“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.
Those labor papers which say that Mayor Hewitt “was a red-hot labor reformer before he got rich” are not just. The famous address before the Episcopal Church Congress in which Hewitt enunciated his radical doctrines was delivered when he was already a millionaire.
When Henry George gave the sanction of his approval to the murder of the Chicago Communists, the Chicago “Labor Enquirer” vigorously denounced him for his treachery. But when that paper died a few weeks ago, it transferred its subscription list to Henry George’s “Standard.” Why did it thus lend its influence to this dishonest man? Did it not thereby become a sharer in the guilt of his treachery? Charity may cover a multitude of sins if they are small, but that gigantic sin its mantle can never cover.
Defending the position of the “Alarm” on the question of force, Mr. Lum solemnly speaks of the duty which he owes to the founder of the journal, A. R. Parsons, and of its traditions which it would be disloyalty and dishonesty to violate. Now this requires some explanation: Does Mr. Lum mean to convey that he advocates the views of Parsons because he succeeded him as editor, while personally dissenting from them as much as any of his critics? If this is not the case, and he himself holds those views, what is the use of referring to “duty” at all? A far more rational, manly, and conclusive answer to his critics would be the simple statement that he teaches according to his best understanding and belief. It is impossible that Mr. Lum should so far endorse the “ethics of Kant” as to find the highest morality in acting against his reason and inclination in obedience to a sense of duty.
Mr. Yarros’s admirable article on “Passive Resistance” accords so completely in its “central purpose and general tenor” with the teachings of this paper that it not only fits, but greatly strengthens, the editorial columns. Its incidental statements, however, do not on that account commit the editor. Still there are several reasons why he prefers to expressly disclaim the opening reference to Marie Louise, the writer for the “Alarm,” as “a woman with a temper.” First, the editor of Liberty, being a very ill-tempered person himself, cannot gracefully complain of ill temper in others. Second, he remembers that, if Marie Louise’s emphatic language is to be regarded as an evidence of temper, she was answering a woman who in controversy has shown by no means the sweetest of dispositions. Third, he feels no inclination to speak slightingly of a writer àpropos of an article one-half of which was as admirably right as the other half was wretchedly wrong. On the question of passive resistance Marie Louise is sadly in need of light, but her rebuke of a social reformer’s recent arraignment of other reformers on account of their private vices was richly deserved and none too ill-tempered.
Because President Cleveland, in his letter of acceptance, gave utterance to some sound opinions on finance, with which Liberty found itself in agreement, a friend, instead of congratulating Cleveland and wishing he had been more logical and made wider application of the truth, bitterly assails Liberty and declares that the fact that the latter has something in common with such a man as Cleveland is sufficient to damn it as of no radical significance whatever. I confess I have hitherto thought that truth is equally truth whether proclaimed by prophets and seers or conceded by time-servers and sophists. But it seems that I have been in error. Freethinkers must anathematize and repudiate Rabelais, Voltaire, Shelley, and Byron, since the orthodox admit their greatness; Abolitionists must curse the memory of John Brown, whose praise is frequently sung by reactionaries; admirers of Emerson who desire to preserve their reputations as true social reformers must hasten to disavow all sympathy with that worthless individual, who actually commands the respect of many bigoted conservatives; and Anarchists must be prepared to throw overboard any part of their programme the moment it is approved by anybody not known to be (or known not to be) perfect in all respects. Perhaps, however, the critic is wrong, and his strictures are due to the probable circumstance that he has not sufficiently mastered the opinions in question to pronounce decided judgment upon them either one way or the other.
Spencer’s Narrow Escape.
Nowhere does Herbert Spencer come nearer (or even as near) to an open and full endorsement of Anarchism as in the following extract from the chapter on “Religion and Science” in his “First Principles.” Had he made the same observation in any of his political and social treatises, Professor Huxley would not have limited himself to criticising him for “administrative Nihilism,” but would have plainly denounced him as an Anarchist.
In different times and places we find concerning the origin, authority, and functions of government a great variety of opinions. . . . Ridiculous as they may severally appear to those not educated under them, . . . each of them insists on a certain subordination of individual actions to social requirements. There are wide differences as to the power to which this subordination is due; there are wide differences as to the motive for this subordination; there are wide differences as to its extent; but that there must be some subordination all are agreed. From the oldest and rudest idea of allegiance, down to the most advanced political theory of our own day, there is on this point complete unanimity. Though, between the savage who conceives his life and property to be at the absolute disposal of his chief, and the Anarchist who denies the right of any government, autocratic or democratic, to trench upon his individual freedom, there seems at first sight an entire and irreconcilable antagonism; yet ultimate analysis discloses in them this fundamental community of opinion: that there are limits which individual actions may not transgress, limits which the one regards as originating in the king’s will, and which the other regards as deducible from the equal claims of his fellow-citizens.
Radical Reform Essentially Peaceful.
[Wilhelm Von Humboldt.]
Those processes of human agency advance most happily to their consummation which most faithfully resemble the operations of the natural world. The tiny seed, for example, which drops into the awaiting soil, unseen and unheeded, brings forth a far richer and more genial blessing in its growth and germination than the violent eruption of a volcano, which, however necessary, is always attended with destruction. And, if we justly pride ourselves on our superior culture and enlightenment, there is no other system of reform so happily adapted, by its spirit of calm and consistent progression, to the capacities and requirements of our own times.
And you are dead, my beautiful, beloved,
My inmost love, my sweet, dark, gentle friend;
No more the light from your brown eyes, so soft.
Shall be the radiance of my humble home;
No more your voice shall welcome back from toil;
No more your soft, brown, clinging tress shall frame
With glinting, silken charm your sweetest face;
No more that head upon my breast shall lie,
With fragrant breath perfuming all my beard —
Soul-beautiful, I would have died for thee!
No more! — I mind we often talked of death,
How that our final change was like a sleep
In which we dreamed ourselves away, away,
Into the stream that sparkled in the sun,
Into the breeze that whispered in the pine,
The bud, the blade, the inconstant flower,
The mobile cloud that dappled heaven’s dome.
The lightning’s flame that split the leafy oak,
The soft blue haze that bid in sylvan shades,
Away, away, till we were wholly gone;
Forming new life within a hundred lives;
Held fast within the circles infinite;
Unconscious, oft, that we had lived before;
Ofttimes unknowing we were living still;
Absorbed into the members of the Whole —
Ah! It was not wise to weep,
We said, in this short life so strangely sweet,
(I have not wept) or make a moan at death
(I have not moaned), but calmly, healthfully,
With conscious joy, we each should pluck the blooms
Within our reach; and calmly, restfully,
Each one, when tired, should fall in sleep in peace.
Without regret or fear, as knowing well
The worth and worthlessness of life.
O wise, without regret or fear you slept;
And I — looked calmly on your dying face,
And I looked calmly in your open grave;
Calmly I go to reap the fruits of life,
Within the precious hours I keep awake,
This brief, swift-changing time that I am man.
Until I too shall sleep.
O love, O sweet,—
Perchance within our dreams to meet! — mayhap
To kiss and flow together in the stream,
To laugh and murmur ’neath the mossy stone,
To drift and eddy in the placid pool,
Our eyes in bubbles smiling side by side;
Mayhap to rise, sun-lifted, in the steam,
To float above the green, beneath the blue,
To fall in dancing drops upon the corn,
To flash in forking flames athwart the night.
Or call, or whisper, in the whirling wind;
It may be I shall swell the piping throat
That sings beside some sylvan nest, while you
May warm the breast that warms the spotted eggs;
Just as I sang, erstwhile, in wildwood home.
When you, at eve, were with our nesting babes —
Ah well! Farewell! My lips repeat our lore: —
Be brave, be wise, be happy — this is life —
You taught in death, I live to teach it true; —
Soul-beautiful! beloved! I would have died
For thee! I would have lived for thee.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
An Eternal Tramp.
The whole history of the human race shows its life to have been one perpetual ministration at the shrine of ceaseless mutation. There may be temporary lulls, or brief tantalizing respites, like the motionless tide before it changes its course, but as well attempt to drown the fires of the sun as attempt to clog the wheel of action in its inexorable revolution around the orbit of human destiny. Man is a constitutional and predestinate explorer, tramping in search of repose without loss of passion or of sensibility. “Tramp,” he was told by Socrates; “you shall never find it in this world.” “Tramp,” he is told by St. Paul; “if you tramp rightly, you shall find it in the next.”
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. B. Tucker.
Continued from No. 134.
I call this the most fatal injury to the family and to society. It is never good for man to have God for a rival. The priest, representing God, always possesses at least half of woman, if not all of her. Society is strong only through the family, its foundation; in this lies the superiority of Protestant nations. A warning to peoples who confess.
A man and a woman who come too near each other at night on a bench are arrested, convicted of an outrage on modesty, and sentenced. A man and a woman may meet with impunity in a church and, what is more, in a box,— Pandora’s box.
La Poubelle is nothing!
The greatest prose-writer of the epoch, Paul-Louis Courier, who was murdered partly for this, wrote an admirable page against confession, concluding by saying that, out of many priests whom he had known, he had met only one old one frank enough to say: “I have ended my life without transgression, but I should not like to begin it over again!”
Do we realize indeed that we allow our young wives and even our young daughters to shut themselves up on their knees in a religious niche, on their knees beside a young priest, a bachelor, idle, urged on by high living, excess of force, and privation, both alone in the darkness, head to head, mouth to mouth, and discussing conjugal questions. As well put a match under straw without fearing fire, or bread before a fasting man without fear of his tooth!
Even the soldier, who has made no vow of chastity, would be better than the priest.
Would one expose his wife and daughter to the same risk shut up in a chamber even with a friend?
It would be neither decent nor prudent.
But here again there would be a counterpoise. The man of the world has certain natural reserves through the legitimate satisfaction of his wants, through respect for the family of another, through love of his own,— in a word, through community of duties.
But the priest, picked, chosen like the conscript, neither infirm nor deformed, young, virgin, and — let us repeat — idle, forced by rich food, idleness, and continence, is in a continuous, endemic, and constitutional state of desire; and if there is a single one among them all, as Pius IX says, who can conquer nature, it is that of Paul-Louis Courier.
So, having eaten a good dinner, very stimulating and, thanks to the benedicite, thoroughly digested, assimilated, and converted into chyle, the fat and lusty abbé Ventron, full of the warmest products of the sunshine, wines and viands, in full possession of his animal spirits, was seated in his box in the corner of a chapel of the Virgin, at the back part of the church, in the shadow of the arches and far from the lamp of the chorus, which, moreover, burns but does not light.
All was silence and gloom, profound mystery around him, and he was about to fulfil the sacred duty of the priest, exercise his holy ministry authorized and salaried by the State, lend ear to his flock, counsel them, guide them, give them moral lessons, purify them, absolve some, reprove others, distribute absolution to these, remittance to those,— in short, confess them.
For this rehearsal of the last judgment the representative of God sat indifferently well upon his cramped throne, filled with his digestive apparatus. Then the anointed of the Lord blew his nose, coughed, spat, took snuff, filled his lungs full of air, and at last lent ear to the first of a score of catechised who filed past him indifferently and rapidly, like ordinary offenders in a police court.
Marie, who, through reluctance to take her place, had allowed all the others to pass, still hesitating, but fearing to displease or disappoint her mother, decided at last to kneel.
This catechumen was different. The priest took no more snuff. He no longer gave ear. He applied his lips to the grating that scarcely separated him from Marie’s blonde head, until he almost touched, until he even smelt, the child’s flesh.
“Say your Confiteor.”
“I confess to God the omnipotent, to the blessed Virgin”. . .
“There, that will do! Amen! What do you confess?”
“My disobedience to you.”
“A great sin, my child. And why not obey me?”
“Because you have made me cry.”
“Ah! it is for your good, Marie. Between you and me, follower and priest, there must be frankness, confidence, and secresy. God is an enemy of pride and of falsehood, two great sins, two mortal sins, punished with the eternal fires of hell, two blasphemies in fact, for God is truth as well as humility.”
The young girl remained silent.
“He is love also,” continued the priest. “I have already asked you more than once this question: before uniting yourself to God by the holy communion, have you ever thought of this holy alliance? Have you ever dreamed of the sweet Jesus in his human form? At least, have you ever seen your guardian angel cover you with his wings?”
“No, father, never.”
“Then I fear you have had visions less pure, desires more earthly; perhaps you have thought of marriage, dreamed of a carnal tie with some lad of your age. Doubtless you have had conversations, readings, caresses, kisses, oscula viri,” and he spoke the Latin of the “Confessors’ Manual,” of Monseigneur the bishop Bouvier.
“I do not comprehend you, father,” said the poor child, in an agitated voice, fortunately understanding the priest’s French scarcely better than his Latin.
“Come with me into the sacristy,” said he; “I will exorcise the demon of pride, I will evoke the guardian angel; come into heaven, my dear daughter, I will give you a book illustrated with holy images, and I will explain all this to you. Yesterday you refused.”
“No, father, I do not want to,” said Marie, instinctively rebelling.
“Obey, rebel,” said the theological ogre, “if you wish to make your first communion. I am your spiritual father. You have no other.”
“That’s where you make your mistake,” cried a terrible voice.
Then a man, standing at the corner of the confessional and having heard all, took Marie by the arm, saying to her in a low tone: “Silence!” and then braced himself with all his might between the wall and the box and overturned the confessional upon the confessor.
At the noise of the fall and the cries of the priest enclosed like a turtle in its shell, all the defenders of the sacristy came running up, the Swiss with his cane and the beadles with their maces: and, seeing the box overturned upon its precious contents and then a man escaping with the young girl, they tried to stop them.
But the man, arming himself with a chair and swinging it over his head, in a combat such as is not described in Boileau’s Lutrin, piled the beadles on top of the Swiss, while the warden called for the police.
The police arrived too late, as usual,— that is, when the man and child had left the church.
Then, fortunately for the avenger of public morality, the incident had gathered a group and a crowd. The man told what he had done and why he had done it; and, the people applauding, the police, who were not the police of Charles X, and who realized, moreover, that they were few in number, either dared not or could not arrest Jean, or even prevent him from going back into the church with the crowd, taking the confessional, carrying it out upon the steps, and setting fire to it. The confessor, of course, was no longer inside.
The man took the child home to her mother.
“Ah! it is you!” said Louise to Marie; “then you met Father Jean?”
“I beg pardon, excuse me, Madame, I did not meet Mam’zelle Marie; I followed her, and for her good; and I bring her back to you none too soon . . . and I restore her to you safe and sound, but I hope that you will not send her again to confession.”
“Why, because it is like sending Little Red Riding Hood to the wolf! because that scoundrel of a priest has said things to your child which she fortunately did not understand, but which would make you blush to hear and me to repeat to you.”
“Jean is right, mother; I will never go back there; and I will not make my first communion.”
“Do you wish her to make it with the priest rather than with God?”
“What do you mean, Father Jean?”
“I mean that your priest would have stolen your child but for me; that, if I had a child, I would rather entrust her to a convict than to a priest; and that it is better to be damned with the devil than saved in the Ventron Paradise. Ah! pardon me, Madame Didier, I swore to poor Jacques that I would watch over her . . . . and over you; and if I had arrived too late to save her from the priest, I would have killed him.”
“Ah! my God! in whom can we trust? I will not send her again! Father Jean! thank you! thank you!”
And Jean went to bed, like a good guardian, having done his duty against the confessional and the brothel, having saved Marie’s honor as he had saved Camille’s life.
There was one person in the English quarter, near the Madeleine, who was not happy,— a light-complexioned son of Albion landed in Paris, Master Jack, a jockey who had come expressly to ride Frinlair’s horse at the Longchamps races.
The unfortunate Jack was what is called in training in the language or slang of the turf, a slang which we have borrowed from the English, as in the case of the word redingote, riding coat.
That is to say, Jack was preparing to make the most of his master’s horse, not to improve the race of horses, but to damage the purse of men.
It is so little the object of races, or courses as we call them in French, to improve the equine race that they have succeeded in making horses without neck enough to feed in pasture or belly enough to digest, and with only such legs as will enable them to run fast, but not long,— which is called progress.
Similarly, always under pretext of improving the race, the makers of meat and fat have manufactured cattle without horns — what will the bull-fighters say? — and without legs, all belly, balls of flesh and suet for John Bull’s puddings and roast beef.
Ah! when the English turn their attention to anything, what a creation! what a world! what master-pieces! all for the mouth and the pocket! the last word of civilization.
But if the animal suffers through this British mania which we are beginning to import into France, the human race suffers still more . . . . in so far as the race can be represented by a jockey.
To an extent he doubtless does represent it; and for this reason we refer to the miseries of poor Jack.
The unfortunate biped had submitted himself for a fortnight to a real martyrdom in order to fit himself as thoroughly as possible to mount a quadruped.
In the first place, he had to be weighed regularly, morning and evening, to detect the slightest increase of weight and stop it as soon as possible.
He was visited by a doctor, who prescribed accordingly.
Neither roast beef nor pudding! Lord! Neither stout nor porter! Only small beer and oatmeal, Great God!
And, coupled with this régime of abstinence, a régime of continence!
No expenditure without receipts! No Venus without Ceres or Bacchus! Diet in mensa necessitated diet in toro. Forbidden to see his wife!
At last, the day of the races having arrived, ready to mount his horse, with jacket and cap of Frinlair’s colors, he had been weighed for the last time and found in condition. Good weight,— that is, reduced to two-thirds of his natural weight. Such is the desire of amelioration . . . and speculation.
Homicide by wholesale is punished, but is permissible by retail. See Merlatti.
Camille, national and patriotic, and out of personal antagonism also, had bet against Frinlair’s English horse and jockey. Perfecting also the equine and human races of France, he had entered a French horse and jockey who, unfortunately less patriotic than his master, had consented to sell himself to Frinlair, himself and his horse, which he had drugged; and the traitor allowed himself to be beaten on the turf, preferring much gold without glory to much glory and little gold.
Thus Camille and his horse were improved by the Longchamps races.
Frinlair’s jockey, or rather his English horse, had beaten by a head the French horse, dosed and even held in at the end of the race by its treacherous rider.
An enormous stake — these races are only a gambling scheme — had been wagered by Camille against Frinlair, and Camille had lost.
The bet had been made upon trust,— a debt of honor.
Among those who witnessed the race were the baron, and his daughter in a dazzling toilette, sitting with her father on the back seat of a four-in-hand and applauding Frinlair’s triumph.
The victory decided, the four horses, driven at a gallop, took the baron back to the hotel.
No sooner had he arrived than he went up to Camille’s room and placed a paper on his desk so that he would see it on entering.
And scarcely had he gone out when Camille entered, showing all the signs of the keenest vexation.
In the first place his pride was involved. He had been beaten both by Frinlair and in the presence of Mazagran, whom he had definitively taken and at great cost by way of compensation for the trick played on this good girl. She took her revenge in her own way, by ruining him.
His love — I beg pardon — his loves cost him the very eyes in his head.
A basket pierced, and with several holes; disputed or rather divided, as Figaro says, between politics and pleasure; rarely sleeping in his own bed; sober, however, if he ate alone,— his good health held, out, out not so his fortune. Gertrude, tainted by Claire, had ceased giving him advice to which he did not listen. The baron was too indulgent to say a word, and Camille inherited from his mother a contempt for money, turning up his nose at it. But every virtue has its vice. She was generous; he was wasteful, and in every direction. Love, horses, wagers, suppers, he literally ran to his ruin and this time, in fact, even honor was compromised.
How pay this debt to Frinlair? he said to himself. Twenty thousand dollars! I have exhausted everything . . . and this week has been a week of disasters. I have bled my guardian at every vein! What’s to be done now? Yet by some means or other a way must be found! Not to pay Frinlair is out of the question. To fail him is worse than to fail others. Not pay him! I would rather take the leap and marry!
Suddenly, casting his eyes mechanically on his desk, he saw the paper.
A check for twenty thousand dollars on the bank, payable on demand, to the bearer, with a blank left for the name of the payee and signed. It had only to be filled out. That could be done; the paper lay waiting for it, all ready to be cashed. A frightful temptation seized Camille; the struggle was long and keen. Who had put this paper there? The baron. How? Why? A test? Doubtless a trap? Oh, no, to secure the marriage? And he turned the check over in every direction. At last he took his pen, and was just on the point of writing his name, when he cried:
“Ah! the name that she bore, that she taught me to write on a different sort of checks, bread-checks!”
And he threw down his pen, placed the check on the desk again, rang for Léon who came, and said quickly:
“Ask the baron to come here. Tell him that I am indisposed, and that I desire to speak to him.”
The valet bowed and went out, and soon the baron appeared in alarm.
“What’s the matter, Camille?” he said.
Camille, taking up the check with the ends of his fingers and showing it to the baron, said:
“You recognize this blank check; you have put it here I know not why; but take it away; it will only be lost or fall into the hands of forgers.”
“But, my dear friend”. . .
“I do not want it! Prodigal, yes; but not guilty.”
“Ah! guilty . . . with me!”
“I might be impelled to commit a forgery. Decidedly, dear guardian, your kindness will make me distrust you,” said the ward.
“But you have twenty thousand dollars to pay this very day,” said the baron, vexed and insisting. “It is either money or honor.”
“I know it . . . . but since you speak of honor; wait, I will accept this check, but on condition of earning it.”
“Well, I abandon my life of follies and dangers; I will leave the city of pleasure, Paris, and go to the city of work, London, to manage our branch house. The manager has sent you his resignation; I will take his place at the same pay; then I shall be able to pay my debt of honor without dishonoring myself.”
“Separate from us, my dear Camille, leave us! What are you thinking of! What would Claire say? What would become of my dearest wish, your marriage with my daughter? Disturb thus all my wisest as well as dearest plans! Never! No, never will I allow your departure. Exile yourself, deprive yourself of Paris to earn money with which to pay Frinlair? But you are not — I beg pardon — we are not reduced to that point, thank God! I do not calculate in dealing with you, Camille, and if I have thus offended you, I ask you to excuse me. As your guardian I must look out for your fortune, but I can also reassure you as to your resources; and were they insufficient, you could still rely on mine. So frankly keep these twenty thousand dollars to your account and in your name, which I write in plain letters, with my own hand, before your two eyes, scrupulous madcap! Here!”
And he handed him the check made out in his name.
“With that understanding, all right then! Thank you! Frinlair will be honorably paid, and I honestly acquitted.”
An hour later Frinlair had his money and Camille his receipt, the latter capable now of marrying gracefully the daughter of so good a guardian, who beat all the American uncles in the plays of Scribe.
Meanwhile Gertrude, worked upon by Claire and the abbé Ventron, still thwarted her husband’s plan, favored the young count, and had even invited him to a party given expressly for him, in his honor, and in the interest of his marriage.
With the stubbornness characteristic of a lamb from Berri and a pious one at that, Gertrude persisted in her design of giving her adopted daughter to the Count de Frinlair, in spite of the wish of her husband, who intended her for cousin Camille. She was resolved.
Decidedly God and Claire, to say nothing of the king, were opposed to this lowest of marriages, impious, vulgar, and regicidal.
On the day after the scandal of Saint-Roch the Baroness Hoffman, her daughter Claire, and their unfailing confessor were together in the parlor, conferring on this subject with mysterious animation.
“My poor child,” said Gertrude, “the plan pleases me as much as it frightens me, and really I do not dare”. . .
“Why not?” said the abbé, solemnly. “God is stronger than the baron. His will be done!”
“Ah! your reverence, I shall be Madame Berville . . . . ha! ha!” exclaimed Claire, with a nervous laugh that broke in her throat.
“No,” answered her mother, “you shall be Countess de Frinlair or”. . .
She did not finish, maintaining a stormy silence, walking back and forth in her excitement as if to give herself, merely by physical motion, the moral strength to combat her husband.
Claire, sitting on the sofa, was no less agitated.
The priest alone preserved the coolness befitting a director of consciences.
The darkness of evening, like a rising tide, little by little invaded the sumptuous parlor.
As the seconds went by, the room became shaded with a deeper tint. This royal luxury, worthy of the first banker of the court, became less loud and gained in grandeur what it lost in brilliancy.
The vast apartment no longer dazzled, it impressed; the ceiling, the mouldings, and all the ornaments seemed to float in a magic atmosphere; the chandelier was more sombre in its gleaming. The golds, too resplendent by daylight, assumed a dead tone which concentrated their richness.
The Boules, master-pieces of a past art, marvels of a dream of the “Thousand and One Nights,” and such as the Louvre itself no longer offered to the king, seemed, in the penumbra, endowed with a fantastic life. The pictures became kaleidoscopes; the family-portraits dissolving views in frames gilded with fairy-like illusions.
All that was fixed seemed to move and change, thus exciting more and more the strained nerves of the two women.
An idea of envy, common and natural to the fortunate of this world who are dying of weariness and idleness in the enchantment of their luxury, then came to Claire’s mind:
“There is no one to thwart her in her inclinations. She is very happy, she!” “Of whom do you speak?” asked Gertrude.
“I am thinking of our little seamstress who goes off so contented with the roll of silk which she takes away for her work. I envy this Marie,” continued Claire.
Did the baroness remember that the banker Berville also envied his collector, when the latter was dying in defence of his receipts? . . .
“Be still,” said she; “it is offensive to God thus to censure his designs by ingratitude. It seems to me that his vengeance — pardon me, his justice will visit us with some misfortune.”
And the baroness sat down beside Claire, took her forehead in her two hands, thought a minute, and said feverishly:
“Must it be, yes or no?”
“Yes,” said the priest, “it is an exceptional case! For great evils great remedies! The end justifies the means. Everything in the interest of heaven and for the glory of God!”
“That or the convent, mother!” cried Claire.
And no longer containing herself, she threw herself back upon the sofa, weeping and sobbing.
Gertrude, moved by this spoiled child’s sorrow, bent over toward Claire and took her in her arms, fondling and caressing her.
“There, it is over, isn’t it, my pet? Go to your room; I am going to talk with your father. You will be satisfied with me.”
“Thank you, good mamma,” said Claire, effusively. “Courage!”
And she went out, counting on her mother.
Gertrude at once rang and sent for the baron, who soon arrived, ever attentive and gallant toward his wife.
“Here alone and in the twilight, and with Monsieur the priest,” said he, smiling; “a conference. . . . and you call me in. . . . a case of conscience? France is not Spain, and husbands here have a consultative voice. What is the question? Let us see, my dear. I am listening.”
And, lighting a candelabrum, he added pleasantly:
“Let there be light. Then my eyes will do service as well as my ears. Now go on,” said he at last, in a more serious tone.
“Will you be as reasonable as you are charming?”
“What do you mean, my friend?” said the banker, smiling but attentive. “Well, seriously and finally, what is your last word in regard . . . to your . . . to our daughter?”
“Claire?” said the baron, slowly, to give himself time for reflection.
“Yes, since God has not granted me the grace that he granted to Sarah, I must say: Our daughter. . . . Well?”
“I wish her to be happy, nothing more or less.”
“So do I. And I know that she does not love Camille.”
“She will love him. I have told you repeatedly that I have decided upon this marriage, necessary in our common interest and for the happiness of us all.”
“Happiness, no! interest, perhaps! So, then, the gross word is out at last! The strong-box!”
“Pardon me,” said he, with an ever-increasing firmness. “I know that figures irritate your nerves, my generous dear. But then a million is a million; it is Claire’s dowry . . . and I must look to it. This marriage leaves it in the strongbox, as you say, in our treasury. This marriage therefore is indispensable. Consequently, my dear, send out your invitations for the engagement party.”
“And in this account your child’s heart figures as an item. I protest, Monsieur, in her behalf and in mine, against this abuse of paternal and conjugal power, against this marriage objectionable from every standpoint,— character, opinion, and religion.”
“And yet indispensable,” replied the baron; “that is my last word.”
And he bowed and went out, for the first time inflexible before his wife’s will. Gertrude, Ventron, and Claire, who had come back, looked at each other in amazement at first, and then took heart again.
Claire was the first to revolt:
The priest, more thoughtful, said:
“What inexplicable and mysterious resistance! We shall have much trouble in conquering.”
“Have faith, your reverence,” said Gertrude. And, more royalist than the king, she cried: “God helping, we will conquer!”. . .
Then the coup d’état was decided upon.
Not without difficulty had the baroness been able to obtain the baron’s consent to the invitation of Frinlair to Camille’s engagement party.
Every time that this name was brought to his hearing in conversation, he became horrified; every time that he heard the young attaché of the embassy spoken of, he bristled up, in anger or in consternation. It was more than an ordinary aversion, it was a repulsion as absolute as the attraction which he felt for Camille.
Gertrude, the abbé Ventron, and Claire had used all their strength and strategy to overcome the baron’s repugnance.
Claire had shrewdly invoked her boarding-school friendship. She had not said a word of the brother; she had spoken only of the sister. And as the baron had made the mistake, so far as his cause was concerned, of allowing the sister, Claire then had concluded:
“How invite the sister without the brother?”
The abbé Ventron had spoken only of the high royal and papal relations of the Frinlair family, naturally without making the slightest allusion to Claire’s love.
As for Gertrude, she, on the contrary, had placed squarely before her husband her prejudices and resolutions against Camille who was only rich and for how long? She could not understand the baron’s inexplicable objections to the invitation of so pious a young man, a model of conduct and virtue, whom it was well to cultivate and with whom Camille especially had everything to gain.
“Except his money,” the baron had retorted, thinking of the check.
She had finished, as usual, by a charge at full speed upon the democrats, the atheists, the libertines, enemies of God, religion, and society, and against the baron himself, who had disappointed her by his faith in Camille, the worst of all.
And the discussion had become a dispute, and finally the baron, weary of war and even fearing another nervous crisis, had yielded.
Count Gaston de Frinlair, heir of the personage who had supplanted the Duke de Crillon-Garousse in his estate, had the family traits. He inherited from his father the diplomatic genius and profession.
He had at last received the invitation to the rout sent him by the baroness, impelled, as we have seen, to do him this honor by the interest of Claire and the abbé Ventron and by her own inclination.
It was a triple coalition in favor of Frinlair against Berville, who was more than indifferent, and against the baron, who was alone in warmly championing Berville against Frinlair.
Evidently the chances, in spite of paternal and conjugal omnipotence, were in favor of Frinlair. What woman wants, God wants, says the proverb. But what God and woman, and two women, want, the devil himself will want.
Yes, but how to present himself at the house of the baroness, where he ran a risk of meeting Camille? And how face Camille after the treacherous pistol-shot?
This was what the young diplomat asked himself.
To be continued.
“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.
The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.
“The Position of William.”
John Ruskin, in the first of his “Fors Clavigera” series of letters to British workmen, opened what he had to say about interest by picturing what he called “the position of William.” Bastiat, the French economist, had tried to show the nature of capital and interest by a little story, in which a carpenter named James made a plane in order to increase his productive power, but, having made it, was induced by a fellow-carpenter named William to lend it to him for a year in consideration of receiving a new plane at the end of that time besides a plank for the use of it. Having fulfilled these conditions at the end of the first year, William borrowed the plane again on the same terms at the beginning of the second, and year after year the transaction was repeated to the third and fourth generations of the posterity of William and James. Ruskin disposed of this plausible story in a sentence by pointing out that the transactions of William and James amounted simply to this,— that William made a plane every 31st December, lent it to James till 1st January, and paid James a plank for the privilege of thus lending him the plane over night.
Ruskin called this “the position of William,” and, though he threw down the gauntlet right and left, he never could find an economist rash enough to undertake to dispute the justice of his abridgment of Bastiat’s tale. At last, however, one has appeared. F. J. Stimson has discovered the fallacy in “the position of William,” and confidently tells the readers of the “Quarterly Journal of Economics” that it lies in Ruskin’s tacit assumption that the plank which William paid James was the only plank which the plane had enabled him to make during the year. Mr. Stimson is so proud of this discovery that he puts it in italics, but I am unable to see that it shows anything except Mr. Stimson’s failure to get down to the kernel of the question at issue.
If Ruskin made the assumption attributed to him,— which is improbable,— he did so because he knew perfectly well that the number of planks which the plane enabled William to make ought in equity to have had no influence upon the plane’s selling or lending price, always provided the number was great enough to make it worth while to have manufactured the plane in the first place. If Mr. Stimson were half the economist that Ruskin is, he would know that, in the absence of monopoly, the price of an article worth producing at all is governed, not by its utility, but by the cost of its production, and that James consequently, though his plane should enable William to make a million planks, could not sell or lend it for more than it cost him to make it, except he enjoyed a monopoly of the plane-making industry.
The fallacy in “the position of William” remains undiscovered. Perhaps a few more such failures to discover it as Mr. Stimson’s may convince the people that there is no fallacy there to be discovered. On the whole, the original policy of James’s friends was the safer one,— to ignore “the position of William” on the ground that his champion, Mr. Ruskin, is not an economist, but an artist.
A woman with a temper has written a long letter, characterized as “sharp and caustic,” to the “Alarm,” with a view of combating the unanswerable logic of the Kellys,— the only true revolutionists who have dealt soberly with the question of force as an element in the reform movement in the columns of Mr. Lum’s organ. Passive resistance, asserts this writer, is a paradox, and means nothing but obedience and submission to the tyrannizing power. Which the editor apparently considers not the least of her caustic remarks, since he leaves it without comment or correction. It may be useful to offer a few thoughts on this interesting subject.
Generally speaking, there are no fixed rules by which to go in the matter of resisting evil and invasion. Wise resistance can, in any particular case, be determined only upon a full and thorough acquaintance with all the circumstances attached and involved. Methods good in one case may be utterly unavailing in another, and vice versa. Where the right of resistance is once conceded, the question of method becomes simply one of expediency, safety, certainty, and speed. To judge of the most effective means of resistance to a given act is possible only when the nature of the act, with all its attending influences, is completely understood. To say, àpropos of nothing in particular, that this or that method of resistance is futile or bad is to make one’s self ridiculous. And to illustrate the correctness of the claim by referring to the evident unfitness of the method in a special case is to carry absurdity even farther; for the thing to examine is whether the method serves in the case in which its adoption is urged, and not in cases not at all under discussion.
Passive resistance is not always possible. What we maintain is that, where it is possible, it is superior and preferable to all other methods. It must be borne in mind that we are treating the question of defensive warfare, of just resistance to unwarrantable encroachment. And it may be laid down as a rule in such cases that the best method of resistance is that which secures fully the rights of the injured without causing any unnecessary harm to the guilty. Unnecessary harm is invasion, and is sure to provoke resistance on the part of (immediately) disinterested witnesses. If our rights are denied us, we should set about restoring them and compensating ourselves for whatever loss we were subjected to, but, this accomplished, it is time to stop. As a matter of abstract right, individuals and free communities are entitled to make any and all offences, great or small, committed against them equally punishable by death, but such action would be unwise and imprudent: their neighbors would rebel against such Draconian barbarism and indignantly suppress a community which hangs men for stealing handkerchiefs and umbrellas.
Let us suppose a few cases.
A man attempts to murder you. It is not necessary to kill him (though it would be no violation of right), if you can safely escape. Killing is unwise in such a case. The sympathies of the public would be with the slain ruffian, and you would be rebuked for cruel and unnecessary violence. Only when there is no escape possible is the extreme measure expedient. But, whether you kill or run away, you have equally resisted the invader. Running is not non-resistance.
The tax-collector calls to get from you something for nothing. He threatens you if you refuse to do his bidding, and you are naturally enraged. But are you justified in knocking him down? Clearly not: simply persist in your refusal to pay the tax. Such refusal is passive resistance, and is not a paradox.
Likewise with the landlord. He demands rent, and you may quietly ignore him, while continuing to reside on what he calls his land. Again nothing paradoxical about this passive resistance.
You are not in love with so-called representative government; you do not think it has any rights you are bound to respect. Still this is no sufficient reason for shooting down legislators or blowing up senate-chambers. Stay at home, abstain from voting, and there will be no legislators.
Just these cases have been discussed by the Kellys. They have argued that to abolish the State,— protector of the trinity of usury,— passive resistance on the part of the people is perfectly sufficient, and therefore immeasurably more rational than violence. Men make the State, as they do God, in their own image; it does not come from above or below, any more than children are “sent from heaven.” It is the offspring of the marriage of ignorance to the ballot-box, and depends upon the periodical renewal of the marriage-contract for the perpetuation of its earthly career. It logically follows that, when men once become intelligent, mere passiveness and abstinence will cause the death of the monstrous offspring. Dynamite will then be entirely useless, and till then it is folly to talk of any method of abolition. The people must first be brought to the point of conceiving an idea of, and desire for, the fact of abolition. At present they think their marriage a glorious success and take great pride in their progeny, and would rather abolish us.
But there remains the question of propaganda. What, meanwhile, are isolated revolutionists to do? One thing,— to spread the light. And this does not mean theoretical teaching merely, but propaganda by deed as well. But the deeds, to be really instrumental in adding to our power and weakening that of the State, should be of a nature, or executed in a manner, calculated to enlist the sympathies of the most prejudiced on our side, which effect cannot be expected of bomb-throwing or kindred acts. Passive resistance of single individuals to various injustices can even now result in much good. Surrender may be inevitable in the end, but the lesson will not be easily forgotten. We must always appeal to men’s better nature, for in it is our hope and strength. If we sow the wind of physical force, though we have our “ten minutes’” triumph, we finally reap the whirlwind of civil war, and, if we take up the sword, we soon perish by it ourselves. Is not this the lesson of the Past and the logic of the Present?
To the Editor of Liberty:
You have more than once expressed the view that in an Anarchistic state even the police protection may be in private hands and subject to competition, so that whoever needs protection may hire it from whichever person or company he chooses. Now, suppose two men wish to occupy the same piece of land and appeal to rival companies for protection. What will be the result?
It appears to me that there will be interminable contention as long as there is a plurality of protectors upon the same territory, and that ultimately all others must submit to, or be absorbed by, one, to which all who need protection must apply. If I am right, then Anarchy is impossible, and an equitable democratic government the only stable form of society. Moreover, as it can be shown that the value of the protection to the possession of land equals its economic rent, free competition will make the payment of this rent a condition of protection. Thus the payment of rent would become an essential feature in the contract between the landholder and the government,— in other words, the payment of rent to the people as a whole will become one of the features of that social system of an intelligent people, which must evolve from anarchy by the process of natural selection.
Under the influence of competition the best and cheapest protector, like the best and cheapest tailor, would doubtless get the greater part of the business. It is conceivable even that he might get the whole of it. But if he should, it would be by his virtue as a protector, not by his power as a tyrant. He would be kept at his best by the possibility of competition and the fear of it, and the source of power would always remain, not with him, but with his patrons, who would exercise it, not by voting him down or by forcibly putting another in his place, but by withdrawing their patronage. Such a state of things, far from showing the impossibility of Anarchy, would be Anarchy itself, and would have little or nothing in common with what now goes by the name of “equitable democratic government.”
If “it can be shown that the value of the protection to the possession of land equals its economic rent,” the demonstration will be interesting. To me it seems that the measure of such value must often include many other factors than economic rent. A man may own a home the economic rent of which is zero, but to which he is deeply attached by many tender memories. Is the value of protection in his possession of that home zero? But perhaps Egoist means the exchange value of protection. If so, I answer that, under free competition, the exchange value of protection, like the exchange value of everything else, would be its cost, which might in any given case be more or less than the economic rent. The condition of receiving protection would be the same as the condition of receiving beefsteak,— namely, ability and willingness to pay the cost thereof.
If I am right, the payment of rent, then, would not be an essential feature in the contract between the landholder and the protector. It is conceivable, however, though in my judgment unlikely, that it might be found an advantageous feature. If so, protectors adopting that form of contract would distance their competitors. But if one of these protectors should ever say to landholders: “Sign this contract; if you do not, I not only will refuse you protection, but I will myself invade you and annually confiscate a portion of your earnings equal to the economic rent of your land,” I incline to the opinion that “intelligent people” would sooner or later, “by the process of natural selection,” evolve into Anarchy by rallying around these landholders for the formation of a new social and protective system which would subordinate the pooling of economic rents to the security of each individual in the possession of the raw materials which he uses and the disposition of the wealth which he thereby produces.
About the “Possibility” of Reform.
[N. G. Tchernychewsky.]
The objection so commonly urged against Socialist schemes of reform, writes Tchernychewsky, that they are not practicable at the present low stage of social development and morals, while doubtless containing considerable force, is, however, far from being exclusively applicable to this line of improvement. It can be with equal force and justice applied to “any question of reform of an important degree. For instance, the English are ruling India: is it possible to introduce in that country a civilized order of things, which would be incomparably more advantageous to the mass of the inhabitants? ‘At the present state of social morality in India it is very questionable.’ Is it possible to abolish the African slave trade, so that the wars between the negro tribes for the purpose of securing captives to be sold to American slave dealers should be stopped? ‘At the present condition of the negro tribes it is questionable.’ Is it possible for the subjects of Fouad Pasha to desist from their perpetual bloody quarrels, which only the latter’s extreme rigor holds in check? ‘At their present moral status it is very questionable.’
“But these are barbarous or semi-barbarous countries; will you not please to consider the civilized ones?
“Can it be expected that the Jesuits will lose their influence on any considerable number of Frenchmen? Or that the English lower classes will treat their wives at least like their French equals? Or that the Germans will abandon their old kitchen-habits, so productive of peculiar diseases among them? To all these there is one answer: ‘At the existing conditions it is very questionable.’
“Is this all? Is it only in weighty matters that the possibility of speedy and complete reform is questionable? Take any trifle,— in all possibility of such change is doubtful.
“For example, can it be quickly brought about that the sign-boards in St. Petersburg should cease to be distinguished for their defiance of grammar? or, that general conventions of Russian stockholding companies should be sensibly carried on and well-behaved? or, that all the Russian periodicals should adopt the same rules of spelling? or, that the English should give up their inconvenient way of making tea and introduce samovars [Russian tea-pots], which they themselves admit to be highly serviceable? or, that their newspapers should abolish the unartistic style of spelling proper names in small capitals? or, that the Germans should abandon their barbarous usage of capitalizing their nouns? or, that Frenchmen should introduce some decent parlor-stoves,— like those of Germany, for instance,— in place of their good-for-nothing fire-places? It would seem that all these things are easily achievable; yet about each of them it must be said that a speedy accomplishment is not to be expected. Nothing is done suddenly. It is well if a thing progresses slowly, without stagnation, without failures and reactions. In important affairs success is generally gained only after a long series of failures and disappointments; after every advance comes reaction, which so powerfully counteracts progress that great exertion is required to overmaster it. Exertion is followed by fatigue, which creates a favorable opportunity for another reaction, and so on. . . .
“Failure should not make us despondent; we should be reconciled to it. ‘But, if failure is to be anticipated, how is one to undertake the work in the first place? Would not all inclination disappear?’ Ah! as if it depended upon our goodwill whether we should conceive an inclination or not; as if a man only had to say to himself, ‘I will not do this,’ in order to abstain from acting. Go to, just look at your everyday conduct: how many times has each of us determined for himself not to discuss theoretical questions! Has any one of us ever succeeded in convincing a disputant in the course of an evening? And has not each of us, after the fruitless disputation, impatiently promised himself ‘not to be so foolish again’? Who of us has not decided at one time or another not to trust anybody in the world, or not to love anybody? Well, then what? Do we keep these promises? Yes, till the next opportunity, which no sooner comes than we forget and violate our promises and nature again exercises control. And so we again engage in discussions, and form new attachments, until we wear ourselves out. And when we are quite worn out, others have grown up, who repeat the same experiences.”
The Reward of “Genius.”
[William Morris in the Commonweal.]
Our objectors dwell upon diverse aspects of their anxiety for the future of the brain-workers. Some, for instance, seem most exercised on the question of what is to become of the men of genius when Socialism is realized; but I must beg them not to let this anxiety destroy their appetites or keep them awake at night, for it is founded on a perhaps popular, but certainly erroneous conception of that queer animal, the man of genius, who is generally endowed with his full share of the predatory instincts of the human being, and can take remarkably good care of himself. Indeed, I can’t help thinking that even under a Socialistic condition of things he will pull such long faces if he doesn’t get everything that he wants, and will make matters so uncomfortable for those that he lives amongst if he falls short of his ideal of existence, that good-natured and quiet people will be weak enough to make up a purse (or its equivalent) for him from time to time to keep him in good temper and shut his mouth a little. I must further say, though, that they will be exceedingly weak if they do so, because they will be able to get out of him all the special work he can do without these extra treats. For the only claim he has to the title of a “man of genius” is that his capacities are irrepressible; he finds the exercise of them so exceedingly pleasant to him that it will only be by main force that you will prevent him from exercising them. Of course, under the present competitive system, having been paid once for his work by getting his livelihood by it, and again by the pleasure of doing it, he wants to be further paid in various ways a great many times more. Neither under the circumstances can I blame him much for this, since he sees so many people for doing nothing paid so much more than he is, except in the matter of pleasure in their work. But also, of course, he won’t venture to claim all that in a Socialist society, but will have at the worst to nibble at the shares of those who are weak enough to stand it. So I will in turn dismiss my anxiety, with the hope that they will not be so weak as to coddle him up at their own expense, since they will have learned that so-called self-sacrifice to the exactions of those who are strong in their inordinate craving and unmanliness does but breed tyrants and pretenders.
But furthermore, I do not see, and never could see, why a man of genius must needs be a man of genius every minute of his life. Cannot he work as well as ordinary folk in some directions, besides working better than they in others? Speaking broadly, all men can learn some useful craft, and learn to practise it with ease. I know there may be exceptions; just as there are cultivated people who cannot be taught to write (the late Dean Stanley was one, for instance); but they must be considered as diseased persons, and the disease would die out in a generation or two under reasonable conditions of life. In short, the “man of genius” ought to be able to earn his livelihood in an ordinary way independently of his speciality, and he will in that case be much happier himself and much less of a bore to his friends, let alone his extra usefulness to the community.
As to the comparative wear and tear of “brain work,” — the work of the man, for instance, who is occupied in the literary matters,— the theory of our objectors, apart from their strange ideas of the usefulness of this craft, is that he works hard,— harder, they will often say, than the hand-worker. Well, if he works under bad sanitary conditions, doesn’t get fresh air or exercise enough, no doubt that does exhaust him, as also if he works too long or is harassed in his work by hurry and anxiety. But all these drawbacks are not special to his craft; all who are working otherwise than in the open air work under the first of these disadvantages, and all wage-earners work under the last of them. There is any amount of humbug talked about the hard work of the intellectual workers, which I think is mostly based on the fact that they are in the habit of taking regular and, so to say, socially-legalized holidays, which are supposed to be necessary to their health, and we may admit are so, but which the “non-intellectual” workers have to forego, whether they are necessary to them or not. Let us test the wear and tear of this intellectual work very simply. If I have been working at literary work for, say, eight hours at a stretch, I may well feel weary of it, although I have not felt it a mere burden all along, as probably I should have done if I had been carrying a hod of bricks up and down a ladder; but when I have knocked off, I can find relaxation in strong physical exercise,— can, for example, take a boat and row for a couple of hours or more. Now, let me ask, is the hodman after his eight hours’ work fit for a couple of hours of mental work as a relaxation? We very well know he is not so fitted, but rather for beer and sleep. He is exhausted, and I am on the look out for amusement. To speak plainly, I am only changing my amusement, for I have been amusing myself all along, unless I have added disadvantages to my work which are not essential to it.
And again, has not the hodman’s work dealt in some way with his brain? Indeed it has. I have been using my brain, but not exhausting it; but though he has not been using his, he has been exhausting it by his hand-work done at a strain, or else he ought to be able to take the mental relaxation corresponding to my bodily relaxation. In truth, whereas at present the hours of the intellectual worker are really always shorter than those of the hand worker, the very reverse ought to be the case, or, in other words, the wear and tear of the hand-labor is far greater.
But our objectors have not as a rule got so far as to consider this matter from the wear and tear side of it. They think that the superior workman should have extra reward because he is superior, and that the inferior must put up with being worn and torn in the service of this divine right. That is their superstition of divine right in this business; but also from the economical point of view they consider that it is necessary to bribe the superior man, for fear that you should lose his talent. What I have said of the man of genius being compelled to work by his genius applies to all superior workmen in greater or less degree, and disposes of the need of a bribe. You need not bribe the superior workman to be superior, for he has to work in any case (we must take that for granted), and his superior work is pleasanter, and indeed easier, to him than the inferior work would be: he will do it if you allow him to. But also, if you had the need, you would not have the power to bribe, except under a system which admitted of slavery,— i. e., tormenting some people for the pleasure of others. Can you bribe him to work by giving him immunity from work? or by giving him goods that he cannot use? But in what other way can you bribe him when labor is free and ordinary people will not stand being compelled to accept degradation for his benefit? No you will have to depend on his aptitude for his special work forcing him into doing it; nor will you be disappointed in this. Whatever difficulties you may have in organizing work in the earlier days of Socialism will not be with the specialists, but with those who do the more ordinary work; though as regards these, setting aside the common machine-work, the truth of the matter is that you can draw no hard and fast line between the special workman and the ordinary one. Every workman who is in his right place — that is, doing his work because he is fit for it — has some share in that “genius” so absurdly worshipped in these latter days. The “genius” is simply the man who has a stronger speciality and is allowed to develop it; or, if you please, has it so strongly that it is able to break through the repressing circumstances of his life, which crush out those who are less abundantly gifted into “a dull level of mediocrity.” It is a matter of degree chiefly.
I am afraid, therefore, that our anti-Socialist objectors will have in the future — I mean under a social arrangement — to put up with the misery of not having more than they need forced on them in return for their occupying themselves in the way which pleases them most, and with the further misery of seeing those who are not so intellectual as themselves doing their work happily and contentedly, and not being deprived of their due food and comforts because their work is less pleasing and exciting than that of their luckier fellows. No doubt this will be hard for the geniuses to bear (though harder still, I suspect, for the prigs or sham geniuses); but if there be any truth in the old proverb that “other peoples’ troubles hang by a hair,” the rest of the world — i. e., all except a very few — will bear it with equanimity. Indeed they well might, if they consider in those happier days what enormous loss the world has suffered through the crushing out of so much original talent under the present system; for who can doubt that it is only the toughest and strongest (perhaps the highest, perhaps not) of the geniuses that have not been crushed out. The greater part of genius, shared in various proportions by so many millions of men, has been just wasted through greed and folly.
[N. G. Tchernychewsky.]
I respect only the law,— and that when it is backed by the whole judiciary with its legal force and penalties, from which I cannot escape. Partly, too, I respect custom,— when behind it stands society with its own punishments and very often also the support of the police power. For the rest, I want to hear of nothing.
Love, Marriage, and Divorce,
And the Sovereignty of the Individual.
Henry James, Horace Greeley, and Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Mr. Andrews’s Reply to Mr. James.
Continued from No. 134.
As I happen to think, myself, that forcing two people who hate each other to live together in the most intimate relation, and become monks or beget children of their hatred, is neither very philosophical nor religious, I was quite disposed to “fraternize” with your Correspondent up to that point. This, alas! was the head and front of my offending. It was not that I differed from, but that I agreed with him, and put in a little clearer and stronger light the points of our agreement, that he was horrified and alarmed, and recoiled.
Our points of difference lie here. He, “for his part,” has no doubt that “constancy would speedily avouch itself as the law of the conjugal relation, in the absence of all legislation to enforce it.” I, for my part, don’t know that. We have never yet witnessed a state of society consisting of educated, refined, and well-developed persons, in which freedom of the affections, for both men and women, was tolerated and approved. I am unable to dogmatize with reference to the precise nature of the relations which would come to prevail under such a régime. I know simply that it is the right thing, and that its results must therefore be good, however much they may differ from my preconceived notions of propriety. I decline to make myself the standard: I recognize the equal sovereignty of all other men, and of all women. I do not and cannot know the nature of any other man or woman, so as to be competent to decide for them. I doubt not I shall do my duty if I obey the highest thing which I find in my own being. I claim the right to do that. I allow the same right to all others. It is a species of spiritual arrogance for me to assume to decide for them, which I voluntarily lay down and totally abjure.
Mr. James claims freedom because, for his part, he believes that freedom will lead people to act just in that way which he personally thinks to be right. I, on the contrary, claim freedom for all men and all women for no such personal reason, but because they have an inalienable God-given right, high as heaven above all human legislation, to judge for themselves what it is moral, and proper, and right for them to do or abstain from doing, so long as they do not cast the burdens of their conduct on me. I plant myself on that principle, and challenge the attention of mankind to it as the law of order, and harmony, and elevation, and purity among men. Herein we do radically differ. I take the position which, saving the judgment of my critics, is exceedingly new in the world, that I have no better right to determine what it is moral or proper for you to do* than I have to determine what it is religious for you to believe; and that, consequently, for me to aid in sending you or another man to prison for fornication, or bigamy, or polygamy, or a woman for wearing male attire, and the like, is just as gross an outrage in kind, upon human rights, as it would be to aid in burning you at Sinithfield for Protestantism or Papacy, or at Geneva for discarding the doctrine of the trinity.
But to return to your Correspondent. He bases his defence of freedom upon his personal judgment of the form it will give to the sexual relations. To test the depth and sincerity of his convictions, I ask him a question. I assume that we differ as regards what is the truest state of the relations of the sexes, and call his attention to the fact that people do differ, upon all subjects, in virtue of their infinite individualities. I suppose the case that in the use of our new-fledged freedom I act on my convictions, not his, and change my relations every week or month, or take an unusual number of conjugal partners, or in some way depart from his ideal. I ask, in very good faith, and as a practical thing, since this freedom is to be a matter of practical legislation, whether he proposes, or not, still to retain a police office to compel me to use freedom! according to his idea of the way in which it should be used,— if not his, whether according to anybody’s standard, other than that of the individual himself. Hereupon he assumes the air of a dignified aristocratic “indifference,” and regards my question as trivial, disingenuous, and impertinent. Of course the judicious reader will perceive at once that it strikes home to the very vitals of his whole system of legislative reform, and drives him back to a sphere to which it is to be hoped he may find his abilities better adapted,— that of spiritual adviser to bad husbands, and a general lecturer of fanatics on the amendment of their “disorderly methods of living.”
The next point of your Correspondent is either Dodge No. 2 or a gross blunder. The reader shall judge which. It is a perversion of my doctrine of the sovereignty of the individual, and it seems to me a deliberate perversion, by your Correspondent, in order to have before him a man of straw, that he could knock down. Our formula is, “The Sovereignty of every Individual, to be exercised at his own cost.” This simply and obviously means, “to be exercised, not at the cost of other people,” or, as we have constantly and repeatedly explained it, “to be so exercised as not to throw the burdensome consequences of one’s actions upon others,” precisely as religious freedom is and has been for years understood among us. A man may believe what he pleases, and do, in the way of worship, whatsoever wise or foolish thing, provided he assails nobody else’s liberty, or life, or property.
This simple doctrine, the mere extension to morals and other spheres of a principle already adopted, and to the partial operation of which the world owes treasures of harmony and happiness, your sagacious and veracious Correspondent has converted into the assertion of the right to commit every species of encroachment and outrage that savages or devils could aspire to, provided one is only ready to take the consequences. This atrocious doctrine he has, by the use of false quotation marks, thrust into my mouth! Of course, attributing such nonsense and profligacy to me, he has the field to himself, to make the most glaring exhibition of his own absurdity. I hope he enjoyed the pyrotechnic display of his own witticisms, as some compensation for the wear and tear of conscience involved in such a gross misrepresentation of an opponent’s position, if it were really intentional; if it were a blunder merely, and he has honestly stated the principle, “as well as he can master its contents,” I hardly know whether to recommend to him so much exertion as to try again. There is certainly little wisdom in attempting publicly to pass off a mere condensed expression of foolishness and diabolism as if it were the substance of an axiom which challenges the admiration of mankind as the most exact and the most scientific solution ever to be attained of the great problem of the legitimate limit of human freedom.
I quite regret that your Correspondent should be oppressed by my patronage, but I really can’t help it. I must be permitted to admire what there is good and true in every man’s utterances. I find much of that sort in what he has given to the world, and I admire it. I even wish that I found more of it, and more especially of that intellectual and moral hardihood which would perceive the extension by implication of the truth he does utter, and stand by the defence of it with a little generous devotion and occasional forgetfulness of purely personal considerations.
A word now as respects my “small insolences.” I assure your Correspondent they are merely “put on” upon the principle similia similibus, and small doses, to cure his big ones. I shall gladly lay them aside whenever good manners begin to prevail. I think I shall be found competent to the interchange of gentlemanly courtesies when gentlemanly courtesies are in demand. Indeed, I decidedly prefer the atmosphere of the parlor to that of the “ring,” but I endeavor, at the same time, to adapt myself to the nature of circumstances and of men.
Your Correspondent presumes that, when he says freedom is one with order, I should greatly like him to add, “and order is one with license.” When license is used for something different from freedom, I suppose it signifies the bad use of freedom. Now, it is simply freedom that I ask for. On what grounds does this Correspondent of yours dare to presume that I desire a bad use to be made of that freedom, or that I am, in any sense, even his own, a profligate or a bad man; that I contemplate, with complacency, the making of a hell or a pandemonium, or that any such result is more likely to come of my freedom, or the freedom that I advocate, than of his freedom, or the freedom he advocates? Whose insolence is it now? Why, sir, your Correspondent seems to me so bred to the usage of overbearing superciliousness that he ought to be grateful to me for life if I cure him of his habit. This charge of advocating license has always been repeated against the champions of every species of freedom, political, of the press, and of every sort whatsoever, and it is time that it should get its rebuke, it has not, however, suppressed other men’s truth, and it will not suppress mine. Such truth has a vitality in it which survives the blunders of the stupid, the misapprehensions of the feeble-minded, the denunciations of the bigoted, and the alarm and croaking of honest but timorous friends. The brave and the faithful lovers of such truth have always been, at the inception of its promulgation, a “handful of ridiculous fanatics” in the estimation of the sophists of their day. It matters not. Truth, no more than the rights of man, can be obliterated by the votes of a majority, the legislation of the State, nor the scorn of the Pharisee; and the viper that tries it always bites a file.
In the next place, your Correspondent deems me superficial, because I denominate the State “a mob.” He doesn’t condescend to tell us what it is other than a mob, but proceeds immediately to define Society, as if that were synonymous with the State. I fancy that I have simply analyzed to the bottom what he has taken on trust and in the gross. He admits that “irresponsible governments are entitled to our contempt.” I stand ready to make good the proposition that all governments are, in their very essence, “irresponsible,” just so far as they are governments at all, and that, practically, they have proved so in every experiment ever made by mankind. The whole American theory of “checks and balances” upon parchment is mere fallaciousness and folly. The only effectual check is that developed individuality of the people which gives significant notice to government that it won’t answer to go too far, and which, as it becomes more developed, is sure to dispense with government altogether. The advantages which we enjoy in this country, in this respect, come entirely from the greater practical development of the sovereignty of the individual; from the greater development of the individual, so that that exercise of sovereignty can be endured with less evil result; and from the small quantity of government which we tolerate, not at all, as is supposed, from any superiority in the quality of the article. Government will become unnecessary just so soon as the true principles of the science of society are understood and practically realized. The realization of those principles will begin in their being discovered and promulgated. Hence, as occasion offers, I preach. I expect, at first, to be partially understood, misunderstood, and misrepresented; but the time of that nebulous perception of the subject will pass. Ideas which are true and fundamental, and as destitute of fluctuation or exception as mathematics, will make their way and be accepted. Prejudice will give way to reason, arbitrary institutions to principles, and antagonism to true order and harmony, and the freedom of a rightly-constituted human brotherhood.
Your Correspondent says that I exhibit a sovereign contempt for society. He is certainly mistaken. I am very fond of society, and especially of good society. Society is, however, a word of considerable diversity of significations, and is used by your Correspondent in at least three or four different senses, apparently without the slightest consciousness of confounding them.
To be continued.
* With the limitation just stated, of course, that you do not throw burdensome consequences on me.
In the discussion of the tariff question that is now going on so vigorously it seems to me that only its economical side is considered, the social right of the individual cutting but a small part. But whether or not free trade is economically correct on the whole,— that is to say, whether or not, under its régime, more wealth could be produced with the work of a given number of folks,— is not all there is to the subject, nor is it the most important. The question is, if I produce wealth, by right to whom does it belong? Unquestionably to me. But I produce more of a given kind than I can or care to use, and I exchange it for other wealth that belongs to another. Under what rule of equity can any one else say what rule shall govern us in our exchange, or on what part of the earth he with whom I trade shall or shall not live? It should be plain to the very simplest-minded that, if any third party step in and say that we can trade only with those who live on a certain part of the earth, unless we give him part of our wealth, he is invading our right and is simply a robber. It is none of his business which one of us gets the best of the bargain. The rule is that no exchange is ever made without both parties to it are benefited. And who is to tell whether or not I am benefited? Assuredly, no one better than myself. Suppose I trade horses and get for a good horse one that is not quite so good. Who is to say that I am not benefited, if I get a horse I like better than the one I traded? The better horse may not be so useful to me as the poorer horse; and I am the best judge of that. There is now a growing class of “statesmen” who are very anxious to annex Canada to the United States, and some of these very brilliant fellows forbid us now to trade our wealth freely with those who live on the other side of the line. If the misfortune should come that annexation be realized, these very same philosophers would have no objection at all to having free trade with Canada. And these are the intellectual jackanapes who hold the prosperity and happiness of millions of people in their bands! Surely, if Anarchy were attended with all the evil predictions of these hoodlum prophets, our rights would be no more invaded than they now are.
* * *
The recent row in the Chicago board of education over a text-book on political economy is a very interesting episode to those who see the inherent defects of education by authority. It seems that Prof. Perry’s political economy was taught in the schools. The Republican members of the board thought there was too much free trade in his teachings, and so took steps to replace his book with Wayland’s or some one else’s not so pronounced in its views on the subject of tariff. We must not be surprised if some day we hear that the Rev. Mr. Jasper’s followers have got control, and insist upon teaching the rising generation that “de sun do move.” And that would be perfectly consistent with State education. The majority should rule, you know, and no matter how absurdly the majority rules, the majority must be right. If the Jaspers are in the majority,— and, by the way, the Jaspers were in the majority several centuries ago,— what are we to do but pay our money to disseminate the doctrine that the sun goes around the earth? Our public school system does not admit that you pay your money and take your choice, but pay your money you must, whether or no, and the majority,— the State,— will do the choosing. Of course, you are at liberty to protest against the kind of books chosen; but to protest against the method of choosing them,— by the majority,— and also against paying for what they choose, that is treason.
* * *
I’m all mixed up. My poor little brain sometimes seems to be whirling through space, and can find no resting place. I’m all mixed up. Can you straighten me out? I want some unalterable rule by which to judge if a thing be right or not. Can you help me out? Ah! here is one. He tells me that that that will produce the greatest good to the greatest number is the rule to go by. But here are ten fellows. Four of them are hardworking and have produced and saved enough to tide them over emergencies. The other six have just produced enough to see them through from day to day. When the “emergency” comes, the six make the four whack up. The greatest good to the greatest number, you know. Is this right? If it is, then what becomes of the claim that the product belongs to the producer? Says another: Your conscience tells you whether a thing is right or wrong. You know right from wrong by intuition. What a large amount of intuition the fellows must have who make slaves of other men; who knock you down and take your money; who through legal methods take from you what they have not earned; who will cheat you in trade if they can; who go to church on Sunday and skin you alive on week days; — and all of whom have a theory to prove it is all right. These fellows must have consciences as big as houses. I tell you, I’m all mixed up. Help me out, will you?
* * *
And another thing. When we somehow or other do agree that a thing is right, then comes in the question of how to get it. The end justifies the means, says my good neighbor. The Russians are by right entitled to free press, free speech, free action, and the despotism is so strong and cruel that terrorism — dynamite, assassination, anything — is justifiable to overthrow it. But here in this country you must wait till the majority are ready to grant what you want and what is not claimed by anybody to be wrong. Circumstances alter cases, you say. The degree of despotism makes all the difference in the world. And here is my other friend who says that with patience and non-resistance all will be well in time. Probably when the devil is dead. If the end justifies the means, the prohibitionist is right in attempting to restrict your liberty to guard you against your beastly appetite for drink. (This is a libel on the beast, however.) All this has a tendency to turn my little head topsy-turvey. I wish I did know to a dead certainty the proper end of human life and the right way of attaining it. Maybe some of Liberty’s friends know and will tell. What’s that? Have I no opinions on the subject? Ah! that’s another matter.
* * *
I wonder if Victor isn’t about right when he questions the validity of the idea that two, three, or even four hours’ work daily is enough to procure all the necessaries of life? I know that now ten, eleven, and sometimes twelve and more hours daily hard work don’t even furnish the necessaries; that is, the things that are necessary for existence and comfort. Existence is about the limit. But, then, the hours of daily toil must be shortened somehow or other before substantial headway can be made among laboring people in the matter of economic reform. As necessary as I know it to be to right living,— the knowledge of correct economic thought, so as to be able to have it as a guide to our actions,— I have barely time to devote to its study and dissemination. The shortening of the day’s work makes human labor dear; dear labor stimulates invention of machinery and methods for the displacement of human labor and cheapening the cost of production; and this, in accordance with the law of necessity, drives men to solving the problem of equitable distribution. It is not those who have always worked the longest hours that are the students in this movement. There may come a time when three hours work daily will produce enough to eat, wear, and dwell in, but it certainly does not do that now. What are the possibilities with free means of production and the incentive of owning all you produce seems to me beyond computation.
Joseph A. Labadie.
A Lie Disposed Of.
[New York Alarm, September 22.]
To the Editor of the Alarm:
When you were publishing your paper in Chicago, you printed an article in your issue of March 24, 1888, by Henry Appleton, in which I was subjected to more than a column of criticism which it would be difficult to distinguish from abuse. For what the writer himself had to say about me, I cared less than nothing, as not a vestige remained of the respect which I had for his character in the days when I thought I knew him. But there was one part of his article for which I cared a great deal,— that in which he attributed to my friend Morse words concerning me which I knew he never uttered, and, more especially, a spirit concerning me which I knew he never felt. Morse’s good opinion is of great value to me, and I was deeply hurt to see it misrepresented to the readers of the “Alarm” by one whom they could not suppose to be lying. I reproduce the passage to which I refer:
It was Sidney H. Morse (formerly “Phillip” of the “Irish World”) who first gave me the tip concerning the fatal ism-poison which infects all reform. After working hard with Tucker to spread the gospel of Anarchism, I noticed that the air was gradually thickening up with flying brickbats. Tucker was swearing that John Most and his crowd were no Anarchists, but rather Communists. On the other hand, Most and his confrères swore that Tucker and his Boston crowd were no Anarchists, but rather individualists. Over in Chicago the “Alarm” was declaring that the Tuckerites were no Anarchists, while Tucker retorted that the Chicago fanatics were no Anarchists, but rather deluded Communists. . . .
Morse said, who had got out of this shower of Anarchistic brickbats in disgust:
This whole childish fight is chargeable to the fundamental error of putting a label on your thought. It is the eternal egotism which, being ashamed to say its best thought today and unsay it tomorrow if newer light appears, persists forever in boxing itself up in a creed, and, sticking the pompous feather of an ism in its hat, it stalks forth declaring: “I am the lord god of Anarchism, and thou shalt have no other gods before me. He that sayeth there be any other way unto social salvation save through the merits of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ Proudhon (with the nasal) is a blasphemer and shall be damned.”
If I have not quoted the words of friend Morse literally, I have at least conveyed their spirit. He asks most rationally: “Why name your thoughts anything?” Let the receiver of it name it rather than the dispenser of it, and as it will not appear the same thing to any two individuals, then no stereotyped label belongs to it.
It can scarcely be doubted that every reader of the “Alarm” not personally cognizant of the facts took the above to mean that Morse had not only severed the old-time friendship which he and I had enjoyed, but had assumed an attitude of positive hostility and contempt toward myself personally and the work in which I am engaged. Naturally reluctant to have this false impression go forth concerning one of my oldest and dearest friends, I sent the article to Morse, who was living at a distance, and asked him to make some comment on it. I told him that, while I knew we had always differed on the subject of party names, I felt sore he had never spoken of me in the manner attributed to him, either in words or spirit. In answer to my request, he prepared a manuscript which was lost before it reached me, but he has been prevented, by numerous vicissitudes, from replacing it with another until recently. Now, however, I have his second manuscript, which I give below. I regret to ask for so much of your space on a personal matter, but, since you printed the original attack, it is your misfortune, not my fault, if you are bound in fairness to make the correction.
Dear T.,— It is sometime since I have seen “H” as a signature to articles in Liberty. No one but myself can rightly state the reason why. And I shall only use your space to say that it is not because I have in the least lost my interest in the continuous prosperity and significance of your journal. You have made a most brave and successful journey thus far. Your paper has grown in the force of its statements, and advanced well on the line of the argument. Whether men will hear or forbear, you have done your part with faithfulness. I doubt if you are likely soon to find yourself in the predicament of that Phocion of old who, on being congratulated in a public debate, because his opinion was received with universal applause, exclaimed: “Have I then inadvertently let some evil thing slip from me?” You come nearer filling the bill prescribed by one Cardinal Richelieu: “Show me six lines written by the most honest man in the world, and I will find enough therein to hang him.” But let me not, by anticipation, cast a shadow over your future. It is a satisfaction to read that, though mortals accused before the gods Prometheus, who stole fire from heaven for their great benefit, they afterwards caught up that same torch to light them on to victory. It is ever “fire from heaven” that makes mad and fierce those not in the secret. They will not believe that the “pit of the dragon” is
“Lit by rays from the blest.”
All this I can say without feeling obliged to follow you approvingly in every direction your reasoning leads you, or accepting as sound all of your conclusions. I know the argument by which you would defend the naming of this liberating movement as “Anarchy.” Yet I cannot bring myself to feel comfortable quite inside of any movement that thus gets particularized and labeled. The tendency in doing so is to a majority-reign over individual judgment corresponding with that of which we complain. So it seems to me. But I will not discuss it. I leave it as it is, content that you should work as you must, seeing gladly that none of my misgivings have any lodging in your grand purpose. You have achieved much substantial good, and will continue doing so, as I verily believe. I wish I was more worthy to congratulate you.
As there have been some misstatements set afloat in regard to my feeling toward you, I freely offer you this to use, if you desire to, as correcting them.
I shall, as opportunity offers, and perhaps at no distant date, remember your “standing invitation” to contribute to your columns. Yours sincerely,
Sept. 1, 1886.
I think I can afford to leave Henry Appleton in the light in which this frank statement places him.
Benj. R. Tucker.
Boston, Sept. 9, 1888.
Lloyd Confirmed by Humboldt.
In his “Liberty in the Incidental,” J. Wm. Lloyd deduced a very important principle, which he formulated thus: “An act that can only become an injury through some supplementary and voluntary act of our own is not an invasion.” To Mr. Lloyd belongs the credit of first enunciating it in such a clear manner in the columns of Liberty. Doubtless it was entirely original with him. But it gives me pleasure to be able to strengthen Mr. Lloyd’s principle by an extract from Wilhelm Von Humboldt’s work on “The Sphere and Duties of Government,” in which the identical proposition is laid down in nearly the same language:
It is not enough to justify restriction that an action should imply damage to another person; it must at the same time encroach upon his rights. . . . Right is never infringed upon except when some one is deprived of a portion of what properly belongs to him or of his personal freedom without, or against, his will. But when there occurs no such deprivation, when one individual does not overstep the boundary of another’s right, then, whatever disadvantage may accrue to the latter, there is no diminution of privilege. Neither is there any such diminution when the injury itself does not follow until he who sustains it also becomes active on his side, and, as it were, takes up the action, or at least does not oppose it as far as he can. . . He who utters or performs anything calculated to wound the conscience and moral sense of others may indeed act immorally; but, so long as he is not chargeable with obtrusiveness, he violates no right. The others are free to cut off all intercourse with him. . . . and, should this be impossible, they must submit to the unavoidable inconvenience not forgetting that the obnoxious party may likewise be annoyed by the display of peculiar traits in them. Even a possible exposure to more positively hurtful influences — as where the beholding of this or that action, or the listening to a particular argument, was calculated to impair the virtue or mislead the reason of others — would not be sufficient to justify restrictions on freedom. Whoever spoke or acted thus did not therein directly infringe on the right of any other; and it was free to those who were exposed to the influence of such words and actions to counteract the evil impression on themselves with the strength of will and the principles of reason.
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.