“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 simplest solution of the social problem is that discovered by the New Orleans “Picayune,” which says that this is truly the age of the people, and that they ought to be happy and would be happy if they only knew enough to cultivate a general spirit of contentment. Why not try it for a time?
A committee of the French Chamber of Deputies has rejected a bill for the prosecution of men living on the earnings of dissolute women. The reason given was that under French law the course pursued by the women is not criminal. It would be interesting to have this subject discussed in our own national legislature.
Torture is not obsolete in this country. It is said to be freely practised in Chicago by police officials to compel suspected persons to criminate themselves and others. A dispatch from Denver says that certain suspected persons arrested there “proved themselves” dead game, refusing to give up a word of information, although barbarously tortured in the sweat box more than once.
The papers do not seem able to forget the injury which was done to the privileged classes in the election of the few Alliance senators and representatives. They continue to talk of the unheard-of folly of entrusting national interests to the Peffers and Simpsons. I suppose the interests of the nation are safer in the hands of the Quays, Dudleys, Ingallses, and other brazen corruptionists.
English political leaders are often called upon to deliver addresses as rectors of the Scotch universities, and Chancellor Goschen recently spoke on the subject of “Imagination” at the Glasgow university. A newspaper remarks that this would seem to be the last subject a financial minister ought to handle. The newspaper, I fear, knows very little of the present financial systems, in which faith and imagination play a conspicuous part. Where is the basis for the “gold basis,” if not in imagination?
The editor of the New York “Evening Post” says: “What we advocate, Labor dear, is liberty for all, and we should like extremely to see a great fête instituted, called Liberty Day, on which each man should do as he pleased, provided his pleasure did not interfere with other people’s pleasure.” Does Mr. Godkin advocate liberty for all on Liberty Day merely? There is no liberty if every day is not a liberty day. For Godkin to say that he advocates liberty for all, even for a single day, is preposterous. The man who would prohibit the buying and selling of lottery tickets, or the unlicensed sale of intoxicating beverages, is not an advocate of liberty. He does not know what liberty means.
Says the Boston “Herald”: “There teems to be a good deal of misapprehension abroad concerning the treatment accorded to Walter Crane during his sojourn in Boston. . . . Boston is not so intolerant as to put a boycott upon any person who honestly holds radical opinions on any subject and proclaims them from the housetops or elsewhere, provided that in so doing he does not disturb the peace or violate the ordinances.” This is not true, except on the supposition that the “Commonwealth,” the “Woman’s Journal,” and a certain social club do not fairly represent Boston. If this is what the “Herald” intends, then the aforesaid organs of “culture” and club will regard the remark as the unkindest cut of all.
J. Astley Cooper, an Englishman who finds no better employment than the furtherance of a scheme to “consummate the solidarity of the English-speaking nations” by holding a grand festival every four years at which their accomplishments in science, commerce, art, literature, and athletics might be displayed, is hailed by a writer in the Boston “Globe” as a saviour of humanity. We are told that the “old Hellenic empire, cemented largely by the celebrated national games, fell through the rapacity of commercialism,” and that English-speaking civilization is threatened by the same blight of commercialism and financial greed. Mr. Cooper’s plan, which is said to embody an original and fascinating idea, would act, we are assured, as a powerful counteracting force and temper the greed for gain. More wretched nonsense is seldom seen in print. The scheme might afford occupation and amusement to those who have plenty of tins»and of means; but the talk of the counteracting and salutary influence of such festivals can only be indulged in by those who have no conception of the differences between the present condition of the world and that which prevailed in that ancient epoch. Why not also revive the oracle institution?
The legal profession is closed to the women in England, and a correspondent of the London “Personal Rights Journal” points out that it is not a very difficult matter to get the objectionable law repealed. He says: “I would suggest that some lady should qualify or graduate in law at London University, the legal degrees of which are notoriously far superior to the professional qualifications of either barristers or solicitors. Then she should apply to one of the Inns of Court to be called as a barrister, or for admission to the rolls as a solicitor. This, no doubt, would be refused. Then I would advise her to practise for herself. This would be a criminal offence, and would lead to a short spell as a first-class misdemeanant in Holloway Prison. But this, I think, would be a Pyrrhic victory for the champions of inequality before the law. No man — probably not even a lawyer — would permit a woman to be imprisoned for endeavoring thus to earn her living. Injustice would be deprived of her mask, without which no decent man would publicly own her.” Passive resistance to law is beginning to be appreciated by the moderate Individualists in England. Only in the “freest country in the world” do the generality of reformers shrink from violating the law.
More than fifty years ago Mr. Babbage predicted that if a new power were to be discovered that could be generated in a central place in sufficient quantities, and then distributed wherever it was wanted, the age of domestic manufacture would return. The huge factory would tend to disappear, and the small factory would multiply everywhere. It is interesting to note that Mr. Cook Taylor, the English inspector of factories, in his new book on the modern factory system, expresses the opinion that a great change in the system is impending, — that we are on the verge of the discovery of a power which can be distributed in workingmen’s homes, and which will result in the return of the laborer to his cottage and his family. Dr. Albrecht, a German statistician, quoting the statements of factory inspectors, that the introduction of small cheap motors has largely increased the number of small shops throughout the German empire, also predicts that with the improvement of electric motors and the cheapening of electricity there will be a great increase of small shops, and possibly a return to the day of small industries.
Referring to Mr. Taylor’s opinion, the New York “Post” says truly that, should the consummation be reached soon, the gain to representative institutions would be immense. We add, more explicitly, that the cause of Socialism would be sensibly weakened, and the Individualist movement immeasurably strengthened. If we should get rid of the huge factories, the “Post” continues, “there is little doubt that we should soon witness a vast increase of political wisdom among the masses concerning the conditions of industrial success and social happiness.” The advantages of the small factory are many, but the principal advantage is its suitability to voluntary coöperative enterprises, the success of which Socialists fear more than anything else. In a recent magazine article, Mr. Sidney Webb, the leader of the Fabian Socialist movement in London, wrote: “Everywhere the workman is coming to understand that it is practically hopeless for him, either individually or coöperatively, to own the constantly growing mass of capital by which he lives. Either we must acquiesce in the personal rule of the capitalist, tempered only by enlightened self-interest and the gift of sympathy, or we must substitute for it the collective rule of the whole community.” Passing over the incorrect use of several terms in this passage, the answer to be made is twofold: Under freedom it would not be at all necessary for the workman to own “the mass of capital by which he lives.” Supply-and-demand would secure to him his proper share in the product, and would leave the capitalist nothing but his due share. Then, it is simply not true that the workman cannot hope to own the means of production and employ himself, individually or coöperatively. The tendency toward decentralization is already beginning to be felt.
Government’s Aid to Monopoly.
Money dictates our financial policy; money controls the business of the country; money is despoiling the people. Wall street is a primal factor, and many of the leading men there, with fortunes built upon the rains of their fellows, are in reality the most audacious gamblers in the world. The poor creature who, with a few dollars, sets up a gambling table in any town, is liable to arrest at any moment, and is despised by all the world; while the men who gamble in Wall street, and grow rich on the failures of numberless persons, are called patriotic, because they lend their ill-gotten gains to the government at 12 per cent. interest, and they are feted and dined by an intelligent and Christian people.
Corporations of rich men have always worked together to support each other; but it is truly astonishing that of late years the public treasure has been used by the highest government officers to support the needs of men who have brought about a “stringency in the market,” and whose interests are totally at variance with those of the people. Ever since the crash in 1873 the Secretary of the Treasury has been in the habit of conferring with the capitalists in New York regarding a money stringency, and of ascertaining how much of the people’s money would be necessary to ease the situation.
Judging from several official reports, it was the firm belief of the Secretary of the Treasury that it was a matter of duty to use the national treasury — the people’s money — to rescue “the industrial and commercial” interests of the country whenever any disturbances in financial affairs indicated a money pressure in that part of the United States where New York is situated. While the people throughout the Union were famishing for the want of money the country supported millionaire capitalists, who had brought upon themselves a “stringency in the market” through a gigantic system of gambling, allowing them to use the people’s treason to alleviate the pressure!
“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.
The “First Step.”
To the query from the New York “Voice,” “What Should Be the Next Step in the Interest of the Wage-Earners?” representative writers in nearly all the schools of economic and social reform have made reply; and the symposium is not merely very interesting, but highly instructive and suggestive. One can judge of the worth of a scheme of labor reform by the efficacy, significance, and practicability of the first move contemplated by it. Each step must be a step in advance, if the goal is to be reached and the beautiful promises fulfilled; hence, if the first step favored is plainly a step backward, or if no first step is recommended at all, then one is justified in declining to give the scheme thus discredited at the start any further notice. Of the proposing of reforms and solutions of the labor problem there is no end; but when it comes to suggesting a beginning, a first step, at once practical and pregnant with substantial benefits, most reformers are nonplussed, and though they manage to talk a great deal on the subject, they say very little. Then it is clearly seen that he who is first among so-called practical reformers is really last, while he who is last is really first. Those brushed aside as inveterate idealists turn out to be realists, while those who loudly advertise their realism are relegated to the rear as blind guides. The “practical” are no longer confounded with the practical.
What, then, should be the next step in the interest of the wage earners; how shall we enter upon the practical settlement of the labor problem?
Thomas O’Reilly, associate editor of the organ of the Knights of Labor, holds that the next step should be independent political action. Organized labor must fight organized capitalism with the weapon which will give it the advantage, — superiority in numbers. Strikes and boycotts are of no avail; capitalism can afford to view complacently the growth of trades unions; the odds are always in favor of the possessors of capital. Hence, instead of “organize” simply, the motto of all reformers should be “organize for political action.” This response, however, is clearly founded on a misapprehension. The “Voice,” in speaking of the first step, unquestionably alluded to remedies, not to methods. What remedy shall we apply first is a different query from, How shall we apply the needful remedy. We cannot organize without a plan of campaign, a definite programme of work to be accomplished. Methods that answer must be preceded by thoughts that are true, has been said; there can be no common action where there is no common cause. So we are left in the dark as to the first step of Mr. O’Reilly.
The same misapprehension vitiates the response of Louis F. Post, the editor of the single-tax organ, the “Standard.” The next step of the wage earners should be, in his judgment, the identification of workmen with the Democratic party. “All practical steps must be in politics. For, since the interests of people who work are identical, and are in opposition only to special privileges, which are created by laws, any beneficial movement must be toward the repeal of such laws. This requires political action. Political action may be undertaken by means of establishing new political parties, or of influencing parties already established. The latter is the easier. In choosing one of the established parties, regard should be had for its underlying principles; that they be in accord with the policy necessary to secure the desired result. If the policy ought to be paternal, the Republican party offers advantages, for its tendency is in that direction; if it ought to be in favor of having government interfere with private affairs as little as possible, the Democratic party is the better of the two, for its tendency is away from paternalism.” The conclusion logically follows from the premises, but the premises are of questionable validity. Here, however, the objection is of a different nature. Suppose the workmen affiliate or identify themselves with the Democrats; what should be the first step in the direction of reform? Should the workmen make low tariff their issue, or free coinage? If neither of these, then what new issue should they raise? Again, no answer to the query of the “Voice.”
Helen Campbell is also a victim of the same misapprehension. Her answer is, “agitate, educate, organize.” For the lowest order of the workmen agitation is needed to rouse the sense of wrong to themselves and others. This is followed by education, which, in turn, creates the condition of organization. But nothing is said about the first step in the sense of initial remedial measure. The testimony is therefore incompetent.
The replies of the writers next to be examined are somewhat more pertinent. John Swinton declares that the thing most needed is an official, authentic, and continuous presentation of the facts regarding the condition of the workmen, and from his point of view, he is entirely right and consistent. He believes that there is a grievous lack of facts and positive data on the subject, and that we are as yet unable to draw deductions either as to the evils or the remedies. In consonance with this view he advocates the creation of a department of labor that should procure and propagate the knowledge desired.
E. J. Wheeler holds that the first step should be the prohibition of the liquor traffic. The most formidable obstacle to all advance, he says, is the stolid indifference of the wage workers themselves, and nothing deadens the sensibilities so much as the use of alcoholic beverages. Again, the saloon-politicians hold the balance of power in politics, and they must be overthrown before the cry for justice can be heard. Drink further entails industrial waste and increases the burden of taxation.
Now we come to the replies that are wholly pertinent. John Bascom thinks that the next inquiry for the workman is bow to make his wages go farther in rational home pleasures. He believes that the solution of the labor problem should begin at home, — that wiser expenditure of income should be secured.
“So long as beer and tobacco take up the overflow of wages, there can be no marked progress.” Samuel Gompers thinks that the hours of labor and immigration should be restricted be as to furnish work for the unemployed. Whether the hours of labor should be regulated by legislation, like immigration, is not stated. W. D. P. Bliss, editor of the “Dawn,” recommends, as the first step, the nationalization of railroads, telegraphs, telephones, banks, coal mines, and all other “monopolies,” as fast as they reach “monopolization.” Laurence Gronlund’s reply is characteristic. Observe that he was asked to give his opinion, not as to what the next step is likely or certain to be, but as to what it should be. To him, however, this is of no consequence. “If I had a choice,” he says, “I might respond to your question: Obligatory industrial arbitration.” Voluntary arbitration having been found useless, compulsory arbitration should be resorted to. By it security of employment would be gained, and “a recognized place [for the workmen] in the solid structure of the commonwealth.” But poor Gronlund has no choice, as organized labor everywhere demands the eight-hour day, and therefore the eight-hour day will be the next step.
Mr. J. W. Sullivan, associate editor of the “Twentieth Century,” recommends the abolition of monopoly, but wants the monopoly of law-making to go first. He proposes direct legislation, — the abolition of the political boss and his partner, the plutocrat. The abolition of the land monopoly is imperatively needed, but nothing in that direction can be done under the present political arrangements. Both because of its intrinsic significance and its being a means to the end in view, — the abolition of monopoly, — the Referendum should be secured first.
I have summarized the answers of all contributors but one, — the representative of the Anarchistic movement. His letter I give in full below, not on account of its essence, which might be surmised or given in a few words, but because of the incidental remarks indulged in, which relieve me from pointing out the moral of the symposium — I mean, from adding anything to the remarks of the introductory paragraph. The letter ran as follows:
It is with peculiar satisfaction that I undertake to answer from the point of view of philosophical and pacific Anarchism, the most important question propounded by the “Voice.” Even friendly critics are wont to charge that radical Individualists, who insist on perfect freedom, have nothing to offer to the underpaid laborer and overtaxed farmer by way of substantial and direct economic remedy. The truth is that in this respect the Individualists have a distinct and palpable advantage over the Socialists, whose “first step” is the Nationalization of telegraphs, telephones, and railroads — a step which, whether desirable for other reasons or not, contains no promise of improvement in the lot of the wage earners. Grant, for the sake of the argument, that complete Socialism would emancipate the workers; can any reasonable man hope for the triumph of Socialism in the near future? In the “first step” of Socialism, the wage-workers have absolutely no interest, if the economic position of Socialists is at all sound.’ But in the “first step” of Individualism or Anarchism, the wage-laborers are vitally interested. This “first step” is the obtainment of freedom in the financial relations, or freedom in note-issuing and banking.
In the view of Individualists, the tampering of government with money and banking has resulted in more evil to working people than has been inflicted upon them by any other factor. No violation of the law of equal freedom has so deeply injured the wage-workers as that which is implied in the money monopoly. Bad as restrictions upon international exchanges are, their destructive effect upon the independence and well-being of the laborer is as nothing in comparison with the fatal consequences of prevalent monetary arrangements. The repeal of existing financial legislation — the removal of the taxes and penalties visited upon private circulation, and the recognition of the right of private parties to issue currency and organize mutual banks — would go far towards solving the labor problem. This step — our first step — would revolutionize the relations between labor and capital; it would furnish employment to the unemployed and raise the wages of the employed. It would enhance the power of labor organizations, and would enable them to dictate equitable terms to employers. It would enable trades unions to start coöperative enterprises and to take contracts for public and private work.
The Farmers’ Alliance are wise in emphasizing the immense importance of financial reform, although their remedies are economically unsound and ethically wrong. The labor unions are as yet blind to the significance of the money problem, but they cannot long resist the logic of events. Money reform is in the air, but the primary and essential requisite of reform is freedom. Individualists would gladly coöperate with the farmers and laborers in securing a better financial system, a system free from politics and monopoly. The task needs us all, for the government will not readily relinquish the object of its most persistent and assiduous devotion.
I presume the editor of “The Voice” does not expect the contributors to this symposium to give the reasons for the faith which they, severally, express; the space-limit imposed negatives any attempt at introducing evidence or argument.
I answer the editor’s question, then, by saying that the first step in the interest of the wage-earner should be the abolition of the money monopoly. V. Y.
Rule or Resistance, Which?
To the Editor of Liberty:
Do you think that it is accurate to say, as Liberty has said recently, that Anarchism contemplates the use of police, jails, and other forms of force? Is it not rather that Anarchism contemplates that those who wish these means of protection shall pay for them themselves; while those who prefer other means shall only pay for what they want? (1)
Indeed, the whole teaching that it is expedient to use force against the invader, which, as you know, I have always had doubts about, seems to me to fall when egoism is adopted as the basis of our thought. To describe a man as an invader seems a reminiscence of the doctrine of natural depravity. It fails to recognize that all desires stand upon a par, morally, and that it is for us to find the most convenient way of gratifying as much of everybody’s desires as possible. To say that a certain formula proposed by us to this end is “justice,” and that all who do not conform to it, — all who are “unjust,” — will be suppressed by us by violence, is precisely parallel to the course of those who say that their formula for the regulation of conduct is the measure of righteousness, and that they will suppress the “unrighteous” by violence. (2)
As I absorb the egoistic sentiment, it begins to appear that the fundamental demand is not liberty, but the cessation of violence in the obtaining of gratification for desires.
By the cessation of violence we shall obtain liberty, but liberty is the end rather than the means. (3)
“We demand liberty,” say we Anarchists. “Yes, but we see no reason why we should forego our desire to control you, by your own canons, if you are egoists,” replies the majority. “Truly,” we answer, “but we point out to you that it is for your advantage to give us liberty.” “At present we are satisfied of the contrary; we are satisfied that you wish to upset institutions that we wish to preserve,” say they. “We do, indeed,” we reply, “but we will not invade you, we will not prevent you from doing anything you wish, provided it does not tend to deter us from uninvasive activities.” “We think,” concludes the majority, “that in attempting to destroy what we wish to preserve you are invading us”; and how are we to establish the contrary except by laying down a practicable definition of invasion — one by which it can be demonstrated that using unoccupied but claimed land, for instance, is not invasive. (4)
No, it seems to me that no definition of invasion can be made; that it is a variable quantity, like liberty itself.
When you said, some time ago, that liberty was not a natural right, but a social contract, I think you covered the case. If, however, liberty is a matter of contract, is not invasion, which is the limit of liberty, also a matter of contract? (5)
What Anarchism really means is the demand for the rule of contract, rather than for the rule of violence.
“As egoists, we Anarchists point out to you, the majority, that the pleasure of mankind in fighting for the sake of fighting is rapidly declining from disuse. We point out further that from any other point of view fighting is not to the interest of anybody; that desires can be gratified and the harmonization of clashing interests attained much more pleasurably without fighting.” “That is true,” the majority replies, for, though the majority really enjoys fighting for the fun of it, it has got to a point where it will not admit that it does, and to a point where it clearly perceives the costliness of the amusement.
“We propose then,” the Anarchists continue, “not to settle differences by violence, but to reach the best agreement that we can without violence. We propose this with the more confidence that you will accept it, because you yourselves are beginning to admit that the condition of existence for men is not the former ascetic suppression, but the gratification of desires. We therefore propose that you shall at once cease to repress by violence conduct which is not against your interests and which you now suppress only on account of a surviving belief that you are called upon to suppress it for the interest of the doers. Following that, we shall make other demands for the cessation of violence.”
But, of course, in proposing contract instead of violence, it follows that we abjure violence as a principle; we become what I think it is fair to call non-resistants. That is to say that, although we do not guarantee our actions should our fellows refuse to accept our proposal of the system of contract, we do not for a moment suppose that such possible reversions to violence are a part of the new system of contract. (6)
We must hold, as Egoists, that the gratification of the desires of “criminals” is no more subject to “moral” condemnation than our own actions, though from our point of view it may be regrettable; and that by just as much as we permit ourselves to use violence to repress it, by just so much we fortify the continuation of the present reign of violence, and postpone the coming of the reign of contract. Therefore it is that I call myself a non-resistant and regard non-resistance as the necessary implication for an egoist who prefers contract to violence.
When I say non-resistance, I must explain that, so to speak, I do not mean non-resistance, — that is to say, I mean resistance by every means except counter-violence.
The editorials that have recently appeared in Liberty signed by Mr. Yarros have had to me a strongly moralistic flavor, as indeed it is inevitable they should have, from his avowed views; I think Pentecost’s views more in conformity with egoism. By the way, I should be glad if Mr. Yarros could explain the moralistic position more clearly in Liberty; or if you and be could have a discussion of the merits of the matter.
John Beverley Robinson.
67 Liberty Street, New York, December 10, 1891.
(1) I think it accurate to say that Anarchism contemplates anything and everything that does not contradict Anarchism. The writer whom Liberty criticised had virtually made it appear that police and jails do contradict Anarchism. Liberty simply denies this, and in that sense contemplates police and jails. Of course it does not contemplate the compulsory support of such institutions by non-invasive persons.
(2) When I describe a man as an invader, I cast no reflection upon him; I simply state a fact. Nor do I assert for a moment the moral inferiority of the invader’s desire. I only declare the impossibility of simultaneously gratifying the invader’s desire to invade and my desire to be let alone. That these desires are morally equal I cheerfully admit, but they cannot be equally realized. Since one must be subordinated to the other, I naturally prefer the subordination of the invader’s, and am ready to coöperate with non-invasive persons to achieve that result. I am not wedded to the term “justice,” nor have I any objection to it. If Mr. Robinson doesn’t like it, let us say “equal liberty” instead. Does he maintain that the use of force to secure equal liberty is precisely parallel to the use of force to destroy equal liberty? If so, I can only hope, for the sake of those who live in the houses which he builds, that his appreciation of an angle is keener in architecture than it is in sociology.
(3) If the invader, instead of chaining me to a post, barricades the highway, do I any the less lose my liberty of locomotion? Yet he has ceased to be violent. We obtain liberty, not by the cessation of violence, but by the recognition, either voluntary or enforced, of equality of liberty.
(4) We are to establish the contrary by persistent inculcation of the doctrine of equality of liberty, whereby finally the majority will be made to see in regard to existing forms of invasion what they have already been made to see in regard to its obsolete forms, — namely, that they are not seeking equality of liberty at all, but simply the subjection of all others to themselves. Our sense of what constitutes invasion has been acquired by experience. Additional experience is continually sharpening that sense. Though we still draw the line by rule of thumb, we are drawing it more clearly every day. It would be an advantage if we could frame a clear-cut generalization whereby to accelerate our progress. But though we have it not, we still progress.
(5) Suppose it is; what then? Must I consent to be trampled upon simply because no contract has been made?
(6) So the position of the non-resistant is that, when nobody attacks him, he wont resist. “We are all Socialists now,” said some Englishman not long ago. Clearly we are all non-resistants now, according to Mr. Robinson. I know of no one who proposes to resist when he isn’t attacked, of no one who proposes to enforce a contract which nobody desires to violate. I tell Mr. Robinson, as I have told Mr. Pentecost, that the believers in equal liberty ask nothing better than that all men should voluntarily act in accordance with the principle. But it is a melancholy fact that many men are not willing so to act. So far as our relations with such men are concerned, it is not a matter of contract, but of force. Shall we consent to be ruled, or shall we refuse to be ruled? If we consent, are we Anarchists? If we refuse, are we Archists? The whole question lies there, and Mr. Robinson fails to meet it. T.
The Boston “Herald” says that Boston is not particularly enamored of Anarchy — with a big A — at present. Is Boston enamored, then, of anarchy — with a small a?
No person ought to he permitted to come here under any circumstances to remain among us as a laborer unless in good faith he intends to become a good citizen and remain here permanently. — Senator Peffer.
How can Mr. Peffer or any Board of Immigration determine whether an immigrant “intends to become a good citizen”? And may it not be possible, nay, quite probable, that he, with the very best of intentions, will be forced into the ranks of criminals by the monopolistic conditions which environ him here? As to the proposed denial of the opportunity to labor to all who do not intend to remain in this country permanently, that shows the narrowness, the provincialism, the patriotism, of the newly-fledged Senator. It may be a very old fashioned and a very unpopular notion, meriting only the scorn of modern American statesmen, but it is no less a truth to my mind that it is none of the business of senators, or representatives, or private citizens where the German, the Frenchman, the Italian, the American, the Chinaman, the African, or the Indian locates himself, nor how long he remains in one place, provided only that he does not invade the equal freedom of his neighbors.
The Topeka “Capital” is pleased to say that, “if Mr. Comstock should burn half the novels that have been published in the last ten years, he would do society a valuable service.” Does Maj. Hudson for a moment suppose that such a wholesale destruction of works of fiction would in the least lessen the demand for books of the class burned by the public censor? Of course it may be conceded that if Anthony Comstock possessed the power once wielded by the Church, he might destroy nearly all books and plunge the world into another thousand years’ night of ignorance. Does the “Capital” sigh for the gloom and mould and death of that starless night? Does it want Comstock invested with the tremendous power which alone can make his work effective? Has the history of all times failed to teach it the lesson that a censorship always corrupts and degrades literature, emasculating the brains and corroding the courage and honesty of men of letters? Editors who in any way favor a censorship befoul their own chosen work and betray literature into the hands of the ignorant and brutal philistines of power.
The childish ideas of genuinely religious people concerning a “prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God” is well illustrated by the prayer of Rev. Mr. Miles, cited by Alice Morse Earle in her book, “The Sabbath in Puritan New England.” “O Lord, thou knowest we do not want thee to send us a rain which shall pour down in fury and carry away our haycocks, fences, and bridges; but, Lord, we want it to come drizzle-drozzle, drizzle-drozzle, for about a week. Amen.”
Democracy will never lie tied down to any single issue as against Republicanism. Nor will it waive or make secondary the greatest issue of principle between the parties, — the issue of the right of the earner to his earnings, and to a full realization of the value of his product by fair exchange, unchecked by any other tax on the exchange than that absolutely necessary to maintain a government to keep the peace. — St. Louis Republic.
That was written before the defeat of Mills. What will the “Republic” say now, after the representatives of the Democratic party have made “secondary” the tariff issue by the election of Crisp? And we should like to be informed regarding the “Republic’s” opinion of what constitutes a government necessary to “keep the peace.” What does the “Republic” think of the anti-Chinese, anti-Mormon, anti-Lottery, and Comstock legislation? Does it favor the outrageous and unconstitutional practices and procedure of the federal courts? Is it its opinion that the money-monopoly statutes which prevent the inauguration of free banking are “absolutely necessary to maintain a government to keep the peace”? In short, is the “Republic” a consistent opponent of centralization, monopoly, and official invasion?
Mr. Benjamin Harrison, by the grace of a minority vote President of the United States, recommends that Congress decline to relinquish its hold of the question of polygamy in Utah until satisfied that the people of that territory, in the event of its becoming a State, will legislate regarding polygamy in harmony with the past and prospective Congressional legislation on the subject. In other words, Congress is advised to keep Utah in the condition of territorial infancy and vassalage so long as that body of august politicians has any doubt of the sincerity of the professions of submission to its ukase made by the people of that invaded and exploited community. Inasmuch as the laws so far passed by Congress touching the relations of the sexes in the territories have been clearly unconstitutional and flagrantly invasive, and inasmuch, further, as those laws were intended to and did have the effect of alienating from the Mormons not only their social liberties but large properties, I am free to confess that the grandson of his grandfather has unlimited impudence. But how else could he be a successful politician?
Socialism appears to be undesirable because it would crush the individual and make him the creature of a great paternal tyranny. Yet it contains many germs of good, and many of its theories may be applied with excellent results. Anarchy, on the other hand, is a desolate destructive creed and has not in it a single element of good. — Minneapolis Tribune.
I infer that the “Tribune” is unacquainted with scientific Anarchism. Its knowledge of “Anarchism” is confined to some superficial information regarding revolutionary Socialism, whose apostles label themselves with the misleading titles of “Anarchists,” or “Communist-Anarchists.” Does the “Tribune” believe that that would be a successful partnership in which the two parties thereto were forced to work and do business together? Well, it is this factor of compulsion that is the initial “germ” of all forms of State Socialism and Nationalism. The offence of Anarchism is that it is utterly opposed to this principle of forced combinations in finance, industry, commerce, and social intercourse. Its advocates maintain that Voluntaryism is the only true and lasting bond of social union. Does the “Tribune” actually believe that this central and fundamental postulate makes of Anarchism a “desolate destructive creed”? E. C. Walker.
The Artist’s Secret.
To believe in nothing very much, or in a vast number of things dispersedly, may be the secret of criticism; but to believe in something definite, were it only the bellyful, and to believe in it furiously and exclusively, is, with almost all men, the secret of original art.
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.