“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.
It seems that Mr. Walter Crane, who assisted at the Boston memorial meeting reported in the last number, is threatened with social ostracism and with the withholding of patronage from his art exhibition. It goes without saying that such conduct of the better elements of our society will greatly increase Mr. Crane’s respect for our civilized and refined society, and convert him into an enemy of all reforms and reformers.
“What we have to cope with,” says Mr. Bellamy, “is not indeed any serious argumentative opposition to our propositions. None has been attempted which has not been based upon obvious misconceptions. What we have to contend with is simply the inertia of the human mind, the strength of inherited prejudice, and above all the spirit of pessimism and hopelessness.” Does Mr. Bellamy really believe that the opposition of Liberty, or of “Today,” or of the “Personal Rights Journal,” or of “Free Life,” or of the “Plea for Liberty,” or of “Justice” is based on nothing but obvious misconceptions of his gospel? I cannot think so; but, if this is his real opinion, then it is evident that what he has to cope with is his own infinite ignorance and stupidity.
Does anybody want to know the difference between Nationalism and Socialism in Europe? Here is an authoritative statement from Mr. Bellamy himself. “Socialism in Europe,” he says, “is mainly a class movement, — a scheme to magnify the trades into a corporate body for the purpose of eventually merging it into the State itself. It is a proletarian scheme.” Nationalism, on the other hand, “knows nothing of class distinctions. It stands for the wage-worker, and it equally strives to save the rich man from himself.” No difference, you say? No difference at all, it seems to you, since the Socialists in Europe are equally emphatic about their generous endeavor to save the rich from themselves? Well, no argument with you is possible. Why, a man so dull may next deny that there is any difference between tweedledum and tweedledee.
The American National Prison Congress has been inquiring into the causes of the increase of crime. The conclusion arrived at is that gambling and the “social evil” are the chief factors of crime, and that among the other factors are “the ease with which habitual criminals avoid arrest, the lightness of sentences, laxity of discipline in prisons, the present views of the public as to punishments, the acts of State Legislatures as to the systems of prison labor, the comfortable quarters and excellent quality of food, the ease of visitation to prisoners, and the readiness with which a sympathetic public accepts as true the complaints of prisoners.” This, and nothing more? I fear we need an association to inquire into the causes of the failure of the Prison Congress to shed any light on the situation.
It is seldom that anything really interesting comes from a State Socialist’s pen. But there is one State Socialist who was never known to say a dull word. I refer to George Bernard Shaw, of London. His book, “The Quintessence of Ibsenism,” which I publish this week, is one of the most delightfully entertaining and suggestive pieces of criticism that has seen the light for a long time; and between you and me, my reader, it will do a precious sight more for Anarchism and Individualism than it will ever do for State Socialism. It is Egoistic to the core, and its author did not exaggerate when, in a recent letter to me, he described it as “the most complete assertion of the validity of the human will as against all laws, institutions, isms, and the like, now procurable for half a crown.” Imagine a State Socialist talking like that! And imagine the horror of all other State Socialists at hearing it! The book has 178 pages, and will be mailed by me on receipt of price, which is seventy-five cents in cloth covers and twenty-five cents in paper.
Col. Ingersoll has pointed out some of the mistakes of Moses; but Moses never uttered such ludicrous and stupid nonsense as his critic does when he tackles the tariff question. In a late interview, Col. Ingersoll thus described the beauties of the tariff: “‘We can get steel rails cheaper in England than we can get them here.’ Well, let us see. Suppose we pay $30 for a ton of steel rails made in the United States. Then we open the books and the account is: ‘The United States, credit by one ton of steel rails, $30. The United States, credit by cash for one ton of steel rails, $30.’ That is to say, at the end of the transaction there is a ton of rails and $30 all in the United States. Now let us suppose that we could have obtained the ton of rails from England for $25. Then how does it stand? ‘The United States, credit one ton rails, $25. Great Britain, credit, $25 for one ton of rails.’ So that at the end of the operation England has $25 and we have got a ton of rails; but with the other operation we have got a ton of rails and $30. It is all here.” But it is not all here. This country still manages to export and import a great deal, — to its manifest injury. Ingersollian economics would lead to the absolute prohibition of exchange with foreign nations, as well as the enactment of laws prohibiting Americans from travelling and spending American money abroad.
The American Flag a Fetich.
[The Listener in Boston Transcript.]
Among the Listener’s personal friends there is a certain deep-thinking man, — a very conservative person, in a way, and fond of old-fashioned things in general, and yet so broadly related to the world, and so deep in his sympathies with humanity, that he sees clear through the veils of prejudice which people are continually hanging up and hiding behind, — that is to say, with which they are hiding the world from themselves; for prejudice is a good deal like the sand in which the ostrich hides his head; he can’t see out of it, but all the world can see him only too plainly. Well, this conservative person of whom the Listener speaks is not a man of prejudices, and consequently is regarded by prejudiced people as a violent radical; but he calls himself a Tory just the same, and would really like to restore a good many laws and customs which the reforming world has done away with. Those laws and customs, he thinks, — and justifies his position with good arguments, — would render people freer and happier than they really are now, with some of their supposed liberation from old tyrannies.
However, with these particular notions of his philosophical friend the Listener has not just now anything in particular to do. He proposes simply to repeat a word or two that he has said about some recent tendencies and proceedings. “I believe,” said he, yesterday, “that Americans are gradually forgetting, in mere fetich emblems and hollow words, the essential principles upon which their freedom was founded. I cannot possibly understand how our people can be so blind to those principles which, it would be supposed, would be the first and chief things that they would always see, straight before their eyes. For instance, what is the United States flag? Is it a fetich, a thing to be worshipped or regarded for itself, because it has a certain number of stars in a blue field, and certain red and white stripes? Probably not. It is rather supposed to be venerated as the emblem of the freedom of the American individual, the symbol of equal rights, the representative of legality secure from the assaults of office-holders, and so forth. Well, now, how is the flag used and regarded? We find it, first, really made a sort of fetich in itself. Children are required to pay a certain homage to the mere flag, before they are of a sufficient age to understand what it means and represents. That in itself Is wrong. It nourishes a feeling of mere superstitions veneration which is likely to be played upon and availed of by the first dictator or scorner of public rights who comes along. ‘Here is your flag!’ he screams. ‘It is the flag of your country! Don’t raise your Anger against it!’ All the time he is working to destroy the very liberties which the flag was originally made to represent. But a spirit of unthinking veneration has been so carefully nourished in the minds of those big children whom be is deluding, that they look straight over the outrage on their freedom that he is perpetrating, and bow down in idolatrous worship of the flag, because it is the flag.
“Now that sort of idolatry, you must admit, is as bad as worshipping any graven image. We will take a case in point. The other night a lot of men and women got together in Chicago. It makes no sort of difference what they were talking about, so long as they were within their legal right, as, by all accounts, those people were. Perhaps they believed that it was right that people should hold all things in common, as the early Christians did, and as the Nationalists believe now. Perhaps they professed at this meeting such a ridiculous doctrine. No matter; they were not breaking the law. Well, in came a lot of policemen, and, using force, compelled these people to hang the American flag on the walls of the ball in which they were sitting. Now any sensible person knows that these policemen had no more lawful right to compel those people to put up the United States flag than they had to compel them to put the British flag, or the Chilean flag, or the Chinese flag, in the same place. Is there any law of Illinois which commands all assemblages, private or public, to put up the United States flag on their walls? Nobody pretends any such thing. And if there is no such law, the police had no more right in interfering with the proceedings than any other individuals whatsoever. Unless a policeman is acting under his lawful warrant, he has no more business in your building than a burglar who is breaking through the window — not a shred more.
“It is exactly for this sacred right of the citizen to crack a policeman’s head, if he is invading our right, that the American flag stands, or ought to stand. It is for this right that our fathers, in this country and in England, centuries ago, fought, bled, and died. If the flag does not stand for the right of free speech and public assembly, it is a mere useless, mischievous rag. Are you going to give up these rights because some Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, Collectivists, Individualists, Abolitionists or what not insist upon their equal right to ventilate their doctrines? Are we going to forget all at once the principles upon which our free commonwealths are founded? We shall forget them if we begin to excuse violations of private right on the part of policemen. There is one thing that is more dangerous and alarming than police infringements of the right of free speech and assembly, and that is a general disposition to excuse and even commend such outrageous infringement. I saw in a leading Boston daily paper, Friday, an editorial which stated, as if it were a proof of the Chicago Socialists’ total depravity, that the police ‘had to enter the hall and force them to raise the American flag.’ Had to! Why, man, there is more political depravity in that ‘had to’ than in all the words and acts of all the Socialists in the country in the last five years, at least. It implies an ignorance or willful overlooking on the part of a newspaper editor of the fact that policemen don’t have to do unlawful or invasive things. And I have seen no protest on the part of the readers of the paper to this outrageous and dangerous doctrine of the editors. That, I say, is the worst of it. Editors may be ignorant and stupid, but there ought to be a thousand intelligent and reasonable people ready to rush into print to denounce such mischievous nonsense.”
“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.
Confused and Confusing.
In the “Twentieth Century” of Nov. 5 Mr. Pentecost triumphantly and conclusively shows that it is not any fear or dislike of the word which deters him from announcing himself an Anarchist, but real and vital differences of opinion. Mr. Pentecost tells us that he does not call himself an Anarchist because he is not one; and to prove that he is not an Anarchist, he quotes from Liberty a paragraph defining and explaining Anarchism in a way which leaves no doubt that men of his notions are not Anarchists. Mr. Pentecost says:
Anarchism, according to Mr. Tucker, contemplates the use of statutes, officials, military, or other symbols of force, and prisons. It would not allow crime to go unpunished. . . . . I am not an Anarchist. To be an Anarchist, it seems, means to wish to overthrow the present system of government by force, for the purpose of setting up a different system of government by force. I admit that Anarchistic government would be incalculably less injurious than present Government, but I am not an Anarchist. I believe in a social arrangement still less injurious than Anarchism. I would rather be ruled according to Mr. Tucker’s ideas than according to those which universally prevail, but I prefer not to be ruled at all.
If this means anything, it means that Mr. Pentecost would allow crime to go unpunished, and that he would not use “statutes, officials, military, or other symbols of force, and prisons” under any circumstances. In other words, Mr. Pentecost believes, or at least believes that he believes, in the doctrine of non-resistance. He would not resist the murderer, the thief, or the ravisher, because he does not want to “rule” people. His conception of “no rule at all,” of “a social arrangement still less injurious than Anarchism,” is thus made perfectly clear. The strong and brutal are to rule, to have absolute liberty, and the gentle and civilized believers in “no rule” are to submit to slavery and indignity without a murmur. This is freedom, order, civilization; while the Anarchistic system, which grants only equal freedom, is but slightly better than Monarchism or Republicanism.
Well, Mr. Pentecost and Count Tolstoi may be right in their view of true civilization. Perhaps non-resistance is the best method of overcoming evil. It is true that science and common sense are against this theory of progress; but the last word has by no means been said on the subject, and science may yet be forced to accept the Tolstoi-Pentecost gospel.
But while Mr. Pentecost cannot reasonably be expected to subscribe to Anarchism if he really objects to the use of force against criminals, he may reasonably be expected to know his own feelings on the subject. I do not doubt that Mr. Pentecost really believes that he believes in allowing crime to go unpunished, but whether he actually believes in doing so is doubtful. In the “Twentieth Century” of July 16, he wrote: “If a man pleases to ravish or murder, there is no good theoretical reason why he may be restrained, and if some one chooses to restrain him, there is no good theoretical reason for not doing so. There are, however, practical reasons, and men will act on those practical reasons, and, in my opinion, it is wise for them to do so.” When asked, by me and other correspondents, to explain his singular use of the word “theoretical” in this statement, he said: “It was a stupid blunder on my part to use that word. The word that would have conveyed my thought is à priori, meaning, apart from experience. Thus the passage would have read: ‘If a man pleases to ravish or murder there is no à priori reason, no reason apart from experience, why he may be restrained; and if some one else chooses to restrain him, there is no à priori reason for not doing so.’ I am mortified to have been so careless; but it is said that even Homer sometimes nods.” It appears, then, that Mr. Pentecost was an Anarchist four or five months ago. Then he believed in punishing crime; he perceived both theoretical and practical reasons for restraining and punishing invaders. Yet he denied then as strenuously as he does now that he was an Anarchist. Of course, if he has changed his opinion, and is now prepared to take the position that there are neither “theoretical” nor “practical” reasons for restraining criminals, he has ceased to be an Anarchist. My impression is, however, that he has not changed his opinion, and that the theoretical and practical reasons in question still exist for him. But, if so, what becomes of his pretence that he is not an Anarchist because he opposes the use of force even against criminals? He surely cannot mean that he opposes the use of force in spite of the theoretical and practical reasons which he perceives. When he says that experience has proved the necessity of restraining criminals, he cannot mean that experience has proved it to other people, but not to him. When he says that in his opinion it is wise for men to restrain criminals, he cannot mean that it is wise for them, but not for him. He speaks of “men,” and as he is one of them, the inference is inevitable that it is wise for him to restrain criminals. And, if it is wise for men to restrain criminals, the theory of society which he says he accepts is unwise, unscientific, and his doctrine of “no rule” is discredited by theoretical and practical considerations. Anarchism, on the other hand, is wise and scientific in providing for the punishment of criminals; its policy is dictated by those theoretical and practical considerations of which Mr. Pentecost is cognizant; and Mr. Pentecost, in declining to embrace Anarchism, acts unwisely and against all reason.
Mr. Pentecost reminds us that even Homer sometimes nods. I may suggest that Mr. Pentecost’s talk bears strong resemblance to the stuff dreams are made of. V. Y.
The Police Power.
He is most free who experiences the minimum of interference from others, whose life is not hemmed in with restrictions and prohibitions, who is not regulated in the mode and manner of his existence, or is not protected at the expense of other human beings. One of the most dangerous prerogatives of the modern State — as diminishing such freedom — is the police power. It is antagonistic to liberty.
What is this police power? It may be described to be the power vested in the legislature to make, ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes, and ordinances, either with penalties or without, as it shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth and the people of the same. It is to be noted that the legislature is to be the sole judge of what may be good, wholesome, and reasonable. The highest courts of the land have affirmed again and again that what the legislature deems wise for the well-being is an unalterable fiat.
Courts have declared that to deny the authority of the legislature to make any prohibition is to attack all that is vital in the police power. To refuse recognition of the power because, in the judgment of some, the legislature may have mistaken the public necessity for a law, is to make the individual judgment superior to that of the legislature. The judiciary have been refusing all relief, looking upon it as a legislative and not a judicial question. When a law has been enacted in the exercise of the police power, it must remain a law until altered by its creators. The courts have further intimated that they cannot inquire into the motive of the legislature in passing an act, except as it may be disclosed on its face. Hence the wisdom of a legislature in passing an act in exercise of the police power may be said to be an omniscience, to be carried into effect by an omnipotence.
The highest judicial power has declared that “all rights are held subject to the police power of the State.” A lower court, with this declaration in view, has expressed the same thing as to a particular matter: “to the legislative power of declaring non-mer-chantable, and as it were contraband, any article of commerce or consumption, there have as yet been no limits suggested in the decisions upon the subject, and it may be assumed that there are none.” That this is the law of the land has been plainly demonstrated in such extreme instances as where the act of the legislature has been declared legal in requiring the discontinuance of any manufacture or traffic, even as against a corporation chartered for the express purpose of carrying it on. Or where the sale of an article has been forbidden for which a patent has been granted by the United States.
The tyranny of this police power is often most hateful and deplorable. It declares what one may not eat, the business one may not be engaged in, the times at which one may perform certain services for himself, the literature one may not read, the pictures not to be looked upon, the school of physics to be cured or killed by, and many other things. Whatever the legislature may judge for the welfare of the people is the only standard. The not to-be questioned judgment of the average American legislature, or any other for that matter, is a thing whereof no man may safely speak or foretell.
This tyranny is not exaggerated, as any list of current legal authorities upon the question will prove beyond doubt. The following illustrations are from widely separated sections. The sale of an excellent food, pure and wholesome, — oleomargarine, — has been prohibited. Bread has been required to be sold only by weight. Cashiers of banks have been prohibited from engaging in any other profession or occupation. Washing and ironing have been restricted within certain hours of the day. The transporting or moving after sunset and before sunrise any cotton in the seed has been prohibited. Anthony Comstock, and his abettor, the Postmaster General, have been dictating the literature we may read and the pictures we may look upon. A certain manufacturer of firearms must have at one time equipped the legislature of Arkansas, for a statute making it an offence to sell any pistol except certain kinds — as the “navy” pistol — was passed and held to be a legal exercise of the police power of the State.
To curtail the police power, to cut it off act by act, statute by statute, by limitations in constitutions, would be most practical steps to greater liberty. If at this stage of the world’s progress we must be ruled by politicians, let it be, in mercy, by a minimum of government. Wm. Arch McClean.
Newspapers and Their Critics.
The Boston “Herald,” apparently believing that indulgence has ceased to be a virtue, takes the “cynical average mind” to task for its low estimate of the motives and function of newspapers. It denies that the average person is a competent judge or trustworthy witness. It says truly that “the average person is emotionally controlled and bounds from one extreme to another. The average person is not critical; does not analyze patiently; does not perceive nature’s infinite variety; cannot calculate the nice gradations of feeling and the innumerable results consequent upon hair-line degrees of variance. In fact, the average person is not observant, not reflective, and not inductive. The average person mirrors himself in his opinion, instead of results of careful inquiry and thoughtful consideration.” But the average person is not the only detractor the newspaper has to meet. The charges which the “Herald” puts in the mouth of the average person are by no means such as superior persons would hesitate to endorse. It is not by the average person alone that the sole ambition of the newspaper is believed to be to make money, and that the papers are held to be at the service of the largest purse. Superior persons are not generally known to credit newspapers with political and ethical convictions. That newspapers are doing excellent work in giving space to the contents of valuable books, to reports of scientific, literary, and artistic events, to the advance reform movements, is conceded. But why should the newspapers claim credit for this work? It is done because it pays them to do it, because there is a sufficient demand for such work. Do the newspapers hesitate to lie, slander, misrepresent, boycott, when it pays to do so, when the public demands such conduct? Is there anybody simple enough to imagine that, as a rule, newspapers are established to do reform work, — to point out the errors of the people and teach them the truth? To say that newspapers find room for good and wholesome products when they find it profitable to do so, is merely to say that newspaper publishers are not totally depraved, and do not turn away from good work because it is good work. But they never welcome good work because of its intrinsic worth, but because, while it is excellent, it is also possessed of market value. A fair, intelligent, honest community will have tolerably fair, honest, and intelligent papers: no other kind can exist in that environment A community of bigots, intense partisans, and ignorant conservatives will have papers representative of their qualities. Natural selection will work to secure the survival of the fittest, in the sense of adaptation to the conditions. American newspapers are improving; the growth of popular intelligence, however, is the antecedent of this improvement. V. Y.
How difficult it is to rid oneself of the old theological reverence for a particular day! The Topeka correspondent of a Kansas City paper says:
It is a crime in this city to sell cider a minute over three days old and an unpardonable desecration to get shaved on Sunday. But vice has to seek other channels.
Although apparently making light of the worship of Sunday, yet this writer says that to get shaved on that day is vicious. If this is not his meaning, what does be intend to convey by the declaration that vice, denied entrance to the barber shop on Sunday, seeks “other” channels?
The recent criminal prostration by the police of Chicago of the right of peaceable assembly in that city is the occasion of much newspaper comment, good, bad, and indifferent; mostly bad and indifferent. That the revolutionary Socialists, whose meetings have been so inexcusably broken up, will be either placated or terrorized by the action of the official bullies it were foolish indeed to suppose. Rather, it is much to be feared that serious trouble will grow out of the fantastically outrageous performances of the police. Many of the revolutionists are men of small reasoning faculties, little or no prudence, and very inflammable tempers. They are stung almost to madness by the late villainies of the authorities, and are not likely to be discreet in either word or action. One of them got up in the meeting of the State Socialists (at which meeting strong resolutions denouncing the mayor and police authorities were adopted) and attempted to preach the propaganda of force. Of course this way of playing directly into their hands will be very acceptable to Washburne and his tools. They could ask nothing better. This fire-brand in a powder magazine called himself an Anarchist; the papers call him an Anarchist; the State Socialists call him an Anarchist; the revolutionary Socialists in general call themselves Anarchists; the papers call them Anarchists; the police call them Anarchists; the State Socialists call them Anarchists, and the people at large call them Anarchists. Then on top of all this the State Socialists turn about and denounce Washburne and the police inspectors as Anarchists! When objection is made to thus smirching the name of Anarchist “Tommy” Morgan sarcastically replies that “the resolutions were designed for Americans and must, therefore, be in language understood by Americans. The latter considered an Anarchist a man who would throttle the law. This the mayor and the police had done in interfering with meetings in which nothing illegal was said or done. Therefore, in the American meaning of the word, the mayor and the police, having throttled the law, were Anarchists.” But Mr. Morgan forgets that there are Anarchists and Anarchists. The kind best known to the people of Chicago and to most other Americans would throttle other men’s law very much as the police throttles their meetings, by brute force. But the philosophical Anarchists would throttle all invasive law by education, and hence, resultingly, by the “absorbent substitution of the opposite good.”
The Chicago “Herald,” condemning the police inspector for his raids upon the revolutionary Socialists, says: “He should have interfered legally. He should have arrested every man who uttered one word calculated to excite treason.” Treason to whom or what? To certain men who, by virtue of their official positions, can safely spoil and degrade their fellows? Or to savage and semi-savage institutions which have survived into an age of comparative enlightenment? Or, on the other hand, to the principles of liberty and justice? If — which is not probable — you mean the last, — what of the traitor, Comstock, who seeks to gag the press? Of the traitor, Washburne, who sanctions the destruction of the right of free public assembly? Of the traitor, McKinley, who robs the masses in the interest of privileged plutocrats? Of the traitors, the priests and preachers, who would steal one-seventh of our time and fine and imprison us if we protest? Ah! “treason”? Before you conjure with that word of numberless definitions, tell us what you mean by it.
J. H. Brown, sentenced July 13, 1888, for five years, for larceny in Wyandotte, has bad his sentence commuted to four years. Brown was convicted on circumstantial evidence of stealing thirty-one dollars. The prosecuting attorney, deputy county attorney, and prosecuting witness, together with seven of the jury who tried the case and nearly all the county officers of Wyandotte county, petitioned for the man’s pardon, as there has always been a doubt of his guilt. — Topeka Capital.
But why was he imprisoned at all if “there has always been a doubt of his guilt”? Is this a fair sample of Kansas and American “justice,” — a man sent to the penitentiary for five years on a suspicion of guilt! And yet in the face of this shameful fact and the petition of the officials named, the Board of Pardons took but one year from his sentence! If there is any department of the State and national governments that more than another needs a thorough overhauling it is that of criminal jurisprudence. Criminal it is, — no designation could be more appropriate.
Fabrlenne concludes at last that her love for Martial is wicked, as it gives her delight and takes her attention away from her devotions. — Bill Nye.
The clergy reason analogously in relation to the opening of the World’s Fair on Sunday. They say to each other: “The people will enjoy themselves very much on Sunday if the Fair is open that day. And if they go there they cannot attend church services at the same time, and they will care less about taking part in devotions at other hours of the day after they discover how well they can be instructed and amused at the Fair every Sunday. The Fair must not be open on the Sabbath. It will be money out of our pockets if it is.” This is what they say to each other in trade’s union confidence; what they say to the public sounds quite differently: “We must not, as a nation, desecrate the Sabbath. It will call down God’s judgments upon us. And if you open the Exposition on Sunday the rich men will soon have the laborers working seven days in the week.” Which are the true reasons why the clerics want the Fair kept closed on “preacher’s day”?
General Beauregard still keeps up his lottery connection, and now a warrant is out charging him and other officials with violating the postal laws. Our northern notions of morality are a great bore to the South. — Brooklyn Times.
Your “northern notions of morality” in regard to gambling remind me of the legend that Satan sometimes rebukes sin. Our government is engaged in a holy war against the Louisiana Lottery, but it is safe to say that five out of every seven adult males in the North try their luck at gambling, in one form or another, at least once a year. And there is as large a proportion of these “chance” people in the Republican as in the Democratic party. Yet the Republican party is the national god-mother of the anti-lottery crusade. And the very fellows who are among those deepest in the lottery business, here in the North, will throw up their hats and shout for the great and good Republican party until they are black in the face. My memory reminds me of an amusing instance of this “double-standard” morality which came under my observation in Kansas. At Valley Falls one of the most hot-headed, intolerant local Republican politicians was the city agent for this same Louisiana Lottery! By the way, it seems to me that Brooklyn is too near Wall Street for the “Times” to indulge in many sneers about our “northern notions of morality” being a “bore to the South.”
Two planks of the German Socialists’ platform laid down at the recent Congress in Erfurt, are as follows:
7. Religion to be a matter of private opinion, and all payment of public funds for confessional or religions objects to cease; ecclesiastical or religious communities to be considered private associations which manage their own affairs.
8. The secularization of the national schools, attendance at which is to be compulsory for every one; free education, free books, and free dinners for children attending the public schools, as well as for those pupils of either sex who, by their general capacity, are considered fit to pursue their studies at the higher educational establishments.
The German Socialists have advanced far enough to demand the divorcement of religion and the State, but their development seems to be lop-sided, for, instead of consistently asking for the separation of education and the State, they go in the directly opposite direction, demanding that the union shall be closer than ever before, the State to do more and more of the work of parents and the private educational institutions. Why should not schools be managed by “private associations”? The Socialists say that churches should be. Is it possible that the Socialists insist upon the cessation of State aid to churches for the reason that they do not want churches, while at the same time they demand State schools because schools are one of their wants?
Col. Ingersoll recently lectured upon the “Liberty of Man, Woman, and Child,” in the Auditorium, Chicago. He had an immense and enthusiastic audience. Here are his opening sentences, as reported by the “Herald”:
What do I mean by liberty? Let me explain. If a man is prevented from going where he desires by a high mountain or rushing river or wild beast, he does not think he is enslaved. But if a man with a gun stands on the opposite shore of the stream and says that the other shall not cross, then that is slavery. The idea of liberty is not to be interfered with by a like Intelligence, whether in earth or heaven.
By his own definition, the protective tariff, which he ardently champions, is a system of slavery. The Colonel is brilliant and his epigrams are always neat and often very forcible and convincing, but he is not logical enough to perceive their implications nor the direction in which they lead. Take the last sentence above, for example: “The idea of liberty is not to be interfered with by a like intelligence, whether in earth or heaven.” This being true, it is logically incumbent upon him to admit that the tariff contravenes the idea of liberty. And yet this tariff has no more undiscriminating, thick-and-thin defender than Col. Robert G. Ingersoll.
A Portland (Oregon) special to the Tacoma “Globe” says:
A committee of citizens and clergymen of all denominations, headed by His Grace, Archbishop Gross, of the Catholic church, went before the council today and presented a long petition demanding enforcement of the Sunday laws of the State. Among the ministers who accompanied him were Rer. Fathers Odea, Somer, and Northman, of his own church; Rev. Arthur J. Brown, of the First Presbyterian church; Rev. T. E. Clapp, of the First Congregational church; Rev. T. L. Elliot, of the Unitarian church; Rev. Alfred Kimmer, of Taylor street M. E. church, and Rev. E. Thomson, Secretary of the executive committee, having the Sunday movement in charge. They were given a respectful hearing and the petition was referred to the judiciary committee.
Who can doubt that the Sunday-sanctity crusade is a class movement almost entirely, an effort of the guild of preachers to shut out competitors by the intervention of the State? And note how the clergy of the different branches of the Church sink their doctrinal differences when it comes to the practical question of bread and meat for themselves. Following humbly in the lead of the “Mother Church” clerics come the various orthodox Protestant ministers and even the Unitarian pulpiteer. How many such forcible object-lessons as this will the friends of liberty need before they arouse themselves to enlightened expression and wise action?
E. C. Walker.
Must the Ego Count Himself Out?
[Tak Kak in Egoism.]
Self-interest masks itself and says suavely “we seek the good of the species,” instead of saying bluntly “we gladly pick up all that other individuals let slip from their grasp.” Are not we the species as contradistinguished from any individual? When we go so far as to urge sacrifices for the good of the species, what are we but beggars and hypocrites? Persuasion is mingled freely with flattery administered to the vanity of the Individual, and it is not to be ignored that the Moral philosopher flatters himself as he proceeds to render what he vainly imagines to be a service to his species. Assuming the point of view that he is spokesman for the species is a subtle mendicancy or a veiled terror in the supposed interest of the crowd. But, assuming an individual point of view, the question is differently shaped. It then becomes: what use can I make of the species, of the crowd?
A summary of ethical teachings by Herbert Spencer says that postulating the desirability of the preservation and prosperity of the given species, there emerges the general conclusion that “in order of obligation the preservation of the species takes precedence of the preservation of the individual.” The species, he admits, “has do existence save as an aggregate of individuals,” and hence “the welfare of the species is an end to be subserved only as subserving the welfare of individuals,” but, continues the summary, “since disappearance of the species involves absolute failure in achieving the end, whereas disappearance of individuals makes fulfillment simply somewhat more difficult, ‘the preservation of the individual must be subordinated to the preservation of the species where the two conflict.’”
There are several features of sophistry in this. Let us, however, note first the admission that “the species” is simply a convenient term. Now, where confusion is possible the safe way is to lay aside the term. When this is done it will be found that in restating the foregoing propositions it becomes necessary to speak, instead, either of all the individuals concerned except one or of all the Individuals concerned, without exception. But be has seemingly used the term species in both senses, or else, with his “order of obligation” he has affirmed an obligation to subordinate the preservation of one individual to that of another. As this is intelligible for the purpose of the crowd dealing with individuals but not for the individual acting for himself with himself as the victim, the immediate inference at this point is that Spencer is expounding the Egoistic logic of the crowd.
If the welfare of others is subserved only as subserving my welfare, it can never be true that I must subordinate my preservation to that of others, for this is to use the general rule, which applies while I am one of the crowd, to the exceptional case wherein I am set apart from the crowd. All conditions of benefit imply at least preservation. When I am counted out for non-preservation, for the good of others, it most be the others, not I, who do the counting out. In the first premise Spencer speaks for the individual treating the crowd from his proper motive; but in the conclusion he speaks for the crowd or some of its preserved part contemplating the sacrifice of an individual, yet these shifting points of view are included in a syllogism. The welfare of the crowd a mediate end: that is reasonable to the individual. The preservation of the individual a mediate end to the crowd: that is reasonable from the crowd’s point of view; but analysis of the diverse points of view is needed, not an attempt to link the two in a syllogism the conclusion of which is merely the crowd’s conclusion.
Now examine the second premise of the syllogism: “the disappearance of the species involves absolute failure in achieving the end.” Why, in fact? Because the disappearance of all others of the species but myself involves it? Not at all; but because the term species includes myself. But as far as my existence is concerned it would be the same if I alone disappeared. Do you say: the preservation of the alphabet is of no use to A except as A combines with the letters: but the disappearance of the alphabet would involve the disappearance of A; hence the preservation of one letter (A) is less important than the preservation of all the other letters? The letter A answers: “Bosh!”
Speaking for the individual, how does the doctrine of subordination of the preservation of the individual accord with evolutionary theory regarding the origin of species? Do species originate by individuals taking care of themselves under whatever circumstances, if possible, or by the contrary rule of the benevolence toward the pre-existing species? The reader can pursue this inquiry for himself: but I should like to suggest that what has been considered regarding the individual and the species can be paraphrased with reference to the species and the genus under which it is classified, thus:
The welfare of the genus is to be subserved only as subserving the welfare of the species, but since the disappearance of the genus involves absolute failure, whereas disappearance of particular species makes fulfillment simply somewhat more difficult, therefore the preservation of the species must be subordinated to the preservation of the genus where the two conflict. The fallacy of this sort of reasoning may appear without comment, in as much as the individual will easily maintain the point of view of the interested species, and will not practically allow himself to slide over to the position of the presuming genus. A supplementary remark may be indulged. The genus never licenses or encourages the origination of new species; but then the verbal sophistry of the genus would not prove to be a preventive.
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.