giving play to the sentiment which prompts me to respect the rights of others, a feeling developed in me by the same process that has developed all my other feelings?
I notice one change in Tak Kak which, if followed up, might bring us into accord, or at least to an understanding. If we could only agree on a terminology and use it on both sides consistently, I have no doubt that some of our differences would disappear, and it would be much easier to examine and discuss the remainder. What I refer to is the distinction he draws between egoism and egotism. Now, it is against exalting into a system what is popularly meant by egotism that my protests are directed, and it is because Tak Kak seemed, and still seems, in spite of his distinction, champion to egotism as a system that I have come into conflict with him. I have never pretended that altruism was other than a special form of egoism, taking the latter in its broad sense; I have certainly not advocated the suppression of personality or of the pursuit of pleasure, and I know of no evolutionist who has. On the contrary, the development of personality was a “fixed idea” with Clifford; the absolute harmfulness of acting in accordance with any imposed standards is the subject of his most eloquent denunciations; and if Tak Kak had looked into those lectures of his that I referred to, he would have found the study of ethic defined as the study of that form of pleasure arising from the consciousness of having acted properly. It is the same with all the other evolutionary moralists. Taking up, for instance, Bain's “The Emotions and the Will,” which happens to be on my desk, I find the following:
Of the narrow love of self called selfishness, I think it worth while to remark again that nothing implied in it can ever favor the notion of any one’s being actuated by motives entirely apart from themselves. If a man has been so moved by his tender sentiments, his love of justice, to include among the objects of his pursuit a large mass of good to others, or if, like Howard, he makes the relief of foreign misery the one aim of his life,— he is still evidently following out the impulses of his own personality, while, deserving to be ranked with the noblest and best of men. The selfishness that we reproach not only does not comprehend others, but actually robs them of what is their own,— as in the reckless pursuit of gain, the suppression of freedom by unbounded authority, and the insatiable grasping of attention, honor, or applause.
There is then no contention on our side that any action can be other than egoistic; but this does not in any-wise lessen the differences between altruistic, non-altruistic or indifferent, and anti-altruistic actions; and it is these differences that we have to consider.
That a man under any given conditions will act so as to obtain the greatest possible amount of pleasure is almost self-evident, but part of one’s pleasure is always due to the good opinion of one’s fellows. It is therefore within our power to add to or subtract from the amount of pleasure experienced by any one in performing a certain action. I think that even Tak Kak will not deny that I should be acting normally in disapproving of any action which tends towards producing general unhappiness, even though I myself be sheltered from the consequences of such action. But the moment I begin to approve and disapprove of actions apart from their influence on me, the foundation of a moral code is laid. I say that only the foundation is laid because, although the social sanction has been one of the means instrumental in developing morality, yet no one can really be called moral until his feeling of right has been so far developed as to make him ready to defy the social sanction in its behalf when they seem in opposition. So far, in fact, are we from desiring to suppress any part of personality that what we are pleading for is a recognition of the moral sentiments as such a part, and not as an external “ghost.”
That Tak Kak should misinterpret me in this does not, however, surprise me, when I see how he fails to catch the meaning of my remarks about the social organism and the relation of its units to it. In any physical organism the units must act in harmony or lead to the disruption of the organism, and so to their own destruction. The units act as they do, not through any feeling of compulsion, but because it is inherent in their nature so to do. They are, if I may use the term, possessed of physical morality. During the course of evolution natural selection slowly sifted out those organisms in which the coordination of the parts was most suitable to the work to be accomplished, and the existing organisms are the result of that selection. So it is with the super-organic forms, such as human society. The units composing it have, properly speaking, the compromise to make. They are themselves the materialized expression of the ever-varying compromise which has been establishing itself for millions of years and the perfecting of which constitutes progress. I am perfectly well aware that it would be useless to attempt to restrain an utterly vicious person by telling him that he is only a societary unit, but I am just as certain that I can restrain those in whom the moral sentiment is well developed from many acts by showing that their commission would be in opposition to the dictates of that sentiment. And my opposition to Tak Kak is based mainly on his seeking with Stirner to treat this moral sentiment as something intrusive, and any one of whom it forms a part as ghost-ridden.
I must confess that I have a weakness for keeping a promise because it is a promise, and I fail to see how a civilized society can be maintained when that weakness is not general. For, if one's having promised to do a thing does not add to the probability of his doing it, promises disappear altogether, and contracts and concerted action become impossible except under duress. I do not know whether it would make my “superstition” appear greater or less to say that, in keeping a promise the execution of which is disadvantageous, I am gratifying my sentiment of personal honor.
The notion that we should repudiate morality because unenlightened people seeking to do good have often done harm is about as absurd as it would be to advocate starvation because people have mistaken poisonous toadstools for edible mushrooms, or to abandon the study of bridge-building because ill-trained engineers have built poor bridges. Or it would be as sensible to denounce the perseverance of the laborious scholar because it is the same quality that enables the Indian fakir to persist in his self-torture; or to attack your motive in publishing Liberty, Mr. Editor, because it is at bottom one with that which induces William Morris to issue the “Commonweal.” In fact, the absurdity of the notion, combined with such utterances of his as that on rape, almost lead me to believe that by morality Tak Kak means only immoral abuses; and that he is really seeking a higher moral state in which the individual will take nothing for granted, but will decide all questions for himself. If so, however, his language is most unfortunate, for it generally gives me the impression that there is no reason why I should not rob my neighbor except the fear of getting my head broken. And I fear that, were such ideas to provail,— which, however, I do not think possible,— there would be very many times more than the few dozen murders under Anarchy that Tak Kak talks of.
Tak Kak says that, if all men were egoists, the despotism of the Pope and of Bismarck could not survive. As I am not certain as to the nature of the egoist, I can neither agree nor dissent. If I take the word in its broadest sense, as all motives would have to be regarded as egoistic, the statement is of course untrue; while if I take it in the sense popularly attributed to the term egotist, it is equally untrue. For the most submissive slaves of the Pope are precisely those most egotistic, those who sacrifice everything in their desire for their personal salvation. Prometheus, the typical rebel against the gods and authority, is not an egotist. It may be, though, that Tak Kak means his egoists to be intelligent egotists. In that case, of course, the Pope’s despotism would at once fail, having no physical force behind it; but I do not see why Bismarck’s should disappear. If it failed, it would be because of lack of faith on the part of its supporters, and not through its opponents’ strength. For any given intelligent egotist would prefer making terms with the powers that be to risking his life or liberty in an effort to overthrow them; knowing, as he would, that pledges were valueless, and that his colleagues would sell him out at the first opportunity. The overthrowers of tyranny are not, and never were, egotists. Whether it be John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, the Irish rebel facing the pitch-cap and the triangle, the Russian Nihilist braving Siberia and death, Condorcet calmly writing in the shadow of the guillotine of a happier future for mankind, or you, Mr. Editor, getting ready to meet the “wild beast,” — each is inspired with something more than egotism, and, if it be a “ghost” that inspires them, then is that ghost a form of the spirit of progress. The intelligent egotist is safe from this ghost, for the thought that “Quand on est mort, c’est pour longtemps” is more powerful against it with him than was even medieval exorcism.
If we accept Taine’s estimate, Napoleon would appear to be a very good example of the intelligent egotist, the “Einzige.” I do not believe that many readers of Liberty will think it desirable to develop such characters as his. Tak Kak may claim, however, that, were all his contemporaries like to Napoleon, he would have been unable to do the evil he did. This is likely, but the cost of assurance is too high. Any one Napoleon might do less evil, but the total evil would be far greater. That a society composed of such units could never evolve into a harmonious one through the mere action of intelligence seems to me almost self-evident. Let us imagine for a moment that a community has been built up by the segregation in some way of intelligent thieves. Now, how can this community suppress or get rid of theft? For, on the average, all the time spent in stealing and guarding against theft is wasted. Were all to renounce theft, the total wealth would be as great as before, and the time previously spent in stealing or preventing stealing would be available for the production of more wealth, or the enjoyment of that produced. Here, then, is a splendid opportunity for the display of the powers of intelligent egotism. It is advantageous to stop stealing; each one is intelligent enough to see this; yet it is out of their power to abstain. For mark that what is really advantageous to the individual is not that he should stop stealing, but that all others should; and while this latter might be such a gain to him as to make it worth his while to quit stealing himself in order to secure it, yet he can have no certainty that his doing so would secure it. A contract to quit stealing can be of no binding effect on men who are free from the dominion of “fixed ideas,” who refuse to keep a promise merely because it is a promise. Until men are so far developed that they refuse to steal through innate repugnance to theft, or through dislike of inflicting injury on their fellows, the chief restraining influence that can be exerted on them is despotism, spiritual or temporal. Morality, instead of being slavery, is the condition of liberty. It is true that, as Spencer says, the development of the industrial regime means the substitution of contract for status; but, if men have no obligations towards one another prior to contract, contract can create none. For to assume that I owe anything to anybody as the result of a contract is to assume that a promise is binding, or else that there exists some external power capable of coercing me into fulfilment of my pledges. One or the other of these positions must be accepted. On this point, at least, I am at one with the disputants on both sides of the question of the so-called “social contract,” whether, say, Hobbes and Austin on the one hand, or Spencer and Proudhon on the other. Thus, therefore, Stirner and Tak Kak, preaching “egoism” and contract and repudiating morality, have become like the great reformer Chigaloff in Dostoievsky's book, whose conclusions were in direct contradiction to his premises.
To a plain mind there is something very amusing in these loudly-uttered defiances to the “ghosts,” something suggestive of the small boy who defies all spirits while the sun shines and runs from a white sheet after dark. And indeed we find the chief ghost of all reconstituted in the unconditioned ego. An ego of which ideas and sentiments are only furniture is to me unthinkable (my lack of metaphysical training is no doubt to blame). This much I know, however,— that, when my ideas are changed, I am changed. The unconditioned ego seems nothing else than the absolute — God. (While I write, a friend suggests that the unconditioned ego may be the third of Professor Hamilton’s classes of things; the three being the existent, the non-existent, and that which is neither existent nor non-existent.) The attempt to prove me superstitious because I retain the terms ought and should is of the same nature. It seems as if Tak Kak had so recently succeeded in getting rid of some of his incubi that he can not believe but that all other people are bearing such burdens yet. Of course he can scarcely be expected to grasp the idea, then, that some of us have been free so long that we no more think of such ghosts than we do of the playthings of our childhood. I use the terms ought and should as they are every day used by physicists to whom they convey no superstitious implication. If, for instance. I say that a stone dropped from a given height ought to reach the earth in ten seconds, the idea conveyed to those with whom I am in the habit of associating, is simply that, if the conditions be normal, it will reach the earth in that time. Such a statement might give Tak Kak the impression that I considered the stone would fall because of the order of a god or a contained spirit; but, if so, then it is he who is ghost-ridden, not I. Every day I am asked in regard to some instrument: “Mr. Kelly, what ought this measure?” And to avoid the superstitious ought, my questioner would be compelled to use the awkward paraphrase: “Were this instrument suitable for the work for which it is intended, what do you think it would measure?” I do not deny that the term ought may have had a superstitious origin,— I am not philologist enough to say,— though I do not think so; but, even if it had, as the meanings of words change as ideas are modified, it would not follow that it implies superstition now. My use of the names Sunday and Thursday do not make me a worshipper of either the sun or Thor.
It is perhaps equally amusing to see the attack on “fixed” ideas in the organ of the plumb-liners, and apparently with the approval of the chief apostle of rectitude and nocompromise. If Bradlaugh’s perjury for the sake of personal advancement is to be regarded as propaganda, then must his vote for coercion in Ireland be considered the same, for both show the same lack of principle. In fact, Bradlaugh is one of those who have translated Whitman's “Liberty is to be subserved whatsoever ensue” into: “I must get promotion, whatever or whoever suffer.” Are these the ideas you mean to express, Mr. Editor? If so, then you should pull down your flag and hoist that of the Vicar of Bray; for, if there be a “fixed” idea, it surely is one that leads a man to lay down his life for it,— “And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.” The egotistic lover of liberty would phrase his address about thus: “From you, O Liberty, proceed material comforts for me; but, should it ever be otherwise, then you may go to the demnition bow-wows.”
A “fixed” idea is neither more nor less than one so closely interwoven with all other ideas and sentiments that it is difficult to dislodge without altering many others. Now, it is just those persons whose ideas are not fixed in this way that remain superstitious in spite of increased knowledge; those who, as Spencer says, pass from the oratory to the laboratory, and the laboratory to the oratory, closing the door of the one when they enter the other. A new idea is readily enough accepted by such people (it either takes up a vacant space or replaces a single old idea), but the acceptance has little effect upon the conduct of their lives. On the other hand, when ideas are coherent, a new one, to get accepted, must either harmonize well with the old, or it must work a transformation in the whole mass.
I am perfectly well aware that, in discussing “the rights of man,” it is necessary to keep in sight the “mights of man”; but I am also aware that in the matter of social relations right and might must become adjusted. Right is a might, and ultimately the only might. The work of propaganda in which we are engaged consists in proving to those around us the rightness of our cause. Just as rapidly as we convince people we are right, so rapidly, or rather more rapidly, does our might increase. It is a rather curious coincidence, and one worthy of attracting Tak Kak's attention, that the man who most ardently preached the doctrine of might in this century, and who sneered at right until he seemed a worshipper of brute force, was a most strenuous advocate of duty. The companionship is not so strange as it appears.
In conclusion, I would ask Tak Kak, if egoistically allowable, to complete the two equations following according to his algebra:
John F. Kelly.
Newark, April 18, 1887.
[In spite of Mr. Kelly’s effort to draw me into this discussion, I do not intend to take part in it at present. It is seldom that two disputants its competent as himself and Tak Kak meet, and I desire their controversy to go on until each has said all that he cares to. In their hands I am content to leave it until that time, and I am very sure that Liberty’s readers are equally content. If, however, Mr. Kelly wishes me to announce my position, I am entirely willing to do so. I believe that egoism is the sole motive of conduct; that, as far as motive is concerned, altruism is out of the question; that men become superior in proportion to their conscious recognition of this fact and the growth of their intelligence in all directions; that intelligent egoism is another name for liberty, and that consequently it is the mother of order. In fact, I am perfectly willing to accept Mr. Kelly’s paraphrase of John Hay's lines, with the understanding that the word “material” is given the broadest possible significance, being perfectly sure that I should take no interest in liberty whatever if it did not increase my pleasure or diminish my pain, which latter result it might, under circumstances easily conceivable, be utterly unable to accomplish otherwise than by slaying me. Thus much by way of declaration of faith. I hope it is not ambiguous. — Editor Liberty.]
Don’t keep Liberty to yourself, share it with others!
Leonard E. Read: Accent On The Right: To Frederic Bastiat (1801–1850), who sought for truth rather than outcome and never witnessed the fruits his labor bore. Obedience to conscience was his first rule; we witness the results.
Leonard E. Read: Anything That’s Peaceful: Many favor peace but not many favor the things that make for peace. — Thomas à Kempis
Leonard E. Read: Awake for Freedom’s Sake: Finally, share with others. Forget about “reforming” them! The more we share, the more we learn. This is in the interest of self and freedom!
Leonard E. Read: Castles in the Air: If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. — Henry David Thoreau
Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State: Political philosophy is dominated by a myth, the myth of the necessity of the state. The state is considered necessary for the provision of many things, but primarily for peace and security. In this provocative book, Gerard Casey argues that social order can be spontaneously generated, that such spontaneous order is the norm in human society and that deviations from the ordered norms can be dealt with without recourse to the coercive power of the state.
Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers: Murray Rothbard: Murray Rothbard (1926–1995) was an economist, historian, philosopher, and legal theoretician. His work was unified by a passionate and resolute commitment to a libertarianism that may be characterized as ‘anarcho-capitalism’ and which implied a belief that even the legal system may be provided privately without the need for a coercive collective authority. Hence, anarcho-capitalists envisage a society where the traditional role of government is wholly subsumed by private, profit-making enterprises and all social relationships are ultimately founded upon consent.