“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
The editor of the “Arena” says that the reason why so many State Socialistic articles appear in his magazine, and so few of individualistic tendencies, is that State Socialism is at present far more popular among reformers than individualism. This is unquestionably a satisfactory explanation, but it is scarcely an excuse.
Boston’s annual services commemorative of the death of the brave men who were hanged in Chicago four years ago by a gang of cowards and tricksters backed by a larger gang of infuriated numbskulls will be held in Paine Memorial Hall on Sunday, November 15, at 8 o’clock in the evening. E. C. Walker, formerly of “Fair Play” and now of Liberty, and Walter Crane, the English artist, are expected to participate.
The Chicago “Herald” thinks it regrettable that the milkmen of that city have seen fit to organize a trust. “The consumer,” it says, “likes to feel that the price of the commodity he is using has been fixed by the law of supply and demand. Of this he will never be sure during the existence of the trust.” Does the law of supply and demand exclude combination? It excludes only legal dictation. Free competition is not strangled by voluntary combinations, since these combinations do not deprive anybody of the opportunity to compete. Men cannot be forced to compete; but they should not be prevented from competing when they deem it advantageous to do so. Most of our judges and editors sadly need light upon the subject of monopoly and its antithesis, competition.
A propos of the recent suspension of the Maverick National Bank, of this city, a Boston Nationalist said to a reporter of the “Herald”: “It does not speak very highly for the sagacity of our much-vaunted business methods that there should be enough business men in Boston willing to intrust $10,000,000 to a bank at whose head stood one of the most reckless speculators of the city. Another astonishing thing about the affair is that the comptroller of the currency, with the very complete information that he must have had about the questionable methods of the bank, should have permitted it to continue in a way that very plainly must have ended as it has. It makes one wonder how many other institutions there are in the country managed upon such lines, and which are allowed to go on receiving the money of innocent depositors and lending it on wild cat collateral. The whole national banking system is wrong. The resources of a large proportion of the banks are employed for purely speculative purposes, and not for legitimate business, and the system places the government, in a certain way, in partnership with speculators whose occupation it is to disturb values. The government should not be in any such business.” So far, well and good. The same thing would be said by a believer in free banking. But the Nationalist adds: “It should discourage speculation, and not encourage it. It should manage its own finances, issue its own currency, and do the banking business itself.” If the government has any finances to manage, nobody will object to its managing them. If it desires to issue currency, let it do so by all means. But the management of the finances of private citizens does not concern it, and there is no reason why it should issue currency for them. They are able to take care of themselves, and do their own banking. Free and mutual banking is a simple remedy; it ought not to be difficult for business men to appreciate its manifest and manifold advantages.
A Drama of Marriage.
By George Forrest.
He entered the room hurriedly and threw off his overcoat. “Have dinner ordered immediately,” he said to the servant, who stood waiting.
His wife was sitting by the table reading; she turned around as he entered.
“Why this hurry, Henry?” she asked.
“Oh,” he answered laughingly, “I have secured a box for the opera tonight. You wished to hear ‘Mignon,’ you know; so we will have to hurry in order to dress and have dinner before we go.”
He walked nervously about the room, with his left hand twirling his black moustache. He was handsome, and, as he walked up and down, he looked in the mirror on the wall frequently.
“Well, Helen,” he said, at last, “are you going to get ready?”
“No,” she answered deliberately, rising from the chair, and staring at him coldly.
“What —” . . . he turned around surprised. “Why, what is the matter; are you not well?”
“Perfectly well,” she replied calmly.
“Then I do not understand you — really — I — One of your foolish moods, I suppose.”
He endeavored to appear calm; but it was evident that her coldness irritated him.
“You do not understand me,” she said; “well, then, I will explain.”
Her voice was cold, and she spoke slowly. She did not look at him now, but rather seemed to be addressing her words to the open grate, before which she had seated herself. He had stopped walking up and down and was standing leaning against the window-frame, in the shadow of the heavy curtains. She looked into the fire, and, although he seemed nervous, allowed considerable time to pass before speaking. Finally she began, still gazing into the hidden depths formed by the glowing coals:
“The reason I do not care to go to the opera with you tonight is because I do not wish you to break your other engagement.”
He stepped forward angrily, and was about to speak when she resumed:
“You need not get angry; it will not improve matters — I know all.”
She gave him an expressive look, but she could not see the effect of her words, as he bad again withdrawn into the shadow of the curtains.
“This afternoon,” she continued, “you met a young woman and made an appointment to meet her this evening at the theatre. You engaged a private box for her and a carriage to take her there. You promised her to bring your wife with you — to another box of course — so that she might see what sort of a woman her lover’s wife was.”
She paused for a few moments, evidently expecting a denial, and looked towards the window where her husband stood. In the darkness she could not see his features: only the white of his shirt front and the gleaming of the pin in his scarf showed that he was there. He evidently felt her gaze, for the curtains were shaking from the grasp of his nervous hand. As he did not speak, she reverted her gaze to the fire, and continued:
“It was all very pleasantly arranged: you were to take me to one box, and then suddenly excuse yourself — some Important business at the office which you had forgotten, I suppose, or a like excuse — and go to her box, point me out to her and — then back to me. Had you been able to carry out this plan, how proud you would have felt to have deceived me so cleverly! Well, your plan has failed —”
She arose now and walked over to where be stood by the curtain, and, drawing it aside, let the dusky light of the evening shine on his face. When she saw how pale and miserable be looked, she almost pitied him; but her voice was as cold as ever as she resumed:
“In a sudden fit of jealousy she came here this afternoon and told me all.”
There was no change in his features as she spoke, and she saw that be had divined the manner in which she had become acquainted with his secret. She let the curtain drop and slowly walked to the table in the centre of the room, on which the lamp stood, and turned up the light; then, in an affected manner, she began looking over the magazines with which the table was strewn. She turned the pages carelessly, still standing, but she did not read — she was waiting for him to break the silence. Finally he came forward slowly, and stood at the other side of the table, facing her, and picked up a magazine; as he turned the pages be spoke:
“Helen” — there was a nervous pause — “it is useless for me to ask forgiveness; I know how you must feel toward me —”
Again he paused; he hardly knew what to say, and he spoke painfully.
“I know you must wish a divorce; but the scandal — my business — It will ruin me. I do not ask you to pity me; but is there no way in which we could arrange matters, and keep up appearances? I have wronged you, and will submit to anything; but a divorce would ruin both of us.”
Their eyes met now for a moment; but he almost instantly turned away.
She spoke, and, for the first time, her voice was a trifle contemptuous:
“You have wronged me, but not in the manner you suppose. We do not love each other; but in order to appear respectable, you wish me to remain in this house as your wife — it is there you wrong me; not by loving another. You love some one else, but I, also, have a lover.”
He turned, pale with passion, and approached her.
“And you dare to tell me this?” he cried threateningly. She did not retreat before him, and contempt, not fear, was in her eyes as she replied:
“Pray do not become theatrical; it is vulgar. My lover is” — she walked over and looked in the mirror — “myself.”
He seemed ashamed now of his violent tone, and when he spoke his voice was very low:
“What are you going to do?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” she replied. “Certainly, I shall not stay here; perhaps I shall travel, perhaps not; but I shall not annoy you. I have no plans except to leave you. You may give it out that I am going abroad for my health, or anything else you please. When I am gone, you will go to her, for I really think you love each other, and —”
He interrupted her:
“And you really think me as low as that?”
She looked displeased at his question.
“Oh, you do not understand,” she replied, “and it is useless for me to attempt to explain. We never could understand each other. We thought we loved, and married. Our love was but the result of like views concerning superficial refinements; but —” she paused — “Oh, you do not understand!”
As she finished speaking she walked slowly into the next room: and he moved over to the window, pressed his hot face against the glass, and gazed out into the darkness.
The clock struck nine, and he started from his position at the window. If he could only meet her tonight! Perhaps she had recovered from her jealousy, and would comfort him; perhaps she might keep the engagement in spite of all; he would go to the opera and see.
When his wife came into the room again, he was not there; but she heard the front door open and shut, and from the window could indistinctly see a form disappear in the darkness.
And she took off her wedding ring and laid it on the table. She looked at the train time-table in the newspaper and ordered the servant to pack a handbag.
Soon another form disappeared in the darkness of the street.
“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.
E. C. Walker, formerly editor of “Fair Play” and now a regular contributor to the columns of Liberty, is also an authorized agent for Liberty and for all books and pamphlets published by Benj. R. Tucker.
A New Book Given Away With Each Renewal. — Payment of subscriptions and of renewals is required in advance. The names of subscribers not heard from within two weeks after expiration of subscription are removed from the list. But to every subscriber who sends his renewal for one year, accompanied by the cash, so that it reaches the publisher not later than two weeks after it is due, will be sent, postpaid, any book published in the United States that the subscriber may select, provided that its retail price does not exceed 50 cents if published by Benj. R. Tucker, or 25 cents if published by any other publisher. This is a permanent offer, and enables every promptly-paying subscriber to get a new book each year free of cost. But only one book will be given at a time, no matter how low the price of the book selected.
Mr. Pentecost an Abettor of Government.
Because I claim and teach that Anarchism justifies the application of force to invasive men and condemns force only when applied to non-invasive men, Mr. Pentecost declares that the only difference between Anarchism on the one hand and Monarchism or Republicanism on the other is the difference between the popular conception of invasion and my own. If I were to assert that biology is the science which deals with the phenomena of living matter and excludes all phenomena of matter that is not living, and if Mr. Pentecost were to say that, assuming this, the only difference between the biological sciences and the abiological is the difference between the popular conception of life and my own, he would take a position precisely analogous to that which he takes on the subject of Anarchism, and the one position would be every whit as sensible and every whit as foolish as the other. The limit between invasion and non-invasion, like the limit between life and non-life, is not, at least in our present comprehension of it, a hard and fast line. But does it follow from this that invasion and non-invasion, life and non-life, are identical? Not at all. The indefinite character of the boundary does no more than show that a small proportion of the phenomena of society, like a small proportion of the phenomena of matter, still resist the respective distinguishing tests to which by far the greater portion of such phenomena have yielded and by which they have been classified. And however embarrassing in practice may be the reluctance of frontier phenomena to promptly arrange themselves on either side of the border in obedience to the tests, it is still more embarrassing in theory to attempt to frame any rational view of society or life without recognition of these tests, by which, broadly speaking, distinctions have been established. Some of the most manifest distinctions have never been sharply drawn.
If Mr. Pentecost will view the subject in this light and follow out the reasoning thus entered upon, he will soon discover that my conception or misconception of what constitutes invasion does not at all affect the scientific differentiation of Anarchism from Archism. I may err grievously in attributing an invasive or a non-invasive character to a given social phenomenon, and, if I act upon my error, I shall act Archistically; but the very fact that I am acting, not blindly and at hap-hazard, but in furtherance of an endeavor to conform to a generalization which is the product of long experience and accumulating evidence adds infinitely to the probability that I shall discover my error. In trying to draw more clearly the line between invasion and non-invasion, all of us, myself included, are destined to make many mistakes, but by our very mistakes we shall approach our goal. Only Mr. Pentecost and those who think with him take themselves out of the path of progress by assuming that it is possible to live in harmony simply by ignoring the fact of friction and the causes thereof. The no-rule which Mr. Pentecost believes in would amount in practice to submission to the rule of the invasive man. No-rule, in the sense of no-force-in-any-case, is a self-contradiction. The man who attempts to practise it becomes an abettor of government by declining to resist it. So long as Mr. Pentecost is willing to let the criminal ride roughshod over him and me, his “preference not to be ruled at all” is nothing but a beatific revelling in sheerest moonshine and Utopia. T.
A Plea for Russian Tyranny.
Below are some passages from a remarkable editorial which lately appeared in the New York “Sun”:
Have Americans any desire to witness the overthrow of the house of Romanoff? That we have is assumed by Mr. Stepniak, a literary representative of the Russian revolutionists, who in the November number of the “North American Review” invites us to subscribe for a paper called “Free Russia,” and for a fund to be applied apparently to the promotion of Nihilist conspiracies. Now, admitting that great sums of money could be raised in the United States for such a purpose, and that the outcome of their application might be the substitution of a Slav republic for Czardom, what should we as Americans have gained? We should have been duped into playing into the bands of our implacable rivals and enemies, the English, and we should have lost the one friend in Europe who has firmly upheld us in the past and upon whose sympathy and succor we might have relied hereafter.
The country most interested in the extinction of the Romanoffs is England. Owing to the contiguity of their Asiatic possessions, the British and Russian governments are irreconcilable foes, and there is no doubt that the stability of British rule in India would be materially augmented by the disruption of the Russian empire, which would almost certainly follow the annihilation of Czardom. The attainment of a republican régime at Moscow or St. Petersburg would naturally be followed by struggles for national independence on the part of the Poles, the Little Russians, the Circassians, the Georgians, and the inhabitants of the annexed Mussulman khanites in central Asia. Only the strong hand of Alexander III. holds together the widely separated and unassimilated conquests made by his predecessors during the last hundred years. They could not remain united under representative institutions, and therefore the proclamation of a Russian republic would be hailed with a sense of relief and of rejoicing in Calcutta and in London. The dream of planting the Russian flag over the mosque of St. Sophia, imputed by legend to Peter the Great, would disappear with the sovereigns who have inherited his programme and England’s fear of Russian interference with the Suez waterway would be dispelled forever.
Such is and will be the attitude of England toward the house of Romanoff so long as nations are governed by an eye to their own interests instead of by utopian visions of the brotherhood of man. The American people, on the other hand, have been taught by long and memorable experience to feel for the dynasty which Alexander III. represents both a deep gratitude for services rendered and a lively sense of the possible value of similar services in the near future. We are not gulled by the tardy professions of kinship on the lips of English statesmen, who, in our hour of trial, looked with undisguised complacency on the prospect of a dissolution of the Union. We have not forgotten that, next to England, the most mischievous and rancorous enemy of our infant commonwealth was the first French republic and the Napoleonic empire which was its outgrowth. It is the house of Romanoff alone which in the great crises of our national existence has stretched forth the hand of a friend, and which is now in a position to place us under still deeper obligations, should England’s secret antipathy to us and her avowed sympathy with Chili, growing out of her commercial relations with that republic, cause her to drift into a hostile attitude toward the United States.
We wonder if it can he imagined that the French republic would at this juncture be a promising field in which to solicit subscriptions destined more or less avowedly for the overthrow of the Czar. The feelings of the French people were clearly enough attested the other day, when Alexander III. wished to borrow some money, by proffering seven times over the amount of the loan desired. Yet never has the Romanoff dynasty done anything for France in the past, and there are as yet no tangible proofs that it means to do anything in the future. It is hope alone that has kindled in the French people an enthusiastic liking for the Czar. The good will with which Americans regard Alexander III. has much deeper and firmer foundations. It is built on the recollection of great acts of friendship done, and upon the faith unshakable that, if ever we should need an ally, the house of Romanoff would again demonstrate that we have at least one friend in Europe.
Here we certainly are confronted with a striking instance of Machiavellianism in international politics. The free, liberty-loving, enlightened, and advanced citizens of the most civilized and powerful republic in the world — I speak by the card — are exhorted to turn a deaf ear to the appeals of the victims of the most cruel tyranny, the most brutal and galling oppression, by a great champion of Jefferson democracy! The conspiracies of a barbarian government are to be connived at if not encouraged; the spontaneous sympathy of refined natures with the wretched sufferers of an ignorant, blind, reactionary, corrupt government is to be repressed; the heroic efforts of progressive minorities, composed of the flower and glory of the best elements of Russian society, are to be regarded with chilly indifference if not with alarm and apprehension; — and all because the United States government needs a powerful ally in Europe, an ally such as the Russian monarch has been. Of course, the “Sun” and its correspondents who endorse the editorial position do not really believe that the Russian ruler is America’s “natural friend”; no sane person can entertain such a wild notion. The Russian government has no love or respect for this government and the institutions of this country; it is not interested in them and never would do the slightest thing to promote their wellbeing. Whatever Russian governments have done for this country, they have certainly never been actuated by any spontaneous and unselfish regard for it. Russia acts as she does not because she loves America more, but because she loves England less. In the so-called anti-slavery war Russia sided with the North simply because (and after) England had befriended the South. Whatever is in Russia’s power to do by way of accentuating her hostility toward England, she will do with avidity; and if the moves which she has made simply as counter-moves to England on the chess-board of European diplomacy have benefited this government, no gratitude, no credit whatever can be claimed for such benefits. The “Sun,” I say, doubtless bears all this in mind, as well as the consideration that, even if Russia’s motives had been such as to entitle her to gratitude and applause, the claims of the victims of Russian governmental methods and dogmas are much higher than the claims the government could present under the most favorable conditions. Gratitude is an admirable thing, and the ungrateful deserve to be disdained; but when the choice lies between being grateful to the tyrant and acquiescent in his outrageous practices, and extending aid to the sufferers in obedience to the most humane impulses at the cost of being voted ungrateful by the malignant despot, the course of the civilized man can be determined without hesitancy. Hence the “Sun” is to be understood as addressing its appeal, not to the feelings excited by the memories of past services, but to emotions engendered by the certainty of future services. Such an appeal would not be discreditable and offensive if there were danger of an immediate attack upon the country, and if the safety of the nation depended upon the attitude of Russia. But the only dangers that threaten the nation come from within, not from without. The nation has nothing to fear except the follies and criminal conspiracies of its rulers and politicians. There is not the least danger of foreign aggression; and while there is some danger of the nation being involved in war through the stupidities and insolence of our military gentlemen, it is generally believed that mischief could be avoided by compelling them to keep sober. This country is strong and rich enough to take care of itself; it has no need of European allies; yet the “Sun” and its correspondents discourage the attempt to enlist the sympathies of liberty-loving Americans in the cause of Russian progress, and cynically avow their preference for the continued existence of a brutal despotism which ruthlessly destroys every germ of civilization within its domain, for the sake of securing what is at best a needless luxury.
There is, of course, slight need of combatting the “Sun’s” position. It only reveals its own Machiavellian tendencies, and will influence no one. True lovers of freedom, justice, and progress will not be induced to repress their sympathies with the Russian revolutionists by such marshalling of far-fetched diplomatic speculations. But the incident is well worth noting and considering. V. Y.
The New Orleans “Picayune” has evidently something more than a superficial knowledge of the lawmaker. In its issue of Oct. 20, referring to the then threatened inundation of Baltimore by a flood of Sunday sanctity, it said:
Beginning with next Sunday, nothing is to be sold in Baltimore on that day of the week but ice, bread, and milk. This is in accordance with an old State statute, and the authorities are determined to enforce it, in the belief that by so doing it may be made so obnoxious that some future legislature will have the courage to vote for its repeal. But it should be remembered that the average law-maker, who runs with the hares and hunts with the bounds, has not the courage to denounce absurd Sunday laws that are thrown as a sop to the pious. They content themselves with breaking the laws without advocating their repeal.
An “Ex-Southern Soldier” writes to the New York “Sun” regarding the possible war with Chili. Here are three short paragraphs of his letter:
War between Chili and the United States would end forever all sectional talk in this country. A call for volunteers would meet with instant response from every Southern State.
The men of the North and the men of the South marching together to uphold the Republic’s honor would disrupt the Republican party.
A war with Chili would unite our country in a new brotherhood. Then, indeed, it would be a blessing in disguise.
No doubt this was very acceptable to the presiding genius of the “Sun.” Just now Dana is storming about the sanctum, hurling maledictions at the Chilians and calling in eight octaves for their gore, pausing occasionally to make derisive and defiant motions with his hand in contact with other portions of his anatomy in the direction of England. In a corner are piled some maps and a directory of Chicago. Behind these the office cat has taken refuge, where it tremblingly waits for the subsidence of the storm. Even the chronic Clevelandphobia has been temporarily forgotten in the frenzy of the moment. But to recur to my text, the letter of the Confederate veteran. Imagine, if you can, how beautiful would be this spectacle of “the men of the North and the men of the South marching together to uphold the republic’s honor”! A nation of sixty-five millions jumping on a country of three millions, the latter torn by faction, weakened by civil war, its government provisional and unstable I How gloriously the “honor” of a strong man would be upheld by “war” with a crippled boy! Satan save the “republic’s honor” when Charles A. Dana and “Ex-Southern Soldier” go “marching together” to Chili in order to “unite our country in a new brotherhood.” Can the North and South find no cement strong enough to bind them together save the blood of wholesale murder?
From the report of the proceedings of the American Public Health Association, recently in session in Kansas City, I take the following excerpt:
Hon. Albert H. Horton, chief justice of the Kansas supreme court, followed with an address on “The Necessity of More Stringent Legislation to Repress Empiricism.” Empiricism, he said, was one of the worst obstacles in the path of the progress of medicine. There were a few learned members of the empirical school, but most empirics were mountebanks, ignorant wandering quacks, totally ignorant of the science of medicine. There could be no doubt that the practice of these empirics was harm to any community, and they should be repressed. The Legislatures of the various States had the power to regulate empiricism in medicine, and it was their duty to provide such regulations.
A vote of thanks was extended to Justice Horton for his paper.
Mr. Albert H. Horton of Atchison thus gives notice in advance that he will hold to be constitutional any medical monopoly law which the legislature of Kansas may in its infinite ignorance see fit to enact. Why the private relations of the patient and his physician should be made a matter of public legislation Justice Horton does not condescend to state (so far as the above report enlightens us); neither does it appear why a public health association should give a vote of thanks to a lawyer for reading before it a special plea in favor of legal meddling in a relation over which neither the lawyer nor the association has rightfully any control. Judging from his record I should say that Justice Horton knows as little about justice as he does about the history of medicine, and how very limited is his information concerning the latter is shown by his statement that empiricism is “one of the worst obstacles in the path of the progress of medicine.” That it is now moderately safe for a sick man to place himself under the guidance of the best physicians is due almost wholly to the fact that the “empirics,” the “non-professionals,” the “irregulars,” the “quacks,” have forced the precedent-followers to gradually abandon the unscientific and barbarous theories and practices of the ancients and adopt new and improved remedies and methods. This is a truth known in a general way to most readers of average intelligence and is admitted by many of the ablest physicians themselves. That Horton is not acquainted with it does not seem strange to one who knows the man, his class, and his surroundings. Such historical facts are parts of the fund of accurate knowledge, and Justice Horton is a Kansas Republican judge. That “the legislatures of the various States” have “the power to regulate empiricism in medicine” I do not doubt, for they have the power to do any evil thing to which the majority of the multitude will meekly submit, but any implication that such legislation would be in consonance with the law of equal freedom is quite another matter, and the soundness of any assumption of that nature Anarchists and Individualists will emphatically deny. I am very glad to be able to state that many men and women who are not consistent Anarchists are yet in so far lovers of liberty as to be unyielding opposers of all such legislation as that favored by Justice Horton in his address before the American Public Health Association.
The declaration of the treasurers of the various Republican committees that not a penny has been contributed to their coffers by the Boston liquor dealers deserves to be accepted as conclusive evidence on this point. The liquor dealers are not fools, and they would scarcely be guilty of showing their hands in that way. — Boston Herald.
Some men must and do contribute money to help defray the campaign expenses of the various political parties. Is there any valid reason in the nature of things why a liquor manufacturer or dealer should not contribute as innocently as an editor, a preacher, a car-builder, a pork-packer, a dry-goods merchant, a corset manufacturer, a stove-maker, a coal dealer, a grain speculator, or any other man engaged in an occupation more or less injurious than that of the liquor man? I can see none. The fact that the liquor seller is a more potent power in politics than is any other business man (with the probable exception of the financier) is due very largely, if not almost entirely, to the fact that the hypocrites, fanatics, and blundering philanthropists have forced him into a position of political prominence by their malicious or foolish attempts to annihilate him by law. He does not annihilate easily; in fact, he gets the best of his unscientific antagonists every time; what he loses in one direction he makes up in another, and he is today more nearly the final arbiter of party destinies than ever before, even though it is considered extremely hazardous for it to be known that the campaign committee of a party has accepted a contribution from him.
The New York “Ledger” tells of a Frenchman who, at the close of the last century, was sentenced for house-breaking to 100 years in the galleys. He was then about twenty years of age, and recently he was released from confinement, having served his full sentence. The “Ledger” speaks of him, returning to his native province, as “a living proof of the clemency of heaven and the severity of man.” Say rather of the non-existence of “heaven” and the stereotyped cruelty of human law. Whether the story be true or false, its telling serves to bring afresh to our minds the awful barbarity of the world’s treatment of its “criminals.” Some progress in the direction of reason and decency has been made, it is true, but see how far we had to come! And how far we have to go! Think of the convict barracks of the South, and then of a young man of the race noted for the extreme longevity of many of its members given a life sentence in Tennessee or Georgia. When one contemplates the possible in such a case the story of the old Frenchman does not seem so improbable.
How little respect the average man has for law, as law, when it conflicts with his business interests or his habits is shown by the treatment accorded the prohibitory law of Iowa in the “river cities” of that State. Editor Thayer of the Clinton “Age” has this to say about the “success” of the law in that city:
The city of Clinton has spent in two years $600,000 in street improvements, but bless you, we could not have done it if we had allowed ourselves to be hampered with that infernal prohibitory law which prostrates human energy and drives wide-awake people away. We told the saloon men to open decent places, run them properly, pay certain assessments for police and fire expenses, and they would be all right. You cannot convict anybody in Clinton of running a saloon. First is needed an informer. There are no informers in Clinton. Next, a sworn complaint. Well, the man who would make it would be kicked into the Mississippi River. You could not find a magistrate to issue a warrant; you could not impanel a jury that would convict; and there is not a constable or deputy sheriff that would execute a process. We have not a judge here, I think, that would sentence a man for selling liquor in a decent way. Now, do not think we are a set of heathens; we are not; we simply do not believe in the prohibition law; we do not think the law was passed by the greatest number for the greatest good.
Numbers count with Mr. Thayer; how long would he tolerate the open violation by one person, or by two or three persons, of a law equally invasive if he and the majority of his neighbors happened to believe in the righteousness of that law? The banking law or the marriage statutes, for instance?
The defeat this year of the People’s party in Kansas will bring no grief to the heart of any all-around libertarian. Nearly every demand of the party contemplates an increase of the functions of the government or an extension and intensification of its present powers. Last winter the party in Kansas had an opportunity to place itself on record upon the living issue of prohibition versus liberty,— and it did. It had an overwhelming majority of the lower house of the legislature, and when the question of the resubmission of the prohibitory amendment to the State constitution came up, its representatives voted solidly “nay,” while the Republicans and Democrats voted “aye.” The Democrats acted consistently with the traditions and platform of their party, and the Republicans directly antagonistic to theirs, but from no love of liberty, you may be sure, — merely to throw responsibility for the defeat of resubmission from their shoulders. A large majority of the People’s party representatives voted against resubmission because they were paternalists by instinct and education; the others, because they wanted to catch the moral and religious vote in future elections. Well, they caught it this year under the fifth rib. At which Freedom smiles and rejoices.
Kate Field, in describing the little “sheep-pen,” as she designates the women’s gallery in the House of Commons, says:
The gallery still remains small, dark, and well-nigh intolerable. Hung high in the air like a bird-cage, a heavy iron grating conceals its occupants from the view of the House, and, unless you are fortunate enough to obtain one of eighteen front seats, you see nothing whatever and hear with great trouble. Yet when, in 1876, Sergeant Sherlock proposed to remove the prison bars, he was unmercifully snubbed.
Of course it was merely mulish prejudice and stupid conservatism that sneered at Sergeant Sherlock. The men who sneered and snubbed had some reasoning faculties, no doubt, but they were all awry. This characteristic displacement of the several parts of the Englishman’s thinker is very annoying to progressive persons, but the affliction is one common to all races and nations. Whoever attempts to “remove the prison bars” is sure to be “unmercifully snubbed”; if he escapes with his liberty and life he is very fortunate. Millions have lost both, and so will millions more. The prospect is not encouraging, but it is better to be rubbed out in conflict than to rust out in lethargic inactivity.
When the Federal Supreme Court convened for the October term three of the justices were absent. Accordingly the most important cases were postponed for a hearing before a full bench. — Today.
If the State were what it pretends to be, the employee of the people, it would heavily fine these Supreme Court judges for non-attendance to their duties, or dismiss them from the service if they proved incorrigible in their neglect, as most of them have. They are said to be years behind with their work. But they seem to be utterly careless of the plainest rights and most obvious interests of those who have causes pending before their tribunal. Could not private enterprise more quickly, cheaply, and equitably adjust differences and protect person and property?
The drama as it is in Realism — with a capital R — has not resulted in an upheaval of the stage after all. The iniquity and inanity of “Margaret Fleming” has perished of its own imbecility, and Shakspere and Sardou still survive. — Boston Budget.
Viewed from the standpoint of ordinary moralism, where is the “iniquity” in “Margaret Fleming”? Its standard of sexual conduct is differentiated from the orthodox one only in this — it holds man to the same accountability that it does woman; it would not have society condone in him what it never forgives in her. Is this what constitutes its “iniquity” in the eyes of the “Budget”? If so, the reason is obvious. The “inanity” of this drama is the inanity of all asceticism, puritan narrowness, and anti-naturalism; there is in it nothing strange or startling, and nothing new except its partial revolution of dramatic method.
E. C. Walker.
Chicago boosts it slew a vulture; cries,
“Lo, error quenched!” but, from those ashes born,
Freedom, broad-winged and radiant, shall rise,
World-healing like the morn.
Harry Lyman Koopman.
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.