“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.
That witty and philosophical tramp, “Radical Jack,” who writes for the Chicago “Labor Enquirer,” addresses the following question to Frank Foster, Henry George, Lawrence Gronlund, and other social reformers: “What would be the first measures you would adopt if you were the dictator of the world?” A very pertinent and sensible question when addressed to those who expect to achieve the millennium by sovereign decree, and of such are all, save one, of those whom “Radical Jack” addresses. The single exception is myself, an Anarchist; and to ask such a question of an Anarchist is manifest absurdity. Why, the first, and necessarily the last, act of mine as the dictator of the world would be to sentence myself to the gallows.
The last “Freidenker” contains a report of a lecture in opposition to Anarchy and Socialism which its editor, C. H. Boppe, delivered recently before a Milwaukee audience. The first two paragraphs convinced me that it would be a pure waste of valuable time to read the rest of the lecture. The first sentence opens with the remarkable declaration that the Anarchists recognize in Jean Jacques Rousseau one of the founders of their school of thought, and another closes with the assertion that, in assuming a certain position, Rousseau became “a Communist and an Anarchist.” Now it is my habit to reason with well-meaning people whose ignorance leads them to talk nonsense upon the subject of Anarchism, and to advise them to go, inform themselves, and sin no more. But when a liberal editor, who knows that he knows nothing about the subject of his lecture, and who knows also that his profound ignorance cannot remain a secret to those who do know, has the audacity to appear in the part of a critic and judge, it only remains to paraphrase that brilliant aphorism of Ludwig Borne, thus: Every man has undoubtedly the right to make a fool of himself, but Liberal critics of Anarchy abuse that right.
The London “Commonweal,” congratulating “Jus” upon its break with the Liberty and Property Defence League, says: “An honest enemy is the very thing that we need most, and if ‘Jus’ can only cut loose from the Lords of Land and Lust, and stand out squarely upon Individualist lines, pandering to no man’s pride and paltering to no man’s prejudice, it will receive no heartier welcome than from the enemy it seeks to oppose.” Pure hypocrisy this. Auberon Herbert seems to fill this bill, but I have never seen any hearty welcome extended to his views by the “Commonweal” or the State Socialistic press of England. On the contrary, the attitude of these papers towards him, to the best of my judgment at this distance, has been one of almost contemptuous neglect. And Liberty, which has never been connected with the Lords of Land and Lust, which has always championed the most extreme Individualism without regard to pride or prejudice, and which by the inherent weight of its arguments has slowly established a propaganda whose ramifications penetrate to the remote corners of the earth, does not remember to have received the smallest word of recognition from the “Commonweal.” Not that it courts such. It simply establishes the fact in order to expose the insincerity of the “Commonweal’s” professions in regard to “Jus.”
The last three meetings of the Anarchists’ Club were addressed respectively by A. H. Simpson, Mrs. Lucy E. Parsons, and George Schumm, Mr. Simpson discussing the question whether our fathers understood liberty, Mrs. Parsons the Chicago executions, and Mr. Schumm the Anarchistic solution of the labor problem. All were largely attended, especially the second, which, besides being commemorative of the birth of the Paris Commune, presented Mrs. Parsons for the first time to a Boston audience. The hall was packed to the doors, and many were turned away. The next meeting will be held in Codman Hall, 176 Tremont Street, on Sunday, April 22, at half past two o’clock, and will be addressed by Victor Yarros, who will review the economic heresies of George Gunton and the eight-hour philosophy as set forth in Gunton’s “Wealth and Progress.” In another column Mr. Yarros, with his usual keenness, disposes of certain secondary considerations brought forward by men like Comrade Labadie in support of the short-hours movement as an educational rather than an economic measure; in his coming lecture he will examine the position of those bold but shortsighted philosophers who look upon short hours as the key to the labor problem. The debates at the Anarchists’ Club meetings are generally, to say the least, vivacious, but on this occasion it is expected that the fur will fly. The eight-hour topic is a very exciting one.
Such a Thing as Enough.
Too much is always more disastrous than none at all, as too much brings contempt for the thing itself and a dulling of the zeal for something else as well.
One of the curses of this country is too much legislation. The man who minds his own business, and in minding it concedes the same right to others, has more friends, more comfort, more success, and more happiness than does he who is constantly slopping over.
Meddlesomeness is inexcusable in individuals, and intolerant and baneful in legislation or law-making for the multitude. Freedom, liberty, and such words are found in dictionaries, but each year marks a decrease of the original article. As a man surcingles or puts a band around a horse, and draws it till he kills the horse or breaks the band, so are the people of this country, by the chain of legislation, denying liberty and paving the way for the clouds of evils that arise from too much law.
In this country it is already a fact that, when a man cannot personally force his ideas into the life of a neighbor, he sets about rigging up a legislative propellant that shall bind the victim, and then, with the help of those who skin on shares or work for fees, pump the objectionable in or draw the milk out.
If you wish an appliance that will shorten the freedom of your neighbor, go to the legislature and have it made,— that is, if there are none already in stock. There are some places on the skin not yet covered by some kind of legislative plaster. A very few breathing pores left open. A few places where the stomach pump of taxation has not been inserted for the benefit of the inserters, but these spots or places are fast disappearing under the operation of the legislative cauterizer and puncturer.
Here are a few things that could once be done by man which must now be done by law, or with a tether.
A child must not be conceived till a priest or magistrate has had his fee and granted a permit.
The mother of the child cannot be attended by a midwife or physician unless selected by the legislature.
She cannot take medicine that is not prescribed by the legislature, nor can she have her feet or head or body rubbed save by some person to whom the legislature has sold a sheepskin or diploma.
The child must not attend school or study from other books than those set up by law.
The care of the child is natural with its parents or guardians, but legislation steps in and says where the child must and must not go, what amusements it can have, and all this regardless of the rights of the parents to control their children till they pass the equatorial line and engage for themselves.
As he grows, he finds that he cannot kiss a girl, except in conformity to law. That he cannot have a tooth pulled or plugged except by legislation. Cannot eat bread that is not made by legislation. Cannot use butter, gravy, syrup, hair oil, or axle grease on his bread without legislation. That he cannot own cattle without applying to them a legislative brand. That he cannot play billiards, play cards, use tobacco, drink beer, or do chores on the Sabbath without a permit from legislation.
As he becomes a man he learns that he cannot stand a moment in front of another man’s house, enjoy a ride behind his trotting mare, see the belligerent roosters wrangle in the barnyard, get into or out of his place of business, hurrah for Jackson or Blaine, or float a log down stream to a sawmill, without legislation and a red tag of some kind that costs him more or less, paid to the fee snatcher. That he can not practise medicine, sell a work of art, dispose of a book, put an advertisement in a newspaper, buy a ticket at a church fair, guess on the weight of a hog or the number of beans in a bag, grind wheat or have it ground, kill the dog that kills his sheep, get on or off a railway train, establish a drinking fountain, or bury his dead without legislation. That he cannot express his opinion of a public thief, print an account of a lottery, or engage in a cooperative business without legislation.
That he cannot skate with his sweetheart, be free from his wife who has run away with another man, keep a house for the entertainment of travellers, build a bridge across a creek or river, open a highway, pay a note, employ a servant, or settle the estate of a deceased friend or relative without legislation.
That legislation has forbidden him to read a book printed in another country, wear a coat, use a coffee mill, take pills, use a corn plaster, play on a mouth organ, ring a bell, thread a needle, wear jewelry, or use any article, except paupers, made in other countries, without legislation. That he cannot put his business card on the outside of an envelope or wrapper, pay a debt, deposit money in a bank, give an order payable at his own store, circulate printed notes, wear a low-necked shirt, dress in female attire, or turn out on the public highway, without the direction of legislation.
That a person cannot express his ideas of God or man, good or evil, religion or people, without legislation. That he cannot remain on earth or get to heaven without legislation. That he cannot establish a park, or kill hens, or hang a sign over his store door without legislation. That he cannot sell apples, peanuts, shoe strings, or Bibles on the streets without legislation. That he cannot go into another State to sell goods, buy and own a tract of land, insure his life, dispose of short-weight silver dollars, even if we trust in God, without legislation.
Between the legislation and law-making that is going on by heads of families, heads of churches, societies, fashion, manufacturing monopolies, trades unions, Knights of Labor, boycott associations, boards of aldermen, town officials, county officials, State legislatures, Congress, and Almighty God, one is justified in thinking it barely possible that there is already too much of a good thing, and that liberty, freedom of conscience, and self-government are a job lot up for sale as relics, if not already parted with.
And yet, in Congress and in the State legislatures in session last year, nearly thirty thousand new laws were proposed, while the rate of applications for new laws this year indicates that a total of about forty thousand new laws will be asked for, and that thousands of new ones will be obtained. At this rate twenty-five years from now the number of courts in this country will be threefold the present number, and between usury and litigation the man who wants to be honest will be completely crucified, as was Jesus, between two invited thieves.
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. B. Tucker.
The Hotel Crillox.
Continued from No. 121.
Ah! to yield one’s possessions when dying,— death gives the title to the living, say nature and the law,— but to see one’s self succeeded while alive, and by his own fault! That is enough to drive one mad. That is to die twice.
His mistress, this other queen of another carnival festivity, a sylph, a fairy, a pure vision of gauze and roses, was doubtless more beautiful and yet more revolting than the queen of the den of harlots in the Rue Galande. She was a traitor. The one at least wanted, from a feeling of fidelity and savage justice, to avenge her man, the other killed hers.
The charm was broken.
“Impossible,” sobbed the wretch, overwhelmed. “I am not a mask, but a man damned by gaming, ruin, debt, and forgery, insolvent, dishonored, betrayed, accursed! This successor is my creditor. This palace is prison, is shame. I should be ignominiously turned out, or arrested. Ah! better still is liberty!”
For a moment longer the ousted man looked at the windows, before which were passing in confusion, as in a magic dream, all the magnetisms of the ball-room, the couples clasped in the waltz, the golden trays loaded with cut-glass, under the chandeliers streaming with light, and the enchanting orchestra covering all these fairy apparitions with its floods of harmony; and then he threw a farewell, a loud groan of indignation and of anguish, at the echoes of the festival, and resumed his course, with lowered head and haggard eyes, fleeing in shame and rage, pursued by the Nemesis of his ruined life.
“Mauvais biffin!” said an officer stationed at the door. “He is running away with his booty. I am suspicious. Suppose I arrest him?”
And the bloodhound gave chase.
But the rag-picker duke kept on running, and, having a start, distanced his pursuer, and was soon out of reach, sight, and scent, far from the Rue de Lille, striding along the Quai Voltaire, where the noise of his steps was lost in the rushing torrent of the river, whose flow was swollen by the melting snows. Thus he was able to continue his desperate course towards a future which was the consequence and contrast of his past.
The Quai D’Austerlitz.
Still running, lashed like a top by the wind and his emotion, carried away, absorbed, Garousse reached the height of the bridge of Austerlitz.
There, out of breath, in despair, surrendering to fatigue and want, he sank upon a stone bench and took his head in his hands, calling up in his mind his past, present, and future, his grandeur, fortune, friends, and loves, his follies and his fall, everything, in short, even to the last scenes of this carnival soirée.
The night grew colder and colder and darker and darker. At intervals the moon emerged from the clouds which eclipsed it, exhibiting against the background of the horizon, in a dissolving view, the monuments of Paris, palaces and temples, covered with a shroud of snow.
Garousse raised his head to view this dismal scene which answered to his affliction and harmonized with the end of his life. Nature’s mourning penetrated through his eyes to the very bottom of his heart.
“A rag-picker, I! the Duke de Crillon-Garousse,” he exclaimed bitterly. “Enough of such suffering. At least no one recognized me. This misery, this hook, this basket, oh! it is filthy, infamous, impossible. I shall never be reconciled to it after the life that I have led. No, I will not do it; death rather!”
He sprang to his feet with a bound, as if moved by a spring. His mind was made up. He abandoned his basket, threw down his hook, and, with a last gesture, hurled his hat far away. Then, resolutely, he walked to the parapet.
In face of suicide man is a moribund, but a voluntary moribund. Desperate, on the verge of the void, he feels at once the terrors of the agony and the attractions of death. Garousse instinctively allowed himself a respite for this bitter enjoyment, to breathe a last whiff of air, of life, of fright, and of horror.
He lent ear to the splash of the water rolling under the arches of the bridge with gleams which shone with the reflection of the moon and seemed like points of steel bristling to receive him.
The quai was silent and deserted, disturbed only by the distant noise of carriages, the sound of a popular refrain, Forever wine! and the staggering footsteps of a drunken man approaching the bridge.
It was a rag-picker, doubtless, for he carried on his shoulder an old sack made of cotton cloth, in his right hand a hook, and in the other a lantern. Dressed in a ragged blouse, on his head a soiled undress-cap, dirty and wet to the skin, he advanced, insensible to the wind and the rain, contentedly singing and chattering.
At some distance from Garousse, seized by a drunkard’s whim, he began to contemplate the moon shining at its full.
“Ah, old girl! so you’re gettin’ up,” he said to it familiarly and with the faubourg accent. “Goezh without sayin’ that the sun ’zh gone t’bed. The sun and the moon! Ah! ah! what a fine household! When Monsieur get’sh up, Madame goezh t’bed. Misfortune! at that rate if there are ever t’be any little onesh, the comet will have t’step in. Wretches of stars, get away! If it is not shameful for a moon to cross the heavensh ’lone in such weather. You confounded giddy girl, go find your male, with your night-cap, and faster than that. Ash f’me, I will not... Oh! you know very well that you will not s’duce Jean. Away with you! You’re not the girl I love. Thash cert’n!”
And when he had thus barked at the moon, the drunken man, whose open face was beaming with good humor and liquor, came back to his passion and his song:
Forever juice divine!
In it, while life is mine,
I’ll find a source of cheer.
Jean was the name of this robust and hearty man of forty years, a jolly dog of the Faubourg Antoine, broad-backed, bronzed by the open air and by drink, well made, by chance, some child of love, and in good condition in spite of misery, intemperature, and even intemperance, thanks to his out-door life, to Doctor Oxygen, and to carelessness,— an erratic block of Paris. He had the fire and vigor of the country, the sly and Gallic humor of capital, all the beauty of health and especially of good nature, features as large as his heart,— the substance moulds its form,— in snort, the serenity of disinterestedness or of omnipotence, which the ancients called joviality, ab Jove, after the very Father of the Gods, Bacchus included.
By the grace of this divine son of Jupiter’s leg, however, Jean could scarcely stand upon his own. He continued his drunken babble:
“’Sh queer; they say a glass o’ wine sustains. Well, I have drunk more’n fifteen, and I can’t hold m’self up. A child could knock me down. I haven’t drunk ’nough, thash sure. What I need ’sh drop o’ brandy.”
He stumbled over Garousse’s hat, which he picked up with a thrust of his hook and stuffed into his sack.
“Good!” he exclaimed with a shout of joy. “There’sh a beaver for my Sundays.”
Garousse turned round abruptly and saw the drunkard a few steps from him. “Some one coming,” said he. “I must end.”
He rushed towards the parapet, and bestrode it at a bound.
For a moment he remained suspended between the quai and the river, between life and death.
But Jean, with a violent effort, had thrown himself upon Garousse and seized him by the skirt of his coat; then, as the duke fell back upon the ground, he took him around the waist, and, in a comical tone of surprise and sympathy, said:
“Well, friend, where are you going? ’Sh that the way you liquidate?”
“That does not concern you,” cried Garousse, struggling.
“But if you are my fellow,” said Jean, humanely, still holding him, in fear of a second attempt.
“Your fellow! Filthy beast! Go to bed.”
“Thash just what I’ve been tellin’ the moon,” said the imperturbable Jean. “You’re the beast, to go into the water. Man’sh not a toad. If I were not a man, I’d let you jump and fish you out again, alive for five dollars or dead for ten. What fun, hey!”
“Go away! let me go,” resumed Garousse, softened by this good nature; “I have had enough of life. I prefer to die at once rather than die by inches, of hunger.”
“Of what! of what! One dies only of thirst. Come ’n take a drop. ’Sh my treat.”
“No, let me alone, I tell you; it is my idea. I am tired of suffering.”
But in spite of everything Jean dragged him to the stone bench, and began to moralize with his drunken obstinacy.
“There, there,” said he, gently. “Come, tell me your troubles. What is it that disturbs you? Poverty? If thash all, I’ll cure you. But not by water first; on the contrary, by wine.”
And he sang with his hoarse voice:
Of every ill it is the cure.
Then continuing his flow:
“Come, there’sh hope yet. You’re not mad if you like water. Duck, away with you! Just change your drink, and if I don’t save you, Jean’s word for it, we’ll plunge in together and I’ll pay the toll.”
Some carriages went by them, and masqueraders passed in their vicinity.
Garousse, weary of resisting, sank back upon the bench.
“Tick of a drunkard,” he muttered, resignedly. “I must not oppose him. I’ll wait till he goes away.”
The compassionate rag-picker, as if divining his intention, sat down beside him, and resumed his exposition of principles with the effusiveness of intoxication.
“When one has sorrows, my dear man, he must drown ’em; he must drink. But the foam of the grape, the healing draught of Bacchus, a cooling potion. You see, I’ve been through it. I know how you feel. I too was born to be milord,— farce that it is,— despair and kill m’self. Well, I have drunk and saved m’self. When I have drunk, my poverty’sh gone. I have Paris and Bercy. I’m richer ’n happier’n a wholesale wine-merchant. I see everything in beaut’ful colors; all is red and rosy; my rags are velvet, my bones ivory, my old iron bullion, my cotton sack a wicker basket” ....
Jean gave a cry of indignation. He had just observed Garousse’s basket.
“Ah! so you have a basket, you! And more’n that, an elegant one. And new besides. Out upon you, risht’crat! And you complain! Here’sh a pretty fellow,— hash basket ’n wants t’ kill himself. What is it, then, that Mossieu desires? A wax candle p’r’aps t’ light his way and a plated hook t’ pick up his bonds.... and the Bank o’ France in the bargain.”
And crossing his arms, he asked:
“Wha’sh’ll I say, then, I who have only a sack, and not a new one either?”
Coming back to his fixed idea and to his revelry, he exclaimed:
“I’m choking with thirst. I don’t understand why one should kill himself.... and by water too. The deluge, wretch, out upon it! And Noah’s vineyard and the rainbow.... th’ little white, th’ big blue, th’ free red, th’ three-six, Mother Moreau, Father Niquet, and Son Cognac, all th’ cons’lations of life. Out upon you! you’re ungrateful t’ the creator. Do’s I do, rather... Here!”
He handed his flask to Garousse, who refused it with a gesture of disgust.
“Be sens’ble,” insisted Jean, without taking offence. “Drink! Drink cash down or on credit, by th’ glass, by th’ hour, by th’ month, by th’ year, as you can; but drink always and in spite of everything, and you’ll think no more of trouble. You’ll live t’be older’n a patriarch, and fresher ’n more alive ’n Methuselah.... and every day Saint Mardi Gras.”
The drunken man rose, excited by his own spirit, and, as if to fortify precept by example, emptied his flask.
“I who speak t’you,” he continued, in a transport, “see, with a pint o’ brandy in my belly and a quid o’ tobacco in my mouth, the earth can no longer hold me; it has pavements only for me.... and I haven’t ’nough o’ them; I walk zig-zag, backwards and forwards, from one side of the street to the other; I ricochet like a shell; I am th’ equal of the thunder; a wall ’sh not m’ master; I could break a throne, I could stop a train, I could overturn the column. I no logger know anything, either cold or hunger, either pain or death, nothing at all. I live then as I have drunk, full to the brim, and I sing with a heart full of joy:
Forever juice divine!”
Garousse rose in turn, exasperated by impatience, and said in an angry and threatening tone:
“So that is your suicide, you dirty wretch? I prefer mine. Every one to his taste. I like water better than your wine, drunkard. I tell you that I want to die. Make room, or I will kill you.”
He seized his hook, and, disengaging himself from the rag-picker, rushed again toward the parapet.
Jean, staggering and clinging, caught him again.
“Stubborn fellow,” he stammered, all out of breath. “Die! What a principle! And in my presence! Never! ’Pon my honor, it distresses me. Die! But ’sh forbidden. And your duty ash citizen. Glean your country ’s I do, comrade, and come’n pay your share of the drink tax.”
He tried to lead him away towards a closed wine-shop.
To be continued.
Love, Marriage, and Divorce,
And the Sovereignty of the Individual.
Henry James, Horace Greeley, and Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Continued from No. 121.
If the workings of Freedom should prove that Purity in this sense is attainable otherwise, this argument in behalf of Compulsory Marriage fails. On the contrary, if Freedom is forever prohibited hereafter, as it forever has been prohibited heretofore, how s it to be known that such a result would not come of it? One portion of mankind believe that there would, and another that there would not, while the opportunity is refused to submit the question to the test of experiment and fact.
The second point is the care and culture of children. Certainly small boast can be made of the success of mankind hitherto in the practice of that art, when statistics inform us that nearly one half of the whole human family die in infancy! and when nine tenths of the remainder are merely grown up abortions, half made before birth, and worse distorted and perverted by ignorant mismanagement and horrible abuses afterward! Alas! Do children get cared for and reared in the Family arrangement now, with any skill, any true science, any just appreciation of the real nature of that sublime but delicate task, which demands more precise knowledge, more refined instincts, and more prudence and judgment than any other? Do our existing Domestic Institutions commend themselves by their fruits, or are the wholesale infanticides and the dreadful tortures of childhood now prevalent, of a kind, the bare repetition of which will cause the ears of a later and wiser generation to tingle? Is it not possible that our most cherished social usages may be as terrible to them to contemplate as the hecatombs of political murders by the Neapolitan Government are to us?
Suppose now that a future experience should demonstrate the fact, that, of children reared in Unitary Nurseries, conducted by Skilled and Professional Nurses, Matrons, and Physiologists, the mothers – except those engaged by choice in the nursery – being, at most, within reach for the purpose of suckling their infants at given hours, not one in a hundred died during the first years! suppose that, by such an arrangement, the same labor which now requires the time of fifty women, could be so systematized as to occupy no more than that of five, leaving forty-five persons free for productive industry in other departments! suppose that the children so reared grew up with larger frames and sounder constitutions, brighter intellects, livelier affections, and superior faculties in every way; suppose that all this were so obvious and incontestable, that no one ventured to dispute it, and so attractive that hardly any mother would desire or venture to attempt the isolated rearing of her babe, what would become of this second ground upon which the Family Institution is maintained by force of arms, as the sole means of appropriate guardianship for childhood?
The third and last basis of the Family is the protection and maintenance of women themselves. Here again, it does not seem to me that the system in vogue, by which the husband and father earns all the money, and doles it out in charitable pittances to wife and daughters, who are kept as helpless dependents, in ignorance of business and the responsibilities of life, has achieved any decided title to our exalted admiration. The poor stipendiaries of paternal or marital munificence are liable at any time to be thrown upon their own resources, with no resources to be thrown upon. The absence of all prior necessity for the exercise of prevision unfitting them for self-support and protection, and the system affording them none but the most precarious assurances, their liabilities are terrible, and daily experiences are cruel in the extreme. At the best, and while the protection endures, its results are mental imbecility and bodily disease. There is hardly one woman in ten in our midst, who knows, from year’s end to year’s end, what it is to enjoy even tolerable health. The few who, despite the system, attain some development, are tortured by the consciousness and the mortifications of their dependancy, and the perpetual succession of petty annoyances incident to it, of which their lordly companions, self-gratulatory for their own intentions of kindness, are profoundly unconscious. Shut up to the necessity of this continuous and exhausting endurance, wives have the same motives that slaves have for professing contentment, and smile deceitfully while the heart swells indignantly, and the tear trembles in the eye. Man complains habitually of the waywardness and perversity of Woman, and never suspects that he himself, and his own false relations to her, are the key to the thousand apparent contradictions in he deportment and character. The last thing that the husband is likely to know, in marriage as it is, is the real state of the heart that throbs next him as he lays his head upon his own pillow. Woman, as well as the slave, must first be wholly free before she can afford to take the risk to speak freely. She dare not utter boldly her own complaint, and she will even denounce openly, while she prays fervently in secret for the God-speed of the friend who does it for her.
The great lesson for the world to learn is, that human beings do not need to be taken care of. What they do need is, such conditions of Justice, and Freedom, and Friendly Co-operation, that they can take care of themselves. Provided for by another, and subject to his will as the return tribute, they pine, and sicken, and die. This is true equally of Women as of Men; as true of wives as it is of vassals or serfs. Our whole existing marital system is the house of bondage and the slaughter-house of the female sex. Whether its evils are inherent or incidental, whether they belong to the essence or the administration of the Institution, whether they are remediable without or only by means of revolution, are the questions that have now to be discussed.
Suppose, then, that in some future day, under the operation of Equity, and with such provision as has been hinted at for the care of children, Women find it as easy to earn an independent living as Men; and that, by the same arrangement, the expense of rearing a child to the early age at which, by other corresponding arrangements, it is able to earn its own living, is reduced to a minimum – a slight consideration for either parent. Suppose that suggestions of economy have substituted the large unitary edifice for the isolated home, and that, freed by these changes from the care of the nursery and the household, Woman is enabled, even while a mother, to select whatever calling or profession suits her tastes, and pursue it with devotion, or vary it at will; and suppose that, under this system of living, universal health returns to bloom upon her cheek, and that she develops new and unexpected powers of mind, exquisiteness of taste, and charms of person; that, in fine, while relieving the other sex entirely from the responsibility and burden of her support, she proves incontestably her equality with Man in points where it has been denied, and her superiority in a thousand beautiful endowments which Freedom alone has enabled her to discover and exhibit; what, under these circumstances, becomes of this third and last necessity for the maintenance of the Institution of exclusive, and perpetual, and compulsory marriage?
Carry this supposition still farther; assume, for illustration, that in Freedom the tendency to perpetual conjugal partnership should vindicate itself, as supposed by Mr. James, as the Natural Law of the subject; or contrariwise, let it be assumed that a well-ordered Variety in the Love Relations is shown, by experience, to be just as essential to the highest development of the human being, both spiritually and materially, as variety in food, occupation, or amusement; or suppose, to render the case still stronger, that some new and striking pathological fact is discovered and out beyond doubt; for example, that a specific disease, at present a scourge of mankind, like Consumption or Scrofula, is wholly due to the want of certain subtile magnetic influences, which can only come from a more unrestrained contact and Freedom of Association between the sexes. Let us add, that just that Freedom of Contact and Association are found to moderate the passions instead of inflaming them, and so to contribute, in the highest degree, to a general Purity of life and the prevalence of the most fraternal and tender regard. Suppose, again, that Woman, when free, should exhibit an inherent God-given tendency to accept only the noblest and most highly endowed of the opposite sex to be the recipients of her choicest favors, and the sires of her offspring, rejecting the males of a lower degree, as the females of some species of the lower animals (who enjoy the Freedom that Woman does not) are known to do; and that the grand sociatary fact should appear in the result, that, by this means, Nature has provided for an infinitely higher development of the race. Suppose, indeed, finally, that the Freedom of Woman is found, by experience, to have in every way, a healthful, restraining, and elevating influence in the same degree that the Freedom of Man to subjugate her, as in polygamic nations, has had an influence to degrade and deteriorate the race; and that, generally, God and Nature have evidently delegated to Woman the supremacy in the whole affectional realm of human affairs – as they have consigned it to Man in the intellectual – a function she could never begin rightly to perform until first freed herself from the trammels of conventionalism – the false sanctities of superstition and custom. Suppose all this to have been thoroughly well-established both by reason and fact, what then becomes of this last ground of necessity for the Institution of Legal Marriage, or of Marriage at all?
When Purity, in its best sense, should be far better understood, and more prevalent without it than with it, and women and children better protected and provided for, where would be the continued demand for the maintenance of the now sacred and inviolable Family Institution? What, indeed, would render it impossible that the Institution should fall into contempt, as other Institutions, hallowed in former times by equally sacred associations and beautiful idealizations, have done?
Who can foretell that isolated families may not come hereafter to be regarded as hot-beds of selfishness and narrow prejudice against the outside world, separating and destroying the unity of the human race; the same thing as between neighbors, that patriotic prejudices and antipathies and “mountains interposed” are between nations? Who shall say that it may not, perchance, be quoted upon us one or more generations hence, as some evidence of our barbarism, that a rich and religious citizen could sit down in quiet and happiness, surrounded by his wife and children, in the midst of comfort and luxury, bless God for his abundant mercies, and cite the Scripture that “He who provides not for his own household hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel,” while wretched women and babes with sensibilities as keen, and capacities for happiness as great as those possessed by his own sweet lambs, sit in their desolate houses, within a stone’s throw of his own aristocratic door, shivering with cold, pinched with hunger, and trembling with apprehension of the sharp knock and gruff voice of a landlord’s agent, come to thrust them out of even those miserable mockeries of homes? Who can assert with confidence that a larger conception of the brotherhood of humanity than now prevails – except as a traditional reminiscence of the teachings of Christ, or the Utopian dreams of the visionary – may not, in a few years, with the rapid progress of events in these modern times, be translated into fact? And who can affirm positively that the discovery may not be made hereafter that the last grand hindrance and obstacle to the realization of that noble ideal of human destiny was the superstitious sanctification in the popular mind of Marriage and the Family Institution, which refused to permit them to be examined and amended, or abolished, according to the dictates of sound reason and the exigencies of the case – in the same manner as the like veneration for Ecclesiastical establishments and Royalty have hindered the race. at earlier stages, in the same onward and upward progression?
Observe, I am not dogmatizing in any thing that I say here. I am not even affirming that any one of these suppositions is likely to come true. I am simply establishing the fact that the righteousness and permanency of Marriage and the Family Institution are fair subjects, like any other, for thought, for questioning, or investigation. I am entering my calmly stated but really indignant protest against the assumption that there is any possible subject, in this age and nation, with our antecedents and pretensions, too sacred to be discussed. I am adding my testimony to the truth of the position assumed by the Despotist and the Slaveholder, that the same evils which exist under the Institutions of Despotism and Slavery exist likewise under the Institution of Marriage and the Family; and that the same Principles of Right which men seek to apply in this day to the former, will not leave the latter unquestioned or unscathed. I am giving to the lazy Public some intimation that there are more things in Heaven and Earth than have yet been dreamed of in their Philosophy. I am breaking into ripples the glassy surface of that dead sea of Conservatism which reflects Socialism as a bugbear to frighten children with. I am giving to the world a sample of the ideas, and trains of reasoning, facts, and principles which the New York Tribune, professedly the Organ of New Thought, refuses to permit to be communicated to its readers, as matter too bad to be published. And finally, and specially, I am making an historical note of the fact, for future reference, that such ideas as these were too far in advance of public sentiment, at the middle of this century, at the metropolis of the most progressive country in the world, to find utterance any where through the Public Press, the Tribune being, after all, the most liberal journal we have yet established among us.
What I am able to say in this brochure is, of course, a mere fragment of the Social theories which I wished to propound. What I needed was a continuous year of discussion, through such a medium as the Tribune, in conflict with the first minds of the country – Philosophers, Politicians, and Theologians, invited or provoked into the fray; at the end of which time the public would have begun to discover that their current Social dogmas must give way before the sublime principles of a new and profoundly important Science, which determines exactly the true basis of all Social relations. I wanted especially to propound a few questions to the Rev. Dr. Bethune, to test the good faith of his broad statement of the doctrine of Religious Freedom, made in his assault upon Bishop Hughes, at the Madial meeting at Metropolitan Hall. Does he include the Mormons and the Turks, with their Polygamy, and the Perfectionists, with their Free Love, in his toleration, or would he, with Mr. Greeley, make his exceptions when it came to the pinch, and go with Mr. Greeley for re-lighting on American soil the fires of religious persecution, and thrust those whose conscience differs from his upon certain points into prison, or burn them at the stake?
The question is rapidly becoming a practical one in this country, when a while territory is already in the possession of a sect of religionists who openly profess and are ready to die for the doctrine of a plurality of wives. Honor to General Cass, the patriarch of the Senate, who has recently stated the true and the truly American principle – virtually the Sovereignty of the Individual. He speaks as follows:
Independent of its connection with the human destiny hereafter, I believe the fate of republican governments is indissolubly bound up with that of the Christian religion, and that people who reject its holy faith will find themselves the slaves of evil passions and of arbitrary power, and I am free to acknowledge that I do not see altogether without some anxiety some of the signs which, shadowed forth around us by weak imaginations with some, and irregulated passion with others, are producing founders and followers of strange doctrines, whose tendencies it is easier to perceive than it is to account for their origin and progress; but they will find their remedy not in legislation, but in a sound religious opinion, whether they inculcate an appeal to God by means of sticks, and stones, and rappings (the latest and most ridiculous experiment upon human credulity), or whether they seek to pervert the Scriptures to the purposes of their libidinous passions, by destroying that safeguard of religion and social order, the Institution of Marriage, and by leading lives of unrestrained intercourse – thus making proselytes to a miserable imposture, unworthy of our nature, by the temptations of unbridled lust. This same trial was made in Germany some three centuries ago, in a period of strange abominations, and failed. It will fail here. Where the Word of God is free to all, no such vile doctrine can permanently establish itself.”
This is a genuine though indirect recognition of Individual Sovereignty, and while marred by a few ungentlemanly flings at what the speaker obviously does not understand, it is as much above the puny and miserable suppression doctrines of Mr. Greeley – the sickly relics of the dark ages – as the nineteenth century is in advance of the twelfth.
By my reference to Dr. Bethune, it is but justice to say, that I have no reason to doubt that he, too, is honest in his statement of the doctrine of Religious Freedom, and that he would, in practice, recognize my right to live with three women, if my conscience approved, as readily and heartily as he would contend for the right to read the Protestant Bible at Florence. If not, I hope he will take an opportunity to re-state his position. I needed a lengthened discussion, as I said, not only to express my own ideas but also to find where others actually stand upon this most vital question – the legitimate limit of Human Freedom. But such discussions, carried on with the dauntless intrepidity of Truth-seeking, are not for the columns of the Tribune. The readers of that journal must be kept in the dark. I submit, and await the establishment of another Organ. Meantime, those who may chance to become interested in a more thorough exhibit of principles stated or advertised in these pages, are referred to “Equitable Commerce,” and “Practical Details in Equitable Commerce,” by Josiah Warren, and “The Science of Society,” by myself, published by Fowler & Wells, New York,* and John Chapman, London, which I take this opportunity thus publicly to advertise, since the newspaper press generally declines to notice them, and to such other works as may be hereafter announced on the subject.
Stephen Pearl Andrews.
New York, April, 1853.
Mr. James’s Reply to the New York Observer.
To the Editor of the New York Tribune:
Please allow me the hospitality of your paper to right myself with the New York “Observer,” and so add to the many obligations I already owe you.
Yours truly, H. James.
New York, Saturday, Nov. 13, 1852
To the Editor of the New York Observer:
An article in your paper of today does me so much injustice that I cannot afford to let it pass unnoticed.
The drift of your assault is to charge me with hostility to the marriage institution. This charge is so far from being true that I have invariably aimed to advance the honor of marriage by seeking to free it from certain purely arbitrary and conventional obstructions in reference to divorce.
To be continued.
“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.
The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.
Herr Most on Libertas.
It is due to John Most to say that, in his paper “Freiheit”, he has greeted the appearance of Libertas in a spirit of entire fairness and liberality, at the same time that he has not hesitated to point out those of its features to which he cannot award approval. Besides giving liberal extracts from the first number, duly credited, he devotes nearly a column and a half to a review of its merits and demerits, which is hearty in its commendation and frank in its criticism. Barring the use in one sentence of the word “hypocritical,” his article is free from those abusive epithets of which he has heretofore made me a target. With this preface of thanks for both his praise and his censure, I propose to briefly examine the latter in the same spirit in which it is offered.
Herr Most’s opinion of Libertas may be thus summed up,– that it is thoroughly sound in its antagonism to the State and utterly unsound in its championship of private property. Whether Libertas champions private property depends entirely on the definition given to that term. Defining it with Proudhon as the sum total of legal privileges bestowed upon the holders of wealth, Libertas agrees with Proudhon that property is robbery. But using the word in the commoner acceptation, as denoting the laborer’s individual possession of his product or of his proportional share of the joint product of himself and others, Libertas holds that property is liberty. And whenever Proudhon, for the time being, uses the word in the latter sense, he too upholds property. But it is precisely in this sense of individual as opposed to communistic possession that Herr Most opposes property. Hence, when he prints as a motto (as he often does) Proudhon’s phrase “Property is robbery,” he virtually misrepresents that author by using his words as if they were intended to mean diametrically the opposite of what the author himself declared them to mean. If property, in the sense of individual possession, is liberty, then he who opposes property necessarily upholds authority – that is, the State – in some form or other, and he who would deny both the State and property at once becomes thereby inconsistent and guilty of attempting the impossible.
The principal argument used by Herr Most against Libertas is that it ignores the necessity of production on the large scale now and hereafter,– a necessity which, in Herr Most’s view, involves the exploitation of labor by capital wherever private property prevails. There is no foundation for this statement. Libertas does not for a moment deny or ignore the necessity of production on the large scale. It does, however, seriously question the claim that such production must always involve large concentration of capital, and emphatically denies that it necessarily involves labor’s exploitation unless private property is abolished. As I had already said in these columns, “the main strength of the argument for State Socialism and Communism has always resided in the claim, till lately undisputed, that the permanent tendency of progress in the production and distribution of wealth is in the direction of more and more complicated and costly processes, requiring greater and greater concentration of capital and labor. But the idea is beginning to dawn upon minds — there are scientists who even profess to demonstrate it by facts – that the tendency referred to is but a phase of progress, and one which will not endure. On the contrary, a reversal of it is confidently looked for. Processes are expected to become cheaper, more compact, and more easily manageable, until they shall come again within the capacity of individuals and small combinations. Such a reversal has already been experienced in the course taken by improvements in implements and materials of destruction. Military progress was for a long time toward the complex, requiring immense armies and vast outlays. But the tendency of more recent discoveries and devices has been towards placing individuals on a par with armies by enabling them to wield powers which no aggregation of troops can withstand. Already, it is believed, Lieutenant Zalinski with his dynamite gun could shield any seaport against the entire British navy. With the supplanting of steam by electricity and other advances of which we know not, it seems more than likely that the constructive capacity of the individual will keep pace with his destructive. In that case what will become of State Socialism and Communism?” It behooves their advocates not to be so cock-sure as they have been heretofore of the correctness of this major premise of all their arguments.
But Herr Most may claim that in this reasoning the element of speculation and uncertainty is too large to warrant the placing of any weight upon it. Very well, then; simply reaffirming my own confidence in it, I will let it go for what it is worth, and consider at once the question whether large concentration of capital for production on the large scale confronts us with the disagreeable alternative of either abolishing private property or continuing to hold labor under the capitalistic yoke. Herr Most promises that, if I will show him that the private property régime is compatible with production on the large scale without the exploitation of labor, he will stand by the side of Libertas in its favor. This promise contains a most significant admission. If Communism is really, as Herr Most generally claims, no infringement of liberty, and if in itself it is such a good and perfect thing, why abandon it for private property simply because the possibility of the latter’s existence without the exploitation of labor has been demonstrated? To declare one’s willingness to do so is plainly to affirm that, exploitation aside, private property is superior to Communism, and that, exploitation admitted, Communism is chosen only as the lesser evil. I take note of this admission, and pass on.
Right here, however, Herr Most qualifies his promise by placing another condition upon its fulfilment. I must not only demonstrate the proposition stipulated, but I must also do so otherwise than by pointing to Proudhon’s banking system. This complicates the problem. Show me that A is equal to B, says Herr Most, and I will uphold A; only you must not show it by establishing that A and B are equal to C. But perhaps the equality of both A and B to C is the only proof I have of the equality of A to B. Am I to be debarred, then, from making the demonstration simply because this form of logic is not agreeable to Herr Most? Not at all; he is bound to show the flaw in the logic, or else accept its conclusion. His stipulation, then, that I must not point to Proudhon’s banking system is ridiculous, inasmuch as this banking system, or at least its central principle, is essential to the demonstration of my position. I offer him this principle as conclusive proof; he must show its error, or admit the claim. It cannot be brushed aside with a contemptuous wave of the hand.
Now, what is this principle? Simply the freedom of credit and the resultant organization thereof in such a way as to eliminate the element of the reward of capital from the production and distribution of wealth. Herr Most will not dispute, I think, that freedom of credit leaves private property intact and even increases the practicability of production on the large scale. The only question, then, is whether it will abolish usury; for, if it will abolish usury, my position is established, usury being but another name for the exploitation of labor. The argument that it will effect such abolition, and the argument therefore which Herr Most is bound to destroy, he will find set forth in the latter half of my paper on “State Socialism and Anarchism,” printed in the first issue of Libertas. If he makes no answer, the private property plank in the platform of Libertas remains unimpaired by his criticism; if, on the other hand, he attempts an answer, then we shall see what there is further to be said.
But Herr Most’s criticism is not aimed at the platform alone; he is especially severe upon the tactics of Libertas. It is here that he crosses the line of courteous criticism, and becomes abusive by characterizing as “hypocritical” the declaration of Libertas that, as long as freedom of speech and of the press is not struck down, there should be no resort to physical force in the struggle against oppression. That Libertas is hypocritical in this position he infers from the fact that it now discountenances physical force, although five men have been murdered, others are in prison, and still others are in danger of imprisonment, for having exercised the right of free speech. Herr Most apparently forgets that “Freiheit” is still published in New York, the “Alarm” in Chicago, and Liberty and Libertas in Boston, and that all these papers, if not allowed to say everything they would like to, are able to say all that it is absolutely necessary to say in order to finally achieve their end, the triumph of liberty. It must not be inferred that, because Libertas thinks it may become advisable to use force to secure free speech, it would therefore sanction a bloody deluge as soon as free speech had been struck down in one, a dozen, or a hundred instances. Not until the gag had become completely efficacious would Libertas advise that last resort, the use of force. And this, far from showing hypocrisy, is the best evidence of the sincerity of this journal’s utter disbelief in force as a solution of economic evils. If there is hypocrisy anywhere, it is on the side of those who, affecting to think force a deplorable thing only to be resorted to for purposes of defence, are eagerly watching for the commission of offences in the hope of finding a pretext for the inauguration of an era of terror and slaughter hitherto unparalleled in history.
Force the Nature of the State.
Human liberty consists in the unrestricted and harmonious development of the individual unto the point where the equal liberty of other individuals begins, and justice consists in the equal, free, and untaxed usufruct of the natural resources of the earth and society in so far as the individual may require it for the complete development and exercise of his being. Liberty and justice thus defined man first lost with the rise of the State. It is indeed claimed that civilization traces its origin to the rise of the State, but this is a mistake if it is meant to imply that it was the State that originally made civilization possible and fostered it. I cannot conceive of true civilization, of any real growth of humanitarianism, without the most scrupulous regard for universal and equal liberty and justice. Civilization based on force and slavery is no true civilization. Talk as much as one please of historical necessity, I cannot see therein any palliation of State aggression and coercion. True civilization is not to be thought and spoken of where barbarous and brutal force usurps the office of mutual reasoning and free contract. No, the State, as known to us, has neither called forth nor fostered human civilization. The very opposite of this is the case. What measure of human civilization has been achieved, has been achieved in spite of the State. There are many persons who in all seriousness ascribe the efflorescence of the natural sciences to the churches and monasteries. But this view is not less tenable than that which credits the State with the fostering care and rise of human civilization. Neither view can abide the test of history. State and Church have ever represented organized ignorance and aggression,— in one word, organized barbarism. The development of human civilization proceeded in spite of Church and State; the growth of a truer view of the world, of a view more nearly in conformity with the nature of things, and of a higher order of life, took place essentially outside of Church and State, acting on these institutions by virtue of the law of reciprocity in a refining sense.
We see this readily when we consider more closely the nature of the State. According to the investigations of the most celebrated historians and philosophers, remarks a defender of Stateism, “it was always and everywhere an act of conquest through which the State was founded. Not an occupation of an uninhabited country, no! a conquest and the subjection of a country already occupied as well as of its inhabitants themselves,— that is the origin of the State and of all property,”— let us rather amend with Max Stirner, Fremdtum. This is also the conclusion Herbert Spencer arrives at in his sociological investigations.
Now, as, in accordance with the testimony of historians and philosophers, the State traces its origin to acts of violence and conquest, so also has it maintained and perpetuated itself in history by force, conquest, and an utter disregard of all ethics. I refer simply to history. To meet the demand for a raison d’etre, the State has indeed attempted to fortify its position by the claim of its advocates that its essential function consists in the defence of civil liberty and property. But we all know only too well what that means. That State I should like to know that has ever made the least approach towards conscientiously acquitting itself of this task. Look where you may, study all the countries of the earth, peruse the pages of history, and transpose yourself mentally to all ages; and if you are capable of reasoning in conformity with facts, you will agree with me that where the State took human liberty under its protecting wings, it crushed it in nine cases out of ten beneath its iron heel,— that where it gave property its protection, it did so in order to confiscate it a hundredfold,— and that justice could never yet rely on its initiative. The State as the embodiment of barbarism is the denial of liberty, justice, and property.
This will of course not be admitted by the politicians of all stripes, by the State priests of every shade, but this is the conclusion of close observation and conscientious and unbiassed thought.
Liberty, however, affirms liberty, justice, and property. Therefore it demands the abolition of the State.
Anarchy and Its Organs.
When Kropotkine’s journal, “La Révolte,” in answer to a correspondent’s question, gave “Freedom,” the “Anarchist,” “Honesty,” and the “Alarm” as “a list of the Anarchistic journals published in the English language that we know,” I asked the editor of “Honesty” to publicly state, in view of the omission of Liberty from this list, whether “Honesty” and Liberty do not stand on the same footing in every essential of Anarchism. He responds that I am right, and that the principles of “Honesty” and Liberty are identical; and he suggests that Liberty’s exclusion from the list is probably due to the opposition it has shown to the Communist-Anarchist papers. This suggestion is precisely the inference which I desired to bring out,— namely, that “La Révolte,” instead of honestly satisfying its correspondent’s evident desire to know what journals in English occupy the Anarchistic platform, deliberately gave him a partial list drawn up in accordance, not with any known definition of Anarchy, but with its editor’s piques and prejudices, thereby leaving out a journal which antedates all of the four given, and but for which two of the four, if I may not say three of the four, would never have existed at all.
The most astonishing feature of this matter now, however, is the tone of the paragraph in which the editor of “Honesty” makes his response. One would think that he was half inclined to excuse, if not approve, “La Révolte” in taking such a course. At any rate he does not say a word in condemnation of it, but confines his rebuke strictly to me for my opposition to Communism. I give his exact words:
Perhaps, however, the exception was made owing to the marked hostility which Comrade Tucker shows to the Communist-Anarchist papers, and which we fail to see good cause for. “Freedom” has a strong Communistic tendency, it is true, but its Communism is more than counterbalanced by its vigorous and unremitting protests on behalf of individual liberty. Does not the “plumb-line” allow room for voluntary Communism, which is after all only an experimental compromise between the Anarchist’s ideal and the present political system? and are not their exposures of the political tyrannies and exploitations as Anarchistic as our own? Their position, to our thinking, is a far more Anarchistic one than that of the “Jus” school, which pretends to advocate individualism, but really lauds dominion and exploitation. And yet Liberty can admire the latter while condemning the former.
So far as “Freedom” and “Jus” are concerned, events have already abundantly justified my preference for the latter over the former. The editor of “Honesty,” before he sees the seventh page of this number of Liberty, will undoubtedly read in “Jus” itself the articles there reprinted from that journal, and then he will curse his short-sightedness and feel like wearing sackcloth and ashes for a time as penance for his lack of appreciation.
Comparing “Freedom” with “Jus,” Liberty saw in the former a journal of humanitarian instincts, but a journal which based its championship of individual liberty on a foundation so largely emotional that it was ready to throw liberty to the winds on any question, no matter how vital, where it was not hard-headed enough to understand that liberty, even there, would best satisfy its humanitarian desires. Hence its denial of liberty in production and exchange.
In “Jus,” on the contrary, Liberty saw a journal which championed the principle of individual liberty on rational, scientific, and non-sentimental grounds, and whose departures from it were due, apparently, less to any confusion in the editor’s mind than to an attempt on his part (which is now proved futile) to sustain relations between the conflicting interests which supported the journal, by a policy of mutual concession and compromise. Liberty, trusting every time to intelligence before sentiment, saw more hope for Anarchy in “Jus” than in “Freedom,” and on the first appearance of “Jus” declared this view, braving the outcry of the Socialistic journals that was sure to follow. To this belief in “Jus” it has steadfastly adhered, not hesitating, nevertheless, to freely and sharply criticise any sign “Jus” might show of subservience to privilege and power. The germ which Liberty discerned developed as expected, and “Jus,” though it had to die, avowed with its last gasp its belief in “absolute philosophical Anarchy.” Considering the circumstances of its death, it might almost be said, in the words of the lamented Spies, that its “silence is more powerful than speech.”
But what of “Freedom,” meantime? That journal, in a recent leader, has declared, in language too plain for the editor of “Honesty” to misunderstand, that “Communists would have society recognize no rights of private property at all,” and that “all wealth is a public possession, and the principle upon which it must be shared amongst the members of the community is, To each according to his needs.” Will the editor of “Honesty” point out to me the voluntary feature of that sort of Communism? If it only were voluntary, why, then, of course. But to say that it is voluntary is pure assumption. It was the delusion caused by the Communists’ use of this adjective that drove poor Seymour crazy for a time. The editor of “Honesty,” it is true, gives no sign of accepting Communism, as Seymour did, simply because he thinks it voluntary. On the contrary, he emphatically declares himself individualistic. Nevertheless to eliminate the compulsory element from Communism is to remove, in the view of every man who values liberty above aught else, the chief objection to it, after which its acceptance by every such man is a hundred-fold easier than before. Therefore this warning to the editor of “Honesty.” Danger that way lies.
Radical and Conservative Reform.
After a “great deal of hesitancy,” Comrade Labadie came out with a lengthy reply to my criticism of his eight-hour advocacy, which, if not crushing in its logic and argumentative force, is so remarkable for its fine and deep sarcasm that I, without the slightest hesitancy, drop the weapon of satire which places me at such a decided disadvantage in my present combat, and put my sole trust and reliance in solid, dry, and cold reasoning. Perhaps, too, by adopting this style, I can succeed in making the reader think that there is no mischievous and ironical meaning in the personal remarks of my comrade. As it is my intention to write an elaborate and systematic criticism of George Gunton’s “Wealth and Progress” at an early date, I shall now content myself with a brief answer to Comrade Labadie’s main questions.
True it undoubtedly is that “most of the Anarchists of today have arrived at their present thought through the discussion of half-way measures,” but from this nothing else follows than that we have reason to hope a similar growth on the part of those now yet engaged in such discussion. People once believed that the earth was flat, but, having discarded the old ideas, we are not expected to value them beyond their importance as historical data. In fact, because most of us have in the past been the victims of the same errors that now pervert the sound judgment of many, we should feel doubly strong in the possession of truth and confident in the efficacy of the straightforward policy of explaining the reasons of the new “faith that’s in us” and the process by which we arrived at its recognition.
When my comrade tells me that his experience teaches him not to directly oppose and condemn the quack remedies current among the laborers, I am tempted to ask him if his policy has been sanctioned by experience as a safe and paying one. The name of those remedies being legion, it is hard to understand how one can make converts to radical reformatory ideas by crediting all with the healing power. But Comrade Labadie will protest that he draws a line at certain alleged reforms which, as, for instance, the matter of political agitation, he unqualifiedly condemns as powerless for any thing except an aggravating effect upon the disease. In that case, we will simply be brought back to the original question of the intrinsic merits of the eight-hour remedy. If he favors it, not on account of the laborers’ belief in it, but in consequence of his own conviction as to its usefulness, why introduce at all the point that radicals arrive at their radicalism through the discussion of half-measures? It is then neither pertinent nor apt.
Comrade Labadie asks how, if it is not possible for the laborers to gain concessions from the privileged class through united action, emancipation for them can be achieved. He thinks that the laborers “do have it in their power” to gain such concessions, and remarks that, “if they did not have this power,” he “should lose hope of Anarchy ever being attained.” My assertions astonish him, as he has been “taught that Anarchy was to be inaugurated by simply refusing to recognize the State,” and he cites the Irish “strike” against landlordism as an illustration of the power wielded by organizations exercising passive resistance. But I utterly fail to perceive wherein all these averments, objections, and arguments apply to the issue between us and invalidate my position on the short-hours agitation. My comrade is led into confusion by a slight error in the very beginning of his argument, which consists in the substitution of the word “privileged” for the word “employing” in one of my sentences. He unconsciously follows in the steps of all the trades-unionists and conservative labor leaders whose unscientific and sterile methods of reform are precisely the result of the fundamental error of identifying the “employer” with the “monopolist.” Because all monopolists belong to the employing class, they conclude that all employers are and must necessarily be monopolists, and hence direct their attack against employers rather than against monopolists. Radical reformers, on the other hand, have no fight with employers, but with the system of legal privilege and State-created monopoly. Observing the power which the employing class exercises over the laborers, the radical reformer traces it to its source, which he makes the exclusive point of attack. He seeks to indirectly deprive the employer of his advantages by disabling the State. We can gain no concessions from the privileged class by fighting employers as employers, but we can make steady progress in the improvement of our condition by undermining the vitality of the system which places capital in command over labor.
What does labor want? Land and tools. While these are monopolized, nothing that the laborers can do will materially and permanently benefit them. If they force the employer to a concession, he takes care to compensate himself in some way or other. And this he is not only well able to do, but absolutely compelled to do as long as philanthropy is not stronger in him than the desire to survive in the commercial world. Fewer hours does not necessarily mean less toil or more employment. When the Irish struck against landlordism, they took a course that could not fail to land them in a freer and better economic condition, for free land is their first and greatest need. There is just the same difference between that no-rent movement and the short-hours movement that there is between attacking a fundamental cause and fighting a symptom or a result.
With newly-invented machinery kept out of use only by the extreme cheapness of hand labor; with female and child labor superseding more and more adult male labor; with most of the employed enjoying (?) a longer or shorter vacation of involuntary idleness every year; and with an immense army of starving unemployed anxious to get work at any wages,— to talk of eight hours as a remedy of any sort is to offend inexcusably against both the theories and facts of political economy.
A Communistic Trap.
The strike of the engineers on the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy railway suggests to the New York “Commercial Advertiser” that “both the railroad companies and their employees distinctly owe it to the public to maintain the service without interruption.” Upon the basis of the franchise the “Advertiser” asserts that this service has been paid for by the public. Now, strictly reasoning, where does the employee come in? His situation is not guaranteed to him. His wages are the compensation for his services. Where he has no claim, what obligation can he have? Just a common human obligation, as in hundreds of other relations, not wantonly to cause loss and inconvenience to other people. Transportation has a circumstantial importance, but really all service suddenly interrupted, whether in transportation or in other business, means loss and discomfort to blameless parties. Shall the conspicuous result in railroad business cause a deviation from the sound theory of contract, and in reduce a régime of status under government control? If so, the tendency will be to such status superseding free contract in other business. The factories must not stop. The newspapers must not stop. The hotel dinners must not remain uncooked or unserved.
If it were settled that the inconvenience of strikes must be borne until contract and mutual interest bring a just remedy, there would at least be an implied certainty that the remedy would not be worse than the evil complained of. The country could perhaps stand control of railroads as well as prohibition of drinking saloons, but it lies in the genius and momentum of those methods that the application of authority cannot stop there. On the Jeffersonian theory authority is never to be exercised as a substitute for contract. If this were understood and adhered to by all, there would be little delay in anticipating the inevitable and making the employees of transportation companies such contract offers as would induce them to stay at work or give and accept notice. The companies can arrange all this better than the government. They will arrange it after certain experience. The hope of government control to be introduced is cherished by State Socialists among the members of trades unions. They will do much to create the apparent necessity. For this end they delight in strikes, and then their leaders proclaim their remedy,— government ownership. Some impartial and able newspapers fall into the Communistic trap.
A Plea for Liberty in Preference to Paternal Government.
[Tndy in Canadian Labor Reformer.]
I noticed in the “Canadian Labor Reformer” of February 11, 1888, a contribution, signed C. H. S., under the title of “Some Lies,” from the pen of a Knight of Labor. Being myself a member of that important Order, I solicit a small space in your valuable paper to express views somewhat different from your contributor’s.
C. H. S. endeavors to define “Socialism” and “Individualism,” endorsing for himself and our organization the first of these principles and bitterly denouncing the last.
After having given Worcester’s and Chambers’s Encyclopedias’ definitions of Socialism, he continues by stating:
Perhaps, however, the idea is better grasped when one contrasts it with the opposite, “Individualism,” upon which our present system is based. “Individualism” says “competition,” “Socialism” says “cooperation.” The former has as a rule, “Everybody for himself and the devil for the hindmost”; the latter has also a rule, “Each for all; bear one another’s burdens.” The motto of one is, “Survival of the fittest”; that of the other is, “The greatest happiness for the greatest number.” The one is the heathen principle, the other is the Christian. It is because “Individualism” has been tried and found sadly wanting, that the people are beginning to see that it has produced the despotism, the slavery, the classes, monopoly and wage system, etc.
I hold that our present system of society is not based on Individualism or self-government, and that the crimes which C. H. S. enumerates are not to be charged to that principle.
The wretched state of our society is to be traced to organizations, cooperations, corporations, and centralizations of power, which systems were born from State governments and churches. State governments and churches have framed laws diametrically opposed to the immutable laws of nature. By so doing they have inculcated in our minds prejudices and superstitions which, in the long run of ages, have so distorted our mental and physical natures that we have come to believe ourselves incapable of doing right unless fettered on all sides by temporal and spiritual laws.
Surely such a state of things cannot emanate from the principles of Individualism? We have not developed ourselves into what we are at present. Governmental and spiritual laws, as well as coercive measures, have divided mankind into two camps, viz.: the wealthy, independent minority, born from governments and protected by the same; and a poor, disinherited majority upon which governments have heaped endless duties to perform, endless laws to obey, endless miseries to endure. This poor, unfortunate majority must toil and labor and produce all the wealth into which kings, priests, aristocrats, State governments, church governments, and their satellites of political and religious leeches are swimming. We are the creatures of organization and centralization of power! Individualism has never had a footing in our modern civilization.
We are hungering just now to grasp a plank and save ourselves from the ruthless waves of capital and monopolies. We have, at last, learned that we are not what we might be, and the knowledge of our abnormal condition is half the road to the object we have in view. That Socialism, as described by C. H. S., i. e., State and association Socialism, shall ever level all classes in society is more than I can foresee. That Individualism or self-government is the only means of emancipating ourselves seems to me a more logical conclusion. My thoughts, for many, many a year, have dwelt on that vital question. My heart would ever lean towards associations, brotherly love, each for all and all for each; but my reason would bring the heart to the bar of justice and bid it to show reasons why it should not be declared guilty of assumption.
Socialism or collectivism can never attain the object for which we are striving. Individualism or self-government alone contains in itself the elements required to readjust the equilibrium in our own selves and in society. We must have liberty first; order will follow. Not until the individual is free from prejudices, superstitions, and anti-natural laws can any fraternal associations be successful. The individual cannot do right so long as he is compelled to do a certain thing which the laws call right, but which is only the right of the strongest. Give him freedom to choose between right and wrong; remove all burdens under which he may bend; unfetter him completely,— and he will have to do what is right, because, according to the laws of nature, right and wrong will ever react on the doer. Although confusion might be the immediate result of individual freedom, yet the following and ultimate results will assert the inevitable equilibrium.
Brotherly love is a sweet and magnificent ideal, but it can never be either felt or bestowed until the individual is “sans peur et sans reproche.”
The great French Revolution inscribed the immortal motto: “Liberté, Égalite, Fraternité.”
Liberty first — without it, Equality is an empty word! Both together, those two principles must bring forth the third one; and then, “Consummatum est.”
Socialists of the school of C. H. S. put me in mind of an effort being made to establish a republican form of government over a people of entirely royalistic aspirations. How long could such a system last over such a people? There can be no republic without republicans. I consider that our labor organizations are schools tending to develop our individuality, i. e., to reform ourselves and enable us to stand by our birth-rights. When this object is reached, then will tyrants pass away. No supply of slaves means no supply of masters. Self-reliance means strength. Protection implies weakness. Union is strength for the strong, but it is disastrous to the weak.
Regarding the allusion of C. H. S. to the principle of the “survival of the fittest,” or adaptation of the individual to surroundings, and also the principle of competition which he denounces so vehemently, I beg to call his attention to “Darwin’s Natural Selection,” regarding the plumage of cock birds. Those forces have brought about and developed in birds that magnificence in plumage and strength of body of which they seem to be so proud. The beautiful, the powerful, the happy ones have become the largest number.
Instead of contemplating merely the means by which our weaker brothers may be relieved from their misery and poverty, we ought also to devise the safest operations by which misery, poverty, infirmities, and weaknesses may be removed from society. While we must help and comfort those poor, disinherited brothers, we must, at the same time, deliberately strike at its root and kill the germ.
A Prophecy in Course of fulfillment.
So far as I am aware, Comrade Yarros does not claim to be a prophet or the son of a prophet, but it certainly looks very much as if a prediction that he made last summer were being rapidly fulfilled. In an editorial entitled “On the Road to Anarchy” and treating of a lecture by Wordsworth Donisthorpe a report of which had appeared in “Jus” (then purporting to be the organ of the Liberty and Property Defence League), Mr. Yarros said:
It is evident that Mr. Donisthorpe cannot be long in reaching Anarchy. For him there is no alternative. But the “noble” sons of the thieves and pirates who “conquered” and enslaved the people of the United Kingdom, constituting the robbery-property and impunity-liberty defence league, should be given warning. They who want liberty to still further crush and oppress the people; liberty to enjoy their plunder without fear of the State’s interfering with them; liberty to coerce Ireland; liberty to summarily deal with impudent tenants who refuse to pay tribute for the privilege of living and working on the soil,— these should beware of such friends as Mr. Donisthorpe. He is not safe.
I do not know whether Mr. Donisthorpe is directly connected with the editorial control of “Jus.” At any rate, he seems to be closely identified with its position. In that view of the matter, the following leading editorial from “Jus” of March 23 offers a very striking parallel to Mr. Yarros’s paragraph. And in any view of the matter, it affords most encouraging evidence of the progress of ideas and the influence of reason.
“Jus” and the League.
“Liberty and Property.” The phrase sounds well enough, and the principles involved are sound and well worth fighting for. But, like all other abstract terms, liberty and property require defining, and different persons impose different meanings upon them. For this reason, probably, a party basing its political action upon individualist principles would have done well not to have chosen as its descriptive title the name “Liberty and Property Defence League.” Whatever its motives and aims may be, it is certain that the League is extremely unpopular among working-class audiences. Not that English workmen are at heart opposed either to liberty or to property. Far from it. But they are distinctly opposed to property as understood by those whose real object is the bolstering up of privilege. Again, the liberty of the slave-owner to whack his own nigger without fearing the inconvenient interference of the State is a liberty with which ordinary Englishmen have little sympathy. Now the League is credited, justly or unjustly, with a lively respect for the liberty of the wolf to devour the lamb, and a cynical admission of the equal right of the lamb to devour the wolf. Somehow the British wage-slave cannot share the League’s supposed zeal for this kind of liberty. He feels there is something wrong about it somewhere.
Then the property which the League is said to defend sometimes resembles the legal title of the trustee to the trust estate. Ordinary mortals are inclined to take the equitable view of the case, and to hold that the cestui que trust is really the proprietor, whatever nonsense the law may talk for purely technical convenience. When the trustees of charitable funds prate about the rights of property, as soon as the public requires them to devote the income to the uses originally intended, the League is suspected of sympathizing with them. When the spiritual tax-gatherer — called euphemistically the ecclesiastical tithe-owner — claims the tax as his own private property, or as the property of an effete State department, of which he is a paid official, the League will not, it is said, allow the tax-gatherer’s proprietary rights to be called in question. Is he not the tithe-owner? It is ominously whispered, too, that the interest taken in the League by successive Lord Mayors of London is not unconnected with the alleged proprietary rights of the City Corporation. Again, some of the “interests” federated with the League use brave words about the freedom of the Briton to drink when he likes, what he likes, and where he likes; but when he happens to choose to drink pure beer in a workmen’s club after licensing hours, all is changed, and these quondam lovers of liberty take the initiative in hounding on the State to intervene, and to crush out the workingman’s liberty for the sake of the liquor monopolists. Besides all this, the ordinary citizen cannot for the life of him see why brewers and gin-palace keepers should be imbued with the “spirit of divinest liberty” in larger proportion than other people. Prima facie there does not seem to be anything in common between potato spirit and the spirit which Coleridge adored with such deep worship. Scepticism creeps in. It has been admitted by members of trade-associations federated with the League that their societies subscribe to that organization by way of retainer for the services of certain well-known and able peers; and that, if these peers retired from the League, the connection of their societies would also cease. These gentlemen’s zeal for liberty is such that they ingenuously credit honorable members of the House of Lords with basing their legislative action on motives as sordid and self-interested as their own. When railway companies plead for liberty to make what bargains they like with their customers, but oppose tooth and nail the liberty of new companies to pay dividends out of capital during construction, what interpretation can outsiders put upon such advocacy?
Again, people are asking one another, Why all this fuss about the State-violation of land contracts, but never a word about the State-violation of personal liberty in matters religious, moral, and medical? How much credit is due to the League for the repeal of the iniquitous and foolish Contagious Diseases Act? What has it done towards repealing the compulsory clause of the Vaccination Act? Are we indebted to the League for the present position of the Oaths Question? Above all, what word has the League, as a body, uttered on behalf of freedom of thought? The Disestablishment agitation rose and fell two years ago, but the League was dumb.
“Jus” has from first to last spoken out frankly and unequivocally against State-backed religion. And for this reason it has been boycotted by an influential section of the Liberty and Property Defence League. It is true that “Jus” is represented on the Council of that body; but the position seems to be a false one. Half-hearted and one-sided individualism is not the doctrine we have set ourselves to preach. If the doctrine is good for anything, it is good for everything. A body which flaunts the flag only on suitable occasions, when the rich, the strong, and the privileged may benefit by the adoption of the principle, but which remains silent when it cuts the other way, cannot be expected to welcome an organ of the press which positively declines to stoop to political dodgery. If it is true, as its enemies declare, that the League has got into the hands of large landowners, who intend to square individualism with hereditary legislative privilege, with strict settlements and bolstered-up families and estates, and with State-fomented superstition for the degradation and enchainment of the people,— well, the sooner it speaks out clearly the better. Anyhow, “Jus” will not hesitate. If the League has really made up its mind to pervert the noble principles of liberty and property to ignoble uses, it will do well to dispense with an organ of the press altogether. Diplomacy and duplicity and chicanery and insincerity and hypocrisy are more suited to the platform than to the press. “O, that mine enemy would write a book,” is the wish of one who knows his enemy to be dishonest. The honest have nothing to fear from writing a book. Similarly, the society which fears to commit its present contentions to print tacitly admits that it may be convenient to express the contrary views tomorrow. It is rash to trumpet its own inconsistency. If the League sinks again into silence, its attitude will not be misconstrued. It has turned its back on the Individualist Club from its earliest foundation, and working-class individualists understand the reason. If the League survives the calumnies of its enemies, as we trust it will, it will also have to survive the counsels of some of its friends.
Postscript. — The above was in type when a still later issue of “Jus” arrived, announcing itself, I grieve to say, as the last to appear. There are not more than two papers on Liberty’s exchange list which the cause of Liberty could not have better spared. It is now made plain that Mr. Donisthorpe was the editor. I must make space in this issue for the noble editorial with which he bids his readers farewell. In it he completes the fulfillment of Mr. Yarros’s prophecy, as will be seen by the words which I italicize. It is comforting to think that, as this good ship went down, like that other unfortunate craft, the “Radical Review” of my good friends and comrades, the Schumms, it nailed to its mast-head colors more unmistakable than ever, and thus made its death even more glorious than its life.
A Last Word.
For the State is mindful of its own, and it remembereth its children. Our Father, the all-wise, the omnipotent State, has watched over us for generations. What has it done for us? It has made poor-laws, and thus brought into existence an army of one hundred and seventy thousand tramps, creeping like lice over the surface of the land. It has suppressed the healthy recreations of the people, and driven them to dens of drink and vice, where they spend eighty millions of their hard-earned wages in trying to get some enjoyment out of life. By its inexorable law of practically indissoluble marriage, it has brought into existence a huge army of prostitutes and perpetuated the scourge of Tyre. It has permitted its children for a generation to spread the loathsome disease smallpox by inoculation, and then it has compelled them to keep it alive by vaccination. It has stamped out improvements in sanitation by its compulsory sewage-system, thus propagating the germs of typhoid and cholera. By its inopportune interference between the workers and their employers, it has stereotyped a moribund system of wagedom, and set back the enfranchisement of labor for generations. It has stifled the electric light, the telephone, and all the latest and greatest inventions. It has artificially bolstered up unwieldy estates and clogged the wheels of agriculture. It has raised the cost of transport one hundred per cent, by the creation of monster monopolies, strangling all competition with the post office, and with State-coddled and State-bullied railway companies, water companies, gas companies, etc. It has well-nigh crushed out the healthy and natural system of education which has already put England at the head of the nations, and made an Englishman the most valuable worker to be found in the market. Finally, by its idiotic restrictions on cooperative enterprise,— its law of partnerships and of joint stock companies,— it has diverted millions upon millions of capital from prudent and productive investments into the unproductive coffers of an extravagant State.
It has done many other equally wise and paternal things, and it is on the high road to a great many more. Where is the Saviour of Society? Can any one stave off the impending evil? Must we sink beneath the wave of Socialism which is threatening all the civilized nations of the earth? The people? No, they desire it. Their representatives in the House of Commons? No; they have to buy their positions by pandering to the most numerous section of the constituencies. The Second Chamber? No; they are trembling for their privileges, and must buy off the enemy by throwing sops to the masses. Are there no influential leaders of men who will come to the rescue? Alas! those upon whom we could rely have given themselves over to a policy of despair. Lord Derby writes to us: “The tendency of the present age to increase the functions of government is, I believe, irresistible. It is open to great objection; but only experience will teach the public what its faults are. New classes are in possession of power, and they will not easily be persuaded that it is possible for them to make a bad use of it. Time alone can teach them.” Again, speaking of the individualist movement, Lord Bramwell writes to us: “I always despaired of it. People will not interest themselves in an abstract idea. You must have a definite specific object.” Can the Liberty and Property Defence League reverse the wheels? We did hope so. A great field of usefulness was open to it. Five years ago much might have been effected by taking its stand on the principle, the whole principle, and nothing but the principle, and by adopting bold and far-reaching methods. Now, perhaps, it is too late. The League seems to be fast degenerating into a sort of Harassed Interests Defence League. We cannot fairly charge it with having done those things which it ought not to have done; but it has unquestionably left undone many things which it ought to have done, and there is no health in it. We ourselves have fought hard, but without success. The editor of “Jus,” in retiring from the Council of the League, simultaneously resigns the editorship of this paper. We may have been misconstrued, and we may have failed to make our position clear; therefore, before retiring, it may be well to state in precise terms our attitude with respect to political questions now before the public or within range. We hold that the society of the remote future will be held together on the principle of absolute philosophical Anarchy, but that at present we are passing through a transitional period, in which we are continually subject to Socialistic relapses. At this particular time the attack is a severe one. We shall not touch the bottom until we have universal (male and female) suffrage; and the sooner we touch the bottom the better. It is always well to know the worst. Democratic Socialism is no worse than aristocratic Socialism; in some respects the tyranny of the many is less odious, in other respects it is more hateful, than the tyranny of the few. In order to justify our action in combating the one, we must loyally sweep away the other. State-religion must go. The Church, as such, must be disestablished and disendowed; but the clergy of the Church must not be despoiled to the extent of a penny-piece. The Second Chamber must be supported as a legislative Court of Appeal; but it must be purged of the bishops, and the hereditary principle must gradually make way for modern arrangements. Neither should the metallic principle continue to prevail in the Lower House. Members should be paid for their services, but not at the expense of those who would prefer to see them hanged. Every member of Parliament should be paid what he is worth by his own constituents. Legislation is not required for that.
With regard to the duties of government or the functions of the State, we are in favor of curtailing the scope, while insisting on the more rigorous fulfilment of the remainder. Thus the starving of our defensive forces (army and navy) seems to be a source not only of weakness, but of expense in the long-run. Also, there seems to be too much parsimony in the maintenance of our judicial system; our judges are too few in number; they are ill-paid and overworked. All this is mistaken economy. Justice should be certain, cheap, speedy, and accessible. It is at present none of these. While crimes go unpunished, while honest citizens put up with injuries rather than appeal to the law, the State, the Father of the people, is occupied in reading through all the comedies and burlesques brought out in the London and provincial theatres; it is running after little boys who dare to play pitch-farthing; it is peeping through the chinks in the shutters of public-houses to see that no capable citizen has a glass of beer at the wrong hour; it is going on sledging expeditions to the North Pole or yachting trips in the Antarctic Ocean; it is prescribing cab fares and boat fares; it is holding spelling-bees for fishermen; it is mixing wholesome “squashes” for the operatives in lead works; it is scouring the firmament for new asteroids; it is writing suitable poetry on the landing of foreign princes on British soil; it is polluting our principal rivers with sewage, and persecuting other people for fishing in the close time. Above all, it is inspecting everybody and everything, with the result that things are very much as before,— all but the bill, which has to be paid for the inspection. Let but the State mind its own business thoroughly and exclusively, and the cooperation of sane citizens will accomplish the rest. “Jus” will not appear again.
Comrade Holmes did have such a conversation with me as he states; but because his position is such as I stated in No. 13 is the very reason why the Communist-Anarchists should cease using the word “Communist.” Some Anarchists may believe in the medical school of homœpathy and others in allopathy, but that is no reason why they should call themselves homœpathic-Anarchists or allopathic-Anarchists. Those who have become familiar with the fundamental principle of Anarchy should know that there is no qualification to the term “Anarchy” necessary. It is immaterial whether one be a Communist or an individualist so long as he be an Anarchist. Anarchy, as I see it, admits of any kind of organization, so long as membership is not compulsory. Give us Anarchy,– freedom to those who desire freedom,– and I presume no one will object to any number of persons going by themselves and being ruled by a despot if they so wish.
* * *
When I proposed a conference of Anarchists in Detroit next summer, I anticipated the very objections made by Comrade Tucker. Now, supposing it did cost four hundred dollars, or even a thousand dollars, would not such a conference and the discussions had in it and the principles agreed upon by it get a larger circulation through the Associated Press and other channels than could possibly be got in any other way? What is necessary, it seems to me, is to keep the newspapers talking about Anarchy and having the public mind directed towards it. A conference such as I suggest will in my opinion give Anarchy a much better advertisement and advancement than the cost of it would directed in any other channel.
* * *
Edward Bellamy in “Looking Backward” has painted just about such a picture of the future as others have painted before him, but, unfortunately for his fancy picture, the fact is that wherever government steps in to control industry and social relations the tendency is in the opposite direction of Mr. Bellamy’s civilization of the twenty-first century. I wonder if the “State control” craze has much longer to run?
* * *
When Comrade Tucker considers that his presumption is erroneous when he says I presumably did not refer to patents in classing machinery as a monopoly, he will see how impossible it is to discard machinery from my classification. The most popular classification of monopolies is “land, money, and transportation”; but “land, money, and machinery” seems to me to be a better classification, because transportation is made by machinery, and there is but a small portion of the total amount of machinery used in transportation. The place for the patent office and all its appurtenances is the bottom of the ocean.
Joseph A. Labadie.
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.