“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.
I do not know how it will be in the twentieth century, but in this nineteenth century everybody who has opinions and courage must fight,— even the “Twentieth Century.”
Mrs. Besant has become a convert to theosophy. I also am given to understand that some Theosophists are to be found among our own Nationalists. Knowing that these good people insist on styling themselves “scientific” Socialists, one is tempted to exclaim: “O science, what nonsense usurps thy name!”
Mr. J. G. Fisher, of Leeds, England, has sent me a copy of his pamphlet on “Voluntary Taxation,” which he asks me to notice in Liberty. I have read it with great pleasure, and recommend it as a bright, original, and interesting contribution to Anarchist propaganda. It costs but two cents, and it will probably have a place in Liberty’s advertising columns.
A reviewer in the “Open Court,” laboring under the error that the Anarchists cling to the theological fiction of abstract absolute right, places them on the same footing with the “enlightened theologians.” We beg to decline the honor. Anarchists hold that “rights” are determined by the progressive intelligence and humanitarian sentiments of the people.
John Stuart Mill laconically stated that the only reason for the subjection of women that he could think of was that “men liked it.” In the last “Contemporary Review” a woman corrects him by saying that the real reason is that women liked it. And it is true of all grievous wrong that the ignorance or cowardice of the victims alone makes it possible for the knaves to successfully play the oppressor.
The prohibitory law having been rejected in Rhode Island at the last campaign and no new law having been substituted, that little State enjoys free trade in rum. So far the pillars of civilization have remained unshaken, and business, religion, and morality have not suffered in the least. Will the legislators of that State be wise now and let well enough alone, and will other States profit by this practical lesson?
The “Workmen’s Advocate” offers to enlighten the Denver “Individualist” upon the philosophic thought of Herbert Spencer. Beggars are generous. Its editorial plainly shows to all who have studied that great thinker that it knows a great deal less about him than the Denver journal. If it doesn’t believe me, let Mr. Gronlund’s treatment of the subject in his chapter on “The Sphere of the State” convince it that I am right.
I have received two or three criticisms of the ideas expressed in the editorial on “The Basis of Individualism”; and the Denver “Arbitrator,” which now appears in a greatly improved and enlarged form under a new and better name, “The Individualist,” has also made a few remarks in reply. As it is impossible to attend properly to any of these in the present issue, the discussion of the interesting subject of natural rights will be renewed “in our next.”
The San Diego “Beacon,” started a few months ago as an organ of authoritarian reform, has passed into the h an els of Mr. Sigismund Danielewicz, one of Liberty’s friends, and has become an organ of Anarchistic Socialism. I hope it will prove a useful and valuable ally, and that it will live and prosper for the good of the people on the Pacific coast. Liberty will watch its progress with sympathetic interest, and will keep its readers informed about it.
I am glad that “Freedom” has at last understood the difference between Anarchist Socialism and Anarchist Communism, and, instead of fraudulently claiming to represent the former, announces itself an organ of the latter. By “Anarchist Communism” it means — just what John Most and other authoritarians mean by “Communist Anarchism.” It is to be hoped that Comrade Lloyd will see the groundlessness of his attempted distinction between these two positions. Let him accept the name of Anarchist Socialist and reduce the chances of misleading his readers to a minimum.
Frequenters of public meetings and debates cannot fail to observe that thoughtful and logical reasoners have no sort of “show” in an encounter with shallow and glib-tongued talkers. The audience generally requires smoothness and cheap humor. To hesitate before it is fatal; he who appears in the capacity of a teacher is expected to have answers ready for all possible objections and queries. Unless you noisily pretend to know it all you are quickly laughed down as a know-nothing. Now the defeat of those who want to be honest with themselves and their listeners, “though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve” — grieve over the crassity of the indiscriminating crowd.
The press having circulated the falsehood that the severance of Donn Piatt’s editorial connection with “Belford’s Magazine” was occasioned by his failing physical and mental health, the gallant colonel writes a vigorous letter to the “Journal of United Labor,” in which we are given the real reasons of his withdrawal. There are, alas I few magazine editors whose state of mind approximates in clearness and power that of “bold Donn.” Elsewhere will be found a portion of that explanatory letter, from which it must be inferred that Donn Piatt knew altogether too much and liked too well not only to impart his knowledge to others, but to convey it in the most direct and plainest terms, to be fit to survive under the conditions of journalism which exclusively demand a thorough familiarity with the art of how not to say it.
Replying to a correspondent who objects to the universal establishment of Communism immediately after “the revolution,” “Freedom” makes the following admission: “Of course there may be individuals suffering from the bad conditions under which they and their ancestors have lived who will interfere with the harmonious working of a free society, and in the transitional revolutionary period communities and individuals may sometimes be obliged in self-defence to make it their rule that ‘He who will not work neither shall he eat.’ It is not always possible for us to act up to our principles, and .... expediency may force us to confine our Communism to those who are willing to be our brothers and equals.” I am not quite clear as to the meaning of this, and would ask to be enlightened on the question whether those objectionable individuals are to be let alone to live in their own way, or whether the State Socialistic plan would be pursued in dealing with them.
If the “Forum” is jealous of its reputation of a reliable and high-charactered magazine, it will in future keep out of its pages the impudent twaddle of such blatherskites as Richard Hinton. It is sad and surprising that, after the recent appreciative and intelligent presentations of Anarchistic principles in English and American reviews, the editor of the “Forum” should discredit himself by allowing the following idiotic sentences to disgrace his periodical: “There are two classes of Anarchists. One calls itself philosophical, which is certainly a misnomer. Philosophy involves system; Anarchism teaches the reverse: it is discontent reduced to a negation. The American advocates of this class can do little harm to any one but themselves, and, in view of their opinion, that is nobody’s affair but their own. Their organ, if they can logically be supposed to have such a thing, is a paper called Liberty. It is hardly necessary to waste space over those who, by their own declaration, recognize nothing.” But we do recognize that Richard Hinton is a jackass, and no amount of space can disprove it.
Speaking of the desirability of uniting all radicals on a Communistic platform, John Most, in a foot-note, makes the following statement: “Among these we class all Anarchists, but by no means those crazy fellows who indeed call themselves ‘radical,’ but who by their conduct simply play into the hands of the police, the reactionary press, and the ruling class in general. This riff-raff ought not to be tolerated either in small or in large organizations of the labor movement. Their influence is simply ruinous. To destroy this cancerous sore, every labor association must close its doors to it. Partly these fellows are notoriously crazy, possessed of fixed ideas, or otherwise idiots; partly they act as the conscious or unconscious tools of decoy detectives; partly they are crafty scoundrels whose sole pleasure consists in calumny and abuse.” That this refers to the “Communistic firebugs,” there is no doubt whatever; yet when Liberty denounced them Most foamed at the mouth, vehemently denied their connection with the movement, and his “sole pleasure consisted in calumny and abuse” of Liberty. “Time will tell,” it said in reply, and time, with severe justice, has pronounced the verdict against Most from his own mouth.
Conscious of his inconsistency, T. L. M’Cready, who loves and understands freedom, tries to justify his advocacy of the land tax by explaining that he looks upon it as a temporary measure. Unlike the other followers of George, he is convinced that, “as men assert their equal right of access to natural opportunities, land values will constantly diminish, and when perfect equality of rights shall be established, land values will practically disappear.” He thinks that then, “the more men crowd together, the more opportunities will increase, and the more nearly equal they will be in value.” This explanation, instead of reconciling us with Mr. M’Cready, gives us still greater cause for criticism. Georgeism is based on the Ricardian theory of rent, and contends that rent is not the result of accidental legal inequalities, but of natural monopoly which would exist under any conditions. Hence, if the necessity of taxing this economic rent is admitted, government is at the same time immortalized. If rent is merely the result of legalized monopoly, then not taxation, but freedom, is the remedy. The principle of occupying ownership is all-sufficient to destroy existing abuses of landholding, and the place of Mr. M’Cready is among its advocates. The last tie between him and the taxationists is sundered.
Free Political Institutions:
Their Nature, Essence, Maintenance.
An Abridgement and Rearrangement Of
Lysander Spooner’s “Trial by Jury.”
Edited by Victor Yarros.
Trial by Jury as a Palladium of Liberty.
Continued from No. 148.
But this is not all. These legislators and this government, so irresponsible while in power, can perpetuate their power at pleasure, if they can determine what legislation is authoritative upon the people and enforce obedience to it; for they can not only declare their power perpetual, but they can enforce submission to all legislation that is necessary to secure its perpetuity. They can, for example, prohibit all discussion of the rightfulness of their authority; forbid the use of the suffrage; prevent the election of any successors; disarm, plunder, imprison, and even kill all who refuse submission. If, therefore, the government be absolute for a day — that is, if it can, for a day, enforce obedience to its own laws — it can, in that day, secure its power for all time, like the queen who wished to reign for a day, but in that day caused the king, her husband, to be slain, and usurped his throne.
Nor will it avail to say that such acts would be unconstitutional, and that unconstitutional acts may be lawfully resisted; for everything a government pleases to do will of course be determined to be constitutional, if the government itself be permitted to determine the question of the constitutionality of its own acts. Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.
The conclusion therefore is that any government that can, for a day, enforce its own laws, without appealing to the people (or to a tribunal fairly representing the people) for their consent is, in theory, an absolute government, irresponsible to the people, and can perpetuate its power at pleasure.
The trial by jury is based upon a recognition of this principle, and therefore forbids the government to execute any of its laws by punishing violators, in any case whatever, without first getting the consent of “the country,” or the people, through a jury. In this way the people, at all times, hold their liberties in their own hands and never surrender them, even for a moment, into the hands of the government.
The trial by jury, then, gives to any and every individual the liberty, at any time, to disregard or resist any law whatever of the government, if he be willing to submit to the decision of a jury the questions whether the law be intrinsically just and obligatory, and whether his conduct in disregarding or resisting it were right in itself. And any law which does not in such trial obtain the unanimous sanction of twelve men, taken at random from the people, and judging according to the standard of justice in their own minds, free from all dictation and authority of the government, may be transgressed and resisted with impunity by whomsoever it pleases to transgress or resist it.
The trial by jury authorizes all this, or it is a sham and a hoax, utterly worthless for protecting the people against oppression. If it do not authorize an individual to resist the first and least act of injustice or tyranny on the part of the government, it does not authorize him to resist the last and the greatest. If it do not authorize individuals to nip tyranny in the bud, it does not authorize them to cut it down when its branches are filled with the ripe fruits of plunder and oppression.
Those who deny the right of a jury to protect an individual in resisting an unjust law of the government, deny him all legal defence whatsoever against oppression. The right of revolution which tyrants in mockery accord to mankind is no legal right under a government; it is only a natural right to overturn a government. The government itself never acknowledges this right. And the right is practically established only when and because the government no longer exists to call it in question. The right therefore can be exercised with impunity only when it is exercised victoriously. All unsuccessful attempts at revolution, however justifiable in themselves, are punished as treason. The government itself never admits the injustice of its laws as a legal defence for those who have attempted a revolution and failed. The right of revolution therefore is a right of no practical value except for those who are stronger than the government. So long, therefore, as the oppressions of a government are kept within such limits as simply not to exasperate against it a power greater than its own, the right of revolution cannot be appealed to and is inapplicable to the case. This affords a wide field for tyranny; and if a jury cannot intervene here, the oppressed are utterly defenceless.
It is manifest that the only security against the tyranny of the government is in forcible resistance to the execution of the injustice; because the injustice will certainly be executed unless forcibly resisted. And if it be but suffered to be executed, it must then be borne; for the government never makes compensation for its own wrongs.
Since, then, this forcible resistance to the injustice of the government is the only possible means of preserving liberty, it is indispensable to all legal liberty that this resistance should be legalized. It is perfectly self-evident that, where there is no legal right to resist the oppression of government, there can be no legal liberty. And here it is all-important to notice that, practically speaking, there can be no legal right to resist the oppressions of the government unless there be some legal tribunal other than the government, and wholly independent of and above the government, to judge between the government and those who resist its oppression; in other words, to judge what laws of the government are to be obeyed and what held for nought. The only tribunal known to our laws for this purpose is a jury. If a jury have not the right to judge between the government and those who disobey its laws, the government is absolute, and the people, legally speaking, are slaves. Like other slaves, they may have sufficient courage and strength to keep their masters somewhat in check; but they are nevertheless known to the law as slaves.
That this right of resistance was recognized as a common law right when the ancient and genuine trial by jury was in force is not only proved by the nature of the trial itself, but is acknowledged by history.
This right of resistance is recognized by the constitution of the United States as a strictly legal right. It is so recognized, first, by the provision that “the trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury” — that is, by the country, and not by the government; secondly, by the provision that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This constitutional security for the right to keep and bear arms implies the right to use them,— as much as a constitutional security for the right to buy and keep food would have implied the right to eat it. The constitution, therefore, takes it for granted that the people will judge of the conduct of the government and that, as they have the right, they will also have the sense to use arms whenever the necessity of the case justifies it. And it is a sufficient and legal defence for a person accused of using arms against the government, if he can show, to the satisfaction of a jury, or even any one of a jury, that the law he resisted was an unjust one.
But for the right of resistance on the part of the people, all governments would become tyrannical to a degree of which few people are aware. Constitutions are utterly worthless to restrain the tyranny of governments, unless it be understood that the people will by force compel the government to keep within constitutional limits. Practically speaking, no government knows any limits to its power except the endurance of the people. But that the people are stronger than the government and will resist in extreme cases, our governments would be little or nothing else than organized systems of plunder and oppression. All, or nearly all, the advantage there is in fixing any constitutional limits to the power of a government is simply to give notice to the government of the point at which it will meet with resistance. If the people are then as good as their word, they may keep the government within the bounds they have set for it; otherwise it will disregard them, as is proved by the example of all our American governments, in which the constitutions have all become obsolete for nearly all purposes except the appointment of officers who at once become practically absolute.
The bounds set to the power of the government by the trial by jury are these,— that the government shall never touch the person, property, or natural or civil rights of an individual against his consent, except for the purpose of bringing him before a jury for trial, unless in pursuance and execution of a judgment or decree rendered by a jury upon such evidence, and such law, as are satisfactory to their own understandings and consciences, irrespective of all legislation of government.
To be continued.
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 148.
Camille held her in his arms.
“Marie! dear Marie! Good news, you will be free.”
“I am not guilty”....
“You guilty!” repeated Camille; “as much so as the child they have killed.” “A poor child that I found and kept without saying anything about it,” said Marie, sadly. “Must one boast of a good deed? And they killed the innocent while I was out raising the money for his month’s nursing.”
“I know your devotion. Jean has told me all, dear victim,” answered Camille, eagerly.
“I could not make a merit of my conduct, and they have made it a crime.”
“Do not defend yourself,” cried Camille, “generous martyr of the rarest and purest love, that of humanity. What are the goodness and the beauty of the saints beside your own, dear Marie, you, whose religion is self-sacrifice?”
“Oh! thank you for those words of esteem!” exclaimed the young girl.
And Camille said passionately:
“Say rather of love, of deep, unchangeable, eternal love.”
“Ah! Monsieur, do not use such words to a poor girl accused as I am. You believe in my honor; that is enough.”
“Though you should be condemned, I would believe in you as in the light of day, and I would prove it to all. I would raise you up, fallen and branded in the eyes of the world, but all the higher and more noble in mine, heroine of duty. And, in spite of the law, I would still give you what I have promised you, all that I have left, the name borne by my mother, who was as good as you are. I would take you in my arms and say proudly to the would: Marie Didier no more; I present to you Madame Berville. But never fear, I shall have less to do. This is only an eclipse; your innocence will shine out like the sun, and you will go out of here as radiant to all as to me.”
“The same after as before imprisonment?” said Marie, joyfully clasping her hands; “ah! I am too well rewarded.”
Camille continued with increasing warmth:
“After, before, always, and everywhere; and I come here to tell you so as if you were at home.”
Then, after a pause, he added:
“Now it is I who am not worthy of you, Marie, I who have nothing left to offer you, not even wealth with which to pay for so much virtue.”
He looked at her steadily.
“Marie, I am as poor as you.”
“O happiness!” she cried, with involuntary joy, as she grasped his hands. But, suddenly repressing her impulse, she said:
“Pardon me, Monsieur!”
“I resemble you at least in that,” went on Camille. “On leaving you yesterday I wrote to the baron, breaking off my engagement and calling for an account. His reply informs me of my ruin, while leaving me the choice, he says, between poverty with you and a million with Claire.” He smiled and continued:
“Much obliged! Contentment is better than a million. My choice is made; but it is your turn to show your lofty nature. I was sincere, I swear to you, when I offered you my fortune; I foolishly supposed that I still possessed it; I have it no longer. I have been obliged to confess as much to you; am I still worthy of you?”
“Ah! even more so, but”....
And Marie stopped, seeming to hesitate.
“But what?” asked Camille.
“After what has happened to us,” replied Marie, gravely, “I cannot, must not be your wife.”
The surprised young man looked at her sorrowfully.
“What do you say, Marie?”
And Marie answered in a tone of deep sadness:
“Camille, dear Camille, I loved you enough to sacrifice myself for you, but I love you too much to sacrifice you for myself. Be free. I give you back your promise.”
“And I refuse it,” said Camille. “That would convict both of us of calculation and cowardice. Let us not doubt each other, dear Marie; in spite of all that is blind, fortune and justice, we are united, equals. Your pride can no longer reproach my wealth. There is no longer any difference. I shall be the better for it .... remade in your image, living by my own efforts, brave in consequence of your example, well sorted, as Jean would say. Count on me. We will work together. My courage shall emulate yours. Your heart shall lend activity to mine. My hands have known how to spend; they shall learn how to save. I have lost; I will regain. My wife, you have restored me; of a drone you have made a man.”
“He takes away my reason,” said Marie, in delight.
Camille concluded in a fit of exaltation.
“Love, labor, conscience, these are our possessions! We are rich. No more pleasures, be it sol But happiness,— I have it and keep it. I have chosen, I tell you, and I shall tell them also, without delay and without reply. Au revoir, dear wife, and patience! Soon I will take you away from here, glorious, to our humble house, grander then than all the palaces in the world, for happiness will dwell within it.”
He kissed her hands, started to go, and returned to kiss them again.
“Au revoir,” said he, and he went away.
Marie whispered in adoration:
“Noble, noble Camille, always the same. Renouncing fortune to marry me, as he risked his life to defend me! How shall I show my gratitude for so much love? What joy amid my pain! My prison is radiant! How happy I am I Too happy, I fear. Trouble has not killed me; I can die of joy!”
“Marie Didier, some one to see you,” said the sister, suddenly returning. And again she went out, to introduce this time Baron Hoffmann.
“Monsieur Hoff”.... exclaimed Marie, with surprise that was mingled with fear.
“Yes, Marie, I come to see you,” said the baron, good-naturedly.
“Yes, to serve you, if I can,” continued the baron, in a paternal tone.
“I did not hope for that,” exclaimed Marie, with a last trace of distrust. “Thank you, Monsieur.”
“To save you, if you will,” continued the baron.
“I am deserving of your protection, Monsieur,” declared Marie, touched and confiding; “I am innocent.”
“Innocent or not, it doesn’t matter,” said the baron, in a voice of cajolery; “I am interested in Jacques Didier’s daughter.”
But Marie answered with dignity:
“If you mingle a doubt with your benevolence, pray keep it!”
The baron, in a more and more wheedling way, calmed her with a gesture.
“Very well, then, innocent. Unfortunately your conscience will not be your judge. Listen to me carefully, my child; and first excuse the somewhat hasty words uttered in ray surprise of yesterday and the rather severe ones spoken in my frankness today. Examine your position and listen to reason. To be and to appear are two different things ... and all appearances are against you and weigh fatally upon you. Such at least is the opinion of the barrister whom I have engaged to defend you. To him the case seems doubtful, the adoption suspicious, and the murder certain. Though the child were not yours, none the less it has been killed; and some may believe that you got rid of it after obtaining the means to bring it up. Poverty, conduct, liaison, victim, you have been getting entangled in a net of disagreeable circumstances, beginning with the ball and concluding with the visits of Camille, which still do you harm; and now, to cap the climax, your relations with the murderer of your father, that rag-picker, Jean.” “He, Monsieur!” cried Marie, explosively; “as much a murderer as I am.” “And arrested as you are,” said the baron.
“Ah! was not my own misfortune enough?” groaned Marie, falling back on her chair.
The baron resumed:
“All this, to be sure, is not absolute proof, but serious presumption which makes the crime seem real, if not so, and punishment probable, if not sure. Take care! The law is strict, the examination painful, and justice severe.”
“You fill me with despair, Monsieur,” exclaimed Marie, losing her head.
“Such is not my intention, but the contrary; and if you will believe in my prudent affection for you and aid my influence by a little confidence, I can do something for you, in fact a great deal; but otherwise nothing.”
Marie, as if fascinated, drew closer to the railing.
“I am listening, Monsieur,” said she.
“In a case so suspicious, the lawyer further said, the better way is not to defy justice, but to soften it.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Justice is indulgent to the repentant, and forgives those who prove their repentance by confession. On this condition you can obtain your pardon.”
“Monsieur, I ask neither pardon nor indulgence. I have neither confession nor repentance to make, for I have committed no sin.”
“I am only telling you what the lawyer says. And he answers for your freedom at that price.”
“At the price of my honor and of truth? Never!”
“Unhappy girl! Fatality is stronger than truth ... and the shame lies in the crime, not in the confession. Believe me, it is the only way you can save yourself. In the flood in which you are sinking, do not refuse the hand that is offered you! It is a question of an afflictive and ignominious punishment,— death perhaps, imprisonment at least. Confess, and poverty, youth, imprudence, will plead in your favor ... but against you if you deny. Silence means punishment; confession, salvation; in short, imprisonment for life or liberty and prosperity... Choose.” “Thank you, Monsieur, what you offer me is worse than death,” said Marie, firmly.
And she bowed as if to retire.
“Well, she will yield nothing for her own sake; let us see if she will for his,” said the baron, aside.
“Very well,” he continued aloud; “if you will not save yourself, surely you will save Camille?”
“Monsieur Berville?” exclaimed Marie, eagerly.
A gleam of joy flashed through the baron’s eye.
“You love him, do you not?”
“More than all the world.”
“And you would save him at any cost?”
“At the cost of my life.”
“Well, you are ruining him.”
“You! For your sake he breaks off a marriage that would be his salvation.”
“I will release him if necessary, Monsieur.”
“Impossible. He will remain yours as long as he believes in you.”
“What! you want more?” exclaimed Marie, in terror.
The baron came straight to the point.
“Yes, the noblest sacrifice a woman can make to the man she loves. Make yourself forgotten to save him. He loves you to the point of sacrificing his fortune for you. Equal, surpass his love and devotion. Confession alone can restore his reason and liberty. I esteem you enough to ask it of you. But see, Marie, I no longer want a public confession ... no, only a word for him, in time to save him, and then to be destroyed; a private, provisional word, for him and him alone.”
“But he, my God, is everything to me,” said Marie, wringing her hands. “He is the only man in the world for whose esteem I would give my life. Others may accuse and condemn me, if I remain innocent to him. Guilty in his eyes! Accuse myself in his presence! No, Monsieur, insist no further. It is beyond my strength. Besides, it is useless ... he would not believe me.”
“He loves you, then, so well?” asked the baron, in a hollow voice.
“As I love him,” said Marie simply.
The baron rose with these words:
“Then marry in the prison chapel. It is a favor sometimes granted to prisoners .... and be happy!”
Marie recalled him, saying in a voice of anguish:
“Ah! strike me in all that I love, but do not rail at my suffering.”
“I do not rail,” declared the baron, very gravely, “he is ruined, dishonored, lost ... confronted by imprisonment for at least five years for debts so heavy that they will be accounted robberies. Here is the summons. Claire’s dowry would save him, but you are ruining him.”
“Ah! you torture me,” cried Marie, beside herself.
“A doctor is not an executioner,” said the baron, coldly, “and you are strong enough to endure a painful remedy, if it be a salutary one. Stronger and more prudent than Camille, weigh well my last words, spoken as a friend in your interest and his own. Let us suppose, taking the most favorable view, that both of you were free, married, happy. How long would it last? Do you suppose that love is eternal? Alas! no more than beauty. Love without bread is short-lived, and his shorter than another’s. I do not give Camille six months before he will mourn the loss of property, rank, society; in short, to regret the sacrifice of the marriage of reason to the marriage of folly.”
“You slander him, Monsieur, and if you had heard him”...
“Slander him? Impossible!” exclaimed the baron. “You esteem him too highly; you judge him by yourself. I, his guardian, know him better than you do, this spoiled child of luxury and fashion, a real butterfly, charming in the summer sunshine .... but in winter? He is a fickle fellow, as well as a prodigal and a good-for-nothing; his purse is a basket with a hole in the bottom, like his heart. With twenty thousand dollars a year for his life as a young man, he owes even for his shirts. Judge what sort of a husband he would make. He would send Fortune to the hospital. He has two right hands with which to spend, two left hands with which to keep, and not one with which to earn his gloves. He work, and go hungry in the bargain! Ah! ah! a democrat in theory, but an aristocrat in conduct. He, this high-liver, this prodigal, delicate and voluptuous, indefatigable in idleness, insatiable in pleasure, with all the vices of his class and sex, the egoism of the male and the needs of the rich, minus their reason and power,— why! understand what I say, excess is his rule, abuse his order, leisure his labor, and the superfluous his necessity. He live a life like yours! Nonsense! no more than you could live his! You have not the same tastes, the same habits, scarcely the same language. Give up the comforts of his life for the severities of yours! Never! He may say so, but he deceives himself and you! Disabuse your mind! You cannot straighten hunch-backs at his age. It runs in the blood, from father to son. Ah! you can endure misery, you poor people who are accustomed to it. But with us it is different; we cannot face it with impunity. Our courage does not survive our love, nor our love our prosperity. All goes well as long as passion lasts. But some day or other, and before long, too, love takes wings, poverty remains, and hatred comes. Hatred, do you understand, Marie? On that day your paradise will be a hell, your honeymoon a moon of gall, and Camille your enemy. The husband will avenge the lover’s decoys. Unhappy, he will blame you for his misalliance and will curse you for having given you everything and received nothing, nothing but an empty love, an ephemeral joy, a perpetual dowry of ruin and shame, a wife who has been dragged through the courts and branded with that horrible publicity which serves as a stigma.”
The voice of a newsboy was heard outside.
“Just out. The arrest of Marie Didier”....
The baron calmly looked at his watch, and said to himself:
Then aloud and solemnly:
The boy’s voice rang out:
“The working-girl of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, accused of killing her child, with interesting details. One cent.”
“Ah! have mercy, my God!” cried Marie, in delirium; “I am going mad.”
“It is the red iron,” said the baron; “the mark cannot be effaced.”
“You are killing me,” she said, in fear.
The baron went to the door, opened it, and introduced his daughter.
“Ah! come and help me to save them,” said he.
And in a low voice:
“Apply the finishing stroke.”
Claire, as white as a statue, advanced with repugnance.
“Marie, I have come here with my father to advise you. Being a patroness of this establishment, I wanted to inspect your room and do everything in my power to make your position more endurable”....
After a pause and upon an encouraging gesture from the baron, she went on: “I come to console you, or rather to weep with you .... and I hope that in following my father’s advice” ....
“And you too,” said Marie, overwhelmed; “you believe me guilty?”
“I believe you unfortunate,” said Claire, with embarrassment, “and I desire to put an end to your troubles .... but I see no other way .... Be resigned!”
“I have already told Monsieur that I was not an obstacle to your happiness,” answered Marie, gently.
“My happiness,” replied Claire, sadly. “Listen to me as I speak to you, with the self-denial that heaven imposes on us both. Do as I do. Be resigned for Camille’s sake. It is not a question of my happiness, but of his; do not envy me; I shall not be a happy and triumphant rival, but a victim more unfortunate than yourself. For you love him and I do not.”
“All!” exclaimed Marie, with surprise mingled with joy.
“Yes, we both sacrifice ourselves for a man who does not love me and who loves you. Which of us is the more unfortunate? You leave him and I take him. Whose lot is the harder? Yet I obey, I yield to my father, who desires Camille’s safety and your own even at such a cost. Let us unite in self-sacrifice. For women on this earth, in France as in India, everywhere and always, there is nothing but sacrifice. Our lot is to immolate ourselves alive for our lords and masters”...
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.
A Choice Worse Than Indecision.
In the thought of Mr. Lucien V. Pinney we are presented with the cheerless spectacle of a noble house divided against itself. As the editor of the Winsted “Press,” Mr. Pinney proved himself a brave and fearless defender of freedom. Treating of social wrongs strongly intrenched in popular ignorance and statute law with a rare and splendid courage, he scattered wild dismay and confusion along the camps of plutocracy and pharisaism. The high talk and writing to which he treated the prudes and hypocrites of society week after week was the delight and inspiration of all lovers of justice and progress. True, his defence and championship of the cause of the people was not always along the lines of liberty, but it was unique, and ever such as to carry with it the promise of improvement in the right direction. And when now nearly a year ago he was unfortunately forced to suspend the “Press,” his beautifully original farewell to his readers confirmed the impression his previous work had given that he was strongly tending liberty wards. For we were therein assured that, while he had not come to a final decision as to which of the two radical plans advanced for the regeneration of mankind possessed the superior merits, he was inclined to cast his lot squarely with individualism. That was enough for the time to endear him to all Anarchists, and I, for one, appreciated him the more for declining to hasten his decision and for abiding the time when he should come by it naturally.
Whether this time has now been fulfilled, and whether Mr. Pinney has had a glimpse of the light he will henceforth unswervingly follow, I cannot say; but in the “Word” for June he records his present manner of viewing things which is anything but friendly to and intelligently appreciative of individualism. We need rest under no delusion that Mr. Pinney’s thought has not turned out adversely to our expectations, for he plainly testifies to his “increasing faith that State Socialism is the only escape from individual monopoly and the grind of combined capital into the smooth waters and the bright sunlight of individual liberty.” He feels something has got to be done to check the private monopoly power and “turn the vast advantage of combination in the direction to benefit common folks,” and that government monopoly can do it. Rejecting the Anarchistic view that the chief obstacle in the way of the realization of labor property with its societarian implications is the principle of authority embodied in the State, and that it is consequently obligatory on progressists to overthrow the State and give things over to the equilibrating forces of liberty and free competition, he points to individual greed as the source of trouble, and favors therefore the suppression of individual initiative and the turning of things over to the regulating powers of government. Why tax one’s patience with the snail-paced process of societarian evolution under liberty when the fiat of government can work miracles? While it will “take more thousands of years than we can count on our fingers and toes” for a man to recognize and live by the principle of “cost the limit of price,” government “can, does, and will put this principle into action now, here, today, without the necessity of ‘converting’ anybody to a recognition of its justice.” Extravagant as this statement is, it does not exhaust Mr. Pinney’s storehouse of praise and admiration of the powers and actual achievements of government. Chivalrously fearless of the facts rising to belie his words, he continues to affirm that “government does business on business principles, with strict mechanical accuracy, and with regard for the welfare of the people served,” and he challenges opponents to “instance a single case where government, having once taken a business into its hands, has failed to do that business better, cheaper, more satisfactorily to the people than corporations or private individuals ever did.” He can not “think of an instance where people have desired the government to relinquish the control of a business it had once undertaken.”
Thus does the good Homer not only nod, but snore!
For to anyone who will see it is plain as day that what is bringing about the trouble and pain and degradation of the people is a government-licensed system of labor-exploitation, and that but for government the people would gradually associate for industrial purposes and readily enough discover the most efficient means for securing their interests and coming to their own. Mr. Pinney denies this; but his denial goes for nought so long as we are shut out from the opportunity of making the experiment. It may be frankly conceded, as he avers, that combinations of capital and brains for narrowly selfish ends will continue if government is abolished; but it is quite impossible for them to become so powerful for evil under liberty as they are today under government protection. Were it not that in all the great labor strikes lost to the people the government forces had instinctively and necessarily ranged themselves on the side of legal property (which is robbery), there cannot be the shadow of a doubt that the workmen and their employers would have speedily come to a mutually satisfactory agreement, and that something like an equitable distribution of the products of their joint labor would have resulted. It is surely reasonable to suppose so. For there are now instances of employers coming quickly to an understanding with their disaffected workmen by conceding all just demands when they found the government unwilling or unable to sustain them in their unjust claims.
Mr. Pinney’s faith is not well-founded. Notwithstanding his confident assertions to the contrary (which he has wisely left unsubstantiated), it might easily be shown that government has made a failure of nearly everything it has ever undertaken. Has it not tasked itself with insuring domestic tranquillity and promoting the general welfare? Cast about you to learn how wonderfully it has succeeded I And why, if it does business “better, cheaper, and more satisfactorily to the people,” is it obliged, to cite but one example, to prohibit by law private competition in the business of letter-carrying? Did it not suppress the private mail service of Lysander Spooner because it could not meet him in a fair field? And to talk of government doing things on strictly business principles when we have just witnessed the greatest scramble for office and the most shameless rewarding of low political work at public cost the world has ever seen,— why, the Mugwumps know better than that, and a radical ought at least to keep abreast of them!
In pointing to the government’s capacity for failure and blunder, I do not mean to convey the idea that private enterprise has always done things well and with due regard for the public interest; I merely mean to say that it has come nearer doing things correctly and with results friendly to the public interest than the government. And this for the very simple reason that, while government is protected against the consequences of its own follies and sins, private enterprise cannot commit follies or sins except on pain of extinction. It is bound by the instinct of self-preservation to do things according to the most approved methods and with results at least fairly agreeable to the public. I am here of course treating of private enterprise under liberty. If in numerous instances private enterprise operates to the exploitation of labor it is because it is protected against competition by the government, if it is not directly licensed to place the public under contribution of enormous profits. I need only to instance the banking monopoly.
The remedy here is to abolish all licenses and privileges, and not to commission the State with the general direction and control of industrial production and distribution. The intrinsic vice of compulsory cooperation will always be accompanied by a train of extrinsic evils, such as the history of government now affords in infinite variety and number. Government monopoly would tend to fossilize things, while we want them to remain in a fluid state, so that they may readily respond to the ever-changing needs and wants of the people. The men and women of the future will presumably have many wants of which we do not yet even dream. Government monopoly, so ardently championed by its latest convert, is fraught with the gravest dangers. It would at once tend to throw society into a state of stagnation. We want progress. We want individuality and variety in the phenomena of life, not servility and uniformity. Let us not lightly, then, incur these dangers lest, in the language of Emerson, we come to wear one cut of face and figure and acquire by degrees the gentlest asinine expression.
Mr. Pinney still professes to believe in individualism, but his thought is like a house divided against itself. When he declares, “Because I believe in individualism, I lean to State Socialism, and look upon it as a means to the speedy attainment of the glorious ends sought by individualists,” it is as one should say, “Because I believe in abolitionism, I lean to slavery, and I look upon the extension of slavery all over the Union as a means to the speedy attainment of the glorious ends sought by Abolitionists.”
May I not ask Mr. Pinney to revise his thought in the light of this transcription, to the end of unifying it and making it consistent with itself? G. S.
To me, one of the mast encouraging signs of the times is the way in which the unconscious Anarchist crops out from unexpected places and in increasing numbers. He is usually a person who has only a vague and newspaperish idea of what Anarchism means. In his mind the word is very likely to be a collective synonym for blood, violence, dynamite, and chaos in general. But at the same time its basic principles have got a lodgment in his brain and have undermined his former unhesitating belief in governmental authority. Very often he has not even put his new beliefs clearly before himself. They exist only in a nebulous state in his mind, and it is not until some one announces to him a downright Anarchistic principle that he realizes the full meaning of what he has been thinking.
Not very long ago a quietly enthusiastic Anarchist fell in, on a railroad journey, with a high and very respectable light of the Republican party,— one whom the ultra good Republicans look to, and have been looking to for the last six or seven years, to “purify” their party and make it as respectable as he is himself. Although he has not succeeded, even from his present vantage point of a place on the civil service commission, their faith in him is as strong as ever. Perhaps it would be weakened somewhat if they knew that on that occasion, after a long and earnest discussion with the Anarchist, the Republican said, very thoughtfully, “If this is Anarchy, I am more than half an Anarchist myself.”
After listening to the first exposition of Anarchistic principles which he had ever heard, and asking a few pertinent questions, a certain United States senator of the Democratic party not long ago made the same admission concerning himself.
These two instances might be many times multiplied without exhausting the number that has come under my own observation. Most of these indeed are of a much more decided character than the two described. They are people who have thought out the question and who have come to very definite conclusions which they do not hesitate to admit are Anarchistic as soon as they find out what Anarchism is. And this last is something which, thanks mainly to the newspapers, very few people do know.
Every time I come across the unconscious Anarchist he gives me a whiff of encouragement. If I find so many of him in my own limited experience, how numerous he must be! He may not be willing to call himself an Anarchist, even after he finds out that he is one; he may continue to vote; he may even run for congress, or aspire to be president. But he is with us rather than against us. He is no longer one of the enemy. His very existence means that the deepest tendency of the times is toward “that high light whereby the world is saved,” rather than toward authoritarianism. As long as he lives and his number grows, as it seems to me it has been growing during the last few years, he is better than even the fine, far faith of the optimist to keep sturdy and vigorous one’s trust in the final victory of Anarchistic principles. F. F. K.
Solutions of the Land Problem.
With no contributor to the interesting “symposium on the land question” in the London “Personal Rights Journal” do I find myself in complete accord. Mr. Auberon Herbert’s conclusion is admirable as far as it goes, but his postulates are arbitrary and his method of reasoning unscientific. On the other hand, his collectivist opponents start out with sound propositions, but manage to arrive at impossible results. Perhaps Mr. Donisthorpe is the only writer who succeeds in failing both in his premises and his conclusions. Briefly, his position is that in land, as in other matters, whatever is is right, since the effective majority wills it so, and that the discontented minority’s plaintive appeals for reform are futile. But Mr. Spence disposes of this by pointing out that, in discussing what the law ought to be, no light is afforded by the theory that rights are determined by legal authority; that the formation of groups and parties is preceded by a canvass of ideas, and that every minority may hope to grow and obtain the controlling influence. It might easily be shown that neither statically nor historically is there a sufficient foundation for Mr. Donisthorpe’s curious view of politics, and perhaps it will be worth while to return to the subject.
Concerning the land question proper, I agree with Mr. Olivier that the method of a priori deduction of private property in land from notions of abstract right is unprofitable, and that expediency and social utility are the only tests of the rightfulness of institutions, but I am convinced that, from this standpoint, all the schemes of land nationalization and rent taxation will be dismissed as worthless, while the position of the individualist as outlined by Mr. Herbert will commend itself as decidedly the safest and wisest. To quote his own language:
The Individualist believes in the power of voluntary association to solve many present difficulties, and to win many future victories, but if this is to be so, associations on the voluntary principle must have no impediments thrown in their way. Difficulties in the ownership of land would be a serious impediment. There are already signs that cooperative societies are likely to become owners of land, and it is most important not in any way to check such an important movement. One may believe that labor associations would gradually become owners of land with the most happy results to themselves.
The Individualist — who is often also an evolutionist — sees only one true system. The free and open market is the one system that does most justice amongst individuals, being the only impartial institution that exists, and at the same time is the only system that gives the evolutionary forces free play. As regards the individual, he who most desires land, and makes most sacrifices to get it, and is most fitted to manage it, gets and keeps it under this system; whilst as regards the future, it is the only system which allows new conditions to arise freely and without violence. If the new circumstances lend themselves to peasant proprietorship, peasant proprietorship will come into existence; if to cooperative holding of land, then cooperative holding of land will arise. Whoever destroys the free and open market in land or in any other matter proclaims himself wiser than his unborn fellow-men, a sort of infallible prophet about the wants of the world, and calmly refuses to believe that men would know their own wants better than he does, and fulfil them better. He does his little best to stand in the path of the evolutionary forces — forces which eventually will have their way, whatever may be the obstacles momentarily opposed to them, and whoever it may be, individuals or nations, that they may crush in doing so.
I scarcely need add that at present we have not a truly free and open market for land. All artificial impediments should be removed, and no new ones invented. At the same time, all compulsory burdens should be got off the land. Tithes should be redeemed on easy terms; and all rates and taxes made voluntary. It is these burdens that prevent the small man buying land. They are a constant terror to him. As happens in so many other cases, it is the State itself which causes the special mischief, which it then tries to remedy in some awkward, ungainly, and mischievous way of its own. V. Y.
In the “Nineteenth Century” for June appeared, over the signature of 104 names of ladies of the highest standing, an appeal against female suffrage. It is a splendid array of names, including members of the highest nobility, and such names as Mrs. Frederic Harrison, Mrs. Lynn Linton, Mrs. Huxley, Mrs. Max Mueller, etc. As an Anarchist I am, as a matter of course, likewise opposed to female suffrage, and I was curious to see what these ladies of high degree had to say against it. But if there had been any hope in my mind that this mutual opposition would turn out to be a common ground upon which the ultra-conservative and the ultra-radical could meet, I speedily convinced myself that there was no common ground, but that the respective positions represented the two extreme ends of a road which the one has already traversed, while the other still refuses to set foot upon it.
The ladies of high degree have nothing to bring forward but the time-worn arguments, neatly condensed, of self-complacent conservatism, and if they have succeeded in proving anything it is that we ought all to be truly and humbly grateful that their ladyships stand not at the helm, to guide the ship of State with their benign and moral tyranny. For a most potent germ of tyranny must indeed be dormant in a mental constitution that can presume to detect when progress in a certain direction has reached its natural limits, and that will not hesitate to cry a peremptory halt when this limit is thought to have been reached. The ladies of the appeal would have us believe that they are heartily in sympathy with, and cordially welcome, all the improvements in woman’s education and the enlargement of her sphere of usefulness, but they believe “that the emancipating process has now reached the limits fixed by the physical constitution of women,” etc.,— therefore, “we protest against their admission to direct power in that State which does rest upon force.” Is not this the true law-giving spirit, and must we not congratulate ourselves that we have hitherto escaped its rule?
I like to think how utterly aghast these ladies would be, should they be confronted with their own admission that the “State does rest upon force,” and be shown that, if this is a sufficient reason for women to want none of it, it is an equally good reason for men to keep their hands off. But it is to be feared that because they are ladies of such high degree they are utterly proof against reason which is not their reason, and will never see that the “State which does rest upon force” is bad in itself, and inimical to the best interests of both men and women. Otherwise, how can they say with regard to the business or trade interests of women that they think it “safer and wiser to trust to organization and self-help on their own part, and to the growth of a better public opinion among the men workers, than to the exercise of a political right,” and not see that it is the safer and wiser thing with regard to all interests, both of men and of women, to trust to organization and self-help than to the exercise of a political right? Evidently with them sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander. O, for a missionary with social culture and address, coupled with the requisite amount of self-denial and enthusiasm, to go among these heathen and teach them to think and to pray to the goddess of Liberty!
In the July number of the same magazine Mrs. Fawcett and Mrs. Dilke offer spirited replies to the appeal of the 104 of high degree. From the standpoint of governmentalists, to whom the ballot is the only means through which a sovereign body can exercise their sovereignty and guard their interests, Mrs. Fawcett and Mrs. Dilke are at least progressive, and, with the exception of one great lapse in Mrs. Fawcett’s paper, consistent. One of the objections to female suffrage in the Appeal is that, should suffrage be extended to all women, it would “introduce changes in family life, and in the English conception of the household, of enormous importance, which have never been adequately considered.” Certainly not; but Mrs. Fawcett has somewhat considered them, and fearful of the result, should all women, even those who are “bound by law to obey their husbands,” vote, and in order to guard the family and the household against dire calamity, she would withhold the franchise from married women. Here are the horns of the dilemma; in getting around them Mrs. Fawcett jumps her logic as well. The family, the conception of the household! I can only give the champions of female suffrage the advice — using a rather homely German expression — to throw the sausage after the ham. They may in their turn stand aghast; but fear it, deny it, or ignore it as they will, there is no other logical outcome of the “emancipating process,” except by arbitrarily fixing its limits (a vain attempt, by the way), as the ladies of the Appeal would do, than the abolition of marriage. They have said female suffrage, and they cannot stop until they have said free love. E. H. S.
To Earnest Questioners.
In a recent issue of Liberty an editorial dealt with “Trifling Questioners,” endeavoring to recall them to reason and honest manner of investigation. But even serious and sober-minded questioners need to be reminded of certain truths relative to rational methods of seeking information.
A reviewer of Wallace’s new book on “Darwinism” quotes the late Professor Youraans as saying that, “while all men of science have come to accept the doctrine of evolution as unquestioningly as they do the Copernican theory of astronomy, there is not one in a thousand of them who could give a brief and intelligent statement of the reasons that had convinced him. The evidence lies not in one thing or a few things, but in every fact of animal and vegetable existence, so that the proof is ceaselessly cumulative and completely overwhelming.”
My experience in social reform convinces me that the confidence and assurance of one is in inverse ratio to his intellectual power, that the less knowledge one has the greater his serene belief in what does duty for his thought, and that the clear-sighted thinker and analytical student is necessarily cautious, guarded, and doubtful. To the ignorant everything is plain, perfectly easy; while to the trained mind everything is involved, intricate, and difficult. For this reason, chiefly, State Socialism has no future among critical and rationalistic people; its “simple plan” must needs be scornfully rejected by those who have learned to look philosophically on society and history.
The firmer my grasp of the Anarchistic philosophy becomes, the more reluctant I am to engage in direct advocacy of it. Every positive statement I make appears defective. I realize that the science of society cannot be encompassed by a few precepts, and that, as Burke said, “a clear idea is another name for a little idea.” All that I can advise sober-minded questioners is to study, ponder, observe, and reflect, while aiding them by suggestion, recommendation, or partial elucidation. Anarchism will supersede authoritarian views of life in the same way that dogmas of special creation have been superseded by the doctrine of evolution. All childish plans of uniform regulation will be abandoned when the importance of freedom in sociological experiment is understood, and when the difficulties in the way not only of solving sociological problems rightly, but of scientifically investigating the data of sociology, are fully appreciated. Freedom of thought leads to demand freedom of action. He who relies on force in matters of social organization either dispenses with the process of thinking himself, or counts on the credulity and unfortunate blindness of others. V. Y.
The Two Socialisms.
We hear of all sorts of Socialism now-a-days. There is scientific Socialism and sentimental Socialism; Christian Socialism and Bellamy Socialism; Bismarckian and Fabian; and a writer in London “Freedom” has been endeavoring to make a distinction between Collectivist and Communist Anarchism; so that the ordinary reader must get considerably mixed in his ideas as to what Socialism really is.
Any one of these schools must necessarily be either more or less Communistic, or more or less Anarchistic, and between them there is one fundamental difference,— the difference between liberty and authority, altruism and egoism, slavery and freedom. There can be no compromise and no blending.
Anarchism is egoism; Communism is altruism. (I do not use these terms here in the sense of the evolutionary school of ethics, but in the sense of orthodox moralists.) Herein is the weak point of Communism. It is the same old superstition that has propped up all the theologies and all the tyrannies,— the “duty” of the individual to sacrifice himself to God, the State, the community, the “cause” of anything, a superstition that always makes for tyranny. This idea, whether under Theocracy or Communism, will result in the same thing — always authority. Communism, notwithstanding its pretensions to be scientific, is purely religious and sentimental. In so far as iris sentimental only it is powerless for evil, though a terrible hindrance to true development. But in so far as it is religious it is dangerous.
The difference between Communism and Anarchy is plainly observable in their methods. Abolish the State (by discrediting the idea of authority) — that bulwark of the robber system, the fortress of tyranny, says the Anarchist. Abolish private property, the source of all evil and injustice, the parent of the State, says the Communist. And he attempts to be scientific, parades the historical-development theory, and ridicules what he calls the Anarchists’ folly of fighting effects rather than the cause, private property. Abolish private property by instituting compulsory Communism, and the State will go, he says; having no function to perform, it must die of itself.
Now Anarchists are not opposed to private property, except it is defined as the sum of legal privilege, but we may go on with the argument. Shall we abolish the State, or private property? The Anarchist knows very well that the present State is an historical development, that it is simply the tool of the property-owning class; he knows that primitive accumulation began through robbery bold and daring, and that the freebooters then organized the State in its present form for their own self-preservation. But how did the small property class manage to maintain the State against the large non-property class? The property class never did all the fighting (once they did lead the fighters; now they do not, but hire leaders); they had to have an immense army of the propertyless to do the unskilled work in the fighting. How did they get the consent of the governed? How did they manæuvre “the people” into fighting for property instead of against property? Why are they fighting for property instead of for themselves now? It is no use shutting our eyes to the fact that they do so. Let John Most or Lum or Louise Michel start the fighting for Communism tomorrow, and who will fight against them? The propertyless. And how has this come about? Simply by teaching the idea that is inherent in Communism, or patriotism, or governmentalism, or religion of any sort,— renunciation, altruism, duty,sacrifice to the particular spook then uppermost: God, country, cause or principle. Ask any ignorant soldier why he fights. Is it the German soldier’s interest to kill the French soldier, or vice versa? Is it to the personal interest of the Jingo-drunk English volunteer to be sent to Asia or Africa to maintain British supremacy? Does the young American citizen, who is ready to shoulder a musket to put down Anarchism or Socialism, reason it out that it is for his personal Interest to risk being blown up with dynamite bombs? Are any of these people self-conscious egoists? Not one. They are all altruists, ready to self-sacrifice. The property class know well that spooks are as necessary as the police to support the State, and that dissolving spooks is more dangerous to them than killing policemen, and so the preaching class, ministers and politicians, are well paid for teaching man’s duty to God and the citizen’s duty to the State. “Society must be preserved,” howled Grinnell; he did not say, “the property of my clients, the Citizens’ League, must be protected”: that would have been too thin; even a bourgeois jury is ceasing to be too scrupulous about property. “Shall our institutions be destroyed by a horde of foreign Socialists,” shrieked his assistant counsel, and society answered “No,” and a few of the people in a jury box, with the sanction of the community outside, exterminated the “enemies of society.” They sacrificed them for the good of the community — at least they thought it was for the good of the community; their mistake was one of fact. If they think it for the good of the community to suppress Communism, they will do so. When they become Communists, and think it for the good of the community to suppress Anarchism, they will do so — it will be their “duty.”
And so, after all, by abolishing private property, should we abolish the State? By no means. Other States existed before the present one, or rather the present State is nothing but the old machine modified to suit present economic ideas. In the ancient Greek State, under the slave system, “to each according to his needs” was the order of the day — only the master measured the “needs,” and he naturally, having the power, was rather lavish about his own needs. He, like the modern Communist, would have denounced the idea of each according to his deeds, and like him also, he was decidedly opposed to competition. But while the slave was subject to the master, the master, the “free” citizen, was no less subject to the State. As Edwin Seligman says: “The present century is the age of individualism: the Hellenic epoch was what might be called the age of collectivism. There the State reigned supreme, the individual as such was swallowed up. His time, his property, his life belonged in the last instance to the State, which might demand them at any time.” In short, my point is that the State existed before this terrible “beast of private property” was ever conceived, and will survive as long as individual rights are ignored and the rights of the community made supreme; and under Communism the good of the community is paramount to the good of the individual.
Of course the argument applies only to aggressive Communists, like the revolutionists of the Most school, and not to the sentimental or Christian Communists who believe in teaching the brotherhood of men. Neither does it apply to the Anarchist-Communist who “hopes” that the outcome of Anarchy will be Communism, and whose hope sometimes takes the form of prophecy. If they are Anarchists first and then Communists, they are good Anarchists: whether the outcome will be Communism or vegetarianism or Dianisra is a matter for speculation. My argument applies to those who make the leading idea Communism, who insist on Communism first, last, and all the time, who are willing to tag any tail to Communism, Anarchy preferred. To that school Anarchism — with no tag and no prefix — offers undivided opposition. For such Communism cannot exist without a State. Voluntary Communism can exist and, if successful, flourish under Anarchy, even if its votaries desire to have their individuality submerged in the crowd. But the Communist, like all opponents of free competition, dreads an open and fair field, where the fittest can survive. Liberty is dangerous to Communism, as it is to all present State institutions. The revolutionary Communist wants all the field, or his ideas can’t have a fair chance. The principle of private property must be stamped out, and if any seedling of this idea should be overlooked and at any time shoot forth little sprouts, they must be crushed immediately.
Now this I maintain cannot be accomplished without the State, and I mean by the State an organization for enforcing the decrees of “the people.” State and government are interchangeable terms, and government is the power that rules and regulates public matters by coercion, without the individual consent of the governed, imposing upon them penalties that they cannot avoid. It is the coercive power and the absence of consent that distinguishes government from free association. The Catholic church, or a secret society, have immense influence, but not until they cover all the ground and there is no getting out of their jurisdiction, can they be called governments. Once the Church had jurisdiction everywhere; then it was the State and the State was it. But they became separated. Liberty broke up the union, and has paralyzed one arm; and nothing but liberty will paralyze the other. In proportion as any government loses its coercive power, it ceases to be a State; and in proportion as any organization increases its coercive power, it tends to become a State. The International grew very big and despotic, but it was broken up,— the spirit of liberty dissolved it. Hence the Marxists and Communists hate liberty.
To paraphrase the Communists’ motto, then: The beast of authority must go, and wherever any seedling begins to show itself, it must be checked. A. H. Simpson.
Mutual Bank Propaganda.
Liberty’s friends in Chicago have organized an association under the name of “Mutual Bank Propaganda,” whose object is the establishment of an equitable monetary system. Its secretaries are Comrades Westrup and Trinkause. The following circular has been issued by the association:
Whereas, A medium of exchange, money, is indispensable to civilization, it follows that the method of its supply must be of co-equal importance, and as it has never been determined upon any scientific basis how much money is needed or the correct method of its issue; therefore be it
Resolved, That the following questions be printed and copies sent to all the prominent journals in the country, and to such prominent citizens as the secretaries may select.
1. Does the prohibitory tax of ten per cent, imposed by Congress on any issue of paper money other than is issued by the U. S. Treasury limit the volume of money? If not, why not?
2. Whence did the State originally derive the “right” to dictate what the people should use as money?
3. If an association or a community voluntarily agree to use a certain money of their own devise to facilitate the exchange of products and avoid high rates of interest, has the State the right to prohibit such voluntary association for mutual advantage?
4. Do not restrictions as to what shall be used as money interfere with personal liberty?
5. Has the question of free trade in banking, i. e., the absence of all interference on the part of the State with making and supplying money, ever been a matter of public discussion?
6. What effect does State restriction on the issue of money have on the rate of interest?
7. Can the business of banking and the supply of money be said to be under the operation of supply and demand where the State prohibits or restricts its issue or dictates what shall be used as money?
8. Is there such a thing as a measure or standard of value? If so, how is it constituted, and what is its function?
9. What becomes of the “standard” or “measure” of value during suspensions of specie payment?
10. Are you in favor of free trade in banking, including the issue of paper money? If not, why not?
A Reviewer Reviewed and Corrected.
John C. Dana, of Denver, one of Liberty’s devoted friends, sends me a copy of an excellent letter which he has written in criticism of H. L. Osgood, the author of the article on “Scientific Anarchy” in the “Political Science Quarterly.” I take pleasure in printing the following extracts.
Jonathan Edwards, after demonstrating beyond question that the will is not free, seemed recreant to his own logic, and, driven by his creed, declared that the will is free. Pardon me for saying that you seem in a measure to have imitated his course. You establish individualistic Anarchism as the one true economic theory almost by the bare statement of it. Then you mournfully shake your head, deny that any one has ever seen the Delectable Mountains, and declare that we must be content with reforming our ballot and getting the good into office.
You say (p. 32): “Admitting that our civilization is imperfect, does that prove that it is wholly bad, or that Anarchism has anything better to offer?” It does not offer any thing in the sense in which you use the word. You have already quoted Tucker (p. 23) as saying that “neither as Anarchists nor as individual sovereigns have we any constructive work to do.” You are the one who offers us something better when you maintain (p. 36) that certain “measures” will sweep away certain “evils” and give us a new, another civilization.
“Shall I not then,” you say (p. 33), “infer that the State, the principle of authority, is the cause of all good? Would it not be quite as logical and justifiable as to argue that it is the cause of all evil?” Certainly. But I know of no claim made by Tucker or his co-believers-that the State is the cause of all evil. He says, in your own quotation (p. 23): “History shows that liberty results in more perfect men, and that greater human perfection in turn makes increased liberty possible. It is a process of growth through action and reaction, and it is impossible to state which is antecedent and which consequent.” And in Liberty of June 8, 1889, he said “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.” Are not these sufficiently strong admissions that the present State is dependent on the present human nature to as great an extent as the present human nature is dependent on the State?
Assuredly A may be cruel, B licentious, and C avaricious under any conceivable organization of society. But the Anarchist thinks that the race has advanced, that in the advance we have gained a measure of liberty, that with more liberty there is less privilege, and that with less privilege cruelty, licentiousness, and avarice have less free play. And I question much if sufficient sociological data are at hand to justify the assertion that the influence of the forms of social organization is “wholly subordinate” to the limits set by individual character and by external nature. The appeal to human weakness has been an unfailing argument for ancient and approved ideas. It has force when applied to world-cobblers, but scarcely as it seems when applied to those who say to government, “Let us alone,” and to their fellows, “Come along with us as soon as our course seems rational.”
Tucker says: “More liberty, better men; let us strive for liberty.” In reply you say: “A state of perfect liberty is not like the present state; therefore there is no benefit to be had in striving for liberty.” I cannot see that your conclusion, if true, has any bearing on the scientific Anarchists’ attitude, as stated by your own quotations.
When we have better men, we shall have a better world, and not until then. It is a little late in the day to be presenting such a truism to a man of Tucker’s outlook.
On page 34 you declare that no social qr political institution is in itself responsible for all the evils of society, and per contra, in effect, that on no such institution is society dependent for its existence. Human nature and external nature, these are at the root. Yet on page 35 you say that without the social institution — if we must exalt it into so important a thing — of “interest” society would pass into chaos.
You make little of forms of government (p. 34). Their influence is wholly subordinate to that of other things. But you are not true to your own faith. On page 35 you look with evident forebodings on the removal of that slight and wholly subordinate influence. The Anarchist is ready to take you at your word, if you will have it so. Forms of government have little influence, he says, with you (and maintains, further, that that influence is mainly for the bad — and on very good historical grounds). Let us then dispense with this malign influence. Let us not be timorous of this human nature which is behind all government, which has been always better than the government it has created. Let us give no man privileges and thus deny them to his neighbor. Human nature rules the world anyway in spite of governments, why hamper it with them then?
Society is an organism, surely, and an aggregation of individuals which does not erect above itself a power for enforcing conformity to the necessities of life and growth, by force of the hypothesis, cannot grow, cannot even live. The logic seems excellent. The failure lies, not in pushing the analogy between living organisms and society too far, but in carrying over with the latter an old false assumption in regard to the former. A tree is an organism, is it not? Is its existence unthinkable because it lacks the power to enforce conformity to the necessities of life and growth? “Where, in any organism, does such “power” reside? Is it an entity within the organism yet apart from it? Do you mean the will? Ribot tells us that freedom, liberty, voluntary as regards the will are words which should be wiped out of the vocabulary of philosophy. The coordination, the cooperation of the units of that most complex organism, man, comes about with as entire an absence of any “enforcement” by any “power” as does the coördination and coöperation of the atoms of the tree. The same is true of society. Conformity to the necessities of life and growth is of the very essence of the organism, of life itself; it is not a thing enforced, compelled by a power which is established, erected, set up, or which grows and develops in the organism after it is an organism.
It has been asked what is to be done about the growth and usurpations of trusts and other trade combinations, and whether the alternative is not State operation of all these industries or a despotic plutocracy. There is every indication that no such alternative is presented. Admitting the economy of production that can be effected by capitalistic combination and the growing tendency in that direction, there yet remain elements to be considered which constitute now, and will tend to more and more increase, a tremendous centrifugal force whose final effect may possibly bring us to times when each man can again not only easily become his own industrial master but can be so without material loss in productive capacity from a great combination of capital and men. Suppose, as Mr. Bellamy does, that in the next one hundred and thirteen years, by invention and improved processes, as much progress is made, or rather four times as much progress is made, in the production of wealth, as in the past twenty-five years. Would we not, therefore, be farther away from State Socialism than nearer? Multiply present efficiency and capacity of production by ten, and the result must be to bring the product, including the instruments of production, ten times closer within reach of the individual producer rather than more beyond his reach and into the hands of the State. Such a result is by no means improbable. Within a comparatively short time it is very likely that new sources of motive power will be discovered that will revolutionize industry and cheapen production far beyond any possibility of attainment from present sources.
Donn Piatt Relieves His Mind.
[Journal of United Labor.]
Looking upon the Democratic party as the organized ignorance of the country and the Republican as the organized greed, I could not belong to one or the other, either as an individual or as editor.
The business relations of a country is a delicate subject, and, when dealt with, must be treated with utmost courtesy and forbearance. All reforms are disreputable. When such are inaugurated among us the American Eagle goes to laying rotten eggs. There is nothing so indecent as the naked truth.
In our government of parties a canvass of education is a farce. The American citizen has no turn for study and no time for thought. In the conquest of a continent we have come to be delvers in dirt. A race of shopkeepers, said the great Napoleon, makes a nation of thieves. We turn from an abstract economic subject in impatient disgust to look lovingly on a locomotive, or to send orders through the telegraph or telephon for a consignment of eggs and potatoes. We cannot be made to recognize the fact that all the woes that have afflicted humanity for a thousand years of abuse in Europe are being rapidly concentrated here.
We mouth at times — mainly upon the Fourth of July — about our free institutions, in certain pet phrases, forgetting that all the wretchedness and sin afflicting humanity come from unequal distribution of property. We can have all our free institutions intact, and yet see the foul spawn of millionaires hatched into sharks, while masses live only to be fed upon.
Time was, within the memory of living men, when we had two millionaires to wonder at and deaths from starvation and suicides from despair were unknown. Indeed, we can have these free institutions, as the fathers gave them to us, and have them sanction these very evils. A hundred and sixty thousand miles of railroads, distributing the entire products of the country, are under the control and literally the ownership of less than sixty families, and this fearful monopoly comes from and depends upon the franchise given by the governments. Our telegraph system belongs to one man. The amount of money paid over to private interests and taken yearly from the masses under the name of a tariff is large enough yearly to liquidate the national debt.
Legalized wrong is our great enemy, for we suffer more from the power to abuse than in the abuse of power. A wrong once recognized by law destroys the foundations of the very power to which we must appeal for a remedy.
Right and Expediency.
[J. G. Fisher in the Revolutionary Review.]
If we take the formula “Either all persons have equal rights or none have any” and substitute the word animals for persons, it may in a moment convince us either that there are no abstract rights or that such rights are dependent upon the revealed legitimacy of human dominance and human brotherhood — coupled with a formula that all members of a family have equal rights.
Any attempt to prove that human animals have rights over other animals must necessarily depend upon revelation, because in its absence we necessarily fall back simply upon the presence in the human animal of superior powers of mind or body. This would necessarily land us in the aphorism that might is right.
To living beings life must be right. Those who regard it as wrong disappear. Hence the permanent type must be composed of the offspring of those who can at least tolerate life.
Now life and what we call might are almost synonymous, and might increases with the complexity or intensity of life. Such might is not mere brute force. It is rather that fine coordination of structure which enables the living being to influence and direct more and more massive external forces to its objects. Hence we may hold that might is right and yet deduce from it the necessity of such protection for individual impotence as is involved in orderly society, proprietary rights, establishment of justice, etc. But this simply means that expediency, or wisdom, is the only true standard of morality. Such expediency or prudence must, however, not be confined to the individual merely, but must closely embrace at least the family, and must extend (though with weakening degrees) to the race and species. The race or species remains the more important because the continuance of life is more secure and less hazardous when its members are sufficiently numerous. We must infer nevertheless that any form of suffering must rightly be imposed upon the individual which could be shown to be indispensably necessary for the species. One of the most plainly indicated modes of suffering so demanded is that of restricting individual action by requiring abstention from infringing the equal liberty of other members of the family, race, or species.
In a rudimentary state of reason, such as we should call a state of animality or savagery, these limitations could scarcely be conceived, much less made a rule of life, but as soon as ever any division of labor is observable, there must be an exchange of services. This and the growth of sympathy would bring about a perception of the general utility of truth, justice, and property.
[Elizabeth Barrett Browning.]
“There is none good save God,” said Jesus Christ.
If he once, in the first creation-week,
Called creatures good,— for ever afterward,
The Devil only has done it, and his heirs,
The knaves who win so, and the fools who lose;
The world’s grown dangerous. In the middle age,
I think they called malignant fays and imps
Good people. A good neighbor, even in this,
Is fatal sometimes,— cuts your morning up
To mince-meat of the very smallest talk,
Then helps to sugar her bohea at night
With your reputation. I have known good wives
As chaste, or nearly be, as Potipliar’s;
And good, good mothers, who would use a child
To better an intrigue; good friends, beside,
(Very good) who hung succinctly round your neck
And sucked your breath, as cats are fabled to do
By sleeping infants. And we all have known
Good critics who have stamped out poet’s hopes;
Good statesmen who pulled ruin on the state;
Good patriots who for a theory risked a cause;
Good kings who disembowelled for a tax;
Good popes who brought all good to jeopardy;
Good Christians who sate still in easy chairs
And damned the general world for standing up. —
Now may the good God pardon all good men!
E. H. S. may be right in her estimate of the signers of the protest against female suffrage, but I am loth to think that she is. It is almost impossible to believe that these representatives of the highest mental culture are merely perverse and stubborn obscurantists whose motives are no better than those of ignorant and vulgar conservatives. Still more difficult is it to explain their action on the hypothesis of tyrannical intolerance. I am rather inclined to interpret the appeal in a manner more favorable to its authors and more encouraging to the cause of liberty. Seeing that the ladies lay great stress on the superiority of intellectual and moral influences, which, as they say, can only be destroyed by the element of arbitrary political power (an argument never before used by any except Anarchistic opponents of suffrage), must we not infer that they faintly and dimly perceive the vice of the governmental principle, and seek to check its extension? I can discover nothing in the appeal palpably inconsistent with such a view of its meaning.
* * *
A prominent New York Socialist, A. Cahan, in a letter to the “Workmen’s Advocate,” ridicules Liberty’s “Question for the Nationalists,” asseverating that Socialists, who regard competition as the cause of all social evil, cannot be reasonably asked to prove the superiority of non-competition, or cooperation, by competing with the government. To say nothing of the fact that to accuse competition of causing wrong is no less silly than to blame steam or electricity for railroad disasters, it is sufficient to point out that the Nationalists do not take Mr. Cahan’s view, but maintain that, by gradually nationalizing industries and managing them in the interest of the public rather than for private benefit, the principle of national cooperation can and will be triumphantly vindicated. Hence it was entirely pertinent to urge them to prove the transcendent beauty of their plan by beating “selfish” companies in a free and fair field. Of course the Socialists prefer not to be harrassed in any way, but people, will only laugh at the simpleton who frankly confesses that his “reform” won’t work unless every disagreeable rival is completely suppressed.
* * *
Rabbi Solomon Schindler urges upon the community to make the “free schools” free not only in name, but in fact, by providing all indigent scholars and would-be scholars with the necessaries of life during their years of study. The reason for this request is simple enough: because so much is conceded, much more ought to be given. Not only does the rabbi not enter into any discussion of the justice or expediency of the principle of compulsory Communism at the bottom of this proposal, but he is not even aware that this question is now “before the house.” Speaking of the establishment of the first public school, he naively says: “It is much to be deplored that we are not today in possession of all the arguments which then were set forth by the opponents — and there must have been some — of such an unheard of innovation. There must have been some who failed to see why they should pay for the education of somebody else’s children. If these good people were to come to life today, and to find that we even supply scholars with text-books, paper, pens, pencils, etc., at public expense, they would surely prefer to return to their graves rather than to live among a generation that is so Socialistic or Communistic in its tendencies.” Mr. Schindler must be living in a veritable fool’s paradise if he is so unsuspicious of the modern opposition to this and other compulsory and mismanaged institutions. I doubt if his advocacy of Nationalism will have any effect upon intelligent observers of current movements.
* * *
Henry George writes from England: “I have met a good many men who thought interest was bad and wrong. But I have yet to meet one who has any plan for abolishing it, unless the Socialistic notion of making the government the sole owner and the sole user of capital can be called a plan. And if any one is disposed to think that the abolition of monopoly will bring interest to an end, it is hardly worth while to dispute about what is then a speculative matter. For if interest be unjust,— that is to say, unnatural,— we have but to give freedom and it will disappear. If, on the contrary, it be just, it is impossible to abolish it.” Now, who would imagine that the man who has such an air of innocence is a consummate hypocrite? George very well knows that there is a school of economy which regards interest as the product of legal monopoly in the supply of the medium of exchange, and who demand free trade in money; and not only does he deny that freedom by insisting that the State alone shall issue currency, but he refuses to print any criticism of his position from representatives of that school and never condescends to examine their claims. A “speculative matter” indeed! The question is now whether we shall be granted that freedom which would settle the controversy about interest. Greenbackism, which George advocates, and free credit are very different things. The trouble with George is that he is ignorant of the A B C of the money question and too busy teaching the world to spare any time for self-instruction.
* * *
I suspect that Mr. Wordsworth Donisthorpe wasn’t in a philosophical mood when he penned his reply to Grant Allen’s essay on “Individualism and Socialism,” — in fact, I fear he was thoroughly angry. Of course it was but natural that the flaws in Grant Allen’s reasoning should disagree with the intellectual stomach of so bright a man as Mr. Donisthorpe; but to those he devotes an insignificant portion of the letter in the “Personal Rights Journal.” Mr. Allen’s unpardonable offence in the eyes of his assailant is his comparatively mild attack on the so-called Liberty and Property Defence League. It’s for this that he is called an ignoramus and an insolent babbler. Now to say nothing of the fact that, as compared with Mr. Donisthorpe’s letter, the essay in question is a model of fairness, scholarly dignity, and moderation, and that the unsupported charge of total incapacity will count for nothing with the readers of Grant Allen’s excellent writings, it is interesting to know why the author of those two leaders in “Jus,” “‘Jus’ and the League” and “A Last Word,” who himself accused the League of “duplicity and chicanery and insincerity and hypocrisy,” who indignantly complained of its degenerating into a harrassed interests’ defence league, and who warned it that Aristocratic Socialism is more odious than Democratic Socialism, should so savagely rush upon poor Mr. Allen for exercising the same liberty of a little plain truth-telling. At any rate, if Mr. Donisthorpe will read his own articles in “Jus,” all the difficulties alleged to have been suggested by Mr. Allen’s distinction between true individualism and false individualism will be cleared away. V. Y.
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.