“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.
The Senate passed the Anti-Lottery Bill without any discussion. Yet is it clearly unconstitutional. What becomes of our right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness if we cannot spend our own money as we like? Can the people permit the ignorant and unclean politicians to regulate their expenditures? But the law will be evaded and violated, and this is the only consoling consideration.
Mr. Westrup’s lecture on the “National Banking System,” which Liberty published in 1888, has been reprinted and issued in pamphlet form, under the title “Citizens’ Money,” by the Equity Publishing Company. It is a good and popular lecture, and should be widely circulated. Send 10 cents and get a copy of the pamphlet from the publishers of “Egoism,” P. O. Box 1678, San Francisco, Cal.
The Nationalists are quite consistent and logical in demanding the abolition of the Pinkerton police or any other police force more or less independent of the government. But everybody must see the impropriety of the demand for the abolition of the Comstock law. The Nationalists cannot consistently denounce our present censors and guardians, seeing that they contemplate infinitely greater tyranny over the individual. Gronlund is at least honest. He openly expresses his admiration for the Republican policy and the course of Wanamaker, Comstock, & Co.
“Some men,” writes Col. Ingersoll, “looking only at the faults and tyrannies of government, have said: ‘Anarchy is better.’ Others, looking at the misfortunes, the poverty, the crimes, of men, have in a kind of pitying despair reached the conclusion that the best of all is death. These are the opinions of those who have dwelt in gloom,— of the self-imprisoned.” Col. Ingersoll’s explanation of the origin of Anarchism, if not true, is certainly interesting. The Anarchists’ opinion of the Colonel, which is both interesting and true, is that he would be a safe and wise teacher if he did not too often forget that there is danger in getting beyond one’s depth.
The editor of the “Northern Light” is “weary of the quarrels between the champions of individualism and collectivism.” This is a pity, for the next sentence shows that he has yet a great deal to master and overcome before he can get an insight into the differences which are at the bottom of these quarrels. He says: “If they should unite in reforming the deformed nature of man, mankind would soon reach such a plane where individualism would not be selfishness, nor could collectivism be despotic. Deny it, if you can.” Now, if the editor of the “Northern Light” were not weary, but fresh and eager and willing to learn, I might inform him that it is impossible to reform the deformed nature of man without knowing how this is to be done, and that it is precisely upon the question of the “how” that individualists and collectivists dispute and quarrel.
The following passage in Mr. Lloyd’s article on the “Kreutzer Sonata” requires explanation. As I interpret Mr. Lloyd, be is guilty of a serious error. He says: “The law of nature is variation, competition, survival of the necessary.... We may rest assured that, at any given period in human development, just that proportion and combination of the refined and animal loves will survive which the conditions permit and require, which are then necessary and best.” In what sense does Mr. Lloyd use the words “necessary” and “best”? The law of nature is not the survival of the necessary, but the survival of the fittest. Nature does not trouble herself about our conceptions of what is necessary or best for us. If we remain passive, Nature will and can do nothing for us except evil. It is by our own conscious and intentional efforts, by our intelligent control of nature’s laws, that we are enabled to achieve what we think desirable and necessary for our well-being. Mr. Lloyd’s teleological expressions are confusing.
If the legal programme is carried out, Moses Harman will have his new trial in November. It is needless to remind radicals of the necessity of securing for him proper and able counsel. The following extract from the statement of the Harman case in the last “Health Monthly” will show what to do and how to do it: “By means of personal solicitation, both directly and by correspondence, a good many liberal contributions to the Harman Defence Fund nave been obtained: $241.15 have been sent in by forty-one persons in amounts from fifty cents to twenty-five dollars each..... Each reader of this will consider himself individually invited to help in building up the fund to at least five hundred dollars before the November trial, so that it may not only be possible to make a complete and thorough defence, but also to have it duly reported in shape to be of service hereafter for the protection of Mr. Harman if the case should have to be carried to the Supreme Court, or for the advantage of other defendants if the coming trial should happily terminate the case for our side.”
What the author of the remarks on female modesty (reprinted elsewhere in this issue of Liberty) says on her subject is doubtless true. But it cannot be denied that the reason why women wear decolleté dresses and otherwise expose their physical charms is that, being under the necessity of finding husbands to take care of them and save them from the dreaded fate of a scorned virtuous old maid, or the equally dreaded alternative of a despised, unhusbanded, “vicious woman,” they try to tempt and please by exhibiting that which makes them desirable and valuable to men. Beauty is about the only thing for which the demand is steady and sure and large in the matrimonial market, where men do the buying and women the selling; hence it is natural for the women to make the most of what they have and to call art to their aid. Self-respecting women, in spite of their love of beauty, certainly abhor this kind of beauty shows, and refuse to mix with the crowd in the market place. Whether, under a better economic and social system, the same effect might not result from other and entirely different causes, it would be unprofitable at present to discuss.
Commenting on Mr. Pentecost’s moral horror of compromise, “H” says in “Egoism”: “When Mr. Tucker ‘did the wisest thing possible under the circumstances,’ if his fellowmen do not boycott him for it, he did the most expedient thing possible under the circumstances, and Mr. Pentecost’s ready rejoinder that every politician and privileged robber can offer the same excuse will not hold in this case before even those of us who do not share equal benefit in privilege’s expediency. For Mr. Tucker, in marked contrast with these, is doing everything in his power to change the circumstances which necessitate the use of such an expedient, thereby becoming a coöperator in the resistance..... If Mr. Tucker continues to get financial advantage through privilege, with which to fight our enemy, until public opinion be such that neither he nor anyone else can secure the benefit of privilege, we will not, so long as he is thus healing us, be stupid enough at any time to cry out, “Physician, heal thyself.” This gives me an opportunity to say that “Egoism,” of which No. 5 has just appeared, is an excellent Anarchistic paper, intelligent and keen and strong, although its editors do not always guard sufficiently against obscurity and vagueness of expression. With all our Boston “culture,” we are not always as sure of the meaning of the editors of “Egoism” as we would like to be. And if this is true of Bostonian readers, how must those feel who are unfortunate enough to live in a less intellectual environment! Brevity is good, but clearness is better.
“Miss Beatrice Potter, a woman of aristocratic family and the owner of a large fortune, has for several years,” says the “Illustrated American,” “been a devoted pupil of the great sociologist, Herbert Spencer. Studying his methods, imbibing his doctrines, and striving to put into practice some of the theories he preached, she soon found herself cut adrift from conventionalities and prepared to go out in the world to serve her fellow creatures. Then did she undertake her recent startling feat, the success of which has put her name in every one’s mouth. Having read and heard all manner of grewsome stories of the horrors endured by women in sweaters’ shops, she dressed herself in the rags worn by that class, went down into the city, found work, and for two months lived and labored side by side with those miserable white slaves of the needle. Few knew her secret, and so cleverly were her plans carried out that neither employers nor employés ever suspected her identity. When Miss Potter had thoroughly informed herself on all minutiæ relating to the criminal tyranny exercised by the sweaters, and on the hideous lives led by their female victims, she threw off her disguise, returned to the West End of town, and appealed for legislative interference. So strong and unanswerable were her arguments, seconded by her own experience, that Parliament is at present discussing ways and means for righting this great wrong. Although not of them by birth or condition, her heart is with the people. She has been deeply touched by the manifold miseries of the London poor, and is ready to devote her ardent young life, with alt its possibilities of selfish pleasures, to alleviating the wretchedness of the pauper population.” It is a pity to spoil so pretty a story, but there is evidently something wrong here. To “appeal for legislative interference” is not among the recommendations which the “great sociologist” makes to those who “strive to put into practice” his theories. Miss Potter’s motives are worthy of all praise; but if she were to ask Spebcer’s opinion as to the methods and effects of her philanthropic work, she would find out that she is only making matters worse, and that the best thing in her power to do (not to speak of private acts of charity) is to discourage “labor” legislation of all kinds.
Beauties of Government.
[Clippings from the Press.]
Worth gave four free theatrical performances at his new museum, Sixth avenue and Thirtieth street, yesterday, under the name of “rehearsals.” He is not to be allowed to continue to add thus to the gayety of New Yorkers. In the evening Sergeant Schmittberger warned him that until he got a theatrical license he must give no shows of any sort under any name, even if he charged nothing for admission. He accordingly announced at the close of the final performance that he would give no more until he got the license, which he thinks is only a question of time. The curiosities, however, are to continue on free tap.
Last July the Philadelphia Board of Health condemned several of the city’s school-houses as unfit for occupation, and ordered repairs and improvements for the benefit of the children’s health. Lack of money, however, prevented compliance with this request. The condemned school-houses are now reopened, and the 7,500 children returning to them will be exposed to the dangers of malaria, fever, and diphtheria.
The law which makes it a misdemeanor for any child “actually or apparently under sixteen years of age to smoke, or in any way use any cigar, cigarette, or tobacco in any form whatsoever, in any public street or place,” went into effect in New York on Sept. 1st. On Sept. 3d, two boys were arrested in New York City for smoking cigarettes, and brought before a police justice. They were reprimanded and discharged.
It was charged before the House Sub-Committee on the Judiciary, which recently investigated alleged illegal practices in the United States Courts, that, in the Northern District of New York, the United States Commissioners and Deputy Marshals manufacture business for the purpose of making fees. Trivial prosecutions are brought and. after the fees are made for the officers, a settlement with the government is recommended, as a result of which the United States government is obliged to pay many thousands of dollars annually for the benefit of officials. In Alabama this system has reached such a degree of perfection that the committee found large numbers of persons who had for their only occupation that of professional defendants, professional witnesses and professional bail. The character of the cases is confined almost exclusively to violations of the internal revenue laws, except in Alabama, where, in addition to revenue cases, are prosecutions for cutting timber on government lands.
Rutland, Aug. 30. Vermont justice and its machinery have some peculiar features, especially in connection with the prohibitory law and the complicated system of fees connected therewith. Up in Jericho, one day this week, a jury went on strike, and after agreeing on their verdict, refused to announce it until they got their fees. The case was a complaint for violating the Prohibitory law. The defendant was an inventive genius who had discovered a means of providing a home-made article, which answered as a first-rate substitute for beer in a prohibition state. It was known as “barley beer,” and though the defence protested that it was a harmless prohibition beverage, the government offered evidence to show that barley beer could entangle a man’s feet as successfully as the regular article, and furthermore, that it was such expansive stuff that lager beer kegs were not strong enough to hold it, unless iron rods were run through them to hold the heads on. The jury came in in thirty minutes with their verdict, and then made a demand for their fees before announcing it. Neither prosecution or defence would pay, and the jury calmly waited until 7 o’clock at night, when counsel for the prosecution advanced the required 50 cents a head. Then the jury said “Guilty.”
Newburgh, Sept. 3. Game Protector William Kidd is about to bring suit against Delmonico, the New York restaurateur, for violation of the game laws in having partridge for sale out of season. Dr. Kidd will be one of the witnesses himself. He says that he and two or three friends visited Delmonico’s just before the season for partridges opened and ate four partridges, for which they paid $6.
Deadwood, S. D., Sept. 4. The prohibition law went into effect in Deadwood, Lead City, and all the mining towns in the Black Hills, with a vengeance, and Deadwood was as dry as the Sahara desert yesterday. It is impossible to obtain a drink of liquor in the town. The saloon men have been selling right along ever since the law was passed, in open defiance of the prohibition sentiment, and have boasted that the prohibitionists were afraid to attempt to close the saloons. Thirty-eight injunctions have been served on as many saloons. The doors were closed and the property seized by the Sheriff. The bill provides for closing the saloon by injunction, and authorizes the Sheriff to hold the property until the final determination of the suit.
Deadwood gave an overwhelming majority against the law, and intense excitement prevails in the city. The city is full of hobos and railroad men, and violence is feared.
Jackson, Miss., Sept. 4. The Judiciary Committee, to whom was referred the question of the authority of the Convention to enact a Constitution without submitting the same to the people for ratification, submitted its report.
It says that the proposition that the work of a Constitutional Convention in revising or framing a constitution requires for its validity a ratification by a vote of the people has no support in constitutional law, and is merely a political theory or doctrine which has in some of the States acquired authority by usage. The view repeatedly acted upon by the people of this State is that a Constitutional Convention has the inherent power to give to the constitution it may adopt complete obligatory effect without submitting it for ratification to the people.
The committee, therefore, express the opinion with confidence that the Convention may constitutionally make the Constitution or amendments which it shall adopt absolute and final, without submitting the question of ratification or rejection to the voters of the State.
Washington, D. C., Sept. 18. The rules of Reed were amended today by the doorkeepers of the lobby back of the speaker’s desk, opening into what is called the speaker’s lobby. All the other doors of the House are usually closed and locked during a roll call.
The Kilgore door, as it will hereafter be called, has always remained unlocked. Today it was locked to prevent the Democrats from leaving the House, in pursuance of their plan of filibustering,— a plan that Mason, a Republican of Illinois, started, in order to defeat the lard bill. The first gentleman to resent this enforced imprisonment was Mr. Kilgore, of Texas, who forced back the fastenings and stalked into the lobby. At the moment Mr. Kilgore drove the door flying wide open, Representative Dingley, of Maine, was approaching from the other side. The door struck him with full force in the face, bruising his nose badly. For a time it was feared, and so generally reported, that the bone bad been broken, but this was found not to be the case. Mr. Kilgore was soon followed by Mr. Crain of Texas, who adopted the same method of procedure. Mr. Cummings of New York and Mr. Coleman of Louisiana approached the door together, and upon being informed that there was “no thoroughfare,” manifested such a disposition to break the door from its hinges that one of the doorkeepers prudently removed the latch and permitted them to pass.
Over one of the windows in the House is a sign today reading: “Reed’s menagerie. Do not disturb the animals by stirring them with umbrellas; and do not feed them with peanuts. They will be dismissed and fed in an hour.”
Mr. Reed’s rules require a majority after all to enforce them. And a majority of his party refuse to be present. The caucus tonight will debate upon the necessity for some new rule to force the Democrats to make up a majority present long enough to be counted.
It may be necessary to order out the 3d artillery, now very peacefully occupying the Washington barracks. General Rugers secured a quorum for the Republicans in South Carolina in 1876; perhaps General Gibson may be able to keep Kilgore and Cummings within the ken of Speaker Reed and his clerk.
The Republican leaders are in despair of a quorum. They are short about 20 members. Seven or eight of these are ill. The others have not been renominated, and do not care enough for party success to come here.
Paris, Sept. 19. The Gaulois newspaper publishes from Warsaw, Poland, a very distressing case of miscarriage of justice which occurred there. A quartermaster of a dragoon regiment quartered at Sielce was found dead in the street with his skull cleft. Three young recruits of the regiment were arrested near the spot, and as the quartermaster, who bad the reputation of being a martinet, had often reported them for punishment drill, they were suspected of the murder, tried by court martial, and sentenced to death.
The parents of the lads tried to procure a reprieve, with a view to reopening the case; but all their entreaties were unavailing, and the three recruits were executed by order of the Governor-General, without even the delay necessary to receive an answer to a petition for reprieve.
Two days after the execution the wife of a farrier of Sielce informed the military authorities that the real murderer was her husband, who had discovered that she had criminal relations with the quartermaster. The case has caused a sensation throughout the country.
George Macdonald writes in “Freethought”: “A case was tried in the police court the other day which the papers have not reported. It was the case of the People of the State of California against James Mehaffey, aged 9. The defendant, accompanied by his mother, sat in a chair with his feet dangling eight inches from the floor. The judge, the prosecuting attorney, all of the police officers, and a hundred spectators gazed sternly upon the culprit as the clerk, ordering him to stand up, read the indictment in a terrible voice. ‘Statefcaliforny, ci ’n count’ Sanfancis,’ yelled the clerk, and then rattled on: ‘Personally ’peared before me this steenth day of August, 1890, Peleg Yohansen, who on oath makes complaint, and deposes and says that on the blankety-blank day of August, annie domino, 1890, in the cit’ n count’ Sanfuncis, State of California, the crime of robbery was committed, to wit, by James Mehaffey, who then and there did feloniously, and with force and arms make an assault upon Peleg Yohansen, and with violence to his person and against his will, did then and there feloniously and violently steal, take, and carry away by force from the person of the said Peleg Yohansen ONE POCKET KNIFE of the value of TWENTY-FIVE CENTS, good and lawful money of the ’Nited States, and of the personal property of said Peleg Yohansen. All of which is contrary to form, force, and effect of the statute in such cases made and provided, and against the peace of the People of the State of California and their dignity.’ When the clerk got through with what ‘this complainant’ alleged, said, deposed, and prayed, little Jimmie Mehaffey, who had violated the peace and offended the dignity of all California was broken in spirit and ready to ask the state to forgive him. I did not stay to learn how the case terminated; but who ever beard of a two-bit offender going unwhipped of Justice?”
Assistant Secretary Batcheller has called on the collector of customs at Baltimore for a report in the case of the so-called Rembrandt painting recently imported for Robert-Garrett and admitted, free of duty, as an “antique.” The secretary writes to the collector that, while “collections of antiquities” are entitled to free entry under the law, the courts have decided that the provision applies to “collections” alone, and not to single articles, however “antique.”
A law passed by the last Legislature of New Jersey requires every person practising medicine in the State to be accredited by a State Board of Examiners. This action makes Massachusetts and Rhode Island the only states in the Union, we believe, where laws have not been passed to regulate the practice of medicine in one way or another. If State regulation of the medical profession is an important advantage, we should expect the mortality to be appreciably higher in Massachusetts and Rhode Island than in those states which enjoy the benefit. In some of the states the conditions must be sufficiently similar to make a comparison instructive.
Syracuse, Sept. 25. A curious mistake occurred here today in Justice Oberlander’s court room, which is without precedent in the annals of jurisprudence, and which illustrates how absurd law technicalities may be at times. Mrs. Carrie Darr brought an action for an accounting against J. McCullough of this city. The jury agreed in their private room on a verdict in favor of the defendant, but when they returned to the court room the foreman blunderingly announced a verdict for the plaintiff. The Court accordingly recorded the decision as announced and gave judgment for the plaintiff. After the jury had been discharged and the lawyers separated the mistake was discovered, but the Justice said that he could not change the records and that the verdict must stand as announced. It would be against public policy to allow a jury to discredit its own verdict, and it has been repeatedly held that jurymen cannot make affidavits with reference to what may have taken place id the jury room.
The municipal authorities of Vienna have voted 50,000 florins for the purpose of decorating the city on the occasion of the visit of the Emperor of Germany, and for meeting other expenses to be incurred in welcoming him.
As Seen by a Judge.
General M. M. Trumbull, in the Chicago “Open Court,” reviews at considerable length a new book, entitled “Live Questions, Including Our Penal Machinery and Its Victims,” which was written by a Chicago judge. The following extracts from General Trumbull’s article, I am sure, will be read with no little interest by the Anarchists and other admirers of what politicians and editors are pleased to call “law and order.”
From the bench itself comes a cry that in the days of our fathers would have moved the very stones “to rise and mutiny.”
That cry has been heard before, but it rose to the sky unheeded, because it came from the halls of unrest, where labor pleads its cause. It came from the platform of discontent, where passionate invective shakes our social system like a storm. This appeal for justice was unheeded when it came from the “lower classes,” and the men who made it were outlawed by “society” as the enemies of social order-but a warning from the Court House, a charge from a judge on the bench, will be heard above the jingle of coin in the bank, or the clamor of trade.
There is comic irony in the title of the Fourth Chapter, “The Administration of Justice in Chicago.” The whole chapter is a demonstration that our judicial system is a perverse contrivance for the administration of injustice and the oppression of the innocent. According to Judge Altgeld, the civil courts of Chicago are closed against the poor asking for protection, while the criminal courts are always open for their punishment. The Judge says: “At present, when a man begins a suit, he generally has to wait nearly two years before it comes up; in the meantime the situation of the parties may have changed, or the subject matter of the suit become worthless.”
The above accusation is only one count in the indictment which Judge Altgeld has drawn up against the civil courts of Chicago; a few others may be noticed here. It does not follow that because the case “comes up” it will be tried. In fact, the coming up of it is only the starting point of the suitor’s torment. This is the time when, in the language of Judge Altgeld, “he begins to neglect his business and look around for his witnesses.” In the course of a few days — or a few weeks — the case is placed “on the call” for the following day, but the suitor finds that he must hang around the court with his witnesses for several days before the case is called “in its order.” When all the resources of “how not to do it” are exhausted, and the case actually does come to trial, the suitor, says Judge Altgeld, “is astonished to find that it is not the justice of his cause which is the main subject of inquiry, but that, instead, it is the rules of procedure about which great solicitude is shown.” This is not burlesque, like Mikado, with its Lord High Executioner; it is the very language of the judge. The testimony being all in, the jury is then duly muddled by the “instructions” of the court, or, in the milder language of Judge Altgeld, “left with very confused notions of what the issues of fact are.” Lost in the cobwebs woven around the issues by a judge, perhaps innocent of law, and knowing nothing of it but its forms, “the jury is liable to bring in a verdict which is entirely wrong, and must be set aside, or else to disagree.” Is it any wonder that a jury, left by the court “with confused notions of what the issues of fact are,” should toss up a copper for the verdict? And would it not be better to do that at the beginning instead of the end of the play? Thus, by the very laws of chance, provided the judge were not allowed to tamper with the coin, the right man would get the verdict half the time, which is better than he can do under the present system; and even should he lose the toss, he would be spared those tedious months and years of worry and expense. Better to lose a suit at the beginning by casting lots than to win it at the end of tribulation.
Supposing the suitor to have had more than average good luck, and to have obtained a verdict, he is just in the middle of his agony. Then comes the motion for a new trial, and the appeal to the higher court, which tribunal, says Judge Altgeld, “reverses about forty per cent, of all cases brought to it,— not on the merits, but because of some ‘frivolous error’ in the procedure.” Should the judgment be affirmed in the higher court, the case is appealed to the highest court, which “involves another delay of about a year, and the payment of lawyers’ fees, printers’ fees, etc.” Should the case be reversed there, the baffled plaintiff looks up his witnesses once more, and again begins to chase his right around the disappointing cycle of a lawsuit. It is evident from all this that the money cost of justice leaves the poor man without standing-room in any of our courts law.
The expense to the public of the civil courts is an unjust burden on the people who do not go to law. Judge Altgeld shows that the net cost of these courts during the year of 1888 was 8231,737. This is a very large sum for a judicial machine run by sixteen judges, whose mission it is to see that the very wrong, and not the very right of it shall prevail, and that injustice be effectually done. It is only fair to say that Judge Altgeld lays the blame for much of this injustice on “unwise legislation,” by which the machinery of the law has been compelled to work in the reverse way. This may be true, but there is a justified opinion abroad that the judges might adjust the lever so as to compel the machine to produce less evil, and more good. It is rather discouraging to hear Judge Altgeld say, and prove it, that in every other field of knowledge there has been a steady advance in the line of common sense, “while in our methods of administering justice we seem rather to have retrograded.”
Judge Altgeld exposes the various parts of “Our Penal Machinery” with much dramatic power; and there is eloquent pathos in many of his descriptions. It is perfectly safe to say that a similar exposure of like instrumentalities in England would change the government and overturn the ministry; not by violence, but by a sentence of the House of Commons. Judge Altgeld’s book shows the reaction which our pig and pig-iron civilization is making towards the penal methods which prevailed in England under the sanguinary criminal code of centuries ago; a reaction against the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus law, and the other provisions by which the American Constitution tries to protect the life, liberty, person, and property of the citizen. We see in vigorous activity among us the system practised by Jonathan Wild, when he was chief of the London detectives, with this difference, that whereas Jonathan Wild was hanged for the way in which he administered his office, our detectives, who imitate his methods, walk about with the stars of authority upon their coats, and the weapons of government in their hands. This, and not the opposition to it, is revolution.
Judge Altgeld presents an appalling record of crimes committed by Our Penal Machinery. No just and humane man can read it without a sinking at the heart and a feeling of self-reproach. The expense of the machinery is a frightful tax, literally wasted by the failure of its purpose. In the words of Judge Altgeld, “it is immense, it is costly, and its victims are counted by millions.” Further on he says that “it does not deter the young offender, and it seems not to reform nor to restrain the old offender.” Worse than that, “it makes criminals out of many who are not naturally so.” This is a terrible indictment, and Judge Altgeld sustains it with abundant evidence. We scourge misfortune while pretending to punish crime. “In short,” says the judge, “our penal machinery seems to recruit its victims from among those that are fighting an unequal fight in the struggle for existence.” Listen to some of the testimony.
Judge Altgeld finds that out of 32,000 persons arrested in one year in Chicago, 10,743 were discharged by the police magistrates because there was nothing proved against them; in other words, because they were innocent. Yet every one of them had been treated as a convicted felon. “So that,” says Judge Altgeld with creditable indignation, “during the one year there were in that one city 10,000 young persons who, without having committed any crime, were yet condemned to undergo a criminal experience.” And then, in order to fix public attention on the crimes of our penal machinery, Judge Altgeld says: “Think of this a moment! Mind, these were not even offenders. But what was the treatment which they received? Why, precisely the same as if they had been criminals. They were arrested, some of them clubbed, some of them handcuffed, marched through the streets in charge of officers, treated gruffly, jostled around. Now, what effect will this treatment have on them? Will not everyone of them feel the indignity to which he or she was subjected while life lasts?” ....
Judge Altgeld’s book is not quite large enough to hold a catalogue of all the iniquities done in Chicago by “Our Penal Machinery,” and for that reason many of them escape his indignation and scorn; but there is not a true man in the city whose face will not burn with shame when he reads about the cruelties inflicted upon unfortunate women, often for no higher purpose than to convert the wages of their sin into fees for officers. In publishing this book, Judge Altgeld has done a great service to humanity.
Labor’s “Unconscious Progress.”
[H. M. Bosworth in The American Musician.]
The “Master Musicians Protective Union” of San Francisco is an institution which I esteem as highly as its most respectable members do. As a scheme for dragging merit down to the tiresome dead level of mediocrity by the numerical preponderance of the latter, it is a decided success. On the assumption that this process is desirable and praiseworthy, the society is to be commended, and its actions held up to public approbation. A member tells me this story:
A musician some years ago committed suicide. One of his orphaned children was a boy, a cripple, who, showing some talent for the violin, was gratuitously taught by the leader of one of our theatre orchestras. In time the teacher, wishing to encourage the boy and give him experience, proposed to let him play in his band nightly without salary and without taking anyone else’s place. Of course, permission had to be asked of “the Union.” It was, and firmly, refused! The Union did not see its way clear to permitting a boy to learn the business of an orchestra player, but, by way of compensation, opened its doors to his admission as a full-fledged member in good standing, entitled to all its advantages! There is now no danger of his competing with the other members unless he can deceive some employer by pretending to play before he has learned how. I congratulate the Union upon its escape from the dangerous competition of this crippled boy, and admire the ingenuity of its method of disposing of him. I learn from this that to be a member of the Union does not imply that one is a musician, and that the institution does not encourage music as an art, but only as a trade, which, if the entire suppression of apprentices can be successfully accomplished, will become a “lost art” by the time the members of this excellent and benevolent organization care to “lay down the fiddle and the bow.” In union there is strength, they say. I should say of this particular Union that it is strong enough to “smell to heaven.”
This is from “Liberty”:
The editor of “Freethought” says: “I have come to the conclusion that we should be cautious about resisting by force anything that is not imposed by force.” In other words, Mr. George Macdonald has come to the conclusion that the wisest philosophy is the Anarchistic philosophy.
I congratulate the Anarchists on having so good a philosophy, and I trust that hereafter they will kindly regard me as one of them, at least so far as my qualifications will permit them to do so. I would not be willing to at once declare myself an Anarchist, with all that the name implies, but ask merely to be accepted on probation. Some people have a tendency to label themselves Anarchists when they are really nothing of the sort, as Mr. Tucker has often pointed out. Indeed, it is Mr. Tucker’s severity with these people that gives me pause. I know of progressive writers who have said one thing after another casually that pleased Comrade Tucker, and he quoted them in “Liberty.” Emboldened by his approval, they have called themselves Anarchists and attempted to set forth the Anarchistic philosophy. Here was where they fell down, and Comrade Tucker cantered over them lengthways. When they were permitted to arise they apologized to the editor of “Liberty,” and, expectorating upon their palms, grappled again the great problems of political economy. I prefer to remain unlabeled, because if I were to mark myself an Anarchist, and at some future time Mr. Tucker should make it appear that I was something else, I should have to take the label off and store it away with the photographs taken when I wore whiskers, which are now no longer useful for purposes of identification. Meanwhile I shall continue to make observations of things as I see them, and shall not be disturbed if Anarchists or other good people discover that they agree with me.
Shame Founded on Falsehood.
[Charlotte Perkins Stetson in Kate Field’s Washington.]
Female modesty has two sources. It is a strange compound feeling, difficult of explanation by the person affected, but not the less possible to be explained. The first source is in “the eternal feminine,” the impulse to retire and avoid, which is really woman’s method of attracting. It is an impulse just as laudable as the masculine impulse to approach and seek — no more so. In lower races this female instinct shows itself simply in running away. In our infinite complexities it shows itself in a thousand subtle points of etiquette. But it is not a “virtue,” — merely a sex characteristic.
Then comes the other source: shame. Most of our boasted virtue of modesty is only shame, and shame founded on falsehood. From depths of Oriental history — from barbarism and savagery — come the notions of woman as a tempter, a sinner, a thing of evil. The Jewish Church immortalized the lie, the Christian Church added to it a thousandfold by its warfare against “the flesh.” Woman was “the flesh” par excellence, and woman has been considered a walking temptation ever since. The course of reasoning underlying all this “unconscious cerebration” is somewhat as follows: “The natural attraction between men and women is an evil, and to be reduced as much as possible; therefore, as the beauty of woman is a large part of the attraction, the beauty of woman is a shameful thing, and to be covered up as much as possible.” This is the reason women wear skirts in the West and veils in the East, and, where the idea is logically carried out, are concealed from the eyes of every man save their owner.
Here, the premises are wrong, and therefore the conclusion is wrong. The relation of sex is not sinful, and a woman’s beauty is not shameful, and the whole theory of concealment so based is a falsehood! Nevertheless, society being what it is today, no one wishes to advocate an Adamic system of dress even where the climate permits. Some covering we must have, and the only quarrel is just where on the human body modesty has its limit. The Breton peasant girl conceals her hair under a close cap, and blushes with shame if chance reveals it. We hide the naked foot as if it were cloven, but give the naked hand to general pressure of greeting Time was when elegant salutes were laid upon the lips, yet round dances unknown; and so the whole social relation between the sexes varies from a thousand causes.
If there is any real law, it is each woman’s law unto herself. But, if convention is to be followed, there is nothing for it but to conform to the usage of one’s own time, class, age, position, and geographical situation. As for the low-necked dress, suppose a committe of irreproachable matrons be chosen, and suppose they take some well-known statue — the Venus de Medici, for instance — and draw a sharp black line on neck and arms to show just where modesty begins and ends. They would then be expected to explain why the human form above that line was innocent and harmless, and below that line so powerful in deadly attraction. And they could give but one answer — because this much is generally covered, and this much generally exposed.
That is the whole question of modesty in dress. What we are accustomed to see we do not mind seeing; what we are accustomed not to see, naturally makes more impression. And what is right and proper in one class, time, place, or occupation, is not in others.
“I Helpa You.”
[New York Herald.]
He was only a little Italian boy, “stuck” with a bundle of evening papers. He stood at the foot of the Eighth street elevated station, crying bitterly, an operation which was quite unnecessary, as no one of the supperward hurrying throng paid any heed to him.
A tired looking shop girl of twelve came along. She was Italian, too; poor evidently, as her threadbare clothes and pinched face plainly marked. She had been running around in a big store all day in response to the summons “Cash!” and it was plain to see that she was weary and worn.
The crowd hurried on, but the tired shop girl stopped and kindly asked the newsboy why he cried so. The boy looked up, polished his nose with his elbow, and told his story.
“Never mind,” said the twelve-year-old philanthropist. “I helpa you!” And taking half his papers from his willing hand, she began to softly cry their names, while the boy, with new hope in his breast born of this sympathy, brightened up and shouted his wares lustily.
Now, do you know that this little girl was unconsciously committing a crime? If somebody had not chanced along and relieved her of the nickel’s worth of papers at one fell swoop a big policeman might have locked her up for doing a very wicked and wholly unpardonable act. It all depends on the point of view, you see.
“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.
Spencer Tried in “Open Court.”
The editor of the “Open Court” may be right in declaring Spencer’s representation of Kantism to be a misrepresentation, and he doubtless deserves our respect for his pains in the interest of truth, though we cannot help smiling at the warmth of his indignation and wondering how he can think Spencer’s attacks “not justifiable” if he so well realizes that “most translations of the fundamental terms (Kant) employs are so misleading that errors can scarcely be avoided,” and if he admits that many of Kant’s professed disciples agree with Spencer’s interpretation of Kantism. If the “misunderstandings appear excusable,” being in fact scarcely avoidable, the attacks on Kant resulting from such misunderstandings cannot be pronounced inexcusable (which is synonymous with “not-justifiable”) by persons who claim no share of the philosopher’s privilege of using words to obscure ideas. But the editor of the “Open Court” in his turn is wrong in his presentation of Spencerianism,— is indeed guilty of a serious misrepresentation, due no doubt to ignorance rather than malice, which it is necessary to correct. The fact that Dr. Carus considers himself a very great philosopher does not justify his policy of attacking and speaking slightingly and patronizingly of those with whose teachings he is very imperfectly acquainted. What, for instance, can justify this truistic observation advanced with an air of grave dignity? —
We must add here that Mr. Spencer and his disciples overvalue the importance of generalization. It is not the power of generalization that makes the philosopher and the scientist, but the power of discrimination. The habit of generalizing whatever comes under our observation is very common among the uneducated and uncivilized, and almost nine tenths of human errors arise from unwarranted generalizations.
If our philosopher fancies that Spencer really needed to be thus admonished or warned, it only illustrates the truth that philosophers may be destitute of common sense as well as of the sense of humor. But I suspect he made the insinuating remark with the deliberate purpose of wounding Spencer. Dr. Carus generously writes:
Mr. Spencer’s merits in the propagation of the theory of evolution are undeniable, and he deserves our warmest respect and thanks for the indefatigable zeal he has shown in the performance of his great work, for the labors he has undergone and the sacrifices he has made for it. Yet recognizing all that Mr. Spencer has done, we should not be blind to the fact that Kant’s conception of evolution is even at the present day more in conformity with the facts of natural science than Mr. Spencer’s philosophy, although the latter commonly goes by the name of the philosophy of evolution.
Would that all our philosophers and scientists were so fair and just and courteous to opponents as the editor of the “Open Court” is! The example of this modern Gnostic, this discoverer of a new positive religion and a new system of ethics, is worthy of imitation and laudation. Spencer will not fail to appreciate this recognition of his “merits” from one so greatly his superior — in the knowledge of German at least.
But let us inquire wherein Spencer’s philosophy fails to conform with the facts of natural science. We certainly do not wish to be “blind to the fact,” if it is a fact. And here is what Dr. Carus says in elucidation of this point:
The history of Mr. Spencer’s philosophical development shows that the first idea which took possession of his mind and formed the centre of crystalization for all his later views was M. Condorcet’s optimism.... How can a true evolutionist believe in the Utopia of a state of perfect adaptation? Does not each progress demand new adaptations? Take as an instance the change from walking on four feet to an upright gait. Did not this progress itself involve man in new difficulties, to which he had to adapt himself? Let a labor-saving machine be invented, how many laborers lose their work and how many others are in demand! The transition from one state to the other is not easy, and as soon as it is perfected new wants have arisen which inexorably drive humanity onward on the infinite path of progress which can never be limited by any state of perfection. There is a constant readjustment necessary, and if we really could reach a state of perfect adaptation human life would drop into the unconsciousness of mere reflex motions.
Any one who understands the principle of evolution and its universal applicability will recognize that there can be no standstill in the world, no state of perfect adaptation. Our solar system has evolved, as Kant explained in his “General Cosmogony and Theory of the Heavens,” out of a nebula, and is going to dissolve again into a nebular state. So our social deve’opment consists in a constant realization of ideals. We may think that if we but attain our next and dearest ideal, humanity will be satisfied forever. But as soon as we have realized that ideal, we quickly get accustomed to its benefits. It becomes a matter of course, and another ideal higher still than that just realized appears before our mental gaze.
The assumption of a final state of perfection by absolute adaptation is irreconcilable with the idea of unceasing progress, which must be true, if evolution is a universal law of nature.
And it is therefore “indubitable that Kant’s views of evolution agree better with the present state of scientific investigation than does Mr. Spencer’s philosophy,” considering that Kant perceived the “relativity of happiness and its insufficiency as a final aim of life.”
Into the ethical questions suggested by the last remark we will not go at present. I only wish to show here Dr. Carus’s ignorance of Speucer’s “First Principles.” But before proceeding with this task, let us note one characteristic instance of our philosopher’s logic. He says: “Our solar system has evolved .... out of a nebula, and is going to dissolve again into a nebular state. So our social system consists in a constant realization of ideals.” The “so” is remarkable. Why a “constant realization of ideals”? Why not a dissolution into a barbarous state,— the state which we know to have been the starting point of social development? This is the logical inference, but Dr. Carus apparently chooses to maintain his peculiar philosophy at the expense of logic rather than sacrifice his air-castles and modestly take his place at the feet of the author of the “synthetic philosophy.”
How far Spencer’s conception of evolution agrees with the facts of natural science, will be seen from the following quotations from his “First Principles”:
An entire history of anything must include its appearance out of the imperceptible and its disappearance into the imperceptible. Be it a single object or the whole universe, any account which begins with it in a concrete form, or leaves off with it in a concrete form, is incomplete; since there remains an era of its knowable existence undescribed and unexplained. Admitting, or rather asserting, that knowledge is limited to the phenomenal, we have, by implication, asserted that the sphere of knowledge is co-extensive with the phenomenal — co-extensive with all modes of the Unknowable that can affect consciousness. Hence, wherever we now find Being so conditioned as to act on our senses, there arise the questions — how came it thus conditioned? and how will it cease to be thus conditioned? Unless on the assumption that it acquired a sensible form at the moment of perception, and lost its sensible form the moment after perception, it must have had an antecedent existence under this sensible form, and will have a subsequent existence under this sensible form. These preceding and succeeding existences under sensible forms are possible subjects of knowledge; and knowledge has obviously not reached its limits until it has united the past, present, and future histories into a whole.
After giving us his formula of evolution (“Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion, during which the matter passes from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity; and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation”), and after deducing the phenomena of evolution from the ultimate principle of the persistence of force, Spencer writes:
And now toward what do these changes tend? Will they go on for ever? or will there be an end to them? Can things increase in heterogeneity through all future time? or must there be a degree which the differentiation and integration of Matter and Motion cannot pass? Is it possible for this universal metamorphosis to proceed in the same general course indefinitely? or does it work towards some ultimate state, admitting no further modification of like kind? The last of these alternative conclusions is that to which we are inevitably driven. Whether we watch concrete processes, or whether we consider the question in the abstract, we are alike taught that Evolution has an impassable limit.
In all cases, then, there is a progress toward equilibration. That universal co-existence of antagonist forces which, as we before saw, necessitates the universality of rhythm, and which, as we before saw, necessitates the decomposition of every force into divergent forces, at the same time necessitates the ultimate establishment of a balance. Every motion being motion under resistance is continually suffering deductions; and these unceasing deductions finally result in the cessation of the motion.
Thus from the persistence of force follow, not only the various direct and indirect equilibrations going on around, together with that cosmical equilibration which brings Evolution under all its forms to a close; but also those less manifest equilibrations shown in the readjustments of moving equilibria that have been disturbed. By this ultimate principle is provable the tendency of every organism, disordered by some unusual influence, to return to a balanced state. To it also may be traced the capacity, possessed in a slight degree by individuals, and in a greater degree by species, of becoming adapted to new circumstances. And not less does it afford a basis for the inference that there is a gradual advance towards harmony between man’s mental nature and the conditions of his existence. After finding that from it are deducible the various characteristics of Evolution, we finally draw from it a warrant for the belief that Evolution can end only in the establishment of the greatest perfection and the most complete happiness.
The adaptation of man’s nature to the conditions of his existence cannot cease until the internal forces which we know as feelings are in equilibrium with the external forces they encounter. And the establishment of this equilibrium is the arrival at a state of human nature and social organization such that the individual has no desires but those which may be satisfied without exceeding his proper sphere of action, while society maintains no restraints but those which the individual voluntarily respects. The progressive extension of the liberty of citizens, and the reciprocal removal of political restrictions, are the steps by which we advance towards this state. And the ultimate abolition of all limits to the freedom of each, save those imposed by the like freedom of all, must result from the complete equilibration between man’s desires and the conduct necessitated by surrounding conditions.
Here presents itself a final question, which has probably been taking a more or less distinct shape in the minds of many while reading this chapter. “If Evolution of every kind is an increase in complexity of structure and function that is incidental to the universal process of equilibration, and if equilibration must end in complete rest; what is the fate towards which all things tend? If the Solar System is slowly dissipating its forces — if the Sun is losing his heat at a rate which will tell in millions of years — if with diminution of the Sun’s radiations there must go on a diminution in the activity of geologic and météorologie processes as well as in the quantity of vegetal and animal existence — if Man and Society are similarly dependent on this supply of force that is gradually coming to an end; are we not manifestly progressing towards omnipresent death?”
That such a state must be the outcome of the processes everywhere going on seems beyond doubt. Whether any ulterior process may reverse these changes, and initiate a new life, is a question to be considered hereafter. For the present it must suffice that the proximate end of all the transformations we have traced is a state of quiescence.
Having contemplated the phenomena of evolution in detail, and having followed them out to those states of equilibrium in which they all end, Spencer completes the argument by contemplating the complementary phenomena of dissolution. He says:
It was shown that neither of these two antagonist processes ever goes on absolutely unqualified by the other; and that a change toward either is a differential result of the conflict between them. An evolving aggregate, while on the average losing motion and integrating, is always, in one way or other, receiving some motion and to that extent disintegrating; and after the integrative changes have ceased to predominate, the reception of motion, though perpetually checked by its dissipation, constantly tends to produce a reverse transformation, and eventually does produce it. When Evolution has run its course — when the aggregate has at length parted with its excess of motion, and habitually receives as much from its environment as it habitually loses — when it has reached that equilibrium in which its changes end; it thereafter remains subject to all actions in its environment which may increase the quantity of motion it contains, and which in the lapse of time are sure, either slowly or suddenly, to give its parts such excess of motion as will cause disintegration. According as its equilibrium is a very unstable or a very stable one, its dissolution may come quickly or may be indefinitely delayed — may occur in a few days or may be postponed for millions of years. But exposed as it is to the contingencies not simply of its immediate neighborhood but of a Universe everywhere in motion, the period must at last come when, either alone or in company with surrounding aggregates, it has its parts dispersed.
Thus we are led to the conclusion that the entire process of things, as displayed in the aggregate of the visible Universe, is analogous to the entire process of things as displayed in the smallest aggregates.
Motion as well as Matter being fixed in quantity, it would seem that the change in the distribution of Matter which Motion effects, coming to a limit in whichever direction it is carried, the indestructible Motion thereupon necessitates a reverse distribution. Apparently, the universally-coexistent forces of attraction and repulsion which, as we have seen, necessitate rhythm in all minor changes throughout the Universe, also necessitate rhythm in the totality of its changes — produce now an immeasurable period during which the attractive forces predominating, cause universal concentration, and then an immeasurable period during which the repulsive forces predominating, cause universal diffusion — alternate eras of Evolution and Dissolution. And thus there is suggested the conception of a past during which there have been successive Evolutions analogous to that which is now going on; and a future during which successive other such Evolutions may go on — ever the same in principle but never the same in concrete result.
These quotations will enable the logical reader to appreciate Dr. Carus’s assumptions and pretensions, and will place Spencer’s conception of evolution in a true light. We cannot blame the editor of the “Open Court” for his neglect to study Spencer, because we realize that for those who are determined to talk learned nonsense and palm off antiquated absurdities for gems of philosophy the condition of perfect freedom from the restraints of fact and logic is essential. The one who knows all is the one who knows nothing. An accurate understanding of Agnosticism would seriously interfere with the expansion of the new Gnosticism. If Dr. Carus studied Spencer, his occupation would be gone; and though his ethics may be superior to utilitarianism, he yet is not entirely free from the moral imperfections of frail human nature, and so we need not be surprised to find him indulging in extravagant and empty speculations, and making ignorant and false charges, in the interest of Religion and that high philosophy which is to reform society by emphasizing man’s connection with the “All.” V. Y.
“The Kreutzer Sonata.”
A frightful, wonderful book — frightful in its terrible truth, wonderful in its genius.
With a vividness and fidelity never before attempted, I think, Tolstoi has here painted the horrible possibilities — nay, actualities — of married life where the mental mateship is non-existent, yet starved for. As a work of art it is very fine. What a swift, clean touch I Shakspere himself has given us no such picture of jealousy. What must be the intuitional insight, or, otherwise, how’ dark the experience of one who can depict lust, suspicion, and jealousy with such detailed and startling fidelity. As a study in social morbid anatomy the demonstration under the scalpel is superb. But a knowledge of symptoms is not necessarily a knowledge of remedies; — how is Tolstoi as a physician? Here is somewhat of obscurity and indecision — we are given hints and implications — the doctor evidently ponders, pessimistically, whether to kill is not the best cure.
Many who read the work conclude that the author’s concept of love is altogether brutal and slanderous, that he knows nothing of the higher love. I am loth to believe it. Besides, it would be very strange if a man naturally refined, and whose insight into character was most remarkable, should be blind to the existence of the most important expression of human affection. Much must be allowed to the artistic necessities of the work.
Thus Posdnicheff, who from motives of prudence avoids all entanglement of the affections for a decade and a half, nearly, relating himself freely, however, with women on the animal side, while cherishing an ideal of marital purity and happiness, and who makes the miserable match which such preparation renders probable, and endures all the suffering which attempted fidelity to the monogamie scheme under such conditions entails, is necessarily savagely cynical and bitterly sceptical as to the reality of refined love. He becomes brutal at the very thought, and his only consolation is found in insisting that all the world has the same fox gnawing at its vitals.
The character requires this, but Posdnicheff may not exactly voice Tolstoi here. Witness the fact that he lets even Posdnicheff make this significant slip: “I killed the wife when I first tasted sensual joys without love, and then it was that I killed my wife.”
Here Posdnicheff, who has all along been cynically insisting that love is but a mask and a name for sensuality, unconsciously, driven by the instinctive faith that is in us all, admits the reality of a distinction.
But whatever Tolstoi may think or know, he chooses to give us through Posdnicheff only fragmentary statements, looking toward what we in this country would call Alphaism and Shakerism. In such expressions as “pure and fraternal relations toward women,” “a pure young girl wants one thing — children. Children, yes, not a lover,” “the law of nature is children,” etc., he implies the Alphaistic doctrine that physical intercourse should be for procreation only, and that all other association between the sexes should be as between brother and sister merely. And afterwards he broaches a still purer Shakerism, that in the ideal “union of beings” there would not only be no physical love, but no procreation whatever. This is all that he offers by way of remedy, and admits that it means the annihilation of humanity. It is the familiar Christian pessimism and asceticism that humanity is totally depraved, and must be mortified even to the ultimate.
This to me then appears Tolstoi’s error, not that he is sceptical of the existence of a higher love (I speak popularly) between the sexes than the physical, but that he, in accordance with his creed, assumes that mind and body are two, that all of the flesh is evil, and that consequently the ideal love is purely mental and Platonic. This is one of the most ancient and gray-bearded of errors, and Tolstoi has added nothing to it. He first absolutely divorces the mental and physical loves, regarding them not as two phases of the same thing, but as completely twain, as he supposes the spirit and flesh of man to be, the one evil, the other good, and then draws on his matchless power of illustration to show how very evil the physical love can be when thus divorced and cultivated apart. But did it ever occur to Tolstoi how very evil the mental love also is when cultivated exclusively by itself? It is perhaps only necessary to suggest to the reflective mind that that which results, when fully carried out, in the emasculation of the individual and, ultimately, in the annihilation of the race, can hardly deserve to be called virtuous or pure. The materialist must come to the conclusion that just as mind and body constitute one man so do the mental and physical loves, so-called, constitute one, the affection of that man; and just as there can be no normal divorce between mind and body, there can be none between mental and physical love; each is perfect and necessary in its place, and supports and complements its fellow. But Tolstoi unconsciously illustrates much more than the mere evils of untempered physical love. It is very true that where association is on the animal plane only, a mutual contempt naturally arises, likely, if persisted in, to become mutual hatred, but the deadly jealousy herein depicted is the result of the marriage institution. Marriage means ownership,— the exclusive right to use and abuse. If I own a woman and choose to keep her to myself — what! — may I not kill my rival for trespass, or kill her if she transfers my property, her person and affections, to him? I may do as I please with my own, and resist all invaders.
If, on the contrary, I am grounded in the conviction that I do not own the woman I love, that all others possess the same rights in relation to her that I do myself, that any peculiar love she may have for me is a peculiar favor, unaccompanied by any obligation of extension or duration beyond the limits which she herself may freely set to it, it becomes plain that any jealousy I may feel will only manifest itself through the boycott, and even that, if I am wise, I will use only very gently lest I hang myself in my own halter. Briefly then, whether sexual relations are sensual or refined, the recognition of liberty means the abolition of jealousy. And liberty means vastly more than this. Liberty means that human beings will never associate on the sensual plane any longer than it is mutually pleasant; therefore all this resulting contempt, disgust, hatred, will cure itself by the simple method of mutual repulsion. What! — do we then come to the inevitable conclusion that Tolstoi, after all, has not pictured the evils of un-Christian sensuality, but of Christian marriage? — It is even so.
In liberty no one will be a sensualist but whoso chooses, and as no one enjoys disgust, contempt, hatred, no one will choose to sensualize one moment after these symptoms develop, and, when and where these symptoms do not appear, ought we not to pause before we condemn any given act as impure? Impurity is that which is mixed with evil, and evil is that which injures; where there is no injury, there is no evil, no impurity, hoary precepts to the contrary notwithstanding.
In liberty there will be a free competition of all human faculties, emotions, impulses, which will enable us scientifically to discover the normal limits of the action of each, and we can then establish a scientific morality (rather it will establish itself) in place of the absurd hotch-potch of guess-work precepts that now trammel us. We shall then find that that which we call sensuality has its place and its service just as truly as that which we call refinement. “The law of nature,” says Tolstoi, “is children.” He is right, but narrow. The law of nature is variation, competition, survival of the necessary. As Darwin and Wallace have shown, all possible variations of form and function incessantly occur, but only those that meet evolutionary requirements survive. If true, this is just as true in morals as in ears, stomachs, and toe-nails. When children are needed, those impulses and functions which produce them come to the front, and children abound. And when population abounds, and the need is for more highly cultivated and developed individuals rather than mere increase in numbers, then those impulses and habits which tend toward “moral checks” and “fewer and better children” prove fittest and survive. And we may rest assured that, at any given period in human development, just that proportion and combination of the refined and animal loves will survive which the conditions permit and require, which are then necessary and best. We live now in a period which requires not so much more men, merely, as healthier stomachs, calmer nerves, and more logical brains, and these the survival of the fittest is rapidly giving us; while the tendency toward checking reproduction, and diverting reproductive vitality into other than sexual channels, correspondingly increases.
The conditions of legal marriage do not require any very exalted development of sympathy and mental accord in its contracting parties. If the husband has power enough and the wife is obedient enough, the ideal is preserved, the household established, the offspring brought forth, and the Domostroys find nothing to regret. But when free-love comes, it will require bonds seven-fold finer and more complex than the quickly burntout impulses of physical love to unite those who long for satisfying and enduring affection. There must be mutual respect and sympathy, and these can only exist in the presence of mutual sincerity, dignity, justice, and kindness — equality.
To be life-mated in free-love will require infinitely more than a three months course of flirtation and “sitting up” and the diploma of a marriage officer. It will require inherited and spontaneous fitness together, and the development and habitual exercise in the highest degree of all those qualities in human character which promote social harmony. It will come to be recognized as a necessary bit of parallelism that a man incapable of attracting and retaining the love of a free, proud woman is incapable of that uniform justice and kindness in purpose and act required to make him a satisfactory member of a voluntary society. Conversely, a good lover will always be found a good associate.
The sexual relations will be the test of citizenship, and the free-love home will be the foundation and fountain of free society, just as marriage and the communistic home are now the school and source of government. J. Wm. Lloyd.
The Filthy Horror of Sexual Passion.
I call the attention of Mr. Pentecost, who has expressed thirteenth-century opinions on love in a recent number of the “Twentieth Century,” to the article on the “Kreutzer Sonata” in this issue of Liberty, contributed by J. Wm. Lloyd. That article ought to make him ashamed of his superstitious and offensive deliverance. I hope it will; but, to augment the certainty and thoroughness of such a consummation, I propose to say a few words in addition to Mr. Lloyd’s admirable argument. And I must make this preliminary remark: it is not what Mr. Pentecost said that calls for reply and examination,— no, what he said might be properly ignored as neither new nor sane,— but it is the fact that it is Mr. Pentecost who has said something so deeply objectionable, both intellectually and morally, that prompts me to stop and interest myself in this affair. I like and admire Mr. Pentecost, and I can’t allow him to disappoint me.
First, then, let me comment on Mr. Pentecost’s asseveration that Posdnicheff (or rather Tolstoi) “is the only person who has ever spoken wisely and lucidly on the sex question.” Mr. Pentecost will not dispute that, to speak wisely and lucidly on any question, it is necessary to comprehend it in all its essential phases. Now, what does Posdnicheff know about the “sex question”? He married without love, and never experienced human, true love. To be sure, he denies the existence of such love, but who will believe him when Shelley, Browning, Emerson, Mill, and the most refined and cultured men of all ages contradict him? Posdnicheff is too vulgar, too ignorant, too prejudiced, too narrow to teach us anything about love. Is Tolstoi more competent than he? Hardly. In a letter explanatory of his new departure, he made the following confession: “I had not the faintest presentiment that the train of thought I had started would lead me whither it did. I was terrified by my own conclusions, and was at first disposed to reject them, but it was impossible not to hearken to the voice of my reason and my conscience.” Men who speak wisely and lucidly are not subject to any such starts and fits and terrifying surprises. They have something to say, and they deliberately say it. Again, an intimate friend of Tolstoi, after reading the “Sonata,” said: “But the Count has never been in love. He does not know what love is.” And there is still a third reason why Tolstoi is disqualified from being regarded as a wise and lucid teacher. He is not a scientific thinker; he is not an evolutionist and experientialist; he is not a utilitarian. He is two thirds a Buddhist and one third a crank-Christian. His standpoint differs so widely from that of modern thinkers that there can be nothing in common between him and the utilitarians and Agnostics.
Mr. Pentecost, however, does accept the evolutionary view of life and the utilitarian conception of ethics. Let us see how his new sex philosophy coheres and agrees with those fundamental doctrines. If men and women were free, he opines, they would learn the wisdom of establishing their love relations on some other basis than sex. That is, they would learn the wisdom of abolishing their strongest natural instinct. Of course, this is pure nonsense; human beings neither could nor would “eliminate the sexual passion” from their relationships. With the disappearance of sexual passion, were such a thing conceivable, all kinds of affection and social sympathy would vanish. Sexual passion is the parent of all our social sympathies and feelings, as is well known to biological students.
But what is Mr. Pentecost’s ground for so preposterous a notion? “As the brain increases, the sex nature decreases,” he says; but what these words mean, it is difficult to divine. The sex nature does not decrease, although the power of reproduction diminishes. The enjoyment derived from temperate gratification of the sexual passion does not diminish. On the contrary, it increases with the development of the intellectual and aesthetic faculties. “As the union of beings grows, sexual love dies,” continues Mr. Pentecost. This means — nothing. What is this “union of beings”? Lovers that cease to be attracted sexually to each other are no longer “united,” and separation is the best course for them. Mr. Pentecost’s vague talk on the ideal “union of beings” convinces me that he has a very erroneous and inadequate idea of the sexual passion. Let me quote Spencer’s masterly analysis of love, and italicise those words and expressions which directly or indirectly overthrow the ignorant notion of Tolstoi which meets with Mr. Pentecost’s acceptance:
This [passion which unites the sexes] is habitually spoken of as though it were a simple feeling; whereas it is the most compound, and therefore the most powerful, of all the feelings. Added to the purely physical element of it, are first to be noticed those highly complex impressions produced by personal beauty; around which are aggregated a variety of pleasurable ideas, not in themselves amatory, but which have an organized relation to the amatory feeling. With this there is united the complex sentiment which we term affection — a sentiment which, as it can exist between those of the same sex, must be regarded as an independent sentiment, but one which is here greatly exalted. Then there is the sentiment of admiration, respect, or reverence: in itself one of considerable power, and which in this relation becomes in a high degree active. There comes next the feeling called love of approbation. To be preferred above all the world, and that by one admired beyond all others, is to have the love of approbation gratified in a degree passing every previous experience: especially as there is added that indirect gratification of it which results from the preference being witnessed by unconcerned persons. Further, the allied emotion of self-esteem comes into play. To have succeeded in gaining such attachment from, and sway over, another, is a proof of power which cannot fail agreeably to excite the amour propre. Yet again, the proprietary feeling has its share in the general activity: there is the pleasure of possession — the two belong to each other. Once more, the relation allows of an extended liberty of action. Towards other persons a restrained behavior is requisite. Round each there is a subtle boundary that may not be crossed — an individuality on which none may trespass. But in this case the barriers are thrown down; and thus the love of unrestrained activity is gratified. Finally, there is an exaltation of the sympathies. Egoistic pleasures of all kinds are doubled by another’s sympathetic participation; and the pleasures of another are added to the egoistic pleasures. Thus, round the physical feeling forming the nucleus of the whole, are gathered the feelings produced by personal beauty, that constituting simple attachment, those of reverence, of love of approbation, of self-esteem, of property, of love of freedom, of sympathy. These, all greatly exalted, and severally tending to reflect their excitement on one another, unite to form the mental state we call love. And as each of them is itself comprehensive of multitudinous states of consciousness, we may say that this passion fuses into one immense aggregate most of the elementary excitations of which we are capable; and that hence results its irresistible power. [Principles of Psychology, Vol. I.]
Can there be anything more absurd than the suggestion to eliminate that which is the “nucleus of the whole”? The proposition that “Hamlet” may be played with the part of Hamlet left out becomes wonderfully rational by contrast.
“Why advocate conduct of which all but beasts are ashamed?” queries Mr. Pentecost. But in the first place, nobody is silly enough to “advocate” that which needs no advocacy, which is the most beautiful and harmonizing of all our affections. We simply protest against the perverted and insanely superstitious notions, propagated by half-crazy theologians and Oriental savages, that the sexual passion is low, “carnal,” degrading, and unworthy of the “being created in God’s image.” Those who are “ashamed” of this “conduct” are the victims of religious spooks. Enlightened men are certainly not ashamed. This false and filthy shame is the result of the mystical philosophy of life, of the belief in the essential impurity of the “flesh”; and the spread of physical science and positive philosophy is rapidly opening men’s eyes to the truth that nothing is low and sinful and vicious except that which tends to produce unhappiness. Among unenlightened people, the abuse of the sexual instinct is prolific of misery; but culture does away with intemperance and excess. The misery of gluttons and drunkards is certainly not to be considered a reason for total abstinence from food and beverages. Yet there are consistent people who teach that the necessity of taking food is degrading to the possessors of divine souls, and some go so far as to impose restrictions upon the normal method of breathing. The fact that people are ashamed of a thing proves nothing as to the desirability or undesirability of the thing. We must inquire why the people are ashamed of it It has been considered shameful and criminal for a man to kiss his wife on the Lord’s day, and it is still considered shameful for artists to copy, and for people to admire, the human form divine in its naked beauty and reality.
Mr. Pentecost asks whether free lovers reject Tolstoi’s message because it is a call to personal purity. I grieve to think that Mr. Pentecost is still prone to be misled by old theological associations and to commit what is called in logic fallacies of confusion. What is personal purity in the proper scientific sense? Purity is simply the quality of vitality, strength, and health. That is pure which is free from the germs of decay and death. The Church, mindful of the health and holiness of the “soul,” regards the body with all its passions and promptings as impure, since these stand in the way of salvation. But Mr. Pentecost is not a theologian; why, then, is it impure to love and gratify the sexual passion in ways conducive to health and cheerfulness and kindliness? Nothing which normal, sane, intelligent, and independent beings do freely and easily can be impure, and nothing is more natural for such beings than to give and receive happiness in love.
The Church conception of purity leads to the annihilation of human existence. So does the Tolstoi-Pentecost conception; and this is its signal absurdity, its utter condemnation. If the preservation of life is not the desideratum, then conduct which tends to imperil and shorten life is not objectionable. Then truth ceases to be a virtue, and lying ceases to be a vice. Then theft and murder cease to be crimes. Life is an evil, and that conduct becomes praiseworthy which promises to abolish it. This is the Tolstoi gospel of non-resistance to evil, because there is no evil. Mr. Pentecost unexpectedly finds himself endorsing this “message” of a “lunatic.” Of course, Tolstoi is guilty here of a contradiction. To be consistent, he should declare that, life being an evil, every act of justice, generosity, kindness, and sympathy is evil and vicious, since such acts tend to perpetuate life. I have no doubt he will yet arrive at this conclusion, and preach the return to a state of nature, in the full sense of the term. And that is how they end who begin by repudiating “mere utilitarianism.” Desiring to make angels of us, they finally recommend the return to the level of the wild beasts. As Bakounine said long ago, the idealists are the real materialists, and the materialists are the real idealists.
Mr. Pentecost “commends” to free lovers the following words of Tolstoi:
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.
If Mr. Pentecost fancies that the he finds sense and logic in this string of phrases, I am compelled to modify my opinion concerning his capacity of distinguishing argument from unintelligible and meaningless jargon. If the object of man is happiness, then anything which destroys life is an obstacle to be removed. To achieve happiness — that is, to live happily — men must carry out a certain law; and when the law is carried out, happy existence is achieved. Have men then no further reason to exist? Why then the struggle and the effort to carry out the law? The rational way to summarize the Tolstoi argument is this: The object of man is the peace of Nirvana. To achieve that object, he must conquer his passions and crucify his body. He must do as the Buddhists do. Is Mr. Pentecost willing to subscribe to this?
Let me, in conclusion, advise Mr. Pentecost to read Spencer’s “Data of Ethics” and commend to him the following passages from it:
From the biological point of view, ethical science becomes a specification of the conduct of associated men who are severally so constituted that the various self-preserving activities, the activities required for rearing offspring, and those which social welfare demands, are fulfilled in the spontaneous exercise of duly proportioned faculties, each yielding, when in action, its quantum of pleasure; and who are, by consequence, so constituted that excess or defect in any one of these actions brings its quantum of pain, immediate and remote.
And the “sociological view” of ethics discloses “those conditions under which only associated activities can be so carried on that the complete living of each consists with and conduces to the complete living of all.” Spencer concludes:
The fundamental requirement is that the life-sustaining actions of each shall severally bring him the amounts and kinds of advantage naturally achieved by them; and this implies, firstly, that he shall suffer no direct aggressions on his person or property, and secondly, that he shall suffer no indirect aggressions by breach of contract. Observance of these negative conditions to voluntary coöperation having facilitated life to the greatest extent by exchange of services under agreement, life is to be further facilitated by exchange of services beyond agreement: the highest life being reached only when, besides helping to complete one another’s lives by specified reciprocities of aid, men otherwise help to complete one ahother’s lives. V. Y.
Answering Liberty’s criticism, Mr. Herbert Vivian says in the “Whirlwind”: “I see no incongruity between ‘government by a king’ and ‘voluntary taxation.’ The latter is a method of collecting the revenue, which has been advocated in ‘The Whirlwind,’ and is advocated by all thorough-going Individualists. Why should it be more difficult of operation under a king than under a republic or a theocracy, or any other form of government? As to the king’s salary, if it were not provided for by crown lands, it would assuredly be one of the objects towards which loyal voluntary taxpayers would subscribe. I gather that our American contemporary does not object to all forms of government, but desires the choice to rest with the people, and to this I quite agree. I am only trying to persuade the people that government by a king is the form they would be most wise to choose, and, in support of voluntary taxation, I may add that it would constitute a useful check upon a king’s arbitrary designs.” If by “government” the “Whirlwind” means simply some kind of protective association or police to defend the possessions of those who voluntarily organize this association, then Liberty “does not object to all forms of government,” but favors the idea of maintaining a protective institution as long as necessary. To say that Liberty desires the choice to rest with the people is not sufficiently explicit. Under democratic systems the choice of government is said to rest with the people, though it only rests with some people. What Liberty desires is that the choice should rest with the individual. Let each protect himself as he deems best. Let those who are persuaded, with the “Whirlwind,” that government — that is, protective service — by a king is the best, be free to hire a king and maintain him at their expense. If others wish to be served by a different agency, let them have the opportunity to carry out their wishes at their own cost. Does the “Whirlwind” agree to this? Will it allow other Englishmen to do as they please in the matter of protection, if it does not convert them to its system? In other words, does it favor free competition in protection? This is the question I would be glad to have the “Whirlwind” answer. As to the allegation that some Anarchists object to private property and individual liberty, further investigation will show that these are not Anarchists, but Communists. They denominate their system “Communistic Anarchism,” although they are generally Archists of the most extreme kind. It is not true that “Anarchists cannot agree among themselves what (their) position is.” All Anarchists agree that without the right to private property there can be no complete liberty. It is only the “Communistic Anarchists” who deny private property, and with them Anarchists have really nothing in common.
Mr. Pentecost writes: “To the strikers I would say: ‘Do not wreck trains. If you are smitten on one cheek, turn the other. There is more power in passive than in active resistance.’ But to the Webbs and Depews I would say: ‘If you continue to be tyrants, slave drivers, and man starvers, you should not be surprised when your victims turn on you.’” In reply to Mr. Pentecost the Webbs and Depews might forcibly say: “As long as there are theologians and thoughtless sentimentalists who preach absolute obedience to the powers that be and non-resistance to tyranny and evil, there is no danger of any serious rebellion on the part of our victims. As long as our victims attend Church or read such secular sermons as the editor of the ‘Twentieth Century’ is now delivering we are safe and free from anxiety.” And intelligent strikers might say to Mr. Pentecost: “You confound passive resistance with submission. For those who believed in a personal God and a better life after death, the injunction to offer no resistance to evil in this world had some meaning. Freethinkers and utilitarians repudiate this piece of theological absurdity. We have more self-respect and human dignity than to turn the other cheek when we are smitten on one. We are not slaves by nature, and we do not believe in sacrifice. We mean to insist on our social rights, and we mean to offer vigorous resistance to invaders and aggressors. Those who cannot hate injustice will never labor for justice. Those who do not love themselves cannot love others. Those who do not value their own liberty will never defend the liberty of others. Those who submit to tyranny will expect everybody else to do the same. Liberty, justice, love begin at home. Your talk, Mr. Pentecost, is sadly out of date and conspicuously out of place in a professedly modern and scientific journal.”
A Nottingham (England) paper prints the following item on letter-carrying in Paris: “It was, some time ago, the custom to impose a charge of twenty-five centimes on all letters posted in the boxes after six in the evening. A speculative individual, who had listened to some of the groans accompanying payment of this exaction, undertook to carry all such letters to their destination for fifteen centimes, and, as even the saving of a penny is something to men who write many letters on Bourse business, he found himself trusted, and reaping a fair income. He organized a corps of bicyclists, who delivered the letters with honesty and promptitude. This compelled the post office to come down to fifteen centimes also, and now the enterprising competitor has reduced his tariff per letter to five centimes. The government, it is said, is displeased at the keenness of the competition, and threatens a prosecution.”
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.