“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 society suggested by, and to some extent patterned after, the English Fabian Society, has been formed in Paris. It calls itself the Society of Social Progress.
Miss Ida C. Craddock, the secretary of the American Secular Union, is the most far-sighted person I know. She “foresees a compromise between the Nationalist centralizers and the Anarchistic individualizers.”
“The Journalist” stales that neither Judge Tourgee nor Powderly wrote “Cæsar’s Column,” and that the publishers expect to obtain the author’s permission to announce his name. I have been told, and am strongly inclined to believe, that the author is Ignatius Donnelly.
“Discriminating persons,” says the New York “Nation,” “have, in all probability, already arrived at the decision that the Czar of Russia must be a man of good judgment, whose condemnation, real or fictitious, is a sure indication of the bad quality of a book.” Well, if your “discriminating persons” are the same folks we used to know as “the readers with the penetrating eye,” their latest decision is not at all Surprising.
General Master Workman Powderly, in his report this year, recommends an annual meeting of representatives of all schools of reform, specifying among others the Anarchists. Time was when Terence pretended that he wouldn’t touch an Anarchist with a ten-foot pole. There is no surer sign that a doctrine is rapidly gaining ground than its recognition by the lickspittles and demagogues. However, Powderly’s idea is a good one, and he should have credit for it.
From an official statement recently made, it appears that the total sales of Mr. Herbert Spencer’s works in Great Britain up to April 18, 1890, amounted to 104,000 copies, exclusive of the “Descriptive Sociology.” This number includes 33,750 copies of the various volumes of “The Synthetic Philosophy,” 39,500 copies of “Education,” and 20,000 copies of “Man versus the State.” The total sales of the authorized American editions of Mr. Spencer’s works to date amount to 164,000 copies. To these must be added the cheap editions.
The paragraph on Ingersoll’s article on Tolstoi which Mr. Yarros debited to the editor of the “Twentieth Century” and criticised in an editorial article in a recent issue of Liberty was written, it appears, not by Mr. Pentecost, but by a correspondent of his paper for whose views Mr. Pentecost does not wish to be held responsible. Liberty willingly withdraws the charges contained in the editorial in question, although it suspects that Mr. Pentecost is not more nearly right in his view of Tolstoi and Tolstoi-ism than is his correspondent.
Henry George recently delivered an address in Memphis, Tenn., on free trade, Cleveland-reform, and the Democratic victory. Liberty is not surprised that he thanked God for the results of the late elections; but when it reads that the chairman of the meeting introduced him as “one of the first thinkers of modern times, a benefactor to his countrymen, a man who has pointed out the injustices of the iniquitous tariff,” it is tempted to exclaim, reflecting on the difference between “then and now,” O, what a fall is there, my fellow radicals and reformers!
“The Herald of Anarchy” is certainly mistaken when it declares that “government is a failure.” No, that “association of thieves, marauders, and meddlesome busybodies” has been altogether too successful in its conspiracy against our liberties and opportunities. The amount of legislation annually inflicted upon a superstition-ridden and impoverished people by the government is simply overwhelming. At the last session the American Congress passed seventeen thousand bills, among which it would be impossible to find one useful bill and difficult to find one not fraught with serious injury to the people.
Mr. G. Bernard Shaw, referring to criticisms upon his views passed by the editor of “The Free Life,” objects to rhetoric about force-worshippers, monsters, and dragons, and calls the editor’s attention to his essay, “Refutation of Anarchism,” in which he endeavors to show that liberty offers no solution whatever of economic problems which, if left unsolved, would produce a free fight ending in the enslavement of the vanquished. Mr. Shaw tells the editor that he must either answer him rationally or let him alone. May Liberty remind Mr. Shaw that in its columns appeared recently a “rational” answer to his criticisms and contentions, a sober examination of the economic views of the Fabians, with special reference to his own work? If he will read it, he will find no rhetoric, but facts and logic which he cannot afford to ignore. It is really Mr. Shaw’s turn to speak and defend his economic theories.
Philadelphia “Justice” protests against Henry George’s advocacy of restriction of immigration in connection with the Chinese, and says that it is absurd for any man who teaches the “brotherhood of man” to draw the line at the Chinaman. The editor adds: “I should not have said anything upon this subject, but Mr. George seems to advocate this form of restriction so often in the columns of the ‘Standard’ that it would convey the impression to outsiders that Single Tax men generally are in favor of such injustice. This I do not believe is the case from what I can learn, and I feel it a duty to state the position of many Single Taxers, for I know that upon this question they find it extremely difficult to forget what Henry George has taught them.” How ignorant the Single Taxers must have been if Henry George was the first who taught them the “brotherhood of man” I No wonder they swallowed the single tax and the doctrine of the “natural monopoly” of money and transportation and intercommunication if “Progress and Poverty” was their first book. The wonder is that they have so long remained under these delusions, unless indeed we suppose that “Progress and Poverty” was also their last book, in which case no absurdity of theirs need occasion surprise.
Referring to a certain landlord’s opposition to the alleged tendency toward confiscation of the property of the landlords for the benefit of the crofters, the editor of “Today” says: “Whatever may be said of the personal element in this conclusion, there can be but one opinion of its soundness. The notion of finding any other basis for the claim of ownership than that of uninterrupted possession throughout generations is absolutely visionary.” The editor’s usual (?) modesty and carefulness and circumspection are conspicuously absent in the above emphatic expression of opinion. There is more than “one opinion” as to the soundness of the landlord’s conclusion. Many people will tell the editor of “Today” that his notion is absolutely silly and heartless. Why is uninterrupted cultivation, occupancy, and use inferior as a basis for the claim of ownership to uninterrupted robbery made possible by governmental force? The land in Ireland, Scotland, England, and every other country, should belong to the people who occupy and cultivate it. The present terrible misery of the peasantry in Ireland and Scotland is mainly the result of the absurd and iniquitous system of landlordism, and yet we are coolly told that it is absolutely visionary to think of righting this gigantic evil and bringing about a rational and just arrangement. Must the peasantry forever remain wretchedly poor and stupid, simply because the landlords have successfully kept them so for centuries? But the editor of “Today” declares that there is not “the slightest pinch of evidence” to show that good will result from disregarding the claims of the proprietors I Perhaps not,— to the editor. To us the evidence is overwhelming,— so much so that we decline to waste a moment on the man who finds no evidence to show that good would result from the Scotch and Irish peasants declining to support idle landlords and keeping their products for themselves and their children.
Liberty’s new English contemporary and coworker, “The Herald of Anarchy,” receives a more polite welcome from the journal commonly looked upon as Prince Kropotkine’s London organ than was tendered it by the journal commonly looked upon as Prince Kropotkine’s Paris organ. But, though “Freedom’s” hand is extended more cordially than that of “La Révolte,” I doubt if the heart goes with it; and I really can’t see why it should. To be sure, there is a certain and very sincere comradeship that must exist between all honest antagonists of the exploitation of labor, but the word comrade cannot gloss over the vital difference between so-called Communist-Anarchism and Anarchism proper. “Freedora,” however, claiming that the term Anarchism covers both the Communist and the Individualist schools (and here again it differs with its Parisian prototype, for “La Révolte” has always denied the name Anarchist to Liberty), tells the “Herald of Anarchy” that it is misleading and unfair when it “labels its individualist economic programme as ‘the principal economic ideas of Anarchists,’” and protests against the setting-up of “an orthodox church of Anarchism with unlimited economic competition as its dogmatic creed.” The wording of the protest justifies the very thing against which it is directed. If “Freedom,” professing Anarchism, disputes the doctrine of unlimited economic competition,— which is equivalent to saying that it wishes to limit economic competition,— it at once becomes incumbent upon real Anarchists to so define Anarchism as to absolutely exclude such limitation. If orthodoxy, dogmatism, and party spirit are not to be avoided except by identifying liberty with the denial of liberty, then the Anarchists intend to be orthodox, dogmatic, and partisan. Since “Freedom” has invested my unworthy person with the robe of the High Priest of Mutualist Anarchism, I may as well begin the exercise of my ecclesiastical authority with this unmistakable proclamation.
[New York Sun.]
“Then you consider yourself a perfectly honorable and upright man, although, as you said just now, you are always ready to write and speak on any side of any question, no matter how important the subject may be?”
“Perpend!” said the man. “You haven’t understood me precisely, and perhaps I didn’t speak with precision. In the first place, I would not deal with all questions in that way, because subjects about which I don’t know anything at all often come up for discussion, and then I prefer to leave them alone. If I have to write about them, of course I must, and there’s an end of the matter. I can generally manage to hide my ignorance in a cloud of verbiage, and when I have been very successful — extraordinarily successful — in doing this I send the article to a magazine, and it is nearly always published. It is not so easy to palm it off on a newspaper. In order to get a newspaper to publish rot one has to be regularly employed on it as a member of the staff, and the paper must be one that is addicted to the printing of long articles. A man like myself can reap a rich harvest from the religious journals, providing he is fairly well read and understands the handling of theological and critical phraseology rather better than the editors do. By sophisticating an article and mystifying the editor one may easily make sure of seeing it printed in almost any of the religious journals, and, as a rule, of being well paid for it, some of those journals being enormously rich.”
“Don’t you feel any qualms when you write in this way?”
“Certainly not,” said the man. “I know what is the proper thing to say, and that if I shouldn’t say it somebody else would do so, if he knew how. What difference does it make who says the right thing, if it is said?”
“But about the sophistication of questions and mystifying the editors?”
“Well,” said the man, “you see, I’m naturally and by education a partisan in such matters as we are speaking about. That is to say, I am a partisan on the side of negation; or, as Goethe puts it, ‘Ich bin der Geiat der stets verneint,’ no matter what is said on any side. The answer is always pat, if one understands the game as, for example, Steinitz understands chess. His theory, as I see by the ‘Sun,’ is that there is always a correct answer to every move, and that chess may be brought to such perfection that every game, properly played, must result in a draw. Just so I take it to be with theological controversy. In the end it must nullify itself, and, as the ‘Sun’ says about chess, then we must have a new game. It would be the same way with sociological questions if man were not an ever-changing factor. Here the board has to be swept every once in a while before the game is half finished, and new pieces, with values that are not the old ones, have to be placed upon it. Indeed, the pieces change under your very hand, and in talking or writing about them this fact must always be taken into account. By this I mean that it must be considered if one wishes to judge of the game for his own thinking; but if he merely wants to write about it, that very fact makes it easy to say anything that comes into his head, and to have it printed and paid for, if he says it well. The same is the case with what one commonly finds to say in the religious journals, where you can judiciously assert or deny anything you choose.”
“You don’t look upon yourself as in any way bound to say what you think when you write an article?”
“No, not bound,” said the man, “but very often it lies in my way to say what I think, and then I am glad to do it. I don’t see that it makes any real difference, however, or that it is anybody’s business what I think. All that people have anything to do with is the spoken or written word. With a writer’s interior personality they have no concern whatever. Cardan was a terrible rascal, but that fact does not vitiate his formula for the solution of cubic equations. Besides, you see, I myself do not really know what I am and bow I shall change as time goes on. Things that I said in jest when I was young I now often say in earnest when I am old, and what I say in jest now I said in earnest then. I don’t take the past and the present to be the entire limits of my personality. So far as my business goes, I am merely a pen in the hands of opportunity and editors. He is a poor shopkeeper who does not sell what the people want. Occasionally, however, you will find such a man. Thirty-five years ago, when round-toed boots were going out of fashion, and square-toed boots coming in, a shoemaker at whose shop I wanted to buy a pair of the new-fashioned boots told me that he didn’t keep such things, and wouldn’t, on any consideration, have a pair of them in his store. He had to toe the mark, however, or he would have lost his custom.”
“Then shoemakers and writers are on a par?”
“No; the shoemaker makes more money, and, as far as the absolute value of his wares is concerned, he is head and shoulders above the writer. People can do without the writer’s wares, but not without the shoemaker’s.”
“It is fortunate that everybody does not think as you do.” “Not at all,” said the man; “for if all the writers in the world thought in this way they would keep on writing just the same. You couldn’t hire them to stop. They wouldn’t hear of such a thing. Nothing but absolute starvation will make a man who has the genuine Simon-pure cacoethes scribendi stop writing. I don’t mean mere privation, but actual want of food carried so far that the man has not strength enough left to hold his pen — that is to say, to scratch for a living.”
“Then there is pleasure in writing, after all, and you are not so mercenary as you might have people believe?”
“Oh!” said the man, “there is a very high and holy pleasure in it — what you might call a dear delight — but not necessarily so much in what you say as in saying anything at all. I am quite sure there must be. dome time or other I will take you with me to the Writers’ Club, so that you may see what a high old set of chumps, conceited and self-satisfied fellows we are. We squint at each other through our spectacles, tickle each other’s vanity, blackguard outsiders, get into rows over the impressionists, fight about George Moore and Tolstoi, sniff the air, paw the ground, sneer, prance, bang each other over the head with literary grievous thorn-tree cudgels, glare, talk nasty, feel for each other’s fifth ribs, and have a glorious time generally. In such things consists much of the pleasure of being a writer.”
“When you write do you think your copy invariably rot?”
“There are a good many sorts of rot,” said the man. “For instance, there is good rot and bad rot, pretty bad rot, damned bad rot, and damned good rot. Then there is the rot incomparable which I may liken unto the grapes of which the Germans make their Auslese wine when the fruit has reached the stage known as ‘Edelfäule,’ which, being interpreted, means ‘noble rottenness.’ The latter is Tolstoi’s rot, which is a peg above Howells’s and James’s, who will have to soak a while in the vat before they reach anything like it. A kind providence has ordained, perhaps wisely, that there shall be a market for every one of all these varieties of rot.”
Free Trade and Monopolies.
The Newcastle (England) “Chronicle” has opened its columns to a discussion of State Socialism and Individualism, and our English comrades have contributed valuable articles to the discussion. The following is a letter which Albert Tarn wrote in comment on an editorial article on free trade:
I read with interest your article in today’s “Chronicle” on the subject of free trade, and whilst agreeing with all that the writer has said in its favor, it seems to me that the amount of free trade we have so far obtained is so insignificant as hardly to be worth boasting bf. At any rate, it does not warrant us in resting on our oars and gazing with admiration on the victories of the past.
The fact is, we are doubtless approaching an epoch when a new free trade movement, more thoroughgoing and more drastic than any that has gone before, will spring into existence and remove many of those monopolies and restrictions which are at present oppressing the industrial portion of our population and rendering their lot so apparently hopeless, baffling the many attempts they have made, by coöperation and otherwise, to emancipate, themselves from wage slavery.
It is not only free trade with other countries that we require in greater quantity than we have hitherto enjoyed, but more especially free trade at home. Allow me to occupy your space by referring to one or two departments of industrial and social life in which reform on free-trade principles is sorely needed.
In the first place, we have a whole mass of monopolies in existence, the necessity for which requires to be earnestly questioned. It really behooves us to make a radical inquiry into the whole system of licensing by the State and other corporate bodies resting on a compulsory basis.
Our railways are licensed, our banking establishments, our universities, our theatres, our music halls, our drinking dens, our medical practitioners, our dog owners, our landlords, etc., etc. All these enjoy more or less monopoly, and are thus raised into the ranks of privilege. Whether it is beneficial for institutions to rest on a compulsory basis and to raise certain citizens above the rest (thus destroying that equality of liberty which is the first essential of social order) is a question which it behooves all free traders to seriously ask themselves.
But as far as the working classes are concerned, undoubtedly the most vital questions are those of credit and of land. What purpose do monetary and banking laws serve? Has liberty given rise to disorder and necessitated interference, or has one piece of stupid State interference given rise to others? To answer this question requires one to go back more than fifty or a hundred years; one must go back to the times when banking credit was first introduced, and inquire why monopoly and legislation in these matters was first established. The few solitary instances in which banking has been free show that it gained the confidence of the people, and no more required licensing and controlling than baking or bootmaking.
Were credit free from both monetary and banking laws, workingmen could finance their own undertakings and escape the tax of interest which they must now pay on loans of so-called “capital.”
But a radical cause of evil in society, and one which must necessarily divide society into two hostile camps and bolster up every other form of privilege, is the monopoly which the Westminster Association for Infringing the Liberties of Englishmen (commonly called the Government) assumes of the right to use physical force. Perhaps you may think that I advocate the general use of such force. On the contrary, I advocate the abolition of this monopoly, because I can see that it will bring peace. The equalization of force means its annihilation. When each citizen is equally at liberty to use force, little or no force will be used, and I claim that this monopoly, so far from preserving peace (as it is generally supposed to do), is the perpetuator of war.
I advocate, then, the abolition of standing army, navy, State and municipal police force, and all the other officials whereby the law is enforced, and I claim that every citizen, whether landlord or tenant, employer or workman, prince or peasant, should be equally at liberty to organize his own defence. To deny this, is to make men slaves, to rob them of the right to live.
You may, sir, think my proposals drastic, but in this age of State reliance and of ubiquitous monopoly, of great contrasts of wealth, and of eternal class-war, some remedies are needed in the direction of freedom of more vigorous description than free trade in wheat, and I only wish that some democratic paper would take up such a programme and lead the way to making England free in something more than name.
Our Moral Guardians Our Worst Enemies.
In consequence of the miserable anti-lottery law of Congress foreign periodicals now come mutilated with the scissors as is necessary to enable them to come at all. This is a feature which reminds one of the treatment of magazines and newspapers in the Russian post-office. The operation of the law has also developed a grimly diverting feature. The Birmingham, Ala., “News” claims the doubtful honor of having first proposed this piece of paternal legislation, and now it smarts under the lash. Simply because it is a democratic paper, and has said some things obnoxious to Wanamaker, that law is made the pretext for invading its office at midnight in order to harass the publishers because of an alleged unintentional violation of the act. The “Atlanta Constitution” makes this comment on the occurrence and its contemporary’s wail:
It could not see this man in his dangerous rôle of a censor of the press — now suppressing a democratic newspaper for daring to attack the record of a republican senator, and arresting the editors of another because the paper told of the raffling of a sofa pillow for a poor family’s benefit. It could not foresee these things, and hence its present grief.
The postmaster-general has taken advantage of every inch of ground given him by the law, and has even overstepped its uttermost limits. The paid spies of the Government are constantly on the watch, and editors are summoned to court on the slightest pretext, or their paper tumbled out of the mails at the instance of any postmaster whose hasty construction of the law would seem to give warrant for such action.
The entire history of partisan administrative abuse of power was a lost lesson, the entire political philosophy of Jefferson was a hook in an unknown tongue for those, the great majority of the writers of both parties, who failed to perceive in advance what they have to learn by experience — that in grasping at a short method of impeding the operations of speculative concerns by this plan they were putting into operation an instrument by which the party in power could and would annoy and persecute all opponents except perhaps the most influential papers, which Wanamaker would not dare to meddle with on small pretexts, such as a line or so in a local report alluding to a matter of chance. There seems to be a tremendous amount of confidence current in the goodness of the professors of goodness. It is doubtless the fact that a number of papers refrained from saying what their conductors thought of the probable abuse of the anti-lottery law, because if they had said it the advocates of the measure at the time it was seeking enactment would have accused them of being in the pay of some lottery. The “News” spoke frankly and outlined as inevitable what has since occurred. And all this may serve as a useful object lesson. Things more or less evil exist in many quarters, and whenever freedom of the press or of contract is to be invaded the excuse is always benevolence, protection, philanthropy, or borne such noble idea. But the liberty invaded is the indispensable means of reform and progress, and worth more than all the specific benefits to be gained by violating it.
George Meredith’s View of Society.
[Diana of the Crossways.]
Society is the best thing we have, but it is a crazy vessel worked by a crew that formerly practised piracy and now in expiation professes piety, fearful of a discovered omnipotence which is in the image of themselves and captain.
Two Trades Without Apprenticeships.
The number of writers is already innumerable and goes on and will go on increasingly forever, because theirs is the only trade, except the art of governing, that people dare to practise without learning it.
Beauties of Government.
[Clippings from the Press.]
The Paris “Bataille” prints the following letter:
Mr. Editor: — I desire to acquaint you with a fact that happened yesterday at the Necker Hospital, relating to the vaccination that is imposed upon hospital patients. Yesterday the operator vaccinated the patients in the Monneret ward, and I noticed with how little precaution the vaccine was applied. He vaccinated a syphilitic patient in Bed No. 15; then, without inquiring what this woman’s disease was, he straightway vaccinated with the same instrument the occupant of Bed No. 19. As I was being treated for a rather serious case of dyspepsia, I did not wish to risk being vaccinated in this way, and so I hurried from the hospital.
In the Bristol County (England) Court, on Thursday, Judge Metcalf, in an action brought by John Quinn, a stevedore, against three secretaries of the Dockers’ Union for damage sustained by his men being induced to leave a grain steamer in the midst of work, gave a verdict of £50 against the secretaries. A ring of stevedores had agreed to raise the rate of stevedoring to 4d. per ton, and had an understanding to this effect with the Union dockers. Quinn employed Union dockers, but took the job at 2½d. per ton, and the men were called off. The Judge denounced the intolerable tyranny of the Union.
Matilda Farget, 16, otherwise Mathilde Chiron, a ladylike French girl, was brought up on remand from Hampstead Workhouse, and charged with behaving in a disorderly manner by appearing in male attire in the public streets. Inspector Sly, S Division, now informed the Bench that he had waited on the French Consul-General and explained the circumstances of the case to him. The Consul-General had communicated with the girl’s father in Paris, and had received a reply from him asking that she might be restored to her parents. He had requested witness, provided the Bench saw fit to discharge her, to see her off. The French Consul-General had given witness the letter produced, and would provide the girl with a free ticket to Paris. Mr. Smith said that, considering the detention, she had already undergone sufficient punishment for the offence with which she was charged, and the order of the Bench was that the prisoner should be given up to the French Consul, who was her legal guardian in England. The girl was then discharged, and left the court in charge of the inspector and the newly-found friends. The Frenchman Meyer, with whom she lived, was in attendance, but was only allowed to bid her good-bye in the presence of Inspector Sly.
The French political prisoners at Sainte-Pélagie are allowed on certain days to see their wives. Now, the Anarchist, M. Gegout, has a wife whom he is as anxious to receive in prison as she is to visit him. But belief in marriage is not cherished by the sect to which they belong. Mr. and Mrs. Gegout have never been married, and so the authorities forbid the desired interview.
Washington, Nov. 10. The Supreme Court of the United States, in an opinion rendered by Justice Field today, broadly lays down certain fundamental principles affecting the relation in which the liquor business and the laws of the country stand to each other.
Henry Christensen for several years conducted a retail liquor store in San Francisco, Cal., but in 1889 his application for a renewal of his license was refused by the police commissioners on the ground of the bad repute in which the place stood. Thereupon, Christensen did business without a license and was arrested. He sued out a writ of habeas corpus, and the United States Circuit Court ordered his discharge from custody on the ground that the ordinance made Christensen’s business depend upon the arbitrary will of others, and in that respect denied to him the equal protection of the laws.
In its opinion by Justice Field, the Supreme Court says: “It is undoubtedly true that it is the right of every citizen to pursue any lawful business, subject only to such restrictions as are imposed upon all persons of the same age, sex, or condition. But the possession and enjoyment of this right (and, indeed, of all rights) are subject to such restrictions as may be deemed by the governing authority of the country essential to the safety, health, and peace, good order and morals of the community. Even liberty itself is not unrestricted license to act according to one’s own will. It is only freedom from restraint under conditions essential to the equal enjoyment of the same right by others. It is then liberally regulated by law.”
The court says the regulations governing all the various pursuits of life are almost infinite, varying with the nature of the business, some regulations being designed to lessen noise, others to protect health, others to remove odors, and so on.
“It would hardly be necessary to mention this,” the court continues, “were it not for the position often taken and vehemently pressed, that there is something wrong in principle and objectionable in similar restrictions when applied to the business of selling by retail intoxicating liquors.
“It is urged that, as the liquors are used as a beverage, and the injury following them, if taken in excess, is voluntarily inflicted and is confined to the party offending, their sale should be without restrictions, the contention being that what a man shall drink, equally with what he shall eat, is not, properly, matter for legislation.
“There is in this position an assumption of a fact which does not exist: that when the liquors are taken in excess the injuries are confined to the party offending. The injury, it is true, first falls upon him in his health, which the habit undermines; in his morals, which it weakens, and in the self-abasement which it creates. But, as it leads to neglect of business and waste of property and general demoralization, it affects those who are immediately connected with and dependent upon him.
“By the general concurrence of opinion of every civilized and Christian community, there are few sources of crime and misery to society equal to the dram shop, where intoxicating liquors in small quantities, to be drunk at the time, are sold indiscriminately to all parties applying. The statistics of every State show a greater amount of crime attributable to this than from any other source. The sale of such liquors in this way has, therefore, been at all times considered the proper subject of legislative regulation. For that matter, their sale by the glass may be absolutely prohibited. It is a question of public expediency and public morality, and not of Federal law.
“There is no inherent right of a citizen to sell intoxicating liquors by retail; it is not a privilege of a citizen of the State, or of a citizen of the United States. In the prohibition regulation of the traffic, discretion may be vested in the officers to decide to whom to grant and to whom to refuse liquor licenses. The officers may not always exercise the power conferred upon them with wisdom or justice to the parties affected; but that is a matter which does not affect the authority of the State, or one which can be brought under the cognizance of the courts of the United States.”
The court says that it does not perceive that the ordinance under which the prisoner was arrested violates any provision of the Federal constitution or laws, and that, as to the State constitution and laws, it is bound by the decision of the State Supreme Court, that the ordinance does not violate them.
The order discharging the prisoner from custody is, therefore, reversed, and the case remanded, with directions to take further proceedings in conformity with the opinion of the court.
Washington. The World’s Fair commissioners have been called to a halt in their reckless dissipation of the Government appropriation. Secretary Windom recently allowed the payment of the extravagant salaries voted to various officers. He warned the commissioners then that they had better check their gait. The warning was scarcely heeded. Now comes a cool proposition from the commission to put one hundred and fifteen ladies on the pay-roll at eight dollars a day and traveling expenses. This is too much for even Mr. Windom’s liberality. He has drawn the line, and has refused to allow any such raid until further action by Congress. There is something of a story connected with this latest assault on the appropriation. When the World’s Fair Bill was pending several prominent ladies of Washington addressed a letter to the House and Senate committees. They asked that some recognition of their sex be accorded in the bill. On this petition a clause was inserted, for politeness’s sake, providing that there should be an auxiliary board of lady managers. There was little said at the time about this clause. It was not provided how the lady managers should be appointed, or how they should be paid.
After the bill became a law, the House committee on the World’s Fair began to consider a supplementary measure to define the number, pay, and powers of the lady managers. It was agreed, however, in the committee that there was no particular need of haste, and the matter was laid over until the next session of Congress. But it appears that the World’s Fair commissioners have conceived that the bill which authorized a board of lady managers might be construed to mean that they should furnish the spare ribs for the auxiliary board. Without waiting for Congress to legislate further, these commissioners have appointed the board of lady managers. They have put on the board one hundred and fifteen ladies. Several ladies of prominence, like Mrs. Logan, have been chosen to give a standing to the board, and the rest of the lady managerships have been given to the relatives and personal friends of the commissioners. Two of these commissioners from a Pacific Coast State have boldly named their mothers-in-law to represent their State, and one of these mothers-in-law does not live upon the Pacific Coast, but in New York. Another has named a sister, and so it goes. The commissioners have not only made these personal selections, but have voted compensation at the rate of eight dollars a day and traveling expenses to and from Chicago. Furthermore, they have notified the ladies to come to Chicago on November 19, have a good time, organize, and begin to draw pay from Uncle Sam’s treasury.
When the farce had proceeded thus far, Mr. Windom sent word to the commission that he would not allow any draft on the appropriation for lady managers until he had heard from Congress. The board deputized Commissioners Butts of West Virginia and Harris of Virginia to come to Washington and labor with the Secretary to change his mind. They are still laboring. It seems the lady managers are beginning to pester the commissioners about their pay. The meeting for November 19 has been called off. By the time Congress meets, the row over the lady managerships will assume proportions, for there is certain to be lively protesting from many of the States about the way these choice appointments have been distributed to the pleasure and profit of the commissioners’ female relatives.
Well Said for a Catholic Priest.
In Marlboro, where the organized operative element is very strong, the Central Labor Union recently issued an appeal to the clergymen of the vicinity, requesting them to devote one Sunday to a discussion of the labor problem.
The first to preach on the relations of capital to labor, in response to the circular, was Rev. P. A. McKenna, pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, who delivered a sermon on this subject. He said:
“The toiler, from the economic point of view, complains of the wrongs which he suffers from competition, from machinery, from the sub-divisions of labor, from over-grown combinations of capital, from corrupt class legislation, from social greed and luxury.
“Ought the State to interfere in order to regulate these matters? Frankly, I do not see how the public powers of a community — that is, the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary — can so far interfere with a contract between two private individuals as to regulate the hours of labor, fix the rate of wages between them, and establish a proportion between wages on the one hand and the profits on the other.
“The confusion in men’s minds on these points begets the idea of attributing to the legislature the right to fix the hours of labor, even for the adult toilers; the right also to impose on the capitalist a figure of wages below which he cannot go, and also the right for the legislature to establish a proportion between the wages paid to the employer and the commercial and industrial profits of capital. To give such rights to the State would be unconstitutional, for the idea of a State, either in its executive, legislative, or judicial powers, furnishes nothing on which we can construct any such right.
“Against State Socialism let us set up the two principles of liberty to labor and liberty of association, running along the lines laid down by religion, by education, by industrial and commercial development, and political power used as a means, but not as an end, to check excessive tariffs, crush out monopolies, condemn trusts by law, wipe out all privileges. Liberty of the individual, liberty of association, with all its lawful consequences, interference of the State limited to the protection of rights and the repression of abuses,— such should be our formula in the social or labor question.”
A Sceptic’s Tribute to Proudhon.
Henry Fouquier, a member of the French Chamber of Deputies and one of the leading journalists of Paris, who contributes leading articles to “L’Écho de Paris” over the signature of Nestor, is a confirmed sceptic and pessimist, slow to see nobility in anybody or anything. Nevertheless, he concluded a recent article suggested by the death of Joffrin, the incorruptible Socialist, with the following appreciative eulogy of Proudhon:
We bourgeois and literary people, who live easy lives, who have been more or less successful in journalism or literature, and who have found in our cradles either fortune or the education that facilitates it, ought to have a profound respect for the real stoics; that is the least that we can do to excuse ourselves for not knowing how, or not being able, to live as they do. Let our scepticism, which is still, thank heaven, reconcilable with a tolerable degree of honesty, have the grace to bow before the heroism of lay sanctity, when we find ourselves in its presence. This lay sanctity more impressed me in the person of Proudhon than in that of Qarbès or of Littré even, who was a cenobite, bat a prosperous ceno-bite: Barbés, rich during his youth, and beyond the reach of want during his exile in Holland where I knew him, had known the joys of youth, the recollection of which comforted his last days. But Proudhon! When I saw him for the first time, he had just left France, condemned for one of the finest books ever given to the world. He had taken refuge in a suburb of Brussels with his family. The people of Brussels had broken his windows, and political proscription ostracised him as too independent, too much of a truth-teller. It was a terribly cold day when I called upon him, and I found him in a room without a fire, wearing torn fur laggings to hide his freezing knees, and muffled up in a woman’s shawl, comical and sublime. He was working for a bookseller. What shame I felt at the thought that the paltry article which I was to write regarding my visit would command as high a price as a week’s labor of this great mind! And what respect, also, knowing as I did that this admirable man of letters had had, and still had, rest and fortune within the reach of his hand, if he would have consented to certain sacrifices! Such men, even though they were without genius, would redeem by their character the severities of history when it shall judge our politicians. Let us, then, be a little grateful to them in advance.
“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.
“My Uncle Benjamin.”
“I resurrect a buried treasure; a novel unlike any other, by an author unlike any other; a novel, as Charles Monselet says, that ‘has no equivalent in the literature of this century’; a novel which, despite the pessimism with which it opens and the pathos with which it closes,— yes, even in these,— must take rank among the wittiest and most humorous ever written; a novel of philosophy, of progress, of reality, of humanity; a novel of the heart and of the head; a novel that is less a work of art than a work of genius,— the work of an obscure genius, a child of the French Revolution, who lived and died early in the nineteenth century and will be famous early in the twentieth.”
I have written the above as a preface to my translation of Claude Tillier’s novel, “My Uncle Benjamin,” which I have just published and wish to recommend to the readers of Liberty as worthy of their especial attention. If they heed my recommendation, I am sure they will be as grateful to me as I have been to my friend, George Schumm, ever since he first brought the work to my notice. It is a neglected masterpiece of literature, a gem of satire whose brilliancy human forgetfulness has been unable to obscure, a social sword which has been suffered to remain in its scabbard, but which, if my comrades will aid me, may yet be wielded with tremendous effect in the battle of sincerity and freedom against sham and tyranny, and afterward be enshrined as one of the lasting glories of liberty-loving philosophers and men.
The book is unique; no one can adequately describe it. But a very satisfactory sketch of the author’s life and works is given in .an appendix, which Mr. Schumm has kindly translated from the German of Ludwig Pfau. The price of the work, and other particulars, may be found in the advertising columns.
To give any idea of the rollicking, jovial humor of the story of “My Uncle Benjamin” or of the never-failing wit with which he extricated himself from the ludicrous predicaments in which his careless independence constantly involved him would require extracts more extended than Liberty’s space will justify. Nevertheless the following quotations will give a slight taste of the author’s satire and spirit. Take, for instance, Uncle Benjamin’s remarks upon kings:
Because these people had a cross made on their foreheads with oil, their persons are august, they are majesties, they are we instead of I; they can do no wrong; if their valet de chambre should scratch them in putting on their shirt, it would be a sacrilege. Their little ones are highnesses, these brats, which a woman carries in her hand, and whose cradle could be held in a hen-coop; they are very lofty heights, most serene mountains. We would willingly gild their nurses’ nipples. If such is the effect of a little oil, how much we ought to respect the anchovies that are pickled in oil till we eat them! . . . . . . All these poor madmen believe that the space of earth over which they reign is theirs; that God has given it to them, soil and sub-soil, to be enjoyed, without disturbance or hindrance, by them and their descendants. Let a courtier tell them that God made the Seine expressly to supply the great basin of the Tuileries, and they will look on him as a man of wit. They regard these millions of men around them as their property, the title to whom cannot be disputed on the penalty of hanging; some have come into the world to supply them with money; others to die in their quarrels; some, who have the clearest and reddest blood, to beget mistresses for them. All this evidently results from the cross which an old archbishop, with his withered hand, has laid upon their brows. They take a man in the strength of his youth, they put a gun in his hands and a knapsack on his back, they adorn his head with a cockade, and they say to him: “My brother of Prussia has wronged me; you are to attack all his subjects. I have warned them by my process-server, whom I call a herald, that on the first of April next you will have the honor to present yourself at the frontier to strangle them, and that they should be ready to give you a warm welcome. Between monarchs these are considerations which we owe each other. You will think perhaps at first sight that our enemies are men; I warn you to the contrary; they are Prussians; you will distinguish them from the human race by the color of their uniform. Try to do your duty well, for I shall be there sitting on my throne to watch you. If you bring victory with you when you return to France, you will be led beneath the windows of my palace; I shall appear in full uniform, and say to you: ‘Soldiers, I am content with you.’ If you are one hundred thousand men, you will have for your share a hundred-thousandth of these six words. In case you should remain on the battle-field which may very easily happen, I will send your death-certificate to your family, that they may weep for you and that your brothers may inherit your property. If you lose an arm or a leg, I will pay you what they are worth, but if you have the good or ill fortune, whichever you may think it, to escape the bullet, when you have no longer strength enough to carry your knapsack, I will give you your furlough, and you can go to die where you like; that will no longer concern me.” When I see these proud soldiers, who have made the glory of their country with their blood, obliged to spend the rest of their life on a cobbler’s bench, while a multitude of gilded puppets monopolize the public revenues, and prostitutes have cashmeres for their morning wrappers a single thread of which is worth the entire wardrobe of a poor housewife, I am exasperated against kings; if I were God, I would put a leaden uniform on their bodies, and condemn them to a thousand years of military service in the moon, with all their iniquities in their knapsacks. The emperors should be corporals.
Severe as Uncle Benjamin is upon kings, he is no less so upon the people.
“That’s the way with all of them!” cried my uncle, giving free course to his indignation; “there are three hundred common people against one gentleman, and they allow the gentleman to walk over their bellies. Furthermore, they flatten themselves as much as they can for fear this noble personage may stumble!”
“What do you expect, M. Rathery, against force?”
“But it is you who have the force, poor fellow! You resemble the ox who lets a child lead him from his green meadow to the slaughter-house. Oh, the people are cowards, cowards! I say it with bitterness, as a mother says that her child has a wicked heart. They always abandon to the executioner those who have sacrificed themselves for them, and, if a rope is lacking with which to hang them, they undertake to furnish it. Two thousand years have passed over the ashes of the Gracchi, and seventeen hundred and fifty years over the gibbet of Jesus Christ, and they are still the same people. They sometimes have spurts of courage, and fire issues from their mouths and nostrils; but slavery is their normal condition, and they always return to it, as a tamed canary always returns to its cage. You watch the passing of the torrents swollen by a sudden storm, and you take it for a river. You pass again the next day, and you find nothing but a sheepish threat of water hiding under the grasses of its banks, and which has left, from its passage of the day before, only a few straws on the branches of the bushes. They are strong when they wish to be; but look out, their strength lasts only a moment: those who rely upon them build their house upon the icy surface of a lake.”
And here again is a word for the benefit of those afflicted with the superstition of doing right though the heavens fall.
I know very well that it is vexing to a proud citizen of the people, who feels his worth, to be obliged to salute a Marquis. But when we are under the sway of force, our free will is gone; it is no longer an act performed, it is a result produced. We are nothing but a machine that is not responsible for its acts; the man who does us violence is the only one who can be reproached for whatever is shameful or guilty in our action. Consequently I have always looked upon the invincible resistance of martyrs to their persecutors as an obstinacy scarcely worthy of being canonized. You wish, Antiochus, to throw me into boiling oil, if I refuse to eat pork? I must first call your attention to the fact that we do not fry a man as we do a gudgeon; but, if you persist in your demands, I eat your stew, and I even eat it with pleasure if it is well-cooked; for to you, to you alone, Antiochus, will the digestion be dangerous. You, Monsieur de Cambyse, you demand, with your gun levelled at my breast, that I salute you? Well, Marquis, I have the honor to salute you. I know very well that after this formality you will be worth no more and I no less. T.
Government and Social Evolution.
The editor of “Today” has at last condescended to reason with the Anarchists and to make for their benefit a few sober remarks on the question of social ills and the needful remedies. I do not think that the editor has a sufficiently clear conception of the Anarchistic position to be qualified to judge it; certainly his criticisms and exceptions are not well taken. He, moreover, betrays considerable confusion of mind on the subject of government and its relation to social development. The Anarchists are said to misconceive the nature of society. “It is true,” observes the editor, “that society suffers from derangements which maybe figuratively called diseases . . . . and it is true that the ills which may be so regarded are largely due to over-government, as the Anarchists believe. But when due allowance has been made for the ills which may be regarded as social derangements, produced, as they largely are, by over-government, there remains an unexplained balance of ill which may not properly be regarded as derangement, because, as a matter of fact, the ill has not been produced by government or by any other social agency. This ill is the result of organic conditions, and may be briefly described as want of adaptation of the individual human being to social relations.”
“But the Anarchists,” continues the editor, “by mistaking the nature of the difficulty, exaggerate the benefits which may follow a restriction of government, and so get tempted into believing that the government is, in fact, the father of all social evil — an utterly untenable belief. They speak as though society — or at any rate the industrial relations — would immediately spring into a state bordering on perfection if only the incubus of government were removed. . . . . This way of thinking of society is erroneous, and harmfully so; because there are disorders which may be removed by a little artificial aid, just as they have been artificially produced, and it is injurious to confound these with ills which are not really derangements, but are inaptitudes.”
We have, then, the admission that there are ills which have been produced by governmental interference with certain relations, and that all that is necessary in order to remedy these is the abolition of that governmental interference. The editor does not tell us how numerous and serious those artificially-produced disorders are; and I may as well say here that his case would be much weakened if he attempted to be more definite and explicit on this point. The appearance of strength in his case is largely due to the vagueness characteristic of all his discourses upon the matter in question. But since he admits that some disorders are due to governmental incompetency and dishonesty, it is manifestly absurd for him to say that “it is absurd to talk about ‘abolishing’ the actions which produce the evils,” and that “the thing to talk about is abolishing the feelings and ideas which produce the actions . . . . by changing the natures of the men composing society.” If some of us realize that governmental interference with finance, trade, marriage, and other things, is conducive to evil, why is it absurd for us to talk about abolishing such interference? It is possible to point out the absurdity of a given method of abolition, or the absurdity of the idea, supposing it to be entertained by anybody, that the small minority alive to the evils and their causes can succeed in abolishing the objectionable features of government instanced above; but, as long as no absurd method is proposed and no vain illusion harbored, there is nothing absurd in talking about the propriety and necessity of abolishing those features and in enlightening people who are altogether ignorant of the facts as well as the causes of social evil, or who, like the editor of “Today,” sillily talk about changing the natures of the men composing society, when nothing more is needed than a little attention, on the part of the intelligent elements of society, to the facts and principles of government. The talk about changing the natures of the individuals composing society sounds profound and convincing, and men who have the interests of truth and reform really at heart should not indulge in it except when they are sure it is pertinent. People who realize that government is directly responsible for many huge evils, as “Today” must, at bottom, realize (or why is it published?), are bound not to magnify the difficulties, but to emphasize the possibility of bringing about an improved condition of things and relations, if only the intelligent portions of the community will coöperate for the purpose. The reforms which are most sorely needed today are not, to be sure, very easy of accomplishment; but no changing of the natures of the men composing society is — thank the gods! — imperative.
And now let us look into the difficulty about the “ills which are not really derangements, but inaptitudes,” about the “balance of ill” which is “the result of organic conditions, and may be described as want of adaptation of the individual to social relations.”
It is true that the Anarchists affirm that the abolition of governmental interference with finance and trade, and the abolition of the present landlord system, would not indeed instantaneously elevate industrial relations to a state of perfection, but cause the disappearance of the labor troubles and the problems of involuntary idleness and employment at starvation wages. It is also true that the Anarchists believe that under the improved material conditions crime and vice would tend to disappear. They affirm that the domestic relation between the sexes, and the parental relation, and all the other relations to which men are said to be not fully adapted, would tend to improve. Do these affirmations betray a misconception of the nature of society? Is not rather the editor of “Today” guilty of a misconception of the nature of society and the law of social development in saying that “the way men’s natures get changed is principally by the dying off of one kind and the being born of another kind”? If the conditions of life remain unaltered, there obviously can be no difference between the feelings and ideas of the “sons” and those of the “fathers.” If, on the other hand, we assume a change in the conditions — material and other — competent to produce a change in the feelings and ideas, then the fathers are certain to feel and display, to some extent, the effect of the change. Perhaps Spencer can assist us in mastering this weighty subject and in determining which side is burdened with the misconception.
Discussing the evolution of altruistic sentiment, Spencer, after saying that “clearly, if the temporary forms of conduct needful initiate temporary ideas of right and wrong with responsive excitements of the sentiments, it is to be inferred that the permanent forms of conduct needful will initiate permanent ideas of right and wrong with responsive excitements of the sentiments,” and after saying that the ego-altruistic sentiments and the altruistic sentiments are simultaneously aroused, and that “there is nothing in the intrinsic nature of the unselfish emotions which makes their evolution more difficult than is the evolution of the selfish emotions excited by the same manifestations,” proceeds to answer the question how it is that we find that the ego-altruistic sentiments may become very active while the altruistic sentiments remain dormant. He writes:
The reply has already been Indicated at the close of the chapter on “Sociality and Sympathy.” Some instances were there given showing that with the emotions, as with the sensations, frequent repetition of a painful stimulus brings about a remedial callousness. And we saw that consequently, if the conditions of existence are such as necessitate frequent sympathetic excitements of a painful kind, the pains sympathetically excited will become gradually lees, and there will result indifference. Further, it was pointed out that during the struggle for existence among societies, originally very intense and even now by no means-ended, the conditions hare been such as to make imperative the readiness to inflict pain, and have correspondingly repressed fellow-feeling. It may here be added that beyond this checking of the sympathies which the antagonisms of societies have necessitated and still necessitate, there has been a checking of them consequent on the struggle for existence within each society. Not only does this struggle for existence involve the necessity that personal ends most be panned with little regard to the evils entailed on unsuccessful competitors; but it also involves the necessity that there shall be not too keen a sympathy with that diffused suffering inevitably accompanying this industrial battle. Clearly, if there were so quick a sympathy for this suffering as to make it felt in anything like its real greatness and intensity, life would be rendered Intolerable to all. Familiarity with the marks of misery necessarily produces (or rather maintains) a proportionate indifference; and this is as inevitable a concomitant of the bloodless competition among members of a society as it is an inevitable concomitant of the bloody competition between societies.
Coming to the fact which here especially concerns us, we may now see why it happens that out of the various feelings produced in each by the expressions of feelings in others, the ego-altruistic may develop to a great height while the altruistic remain comparatively undeveloped. For, under past conditions to social existence, the welfare of society and of each Individual have not necessitated any repression of the ego-altruistic feelings; but, contrariwise, the pleasure of the Individual and the wellbeing of society have both demanded the growth of these feelings.
Seeing, then, that “the altruistic sentiments adjust themselves to the modes of conduct that are permanently beneficial, because conforming to the conditions needful for the highest welfare of individuals in the associated state,” it is plain that “the conflict that has hitherto gone on in every society between the predatory life and industrial life has necessitated a corresponding conflict between modes of feeling appropriate to the two, and there have similarly been necessitated conflicting standards of right.” But now that, among all the higher races that have long been subject to social discipline, the pain-inflicting activities are less habitual, and the repression of the sympathies less constant, the altruistic sentiments are becoming stronger and men’s adaptation to social life is more and more approaching completeness.
So far Spencer. Now, it is a source of deep and constant regret to the Anarchistic reformers that, in speaking of the bloodless competition among members of a society which impedes the growth of sympathy and the idea of solidarity, Spencer omits to mention and emphasize those injustices of government, those artificial inequalities and those legal iniquities, which make this bloodless competition so intense, one-sided, and needlessly war-like, which, indeed, make it often more bloody and more cruel than the bloody competition between societies. It is, I say, a source of constant and deep regret to us that Spencer frequently forgets these facts, and that his followers are led to belittle their importance and indeed tacitly assume their non-existence. The miseries resulting from the land monopoly, which in a thousand direct and indirect ways check social progress; the injurious effects — material and moral — of absurd and dishonest meddling with the exchange of wealth and the freedom of industry and commerce; the stupid attempts at regulating sexual and parental relations productive of so much unhappiness and degradation,— all these are well understood by Spencer, and not entirely unknown to his followers; but, in discussing the relation of government to social progress, these facts are not kept prominently in view. And what is still more aggravating and disappointing is that, when the Anarchists supply the omission and direct attention to all these facts and their implications and bearings, they are treated condescendingly as well-meaning persons who lack the knowledge of the nature of society and the law of social evolution. When Liberty advocates the abolition of governmental interference with industrial relations, and shows that, in strict accordance with the principles and views of the most philosophical sociologists, such abolition of certain features of government must gradually lead to the emancipation of society from all governmental restraints, “Today” accuses it of misconceiving the nature of society. We have to say to the editor of “Today,” more in sorrow than in anger, that it is he who forgets the teachings of his master and is blind to the logic of his own position.
Society is diseased, and government is the cause of its diseased condition. Men are not adapted to the social state, and government is the greatest obstacle in the way of their progress toward adaptation. What we need is liberty, which alone can and will cure most of our social ills. Unless government is relieved of nine-tenths of its jealously-guarded functions, society will certainly become more and more diseased and men less and less adapted to the social state, until the present civilization will fall to pieces. The Anarchists warn the people and seek to direct them in the way of progress, while “Today” and its allies turn in a vicious circle. V. Y.
In view of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the California liquor license case (see “Beauties of Government”), Liberty challenges any intelligent man to successfully deny that the highest authorities of the country, the judges of the supreme court, are ignorant babblers and disgraceful muddle-heads. The court affirms man’s right to liberty, saying that liberty does not mean unrestricted license to act according to one’s own will, but freedom from restraint under conditions essential to the equal enjoyment of the same right by others. This is the Spencerian “first principle” of happiness exactly, and the equal liberty principle which all Individualists advocate. Yet in the same breath the court denies that a man has the right to sell intoxicating liquors by retail! Does, then, the man who sells intoxicating liquors “by retail” deprive others of the enjoyment of the same right? No idiot, not even an idiot on the bench, would claim this to be the case. Hence we find the supreme court introducing another “first principle,” in blissful ignorance of the deep and wide divergence between it and the “equal liberty” principle they concede. The possession and enjoyment of all rights, the court says, “are subject to such restrictions as may be deemed by the governing authority of the country essential to the safety, health, peace, good order, and morals of the community.” This, to be sure, is a principle which does justify the restriction of liquor selling, and which (and this is the trouble with it) will justify anything and everything tyranny can conceive. The governing authority may consider smoking, fast eating, low-necked dresses, early marriages (or late marriages), criticism of existing creeds and institutions, and a thousand other things, injurious to the safety, health, good morals, etc., of the community. This principle is admitted by the Russian autocrat and the Sultan, and there is no difference between those “despotic countries” and this “free country,” if Americans are to be governed by authorities with peculiar conceptions of “order” and “good morals.”
But the court is considerate enough to explain why liquor selling is injurious to the health, etc., of the community. Let us see whether this explanation is such as to reassure us and banish all fear that other things, now left unregulated, may be next attended to and thus gradually all our liberties abolished. “It is urged,” says the court, “that, as the liquors are used as a beverage, and the injury following them, if taken in excess, is voluntarily inflicted and is confined to the party offending, their sale should be without restrictions, the contention being that what a man shall drink, equally with what he shall eat, is not properly matter for legislation. There is in this position an assumption of a fact which does not exist,— that when the liquors are taken in excess the injuries are confined to the party offending. The injury, it is true, first falls upon him in his health, which the habit undermines; in his morals, which it weakens, and in the self-abasement which it creates. But, as it leads to neglect of business and waste of property and general demoralization, it affects those who are immediately connected with and dependent upon him.” Now, the man who eats too fast, or too much, or the man who takes too much interest in political and social questions, or the man who is too fond of dancing and flirting, is equally guilty of neglecting his business and wasting property. Why not regulate all these matters? Besides, it is easy to demonstrate, from a puritanical standpoint, that nearly every “worldly” liberty we enjoy is demoralizing and injurious to the peace and order of the community. With Harrisons and Wanamakers long enough in power, are we not sure to have the supreme court packed with Sunday-school pietists and puritans? May we not indeed anticipate puritanical and reactionary decisions from the present judges, who are silly enough to say that “by the general concurrence of opinion of every civilized and Christian community, there are few sources of crime and misery to society equal to the dram shop, where intoxicating liquors in small quantities, to be drunk at the time, are sold indiscriminately to all parties applying,” and that the “statistics of every State show a greater amount of crime attributed to this than from any other source.” It is needless to say much more. To conclude as I began, is there an intelligent man who can successfully deny that the judges of the United States Supreme Court are a lot of contemptible ignoramuses? V. Y.
I thank you for your courteous comments on my “Survival.” If I understand you, you object to the phrase “survival of the necessary” because that which is ideally necessary does not always survive. Thus, adaptation is necessary to survival, but often fails of consummation, and the organism perishes in consequence.
Granting this, does not the same argument apply to the “survival of the fittest”?
Owing to some overwhelming catastrophe, species have often been annihilated. But according to the principle of variation there must have been among the individuals of that species many degrees of relative fitness. Among these comparatively fit individuals some one must have more nearly fulfilled the required conditions than others,— must have been the “fittest”; yet, as the species perished, it is manifest that in this case the “fittest” did not survive. If the fitness of the fittest, then, does not reach a certain necessary relation, destruction cannot be averted. Darwin did not mean that the required fitness would certainly be there, but, if it were there, would survive; if anything survived, it would be the fittest. And I do not assert that what needs to be, what is essential and requisite, will inevitably be there, but that, if it is there, will be that which survives, and, if the adaptation and fitness are sufficient, will inevitably survive. The necessary, the fit, the essential, the requisite,— in my mind these are synonyms. And by the necessary I no more meant the ideally necessary than Darwin by the fittest meant the ideally fittest, as theologians at one time wished to interpret him. And by the best I meant only the best possible under the circumstances.
Yes, I am aware that my expressions sound fatalistic, and consider myself as in a certain way a fatalist.
Perhaps you are right in speaking of controlling nature’s laws. I do not feel sure that you are not, but it is not yet clear to me. To my mind, the laws or necessities of nature control us, and, in order to attain our own ends, we are obliged to skilfully adapt ourselves to them in their interrelated action.
Thus, in scientific rifle-shooting, the marksman must skilfully adapt himself in every way to all the forces involved and interrelated in the act. The weapon must be sighted at a certain elevation to allow for the attraction of gravitation, interrelated with the propulsive force of the explosive; the wind, the recoil, the resistance of the atmosphere, must all be taken into account. The strength of the metal must be adapted to the explosive force of the powder. In the form of the riflings, the projectile, the sights, in the loadings, the distribution of weight, the position of the marksman, etc., etc., countless adaptations are apparent. All this reveals man in the presence of irresistible ever-acting forces, which he cannot destroy or enslave, and which only permit him to exist and enjoy upon his payment of a constant tribute of adaptation. The slightest failure in this required fitting to their necessities brings inevitable ruin upon him. The principle of universal action is to slide in the groove of least resistance. Do we, or can we control that in the slightest degree? If we struggle, it is because struggle is easier than compliance. Equal liberty is the law of harmonious society. Can anyone control this law so as to secure harmony in society in some other way?
The laws of nature require on our part adaptation; if our knowledge and structure permit us to become thus adapted in the required time, well and good; if not, whiff! we are whisked into chaos. I have not read Mill’s “Nature,” and thank you for calling my attention to it. And I wish to thank you for your admirable abridgment and rearrangement of “Free Political Institutions,” which I have read with delight. It deserves to rank with “Science of Society” as one of the fundamental text-books of Anarchy.
Give us more of such books.
Your comrade, J. Wm. Lloyd.
I am glad to see that we are approaching an understanding, if not an agreement. Mr. Lloyd explains that “the necessary, the fit, the essential, the requisite” are synonymous in his mind, and that he does not assert “that what needs to be . . . . will inevitably be there, but that, if it is there, will be that which survives.” Now my objection is precisely against using the terms fit, necessary, and best as synonymous. Such use of them is confusing, because, while the “survival of the fittest” is purely an objective conception, Mr. Lloyd’s formula, the survival of the necessary or best, unavoidably introduces subjective elements entirely incongruous with the theory of natural selection as scientifically understood. Nature does not work for any conscious end, hence nothing that takes place in consequence of the operation of the ultimate factors may be described as either good or bad, since acts and things are good or bad according as they are well or ill adapted to definite ends. A natural phenomenon is a natural phenomenon, neither good nor bad. The only distinction to be made is between phenomena of evolution and phenomena of dissolution. Our experience (using the word in the widest sense) teaches us that, in the struggle for existence, only those organisms survive which happen to be best adapted to the conditions of their environment. Mr. Lloyd speaks of overwhelming catastrophes in which entire species have been annihilated. But catastrophe is a relative term. When a species perishes, is the generalization that the fittest survive thereby negatived? By no means. It is not implied that the fittest of every species necessarily survive. The white man will probably crush out the red aborigines of America before long, and so the discovery of this continent by the whites might be considered a catastrophe from the point of view of Indian existence. But since the discovery of the continent was the natural result of certain antecedents, and since the struggle between the whites and the Indians was inevitably consequent upon the discovery; and since, finally, the peculiar intellectual superiority of the whites easily enables them to suppress the Indians, we can only regard the whole assemblage of facts as one of the numerous instances in which we observe the operation of the general law.
But man does work for a conscious end. To him, things and occurrences are good or bad, according as they further or impede his progress in the pursuit of comfort. By at once obeying and controlling nature, by creating a second environment artificially, by adapting things to our needs, we succeed in surrounding ourselves with a maximum of good things and in reducing the bad things to a minimum. At least, we hope we are thus succeeding. It is, however, by our own unceasing efforts that this success is gained. Should we remain passive and trust all to “nature,” we may be sifre we will fare badly. Nature does not even help all who help themselves, much less does she interest herself in those who refrain from taking an active part in the struggle. When, therefore, Mr. Lloyd assured us 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,” I called his attention to the fact that the conditions do not always permit that which is necessary and best for us, simply because the universe was not made for our especial benefit and ordered to produce just what we happen to wish. I might have said more,— namely, that the conditions never permit that which we think necessary or best. If they did, we should not need to work for any ideal, to demand and strive after reforms. Perhaps men will ultimately reach a perfect state — a state free from maladjustments and consequently also destitute of ideals and aspirations. Spencer’s philosophy supports,— indeed necessarily involves,— the possibility of reaching such a condition, but Mill and others strenuously deny this possibility. At any rate, if we can reach it at all, we can only hope to reach it once and for a brief period, as such a state of equilibrium must soon develop a strong tendency in the direction of dissolution and extinction (see extracts from Spencer’s “First Principles” in ray editorial on the “Open Court” in No. 168); and even this position is certainly far removed from Mr. Lloyd’s cheerful, optimism-breathing assertion that nature will give us all we are likely to have a yearning for.
And here I am brought back to Mr. Lloyd’s disclaimer. He did not use, he avers, the words “necessary” and “best” in any subjective sense; to him, fit, necessary, best, are synonymous terms. Although I do not think this explanation consistent with the manifest meaning of his original statement, I will not dwell upon that phase of the matter. Whether or not Mr. Lloyd decides to continue his novel use of the terms referred to, I only hope he understands my real ground for objecting to that use of them. V. Y.
An Alleged Flaw in Anarchy.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I am sorry if I have misinterpreted Liberty. I have not what I wrote before me, but I do not think I could have had the slightest intention of imputing to Liberty a force campaign against interest; but I believed (am I wrong?) that I had seen both interest and rent denounced in Liberty as objectionable and opposed to the interests of society. It was to this I was referring as a moral campaign. My own position is that interest is both moral and useful, and often more than anything else a chance of a better future to workmen. If workmen would give up punching the head of capital, and, instead of that little amusement, resolutely combine for the purpose of investing in industrial concerns, so as gradually to become the part-owner of the industrial machinery of the country, whilst they no longer remained wholly dependent upon wages, but partly upon wages, partly upon the return of invested money, I believe the great problem of our time would be approaching its solution.
As regards rent, I think that all Anarchists, including even sober-minded Liberty, use force to get rid of it. The doctrine of use-possession seems almost framed for this purpose. Even if it suits certain persons to sell me a hundred acres, and it suits me to buy it, and it suits other people to rent it from me,— as I understand, Liberty would not sanction the proceeding. We are all of us, in fact, to be treated as children, who don’t know our own interests, and for whom somebody else is to judge. You may reply that under the Anarchist system no action would be taken to prevent such an arrangement; only that no action would be taken to prevent the tenants from establishing themselves as proprietors and ignoring their rent owed to me. Good; but then how do you justify the fact that there is a proposed machinery (local juries, etc.) to secure the possessor who holds under use-possession in his holding and to prevent his disturbance by somebody else? Put these two opposed treatments together, and it means to say that a certain body of men have settled for others a form in which they may hold property, and a form in which they may not. The desires and the conveniences of the persons themselves are set aside, and, as in old forms of government, a principle representing centralization and socialistic regulation obtains. Is this Anarchy?
Mr. Herbert’s disclaimer is of course sufficient to establish the fact that he did not mean to charge me with an attempt to prohibit lending and borrowing. But I must remind him that the charge which he made against me he made also at the same time against his correspondent, Mr. J. Armsden; that Mr. Armsden interpreted it as I did and protested against its application to himself (though gratuitously allowing that it was justly applicable to me); and that Mr. Herbert made rejoinder, if my memory serves me, that he had misunderstood Mr. Armsden. Now, I cannot see why Mr. Herbert should not admit in the same unqualified way that he misunderstood me, instead of suggesting that I misunderstood him. But this is of little consequence; I am satisfied to call it a case of mutual misunderstanding.
To avoid such misunderstanding in future, however, is of real importance; and to that end I must further remind Mr. Herbert that, when I use the word right, I do so in one of two senses, which the context generally determines,— either in the moral sense of irresponsible prerogative, or in the social sense of accorded guarantee. Mr. Herbert, knowing that I am an Egoist, must be perfectly aware that it would be impossible for me to enter upon a moral campaign against any special right in the sense of irresponsible prerogative, for it is the Egoistic position either that no one has any rights whatever or — what amounts to the same thing — that every one has all rights. But it would be equally impossible for me to enter upon a moral campaign against a right in the sense of accorded guarantee, unless it were a case where I should consider myself justified, if it seemed expedient, in turning that moral campaign into a force campaign. For I could have no objection to any accorded guarantee save on the ground that the thing guaranteed was a privilege of invasion, and against invasion I am willing to use any weapons that will accomplish its destruction, preferring moral weapons in all cases where they are effective, but willing to resort to those of physical force whenever necessary. So Mr. Herbert is now duly cautioned not to charge me with maintaining, against any right whatever, a campaign which anything but expediency makes exclusively moral.
To go now from the general to the particular. I could not engage in any sort of campaign against the right to lend and borrow, because I do not consider that right a privilege of invasion. If, however, lending and borrowing should disappear in consequence of the overthrow of that form of invasion which consists of the monopoly of the right to issue notes as currency, that is not my affair.
It is the contention of the Anarchists that lending and borrowing, and consequently interest, will virtually disappear when banking is made free. Mr. Herbert’s only answer to this is that he considers interest moral and useful. Does he mean by this that that is moral and useful which will disappear under free competition? Then why does he favor free competition? Or does he deny that interest will so disappear? Then let him disprove the Anarchists’ definite and succinct argument that it will. In my last article, to which his present article is a reply, I strongly invited him to do this, but as usual he ignores the invitation. Nevertheless he and all his Individualistic friends will have to meet us on that issue sooner or later, and he may as well face the music at once.
Now, a word about rent. It is true that Anarchists, including sober-minded Liberty, do, in a sense, propose to get rid of ground-rent by force. That is to say, if landlords should try to evict occupants, the Anarchists advise the occupants to combine to maintain their ground by force whenever they see that they can do so successfully. But it is also true that the Individualists, including sober-minded Mr. Herbert, propose to get rid of theft by force. “tiven if it suits certain persons to sell me” Mr. Herbert’s overcoat, “and it suits me to buy it, and it suits other people to rent it from me,— as I understand,” Mr. Herbert “would not sanction the proceeding. We are all of us, in fact, to be treated as children, who don’t know our own interests, and for whom somebody else is to judge.” The Anarchists justify the use of machinery (local juries, etc.) to adjust the property question involved in rent just as the Individualists justify similar machinery to adjust the property question involved in theft. And when the Individualists so adjust the property question involved in theft, this “means to say that a certain body of men have settled for others a form in which they may hold property and a form in which they may not,” regardless of “the desires and the conveniences of the persons themselves.”
Yes, this is Anarchy, and this is Individualism. The trouble with Mr. Herbert is that he begs the question of property altogether, and insists on treating the land problem as if it were simply a question of buying and selling and lending and borrowing, to be settled simply by the open market. Here I meet him with the words of his more conservative brother in Individualism, Mr. J. H. Levy, editor of the “Personal Rights Journal,” who is trying to show Mr. Herbert that he ought to call himself an Anarchist instead of an Individualist. Mr. Levy says, and I say after him: “When we come to the question of the
ethical basis of property, Mr. Herbert refers us to ‘the open market.’ But this is an evasion. The question is not whether we should be able to sell or acquire in ‘the open market’ anything which we rightfully possess, but how we come into rightful possession. And, if men differ on this, as they do most emphatically, how is this to be settled?” T.
In the early days of the life of this paper I was wont to compare Davitt with Parnell to the disadvantage of the latter. The degeneracy of the whole Irish movement into a political struggle for power has so nearly killed ray interest in it that lately I have had no occasion to discuss these two leaders at all, but if I were to institute a new comparison today, the most recent developments would compel me to establish Davitt’s inferiority. Not that I love Parnell more than formerly, but Davitt very much less. I would not have believed it possible that Michael Davitt, after maintaining silence regarding Parnell’s real treason to Ireland (committed when he struck down the No-Rent movement in order to get out of Kilraainham jail), could have descended to join in the hue-and-cry against Parnell on account of this paltry O’Shea episode. But the indisputable fact confronts me in Davitt’s own paper, the “Labor World.” And worse still! Not only does Davitt join in the pietists’ meddlesome and outrageous demand that Parnell shall retire from public life, but he makes his own share in this demand ridiculous and manifestly insincere by j confining it to this requirement,— that Parnell shall “efface himself from public life for the brief period which must ensue before he can legally marry Mrs. O’Shea.” This must be intensely comforting to Captain O’Shea and reassuring to husbands generally. Speaking from the standpoint of the prevalent morality, who is the wronged party in this affair? Certainly not Mrs. O’Shea. She was no innocent maiden who fell a victim to the seducer in the person of the icy Irish politician. She was past the age of consent, and even a married woman. She then was not sinned against, but sinning,— an equal partner with Mr. Parnell in what society is pleased to consider a sin against Captain O’Shea. Captain O’Shea, in society’s eyes, is the wronged party. Now, in the name of common sense, how will his wrong be righted or the characters of the wrong-doers be restored by a legal marriage between them? How will such a marriage qualify Mr. Parnell to associate with those members of the House of Commons who haven’t yet been found out? Is it Davitt’s hypothesis that Parnell’s fellow-members are all married to women whose first husbands secured divorces from them on the ground of adultery committed with the men whom they subsequently took as second husbands? In that case I can see a glimmer of rationality in Davitt’s demand. But otherwise it is the most insolent bit of rascally nonsence that has aroused my wrath for a long, long time.
It seems to be the purpose of Laurence Gronlund, whenever he opens his mouth, to say something more foolish than anything he has ever said before; and he generally succeeds. In a recent symposium in “The Voice” he declared: “I am opposed to every form of Anarchism because (admittedly, I think I may say) all Anarchists insist that our present civilization is in the wrong direction, and therefore want to reverse the wheels of present progress, or at least to turn our development in another and unnatural direction. This really is an exhaustive reason, and one based on a proposition to which I think no Anarchist will put in a disclaimer.” I should make no comment on this absurd statement, were it not for the concluding clause. But this compels me to put in the disclaimer that Gronlund pretends not to expect. If Gronlund were familiar with Anarchistic literature, he would know that nearly every prominent Anarchistic writer agrees with Spencer that, taking a broad and a long view, unconfined to special periods or places, the unmistakable trend of evolution has been away from governmentalism toward individualism or Anarchism. Therefore they do not wish to reverse the current, but to favor it. Gronlund, in answer, cannot fall back upon his use of the adjective “present,” because the statement quoted was presented by him as the converse of a preceding statement that State Socialism is in harmony with I he drift of evolution. Gronlund’s chief reason for being a State Socialist is my chief reason for being an Anarchist. Will the editor of “The Voice” kindly accommodate me by noting my disclaimer?
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.