“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.
We are blessed with three new Anarchist papers. The “Beacon” has been revived again, “Egoism,” published by the Equity Publishing Company, has reached me, and Stuart’s “Individualist” has recently passed into the hands of our Denver comrades and is published as an Anarchistic organ. I expect to give them a fuller notice before long.
“A time is coming,” says a writer in the “Commonweal,” “when the teaching of Proudhon that ‘property is robbery will be believed by all men, and then will cease this hideous nightmare of property which obtains today.” Apparently we cannot hope that the time will soon come when State Socialist writers shall study Proudhon and learn his meaning before citing him or making his words the text for their authoritarian discourses.
Mr. Lum, in an article on eight-hours and labor organizations published in the “Carpenter,” says that “in the struggle for a higher civilization the industrial ‘scab’ is a social traitor.” The man who knows that under present conditions it is absolutely impossible for all laborers to obtain employment, and that those who are fortunate enough to enjoy the luxury of work can not possibly (even if they cared to) provide for all the unemployed; who calls himself a radical and who to a certain degree is one; and who yet is shameless enough to thus characterize the starving wretches because they prefer low wages to begging or stealing or dying in the streets,— this man is a far greater social traitor, even though he utters the absurd and contemptible lie with a “good” motive and in obedience to “duty.”
Here’s Chicago’s chance! A Bellamy Tower at her World’s Fair would make the Eiffel Tower seem a mere toy, if erected in accordance with “The Critic’s” suggestion: “It has been calculated by some one who has a good deal of time on his hands, or a special knack of ciphering, or both, that, if the three or four hundred thousand copies of ‘Looking Backward’ that have been sold ‘were laid end to end, they would make a continuous line over thirty miles long; or, if placed one upon the other, would make a column more than four miles high.’ Happy thought! Why not try the experiment? I can’t think of a prettier way of disposing of them. Think of it: a column of books four miles high! Why, it would beat the Washington Monument. We could all amuse ourselves when it was erected by Looking Upward, now and then, and trying to spy out the topmost book. Who will be the first to contribute his copy to the pile?”
Over the caption “Slaves by Nature,” “Today” indulges in some melancholy reflections upon the modern Esaus who barter their birthright of liberty for a mess of pottage. It thinks that “the readiness with which workingmen submit to the tyranny of their unions and to the dictation of the walking delegates affords an exemplification of the fact that one can never make a free man out of one who is a slave by nature.” This is not a philosophical view of the situation. In the first place, the workingmen, when organizing unions, copy the principles and methods of the State, and are no more slaves by nature than any of the very numerous supporters and admirers of the State. In the second place, it is not to be denied for a moment that workingmen are obliged to unite and act together in order, not to successfully contend with, but to defend themselves at least to some extent from, the all-powerful possessors of natural wealth and capital; and, as Spencer says: “Trades unions which carry on a kind of industrial war in defence of workers’ interests versus employers’ interests find that subordination almost military in its strictness is needful to secure efficient action; for divided councils prove fatal to success.” From every side is heard the cry about “the tyranny of organization,” and those who submit do so from irresistible necessity. It is, moreover, encouraging to note that the inclination to submit is decaying, and that the signs of revolt against the tyranny of organization, and especially of that huge compulsory organization, the State, whose existence it is that calls into being most of the smaller tyrannical bodies, of workers as well as employers, are multiplying rapidly and assuming an importance not to be ignored or lightly dismissed.
Van Buren Denslow’s article in the “Twentieth Century,” “Why I Am a Protectionist,” is a fair specimen of Protectionist literature. It is a compound of ignorance and sophistry. In the first half, instead of defining and defending the tariff policy which he had been asked to discuss, he begs the question by talking of protection in a general sense, and triumphantly points out that, because all admit the necessity of protecting life, liberty, property, everybody is really at bottom a Protectionist! This Pickwickian discovery is followed by the usual references to facts capable of lending themselves to more than one conclusion; and then, in answer to the “fellows” who “again and again, with a stolid dullness that deserves a club over the sconce rather than a verbal answer,” reiterate that to import a foreign product furnishes a market for the domestic product which is sent abroad in exchange for it, this argument is brought forward: “In consuming the domestic product in lieu of the foreign of like quantity and kind, we consume both the product in question and that which pays for it, and we thereby employ two sets of laborers instead of one.” This argument, we are told, is urged with “infinite patience”; I should add, and with infinite stupidity. For it is plain that no products are bought of foreigners except such as cannot advantageously be produced by the buyers, and that the time thus freed is devoted to the production of other commodities, for which the facilities are greater here than anywhere else. It has been said that Protectionists have all the facts and Free-Traders all the arguments. In a sense, yes. Facts, and all facts, may be misinterpreted and misused; which is the only reason why Protectionists can cite alleged facts. But whenever they venture to construct something like a logical argument, they reveal a condition of mind which it is appalling to contemplate.
Evidence of the most profound and encyclopedic ignorance of the leaders in that reactionary and senseless movement known as Nationalism, alias State Socialism, is so rapidly accumulating that I confess I am greatly astonished; since, in spite of my exceedingly unfavorable opinion of the claims to attention presented by the movement, I never really supposed that its foremost champions could be so entirely destitute of what has come to be recognized as essentially proper to all men of moderate intelligence and information. It has been shown in these columns that Rabbi Schindler, Professor De Leon, Gronlund, “and others too numerous to mention,” have been guilty of reckless perversion of facts and gross logical errors. I take pleasure in adding a few others to the list. (It’s no use denying it; it does afford me pleasure, as tending to reassure those who credit the ghost of authoritarianism with some vitality.) The editor of the “Workmen’s Advocate” declares that the “phrase,” “the best government is that which governs least,” has become obsolete since Edward Everett Hale proclaimed the new idea that “the best government is that which governs best.” That this proposition means nothing is perfectly evident to everyone familiar with logic. What is light? Light. What is water? Water. What is Socialism? Socialism. What is wages? Wages. What is a fool? A fool. If this is Nationalist logic, we may form an accurate opinion of the prospects of science and general literature under the new system. Still, it’s a consummation devoutly to be wished that the agitators for the new slavery should express themselves in propositions similar to that immortalized by Hale: at least they would be harmless. The editor of the “California Nationalist” compliments a Mr. Townsend on a series of articles in criticism of General Walker and approvingly quotes his statement that, “so far as General Walker’s criticisms [of Bellamism] are concerned, Darwin, Spencer, and Marx might as well never have written.” So Darwin and Spencer have lent support to Nationalist air-castles! That this claim argues either total ignorance or absolute dishonesty on the part of the critic and his editor is of course plain to those at all acquainted with the philosophy of Darwin and Spencer. Yet the poor fools read and believe and worship. Is not Nationalism a grand conception, if Darwin and Spencer may be made to sanction it? Well, here is what Spencer actually does say of Nationalism: “In the communistic utopia described in ‘Looking Backward’ it is held that each shall make the same effort, and that, if, by the same effort,.. one produces twice as much as another, he is not to be advantaged by the difference.... Here we have a deliberate abolition of that cardinal distinction between the ethics of the family and the ethics of the State ... which must eventuate in decay and disappearance of that species or variety in which it takes place.” In their biological views Darwin and Spencer are at one, and, Darwin having left nothing on sociology, we may infer that he would concur in the Spencerian view, seeing that it is fundamental and necessarily follows from their common general doctrine. Go on, gentlemen, write, print such stuff and nonsense and expose your own imbecility; you shall have our gratitude for freeing us from the necessity of doing it for you.
A proud thing this, that these mine ears have heard —
A friend of mine, a simple childlike man,
Hath been elected from us all, by ban,
To speak by gags the never silent word,
To write with shattered pen a truth to gird
Up freemen’s loins till swiftly they have ran
And told the Earth and Tyranny turns wan
At quick white fire, in fettered hearts upstirred.
A proud thing this, indeed, O friend of mine,
That blows, barren of force to beat thee back,
Should drive thee on a million miles upon
Thy destined course. Because thou art supine,
These fools forget that now themselves, alack!
Uphold thy bannered legend to the sun.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. R. Tucker.
Concluded from No. 156.
The Abbé and the archbishop, almost disconcerted, hastened to enter with Jean, who said to the young people:
“Pardon me, I had forgotten to relieve you.... My basket and hook have no more business here with these gentlemen than I have.”
And he pretended to look for his tools.
With unruffled countenance, the priest saluted Camille and even Marie, to whom he introduced Mgr. Affre.
“Permit your old spiritual guide,” said he, with haughty respect, “Mademoiselle, and you, Monsieur, to introduce you to Monseigneur the archbishop. He, you know, was to have performed the marriage ceremony for the unfortunate Claire, and he certainly would be disposed to bless your marriage as well.”
At first Marie recoiled from this viper, but her natural benevolence, supplemented by her happiness, led her to receive her ex-confessor with an indulgence bordering on pardon, though in silence.
Camille likewise bowed silently, and with an icy coldness.
Then the archbishop took the floor; but, first pointing to the rag picker, said:
“I come here to fulfil a delicate mission. This man...
“Oh, you may speak before our best friend.”
“He!” exclaimed the astonished archbishop.
“Yes. Take a good look at this poor man. I know not whether he believes in God....”
“You shall see,” said Jean, shaking his head.
“Well,” continued Camille, “I can only hope that the Holy Father, the Pope of Rome, has as clear a conscience as Father Jean, the rag-picker of Paris.”
Jean made a wry face at being praised, or compared to the Pope.
“Surely,” said he, “it is not religion that has made me more honest than the Abbé Ventron....”
And upon a supplicating sign from Marie he became silent.
The archbishop resumed the floor with that paternal and sanctimonious tone which the Catholic priest affects with his flock, and especially the priest of episcopal rank, bishop meaning ancient, seigneur, senior, venerable, reverend, etc.
“Yes, my children,” said the pontiff to them, in this unctuous and oily tongue of Holy Church, “God has seen fit, by one of his unfathomable decrees, to restore, in spite of fate, to you, Monsieur Berville, your immense fortune, and to you, Mademoiselle Didier, your good name. It is a great blessing to you, Monsieur, a great honor to you, Mademoiselle. You are engaged to each other.”
Camille made a gesture of assent.
The archbishop continued:
“The Church, which condemns pride as the first of mortal sins and the fall of man itself, congratulates you through my ministry. When wealth unites with virtue, it never makes a misalliance. It becomes purified thereby. Be, then, as pious as you are generous. It is for you to prove your gratitude toward God, to thank Providence for his signal goodness to you in uniting you according to his law, his order, and the holy commandments of his church.”
Jean was all ears; his mouth wide open with astonishment and indignation, he had entirely forgotten his tools.
The archbishop, having taken breath, after this insinuating exordium, continued to distil his priestly honey, and ended with this serpent’s peroration:
“Thus you will deserve the benefits of heaven, and keep its favor upon earth. Upon this depends your common happiness in this world and in the other. For you cannot be happy except you lead a Christian life. The woman who honors God esteems her husband, of whom she is but a half, by the act of the Creator, performed precisely with a view to human unity. If woman does not fulfil her duties toward God, how can she fulfil them toward man? If she believes in nothing, how can she believe in him V If she has no soul to save, what will she care for her body? Lacking divine faith, the seal of all union and the restraint of all dissolution, what will hold her to conjugal faith? Believe me, young people, and marry in the grace of God and under the blessing of his minister.”
Camille was the first of the two, with exquisite politeness, to thank the prelate for his advice and his offers, saying to him:
“Monsieur, I thank you for the honor of your visit, which, I confess, I did not expect, and for the good will of your counsel, which I do not deserve. Unfortunately, my convictions are absolutely contrary to yours, and prevent me from accepting that which you condescend to offer me. What you call Providence I call right, and what you call faith I call duty. The innocence of Marie Didier must be manifest like the crime of Hoffmann in the very nature of things, without the direct intervention of God. I do not believe that he disturbs himself about our little affairs.”
Camille continued his republican logic against the apostolic eloquence.
“In the matter of our union, alas I we are no nearer an agreement. I should not like to respond to your advance by an offence, especially in my own house. But though I do not deserve your kindness, I hope at least to deserve your esteem by my frankness. You talk to me of duties toward God. I know no duties save those toward man. You are of Rome, I am of France. You say: * In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!’ and I say: ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,’ — a very different trinity, is it not? You add ‘Eternity,’ and I: ‘Or death.’ You call love commands, authority, obedience, force, order, and law; I call it attraction, passion, devotion, and gift. Every religious or civil law is made only to supply the place of will and liberty. Free thought, free morality, free love, the law of laws,— those are my dogmas, contrary to your own. We cannot, then, agree. Such is my opinion, Monsieur. As for Marie, she will tell you hers. I refer the matter to her, and will do as she wishes. What say you, Marie?”
“I say,” she answered, with charming embarrassment and increasing confidence, “that your opinion is my own, your sentiments my own, that I wish no more than you the honor that is offered us. There is no need of any bond, religious or other, even civil, to make me yours entirely and forever. I am your wife because you desire and I desire it, and not because law and religion desire it, because others than ourselves desire it.” ...
“Permit me, Mademoiselle,” said the prelate, interrupting her, “those whom you call others are God and the prince, the sacrament and the code.”
“And what is the good,” she cried, taking Camille’s hand, “of the will of God and men, if you cease to love me? The day when I shall no longer please you, of what importance will be codes and sacraments, the laws of earth and the blessings of heaven? You are earth and heaven to me. No, dear Camille, I do not wish you to be forced to love me. The day when it shall be my misfortune to displease you, palace, fortune, honor, and society,— all will be at an end so far as I am concerned. I shall resume my needle and my attic, beside our Father Jean.”
“But your children?” said the priest.
“Our children,” rejoined Camille; “there we find our sacrament, the bond and the curb. When the human heart is neither forced nor falsified by authority, nature substitutes in it, in an orderly fashion, one passion for another. We shall love each other in the children of our love.”
“Ah,” said Marie, again pressing Camille’s hand, “even though he should no longer love the woman, I know very well that he will still love the mother of his child. Yes, Monseigneur, I wish him to be free, always free to leave me, as he has been free to take me. Believe me, this is, perhaps, more designing, less disinterested than it seems, for it is the surest way of keeping him.”
She bowed more profoundly, as if to say a final farewell.
Camille indicated still more emphatically that the interview was at an end.
The two priests, forced to let go their prey in spite of their tenacity, exchanged a look of despair, which directly became a look of malice directed at the young couple, and then went out in a superb and almost threatening fashion.
Suddenly the Abbé came back and said drily:
“But these wedding presents do not belong to you, and the church has its poor”
“Possibly,” answered Camille, “only Mademoiselle Claire still lives.”
“And the pence of Saint Peter, whose banker you are V” retorted the Abbé.
“I am his banker no longer, and tomorrow Saint Peter shall be paid. Be gone!” “Well said!” exclaimed Father Jean, who had listened to the whole, rubbing his hands with satisfaction.
And he added:
“Now, my children, do you remember,” said he, “the day when I broke my pipe, when you voluntarily took each other for husband and wife, without priest or notary,— do you remember what I said to you? Well, I repeat it today. ‘Well and good! In that case Father Jean gives his consent.’ On that day you were married before me, Father Jean, father, priest, and mayor, all, and as long as love wills, Jean wills. Now, my rôle finished, I go away content.”
And he went out, forcibly tearing himself from their embraces and appeals.
Just then a sharp cry, followed by a piercing laugh, was heard.
“What is that?” said Marie, frightened.
Camille himself was alarmed at this strange noise.
Suddenly a woman half naked, with dishevelled hair and bewildered face, her cheeks flushed and her eyes glowing, came running in, laughing and crying, and followed by Rosine, who was calling:
Claire, attacked by an acute meningitis and suffering from a burning fever, in a fit of delirium had violently jumped from her bed and from the arms of her maids, who had not had strength enough to hold her.
She had lost her reason.
She was more than mad. Because of her strong nature, she had become a raving maniac.
On entering, she perceived the basket which the midwife had brought as proof. She threw herself upon it with frenzy, took it in her two hands, smiled maternally upon its emptiness, cradled it tenderly, kissed it passionately, talked to it as if an infant could have answered her words, her kisses, her smiles, her caresses, walked back and forth with her dear burden, around the room, asking Marie, who was dumb with grief and terror, to see how beautiful the baby was, telling Rosine not to shout, lest she might awaken it, and telling Camille to kiss it.
Rosine tried to take the basket from Claire, who held it with all her strength.
“Oh, the cursed woman! She wants to take away my child, to carry it off, to drown it! Help! Help! My father paid her, the infamous..... What will God say?”
“Calm yourself, Mademoiselle, you have nothing to fear for yourself or for him,” said Marie.
Then in a lucid interval, recovering consciousness, Claire cried:
“Where am I?”
“Mademoiselle, for pity’s sake,” said Marie, clasping her hands, as if she ought to ask pardon for her own happiness and Claire’s misfortune, “Mademoiselle, come to yourself and follow me to your own room. You are at home. Rest easy. This house is still yours, as well as ours. You are our sister, our friend. Forget the past. We will care for you, we will love you, we will console you. Come.”
“Ah, ah, good Marie! Take him, care for him, nurse him, you, so kind, so kind! And you, Father Jean, do not awaken him with your heavy voice. And you, Camille, kiss your child. Say nothing to anyone, for my father wants to kill him. Hide him carefully. They are coming to take him... Ah, father ... priest.... Religion, family .... the oratory they have made me mad, guilty. They have killed me!”
It was distressing. All were overwhelmed.
“Yes, dear sister, poor mother, give him to me. I will care for him,” said Marie, humoring the mad woman in order to calm her. “Go lie down again, rest, sleep. I will watch over him for you. We will save him, we will bring him up, we will adopt him.”
Claire seemed charmed for a moment by the music of Marie’s sweet voice, but, on seeing the wedding gifts, her raving became more furious than ever. Rising, with haggard eyes, foam on her lips, and perspiration on her forehead, she cried:
“Ah, an, the marriage! High society, and its homage, and its presents,— into the basket! into the basket!
She had just seen, also, the basket which Jean had forgotten, and, rushing toward it, she took it in one hand, and before they could stop her or even divine her purpose, with the other she seized all the objects that she could find, saying to each of them:
“Necklace, into the basket! Bracelet, into the basket! Rings, breastpin, and earrings, into the basket!”
And all these marvels of art, luxury, and taste were heaped up like cabbage-stalks in the rag-picker’s hamper, which Camille vainly tried to take from her, and which grew so heavy that she could not hold it, and that, in her efforts to keep it, she fell, rolled over and over, struggling in convulsive anguish, crying and foaming, completely covered with gold and silver and precious stones, and saying with a frightful laugh:
“A dowry for the daughters of Saint Anthony who nurse the sons of Saint Honoré!” and always repeating the prophetic cry, with which Jean had fatally struck her reason and her life: “Into the basket! Into the basket! Into the basket!”
“Ah!” cried Marie, throwing herself into Camille’s arms, “this house frightens me. Let us follow Father Jean.”
The rag-picker had not been a witness of the fainting of Claire, who was piously lifted by Marie and Camille, and carried back to her bed, where Rosine and the other maids watched her until she could be transferred to Doctor Blanche’s asylum.
This, together with Jean’s retreat, was the dark spot upon the honeymoon of the two young people.
As for Jean, he had gone away, with the joy of having made the only two beings whom he had loved happy, of having well fulfilled his rôle and lived his life as a father.
Foreseeing for the future all his sad existence of the past, thenceforth reduced to himself, having nothing more to protect or cherish, an unconscious and sublime altruist, he could not make up his mind to return to the Rue Sainte-Marguerite, to go back living into his grave. He was seized with a frightful reaction. An immense despair, the very darkness of the tomb, invaded his heart, and took from him all courage to live. The sparkle of the wine again passed before his eyes.
“No,” he cried, “death sooner!”
And feeling that he was alone forever upon earth, with all the horrors of solitude, incapable of living without seeing Marie again, and of seeing her again without injuring her, he wished not to end his bitter life in isolation, brutishness, and vice, like the duke Garousse, but to sacrifice to his daughter his moral, human, and paternal life in the very spot where he had begun it,— in short, to leave his conscience where he had found it.
And casting a glance at the splendid mansion in which Marie lived, and contrasting the beautiful summer night with that in which he had saved Garousse at the expense of Didier,— a fault, he thought, that deserved expiation,— on this calm night following one of those hot days that give our Paris an Oriental air, inviting man to rest, and explaining the Turkish proverb: ‘Better sitting than standing, lying than sitting, and dead than lying,’ he started, this time drunk with pain, for the parapet of the bridge of Austerlitz....
“A Just Government.”
We hear a great deal said nowadays about a “just (!) government,” a good government, etc., especially by our Christian Socialist friends, the Nationalists, who are anxious to show the present capitalistic government a trick or two about the (so-called) science of government worth a dozen of theirs. A just government reminds me of its theological prototype, a “just God”; this, in turn, by association, reminds me of a just Devil; and so my mind runs down the chromatic scale of political and theological superstition until I reach a just Hell. Just where I would have stopped in my downward and headlong course deponent saith not, had I not run against that eminently respectable expression, a “just government,” which is the “child of adoption” by the Nationalists. Justice associated with government reminds me of a Plum pudding without any plums in it; I can imagine a just Devil or a just Hell as easily as a just government.
How the Nationalists can see any justice in a scheme whereby one set of men govern and control another set against their will or inclination is an intellectual mystery equaled in absurdity only by a theological miracle. It would be as consistent to talk of the justice of eternal punishment, or the-truthfulness of a white-lie. The moment one man governs another, just that moment justice “backs water” and disappears under the waves of oppression and aggressive force. No doubt the Nationalists, if in power, would at first “oppress prudently” and lay the rod of a “just government” upon the sensitive backs of the minority with all the loving kindness of an enraged parent, but as grown-up children we would assert our right of choice as to the mode of punishment as well as the character of our punishers; punishment and rulership are too closely related to suit the taste of an Individualist. We would not like to trust the “Rod of Iron” even in the hands of so good-natured a tyrant as Nationalism promises to be. We, the minority, might rebel; then the iron rod of a just government would be used to suppress the rebellion. Strange that the believers in the “science! of government” do not perceive that government and rebellion (revolution) are cause and effect, and are as closely related legally as Church and State, or man and wife. Revolutions will cease only when governments are no more. As an individualist I have no serious objection to other people hiring, at their own expense, a lot of politicians, rulers, and punishers, to tell them what to do or how and when to do it. I only object to having government, just or unjust, forced upon me. I am very fond of turkey, but don’t want it crammed down my throat with a governmental sausage-stuffer. I like to be happy, but don’t want happiness, like greatness, thrust upon me. This is the predicament Nationalism would place the minority in through their method of brute force disguised as “majority rule.” They have a sugar-coated authoritarian blue-pill, which is to regulate society’s Liver by the old heroic method of Salivation as a political means of Social Salvation. Their method and scheme of just (!) government is to “nationalize” all the land, not leaving us poor individualists a spot big enough to plant the Goddess of Liberty upon. To nationalize Land is a slick, smooth way of monopolizing it and turning it over to the politicians, rulers, and governmental justices of the peace. This, in substance, is the justice which all State Socialists, whether sailing under the flag or name of Nationalists, Communists, or Christian Socialists, are willing to concede to their fellow-men who do not endorse their communal ownership of land. No other form of government, no offensive or defensive organization of society, is to be tolerated under Nationalism, as they will pull the very ground upon which the minority stand out from under their feet by the aid of governmental monopoly of land. No wonder they hate competition. Free competition would compel their government to rise or fall upon its own merits; they fail to comprehend the difference between the present cut-throat competition and Free Competition. The difference between them is the difference that distinguishes an honest man from a thief. Every lover of voluntary association knows what the result of free competition among governments would be,— the adoption by gravitation and attraction of a few simple rules by which the whole people administer things instead of men. A Nationalistic, like a Capitalistic, government would, in its administration of “public affairs,” include the administration of individuals as well as things, (products, machinery, etc.) This kind of administration involves the use and necessity of brute force in its most brutal form,— the ballot, or bullet, or both,— without which no legal (governmental) robbery can be perpetuated; therefore I inquire where is the justice of a “just (!) government”? No man can form a correct conception of justice who has the governmental bee buzzing in his bonnet. Our Nationalistic friends have no keen sense of the ridiculous, or they would never associate the word justice with the government of man over or by man.
The fact is the Nationalists are embryo politicians in their methods, and in their use of the meaningless phrase, a “just government,” are aiming at popularity and respectability; they have grasped the politician’s rusty old gun and are shooting round the corner instead of in a straight line. No true reform can marry with a respectability based upon the present rotten state of society. Respectability is a conservative harlot, who showers her sickening caresses upon the privileged few, and that noble (!) animal, the politician, the reformer who throws the cloak of respectability around hint, loses his own individuality, and the cause he once espoused moves on without him.
F. B. Parse, a “Pacific” Anarchist.
San Diego, California, April 24, 1890.
Patients and Physicians.
[Henry Muret in Le Radical]
The Sisters and the chaplains have been banished from the hospitals, but not much will have been accomplished for the sick until the doctors have been banished also.
You think, perhaps, that I am amusing myself with a paradox. I was never more serious in my life.
You have just seen the case of that doctor in the Beaujon Hospital, who expelled a patient whom he had pronounced in good health, which healthy patient then suddenly expired. Surely it was wrong of him to do so, but there have been many similar cases.
The truth is that there has never been, and that there will never be, under the surface of the heavens, an autocracy as absolute as that which the doctor exercises in the hospitals. He has all rights, including the right of life and death, and this without explanation and without control. It seems that the hospital was not established in the interest of the sick, but in the interest of science. It is the in anima vili of all the experimenters. The point is not to cure, but to learn something that one would like to know.
You will tell me that this is the same thing, the apparent object of medicine being the cure of the sick.
But there is no honest sarant who will not tell you that that is the thing which least interests him. And, in fact, it must be admitted that, though in thousands of years the science of medicine has made immense strides, the art of curing is not an eighth of an inch in advance of Hippocrates, Galien, and the old women. They know very well how we are made and where we suffer; they will even explain to us with some ingenuity the causes of our suffering; as for remedies, they have as yet found nothing better than those that were applied by the old wives of Athens.
Perhaps this is because there are, in fact, no others; and, if the doctors cure nothing, it may be because nothing is curable. Very well, but of what use, then, are the doctors?
We who are out of the hospitals get along very well. When we send for one of these doctors, for whom our structure has no more secrets, but who have never known how to cure a corn, we talk politics or finance with him, discuss with him the latest play at the theatres, and he signs a prescription for us which we send immediately to the druggist, it being necessary that everybody should live. They bring us drugs. If we are wise, we take them sparingly. If we have faith, we gulp them down. In short, we are cured, or we are not cured, but we are free.
It is not the same in the hospitals, where all that the doctor says is a sacred ukase, which is executed to the letter by the most frightful of disciplines. If a doctor should take a notion to order the amputation of the right arm of a man with a cold in his head, they would cut off his right arm without winking. When I was in prison (undoubtedly because of the toadyism toward all governments of which Rochefort now accuses me), the doctor refusing to indicate each morning what should be given me to eat, they gave me nothing, and, but for a worthy Sister, who stole some cutlets for me, I should have very tranquilly died of hunger by prescription of the Faculty. You have just seen that, however low the condition of the man, if the doctor orders him to be taken from his bed and shown to the door, no one hesitates to obey him. In a hospital there are no human creatures; there are only so many objects at the disposition of the doctor.
Well, I think that it is no reason, because one is a poor devil, that he should be deprived of all free will, and treated as an animal. The interest of science has its value, but the interest of humanity, also, has a value of its own, which is superior. This is the source of the tear that the hospital inspires. We ask ourselves why a wretch who is lying on a pallet at home, without fire or drink, does not prefer the soft beds, the comfortable dormitories, and all the luxuries of these admirably kept houses. It is simply because he knows that, once there, he will be delivered over to control; he will be no longer a man, but a number-somebody will be absolute master of his rising, of his retiring, and of the smallest details of his existence. His will will be annihilated, and his body will be at the mercy of another. And in the case of a woman, she will be unable to protect her modesty.
Ah, if all this were indispensable, if this tyranny were a necessary condition of restoration to health, we might understand its maintenance. But I do not notice that the sick slave of the hospital dies less easily than he who does all that he likes at his home, and, in the absence of more convincing proof, I consider that we may lessen the authority of the physician, without compromising the safety of the patient.
The Post-Office and Political Corruption.
The only reason for the existence of a Post-office Department is that there may be means of communication between different parts of a country. At certain stages of civilization, if the government does not establish means of intercommunication, none will be established; at a higher stage, other and better agencies are ready to perform the task. We see today that the Post-office Department is the cause of, say, half the political corruption in this country. It is almost impossible to overestimate the gravity of the evil, because the immorality of political life has a tendency to spread throughout the whole life of a people, especially in a free government. If there is to be a reform, the choice lies between the simple, direct certainty of doing away with all the corruption by abolishing the Department, leaving its functions to be discharged by an agency which will discharge them better, and between trying to patch up the system by removing some of its worst abuses. If men could approach the question without prejudice, and not deadened to the evils by long custom, there is little doubt to which side the decision would incline.
Even So, What Then?
Dear Mr. Tucker:
I have seen a statement in print that Moses Harman was arrested again for printing a letter from a doctor of medicine. If this be the arrest alluded to by you in No. 157, I regret that you did not see the number of “Lucifer” containing the provocation. I read it, and must say that it was simply a plain statement of professional experience touching on the frequency of unnatural practices indulged in by some married men, causing disease in their wives. The letter did not contain any unnecessary words for a plain statement, by a doctor, of facts in his line of business experience, the point being that a necessity exists for public attention to matters which are not so very exceptional as some people suppose. If pronounced objectionable, it can be on no other ground than the opinion that certain facts must not be made known (some will say lest information lead to imitation). If the principle of suppression be established in such a case, as the law, it will be made clear that the policy of the law is distinctly to suppress the report of vice as a fact, however coldly stated. But then what will become of the court reports? Tak Kak.
“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.
Individualism and Political Economy.*
According to Comte and Spencer, as well as other sociologists, the progress of society is from status to contract, from the principle of militarism to the principle of industrialism, from compulsory coöperation to voluntary coöperation, from a condition in which agreement results from authority to a condition where such authority as exists results from agreement, from a state in which freedom is sacrificed to order to a state in which order is spontaneously born of freedom, and in which men are also consciously arranging their affairs in accordance with the dictates of reason. Both Comte and Spencer insist that (to use Spencer’s phraseology) “an ideal, far in advance of practicability though it may be, is always needful for right guidance. If there exist no true conceptions of better and worse in social organization .... there cannot be any true progress.” Both believe that social reformation cannot be furthered by governmental agencies, and that the influence for good is becoming more and more centred in the hands of the wise and the great whose words and example are more powerful than the brutal agencies of government. They declare that in this transition state of society it is absolutely impossible to decide upon the utilitarian merits of any important legislative measure save by constant reference to the ideal formed of the future through the comprehensive study of the forces which have prevailed in the past and are prevailing in the present. And, finally, both recommend to present governments to pursue a strictly negative policy, and limit their activity to the undoing of their former work, attempting as little positive regulation as possible.
Now let us see what are the logically unavoidable conclusions from these premises in reference to political economy, which, we have seen, must adopt the philosophical in lieu of the logical method and conduct and revise its investigations in the light of modern sociological principles. Political economy is to deal with the question of national prosperity, to teach the true and proper laws of production and distribution and (to a certain extent) consumption. But the society in which we find ourselves is so full of maladjustments, evils, and wrongs that national prosperity in the real sense is absolutely impossible under existing conditions. Neither production, distribution, nor consumption may be said to approach the state consistent with the interests of the society as a whole. From his standpoint, the economist must condemn the present society as one in which the welfare of large classes of the population is sacrificed. This, however, would not lead one to the discovery of any criterion by which institutions and measures for reorganizing society might be estimated and weighed. Neither is the investigation of past economic relations of any avail without a “working hypothesis.” First of all historical facts need to be understood; then they require classification and systematic grouping; which cannot be accomplished except by the aid of a strong light furnished by a guiding principle. What hypothesis, what principle have modern economists? The physiocrats and their English disciples had such a hypothesis in the principle of natural liberty, in the doctrine of laissez faire, which they borrowed from the theology and philosophy of their time. The fact that their principle was fallacious, their doctrine false, and that consequently their superstructure inevitably had to fall when the philosophy of that period was discarded and supplanted by a more positive system, does not at all militate against their wisdom in basing their studies on those principles. We take it therefore as self-evident that the economists of our day must go to the sociologists and philosophers for their criterion or guiding principle. And what have these latter to impart to them? This: that ideal economic relations are perfectly free relations; that free contract and unrestricted competition between men enjoying equal opportunities and equal social chances will constitute the ruling principle of the coming age of reason; and that conscious and voluntary coöperation will be extensively resorted to for purposes of economy and convenience. Furthermore, they have this truth to impress upon the minds of the economists,— that nothing can be progressive and desirable that obstructs, or checks, or needlessly retards the movement toward freedom, and that nothing is wrong, dangerous, or reprehensible that rationally encourages that movement.
All of which is plainly tantamount to declaring that once again laissez faire must become the guiding principle in political economy, theoretical and practical. Back to the old formula, whose meaning, however, is entirely new. Instead of the “natural state” of the physiocrats, we have the “ideal state,” the state which society hopes and promises to reach, and which is indicated by scientific and philosophical knowledge as the point whither progress steadily and surely leads. The “state of nature” was a fiction, an arbitrary assumption; the “ideal state” is a conception based on a comprehensive study of man’s past and present, of social growth and existence. To approach and materialize that ideal state of industrial liberty, we must learn to abjure regulation and compulsion more and more and practise laissez faire. We must test propositions and measures by their coincidence with the design to realize harmony through freedom.
Ingram, Huxley, Rogers, in criticising the modern laissez faire doctrine, do not seem to betray the least perception of the fact that Spencer’s reasons for advocating State passivity in industrial matters are totally different from those of the believers in a code of nature. Between these and the moderns there is an impassable gulf,— the gulf that separates theology from positive philosophy. To speak, as Huxley does, of a new Rousseauism à propos of this revival of laissez faire doctrines, is to be guilty of a strange oversight. The modern laissez-faire-ists, in adopting the old formula, address to the followers of Rousseau the remark which Coleridge is reported to have made to a lady of his acquaintance: “Madam, I accept your conclusion; but you must let me find the logic for it.” They find the logic for laissez faire in science, not in theology, in facts, not in their inner consciousness; they arrive at it by proper scientific methods, not by metaphysical methods. Hence the answer that silences and puts to flight the old believers in laissez faire leaves the modern unmoved and serene. For him new weapons have to be forged.
Unaccountably short-sighted is Ingram in thinking that Spencer is simply their yet unconverted champion of an exploded doctrine, the last representative of an extinct school of theorists, and that his pleas and protests will be like a voice crying in the wilderness. The truth on the contrary is, that Spencer was the first English thinker to proclaim the necessity for a new departure in practical politics to correspond with the new discoveries in scientific sociology; he was the first to hold up the new ideal and to emphasize the need of being guided by it. His comparative isolation is due to the fact of his being the founder of a philosophical school, a teacher of novel ideas, and a leader in a great movement, not to his being engaged in the futile attempt of maintaining a lost cause. Already he is ably supported by a number of professed and unprofessed disciples, and it is safe to predict that, as in the case of Mahomet and the mountain, he will not go to Mr. Ingram and his friends, who, as we have seen, doubt everything but doubt and offer nothing positive (to say nothing of those who commit intellectual suicide by joining that hybrid politico-religious race who, between love and force, hope to crush all remnant of industrial and commercial freedom), but that they will at no remote day realize the necessity of going to him.
A reconstruction of theoretical economy is thus necessary. Much solid sense and truth will be found in the volumes of Smith, Ricardo, Bastiat, Carey, and all other economists who postulated pure competition; while the contributions of those who have sought to defend present relations, assuming them to be permanent and proper to a high civilization, will have to be pronounced worthless.
Turning now to the consideration of practical laissez faire and the question how to meet the persistent and just demands for the mitigation of want and suffering generated by the operation of legislative enactments and old institutions, it devolves upon us to defend the policy against the divers attacks that have been made upon it. We must clear up the confusion of some, correct the misconceptions of others, and answer the objections of still others. Many have discussed and criticised laissez faire, but we choose to speak here only of the economists who have done so. Of these critics the strongest and most intelligent are Cairnes, Toynbee, and Thorold Rogers.
We will examine Thorold Rogers first.
Positing the opinion that “laissez faire is no more than natural justice postulating the absolute and entire freedom of all contracting parties, in which all the agents are fairly equal in their competency to interpret their own interests and give effect to their interpretation, being of course constantly corrected by other interests which they balance against their own,” Mr. Rogers observes that it can be most excused or most defended when it “postulates equality of condition in order that it may affirm equality of contracting power”; and his most forceful objection to laissez faire is precisely that it is no detergent for certain marks on labor left by old unjust legislation. “You cannot,” he argues, “like the adventurer in the Greek comedy take the nation and by some magic bath restore it from decrepitude, disease, and ignorance, to health, knowledge, and wisdom by a mere wash.... Our progenitors in the art of legislation have left us their failures to remedy.... We have to clear away the effects of old wrong-doing.” — “The application of the doctrine is impracticable in cases where the present situation is directly traceable to the action of that government or administration which has permitted or encouraged to commit the mischief.” — “The beggary of the working classes was the direct and deliberate work of the legislature, and it is exceedingly difficult to retrieve the fortunes of these people by the principle of free competition.”
But this objection rests on a misconception. No laissez faire advocate of the present time (no true and sincere advocate, I should say) denies the necessity of removing the obstacles to progressive improvement which past legislators are accused of having placed in the way of the masses, or dreams of maintaining that, things all remaining as they are, the workers can successfully compete with the privileged classes. They are as strenuous on the point of remedying the blunders and sins of past legislation as Mr. Rogers. They wish to do everything possible to bring about that equality of condition without which there is no real equality of contracting power. The question, however, is, Which is the most expedient and promising way of achieving this desideratum? And it is in the answer to this question that a divergence of opinion is to be expected between Mr. Rogers and the laissez-faire-ists. The latter welcome,— nay, demand — the abolition of all meddlesome and class legislation, of all laws in favor of the wealthy, of all privileges and monopolies artificially created for the especial benefit of a few to the detriment of the many. Knowing that the beggary of the working classes is the direst work of the legislature, they agitate for the cessation of this pernicious activity, and wish to prevent all future repetition of such work. But when the proposal involves not merely the abolition of bad laws, but the enactment of “good” ones, intended to help the poor, then the laissez-faire-ists decline to join in the applause. Why? Because, like Mr. Rogers, who confesses to a strong “aversion to a legislation on behalf of adult labor” they are “convinced that concerted action is a far more remedial measure than legislative restitution.” And being more consistent and more attentive to the lessons of experience than Mr. Rogers they excuse government from all attempts at positive regulation. They claim that the equality of condition which is essential to the policy of laissez-faire may be achieved without any aid from government other than that which it is able to render indirectly by wiping out its own mischievous statutes. Mr. Rogers may dispute this, and hold that more direct and positive aid from government is requisite. But this would be an issue entirely distinct from that which we are now discussing. My point is that Mr. Rogers’ main objection to laissez faire is not a valid one, for the reasons just given.
We scarcely need to deal here with Mr. Rogers’ secondary objections. He cites a number of things which (he claims) the government must attend to in the interest of the public wellbeing, and which involve appreciable restriction of individual liberty. Curiously enough, there is not one thing in the list that the believers in absolute freedom have not adduced in support of their case. It is these very things that are being constantly held up as illustrations of governmental incompetence and mismanagement, if not corruption and abuse. State education, factory legislation, etc., are (at best) still debatable subjects, and it is preposterous for Mr. Rogers to parade them as proofs of the break-down of the laissez-faire policy.
Toynbee and Cairnes may be considered together, their criticisms being substantially identical.
Endeavoring to show that “laissez faire has no scientific basis whatever, but is at best a mere handy rule of practice,” Cairnes writes: “It (laissez faire) involves the two following assumptions: first, that the interests of human beings are fundamentally the same,— that what is most for my interest is also most for the interest of other people; and secondly, that individuals know their interests in the sense in which they are coincident with the interests of others, and that in the absence of coercion they will in this sense follow them. If these two propositions be made out, the policy of laissez faire follows with scientific rigor.... But accepting the major premise of this syllogism, that the interests of human beings are fundamentally the same, how as to the minor? — how as to the assumption that people know their interests in the sense in which they are identical with the interests of others, and that they spontaneously follow them?” And Cairnes avers that this is not and cannot be made out. “Nothing is easier than to show that people follow their interest in the sense in which they understand their interest,” but there are “such things as passion, prejudice, custom, esprit de corps, class interest, to draw people aside from the pursuit of their interests in the largest and highest sense.”
Toynbee, for his part, insists that “the economic interest of the individual is not always identical with that of the community,” and that “neither can it be said that he always even knows his economic interest, especially under the complex conditions of modern industry and commerce.”
Now it is perfectly clear that, if men’s economic interests are not fundamentally harmonious, society can never dispense with governmental compulsion, and the interests of some portion of the community must always be sacrificed to those of the remaining portion. I might proceed to show the impossibility of such a condition of things under a higher degree of intelligence, or to demonstrate the falsity of the contention from every point of view; but this is not required by the purpose of my essay. It is sufficient to point out that Toynbee’s assertion is at war with the social ideal of our greatest philosophers and sociologists. Besides,
Toynbee obviously had in his mind a very restricted definition of the term “economic interest,” and if pressed hard, would have qualified his assertions by provisos that would have reconciled it with Cairnes’s position. So we only need to look into the second point of these critics of laissez faire. And here, again, the criticism is due to a misapprehension. Modern believers in industrial freedom do not necessarily imply that in the absence of coercion men know and follow their interests in the highest and best sense: what they imply is that freedom is the only means of discovering those interests and of learning to follow them. They declare that under freedom there would be a very pronounced tendency in that direction, and that experience would constantly correct errors and short-sighted estimates. They claim that government is utterly destitute of both the intention and the skill required for the task of establishing and maintaining economic equity and harmony. Government interference can increase disorder and disharmony, but never can and never does succeed in pouring oil over troubled waters. These conclusions are derived from scientific investigations into the origin, nature, and constitution of government, and are not to be disputed. Or at least, the laissez faire position cannot be overthrown until these conclusions have been disputed and conclusively proved incorrect. So far this has not been accomplished, nor even attempted. And we have seen that those who are least inclined to agree theoretically with the laissez-faire-ists cannot escape the necessity of admitting the practical superiority of the policy of governmental non-interference. How to account for the astonishing inconsistency of all these critics, who allow the incomparably greater wisdom and safety of laissez faire as a practical rule, but who hesitate to conclude that there must be some general principle, some sound theory, some scientific law directly connected with this state of things, I do not precisely know. I suppose, however, that the general confusion and sense of unrest prevailing in economic circles are not conducive to logical thinking or comprehensive reasoning.
What the doctrine of laissez faire, in its application to the economic sphere, implies may be briefly stated as follows.
The poverty of the masses is due principally to law-created and law protected institutions operating in the interest of the few at the cost of the many. These institutions should be abolished, and the functions of government so limited as to prevent in the future any repetition of such anti-social legislation. The government, at best, can only secure to the people the peaceful enjoyment of the results of past progress; it cannot add to their wealth or their enterprise or their skill anything of its own. The people’s prosperity must depend on such means as their own intelligence and will, inspired and guided by the voluntary counsel and free teaching of the most advanced and developed among them, enables them to employ under freedom. The evils which characterize the present state of civilization can only be removed by the spontaneous action of intellectual and moral influences with which government is in no wise related.
But it is not true that laissez faire ignores the existence of injurious laws and institutions which destroy the necessary equality of contracting power, or fail to emphasize the need of their abolition; it is not true that laissez faire has existed and has practically established its insufficiency as a solvent of social ills, as some critics allege; and it is not true that it implies that men would at once, governmental coercion out of the way, follow their highest and best interests. We have seen that all exceptions to laissez faire flow from one or another of these misinterpretations of its meaning.
Of practical demands put forward by the modern laissez-faire-ists with a view to eliminate poverty and secure an equitable distribution of wealth, the most important only need to be mentioned: Nearly all of them concur in the opinion that the abolition of all laws restricting inland and international trade, and all patent laws, should unconditionally be repealed. Most of them hold that the laws restricting the freedom of banking and the issue of currency should be entirely abolished. And, finally, many of them favor the abolition of present laws regarding land ownership, and would recognize the principle of free individual access to land for the purpose of personal occupation and use.
All these subjects, however, require discussion and elucidation, and we conclude by directing to them the attention of the political economists, expressing our confidence that the most enlightened of them will ere long perceive the wisdom of the course I have endeavored to indicate and save themselves and society from the melancholy condition of the coming slavery,— I mean of the slavery which is sure to destroy the entire modern civilization and for a considerable time check the progress of humanity in the direction of its ideal.
* The first of a series of three lectures. Concluded from No. 157.
It is questionable whether Herbert Spencer will relish Mr. Donisthorpe’s classification of him as one of four lights of Anarchy. I think he would be justified in putting in a disclaimer. No doubt Anarchy is immeasurably indebted to Mr. Spencer for a phenomenally clear exposition of its bottom truths. But he entertains heresies on the very questions which Mr. Donisthorpe raises that debar him from recognition as an Anarchist. His belief in compulsory taxation and his acceptance of the majority principle, not as a temporary necessity, but as permanently warranted within a certain sphere, show him to be unfaithful to his principle of equal liberty, as Mr. Donisthorpe has convincingly demonstrated in his recent book on “Individualism.” I am sure that his answers to Mr. Donisthorpe’s questions would widely differ from any that Mr. Yarros or myself could possibly make.
When it comes to Auberon Herbert, the community of thought is closer, as on practical issues he is pretty nearly at one with the attitude of Liberty. But I fancy that Mr. Donisthorpe would have difficulty in driving all three of us into the same corner. Before he bad gone far, the ethical question of the nature of right would arise, and straightway Mr. Yarros and myself would be arrayed with Mr. Donisthorpe against Mr. Herbert.
As one of the two remaining “lights of Anarchy” appealed to, I will try to deal briefly with Mr. Donisthorpe’s questions. To his first: “How far may voluntary coöperators invade the liberty of others?” I answer: Not at all. Under this head I have previously made answer to Mr. Donisthorpe, and as to the adequacy or inadequacy of this answer he has as yet made no sign. For this reason I repeat my words. “Then liberty always, say the Anarchists. No use of force, except against the invader; and in those cases where it is difficult to tell whether the alleged offender is an invader or not, still no use of force except where the necessity of immediate solution is so imperative that we must use it to save ourselves. And in these few cases where we must use it, let us do so frankly and squarely, acknowledging it as a matter of necessity, without seeking to harmonize our action with any political ideal or constructing any far-fetched theory of a State or collectivity having prerogatives and rights superior to those of individuals and aggregations of individuals and exempted from the operation of the ethical principles which individuals are expected to observe.” This is the best rule that I can frame as a guide to voluntary coöperators. To apply it to only one of Mr. Donisthorpe’s cases, I think that under a system of Anarchy, even if it were admitted that there was some ground for considering an on-vaccinated person an invader, it would be generally recognized that such invasion was not of a character to require treatment by force, and that any attempt us treat it by force would be regarded as itself an invasion of a less doubtful and more immediate nature, requiring as such to be resisted.
But under a system of Anarchy how is such resistance to be made? is Mr. Donisthorpe’s second question. By another band of voluntary coöperators. But are we then, Mr. Donisthorpe will ask, to have innumerable bands of voluntary coöperators perpetually at war with each other? Not at all. A system of Anarchy in actual operation implies a previous education of the people in the principles of Anarchy, and that in turn implies such a distrust and hatred of interference that the only band of voluntary coöperators which could gain support sufficient to enforce its will would be that which either entirely refrained from interference or reduced it to a minimum. This would be my answer to Mr. Donisthorpe, were I to admit his assumption of a state of Anarchy supervening upon a sudden collapse of Archy. But I really scout this assumption as absurd. Anarchists work for the abolition of the State, but by this they mean not its overthrow, but, as Proudhon put it, its dissolution in the economic organism. This being the case, the question before us is not, as Mr. Donisthorpe supposes, what measures and means of interference we are justified in instituting, but which ones of those already existing we should first lop off. And to this the Anarchists answer that unquestionably the first to go should be those that interfere most fundamentally with a free market, and that the economic and moral changes that would result from this would act as a solvent upon all the remaining forms of interference.
“Is compulsory coöperation ever desirable?” Compulsory coöperation is simply one form of invading the liberty of others, and voluntary coöperators will not be justified in resorting to it — that is, in becoming compulsory coöperators — any more than resorting to any other form of invasion.
“How are we to remove the injustice of allowing one man to enjoy what another has earned?” I do not expect it ever to be removed altogether. But I believe that for every dollar that would be enjoyed by tax-dodgers under Anarchy, a thousand dollars are now enjoyed by men who have got possession of the earnings of others through special industrial, commercial, and financial privileges granted them by authority in violation of a free market.
In regard to the various clubs referred to by Mr. Donisthorpe as based on an intolerance that is full of the spirit of interference, I can only say that probably they will cease to pattern after their great exemplar, the State, when the State shall no longer exist, and that meantime, if intolerant bigots choose to make petty tyranny a condition of association with them, we believers in liberty have the privilege of avoiding their society. Doesn’t Mr. Donisthorpe suppose that we can stand it as long as they can? T.
Shoot Folly as it Flies.
“Even so, what then?” is the question I put to Tak Kak in my heading of his brief note of protest in another column. Supposing him to be entirely right in his view of the letter the publication of which by Moses Harman I have characterized as rash and ill-timed, in what way does his view refute my characterization? I think that Tak Kak must have read my paragraph carelessly. In it I took no position whatever regarding the intrinsic merit or demerit of that letter. I did not discuss the question whether it ought to be objectionable, or consider the possible grounds of objection to it. I simply said that, judging from all accounts of the letter (at that time not having read it myself), it was one which a jury would almost surely find objectionable and pronounce obscene, and that defeat upon, the issue of liberty to publish such a letter would seriously endanger the valuable liberties that we now enjoy and that are necessary to the attainment of still greater liberties.
In this conviction I am confirmed by the event and by further reflection. For a prominent champion of liberty to suffer punishment for an act which, however innocent in reality, seems to almost the entire people so gross an outrage that no verdict, however unjust, and no sentence, however severe, can awaken in the breast of one in ten thousand of them a throb of sympathy with the oppressed or of resentment against the oppressor, is, from whatever standpoint we view it, a deplorable disaster, not only to the immediate sufferer, but to all his coworkers and to his cause. There are occasions when the blood of the martyrs, far from acting as the seed of the church, furnishes the necessary taste that inspires the tyrant to a wholesale massacre and the witnesses thereof with a spirit of indifference, if not of approval.
Moses Harman no sooner goes to prison for five years than those who for months have been waiting the moment when they could pounce with advantage upon K. H. Heywood descend upon their prey, encouraged thereto by Heywood’s seeming determination to outdo Harman in rashness. After Heywood, it will be the turn of Liberty and all the other Anarchistic journals, the suppression of which will then necessitate years of effort to recover ground from which we could never have been dislodged except by folly in our own ranks. George Macdonald is wrong; such men as Harman and Heywood do not serve to draw the enemy’s fire; on the contrary, they precipitate an irresistible onslaught upon our whole line which is liable to result in our annihilation.
I know the cry that will go up from many who read these words; the man will not be lacking to say for Harman as Harman said for Walker: “Tucker’s a coward, and wants to save his own skin.” But I too long ago became hardened against that sort of criticism to be deterred at this late day from speaking the truth that needs to be spoken by fear of denunciation from comrades who, if brave, are blind, and with whom I am sorry to see a man of Tak Kak’s cool judgment and clear vision join hands.
My argument, in brief, is this:
Economic liberty is the only road to that sexual liberty, sexual health, and healthy sexuality which Harman claims to be striving after for society.
As much freedom of discussion as we now enjoy is necessary to the achievement of economic liberty.
This freedom of discussion is likely to be abridged by any unsuccessful direct effort to extend it, especially in a direction where it must encounter the most deeply-rooted prejudice that now afflicts humanity,— the sexual superstition.
Hence any act that courts such certain defeat is rash, ill-timed, and calculated to separate us farther from economic liberty and sexual liberty.
If this argument can be overthrown, let it be met directly, and not by irrelevant discussion of the intrinsic excellence of a given act.
But since Tak Kak has introduced the subject, I am moved to say a word of the O’Neill letter (having now read it) that I had not before intended to say. If I had read the letter before writing the paragraph which Tak Kak criticises, I probably should have spoken more strongly still. “If pronounced objectionable,” says Tak Kak, “it can be on no other ground than the opinion that certain facts must not be made known.” This is certainly an error; for there are no facts of science that I would like to have hidden, and yet I find the O’Neill letter intensely objectionable. I object to the letter on the ground that it is reactionary, conservative, old-fogyish, and foul with the very superstition that its writer and its publisher (both earnest men, I am sure) suppose themselves to be fighting,— the idea that sex is inherently unclean. The same superstition prevails in a work that I have just published myself, Tolstoi’s “Kreutzer Sonata;” only Tolstoi extends it to natural practices, while Dr. O’Neill confines it to what he is pleased to call unnatural practices. (Moreover, Tolstoi, being an artist, does not express it vulgarly.) Unnatural practices, indeed! Are we, then, to have a censorship of caresses? Not that I would dignify with that name all the practices which Dr. O’Neill specifies, or indeed any of them in the forms that he describes, with their revolting accompaniments of man’s tyranny, woman’s weakness, and bestial affinity. But on the other hand, beneath his apparently sweeping classification, under the head of unnatural practices, of all those acts whereby refinement spontaneously oversteps the limits set by vulgar routine for the path of love, I detect the hideous features of the lurking spook, contempt of sex. Who, I should like to know, is to decide what practices are natural and what unnatural? For instance, when Mary Magdalene kissed the feet of Jesus,— was that a natural or an unnatural practice? And if unnatural, what of it? Is the occasional accompaniment of disease to be the criterion? But then you must follow Tolstoi, and abandon the so-called natural practices as well.... No, no, it is too disgusting,— all this filthy horror of the supposed filthiness of sex. I turn from it with pleasure even to the trite thought that to the pure all things are pure. This may not be strictly true; but at least it cannot be disputed that the taste of the refined is the sole test of purity.
To return, in conclusion, to the conviction of Harman, let no one suppose that, while deploring the folly of his act, I am disposed to gloss over the infamy of his conviction. To put that old man in prison for five years simply because he has put ink upon paper in a way to suit himself without obtruding it upon unwilling eyes is a nameless piece of villainy. If any one can suggest a way by which to help him out of his difficulty, I shall be glad to engage in it. I regret to say that I know of none that seems likely to prove effective. If Harrison were not in the White House and if Laura Kendrick were alive .... but what’s the use of ifs? T.
J. W. Sullivan’s series of articles on Henry George has been issued in book form by the Twentieth Century Publishing Company under the title: “Ideo-Kleptomania: The Case of Henry George.” The price is only fifteen cents. It should be read and circulated by every lover of honest and free literature and every hater of fraud and cant. Mr. Sullivan still calls himself a single-taxer; but he has already taken so many steps in our direction (he believes in free money and the abolition of government monopoly) that we may confidently hope for his early abandonment of the position that it is necessary and expedient to maintain a governmental institution for the purpose of confiscating and redistributing economic rent.
L’Etat est Mort; Vive I’Etat!
To the Editor of Liberty:
Hooks-and-eyes are very useful. Hooks are useless; eyes are useless. Yet in combination they are useful. This is coöperation. Where you have division of labor and consequent differentiation of function and, eventually, of structure, there is coöperation. Certain tribes of ants have working members and fighting members. The military caste are unable to collect food, which is provided for them by the other members of the community, in return for which they devote themselves to the defence of the whole society. But for these soldiers the society would perish. If either class perished, the other class would perish with it. It is the old fable of the belly and the limbs.
Division of labor does not always result in differentiation of structure. In the case of bees and many other insects we know that it does. Among mammals we have the well-marked structural division into males and females, but beyond this the tendency to fixed structural changes is very slight. In races where estate prevails, the tendency is more marked. Even in England, where caste is extinct, it has been observed among the mining population of Northumbria. And the notorious short-sightedness of Germans has been set down to compulsory book-study.
As a general rule, we may neglect this effect of coöperation among human beings. The fact remains that the organized effort of 100 individuals is a very great deal more effective than the sum of the efforts of 100 unorganized individuals. Coöperation is an unmixed good. And the Ishmaelitic anarchy of the bumble-bee is uneconomic. Hostility to the principle of coöperation (upon which society is founded) is usually attributed by the ignorant to philosophical Anarchists. While Socialists never weary of pointing to the glorious triumphs of coöperation, and claiming them for Socialism. Whenever a number of persons join hands with the object of effecting a purpose otherwise unattainable, we have what is tantamount to a new force,— the force of combination: and the persons so combining and regarded as a single body may be called by a name,— any name; a Union, an Association, a Society, a Club, a Company, a Corporation, a State. I do not say all these terms denote precisely the same thing, but they all connote coöperation. I prefer to use the word Club to denote all such associations of men for a common purpose.
Let the State be now abolished for the purposes of this discussion. How do we stand? We have by no means abolished all the clubs and companies in which citizens find themselves grouped and interbanded. There they all are, just as before. Let us examine some of them. Stay; there are a number of new ones, suddenly sprung up out of the débris of the old State.
Here are some eighty men organized in the form of a cricket-club. They may not pitch the ball as they like, but only in accordance with rigid laws. They elect a king or captain, and they bind themselves to obey him in the field. A member is told off to field at long-on, although he may wish to field at point. He must obey the despot.
Here is a ring of horsemen. They ride races. They back their own horses. Disputes arise about fouling, or perhaps the course is a curve and some rider takes a short cut. Or the weights of the riders are unequal, and the heavier rider claims to equalize the weights. All such matters are laid before a committee, and rules are drawn up by which all the members of the little racing club pledge themselves to be bound. The club grows: other riding or racing men join it or adopt its rules. At last, so good are its laws that they are accepted by all the racing fraternity in the island, and all racing disputes are settled by the rules of the Jockey Club. And even the judges of the land defer to them, and refer points of racing law to the Club.
Here again is a knot of whalers chatting on the beach of a stormy sea. Each trembles for the safety of his own vessel. He would give something to be rid of his uneasiness. All his eggs are in one basket. He would willingly distribute them over many baskets. He offers to take long odds that his own vessel is lost. He repeats the offer till the long odds cover the value of his ship and cargo, and perhaps profits and time. “Now,” says he, “I am comfortable. It is true, I forfeit a small percentage; but if my whole craft goes to the bottom, I lose nothing.” He laughs and sings while the others go croaking about the sands, shaking their heads and looking fearfully at the breakers. At last they all follow his example, and the nett result is a Mutual Marine Insurance Society. After a while they lay the odds, not with their own members only, but with others; and the risk being overestimated (naturally at first), they make large dividends. But now difficulties arise. The captain of a whaler has thrown cargo overboard in a heavy sea. The owner claims for the loss. The company declines to pay, on the ground that the loss was voluntarily caused by the captain and not by the hand of God or the king’s enemies; and that there would be no limit to jettison, if the claim were allowed. Other members meet w’itli similar difficulties, and finally Rules are made which provide for all known contingencies. And when any dispute arises, the chosen Umpire, whether it be a mutual friend, or an agora-full of citizens, or a department of State, or any other person or body of persons, refers to the common practice and precedents so far as they apply. In other words, the Rules of the Insurance Society are the law of the land. In spite of the State, this is so today to a considerable extent: I may say, in all matters which have not been botched and cobbled by statute.
There is another class of club springing out of the altruistic sentiment. An old lady takes compassion on a starving cat (no uncommon sight in the West End of London after the Season). She puts a saucer of milk and some liver on the doorstep. She is soon recognized as a benefactress and the cats for a mile round swarm to her household. The saucers increase and multiply, and the liver is an item in her butcher’s bill. The strain is too great to be borne single-handed. She issues a circular appeal, and she is surprised to find how many are willing to contribute a fair share, although their sympathy shrivels up before an unfair demand. They are willing to be taxed pro rata, but they will not bear the burden of other people’s stinginess. “Let the poor cats bear it rather,” say they. “What is everybody’s business is nobody’s business. It is very sad, but it cannot be helped. If we keep one cat, hundreds will starve; so what’s the use?” But when once the club is started, nobody feels the burden: the Cats’ Home is built and endowed, and all goes well. Hospitals, infirmaries, alms houses, orphanages, spring up all round. At first they are reckless and indiscriminate, and become the prey of imposters and able-bodied vagrants. Then Rules are framed; the Charity Organization Society coordinates and directs public benevolence. And those rules of prudence and economy are copied and adopted in many respects by those who administer the State Poor Law.
Then we have associations of persons who agree on important points of science or politics. They wish to make others think with them, in order that society may be pleasanter and more congenial for themselves. They would button-hole every man in the street and argue the question out with him; but the process is too lengthy and wearisome. They club together and form such institutions as the British and Foreign Bible Society, which has spent seven million pounds in disseminating untruths all over the world. We have the Cobden Club, which is slowly and sadly dying of inconsistency after a career of merited success. We have scientific societies of all descriptions that never ask or expect a penny reward for all their outlay, beyond making other people wiser and pleasanter neighbors.
Finally we have societies banded together to do battle against rivals on the principle of “Union is strength.” These clubs are defensive or aggressive. The latter class includes all trading associations, the object of which is to make profits by out-manæuvering competitors. The former or defensive class includes all the political societies formed for the purpose of resisting the State,— the most aggressive club in existence. Over one hundred of these “protection societies” of one sort and another are now federated under the hegemony of the Liberty and Property Defence League.
Now we have agreed that the State is to be abolished. What is the result? Here are Watch Committees formed in the great Towns to prevent and to ensure against burglars, thieves, and like marauders. How they are to be constituted I do not clearly know; neither do I know the limits of their functions. Here again is a Mutual Inquest Society to provide for the examination of dead persons before burial or cremation, in order to make murder as unprofitable a business as possible. Here is a Vigilance Association sending out detectives for the purpose of discovering and lynching the unsocial wretches who knowingly travel in public conveyances with infectious diseases on them. Here is a journal supported by consumers for the advertisement of adulterating dealers. And here again is a Filibustering Company got up by adventurous traders of the old East India Company stamp for the purpose of carrying trade into foreign countries with or without the consent of the invaded parties. Here is a Statistical Society devising Rules to make it unpleasant for those who evade registration and tho census, and offering inducement to all who furnish the required information. What sort of organization (if any) will be formed for the enforcement (not necessarily by brute-force) of contract? Or will there be many such organizations dealing with different classes of contract? Will there be a Woman’s League to boycott any man who has abused the confidence of a woman and violated his pledges? How will it try and sanction cases of breach of promise?
Above all, how is this powerful Company for the defence of the country against foreign invaders to be constituted? And what safeguards will its members provide against the tyranny of the officials? When a Senator proposed to limit the standing army of the United States to three thousand, George Washington agreed, on condition that the honorable member would arrange that the country should never be invaded by more than two thousand. Frankenstein created a Monster he could not lay. This will be a nut for Anarchists of the future to crack.
And now, to revert to the Vigilance Society formed for lynching persons who travel about in public places with small-pox and scarletina, what rules will they make for their own guidance? Suppose they dub every unvaccinated person a “focus of infection,” shall we witness the establishment of an Anti-Vigilance Society to punch the heads of the detectives who punch the heads of the “foci of infection”? Remember, we have both these societies in full working order today. One is called the State, and the other is the Anti-Vaccination Society.
The questions which I should wish to ask, and which I should wish Mr. Herbert Spencer, Mr. Auberon Herbert, Mr. Benjamin Tucker, and Mr. Victor Yarros to answer, are chiefly these two:
1. How far may voluntary coöperators invade the liberty of others? And what is to prevent such invasion under a system of Anarchy?
2. Is compulsory coöperation ever desirable? And what form (if any) should such compulsion take?
The existing State is obviously only a conglomeration of several large societies which would exist separately or collectively in its absence; if the State were abolished, these associations would necessarily spring up out of its ruins, just as the nations of Europe sprang out of the ruins of the Roman Empire. They would apparently lack the pow’er of compulsion. No one would be compelled to join against his will. Take the ordinary case of a gas-lit street. Would a voluntary gas-committee be willing to light the street without somehow taxing all the dwellers in the street? If yes, then there is inequity. The generous and public-spirited pay for the stingy and mean. But if no, then how is the taxing to be accomplished? And where is the line to be drawn? If you compel A to pay for lighting the street when he swears he prefers it dark (a householder may really prefer a dark street to a light one, if he goes to bed at sunset and wants the traffic to be diverted into other streets to insure his peace); then you will compel him to subscribe to the Watch fund, though his house is burglar-proof; and to the fire brigade, though his house is fire-proof; and to the prisons as part of the plant and tools of the Watch Committee; and, it may logically be urged, to the churches and schools as part also of such plant and tools for the prevention of certain crimes.
Moreover, if you compel him to subscribe for the gas in the street, you must make him pay his share of the street itself (paving, repairing, and cleansing): and if the street, then the highway; and if the highway, then the railway, and the canal, and the bridges, and even the harbors and lighthouses and other common apparatus of transport and locomotion.
Personally, as an individualist, I would not compel a citizen to subscribe to common benefits, even though he necessarily shares them. But what I want the four lights of Anarchy above-named to tell me is: How are we to remove the injustice of allowing one man to enjoy what another has earned? My questions are quite distinct. Thus an army under the system of conscription is a case of compulsory coöperation: a band of brigands is a case of voluntary coöperation. I hate both. I would join a voluntary association directed against either or both. Neither do I put these questions in order to cast doubts on the feasibility of Anarchy at the present time. I ask merely for information from those who are, in my opinion, best able to give it.
For Whom the Coat Fits.
[E. C. Walker in Fair Play.]
In the field of sociological discussion the use of the “label” by a clear thinker is an outward indication of the inner harmonization of ideas; it means that he is applying to his social creeds the standard of a fundamental principle. The principle may be unsound, but with it as the basis of his cogitation he reasons logically. Be he clear-cut State Socialist or clear-cut Anarchist, we know where to find him. And whichever he is, he is not in a panic the moment he hears himself designated properly. He is not afraid of being “labeled.” With him the name stands for certain principles, and its use saves him and others a vast amount of useless talk. By it he measures all proposed reforms, and never hitches the Authoritarian horse to the Libertarian cart, or vice versa. Unlike the “label”-hater, he is no confused thinker who concocts a scheme of social regeneration which is a hopeless tangle of emancipation proclamations and bills of sale of human cattle. Neither is he an artful dodger, nor does he indulge in emotional rhodomontade, denouncing calmer reformers and sneering at cool inductions.
The Offence of Careless Reading.
[Rejected by the Twentieth Century.]
A philosopher has said that, the higher one’s opinion of the sagacity and penetration of the masses, the nearer he comes to the just appreciation of their mental virtues. On the other hand, we all know the story of the old Greek sage who, when noisily cheered by the crowd in the market place, wondered if he had been guilty of saying something silly: his experience having been of a character to lead him to think that one can treat with utter contempt the judgment of the masses without the slightest danger of committing an injustice. I have never been able to settle the question for myself, and do not know which would be the surest and wisest policy in controversy: — the putting of a maximum of faith in the average reader’s discrimination, of a minimum of faith, or of a reasonably moderate amount of it. In the abstract, it is easy to say that the last is the safest, but in the concrete it is invariably a question of choosing between the two extremes.
I find that Miss Gardener’s “Reply” is wholly based on a misunderstanding of my case against her; and the misunderstanding naturally becomes the parent of a lamentable misrepresentation of my charge. What shall I do? Trust that the reader will perceive the misinterpretation and the resulting injustice without my assistance? But that would be tantamount to assuming that Miss Gardener’s intellectual power is inferior to that of “the average reader,” which is something I cannot for a moment admit. It remains then to waste some valuable space on an attempt at an explanation.
Miss Gardener seems to think that her “offence” consisted in making an adverse criticism of the Anarchistic philosophy,— in passing unfavorable judgment upon it. And with this wholly erroneous assumption for her basis, she proceeds to paint me as an intolerant censor who deems it an offence in people to disagree with him, and my Anarchistic view of liberty as one in accordance with which all opponents, critics, and doubters must either be entirely suppressed or — forgiven; while with an air of superiority she offers in impressive contrast her view of liberty in the following w’ords: “Helen Gardener holds that people should say what they think,— should be free to present their views for or against any philosophy in the world.” But of course she is mistaken in all this. Her offence consisted in “pronouncing judgment without due warrant,” in criticising a theory unknown to her. I said: “Miss Gardener is guilty of this offence: she certainly has pronounced upon Anarchism without having taken the trouble .... to familiarize herself with its literature.” Is she prepared to deny that this is an “offence”? Speaking from the standpoint of intelligent and true liberalism, is it not a very serious offence to condemn without a patient hearing? Rightly or wrongly, this was the offence I charged her with. Spencer undoubtedly had a “right” to criticise Proudhon’s great work on property without having read it and to accuse that great individualist of absolute Communism: but in the eyes of all thinkers and students that was an unpardonable offence. Miss Gardener probably read my article, but she read it carelessly, and careless reading in such cases is surely a grave offence.
This matter disposed of, I note that Miss Gardener assures us that she holds her opinion “after having read and listened to a number of able Anarchists.” Well, this is a direct and straight answer to my charge. If she has read and listened to a number of able Anarchists, her criticism cannot justly be said to have been delivered “without due warrant,” and she is declared, most willingly and with sincere apology, innocent, or rather not guilty of the charge I brought against her in my article, “Two Letters.” What I now think is that her erroneous views on Anarchism (for they are erroneous) are the result of a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the position of the “able Anarchists” she has read and listened to. Further study and reflection, I am inclined to think, would convince her that Anarchism is not “simply the millennium on earth,” in the sense intended. But she is perfectly free to decline such study, if she sees fit, although even in a student of sociological science “in a small way” it is an offence to be ignorant of so important a movement as modern individualism or Anarchism, though an “offence” in a very high sense and one which it is nobody’s business to forgive or refuse to forgive.
With Miss Gardener, I earnestly deplore the fact that “a great many people undertake to write and speak upon subjects upon which they are too little informed to make themselves clear or to convince a clear thinker,” and I am glad that “she does not wish to join that army.” But I must point out that, in publicly expressing her view of Anarchism, upon which she herself confesses she is very little informed, and certainly not sufficiently so “to make herself clear or to convince a clear thinker,” she took a considerable step in the direction of the army referred to. For this friendly warning Miss Gardener is not expected to be “grateful,” virtue in this case being its own sufficient reward.
The definitions given in the “Twentieth Century” and the criticisms which Mr. Tucker makes of them are interesting. One of the greatest causes of differences among social-economic reformers is the lack of clear definitions of the terms used in their discussions, and it is doing us all a service if some one can give definitions that will be generally accepted. For myself, I believe as Mr. Tucker does regarding Mr. Pentecost’s definitions of Socialism and Anarchism, viz., that they are faulty. When the word Socialism is used, it presents to my mind the picture of a tree, the trunk of which is Socialism and the branches are Social Democracy, Communism, Anarchism, Single-Taxism, Nationalism, Nihilism, Land-Leagueism, or any ism which has for its object the changing of the present status of property and the relations one person or class holds to another. In other words, any movement which has for its aim the changing of social relations, of companionships, of associations, of powers of one class over another class, is Socialism. The anti-slavery movement was essentially Socialistic, because its aim was to change the social relations, of master and slave, to change the association, the companionship, the power of one class over another. It did not aim to change the manner of governing the country, and therefore was not a political movement. It did not aim to change the process of producing and distributing wealth, except in so far as the wealth would be produced by free (?) labor after slavery was abolished, and therefore was not purely an economic movement. In one sense, probably, it might be called an economic movement, because all social movements bear within themselves some economic factors, and when we say Socialism, it carries with it the meaning of some economic changes as well as social changes. But it is possible that a better word can be found or made to express the concept. The word Anarchism presents to my mind now not chaos; not one man flying at another’s throat because there might not be a policeman a mile away; not individualism, in the sense that each one would live by himself and have no intercourse with his fellows; not communism, where all the wealth produced by everybody must be put into a common fund and drawn out only in accordance with the needs of each individual; not coöperation, nor competition, but simply liberty, probably more correctly speaking, freedom, the absence of arbitrary and forceful control of one person or set of people over another person or set of people. It is as though I said: I deny your right to exclude me from any of the natural means of labor that are not used by any one else; I deny your right to take from me against my will any portion whatever of the things that I wring from nature by my own work; I deny your right to lay down rules, without my consent, for my guidance in marriage, in sex relations, in trade, in wealth production, in the time for labor, in the means of exchanging my things for the things of other people, in religion, in language, in anything whatsoever; and what you have no right to do I have no right to do. Anarchy is not to me “the belief in every liberty except the liberty to invade.” The exception implies that there is such a thing as a liberty to invade. I cannot recognize such a liberty. Invasion is the antithesis of liberty. It is license, tyranny, crime. I believe in liberty, freedom. This condition, to my mind, excludes invasion.
Anarchism gives me no prearranged plan for producing and distributing wealth or for keeping the peace, or for education, or for anything else. It is simply planless. All it insists upon is a fair field and no favors. It does not deny the right of government for those who cannot live without government. They may have whatever kind of government they like; they may adopt whatever rules may seem to them best for their own guidance; but they have no right to compel others to live by those rules. Anarchism does what no other ism does: it allows you to make your own plans.
I do not like the idea of comparing Socialism to an army. Militancy is repugnant to true Social-ism. The means of attaining Socialism may or may not assume a militant form, but I believe that so far as it is practicable both the means and the end should be non-militant.
Joseph A. Labadie.
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.