“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.
Mr. Yarros’s review of George Gunton’s “Wealth and Progress,” begun in this number of Liberty, will continue through two more issues.
E. C. Walker’s “Fair Play” has appeared. Instead of the eight-page fortnightly at fifty cents a year announced in the prospectus, it is a four-page weekly at seventy-five cents a year. Printed mainly from new type, it makes a much better appearance than “Lucifer.” I am agreeably disappointed in finding it less exclusively devoted to anti-Comstockism than I had supposed, from sundry articles in “Lucifer,” that it would be. On the contrary, it does vigorous battle against Authority all along the line. May it steadily grow in influence and circulation!
M. D. Leahy, whose doubts on the subject of compulsory taxation J. Wm. Lloyd made a vigorous effort to dispel in the last number of Liberty, generously surrenders a large portion of his little paper, the “American Idea,” to a reproduction of Mr. Lloyd’s article. In his comments, however, he does not so much as touch a single one of Mr. Lloyd’s arguments. The upshot of his remarks is that he has not yet sufficiently examined the question and must have further time before announcing his position. Which is very fair: only, in my judgment, it should have been stated in something like the following direct and simple fashion: “Mr. Lloyd’s arguments seem to me unanswerable; otherwise I should try to answer them. On the other hand, there are difficulties which I am likewise unable to overcome. Therefore I must suspend judgment.” But, instead of such simplicity, Mr. Leahy gives his readers over a column of “fine writing,” which, though in no sense a reply, has the air of one, and sounds, as Ruskin wittily said of Mill’s definition of productive labor, “so very like complete and satisfactory information that one is ashamed, after getting it, to ask for any more.” Perhaps Mr. Leahy approaches nearest to argument when he expresses sympathy with Labadie’s statement that, “if the State would only remove those laws that stand in the way of free land, free money, and transportation, . . . . the laws for the punishment of crime would not need to be exercised.” Labadie is perfectly right, but Leahy errs if he understands him to assert that free land and free money would render compulsory taxation useless. The position of the Anarchists, as Mr. Lloyd clearly showed, is that the law establishing a compulsory tax is a law, not for the punishment, but for the commission, of crime, and is precisely the most potent of all those laws that stand in the way of free land and free money. The logic of Labadie’s statement classes the abolition of compulsory taxation as a means rather than a result. I have no doubt that Mr. Leahy will soon see this, for he has an open mind and sincerely desires the truth.
The following sentences occur in an editorial in “Lucifer” written by Moses Harman: “In his criticism published two weeks ago the charge was made by Mr. Tucker, or at least such was the legitimate inference from his language, that I had treated Mr. Walker so unfairly as to drive him from ‘Lucifer.’ When he spoke of the ‘necessity’ of his (W’s) conduct in ‘practically disappearing from its columns as a writer,’ the only legitimate inference was that in some way the Junior had been so trammelled by me that he could not be heard through ‘Lucifer’s’ columns.” Then, if I were to say that I find myself under the “necessity” of going into the house when it rains, Mr. Harman would “legitimately infer,” I suppose, that I am forbidden to stay out doors. Must I inform that gentleman that necessity sometimes takes other forms than compulsion by arbitrary will,— often resulting, for instance, from the force of circumstances? The word necessity is generally used with reference to some end implied, and implied so clearly oftentimes that it would be an insult to the reader’s intelligence to specify it. When I speak of the “necessity of going into the house when it rains,” it is superfluous to add “in order to avoid getting wet,” unless I am talking to an idiot. Similarly, when I spoke of the “necessity” of Mr. Walker’s disappearance from “Lucifer’s” columns, it was superfluous, in view of the context, to add “in order to avoid the shame and humiliation of responsibility for the vacillating policy of a paper bearing his name as one of its editors.” That and nothing else is what I meant. But Mr. Harman chooses to “legitimately infer” that I meant to charge him with excluding Mr. Walker, and on the strength of this prints column after column of ludicrously absurd complaint against me. His especial grievance is that I refuse to reprint his stuff in Liberty, and so he begs such readers of Liberty as see “Lucifer” to send him the names of all other readers of Liberty in order that he may supply them with copies of “Lucifer” containing the explanation of the establishment of “Fair Play.” I hope to be the means of saving much trouble by notifying all readers of Liberty that the address of “Lucifer” is Valley Falls, Kansas.
Dear, had the world in its caprice
Deigned to proclaim “I know you both,
Have recognized your plighted troth,
Am sponsor for you: live in peace!” —
How many precious months and years
Of youth had passed, that speed so fast,
Before we found it out at last,
The world, and what it fears?
How much of priceless life were spent
With men that every virtue decks,
And women models of their sex,
Society’s true ornament,—
Ere we dared wander, nights like this,
Through wind and rain, and watch the Seine,
And feel the Boulevart break again
To warmth and light and bliss?
I know! the world proscribes not love;
Allows my finger to caress
Your lips’ contour and downiness,
Provided it supply a glove.
The world’s good word! — the Institute!
Guizot receives Montalembert!**
Eh? Down the court three lampions flare:
Put forward your best foot!***
* George Sand and one of her lovers, Jules Sandeau, were in the habit of taking midnight walks in the streets of Paris. This fact is supposed to have suggested to Browning the above poem.
** That is, respectability, membership of the Institute, crushes out individuality and subordinates merit and spontaneity to rule.
*** That is, they are approaching a brilliantly-lighted spot where people are gathered, and they must behave themselves with conventional decorum.
The Decline of Compulsion.
[From the Election Sermon preached by Rev. Phillips Brooks before the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, June 4, 1888.]
The military idea is in its broadest statement the idea of recognized and more or less organized compulsion and restraint. Into the power of that idea man enters at a very early period of his development. If there is a time before he enters it, a time of unrestrained wilfulness, without compulsion, when every man does that which is right in his own eyes, that time is very early left behind, never to be reentered till man at the other end of his history shall need no power beyond the self will of every individual, because every individual shall have become perfect and incapable of willing anything but what is absolutely right and good. . . . Man, having left lawlessness behind, having once entered into the region of compulsions, dwells in that region, we cannot say how long, but while he does live in it finds in it an abundant room for growth, changes compulsion for higher compulsion and yet higher, the coarser for the finer, the brutal for the spiritual, and so is to be judged at any special moment by the kind of compulsion which at that special moment is ruling him and giving shape to his life.
Now, the time upon which our thoughts are specially fixed today, the time which lies two hundred and fifty years ago, was peculiarly a time when the world was passing, or rather was realizing that it had passed, from the power of one compulsion to the power of another, which was higher and deeper and less arbitrary and more essential. The more we study the seventeenth century, the more impressive it becomes, the more we feel that, as we study, we are attending at the birth of modern history, we are watching the tree Ygdrasil put forth a new leafage, which shows the coming of a new spring. . . . Out of it the world came new and different. What the difference and newness was it is not hard to tell. To sum it up in one word, the world had passed from the compulsion of force into the compulsion of fact. When the century began, it was the strongest will backed by the strongest army that decided the movement of the world’s affairs. When the century closed, the world had fairly and distinctly entered on that new condition where to find and to conform to the established facts of the universe was the ambition and the purpose of mankind. That is the difference of ancient and modern life. . . . To find the fundamental facts in every region and conform to them, to put the sceptre into the hands of the nature of things small, this is modern. It is Puritan; it is scientific. It has left the old empire of Force behind. The new empire of Fact has come.
And evidently now the military idea will undergo a change. The soldier will be no longer the minister of wanton force. He will be the embodiment in its crudest and most palpable form of the power of fact. He will be no thunderbolt flung into the midst of an amazed world. He will be the symbol and expression of the vital forces which are working everywhere for the expression of the eternal facts. He will be no longer the destructive power, but the conservative. He will appeal to men’s admiration, not by the splendor of the sword he wields, but by the justice of the cause he represents. To put it in the simplest and severest form, the modern as distinguished from the ancient idea of war is the police idea. The soldier is not himself the changer of the world. He is only the securer and preserver of those conditions in which the vital forces which proceed out of the bosom of the eternal facts can do their work and make their mighty revolutions.
* * *
There is nothing good or glorious which war has brought forth in human nature which peace may not produce more richly and more permanently. When we cease to think of peace as the negative of war and think of war as the negative of peace, making war and not peace the exception and interruption of human life, making peace and not war the type and glory of existence, then shall shine forth the higher soldiership of the higher battles. Then the first military spirit and its ranks shall seem to be but crude struggles after and rehearsals for that higher fight, the fight after the eternal facts and their obedience, the fight against the perpetually intrusive lie, which is the richer glory or the riper man. The facts of government, the facts of commerce, the facts of society, the facts of history, the facts of man, the facts of God,— in these, in the perception of their glory, in the obedience to their compulsion, shall lie the possibility and promise of the soldier statesman, the soldier scientist, the soldier philantropist, the soldier priest, the soldier man.
* * *
Have we said all? Have we seen all when we have seen the compulsion of facts issuing from and claiming to take the place of the compulsion of force? Surely not. Surely there is one last word still to be said. Surely there is something greater and more imperious than facts for a man to obey, or rather there is one last fact behind all other facts to which his final allegiance must be rendered. That last fact is himself, his own character, his own personal, spiritual nature filled and inspired by God.
I think of my life as beginning in simple lawlessness, obeying nothing but its instincts and its whims. I think of it next as taken possession of by some powerful master, and making his force effective in the world. It passes to a higher stage when out of the sky above it, and the earth beneath it, and the history behind it, and the world around it, issue and speak the facts of the universe which it acknowledges to be its Lord’s. But all of these are but the vestibules to the complete obedience in which my life finds its consummate mastery in my own conscience filled and illuminated by the light of God.
All study of the compulsions of life is slight and feeble unless it brings us here, to the dominion of personal character.
This above all, to thine own self be true,
And it most follow as the night the day.
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Here, in this ultimate loyalty must lie the warrant of judgment, the condemnation or approval of the others. If my personal captain were absolutely perfect, if my perception of the regal fact were absolutely true, they would always utter the same mandate which my conscience speaks; but, as it is, they come again and again in conflict, and the conscience, the character, as the “higher law,” compels them both. Alas! for the man who knows no “higher law,” who holds himself in such absolute obedience to any power of governor or government on earth that he is not ready to listen when the demands of his own character say to him “disobey.” Alas! for the man who thinks even the facts of nature his inevitable masters, who will not believe in his power to overcome them, even though it be by undergoing them, who will not rush through fire though it burn, through water though it drown, to do the work which his soul knows that it must do.
It is only in this last compulsion of character that the brave and faithful of all ages and conditions meet. Generals and captains come and go. Facts vary with their changing interpretation. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of the Lord abideth for ever.” I cannot follow Caesar or Scipio. I cannot believe with Plato or Confucius, but I can obey my conscience as all true men have obeyed theirs and so be one of the only really ancient, the only really honorable company which the world can offer or the soul desire.
To this last compulsion of character all the decisions of things must more and more constantly tend. As the world grows riper, fewer and fewer questions will go to the arbitrament of arms. Men will learn some day that legislation ought to have less and less to do. He is the benefactor of his race today who makes it possible to have one law less. He is the enemy of his kind who would lay upon the shoulders of arbitrary government one burden which might be carried by the educated conscience and character of the community or of the race.
And, therefore, in the development of this ultimate compulsion of character lies the highest duty and the only perfect hope of man. It is in education that the great battles of humanity are to be fought and the great victories of humanity are to be won. The schoolroom is the modern battle-field; the schoolroom, not merely as the reservoir of facts, but as the home of character; the schoolroom, therefore, claiming its highest privilege and demanding the divinest strength.
Love, Marriage, and Divorce,
And the Sovereignty of the Individual.
Henry James, Horace Greeley, and Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Mr. Andrews’ Reply to Mr. James and Mr. Greeley.
Continued from No. 125.
Dismissing Mr. James, permit me now to pay some attention to your opinions. You, at least, I think, have the pluck to stand by your own conclusions, unless you are fairly driven off from them.
You affirm, with great truth, while you deplore it, that this is preeminently an age of “individualism,” wherein the “sovereignty of the individual” — that is, “the right of every one to do pretty much as he pleases” — is already generally popular, and obviously gaining ground daily. Let us, then, define our positions. If I mistake in assigning you yours, you are quite competent to correct me. You declare yourself a reactionist against this obvious spirit of the age. You take your position in opposition to the drift — I think you will find it the irresistible drift — of that social revolution which you recognize as existing and progressing toward individualism and the sovereignty of the individual. You rightly refer free trade, freedom of the finances, freedom from State systems of religion and education, and freedom of the love relations, to one and the same principle, and that principle you recognize as the spirit of the age,— the spirit of this, the most progressive and advanced age in the world’s history. To this element of progression you put yourself in a hostile attitude. You rightly say that all these varieties of freedom “find their basis and element in that idea of ‘individual sovereignty’ which seems to us alike destructive of social and personal well-being.” I rejoice that you so clearly perceive the breadth and comprehensiveness of that principle, and that all the ruling questions of the day are merely branches of one and the same question,— namely, whether the “sovereignty of the individual,” or, what is the same thing, the individual right of self-government, be a true or a false, and consequently whether it be a safe or a dangerous principle. This will greatly narrow the limits of the discussion; besides, it is much pleasanter to reason about general principles with one who is capable of grasping them than to be carried over an ocean of particulars, apparently different, but really belonging to the same category.
This same principle of individual sovereignty, which to you seems destructive alike of social and personal well-being, is to me the profoundest and most valuable and most transcendently important principle of political and social order and individual well-being ever discovered or dreamed of. Now, then, we differ. Here, at the very start, is an illustration of individuality or diversity of opinion, and, growing out of that, of action also. We are both, I believe, equally honest lovers of the well-being of our fellow-men; but we honestly differ, from diversity of organization, intellectual development, past experiences, etc. Who, now, is the legitimate umpire between us? I affirm that there is none in the universe. I assert our essential peerage. I assert the doctrine of non-interverition between individuals precisely as you do, and for the same reasons that you do, between nations, as the principle of peace and harmony and good-fellowship. Upon my principle I admit your complete sovereignty to think and act as you choose or must. I claim my own to do likewise. I claim and I admit the right to differ. This is simply the whole of it. No collision, no intervention can occur between us, so long as both act on the principle, and only to prevent intervention when either attempts to enforce his opinions upon the other. How now is it with your principle? You determine, you being judge, that my opinions are immoral, or that the action growing out of them would be injurious to other living individuals, or even to remote posterity. You, as their self-constituted guardian, summon to your aid the majority of the mob, who chance to think more nearly with you than with me for the nonce; you erect this unreflecting mass of hall-developed mind, and the power thence resulting, into an abstraction which you call “The State,” and, with that power at your back, you suppress me by whatever means are requisite to the end,— public odium, the prison, the gibbet, the hemlock, or the cross. A subsequent age may recognize me as a Socrates or a Christ, and, while they denounce your conduct with bitterness, never yet discover the falsity of the principle upon which you honestly acted. They go on themselves to the end of the chapter, repeating the same method upon all the men of their day who differ, for good or for evil, from the opinions of that same venerable mob, called “The State.” Or, perchance, the mob, and consequently “The State,” may be on my side,— if not now, by-and-by,— and then I suppress you. Which, now, of these two, is the principle of order in human affairs? That I should judge for you, and you for me, and each summon what power he may to enforce his opinions on the other; or that each begin by admitting the individual sovereignty of the other — to be exercised by each at his own cost — with no limitation short of actual encroachment?
With what force and beauty and truth does Mr. James assert that “freedom, in any sphere, does not usually beget disorder. He who is the ideal of freedom is also the ideal of order.” He seems, indeed, wonderfully endowed by the half-light of intuition to discover the profoundest truths and to clothe them in delightful forms of expression. It is lamentable to see how, when he applies his intellect to deduce their conclusions, they flicker out into obscurity and darkness. You see, on the contrary, that this simple statement alone involves the whole doctrine that I have ever asserted of individual sovereignty. Hence the line of argument as between you and me is direct, while with him it leads nowhere. Your positions are intelligible; so, I think, are mine; Mr. James’s are such as we find them. I am a democrat. You, though not a despotist consciously, and calling yourself a progressive, are as yet merely a republican; republicanism, when analyzed, coming back to the same thing as despotism,— the arbitrary right of the mob, called the State, over my opinions and private conduct, instead of that of an individual despot. I am no sham democrat. I believe in no government of majorities. The right of self-government means with me the right of every individual to govern himself, or it means nothing. Do not be surprised if I define terms differently from the common understanding. I shall make myself understood nevertheless.
There are in this world two conflicting principles of government. Stripped of all verbiage and all illusion, they are simply: 1, that man is not capable of governing himself, and hence needs some other man (or men) to govern him; 2, that man is capable of self-government, potentially, and that, if he be not so actually, he needs more experience in the practice of it, including more evil consequences from failure; that he must learn it for himself, as he learns other things; that he is entitled of right to his own self-government, whether good or bad in the judgment of others, whenever he exercises it at his own cost,— that is, without encroachment upon the equal right of others to govern themselves. This last is the doctrine of the sovereignty of the individual, which you denounce and oppose, and which I defend. It is simply the clear understanding, with its necessary extension and limitations, of the affirmation in the American Declaration of Independence that “all men are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The principle of Protestantism is the same in the religious sphere,— “the right of private judgment in matters of faith and conscience.” Either assertion includes virtually and by direct consequence the whole doctrine of the sovereignty of the individual, or “the right of men to do pretty much as they please.” The right or wrong of this principle, dimly understood heretofore, has been the world’s quarrel for some centuries. Clearly and distinctly understood, with the full length of its reach before men’s eyes, it is to be the world’s quarrel ever hereafter, until it is fairly and finally settled. All men are now again summoned to take sides in the fight, with the new light shed upon the length and breadth of the quarrel, by the development of modern ideas, and especially by Socialism, which you, sir, have done something to foster. Let those who wish to draw back do so now. Hereafter there will be less and less pretext of misunderstanding or incautious committal to the side of freedom.
Still, you are not upon the opposite side in this contest. So far as any guiding principle is concerned, it seems to me that you, in common with the great mass of progressives, or half-way reformers in the world, are simply without any — which you are willing to trust. The conservatives are a great deal better off. So far as you adopt a principle at all, it is generally that of this very individual sovereignty, which, nevertheless, you fear in its final carrying out; and hence you join the reaction whenever the principle asserts a new one of its applications. The petty despot and the comfortable bourgeois, in Europe, fear, from the same standpoint, in the same manner, just as honestly, and with just as good reason, the freedom of the press.
A liberty which anybody else in the universe has a right to define is no liberty for me. A pursuit of happiness which some despot, or some oligarchy, or some tyrannical majority, has the power to shape and prescribe for me, is not the pursuit of my happiness. Statesmen, politicians, religious dissenters, and reformers, who have hitherto sanctioned the principle of freedom, have not seen its full reach and expansion; hence they become reactionists, conservatives, and “old fogies,” when the whole truth is revealed to them. They find themselves getting more than they bargained for. Nevertheless, the principle, which already imbues the popular mind instinctively, though not as yet intellectually, will not wait their leave for its development, nor stop at their bidding. Hence all middle men, far more than the conservatives, are destined in this age to be exceedingly unhappy.
A mere handful of individuals, along with myself, do now, for the first time in the world, accept and announce the sovereignty of the individual, with all its consequences, as the principle of order as well as of liberty and happiness among men, and challenge its acceptance by mankind. The whole world is drifting to our position under the influence of forces too powerful to be resisted, and we have had merely the good or ill fortune to arrive intellectually at the common goal in advance of the multitude. It gives us at least this happiness, that we look with pleasure and a sense of entire security upon the on-coming of a revolution which to others is an object of terror and dismay. In our view, the ultra-political Democrat of our day has only half taken his lessons in the rightful expansion of human freedom. He, too, is, relatively to us, an “old fogy.” Nor do we trust the safety of the final absence of legislation to any vague notions of the natural goodness of man. We are fully aware that no sum total of good intentions, allowing them to exist, amounts to a guarantee of right action. We trust only to the rigid principles of science, which analyzes the causes of crime and neutralizes the motives which now induce or provoke men to commit it.
To be continued.
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. B. Tucker.
Continued from No. 125.
The conversation ceased, and all eyes were fixed on Berville, erect and petrified.
The sinister finder tracing the fatal handwriting on the wall at Belshazzar’s feast amid the noise of thunder had no greater effect upon the king of Babylon than the words of the cashier produced upon the banker Berville.
Presentiment, that shadow of misfortune, which precedes it instead of following it, passed over the moist brow of the financier, who, erect as a statue and pale as death, left the dining-hall with Bremont, without an excuse or a bow to any one.
The guests, who had seen him turn pale, watched him go out, some with surprise, others with suspicion, his rivals with joy, no one with pain. And then, looking at each other without saying a word, all went out one after another, leaving Mademoiselle Gertrude, threatened with celestial wrath, lone and dejected, in the middle of her wasted dessert and her empty dining-hall, all abandoning the house, as rats abandon a sinking ship.
As for the Berry banker, the miracle which changed Nebuchadnezzar into a wild beast was no longer necessary. It was done.
* * *
No more festivities. All is silent, dark in the Berville mansion, except in the director’s office.
The banker and the cashier, anxious and mute, are shut up there.
They are waiting.
The clock strikes one in the morning.
“You see,” exclaimed the banker in a tone of anguish, “my ruin is complete. He will not return.”
And walking up and down the room in agitation, his hands clinched behind his back, he continued:
“How imprudent you have been, Bremont! To entrust a collector with such a sum! Three hundred thousand dollars! It is enough to tempt honesty itself.”
The cashier, trembling, tried to excuse himself.
“But Didier really is honesty itself. During the fifteen years that he has been in your service he has not deserved a reproach, and that is why I selected him. Probity, activity, morality, he has everything in his favor, everything!”
“Even my collections!” exclaimed the banker, ill concealing his growing irritation.
“I acted for the best. And what should I have done?” observed the cashier. “I had no orders” . . . .
“No orders, no orders. . . . you had the orders of good sense; you should have taken the responsibility of sending some one with him.”
“That is what I did, Monsieur, Louis Dupont went with him, and I wonder” . . . .
“You sent some one with him? . . . . . . All is explained! Shared between them!”
“But, Monsieur, I scarcely understand you.”
“I understand myself only too well”
“Their route was a long one, extending outside of Paris,” ventured M. Bremont. “Perhaps they could not find a carriage to bring them back.”
M. Berville stamped his foot.
“Say rather that they have run away together!”
“Jacques and Louis?” replied the cashier. “Impossible! I would answer for their honesty almost as quickly as for my own.”
“Be silent,” cried the banker, “or I shall believe that you are their accomplice.” The cashier started, and, in a voice choking with indignation, said:
“I! Oh! Monsieur!”
The master perceived that he had gone too far, and, recovering himself immediately, he said in a softened tone:
“I beg your pardon, my dear Bremont. My head is no longer my own; I am carried away by my distress; this blow strikes me unexpectedly. Come, let us be cool, let us reason. At what hour ought they to have returned, allowing for all possible and even impossible delays?”
“I repeat that the route was a long one,” said the cashier, scarcely recovered from his emotion. “The largest sum to be collected, exceeding all the others combined, was outside the city. Bad weather and mischance, the foreseen and the unforeseen, would very likely detain them till ten o’clock, perhaps till eleven, at the latest till midnight.”
The banker pointed to the clock, which indicated half past one.
The cashier made no answer to this gesture, more eloquent than any words.
The two men looked at each other in despair, and for a few seconds silence prevailed, disturbed only by the ticking of the clock, whose golden hands turned as inexorably as fate.
The half hour struck.
“Where does Didier live?” suddenly asked M. Berville.
“What street is that? Is it far?”
“Far enough. In the middle of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine.”
“A devil of a distance! And Dupont?”
“He lives near here, Passage” . . . .
The banker prevented him from finishing.
“Run and find him. Quick!”
M. Bremont went out upon this errand.
Left alone, M. Berville could not sit still. He rose, walked back and forth, then sat down again only to rise once more, impatient, enervated, exasperated, tortured by anxiety.
“I wish to know where I stand; this uncertainty is killing. . . Over a quarter of a million,” said he slowly, folding his arms. “More than I possess! Oh, it is horrible! This Didier is surely a robber; but he cannot be alone; that is out of the question. And this imbecile of a Bremont who does not return with the other! Undoubtedly all three have an understanding.”
He listened anxiously to the street sounds, awaiting the cashier’s return.
A carriage, arriving at full speed, stopped in front of the house.
A minute later the cashier reentered the office, accompanied by Dupont.
“Where is Didier? Whence come you?” burst out M. Berville.
The collector stammered, astonished and frightened by the master’s question and the absence of Jacques.
“Didier! What! He has not returned? I left him at ten o’clock at the Quai d’Austerlitz.”
The banker exploded.
“Confounded beast! . . . . traitor! . . . wretch!” . . . .
And he seized his employee by the arm, grasping him tightly and shaking him. “Why did you leave him?” he cried.
“Monsieur, the collections were made. . . . the day’s work was done I was anxious. . . . My wife is sick. . . . She has just given birth to a child.”
“In the name of God, what’s that to me?” swore the banker, pushing Dupont away in a mad fit of anger. “But this will not be the end of it. I will have you all imprisoned.”
He paced the room for a moment like a wild beast in its cage, his look recalled to the clock as it struck two.
“Ah! you strike my ruin,” said he. “To have worked so hard to establish this house . . . destroyed by these monsters! Robbed! Ruined! A den of thieves!” Then, seized with a fit of madness, he leaped at the clock.
“You shall strike no more,” he cried.
And he dashed it upon the marble hearth, breaking it and trampling on the pieces. Then, his nerves strained almost to bursting, he vented his rage upon himself, tearing out his beard and lacerating his face.
M. Bremont and Louis, overwhelmed, looked on in fear at their master’s despair. Finally he stopped, with foam on his lips and his eyes starting from their sockets, and planted himself in front of the collector.
“Clear out, you scoundrel! I dismiss you. . . Or rather, no, I keep you. You shall be imprisoned in La Force, there to await the other, with your fellows, bandit!”
And, addressing M. Bremont, he added:
“An officer! Go get me an officer! Not a word. It is my will!”
The cashier started to obey this peremptory order.
“No, stay, you too!” exclaimed the banker, stopping him at the door. “You shall not go out either.”
And he began to scream at the stairs, calling the janitor.
“Plumet! Plumet! Bring me the police. Do you hear me?”
The janitor, waking with a start, hastily dressed himself and obeyed passively, like an automaton, without knowing why.
Soon an officer made his appearance.
“What is the matter?” he inquired.
“Here I am, surrounded by fools and knaves, who have robbed me and allowed me to be robbed,” cried the banker, beside himself.
The officer, ever ready, went straight to the point, and, designating the cashier and the collector, asked:
“Which is to be arrested?”
“The other first!” exclaimed the banker.
“The other?” echoed the officer, with a look of surprise, searching the room with his eyes.
He was looking for the third, almost suspecting the employer’s sanity.
“Yes,” explained the banker, coming back to his senses, “another: Jacques Didier, who has not returned his receipts. It must be ascertained what has become of him. He must be found and arrested.”
“Is he married?” asked the officer.
“Indeed! Where does he live?”
“Surely he must have first gone home. We must start at once. Perhaps we shall catch the bird in his nest before he flies again. The paired robber always returns to his home to carry away his female.”
“You think so?” exclaimed the banker. “Let us be off.”
And, taking his hat, he opened the door.
Alarmed, with eyes and ears wide open, two human forms then faced him,— his cousin and his son.
“What are you doing there?” cried the banker.
“Berville, my fortune is yours,” said Gertrude.
“Fool, keep your pear for your own thirst.”
And he pushed her aside brutally.
“And I tell you that Jacques is no robber,” exclaimed the enfant terrible, stopping his father.
But the crazed banker overturned his son as he had overturned the clock; and, at the risk of his life and in spite of his weight, he cleared the stairs four at a time, followed by the others.
The Didier Garret.
A moment later M. Berville, his cashier, the collector, and the police officer, were being driven rapidly in the direction of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine.
On the way the four men could not exchange a word. The cab, going at full speed, made a deafening noise.
They stopped at last in an uninviting street before a sorry-looking house.
“This is the place,” said M. Bremont, opening the cab-door.
M. Berville cast an indignant glance at the Rue Sainte-Marguerite and the entrance of the house.
“Why, this Didier lives in a hovel!” he exclaimed. “And you knew him, Bremont?”
The officer, too, made a significant grimace.
“Find the treasure in there! We are foiled!”
“But,” observed the cashier, “the laboring class is obliged to live in low quarters; at a dollar a day one does not live where he likes, but where he can. Poverty is not a crime, Monsieur.”
The banker made no answer.
They all entered a dark passage.
Reaching a staircase as steep as a ladder, M. Bremont stopped in embarrassment.
“I do not know the floor,” he said, casting his eyes about for the janitor’s lodge.
“The top story, I think,” said Dupont.
“No matter, let us go up at any rate,” said the officer.
“Yes, and without delay,” exclaimed the banker.
A door opened at the top of the house, and a light appeared.
At the same time a woman’s voice was heard, a voice of gentleness shaded with anxiety.
“Is that you, Jacques?”
The officer shook his head.
“Not returned!” said he, simply.
M. Berville stifled a cry of despair.
Bremont and Dupont looked at each other in consternation.
The four men rapidly ascended the stairs. As they reached the last step of the fifth flight, they saw the wife of Jacques Didier.
The attic room was so orderly that it seemed large and so clean that it seemed luminous; not a rag, not a thread; not a straw or a grain of dust; a cleanliness, not of the surface only, but of the depths; the nooks and comers that never come into the middle of the room thoroughly searched with the duster: the brasses worn with rubbing and shining as if new; everything in place, nothing dragging; Jacques’s spare pantaloons and shoes drying on a chair before a remnant of fire; a table set for two persons, perfect in its neatness, awaiting the ragout stewing on the stove; but the crown and centre of all these great and little cares was a pretty, white cradle for the rosy-faced baby.
Ah! the amount of courage and virtue that such a woman as Louise Didier expends in struggling with fortune is inexpressible!
Always neatly shod and wearing on her head a linen cap that added to her thoroughly feminine look, anxious at this moment and more than anxious, alarmed, Louise lighted a second candle, the first having burned out; she was starting up her fire and ironing her baby’s linen to distract her thoughts while waiting, when she heard the noise on the stairs, opened her door, and hailed her husband.
She seemed about thirty years old, with features as regular as her life, surrounded with light hair, and possessing the bloodless and touching grace of the women of the people made prematurely pale by the hard labors of the house and shop through lack of air, food, and clothing.
Mme. Didier started back in surprise upon the entrance of the four men, half in fear, half in shame, scarcely dressed as she was in a short skirt and a white sack, half open to nurse her child.
“What is the matter?” she asked, seized with a fearful presentiment and modestly covering her bosom in presence of these strangers.
“Where is your husband?” asked the officer, brutally.
“I am waiting for him. He has not yet returned. But what do you wish of him, gentlemen?”
“I wish him to return me three hundred thousand dollars,” cried the banker, containing himself no longer.
“Three hundred thousand dollars!” exclaimed the poor woman, clasping her hands. “What would he do with such a sum, great God? If he has it, he will return it to you, you may be sure. Three hundred thousand dollars!”
The officer confronted Mme. Didier.
“Come, no nonsense!” said he, staring at her. “You know what the trouble is. Your husband has stolen!”
“Stolen! My husband!”
“Yes, stolen my fortune!” said the banker.
“It is not true! You lie!” cried the young woman, straightening up like a lioness struck with a lash.
“Wretched woman! you forget to whom you speak!”
“And how about you, then?”
“Alas! everything accuses him,” said the cashier, intervening.
“But I tell you it is not true!” repeated Mme. Didier. “Look, hunt, ransack everything; here is our furniture,— cupboard, clothes-press, commode, everything that closes” . . . .
And she threw everything wide open.
“No difficulty in finding three hundred thousand dollars there. Your fortune is no more there than Jacques is,” she continued.
The banker and the officer had soon examined the whole room.
“No, nobody!” said M. Berville.
“Only an infant,” said the officer, in turn.
In fact, in the midst of this household of workers, clean and orderly, they had seen the muslin-covered cradle where slept a new-born babe, the jewel of these poor people,— Marie.
Disturbed by the noise, the child began to cry desperately. The mother, thus called by her daughter, took her in her arms as in a cradle to pacify her.
This touching picture calmed the banker’s fury for a moment.
“Tell me, Madame,” said he, almost gently, “does your husband often come home late?”
“No, Monsieur,” said the mother. “That is why I am anxious. He should have been here at eight o’clock, as usual, or at nine at the latest. See! his supper is there on the stove, waiting for him.”
“Does he sometimes play?”
“Does he go to the wine-shop?” insisted M. Berville, while the officer still rummaged about in all directions.
“Never,” protested Mme. Didier, “and I do not know what this means. He, always so exact. . . . Oh! my God, if any misfortune has befallen him!”
“Pshaw!” cried the banker, with an air of importance and raising his voice again, his momentary calmness exhausted; “it is my money that misfortune has befallen!”
In the meantime doors had opened on the landing, and the neighbors were approaching curiously.
Mme. Didier turned to them, quivering with indignation, and called them as witnesses to her husband’s honor.
“Come in, enter. They say that Jacques is a robber,” she cried, in turn. “Is that possible, tell them?”
All, men and women, shook their heads, and a unanimous, energetic “No,” almost threatening to the accusers, answered her question.
But a noise from the street came up the stairs, growing louder and more distinct.
To be continued.
“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.
The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.
Herr Most Distilled and Consumed.
After proclaiming, in “Freiheit” of May 19, his intention of proceeding to my final demolition, Herr Most, in “Freiheit” of May 26, closes his side of the controversy with me with such a homeopathic dilution of his preceding articles that it is scarcely worth attention. Summarized, his positions are that the controversy is unequal, because he quotes and then criticises, while I criticise without quotation; that I am the dodger, not he, because the essential question is the private property question, while I insist on discussing Proudhon’s banking system; that he has read Liberty for six years, and has found no plausible defence of that system in its pages, and that the statement in my last reply probably covers that system; that the system has been put into operation in Germany and elsewhere with no further effect than to enable the smaller bourgeois to hold out a little longer against the larger; that I only half understand Proudhon’s works; that, if I would read the whole of “Freiheit” instead of only such portions as relate directly to me, I might know something about the economics of Socialism; that Proudhon’s banking system has no longer a single champion in Europe; and that, “if we are once through with the political tyrants, then the economic ones will no longer be dangerous to us, for the latter will surely have had their necks broken with the former, especially since both kinds are essentially one and the same persons.”
I answer, with like brevity and succinctness, that I have accurately represented Herr Most by restatements, while he has misrepresented me by garbled quotations; that the essential question is not the private property question, since Herr Most promised to abandon Communism for private property on being shown that the latter is compatible with production on the large scale without the exploitation of labor, which immediately made the arguments on which the claim of such compatibility rests the essential question; that the principle of Proudhon’s banking system has been expounded repeatedly in Liberty, and far more fully and adequately than in the present controversy; that neither his system nor any similar system was ever put into unmolested operation so far as I know, and that, if my knowledge on this point is deficient, it is Herr Most’s business to supply the deficiency by distinct specification of facts; that, other things being equal, those countries and those periods have been the most prosperous in which financial institutions have most nearly approached Proudhon’s idea; that to understand half of Proudhon’s works is better than to understand none of them; that a number of intelligent persons whom I know and who read “Freiheit” thoroughly, tell me that they have failed to derive any such benefit from it as Herr Most promises me; that within a very few years a book of several hundred pages has been published in Paris ably stating and defending Proudhon’s banking theories,— “La Question Sociale” by Emile Chevalet; that many ideas of transcendent importance have been launched into the world, only to lie dormant under the pressure of reaction for long years before being revived and realized; and that it is quite true that economic privilege must disappear as a result of the abolition of political tyranny,— a fact which the Individualistic Anarchists have always relied on against the “Communistic Anarchists,” whose claim has steadily been that to abolish the State is not enough, and that a separate campaign against economic privilege is necessary. In this last sentence of Herr Most’s article, he gives away his whole case.
The Next Campaign.
While it is true that free trade, as an economic measure, if unaccompanied by other reforms, contains no relief for the victims of the present disorderly industrial system, and is therefore, from this point of view, entirely undeserving of the attention of the true friends of reform, it is nevertheless not to be denied that a political campaign fought upon the issue of Free Trade vs. Protection would incidentally prove of incalculable value to the Anarchistic movement and the cause of the people’s emancipation. That the coming campaign will be so fought is of course extremely unlikely. Whatever individual Democrats here and there may say and do, the party machine and the chief influential organs of the so-called Democracy will never allow anything like a square and honest battle between free trade and protection. But if the Republicans should persist in ignoring the apologetic attitude of the revenue reformers and their protestations that they are not in favor of free trade, and succeed in compelling the Democrats to finally raise the banner of complete and absolute free trade, they would render the Anarchists a great service and entitle themselves to our warm thanks. The Anarchists could not promise them to go into politics as their allies and help them defeat their antagonists, but they certainly would pledge themselves not to furnish aid and comfort to the Democrats.
No intelligent person can attempt a discussion of the tariff question without finding himself obliged to define his views of the most fundamental principles of social and political relations. To discuss the tariff means really to discuss the merits of paternalism and laissez faire. A protectionist, in defending his position, cannot escape the necessity of endorsing Communistic conceptions of the Individual and the State; and a free trader, in refuting the protectionist, cannot exhaust five minutes of his time before he boldly asserts and champions Anarchistic doctrines. Indeed, how is it possible to make out a more or less satisfactory case for protection without reference to and argument upon the rights of the community, the proper exercise of compulsion by the majority upon dissenting factious, the rational sphere of State activity and control, the salutary effects of artificial regulation and intervention in the natural operation of economic laws, etc.? On the other hand, how can a vigorous attack upon protection and a sound and consistent defence of liberty be made without a logical argument in favor of spontaneity, of private enterprise, of individual sovereignty, and of the beneficence of free competition? The past has shown that this issue cannot be argued without involving others more radical and vital. And we may expect to hear a free interchange of the epithets, Communist, Socialist, Paternalist, Anarchist, Individualist, Naturalist, between the tribunes and organs of the opposite parties.
Anarchists can (and therefore should) derive great benefit from such a campaign. Without disgracing and lowering themselves à la George and the other labor politicians, they can watch the struggle and study the lessons of the hour, profiting by the concentration of the people’s attention and showing them the logical bearings of the principles discussed. In public meetings and in the press we can say what office-seekers feel compelled to leave unsaid and demonstrate that the real issue between Protection and Free Trade is, in its economic aspect, an issue between absolute freedom of industry and governmental monopoly, and, in its political and ethical aspects, an issue between Individual Sovereignty and compulsory Communism.
Trying to Be, and Not to Be.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I do not write this with the idea that you will publish it, for the tardiness with which you inserted my last question indicates that you do not care for any more of me in your paper. You are too good a reasoner to not know that, if it is proper to interfere to compel people “to regard one social convention,” it is not improper to force another, or all, providing there is any satisfaction in doing so. If “there are no natural rights,” there is no occasion for conscientious or other scruples, providing the power exists. Therefore there is no guarantee that there will be even as much individuality permitted under Anarchistic rule as under the present plan, for the principle of human rights is now recognized, however far removed we may be from giving the true application. The “equal liberty” “social convention” catch-phrase can be stamped out as coolly as any other. There are but two views to take of any proposed action,— that of right and that of expediency,— and as you have knocked the idea of right out, the thing is narrowed to the lowest form of selfishness. There certainly can be no more reason why Anarchists, who deny every obligation on the ground of right, should be consistent in standing by the platform put forward when weak, than that ordinary political parties should stand by their promises made when out of power.
I called “equal liberty” a “catch-phrase.” It sounds nice, but when we criticise it, it is hollow. For instance, “equal liberty” may give every one the same opportunity to take freely from the same cabbage patch, the same meat barrel, and the same grain-bin. So long as no one interferes with another, he is not overstepping the principle of “equal liberty,” but when one undertakes to keep others away, he is, and you can only justify the proscription by saying that one ought to have liberty there, and the others had not,— that those who did nothing in the production ought not to have “equal liberty” to appropriate. But if nobody has any “natural rights,” then the thief not only does not interfere with the “equal liberty” of others, but he does them no wrong. You have done well, considering your opportunity, but your cause is weak. You are mired and tangled in the web you have been weaving beyond material help. Still, I see a ray of hope for Anarchism. Just unite with the Christian Science metaphysicians, and the amalgamation will be an improvement. As I have looked it over, I am sure the chemical combination will be perfect, and the result will be the most pleasing nectar ever imbibed by suffering humanity.
As Mr. Blodgett says, it is as proper to enforce one social convention as another “providing there is any satisfaction in doing so.” But Anarchists, from the very fact that they are Anarchists, take no satisfaction in enforcing any social convention except that of equal liberty, that being the essence of their creed. Now, Mr. Blodgett asked me to define the sphere of force as viewed by Anarchism; he did not ask me to define any other view of it. To say that an Anarchist is entitled to enforce all social conventions is to say that he is entitled to cease to be an Anarchist, which nobody denies. But if he should cease to be an Anarchist, the remaining Anarchists would still be entitled to stop him from invading them. I hope that Mr. Blodgett is a good enough reasoner to perceive this distinction, but I fear that he is not.
It is true, also, that, if there are no natural rights, there is no occasion for conscientious scruples. But it is not true that there is no occasion for “other scruples.” A scruple, according to Webster, is “hesitation as to action from the difficulty of determining what is right or expedient.” Why should not disbelievers in natural rights hesitate on grounds of expediency? In other words, why should they be unscrupulous?
It is true, again, that Anarchism does not recognize the principle of human rights. But it recognizes human equality as a necessity of stable society. How, then, can it be charged with failing to guarantee individuality?
It is true, further, that equal liberty can be stamped out as coolly as anything else. But people who believe in it will not be likely to stamp it out. And Anarchists believe in it
It is true, still further, that there are only two standards of conduct,— right and expediency. But why does elimination of right narrow the thing down to the lowest form of selfishness? Is expediency exclusive of the higher forms of selfishness? I deem it expedient to be honest. Shall I not be honest, then, regardless of any idea of right? Or is honesty the lowest form of selfishness?
It is far from true, however, that Anarchists have no more reason to stand by their platform than ordinary politicians have to stand by theirs. Anarchists desire the advantages of harmonious society and know that consistent adherence to their platform is the only way to get them, while ordinary politicians desire only offices and “boodle,” and make platforms simply to catch votes. Even if it were conceivable that hypocrites should step upon the Anarchistic platform simply for their temporary convenience, would that invalidate the principle of Anarchism? Does Mr. Blodgett reject all good principles the moment they are embodied in party platforms by political tricksters?
General opportunity for all to take freely from the same cabbage patch is not equal liberty. As was happily pointed out some time ago by a writer for the New York “Truth Seeker,” whose article was copied into Liberty, equal liberty does not mean equal slavery or equal invasion. It means the largest amount of liberty compatible with equality and mutuality of respect, on the part of individuals living in society, for their respective spheres of action. To appropriate the cabbages which another has grown is not to respect his sphere of action. Hence equal liberty would recognize no such conduct as proper.
The sobriety with which Mr. Blodgett recently renewed his questions led me to believe that he did not jelish the admixture of satire with argument. But the exquisite touch of irony with which he concludes the present letter seems to indicate the contrary. If so, let him say the word, and he shall be accommodated. The author of “Tu-Whit! Tu-Whoo!” is not yet at his wits’ end.
Phillips Brooks Becoming “Immoral.”
The editor of Liberty has no reason to love Rev. Phillips Brooks, the Episcopal pastor of Trinity Church, Boston. Calling at Mr. Brooks’s house on one occasion to secure his aid in the reparation of a wanton outrage committed by Anthony Comstock, of which Mr. Brooks chanced to be a witness, he was refused a hearing and virtually ejected from the premises by that preacher of the gospel of Christ, who committed this gross discourtesy in what seemed to be a fit of ill-suppressed anger for which there was not the slightest provocation. To a friend of his, who heard of his conduct and remonstrated with him against it, he said, as I was later informed, that he could not lend aid or countenance to one who entertained such immoral views. Since then I have held Rev. Phillips Brooks in utter contempt, and have found it difficult to believe that there is anything good in him.
But on June 4, the occasion of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston, he preached the election sermon for that body, in which he gave eloquent utterance to thoughts so nearly identical with the “immoral” views entertained by me that for the first time my distrust was somewhat shaken. I am tempted to conclude that he had been filled by some slanderer with an erroneous account of my opinions, which, if true, may partially account for his conduct, though it cannot entirely excuse it.
Be this as it may, the sermon referred to is so Anarchistic, and some of its sentences are so “incendiary,” that, had it been preached in Chicago previous to the throwing of the bomb, Mr. Brooks could have been convicted of murder under the laws of Illinois and hanged with Spies and his brave comrades. If any one doubts it, let him read the extracts printed elsewhere in this paper. He will not find in them any scientific exposition of the Anarchistic philosophy or any defence of it on thoroughly rational grounds; but he will find the abolition of government held up as an ideal, the steady diminution of government favored as a policy, and rebellion against government urged upon every individual who finds established powers in conflict with what Mr. Brooks calls his “conscience.” Such doctrines are sufficiently “immoral” to send even a Christian minister to the gallows.
* * *
In sharp and significant contrast with the utterances of Rev. Phillips Brooks at the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company stands the toast given by Robert C. Winthrop at the anniversary of fifty years before: “Ballots and bullets, the paper currency and metallic basis of a free people! The former can only be saved from depreciation by keeping an abundant supply of the latter to redeem it.” In these words we have democracy’s brutal confession of its kinship with all other political tyrannies.
* * *
We are told by John Morley, on the authority of George III., King of England, that “politics are a trade for rascals, not for gentlemen.” This is valuable expert testimony.
Land Reform in 1848 and 1888.
The veteran land reformer, J. K. Ingalls, in a fine article running through two numbers of the “Truth Seeker” under the above title, contrasts the schemes of George Henry Evans and Henry George. The whole is well worth reading, but room can be made here only for the following extracts:
I do not propose to discuss the respective claims of George and Evans as authorities on the land question, nor, at any length, the nature of their peculiar plans or schemes; but will state the “measure” of the one, and the “remedy” of the other, briefly, leaving you to judge between them as reason or prejudice may determine. So far as a statement of the pernicious influence of land monopoly is concerned, Mr. George has simply reiterated the arguments and statements of the early reformers, and, if in more attractive phrase, it does not necessarily follow that the influence of his utterances will be more enduring. So far the two men and their eras present no important differences. Only in respect to: “What is to be done?” do they differ. They represent in this not only different eras, but quite different systems of philosophy, social and political. It is true they agree that reform must come through the ballot and through legislation. But Mr. Evans belonged to the school that believes government to be a necessary evil, and that we are to have as little to do with it as possible. That nature is to be relied on mainly, and that to correct the evils of already existing legislation is the great aim to be sought by the reformer. Thus far he is an optimist. The line of Mr. George’s thought is decidedly pessimistic. He accepts the theories of Malthus and Ricardo that rent, that synonym of all subjection and the oppression men suffer from it, is a result of natural law, which can only be eliminated through Statecraft and the rule of force, and that the onward march of progress, with its natural adjunct, poverty, can only thus be stayed. He has some way, however, of applying the optimistic rule to interest and profits; at any rate, has never proposed that these should be taxed back for the benefit of the State, although admitting they are equally uncompensated by service, and are as truly “a gratuity of nature” as is the use of land.
The plan of Mr. Evans was this: By political agitation and control of the legislature to place a limit to the ownership of land. This principle had already been applied to religious and other corporate institutions, and to the patenting of the public lands “only to actual settlers in limited quantities.” The maximum had been fixed at one hundred and sixty acres. Mr. Evans suggested this as a limit to private ownership, not as a fixed quantity, but to obtain a recognition of the right of government to so limit it, to be modified as wisdom should direct in the future. He contemplated a peaceful attainment of this object, by wise gradations, invading no “vested rights,” yet effectually preventing any further accumulation of landed estates beyond the legal limit, whether by purchase, gift, or inheritance. All of these matters are held to be subjects properly regulative by statute law. The advocates of land nationalization propose to have the State resume the title to the land it has once already sold to private parties; to be rented back to those who want and are able to hire. Mr. George simplifies this process by treating land values as simply the amount of rent the land will yield, and taxing it back entire without any disturbance to owners or to occupiers. This may be termed “a short method” of “land nationalization.” It means “confiscation of rent.”
You have here substantially the means proposed by the two men, representing different schools and distinct periods, for the reform of a universally admitted evil, the monopolized control of the only passive factor in production,— the home and standing-place and work-room of the whole human family. They are in accord fully as to the nature of the evil to be remedied, and, indeed, as to the necessity of securing political supremacy to accomplish the reform. The great object, as both agree, is justice to labor, the abolition of poverty, and the promotion of the public good. But the measures for which such political power is to be wielded in order to accomplish those ends are wholly incompatible with each other. The one sought equality through limitation of power and restriction of privilege, mutually operative as to all citizens of a State. The other seeks the annihilation of a class, allodial owners, embracing those whose ownership promotes social prosperity as well as those which endanger it, and the making of every occupant of the land a tenant of the State, but offers no guarantee whatever against the unlimited control of the land through lease-hold, or the extension of legal privilege to the lordly rule of capital, such leases would give.
Now, limitation of powers is involved in, and is, indeed, the professed burden of, all forms of legislation whatever. Limitation to private ownership of an essential, natural element, indispensable to the life and to the well-being of the individual, is a logical and constitutional means of redress, under any view of law which ever prevailed. It accords with our system of tenure, which assumes that the right of occupancy is in every one of the whole people. “Confiscation of rent,” on the other hand, would require an entire subversion of our system of occupancy and of well-established principles of property; is inconsistent with our Constitution, if we have one; and, being revolutionary in its character, should only be resorted to in the last extremity, even were it in itself wise and feasible. This remedy is, doubtless, compatible with the fictions of English law and of monarchy by “divine right”; but not by any theory of democracy or principles of equity with which I am acquainted. But I think the time for promoting any positive reform of the land system through political ascendancy, and by legislative preponderance of an honest purpose to effect a public good, has long since passed away, through either Mr. George’s or Mr. Evans’s schemes. For it is quite apparent now to clear-headed people that the land question, and all other questions of human interest, will take care of themselves, if governments will let them alone, withdraw their bailiffs, tax-gatherers, detective police, and bandit, mercenary soldiery.
Social industry from its primitive communal organization has passed through three phases of development. In the patriarchal state labor had some degrees of organization, in which the more spontaneous cooperation of the tribe or community became subjected to authority and to the order of an arbitrary will, whose rude directorship effected some approach to the combination and division of labor, more lately established.
Next, in the struggle and as the consequent growth of leadership in their interminable wars and the rise of monarchical rule, the warlike organization of labor was effected, under the militant spirit, and became compulsorily cooperative, a system characterized by Hobbes as having “selfishness everywhere and unlimited power somewhere.” On the decline of the militant spirit and as the rule of law obtained and constitutional governments became established, what may be termed the litigant organization of labor took place and became semi-voluntary in place of wholly involuntary; but of the apparent freedom under this now existing form much is the result of a compulsory assent effected through the various fictions and subtle devices of our transmitted legalities, not less invasive than the sword of the freebooter or the lash of the slaveholder. In nothing is this so conspicuous and so fatal to social life and progress as in the falseness of the law of property and of the unlimited dominion of the land, under the law of the market.
The inability to defend our land system on any ethical or economic grounds, the agreement of all thinkers that it is incompatible with any rule but one of despotism, and the necessity for a system of organization of labor and cooperation which shall embrace division as well as production, indicates a possible future type of labor organization wherein a broader freedom and a clearer sense of mutual help and mutual benefit will secure a more fully developed sustaining system, and one which will promote, not the military, civic, or material aggrandizement of a nation or of an individual, but the development of higher activities and the pursuit of nobler aims. It is simply idle to suppose that the dangerous class who aspire to profit by making, interpreting, and enforcing, and also in evading, our system of legal quiddities will ever willingly further any such reform whatever, or propose to aid any salutary cause except for the purpose of betraying it.
* * *
The well-intentioned efforts of Mr. Evans and his confrères had been pertinaciously followed up for an entire generation. It is true that they looked to political action and legislative expedients as effective agencies of reform, and so in that regard their labors were fruitless. But Mr. George has not learned from their failure, but has repeated their blunders, even if he has not used the reform as a means to political preferment and the advancement of party aims. The land reformers of 1848 who followed the lead of Mr. Evans have kept alive the embers of the fire that glowed in that early day, and now by placing their reform upon the broad ground of economic and industrial law have made the scientific consideration of land ownership imperative. Mr. George’s remedy is wholly empirical, and is suggested by no principle of law or fact of economy. In subjecting the question to careful analysis, and to the test of the social good, we have placed it in the line of positive settlement, without or in spite of political scheming, caucus dictation, purchased votes, or stuffed ballot-boxes; for nothing can stand before the advance of exact knowledge. There is no rebellion against mathematics; and no demonstrated truth can be suppressed by any despotic rule. In the words of Ruskin: “We live in an epoch of change, and probably of revolution; thoughts that cannot be put aside are in the minds of all men capable of thought. One principle can, in the end will, close all epochs of revolution,— that each man shall possess the ground he can use and no more.”
A peaceful evolution of industry and society will then ensue; and the rule of ignorant, arbitrary will of monarch or majority will end, when helpful science and progressive thought shall free mankind from their superstitious reverence for ecclesiastical dogmas and legal fictions.
Socialist Economics and the Labor Movement.
By Victor Yarros.
Socialistic schools of reform are undeniably acquiring greater popularity and receiving more thoughtful consideration as time rolls on and organized labor, or the revolutionary forces all over the bourgeois world in general, grow weary, sceptical, and discontented with the methods and means by which in the past the great battle against capitalism has been carried on. All the resources of our “intelligent American mechanic” having been exhausted to no purpose, and all the measures that accord with the “genuine spirit of true democratic institutions” having been found utterly inadequate for the accomplishment of the end of the labor movement, nothing was more natural than that “foreign importations” should be examined a little nearer and with less prejudice. For a short time it really seemed as if the day of conservative “labor reform,” trades-unionism, strikes, and boycotts, was over, and the emptiness of the talk about “fair wage,” “harmony between capital and labor,” arbitration, profit-sharing, and “the American way of adjusting difficulties” demonstrated beyond a doubt. Today the fact — viewed with alarm by some and enthusiastic delight by others — which most impresses every student of the labor movement is that nearly all the able and influential leaders and tribunes of organized labor are, if not professedly Anarchistic or Socialistic, at least very pronounced in their tendencies and inclinations to either one or the other of these schools of radical and revolutionary reform; that the number of outspoken organs of Anarchism and Socialism is large and increasing; and that most of the labor organs in the country (and certainly all the prominent and important among them) exhibit strong sympathies and decided leanings either toward Socialism or toward Anarchism. Little is now heard about “fair wages,” but the propositions that labor is entitled to its full natural reward, that usury must be abolished, and that capital must be dethroned, are everywhere being discussed.
But let no Socialist or Anarchist prematurely congratulate himself. Their triumph is still far from permanent, and they are seriously threatened with being dislodged from their position and trampled into dust. After a temporary mental aberration, the intelligent American mechanic, under the skilful discipline of a new expert, is rapidly recovering his sober sense and conservative wisdom, and will soon renew his vigorous opposition to “imported” ideas in a fashion that will make it plain that no market exists in this healthy and beautiful land for the drugs of Socialism.
Self-defence impels us to seek to inform ourselves about the man who shall be known in all coming ages as the great conqueror of the nineteenth century and the deliverer of civilization from the heresies of Socialism. George Gunton is his name, “eight-hours” the terrible weapon, and “Wealth and Progress” the battlefield.
As intimated above, Mr. Gunton girds himself for no smaller task than the total overthrow of all radical schools of reform in the sphere of economic relations. After the performance of this unparalleled undertaking, we are gradually and carefully made acquainted with the simple, beautiful, natural, easy, modest measure, which, if carried out according to instructions, would immediately secure the permanent harmonious coöperation of capital and labor, abolish poverty and crime, establish peace, liberty, and social order, and remove all obstacles from the path of progress. And this miraculous panacea is not within the reach of the new world alone, but there is hope even for the unfortunate countries of the rotten old world. Let Germany, Belgium, France, England, and America adopt an eight-hour standard, and the prophecy of the lamb and the lion will be on the point of fulfillment.
We might state here Mr. Gunton’s central position and make it an object of extended criticism, leaving minor points for the reader to dispose of in the light of our fundamental principles and essential truths, but it seems preferable to closely follow Mr. Gunton’s line of argument and examine one by one his claims and statements. So far as we are aware, his is the first and only attempt to build a systematic scientific theory upon the unclassified and discordant data of conservative labor reform, and to put forward the policy of trades-unionism in distinct and bold opposition to Socialistic doctrines. The advocacy of incomplete and superficial means, hitherto defended on grounds of expediency, is raised by Mr. Gunton to the dignity of an historical method of economic progress, and, far from apologizing for it, he professes to see in it the only true and certain means of reform. While we nave no fear that the book will lead astray any considerable number of intelligent and informed people, yet, in view of the admiration, approval, and praise that the organs of capitalism bestow upon it, we are not altogether sure that there is no danger of the Henry George farce being played over again. For, even more than Henry George, is Mr. Gunton determined to maintain the present system, and, though ostensibly written in the interests of labor, his book is really and essentially a plea in behalf of capitalism and an effort to shield it from the onslaught of the radical movement.
Perhaps it is proper, in “opening for the defence,” to give an outline of our case and of the points we seek to establish. We expect to prove to the reader’s satisfaction that Mr. Gunton is incompetent to deal with the subject-matter of his book; that he has the shallowest and crudest and most superficial conception of Socialistic economics; that his criticisms only expose his own lack of understanding; and that he has no more firm grasp of the scientific, historical, and philosophical aspects of the labor problem — its essence, significance, and extent — than the average unenlightened laborer who joins a union for the purpose of fighting capital by “legal and honorable means.”
In the Introduction Mr. Gunton, admitting that “poverty is more inimical to society today than ever before” and that “there never was a time when the demands of labor were so urgent,” quarrels with those who raise the cry that the rich are growing richer and the poor poorer. He denies that the laborer is no better off than in the middle ages, but grants that his poverty is now “more intense in kind and dangerous in character than ever before.” Without stopping to argue this phase of the question, we, satisfied with Mr. Gunton’s own way of putting it, pass over to his first important postulate and objection against Socialism. “To eliminate poverty,” he affirms, there is “but one way,” — to increase wealth; and further, that the question for the social reformer to ask is how can the aggregate wealth per capita of the population be increased. Schemes involving “artificial manipulation of profits, rent, or taxes” contain no remedy, as they would at best result “in a transfer, not an increase of wealth.” The well-nigh universal complaint among the working classes and their intellectual advocates that distribution of wealth is unfair and inequitable, and that consequently the problem to deal with is how to so change social, economic, and political institutions as to secure an equitable distribution, is due to their inability to see that distribution is only a mental concept and not an actual independent economic fact. Distribution being in reality an inseparable part of the process of production, no reform in distribution is possible except through direct influence upon production. A greater diffusion of wealth among the masses is only possible through a larger aggregate production, and such an increase of wealth is only possible by extending the use of machinery and improved methods of production. The question how to abolish poverty resolves itself into these two simple propositions; 1. How can the use of improved means of production be increased? and 2. How can the general rate of wages be advanced?
When we add that the incomes of the rent- and profit-receiving classes must not be diminished by the arrangements, we have stated the whole problem as it appears in the Introduction of Mr. Gunton’s “Wealth and Progress.”
Students of Socialistic economy will at once perceive the vulgar prejudice to which Mr. Gunton has fallen a victim. He obviously imagines that the Socialists desire to “divide” the existing wealth more equally among the population. I say, prejudice, for it is impossible to regard it merely as an error of judgment. His way of stating the Socialistic position is in itself sufficient to prove to all competent to express an intelligent opinion that Mr. Gunton is criticising proposals which he has not troubled himself to examine with any care or candor. Had he read Proudhon’s “What is Property?” or Marx’s “Capital,” with any attention, he would have avoided the sin (and consequently the mortification resulting from exposure) of making a grossly false statement and a ridiculously weak hypothesis. Mr. Gunton will be surprised to learn from me that all Socialists do seek to increase the “aggregate wealth per capita,” and well understand the sphere of distribution. He advances nothing new in his Introduction, and, if he is honest in his claim to originality (he or Ira Stewart, who appears to have been his teacher), it shows that his “twenty years of study” of economics have left him at a point where it will certainly take him at least twenty years more to reach the line of modern thought. We shall explain just what the Socialists mean by charging the present way of distributing wealth with being mainly responsible for our industrial evils. And we shall have no difficulty in making it clear that the Socialists of all schools base their wholesale condemnation of rent, interest, and profits — that is, usury, or reward of capital — precisely and strictly on the consideration that they alone are in the way of a natural and progressive increase of wealth through the extension of improved methods of production and lay their effective veto upon the tendency of wages to rise concurrently with material progress.
Throughout the book Mr. Gunton’s criticisms of Socialistic schools are trivial, purely verbal, and utterly forceless. In the First Chapter, treating of the respective shares of labor and capital in production, we have a fair sample of his logic. He combats the popular idea among reformers that “labor creates all wealth,” admitting freely at the same time that, if this should be proven to be really the case, their claim that “all wealth belongs to the laborer” would have to be acknowledged as valid, and the accusation that capitalists who derive incomes from sources other than personal productive labor are exploiters and robbers considered borne out by the evidence. And. how does Mr. Gunton refute that idea? He does it in a way that reflects alike upon his honesty and intelligence. He repeats the well-known and long-exploded arguments of Bastiat in favor of interest on capital, entirely ignoring the question of “original accumulation,” as well as that of the legalized monopoly of credit, the introduction of which plays sad havoc with that Bastiat argument and deprives it of its seeming reasonableness. By pointing out that a laborer who works with tools obtains more products than one without them, he imagines that he makes out a case for a legitimate reward of the capitalist tool-lender, whereas, in fact, he does not even touch the main question, which, is, why the industrious laborer happens to be in need of borrowing tools, and why competition among the lenders of tools does not bring the price of their use down to the cost limit, or as near it as in other legislatively “unprotected” products of labor.
Besides this argument in favor of reward of capital, which is not new and which, in spite of the appearance of force, ought not to deceive those who profess to be familiar with Socialist economics, Mr. Gunton has another, which, it puerile, has at least the merit of being original with our author. He speaks of the objection against interest advanced by some reformers that capital is simply labor in another form or stored-up labor, pronouncing the phrase “stored-up labor” a “very misleading metaphysical expression,” “where the error begins.” It appears that labor, being “simply human force or energy,” cannot be stored up, and the most that can be claimed for it is that the “amount of human energy expended in producing an object is transferred to and preserved in that object. Between “stored-up” labor and “preserved” labor there is doubtless as vast a difference as between tweedledum and tweedledee, and are we to wonder at the preposterous and absurd conclusions of the ignorant Socialists who fatally err at the very start in confounding these two conceptions?
To be continued.
An Ordinary Occurrence.
One fine evening, as I walked home from my place of work with a fellow-craftsman and friend, the question of the “social evil,” or, more plainly and shockingly, prostitution, forced itself upon my attention. I immediately proceeded to discuss it with my friend.
In the city in which I live, as in all other “civilized” and populous centres, there are entire blocks and streets almost exclusively inhabited by those who do their business when the world rests from the labor of the day, who are relentlessly persecuted and bitterly denounced and abused by their patrons and customers in spite of low prices, and whose “vocation” is universally considered so degrading that even those unscrupulous money-making concerns, the newspapers, refuse to directly advertise their offers.
Prostitutes! Who does not know them? Who has not seen them? Who has not been solicited and invited by them? Who, to be cruelly truthful, has not explored their quarters? Surely, this is a subject upon which men have abundant information.
I had to pass through one of those long and narrow streets where, provided you have a certain object in view, it matters little what bell you ring and how many flights you climb. It was at the hour when the windows are opened and heads seen in all of them. Dark enough, but not too dark. No lights needed within, and none wanted. Unless a policeman is in sight, walkers-by are sure of pleasant greetings and cordial requests to “step in” and be made welcome.
Familiar though the spectacle was, that evening my mind was preoccupied in considering all the various phases of the strange characteristic of our “civilization.” When I mentioned it to my friend, he confessed thinking about it himself. A controversy then began. My friend was angry (and therefore wrong) with everything and everybody. That prostitution was condemned as immoral, damnable, disgraceful, barbarous, and utterly indefensible, goes without saying. He held, of course, the industrial system largely responsible for this evil, but he had no pity or compassion with those “miserable wretches” who, rather than toil or starve, sell their bodies without affection, passion, or discrimination.
Such a view I could not accept. Leaving out the moral phase as meaningless, I simply described prostitution as an unnatural phenomenon, something which could not exist under proper industrial and social conditions, and which is sure to disappear together with capitalism and legal marriage. But to heap abuse upon the heads of the unhappy victims themselves was sheer folly and prejudice. They had a right to do it; they were wise in doing it, if they preferred it to death or slow starvation; and they are certainly more respectable than those who prostitute themselves in marriage and lead a life of shame and false pretences. They, at least, do not pretend to have an affection for you when they merely want your money, and do not promise to be faithful and true.
My defence of these creatures grew very warm and eloquent. I talked loud and gesticulated. I must have been very distinctly heard by those for whom I gratuitously and disinterestedly pleaded.
For suddenly I was startled and silenced by mocking voices from several windows and door-ways. The possessors of the suspiciously-fair cheeks repeated my words, imitated my tone, and copied the movements of my hands so as to produce upon me an effect which consisted of a combination of the feelings of disgust, surprise, shame, and anger. That the words had reference to them, that they were favorable to them, that they had been uttered with the best of intentions, seemingly made no difference whatever. They repeated them as parrots would, without thought, understanding, or appreciation.
“Never again shall I defend them,” was my first hasty thought. “They are not worth it.”
But a second sober thought changed my determination. Whether the victims mocked me or not, whether they are indifferent to their own lot or not, the truths which I had expressed in their behalf none the less remained truths. I still have the same opinion, and why not adhere to it?
It is hard, of course, to meet with such a reception from those whom one defends, but has not such been the treatment of all the characters in history who made the cause of the oppressed and wretched their own and labored and suffered for them? The victims have always mocked and ridiculed and pursued and crucified and slandered their best friends. And perhaps that is why they still remain victims.
The prostitutes on that summer evening had simply repeated history and had exemplified by their conduct the historic relations between the miserable and their sympathizers and well-wishers.
Happily for the ideal, the work goes on without them and in spite of them. The man who knows will speak, and the man who feels will rebel. And they do it because they prefer to.
Fiat for Fiat.
Fiatism in treasury notes is the nemesis for fiatism of restriction, which has ruthlessly laid an embargo upon the contract creation and negotiation of paper secured by evidences of wealth and good credit.
Was Proudhon a Hypocrite?
In a lecture recently delivered in London Pierre Kropotkine declared Proudhon to be “undoubtedly one of the greatest writers who have ever dealt with economical questions” and perhaps “the most suggestive among those writers who lead men to think for themselves.” But “his scheme of Mutual Banking,” continued the lecturer, “was an evident compromise between the middle-class and working-class interests. It even seems probable that he did not believe in it himself, and only hoped that it might stir the workers to act on their own behalf.” Coming from Kropotkine, I cannot believe that the insult to Proudhon’s memory contained in the words I have italicized was deliberate, but certainly he could have said nothing more unwarrantable, more false, or more cruel. Proudhon estimated his writings on banking and credit above all his other work, and his views of these matters are reiterated and emphatically dwelt upon in nearly every book that he wrote from 1848 until his death in 1865. The importance which he attributed to them is established in the most indubitable manner by the following words with which he introduces the articles establishing the “Bank of the People,” and that Kropotkine should be ignorant of them and upon his ignorance should base so gross a misjudgment makes one question the justice of his reputation as a man of scientific habits:
I make oath before God and before men, on the Gospel and on the Constitution, that I have never had or professed any other principles of social reform than those set forth in the present act of incorporation, and that I ask nothing more, nothing less, than the free and peaceful application of these principles and their logical, legal, and legitimate consequences.
I declare that, in my inmost thought, these principles, with the consequences which flow from them, are the whole of socialism, and that outside of it there is nothing but utopia and chimera.
I swear that in these principles, and in the entire doctrine for which they serve as a basis, there is to be found nothing, absolutely nothing, contrary to the family, to liberty, to public order.
The Bank of the People is only the financial formula, the translation into economic language, of the principle of modern democracy, the sovereignty of the People, and of the republican motto, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
I protest that, in criticising property, or rather the totality of institutions of which property is the pivot, I have never intended, either to attack individual rights recognized by prior laws, or to contest the legitimacy of acquired possessions, or to provoke an arbitrary redistribution of wealth, or to place any obstacle in the way of free and regular acquisition of property by sale and exchange, or even to prohibit or suppress, by sovereign decree, rent of land and interest of capital.
I think that all these manifestations of human activity should remain free and optional with all; I admit for them no other modifications, restrictions, and suppressions than those which result naturally and necessarily from the universalization of the principle of reciprocity and from the law of synthesis which I propose.
And what I say of property I say equally of every political and religious institution. My only object in passing the various portions of the social symbolism through the crucible of criticism has been to arrive, by a long and laborious analysis, at the discovery of superior principles, the algebraic formula of which is given in this act of incorporation.
This is my testament of life and death. I permit no one to suspect my sincerity save the man who could lie with his dying breath.
If I am mistaken, public reason will soon have done justice to my theories: it will remain for me only to disappear from the revolutionary arena, after having asked pardon of society and my brothers for the trouble that I had cast into their souls, and of which I, after all, must be the first victim.
But if, after having been thus contradicted by general reason and experience, I should later try, by other means, by new suggestions, to again agitate minds and inspire false hopes, I should call down upon myself thenceforth the contempt of honest people and the curse of the human race.
Competition Not a Nurse of Inequality.
In modern society competition is far from occupying the sphere of its natural action. Our laws run counter to it; and when it is asked whether the inequality of conditions is owing to the presence or the absence of competition, it is sufficient to look at the men who make the greatest figure among us, and dazzle us by the display of their scandalous wealth, in order to assure ourselves that inequality, so far as it is artificial and unjust, has for foundation, conquests, monopolies, restrictions, privileged offices, functions, and places, ministerial trafficking, public borrowing,— all things with which competition has nothing to do.
The Right to Learn.
From time to time attacks are made upon trade unions without uniformly discriminating between actions which may be illegal or incompatible with the good order of society and actions which are fair in themselves, but simply potent because joined in by many. The latter kind of power is a form of competition. There would not be free competition if association were denied. The simple test in numerous apparently perplexing questions is to find whether the action would be deemed fair if done by an individual. For instance, a man has a right to spend his money where he choose for proper objects, and to quit work if violating no contract. Then two or more men have a right to do what it is right for each of them to do, and they have a right to confer and consult. All this is included in free competition,— in freedom. The case becomes different when any body of men propose to have a law made giving them some privilege over others, and then combine to use their force and intellect thus aided by law. In such case reformers should not strike at the principle of combination, the very principle by which all great industrial works are performed, but they should strike at the principle of monopoly. If let alone, new forms of competition will spring up by like combinations, and a very brief period of antagonism will usually result in a smoother arrangement for service and supply than was known before under the imagined, or at best imperfect, protection of restrictive methods. No doubt most restrictions sanctioned by society have had some use, but they have cost something, and whatever may have been the net result in a state of infancy of the human mind and of social science, there comes a time in progressive development when restriction, the method of early instinct, costs more than it contributes to the industrial, physical, and moral welfare of mankind, as mankind becomes conscious of ability to exercise freedom. To apply the argument to a serious movement made by the regular medical fraternity, it may be noted that the president of the American Medical Association, in his annual address at the opening of that body at Cincinnati, proposed the formation of a standing committee for each State and territory in the union to “attend their respective legislatures and use all honorable means looking to the reduction of the number of medical schools in the United States, and a consequent diminution in the annual number of medical graduates.” “This suggestion,” says the report, “was received with storms of applause.” This is protectionism of a kind never approached by modern trade unions except in the way of restricting immigration and skilled convict labor. It is true that the trade unions limit the number of apprentices, but only by exercising their personal right of abstaining from working for such employers as disagree with their proposals. A parallel with the demand of the doctors would be found if the trades were to go lobbying in order to get a law passed restricting the number of apprentices. What are the medical men in the ring doing if they are not teaching other professions and trades just the same logic? If this sort of protection is to be coupled with penal statutes by which a mother can not give a prescription for her offspring, the medical association will lead the way in a movement back to the caste system, fixing every individual’s status and repressing the native talent of the young, forcing them to move in grooves fixed by the accidents of birth and the iron-clad statutes of the political State. Is this country to be ruined by protection gone mad?
Pharisaically the copyrighters’ organs ignore fair arguments, and content themselves with the bald and impudent assertion that theirs is the side of honesty, and all opposition is dishonest. The wolf in sheep’s clothing is sure to declare himself a sheep, but, when he declares that he is the only real sheep, he directs too much attention to some wolfish peculiarities which protrude.
A “Function of Government” Usurped.
The Chicago “Times” tells the story of a telegraph system which has gradually developed in one of the counties of Michigan. It began by two farmers connecting their houses by wire for their own convenience in exchanging messages about every-day matters. A third farmer saw the advantage these two were enjoying, and so extended the wire to his house. Then a fourth joined on, and a fifth, and an enterprising store keeper brought his store into the circuit. And so the system grew, until now it has sixty-five miles of wire and ninety offices, two-thirds of the latter being in farm houses and the rest in stores and offices dependent on the farmers’ patronage. For convenience of management the farmers and store keepers have organized themselves into a corporation, but each share holder continues to be his own operator and line repairer. The “Times” asserts that there are already two or three independent systems of this kind in operation, arranged so that they can be connected at intersecting points, and the business is conducted cheaply and successfully.
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.