“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.
A new serial is begun on the second page of this number with the first instalment of Mr. Yarros’s promised abridgment of Lysander Spooner’s “Trial by Jury.”
Professor Thorold Rogers quotes approvingly a saying of somebody that “free trade in banking is free trade in swindling.” Even if this were true, it would be far better than monopoly of banking, which is monopoly of swindling and extortion. Competition can not work as much mischief as a robbers’ trust protected by law.
Florence Finch-Kelly, whose initials have often appeared in Liberty appended to editorials and communications, has written a novel entitled “Frances: A Story for Men and Women.” I have read but a few pages of it as yet, but am already satisfied that it handles the marriage question without gloves. The price is fifty cents, and I shall be glad to fill any orders for it that may be sent to me.
The editor of the “Workmen’s Advocate” is displeased with Mr. Pentecost for describing Anarchism and single-taxation as “great schools of economy,” wishing it plainly understood that only his economy has a right to the adjectives “great” and “scientific.” To console Mr. Pentecost I impart to him my growing suspicion that his valorous critic’s sole source of economic wisdom is Marx’s “Communistic Manifesto.”
“Love, Marriage, and Divorce,” the triangular discussion between James, Greeley, and Andrews, which, after having been so long out of print, was recently reprinted in these columns, is now ready as a handsome pamphlet of one hundred and twenty-one pages. It is the best polemical exposition extant of the doctrine of individual sovereignty in its application to the relations of the sexes. Those who desire to obtain it in this more permanent form can obtain it of me at thirty-five cents a copy.
Labadie proposes the orthodox God for membership in the Anarchistic fraternity. He should be buried beneath a mountain of black balls. Whether God made the orthodox man in his image or was made by the latter in his image, he is totally unfit to be one of us. Far from free, independent, sovereign, and willing to do good, he is represented throughout the inspired book as a despotic, vain, whimsical, contradictory, impotent, sulky, malicious character, with whom no noble mind can be on speaking terms. No, be it known once for all that no god nor godlike man need apply for fellowship among us.
“A truth if ever there was one” is what the London “Freedom” calls the statement, made by Hyndman in “Justice,” that “enthusiasm was never yet maintained in the history of human movement by trimming and compromise.” A truth if ever there was one is Liberty’s oft-repeated statement that no real reformatory step has ever been taken under the inspiration of transient enthusiasm, and that not enthusiasm, but sober scientific thought is the one thing truly needful. As Ruskin says: “The great difficulty is always to open people’s eyes; to touch their feelings and break their hearts is easy; the difficulty is to break their heads.”
Mr. Pentecost magnanimously advises the single-tax advocates to return good for evil and treat their Socialist and Anarchist critics with fairness and dignity in contrast to the “abuse and vituperation” which the latter heap upon Henry George. I would like to know if Mr. Pentecost honestly thinks that George’s conduct is above suspicion and his treatment of the Chicago revolutionists perfectly consistent with self-respect and fidelity to principle. Liberty tried to believe George sincere as long as it could, but proofs of treachery gradually accumulated to such an overwhelming extent that at length patience, mildness, and indulgence ceased to be virtues. Let Mr. Pentecost say the word, and the crushing indictment shall be produced for his benefit.
The attention of those who think that laws and governments are necessarily such as the intellectual and moral condition of the people make it possible for them to be is called to the following observation of the historian Lecky, whom certainly no one will accuse of immoderate partiality for radical ideas or of extravagant language: “Not unfrequently, by a curious moral paradox, political crimes are closely connected with national virtues. A people who are submissive, gentle, and loyal fall by reason of these very qualities under a despotic government; but this uncontrolled power has never failed to exert a most pernicious influence on rulers, and their numerous acts of rapacity and aggression being attributed in history to the nation they represent, the national character is wholly misinterpreted.”
Lloyd S. Brice, a bitter enemy of all isms, especially of Anarchism, thus speaks in the “North American Review” of the “shadow that is stealing over the American landscape”: “The shadow is of an un-bridled plutocracy, caused, created, and cemented in no slight degree by legislative, aldermanic, and congressional action; a plutocracy that is far more wealthy than any aristocracy that has crossed the horizon of the world’s history and one that has been produced in a shorter consecutive period; the names of whose members are emblazoned, not on the pages of the nation’s glory, but of its peculations; who represent no struggle for their country’s liberties, but for its boodle; no contest for Magna Charta, but railroad charters; and whose octopus-grip is extending over every branch of industry.” The believers in the isms can only cheer such talk and lustily cry “hear! hear!”
A State Socialist of my acquaintance, who is handier with the witticisms of others than with arguments of his own, came to me in great glee the other day to tell me that Louis Kranz of Providence, a subscriber to Liberty, declared that he had been made a State Socialist by reading this paper. Now, here is a fine chance for Mr. Kranz and his comrades to show their devotion to their cause. Liberty costs but a dollar a year, and, if they think it so effective as an agent of State Socialistic propagandism, what better can they do than circulate it far and wide? Until they do something of this kind, Mr. Kranz’s remark may pass very well as a jest on the lips of his unthinking friends, but will hardly be taken in earnest by any man of brains. I venture the prediction that at the end of the year Mr. Kranz will stop his subscription and thus make Liberty less able than ever to go on making converts to State Socialism. Curtis Guild on one occasion, after hearing me read a paper on “State Socialism and Anarchism,” approached me with the remark that, as an opponent of both State Socialism and Anarchism, he would like nothing better than to see my essay placed in the hands of every person in the United States. I promptly responded that, if he would furnish the capital (which I knew he was amply able to do), I would gladly cooperate with him to that end. The eagerness with which I took him up put a sudden damper on his enthusiasm. Mr. Guild and Mr. Kranz are probably birds of a feather.
I have received the first number of the “Nationalist,” the organ of the Boston “cultured” State Socialists. Had I expected to find in it real evidence of intellect and culture, I should have been grievously disappointed. Happily my “ideal” of it proved to fully harmonize with the reality. The issue is replete with those good intentions with which a certain subterranean place is said to be paved, and bristles with every thing — sentiment, enthusiasm, prophecy, sense of self-importance (the history of the movement is already given in the number) — except true intelligent discussion of social and industrial problems. Col. Higginson, with charming simplicity, chooses as a motto for his poem, which he inscribes to Edward Bellamy, a sentence from the French which ought to be utterly abhorrent to all believers in majority government, since it declares that “no man can alienate his own sovereignty, because he cannot abdicate his own nature or cease to be a man; and from the sovereignty of each individual springs, in society, the collective sovereignty of the people, equally inalienable.” Mr. Bellamy describes the genesis of his “scientific” social system, thereby exhibiting more frankness than sagacity. We learn that previous to the publication of “Looking Backward” he had no sympathy with social reformers and reform; that in undertaking to write his novel, he had “no idea of attempting a serious contribution” to reform literature; that it was to be “a mere literary fantasy, or fairy tale of social felicity,” “a cloud-palace for an ideal humanity and that “it was not till” he began to work out and explain the detail of the scheme that he perceived the full potency of the instrument he was using and “recognized in the modern military system, not merely a rhetorical analogy for a national industrial service, but its prototype, furnishing at once a complete working model for its organization.” Then the book, “instead of a mere fairy tale of social perfection,” was made “the vehicle of a definite scheme of industrial reorganization.” Between a tale of ideal social life modelled after military organizations and a definite scheme of industrial organization constructed on the same basis the choice were difficult indeed, did not a beneficent providence make the absurdity as glaring in the one case as in the other. Finally, announcing a German translation of “Looking Backward” which is shortly to appear, the editor remarks that “Bismarck will probably read it with immense disgust.” In which sentence the last word is doubtless a grave mistake, the printer having misread some word equivalent to delight: for there is no earthly reason for that great modern organizer of military forces to object to imitation of his schemes. Has it not been said, on the contrary, that imitation is the sincerest flattery? Besides, has not Bismarck himself been contemplating a similar plan of national industrial service? On the whole, I predict for the new journal great popularity among the old women of both sexes.
Free Political Institutions:
Their Nature, Essence, Maintenance.
An Abridgement and Rearrangement Of
Lysander Spooner’s “Trial by Jury.”
Edited by Victor Yarros.
Perhaps the argument most frequently used by conservative believers in the convenient doctrine of leaving things as they are against those engaged in reformatory efforts of a more or less radical nature is that the “spirit and genius of American institutions” do not admit of the assimilation or acceptance of the proposed innovations. Were one to trust them, the “American institutions” are something so clearly defined, finished, and powerful as to absolutely render it impossible for any inconsistent and discordant element to maintain a vigorous existence within the charmed circle which affords chances of life only to what necessarily and logically flows as a consequence from the fundamental principles supporting the peculiar civilization of this “best government on the face of the earth.” We are asked to look upon all that “is,” if not as unqualifiedly right and perfect, then as relatively so in the sense of its being the unavoidable outcome of primary conditions.
This fact alone would amply justify our curiosity to learn thoroughly the essence and import of these “institutions, especially since manifold serious evils, universally considered destructive of social equipoise and progress, seem to flourish in our midst without restraint.
But we are moved to such an enquiry by still another circumstance. Besides the easygoing conservative who hurls the epithet “un-American” at the head of anybody contemplating innocent improvements of vexatious misarrangements, there is a large class of men, earnest and determined reformers, who in working for a gigantic plan of social reorganization make the same claim of strict fidelity to the logic and spirit of American principles, not only as against those resisting reform as such, but also — and even with greater emphasis — as against other schools of radical reform which oppose them not because they strive for renovation and change, but because their ideas of the needful and the desirable and the truly salutary differ materially. Indeed, every school of reform boasts of exclusive understanding of and jealous care for the “self-evident” maxims on which the opportunities and possibilities and prospects of this land of labor and freedom are built.
Now, what shall we believe? Whom shall we follow? Which of the conflicting opinions is most nearly right, if any one is so? Is everything as it should be? If not, in what direction is betterment to be sought? Are State Socialists and Nationalists right: must the function of government be enlarged and extended, and will the completion of the Jeffersonian structure consist in the triumphant adoption of the entire collectivist programme? Or is Anarchism the true doctrine and the removal of the last and least vestige of State compulsion to be demanded and achieved? In a word, what is the meaning of political freedom; whither does it lead us; with what does it inspire us?
For an answer to these important questions the reader is confidently referred to the following pages, which represent an abridgment and rearrangement of Lysander Spooner’s remarkable work on “Trial by Jury.” At the time of its publication Mr. Spooner had no affiliation with any reform movement, and had no special cause to plead, but was simply a private American citizen, a jurist, and an unbiassed student of political science and history. His discussion of the nature, essence, logic, and maintenance of political freedom is so masterful, convincing, and conclusive that it cannot fail to enlighten public opinion on the subject and enable one to form a criterion by which to pass upon the various interpretations of the “American Idea.” This work entitles Mr. Spooner to the gratitude and admiration of all the liberty-loving and tyranny-detesting. No one who aspires intelligently to defend or forcibly to assail political independence should neglect to consider Mr. Spooner’s elucidation of its real significance and character.
It is hoped that the present publication will serve yet another purpose. Many of those to whose minds individualistic views appear attractive and rational hesitate to express a positive opinion in consequence of the thousand and one questions of detail and practical difficulty which rush into their heads and to the settlement of which they do not see their way. Of course a casuistic philosophy is an absurdity, but generalization and abstraction are not sufficient. Life is too complex to be covered by a simple formula, though first principles we must have. Mr. Spooner successfully demonstrates that the highest justice and equity can be secured under complete freedom and that they have nothing to fear from the dissolution of the State who are prepared to do unto others as they would be done by.
One word more. As the end sought by this republication is distinct from that of the original publication, I could not avoid changes and alterations. Mr. Spooner’s intention was to discredit and denounce the perversion of trial by jury and to promulgate the correct and legitimate system by which alone free political relations could be preserved. The explanation of the nature of such relations was of secondary importance. I am here, on the contrary, chiefly concerned with this side of the problem. This necessitated abridgment as well as rearrangement. I was obliged to reduce to subordination that which was dominant and to raise into prominence that which was tributary. Lest l may be criticised for taking so unceremonious a liberty, I will anticipate my critics by requesting the reader to attribute all the merits and good qualities of this edition to Mr. Spooner’s ability, while laying the responsibility for all its faults and imperfections at my door.
Legitimate Government and Majority Rule.
The theory of free government is that it is formed by the voluntary contract of the people individually with each other. This is the theory (although it is not, as it ought to be, the fact) in all the governments in the United States, as also in the government of England. The theory assumes that each man who is a party to the government, and contributes to its support, has individually and freely consented to it. Otherwise the government would have no right to tax him for its support, for taxation without consent is robbery. This theory, then, necessarily supposes that this government, which is formed by the free consent of all, has no powers except such as all the parties to it have individually agreed that it shall have; and especially that it has no power to pass any laws except such as all the parties have agreed that it may pass.
This theory supposes that there may be certain laws that will be beneficial to all,— so beneficial that all consent to be taxed for their maintenance. For the maintenance of these specific laws, in which all are interested, all associate. And they associate for the maintenance of those laws only in which all are interested. It would be absurd to suppose that all would associate, and consent to be taxed, for purposes which were beneficial only to a part, and especially for purposes that were injurious to any. A government of the whole, therefore, can have no powers except such as all the parties consent that it may have. It can do nothing except what all have consented that it may do. And if any portion of the people — no matter how large their number, if it be less than the whole — desire a government for any purposes other than those that are common to all and desired by all, they must form a separate association for those purposes. They have no right to compel any one to contribute to purposes that are either useless or injurious to himself.
Taxation without consent is as plainly robbery when enforced against one man as when enforced against millions. Taking a man’s money without his consent is also as much robbery when it is done by millions of men acting in concert and calling themselves a government as when it is done by a single individual acting on his own responsibility and calling himself a highwayman. Neither the numbers engaged in the act nor the different characters they assume as a cover for the act alter the nature of the act itself.
If the government can take a man’s money without his consent, there is no limit to the additional tyranny it may practise upon him; for with his money it can hire soldiers to stand over him, keep him in subjection, plunder him at discretion, and kill him if he resists. And governments always will do this, as they everywhere and always have done, except where the Common Law principle has been established. It is therefore a first principle, a very sine qua non of political freedom, that a man can be taxed only by his personal consent.
All legitimate government is a mutual insurance company, voluntarily agreed upon by the parties to it, for the protection of their rights against wrong-doers. In its voluntary character it is precisely similar to an association for mutual protection against fire or shipwreck. Before a man will join an association for these latter purposes and pay the premium for being insured, he will, if he be a man of sense, look at the articles of the association; see what the company promises to do; what it is likely to do; and what are the rates of insurance. If he be satisfied on all these points, he will become a member, pay his premium for a year, and then hold the company to its contract. If the conduct of the company prove unsatisfactory, he will let his policy expire at the end of the year for which he has paid, will decline to pay any further premiums, and either seek insurance elsewhere or take his own risk without any insurance. And as men act in the insurance of their ships and dwellings, they would act in the insurance of their lives, liberties, and properties in the political association, or government.
The political insurance company, or government, have no more right, in nature or reason, to assume a man’s consent to be protected by them, and to be taxed for that protection, when he has given no actual consent, than a fire or marine insurance company have to assume a man’s consent to be protected by them, and to pay the premium, when his actual consent has never been given. To take a man’s property without his consent is robbery; and to assume his consent, when no actual consent is given, makes the taking none the less robbery. If it did, the highwayman has the same right to assume a man’s consent to part with his purse that any other man, or body of men, can have. And his assumption would afford as much moral justification for his robbery as does a like assumption on the part of the government for taking a man’s property without his consent The government’s pretence of protecting him, as an equivalent for the taxation, affords no justification. It is for himself to decide whether he desires such protection as the government offers him. If he do not desire it, or do not bargain for it, the government has no more right than any other insurance company to impose it upon him, or make him pay for it.
The agreement to be taxed would probably be entered into but for a year at a time. If in that year the government proved itself either inefficient or tyrannical, to any serious degree, the contract would not be renewed. The dissatisfied parties, if sufficiently numerous for anew organization, would form themselves into a separate association for mutual protection. If not sufficiently numerous for that purpose, those who were conscientious would forego all governmental protection rather than contribute to the support of a government which they deemed unjust.
The will, or the pretended will, of the majority is the last lurking place of tyranny at the present day. The dogma that certain individuals or families have a divine appointment to govern the rest of mankind is fast giving place to the one that the larger number have the right to govern the smaller; a dogma which may or may not De less oppressive in its practical operation, but which certainly is no less false or tyrannical in principle than the one it is so rapidly supplanting. Obviously there is nothing in the nature of majorities that insures justice at their hands. They have the same passions as minorities, and they have no qualities whatever that should be expected to prevent them from practising the same tyranny as minorities, if they think it will be for their interest to do so.
There is no particle of truth in the notion that the majority have a right to rule, or exercise arbitrary power over, the minority simply because the former are more numerous than the latter. Two men have no more natural right to rule one than one has to rule two. Any single man, or any body of men, many or few, have a natural right to maintain justice for themselves, and for any others who may need their assistance, against the injustice of any and all other men, without regard to their numbers; and majorities have no right to do more than this. The relative numbers of the opposing parties have nothing to do with the question of right. And no more tyrannical principle was ever avowed than that the will of the majority ought to have the force of law, without regard to its justice; or — what is the same thing — that the will of the majority ought always to be presumed to be in accordance with justice. Such a doctrine is only another form of the doctrine that might makes right.
When two men meet one upon the highway, or in the wilderness, have they a right to dispose of his life, liberty, or property at their pleasure simply because they are the more numerous party? Or is he bound to submit to lose ms life, liberty, or property, if they demand it, simply because he is the less numerous party? Or, because they are more numerous than he, is he bound to presume that they are governed only by superior wisdom and the principles of justice, and by no selfish passion that can lead them to do him a wrong? Yet this is the principle which it is claimed should govern men in all their civil relations to each other. Mankind fall in company with each other on the highway or in the wilderness of life, and it is claimed that the more numerous party, simply by virtue of their superior numbers, have the right arbitrarily to dispose of the life, liberty, and property of the minority; and that the minority are bound, by reason of their inferior numbers, to practise abject submission and consent to hold their natural right — any, all, or none, as the case may be — at the mere will and pleasure of the majority; as if all a man’s natural rights expired or were suspended by the operation of a paramount law the moment he came into the presence of superior numbers.
If such be the true nature of the relations men hold to each other in this world, it puts an end to all such things as crimes, unless they be perpetrated upon those who are equal or superior in number to the actors. All acts committed against persons inferior in number to the aggressors become but the exercise of rightful authority. And consistency with their own principles requires that all governments founded on the will of the majority should recognize this plea as a sufficient justification for all crimes whatsoever.
If it be said that the majority should be allowed to rule not because they are stronger than the minority, but because their superior numbers furnish a probability that they are in the right, one answer is that the lives, liberties, and properties of men are too valuable to them, and the natural presumptions are too strong in their favor, to justify the destruction of them by their fellow-men and mere balancing of probabilities, or on any ground whatever short of certainty beyond a reasonable doubt. This last is the moral rule universally recognized to be binding upon single individuals. And in the forum of conscience the same rule is equally binding upon governments, for governments are mere associations of individuals.
Another answer is that, if two opposing parties could be supposed to have no personal interests or passions involved to warp their judgments or corrupt their motives, the fact that one of the parties was more numerous than the other (a fact that leaves the comparative intellectual competency of the two parties entirely out of consideration) might perhaps furnish a slight, but at best only a very slight, probability that such party was on the side of justice. But when it is considered that the parties are liable to differ in their intellectual capacities, and that one, or the other, or both, are undoubtedly under the influence of such passions as rivalry, hatred, avarice, and ambition,— passions that are nearly certain to pervert their judgments and very likely to corrupt their motives,— all probabilities founded upon a mere numerical majority in one party or the other vanish at once; and the decision of the majority becomes, to all practical purposes, a mere decision of chance. And to dispose of men’s properties, liberties, and lives by the mere process of enumerating such parties is not only as palpable gambling as was ever practised, but it is also the most atrocious that was ever practised, except in matters of government. And where government is instituted on this principle (as in the United States, for example), the nation is at once converted into one great gambling establishment; where all the rights of men are the stakes, a few bold, bad men throw the dice,— dice loaded with all the hopes, fears, interests, and passions which rage in the breasts of ambitious and desperate men,— and all the people, from the interests they have depending, become enlisted, excited, agitated, and generally corrupted by the hazards of the game.
To be continued.
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. B. Tucker.
Continued from No. 145.
“But first who are you?”
The rag-picker in turn ransacked his memory.
“I have heard that tone somewhere before ... where? ... no matter!”
The baron questioned him more rudely, thinking that he was hesitating. “Come, be quick; let us finish; who are you?”
“I am Father Jean, rag-picker, at your service.”
The whilom Garousse recognized him suddenly and almost betrayed himself. His features contracted. He saw again, as in a nightmare, the Hotel d’ltalie, the basket, the crime, and he murmured in his fright:
“Ah! the drunkard of the Quai.... Why is he here?”
And, raising his voice, he responded:
“I do not know you. What do you want?”
Jean, following his nature, went straight to the point
“I come, recommended by Madame Potard, to talk with you concerning the arrest of a poor girl.”
“Eh?” said the baron, disconcerted by this attack.
“Yes,” insisted Jean, “a poor girl accused of infanticide.”
“And what have I to do with her?” asked the disconcerted baron.
“Do not pretend to be ignorant, Monsieur baron,” said Jean, coldly.
The baron began to reflect anxiously.
“What does he know?”
And he added aloud:
“What girl? Yours, of course.”
“To some extent.”
“What do you say?”
“Since they call me Father Jean,” he answered, “I surely must be to some extent the father of somebody ... especially of her who has lost her own.”
“There is no longer any doubt ... it is he,” confessed the banker to himself. Jean, fixing his eyes upon him, continued:
“I have a father’s heart, you see, though I have no child. There are so many others who have children.... Well, never mind that, I am for her.”
“And what can I do in the matter of the arrest of this girl?” asked the baron, recovering his cunning in the presence of danger.
“Much,” said Jean.
“Well,” said M. Hoffmann at last, seeming to yield. “What do you wish me to do about it? Let us see.”
“It is not necessary for me to tell you,” answered Jean.
“Some money?” ventured the banker.
“Oh! better than that,” sneered Jean. “Madame Potard ... you know her?” “The infamous creature!” thought the baron.
Then, determined to deny, he said, haughtily:
“Who is she?”
Jean rose and, standing opposite the baron, explained himself in a tone that breathed a threat.
“The mid-wife whose bank-notes I found told me that the whole thing is in your hands, and I believe her. You have a long arm; you know as well as I what you have to do to secure her justice.... That’s all I have to say.”
“He knows something,” thought the banker.
And continuing the same tactics, he added aloud:
“You are mistaken, I am not a judge.”
“Much more,” said Jean, “you are rich.”
“We live in a Republic, you know.”
“Bah! money is always king. You are sure that Marie Didier is not guilty; that she even saved the child whom she is accused of killing... Come, isn’t that enough to merit all your pity, Monsieur baron?”
“He is unwilling to speak,” said the banker to himself.
And trying to sound him, he went on:
“Yes, certainly, that would be quite sufficient to interest me in her .... and I shall be able, if only you have some means of justification, some proof of her innocence”. ...
“You have only to tell what you know,” answered Jean, ever on his guard. “You know very well that we have not honor enough, we others, to kill our children.”
Now the baron fully understood the danger.
“He knows all,” thought he; “what proofs has he? He must speak.”
The rag-picker cut short his reflections by saying squarely:
“You will speak for her this very day, will you not? I count upon it. In the name of your daughter you will save mine.”
The baron then determined on his course.
“Very well,” said he, “I understand your sympathy, and, in spite of your reticence, I am willing to take an interest in your protegee. So we will consult as to what can be done, and, that I may not be disturbed and may be wholly at vour service, I am going to dispatch a pressing matter of business anti return. Wait here a moment for me.”
“All right,” said Jean, “but don’t be long,— in your interest as well as my own. A word to the wise is sufficient. ... I await you.”
And aside, as if delighted, he said:
“Ah! Potard told the truth.”
The baron went out, saying between his teeth:
“Oh! he shall speak.”
Jean watched the banker go out, and then said, as he shrugged his shoulders: “So that is Monsieur, with his cross of the Legion of Honor ... and the Monthyon prize perhaps .... a white waistcoat and a soul as black as his coat .... and his face ditto, a face that I have already seen I know not where. I have seen so many of his stamp, decorated or otherwise; and that pale pink of propriety who was here with him was Mademoiselle. One would give her the good God without confession and the flower of Nanterre besides. That’s the sort of children these people have. How the devil is it that people capable of killing their children can nave any at all? To be sure, cats who kill their offspring have enough of them. But then, the poor cats do not always have anything else to eat, whereas these creatures”....
Looking at the table, he continued:
“What luxury, for one man alone! Just look! Enough for a whole hospital of orphans and old people. Does this ogre need it all? How many of our shares does it take to make his?”
He went to the side-table.
“What devices of bottles and flasks of all sizes and shapes, of all prices, of all flavors, of all growths! It’s curious, all the same”....
And he read the labels.
“It’s frightful! Champagne, Spain, Germany, the whole earth laid under contribution. What a wine-cellar! A regular seraglio, of brunettes and blondes, slender as brides, fat as fishwives, with pink caps and straw dresses. There’s one with a silver head, and another with gold in her belly. He drinks gold! And we have not water to drink! ... What does he eat? Diamonds? Ah! the man and his wine, the devil and hell distilled, vice and crime sealed and tied up.... But it doesn’t dazzle me. I will uncork you, poisons, with a few good strokes of my hook. All the filth isn’t in the street. Oh! the monsters, I will pick them up ... into the basket! into the basket I Away with you, gilded debauchery, you shall not always have so much in your canteen.... But he doesn’t come back. Is he going to roast me here? I am dying with heat.”
He struck heavily upon the table.
Just then his back was turned to the door, and he did not see the baron introduce Laurent into the room and remain behind the curtain himself to listen.
The servant began to fill the stove with wood, saying to Jean:
“Monsieur baron will return presently. He bi(ls me tell you to have a little patience and to sit down at the table while waiting.”
He set the table for one more.
“That’s your place,” said he.
The rag picker, walking back and forth in agitation, shouted to the departing Laurent:
“At the table! He invites me to dinner ... too polite”....
And, left alone, he continued:
“A rag-picker dining with a banker. ... I see him coming. ... He surely means to inveigle me, to offer me his money. They think they can do everything with money .... and they can almost .... but Father Jean is not to be taken that way. Money is not so tempting to us who have none; less tempting than to him, who has so much. What ruins these rascals is that they never count on the conscience of others. Let him come!”
And he concluded with an explosion:
“Oh! I will save her, in spite of him, in spite of the devil, in spite of his money.” Laurent returned with a soup tureen, and, pointing Jean to a seat at the table, said:
“You are served. Wait with your feet under the table.”
Jean wiped his brow again. The heat was becoming suffocating.
“Thank you,” said he, “I am not hungry.”
The servant did not contradict him, but, filling two large glasses on a waiter, asked:
“You are thirsty at least?”
“Oh, yes,” said Jean.
“Well,” said Laurent, presenting the waiter.
But, seeing Jean draw back, he said:
“Why prance about in that way? It is not bad.... See!”
He drank a glass and filled it again, continuing in a persuasive tone:
“But God forgive me, you are in a perspiration; if you w’ill not eat, at least drink a little to refresh yourself.”
“Indeed, one cannot refuse. I am sweating big drops. I am dying of heat and thirst; I have run about till I am breathless. It’s a long way from Honore to Antoine, and on these old pins of mine.... Give me some water.”
“Water!” exclaimed Laurent; “to make you sick? Water’s good for nothing when one is warm. A little wine, that’s the stuff! That refreshes without chilling.... Bordeaux! Mademoiselle’s wine.”
“Yes,” said Jean, consenting, yielding to this reasoning and his thirst. “But only a drop ... and well baptised.”
He took up the decanter.
Laurent held back his arm persuasively.
“There,” said he, “as little as you like. Do not get an attack of pleurisy.”
This proved the decisive word.
“You are right,” said he; “this is no time for that.”
He drank with avidity, and set down his glass, which Laurent filled again immediately.
“Enough, thank you,” cried Jean. “We should use, but not abuse,— especially with good things.”
“Bah!” rejoined the valet, “when one can get bourgeois wine.... What quality!”
“True, but beware of quantity. Today, you see”....
And the rag-picker tried to pour some water into the wine.
Laurent indignantly removed the decanter from his reach.
“Ah! you spoil it,” he cried.
Father Jean continued to mop his brow.
“Be seated,” advised Laurent; “it makes you still hotter to stand.”
“I believe you,” said Jean. “This heat is too much for me.”
And he turned his head about, looking for a place where he might get a breath of fresh air. The stove was roaring, sending out a torrid heat through every opening.
The valet, decidedly generous, took advantage of this opportunity to refill the glasses.
Jean drank again and threw himself back in his seat, while Laurent emptied his ow n glass into Jean’s, saying:
“Come, old boy, do me the honor. You are still at your first bumper. I am ashamed of you. Just do as I do and quench your thirst .... there .... tranquilly. How do you like it?”
“Oh! I never drank anything to compare with it,” confessed the rag-picker, emptying his glass with one swallow.
“Such wine is not to be had at the first corner (coin)” said Laurent, beginning the same game over again, always pouring but not drinking.
“At any rate,” answered Jean, good-humoredly, “it is of a good brand (coin).” Laurent emptied the bottle.
“One finger .... without water .... this time, that you may taste it better. Try that.”
“Yes,” he said, “still better. It does one good.”
“Come,” said the servant, passing to another. “This is at least its equal. Let’s empty the bottle before it gets flat. Upon my word, I am doing all the drinking and you the sweating. Put a little courage in your throat, good old father. Oh! you have no force.” .
The rag-picker, disturbed and a little humiliated, but resisting the temptation, resolutely snook his head.
“No, no, that will do.”
“Oh, yes,” said Laurent, “this will completely restore you. Some Bordeaux that has been ripening here for an hour.”
“No, I tell you; I’ve had too much already: I am not accustomed to it.”
And Jean pushed back his glass.
Laurent took a third bottle and used colored glasses.
“Ah! to be sure,” said he, “you don’t get such wine every day. Then make the most of the opportunity when it comes. It is so much taken from the enemy. This is better yet, Monsieur’s wine .... Beaune-Hospice .... the wine of the comet.”
And pouring it out freely, he made a pretence of drinking, as he added:
“Do as I do.”
“Of the comet,” said Jean, under a spell. “Ah! just a sip of the comet.”
Then his face became more serious.
“Beaune-Hospice,” he repeated, undoubtedly thinking of the widow Didier, who had died after a few weeks’ treatment with watered milk. “Ah! well, many comets will cross the skies before they give such Beaune as that in the hospitals (hospices). Why the devil does it bear that name?”
“Why, it is the wine for invalids,” said Laurent, pouring it out in floods. “It is balm to the stomach. Each glass adds a year to one’s life. Excuse me for helping myself first; this is the foam.”
“Oh! the lees are as good as the foam,” said Jean, unable to resist. “Besides, I don’t wish to be a centenarian.”
He continued nevertheless to drink, and with delight.
“Better and better,” he cried. “That would revive a dead man.”
“It is the milk of old age,” approved Laurent, “the joy of man. Another glass to drink your health.”
“You are very polite,” said Jean, in a thick voice. “A last glass for a hob-nob.” And they touched glasses and drank.
“Here’s to you!” said Jean.
A minute passed. He moved about on his chair, sweating big drops and growling:
“Ah! but your master is forgetting me. I am in a hurry.”
Baron Hoffmann, who had witnessed this scene from behind the tapestry, made a sign to Laurent, and disappeared without having been noticed by the rag-picker. Father Jean tried to rise, but, seized with giddiness, fell back again.
“Go and find him,” said he.
Laurent picked up the bottle again.
“The rest first,” he insinuated. “It is the bottom of the bottle, saving your respect ... with a biscuit ... the bread of Beaune.”
“Well, to top off with,” conceded Jean.
And Laurent went on:
“We must not leave this little bit; it would be wasted.”
“That would be a pity,” said Jean, drinking and smacking his lips. “It’s astonishing how thirsty I am today. The more I drink the more I want, as if I were salted. I am melting with heat, impatience, and rage. This room feels like an oven. My body is on fire. I am burning up.”
He seized the empty bottle himself and tried to pour from it.
“There’s nothing left in the pump,” he exclaimed, looking at Laurent stupidly. The valet pointed to a bottle in a silver pail full of ice.
“Here’s another,” said he, “and just what you need to drive away the salt taste. Champagne, champagne frappé”....
“What do you mean by frappé?” asked Jean. “Do you beat it, then? For my part, I would rather kiss it.”
“Frozen, iced,” explained Laurent, laughing. “Warmed Bordeaux .... iced champagne .... old novice.”
“Iced!” said Jean. “Good! This time I shall be refreshed.”
“Yes, yes, this is the thing. So, old boy, you are not acquainted with champagne frappé?”
“Why, no, I never drank any. Let us see what it is like.”
Laurent made haste to pour some out.
“The devil! how you go at it! Full to the brim. It’s easy to see it costs you nothing.”
“Bah! what do these glasses hold? A mere thimbleful!”
“That’s all right, but I need my head, you seel”
“Oh! this wine does not intoxicate; on the contrary.”
“So much the better. For I’ve got to talk to your boss.”
“All the more reason, then; this will inspire you.”
And Laurent poured for him abundantly.
“Really?” asked Jean, shaken.
He emptied his glass, and the servant straightway refilled it; then, drinking again, he continued:
“In fact, I’ve often said that there’s nothing like champagne to give one an idea. It’s the son of light and the father of wit.”
Laurent poured continually, adding:
“Didn’t I tell you so? Come, another idea!”
“Yes, yes, the devil take me! it is the spiritual wine ... the blood of France.” The valet nodded his head approvingly.
“With the champagne, take some of the wine of the four beggars.”
“Ah!” answered Jean, “why do you call it the wine of the four beggars? Eh, sly dog! Because it asks to be drunk .... four times! To make amends, you silly fellow, pour some out.”
Laurent hastened to obey.
“Out upon you, old joker! He made up his mouth.... He seemed not to touch it. He sipped and moistened his lips, like a sparrow’.”
And, filling Jean’s already emptied glass, he added:
“Now for a bumper! That’s the talk!”
“I, youngster,” said Jean, piqued, “if I did not restrain myself .... I would swallow the whole wine-cellar, to the last drop, and you with.... Formerly, twenty years ago, if you had seen me, it was a very different thing; I have fallen off more than a quart a year.... Old age I That’s what it does for us. Come, pour away, you neglect me, you worry me.”
“Ah! what a pity! there is no more here,” said Laurent, pretending to refuse in order the more to excite him.
“Well,” said Jean, warmly, “turn on the faucet.”
“Oh, here’s some sauterne.”
Jean looked at the bottle admiringly.
“See how it sparkles,” he cried, in a hoarse voice. “Nothing stupid or dull about that, my boy.”
The valet went for a plate.
“And with some oysters,” said he.
But Jean, raising himself up, sent them flying in the air with a blow from the back of his hand.
“Oyster yourself!” he articulated, with effort.
He began to drink again, pouring the wine himself and filling the glasses to the brim as he shouted to Laurent:
“But you drink no more. I am just getting a taste for it.”
And he continued to swallow, stammering:
“To be sure, you drink every day, and you haven’t been running bout’sh I have. .... You were right ... doctor this winds up the mainspring; it puts heart in one’s stomach. Ah! your rascal of a master can come back when he fixes. He has only to behave himself. ... I am going to talk to him and with his wine. .... I am going to rinse him as I do this glass.”
He drank again, taking off his cravat, his head on fire, excited, and growing more and more thirsty.
The door opened, and a new lackey appeared.
“Laurent,” said he, “Monsieur baron is asking for you. ... I will serve Monsieur in your place.”
“All right, Léon,” said the valet, going out.
Jean, swaying from right to left, began to stare and jeer at Léon.
“As many valets as wines,” said he; “and what faces I They’re in good condition, all these fellows! Ah! they have only this to do. ‘Peter, what are you doing?’ ‘Nothing.’ ‘And you, Paul?’ ‘I am helping Peter.’ And then, with such an allowance of wine! What nectar!”
Drinking and taking Léon by the arm, he continued:
“What syrup! What a bouquet! Violets and roses! The whole garden of plants! It’s better than Niquet. Ah! if Niquet were as good as this and free, I’d drink night and day.... Come, finish the glass with a comrade!”
“No, thank you,” said Léon, resisting.
Father Jean began to laugh, stammering and stumbling in his speech, and then resumed:
“Is this youngster going to force me to beg him? Come, since you are asked. When wine is poured, it must be drank. Ah! Sainte Nitouche, you want it full, you hypocrite!”
He refilled Lion’s glass and his own, and drank again.
“No, thank you, I tell you,” said the valet, pushing back the wine with an air of disdain.
“Don’t be afraid,” said Jean, “I invite you; I am responsible for everything. I’m the master here. Swallow that down, you booby.”
“I never drink wine,” answered the valet, dryly.
“No wine,” cried the rag-picker. “Ah! poor fellow! You’re a Turk, then!”
“I like nothing but brandy ... and if you will”....
Jean started up in his chair.
“Brandy! I’m with you. Oh! I’m not tired yet, my boy.”
“Especially of that,” said Léon, taking from the side-table a bottle of old cognac, brandy a hundred years old.
“Brandy! Water of life!” cried the rag-picker in a transport of enthusiasm. “What a beautiful name! Do I want brandy, I? Ah! ah! that’s my weakness too; shake, old boy, give me your hand; in you I recognize myself. Brandy a hundred years old, older than I am, born at Cognac and before the revolution; let’s see it! Pass her to me, this virgin. Isn’t she beautiful? Love, away! Still she seems a little small for her soul. Let’s see, then, what she has in her soul. Oh! oh! how it shines ... rays, gleams, as of melted topaz, the entire sun bottled up.”
And, turning to the bottle glistening in the light, he said:
“And do you mean to look at me like that with your golden eyes, coquette? Uncork it, my son, uncork it.”
Léon opened the bottle.
“There you are,” said he.
Jean completely lost possession of himself.
“Come, hurry up, dawdler,” he cried, “give it to me! You torture me. I can’t resist, because I haven’t drank any of it for a century. I am getting dizzy. Ah! dear beauty, my heart beats for you. ... I am growing sick. ... I am dying.” “Here it is, passionate old lover that you are,” said Léon.
Jean grasped the bottle and said with ardor:
“Ah! darling, a kiss upon your pretty beak, with both hands and full mouth.” He began to drink from the bottle itself.
“Enter the nave,” he continued with delight, “they want you in the chorus. . and make haste, gurgler.... There is a crowd holding high festival. ... In clover, deary... Buried, the bourgeois! F’rever joy! F’rever feasting! F’rever wine! F’rever brandy! What drives away sorrow? Wine. What gives beauty to life? Brandy. What warms and revives me when I am dying of cold and hunger? Wine. What restores me and sets me up when I am falling sick? Brandy.”
To be continued.
“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.
The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.
The Philosopher of the Disembodied.
Connected with the Massachusetts branch of the National Woman Suffrage Association is a body of women calling itself the Boston Political Class, the object of which is the preparation of its members for the use of the ballot. On Thursday evening, May 30, this class was addressed in public by Dr. Wm. T. Harris, the Concord philosopher, on the subject of State Socialism, Anarchism, and free competition. Let me say parenthetically to these ladies that, if they really wish to learn how to use the ballot, they would do well to apply for instruction, not to Dr. Harris, but to ex-Supervisor Bill Simmons, or Johnny O’Brien of New York, or Senator Matthew Quay, or some leading Tammany brave, or any of the “bosses” who rule city, State, and nation; for, the great object of the ballot being to test truth by counting noses and to prove your opponents wrong by showing them to be less numerous than your friends, and these men having practically demonstrated that they are masters of the art of rolling up majorities at the polls, they can teach the members of the Boston Political Class a trick or two by which they can gain numerical supremacy, while Dr. Harris, in the most favorable view of the case, can only elevate their intelligence and thereby fix them more hopelessly in a minority that must be vanquished in a contest where ballots instead of brains decide the victory.
But let that pass. I am not concerned now with these excellent ladies, but with Dr. Harris’s excellent address; for it was excellent, notwithstanding the fact that he intended it partly as a blow at Anarchism. Instead of being such a blow, the discourse was really an affirmation of Anarchism almost from beginning to end, at least in so far as it dealt with principles, and departed from Anarchism only in two or three mistaken attempts to illustrate the principles laid down and to identify existing society with them as expressive of them.
After positing the proposition that the object of society is the production of self-conscious intelligence in its highest form, or, in other words, the most perfect individuality, the lecturer spent the first half of his time in considering State Socialism from this standpoint. He had no difficulty in showing that the absorption of enterprise by the State is indeed a “looking backward,” — a very long look backward at that communism which was the only form of society known to primitive man; at that communism which purchases material equality at the expense of the destruction of liberty; at that communism out of which evolution, with its tendency toward individuality, has been gradually lifting mankind for thousands of years; at that communism which, by subjecting the individual rights of life and property to industrial tyranny, thereby renders necessary a central political tyranny to at least partially secure the right to life and make possible the continuance of some semblance of social existence. The lecturer took the position that civil society is dependent upon freedom in production, distribution, and consumption, and that such freedom is utterly incompatible with State Socialism, which in its ultimate implies the absolute control of all these functions by arbitrary power as a substitute for economic law. Therefore Dr. Harris, setting great value upon civil society, has no use for State Socialism. Neither have the Anarchists. Thus far, then, the Anarchists and this teacher of the Boston Political Class walk hand in hand.
Dr. Harris, however, labors under a delusion that just at this point he parts company with us. As we follow his argument further, we shall see if this be true. The philosophy of society, he continued in substance, is coextensive with a ground covered by four institutions,— namely, the family, civil society, the State, and the Church. Proceeding then to define the specific purposes of these institutions, he declared that the object of the family is to assure the reproduction of individuals and prepare them, by guidance through childhood, to become reasonable beings; that the object of civil society is to enable each individual to reap advantage from the powers of all other individuals through division of labor, free exchange, and other economic means; that the object of the State is to protect each individual against aggression and secure him in his freedom as long as he observes the equal freedom of others; and that the object of the Church (using the term in its broadest sense, and not as exclusively applicable to the various religious bodies) is to encourage the investigation and perfection of science, literature, the fine arts, and all those higher humanities that make life worth living and tend to the elevation and completion of self-conscious intelligence or individuality. Each of these objects, in the view of the lecturer, is necessary to the existence of any society worthy of the name, and the omission of any one of them disastrous. The State Socialists, he asserted truthfully, would ruin the whole structure by omitting civil society, whereas the Anarchists, he asserted erroneously, would equally ruin it by omitting the State. Right here lies Dr. Harris’s error, and it is the most vulgar of all errors in criticism,— that of treating the ideas of others from the standpoint, not of their definitions, but of your own. Dr. Harris hears that the Anarchists wish to abolish the State, and straightway he jumps to the conclusion that they wish to abolish what he defines as the State. And this, too, in spite of the fact that, to my knowledge, he listened not long ago to the reading of a paper by an Anarchist from which it was clearly to be gathered that the Anarchists have no quarrel with any institution that contents itself with enforcing the law of equal freedom, and that they oppose the State only after first defining it as an institution that claims authority over the non-aggressive individual and enforces that authority by physical force or by means that are effective only because they can and will be backed by physical force if necessary. Far from omitting the State as Dr. Harris defines it, the Anarchists expressly favor such an institution, by whatever name it may be called, as long as its raison d’etre continues; and certainly Dr. Harris would not demand its preservation after it had become superfluous.
In principle, then, are not the Anarchists and Dr. Harris in agreement at every essential point? It certainly seems so. I do not know an Anarchist that would not accept every division of his social map.
Defining the object of the family as he defines it, the Anarchists believe in the family; only they insist that free competition and experiment shall always be allowed in order that it may be determined what form of family best secures this object.
Defining the object of civil society as he defines it, the Anarchists believe in civil society; only they insist that the freedom of civil society shall be complete instead of partial.
Defining the object of the State as he defines it, the Anarchists believe in the State; only they insist that the greater part, if not all, of the necessity for its existence is the result of an artificial limitation of the freedom of civil society, and that the completion of industrial freedom may one day so harmonize individuals that it will no longer be necessary to provide a guarantee of political freedom.
Defining the object of the Church as he defines it, the Anarchists most certainly believe in the Church; only they insist that all its work shall be purely voluntary, and that its discoveries and achievements, however beneficial, shall not be imposed upon the individual by authority.
But there is a point, unhappily, where the Anarchists and Dr. Harris do part company, and that point is reached when he declares or assumes or leaves it to be inferred that the present form of the family is the form that best secures the objects of the family, and that no attempt at any other form is to be tolerated, although evidence of the horrors engendered by the prevailing family life is being daily spread before our eyes in an ever-increasing volume; that the present form of civil society is the embodiment of complete economic freedom, although it is undeniable that the most important freedoms, those without which all other freedoms are of little or no avail, the freedom of banking and the freedom to take possession of unoccupied land, exist nowhere in the civilized world; that the existing State does nothing but enforce the law of equal freedom, although it is unquestionably based upon a compulsory tax that is itself a denial of equal freedom, and is daily adding to ponderous volumes of statutes the bulk of which are either sumptuary and meddlesome in character or devised in the interest of privilege and monopoly; and that the existing Church carries on its work in accordance with the principle of free competition, in spite of the indubitable fact that, in its various fields of religion, science, literature, and the arts, it is endowed with innumerable immunities, favors, prerogatives, and licenses, with the extent and stringency of which it is still unsatisfied.
All these assumptions clearly show that Dr. Harris is a man of theory, and not of practice. He knows nothing but disembodied principles. Consequently, when the State Socialist proposes to embody a principle antagonistic to his, he recognizes it as such and demolishes it by well-directed arguments. But this same antagonistic principle, so far as it is already embodied, is unrecognizable by him. As soon as it becomes incarnate, he mistakes it for his own. No matter what shape it has taken, be it a banking monopoly, or a land monopoly, or a national post-office monopoly, or a common school system, or a compulsory tax, or a setting-up of non-aggressive individuals to be shot at by an enemy, he hastens to offer it one hand, while he waves the flag of free competition with the other. In consequence of its fleshly wrappings, he is constitutionally incapable of combating the status quo. For this reason he is not an altogether competent teacher, and is liable to confuse the minds of the ambitious ladies belonging to the Boston Political Class.
In the State Socialistic scheme there are many flaws and points about which the less said the better. But the weakest spot consists in the expectation and faith that officials will solemnly resolve to sin no more and devote themselves to the loyal service of “the masses.” While State Socialists are thoroughly alive to the in-competency and corruption of the awkward governmental machine, which they are not slow to expose and denounce, they, with singularly perverse inconsistency, almost in the same breath propose to enlarge its function and augment its power for mischief. Often, on listening spell-bound to the enchanting prophecies of the visionary Socialist idealist, like Ruskin or Morris, have I been ready to fall prostrate at his feet and exclaim, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian”; but when poetry gave way to prose, and the effects of emotional eloquence vanished like unto smoke before the hard facts of daily experience and cold reasoning, it became painfully evident that the ideal State could never be aught except a rhetorical ornament, a vague fancy. It became evident, but not to the State Socialists, who would not be prevailed upon ever to consider the problem in this aspect. Which indeed has given rise to the suspicion that they are more crafty than ingenuous and are carefully avoiding the difficulty in the path, albeit their method is only that of running their own heads into the sand.
However, at last one level-headed and frank Nationalist has appreciated and conceded the grave character of this drawback. Edward Bellamy, whose “Looking Backward” — heaven knows I — surpasses anything in the line of utopia and illusion ever put in black on white or painted in words of mouth, nevertheless, by a recent statement in the “Twentieth Century,” shows that there is still some hope of his ultimate salvation, hope that he may yet come to look backward upon his “romance” and the wild fantasies therein with a feeling of wholesome shame.
“It is of course plain,” says he, “that the business departments which the progress of Nationalism will add to the government should be organized on a purely business basis, non-political and non-partisan. By way of preparing the government for its new functions, the complete application of non-partisan principles to the conduct of the purely business departments already under its control should be demanded. The partisan view of such offices is absolutely repugnant to the very essence of Nationalism. There is no more pressing or preliminary work for Nationalists than to unite popular sentiment against this evil. Before the post office department will be an entirely satisfactory argument for the practicability of Nationalism, we must root politics out of it. The Nationalist clubs of the country will, I trust, at an early period unite in a petition to the president of the United States upon this point, and follow it up with suitable addresses to Congress. Good men of all parties have long opposed the spoils doctrine, but not with the reason which we have, for it stands squarely across our path. Between it and the National plan there can be no possible compromise. This must be our first great battle, and our first great victory.”
Hardly better employment than this can be recommended to our Collectivist friends. It is time they ceased giving us stones when we want bread and proceeded to test their theories. A great deal will depend on the result of “the first great battle.” If they carry the day, their subsequent task will be comparatively easy, and the opposition to them will of necessity speedily grow faint and feeble. But if they fail,— as they certainly must,— perhaps they may then be taught a, useful lesson. And that truly would be a great victory for progress, while to themselves it would be “a fall that meant a rise.”
Definitions of Government.
Considering the misunderstanding of the term government, and the confusion of thought on the question whether or not the rules and regulations of a voluntary association constitute a government, the following definitions may be of service.
Judge Storey, speaking of the old Continental Congress, says:
In the first place there was an utter want of all coercive authority to carry into effect its own constituted measures. This of itself was sufficient to destroy its whole efficiency, as a superintending government, if that may be called a government which possesses no one solid attribute of power.... . In truth Congress possessed only the power of recommendation. It depended altogether upon the goodwill of the States whether a measure should be carried into effect or not.
Let a reformer today talk of improving the government by restoring its original simplicity, and having it based on goodwill rather than compulsion, and the average critic will at once object: “What’s the use of calling that a government where everybody can assent or dissent as he pleases. There must be some authority, or head, or it can’t be a government.” Here the critic, with all common-sense people, will agree with Storey. But meet this same critic the next day, call yourself an Anarchist, and advocate substantially the same thing,— voluntary membership in one or many associations, absence of compulsion and taxation, a sort of insurance society where your policy would lapse or not according to your direction or indirection, and he will insist that you advocate a government after all; he will prove, moreover (to his own satisfaction), that the United States enjoy just such a government as you propose, with perhaps a few unimportant differences; and he will vote you a quibbler and hair-splitter.
But the truth is the Anarchist is not the quibbler: he uses the words government and law in their strict legal sense, and is supported by all the “authorities” and professional lawmakers.
The government is the power or authority which rules a community, or the body of persons charged with the making and enforcing of law. Now, what is law?
A law in the literal and proper sense of the word may be defined as a rule laid down for the guidance of an intelligent being by an intelligent being having power over him.
Every law properly so called is set by a superior to an inferior or inferiors; it is set by a party armed with might to a party or parties whom that might can reach.
A law is either set by the sovereign immediately or by a person or persons in subjection by the delegation or permission of the sovereign It is either set in the properly legislative mode, or in the oblique mode of judicial legislature. — Austin’s “Jurisprudence.”
Then, in order to leave no doubt as to what is meant by inferior and superior, he says:
Taken with the meaning wherein I here understand it, the term superiority signifies might; the power of affecting others with evil or pain, and of forcing them, through the fear of that evil, to fashion their conduct to one’s wishes.
In short, whoever can oblige another to comply with his wishes is the superior of that other, so far as the ability reaches; that other being to the same extent the inferior.
Regarding non-governmental rules and regulations he says:
Closely analogous to human laws ... are a set of objects, frequently but improperly termed laws, being rules set and enforced merely by the opinion of an intermediate body of men — [such as the laws of honor, laws of fashion, laws of benefit societies, etc., etc.]
Of course the critics who insist upon their own definitions of government and make out that Anarchists cannot escape the necessity of recognizing some form of government have a right to ignore our explanation, but it is merely the right of being fools.
A. H. Simpson.
When I read the other day in the “Nationalist” the article by Arthur Hildreth championing paternal government and its control of the post-office, schools, libraries, gas works, water works, and almost everything else, I shuddered at the thought of how narrowly Ly-sander Spooner’s precious manuscripts escaped a fall into Mr. Hildreth’s hands, and I congratulated myself more than ever on having rescued them from such a fate, even though, in order to do so, I was obliged to convince Mr. Spooner’s ignorant but greedy relatives that these documents were of pecuniary value by offering and paying them several hundred dollars for what they had proposed to give to Mr. Hildreth outright. Mr. Hildreth is a gentleman and a scholar, and personally I esteem him highly; but it would have been as unfitting to have entrusted the supervision of the great individualist’s writings to a despotic nationalist as to have appointed the Pope of Rome the literary executor of Voltaire.
Laissez Faire and the Body Politic.
To the Editor of Liberty:
In the “Workmen’s Advocate” of April 6 Mr. W. T. Horn answers the question I asked of State Socialists, which was reprinted in Liberty of March 10. My reason for not answering Mr. Horn through the columns of the paper in which his article appeared is that the editor of that paper will not publish my side of the debate. Since rejecting one of my articles he has published one from the opposite side. I know that I cannot claim the right to be heard, for in the Socialistic State no one has any rights; the public good is the only thing sought, and that is decided by a public official. The S. L. P. runs the “Advocate” on Socialistic principles, and as the editor has been selected by the majority, he must know better than any individual can what is for the public good.
In Mr. Horn’s answer he says: “Nor are the relations of the body physical one of cold laissez faire. On the contrary, it is one of warm sympathy and mutual cooperation.”
Webster’s definition of laissez faire is, “Let alone; suffer to have its own way, or take its natural course.” It means the non-interference of legislatures or parliaments. The development of the body physical was, therefore, under a system of laissez faire, unless Mr. Horn insists that the laws that govern the circulation of blood in the human body were statutes passed by Congress; even a State Socialist would hardly make that claim. Mr. Horn says further: “And yet Mr. Cohen coolly asks us, ‘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?’ What reason? Why, we believe that the body politic will develop in the same way, and it is for that we contend that Spencer’s analogy tells plainly and conclusively in favor of collectivism and against individualism Collectivism is nothing more than a patient study of natural laws, coupled with a practical effort to apply them intelligently to new social developments.”
From this it seems that nature makes the laws, and the Socialists will apply them; they must think that nature is unable to apply and enforce her own laws intelligently. Nature ought to feel encouraged by this offer of help, and perhaps wonders, in her artless manner, how it was that she succeeded so well in the past, before the Socialistic Labor Party was organized. She perhaps felt discouraged at the way things were going, until Mr. Horn kindly volunteered to “apply natural laws to new social conditions.” Mr. Horn uses the words “bigoted and egotistical Anarchists”; of course we know that we must appear egotistical beside the modest State Socialist, who thinks that, if he were elected to office, he could, in his inscrutable wisdom, apply “the science of socialism with knowledge and understanding to all human activities.”
April 20, 1889.
[Mr. Cohen expresses himself vaguely, and is liable to misinterpretation. Indeed, I am not sure that I understand him. He seems to be using the word “nature” in a narrow sense, excluding human conscious action, yet he speaks of nature’s ability “to apply her own laws intelligently.” Such teleological notions are not to be tolerated in scientific argument. Nature is blind and as unmindful of man’s interests as of any other. Man is obliged to study the laws (ways) of nature in order to adapt himself to the conditions under which his short life has to be spent. The more he knows, the more comfortably he arranges his affairs. But man is a social animal, and social existence has its laws, which every unit of society must understand. Their violation is followed by social evils, and deference to them guarantees peace and stability. Nature is stationary; man is progressive. In the first case, he is an outside observer and investigator; in the second he watches his own growth and development. Society elevates man; man perfects society. What the State Socialists should answer for is not their endeavor “to apply natural laws to new social conditions,” but their arrogant and injudicious claim to the monopoly of correct knowledge of the laws of social order and change. We all have a right to use our reason and instincts in the task of making life worth living on this curious little planet. We all have a right to define happiness and to seek its attainment. Nature does not authorize any body of men to execute any design of hers; we’re all here, and we must do the best we can. The only question is whether individual liberty is compatible with healthy social life. Believers in majority governments say no; Anarchists think yes; nature is exasperatingly dumb; and society meanwhile is an Inferno. — V. Y.]
Spread the Light.
Out of a world of unwise nothing but an unwisdom can be made. Arrange it, constitution-build it, sift it through ballot-boxes as thou wilt, it is and remains an unwisdom, the new prey of new quacks and unclean things, the latter end of it slightly better than the beginning. Who can bring a wise thing out of a man unwise? Not one.
Power of Progressive Minorities.
The force of public opinion is assuredly nothing numerical, for the social conviction in a cultivated community can rarely be expressed by counting of heads. The organized resolve of one-tenth of the community is often a greater power than the flabby valleities of the other nine-tenths. How often do we see in every meeting, group, or committee, the clear intelligence and will of one arrest the floating indecision of the rest and spring to the command, if not with the active support, at least with the passive assent, of the rest. And yet these very men, who unconsciously yield to the ascendancy of the superior nature amidst them, if the ballot-box were used, would belie their own judgment and go back upon their formal decisions. Almost all great things for a time have rested in the energies of a small minority, and most great changes in history have shown a resolute few asserting the ascendancy of conviction.
Here is a nut for the governmentalists to crack. The report of the committee on State appropriations and finances which was submitted to the Michigan legislature two years ago and adopted shows the amount of delinquent taxes due the State and how much it costs to collect them. The sum total of uncollected State taxes returned to the auditor-general’s office was £11,176.94, and it cost the State £80,082.42 to collect it. Comment is useless. And yet some folks will Insist that the State can do things cheaper than individuals.
* * *
Mr. Pentecost’s “Twentieth Century” is a very nice little paper, and Mr. Pentecost himself seems to be a man whose heart is in the right place. He says many good things, and he reaches a class of people which we very much need among the discontented,— a class of religionists, I believe, that has discarded the idea that God is a monster who created man and then made a hole without a bottom so close to him that he is in constant danger of falling in. You can’most always tell what kind of a man one is, if you can learn what kind of a god he believes in. A good, kind, just man’s god is a good, kind, just god; but a bigot’s god is a being without heart or mercy. I have an idea that the good orthodox god is an Anarchist. I was taught that God made man in his own image and likeness. Every human being, therefore, should have godlike attributes. Now, God is independent, free, sovereign. There is no law that controls him except his own will, and his will is to do good. These are the attributes of an Anarchist. It must follow, then, that those who do not believe that man has and should exercise these attributes are heretics. “Anarchism,” says Mr. Pentecost, “I look upon as the ultimatum of human society.” I can’t say that Anarchism is the ultimatum, as I have no means of knowing whether or not there is any limit to human progress, but I do believe that Anarchism would be a very desirable condition of human society, one that is practicable, just, attainable, and not a dream, as Mr. Croasdale would have the readers of the “Standard” believe. It is an easy way Mr. Croasdale has of disposing of a subject. I would think much more of his ability to deal with Anarchism, had he not disposed of it so flippantly. A dream, someone has said, is the result of disease. Evidently Mr. Pentecost does not dispose of Anarchism by sending it off to dreamland, and in that he is wiser than Mr. Croasdale. No, Anarchy is not a dream, but a practical factor in human affairs, Mr. Croasdale to the contrary notwithstanding, because it is a living, active protest against theft, injustice.
* * *
Several weeks ago the idea came to me to get the pictures, biographical sketches, and opinions on Anarchy and the means of attaining it, of a number of Anarchists throughout the country, and make an article of them for publication in a largely-circulated newspaper. The object in doing this was to give the lie to the popular newspaper Anarchist; to show that the real Anarchist is a human being and a good deal like other folks; that they have neither horns nor hoofs; are not all unkempt and whiskey-soaked and red-headed; that they are not all ignorant foreigners; and that their ideas are not to pillage and murder and burn. I sent out forty or fifty letters and got only a few favorable returns. I learned that the Anarchist is really an extremely modest and retiring animal, and I had to do some considerable coaxing before I made much headway. The letters are all bright, well-written, intelligent; but some of the objections made to my method of propaganda are hardly valid. A lady writes: “(1) I cannot say I approve of your plan in trying to picture Anarchy and Anarchists in their true colors... It is really not worth the trouble. (2) Do you care for the opinions of the average man and woman? I do not. (3) It seems to me that the more one tries to set himself in the right light to the average mortal, the worse he is off. I go right ahead, do the best I can in my way, and don’t care a snap what names I am called.” (1) Why, my dear little woman, our whole propagandism is to put Anarchy and Anarchists in their true color before the people. And certainly it cannot be true that it is not worth the trouble. If our principles are true and good, it is worth any amount of trouble to have other people adopt them for at least two reasons: first, it will do us good to have them adopted, and second, it will do others good to adopt them. (2). Of course I care for the opinions of the average man and woman. Men and women above the average are rare, and if Anarchy is to make headway it must do so among the average. If their opinions are erroneous, if they think it is all right that the State should take the results of my labor for some one else’s benefit, it is to my interest to have them think it is all wrong. And if I see them treated unjustly, it hurts me, and I try to make them see that they are treated unjustly, and to put a stop to it. And, besides this, I have a good deal of love and solicitude for my kind. I like to see them comfortable and happy, because it makes me happy. You see, I always have an eye to my own welfare. (3) It is well to go right ahead in doing good, and we should not do wrong just to temporarily please some one who cannot appreciate right conduct. Mildness, courtesy, persistency, and true principles will win in the long run.
Another lady writes: “The method you propose to employ has been so thoroughly abused of late years that all serious men and women must needs view it with suspicion. It is distasteful to me, and I fear that no one will be the wiser on the subject of Anarchy for reading the testimonials of good behavior that we may be pleased to give ourselves.” The lady is certainly mistaken when she says all serious men and women must needs view my proposed method with suspicion, because some of those most ready and willing to help me are among the more self-sacrificing and earnest in the movement, against whom the charge of vanity cannot justly be made. If the method be distasteful to her, then her refusal to cooperate is valid, but because it is distasteful to her is no good reason why discredit should be thrown upon those who believe it right and proper. The principles one holds have much to do with his behavior, and it frequently occurs that one’s principles can be discerned by his behavior. If Anarchists are well-behaved, honest, just, it seems to me it will go a good ways towards teaching the people that their principles make good men and women. Object lessons are the most forcible lessons to teach, and if the people see that Anarchists are good, honest folks, they will be more likely than not to want to know the reason why.
I answer these objections in Liberty because others besides my correspondents may have the same objections and can be reached better through Liberty than any other way. Other objections I will attempt to answer later on.
It has been suggested that the matter I have accumulated be put in book form, and if arrangements can be made, it will be done. Liberty’s readers can be assured it would make a very interesting and readable book, and one which would aid the movement very materially.
Joseph A. Labadie.
Oh, No, We Have Not Forgotten.
Time at last sets all things even;
And if one will but wait the hour,
There never yet was human power
That could evade, if unforgiven,
The patient search and vigil long
Of him who treasures up a wrong.
Joe Howard, the famous newspaper correspondent, is gifted in a marked degree with the power of detecting a sham, a humbug, and a fraud. He has exposed a great many of them in his time (when there was no chance of his losing a dollar by doing so) and rather enjoys the privilege of independent expression (when there is no opportunity to obtain a free drink by playing the toady); but there is one gigantic fraud of which, though I have no doubt he perceives it thoroughly, he has as yet made no public exposure, save to those who are endowed with a detective power similar to his own. That fraud is Joe Howard himself. And he is not only a fraud, but a brute. A remarkable instance of his brutality and hypocrisy is to be found by contrasting his letters written from Chicago previous to the execution of Spies and his comrades, in which he heaped upon the heads of those men columns of abuse that for fiendishness eclipsed anything that appeared in print in those days of hideous insanity, with a letter which he has published within a month (a pro-pus of electricity as a substitute for the gallows), in which, no longer having a chance to make a dollar by slandering the Chicago martyrs, he expresses something approaching his honest opinion of them. The antagonism between the following extracts from Howard’s letters in the Boston “Globe” of November, 1887, and Howard’s letter in the same paper of May 12, 1889, effectually brands their writer as one of those hacks of literature whom Ruskin aptly describes as “the poor wretches who pawn the dirty linen of their souls daily for a bottle of sour wine and a cigar.”
[Boston Globe, November, 1887.]
The American public has been fed ad nauseam with sensational stuff about these men. They have been pictured as lofty-minded, keen-eyed men of gentle mould; they have been sent forth on silvery phrase as gentlemen of leisure, who have kindly come from foreign shores to teach the hard sons of the Western wilds how to live and move and enjoy their being. If one might believe the current literature of the times, they are above the ordinary level of intelligence,— men devoted to the furtherance of an idea, men whose sympathies encircle the globe, and whose humanitarianism is wide-horizoned. As a matter of fact, they are a very commonplace people. They are not men, with one exception, who have earned their bread by the sweat of their brows; they are known throughout the length and breadth of this magnificent State, and especially the upheaved streets of this imperial city, as professional agitators, as professional “workingmen” who professed, however, much more than they worked; glib-tongued, as all their set are, narrowminded, bitter, prejudiced, full of petty intrigue, which finally culminated in this informal illustration of the possibilities of Socialism when pushed to the last degree of anarchy.
* * *
The fatal mistake of the Anarchists was made at the very outset of their public career; it was their selection of the business by which to earn a living. They went into the business of passing for champions of the laboring classes, without being laboring men themselves, or, if any of them were laboring men, they were afflicted with an unfortunate disinclination to work, preferring to live on the bounty and patronage of those people who did work. They sought to persuade the working-classes that they were their special champions by preaching incendiarism, ruin, and murder in order to “reconstruct society,” hoping thus to ingratiate themselves into the confidence of the laboring masses for the sake of the revenue there would be in the business. They were counting upon making a good living out of the operation, and, if they had succeeded in “reconstructing society,” they of course anticipated the chances of placing themselves foremost and on top of the new order of things with all the financial or political benefit to be gained from bead-leadership. This was the mistake they made,— the mistake of selecting a business that has no hard work in it, but which, as they supposed, promised ultimate rewards of the richest kind. The fellow who joins a gang of thieves and adopts the business of larceny makes the same mistake. The highway robber, the burglar,— every criminal who goes into the business of preying upon honest men and making a living by lawless adventure,— makes precisely the same mistake. It usually proves a fatal misstep in life, and it has proved so in the case of Spies, Lingg, Parsons, and their co-conspirators.
* * *
This morning Lingg was resplendent in a flaming red necktie, and with the hoarse voice of a stage villain he relieved his pent-up emotions by grunting out in German something about liberty or death.
* * *
There are no extenuating circumstances in Spies’s favor, nor are there any in the cases of Lingg, Fischer, and Engel. They were all steeped in the malignant, bloody, and desperate conspiracy against the life of social authority and its representatives. There were all the essentials of murder in their hearts and conduct, malicious intent and aforethought, deliberate and homicidal.
* * *
Day after day she [Nina Van Zandt] longs and pines and sighs for a sight of the fellow [Spies] who with lordly indifference puffs his clouds of nicotine in her suffering face and listens to her romantic talk with the carelessness born of his own self-conceit and flatulent vanity.
* * *
Lingg is a curiosity with a door-mat head, a doughy face, an evil, sinister expression, a magnificent chest, and poorly-fashioned legs. He is as crazy as a March hare on the subject of Lingg. To him the idea of revolution is a caramel, a chance for anarchy is a tenderloin with mushrooms.
* * *
Lingg’s defiant attitude, his caged hyena bearing, his idiotic expressions of contempt for the human race in general and the official portion thereof in particular, have brought about their normal harvest.
[Boston Globe, May 12, 1889.]
But to return to the Anarchists.
It was impossible to look at those four men, knowing that the mangled body of their friend and associate was in an ice box but a few yards away, and not note their sublime indifference to their certain fate. Perhaps you can recall my description at the time. [Yes, and to your sorrow and discomfiture, as you perceive. — Editor Liberty.] I certainly can never forget the scene. They were clad in their shrouds, a novel idea, and falling behind were caps of white linen or cotton like the cowl of a monk’s garb. Their arms were pinioned, and it was a ghastly procession which appeared some thirty feet above the floor on which we were sitting. Behind each man stood a deputy, and, in view of what would seem to be common sense procedure, and especially in the light of the terrible experiences that followed immediately, it is difficult to understand why these deputies did not adjust each the noose of one of the condemned. Instead of that, one man performed the operation for them all. First, he fixed the noose under the ear of Spies, a very handsome, noble-looking fellow, and then pulled the white cap down so as to conceal entirely his features. He then went to Engel, who stood next Spies, and arranged his noose and cap. While this was going on, Spies turned his head to the left, and chatted first with Engel and then with the turnkey who stood beside him, thereby disarranging the knot of the noose which had been carefully adjusted under his left ear. When Engel — it may have been Fischer — had been attended to, he entered into conversation with Spies, turning his head from the left to the right, and of course disarranging the knot from his ear, and so on through the four, a most marvellous illustration of official stupidity.
Now, these four men knew perfectly well that in less than three minutes from that time the drop would fall, and they would, in the course of the ensuing ten or fifteen minutes, be dead as door nails. They left no message, they gave utterance to nothing of any significance, while they were being prepared for execution. They simply chatted among themselves, as they had often before, about matters immaterial.
Then, all being ready, the sheriff stepped back, and Spies began to talk, while Engel and Fischer uttered one “Hooray for Anarchy,” and Parsons said” Men of America,” when the signal was given, the bolt was drawn, and, utterly unconcerned, the four passed from life to death.
These men were not callous.
It cannot be said that a man with the finely-organized brain, the sensitive temperament of Spies was callous or indifferent to life, and no man in Chicago who knew Parsons, who had read his writings or listened to his speech, would deny him the loftiest conception of true manhood, swerved in individual instances from the lines of propriety. To be sure, Fischer and Engel were men of common type, but Louis Lingg was as nervous in organization, as high-strung in nature, as Wilkes Booth. Indeed, I never saw him without thinking of Wilkes Booth.
He was of the type from which come explorers, adventurers in the best sense of the term, conspirators when they fail, patriots when they succeed; yet these men faced death with laugh and quip, utterly indifferent, so far as external appearances indicated, to the great change which was to come over their ambitious spirits, quickly beating hearts, and physiques filled with richest juices from nature’s well-equipped laboratory.
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.