“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.
London “Freedom” brings the report that “Jus” is likely to be revived as an Individualist Anarchist paper. If the movement to this end proves successful, it will be the most cheering event to Anarchists chronicled in these columns for a long time. “Jus,” freed from the restraints by which it was always hampered, would be a power in England. There is no better soil for Anarchistic seed.
At the end of a protest against the addition of the higher branches of education to the curriculum of the public schools, the Winsted “Press” says: “The common district school thoroughly well conducted is good enough for common folks. Let the uncommon folks have uncommon schools and pay for them.” True enough; but, if common folks should not be made to pay for uncommon schools, why should uncommon folks be made to pay for common schools?
Judging from indications, “Honesty” will not much longer enjoy the distinction of being the only Anarchistic journal in Australia. The “Australian Radical,” published in Hamilton and edited by W. R. Winspear, which, if I mistake not, has heretofore leaned strongly toward State Socialism, gives unquestionable signs of a reversal of its attitude. In its first number of the enlarged and improved form recently adopted it squarely favors the Anarchistic solution of the land question, antagonizing both the State Socialists and Henry George, and it would seem that the editor must soon follow the logic of liberty to the end.
In the “Standard” of April 14 Henry George says: “The real reason why I got sixty-eight thousand votes for mayor of New York in 1886 and only thirty-seven thousand votes in the same city in 1887 was that in the one case, owing to the pledge of votes with which I entered the contest, it was believed that I might be elected, and that in the other case not even the most sanguine could pretend that I had the slightest chance.” [Italics mine.] Then you lied, did you, Henry George, when all through your last campaign you persistently told the voters that you stood a good fighting chance of election, and at any rate would poll a vote dangerously near a plurality?
From San Francisco comes the first number of a paper called the “Commonwealth,” published in the interest of the Kaweah Cooperative Colony. The moving spirit in this colonial enterprise and the editor of the paper seems to be Burnette G. Haskell. Knowledge of this fact is all that is necessary to keep persons who know Haskell, and who value their lives, possessions, and reputations, aloof from the colony. Other persons should be informed that Haskell is a consummate scoundrel, with whom it is highly dangerous to have any dealings, as he will stop at the commission of no crime, provided he can reap the advantages and make others take the risk.
The “American Idea” is surprised that I describe it as Anarchistic, but does not reject the name. It simply restates its political views, and says that, if these views are Anarchistic, then it stands on an Anarchistic platform. These views, briefly summarized, are that there should be no government save over those who either cannot or will not govern themselves; in other words, that the only function of government is to restrain insane persons and criminals. Not discussing here whether government is the proper name for this function, I will ask the “American Idea” a single question: Should the cost of such restraint be met by compulsory taxation or voluntary contribution? The answer to this question will decide whether I was justified in claiming my Missouri contemporary as “a new Anarchistic ally.”
Observant readers of “Lucifer” for the last few months have not failed to notice that E. C. Walker, though nominally connected with the paper, has practically disappeared from its columns as a writer. Those who have also noticed the championship of reactionary and superficial measures to which the senior editor, Mr. Harman, has given himself have not been at a loss to account for Mr. Walker’s conduct. They must also have regretted its necessity, for Mr. Walker’s writings have always been the paper’s chief attraction. Now they will be surprised and glad to learn that he is about to publish a paper of his own. On May 12 will appear the first number of “Fair Play,” which he will issue fortnightly from Valley Falls, Kansas. It will have eight pages, something more than half the size of Liberty, and the subscription price will be fifty cents per year. Let it have a generous send-off.
Those who criticise the Anarchists’ Club for appointing a chairman from whose decisions there shall be no appeal on the ground that such a course is inconsistent with the teachings of Josiah Warren show thereby that they understand as little as a babe unborn what that philosopher really taught. No point was insisted on more strenuously both by Warren and by Stephen Pearl Andrews (whom one of these critics describes as Warren’s “formulator”) than that, in all undertakings requiring the cooperation of two or more individuals, an essential of efficient work is an individual leader from whose decisions no appeal can be taken save by secession. Appeal by secession is recognized in the constitution of the Anarchists’ Club. Far from acting in violation of Warren’s teachings, those who formed the Club acted directly in obedience thereto. The critics who charge them with inconsistency on this score are for the most part men whose determination to criticise puts them under the necessity of finding something upon which to exercise that determination.
When it first became necessary to distinguish between Communistic Anarchists and Individualistic Anarchists, somebody or other gave the latter the name, philosophic Anarchists. It stuck, and on the lips of the Communists even became an appellation of derision; so that now, when a Communist desires to be particularly severe on an Individualist, he calls him a philosophic Anarchist. How the Communists must feel, then, at the thought of Phillips Thompson, the labor lecturer, expounding the doctrines of Kropotkine, and summarizing his “Paroles d’un Revolte,” on the platform, under the title “Philosophic Anarchism”! This is really unkind. And it is hard on the Individualists, too. Not only have they been forced to share with others the name which they were the first to assume, Anarchism, but now they must share also with others the distinguishing adjective, philosophic. People who have squeamish fancies about the enslaving influence of party names need be in no hurry on that account to bolt our party, for at this rate it will soon be nameless.
I expected to share with the readers of this number of Liberty the joy of an announcement that E. C. Walker and the Harmans were out of the clutches of the Comstock gang, for such at one time seemed to be the case. On motion of their counsel, the indictments against them were quashed by the court on the ground that the objectionable passages were not set out in them. But the report of this action was speedily counteracted by the further news that the district attorney, being obstinately determined on the defendants’ downfall, had secured their indictment a second time, in face of the fact that nearly one hundred and fifty citizens of Valley Falls petitioned for an abandonment of the prosecution. My latest information is that the defendants were summoned to Topeka last Monday to give bail, but hoped to secure a postponement of the trial till next Fall. These additional legal proceedings will no doubt entail new and large expenses, and all who value free discussion should rally promptly to the protection of our persecuted comrades. Contributions may be sent to E. C. Walker, Valley Falls, Kansas.
Lucien V. Pinney issued the final number of the Winsted “Press” on April 12. It is a unique journalistic document, and I shall preserve a copy as a memento. Every line upon its editorial page bears the imprint of a man. Discarding the editorial “we” for the individual I, he reviews the career of the paper, the causes it has stood for, the opinions it has championed, revises the opinions somewhat, damns the public as it deserves, pays tribute of thanks to his helpers and friends, extends some decidedly left-handed compliments to his successors, refuses to offer any regrets, promises to be heard from again “in some quarter with more or less emphasis,” and, instead of saying Good-bye, says “Good Night, as one who is coming on the morrow with the rising sun to say Good Morning.” Of this revelation of himself to the public the most significant feature to the readers of Liberty is his confession that he is uncertain whether to classify himself as an Anarchist or a State Socialist, and so remains unclassified and expectant, awaiting further developments. No one is more anxious than I to see him again a public influence; still, if he will not scorn a word of advice, I will recommend him to pass his season of retirement in finding out exactly where he stands so that his influence may not be impaired by inconsistencies. But, whether his paper has been consistent or not, I can truthfully say of it as he himself says of it: “I don’t believe there was ever such another paper as this one published in Winsted, or in Connecticut either, and I doubt if there ever will be. And all the pimps, and purists, and canting moralists, and scandal mongers, and chronic hypocrites,— all the tomnoddies and toads in the community will rise up and say: ‘No, I hope not.’”
The Reporter’s Peculiar Retina.
When a merchant on change wipes his brow with a red bandanna, or a dude shows the corner of one out of his side pockets, it is described — if spoken of at all — as a red silk handkerchief. But if the same piece of dry goods appears around the neck of a laboring man or at the end of a stick, it is called blood-red. Ushers at a fashionable gathering may wear red badges, but the same badges at a labor meeting or an anti-poverty assemblage are always “blood-red.” These differences of nomenclature for one and the same shade are the result of the peculiar construction of the retina in the newspaper reporter’s eye. The moral press has no job for a reporter with a normal eye.
Love, Marriage, and Divorce,
And the Sovereignty of the Individual.
Henry James, Horace Greeley, and Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Mr. James’s Reply to the New York Observer.
Continued from No. 122.
For example, I have always argued against Mr. Greeley that it was not essential to the honor of marriage that two persons should be compelled to live together when they held the reciprocal relation of dog and cat, and that in that state of things divorce might profitably intervene, provided the parties guaranteed the State against the charge of their offspring. I have very earnestly, and, as it appears to me, very unanswerably, contended for a greater freedom of divorce on these grounds, in the columns of the “Tribune,” some years since; but I had no idea that I was thus weakening the respect of marriage. I seemed to myself to be plainly strengthening it, by removing purely arbitrary and damaging obstructions. The existing difficulty of divorce is one of those obstructions. You will not pretend to say that the legislative sanction of divorce now existing discharges the marriage rite of respect? How, then, shall any enlargement of that sanction which I propose avail to do so? Is it possible that a person exposed to the civilizing influences of a large city like this so long as you have been should see no other security for the faithful union of husband and wife than that which dates from the police office? I can not believe it. You must know many married partners, if you have been even ordinarily fortunate in your company, who, if the marriage institution were formally abolished tomorrow, would instantly annul that legal abolition again by the unswerving constancy of their hearts and lives.
No man has a more cordial, nor, as I conceive, a more enlightened respect for marriage than I have, whether it be regarded, 1st, as a beautiful and very perfect symbol of religious or metaphysic truth, or, 2d, as an independent social institution. I have fully shown its claim for respect on both these grounds in a number of the “Tribune” which you quoted at the time, but which it serves your dishonest instincts now to overlook. You probably are indifferent to the subject in its higher and primary point of view, but your present article proves that you have some regard for it in its social aspects. If you regard marriage, then, as a social institution, you will, of course, allow that its value depends altogether upon the uses it promotes. If these uses are salutary, the institution is honorable. If, on the contrary, they are mischievous, the institution is deplorable. Now, no one charges that the legitimate uses of the marriage institution are otherwise than good. But a social institution, whose uses are intrinsically good, may be very badly administered, and so produce mischief. This, I allege, is the case with the marriage institution. It is not administered livingly, or with reference to the present need of society, but only traditionally, or with reference to some wholly past state of society. In a disorderly condition of society, like that from which we have for the last two centuries been slowly emerging, men of wealth and power, men of violence and intrigue, would have laughed at the sacredest affections, and rendered the family security nugatory, had not society fortified marriage by the most stringent safeguards. The still glaring inequality of the sexes, moreover, would have led kings and nobles into the most unrebuked licentiousness, and consequently into the most brutal contempt for woman, had not the politico-ecclesiastical regime almost utterly inhibited divorce. The elevation of woman in Christendom has thus been owing exclusively to a very rigid administration of the marriage institution in the earlier periods of our social history. But what man of wealth and power, what man of violence and intrigue, is there now to take away a man’s wife from him? No doubt there is a very enormous clandestine violation of the marriage bond at the present time; careful observers do not hesitate to say an almost unequalled violation of it; but that is an evil which no positive legislation can prevent, because it is manifestly based upon a popular contempt for the present indolent and vicious administration of the law. The only possible chance for correcting it depends, as I have uniformly insisted, upon a change in that administration,— that is to say, upon freely legitimating divorce, within the limits of a complete guarantee to society against the support of offspring; because in that case you place the inducement to mutual fidelity no longer in the base legal bondage of the parties merely, but in their reciprocal inward sweetness or humanity. And this is an appeal which, when frankly and generously made, no man or woman will ever prove recreant to.
Again, in the “Tribune” article of last summer which you quote (or, rather, shamelessly misquote) it seemed to me the while that I was saying as good a word for marriage as had ever been said beneath the stars. I was writing, to be sure, upon a larger topic, and alluded to marriage only by way of illustration. But what I said about it then seems to me still completely true. And, true or untrue, why do you not cite me before your readers honestly? You allow your printer to turn the first quotation you make into sheer nonsense, and you so bedevil the second with ostentatious and minatory italics that a heedless reader will look upon the imbecile tumefaction as so much solid argument, and infer that any one who can provoke that amount of purely typographic malediction from a pious editor must needs be closely affiliated — you know where.
Now, as a matter of speculation merely, why should you desire to prejudice me before the community? I am a humble individual, without any influence to commend my ideas to public acceptance, apart from their intrinsic truth. And if, as you allege, my desire and aim be to destroy the marriage institution, I am at least not so foolish as to attempt that labor by a mere exhibition of will. I must have adduced some colorable reasons for its destruction. Will you be good enough to tell me where I have exhibited these reasons? Or, failing to do so, will you be good enough to confess yourself a defeated trickster, unworthy the companionship of honest men?
Doubtless, Mr. Editor, you address an easy, good-natured audience, who do not care to scan too nicely the stagnant slipslop which your weekly ladle deals out to them. But the large public perfectly appreciates your flimsy zeal for righteousness. Every reasonable man knows that, if I assail a cherished institution without the exhibition of valid reasons, I alone must prove the sufferer, and that immediately. Every such person therefore suspects, when a pious editor goes out of his way to insult me for this imputed offence, that his apparent motive is only a mask to some more real and covert one. And this suspicion would be palpably just in the present instance. You are by no means concerned about any hostility, real or imaginary, which I or any other person may exhibit toward the marriage institution. I do you the justice, on the contrary, to believe that you would only be too happy to find me and all your other fancied enemies “bringing up” — to use your own choice expression — “against the seventh commandment.” But my benevolence, at least, is quite too weak to afford you that gratification. Naturalists tell us that the sepia, or cuttle-fish, when pursued, is in the habit “of ejecting an inky fluid, which colors the adjacent waters so deeply as to afford it an easy means of escape.” Now, science, in revealing to us the splendid analogies of nature, teaches us that the sepia, or cuttle-fish, of these watery latitudes is only an oblique or imperfect form of the tricky sectarian editor of higher ones: even as that tricky editor is himself only an oblique or imperfect prophecy of the integral man of still higher latitudes. Accordingly, if we take the trouble to explore the inky and deceptive puddle you have trajected in our path, we shall find that the origin of your ill-will lies very much behind that. We shall find that it lies altogether in the criticism which I have occasionally brought to bear upon that fossil and fatiguing Christianity, of which the “Observer” is so afflictive a type, and its editor so distinguished and disinterested a martyr. Indulge me with a few lines upon this topic.
Christianity, in its only real or vital apprehension, seems to me to imply a very perfect life for man, or one which safely disuses all professional knavery, as it is sure to disappoint all merely professional or private ambition. I have expressed, poorly enough I allow, my dawning conception of this majestic life. It is at last the veritable life of God in the soul of man, and one must celebrate it with stammering lips rather than be wholly silent. It runs through one’s veins like new wine, and, if one’s speech thereupon grew lyrical and babbling, it should rather be an argument of praise to the late-found and authentic Bacchus than of blame to his still unfashioned worshipper. I have tried to put this miraculous and divine wine into our old customary bottles, but the bottles pop, whiz, sputter, and crack so on every side, that my wife and children and servants laughingly protest that we shall have no rest short of absolutely new bottles. Now, these bottles admit of no private manufacture. They are so vast in compass, and so costly in material, that they claim all the resources and all the wit of society to fashion them. There is no harm, of course, in a patient citizen like me occasionally stirring up the pure mind of his brethren by way of remembrance, or indulging a word now and then upon the pattern the fabric should follow. Accordingly, I do drop an occasional word in the columns of the “Tribune,” and would be happy to do the same in those of the “Observer,” on this interesting topic: hinting how, as I conceive, our good old family bottle, conjugal bottle, and social bottle generally — might be destroyed? — no! might be saved from destruction, renewed, regenerated, and reformed, by wise and timely legislation. I am happy to say, too, that my efforts seem to be taken in growing good part. Virtuous and genial Presbyterians even, as well as mere unregimented sinners, are beginning to express an uiterest in the attractive theme, and a hope of good fruit to come out of its seasonable agitation. For it is evident to every honest mind that, if our conjugal, parental, and social ties generally can be safely discharged of the purely diabolic element of outward force, they must instantly become transfigured by their own inward, divine, and irresistible loveliness.
Hinc illae lachrymae! This is the open source of your tribulation, the palpable spring of your ineffectual venom. With the instinct unhappily of self-preservation, you perceive that, if our social relations once become orderly, not by constraint, but of an inherent and divine necessity, there will be a speedy end to the empire of cant and false pretension. For if a living piety once invade the human mind, a piety attuned to the ministries of science, a piety which celebrates God no longer as the mere traditional source of lapsed and contingent felicities, but as the present and palpable doer of divinest deeds,— such as feeding the starving hordes of the earth’s population, clothing the naked, enlightening the ignorant, comforting the dejected, breaking the yoke of every oppression, cleansing the diseased conscience, banishing want, and sickness, and envy, and diffusing universal plenty, peace, and righteousness,— what, in Heaven’s name, will become of that vapid piety which now exhales only in the form of selfish and mendicant supplication, or else of impudent interference with the privacies of other people’s souls?
I have not yet had the pleasure of reading any of Mrs. Smith’s publications, and can not, therefore, estimate your candor in associating her labors with mine. But inasmuch as I perceive from the newspapers that that well-intentioned lady is engaged in a very arduous crusade against the natural and obvious distinction of the sexes, the which distinction I meanwhile set great store by, I presume your good will in this instance to be as transparent as I have found it in others, and thank you accordingly.
As to your attempt to insinuate a community of purpose or tendency between myself and that ramification of your own religious body, known as the Oneida Perfectionists, I may safely leave it to the scorn of those among your readers who can estimate the cowardice which, in wanton disregard of a neighbor’s good name, hints and insinuates the calumny it dares not boldly mouth. These men, as I learn from their own story, are ultra — that is to say, consistent — Calvinists, who have found in the bosom of the doctrines you yourself profess the logical warrant of the practices which you nevertheless condemn. From a conversation or two which I have had with some of their leading men, I judged them to be persons of great sincerity, but of deplorable fanaticism, who were driven to the lengths which you so sternly reprobate strictly because they exemplify what you do not,— a logical abandonment to their own religious convictions. I told them candidly that any man of common sense must give short shrift in his regard to a deity who elected men to the privilege of leading disorderly lives; but at the same time I saw that they were no way amenable to the tribunal of common sense. An unhappy religious fanaticism, the flowering of your own fundamental principles, has lifted them out of that wholesome judicature, and they must henceforth drift whithersoever the benignant powers — who, after all, are paramount in this world, spite of many “Observers” — will let them. But at the same time I must avow that these strenuous and unhandsome sectarists appeared to me far worthier of tender compassion than of brutal public vituperation. Honest, upright souls they seemed at bottom, though sadly misguided by an insane sense of duty, and delicate women were among them, too, full no doubt of woman’s indestructible truth. They were fathers, and husbands, and brothers, like myself, disfigured, to be sure, by a morbid religious conscience, but no less capable of suffering on that account whatever I suffered. And so I could not help saying to myself how surely must errors like these involve this poor unprotected people in permanent popular disgrace, or what is worse, perhaps, provoke the fatal violence of a disgusting pharisaic mob; and how gladly, therefore, must good men of every name rather lessen than deepen the inevitable odium in which they stand! Accordingly it appears to me about as unmanly a sight as the sun now shines upon to see a great prosperous newspaper like the New York “Observer” gathering together the two wings of its hebdomadal flatulence, “secular” and “religious,” for a doughty descent upon this starveling and harmless field-mouse!
And this reminds me, by the way, to adore the beautiful Nemesis — beautiful and dread! — which in every commotion of opinion infallibly drives you, and persons like you, into a significant clamor for the interests of the Seventh Commandment. Whence this special zeal, this supererogatory devotion to the interests of that institution? Have you, then, a fixed conviction that no man, however refined by God’s culture and the elevation of our present social sentiment, could be exempted from police regulation, without instantly rushing into adultery? It would really seem so. But if that be your state of mind, it only furnishes another striking proof of the power, which your friends the Socialists attribute to constraint, in enhancing and inflaming the normal appreciation of sensual delights.
And here I drop my pen. I have used it lively to express the indignation which every true man must feel at seeing an eminent public station, like that of the editor of a religious newspaper, perverted to the wanton defamation of private character and the profligate obstruction of humane enterprise.
I am yours, etc.,
Then followed several communications between the “Observer” and Mr. James, which are omitted. Anything in them pertinent to this discussion is contained in the excerpts indicated by quotation marks.
To be continued.
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. B. Tucker.
Continued from No. 122.
“Shut up before the hour! I protest,” he exclaimed; “I’ll enter a complaint.” Garousse threw him aside, and in a furious voice shouted:
“Hold! You really worry me. Stand off, or this time I strike.”
Jean drew back into the axis of the parapet, and, stretching out his arms, still barred the passage.
“Ah! Monsieur ’sh angry,” said he, in a tone of irony. “Excuse me! Monsieur then prefers water t’ wine, like the Grand Turk! Ash you please, sultan, and so much th’ worse if you don’t know how t’ swim. You’ll be put in the Morgue. . . and in the newspapers, with all the honors due your rank.”
The duke shivered as if the cold marble had just touched him. Exposed on the slab, paraded in the press, he! Oh! He had not thought of this outrage upon suicides, of these dregs of the cup.
Jean, seeing that he wavered, redoubled his moral death-dance, and, striking his forehead, cried:
“Stop! I have egzhactly your story in my sack.”
“My story?” said Garousse, surprised.
“In black and white and in the ‘Officiel.’ Precisely that!” replied the rag-picker.
“In the ‘Officiel’? It isn’t possible,” exclaimed Garousse, sitting down again. “Let us look at it; can you read?”
“A little, my nevvy,” answered Jean, confidently.
He handed his lantern to Garousse and drew from his sack a bit of newspaper.
“Yes,” said he, “I read this while I was drinkin’ over there at th’ inn; I should have got tipsy, as you say, if they hadn’t passed me back the drunkard’s glass ’thout rinsing it; thash why I preach t’ you so well. Listen:
He interrupted himself to attend to the charred wick of his candle.
“Snuff yourself,” said he. “I can’t see a thing.”
And he continued slowly, reading without slurring his words, stammering:
“‘A man in the prime of life has just been taken from the Seine and carried to the Morgue. He should have been taken on a hurdle.’ Hm! what sort of ’n animal ’sh that? Well, never mind, I haven’t my dictionary. ‘A letter found on him proves that he was one more madman unable to endure the trials of life.’ Thirst, for sure. ‘Better dead than poor, said this crazy coward.’ Hear that?”
“Really,” said Garousse, shrugging his shoulders, “morality from below followed by morality from above! Go on.”
Jean, reeling about in his seat and his eyes fixed on the piece of paper, resumed his reading.
“‘There is no greater crime against religion and soci-i i-e-e-ty than suicide, that son of idleness and pride! Suicide is the brother of murder. Worse, perhaps. It is murder without the risk. The man who commits it is a guilty coward, a deserter, a merchant of wine’ — No, theresh no wine there — ‘a merchant who goes into bankruptcy, everything that is cowardly and vile.’ And so forth and so on. Yes, as much as to say the comrade who does not empty his glass, a pretender, a good-for-nothing, a blunderhead. ‘He is’ but the paper’s torn. To be continued in our next. What an oration, hey? What an epitaph! How it strikes home! How pat! The purest of wisdom! What have you to answer, coward? Hey? Drown yourself now, if you want to.”
And brutally, as if branding the duke, the rag-picker clapped the bit of newspaper on his shoulder, saying in his rough drunken voice:
“Theresh your mark. Keep it!”
Then he started off, staggering and grumbling:
“Hm! Hm! The reading has made me hoarse. I’m off to get a drink. Farewell!”
Garousse took the newspaper and read the passage again.
“Yes,” said he, bitterly, “fine morality to be read at the table at the Maison-Dorée. Ah! thus the world treats those who wish to rid it of their presence, who, like myself, prefer death to ignoble poverty.”
Jean, who had made a pretence of going away, returned to the charge.
“I say!” he cried out to Garousse, “if you’re still bent on killing yourself, I’ll keep your basket. ’Sh th’ only thing I need to bury Rothschild.”
With this conclusion he started off again, singing at the top of his voice his favorite refrain:
Forever juice divine!
The Bank Collector.
Garousse walked back and forth with long strides, turning and twisting on the quai like a tiger in his cage. He seemed to be revolving in his over-excited brain an idea even more frightful than suicide.
“‘Everything that is cowardly and vile,’” said he, repeating the last phrase of the newspaper article. “Well, no! Neither cowardice nor villainy, neither water nor wine, neither the mud of the street nor the hurdle of the press. If I do this, I shall be an object of terror. Better an object of terror than of shame. Away then with the thought of another suicide; crime’s the thing! Yes, a curse, a curse not on myself alone, but also a curse upon others!”
He looked steadily before him, in a fit of dizziness, his hand stretched out as if to recover all his losses, riches, pleasures, loves, his head on fire, his eyes bloodshot, seeing everything in red.
Prey to a spasm of homicidal madness, he brandished his hook as if to strike a hoped-for victim.
“What do I see?” he cried, hiding suddenly in the dark angle of the wine-shop. “Oh! Providence of evil, you serve better than the Providence of good.”
And he did not stir, crouching behind a part of the wall which screened him from the street-lamp.
Two bank collectors, dressed in blue uniforms with brass buttons and wearing on their heads the three-cornered hats looked upon as an essential of their profession equally with their honesty, were rapidly approaching, completing their route and talking.
One of them canned on his back a heavy money-bag, and an enormous bank-book, held by a strong but small chain, stuck half-way out of his front pocket.
“What a day!” said he to his companion. “I have been delayed by the weight of the receipts. Let us double our pace. Do you know that we carry on our persons half the wealth of the house?”
“Yes,” said the other, “it is heavy and tempting. But here we are in Paris. Suppose I leave you and go home? There is no more danger now?”
“No. Thank you, and farewell till tomorrow. As for me, I am going to get rid of this load as fast as possible in order to go home myself. My wife must be anxious.”
“Think of mine, then! She is in confinement, you know. One mouth more to feed.”
“I know that,” said the collector with the big bank-book; “but bah! when one has health, what matters it?”
His honest face beamed. He continued:
“I have a little girl, Marie, a love of a child. She is as big as a cent’s worth of butter and gives me a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of joy. Oh! I am happy. You see, Louis, a child is the joy of a house.”
“Or its sorrow,” said the other, shaking his head.
“Yes, but when one has heart together with health and work” . . . .
“He has all, you are right, Jacques. That’s what I meant.”
“Be off, then; let me detain you no longer. Good evening, Dupont.”
“Good night, Didier.”
Thus they separated, each going in his own direction.
He whom his comrade had just called Jacques Didier continued on his way, apart from the other, and directing his steps towards the lamp in front of the wine-shop.
He walked briskly, thinking of his day’s work done, his duty fulfilled, his family’s bread earned, and rest by his humble fireside with his young wife and his little Marie.
Suddenly, as he reached the wine-shop, at the corner of the quai, a threatening form emerged from the shadow of the wall, and a terrible voice hurled these words into the silence of the night:
“It is over! Blood. . . . gold!”
Jacques Didier stopped short writh a cry of distress.
He had received a stunning blow. Blood spurted from a small but deep hole in his temple.
Fatally wounded, he staggered a moment; his outstretched hands seemed to grasp at some means of salvation and clutched in the empty air; then, uprooted, losing his footing, he fell at full length, like a tree.
Garousse, frightened but determined, threw down his bloody hook and leaped upon his victim like a vulture on its prey.
Didier then made a last resistance. With his failing arms he surrounded the precious money-bag, and like a faithful dog defending to the last his master’s property, he gave, in spite of his death agony, a final sign of energy and honor.
The assassin had to use all his strength in plundering the unfortunate Didier. Death came to the aid of crime against the duty that still defended the coveted receipts. The man of duty at last let go his hold with a plaintive groan.
With his foot on the money-bag, Garousse took hold of the bank-book, fastened by its chain to a button-hole of the uniform, and tried to tear it away.
At that moment a sound of hurried steps fell upon his ear. Frightened, he dropped the chain, which had held firm, and quickly, to make an end, he rummaged the bank-book lined with bills and stuffed the bundles into his pockets by the handful; then, his infamous task ended, he was about to flee, when Jean, recalled by the cries, came running up with an uncertain gait, calling out:
“Well, what’s the matter there?”
And throwing down his sack in order to run faster, he fell upon Garousse just as he was picking up the money-bag.
“Assassin! robber! false brother! To dishonor the profession! Help! Wait!” Garousse tried to release himself from Jean’s grasp.
“Will you be silent, you rascal?” he said, in a hollow voice, while Jean screamed like a dog at a wolf.
A short struggle ensued between them, near the inert body of the bank collector. The guilty man saw that he was lost if the combat lasted. He made a desperate effort; his iron hand seized the rag-picker’s throat; and, with an irresistible strain, he threw him down by the side of the poor Didier.
“Ah! brigand!” exclaimed Jean, with a choking voice. “What a wrist! What a throw! I shall not soon forget it.”
Garousse freely picked up the money-bag. For a moment he looked at the two men stretched at his feet; then, slapping his pockets stuffed with bank-notes, he burst into a diabolical laugh.
“Neither cowardly nor vile,” he cried. “Blood and gold. Now I have the wherewithal to live respectable and rich, and so I will live.”
The storm had redoubled in fury, drowning in its continuous roar the echoes of this double struggle. Nature seemed no longer indifferent to this human tragedy; the night made itself the murderer’s accomplice, an English night: Paris disguised as London for its carnival. One could not see ten steps before him. The assassin disappeared as if he had plunged into the earth. No one but the rag-picker had seen or heard him.
Jean got up painfully.
“Good God!” he repeated. “What a throw! What a wrist! It has sobered me.”
In fact, a new expression had replaced his bewildered look. He was transfigured. He seemed awakened from the bestial sleep of Circe, returning by the way of Damas, converted by a revelation, possessed by a vision and an inner voice which cried out to him: “Jean, you are guilty also! What have you done with Jacques?” . . . what the mystics and Biblicals formerly called a divine miracle, but which was only the natural awakening of the moral sense, of social duty. In the corpse of his fellow Jean had found again his conscience.
The rag-picker, still dazed by his fall, gathered himself up and took his head in his hands in order to drive away the last fumes of the alcohol.
A voice which seemed like a death-rattle, so slow and feeble was it, recalled him to reality.
“My wife! My child!”
Jean again saw Jacques lying before him, clasping his hands in an impulse of ineffable affection and breatning a last farewell to all that he loved.
“Oh! poor, poor man!” murmured the rag-picker, in the heartfelt tone of a Good Samaritan. “His family! Nothing else was lacking!”
He bent over the dying man covered with blood.
“His wife! his child!” he continued; “it is enough to break one’s heart.”
And suppressing his emotion in order to console the unfortunate money-carrier, he said:
“Rest easy. Some good soul perhaps will look out for them. I at least will do what I can. Your name, friend?”
And Jacques, with a last unfinished gesture, pointing to the bank-book hanging to his blue coat, ejaculated:
“Berville Bank. . . . Jacques Didier. ... I defended it . . . but . . . Oh!”
All was over. The body stiffened and stretched out, forever motionless, inanimate. The victim of the Duke Garousse had just expired in the arms of the rag-picker.
The measured and sonorous tread of a patrol then mingled with the noise of the squalls, unchained and furious, which blew down chimneys and tore off roofs in a dismal whirlwind. It rained tiles; blinds opened and closed again, grinding on their hinges and slamming against the walls.
In the uproar of this nocturnal tempest Jean neither heard nor saw the guard. He detached the bank-book, which bore in gilt letters the address of the Berville Bank and the name of the bank collector, Jacques Didier. Trembling and agitated as if he were the author of the crime, Jean examined the bank-book to see if it was really empty, and, reassured, put it under his blouse.
“And he has killed him, the scoundrel,” he exclaimed, shaking his head. “A poor devil of a man of the people like ourselves. God! is it possible that we should eat each other thus? Worse than the wolves! Ah! the Cain! It was worth while, indeed, to stop him from killing himself that he might kill another! The bad saved at the expense of the good! It is my fault.”
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.
After “Freiheit,” “Der Sozialist.”
The first criticism upon Libertas came from the Communists by the pen ot Herr Most. That I have answered, and Herr Most promises a rejoinder in “Freiheit.” Meanwhile there comes an attack from another quarter,— from the camp of the State Socialists. In their official organ, “Der Sozialist,” one of its regular writers, J. G., devotes two columns to comments upon my paper, “State Socialism and Anarchism.” Under the heading, “Consistent Anarchists,” he first institutes a contrast between the Anarchists, and the Communists who call themselves Anarchists, which is complimentary to the former’s consistency, logic, and frankness, and then proceeds to demolish the logical Anarchists by charges of absurdity, nonsense, and ignorance, ringing about all the changes on these substantives and their kindred adjectives that the rich German vocabulary will allow. Now, I submit that, if the Anarchists are such ignoramuses, they do not deserve two columns of attention in “Der Sozialist”; on the other hand, if they merit a two-column examination, they merit it in the form of argument instead of contemptuous assertions coupled with a reference to Marx’s works which reminds one very much of the way in which Henry George refers his State Socialistic critics to “Progress and Poverty.” To tell the Anarchists that they do not know the meaning of the terms value, price, product, and capital, that economic conceptions find no lodgment in their brains, and that their statements of the position of the State Socialists are misrepresentations, is not to answer them. An answer involves analysis and comparison. To answer an argument is to separate it into its parts, to show the inconsistency between them, and the inconsistency between some or all of them and already established truths. But in J. G.’s article there is nothing of this, or next to nothing.
The nearest approach to a tangible criticism that I can find is the statement that I attribute to Marx a conception of the State entirely foreign to the sense in which he used the term; that he did not believe in the old patriarchal and absolute State, but looked upon State and society as one. Yes, he regarded them as one in the sense that the lamb and the lion are one after the lion has eaten the lamb. Marx’s unity of State and society resembles the unity of husband and wife in the eyes of the law. Husband and wife are one, and that one is the husband; so, in Marx’s view, State and society are one, but that one is the State. If Marx had made the State and society one and that one society, the Anarchists would have little or no quarrel with him. For to the Anarchists society simply means the sum total of those relations between individuals which grow up through natural processes unimpeded by external, constituted, authoritative power. That this is not what Marx meant by the State is evident from the fact that his plan involved the establishment and maintenance of Socialism — that is, the seizure of capital and its public administration — by authoritative power, no less authoritative because democratic instead of patriarchal. It is this dependence of Marx’s system upon authority that I insist upon in my paper, and, if I misrepresent him in this, I do so in common with all the State Socialistic journals and all the State Socialistic platforms. But it is no misrepresentation; otherwise, what is the significance of the sneers at individual sovereignty which J. G., a follower of Marx, indulges in near the end of his article? Has individual sovereignty any alternative but authority? If it has, what is it? If it has not, and if Marx and his followers are opposed to it, then they are necessarily champions of authority.
But we will glance at one more of J. G’s “answers.” This individual sovereignty that you claim, he says, is what we already have, and is the cause of all our woe. Again assertion, without analysis or comparison, and put forward in total neglect of my argument. I started out with the proposition that what we already have is a mixture of individual sovereignty and authority, the former prevailing in some directions, the latter in others; and I argued that the cause of all our woe was not the individual sovereignty, but the authority. This I showed by specifying the most important barriers which authority had erected to prevent the free play of natural economic processes, and describing how these processes would abolish all forms of usury — that is, substantially all our woe — if these barriers should be removed. Is this argument met by argument? Not a bit of it. Humph! says J. G., that is nothing but “Proudhonism chewed over,” and Marx disposed of that long ago. To which I might reply that the contents of “Der Sozialist” are nothing but “Marxism chewed over,” and Proudhon disposed of that long ago. When I can see that this style of reply is effective in settling controversy, I will resort to it. Till then I prefer to see it monopolized by the State Socialists. This form of monopoly Anarchists would sooner permit than destroy.
Should Labor be Paid or Not?
In No. 121 of Liberty, criticising an attempt of Kropotkine to identify Communism and Individualism, I charged him with ignoring “the real question whether Communism will permit the individual to labor independently, own tools, sell his labor or his products, and buy the labor or products of others.” In Herr Most’s eyes this is so outrageous that, in reprinting it, he puts the words “the labor of others” in large black type. Most being a Communist, he must, to be consistent, object to the purchase and sale of anything whatever, but why he should particularly object to the purchase and sale of labor is more than I can understand. Really, in the last analysis, labor is the only thing that has any title to be bought or sold. Is there any just basis of price except cost? And is there anything that costs except labor or suffering (another name for labor)? Labor should be paid! Horrible, isn’t it? Why, I thought that the fact that it is not paid was the whole grievance. “Unpaid labor” has been the chief complaint of all Socialists, and that labor should get its reward has been their chief contention. Suppose I had said to Kropotkine that the real question is whether Communism will permit individuals to exchange their labor or products on their own terms. Would Herr Most have been so shocked? Would he have printed that in black type? Yet in another form I said precisely that.
If the men who oppose wages — that is, the purchase and sale of labor — were capable of analyzing their thought and feelings, they would see that what really excites their anger is not the fact that labor is bought and sold, but the fact that one class of men are dependent for their living upon the sale of their labor, while another class of men are relieved of the necessity of labor by being legally privileged to sell something that is not labor and that, but for the privilege, would be enjoyed by all gratuitously. And to such a state of things I am as much opposed as any one. But the minute you remove privilege, the class that now enjoy it will be forced to sell their labor, and then, when there will be nothing but labor with which to buy labor, the distinction between wage-payers and wage-receivers will be wiped out, and every man will be a laborer exchanging with fellow-laborers. Not to abolish wages, but to make every man dependent upon wages and to secure to every man his whole wages is the aim of Anarchistic Socialism. What Anarchistic Socialism aims to abolish is usury. It does not want to deprive labor of its reward; it wants to deprive capital of its reward. It does not hold that labor should not be sold; it holds that capital should not be hired at usury.
But, says Herr Most, this idea of a free labor market from which privilege is eliminated is nothing but “consistent Manchesterism.” Well, what better can a man who professes Anarchism want than that? For the principle of Manchesterism is liberty, and consistent Manchesterism is consistent adherence to liberty. The only inconsistency of the Manchester men lies in their infidelity to liberty in some of its phases. And this infidelity to liberty in some of its phases is precisely the fatal inconsistency of the “Freiheit” school, the only difference between its adherents and the Manchester men being that in many of the phases in which the latter are infidel the former are faithful, while in many of those in which the latter are faithful the former are infidel. Yes, genuine Anarchism is consistent Manchesterism, and Communistic or pseudo-Anarchism is inconsistent Manchesterism. “I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.”
The Effect of Force in Finance.
The course of Senator Reagan of Texas on the question of prohibition has shown him to be anything but a reliable champion of liberty, but nevertheless, when, in a recent Senate debate, he opposed the idea of legal tender paper money and said that, if any more treasury notes were to be issued, they should not be a legal tender for private debts, but should be receivable for all taxes and public dues, he showed due regard for liberty and a marked degree of financial insight. The Fort Worth “South West,” however, which believes in a complete legal tender money, calls Senator Reagan very hard names for this, and likens what it describes as his partial legal tender scheme — that is, a scheme of legal tender to the government, but not to individuals — to that other partial legal tender scheme according to which the original treasury notes were issued,— that is, a scheme of legal tender to individuals, but not to the government for import duties.
That the treasury notes suffered depreciation under the latter scheme no one now doubts, and the “South West” argues that, both schemes being partial legal tender schemes, notes issued under the former would depreciate similarly: which goes to show how dangerous it is to accept an analogy without first analyzing it. In comparing two things it is important to ascertain, not only in what respects they are alike, but in what respects they are different. These two schemes are undoubtedly alike in the respect that each furnishes a partial legal tender money, but a little closer inspection will reveal a vital difference between them, no less a difference, in fact, than that between a note-issuer who is willing to receive his own notes and one who is unwilling to do so but is determined to force others to receive them.
In order not to overtax the “South West’s” power of abstraction, I will make the illustration that I have to offer a little more concrete by substituting John Smith for the government. Suppose that John Smith issues his notes and starts them in circulation, and then, holding a pistol at the head of John Brown, his neighbor, says to him: “If any of my notes are offered you in payment of a debt due you, you must receive them; if you decline, your life shall pay the penalty; but, as for me, I give you and the rest of the world notice that I will not receive these notes in payment of any debts due me.” The “South West” will have no difficulty in seeing that John Smith’s notes, issued under such circumstances, would rapidly depreciate. In fact, it sees that such was actually the case in a corresponding instance, where John Brown, the citizen, was forced by John Smith, the government, to take notes which the latter issued but was unwilling to accept in payment of import duties.
But suppose John Smith had taken a different course with his neighbor Brown. After putting his notes in circulation, suppose he had said to Brown: “If any of my notes are offered you in payment of a debt due you, you are at liberty to receive or refuse them, as you may see fit; but I give you and the rest of the world notice that I will promptly receive these notes at their face value in payment of any debts due me.” Does the “South West” think that such an attitude on John Smith’s part would have caused his notes to depreciate? On the contrary, does it not think that such willingness on his part to trust the fate of his notes to their merits would have inspired in Brown and others a higher feeling of confidence than they ever would have entertained if Smith, even though willing (as he was not) to take the notes himself, had attempted to force them on others? It seems to me that in reason it must answer in the affirmative.
But this answer would be equivalent to an admission that Senator Reagan’s partial legal tender not only is widely different from and far superior to the partial legal tender of the original greenback legislation, but must also be given the preference over the complete legal tender which the “South West” has advocated. How easily my Texas contemporary might have avoided this dilemma by the exercise of a little discrimination!
Mr. Blodgett’s Final Question.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I have one more question, and it does not occur to me now that I shall want to trouble you further in this way.
You say: “I do not believe in any inherent right of property. Property is a social convention.”
Now, does Anarchism recognize the propriety of compelling individuals to regard social conventionalities?
Readers who desire to refresh their minds regarding the series of questions which the above concludes should consult Nos. 115 and 117. The answer to the first question in No. 115 is really an answer to the question now put. There I said that the only compulsion of individuals the propriety of which Anarchism recognizes is that which compels invasive individuals to refrain from overstepping the principle of equal liberty. Now, equal liberty itself being a social convention (for there are no natural rights), it is obvious that Anarchism recognizes the propriety of compelling individuals to regard one social convention. But it does not follow from this that it recognizes the propriety of compelling individuals to regard any and all social conventions. Anarchism protects equal liberty (of which property based on labor is simply an expression in a particular sphere), not because it is a social convention, but because it is equal liberty,— that is, because it is Anarchism itself. Anarchism may properly protect itself, but there its mission ends. This self-protection it must effect through voluntary association, however, and not through government; for to protect equal liberty through government is to invade equal liberty.
Not a Decree, But a Prophecy.
Have I made a mistake in my Anarchism, or has the editor of Liberty himself tripped? At any rate, I most challenge the Anarchism of one sentence in his otherwise masterful paper upon “State Socialism and Anarchism.” If I am wrong, I stand open to conviction. It is this. “They [Anarchists] look forward to a time . . . when the children born of these relations shall belong exclusively to the mothers until old enough to belong to themselves.”
Now, that looks to me like an authoritarian statement that is in opposition to theoretical Anarchy and also to nature. What is the matter with leaving the question of the control of those children to their two parents, to be settled between them,— allowing them to decide whether both, or only one, and which one, shall have control?
I may be wrong, but it seems to me extremely un-Anarchistic to thus bring up an extraneous, authoritarian, moral obligation and use it to stifle an instinct which nature is doing her best to develop.
I would like to know whether the editor of Liberty momentarily forgot his creed that we must follow our natural desires, or if I have misunderstood his statement, or misapplied my own Anarchy.
Paternal love of offspring is, with a few exceptions, a comparatively late development in the evolution of the animal world, so late that there are tribes of the order of man, and individuals even among civilized nations, in whom it is not found. But the fact that it is a late development shows that it is going to develop still more. And under the eased economical conditions which Anarchy hopes to bring about, it would burst forth with still greater power. Is it wise to attempt to stifle that feeling — as it would be stifled — by the sweeping statement that its object should belong to some one else? Maternal love of offspring beautifies the woman’s character, broadens and enriches her intellect. And as far as I have observed, paternal feeling, if it is listened to, indulged, and developed, has an equally good, though not just the same, effect upon the man’s mind. Should he be deprived of all this good by having swept out of his hands all care for his children and out of his heart all feeling that they are his, by being made to feel that they “belong exclusively to the mother”? It seems to me much more reasonable, much more natural, and very much more Anarchistic to say that the child of Anarchistic parents belongs to both of them, if they both wish to have united control of it, and, if they don’t wish this, that they can settle between themselves as to which one should have it. The question is one, I think, that could usually be settled amicably. But if some unusual occasion were to arise when all efforts to settle it amicably were to fail, when both parents would strongly desire the child and be equally competent to rear it, then, possibly, the fact that the mother has suffered the pain of child-birth might give her a little the stronger right. But I do not feel perfectly sure that that principle is right and just.
I would like to know if Mr. Tucker, upon farther consideration, does not agree with me.
F. F. K.
I accept F. F. K.’s challenge, and, in defence of the Anarchism of the sentence objected to, I offer to submit the language in which it is phrased to any generally recognized authority in English, for the discovery of any authoritarian meaning possibly therein contained. F. F. K. seems to misunderstand the use of the word “shall.” Now, it may be ascertained from any decent dictionary or grammar that this auxiliary is employed, not alone in the language of command, but also in the language of prophecy. Suppose I had said that the Anarchists look forward to a time when all men shall be honest. Would F. F. K. have suspected me of desiring or predicting a decree to that effect? I hardly think so. The conclusion would simply have been that I regarded honesty as destined to be accepted by mankind, at some future period, in the shaping of their lives. Why, then, should it be inferred from similar phraseology in regard to the control of children that I anticipate anything more than a general recognition, in the absence of contract, of the mother’s superior claim, and a refusal on the part of defensive associations to protect any other claim than hers in cases of dispute not guarded against by specific contract? That is all that I meant, and that is all that my language implies. The language of prophecy doubtless had its source in authority, but today the idea of authority is so far disconnected from the prophetic form that philosophers and scientists who, reasoning from accepted data, use this form in mapping out for a space the course of evolution are not therefore accused of designs to impose their sovereign wills upon the human race. The editor of Liberty respectfully submits that he too may sometimes resort to the oracular style which the best English writers not unfrequently employ in speaking of futurity, without having it imputed to him on that account that he professes to speak either from a throne or from a tripod.
As to the charge of departure from the Anarchistic principle, it may be preferred, I think, against F. F. K. with much more reason than against me. To vest the control of anything indivisible in more than one person seems to me decidedly communistic. I perfectly agree that parents must be allowed to “decide whether both, or only one, and which one, shall have control.” But if they are foolish enough to decide that both shall control, the affair is sure to end in government. Contract as they may in advance that both shall control, really no question of control arises until they disagree, and then it is a logical impossibility for both to control. One of the two will then control; or else there will be a compromise, in which case each will be controlled, just as the king who makes concessions governs and is governed, and as the members of a democracy govern and are governed. Liberty and individualism are lost sight of entirely.
I rejoice to know that the tendency of evolution is towards the increase of paternal love, it being no part of my intention to abolish, stifle, or ignore that highly commendable emotion. I expect its influence in the future upon both child and parent to be far greater and better than it ever has been in the past. Upon the love of both father and mother for their offspring I chiefly rely for that harmonious coöperation in the guidance of their children’s lives which is so much to be desired. But the important question so far as Anarchy is concerned is to whom this guidance properly belongs when such cooperation has proved impossible. If that question is not settled in advance by contract, it will have to be settled by arbitration, and the board of arbitration will be expected to decide in accordance with some principle. In my judgment it will be recognized that the control of children is a species of property, and that the superior labor title of the mother will secure her right to the guardianship of her children unless she freely signs it away. With my present light, if I were on such a board of arbitration, my vote would be for the mother every time.
For this declaration many of the friends of woman’s emancipation (F. F. K., however, not among them) are ready to abuse me roundly. I had expected their approval rather. For years in their conventions I have seen this “crowning outrage,” that woman is denied the control and keeping of her children, reserved by them to be brought forward as a coup de grâce for the annihilation of some especially obstinate opponent. Now this control and keeping I grant her unreservedly, and, lo! I am a cursed thing!
The “Commonweal” is one of those few Socialistic papers that I always have the patience to read, its brightness and thoughtfulness being a rather remarkable exception to the insufferable dullness and commonplace of the average Socialistic journal. In its last issue I find the following clipping, credited to the “People”:
Not a Paternal, but a Fraternal, State is what Socialists want. You growlers for individualism, can't you see the difference?
This is a very good illustration of the Socialistic method of avoiding a difficulty and of the enviable ease with which they satisfy their desire for security. Attack them where you will, they are perfectly safe and invulnerable. Destroy their position, and they will change its name and then claim that your fire did not disturb them. You object to the compulsory element of their reformatory utopias, and show them the inconsistency, the absurdity, the self-annihilating tendency of the mode of treatment which they prescribe for society, and they will invent another label for the unwholesome medicine.
Names are of no consequence, gentlemen. Show us that State Socialism does not violate our liberty, does not seek to deprive us of our rightful possessions, and does not force upon us the ignorant superstitions of the majority; but do not try to conceal yourselves behind an euphemism. A “fraternal” State? Bah! Read Bastiat:
“The Montagnards intend that taxation shall lose its oppressive character and be only an act of fraternity.” — Political Platform. Good Heavens! I know it is the fashion to thrust fraternity in everywhere nowadays, but I did not imagine it would even be put into the hands of the tax-gatherer.
Some men, when under the influence of intoxicating beverages, delight in going around and forcing fraternal embraces and kisses upon everybody that happens to be near at hand, entire strangers not excepted. Doubtless such a drunken individual would be astonished and angered at seeing one offended and repelled by his overflowing cordiality. But the liberty to choose one’s friends and associates is very important. We insist upon not being even kissed against our will.
To Tax Monopoly Not to Abolish It.
Wherever there is a monopoly taking tribute from the people, such tribute is taken from individuals in specific sums, and not from all individuals alike. Therefore to simply tax and continue a monopoly is to convert to the use of the government the tribute unjustly paid by some people, and not to do such justice as would be done by abating the monopoly. In other words, it is to levy an unjust tax for the State in lieu of allowing an unjust tax for private benefit. A reform, some may say. Well, a partial reform, but with not much difference to the person imposed upon.
Why Not Commit Adultery?
In Liberty No. 119 Mr. A. H. Simpson caustically criticises Mr. W. S. Lilly’s reason for not committing adultery under the régime of what is called the “new morality.” His point is that “Mr. Lilly never for the moment thinks of the woman in the matter except as an object.” Let us for a moment try to set aside all considerations likely to arise in our thoughts that might be attributed to any system of morals, old or new, and discuss the question entirely on the physiological plane. Let us take it for granted that there is truth in the prevalent idea that, when a woman has once conceived and borne a child, her organization has been indelibly influenced by that of the father of it, so that any subsequent children are liable to partake of his nature. Then the next man who may take part with this woman in the procreative act is not entirely the father of his child, rather their child. From this point of view it is even questionable whether a woman may not be impressed by the influence of her lover, though child-bearing be avoided. Then arise two questions,— first, whether a man has a right to indulge the selfish desire of wishing to be wholly the father of a child, and second, whether for the sake of the child it is best that it should be the product of two or more influences, or lines of heredity. When a man marries a widow, he generally does so with his eyes open, knowing what to expect; but is it not right, from the autonomistic standpoint, that a man should be able, if he so prefer, to associate himself with a woman who shall agree to a mutual agreement to maintain strict chastity for the sake of producing a “pure breed” of progeny, if for no other reason? Scientific stock-breeders are very particular with their thorough-bred stock, and do not permit their female stock to become contaminated with males that they would prefer not to use in breeding. In some respects thorough-breds are preferred, but crossing and mixing are resorted to for the advantages to be found in mongrels. Possibly all children would be improved by modes of mixing which would render them mongrels of many mixed types, but, on the other hand, if anything is to be gained by closer breeding, the mothers must be denied some liberty.
E. B. Foote, Jr.
Liberty, Adultery, and Mental Sex.
Dear Comrade Tucker:
I have received from Dr. E. B. Foote, Jr., the above article for Liberty, accompanied by a note of explanation from which I quote: “Friend Lloyd: I was much interested in your last letter to Liberty, and it seems to me you have the faculty of saying much that I would like to say better than I could say it. What I have written above does not suit me, but it may be in part because I have not evolved clear ideas on the subject, and in part because I am not in the proper mood to best express the little I do think. I send it to you . . . . . for I thought you might like to comment upon it, and send it to Liberty.”
It is certainly needless for me to say that in this very kind and complimentary little note my friend (whose reputation as a clear, concise writer is at least national) is entirely too modest; or to assure you that I have not presumed to alter his article in the slightest, but send it on precisely as dictated. I shall be glad, however, to add a few words of comment, as he requests.
It appears to me that the thought Mr. Simpson endeavored to convey was something like this: A woman has an inalienable right to dispose as she pleases of her own person; marriage is bondage; nothing so invariably and universally breaks the married bond as adultery; liberty is worth having at any price; therefore, says Mr. Simpson: “I maintain that not only have the young man and the married woman the right to commit adultery, but that in the majority of cases it is the best thing they can do — in the furtherance of liberty.”
But Dr. Foote, having read the interrogation “Why not?” takes at once a professional view of the matter, and suggests that from the standpoint of stirpiculture there may be, in many cases, a physiological reason why not,— viz., that if thorough-bred progeny is desired, the female must associate sexually with only one male. Now, all unknown to Dr. Foote, I incline to this theory myself, and more, I believe that, whenever the average woman accedes willingly and responsively to sexual union with a man, even where there is no physcal impregnation, she is mentally impregnated.
I say average woman, because I consider it quite possible, and even probable, that there are women who in the sphere of mental sex are barren and incapable of such impregnation.
By mental impregnation I mean that the spiritual or mental nature of the man at such a time, if the woman is not resistant, flows into her brain and nerves, and perhaps effects physical changes in their molecular arrangement, mode of action and growth, but at any rate implants, as it were, germs of thought and feeling which will ultimately develop into full-formed ideas and emotions, such as the woman herself never would have had without such fertilization.
Does not the woman also affect the man? I think so, and powerfully, but less so, I believe, in this act than in the ordinary relations of life. In this, it appears to be the ordinary arrangement of nature that the woman should be chiefly receptive and impressible, the man mainly projective and positive.
I think it highly probable that, by a single act of connection with a coarse and sensual man, a refined woman might find herself tainted with cravings and passions foreign to her nature, tormenting and humiliating her for years, perhaps for life; and per contra, a woman of low life might by such an association with a thoroughly superior man be lifted temporarily to a higher plane, and imbibe a thirst for better things never to be entirely lost. This is of course only a theory, to be proved or disproved, like all others, by careful observation and comparison of facts, to be accepted or rejected freely by each individual consciousness. But if found to accord fully with truth,— and many facts and popular beliefs might even now be adduced in its support,— it will afford the strongest argument ever yet brought against sexual promiscuity, meaning by promiscuity, not variety in the sexual manifestations of the self-wise forms of love, but careless and inconsiderate gratifications of impulse toward the other sex. If a woman fully accepts it, she will naturally be eager to associate with those men whose mental nobility she admires; equally peremptory in her refusal of men whom she doubts or fears, and wisely cautious in her relations with all; realizing that there are mental as well as physiological and pathological considerations to be taken into account.
But now to Dr. Foote’s query, “Is it not right from the autonomistic standpoint that a man should be able, if he so prefer, to associate himself with a woman who shall agree to a mutual agreement to maintain strict chastity for the sake of producing a ‘pure breed’ of progeny, if for no other reason?” Not exactly; but, if not only “he prefers,” but the woman prefers also, then it is perfectly right “from the autonomistic standpoint”; and so it would be if the contract pertained to anything else conceivable, not invasive of outside parties. But the man has no right in Anarchy to force a woman to abide by such an agreement if once her mental consent is withdrawn; and herein is the irreconcilable difference between Free Love and Marriage. Free Love contains no prohibition of exclusive love; it only excludes its enforcement, or rather its attempted enforcement, for forced love cannot be. But adultery (in all ordinary thought and language at least, and Dr. Foote claims no peculiar definition) is purely a legal “crime” pertaining only to marriage, outside of which it has no existence. I wonder if Dr. Foote does not forget this, and if he is not arguing for exclusive love relations rather than for non-committal of adultery. If a woman mistakenly marries a man, and then finds that he is not the man she would prefer to be the father of her children, and finds some other man who does satisfy her in this respect, it is perfectly right for her, from the autonomistic standpoint (questions of personal safety aside), to leave her husband and commit adultery with the man of her choice. If she accepts the Foote theory, she will maintain exclusive relations with this man; but she will be none the less an adulteress. Therefore Dr. Foote’s suggested argument, granting it full force, becomes no argument for non-committal of adultery, but simply an argument for exclusive breeding contracts between human beings; another matter altogether.
Anarchy does not regard its “female stock” as so many cows or mares — “objects,” as Mr. Simpson might put it — with sexual functions and affections to be regulated by rape of law; but as free individuals, “stock breeders” in their own right; free to keep themselves pure, or “contaminate” themselves, according to the action and results of their own wise or foolish notions of self-benefit. Nor “must” the mothers “be denied some liberty,” let what may be the advantages of closer breeding, except in so far as they themselves perceive those advantages, and make self-application of the requisite denial to obtain them.
Speaking of denying liberty suggests another thought to me. It has always appeared to me that many more people would embrace Anarchy if they clearly comprehended what I call the distinction between liberties and Liberty. A liberty is an opportunity to do, or be, or possess something desired; Liberty is opportunity to pursue happiness in the path indicated by our intellect and impulses, without other restraint than that afforded by the necessary limitations of naturally conditioned existence and operation,— the natural necessities. Nature is continually denying about half our liberties, but of our Liberty she is the great assurance. To illustrate: I have the liberty to sit down; also to stand up; but whichsoever liberty I elect, Nature denies the other; I cannot both sit and stand at the same time. So with every act in life; if my liberty to do one thing is exercised, my liberty to do its opposite is denied, and there is no escape. But so long as I act from individual initiative, and in accordance with the advice of my own intellect, in pursuit of my own happiness, without invasive interference or coercion from other human beings — and this is what the Anarchist means when he says Liberty — I am free and my larger liberty is intact.
When we figuratively speak of nature as a person, it is well enough, perhaps, to speak of her as “governing,” to talk of her “laws,” etc. But when we do this so often and so seriously that the fable assumes the guise of undisputed reality, we have committed the grave mistake of all theistic systems,— we are worshipping an anthropomorphic imagination as a literal god of despotic power.
Government is the invasive action of a self-conscious intelligence; and there is no sense in speaking of it as exercised by anything else, except figuratively. And a law is a rule or method of government formulated by such an intelligence. Therefore to speak of the laws and government of nature is proper language enough for those Pantheists — if such exist — who regard nature as a consciously intelligent deity; but improper for Christians who should substitute “God” for “nature”; and still more improper for Anarchists, who should regard government and legislation as exclusively human inventions, or at least as commensurate with self-consciousness.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
Pessimism and Rose-Water.
Apart from those middle-class persons who have had the good luck to be convinced of the truths of Socialism and are actually working for it, I have met with two kinds amongst persons of good will to the popular cause: first, persons of very strong and marked advanced opinions who are so far from thinking that the holding of such opinions involves any sort of action on their part that they rather (or indeed very much) plume themselves on their superiority over those who act on their opinions, whatever they may be; — of course, such persons are desperate pessimists. The other kind are persons whose opinions are not very advanced, but have a sort of idea that they should act upon them, such as they are, and will undertake cheerfully any little job that may turn up, from total abstinence to electioneering, with a cheerful confidence in the usefulness of their work: but all the while they have not even faced the question as to the necessity of changing the basis of society; they suppose that the present system contains in itself everything that is necessary to cure the evils which they are to some extent conscious of; and indeed some of them are very anxious to stave off the radical change which Socialism proposes by exhibiting the said evils in course of being cured by — well, I must say it — rose-water.
The Case Against Dives.
[W. H. Paul Campbell in the Christian Socialist.]
As the great case of Lazarus vs. Dives is every day assuming an increasing importance in the minds of thinking people, and is accordingly every day attracting an increasing amount of attention, it may be as well to make clear what are the real offences against Lazarus which Dives has committed, and with which he is now being charged. It seems necessary this should be done; for many people, whose sympathies are entirely with the plaintiff and against the defendant, have yet but the very vaguest notion of what the latter is to be condemned for; whilst many others, whose sympathies are quite the other way in many instances, consider that, in deference to a growing public opinion and in his own interest, Dives should plead guilty to an offence quite other than the much more serious one of which he is really guilty.
The offence to which these opportunist friends of Dives consider it advisable for him to plead guilty, and of which many, either with a real or affected indignation, or timidly and half-apologetically, say he actually is guilty, is simply that of a steward who has been at times unfaithful to his trust. His great riches, it would appear, have been given to him by God, as his poverty, with its accompanying misery and suffering, has been given, we are to suppose, to Lazarus. The object of God in giving the riches to Dives is that he may help Lazarus. The riches, in fact, are a trust to Dives,— to which, by the way, he is allowed to help himself for his own private purposes in a way not usually permitted to trustees. He has spent too much of his riches, thus divinely entrusted him, upon himself, in the purchase of innumerable comforts and luxuries, and too little upon Lazarus, in the way of alms and charitable doles. Now, those who look at matters in this light urge Dives to bring the case which Lazarus has raised against him to a speedy termination, which will really be in his favor, by deciding to be a more faithful steward in the future, and give more largely to Lazarus in charity than he has done hitherto! He is to remember — so their meaningless jargon runs — that “property has its duties as well as its rights.” If he does not do this in time, and surrender a portion of his wealth graciously, Lazarus will undoubtedly rise in wrath and make him give it all up ungraciously! Dreadful thought! Chaos will then come again, and the Old Anarch of the Ages will hold high revel amid the ruins of a shattered society — and have everything, generally speaking, his own wicked way.
There are other friends of Dives, however, who object to their lord and patron being spoken to in this way. They will not have him lectured and bullied and worried. Granted that his main faults are two, as one of these apologists of his in the press said recently: first, that “he practises, or his ancestors practised (!), thrift to such an excess that he possesses a superfluity,” and secondly, that he “spends this superfluity chiefly upon his own enjoyment.” Here is Lazarus, however, who has not practised thrift either personally or by proxy in the persons of his ancestors,— a most scandalous state of things,— nevertheless spending of his wages in beer and tobacco. Why do you not lecture him as much as Dives? Are not his wages a trust as much as the “savings” of unfortunate Dives? It may be said, perhaps, that much is expected of the latter, because he has had much given him; well, does he not give much? Does be not pay nearly all taxes, support all charitable institutions, and give to thriftless Lazarus, who is glad enough of his help in times of distress? Lazarus we might do without; in fact, Lazarus we will do without, and ship him off to British Columbia or Manitoba, if he gets too importunate and troublesome; but do without Dives? Never!
As these uncompromising friends of Dives, here referred to, seem to have a very strong case, the rich man really appearing to spend a good deal on Lazarus and make himself generally useful, yet, as the condition of Lazarus seems to be getting every day more grievous, whilst that of Dives is just as pleasant and agreeable as before, the many excellent people who think there is something wrong and that somehow Dives is not acting fairly are extremely puzzled, as we have said, to find out what to charge that apparently most respectable man with. We seek to enlighten them.
Is it not strange that everyone should not have fully realized by this time that the question in the case of Lazarus vs. Dives — the question upon which people are asked to adjudicate — is not so much how Dives spends his money, as how he gets it; not so much that he spends his vast wealth selfishly, as that he has obtained it and is obtaining it unjustly. Yet this is so. Dives is impeached, not for putting to a wrong use money which has been entrusted to him, as some absurdly say, by providence for certain purposes, or which, as others equally absurdly say, he or his ancestors have “saved” out of his or their lawful earnings; but for accumulating that money by despoiling and defrauding another of his lawful earnings,— to wit, Lazarus. Dives, in fact, is accused of being a robber; and his property, it is claimed, is simply so much plunder. It is not held that Dives is consciously a robber; and be is not deemed culpable, therefore, to the extent of deserving punishment. But a robber all the same he must be declared; and the power to steal must be taken from him for the future. Of course, it is very startling to many people to hear that the charge against Dives is so serious; and it is considered by some very wrong to state it so bluntly. But if Dives is the good, though mistaken, man some of his admirers claim him to be,— who, if doing wrong, is doing so unconsciously,— he should be glad at being startled into a consciousness of his wrongdoing by our plainly calling that wrongdoing by its right name.
And how do we substantiate this serious charge against Dives? Well, to begin with, those of his accusers who are Christians claim that he should be tried under the divine law. He recognizes that law himself generally,— being usually a most religious person,— and admits there is a divine way of spending. Is there no divine way — that is, no just way — of getting? Surely there is. Is not just getting getting in exchange for a due equivalent of the getter’s? If this is conceded, then you can only justly obtain the produce of another’s labor by giving him in return an equal amount of the produce of your own. Dives obtains largely of the produce of the labor of Lazarus; what of his own does he give in return? So largely does he receive, what of his own could he give in return, constituted as he is like other mortals, with strict limits to his producing powers? As a matter of fact, he gives nothing of his own to Lazarus; at least, if he sometimes does give of his own, he gets more in exchange, else he could not become rich. How he does become rich is simply that, having obtained possession of the land upon which Lazarus must dig for his daily bread, and the tools which Lazarus must use, he is able to exact rent or toll for the use of these things and get of the labor of Lazarus without giving of his own. Moreover, if Lazarus wishes to exchange any of his produce with another than Dives, he finds he can only do it through Dives, who, besides having absolute possession of all land and tools, has also the possession of all markets and channels of exchange. Turn whichever way Lazarus may, he finds Dives confronting him, and, in one capacity or another, demanding from him a certain portion of his produce in return for the privilege of being allowed to live. That is to say, Dives daily appears before Lazarus, with the old highwayman’s demand of the lonely traveller, “Your money or your life.” Indeed, Dives is seemingly more exacting than was ever any Turpin or Claude Duval, for his demand of the man in his power and at his mercy is only too often, “Your money and your life.” Lazarus has the privilege of living always nominally given him, if he yields to the demands of the rich man, but under such conditions as to make the concession of the privilege only nominal.
This, then, is the case against Dives, and it can only be met and disproved by direct evidence showing the charges here stated against him to be unfounded and unjust. Direct evidence to that effect has not been so far forthcoming. You cannot prove that a man is not a robber by admitting him to be a not over-faithful and over-zealous steward; still less by asserting that he has been “thrifty to excess” and pays all the taxes!
Bastiat on Government.
In private transactions each individual remains the judge both of the service which he renders and of that which he receives. He can always decline an exchange, or negotiate elsewhere. There is no necessity of an interchange of services, except by previous voluntary agreement. Such is not the case with the State, especially before the establishment of representative government. Whether or not we require its services, whether they are good or bad, we are obliged to accept such as are offered and to pay the price.
It is the tendency of all men to magnify their own services and to disparage services rendered them, and private matters would be poorly regulated if there was not some standard of value. This guarantee we have not, (or we hardly have it,) in public affairs. But still society, composed of men, however strongly the contrary may be insinuated, obeys the universal tendency. The government wishes to serve us a great deal, much more than we desire, and forces us to acknowledge as a real service that which sometimes is widely different, and this is done for the purpose of demanding contributions from us in return. . . .
The State is also subject to the law of Malthus. It is continually living beyond its means, it increases in proportion to its means, and draws its support solely from the substance of the people. Woe to the people who are incapable of limiting the sphere of action of the State. Liberty, private activity, riches, well-being, independence, dignity, depend upon this.
If one should ask what service has been rendered the public, and what return has been made therefor, by such governments as Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Rome, Persia, Turkey, China, Russia, England, Spain, and France, he would be astonished at the enormous disparity.
At last representative government was invented, and, à priori, one might have believed that the disorder would have ceased as if by enchantment.
The principle of these governments is this:
“The people themselves, by their representatives, shall decide as to the nature and extent of the public service and the remuneration for those services.”
The tendency to appropriate the property of another, and the desire to defend one’s own, are thus brought in contact. One might suppose that the latter would overcome the former. Assuredly I am convinced that the latter will finally prevail, but we must concede that thus far it has not.
Why? For a very simple reason. Governments have had too much sagacity; people too little.
Governments are skillful. They act methodically, consecutively, on a well concerted plan, which is constantly improved by tradition and experience. They study men and their passions. If they perceive, for instance, that they have warlike instincts, they incite and inflame this fatal propensity. They surround the nation with dangers through the conduct of diplomats, and then naturally ask for soldiers, sailors, arsenals, and fortifications. Often they have but the trouble of accepting them. Then they have pensions, places, and promotions to offer. All this calls for money. Hence loans and taxes.
If the nation is generous, the government proposes to cure all the ills of humanity. It promises to increase commerce, to make agriculture prosperous, to develop manufactures, to encourage letters and arts, to banish misery, etc. All that is necessary is to create offices and to pay public functionaries.
In other words, their tactics consist in presenting as actual services things which are but hindrances; then the nation pays, not for being served, but for being subservient. Governments assuming gigantic proportions end by absorbing half of all the revenues. The people are astonished that while marvelous labor-saving inventions, destined to infinitely multiply productions, are ever increasing in number, they are obliged to toil on as painfully as ever, and remain as poor as before.
This happens because, while the government manifests so much ability, the people show so little. Thus, when they are called upon to choose their agents, those who are to determine the sphere of, and compensation for, governmental action, whom do they choose? The agents of the government. They entrust the executive power with the determination of the limit of its activity and its requirements. They are like the Bourgeois Gentilhomme, who referred the selection and number of his suits of clothes to his tailor.
However, things go from bad to worse, and at last the people open their eyes, not to the remedy, for there is none as yet, but to the evil.
Governing is so pleasant a trade that everybody desires to engage in it. Thus the advisers of the people do not cease to say: “We see your sufferings, and we weep over them. It would be otherwise if we governed you.”
This period, which usually lasts for some time, is one of rebellions and insurrections. When the people are conquered, the expenses of the war are added to their burdens. When they conquer, there is a change of those who govern, and the abuses remain.
This lasts until the people learn to know and defend their true interests. Thus we always come back to this: there is no remedy but in the progress of public intelligence.
Certain nations seem remarkably inclined to become the prey of governmental spoliation. They are those where men, not considering their own dignity and energy, would believe themselves lost, if they were not governed and administered upon in all things. Without having traveled much, I have seen countries where they think agriculture can make no progress unless the State keeps up experimental farms; that there will presently be no horses if the State has no stables; and that fathers will not have their children educated, or will teach them only immoralities, if the State does not decide what it is proper to learn. In such a country revolutions may rapidly succeed one another, and one set of rulers after another be overturned. But the governed are none the less governed at the caprice and mercy of their rulers, until the people see that it is better to leave the greatest possible number of services in the category of those which the parties interested exchange after a fair discussion of the price.
Duty Never Would be Missed.
The genius performs his benefits for mankind because he is obliged to do so and cannot do otherwise. It is an instinct organically inherent in him which he is obeying. He would suffer if he did not obey its impulse. That the average masses will benefit by it does not decide the matter for him. Men of genius must find their sole reward in the fact that thinking, acting, originating, they live out their higher qualities, and thus become conscious of their originality, to the accompaniment of powerful sensations of pleasure. There is no other satisfaction for the most sublime genius, as well as the lowest living being swimming in its nourishing fluid, than the sensation, as intensive as possible, of its own Ego.
Quacks Shy of Their Own Medicine.
As Doctors seldom take their own prescriptions, and Divines do not always practise what they preach, so lawyers are shy of meddling with the Law on their own account: knowing it to be an edged tool of uncertain application, very expensive in the working, and rather remarkable for its properties of close shaving, than for its always shaving the right person.
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.