“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.
A new drama by Henrik Ibsen will shortly be issued in an English version in London on the same day that the original appears in Copenhagen. “Law and order” will probably receive another crushing blow, and radical literature will be enriched by another work of genius.
President Gates of Amherst said in a speech recently that “no majority has a right to do what it pleases unless it pleases to do right.” If President Gates meant that the majority has a right to do only that which everybody thinks right, then he is plainly an enemy of Democratic government. Not only majorities, but minorities, and even individuals, have a right to do that which everybody considers right. But if he meant that the majority may only do that which it thinks right, then he said nothing that was not known and accepted before by every believer in Democratic government.
The editor of “Today,” in paying his compliments to the “persons who call themselves tariff reformers,” and who “are very much exercised just now over the retention of the duty on works of art,” says: “The shallowness of the movement in favor of ‘free art’ is disclosed by the consideration that it was only the more expensive forms, as original works in marble or on canvas, which it was proposed to exempt from duties. All the cheaper forms of artistic representations — engravings, etchings, chromos, plaster, and bisque figures — were to be sacrificed to the tariff mongers. In other words, the rich were to be permitted to decorate their homes cheaply, but the poor were to be taxed heavily for every line and tint.”
Gronlund’s “final contribution” to “social philosophy,” his “Our Destiny,” is out in book form. Were a copy of it, with the cover tom off, to fall into the hands of an intelligent man, he would certainly take it for the production of an inmate of an asylum for incurable lunatics. And he would not be very far from the truth. Gronlund is not exactly an inmate of a lunatic asylum, but he is a secretary of a colony governed by that prince of swindlers and demagogues, Haskell, and built upon Bellamy notions. He regards himself, moreover, as a great philosopher, whose mission in this world is to expose the lies and ignorant assumptions of such dangerous impostors as Spencer and Proudhon and to announce the truth as revealed to him by the power behind evolution. What strange maladies there are in this world!
A New York judge lately sentenced a man to a five years’ term of imprisonment at hard labor for “abducting” a young girl. At the time of the “abduction” the man had an office which the girl kept in order. The girl told her employer she was sixteen years old when he induced her to remain with him over night. But the girl either lied or else she was ignorant of the fact that according to the records of the church where she was baptized she was fifteen at the time of her “abduction.” The man thus acted under the belief that the girl was no longer under the “protection of the law,” and for his faith in her word he goes to State’s prison for five years. The majesty of the law is vindicated, and morality henceforth is safe. In a few months the girl will be free, and — well, the court and newspapers have advertised her charms.
The English Anarchists have long wanted a paper more thoroughly and completely representative of their views than the several Individualistic organs published in their own country. Able as these are, they do not meet the pressing need of the hour. They do not emphatically demand Individualism in those matters where the lack of it is most disastrously felt. Consequently the English Anarchists have had to rely thus far on Liberty as their only organ. But Liberty could not do the work required nearly as effectively as a journal governed by similar principles and policy but more especially adapted to English readers and institutions. Influenced by these considerations, Albert Tam, with the coöperation of other comrades, has started “The Herald of Anarchy,” which will be published in London monthly. The October number, which has already appeared, promises well for its future. Address 57, Chancery Lane, London, W. C., England.
The London “National Reformer” has lost its best contributor. Mr. J. H. Levy, who for many years has written an article for each number over the signature “D,” has been forced by ill health to discontinue this branch of his public work. Mr. Bradlaugh’s journal is edited with great ability, and has always maintained a high standard, but no feature of it has been as interesting or instructive as “D.’s” essays. The majority of the readers eagerly opened the paper to “D.’s” page first of all. In this extraordinary series of articles a phenomenally acute intellect deals with nearly every religious, political, and social problem of the time. A collection of them would form one of the most valuable of books. It is gratifying to know that such a collection is contemplated, and will be published if an advance subscription for five hundred copies can be obtained. Persons desiring to subscribe should address “Charles Bradlaugh, National Reformer, London, England.” I have sent my name to Mr. Bradlaugh, and hope that many readers of Liberty will do the same.
The Boston aldermen, having witnessed the presentation of the “Clemenceau Case” at the expense of the taxpayers, decided that the play is too wicked and demoralizing to be seen by the ordinary citizen and canceled the license of the theatre at which the play was produced. Now the Chicago aldermen talk of suppressing the play should the company visit Chicago. Of course they will go to see and judge it. That they are well qualified to play the part of literary critics and dramatic censors may be seen from the following remarkable statement of one of the Chicago aldermen interviewed by a reporter of the “Tribune”: “I am surprised,” said Alderman O’Brien to the reporter, “that Mr. Dumas could write anything so immoral. He used to be all right. Why, I see a piece of his once that he wrote for Jimmy O’Neill. ‘Monte Christo’ was the name of it, and no more moraler piece was ever wrote. There was one part in it where Jim used to say, ‘the world is mine!’ Do you remember that? It always made me get up and howl. I’ll go and see this here new piece, and if it ain’t right it’s got to stop.”
The “Twentieth Century” prints the following interesting letter from a Tennessee correspondent: “I think Tennessee furnishes a better example of Anarchism and voluntary coöperation than any other State. There is in this State a four-mile law; namely, that there shall be no licensed saloon within four miles of an institution of learning unless the town or village is incorporated. When the people of any locality wish to get rid of saloons they return their charter to the State, and then the only authorities are the county officers. There is consequently no local government. Very many towns of the State are living in a practical Anarchism, and don’t see a public officer, except the postmaster, for weeks at a time. I have never seen a quieter, more orderly community in my life than this. But without a charter there can be no local taxation, consequently all public improvements must be made by voluntary contributions. I have just seen such a work completed — to the expense of which I added a dollar — a dollar that would not have been given had the money been raised by taxation. People here are surprised when I tell them they are realizing the Anarchistic idea.”
Discussing certain aspects of Individualism, the editor of the “Whirlwind” says: “If I am wrong, I can at least console myself with the reflection that I am wrong in the best possible company, for it will be seen that Mr. Bradlaugh, the leader of the Individualist party in this country, shares my views.” Excuse me, Mr. Vivian; but I don’t admit that Mr. Bradlaugh is the best possible company and that he is the leader of the Individualist party in England. A seat in Parliament does not make a man a leader. Mr. Bradlaugh is far behind, and follows rather than leads the truly progressive Individualists. He himself is not unconscious of this. Turning to his article in the “Whirlwind,” I read as follows: “At the risk of being regarded as a very weak-kneed Individualist, however, I cannot go with Dr. Englander for the abolition of the State. Nor can I quite accept as practical the earnestly rigid Individualism of Mr. Auberon Herbert. I am content to loosen a trammel now and then, leaving to bolder men the assertion of completer freedom.” We may recognize the value of Mr. Bradlaugh’s services, but it is the bolder men who assert complete freedom that make the best possible company.
A Foretaste of the Future.
Three of the leaders of Nationalism in this State are standing upon the points of the triangle of discord with no common ground between them. Thos. V. Cator, who led the split in the convention last winter, is opposed by Burnette G. Haskell, of Kaweah, and by W. C. Owen, of Los Angeles, and he is opposed to them. Messrs. Haskell and Owen have also severed their business and other relations, Mr. Owen denouncing the Kaweah colony scheme as an autocracy and declining longer to advertise the “Kaweah Commonwealth.” Mr. Cator is running for Congress on a Reform Democrat ticket; Mr. H. G. Wilshire, of Orange County, is candidate for the same position on a “let-the-producer-have-all-his-pro-duct” platform. Mr. Haskell has run for Kaweah and got there. Mr. Cator’s candidacy has split the Pacific Nationalist Club, a portion of whose members decline to go into politics. It has likewise bred discord in the Single Tax Society, whose journal, the “Weekly Star,” supports Mr. Cator, but whose most distinguished member, Judge J. G. Maguire, has broken away from the candidate, and will vote for the Hon. Robert Ferrai. Mr. C. F. Burgman, a prominent member of the Pacific Nationalist Club, declares for Cator and Reform, which the editor of the “Weekly Nationalist” characterizes as a side-show. The “Pacific Union,” J. W. Hines, editor, seems to have lost its interest in Nationalism, and is booming a Farmers’ Alliance at San Jose. The Nationalist movement is demoralized, and politics is the cause of it.
Beauties of Government.
[Clippings from the Press.]
A Washington correspondent of the “Globe-Democrat” says that “one of the most active workers for silver legislation” has made the statement that the rise of silver has put $1,000,000 into the pockets of Congressmen. Twelve Senators and fifteen Representatives have participated in this affair. Before the Silver Bill became a law the amount of silver taken in by the various pools for the expected rise was 40,000,000 ounces. No money was spent in Washington to influence legislation; no votes were bought; but “some of them were shown how they could make a little money by speculating on the rise of silver, which was sure to follow the passage of a favorable bill. Several Senators and Representatives put in their money and took a few thousand ounces apiece. There were others who hadn’t the money to speculate with. It was arranged that the impecunious should have certain amounts carried for them by the pools. If silver went up they were to have the profits. If it didn’t go up they were to get nothing. About $250,000 was put up to get the silver which was bought and carried for those Senators and Representatives who didn’t invest their own money. Of course, this $250,000 was not spent or lost. Those who raised it got it all back, less interest and commissions. The Senators and Representatives for whom the silver was bought got the profits.” The Congressmen thus carried were mostly Republicans, and a few subordinate officials of the Treasury Department were taken in for the information they could furnish. A few of the Congressmen approached declined to become involved in the speculation.
Paris, Oct. 12. Max Leclerc, whom the “Journal des Debats” sent to America as its special correspondent, writes from Chicago: “I am in one of the large agricultural states of the Northwest, and visited the Governor, who is a large banker. He is a Republican, and the immense majority of his electors was composed of farmers. While talking with this high official, I learned he had no idea of the meaning of the McKinley bill, and was ignorant that Congress had passed Mr. Edmunds’ bill arming the President with extraordinary powers against foreign commerce. This latter measure, if it is applied, may, perhaps, ruin this gentleman’s party, yet he was ignorant of its existence.”
London, Oct. 12. In Trafalgar square, this afternoon, about 100 Socialists assembled, with the view of holding a meeting in behalf of the unemployed workmen of the metropolis, but the police appeared and prevented any speeches. The ringleader, Chapman, was arrested, and a charge was made against him of attempted riot. There was considerable excitement around the square.
Berlin, Oct. 12. The union of the laborers of the upper Silesian towns has decided to petition the Emperor against the high tariff on corn and the exclusion of foreign meat, in order to save the people from the ravages of the hunger typhus.
Vienna, Oct. 11. Some commotion has been caused among Austrian manufacturers and Hungarian agriculturists, by whom a protective policy is deprecated, by an announcement from Berlin that the German government had opened negotiations with Austria for making a tariff treaty or for making common action against the McKinley law.
Berlin, Oct. 11. By a decree just published with regard to Alsace-Lorraine the teaching of French must for the future be stopped in all the primary schools.
An effort is to be made before Congress to increase the working force of the Interstate Commerce Commission by the appointment of deputy commissioners. The commissioners complain that they are overworked, and that, being compelled to pass upon every complaint submitted, no matter how trivial, these complaints are piling up, until the decisions are many months behind. The commissioners say that it is impossible to make a complaint in an emergency and get a decision until after the necessity for prompt action has passed.
The entire weekly edition of the Atlanta (Ga.) “Constitution,” issued on October 9, has been seized by the postal authorities under the lottery law. The objectionable feature consisted in an announcement that the paper would distribute prizes in its Christmas box. This Christmas drawing of prizes has been a feature connected with the paper for years.
One of the sections of the new registration law passed by the last Maryland Legislature provides, in effect, that no man can vote who is absent from the State a day during the six months preceding an election. This disfranchises every man who has been absent from the State on business or pleasure since the 1st of May. There is some talk of declaring this provision unconstitutional, but nothing has yet been done.
In the political contest now going on in Louisiana over the extension of the charter of the State Lottery Company, a political organization known as the Progressive League, taking the view that the offer of the company to give $1,250,000 a year to the State should be accepted, has sent out a number pamphlets in support of its position, giving the views of Washington and Jefferson on lotteries, and containing fac-similes of the tickets of the Mountain Road Lottery, conducted by Washington, and the United States Lottery, chartered by the Continental Congress in 1776. All these pamphlets were seized at the post-office, on the ground that they violated the new anti-lottery law, inasmuch as they contained advertisements of the lotteries of 1768 and 1776.
During the session the roll was called 462 times. It takes, on the average, 24 minutes to call the roll, so that 11,088 minutes were thus occupied. This was 184 hours. The average length of the daily sessions of the House was five hours, and, therefore, no less than thirty-six and four-fifths days of the session were spent in simply calling the roll of the Representatives. It is almost impossible to get at the exact cost to the people of the House of Representatives, but it is estimated at $6,500 a day, on the basis of its present membership. It has, therefore, cost for roll-calls alone during the session recently ended the very tidy sum of $239,200.
The Indiana Supreme Court has decided that carrying persons to and from picnic parties on Sunday is not a work of necessity or charity, and is therefore illegal. An effort is to be made to indict the Indianapolis street-car companies and owners of other vehicles who take large numbers of people to suburban places every Sunday.
The Montpelier correspondent of the Springfield “Republican,” writing about the Vermont Legislature, says:
The amusing thing about the session thus far is the position in which the two houses stand regarding the resolution to furnish newspapers to members at the State’s expense. There has been much unfavorable comment on this longtime practice, and some expectations were entertained that it would not be continued. But no sooner had the Senate organized when Senator Child, of Addison County, offered the usual resolution, which provided that the secretary furnish each member of the Senate two dailies and one weekly during the session. The resolution was promptly adopted. The House was hardly as bold. A resolution to provide each member with two dailies was amended by adding the words, “free of expense to the .State.” The amended resolution was laid on the table, and no one has yet dared to call it up. The members would like to have free papers, but they are afraid the time for action has gone by.
The question was finally settled by ordering one daily for each member, instead of two dailies and one weekly, as in the Senate.
New York, Oct. 6. The new tariff law takes effect today. Up to the last minute there has been an exciting scramble to get all the goods into the country that importers can possibly carry, and it will be strange if the market does not prove to be so far loaded with such supplies that domestic manufacturers will be unable to get any possible benefits from the new law for a year or more. For the last two weeks at New York 236 vessels have been entered, against only 180 for the same time last year; and customs collections have been 100 per cent, greater.
Ordinarily the New York Custom House closes at 3 p. m., but on Saturday the rush was so great that it was kept open till midnight, entering arriving vessels. In the case of the “Etruria,” the captain was hurried up the bay on a tug, and driven at breakneck pace to the Custom House, where he arrived just fifty seconds before midnight to enter his ship. Half a million dollars in extra duties were thus saved.
Topeka, Kan., Oct. 17. Charles Raher, agent for a Kansas City liquor house, was arrested here for selling liquor after the passage of the Wilson bill. He applied for a writ of habeas corpus, admitting that he had sold liquors as charged, but claiming that, inasmuch as the Kansas prohibitory law was enacted before the Wilson bill, the Wilson bill did not apply. Judges Foster and Phillips sustained this view today in the United States circuit court, and granted the writ. This decision permits the reopening of the “original package” houses in this State, and virtually declares that the Wilson bill enacted by Congress does not restore the power of the Kansas prohibitory law as against “original package” houses.
A Useless Sacrifice.
I expect never to have another chance to agree with that generally stupid paper, “The Journal of United Labor,” against that generally bright paper, the “Twentieth Century”; so I improve the present opportunity by copying the following from the columns of the former:
Mr. Pentecost, of the “Twentieth Century,” is rejoicing over the practical results of his vacant land crusade in the shape of a convert who, being convinced of the wrong and injustice of holding real estate of this description for a rise, has sold his vacant lots at a loss and freed his conscience. In this age of selfishness and greed it is pleasing to hear of anybody making sacrifices for principle, and we are very far from wishing to sneer at or belittle the act. But we much question its utility. The cause of reform would not be advanced one iota if ten thousand earnest and enthusiastic men should follow his example and dispossess themselves of their unoccupied land. The only result would be to put into other and presumably less worthy hands the opportunities they relinquished. The burden laid upon society — that is, upon the workers — by the system which permits the increase in land values to go into the pockets of private individuals instead of into the public treasury would not be diminished by one cent if every man who realizes the essential injustice of the system should sell or give away his unoccupied land. It would simply transfer the future gains from increased value to the new owners. We fully realize the honesty and fidelity to conviction which prompts such action; our only regret is that it should be so utterly futile to accomplish any good results. The only thing to be done is to change the system. Individuals are not responsible for it except in so far as they use their influence to maintain it and to resist reforms, or use the power it gives them with harshness and cruelty. Sincere, earnest advocates of industrial emancipation, who possess land, either in use or otherwise, can do far better for the cause they have at heart by taking such advantages as the system gives them and devoting a reasonable share of their time and means to agitating for its overthrow than they can by simply stepping aside and letting somebody else make money by the growth of the community. No amount of individual self-sacrifice on the part of land reformers in giving up their personal chances to share in the unearned increment can change the situation for the better.
The History of the Ballot.
Now, regarding the ballot, this term is French, coming from the word ballotte. Some think that the ballot, or the word ballot, at least, came from ballet, but such, it seems to me, could not have been the case, especially the secret ballot.
The ancient Greeks selected their magistrates or decided political questions by secret vote, for which purpose they used different colored beans. At one time they used only pole beans. Hence the term, from the Greek, “going to the polls.” It was one of the most interesting and thrilling sights, we are told, to see the Greek on election day selecting his ballot from the bean bag before casting it.
In the selection of candidates certain colored beans were chosen by the primaries to correspond with the candidates they were to represent. Sometimes a packed primary would decide on a style of bean to be cast for an unpopular candidate, knowing that the last quart of that brand of bean had been eaten at breakfast the previous Sunday. Had that happened here a style of vulcanized rubber bean of the same general appearance would have been made over night. The Greek origin of Boston is established by the history of the ballot, I think.
At Athens the dicasts — whatever that may be — used in giving their verdicts balls of stone called psephi, or of metal called sponduli, whence comes the term spondulix, or money, which has also been associated more or less with the ballot throughout the history of the world. Those pierced in the centre or black in color signify condemnation, and though this, of course, was hardly political balloting, it soon led to it.
Petalism, which was so popular in Syracuse at an early day — a term which has nothing to do whatever with pessimism — was a system of voting by words written upon the leaves of the olive. By using the plain leaf the voter signified, “I give you leave”; but, by making certain other Greek characters on the ballot, it meant “Leave the office alone,” or it might be marked so as to mean “We be-leave not in you.”
The Romans first monkeyed with the divine right of suffrage in the year 139 B. C., using wooden tabellæ placed in the cista — a sort of basket or wicker box. These were marked U. R. (uti rogas) or A. (antiquo) in the case of a proposed law, and L. (libro) or D. (damno) in the case of a public trial. The Roman custom of using the word damno upon casting the ballot has given rise to the custom by which politics and profanity are still seen so often going hand in hand down to a drunkard’s grave, to see if he is in it, and, if not, with the idea of utilizing it themselves.
I have an idea that the Australian ballot was also used in Rome at least a century before the birth of Christ, for it is a fact that at that period the wooden tables used as ballots contained the names of both candidates, and had puncta or holes opposite the name used or voted for.
In Great Britain the ballot was first used in 1662 by the Scots Parliament in proceedings in the “billeting act,” which was a measure for ostracising and otherwise disfiguring a few political opponents. Each member of Parliament wrote in a disguised hand on a piece of paper the names of twelve people whom he didn’t like and whom he would be glad to ostracise, or at least help hold while some one else did it.
These names were put in a bag, which was at once sealed up and sent to the exchequer chamber. The king repudiated this act, however, in 1705. At the present time voting is done in Great Britain a good deal the same as it will be done in this State hereafter. A cross is made after the name of the candidate who is voted for, the names being in alphabetical order on the ballot. Each voter has a chance to go and commune with himself while thinking whom he will vote for. For this purpose he has a little booth, to which he can secretly retire along with his numbered or stamped ballot, and unless his thoughts are highly vociferous they cannot be heard outside the booth, or, if heard, they will be so indistinct that the law is really complied with in spirit at least.
Australia has a good method, which is called the Kangaroo method, and has worked so well that canvassing for votes has practically disappeared there, and sheep stealing is on the decrease. You are, of course, familiar with this method more or less, Thorndyke, and so I need not go into detail, but the principle is there as well as here, that even if you buy a voter you can never feel sure that he will not be replevied by some one else. A man who will sell his vote will also lie, or leave his honor in the Grand Central depot; therefore, you can never feel sure of a vote unless, after buying it, you see that it is deposited and counted, or counted at least. This method will insure secrecy, and also give the voter while in the booth a chance to think over his past life. If permissible, thrilling mottoes in red yarn could be hung up in these booths, asking the voter if he has used Blair’s soap, and also bidding him good morning in a bright and chipper tone.
Some murmuring is being done here, of course, regarding the great expense the city will be at or to in order to fit up ballots and little retiring rooms or considering places, but if we are doing right we must not pause to reckon up the expense.
The estimated cost of our fall election here is $464,743, and there is a great deal of complaint over this, especially by those who do not see any immediate prospect of getting some of it. The money will go almost directly to the paper man, the printer, and the carpenter, at least as near as you can make a half million dollars go in New York to the man it was destined for. Naturally, some of it will stick to those whose adhesive palms are extended, especially in the fall of the year; but I am betting on the beauties of this ballot, and now if the good men who bathe will also ballot there will be a great light dawn on the future, and its rosy rays will even stab their little ruddy promises into the dark and noisome pestilential political present.
“Some day,” as I heard a bright young voice singing not long ago, “some day, I know not when the time may be,” the time will come, Thorndyke, when elections will grow wider and wider apart. One election will do for as much as two or three years, and the campaign expenses may be saved up and used for flour and bacon and soap and pure air; when the liar and the lamb shall lie down together — under the same epitaph — people will give themselves more to manual labor and less to prolonged chin recitals, peace shall be as a river, and joy like the waves of the sea.
A Lawyer’s Judgment.
Accept my thanks for the copy of your abridgment and rearrangement of Lysander Spooner’s “Trial by Jury.” I have read it through more than once with interest and with profit. It of course contains nothing new to me, for I have been for nearly forty years familiarly acquainted with the larger work. But it is refreshing to see it in a new form, freed from the mass of learning and authority which swelled the volume, and retaining in full integrity the great body of original thought on the greatest topics of mortal thought and discussion. Your success has been complete and perfect. All that is essential of the larger work is preserved, and it is presented in a form and within the moderate compass useful to the general reader.
Three years ago, of a resplendent summer afternoon, all that was mortal of Lysander Spooner was committed to the friendly bosom of mother earth amid the lamentations of friends who had learned to appreciate the size and quality of the man, and his immortal memory was given in charge to that just posterity which sooner or later is sure to recognize the great thinker and writer. After eighty years of laborious service in the cause of truth, justice, and humanity, an illustrious career then closed so far as the labor of the pen was concerned. But his record was made up, and it still lives and will continue to live so long as American literature survives. The world at large, especially the cultivated and scholarly portions thereof, were quite ignorant of the extent and value of that record, and still less did they realize the hold of that man upon posterity. A few, however, knew him and loved him, but they were for the most part of the common people, whose appreciation can rarely fix permanent fame upon any man. Some few of the more discriminating, who knew the value of his works, determined that his name should live among the permanent archives of American thought. Those useful handicraftsmen, the printers, had builded a monument more durable than brass or marble; but his books were for the most part out of print. He fortunately had two friends who appreciated him to the full extent of his value,— Benjamin R. Tucker and Victor Yarros. What Boswell did for Johnson, what Dumont did for Mirabeau, and what Charles Phillips did for John Philpot Curran, that they have done and promise yet further to do for Lysander Spooner. For I trust this is but a first instalment of Spooner’s collected writings.
This work is a most valuable contribution to the literature of free government. The original essay was in a form to attract and interest the professional rather than the lay reader. Without altering a single passage, the editor has adapted it to the popular reader, turning it into a systematic treatise on the fundamental principles of free political institutions: their nature, essence, and maintenance. Those great topics of thought have never been handled by an abler pen.
As a statesman, a jurist, and a thinker, Spooner ranks among the first of all ages and countries. It is not more certain that John Marshall, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster stand as perpetual landmarks of American greatness than that Lysander Spooner ranks beside them in the acuteness and vigor of his intellect, the clearness and grace of his style, and the force of his logic,— with far more integrity of logic than can fairly be claimed for either of them.
Geo. W. Searle.
Boston, October 9, 1890.
A Melancholy Condition.
The comments of the Republican, papers upon the final passage of the McKinley Bill are certainly interesting, if not edifying. “The little thereof which they darkly apprehend they admire; the rest, with religious ignorance, they humbly and meekly adore, seeing that through this law that class worketh of whom, through whom, and for whom are all things governmental.” Here and there in the West may be found a Republican paper which has not bowed the knee to the image of Baal; but this defection is more than made up by the glowing eulogies contained in the subsidized press, not only upon this bill, but upon every measure passed by the present Congress, and upon the Congress as a whole,— eulogies as false and fulsome as any eulogies ever offered to any vicious, worthless prince by parasites and sycophants. That such servile flattery can be purchased in a so-called free country by the distribution of a few offices, and be given without exciting more public disgust, may be taken as an indication of how far the word “free” is from accurately characterizing the spirit which prevails throughout the land.
Does Prohibition Prohibit?
It seems that in Alaska, as in many other places, prohibition utterly fails to prohibit, except so far as the natives are concerned. The law is to the last degree strict, but the people are opposed to it, grand juries utterly refuse to indict, and petit juries will not convict. Liquors, generally of the vilest kind, are openly sold, and the law is a dead letter. And so, after the manner of his kind, the Governor of the Territory recommends more law, more machinery, more regulations, and ventures the opinion that by their aid the traffic could and would be stopped. But would grand juries be more likely to indict or petit juries to convict? The thing that the people dislike is prohibition; and the more strict the laws are made the less they will like them, the less they will lend aid in their enforcement. Perhaps it would be an excellent thing to keep liquor out of Alaska, but it cannot be done by act of Congress.
Ignorance is bliss, and Bliss is ignorant. I refer to W. D. P. Bliss (ex-Reverend), who has made in the “Twentieth Century” an elaborate apology for his “Christian Socialism.” In the paradise of sentimental fools and foolish sentimentalists this ex-Reverend Bliss is, in contempt of question, the champion and boss fool. He is thus eminently fitted for the part of leader and guide in the movement known as Christian Socialism. With the readers’ permission, we will amuse ourselves for a while with this exhibition of brainlessness.
Mr. Bliss, without striving “to be paradoxical,” assures us of the “life-fact” that he was made a Christian by Marx and a Socialist by Jesus Christ. The simple reader may swallow this, and continue to regard this professional humbug as above suspicion; but to me it seems that Mr. Bliss is hypocritical, and that he cudgeled his — I was about to say, brain; but he hasn’t any — his empty cranium to concoct a plausible tale about his alleged conversion to Christianity by that arch-heretic and materialist, Marx, in order to impress the credulous old women (of both sexes and all periods of life) that make raw-material for Christian Socialism. The devil is said to quote scripture; and this preacher wished to beat the devil by feigning to have discovered Christianity in Marx.
“I had supposed myself a Christian long before I read Karl Marx,” writes Mr. Bliss. “I called myself one; I believed Christ; I worshipped him; I prayed to him; I preached him; I did everything except follow him — in other words, I was anything except a Christian. But one day I became interested in Socialism, especially in Karl Marx. He produced on me a deep impression. I began to see what life was. A veil arose. Suddenly, as I was thinking, it flashed on me what Christ was, and what Christianity was. The cross was its centre. Christianity was the attainment of the highest ideal for the world, and the highest individuality for each person through the sacrifice of the individual. Those that seek life lose it, and those that sacrifice life for the good of all, find it. Such was the secret of Christianity, a life. Henceforth I have striven to be a Christian.” Marx, to be sure, never said one word about the sacrifice of the individual for the good of all, as all who have read him know well. Did I not know that Mr. Bliss has been so sinned against that he cannot read anything understandingly, I should decline to believe that he ever opened any of Marx’s books; as it is, I see nothing strange about this discovery. But let us cross-examine the confesser. Before he had read Marx he was a follower of Jesus in so far as he understood him. But, being exceedingly stupid, he could not find the Socialism or Communism that Christ inculcated, and, therefore, was not a Socialist and a true follower of that individual. Marx came and taught him — Socialism, thus making him a Socialist and therefore a true Christian. In this version we might be able to detect a small amount of probability. But Mr. Bliss is not content with this; he continues: “I was not yet a Socialist. Karl Marx had not made me one. I was afraid of his system. I began to study. But gradually it came to me that, starting with Christ, one must come out a Socialist. Jesus made me a Socialist. Socialism seems to me the form society must take that is based on sacrifice of the individual, while its outcome will be the highest individuality.” So it was Jesus, after all, who made Mr. Bliss a Socialist! But, if so, then Marx did not make him a Christian. For the only thing he had needed to become a complete Christian was to follow Jesus in his practical Communism and abnegation of self; and, if Jesus finally taught him that, then Jesus it was who made him both a Socialist and a faithful Christian, and Marx, at best, only helped him to read Jesus aright. What becomes of the pretended “life-fact”? Does not the story about having been made a Christian by Marx appear to be a deliberate falsehood?
Having told us “how he became” a Christian Socialist, Mr. Bliss goes on to explain why he is one. He is a Christian because he is a rationalist. “By evidence of history, science, and modern psychic research, it seems to me proven that over the kingdoms of the inorganic and organic is the kingdom of spirit. To me it seems equally proven on rational evidence that there runs through all the universe of matter, mind, and spirit a unity fathomless, mystic, infinite. That unity I call God. Studying God through facts, I dare to try to understand him through a study of his highest manifestation, man. As there is personality in man, I believe there is in God, since a part cannot be greater than the whole. I thus come to believe in a spiritual personal God..... On the evolutionary philosophy our life here is but a moment in the developing true life..... Evolution is God developing a perfect whole, and perfect in every part.” Such, in brief, is Mr. Bliss’s “theo[i]di[o]cy.” How shall I characterize this talk about “history and science” proving the “kingdom of spirit,” about God being a personality, about “evolutionary philosophy” teaching that our life is a moment in the developing true life, about God being evolution developing a whole perfect in all its parts? If I say that the preacher who writes thus is a mendacious and impudent ignoramus, I say a great deal less than the occasion demands. But this is all I can say. To appreciate the vast and comprehensive ignorance of the preacher it is necessary to have a sound and adequate conception of the evolutionary philosophy, or at least of its “First Principles.” And to that work I refer my readers.
As to Mr. Bliss’s Socialism, “it is,” he tells us, “the rule of all.” “It is the community doing its own business, controlling its own affairs, and as a whole.” It is not, he protests, Paternalism. “A Paternal Socialist is a self-contradiction.” By its derivation, its history, its root idea. Socialism is essentially democratic. “It is brotherhoodism. It believes in minority representation and in the referendum.”
Nobody has ever succeeded in concentrating such a world of misinformation, confusion, and absurdity into so limited a portion of space as sufficed Mr. Bliss for the display of his overwhelming stock of nonsense. Democracy does not mean the rule of all, but the rule of the majority. Minority representation is not the equivalent of freedom. If Socialism is not the rule of the majority, then Socialism is not democratic, but Anarchistic. If Socialism is merely voluntary coöperation, then it is not un-Anarchistic, and Mr. Bliss’s distinctions between Socialism and Anarchism are devoid of significance and meaning. Mr. Bliss cannot think, and the words he uses mean nothing to him.
On the whole, Mr. Bliss is sufficiently dull and ignorant to fill with success the position of Christian preacher and Socialist teacher. Even a little knowledge would be dangerous to him, and of much he is naturally incapable. I give one more quotation from his immortal confession: “Personally, I believe Him to have been virgin born..... I believe in what people call the miraculous. It seems to me the most natural thing in the world, simply the coming down of the spiritual into the organic, exactly as the organic runs its roots down into the inorganic. I do not believe in all Bible miracles, and I do believe in some modern miracles. To me it is all a matter of evidence. What we call miracles being the thing naturally to be looked for in so spiritual a man as Christ, I find satisfactory evidence that He was a Miracle Worker, and I believe that he rose from the dead a spiritized body.”
Now, dear reader, we know all about Christian Socialism. Those who decline to swallow it will be damned hereafter; those who do not are damned — fools. V. Y.
“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.
Mr. Levy’s Maximum.
“Whatever else Anarchism may mean, it means that State coercion of peaceable citizens, into coöperation in restraining the activity of Bill Sikes, is to be condemned and ought to be abolished. Anarchism implies the right of an individual to stand aside and see a man murdered or a woman raped. It implies the right of the would-be passive accomplice of aggression to escape all coercion. It is true the Anarchist may voluntarily coöperate to check aggression; but also he may not. Quâ Anarchist, he is within his right in withholding such coöperation, in leaving others to bear the burthen of resistance to aggression, or in leaving the aggressor to triumph unchecked. Individualism, on the other hand, would not only restrain the active invader up to the point necessary to restore freedom to others, but would also coerce the man who would otherwise be a passive witness of, or conniver at, aggression into coöperation against his more active colleague.”
The foregoing paragraph occurs in an ably-written article by Mr. J. H. Levy in the “Personal Rights Journal.” The writer’s evident intention was to put Anarchism in an unfavorable light by stating its principles, or one of them, in a very offensive way. At the same time it was his intention also to be fair,— that is, not to distort the doctrine of Anarchism,— and he has not distorted it. I reprint the paragraph in editorial type for the purpose of giving it, as an Anarchist, my entire approval, barring the stigma sought to be conveyed by the words “accomplice” and “conniver.” If a man will but state the truth as I see it, he may state it as baldly as he pleases; I will accept it still. The Anarchists are not afraid of their principles. It is far more satisfactory to have one’s position stated baldly and accurately by an opponent who understands it than in a genial, milk-and-water, and inaccurate fashion by an ignoramus.
It is agreed, then, that, in Anarchism’s view, an individual has a right to stand aside and see a man murdered. And pray, why not? If it is justifiable to collar a man who is minding his own business and force him into a fight, why may we not also collar him for the purpose of forcing him to help us to coerce a parent into educating his child, or to commit any other act of invasion that may seem to us for the general good? I can see no ethical distinction here whatever. It is true that Mr. Levy, in the succeeding paragraph, justifies the collaring of the non-coöperative individual on the ground of necessity. (I note here that this is the same ground on which Citizen Most proposes to collar the non-coöperator in his communistic enterprises and make him work for love instead of wages.) But some other motive than necessity must have been in Mr. Levy’s mind, unconsciously, when he wrote the paragraph which I have quoted. Else why does he deny that the non-coöperator is “within his right”? I can understand the man who in a crisis justifies no matter what form of compulsion on the ground of sheer necessity, but I cannot understand the man who denies the right of the individual thus coerced to resist such compulsion and insist on pursuing his own independent course. It is precisely this denial, however, that Mr. Levy makes; otherwise his phrase “within his right” is meaningless.
But however this may be, let us look at the plea of necessity. Mr. Levy claims that the coercion of the peaceful non-coöperator is necessary. Necessary to what? Necessary, answers Mr. Levy, “in order that freedom may be at the maximum.” Supposing for the moment that this is true, another inquiry suggests itself: Is the absolute maximum of freedom an end to be attained at any cost? I regard liberty as the chief essential to man’s happiness, and therefore as the most important thing in the world, and I certainly want as much of it as I can get. But I cannot see that it concerns me much whether the aggregate amount of liberty enjoyed by all individuals added together is at its maximum or a little below it, if I, as one individual, am to have little or none of this aggregate. If, however, I am to have as much liberty as others, and if others are to have as much as I, then, feeling secure in what we have, it will behoove us all undoubtedly to try to attain the maximum of liberty compatible with this condition of equality. Which brings us back to the familiar law of equal liberty,— the greatest amount of individual liberty compatible with the equality of liberty. But this maximum of liberty is a very different thing from that which is to be attained, according to the hypothesis, only by violating equality of liberty. For, certainly, to coerce the peaceful non-coöperator is to violate equality of liberty. If my neighbor believes in coöperation and I do not, and if he has liberty to choose to coöperate while I have no liberty to choose not to coöperate, then there is no equality of liberty between us. Mr. Levy’s position is analogous to that of a man who should propose to despoil certain individuals of peacefully and honestly-acquired wealth on the ground that such spoliation is necessary in order that wealth may be at the maximum. Of course Mr. Levy would answer to this that the hypothesis is absurd, and that the maximum could not be so attained; but he clearly would have to admit, if pressed, that, even if it could, the end is not important enough to justify such means. To be logical he must make the same admission regarding his own proposition.
But, after all, is the hypothesis any more absurd in the one case than in the other? I think not. It seems to me just as impossible to attain the maximum of liberty by depriving people of their liberty as to attain the maximum of wealth by depriving people of their wealth. In fact, it seems to me that in both cases the means is absolutely destructive of the end. Mr. Levy wishes to restrict the functions of government; now, the compulsory coöperation that he advocates is the chief obstacle in the way of such restriction. To be sure, government restricted by the removal of this obstacle would no longer be government, as Mr. Levy is “quick-witted enough to see” (to return the compliment which he pays the Anarchists). But what of that? It would still be a power for preventing those invasive acts which the people are practically agreed in wanting to prevent. If it should attempt to go beyond this, it would be promptly checked by a diminution of the supplies. The power to cut off the supplies is the most effective weapon against tyranny. To say, as Mr. Levy does, that “taxation must be coextensive with government” is not the proper way to put it. It is government (or rather, the State) that must and will be coextensive with taxation. When compulsory taxation is abolished, there will be no State, and the defensive institution that will succeed it will be steadily deterred from becoming an invasive institution through fear that the voluntary contributions will fall off. This constant motive for a voluntary defensive institution to keep itself trimmed down to the popular demand is itself the best possible safeguard against the bugbear of multitudinous rival political agencies which seems to haunt Mr. Levy. He says that the voluntary taxationists are victims of an illusion. The charge might be made against himself with much more reason.
My chief interest in Mr. Levy’s article, however, is excited by his valid criticism of those Individualists who accept voluntary taxation, but stop short, or think they stop short, of Anarchism, and I shall wait with much curiosity to see what Mr. Greevz Fisher, and especially Mr. Auberon Herbert, will have to say in reply. Mr. Donisthorpe probably will be heard from also, but he really does not fall within Mr. Levy’s criticism. He is, as Mr. Levy says, more of an Anarchist than anything else, and even the inconsistencies which Mr. Levy quotes against him are culled from his book on “Individualism,” which, although recently published, is really a collection of writings of different dates and as such reveals a conflict not properly representative, it seems to me, of its author’s present state of mind.
On the whole, Anarchists have more reason to be grateful to Mr. Levy for his article than to complain of it. It is at least an appeal for intellectual consistency on this subject, and as such it renders unquestionable service to the cause of plumb-line Anarchism. T.
An Editor’s Contradictions.
Referring to my article in Liberty of July 26th, entitled “A Crisis,” the editor of the “Personal Rights Journal” speaks of my “very comical endeavor to prove (1) that there is a ‘chaos of opinion on the subject of Individualism displayed’ in [his] columns, and (2) that the ‘Personal Rights Journal’ agrees with Liberty,” and says that if he could be convinced of the justice of the first count of my indictment, it might go a long way toward inducing him to plead guilty to the second. But the editor protests that he is not at all ready to admit the justice of the first count; indeed he charges me with having misrepresented him and the policy of his paper. He does not quote me, nor does he attempt any re-statement of my case. He very vaguely tells his readers that I made “a halting charge of inconsistency” against him by contrasting an utterance of a correspondent with an editorial statement, and then proceeds to refute me, thus: “The statement in question made by our correspondent is quite consistent with our reply, and the supposed discrepancy between them is simply due to Mr. Yarros’s inability to distinguish between the evolutionary outcome of Individualism and its logical outcome — between the rational outcome of Individualism at the present time, with men’s characters what they are, and its ultimate outcome, when the disposition to invade the rights of others and to claim more than justice for one’s self has so far died out that compulsory coöperation for its repression would be productive of more evil than good. But suppose our correspondent’s opinion on this point and our own did not agree. What then? Does an editor who allows a correspondent to express an opinion different from his own, without specifically replying to him, turn his columns into a chaos?”
Now I dislike to make even a halting charge of evasion and unfairness against the editor of the “Personal Rights Journal,” but, really, I can think of no excuse for such a misrepresentation of my case. My article was nearly a column in length, and only the concluding paragraphs contained reference to the divergence of views between the editor and a correspondent of his paper. The first three paragraphs dealt entirely with the editor, whom I accused of palpable inconsistency and illogicalness, and these the editor chooses to pass over in silence. He offers not a word in explanation of the striking discrepancy (which I pointed out) between the declaration of the Association that “force is only justified against force, aggression against aggression, and this only within the limits which the necessity of repelling invasion marks out,” on the one hand, and the editor’s persistent advocacy of land nationalization and compulsory taxation on the other. Now it is evident that no reconciliation between these two positions is possible. If force is only justified against force, then force against non-invasive individuals who merely maintain their right to occupy a certain piece of land or who desire to protect themselves in their own way is plainly not justifiable. Again, I called attention to the editor’s admission that with the progress of humanity under individualism, State functions would become beautifully less till at last individualism and Anarchism would coincide, which, I said, did not tally with his previous theoretical repudiation of Anarchism as the ultimate outcome of individualism. It is these facts which served mainly as a basis for my charge of confusion and inconsistency.
I repeat that it is exceedingly distasteful to me to make a charge of deliberate evasion and artful dodging against the editor of the “Personal Rights Journal.” I will not, therefore, indulge in any conjecture as to the real reason or motive of his strange proceeding. I will merely express my hope that he will do justice to himself and to me when he comes to reply to this. Meanwhile let me improve this opportunity and introduce additional evidence of the editor’s inconsistency. In his article on “Individualism and Anarchism” in the last issue he explicitly declares that individualism “would not only restrain the active invader up to the point necessary to restore freedom to others, but would also coerce the man who would otherwise be a passive witness of aggression into coöperation against the invader.” -Between this position and the doctrine that “force is only justified against force, aggression against aggression, and this only within the limits which the necessity of repelling invasion marks out,” there is a wide and vital difference, and the “Personal Rights Journal” cannot adhere to both. Which will it recant?
A word, now, regarding the “Journal’s” correspondent. The editor explains that he is not a representative of the “Association” which publishes the “Personal Rights Journal” and is not entitled to speak in its name. This explanation, of course, disposes of that part of my accusation which was based on the presumption (not altogether unwarranted under the circumstances) that the correspondent spoke as one not merely among the authorized representatives of the Association but of them. But I cannot help entertaining a suspicion that the editor speaks with such emphasis of my “inability” to distinguish between the evolutionary outcome of individualism and its logical outcome only because he feels that his case is weak. I may fail to perceive such a distinction, but I deny that I am unable to see it. However, as I intend to discuss the question suggested by this distinction with reference to the alleged divergence of views between the Anarchists and the Individualists in a separate article, I may now take leave of the subject. V. Y.
My recent critical remarks upon the “Whirlwind’s” attitude on the two important questions of Russian anti-Semitism and English sympathy with Russian anti-Autocracy, have called forth an explanation and counter-criticism from one of its editors. But as the explanation is unsatisfactory and the counter-criticism unwarranted and based on a serious misconception of Individualist doctrine, I will take the floor again for a few minutes and fortify my position.
Referring to the question of Jew-repression in Russia, Mr. Herbert Vivian says he cannot see what my grievance against him is. In view of my agreement with him upon the question of the perfect propriety of the boycott from the point of view of Individualism, he can discover no difference of opinion between us. He says: “Perhaps I have not made my meaning clear. Let me then state at once that I hold — as every Individualist must hold — the Russian Government in abhorrence. It is the apotheosis of State Socialism. Its principles are the direct negative of all the principles which Individualists hold dear. I did not imagine there was any necessity for denouncing so obviously damnable a system. I was merely discussing the wisdom of the Czar’s recent action apart from the question of his surroundings,— just as one might discuss the religion of a brigand, or the veracity of a Chief Secretary — and I was contending that, under the circumstances, his action had its useful side.” A second, and more careful, reading of my remarks will, I am sure, leave Mr. Vivian in no doubt as to the grounds of my exceptions to his attitude. In the first place I strenuously denied the wisdom or necessity of “repressing” the Jewish financiers and exploiters. I pointed out that, while there can be no valid objection, on the score of pure principle, against visiting the penalty of the boycott upon the Jews, an intelligent understanding of the causes and factors of our bad industrial system leads to the conclusion that neither tyrannical nor Individualist weapons can cure the particular evil of Jewish exploitation, and that certain measures of a wholly different character are needed in order to secure commercial equity and just dealing. We need certain economic reforms which would make all exploitation and oppression impossible, and the Individualists should concentrate their strength to bring about those reforms. If the Jews were the only exploiters, and if the boycott could terminate their objectionable practices, we should promptly join the “Whirlwind” in instituting a rigorous boycott. But these two formidable ifs, I fancy, will never be disposed of. Secondly, I demanded to be told how, even if the wisdom and necessity of boycotting the Jews were not disputed, the “Whirlwind” could consistently with its principles applaud the Czar. We do not encourage, cheer, and applaud a criminal, even if his base act has a “useful side.” Of course, we do not hate the well-meaning criminal as intensely as we do those who are really malicious and who love crime for its own sake. But the most dangerous criminals are those who act with good intentions, and to their activity our opposition must be relentless.
However, when I spoke of the “Whirlwind’s” “serious and gratuitous disregard of fundamental principles,” I had more especially in view its attack on Swinburne for his laudable and manly expression of sympathy with the Russians engaged in fighting for liberty and civilization. To meet my remarks on that point, Mr. Vivian has nothing more to say than that he considers incitement to murder a violation of Individualist principles. That he imagines this answer to be adequate is seen from the fact that he feels at liberty to accuse Liberty of advocating assassination. But I will ask Mr. Vivian to answer a few simple questions. Does he defend equal liberty, or the absolute liberty of some and the absolute slavery of others? As an Individualist, he of course defends equal liberty. Is he not in favor of protecting life, property, and liberty from the attack of aggressive and anti-social beings? Of course he is. Does he believe in punishing murderers, thieves, and other criminals? He does. Assuming that capital punishment is necessary for the proper protection of peaceful citizens, would he denounce the execution of convicted murderers as a crime, as an act of injustice? Certainly not. Now we are ready to proceed with our main argument. Mr. Vivian abhors the Russian government. He thinks that the Russians are entitled to a system of freedom, to a system based on Individualist principles. The government, however, not only deprives the Russians of their legitimate liberties and opportunities, but remorselessly persecutes all who dare to suggest in the least direct way that the prevailing system is not supremely beneficent and that certain reforms in the direction of liberty are desirable. Does the “Whirlwind” maintain that the Russians ought to submit to the oppressive tyranny of the government? If so, on what ground? Does the government cease to be a villainous criminal conspiracy from the moment it chooses to call itself a government by divine appointment? Is the Russian government right because it is a government, an4 may it do that which is held to be a crime deserving of punishment when done by a conspiracy not legally authorized? Clearly, if the Russians who demand liberty are acting within their rights, the government is wrongfully and criminally robbing them in denying them liberty. The plundered and invaded victims have a right to restrain, punish, and remove the tyrants who stand between them and their liberty. Hence the killing of the Czar is justifiable. Surely the “Whirlwind” will not pretend that it is right to protect liberty and wrong to obtain it?
We will consider it as established that the Russian revolutionists are justified in acting as they do. (Whether their methods are expedient or not, is another question.) Now, have people living in England or America a right, from the Individualist point of view, to encourage the Russian opposition and to denounce the criminal government? Have we a right to express our opinion, to aid those whom we think in the right, to hasten the downfall of those whom we detest as cruel and invasive pretenders? I answer, yes, we certainly have that right. The right to liberty involves the right to combine and coöperate with others for the obtainment or protection of liberty. If we choose to coöperate with the Russian revolutionists, we violate no principle of equity and justice; we simply offer our support to a righteous cause. Has the “Whirlwind” another answer to makè to the question? If so, we want to hear it, together with the arguments on which it is grounded. I yield the floor to Mr. Vivian, and I beg to insist upon his taking it and making his case as clear as I have made mine. V. Y.
The Question of Methods Again.
Writing from Philadelphia, a reader of Liberty thus kindly reproves me in a private letter:
You are as harsh and unrelenting in your views of a person’s weakness as a Methodist minister is against the indefinite sin he cries against. I like your direct bearing upon the faults and weaknesses of a person, but, oh my! you put it to them so hard! Have you no compassion on the erring, and do you not think your teachings would take better hold if you were to inculcate them in the manner of a true philosopher?
It will be seen that my friendly correspondent begs the question in advising me to inculcate my views in the manner of a true philosopher, since my contention (and the contention of the whole species to which I belong) is precisely that meekness and gentleness and all-forgiving kindness are not necessary qualities of philosophers as philosophers. I can easily prepare a list of the names of men generally esteemed as true philosophers who conducted their controversies in the spirit and manner which those who agree with my correspondent deplore as utterly unworthy of earnest workers in the field of scientific and philosophic research. But in the present instance I do not choose to insist on the advantage this weakness of my critic’s case gives me. I will assume that true philosophers act differently, and that I am not inculcating my views in the manner of a true philosopher. And I will only remind my friend that I do not claim to be a philosopher, and that I am ready to confess without reluctance that I would prove a very awkward and poor fighter if I attempted to handle none but true philosophers’ weapons. I do not say that my present methods are successful and my skill deserving of admiration, but the point is that I could not be what I am if I did not adopt the policy for which I am now censured and which I am asked to abandon for a better one. I am not a philosopher; but I can appreciate those who are philosophers. I can distinguish philosophy from lunacy, science from wild speculation, sense from nonsense, logic from absurd twaddle. I can do something toward the dissemination of the truths and discoveries of others, and I can fight and expose error and falsehood. I can aid in the dethronement of superstition, and in the enthronement of philosophy. Surely nobody will say that error is to be indulgently treated and ignorance respectfully approached. No quarter to error, no indulgence to ignorance, must be the motto of all who march under the banner of truth.
“But how do you know that the truth is on your side? How can you be sure that you are right, when so many differ from you and firmly and sincerely believe that they are right?” This is the next question to be answered.
Well, in the first place, I do not say that I am right, and that all who disagree with me are wrong. I only say that I think I am right, and that I think the others are wrong. As long as all are not agreed as to what the truth is, fighting is unavoidable. Am I then to fight for what others think true, and are the others to fight for my opinions? This clearly is absurd. Each must fight for his own opinion. Only, if we desire to be good and valuable fighters, we will take care that our opinions are based on something more real than our fancy or caprice or ignorant faith. Only those who are informed and firm, who take pains to get all the light obtainable and who are always willing to revise their opinions, may be sure of the importance of their services and proud of their part in the work of progress. The objection therefore is not to fighting, but to fighting without sufficient cause. We can have no word of commendation for those who fight while destitute of that intelligence, that information, that intellectual honesty and fairness which alone entitle us to enter the service. But all honor to the man who, after due preparation and thought, joins the fighting hosts with the determination to exert all his strength for what seems to him the truth.
And here I may point out that, if all the fighters were really fair, intelligent, and informed, it would undoubtedly be both possible and desirable to eliminate certain features of the struggle and transform the battlefield into a debating place, where the disputants would compare notes and calmly reason together. But a very small minority of the fighters are really thus qualified. The great majority of the fighters are ignorant, noisy, prejudiced, blind, bitter, and intolerant. Right or wrong, they fight for the success of their cause. Their noise would drown the voice of the competent few if they did not command attention by the boldness of their attitude. If quiet, they are ignored. If fearless in their expression of contempt for the powerful enemy, if ready to challenge their antagonists to mortal combat, they plant the seed of ultimate victories. Thus even the few who are more or less competent to coöperate in the search of truth by superior methods, being thrown among a mass of inferior recruits, are forced to defend themselves, and to attack, with the weapons of the majority.
Finally, a word of explanation to those who discuss the subject without perceiving an important distinction. I am told that it is well to have compassion on the erring and to pity the weak and the unfortunate. But it is one thing to pity the erring and another to be charitable to error. It is one thing to be patient with the man, it is quite a different thing to respect his ignorance. It is not wise to indulge men’s vanity and to feign blindness to their vices. There are no rights without corresponding responsibilities. Those who assume the functions of teachers, leaders, or reformers must be prepared to vindicate their claims to public attention. Attack upon a private individual is contemptible. Attack upon a public man in his capacity of a private individual is still more contemptible. But a public man as a public man must submit to the most rigorous examination. The man whom we denounce in public as an ignoramus and artful dodger may be a very pleasant fellow in private life with whom it is delightful to chat, drink, exchange kindnesses and courtesies. To men as private persons, kindness, politeness, and charity. To men as public teachers, nothing but justice. Perhaps a time may come when men will always be more than just and fair, when they will really love one another and always will be in the highest degree gentle and considerate. But at that time men will also be free from faults and imperfections which necessitate the infliction of pain. We shall not see that time. V. Y.
No Apology Needed.
The editor of “Today” is not satisfied with my explanation anent the propriety of my suggestion that Spencer might be either illogical or consciously inconsistent in holding certain views on practical problems which are not to be reconciled with his fundamental doctrines. Well, am I expected, after supplying him with an adequate explanation, to supply him also with the desire and capacity to appreciate its force? Besides, his admission that “a man who lets his judgment be clouded by the vapors of personality will not be in a proper condition for argument,” coupled with the fact that he has seemed to be totally unable to conduct his controversy with the Anarchists in anything approaching the manner naturally expected from a man of his parts and pretensions, disposes me to think that I ought not to consent to debate with him so long as he gives no indication of a change of condition. No man’s judgment can possibly be more clouded by the vapors of personality than his own, for nobody can possibly indulge the tendency to substitute personalities for arguments more than he does.
If the editor of “Today” has not yet satisfied himself that I am open-minded and fair; if he has not yet sufficient confidence in me to think it profitable to discuss the points I have made (points which he admits to have been well-taken), then, I will frankly say, I have no interest in maintaining the discussion. I have my own reasons for indulging in personalities, and it ill becomes the editor of “Today” to censure me for this tendency. He may choose to draw the line at men like Spencer, while I think such distinctions unnecessary. I, for my part, dissent from the position that personalities render an otherwise logical and fair man unfit for serious argument. If the editor of “Today” takes that position, he cannot consistently permit himself to descend to this degrading practice, no matter who his opponent may be. Anything worth doing at all, is worth doing well. Personalities do not render me unfit for serious argument, however different the case with the editor of “Today.” V. Y.
In reply to the criticism in Liberty of September 27, I am not aware that, in using the phrase “survival of the necessary,” I meant anything different from, or antagonistic to, “survival of the fittest.”
As I understand the universe, there is a necessary relation of cause and effect between all its parts,— between man and his environment, for example,— and all motion is along certain inevitable lines, these inevitable lines or modes of motion being metaphysically termed “laws of nature.”
As his environment changes, there must be a corresponding adaptive change in man, or the human species perishes. Adaptation, fitness, is necessary to the preservation of the race, and, necessarily, where there is variation and struggle, the fittest survive. And what is this survival of the fittest but survival of the necessary, both in the sense of what needs to be and what must be. I grant that “nature does not trouble herself about our conception of what is necessary or best for us.” In other words, the universe, or even the species, regarded as an organism, will do what is necessary or best for its own preservation regardless of what the individual may consider necessary or best for it, or for himself. Do not the experiments and observations on heredity prove this?
In view of this I am not so sure that “our own conscious and intentional efforts,” by attempted “intelligent control of nature’s laws,” will enable us “to achieve what we think desirable and necessary for our well-being.” In consideration of those great primal and elementary forces and necessities of the universe which carry us on in their resistless grasp to their own inevitable ends, whether we would remain “passive” or would take “intelligent control,” I should say it were wiser to put ourselves in harmony with nature’s laws than to attempt rashly to control them,— nay, I believe that this is the only way we can promote progress. Can we control nature’s laws? I doubt if my “teleological expressions are contusing” to any one not affected by a partisan antipathy to the vocabulary of morality. J. Wm. Lloyd.
Mr. Lloyd is not “aware that, in using the phrase ‘survival of the necessary,’ (he) meant anything different from, or antagonistic to, ‘survival of the fittest.’” This certainly may be regarded as proof that his teleological expressions are confusing not alone to his readers, but to himself as well. Unless Mr. Lloyd believes that nature works for a definite conscious end, it is irrational to speak of the survival of the necessary. Necessary to what purpose? That survives which happens to be best adapted to the environment. Adaptation, fitness, is necessary to the preservation of every organism, but not every organism succeeds in fitting or adapting itself to the environment. Death, therefore, is as natural as life, dissolution as evolution, and it is not true that “we may rest assured! that, at any period in human development, just that proportion and combination of the refined and animal loves will survive which ... are then necessary and best.” The conditions may “permit and require” exactly the contrary of what we think best and necessary for us. If men did not control nature’s laws, they would certainly perish, however necessary and delightful life appeared to them. To say that men should put themselves in “harmony with nature’s laws” simply means nothing. Man can never be out of harmony with nature’s laws. Man never violates any law of nature. What he has to do is to study nature’s laws and seek the protection and aid of some laws while controlling, or escaping from the harmful effects of, others. It is this skillful action which makes adaptation relatively easy to men. To be sure, we hear it frequently said that we can achieve happiness by following or obeying nature. But the people who express themselves thus are either exceedingly confused or else are unable to state in intelligible language the sound ideas which they possess. Nature is non-moral, and, from an enlightened human point of view, even extremely immoral. We cannot follow or obey nature at all. Our happiness depends on our willingness to study and follow the science of society. With our sciences and arts, we have nothing to fear from nature, at least for a more or less considerable space of time; but we are still in danger of perishing from the effects of purely social maladjustments.
I am not affected by any blind partisan antipathy to the vocabulary of morality; but those who are enamored of that vocabulary would still more emphatically repudiate Mr. Lloyd’s teleological expressions than I did or than any partisan antagonist of that vocabulary might feel prompted to do. The ways of nature are declared inexplicable and strange, but hardly morally admirable, by the moralists and religionists. The fatalists alone could accept Mr. Lloyd’s phraseology, and be Unmistakably reveals a tendency in the direction of that philosophy, although he may be unaware of it. Will he pardon me for this warning, and also for my calling his attention to Mill’s lucid essay on “Nature,” in which this whole subject is discussed in a matchless manner? V. Y.
A Word of Warning.
It has already been admitted in Liberty that the editor of “Today” is an expert in the art of dust-throwing. But he does not seem satisfied. Just what his ambition is, I cannot surmise. But his last effort, in “Today” of October 23, to defend himself against my charge of unfairness warrants me in assuring him of my readiness to vote him an expert in the arts of quibbling, hair-splitting, and distorting an opponent’s position. I am afraid that he will not be appeased even by this liberality, but I can do no more. Those who enjoy satire based on misrepresentation may think him witty; but those who insist on fairness as the first requisite of fruitful controversy will not find him amusing. It is no humiliation to confess that I am no match for him: long ago the poet despaired of being able to “refute a sneer.” I do not desire to flatter the editor of “Today” by imitating his sneering, supercilious tone; and, as he systematically avoids all serious discussion, I leave him without regret in the position of one who triumphs — over his own men of straw. I need not trouble myself about his misrepresentations: the reader will easily detect the-i. The reader knows that I never said that knowledge in general is easily acquired, or that the information necessary for the solution of social questions in general is collected and to be found in Anarchist writings. Only one question I would fain have the editor answer: If he really and honestly thinks that the Anarchists are incompetent and empty-headed babblers,— as his tone and manner of dealing with them indicates that he does,— then why does be waste so much space and energy in fighting them? I do not think the Anarchists would be greatly disturbed by the discovery that the editor of “Today” does not hold them in high esteem, or cheered and encouraged to any appreciable degree by the discovery that he condescends to recognize their claims to public respect; but no self-respecting man will care to notice the jibes and sneers and inuendoes of an assailant who is unwilling, if not unable, to listen to argument and consider explanations submitted in good faith. I am tired of the editor’s polemical methods, and see no use whatever in continuing my attempts to refute his charges. He is determined not to be silenced. I do not object to personalities, and I do not ask him to be gentle or polite. But he will have to try to be fair and to change his method and tone if he desires to discuss things with me. He must do unto me as he is done by by me. V. Y.
In “Today” of October 23, the editor, speaking of Anarchist and Socialist literature,” says in a contemptuous parenthesis: “I suppose they call it literature.” Let it be noticed that this remark is made not of any special books singled out for criticism, but of the whole body of Anarchist and Socialist publications, and is intended as a sweeping dismissal of them to the limbo of literary impotence. Contenting myself with the simple mention of the generally recognized fact that a large proportion of the greatest literary men of all ages have been Socialists, I want to call more particular attention to some of the modern Anarchistic lights that the editor of “Today” consigns to the outer darkness. First, there is Proudhon, whom nearly all French writers agree in recognizing as a literary star of the first magnitude, and of whom Jules Simon, one of the oldest members of the French Academy and out of sympathy with most of Proudhon’s opinions, said recently that he was a greater literary man than most of the Academicians and would have had a place among them but for the facts that he had so bitterly fought the Church and had not courted the fellowship of the literary élite. Then there is Proudhon’s disciple in finance, Col. William B. Greene. The other day I met on the street a friend of mine, to whom a short time before I had given a copy of “Mutual Banking.” Said he: “I was wonderfully interested in that pamphlet you gave me. I am not yet ready to say that the author completely makes out his case, but I will say that he makes an awfully strong case. And I refer largely to the style, which seems to me masterly. He goes straight ahead with his subject, without any nonsense whatever.” This estimate of Col. Greene’s literary power came from a man with whom the editor of “Today” is well acquainted and whom I am sure he would consider as good a literary critic as himself. Again, there is Lysander Spooner, who, though not an “all-round” literary man, was a writer of almost unparalleled power in one or two lines. Has the editor of “Today” ever read the “Letter to Grover Cleveland” or “Free Political Institutions”? If so, what does he call them, if not literature? And last there is Stephen Pearl Andrews,— an uneven writer, to be sure, but at times a literary giant. These are the men whose writings the editor of “Today” supposes we call literature. I have had occasion heretofore to accuse him of playing the clown, but in this remark he comes dangerously near to being the clown.
The Association for the Advancement of Women, lately in session at Toronto, with delegates from all parts of the United States and Canada, gave next to no attention to the question of woman suffrage. The New York “Sun” says: “The papers read at Toronto, like those presented at the women’s conventions here and at Washington a few months ago, discussed the moral and intellectual rather than the political advancement of women. They treated of their progress and opportunities in the trades and professions, advocated the freer and fuller development of women, and sought to stimulate their ambition to make careers for themselves which will save them from dependence on marriage as a mere means of support. In the cases where they touched upon politics at all, their object was not to advocate woman suffrage, but to urge women to take a deeper and more intelligent interest in public affairs, and to fit themselves for public office and employment. Instead of crying out for woman’s rights, after the fashion of the older feminine orators, they assumed that those rights were already secured, and that now the only question is as to how women shall best use them.” This, as the “Sun” observes, is a great change indeed. “There is far more disposition on the part of women to declare their independence, and yet their indifference to the suffrage does not decrease. Only practical and intellectual advancement interests them. They do not struggle for the trouble of voting, though their timidity about taking part in public affairs generally has so far passed away that if they did care for it they would have no hesitation in asking for the privilege.” As to the causes of this remarkable change, the “Sun” expresses no opinion; but it is altogether probable that the present state of “law and order” and the condition of the political world, with its corruption, knavery, filth, and brutality have something to do with this increasing indifference, if not hostility, of the more intelligent and earnest female reformers to suffrage and political privilege. If so, evil is not without its uses, and we may well hope for a reaction. Perhaps Quay, Wanamaker, Reed, Comstock,— and the rest of the canting hypocrites and ignorant tyrants may yet earn our gratitude and perform a real service to the cause of freedom. If the people are not attracted to us, perhaps they will come to us out of sheer disgust with the practices and conspiracies of their “chosen” rulers.
Referring to my characterization of its department of “Publisher’s Notes” as its compliment column, the “Twentieth Century” prints the following brief letter received by Mr. Pentecost: “You are the champion jackass of the United States,” and asks how that strikes me for a compliment. I view it as a high compliment. The man who spends his time in writing such letters to editors is an unmistakable specimen of the genus fool, and abuse from the foolish is almost as complimentary as praise from the wise. When I used the phrase “compliment column,” I was well aware that the “Twentieth Century” printed both classes of compliments. But at that time I found in the column one compliment of doubtful character. It was this: “There is no impurity nor intolerance between the ‘Twentieth Century’s’ covers. It is a paper that I am not afraid to have my wife and little daughter read.” This so puzzled me that I asked whether the “Twentieth Century” printed it because it was proud of it or because it was ashamed of it. To this question I have received no direct answer. But I am indirectly answered in the issue of October 23, in which I find Mr. Pentecost talking of a certain paper of which he has never allowed a number to fall into the hands of his daughter and never will if he can help himself. I infer from this that Mr. Pentecost was not ashamed of the compliment, but proud of it. In that case I am ashamed of Mr. Pentecost. It is to be hoped that his daughter will not turn out such a puppet as he seems to be trying to make her.
“The Evil that [Congress]men Do.”
[Philadelphia Saturday Review.]
The anxiety of political leaders to trim their party sails to meet the demands of classes and organizations whose votes are necessary is leading in these latter days to much legislation that is bound to be harmful in the long run. The best governed nations are those which are least governed. If half the laws on the statute books could be wiped out and no more added for many years, there would be a feeling of more security than there now is with Congress and Legislatures madly “regulating” this, that, and the other thing. The constant state of suspense and unrest thus engendered is destructive of the confidence in existing affairs which is the foundation of all business enterprise.
Time was when an American could point with pardonable pride to the statesmen who took part in the deliberations of the houses of Congress. Today there is more cause for shame. In the upper hall are many whose chief claim to distinction is an accumulation of great wealth, in some cases obtained in very devious ways. In the House are many men who are not fitted for any higher political mission than boss of a ward. In fact, the spectacle presented by the Congress of the United States today is far from edifying. How gratifying it would be if there were some power to turn the whole present Congress out of doors, lock the gates, and lose the keys!
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.