“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.
Good News! Moses Harman is out of prison on a writ of error. Read the extract from his article on another page, and rejoice. I hope Mr. Harman will remain a free man and that the State will not display any more pernicious activity in persecuting him.
A. H. S. says in Philadelphia “Justice” that “Single Tax men, as a rule, have not much time for novel reading.” Political intrigues keep them very busy, I suppose. But there is plenty of fiction in Henry George’s writings, though of a kind not worth glancing at.
“Henry George is by nature a deeply religious man; he speaks of God always with the greatest reverence.” Thus does a superstitious (alias theological) organ comfort itself in these days of godlessness. But I am inclined to think that this is damning God with very faint praise indeed.
I reprint elsewhere some astonishingly silly paragraphs from the “Twentieth Century” on the subject of love and sexual passion. I cannot deal with Mr. Pentecost’s rehash of the antediluvian theological follies in this issue, but I expect to furnish him with food for thought in the next issue of Liberty.
The new edition of Spooner’s wonderful work on the trial by jury, entitled “Free Political Institutions: Their Nature, Essence, and Maintenance,” is now ready. See advertisement on another page and send in your orders. It is the best instrument for Anarchistic propaganda. Those who wish to acquire a clear conception of political freedom should study this book and digest well its fundamental doctrines.
A correspondent of “Kate Field’s Washington” well says: “What an outrage that ‘Kreutzer Sonata’ order is! It will have one good effect — that of opening Tolstoi’s eyes to the fact that the cradle of liberty is not in America.” Tolstoi’s talk on the glories of this government shows that he needs such a lesson very much. He is reported to have said to an American visitor: “You have the best of all governments, because you scarcely know that you have any government at all.”
That is an excellent article in the September “North American Review,” — “The Mannerless Sex.” The writer protests against the false and silly notion, so long accepted without question, that woman’s influence is ennobling and elevating, and that social intercourse owes its refinement and sweetness to woman’s superior taste, feeling, and tact. He boldly and truthfully charges women with being selfish, insolent, cruel, vain, thoughtless, and mean. He says they are mannerless, and he supports his accusation by a long list of classes of facts indicative of their mental and moral inferiority. There can be no doubt that he is right. He suggests no remedies, but they will readily suggest themselves to keen observers and students of human nature.
Chief Justice Me Adam, of the New York City Court, showed himself superior to his accidents when he recently refused to send a man to jail for breach of promise and declined to be a party to a compulsory marriage. It is remarkable that the literary females who are so shocked by the immodesty and immorality of low-necked dresses and bare arms have not a word to say about the disgusting breach of promise cases. As long as women do not know what dignity and self-respect are, there will be breach of promise cases as well as decolleté dresses. As long as women remain economically dependent and ignorant of life, they will be brainless and heartless. Nobility, pride, real purity, and dignity are qualities not to be expected of slaves and dolls.
A Boston daily, in a report of a trial of a police officer charged with burglary, notes the following “incident” of the trial: “Judge Mason administered a rebuke to a juror who had rather officiously attempted to interrogate each witness. His honor mildly remarked that it was better for the government to put in its case, and the defendant put in his, and the jury pass upon that. The juror subsided.” The judge is doubtless as unconscious as the juror himself of the enormity of the outrage he committed in thus interfering with the jury. What a pity he had not to deal with a man conversant with Spooner’s masterly vindication of the rights and functions of jurors. Such a man could have taught the officious judge a useful lesson, and would have made him a much sadder but wiser dispenser of- justice. What with the ignorance and servility of the average juror, the impudence and ignorance of the average judge, and the insolence and pernicious zeal of the government attorneys, the administration of justice is becoming a delusion and a snare.
In a recent number of the “Voice” appears the report of an exceedingly interesting interview with that conceited ignoramus and meddler, Laurence Gronlund. He said: “I don’t think I shall ever write another book. I have said all I have to say. I wrote ‘The Coöperative Commonwealth’ to cover the economic revolution, ‘Ca Ira!’ the historical revolution, and ‘Our Destiny,’ the moral revolution.” . The intelligent people who think that this philosopher has shown himself in the “works” mentioned ignorant of every principle of sociology will naturally welcome his decision to sin no more. They will also be grateful to him for his frank opinion of the present and future of the Nationalist movement. He said: “The leaders of the Nationalist movement have made a mistake. They have held aloof from the workingmen and have assumed a superior air. As a consequence, the workingmen have repudiated the Nationalist leaders and the Nationalist clubs. I will be plain and say, Nationalism is a Boston ‘fad,’ and it will go the way of all ‘fads.’ There is, I am sorry to say, too much of the ‘machine’ in the Nationalist movement. Two men practically control the parent Nationalist club in Boston, and I fear they are using it to forward their own ends. That club in turn controls all the other Nationalist clubs in the country.” However, Gronlund feels sure that what he calls “socialism” is coming. Considering that, according to this prophet, “the Prohibitionists and the rank and file of the Republican party are (the socialists’) natural allies,” intelligent people will be apt to say that “socialism” has already existed for a great many years and that the problem now is to totally eliminate it and deprive the cranky arid bigoted meddlers of their occupations.
Referring to Powderly’s boast that the New York strikers are fighting to maintain liberty, Mr. Pentecost very admirably says: “The struggle between the Knights and the monopolists is a fight between some organized laborers and some organized monopolists to decide certain war questions. It is not a fight for liberty. For example, is Mr. Powderly fighting for the liberty of a ‘scab’ to take the place of a striker? Certainly not. Mr. Powderly is the bitter enemy of every workingman who does not belong to a union of some kind. He does not believe in liberty for ‘scabs.’ With him it is simply a question of whether workingmen will be ruled by the railroad companies or by him and his lieutenants. Liberty means freedom to use vacant land and issue money,— free access to natural opportunities,— so that each workman will be in a position to make an absolutely free contract with his employer. Mr. Powderly is just as much of a tyrant in his way as Mr. Webb is in his. As between Mr. Webb and Mr. Powderly my sympathies are with Mr. Powderly, but it is absurd to speak of a labor organization as an agency of freedom. A labor organization may be a less deadly tyranny over workingmen than an organization of monopolists, but it is, nevertheless, a tyranny over its own members, and a very dreadful invader of the rights of ‘scabs.’” In the next number of the “Rights of Labor” Lum will doubtless denounce the “Twentieth Century” as an organ of scabbism and Mi. Pentecost as a social traitor and supporter of monopoly. Is not labor “unconsciously” fighting for a higher civilization, liberty, equality of opportunities, and everything that is noble and good? But perhaps Mr. Pentecost is fully resigned to this, and, with Liberty, thinks that to be despised by such a reformer as Lum is no small credit.
The editor of the “Truth Seeker” is not a very acute or penetrating thinker. The subject of social reform he understands about as deeply as that other Liberal light, Helen Gardener. Here is what he says in a recent issue: “Mr. Dana, of the New York ‘Sun,’ in a two-line editorial, lays down this rule for acquiring a worldly competence: ‘One rule for getting rich is to mind your own business.’ Mr. Pentecost of the ‘Twentieth Century’ has found another method. He says: ‘When poor people will no longer become policemen nor soldiers, then poor people will be free; and when poor people are free, they will be no longer poor.’ If the ‘Sun’s’ rule is true, why are not all those who do mind their own business above want; and if Mr. Pentecost’s words are true, why are not all who abstain from joining the army and the police force in the same condition? Is it possible that both philosophers are wrong?” No, both philosophers are right. If the editor of the “Truth Seeker” understood their meaning, he would not regard the two statements as different, but would see that they both express the same idea. Those who do mind their own business are not above want simply because other people interfere with them and plunder and enslave them. If everybody determined to mind his own business, there would be no involuntary poverty in the world, and this is what Mr. Dana theoretically recommends, though practically he favors a thousand and one governmental villainies. Those who abstain from joining the army and police force are not above want, because those who do not so abstain are ready to enforce the restrictions and tyrannical demands of the meddlers and loafers who wish to live at other peoples’ expense. If nobody joined the army and police force, the pretended saviours of society could not enforce their wishes, and everybody would have his due.
Beauties of Government.
[Clippings from the Press.]
The Treasury Department has just rendered a decision to the effect that articles brought from abroad by citizens of the United States, and intended as presents, are clearly subject to duty under the law.
The citizens of Columbus (Ohio) have just discovered that the county treasury has been suffering for years from the ravages of the county officers, who have been piling up money in a manner that has been a surprise to all. During the past few years the city has been engaged in laying pavements in every direction. The discovery has just been made that the county auditor and treasurer have, during that time, taken two and a half per cent, each for placing and collecting the assessments upon the property abutting the improvements. These officers have thus been able to put in their own pockets from fifteen to twenty thousand dollars each every year.
Two Hindoo merchants landed from the steamship “Richmond Hill” on Tuesday, August 26. As they could not speak English, and as no interpreter was at hand, they were arrested on suspicion, by the Contract Labor inspector, and taken to the barge office. They were detained in the immigrant pen all day, charged with being paupers. Then it was found that they were not immigrants at all, and that their detention was illegal. The merchants propose to bring suit against the Government.
A committee of the New York Legislature makes the charge that certain Interference cases pending in the Patent Office, and apparently antagonistic, are really controlled on both sides by the Bell Company, and that a settlement of them has been postponed for years by the great corporation which represents both sides of the apparent controversy, in order that it may be able, when a settlement shall have been reached, to prolong its monopoly for a term of years from the date of that settlement by means of the winning device.
San Francisco, Sept. 5. The bark Catharine Sudden has arrived at Port Townsend from Siberia. Her commander, Capt. John Thomas, has sent to this city a description of the Russian exile system as witnessed by him. He describes a brutal scene which he witnessed on Saghalien Island, a famous Russian exile prison. A large party of exiles of all ages, heavily manacled, were being taken to the Island prisons. A few old men, whose strength gave out, fell from exhaustion. The brutal driver, acting under orders from his superior, shot the unfortunate men, and removed their chains. No mercy or discrimination was shown. Wives saw their husbands killed before their eyes; mothers saw their daughters outraged and insulted. The exiles were driven like cattle, a heavy whip being used to urge them on. The prison cells were filthy and the treatment barbarous.
Bismarck, N. D., Sept. 4. The laws of North Dakota are of little importance to the people. Attorney General Goodwin has rendered an opinion in which he says certain sections of the elevator law passed and supported by the most eminent men in the last Legislature are unconstitutional. He renders the same opinion in regard to the tax law, and upon that opinion the State Board of Equalization based its action, Governor Miller and Attorney General Goodwin, members of the board, voting to compromise with the Northern Pacific Railroad on the rate of taxing their property in this State. Thus the laws of the new commonwealth are annulled and revised to meet the demands of a corporation. The “iron clad” prohibition law, which requires two hours to read, and was supposed to be as strong as human hands could frame it, is a relic of history with no visible power. Orders were issued over a week ago to close all saloons in the State, and these orders were issued by the Attorney General. As yet there is not a city or town of 500 inhabitants in the State where liquor is not openly sold. Judge Rose, of the fourth judicial district, holds that liquor can be sold in original packages. The game law has been openly violated and not an attempt made to bring the offenders to justice. All laws yet brought to a test have been proven unconstitutional or certain sections annulled.
Chicago, Sept. 5. Justices Doyle and La Buy responded promptly yesterday afternoon to the summons sent them by Judge Altgeld to appear before him and explain their actions in holding young boys to the Criminal Court. The Judge looked serious when he took them into a remote part of Branch No. 2 of the Criminal Court and soundly reprimanded them for their actions. He said:
“There has been too much of this kind of work done in the past and there must be a stop put to it. You have no right to send boys of 10 or 12 years of age to the County Jail to await trial for trivial offences. The police are also to blame in this matter, as they are too willing to arrest the boys when caught committing a depredation. In many instances the parents are to blame for not whipping or otherwise punishing these boys.”
It is said that the two justices were talked to plainly and told if the offence was repeated by them they would be severely dealt with.
Eleven happy little boys, from 10 to 13 years, were then brought into court and turned over to T. E. Daniels, Superintendent of the Chicago Waifs’ Mission and Training School, where the boys will be kept until their cases come up for trial.
Mr. Daniels had called the attention of Judge Altgeld to the facts in their cases and asked that they be given into his custody.
Christ Westphal, 13 years old, was held by Justice Wallace for the theft of $1.62, and confined six weeks. Charles Brown, colored, 10 years old, was before Justice Brad well. He stole a horse and buggy and took a ride. Antone Hajek and Joseph Pleakarty, both 11 years old, were before Justice Doyle, guilty of stealing a wrench. John Smith, 10 years old, stole a 75-cent set of knives and forks, and was confined one month. Albert Achtowski, 11 years old, was guilty of stealing a pocketknife worth 75 cents. Richard Callahan, 13 years old, stole 35 cents from a money-drawer, and was sentenced by Justice Wallace. Walter Smith, colored, 11 years old, was held over to Criminal Court by Justice Brad well. He was guilty of setting fire to a freight-car accidentally while in there to get out of the rain. Reiny Gesche, 13years old, was held over by Justice Boggs. He stole 30 cents and gave half to another boy. James Eaton, 11 years old, was held by Justice Hennessy on a charge of stealing some old clothes. John Leighton, 12 years old, was an accomplice of the Eaton boy.
Brooklyn, Sept. 3. Police Commissioner Hayden, of Brooklyn, dismissed three patrolmen from the force at the trials yesterday morning, two of them for intoxication.
Thomas Meagher, of the Adams street station, could not be found on his post for three hours several nights ago, and on reporting to the station house in the early hours of the morning he said he had been locked up in Sängerbund Hall, on the corner of Smith and Schermerhorn streets. He told the Commissioner an entirely different story when placed on trial yesterday. He said he had entered the place to get a little rest; that he had fallen asleep and had not awakened for three hours. After hearing his testimony the Commissioner informed him that there were a number of men who were anxious to protect the property of taxpayers, and he thought it would be a good thing to create a vacancy for one of them. Meagher was invited to hand in his shield.
Patrolman Hugh McCabe, of the Richards street station, shared a similar fate. He reported at the station house when not in a condition for duty. He had been arraigned on charges before and had no defence to offer. He was dismissed from the force.
Patrolman Richard Cantwell, of the Graham avenue station, had several charges to answer, one of which, intoxication, was considered first. He was declared guilty and dismissed.
Among the others arraigned, Patrolman Thomas Folan, of the Fifth avenue station, forfeited three days’ pay for drinking a glass of liquor at the side door of a saloon.
Policeman William H. Dugan, of the Bergen street station, was fined three days’ pay for absence from the station house without leave, and Patrolman Peter J. Campbell, of the same station, forfeited ten days’ pay for absence without leave and for deserting his post.
Chicago, Sept. 2. The Police Trial Board was busy listening to a number of complaints against officers, some of them interesting, last night.
Two cases, showing extreme brutality on the part of officers, were heard and at the end of them the Inspector looked serious, boding no good to the accused men. In every case that came up last night the officers were of those who had been appointed within the last year. The first was against Officer William Meach, who was charged with willfully pounding an inoffensive Lake View citizen, Peter Grogan, with his club. Grogan was in front of his house when the officer told him to go inside. Words were passed, and the officer pounded Grogan over the head a number of times. Another case tended to show that an officer could neglect his duty, have a good time, and drink from twenty-five to thirty beers, besides other beverages of like character. The officer was Martin Ullrich, of Avondale.
The most interesting case was that against Officer Martin Riley, of the Maxwell street station. He was charged by I. Rosenshier of No. 362 West Taylor street with brutality one Sunday in a store on Blue Island avenue. “The officer kicked and beat me and called me foul names, though I hadn’t said a word,” said Rosenshier; “and when I went to the station to get his number the next night he and Officer Maddick met me in the station hallway and beat me. They took me to the lockup and there nearly killed me, tearing my clothes and then locking me up. I was laid up for a week afterwards.”
Riley denied the charges. He and Officer Maddick contradicted each other. They said an officer had been present when the arrest was made and could prove that the citizen was not abused.
“He is the most respectable officer in the Maxwell street station,” said Riley.
“Who is he?” asked Ebersold.
“‘Sandy’ Hanley,” said the officer.
The Inspectors roared. Even Inspector O’Donnell laughed right out. They knew “Sandy.”
Frank Collier came in at this point and said he had preferred charges against Inspector Hathaway, Capt. Hayes,
Lieut. Beaubien, and Officer Hurley, and expected them to be tried next Monday night. A number of other cases were heard and a big batch postponed.
New York, Sept. 3. Two seizures of dutiable goods were made by Custom House inspectors yesterday. Dr. Gonzales, a passenger on the steamship La Bretagne, declared that he had nothing dutiable. But as he was leaving the dock the inspectors caught a glimpse of some bundles under his overcoat. They arrested him and found twenty-four pairs of ladies’ silk stockings, which they sent to the seizure room.
From a man and a woman, passengers on the steamship Eider, 11½ yards of black silk, 122 pairs of kid gloves, 34 cigarette holders, and some meerschaum pipes were taken. The woman had sacrificed style to cupidity. The silk was wound around an old-fashioned bustle.
Chicago, Sept. 3. Early last Sunday week a row occurred at a dance held in the hall at Twenty-first and Robey streets. Officer Charles Dohrmann, of the Hinman street station, fancied that a conspiracy had been formed by some of the male dancers to “do him up.” Accordingly he went to the doorway and blew his whistle for help. Officers Richard Scott and J. J. Sheehan came to his assistance. The three went into the hall where a fight was in progress. Dohrmann arrested James Kelty, who, witnesses declared, was not in the fight, Simon Cregar, and Charles Harder. While calling for the patrol wagon, Officer Scott’s prisoner escaped and four shots were fired at him, but without result. Cregar and Kelty were taken to the station and booked for disorderly conduct and resisting an officer. A continuance was taken until yesterday in Kelty’s case. The latter took the stand and related what occurred on the ride from the dance hall to the station. Said he:
“Dohrmann seemed greatly incensed at me, believing I was in the conspiracy to do him. He struck me on the head with his billy, and punched me in the neck. Officer Scott also struck me with his club. I was covered with blood when I reached the station, but Dohrmann knocked me down, and kicked me in the side and in the neck.”
Cregar said that he had been treated the same way. At the station he said Officer Scott struck him in the face and knocked him down and kicked him, and both officers were about to renew their attacks on both prisoners, who were bleeding profusely, when the desk sergeant rushed in and interfered, exclaiming: “That will do; we will have no murdering done here.”
The officers denied that they had used their clubs, but a big piece of court plaster on Cregar’s head and a swelling on Kelty’s scalp told different stories. Justice Woodman said that if the clubbing had been done it was altogether unnecessary. He dismissed the charge of resisting an officer, and fined Kelty $1 and costs.
Paternalistic and Fallacious.
Premier Salisbury, when some of his legislative projects were assailed on the ground of their embodying governmental socialism, replied that there is an element of socialism in existing laws and that the objection should be disregarded, each measure being considered on its merits. Assuming that the advocates of the subtreasury bill may be disposed to take this ground two courses will be open to the opponents of the bill, namely, to tight it on the question of principle or to fight it as a lop-sided advance threatening destructive results by reason of what is omitted from the plan. The methods can be employed together. State Socialism is a possibility, but a little knowledge is proverbially a dangerous thing. To discuss the matter of principle it seems needful that the opponents should well understand that there are two distinct principles at the bottom of the bill, the one being that values should carry currency, and the other being that the government should be the controller of the business, which is in the nature of banking combined with warehousing. The idea that values should carry currency is not necessarily connected with any arbitrary control of government fiat Some opponents of the subtreasury bill have apparently perceived nothing of this distinction and have ridiculed the first of these principles. As for the second, which is at war with individual enterprise and competition, there are many minds alert to prosecute the necessary argument against the bill. They simply need to be reminded that they are equally called to controvert existing policies of government which favor financial monopoly by restriction. Without prejudice to the objections to the subtreasury bill on principle as State socialism, the “News” desires now to examine it further on the assumption that all such objections are waived and that a State socialistic measure providing currency as a representative of values is desired by a political party. The fundamental proposition is that where production has occurred there should be national currency provided to represent the product, and that when the product is taken out of the warehouse for consumption or export the currency should be paid in and canceled. On this principle the subtreasury bill is fatally defective and calculably hurtful in its provisions to the general industry of the country. A few leading articles of agricultural production, of annual consumption, are proposed as the basis of an issue of currency which is intended to serve all trades and professions. Let it be assumed that within a month after harvest grain is stored in quantity on which $1,000,000,000 of currency are issued. Within three months a certain quantity of the wheat is withdrawn for conversion into dour, and of the corn for conversion into pork and other products. The currency is thereby contracted, yet the flour and pork represent an increase of wealth rather than a decrease, for they show a further and well spent application of labor to the material in hand. If the scheme were scientific it would carefully avoid contraction at the point where the form of wealth has been changed. The flour and pork would be warehoused and currency would be issued upon them. The bale of cotton is warehoused and the currency of the country is to be increased say $36 for that product. In three or six months that cotton is withdrawn and the currency contracted, but there is immediately manufactured from the cotton a quantity of sheeting of a higher value by reason of the added labor. If industry must languish without currency, surely the addition of labor to the product is not the point at which to justify contraction. The manufacturer should be enabled to store the sheeting in a government warehouse and save himself and his farmer fellow citizen from the absurd penalty upon production which superficially involves consumption. As these manufactured goods are consumed there are other manufactured goods being produced, and the inference is clear that the country is not necessarily poorer, less active or less in need of currency when there is the smallest quantity of raw agricultural products stored. The flour goes to feed men who are getting out ore which becomes pig iron, which in turn becomes steel; to feed lumbermen, and the lumber becomes houses, furniture; to feed tanners and shoemakers, whose products are to be warehoused under contraction, or a positive penalty if this crude, fragmentary bill becomes the law. An alliance publication has referred to the act of the French revolutionary government in 1849 in taking products into warehouses and relieving trade by issuing currency thereon. That applied to products generally, thus avoiding any contraction while the tangible wealth of the country did not decrease.
Social Reform: the Scientific View.
[D. G. Thompson.]
Thus the fact that there has been an evolutionary progress toward a mutual accommodation of human actions and aims in a peacefully-ordered community proves that a solution of the problem we proposed is possible, since it has been already partially solved. We see how its solution has been possible, and how, if at all, its solution will be made more complete. This we are able to understand only through a scientific observation of the facts of human nature as revealed by psychology, anthropology, and sociology. We note that each individual will follow out his own aims and desires, and can do nothing else, for he is both a source of power and an end unto himself. He will be guided by the law of his own being, established by his constitution, his training and circumstances. His ideal will always be to do what he wishes to do; then only will he be satisfied. He can be restrained and prevented from following his chosen course, but he will elude, overcome, and thwart the controlling force if he possibly can. If the pressure be increased, his energy is crushed out and he has no more power of self-development at all.
The strong hand of government, therefore, is a most imperfect method of securing that mutual comity which is the ideal of a perfect State. It can only be administered by men acting forcibly against other men. This of itself fosters the very spirit of antagonism which it is most important to eradicate. The process is repressive of that individual expansion which is the fountain of all social progress. While governmental control is necessary to some extent, no doubt, the needs of a higher civilization demand its continual limitation within narrower bounds and its reduction to a minimum. In the nature of things the rule of man over man, whether by a monarch or the demos, is detrimental to the perfection both of the individual and of society. Its value consists in preventing chaos, in holding men together in security so as to allow the working of a much better process.
This better way is the only way of perfecting civilization. It allows the individual to have his own will in the most complete liberty, but it aims so to mould his character that his wishes and desires shall coincide exactly with the demands of social welfare. Said Emerson: “Every man takes care that his neighbor shall not cheat him. But a day comes when he begins to care that he do not cheat his neighbor. Then all goes well. He has changed his market-cart into a chariot of the sun.” This is precisely the Scientific method of promoting reform,— its central, essential idea, the only thorough and successful mode, without which nothing else is of any utility and to which everything else should be held subservient.
Theoretical science thus furnishes to practical science two complementary precepts, which should guide all efforts toward social reform. The first is to keep limiting the sphere and diminishing the functions of government, reducing both as fast and as far as is consistent with security. The other is to foster in every practicable way the formation and maintenance of the altruistic character in individuals....
The Scientific method has no part or lot with the Socialistic, if by the latter is meant the theory which proposes the State and its government machinery as the chief agency for guiding and training the human race to positive and progressive development, and for doing for individuals, positively, what they could not do for themselves. The reason why this principle is unscientific is apparent from what has gone before. To accomplish socialistic ideals, power must be accumulated. Where? In the hands of men. Whence comes it? It is taken away from other men. Who are to use it? Men. For what purpose? Theoretically, for the common weal. If it is not so used, there is tyranny and greater wretchedness than before. The users of this power then must be supremely intelligent and supremely benevolent. When the amount of government we have is so largely in the hands of thieves, cut-throats, and ruffians, what encouragement have we to believe that, if government had more power and more directions for its activity, matters would be improved? The answer to Socialism always is: The accumulation and exercise of power by the State is necessarily the vesting of power in individuals to be used by them over others. If the community is chiefly made up of people who are good and righteous from the social point of view, there is no need of such accumulation. If, on the other hand, the community contains any considerable evil element, increase of State functions tends to abridge the common liberty, to disturb the social equilibrium, to foster oppression, and to inaugurate a retrograde movement toward the primitive forms of “man’s inhumanity to man,” which made life a lurid drama of woe and wretchedness.
[Moses Harman in Lucifer.]
To the Readers and Friends of Lucifer, Greeting: —
On Saturday, August 30, just seventeen weeks from the date of my incarceration in the Kansas State prison, I was released — discharged on the order of Judge Caldwell, of the U. S. Circuit Court. After many delays, caused in part by absence of the judge and district attorney, David Overmyer succeeded in getting an order for a new trial, on a “writ of error,” I think it is technically called. The hearing of the case will take place at Topeka in November next. Before the order for discharge could take effect a twenty-five hundred dollar “appearance” bond had to be filed in the clerk’s office at Topeka, and also another bond of like amount binding the prisoner to prosecute said appeal “to effect,” that is, to a termination.
The order for my release was brought to the prison by my son George Harman, at about 10.30 A.M. The officer who brought the word to the kitchen found me broom in hand, cleaning up the litter made by the process of peeling and corning a barrel of apples for dinner. That the command to pack my “traps” and follow the messenger was obeyed with alacrity, will easily be imagined. Before 12 M. the prison stripes were doffed and citizens’ dress donned, and all necessary arrangements made to depart on the homeward journey. But when about to say good bye to the officers, Deputy Warden Higgins said, “It is now near 12 o’clock; your train will not be here till 5.50. You had better go in to dinner, and then make yourselves comfortable till train time.” Accepting with thanks the kind invitation we enjoyed a hearty dinner in the officers’ dining hall, then took a stroll among the flower beds and ornamental shrubbery just outside the walls, then spent the remainder of the waiting hours in the Warden’s office, writing letters.
The ride homeward was enjoyed with a zest that can be better imagined than described. There had been a fine rain in the morning, the air was fresh and delicious, all nature wore a joyous smile, as though sorrow and suffering were things unknown. For the. first time in four months I saw the sun set and moon rise, saw the green fields, the groves, and the running brooks.
The “Kreutzer Sonata” has afforded the authorities of Philadelphia a chance to show their ignorance. A half-dozen street peddlers have been arrested for selling the book by order of Police Superintendent Lamon. At the trial Mr. Lamon said he had read considerable about the book, and on Friday a citizen had complained to him about its sale on the street. In the opinion of the witness the book was obscene. It was not a decent book for anybody to read. It was on this account that the witness had interdicted it. “You have no power to interdict,” said Counselor Arundel. The counsel then requested the witness to point out some passages in the book which he considered obscene. The witness picked a copy of the book from a basketful near him, and turned to that part which denounced marriage as being unchristian and unchaste. He read the passage slowly, and when he had concluded it he said he considered it obscene. He then read other passages. The counsel asked if he had read Fielding, Pope, and Shakspere. Mr. Lamon replied that he had, and the counsel inquired if he had not found more obscene utterances in these works, and Mr. Lamon was not sure that he had. “Or in the Bible?” persisted the counsel. Mr. Lamon became indignant, and hotly replied: “I won’t answer that question!” “So you hold that the doctrine inculcated in this book is pernicious?” continued counsel. “I do, and it has been interdicted by the postmaster-general.” Mr. Arundel held that the work was not obscene, and asked that the men might be discharged. “What!” exclaimed the magistrate, “do you mean to say that the passages just read are not obscene?” “A perverted mind might so construe them,” was the quiet rejoinder. The court appeared confused. Mr. Arundel said that he had read the work, but the court asked if he would allow the book to enter his home and be read by his daughter. “I have no daughter,” was the reply, “and there is no use quibbling over this matter. No judge would hold these defendants, as they are merely the agents of others.” Counsel asked that the magistrate read this book before giving a decision, but the court ruled that the work was obscene, and held the defendants in $500 bail each, with the remark that every person caught selling the book on the street would be arrested. Counsel raised the point that the same work was sold in bookstores, and the magistrate said that if complaint was made about the sales, he would take the same action he took in this case. Counselor Arundel will test the matter by a writ of habeas corpus, confident of securing the acquittal of his clients. Monumental jackasses is a mild name for these suppressors.
The Logic of Events.
[Pall Mall Gazette.]
Scene, room in N———d street, Year 1990. Editor of expurgated edition of “P———l M———l G———e,” discovered reading suppressed number of “Sunday at Home.” Enter County Council Purity League, followed at a respectful distance by several honorary members of the Society for the Total Suppression of English Literature.
Editor of expurgated edition of “P———l M———l G———e”: —
“Excuse me for one moment, gentlemen, whilst I tell the sub-editress to get out a fresh pair of trousers for one of our horses. Now I am at your service. Yes, I have read this particular number of the “Sunday at Home,” and must admit that although the language employed is studiously and beautifully expressed, I have no hesitation in saying that it is a paper which no virtuous woman or man could read without serious harm. That passage in it which tells us how Edwin buttoned up Angelina’s boots without first bandaging his eyes is likely to prove of incalculable injury to young men and women if not to the old.” (Looks at his watch.) “Pray, excuse me, gentlemen, as I have to attend the official clothing of the last nude statue in the British Isles. I must try and find my County Council Picture and Statue Gallery Eye Protectors which, as you know, are indispensable on occasions like these, and as the two-hours bill is now in force, and the workmen, who have been petitioned to assist in the ceremony, have just combined for a further reduction of the hours of labor, I may be too late to participate in this great and glorious work if I detain you here any longer. Good day, gentlemen.” (Exeunt omnes.)
Better than the “Single-Tax.”
The Philadelphia Single-tax society offered five hundred dollars reward for the announcement of a better system of taxation than the Single-tax. B. Franklin Clark, of Belvidere, N. J., claimed the reward, citing the “voluntary system practised in the free cities in Germany before the empire, which always supplied sufficient for the support of the Government.” A. H. Stephenson, speaking for the Single-tax society, comments at length on Mr. Clark’s claim, among other things saying that “it will not do to claim that, because a few cities supported their governments by voluntary contributions, such a system could raise sufficient revenue in this country today.” To which, I think, it may be fairly replied that if our people would not voluntarily support our town, city, state, and national governments it would be a demonstration that they neither wish nor need them. People are generally willing to pay for what they wish or think they need. If there were no other objections to the Single-tax, the fact that it would have to be collected by force is sufficient. To take money from people by force is robbery, even though it is called a tax.
Another Immortal Ass.
Readers of English novels have often laughed over the absurd doings of English magistrates as therein portrayed, but few have ever believed that such characters had their counterparts in real life. But if the officers of the law who deal out alleged justice in Peterboro are fair samples of their class, these portrayals may not be so very far wrong. Not long since a little girl of ten, residing in that ancient town, took a bridle from her father’s stable, caught a horse in the field, mounted him bareback, and when met on the highway by a constable told him she was*“going to London.” He forthwith arrested her and took her, not to her home, bat to jail, and when she was brought before the magistrates they sentenced her to prison for three weeks and to a “reformatory” — save the mark — for five years. Think of it, a child, an “infant” in the law’s eye, a tot of a girl on a prank, for which, at most, she should have been well scolded and put to bed in disgrace, sent to prison for three weeks, and to a “reformatory” for five full years!
“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.
Until further notice Liberty will be issued under the editorial control of Mr. Yarros, as the editor will be absent from the office for several weeks.
Anarchism and the Scientific Method.
The Brooklyn scientific society for the propagation and popularization of the doctrine of evolution has recently discussed the question of social reform from the general standpoint of evolution. John W. Chadwick gave his views as an emancipated religionist, presenting the theological method of reform. William Potts defended the Socialistic method, Mr. Pentecost reviewed the Anarchistic method, and Daniel Green-leaf Thompson, whose lecture concluded the series, revealed the “scientific method” of social reform. On another page will be found some extracts from Mr. Thompson’s essay. Liberty has always regarded this scientific author with respect and has expressed admiring appreciation for his sociological works. It is therefore with regret that I find myself compelled to severely censure Mr. Thompson’s exceedingly unphilosophical and unfair treatment of the Anarchistic view. I am sincerely sorry to have to charge Mr. Thompson with inexcusable and wanton disregard of his own rules, and to prove that the champion of the rigorous scientific method permitted himself improper license in dealing with a philosophy somewhat different from his.
When in his previous sociological treatises Mr. Thompson characterized Anarchism in terms neither true nor just, I did not deem it absolutely necessary to puncture his offence (for it was a serious offence on his part to render adverse decision on the strength of incompetent and interested testimony) because I could discover certain mitigating circumstances which partially freed him from the liability of condemnation. But his guilt in the last instance cannot be passed over and indulgently overlooked. In his exposition of the scientific method in social reform Mr. Thompson spoke as follows with reference to Anarchism:
The Scientific method is also opposed to the Anarchistic, because it recognizes that Society is a growth, and knows that if at a given stage existing institutions are radically destroyed it is only by a process of growth that new ones can arise; that this process will be just as complicated as the preceding one, and will have to go through its various stages of imperfection before any perfection can be reached. First the stem, then the flower, then the fruit after its kind. Nothing can exist except as suited to its surrounding conditions. Cataclysms in society are sometimes inevitable, because there seems to be no hope for improvement. All the avenues are closed up. But the virtue of the Scientific method is that it takes care to keep open the avenues for the movement of evolutionary forces, and to render anarchic disturbances unnecessary and even impossible.
Now, if there are Anarchists who do not “recognize that society is a growth,” who do not know that “nothing can exist except as suited to its surrounding conditions”; who do not perceive that “to keep open the avenues for the movement of evolutionary forces” is “to render anarchic disturbances unnecessary and even impossible,” — if there are such Anarchists, they are unphilosophical and unscientific, and Mr. Thompson’s strictures are eminently just and rational. Are there such Anarchists? Perhaps there are; in fact I know that there are persons calling themselves Anarchists who are ignorant and passion-drunk and who by their action violate all the general principles of evolutionary social reform. If Mr. Thompson had them in mind when he used the language just quoted, he said nothing that they could complain of as slanderous and foolish. But he had no right to characterize Anarchists in general as he did, to charge, without distinction, Anarchists in general with errors and fallacies committed by a small portion of them. To the majority of Anarchists he certainly was unjust, and to his auditors he certainly was false and misleading. They were entitled to demand full and accurate information about the methods and principles of all Anarchists. The majority of the Anarchists teach nothing that is repugnant to the “scientific method,” and are in accord with Mr. Thompson on the points raised. To ignore the minority and speak only of the majority would have been more in consonance with precedent; but for ignoring the majority and speaking only of an insignificant minority there is assuredly no justification either in right reason or in wrong usage.
But perhaps (it may be suggested) Mr. Thompson was and is unaware of the existence of other than violent and unphilosophical Anarchists? Very likely this is the correct explanation of his course; but he has no right to be ignorant. Did he not lay down the scientific rule, “Survey the whole field and be sure of your facts,” and was he not bound to survey the whole field of Anarchism and make sure of his facts before attempting to represent that subject to others and guide their estimation of it? Had he adequately prepared himself for criticising and discussing Anarchism? Was he not completely in the dark himself when he engaged to dispel the mist which obscured the vision of his confiding listeners? Was not the part of his treatise devoted to Anarchism a practical lesson in the art of how not to follow the .scientific method? Mr. Thompson cannot even plead lack of opportunity and of easily accessible means of enlightenment. Mr. Pentecost preceded him, and Mr. Pentecost’s lecture alone would have been sufficient, had Mr. Thompson attended and open-mindedly listened to it, to break up his preconceived notions and give him a correct general idea of Anarchism. Here is what, among other things, Mr. Pentecost said in his lecture on “The Anarchistic Method”:
Anarchists are not bomb-throwers — dynamiters. There are some persons who call themselves Anarchists who believe that circumstances might arise which would justify a resort to destructive warfare, and that good results would follow such a method. But, in my opinion, the clearest thinkers, the most scientific among the Anarchists, understand that what might be achieved by physical force would be subject to reversal by physical force, and would, therefore, have to be conserved by physical force. In my opinion, the most careful thinkers among the Anarchists understand that if some transient “tidal-wave” of popular opinion, formed rapidly and by what we call accident, or some sudden uprising of the people, inflamed by discontent but not educated in economic principles, as in the case of the French Revolution, should enable them by political methods or force of arms to secure control of the government, little or nothing would be gained and much might be lost..... Anarchists do not fight with bombs, but with books; nor with pistols, but with pens. They are not thugs; they are thinkers. Not powder, but persuasion, is their weapon. Not by cannon, but by convictions, do they hope to win.
It is plainly evident that Mr. Thompson had not taken the trouble to clarify and test his vague notions by a perusal of Mr. Pentecost’s lecture on Anarchism delivered before the same scientific society, but appeared on the platform, like a true metaphysician, in haughty contempt for paltry facts, to discuss a subject of which, scientifically speaking, he knew next to nothing, in full belief that his instincts could not deceive him.
The moral of all this — but the moral is obvious enough, and I hardly need recapitulate. V. Y.
How Anarchy may be Realized.
In a letter from Herbert Spencer to the Brooklyn Ethical Association occurs this passage: “Those who in the past have devoted themselves to the diffusion of ideas have usually had much to suffer and have met with little appreciation; they died before it came. Remembering the fates of such, I may regard myself as extremely fortunate. Though during the first half of my literary career the losses were great and the encouragements small, yet the last half has made amends; and I may be more than satisfied alike with the material results and the effects produced, as well as with the marks of approval which have been coming to me more and more frequently.”
To no students of Spencer can the above letter be more encouraging than to Anarchists. Some people, baffled in their arguments against Anarchism, reproach us that our ideas make no progress. It has been pointed out from time to time in these pages that the teachings of Liberty have made great headway in very influential directions. Yet, notwithstanding this, a glance back forty or fifty years does at first sight seem discouraging. It was then that Greene published his mutual bank theory. The “Social Revolutionist” contained articles as radical as anything printed today, and Jeremiah Hacker published in Maine a little journal full of bright ideas and showing as thorough a knowledge of the nature of capitalism as is to be found in Marx. Twenty or thirty years ago Warren was in his prime and Andrews was as belligerent as Liberty; and a host of active workers, now almost forgotten, were doing active work. Remembering all this, one is inclined to become pessimistic, but such letters as Spencer’s tend to encourage one. Referring to this letter, the Boston “Globe” said: “The reason, probably, that Herbert Spencer has not suffered the indignities and neglect that have been heaped upon the great philosophers of the past is because the world moves so fast today that it catches up with its great thinkers during their lifetimes.”
That the world moves fast and catches up to great ideas makes it important that our ideas are correct. The ideas presented in Liberty have so far never been shown to be incorrect.
As there are many practical people who have no longer any doubts as to the truths of Anarchism, but who nevertheless feel discouraged when looking at the matter from a practical point of view, it may be opportune now to show that Anarchy is the most practical solution of the social problem. Not only are other methods, like State Socialism, Single Tax, Greenbackism, etc., false in theory, but they are impracticable. They all require to be legalized, and so depend on gaining a majority of lawmakers and voters to institute them, and a majority of the fighting voters to enforce them in case of organized resistance. There are countless thousands of Single-taxers in every State, as well as Green backers, Nationalists, etc.; yet they are powerless to practicalize their ideas, and though they occasionally win the support of a more than usually wily political trickster who throws out a trap to catch their votes, they always-get left at the polls.
The two main ideas in the economics of Anarchy are: occupancy and use the only title to land, and free banking. Anarchy means much more than this, but these are the two main economic issues. On the political side is the right of trial by jury,— the palladium of our liberties. None but Anarchists have a simple or intelligent idea on this most important and thoroughly practical matter. The ideas on this point are to be found in that unique and valuable treatise of Spooner on “Trial by Jury.” Here is a weapon the beauty of which is that none but Anarchists can use it to introduce their ideas. In the hands of Singletaxers, Nationalists, etc., it is as harmless as nitroglycerine in a free state; in the hands of the Anarchists it is as deadly to the special privileges of landlords and money lords as nitroglycerine compressed in a dynamite gun. The only thing impracticable about Anarchism is the lack of intelligent people understanding its principles. If only one-fourth as many people understood mutual banking as there are Greenbackers, free banks on a small scale could be started next year. And if only a tithe of the land reformers understood the vacant land theory, practical operations could be commenced at once. No need of droves of voting cattle at the polls, or of majorities in the House, or of friendly partisans on the bench. All that is needed is an efficient minority of Anarchists sprinkled throughout society who know their rights as jurymen and have courage and determination to stand by them.
The reader of Liberty who is not well informed on this issue is admonished to at once acquaint himself with Spooner’s “Trial by Jury.” Ideas and events move fast today, and it is essential in order to under stand Anarchy from a practical standpoint that Anarchists should not be tardy on any issue involved in their plan of campaign.
To be explicit. Let us suppose that a forty enthusiasts have determined to occupy vacant land. They do so, and by due process of law are evicted. They are tried before a jury — a real jury, not a set of ignoramuses such as now sit and take the law from the court and play an inferior part in the farce called a trial,— and one or more jurymen, believing that the power of the police was employed for an iniquitous purpose, refuse to convict. The authority of the police is weakened. We know bow it works in prohibition States when popular feeling is against a law,— and jurymen act not as in their right, but in the sense of averting a bad law. In Ireland the plan of campaign works well, and there again juries do not act from a sense of their own right, but in what they believe to be an illegal manner. When jurymen shall know and defend their right, greater results will follow. A jury on which there were one or two free men could baffle all the efforts of owners who did not hold land by equitable title. So with free currency. Prosecutions would fail too often to be encouraging, and a practical move could be at once made to realize Anarchistic ideas.
It is assumed here that Anarchists are numerous enough to be sprinkled among the jury list, and that the juries will be drawn in a fair manner. If the law as it now is is not complied with and Anarchists are ruled or counted out, a new issue will be raised. A. H. Simpson.
A Thoughtless Letter.
In “An Open Letter,” published in the “Twentieth Century,” Helen H. Gardener replies to certain mild criticisms passed by Mr. Pentecost upon her recent book, “A Thoughtless Yes,” and, in passing, offers some general observations and suggestions on things literary and social which are anything but valuable or interesting. In fact, I have no hesitation in saying (as I have no difficulty in proving) that nothing so shallow, thoughtless, contradictory, crude, and puerile has appeared in print for a long time. Devoid of logic, coherency, or clear and systematic reasoning, it is almost impossible to deal with her notions and whims in any systematic manner; but it is easy to expose the poverty and disorder of her mind by taking her disconnected statements and refuting one after another.
Miss Gardener declines to give a thoughtless yes to the proposals of State Socialists, Anarchists, and other reformers. Does she then say a thoughtful no to them? Far from it. She has not studied them, and has very vague ideas and faint impressions regarding these various philosophies. Yet she presumes to pass judgment upon them and to discuss their alleged imperfections and errors. She is thoughtless enough, and impertinent enough, to deliver opinions without troubling herself about the evidence and the arguments essential to an understanding of the cases. For instance, here is her most serious charge, her most earnest complaint against social reformers:
It is one of the saddest things in this world to see the brave and earnest men who fight so nobly for better and fairer economic conditions for “labor” pay (almost to a man) the tribute of a thoughtless yes to the absolute pauper status of all womanhood. They resent with spirit the idea that men should labor for a mere subsistence, and always be dependent upon and at the financial mercy of the rich. They do not at all see that to one-half of the race even that much economic independence would be a tremendous improvement upon her present status. You may reply that Anarchism would solve that problem. Would it? With maternity and physical disabilities 1n the scale? Do you know, to me, all the various economic schemes yet put forward lack an essential feature. They provide for a free and a better manhood, but they pay the tribute of a thoughtless yes to impudent authority in the case of womanhood in many things. And so long as motherhood is serfhood just so long will this world be populated with a race easy to subjugate, weak to resist oppression, criminal in its instincts of cruelty toward those in its power, and humble and subservient toward authority and domination. Character rises but little above its source. The mother molds the man. If she has the status, the instincts, and the spirit of a subordinate, she will transmit these, and the more enlightened she is the surer is this, because of her consciousness of her own degradation.
Need I say that all this talk is begotten of ignorance? Every reader of radical literature knows that the charge is as absurd as it is false. Neither the Socialists nor the Anarchists have neglected the “Woman Question”; neither have remained silent upon the vital questions and problems comprehended in the subject of sexual and family relations. Socialists and Anarchists have abundantly discussed the “Woman Question” in all its phases,— economic, social, and sexual; and if Miss Gardener is not aware of it, it is only because she has not sought to inform herself, because she has a convenient habit of dispensing with study and reflection.
Miss Gardener tells us that she is “earnestly interested in the clash of arms between those who want the government to do all things and those who wish it to do nothing.” “These,” she writes, “and the varying cults ranged between, each seems to me to have certain strong points and certain weak ones. Each seems to me to overlook some essential feature.” Now, one must possess a pretty thorough knowledge of a system in order to discern its strength as well as weakness; but Miss Gardener knows next to nothing about the systems she so glibly talks of, as is shown in her nonsensical charge that Socialists and Anarchists ignore the question of woman’s emancipation and even justify many restrictions upon her freedom. One may object very decidedly to the Socialistic system in its entirety, just as one may object to, the Anarchistic system in its full development, but no intelligent and informed opponent will complain that either leaves the woman question unsettled or insufficiently considered. Says Miss Gardener:
Personally I do not believe that all the free land, free money, or freedom in the world which shall leave the mothers of the race (whether in or out of marriage) a subject class, or in a position to transmit to their children the vices or weaknesses of a dominated dependent, will ever succeed in populating the world with self-reliant, self-respecting and capable people.
It would be useless to request the voluble Miss Gardener to enlighten us as to what is needed to emancipate woman, if economic and social freedom will not help her. She means nothing. She does not know what she is talking about. She evidently never thinks.
Indeed, I do most earnestly believe that the inspired way is yet to be struck out, and I do not believe that I am the one to do it.
No, she will never do it; and she will never know whether others give promise of doing it if she does not reform her literary habits. She is not even entitled to say that others have not done it already, considering her own recent confession of ignorance and my present demonstration of it.
Meanwhile I can do some things. I can suggest questions, and sometimes answers. But I am not a god, and I do not want all people to answer my way.
Such modesty is more offensive and improper than the most confident self-assertion and dogmatism, as De Quincey has pointed out long ago. Why does not Miss Gardener want all people to answer her way? Because she is not fully convinced of the validity of her position? If so, she has no business to rush into print and thrust herself upon our attention. It is the height of vanity and immodesty and impertinence to claim the privilege of authorship without regard to the corresponding responsibilities. Who forces her to give publicity to her immature little notions? Why is she so anxious to appear in the role of a teacher if she is not sure that she has anything to say that is worth listening to? The thinking world feels no interest in conclusions advanced in a half-hearted way. It rightly demands clear and logical thought, and has nothing but contempt for a person who pretends to teach while unable to defend and vigorously maintain the doctrines promulgated. On the other hand, if Miss Gardener is perfectly sure of the soundness of her views, it is impossible for her not to wish and labor to convert others. Again I am forced to conclude that Miss Gardener never reflects. A little thinking would make her ashamed of such silly and hasty chatter.
I do want to help prevent, now and henceforth, the tribute of a thoughtless yes from being given to a good many established wrongs.
How can this be effected except by proving that the “established wrongs” are wrongs; and it is impossible to prove a thing wrong otherwise than by comparing its results with the results of different institutions, either elsewhere existing or theoretically accurately conceived. Without a standpoint, a doctrine, a philosophy, it is as impossible to destroy as it is to construct. We can unlearn only as fast as we learn. Miss Gardener has nothing positive to announce. She is ignorant of the results of scientific research, and she is not equipped for fighting established wrongs, inasmuch as she lacks the criterion by which right may be distinguished from wrong, truth from imposture, freedom from aggression.
But the sources of information are open, and knowledge is easily acquired. May we not hope that Miss Gardener will perceive the error of her way and resolve to do justice to herself and the public in the future? May we not hope that she will nevermore be guilty of a thoughtless yes or a thoughtless no? V. Y.
Our Obligations to the State.
The Milwaukee “Freidenker,” indissolubly wedded to the idea of the State and consequently a questionable soldier in the army fighting the battles of the social revolution, printed this from the celebrated German jurist, R. v. Ihering, in a recent issue, in support of its position:
It does not require science to enlighten the thoughtful person on the matter of how far he finds his interests served by the State, a glance will reveal it. But for the thoughtless masses this is already too great a task. When one listens to their complaints anent the burdens and restrictions imposed by the State one might imagine that it is more of an evil than a blessing. They regard the advantages that it confers as a matter of course — that is what it is for! — or, more correctly, they do not become conscious of them at all; it is with the State as with the stomach, of which one speaks only to complain, which one feels only where it becomes troublesome.
It is pretty poor business for an advanced journal with the pretensions of the “Freidenker” to lend itself to the dissemination of such political superstition at this late day. Whatever uses the State may have served in the past, it is now conceded by the clearest thinkers that it not only does not, but that in the nature of things it cannot any longer serve any useful purpose, and that it is the chief obstacle in the path of modern progress. Nor was society ever indebted to the State for any good thing to the extent implied by v. Ihering. A much truer statement of the case is that furnished by Thomas Paine in his “Rights of Man”:
Formal government makes but a small part of civilized life; and when even the best that human wisdom can devise is established, it is a thing more in name and idea than in fact. It is to the great and fundamental principles of society and civilization — to the common usage universally consented to, and mutually and reciprocally maintained — to the increasing circulation of interest, which, passing through its million channels, invigorates the whole mass of civilized man — it is to these things, infinitely more than to anything which even the best instituted government can perform, that the safety and prosperity of the individual and the whole depend. The more perfect civilization is, the less occasion has it for government.
Further testimony to similar effect might be advanced from Wilhelm v. Humboldt also. But lest these and related views of last-century philosophers should be contemptuously brushed aside as antiquated, I point to the conclusions on the subject before us of so thoroughly modern a thinker as Herbert Spencer. After reaching the inference “that of the aggregate results of men’s desires seeking their gratifications those which have prompted their private activities and their spontaneous coöperations have done much more towards social development than those which have worked through governmental agencies,” he continues:
That abundant crops now grow where once only wild berries could be gathered, is due to the pursuit of individual satisfactions through many centuries. The progress from wigwams to good houses has resulted from wishes to increase personal welfare; and towns have arisen under the like promptings. Beginning with traffic at gatherings on occasions of religious festivals, the trading organization, now so extensive and complex, has been produced entirely by men’s efforts to achieve their private ends. Perpetually governments have thwarted and deranged the growth, but have in no way furthered it; save by partially discharging their proper function and maintaining social order. So, too, with those advances of knowledge and those improvements of appliances by which these structural changes and these increasing activities have been made possible. It is not to the State that we owe the multitudinous useful inventions from the spade to the telephone; it was not the State which made possible extended navigation by a developed astronomy; it was not the State which made the discoveries in physics, chemistry, and the rest, which guide modern manufacturers; it was not the State which devised the machinery for producing fabrics of every kind, for transferring men and things from place to place, and for ministering in a thousand ways to our comforts. The world-wide transactions conducted in merchants’ offices, the rush of traffic filling our streets, the retail distributing system which brings everything within easy reach and delivers the necessaries of life daily at our doors, are not of governmental origin. All these are results of the spontaneous activities of citizens, separate or grouped. Nay, to these spontaneous activities governments owe the very means of performing their duties. Divest the political machinery of all those aids which Science and Art have yielded it — leave it with those only which State officials have invented; and its functions would cease. The very language in which its laws are registered and the orders of its agents daily given, is an instrument not in the remotest degree due to the legislator; but is one which has unawares grown up during men’s intercourse while pursuing their personal satisfactions.
From which it inevitably follows that the State is a hindrance to and not a promoter of social progress, that it is indeed more of an evil than a blessing, and that the analogy drawn by v. Ihering between it and the stomach is totally absurd. G. S.
From Liberalism Limited to Anarchism.
The editor of “Freethought” thinks deeply as well as freely. His writings, always brilliant and deliciously humorous, are beginning to be distinguished for their philosophical and logical excellence as well. In his issue of August 30, Mr. George Macdonald muses upon social and political matters as follows:
If we find upon investigation that the most enlightened persons neither attend church nor political conventions; that the tendency of civilization is toward indifference or disgust with both religion and politics; that the men best fitted for teachers are not in the pulpits, and that the ablest political economists are not office-holders; and if on the contrary we find the Church and State supported by the most unenlightened and unprincipled classes; the most enthusiasm among the most abandoned; the pulpits filled by men who are fit for nothing else, and public offices crowded with the dishonest, the fanatical, and the incompetent — what conclusions are to be logically drawn from these facts? I draw nothing except attention to things as they are in our centres of population.
It is not altogether correct for Mr. Macdonald to say that he “draws nothing,” for on the same page of the paper we find him expressing sentiments that have the appearance of legitimate conclusions from the aforesaid facts.
I registered at the City Hall the other day as a voter in the city and county of San Francisco, though what in the name of common sense I want to vote for is more than I know. City and State affairs are going along as well as ever, to all appearances; every vacant stool in all our public buildings seems to have an intelligent Milesian to hold it down and draw his salary; the present officials come around to collect some sort of a tax or license as often as I have money enough to pay, and I see no reason to expect that a new set of stool-occupiers and tax and license gatherers would do any better. There is a youth at the City Hall who will take two dollars from me if I should ever desire to get married again or to keep a dog, which I don’t. Either of a hundred other clerks will take a tithe of my possessions once a year if I continue to stay in this office. Others will gather from me an annual poll-tax of two dollars and allow me to live. Others will see to it that I pay them a license for handling merchandise, and still others will reach out their hands occasionally for the cigar license. Why not let these present incumbents stay there until they either die or get enough and retire? Better, saith the bard, to bear the ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.
I have often wondered what would happen if the president of the United States should seclude himself somewhere and be heard of no more forever and his office remain vacant; if our national and State legislatures should adjourn sine die; if our customs officials, our internal revenue gatherers, our supreme and superior court judges should go away and become gentleman farmers; if our statute books should perish in the flames of our State houses and city halls; if our chaplains should all go to Africa as missionaries to the heathen; if, in fact, the greater part of our governmental machinery should become rusty and refuse to move, and election day should never come around — I have often wondered whether the people would miss anything except the expense. What would happen if every voter stayed away from the polls for ten years? Let him that is without sense among us cast the first vote.
Nor does the editor of “Freethought” leave us here; he grows bolder and clearer as he proceeds, and finally makes frank and full confession of the heresies he cannot help entertaining:
I have been paying some attention to the doctrines of the newer lights of political and social economy, and these are the lessons I learn:
The shortest way to settle the Woman Suffrage question is to let the women vote. Mischief may follow; but mischief follows from marriage sometimes, and we do not therefore argue that only men should marry.
The shortest way to settle the liquor question is to remove license and tax from the traffic. This would make liquor so cheap that drinkers could get all they want for little expense and would have something left for other purposes.
The shortest way to settle the marriage question is to abolish legal ties. Then if people unhappily mated continued to live together in misery they would do so upon their own responsibility and would have no one to blame but themselves.
The shortest way to settle the religious question is to withdraw legal privileges from the churches. Tax these as other property is taxed, protect their meetings only as other meetings are protected, pay no State money to religious institutions.
The shortest way to abolish land monopoly is to give monopolists no title whereby they can hold in possession more land than they use.
The shortest way to settle the financial question is to make coinage and currency free, so that every man may coin his own metal and issue his own paper money, and put his credit in competition with the credit of others.
The shortest way the settle all other questions is by the same simple methods, the only objection to which is that their adoption is a long way off.
From this position to Anarchism there is but one short step. I have no doubt Mr. Macdonald will soon decide to take this last step. Meantime he is, I understand, fully prepared to receive material encouragement and entirely willing to let everybody having two dollars to spare enjoy the fruits of his pen’s labor for the space of one year. Those of Liberty’s readers who do not take “Freethought” should not fail to order it at once. It will be a welcome weekly visitor and will afford them more instruction and delight than any organ I know of that is published outside of Boston. V. Y.
The “Whirlwind’s” Individualism.
Calm and truly philosophical reflections are perhaps not to be reasonably demanded of those who ride in the whirlwind and direct the storms of discontent, but I cannot overlook the serious and gratuitous disregard of fundamental principles of which Mr. Herbert Vivian, editor of the “Whirlwind,” seems to be guilty. In the paper of August 23, Mr. Vivian publishes two paragraphs which, I should think, must be in a high degree offensive to every sober-minded individualist and clear thinker on social questions. One has reference to the anti-Semitic movement in Russia, and is as follows:
Bravo, Czar! — I am not altogether inclined to join in the chorus of abuse which has been levelled at the Czar, in consequence of his new anti-Semitic policy. Of course, I do not defend religious persecution, however offensive a religion may be, so long as the exercise of its rights does not encroach on the liberties of others. But the Jews are a race rather than a religious body, and, like the Chinese, are often obnoxious to their neighbors. By their financial craft they have acquired a dangerously extensive power, not merely over individuals, but even over the policy of States and the conduct of governments, and it is getting every day more obvious that something must be done to repress them. It is true that the Czar is setting about the business in an unindividualistic, and therefore improper way, but some allowance must be made for the nature of his surroundings and the goodness of his Intentions, and he really ought not to have been scolded quite so vehemently. The proper way to deal with Jews is a rigorous boycott; that is quite in accordance with Individualism, for no man may be compelled to associate with undesirable persons, and that, after all, is far more effective in its operation than State-directed persecution. What should be aimed at is the return of the whole Jewish race, as speedily as may be, to Palestine; they profess to desire it themselves, and the countries of their adoption would assuredly have no difficulty in sparing them.
It cannot be denied that, for those who are unfortunate enough to agree with Mr. Vivian’s prejudiced view about the necessity of repressing the Jews, a rigorous boycott is the proper method of dealing with them and one in accordance with Individualism, though emphatically not in accordance with enlightened and philosophical Individualism. It is not a violation of the Individualist principles for an Englishman to boycott everybody whose language and character differ from the English, just as it is no violation of Individualism for a person to isolate himself from all society and boycott every other person on earth. But either instance would be a very pronounced violation of common sense and common instinct. Intelligent individualists will certainly dissent from Mr. Vivian on the question of the necessity of “repressing” the Jews, and will inform him that greater economic liberty and a better industrial system would cure the evil of Jewish exploitation just as it would cure other evils. But, without arguing this question, it concerns me here to know how, from his own standpoint, our individualist editor can applaud the czar. As he himself says, the czar is not acting upon the Individualist method, but upon despotic, absurd, and criminal methods: wherefore then, “Bravo, Czar”? As a champion of a principle, as a teacher of Individualism, Mr. Vivian must denounce the tyrant, although, as a man, he may “make allowance” for the goodness of his intentions — assuming him to know such goodness of intention to be a fact. With very few exceptions, all tyrants and inquisitors have been men of good intentions; but Individualists cannot allow this consideration to restrain them while making war upon the essential principle of invasion and aggression.
The second paragraph is still more objectionable and incomprehensible. It reads:
A Criminal Poet. — It is disgraceful that the criminal lucubration of “the poet Swinburne” in the “Fortnightly Review” should have escaped prosecution. If my memory does not deceive me, the editors of an obscure sheet, entitled the “Freiheit,” were actually sent to prison some years ago for a similar incitement to murder. Why then should this man, who has presumably had the benefit of superior culture and ought therefore to know better, escape the punishment, which he far more richly deserves? Considering the publicity given to his incitement, not merely by its appearance in the “Review,” but by the predatory habits of the provincial press, it is quite possible that serious harm may be done. If, for instance, some other lunatic chanced to read Mr. Swinburne’s gibberings and thereupon proceeded to murder the Czar, surely Mr. Swinburne would not be wholly guiltless of the deed. To my mind, it would be a mistake to honor Swinburne with a State trial; he ought at once to be hustled off to Hanwell.
All this is really too absurd to be entitled to anybody’s notice. Not alone from the Individualist standpoint, but from every other conceivable standpoint that is more or less progressive and enlightened, this deliverance must be adjudged indefensible. The Russian government is based on force. It is a despotism pure and simple. The rights and liberties of the best elements of the country are ruthlessly trampled upon. The czar is a criminal, and his victims have a right to slay him. Nay, in a certain sense, they owe it as a duty to themselves and those dependent on them to punish him and render him harmless. And it is the right and the duty of every free and cultured man to advocate the cause of the czar’s victims and to coöperate with them in their revolutionary enterprises, unless it is believed that revolutionary methods, however just and legitimate, are inexpedient. The “Whirlwind” has much to learn on the subject of Individualism, if it fails to see that its defence of tyranny and hostility to liberty cannot be reconciled with the principles it professedly upholds. The imprisonment of the editor of the “Freiheit” was an outrage and a crime, and would have justified very severe measures against the English government. I am afraid that the “Whirlwind” worships power and is addicted to certain political superstitions and bad habits of thinking and feeling. It must learn to think more clearly, reason more logically, and feel more justly, if it desires to serve the cause of human advancement. Its present usefulness is questionable, however good its motives may really be. V. Y.
I suppose that most people regard Charles Dudley Warner as an educated and intelligent man. But the most degraded and illiterate American voter could not possibly exhibit greater ignorance and superstition than is revealed in the following deliverance. So far as scientific sociology and evolutionary philosophy are concerned, Mr. Warner is scarcely superior to a savage fetich worshipper. It is sad to think that a leading American author can talk like an arrant fool on political subjects: yet his case is not exceptional. Writing on the subject of the American spirit, Mr.Warner says: “It may not be possible to define exactly what an American is, still less to describe the American spirit about which we hear so much and which is so variously conceived. But it is time that one thing were very clearly understood by all the new comers who purpose to favor us with their society, and that is that the country is already made, and is not waiting for them to make it. That it is just as much a nation, with as well defined, and as distinct a political life and purpose as Germany, or England, or France. This fact clearly understood will save the new-comers a great deal of trouble. We have had a real, though not long, historic growth as a cation; we were not made by a stroke of the pen, but evolved out of many peoples and long colonial and revolutionary and constitutional struggles into a true national life, under conditions of government absolutely new in the world, but which for a century have given greater advantages and chances for ordinary humanity than any other government that has preceded it. In our federal system and our local self-government we find the American idea, and it is just as different from the license and the socialism which some conceive to be the American idea as can be. It is useless for foreign new-comers to butt their heads against this idea; it will injure their heads. They may as well understand that we have a government very satisfactory to ourselves, and that we do not require their aid in making one, and if they do not like it they are as free as air not to come. It is not a good place for experiments, for we have not yet got tired of our experiment, which has, so far, been productive of unexampled prosperity, and of more than the average happiness.”
Mr. Pentecost says: “No course of thinking or conduct results in happiness. Happiness is impossible. The more highly developed the brain, the more impossible happiness is. The most that can be hoped for is to find some way of life in which one may be less miserable.” This is true if Mr. Pentecost speaks of the present only, and it comes opportunely to support Liberty’s exception to Helen Gardener’s preposterous notion that the best of man cannot really be the saddest of men. But if Mr. Pentecost means to include the future also, his assertions are rash and totally unfounded. I hope Mr. Pentecost is not getting to be a pessimist. Why, even the man of blood and iron, Bismarck, is beginning to believe in progress. Receiving a deputation of veterans recently, he said that “the inventions for making warfare were becoming more and more murderous. No indemnity could compensate for the misery and expense caused by the new methods of warfare; therefore, happily, every one thought well before beginning a war.” The thinking process once fairly started, the cessation of war may be hoped for.
With the exception of the Galveston “News,” the daily papers of the country have loudly expressed their “moral” endorsement of the anti-lottery bill recently passed by the House. Yet I find that a newspaper in Brooklyn announces prizes to subscribers, of the (alleged) value of from $1 to $1500, payable to those who shall make the nearest guesses of the number of beans in a certain sealed jar; that a daily journal of Cincinnati issues a similar prospectus of prizes to those purchasers of the sheet who shall make the nearest correct guess as to what will be the size of its circulation upon a specified date; and that an afternoon paper of Philadelphia displays a bold placard upon the front of its publication building promising “$500 for 2 cents,” and daily, for months together, tells how those who get the paper may, by properly filling up the “coupons” printed therein (they are guesses as to winning base-ball teams) and sending them to the office of the paper, take their chances in getting the prize. Evidently our moral editors are hypocrites and are in favor of suppressing lotteries simply because they fear competition and desire success for their own lotteries. But I am glad that a recent decision of the Supreme Court promises to put a stop to these little lottery schemes of our enterprising papers. Let them have a taste of their own medicine.
Mr. Pentecost Converted to Tolstoi-ism.
In referring to my “Demands” one of the editorial writers of the “Individualist” says:
We would like to ask whether Mr. Pentecost sanctions the existing marriage laws. His failure to demand free love is what Helen Gardener would call “paying the tribute of a thoughtless yes” to existing sex slavery.
I believe in no statute laws whatever. I do not believe there is any large person in the universe, commonly called God, who has relations to men and women. I believe the Church and the State, as organized, authoritative institutions, are only and always detrimental to the happiness, the welfare, of the human race. Since marriage, as a religious or civil institution, is based on the recognition of the existence of a God or the authority of Church or State, it inevitably follows that I do not “sanction the existence of marriage laws.” I believe marriage laws result in more misery and lewdness than would obtain without them. But I do not believe in “free love” as the phrase is commonly understood. Men and women should certainly be free to arrange their relationships to suit themselves. If they were thus free I think they would arrange those relationships better than they are at present managed by the politicians and clergymen. I think they would eventually learn the wisdom of establishing them on some other basis than that of sex. As the brain increases the sex nature decreases. As the “union of beings” grows, sexual love dies. The more we are men and women.the less we are animals. Why advocate conduct of which all but beasts are ashamed? I commend to the editors of the “Individualist” and others these words from the “Kreutzer Sonata”:
“But,” said I, with astonishment, “how would the human race continue?”
“But what is the use of its continuing?” he rejoined, vehemently.
“What! What is the use? But then we should not exist.”
“And why is it necessary that we should exist?”
“Why, to live, to be sure.”
“And why live? ... The object of man, as of humanity, is happiness, and, to attain it, humanity has a law which it must carry out. This law consists in the union of beings. This union is thwarted by the passions. And that is why, if the passions disappear, the union will be accomplished. Humanity then will have carried out the law, and will have no further reason to exist.”
The reviewers do not understand the “Kreutzer Sonata.” They call Posdnicheff a lunatic; but he is the only person who has ever spoken wisely and lucidly on the sex question. Clergymen, editors, and many.” free lovers” alike reject his message. Is it because it is a call to personal purity? Take one other quotation from the same wonderful pages:
The old foundation [legal marriage] is shattered; we must have a new one, but we must not preach debauchery.
Men and women should be free to regulate their conduct toward each other to suit themselves. The sooner they are thus free the sooner will they learn that they will be less miserable in the exact ratio in which they eliminate sexual passion from the “union of beings.”
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.