“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.
Walter Besant says the time is not far distant when writers will be able to make as large fortunes as bankers. Shouldn’t wonder a mite, Walter; but about that same time bankers will be able to make no larger fortunes than writers.
Mr. Gladstone has presented the money equivalent of his laborious reply to Col. Ingersoll in Mr. Rice’s “Review” to a Flintshire church. He is evidently under no delusion as regards the issue of the controversy, and he is unusually fair in indirectly admitting his defeat; but his donation will hardly make good the loss sustained by the Church through Ingersoll’s fire.
Mr. Greppo, for many years a Paris member of the French chamber of deputies, died a few weeks ago at the age of seventy-nine. He was a worthy man in many ways, but he will be chiefly remembered for the fact, that in the national assembly of 1848, when Proudhon’s bill for the reorganization of taxation and credit was defeated in that body by a vote of 691 to 2, he was the one man who voted with Proudhon.
Now that so many labor papers are going down, it is pleasant to note that one is coming up. John H. Burton, formerly editor of the Detroit “Advance and Labor Leaf,” again appears in the field as the editor of “Onward,” also published in Detroit. His new paper is devoted principally to the single tax on land values, and secondarily to greenbackism. Of course Liberty is entirely out of sympathy with both of these objects, but it looks with pleasure upon Mr. Burton’s enterprise, for he is an earnest man and will certainly make a more interesting paper than the “Advance,” which has been steadily degenerating ever since Labadie left its editorial chair. “Onward” is an eight-page monthly, issued at fifty cents a year from Room 14, Butterfield Building, 46 West Larned St., Detroit.
Robert Louis Stevenson gives as his reason for not writing contemporary novels rather than Robin Hood tales that he has not yet found any satisfactory solution of the social problems of the day, and, until he does find such, prefers to write of people who frankly shoot each other down rather than of those who steal from each other on the stock exchange. I am glad to know this, for I shall now have more patience with what has heretofore seemed to me a lamentable waste of perhaps as fine a literary talent as any that today finds expression through English prose. But has Mr. Stevenson ever studied Anarchism? There he will find a social solution which will enable him to complete the contemporary novels he confesses having outlined. There is much in his essays to indicate a natural predisposition towards Anarchistic thought which would develop into a scientific grasp with a little systematic study of Anarchism “from the root up,” as Mr. Belfort Bax would say.
Kropotkine, arguing in favor of Communism, says that he has “always observed that workers with difficulty understand the possibility of a wage-system of labor-checks and like artificial inventions of Socialists,” but has been “struck on the contrary by the easiness with which they always accept Communist principles.” Was Kropotkine ever struck by the easiness with which simple-minded people accept the creation theory and the difficulty with which they understand the possibility of evolution? If so, did he ever use this fact as an argument in favor of the creation hypothesis? Just as it is easier to rest satisfied with the statement, “Male and female created he them,” than to trace in the geological strata the intricacies in the evolution of species, so it is easier to say that every man shall have whatever he wants than to find the economic law by which every man may get the equivalent of his product. The ways of Faith are direct and easy to follow, but their goal is a quagmire; whereas the ways of Science, however devious and difficult to tread, lead to solid ground at last. Communism belongs to the Age of Faith, Anarchistic Socialism to the Age of Science.
The English Fabian Society evidently means to cover the ground this season. It has mapped out a “plan of campaign.” On September 21, October 5 and 19, November 2 and 16, and December 7 and 21, it will meet in Willis’s Rooms, London, to listen to seven lectures on “Socialism: Its Aims and Principles.” The first four lectures will treat of “The Basis of Socialism,” the last three of “The Organization of Society.” Under the first heading Sidney Webb will view “The Historical Aspect,” tracing “The Disintegration of the Old Synthesis” through “The Period of Anarchy” to “The New Synthesis”, William Clarke will view “The Industrial Aspect,” treating of “The Supersession of Individualist Production,” “The Growth of the Great Industry,” “The Development of the World-Commerce,” and “The Differentiation of Manager and Capitalist”; G. Bernard Shaw will view “The Economic Aspect,” developing “The Law of Rent,” “The Law of Wages,” and “The Law of Value”; and Sydney Olivier will view “The Moral Aspect,” explaining “The Springs of Action,” “The Collective Self,” and “The Growth of Positive Ethics.” Under the second heading the subject of “Property under Socialism” is entrusted to Graham Wallas, who will discuss “The Instruments of Production,” “The Ownership of Property,” and “Property in Ideas”; that of “Industry under Socialism” to Annie Besant, who will deal with “The Organization or Labor,” “The Distribution of the Product,” and “Social Safeguards”; while Hubert Bland will conclude with an examination of “The Outlook” regarding “The Condition of English Politics,” “The Socializing of Politics,” and “The Duties of the Hour.” Truly, an ambitious programme, the value whereof will depend upon the manner of its execution.
Anarchists scarcely expected to find an endorsement of their economic ideas in President Cleveland’s letter of acceptance, but it is unmistakably there. Speaking of the surplus accumulating in the treasury, the president says: “This vast accumulation of idle funds represents that much money drawn from the circulating medium of the country, which is needed in the channels of trade and business. It is a great mistake to suppose that the consequences which follow the continual withdrawal and hoarding by the government of the currency of the people are not of immediate importance to the mass of our citizens, and only concern those engaged in large financial transactions. In the restless enterprise and activity which free and ready money among the people produces is found that opportunity for labor and employment, and that impetus to business and production, which bring in their train prosperity to our citizens in every station and vocation. New ventures, new investments in business and manufacture, the construction of new and important works, and the enlargement of enterprises already established, depend largely upon obtaining money upon easy terms with fair security, and all these things are stimulated by an abundant volume of circulating medium. Even the harvested grain of the farmer remains without a market unless money is forthcoming for its movement and transportation to the seaboard. The first result of a scarcity of money among the people is the exaction of severe terms for its use. Increasing distrust and timidity is followed by a refusal for loan or advance on any terms. Investors refuse all risks and decline all securities, and in a general fright the money still in the hands of the people is persistently hoarded. It is quite apparent that, when this perfectly natural, if not inevitable, stage is reached, depression in all business and enterprise will, as a necessary consequence, lessen the opportunity for work and employment and reduce salaries and the wages of labor.” How often this truth has been dwelt upon in Liberty as lying at the very bottom of the labor problem! So near is the line of argument, and even the phraseology, to that which has so often appeared in these columns that it might readily be mistaken for a quotation from the files, except for the fact that Cleveland makes the application only to the narrow ground covered by the surplus, neglecting the much vaster restriction upon the circulating medium effected by denying the people the right to use their property as an untaxed instrument of credit and circulation. Such a complete reversal of the hard-money position, as stated by David A. Wells, that a three-cent piece is sufficient for the transaction of the entire business of the country, from one who began his presidential administration by opposing even the silver addition to the money of the country, is unaccountable indeed.
[Gramont in L’Intransigeant.]
I always feel a certain degree of joy when journals hostile to the government are astonished and indignant because man who has got into power commits acts which he denounced when he belonged to the opposition. This joy is such as we feel at the sight of candor.
Do not a person’s ideas, theories, principles, change with his position? Such and such a man, whom you knew as a bachelor, professed the greatest indulgence in regard to faithless wives: since he contracted a legitimate union, he considers them criminals worthy of the halter. X formerly wallowed in black poverty; he would willingly rail at capital and property. An unexpected inheritance has made him at the same time a conservative and a millionaire, and has inspired him with a sudden, but furious, horror of demagogues. For a long time Nichette lived without prejudices; in those days she pushed liberty of language and manners to extreme limits. When on the wane, she found a rich old fool to marry her, and now she is the most prudish and stiffnecked woman in the world. It is not permissible in her presence to speak one word louder than another.
The man who once was governed, now that he has become a governor, is no longer the same person at all. Why would you have him continue to think the same? Governed, he wanted to break down arbitrary power, because arbitrary power threatened him, because that cutting weapon was suspended over his head; but, governing, he holds the weapon by the hilt, he suspends it over the heads of others. Why should it not seem agreeable and convenient to him? The contrary would be surprising.
For this reason we cannot help admitting that there is logic in the doctrines of the Anarchists, who, taking their stand on the fact that positions change men and that all governors resemble each other, want no more governors.
Love, Marriage, and Divorce,
And the Sovereignty of the Individual.
Henry James, Horace Greeley, and Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Mr. Andrews’s Reply to Mr. Greeley.
Continued from No. 132.
6. “The command from Sinai,” etc. I do not propose (unless it is preferred to shift the ground of our discussion from the philosophical to the theological arena) to notice arguments drawn from the religious books of any sect, Christian, Mohammedan, or Pagan. The true Science of Society must be based on principles as broad as humanity, not confined to persons who happen to think alike upon some point of faith, or upon the authority of some Scripture. The physiological effects of marriage and generation are coming, in our day, to be as well understood as other matters of science; and if the Bible seems to quarrel with Physiology, as it has seemed to do with Astronomy and Geology, it belongs to its expounders to seek for a reconciliation in the latter case, as they have done in the former. [Online editor’s note: Presumably “latter” and “former” should be switched here. – RTL] For one, I am tired of caviling about exegesis and text-readings while humanity lies bound and bleeding.
7. “Hence the State honors and blesses marriage, and frowns upon all other sexual relations” – that is to say, each State honors and blesses some sort of marriage relations, and frowns upon some other sort, the difference in different ages and nations embracing almost every conceivable variety which could come of the entire Freedom of Individuals. Since States are left free to vary and differ as they please, and do vary and differ accordingly, why not extend the same privilege to the Individuals of the same State. If any better philosophical reason can be given against it than mere prejudice, undevelopment, and superstition, let us have it at once, and put an end to the discussion.
You say it is nonsense to talk of my views of Individual Sovereignty as a modern discovery, and of the antagonist views as moss-grown with antiquity. You conceive of Individual Sovereignty as being synonymous with egotism, and about as old as sin. All this simply indicates that my views are as yet so modern and so novel, that even Mr. Greeley has hitherto attained to no adequate conception of them. Please to endeavor to understand, then, that the Sovereignty of the Individual which I talk about is the Sovereignty of every Individual – that it teaches me and every one who accepts it the most scrupulous deference for the absolute Freedom of every human being, prohibiting me and them from arrogating any control or government over others (except when we have to assume the cost of their actions, as in the case of children, and become entitled thereby to the deciding power). It demands of me that I permit every man and every woman to think, speak, and do whatsoever seemeth good to them in their own eyes [Online editor’s note: Judges 17:6 – RTL], laying down the least shadow of claim tot he right on my part to suppress them, either directly or through the power of the State, the Church, public odium, or otherwise – only limited by the line that they do not throw the burdensome consequences of their conduct on me, and that they eave me the same amount of freedom. All this I hold as the essential principle of Order and Harmony, and Growth in Purity and Intelligence, and rational Happiness among men. Please to inform me what you discover either unlovably egotistic or at all antique in this doctrine? Are you able to illustrate its workings by quotations from Ancient History so profuse as you intimate?
Probably you will perceive that you have mistaken the assertion of one’s own Sovereignty over others (which is your own doctrine, and which has been common enough in the world) for a doctrine which affirms and sedulously guards that of all other men, while it is confessedly so egotistic as to claim the right of the Individual to himself. So long as it rests in the phase of mere protest against encroachment, it is just as egotistic, it is true, as it is to request a gentleman to stand on his own toes and not on yours.
Can you suppose that you are treating my doctrine of the Freedom of Woman and her right to herself with any fairness, when you confound it with the Polygamy which has existed in barbarous countries, and which is the entire confiscation, not of one woman, as among us, but of many to one man?
My doctrine is simply, that it is an intolerable impertinence for me to thrust myself into your affairs of the heart, to determine for you what woman (or women) you love well enough or purely enough to live with, or how many you are capable of loving. I demand that you simply let me alone to settle the most intimate, and delicate, and sacred affairs of my private life in the same manner. You publicly notify me that you won’t. Another generation will judge between us as to the barbarism and the culture of these two positions. At present it is enough to say that my course leads to peace, and yours to war. Judge which is best.
You misconceive a little my method of getting rid of murder. I have the same personal prejudice that you have “to being knocked down with a slung shot, or a paving stone, dragged up a blind alley, and there finished;” nor do I hope to get rid of such acts, as you say I do, “by simply ceasing to visit them with a penalty, or to regard them as crimes.” I apply that remedy only to acts which are no crimes except as they are made so by law.
Still there is no human action without a cause. A given murder is not a solitary fact, standing in the midst of the Universe, without antecedents or consequences. The Philosopher looks into causes. The Scientific Reformer would apply his remedies there. If a man attempts to murder me, the act has a cause: perhaps a state of feeling on his part, induced by the suspicion that a certain woman whom he calls, or hopes to call, his wife, has experienced a magnetism of attraction, over which she had no possible control, toward me, and by the belief, inculcated by you and others, that the woman belongs, not to herself, but to him. Hence he is deluded into the notion that I have inflicted a heinous wrong upon him, although, probably, I have never seen him in my life, and possibly may never have seen the woman either. Looking at the effect alone, as I, in common with the rest of mankind, may be compelled to do in the emergency, the remedy may be to knock the man on the head, or to commit him, as you recommend, to Sing-Sing. The true remedy, nevertheless, is a public sentiment, based on the recognition of the Sovereignty of the Individual. Let the idea be completely repudiated from the man’s mind that that woman, or any woman, could, by possibility, belong to him, or was to be true to him, or owed him any thing, farther than as she might choose to bestow herself, as far as he could inspire her with affection and no farther: and from that hour the sentiment of jealousy dies out, and the motive to one kind of murder is removed.
Perhaps, in another case, the poor wretch was born with a mind poisoned from conception, imbued, as the lawyers have it, with “malice toward all mankind,” because he was begotten in hatred from a woman, forced by the law into the repulsive embraces of a man she loathed, and so “marked” as a monster, in every lineament of body and soul by the horrid impression to which, as is well-known, the susceptible imagination of a mother gives form in the character of her offspring. The evil in this case is that your prospective murderer was the child of abhorrence and despair. The remedy is to restore to outraged woman the right to choose freely, at all times, the father of her own child. Till that be granted, all the rest of your “Woman’s Rights” are not worth contending for. It is pitiable to see the advocates of this ism compelled to disguise their real want, fearing to utter it, and to make a false issue about the franchise, or something of no comparative value to them. The Sovereignty of the Individual is what they do demand, in common with the rest of mankind. No child healthfully and lovingly engendered, and never subsequently oppressed and outraged by false social relations, will ever be a murderer. Let the world learn that.
You say that you regard “Free Trade as neither right nor wrong, good nor bad, in itself, but only in view of its practical issues.” Do you say the same of Freedom of the Press, or Freedom of Conscience? Louis Napoleon does so of the former, and King Bomba and the Grand Duke of Tuscany of the latter; but the public have got the idea in their minds that there is somehow a difference, fundamentally and in principle, between your Social views and those of Louis Napoleon, Bomba, and the Grand Duke. Perhaps you will enlighten us as to what that difference is. As matters now stand I do not perceive it.
I regret that my views should inspire you with hypochondria, and induce you to think of suicide, emigration, or any thing desperate; but I presume you do not urge these “vapors” as an argument. I, too, have my personal feelings on the subject. How far will you consent that they shall be made the criteria for deciding the questions mooted between us?
Of your views of Sexual Purity I can not, in the circumstances under which I write, utter what I feel. If it be not too severe a thing to say, allow me, however, merely to say, that we all, probably, give the measure of ourselves, more exactly than in any other possible mode, by the estimate we make of the natural results of Freedom. Permit me, on this point, to substitute, for what I might have said, an extract from a communication I have just received, suggested by your remarks, from a noble and pure-minded American woman, one to whom the world owes more than to any other man or woman, living or dead, for through investigation and appreciation of the Causes of Disease and the Laws of Health especially in all that concerns the Sexual Relations and the reproduction of the race:*
“It is the God-appointed mission of woman to teach the world what Purity is. May Mr. Greeley be so fortunate as to learn the lesson!
“The woman who is truly emancipate, who has health, in the deep significance of that word – health of body and of spirit – who believes in God, and reverently obeys his laws in herself – this woman is pure, and a Teacher of Purity. She needs no human law for the protection of her chastity; virtue is to her something more than a name and a regulation – something far other than a legal restriction. It is high as the sky above Mr. Greeley’s lower law, and just as far removed from all license. Such a Woman has a Heaven-conferred right to choose the Father of her babe.
“We say man has the right to Life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; yet he abuses Life, falls into bondage, and seeks and does not find Happiness. The Woman who chooses the father of her child may go as far wrong. The failure of Freedom to bring wisdom and right action at once, is no argument against Freedom. Because Woman has not equitable and attractive industry and adequate remuneration, and can not, therefore, appropriately maintain the babe she would bear and love, does that abrogate he right to be a Mother? Did not God make her to be the Mother of the race? and the healthy Mother of healthy Children? If she is fixed in indissoluble marriage with a man she must abhor – a selfish, sensual tyrant – who makes her his victim, and perpetuates in her children his lust of the flesh and of gain, and all the deep damnation of his nature, must Woman lie prone under all this, suffering and transmitting the disease and crime which are its ordained product, because it is according to Law?
“Often the greatest crime a man can commit is to reproduce himself, though it be done legally.
“We must have a Maine Law and capital punishment for the children born of hate in indissoluble marriage. Hundreds of Women in such marriage murder their children rather than bear them.
“Intemperance, madness, murder, and all other vices, are hereditary. Shall indissoluble marriage go on, year after year, producing so many thieves, drunkards, prostitutes, and murderers, and in pre-assignable proportions – so mathematical is its operation – and remain unquestioned? Or shall it be honored with such defenders as Mr. Greeley, who whitewash it with legal sanctity in our Legislatures, and plead, through the public press, for Maine Laws to restrain and punish the murderers, and seducers, and drunkards born in its decent, and respectable, and legal limits?
“There is a large and increasing class of women in our land who know what Purity is. They know, also, what it is not. They know that it is not an exhausted nervous system, which prompts to no union – which enables them to walk quietly in the common thoroughfare of custom. They know, also, that it is not fidelity to a legal bond, where there is no Love – where there is Force on one side and Fear on the other – where Rascals are born by God’s immutable law, and where diseases are engendered that make the Grave an earnestly coveted refuge from “lawful” whoredom.
“Could any Woman, worthy the name – any other than a legal slave – choose to bear worse children than those we hang out of our way – than those who became seducers out of marriage, and destroyers in it?
“In the Medical College, at Albany, there is an exposition of indissoluble marriage, which should be studied by all those who begin to see that a legalized union may be a most impure, unholy, and, consequently, unhealthy thing. In glass vases, ranged in a large cabinet in this medical museum, are uterine tumors, weighing from half a pound to twenty-four pounds. A viscus that in its ordinary state weighs a few ounces, is brought, by the disease caused by amative excess – in other words, licentiousness and impurity – to weigh more than twenty pounds. Be it remembered, these monstrosities were produced in lawful and indissoluble wedlock. The wives and mothers who perished of these evils, and left this terrible lesson to the world, knew only of legal purity. They lived in obedience to the Law of Marriage – pious, virtuous, reputable, ignorant Women. God grant that their suffering be not in vain! God grant that they may yet be the Teachers of Purity, who being dead yet speak! [Online editor’s note: Hebrews 11:4. – RTL]
“In an age hardly past ‘Honor God and the King’ was the great commandment. In this age, ‘Honor God and a Husband’ holds the same place. Men have learned that the first contains a solecism; Women are learning the same lesson of the last.”
Such, Sir, is the eloquent and, in my judgment, the unanswerable, protest of one woman against your doctrine. In five years more, the voice of that woman will be the voice of thousands. You are quite right when you sound the alarm, and announce that the time for the full discussion of this whole subject has arrived. That discussion will be had, whether Conservatism will or no. If what is, can stand that test – let it; if not – not.
Stephen Pearl Andrews.
* The writer of this communication is Mrs. Mary S. Gove Nichols, the wife of Dr. Thomas L. Nichols, and associate principal with him in the Hydropathic Institution at Portchester, New York. Had this reply been published in the “Tribune,” I should, doubtless, have modified the eulogium contained in the sentence to which this note is appended, when I came to see it in the proofs, not because it does not express rightly my own personal opinion, but because it does so, perhaps, rather too pointedly, and is liable to be understood as an extravagance of personal friendship rather than a deliberate estimate of the character and position of an individual. As my reply was rejected, I feel bound now to publish it with all its imperfections on its head. When, however, it is remembered that Dr. Nichols publicly avows that, after experiencing the benefits of a regular medical education and extensive professional reading, his real instruction in physiology and therapeutics was derived from his wife; and, further, that Dr. Nichols is the author of “Esoteric Anthropology,” a work many years in advance of all other treatises upon the health conditions of man, and which is acquiring a circulation only surpassed by the popular work of Mrs. Stowe, my characterization of Mrs. Nichols may seem less extravagant. She is a lady who couples the most wonderful intuitions — the spiritual “sphere of woman” — with a truly masculine strength and comprehension of general principles, such as characterizes the highest order of scientific mind.
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. B. Tucker.
Continued from No. 131.
Gertrude, charmed, put her hand over her husband’s mouth, who kissed it tenderly to more surely win the cause which again he pleaded:
“Say, then, to our Claire that you are not unhappy at having had a man who sowed his wild oats at the proper time, and consequently has no need to sow them after marriage! See, my beloved Gertrude, I am so happy at being united to the Bervilles that I wish to be thus united again, for the sake of the house and for the sake of the bank, for motives of interest, for motives of prudence, for the dowry, in plain English, for the strong-box. Nothing will leave the family; what do you think of that?”
The baroness, shaken, looked at Claire.
“And you, Claire, what do you say to that?” she asked.
“Yes, answer,” said the baron.
But, if the baron seemed obstinate in his purpose, his daughter, who took after him, was no less stubborn in her own. She answered resolutely, with tears in her handsome eyes, but with firmness in her strong voice:
“No, my father, I shall never love Camille.”
And her mother, moved by Claire’s sorrow and also by her courage, again defended her against the father, appealing to his tenderness against his wisdom, pleading the rights of the heart against the strong-box, of nobility, religion, and love against interest; and finally saying to the baron that she would make common cause with Claire, refuse, in her capacity of guardian, her consent to her ward, and, so far as she could, place her veto upon their marriage.
But the strain of her effort to resist her dear baron brought on a frightful reaction, produced one of those nervous crises to which she had become subject soon after her marriage.
Hypochondria, sick headaches, neuralgia, vertigo, nervous attacks, all different forms of one and the same disease, a disease of the cities, ending in hysteria, epilepsy, eclampsy, or madness,— neurose in short. . . . ah! the word is found, but the remedy? The incalculable element in the feminine nature is so complicated and delicate that a nervous affection in a woman is a bonanza to the doctor if the patient is rich, and the goal of his science if he is learned.
Diseases, as we know, are dependent upon fashion. Other morals, other maladies! Nosology changes with life. Mucous diseases have given place to nervous diseases; that is, the tissues which suffered from the more animal life of our fathers were the mucous tissues, while the tissues which suffer from our more mental life are the nervous tissues.
As for remedies, fashionable or not, old or new, physical or chemical, all are alike impotent! Indeed, what effect can senna or bismuth have on an andralgic old maid or a mother who mourns a dead child?
In consequence of her morbid state Gertrude had already been for a long time under the care of two physicians, good people: one of the body and one of the soul, Doctor Dubois and the abbé Ventron. Poor woman! To say nothing of her husband, who cared for her more than the two others! What could she be expected to do against three?
“Go for the doctor,” cried the baron.
“And Monsieur the abbé,” said the baroness.
At that moment Camille entered, seeming less at ease than usual and covered with his quarago, a long cloak worn then in memory of the Spanish war, which has left us also the glory of the Trocadéro.
“Pardon me,” said Camille to the baron, “if I bring you a friend. . . . of the boulevard, one of the ten of the infernal box, one of those lions so singularly coupled with the biches of the opera.”
Those lions, yesterday creves, today gommeux. . . . tomorrow what?
“M. Louchard,” added Camille; “he desires to be presented to you.”
And he bade M. Louchard enter.
The stranger thus presented, doubly decorated on his coat and overcoat, removed his eye-glass from his bleared eye, and made a bow which the baron returned.
“Yes, Monsieur,” said he, “I have asked Camille for the honor of an introduction and an interview with you in regard to an affair. . . . worthy of you”. . . Then, perceiving Madame sunk in her easy-chair, he said:
“But it seems to me that I intrude. I find you with your family; and, if you like, we will postpone”. . .
“Not at all, Monsieur, there is time for everything, for business as well as family affairs; and if the heart beats under the pocket, the pocket” . . . .
“Go right ahead without phrases, in spite of the ladies,” said Camille, laughing at the baron, who had stopped short; “the pocket stifles the heart; the box takes precedence of everything; that’s why it is called the strong-box.”
“The madcap! To what affair do you refer, Monsieur?”
“Ah! a colossal, pyramidal affair, a Mont-Blanc,” added Camille, laughing. “See the high forehead of the ‘straight-haired Corsican’ and the imperial lock of the tuft of Brumaire. This is the Napoleon of the press. . . . one idea a day, one victory rather; a great man without principles; a child of love, and consequently without prejudices; a strong friend of the ministry,— a recommendation to you, but not to me; one who has revolutionized the old press by inaugurating cheap journalism, in the interest, he says, of the people and the king, to that end having at his service two journals for and against; in short, a power in your world! Good luck to you!”
“You cover me with confusion, my dear Camille,” said the journalist; “thank you!”
“I am at your service, Monsieur,” said the banker, with a little more consideration; “I beg you to accompany me to my office.”
“Gentlemen, permit me, I remain with these ladies.”
The journalist and the banker left the room for the office.
When they were behind closed doors, the writer said to the baron:
“I have. . . . Camille said two. . . but I say three journals at my disposition for reaching the public. Two extremes and a mean. You understand! I speak to all.”
“I understand, and I listen.”
“I have one idea a day, according to Camille. The fact is that I have two or three, since I have three journals, but today a single affair needs the services of the three,— an affair of gold, a stock company for a coal mine.”
“The transmutation of coal into gold. Then you have found the philosopher’s stone.”
“One need not be a sorcerer for that; coal is the bread of manufactures. France at last has the constitutional régime like England, the régime and country par excellence of manufactures and coal. You see here my prospectus. National manufactures, competition with the foreigner! Great attraction!”
“Excuse me!” said the banker, interrupting him coldly. “Where is this mine?”
“At Saint-Mégrin, Loir-et-Cher.”
“Ah! is there any coal in this mine?”
“We will put some there.”
“Your reply is somewhat like that of Bonaparte’s jailer, who, when his prisoner asked: ‘But are there no trees in this island of fire?’ answered: ‘Sire, we will plant some.’”
“Hudson Lowe planted trees; I will deposit coal.”
“But you forget that there are such people as policemen.”
“You, too, forget what a certain Greek said of the law: ‘It is a spider’s web in which the little flies are caught and which the big ones break through.’”
“Yes, but that was a Greek.”
“Well, I have for a partner the broker Gripon, one of the sixty of the Bourse, a Jew who is worth all the Greeks. And we Christians, who say so much evil of the entire Levant, though the finest of us was a Jew. . . . we see and calculate after the manner of these Orientals. So Gripon in person has proved to me, as clearly as that two and two make five according to his usual arithmetic, that, if Moses drew water from the rocks, we can draw gold from the coal which is lacking at Saint-Mégrin; that we have the philosopher’s press, the transmutation of minerals, vegetables, and even animals; in short, that a miracle worked in the desert can readily be repeated in the mine of a saint.”
“Leave your plan with me, my dear Nostradamus; I will give it serious study.” He shook hands with the journalist, who went away enchanted, and he returned to his family . . . after business.
“Ah! pardon me,” said he as he came back, “but you know. . . . business! What robbery of the affections! The heart after the strong-box, as this disinterested Camille says. Well, my dear, how do you feel now?”
The crisis had returned, and Camille, who had thrown off his cloak, showed the banker his right arm in a bandage.
“What the devil’s the matter with you?” said the baron, in surprise and alarm.
“Oh! nothing, as I have told these ladies. An accident, a fall from a horse.”
“Take a little better care of yourself, Camille, or you will enable your cousin to prevail against us.”
“Yes, for you to an extent are the cause of the crisis from which Gertrude is suffering, my dear Camille.”
“I! Then indeed am I disconsolate.”
“Yes; we were discussing your marriage.”
“My marriage? Against whom? as Scribe says.”
“Oh! do not joke,” said the banker, tenderly; “your cousin’s bad health makes it important that she should be relieved of her duties, if not by a better, at least by a stronger mistress of the house; and that is why,” he added, solemnly, “I have thought of doubling the union of our families. . . . so look you, my dear ward, with a straight blow, as Bertrand would say, full in the breast, I offer you my daughter.”
“We cannot be too closely related, Monsieur,” stammered Camille, politely.
You hear him, ladies”. . .
“But first I must at least be able to dispose of my hand,” said he, jokingly, showing his right hand in a scarf; “a marriage with the left hand would not suit Claire.”
“It is enough to be a cousin,” said Claire, dryly, bowing and going out.
As for the baroness, she kept silence, and the crisis increased.
The doctor who had been sent for entered with a jovial air, made inquiries about the case, took the pulse, looked at the tongue, felt of head and heart, and in short went through the entire diagnosis usual with physicians who get twenty dollars a visit; then he talked a great deal about stocks with the banker, and about prospects of rain and fine weather with the baroness; and he was going at last to write his prescription, when the spiritual director entered.
Confessor and physician bowed to each other without laughing, like Roman augurs; and then began between them a clerico-medical or medico-clerical conference, cassia and incense as Molière would say, in which each strove for supremacy.
They agreed on one point,— that Madame was suffering from an indisposition not immediately alarming, but which might become serious, and under certain circumstances dangerous or even fatal.
The baron listened with sympathetic attention.
“What! fatal?” said he.
“Yes,” continued the physician, “fatal. But you have her life in your hands; and as death in this case is absolutely dependent upon you, Madame has nothing to fear.”
“I do not understand you!”
“Well, I must explain myself. If Madame should become pregnant, she would not survive the birth of her child.”
“That is, God must be her heir,” said the confessor, betraying himself.
“Not a strictly necessary conclusion, Monsieur abbé,” said the baron; “but, doctor, why would pregnancy be fatal? Women do not always die in childbirth.”
“Surely not; when the woman is in good condition, it is an act of nature, always painful, but rarely fatal.”
“It is because Madame is afflicted with a form of nervous disease which does not spare in cases of pregnancy. I should fear albuminuria, or perhaps something worse; confinement, in such cases, so aggravates the disease that it necessarily carries off the patient.”
“But,” ventured Gertrude, “may the child survive?”
“Sometimes the mother gives her life to the child.”
“Poor dear Gertrude!” exclaimed the baron, embracing her impulsively.
The consultation ended as it began,— upon stocks, rain, and fine weather. Camille, on seeing the black coats enter, had gone out, threatened with a marriage, glad to evade and postpone the question, having all the morality of his day and time of life, no more.
“No luck!” said he to himself, feeling of his wounded hand, “no more in heroism than in marriage!”
Where was he going?
As his would-be father-in-law said, he was going to finish himself for a good husband by his life as a bachelor.
He was going, then, to Sophie’s.
The Students. — Sophie.
The beauty in the India cashmere, the elegant interloper of the Mount of Piety, who had refused a dollar to her mother, and who had received a hundred dollars which the Hercules of the North claimed, had also grown and ripened, like our other characters.
Endowed with that common beauty which has so many admirers. . . ordinary wine is drunk in larger quantities than superior Medoc. . . endowed on the other hand with a shrewdness that is far from ordinary, she had ascended the entire scale of prostitution.
She no longer went to the Mount of Piety; but, from heart or calculation or both,— for these courtesans sometimes have a passion which, intense and strong though low and vile, overcomes everything, even their interest, their security, and their life,— she had kept, perhaps for his physical qualities, as he himself said, her first lover or her champion, the Hercules of the North.
She exhibited him only in extreme circumstances and in cases of necessity. Established in the locality where her profession is carried on, in a charming villa in the Champs-Elysées, she received there a circle scarcely in keeping with the presence of the Hercules. As an habitué of her house, he would have been a hindrance to her business; he had to serve simply as a protector when occasion required. Therefore he never appeared except in case of need, and then only to settle tragic situations, like the God of Horace, Deus ex machina.
She practised her profession adroitly, prudently; she prospered. She had found out that, to get rich, one must not only work himself, but must make others work. . . and still young enough to exploit herself, she was no less shrewd in exploiting her fellows.
It had just struck six in her parlor furnished with divans, sofas, lounges, ottomans, and long chairs of all forms and all countries. One would have said that she had consecrated her furniture to the God of rest.
In the middle of the parlor, however, was another piece of furniture, a large round table, at which were seated not a few blacklegs and young women.
Over the table was spread a doubtful cover, and it was loaded with a suspicious dinner, given evidently for the sake of form and under the name of table d’hote.
Certainly the table must serve for something besides eating, in this house so admirably situated for some other purpose, in an isolated nook between court and garden, no neighbor able to look over the wall and cast an indiscreet or curious glance at Sophie’s double and triple mystery, culinary, erotic, and mercurial, when the real industry of her house was in progress.
The dinner over and the table cleared, an attendant, with the manners and accent of an Italian, brought some cards; and an old woman, resembling the mother who wanted a dollar at the Mount of Piety, brought candles.
Then the friends, of both sexes, all the guests, some standing, others sitting, others more than sitting, according to the Turkish proverb: “Better sitting than standing, and better lying than sitting,” took their places at the gaming-table, drew from their pockets larger of smaller piles of gold, silver, and bank-notes. . . . and the game began.
Sophie presided and kept the bank.
Thus, when society is in a morbid condition, the disease which it lops off in one form springs up again in another. The public gambling-houses which it had closed opened again secretly, more dangerous than ever.
The game soon became warm; stakes increasing, losses and gains taking on enormous and suspicious proportions, amid the laughs of the winners, the fury of the losers, the jests and oaths of all; the women looking with favor upon the fortunate, despite the proverb: “Lucky in games, unlucky in love!” Refreshments — pardon me! — stimulants circulating, and the flame of the punch adding to the ardor of the game.
In short, the usual picture of clandestine gambling-houses, worse than the public ones, closed by the government, with which every vice is open and acknowledged, Bacchus as well as Venus, the whole Olympus of evil, except Mercury, except robbery. . . which remains hidden.
At this moment Camille entered, his arm still bandaged.
Honor to whom honor is due! Sophie moved to make room for him at her right. He was welcomed by all, both men and women, for he was the finest gambler of them all; though not the richest, the most free-handed; the least furious when losing and the least inclined to banter when winning; always even-tempered and courteous, whatever his luck; and as generous as he was polite to the conquered, especially of the other sex.
With his uninjured hand he drew from his pocket an enormous package of banknotes and began to play desperately, as if to drive himself to suicide, to ruin himself, to force himself to marry Claire.
With every turn of the cards he won. . . and already the eyes of all his adversaries were turned upon him ill-naturedly. All pupils and all hearts gravitated by the Newtonian law toward his mass in the direct ratio of its weight.
He had taken everybody’s pile, among others that of the young cashier who had replaced Brémont at twice his salary and who had lost all; and he had politely handed back to him twelve bank-notes, at the same time making another package for Marraine, as they called Sophie, whose pile was also gone.
All envied this insolent luck; some, trying to pick a quarrel, ventured a suspicion and even an accusation; and things were on the point of taking an untoward turn for the lucky Camille, when suddenly the Italian valet entered, crying: “Police! Police!”
Then there was a general panic. Each one for himself! Men and women rose, ran some to the doors, others to the windows, and the commissary of police entered. He laid hands upon the money and the cards, and meanwhile everybody slipped away except Camille, who, desirous of taking away his pile, had only time to throw himself under a sofa in order to avoid arrest.
The room was thus emptied of the other players.
The commissary, taking off his scarf, straightway sat down beside Sophie, and, taking her in his two strong arms, he cried, laughing:
“What a stroke, eh? Ha! ha! Are they plucked? And the little one-armed fellow, tool What luck! Ha! ha! Kiss me again.”
And he began to laugh again as if he would split his sides and to kiss Sophie as if she were made of sugar.
During this passionate but ridiculous embrace Camille stole furtively from his hiding-place, and, throwing himself upon his money, seized it and leaped out of the hall-open window into the garden.
“Not such a one-armed fellow, after all!” he cried, as he fled.
Sophie and the commissary sat a moment as if petrified.
Then, the first to recover, and crying “Stop thief!” she said to the Hercules:
“Why don’t you run after him, you stupid? Quick, now, and overtake him! Paolo, Babet, all hands into the garden, and close the street door at once!”
The Italian and the Hercules started with the fury of lashed dogs. Excited by Sophie and the hope of gold and vengeance, they followed Camille, and a terrible chase began through the darkness of the garden.
The fanfaronade continued.
“What! you lazy, clumsy rascals, you are going to let him escape, taking everything with him, cowards that you are!” Sophie shouted after them, with all the fury of Diana the huntress.
They had jumped out of the window, and, being more familiar with the grounds than he, they had already gained on him, and soon had him surrounded; the Italian, nimbler than the Hercules, getting between the fugitive and the door and cutting off his outlet from the garden.
Camille’s position was growing critical, and God stood a chance of inheriting the Berville property.
But the Italian being the weaker of the two Curiatii, our young one-armed Horace, without paying attention to the Hercules in the rear, and having only his left arm at his service, abandoned all reliance on that, and by a stroke known among wrestlers as the ram’s stroke (coup de belier) rushed head first upon Paolo, bunted him in the belly, and sent him rolling on the ground.
Meanwhile the Hercules had come up and was about to seize Camille and hold him fast in his athlete’s arms, when, though not the strongest, the one-armed man showed himself the shrewdest by taking gold pieces from his pocket and scattering them behind him as he ran, as Hippomenes of old threw down the golden apples in the path of Atalanta.
The Hercules stopped, bent over, and picked them up, thus giving Camille a start.
But the Italian, more light of foot and now armed with his national knife, had made a flank movement.
Camille tried the same trick: once, more he sowed his gold in order to reap salvation.
“Don’t stop to pick them up, imbeciles!” cried Sophie; “collar him first, and we will gather up the coins afterwards.”
And they obeyed. Nothing further stopped them, but they were too late in adopting this course, fortunately for Camille.
At last he had gained the door of exit, left open by those who had preceded him in his retreat. He passed out, followed immediately by the two watch-dogs, who nabbéd him and began to strangle him. Suddenly Paolo, who had more than one reason for doing so, let go his hold, crying, “Some one comes!” and ran away, leaving Camille to cry “Stop thief!” and struggle in the hands of the Hercules, before whom arose a robust rag-picker armed with his hook.
Hoffman’s ward, God’s rival for the inheritance of Gertrude’s estate, Claire’s intended, the student of so much promise, spent an unpleasant quarter of an hour and was indebted for his safety to Jean, who, delivering him from the Hercules, said to him with his sagacious raillery:
“You have made a flue escape, my young man! But if you had not had so much gold in your pockets, you would not have drawn this hornet-drone down upon you.”
“Thanks, and pardon me for being unable to reward you better than by offering you this little sum,” said Camille, holding out his almost empty purse. Saved, but robbed! Where can I send you more?”
“It’s not worth while,” said Jean, with a gesture of refusal. “See, the rascal is running to the right; you go to the left, and good night.”
To Camille the words sounded like an echo of the maternal voice; he pressed the rag-picker’s hand and started off.
And the rag-picker went about his work again, saying to himself: “Devil take me if I am not decidedly taking the place of the ‘cops.’ Truly, the police department owes me a salary; and yet it talks of suppressing us rag-pickers. What ingratitude! It fears competition. Meanwhile we must fill our baskets.”
And he worked away at Sophie’s dirt-pile.
Camille, under the pressure of pain, entered a drug-store that was still open, for the purpose of readjusting his bandage, which had been disarranged by the struggle.
What was the origin of this wound in his right hand?
On the morning preceding this fine evening he had been at the rooms of the Marianne society to celebrate regicide with a meeting, secret like the gambling-house.
The Students. — Regicide.
It was the anniversary of January 21.
The students and the workingmen were celebrating the execution of Capet by an extraordinary session, the reception of new members, and a commemorative banquet in the Passage de Génie, situated in the revolutionary faubourg of that period, the Faubourg Antoine, as it was called.
The room was decorated in red, the bust of Louis Philippe occupying a conspicuous position; the meeting was made up of the usual elements, students of all schools, laborers of all trades, the latter led by the workingman of the Mount of Piety with his hammer, the intelligent “typos” being most largely represented.
The session had been opened by the reception of candidates for membership, who swore upon their side-arms and their fire-arms, upon pistol and dagger, hatred of royalty and war upon it, pledging themselves to devote life, possessions, and liberty to the death of the king and the glory of the Republic, to obey the word of command without question, and to keep the secret on pain of death.
Then, by way of symbolism, Camille, who presided, had broken the bust of the king and crowned that of Marianne with oak and olive.
Then the breakfast had begun, the symbolism being kept up by the appearance on all the tables of a big fat calf’s head crowned with laurel-sauce as the principal dish, and of Bon-Chrétien pears as the only fruit at dessert.
When the hour for toasts arrived, Camille, as president, had first proposed the toast of honor, the famous toast to the national Convention.
“To that Assembly of Titans who scaled Heaven and the Louvre, dethroned God and the King, and established Reason and the People; to that regicidal Assembly which beheaded the master and crowned the slave; to that patriotic Assembly which delivered the territory and created the nation; to that democratic Assembly which, on the ruin of the three orders, founded the Republic one and indivisible; to that humane Assembly which embodied the three principles of the French Revolution, the three dogmas of Athens, Sparta, and Thebes united, the Hellenic Trinity of modern religion, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.”
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.
Anarchy’s Growth in Australia.
Anarchism is nowhere more active than in Australia. The radicals of that little continent seem to take as naturally to the principle of extreme individualism as ducks to water. There the simple assailants of gods and bibles find themselves thrown into the shade by the assailants of governments and monopolies. In every public discussion the question of liberty pushes to the front. State Socialists, Land Nationalizationists, and Secularists all have to face it. In the debates of the Australian Socialist League, the Newcastle Hall of Science, and the Melbourne Secular Association, Anarchy is steadily the absorbing topic. The little movement which D. A. Andrade started a few years ago, as single-handed as was Liberty at the time of its first appearance in this country, has taken on astonishing proportions. It can already boast of two stanch Anarchistic journals,— one a monthly, “Honesty,” published at Melbourne, the other a weekly, the “Australian Radical,” published at Hamilton. The publishers of “Honesty” have recently rented an entire building from which to publish their paper, conduct their meetings, and carry on their growing propaganda. More than one-eighth of Liberty’s book and pamphlet patronage now comes from Australia. The “Australian Radical” — not so very long ago a State Socialistic paper, I believe — is now doing vigorous battle, under the editorship of W. R. Winspear, against governmentalism in all its forms. It is fighting for free land against the Land Nationalizationists, and for free credit, free labor, and free capital against the State Socialists, and it is doing it with great ability and intelligence.
The fact that their organ has virtually joined the forces of Anarchy is a bitter pill to the State Socialists, and some of them try to conceal or distort the fact. For instance, one of their leading men, W. H. McNamara, writes a long and violent article to combat the assertion, coming from capitalistic sources, that the paper openly advocates Anarchy. He says: “The paper is not an Anarchist paper, although several contributions have appeared in its columns from Individualist Anarchist writers. The ‘Radical’ is a Socialist, Free Communist organ, and believes in giving fair play to all, Anarchists of the philosophic kind as well as Anarchic capitalists and blood-sucking land-sharks.” Now, I have followed the paper carefully for several months, and during that time decidedly the most Anarchistic part of the paper has been the editorial columns. The editor’s economic teaching does not differ materially from Liberty’s, and is as little tinged with Communism, “Free” or otherwise. So little does Mr. McNamara a understand the editor that he declares that the capitalist whom he is answering “does not know that there is a wide difference between Socialism and Anarchy”; whereas, only three weeks before, the editor himself had spoken as follows: “We must again impress the fact upon the minds of our readers that there are two classes of Socialists,— the State Socialist, who believes in increasing the authority of the State, and the evolutionary Socialist, who believes in increasing the liberty of the individual by decentralizing the functions of government as the growth of intelligence demands.” Mr. McNamara similarly misunderstands the position of the editor of Liberty on the same question, for he says: “Anarchists like Benjamin Tucker would positively repudiate the idea that Anarchists could be classed as Socialists at all.” I have so often elaborated the exact opposite of this proposition in these columns that it seems incomprehensible that any reader should misunderstand me.
But perhaps it will be suggested that Mr. McNamara doesn’t read Liberty. Ah! doesn’t he? The “deadly parallel column” shall dispose of this suggestion. Of the quotations given below, that on the left is from an editorial written by me in Liberty of March 12, 1887, entitled “Going to Pieces on the Rocks,” while that on the right is from a long article in the “Australian Radical” of March 24, 1888, entitled “What Socialists Want” and signed by W. H. McNamara, the paragraph which I reproduce being given in that article without any indication of credit or anything to show that it was not written by Mr. McNamara himself:
Some of Henry George’s correspondence have been pestering him a good deal lately with embarrasing questions as to what will become, under his system, of the home of a man who has built a house upon a bit of land which afterwards so rises in value that he cannot afford to pay the taxes on it. . . . Mr. George virtually asserts that the claim to own a human being is no more indefensible than the claim of the laborer to own the house he has built and to the unencumbered and indefinite use of whatever site he may have selected for it without dispossessing another. The editor of the “Standard” must have been reduced to sore straits when he resorted to this argument. With all his shuttling, he has not yet escaped, and never can escape, the fact that, if government were to confiscate land values, any man would be liable to be turned out of doors, perhaps with compensation, perhaps without it, and thus deprived, maybe, of his dearest joy and subjected to irreparable loss, just because other men had settled in his vicinity or decided to run a railroad within two minutes’ walk of his door. This in itself is enough to damn Mr. George’s project.
There is another question that Henry George has never been able to satisfactorily answer. What will become, under his system, of the home of a man who has built a house upon a plot of land which afterwards rises so much in value that he cannot afford to pay the taxes on it? Mr. George, in a shuttling reply, virtually asserts that the claim to own a human being is no more indefensible than the claim of the laborer to own the house he has built and to the unencumbered and indefinite use of whatever site he may have selected for it without dispossessing another. But Editor George can not get away from this basic fact, however he may shuttle: that if government were to confiscate land values, any man would be liable to be turned out of doors, perhaps with compensation, perhaps without it, thus deprived, maybe, of his dearest joy and subjected to irreparable loss, simply because other men had settled in his neighborhood or decided to run a railway or tramway within two minutes’ walk of his door. This in itself is enough to damn Henry George’s compromising scheme.
Even the most prejudiced person, I think, will be compelled to admit that Mr. McNamara reads Liberty. But he certainly cannot understand what he reads, either in Liberty or in the “Australian Radical,” and I mildly suggest to Editor Winspear that, the next time his correspondent professes to speak for either of us as one having authority, it would be well to contrive some way of suppressing him,— some Anarchistic way, of course. But whether Mr. McNamara be suppressed or not, the “Australian Radical” will continue to be an Anarchistic paper, and Anarchy will continue to thrive in Australia. In that belief I say to my comrades there, as the old boatman says to the audience at the end of the play, “The Guv’nor”: “Yer’ands, yer’ands!”
A friend sends me a copy of the “Workmen’s Advocate,” in which a correspondent, yclept Rinctum, asks me some “pertinent questions.” He seems to be a well-meaning fellow enough, and is magnanimously disposed to shield the editor of Liberty from the “harsh criticism and even ridicule” to which irreverent “writers in Socialist papers” have unfeelingly subjected him. And he has “no doubt that Liberty will furnish a fair answer to honest questions.”
On the whole, I like Mr. Rinctum. His musical nom de guerre curiously recalls to me the chorus of an old song, about a man who sold his wife to the devil, which I loved to shout in the pensive hours of my early youth:
With a rinctum-ray! —
And a rincty-addy-ay —
And a rinctum-raddy!
And a rinctum-ray! —
but the interpretation whereof I knew not. His questions refer to my “Liberty in the Incidental” in No. 127, and to that part treating of the right of free travel.
My using the word “public” staggers Mr. Rinctum, who seems to think an individualist has no business with such an article.
It is a fatal weakness for an individualist to recognize any institution as essentially public. If he makes such admissions, he has no issue with the State Socialists, except in regard to the number of institutions that are necessarily public property. He speaks of the “public road” as a thing settled beyond controversy. Should not a railroad also be public? How about telegraphs, canals, etc.? If these things are all alike public, is not State administration of them necessary?
Public does not necessarily mean belonging to the people,— their property in common; it also, commonly and properly, means open for the people’s use, and in that sense I employed it. If we can properly call that a public hall which is really owned by a proprietor, and rented at so much a night to the people; if we call that a public house which is owned by a landlord; if we may call a woman a public character who is undoubtedly owner of her own person,— there is surely no violence in calling a strip of ground, which no one owns but on which all may travel, a public road.
I did not admit that the public road was “public property.” I said: “The public streets do not belong to any one man; neither are they the communistic property of all; for the road being nobody’s,” etc. This Rinctum quotes, but immediately forgets. This faculty to forget and misunderstand is phenomenal.
A public road, as I define it, is a strip of ground left open for free travel. Free travel requires that there shall be enough of these strips, of convenient width, to enable all individuals to travel in any direction with reasonable directness and without man-made obstruction. Liberty requires that a man shall travel at his own expense; he must smooth his own path and bridge his own streams, or, if he wishes others to do it for him, he must compensate them for the labor cost. Rinctum is ready for me here, I suspect, with the statement that, if my fellows pave my road, or bridge for me a stream, they have a right to compel me to recompense them; but he is too fast. If I would just as soon travel the rough road, who has a right to make me pay for its smoothing; and, if I am willing to wade or swim, who has a right to tax me for a bridge? What right has any man to stretch an elaborate pavement across the road which satisfies me as it is, and then compel me to share its cost? Any one who takes away from an inoffensive individual his property, no matter for what cause, against his consent, is a robber; and none the less a thief if dubbed tax-gatherer. To compel a man to recompense you for the benefit which you force him to accept is the fashionable, if not the peculiar, crime of modern times.
I assert: those who want macadamized roads, flagged pavements, and massive bridges, must pay for them, unless others choose to help; and if men elect to travel on these without contributing, they must not be hindered. Rinctum will see in all this a source of great injustice; will suppose that a great part of the people would refuse to pay their share and meanly enjoy the fruit of others’ labor; for, like most of Anarchy’s critics, he is looking at her through the spectacles of the Present, and the conditions and social atmosphere of liberty are as yet unimaginable by him.
When Anarchy is realized, there will be employment for all, and every man will possess his product; that is to say, every man will be prosperous, and prosperous men do not incline to be mean and stingy, even when their prosperity depends upon greed. The majority, it is safe to say, will take pride in paying their way,— in being not only just, but generous. At first a small minority — a survival of the present system — will be deceitful, treacherous, and inclined to take advantage, and will, probably, take advantage in this very matter. But society is not easily or long deceived; and general suspicion and distrust will fall upon those who meanly profess dissatisfaction in order to avoid cooperation, followed by a moral boycott, spontaneous, complete, and to such men terrible and practically irresistible. Only a conscientious man, conscious of his own integrity, can long endure the contempt and dislike of his neighbors when the payment of a few dollars, easily earned, relieves him of the whole burden. And in such questions the public judgment is likely to be good, and not likely to accuse a generous man of meanness.
But a few generations of Anarchy, with its practical education in independence and interdependence, in competition, cooperation, and cost,— with its solidarity and prosperity,— will make mean men rare specimens, objects of pity rather than scorn.
In a certain sense, railroads, telegraphs, etc., are public, although owned by individuals, just as hotels are public houses, although privately owned. That is to say, all these things were made for general use and accommodation. And there is no more need of State administration of railroads than of hotels. All that is needed is the voluntary association of free men to defend against crime of the more outrageous sort, and free competition to bring service in these departments up to its highest degree of excellence, and down to its equitable level of cost.
But there is a difference between a public road which is not a product of labor — simply a strip of ground left free for travel — and a private-public road, like a railroad, which is a product of labor. The first belongs to no one, but may be used by everyone; the last belongs to its makers, and may be used by anyone under certain conditions settled by the owners. The first is like a bit of common in a country town, where any one may camp, and cook, and picket his horse on the wild grass; the other is like a caravansary, where entertainment is provided man and beast for a certain sum. The public road being reserved for travel, solely, nothing has any rightful place in it except whoso travels, or that which facilitates travel; and whoever makes stationary improvements in the road owns his improvements, it is true, but not to the exclusion of their use by other travelers. Nor is there need of State administration here, either. An association of road-users to mutually facilitate and defend the right of free travel is all sufficient. Disputes may be arbitrated.
Rinctum thinks there can be differences of opinion as to what invasion is. True; and there can be differences of opinion among savages as to whether two and two make four. Just so long as scientific questions are answered by edicts of chiefs or votes of councils, such differences are not likely to grow less. Truly civilized men refer questions concerning the relation of numbers to the science of mathematics, and questions concerning the relation of individuals to the “science of society.” But in regard to this matter of human relations, most people are still savages, and decide everything according to the voice (laws) of rulers and councils. There may be differences of opinion between scientific men as to the intention of certain acts, just as there might be differences of opinion as to the significance of certain written characters,— whether they were meant for twos or threes, or whether the author meant to add or subtract,— but to decide upon given acts and intentions is a matter of science. Therefore, when Rinctum says, “invasion can be defined only by law, because there is no universal definition,” he places himself in the category of savages.
“If labor produces all wealth, are not roads wealth?” This I have already answered.
“If the product belongs to the producer, does the road not belong to all as common property?” If a road is produced by labor, it belongs, not to everybody, but to those who produced it,— to each in proportion to his labor; that is, each man owns just so much of that road as his labor has built; and he can forbid anyone else to travel on it, or permit him to do so under such conditions as it may please him to impose. Such is the private road for private use, and the private road for public use. And the right which a man possesses in such a road by reason of labor, he can sell, lease, loan, or delegate to others, or unite with their’s to promote mutual interests.
But a public road is something different. The right of free travel was before all roads produced by labor, before all formal occupancy of the land. The whole surface of the earth was then a public road, open to all. This right to free travel on the free earth was never lost, and all later rights must respect it. Those who take up land for cultivation must see to it that they leave enough free earth for the public roads, and those who improve those roads for their own convenience can never, thereby, acquire any superior or exclusive rights of travel.
“Suppose no one chooses to put a paving stone where it is needed and the street becomes impassable, how about the right of uninterrupted travel of those who elsewhere keep up their share of road?” Suppose no one chooses to provide me with food when abroad, despite the fact that I always get my own meals at home, what becomes of my right to live? One question is no more absurd than the other. A man has a right to eat only at his own expense, and a right to travel only at his own expense. His share of a road is so much of it as he uses, a thousand miles or nothing, as the case may be; his obligation to improve it his own comfort and benefit, nothing more. If he comes to an impassable place, let him make it passable, or back out, or remain stuck,— nobody can be rightfully compelled to aid him. In practice, this hard saying leads to the peaceful cooperation of human beings in the evolution and preservation of good roads. Where cost is the limit of price, every one will be eager to save cost, and good roads do that. Prosperous people love luxuries, and good roads are most luxurious. Free travel does not mean — in the common use of the term, at least — freedom from natural obstructions, but freedom from human — man-made — obstructions.
How can I be compelled to remove an obstruction placed by me if “I may put what I please in the street at my own cost”? I fell a tree in the street and escape arrest. I have done the act at my own cost, but the cost is nothing; therefore I have done no wrong, according to Anarchism, and the only right of others is to travel over the tree or remove it. The same writer says: “Social liberty is the right of each to do as he pleases co-equal with his fellow, or the right of each to do as he pleases at his own expense — equal liberty.” Then my conclusion is logical that, if a criminal escapes punishment, he has committed no crime, for he has been at no expense — except to escape.
Rinctum’s misunderstanding of cost is somewhat startling in a reader of Liberty. Yet of course, if he understood it, he would be an Anarchist; if he understood it, he would ask me none of these questions. Still, it is wonderful that an intelligent man should have penned the above.
To do something at one’s own cost means to do it without cost to others, to pay one’s own way, and be solely responsible for one’s own acts. To put anything in a street that increases the cost of travel is, manifestly, to bring expense to travellers, and the man who does it acts at others’ expense. Instead of its being true that he does “no wrong according to Anarchism,” it is precisely and solely to declare, define, and remove this wrong of acting at another’s expense that Anarchism exists.
Pardon me, Rinctum, but I have seldom seen anything in print more absurd than your “logical conclusion” from premises which declare the contrary. After quoting me correctly and fully to show that Anarchism recognizes only the right of a man to act at his own expense, you, with sublime unconsciousness, proceed to stultify yourself by declaring that, according to this philosophy, a criminal the expense of whose act falls altogether upon others and who has not acted at his own cost at all, “except to escape,” “has committed no crime.” I doubt if anything I could say could improve that.
You might as well say that, if profit means a return over and above cost, a merchant whose goods are given him and who sells at market price makes no profit. Would you say that a pickpocket who relieved you of one hundred dollars and escaped, acted solely at his qwn expense? Would not the transaction be rather expensive to you, also?
When I said, “I may make private roads, as many as I please,” I, of course, meant under conditions of equal liberty. Is it necessary for me to repeat my affirmation of equal liberty, like a refrain, at the close of every sentence? If I keep a toll road for the convenience of the public, I no more “encroach” than if I keep a hotel for the same purpose. If people need my room more than my company, they have only to stop patronizing my business, and I am “evicted” promptly enough.
And now, Rinctum, I claim to have made a fair and kindly reply to your “honest questions.” Had I not believed you both fair and honest, the tone of my reply might have been less patient. If you wish to see my answers in the “Advocate,” it is for you to get them there, for I have doubts, myself, about the editor’s giving them a cordial welcome.
And now I wish you to do me a favor in return. Please procure and read, as soon as may be, Warren’s “True Civilization,” Andrews’s “Science of Society” (give that especially close study), Yarros’s “Anarchism,” and Westrup’s late lecture on money and banking. When you have read these, reread your questions to me, and you will smile. Try it.
Read, too, all the Libertys, past, present, and to come, that “God and the State” will let you.
You will be an Anarchist yet.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
What Mutual Banking Would Do.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I think if Mr. J. Herbert Foster will read — read carefully — my essay, he will not insist that I have advocated any particular rate of interest; I advocate banking on the mutual plan, and as there is no one to pay a dividend to in the Mutual Bank other than the same borrowers, the rate of interest would necessarily be cost. He will also see, upon due reflection, that, if you form a Mutual Bank to make and issue paper bills to be used as money, just as gold and silver certificates are; secured by depositing other products of labor, just as gold or silver are deposited, or by mortgage, if the products are immovable, (only in the custody of this Mutual Association instead of in the custody of the State),— it would not be making use of capital that belonged to some one else, as is the case now, because, if you borrow gold or silver certificates, it is equivalent to borrowing the gold or silver itself, and some one is deprived of the use of that much wealth: whereas, in the case of the Mutual Bank, additional money would be made and issued to each borrower with collateral. Thus is accomplished what does not seem to have occurred to Mr. Foster; and that is the enabling of the farmer who owns a farm with improvements on it to utilize that collateral without having to pay more than cost.
It would be the abolition of stock companies as banking institutions, by the introduction of cooperation in that business, just as the introduction of cooperation in life insurance is abolishing stock companies in that line of enterprise. Besides the advantages already mentioned, would result the following:
First. All products of labor in the more permanent form could become available capital, thus increasing competition among capitalists,— a remedy for trusts, pools, and detrimental combinations of every kind.
Second. Ever more work than there could be workers to do it, with ever-increasing wages,— a remedy for lack of employment, and consequently a remedy for poverty with all its concomitant evils.
Third. A volume of currency that would admit of every transaction being a cash transaction, thus abolishing the credit system,— a remedy for panics and hard times. Today, as ever in the past, through the control of credit by an arbitrary money system, there is a surplus of labor. If a surplus of labor is the evil, a surplus of capital would be the remedy. Free money is the opposite of arbitrary money. Then free money will give us a surplus of capital. If Mr. Foster will read the essay from which he quotes, he will see that this is all explained more in detail. Come, Mr. Foster, let us see how you refute it, or will you acknowledge it?
Alfred B. Westrup.
Superiority of Voluntary Association.
[Wilhelm Von Humboldt.]
The accomplishment of any great ultimate purpose supposes unity of plan. But this unity might as easily proceed from national as from merely governmental arrangements. It is only necessary to extend to the nation and its different parts the freedom of entering into contracts. Between a national and a governmental institution there is always a vast and important difference. That has only an indirect, this a direct influence; and hence with the former there is always greater freedom of contracting, dissolving, and modifying unions. . . . The necessity of securing the consent of every individual renders the decision by a majority of voices impossible. . . . Nothing would be left to the non-consenting but to withdraw. . . . and prevent the application of a majority of suffrages to their individual cases. . . . It is better to enter into separate unions in single associations than to contract them generally for undetermined future cases.
“What Could We Do Without Police?”
[Wilhelm Von Humboldt.]
The more active the State is, the greater the number of transgressions. If it were possible to make an accurate calculation of the evils which police regulations occasion and of those which they prevent, the number of the former would in all cases exceed that of the latter.
Individualism, Communism, and Love.
With the permission of those of whom it is proper to ask it, I will now return to the “Woman Question,” a discussion upon which I opened in No. 124 of Liberty. I have patiently listened to the somewhat lengthy arguments of Zelm and Lloyd, as well as to the brief declarations of the others who have seen fit to pay the subject some attention, and I think a summing-up is quite in order. It is perhaps even necessary. The original discussion, I find, has given rise to some differences on subordinate issues, which now exploit Liberty’s columns rather too inconsiderately. Lest the reader with the penetrating eye should discover some reason for holding me accountable for all the sense and nonsense that has been, is, and is likely for a long time yet to be said on the question of love, family, and control of children, I wish to “wash my hands” and say my last word.
It will be remembered that I challenged the advocates of “independent homes” to produce substantial support of their claims both as regards the necessity for such and the possibility of such. I contended that motherhood is incompatible with independent separate existence, and that, apart from this consideration, living together is not at all necessarily an evil that woman cannot guard against except by absolutely avoiding it. (I ought perhaps to quote the most important paragraphs of the articles I refer to, but I choose to violate this traditional obligation. Why should I trouble myself about the convenience of the careless reader? It is his business to refresh his memory by rereading them. If, however, he is not interested enough to do so, I am not interested in him.) It was, then, for the challenged to face the difficulty, and show, first, that living together is an evil under all circumstances (rare exceptions always, of course, excluded), and that equality of man and woman is possible, in spite of the great natural disadvantage under which the latter has to suffer if she assumes parental responsibilities. And I submit that, if I satisfy the reader that neither of these points has been argued upon with anything like force and covered with anything like completeness, the victory in this engagement will have to be acknowledged to “Victor.”
Touching the first, Zelm admits that “it is true that, when one is in love, it is impossible to conceive happiness in any other form than the constant presence of the loved one,” but, nevertheless, she does not believe that the “finest and keenest happiness” would result “from following this wish blindly, without reason or thought.” I am happy to say that I fully agree with Zelm in this; but, as I have never advised lovers to act without reason or thought, I cannot see wherein this meets my case. Constant presence is only possible in heaven, where no business or other duties exist to interfere with enjoyment. I merely defended the “making of a home.” To make a home is “to buy land and build (or lease) a house which is ours, buy furniture which is ours, agree to have children which are ours, and make no change. . . except by mutual consent.” What are the objections to such a home? Zelm has not advanced any,— at least none of sufficient strength to warrant any general conclusion. Most certainly would “John have his smoking-room” and “Ellen her music room,” and this would by no means make their lives “independent and separate.” Zelm should bear in mind that, when I speak of a man’s and a woman’s making a home, I mean that he is to provide the means and she to take care of the domestic affairs. It is not a question of the number of rooms or beds, but of the division of labor and functions in a family.
However, let us understand each other. If, in insisting upon the necessity for individual homes, Zelm is simply anxious to secure the woman against brutal intrusion and unwelcome assiduity in attention on the part of the husband, she has no occasion to arm herself against opposition, for none exists. Had I not said that “in family life under freedom the probability or rather certainty of women’s rebellion. . . would insure peace and respect between” the husband and the wife? But Zelm does not mean that, for she also insists upon the mother’s material and pecuniary independence.
Zelm’s principal complaint seems to be that I put “the case simply, and it sounds easy: ‘when they cease to be happy together, they separate,’” and she proceeds to paint the painful details of a slow disappointment in love. Now, I realize that separation is not an easy thing, and people will probably make many attempts at reconciling different tastes and many mutual concessions before resorting to this extreme. But how does Zelm provide for this? Why, she would have the fear of separation operate as a check upon the desire to live together. Rather an heroic remedy, me-thinks. No lovers should live together because some might find it necessary to separate. This is not unraveling the knot; it is cutting it.
As to the argument about the proper control of children, I am not overwhelmed by its weight. As long as children need, and submit to, control, both parents are equally entitled to exercise it. Conflict should be avoided by distinct understanding as to conduct in possible emergencies prior to the formation of a union involving liability of parentage. In the absence of contract, juries should decide, not necessarily in favor of the mother, but in favor of the child. It should be placed where its normal development would be best assured. (The “labor” title of the mother counts for nothing, children not being vendible commodities in which repugnance overcome is the source of value. If the pain of child-bearing is to be considered title-giving cost, the child must be acknowledged as absolutely the property of the mother as any product of her manual or mental exertion; and the right to use or abuse the child during its entire existence should accompany her title as unreservedly as it does in other products. Either all this, or else nothing at all. As there is hardly a sane mind who would justify the murder of a child by the mother, logic compels to abandon the rest of the claim.) Of course, Zelm can again object that I “put it simply and it sounds easy,” but, while I am willing to admit that my plans are beset with difficulties, I am not prepared to admit that her views partake of the nature of improvements. On the contrary, they appear to me far-fetched and visionary to the last degree.
Perhaps it is well to dispose here of Mr. Lloyd’s endorsement of Zelm’s advocacy of individual homes. He naively says: “Although reared in a most harmonious communal home, and having for nearly a decade maintained an equally happy one myself, I have seen enough in these two examples. . . to condemn that system as fatally defective.” Indeed! It is due to Mr. Lloyd to say that he does not usually reason after this fashion. Have the individual homes been tried? Does Mr. Lloyd feel sure that those would not turn out even more fatally defective? A conclusion can only be rationally arrived at after all possible forms and ways have been practised and all reasonable suggestions acted upon. Life is full of hardships and discords and imperfections, Mr. Lloyd, and in most cases the question is not how to obtain the best good, but what is the least intolerable of the evils we must choose from. By all means, let us have individual homes put on trial, that we may be enabled to make comparisons. But let us not violate the rules of logical and correct reasoning by drawing conclusions and building theories on the strength of one-sided experience.
Referring to my confession that the form of love relationship I favored involved the element of Communism, Zelm severely remarks: “I cannot readily understand anyone but a Communist being ready to favor a sort of Communism between lovers.” But this is either tautology or an utter misconception of the whole issue. In so far as I am willing to accept Communism, I am of course a Communist; but, if Zelm means that my admission makes me an all-round Communist, she must have overlooked my central argument. Modern Communistic schools have few more radical antagonists than I declare myself to be. I intensely oppose them, and call myself Individualist. But this is not because I am against Communism everywhere and always, but because I am against artificial and compulsory system-making everywhere and always. I do not permit anybody to tell me where to begin and leave off, but demand liberty to act in whatever way necessity and reason may dictate. I want to determine for myself in what relation to adopt the principle of contract and commutative justice and in what other relation to practise Communism. But life to me does not appear merely a matter of dollars and cents. Contract does not by any means embrace and cover all. Human affection, where it really exists, suspends the reign of simple equity and calls to life finer and nobler and more beautiful motives of action. “Between true lovers the relations are ideal,” I said, and I now repeat it. There can be no question of exact and cold measuring and calculation in what they are, and do, to each other. In that relation Communism naturally becomes the governing principle. Love is higher than justice. To it to give seems more blessed than to receive, and the giver is never conscious of his generosity, for, even while he gives, he fancies that he is really the receiver. The principle of service for service can only guide us in those relations where services are possessed of estimable and ascertainable values; in love relations Communism alone satisfies. (Indeed, in approving the acceptance of “gifts” from the lover by the sweetheart, Zelm gives away her whole case; for, if gifts are so precious that, in her opinion, men will find high gratification in bestowing them upon their beloved, it is not to be of a very appreciative estimate of women’s nature to suppose that they would consent to be forever receiving men’s gifts without enjoying the pleasure of giving something in return. And, if they are continually giving and receiving, not services for services, but lovers’ gifts, what is this but the “Communism between lovers”,that I had reference to?)
From this fact, imperfectly understood, most of those who oppose Communism to free contract here and now, generally and indiscriminately, jump to the conclusion that universal Communism should be the ideal to look forward to and gradually to achieve. Here we see a case where the wish is father to the thought. Imbued with sentiments of fraternity and love, these hearts (to speak only of the sincere) yearn after that sublime state of existence in which all men shall be as brothers and think only of charity and benevolence, not of mutuality and equity simply. But their fatal mistake is in the assumption that men generally are “good enough” or can be made so by force, decree, or appeal. They do not see that human nature must change entirely, if such an ideal is to be attainable. At present, well says Proudhon, “man may love his fellow well enough to die for him; he does not love him well enough to work for him.” All that we can hope for, perhaps count upon, is intelligent action on the principle of live and let live,— equity. “I ask all that my products cost me, and only what they cost me,” as Proudhon says in another place. There are, it is true, some Communists who postulate a changed human nature, but they are putting the cart before the horse when they ignore liberty and work for the improvement of human character. If evolution in the social man takes the direction anticipated by them, well and good. When men shall love one another well enough to work for one another, Communism will of itself become established without any opposition. And the condition of healthy change is perfect freedom. Forcible efforts at change must prove futile, if not reactionary.
“Development of individuality” is no more the aim of life than the theologian’s “development of character.” Individuality for individuality’s sake is as absurd as art for art’s sake. The aim, so far as it is consciously present to us, is happiness. Zelm, therefore, need not entertain the slightest fear of the effect of Communism upon the individuality of the lovers. The Communism that grows out of love under freedom is not antithetical to individuality, but a high, synthetic, natural harmony, a solution and reconciliation of the contradictions. And it is the absence of love that forces us to seek another solution of the contradictions in men’s economic and social relations, as Proudhon admirably and profoundly concludes in his analysis of the origin of evil.
I hope I have succeeded in making my position comprehensible. And now we can proceed to examine what virtue there is in the second half of the argument for individual homes,— namely, the easy possibility of self-support for the mother. As all but Zelm are silent on this point, I am fairly entitled to infer that Zelm’s views regarding it are considered, not only correct, but sufficiently conclusive. Yet she has nothing more than this to offer: “It would be an exceptional case in which a woman would be unable to perform the three hours daily work necessary for self-support.” And where, pray, has she obtained the interesting information that three hours’ daily work would procure all the necessaries of life? Stephen Pearl Andrews had it that two hours would suffice, and Zelm very carefully adds another hour, to make a sure thing doubly sure. But, with all due respect to Mr. Andrews and the many excellent pages of his “Science of Society,” I cannot rest satisfied with his assertion even as amended by Zelm. I regard it as a distinctly utopian idea belonging to unscientific and sentimental Socialism. There is not a shadow of validity about it. The idea itself very badly needs support, and it is useless to attempt to make it a foundation for a sweeping statement. The man who tells you that two or three hours’ work would be sufficient under new conditions is me same who tells you that the employer gets nine-tenths of your products. Both of these claims are ridiculous. In Mr. Andrews it can be excused as a survival of his old-time Fourierism, but in modern Anarchists, who have abandoned utopia for the real industrial world, such loose thinking is inexplicable. We shall always have to work eight or nine hours a day in order to live decently and comfortably, and our problem should simply be to make our labor varied and more or less pleasant. And labor, when not monotonous and slave, is not a curse but a blessing.
Nature decrees that the child should be dependent more upon the mother than upon the father, says Mr. Lloyd; which is indisputable. But nature is equally bent upon preserving the dependency of both mother and child upon the father. There is no help for it, if men and women are to continue to live and love and reproduce their kind. Zelm, indeed, contemplates a new sort of asceticism, but I cannot follow her. A social theory that requires the suppression of powerful natural promptings and appetites, and ultimately would result in the extinction of the race, can lay no claim to scientific importance. Let us, once for all, separate ourselves from the illusions of the past and cease to amuse hard-headed people by our extravagant hopes and fancies. When we declare, with Proudhon, that in the principles of economic reform, “with the consequences that flow from them,” is contained the whole of practical Socialism, and that “outside of it there is nothing but utopia and chimera,” consistency requires that we guard against the mistake of applying one and the same yard-stick to all the things of life. The innumerable relations into which we are forced or attracted cannot be regulated by one and indivisible principle, but must depend upon innumerable life-giving forces, which, of course, all in common recognize in Liberty their first and last condition.
[It has been a serious question with me whether, with fairness to Zelm, I could allow the appearance of the foregoing article. It would be quite clear to me that I could not, but for the fact that Victor, in his original article, said that he should return to the subject. But where is the unfairness to Zelm? the reader will ask. This requires an explanation — which otherwise would be out of place — of the arrangement by which the original articles were written. It was agreed between Victor and Zelm, in accordance with a proposal made by Victor himself, that he should write a statement of his views on the subject in question, and submit it in manuscript to Zelm; that she should then write a statement of her views as a contrast to his, and in turn submit it to him; that he should then revise his manuscript in the light of hers, if he should think it best to do so; that she then should have a similar privilege; and so on, until each should be content to let his or her statement finally stand for comparison with the other’s. Whatever criticism these articles might call out, and whatever rejoinder either of the writers might make to it, the original articles were to end the matter between Victor and Zelm. Such was the arrangement between them, and in that form it was submitted to and accepted by me. Its purpose was to save Liberty’s space, and to avoid controversy, to which Zelm is averse. She would not have entered into the arrangement on any other terms. But Victor’s article was no sooner written than it appeared from the concluding portion that he intended to return to the subject. My error in this matter consists in failing to sufficiently notice the importance of this, and insist upon its omission as being in violation of Victor’s agreement. In consequence of this error Victor has a technical claim on me for the publication of the second article, and for this reason I print it; but it is none the less substantially a transgression, and as such unfair to Zelm. I can make amends to her only by this explanatory statement. She prefers to adhere to the original contract, and therefore will make no rejoinder to Victor’s second article. In my judgment she can well afford to thus rest her case, for I do not think that any of her positions have been overthrown or weakened. Nevertheless, there is a certain advantage in having the last word, and lest some may construe her silence as confession of error, I make this statement of the reason of her silence. As for the others who have contributed to this discussion, I certainly do not feel that they have in any sense “exploited Liberty’s columns.” They were invited to take part in it, and in their own way; and I am very much obliged to them for accepting the invitation. If there has been any tinge of exploitation anywhere, it was in Victor’s presentation of his second article. As he was so eager to wash his hands, I hope he will forgive me for washing mine. The discussion, as such, then, ends here, although the columns of Liberty are still open to Victor, Zelm, or anybody else, for treatment of the love question in an independent way. — Editor Liberty.]
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.