“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.
Godin is dead. Godinism has also ceased to show any marked signs of life.
Chief Arthur hopes to win the strike of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers “in God’s good time.” Well, considering that a thousand years is but one day to the Lord, the road officials need not feel troubled at Arthur’s confidence.
A Dr. Arkin has a long letter in the “Southwest,” opposing George and the land tax. He says: “It is known that George is the champion of the Socialists and Communists; it is also known that the Socialists are the Anarchists.” Hereafter it will be known that Dr. Arkin is a fool.
People never tire of telling us that we cannot live without government, but nobody ever spoke of the fact that we cannot die and forever settle our affairs without government. Yet it is as true of the latter as of the former, and for the same reason,— that it wouldn’t let us.
One of the best evidences of the importance and power of Liberty’s propaganda is the fact that certain Socialistic journals which sneer at it as if it were confined to a single section and two or three individuals devote columns of their space in issue after issue to frantic efforts to combat it.
Inasmuch as the editor nearly monopolizes the inside pages with his lecture on “State Socialism and Anarchism,” he hopes to be excused for furnishing less than his usual quota of editorial matter. The lecture will be translated into German for the first number of Libertas, and will soon appear in pamphlet form in English, and perhaps in German also.
The shade of Jefferson must have felt honored when the substance of Depew, in a speech delivered in New York the other night, endorsed his declaration that the best government is that which governs least. But Depew would not relish being held strictly to the letter and spirit of this profound saying. What he really believes in is law for the proletaires and license for the capitalists.
A few months ago my correspondence got ahead of me and accumulated at a rate that outstripped my capacity to promptly attend to it and at the same time perform other necessary duties. In consequence many of my patrons have been subjected to long delays in the filling of orders. To no one has this necessity been more irksome than to myself. But I am gaining, and hope soon to have my table clear, after which I shall try to avoid any further accumulations. Meanwhile I must ask for a brief extension of that patience which has already been too heavily taxed.
The New York “Tribune,” under the head of “Anarchy in London,” prints a cable report of an open-air meeting held under the auspices of the Home Rulers and the Socialists. We read: “Professor Stewart (a personal friend of Gladstone) declared that confidence in the police had been shattered, and that legislation must in future secure not only enjoyment of property, but a fair division of property. This piece of pure Anarchism was loudly cheered.” When such anarchism is “loudly cheered” by the multitude, the Anarchists join with the “Tribune” in sorrowing over the lamentable degradation of the people’s intelligence and spirit of self-reliance.
James Parton, in his contribution to the “Globe’s” “Political History of the United States,” describing the influence of Paine’s “Rights of Man” upon Jefferson, says that this remarkable book, which so shocked polite society of that period, now seems “very sound and moderate” to every Democrat. If this were true, all the Democrats of the country would be found on Liberty’s subscription book. Far from appearing sound and moderate to every Democrat, many of his utterances, sentiments, and aspirations would be denounced by even such Democrats as Mr. Parton as rank heresy and most treasonable propaganda. Thomas Paine was the first American Anarchist.
State Socialism is such a lumping system, knowing nothing whatever of discrimination, that its advocates are incapable of understanding that a man may admire a public teacher and desire to spread his teachings without swallowing him whole,— defects, weaknesses, inconsistencies, shortcomings, and all. Thus it is that some of them, having lately discovered a passage or two in Proudhon’s writings that smack of State Socialism, have expressed wonder that I should class myself as one of his disciples. The explanation of their bewilderment is to be found in their mistaken supposition that “What is Property?” is the Bible of Anarchism just as Marx’s “Capital” is the Bible of State Socialism. Anarchists have no Bible and blindly worship no leader. But if these critics really think, as they pretend to, that Proudhon was a State Socialist, I have an offer to make them. If they will print in their papers everything that they can find in Proudhon’s works favoring State Socialism, I will furnish them some quotations from his works antagonizing it, so that they may print them simultaneously, and then their readers will judge for themselves the beliefs of P. J. Proudhon. Do the “Workmen’s Advocate” of New Haven and the “Labor Enquirer” of Chicago dare to accept this challenge?
A Sketch of Pyat.
Felix Pyat is one of the most dazzling literary glories of our century.
What person in France is not familiar with his celebrated name,— a name long ago given its place in contemporary literature by the side of those of the greatest masters in all schools: Victor Hugo, Lamartine, the elder Dumas, Musset, Balzac, Eugene Sue, Frederic Soulie, Stendhal, etc., for the fecundity of the entire epoch that followed the overthrow of the first empire is prodigious.
The man of politics? We neglect him today to study simply the writer, although there is not a work by Felix Pyat in which he has not taken care to teach the Revolution by placing before his readers’ eyes the atrocious social inequalities and sufferings of the people. Pyat, moreover, does not believe in art for art’s sake, but thinks it the sacred duty of the writer or the artist to instruct while charming and amusing.
Let us rapidly sketch the well-filled life of Felix Pyat. He was born at Vierzon; his father, a distinguished lawyer, was a legitimist, his mother a democrat. Following his mother’s teachings, in his student days he began to agitate against Charles X. and took part in all the manifestations of the Schools; he obtained his lawyer’s diploma in 1830. Immediately he devoted himself to letters and to politics.
He began on the “Figaro,” with his compatriot Latouche; then he founded the “Charivari” with Altaroche and Daumier. He wrote a celebrated page, the “Filles de Sejan,” for a preface to a book on Barnave by the great Janin (Jules);
the latter, having signed the page in question, then quarrelled with him, to which we are indebted for Pyat’s marvellous pamphlet: “J. M. Chenier and the Prince of Critics.” The list of journals, reviews, and collections with which he has been connected is long, the principal ones being the “Revue de Paris,” the “Artiste,” the “Reforme,” “Paris Revolutionnaire,” the “Revue Democratique,” etc.; he was director of the “Revue Britannique”; for a long time he conducted the feuilleton department of the “Siecle” and the “National,” everywhere showing himself brilliant in polemics, critical in art and politics. Accordingly how many prosecutions! how many months in prison!
Felix Pyat was one of the founders of the Society of People of Letters and of the Society of Dramatic Authors.
His dramatic baggage is no less important. His first piece, “A Revolution of Former Times,” filled with political allusions directed against Louis Philippe, was played at the Odeon Theatre.
The little Thiers, the king’s pedant, prohibited the piece, of course. Felix Pyat revenged himself in a pamphlet published in the “Revue des Deux Mondes”; “A Conspiracy of Former Times,” another prohibited drama; and “Arabella,” in which he placed upon the stage the hanging of the Prince of Conde at St. Leu. Then he produced “The Brigand and the Philosopher,” “Ango, the Sailor,” “Cedric, the Norwegian,” and “The Two Locksmiths,” all Socialistic plays.
But his two master-pieces are “Diogenes” and “The Rag-Picker of Paris,” the last of which he has lately developed into a novel.
This great writer is reputed to have been one of Gautier’s “Young France” at the time of the birth of romanticism; this is almost exact. The truth is that he was an associate of all those writers who became masters in their turn, some while not excluding politics, others while despising it,— the Sues, the Hugos, or the Gautiers,— but Pyat always remained faithful to his ardently revolutionary convictious, while giving himself as feverishly to letters and the arts. This his work clearly demonstrates, and is what caused him to be often called by his friends the “Democratic courtier.” The following anecdote reveals a characteristic trait. After the triumph of “Diogenes,” Pyat received at Sainte Pelagie (where he was paying the penalty of an offence against the press) the following letter from Victor Hugo:
My dear prisoner,— I write you with a hand still trembling with applause. Better than I you have proved the royalty of genius and the divinity of love.
This was Pyat’s answer:
My dear master,— Not a deist and not at all a royalist, but your most devoted and obliged
This sentence shows the whole man, both in politics and literature, even in its short, quick form, a form which he always employs with infinite science, whether in articles on high philosophy or politics, or in a drama, or even in a novel; for the characteristic of this living style is its conciseness, its astonishing precision, and, after a fierce sweeping away of all useless words, while keeping the clear image that makes the picture, he always strikes his reader or hearer. Will Pyat found a school? I doubt it. He would discourage his pupils.
His private individuality should also be presented, for he belongs to that sort of charmers which tends to disappear before the advance of our brutal civilization.
This old man is as solid as a man of thirty years; he is vivacious, alert, gay, and very affable; his two black eyes illuminate with singular brilliancy the hirsute head covered with shaggy white hair; his beard, also white, spreads like a fan over his breast, and his eyes have this peculiarity,— that, like those of large cats, they have now gleams of wrath, when in talking Pyat gets excited, now also caressing reflections. His voice is harmonious and captivating; his language is of rare eloquence, whether in making a speech or simply relating to his friends his life, his adventures, and the men whom he has seen; for, if he is a great orator, he is a marvellous story-teller also.
I have tried to trace a faithful outline, and I pray the author of the “Rag-Picker of Paris” to excuse an admirer; for that matter, he is very indulgent, which is another of his traits that I forgot to mention.
State Socialism and Anarchism:
How Far They Agree, and Wherein They Differ.
By Benj. R. Tucker.
Probably no agitation has ever attained the magnitude, either in the number of its recruits or the area of its influence, which has been attained by Modern Socialism, and at the same time been so little understood and so misunderstood, not only by the hostile and the indifferent, but by the friendly, and even by the great mass of its adherents themselves. This unfortunate and highly dangerous state of things is due partly to the fact that the human relationships which this movement — if anything so chaotic can be called a movement — aims to transform, involve no special class or classes, but literally all mankind; partly to the fact that these relationships are infinitely more varied and complex in their nature than those with which any special reform has ever been called upon to deal; and partly to the fact that the great moulding forces of society, the channels of information and enlightenment, are well-nigh exclusively under the control of those whose immediate pecuniary interests are antagonistic to the bottom claim of Socialism that labor should be put in possession of its own.
Almost the only persons who may be said to comprehend even approximately the significance, principles, and purposes of Socialism are the chief leaders of the extreme wings of the Socialistic forces, and perhaps a few of the money kings themselves. It is a subject of which it has lately become quite the fashion for preacher, professor, and penny-a-liner to treat, and, for the most part, woful work they have made with it, exciting the derision and pity of those competent to judge. That those prominent in the intermediate Socialistic divisions do not fully understand what they are about is evident from the positions they occupy. If they did; if they were consistent, logical thinkers; if they were what the French call consequent men,— their reasoning faculties would long since have driven them to one extreme or the other.
For it is a curious fact that the two extremes of the vast army now under consideration, though united, as has been hinted above, by the common claim that labor shall be put in possession of its own, are more diametrically opposed to each other in their fundamental principles of social action and their methods of reaching the ends aimed at than either is to their common enemy, the existing society. They are based on two principles the history of whose conflict is almost equivalent to the history of the world since man came into it; and all intermediate parties, including that of the upholders of the existing society, are based upon a compromise between them. It is clear, then, that any intelligent, deep-rooted opposition to the prevailing order of things must come from one or the other of these extremes, for anything from any other source, far from being revolutionary in character, could be only in the nature of such superficial modification as would be utterly unable to concentrate upon itself the degree of attention and interest now bestowed upon Modern Socialism.
The two principles referred to are Authority and Liberty, and the names of the two schools of Socialistic thought which fully and unreservedly represent one or the other of them are, respectively, State Socialism and Anarchism. Whoso knows what these two schools want and how they propose to get it understands the Socialistic movement. For, just as it has been said that there is no half-way house between Rome and Reason, so it may be said that there is no half-way house between State Socialism and Anarchism. There are, in fact, two currents steadily flowing from the centre of the Socialistic forces which are concentrating them on the left and on the right; and, if Socialism is to prevail, it is among the possibilities that, after this movement of separation has been completed and the existing order has been crushed out between the two camps, the ultimate and bitterer conflict will be still to come. In that case all the eight-hour men, all the trades-unionists, all the Knights of Labor, all the land nationalizationists, all the greenbackers, and, in short, all the members of the thousand and one different battalions belonging to the great army of Labor, will have deserted their old posts, and, these being arrayed on the one side and the other, the great battle will begin. What a final victory for the State Socialists will mean, and what a final victory for the Anarchists will mean, it is the purpose of this paper to briefly state.
To do this intelligently, however, I must first describe the ground common to both, the features that make Socialists of each of them.
The economic principles of Modem Socialism are a logical deduction from the principle laid down by Adam Smith in the early chapters of his “Wealth of Nations,” — namely, that labor is the true measure of price. But Adam Smith, after stating this principle most clearly and concisely, immediately abandoned all further consideration of it to devote himself to showing what actually does measure price, and how, therefore, wealth is at present distributed. Since his day nearly all the political economists have followed his example by confining their function to the description of society as it is, in its industrial and commercial phases. Socialism, on the contrary, extends its function to the description of society as it should be, and the discovery of the means of making it what it should be. Half a century or more after Smith enunciated the principle above stated, Socialism picked it up where he had dropped it, and, in following it to its logical conclusions, made it the basis of a new economic philosophy.
This seems to have been done independently by three different men, of three different nationalities, in three different languages: Josiah Warren, an American; Pierre J. Proudhon, a Frenchman; Karl Marx, a German Jew. That Warren and Proudhon arrived at their conclusions singly and unaided is certain; but whether Marx was not largely indebted to Proudhon for his economic ideas is questionable. However this may be, Marx’s presentation of the ideas was in so many respects peculiarly his own that he is fairly entitled to the credit of originality. That the work of this interesting trio should have been done so nearly simultaneously would seem to indicate that Socialism was in the air, and that the time was ripe and the conditions favorable for the appearance of this new school of thought. So far as priority of time is concerned, the credit seems to belong to Warren, the American,— a fact which should be noted by the stump orators who are so fond of declaiming against Socialism as an imported article. Of the purest revolutionary blood, too, this Warren, for he descends from the Warren who fell at Bunker Hill.
From Smith’s principle that labor is the true measure of price — or, as Warren phrased it, that cost is the proper limit of price — these three men made the following deductions: that the natural wage of labor is its product; that this wage, or product, is the only just source of income (leaving out, of course, gift, inheritance, etc.); that all who derive income from any other source abstract it directly or indirectly from the natural and just wage of labor; that this abstracting process generally takes one of three forms,— interest, rent, and profit; that these three constitute the trinity of usury, and are simply different methods of levying tribute for the use of capital; that, capital being simply stored-up labor which has already received its pay in full, its use ought to be gratuitous, on the principle that labor is the only basis of price; that the lender of capital is entitled to its return intact, and nothing more; that the only reason why the banker, the stockholder, the landlord, the manufacturer, and the merchant are able to exact usury from labor lies in the fact that they are backed by legal privilege, or monopoly; and that the only way to secure to labor the enjoyment of its entire product, or natural wage, is to strike down monopoly.
It must not be inferred that either Warren, Proudhon, or Marx used exactly this phraseology or followed exactly this line of thought, but it indicates definitely enough the fundamental ground taken by all three and their substantial thought up to the limit to which they went in common. And, lest I may be accused of stating the positions and arguments of these men incorrectly, it may be well to say in advance that I have viewed them broadly, and that, for the purpose of sharp, vivid, and emphatic comparison and contrast, I have taken considerable liberty with their thought by rearranging it in an order, and often in a phraseology, of my own, but, I am satisfied, without, in so doing, misrepresenting them in any essential particular.
It was at this point — the necessity of striking down monopoly — that came the parting of their ways. Here the road forked. They found that they must turn either to the right or to the left,— follow either the path of Authority or the path of Liberty. Marx went one way; Warren and Proudhon the other. Thus were born State Socialism and Anarchism.
First, then, State Socialism, which may be described as the doctrine that all the affairs of men should be managed by the government, regardless of individual choice.
Marx, its founder, concluded that the only way to abolish the class monopolies was to centralize and consolidate all industrial and commercial interests, all productive and distributive agencies, in one vast monopoly in the hands of the State. The government must become banker, manufacturer, farmer, carrier, and merchant, and in these capacities must suffer no competition. Land, tools, and all instruments of production must be wrested from individual hands and made the property of the collectivity. To the individual can belong only the products to be consumed, not the means of producing them. A man may own his clothes and his food, but not the sewing-machine which makes his shirts or the spade which digs his potatoes. Product and capital are essentially different things; the former belongs to individuals, the latter to society.* Society must seize the capital which belongs to it, by the ballot if it can, by revolution if it must. Once in possession of it, it must administer it on the majority principle through its organ, the State, utilize it in production and distribution, fix all prices by the amount of labor involved, and employ the whole people in its workshops, farms, stores, etc. The nation must be transformed into a vast bureaucracy, and every individual into a State official. Everything must be done on the cost principle, the people having no motive to make a profit out of themselves. Individuals not being allowed to own capital, no one can employ another, or even himself. Every man will be a wage-receiver, and the State the only wage payer. He who will not work for the State must starve, or, more likely, go to prison. All freedom of trade must disappear. Competition must be utterly wiped out. All industrial and commercial activity must be centred in one vast, enormous, all-inclusive monopoly. The remedy for monopolies is monopoly.
Such is the economic programme of State Socialism as adopted from Karl Marx. The history of its growth and progress cannot be told here. In this country the party that upholds it is known as the Socialistic Labor Party, and it has groups or sections in all the principal cities.
What other applications this principle of Authority, once adopted in the economic sphere, will develop is very evident. It means the absolute control by the majority of all individual conduct. The right of such control is already admitted by the State Socialists, though they maintain that, as a matter of fact, the individual would be allowed a much larger liberty than he now enjoys. But he would only be allowed it; he could not claim it as his own. There would be no more rights; only privileges. Such liberty as might exist would exist by sufferance and could be taken away at any moment. Constitutional guarantees would be of no avail. There would be but one article in the constitution of a State Socialistic country: “The right of the majority is absolute.”
The claim of the State Socialists, however, that this right would not be exercised in matters pertaining to the individual in the more intimate and private relations of his life is not borne out by the history of governments. It has ever been the tendency of power to add to itself, to enlarge its sphere, to encroach beyond the limits set for it; and where the habit of resisting such encroachment is not fostered, and the individual is not taught to be jealous of his rights, individuality gradually disappears and the government or State becomes the all-in-all. Control naturally accompanies responsibility. Under the system of State Socialism, therefore, which holds the community responsible for the health, wealth, and wisdom of the individual, it is evident that the community, through its majority expression, will insist more and metre on prescribing the conditions of health, wealth, and wisdom, thus impairing and finally destroying individual independence and with it all sense of individual responsibility.
Whatever, then, the State Socialists may claim or disclaim, their system, if adopted, is doomed to end in a State religion, to the expense of which all most contribute and at the altar of which all must kneel; a State school of medicine, by whose practitioners the sick must invariably be treated; a State system of hygiene, prescribing what all must and must not eat, drink, wear, and do; a State code of morals, which will not content itself with punishing crime, but will prohibit what the majority decide to be vice; a State system of instruction, which will do away with all private schools, academies, and colleges; a State nursery, in which all children must be brought up in common at the public expense; and, finally, a State family, with an attempt at stirpiculture, or scientific breeding, in which no man and woman will be allowed to have children if the State prohibits them and no man and woman can refuse to have children if the State orders them. Thus will Authority achieve its acme and Monopoly be carried to its highest power.
Such is the ideal of the logical State Socialist, such the goal which lies at the end of the road that Karl Marx took. Let us now follow the fortunes of Warren and Proudhon, who took the other road,— the road of Liberty.
This brings us to Anarchism, which may be described as the doctrine that all the affairs of men should be managed by individuals or voluntary associations, and that the State should be abolished.
When Warren and Proudhon, in prosecuting their search for justice to labor, came face to face with the obstacle of class monopolies, they saw that these monopolies rested upon Authority, and concluded that the thing to be done was, not to strengthen this Authority and thus make monopoly universal, but to utterly uproot Authority and give full sway to the opposite principle, Liberty, by making competition, the antithesis of monopoly, universal. They saw in competition the great leveller of prices to the labor cost of production. In this they agreed with the political economists. The query then naturally presented itself why all prices do not fall to labor cost; where there is any room for incomes acquired otherwise than by labor; in a word, why the usurer, the receiver of interest, rent, and profit, exists. The answer was found in the present one sidedness of competition. It was discovered that capital had so manipulated legislation that unlimited competition is allowed in supplying productive labor, thus keeping wages down to the starvation point, or as near it as practicable; that a great deal of competition is allowed in supplying distributive labor, or the labor of the mercantile classes, thus keeping, not the prices of goods, but the merchants’ actual profits on them, down to a point somewhat approximating equitable wages for the merchants’ work; but that almost no competition at all is allowed in supplying capital, upon the aid of which both productive and distributive labor are dependent for their power of achievement, thus keeping the rate of interest on money, of house rent and ground-rent, and of manufacturers’ profits on patent-protected and tariff-protected goods, at as high a point as the necessities of the people will bear.
On discovering this, Warren and Proudhon charged the political economists with being afraid of their own doctrine. The Manchester men were accused of being inconsistent. They believed in liberty to compete with the laborer in order to reduce his wages, but not in liberty to compete with the capitalist in order to reduce his usury. Laissez faire was very good sauce for the goose, labor, but very poor sauce for the gander, capital. But how to correct this inconsistency, how to serve this gander with this sauce, how to put capital at the service of business men and laborers at cost, or free of usury,— that was the problem.
Marx, as we have seen, solved it by declaring capital to be a different thing from product, and maintaining that it belonged to society and should be seized by society and employed for the benefit of all alike. Proudhon scoffed at this distinction between capital and product. He maintained that capital and product are not different kinds of wealth, but simply alternate conditions or functions of the same wealth; that all wealth undergoes an incessant transformation from capital into product and from product back into capital, the process repeating itself interminably; that capital and product are purely social terms; that what is product to one man immediately becomes capital to another, and vice versa; that, if there were but one person in the world, all wealth would be to him at once capital and product; that the fruit of A’s toil is his product, which, when sold to B, becomes B’s capital (unless B is an unproductive consumer, in which case it is merely wasted wealth, outside the view of social economy); that a steam engine is just as much product as a coat, and that a coat is just as much capital as a steam-engine; and that the same laws of equity govern the possession of the one that govern the possession of the other.
For these and other reasons Proudhon and Warren found themselves unable to sanction any such plan as the seizure of capital by society. But, though opposed to socializing the ownership of capital, they aimed nevertheless to socialize its effects by making its use beneficial to all instead of a means of impoverishing the many to enrich the few. And when the light burst in upon them, they saw that this could be done by subjecting capital to the natural law of competition, thus bringing the price of its use down to cost,— that is, to nothing beyond the expenses incidental to handling and transferring it. So they raised the banner of Absolute Free Trade; free trade at home, as well as with foreign countries; the logical carrying-out of the Manchester doctrine; laissez-faire the universal rule. Under this banner they began their fight upon monopolies, whether the all-inclusive monopoly of the State Socialists, or the various class monopolies that now prevail.
Of the latter they distinguished four of principal importance,— the money monopoly, the land monopoly, the tariff monopoly, and the patent monopoly.
First in the importance of its evil influence they considered the money monopoly, which consists of the privilege given by the government to certain individuals, or to individuals holding certain kinds of property, of issuing the circulating medium, a privilege which is now enforced in this country by a national tax of ten per cent, upon all other persons who attempt to furnish a circulating medium and by State laws making it a criminal offence to issue notes as currency. It is claimed that the holders of this privilege control the rate of interest, the rate of rent of houses and buildings, and the prices of goods,— the first directly, and the second and third indirectly. For, say Proudhon and Warren, if the business of banking were made free to all, more and more persons would enter into it until the competition should become sharp enough to reduce the price of lending money to the labor cost, which statistics show to be less than three fourths of one per cent. In that case the thousands of people who are now deterred from going into business by the ruinously high rates which they must pay for capital with which to start and carry on business will find their difficulties removed. If they have property which they do not desire to convert into money by sale, a bank will take it as collateral for a loan of a certain proportion of its market value at less than one per cent, discount. If they have no property, but are industrious, honest, and capable, they will generally be able to get their individual notes endorsed by a sufficient number of known and solvent parties; and on such business paper they will be able to get a loan at a bank on similarly favorable terms. Thus interest will fall at a blow. The banks will really not be lending capital at all, but will be doing business on the capital of their customers, the business consisting in an exchange of the known and widely available credits of the banks for the unknown and unavailable, but equally good, credits of the customers, and a charge therefor of less than one per cent., not as interest for the use of capital, but as pay for the labor of running the banks. This facility of acquiring capital will give an unheard-of impetus to business, and consequently create an unprecedented demand for labor,— a demand which will always be in excess of the supply, directly the contrary of the present condition of the labor market. Then will be seen an exemplification of the words of Richard Cobden that, when two laborers are after one employer, wages fall, but, when two employers are after one laborer, wages rise. Labor will then be in a position to dictate its wages, and will thus secure its natural wage, its entire product. Thus the same blow that strikes interest down will send wages up. But this is not all. Down will go profits also. For merchants, instead of buying at high prices on credit, will borrow money of the banks at less than one per cent., buy at low prices for cash, and correspondingly reduce the prices of their goods to their customers. And with the rest will go house-rent. For no one who can borrow capital at one per cent. with which to build a house of his own, will consent to pay rent to a landlord at a higher rate than that. Such is the vast claim made by Proudhon and Warren as to the results of the simple abolition of the money monopoly.
Second in importance comes the land monopoly, the evil effects of which are seen principally in exclusively agricultural countries, like Ireland. This monopoly consists in the enforcement by government of land titles which do not rest upon personal occupancy and cultivation. It was obvious to Warren and Proudhon that, as soon as individuals should no longer be protected by their fellows in anything but personal occupancy and cultivation of land, ground rent would disappear, and so usury have one less leg to stand on.
Third, the tariff monopoly, which consists in fostering production at high prices and under unfavorable conditions by visiting with the penalty of taxation those who patronize production at low prices and under favorable conditions. The evil to which this monopoly gives rise might more properly be called misusury than usury, because it compels labor to pay, not exactly for the use of capital, but rather for the misuse of capital. The abolition of this monopoly would result in a great reduction in the prices of all articles taxed, and this saving to the laborers who consume these articles would be another step toward securing to the laborer his natural wage, his entire product. Proudhon admitted, however, that to abolish this monopoly before abolishing the money monopoly would be a cruel and disastrous policy, first, because the evil of scarcity of money, created by the money monopoly, would be intensified by the flow of money out of the country which would be involved in an excess of imports over exports, and, second, because that fraction of the laborers of the country which is now employed in the protected industries, would be turned adrift to face starvation without the benefit of the insatiable demand for labor which a competitive money system would create. Free trade in money at home, making money and work abundant, was insisted upon by Proudhon as a prior condition of free trade in goods with foreign countries.
Fourth, the patent monopoly, which consists in protecting inventors and authors against competition for a period long enough to enable them to extort from the people a reward enormously in excess of the labor measure of their services,— in other words, in giving certain people a right of property for a term of years in laws and facts of Nature, and the power to exact tribute from others for the use of this natural wealth, which should be open to all. The abolition of this monopoly would fill its beneficiaries with a wholesome fear of competition which would cause them to be satisfied with pay for their services equal to that which other laborers get for theirs, and to secure it by placing their products and works on the market at the outset at prices so low that their lines of business would be no more tempting to competitors than any other lines.
The development of the economic programme which consists in the destruction of these monopolies and the substitution for them of the freest competition led its authors to a perception of the fact that all their thought rested upon a very fundamental principle, the freedom of the individual, his right of sovereignty over himself, his products, and his affaire, and of rebellion against the dictation of external authority. Just as the idea of taking capital away from individuals and giving it to the government started Marx in a path which ends in making the government everything and the individual nothing, so the idea of taking capital away from government-protected monopolies and putting it within easy reach of all individuals started Warren and Proudhon in a path which ends in making the individual everything and the government nothing. If the individual has a right to govern himself, all external government is tyranny. Hence the necessity of abolishing the State. This was the logical conclusion to which Warren and Proudhon were forced, and it became the fundamental article of their political philosophy. It is the doctrine which Proudhon named An-archism, a word derived from the Greek, and meaning, not necessarily absence of order as is generally supposed, but absence of rule. The Anarchists are simply unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats. They believe that “the best government is that which governs least,” and that that which governs least is no government at all. Even the simple police function of protecting person and property they deny to governments supported by compulsory taxation. Protection they look upon as a thing to be secured, as long as it is necessary, by voluntary association and cooperation for self-defence, or as a commodity to be purchased, like any other commodity, of those who offer the best article at the lowest price. In their view it is in itself an invasion of the individual to compel him to pay for or suffer a protection against invasion that he has not asked for and does not desire. And they further claim that protection will become a drug in the market, after poverty and consequently crime have disappeared through the realization of their economic programme. Compulsory taxation is to them the life-principle of all the monopolies, and passive, but organized, resistance to the tax-collector they contemplate, when the proper time comes, as one of the most effective methods of accomplishing their purposes.
Their attitude on this is a key to their attitude on all other questions of a political or social nature. In religion they are atheistic as far as their own opinions are concerned, for they look upon divine authority and the religious sanction of morality as the chief pretexts put forward by the privileged classes for the exercise of human authority. “If God exists,” said Proudon, “he is man’s enemy.” And, in contrast to Voltaire’s famous epigram, “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him,” the great Russian Nihilist, Michael Bakounine, placed this antithetical proposition: “If God existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.” But although, viewing the divine hierarchy as a contradiction of Anarchy, they do not believe in it, the Anarchists none the less firmly believe in the liberty to believe in it. Any denial of religious freedom they squarely oppose.
Upholding thus the right of every individual to be or select his own priest, they likewise uphold his right to be or select his own doctor. No monopoly in theology, no monopoly in medicine. Competition everywhere and always; spiritual advice and medical advice alike to stand or fall on their own merits. And not only in medicine, but in hygiene, must this principle of liberty be followed. The individual may decide for himself not only what to do to get well, but what to do to keep well. No external power must dictate to him what he must and must not eat, drink, wear, or do.
Nor does the Anarchistic scheme furnish any code of morals to be imposed upon the individual. “Mind your own business” is its only moral law. Interference with another’s business is a crime and the only crime, and as such may properly be resisted. In accordance with this view the Anarchists look upon attempts to arbitrarily suppress vice as in themselves crimes. They believe liberty and the resultant social well-being to be a sure cure for all the vices. But they recognize the right of the drunkard, the gambler, the rake, and the harlot to live their lives until they shall freely choose to abandon them.
In the matter of the maintenance and rearing of children the Anarchists would neither institute the communistic nursery which the State Socialists favor nor keep the communistic school system which now prevails. The nurse and the teacher, like the doctor and the preacher, must be selected voluntarily, and their services must be paid for by those who patronize them. Parental rights must not be taken away, and parental responsibilities must not be foisted upon others.
Even in so delicate a matter as that of the relations of the sexes the Anarchists do not shrink from the application of their principle. They acknowledge and defend the right of any man and woman, or any men and women, to love each other for as long or as short a time as they can, will, or may. To them legal marriage and legal divorce are equal absurdities. They look forward to a time when every individual, whether man or woman, shall be self-supporting, and when each shall have an independent home of his or her own, whether it be a separate house or rooms in a house with others; when the love relations between these independent individuals shall be as varied as are individual inclinations and attractions; and when the children born of these relations shall belong exclusively to the mothers until old enough to belong to themselves.
Such are the main features of the Anarchistic social ideal. There is wide difference of opinion among those who hold it as to the best method of attaining it. Space forbids the treatment of that phase of the subject here. I will simply call attention to the fact that it is an ideal utterly inconsistent with that of those Communists who falsely call themselves Anarchists while at the same time advocating a regime of Archism fully as despotic as that of the State Socialists themselves. And it is an ideal that can be as little advanced by the forcible expropriation recommended by John Most and Prince Kropotkine as retarded by the brooms of those Mrs. Partingtons of the bench who sentence them to prison; an ideal which the martyrs of Chicago did far more to help by their glorious death upon the gallows for the common cause of Socialism than by their unfortunate advocacy during their lives, in the name of Anarchism, of force as a revolutionary agent and authority as a safeguard of the new social order. The Anarchists believe in liberty both as end and means, and are hostile to anything that antagonizes it.
* A friend to whom this manuscript was shown and who finds himself in general sympathy with its positions makes the criticism that the distinction between capital and product here attributed to Marx was not made by him, although it is urged by all his disciples. In my judgment, it is fairly attributable to Marx himself. It is included in the very ground-work of his economic system, in his explanation of the two processes between which he draws a line,— merchandise-money-merchandise and money-merchandise-money. To avoid misunderstanding it should be noted that the claim is not put forward that Marx based this distinction upon moral grounds, but simply that he considered it a matter of economic necessity.
“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.
An Easy Way to Get Liberty.
Any person sending the publisher of Liberty twenty-five reliable post-office addresses of Germans of liberal tendencies living in the United States can have, upon his request, either Liberty or Libertas, at his option, sent him for three months free.
The Social Problem and Liberty.
Events follow one another with the speed of light. Only a little while ago, and nearly everybody seemed to be satisfied with the existing state of things. To be sure, there would be coming every now and then mutterings from the depths of society laden with the stories of misery and woe. But that signified nothing. Your philistine and beneficiary of privilege was not so easily to be disturbed. Had not preachers, politicians, and professors, roaming up and down the country, assured them all was well and prosperous? Then why should a wail from starving workingmen, as yet but faintly heard, disturb them? Carl Schurz, asked to define his position with regard to the social problem in a public meeting at Milwaukee in 1877, replied that there was no such problem. And whenever since then, until but a short time ago, there came again and again and louder and louder than before, the mutterings sorrow-laden from the depths of society, telling of the wretchedness and misery and crime incident to the legal exploitation of labor, and causing here and there and everywhere knightly individuals to discuss on the street and in public hall the rights and wrongs of labor and capital, the word would be passed from newspaper to newspaper, and from one philistine and beneficiary of privilege to another: “There is no social problem.”
And thus a matter of transcendent importance was frivolously brushed aside as unworthy serious thought and attention.
That was only a few years ago.
It is different now. It is now, on the contrary, coming to be generally conceded that there is but one problem before the people, aye, before the entire so-called civilized world, and that that is the social problem. And so I say, events follow one another with the speed of light. The view that has so generally been accepted with regard to the nature of the problem now so threateningly demanding the attention of mankind, is undoubtedly correct. Nearly all other problems and interests of individuals and society are now waiting on the proper adjustment of the relations between capital and labor. The differences between these two forces must first be composed before there can again be peace. Almost everybody is beginning to see that.
That is something. But it is not all. It is not even very much. What is needed, at least as much as the perception that things are out of joint, is the knowledge of how they are to be set aright again. Of this knowledge there is still a dearth. This fact is revealed in the nature of the proposals made for remedying matters.
The evils that are upon us having come principally from the arbitrary and unwarranted interference of man in the natural evolution of society, the way out of the trouble would seem to lie in the direction of non-interference in the natural course of societary evolution. The one thing needful would seem to be the perception of the all-sufficiency of the natural agencies of liberty to the end of establishing harmony, peace, and prosperity among mankind. But the majority of the people anxious for reform do not look at it in this light. Quite the contrary, and consequently they adopt also a contrary line of action. Lacking faith in liberty, and authoritarians at heart, they desire to interfere still more. Not non-interference, but the extension of the province of interference expresses their method.
These people may have their day, but they will fail.
Everybody fails in accomplishing great and beneficent ends who pursues them along the lines of authority. All things the world is now blessed with are the children of liberty,— language, science, art, literature, and what measure of commerce and property we enjoy. When literature was
To musty laws lined out with wretched rule
And compass vile,
it was a cold and lifeless thing. It was only after the Shaksperes and Goethes had broken away from the despotism of the “unities” and trusted in liberty that dramatic art began to dawn on the world. This holds not alone with regard to literature, art, science, language, but also with regard to life itself. In the words of the author of “Ecce Homo”:
Life, too, may be conducted according to rules; it may also be conducted on the method of free inspiration, in which case also rules will be observed, but the rules will be different, less stereotyped, adapting themselves more readily to new circumstances, and moreover they will be observed instinctively and not felt as a constraint. And though this latter method may easily be abused, though the inspiration may in particular cases be feigned or forced, though individuals may pervert the method to a loose antinomianism in morals, as in art it has often been made the excuse of formlessness or extravagance; yet it remains the true method, the only one which keeps morality alive and prevents it from becoming a prim convention,— the only system, in short, under which moral Shaksperes can flourish.
Now, what do we want? Do we indeed want peace, prosperity, and the public welfare? Do we want to conduct life according to rules, or do we want to conduct it on the method of free inspiration? If we really want the latter, together with peace, prosperity, and the public welfare, then let us have the courage to advocate the only measures that hold out some reasonable promise of realizing our wants and wishes. Let us abjure quack remedies, above all politics, and declare our loyalty to the principles of liberty and justice, and our exclusive faith in the natural agencies of societarian evolution. Let us advocate the freedom of credit, and condemn interest which springs from the monopolization of credit. Let us tell the people that land is for use and belongs to him who will use it, and brand as a crime its employment for speculative ends which serve only private aggrandizement at the expense of labor. Let us demand free trade in the exchange of commodities, which will eventuate in an exchange of equivalents and the annihilation of profits.
Unless we are willing to go this length, let us cease talking about justice and liberty and setting society aright, for we shall be only trifling if we do. If we want the end, we must want the means.
Anarchy and Rape.
With a plentiful sprinkling of full-face Gothic exclamation points and a series of hysterical shrieks, the “Journal of United Labor,” organ of pious Powderly and pure Litchman, rushes upon Liberty with the inquiry whether “Anarchy asks liberty to ruin little girls.” Liberty is thus questioned simply because it characterized those who petitioned the Massachusetts legislature for a further raise of the “age of consent” to sixteen as “a bevy of impertinent and prudish women.” The answer shall be direct and explicit. Anarchy does not ask liberty to ruin little girls, but it does ask liberty of sexual association with girls already several years past the age of womanhood, equipped by nature with the capacity of maternity, and even acknowledged by the law to be competent to marry and begin the rearing of a family. To hold a man whose association with such a girl has been sanctioned by her free consent and even her ardent desire guilty of the crime of rape and to subject him to life-imprisonment is an outrage to which a whole font of exclamation points would do scant justice. If there are any mothers, as the “Journal of United Labor” pretends, who look upon such an outrage as a protection against outrage, they confess thereby not only their callous disregard of human rights, but the imbecility of their daughters and their own responsibility for the training that has allowed them to grow up in imbecility. “Has Liberty a daughter?” further inquires the “Journal of United Labor.” Why, certainly; Order is Liberty’s daughter, acknowledged as such from the first. “Liberty not the daughter, but the mother, of Order.” But it is needless to raise the “age of consent” on account of Liberty’s daughter. Order fears no seducer. When all daughters have such mothers and all mothers such daughters, the “Journal of United Labor” may continue to regard them as “the worst of womankind,” but the powers of the seducer will be gone, no matter what may be fixed as the “age of consent.” Because Liberty holds this opinion and expresses it, Powderly and Litchman profess to consider her a “disgrace to the press of America.” Really they do not so look upon her, but they are very anxious to win popular approval by pandering to popular prejudices, and so they took advantage of the opportunity which Liberty’s words gave them to pose as champions of outraged virtue while endeavoring to identify Anarchism with wholesale rape of the innocents.
Is Art Independent of Truth?
Colonel Ingersoll has an article in the “North American Review” on “Art and Morality,” in which he attempts to sustain the doctrine of “art for art’s sake.” But all that he succeeds in showing is that the highest art does not employ didactic methods, which no sensible opponent of “art for art’s sake” ever dreamed of denying. To say that art does not employ didactic methods is a very different thing from saying that art is independent of truth. Yet Colonel Ingersoll seems to regard these statements as equivalents, and thinks that in establishing one he establishes the other. “Art,” he says, “is not a sermon.” Very true; but all good art and all good sermons have a common foundation in truth. The difference between them is that one teaches truth didactically, while the other teaches it artistically. One constructs an argument, the other paints a picture. One appeals to the reason, the other to the imagination. But truth is their common object. For knowledge of truth is essential to human happiness, and human happiness is the end and aim of art and sermons and all other works of man whatsoever. Hence that art is bad art and that sermon a bad sermon which teaches a lie, which promulgates an error, which lends external allurement and fleeting attraction to that which is internally rotten and eternally repulsive. Colonel Ingersoll gives away his whole case when he adds that “art accomplishes by indirection.” Accomplishes what? Not, of course, that which Colonel Ingersoll rightly considers its immediate purpose,— the kindling of the imagination,— for to accomplish the same thing immediately and indirectly is a contradiction. It must be, then, its indirect purpose that it accomplishes by indirection. And what is its indirect purpose? Colonel Ingersoll tells us when he says that “the beautiful refines” and that “the perfect in art suggests the perfect in conduct.” If the accomplishment of the perfect in conduct is not the teaching of a lesson, what is it? Yet the object of Colonel Ingersoll’s paper is to deny that teaching is any part of the function of art.
The Detroit “Advance” criticises Comrade Labadie’s division of monopolies into three,— land, money, and machinery,— by suggesting that, inasmuch as money is “a tool of exchange” and a tool is a machine, the divisions had better be reduced to two,— land and machinery. Once started in this line of reasoning, why does not the “Advance” pursue it to the end? As money is a tool of exchange, so land is a tool of production, and, both land and money being machines, the monopoly of machinery covers the ground. There seems to be no flaw in the “Advance’s” logic, but does it not come under the head of what my correspondent, John Beverley Robinson, calls “verbal criticism”? A more substantial and practical criticism would discard machinery from Labadie’s classification, for — setting aside the patent monopoly, to which Labadie presumably does not refer — there is no direct monopoly of machinery, its concentration in a few hands growing out of the money monopoly.
The Chicago “Labor Enquirer” advertises for “a reform that will increase the laborer’s wages to the full amount of his product, and not decrease the income of landlords and capitalists.” Here’s a chance for George Gunton, author of “Wealth and Progress.” He claims to be able to supply such an article. When he has proved its efficacy, we may safely neglect to sew up any holes we may find in our pockets.
Anarchy in the Intention.
Dear Comrade Tucker:
Your reply to the fourth question (in No. 115) of my whilom neighbor Blodgett, as to the influences that may be consistently employed by Anarchists to induce others to live as seems to them best, brute force being excluded, recalls to my mind the problem which met me when I first became an Anarchist: What forces can I now consistently employ to influence my fellows?
Before that epoch in my career, I had been, like Mr. Blodgett, a paternalist, believing that the “good” and the “wise” had a divine right to take care of their “wicked” and “foolish” neighbors by whatever means came handy. And having, of course, no doubts of my own goodness and wisdom, I was very busy and important in my self-elected office of brother's-keeper. After my conversion, the above question came up, therefore, as one fundamentally important in theory and practice.
The first decision I came to in the matter was that in affairs of self-defence all influences and forces, including brute force and deceit, were admissible; their position in the scale of practice to be established in accordance with their relative efficiency in securing the desired end, and at the same time avoiding injurious reactions to the user. This decision I included as an understood exception in all after decisions to which it would apply.
The idea that all compulsion must be excluded from human relations, except for defensive purposes purely, being thus firmly fixed in my mind, I applied it to all my social conduct. I decided that all “brute force” or “physical force,” military, legal, or autocratic, must be excluded from any scheme I might propose or attempt to execute for human benefit. Physical force being decided against, the investigation assumed in my thought the attitude given it by your interrogator. That is, I wished to know if any of the other influences which I might naturally employ were non-invasive,— Anarchistic. I used my eyes, and ransacked the stores that experience had garnered in my memory, and came to the conclusion that the freest individuals did everything under the sanction of their intelligence, in accordance with the facts present to their consciousness and held in their memory. I observed, however, that most individuals held in their mental storehouses passions, appetites, impulses, and instincts, that were, mainly, not the result of their own experience, or of any deliberate decision on their part, but an inheritance from ancestors, and a product of the environment within which those ancestors lived. And I found that it was perfectly possible for these passional instincts (under favorable conditions) to overthrow the intellectual decisions of the individual in which they resided, and very common for them to pervert them. Peculiarly true was this of women, in whom, as a sex, these passional instincts predominated; of children, in whom the intellectual decisions founded on personal experience were necessarily few and weak from want of practice; and of a majority of men of untrained and undeveloped reason. I knew it was perfectly possible for a skilful player upon human instruments to so call out, work upon, and combine the action and exaggerate the usual force of these passions as to overthrow (in such susceptible subjects as I have above referred to) the influence of the reason, capture the will, and lead them into a slavery as complete as physical force could ever establish; oftentimes more complete.
In view of all this, I decided, first, that I had a perfect right to respectfully and unobtrusively present facts as I saw them to others, and suggest methods of conduct, leaving them perfectly free to accept or reject, for in that case, if influenced, it would be at their own option, and by force of what appeared to us all as truth alone; but, secondly, that all such passional subjugation as I have above described, I could not employ and retain my Anarchism. This passional subjugation, for lack of a better term, I called over-persuasion, and classed it among the powers of Tyranny; for I thought I could perceive that such a power was everywhere intentionally and consciously wielded by the crafty and unscrupulous to the exploitation of the unsuspicious. Not that I rejected the normal exercise of kindness, gratitude, food-appetite, sex-magnetism, etc.; but I considered that the intentional use of any of them to a degree capable of displacing the independent equipoise of others, and with the purpose of subjecting them to my will, no matter how benevolent my intentions toward them might appear to be, would be invasive and Archistic.
Thus, in the matter of women: If I desired the love of some woman whose acquaintance I might have made, and it became apparent to me that by a certain combination and operation of emotional influences, mesmeric or ordinary, I could suspend all resistive action from her intellect, and render her passionally responsive, or at least non-resistive to my suit, if I had the least reason to suppose that her calmer decisions would be against me, I should have no permission from Anarchism to use such power, or to take advantage of it, had I thoughtlessly employed it. Not only that, but as a consistent Anarchist, jealous of equal liberty, it would be my place, if, from any cause, a woman manifested a passional attraction toward me which I knew her best thought condemned, to recall her to that condemnation, and assist her to abide by it. For the true Anarchist realizes that his safety consists in the cultivation of a most jealous spirit of intelligent independence in all his associates; punctilious alike in matters small as in matters great, in matters of persuasion as in matters of compulsion.
I mention this particularly here, because there are many professed free lovers who feel that, if they refrain from physical and legal force in their relations with women, all the finer and more subtile forces are justifiably at their disposal. Yet such men are usually perfectly aware that there are certain times and seasons when the average woman of today, with her undeveloped intellect and predominant emotionalism, is as helpless before the exhibition of intense and skilfully directed sexual passion as a charmed bird. Undoubtedly proper and practical sexual education would enable such women to rise superior to all such fascinations, but nowadays no such education exists, and the man of honor has a delicate task before him in the conduct of his affectional relations. So, Comrade, had Mr. Blodgett propounded to me his fourth question, you perceive I could not, with you, have answered it with an unqualified “Yes.”
And as to the “influences” you specify,— are you not liable to be misunderstood?
By the influence of reason most people understand only a skilfully-planned, ex parte arrangement of facts to bolster up a pet theory. How persuasions and attractions may be Archistically used, I have already, I trust, to some extent, explained. The newspapers of today afford an “education” that is manifestly Archistic, both in its intention and its results. Public opinion and social ostracism are continually used to undermine liberty or to smother it. And even example, innocent as it usually is, may be thus employed.
To make a large matter small, I have concluded that the beginning of practical Anarchy is Anarchy in the intention; and that to make intentional use of any force or influence, no matter how invisible, intangible, fine, subtile, or indirect it may be, to disturb the non-invasive, intelligent free choice and actions of others is invasion. I have even concluded that to press knowledge upon those who preferred ignorance, and advice, teachings, or suggestions of any kind upon those unwilling to receive them, were violations of individual liberty,— of that principle which requires the adaptation of the supply to the demand.
Thus interpreted, Anarchy becomes a moral code; more potent for the pacification and harmonization of human relations and the promotion of social happiness than any other yet proposed.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
[Acts Archistic in the intention are as revolting to me as to Mr. Lloyd. But just as the very acts which are invasive when committed in offence become non-invasive when committed in defence, so those acts which, though in the strict sense within the limits of equal liberty, are Archistic in the intention if employed to govern are stripped even of the Archistic intent if employed simply to restrain. Accordingly those acts about the invasiveness of which there is some question may best be resisted, when kindlier means fail, by acts which, if used with the intent of governing, would be similarly doubtful. I admit the right of my neighbor to blow a cornet at two o’clock in the morning. But if he persists in doing so out of malice towards me, or even in simple disregard of my comfort, I shall exercise my ingenuity in devising a method of making the neighborhood too hot for him without overstepping the limit of my strict and certain rights. In enumerating to Mr. Blodgett some of the methods of influencing conduct which are compatible with Anarchy I did not mean to convey an idea that all are equally good or equally well-fitted to any circumstances that may arise. I think that Comrade Lloyd slanders “most people” when he attributes to them such a base conception of the influence of reason as “a skilfully-planned ex parte arrangement of facts to bolster up a pet theory.” I have seldom met such a conception outside the society of pettifogging lawyers. By the influence of reason I mean substantially that respectful and unobtrusive presentation of facts and arguments which my comrade so well describes. — Editor Liberty.]
Egoism and Selfishness.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Referring to the letter by G. B. Prescott, Jr., in No. 117, I would say that, if he declares that he has no purpose in writing except his own gratification, I shall not contest his statement. The distinction which he regards as irrational is to me as necessary as the words process and aim. If Mr. Prescott fully concentrates his thought upon any work, he is acting out self and gratifying self without thinking of self. This is one phase of Egoism. Mr. Prescott’s sentence beginning, “To say that a man need only know ——— ” is confused, and does not recite correctly. The next sentence beginning, “To reflect before acting ——— ” states a negative truism never controverted by me or anyone that I know of. If Mr. Prescott cannot do better than to infer and state by implication that I had held forth that “to reflect before acting” implies studied benefit to self and harm to others, I am sorry for Mr. Prescott’s understanding. Certainly retaliation is as sudden as generosity, or as often sudden. Who said that generosity was the only sudden impulse? Who said that generosity was only sudden, and not also persistent and studied? I defined my term Egoism; Mr. Prescott might define his term “selfish.” Egoism, as I use the word, includes generous and ungenerous desires and conduct. It will be admitted that ungenerous is different from generous. The word “selfish” is one which is commonly used as a synonym for “ungenerous.” When, therefore, a writer says that “generous impulses are selfish desires,” it might be well for him to explain whether or not he means that “generous impulses” are instinctive error, and for him to define what he means by “selfish.” That termination ish may imply disparagement. It is worse than useless to substitute selfishness for Egoism, unless “selfishness” is defined by those who use it. As Mr. Tucker said in answer to Mr. Blodgett, “criticism of the Anarchistic idea which does not consider Anarchistic definitions is futile.” It is thus that criticisms upon Egoism have been futile. Egoism is not merely an idea. It is a fact,— the force of a man untrammelled by superstition. It may be more or less generous or ungenerous; thus he may be called selfish or unselfish in the common speech. He may be more or less impulsive, more or less deliberate and reflecting. He may so feel and act as to be called very dutiful, but the Egoist relation to all objects is conditioned quite differently from that of the mentally unfree man. If he cares for others, it is not because he is taught that it is his “duty,” — a teaching which puts a fetter in place of attraction; but it is because he is built that way, and this he knows.
Statesmen’s Source of Inspiration.
I commend the following, reprinted from the editorial columns of the New York “Herald,” to the attention of the “better classes,” who, in their venomous talk about the “Chicago assassins,” never fail to characterize their “conspiracy” against the blessings of “law and order” as the product of the influence of the “fumes of beer and tobacco.” It also contains a lesson for those of the “lower classes” who cannot see that life would be worth living in the absence of government, which alone secures them life, liberty, protection, and all other elements of happiness.
Here are two companion pictures which our temperance friends would do well to hang up:
Whiskey and the Rebellion.
I was in the Congress preceding the war. It was whiskey in the morning,— the morning cocktail,— a Congress of whiskey drinkers. Then whiskey all day; whiskey and gambling all night. Drinks before Congress opened its morning session, drinks before it adjourned. The atmosphere was redolent with whiskey,— nervous excitement seeking relief in whiskey, mid whiskey adding to nervous excitement. Yes, the Rebellion was launched in whiskey. If the French Assembly were to drink some morning one-half the whiskey consumed in any one day by that Congress, France would declare war against Germany in twenty minutes. — Gen. Daniel E. Sickles.
Brandy, with “Blood and Iron.”
He began with reluctance, as if forced to speak against his will and judgment, but he occasionally showed his old fiery energy. He spoke from notes, but seldom referred to them. Beside him stood a tumbler of brandy and water, and he drank the contents of three tumblers in the first half-hour; then, tapping impatiently on his half-empty glass, he had it filled up with soda water. The next glass was again too strong, so one of the cabinet ministers attempted to replace the absent servant. He mixed the grog, and Bismarck touted it, but said, emphatically: “That is a horrible mixture.” — Herald report of Bismarck’s speech.
And this in the latter part of the brilliant nineteenth century, when civilization is at its zenith and over the universal earth is preached the gospel of peace and good will.
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. B. Tucker.
Contrary to the usual practice of writers who construct a drama from their novels, the author has constructed a novel from his drama.
This is at least original. It is also easier and safer. The Duval soup is made more easily than the Liebig essence. A play is a work of concentration; a book, a work of elaboration. The largest and often the best part of a drama is not put upon the stage, but a book has no “behind the scenes.’ The volume gives the author more license, space, and time than the theatre, and, for good as well as evil, the author profits by it.
Thus the drama of the “Rag-Picker is necessarily only an act, an episode, in the life of Father Jean. The novel of the “Rag-Picker” shows his entire life. The drama is only a picture; the novel is a panorama. The author presents therefore a complete panorama of Paris during the past century, not, like romanticism and its son, naturalism, simply to astound, clutch, and pocket, but to teach, elevate, and moralize; not art for art and gold, but art for man and right,— Socialistic art.
What a man of my time has had an opportunity to see is unprecedented. All the sovereigns of the old world, kings, priests, and masters, giving place to the new sovereign, the People of Paris.
Now, Paris has always brought luck to authors, whether dramatists or novelists. The two greatest popular successes of the epoch have been, in fact if not in right, as a novel, “The Mysteries of Paris,” and as a drama, “The Rag-Picker of Paris.”
If, then, hampered by the limits of the footlights, the author nevertheless has been able, by dint of condensation, to create a legendary type, he has had ground to hope that with full liberty of action he might make a novel as successful as the drama, according to the axiom that “he who can do more can do less.”
The only danger to be feared was what is called the bis in idem. Precedents pointed out the danger. Experience has shown that, in art as in life, one gains nothing by continuing.
To cite only the most striking example, a type no less legendary than the Rag-Picker of Paris, the Barber of Seville, and by a master stronger than I, has been less successful at the end than at the beginning. Figaro’s old age, therefore, might make me anxious as to Jean’s. But the Figaro of the “Marriage,” so nimble, so gay, so lively, grown old, sad, and gloomy, was bound to make a fiasco in the “Guilty Mother.” Taking warning from the error, I have succeeded, in the denouement of my work, in avoiding a contradiction between Jean’s end and his beginning. The death of my hero is the crowning of his life. It is not a re-envelopment, but a development, a final evolution of the personage, a natural and necessary conclusion of the character, a logical and final consequence of the principle that animates this “incarnation of the People of Paris,” the principle of devotion, the highest passion of man, love of humanity.
The Hotel D’Italie.
On Mardi Gras, 1828, the ill-famed quarter of the Place Maubert still deserved its name, having at that time that morbid charm of the old Paris, so dear to romanticism and the plague, to the friends of the picturesque and of typhoid fever, and which the philosopher must leave microbes and the poets of the Restoration to mourn.
It was still, at that period of religious, political, and literary reaction, at that ill-omened and retrogressive period of legitimate royalty and divine right, brought back into France by the invasion, a diminutive of the old Cour des Miracles, a Bohemia restrained by the time, where the degenerate brigands of the nineteenth century continued those of the Middle Ages, just as the dwarfs of the modern fauna continue the giants of the fossil fauna, and the tertiaries the antediluvians.
Nevertheless, they preserved enough of the monster to frighten and shame progress, health, and humanity.
This was therefore the most “conservative” district of Paris, an insult and a challenge to the democratic spirit and to the effort of the Revolution, still rebellious against the law of perfection, deep-rooted in the protecting shadow of the Cathedral, the Hospital, the Conciergerie, the Police Office, and the Morgue, under the favorable influence of those still standing bastilles of every tyranny, physical, mental, and moral, or rather of those nurses of vice and crime, of ignorance and misery, those Catholic and monarchical layers and hatchers of evil, admired and sung by the great deistic bard who doubtless would rather be in Notre Dame with Quasimodo than with Voltaire in the Pantheon.
The natives of this lagging section of Paris, hostile to every Socialistic and hygienic movement, savages arrested in development or fallen back into barbarism, had scarcely anything in common, beyond the fact that they were sans culottes, with the heroes of that once republican quarter, the bare-armed of the year II.
Unclean and unhealthy citizens, malefactors and wretches, they were celebrating on the day mentioned a carnival with nothing Roman about it, a Mardi Gras conceived after their own fashion and in their own image, helots making up for their spiritual and material servitude by saturnalia, for their abstinences by abuses, and for their privations by excesses.
Most of them presented the flattened or depressed types of a menagerie or a galley-crew, more abject or more ferocious than their masks; faces and cries of beasts, language of the prisons, gestures of murder, lessons in kicking and clubbing, obscene or cruel games, rude sports, always ending badly, in quarrels, blows, kicks, butts, and bites (man makes a weapon of everything), and even, thanks to the foreign element, in knife-thrusts; costumes in keeping, the horrible not excluding the grotesque; minstrels of the slaughter-house, turcs de la Courtille, knights of the muck-heap, and other disguises of the same sort, justifying the vile name chienlits.
Such had kings, priests, and their poets, “Genius of Christianity!” made the Sovereign People.
The parish bell had sounded the evening Angelus for these strange believers. It was seven o’clock, the night sharp, bad weather impoverishing the poor, snow falling fast, the violent wind whirling it in eddies or heaping it in flakes which changed their virgin whiteness into mud-puddles beneath the feet of passers-by.
A man in threadbare but stylish clothes, a remnant of opulence, ventured with cautious step into the narrowest and darkest alley of the Rue Galande, and then stopped, undecided, frightened, repelled even by the odious aspect of the place.
The cracked ruins of this infected alley, as dangerous as they were repulsive, threatened destruction, ready to break into fragments under the weight of their overloaded stories; the dirty and reddish walls, covered with a congenial rough coat, reeking with blood and wine, were shedding leprous scales, sweating gangrene, and betraying internal vice, as skin diseases betoken an organic disorder. The cracked and dim window-panes, strengthened by strips of paper, were covered with an opaque layer of dirt which served as a curtain for the mysteries of the Bacchuses and Venuses of the Faubourg Saint-Marcel.
A stream, the little Seine of this conserved Paris, received in its bed all the tributary refuse, all the waste-laden affluents, of this dirty swarm, reflecting in its viscous lakes the yellow gleams of the oil-lamps. Rags in the windows, rubbish in the doorways. In the air, vapors of the frying-pan, odors of tobacco, alcohol and wine drunk and given up again, tainted the atmosphere with a fetid and injurious steam, which offended all the senses and turned the stomach.
The base has its degrees, and, among the dens or lairs of this sinister alley, the ugliest and most suspicious, the refuge of the worst outcasts, was that which was called, by an abominable euphemism, the Hotel d’Italie, a master-piece of local color, a triumph of art for art’s sake.
The man stopped short before this furnished lodging-house, a well-known shelter for the fallen of every race and of every vice. And as if he had found what he sought, he read the sign painted in black letters on a ground glass lantern: Lodging here by the night, 2 cents.
His face was lighted with a pale light by the smoky wick which flickered in the transparency.
Perhaps he was thirty years old; his features, contracted and even convulsed with disgust, with horror, with humiliation, with regrets if not with remorse, with every sort of feeling except pity, did not lack distinction or culture.
But nature and second nature, habit, had surely set the stamp of original, hereditary, and cultivated vice upon this very proper face. The eye, that window of the soul, furtive and false, with a pupil too large for the white, became ferocious when fixed, like a feline’s. The pointed ear was indicative of the same species. The nose or curved beak, the raised chin, the small mouth, and the sharp nails were no less carnivorous. There was a beast of prey in this man of the world.
Of what world?
To be continued.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 119.
He opened his lips to question her; but, contracting her forehead, going from exaggerated, immoderate satisfaction to increasing wrath, Lady Ellen was now muttering streams of imprecations which she stifled at times under her closed fists applied to her teeth and which she bit in her sudden frenzies.
Often, in the wanderings of her disgraceful flight, she had been beset by a similar commotion, caused by the idea of Marian and Richard, agonizing together and probably in the embrace of their passion at last gratified.
Vainly she tried to delude herself, to represent to herself the virtue of her rival triumphing over the entreaties of Bradwell, and Bradwell himself, in the presence of his father’s corpse and in his state of mind overwhelmed with penitence, incapable of obeying the impulse of his ardent love too long repelled; she could not succeed.
The vision of their embraces would force itself on her: at the moment of dyings asphyxiated, without power to struggle, Marian, in spite of her chastity, had abandoned herself in Richard’s arms, and he had been unable to resist. The fixed idea which was implanted in the intoxicated brain of the Duchess was to go at once, without delay, to Cumslen-Park, to find among the rubbish the calcined remains of the lovers, to separate them, stamp on them sacrilegiously, and scatter their cursed bones.
She stood staggering, her arms raised and lowered impetuously, tracing on the whiteness of the soil huge and fantastic shapes, and she imagined herself speaking loudly, volubly, while the tumult of her delirious thoughts escaped from her unmanageable and feeble lips only in incoherent, abrupt, stammering phrases, terminated by harsh cries, idiotic sneers, hiccoughy syllables, of which Treor could not get the sense, or even the exact sound.
A foolish wandering which he had too long permitted to delay him, and resolutely, this time, he made a movement of retreat so much the more prompt and decided as his strained ear perceived now in the distance a confused noise of horsemen coming at a trot in their direction.
Quick! if he wished to escape, to warn Paddy and Edith, who were, doubtless, uneasy at his absence, and who might arrive at any moment.
Roughly the Duchess caught hold of him:
“Ah I no, you will not go”! . . .
Articulating her words almost clearly, she continued to laugh, with a laugh more malicious than stupid, which disturbed Treor and made him turn again towards her instead of pushing her away. Clinging more firmly to the clothes of the old man, and hanging on his arm, she went on, in a wild way:
“Save yourself . . . abandon me . . . oh, no! . . . You see that I have need of your aid, of your help to drag me . . . down there . . . Could I, even with all my hatred, reach there alone? I should fall again . . . for the last time, without having had the last, wild joy of separating them, preserving in my two-fold and terrible agony the vision of their clasp ... of their lips united ... I cannot bear that . . . but answer me, then . . . you understand me perfectly ... I can not bear that. . . .”
She shook him furiously, her face convulsed with rage, blazing with jealousy, haughty and implacable; once more, in spite of her rags and filth, the proud, redoubtable Duchess.
He was drinking in her bitter words, his mind filled with a sudden suspicion; and, dreading that she might become silent, that, plunged again into stupefaction and torpor, she might retain eternally between her lips the horrible and mysterious revelation of which he had an anxious and eager presentiment, he questioned her.
“Conduct you. . . . where?”
She looked long at him, as if this anxious voice had awakened in her the world of her recollections slumbering under her forehead, which she rubbed with a mechanical movement, her brow contracted in a useless effort of memory, her eyes opened wide, her mouth yawning. Treor was afraid that, half recognizing him, she would change her mind or tone, and he insisted, grinding nervously her wrists between his shrivelled fingers:
“Finish . . . . whom do you wish to separate?”
Certainly this voice troubled her, almost terrified her, especially with this display of violence which the old man added to it.
Misery! she was still silent! Ah! by what power, what subterfuge could he draw from her the rest of her sentence?
“Separate, whom?” . . . . resumed Treor. And suddenly struck with a ray of light, railing at himself for not having more quickly guessed the commencement of an enigma that was so easy, so evident, he exclaimed:
“Richard, is it not? Richard and. . . .”
His temples wet with sweat, his body shivering, it was his turn to check himself, frozen with terror, not daring to pronounce this name which rose to his throat immediately after that of Bradwell, but which his brain as well as his tongue repulsed with indignation and horror, and which Ellen at last called out in his face! “Richard. . . . and Marian! . . . yes, yes, your granddaughter, Treor!”
“Wretch! . . . you lie!”. . . .
Standing erect again, triumphal in her hatred, eluding the spring of Treor ready to rush upon her, she had audaciously seized him, and, in spite of his resistance, held him, obliging him to submit to the volley of her cynical avowals, her invectives, her insults; the intoxication which, just before, prostrated her, now doubling her forces as it excited her brain confused with rage.
“Separate Richard and Marian. . . . Yes! for the Irish girl and the Englishman are dead in each other’s arms.”
“Imposture!” repeated Treor, suffocating, incapable of a more explicit protestation.
“You do not ask how it is that I am here,” replied Ellen; “it is because Marian came, for the love of Sir Bradwell, to deliver us. . . . and I shut her in in my lace. . . . The courageous virgin contended for my lover with me. . . I yielded him to her. — Ah! ah! you threw in my face the shame of my adultery. . . well! and your granddaughter who prostitutes herself to the enemy, do you think her ignominy less deep?”
“Away with you! I will crush you, serpent.” . . .
But she held him firmly and went on:
“I lighted the fire to illuminate their nuptials!”
“Infamous wretch!” continued Treor.
She even thought of rousing again the insults of the old man, responding to him only by furious shouts of laughter, and, excited still more by the struggle which she had to carry on, while speaking, with the old man, quite beside himself with the boldly evoked vision of Marian and Bradwell, she uttered in Treor’s face obscene calumnies about the young girl, soiling with filthy details her death and that of Richard.
“You lie! you lie! She died a sinless virgin!”
“Come, then, to the castle. . . . and we shall find, mingled, embracing, the bones of their corpses.” . . .
“Enough! . . . or my old fingers will find the power at last to strangle in your throat your base blasphemies.”
“That’s right, resume your trade of executioner.” . . . .
“No, of judge.”
Leaving in Ellen’s finger-nails scraps of flesh, his hands, extricated from the grasp of the Duchess, clutched frightfully the delicate neck of the young woman, and, bending her at the same time towards the ground, his face perfectly livid, he said with a calm voice:
“Die; die on your knees.” . . . .
Deaf to all other sounds than Ellen’s curses, he was disturbed neither by the gallop of an English body of troops bounding upon him at full speed, nor by the cry of alarm which Paddy and Edith, attracted by the noise, gave as they came hastily to his rescue.
What did it matter to him; grimacing, purple, Ellen was dying, but not quickly enough, because Treor’s fingers, benumbed by the icy cold, could not give the vice-like grip that was needful . . . . and suddenly a discharge from the red soldiers drew a stifled imprecation from the old man. A ball broke his arm, obliging him to release the throat of the Duchess, who, falling down, rescued once more, breathed the air in a convulsive spasm.
“Treor and his inseparables!” said the officer, Sir Edward Walpole, inspecting disdainfully, between his blinking eye-lids, the group standing in the middle of the road; “their account, decided on a long time ago, will drag no longer. Present.” . . . . .
“Long live Ireland!”
All three, Paddy, Edith, and Treor, responded by this cry to the ironical command of the lieutenant, and the sentiment of patriotism, overruling in the old man all other personal anxiety, hushing his hatred without extinguishing it, he let the Duchess rise, while, without a line of his face betraying his suffering, he crossed his broken arm under the good one, and proudly eyed the soldiers from head to foot, astonished that they did not fire.
But Sir Edward Walpole was delaying the execution with a purpose, and, summoning the mother of the deserter Michael, he said:
“You, woman, separate from the rest. . . . Sir Newington, God has his soul, condemned you to a life more woful than death. The wish of the deceased shall be respected!”
And, as Edith did not move, inert, but with a rebellious face, he repeated his order, irritated, smacking his tongue on his palate; and, still disobeyed, two men, at a sign from him, approached the old woman, bending from their saddles, seized her each by a shoulder, and violently separated her from her friends, whom the kicking of the horses prevented from holding her.
“Now, fire!” ordered Sir Walpole, in a hurry to finish, and the fingers of the Britons pressed the chilled triggers of their rifles, at the same time that the horses, stung by the cold, snorted grievously and pawed the ground, shivering under their long winter hair.
“Long live Ireland!” began again the two conquered ones, but the cry was not finished, only the first syllable of the sacred name of the country being carried away by the north wind with their last sigh. And their mouths remaining wide open in this supreme shout of love, their eyes illumined by furtive glimpses of near dawnings, their arms stretched out in the gesture of heroes leaving for battle, they preserved on the bloody earth such admirable, sublime faces of patriots that Sir Edward, moved in spite of himself, saluted their expiring and smoking bodies.
A stupid sneer from the Duchess at this avenging spectacle made him turn his head in her direction, and, really offended, he upbraided the cynical woman who permitted herself this scandalous explosion of joy; for, unless she were mad, she certainly deserved a lashing.
He turned his horse towards her, and, as she did not answer, he pushed her with the pommel of his sword; but she did not reply or seem to feel the blow.
With the point of his sword he uncovered the features concealed under the dishevelled hair, and recognized, with an intense stupor, Lady Ellen, the dazzling Duchess, for whom his fancy had once been kindled at Cumslen-Park.
“My lady!” he called, his heart seized with an extreme anguish.
Continuing to pierce him with a frightful fixedness, the dilated pupil of the Duchess veiled itself under a glassy steam, and the sneering grin of the locked jaws assumed a ghastly rigidity.
“Dead!” said Walpole, in terror.
A solemn silence reigned, interrupted only by the martial neighing of the horses; and, spectral in the clear night, standiug close to the two martyrs whose blood, a supreme sacrifice, was smoking towards the limpid heavens, Edith, with her monotonous and grave voice, sending an irrepressible shudder through the frames of the English, pronounced these words:
“Dead! . . . of cold, of hunger. . . . like an Irishwoman!”
Love, Marriage, and Divorce,
And the Sovereignty of the Individual.
Henry James, Horace Greeley, and Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Continued from No. 109.
Mr. Greeley has never been able to see anything in the “Cost Principle” except the fact that it abolishes interest on money, and hence he begins at once by opposing it. He has worked hard for his money, and it seems to him a very natural, convenient, and proper thing that that money, so earned, should go on earning more for him while he sleeps. This one consideration settles, with him, the whole question. He does not comprehend in this sublime and simple principle a universal law of equity, which distributes wealth exactly according to Right; reduces all products to the minimum price, thereby immensely augmenting consumption; removes all obstacles to the adjustment of supply and demand; brings all human labor into steady demand; exchanges it for exact equivalents; organizes industry; places every human being in his or her appropriate work or function; substitutes universal cooperation in the place of universal antagonism; renders practicable the economies of the large scale, and the division of labor in every department; houses the whole people in palaces, surrounds them with luxury and refinement, and hundred-folds the wealth of the world. Such manifold and magnificent results from a simple change in the method of conducting ordinary trade transcend the capacity of Mr. Greeley and the philosophers of the “Tribune”; while there are now boys, and girls too, not twelve years of age, who can scientifically demonstrate these results as legitimate and certain, and can, by the aid of this key, solve with facility all the problems of political economy with a clearness, comprehensiveness, and precision never dreamed of by Say, Adam Smith, or Ricardo.
Mr. Greeley is, undoubtedly, a man of benevolence. He is profusely, perhaps even foolishly, lavish, as he begins, doubtless, himself to think, in his expenditures for the relief of suffering, and for random experiments, without system, or coherent design, for the improvement of the condition of mankind. He is benevolent, too, chiefly in the lower and material range of human affairs. His thought rises no higher, apparently, than supplying men with food for the body, raiment, and shelter. At most he aspires after so much education as will enable them “to cipher” and make profit. He has no experience of, no sympathy with, and no ability to conceive that immense hunger of the soul which craves, and will have, despite all the conventionalities of the universe, the gratification of spiritual affinities, the congenial atmosphere of loving hearts. The explosive power of a grand passion is all Greek to him. So of all the delicate and more attenuated sentiment which forms the exquisite aroma of human society. He understands best, and appreciates most, the coarse, material realities of life. Purely mental exercitation is repugnant to him.
In this latter characteristic Mr. Greeley is the exact antipodes of Mr. James. This latter gentleman tends powerfully toward metaphysical subtleties and spiritual entities, until he is completely lifted off the solid earth, and loses all knowledge of practical things. The latter is of the class of purely ideal reformers, men who will lounge at their ease upon damask sofas and dream of a harmonic and beautiful world to be created hereafter, while they would be probably the very last to whom the earnest worker, in any branch of human concerns, could resort for aid with any prospect of success. He hates actual reform and reformers, and regards benevolence as a disease.
With the points of difference above indicated, the two men we are now comparing are alike in the fact that within their respective and opposite spheres their vision is kaleidoscopic. This is the word to describe them. It is not a microscope, nor a telescope, nor the healthy natural eye which they employ in the examination of a subject. Broken fragments of prejudice reflect the light at a thousand angles of incidence, producing effects which, in the earthy world of Mr. Greeley, are dull and sombre and commonplace, and in the ethereal region inhabited by Mr. James, splendid, sparkling, and beautiful. Neither can be relied on as a guide to anything exact or true. Both are suggestive, inspiring, and disappointing. Neither is a whole man, and the halves which they do present are not homogeneous and consistent. Mr. Greeley would have been greatly improved in exactitude and taste by a mathematical and classical, or even a legal, training; Mr. James, on the contrary, by an education in a workshop or a counting-house, or the scramble of political life, anything which would have related him to the actual world around him. Both are superior men, measured by comparison with the still smaller fragments of men which compose the mass of society in its present state of social chaos; both are exceedingly small men, measured by the ideal one may form of integral and well-developed manhood; mens sana in corpore sano. Let not the selfish egotist, whose highest thought has never risen to the well-being of mankind in any shape, “chuckle” over this criticism upon Horace Greeley, a man who compares with him as “Hyperion to a Satyr,” a man who has done something, and attempted much, with powerful endeavor and honest enthusiasm, for the elevation of humanity. The criticism is not dictated by any disposition to depreciate such a man, but only to ascertain the fitnesses and the unfitnesses of things. How far can the great and already powerful and ever-growing party of American social reformers or progressives look to Horace Greeley as a competent conductor through the labyrinth of problems which the complicated and obviously vicious constitution of society, resting as a basis upon the depression, wretchedness, and semi-barbarism of the masses of the people, presents to them for resolution. My answer is, Not at all.
To be continued.
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.