“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.
Referring to my approval of the Anarchists’ Club, E. C. Walker says that I seem to have lost my undue fear of free organization. Not so. Never had any to lose.
- Read has replied to me in London “Jus” upon the question of voluntary taxation. I regret that I am obliged to postpone my answer to the next issue of Liberty.
Olive Schreiner’s allegory, “Three Dreams in a Desert,” which I reproduce from the “Fortnightly Review” in this issue, is as remarkable for wisdom and insight as for beauty. Read it.
“Le Révolté,” Prince Kropotkine’s paper, has suddenly ceased publication. A new journal, “La Révolte,” succeeds it. As to whether this is simply a change of name occasioned by political exigencies, we are left entirely in the dark.
Henry George claims that he is sure to receive 250,000 votes for secretary of state, and that it needs but a little work to elect him. Mr. George evidently believes, with the owners of certain popular newspapers, that the way to success is to “holler and keep a-hollerin’.”
The “Standard” seems to be the only labor paper which has found no word of indignant protest and condemnation in reference to the Illinois supreme court decision in the Anarchist case; but then, the “Standard’s” is the only labor editor who dreams of being secretary of state.
Those Socialists who regard competition as such a dire foe of labor should read the remarkably lucid exposition of its workings when perfectly free, to be found in that chapter of Stephen Pearl Andrews’s “Science of Society” which Liberty has now reached in its reproduction of that work.
I am opposed to hanging anybody, but, if seven men must hang, then I agree with George Francis Train, who, in his lecture on the “Anarchist Trial,” certainly said one sane thing,— namely, that the American people could better afford to hang the seven judges than the seven men assigned for the gallows by them.
The first public meeting of the Anarchists’ Club will be held at 176 Tremont Street, Boston, Sunday afternoon, October 9, at half past two o’clock. Benj. R. Tucker will preside and read a paper on “Anarchism: Its Aims and Methods.” The paper was written by a member of the Club delegated for the purpose, and has been unanimously adopted as the authorized statement of the Club’s objects. It is hoped that the first meeting will be well attended. The public are invited. Anarchistic literature will be for sale at the hall.
At last Sunday night’s Anti-Poverty meeting in the aristocratic Academy of Music at New York, Henry George accepted Mr. Shevitch’s challenge to debate the issues of the campaign. “Bring him up here,” shouted one of the audience. “No,” answered Mr. George, “I do not think him of enough importance to bring him up here, I prefer to go down to the East Side.” Whereat there was “terrific applause.” Let the laborers of the East Side remember that Henry George, who professes to champion their interest, can find nothing better than a sneer for them when addressing his friends on Fourteenth Street.
A spectator at the Henry George convention at Syracuse said to one of the delegates: “I see that this is a decent party, and that’s all I want to know. I do not fully understand its principles, but I’m going to vote your ticket because I am tired and sick of the old parties, and can see no difference between them.” The “Standard” thinks that “this feeling will bring thousands of votes to the United Labor ticket.” What a beautiful way of solving the labor problem,— this enticing sentimental ignoramuses to the polls to vote upon matters which they do not understand! Oh! our precious right of suffrage!
When you see a dry, worn-out, poverty-stricken victim of the monopoly system, in a threadbare coat and third-term hat, sitting in a labor-meeting hall and absorbed in the reading of the hangman’s cold-blooded talk and the imbecile’s silly twaddle of the “editorial” corner of the boat-race-base-ball-priee-fight-sensational-divorce-case eight-page capitalistic daily, without condescending to listen to the speeches of labor reformers, as if the capitalistic editorials were the production of men having the wisdom of Solomon and the earnestness of Jesus and the labor speeches were made by the most worthless of the earth’s scum,— when you see that, do you laugh or swear?
The Providence “People” having declared that “every tax is in the nature of a tax to discourage industry,” I asked it if that was the reason why it favored a tax on land values. It answers that it favors such a tax because it would discourage industry less than any other tax, and because some tax is necessary in order to govern people who cannot govern them-selves. In other words, the “People" declares that it is necessary to discourage industry in order to suppress crime. Did it ever occur to the “People” that the discouragement of industry causes more crime than it suppresses, and that, if industry were not discouraged, there would be little or no crime to suppress?
It is a common saying of George, McGlynn, Redpath, and their allies that they, as distinguished from the State Socialists, want less government instead of more, and that it is no part of the function of government to interfere with production and distribution except to the extent of assuming control of the bounties of nature and of such industries as are naturally and necessarily monopolies,— that is, such as are, in the nature of things, beyond the reach of competition’s influence. In the latter category they place the conduct of railroads and telegraphs and the issue of money. Now, inasmuch as it takes an enormous capital to build a railroad, and as strips of land three thousand miles long by thirty feet wide are not to be picked up every day, I can see some shadow of justification for the claim that railroads are necessarily exempt to a marked extent from competition, although I do not think on that account that it will be necessary to hand them over to the government in order to secure their benefits for the people. Still, if I were to accept Mr. George’s premise that industries which are necessarily monopolies should be managed by the State, I might possibly conclude that railroads and some other enterprises belong under that head. But how his premise is related to the issue of money I do not understand at all. That the issue of money is at present a monopoly I admit and insist, but it is such only because the State has laid violent hands upon it, either to hold for itself or to farm out as a privilege. If left free, there is nothing in its nature that necessarily exempts it from competition. It takes little or no capital to start a bank of issue whose operations may become world-wide, and, if a thousand banks should prove necessary to the prevention of exorbitant rates, it is as feasible to have them as to have one. Why, then, is the issue of money necessarily a monopoly, and as such to be entrusted exclusively to the State? I have asked Mr. George a great many questions in the last half-dozen years, not one of which has he ever condescended to answer. Therefore I scarcely dare hope that he will vouchsafe the important information which I now beg of him.
The Tower of Babel.
[Henry Maret in Le Radical.]
I wish to tell you a story.
There was once a collection of men who held a common doctrine. They desired to establish in their country a true republic, based on the sovereignty of the people and having in view social transformation and amelioration. These men loved liberty, equality, fraternity; they had always marched hand in hand, and there was nothing to warrant a suspicion of their disunion before the accomplishment of their work.
Now, one morning which was neither clearer nor cloudier than the night before, all these men began to speak a different tongue, like the workers on the tower of Babel. A great confusion seemed to have suddenly seized them. They no longer understood each other, but insulted each other. In vain were they asked: “What is the matter? Do you no longer all want the same thing?”
“Yes, we want the same thing.”
“Then why do you insult each other?”
And some answered: “Have you never seen those wretches who do not like the song Trou lá lá i lá?” and others: “What can we have in common with men who like the song Trou lá lá i lá?”
And as the partisans of the song were much more violent than its opponents, a party who happened along addressed the former as follows:
“Undoubtedly your friends are wrong in not liking the song Trou lá lá i lá. I admit that they are unpardonable. The song Trou lá lá i lá is a fine song. But, after all, it is not a principle, it is not a doctrine, it does not figure on your programmes. Why, then, do you treat as traitors those who do not like the song Trou lá lá i lá? Does that prevent them from loving liberty, equality, and fraternity? Do they not write, do they not vote, the same today as yesterday, barring, of course, the song? They too might treat you as traitors, for you were never commissioned to sing the song Trou lá lá i lá. They do not do so; they content themselves with looking upon you as rather green. Have it that they are fools; so be it. But no one should quarrel with his friends simply because their intelligence does not grasp the beauty of a song.”
This passer-by hoped much from his advice; he succeeded, in fact, far beyond his desires, for all parties straightway united in giving him a beating.
Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
[Henry George in the Standard.]
I have never hesitated to avow myself an out-and-out tree trader.
. . . . .
Granted that doing away with all taxes, save on land values, would leave no room for a protective tariff, it would still leave no room for protection. For I put it to Patrick Ford’s own logical mind whether a system of bounties on goods produced at home would not give as much encouragement to home producers and as effectually keep out goods produced abroad as a system of taxes on foreign importations.
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. 108.
The answer is first practical: During the three years and upward of practice at Trialville, and during two previous experiments, one at Cincinnati, and one at New Harmony, Indiana, extending to six or seven years of the practice of the Cost Principle, and of the use of the Labor Note in connection with it, by several thousand people in all, the variation in all the different species of male and female industry has not been more than about one-third above and one-third below the standard occupation of corn-raising, each person putting his or her own estimate upon their labor. To explain: The standard labor being reckoned at twenty pounds of corn to the hour, as the yard-stick, or measure of comparison, no other labor performed either by man or woman — and it must be remembered that under the Cost Principle, men and women are remunerated equally has been estimated at more than thirty pounds of corn to the hour, nor at less than twelve pounds to the hours.
196. The further practical result is that every ordinary commodity, though liable to fluctuate in price with every change of circumstances, like a difference of locality, extraordinary difference in the productiveness of different seasons, etc., soon finds a general level, and has a known or fixed price in the community, which is never disturbed except for some obvious cause. Thus, for example, wheat has in this manner settled down by the common suffrage at Trialville to cost six hours of labor to the bushel, or to yield ten pounds to the hour. Milk is ten minutes labor to the quart,— the elements of the calculation including the whole cost of rearing a cow from the calf, the average length of a cow’s usefulness for milking purposes, the cost of feeding, milking, and distributing the milk to the customers, etc. Eggs are twenty minutes to the dozen. Potatoes are an hour and a quarter to the bushel when cultivated by the plow exclusively, and three or four hours to the bushel when cultivated by the hoe. The manufacture of shoes, apart from the material, is from three hours to nine hours to the pair, according to the quality; boots eighteen hours, etc.
197. Another practical effect, as already observed, is that the principle of exact equity, when it enters into the mind, operates with such force that persons on all hands become over-anxious to ascertain the precise truth with regard to the relative cost of every article, while the general improvement of condition renders them less anxious about trifling individual advantage.
198. Although commodities thus settle naturally and rapidly to a standard price according to what is the average time bestowed upon their production, and the average estimate of the relative repugnance of each kind of labor,— in other words, the average of cost,— there are, or may be, individual differences in the estimate of repugnance, which will rise far above or sin below the average. These individualities of preference for one species of industry over another will probably become more marked in proportion as men and women can better afford to indulge their tastes and preferences, in consequence of a general improvement of their pecuniary condition. Again, those tastes themselves will become more developed with the increase of culture. The opportunity for their indulgence will be afforded also in proportion to the augmentation of the circle in which these principles are practices. Hence it follows that whatever is more exceptional or recondite in the subject must as yet be settled by recurring to the principles themselves, the circle in which they have hitherto been applied being too small to realize all the results.
199. The theoretical answer, then, deduced from the principle, in addition to the practical answer just given, is this: Whenever an individual estimates labor in any particular branch of industry as less onerous or repugnant than the standard or average estimate, he will present himself as a candidate for that kind of labor at a less price per hour than others, and will, in consequence, be selected in preference to others, unless the inferior price is more than counterbalanced by want of skill or capacity for that kind of labor. But preference for a particular kind of industry — especially when there are facilities for trying one’s self at various kinds generally accompanies and often results from superior skill or facility in the performance of that kind of labor. Hence a taste or “attraction” for a particular branch of industry, by lowering the price at which a person is ready to undertake it, tends to throw that branch of industry, or rather that particular labor, into the hands of the individual who has that attraction.
200. In the next place, as these two properties — namely, a marked attraction and eminent ability for a particular kind of labor — accompany each other, it follows that the best talent is procured at the lowest instead of the highest price, apart from the case of an acquired skill, which has required a separate and unproductive labor for its acquisition, and which is, therefore, as we have seen, an element of cost and price. In other words, contrary to what is now the case, the man or woman who can do the most work of any given kind in a given time and do it best, will work at the cheapest rate, so that, both on account of the more and better work and of the less price, he or she will have the advantage in bidding for his or her favorite occupation, competition intervening to bring down the average of price to the lowest point for every article, but with none but beneficial results to any one, as will be presently more distinctly shown. (208.)
201. Such are the necessary workings of the Cost Principle, and hence follow certain extremely important results. I. Herein is the chief element of “Attractive Industry,” the grand desideratum of human conditions, first distinctly propounded by Fourier, and now extensively appreciated by reformers,— the choice by each individual of his own function or occupation, according to his natural bias or genius, and the consequent employment of all human powers to the best advantage of all.
202. II. By this means competition is directed to, and made to work at, precisely the right point. Competition is spoken of by those who live in and breathe the atmosphere of the existing social order, as “the life of business”,— the grand stimulant, without which the world would sink into stagnation. It is spoken, of, on the other hand, by the reformers of the Socialist school, who loathe the existing order, and long earnestly for the reign of harmony in human relations, as a cruel and monstrous principle, kept in operation only at the sacrifice of the blood and tears of the groaning millions of mankind. In point of fact it is both; or, more properly, it is either one or the other, according to the direction in which it is allowed to operate. Competition is a motive power, like steam or electricity, and is either destructive or genial, according to its application. In the existing social order it is chiefly destructive, because it operates upon the point of insuring security of condition, or the means of existence. It is, therefore, desperate, unrelenting, and consequently destructive. Under the reign of equity it will operate at the point of superiority of performance in the respective functions of each member of society, and will, therefore, be purely beneficent in its results. In the scramble between wrecked and struggling seafarers for places in the life-boat, we have an illustration of competition for security of condition. In the generous emulation between those safely seated in a pleasure-boat, who think themselves most competent to pull at the oar, you have an illustration of genial or beneficent competition — competition for superiority of performance — under such circumstances that, whoever carries off the palm, the interests of the whole are equally promoted. In either case it is the same motive power, the same energy-giving principle, working merely at a different point, or with a different application, and with a different stimulus. (159.)
203. Competition in the existing social order is, therefore, chiefly destructive, because there is now no security of condition for any class of society. Among the less fortunate classes, competition bears more upon the point of getting the chance to labor at all, at any occupation, which, inequitably paid, as the labor of those classes is, will afford the bare means of existence. Among the more fortunate classes, increased accumulation is the only means now known of approximating security of condition; hence competition bears upon that point. Among all classes, therefore, the competition is chiefly for security of condition, and therefore merciless and destructive. It is only occasionally and by way of exception, wherever a little temporary security is obtained, that examples are found at the natural and beneficent competition for superiority of performance. That, however, springs up with such spontaneous alacrity, so soon as the smallest chance is given it, as abundantly to prove that it is the true spirit, the indigenous growth of the human soul, when uncontrolled by adverse circumstances and condition.
204. Under the operations of the Cost Principle, which will be the reign of equity, the primary wants of each will be supplied by the employment of a very small portion of their time, and the ease and certainty with which they can be supplied will place each above the motives now existing to invade the property of others. This condition of things, together with the substitution of general cooperation and abundance for general antagonism and poverty, will furnish a security of person and property which nothing else can produce. To this will be added such accumulations as each may, without the stimulus of desperation, choose to acquire.
205. In this condition of security, natural and beneficent competition will spring up; that is, such as bears upon the point of superiority of performance,— not only for such reasons as exist and occasionally develop themselves in the existing society, but also because, under the operation of the Cost Principle, every person is, as we have seen, necessarily gratified with the pursuit of his favorite occupation, in proportion as his superiority of performance renders him the more successful competitor for employment in that line,— not hindered by asking a higher price for his greater excellence, as now, but aided, on the other hand, by his readiness to perform it at a lower price, consequent upon his greater attraction or his want of repugnance for that kind of industry, according to what has been already explained. This, then, is the second grand result of the varying tastes for different occupations, under the operation of the Cost Principle,— namely that competition is directed to, and made to work at, the right point,— superiority of performance, not security of condition.
206. Under the operation of Cost as the Limit of Price, things will be so completely revolutionized that, strange as it may seem, it will be to the positive interest of every workman to be thrown out of his own business by the competition of any one who can do the same labor better and cheaper. In the nature of the case it is an advantage for every body that the prices of every product should become less and less, until, if that be possible, they cease, through the general abundance, to have price altogether. Under the present false arrangements of commerce we have seen that it is not for the benefit, but for the injury of many, that such reduction of price should occur, either through competition, the invention of new machines, or otherwise. (160.) Some of the reasons of that unnatural result have been pointed out. (161, 162.) It is, in fine, because the workingmen are reduced below the ability of availing themselves of what should be, in the nature of things, a blessing to all mankind. When the market is said to be overstocked with coats and hats made than there are backs and heads to wear them. Not at all. It is only that there are more than there is ability to buy. Those who have earned the means to pay for them do not possess the means. They have been robbed of the means by receiving less than equivalents for their labor. Hence, though they want, they cannot buy, and hence, again, those who produce must stop producing. They are therefore thrown out of employment, and it is falsely said that there is over-production in that branch of industry. In the reign of equity, where all receive equivalents for their labor, this cause of what is called over-production will not exist.
207. The point here asserted will be rendered still more clear under the following head. (208.) Along with the extinction of speculation, by Cost as the Limit of Price, competition will cease to be a desperate game played for desperate stakes. It will not relate to procuring the opportunity to labor, as that will be the common and assured inheritance of all. It will not relate to securing an augmentation of Price, because Price will be adjusted by Science and guarded by Good Morals, public opinion and private interest concurring to keep it at what science awards. It will relate solely, in fine, to excellence of performance,— to the giving to each individual of that position in life to which his tastes incline him, and for which his powers of mind and body adapt him, even the selfishness that might otherwise embitter such a strife being tempered, or neutralized, by the equilibrium of a greater price for more repugnant labor.
208. III. Competition is rendered cooperative instead of antagonistic. This may not at first seem to be a distinct point, but it is really so. It was shown before that competition is made to work at the right point,— namely excellence of performance. But that excellence or superiority might still ensure exclusively or chiefly to the benefit of the individual who possess it. Such is now the case, to a fearful extent, with machinery, which has the first of these properties,— namely, that it competes with labor at the right point, excellence of performance,— but has not the second; that is, it is not cooperative with unaided human labor, but antagonistic to it, turning out thousands of laborers to starve, on account of its own superiority.
The point to be shown now is, that under the operation of the Cost Principle, excellence of performance — the point competed for, whether by individuals or machinery — enures equally to the benefit of all, and hence that competition, rightly directed, and working under the true law of price, is cooperative and not antagonistic; although, as respects machinery, the demonstration will be rendered more perfect when we come to consider the legitimate use of capital. (243.)
209. Illustrations of practical operation will be better understood if drawn from the affairs of the small village than if taken from the more extended and complex business of the large town.
Suppose, then, that in such a village A is extraordinarily adept with the axe. He can chop three cords of wood a day, C and D are the next in facility at this labor to A, and can chop two cords and a half a day. Now, under the operation of this principle, as shown previously, if they are employed at all in chopping, they will all be paid at the same rate per hour. If there is any difference, it will probably be that A, along with this superior ability, will have an extraordinary fondness for the kind of labor as compared with other kinds, or, what is the same thing, he will have less repugnance for it, and that he will, if thoroughly imbued with the principle, place his labor at a less price than the established average price for wood-chopping. The consequence will be that the services of A will be first called into requisition for all the wood-chopping in the village, so long as there is no more than he can or is willing to do. It will only be when the quantity of labor is greater than he can or will perform that the services of C and D will be required, then those of the next grade of capacity, and so on. The point now to be illustrated is that it is the whole village that is benefited by the superior excellence of A, and then of B and C, etc., in this business, and not those individuals alone. While A can chop all the wood for the village, the price of wood-chopping is less or, in other words, wood-chopping is cheaper to the whole village than it is when the inferior grades of talent will have to be brought in; because he does more work in the hour, and is paid no more in any event, and perhaps less for it. Consequently, again, the cost and hence the price of cooking, and hence again of board, is all less to every consumer. So of heating rooms. So of the blacksmith’s work, the shoemaker’s work, and, in fine, of every article of consumption produced in the village; because the manufacturers of all these articles, while engaged in the manufacture, consume wood, which wood has to be chopped, and the cost of which enters into the cost of their products; and inasmuch as these products are again sold at cost, it follows that the price of every article manufactured and consumed is reduced by the superior excellence of A as a wood-chopper. In this general advantage A is merely a common participant with the other inhabitants; but then, in turn, the same principle is operating to place each of those others in that occupation in which he excels, and their excellence in each of these occupations, respectively, is operating in the same manner to reduce the price of every other article which A, as well as others, has to purchase. Hence it follows that the very competition which crowds a man out of one occupation and fills it with another, on account of his superior performance, turns just as much to the benefit of the man who is put out of his place, as it does to that of the man who is installed in it, all avenues being open to him to enter other pursuits, and there being labor enough at some pursuit for all. Hence it follows that under the operation of the Cost Principle competition is rendered cooperative, and that cooperation becomes universal instead of the now prevailing antagonism of interests.
To be continued.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 108.
Again he saw distinctly the convulsed face of Bradwell, his agitation which Ellen tried to calm, and he inferred the truth.
But, if this were so, he did not wish to die without vengeance, without killing this unworthy creature, without at least destroying the seductive visage with which she had once captured him, and then captured Richard. Yes, it would be a hundred times more cruel than death to live disfigured, hideous, an object of repulsion, unable to procure any satisfaction of the passions which boiled in her vile soul and her perverted body.
Her Richard, for the possession of whom she committed the crime, would flee from her, and she would die of despair, of spite, of rage. What an expiation! Newington, with this end in view, would pitilessly plough up her face and tear it with his nails into shreds which would have to be sewed together. She would remain marked with scars, her nose slashed, her cheeks furrowed with frightful trenches; a woman proud of her beauty and living for it alone, but henceforth more ugly than Paddy Neill, the Irishman.
But it was too late; he lacked the least particle of strength; his hands even slipped over the smooth folds of her wrapper, incapable of seizing it, and again he lay crushed upon the floor.
However, being near Lady Ellen’s shoe, he savagely set his teeth in it, and she could not restrain a cry of pain which attracted Bradwell, who had been roaming since morning about the castle, high and low, through the corridors, a body without soul, haggard, his hair bristling, avoiding witnesses.
Having shut himself up in his room, which he had doubly locked, that he might not be disturbed, and having thrown his key carelessly under the furniture, with his eye-lids closed that he might not, under the lash of his awakened conscience, suddenly rush out to prevent the murder, he had passed through the most opposite alternations, cursing himself for his complicity in the crime, blaspheming the Duke who forced him to it by his claims as a husband, and anathematizing Ellen, who had so fatally infatuated him.
When anticipatory remorse assailed him, ordering him to hasten to hinder the iniquitous act of the Duchess, immediately the sight of some object — a fan or handkerchief — belonging to his mistress sustained him in his guilty resolutions. Everywhere in the room, things spoke to him of her, recounting their tumultuous scenes of delight, the allurements of their passionate frenzies.
With the flowers which were fading in the vases on the tables, and with the perfumed ribbons, mingled the peculiar perfume of her flesh, and the whole atmosphere, laden with this combined odor, intoxicated him, evoking in him the sensual being who reasoned no longer, whose vices alone survived, the being hardened to all but passion and hatred!
And he stretched himself on the bed, where Lady Ellen’s place was still marked in the hollow of the thick eider-down mattress; he plunged his head into the pillows, where her dear head moulded itself in fragrant imprints; and in the dream of the preceding night which came back to flatter and excite him, he forgot that, during his amorous ecstasy, his intoxicating recollections which set all his flesh tingling, the most cowardly of crimes was being perpetrated by this woman on the person of his father.
Weary of waiting, however, he could no longer bear the anguish, and descended to see for himself.
Softly at first, his head lost in the fear of the unknown into which he was advancing, listening to the various noises issuing from the court, from without, from within, he heard Treor executing his madman’s De Profundis, his thundering voice with its resounding echo. As he approached the room in which were the Duke and the old man, his fever increased in intensity and, now quickening his pace, now almost halting, he stopped short on a step of the staircase, shivering and hesitating whether he should not turn back.
He mustered up courage and resumed his way, and at last, as one throws himself into a fight, head lowered, resolute, blind, deaf, no longer distinguishing anything, perceiving only the panting of his oppressed lungs, he rushed forward.
At the instant of his arrival, Ellen had just disappeared to silence Treor’s brawling, and through the parting of the tapestries Richard witnessed the rapid climax of the drama; besides the cry of the Duchess, he was in time to hear the last sigh of Newington, who, in a last convulsion, grasped the old man with his stiffening fingers.
“Dead!” said Bradwell, contemplating the corpse of his father with a fixed and frightened gaze.
“Abandon me, then, now, Richard,” said Lady Ellen to herself, smiling and looking with joy upon her work, with intoxication upon her lover.
Then, ringing all the bells, opening the windows, the doors, in an uproar of noisy grief, beside herself with despair and terror, which drove Sir Bradwell, incapable of such hypocritical counterfeiting, back to his rooms, she summoned all the servants, and the soldiers of the guard, and the officers, and the passersby, to come and verify the murderous attempt, the crime of the old Treor, of this rascal of an Irishman.
Simple coincidence: the very day of Newington’s death, the fortune of war, till then favorable to the English, turned against them. The rebellion, which was weakening in consequence of successive defeats, recovered in various places considerable advantages, regaining at last the ascendancy.
Harvey multiplied himself. Arrived safe and sound in the midst of his partisans, in spite of the furious chase of the soldiers and of Lichfield, who pursued him hotly with the aid of some doubtful characters of his own sort, the agitator had disciplined the enthusiasm and drilled his tumultuous recruits in the manceuvres which assure victories and above all make them fruitful, and, thus governed, the vehement impulses which had previously been wasted in individual efforts, now closely united, overthrew the methodical enemy, dislodging him from his positions at twenty different points. A breath of new hope ran over the whole island, in the wind of success, and everywhere it lifted the heads bowed under the weight of defeats and disappointments.
For twenty leagues around Cumslen Park, where dreams had vanished and resignation prevailed, suddenly hearts beat with an ardent desire to recommence the struggle. In the battle already fought the strongest had succumbed, and since then Newington and his battalions, Gowan at the head of his Infernal Mob, had passed through the villages, decimating them by nameless atrocities and sowing terror everywhere. But with the regain of triumph, the news of which spread rapidly, all the defeats to make good, all the sorrows to avenge, all the insults to wash out in blood, all the humiliations to repay, aroused the old pride, rekindling the chilled hopes, and exciting the love of national independence, which oft-repeated blows had deadened.
And the secret meetings, which had ceased for a time, again were held at night; groups discussed in broad day, in the public squares; the blows of the hammers on the silent anvils resounded as of old, and pikes were forged by arms redoubled to replace the weapons of which the ravages of the oppressors had despoiled the country.
They chose leaders, they drilled, children familiarized themselves with the management of improvised weapons, and all waited for a signal; they dispatched to Dublin, to the scene of battles, messengers on messengers to obtain an order.
The troops of the king, who had abandoned themselves to the pleasures of an easy peace, who slept on their laurels, and who celebrated in perpetual orgies their prompt and, as they believed, decisive triumphs, had been obliged to resume their arms and scour the country, to nip these desires for revenge in the bud.
And while the preparations were being made for Newington’s funeral, which was to be attended, to increase the solemnity, by the disposable officers of the army of occupation, the authorities, the representatives of the government, and guests on the way from England, a second time the peace of the country seemed gained by the immediate rigor of the repression, the summary executions en masse, the unutterable atrocities, the rage of the conquerors which was visited upon women at their firesides, upon feeble old men, upon defenceless children, and upon the houses which they set on fire.
But the hostilities recommenced the next day, notwithstanding the blood shed, notwithstanding the example of the corpses piled up on the roads, and the expedient, effective in other countries, of columns which traversed the country incessantly, establishing a reign of terror. But the war assumed an unusual character. No more crowds anywhere to disperse, whose leaders they could hang to the trees by the roadside, shoot, or basely disembowel. No effervescence in the villages and the hamlets which still had some inhabitants left, and, in many localities, the roofs deserted, there was not an Irish face to be seen at the window of any shanty, or a native to be met in the fields, engaged in work of any sort.
The dying beasts of the flocks bellowing from inanition alone disturbed with their lamentable plaints the silence of the solitudes, the usual bands of crows descending upon the carrion. Nowhere could the fine ear of the most cunning of the army’s bloodhounds perceive the sound of a voice, the echo of a step of the enemy, burrowed they knew not where.
Nevertheless, the soldiers no longer dared to venture out in isolated bands. A squad which separated from a regiment would not reappear. They could not find even a vestige of it. The sentinels disappeared as by enchantment; the most vigilant scouts, wherever stationed, melted like snow soldiers in the sun.
Even the horsemen of the Infernal Mob refused to serve as scouts; those who plunged into the country on a drunken spree were never seen again.
The earth seemed to open to swallow all temerity, as it evidently concealed in a sure refuge the invisible army of this pitiless war, which terrified by the suddenness, implacability, and unheard-of audacity of its operations.
Left for dead from the wounds with which they had covered him in the fury of the discovery of the odious assassination of Sir Newington, Treor disappeared the same evening. This was one of its strokes, not the least extraordinary. In order to effect it, it was necessary to enter Cumslen-Park, which was guarded carefully within, and whose passages were never without people coming and going, and to go out, bearing the burden of a body. Now, not one of the servants of the castle had the slightest remembrance of any such performance.
Even during the night there had been successive watches over the body of the Duke upon which the physicians were performing an autopsy previous to the embalming. And all the personnel of the establishment, besides extra soldiers for the occasion, were passing each other in the corridors until daylight and spending their time in the apartments.
The removal, then, had been effected even in the midst of this display of vigilance, and was truly a wonder. Afterwards miracles of this kind were wrought daily, and Sir Richard, taciturn, wrapped in a dejected stupor, found each morning in his room, the doors of which he bolted, a terrifying warning, in which he was called a parricide and an impostor.
Impostor, because he permitted the popular version to be credited that Marian’s grandfather had been guilty of the poisoning of the Duke. He was invited to declare himself an accomplice in the crime, to name the abominable perpetrator of it, and he was threatened with exemplary punishment in case he did not yield to these officious injunctions.
And, stung by remorse, harassed by the struggles which he sustained against his conscience, if he fled from the castle, theatre of the impious crime where their victim resided, over whom filial proprieties commanded him to watch in his turn, and oftener than the others, then unexpected voices, at the turn of some path, where no witness was looked for, assailed him, apostrophized him harshly for his parricide, and especially for longer permitting the responsibility of his act to dishonor an Irishman.
He would rush in the direction of the sound of the voice, break into a quickset hedge, turn hastily around a piece of wall, explore the excavation of a grotto, rummage among the rubbish of a ruin, but never meet anyone on whom to pour out his wrath, and wreak his personal insanity.
He avoided sleep in order to find out how the terrifying notes reached him; but whatever vigilance he exercised, they always deceived him, and the warning was deposited just the same, though not in the room where he lay in wait with a weapon in his hand; he would discover it suddenly, behind him, at his side, without having heard the sound of a foot on the carpet, or the creaking of a neighboring door.
And the Duchess, to whom he communicated all these infernal proceedings, to whom he showed the written letters, and with whom he offered to watch for a night, began to be filled with fear.
She did not believe in the supernatural, in reproaches coming from on high or from beyond the tomb, in a God who reprimands sinners before they appear at his tribunal, in the dead who rise from their funeral beds to make scenes.
Good stories for little children whose goodness is preserved by tales which would put them to sleep standing, and in whom respect for parents is stimulated by imbecile trash.
The dead which pull the living by the feet! When she was very little, she had had convulsions over this fable of death, and her mother had sworn to its falsity; and when her father, the pastor, thundered in the pulpit upon eternal punishment, unfolded complacently the torments of hell reserved for those forgetful of the law of heaven, she was often taken with nervous tremblings, threatening her health, and the sacred orator displayed his family eloquence, privately, in destroying the disastrous effect produced by the public sermon.
As she grew up, the minister had explained to her the vanity of the thunderbolts launched at the head of his sheep; the dulness of mind of the faithful forced him to have recourse to this apparatus for terrifying invented by the Church to strike coarser imaginations. But she, the daughter of a pastor, of a man belonging to the elite of society by his intelligence, ought not to share the idiotic beliefs of the vulgar.
Ingenuously and frankly she had put this insidious question:
If he really despised myths so absurd, why did he teach them? Because it was his profession? In that case, why did he follow a profession based on imposture?
And, ill satisfied with the confused explanations of her father, she had conceived a considerable contempt for the author of her days and a scepticism which increased with age regarding the divinity whose commandments she was taught not to violate.
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.
It will be remembered that, when a correspondent of the Standard signing Morris asked Henry George one or two awkward questions regarding interest, and George tried to answer him by a silly and forced distinction between interest considered as the increase of capital and interest considered as payment for the use of legal tender, John F. Kelly sent to the Standard a crushing reply to George, which the latter refused to print, and which subsequently appeared in No. 102 of Liberty. It may also be remembered that George’s rejection of Kelly’s article was grounded on the fact that since his own reply to Morris he had received several articles on the interest question, and that he could not afford space for the consideration of this subordinate matter while the all-important land question was yet to be settled.
I take it that the land battle has since been won, for in the Standard of September 3 nearly three columns — almost the entire department of Queries and Answers in that issue — are given to a defence of interest, in answer to the questions of two or three correspondents. The article is a long elaboration of the reply to Morris, the root absurdity of which is rendered more intangible by a wall of words and no one would know from reading it that the writer had ever heard of the considerations which Mr. Kelly arrayed against his position. It is true that at one or two points he verges upon them, but his words are a virtual admission of their validity and hence a reduction of interest to an unsubstantial form. He seems, therefore, to have written them without thought of Mr. Kelly; for, had he realized their effect, he could not—assuming his honesty—have prepared the article, which has no raison d’être except to prove that interest is a vital reality apart from money monopoly. On the other hand, assuming his dishonesty, the suspicion inevitably arises that he purposely smothered Mr. Kelly’s article in order to subsequently juggle over the matter with less expert opponents. Unhappily this suspicion is not altogether unwarrantable in view of the tactics adopted by George in his treatment of the rent question.
The matter seems, too, to have taken on importance, as it is now acknowledged that the theory of interest as propounded by Mr. George has been more severely and plausibly criticised than any other phase of the economic problem as he presents it. When we consider that George regards it as an economic law that interest varies inversely with so important a thing as rent, we see that he cannot consistently treat as unimportant any plausible argument urged in support of the theory that interest varies principally, not with rent, but with the economic conditions arising from a monopoly of the currency.
But, however the article may be accounted for, it is certainly before us, and Mr. George (through his sub-editor, Louis F. Post, for whose words in the Queries and Answers department he may fairly be held responsible), is discussing the interest question. We will see what he has to say.
It appears that all the trouble of the enemies of interest grows out of their view of it as exclusively incidental to borrowing and lending, whereas interest on borrowed capital is itself incidental to real interest, which is the increase that capital yields irrespective of borrowing and lending. This increase, Mr. George claims, is the work of time, and from this premise he reasons as follows:
The laborer who has capital ready when it is wanted, and thus, by saving time in making it, increases production, will get and ought to get some consideration,— higher wages, if you choose, or interest, as we call it,— just as the skilful printer who sets fifteen hundred ems an hour will get more for an hour’s work than the less skilled printer who sets only a thousand. In the one case greater power due to skill, and in the other greater power due to capital, produce greater results in a given time; and in neither case is the increased compensation a deduction from the earnings of other men.
To make this analogy a fair one it must be assumed that skill is a product of labor, that it can be bought and sold, and that its price is subject to the influence of competition; otherwise, it furnishes no parallel to capital. With these assumptions the opponent of interest eagerly seizes upon the analogy as entirely favorable to his own position and destructive of Mr. George’s. If the skilful printer produced his skill and can sell it, and if other men can produce similar skill and sell it, the price that will be paid for it will be limited, under free competition, by the cost of production, and will bear no relation to the extra five hundred ems an hour. The case is precisely the same with capital. Where there is free competition in the manufacture and sale of spades, the price of a spade will be governed by the cost of its production, and not by the value of the extra potatoes which the spade will enable its purchaser to dig. Suppose, however, that the skilful printer enjoyed a monopoly of skill. In that case, its price would no longer be governed by the cost of production, but by its utility to the purchaser, and the monopolist would exact nearly the whole of the extra five hundred ems, receiving which hourly he would be able to live for the rest of his life without ever picking up a type. Such a monopoly as this is now enjoyed by the holders of capital in consequence of the currency monopoly, and this is the reason, and the only reason, why they are able to tax borrowers nearly up to the limit of the advantage which the latter derive from having the capital. In other words, increase which is purely the work of time bears a price only because of monopoly. Abolish the monopoly, then, and what becomes of Mr. George’s real interest except as a benefit enjoyed by all consumers in proportion to their consumption? As far as the owner of the capital is concerned, it vanishes at once, and Mr. George’s wonderful distinction with it.
He tells us, nevertheless, that the capitalist’s share of the results of the increased power which capital gives the laborer is not a deduction from the earnings of other men. Indeed! What are the normal earnings of other men? Evidently what they can produce with all the tools and advantages which they can procure in a free market without force or fraud. If, then, the capitalist, by abolishing the free market, compels other men to procure their tools and advantages of him on less favorable terms than they could get before, while it may be better for them to come to his terms than to go without the capital, does he not deduct from their earnings?
But let us hear Mr. George further in regard to the great value of time to the idler.
Suppose a natural spring free to all, and that Hodge carries a pail of water from it to a place where he can build a fire and boil the water. Having hung a kettle and poured the water into it, and arranged the fuel and started the fire, he has by his labor set natural forces at work in a certain direction; and they are at work for him alone, because without his previous labor they would not be at work in that direction at all. Now he may go to sleep, or run off and play, or amuse himself in any way that he pleases; and when an hour — a period of time — shall have elapsed, he will have, instead of a pail of cold water, a pot of boiling water. Is there no difference in value between that boiling water and the cold water of an hour before? Would he exchange the pot of boiling water for a pail of cold water, even though the cold water were in the pot and the fire started? Of course not, and no one would expect him to. And yet between the time when the fire is started and the time when the water boils he does no work. To what, then, is that difference in value due? Is it not clearly due to the element of time? Why does Hodge demand more than a pail of cold water for the pot of boiling water if it is not that the ultimate object of his original labor — the making of tea, for example — is nearer complete than it was an hour before, and that an even exchange of boiling water for cold water would delay him an hour, to which he will not submit unless he is paid for it? And why is Podge willing to give more than a pail of cold water for the pot of boiling water, if it is not that it gives him the benefit of an hour’s time in production, and thus increases his productive power very much as greater skill would? And if Podge gives to Hodge more than a pail of cold water for the pot of boiling water, does Podge lose anything that he had, or Hodge gain anything that he had not? No. The effect of the transaction is a transfer for consideration of the advantage in point of time that Hodge had, to Podge who had it not, as if a skilful compositor should, if he could, sell his skill to a less skilful member of the craft.
We will look a little into this economic Hodge-Podge.
The illustration is vitiated from beginning to end by the neglect of the most important question involved in it,— namely, whether Hodge’s idleness during the hour required for the boiling of the water is a matter of choice or of necessity. It was necessary to leave this out in order to give time the credit of boiling the water. Let us not leave it out, and see what will come of it. If Hodge’s idleness is a matter of necessity, it is equivalent, from the economic standpoint, to labor, and counts as labor in the price of the boiling water. A storekeeper may spend only five hours in waiting on his customers, but, as he has to spend another five hours in waiting for them, he gets paid by them for ten hours’ labor. His five hours’ idleness counts as labor, because, to accommodate his customers, he has to give up what he could produce in those five hours if he could labor in them. Likewise, if Hodge, when boiling water for Podge, is obliged to spend an hour in idleness, he will charge Podge for the hour in the price which he sets on the boiling water. But it is Hodge himself, this disposition of himself, and not the abstraction, time, that gives the water its exchangeable value. The abstraction, time, is as truly at work when Hodge is bringing the water from the spring and starting the fire as when he is asleep waiting for the water to boil; yet Mr. George would not dream of attributing the value of the water after it had been brought from the spring to the element of time. He would say that it was due entirely to the labor of Hodge. Properly speaking, time does not work at all, but, if the phrase is to be insisted on in economic discussion, it can be admitted only with some such qualification as the following: The services of time are venal only when rendered through human forces; when rendered exclusively through the forces of nature, they are gratuitous.
That time does not give the boiling water any exchangeable value becomes still more evident when we start from the hypothesis that Hodge’s idleness, instead of being a matter of necessity, is a matter of choice. In that case, if Hodge chooses to be idle, and still tries, in selling the boiling water to Podge, to charge him for this unnecessary idleness, the enterprising Dodge will step up and offer boiling water to Podge at a price lower than Hodge’s, knowing that he can afford to do so by performing some productive labor while waiting for the water to boil, instead of loafing like Hodge. The effect of this will be that Hodge himself will go to work productively, and then will offer Podge a better bargain than Dodge has proposed, and so competition between Hodge and Dodge will go on until the price of the boiling after to Podge shall fall to the value of the labor expended by either Hodge or Dodge in bringing the water from the spring and starting the fire. Here, then, the exchangeable value of the boiling water which was said to be due to time has disappeared, and yet it takes just as much time to boil the water as it did in the first place.
Mr. George gets into difficulty in discussing this question of the increase of capital simply because he continually loses sight of the fact that competition lowers prices to the cost of production and thereby distributes this so-called product of capital among the whole people. He does not see that capital in the hands of labor is but the utilization of a natural force or opportunity, just as land is in the hands of labor, and that it is as proper in the one case as in the other that the benefits of such utilization of natural forces should be enjoyed by the whole body of consumers.
Mr. George truly says that rent is the price of monopoly. Suppose, now, that some one should answer him thus: You misconceive; you clearly have leasing exclusively in mind, and suppose an unearned bonus for a lease, whereas rent of leased land is merely incidental to real rent, which is the superiority in location or fertility of one piece of land over another, irrespective of leasing. Mr. George would laugh at such an argument if offered in justification of the receipt and enjoyment of unearned increment or economic rent by the landlord. But he himself makes an equally ridiculous and precisely parallel argument in defence of the usurer when he says, in answer to those who assert that interest is the price of monopoly: You misconceive; you clearly have borrowing and lending exclusively in mind, and suppose an unearned bonus for a loan, whereas interest on borrowed capital is merely incidental to real interest, which is the increase that capital yields, irrespective of borrowing and lending.
The truth in both cases is just this,—that nature furnishes man immense forces with which to work in the shape of land and capital, that in a state of freedom those forces benefit each individual to the extent that he avails himself of them, and that any man or class getting a monopoly of either or both will put all other men in subjection and live in luxury on the products of their labor. But to justify the monopoly of either of these forces by the existence of the force itself, or to argue that without a monopoly of it any individual could get an income by lending it instead of by working with it, is equally absurd whether the argument be resorted to in the case of land or in the case of capital, in the case of rent or in the case of interest. If any one chooses to call the advantages of these forces to mankind rent in one case and interest in the other, I do not know that there is any serious objection to his doing so, provided he will remember that in practical economic discussion rent stands for the absorption of the advantages of land by the landlord, and interest for the absorption of the advantages of capital by the usurer.
The remainder of Mr. George’s article rests entirely upon the time argument. Several new Hodge-Podge combinations are supposed by way of illustration, but in none of them is there any attempt to justify interest except as a reward of time. The inherent absurdity of this justification having been demonstrated above, all that is based upon it falls with it. The superstructure is a logical ruin; it remains only to clear away the débris.
Hodge’s boiling water is made a type of all those products of labor which afterwards increase in utility purely by natural forces, such as cattle, corn, etc.; and it may be admitted that, if time would add exchangeable value to the water while boiling, it would do the same to corn while growing, and cattle while multiplying. But that it would do so under freedom has already been disproved. Starting from this, however, an attempt is made to find in it an excuse for interest on products which do not improve except as labor is applied to them, and even on money itself. Hodge’s grain, after it has been growing for a month, is worth more than when it was first sown; therefore Podge, the shovel-maker, who supplies a market which it takes a month to reach, is entitled to more pay for his shovels at the end of that month than he would have been had he sold them on the spot immediately after production; and therefore the banker who discounts at the time of production the note of Podge’s distant customer maturing a month later, thereby advancing ready money to Podge, will be entitled, at the end of the month, from Podge’s customer, to the extra value which the month’s time is supposed to have added to the shovels.
Here Mr. George not only builds on a rotten foundation, but he mistakes foundation for superstructure. Instead of reasoning from Hodge to the banker he should have reasoned from the banker to Hodge. His first inquiry should have been how much, in the absence of a monopoly in the banking business, the banker could get for discounting for Podge the note of his customer; from which he could then have ascertained how much extra payment Podge could get for his month’s delay in the shovel transaction, or Hodge for the services of time in ripening his grain. He would then have discovered that the banker, who invests little or no capital of his own, and, therefore, lends none to his customers, since the security which they furnish him constitutes the capital upon which he operates, is forced, in the absence of money monopoly, to reduce the price of his services to labor cost, which the statistics of the banking business show to be much less than one per cent. As this fraction of one per cent. represents simply the banker’s wages and incidental expenses, and is not payment for the use of capital, the element of interest disappears from his transactions. But, if Podge can borrow money from the banker without interest, so can Podge’s customer; therefore, should Podge attempt to exact from his customer remuneration for the month’s delay, the latter would at once borrow the money and pay Podge spot cash. Furthermore Podge, knowing this, and being able to get ready money easily himself, and desiring, as a good man of business, to suit his customer’s convenience, would make no such attempt. So Podge’s interest is gone as well as the banker’s. Hodge, then, is the only usurer left. But is any one so innocent as to suppose that Dodge, or Lodge, or Modge will long continue to pay Hodge more for his grown grain than his sown grain, after any or all of them can get land free of rent and money free of interest, and thereby force time to work for them as well as for Hodge. Nobody who can get the services of time for nothing will be such a fool as to pay Hodge for them. Hodge, too, must say farewell to his interest as soon as the rate of interest on money fixes the rate of interest on all other capital the production of which is subject to competition, and when the former disappears the latter disappears with it.
Presumably to make his readers think that he has given due consideration to the important principle just elucidated, Mr. George adds, just after his hypothesis of the banker’s transaction with Podge:
Of course there is discount and discount. I am speaking of a legitimate economic banking transaction. But frequently bank discounts are nothing more than taxation, due to the choking up of free exchange, in consequence of which an institution that controls the common medium of exchange can impose arbitrary conditions upon producers who must immediately use that common medium.
The evident purpose of the word frequently here is to carry the idea that, when a bank discount is a tax imposed by monopoly of the medium of exchange, it is simply a somewhat common exception to the general rule of legitimate economic banking transactions. For it is necessary to have such a general rule in order to sustain the theory of interest on capital as a reward of time. The exact contrary, however, is the truth. Where money monopoly exists, it is the rule that bank discounts are taxes imposed by it, and when, in consequence of peculiar and abnormal circumstances, discount is not in the nature of a tax, it is a rare exception. The abolition of money monopoly would wipe out discount as a tax and, by adding to the steadiness of the market, make the cases where it is not a tax even fewer than now. Instead of legitimate, therefore, the banker’s transaction with Podge, being exceptional in a free money market and a tax of the ordinary discount type in a restricted money market, is illegitimate if cited in defence of interest as a normal economic factor.
In the conclusion of his article Mr. George strives to show that interest would not enable its beneficiaries to live by the labor of others. But he only succeeds in showing, though in a very obscure, indefinite, and intangible fashion — seemingly afraid to squarely enunciate it as a proposition,— that where there is no monopoly there will be little or no interest. Which is precisely our contention. But why, then, his long article? If interest will disappear with monopoly, what will become of Hodge’s reward for his time? If, on the other hand, Hodge is to be rewarded for his mere time, what will reward him save Podge’s labor? There is no escape from this dilemma. The proposition that the man who for time spent in idleness receives the product of time employed in labor is a parasite up on the body industrial is one which an expert necromancer like Mr. George may juggle with before an audience of gaping Hodges and Podges, but can never successfully dispute with men who understand the rudiments of political economy.
One of the speakers at the Faneuil Hall meeting last week, held to protest against the execution of the seven Chicago labor reformers for their odious crime of undermining the sacred and glorious American institutions, of which boodlerism, quackery, sycophancy, and bloodthirstiness are the most prominent, stated that Justice Magruder declared in an interview with a Chicago labor editor, in answer to a question put by the latter, that the execution of John Brown, as well as the crucifixion of Christ, was perfectly legal. The speaker claimed that this declaration characterizes the man in a very unseemly manner, but to me this is not so much a characterization of the justice as of the law itself. Magruder is probably a rascal, but the blame for his rascality and the responsibility for his inhumanity rest with the law. Yes, he was right: those crimes were legal. Ah! you don’t relish such legality? Then throttle the law!
What’s the use of humbug? At the recent Faneuil Hall meeting, C. S. Griffin, formerly a revolutionary Communist and preacher of dynamite, but now a political State Socialist at the head of a ward and city committee, first told the audience gathered to hear the true story of the Chicago troubles that the men under sentence were not Socialists and had never called themselves such, and then, toward the end of his speech, declared that Spies is a typical German Socialist, Parsons a typical American Socialist, and Fielden a typical English Socialist. He also explained that German Socialism is a mild affair compared with American Socialism, being only a movement for the destruction of the Crown Prince. This is on a par with Mr. Griffin’s etymological definition of Anarchy, which it once became my duty to examine in these columns. But that was ignorance; this is humbug. What’s the use of it?
One or two of the speakers at the Faneuil Hall gathering are remembered to have vowed, at the time when the Boston fraternity of fools met at Faneuil Hall to celebrate their idiocy on the jubilee of Queen Victoria, never again to enter the walls of the “desecrated” building. I now remind them of that to express my delight at the fact that, having, on an impulse of the moment, made a childish vow, they did not think it necessary to keep it for its own sake, and sacrificed a little “morality” to that more trustworthy guide in life,— common sense. Nevertheless I should think they must feel not a little ashamed of their previous foolishness.
Damned be the State! say I; and for this “the State” says I must die! So be it. For, if I live, I am in duty bound to kill the State. — A. R. Parsons.
(Note: Is not the State an organized tyranny?)
We do not believe that poverty can be abolished by mere resolutions and taking up collections, nor that the millennium can be introduced by a tax on land values. — New York World.
(Note: There is some hope even for editors.)
The Knights of Labor respect the law. I hate Anarchy and I hate Anarchists. — General Master Workman Powderly.
(Note: What of the strikes ordered by the Knights? Do strikers always respect the law?)
In a sermon at the Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church, Washington, D. C., Rev. John P. Newman said that the condemned Anarchists should have been hanged long ago, and the congregation cheered him. — Press Dispatch.
(Note: Cheering in a church is a novelty, but it is no new thing for Toady Newman to make an ass of himself.)
How Capitalists “Make” Their Capital.
[G. Bernard Shaw in Our Corner.]
Divine ordination being no longer current, the first steps towards fortifying the possessions of the proprietor is to convert them into something which may be a legitimate subject of private property in the ordinary sense. The injustice of private property in raw material is readily perceived: a sense of it finds expression in the common phrase, “The earth was made by no man: therefore it belongs to no man.” But the moment a proprietor, with an eye to future family claims on his purse, causes his raw-material to be wrought by that part of the labor of the proletariat which he has no present appetite for,— the consumption of which, in fact, he is content to defer,— he invests it with a certain sacredness in the popular eye, although, as far as the people are concerned, he has only added insult to injury. His property has changed from land to capital. His moor has changed to a railway; his mountain has become a tunnel; his morass has become a fertile level; his ravine has become a canal; his hillside by the sea a fashionable watering-place. Now, one would suppose that, even if his original claim to property in the land which no man made were allowed, to the tunnel, the railway, and the rest, which were undeniably made by other men, he could not possibly have the slightest claim. Yet at present numbers of people who deny the claim to the land uphold the claim to the railway. This seems astoundingly perverse; but the transactions involved are so beset by illusions that it is hardly surprising. Land may not be private property on any terms; capital may. The only doubt that arises is as to whose property it rightfully is; and to most men, as to the law according to the proverb, possession is nine points of a good title. The landlord-capitalist, as proprietor of land no longer virgin, but prepared by past labor for the facilitation of future labor,— of a railway, for example,— has much to say for himself. His first plea is always that the railway could not have been made without him, by which he means that it could not be made without land. And indeed, as the land, being his, could not have been used without his permission, so in a sense the railway certainly could not have been made without him, unless the land happened to belong to the railway makers. The simple remedy for this is to take the land from him. The second plea is that the railway, unlike the land, was made by labor, and that, as he owns it, the presumption is that he made it. This being obviously not directly true, he proceeds to explain that he paid the men who made it the current price of their labor,— that, in effect, they made the railway and sold it to him in the open market,— and that to deprive him of it would be to steal from him the price so paid. This is generally regarded as a clincher, even by economists who now admit that wage-workers produce their own wages. The illusion here is due to the prevailing habit of studying the social machine in parts instead of as a whole. Just as a philosopher who had studied every part of a watch except the mainspring and the winding arrangements might feel that perpetual motion was an undeniable hard fact; so a student of our social system, confining his attention to a railway company and its employees, might retire convinced that a body of idle ladies and gentlemen could cause cuttings to be made, rails to be laid, tunnels to be pierced, locomotives to be constructed, and trains to be run in countries which the said ladies and gentlemen had never visited. Millions of men, not otherwise mad, firmly believe that today.
Why are railways made in the first instance? Because they save the traveller’s time and the carrier’s labor. Strange as it sounds to us now, these, and not the desire for dividends, are the root inducements to construct railways. When the proprietors resolve to have railways to economize their own time and make their proletarian slaves more efficient, they of course do not contemplate making them themselves. They require for the purpose only land and an army of superfluous slaves from whose present direct services they can afford to abstain whilst the railway is being made.* The army of slaves may be broadly considered as divided into two camps: one consisting of miners, smelters, founders, implement manufacturers, navvies, engineers, and other railway makers; the other of those who produce food, clothes, shelter, and, in short, subsistence for the entire army, themselves included. Neither of these camps is aware of the other’s existence. They deal with one another not directly, but through the proprietary class, which takes all the victual produced by the one camp and immediately returns as wages that quantity which the camp must retain for its own provision. Having thus appropriated the subsistence of the railway-making camp, it practically withholds it until the railway-makers consent to purchase it at the price of first making the railway and then surrendering it to the proprietors. As the alternative is starvation, the workers of course do consent. But the transaction, as carried out in detail, is an amusingly plausible one. The railway-making camp is conquered bit by bit, thus. The bargain is proposed first, somewhat nakedly, to the miners: “Dig out the coal and iron from our land, and give it to us, and we will feed and clothe you; without us you would starve.” The miner accepts Hobson’s choice, and yields up the coal and iron. The proprietors now possess subsistence stores, metal, and fuel. They now open negotiations with the smelter. “See,” they say, “we bring you ore to smelt, coal to smelt it with, food to eat, clothes to wear, and houses to live in. Without our ore and fuel you could not smelt: without smelting you could not earn a living. Proceed to smelt our ore for us.” What can the smelter do but accept with awe and gratitude? To the founders and implement makers the proprietors have even a better account to give of themselves. “Here we bring you the metal we have smelted, and the subsistence we have raised from the land for you. We give you the subsistence for nothing on condition that you will just cast our metal for us, and make implements for us out of it.” When the navvies and the engineers are at last reached, the position of the proprietors is splendidly magnanimous. “Poor creatures,” they imply, “what would you do without us? Can you make a railway without capital? No; the strongest navvy, the cleverest engineer, is helpless as a child without capital. And what is capital? Here it is, my friends: here are picks, spades, dynamite, barrows, sledge hammers, steel rails, bolts, screws, bars, spirit levels, and all the other indispensables. Whilst you were careless children playing in the slum gutters, we were industriously making all these-things; whilst you work with them, we will feed you when you have done, we, wonderful men as we are, will have the engines and trains ready.” And so the railway is at last made; and the proprietors take possession of it, though they have done absolutely nothing; for even the very bargaining is half automatically adjusted by competition, and half conducted by a proletarian body of foremen, clerks, and managers employed for the purpose. Yet to the navvies they seem to have done every thing except the excavating; to the engine-fitters they seem to have produced everything except the parts of the engines; and to the public they seem to have produced the whole railway. Shallow as the illusion is, it is as generally successful as the confidence trick. It imposes on the proprietors themselves as completely as it has at some time probably imposed on every reader of this page. Competition makes it so far self-acting that no conscious contrivance by proprietor or proletarian is necessary; the capitalist finds himself all-powerful, and the worker helpless, but neither knows why; and both are averse to explanations which convict the one of tyranny, the other of servility, and both of dishonesty.
* So that a railway is really the reward of abstinence after all; but in a society where, in consequence of the saturation of the proprietors with luxury, there are always thousands of the unemployed available, the abstinence involves no hardship.
A Villain Unmasks.
B. R. Tucker:
It is with fear and trembling that I have resolved to confess myself an Egoist.
I trust that my moralist friends will not forthwith cut my acquaintance, but I am afraid that they will. How have they deceived themselves in their opinion of me! They have even thought, in their ignorance, that I was a moral man, like themselves. They knew not that I was a deep-dyed scoundrel, that they were warming a viper in the light of their esteem.
Yet — I blush to confess it — I am an Egoist, and capable of all the villainies which that implies. Nothing deters me from rushing into the streets, revolver in hand, and picking off a dozen or so of the population, save the fact that I should take no pleasure in doing so.
Were it not that it would afford me no satisfaction, I should forthwith provide myself with torch and petroleum, and nightly devote myself to the work of incendiarism.
Ah, what joy! To spend the day, and every day, and all day long, in gambling-hells and cockpits, at dog-fights and “mills,” and through the brief nights to drink to utter drunkenness what time occupied not the houris such as Mahomet never dreamed of.
Is not that joy, my moralist friend?
For you, I am sure, long for such delights; yet you have my deep sympathy, for you are deterred from seeking them by a dark and terrible vow, a secret — I know not what; but for myself,— I am free! Nothing binds me; I fear nothing. Yet, strange as it will seem to you, somehow I seem not to care for all these delightsome things. It may be melancholia, or hypochondria, or perhaps it is the liver, but for things which delight you I have no taste. Queer, isn’t it?
And, on the other hand, for the things which you dislike I have a leaning as unaccountable as is my distaste for what you would enjoy if you only could.
It gives me no pain to tell the truth; on the contrary (can you imagine it?), I really prefer to. I always tell the truth from preference; except upon the rare occasions when, to avoid giving pain,— another of the things for which I have an unaccountable dislike,— I shade it a little. Sometimes, too, in a business way I am compelled to deny myself the pleasure of strict truth-telling.
Another of my strange fancies is to stand by agreements that I make. It is hard, I grant, for any one to understand how this can give pleasure; I cannot pretend to explain it myself; yet so it is. To a moralist it is doubtless totally inexplicable; yet not so inexplicable as it is to me why anybody who wants to break his agreements should refrain from doing so: in fact, I don’t believe that anybody does. I am more inclined to think that they have their reasons for wishing to do as they do. I don’t believe a man can do voluntarily what he does, not want to do.
But the strangest thing of all is that, with our totally varying tastes, as it would seem, my moral friends and I lead very nyich the same kind of lives. I grieve that it should distress them so much to live as I live with a good deal of ease and pleasure, but I honor them for their efforts to imitate what I do solely as a matter of self-indulgence. Perhaps some day they will learn to like it too.
John Beverley Robinson.
New York, September 27,1887.
Three Dreams in a Desert.
As I travelled across an African plain the sun shone down hotly. Then I drew my horse up under a mimosa-tree, and I took the saddle from him and left him to feed among the parched bushes. And all to right and to left stretched the brown earth. And I sat down under the tree, because the heat beat fiercely, and all along the horizon the air throbbed. And after a while a heavy drowsiness came over me, and I laid my head down against my saddle, and I fell asleep there. And, in my sleep, I had a curious dream.
* * *
I thought I stood on the border of a great desert, and the sand blew about everywhere. And I thought I saw two great figures like beasts of burden of the desert, and one lay upon the sand with its neck stretched out, and one stood by it. And I looked curiously at the one that lay upon the ground, for it had a great burden on its back, and the sand was thick about it, so that it seemed to have piled over it for centuries.
And I looked very curiously at it. And there stood one beside me watching. And I said to him, “What is this huge creature who lies here on the sand?”
And he said, “This is woman; she that bears men in her body.”
And I said, “Why does she lie here motionless with the sand piled round her?”
And he answered, “Listen, I will tell you! Ages and ages long she has lain here, and the wind has blown over her. The oldest, oldest, oldest man living has never seen her move: the oldest, oldest book records that she lay here then, as she lies here now, with the sand about her. But listen! Older than the oldest book, older than the oldest recorded memory of man, on the Rocks of Language, on the hard-baked clay of Ancient Customs, now crumbling to decay, are found the marks of her footsteps! Side by side with his who stands beside her you may trace them; and you know that she who now lies there once wandered free over the rocks with him.”
And I said, “Why does she lie there now?”
And he said, “I take it, ages ago the Age-of-dominion-of-muscular-force found her, and when she stooped low to give suck to her young, and her back was broad, he put his burden of subjection on to it, and tied it on with the broad band of Inevitable Necessity. Then she looked at the earth and the sky, and knew there was no hope for her; and she lay down on the sand with the burden she could not loosen. Ever since she has lain here. And the ages have come, and the ages have gone, but the band of Inevitable Necessity has not been cut.”
And I looked and saw in her eyes the terrible patience of the centuries; the ground was wet with her tears, and her nostrils blew up the sand. And I said, “Has she ever tried to move?”
And he said, “Sometimes a limb has quivered. But she is wise; she knows she cannot rise with the burden on her.”
And I said, “Why does not he who stands by her leave her and go on?”
And he said, “He cannot. Look ———”
And I saw a broad band passing along the ground from one to the other, and it bound them together.
He said, “While she lies there he must stand and look across the desert.”
And I said, “Does he know why he cannot move?”
And he said, “No.”
And I heard a sound of something cracking, and I looked, and I saw the band that bound the burden on to her back broken asunder; and the burden rolled on to the ground.
And I said, “What is this?”
And he said, “The Age-of-muscular-force is dead. The Age-of-nervous-force has killed him with the knife he holds in his hand; and silently and invisibly he has crept up to the woman, and with that knife of Mechanical Invention he has cut the band that bound the burden to her back. The Inevitable Necessity it broken. She might rise now.”
And I saw that she still lay motionless on the sand, with her eyes open and her neck stretched out. And she seemed to look for something on the far-off border of the desert that never came. And I wondered if she were awake or asleep. And as I looked her body quivered, and a light came into her eyes, like when a sunbeam breaks into a dark room.
I said, “What is it?”
He whispered “Hush! the thought has come to her, ‘Might I not rise?’”
And I looked. And she raised her head from the sand, and I saw the dent where her neck had lain so long. And she looked at the earth, and she looked at the sky, and she looked at him who stood by her: but he looked out across the desert.
And I saw her body quiver; and she pressed her front knees to the earth, and veins stood out; and I cried; “She is going to rise!”
But only her sides heaved, and she lay still where she was. But her head she held up; she did not lay it down again. And he beside me said, “She is very weak. See, her legs have been crushed under her so long.”
And I saw the creature struggle: and the drops stood out on her.
And I said, “Surely he who stands beside her will help her?”
And he beside me answered, “He cannot help her: she must help herself. Let her struggle till she is strong.”
And I cried, “At least he will not hinder her! See, he moves farther from her, and tightens the cord between them, and he drags her down.”
And he answered, “He does not understand. When she moves she draws the band that binds them, and hurts him, and he moves farther from her. The day will come when he will understand, and will know what she is doing. Let her once stagger on to her knees. In that day he will stand close to her, and look into her eyes with sympathy.”
And she stretched her neck, and the drops fell from her. And the creature rose an inch from the earth and sank back.
And I cried, “Oh, she is too weak! she cannot walk! The long years have taken all her strength from her. Can she never move?”
And he answered me, “See the light in her eyes!”
And slowly the creature staggered on to its knees.
* * *
And I awoke: and all to the east and to the west stretched the barren earth, with the dry bushes on it. The ants ran up and down in the red sand, and the heat beat fiercely. I looked up through the thin branches of the tree at the blue sky overhead. I stretched myself, and I mused over the dream I had had. And I fell asleep again, with my head on my saddle.
And in the fierce heat I had another dream.
I saw a desert and I saw a woman coming out of it. And she came to the bank of a dark river; and the bank was steep and high.* And on it an old man met her, who had a long white beard; and a stick that curled was in his hand, and on it was written Reason. And he asked her what she wanted; and she said “I am woman; and I am seeking for the land of Freedom.”
And he said, “It is before you.”
And she said, “I see nothing before me but a dark flowing river, and a bank steep and high, and cuttings here and there with heavy sand in them.”
And he said, “And beyond that?”
She said, “I see nothing, but sometimes, when I shade my eyes with my hand, I think I see on the further bank trees and hills, and the sun shining on them!”
He said, “That is the Land of Freedom.”
She said, “How am I to get there?”
He said, “There is one way, and one only. Down the banks of Labour, through the water of Suffering. There is no other.”
She said, “Is there no bridge?”
He answered. “None.”
She said, “Is the water deep?”
He said, “Deep.”
She said, “Is the floor worn?”
He said, “It is. Your foot may slip at any time, and you may be lost.”
She said, “Have any crossed already?”
He said, “Some have tried!”
She said, “Is there a track to show where the best fording is?”
He said, “It has to be made.”
She shaded her eyes with her hand; and she said, “I will go.”
And he said, “You must take off the clothes you wore in the desert: they are dragged down by them who go into the water so clothed.”
And she threw from her gladly the mantle of Ancient-received-opinions she wore, for it was worn full of holes. And she took the girdle from her waist that she had treasured so long, and the moths flew out of it in a cloud.
And he said, “Take the shoes of dependence off your feet.”
And she stood there naked, but for one white garment that clung close to her.
And he said, “That you may keep. So they wear clothes in the Land of Freedom. In the water it buoys; it always swims.”
And I saw on its breast was written Truth; and it was white; the sun had not often shone on it; the other clothes had covered it up.
And he said, “Take this stick; hold it fast. In that day when it slips from your hand you are lost. Put it down before you; feel your way: where it cannot find a bottom do not set your foot.”
And she said, “I am ready; let me go.”
And he said, “No — but stay; what is that — in your breast?”
She was silent.
He said, “Open it, and let me see.”
And she opened it. And against her breast was a tiny thing, who drank from it, and the yellow curls above his forehead pressed against it; and his knees were drawn up to her, and he held her breast fast with his hands.
And Reason said, “Who is he, and what is he doing here?”
And she said, “See his little wings ———”
And Reason said, “Put him down.”
And she said, “He is asleep, and he is drinking! I will carry him to the Land of Freedom. He has been a child so long, so long, I have carried him. In the Land of Freedom he will be a man. We will walk together there, and his great white wings will overshadow me. He has lisped one word only to me in the desert — ‘Passion!’ I have dreamed he might learn to say ‘Friendship’ in that land.”
And Reason said, “Put him down!”
And she said, “I will carry him so — with one arm, and with the other I will fight the water.”
He said, “Lay him down on the ground. When you are in the water you will forget to fight, you will think only of him. Lay him down.” He said, “He will not die. When he finds you have left him alone he will open his wings and fly. He will be in the Land of Freedom before you. Those who reach the Land of Freedom, the first hand they see stretching down the bank to help them shall be Love’s. He will be a man then, not a child. In your breast he cannot thrive; put him down that he may grow.”
And she took her bosom from his mouth, and he bit her, so that the blood ran down on to the ground. And she laid him down on the earth; and she covered her wound. And she bent and stroked his wings. And I saw the hair on her forehead turned white as snow, and she had changed from youth to age.
And she stood far off on the bank of the river.
And she said, “For what do I go to this far land which no one has ever reached? Oh, I am alone! I am utterly alone!”
And Reason, that old man, said to her, “Silence! What do you hear?”
And she listened intently, and she said, “I hear a sound of feet, a thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, and they beat this way!”
He said, “They are the feet of those that shall follow you. Lead on! make a track to the water’s edge! Where you stand now, the ground will be beaten flat by ten thousand times ten thousand feet.”
And he said, “Have you seen the locusts how they cross a stream? First one comes down to the water-edge, and it is swept away, and then another comes and then another, and then another, and at last with their bodies piled up a bridge is built and the rest pass over.”
She said, “And, of those that come first, some are swept away, and are heard of no more; their bodies do not even build the bridge?”
“And are swept away, and are heard of no more — and what of that?” he said.
“And what of that ———” she said.
“They make a track to the water’s edge.”
“They make a track to the water's edge ———” And she said, “Over that bridge which shall be built with our bodies, who will pass?”
He said, “The entire human race.”
And the woman grasped her staff.
And I saw her turn down that dark path to the river.
* * *
And I awoke; and all about me was the yellow afternoon light: the sinking sun lit up the fingers of the milk bushes; and my horse stood by me quietly feeding. And I turned on my side, and I watched the ants run by thousands in the red sand. I thought I would go on my way now — the afternoon was cooler. Then a drowsiness crept over me again, and I laid back my head and fell asleep.
And I dreamed a dream.
I dreamed I saw a land. And on the hills walked brave women and brave men, hand in hand. And they looked into each other's eyes, and they were not afraid.
And I saw the women also hold each other’s hands. And I said to him beside me, “What place is this?”
And he said, “This is heaven.”
And I said, “Where is it?”
And he answered, “On earth.”
And I said, “When shall these things be?”
And he answered, “In The Future.”
* * *
And I awoke, and all about me was the sunset light; and on the low hills the sun lay, and a delicious coolness had crept over everything; and the ants were going slowly home. And I walked towards my horse, who stood quietly feeding. Then the sun passed down behind the hills; but I knew that the next day he would arise again.
* The banks of an African river are sometimes a hundred feet high, and consist of deep shifting sands, through which in the course of ages the river has worn its gigantic bed.
Drenched by a Drop.
[Auguste Vacquerie in Le Rappel.]
When Katkoff died, France put on mourning. “We have lost our best friend!” was the cry on all hands. M. Paul Dérouléde appointed himself ambassador extraordinary to represent us at the obsequies. General Boulanger issued a manifesto. The press sent a crown. There has been an ebullition — upon which has suddenly fallen a drop of cold water, a letter written last May by the man over whom France was weeping, the principal sentence of which was as follows:
“I hate France with a deadly hatred, because she always has been and still is the fireside of liberal and revolutionary propagandism, and I do not despair of seeing her some day occupied a second time by the armies of order.”
I said a drop; I should have said a shower-bath.
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.