“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.
The “Alarm” is dead. At least, it has not appeared for a fortnight, and John Most declares the issue of another number improbable.
It was a manly stand which Congressman Butterworth of Ohio recently took in the house of representatives when he declared his intention of paying no further heed to the bulldozing methods employed by the Knights of Labor in pressing their demands for tyrannical legislation. “I recommend to the Knights of Labor,” said he, with grim satire, “to establish a whipping post in front of the Capitol and lick about twenty-five members of the house on the last Saturday in each month.” It is certain that the salutary effect which such a practice might otherwise have would be utterly lost if the lash should be plied by meddlesome tyrants like the Knights.
Speaking of the recent proposition to establish a State lottery in Nevada as a means of raising revenue, the Boston “Globe” condemns the plan on the ground that, “like our wonderful tariff, whatever prosperity it gives to the few it takes from the many.” The “Globe” neglects to consider that, unlike our wonderful tariff, a State lottery scheme would take nothing from the many which the many were not willing to pay. The many must either pay the tariff or abandon their liberty to exchange with foreigners. But no man need buy a lottery ticket unless he wants to, and refusal to do so is visited by no penalty whatever. It seems to me that this peculiarity belonging to the lottery method of raising revenue establishes its superiority over all the schemes of compulsory taxation ever practised or devised, from that of the highwayman to the single tax of Henry George. It can only be surpassed by some other voluntary system not involving the speculative element. But it is not destined to find favor for a long time yet. There are too many people in the world, who, like the Boston “Globe” and my correspondent, Egoist, consider equality of vastly more importance than liberty. To such people it is of no consequence that the highwayman robs, provided he robs everybody and in the same degree.
The allopathic physicians of Massachusetts, having worked in vain for several years to obtain a legal monopoly of the practice of medicine, have concluded that a sure half loaf is better than a steadily diminishing slice, and so have gone into partnership with one or two factions of the “quacks” to prevent all other “quacks” from following their profession. This year the allopaths have taken the homæopaths and eclectics into the ring, and by this political manæuvre they hope to secure the valuable privilege which they are aiming at, on the plea which privileged classes always make,— that of protecting the masses. The battle is being stubbornly fought at the State House, and at a recent hearing before the judiciary committee Geo. M. Stearns of Chicopee, who appeared for the “quacks,” made one of the wittiest, keenest, and most uncompromising speeches in favor of absolute liberty in medicine that ever fell from a lawyer’s lips. It is a pity that some of his clients who followed him were not equally consistent. For instance, Dr. J. Rhodes Buchanan, who is a sort of quack-in-chief, in the course of a long argument made to convince the committee of the right of the patient to choose his own doctor, declared that he would favor a bill which would make treatment of cancer with a knife malpractice. The old story again. In medicine as in theology orthodoxy is my doxy and heterodoxy is your doxy. This “quack,” who is so outraged because the “regulars” propose to suppress him, clearly enough aches for a dictator’s power that he may abolish the regulars. He reminds one of those Secularists whose indignation at being compelled to pay taxes for the support of churches in which they do not believe is only equalled by the delight which they take in compelling church-members to pay taxes for the support of schools to which they are opposed. And yet there are good friends of Liberty who insist that I, in condemning these people, show an inability to distinguish between friends and foes. The truth is that, unlike these critical comrades, I am not to be blinded to the distinction between friends and foes by a mere similarity of shibboleth.
Mrs. Woodhull’s Colossal Lie.
In “Der Arme Teufel” of February 9 Robert Reitzel, the editor, reverts to the subject of Victoria C. Woodhull, whose latest venture in England had given him occasion to extol her, and makes the necessary correction by the light furnished him by Liberty. As I had surmised, my comrade Reitzel was misled by a prospectus which a friend of his had sent him from London, and who on his part seems also to have been deceived by it. After reproducing the larger portion of my own remarks, together with the substance of Woodhull’8 letter to the London “Court Journal,” Reitzel concludes with these comments:
I myself have never heard Woodhull, but know from those who were once inspired by her lectures that this letter is but one colossal lie. . .
What amends can I offer after this but to excuse myself on the ground of not knowing? I knew only the bold champion of sexual liberty, the woman who waged relentless war on the most dangerous hypocrisy of our time; and Tucker himself admits, indeed, that in those days she was engaged in useful and important work. Like Tucker, I also strongly protest against any construction of this correction in favor of those who condemn the woman either from ignorance or cowardice; but, merely to offer my testimony in behalf of truth, I here confirm the statement that Victoria C. Woodhull also, perhaps with the prospect of becoming a banker’s wife, has joined the great army of renegades who have taken their wages for all they did in better days.
The Only Sure Escape.
"We want a sentiment among the people,” exclaims the Indianapolis “Sentinel,” “which will bring a man who buys or sells a vote into contempt, and which will insure that he be deprived of the franchises of American citizenship which he has disgraced.” But what is to be thought of the bartering of one hundred thousand offices at a value of one hundred million dollars for votes and for partisan service in election campaigns? What is to be thought of the national campaign huckstering in which contending parties offer to buy the influence and votes of certain classes with the promise of an almost incomputable money equivalent in legislation for the peculiar benefit of those classes? In the face of such a vast development and such incontinent activity of mercenary politics, is it any wonder that some thousands of voters in every closely contested State, seeing no other way to turn their suffrage to thrifty account, should sell the article for cash in hand at the highest market price? If the sovereign government itself, with all its prehensile powers of taxation and immoral conversion, is bought and operated as a huge piece of money-getting enginery, why should not the humble citizen, who is left out in the wholesale transaction, sell his poor fraction of sovereignty for the most it will bring at retail? The fact is that, when politics and government by greed of classes and contests of partisans are once committed to a train of spoliatory, paternalistic, and communistic policies, there is no conceivable limit to traffic in suffrage, traffic in patronage, and traffic in legislation. There is but one sure escape from the final catastrophe of the madness of mutual rapine involving all classes and all interests in a common ruin. It is to retrace the steps already taken in this fatal course, to cease stimulating mercenary politics by making the government a dispenser of prizes and bounties and an intermeddler with the business affairs of the people, and to confine the exercise of its authority to the one useful purpose of maintaining peace, justice, and order, protecting citizens in their natural rights and liberties, and removing rather than setting up any kind of barrier to the spontaneous activities of commerce and industry.
The Farce of Legal Justice.
Human justice appears to me as the most farcical thing in the world: the spectacle of a man judging his neighbor would make me laugh to exhaustion, did it not cause in me the feeling of contemptuous pity, and were I not now engaged in the study of that system of absurdities on the strength of which men regard it as a right to judge others. I know of nothing more senseless than jurisprudence, save, perhaps, the study of it.
Despotism Tempered by Dynamite.
[The author’s last poem.]
There Is no other title in the world
So proud as mine, who am no law-cramped king,
No mere imperial monarch absolute,
The White Tsar worshiped as a visible God,
As Lord of Heaven no less than Lord of Earth
I look with terror to my crowning day.
Through half of Europe my dominions spread.
And then through half of Asia to the shores
Of Earth’s great ocean washing the New World;
And nothing bounds them to the Northern Pole,
They merge into the everlasting ice —
I look with terror to my crowning day.
Full eighty million subjects worship me —
Their father, high priest, monarch, God on earth;
My children who but hold their lives with mine
For our most Holy Russia dear and great,
Whose might is concentrated in my hands —
I look with terror to my crowning day.
I chain and gag with chains and gags of iron
The impious heads and mouths that dare express
A word against my sacred sovranty;
The half of Asia is my prison-house,
Myriads of convicts lost in its Immense —
I look with terror to my crowning day.
I cannot chain and gag the evil thoughts
Of men and women poisoned by the West,
Frenzied in soul by the anarchic West;
These thoughts transmute themselves to dynamite;
My sire was borne all shattered to his tomb —
I look with terror to my crowning day.
My peasants rise to their unvarying toil,
And go to sleep outwearied by their toil,
Without the hope of any better life.
But with no hope they have no deadly fear,
They sleep and eat their scanty food in peace —
I look with terror to my crowning day.
My palaces are prisons to myself;
I taste no food that may not poison me;
I plant no footstep sure it will not stir
Instant destruction of explosive fire;
I look with terror to each day and night —
With tenfold terror to my crowning day.
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. B. Tucker.
Continued from No. 142.
The baron watched her departure, and then said, addressing Claire:
“Show a little more strength; what’s the matter with you?”
But the young girl could no longer repress her emotion.
“I am stifling. Give me air, air,” she articulated painfully.
The banker opened the window a little, and, ever master of himself, went to his table and began to write, after saying to Claire:
“You almost betrayed yourself, and but for me . .
Claire walked up to him resolutely.
“You deceived me,” she exclaimed. “You told me he was dead. . and he lives!” The baron went on writing.
“Perhaps,” said he. “There is more than one child born in a day.”
And, talking to himself, he continued:
“Ah! the wretch! she has deceived me.”
“He lives,” Claire burst out again. “I w’ant to see him.”
“How do you know?” said the baron, sealing his letter.
“A voice here tells me,” answered Claire, forcibly, laying her hand on her heart. “I am going to take him back.”
The baron rang again impatiently.
“Mad girl . . . what are you thinking of?” said he.
“Of helping him at least,” said Claire, with a purely maternal impulse.
Laurent entered and saluted his master.
“Silence, imprudent girl,” said the baron again to his daughter.
And to the servant:
“Mount a horse directly, and deliver this note to its address.”
Laurent went out with alacrity.
The baron continued:
“Let us wait at least until we are sure. Perhaps there is no connection between the two affairs. When we And out, we will see. In any case there is all the more reason for hastening this marriage which saves everything. No more hesitation! Now it is more necessary than ever that you should marry Camille.”
“But, my God I I hate him!” implored Claire, in despair.
“And I fear him,” said the inflexible baron.
“But he is the murderer of the man I loved”. . . .
“And who got himself killed for another woman,” said the banker, sure of his effect.
“Ah!” cried Claire, “why did you refuse to unite us?”
“Why?” repeated the baron.
Remembering her love and excited by her hatred, Claire grew bolder.
“Yes,” said she, “why? Was not the count rich and noble, worthy of us? My mother chose him on her death-bed. Why did you reject him? Speak!”
“Oh! do not ask it,” said the baron, apprehensively. “Remain in ignorance forever for the sake of your peace. And confide in my tenderness and my prudence for the knowledge and fulfilment of our duties. All that you can know, poor Claire, is that fatal word ‘necessity.’ When I first offered you Berville and you wanted Frinlair, I should have been glad to give you the count, had I been able; but I swear to you that it was impossible.”
“And I,” said Claire, energetically, “cannot marry the other. That also is impossible.”
“It is indispensable,” insisted the anxious baron.
“Take care, Monsieur,” declared Claire, coldly and firmly. “Your power has limits as well as my duty. I will resist you. Say no more about the matter.”
“This marriage is necessary, and immediately.”
“Foolish girl,” exclaimed the baron, in an undertone. “Fortune, honor, life depend upon it.”
How so?” Claire could not help asking.
But her doubt returned.
No,” said she, “you are deceiving me again. I believe you no longer.”
I he baron, who had made crime an art, now saw success for the plan which the energy of a daughter worthy of him had almost wrecked.
He went resolutely to close the window, and then said solemnly:
“Claire, my only, my beloved child, I am at your mercy. I no longer appeal to your duty, I have not the right. I put my power at your feet. Your old father, on his knees and with clasped hands, implores you in the name of a supreme interest. Do not dishonor me in your eyes. Spare me. Be merciful. . . . Be self-sacrificing. . . . Our safety depends upon you. Be resigned without inquiry as to the cause. Remember that to share confidence is sometimes to share guilt”. . .
“I am no longer to be put off with your reserve,” said Claire, obstinately, . . . “and I refuse.”
“But we shall have to abandon everything,” insisted M. Hoffmann, panting, “everything,— the house, Paris, France,— and fly like malefactors.”
“Let us start with my child,” said Claire, explosively.
“Where? How?” rejoined her father, overwhelmed, “with all the ties that hold us, the cables to outstrip us, portraits to denounce us, the newspapers to discover us; with all the splendor of our life, all eyes fixed upon us through envy, hope, interest. We are placed under the watchful eye of opinion, the surest of all police. No, I cannot fly from justice; I can only dazzle it ... . and this marriage!”....
Claire interrupted him.
“I do not understand you, Monsieur. I committed a sin to force your consent to an honorable marriage; I will do more to resist an odious marriage. Death rather than this marriage!”
“Well, since you insist upon it,” cried the banker, beside himself, “listen then to that w’hich no one but myself knows; which I hoped to carry to the grave; which I wanted to forget, to hide from all, from you especially, and which you force me to reveal to you. Do you not see, then, from my despair, that a mortal secret lies beneath it, and that you will never forgive me for making it known to you?”
“I tremble,” she murmured, frightened by the baron’s excitement.
She added in a louder voice:
“I am listening.”
“Learn then, if you will,” said the baron, in a hollow voice, “this terrible secret, the fatal past that engages and governs our future. A youth as reckless as Camille’s formerly threw me from the heights of fortune into the depths of misery, and I fell lower yet in trying to save myself and then to lift myself.”
“You make me shudder,” said Claire, terrified.
The baron continued:
“I rose a guilty man, a criminal.”
“Enough,” cried Claire, recoiling.
“This is my punishment,” said the baron, lowering his head; “I horrify you as well as myself. Now you will not dare to touch my hand. But you wanted to know all, and you shall know all. Poverty, stern teacher, had instructed me.”
He stopped to treathe, and then went on:
“With gold found in blood, I gained an entrance under a false name into the house of Camille’s father, who, ruined by my crime, took me first as partner, then as a friend and relative, and finally as guardian of his son. I hoped then that the first crimes would be the last .... but alas I crime has its fertility. It became necessary to make my ward, the son of the man whom I had ruined, my own son-in-law in order thus to mingle our destinies and prevent any prosecution. One can stifle remorse, but not fear. To bring my w ard to this end, I urged him on in dissipation; I knew from my own experience w’hither that leads . . . and I have succeeded. He is lost without us, as we are without him.”
The baron hesitated again.
“I cannot tell you all. Have mercy! Spare me,” he stammered.
And in a lower voice he faltered:
“But it was necessary; Gertrude .... she was an obstacle, and her sickness needed only to be aided.”
Claire sank down, overwhelmed.
“No more hope!” she exclaimed.
The baron resumed:
“There remained your passion for the count and the cursed fruit of that disastrous love. ... I had to overcome these last obstacles like the others, break your heart, poor Claire, sacrifice you to the same necessity . . . for it was necessary, and it is still necessary, for me to have Camille for a son-in-law.”
“It is death,” said Claire, crushed by this conclusion.
The baron insisted further, inflexible in his logic of evil.
“Heaven itself has condemned the other marriage. Submit, then, to this one, a marriage of salvation for all. Even though your child should be living, is he of more consequence than your father, than yourself? For you too have a secret to hide, to cover with the nuptial veil, a secret fatal like my own . . . still more so perhaps, for my victims are no more, while yours perhaps still lives, and the count, the count is dead!”
Claire straightened up again, preparatory to going out.
“Oh! unhappy woman that I am!” she said. “For you all that gold can give, the superflous and the necessary, jewels and a dowry, millions in your hands, diamonds on your brow, honor, homage, everything in short, except your heart I Love what you hate! Kill what you love! Shed your blood, drink your tears; smile when your heart bleeds in every fibre; make yourself a living sacrifice to society! Immolate rights and duties, conscience and nature, for the monster I For its sake make an infamous holocaust of your holiest passions! Happy, happy the poor girl who went away from here just now I Yes, my God, I envy her. A garret, a woollen dress, a crust earned by toil, humility, and poverty, but at least the liberty of her heart. . . . My father, I resist no longer, you have killed me.”
And she went out.
The baron, left alone, was seized by a sort of fit of delirium.
“What a struggle!” he exclaimed; “a woman’s conscience dies hard. She revives my own. In spite of myself, her terrors take possession of me. I would rather kill a man. . . . And yet what work is that! It is to kill humanity I Implacable logic of crime! My life is now but one long murder of my own and of myself, perpetuating itself like the taenia. March on, Wandering Jew of crime! Revolve in this circle of blood and tears, without other issue than Clamart. Oh, fortune, how expensive you are when you cost a man his life! When I chose murder in preference to suicide, I expected to live rich and happy, to repair the evil by doing good. Miserable fool! Evil breeds evil. I have not wealth, for I have killed repose. I have not happiness, for I have killed my daughter. I have not life, for I am dead, without death’s peace. Oh! murder is the great suicide. In killing a man, I have killed myself. . . . Yes, the newspapers told the truth: the Duke de Crillon-Garousse is dead!”
But he heard a knock at a secret door, which he opened, after having secured the door at the back of the room.
Madame Potard entered.
“Ah! here you are, Madame,” said the baron, recovering his self-possession.
“Yes, Monsieur, at your service,” said the midwife.
“The sight of her restores me to myself,” said the baron, aside. “Help yourself, and heaven will help you.”
“Youhave sent for me,” said Madame Potard. “Is Mademoiselle indisposed?” “No, she has only changed her opinion. Woman varies. She would like to see the child again, if possible.”
“Ah! so much the better!” exclaimed Madame Potard.
“So, then, Madame,” said the baron, in a threatening voice, “you have violated all your agreements. You promised to put it out of the way.”
Madame Potard stammered:
“But . . . Monsieur”. . .
“To put it out of the way forever,” added the baron.
“Ah! Monsieur, forgive me,” begged Madame Potard, “I am wrong, I confess. I did not have the strength. . . . And then, doubtless it was not Mademoiselle’s wish. I did not know what to do. But be reassured; I have lost the child as much as possible; it is with a poor girl, where it will never be found.”
And sobbing, she added:
“Any more than the money that I lost at the same time.”
“Capable of anything,” sneered the banker; “so dishonest that she even does good when she promises to do evil.”
“Ah! I am punished enough by the loss of the notes.”
“Lost like the child. ... I don’t believe a word of it, and you must return them to me.”
“I haven’t them!” cried Mine. Potard; “I haven’t them, as true as God hears
“So you have lost them all?”
“Alas! yes, Monsieur, the whole ten.”
“Well, I will replace them, if you like.”
“What do you mean?”
“If you will do what you have not done.”
“But . . . Mademoiselle . . . does she think”. . . .
The baron thought the abortionist was trying to blackmail him.
“Then you have these notes still,” 3aid he; “you must return them.”
“No, no, not one, I swear to you!” affirmed Mme. Potard, with a tone of sorrowful sincerity.
“Then I double them.”
“Twenty thousand francs! What! you really wish”. . .
“Twenty thousand francs,-today, this moment.”
“You insist, Monsieur, you force me to it; so be it, then; I can no longer refuse you. You will give me twenty thousand francs this very day?”
“And everything will be done this time?” questioned the baron, distrustfully.
“And you will leave Paris . . . which is not healthy ... for returned convicts.”
“What! you know?”
“Your whole record . . . sentence, breaking of the ban, and false name. You are a relative of Gripon, and free through his protection. Your name is not Potard, but Gavard. Is it not so?”
“I will leave France, if it is necessary,” promised Mme. Potard, satisfied. “I carry my country in my pocket,” said she, in a low voice; then aloud: “Yes, Monsieur, I will start some moonlight night and never return.”
“It is well,” said the baron, reflectively. “Misfortune is good for something. . . . Yes, a double stroke . . . the rival and the child.”
He took his hat and cane.
“Come along,” said he to the midwife, “but this time I watch.”
And they went out by the secret door.
Marie had hurriedly returned to the Rue Sainte-Marguerite. The idea that her adopted child might want milk for lack of money lent her wings. She forgot everything, the insult suffered and Camille, who was to come that day,— for the young man had kept his promise to himself, and had returned. The politeness of the early days had given place to tenderness, compliments to sentiments and oaths. Between the young people, at least on Camille’s side, it was no longer a question of friendship and protection, but of love and passion.
Father Jean did not view these attentions favorably, but he had patience, showing himself as discreet as he was attentive and devoted to Marie.
The latter, on reaching home, began to search her drawers with a haste made all the greater by the shrill voice of the new-born infant proceeding from the sleeping-room adjoining the chamber.
“I must be quick,” said she, growing excited. “My father’s watch and my mother’s wedding-ring, my entire inheritance, all for you, dear little”. . .
The child’s voice was hushed.
“He sleeps,” continued Marie, listening as she looked for her family relics. “This watch which has marked all the hours of my life; this ring with which I hoped never to part, even in death; all that is left of my own,— I must give them up at last, pawn them for the nurse’s month’s pay.”
Just then came a knock at the door.
“Ah! it is you, Father Jean!” exclaimed Marie, opening the door for the old rag-picker, who came in, with a poster in his hand, shouting:
“Good news! I have found the owner of the notes.”
“Reallyl So much the better!” said the young girl.
“Yes,” continued Jean; “this morning I picked up a poster a month old; seel” And he read: “Lost, on the night of February 12, in going from the Faubourg Saint-Honord to the Faubourg Sail it-Antoine, ten thousand francs in bank-notes. The finder is requested to return them to the widow Potard, midwife, at No. 4, Rue Saint-Louis, where he will be suitably rewarded.”
“At last, then, I can restore them,” he said, as he finished reading.
“Good riddance!” approved Marie.
“You are right,” said Jean, folding up the poster and putting it in his pocket. “Madame Potard, you say?” said Marie, suddenly; “why,she is one of my customers. ... I am very glad for her.”
And still hunting, she added:
“Where did I put that watch?”
“Now, to be entirely contented, I should like also to find the owner of the child,” ventured Father Jean, who had immediately dismissed his first thought of suspicion. “Ah! Father Jean, that’s a different matter.”
Jean was not disconcerted.
“Now that I think of it,” said he, “perhaps this midwife can tell us something. Who knows? It is such a great chance, and among her acquaintances. . . I will speak to her about it. Yes, I am as anxious to see you rid of the child as myself rid of the money.”
“Poor little fellow! in fact, perhaps it would be better for him. . . . But no, Father Jean, he was not lost by chance; and those who abandoned him did so because they could not keep him. He is far better off with me than with those who left him here.”
Jean shook his head.
“That’s all very fine; but no doubt you have spent another night in working for him; it will kill you.”
“On the contrary, Father Jean, it keeps me alive; but for him I should be dead, as you well know.”
Jean made a movement of affectionate brusquerie.
“Oh, yes, I know; it is he who obliges you; it is he who is ruining himself for you. There is no sense in it. He is costing you the eyes in your head. Where is your new shawl? All your poor effects will go the same way. Again you have stripped yourself for him, I am sure. Be seated while I talk to you a little. I have not finished.”
Marie, having found the watch, yielded to his desire.
“Ah! here it is! ... . Well, Father Jean, be quick; what more have you to say?”
Jean sat down beside Marie, and went on with embarrassment.
“Simply that you are too good; you are wrong, Mam’zelle. You know the proverb: ‘the wolves devour those who are too good.’ Well, you listen only to your heart. You have a passion for doing good to others; you do it secretly, like the good girl that you are; and then, when it is discovered, it turns against you”. . . Then, with an effort, he added:
“Yes, Mara’zelle, I must tell you at last; they gossip about this child.”
“Well, let them talk, Father Jean, cost what it may. It is better to be honest than to pretend to be.”
“That is not all, Mam’zelle. I do not know whether I ought to finish. Perhaps it is not my right. . . . Surely it does not concern me”. . . .
Marie gave a start of surprise and annoyance.
“Ah! don’t be angry!” said Jean, with growing embarrassment. “It is purely in your interest. And then for some time you have been very dreamy, and a young man comes to see you .... a handsome young man .... doubtless very honest and very reserved with you, but also too rich for you, Mam’zelle. . . In short, the child on one side, the young man on the other . . . one cannot keep evil tongues from wagging, and I should like to see the young man and the child in their proper places as well as the notes.”
“Father Jean, I have nothing to fear,” answered Marie, “nothing with which to reproach myself. I did not think it wrong to receive the excuses of this young man after the accident to the dress. If I have done wrong, I will see him no more . . . but as for the child, Father Jean, that is different, I insist. Oh! you do not mean what you say.”
“Yes, begging your pardon, Mam’zelle,” insisted Jean, “a child of misfortune, superfluous like myself, like all beggars. . . . Beggars! there is no need of being careful of the seed. They will always grow fast enough. So think more of yourself and less of others. Each one for himself!”
“Ahl Father Jean,” exclaimed Marie, “how can you talk so? Then you have never loved any one? Did you never have parents? Oh! Father Jean, when one has loved an old mother, one loves little children. If you only knew how good it is to love some one! But say, why then are you interested in me?”
“Why? why?” repeated Jean, disconcerted.
And Marie, affectionately insisting, said:
“Why? Well, I will tell you,” said Jean, frankly.
“Ah! that’s it; tell me that.”
Jean, after a thoughtful pause, began:
“A child of Paris, I was born I know not where, I know not when, I know not of whom, abandoned like the orphan that you have found. My mother, the unknown, cast me, like him, into the arms of misfortune or of crime .... into the arms of-chance, to grow up as I might. I am of that race of starvelings who, having so hard a life, live nevertheless, willy-nilly. . . . How? Why? No matter I a mushroom from the muck-heap of Paris, a stump from the streets of the capital, one of the offscourings of the old city which time, that master rag-picker, gathers into his huge basket when he sees them. For sixty years, hook in hand, I have thus been dragging about the streets of Paris, which I have never left, where I have always lived, or rather where I have not died,— for really one cannot call it living. Would you believe, Mam’zelle Marie, that I have never seen the fields, the grass, except in the market-squares. . . I don’t know why I think of all this just now. . . . Oh, yes, it is to show you that I have never known anything but the pavements and the passers-by.”
“Poor Father Jean,” said Marie, moved. “How have you managed to live in this way?”
“It is as I tell you, Mam’zelle; as a child, I had neither father nor mother; as a man, I have had neither wife nor child. Nobody has ever loved me; I have never loved anybody. I haven’t had the means. It isn’t every one that can afford to have a family. It’s expensive, you see. I was too poor to have one, and I’ve gone without. Ah! when I came home all alone to my den, the four walls were very large, and yet my heart felt cramped within them. It was very empty, and I stifled. I turned about like the bear Martin in his cage, and sometimes growled, as he does. I was cruelly tormented. I remember that one day I wished myself in prison that I might not be alone. That day I was thirty years old ... up to that time I had been called Jean for short .... it was quite enough for a single man . . . but after that I was known as Father Jean. This name father put me beside myself. At that time I believe I should have stolen a child but for the necessity of feeding it. . . . Ah! you are better than we! But I could no longer live so; you are right. Then I took to the weed,— pardon me, Mam’zelle,— to tobacco and brandy. Those are friends, those are relatives! They are known as consolation . . . brandy especially. When one is alone, one gets drunk. That makes people; one sees double. Yes, I saw at the bottom of my glass all my imaginations, a household, children around me, and a wife making soup and setting the table for us all. I lived like that, or rather I was killing myself, I was killing myself body and soul, Mam’zelle. Each of us has his suicide. You have charcoal and we three-six. I was always drunk,— yes, that’s the word, dead-drunk. But one night a great misfortune, the death of a man ... of which my wine was to a certain extent the cause . . . one can never foresee the consequences of wine . . . the death of a poor father of a family, Mam’zelle, which I could not prevent, because I was drunk, made me swear to drink no more, to take his place, to look out for his child.”
Looking at her with tenderness, he asked:
“Have you ever seen me drunk a single time since I came to live near you? Formerly I could not stand it to go without drinking for a day . . . and now, now I could not stand it to go a day without seeing you. Devil take me, I think now only of you, Mam’zelle Marie; you have broken all the glasses, and I feel something sweet and new which I cannot explain, but which is better than drinking, be sure!”
“Is it not, Father Jean?” said Marie, with feeling.
“Yes,” continued Jean, “when I saw you so good, sewing as many hours as there are figures on your watch, caring for your poor mother, bringing up this child, I said to myself what you said just now, that it is good to love some one, and I began by loving you. . . . Indeed I don’t know how I love you, whether it is as a daughter or as a sister or otherwise ... I cannot tell you. I don’t know myself in this matter, having never loved or hated anybody. All that I know is that my age is about the same as would have been your father’s. Yes, that’s it, I love you as my daughter. And when you call me Father Jean, it reconciles me to the name. I take you at your word; my poor heart leaps in my breast. I would give a pint of my blood to save you a tear, and I would weep night and day like the fountains in the public squares to cause you to smile but for a moment.”
“A tear! a tear!” said Marie, with emotion.
Jean, laughing and crying at the same time, confessed his weakness.
“Yes, dear child, a tear, a tear of joy, that’s what it is! Let it flow; indulge this poor old heart, which has never been able to make up for lost time in all its life with you. It is all pleasure and never enough. When you look at me with your beautiful clear eyes, your pink cheeks, your blooming mouth, and your perfect bouquet of a face, it always seems to me like a celebration of my birthday! And when I can come here like this, sit by your side, talk with you, take your little white hands, and press them gently between my own, yes, I am happy, it intoxicates me. It seems to me that I too have a family, a child, my right, my share, the share of joy, in short, due to every man who has a heart. . . That, Mam’zelle, is why I am interested in you.”
Marie leaped upon his neck, and, embracing him with all her grateful heart, cried:
“My good Father Jean!”
“Ah!” said Jean, clasping her joyfully in his arms.
“Well,” said Marie abruptly, returning to the subject of her baby, “I love the little one just as you love me, and I am going to try to get the money for his nurse.”
She brought in the child.
“See, he has waked; isn’t he pretty?” said she to Father Jean, who was conquered.
“I say nothing ill of him,” said the latter; “nevertheless I shall speak to Mme. Potard all the same.”
“StillI” exclaimed Marie. “Ahl Father Jean, that you may learn, you shall take care of him a little while for me.”
Handing him the child, she added:
“Watch him carefully until I return. ... I shall not be long.”
She looked at him pleasantly.
“Now, Father . . . Grandfather Jean, those who have lost him have not wept with joy as we have today,” she concluded.
And the charming girl went out, leaving her child with the rag-picker.
He watched her departure with a comical embarrassment.
“Well, well, Mam’zelle,” said he. “She does with me as she likes.”
Accepting the inevitable, he went on:
“I suppose I must lull the little beggar. Hasn’t he a sharp eye?”
He walked up and down the room, cradling the child in his arms.
“Suppose he should cry? I cannot give him suck. Suppose I try to sing him to sleep! Ah! yes, but my voice is a little rusty.”
And he began to sing:
“‘Forever wine I forev’. ... Ah! not that. He will learn that only too soon. ‘Rock a-bye, baby, upon the tree-top.’ This is something like work. . . . Father in earnest! or rather grandfather, Grandfather Jean, as my daughter said. . . Ah! ah! my young rascal, taking a nap at last! I will lay him gently on mamma’s bed. ... It is settled, then. Since she wants him, she shall keep him, watch him, bring him up; she shall pay for his nursing, schooling, and apprenticeship; he is well off, better off than I am; she shall take the bread out of her mouth and her clothes off her back for Monsieur, provided he turns out well.”
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 Distribution of Rent.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Before replying to your rejoinder regarding land vs. skill, I should be pleased to know whether in an Anarchistic state, in the event of a transgression of equal liberty, the injured party is to resent the act according to his judgment and caprice, or is repression to be exercised by an organized power according to rules determined by previous agreement? In the one case the unavoidable difference of opinions must be a source of interminable disturbances; in the other, we have the operation of an organized society with laws and supreme power,— in fact, a political State. If an agreement exists, who is to execute its provisions? And if some refuse to assist, and shirk social duties, have they any claim to the assistance of the organization, have they any social rights? Until we have a clear understanding on these points, we might argue forever without avail.
Assuming that equal liberty can be attained only through some social compact, I fail to see a distinction between the monopoly of;i gold-mine and that of an invention. The exclusive possession of either is the result of a social compact, all persons agreeing not to exploit the natural deposit of the precious metal, or to make use of the device suggested by the inventor. The monopoly of a gold-mine can, therefore, have no existence except by mutual agreement, or eventually a forcible prevention of those who claim equal liberty and attempt to extract gold from the same deposit. In like manner, every other peaceable enjoyment of a natural or local advantage is a result of mutual agreement, supported by the power without which the agreement would be a dead letter. The occupier of superior land or location is therefore indebted to society for the right of undisturbed possession, and a society of egoists will naturally confer this right to the highest bidder, who will then, as now, determine the rent. An occupier is not a transgressor of equal liberty unless he claims and receives this right without giving an equivalent in return, and the return is equitable if it equals what others are willing to give for the same right.
If we keep this in view, I may be able to more intelligently convey my views on the land vs. skill question. The social agreement, and not the “physical constitution of things,” is the factor determining the distribution of land, while the distribution of skill is absolutely independent of this agreement, depending upon the physical and mental constitution of men. Some men may have reason to be dissatisfied with the distribution of land, knowing that it can be changed, while a dissatisfaction with the distribution of skill is like the crying of a child because it cannot fly.
Having shown that a vital difference exists between land and skill, the distribution of the one being due to human laws, that of the other to natural laws, I wish to further demonstrate that only by inequitable, despotic laws can an equalization of natural opportunities be prevented.
In a state of liberty rent will invariably be offered, by the occupiers of the poorest land yet needed, for the possession of better or more favorably located land. Shall law forbid such offers, or invalidate contracts made in compliance therewith, incidentally suppressing competition; shall it permit certain individuals, the so-called land-owners, to appropriate this rent; or shall society so distribute it that no citizen has any reason to complain of political favoritism? Is there a fourth possibility, and if not, which of the three is consistent with the law of equal freedom? Which tend to establish artificial inequalities? I reiterate my conviction that a nationalization of rent will be an inevitable result of the establishment of equal liberty.
If I were the possessor of land on which the productivity of labor exceeds that obtainable on land held by others, they
would be willing to lease my land and pay a rent of nearly the excess of productivity. But since under the system of occupying land-ownership such a contract must be void, I shall never vacate the land, whatever inducement should be offered me, for, upon leaving it, I and my descendants would forever receive for the same efforts a less return than if I had retained possession of the said land. If for any reason some valuable land should become vacant, the number of applicants would naturally be very large. Each would be willing to give very nearly the annual excess of productivity afforded by this land, in his competitive attempt to outbid others. Who shall become the future occupier? Shall appointment decide, or shall the land be given to the highest bidder? In the one case, favoritism would reign; in the other, the nationalization of rent would be realized, which you condemn. Moreover, if production is carried on in groups, as it now is, who is the legal occupier of the land? The employer, the manager, or the ensemble of those engaged in the cooperative work? The latter appearing the only rational answer, it is natural that those in possession of the lesser opportunities will offer themselves to the favored groups for wages slightly greater than what they can obtain on the less favorable land and less than the members of the favored group would obtain as a share of their cooperation (which is only another form of an offer of rent). But as such an accession to a group would displace some of those previously employed, pushing them upon the less favorable land, such competitive applications will be resisted to the utmost, and competition would be harassed. A development of a class-distinction could not be avoided.
The relation of social agreements to the distribution of the products of skill is totally different. An attempt to distribute by law the products of labor will discourage production, diminish happiness, and reduce the power to resist adverse influences, enabling those people to survive in the struggle for existence who encourage production by protecting the producer in the peaceable enjoyment of the fruits of his labor, provided he pays the value of that protection.
The desire not to encroach too much on your space determines me to defer my reply to Mr. Yarros.
I cannot excuse Egoist, for several years a subscriber for Liberty, when he requires me to answer for the thousand-and-first time the questions which he puts to me in his opening paragraph. It has been stated and restated in these columns, until I have grown weary of the reiteration, that voluntary association for the purpose of preventing transgression of equal liberty will be perfectly in keeping with Anarchism, and will probably exist under Anarchism until it “costs more than it comes to”; that the provisions of such associations will be executed by such agents as it may select in accordance with such methods as it may prescribe, provided such methods do not themselves involve a transgression of the liberty of the innocent; that such association will restrain only the criminal (meaning by criminal the transgressor of equal liberty); that non-membership and non-support of it is not a criminal act; but that such a course nevertheless deprives the non-member of any title to the benefits of the association except such as come to him incidentally and unavoidably. It has also been repeatedly affirmed that, in proposing to abolish the State, the Anarchists expressly exclude from their definition of the State such associations as that just referred to, and that whoever excludes from his definition and championship of the State everything except such associations has no quarrel with the Anarchists beyond a verbal one. I should trust that the “understanding on these points” is now clear, were it not that experience has convinced me that my command of the English language is not adequate to the construction of a foundation for such trust.
The fact that Egoist points out a similarity between the monopoly of a gold-mine and that of an invention by no means destroys the difference between them which I pointed out,— this difference being that, whereas in the former case it is impossible to prevent or nullify the monopoly without restricting the liberty of the monopolist, in the latter it is impossible to sustain it without restricting the liberty of the would-be competitors. To the Anarchist, who believes in the minimum of restriction upon liberty, this difference is a vital one, quite sufficient to warrant him in refusing to prevent the one while refusing to sustain the other.
Egoist says that “an occupier is not a transgressor of equal liberty unless he claims and receives the right of undisturbed possession without giving an equivalent in return.” Anarchism holds, on the contrary, in accordance with the principles stated at the outset of this rejoinder, that an occupier is not a transgressor even if, not claiming it or paying for it, he does receive this right. This question of “Liberty in the Incidental” has been elaborately and clearly discussed in these columns within a few months by J. Wm. Lloyd, and an extract in confirmation of his position has been reprinted from Humboldt. I refer Egoist to those articles.
The assertion that “the distribution of skill is absolutely independent of social agreement” is absolutely erroneous. In proof of this I need only call attention to the apprenticeship regulations of the trade unions and the various educational systems that are or have been in vogue, not only as evidence of what has already been done in the direction of controlling the distribution of skill, but also as an indication of what more may be done if State Socialism ever gets a chance to try upon humanity the interesting experiments which it proposes. On the other hand, the collection of rent by the collectivity does not necessarily affect the distribution of land. Land titles will remain unchanged as long as the tax (or rent) shall be paid. But it does distribute the products resulting from differences of land, and it is likewise possible to distribute the products resulting from differences of skill. Now until this position is overthrown (and I defy any one to successfully dispute it), it is senseless to liken “dissatisfaction with the distribution of skill” to “the crying of a child because it cannot fly.” The absurdity of this analogy, in which the possibility of distributing products is ignored, would have been apparent if it had been immediately followed by the admission of this possibility which Egoist places several paragraphs further down. To be sure, he declares even there that it is impossible, but only in the sense in which Proudhon declares interest-bearing property impossible,— that of producing anti-social results which eventually kill it or compel its abandonment. I contend that similarly anti-social results will follow any attempt to distribute by law the products arising from differences of land, and I ask, as I have asked before without obtaining an answer, why the collectivity, if in its right of might it may see fit to distribute the rent of land, may not find it equally expedient to distribute the rent of skill; why it may not reduce all differences of wealth to an absolute level; in short, why it may not create the worst and most complete tyranny the world has ever known?
In regard to the attitude of Anarchistic associations towards rent and its collection, I would say that they might, consistently with the law of equal freedom, except from their jurisdiction whatever cases or forms of transgression they should not think it expedient to attempt to prevent. These exceptions would probably be defined in their constitutions. The members could, if they saw fit, exempt the association from enforcing gambling debts or rent contracts. On the other hand, an association organized on a different basis which should enforce such debts or contracts would not thereby become itself a transgressor. But any association would be a transgressor which should attempt to prevent the fulfilment of rent contracts or to confiscate rent and distribute it. Of the three possibilities specified by Egoist the third is the only one that tends to establish an artificial inequality,— and that the worst of all inequalities, the inequality of liberty, or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it the equality of slavery. The first or second would at the worst fail to entirely abolish natural inequalities.
The possibility of valuable land becoming vacant is hardly worth consideration. Still, if any occupant of valuable land should be foolish enough to quit it without first selling it, the estate would be liable to seizure by the first comer, who would immediately have a footing similar to that of other land-holders. If this be favoritism, I can only say that the world is not destined to see the time when some things will not go by favor.
Egoist’s argument that free competition will tend to distribute rent by a readjustment of wages is exactly to my purpose. Have I not told him from the start that Anarchists will gladly welcome any tendency to equality through liberty f But Egoist seems to object to reaching equality by this road. It must be reached by law, or not at all. If reached by competition, “competition would be harassed.” In other words, competition would harass competition. This wears the aspect of another absurdity. It is very likely that
competitors would harass competitors, but competition without harassed competitors is scarcely thinkable. It is even not improbable that “class distinctions” would be developed, as Egoist says. Workers would find the places which their capacities, conditions, and inclinations qualify them to fill, and would thus be classified, or divided into distinct classes. Does Egoist think that in such an event life would not be worth living? Of course the words “harass” and “class distinction” have an ugly sound, and competition is decidedly more attractive when associated instead with “excel” and “organization.” But Anarchists never recoil from disagreeable terms. Only their opponents are to be frightened by words and phrases. T.
Among “Scientific Socialists.”
I attended a recent public gathering of the local section of the Socialistic Labor Party, a notice having fallen under my glance that a Reverend Mr. Bellamy would speak on “Jesus, the Socialist.” The Socialistic Labor Party being the school of scientific or Marxian Socialism (scientific because Marxian, or Marxian because scientific?), I, as an admiring student of Marx and sympathetic subscriber to his philosophic views of societary development (though not to his economics), naturally felt interested in this meeting. If Marx hated anything more intensely than he did bourgeois Socialists, it was so-called Christian Socialists; he laid great emphasis on the necessity of divorcing Socialism from all religious and sentimental elements, and was profoundly intolerant of all ignorant and unskilful handling of the subject. He would not have spared five minutes of his time to consider the value of the socialism of anybody (man, God, or son of God) eighteen centuries in his grave; what he concerned himself about was the relation of Socialism to the unmistakable tendencies of the present and the sure promises of the near future. A collision between modern Socialists, who have the name of Marx constantly on their lips, and an antediluvian Christian-Communist could not fail to be entertaining.
The reverend orator began by a rather superfluous announcement of his adherence to Socialism, which nevertheless elicited great cheering. He drew a distinction between Socialism and Anarchism, stating in seeming good faith and assurance that the former taught solidarity, love, order, and all things good and fine, while the latter meant violence, social discord, isolation, egotism, and the reign of passion and force; which “brought down the house.” Then he besought the auditors to beware of the Darwinian heresies and of the evolutionary standpoint, which must logically lead to the adoption of Anarchism, and invited them to take places at the feet of Jesus, his lord and master, who was the greatest Socialist after Moses. Pure Christianity is really nothing but Socialism, we were informed, and, as proof of this, long quotations from the New Testament and the literary exercises of the Church Fathers were produced, in which community of goods was favored, mutual love enjoined, fraternity glorified, the poor blessed, the rich virulently attacked,— in fine, thorough Socialism inculcated. Mosaic legislation was offered as a model of a Socialistic code, and the early Christian organizations as types of Socialistic commonwealths.
What followed the discourse can hardly be described as discussion. Our “scientific” Socialists were completely charmed and captured. Except one or two irreverent Anarchists, who presumed to criticise the orator, nearly every Socialist on the floor figuratively fell into the arms of the minister of Christ and kissed enthusiastically the Bible in his hands. One, not hitherto known as versed in religious literature, suddenly remembered that he was indebted to the Bible for most of his Socialistic ideals and ideas. It was a great night for the shade of Jesus; it must have been a soul-harrowing scene for that of the father of “scientific Socialism.” As a gentleman was heard to remark: “It seems all the Christians are fast becoming Socialists and all the Socialists Christians.” Where is the modern Landor to write an imaginary conversation between the cynic Diogenes and the ardent and confident revolutionary Atheist and Socialist Marx? Mr. Frederick Engels once observed with a good deal
of satisfaction that Socialists are fond of referring to “Das Capital” as the proletariat’s Bible. Yes, though a great number profess to believe in its contents and swear by it, very few have read it, critically considered it, or intelligently accepted it. To Socialists with really scientific views the amity of such an audience as I have represented is far less welcome than their frank hostility. V. Y.
Marie Louise, for whom personally I have great respect as a friend and sincere truth-seeker, has just sent me a marked copy of the “Alarm,” containing her article on “Janus-Faced Liberty”; evidently intended to combat the very true words of Comrade G. S. in Liberty: “Anarchy does not contemplate favorably, if it is necessary to say it, the absolute liberty of the individual, but proclaims simply the highest liberty of each, limited by the like liberty of all.” And the lady will, I trust, pardon my saying that her article is so purely assertative and rhetorical, and so little possessed of logic, that I should never have thought of replying, had I not interpreted the marked copy as a challenge to defend my position on the matter, and had I not felt that the giving her views a first place in the columns of a professed journal of individualistic Anarchism indicated that they were shared by a considerable number of emotional Anarchists; above all, had I not believed that she was a reasonable woman, eager for truth, willing to be convinced.
The bombardment commences: “Nothing can prove more clearly the state of infancy in the development of our race than the erroneous definitions which the majority of people give to the principle ‘Liberty.’” This truth she forcibly illustrates in the next paragraph by the child-like enthusiasm of her own definition: “Liberty means unlimited freedom of activity and unrestricted expansion of natural forces.”
There is something so deliciously Hibernian about this, that I am reminded of that celebrated “bull,” in which Pat defines one, to wit: “If yees see a field full of nothin’ but cows, all av thim laying down, and wan of thim standin’ up, that wan’s sure to be a bullf — be jabers!”
Does not Marie Louise perceive that she has here proclaimed an absurdity, an impossibility,— something that the lips can indeed utter, but which the mind can not think? Can she imagine a universe of forces in which each natural force has unlimited expansion? Can she suppose a society in which each individual has unlimited freedom of action? Unlimited freedom of action requires an action with nothing to act on. Can she conceive of an action without re-action? Can she think of force without resistance? And reaction and resistance mean limitation. Action and force have relation to the maintenance and alteration of limits, and without limits have no existence, except as incomprehensible words. Not even as an abstract idea does unlimited freedom exist. We speak of abstract ideas, but as a matter of fact we never have them. Truly, the “spotless purity” of such liberty as this, “pure, untrammelled, unsullied” by any relation to actual facts, is “too dazzling for our gaze.” “Limit freedom to [the freedom of] any product of nature, and the vitality of the object is threatened.” So far as this is true, the fact that the vitality of every object is threatened, and limited, proves that its “indissoluble” “twin,” liberty, is likewise limited. Everything in our environment limits and bounds our liberty, and actively or latently threatens our life.
“O Liberty! sole saviour!” she eloquently cries, but cries mistakenly. Liberty is not the saviour, but opportunity for the saviour to save. I have somewhere said that knowledge is the only saviour, but that also was hardly deep enough to be true. Knowledge comprises the weapons and the tools which liberty enables intelligence to use. It is the conscious and unconscious human intelligence — Wisdom — that saves, by adapting us to our environment, and enabling us to avoid its adverse possibilities, thus increasing our liberty, life, and happiness to the widest possible limit. Wisdom is the sole saviour, using the facts of knowledge, in liberty, to save both itself and its liberty. Without liberty the saviour cannot save, that is true, but liberty without wisdom saves nothing, is nothing.
This absolute liberty which Marie Louise proclaims is a chimera,— nay, I can hardly admit even so much as that, for, as I have said, it is entirely unthinkable. The finite mind refuses utterly to grasp the infinite, because it cannot grasp it. In spite of itself, when it tries to imagine the infinite, it gives it form, boundaries, and relations,— limits,— or it stops in despair. All infinite, absolute, unlimited things are to us words merely,— things suitable in the limbos of Spencer’s Unknowable, or some other such region of outsideness. We Anarchists must talk common-sense, or we shall be the laughing-stock of philosophers, the derision of thinkers.
This definition commits Marie Louise to the defence of the Czar and the Pope, for, while no man can realize unlimited liberty, the autocrat, perhaps, comes the nearest to it,— certainly tries it.
And “to protect,” she says, has “no affinity with freedom.” Then the Czar who invades is all right, but the poor Nihilist, who would protect himself, has “no affinity with freedom.” Faith, he may think so himself; but Marie Louise does not intend to be humorous. According to this doctrine, the tyrant who invades acts consistently with his liberty, as much as the rebel who resists acts consistently with his, for she says: “Where the liberty of the individual commences and when it ends cannot be defined by any human individual except the subjective one.” Truly can she say: “Not emerged enough yet out of our infantile state to be clearly conscious of our needs, but too much evolved to retain the blind carelessness of our primer years, we stand in a puzzling dilemma.” Evidently, however, the protection that Marie Louise condemns is authoritarian “protection,” that which is imposed without the protected one’s consent. But such “protection” is unworthy of the name; is another form of invasion; is on the principle of certain deodorizers, “a stink stinking out another stink”; is Janus-faced indeed.
Certainly too — and that may have entered into her thought — where there is no invasion there is no protection; freedom itself may be said to be non-existent then, for there is no invasion to be free from; but, while invasion exists, protection is the very function of liberty. “Liberty and life” are “twins,” “indissoluble,” and yet the “protection” of that life has “no affinity with freedom”1 I wonder not that she cries: “To be or not to be is our present position!”; but I marvel, indeed, that “life smiles hopefully.”
Her proposition: “Where the liberty of the individual commences and when it ends cannot be defined by any human individual except the subjective one,” commits her to the affirmation of limited liberty. That which “commences” and “ends,” which can be “defined,” is necessarily limited. How can the “subjective one” define the indefinite, or put commencement or end to the “limitless” and “boundless”?
Her position is now completely changed from that of affirming “limitless liberty,” “one and indivisible,” to that of affirming liberty limited only by its subject, and therefore divided into as many parts as there are subjects. She is evolving rapidly out of her “infantile” conception, and illustrates the fact that no one can think or write long on the subject of liberty without approaching the Anarchistic view of equal freedom. In starting from the standpoint of the individual, the ego, she starts correctly. Let us see where it leads her.
Tom gets the idea of limitless liberty, and starts on the run to put it in practice. By the time he has dashed his foot against a stone, butted a stone-wall, and nearly drowned in a mill-pond, he begins to recognize that nature, at least, abounds in boundaries. Taking off his damaged hat to this fact, he makes another start, on the assumption that in the realm of human nature liberty is as limitless as you choose to have it. But presently he encounters Dick and Harry, likewise inflated by this new inspiration, and there is the devil of a row, leading to the discovery that three human beings cannot each possess as limitless liberty as they choose. But so long as the delusion persists, there goes on a hideously unhappy struggle for it, or, at least, for more liberty than others possess. This is the world’s present disease. But finally these three bruised, crippled, and impoverished men, severally and simultaneously, take off their hats to a second and greater fact, viz., that equal human liberty is the essential condition of social harmony and individual happiness,— “and live happy ever afterward.” This is the world’s future health.
Where are we now, Marie Louise? Is not this the “highest liberty of each, limited by the like liberty of all”? We have seen the commencing, and the ending, and the defining, from your own observatory, and is it not limited liberty which we now see? If not,— what?
The liberty for which Anarchists contend, therefore, is practical, possible, thinkable, realizable liberty, within the limits of nature and human nature, bounded by the natural necessities, and chosen by the individual himself as the only possible route to harmony and happiness. Social Liberty is indeed “one,” just as the atmosphere of the earth is one; surrounding society as the atmosphere surrounds the globe; all individuals having part in its use, just as all breathing creatures have part in the air; limited by the size of humanity, just as the atmosphere is limited by the dimensions of the earth; the sum and substance of all that liberty which men use or can use, just as the atmosphere is the totality of all the air living creatures breathe or can breathe.
Suppose a man confined in an air-tight chamber, from which the air was then exhausted. I feel certain Marie Louise would not say that the prevention of this act, or the readmission of air to the suffering wretch, was the same thing as the air’s withdrawal. Yet to protect from an invasion of liberty, or to restore the liberty withdrawn, she considers an invasion of liberty. Her argument implies that to protect from the theft of a purse, or to compel restitution of one already stolen, is as bad as the theft; that to protect from rape is to rape the rapist. To restrict from any invasion is not to restrict liberty, but to prevent restriction of liberty, just as to stop a robber is not to rob, but to prevent robbery.
To assert that equal liberty “is not liberty, it is a mere restricted condition always capable to be adjusted to the ambitious designs of oppressors,” is a wild statement of which Marie Louise, as a fair disputant, should be ashamed. How by any possibility can “the highest liberty of each, limited by the like liberty of all,” be twisted into countenance of oppression? This remark reveals her fundamental misconception of liberty.
Liberty is not (any liberty known to, or attainable by us) unlimited permission to do as we please, but permission to grow and develop into normal harmony with our environment, to live as long and healthfully as nature intended we should, and enjoy happiness, the pleasure of normal and harmonious life. Liberty, then, is not an end, but a means, an opportunity to acquire normal human development with its resultant pleasure,— happiness (not all pleasure, mind you, for invasion also has its pleasure). The comprehensive precept of equal liberty: I invade not willingly, neither willingly permit invasion, utterly excludes oppression. And the egoistic basis of equal liberty, that the realization of my liberty hinges upon the realization of like liberty for my fellows, stamps me a fool if I become an oppressor.
Every real thing in the universe has relation to other things, and these relations constitute its limits; and equal liberty is simply liberty in its normal relations, liberty limited by the necessities of its own existence and performance of function.
The only “Janus-faced liberty” — which is not Liberty — is that which invades, and necessarily invades, whilst shouting “unlimited freedom.” But, “Anarchists have a clearer and more practical knowledge of liberty” than that, indeed.
Permit me, Madame Marie Louise, to invite you to remove your bonnet, for you are being introduced to a fact
It is well to take off one’s hat to a fact; it is better yet not to wear the hat so low that obvious facts are unseen. J. Wm. Lloyd.
Love, Marriage, and Divorce,
And the Sovereignty of the Individual.
Henry James, Horace Greeley, and Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Comments and Reply by Mr. Andrews.
Continued from No. 142.
Nobody can, in fact, escape his own worship of the Most High. I prefer this to the term God as equally orthodox and as less implicated with existing dogma. The Most High of Eloise was the Catholic conception of a personal God. The Most High of Mr. James is a perfect law, ultimating in a perfect ideal social adjustment which he sometimes calls “society” and sometimes calls “God”; and the element of deference to this perfect law in the settlement of our love affairs is what he calls “marriage,” as the counterparting and major element in this question, as compared with mere love. No free lover has ever denied this, because hitherto they have not been called, as a body, even to consider the subject. Individually, these cases of conscience are arising among them every day; and if Mr. James will write so that they can understand him, I will venture to say that he can find no other public so ready to accept, gratefully, any ethical solutions be can furnish them.
What Mr. James supposes is that they are a body of people whose Most High, or highest conception and object of devotion, is their own appetite and passional indulgences. When this was put in the form of an accusation, I resented it as a gross slander. Reduced to the proportions of an honest misapprehension, I hasten to do my best, by a laborious effort, to remove it; and I assure Mr. James that I know no such class of people as he conceives of, under the name of free lovers. They are, indeed, as I know them, among those farthest removed from this description. They consist, on the contrary, in a great measure, of idealists of a weak passional nature, and who, for that reason, could not bear the yoke of matrimony; of benevolent, kindly people who have witnessed the misery of others in that relation until their natures revolted; and of speculative thinkers who have solved or are trying to solve the problem of the social relations; and it is on these grounds that they are gradually, and just now pretty deeply, imbuing the whole public mind.
What Mr. James calls in one way society, in another the social spirit, again God's life in my spirit, and finally God, is just as important and just as paramount in my view as in his; though I may not always choose to adopt any of these modes of expression, and may, at times, rather speak of my own higher and lower nature instead. I do not, however, object, if he does not insist and seek to impose a special form of expression of a thought otherwise essentially the same. The fact that this higher life is mine does not deny the fact that it is yours also, and I only insist on freedom of conception and expression; and the distinction between our nature and ourselves has a mystical seeming which I might choose to avoid. With aright adjustment of the technicalities of expression, I presume, however, that there is no difference here between Mr. James and myself.
What he says of suffering is wholly good or monstrously bad, according to the farther exposition it might have; and it would take me too far away from my present purpose to follow him. I simply reserve, as the lawyers say, my bill of exceptions. I will, however, confess that I am not conscious of sweating so hard, spiritually, over the effort to be good as Mr. James deems it requisite; and either that I never get to be so good as his ideal good man is, or else that it comes more natural to me. Perhaps I was sanctified somewhat earlier, and have forgotten my growing pains.
Yes, I do hold that our appetites and passions are a direct divine boon to us, etc., which Mr. James denies with all his heart; and yet I hold all this in that larger sense that has all Mr. James’s distinctions within it,— as Col. Benton said or a certain bill in Congress that it had “a stump speech in the belly of it.” I affirm every one of his affirmations, in spirit if not in terms, and only negate his negations.
Mr. James next proceeds, after the preparation thus made, to characterize free love, philosophically, as free hell. The opening sentence of this part of Mr. James’s communication is in itself utterly ambiguous, for the reason that it is impossible to tell from it whether in “emancipation from marriage-constraint” he means by marriage-constraint the outer constraint of the statute law or that release, which he has imagined to be the demand of the free lovers, from the divine order, whatever that may be, of the love relations of mankind. But light is thrown upon the subject farther on, and it appears that he means this last, for he contrasts the “emancipation” from it, under the name of hell, with 11 that marriage-love of the sexes by which heaven has always been appropriately symbolized.”
Now by marriage as appropriately symbolizing heaven he undoubtedly means nothing other than harmoniously adjusted love relations in accordance with the divine law; by which is meant, again, nothing other than the highest law in the universe applicable to the subject. He may assume in his thought that this highest law is such, or such; but that does not affect the question, as he may be either right or wrong in the assumption; and he can hardly, I think, reject my definitions, which transcend all special renderings of the law. This highest law must in turn be ascertained by intuition, by inspirational impression, by experience, by reason, and, in fine, in the highest degree, by the absolute science of the subject superadded to and modifying the results of all the other methods,— by, in a word, whatsoever faculties and means the human mind possesses for compassing a knowledge of the highest truth, especially in this sphere of affairs. Love — as a substance or subject-matter, appropriately regulated by the true and highest law of its relations — as a form — this substance and this form, again, happily united or married to each other, is what Mr. James is here characterizing as marriage-love and as heaven; and nobody can, I think, appropriately object to this characterization.
So, on the other hand, the divorce or sundering of this substance and this form (it is a little queer to call that idea an “emancipation,” but no matter so long as we can guess at what is meant) may, with the same appropriateness, extending the symbol, be denominated hell. I conceded at once, in my previous answer, that what Mr. James understood us to propound as doctrine would be a doctrine of devils; and I suppose that sort of thing is rightly characterized as hell. But I have now to show that, as I think, Mr. James does not quite understand himself on this subject; and I take the liberty to correct him, as, if he is going to conduct us to the sulphurous abyss, I want he should go straight to hell, and not deviate a hair’s breadth to the right nor the left.
I have pointed out two senses in which Mr. James has used the word marriage. There is involved here a third meaning so subtle that I presume he is entirely unaware of it. Marriage is here in one breath contrasted with love, as the opposite partner in a partnership of ideas, and in the next breath it is used to mean love conjoined with marriage (marriage being now used in the former sense),— that is to say, to mean the partnership itself. It is as if Smith were about, in the first place, to be fairly treated in relation to Jones in settling the affairs of the firm of Smith & Jones, but that, surreptitiously, the assumption were glided in that Jones is the firm of Smith & Jones, and that poor Smith has now to reckon with the whole firm against him.
Read the following extract in the light of this criticism: “I am only making an honest attempt intellectually to characterize it [free love]. And as by the marriage-love [love and true marriage conjoined] of the sexes heaven has always been appropriately symbolized to the intellect, so I take no liberty with thought in saying that hell is no less appropriately symbolized by love as opposed to marriage. I repeat, then, that free love, regarded as the enemy of marriage, means, to the philosophic imagination, free hell, neither more nor less,” etc. It will appear at once, on a close inspection of this extract, that marriage, the last two times it is here used, is used as synonymous with marriage-love,— as, in other words, a partnership-idea, including love as one of the partners,— and in that case love is no more an appropriate idea to contrast with it than Smith is the appropriate antithet, in the case supposed above, of Smith & Jones. The true antithetical idea of a partnership is the individuals as individuals, and both of them equally, out of the partnership. So the true antithet, in idea, of marriage (meaning love in marriage and marriage in love conjointly) is love and marriage, as a substance and a form, mutually contrasted, divorced or separated from each other; and then, if the word free is used to mean their separation (or emancipation) from each other, it is just as applicable to marriage as one of the partners as it is to love as the other -partner; and it is not alone free love which is hell, but it is love divorced from true relational adjustment (here called marriage) and true relational adjustment (that is, the relational adjustment which would be true if love were present) this last without love, which are both and equally the symbol of hell. In other words, love without marriage and marriage without love are hell,— the reader remembering that we are not now talking of statute marriage, but of true sexual adjustments; and love married to true sexual adjustments, or vice versa, is heaven.
No philosophical free lover, any more than any other philosopher, would object, I presume, to these statements; and this is what Mr. James means, or should mean, in the premises.
We are all aware that love, as mere unsatisfied desire, is hell, or misery; and satisfied upon a low plane it is still hell to one who has conflicting superior desires unsatisfied; and when the satisfaction is complete in kind, if the adjustments are imperfect, conflicting, or disharmonious, in whatsoever sense, the result is still hell; and this authorizes Mr. James to call free love hell, he having taken the word free to mean divorced or sundered from true or harmonic adjustment; but how he could ever have thought any set of people to be the partisans of this particular kind of hell is still very surprising. On the other hand, he might just as rightly, and is even required by consistency, to say free marriage, in the sense of mere formal adjustment divorced from love as its appropriate infilling substance, and then to denounce it as hell of another kind; which we all know it to be. It is this latter hell which free lovers are especially engaged in combatting; and it is that hell of devils and this hell of Satans (Swedenborgian) between which I insist that Mr. James shall hold even balance; in other words, that he shall go straight to hell.
But Mr. James’s ladder of argument, though there is a round loose occasionally, is still a ladder conducting him up to a culmination of magnificent philosophical statement. Free love, as hell, is still with him by no means altogether disreputable. Hell itself is getting up in the world. It is an equal factor in the genesis of all things, an equally honorable combatant in the grand final battle of principles, the end of which is not defeat for either, but a trinisinal reconciliation where-y the new heavens and the new earth are or are to be constituted. All this is universological and grand and true, and it rejoices me to have so distinct an announcement of the doctrine, in this connection, from Mr. James. I gladly concede also that he has derived only the materials for this doctrine from Swedenborg, and that the form of it is new and equally original with Mr. James and myself, and perhaps some other thinkers of this age. At all events, I am in full fellowship with him upon this central point of what I must undoubtedly believe is the final and integral philosophy of mankind.
I should not, it is true, base my faith in a final philosophy upon Swedenborg’s personal experiences in the spirit world, nor upon any mere historical averment of events which may have transpired in any world, but upon what to me is far securer, the universological laws and principles of all being. Still, I have no contempt for Swedenborg's experiences, whether they prove to have been subjective or objective phenomena; and the rendering which Mr. James gives of the event alluded to is altogether sublime and alike true whether the event literally and objectively occurred or not. If the date of these spiritual espousals was so far back, it would seem that the effective promulgation of the fact has been reserved for this and the coming age. The new divine manhood has as yet made but small external progress in the world. The germ, nevertheless, exists’, and it is taking on, every day, increased proportions. The most fatal mistake that soldiers make in war is to fire upon detachments of their own army, and it is all-important that they discover and retrieve the blunder. The figure is commended to Mr. James’s consideration. Verbum sap. sat.
Stephen Pearl Andrews.
It is rather late to notice Mr. Franklin’s criticism, in Liberty of December 1, of cranky notions, but it is never too late to correct error. I did not want to help the Democratic party because Jefferson believed in less government. It seems to me that every one who knows anything about the history of political parties in this country knows that the idea of more government vs. less government has always been an issue, and represented by one of the two great parties that have existed since the formation of the government; and further, he knows that what is now called Democracy is the successor of the party of which Jefferson was a member., and that its theory was and is less government. I admit that it has frequently been recreant to this principle, and that it has to account for many political sins, but I am not one of those who condemn forever those who do wrong. I am ever willing to give credit to even the worst whenever they do a good act. Cleveland and his party may not have been as sincere as we would have had them, but they did stand in the last campaign for less government and less revenue. The Republicans made no secret that they desired to get their hands deeper into our pockets and to interfere still more in our right to spend our money where we pleased. Indeed, it is a new piece of information to me that the Republicans ever favored a reduction of tariff duties. That they favor a reduction of the income of the government may have some ground in fact; but their policy, I think, rather leads to prohibition than to free whisky. While I never use either whisky or tobacco, of course I believe in removing all taxes on these things. And I believe that temperance would be advanced by a removal of all taxes. If the Republicans ever advocate the removal of all taxes on whisky and tobacco, I shall certainly place no obstacle in their way to accomplishing that. I am willing to aid anybody going in my direction. I believe in Anarchy. I believe government must be removed gradually and by piece-meal. Anarchy is a practical theory because it aims to leave in the pockets of the industrious that which they earn by their own labor. We must be practical in its advocacy. We must take advantage of every opportunity to reduce governmental taxes, and on every occasion show that this is what Anarchy aims to do. I am inclined to think that Anarchy will grow rapidly when the period of terror and falsification regarding it is over. Every one is willing to relieve himself of taxes, and when the farmers, business men, and work-people generally learn that Anarchy means especially less taxes, with a view of removing them entirely, they probably will be anxious to learn more of it. Yes, Anarchy means lessening government, lessening taxes; with the view ultimately of doing away with them entirely. And I believe in taking advantage of every possible means to accomplish that. We differ as to the best way of accomplishing the desired result, and where we differ so widely, I question the policy of any individual or set of individuals laying down a line of action and jumping on every one who does not follow it. As an Anarchist I claim the right to follow that mode of action that seems to me most effective. That Anarchists should advise with each other as to the best means of course is wise and good. I am always ready to consider advice, no matter from what source it comes. Mr. Franklin’s objections to my position do not strike me with much force, and until I have better reasons, I shall throw my influence on that side, politically or otherwise, which seems to go “agin the government.”
* * *
Free love and sex relations seem to have become the special subject of discussion in Anarchistic and free thought journals recently. It is questionable whether this is wise. What is the use of telling a man or woman that by right no one has a right to own him or her in those relations when existing industrial conditions make him a slave outside of these considerations? Social freedom is a chimera without industrial independence. There is such a thing as getting the cart before the horse, even in reform. Let us try with all our might for industrial freedom and independence; all other good things that should follow will follow.
Joseph A. Labadie.
Plain Talk to “Slummers.”
[New York World.]
The serenity which usually characterizes the regular monthly meetings of the Women’s Conference of Charitable Societies was unexpectedly disturbed yesterday afternoon by the well-known worker among the poor. Dr. Gertrude Kelly. The Young Men’s Christian Association Hall, on Twenty-third street, was comfortably filled, and Mrs. Joseph S. Lowell called the ladies to order and announced Mrs. Strothern as the first speaker. That lady was very enthusiastic on the subject of making the children of the poorer classes as happy as those of the rich, upon which she spoke at some length.
Dr. Gertrude Kelly was the next speaker. Her first sentence gave the keynote of her address.
“I fear,” she said, “it will be a mistake on my part to entertain a lot of fashionable women who, exhausted by dissipation, have taken up the fad of ‘slumming.’”
Mrs. Lowell looked surprised, and several ladies in the audience looked in unmistakable dismay at one another. Continuing, Miss Kelly said there was little sincerity, she thought, in the attempts of the society women to ameliorate the condition of the poor. It was mainly due to a feeling of self-satisfaction and self-sufficiency that such ladies interested themselves in charities. The speaker in a general way attacked the existing relations of classes, and strongly emphasized the fact that the working classes, the very creators of wealth, had so very little of this world’s goods.
“And when they dare to relieve their misery,” she continued, “or better their wretched condition, the police are ready, as was shown in the recent strike, to club them or shoot them down.”
Miss Kelly closed amid very generous applause, and three or four ladies at once rose from their seats and asked for the privilege of the floor. A gray-haired lady said something about the unfairness of the address, and expressed the opinion that for the most part the working people were mostly at fault. Several other ladies protested against Miss Kelly’s view of the work of such societies as the Woman’s Conference, and Mrs. Meyer said it was evident from the papers that no body of police ever behaved with more moderation and displayed so little feeling against violators of the law as did the New York police in the recent strike of the surface railroad employees.
Chairwoman Mrs. Lowell thought that Miss Kelly misunderstood her and her associates. She thanked the speaker for having so well acquainted them with the condition of the working people.
Radicalism in Washington.
Morgan, the Washington correspondent of the Boston “Globe” and one of the keenest observers and brightest writers in “Newspaper Row,” sent the following letter a few weeks ago, which I copy into these pages, thinking that the facts and reflections contained in it will be as new and interesting to the readers of Liberty as they were to its editor.
Washington, Jan. 26. — This town is never heard of except as a resort for politicians. So far as the outside world is informed of Washington events, nothing ever happens here except the defeat or enactment of a bill, the appointment or disappointment of an office-seeker, and Mrs. Senator Millionaire’s tea. The list of people in Washington who ever get talked about in the newspapers is almost as narrowly limited as the bumptious McAllister’s Four Hundred in New York. The joys and struggles, and the crimes and virtues, of two hundred thousand of Washington's men and women are always hid beneath the shadows of congressional politics and the politicians’ society capers.
For instance, who ever stopped to think that the national capital shares with all other cities of the country in radical thought and aspiration?
Yet, in sight of the big white dome of legislation, there are hundreds of people who look up from their books and laugh, with the radical’s derision, at the futility of Washington statesmanship. They hate the conservatives and despise the hobby riders of Congress. Scattered all among the department swarms are men and women who stay here simply for the ease and leisure that they can get in government service and devote to the study of advanced sciences and the quiet contemplation of the dreams of social theorists.
Much of this inconspicuous life of the capital is isolated, but there are gathering here and there little groups filled with the intense spirit of the revolutionist. There are also radicals outside the departments. There are not a few in the army, and there are more in Congress than ever dare to confess themselves. Some very bold, if silent, students of economic problems sit in the halls of legislation. It is true that not one of them has ever manifested himself in this direction. With the politician’s self-control, they are patiently waiting for their constituents to find out the truth, unaided by them. When that truth is revealed sufficiently to spread its light over their benighted districts, they will hasten to embody it in their political platforms. Meanwhile their experience here with homæopathic remedies for the organic ills of the body politic only strengthens their radicalism, and adds to their cynicism concerning the present ways of government.
While Congress is, therefore, the most obstinate conservative in the country, it is yet, in a large degree, a radical school. Its members are forever confronted with the issue, and an inside view is afforded them of the helplessness of the government in the presence of it. They court-plaster the grim face of railroad monopoly and railroad competition with a long haul and a short haul commission, but in their own researches the intellectual men of Congress do not stop there. They tinker the tariff with the gentle mallet of the dentist, but scores of these statute makers proceed in thought to the very root of taxation and its literature. They sugarplum the industrial masses with a bureau of labor statistics, but they themselves long ago left behind the study of simple effects and went ruminating among the first causes. For two years Congress, the judiciary, and the nation have stood in impotent terror of the quick and giant growth of trusts. Speeches and messages and editorials have rained constantly upon the hydra-head of this new offspring of the money devil, but not a scheme to remedy or check the trusts has come to a vote. A majority of Congress would support anything that promised to weaken these novel organizations of capital, but not a plausible plan has been advanced in all the bushels of schemes of this character. Yet there are dozens of men in the two houses that think they know the true cure. They don’t dare, however, to prescribe it. Their treatment would have to do with only the source of the trouble, and the scab itself would go unscratched of them.
This is a free country, but we make it sizzling hot for the citizen that ventures to take his freedom in any except the popular way. There are not a few members of the English Parliament who are famous radicals. I don’t mean radicals in a party sense, but in the universal, intellectual signification of the term. In this country, however, a man never goes to Congress until he has subscribed to all the thirty-nine articles. Nobody asks him to believe in them, but everybody insists that he shall advocate and support them. There is not another legislative body in any nation on earth where, as in the American Congress, a member has a choice of but two courses. Here lie must stay in either the Republican or Democratic camp, else the devil will take him. There are no groups, and there is no middle-ground. We laugh at the poor man “on the fence,” and take the first opportunity to club him into one party or the other. The dissembler is all right, but woe unto the dissenter!
Naturally it will surprise most people to be told that Senator Tom Palmer, the millionaire Michigander, who has wearied of the shams of the capital, and is about to go back home with an extra curl in his cynical sneer,— it will surprise them to hear that he is an ardent revolutionist. He is a Communist, and is forever dropping some little hint or other of his discontent with existing systems. Only a few days ago he spoke pityingly of labor strikes as the “teething pains of civilization.” Senator Palmer is probably the warmest radical in the Senate, and if he were out of politics, and lived in New York, he would probably succeed his namesake, the late Courtlandt Palmer of the Nineteenth Century Club.
John James Ingalls, the vinegary president pro tempore, is no novice in radical speculation. He is a steady reader of the literature of radicalism, and he sits in the vice president’s chair and laughs at the unwitting Socialism of Senator Blair. Ingalls is an individualist, and some people say an Anarchist. Everybody knows that he is an agnostic in religion. John Jones of Nevada, the golden phoenix of the Senate, who almost annually rises from his financial ruins, is no less a radical because he is so signally successful in availing himself of the present order of things. Senator Jones is a bold philosopher. Senator Davis of Minnesota, who looks like a picture of General Butler on the eve of the war, dreams of the social millennium, and expects its coming on earth. Senator Eustis of Louisiana is deeply versed in and much attached to French radicalism. Senator Platt of Connecticut is a close student of advanced economics, whatever his present conclusions may be. Senator Reagan of Texas, who held two cabinet offices in the Confederate government, is perilously near a State Socialist in his reasoning and impulse. Senator Turpie of Indiana has built up his mental structure on the basis of Jefferson, and is extremely jealous of the exactions of the State in its relation to the individual.
These are only the few senators who have given some outer sign of what is passing in their minds. Senator Stanford’s radicalism has no relation to government or industry. He is a devoted Spiritualist. The radical group in the House comprises many elements and such members as Anderson of Kansas, Weaver of Iowa, Farquhar of New York, Tom Browne of Indiana, Charles R. Buckalew of Pennsylvania, Ben Butterworth, J. Logan Chipman of Michigan, Charles Dougherty of Florida, Martin A. Foran of Ohio, Thomas N. Norwood of Georgia, James Phelan of Tennessee, and Deacon Stephen White of New York.
Probably as many lines of radical thought are embraced in this list as there are names, but they are all men who have indicated in different ways, more or less frank, that they sometimes think there are vital screws loose in our social and political machinery. Both of President Cleveland’s appointees on the supreme bench are men who do not think in ruts. Justice Lamar has often expressed the feeling that the last thing men will learn is how to treat one another, while a close friend of the chief justice once told me that, while Mr. Fuller believed profoundly in the American form of government, his belief was equally strong that the future would prove that we do not now know the just way of administering the powers of the Constitution.
Finally, I may recall that the president’s last message to Congress on the subject of the aggregation of national wealth in a few strong hands smacked unmistakably of thought and study, in which the very conservative never indulge. Indeed, Mr. Cleveland’s letter of acceptance last summer had a paragraph in it relating to the currency that met with the full and hearty approval of Liberty, whose editor, Benjamin R. Tucker of Boston, is the torchbearer in this hemisphere of what may be termed intellectual Anarchy.
Anarchy at the Tip-Top.
[Hugh O. Pentecost to his Unity Congregation.]
After State Socialism, probably far, far in the future, when men have learned that the highest form of selfishness is unselfishness, will probably come Anarchy, by w’hich I mean cooperation without force or authority, except that which inheres in natural law. This is the highest possible conception of human society.
The present instalment concludes the “Love, Marriage, and Divorce” compilation. In the next Liberty I hope to make an interesting announcement concerning the serial which is to follow.
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.