“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.
My old friend, A. H. Wood, of Lunenburg, refers, in a private letter, to a remark made by the late William Sparrell of Boston to the effect that he could govern himself much cheaper than he could hire it done. I never heard of Mr. Sparrell before, but I am already convinced that he was a rare philosopher.
As that phase of the Egoistic discussion which Mr. Babcock and Mr. Yarros have been conducting seems to have reached a point where the disputants are at a deadlock, it is useless to devote more space to it. Headers not already convinced one way or the other are not likely to be affected by further repetitions. Therefore this phase of the controversy is declared closed.
That newspaper lying is a commodity furnished in answer to a demand, as “F. F. K.” points out in another column, is a truism among close observers. But how does this excuse the newspapers, or make it less necessary to bring and keep this lamentable fact before the eyes of those who observe less closely? What is the persistent exposure of this among other evils but a constant spreading of the light? Our statutes are manufactured in answer to a demand. Are they less to be denounced on that account? Superstition is supplied in answer to a demand. Is the church to be shielded for that reason from the withering shafts of ridicule? How are we to decrease these demands except by showing the evils of the things demanded?
The next meeting of the Anarchists’ Club will be more than usually interesting. Instead of an essay followed by general discussion, there will be a debate between two speakers. The question, in substance if not in form, will be: “Does Henry George’s plan of the taxation of land values offer a scientific, just, and adequate solution of the labor problem?” E. M. White, a prominent member of the Land and Labor Club, will affirm; Victor Yarros will deny. The exact order of proceedings has not been determined, but the speakers will alternate in addresses ranging from half an hour to ten minutes in length. The meeting will be held on Sunday, January 1, at half past two o’clock, in Codman Gall, 176 Tremont Street. Liberty wishes the Club a happy and prosperous New Year.
Many persons at a distance have expressed a desire to see the Constitution of the Anarchists’ Club. They may now gratify it by ordering a copy of Victor Yarros’s pamphlet, “Anarchism: Its Aims and Methods,” advertised elsewhere. The Constitution is contained in the pamphlet. Persons who desire to distribute this pamphlet can procure it at the very low rate of three cents a copy, if they will take a hundred copies. At the same terms they can procure Olive Schreiner’s “Three Dreams in a Desert,” which Sarah E. Holmes has published in pamphlet form in response to a demand created by its recent appearance in Liberty. She will also publish shortly, as a four page tract, the keen and brilliant “Socialistic Letter” by Ernest Lessigue which appeared in the last issue of Liberty, giving it the title: “The Two Socialisms: Governmental and Anarchistic.” All these additions to the Anarchistic propaganda will greatly increase its efficacy.
Liberty and the Communists.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I remember a note in one of the earlier numbers of Liberty in which you objected to “La Revoke’s” calling you or your paper “comrade.” Now I see in the article, “To the Breach, Comrades,” that you call Parsons, Spies, et als. comrades. This seems the more contrary to your plumb-line, since in the same issue you prove that the Chicago men’s conception of Anarchism was the same as Kropotkine’s. If you disapprove of the aims and methods of the Chicago Anarchists, or Communists, if you please, how was it that you eulogized them and wrote the poem, “They never fail who die in a great cause;. . .and conduct the world at last to freedom”? In fact, the brilliancy of your eulogy on Chicago’s dead Anarchists is dimmed by what you wrote on those men when they were alive.
There is another thing to which I like to call the attention of your readers. In the article, “General Walker and the Anarchists,” you stated that the Chicago Anarchists would have the working men’s societies (Communes) “suppress by whatever heroic measures all rebellious individuals who should at any time practically assert their rights to produce and exchange for themselves.” This is not true, and I think you would find it very hard to point to any article written by the Chicago Anarchists which would prove your assertion. But, on the contrary, if your readers will search in the back numbers of Liberty, they will find that Mr. Appleton (X) once put the same question to John Most and that the latter emphatically (with a big “Ja!”) answered that the individual will have the right to produce and exchange according to his taste.
As a matter of fact, the main difference between the Chicago and Boston Anarchists seems to be this: The former based their theories on the collectivity, and never cared to say anything about the individual,— in fact, they ignored him,— while the latter, the Boston Anarchists, took the individual as the foundation of their teachings, and practically destroyed the right of the collectivity. “Society has no rights,” said Mr. Tucker in some issue of Liberty.
In all the quotations from Kropotkine’s “Expropriation” I fail to find that he advocates expropriation of anything but the means of exploiting human beings. But that does not prove that he would deprive the individual laborer of his tools.
It is not true that I ever objected to “La Révolte’s” calling me “comrade.” These are the facts. That paper had called Liberty bourgeois and therefore not Anarchistic. I proved in answer that from the Anarchistic standpoint the heretic was “La Révolte,” not Liberty. In this I had the support of John F. Kelly, now a prominent writer for the “Alarm.” “La Révolte” never met my argument. But later it offered its hand to Anarchistic journals in all parts of the world, mentioning Boston especially. I answered: “I accept it cordially.” Then I added: “But I am still waiting for ‘La Révolte’ to assure and convince me that, is: recommending the people collectively to take and keep possession of all wealth, it is not grossly violating tho indubitably Anarchistic principle of freedom of production and exchange. It is now Liberty’s turn to be a little select in the matter of its fellowship.” It is evident that in the unequivocal expression, “I accept it cordially,” I declared my comradeship with “La Révolte” in exactly the same sense that I declared it with the Chicago men in the issue of Liberty which Mr. Franklin now criticises — namely, in the sense of our common striving for human welfare,— and that the additional remarks were simply in the nature of a hint to “La Révolte” that it had not answered me, and that comradeship, in Liberty’s view, was not a thing to be put on and off at “La Révolte’s” convenience.
In printing the lines “They never fail,” etc. (I thank Mr. Franklin for the compliment, but it was Lord Byron, not I, who wrote those glorious lines) I did nothing inconsistent with my disapproval of the Chicago men’s methods. In the same issue I expressly said: “I disapprove utterly their methods; I dispute emphatically their Anarchism; but as brothers, as dear comrades, animated by the same love, and working, in the broad sense, in a common cause than which there never was a grander, I give them both my hands.” In my view, any one who dies a martyr in this “common cause,” thereby, no matter what his individual opinions, concentrates the spirit of inquiry upon it and hence “augments the deep and sweeping thoughts which conduct the world at last to freedom.” That is what I declared in quoting Byron’s lines. What, pray, has this to do with the question of methods?
Against Mr. Franklin’s denial of my interpretation of the Chicago men’s position, I must simply place — my assertion — not having the files to quote from — that the “Alarm” has printed article after article which sustain my assertion. And besides, was not Most’s “Beast of Property” one of their chief text-books? What did Most’s “big ‘Ja!’” amount to? As much as the “big ‘Ja!’” with which the State Socialists answer the same question when pushed to it, and Mr. Franklin knows that they do not mean what they say. No more does Most; else why did he tell me, as I long ago reported in Liberty, that after the revolution, if one man should work for wages, the old system would be reared again, and that, if any one should insist on doing so, force would be used to stop him? Does Mr. Franklin call that allowing the individual the right to produce and exchange?
But Mr. Franklin goes on to interpret the position of the Chicago men for himself, and in doing so he completely destroys his own defence of them and sustains my criticism. The Chicago Anarchists, he says, ignored the individual. Now, what is Anarchism but the doctrine of the sovereignty of the individual? And if that is Anarchism, how can those who ignore the individual be Anarchists?
Kropotkine’s doctrine of expropriation seems to me to involve a denial to the individual of his tools; but, whether it does or not, it certainly involves a denial of his right to exchange, and that is as Archistic as to deny his right to produce. For instance, a man makes a spade. This he is allowed to keep, because he has a right to produce. But he makes a second spade. This must be taken from him, because it is a means of exploitation,— in other words, because, while he has it, he can exchange his money or something else for another mau’s labor. Isn’t it evident that it would be no more a denial of liberty to take the first spade than the second? I have proved it over and over again, and my arguments on this point have often won Mr. Franklin’s approval. But, alas! I one day was obliged to expose some of the rascalities committed by Most’s lieutenants in New York, and a little while afterward, when the Chicago bomb was thrown, I declined to allow sentiment to obliterate all distinctions between opposite ideas, and since then twice two have not been four to Mr. Franklin. He has had a long fit of the sulks, in which he is still plunged, and his only moments of joy are when a copy of Liberty reaches him in which he finds some fancied flaw to peck at. Well, the above is the best that he can do.
The Science of Society.
By Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Continued from No. 114.
We have said that the possession of property is essential to the sovereignty of the individual. In this statement we find the refutation of Mr. Warren’s second principle, that “Cost is the Limit of Price.” According to this theory, equal amounts of labor are made to balance each other, without regard to the value of the product. Equitable Commerce, it maintains, is the exchange of the results of equal labor, as virtual equivalents. A commodity which has cost you the labor of an hour is to be exchanged on equal terms for one that has cost me labor to the same amount of time, irrespective of the utility of the product to either party.
Now we utterly fail to perceive the connection of this principle, with that of the sovereignty of the individual. On the contrary, we are persuaded that they are in irreconcilable antagonism.
The sovereignty of the individual is secured only by the guarantee of individual property. Universal freedom depends on universal ownership. But the right of property is based on the right of the individual to the products of his labor. If there is an intuitive principle in the science of society, it is this. Just in proportion us this natural right is set aside, the individual loses one of the most important elements of sovereignty. We do not say that an individual, or a society of individuals, may not waive their exercise of this right, for the sake of another order of considerations. For instance, I yield the rigid application of the principle, in behalf of social charity. I assent to the arrangement by which a portion of the products of my labor is assigned to the child, the sick, the infirm, the aged; but this is a voluntary act in obedience to my conviction, that the strong ought to share the burden of the weak. It is not enforced by the law of natural justice, in the distribution of products, but adopted as the dictate of benevolent sentiment. Or I may belong to an industrial association, consisting of various branches of industry, and organised on the plan of dividing the aggregate product of labor, according to the amount performed, instead of allowing each individual to enjoy the actual, specific product of his labor. But this, again, is a voluntary abdication of a natural right in the interests of social unity. It is prompted by the sentiment of friendship, a desire for an equality surpassing that of nature, or by other motives, no matter what. No one can pretend chat it is the result of a scientific analysis of the methods of industrial repartition. In like manner, I can conceive of a society founded on the principle of “Cost the Limit of Price,” as laid down in this volume; and though I should not be sanguine of its success in producing integral harmony, it might be attended with advantages so far superior to the present order, as to justly challenge a fair trial for the experiment. But the admission does not countenance the scientific accuracy of the principle; for which we find no valid reason set forth by the author, and which, in our opinion, is at war with the natural right of the individual to the products of his labor.
It follows from this right that my title to the products of my labor is good against the world. No man gave it to me, and no man can take it from me. It is not the result of any legislation of monarch, parliament, or congress, not determined by the vote of any majority, but the enactment of the supreme and divine law inherent in the organization of my nature. But if the product of my labor is my own, no one can decide the terms on which I shall part with it but myself. The right of exchanging it at pleasure is involved in the right of ownership. The attempt to establish a compulsory law for this purpose is a gross violation of my acknowledged sovereignty. This view, we think, is fatal to the theory in question, apart from the practical inconveniences that would arise from its application.
We have admitted that the right of the individual to the products of his labor may be set, aside or suspended by arrangements to which be gives his voluntary assent. But this does not militate with the scientific validity of the principle. In Communism — of which Mr. Warren’s system is one form, in spite of its pretensions to exclusive individualism — it is renounced in favor of equal distribution, for the sake of absolute equality. Integrating the society as one man, Communism distributes the aggregate products to the aggregate mass. In Association — which, be it well understood, is heaven-wide from Communism — the principle is waived in favor of a graduated distribution of products, for the sake of integral harmony, proceeding from graduated inequality. In the system of Mr. Warren, which makes “Cost the Limit of Price.” the principle is renounced in favor of an arbitrary arrangement, which, as far as we can see, has no foundation but in the fancy of its inventor. If, in one hour, A produces an article which has ten times the value — measured by its adaptation to supply human wants — of one produced in the same time by B, the parties are bound to exchange them, if exchanged at all, on perfectly equal terms. The absolute ownership of the article is thus destroyed, by an arbitrary restriction on the process of exchange. Could there be a more flagrant violation of the Sovereignty of the Individual?
Mr. Warren argues that, making value the limit of price is identical with the maxim of trade, that a thing is worth what it will firing, and that hence it is productive of all the evils due to the “system of civilized cannibalism by which the masses of human beings are mercilessly ground to powder for the accumulation of the wealth of the few.” But this is a fallacy, arising from losing sight of the distinction between mercantile value and absolute value. The mercantile value of a commodity is quite a different thing from its absolute value. The former is determined by several external elements; the latter, by intrinsic qualities. The mercantile value, or the market price of an article, depends on the law of demand and supply, on the prevalence of speculation, on the plenty or scarcity of money, and numerous other conditions irrespective of its absolute value. This is decided by the adaptation of the article to the satisfaction of human wants. Setting aside the mercantile value, then, as factitious, we contend that the adjustment of price, according to absolute value, as one element in the problem, is necessary to the maintenance of Individual Sovereignty. The product being the property of the producer, and its value dependent on its intrinsic qualities, his natural right is defeated by limiting its price to the cost of production. This must be one element, it is true; but another, and one equally essential, is its absolute value. From these elements the price must be decided by the agreement of the parties. A basket of strawberries and a vase of flowers may be produced by the same amount of labor, but it does not follow that they are exchangeable values; their relation must depend on the tastes of the parties in the trade; if I am willing to give three baskets of strawberries for a vase of flowers, or three hours of my labor for one of yours, it is an equitable transaction, and no arbitrary arrangement can prevent it without infringing the liberty of the Individual.
The reverse of this is implied in Mr. Warren’s system, and the presence of this fallacy vitiates much of his reasoning. If the same amount of labor, in different cases, does not produce the same product, it follows that unequal products must be exchanged on equal terms. At first blush this is contrary to equity. Nor does Mr. Warren succeed in making out a reconciliation. He says, Indeed, that the genius, skill, facility of execution, or what not, which makes the labor of one man more productive than another, is a natural gift, and must be paid like all the gifts of nature, that is to say, not paid at all. But this is begging the question. Genius and skill are no less indispensable elements of production than muscular force, and no scientific reason, as far as we know, has ever been alleged, why the latter should receive remuneration and not the former. If the agencies of production are to be remunerated at all, why should not the whole of them be remunerated? On what principle is the selection made? Shall the brute force which is devoted to labor be entitled to the product, while the skill which directs and utilizes that force is deprived of its share? This, it seems to us, so far from sustaining Individual Sovereignty, tramples it under foot. The Communists say that the products of labor shall be distributed, not according to the amount of labor, but equally, irrespective of labor, or at least, if a difference is made, it shall be according to the wants of the individual, not according to his industry. Very well. This may be benevolent, but it is not scientific. It proceeds from the law of friendship, not from that of distributive justice. Mr. Warren, while claiming to sustain individuality, approaches Communism, which is the grave of individuality. The Communists set-aside all the elements of production as the basis of remuneration. Mr. Warren sets aside all but one element, and yet claims to be at the antipodes of Communism. The Communists are consistent at the expense of individuality; Mr. Warren saves individuality at the expense of his consistency.
“So much of your labor as I take,” says Mr. Warren, “so much of my labor must I give.” But suppose that one hour of your labor gives a product of ten times the intrinsic value of mine, shall I pretend that an hour of my labor is an equivalent for an hour of yours? Who is to reap the benefit of the difference in value — the individual producer, or the great body of producers? If you say the individual producer, you renounce the principle that cost is the limit of price. If you say the great body of producers, you take the ground of the Communists. But this is to surrender both the principle of individuality and that of the scientific distribution of products.
“Every individual should sustain as much of the common burden as is sustained by anybody on his account.” True; but how is the share of the burden to be measured? By the time of labor, says Mr. W., including its difficulty and disagreeableness. By the useful effect of labor, says the common sense of mankind, except in tile Communists, who sacrifice distributive justice to the sentiment of friendship. Suppose a field of grain is to be harvested, where the growth is uniform, as well as the facility of labor; does the skilful reaper fail to sustain his share of the labor, because lie accomplishes as much in one day as the bungler does in two? If he performs an equal amount of work, shall he not take his own time for its performance? On Mr. Warren’s theory, the skilful reaper and the bungler must work through the same length of time, without regard to the useful effect of their labor, in order equally to discharge their obligations to each other. But this is sheer Communism, since it deprives the individual of the fruit of his labor for the benefit of the mass.
It will be seen that we regard Mr. Warren’s theory of “Equitable Commerce” as a failure. We have no space to indicate more fully the objections to which it is liable. Instead of making “Cost the Limit of Price,” we would carry into effect the great natural law of giving the producer the ownership of his products. The neglect of this is at the foundation of slavery, pauperism, crime, and the myriads of social evils which the philanthropist deplores, and which it is the function of social science to remedy. Let the products of labor, in all cases, be guaranteed to the producer; and the material condition of individual sovereignty will be fulfilled. This principle should be made the basis of all plans for social reform; and when it is wisely applied we shall see the “new Heaven and a new Earth,” which is promised by the divinest instincts of man, and to doubt of which would be practical Atheism.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 114.
“Sir Richard,” said he, raising his voice, “answer: I demand it. Lady Ellen, in her defence, calls upon you. Does there exist between you, as she claims, only the affection of relatives? Or are you incestuous lovers, as I maintain? Before your father, affirm one or the other, and you will be believed.”
Bradwell, lifting his head, listened, but with a vexed face, annoyed at this proof which he was invited to give and irritated with Ellen for suggesting it. After having had the audacity of the crime, she lacked the courage of supporting the consequences, and took refuge, to escape them, in impudent lies, a cowardly denial of her past and of the end toward which, so brave when she hoped for final impunity, she marched without shrinking.
He despised her, and did not dream for an instant of lending himself to the fraudulent acquiescence which she demanded; but no more did he feel a desire to contradict her and thereby betray her.
And again he plunged into his extreme dejection.
“Do not prolong a painful and infamous event; decide,” said Ellen to Treor.
She waited with effrontery, thinking to secure her end by force of assurance.
But tranquilly, coldly, severely, imperturbably, Treor replied:
“A last experiment, madam! Comply yourself with that from which Sir Richard shrinks; do not recoil from the oath which you have just evaded.”
A few words pronounced hastily, without earnest intent, of no more importance than a prayer muttered with the lips. Indeed! if such an empty sham would suffice to extricate her, the Duchess would not hesitate; she felt no apprehension, no silly scruple, about this Platonic step to save herself!
And the best way, on these occasions, being to act promptly, she advanced rapidly to hurry through the ceremony, and already had lifted her arm, when Bradwell, rushing up to her and lowering her hand, his eyes red and his face deathly pale, prevented her from carrying this sacrilegious profanation farther.
“No, no,” said he, “I forbid you!”
And this time an almost universal clamor arose, which was equivalent to a verdict.
With the exception of a few dissenting voices of no importance, they were recognized as guilty. Vainly Lady Ellen essayed a last protest, simulating a sudden indignation, far from her soul, at the judgment of this crowd which she insulted in order to regain its support, accusing her faltering friends of cowardice.
But, after their fluctuations, certainty was now planted ineradicably in their minds, and Treor was able to pronounce sentence amid whispers of approval. First he addressed himself for a last time to the Lords who had been consulting, inquiring if they could yet bring proofs in favor of the Duchess or Bradwell; then he said:
“Hear the penalty to be inflicted upon them: they shall be imprisoned in this room with their victim. . . . till death ensues.”
“No! not that, no!” cried the Duchess, frozen at this prospect, which was received likewise in dull stupor by the assembly.
“They shall suffer hunger as the Irish suffered it,” continued the old man, developing the grounds of the punishment inflicted; “they shall die by the side of this hideously decomposing corpse, as during the famines the Irish perished by the side of the corpses of sons, of fathers, of mothers, of wives, too numerous to be buried and infesting the air with their corruption.”
Lady Ellen, her inflexibility broken, shaken by an unspeakable fear, her spirit of rebellion positively killed, accepted her defeat, but not such implacability as this, and implored Treor:
“No, some other punishment,” said she, quite beside herself; “the rope, the axe, but not this sequestration with the dead. Muskery, Jennings, protest, and all the others too, in the name of humanity! You also, Bradwell!
“It is you who tremble now,” said Richard, victorious. “No more pride, then!”
“Do not be deceived. . . . What revolts me, fills me with a terror which I can not conceal, is not the moral idea of this funereal cohabitation. I do not fear that the phantom of the Duke will judge me after you, and persecute me without rest and the proof of this is that I confess what I have so obstinately denied. Yes, Richard was my lover, and the corpse lying on this stately bed, but powerless to avenge himself, is our common work. I even assume the heavier share of the material responsibility; I planned the work and perpetrated it, having only his assent.
“I struck Treor to the floor as he was calling for help. . . Previously I had, on two occasions, urged Casper to assassinate the Duke, and, as has been testified, I got rid of this Casper under the horrible conditions which have been revealed. . .
I avow, then, all that is desired, without remorse, without regrets. I acted through passion. . . My only excuse is the force of this passion.
“But I do not plead extenuating circumstances, and I brave the punishment, whatever it may be, outside of that to which you sentence me. The block, the gallows, the wheel, even quartering, it matters little! None of them shall wring from me the least cry of pain or fear.
“But, for mercy’s sake, not this prospect of my last moments near a corpse which spreads around it such a horrible pestilence. . . . No, no, no!”
They comprehended her ardent request, but nevertheless thought it strange that she should make this speech to excite pity, and thus cynically display her crimes which she boldly claimed as deeds of prowess.
And, on a tacit order from Treor, the Irish withdrew little by little, dragging along their prisoners, none among them having the smallest desire to intercede in behalf of the monstrous Lady, the very genius of the depths of crime.
“They are going!” she cried, perceiving their silent exodus, and she ran to leave with the crowd, beside herself, violent, haggard. They pushed her back on all sides.
She tried to break a passage by force, but they threw her back into the middle of the room, and the four judges of the court disappeared, while she cried vainly: “I will not! I will not! I will not!”
Lady Ellen screamed in vain; only the armor was moved by her protests, resounding under the shock of her voice; and in the distance died out, little by little, the murmur of the ebbing human tide. There was no hope of salvation but in herself; the Duchess threw herself again upon the doors, and, stiffening herself, tried to shake them. Massive, of thick wood barbed with iron, they did not yield. Ellen appealed to Bradwell for assistance.
“Break them down, Richard!”
And while waiting for her accomplice, still somnolent at the foot of the catafalque, to decide to move, she cried out furiously at her jailers: “You are bandits.”
But the door only threw back her voice in her face. She was infuriated, however, and tried to force the bolts, calling Bradwell, who did not move from his erect position by the catafalque, with arms folded, and wrapped in thought.
Since the doors would not yield, she thought of the windows, suspecting that they were fastened! No! She believed she was saved. To descend a story, that would not be difficult. . . . The little fresh air stored between the shutters and the windows seemed good. The shutters, however, resisted her push; they were barricaded. Terribly disappointed and temporarily discouraged, finding herself at the end of her resources, tears flowed from her large, spiritless, feverish eyes.
“Resignation!” said Bradwell, sententiously, in a voice which rolled through all the halls, reinforced by the steel of the armor.
“Never!” replied the Duchess with energy. “Patience at the most. It is impossible that this be anything more than a test. The Irish have a worship of the dead. . . They will not leave Lord Newington without burial. . . But answer, then, Richard! Confirm my hope, my illusion, if it be one!”
She pressed him, hoping only for one commonplace word to deceive her! But he did not abandon his coldness:
“Perhaps it would be better to give yourself to repentance, turn your prayers to Heaven, which has pity and forgives!”
“God,” sneered Lady Ellen, “if he existed, would take pity first on the miseries of Ireland!”
And as if seeking in the hermetic walls some unknown, miraculous exit, she inspected the room with an increasing terror, reflecting on the hours to come.
“Ah! to agonize here,” she said, “is to die many times over. . . . And when the tapers shall be consumed, these lamps exhausted and extinct, to remain plunged in this offensive darkness! What an abomination!”
“If you had foreseen the chastisement, my father would be still alive,” queried Bradwell.
But she did not hear him, all absorbed in the impending horror, and she continued: “You will kill me rather, will you not?”
Then, dismissing again the overwhelming certainty of their final abandonment, she said: “Yes, this is surely only a test. . . . They are watching us. Hush: silence will mislead them. . . . They will open the doors.”
Softly, lightly, on tiptoe, she went to each of the doors by turns, and listened a few seconds. But not a sound came to her, not an approaching step, no murmur, no stifled words.
“Oh!” she exclaimed, in a fury of wrath, “it is madness to count on any pity whatever. For mercy’s sake, Richard, for mercy’s sake, kill me!”
“I have no weapons!” he replied plainly.
“Stifle me, strangle me, break my head against the walls!” She was becoming terribly excited; Bradwell tried to calm her.
“Since I entreat you,” she insisted. “You have no right to refuse me; you brought me here. . . . I was tranquil, honestly faithful to my duty. All my life overturned; the birth, growth, and domination of the passion which rendered me criminal,— this is all your work, commenced the night when you took possession of me. . . . Give me back in death the peace which you took from me!”
“As you said,” Richard answered, “this is perhaps only a test. . . . No discouragement, then; no sharpening of your terrors!”
“You do not believe what you say,” replied Lady Ellen. “Moreover, how long will this test last? A day? Two days? This would be too much. See, then, the hideousness of the corpse, and how fast the decomposition is proceeding. If it is the killing me which offends you, invent a means of dying together. . . . Does none exist?”
The fear of the death-agony under such conditions, of the hunger which would torture them, in the midst of this putrid atmosphere and all this infection which they would breathe in their last convulsions,—this disgusting prospect revolted and demoralized her; and, extreme in everything, now that she looked upon suicide as a deliverance, she clung with more and more ardor to the idea of destroying herself.
“Ah! a fire, a conflagration!” she cried, radiant at the discovery; and she ran to the tapers, seized one eagerly, and applied it to the velvet hangings of the funeral canopy.
But Bradwell tore it violently from her and pushed her back.
“We shall burn in hell!” he said.
“Presently! This is a more prompt, less frightful death; I wish to expire!” He grasped her wrists firmly, and, bruised by this clutch, she struggled to extricate herself.
What religious mania possessed him? Heaven, hell? She knew as much as he about them, having been educated amid these empty words. Heaven extended itself here on earth over happy lovers; hell they were now enduring. Nothing described in the books of priests, of whatever faith, offered a parallel to the torments which she endured, and which would follow.
And, succeeding in making Richard loose his hold, she cried: “The fire! go away, I will light it in spite of you.”
“With what, then?” said he.
She again seized a taper, but he took it from her like the other, and by turns extinguished them all, and, that no spark might be left by which she could light the fire for which she longed, he overturned the expiring torches, and complete darkness reigned.
“Oh! the night! the night!” she exclaimed, in unutterable fright, and took refuge in a mad run to the extremity of the room, stopped only by the wall, while Bradwell, remaining close to the catafalque, knelt in the darkness.
“Pardon, my father,” said he; “pardon!”
He did not pray, did not appeal to the God in whom he believed in order to move him: if he had given such advice to Lady Ellen, it was out of kindness, because he saw that she was laboring under a fit of madness. For himself, even as he braved chastisement on earth, he did not recognize the right to try, by cowardly supplications, to escape it in another world.
The Duchess, who would have made way with herself at once, hidden in a corner, trembled at this silence of the night, and called her lover with a failing voice. Not a ray of light came to her, either from under the doors or through the interstices of the shutters, and vainly Ellen tried to accustom her eyes to this dense darkness which prolonged gazing did not diminish. She only brought into the tired pupils gray undulations which danced and broke into foam like waves, and the clashing of which caused, at last, a piercing pain.
The Duchess, under this physical suffering, closed her eye-lids; but then the vision of the corpse began to outline itself confusedly, at first in the envelopment of a thick mist, then, little by little, more distinctly. Soon the details came out, the hands and face, for example, with extraordinary clearness, more searching than nature, and more and more frightfully pronounced.
Lady Ellen dreamed that this face had formerly touched hers, that this mouth had rested on her own; and this gave her a sensation of such profound disgust that it seemed to her that the putridity was infusing itself into her own veins, poisoning her blood, and causing a decomposition which was already softening her bones and her superb flesh, and reducing her to it spongy mass, a melting and liquefying paste.
Then, seized with an unparalleled terror, she renewed her desperate calls, in a hoarse voice.
“Richard! Richard! do not leave me so alone. . . . Come! I entreat you!”
Bradwell not responding, she resumed, speaking to herself, wandering: “He has gone! He has gone!. . . . They have pardoned him, or he has discovered a concealed outlet.”
Confirmed in this conviction by the persistence of Bradwell’s silence, she wished also to profit by the opportunity to escape, and, with arms stretched out, that she might not strike against the furniture or walls, she walked very rapidly, full of hope, already deluded with the idea that she was breathing more freely; but suddenly she gave a cry, a shriek rather, as if she were being burned or skinned alive.
The sudden aspect, the unexpected contact with a slimy reptile would have induced a less piercing, less superhuman cry, and, in fact, her hands falling on the head of the corpse, the impression had been worse.
As before, when the darkness came, she fled precipitately, as if pursued by a pack of hounds, by a frenzied crowd, crying in the insanity of her confusion: “The corpse! I touched it! I touched it! Richard, help, help!”
Bradwell was moved with pity, and, rising, he said to Newington: “Pardon her, also, now.”
At his words the unhappy woman became a little quieter, but only to implore the death which she had just before solicited.
“Yes, death, immediate death,” said she; “see, I beg you on my knees.”
“On your knees not before me, that I may render you this service, but before your victim; humiliate yourself, repent! peace will descend upon your conscience, as it has upon mine.”
“After that, will you kill me?” she asked, ready for any affectation, even disposed, now, to make an effort towards the sincerity of remorse which he advised.
“No, I will not kill you,” responded Bradwell; “moreover, you will no longer beg me to.”
And the impulse of repentance, just outlined, which would, perhaps, have developed, was instantly repressed.
“Nonsense!” she exclaimed.
She wiped upon her skirt her hand moist from the dead body, but it retained the sensation as keenly as if it were still resting on the vile flesh, and the vision of the corpse, which had for an instant disappeared from her eyes, came back there with an intensity which would no longer be dissipated.
She comprehended the phantoms at which she had laughed of old, the spectres which haunt the imagination and which paralyze or derange the mind; and, mechanically, without reflecting that a bandage over her closed lids could not protect from inner apparitions, she carried her hand to her eyes.
“My God! my hand,” she cried instantly, “my infected hand on my face, and I do not fall.”
“Repent!” said Bradwell, continuing his laconic and monotonous sermon.
“Repentance! It is stupid! Will it lift from me my hallucination, purify the air, disinfect my forehead, my hand?”
“You will recover that force of soul which drives away obsessions; you will again become mistress of yourself.”
Ah! If Richard was not deceiving her, if he did not deceive himself, if the receipt which he indicated possessed the efficacy which he claimed, the Duchess would not hesitate to try it; only, of what was she to repent?
“Repent of the crime first. . . . and of what then?” she questioned. “Of the passion which made me commit it?”
“Certainly,” said Richard.
“Real sorrow for this passion?” said she, “promises for the future, if we should have one, if we should escape from here by an unexpected miracle, which will not take place? A promise not to fall into it again, to repudiate it?”
She interrogated with a renewal of her scorn. “Are you not cured, then, by this tragic end; for it is the end. . . . Do not count on your salvation; you will be disabused.”
“You are cured, you,” she replied, a prey to a revival of spite. “If the impossible miracle should deliver us,— Adieu forever, is it not? And you would run to your Marian! Say, answer; answer me, answer me, then!”
During their colloquy she had approached, guided by the voice, and now, opposite Bradwell and near him, she spoke to him with kisses which he felt.
“Answer, then,” she insisted in a rising wrath and shaking him by the facing of his coat, without moving him, however, or causing him to obey this virulent injunction; on the contrary, he contented himself with gently detaching her arm.
And she resumed: “You are silent. . . . because you never lie, because you do not wish to lie, because you do not know. . . . Oh, well! this conviction will aid me in enduring death more patiently. At least, you will never be anything to this girl.”
“It is not a question of her!” said Richard.
“You are lying this time. . . or as good as lying. Certainly. . . You do not speak. . . but your thought wanders off to her, I am sure of it. You are where she is, you have learned perhaps that she exists; or dead, your thought goes to her grave, to her body abandoned in the furrow of a field, the rut of a road. And this is why you have not a vivid impression of the horror which surrounds us. Of her, living or dead, and of whom I am jealous, I forbid you to think. . . Do you understand?”
“Do not excite yourself further,” exclaimed Bradwell; and his voice expressed a pitiful disdain. . .
“If I should insult her, your adored Marian, you would strangle me?” asked the Duchess.
Her precipitate question was made in the tone of a positive affirmation, and the Duchess seemed to triumph. The wished-for, solicited death, which he so obstinately refused her, she would obtain in this way, and so finish her torture, which might last how many days!
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.
Anarchy in German.
It is with the keenest satisfaction and the heartiest joy that I announce to readers and comrades, and especially to German-Americans everywhere, that Liberty has secured the active cooperation, to begin early in the new year, of George Schumm and Emma Schumm, and that the first and most important fruit of this cooperation will be the appearance, probably in March, of a fortnightly Anarchistic journal, to be called Liberty, but to be printed entirely in the German language. With the exception of “Die Zukunft,” which was published for a short time in Philadelphia, this will be, so far as I know, the only thoroughly Anarchistic German journal ever published in the world, and it comes at the right time to help in giving impetus, shape, and substance to the tendency which the more intelligent of the German State Socialists are showing in various quarters to abandon their long-cherished authoritarian tenets for a principle more in harmony with the genius of modern progress. The paper will be of the same shape and size as the English Liberty, and the two will alternate in the order of publication,— the English appearing one week and the German the next. The subscription price will be one dollar a year.
No persons could be found more admirably adapted to the execution of this undertaking than the Schumms. It will be remembered that in the final issue of the “Radical Review,” that excellent journal which they once published in Chicago, they announced their acceptance of the Anarchistic doctrine, toward which they had been steadily drifting for many months. Since then it has been their ardent desire to find some channel in which they could render steady service to their newly-espoused cause. This is afforded by the enterprise now projected. Earnest, honest, brave, energetic, devoted, intelligent, understanding their subject, and capable of presenting it in English and German with equal facility and felicity, they will come to their work with an equipment of mind, character, and study that cannot fail to produce extraordinary results. Furthermore, Mr. Schumm is well known among the Germans, being entitled to their esteem and confidence by his services as the trusted associate of Karl Heinzen, of whose “Pionier,” probably the ablest German periodical ever published in America, he was for a number of months in charge; by his connection with “Der Weeker” of San Francisco; and by his frequent and able contributions to “Der Freidenker,” “Der Arme Teufel,” and other German papers of importance. Mr. and Mrs. Schumm are now living in St. Paul, Minnesota, but they will start for Boston in February and on their arrival initiate promptly the work which they propose to take in hand.
And now, Germans of America, aye, and Americans too, will you join hands with us in this work? The new paper will have to struggle to gain a foothold. It will need your best and your utmost endeavor in its behalf. Send in your subscriptions at once. (Address them to Benj. R. Tucker, P. O. Box 3366, Boston, Mass.) Many of you can afford to take more than one copy. Let each take as many as his purse will permit, and distribute them among his friends. Let each reader of Liberty go to all the Germans in his vicinity and inform them of the new enterprise. Let him collect the post-office addresses of as many Germans as possible and send them to Liberty. Let the subject be canvassed everywhere. Only by such work can this project succeed and its important objects be achieved. We shall give you a paper worthy of your support Will you support it? We await your answer.
Reflections on the Chicago Tragedy.
“Announced by all the trumpets of the sky, arrives the snow” on this first day of December. Reckless, without care for “number or proportion,” the myriad-handed Snowstorm, as Emerson describes him, seems intent on making all the world his own, and, before another sun appears to illumine the Northwest, he will have clothed it in a glittering dress of white-robed innocence. But though the world be innocent, the people living in it are not. They are guilty, really very guilty, entirely given over to the “Thalergelispel,” entirely mindless of what should concern them most, and their garments are stained with noble blood. Twenty-eight years ago they led John Brown to the gallows for breaking a lance for liberty; and only the other week they again committed such a deed as it makes the heart sore to think of. Shut up in my room, my thought goes out to those heroic souls who, for leaving the trodden paths of men too soon, and with weak hands though mighty hearts daring the unpastured dragon of arbitrary privilege and legalised rapine in his den, have been ruthlessly exterminated in Chicago by very devils, while the men they had agonized for stood dumbly by. The contemplation of these facts is sufficient to destroy one’s confidence in human goodness. And as I am writing I cannot avoid the sad reflection that, while these men lost nothing by their execution, the world has made itself poorer thereby in the treasure it ought to cherish highest,— the love of liberty and justice. For in these men was incarnated this love.
I have never been affiliated with August Spies and his brave comrades in the strict partisan sense, but, were I a poet, they should not go without the “meed of some melodious tear” from me, now that they have sealed the cause for which they lived so unselfishly with a noble death.
Mrs. Hutchinson, remarking on her husband’s feelings at the death of the Regicides, said that “he looked on himself as judged in their judgment and executed in their execution.” I am constrained to confess to a similar state of feeling with regard to the judgment and execution of the Chicago revolutionaries. I certainly feel condemned in their execution. The society that could commit this infamous crime cannot have my loyalty. Crime? Aye, crime. Familiar with the proceedings of the trial of these men, and all the essential facts in the case as they have been brought out, I do not hesitate to pronounce this execution as one of the most appalling Mamraonite crimes recorded in history. And I say calmly, Woe unto the order of things that is responsible therefor!
The most dispiriting role played in this awful tragedy was that of the press. For downright coldblooded brutality the treatment of August Spies and his noble comrades at the hands of the Anglo- and German-American bourgeois press is unexcelled, if not unexampled. It needs but to glance at the Chicago “Times,” “Die Illinois Staatszeitung,” the “Daily News,” not to mention any of the papers published outside of Chicago, to acquiesce in the literal truth of this observation. To jackals and hyenas rather than to men gifted with heart and brain can nave been committed the conduct of these concerns. Men could not so have debased themselves. The future historian will refer to the journalistic outbreak of the brute instinct in connection with the case of the Chicago revolutionaries for proof and illustration of the deep barbarism that must have held sway among the American people as late as the fast quarter of the much-vaunted nineteenth century. The “able editors” seemed to be in actual distress for the want of words and epithets abusive and opprobrious enough to heap upon the men who, notwithstanding certain grave mistakes made by them, yet represented to the world the promise and the glory of a higher order of things than the civilized cannibalism into which they found themselves born, and which it was their high calling to help remove. The journalistic jackals and hyenas seemed to bear language itself a grudge for its refusal to embody and convey the full malignity of their venom. Never did they refer to the unfortunate men already in the merciless grasp of capital otherwise than as assassins, banditti, and common murderers, and never did they tire of prognosticating for them “the death of dogs,” though, as the event has since demonstrated most eloquently, they had within themselves the mettle proper only to heroes.
But there is really no occasion for surprise over the infamous behavior of the villainous press in respect of our friends, martyrs to the revolution that is making all things new; for
Mammon led them on;
Mammon, the least-erected spirit that fell
From Heaven; for e’en in Heaven his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of Heaven’s pavement, trodden gold,
Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed
In vision beatific.
However, we shall not lose courage. With a heart for any fate we boldly face the future. Though the enemies of liberty have won a victory, though the natural office of the press as an advocate of truth and justice has been perverted by the least-erected of all of Milton’s hell-hounds into that of a base slanderer and reviler of truth and justice, and though naught but evil times be in store for us, times of persecution, sore trial, and heart-breakings, we shall continue to bear aloft the standard of Anarchy, looking through the present gloom, without misgiving or doubt, forward to the day long ago beheld by the divine Shelley, when man shall be
Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed,
Equal, unclaimed, tribeless and nationless,
Exempt from awe, worship, degree, the king
Over himself, just, gentle, wise; but Man.
A Reason for Hanging Anarchists.
The New York “World” tells its readers that Anarchy means “without a leader.” The “World” has been looking in the dictionaries, I infer. It finds “leader” as well as “tyrant.” But nevertheless the “World” is a misleader. If the “World” had wished to explain the meaning of Anarchy as a doctrine or as an actual movement, it could have found definitions by Anarchists, and it could have noted the practices of Anarchists in association. Can it point to any exponent of Anarchy who defines it as a movement without a leader? Can the “World” give an instance from the practice of Anarchists wherein they do not avail themselves of leadership like other people? If the “World” can do neither of these things, it is convicted of ignoring what Anarchy is, and of imposing upon its readers. This course would excite scarcely any remark, if it were not for the fact that the subject is treated in no mere speculative manner in the “World,” but very seriously and practically. That paper preaches against Anarchy as a crime, to be suppressed by imprisonment and hanging. The crime of being “without a leader.” The mugwumps must be careful. The “World” will perhaps want them imprisoned and hanged next year.
Rights and Duties Under Anarchy.
Old readers of this paper will remember the appearance in its columns, about two years ago, of a series of questions propounded by the writer of the following letter and accompanied by editorial answers. To-day my interrogator questions me further; this time, however, no longer as a confident combatant, but as an earnest inquirer. As I replied to him then according to his pugnacity, so I reply to him now according to his friendliness.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Will you please insert the following questions in your paper with your answers thereto, and oblige an ethical, political, and humanitarian student?
1. Do you, as an Anarchist, believe any one human being ever has the right to judge for another what he ought or ought not to do?
The terms of this question need definition. Assuming, however, the word right to be used in the sense of the limit which the principle of equal liberty logically places upon might, and the phrase judge for another to include not only the formation of judgment but the enforcement thereof, and the word ought to be equivalent to must or shall, I answer: Yes. But the only cases in which a human being ever has such right over another are those in which the other’s doing or failure to do involves an overstepping of the limit upon might just referred to. That is what was meant when it was said in an early number of Liberty that man’s only duty is to respect others’ rights. It might well have been added that man’s only right over others is to enforce that duty.
2. Do you believe any number combined ever have such a right?
Yes. The right of any number combined is whatever right the individuals combining possess and voluntarily delegate to it. It follows from this, and from the previous answer, that, as individuals sometimes have the right in question, so a number combined may have it.
3. Do you believe one, or any number, ever have the right to prevent one another from doing as he pleases?
Yes. This question is answered by the two previous answers taken together.
4. Do you believe it admissible, as an Anarchist, to use what influence can be exerted without the aid of brute force to induce one to live as seems to you best?
Please explain what influence, if any, you think might be employed in harmony with Anarchistic principles.
Yes. The influence of reason; the influence of persuasion; the influence of attraction; the influence of education; the influence of example; the influence of public opinion; the influence of social ostracism; the influence of unhampered economic forces; the influence of better prospects; and doubtless other influences which do not now occur to me.
5. Do you believe there is such a thing as private ownership of property, viewed from an Anarchistic standpoint? If so, please give a way or rule to determine whether one owns a thing or not.
Yes. Anarchism being neither more nor less than the principle of equal liberty, property, in an Anarchistic society, must accord with this principle. The only form of property which meets this condition is that which secures each in the possession of his own products, or of such products of others as he may have obtained unconditionally without the use of fraud or force, and in the realization of all titles to such products which he may hold by virtue of free contract with others. Possession, unvitiated by fraud or force, of values to which no one else holds a title unvitiated by fraud or force, and the possession of similarly unvitiated titles to values, constitute the Anarchistic criterion of ownership. By fraud I do not mean that which is simply contrary to equity, but deceit and false pretence in all their forms.
6. Is it right to confine such as injure others and prove themselves unsafe to be at large? If so, is there a way consistent with Anarchy to determine the nature of the confinement, and how long it shall continue?
Yes. Such confinement is sometimes right because it is sometimes the wisest way of vindicating the right asserted in the answer to the first question. There are many ways consistent with Anarchy of determining the nature and duration of such confinement. Jury trial, in its original form, is one way, and in my judgment the best way yet devised.
7. Are the good people under obligations to feed, clothe, and make comfortable such as they find it necessary to confine?
No. In other words, it is allowable to punish invaders by torture. But, if the good people are not fiends, they are not likely to defend themselves by torture until the penalties of death and tolerable confinement have shown themselves destitute of efficacy.
I ask these questions partly for myself, and partly because I believe many others have met difficulties on the road to Anarchism which a rational, lucid answer wold remove.
Perhaps you have been over this ground many times, and may feel impatient to find any one as much in the dark as I, but all would-be reformers have to keep reiterating their position to all new-comers, and I trust you will try and make everything clear to me, and to others who may be as unfortunate as myself.
Time and space are the only limits to my willingness to answer intelligent questions regarding that science whose rudiments I profess to teach, and I trust that my efforts, on this occasion, may not prove entirely inadequate to the commendable end which my very welcome correspondent has in view.
No Charity Without Justice.
“Labor demands justice, not charity,” is a phrase frequently employed by reformers and writers for the labor press, indicating that, while resenting and refusing to accept charity from the hands of the robber class viewing it as an insult added to injury, the idea of questioning the very possibility of charity where justice is not has not yet entered the minds of the oppressed proletarians. They are offended when the capitalists, after exploiting them and driving them to the painful necessity of looking to charity as a means of sustaining themselves, offer them gratuitous aid, innocently supposing the capitalist class to really desire to atone in a measure by charity for the injustice of the capitalistic system. Burning indignation and intense hatred would take the place of the feeling of shame if the laborer should learn that charity itself is turned by capitalism into a means of merciless exploitation and an instrument, refined and modernized, of torture and fraud. A close study of the operation of the capitalistic system would enable the intelligent student to clearly discern that the charity of the capitalist class (not of individual capitalists, who may have the best intentions) is a sugared pill containing the most deadly poison, and that, as a class, the capitalists are utterly deprived of the power of effecting anything intrinsically good.
Under the head of “Mischievous Benevolence,” we read in a recent issue of the New York Sunday “Sun”:
No more interesting tact has been brought to light by the “Sun’s” investigation of the condition of New York sewing women than that of the mischief caused by well-meaning but redirected benevolence. The wages of the slaves of the sewing machine and of the needle are ground down and kept down not only by competition among self-supporting workers and by that of workers who have fathers, brothers, or husbands to lean upon, but also by that of workers who are partially or wholly housed, fed, and clothed by charity.
Most conspicuous, but not by any means most important, among the agencies which indirectly help to reduce women’s wages are the great institutions, both Catholic and Protestant, which shelter and educate poor girls, and which naturally, but thoughtlessly, make the recipients of their bounty contribute to their expenses by doing needle-work at prices below the market rate. Less prominent, but probably more extensive, are the results of the aid extended by private almoners to perfectly well-deserving poor women, who, in consequence of the assistance thus given them, can afford to work for wages which, without the addition of alms, would not suffice for their maintenance. Every church has some such cases on its books, and every family bas one or more dependents which it helps, not always in money, but certainly with clothing, fuel, and oftentimes with food, besides occasionally paying arrears of rent. The aggregate of these little items makes a mighty whole, and weighs with crushing force upon women who are too proud to accept such help, or so unfortunate as not to have it offered them.
Giving to one who has not, or helping one who has very little, the capitalist makes others, who in any case have only a bare subsistence, pay for his charity with tears of blood. The world can only see his gloved hand extended in the act of benevolence, but it does not follow it to the place and scene of robbery and homicide. Yet this is the real function of the modern wealthy philanthropist. Unlike Robin Hood, who took from the rich and gave to the poor, he takes from one half-starved victim in order to provide for another. Never any poorer for it himself, he gains credit and reputation for his humanity.
Men and women of sober mind and loving heart, behold the outcome and direct product of the capitalistic system! Human beings are not naturally fiends; even capitalists are not, as a rule, strangers to noble aspirations and earnest desire to do good. But the system makes criminals of them all, and with cruel mockery turns their best acts into sources of the worst misery to their slaves. Not only justice, but even charity, is made impossible under the present economic organization, which is nourished and maintained by the State. To establish equity, to inaugurate the relation of justice, and to make charity (in cases when such is needed) a thing rather than a name, it is necessary to abolish the State. Only in this way can what the “Sun” calls “the complicated and difficult problem of human misery” be satisfactorily solved.
One of Liberty’s early subscribers, a Pennsylvania miner, who has been, in proportion to his limited means, one of the most generous patrons of its propaganda, accompanied a recent order for pamphlets with the statement that he intended to “make an effort to establish a circulating library of Anarchistic literature.” This is an excellent idea. Any workingman who has a few dollars laid by, but feels that he cannot afford to spend them, might order one copy of each of the publications advertised in Liberty, and by lending them to his fellow-laborers at the rate of a cent or two a week, get back the full cost by the time the pamphlets should be worn out, at the same time having the satisfaction of knowing that he had done valuable service in spreading the light. How superior this Anarchistic plan to the Communistic method of starting a workingmen’s free reading-room and begging labor papers to supply it with their literature without price, when the struggling journals thus appealed to, dependent as they are upon the subscriptions of individual laborers, ought at the very least to be paid promptly and full price for the single copy which, being read by a hundred persons in common, very likely deprives the publishers of half a dozen or more subscribers!
Elsewhere is printed & letter received from a clergyman to whom a copy of the last issue of Liberty had been sent. It will be observed that he had the courtesy to return the paper. Thus Rev. Mr. Eaton, despite the narrow-minded conservatism of which he seems so proud, unwittingly betrays the influence of the march of progress even upon gentlemen of his ilk. Cotton Mather would have burned it.
Very Polite — for a Clergyman.
To the Editor of Liberty (an Anarchist paper published in Boston, Mass.):
I am no Anarchist, nor have I any sympathy with or love for the teachings, acts, or methods of Anarchism. I regard the discourse of Rev. John C. Kimball, published in this number of Liberty, which I return to you herewith, as absurd, preposterous, impious, and bordering closely on treason and blasphemy. I firmly and conscientiously believe that the hanging of the four murderers, your “Chicago comrades,” was in every respect justifiable and in the interest of law, good order, and for the security of human life, property, and social order.
I do not want any of your books or papers advocating or even apologizing for Anarchy in any of its forms or guises.
S. W. Eaton. Rochester, Minn., December 23,1887.
To Such Morality We Don’t Object.
Out of all this hodge-podge I have really retained but one thing,— namely, that morality consists in doing as one likes; that, to do as one likes, one must be free; and that consequently the man who is not free, being unable to do as he likes, is necessarily immoral.
Property is liberty.
To have provisions, garments, and a house of one’s own is to have the liberty, power, and certainty of eating, dressing, and lodging.
To have raw material of one’s own, a tool of one’s own to transform the raw material into consumable product, and, if the raw material be stock and the tool a machine, workshop, or factory, to hold as property one’s share of this stock, of these implements, of this factory, workshop, or machine, is to have the liberty, power, and certainty of laboring, of disposing of the fruit of one’s labor, of consuming or buying one’s product.
Property,— that is a firm, solid, palpable, concrete basis for abstract rights.
Do you possess the workable material and the tool? You are in complete possession of the right to labor, and, what is more, of the right of labor,— of the right to produce and the right to enjoy your product in its entirety.
Do you possess only your arms, your knowledge, your intelligence? Yon have but one right,— that of choosing between dying of hunger and taking a master; between utter want and sacrificing your dignity, extending your hand for a little bread after having done a great deal of work; between not being clothed and wearing the livery of another.
Not, to have a share in property,— that has been slavery, that has been servitude, that is the proletariat.
For, if property for all means comfort for all, on the other hand monopoly of all available property by a certain number, even a majority, means misery and oppression for the excluded; if the accession of each to property means liberty of labor and security of product, on the other hand proprietary monopoly means the power of the monopolist to be the master of another, to make another labor, and to dispose of the fruit of another’s labor.
The historic evolution is as follows:
Humanity, on becoming conscious, saw that the means of existence is property, and the struggle for existence then became blended with the struggle for property.
Appropriation, which in the future will have no other source than the effort of the industrial laborer, was originally an act of conquest, the monopoly realized by that savage labor, war. A race of prey founded itself upon another race, a barbarous people upon an industrious people. Hurrah! the German warriors cut up the Roman Umpire into lots and shared it between them; the French of the North became lords over all the lands and fruits of the South; the Norman pillagers distributed England among themselves; and the English allotted themselves each a bit of Ireland.
There began the modern history of property. Violence, robbery by open force, massacre, having presided over this original distribution, oppression followed for the conquered, the pillaged, the sous of the massacred.
What is worth taking is worth keeping. The highway robbers having become landlords — and after them their descendants — conceived the idea of fortifying themselves in their conquered positions, of surrounding their estates with harriers, ditches, walls, and, what is better, laws.
The peoples of our day still suffer from the yoke imposed by the conquerors of those days. Lords have succeeded each other, aristocrats have replaced each other, jostling each other, taking by strategy what had been acquired by violence, robbing the old robbers by usury, speculation, and corruption, but always protected by the bulwark of laws erected to deny labor access to property.
The entire Code is the book of guarantees imposed to prevent property, the means of production, the instrument of liberty, dignity, equality, from passing out of the hands of the primitive monopolist into those of the contemporary producer; the Code is the isolation of servants confronted with the coalition of masters; it is the prohibition of real contract between employer and employee; it is the constraint of the latter to accept from the former exactly the minimum of wages indispensable to subsistence; and in any case where all these guarantees may have been vain, where a few laborers, by a fortunate stroke, may have succeeded in accumulating a little capital, the Code is a trap set to catch these little savings, the canalization ingeniously organized so that all that has temporarily left the hands of the monopolist may return to them by an adroit system of drainage,— so that the water, as the saying is in the villages, may always go to the river.
Nevertheless violence, which is trouble in historic evolution, can institute no lasting work-in vain does the cyclone raise prodigiously the sea, lift all the water high and leave nothing below; the tempest passes,— for every tempest is ephemeral,— and, after a series of eddies, the movement of the waves ends, as every movement in a mass ends, in stable equilibrium, a level.
After wars, after violences, after conquests of centuries of tempests, in spite of barriers and fortresses, in spite of laws, every continuous movement in the social mess tends toward stable equilibrium.
All the means of production on one side; no property, no means of production, on the other,— that is the opposite of equilibrium: but every mass tends to separate; monopolies are condemned to dissemination, every mountain will fill a valley, and the mountains of wealth accumulated under one and the same domination will fill the empty pockets of the people, powerless as they will be to resist the toil of these termites of millions and millions of laborers arrived at a consciousness of their own value and their own strength, and who will bend themselves untiringly to the conquest in their turn of their place in the sunshine, of their corner of their own, of their tools, of their means of labor, of their property, of their liberty.
And when this effort shall be accomplished, social equilibrium will be established, and with it that universal comfort which seems, even in our day, to be but a generous dream.
Why Newspapers Lie.
It seems to me that it is a waste of both time and nervous force to berate the press. Not that the newspapers do not deserve everything that has been said against them, and even more. But it is misdirected energy to pour out the phials of wrath upon them and their proprietors because they constantly and wilfully misrepresent everything connected with Anarchism. The papers, the proprietors, and, more than all, the poor fellows who do the actual work, are not entirely to blame. And the matter cannot be mended by heaping abusive adjectives upon them. It is the great populace that reads the papers, advertises in them, and makes them pay that is the cause of it all. The newspapers publish what their patrons want to read. Their proprietors regard news matters and comment thereon as merchantable commodities to be fitted to the public wish just as any other commodity is. It won’t do any good to discuss the ethical side of that question. The matter stands thus, and will continue to be thus for some time to come. The facts as they are must be faced and made the best of. And the one great fact in this newspaper matter is that a paper which would tell the truth frankly upon all matters and upon all occasions is not in demand. One that would tell the truth about Anarchistic matters is particularly not in demand. That is something about which the great people who support the papers do not want to know the truth. They want to he told what will accord with their preconceived ideas and their inherited prejudices. And they will support the newspaper that does this and put out of doors the newspaper that does not. With the publisher it is a question of profits or no profits. And as it is the profits that he publishes the paper for, what else can be expected of him? If the publisher of any great daily in the United States thought that he could materially and permanently increase his circulation by having all Socialistic matters truthfully reported and fairly commented on, the staff of his paper would receive new instructions at once. But they all know that such a course would have the opposite effect. And that is why they constantly and wilfully lie about these things.
I can see but two ways of bettering this state of things. One is to persuade the newspaper publishers to publish their papers in the interests of truth and justice instead of their pockets. The other is to enlighten the populace enough so that it will want to hear the truth instead of lies. The former is hopeless, and the latter is — well, it will take a long time.
But I do know, too, or, at least, I feel quite sure, that the same energy which is spent in berating the press will do more good if it is used in spreading the light.
F. F. K.
Self-Wisdom and Egoism.
To the Editor of Liberty:
“Self-wisdom” is not synonymous, not co-extensive, to my mind with intelligent Egoism. From this statement G. B. Prescott, Jr., can revise his argument. The author of the term “self-wisdom” gave no definition. Among the meanings which he may have had is this: Wisdom directed to the care for self. In this case the person has himself in view as an object. He is planning and deliberating what will build up, guard, and preserve himself,— add to his pleasures or release him from his pains. This must certainly he a large share of intelligent activity; but this is not the specific characterization of Egoism, as I use the term. Egoistic is whoever and whatever acts out the self. In writing this I am doubtless gratifying myself, but to inform Mr. Prescott is my object. Were I contemplating and working for some well-assured benefit to myself, held in prospect before my mental vision, and calculated to be the result of this writing, that would be “self-wisdom.” But if I am the subject, the doer, and in nowise an object to myself, the spontaneous act is Egoistic simply,— ’tis my own,— but not a matter of “self-wisdom.” In such case I do not have self present to mind as an object. Now all generosity is of this character. If calculated to benefit self, it would not be generosity. The man who would never do a generous act till he had calculated it to be profitable would perhaps seem generous, but the appearance would be deceptive. The intelligent generous man must indeed learn by experience that he needs to guard against ruining himself by generosity, but, even as he grows cautions, he never needs to know more than that it is not unsafe to follow his natural bent of generosity. That is to say, he does not need the contemplation of any increment of pleasure to himself. His pleasure is: his pain at seeing suffering is: and he acts unless checked by considerations of wisdom and unwisdom, not necessarily of “self” wisdom. If his thought is this,— to guard against evil to others,— it is wisdom to stop and reflect whether, in a given case, it is well to follow the impulse of generosity. Now, to act so unless checked by reflection is quite different from needing the stimulus of a consciously-entertained prospect of benefit to self.
The Opposite of Egoism.
I am utterly unable to conjecture why my friend, Mr. Yarros, professes to be ignorant of the existence of the opposite of Egoism. What has he been combatting in this discussion, if not the opposite of Egoism? He sometimes names it altruism; but usually sneers at it as “moralism,” — whatever he may mean by that. The terms in which he sets up this ignorance are hardly courteous; yet I acquit him of intentional impertinence. But I must say that such treatment of a serious question is flippant and trifling.
The issue here is squarely between selfishness and unselfishness (sometimes designated by the term of benevolence, and sometimes by that of disinterestedness). If these are not opposites, all things in the world are one. If not opposites, then there is no distinction between right and wrong, justice and injustice. If so, then why prefer liberty to slavery, or rail at authority and the State?
The fraud, injustice, and oppression which have darkened the world with sorrow may be traced to selfishness. To unselfishness belongs the credit of the achievements which have brought gladness to the human race.
If a man takes a certain course in life in the impulse of a high and noble purpose, he certainly does not do it in the mere love of pleasure. He may feel a serene joy in his purpose, as I said, while the life to which it impels him is a burden. This distinction is so obvious that I wonder my friend should overlook it.
If a man makes another wretched to secure his own happiness, he is “following the line which is to him of the least resistance.” Such is Egoism, as my friend states it. The opposite of Egoism is this: No man worthy of the name will knowingly and willingly sacrifice another’s happiness to secure his own. No principle or motive can be just or true which does not recognize the equal rights of all persons. But Egoism, in its folly, makes happiness the sole object of life, even if one can be happy only at another’s expense. Wherein is this better than the maxims of the despot or the passion of the debauchee?
If a man is forced into a position where he can save his life only by dishonor, it is an abuse of language to say he chooses death. In such a case a decent man has no choice whatever. If he were free, it is certain he would choose neither death nor dishonor. The proposition that a free man, if he were not insane, who made happiness the sole object of his life, would voluntarily choose death, is so absurd that it refutes itself.
My friend says that men make personal sacrifices for noble objects because they find this “incomparably easier” than any other course would be; that they “find the pain far less acute” than any other career would entail upon them. Now think of the long line of noble men and women whose lives, Hashing through the ages, mark tho successive steps of human advancement; who, by going with the current, might have passed their lives in case and pleasure; yet who, in unselfish devotion to human good, gave themselves to toil, penury, obloquy, the prison, and the scaffold, that others to come after them might enjoy better conditions of life,— and say, if you can, that they went through the flames of martyrdom because that was “incomparably easier” than to glide into the “primrose path of dalliance,” — that they made themselves of no reputation, and became the offscouring of the earth, because the pain of such a life was “far less acute” than that of any other. I say that such a paltry and puerile theory of their motives and impulses is an insult to their memory; and — with entire respect for my friend — betrays ignorance of the nobler part of human nature. No! The men who make happiness the sole object of life may crawl into inglorious graves; but they who forget themselves till their names become immortal may live in the grateful memory of mankind.
I must reject the theory of Egoism, as presented in this discussion, because it makes no distinction between the better and the baser motives winch actuate men; because it puts the lofty and high-souled purpose and the meanest passion on the same low level. The impulse of a martyr is not to be confounded with the motives of a pimp.
The defect in the reasoning of my friend is due, I suspect, to the fact that there are depths of human experience which he has not fathomed, and qualities of human nature which he does not comprehend. I do not say this as a reproach,— for such limitations are to be expected at his time of life. But, persuaded that he will continue in the pursuit of knowledge which he has so splendidly begun, and considering the pleasure which attends it, I congratulate him on the years of happiness yet to be his.
J. M. L. Babcock.
Not to be Continued.
As Mr. Babcock seems to be again at the beginning of the discussion, I am at its end. No new argument having been advanced and no novel objection brought out, there is no necessity for me to add anything in reply to Mr. Babcock’s last article. If Mr. Babcock wants an answer, and if there are any readers who cannot easily form in their own minds a satisfactory answer to Mr. Babcock, I refer both him and them to my first statement in this discussion, entitled “Egoism Seen Through a Mist.” I value the columns of Liberty much too highly to fill them with repetitions and rehashes of arguments sufficiently developed and adequately explained on previous occasions. Only I must now stop long enough to direct Mr. Babcock’s attention to the fact that he is “off the track,” and that, “like the flowers that bloom in the spring,” his eloquent and impassioned words about unselfish conduct and its effect on the world, “have nothing to do with the case.” The issue is not, and never has been, “squarely between selfishness and unselfishness,” but between duty and inclination, self-interest and sacrifice of self. The question is not as to differences in actual conduct as observed in life, but as to motives, principles regulating and determining conduct. In the article mentioned above the readers will find, not only a full recognition of such differences, but an attempt at finding their cause and reason as well. No one maintained that, for instance, to give alms is not different from stealing from a blind beggar the coins which some one else gave him. But I do maintain that the alms-giver is no less an Egoist and is no more making a sacrifice than the miserable egotist who steals the coins to make himself happy by a drink at the nearest saloon. The most short-sighted can see that the thief and the brute act in the way they do from no other cause than the desire to increase their own pleasure and satisfy their own needs. But no sooner is one observed in an act of offering aid or doing a gratuitous service to another or pursuing an occupation which opens no prospect of dollars and cents, than a deluge of sermons in glorification of duty and sacrifice reduces the world of thought and common sense to waste and ruin. Egoists merely repudiate and ridicule the alleged element of duty and sacrifice of the second class of actions.
Enough, however, so far as the main point of Mr. Babcock’s article is concerned. “Ere we part,” let me note a few of tho secondary points, the side-issues.
“I am utterly unable to conjecture why my friend, Mr.” Babcock, pretends not to understand why I treated the “serious question” of the “opposite of Egoism” in a “flippant and trifling” manner. I have no doubt that the intelligent jury before whom we made our arguments are satisfied of the legitimacy of my hilarity. I convicted Mr. Babcock of infidelity to Mrs. Duty and of flirting and making overtures to lovely Miss Inclination; and be being the trusted champion of the old scarecrow, I naturally felt like winking when I perceived how my young client, of whom, though fond, I am not the least jealous, is warming herself into his heart.
Mr. Babcock thinks that no free and sane man would ever voluntarily choose death as a means of happiness, in which I can but agree with him. I never made any reference to free men; I spoke of men forced by environment and conditions of life into the alternative of choosing either death or a life of degradation and dishonor. . .“Hold on!” interrupts me Mr. Babcock, excitedly; “it is an abuse of language to say men choose death in such cases; decent men have no choice whatever. . . .” True, Mr. Babcock, most true, decent men have no choice whatever, and that is precisely why I said that it is incomparably easier for them to accept death than to violate their nature, that the pain of any other course would be far more acute. “Then they don’t choose!” exclaims Mr. Babcock; “they are forced to die.” All, but they choose to be decent. See?
If decent men could live in freedom and peace, no Egoist would ever be a martyr. Freedom and peace not being possible at present for any decent man, Egoists, “who cannot resist their impulses,” have to suffer pain and misery in consequence of their Egoistic persistency in conduct not approved by the “powers that be.”
Perhaps it is true that there are “depths of human experience” which I have not fathomed and qualities of human nature which I do not comprehend; but you, Mr. Babcock, why, when you “reject” my “paltry and puerile” theory, do you so very carefully refrain from telling us what those noble qualities are? Do you begin to realize that “noble qualities” which prompt men to “unselfish” action is no more an anti-Egoistic argument than a “serene joy in a high purposedly Methinks all the true believers in duty and haters of Egoism who followed the discussion and listened to your fence of their position are now praying to be saved from their friend.
Egoism vs. Altruism.
Egoism flows at the base of human action and finds its source in instinct, action being distinguished by selfishness and its opposite,— unselfishness. Mankind are selfish in proportion to their ignorance, and unselfish in proportion as they reason and reflect. As thoughtlessness is opposite to, or the absence of, thoughtfulness, so selfishness is opposed to unselfishness. The cause of an action is one thing and the action another; and as the action is sometimes the result of ignorance and at other times the product of intelligence, it would seem that some distinction should be made. Respectfully I submit the following definition to the altruist:
Egoism: the principle of self-interest, whether ignorantly (selfishly) or intelligently (unselfishly) expressed.
Admit the justness of the above, altruist, and you will find that you are, after all, an Egoist; for altruism, being opposed to selfishness (not self-interest), can no longer be considered a principle, but simply one expression of a great principle,— namely, Egoism: and the Egoist will see that the real question of difference touches an expression of this principle, but does not intrude on the principle itself.
Individual Happiness the Object of Life.
[Grant Allen in the Korum.]
If human life has in this very restricted sense any general object at all,— any conscious object present as a rule the mind of the individual,— that object is undoubtedly happiness; end happiness may be approximately defined as a decided surplus of personal pleasure over personal pain. In the species as a whole, no such object is primarily inherent; race preservation is the sole generic aim and purpose. But inasmuch as pleasure, on the whole, roughly coincides with race-preservative activities, and pain, on the whole, roughly coincides with race-destructive activities, it follows that these two apparently distinct objects, the unconscious generic aim and the conscious individual aim, are at bottom practically almost identical. In other words, what to the race is preservative instinct is to the individual, in nine cases out of ten, conscious pursuit of his own happiness.
His own happiness, I say advisedly; but not necessarily to the exclusion of the happiness of others. Quite the contrary: even among the lowest races some regard for wives and offspring enters into the concept of happiness for the individual; and among the outcomes of the highest races pleasure for others has become a necessary element in pleasure for self. Misery for others, especially when brought home to us, suffices to make most members of the higher races thoroughly miserable; and the tendency is always to minimize as far as possible such misery, and to equalize as far as possible all available means of pleasure.
Whelps of the Same Dam.
[A. L. Ballon in Truth Seeker.]
In Mr. George’s search for the causes of the unjust distribution of wealth, he ignores a most potent factor,— legislation; he seeks in nature for laws that are in man only. He says the increase in nature is the cause of interest. It may have suggested interest in the mind of man, as Shylock’s reference to Jacob’s thrift would seem to indicate, but this is no cause.
I fear Mr. George, in his onslaught upon land monopoly, has overlooked another formidable enemy of labor, a second whelp of the same dam,— money monopoly. If there is any difference between the two, it is one of degree, not of kind; and to chain one and to let the other run would be, to say the least, unwise.
Now Mr. George makes an ethical point: “That alone is wise which is just; that alone is enduring which is right. In the narrow scale of individual actions and individual life this truth may he often obscured, but in the wider field of national life it everywhere stands out.” I, too, would “bow to this arbitrament, and accept this test.” Is this “unearned increase,” that robs labor and rewards loafers,— is it just? is it right? If it is not, then let us smother this idea of “necessary evil” and drown the pups.
And if their Alma Mater, the State, stands in the way, why, it must be bad for the State; for, as George says, “If the conclusions that we reach run counter to our prejudices, let us not dinch; if they challenge institutions that have long been deemed wise and natural, let us not turn back.”
“By Their Fruit Ye Shall Know Them.”
[From the Autobiography of Washington Walling. ex-Police Super-intendent of New York city.]
I have noticed one remarkable fact in connection with the intimate relations between politics and crime, which is this: All the sneaks, hypocrites, and higher grade of criminals, when questioned upon the subject, almost invariably lay claim to be adherents to the Republican party; while, on the other hand, criminals of the lower order — those who rob by violence and brute force — lay claim in no uncertain tones to being practical and energetic exponents of true Democratic principles. Of course, it is far from my intention to say that every Republican is a sanctimonious sneak, hypocrite, or forger; or that every Democrat is a burglar, footpad, pimp, or rough. Nevertheless, what I have alluded to is the fact.
Our judiciary and prosecuting officers are elected and controlled in a great measure by the very elements they are called upon to punish and keep in check.
Although, of course, all things are possible, yet I would not count among probable contingencies, under the present system of government in New York, the hanging of any one of its millionaires, no matter how unprovoked or premeditated the murder. Those individuals who have been executed during the last generation have all been without money, and usually with no friends. Many murders have been committed by rich men, but they either did not come to trial or they were found to be insane by an “intelligent” jury. I believe that Mr. Jay Gould could today commit any crime in the decalogue with impunity. I do not mean to say that Mr. Gould is a dishonest man, nor would I have the reader infer that he would wrong any one, but I believe that Mr. Gould, backed by his fifty millions, could defy justice in the city of New York.
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.