“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
The editor of the “Open Court” says that he has not as yet found two Anarchists who hold the same view of Anarchism. Some day Dr. Carus will discover Liberty and the Boston Anarchists, and his troubles will be at an end. We can fell him what Anarchism is and what the Anarchistic conception of justice is.
Count Tolstoi has issued a manifesto declaring that, unless the Russian government promises to feed the people until the next harvest and faithfully performs the pledge, there will be a revolution, in which he will take part himself. Bow is this for an apostle of no-rule-at-all in the Tolstoi-Pentecost sense, — a believer in non-resistance? Tolstoi seems to be as inconsistent as Pentecost. Some of the non-resistants remain passive as long as nobody threatens to injure them; when they are attacked, they are as ready to fight as the rest of us.
Peffer, the Alliance Senator, has introduced a resolution in the Senate directing the finance committee to inquire and report as to the actual expenses attending the business of money lending as conducted in this country by bankers and others. The preamble to the resolution recites that “complaint is made that money-lending yields larger profits than industrial pursuits.” I hope the Senate will approve the resolution and authorize the inquiry. The falsehoods of the witnesses and the insincere examination of the censors will make suggestive reading.
The editorial on “Land and Money,” reprinted from the “Journal of the Knights of Labor” in this issue, is a sign of the times and a gratifying indication that trades-unionists are beginning to appreciate the importance of the currency problem. There seems to be some significance, too, in the failure of the writer to wind up his argument by a plea for Greenbackism, which the Knights of Labor platform endorses. He contents himself by calling attention to the superior claims of the problem upon our immediate consideration; but refrains from recommending any special remedy. Perhaps he is studying free banking.
C. L. James, the champion humbug and mountebank of the Communist-Anarchist movement, declares in truly oracular fashion that Proudhon “created the statics of Anarchy,” while “for its dynamics we must refer to his rival Marx.” That this oracle is ignorant of the teachings of Proudhon no less than of those of Marx needs no demonstration; and it is difficult to see why the “Twentieth Century” prints his idiotic jargon about things hopelessly beyond his grasp. His business in life seems to be confusion-sowing, but he seems to succeed more in imposing on himself than on others. Mr. Sullivan knows the “statics and dynamics” of Marxism; how can he contain himself under the circumstances?
Undoubtedly there is no real difference of opinion between Mr. Yarros and myself regarding the errors into which Mr. John Rae has fallen (probably through the misguidance of some Kropotkinian) and which Mr. Yarros points out in another column. But Mr. Yarros, in his criticism, does not use terms quite as Liberty has been in the habit of using them when dealing strictly with the matter of party lines. Therefore it is best, in order to preserve the integrity of Liberty’s position, that I should point out that, though Anarchism is synonymous with individualism, it is not synonymous with Individualism, and that, though Communism may be more Socialist than any other Socialism if we are to take General Walker’s definition of Socialism, by Liberty’s definition (laid down in No. 42 and again in No. 156) Communism is not more Socialist than other Socialism nor is Anarchism less so, but Communism, State Socialism, and Anarchism are equally Socialist. Liberty remains what it always has been, — individualist, Anarchist, and Socialist.
The Massachusetts Legislature of 1891 passed a “Weavers’ Fines” bill, providing that no employer shall impose a fine upon a weaver for “imperfections that may arise during the process of weaving,” — in other words, for bad work. This act has just been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and, while the employers are pleased, the workmen loudly denounce the tendency of the judiciary to neutralize and nullify the legislation favorable to labor interests (theoretically). The workmen’s complaints are well-founded, but they ought to know that this law, like all other labor laws, would have remained a dead letter anyway. Such laws are easily evaded, and the infraction is seldom punished. I am glad to see that the editor of the “Labor Leader” draws the right moral from the incident. “There will be one point gained,” he said, “if wage earners learn from this decision that it is useless to look to the State for any measure of relief.” It is quite probable that such object-lessons as this make more thorough-going State Socialists than they make consistent individualists; but, as there is less danger from extreme State Socialists than from the unconscious and moderate paternalists, we prefer to deal with men who fully realize the scope and character of their plans for social organization. If men cannot be intelligent enough to embrace the philosophy of liberty, we welcome their acceptance of radical State Socialism as the next best thing. The sooner libertarians and authoritarians stand face to face, the better.
Prof. Tyndall is not distinguished for his unalterable opposition to government interference with the citizen. When, therefore, in discussing the prevention of phthisis, he tells us most emphatically that “the most pressing work of sanitary reformers is not now so much to legislate as to educate, — to make the mass of the people in some degree participators in the knowledge of the causes of disease which is possessed by men of science,” his words are deserving of the attention of those hasty writers whose first impulse is to call in the government The newspapers advocate all sorts of compulsory regulations, while at the last annual meeting of the American Medical Association a paper was read and approved in which the following position was taken: “Whenever a case of tuberculosis is removed from a house, or the patient dies, the State should at once, before the house can be occupied by another, thoroughly disinfect every part of it scrape and replaster the room which was occupied by the patient end take precautions that none of the clothing or furniture which had been used by the patient be given away or left for the use of others without first having been thoroughly disinfected. A house thus cleansed should be so recorded in the office of the health department so that any one wishing to move into it may be able first to assure himself that he runs no risk.” The paper does not advocate the ownership of all buildings by the State, but that is the next step, doubtless.
Some months ago, in opposing the effort to obtain a pension for Walt Whitman on the ground that he was engaged, while the war lasted, in the unmanly work of saving lives rather than in the noble work of destroying them, Gen. Trumbull expressed his gratification at the fact that he had fought for the preservation of the American republic and the overthrow of slavery. I then corrected him by saying that “slavery was not originally an issue in the war and its abolition was reluctantly acquiesced in, as a war measure, rather than eagerly determined upon in the interests of civilization.” I am glad to see that my suggestion was not thrown away upon him, and that he has revised his opinion. In the “Open Court” of December 3, he writes as follows: “The Emancipation Proclamation was not ‘the greatest moral document of his presidency’; it was not a moral document at all. It was a political document, and Mr. Lincoln himself never claimed for it any moral quality. It was issued, with much parade of apology, as a bit of military strategy, and a war measure.’ It had a dual character. It is anti-slavery now, but, had its terms been accepted, by the confederates, it would have been pro-slavery. By the very terms of it slavery was to be preserved should the States in rebellion return to their allegiance within a hundred days. And, as it was, it abolished slavery only where we had no jurisdiction, and retained it where we had.” Well, is Gen. Trumbull still gratified that he fought for the preservation of slavery?
In “Today” of December 10 I find the following paragraph: “Mr. Jacob H. Schiff contends that had it not been for the silver legislation of 1878 and 1890 the volume of currency would have been insufficient, and we should have ‘passed from spasm to spasm, from one commercial crisis to another.’ The present law, unsatisfactory as it is, should be modified or a substitute found for it, until the public is educated enough to see that ‘government issues of currency in every form are in themselves unsound, for a sound circulating medium must be based upon and move with actual production. . . . A sound currency must be elastic, expand and contract with the requirements of commerce and industry, — a function which no government note issue can perform.’ The objection is certainly well taken. The government is not sufficiently sensitive to the needs of more currency, and its machinery is too cumbrous to respond quickly enough to the requirements of business, — even supposing we had congressmen intelligent enough to perceive what these requirements really are. Mr. Schiff thinks that ‘the function to furnish commerce and industry with the necessary circulation properly belongs to the banks’; but he very truly observes that the people are not ready to grant new privileges to the banks. If the element of government monopoly in banking were removed, would not this objection on the part of the people disappear?” Considering that two short-months ago “Today” pronounced the cry for “enough money to transact the business of the country” hollow and absurd, the above marks a distinct advance in intelligence.
“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.
Rae on “Anarchism.”
In the second edition of Mr. John Rae’s interesting work on “Contemporary Socialism” we find a new chapter, dealing with Anarchism. By Anarchism, however, nothing more nor less is meant than revolutionary Communism, or Anarchistic Communism, as it is still called by a few. Mr. Rae clearly perceives the close kinship between State Socialism and that species of “Anarchism,” and easily proves that the latter “is merely the extreme element in the modern Socialist movement.” The contention of the State Socialists that the “Anarchists” are the very opposite of Socialists, — that they are individualists of the boldest stamp, — Mr. Rae dismisses as totally unfounded. He says:
The man of the party whose deeds made a stir on both sides of the Atlantic is undoubtedly more Socialist than the Socialists themselves. I have said that the Socialism of the present day may be correctly described in three words a Revolutionary Socialist Democracy, and in every one of these three characteristics the Anarchists go beyond other Socialists instead of falling short of them. They are really more Socialist, more democratic, and more revolutionary than the rest of their comrades. They are more Socialist, because they are disposed to want not only common property and common production, but common enjoyment of products as well. They are more democratic, because they will have no government of any kind over the people except the people themselves — no king, no committee, no representative institutions, either imperial or local, but merely every little industrial group of people managing Its public affairs as it will manage its industrial work. And they are more revolutionary, for they have no faith, even temporarily, in constitutional procedure, and think making a little trouble is always the best way of bringing on a big revolution.
Natural as it is for the respectable and parliamentary Socialists to regard with the feelings of shame and fear this misshapen and mischievous element, they cannot be allowed to disclaim it. Mr. Rae is perfectly right, and we Individualist-Anarchists owe him a vote of thanks for his voluntary testimony in our behalf. For Mr. Rae cheerfully admits that our Anarchism is essentially Individualist, although he omits to point out that the name Anarchism properly belongs to us, and is impudently and ignorantly usurped by the revolutionary Communists. Here is what Mr. Rae says about us:
There are individualist Anarchists, no doubt. The Anarchists of Boston, in America, are individualists; one of the groups of English Anarchists in London is individualist; but these individualist Anarchists are very few in number anywhere.
And in another place in the book:
The Boston Anarchists, perhaps, ought not, strictly speaking to be included in any account of Socialism, for, unlike most contemporary Anarchists, they are not Socialist, but extremely individualist; but, historically, it is worth noting. Boston Anarchism is the doctrine of a disenchanted Socialist, Joetab Warren, who had lived with Robert Owen at New Harmony, and came to the conclusion that that experiment failed because the individual had been too much sunk in the community and no room was left for the play of individual interests, individual rights, and individual responsibilities. From Owen’s Communism, Warren ran to the opposite extreme, and thought it impossible to individualise things too much. He would abolish the State, and have the work of police and defence done by private enterprise, like any other service. He Issued some books, tried to carry out his views by practical experiment, and, though they failed, he has still a small band of believing disciples at Boston, who publish a newspaper called Liberty, but have no organization and no importance.
The question of our “importance” need not be discussed here. It should be borne in mind that Mr. Rae is writing, not of contemporary individualism, but of contemporary Socialism, and that in his commendable effort to assign Communistic Anarchism its proper place his bias prompts him to magnify the importance of that movement and make us out merely an exception which proves the rule. Mr. Rae’s task would have been greatly simplified if it had occurred to him at the outset to deny that the revolutionary Communists are Anarchists at all. Had he spoken throughout of them as Pseudo-Anarchists, his case would have been stronger with the average reader. I fear that on this point Mr. Rae is considerably mixed himself, and that he fails to see that Anarchism is synonymous with Individualism. Mr. Rae’s confusion is further revealed in his classification of Proudhon as a Communistic and authoritarian “Anarchist.” He is aware that Proudhon distinguishes Anarchy from Democracy and from Communistic government, but he pretends that the distinctions are not easy to apprehend exactly. That “Anarchy as a principle of political philosophy was first advocated by Proudhon,” Mr. Rae knows well enough, but of the nature of Proudhon’s teachings he seems to be ignorant. This ignorance accounts for the fact that the book contains only two brief references to Proudhon, and that the only statement which is definitely ventured upon concerning him is that he opposed resort to revolutionary tactics as a means of promoting social reform. V. Y.
That good results can be attained through ordinary political methods is doubted or denied by most Anarchists. That the Democratic party can be depended upon to blunder in every important crisis is implicitly believed by nearly all Republicans and by many others. Both these beliefs receive strong confirmation in the selection by the Democratic caucus of Judge Crisp as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Democrats have won most of their recent successes because of their supposed adherence to tariff reform. Their only hope of carrying the country in ’92 was known to all observant persons to be inseparably associated with the dominance of the tariff issue and their courageous and consistent championship of the position so clearly outlined by Grover Cleveland. With Cleveland and Boies as their candidates standing upon a tariff reform platform there was every reason to believe that they would succeed in the next general election. But there was to be a preparatory test of their sincerity and practical sense. They have an overwhelming majority of the lower house of the present Congress. The speakership was theirs. Roger Q. Mills was logically the man for the position, and the only one to whom astute politicians and sincere anti-high tariff men should have given their support. Mills should have been selected by a practically unanimous vote. Every Democrat knew that Mills had the honor of being hated by the arch-enemy of Grover Cleveland, the Democratic leader, and of what little is left of Jeffersonian principles in the Democratic party. They knew that this Republican in disguise, this marplot Dana of the New York “Sud,” was behind the candidacy of Crisp, and that with him were such men as Hill and Gorman and the remnant of the followers of Randall, the old-time Democratic champion of the protectionist idea. They knew, or should have known, that the man whom Dana favored was the man for them to defeat at all hazards. But they did not defeat him. Instead, they voted for him as against the one man who was entitled to their support. They voted for him and so voting defeated their party in ’92, and, let us hope, for another twenty years. Any party deserves perpetual defeat which permits itself to be led by the nose by such an imperialist as Dana. And when before have such self-styled reformers as Springer and Hatch and McMillan marked themselves lower in the scale of infamy? To gratify their petty, babyish ambitions they compassed the defeat of the man who has done ten times more than all of them put together to give their party national prestige and power. McMillan partially redeemed himself in the closing moments of the greedy squabble, but Springer at that supreme instant fired the last bridge between himself and honor. No, Monopoly has nothing to fear from a party fooled by a spy like Dana, betrayed by knavish leaders like Hill and Springer, and represented in Congress by the one hundred and fifty imbeciles who voted for Hatch, McMillan, Springer, and Crisp.
When at the Cassadaga Congress of the American Secular Union, then the National Liberal League, the Comstock censorship of the press and mails was ignored and the foolish and cowardly policy of silence adopted, the organization started upon the downward way which ended on the last day in October in a four hours’ session of the Union in Philadelphia. Here the old and tried Freethinkers who had been among the mainstays of the movement were insulted and voted down by a handful of orthodox people who had obtained control of the society through the mistaken concessions of the very men whom they now contemptuously flouted. Had Mr. Wakeman, the Footes, the “Truth Seeker” people, and other influential Liberals in the East stood firmly by the flag of repeal at Cassadaga as the West had helped them stand at Chicago, St. Louis, and Milwaukee, the history of the last three years of the Union would read differently, and, I opine, be far less likely to tinge the cheeks of true Secularists with the blush of shame. The disgraceful reign of the Westbrook-Craddock combination was the logical sequel of the Surrender of Cassadaga. The standard was lowered to admit the “modifiers” and the “influential” people of the world who were supposed to be tinctured with heretical notions concerning the union of Church and State. A few came; a little more money was raised, which nearly all went to pay the salaries of secretaries who, at the best, did no more than the League secretaries had done, and, at the poorest and least and last, did far less. And the few who came scuttled the ship. Now the question is, Can the dredgers of Chicago, to whom the sunken wreck has been turned over, with the assistance of the disgusted but undismayed New Yorkers, raise and rehabilitate the old hulk? Will Mr. Wakeman and his confreres pledge themselves to fling the repeal flag to the breeze and rally the forces of Free-thought in defence of a vital issue, the liberty of speech and press and mails? We wish, they say, to follow in the footsteps of the English Secularists. Let us watch and see if they do, really.
Is not that a funny spectacle in Chicago? I allude to the latest development in the “Anarchist” affair. After it has been indisputably shown that the police were wholly to blame throughout, a magistrate solemnly fines each of the arrested “Anarchists,” whose cases had not before been disposed of, ten dollars and then remits the fines! If the men were guilty why were the fines remitted, and if they were not guilty why were they fined at all? And if the latter supposition is the correct one, what about the fines paid by those who had earlier received the attention of the courts? Will the fines be returned? And the time lost, the counsel fees paid by the victims; will the city make reparation for these losses?
Morality is at bottom the allegiance of man — mortal, perishing man, whose life comes up like a flower and passes away like a thought — to an imperishable law; and that be can so raise himself above himself that be has this instinct for the eternal and divine, that in his transient existence be can somehow mirror the uncreated idea — this it is that differences him from all else we know in the visible world, from flowers and trees and all the tribes of animals, and makes us suspect that at the core of his being he belongs to realms that know not earthly day or dissolution. — Wm. M. Salter.
I fancy that the “uncreated idea” is the non-existent idea, using the word creation in the evolutionary sense. As to Mr. Salter’s “suspicion” that man’s divergence “from flowers and trees and all the tribes of [other] animals,” indicates “that at the core of his being he belongs to realms that know not earthly day or dissolution,” it is probable that it is like the suspicion of the Chicago police regarding the existence of armed bodies of “Anarchists” in that city, — only a suspicion. Mr. Salter appears to be much more rhetorical than scientific.
There is only one remedy for unequal social conditions. No inheriting of property or wealth. — Henry C. Corden, in Twentieth Century.
Many fortunes of millions are acquired in one generation by reason of the advantages accruing from the possession of monopolistic privileges and franchises. Will the reversion to the State of these fortunes at the death of the possessors be of any benefit to the masses whom the government gave the dead monopolists the power to rob? Would it not be more rational to cease denying opportunity to all but a few? Would not such a course of procedure be more likely to prevent “unequal social conditions”? E. C. Walker.
[London Personal Rights Journal.]
To challenge the issue of money as a State function seems to the man in the street very like a symptom of lunacy. Well, by that Judgment, our friend of the pavement is simply divulging his own intellectual impotence on the currency question. Use, as John Stuart Mill has said, is not only a second nature, but is constantly mistaken for the first. The constant association of monetary control with State monopoly paralyses the power of the multitude to conceive the practicability of a different condition of things; and, when a political thinker of sufficient intrepidity and logical power states, as an irresistible conclusion from what be holds to be principles of justice and therefore of the highest political expediency, that the interference of government in this matter is mischievous and oppressive, he is regarded as a person who baa taken flight on the wings of some wild hypothesis from the terra firma of unquestionable fact. And still Noodle’s astonishment is but the measure of his incapacity. It is not even difficult of demonstration, to those who can learn from anything but that specific experience which the universality of State monopoly puts out of the question, that the fruit of this monopoly has been almost unmixed evil. In our own country, we should not now be working with a system of money, weights, and measures which might have been in use in Noah’s ark — such is their antiquated cumbrousness and absurdity — if State interference had not prevented the competition of better methods; and thousands of clerks would not, in this “practical” England of ours, be working, day after day through the weary year, arithmetical problems which are as fruitful in human good as the labors of Sisyphus, if the politician had not put in his paw and stopped the struggle for existence between rival measures of value, weight, magnitudes, etc., which would have resulted in the survival and wide adoption of the fittest.
And not only are we cursed with this State-created Babel of standards, not only have our children to learn by rote a set of “tables” which are quite gratuitous, but the notion that we obtain uniformity by the action of the State is the very reverse of the truth. Before we can ascertain bow much is due to State action, we most know what would happen in its absence; and who, except a very few Individualists, attempts to attain such knowledge? We cannot doubt that, just as, in the absence of protective tariffs and other State obstructions to freedom of exchange, the tendency it for the locality and people in which and by whom a particular class of goods is best produced, to supply the whole market of the world, so would that system of money which proved itself the best tend to spread not merely over the country in which it was produced, but over all countries; and the great obstacle to intercourse and exchange of services among the different nations of the world constituted by their different money standards would disappear. But, for this, freedom is necessary. The people would, no doubt, have to exercise their judgment in this matter — a terrible calamity against which Socialism essays to save them all round. They would have to take care of themselves in the matter of their money as they do now in the matter of their clothing; and they might rationally look forward to the same sort of Improvement in the one as they have attained in the other. One thing is quite certain. If we do not go forward in our treatment of the monetary problem, we shall go backward.
Land and Money.
[Journal of the Knights of Labor.]
The monopoly of natural opportunities, otherwise land monopoly, is a great wrong, and there never can be industrial freedom until it is abolished. While industry must pay tribute to idleness for opportunity to transform raw material into wealth, liberty is impossible. But though much of the poverty and plutocracy and of the misery which accompanies the making of paupers and plutocrats is beyond all doubt due and traceable to land monopoly, yet land monopoly is not the only source of social injustice, nor Is land reform the only remedy that society needs. . . . It is probably true that In time the holders of the land will be able to dictate terms to the holders of gold. Nevertheless it is a fact, patent to all who will think, that the gold superstition has been more potent than land monopoly in bringing about the present unequal and unjust distribution of wealth. The enormous public and private indebtedness of the United States, with the stupendous burden of interest it entails, has been created mainly by money monopoly, not by land monopoly. Possibly — as we see it, probably — when the struggle comes between them, the exploiters of natural opportunities will be able to subjugate and despoil the money kings, but the inequalities which curse society at the present moment are due in a far greater degree to money monopoly than to the monopoly of land. Were it not for the gold superstition money monopoly could not exist, but with gold the basis of all currency the monopolization of money and the consequent control of Industry by the owners of money is inevitable. Land reformers do good work when they strive to arouse the public conscience to the iniquity of private ownership of natural opportunities, but money reform is as necessary — perhaps of more immediate and pressing necessity.
The Story of a School.
By Wm. Bailie.
There was a certain school wherein were a great many boys. It was a very ancient school, and had lived on from the olden time; yet in the breadth of its learning and manner of teaching it was not surpassed by any in these latter days. For it imparted to all the scholars much instruction in the useful arts, and exercised them in tilling the earth, which was very fruitful on that estate.
Thus did their bands become familiar with all the mysteries of crafts and trades, besides which their minds were stored with all the lore of books.
And so they became both skilful and learned.
Now there were many changes brought about from time to time by the Board and Officers who ruled this great school.
For it should be known to all men that, besides the masters, who were very numerous, there were other bead men appointed to various duties about the place, and a Board of Management which ruled tho whole and ordered all things for the greater comfort and well-being of the boys.
And all the changes and new rules decreed by the Board were for the good of the scholars entirely.
Now because of the perfection of its mode of bodily as well as mental training and its method of laying out the time of the boys, there was no public charity nor endowment needed to maintain this school; it was self-supporting and independent.
And of this they boasted very loudly in all that region, and the rulers were held in great respect. Yet the boys withal were not content. They chafed under their instruction in the field and in the shops where useful acts were taught, saying: “Our class lessons with our books are enough, and the rest of the day we should have for games and play.”
Howbeit their grumblings were heard but seldom and only by a few of the boys.
Truly there was none to heed this murmuring discontent, for they dared not to let the masters hear it.
But when they did hear of it, they said it was only the natural folly of youth rebelling against wholesome and beneficent rigor, whose good purpose they were too young to understand.
One there was amongst the officers who was treated by all with much respect.
Him from the first had the scholars been taught to reverence.
And this was the more easy to do as he often went amongst them with kind and soothing words, which was not the manner of the other officers.
He was an exceedingly holy man, and reproved their waywardness, saying:
“It is good, my children, to be content in the station wherein it has pleased God to place you.” “Bear ye one another’s burdens.” “Remember that it is the Lord’s will that you respect those in authority over you and obey them in all things.”
And with many such words did he comfort them.
And many hearkened to his voice and straightway went and performed their daily tasks with meekness and resignation. And those rebelled not against the rules made for their guidance.
But some there were who heeded not the words of the holy man, and waxed exceeding wicked, refusing to receive their lessons and perform their daily tasks.
And they reviled the masters who were over them, and went amongst the others, saying: “Let us arise and put away these masters, for they are hard taskmasters, feeding us badly and giving us weary lessons all day long, and we have no holidays. Wherefore we will have them no more, but take into the school other masters of our own choice, who will give us easy lessons and many holidays. Then shall the Board make good rules, and we shall no more be oppressed.”
Now, when the masters and rulers heard of these sayings, they were filled with wrath, and called the officer who had the keys of the deep dungeon and who was much feared by all the scholars, for he had great power and authority over them.
And the masters ordered him to take those wicked and rebellious boys, and cast them into the dungeon. And for a long time thereafter discontent and rebellion were unknown in that school.
But after a while another evil arose, and the boys clamored loudly for easier lessons and more rest.
And many ceased to go into the fields and the shops as usual.
Then the masters came to them and said: “Corn will not grow unless the earth is tilled, and if you refuse to go into the fields, you will assuredly perish for want of bread. Ungrateful wretches that ye are, behold the great school we have provided for you, the beautiful buildings and pleasant estate to live upon, the wholesome if coarse food, the clean beds if rough, and above all the wonderful education in all arts and knowledge which is our free gift to you all. Yet you refuse to perform what we require of you. Against these healthful and invigorating lessons you rebel. The cause is naught but laziness and overfeeding. Know ye not the penalty for insubordination?”
And the rule setting it forth was read to the disobedient boys. Then was the officer called out who had charge of the dungeon; but he, seeing so many boys defying his authority, was loth to lay hands on them.
“Therefore,” said he unto the masters, “a council must be held,” and the Board was forthwith summoned.
And after much deliberation amongst themselves, they came forth and said to the masters: “We cannot put all these rebellious scholars in our dungeon, for they are too many; but we have devised another plan to bring them to reason.”
And the masters answered and said: “We have faith in your wisdom; say unto us therefore what we shall do.”
Now the boys did not know what was going forward, and still held out.
The same day therefore the masters went and locked up the school, shutting the bad boys out from the dining-hall, the kitchen, the dormitories, and the provision store, giving the keys to the officer.
And when the scholars came in to dine, there was no food to be had, and when night came they had no place to rest. Then came the officer to them and said: “Come with me; you are no longer scholars here; the masters have found other boys, who will abide by our rules and receive their lessons and do their tasks gladly.”
And to each he said: “Thou may’st now go whither thou wilt. Come, I will escort you beyond the estate.” And they followed him to the outermost gate, which he opened, and they passed through to the region beyond.
It was a dreary and terrible night which they passed together outside the walls of their late home. Next day they began to roam about the region, thinking perchance to come to another school like that they left. But it was a desolate region, and in every direction they found it to be a vast and mighty wilderness.
And when many of their number had perished of want and cold, the rest were fain to return to the school. And by degrees they came to the gate in ones and twos, not daring to tell the others of their purpose, and implored the masters to take them in.
So, when they were humbled sufficiently, the masters permitted all who had not perished to return to the school.
When many years had passed, this great calamity was forgotten by the boys, and some of the younger ones would refuse to perform their wonted tasks, choosing rather to go out into the world beyond. Yet did they fare no better than the first who committed that folly.
Now, in the course of time, as the scholars grew in years and knowledge, they caused their rulers much anxiety by raising their voices against some of the rales of the school.
They also clamored for leave to select some of the men who sat on the Board which governed the school.
For they thought that such a change would give them easier lessons and regulations which would not oppress.
And when they were all agreed upon this thing, they were granted the privilege requested, and thenceforth were graciously permitted to choose their rulers from amongst the masters of the school.
Then was there much rejoicing amongst the boys, for they believed the good time had come. And they murmured not at their lessons nor felt their burdens heavy. For the rules were easily borne which had before oppressed them, because they were now made by rulers of their own choice.
Still there came a time when the old discontents began to arise.
The great privilege which they enjoyed, and which no other scholars possessed, did not at all times reconcile them to the regulations that were made.
And they wondered why their tasks grew no lighter and their playtime no more.
But the holy man went amongst them and toiled unceasingly to soothe their complaints and give them peace in their souls.
He told them of the time when they would become men, how they would cease to hate tasks and learn lessons, and that they would then leave the school and get wedded to some beauteous and loving lady, and live in peace and happiness, enjoying all things forever. “Now mark,” said he, “how much better is your lot than that of the masters and rulers who must live in the school their whole lives through, oaring for the scholars, while you, after a few years, depart and attain to joy and happiness evermore.”
Nevertheless there arose some who refused to be comforted with the blessed promises of the good teacher.
Amongst them were a few who wanted to select from amongst themselves certain of the elder boys to sit at the board with the rulers, and also to have some of them appointed to certain offices.
But these latter had small favor from the other scholars, who laughed at the notion of boys sitting to make rules with the Officers and the Board.
At last there arose one amongst the boys who was exceeding wicked and became a great terror to the masters and rulers.
Although he was most vile and uttered many blasphemous and seditious sayings, yet many scholars hearkened unto him and treasured up his words.
He spoke many dangerous and violent things to the boys. “Schoolmates,” said he, “see ye not bow greatly we are oppressed, for while we are being taught, we make all manner of useful things and till the soil and rebuild the school, but nothing is bought from without except with the things we make during our lessons. Who are our teachers? The masters do not give us our instruction, but appoint some of the elder boys, who have well-nigh finished their studies, to teach us all things and keep us close to our lessons, while the masters stand idly by or go off and amuse themselves. Therefore to them is not due the success of the school, but rather to our own diligence and the elder boys who instruct us. Why should we endure these Incapable masters who know not how to teach? And those head men who sit at the Board and oppress us with rules we do not need? We are as bad off as the boys were before we were privileged with the power of selecting them. And the Trustees who own the estate we never see; yet we pay high tribute unto them. Behold our brethren now in that vile dungeon! Why should they remain there for breaking these unjust rules? These officers are but hired servants to lash and punish and terrify us into submission. Think ye we shall ever reach that happy state, when we attain to years of manhood, that the holy man comforts us with? Do not they all enjoy that state already? Believe him not, my schoolmates. He is a hypocrite, a purveyor of spiritual opiates that will avail us nothing. Brethren, let us be wise, and overthrow the Board and all these rulers. They serve us not, nor do the masters fulfill their duties. They know not how, even if they desired. Let us away with them, and have no more of their useless and despotic rules. Come and destroy the officer of the dungeon, and open it up, and set free our suffering companions. Then we shall have the school to ourselves without rulers or masters, for we need them not. Then can we take rest when we feel weary, and seek instruction when inclined. And none shall oppress us any more.”
Thus, in violent and outlandish words, did this fiendish boy speak unto the scholars. Now there were many sore afraid when they beard these things, and went and told the Officer.
And he straightway went and made full report to the masters and rulers of this awful youth’s sinful doctrines.
Then sat they long in council together, pondering how they should stop the spread of this abomination.
And the officer of the dungeon was ordered to take the boy and bring him before them. But they found him waxing more violent and immoral in their presence. So, in order to prevent more of the mischief and teach a wholesome lesson to any grumblers amongst the scholars, they decreed that he must die.
And the officer went forth and erected a gallows on a high bill, which could be seen by the boys over the whole estate, and the boy was hanged upon it, and died glorying in his crime.
Now when the scholars saw what was done, they held their peace, dreading the same fate.
Yet there were still two or three who had faith in the words of the rebel, and the officer heard of it and cast them into the dungeon, where they yet remain if they be not dead.
Thus did wisdom once more triumph, and order was preserved, and authority retained its power and respect.
And the danger of being deprived of the masters and rulers who did so much for them and were in every way so kind and considerate was overcome. And there was occasion for great rejoicing. Yet there may be found a secret few in that school who still believe in the wicked rebel’s words.
They have great faith, and look for their fulfillment at some future time.
And, although they continue to believe that the masters and rulers will some day know more in that school, the power of the masters grows greater and they know no danger.
And the school still prospers in its wonted way.
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.