“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.
“It’s better, being sane, to have fools call one an idiot than, being an idiot, to have the stupid call one sane.” At least, such is the opinion of the “Canadian Labor Reformer.”
“In politics,” said John Morley, in a recent lecture, “the choice constantly lies between two blunders.” In contemporary American politics the choice is considerably more perplexing, there being five or six blunders to select from; but a man may choose not to blunder at all.
At Union Hill, New Jersey, the Socialists called a meeting lately to protest against the Chicago verdict. The police gathered at the door of the hall, and would let no one enter or open the doors. Rioting and clubbing ensued, and a Socialist was arrested for resisting the police. At his trial the judge charged the jury that they were to judge the prisoner’s right to resist the police by inquiring whether the meeting would have been unlawful had it been held. The prisoner was convicted. Presently men will be sent to jail for mailing books that were never written, but that would have been obscene had any one ever written them, “Does your b-b-bwother like cheese?” asked Lord Dundreary of Miss Georgiana Mountchessington. “Why, really, my lord, you know I have no brother,” responded the bored Georgiana. “Oh, ya-a-as, I forgot,” drawled the incorrigible Dundreary; “I meant, if you h-h-had a b-b-bwother, w-w-would he like cheese?” Have they a Dundreary on the New Jersey bench? Here’s a chance for the “Truth Seeker.” If that enterprising paper will hammer the skull of this idiot of the bench as vigorously as it did that of the better-deserving magistrate who tried C. B. Reynolds, Liberty will applaud it as warmly now as it condemned it then.
The first public meeting of the Anarchists’ Club was a pronounced success. The hall in which it was held was not a large one, but it was filled to its utmost capacity, and not a few turned away from the door, seeing that they could not find even standing room. The chairman opened the proceedings by reading the Club’s constitution, and then read, as the authorized utterance of the Club, a paper which Victor Yarros had been asked to write for the purpose, on “Anarchism: Its Aims and Methods.” This paper, which occupied nearly an hour in delivery, was one of marked ability, and received, as it deserved, the enthusiastic commendation of the audience. It will doubtless be published in full hereafter, either in Liberty or as a pamphlet or both. After the paper had been finished, an opportunity was afforded for questions from non-members, to be answered by members in speeches not exceeding ten minutes. For an hour a brisk cross-fire of questions and answers was kept up, giving evidence of a most lively interest in the subject. Among those who took part were Messrs. Simpson, Stillman, Wilson, O’Lally, Yarros, Babcock, Norris, “Badger,” Finn, and Davis. Many of the questioners fancied that they had. discovered violations of Anarchistic doctrine in the Club’s constitution. All such would do well to read carefully Mr. Yarros’s editorial in another column, in which he effectively disposes of the principal of their objections. The committee on meetings informed the audience that the success of the meeting warranted the promise of another a fortnight later. The daily papers reported the proceedings to a greater or less extent, and many of them gave a great deal of attention to it editorially. True, they wrote precious nonsense, but two of them had the fairness to admit answers to their columns from members of the Club, and thus Anarchistic ideas got not a little free advertising. Perhaps the most significant event of the day was the act of D. H. Biggs, for several months one of the most active of Henry George’s supporters in this vicinity, in enrolling himself as a member of the Club. Anarchism has been slowly unfolding itself for some time in Mr. Biggs’s mind, and the power of the idea is strikingly exemplified in his abandonment of those lines of reform work in which he had won the place of a leader to devote his energies to the furtherance of the principle of liberty, which he now sees to be the condition of all enduring reformatory effort. All things considered, the Anarchists’ Club opens its career very auspiciously.
The folly of the bomb-thrower has now been overmatched by the folly of the law.
When the lurking demon in the human heart rises in organized might to crush the defenceless, every son of liberty should at least proclaim the crime, if he can do no more, I have always spoken against the dynamite doctrine as something, in this country, as yet altogether uncalled for; and condemned its advocacy as calculated to supplant reason by passion, attract the desperate, reckless, and criminal to our standard, turn popular feeling against us, and repel those who were honestly seeking a solution of labor troubles, but who were as yet uneducated in true Anarchistic philosophy. Moreover, I have earnestly condemned all attempts to enforce Communism, or any other cooperative scheme, upon the acceptance of individuals against their will, as being (no matter how beneficial the scheme might really be if accepted) essentially and radically paternalistic, and therefore opposed to true Anarchism,— liberty. And, finally, I have always opposed the violent settlement of difficulties capable of satisfactory adjustment on a peaceful basis; and such a peaceful adjustment of our social chaos I believe possible; and the means and methods of securing such a possibility and “consummation devoutly to be wished for” I, in common with all true Anarchists and the philosophers who coordinate with them, endeavor to teach. To the desperate crisis that imperatively demands war it does not seem to me we have as yet come, and I sincerely trust we never shall.
Therefore I have spoken and witnessed against these Communistic quasi-Anarchists of Chicago and their work, and prophesied that they would hasten a bloody catastrophe that would work woe to the laborers’ cause. And in all this I have neither been original, nor alone, for the true Anarchists of the country have with wonderful unanimity declared the same.
Therefore it will be understood that what I have to say on this matter is spoken from no partisan standpoint. Let us look into this case analytically. A group of men, brave, eloquent, and devoted; fired by study and contemplation of the great and terrible crimes committed by the Law in the name of Justice, by the Church in the name of Religion, by the State in the name of Order, against their fellows, the proletariat, the laborers, the bone and muscle and useful brain of the world; and realizing vividly that the force from which they suffer is applied by and through the State, without whose powerful support their tormentors would be helpless,— broke out into furious and intemperate, yet eloquent, denunciation. Their talk was violent, passionate; the method they proposed as remedial rash and desperate; but who could blame them? They but walked in the footsteps of the heroes of the ages. When philosophers, poets, thinkers, scientists, almost unanimously agree that the social misery of man comes mainly from the scourging whips of Power, the constrictive curse of Monopoly, and the gnawing leeches of Privilege, yet apparently do very little for the immediate or practical removal of these bans and bloodsuckers, what wonder if men, not so philosophical and teleological, but warmhearted and sympathetic, grow impatient and break out into mad-mouthed ravings?
And it was for this talk, alone, that seven of these men were sentenced to a disgraceful death and one to be outrageously imprisoned.
Men of America, guardians of liberty, is this just? Upon your head be your share of the blood of the innocent, if these men be slain without cause, and you have knowingly allowed it to pass without condemnation.
What if these men did advise armed resistance, destruction of property, dynamite? If they were wrong, it were answer enough to confound them to show conclusively that the laboring men of this country, of the world, have no abuses; that they possess all their labor produces; that they are not systematically robbed, cheated, and enslaved by money monopoly, land monopoly, commercial monopoly, and all the little monopolies continually spawned by their ever-pregnant, ever parturient mother, the State; that the Order of government and the Justice of law are not stupendous lies. If this were true, it would not be hard to prove; for comfort, prosperity, equity, security, cannot be hidden under a bushel of vain complaints; their light is inextinguishable; and, if proved, Parsons, Spies, Fielden, et als, would simply have been laughed at by their well-fed and happy audiences as amusing lunatics.
It Is Because the Charges of These Men Were Mainly True that monopolists, great and small, turned white and ground their teeth; and a sycophantic and prostituted press foamed and blustered with fiendish suggestiveness. Then came the Haymarket crisis. A peaceful assemblage of workingmen that has dwindled from thousands to a few hundreds the addresses almost over, and about to quietly disperse, is suddenly attacked by a troop of policemen with abusive epithets, and drawn revolvers, and orders to disperse, heedless of its protested peacefulness. Instantly a deadly missile parts the air, and the bellowing crowd goes down in blood and ruin. Who threw it? No one knows. Perhaps a workingman maddened by his wrongs and the bullying of the brutal police; perhaps some hoodlum desperado “spoiling for a fight”; perhaps some poor Barnaby Budge, psychologised by the darker spirits of the Revolution, doing he knew not what. It is not yet revealed. But these eight men are arrested and tried for murder.
What then? It was not proved that any of these men threw bombs, or lighted fuses, or knew of any who committed such acts, or gave any specific orders or directions for such acts. The carefully manipulated evidence of the prosecution failed to prove anything worse against them than violent and incendiary words, under such great and terrible provocation as might have maddened the spirit of a Jesus. And, for this, what, was practically a packed jury, no workingman being included, declared that seven of these men must die; Judge Gary refused a new trial, and the supreme court has now clinched all by reaffirming the monstrous verdict. Men of America, consider! Is this just? Admitting the unwisdom of these men, have they committed a crime? And, if a crime, docs it deserve this cruel, this terrible and unusual punishment? Is punishment,— revenge,— after all, the best agent with which to deal with crime? Will hanging these men bring safety to the rich or comfort and content to the poor? Will not the drops of their victim-blood become fountains of gore? Will not violence bring forth violence, and murder revenge, till the days of death are fulfilled?
They are sowing the wind. Listen! The whirlwind mutters in the distance. They are planting the teeth of the dragon. Hark! The roar of innumerable voices, the sudden tramp of millions, thronging like bloodhounds on the scent! Alas, my country!
Men of America, pause! This is no time for bloodshed, passion, or revenge. Consider! The pen is mightier than the sword. The press can do more than parks of artillery. Educate the people in the true principles of scientific equity, order, and harmony, and the methods of attaining them; explain to them the simple salvation of equal liberty, and tyranny perishes like miasm in the sunlight. Did any evil ever yet withstand the quiet, passive, yet determined resistance of the noble-minded and intelligent? Knowledge is the true Saviour, the only Liberator.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
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. 109.
210. Let us take an additional illustration. In wood-chopping the chief point of superiority is in the rapidity of performance. In other occupations it is different. Take the case of a clerk or copyist. Here there are three or four points of excellence,— speed, elegance, legibility and accuracy. All this does not in the least affect the principle. The competition may be for the combination of the greatest excellence in each of these properties, or it may be, in case there is enough of the business to divide itself into branches, for the particular kind of excellence which is wanted in the particular branch. There is some copying in which speed is of far more importance than elegance, and vice versa. It is still, in the same manner, to the mutual advantage of all that those persons shall be employed in writing, and in each branch of writing, who are most expert in it, because that reduces to everybody the price of making out titles to property, keeping records, and the like, and, as these expenses enter again into the cost, and consequently into price of houses and rent they enter again into the price of board, and so of every article, rendering the competition again cooperative and not antagonistic.
211. It has now, I think, been sufficiently shown that competition, under this system of principles, is really cooperative, and therefore purely beneficent, provided the two conditions above-stated are sufficiently secure: first, that the avenues be open to every individual to enter any pursuit according to his tastes without artificial obstacles; and, secondly, that there be at all times labor enough for all.
Every body will, therefore, be naturally and continually aided, from the common interest, by every body around him, in placing himself in that position where he has most capacity to act, which, as has been stated, will, in the end, be that also, if he has the opportunity to try himself at different occupations, for which he will have the greatest fondness or appetency. The avenues to employment must therefore be all open to all persons. It will be as much to the interest of all that they should be so, as it is now their interest to prevent it. Now men wish to monopolize certain occupations which are profitable, because it is to their pecuniary advantage to do so. Then men can have no other motive for doing so than their preference for exercising these occupations themselves, which preference must be indulged, if indulged at all, by keeping out better qualified men, adversely to their own pecuniary interests and the interests of the whole community around them.
212. But when antagonistic competition is out of the way, similar industrial tastes form one of the strongest bonds of friendship. In a community constituted upon these principles, to keep any person out of his true industrial position, by conspiracy of any sort, would be both a dishonest and a dishonorable act. Hence it follows that pecuniary interest, natural sympathy with those of similar tastes, morality, and the sense of honor would all conspire to overcome any personal preference for a particular occupation such as would otherwise exclude better qualified men. This combination of motives will be sufficient to keep a fair and open field for the contest of merit in every department of industry. In the existing social disorder men are, for the most part, thrust by chance into the positions which they occupy and the pursuits which they follow. Nobody but the man himself feels the slightest interest in his being in that place in which he can make the best use of his powers. If his position happens to be a fortunate adaptation to his capacities, the gain is his own. It is monopolized by him through the operation of the value principle, or the benefit, if felt at all by the public, is so remotely felt that there is no general interest manifested in the matter, and it is accordingly left entirely to chance. Consequently, men, considered merely as instruments of production, are now employed as much at random as the implements of a farm would be, if a savage, smitten with a taste for agriculture, had installed himself in the farm-house, and begun by using the barrow for a hetchel, the hand-saw for an axe, the sickle for a pruning-hook, the rake for a hoe, and so on. Hence, under the operation of the Cost Principle, the superior excellence of each individual in that occupation in which he excels secures his employment in it, both because that is the point upon which competition bears, and because the advantage of his being employed in it inures directly to the benefit of every member of society by lowering the price of the article which he produces rendering every one anxious to see him so placed and ready to aid him by every means to place himself there.
213. It has been stated, and partially demonstrated, that the idea of the liability to an excess of human labor is on a par with the obsolete notion of an excess of blood in the human system. (161.) With the prevalence of a thorough and varied industrial education on the part of the whole people, such as is rendered possible by the Cost Principle, but the details of which do not belong to this volume; with the removal of all artificial obstacles to the free entrance by all upon all industrial pursuits; with adequate arrangements for knowing the wants of all,and for distributing the products of all, so as skillfully to subserve those wants through a scientific adjustment of supply to demand; with that complete removal of the hindrances to the free interchange of commodities now occasioned by the scarcity and expensiveness of the circulating medium, which will result from the Labor Note as a currency, converting all labor at once into cash, and the means of commanding the results of all other labor the world over,— with all these conditions, and various others of less moment, operated by these principles, the infinitely varying wants of humanity, perpetually expanding under culture, together with the tendency to rest and simply enjoy, on the part of those who can, fostered by conscious security of condition, may be implicitly relied upon to call into use every degree and quality of human labor which any body will be found willing to render, even down to the lowest grades of skill, notwithstanding the fact that those who thus come in, as it were, last will be best paid.
214. IV. — This brings us to the next point,— namely, the Economies of Cooperation and of the Large Scale. Of the first branch of this subject, the economies of cooperation, including attraction, it cannot be necessary that much should be said. Illustrations have already been given of the waste of human exertion consequent upon antagonism, and the want of adaptation between the man and his pursuit. (151, 212.) The genius of any reader is adequate to filling up the hideous catalog to repletion. Equity destroys antagonism, and opens the way to the performance of every function in the most economical way.
215. The economy resulting upon the performance of labor upon the large instead of the small scale is well understood and highly appreciated in our present stage of civilization, just so far as the application of the principle chances to have been made. It is known, for example, that a thousand persons can be profitably transported at a trip, upon a magnificent steamboat, from New York to Albany, a distance of one hundred and sixty miles, at fifty cents for each person, while to run the same boat, or any boat with like elegance and conveniences, ten miles, for the accommodation of one individual, would cost several hundred dollars. It is not yet generally understood that the same principle applied on land may, and will yet, house the whole population in palaces, and cause the masses of mankind to enjoy an immunity from want heretofore enjoyed by the privileged classes only. The glorious truth is not yet generally understood that every man, woman, and child may, by a scientific arrangement of the appliances for the production and distribution of wealth, be rendered infinitely richer than any, even the most privileged individual, is now. After having seen that lucifer matches can be manufactured and sold at a penny a bunch by carrying on the manufacture as a business upon the large scale, the absurdity would immediately appear — the waste of human exertion would be too obvious to escape attention — if every housekeeper in a large city were to rise each successive morning, go out and purchase a few splinters of pine, with a little pot of sulfur, and manufacture, by the expenditure of half an hour’s time from one to a half dozen matches with which to kindle her fire the following day. It is not so readily perceived, however, as it will be at a future day, that the absurdity is of the same sort when seventy-five thousand women are engaged daily, in the city of New York, and twice a day, in boiling three quarters of water each in a tea-kettle. The benefits of labor-saving machinery are derived from the operation of this principle, the essential economy of the large scale. In the isolated household those benefits can never be applied to cooking, washing, ironing, house-cleaning, and the like. Hence, in the isolated household, the drudgery to which woman is now condemned can never be materially alleviated. The facility with which these tiresome labors are now performed in the large American hotels, in some of our charitable institutions, and even in prisons, is a standing irony upon the wretched and poverty-stricken arrangements of our domestic establishments. Any system of social reorganization which should involve the necessity of individual or family isolation would be, therefore, essentially faulty, while, on the other hand, every individual must be left entirely free to seek and enjoy as much solitude or privacy as he or she may choose, assuming for themselves the additional cost of such indulgence.
216. While the public at large have not pushed their investigations into the wonderful results which are yet to come from new applications of this principle of economy,— in the immense augmentation of wealth, leisure, luxury, and refinement to be participated in by the whole people,— Social Reformers have not failed to do so. Many of them have reveled in their brilliant imaginings of the future until they have become maddened at the stupidity of the world, and denounce with a vehemence, which seems insanity to their less appreciative fellow-men, the folly and absurdity of our existing social arrangements. The folly is, however, by no means confined to the Conservative. The Socialist has proposed no method of realizing the splendid social revolution which he advocates, other than combinations, industrial associations or extensive partnership interests. The Conservative has rightly seen in such arrangements insuperable difficulties of administration, and ruinous surrender of the freedom of the individual. The demand is now urgent for a solution of this embroglio. The Cost Principle furnishes that solution in that method of its operation which I am about to specify. Herein, then, is the conciliation of the seemingly conflicting truths of Socialism and Conservatism.
217. It has been already stated that the individualization or disconnection of interests insisted upon by us has in it none of the features of isolation,— that there is, in fine, in these principles, nothing adverse to the largest enterprises, and the most thorough organization in every department of business. The disconnection relates to the methods of ownership and administration, not to the aggregation of persons. It is adverse alone to sinking the distinction or blending the lines of individual property, but in no manner to the closest association, the most intimate relations, and the most effective cooperation between the owners of the interests thus sharply defined. We affirm, indeed, that it is only out of this prior and continuous rigid ascertainment of rights that mutual harmony and beneficial cooperation can ever accrue. To obliterate the lines of individual property and administration is always and everywhere to plunge into utter and hopeless confusion. Such is the sin of Communism. To interlock and combine the several interests of a community so that the will of one party, in the management of his own, can be overborne by the will of another individual, or any majority of individuals in the world, or his conduct in the administration of that which is his subjected to the authorized criticism of others, is a species of multiplication in which confusion and despotism are the factors, and the natural and inevitable product, in all delicately constituted and well-developed minds, abhorrence and disgust. Such is the sin of all partnerships. Trades’ Associations, and Fourieristic Phalansterian joint-stock arrangements whatsoever.
218. Let it be observed distinctly, however, that in none of these proposed reorganizations of society is the fallacy to be found in the magnificent amplitude of dimensions, the complex variety of development, the intimate societary life, the general prevalence of wealth, luxury, and refinement, nor in the indispensable postulatum of universal cooperation. All this, and more, lies hid in the womb of time, and the hour of parturition is at hand. The futility of all these schemes of social regeneration is to be found alone in the want of individualization as the starting point, the perpetual accompaniment, and the final development of the movement, and the failure to discover that in harmonious juxtaposition with the complete severance and apparent opposition of individual interests lies the most liberal, perfect, and all-pervading system of mutual cooperation, developed through a process almost ridiculously simple,— the mere cessation of mutual robbery by the erection and observance of a scientific measure of price and standard of equivalents.
219. A single illustration will render clear the way in which, out of the limitation of all price to the mere cost of performance and production, grows the tendency to aggregation, and the doing of all work upon the large, and thereby upon the economical scale,— but without partnership interest or Combination in the technical sense of that term, as differing from Cooperation. (49, 50.) Take the case of an Eating-House conducted upon the Cost Principle. If fifty, one hundred, or five hundred persons eat at the same establishment, the economy is immense over providing the same number of people with the same style of living in ten, twenty, or one hundred separate establishments. Hence the large and elegant eating saloon, with cleanliness, order, artistic skill, and abundance, in the preparation of food, is a cheaper arrangement than the meager and ill-conditioned private table. The general facts in this respect are too well known to require to be specifically established. In the Eating-House, as it now exists in large cities, the economy here spoken of is actually secured,— that is, each boarder is fed at less actual cost than he could be in the isolated household; but the saving thus effected does not go into the pocket of the boarder, nor accrue in any manner to his benefit. On the contrary, he is ordinarily compelled to pay more than it would cost him to supply himself at home. Hence, there is no general and controlling influence of the eating house system to call the population out of their private establishments and induce them to live upon the large scale, at public saloons. There are conveniences and agreeable features in that mode of life which address themselves to certain classes of persons, bachelors with ample means, merchants whose business is at a distance from their homes, travelers, temporary citizens, etc., which overbalance the repulsion of enhanced price, and supply these establishments with a given amount of custom. They fail, however, on account of that enhanced price, to break up, as they would inevitably do if the price were much less instead of greater, the isolated household system of cookery, which is now one of the primary causes of the unmitigated drudgery and underdevelopment of the female sex.
To be continued.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 109.
Without denying it, without defining it, Ellen feared it no more, considering it as an agent absolutely not to be thought of in the affairs of life, and this was why she was now disturbed by these repeated occult manifestations which her accomplice communicated to her.
Evidently they emanated from individuals who knew or mistrusted, and who, renouncing their futile attempt to intimidate Richard, would probably end by speaking and preferring their formal accusation before public opinion, before a tribunal.
Surely they would not brutally tear her away from the castle where she had reigned, up to that time, amid adulation, to thrust her into the cold dungeon provided for ordinary prisoners; the judges would treat her with gallantry; her assurance, her indignant denials, would impose on them without doubt; her beauty would finish the work of convincing them of her innocence; but, after this scandal, of which there would always remain some vestige in the public mind, would Richard dare to become her husband, braving the hostile sentiments, the sly insinuations, the clandestine rumors? And still less would he have the audacity to remain her lover on account of the eyes turned upon them, and he would escape her just when, in her struggle to possess him alone, indissolubly, she had at last triumphed!
Who knew even, in the derangement of brain and of conscience which she saw him to be in, whether he would maintain before the court an attitude sufficiently firm to convince justice of their common innocence? Even to save her, would he consent to lie, to perjure himself? Called on and summoned to tell the truth, would he not confess under a sudden impulse of the frankness which characterized him? And it was this failing of her lover, the fierce uprightness of his nature, which frightened her.
As, however, around her, among her servants, the soldiers garrisoning Cumslen Park, the officers whom she daily received, and the visitors who brought her their condolences, no one let fall the faintest symptom of suspicion in regard to her, or showed, in her presence, even the imperceptible embarrassment which would have escaped even the best actors, she recovered her boldness, and undertook to reassure Bradwell, who was more deeply affected.
Treor alone, she said, shared with them the secret of Sir Newington’s death, and, he having died also, no one had received his confidence. What, then, remained about which they need worry themselves to death; not even simple presumptions; the gratuitous or interested guess of some Irishman, advanced in order to trouble them and exonerate the memory of his friend! Truly, they showed themselves very simple to be impressed by so little!
The perpetrators of these annoyances, moreover, well knew whom they concerned; they pursued, with their malicious jokes, only Richard, whose tormented mind gave them a ridiculous credit which she would have refused them.
So, Lady Ellen remarked, they sent her no warning, no summons; she came and went, without any where feeling the earth rise, or hearing the walls ring, or being addressed by voices descending from heaven such as he heard wherever he might go.
And as her gaiety returned with that mental calmness which she had at first lost, she ended by laughing at her lover and at the vain terrors which besieged him. and she asked him if he was quite sure that the voices existed, if they did not rather resound in the interior of his brain.
He answered by the letters: did he, by chance, write them himself in a dream? She desired to examine them, flattering herself that she would recognize the writing, or at least discern in the characters the source from which they came; but in vain Bradwell searched for them in the pockets where he had carefully buried them: disappeared!
To relieve his conscience he ransacked the furniture in which, in his excitement, he might have locked them up with the thought that he might need them; in no drawer, no hiding-place known to himself alone, did he find them, and the Duchess saw in this disappearance a sign that all this lugubrious farce by which Richard and she had been filled with suspicion had been played upon them by timid people who were afraid of compromising themselves.
By whom, however? She would not have been a woman if this curiosity had not piqued her, and she watched all those who approached her, with the detective-like care with which she always conducted her inquiries. She interrogated skilfully, feverishly, setting traps into which the culprits would certainly have fallen, and did not give up; but the conspirators showed intelligence also. Vainly she set watch over, and herself watched, her domestics, her maids: all her attempts failed pitifully.
Then her over-excited suspicion extended to everybody promiscuously and, although she had quite ceased to tremble, she conceived irrational resentments toward her most faithful servants, toward persons farthest from injuring her; and she took a special animadversion to the priest of Bunclody whom she inwardly accused of having plotted and concocted all the manoeuvres which had imposed upon Richard.
The priest, who had formerly frequented Cumslen-Park, had not looked at all pleasant since the insurrection, and did not set foot in the castle; even during the mourning of the Duchess, when he should at least have offered his condolences, he had not appeared or given sign of life; certainly such an absence must signify something, must indicate criminal acts; and without more certainty, she enjoined Gowan to severely punish Sir Richmond for his intercourse with the rebels.
And the leader of the Infernal Mob, who cherished a rancor against the invisible, intangible enemy for the murder of several rascals of his band, congratulated himself on this extra duty, in which he could give expression to his ferocity, which had been increasing for some days, in the absence of objects on which to wreak it.
The poor, trembling priest, however, kept himself free from all participation, even hidden, in any act, and at the time when events took such an abominable turn, he redoubled his precautions, and displayed a luxury which would have been laughable under other circumstances, that they might not, in either of the camps, implicate him in any affair, or even accuse him of preferences.
Padlocked in his presbytery with his servant, he did not show even the end of his nose at the window, or even his shadow behind the glass when, in front of the house, arose the abominable tumult of some execrable and cowardly assassination.
Pushing circumspection to the extreme, he simply fell on his knees and interceded with his God at once for the victim, in order that the Lord might receive him nevertheless into Paradise in case he die unforgiven, and for the executioners, whom he supplicated the Most High, Most Merciful, to pardon.
And he guarded even his mental demeanor in such a way that he should not be compromised, making the request by a vague movement of his soul at the feet of the Eternal. Formulating his supplication in words, his expression would have been of a nature, in spite of all his care, to grate upon susceptibilities; by any subterfuge employed to designate the murderers he would have run a risk of disobliging these odious rascals.
The result of this attitude, it is true, authorized both the Irish and the English to believe him at heart with the enemy.
And it was in this way that Hunter Gowan argued in spite of his protestations, the morning when he invaded the presbytery in company with the fiercest of his sanguinary gang, thirstier for carnage than ever before.
At the first summons to open, the priest remained deaf in spite of the uproar of reiterated calls, abuse, and insults, and the drunken brutes asked him if he was in bed with his servant, though she was not at all appetizing.
Obtaining no response, they scaled the wall, broke in the doors, smashed the partitions, and, reaching the room where the unhappy man was shivering with terror at his prayer-desk, cried:
“Ah! rascals, scoundrels, is this the way you receive the defenders of order? They described you well when they denounced you as an out-and-out Irishman.”
The priest, in order to protest, cut suddenly short the ejaculatory prayer which, in the imminence of his peril, he was addressing to the Almighty for his own salvation, struck his breast, made sonorous by the fasting to which the hostilities and the absence of the market which supplied his plentiful table had condemned him, and shouted, lifting his long arms in the air:
“An Irishman! me! and an out-and-out one?”
Standing upright, he did not try to avoid the scrutinizing looks of Gowan. He opened his eyes immoderately wide, that the leader of the Mob might be able to see the depths of his soul.
“An Irishman!” continued he; “but the censure which, from the beginning of the insurrection, I have not ceased to inflict upon the Irish; my church, which I have forbidden them, closed with folding doors; their wives, to whom I have refused communion; their daughters, to whom I have refused confession; their children, to whom I have refused baptism; their dead, to whom I have refused extreme unction, my benedictions, my absolution!”
“The wonderful privation!” interrupted, with a coarse laugh, the ex-valet of the hunt. “Now, if you had refused them the beer and wines in your cellar!”
“Oh! as for that,” affirmed the priest, “I have not had to deprive them of them; they drink only pure water.”
“Like frogs! But we are not frogs; why have you not already invited us to taste your liquors? We will empty cups to your health, which has need of good wishes, for I swear to you that it is very much threatened.”
This pleasantry was welcomed with hurrahs, emphasized by the clanking of the sabres and the ringing of the muskets on the flag-stones, and the patient, who felt already the cold blades in his flesh, ordered his old and dull servant to run and show the brave men into the hall, where a good fire was blazing, and to serve them promptly with everything they might desire to drink.
But the instruction arrived too late; already the goblets had been filled, the jars were being emptied as by enchantment down the burning throats, and, with the noise of the earthen-ware, of the tin, and of the wooden tables knocked against each other, bursts of laughter and noisy speeches arose.
“See how you sin, like one of your sheep,” said Gowan; “you fail in kind attentions; I have been obliged to remind you of a politeness which should have imposed itself upon you immediately on our entrance, and which my comrades have not had the patience to await. No, no, it is useless for you to swear to the contrary; you have not treated us as friends.”
Growing pale; his terror increased by that of old Edwige, the servant, who I crossed herself continually, mumbling bit by bit or all together (her God would know them well) all the prayers, all the litanies, all the acts of faith, of hope, of charity, of contrition, that she could think of,—the priest struggled with all his might against this deadly accusation.
The time had passed for circumspection, for a position midway between the two parties; he declared himself very squarely for the English, calling Edwige to witness, but still not deciding to go down among Gowan’s soldiers, who were now sitting at the table and clamoring for something to eat; he appealed to God on high, and here below to Jesus on his crucifix.
The captain of the Infernal Mob shook his head and informed him then of his strict instructions, received from the mouth of the Duchess herself in consequence of formal accusations representing the priest as affiliated with the United Irishmen. The actions which he had just cited to exonerate himself were comedies, assumed to divert suspicion and to secure the power to carry on with impunity, in shadow and disguise, the works of darkness and blood.
At the same time Gowan, cunning and violent, declared him prisoner, laying his hand on his shoulder so roughly that he staggered and uttered a cry of pain; and a tardy dignity arose in him to protest against this outrage on his character, against the sacrilege of this brutality, aimed, it seemed to him, at his priesthood more than his person.
And, ashamed at the cowardice which he had thus far shown, as if suddenly touched with a grace that enlightened him, he reviewed his whole conduct from the beginning of the revolution and judged himself with an extreme severity.
Truly, was not the right on the side of the insurgents? And, in any case, their heroism, their abnegation, their constant humanity, in the early days, merited admiration and esteem and sympathy.
If, at last, exasperated by the inexcusable cruelties of the conquerors, they engaged in their turn in a war without mercy, they did so in retaliation. Well! without approving, he comprehended them, and did not blame them.
And he reproached himself for abjuring them, for abusing them, as he had just done, proclaiming sentiments of Anglomania which he did not feel, and, solemnly, boldly, in a manner worthy of respect, he made honorable amends to the conquered whom he had insulted, almost the instant before, out of base fear.
He did not settle the question of the legitimacy of their claims, but applauded their courage, their avoidance of excesses.
Therefore Gowan did not let him utter a long tirade. The priest making compact with the insurgents, that was the complaint which was made against him; he confessed it, or at least no longer disputed it; Lady Ellen’s orders, then, could be executed without delay.
“What orders?” inquired the old servant, resting, for a second, from her mumblings.
“To hang him, or cut his throat, or shoot him, as he may prefer,” responded Gowan.
But Sir Richmond put her gently aside, and, lifting his eyes to heaven in the conventional attitude of a martyr, he said:
“I do not fear death!”
“We shall see!” said Gowan, pushing the priest before him down the staircase.
Below, the gang, whose drunkenness was increasing, were yelling hungrily before the ransacked cupboards and the kitchen rummaged from one end to the other; they insisted that the old servant and the priest should show them where the victuals which they could not find were hidden.
“But there is no hiding-place,” the servant assured them.
“No fowl, no cheeses, no quarters of game, no ham?”
“No, on my place in paradise.”
And the priest, supporting her affirmation, roused a rage of furious disappointment, a chorus of anathemas, volleys of blasphemies, in the midst of an incessant uproar of benches striking the pavement and empty bottles breaking; and one of them pleasantly insinuated:
“Shall we eat, then, the priest and the vixen?”
His comrades protested at first, unanimously; the priest seemed to them really too tough, and the old woman as greasy as a seal. Thanks! they would only drink, as there was no more solid refreshment.
And eight or ten of them repaired to the cellar, from which they brought up casks; placing them anywhere, even on the table, they did not cease to fill their glasses, which they emptied at one gulp, in the hurry of their disgusting orgy, finishing by losing their reason, while Gowan, accepting a glass to imbibe ideas, busied himself with inventing a way to settle the priest’s account that should be ingenious, novel, and creditable to his imagination!
But one of his companions stole from him the glory of the discovery, a certain Rutbert, who had proposed eating the curate and the old woman, and who now, in his stupid intoxication, began to put his idea into execution.
In the fire-place long logs of oak were blazing with clear flames which filled the chimney, and the intense heat bit the flesh under the clothes, under the gaiters, under the boots of the soldiers, who moved away, one of them, whose calves were burned, regretting that a deer was not roasting before this splendid fire.
“Let us roast the priest!” rejoined Rutbert; and, not allowing his proposal to be forgotten, renewing it between every drink which he swallowed, it at last was echoed by three or four of his comrades, as drunk as himself, and soon the whole band uttered the refrain:
“The priest on the spit! The priest on the spit!”
And, notwithstanding the Pater-Nosters of Edwige, her supplications, kneeling at the feet of the rascals, a discharge of pistols, followed by twenty other murderous reports, struck Sir Richmond, unmoved, braving his executioners. He rolled on the flag-stones, and, divesting him hastily of his clothes, the savages, in shameless joy, in the midst of cries which were heard at the castle, looked about for a pike on which to impale their victim in order to lay him before the fire-place, and, finding none, but still stubborn in their cannibalistic design, they fixed upon a compromise.
They would not roast the thin old fellow whole, with his skin tanned like a shoe; but his heart, perhaps, was more delicate than his dog’s skin, and ten knives at the same time ripped open his breast. Rutbert plunged his hands into the opening, and, detaching from its ligaments the heart still warm and beating, he pierced it with a long, sharp dagger, which they placed before the fire-place to serve as the desired spit.
Stamping with joy and drinking repeated bumpers, they, nevertheless, did not taste this horrible dish.
At the moment when, out of bravado, Rutbert, challenged by the others, was ready to cut from the heart, the blood of which was dropping on the embers, a piece to eat, suddenly a voluminous package fell into the flames through the flue, and a formidable explosion, scattering over the room a shower of projectiles, burst out, riddling with lead and iron each of the bandits, and finally burying them under the rubbish of the fallen house.
From her window the Duchess saw the house blown up and believed it a trick of Gowan’s, but soon the rumor of what had happened reached her ears; Gowan and all of the band which had accompanied him had perished without one escaping.
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.
The Nature of the State.
Below is reprinted from the London Jus the reply of F. W. Read to the editorial in No. 104 of Liberty, entitled Contract or Organism, What’s That to Us?.
To the Editor of Jus:
Sir,— Referring to Mr. Tucker’s criticisms on my letters in Jus dealing with Voluntary Taxation, the principle of a State organism seems to be at the bottom of the controversy. I will therefore deal with that first, although it comes last in Mr. Tucker’s article. Mr. Tucker asks whether the State being an organism makes it permanent and exempt from dissolution. Certainly not; I never said it did. But cannot Mr. Tucker see that dissolving an organism is something different from dissolving a collection of atoms with no organic structure? If the people of a State had been thrown together yesterday or the day before, no particular harm would come from splitting them into numerous independent sections; but when a people has grown together generation after generation, and century after century, to break up the adaptations and correlations that have been established can scarcely be productive of any good results. The tiger is an organism, says Mr. Tucker, but if shot he will be speedily disorganized. Quite so; but nobody supposes that the atoms of the tiger’s body derive any benefit from the process. Why should the atoms of the body politic derive any advantage from the dissolution of the organism of which they form a part? That Mr. Tucker should put the State on a level with churches and insurance companies is simply astounding. Does Mr. Tucker really think that five or six “States” could exist side by side with the same convenience as an equal number of churches? The difficulty of determining what “State” an individual belonged to would be practically insuperable. How are assaults and robberies to be dealt with? Is a man to be tried by the “State” of which he is a citizen, or by the State of the party aggrieved? If by his own, how is a police officer of that State to know whether a certain individual belongs to it or not? The difficulties are so enormous that the State would soon be reformed on the old lines. Another great difficulty would be that the State would find it impossible to make a contract. If the State is regarded as a mere collection of individuals, who will lend money on State security? The reason the State is trusted at all is because it is regarded as something over and above the individuals who happen to compose it at any given time; because we feel that, while individuals die, the State remains, and that the State will honor State contracts, even if made for purposes that are disapproved by those who are the atoms of the State organism. I have, indeed, heard it said that it would be a good thing if the State did find it impossible to pledge its credit; but good credit seems as useful to a State as to an individual. Again, is it no advantage to us to be able to make treaties with foreign countries? But what country will make a treaty with a mere mass of individuals, a large portion of whom will be gone in ten years’ time?
But apart from the question of organism or no organism, does not history show us a continuous weakening of the State in some directions, and a continuous strengthening in other directions? We find a gradual disappearance of the desire “to furnish invasion instead of protection,” and as the State ceases to do so, the more truly strong does it become, and the more vigorously does it carry out what I regard as its ultimate function,— that of protecting some against the aggression of others.
One word in conclusion as to the restraining power of the State. Of course by restraint I mean legal restraint. For instance, you could not deprive the State of its taxing power by passing a law to that effect. The framers of the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland tried to restrain the power of the State to disestablish the Irish Church; but the Irish Church was disestablished for all that. What Individualists are trying to do is to show the State that, when it regulates factories and coal mines, and a thousand and one other things, it is acting against its own interests. When the State has learned the lesson, the meddling will cease. If Mr. Tucker chooses to call that restraining the State, he can do so; I don’t. — Yours truly, &c.,
F. W. Read.
In answer to Mr. Read’s statement (which, if, with all its implications, it were true, would be a valid and final answer to the Anarchists) that dissolving an organism is something different from dissolving a collection of atoms with no organic structure, I cannot do better than quote the following passage from an article by J. Wm. Lloyd in No. 107 of Liberty:
It appears to me that this universe is but a vast aggregate of individuals; of individuals simple and primary, and of individuals complex, secondary, tertiary, etc., formed by the aggregation of primary individuals or of individuals of a lesser degree of complexity. Some of these individuals of a high degree of complexity are true individuals, concrete, so united that the lesser organisms included cannot exist apart from the main organism; while others are imperfect, discrete, the included organisms existing fairly well, quite as well, or better, apart than united. In the former class are included many of the higher forms of vegetable and animal life, including man, and in the latter are included many lower forms of vegetable and animal life (quack-grass, tape-worms, etc.), and most societary organisms, governments, nations, churches, armies, etc.
Taking this indisputable view of the matter, it becomes clear that Mr. Read’s statement about dissolving an organism is untrue while the word organism remains unqualified by some adjective equivalent to Mr. Lloyd’s concrete. The question, then, is whether the State is a concrete organism. The Anarchists claim that it is not. If Mr. Read thinks that it is, the onus probandi is upon him. I judge that his error arises from a confusion of the State with society. That society is a concrete organism the Anarchists do not deny; on the contrary, they insist upon it. Consequently they have no intention or desire to abolish it. They know that its life is inseparable from the life of individuals; that it is impossible to destroy one without destroying the other. But, though society cannot be destroyed, it can be greatly hampered and impeded in its operations, much to the disadvantage of the individuals composing it, and it meets its chief impediment in the State. The State, unlike society, is a discrete organism. If it should be destroyed to-morrow, individuals would still continue to exist. Production, exchange, and association would go on as before, but much more freely, and all those social functions upon which the individual is dependent would operate in his behalf more usefully than ever. The individual is not related to the State as the tiger’s paw is related to the tiger. Kill the tiger, and the tiger’s paw no longer performs its office; kill the State, and the individual still lives and satisfies his wants. As for society, the Anarchists would not kill it if they could, and could not if they would.
Mr. Read finds it astounding that I should put the State on a level with churches and insurance companies. I find his astonishment amusing. Believers in compulsory religious systems were astounded when it was first proposed to put the church on a level with other associations. Now the only astonishment is—at least in the United States—that the church is allowed to stay at any other level. But the political superstition has replaced the religious superstition, and Mr. Read is under its sway.
I do not think “that five or six ‘States’ could exist side by side with” quite “the same convenience as an equal number of churches.” In the relations with which States have to do there is more chance for friction than in the simply religious sphere. But, on the other hand, the friction resulting from a multiplicity of States would be but a mole-hill compared with the mountain of oppression and injustice which is gradually heaped up by a single compulsory State. It would not be necessary for a police officer of a voluntary “State” to know to what “State” a given individual belonged, or whether he belonged to any. Voluntary “States” could, and probably would, authorize their executives to proceed against invasion, no matter who the invader or invaded might be. Mr. Read will probably object that the “State” to which the invader belonged might regard his arrest as itself an invasion, and proceed against the “State” which arrested him. Anticipation of such conflicts would probably result exactly in those treaties between “States” which Mr. Read looks upon as so desirable, and even in the establishment of federal tribunals, as courts of last resort, by the cooperation of the various “States,” on the same voluntary principle in accordance with which the “States” themselves were organized.
Voluntary taxation, far from impairing the “State’s” credit, would strengthen it. In the first place, the simplification of its functions would greatly reduce, and perhaps entirely abolish, its need to borrow, and the power to borrow is generally inversely proportional to the steadiness of the need. It is usually the inveterate borrower who lacks credit. In the second place, the power of the State to repudiate, and still continue its business, is dependent upon its power of compulsory taxation. It knows that, when it can no longer borrow, it can at least tax its citizens up to the limit of revolution. In the third place, the State is trusted, not because it is over and above individuals, but because the lender presumes that it desires to maintain its credit and will therefore pay its debts. This desire for credit will be stronger in a State supported by voluntary taxation than in the State which enforces taxation.
All the objections brought forward by Mr. Read (except the organism argument) are mere difficulties of administrative detail, to be overcome by ingenuity, patience, discretion, and expedients. They are not logical difficulties, not difficulties of principle. They seem enormous to him; but so seemed the difficulties of freedom of thought two centuries ago. What does he think of the difficulties of the existing régime? Apparently he is as blind to them as is the Roman Catholic to the difficulties of a State religion. All these enormous difficulties which arise in the fancy of the objectors to the voluntary principle will gradually vanish under the influence of the economic changes and well-distributed prosperity which will follow the adoption of that principle. This is what Proudhon calls “the dissolution of government in the economic organism.” It is too vast a subject for consideration here, but, if Mr. Read wishes to understand the Anarchistic theory of the process, let him study that most wonderful of all the wonderful books of Proudhon, the “Idée Générale de la Révolution au Dix-Neuvième Siècle.”
It is true that “history shows a continuous weakening of the State in some directions, and a continuous strengthening in other directions.” At least, such is the tendency, broadly speaking, though this continuity is sometimes broken by periods of reaction. This tendency is simply the progress of evolution towards Anarchy. The State invades less and less, and protects more and more. It is exactly in the line of this process, and at the end of it, that the Anarchists demand the abandonment of the last citadel of invasion by the substitution of voluntary for compulsory taxation. When this step is taken, the “State” will achieve its maximum strength as a protector against aggression, and will maintain it as long as its services are needed in that capacity.
If Mr. Read, in saying that the power of the State cannot be restrained, simply meant that it cannot be legally restrained, his remark had no fitness an an answer to Anarchists and voluntary taxationists. They do not propose to legally restrain it. They propose to create a public sentiment that will make it impossible for the State to collect taxes by force or in any other way invade the individual. Regarding the State as an instrument of aggression, they do not expect to convince it that aggression is against its interests, but they do expect to convince individuals that it is against their interests to be invaded. If by this means they succeed in stripping the State of its invasive powers, they will be satisfied, and it is immaterial to them whether the means is described by the word restraint or by some other word. In fact, I have striven in this discussion to accommodate myself to Mr. Read’s phraseology. For myself I do not think it proper to call voluntary associations States, but, enclosing the word in quotation marks, I have so used it because Mr. Read set the example.
Is the Anarchists’ Club Governed?
Two articles of the constitution of the Boston Anarchists’ Club seemed to especially perplex the minds of the people who composed the audience at the first public meeting of the Club. Nearly all the questions and criticisms offered both at and since that meeting in reference to Anarchic teachings bear upon those two articles. One is that which provides for the election of a chairman who shall be invested with absolute authority over the meetings under his control, and from whose decisions, whether rendered in accordance with the prescribed regulation laid down for his guidance by the Club, or emergencies not coming under the application of the general regulations when he follows his own judgment, no appeal shall be taken; the other is that which submits to the power of the majority certain minor points and details in the business management of the Club. On the strength of these two articles charges are made against us with such a grave and serious air that a little attention may well be bestowed upon them.
First, as to our “despotic” chairman. We are sneeringly asked whether by self-government and absolute individual liberty we mean blind obedience to one man — and that man, too, chosen by a majority of the association — and utter lack of opportunities to direct the proceedings in our public meetings. Granted that our chairman is a despot, and that on a specific occasion and in certain clearly-defined matters we do abdicate our individual liberty, it will still be hard for our critics to show that there exists any affinity between such action and the principles and methods of government by compulsion. Individual liberty includes the liberty to make and unmake kings, to establish and disestablish governments. If we choose to be governed by a despot, we are simply exercising our sovereign freedom to govern ourselves as we please. Does this furnish any argument against our right to ignore governments which we do not recognize and for the legitimacy of interference with us against our will? What Anarchists may do after securing liberty does not concern those from whose arbitrary restrictions they now demand to be released. You are doubtless gratified to think that Anarchy is impracticable, and that Anarchists will find it impossible to live without government; but they feel perfectly satisfied that they can dispense with your government, and, the declaration having been emphatically made to that effect, you have to incontinently retreat and watch their play from a respectful distance.
Let us, however, explain the real character of the chairman’s function and the reasons for our violating traditional customs and cherished institutions. We do not admire what is called popular government. To us “the voice of the people” is the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel. We believe in individual initiative and individual management. In all transactions the condition of success and order is individual control accompanied by individual responsibility. The right man in the right place, and one thing at a time, are essential to promptitude, economy, and high perfection. When the Club, as a body, wishes something to be done, and done well, it selects the best-fitted person and entrusts him with the task. Having been chosen because of his supposed special fitness for the particular task, there is evidently no occasion for the others, the less fitted, to meddle with him. Should he prove incapable, after all, he will be excluded from identical work in the future, and others will be put to the test. His time is so limited, and his function so narrow, that, even if incompetent, he can do very little mischief, and it is more judicious to let him serve out his time than to disturb him during his service. Those who are familiar with the workings of all the organizations where “popular rights” are recognized need not be told of the manifold evils, follies, blunders, and disorder that arise in consequence of the regular order of business being constantly obstructed by the conflicting and inconsiderate actions of the audience. Motions, amendments, substitutes, and appeals from decisions frequently consume the greater part of the time, and the business which called them together has to be rushed through without clue consideration. The meetings are ruled from the floor, and wild confusion prevails. Often twenty minutes are required to settle a question of devoting five minutes to some subject or other. In order to expedite its work and to secure regularity the Club takes the conduct of its meetings out of the hands of the heterogeneous assemblages and, as far as it is possible, arranges everything beforehand, leaving for the wisdom and tact of its chairman the government of the meetings under unusual exigencies. The members of the Club having no ground for complaint, non-members must either remain content with the gratuitous enjoyment of the Club’s hospitality, and visit it for the sake of its attractions, or turn away from its doors. The Club is conscious of having certain purposes to further, and it adopts such tactics as seem to best serve its interests.
Now, as to majority rule. The Anarchists of Boston formed an association for the carrying out of a design which they could not individually successfully realize. They voluntarily contracted to work together, assured, in the first place, that their interests and ends are identical in all important particulars. To secure themselves thoroughly against imposition, they have provided constitutionally that no important changes or amendments of the original plans shall be introduced except after mature deliberation and unanimous consent of the Club. Taxation being voluntary and the right of withdrawal preserved, there is no danger of an Anarchist ever finding himself in a false position, supporting a movement he has no sympathy for, or posing as a defender of doctrines foreign to his convictions. The members of the Club have amply protected all the liberties which they cared to protect. Purely as a labor-saving device and matter of convenience, the practical details and temporary offices of the organization are left to be determined and acted upon through the majority-and-minority system. Knowing that absolute agreement in all things is not to be hoped for, the Anarchists readily abandon the attempt to reconcile their peculiar whims, and sacrifice them to weightier interests and stronger desires, on which common action is both possible and desirous. Is there any remote resemblance in this voluntary surrender of personal freedom to the farce of Republicanism or the slavery of State Socialism? A more radical difference can scarcely be conceived than that here existing. Whereas the Anarchist decides for himself what he shall do and what he shall not do, what he shall neglect and what he shall vigilantly guard, what he can afford to lose and what he shall preserve at all hazards, Republicanism and State Socialism present a spectacle of promiscuous tyranny and of irresponsible regulation. Everybody decides for everybody else and everybody governs everybody else, nobody knowing his rights and nobody having any.
Rather strange, it seems, to hear Anarchists accused of love of obedience and worship of authority. Heretofore it has been the rule to condemn them as antagonists of peace and order on principle, as demons of war and chaos. But, as Proudhon says, it is the nature of the human mind, when not in possession of the truth, which is its balance, to oscillate between extremes. Having sufficiently learned of Anarchism to see the absurdity of characterizing it as disorder, but not enough to gain a solid understanding of it, its opponents rush to the other extreme and declare it a return to despotism. Astonished at the undeniable fact that, in contradiction of all their preconceived opinions, Anarchistic association, far from being an impossibility, is superior to all other forms of association, giving to the world an example of the union of harmony and liberty, true order and freedom, they are unable to look beneath the surface, and jump to the conclusion that Anarchy eliminates conflict and war by a violent reaction and revival of tyrannical rule. What the fact ought to convince them of, and what it will convince them of, after they study the matter a little deeper, is that the principles of association and the principles of government are mutually exclusive, and that ideal order in social relations can only be reached after the element of government is dissolved in the social organism. Things which are created by necessities need no force to sustain them, and things artificially brought into existence by force can never assimilate with natural growths, and are only so many checks and barriers in the way of spontaneous evolution. The Anarchists’ Club will remain a mystery and a riddle to the people as long as they fail to grasp these scientific sociological truths. While the Boston Anarchists had no strong desire and no pressing necessity for organization, they remained passive, or acted in their individual capacities. No sooner did a common motive inspire them than the organization for the realization of their aims sprang into the world, all difficulties and individual likings and dislikings disappearing for the moment under the pressure of the greater motive-power. As a brother Anarchist, Mr. Wilson, admirably put it, “it is wonderful in how many little things an Anarchist is ready to sacrifice his liberty, if he is but in full possession of his whole stock of liberty.”
Cast away your fears, then, gentlemen. Anarchy is neither tyranny nor disorder. It is simply the reign of intelligence, which no more admires liberty for its own sake than it believes in unity for its own sake, but values everything in proportion to “the good that it can do.”
Among my exchanges I find the first number of a new paper named “Nemesis,” edited by W. May Rew, M. D., and published at 70 Second Avenue, New York. The subscription price is one dollar a year. Its size is about the same as that of Liberty, and, though I discover no statement as to frequency of issue, I judge it to be a fortnightly. Of its thirty-two columns twelve are reproduced from Henry George’s “Standard,” including long extracts from the “Queries and Answers” department and describing the general progress of the United Labor Party’s political campaign. Seven columns are filled with miscellany and stale news which betray no relation to the other contents of the paper. There is a column and a half of radical verse, most of it from Swinburne, and there are three columns and a half of excellent radical miscellany from such authors as William Morris, Carlyle, and Leslie Stephen. Twenty-four columns being thus disposed of, the remaining eight are given up to three good and stirring articles on the Chicago outrage, the first of which is by Gertrude B. Kelly and the third by John F. Kelly; the first instalment of a serial by Edgeworth on “Industrial Destinies”; and explanation, by a leader and by paragraphs, of the programme and purposes of the paper. Aside from a square, brave, manly stand on the Chicago question, and a commendable disposition to generally ventilate social questions, I cannot find that the paper has any purpose or any opinions whatever. The editor, to be sure, makes this declaration: “Some of the criticisms of the land value tax have much weight, but that does not prevent it from being a great reform measure.” Still I cannot extract from these words anything worthy to be called an opinion. He also admits a “partiality” for Prohibition, but, as he characterizes this partiality as “unphilosophical,” I can scarcely take such an opinion as serious. On the whole, this new journal may be regarded as rather queer. Probably I should have passed it by without notice, as one of this year’s crop of labor papers edited by men of good impulses and chaotic brains, had it not contained the articles by the Kellys and an announcement of them as contributors. But any paper to which they contribute thereby takes on a character which demands attention from every earnest thinker. Therefore I have tried to give a perfectly fair and truthful account of the journal which they prefer to Liberty as an organ for the expression of their views, and I should be pleased to have the readers of Liberty test ray judgment by sending to the address given above for a sample copy of the first issue of “Nemesis.”
The second public meeting of the Anarchists’ Club will be held in Codman Hall, 176 Tremont Street, on Sunday, October 23, at half past seven o’clock. William A. Wilson, one of the members of the Club, will deliver an address on the following subject: “Anarchism the Logical Outcome of Jeffersonian Democracy.” The address will be followed by questions and discussion. During the meeting Victor Yarros will take occasion, to reply to the various criticisms passed upon the Club by the Boston daily newspapers.
Anarchy, Government, and Liberty.
[J. L. W. in the Truth Seeker.]
As an Anarchist partisan who does not think himself mentally broad enough to have surrounded all truth, I highly appreciate the work which the “Truth Seeker” is doing. From your intimation that social chaos is what you understand by Anarchy, and from reading many of your articles, I think that there is some difference in the force of certain words to your mind and ours. To me Anarchy is liberty, and liberty is Anarchy. You say that your party is Liberty,— liberty for every one to think, express his thought, and act as he pleases so long as he infringes upon no other’s equal right, and curtails no other’s equal liberty. Now, this is what I want, too, and with this admitted and intelligently applied we should have that condition which we call Anarchy. But I must ask that by “equal liberty” we are at all events to understand liberty, not equal restriction. In a tantalizing sense, there may be “equal liberty” where there is very little liberty. People do not yet seem to realize that, when they have put themselves under constitutional law, taking away natural liberty, the imposition upon a dissenting minority is not redeemed by the same being submitted to by the makers. They call that equal liberty. We call it equal slavery.
Whether or not we are to condemn government depends upon what is meant by government. Find me a government in which all the citizens have agreed to join together, and where they have the conceded right to individually withdraw from contributing to its support when it ceases to fulfill their aims, as we now have with churches, and I will admit that such government is compatible with Anarchism. Anarchists have no objection to any number of persons having a government, if such government will curtail none of our liberty according to your definition. We say that, when a government levies taxes upon us without our consent, it curtails our liberty and pursuit of happiness by robbing us of our means. As the churches are supported by voluntary contributions, so let the government be supported. That is to say, we have no objection to the subjects of a government voluntarily assuming such obligations and binding themselves as they see fit to contribute and to pay, but let them take nothing from us and interfere in no way with such of our acts as don’t infringe upon their natural liberties, and we are content. We believe in preventing and publishing murder and robbery, etc. It is a question of words whether this prevention and punishment shall be called government or not. We refer it, when done by a hired force, to the principle of insurance.
You know that in economic science “rent” has a technical meaning. We give a technical meaning to “government.” We do not use it to mean protection, but rulership. Are we not justified logically by the fact that advocates of government are constantly ready to assert that it is impossible for them to carry on their scheme without forcing all natives of the country to be citizens and taxpayers, whether they individually wish to be Bo or not ? They will respect our “equal” liberty, but they cannot afford to respect our liberty, neither our property. We are now in the same stage that you would be in if the idea prevailed that, in order to support the church, the majority might force the minority to be members,— at least, to contribute to it,— and that, their rights of membership, voting, etc., being reserved for them whenever they chose to claim them, they were treated with “equal” religious freedom, but contribute they must and obey they must in no matter what unnecessary things the authority of the majority ordered. We are seeking to enlighten men as to the wrong and absurdity of promiscuous reciprocal tyranny. In proportion as this enlightenment spreads, the way will be prepared for that which, with your habits of thought, you may prefer to call a philosophic Anarchical government, or government of actual consent, but which we call simply Anarchy. Chaos is a theological fiction. In all nature form and order result from the powers in things. Government other than self-government is violence. To have a self-governing state it would be necessary to have the voluntary adhesion of every citizen. We claim that the adhesion and support of a great majority can be had for equitable regulations compatible with and in furtherance of liberty, and that, if any stand out and cannot appreciate the benefits of insurance, we can afford to let them alone so long as they behave themselves. I claim that Anarchy will accomplish in a more true and scientific manner the aim of protection, which is all that attaches republicans to government. I claim this with the same confidence as you claim that natural morality will develop all the virtues,— for which alone some conservative people still cling to their Bibles,— and develop them far better for not having a mixture or leaven of authority foreign to the meritorious element in the case.
The Antecedent and the Consequent Ought.
No work on nomology or ethics can be complete without an examination into the meaning of the word “ought.” The moralist is continuously making use of it, and doubtless it is a term which does more or less vaguely express a more or less distinct idea,— an idea, however, which deserves to be clearly defined and exactly expressed. Yet I do not remember to have met with a serious attempt to analyze the conception. At first sight the employment of the word at all by a Necessitarian (or Determinist) seems absurd and inconsistent, for how can such an one speak of that which ought to have been, as distinguished from that which was, when only that which was could by possibility have happened? The actual is the only possible to the Necessitarian; how then can he say that we ought to have done that which we did not do,— the impossible? Is it not, therefore, folly to speak of “ought” while at the same time we contend that every act is the only possible act under the circumstances,— that a successful attempt to evade the original necessity of it would be a successful attempt to annihilate the universe?
In order to answer this question, we must first endeavor to get at the precise meaning of the term in several of its allied significations. Even on a very cursory survey we shell find ourselves in the presence of two very distinct and almost opposed meanings, but having this in common,— that both apply to one of the terms in a sequence, the other term being given. Let us call them the Antecedent Ought and the Consequent Ought. The one is applied to the antecedent, the consequent being given; the other is applied to the consequent, the antecedent being given.
Thus, speaking of inanimate nature, we may say, “There ought to be fine weather now,” to which statement we may append either of the two following reasons: “there ought to he fine weather now, in order that the harvest may be got nicely in;” “there ought to be fine weather now, for the barometer has gone up considerably.” In the first case, we have the antecedent Ought; in the second, the consequent Ought.
But, in whatever sense we use the word, we shall always find ourselves in presence of a sequence. Whether it be that, seeing the antecedent, we predict the consequent, and say it ought to follow, or, premising the consequent, we argue back to what we believe to be the necessary antecedent, in either case there is a something given, assumed, or desired.
Now, if the ordinary Libertarian sees nothing absurd in using the consequent Ought as applied to inanimate nature, which he admits to be the subject of eternal necessity, why should he ridicule the Necessitarian for using the antecedent Ought under the same conditions, i.e., while holding the like belief of human will?
Thus, when the philosophical Necessitarian says you ought to act in such a way, he means that, your own greatest happiness or some derivative or proximate end being the required consequent, you will in his opinion so act. It is only when it is assumed as the required consequent that the agent wishes to keep himself in equilibrium with his surroundings (especially the rest of society) that the moral connotation of ought creeps in. We can trace the development of this signification from its lowest forms step by step.
1. The longer a tiger is left without food, the more hungry and fierce he ought to get.
2. The lower the range of a man’s intellect, the less amenable to reason be ought to be.
3. A man with a sound education ought to be less the creature of impulse than a savage.
4. He ought to review in imagination the probable consequences of the contemplated act, and guide himself by the balance of utility.
Here, by four stages, we have already emerged from the simplest form of consequent ought into applications of the term not distinguishable from those of the Libertarian moralist. It would appear, then, that ought is merely an elliptical expression employed to obviate the necessity for setting forth the end assumed; thus we say, “You ought to speak the truth,” meaning that, if you wish to be in harmony with your surroundings, or, in other words, happy, you will speak the truth. It is an expression of opinion, a prediction based on our knowledge of the general fact that truthfulness is good for you, and of the particular fact that you are capable of understanding and acting accordingly. We do not say that tigers ought to divide their prey instead of fighting for it, on the principle of “pleon hemisupantos,” because we are aware that tigers are not capable of understanding the principle, although we may, or may not, be of opinion that they would benefit by the adoption of the practice.
Is there, then, no absolute sense in which ought can be used? Does it merely express the opinion of the speaker? If so, we are driven at once to the doctrine, “Every man his own moralist.” To a certain qualified extent this is the case; but, before attaching too much importance to it, we should remember that every proposition in science is a mere expression of opinion, varying in trustworthiness as the quantity and quality of the evidence in support of it. So when I say you ought to act thus, I may be stating a fact as indisputable — nay, as certain — as when I say the earth revolves round the sun. There is, however, a shade of difference between the two statements that a man ought to act thus, and that a man will, in the opinion of the speaker, act thus, if his aim be his own welfare, or some proximate and more definite aim. The difference consists in the admission of possible disturbing causes, the effect of which, in psychological and sociological, and more especially in ethical and nomological, phenomena are very considerable. Let us examine the effect on the mind of the frequent obtrusion of these disturbing causes, even in dealing with inanimate nature, but more markedly as we advance into the region of willed actions.
When a general law has been deductively established,— that is to say, verified,— it may be found, and it frequently is found, that certain facts appear, nevertheless, to remain stubborn, and refuse to bear out the law, just as a cannonball refuses to conform to the first law of motion. Such phenomena make some people sceptical as to the truth of the law. They point out the discrepancy, and ask how is this? In such cases the man of science answers that it must be due to some disturbing cause, and he is usually right; and frequently he sets about and discovers the disturbing cause. Occasionally, however, he is wrong, and then the attempt remits in the discovery of the somewhat revolutionary fact that the alleged general law is after all unwarranted, and must be given up, or greatly or slightly qualified. For instance, Nature’s abhorrence of a vacuum was supposed to be universal until Torricelli showed that the horror was limited by the weight of the atmosphere.
Until he has discovered the disturbing cause, and even afterwards, the cautious man of science usually states his general law thus; “such a consequent will follow upon such an antecedent in the absence of disturbing causes”: or more briefly: “the said consequent will tend to follow upon the said antecedent”; the expressions have the same significance. Sometimes we say “the consequent ought to follow,” which is only a popular way of saying the same thing.
Disturbing causes are either known or unknown; perhaps in common parlance we confine the use of the term Ought to those cases in which the disturbing cause is unknown. We are annoyed that our reason is disappointed; a consequent follows which we did not anticipate, or one which we did anticipate fails to follow. “This machine Ought to work, but it won’t,” — so we speak. Seeing no reason for the unexpected consequence, we attach a certain color of anger to our admission that there is a disturbing cause. This thing is not to be relied on; it is inconsistent, lessening our power by falsifying our calculations; we dislike the unknown cause and the subject of it. “The machine is a beast, it won’t work,” we say. When the subject of this undiscovered disturbing cause is a human being, we look upon him with distrust; he is not to be relied on; hence the moral significance of the word Ought. That ought to be which it is reasonable to expect.
Disturbing causes, though not of the essence of the sequence under consideration, are sometimes as universal, sometimes as permanent, and sometimes both as universal and permanent, as the sequences which they are said to disturb. Thus on this earth other causes are at work (some constant, others not) counteracting, so to speak, the first law of motion: gravitation is one of these, and, I suppose, it is permanent and universal; magnetism is another, which is apparently neither permanent nor universal, nor even frequent as affecting the operation of that law. When, therefore, the law appears not to be borne out on account of magnetic influence, we say the disturbing cause is only temporary; it will be removed, and things will go on as they ought. The disturbing causes at work on the actions of social groups are some of them more or less permanent; others we may see and believe to be only temporary, as some have been shown to be, such as odd beliefs, etc. These are quite as natural as the permanent ones, but we have discovered, by other routes, that they are only temporary; therefore we say they have disappeared, or will disappear or cease to be operative, and the facts will not only tend to conform, but actually will conform, to the general law. If we are in doubt whether we are justified in expecting this result; if we do not know why these disturbing causes are, as a fact, operative, or what indeed they are,— then we say the law ought to be conformed to, on the simple grounds that, while we see very good reasons why it should, we see no reason why it should not.
When we use the word “ought” with respect to the State, we assume that the eventual welfare of the people is the aim and cause of social action,— at least, such is the end usually adduced when the question is asked.
When speaking of the individual, the End said to be aimed at is variously described. According as one or other End is assumed, we have one or other of the several ethical schools. The question is, in what direction do the conscious actions of individuals tend to be modified? In concurrence with the individual’s own greatest happiness, or in that of the social body? There can be no doubt that there are powerful agencies at work moulding individual actions into harmony with the social well being; but it is none the less obvious that this can be effected only through the beneficial reaction of the future morality upon the individual. By seeking his own greatest happiness, the enlightened Egoistic Hedonist probably helps to make smooth the paths leading to the welfare of the race far more effectually than could be done upon any other principle of action.
If moralists and preachers would always state the end they assume, much confusion would be avoided. Thus you ought to act in such a manner, if you wish to consult your own eventual happiness; or if you wish your actions to conduce to the ultimate happiness of the race; or if you desire the praise of your fellows for consulting their welfare before your own. This last is really the unconfessed aim of most of the current moral codes. Neither the welfare of the Individual, nor of the Race, is held up as the end; but the welfare of the rest of humanity after deducting the agent; or, in turfparlance, the welfare of the field bar one,— and that one is self. It can easily he shown that, by its universal application, such a system of morality can tend only to the deterioration of the species; and if carried nut consistently, to its ultimate extinction.
It is doubtful whether the Evolutionist is ready to lay down any fully generalized rule of conduct or aim. As in other inductive sciences, so in ethics, the less general must he discovered first, and the more general after.
Minor moral laws, such as those induced from numerous experiences of the results of truthfulness and lying, of greed and generosity, of moderation and intemperance, etc., are more likely to stand the test of practice than those of a more general and less wieldy character. How could we tell, a priori, whether it were well to steal or murder? Much is to he said in favor of both. The most adroit thieves and murderers among the lower animals survive, and ought to survive. The stronger, astuter, and altogether better man (as it might seem) is he who would steal and murder best; and he is the man we should wish and expect to see surviving. Hence all trustworthy moral laws are results of induction, conscious and unconscious, i.e., of accumulated experiences. And there is no practical moral law above them, or except them, until in some departments sufficient progress in generalization has been made to warrant the extension of some law, and the inclusion in it of classes of actions not before viewed from so lofty a standpoint. And even in this there is great danger; for example, the moral law concerning property and theft has lately been extended by certain persons so as to cover what is called the pirating of ideas. Patentright and copyright have thus sprung into existence. Casuists and practical legislators are still debating whether these rights should take rank with the older proprietary rights, or whether they have any deeper foundation than contractual rights based on temporary expedience and immediate mutual advantage. Again, by a similar extension, the moral law concerning truthfulness has been by some extended so as to cover the acts of States between themselves, and so to condemn the customary untruthfulness of diplomacy. When it is remembered that brute force has not yet been eliminated from international dealings, it seems rather premature to call for the elimination of the lower forms of intellectual superiority, such as cunning, stealth, and fraud. Surely lying is less heinous than murder, and is a good substitute for it. Doubtless it will be well to eliminate both, but, so long as the lower form of competition is still resorted to, let us tolerate the occasional substitution of a form less low. So it may be argued.
Ethical deductions, then, are not to he much trusted. Every one’s own experience proves their vagueness and inapplicability to practice, and their erroneousness when, if ever, applicable. Hence, until rigid inductions have been made with the same care and caution as in the other concrete sciences, every man must continue to be his own moralist, and to base his rules of action on his limited experience, his historical and novelist study, and his inherited moral leanings: just as, in pre-chemistry days, dyers had to rely on their empirical knowledge, and to mix and manipulate their colors by rule of thumb.
But there is yet another point of view from which to consider whether “ought” can be used in an absolute sense. Admitting that moral laws are only ascertain as other scientific generalizations, and, therefore, may be regarded merely as matter of opinion, it is still urged that, in a given set of circumstances, there is one way and only one way in which one ought to act; that, putting our fallibility on one side, there is an absolute Right and Wrong for all alike, if only we could find out what it is. Of course, in the absolute sense above adverted to, this is true,— viz., the way in which one does act. But different persons act differently, it is said, in the same situation; and yet only one of these ways is the right one; and, if it is the right way for one, it is the right way for all under precisely similar circumstances. Let us examine this proposition.
Either you must regard the body, including brain and nervous system, with the ingrained stores of substantial memories and instincts, as part of the person, or as part of the circumstances,— the environment. If you regard it as part of the environment, and the Ego as apart from the body and its organs, then these latter must be taken to be precisely similar in the cases compared. In which case it is difficult to see in what the difference between the two agents can consist. They have similar bodies to an eyelash; their memories are similar, for psychology shows the memory to depend on the formation of solid substantial deposits; their instincts are similar; their tastes are similar, since the sensory organs are; and what now is left to differ? But it is useless to inquire, for it is obvious the two agents would be one and the same person so far as effects are concerned; just as though we were to take out one side of a triangle and substitute another. Hence they must act in precisely the same way.
Now adopt, the other alternative, and regard the body as part of the person,— of the Ego as opposed to the environment,— and the question arises; Can you seriously contend that all persons ought in the same circumstances to act in the same way? You have set no limits. You do not admit that an ill-educated and a well-educated man ought to act differently; hence a savage ought to adopt the one invariable course. But so, then, ought a horse, for he has a will; and even an oyster ought to act just as a philosopher ought. This seems so meaningless that we need go no further. But if, to avoid this difficulty, you arbitrarily set a limit at humanity, then I merely ask: At what date in the history of man’s evolution did his Ought arise? When did it behave a son to act in a way that was not incumbent upon his father?
Here, so far from the Ought being the same for all, it is, on the contrary, different for each according to the difference in the agents,— the peculiarity of each agent. There is one duty for the oyster, another for the horse, a third for me, a fourth for you, and a fifth for your twin brother. In short, the resultant motion of a body acted on by environing forces varies, not only as the environing forces, but also as the weight, shape, etc., of the body itself. So stated, we have before us a truism.
But, if it is contended that my absolute duty under specified circumstances is to act as a perfect being would act having regard to his own eventual welfare, or with any other end in view, this amounts to saying that an oyster ought to act as omniscience would act having a particular object in view, although that object would not be attained by the oyster, even though it could and did so act. Why the oyster should so act it is hard to see. You require a bracing climate; therefore I, who thrive better in a relaxing air, ought to go to Margate, because you are a more perfect being than I. Of course, we may at any time ask the question: How ought a perfect being to act under these circumstances? and we call the answer Absolute Duty, if we please, but cui bono? Why affirm that I ought to act in a way that could result, as facts are, in no conceivable good to me or any one else, or with no definite object whatever? Let us rather fall back upon the plain doctrine that the duty varies with the agent, and then set to work to find out if we please the End which each agent has in view, or tends to realize, when we say that he ought to act thus or thus.
We soon find ourselves in the position of asking what ought one to like or desire? Seeing that one has no control over his likes and dislikes, this, at first sight, seems a foolish question; and if the word “ought,” here employed, is the Antecedent Ought, it certainly is foolish. But if we use the Consequent Ought, the question becomes an important one. What do men tend to like? How do the tastes of civilized men tend to become modified? The answer can he discovered by observation and induction. By this means we have arrived at general truths concerning the tastes of different classes of persons. Thus we say of a stranger, “He ought to find entertainment in your house; there is a good library of books, lovely scenery in the neighborhood, and plenty of intellectual society; for I hear he was educated at Eton and Cambridge, and his father was a man of considerable culture.” It may turn out that he has no taste for such things, and is only happy in the betting-ring, the billiard-room, or the rat-pit, when we find that our inference was mistaken. In this sense Duty was not connoted by “ought.” Again, it may he said, “We ought to be a truthful people, because we have inherited the experiences of a long line of ancestors who have suffered for lying,— experience which has become ingrained as an instinct in the race.” Or, “We ought to he a truthful people, because, though lying may occasionally be profitable, truthfulness in the long run entails a balance of advantage.” These two examples illustrate the use of the consequent ought and the antecedent ought.
The final question to which the above considerations were intended to lead up is this: Is the science of ethics concerned with “ought” in the antecedent or the consequent sense? And the answer is that, being an inductive science, it is concerned simply with facts, and therefore with the consequent ought. It is for the moralist simply to note the changes in the actions of men during successive stages of development, and the direction of such changes, to verify his observations a priori as far as possible by noting the changes in their tastes, the increase of their knowledge, and the increasing certainty of their expectations being fulfilled, owing to other sociological changes. He will then be in a position to predict their probable future habits, customs, tastes, and actions, by following up the lines of the past. But, if he begins at the wrong end by stating his end, he must fall into one of two quicksands. Either his end is so general, indefinite, or vague that he cannot possibly discover the cause of action likely to lead to it; or, taking proximate and more special aims as his ends, he will surely err in his appreciation of their desirability. Let a meteorologist be asked to point out a priori the directions which the chief ocean-currents ought to take in order to restore the equilibrium disturbed by the unequal temperature of the poles and equator, and compare his prognostications with the actual currents. Are sociological phenomena so much less complex than geographical as to render easy in the one science what would be considered impossible in the other?
If we have no reason to suppose that the moralists’ proximate ends are in themselves either desirable, or the ends towards which humanity is actually moving, neither have we any reason to trust them to point the way to the realization of the ultimate end, until they have first demonstrated their superhuman ability in some department of inquiry where there is room for verification.
To recapitulate, in common parlance, when discussing the duties of individuals, we employ the term “ought” in two senses. As a rule, when speaking of a particular individual in particular circumstances, we either avowedly or tacitly assume a definite end for him. In speaking of men in general, we as a rule are guided by the consensus of opinion which is roughly based on the actual customs and actions of men. But even in this case we, without any grounds, pretend to connect our rule of conduct with some ill-defined end or aim of some sort; and it is in the vain attempt to discover what this end can be that moralists have for the most part squandered valuable time and some temper.
Important Anarchistic Accession.
[New York World.]
Boston, Oct. 10. — At the close of the first public meeting of the Anarchists’ Club, held yesterday in this city, D. H. Biggs, president of the Boston Central Labor Union, State organizer of the Henry George party for Eastern Massachussetts, and one of the most prominent labor reformers in this section, signed the constitution of the Anarchists’ Club, thus becoming a member, and will hereafter actively connect himself with its work.
Mr. Biggs was formerly a State Socialist, but was converted from that belief by reading Herbert Spencer’s works, in which he claims to have found the seeds which have now borne Anarchistic fruit.
So important an accession to the ranks of the Anarchists from the Henry George ranks will carry consternation into the local Land and Labor Club and the Anti-Poverty Society, and cause no small sensation in labor circles generally.
Mr. Biggs surprised the Central Labor Union yesterday by resigning the office of president, and it is rumored that he will promptly take similar action regarding his position as State organizer for the George party.
He Throws a Bomb to Start With.
A good-sized bombshell burst in the Land and Labor Club at its regular weekly meeting in Boston Hall last night. D. H. Biggs, one of the most prominent members of the Club, arose and announced that he desired to resign his position as district organizer for the George movement, as well as his membership in the Club, on account of the fact that he had become an Anarchist or extreme individualist of the Tuckeronian school. This was received with great astonishment, and the Club was not slow to accept the resignation, although several members labored with the erring brother, but to no purpose.
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.