“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.
A notice of Sada Bailey Fowler’s new novel, “Irene: or, The Road to Freedom,” is necessarily postponed until a later issue.
The richest thing yet is the determination arrived at by the judges of Pittsburg to refuse naturalization papers to Anarchists in order to check any further influx of these pestiferous beings. I expect to see an attempt made soon to discourage the immigration of Jews by prohibiting them from eating pork.
“John Swinton’s Paper” prints the new motto from Proudhon that stands at the head of Liberty’s editorial columns. As it appears without heading or comment, it is probable that Mr. Swinton approves it. If so, why does he advocate so many things that clash with it? The State Socialism which he champions would make the “insignia of politics” vastly more various and all-pervading than they are at present.
Having lately come into possession of a copy of Michael Bakounine's very rare work, “The Political Theology of Mazzini and the International,” written when Mazzini was alive, I have had it translated, and shall publish it serially in Liberty. The first instalment is given in this issue. It will be read with the greatest eagerness by all who have acquainted themselves with that masterpiece, “God and the State,” and, I hope, by many others.
I am especially pleased to be able to print the letter from Walter L. Ramsdell in another column. Mr. Ramsdell, of whom two years’ reading of Liberty has made an earnest Anarchist, is secretary of the Boston Typographical Union and served as marshal of the second division of the Boston procession on Labor Day. Moreover, he is young. There are no recruits so welcome, no soldiers so efficient, in Anarchistic ranks as young and intelligent workingmen.
Prince Kropotkine’s brother, Alexander Kropotkine, committed suicide lately in Tomsk, Siberia. Alexander, like Pierre, was a man of high scientific attainments, being especially interested in astronomy, the study of which he pursued in an observatory built at his own expense. He translated into Russian Spencer’s “Principles of Biology” and other scientific works. Exiled to Siberia in 1879 because of his relations with the Nihilists, he was pardoned in 1885 on condition that he would reside in no Russian city where there was a university. For some time he had been a victim of melancholy.
A dispatch from Charleston during the earthquake said: “A remarkable incident of the scare is that the disreputable houses are entirely deserted, and that the inmates are in the streets praying for mercy and forgiveness.” If this was remarkable, what shall be said of the other fact that the inmates of reputable houses acted in precisely the same way? The truth is that, if there is any superstition lurking in a person’s breast, be that person vicious or one of the “unco guid,” an earthquake can be depended upon to bring it to the surface. The foundations of the earth and the foundations of morality are pretty sure to shake together. The earth is a Tak Kakian, and laughs at morality; and, when it parts its lips for one of its grim sardonic smiles, the votaries of Duty with a big, big D realize that they are as liable as any others to tumble into its capacious maw.
I hope that Henry George will be elected mayor of New York. The laboring men who vote for him will then have a chance to see how little difference it makes to their welfare whether the office is held by Henry George or William R. Grace. There is nothing like a few successes in politics to demonstrate its failure to do more than feather the nests of a few schemers. I cast no reflection upon the character of Henry George, but I distrust the gang at his back. The only difference that I have ever detected between labor politicians and the politicians of the other parties is the usual readiness of the former to sell themselves at a lower price than the latter insist upon. Though loudmouthed for trades unions, they are the “scabs” of the political market.
The editor of the London “Justice” is greatly set up over the experiments in State Socialism now on trial in the Australian colony of Victoria. He says that State education has raised teachers’ salaries there, and that the State railway system is working successfully on the whole, though he is obliged to admit that the roads were built with capital borrowed at interest and that the workers are paid market wages, just as is the case under individual or corporation control. There is another side to the rose-colored picture which he paints of the results of State control and State interference in Australia, and Comrade Andrade, Liberty’s special artist on the spot, exhibits it in another column. The recent growth of Anarchism in that quarter of the globe indicates that the citizens do not share the satisfaction of the London editor over the State’s attempt to extend its sphere.
E. C. Walker professes to see in my change of mottoes evidence of panic on my part, and claims that my valued correspondent, Lloyd, drove me to strike my Anarchistic colors by convicting me of error, implying thereby that this change of mottoes indicates a change of opinion. This in spite of the fact that the explanation with which I accompanied the change showed clearly enough that I discarded the old motto, not from any change of idea, but because it did not accurately represent the idea which I had held before and still held. If, however, this were an acknowledgment of error on my part, it would be an example by which Mr. Walker might well profit. It is agreed on all hands — at least, as far as I have noticed — that in my “Fable for Malthusians” I convicted Mr. Walker of a most glaring and vital error. Nevertheless he has neither acknowledged it nor attempted to dispute it. This course may possess the virtue of discretion, but it possesses no other virtue.
In extending to the “Truth Seeker” deserved congratulations upon its course with reference to the trial at Chicago, Charles T. Fowler remarks that “not even Liberty or ‘Lucifer’ has as yet protested” against “that judicial farce.” On the contrary, Liberty did not wait for the farce to end or even begin before making its protest against the treatment of the men arrested in Chicago, and its protest was fundamental. Mr. Fowler’s protest, as I explain in my leader in this issue of Liberty, while sound and able as far as it goes, is at best superficial. The “surprise” which Mr. Fowler expresses at the character of the trial betrays a previous confidence in the State which no full-grown Anarchist would ever have been simple enough to entertain. Why, even poor Seymour, of the London “Anarchist,” in the midst of all the fog into which he has plunged, still retains sufficient clearness of vision to discern that the verdict was “ordered by the American government in the interest of self-preservation.”
H. M. Hyndman, the prominent English State Socialist, has an article in the September number of the “North American Review,” in which he describes the growth and present condition of the Socialistic movement in England. After naming the State Socialistic journals, he adds that there is also the “Anarchist,” which preaches the doctrines held by Most, Tucker, and Schwab in America. Will Mr. Hyndman have the goodness to state explicitly what doctrines he refers to? The form of his statement seems to imply that he refers to doctrines which Most, Tucker, and Schwab hold in common, as Anarchistic Socialists, in contrast with the doctrines of State Socialism. The insinuation is that the Anarchism of these three men is of such a nature that it places them in the same category. Mr. Hyndman unquestionably knows better. He has read Liberty sufficiently to be aware that Tucker repudiates Most, man, principles, and methods, and denies him even the name of Anarchist, and that, while admiring Justus Schwab personally, he does not share his Communistic sentiments. Mr. Hyndman evidently wishes, as a State Socialist, to conceal the fact that there are Anarchists who do not preach blood-and-thunder as the first and last article of their creed. As far as the readers of the “North American Review” are concerned, his desire will fail of gratification, for an article is soon to appear in that periodical that will leave them in no doubt concerning the character of Tucker’s Anarchism, which is precisely as far from Most’s as Liberty is from Authority.
When A. R. Parsons was on the witness-stand during the Chicago trial, he was asked by his lawyer to state to the jury the substance of his speech at the Haymarket meeting. This he did at great length and, according to the Chicago “Times,” with great effect. What he said to the jury has been printed in pamphlet form, and copies are now for sale at ten cents each for the purpose of raising a defence fund. A very large sum of money is needed in order to appeal the case to the higher courts, and it ought to be forthcoming. The pamphlet is to be had of A. H. Simpson, 14 South Morgan Street, Chicago; and I hope that every reader of Liberty will send to him for as many copies as he can afford to purchase. In regard to the pamphlet itself, I of course am unable to say whether it is an accurate and complete report of the Haymarket speech, but it certainly does not fairly and fully represent the teachings of Parsons for the past few years as editor of the “Alarm.” His policy has unquestionably been to urge the working-people to seize all property without regard to the lives of its present holders or, for that matter, any other lives. He has persistently preached expropriation and slaughter. This being the case, I am unwilling to advise the circulation of the pamphlet (which goes no farther than advising the people to arm themselves) without cautioning its readers not to accept it as fully representative of the so-called Anarchists of Chicago. At the same time Parsons and his comrades are now the victims of outrage and injustice, and everything should be done to aid them that can be done without endangering or misrepresenting genuine Anarchism.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 86.
“Bravo!” they exclaimed unanimously.
“Hanging!” objected with a delightful pout the ghastly blonde doll, “is a torture not at all original, and, among us all, I wager that we can find something newer, more piquant.”
“Capital!” applauded several young women; and a prize was decreed for the strangest invention.
“And which will draw from the culprit the most entertaining grimaces and contortions,” continued Miss Arabella.
“Well! let them bring in the condemned,” said Lord Jennings.
The Duke motioned to a servant, and ordered him to bring in the gelder as soon as he was found.
Casper nosed about in the mud before being able to steady himself on his hands, and then on his feet; he succeeded, however, not without difficulty, sweating, reluctant to rise, but urged on by the Duchess, who, emboldened by the fact of nothing stirring, again commenced her selfish exhortations.
The applause, the bravos, the shouts in the hall, in the parlor, made her anxious.
“Quick, Casper, quick.”
“There’s no danger,” he growled; “then, besides, I was only the arm which executed” . . . .
Nevertheless, he lifted the points of his hairy ears, like an animal who foresees danger.
In the court lanterns were moving along by the buildings, and a crowd of servants were hurrying about inside, questioning each other.
“Casper! Do you know what has become of him?”
“The Duke has ordered that he be brought to him immediately, immediately!”
“To flay him, to torture him a bit, after the fancy of the guests, till death ensues, my faith!”
“That will be a famous amusement!”
“Hey! do you hear?” murmured Lady Ellen in his ear; “quick, come along.”
But, having recovered command of his legs and becoming conscious of what threatened him, he flew into a passion, instead of gliding away silently, and prepared to heap insults on the servants and the master.
“Hush!” said the Duchess, placing over his drivelling mouth a hand which he bit.
“Quick, then!” she repeated, without the suspicion of a cry escaping her.
And now, he followed her at an indifferent pace, turning round with the design which she checked of cursing the flunkeys who were opening the doors and inspecting the corridors, astonished at his disappearance. They had seen him just before, drinking and sleeping off his intoxication. A corpulence like his did not dissipate itself in the air, did not disappear through a mouse-hole; the cats had not swallowed him in a yawn.
“He must have felt the need of taking the air and emptying his too full stomach,” suggested the head cook.
“Consequently,” concluded he, “they are inquiring in vain for him in the interior of the castle, and they have only to search in the court to discover him in the midst of his vomit.”
“The gang of drunkards!” growled Casper.
But once more Lady Ellen gently gagged him.
“Silence! silence and come, come!”
All the servants outside made such an uproar that the Duke approached the window and posted himself by the side of Miss Hobart.
“Well! no Casper!” said he, stooping; “hurry up, then!”
And, addressing Lucy, who seemed to be following in the darkness an interesting spectacle:
“Is it my man whom you see? With your acuteness and refinement of vision, it seems to me you ought to distinguish him where we can discern nothing. If he is wallowing in a corner, he must be snoring; if he is scampering away, he is certainly panting for breath, and the incomparable delicacy of your hearing can not fail to reveal him to you.”
Miss Hobart, with half-opened lips, pupils dilated by her attention to what was passing at the end of the court, beyond the lanterns’ field of light, in the dense shadow, did not answer; she did not breathe.
“What is it?” questioned the Duke.
“Oh!” said the young girl, closing her eyes, and moreover veiling them instinctively with her hand.
“What is it? What is it?” repeated Newington, impatiently; “speak!”
Just then the dogs, who had been moaning for some moments, snuffling and whining as at the approach of game, rambling about the entrance to their enclosure, all set up an infernal chorus, in which predominated fury, passion, excited appetite, breaking forth in wrangles, the noise of fights, the rage and pain of the conquered.
“Why, the quarry is beginning again,” said the Duke, ordering his men to run and see. Zounds! That imbecile of a Casper, in his flight, had wandered into the dog-kennel, thrust himself into the den, and the pack were regaling themselves. After the venison, the meat of the domestic boar.
“Exactly!” said Hunter Gowan, who, in the hunting season, when he was not after human game, gladly resumed his former functions; “and no way of tearing it from them except in pieces!” he added.
All the windows were filled, but the drama escaped them: it was being enacted inside the kennel buildings, and a number of the spectators were already lamenting bitterly this mischance, when the Duke ordered that the culprit be at least pulled out upon the pavement of the court, in order that they might have the diversion of his agony and death.
“Good!” said Gowan, swearing and vociferating; and instantly whipping away the devouring beasts from their victim, he seized the gelder by a leg and dragged him outside, howling, his-neck lacerated by deadly bites.
“Perfect!” said the Duke.
The manoeuvre having been executed adroitly and promptly, the gilded lackeys, their torches in their hands, ran to range themselves around the scene of carnage as they had done just before for the quarry, and, grouped behind them, the trumpeters sounded clear, proud blasts, awaking joyous echoes in the neighboring mountains.
And the quarry began again, furious, sickening, hideous, chilling with fright and filling with disgust the least timorous, the least impressionable, at the fearful braying of Casper, at his howling like a hog being bled, mingled with the cries of the faltering spectators; and the windows were closed while the sinister tragedy concluded to the sound of the dying flourish of trumpets.
“Oh, the frightful nightmare!” suddenly said the Duchess, who had re-appeared; and, appealing to the Duke, she reproached him for having sanctioned this bloody and gratuitous fancy.
Scandalized by such a dose of hypocritical assurance, Miss Lucy, folding her arms, walked towards Lady Ellen, ready to say to her:
“But you who opened the doors of the kennel buildings, who pushed the unfortunate man to the dogs, when the pungent blood on which he had just been treading allured the pack, still unsatisfied and eager for a feast.”
And for an instant Ellen trembled visibly, paler than Miss Hobart, and with a mechanical prudence concealed in a fold of her dress the slight bite on her right hand which was still bleeding.
Suddenly, by a stroke of good fortune for her, Lucy heard the lamentable appeals of the widow Arklow in the distance.
Again she was calling for her son, her Michael, whom she urged, through space, to hear her, to answer her, if he had the strength, if he was not dying.
She hushed, waiting the solicited response; then, at the end of some minutes, hopeless, she reiterated in a voice still louder, more prolonged and sad, her evocation, which, in the silence of the night, assumed a character truly dismal.
And immediately, becoming suddenly circumspect, she forbade Michael, if he had the power, to reveal to her his existence, or heed her prayer.
“No, no,” said she, “do not answer me. They would kill you.”
But this did not prevent her from recommencing, the next instant, the distressing supplication of a weeping mother at bay.
“Michael! . . . Michael! . . . Michael! . . . My child . . . You are not dead? . . . I have not assassinated you?” . . .
“My lord!” begged the Duchess, “do accede to the request of this miserable woman; receive her, or rather, speak to her; her voice, which clamors in the solitude in such despair, rings in the depths of my heart like a knell.”
The Duke for some seconds had been looking at Lady Ellen, whose abnormal paleness and strange look forced his attention.
“I could see that something was the matter with you,” he answered; “but I believed it an uneasiness, not pity or sentimentality.”
“But, my friend, this frightful end of Casper seems to me of a nature to overthrow the less hardened.”
“This event having imparted to my nerves a sickly susceptibility, the least commotion causes me perturbations which account for my paleness and from which I suffer frightfully.”
“Then I consent to accord an audience to your protegee.”
“My protege, it is you rather who are that. Your insensibility in regard to this woman is liable to exasperate still farther the hatred already aroused. I, an Irish lady, know well that the continual litany of this poor devil would touch me keenly, physically even, setting aside all question of sentimentality, and that I should swear your death. Listen to her.”
“Since I have said so,” said the Duke; and, dismissing Tom Lichfield, he added aside to him: “I do this still more willingly as I wish to speak with her; she presents herself just in time to serve me.”
Smiling at a Machiavelian design, he prepared to give the order that they lead the woman in.
A new tumult in the court, the rush of a lively race, of a furious pursuit, drew the guests again to the windows, and they saw Edith, pursued by the soldiers with an agility not to be suspected at her age and from her rather clumsy look, leaping into the body of the castle, overturning a servant who barred her way, and elbowing aside others who tried to oppose her entrance.
“The Duke! I wish to see the Duke,” repeated she; “I will see him!” Profiting by a half-opening of the gates and a want of vigilance of the soldiers who guarded Cumslen-Park, she had intruded herself, by means of cunning at first, then by displaying inconceivable strength and agility as soon as they perceived her and tried to thrust her out.
Now she was climbing the staircase, still running, distancing all those who hurried at her heels.
They were just on the point of reaching her; on the landing-place, Sir Walpole, who had run in front of her, had planted himself solidly to throw her, if need be, from the top to the bottom of the stairs.
“No,” said Newington, “let her come up; only beg these gentlemen and ladies to leave me alone with her.”
“And with me?” asked Lady Ellen.
“You, dear, you owe yourself to your guests,” said the Duke.
And, without waiting for the protest of his wife, who manifested the desire to be there in case the infatuated woman, armed perhaps, should resort to formidable violence, he made a sign to Edith to go into the next room.
“My son!” said she, hardly inside the door.
And as Newington encased himself in a lofty silence, she continued:
“My son . . . Will you answer?”
“When you question me in another tone, I will see what I shall have to answer,” said he.
On this appropriate observation, changing her manner, suddenly softened, resuming in haste an apparently orderly bearing, in spite of her dishevelled condition, she began to explain, still, however, a trifle incoherent.
“It is true, I am wrong. All this time, at the entrance of the castle where he is imprisoned so cruelly in the darkness, I have remained in exasperation, although at moments very humble. Now I restrain myself! I curse no more: I implore . . . Have I killed my son? Tell me without reserve. This will be my punishment. Now then, speak, I beg you, I implore you” . . .
She looked at him with her immense eyes in which all her anxious soul dwelt, on the watch for a movement of Newington’s face, desperately impassive.
“Answer! answer! answer!” she sobbed. “If he has escaped that death, have you been more merciful than I?”
To the anguish of her previous prayer, a flame of anger was now added in this interrogation.
“To a soldier who deserts?” answered the Duke drily, in his accent of authority which made the boldest tremble.
“Ah!” she exclaimed, wofully stunned, as if knocked down by a blow on the head or a thrust in the stomach; and, for some minutes, seeing nothing, tottering, her tongue paralyzed in her parched mouth, strangling, she could not recover her voice.
Then, stammering, with broken words, trying to appease the thirst for vengeance which was overcoming her, she said:
“You have executed him? . . . Answer, enlighten me . . . Executed a wounded man? Oh! no, you have not been capable of such cowardice . . . I express myself badly: I mean, of such severity . . . Father Arklow, my husband, you had him massacred in the fury of your first impulse. . . . You imagined that he hud just fired at you. But, Michael, on the ground, unconscious.”
“He lives!” said Newington.
She came near, anxious, happy, brightened.
“He lives! ah! repeat it, say it to me again. He lives . . . ah!
To be continued.
Eighteen Christian Centuries:
The Evolution of the Gospel of Anarchy.
An Essay on the Meaning of History.
By Dyer D. Lum.
Continued from No. 86.
The fourteenth century opened with a papal year of Jubilee at Rome,— a device to raise money. Every conquest made by Christian zeal in the Holy Land had been won back by Moslem valor. France was distracted by the heresy of “the Everlasting Gospel,”— that the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, was to succeed Christ. Philip le Bel followed the example of Edward I. of England and taxed the clergy. He was excommunicated. Nothing daunted, he dispatched trusty agents to Italy, who forced an entrance through a church, seized the Holy Vicar, placed him on a horse with his face to the tail, and led him off to prison. At last France triumphed; a pontiff to its mind, sold to execute France’s designs, was seated on the throne. He abandoned the tomb of the Apostles and took up his residence in the French city of Avignon.
Europe now saw (1310) the trial of a dead pope for sacrilege and atheism; the Knight Templars, the bulwark of Christian valor in the Crusades, disbanded, persecuted, and burnt at the stake; and, more distracting, two popes claiming to be the authoritative and consecrated successors of the Apostle. In this constant weakening of spiritual authority lay the hope of progress. While States were quarreling for the possession of the incumbent of the papacy, the people were growing restive. The three arms of power were attacked on all sides. In England the preaching of Wickliffe had sapped church authority, and the bold language of Wat Tyler fired the hearts of the peasants with dreams of economic emancipation. In Flanders the Arteveldes voiced the growing demand for political independence. In Rome itself Rienzi arouses the half-forgotten tradition of Roman freedom. Switzerland, the home of the legendary William Tell, with its free mountain air, strikes off its chains. France, torn with the conflict with England, answers with the fierce cry of the Jacquerie, and rustic hands drop their rosaries and beads for flails and scythes. In Germany the Hanseatic League rises into prominence to control the commerce of the Baltic, as the Genoese and Venetians did the Mediterranean. Though formed in the preceding century, it now entered upon ks highest claims,— embracing eighty-five cities, banded together in offensive and defensive alliance for industrial and commercial interests.
Along the course of the ages the centuries now first loom up with distinctive characteristics; the mile-stones of the centuries present their separate legend. The fourteenth century is the Age of Revolt. While popes and kings are disputing over the reins of authority, a new spirit is spreading throughout Europe.
The fifteenth century opens on the same territorial divisions, but not on the same peoples. The heresy of Wickliffe had penetrated the higher classes; England was honeycombed with unbelief. John Huss and Jerome of Prague were electrifying the people of Bavaria with new and startling thoughts. Industrial activity had undermined feudal privilege; the modern State was arising. In the middle of the century a man in a German city was experimenting with movable types; printing had been invented! But Dryasdust, with eyes ever fastened on royal courts and battlefields, has taken another date for the end of the Mediaeval Age and the beginning of Modern History. In 1453 the Turks captured Constantinople, the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire. Yet the two events were closely connected. The downfall of Constantinople sent into Italy the long buried literature of Greece and Rome, preserved in its dusty archives. The art of Gutenberg and Faust scattered it broadcast. From 1470 to 1500 more than ten thousand editions of books and pamphlets were printed. Printing had brought minds into closer relations. In its effects it cheapened literature, supplanted the pulpit as its sole organ, and with the increased facility for acquiring knowledge grew the desire.
The impetus now given could no longer be stayed; the dykes were broken! The fifteenth century will be forever known as the Age of the Renaissance. Travelers had returned from Persia and India, China and Thibet. In 1455 Cadamosto, a Venetian, had explored the west coast of Africa, and before the close of the century. Columbus had sailed to America. Nor were the people wanting in catching the new spirit. In Germany, ever from the Teuton stock, peasants find new and strange thoughts burning in their minds. In 1470 “Johnny the Piper” lights the towers of baronial castles with the reflection of the flames of the Peasants’ War, proclaiming the quixotic cry of Equal Rights. Thirty-four thousand peasants support him, but, through the effort of a pious bishop, who, as we are informed, “had to resort to treachery,” their leader was sacrificed. Again, in 1493, the year after the discovery of America, Germany beheld another social insurrection. The banner of the Bundschuh had been raised, and ever and again made its appearance till subsequently stamped out by Luther and his armed allies.
The discovery of America, while Erasmus, Colet, and More were sowing the seed of intellectual liberty, hastened the harvest. Economically, it shifted the commercial centre from Italian cities to the Atlantic coast, and opened a new world to adventure and enterprise. Politically, the Western States rose in greatness, and, hopeful sign, royal power was to be greatest where industrialism had prepared the people best for independent action. Intellectually, it revolutionized human ideas by demonstrating the existence of the antipodes. The thought that by sailing West one could reach the East, when Columbus sailed, was the Idea of one man. When he returned, the sacred cosmogony perished. The famous argument of the church against the globular form of the earth — that all men would not be able to see Christ when he descended in clouds from heaven to judge the world — was forever exploded!
Fifteen centuries had rolled by, fifteen Christian centuries, in which stake and fagot, sword and axe, had struggled for the supremacy of Christian authority over human reason; and now for the first time the Age of Reason could discern the coming dawn. In governments diplomacy now arose; secular politics came to the front, thus heralding the decline of Roman power. The old dream of Christian unity was perishing with the faith that gave it birth. Thought was released from bondage to Aquinas and the Schoolmen. A text no longer settled intellectual truth. The word renaissance — the legend of the age — separates it from all of its predecessors, and opens to the mind intellectual Anarchy,— freedom from bondage in philosophical pursuits!
The sixteenth century bears evidence that the old bottles can no longer hold the new wine. The fermentation of mind is not content to rest within the bounds of philosophical disputation. We need not ask the inscription on the mile-stone of the age. The logical sequence of intellectual liberty finds its assertion in the age in which Luther lived,— liberty of private judgment in religion. “The egg which Erasmus laid, Luther hatched,” say church authorities. Rather, let us say, the enlargement of mind, dating back to “the geography of the pilgrims,” now broke the narrowing bounds in which it had been confined. Revolt was no new thing. As we have seen, the Protest had broken out in the thirteenth century with the Albigenses of France, in the fourteenth with the Lollards, and in the fifteenth with Huss and Jerome. Luther was successful not alone because three centuries of growing restlessness lay behind him, not alone because the renaissance had weakened faith. He was a Teuton, a Saxon; he inherited the barbarian individuality which had proved so potent a factor in the disintegration of the old civilization where manhood was sunk in the State. Again, in his warfare on spiritual authority he made an ally of temporal power. He dexterously excited the jealousy of the feudal princes of Germany against Roman unity, as Calvin subsequently allied his cause with the retrograde policy of French seigniors against French unity.
Protestantism carried on the work of the new spirit of revolt against authority. Although the narrow liberty of the barbarian, where self excludes toleration of others’ equal right, divine authority received a fatal blow. The right of private judgment, said the Catholics, destroyed all unity; there would be as many sects as thinkers. Bossuet was right: it was religious Anarchy. Freedom of conscience had taken root in the world.
The seventeenth century opens with the death at the stake of the freethinker and scientist, Giordano Bruno, and closed with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Yet authority over mind was everywhere weakening. Freedom in thought led logically to freedom in action. The revolt against authority was the same; the seeming change was in the representative of the authoritarian claim. In the preceding century Charles V. and Philip II. had been devoted supporters of the papal claim, yet both recognized the new spirit so far as to ever subordinate the welfare of Rome to the aggrandizement of their own power. Even in the rise of the Catholic State, Catholic unity was endangered. Of the sack of Rome by the army of Charles V., Dr. Robertson says:
Rome, though taken several times by the Northern nations, who overran the Empire in the fifth and sixth centuries, was never treated with so much cruelty by the barbarous and heathen Huns, Vandals, and Goths, as now by the bigoted subjects of a Catholic monarch.
The seat of authority was changing, and the monarch sought to control mind. Hence, political authority over conscience was attacked: in England, in the person of the king; in France and Germany, in feudal barons. When the century opened, to doubt the right of the sovereign to enforce uniformity of belief was as great a heresy with Protestants as with Catholics. The English Monarch was the Head of the English Church, and the English Revolution turned on religious questions. But the seventeenth century witnessed the destruction of this principle by giving birth to toleration. Again Liberty had extended her domain; the feudal principle of liberty for self was followed by the recognition of liberty for others. The treaty of Westphalia, at the end of the Thirty Years’ War, recognized Protestant countries; William of Orange proclaimed official recognition of individual dissent. The spirit of the sixteenth century had won; religious freedom, wrested from the Church, was now secured against control by the State. The idea had taken visible form and was become a tangible reality.
The eighteenth century takes in the death of Locke and the life of Rousseau. From the “Treatise on Toleration” to the “Contrat Social” is the passage from the seventeenth to the eighteenth century. Toleration was not enough; limitation of political authority by constitutional restrictions no longer sufficed. The fundamental question of each age has been the same,— personal freedom or authority? The authority of the king to rule was now directly questioned. Freedom of thought in philosophy and religion had obtained foothold; the mediaeval Impossibility had been realized. Toleration by the State of various beliefs had been established, notwithstanding sporadic displays of persecution. The line of progress brought it in revolt before the throne.
I am aware that worshippers at the shrine of the commonplace will retort that the cry for political freedom would not have been raised but for the tyrannical use of power by kings. Precisely; but this alleged mis-government — the arbitrary use of force to control action by those invested with authority — is a constant factor in the problem. Historically, evolution leads to revolution. The theological tomes of the seventeenth century were forgotten in the burning words of Junius, Paine, and Rousseau. While Americans were proclaiming independence from royal control, and were defeating the royal troops, Spain was witnessing its last auto-de-fe”. Even into that bigoted land the reflection from Liberty’s torch dispersed the darkness of mediaeval thought. The French Revolution broke down all barriers and opened a new era to Humanity.
Here the Christian centuries end. The spirit of the Christ recedes; that of Man emerges. Though thrones are still propped on bayonets, the spectre of the Sansculotte is never laid.
Freedom of thought in religion and freedom of action in politics were conceded in principle; liberty for thought and political action had fought their battle and been victorious. Priestly and royal authority were dethroned. Heresy no longer carried with it sanguinary terror. What had once been treason to God was now a prerogative of self. The old beliefs may be still held, but they are powerless to enforce their claims. In the triumph of individuality, divine authority has no longer an accepted organ; it has become dissipated, and man left free. The authority of the Church has found the rock on which it was built washed away by the waves of progress. Its Christ, the Son of the Living God, having power to bind and loose, has faded away into a metaphysical entity. To the devout believer of the sixteenth century mental freedom was religious anarchy, the destruction of spiritual law and order. To the mediaeval statesman, it was an unthinkable condition, and the dissolution of all moral and social bonds. Society was based on theoretic uniformity, and hence the early reformers sought in the name of authority to reform, not to destroy; they thought they were but pruning the branches, while they were tapping the trunk. Spiritual authority was a social growth; it could not be pruned away without involving social disintegration and decay. Posterity has justified the assertion that the right of private judgment is mental anarchy.
Mental An-archy, the absence of government over thought from without, was the result, yet this Anarchy is hailed today as a priceless conquest. The triumph of individuality in the State has followed the same course,— the extension of personal liberty. The hand of the absolute monarch has grown palsied, and the sceptre trembles in his grasp. Where the king willed, public opinion rules. Rulers have become servants to the national will; they hold their authority no longer by the grace of God, but by the sufferance of the people. When the head of Louis XVI. rolled on the guillotine, to the Bourbon political anarchy seemed to be complete. On the contrary, the State remained, and the battle for uniformity was as fiercely waged, but it had shrunk to national unity. The old law and order passed away, but out of the social anarchy arose a higher order,— a new extension of freedom. The right of private judgment in the affairs of government! God’s anointed henceforth was of common clay; his sword and sceptre, blessed by the priest, possessed no magic virtues. The illusion had vanished.
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.
Why Expect Justice from the State?
Charles T. Fowler has written and “Lucifer” has published a very able article showing that the prosecution at Chicago was a prosecution of opinion and not of criminality, that the verdict was a verdict against Anarchy and not against bomb-throwing, and that the offence for which the victims are to be punished was not actual, but purely constructive. Setting aside the doubtless manufactured but certainly direct evidence put forward by the prosecution, of the man who swore that he saw Spies light the fuse and hand the bomb to Schnaubelt and that then Schnaubelt threw it, Mr. Fowler’s position is a sound one. Sound also is the position taken by “O,” that the convictions were secured by a trick of the detectives. Sound also is my own position, that the convictions would have been impossible without a packed jury.
But, sound as all these positions are, what do they amount to? Something, perhaps, as so many instances of the infernalisms practised by the State; but nothing more. If urged in the hope that the State will ever do better, they are futile in the extreme. Is not the State an infernal institution? Why expect from it, then, anything but infernalisms? “Let the people of Chicago,” says Mr. Fowler, “learn that there is no such thing as the crime of incendiary speech. . . . Then they will no longer prosecute Anarchy or persecute Anarchists, but hunt up the man who threw the bomb.”
It is evident that Mr. Fowler here uses “the people of Chicago” as one with the State, because it is the State which is prosecuting Anarchy. But why should the State “hunt up the man who threw the bomb”? Why should it do anything in this matter but prosecute Anarchy? Is not Anarchy its deadliest foe? Is it to be expected that the State will pay heed to anything but its own existence and prosperity?
No whining, then! Let us not complain of the injustice practised by the State, except we do so for the sole purpose of exhibiting it to the people in its enormity and determining them to throw off its tyrannical joke. One of the wisest comments that have been made upon the verdict is that of Louis Lingg, the maker of most of the bombs so prevalent in Chicago and the youngest of the convicted men. He is reported to have said, after the verdict, something like this: “There is no reason to complain. Had I been in the judge’s place and he in mine, I would have sent him to the gallows inside of twenty-four hours.” The attitude of this brave Bohemian boy is superior to that of his elder comrades. Louis Lingg understands the situation. He knows that Anarchy has challenged the State. He knows that the State has picked up the gauntlet. He knows that it is a duel to the death.
Both Lingg and his comrades, however, are fatally weak in that they do not really represent Anarchy. They have challenged in Anarchy's name, but to institute and secure one of the most revolting of Archies,— the Archy of compulsory Communism. They propose to win and uphold it by methods the most cruel and bloody. The strength of a righteous cause against tyranny lies in the fact that, as long as it remains itself innocent of offence, its persecution will bring it popular sympathy and aid. The so-called Anarchists of Chicago, by making their cause unrighteous, by announcing their readiness to commit any offences however enormous, and by standing on a platform of Communistic tyranny, have cast aside this strength, alienated this popular sympathy for injured Liberty, and thrown it upon the side of the enemy. And what is worse, by adopting the name of the real friends of Liberty and thus confusing the popular mind as to the character of Anarchy, they perhaps have made it possible for the enemy to carry out, sustained by popular sanction, what it dared not before attempt, from fear of popular rebellion,— the immediate suppression of the true Anarchists, who pursue Liberty as an end through Liberty as a means. If we could have gone on in our own way, we should have grown stronger and stronger, until the State would have had to face the alternative of frank surrender on the one hand, or, on the other, death in the last ditch through sacrificing popular support by assuming the offensive against innocent autonomists. As it is, the road to our sure triumph will probably be a much harder one to travel.
But what of the terrible predicament, it will be asked, in which these men who have injured our cause now find themselves? The answer is ready. They are of the noble few who, however mistaken as to the way of obtaining it, desire universal human comfort and for it are willing to cast their lives into the balance; we will snatch them, therefore, from the jaws of the wild beast, if we consistently can. To that end everything shall be done, short of treason to our cause. But there we stop. If we cannot save these men except by resorting to their own erroneous methods and thus indefinitely postponing the objects we have in view, then the wild beast must have its prey. Nothing requires us to sacrifice that which is dearest to us to save misguided men from consequences which we did nothing to bring upon them. Those who think this cruelty may make the most of it. Call me brute, call me coward, call me “kid-gloved Anarchist,” call me what you will, I stand to my post. I have yet to learn that it is any man’s duty to sustain his reputation for bravery at the cost of his loyalty to truth. By my attitude upon that day — which, if its coming was inevitable, will come the sooner now — when I in turn shall find myself at close quarters with the wild beast, I consent to have my courage judged. For that day I wait. And while I wait, I work.
The Lesson of Chicago.
Seven men are to die in Chicago, and the pulpit and the press, the gig-men, aye, and even the proletariat, unite in joyful hymns and bless God that he has saved society once more. Seven men of more than usual intelligence, and far more than usual devotion to principle, weary of seeing age-long injustice, of hearing the groans of the down-trodden millions, or, what is worse, of seeing them suffer dumbly, risked all in an attempt to set things right. They failed, and by the laws of war they are to die. Yet it must be remembered that the worst that can be said of them is the best that can be said of the victors,— that they sought to produce good through evil. Without sin they doubtless are not, but they sinned through the excess of their love.
At this same time a scamp who is not known to have ever done a good action, to have ever been possessed of a noble thought, who makes it his boast that he has been a constant enemy of labor organizations, is under arrest in Mexico for violating the laws of that country. He is an American citizen, and the honor of our country must be protected, though it cost us thousands of lives and millions of dollars; for, in protecting our “honor,” many of our distinguished citizens will be able to enormously increase their wealth by robbing both Americans and Mexicans. And the foolish multitude, now as eighteen hundred years ago, contemning those who have given all for love of it, cries: “Crucify them, crucify them! Give us Barabbas!”
The old International Working-People’s Association declared it axiomatic that the emancipation of the working-classes must be effected by themselves, and it is time that we begin to comprehend the full significance of the declaration. It does not mean simply that we are not to place our reliance on the bourgeoisie and aristocracy, as is generally understood by half-trained revolutionists; but that a revolution, to be effective, must be popular. A social revolution can not be accomplished by a man or a clique. The people can be freed only by themselves. As long as they remain indifferent, no one can save them from being slaves, and those who seek to force them to be free but doom themselves to disappointment and death. What is left, then, for the intelligent revolutionary minority is to diffuse its principle to the utmost, to awaken public attention, and prepare for the nullification of the State by passive resistance. This is the course best for the minority and best also for the multitude, for a comparatively small minority, keeping strictly on the defensive and simply refusing to support the existing order of things, can succeed in obtaining its freedom; and, though it cannot compel the majority to be free, it can teach it the advantages of freedom in the most effective way,— by example.
John F. Kelly.
Confession of an Atrocious Crime Against the Anarchists Tried at Chicago.
The Boston “Sunday Herald” of August 22, 1886, has this “Special Dispatch to the Herald”:
Chicago, Ill., August 21, 1886. — Captain Michael Schaack, who is credited with having obtained the chief evidence against the condemned Anarchists, was asked today if the police were now through with their labors.
“Through!” said the officer; “why, they have but barely commenced.”
“You mean you have others who are indicted on the same charge?”
“YoU mustn’t ask too much. I tell you the Anarchist business in Chicago has only commenced, and before it is through with we will have them all in jail, hanged, or driven out of the city.”
“Did you place any men under arrest yesterday?”
“That I do not wish to tell.”
“The report is that you have secured warrants for the arrests of a large number of persons.”
“If you think a minute, you can see how foolish the ideal would be. We have no accommodations for any large number of people, and it would be a needless expense to the State arresting too many at once. I can get them all as I want them. I don’t need to arrest them now.”
“They may try to leave the city.”
“Time enough to arrest them when they do. I can get them just the same.”
“Will any of the women be arrested?”
“Why not the women? Some of them are a good sight worse than the men.”
“Do you think,” continued the captain, “if I had told the newspapers what I was doing while the Anarchist trial wad going on, that the jury would have brought in the verdict of yesterday? No, sir; a thousand times no. The prisoners would have gone free. Every reporter who came to me got nothing. I was making up the evidence, little by little, piece by piece, and putting it together where it belonged. If I had told all I know [knew?] as fast as I got points, the defence would have known what evidence was to be brought against them, and have been prepared to meet it. There was but one beside myself who knew anything about what I was doing,” said the officer, in conclusion.
It is claimed that the attorney for the State always relied on a verdict of guilty. They maintained that there was no doubt concerning the result.
This declaration of Schaack’s, “No, sir; a thousand times no. The prisoners would have gone free. ... If I had told all I knew as fast as I got points, the defence would have known what evidence was to be brought against them, and have been prepared to meet it,” is equivalent to a declaration that, if the accused persons had known what evidence was to be brought against them, they would have brought evidence that would have been sufficient to acquit them “a thousand times” over.
Here, then, is an explicit confession that these seven men were condemned to death upon evidence that was kept secret from both themselves and the public, and finally sprung upon them at the trial, when no opportunity was given them to meet it; but that they would have been acquitted “a thousand times” over, if they had known of this evidence, and been permitted to contradict or explain it.
This is equivalent to a confession that the men were innocent; and that this Captain Schaack knew that they were innocent; or — what is the same thing — that he knew that there was evidence that would have acquitted them “a thousand times” over, if they had been allowed an opportunity to produce it. But he glories in the fact that he was too smart for them; that, by keeping his evidence secret from both them and the public, he was enabled to bring them into the trap which he and “one other man” (evidently the State’s attorney) had prepared for them, and thus secured their conviction.
If this is not a confession that he (Schaack) and “one other man,” his accomplice, set themselves deliberately at work to procure the judicial murder of seven innocent men,— men known by him and his accomplice to be innocent,— what is it?
Plainly it is nothing else in the world.
Schaack’s confession that the evidence, on the part of these men, was such as, if permitted to be introduced, would have acquitted them “a thousand times” over, is equivalent to a confession that it was true; and that to procure their conviction, by the suppression of this evidence, was to procure the judicial murder of innocent men.
And this work, says Schaack, is to go on, until “we have all the Anarchists in jail, hanged, or driven out of the city.”
And this end is evidently to be accomplished by the same methods that have been so successful in procuring the conviction of these seven men; that is, by evidence “made up, little by little, piece by piece, and put together, where it belonged,” kept secret from the accused persons, and finally sprung upon them at the trial, when it is too late for them to contradict or explain anything.
What stronger evidence can be required to prove the infamous character of what are called our criminal courts? Evidently the courts themselves are criminal, whether the persons they convict are criminal or not.
Manifestly a trial can have no color of justice or reason, or be anything else than a conspiracy to convict, whether the accused person be innocent or guilty, unless he is permitted to know beforehand, as fully as the government officers themselves, every scrap of evidence that is to be brought against him, and then have all possible reasonable time allowed him in which to find and produce all the rebutting evidence that can be found and produced.
And yet I suppose that nearly every accused person is brought to trial, in our courts, in greater or less ignorance of the evidence that is to be given against him.
And I suppose that some, at least, if not all, of our prosecuting officers really consider it a smart thing to do, to bring out on a trial evidence which the accused person knew nothing of, and was unprepared to meet.
The confession of this scoundrel, Schaack, is one that the whole country is bound to take notice of. In fact, the trial at Chicago was not a trial of seven men only, nor of Chicago Anarchists only, but it was also a trial of the government of Illinois, and still more of the United States government itself. The oppressions of which these so-called Anarchists complained (if they were oppressions) were such as the government of the United States is responsible for, and such as many millions of persons — in fact, nearly all the people of the United States — are crying out against; some in more desperate tones than others, but all in tones that it will not do for any government to disregard.
In this state of things, a murder is committed by some one — not by these seven, nor any one of them, but by some one as yet unknown. These seven are confessed, by the chief agent in procuring their conviction, to be innocent; and to have had abundant proof of their innocence, if they had been permitted an opportunity to produce it.
But the government, which, in the opinion of these despairing, if not desperate, millions, is responsible for their wrongs, does not brook any forcible resistance by even so much as one single man. It regards this single man but as a torch that may explode vast numbers of others. It therefore demands not merely a victim, but victims. And victims it must have, whether they be innocent or guilty. The innocent will answer for examples, as well as the guilty. So, being unable to discover the one guilty man, the machinery is set at work to convict seven innocent ones in his stead.
And now all these suffering millions, who have not yet been brought quite up to the point of open rebellion, are taught that this is no country for those who are liable to become desperate under its oppressions; that it is only the patient sufferers who are tolerated here.
Well, perhaps this verdict will have that effect. But perhaps it will not.
A Time to Beware of Passion.
If there ever were a time in which the true friends of the revolution were especially called upon to keep their reason unclouded and to possess their souls in patience, that time is now,— now, when the whole force of the hireling press is directed against the men under sentence of death in Chicago; now, when every impulse of common human sympathy tends to make us range ourselves at their side. But let not the sympathy which we feel with them in their unjust sentence make us forget for a moment that, however honest and devoted these men were (and their honesty and devotion they have proven beyond a doubt), however pure their motives, the methods by which they sought to attain their ends are not those by which the social revolution can ever really be accomplished.
O my brothers! let no blind feelings of revenge against the State and its tools lead you to play into its hands by attempting to meet force with force. Remember that the use of force must always react with most deadly effect upon us; that an economic revolution can never be accomplished by force. Remember that the employment of force leads to the redevelopment of the military spirit, which is totally opposed to the spirit that must exist in the people before anything that we wish for can be brought about. Remember that the government is really enforced, not by the bayonets by which it is surrounded, but by the ignorance in the minds of the people, and it is this ignorance, and this alone, that we are called upon to combat, and it is only as this is destroyed that success is possible. Remember that every appeal to brute force tends to retard the dissipation of this ignorance.
To the most peaceable of us, however, today, seeing the domineering, gloating spirit of the government and the press, the temptation to meet violence with violence is very strong, but it is to our interests above all others to resist the temptation. To the men now suffering in Chicago, and to their wives and mothers who are suffering as much as, if not more than, they, we extend our heartfelt sympathy, because we recognize that, however mistakenly, they have devoted their lives to that cause which is our cause,— the emancipation of the toiling millions.
“Society is saved; we can now sleep quietly in our beds,” cries the hireling press, gloating over the fact that seven men are to lose their lives in Chicago, as if society were threatened by no other evils than the rebellion of a few men who have been goaded to desperation by the injustice which they see everywhere around them, while this very press teems day after day with accounts of corruption, public and private, with Pan-Electric scandals, Broadway steals, Aqueduct robberies, with the wholesale murder of men in the Aqueduct, etc., from lack of precautions taken by those who are scooping in the millions, with men, women, and little children done to death by the thousand in the mines and factories, with strikes and lock-outs, with St. Louis tragedies, with murders and suicides, and sales of human beings day after day, due to the infamously unjust system which the hireling press is paid to support; and yet society is saved, because a few men who dare to think and to act that murder on one side is no more reprehensible than on the other are to forfeit their lives. When the thousands begin to suffer, as says Carlyle, the world is filled with shrieks, but from the suffering of the millions no cry arises; the millions are always dumb; no, not always; they sometimes throw a bomb or make a French Revolution.
Virtuous, respectable, well-dressed, well-behaved society may now again begin its dance over the walled-over volcano, heedless of the rumblings beneath, until another explosion comes, which may take a still more deadly form than the bomb-throwing at Chicago. Are the authorities mad in their pursuit of gain and power that they do not see what a treasury of hatred they are laying up against themselves by their policy of revenge. Not content with the killing of seven Anarchists and the imprisonment of Neebe, they are determined to spread disaffection still further by arresting all those who had anything to do with the Haymarket meeting. But the end is not yet.
I again appeal to you, my brothers, to let no blind feelings of revenge tempt you to aid the cause of the reaction. Now is the time above all others to stand firm in our advocacy of what is right and just, to let no fear that we may, for the moment, seem “respectable” cause us to swerve in the least from strict devotion to the highest truths that we realize, and one of these is that an economic revolution can never be accomplished by force.
Gertrude B. Kelly.
Convicted by a Packed Jury.
Unjust as the Chicago verdict was, the trial brought out certain facts regarding Illinois juries by which other communities might profit and at which Lysander Spooner must rejoice. In his great work now out of print, “Trial by Jury,” Mr. Spooner shows how the practice regarding jury trial has been turned by usurpation from the original theory, until it has lost altogether the three features that made it most potent as a safeguard of individual liberty. These three features were: 1, that the jury must be chosen by lot from a wheel containing the names of the whole body of citizens of the vicinity, instead of from a selected panel; 2, that it must be judge, not only of the facts, but of the law and the justice of the law; 3, that it must decide, not only the guilt or innocence of the accused, but, in case of guilt, the nature and severity of the penalty.
It appears from the charge of Judge Gary to the jury in the trial at Chicago that Illinois law has restored, nearly if not quite intact, the second and third of these features. Said the judge:
If the accused, or any of them, are found guilty by the jury, they shall fix the punishment by their verdict.
The jury in a criminal case are, by the statutes of Illinois, made judges of the law and the evidence, and under these statutes it is the duty of the jury, after hearing the arguments of the counsel and the instructions of the court, to act upon the law and facts according to their best judgment of such law and such facts. The jury are the judges of the law and the facts, and you, as jurors, have a right to disregard the instructions of the court, provided you, upon your oaths, can say that you believe you know the law better than the court.
It is evident that in the hands of an unprejudiced jury endowed with such powers as these the life and liberty of a person unjustly accused would be well-nigh secure. The trouble in Chicago was the prejudice of the jury. And this jury was made up wholly of prejudiced men simply because the first of the three safeguards referred to was not restored along with the second and third. If the twelve men composing it, instead of being sifted from a selected panel by a method of examination that enables the prosecution to practically pack the jury, had been chosen by lot from all the citizens of Chicago, there would have been a large percentage of workingmen among them, some or all of whom would undoubtedly have seen to it that no such fate was meted out to the eight prisoners as that under the awful shadow of which they now rest. But, as it was, the whole twelve were men whose sympathies and interests range them on the side of capital and privilege, and they were determined from the start to hang the men who had questioned the sacred prerogatives of constituted power. It is needless to say that the State will never sound its own death-knell by restoring the safeguard that is still lacking, and that it never will be restored until the people themselves restore it by boycotting the State.
[May Wry in “New Thought.”]
The sham Anarchists, who use the livery of heaven to serve the devil in, and who have, properly speaking, no right to the name, remind me of the North in the time of the rebellion, which wanted peace and was bound to have it, if it had to fight for it. So it seems these sham Anarchists want no kind of rule, except self-rule, and they are bound to have it, if they have to rule others to get it.
The Political Theology
Mazzini And The International.
By Michael Bakounine
Member of the International Association of Working-People.
Translated from the French by Sarah E. Holmes.
If there is a man universally respected in Europe and who, by forty years of active life wholly devoted to the service of a great cause, has really merited this respect, it is Mazzini. He is incontestably one of the noblest and purest individualities of our century,— I might say even the greatest, if greatness was compatible with the stubborn worship of error.
Unfortunately, at the very foundation of the programme of the Italian patriot, there has been, from the first, an essentially false principle, which, after having paralyzed and made barren his most heroic efforts and his most ingenious combinations, must drag him sooner or later into the ranks of the reaction. This principle is that of an idealism at once metaphysical and mystical, grafted upon the patriotic ambition of the statesman. It is the worship of God, the worship of divine and human authority; it is the faith in the Messianic predestination of Italy, queen of the nations, with Rome, capital of the world; it is the political passion for the grandeur and glory of the State, founded necessarily on the misery of the people. It is, in short, that religion of all dogmatic and absolute minds, the passion for uniformity which they call unity and which is the grave of liberty.
Mazzini is the last high priest of religious, metaphysical, and political idealism which is disappearing.
Mazzini reproaches us with not believing in God. We reproach him, as a set-off, with believing in him, or rather, we do not even reproach him, we only deplore that he believes. We infinitely regret that by this intrusion of mystical sentiments and ideas into his conscience, his activity, his life, he has been forced to range himself against us with all the enemies of the emancipation of the popular masses.
For, in fact, we cannot longer deceive ourselves. Who are now found under the banner of God? From Napoleon Third to Bismarck; from the Empress Eugenie to Queen Isabella; and between them the pope with his mystical rose which he gallantly presents, by turns, to the one and the other. There are all the emperors, all the tings, all the official, officious, aristocratic, and otherwise privileged world of Europe, carefully enumerated in the Gotha almanac; there are all the great leeches of industry, of commerce, of finance; the licensed professors and all the functionaries of the State; the high and the low police, the gendarmes, the jailers, the executioners; without forgetting the priests, constituting today the black police of souls for the benefit of States; there are the generals, those humane defenders of public order, and the editors of the venal press, such pure representatives of all the official virtues. Behold the army of God!
Behold the banner under which Mazzini is ranged today, doubtless in spite of himself, drawn by the logic of his ideal convictions, which force him, if not to bless all that they bless, at least to curse all that they curse.
And in the opposite camp, what is to be found there? The revolution, the audacious deniers of God, of the divine order and the principle of authority, but, on the other hand, and for that very reason, the believers in humanity, the affirmers of a human order and of human liberty.
Mazzini, in his youth, divided between two opposing currents, was at once priest and revolutionist. But the inspirations of the priest, as was to have been expected, finally stifled in him the instincts of the revolutionist; and today all that he thinks, all that he says, all that he does, breathes the purest reaction. In consequence of which there is great joy in the camp of our enemies and mourning in our own.
But we have something else to do than to lament; all our time belongs to the battle. Mazzini has thrown down his gauntlet before us, and it is our duty to pick it up, in order that it may no* be said that, through veneration for the great past services of a man, we have bent our head before untruth.
It is not with a light heart that one can decide to attack a man like Mazzini, a man whom one is forced to revere and love even in combating him, for, if there is one thing which no one dares question, it is the high disinterestedness, the intense sincerity, and the no less intense passion for good, of this man, whose incomparable purity shines with all its brightness in the midst of the corruption of the century. But veneration, however legitimate it may be, must never turn into idolatry; and there is one thing more sacred than the greatest man in the world,— namely, truth, justice, the duty of defending the sacred cause of humanity.
This is not the first time that Mazzini launches his accusations and condemnations, not to say his insults and calumnies, against us. The past year, in a letter addressed to his friend, an idealist and priest like himself, the illustrious Quinet, he had bitterly censured the materialistic and atheistic tendencies of the modern youth. This was his right, the logical consequence of his misfortune in having always connected his noblest aspirations with the fictitious existence of an absolutely impossible Being, a malevolent and absurd phantom, created by the childish imagination of people just emerging from animality, which, after having been successively reviewed, corrected, and enriched by the creative fancy of poets and still later gravely defined and systematized by the abstract speculations of theologians and metaphysicians, is vanishing today, like a true phantom as it is, before the powerful breath of the popular conscience, matured by historic experience, and before the still more pitiless analysis of real science. “ And since the illustrious Italian patriot, from the beginning of his long career, has had the misfortune to always place his most revolutionary thoughts and acts under the protection of this imaginary being and to enchain thereto his whole life, to the extent of sacrificing to it even the real emancipation of his dear Italy, can we be surprised that he is now indignant at the new generation which, inspired with another spirit, another morality, and another love than his own, turns its back upon his God?
The bitterness and anger of Mazzini are natural. To have been for more than thirty years at the head of the revolutionary movement of Europe and to feel now that this management is escaping him; to see this movement take a road in which his petrified convictions do not permit him to lead, or even to follow; to remain alone, abandoned, not understood, and henceforth incapable of himself understanding anything of all that is going on under his eyes!’ For a great soul, for a proud intelligence, for a grand ambition, like that of Mazzini, at the end of a career dedicated wholly to the service of humanity, this is a tragic and cruel position.
So, when the saintly old man, from the height of his isolated ideal, launched at us his first thunderbolts, we made no answer, or almost none. We respected this powerless but grievous wrath. Yet not from any lack of arguments by which, not only to resent his reproaches, but even to turn them against him.
He says that we are materialists, atheists. To this we have nothing to answer, for we are that in truth, and, as far as a sentiment of pride is permissible in poor individuals who, like the waves, rise only to soon disappear in the immense ocean of the collective life of human society, we glory in being such, because atheism and materialism are the truth, or rather, the real basis of all truth, and because, without troubling ourselves with the practical consequences, we desire the truth before all and nothing but the truth. Moreover, we have this faith,— that, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary, notwithstanding all the timid suggestions of a political and sceptical prudence, the truth alone can effect the practical good of men.
Such is, then, the first article of our faith; and we will force you to really admit that we too have a faith, illustrious master. Only it looks never backwards, but always forwards.
You do not always content yourself, however, with establishing our atheism and our materialism, you conclude that we can have neither love for men nor respect for their dignity; that all the great things which, from time immemorial, have inspired the noblest hearts — liberty, justice, humanity, beauty, truth — must be completely unknown to us, and that, dragging through our miserable existence in a hap-hazard fashion, crawling rather than walking on the earth, we can know no other cares than to satisfy our sensual and gross appetites.
If any other than you said it, we should call him a shameless calumniator. To you, respected and unjust master, we say that this is on your part a deplorable error. Do you wish to know to what extent we love all the grand and beautiful things of which you deny us knowledge and love? Know, then, that we love them to this extent,— that we are wearied and disgusted with seeing them eternally suspended from your heaven, which has stolen them from earth, as so many symbols and promises forever unrealizable! We content ourselves no longer with the phantom of these things; we wish the reality.
And that is the second article of our faith, illustrious master. We believe in the possibility, in the necessity, of this realization upon earth; at the same time we are convinced that all those things which you adore as celestial hopes will necessarily lose, in becoming human and terrestrial realities, their mystical and divine character.
In calling us materialists, you believe that you have said everything. It seems to you that you have definitively condemned and overwhelmed us. And do you know whence your error arises? From the fact that what we call matter and what you call matter are two things, two conceptions, absolutely different. Your matter is to you an imaginary being, like your God, like your Satan, like your immortal soul. Your matter is the basest grossness, inert brutality, an impossible being, just as pure, immaterial, absolute mind, which likewise has never existed but in the speculative fancy of theologians and metaphysicians, those unique creators of the one and the other, is impossible. The history of philosophy has now unveiled the process — a very simple one, moreover — of this unconscious creation, the genesis of this fatal historical illusion, which, during a long series of centuries, has weighed like a horrible nightmare on the crushed spirit of human generations.
The first thinkers, who were necessarily theologians and metaphysicians, because the earthly mind is so made that it commences always with many follies, with falsehood, with error, to arrive at a particle of truth, which does not highly recommend the holy traditions of the past,— the first thinkers, I say, took in the lump the real beings with whom they were acquainted, including, doubtless, themselves, all which appeared to them to constitute force, movement, life, intelligence, and they called this by the generic name of mind; then they gave to the rest, the unformed and inert residue which they supposed must remain after this abstractive operation, executed unconsciously on the real world by their own mind, the name of matter. After which they were astonished that this matter, which, like this mind, never existed but in their imagination, appeared to them so inert, so stupid, in the presence of their God, pure mind. . . .
As for us, we admit frankly that we do not know your God, but neither do we know your matter; or, rather, we know that both are equally No-Beings created a priori by the speculative fancy of the simple thinkers of past centuries. By the words “material and matter” we understand the totality, the whole scale, of real beings, known and unknown, from the most simple organic bodies up to the constitution and operations of the brain of the greatest genius: the most beautiful sentiments, the grandest thoughts, heroic deeds, acts of devotion, duties as well as rights, sacrifice as well as egoism, all, even to the mystical and transcendental aberrations of Mazzini, like the manifestations of organic life, chemical properties and actions, electricity, light, heat, the natural attraction of bodies, constitute in our eyes so many evolutions, doubtless different, but not less strictly solidary, of this totality of real beings which we call matter.
And notice carefully that we do not consider this totality as a sort of absolute and eternally creative substance, as the Pantheists make it, but as an eternal resultant, ever produced and reproduced anew by the concurrence of an infinity of actions and reactions of all kinds or by the incessant transformation of the real beings who are born and die in its bosom.
Not to prolong this metaphysical dissertation, I will say, by way of summing up, that we call material all that is, all that is produced in the real world, in man as well as outside of man, and that we apply the name ideal exclusively to the products of man’s cerebral action; but as our brain is an organization wholly material, and as, consequently, all its functions are as material as the action of all other things united can be, it follows that what we call matter or the material world does not in the least exclude, but, on the contrary, inevitably includes, the ideal.
There is a fact which is worthy of careful consideration by our platonic adversaries: How is it that materialistic theorists generally show themselves much more largely idealists in practice than the idealists themselves? At bottom, nothing is more logical or more natural than this fact. Does not all development imply in some way negation of the point of departure? Well, the materialistic theorists set out from the conception of matter to arrive at what? At the idea. While the idealists, setting out from the pure, absolute idea and always repeating anew the old myth of original sin, which is only the symbolic expression of their melancholy destiny, are eternally falling back, as well in theory as in practice, into the matter of which they never succeed in getting clear. And such matter! Brutal, ignoble, stupid, created by their own imagination, as the alter Ego or as the reflection of their ideal Me.
To be continued.
Anarchy in Australia.
“It never rains, but it pours.” A short time ago Victorian lovers of liberty were startled to find that the government was trying to suppress the Sunday freethought lectures in Melbourne, and suing the “Liberator” for not finding sureties; and now they are beginning to experience the inconvenience of its tampering with the mails. The postmaster-general has decided that in future no copies of the “Liberator” containing anything which he considers “blasphemous, obscene, offensive, or libellous” shall be transmitted through the post in Victoria, but they shall be destroyed. He has also under consideration whether he shall not also enforce another clause in the same Act of Parliament, which says that anyone knowingly posting such a paper shall be subject to a penalty of from five to fifty pounds! Are we not an advanced race over here? Are we not a model of perfect civilization? Just imagine that every time I post a copy of the “Liberator” to the editor of Liberty or elsewhere, I ran the risk of being robbed of fifty pounds by the State-appointed pickpockets, or else being bundled off to jail as if I were a criminal! And why? Because I have done any one a wrong? Oh, dear, no! I could do that every hour of the day, and the law would pat me on the back. It is not that I seek to utilize this means of transit without paying for it, for I have already paid for it in many ways. The postage-stamp upon it is a receipt that the freight has been paid, besides which the money which has already been forced from me in the form of taxes, rates, duties on the articles I consume, stamp duties, and innumerable other methods of extracting money from the pockets of a gullible public by indirect methods which few of them ever perceive,— by all these methods have I paid for the transit of my newspaper, then why is it to be destroyed, and myself perhaps with it? Simply because some meddlesome old rogue or fool took it into his head, without asking my consent, that it was the best thing to do to make me moral and to create a job for his friends, and he got a few more like him to agree with him when a show of bands or a division was taken, and the majority being rogues, or fools, or both, it became “law.” Mr. Symes, the editor of the “Liberator,” says that, if they attempt to stop his paper, they shall repent it; and it is to be hoped he will succeed. It matters little whether they destroy the paper or not; for good results must follow. If the paper is not destroyed, this scare will only prove a harmless, uncostly, and profitable advertisement for the paper. And if, on the other hand, it is destroyed and denied the right of mailing, it will be an invaluable lessen to the thousands who read and admire it; for it will teach them not to rely on governments for assistance, and not to play into their hands, but to supply their requirements themselves, and to kick against paying to support these rogues in their business. In short, it will help to make them Anarchists.
The same old meddlers, or a similar clique,— for legislators are “birds of a feather,” — succeeded, not long ago, in framing a “law,” known as the “Factories and Workshops Act.” And it is worthy of them. It starts off by appointing a regiment of inspectors and medical practitioners, as a matter of course. Nearly every Act creates new billets for State loafers, if it is not one to repeal some other Act. Then it goes on to dictate how factories shall be painted, and how often. They shall be registered; and of course a fee comes in here, ranging from ten shillings to three guineas, or the option of paying a fine of ten guineas if it is not registered. Then a board of inspectors is to be appointed (the tenderhearted legislators must provide situations for their kind relatives and those who helped to get them elected, you know). And any factory not approved by this board of inspectors shall not be used. That might prove rather awkward in some instances, but as a rule government inspectors are not strict teetotallers, and it is astonishing how you can enlist a man's sympathies through the medium of his palate — and his purse. An inspector can enter any factory whenever he wants to and take a policeman with him, and as many as he wants of the factory employees too, if he wants them. If any one refuses, he is liable to be fined five pounds in and his master from five pounds to twenty pounds. How the mouths of the legislators must have watered, when they pictured the influx of all this money into the State coffers! Every employer shall keep a record of the number of employees, their ages, if under twenty, and the work performed. If he fails to keep this record, he is liable to a penalty of two pounds per day from the seventh day on which his factory was registered. And furthermore, he has to keep a record of the work done outside the factory, or he is haunted by an additional penalty of ten pounds. Half-hour intervals must be allowed every five hours, unless the inspector consents to the contrary; and no one shall dine in his workroom, unless the inspector approves of it. Certain mechanical contrivances that the inspectors imagine to be advantageous shall be constructed, or the factory will be condemned. Certain trades shall only employ persons of certain ages. Factory “hands,” under sixteen years of age, shall not be employed over forty-eight hours weekly; but the minister can suspend this in individual instances if he wants to. No one under thirteen years of age shall be employed. This has already led to the dismissal of a great many of the children of poor patents, who thus, through legislative benevolence, find it still harder to support their families in comfort. It is not every child either between the ages of thirteen and fifteen that is allowed to seek employment, that right being confined to those who possess a certificate of educational ability in accordance with the Education Act. Employees under sixteen must procure medical certificates, which the inspectors, however, can annul. No boy under fourteen (or under sixteen, if a type-setter), nor girl under sixteen (or under eighteen, if a type-setter) shall work in a factory between six p. m. and six a. m., except with the Minister’s permission. There are also regulations to guard against accidents from machinery, etc., to provide sitting accommodation to shop employees, to have all furniture stamped (in order to handicap John Chinaman), to impose an additional host of fines and penalties, and to regulate the hours of shopping. You will have noticed the many means of evading the law, which are hold out in the foregoing, chiefly by means of the inspector. But the shopping hours’ clause surpasses them all. All shops (except chemists’, confectioners’, fish and oyster, fruit and vegetable, tobacconists’, booksellers’, and newsagents’ shops, coffee-houses, eating houses, and restaurants) shall be closed at seven p. m. daily, except Saturdays and public holidays, when they may keep open until ten o’clock. If the foregoing is not adhered to, the delinquent is subject to a penalty of ten pounds. Power is given to the municipalities, however, to change the hours of business of any class of shops, and fines may amount to anything under the ten pounds. The Melbourne municipal council have pressed a resolution that each culprit shall be fined one shilling only. Most of the municipal councils have extended the hours of business in a great many instances, and the stupid Act, which has cost so much time and money to both the government and the unfortunate shopkeepers, threatens to meet with speedy dissolution. In Collingwood, a suburb of Melbourne, where the hours had not been extended by the local “authorities,” there has been some severe uproar. The drapers of Collingwood have been in the habit of keeping open in the evening at a later hour than that allowed by the Act. Consequently, when it came into force, they feared to obey the “law” because their trade would suffer considerably if they did. They accordingly continued to keep open as usual. The daily press, which is always ready to increase any mischief, published a list of the names of those whose shops remained open, and called for interference. In Collingwood, the hot-bed of larrikinism, immense mobs commenced to assemble night after night outside of the shops of those who had adopted the Anarchist method of conducting their business in their own way, irrespective of laws, pro or con; and they commenced hooting and jeering the shopkeepers and attendants inside. The mobs increased; traffic was impeded; the noise became louder; the roughs became more defiant; until at last they made an onslaught upon the shopkeepers by smashing in their windows with road-metal and molesting them and their customers.
All this to carry out a law framed by a handful of rogues and fools, not for the sake of any good that might result to the community from it, but to show the stupid electors that they had not been idle when in office, and so to induce them to retain them in their billets,— billets, not only useless, but pernicious. The sooner that people realize that these insolent legislators are an unbearable nuisance, the better it will be for them. The more critically the whole system of government is examined, the more rapidly dives every redeeming characteristic disappear.
David A. Andrade.
South Yarra, Melbourne, Australia, April 21, 1886.
The Real Extortioners.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I believe that the knowledge is gradually dawning upon a great many wage-workers, Knights of Labor, and others who are working for the amelioration of the condition of labor that the present industrial agitation has not reached foundation principles yet. They are gradually seeing the folly of the idea that better wages, better living, more comfort and leisure, can be obtained from society by means of strikes and boycotting.
There can be no doubt that labor receives all that is left of the wealth it has created after the State, the usurer, the landlord, the bondholder, and the profit-taker have seized upon their outrageous proportions of it; and how can the former receive more, unless some of the latter take less? There is just so much wealth to distribute at one time and no more.
To squeeze more wages out of the capitalist will either drive him out of business or compel him to squeeze other people to make up the difference, for he must have his profits, the stockholders must have their dividends, and the workers must pay the whole.
If the capitalist has acquired wealth through the operation of his works and the employment of labor, where is the justice in compelling him to disgorge and allowing other robbers to escape unmolested? And in these days of warfare upon capital how the landlords and other thieves congratulate themselves!
Let us start a movement against rent; another against interest; another against taxes; and let us combine and centralize all these movements in the direction of such a radical change of social system as to abolish the privileges of all these extortioners, and that greatest thief of all, the State.
Let capital alone. When rent is no more, when interest dies, when taxes are unassessed, when profit becomes a thing of the past, capital will cease to exist. It is but the shadow and presentment of all these ghouls in the grave-yard of a wage-slave’s life. The aristocratic and dainty people whose wealth has come down to them from or been acquired by land-renting, tax-gathering, money-lending, and profit-taking, scorning to deal with labor, appoint capital as their agent; and the master, not the agent, should be the object of labor’s wrath.
Again, capital is more often labor itself, enabled by accumulation of hard-earned wages to do business and take profits for itself. But finding in that sphere of work that the robbers are upon it still, demanding rent, interest, and taxes, it is forced to either forego its profit or keep down the wages of the employed.
The Powderlys and McNeills of the labor movement should stop making war upon a shadow and attack the substance; what between haunting and hung ring around Congress, talking of profit-sharing, cooperation and organization, and fighting Knights of Labor with trades-unions, the real enemies are quietly stealing from them yet, and by sophistries, promises, and hypocritical advice the work of exploitation still goes on. Labor must realize sooner or later the real issue before it, and begin the battle at once.
Walter L. Ramsdell.
No. 1 Laurel St., Somerville, Mass., August 7, 1886.
[Mr. Ramsdell’s idea is correct and important, but his use of the words “capital” and “capitalist” is not justifiable. The capitalist class includes not only employers, but receivers of interest, rent, and profit. — Editor Liberty.]
Penny-Wise and Pound-Foolish.
J. Wm. Lloyd is the last revivalist of the exploded “Be good and you will be happy” gospel so far, but by no means the least. Indeed, he bids fair to outstrip all the others and take the first prize. Mr. Walker began by saying “one really foolish thing,” and was forced to abandon his Anarchistic post to protect himself from the steady fire of the “unkind” Kellys. Mr. Lloyd is bolder. He said more foolish things and more foolish things at the very start than we have yet heard from our unsuccessful friends since their first attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable. What gives me hope, however, is the comforting thought that, as friend Lloyd has reached the point where even absurdity must stop, he may be made to realize the fact that he strayed away from the path of sound reasoning, and follow us back into the Anarchistic fold.
A proverb says: “To state a problem clearly is to have it half solved.” It is almost an axiomatic statement that the only way to secure ourselves from bad effects of an evil is to remove its bottom causes and strike at its root. Hence in any given case our first care should be the discovery of the bottom causes of the disease we are to treat. Now, the case we are treating is the poverty and degradation of the people. The Anarchistic social doctors have found the State to be the chief cause, the cause of causes that have brought about this sad state of things. We charge the State with having impoverished and enslaved the masses. We lay the blame for all crime, vice, misery, and suffering at the door of law and government. We point to the homeless tramp, the miserable street-walker, the starving children, the overworked and underpaid factory operative, the hungry miner, the thief, murderer, suicide, and hold the fiendish, hellish conspiracy of the loafers, idlers, gamblers, and monopolists, who are organized under the name of law and State, responsible for this frightful sum of wretchedness and desolation. It is a case of the people vs. the State, and we insist that the State must die in order that the people may live and improve their conditions. It is not only utterly impossible for the victims of the State to elevate themselves, but it is sure to make new and fresh victims every hour, and even those who have managed to keep out of danger thus far, will sooner or later be devoured by that insatiable monster. But if Mr. Lloyd can show that the people have nobody but themselves to blame for their wretched condition, I have no case against the State. If he will show that over-population, or intemperance, or extravagance, are the real causes of poverty, and that vice and crime are the inevitable consequences of the natural depravity of human nature, I am ready to apologize to the innocent parties for the injustice done them, and accept any punishment from their hands. This Mr. Lloyd cannot do. The very fact that a robber class exists gives the lie to such shallow pretences. What, then, does Mr. Lloyd mean when he asserts so boldly that the now can and should be made more comfortable? Presumably this,— that, albeit there is much truth in our accusations, and government has had a great deal to do in the business, still there are other causes and other factors to be considered. Let us be done with cant! exclaims Mr. Walker, and is applauded by Mr. Lloyd. We must not shut our eyes to the fact that the people are not as worthy and deserving as they ought to be. They are reckless, mean, selfish, cowardly, passion-burnt, self-weakened, ignorant, says Mr. Lloyd. In the first place, we have never denied it, and our excited friends beg the very question at issue. Hear John Stuart Mill:
Those who object to the present order of society, considered as a whole, and who accept as an alternative the posibility of a total change, have a right to set down all the evils which at present exist as part of their case. . . . Moral evils, and such physical evils as would be remedied if all persons did as they ought, are fairly chargeable against the state of society which admits of them. — On Socialism.
In the second place, we maintain that these evils are incurable and irremediable in the present state of society under existing conditions. Mr. Lloyd carefully evaded this very important point. We admit that it is quite possible for some individuals to make themselves comfortable and get along pretty fairly in this world, but their success is necessarily achieved at the expense of other individuals, who sink lower and lower as these fortunate ones rise higher and higher. And this was so clearly demonstrated in Mr. Tucker’s “fable” that even the most dull-headed moralists cannot hereafter plead ignorance or innocence. And whether this conclusion is true or false, what bearing has the fact upon the question of labor emancipation? In questions of social reform, no plan can be considered as a solution of the difficulty which does not admit of living generally adopted and which is not possible and practicable for all. It is this rule, by the way, which makes it possible for us to distinguish between a crank and a social reformer. Now, can Mr. Lloyd seriously talk to the masses of the people about clear brains, strong muscles, health, and virtue? How about the thousands of starving unemployed, of millions of overworked, of the poor and destitute, and of all the victims of our economic disorder? Can he talk to them about simple diet, non-exciting pleasures, slow living, moderation in all things? Can he talk to them of the necessity of reforming vice thoroughly? Says John Stuart Mill: “Even the idle, reckless, and ill-conducted poor, those who are said with most justice to have themselves to blame for their condition, often undergo much more and severer labor than any of the more highly remunerated laborers; and even the inadequate self-control exercised by the industrious poor emits them more sacrifice and move effort than is almost ever required by the more favored members of society.” That the people could have Liberty today if they were self-wise and self-free enough to be worthy of it, is merely a truism. Of course, it is not surprising that Mr. Lloyd should find it necessary, for want of better argument, to draw upon the resources of Sunday School wisdom and recall the happy sayings of grandmother; but this truism does not warrant the extraordinary inference that the people will never have liberty till they are worthy of it. Does Mr. Lloyd suspect that this sounds strangely like despair, and that a despairing man is one who does not enjoy the use of his reason and his faculties? To say that the people will never have liberty till they are worthy of it is tantamount to saying that they are doomed to eternal slavery, for in slavery they can never become self-free and self-wise enough to be worthy of liberty. If you want to elevate a slave, you must first set him free. liberty fits men for the proper fulfillment of the duties and functions which a liberty-conditioned life exacts from them, while slavery kills in them every manly impulse and makes cowards and sycophants of them. We see all through history that every improvement in the conditions of life invariably resulted in a moral and intellectual elevation of this people. All reforms of the past have been fought for and achieved by insignificantly small minorities, frequently individual martyrs, and only after the people lived and moved under the new conditions did they learn to appreciate the worth of the reformers and the reforms.
What would these drunken, whore-mongering, self-weakened fools do with liberty? While it would be unreasonable to hope that those who are as black as sin would become as white as snow the instant liberty is granted them, it is certainly safe to say that they would not become worse. Liberty being the only remedy for the diseases that afflict society, it cannot be applied too soon. The recovery will be slow and gradual, but it is certain. Time, like reason, says Paine, will make its own way, and prejudice will fall in the combat with interest.
I think I have said enough. I do not care to argue all the points made by my respected opponent, and there is much in his epistle that, as usual, commands my admiration. But I would ask him to bear in mind that I was not considering the question of ideal freedom, or ideal happiness. As Anarchists we have to deal with the question of simple justice between man and man. A just man is not necessarily a perfectly moral man, but justice is the foundation on which morality and virtue are to be built. Justice is the first step in the direction of social order and peace. From this point of view the “love, care, protection, and development of self” is a right, not a duty. In virtue of this birthright “we demand liberty, equal opportunities, and a chance to grow unhindered”; but, demanding this from others, we are bound to grant them the same rights. To invade self is bad enough, but our right to self-invasion is as inviolable as that of self-development. To seek to govern us and control our conduct for our own good is just as tyrannical as to subordinate our interest to the pleasure of a self-constituted ruler. The invasion of others is “the most unpardonable sin,” as it is the most unwise thing to attempt, for under liberty, and in the absence of legal banditti who substitute the rule of brute force for that of natural justice, any invasion of others is sure to prove very disastrous to the would-be tyrant.
And now, friend Lloyd, to the conclusion. As the State stands between men and natural justice, and as social progress and individual self-development are impossible without justice and liberty, and as the love, care, protection, and I elevation of self is our aim and perfect happiness our ideal, it is self-evident that we must concentrate all our forces where the opposition is strongest and clear the way for our triumphant advancing march. Wherefore I say: as Anarchists we have one duty,— to destroy the State.
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.