“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 influence of women in politics, says the New York “Sun,” is thoroughly partisan. “They are not mugwumps. They take one side or the other without reservation, and they are therefore the sort of allies a party wants.” Precisely; and yet no intelligent woman will take this as a compliment. The “Sun’s” hatred of manliness, independence, and sobriety in politics is notorious. Women who merit the “Sun’s” warm praise as politicians, cannot be trusted with the ballot.
A correspondent of the New York “Evening Post” says that the government rain-making expedition is considered in Texas “one of the grandest frauds perpetrated upon the people for a long time. The rain-makers were the butt of every joker; they were afraid to touch off their own bombs, and produced none of the results which they claim in their official and unofficial reports.” Commenting editorially upon the specifications of its correspondent, the “Post” says: “The spectacle of this gang of charlatans and ignoramuses going about the country as a scientific expedition, authorized and paid by the government, is one of the most astonishing ever presented in a civilized land. What an impressive idea it must convey to the people of the West of the intelligence of the Harrison Administration!”
When the Memphis “Commercial,” in answer to Liberty’s comments, declares that “banks ought to be free of all government control, direction, or interference,” it unquestionably commits itself to the free money position in the most complete and satisfactory manner. But when it adds that there are free banks in Tennessee “that are models of what such institutions should be,” it shows that it has a very inadequate conception of what freedom in banking means. Of course there are no free banks in Tennessee. Let any one of the “model” institutions referred to attempt to issue money, and the “Commercial” will see how quickly the government will tax it out of existence. These banks are not free to issue currency, and without such freedom they are not free banks. Freedom in banking does not mean simply that there shall be no governmental supervision of accounts; it means also — and this is much the more vital meaning of the two — that there shall be no prohibition, prescription, or regulation of function. The government is far less injuriously meddlesome in inquiring how well the banker does his work than in dictating what work he may or may not do.
I am asked by “Egoism” to state why women compositors should be paid lower rates than men, even when their work is of exactly equal quality. The fact that “Egoism” asks the question shows that it does not understand my use of the phrase “exactly equal quality.” A careful examination of the paragraph in which I took the position that puzzles “Egoism” will show that I meant the phrase to be taken in a restricted sense, referring only to speed and accuracy of composition and beauty of typography. Apart from the special inferiority of woman as printer (a rule to which there are many exceptions), there exists the general inferiority of woman as worker and employee (a rule to which there are but few exceptions). Even the skilled women printers, as a rule, show the average woman’s lack of ambition, of self-reliance, of sense of business responsibility, and of interest in her employer’s undertakings. In the absence of these qualities they cannot be as successful as men industrially. That they will never acquire these qualities I by no means dogmatically assert. I only know that at present they lack them. Should these deficiencies be overcome, they would command the same wages as men, and I should be heartily glad to see such a result. But “Egoism” cites the fact that fifty-five women printers of San Francisco receive men’s wages. An isolated fact, however, seldom proves anything. If the death rate in San Francisco were decreasing, it would not follow that the death rate in the United States was not increasing. There may be a complexity of factors, of which I know nothing, that give rise to the San Francisco phenomenon. Not knowing them, I can give no explanation. But the opposite general truth is too well established to be thus easily overthrown.
Here is a characteristic utterance from the editorial columns of the State Socialist organ, “The People”: “Hugh O. Pentecost expresses the opinion that Socialism would increase slavery. As this individual has, over his own signature, admitted that ‘necessity’ justifies a man to act contrary to his principles, what he says is now of even less interest than it ever was before. We can now take permanent leave of this fit sample of Anarchy, and leave him, with his brazen front, to enjoy the savory company of his mental counterparts and doubles who can be seen any night walking the streets, ready, through I necessity,’ to sell themselves for bread.” Coming from such an ardent and devoted champion of the downtrodden and disinherited, this way of talking of the prostitutes is extraordinary. Would State Socialists advise these unfortunates to commit suicide? As to the question of sacrificing principles, are we to understand that State Socialists practise what they preach and do nothing which is inconsistent with their principles? I know that there are saloon-keepers, grocers, butchers, lawyers, and other bourgeois among the State Socialists; and yet the “People” does not denounce their consenting to do as the Romans do. But that which strikes me as the most absurd in the above deliverance is the implication that the men who act contrary to their principles can say nothing worth considering and answering. Cannot a prostitute make a good argument against the present system and in favor of State Socialism — I mean as good an argument as the Socialists who are not prostitutes make? Cannot a lawyer make an acceptable plea for State Socialism? Then why has Mr. Pentecost ceased to be interesting, and his opinions about Socialism important, since he resolved to practise law? How does the private life of a person affect the truth and soundness of his views?
On “the day after” the elections the New York “Tribune” indulged in the following sober reflections: “It does not seem to us altogether encouraging or inspiriting to look out upon the sort of turmoil that has been going on for these three or four weeks and reflect that all this is in the ordinary and apparently necessary process of self-government; that all this tumult in which there seemed nothing but a vast uproar of confused and indistinguishable sounds without sense or reason is what happens and must happen every time we set ourselves to choosing the persons who shall make and execute the laws and administer public affairs. The spectacle presented, the personal appearance, language, manners, address, habits of the conspicuous persons in these demonstrations, the character of the places they frequent, the aspect of their surroundings, the instruments they use, and the methods they pursue, are not calculated to flatter our national pride or increase our self-respect. We are unable to see anything in this that educates the masses or lifts them above sordid and selfish interests. On the contrary, there is much that is demoralizing and degrading. There is one comfort out of all of it, though, and that is the reflection born out of our experience as a nation that, however the masses may be misled and deceived by appeals to ignorance, prejudice, and passion, they can be safely trusted in the end to do what is right.” By doing “what is right” the “Tribune” of course means voting for high tariff and the Republican party, and this reflection, we admit, is full of comfort for the “Tribune.” But what comfort is there “out of all of it” for those who radically differ from the “Tribune” on the question of what is right? They can only hope that the “Tribune” will find itself mistaken and disappointed, and that the people will show that they are not to be trusted to do what is right in the “Tribune’s” eyes. However, I am glad to know that the “Tribune” is not blind to the condition and tendencies of American politics.
Mr. Babcock Heard From.
To the Editor of Liberty:
A young man may, perhaps without reproach, change his opinions with every book he reads; but such recantations as those in which he attempts to reproach a former opponent appear to lack the element of sincerity. Victor Yarros now renounces views he expressed in a discussion with me four years ago (in which, by the way, he used twice or thrice the space I did, — confirming, as his own words now testify, the old maxim of the courts that “the weaker the cause the longer the argument”). He now seeks to set up his tent on my camping ground; but I cannot say that I am proud of such an ally. He now confesses that the positions I combatted were “monstrously absurd and miserably nonsensical”; and yet says they were good enough for my “weak case.” Can any one imagine any case to be weaker than that which he describes as his own? It has been said of an Englishman, distinguished in public life, that he was “inebriated by the exuberance of his own verbosity.” It may be that it is this vice, in a milder form, of which this young man is a victim. It might, perhaps, conduce to a cure if he would think as well as read. J. M. L. Babcock.
Mr. Babcock’s impertinent puerilities are beneath notice. I must, however, disabuse my venerable friend’s mind of the notion that I am seeking an alliance with him or applying for space on his camping ground. As I have repeatedly stated, I accept the ethical philosophy of Spencer, and am a “rational utilitarian.” The evolution philosophy being a sealed book to Mr. Babcock, and Spencerian ethics requiring a more scientific mind than Mr. Babcock has been endowed with, it is not to be wondered at that he cannot distinguish between my position and his own. The truth is he talks about ethics without attaching any significance to his terms. Men in his camp readily dispense with ideas; words are sufficient to them. Mr. Babcock’s advice to think as well as to read is most excellent; but why has he failed to act upon it himself? Or is it something which he has just learned? If so, I grieve to say that his important discovery will be of little use to him, for, alas! he cannot think. V. Y.
“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.
The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.
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.
Henry George’s “Open Letter” to the Pope, in which we find one per cent. of single-tax economics and ninety-nine per cent. of sickening cant and hypocritical piety, may be welcomed with cheerful satisfaction by philosophical reformers. This document must have the effect of alienating from this amateur theological humbug the sympathies of all progressive and scientific minds. Whatever may be thought of the plausibility and economic significance of the single tax method of solving the land question, the transparent sophistry of the man who, to ingratiate himself with the adherents of the prince of impostors at the head of a most powerful religious organization, appeals to and exploits religious superstitions, delusions, fallacies, and imaginings cannot but bring intelligent single-taxers to a realizing sense of his utter littleness and insignificance. The single-tax remedy deserves attention and consideration; but the single-tax was not invented or discovered by George. The elements that are peculiarly and indubitably his are precisely those which need to be carefully eliminated and vigorously repudiated in order to secure for the essential economic lessons of the single-tax plan a respectful hearing. As long as George is tolerated in the position of leader, as long as he continues to defy sense and logic by his negro-revival-meeting style of argument and appeal, no thinking man will accord the single-tax movement favorable notice.
Let us amuse ourselves with a few of the gems presented in the “Open Letter.”
Socialism in all its phases looks on the evils of our civilization as springing from the inadequacy or inharmony of natural relations, which must be artificially organized or improved. In its idea there devolves on the State the necessity of intelligently organizing the industrial relations of men; the construction, as it were, of a great machine whose complicated parts shall properly work together under the direction of human intelligence. This is the reason why Socialism tends toward Atheism. Failing to see the order and symmetry of natural law, it fails to recognize God. On the other hand, we who call ourselves single-tax men see in the social and industrial relations of men not a machine which requires construction, but an organism which needs only to be suffered to grow. We see in the natural social and industrial laws such harmony as we see in the adjustments of the human body, and that as far transcends the power of man’s intelligence to order and direct as it is beyond man’s intelligence to order and direct the vital movements of his frame. This is the reason why to us political economy only serves to show the depth of wisdom in the simple truths which common people beard gladly from the lips of Him of whom it was said with wonder: “Is not this the Carpenter of Nazareth?”
Theological cant aside, it appears that George here seeks to convey that, whereas State Socialists look to artificial organizations, single-taxers are content to suffer society to grow according to the natural divine law. This is an ancient and meaningless and false contrast. None but crack-brained religious fanatics logically adhere to this doctrine. It implies the total absence of the institutions which accompany civilization. Organizations for the protection of life and property, courts of justice, coöperative associations, credit, industry, in short, everything which makes social life what it is, may in one sense be described as artificial and as operating under the direction of human intelligence. Then, again, if it is impious to depend on human intelligence and artificial organization in social interests, it is equally impious to admit these elements in arranging individual affairs. Only those consistently follow the rule laid down by George who literally take no thought of the morrow, consult no physician, and do nothing for themselves. The real contrast is not between those who favor artificial organization and those who depend on “nature,” but between those who trust to liberty, spontaneity, voluntary action, and those who preach and exercise compulsion. There certainly is a real and important difference between the policy of State Socialists, who surrender the individual almost unconditionally into the hands of the majority, and the policy of the Individualists, who would observe the law of equal freedom and rest content with the arrangements which might be evolved under it. The rational objection is not to artificial organization, but to the methods by which certain artificial organizations are sought to be forced upon the whole body of men, in utter disregard of the feelings and convictions of the minority. Now, when this test is applied to George and his schemes, he at once falls under the same category with the State Socialists. For, while it is true that his system involves a little less tyranny than does complete State Socialism, yet in numerous respects it contemplates violation of equal freedom. George is as ignorant of the law of equal freedom and its corollaries as the State-Socialists, and no single-taxer has ever attempted to square his system with that law. George and his faithful followers are not Individualists, and they are guilty of the offence of endeavoring to force certain artificial organizations upon unwilling bodies of men.
Thus, to us, all that is needed to remedy the evils of our time is to do justice and give freedom.
As to justice, George assigns the term no particular meaning. He does not use it as an exact, scientific term, and no argument is possible on the point. Those who know what justice means know that George does not propose to do justice. To do justice is to observe the law of equal freedom, which George neither understands nor concerns himself with. But when he pretends to give freedom, he can be flatly contradicted and conclusively refuted. To tax economic rent, to expropriate the cultivators of land, is not to give freedom. In the matter of land tenure, freedom is compatible only with “occupying ownership.”
Since the need for public revenues that arises with the institution of governments is a natural need, God must have provided some way of supplying it. The Intent of God that the State should obtain its revenues by taxing land values is shown by the same order and degree of evidence that shows that God has intended the milk of the mother for the nourishment of the babe, and that the social evils of our time are the result of our neglect to follow God’s intent. There is, indeed, as Bishop Nulty says, a peculiar beauty in the clearness with which the wisdom and benevolence of Providence are revealed in this great social fact, the provision made for the common needs of society in what economists call the law of rent. Of all the evidence that natural religion gives it is this that most clearly shows the existence of a beneficent God and most conclusively silences the doubts that in our days lead so many to materialism.
For in this beautiful provision made by natural law for the social needs of civilization we see that God has intended civilization; that all our discoveries and inventions do not and cannot outrun His forethought; and that steam, electricity, and labor-saving appliances make the great moral laws clearer and more important. In the growth of this great fund, increasing with social advance, — a fund that accrues from the growth of the community and belongs therefore to the community, — we see not only that there is no need for the taxes that lessen wealth, that engender corruption, that promote inequality and teach men to deny the gospel, but that to take this fund for the purpose for which it was evidently intended would in the highest civilization secure to all the equal enjoyment of God’s bounty, the abundant opportunity to satisfy their wants, and provide amply for every legitimate need of the State.
Were I a believer in God-ism I should be at a loss to find terms strong enough to express my condemnation of these blasphemous and puerile constructions. None but a hypocrite or a fool can make the assertion that the law of rent was provided as a way of supplying the need of public revenues. Men generally pay directly for the satisfaction of their natural needs, and, if government is one of their natural needs, there is no reason why each citizen should not pay his share in the same way in which he pays for his food. And then think of the imbecility which this view imputes to God. Having provided such an ingenious device, he has been unable to induce men to follow his intent and has witnessed the defeat of his favorite scheme in helpless anger and disgust! How grateful he must be to the mortal George, who has so generously taken up the cudgels for his cause and determined to adjust things here below in accordance with his original intentions. Really, God ought to resign, and let George ascend his throne. After so many thousands of years of failure and disappointment, God’s incapacity must be plain to everybody. George would certainly give greater satisfaction. I nominate him for the position of God.
George does not seem to be disturbed by the fact that, while nobody denies the reality of the facts which are generalized under the phrase, “the law of rent,” few admit that the taxation of economic rent “would provide amply for every legitimate need of the State.” What, indeed, does George care? The others are simply not in it. Their facts, figures, speculations, theories amount to nothing. He knows God’s intent, and he is going to carry it out. Without George, God could accomplish nothing; with George, victory is assured.
The Anarchists, . . . . seeing the many evils of too much government, regard government in itself as evil, and believe that in the absence of coercive power the mutual interests of men would secure voluntarily what coöperation is needed.
The implied definition of Anarchism as “the absence of coercive power” is not accepted by intelligent Anarchists. Coercive power and government, as has been repeatedly pointed out, are not used as synonyms by Anarchists. Government is invasive coercive power. Anarchists would use coercion to secure respect for the law of equal freedom.
Looking on the bodily organism as the analogue of the social organism, and on the proper functions of the State as akin to those that in the human organism are discharged by the conscious intelligence. . . . . the Anarchists seem to us like men who would try to get along without heads.
George seems to us (and undoubtedly is) an ignoramus. Think of Harrison, Wanamaker, and Congress discharging the functions of “the conscious intelligence”! George’s point of view justifies absolute despotism, for looking on the bodily organism as the analogue of the social organism, it is plainly absurd and monstrous for the citizens to rebel against the rule of the government, which is their head or brain. How can George presume to advocate his single-tax when the “head” has pronounced against it? George has evidently seen somewhere the expression “social organism,” and, without stopping to study its proper meaning and application, has sought to exploit it in the interest of his pet scheme. But he proves too much, and commits intellectual suicide. The theory of “free government” is that the people deliberately institute a government to protect their lives and liberties. Think of the people “instituting” a “conscious intelligence” to think for them and guide them! V. Y.
The Indianapolis “Sentinel” strongly condemns the latest police outrages in Chicago. Is the light coming at last?
What a sorry thing is our civilization! Everywhere it is stained with the blood of the helpless. There is a legend which tells how, some few thousands of years ago, our race was intrusted with power — fatal gift! A Big Sky-Man gave us dominion over the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field. The powerful and cunning of our tribes interpreted “beasts of the field” to include nearly all of their own species, and “dominion” to mean a license to torture and kill. The work of slaughter began; it has not for a moment ceased, and today lordly man finds his most “manly sport” in maiming and murdering. Anglo-Saxon virtue affects to be horrified at the Spanish and Mexican bull-fight, but it is blind to the despicable cowardice and wanton cruelty of the pigeon-shooting match. Possibly its preference for the latter is because of the fact that it is less dangerous to the butchers than is the bull-fight. And it does not require much valor to shoot and snare the song birds and birds of rich plumage, while the dear “ladies” can wear the mutilated bodies in their hats without incurring the least danger. They get their “dominion” second-hand. The featherless biped who has not wit enough for anything else has just sufficient sense to point a gun at defenceless birds, as witness this from “Black and White”:
It has sometimes been supposed that Coleridge, in the “Ancient Mariner,” did something to check the barbarous custom of slaughtering sea birds, but a correspondent of a London contemporary informs a Manchester paper that in some of the Yorkshire watering places guns are regularly let out to visitors, who make a practice of killing and maiming the birds for the mere pleasure of destroying them. The seagull is useless for food, and the men whose wanton cruelty is exposed do not, it seems, even attempt to secure their prey. The favorite plan is to fire at first indiscriminately. Then, when the birds hover over a wounded companion, wholesale and indiscriminate slaughter is attempted.
Some time ago Dr. Dorman of New Haven delivered a lecture in that city upon “Sensual Impurity.” One of his utterances was this:
Professors of Yale would not like a lecture like this given to the young men of Yale College, and yet it is a fact that at a recent reception given at the Yale Art School there were exposed to a mixed gathering nude figures which would make a lady blush with shame.
Why is it that so many people, apparently sane on other subjects, become crazy as loons when the nude human body, or a representation of it, is seen or mentioned? Under such circumstances, although to all appearances docile and harmless before their exposure, they become ungovernably violent, sometimes actually homicidal. It is a wonder that they do not destroy themselves in a frenzy of horror when they prepare for the bath. But perhaps they never undress except in the dark. It has often been noticed that these people think that “young girls” and “ladies” are particularly liable to be attacked and devoured by anything nude in art or nature. Dr. Dorman, for example, is sure that certain “nude figures” which were “exposed to a mixed gathering” were calculated to “make a lady blush with shame.” Just why a “lady” should be in greater danger than a “gentleman” I do not know. It is my opinion that plain, common-sense men and women will not blush at the nude in art or humanity, but they may blush for the Dormans and Comstocks. Of course these foolish prudes would be subjects for jest and laughter only were it not for the fact that they appeal to the State — and generally with success — to compel us all to accept their particular style of art and notions regarding garmenture. Backed by the State they are invasive and dangerous as well as ludicrous.
The Fall fashions are particularly artistic and graceful in the long, clinging effect of draperies. But they are adapted to poetic effects, to the grace of leisure, to a more ideal ordering of daily life which might be sought and studied with advantage. — Boston Budget.
In a world where the major portion of the fruits of toil are appropriated without equivalent by law-created Privilege it is somewhat difficult for the masses of the people to have much personal acquaintance with “the grace of leisure.” It is pleasant to read of “a more ideal ordering of daily life,” yet there are serious difficulties in the way in a country where the monopolizers of opportunity are chartered and protected by government.
I am pleased to see that the Boston “Herald” is not Sabbatarian and has the courage necessary to administer a rebuke to the United States Circuit Court of Tennessee. But will the “Herald” speak with equal clearness in behalf of men who are persecuted, not because they keep “the seventh day,” but because they do not keep any holy day? Here is what it says concerning the celebrated King case:
Seventh Day Adventists are indignant, and with good reason, over the imprisonment and fine of one of their faith in Tennessee for ploughing his field on Sunday. Like the Jews, he kept “the seventh day” of the commandments as the sabbath, and like them this Seventh Day man has a right to claim that his religious convictions must be respected in a free republic. The United States Circuit Court should find better work to do than expounding mediæval law.
Charles Delmonico has received a present that made him an object of envy to such of the inveterate smokers of Wall street as were favored with a glimpse of it. In a broad, flat box of cedar, snugly draped in fancy paper, reposed twenty-five cigars, which in the retail trade, could they be obtained, would cost the purchasers $1.80 each. The gift was Bent from one of the largest cigar factories in Cuba as a special compliment to Mr. Delmonico. They are a part of 1,000 cigars made to order for the Prince of Wales, who will pay at the rate of $1,800 a thousand for them. The manufacturer writes that these cigars actually cost him $1 each before they leave the factory. They are probably the most expensive cigars ever brought to this country. — N. Y. dispatch to Chicago Herald.
If Wales had to pay for his fumigators he would find a much cheaper cigar more to his taste, but so long as his mother’s subjects foot the bills he has no reason to curtail his extravagance. How many working men in Great Britain perceive the folly and injustice of these things and are really desirous of helping themselves out of this era of barbaric wastefulness and pinching poverty into one of economic equity? And, on the other hand, how many short-sighted toilers are there who are simply envious of Wales and his kind and who would, if they could, gladly exchange places with these leeches and suck the life out of others as their own is being sucked, instead of putting an end to the whole despoiling system by the abolition of law-buttressed monopoly? Alas I there are a million of the latter to a hundred of the former, and because this is so there is little hope that the hereditary princelings and the kings of finance, manufacture, trade, transportation, and the gamblers in land will soon be dispossessed of their baleful power. E. C. Walker.
Chicago has some dangerous elements, — sworn enemies of peace and order. It is needless to say that I allude to the police. It seems that the Chicago police ruffians are anxious to provoke another Haymarket affair, and the usual tactics are relied on to bring it about. The Chicago “Herald” of Nov. 14 says editorially: “The present week has noted two episodes that will do serious injury to Chicago, because they show it is not law we depend on for order. A policeman holding a place as inspector interfered illegally with a meeting of avowed Anarchists. He should have interfered legally. He should have arrested every man who uttered one word calculated to excite treason. He should have made arrests, if justified, quietly and without bluster or bravado. Instead of doing this, he theatrically ordered the president of the meeting, at which no illegal word had been uttered up to that time, to put an American flag on the platform — as if that would have the slightest effect. Instead of being rebuked for illegal conduct, Inspector Hubbard has been officially commended by Mayor Washburne. Thursday night Inspector Lewis followed the vicious example set by Hubbard. He made forcible entry into a beer saloon, without warrant in law or, so far as appears, in fact, looted the meeting-rooms of a number of labor unions, frightened nearly to death a woman and a sick girl, dragged twenty-five men to a station house, and did not dare make a charge of Anarchy against one of them. There is no evidence that an Anarchy meeting was being held at all.” Perhaps we should be thankful to see a Chicago paper condemn even illegal treatment of Anarchists. But after all, if the law of Illinois is as the “Herald” represents, how much better is it than the police whom the “Herald” condemns? To inculcate the notion that it is just to arrest and punish every utterer of Anarchistic sentiments is more damaging to freedom than any police brutalities, however illegal or wanton.
Boston’s Memorial Services.
The meeting held in Paine Hall, Boston, on Sunday evening, November 15, to pay the annual tribute to the memories of the Chicago martyrs was a very successful one, the hall being filled with an earnest audience. Speeches were made by David Taylor (who presided), A. H. Simpson, Walter Crane (the English artist and Socialist), and Carl Friede. Mr. Crane concluded his speech by reading the following sonnets:
With stilled voice who crieth from the West,
Where sinks the ensanguined sun of Freedom erst
That spread her stainless wings and sheltering nurst
From out all lands, the hunted and opprest?
America! shrink not from thy new guest;
For liberty was thine for best or worst;
How should her seed upon thy land be curst
Till her false friends as traitors stand confest?
Doth Freedom dwell where ruthless kings of gain
Like stealthy vampires still on Labor feed,
Still free, to toil or starve on plenty’s plain?
Then what of Labor’s hope — the will to be
Equal, fraternal, knowing want nor greed,
Shrined in a people’s heart when states are free?
Where is thy home, O Freedom? Have they set
Thine image up upon a rock to greet;
All comers, shaking from their wandering feet
The dust of Old World bondage, to forget
The tyrannies of fraud and force, nor fret
Where men are equal, slavish chain unmeet,
Nor bitter bread of discontent to eat;
Here, where all races of the earth are met?
America, beneath thy handed dag
Of old it was thy boast that men were free
To think, to speak, to meet, to come and go.
What meaneth then the gibbet and the gag
Held up to Labor’s sons who would not see
Fair Freedom but a mask — a hollow show?
The following resolutions, offered by Benj. R. Tucker, were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, in the words of John Milton, “the right to think, to know, and to utter is the dearest of all liberties,” and
Whereas, the liberty of speech and public assembly, the liberty to print, mail, or otherwise diffuse honest thought — untrammeled mental freedom — is the soul of rational society, therefore
Resolved, in the words of Gov. John A. Andrew, that “without this right (to think, to know, and to utter) there can be no liberty to any people. I care not for the truth or the error of the opinions held or uttered, nor for the wisdom of the words, or the time of their attempted expression, when I consider this great question of fundamental significance, this great right which must first be secured before free society can be said to stand on any foundation. Rich or poor, white or black, great or small, wise or foolish, in season or out of season, in the right or in the wrong, whosoever will speak and whosoever will hear, let him speak and hear. And let no man pretend to the prerogative of judging another man’s liberty. In this respect there is, there can be, no superiority of persons or privileges, nor the slightest pretext for any.”
Resolved, that the execution at Chicago on November 11, 1887, of men utterly guiltless of any overt act against life, was legalized violence, public murder, inexcusable when committed, and destined to be censured more severely and regretted more bitterly as time advances; that there was not a shred of direct evidence that any of these men threw the fatal missile which caused the death of several policemen, or that they procured, consented to, or were privy to its throwing; and that we shall continue to stigmatize their taking-off as judicial assassination (committed at the instance of capitalists and a venal press to awe the working-classes into subjection to a monied oligarchy) until the faces of the citizens of Chicago shall blister with a shame productive of repentance.
Resolved, that no repentance which, in the lamentable absence of power to release the dead victims from their graves, fails to promptly release the living victims from their prison cells at Joliet can be considered other than sheer hypocrisy, a futile attempt to wash out the stain of guilt with the tears of the crocodile.
Resolved, that the date of any repentance sincerer than this seems more remote than ever when we remember that within the week, in the very city where this foul deed was done, an assemblage of men and women engaged in the exercise of that liberty of which Gov. Andrew admits no curtailment on any pretext whatever was invaded by a band of bullies called policemen and forced by them to suspend its proceedings and hoist the United States flag, these ruffians being too ignorant to know that a flag, whatever its color, is never less deserving of respect than when the force which it symbolizes is used to compel an outward semblance of respect.
Resolved, that, if the World’s Congress, to be held at Chicago in connection with the World’s Columbian Exposition, carries out the publicly announced threat of its managers, to exclude the Mormon and the Anarchist from its deliberations and to “limit its discussions to the exposition of the points of mutual agreement between religions,” it should erect upon its platform, on the one hand, the gallows on which Spies, Parsons, Fischer, and Engel were hanged, and, on the other, the cross on which Christ was crucified, as emblematic of one of those points of agreement between the Jewish and the Christian religions, the search for which is proclaimed by the managers of the World’s Congress as its “governing principle.”
Resolved, that in these attempts, past, present, and prospective, to deprive the Anarchists of a hearing we see a studied purpose to inflame them to an outbreak which shall furnish an excuse for their wholesale extermination; and that we pity and deplore the blindness of those rampant prophets of revenge who are ready to fall into the trap as much as we denounce the deviltry of the cunning conspirators who are setting it.
Resolved, that, deprecating violence on the part of the weak and condemning tyranny on the part of the strong, it is our determined purpose to continue the policy of sociologic education and enlightenment to contribute to which was the controlling desire of the men whose deaths we commemorate, and which alone can give slaves the strength to be free.
The “Commercial’s” Prompt Answer.
Certain remarks of the editor about “constitutional limitations” of the Government’s concern with business produce the impression that the “Commercial” wants to retain the present financial system, which it mistakes for a free system, and is not really prepared to declare for absolute freedom in banking and note-issuing. Is the impression false?
In answering Liberty, from which we copy the above, we will not use the word “false,” but say it is incorrect. The “Commercial” does not regard the present prevalent system of banking as free. Nothing can be said to be free over which there is surveillance, which means suspicion and the power of interference and suppression. The State or National Governments, except upon the pretext which charters granted by them give, could not pretend to oversight banking houses, and would not any more than they would a flooring mill, a shoe-maker’s shop, or a dry goods establishment. As we have seen, by recent bank failures in Philadelphia, Louisville, Boston, and New York, even this oversighting does not prevent defalcation or failure where the officials to whom so much is and must, even under the most stringent system, be trusted, are dishonest. The hedging about of banks by laws to make them secure, reminds us of the armor plating of war ships to make them secure against the rifle shots of an enemy. As soon as it is ascertained what the new armor is, in iron or steel, or both, some genius goes to work and invents a cannon that will send a ball crashing through it with more destructive force than the round shot used to carry to the decks of the old 74-gun ships which, under a full head of canvas, were the ideal homes for “the vasty deep.” So it is with banks. Though laws have been piled on laws and regulation on already stringent regulation, they are still carried down to bankruptcy by dishonest officers who have no difficulty in eluding the vigilance of examiners and experts until the “last shot in the locker” is gone, until the last dollar has been filched, or so serious a hole has been made in the working capital as to impede its further progress and prevent its further working. Then surrender comes, and it has been found that all the laws, all the examiners, all the experts were in vain. Common honesty, prudence, and ability are the best assurances for the correct, safe, and profitable management of a bank. The value of these qualities and qualifications above mere laws is easily ascertained by the success of the private banks of this country and of Europe. Their success proves that banks ought to be free — ought to be unrestrained of law and free of all governmental control, direction, or interference. In a Government like ours, based on Individualism, law should not interfere with any business of the citizen. Banking is a business conducted for profit as all other businesses are, and it ought to be entirely free, as all business ought to be untaxed by license. No man should be compelled to pay a license to earn his bread. No merchant, manufacturer, professional man, mechanic, or dray or hackdriver should be compelled to pay a license as a prerequisite to making a living. The equal and exact justice contemplated by our Constitution is against such licenses or taxes. But as long as they are levied they should be levied upon all, and upon an equal basis. Safe banking depends not upon the license paid, nor upon the laws, or examiners or experts, but upon the honesty, the character, and the ability of the officers and directors, chiefly upon the former, and of these, particularly upon the cashier and the president, essentially upon the former. All the steel plate armor laws that have been enacted have not saved banks from the strong hand of thieving officers and conniving or tacitly consenting directors. We have free banks in this State that are models of what such institutions should be, and they enjoy the confidence of the public to a degree every way as enviable as the National Banks do. They are only subject to the ordinary laws of the State. This freedom makes character, integrity, and business ability and prudence in their officers more than ever essential in the achievement of the public trust and the enjoyment of the public support. The National Government, we hold, has no right to engage in banking or to be connected in any way with banks nearly or remotely; neither has the State. Banking is a business that belongs to the citizen and it ought to be left to him without any other safeguards than those which are to be found in all statute books for the safety of the citizen against embezzlement, breach of trust, theft, or conspiracy to rob. Banking ought to be as free as any other business and rest for Its security upon the common and criminal law as other businesses do.
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.