“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.
E. C. Walker reprints in “Lucifer” some highly complimentary remarks which I made about that paper in 1884. Woe is me! alackaday!
The Chinese emperor has granted a banking monopoly, and the beneficiaries of this concession are now in this country studying the national banking system with a view to introducing it into China. Poor China!
According to the “Truth Seeker” the writers for “Honesty” are principally Freethinkers. Men with long memories can recall the time when the “Truth Seeker” insisted that nearly all the Anarchists were Christians.
Hot headedly wrong, but forcible, able, and interesting writers,— such is the “Truth Seeker’s” verdict upon the Australian Anarchists. Singular fact, isn’t it, that wherever you find an Anarchist you find a man of brains and talent?
A correspondent desires to be informed through Liberty “how the Anarchist Reclus could, without sacrifice of principle, remain a member of the International.” Because he is really not an Anarchist, but a Communist. Nevertheless his pamphlet, “An Anarchist on Anarchy,” published in Liberty’s Library is a good Anarchistic document as far as it goes, except in two or three statements which I have guarded against by foot-note. No one, however, who believes, as Reclus does, in the forcible seizure and common possession of all the means of production can properly define himself as an Anarchist.
Judge McCarthy of the Pennsylvania supreme court, having to pass upon the question whether under the Pennsylvania liquor law licenses should be granted in a certain county, decided against granting them because he was opposed to the law, saying in the opinion which he filed: “When laws are passed that seem to conflict with God’s injunctions, we are not compelled to obey them.” I’ll warrant that that same judge, were an Anarchist, arraigned before him for the violation of some unjust statute, to claim that he followed either God’s injunction or any other criterion of conduct in his eyes superior to the statute, would give the prisoner three months extra for his impudence.
The London “Jus” reprints the whole of my recent editorial, “Contract or Organism, What’s That to Us?” introducing it as follows: “Mr. F. W. Read has undertaken the defence of taxation in these columns. We are inclined to think that, apart from the merits of the case, he has, so far as argument is concerned, got the better of Mr. Badcock, who has taken up the cudgels for Anarchy, or, as he would call it, Absolute Individualism. But Mr. Benjamin Tucker of Liberty now appears on the field, and deals some very heavy blows at Mr. Read and his principle of a State-organism. We hope he will not run away before his new assailant.” I thank “Jus” for its fairness and join in its hope.
That successful defier and mortal enemy of generalization and consistency, Editor Pinney of the Wiristed “Press,” says that the mischief arising from the operation of the Inter-State Commerce Law, which furnishes texts for sermons against State Socialism to a certain class of persons, proves to others (and presumably to him) merely the incapacity of our legislators to properly exercise the socialistic powers lodged in government. There would be no reasonable objection to such an explanation, if at least some instances could be pointed out where governments have proved themselves efficient and skilful in executing the tasks assumed by them. But when it is overwhelmingly demonstrated that governments always have failed and always must fail to render satisfactory service, it strikes me that the time is ripe for a generalization and a more comprehensive view of the question of governmental interference with natural currents.
Henry George’s correspondents continue to press him regarding the fate of the man whose home should so rise in value through increase of population that he would be taxed out of it. At first, it will be remembered, Mr. George coolly sneered at the objectors to this species of eviction as near relatives of those who objected to the abolition of slavery on the ground that it would “deprive the widow Smith of her only ‘nigger.’” Liberty made some comments on this, which Mr. George never noticed. Since their appearance, however, his analogy between property in “niggers” and a man’s property in his house has lapsed, as President Cleveland would say, into a condition of “innocuous desuetude,” and a new method of settling this difficulty has been evolved. A correspondent having supposed the case of a man whose neighborhood should become a business centre and whose place of residence therefore, as far as the land was concerned, should rise in value so that he could not afford or might not desire to pay the tax upon it, but, as far as his house was concerned, should almost entirely lose its value because of its unfitness for business purposes, Mr. George makes answer that the community very likely would give such a man a new house elsewhere to compensate him for being obliged to sell his house at a sacrifice. That this method has some advantages over the “nigger” argument I am not prepared to deny, but I am tempted to ask Mr. George whether this is one of the ways by which he proposes to “simplify government.”
M. Harman, writing editorially in “Lucifer” on labor politics, declares that he expects no direct or positive good from any new parties that the present social and religious conditions are capable of constructing and sustaining. For the true reform party — the party that would seek to establish liberty and equity — we have as yet neither the builders nor the stones; and, if we are ever to have such a party, we must first devote our energies to the high and noble work of fitting ourselves for the position of builders and stones of the glorious temple of liberty. This is strictly true as far as it goes. But the writer disturbs himself rather needlessly by the considerations that such preparation and development require time; that “to make a man you must begin with his grandmother”; and that slavery in sex-hood makes serviceable grandmothers pretty scarce. The trouble with “Lucifer’s” philosophy, which is responsible for “Lucifer’s” giving the sex question such undue prominence and magnifying its importance in relation to other questions, is that it confounds the two entirely distinct ideas of a perfect man and one sufficiently enlightened to perceive the necessity of certain reforms in society and in government. The environment which will allow the production of ideally perfect men will be created by Anarchy; and we, who are already somewhat free from mental and social slavery, can hope to give birth to more nearly perfect men and women. But to establish Anarchy nothing is needed except a little knowledge, some brains, some will-power, and a determination to stick to the plumb-line.
Hot-Headedly Wrong, Like Ourselves.
[New York Truth Seeker.]
There are quite a number of Anarchists in Melbourne, Australia, of the philosophical sort, and they publish a twelve-page monthly called “Honesty.” There is no dynamite in it, but much forcible writing. Its contributors are principally Freethinkers, who have turned their attention to social subjects, and become converts to the extreme individualistic views of Michael Bakounine and Herbert Spencer. They are hot-headedly wrong, like our loved friend Tucker, but they are able, and we read them with interest.
[Translatest from the French of Eugene Pottier by Benj. R. Tucker.]
On seeing the ball and the chain,
The first of the heroes of Spain,
Don Quixote, ran up, lance in hand!
But Sancho for this had not planned!
The galley-guard fled; the chain’s clank
Was stopped by the chivalrous crank.
— “Sir Knight,” advised Sancho, the drone,
“The galley-slave’s chain let alone!”
— “Friend Sancho, I go at the call.
This convict is labor, the thrall,
A tool which is eaten by rust
And eats in its turn but a crust.
Its master, compassionless gold,
Discards it when worn-out and old.”
— “Sir Knight,” advised Sancho, the drone,
“The galley-slave’s chain let alone!”
— “I liberate, Sancho, the boy
Imprisoned in school without joy.
Though fed upon learning, no doubt,
By pedants first chewed and spat out,
A copy-bock scribbled in ink,
His mind is not quickened to think.”
— “Sir Knight,” advised Sancho, the drone,
“The galley-slave’s chain let alone!”
— “Ye slave of the barracks, unchain!
A cartridge-box serves as your brain;
A musket is your moral sense;
You’re but a machine of offence.
To the trade of a cannibal bred,
They cast you, like bullets of lead.”
— “Sir Knight,” advised Sancho, the drone,
“The galley-slave’s chain let alone!”
— “And you too, the sacristy’s slave,
Your cowl do not wear to the grave.
The cloister confuses your sight
With the mildew of Faith and its blight.
Within you lymphatic Rome breeds
Diseases while you count your beads.”
— “Sir Knight,” advised Sancho, the drone,
“The galley-slave’s chain let alone!”
— “And you, above all, Dulcinea,
Though wretched, incomparably dear,
Whom giants hold fast in their grasp
And wicked enchanters enclasp,
Your heart, which the law sits above,
Cries out for its freedom to love.”
— “Sir Knight,” advised Sancho, the drone,
“The galley-slave’s chain let alone!”
Of chivalry you are the cream,
Said I to myself in my dream;
Pour into these giants your fire,
In spite of your cowardly squire,
For until you shall end with your sword
The era of force and of fraud,
— “Sir Knight,” will croak Sancho, the drone,
“The galley-slave’s chain let alone!”
The Science of Society.
By Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Cost the Limit of Price:
A Scientific Measure of Honesty in Trade As One of the Fundamental Principles in the Solution of the Social Problem.
Continued from No. 106.
172. Again, the possession of wealth is only one means of refinement, or rather of the true development of the human being. Labor in itself is just as essential to that development as wealth. Labor without wealth, as its legitimate end and consequence, terminates in coarseness, vulgarity, and degradation. Wealth without labor, as the legitimate necessity and condition of its attainment, ends, on the other hand, in luxuriousness and effeminacy. The first is the condition of the ever-toiling and poverty-stricken masses in our actual civilization; the last is the hardly more fortunate condition of the rich. Labor is first degraded by being deprived of its reward, and, being degraded, the wealthy, who are enabled by their riches to avoid it, are repelled, even when their tastes would incline them to its performance. The rich suffer, therefore, from ennui, gout, and dyspepsia, while the poor suffer from fatigue, deformity, and starvation. The refinement toward which wealth conduces in existing society is not, then, genuine development. The dandy is no more refined, in any commendable sense of the term, than the boor. Wealth may coexist with inbred and excessive vulgarity. The fact is patent to all, but the proof of it could nowhere be more obvious than in the very objection I am answering. The absence of true refinement and gentility is in no manner so completely demonstrated as by selfish and wanton encroachments upon the rights of others, and no encroachment can be conceived more selfish and wanton than that of demanding that others shall work without compensation to maintain our gentility.
173. Refinement sits most gracefully upon those who have the most thorough physical development and training. The highest exhibit of the real gentleman can no more be produced without labor than that of the scholar without study. There is no more a royal road to true refinement than there is to mathematics. The experiment has been tried in either case a thousand times, of jumping the primary and intermediate steps, and the product has been in one event the fop, and in the other the pedant.
Refinement is, so to speak, a luxury to be indulged in after the necessaries of life are provided. Those necessaries consist of stamina of body and mind, which are only wrought out of mental and corporeal exercise. Mere refinement sought from the beginning, with no admixture of hardship, emasculates the man, and ends disastrously for the individual and the race. It is indispensable, therefore, to the true education and integral development of both the individual and the race that every person shall take upon himself or herself a due proportion of the common burden of mankind. If it were possible for any one individual to labor, for his whole life, at pursuits which were purely attractive and delightful, it is questionable whether even that would not mollify his character to the point of effeminacy,— whether absolute difficulties and repugnances to be overcome are not essential to a right education of a human being in every condition of his existence. The Cost Principle forces a compliance with what philosophy thus demonstrates to be the unavoidable condition of human development and genuine refinement. It removes the possibility of one person’s living in indolence off the exertions of others. It administers labor as the inevitable prior condition of indulging in refinement, for which it furnishes the means and prepares the way. This objection, drawn from the consequences of the principle upon the well-being of society, is therefore destitute of validity. The balance of advantage predominates immensely in the opposite scale. The result which the principle works out is the elevation and genuine refinement of the whole race, instead of brutalizing the vast majority of mankind and emasculating the rest.
174. The second objection is that this method of remuneration depresses the condition of genius, and affords no means of obtaining a livelihood, and of making accumulations, to those who pursue purely attractive occupations. (99.)
This objection is, in part, answered in the same manner as the preceding. Genius, as well as refinement, has its basis in healthful physical conditions, such as result form a due amount of labor and struggle with mental and corporeal difficulties. Complete relief from all necessity for exertion is by no means a favorable state for the development of genius, or its maintenance in activity. The poet who works three hours a day at some occupation which is actual work will be a better poet than the same man if he should devote himself exclusively to his favorite literary pursuit. With the knowledge of physiological laws now prevalent, it cannot be necessary to enlarge upon a statement so well authenticated, both by science and experience. Less than that amount of labor, in true industrial relations, will furnish the means of existence and comfort. Hence, under the operation of these principle, genius has its own destiny in its own hands.
175. The man of genius who should devote himself exclusively, except so are as he must labor to provide himself the means of living, to that which to him was purely attractive and delightful, would of course not accumulate, as the price of his exertions, that kind of reward which appropriately belongs to the production of wealth. If he seeks his own gratification solely in this pursuit, he finds its reward in the pursuit itself. Probably, however, there is no species of occupation which, when continuously followed, is purely delightful. If the artist disposes of the products of his genius at all, he is entitled to demand a price for them according to the degree of cost or sacrifice they have occasioned him,— less in proportion to the degree to which he has pursued the occupation from pure delight. The correctness of this principle is now tacitly admitted in the case of the amateur, who does not charge for his works, because he performed them for his own gratification. So soon, however, as the artist, in any department of art, becomes professional, and exercises his profession for the pleasure and gratification of the public, he is forced to subordinate his own gratification, more or less, to that of those whom he attempts to propitiate, which, with the temperament usually belonging to that class of persons, is extremely irksome. In proportion to this irksomeness comes an augmentation of price. To be obliged to perform at stated times, to conform his own tastes to the demands of his employers or patrons, and the like,— all the sacrifice thus imposed enters legitimately into the estimate of price. It may be, therefore, that art pursued as a profession may be as lucrative, in a mere commercial point of view, as any other pursuit.
176. Ordinarily, however, there is a repugnance with the genuine artist to pursuing art as a profession at all. He desires ardently to pay his devotions at the shrine of his favorite divinity solely for her own sake. He feels that there is something like degradation in intermingling with his worship any mercenary motive whatever. For the gratification of this refined sentiment, how superior would his condition be, if, by expending a few hours of his time at some productive industry, which the arrangements of society placed always at his disposal, he could procure an assured subsistence, and that grade of comfort and elegance to which his tastes might incline him! There can be nothing in the vagrant and precarious condition of the devotees of art, in our existing society, to be viewed as a model, which it would be dangerous to deviate from.
177. The objection which we are now considering has been, however, already answered in a manner more satisfactory, perhaps, to those whose aspirations for the artist are more luxurious, in the chapter on Natural Wealth, under which head talent, natural skill, or genius is included. (87.) It was there shown that the subject treated of in this whole work is merely price, in its rigid sense as a remuneration for burden assumed, the only remuneration which the performer of any labor can be with propriety receive. If more is rendered as a free tribute for pleasure conferred, of which the party served must be the sole judge. (93.) Hence, as the business of the artist and the genius is to confer the purer and more elevated kinds of pleasure, the whole field is open to him to compel by pure attraction as liberal a tribute as he may, provided always no other force is employed. The point of honor would concur with equity in limiting him in his demand to the mere amount of burden assumed, as if he were the most menial laborer,— an amount which delicacy and politeness toward those whom he served would lead him rather to under than over estimate. On the other hand, the same point of honor would leave to them the estimate of the pleasure conferred, while delicacy and politeness on their part would in turn prompt them to magnify rather than diminish the obligation, and bespeak from them an appreciative and indulgent spirit. In this manner the intercourse of the artist, the genius, the discoverer, or other super-eminent public benefactor with the public would be raised to a natural and refined interchange of courtesies, instead of a disgraceful scramble about priority of rights, or the price of tickets.
178. In like manner there is nothing in the Cost Principle to prevent the most liberal contributions, on all hands, toward aiding inventors in carrying on their experiments before success has crowned their exertions, and the most liberal testimonials of the public appreciation of those exertions after success is achieved.
179. The third objection to the Cost Principle, drawn from its consequences upon the interests and conditions of society, is that it does not provide for the performance of every useful function in the community. More specifically stated, the objection is this: Labor is paid according to its repugnance; there are some kinds of labor which are not repugnant at all, but which, on the other hand, are purely pleasurable, and which consequently would bear no price, or receive no remuneration; but the performance of these kinds of labor is necessary to the well-being of society, and in order that they be performed, those who perform them must be sustained; consequently they must have a price for their labor The Cost Principle denies a price, therefore, at the same time that the well-being of society demands one.
180. This objection assumes that the labor in question will not be performed unless it bears a price, while it assumes at the same time that it is a pure pleasure to perform it. It assigns as the reason why it will not be performed, that the laborers performing it must be maintained while engaged in its performance. To assume this is in effect to assume that in the state of society which will result from these principles people will not have leisure to pursue their pleasure for pleasure’s sake, and that they will be obliged to devote the whole of their time to occupations going towards furnishing them the means of subsistence. This is again assuming too much. Such assumptions are based upon the existing state of things, and not upon any such as could exist under the reign of Universal Equity. The very end and purpose of all radical social reform is a state of society which shall relieve every individual from subjugation to the necessity of continuous and repugnant labor, and furnish him the leisure and ability to pursue his own pleasurable occupations at his own option. It is claimed for the Cost Principle that, taken in conjunction with the doctrine of Individuality and the Sovereignty of the Individual, it works out a state of society in which that leisure and ability would exist. The real question, then, is whether it does so or not. If it does, then the objection falls. It is answered by the statements that all purely pleasurable occupations will be filled by such persons as have leisure, or by all persons at such times as they have leisure. Being pleasurable, they require no inducement in the form of price. Whether the operation of the Cost Principle is adequate to the production of general wealth, and the consequent prevalence of leisure and freedom of choice in regard to occupation, depends upon the correctness of the whole train of propositions which have been, and which are to be made upon the subject.
181. The next objection drawn from the operation of the Cost Principle is that it makes no provision for the maintenance of the poor and unfortunate,— that, although it secures exact justice, it has in it no provisions for benevolence.
It has been shown that, in order that benevolence be rightly appreciated and accepted as such, and beget benevolence in turn, it is essential that equity should first have been done. Mutual benevolence can only exist after all the requirements of equity have been complied with, and that can only be by first knowing what the requirements of equity really are; where, in other words, the relations of equity or justice cease, and those of benevolence begin.
182. It is the essential element of benevolence that it be perfectly voluntary. If it is exercised in obedience to a demand, it is no longer benevolence. Apply these principles to the question of public or private charity. If justice were done to all classes and all individuals in society; if, in other words, the whole products of the labor of each were secured to him for his own enjoyment,— the occasion for charity, as it is now administered, would be almost wholly removed. Pauperism, in any broad sense, would be extinguished. Poverty would, so to speak, be abolished, except in the very rare instances of absolute disability, from disease or accident overtaking persons for whom no prior provision had been made either by their own accumulations or those of their ancestors or deceased friends. Pauperism, with such rare exceptions, is purely the growth of the existing system of commercial exchanges, tending continually, as has been shown, to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.
183. With regard, then, to the few cases of disability, coupled with destitution, which may always continue to occur, it is obvious that the principle of science which intervenes to regulate the equitable exchange of products has no application whatever where there are no products to exchange. Equity is then out of the question. Equivalents cannot be rendered because there is nothing on the one side to render. Benevolence comes then fairly in play. In the same manner as the sentiment of justice is offended by the pretense of giving as charity what is felt to be due as a right, so, on the other hand, the sentiment of benevolence is offended by a claim as a matter of right to that which should be voluntarily bestowed, if at all. I have observed elsewhere the Rowland Hill would never have received the magnificent testimonial bestowed upon him by the English people, if he had seen fit to prefer a claim to it as the price of his services. Benevolence is conciliated, therefore, the moment that all claim is abandoned, and claims having no basis in right are abandoned immediately whenever there is an exact knowledge of the limits of equity. In this manner the Cost Principle, while it does not profess to be benevolent, serves, nevertheless, as an inspirer and regulator of benevolence itself. While justice is not benevolence, therefore, the foundations of benevolence are still laid in justice.
184. In a condition of society, then, in which Equity shall first have been secured to all, benevolence, whenever the occasion shall arise, will flow forth from every heart with unmeasured abundance. The disabled and unfortunate will be the pets and spoiled children of the community. It is a mistake in the philosophy of mind to suppose that there is naturally any sense of degradation from being the object of real charity. There never is any repugnance on the part of any one to being the recipient of genuine benevolence. The tenant of the poor-house in our pauper-ridden civilization is degraded and made sensible of his degradation by the malevolence, never by the benevolent sentiment, of society toward him. He is first hated because injustice has been done him, and then hated because he is a burden to society.
To be continued.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 106.
But it was only a passing impression, and she immediately resumed the conversation which this avowal had interrupted.
“The point of a dagger is very sharp,” said she.
“The coat of mail is very close.”
“I should have no confidence in it.”
“Try!” “You say so?”
“See if your dagger will penetrate it.”
“But, if it should?”
“There is no danger.”
And, uncovering his chest, the Duke invited her to put it to the proof.
Strike him full in the chest! No, the Duchess did not dare; the coat of mail might be broken by the blow and the Duke be fatally stabbed; no, no, she would not expose herself to such unhappiness! And as Newington persisted in inviting her to the act, and telling her to have no fears, she still refused, half laughing, half serious.
“You do not tremble, you confront death with your habitual courage, and you would receive it, I am sure, without winking.”
“It would be even sweet, given by your hand!”
“Yes, but myself! To say nothing of my suffering, I should find myself in a pretty fix if, by chance, you should die without the power of explaining how it happened, and this might cause me a thousand annoyances. Who knows? They might shut me up in prison, they might even hang me. Thanks!”
Sir Newington smiled over her alarm at this prospect; shrugging his shoulders and taking her hand which held the dagger, he turned it towards his big chest, obstinately determined that the experiment should be tried.
But, appearing completely frightened, the Duchess, with a swift effort, disengaged herself, withdrawing the weapon which scratched the surface of her husband’s throat.
No, again no! she would not!
“You had better have consented,” said the Duke, wiping away with his coat some drops of blood which had fallen upon his right hand.
“I have wounded you,” cried Lady Ellen, apparently overwhelmed.
“Oh! just a scratch upon the surface of the skin! I shall not die of it. See, it has already stopped bleeding.”
The Duchess was distressed, and irritated also at the Duke, declaring such play to be senseless. She might as easily have severed an artery and occasioned a hemorrhage which would have been followed by death.
The entrance of Treor, whom the servant summoned for this purpose now pushed in ahead of him, put an end to the lamentations and reproaches of the perfidious woman.
The old man, slightly bent, stopped on the threshold, examining with his immoderately large and brilliant, but dim eyes, the room, its decoration, and the people; then he advanced with short steps, full of hesitation. Still scrutinizing the place into which he had been brought, he half-closed his eye-lids, in order to better discern an object which he could not define, the faces of beings whom he seemed to know, but did not recognize.
Suddenly, stopping again near the door and turning his fixed and shaded eyes towards the Duke and Duchess, he asked:
“Why did they disturb me? Where have they brought me? I have come a long way; my legs are wavering and exhausted... up to the knees. I hope that this is at least a free country, without foreigners to oppress it.”
Excessively lean, a pale, tall skeleton, with his cavernous voice, he stood upright like an apparition of death exhumed from the sepulchre, animated with breath borrowed for the occasion. And Newington looked at him with the disdain of the man in insolent health, full of blood almost bursting from the skin, and with the scorn which the weakness of such an unsubstantial enemy, ridiculous in his pretensions to struggle, inspired in this giant, in this formidable ox.
Lady Ellen, pale without any real reason, but simply from physical impression, looked at this sort of spectre with terror, disgust, and instinctive horror, and retrenched herself behind Newington, shivers creeping down her back and all through her flesh chilled by this glimpse into sepulchral regions.
However, the scene took the turn which she desired.
The old man railed at the Duke, whom he at last recognized.
“I am not mistaken,” said he, extending his arm and designating the general with his index finger; “that is the face of a tyrant; one could swear that it was Sir Newington, just as at Cumslen-Park.”
Then, after a time employed in confirming himself in his hypothesis, he resumed:
“Surely the same coarse arrogance, the same hardness of features less hard than the heart, and I get a glimpse, through his eye-balls reddened with the blood which he has shed, of his detestable soul, the receptacle and horrible den of hatred and nameless cruelties.”
The slow, solemn, emphatic way in which he uttered these words did more than his curse to increase the uneasiness of the Duchess, acting on her nerves and adding to her marble pallor, and Treor, struck by this singular change of color, turned his looks away from Newington to fasten them on her, and, with a satisfied sneer, he said, pointing to Ellen:
“Yes, but death stands at the side of this bloody despot,— death, delusive, alluring, adorned, but death!”
Observing the Duchess start, the soldier offered to send away the old man; but, regaining her composure, and trying, by rubbing with her glove, to bring back to her cheek the color which had disappeared, she said:
“She betrays herself,” said Treor, “by her spite at being unmasked. Ah! my Lord, take care that she does not come too near, that she does not touch you!”
This was too much for Lady Ellen; this phantom frightened her at first simply by its unearthly aspect and by its voice such as one hears in a nightmare; but she might have overcome this painful sensation but for the dread that she now felt of the sort of divination with which the old man seemed endowed.
Was he going to denounce her? Would he perceive the insignificant wound inflicted on Sir Newington and reveal to him its mortal gravity, and would the Duke order the arrest of the poisoner, or else strangle her himself? She recalled the extraordinary lucidity of Miss Hobart, distinguishing, in her hasheesh crisis, words uttered a long distance off, and she feared that, with a double sight like that of the silly young girl and with his ear also sharpened, he might become a terrible accusing witness against her.
The flush which had returned for an instant to her face vanished, and Treor, who observed every indication of emotion on the part of the Duchess, pointed out this phenomenon to Newington.
“See! the roses of the cheeks are shedding their leaves,” cried he; “look at the whiteness of the shrouds which are spread out where the perfumed petals flourished... and note how her engaging smile is transformed into an atrocious grimace!”
“It is enough, is it not, my Lady?” asked the Duke.
She tried to conquer her increasing embarrassment and insist that this exhibition, on the contrary, interested her; but prudence suddenly bade her to cease to restrain her fear.
“And you yourself,” said the old man, addressing the Duke, “your red face, like the setting sun, is growing pale, and the twilight of the tomb dulls your skin, while the hand of death is already pulling at the corner of your lip.”
Very plainly these were the first symptoms of the poison introduced into his flesh, and they commanded the retreat of Lady Newington, under pain of being obliged to help the Duke, to call for the assistance of the servants and the physicians,— that is, to surround the victim, in his death-struggle, with embarrassing and perhaps dangerous witnesses.
So to the remark of her husband the Duchess replied that, in truth, the spectacle at last began to weary her; that she desired music, not the farce of lugubrious ravings, and Newington ordered the old man to hush, turn his heels, or play.
“Let your violin sing!”
“A De Profundis?” asked Treor: “that is the piece for the occasion;” and, in spite of the opposition and command of Newington, he intoned with his sepulchral voice the funeral psalm and accompanied it with the sinister chorus of his instrument.
A terrifying prelude, which depicted with a gloomy completeness the death of a fearful sinner, burdened with iniquities. Then sighs of relief, joyous whispered sounds, rose from under his bow to describe the contentment experienced by the whole mass of terrorized, tyrannized wretches on account of this death.
A heart-rending, penitent wail succeeded this stifled joy of the oppressed,— the lamentable, despairing cry of a soul writhing in the clutches of Satan, and comprehending in its refined and enlarged intelligence the extent and unutterable horror of the tortures reserved for it and bearing no proportion to the crimes covered with which it is descending into hell.
He improvised with a master hand, bending over the violin which he warmed with his breath; one would have said that he was talking to it, swaying with it in such contortions that it seemed as if his neck and shoulders would be dislocated, and designing with his bow in space a hypnotizing series of lightning flashes.
The instrument wept, moaned, hurrahed, roared, and prayed by turns. All the sufferings, all the anguish, all the horrors experienced by the sinner descended into the cycles of chastisement, he expressed with languor, with remarkable truthfulness and power, and from the narrow structure of frail wood seemed to escape, roll into the air, and fly far away the legions of the damned, dishevelled, convulsed, writhing in spasms, for eternity.
Ellen was fascinated by the sight, but, frightened at the same time, she wished herself away, and, with a strong effort of her will, she turned towards the door; the musician barred the way with his bow.
She must dance, and Newington with her, the dance of the dead, in the whirlwind of spirits summoned but fleeing: to her, death personified and incarnate, it belonged to set the example.
“Embrace her form with your enamored arms,” ordered Treor; “you need not fear her contact any longer. Press her, since she charms you; kiss her marble flesh. I will lead you, with ravishing airs, up to the mouth of your pit.”
Then, speaking to the Duchess and the Duke successively, he said:
“Let him clasp you! Hug her tightly, stifle her. Then she will kill nobody else.”
And as the terrified Lady elbowed him to pass, he tried to seize her by her skirt; she struggled and at last disappeared, crying to Newington to hold the madman who was pursuing her.
But the attempt to run after her exhausted the old man, and, re-entering the room breathless, his frenzy was calmed for a second, and a quieter song, an innocent lullaby, replaced the demoniacal phrases on the lips of this mad victim of hasheesh!
Moving his head to and fro, he gave the lines placidly and paternally, speaking rather than singing them to the Duke, who suddenly exclaimed in tones of alarm:
“But what is the matter with me? What does this strange chill in my limbs mean?... while, on the contrary, my skin is burning... what? my hand is swelling, my wrist and arm too, and my pulse beats immoderately as in a fever.”
“Hush!” said the old man, “the child is asleep; this is the hour.”
And again he began his tranquil song.
But Newington paid no heed.
“A numbness of ill omen,” exclaimed he, “is creeping over my whole body.”
“Yes, the body,” sneered the hallucinated man, “for the devil long ago got the soul.”
“It is this cut,” said the Duke, “a poisoned weapon, surely;” and, lifting from the floor the dagger which the Duchess had purposely let fall, he examined it, while Treor, in the constantly changing features of the Englishman, followed the progress of the poison with a burning satisfaction, approving gestures, and a mimicry of triumph.
“Ah! the face grows purple again and is swelling; the eyes are bloodshot and starting from their sockets. Ah! ah! he is the image of those whom he has hanged, except that his tongue is not yet thrust out.”
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.
In Form a Reply, In Reality a Surrender.
Appreciating the necessity of at least seeming to meet the indisputable fact which I opposed to its championship of government postal monopoly, the Winsted “Press” presents the following ghost of an answer, which may be as convincing to the victims of political superstition as most materializations are to the victims of religious superstition, but which, like those materializations, is so imperceptible to the touch of the hard-headed investigator that, when he puts his hand upon it, he does not find it there.
The single instance of Wells, Fargo & Co., cited by B. R. Tucker to prove the advantage of private enterprise as a mail carrier, needs fuller explanation of correlated circumstances to show its true significance. As stated by Mr. Tucker, this company half a dozen years ago did a large business carrying letters through the Pacific States and Territories to distant and sparsely populated places for five cents per letter, paying more than three to the government in compliance with postal law and getting less than two for the trouble, and, though it cost the senders more, the service was enough better than government’s to secure the greater part of the business.
This restatement of my statement is fair enough, except that it but dimly conveys the idea that Wells, Fargo & Co. were carrying, not only to distant and sparsely populated places, but to places thickly settled and easy of access, and were beating the government there also,— a fact of no little importance.
Several facts may explain this: 1, undeveloped government service in a new country, distant from the seat of government.
Here the ghost appears, all form and no substance. John Jones is a better messenger than John Smith, declares the Winsted Press because Jones can run over stony ground while Smith cannot. Indeed! I answer; why, then, did Smith outrun Jones the other day in going from San Francisco to Wayback? Oh! that may be explained, the Press rejoins, by the fact that the ground was stony. The Press had complained against the Anarchistic theory of free competition in postal service that private enterprise would not reach remote points, while government does reach them. I proved by facts that private enterprise was more successful than government in reaching remote points. What sense, then, is there in answering that these points are distant from the government’s headquarters and that it had not developed its service? The whole point lies in the fact that private enterprise was the first to develop its service and the most successful in maintaining it at a high degree of efficiency.
2, government competition which kept Wells & Fargo from charging monopoly prices.
If the object of a government postal service is to keep private enterprise from charging high prices, no more striking illustration of the stupid way in which government works to achieve its objects could be cited than its imposition of a tax of two (then three) cents a letter upon private postal companies. It is obvious that this tax was all that kept Wells, Fargo & Co. from reducing their letter-rate to three or even two cents, in which case the government probably would have lost the remnant of business which it still commanded. This is guarding against monopoly prices with a vengeance! The competitor, whether government or individual, who must tax his rival in order to live is no competitor at all, but a monopolist himself. It is not government competition that Anarchists are fighting, but government monopoly. It should be added, however, that, pending the transformation of governments into voluntary associations, even government competition is unfair, because an association supported by compulsory taxation could always, if it chose, carry the mails at less than cost and tax the deficit out of the people.
3, other paying business which brought the company into contact with remote districts and warranted greater safeguards to conveyance than government then offered to its mail carriers.
Exactly. What does it prove? Why, that postal service and express service can be most advantageously run in conjunction, and that private enterprise was the first to find it out. This is one of the arguments which the Anarchists use.
4, a difference of two cents was not appreciated in a country where pennies were unknown.
Here the phantom attains the last degree of attenuation. If Mr. Pinney will call at the Winsted post-office, his postmaster will tell him—what common sense ought to have taught him—that of all the stamps used not over five per cent. are purchased singly, the rest being taken two, three, five, ten, a hundred, a thousand at a time. Californians are said to be very reckless in the matter of petty expenditures, but I doubt if any large portion of them would carry their prodigality so far as to pay five dollars a hundred for stamps when they could get them at three dollars a hundred on the next corner.
These conditions do not exist elsewhere in this country at present. Therefore the illustration proves nothing.
Proves nothing! Does it not prove that private enterprise outstripped the government under the conditions that then and there existed, which were difficult enough for both, but extraordinarily embarrassing for the former?
We know that private enterprise does not afford express facilities to sparsely settled districts throughout the country.
I know nothing of the kind. The express companies cover practically the whole country. They charge high rates to points difficult of access; but this is only just. The government postal rates, on the contrary, are unjust. It certainly is not fair that my neighbor, who sends a hundred letters to New York every year, should have to pay two cents each on them, though the cost of carriage is but one cent, simply because the government spends a dollar in carrying for me one letter a year to Wayback, for which I also pay two cents. It may be said, however, that where each individual charge is so small, a schedule of rates would cause more trouble and expense than saving; in other words, that to keep books would be poor economy. Very likely; and in that case no one would find it out sooner than the private mail companies. This, however, is not the case in the express business, where parcels of all sizes and weights are carried.
No more would it mail facilities. A remarkable exception only proves the rule. But, if private enterprise can and will do so much, why doesn’t it do it now? The law stands no more in the way of Adams Express than it did in the way of the Wells & Fargo express.
This reminds me of the question with which Mr. Pinney closed his discussion with me regarding free money. He desired to know why the Anarchists did not start a free money system, saying that they ought to be shrewd enough to devise some way of evading the law. As if any competing business could be expected to succeed if it had to spend a fortune in contesting lawsuits or in paying a heavy tax to which its rival was not subject! So handicapped, it could not possibly succeed unless its work was of such a nature as to admit the widest range of variation in point of excellence. This was the case in the competition between Wells, Fargo & Co. and the government. The territory covered was so ill-adapted to postal facilities that it afforded a wide margin for the display of superiority, and Wells, Fargo & Co. took advantage of this to such an extent that they beat the government in spite of their handicap. But in the territory covered by Adams Express it is essentially different. There the postal service is so simple a matter that the possible margin of superiority would not warrant an extra charge of even one cent a letter. But I am told that Adams Express would be only too glad of the chance to carry letters at one cent each, if there were no tax to be paid on the business. If the governmentalists think that the United States can beat Adams Express, why do they not dare to place the two on equal terms? That is a fair question. But when a man’s hands are tied, to ask him why he doesn’t fight is a coward’s question.
“The Final Owner of All.”
While yet — at least to all outward appearance — in full enjoyment of perfect health and unclouded reason, the late universally lamented “John Swinton’s Paper” elaborated in a masterly written article the idea that the government is the final owner of us all. Not only is it the absolute owner of our possessions, our labor but of our physical bodies as well. Private property, even in lives, does not exist outside of the domain of mythology. The Government is the master, we are the slaves. To say nothing of appropriating the fruits of our labor, of demanding our service, of regulating our affairs, or of controlling our judgment, all of which are unquestionably among the rights involved in governmental sovereignty, even “though thou” — O final owner of us all! — “slay us, we will trust in thee” and loudly, with thy generous permission, sing thy praises. To view this in any other light than as a satire on the intemperate and extremely extravagant claims of the State fanatics was clearly impossible, for it would be an insult to a man of Mr. Swinton’s intelligence to suppose him capable of entertaining such an opinion; and so, not until the last number of “John Swinton’s Paper” was issued, did I begin to have serious doubts as to the meaning of his sentences. But, as it would be carrying the joke too far to profess earnest belief in the “solid truths” contained in those postulates, I am forced to conclude that Mr. Swinton really holds the antiquated doctrine that the people have no rights which the government is bound to respect. To maintain consistency, and in order to prop up that position with any show of logic, the ancient superstition of the divine origin of government must be revived. Else, if “governments are instituted among men” for purposes of protection and defence, how can they become the final owners of the originally free individuals?
Besides, so far as this blessed republic is concerned, which, as Mr. Swinton assures us, enjoys a government of the people, for the people, and by the people, what sense is there in saying that the government — that is, the people — is the final owner of all the people? If I, a private citizen, own myself, and every other citizen, individually, owns himself, then, if we, in the aggregate, are really the government, we, of course, own ourselves. Obviously, it was not this commonplace which Mr. Swinton insisted upon. Was the idea, then, that each citizen becomes, the moment he consents (for this government is theoretically based on consent) to be part of the government, the property of the rest of the citizens? But in that case each citizen is at the same time both master and slave, owner of others and property owned by others; and the formula should read: The owner and the property of all.
Moreover, even proceeding on the theory that the people do not themselves constitute the government, but are merely electors and creators of the same, Mr. Swinton, who proudly and grandiloquently discourses upon Jeffersonian democracy, would find it difficult to bring his statement into harmony with our alleged natural right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No one who is not completely his own master can be said to have these rights; and, if the government is the final owner of all, no rights exist, but only privileges and favors conferred by the government, which it is as free to withhold, or revoke, as it is to bestow.
It appears strange to have to argue this question at this late day with intelligent persons, Americans, Jeffersonian democrats, believers in natural rights and in government by consent. Yet so strong is the reign of political superstition still that one needs to be very careful in attacking it. Who knows but that our friend, John Swinton, were I to inform him of the existence of a man named Spencer who unequivocally declares that the individual has a right to totally ignore the State, and that this doctrine meets with the approval of alarmingly great numbers of people, would share the tragic fate of that Parisian prototype of his who laughed himself to death on being told that there was no king in Venice?
A certain class of so-called Labor papers are vociferously loud in their denunciation of capital, and depict it to their readers as the legitimate heir and successor of the Arch Fiend himself, who, by general religious consent, seems to have retired from active business. It may surprise some of our economic tyros to hear us, on the contrary, proclaim that capital has been the saviour of man. That but for it the “able editor” who denounces it might be pursuing some useful avocation in life with a brass collar riveted around his neck bearing his master’s name.
The introduction of capital into industry made slave labor unprofitable by giving a greater impetus to production and calling into active exercise those faculties of man which fear had never been able to evoke. It has brought about that marvellous change in the world whereby the military régime has been supplanted by an industrial one, wherein man’s activities find freer and higher scope in a warfare upon nature rather than upon his fellow-man.
Under any régime capital and labor must be supplementary to each other, though it is true that under present restrictive conditions the one implies the other a creditor implies a debtor. But under the most perfect form of society, while human need exists, creditors and debtors will remain. The evil does not lie in their existence, but in the undue advantage given whereby one is privileged. Privilege implies restriction, as one end of a stick necessitates the other. So with capital and labor; to abolish one is to wipe out the other, as much so as would be an attempt to annihilate one end of a stick.
What we justly complain of is the special privilege bestowed upon the one that enables it to hold the other subservient to its demands. The remedy for this does not lie in new restrictions, still further legalization through the intermeddling of ignorant officials, but in the wiping out of privileges already usurped. A shirt or a coat in my trunk is wealth, but when I put it on, put it to use, it becomes in one sense capital, though unproductive capital. If I buy or make a spade, that is productive capital, and it rightly and justly belongs to me, is my private property. If I were forbidden to make or buy a spade, but compelled to hire one at such rates as spade makers or dealers saw fit to enact, my redress would not lie in seeking to destroy all spades, but in crushing the odious monopoly that denies me the individual use of capital as represented in the spade. To demand that the government alone shall make spades would be no extension of my freedom. I am as capable of determining what kind and style of spade I desire as a board of national directors, and under a system of free exchange I could be suited far cheaper than by a process of such unnecessary expensive circumlocution.
We leave our Greenback friends and their Communistic allies to draw the moral, if their National Soup House theory has not rendered them so obtuse that to “call a spade a spade” is to them the end of the argument rather than an apt illustration. Then, if any one desired to use my capital in the absence of his own, I, being but one of millions possessing similar capital, could exact no exorbitant toll, for, if I did, he would go elsewhere or call into activity his own faculties and learn to rely upon his own exertions, instead of remaining in that state of slothful mediocrity that the National Soup House theory would inevitably tend to produce.
Instead of crying with Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death!” too many of our contemporaries prefer the death which their theories would introduce into social life; without professing to be friends of privilege, they invariably denounce the consistent enemies of privilege in all its forms. Without assuming the task of injecting an idea into the craniums of the aforesaid “able editors,” we would call their attention to the fact that Anarchy is the abolition of legalized privilege, the realization of equal opportunities. Will they be kind enough to rein in their winged Pegasus long enough to descend from cloud-land to terra firma and inform us what peculiar form of privilege they desire to reserve from our sacrilegious and iconoclastic hands? In such an event a hushed and expectant throng of Anarchists will even promise to read their effusions, trusting that they will be less flatulent than usual.
Dyer D. Lum.
Jefferson Davis’s letter opposing prohibition had so much influence in saving Texas from that curse at the election last month that the Winsted “Press” says: “If Jefferson Davis will take the field against our country’s enemies, the prohibitionists, we will forgive him for having once taken the field against our country’s friends, the abolitionists.” Jefferson Davis took the field, not against the abolitionists, but against the Republican party, and in doing so he was serving liberty as truly as when he assailed prohibition the other day. Prohibition and Republicanism are feathers plucked from the same bird,— State Socialism.
Kellyism and Tak Kakle.
I do not wish to interfere with the athletae who are, or have been, wrestling in Liberty’s arena over the questions of morality and Egoism. In truth, I am afraid to. I am no scholar; I have never read Stirner, and I know but little of Proudhon. Therefore, if I can but understand these men, let alone withstanding them, I shall do well.
But it may be a matter of curious interest to them, as well as to others, to review the possibly crude speculations of one who has looked into these questions with the directness of an independent mind, having but little aid from the voice or pen of his fellows. During the solitary musings of a rural and pioneer life,— in boyhood as I roamed the forests and mountains of the Middle States; in after years as I reposed ’neath the flashing stars of the arid, wind-swept prairies, or trod the mountain crags and gorges of Tennessee, or hunted in the moss-draped woods of the Oclawaha,— I have pondered on all these matters, and sometimes have reached conclusions in my own way that seemed satisfactory to me.
It appears to me, then, that this universe is but a vast aggregate of individuals; of individuals simple and primary, and of individuals complex, secondary, tertiary, etc., formed by the aggregation of primary individuals or of individuals of a lesser degree of complexity. Some of these individuals of a high degree of complexity are true individuals, concrete, so united that the lesser organisms included cannot exist apart from the main organism; while others are imperfect, discrete, the included organisms existing fairly well, quite as well, or better, apart than united. In the former class are included many of the higher forms of vegetable and animal life, including man, and in the latter are included many lower forms of vegetable and animal life (quack-grass, tapeworms, etc.) and most societary organisms, governments, nations, churches, armies, etc.
I am (at least in the ordinary, theological sense) atheist. I do not believe in any Supreme God, or Aggregate Intelligence, creatively antecedent to, or subsequently evolved from, the universe, supervising it. I see no use for such a power except at home; for outside of the universe there is nothing, therefore relations are impossible. And at home, in the universe, I see no evidence of such a power. Each individual takes care of itself as best it may. I see no evidence of the sweep of a broad comprehensive plan and the workings of an almighty hand. Everywhere in Nature I behold separate, finite, imperfect intelligences; toiling and stumbling along unknown paths, perhaps right, perhaps wrong, perhaps to success, perhaps to destruction. Everywhere I behold the monuments of folly, failure, ignorance, ruin. Seeing, then, no sign of a God, nor any use for one, if each individual could be perfectly intelligent, I infer Egoism as the Great Fact in Nature. Self-care, self-support, is the distinguishing mark of a complete individual, and intelligence is the agent for accomplishing this; and I furthermore assume that intelligence is the universal force, broken up and distributed among every form of matter and consequently possessed in some form and degree by everything. It is chemical force in the elements; it is reason in man; and it is manifested in every grade and shade between. Self-good, then, is the universal desire, and, in the attempt to gratify this desire, the individuals sometimes cooperate with, sometimes battle with, one another, and sometimes, perhaps oftener, do both at the same time. Egoism, therefore, appears to me the one vital thread, the common point of sympathy, the great moving cause of the universe, and the simple explanation of all the harmonies and discords that make up all its phenomena.
That is good or right to each one which is beneficial to that one; and that is evil or wrong which is to that one harmful. Agreement as to what is good there is none. In fact, the very existence of one usually depends upon the injury of others. Absolute good is, therefore, impossible, and war is inevitable.
Perfect peace, harmony, and justice among all the differing individuals is an absurdly utopian dream. The most that can be hoped for is that individuals of a certain class or species will make common cause against those whose destruction benefits them, or whose differing development makes harmony between them impossible, as wolves band together against sheep and pursuing dogs.
Driven by Egoism and a constantly improving intelligence, the human species has thus united against all non-human individuals, and has reaped the greatest benefits yet obtained from so doing. But, unfortunately, its intelligence, or rather the intelligence of its individuals, has not so far evoluted sufficiently to perceive that the cooperation between these individuals should be made complete, and that all their battles should be with non-human Nature - that the Egoistic and continuous civil war now raging between them should cease, and give place to a still more Egoistic and perpetual peace. And the chief question between the moralists and the avowed Egoists is whether this contest between individuals should, or should not, go on.
But the moralists usually obscure the issue by claiming that right is something aside from, or superior to, personal interests, and that Egoism is the cause of all evil. This seems to me absurd; for what argument under heaven (that is to say, short of theological assumption) can a man bring to me to keep me from injuring him, except to show me that my doing so injures more than it benefits myself. Because that only is right to me which benefits me, I find in Egoism the basis of all scientific morality. But if the moralists, through too much tampering with theology, have fallen into this error, they have clearly perceived many higher relations of right and self-benefit which were ignored or denied by their opponents.
Egoists have ever been too ready to take coarse and, as the phrase is, “materialistic” views of what constituted self-benefit, reducing everything to dollars and cents, or judging everything by the standard of the less refined pleasures. Therefore their self-wisdom has continually degraded into mere selfishness. But the moralists have always been appreciative of the associative virtues, and Justice, or the harmony of the hominidae, has always been their ideal. But their superstition and dogmatism weakened all their precepts. Not till the advent of the Anarchists, with their simple yet sublime doctrine of equal liberty, was it shown how Justice could be drawn from the clouds and made to dwell among men. Therefore I deem the Anarchists the most practical of moralists and the true reconcilers of Altruism and Egoism. Ignorance, partial knowledge, is the great cause of human wrong-doing, and almost all vice and crime and false moral teaching come from the startling fact — which I never knew a moralist to comment upon — that almost everything that ultimately injures and blights appears at the beginning, temporarily, and in a narrow circle, to be a benefit, and does actually yield pleasure. If I drink now, I get pleasure; but afterward comes disgust, debasement. If I gamble, I enjoy the risk; but in the end the risk ruins me. If I lie to my neighbor, it helps me today; but tomorrow he finds it out, and my loss in credit, etc., is immense. I pick his pocket, and for a time have wealth; but with detection come pain, and shame, and pecuniary loss. And, even if I escape these “material” consequences, there are other injuries, to the spiritual and mental nature, almost impossible to describe, but not less real, and bringing most surely a black harvest of unhappiness. All these things are the fruits of short-sighted, narrow-minded Egoism. Where the mind is broad enough to compare the smallness of the present gain with the magnitude of the future evil, there will be no more dissipation, lying, stealing, invasion of any kind. The hypocrite is a man who fails to perceive the truth of this, while professing to, and therefore we instinctively dread and hate him as an ambushed foe, a dangerous, treacherous fool. The selfish man is a fool of the same kidney, but less sly, not perceiving that his meanness, greed, and indifference are anti-Egoistic, and that an injury to his fellow, if only a sin of omission, is a tenfold injury to himself, by ligating the arteries that convey to him the rich social life-blood of reciprocal love, hearty good-fellowship, willing cooperation, and mutual defence.
We need a term antithetical to selfishness to describe the mental attitude of the enlightened Egoist, who clearly perceives the folly of selfishness, the self-wisdom of generosity and justice, who perceives that all crime is vice.
How would Autoism serve?
The fool hath said in his heart (ditto with his mouth): “My fellow’s welfare is not my own.”
J. Wm. Lloyd.
Additions to the Saints’ Calendar.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Just as I am, without one plea,
I come, Mr. Editor, to thee.
Having brought in so skilfully this beautiful quotation, I must confess, however, that my intention is not really to come to you, but rather to “go for” that Miss Kelly, you know.
Verily, “without this being the age of ‘preternatural suspicion,’” one might really be led to think that the lady had been “hired by the enemy,” not indeed to bring disgrace upon the cause of Agnosticism and Anarchism, or any cause. Of that Our Lady is entirely incapable. But all the same, hired by the “enemy” whom Tak Kak seems to have vanquished in his last article (in 105). Mr. Kelly might have thought that “a woman’s tears” might avail where his argument did not. A woman’s tears to bemoan the decline and fall of Altruism.
I once listened in Boston to a lecture delivered by a lady of great ability and learning. She began her discourse by telling the audience that there was a miraculous way by which people can become “respectable.” So the Americans, for instance, used to consider the Germans as unrespectable, but by some miraculous process the latter became respectable, and they in turn looked down upon the Irishman as a very unrespectable piece of humanity. In a few years, however, the Irishman became wonderfully respectable, so much so that he considered it beneath his dignity to be in the same country with Italians, Poles, and Bohemians.
But such has always been the case. The Lutherans were hooted down by the Catholics, who considered them heretics, Anti-Christs, etc.; so the Lutherans had to associate with all classes of people, with the low and the lowly. But no sooner had they obtained a foothold and felt a little sure in their position than they also got assurance and began to call those who differed from them all sorts of “names.” The Baptists (Anabaptists they were called then), who, by the way, were the first Anarchists, were proscribed by the Lutherans. Soon, however, the Baptists got some strength and became wonderfully respectable, and today they boast of magnificent chinches, with velvet-cushioned pews and high-salaried pastors. The Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Congregationalists, and the Unitarians all passed through the same “course of events.” The Ethical Culture Societies furnish grand examples of the same kind. And now the Labor Party (?) has undergone a similar process. Until last Fall they did not “feel their strength.” Nobody cared much even to ridicule them, and the “great reformer,” “the true friend of the working-man,” “the greatest philosopher the world has ever seen,” Henry George, was very glad indeed to be called a Socialist, an Anarchist, and God knows what else. For the Socialists, and some would-be Anarchists, swelled his ranks, so that his legions numbered six myriads and eight thousands. But lo! after a little, “Israel waxed fat and began to kick.” The Anti-Poverty Society prospered well, and St. George and his prophet McGlynn filled the Academy of Music to overflowing (all the seats except the gallery being sold, besides the “customary collection”). So it was about time for these “great reformers” to become “respectable.” And, by George! they did become so. Wonderful metamorphosis this! We want no Socialists, no Anarchists, etc., exclaims the Prophet. Down with Socialists and Anarchists! expel them from your midst! dictates the Saint.
Thus the world moves on. The harlot enters a cloister and is counted a Saint in the Calendar! And the cancer of “respectability” spreads further and still further, and requires victims even from the Anarchist ranks. The able man and the noble maiden of Hoboken have fallen a prey to it, and ere long another St. John and another St. Gertrude shall be added in the Saints’ Calendar. Great and wonderful, indeed, is the mystery of respectability! Let us hasten to worship at her shrine, lest we be excommunicated, and — oh, how shocking! — denied even a Christian burial!
But seriously! Do Mr. Kelly and Miss Kelly really suppose they believe in anything but Egoism, or, whatever their belief or “spook,” are they prepared to prove that they act by any other motive than Egoism? I think not. The Altruist denies himself, because he finds more pleasure in fulfilling his “duty” by sacrificing his own interests for the interests of others. In other words, he attends to his own interests best by attending to other people’s interests. Whether it is done out of a hope of securing long and everlasting happiness in a world to come, or because of Kant’s “categorical imperative,” or even out of mere weakness, because they cannot see others suffer, in either of these cases the result as well as the object in view is a personal satisfaction, an aspiration to, and an achievement of, a real or an imaginary happiness. The martyr prefers to have his body burned to charcoal to recanting his faith. He loves his Deity better than his body or earthly possessions. He expects to derive or deems that he derives more satisfaction and happiness from his God here or in the “future life” than he ever could hope, according to his views, to derive from his own powers and possessions. One will drink himself to death. The other would rather die than take a drop of liquor. We have neither commendation nor condemnation for either. Both follow their choice. Both satisfy a desire.
I do not know who Tak Kak is. Amiable as he may be, I have no particular desire to know him by name. I read his arguments, and they suit me. They please me because, like Mr. Yarros, I learned to think on this subject in harmony with Tak Kak before I knew that there was a writer over such a signature, and before I knew one word of the language in which he writes. Whether or not Tak Kak’s life is in full accord with his arguments on Egoism is of little or no consequence to me. My own life is full of inconsistencies, and in a sense I am rather proud of it than otherwise. To be perfectly consistent means to be in a state of stagnation, or crystallization, if you will. Unless one be utterly insusceptible to the changes going on round about him continually in social, political, and religious life; unless he be entirely incapable of thought, reflection, and investigation,— he must change his opinions sometime; he must then change his friends, his likings, his desires, his enjoyments, his whole life; in fine, he must be inconsistent! If he had been god-ridden before, he will throw off his God, will cast his religious beliefs to the four winds, will love his yesterday’s enemies, will abhor the society of the saints, and will sup with the sinners. The publican will be his friend, though the Priest and the Pharisee will persecute him for so doing. He will scorn the sneer of the Sadducees and the Scribes alike, because their society has ceased to afford any pleasure to his inner self, He is inconsistent simply because he is true to himself. This is, in my humble opinion, true manhood, true selfhood, true Individualism.
New York, August 27, 1887.
[While appreciating Mr. Weyler’s sense of the narrowness which Mr. Kelly and Miss Kelly have shown in their attitude towards the Egoists, as well as his vivacious characterization of the same, I cannot share his opinion that they have been governed by any desire for respectability. Whatever they may lack, they certainly do not lack independence, courage, or honesty. Nor do they lack brains. I have my own theory of their peculiar course, but see no reason for making it public. I agree with Mr. Weyler that this course tends to land them in respectability, but this fact seems to me purely incidental. — Editor Liberty.]
State Aid to Science. *
If what I say to you today should seem to you out of place, you must blame the chairman of your executive committee and not me; for, when she asked me to contribute something for this meeting, she assured me that anything which affected the relation of medical women to society, anything which related to the advancement of science, was a proper subject of discussion at the annual meeting of the Alumnae Association.
Herbert Spencer closes the second volume of his “Principles of Sociology” with these words:
The acceptance which guides conduct will always be of such theories, no matter how logically indefensible, as are consistent with the average modes of action, public and private. All that can be done, by diffusing a doctrine much in advance of the time, is to facilitate the action of forces tending to cause advance. The forces themselves can be but in small degrees increased, but something may be done by preventing misdirection of them. Of the sentiment at any time enlisted on behalf of a higher social state there is always some (and at the present time a great deal) which, having the broad, vague form of sympathy with the masses, spends itself in efforts for their relief by multiplication of political agencies of one or other kind. Led by the hope of immediate beneficial results, those swayed by this sympathy are unconscious that they are helping further to elaborate a social organization at variance with that required for a higher form of social life, and are by so doing increasing the obstacles to attainment of that higher form. On a portion of such the foregoing chapters may have some effect by leading them to consider whether the arrangements they are advocating involve increase of that public regulation characterizing the militant type, or whether they tend to produce that greater individuality and more extended voluntary cooperation characterizing the industrial type. To deter here and there one from doing mischief by imprudent zeal is the chief proximate effect to be hoped for.
In these times of ours, when all classes in society, from the Bowery Socialists to the highest professors of science, seem to vie with one another in demanding State interference, State protection, and State regulation, when the ideal State to the workingman is that proposed by the authoritarian Marx, or the scarcely less authoritarian George, and the ideal State to the scientist is the Germany of today, where the scientists are under the government’s special protection, it would seem idle to hope that the voices of those who prize liberty above an things, who would fain call attention to the false direction in which it is desired to make the world move, should be other than “voices crying in the wilderness.” But, nevertheless, it is not by accident that we who hold the ideas that what is necessary to progress is not the increase, but the decrease, of governmental interference have come to be possessed of these ideas. We, too, are “heirs of all the ages,” and it is our duty to that society of which we form a part to give our reasons for the “faith that is in us.”
My endeavor today will be to prove to you two propositions: first, that progress in medical or any other science is lessened, and ultimately destroyed, by State interference; and, secondly, that even if, through State aid, progress in science could be promoted, the promotion would be at too great an expense, at the expense of the best interests of the race. That I shall succeed in convincing you of the truth of these propositions is too much to hope for, but at least I shall cause you to re-examine the grounds for the contrary opinions that you entertain, and for this you should thank me, as it is always important that the position of devil’s advocate should be well filled.
It seems strange that it should become necessary to urge upon Americans, with their country’s traditions, that the first condition necessary to mental and moral growth is freedom. It seems strange in these times,— when all the unconscious movements of society are towards the diminution of restraint, whether it be that of men over women, of parents and teachers over children, of keepers over criminals and the insane; when it is being unconsciously felt and acted upon, on all sides, that responsibility is the parent of morality,— that all the conscious efforts of individuals and groups should be towards the increase of restraint.
A knowledge of the fact that all the ideas prevalent at a given time in a given society must have a certain congruity should make us very careful in accepting ideas, especially as regards politics, from such a despotic country as Germany, instead of receiving them with open arms as containing all the wisdom in the world, which now seems to be the fashion. As Spencer pointed out some time since, the reformers of Germany, while seeking a destruction of the old order, are really but rebuilding the old machine under a new name. They are so accustomed to seeing every thing done by the State that they can form no conception of its being done in any other way. All they propose is a State in which the people (that is, a majority of the people) shall hold the places now held by the usurping few. That English-speaking workmen should seek to wholly replace themselves under the yoke of a tyranny from which they have taken ages to partially escape, is only to be explained by the vagueness of the forms in which this paradise is usually pictured, and by that lack of power of bringing before the mind’s eye word-painted pictures.
Again, in Germany – and it is that with which we are more nearly concerned today – it is said that scientific men under the protection of the government do better work than other men who are not under the protection of their governments. That this apparently flourishing condition of science under the patronage of the German government is no more real than was the condition of literature under Louis XIV., and that it cannot continue, I think a little examination will enable us to see. As Leslie Stephen has demonstrated, to suppress one truth is to suppress all truth, for truth is a coherent whole. You may by force suppress a falsehood, and prevent its ever again rising to the surface; but, when you attempt to suppress a truth, you can only do so by suppressing all truth, for, with investigation untrammelled, some one else is bound in time to come to the same point again. Do you think that a country, one of whose most distinguished professors, Virchow, is afraid of giving voice to the doctrine of evolution, because he sees that it inevitably leads to Socialism (and Socialism the government has decided is wrong, and must be crushed out), is in the way of long maintaining its supremacy as a scientific light, when the question which its scientific men are called upon to decide is not what is true, but what the government will allow to be said? I say nothing for or against the doctrine of evolution; I say nothing for or against its leading to Socialism; but I do say that the society whose scientific men owe devotion, not to truth, but to the Hohenzollerns, is not in a progressive state. As Buckle has shown, the patronage of Louis XIV. killed French literature. Not a single man rose to European fame under his patronage, and those whose fame was the cause of their obtaining the monarch’s favor sank under its baneful influence to mere mediocrity.
It seems to be generally forgotten by those who favor State aid to science that aid so given is not and cannot be aid to science, but to particular doctrines or dogmas, and that, where this aid is given, it requires almost a revolution to introduce a new idea. With the ordinary conservatism of mankind, every new idea which comes forward meets with sufficient questioning as to its truth, utility, etc.; but, when we have added to this natural conservatism, which is sufficient to protect society against the introduction of new error, the whole force of an army of paid officials whose interest it is to resist any idea which would deprive, or tend to deprive, them of their salaries, you will readily see that, of the two forces which tend to keep society in equilibrium, the conservative and the progressive, the conservative will be very much strengthened at the expense of the progressive, and that the society is doomed to decay. Of the tendency which State-aided institutions have shown up to the present to resist progress, excellent evidence is furnished by one, at least, of those very men, Huxley, who now clamors so loudly for State aid to science. When we consider that we have now reached but the very outposts of science; that all our energies are required for storming its citadel; that human nature, if placed in the same conditions, is apt to be very much the same; that those persons who have the power and the positions will endeavor to maintain them,— do you think it wise to put into the hands of any set of men the power of staying our onward movements? That which we feel pretty sure of being true today may contain, and in all probability does contain, a great deal of error, and it is our duty to truth to cultivate the spirit which questions all things, which spirit would be destroyed by our having high-priests of science. Hear Huxley in testimony thereof in his article on the “Scientific Aspects of Positivism”:
All the great steps in the advancement of science have been made just by those men who have not hesitated to doubt the ‘principles established in the science by competent persons,’ and the great teaching of science, the great use of it as an instrument of mental discipline, is its constant inculcation of the maxim that the sole ground on which any statement has a right to be believed is the impossibility of refuting it.
Is the State, then, to reward all those who oppose a statement as well as all those who support it, or is it only to reward certain of the questioners, and, if so, which, and who is to decide what statements have not been refuted? Are some persons to be aided in bringing their opinions, with their reasons for holding them, before the world, and others to be denied this privilege? Are the scientific men to be placed in power so different in nature from all those who have preceded them that they will be willing to cede the places and the salaries to those who show more reason than they? Here is Huxley’s testimony in regard to the manner in which the State-aided classical schools promoted the introduction of physical science into those schools:
“From the time that the first suggestion to introduce physical science was timidly whispered until now, the advocates of scientific education have met with opposition of two kinds. On the one hand they have been pooh-poohed by the men of business, who pride themselves on being the representatives of practicality; while on the other hand they have been excommunicated by the classical scholars, in their capacity of Levites in charge of the arts of culture and monopolists of liberal education. – Science and Culture.
And again, the State, or the State-aided institutions have never been able, even with the most Chinese system of civil-service examinations, to sift the worthy from the unworthy with half the efficiency which private individuals or corporations have done. But let us hear Huxley upon this subject:
Great schemes for the endowment of research have been proposed. It has been suggested that laboratories for all branches of physical science, provided with every apparatus needed by the investigator, shall be established by the State; and shall be accessible under due conditions and regulations to all properly qualified persons. I see no objection to the principle of such a proposal. If it be legitimate to spend great sums of money upon public collections of painting and sculpture, in aid of the man of letters, or the artist, or for the mere sake of affording pleasure to the general public, I apprehend that it cannot be illegitimate to do as much for the promotion of scientific investigation. To take the lowest ground as a mere investment of money the latter is likely to be much more immediately profitable. To my mind the difficulty in the way of such a scheme is not theoretical, but practical. Given the laboratories, how are the investigators to be maintained? What career is open to those who have been encouraged to leave bread-winning pursuits? If they are to be provided for by endowment, we come back to the College Fellowship System, the results of which for literature have not been so brilliant that one would wish to see it extended to science, unless some much better securities than at present exist can be taken that it will foster real work. You know that among the bees it depends upon the kind of a cell in which the egg is deposited, and the quantity and quality of food which is supplied to the grub, whether it shall turn out a busy little worker or a big idle queen. And in the human hive the cells of the endowed larvae are always tending to enlarge, and their food to improve, until we get queens beautiful to behold, but which gather no honey and build no court. – Universities, Actual and Ideal.
One of my chief objections to State-aid to anything is that it tends to develop a great many big idle queens at the expense of the workers. There is no longer any direct responsibility on the part of those employed to those who employ them, as there is where private contract enters into play. In fact, the agents determine how and for what the principals shall spend their money, and they usually decide in favor of their own pockets. I cannot furnish you with a better illustration than that supplied by my own experience. Before I studied medicine I taught school for a couple of years in an almshouse. The waste there was perfectly enormous. The officials, when remonstrated with, made answer: “It was all on the county.” The freeholders came once a week, and ate sumptuous dinners – at the expense of the county. At the close of my college course it was my good fortune to enter the Infirmary, where I saw everything ordered with the economy of a private household. No waste there! Those who furnished the funds were directly interested in seeing that they were used as economically as possible. I never heard of the trustees of the Infirmary proposing to have a dinner at the expense of the Infirmary.
Even were the government perfectly honest, which it is practically impossible for it ever to be (being divorced from all the conditions which promote honesty), not bearing the cost, it is always inclined to make experiments on too large a scale, even when those experiments are in the right direction. When we bear the expenses ourselves, we are apt to make our experiments slowly and cautiously, to invest very little until we see some hope of return (by return I do not mean necessarily a material return), but when we can draw upon an inexhaustible treasury – farewell to prudence!
Of course, I do not mean to deny that under any state of society, until men and women are perfect, there always will be persons who are inclined to become big idle queens, but what I do object to is that we ourselves should voluntarily make the conditions which favor the development of these queens “who gather no honey and build no court.”
Of the tendency of governments to crystallize and fossilize any institutions or ideas upon which they lay their protecting hands no better example can be furnished than that of the effect of the English government on the village communities of India, as reported by Maine (“Village Communities”). Where the institutions were undergoing a natural decay, the English government stepped in and, by its official recognition of them in some quarters, gave them, says Maine, a fixedness which they never before possessed.
There is another point to which I wish to draw the attention of those of our brethren who clamor for State aid. Who is to decide what ideas are to be aided? The majority of the people? or a select few? The majority of the people have never in any age been the party of progress; and, if it were put to a popular vote tomorrow as to which should be aided,— Anna Kingsford in her anti-vivisection crusade, or Mary Putnam Jacobi in her physiological investigations I am perfectly sure that the populace would decide in favor of Anna Kingsford. Carlyle says:
If, of ten men, nine are fools, which is a common calculation, how in the name of wonder will you ever get a ballot-box to grind you out a wisdom from the votes of these ten men? . . . . I tell you a million blockheads looking authoritatively into one man of what you call genius, or noble sense, will make nothing but nonsense out of him and his qualities, and his virtues and defects, if they look till the end of time.
If, of ten men, nine are believers in the old, I say, how can you in the name of wonder get a ballot-box to grind you out support of the new from the votes of these ten men? They will support the old and established, and the outcome of your aid to science is that you or I, who may be in favor of the new, and willing to contribute our mite towards its propagation, are forced by majority rule to give up that mite to support that which already has only too many supporters. But perhaps you will say that not the populace, but the select few, are to decide what scientific investigations are to be rewarded. Which select few, and how are they to be selected? Of all the minorities which separate themselves from the current of public opinion, who is to decide which minority has the truth? And, allowing that it is possible to determine which minority has the truth on a special occasion, have you any means by which to prove that this minority will be in favor of the next new truth? Is there not danger that, having accomplished its ends, it in turn will become conservative, and wish to prevent further advance? A priesthood of science would differ in no manner from any other priesthood the world has yet seen, and the evil effect which such a priesthood would have upon science no one has more clearly seen or more clearly demonstrated than Huxley in his “Scientific Aspects of Positivism.” Again, admitting that great men endowed with supreme power could remain impartial, we still have no evidence on record to prove that great men are endowed with more than the ordinary share of common sense, which is so necessary in conducting the ordinary affairs of life. Indeed, if the gossip of history is to be in any way trusted, great men have usually obtained less than the ordinary share of this commodity. Frederick the Great is reported to have said that, if he wished to ruin one of his provinces, he would hand its government over to the philosophers. Is it into the hands of a Bacon, who had no more sense than to expose himself (for the sake of a little experiment which could have been made just as well without the exposure), a Newton who ordered the grate to be removed when the fire became too hot for him, a Clifford, who worked himself to death, that the direction of the affairs of a people is to be given, with the assurance that they will be carried on better than now?
Without multiplying evidence further, I think I have given sufficient to prove to you that there is no means by which State aid can be given to science, without causing the death of science, that we can make no patent machine for selecting the worthiest and the wisest; and I now desire to show you that, even if it were possible to select the worthiest and the wisest, and to aid none but the deserving, still aid so given would be immoral, and opposed to the best interests of society at large.
Of course I take it for granted that I am appealing to a civilized people, who recognize that there are certain rights which we are bound to respect, and certain duties which we in society owe to one another. We have passed that stage, or, at least, we do not often wish to acknowledge to ourselves that we have not passed it, in which “he may take who has the power, and he may keep who can.” Next to the right to life (and indeed as part of that same right) the most sacred right is the right to property, the right of each to hold inviolable all that he earns. Now, to tax a man to support something that he does not wish for is to invade his right to property, and to that extent to curtail his life, is to take away from him his power of obtaining what he desires, in order to supply him with something which he does not desire. If we once admit that the State, the majority, the minority (be it ever so wise), has a right to do this in the smallest degree, no limit can be set to its interference, and we may have every action, aye, every thought, of a man’s arranged for him from on high. Where shall we draw the line as to how much the State is to spend for him, and how much he is to spend for himself? Are grown men to be again put into swaddling clothes? You may say that you desire to increase his happiness, his knowledge, etc., but I maintain that you have no right to decide what is happiness or knowledge for him, any more than you have to decide what religion he must give adherence to. You have no right to take away a single cent’s worth of his property without his consent. Woe to the nation that would strive to increase knowledge or happiness at the expense of justice. It will end by not having morality, or happiness, or knowledge. Do you think that the citizens of a State, who constantly see their rights violated by that State, who constantly see their property confiscated without their ever being consulted, are very likely to entertain a very high respect for their neighbors’ rights of property or of person, do you think that they are very likely to be very moral in any way, any more than children, whose rights are constantly invaded by their parents, are likely to show an appreciation of one another’s rights? To suppose that public life may be conducted in one way, and private life in another, is to ignore all the teaching of history, which shows that these lives are always interlaced.
The first step in immorality taken, the State having confiscated the property of its citizens, preventing them from expending it in the way they desire, to spend it for them in a way they do not desire, ends by starving their bodies and cramping their minds. Witness the case of modern Germany. Again the testimony is not mine. I always wish the advocates of Statism to furnish the evidence that kills them. Some little time since,— probably our new alumnae will remember the circumstance,— one of our professors who never wearies of telling us of the glories of German science, while speaking of the sebaceous horns which appear on the faces of German peasants, and describing a case which once came to his clinic, incidentally remarked of this case: “You understand he had never seen the growth himself, as these peasants have no looking-glasses.” The thought at once occurred to me: “Is this what Germany gives to its people, to the vast majority of its population, on whom it lays its enormous burden of taxation?” Is not the advance of science of great importance to the German peasant who never sees a looking-glass? Would it be any wonder that in wild rage he should sometimes seek to destroy this whole German science and culture which end only by crushing him still farther into the earth? Of what use is science unless it increase the happiness and the comfort of the people? Is it a new fetich upon whose altar millions must be sacrificed? No, the science which would seek to entrench itself upon class-domination is a false one, and inevitably doomed to perish. Have we, the outcome of English civilization, determined to lower the standard raised by Bacon, that the object of the “new philosophy is to increase human happiness and diminish human suffering”? Are we willing to assist in dividing the people of this country into two classes, one of which is to have all the luxuries which science and art can afford, and the other to have no looking-glasses? Now is the time for us to decide.
How then is science to be advanced, you may inquire, if the majority cannot decide that which is true, and the select few also cannot decide? In the way in which up to the present it has been advanced,— by individuals contributing their small shares; and with ever increasing force will it advance, as the general culture becomes greater and broader. It will advance by having no opinion protected from discussion and agitation, by having the greatest possible freedom of thought, of speech, and of the press. That the unaided efforts of a people are capable of causing advance belongs fortunately no longer to the domain of opinion, but of fact. They have already caused all the progress that has been made, not only without the aid of the State, but in opposition to the State and the Church, and all the other conservative and retrogressive forces in society. They have already, as Spencer says, evolved a language greater in complexity and beauty than could be conceived of in any other way. They have, as Whately says, succeeded in supplying large cities with food with scarcely any apparent waste or friction, while no government in the world, with all the machinery at its command, has ever yet succeeded in properly supplying an army.
Yes, freedom, hampered as it has been, has done and is doing all these things, and all that it is capable of doing in the future none but the prophets may see.
We have the morning star,
O foolish people! O kings!
With us the day-springs are,
Even all the fresh day-springs.
For us, and with us, all the multitudes of things.
O sorrowing hearts of slaves,
We heard you beat from far!
We bring the light that saves,
We bring the morning star;
Freedom’s good things we bring you, whence all good things are.
Gertrude B. Kelly.
* Read before the Alumnae Association of the Woman’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary, June 1, 1887.
Let us have no one-man idea, no hero-worshipping, no boss. We want no making a God of one man. — Chairman Thomas O’Neil at the Cooper Union Meeting of Socialists.
(Note: Anarchy makes no god either of man, State, or government.)
Are we searching for what will he equitable in tax systems? To find that is beyond the reach of human invention. — William Nelson Black in New York Sun.
(Note: Taxation is based upon policy, not principle.)
The Chicago Anarchist is first a coward and second a murderer. — Boston Evening Record.
(Note: The editor of the “Record” is first a fool and second a liar.)
A native American Party in the narrower sense has been a failure when the conditions in it favor were more favorable than they now are. — Boston Herald.
(Note: Narrow parties must always be failures.)
The most vitally important of all public questions at present is corruption in government. — Editor’s Easy Chair in September Harper’s Monthly.
(Note: Government per se is corruption.)
Whence has a government a right to compel a man to act against his will? There was one obvious way to answer the question, and that was to ascribe a divine origin to government. — A. Lawrence Lowell in June Atlantic Monthly.
(Note: The divinity bug-a-boo may frighten children, but not grown men.)
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.