“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.
“There are many cases in which the law-makers are more responsible than the law-breakers,” confessed Gladstone recently in a speech on Irish affairs. Mr. Pentecost asks in surprise: “What is the matter with the great men? Is Mr. Gladstone becoming an Anarchist?”
The editor of San Francisco “Freethought” states that “something over five days is required for “Freethought” to go from the post-office to Montgomery and Washington streets, a distance of one and a half blocks.” Can anyone doubt the advantages of governmental management of the postal service?
The Socialist journals are very fond of quoting the following remark of Spencer: “The progress from deepest ignorance to highest enlightenment is a progress from entire unconsciousness of law to the conviction that law is universal and inevitable.” It is hard to understand how worshippers of majoritism and believers in government of man by man can derive any encouragement from this. It certainly cannot be construed into a defence of special legislative machines for manufacturing laws to order, but, on the contrary, must be interpreted as a complete endorsement of the Anarchistic idea that true order is the offspring of liberty.
Liberty’s new serial, which will probably be begun in No. 146, will bear the following title: “Free Political Institutions: an abridgment and rearrangement of Lysander Spooner’s ‘Trial by Jury’ by Victor Yarros.” Spooner’s celebrated work has long been out of print, and Mr. Yarros thinks that in its new form the book, originally written for the purpose of establishing the correct principles of jury trials and but incidentally discussing the subject of political freedom, will be a splendid instrument for the popularization of Anarchistic ideas of liberty and social organization as well as a deadly weapon against those who ignorantly or dishonestly seek to perpetuate our present system of governmental tyranny by pretending that it is based on our voluntary consent.
Those “cultured” bourgeois citizens of Boston whom Bellamy’s ridiculous and childish “Looking Backward” converted to Socialism, but who, unwilling to face the popular prejudice against the word, try to take advantage of the prejudice in favor of the term nationalism to smuggle their schemes into practical politics, propose, in addition to other means of propaganda employed by them, to start a periodical for the dissemination of their doctrines. It is to be called the “Nationalist,” of course, and will have the support of many prominent representatives of authoritarian reform. That some of the red-hot international scientific Socialists sympathize and cooperate with this set of snobs would be surprising, were it not known that all is fish that comes into the Socialistic net, and that in their determination to be up and doing the Socialists often undo the work upon which the best energies of their best men have been spent.
I do not think Henry George will feel flattered by the following words of apology which a correspondent of the “Open Court” signing “Observer” speaks in his behalf: “I pointed out to George the difficulties to his land scheme. . . ‘It is all true,’ he said, ‘but any one who takes the lead in a movement must push it to its extreme and demand not the half but the whole; he must leave compromises to others.’ . . Mr. George is not a scientist, not an unbiassed economist. . . He is the creator and head of a party, and as such he must be judged.” I confess that most of my criticisms of George were made in the belief that he claims the title of a scientific reformer and challenges analysis and close scrutiny of his conclusions with the confidence of deep conviction. I should not take much interest in the rant of a demagogue and party chief who invents catch-phrases and war-cries with the sole view of stirring up the enthusiasm of the thoughtless. Be this as it may, George, if correctly represented, has curious notions of the duty of leaders. It seems that they are bound to stubbornly maintain and defend any position they have assumed even at the sacrifice of reason and logic, and that to admit errors and correct them is to “compromise.” Ordinary people imagine that no consideration can rise higher than that of always following the truth. And they would declare that, if George is really alive to the defects in his schemes, he is both dishonest and silly in trying to shut his eyes and pretending that it is his critics who are blind or insincere.
What Anarchists Want.
The article given below is issued as a leaflet by A. Tarn, Liberty’s agent at Birmingham, England.
Anarchists aim at the abolition of monopolies. They believe (and challenge any one to prove the contrary) that these are the cause of the present unnatural distribution of wealth.
The monopolies which have the most injurious effect upon society are the following:
These are maintained by yet a fourth,— viz., the monopoly of physical force in the shape of the standing army and police.
Monopoly of land is the foundation of rent.
Monopoly of the currency is the foundation of interest.
The Anarchists differ from the State Socialists in seeking to abolish these monopolies, whereas the latter aim, not at abolishing them, but at simply intensifying them. Thus, the State Socialists would abolish the system of maintaining private individuals in the possession of monopolies by making the land, means of labor, &c., directly a monopoly of the State, so that the government should itself levy the rent and interest accruing from these monopolies. The Anarchists go exactly the other way to work.
All upholders of government are blinded by the curious error which is at the foundation of so much social misery,— the error, namely, which establishes one moral code for the individual and another for the institution called government. Thus government, which is supposed to be necessary to repress theft, violence, and murder, finds no other way of maintaining itself but by the committal of like acts; and the State Socialists go a step further, and, after fuming against the iniquity of rent and interest when levied by private individuals, propose as a remedy that government should undertake to levy the same.
Anarchists constantly remind people that governments are based upon and embody principles which are opposed to the continuance of social order. No government can be maintained by voluntary contributions, but only by compulsory contributions, backed up by violence or the fear of it. Such contributions, when extorted by the private individual, under the same circumstances, are called theft and robbery. What is there divine or superhuman about a government that no moral code is applicable to it? Do we protest against the infallibility of the Pope, and yet admit that of governments?
The Anarchists then aim at abolishing government, itself a monopoly and the upholder of monopolies.
The question of the abolition of government is merely a question of performing for ourselves those functions which governments at present monopolize. The most difficult questions which we have to solve are the questions of the currency, the land, and the police.
The solution of the currency question lies apparently in the substitution of a paper currency, secured by the property of the people and issued by local banking associations, for the present absurd monopoly. For what purpose does government stamp a large quantity of most valuable metal into articles of no use-value except as means of exchange? The object of this system is to enable a few to sweat the people and hold them in thraldom. There is no other object in the manufacture of coins by government, and, when people become their own bankers, the whole stock-jobbing and financing crew will vanish from the face of the earth.
With regard to the land, the Anarchists are in favor of abolishing all law relating to it; especially are they opposed to the so-called Nationalization of Land. If we are to have landlords, let us have them of flesh and blood, with both a body to kick and a soul to damn, in both of which essentials officialism is deficient. And why on earth should the people of Yorkshire interfere with those of Devonshire in the settlement of the land question, or the people of London with the people of Birmingham. Anarchists fail to see.
The levying of rent, whether by private individuals or by governments, is perfectly unjustifiable and unnecessary, and the proposals of State Socialists, based on their beloved Ricardian theory, are just an example of the desire of these busy-bodies to everlastingly interfere both with private individuals and with the working of natural laws. The natural law regarding land is plain enough,— namely, that, where land is most fertile or most advantageously situate, there the population is densest, and the amount which any individual can hold is least, whilst in a barren part of the country or one disadvantageously situate one person can hold wide tracts. The simple explanation of rent is that it is a swindle arising out of a monopoly.
The question of personal protection is not so difficult. The present police system offers the least possible incentive to the members of the force to perform their functions. They would doubtless do their work far more efficiently if they formed a free association in each district, or if each policeman were an independent man. It need hardly be pointed out that the object which governments have in monopolizing the police and military force is to enable these institutions to maintain themselves and thereby perpetuate the privileges of the few.
When once these monopolies are abolished, the necessity for State interference in other matters, such as education, workshop inspection, &c., will fall through, since these interferences are only necessary to patch up the present system of monopoly; and the evils of our present economic system are only to be eradicated by attacking monopoly at the root, and not by piling on the agony of State interference.
Peace on earth and goodwill amongst men are very desirable. They are not however to be brought about by acts of parliament, but by recognizing the good old maxim, “mind your own business.”
“Liberty Enlightening the World.”
Hard by the ferry’s rail I stood, one night,
And saw the beacon gleam across the bay,
Of that fair statue bravely raised to say: —
O Brain, and Hand, be Free! — in words of light;
But as I looked, no statue met my sight,
Only a shapeless shade that seemed to stay
Atween the glorious torch-star, sweet as day,
And where the pedestal shone palely white.
A symbol this, it seemed to me; forsooth
The world lies wan beneath high Freedom’s flame,
And, dazzled, knows not yet her form, nor grace;
Her torch to men is but a torch in truth,
Few read as yet her lines of healing fame —
Too dark! Too soon! — the morrow sees her face.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. B. Tucker.
Continued from No. 143.
He carried the child into the small room and came back.
“Now,” said he, “I will go up and smoke a pipe before she returns.”
He went behind his stairs to get some fresh flowers, which he put in the place of the old ones on Marie’s bureau, and then said, as he left the room:
“I will leave the door ajar, so that I may hear the baby better if he should cry.” And he went up to his lodgings radiant with happiness.
The Baron’s Double Stroke.
Father Jean had scarcely turned his heels when a woman hidden under a black veil emerged from the shadow of the stairs and entered Marie’s room.
“She has gone out; I must be quick!” she exclaimed, in a hissing voice.
She crossed the working-girl’s room, entered the smaller one, came back with the child concealed under her veil, and disappeared, carrying him away hastily.
In her flight she made the stairs creak, and the noise attracted the attention of the rag-picker, who, coming out of his den, pushed into the room in his turn, listening and saying:
“It seems to me that I hear somebody coming up. It is Mam’zelle Marie, no doubt. I will stay here. If she does not find me at my post, she will scold me. No, nobody, I must have been mistaken.”
And he continued to smoke for a few moments.
Then suddenly realizing this impropriety, he quickly put his pipe back in his pocket.
“The devil!” he exclaimed; “one should not smoke here.”
He went to look down the stairway.
“Ah! this time there is somebody,” said he. “It is she. . . . No, it is the modern.”
Camille stood before him.
“Mademoiselle Marie is not at home?” asked the young man, a little embarrassed.
“No, Monsieur, she has just gone out,” answered Jean, testily.
“To remain long?”
“I think not.”
The rag-picker, after twisting his beard discontentedly, grumbled to himself: “Come, things cannot go on in this way. I must speak to him.”
“If you wish to wait for her, be seated; if not, I will transact your business for you.”
“Thank you,” Camille hastened to say, “I will wait. It is so comfortable in this little room. It is to me a sort of Jouvence bath. Here I breathe I know not what perfume of virtue that calms the senses and invigorates the heart. I am born again. What a contrast with our world! There proprieties and rights, here nature and duties. Ah! here is real life, that which gives a good conscience . . . here only would I begin mine over again if I had the courage . . . I would find at last what I seek, rest in order, esteem in love, and security in happiness. But am I still worthy of these? . . . And can I be happy? Everything speaks to me of her,— her voice, her gesture, her virgin grace, an omnipotent magic that renews my strength. This pure life, so pimple and so full, so useful to others and to self, this vestal lamp, this work-table, this shining thimble, this little needle as smooth as her fairy hand . . . everything enchants me and draws me with a magnet’s force.”
He took the needle out of the cushion.
“Poor little sword that serves her to conquer her two great enemies,— poverty and temptation. What valor! The moral sense, like the others, grows by exercise. If I may trust appearances, this is the entire support of her chaste and sober life. These are the tools of her toil, the weapons of her struggle, the pledges of her victory, the witnesses of her honor!”
“Oh! yes, indeed, I guarantee you that,” said Jean. “It goes from morning till evening and from evening till morning . . . and fast enough to wear the flesh off her bones.”
“So much the better!” exclaimed Camille, joyfully.
“You laugh?” asked the rag-picker.
Camille explained himself.
“I laugh and weep at the same time, you give me so much joy and pain at once. Labor is the guardian-angel of her age, Father Jean. It is necessary . . . but. . . not too much! And has she always lived thus by her toil?”
“And on what else, then, if you please? No other bread is eaten here. I tell you so myself.”
“Undoubtedly. But though she works always from morning till evening, as you say, she does not always work from evening till morning, as the night of the all is sufficient to show.”
“Ah! yes, once, I know, and only once. The lesson was heeded. That’s all I can say.”
“Indeed! this girl is an exception, a treasure in a garret.”
“Why not? I have found one in my basket. . . Look you, Monsieur, there is good and evil everywhere, in the garret as well as on the first floor.”
“Yes, all is not gold that glitters,” said Camille.
“And all gold does not glitter,” said Father Jean. “There are none better than she anywhere. Good and beautiful without vanity, doing good naturally, as her rose-tree bears its roses. Ah! her husband will not be unhappy.”
“Father Jean, you are talking up your goods,” observed Camille, smiling.
Jean stopped for a second, and then continued:
“There is no need to sweeten sugar. And if I were young, handsome, and rich . . . But to the point. Monsieur Henri Berville, this very morning I was talking of you with Mlle. Marie.”
“And Marie has often spoken to me of you, Father Jean,” answered Camille.
“Ah! She has spoken to you of me, dear child,” repeated the rag-picker, disarmed.
“Yes, and as of her second father.”
“She did not lie, Monsieur, I answer for it . . . and, you see, that is why I take the liberty . . . the . . . since we are alone . . . to ask you just what you want with her.”
Camille looked at him with his clear, straightforward eyes, and frankly answered: “And because of that respected title which I acknowledge as yours, father Jean, I shall answer you frankly. . . I saw Mlle. Marie at the ball, I loved her, it is very simple; I have risked death for her sake; I can no longer live without her, and I am going to break off my marriage”. . .
“To marry her?” asked Jean, quickly.
“Oh, no, I love her,” cried Camille.
“Ah! ah! And you would marry her, if you did not love her?”
“Perhaps, Father Jean; marriage, they say, is the grave of love, and I do not wish to bury mine.”
“There you are! the world reversed,” laughed the rag-picker; “what is good with us is bad with you.”
“As you say. . . I am ready, moreover, to make any sacrifice for her. I am a man of honor. . . . Understand me well. I will make hers an honorable lot, free and happy for the rest of her days.”
“That’s clear,” rejoined Jean. “It is your will. The king says: It is our will. Now it remains to find out Mlle. Marie’s will.”
“Undoubtedly,” said Camille, “and that is exactly what I have come today to ask her in order to arrive at a conclusion. What I know so far is that she has refused all my offers, and that, though I have been her suitor for a month, I am no farther advanced than on the first day. Visits, promises, presents, speeches, and letters,— I have used everything and for nought.”
“That astonishes you?” asked Father Jean. “In this I recognize her perfectly.”
“Here then at last is one who does not wish to sell herself,” murmured Camille, “unless she values herself at a higher figure than has been offered. There have been such cases, hey, old sage?”
“Ah! what’s that you say?” muttered the rag-picker. “Pardon me, Monsieur, you mistake white for black. . . And look out that you don’t do worse. Without throwing her at your head, she is as good as you are . . . and in your place”. . . He paused, and then resumed with growing force and indignation:
“But you have admitted that you do not want her for a wife. You, in your world, do not marry when you love; you want her, then, simply for pastime, to make her a ruined girl like the others. It would be a pity to make an exception. You call that an honorable lot. Indeed! It is not a virtuous one. Frankly, now, would you make such an offer to a girl of your own station? . . . Good for a working-girl! She cannot rise to you; you descend to her. You do her the honor to dishonor her. Much obliged! Since we have one that is good, let us leave her as she is, if you please. You will not die in consequence. Come, young man, be a little upright! You have carriages, and we have no shoes; you have fine horses, and we have no beds; you have dogs fed on meat, and we have no bread. . . In short, you have everything and we nothing. . . And you want also this nothing that is left to us, our sole and only possession, honor. Do not be so greedy! That will not pass from us, I assure you; it is my right and my duty to keep it, you see. I was unable to save the father, but I swore to guard the daughter, the child of a poor man who died in your service.”
Camille started with surprise, while Jean continued:
“Did you ever think of aiding her before you saw her? No. Well, then, do not think of it now in order to ruin her. Far from the eyes, far from the heart. See her no more. There are plenty of others, unfortunately, who ask nothing better than to be yours. I know very well of course that it is what you cannot have that you want. You are all like that. You want her, poverty aiding, for a day, a month, a year. You pay by the hour . . . when you pay at all. And then become what she may! Abandoned, with accounts square . . . with shame . . . and crime to hide it. At that price you are to be guarded. Jean’s word for it, the child of your man of toil will not be your ‘daughter of joy.’ No, Marie Didier cannot be your wife; she shall not be your mistress. I tell you that I will not have it so; that she will not have it so; that neither father nor mother, nor God nor Devil, nor Jean, will have it so. As long as there is any breath left in my body, that shall not be.”
“Father Jean, you speak somewhat bitterly,” said Camille, not knowing what to answer, and seriously shaken by this revelation of popular honesty.
“Well, what do you expect?” concluded Jean, “I am not all sugar as she is, but ill-tempered enough to defend her. Believe me, Monsieur Camille, change your intentions, or leave her as she is . . . and let us be good friends.”
He interrupted himself. Marie had just entered suddenly, without noticing the young man’s presence.
“Father Jean! I have the money!” she exclaimed, joyfully. “But I had to pawn everything,— watch and ring.”
Then, noticing Camille, she said: “Ah! Monsieur Berville!” and maintained a confused silence.
“Now I am in the way,” said Jean, aside. “I must go out, but not relax my watch. They will come to an understanding better alone . . . and I will listen to everything as I smoke my pipe. . . What is said is said,” said he to Camille.
He left the room, and remained listening on the landing.
The conversation was taken up again by the young people.
“I was waiting for you, Mademoiselle,” said Camille, “for I must speak to you definitively today, and you must give me a final answer. Time presses.”
Taking her by the hand and leading her before her mirror, he continued:
“Tell me if this beauty, once seen by a man’s eye, can ever be effaced from his heart.”
Marie, confused, went away from the mirror.
“Yes, Monsieur, as from this glass,” she answered.
“This glass has no heart, and you have given me one which will always retain your image, whatever happens,” declared Camille, with fire. “I love you, Marie, as I have often told you already, as I have never loved and shall never love any one else . . . . with a love which one feels but once in his life and which fixes it. To love you as you deserve, Marie, I have sacrificed my tastes, my pleasures; you know it . . . and I want to sacrifice even my marriage in order to be loved.”
“Oh! Monsieur, stop,” said Marie, with embarrassment.
“I am frank with you,” said the young man, becoming more and more urgent. “Be so with me. I may say that you have restored me my life. I owe it to you, I give it to you. I want to live for you and with you . . . . could I live without you? We are no longer children; we are no longer at the age of twenty, or at least I am not. On your reply depends our whole future. Yes, I will break every tie for you alone, Marie; and though I love you too well to marry you, to be your legal master, at least I swear that I will never marry another. Those are my intentions. What are yours? Answer.”
“I shall never be yours,” said the young girl, simply and resolutely.
“Never! . . . And why? . . . . Do I, then, inspire you with aversion?” cried Camille.
“You do not think so,” said Marie, gently.
“Do you love another more fortunate than I?”
“Oh! you could not believe it.”
“Why, then? Tell me,” insisted Camille, sorrowfully.
“I will be as frank as you, Monsieur Camille,” said Marie; “let us drop the matter forever. You are too far above me . . . and I cannot”. . .
Jean upon the landing made a gesture of approval, as he heard this declaration. “Do not finish. . . I understand,” said Camille with a bitterness that was full of scepticism.
And to himself he added:
“Indeed! She would like even more than this old man. . . . Yes, I am mistaken in her when I speak to her only of love and happiness. It is not enough to sacrifice present and future to her, to devote to her my entire life, to renounce every other passion, everything else that I possess, for her. She aspires to something higher. I understand, I understand at last. All this resistance is made from interest and calculation”. . .
And carried away by this thought, the product of his blast mind rather than his heart, he concluded:
“You refuse because you wish to be my wife.”
“Your wife! I!” cried Marie, trembling.
“Yes, the heart is of little consequence to you,” went on Camille, “provided you have the rank. Ah! Marie, my foolish darling, the satisfaction of that ambition will bring you neither esteem nor love.”
“Ah! Monsieur Camille, do you believe what you say?” asked Marie.
“I believe it.”
“You believe it?”
“Yes, yes,” said Camille, becoming excited by his suspicion.
“You believe it! Well, I am yours, Camille! And let your conscience judge me as my own! Neither your name, nor your rank, nor your possessions, Camille, nothing of you but yourself.”
Jean made a gesture of despair on his landing, and smashed his pipe against the wall, still listening in alarm and indignation.
“What do you say, Marie?” asked Camille, astounded.
“I say that I love you,” answered Marie, passionately, “that I love you for yourself, for yourself alone. . . Forgive me, Monsieur, for preferring your love to my honor!”
She fell upon her knees, her face covered with her hands.
Camille, raising her enthusiastically, gave utterance to his heart in his intoxication:
“Ah! that is your thought, noble girl! Well, no, Marie, it shall not be so. . . . you shall be my wife, my legitimate wife, do you hear? In giving me all rights, you impose upon me all duties. You elevate my heart to the level of your own; you make me worthy of you. I loved you for your beauty, I honor you for your integrity. I unite myself to you, adorably unselfish girl; I restore you the honor which you sacrifice for me. . . . I too am yours now. My father’s wealth, and more, my mother’s name, are all for you, my betrothed.”
Taking her hand, he continued:
“Your hand; no one but you shall have this ring, pledge of my love and of my oath. For you, then, the wedding robes that were being made for the other. Yes, for you, Madame, for henceforth, I swear, Marie Didier shall be Madame Berville.” Jean entered in the meantime, and saw them entwined in each other’s arms. “All right!” he cried. “That’s the way to talk. With that understanding I agree; I make no further opposition. Father Jean gives his consent, Monsieur Camille. Go get that of your relatives. . . You have behaved handsomely. Your intentions are honorable, and happiness will result. Three happy . . . at least I hope so. Ah! honesty will always be the best policy. For life or death, Monsieur Camille.”
Camille gave his hand to Jean, kissed Marie’s hands, and went out, escorted by her to the door.
Marie returned to Jean.
“Oh! how happy I am!” said she. “He makes me believe all that he says and wish all that he wishes. My God! he makes me mad with joy. I thank you. Father Jean, let me embrace you!”
She embraced Jean, and then turned toward the adjoining room.
“Ah! poor child, love has caused him to be forgotten. He is only my second thought now. I must return him to the nurse with the money.”
She went into the room and returned in bewilderment.
“Ah! my child! my child! where is my child? Jean, my child?”
“What?” exclaimed Jean, in astonishment.
He, in turn, entered the room.
“Nothing! Stolen! No, taken back!” he exclaimed.
A loud noise of footsteps was heard on the stairs, approaching Marie’s rooms, and soon the door was thrown open violently, revealing officers in citizens’ dress and in uniform, preceded by a commissary of police. Camille reappeared behind them in a state of anxiety.
“Marie Didier,” said the commissary, extending his arm toward her, “you are accused of infanticide.”
Jean too reappeared, entirely upset.
“I!” cried Marie, thunderstruck.
The commissary took her by the arm and pushed her toward his pack of policemen, saying:
“Your child has been found dead in a neighboring well. . . I arrest you.” “Oh!” exclaimed Marie, with a cry of horror and falling backwards.
“Marie!” cried Camille, petrified.
Jean got quickly down beside the fainting young girl and raised her head upon his knees in mortal anguish.
“My daughter,” he called.
The commissary made a sign to his subordinates to carry Marie away, which was done in spite of Camille’s opposition and Jean’s resistance.
When Camille and Jean had been released by the officers who had held them in restraint during the removal of Marie, they in turn rushed out into the neighborhood, which was already in a state of agitation over the arrest.
The commissary of judicial delegations, M. Dubreuil, had taken the arrest upon himself to handsel his recent promotion, for which he was indebted to the government of the Republic.
The news of the infanticide had spread in all directions with the rapidity of a flash of powder. All the neighbors were at their windows or doors. Groups formed, loudly discussing; the women, enraged at the crime and at Marie’s beauty, shouting for death, wanting the guilty one straightway cut to pieces; the men, calmer and under the influence of her charm, saying: “Bah! it’s not our affair,” or else: “Can one ever tell? We shall see later. Justice will inquire into the matter.”
Marie, in a semi-swoon, had crossed the Rue Sainte-Marguerite and was going down the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, hurried along at full speed by the officers, who had to defend their prey against the insults and threats of mothers who showed beak and claws, at once taking the accusation for the fact and governed by passion instead of reason.
“She has killed her child!” This phrase flew around her, reneated from mouth to mouth, preceding her, following her, escorting her, causing all heads to turn and all eyes to glare upon her.
“Oh! the coward!” cried a woman; “I have brought up seven, and not my own either.”
“I have had five, wretch,” shouted another, “all killed by war or hunger, but not one by me!”
Poor Marie! She bent her head under this undeserved cursing, calling death to her aid and not believing it possible to survive this atrocious denunciation by a blinded and pitiless mob.
Lost in the flood of the curious, hidden in the rear of the throng, but raising themselves up now and then in order to lose nothing of the spectacle, a man masked with a comforter and a woman entirely covered with a thick black veil, gliding like shadows by the side of the houses, had witnessed all the circumstances of the arrest, watching police, capture, and people.
Finally they stopped as if by agreement at the corner of a small street.
“Well, are you satisfied now?” said the woman, loftily.
For sole reply the man slipped a small package of bluish papers into her hand and made her a sign to leave him.
“Ah! thank you,” said she, with her false smile. “This is the right amount, isn’t it? Twenty thousand? Not that I doubt; only an error is easily made with these bits of paper.”
Then, after a pause, she continued in a very low voice:
“Saving errors. I am sure that Monsieur the baron would rectify the mistake, if one little blue paper should be lacking. He would not want to ruin a poor woman like myself. . . . Especially as”. . .
She finished her phrase mentally thus:
“I now have the means of defence.”
She was about to resume her insinuating remarks.
“Enough,” said the man, in a tone of decision. “Verify the amount, pocket it, and be off.”
She took the amount for granted, slipped the package into her pocket, and said, to lay stress upon this delicate proceeding:
“One must have confidence in this world. My God! what should we do without it?”
And, bowing very humbly, she disappeared, and the man did the same.
Meanwhile Jean and Camille, who had started at full speed, were drawing near Marie. They caught up with her on the run, as the officers stopped before a blockade of carriages and spectators. The crowd had grown like a rolling snowball as it moved along, turning into an avalanche and raising the old and ever new cry:
“Away with her!”
An empty cab stood a few steps away. The commissary of police, who was walking in advance, summoned it and succeeded with great difficulty in getting in. The crowd closed up behind him, barring the way against Marie and the disbanded officers.
At first the presence of the magistrate had held this furious mob in check, even the women, which is not easy when the maternal instinct is aroused; but now the officers, deprived of their chief, were obliged to release Marie in the middle of a pitiless circle pressing in to stifle her.
Camille, not as strong as Father Jean, but quicker, was the first to penetrate the crowd and shield the young girl.
“Ah! her lover,” squeaked a woman’s voice. “Mossieu came to see her every day.”
This denunciation aggravated the anger of the assailants, and, there being “a Mossieu” in the case, the men too joined in. Insults rained, and even fists were shaken; the officers were submerged in the ever-rising flood.
Already a hand was raised against the victim.
“Touch her not, or I will kill you,” suddenly roared a voice of thunder.
And Jean brushed aside, hustled, and upset the men and women in his path, throwing down or trampling upon those who resisted.
“It is her father,” said a man. “This is his affair. Leave it to him.”
This word father, pronounced by the man, neutralized the effect produced by the word lover uttered by the woman. Crowds are subject to these abrupt changes of the moral sense.
“Yes, she is my daughter; innocent, and so is he,” cried Father Jean.
And after a last push, he seized Marie, carrying her away like a feather in his vigorous arms, and deposited her safely in the carriage, whose doors closed upon her.
“Palace of Justice; Delegations!” cried the commissary, putting his head out of the window and then quickly lifting the glass again.
The carriage started, and was soon moving rapidly.
“Let us follow them,” cried Camille, liberated by Father Jean’s saving word.
And leaping with him into a cab, he shouted to the driver:
“Follow! You shall have a generous fee.”
At the Delegations.
The commissary of police, having recovered from the shock of this exciting arrest, reentered his office and began to draw up his official report with the tranquil indifference usual to his function.
Marie was brought in between two officers, while Camille and Jean, at a sign from the magistrate, sat down at the other end of the room as witnesses.
“Well, do you confess?” he first asked the accused.
The young girl made a gesture of horror.
“Indeed, you deny. Of course.”
“Mademoiselle is not guilty,” said he, emphatically.
“Never!” added Jean, in confirmation.
The commissary imposed silence upon them, saying:
“Very well. We will talk together directly. . . . Marie Didier, you have had this child about a month, haven’t you?”
“Yes, Monsieur, at my rooms.”
“And he is not yours?”
“You deny again; very well; we will pass on.”
The commissary consulted his notes.
“You have sent the little one to a nurse. Then, there being no money, he has been returned to you, and you have”. . . .
“Oh! Monsieur”. . . .
Jean and Camille could hardly contain themselves. Nevertheless, confiding in Marie’s innocence and the hope of her justification, they mastered their indignation.
The French Themis employs theatrical effects and torture; the magistrate is a combination of actor and inquisitor.
The commissary suddenly straightened up before Marie, and, in the bullying style of a policeman, said to her rudely:
“You lie. The story of the found child is a gross fabrication. You had relations with a young man. This child was born of your misconduct; you placed it with a nurse. Then, finding it a burden, you ceased to pay for the nursing. It was returned to you, and you threw it into the well to be rid of it. Your lover, if not your accomplice, is present here. And there lies your victim to accuse you. Stay, look!”
And the magistrate, eyeing her steadily, lifted a napkin which hid the body of a drowned child, with features swollen and blue.
There it lay,— the fresh, pink-cheeked, bright-eyed child which she had adopted as her own.
She could not endure this frightful spectacle.
“Oh! I shall go mad,” she cried, covering her eyes with her hands.
“A thousand thunders!” shouted Jean; “and this is justice!”
“Monsieur!” exclaimed Camille, in an almost threatening tone.
“Your terror confesses at last,” said the magistrate, pitilessly pursuing his confrontation and mistaking grief for remorse.
“No, no,” said Marie, in despair, “I did not do it.”
“Still denying! Take her away,” ordered the commissary.
The officers obeyed this peremptory order of their chief, who, detaining Jean and Camille, said to them:
“Now we will talk.”
And he noted in detail their names, ages, and occupations,— their complete civil status,— and then, in conclusion, asked Jean:
“You are, what shall I call you? . . . the protector of the accused?”
Father Jean, wounded by this equivocal phrase, protested and tried to reply, but the commissary interrupted him in order to question Camille.
“And you are not Marie Didier’s lover or the father of this child?” said he, with cold irony.
“Monsieur,” cried Camille, “you are wrong, utterly wrong, in this unfortunate affair. I swear to you that Mile. Didier is innocent, and that I am not her lover.”
“Well, here’s another,” said the commissary, tranquilly. “That will do; you will be summoned if there is occasion and when there is occasion. Good day, gentlemen.”
“Here’s another!” This last phrase struck Camille to the heart, and a fit of terrible anger lifted him from his Dench in rebellion, crying:
“Monsieur! Monsieur! You insult her, you”. . .
And he went out, lest he might return the magistrate’s words:
But Father Jean, remaining seated, did not stir, suddenly insensible to what was being done and said around him.
He muttered confused words between his teeth.
“Of what are you thinking?” asked M. Dubreuil. “Go out.”
“Eh?” exclaimed the rag-picker, raising his head. “Oh, to be sure! I must go out. Good afternoon, Monsieur.”
On the threshold he turned back to say:
“You hold the most honest girl in the world as guilty. But it is only for a short time. You will hear from me soon.”
Then he added with emotion:
“Could not her old Father Jean embrace her?”
“No! . . . she will be kept in secret confinement,” answered the magistrate. Jean went out with an air of resignation, and found Camille pacing up and down the street.
“They keep her,” said Jean.
“Well,” exclaimed he, beside himself, “let us free her by force.”
“No, no madness. Leave it to me,” answered Jean. “She shall not stay there long, believe me. . . . Come! I have an idea of my own.”
Father Jean’s Idea.
In the Quartier du Marais, as it is appropriately named, Mme. Potard, alias Gavard, her ban broken but not her patronage, had reestablished her doubtful business as a midwife, committing abortion and presiding at births according to circumstances, with as little conscience as before, but with more science, prudence, and cunning, saying to herself: “One must live,” and finding her life in the death of babies, as Jean found his in rags; persuaded that this was really natural, but passing on to each new misdeed between the articles of the Code, with art and without suffering, a first lesson, it is said, being sufficient for the sage . . . . and for the midwife (sage-femme). She had gained with age.
Her retirement had borne its fruits. Mme. Gavard, first-class midwife, had become Mme. Potard, “the best of midwives,” the height of the art, a difficult art in Paris, where there are as many nurses as mothers, perhaps more; one must live, nevertheless.
Mme. Potard had had a somewhat easier day than usual. She strutted about in her reception-room, furnished with tables, chairs covered with haircloth as hard as herself, a book-case, and a secretary, all looking dismal and doubtful, and completed by a poorly-equipped pharmacy secured with a double lock, a veritable interior of a “maker of angels.”
“What a profession is ours!” she murmured, stretching out before her fire with an air of relaxation; “a dog’s life, without rest or thanks. One rises, ding! a delivery; one wishes to eat breakfast or dinner, ding! ding! another affair, a virtue to be restored; but one never knows with whom she is dealing, whether the police or a patron. That is the question. And there is no time to reflect; ding! ding! ever the bell is ringing; one hopes to eat supper, not having dined, but never in life; Madame So-and-So believes that she is about to be delivered: Madame Some-body-else that her milk is going to fail; this one says that her baby is getting as red as a lobster; that one that hers is turning as pale as a whiting. A continual nuisance. At last one goes to bed, ding! ding! ding! a miscarriage!”
And poor Mme. Potard, having thus railed against fate, settled down to a rest so well deserved.
Suddenly she drew from her pocket a package of bank-notes and began to count them.
“Twenty . . . that’s right. I dreamed of a spider last night. Ah! if I could find the other ten now, that would make thirty . . . a nice competence. . . . I could retire from business straightway.”
“I must not lose these at any rate,” she continued. “These cost me more.” Then, looking at the money, she continued:
“To think that one does everything for this, no matter what his station; that everybody, from the top of the stairs to the bottom, rises for this, struggles, cheats, steals, and kills for this; that all without exception, rich and poor, young and old, men and women, love, serve, and pray to this. Ah! it is the God of us all.”
She placed her notes in her secretary, saluting them with pious reverence, and under the impulse of her native devotion she recited her prayer with a fervor worthy of that Paradise of which she was the purveyor.
“Our Father who art in the Bank! certified be thy name; thy profits come; thy notes be legal tender on the Stock Exchange as well as at the Bank! Give us this day our daily interest! Send us our receipts as we send receipts to those who have paid us! Lead us not into prison, and deliver us from the baron! Amen!”
She closed her secretary and rose again precipitately.
Her servant entered.
“Madame,” said the latter, “some one wishes to see you on business.”
Mme. Potard took the key from her secretary, and said in a loud voice:
“Show him in.”
“Business is what one makes it. It is small only with those who have weak heads.”
The servant introduced a man of about sixty years, with a gray beard, dressed in his Sunday clothes, and rather shabby at that.
It was Father Jean.
He bowed to the midwife, and inquired:
“Madame Potard, if you please?”
“That is my name, Monsieur,” she answered, somewhat disdainfully, in spite of the principle which she had just enunciated.
Jean looked at the servant.
“Madame Potard,” he said, “I should like to talk with you privately.”
The servant went out.
“Ah! we are alone now,” said Mme. Potard. “What service can I do you?”
“I do not come to ask a service of you,” said Jean, slowly, weighing each of his words. “On the contrary, I come to render you one.”
“Me?” exclaimed Mme. Potard, distrustfully.
“You,” affirmed Jean.
The midwife began to reflect, and felt a joy which she suppressed as the thought struck her:
“Ah! the lost notes, perhaps?”
Jean, who did not lose sight of the play of her features, settled her with one question:
“Have you not lost something?”
“Yes,” said Mme. Potard, eagerly; “bank-notes, ten, ten thousand francs . . . . recovered? Oh, Lord! you have found them, Monsieur?”
“What good luck! Where are they? . . . They are mine.”
And, seeing that Jean made no move, Mme. Potard added:
“Return them to me.”
“One moment,” rejoined the rag-picker, with his imperturbable calmness.
Mme. Potard became anxious.
“You have really found them, haven’t you?” she asked, stamping with impatience.
“Why, yes,” said Jean.
The midwife tapped her forehead and said to herself with profound faith, thinking of her dream:
“Ah! the spider, it was sure.”
And drawing nearer to Jean, she said:
“Let me see.”
“Look!” said the rag-picker, taking the notes from the pocket-book which had formerly belonged to Jacques Didier.
“The very ones,” cried Mme. Potard, brightening at the sight of the notes. “I am not bewitched! Oh! upon my word, I recognize them.”
And holding out her hand, she continued with beaming eyes:
“Return them, then.”
“Not so fast, Madame,” said Jean.
The midwife replied, with a shade of bitterness:
“They are mine, I tell you, and well-earned. . . I pray you, give them to me.”
“Directly,” answered Jean.
Mme. Potard looked at him first in astonishment and then cunningly; at last she cried rudely:
“Ah! I understand; you want to be sure first; I must tell you the place, time, and all. Well, that’s right. I lost them on the night of Mardi-Gras, as the poster states. You must have found them in the Rue Sainte-Marguerite, at the corner of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine.”
“Well, then. . . . But my head is fairly swimming with joy. I forgot . . . . there is a reward . . . a handsome reward.”
“Handsome!” said Jean. “I really hope so.”
Mme. Potard went to her secretary to get a purse, and, returning to Jean, she said, with a disappointing gesture:
“But you know, one cannot give as much for ten thousand francs as for a hundred thousand. And besides, in conscience one ought not to profit by another’s misfortune.”
Then she slowly loosened her purse-strings as if they were her heart-strings.
But again Jean reassured her.
“Hence it is not money that I want,” he said.
“Ah! and what do you want, then?” said she, with a joy that was mingled with surprise.
And she quickly replaced her purse in the secretary.
Jean looked her squarely in the face.
“I want to know how you got these notes,” said he.
“How?” exclaimed the dumbfounded Mme. Potard.
The rag-picker sat down by the round table in the middle of the room, and explained himself:
“Yes, Madame Potard, you have told me how you lost them; now you will tell me how you obtained them.”
“But, Monsieur,” cried Mme. Potard, in alarm.
Jean tilted back and forth in his chair, still looking at her attentively.
“There is no Monsieur or Madame about it,” said he. “I will return them to you only at that price.”
To be continued.
“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.
The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.
In consequence of an illness of the editor, from which he has not yet fully recovered, the present issue of Liberty contains little or nothing from his pen and is long delayed in its appearance. He hopes to be soon at his desk again, and to publish the following number more nearly on time.
Freedom and Development.
A Denver correspondent of the “Workmen’s Advocate,” Henry Cohen, deals mechanical and compulsory Socialism a mortal blow in the following very brief communication:
State Socialists are fond of quoting the following from Spencer’s “Ethics”: “The relation of structures are actually such that by the help of a central regulative system each organ is supplied with blood in proportion to the work it does.”
The stomach, liver, brain, etc., did not have to elect this central regulative system in the body physical. It was a system of “cold, universal laissez faire,” as Carlyle would say. If the body physical has been able to develop under a free system to this highly advanced state, what reason have Socialists for believing that the body politic will not develop in the same way, if the same system of freedom would prevail?
The editor of the “Advocate” attempts to reply:
It is a revelation to hear that State Socialists are fond of quoting Spencer, although many do recognize an improvement in his “Ethics” over his “Social Statics.” The comparison of the unconscious organs of the human body with intelligent beings, however, is a dernier resort, although perhaps quite applicable in isolated cases. A part of the very liberty which our correspondent evidently craves is the intelligence requisite to creating or preparing conditions under which progress is made. It was by the exercise of intelligence that the Spartans, for instance, developed their physical excellence; and it was by the benumbing influence of laissez faire that the Romans became degraded. The highest physical development is attained through the highest applied intelligence.
Now, the information of the able editor is very limited indeed if he is not even aware that in Gronlund’s “Coöperative Commonwealth” (a work recommended by Socialist journals as the best exposition of their creed) Spencer is called the father of constructive Socialism, and his analogy between a physical organism and society pronounced the basis of the new philosophy of human relations. In attributing the decay of Rome to the principle of individualism he shows as much acquaintance with history as he reveals of penetration in ascribing the present evils to a superabundance of personal liberty. With regard to the main question, nobody doubts that the highest development is attained through the highest applied intelligence; but society being simply an aggregation of individuals with separate individual minds, not a real entity possessing an intelligence of its own, the dispute is as to who shall determine what does and what does not tend to the elevation and progressive improvement of the body social. Each individual member of society having his own private conception not only of his personal happiness, but of the highest good of the social organism, the question naturally arises whether the individual ought not to be free to follow his inclinations and enlightened judgment. Should the principles of social existence be defined by the ballot-box and the brute force back of it, or shall we trust to the spontaneous sympathies and sober sense of men for the voluntary recognition of equal liberty and equity? To decide right by force may seem very convenient, but it is not philosophical, scientific, or even safe. The Anarchist, realizing that the interests of rational beings are identical, that the social instinct revolts against injustice and urges solidarity and impartiality, and that liberty invariably conduces to the cultivation of a sense of responsibility and self-discipline, does not hesitate to reject all authoritarian methods of securing the reign of justice and equality. The evolutionary philosophy and the policy of State Socialism can never be reconciled. A consistent evolutionist is an Anarchist, and a philosophical Anarchist is an evolutionist.
Neither Life Nor Death.
Only a newspaper item:
Clarence Gore, eighteen years old, strong, and comfortably dressed, was arrested Saturday night for begging. He told Justice Patterson at the Jefferson market court this morning that he had arrived from Illinois on Thursday, couldn’t find work, and was without money. “No reason why you should beg,” said the justice. “Fined ten dollars.”
As we know no other way of obtaining the means of subsistence than either work, begging, or stealing, and as a man deprived of the opportunity of work is declared by the sapient justice to still be without excuse for begging, it would seem that the solemn representative of law and order covertly recommends theft. Yet this is hardly possible; and doubtless, had this same man been arraigned for robbery, he would have received a very severe punishment. What, then, is to be done? What becomes of the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution? Evidently nothing is left to the modern victims of capitalistic exploitation and usurpation but to seek deliverance in death. The right to life having become a dead letter, an empty phrase, must we make use of the right to death? But no such right exists. Suicide is a crime, since the citizens belong, not to themselves, but to the final owner of all, the State. So it is our duty to live, though we are not allowed to do anything that would enable us to perform our duty. The question is no longer “To be or not to be?” but we are required to discover a state which would be neither being nor not-being. The bourgeois world has long been a stage for heart-rending tragedy; is it now developing into a farcical absurdity?
Ricardo’s Theory of Rent.
To the Editor of Liberty:
The effort of Mr. Yarros in your issue of January 19 to establish “a better mutual understanding as to the meaning attached to the term Anarchism” brings us no nearer to this point, from the fact that the definition he gives is indefinite. No distinction is shown between social and political non-interference, both terms relating to the conduct of an association of persons. Nor can equity be urged as a distinguishing feature, since political interference may be, and frequently is, of an equitable character, hence in harmony with the law of equal freedom. Even the plea for the reign of free contract does not help the case, since the offer of rent for an exchange of unequal local advantages is a feature of free competition, and contracts resulting from such offers are condemned by the advocates of occupying land-ownership.
In accepting my view of the law of equal liberty Mr. Yarros is placed in a predicament. He either must leave it to each individual to determine whether the acts of others infringe his liberty and to apply the remedy according to his judgment, no matter how much this judgment may be warped, or he must recognize some organization to which is delegated the power to restrain transgressors.
The “humanitarian” method of bringing a criminal to terms by “withholding the abundant and inestimable benefits of citizenship” has from its brutality been abandoned by most communities. Next to torture, outlawing has been the most severe punishment. Since equal freedom can be secured only by agreement, the exclusion of any one from its benefits implies the withdrawal of all protection, without which personal safety is precarious and the right of ownership inconceivable. Then, who would not rather have a portion of his wealth confiscated than have the whole of it outlawed? Invasion under such circumstances is more humanitarian than complete alienation.
Furthermore I must repeat that the “quantitative importance” has no bearing upon the question as to the attitude society should assume in relation to rent. A question of principle is here involved. Where an exclusive right to the use of land is recognized, an economic power, born of self-interest, and against which all social agreements are powerless, will prompt the offer of rent. “The problem society has to solve” consists, not in the suppression of this offer, but in its regulation. The question, therefore, asserts itself, shall this rent benefit the few, or shall it go to all those whose presence requires the use of inferior opportunities, making rent possible for better grades? The issue must be squarely met. Shall favoritism prevail, or shall the burdens as well as the benefits of association be equitably distributed?
“Economic rent cannot be called a social wrong.” The wrong consists in the despotism that secures this rent to the few, whether they be the owners or the occupiers of superior opportunities.
The supposition that the expense of collecting the rent exceeds the sum total of the rents to be collected can be met by the fact that collectors willingly undertake the work of collecting rent at commissions of even less than ten per cent.
In assailing Ricardo’s teachings he condemns the truths promulgated as well as his errors. If nothing of a tangible nature has been offered by Ricardo, I fail to see how any one can “revolt against the absolute maxims” of that school. Can we conceive a more rational proposition than that the value of those things that are constantly reproduced will tend towards the cost of production, where production is continued under the least favorable conditions, and that those producing under more favorable conditions will be able to sell their products at a profit? The bitterness of Mr. Yarros towards Ricardo might subside, could he but see how successfully this law can be wielded against the modern theory of finance and capital profit.
In order to reconcile “the signal contradiction and opposition between the logic of international free trade and the logic of inland taxation of rent” it must first be shown that there is such a contradiction. In my opinion the nationalization of rent will be the natural outcome of free competition under a social organization based upon the law of equal liberty.
How can the desirable cost-principle of value be introduced, if, for illustration, the better wheat costs less to produce than the poorer? Should we shackle competition so that the superior must be sold at a lower price than the inferior? Of course not. Then a natural solution should rather be welcomed than repelled. If, under free competition, those who compete for the control of the chances to raise the better wheat (which, as premised, requires less labor to raise than the poorer) are willing to pay for the privilege, in the form of rent, an amount that will raise the cost of production practically to the market value, realizing the cost principle of value, why should we insist upon reserving this opportunity for the favored few, and not give it to those who are willing to pay the most for it?
The maxims of the new school, in so far as they are directed against economic laws which are beyond human control, are conducive to social stability no more than the present belief in the reproductive powers of capital, and a proper understanding of and adherence to equity remains the only way enabling the establishment of a stable form of society.
Of course I must believe Egoist when he states that my “effort” to advance the discussion resulted, so far as its effect upon him was concerned, in failure; but I assert that it is due to no fault of mine. My definition was as definite and clear as it is possible to give to a term covering such a broad and complex and intricate movement as Anarchism. With the average “intelligent reader,” the raison d’être of Anarchism is found in an impatience with a system burdened and loaded down with wrong and abuse and a desire, far more intense than philosophical, to reduce the whole to ashes in the space of twenty-four hours. He therefore takes it upon himself to reason with the deluded Anarchists about the impossibility, the uselessness, the undesirability, the risk, and the danger of such a sudden and thorough reconstitution of entire society. Heaven and earth are moved in the worthy endeavor to instil in our minds the common sense which is essential to one who in reform would remain on this side of the line between sober and rational progressives and abandoned Utopians or reckless fanatics. Everything has been tried,— argument, appeal, invective, satire, irony, ridicule,— for this end, and we are bound to say that, if nothing else, such perseverance and anxiety are highly gratifying as fresh evidence of the love and good-will with which the human heart overflows. But the trouble with the intelligent reader in that he exhausts his priceless energies in attacks upon shadows, and entreats us to cease and repent of that which we never began and professed. By turning his attention to himself he would, with one-tenth the strain, succeed in correcting his own erroneous impressions and so really contribute toward the possibility of an intelligent canvass of the issues involved in Anarchism.
Egoist having manifested a decided inclination to rehearse the part of the aforesaid intelligent reader, I thought it advisable to explain in a general way just what our grounds and anticipations and aspirations are. It was chiefly my intention to make it clear that the evolutionary standpoint is the only one from which the scientific thinker may develop principles in opposition to authority and a reliance on liberty and voluntaryism. My distinction between political and social non-interference may not have been characterized by exemplary definiteness and precision, but these were not considered necessary in dealing with men not unfamiliar with the literature on subjects of political and social science. To readers of Mill and Spencer the vital difference between the passive and moral means which society employs and the direct brutal compulsion of government should be well known. Does not Egoist himself believe that social progress will be and mean in the future what it has in the past,— a gradual elimination of governmental violence and tyranny and a substitution therefor of the benign influences of persuasion, public opinion, and example? Does he not hope and expect that equity and freedom, which undoubtedly are not now altogether absent from our relations (else, pray, how could an evolutionist conceive of their existence hereafter?), will pervade and penetrate society more and more, while the elements of servility, dishonesty, and constraint will shrink to smaller and smaller proportions till they all but cease to exist? If he does not, progress is to him a myth; if he does, his objections to my definition of Anarchism are utterly and astonishingly forceless.
That in accepting Egoist’s view of the law of equal freedom I am placing myself in no “predicament,” I trust will be conceded in the light of Mr. Tucker’s elucidation of the matter in his comments on Egoist’s last letter to him. It is only through his sharing the absurd misconception of the intelligent reader in regard to our view of association and cooperation that he supposed me so placed.
After laying down general principles, I took up the particular question of economic rent and showed that a society resting on mutuality and liberty would guide itself in settling difficulties arising out of natural obstacles and inequalities exclusively by the magnitude and extent of the evil born of the latter. Egoist does not (and I may confidently add, cannot) sustain the contrary. Yes, “a question of principle is here involved,” the principle of non-interference. Shall men possessed of a deep and well-founded distrust of artificialism and officialism nevertheless hasten to avail themselves of the same whenever any slight inequality due to purely external physical causes disturbs the social ideal of perfect equality of opportunity? Or shall they let well alone in all instances not very seriously affecting social stability? This question of “shall” of course resolves itself into the one of “will” or “are likely,” and to me it seems absolutely indisputable that they would then, as now most sensible men do, prefer to suffer from known evils than to try unknown ones.
Is Egoist aware that economic rent is not the same as monopoly rent, and that our discussion is entirely confined to the former? If he is, why does he seek to introduce the irrelevant fact of collectors’ readiness to undertake the collection of rent at a commission of ten per cent. or less? The present systems of landholding and finance can hardly, I think, be compared to the system contemplated by us, with occupation and personal use as the title to land and an abundance of capital. Besides, the supposition that the expense of collection might exceed the proceeds accruing from the rent I only made “for the sake of the argument.”
Egoist surprises me when he claims that no contradiction has as yet been found between land taxation and free trade. I had thought that the contradiction was plainly brought out in the quotation from Mr. Kelly subjoined to my first article upon the matter in hand. The fact that we do not pay for commodities transported here from distant places exactly or even nearly the cost of their production by ourselves argues against any mechanical distribution of economic rent. Why should not a difference in productive capacity call to a difference in function, thus rendering free and untaxed exchange between close neighbors as mutually advantageous as such exchange between States and nations is admitted to be? I feel no bitterness toward the Ricardian economists, any more than to any other class of narrow doctrinaires, and, while I should be intellectually interested to learn how Ricardian economics “can be wielded against the modern theory of finance,” such comfort could not bribe me into altering my objective estimate of the scientific merits or practical importance of their speculations.
All of Egoist’s perplexities and confused notions seem to me to spring from one source,— the mistaken view he has formed of political economy. Without, probably, endorsing the boastful utterance of John Law regarding the superior position of political economy among the sciences, and without following Bonamy Price in defining political economy as an industrial code of practical laws and suggestions, Egoist yet looks upon it as a science more or less exact. He insists upon full practical application of the deductions and conclusion of the “authorities.” In truth, as Bagehot admirably puts it, political economy deals with hypothetical men under hypothetical conditions, not with real living beings in their actual relations and surroundings. It is mischievous as well as puerile to rigorously regulate life by the abstractions of this “science.” Arnold Toynbee (who pronounced Ricardo’s doctrine a “huge intellectual imposture”) protested strongly against the thoughtless talk so freely indulged in not only by complacent bourgeois in justification of their greed and inhumanity but by pseudo-economists and learned defenders of capitalism, to the effect that the maxims and laws of political economy must be implicitly obeyed and followed without regard to non-economic motives. Even Mill would now and then mildly express a similar disapproval. Political economy as a hypothetical science is one thing; real economic relations are quite a different thing. The first unquestionably has its uses; but in life that which the economic standpoint ignores or dismisses as “disturbing causes” or simple “exceptions” often have greater weight in determining our actions than the considerations taken cognizance of in political economy. Abstractly, the Ricardian theory presents great attractions to the mind, but the perverse complications of life damage fearfully the beauty and symmetry and faultless grace of that logical air-castle. Now, as laissez faire is safer than interference, as there are always more substantial reasons and more positive grounds required for action than for inaction, for innovation than for conservation, and as in doubtful cases the old has more right to respect than the untried, it appears reasonable to conclude that, until the advocates of confiscation of rent advance more incontestable and direct evidence of the connection between social evils and a system of free landholding (in our sense), our policy towards them should be one of passive resistance.
“Governments are necessary evils. This necessity arises out of the selfishness and stupidity of mankind.” This is what Charles Nordhoff says in his “Politics for Young Americans.” Tom Paine and Jefferson said the same thing before him. It is the political creed of millions of men who call themselves democrats, and it is believed by millions more who really do not know what they are. It has got to be an axiom with that school that sees the evils of government and is either too near-sighted or too timid to be reasonable and consistent with itself. Is it true that governments are necessary evils? Can a thing be necessary and evil at the same time? A thing that is necessary is absolutely essential. Food and air and shelter are things necessary for the existence of animal life. They cannot be dispensed with. It would be at least a stretch of imagination to say they were evils. And yet why not call these evils as well as any other necessary thing? Their necessity arises from our wants, just the same as any other necessity arises, and anything that satisfies wants can hardly be called an evil. It seems to me that the social democrats are more logical than Mr. Nordhoff and his kind. They hold that government is a necessary good. It strikes me that, if a thing be necessary, it must be good; and, per contra, evil things are not necessary. That government is an evil Mr. Nordhoff et als have clearly shown, and to be consistent they must declare against government, must declare for Anarchy. From this conclusion there seems to me no escape.
* * *
“But there must be taxes raised for public improvements, and there must be compulsion to make those pay who will not pay otherwise. How in the world would we build sewers without doing this?” This is what was put to me the other day, and it is put repeatedly as a stunner to the Anarchist. But are sewers necessary? Under freedom would people crowd together on twenty-feet lots, as they do in Cincinnati, on which possibly live half a dozen people? Think of it! half a dozen human beings living on a piece of land twenty feet wide by possibly eighty feet long! And they may be even thicker than that in New York, Chicago, and other cities. It seems incredible that under Anarchy such a condition could exist. The rational view seems to me that each family would have elbow-room were there no restrictions. A half an acre or so is not too much for a family merely for living purposes, and few families but what like to raise flowers or vegetables of some sort. Are sewers necessary where we are not crowded together like cattle in a car? The refuse that now runs through the sewers into the lakes and oceans is what is needed on the land to keep it productive, and how long can the land stand it to be drained of its productive power? The matter that accumulates around an ordinary household would not become offensive or dangerous, were the people not crowded so closely together. On the contrary, it would be the very means of enriching the soil and beautifying the home. Victor Hugo, in “Les Misérables,” says that Paris casts twenty million francs annually into the sea by means of its sewers, and estimates that France alone pours every year into the Atlantic a sum equal to five hundred millions of francs. Liebig says that the Campagna of Rome was ruined by the Roman drains. And we are told that the soil in China is still as youthful as in the days of Abraham, and Chinese wheat yields one hundred and twenty fold the sowing because drains and sewers are rare in China.
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Just think of it! only 17,000 bills introduced in the last session of the United States congress! And the most painful thing about it is that only about 1,400 became laws. How our guardians at Washington can imagine we can get along without the balance of the 17,000 I really am at a loss to know. Goodness gracious! when they know that some people get rich by having laws passed in their interests, how could they overlook the importance of passing a bill for every individual in the country, and then, don’t you see, every one of us would be rich. This neglect on their part is certainly to be deplored; and I am inclined to think inexcusable. As it is now, I with others have to work in a badly ventilated room, where one either suffers from foul air and heat or pains caused by draughts of cold air. The industrial conditions that compel us workpeople to stand these things unfavorable to health and comfort are the result of laws, of course, but can’t our law manufacturers do as much as the man did who went to mill on a donkey and equalized the burden on the donkey’s back by putting the wheat in one end of the bag and stones in the other? What if we do get the end with the stones in? Isn’t the equalization of burdens a good thing? And can’t burdens be equalized by laws? If they can’t, what’s the use of having these law shops, pouring out to us the products of the hard-worked and poorly-paid employes with which they are filled? I imagine some fire-eating Anarchist will here try to interrupt me by the question as to who the donkey is in this case; but I don’t propose to be interrupted, and even if he does get in his impertinence, increased by copious draughts of vile whisky (Anarchists always drink vile whisky copiously), the only answer I’ve got for him is that it is none of his business. If the newspapers tell the truth (and I never heard one tell a lie), these lazy Anarchists don’t have any business, and therefore nothing is their business. They’re nothing but a lot of kickers, anyway. No matter where you find an Anarchist, he’s always got his heels flying. (Of course, you will understand this is poetic license. We’ve got to have a license for everything.) Now, over in France, a law was passed recently for the benefit of women and children. It prevented them from working nights in shops and factories, and also put a stop to their working Sundays and legal holidays. You know, France is honeycombed with these wretched Anarchists, and these women and children are some of them. And, of course, they are kicking about this law. Those who set type on morning newspapers, work in restaurants, in the great markets in Paris, and in other occupations, say it will throw them out of work, and that the government will not furnish them food, clothes, and shelter. Just as though it was the government’s business to furnish these things to people out of work! The evil of overwork is plain to every thinking person, and those who persist in it should be stopped by law. But, let me see; how is this? I am told that Anarchists don’t work. Oh, I see how it is. They are so contrary that, if they are not allowed to overwork themselves, they won’t work at all. Now, what is the reason the morning papers cannot be set up in the day time? And can’t men be hired to run the restaurants on Sunday? Or ought not the people who run the restaurants to have one day of rest in the week and enjoy the holidays as well as other folks? And what better day can it be than on the holy Sabbath day? This is the day set aside for the preachers to get in their work, and what are they going to work on if the women and children don’t have time to go to church? But I must stop. I could go on this way for a week, showing how unreasonable those Anarchists are, but I would tire you and — and —
Oh, yes, some one will ask, if some folks are prevented from working on Sunday, why should not all be prevented? Well, if you can’t answer a simple question like that for yourself, I’m not going to answer it for you.
Joseph A. Labadie.
Doff the thick veil that hides thy lovely visage,
Justice! — ’tis time — the veil which in thy childhood
Sages flung o’er thee — let us look upon thee
In thine own beauty.
Kind was the thought — the countenance of evil
Shouldst thou not see, for thou wert its condemner;
All the gold-piles of wealth-encumbered proud ones
Thee should not dazzle.
Doff the thick veil — hide thy bright eye no longer;
Crime is too bold — look on in sternest beauty;
See, for mankind are dragged to basest doings
By their own blindness.
Eyes sharp as thine are watching how thou boldest
High o’er thy head the scale; but listen, Goddess!
Didst thou not hear a piece of gold that tinkled
In thine own balance?
Didst thou not know thy sword had lost its brightness?
Trembled thy hand the while a mighty villain
Whispered, and threatened thee with wrath and vengeance?
Yes, thy hand trembled.
Didst thou not know that thou hadst been deluded
By the vain pomp of words — hadst lost the spirit,
Seeking the letter, of thine holiest canon?
Justice! unveil thee.
Off with the veil — behold, the heaven is cloudless,
And the sun mounts in unaccustomed glory.
See, all mankind are seeing — wilt thou only
Wear thine old blindness?
Liberty and Authority.
It is remarked of the peasants of a certain German village that they made very extravagant demands against the government in the year 1848. For when the battle-cry was raised: “Liberty of the press, no censorship!” they exclaimed: “O no, we want everything, liberty of the press and censorship!”
These were ignorant German peasants, for whom the American, brought up in the exercise of republican liberty, has but a pitying smile. But such a bearing on the part of the American is really without good reason, for he is still more ignorant in regard to the conception of liberty than were those peasants in regard to the liberty of the press. So long as there has been progress, its watchword has been: “Liberty, down with Authority!” But the American says: “By no means, we must have both, liberty and authority!” It seems to flatter a certain pride of his to show the world that we can be in the full enjoyment of authority without kings and emperors. Nothing will more easily arouse his republican displeasure than the presumption of some ignorant greenhorn that he may do many things here that were prohibited to him in the old world.
For the purpose of tempering such unpermitted republican ardor in good season the possessions of the new comer are subjected to a thorough inspection before he has yet set foot on these hospitable shores. When he must thus see how a high magistracy may meddle with his most private affairs (even his body-linen not excepted), his outlandish conceptions of liberty will no doubt soon disappear. After these preliminary studies, it will require but a short time to acquaint himself with the philosophy of compulsory temperance and Sunday laws and other similar beautiful institutions, in order to grasp the point of republican liberty, and henceforth to join in Fourth of July celebrations with the deep understanding and the overflowing enthusiasm of a genuine American.
Now, it has happened that a greenhorn who had very quickly and very readily “caught on” to this sort of republicanism became convinced that his country was, after all, further advanced in this kind of thing. Which elicited from him the somewhat contemptuous observation: “Well, this is a pretty republic, this, not even no king have they here!”
But this assumption of superiority is not kindly received by the law and order loving American. “You greenhorn,” says he, “you imagine, then, that we republicans cannot do all these things without a king which you in Europe could no longer accomplish but for such a ruler?
“We hang more persons in one year than one of your largest kingdoms in ten; indeed, with the exception of conservative England and holy Russia, the others have abandoned the good old custom of hanging entirely.
“In place of the few States among us where no one may any longer be legally executed, you have, for instance, the entire kingdom of Italy, where likewise, in spite of a king, a death sentence may no longer be pronounced.
“Our judicial procedure is as tedious, as cumbersome, as costly, and as unreliable for him who is seeking justice as in the most conservative of your kingdoms.
“Our legal and documentary style is still more clumsy, more incomprehensible, and more mediævally-pedantical than anywhere among you.
“The whipping-post flourishes in the most civilized of our States.
“The liberty of press and speech we can curb by means of laws against obscene literature, blasphemy, and libel as well as you can with your censorship. Indeed, so it please us, we can hang anybody on the gallows for his words and writings, and even for his opinions, by means of our new conspiracy laws.
“The method of exile, so prized by you in dealing with the ‘turbulent elements,’ is far from being radical enough for us; we will not let them go at all, even if they should like to, but will imprison them in dungeons or hang them.
“Among us anybody may be arrested on the slightest charge without much ado, and if he should refuse to follow, the respective officer may use any force whatever, even shoot him.
“Your kings are, after all, merely the rulers of the country and the people; our Vanderbilts, Goulds, and the like, on the other hand, are real proprietors, and could, should they deem it profitable, expel the entire population from the soil.
“Slavery was still in full bloom among us when you had no longer even your serfs; and witches were burned among us at least just as late as among you.
“With your population ten times as dense as ours the poor can still exist, while our monopolists have already succeeded so well in certain places that they can, at will, deprive the proletaries of the very means of life.
“For the wives of our bonanza kings the costliest diamonds of your princesses are not too costly.
“Even your militarism we can imitate without a king; for we have had a war in which more human life and more property were destroyed than in your most bloody campaigns,” etc.
Under the shelter of such republican liberty many an immigrant will of course find himself bitterly disappointed in his sanguine expectations, and we cannot greatly complain of the German military societies if they occasionally, through the celebration of royal birthdays, lend expression to a certain longing after the princely splendor of by-gone days. Credit must at least be accorded the rulers by divine grace for admitting their attitude towards liberty frankly and honestly. “Dörchleuchting” of Mecklenburg gave strict orders that the pernicious word “liberty” must not be allowed to cross his boundaries, as Fritz Reuter relates in his “Urgeschichte von Mecklenburg”; the late Emperor Wilhelm deprecated the humbug of calling the wars of 1813–15 “liberty wars” (Freiheitskriege), wherefore they were re-baptized into the “wars of liberation” (Befreiungskriege); Bismarck returned the resolutions of condolence on the death of Lasker, the champion of liberty, to the American Congress.
This proceeding, at any rate, shows the gentlemen just mentioned in a favorable light as compared with the law and order republican; for liberty either is what the latter understands it to be (and in that case the antipathy towards it would be but praiseworthy), or it is something different and better; in which case we at least know how we stand with the gentlemen.
Now, true liberty cannot correspond to the notion, just described, held by the law and order republican; for the fruits thereof as enumerated are the fruits of authority. But if liberty agreed so well with authority, rulers by divine right would rather evince preference for than antipathy towards it.
True liberty implies rather the abolition of authority, and that differs from and is a superior thing altogether to law and order liberty.
When we have come to understand this, we shall know from what robbers we must rescue liberty and against what enemies we must defend it. Concerning these robbers and enemies the rulers by divine grace do not leave us in the dark, and if indeed their overthrow is no small matter, yet, with the clear knowledge of the obstacles to be overcome, the most difficult part of the task is accomplished.
By far more malicious and dangerous enemies of liberty, on the other hand, oppose us in this republic, where, under cover of base abuse of the word liberty, its opposite, authority, is being cherished and cultivated, while the evils arising out of authority are placed at the door of real liberty. Thus we but too often observe to our sorrow that even honest and thoughtful persons expect to secure the blessings of liberty from an extension of authority, while hoping to remove the evils of authority by a restriction of liberty; and if in the midst of the most glowing panegyric upon liberty they hear its more precise expression, the word “Anarchism,” they are struck with terror, and close their ear in superstitious fear against all arguments of reason.
Wherever in history we find the greatest human progress, there we also behold the greatest liberty; but where there is the greatest liberty, there is the least authority. I shall leave it to the friendly reader to prove this assertion by the facts of history.
For myself two facts are well established concerning liberty.
First, that true liberty cannot join hands with authority.
Second, that wrongs which are apparently due to liberty, and which are urged to justify its restriction, are caused, not by liberty, but by a violation of it.
With regard to the first point, liberty must be defined as the condition where all have equal rights. Every increase of the rights of one beyond this limit implies a decrease of the rights of others below it. As soon as, in defining liberty, we lose sight of society at large, we can describe every act of tyranny as liberty and charge it with all sorts of violence. Absolute liberty, as it is ignorantly and maliciously being represented as the Anarchistic ideal, is nonsense. Absolute liberty can ever be but one-sided; for if the one may do all his heart desires, then the others may no longer have any will whatever. Absolute liberty is consequently identical with absolute despotism; which means for society at large absolute loss of liberty. Between this extreme and true liberty we find innumerable gradations, in which the despotism of individuals is always followed by a corresponding loss of liberty on the part of society.
When we consider that all these authoritarian infringements on liberty are explained and justified on the ground that they are meant to protect the rights and liberties of all against the aggressions of individuals, we are vividly reminded of the celebrated Dr. Eisenbart, who, when called to treat legs afflicted with the gout, cut them off. That is indeed a radical cure for the gout. The writer knew a very healthy man who hanged himself out of fear that he might become a prey to consumption. To this category of remedies belongs also authority when it is recommended as a shield of liberty. Where no liberty is left, there of course it can no longer be violated.
But whose office can it be, if not the State’s, to see to it that no encroachments are made by individuals upon the rights and liberties of society, since men differ so greatly, as well in respect to physical strength and intellectual capacity as also in respect to their native sense of right and equity? Now I must confess that the very greatest want of this native sense of right and equity is to be observed among those who never tire of holding up to us this question, and who imagine thereby to have refuted all our claims. They demand of us to show them a condition of ideal perfection before they will admit that it is preferable to the now existing governments. Because in the absence of government a person might exercise his superior endowments to the detriment of others, therefore government is absolutely needed! Now I am far from claiming the possibility (even in the absence of government) of a condition of ideal equal liberty. There are indeed natural inequalities among people; they will and must make themselves felt. But I now ask: “Does government, then, obviate this evil; is it not, indeed, in itself a restriction of liberty; are the evils created by it smaller or greater than those which would appear in its absence?”
Now, what are some of the worst examples that are urged as the possible consequences of the absence of government, and on the strength of which the friends of law and order would prove and illustrate the impossibility of such a condition? They are grewsome robber stories, taken from the lives of the James brothers, the Williams brothers, the Younger brothers, Billy the Kid, and others. Such things could and would happen in the absence of government, therefore the no-government idea is impossible of realization in society. Strange how persons will make fools of themselves by using their own arguments against themselves without perceiving it! Wherever these things happened, there was government; under government they not only could happen, but really did happen, and do so still; therefore, by the logic of the previous argument, government ought especially to be impossible. Again: in the instances adduced the organs of the government, the officers, were powerless in extirpating the evils; but when for the purpose of meeting the special case the no-government condition was improvised, when the citizens acted on their own initiative and the officers allowed private enterprise to have free scope, then the final act in the robber play came to a speedy close. In conclusion: when, after the work had been done by others, the officers again resumed their authority, they very often gave the criminals an opportunity to escape merited punishment, as is shown very strikingly by the example of Governor Oglesby and Frank James.
These examples, then, all testify entirely against government and in favor of liberty. The evils which might arise under liberty do really appear under government; liberty can combat them more successfully; liberty does not permit of the corruption of justice as government does.
All that government might accomplish liberty accomplishes also; but liberty is incapable of many iniquities that government is practising constantly. In the name of government are committed coercion and murder; but the victims thereof may offer no resistance; the wrongdoers are protected against the revenge of the friends and relatives of their victims; and the shame for the committed crime falls also, not on the criminal, but on the victim. Thus government paves the way for the commission of especially heinous crimes, and encourages many a one whose natural cowardice would have kept him from the career of the criminal to get over this difficulty.
If we, therefore, nevertheless admit that in the absence of government violations of liberties and rights can and must occur, still we have the best of reasons to prefer no-government to government as the lesser evil.
Many who already understand this yet fail to see in the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few, and in the corresponding impoverishment of the masses, anything but an excrescence of liberty, and this leads me to the consideration of the second fact laid down above,— namely, that wrongs which apparently fall to the door of liberty, and are urged to justify its restriction, are not due to liberty, but to a violation of it.
Railroad monopolies, land monopolies, telegraph monopolies, coal monopolies, monopolies in all things that man requires for his existence, are explained as having arisen because the State, the government, did not restrict them. If this were really so, we ought to expect to see the monopolists as the most zealous advocates of the abolition of the State: for in this way they might forever escape all fear of the State’s ever taking it into its head to restrict their liberty. We note, on the contrary, these gentlemen engaging in a perfect worship of the State, the government. How is this to be explained? The objection is often raised against us with much pathos that it is the business of the State to protect the weak against the strong; and yet the strong tremble not indeed at the State, but at the idea that the State might be abolished. This arouses the suspicion that the State protects, not the weak, but the strong.
Let us examine these strong ones somewhat more closely. The Vanderbilts, Goulds, Fields, etc., it may be allowed, may excel other people in regard to intelligence and working-capacity; but does this difference correspond to the difference in their power and property relations? Emphatically, no! No man, and were he the most talented and energetic, can secure to himself a preponderance over tens and hundreds of thousands of his fellow-beings, as is actually the case in the instances cited, if he is restricted solely to his own personal working-capacity. Here an outside power has been added to the natural superiority of the individual, and that is the State, the government. Neither the Irish landlords, nor the American railroad magnates, coal barons, land monopolists, etc., could maintain their so-called property and exclude their fellow-men from its use but for the State.
Such is the manner, then, in which the State solves its task of protecting the weak against the strong.
It creates a monstrosity of power by allowing, on the one side, liberty to remain unrestricted, and by so limiting it on the other side as to make it absolutely powerless against the encroachments on the part of the former.
But now the State would be just and remove existing inequalities by also limiting a little the hitherto unrestricted liberty of the powerful in order that its abuse may not scandalize the world. Would it not be more reasonable rather to remove all fetters? In this case no such unequal forces would be opposed to each other, and the abuse of liberty could no longer assume its present immense proportions.
It has never yet been known that the unlawful pursuit of robbery, even where it was in full bloom, called down upon a great and fertile country a general calamity. But in this country it happens every few years that a population of fifty millions experience a shock as though the earth were giving way under their feet. This is often the work of a single one of those powerful ones against whom the State protects us so paternally. The unlawful robbers dare not overstep a certain measure of endurance, lest they arouse liberty on the other side, which will restore the equilibrium. But where governmentalism prevails, this liberty does not operate, and the privileged and protected robbers need feel anxious concern only from the overthrow of government.
These conditions, now actually existing, are the very conditions which are held up to us as the possible and probable terrible consequences of Anarchism; they are the outgrowth of absolute liberty, which is possible only under the régime of absolute authority. True liberty is incompatible with authority, and if its ideal form may not be realized on account of the natural inequalities among mankind, yet the evil cannot be mitigated by authority, but only made worse.
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.