“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 recently has become illegal in the State of New York for a man to practise the profession of architecture without first submitting to examination and procuring a license from a specially-constituted commission. I know two architects in New York City. As to what one of them, John Beverley Robinson, Anarchist, thinks of this sample of State Socialism, I need no reassurance; he unquestionably condemns it. What the other, J. H. Edelmann, Socialist, thinks of it is a matter of less certainty. I imagine that he disapproves also, but, if so, it is because he is not logical in his Socialism.
Some years ago, when Walt Whitman seized upon the occasion of the death of the Emperor William to sing the praises of that brutal tyrant, I administered to my favorite poet, in this journal, as stinging a rebuke as I knew how to write. I have reason to believe that my words shamed the good Walt, and I know that they met the approval of his stanchest champion, William D. O’Connor. But, having “done my duty,” as a moralist would say, I then let the matter drop, and probably never should have referred to it again, if Comrade Lloyd had not declared, in his article in this issue, that, broad as Walt’s sympathies were, he never identified himself with a tyrant. When the dead are men like Walt Whitman, I am ready to say nothing but good of them, if others will say nothing but truth of them. But as I have only forgiven where Comrade Lloyd has forgotten, I cannot allow him to establish as historical truth an error which no one but myself would ever be likely to correct.
Some Western legislature has passed, or is about to pass, a law making it a criminal offence on the part of an employer to discharge or threaten to discharge an employee for belonging to a trades-union or other organization objectionable to the employer. At which violation of liberty sundry journals of prominence are exceedingly irate. Certainly I share their indignation. But I confess that I should be considerably hotter under the collar, if these same journals would occasionally share my indignation when the courts treat as criminals those members of the trades-unions who threaten to withdraw their patronage from objectionable employers. When liberty is invaded from this side, these editors rub their hands with glee, and declare that such disturbers of law and order cannot be too summarily dealt with. Or, if the invasion is too plain to be denied, they simply keep silence. Take an instance. There is a fanatical restaurant-keeper named Dennett who has several establishments in New York, several in Philadelphia, and others elsewhere. He decorates these with scripture texts, and practically forces his waiters to hold prayer-meeting twice a day. Not sharing his fanaticism, they rebel, and some of them recently struck. One of them pasted on a telegraph pole a label three inches square, bearing these words: “Boycott Dennett’s Restaurants.” For this indisputably legitimate act he was arrested, brought into court, and punished. So far as I know, not a single journal has protested. “Liberty” not only protests, but makes itself an accomplice by joining in the boycott. Personally I have boycotted the Dennett establishments systematically for years. Rather than purchase so much as a sandwich over a Dennett counter, I would go hungry many days. I urge all my friends to do likewise. The court which should punish me for this would as truly invade my liberty as the legislature invades an employer’s liberty in forbidding him to discharge an employee. How long must “Liberty” and two or three papers like it be alone in demanding that the liberty of labor shall be equal to the liberty of capital, and that the liberty of capital shall be perfect?
The Old Song.
[Henry Maret in Le Radical.]
Every week I am obliged to straddle my hobby, because no week passes without offering me several opportunities to do so.
Here they are, forming a new league, to prevent us from working on Sunday. Let us work on Sunday if we wish to, and let us not work if we do not wish to. What a singular mania for not leaving to each his liberty!
This one is determined that I shall read the books which suit him, and that I shall not read the books which do not suit him; that one wishes to force me to go to mass; still another wishes to force me not to go. James insists that I shall have what are called morals. And if it does not please me to have them? Peter insists that I shall not believe in God. And if it pleases me to believe in him? And so it is with everything. There are only people who cannot suffer me to live in my own fashion and who are furiously bent on having me live in theirs. Yet they get red in the face with anger against those who wish to impose an opinion upon them; but they will not allow that they should not impose their own. And this is why the world turns in a vicious circle, in which, by dint of turning, it continually finds itself in the same place again.
Ah! how far we are from the day when people will no longer busy themselves about us, when each will be able to live in his own way without running against a regulation. Surely we shall not see it, nor, doubtless, our children either.
For a long time yet Panurge will see his sheep leap the same ditch, and much water will flow through this ditch before the human flock forms an idea of liberty. So far it has been of the decided opinion that liberty consists in being forced to turn to the left after having been forced to turn to the right. As for no longer being forced to turn in any direction, that is a dream which escapes its understanding.
There is one thing that has always astonished me, — that it has not occurred to any government to force us to purge ourselves on a certain day every year. That would go all alone and would be easily accepted. Every one would say: “It is for our good,” and journalists would be found to render homage to the authorities for their solicitude.
It is this which leads us to call man a sociable animal, and upon this sociability he founds a claim to superiority over other animals. I confess that this superiority is not clearly apparent to me, and from the moment that social life does not consist in sustaining each other, but in tormenting each other, I consider the beasts, who live apart, infinitely more intelligent than ourselves.
It seems to me, however, that it is not utopian to dream of a government whose sole mission should be to protect, not to thwart, the liberty of everybody. The police, in my opinion, should intervene only when a liberty is violated, and to make it respected, not to violate it themselves. Is what I do an infringement upon some one’s liberty? Then punish me. Does what I do hinder nobody? Then leave me in peace. Such ought to be the law and the prophets.
But there. Three fourths of humanity would not be men if things went in that way; for, to most of them, there would be no pleasure in eating lobster if their neighbors didn’t eat it too. Just think of the abomination if I were to believe in metempsychosis, and my fellow-citizens were not to share my faith! Consider what a cataclysm there would be if it were no longer possible to command any one!
As long as men shall be of this humor, they may indeed pile revolutions upon revolutions, but they will die as stupid as they are born.
Moderates Doomed to Ultimate Defeat.
[Auberon Herbert in Free Life.]
No moderate party ever yet definitely triumphed. It has its great use in occupying the ground while the big issues are being fought out. It is from its very nature a balance, a compromise, a temporary adjustment between the strain of forces. But these balances and adjustments are only for the hour. Time is the greatest of logicians. Sooner or later all causes fall into the hands of those who are called the extreme men, — the men who knew their own minds definitely from the beginning, who stood upon a principle and never troubled themselves with calculations as to whether half-a-dozen or half-a-million of persons agreed with them at the opening of the campaign.
A Stupid Exception to a Good Rule.
When men possess one secret or one creed.
Or love one land, or struggle for one need.
They draw together brotherly and human.
They only fly apart who love one woman.
John Boyle O’Reilly.
“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.
Politics sinks lower every year. The profession of the legislator and that of the blackmailer are rapidly blending into one. Things were quite bad enough, we thought, when dishonest men went unbidden to the lobbies of the legislative halls for the purpose of bribing law-givers to pass laws framed in their interest and giving them special privileges. But they are much worse now. The law-givers having sold to the capitalists nearly all the franchises that it is possible to conceive of, the commerce of the lobby has been gradually growing dull through lack of goods to sell and consequently of buyers. The law-givers, thus bereft of their customary prospect of boodle, have set their wits to work to revive the declining market, and as a result, tired of waiting for further offers from the dishonest for the passage of laws in their interest, they now make a regular practice of tempting men with no disposition to dishonesty to bribe them not to pass laws against their interest. In short, they are becoming simple blackmailers.
Here is the “true inwardness” of the innumerable (I beg the indulgence of the literal purist of the New York “Sun” for this extravagant adjective, since, being an Anarchist, I cannot be expected to write English) bills introduced in Congress and the State Legislatures to harass the followers of legitimate callings. Threatening honest laborers and tradesmen with all sorts of restrictions and annoyances and tyrannies, they hope that the objects of these threats will take fright and deliver. Too often — in fact, generally — the game works. But the victims are beginning to see through it. The druggists of New York, for instance, are indulging in ominous mutterings regarding a bill aimed at them from Albany. The day is bound to come when the members of some rich and influential trade will stand back upon their rights, decline to deliver, and refuse to recognize the law. That will be a great day for Anarchism, for it will pave the way and furnish an all-powerful precedent for that movement of organized passive resistance, destined sooner or later to throw off the most onerous and tyrannical of all the restrictions that now oppress labor and hinder the production and distribution of wealth — the restrictions placed upon the issuance of money and the occupancy of land.
Give the blackmailers, then, all the rope they want. They are sure to hang themselves. T.
Wiles of the Social Man.
Referring to Liberty of December 5, 1891, giving “To-Day’s” article, “The Law and the Formula,” and an editorial paragraph thereon, and now to “To-Day” of January 28, 1892, on “The State vs. the Man,” I imagine that Mr. Tucker is not so well pleased with this latter article as with the former, and may be thinking with myself that “To-Day” has contrived after all to annex a considerable exception to that which it asserted to be complete without any.
At first it said: “The perfect and complete law of justice is already contained in the proposition, Every man is free to do that which he wills. The idea is absolutely complete.”
Hereupon I outlined a chapter in which I shall discuss the imaginative character of the formula, its inherent limitations, and different shades of meaning in the predicate according to the applications intended. Thus in one ordinary sense, the commonest in politics, no man is permitted (free) to do whatever he wills. His “natural right” is not questioned. He encounters a proviso that he shall not exercise an aggressive freedom. This proviso, then, in the political sphere, describes a limitation.
But I was not prepared to find “To-Day” explaining away the subject. If the reader cannot rely upon the words “every man” as being unambiguous, what can he rely upon in discussion with Spencerians? In its last article, already referred to, it begins by saying that the law of equal freedom in its most general form is very simple, but “lends itself to easy misapprehension”; that antecedent considerations should be borne along; and speedily affirms: “The law of equal freedom is a social law. Inasmuch as some persons succeed in divesting the notion of man of nearly all its social connotations, the first circumscription of the idea of equal freedom is that it applies only to social men. Secondly, retaliation is excluded by the idea of equal freedom.”
Who can beat such argument? The words “Every man” do not mean every man, but every social man! And what is social? “To say that conduct shall be social is to introduce the assumption of equal freedom at once.” Now is not this — apart from an incidental untruth — precisely equal to saying that the original proviso was a limitation?
While the definition of society as a condition of equal freedom is gratifying as being an assurance that no great sacrifice of individual welfare is likely to be demanded by the ones who give this definition, I will only say here that it is an ideal, not the known society. Where the idealist says that I am no man if not a social man, the actual society man says that I shall have practically no freedom to do as I will, but only as society wills. Am I yet safe with the idealist? No, because to him I am not a man, for lack of the motive which makes “society,” and, even were I a non-aggressive social man, he proposes to tax me. Take this statement of society from “To-Day:” “Society is a result of men’s treating each other in a way different from that in which they severally treat the rest of nature. The difference consists-in each man’s ceasing to appropriate the faculties of others,” etc. There seems to be implied something of a mystic tie. A little further on “To-Day” speaks of “a consciousness of duty to respect the rights of others,” and it makes this a mainstay of society. From that to collective aggression upon the individual cannot be a long step, I think.
Apparently a non-aggressive disposition is not enough to propitiate the social oracle. “To-Day,” having “circumscribed” the meaning of the law of equal freedom, examines some of the “ultimate deductions” from it, and states this one: “Every non-aggressive social man is justly free to do as he wills.” See how we are conditioned. But soon it appears that the others in the majority make free to do as they will contrary to his will. “To-Day” says: “It has been said to follow that to prevent a non-aggressive social man doing as he wills is unjust. But it must be remarked that no series of syllogisms can make an affirmative proposition lead to a negative conclusion.” Perhaps it has overlooked that in meaning there are three negatives in its latter proposition against one negative in the former, which leaves the propositions equal.
One more quotation without other comment than the suggestion that the careful review be extended to the propositions advanced by “social” men: “When we come to advance propositions about such a complex whole as a social man, it becomes necessary to review his attributes very carefully. It is not convenient to attempt the review here; but assumptions as to the nature of social men will be gradually introduced as their joint relations to the environment are defined.” Tak Kak.
A viler judgment has seldom been passed upon a literary man than this of the New York “Nation” upon Walt Whitman, assuming a relation of causation between the poet’s celebration of the flesh and his long period of invalidism. It says: “Compare this premature senility of the poet of ‘life coarse and rank’ with the old age of the chaster poets — with Bryant’s eighty-four clean and wholesome years, with Whittier’s, almost a life-long invalid, and yet busy and useful when eighty-four years are told . . . We have no wish to dwell on the bodily calamities of any one, but where a man deliberately invites the personal test, and where the application of that test points a moral for coming generations, it would be cowardly to shrink from its recognition.” These words undoubtedly mean that Whitman’s disease and death were due to debauchery. To appreciate the peculiarly monstrous character of the insinuation one needs to know that when the poet went to the war as a nurse, he was a perfect embodiment of physical manhood, and that he returned with the disease which wrecked his life, contracted during his untiring devotion to the wounded soldiers. What really is his glory is exhibited as his shame. It required the hypocritical pen of the man who writes civil service reform editorials with one hand while trying to bribe policemen with the other to produce so foul a libel. It is lucky for E. L. Godkin that Wm. D. O’Connor is dead. Were the author of “The Good Gray Poet” still living, he would apply the “personal test” to the editor of the “Nation” without waiting for him to invite it.
A Poet of Nature.
Walt Whitman, the poet of Nature, has joined the unseen majority. The mysterious compact of forces which we term the human organism has in his case dissolved, and we are told that he is dead. To himself dead, perhaps, yes, but to us who remain and remember, he is not dead. A figure so great, so conspicuous, so picturesque, standing alone like a native mountain in the midst of the citied plain of modern conventionality, can never die out from the memory-view of man.
Never, perhaps, since the days of Ossian, or of the author of the Kalavela, has there existed a poet who was so thoroughly the poet of rude, basic, barbaric Nature — or a man who so desired to be, and who so nearly succeeded in becoming. Nature in himself. With him we are brought down to the skeleton and seed of things, the first principles, the primeval granite, the primitive motives and passions. He not only sings the very soil from which the human plant springs, but, with inspiring genuineness, the very manures by which that plant is fertilized. With what noble contempt for mealymouthedness which the great and the greatly-in-earnest have always shown, his words go to the birth of things, without shame or sham. Even as he sings always of primal nature, so the human-nature he celebrates is that of the natural, basic man, — the laborer, the peasant, the pioneer, the warrior, the hunter, — the rude, blunt man of simple ideas, direct action, and untamed loves and hates. Never, perhaps, since poetry began was there a poet so consistent in matter, manner, and himself. Saturated from the very heart’s core to the lips, outward, with the conviction that Nature was perfect and without fault, equally to be celebrated in all that we call evil and all that we call good, he not only strove to be the mouthpiece of Nature, but to be identified with it, to be a “Kosmos.” Perceiving freely that egoism is the great fact and Keynote of Nature, and of every nature, he fearlessly celebrates it —
One’s self I sing,
and stands erect with the grand challenge:
I celebrate myself. . . .
Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a Kosmos.
. . . . . . . . . .
I raise high the perpendicular hand — I make the signal. . . .
I need no assurance — I am a man who is preoccupied of his own Soul. . . .
I will effuse egotism, and show it underlying all — and I will be the bard of Personality. . . .
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one’s self is. . . .
Solitary, singing in the west, I strike up for a new world.
Yet he never, in this worship of individuality, forgot the correlative fact of solidarity, never forgot that every nature is but a part and modification of Nature, that the individual is but a unit of Society. Remembering this, he continually found occasion to —
Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En Masse,
and the beautiful word, “Comrade,” is forever on his lips —
And who but I should be the poet of comrades?
Indeed, as with Ingersoll, friendship, warm, and sunny, and genial, is the most charming characteristic of the man.
How tremendously helpful, healthful, and inspiring all this is to the sickened sojourner in modern conventionalism goes without saying. It is like the strong air of the high hills, the brine of ocean, or the strong light of one of Olive Schreiner’s “shimmery afternoons” in the desert.
Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch, or am touched from,
The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer,
This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds. . . .
I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself or be understood,
I see that the elementary laws never apologize, I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant my house by, after all.
I exist as I am — that is enough.
If no other in the world be aware, I sit content.
And if each and all be aware, I sit content.
One world is aware, and by far the largest to me, and that is myself.
With Walt one of his most constant and sublime thoughts was his unity and identity, one might almost say his equality with the universe.
I do not doubt but the majesty and beauty of the world are latent in any iota of the world; . . .
I do not doubt I am limitless — in vain I try to think how limitless;. . .
Earth! my likeness!
A vast Similitude interlocks all, . . .
To be this incredible God I am, . . .
I have the idea of all, and am all, and believe in all. . . .
The Many In One — what is it finally except myself?
And this oneness of feeling is even greater toward humanity; he returns continually to the theme that he is to include all, embrace all, and himself with all. In this he is one in spirit with Christ and Buddha, and even excels them in the eloquence and intensity of its expression. The “Neither do I condemn thee” is not equal to —
Not till the sun excludes you, do I exclude you. Not till the waters refuse to glisten for you, and the leaves to rustle for you, do my words refuse to glisten and rustle for you.
And the sentiment of brotherhood has never been expressed with such virile eloquence as in —
I do not ask who you are — that is not important to me,
You can do nothing, and be nothing, but what I will infold you.
To a drudge of the cotton-fields or cleaner of privies I lean,
On his right cheek I put the family kiss, And in my soul I swear, I never will deny him.
In his conception of poetry Walt returns to antique ideals. Poetry is not to sing of beauty, but to be filled with religious earnestness. A poem is a great meaning, and a poet one who sings of great meanings with positive intuition.
The maker of poems settles justice, reality, immortality;. . . Divine instinct, breadth of vision, the law of reason, health, rudeness of body, with drowsiness, gayety, sun-tan, sweetness — such are some of the words of poems. . . .
The words of poems give you more than poems,
They give you to form for yourself poems, religions, politics, war, peace, behavior, histories, essays, and everything else,
They balance ranks, colors, races, creeds, and the sexes, . . .
Whom they take, they take into space to behold the birth of stars, to learn one of the meanings,
To launch off with absolute faith — to sweep through the ceaseless rings, and never be quiet again.
The irregular rhythm of the wind and the waves is his model. Like Emerson, and that greatest of woman-poets, Emily Dickenson, he is one of the wind-harp singers. He clearly perceives that the heart of Nature’s remedy is rhythm, full of infinite, mysterious meaning, not a polished and rigid form, but perpetually varying, recurring pulses.
Not so musical as Ingersoll, who is a poet of the same school, he is truer, and infinitely more picturesque and sublime. He knew and felt the charm of the great monotonies — the deserts, oceans, snowfields, processions of days and seasons which occur in Nature, and did not hesitate, on occasion, to make his verses correspondingly broad, and monotonous in the repetition and procession of facts and phrases. Shallow critics rebuke this, and tell us how many lines he commences with “Where” and “I see,” too small and lacking in critical sympathy, themselves, to perceive its merit and meaning. When he writes such anatomical lines as:
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, forefinger, finger-joints, finger nails,
he really writes that which is beautiful and strong, no matter how few can appreciate it; for the poetry that rhythmically interprets charm fulfils its mission, and has all warrant for being, in spite of the condemnation of dress-suit critics, who conclude that, if Nature does not conform to the rules of drawing-room art, — why, so much the worse for Nature.
Like all great men who greatly love Nature, he was enthused by the beauty of what more limited natures call ugliness.
Of ugliness — to me there is just as much in it as there is in beauty — And now the ugliness of human beings is acceptable to me; . . .
And mossy scabs of the worm fence, and heaped stones, elder, mullen, and pokeweed. . . .
I do not doubt there is far more in trivialities, insects, vulgar persons, slaves, dwarfs, weeds, rejected refuse, than I have supposed.
A nature so broad, generous, serene, striving to love as men dream that God loves; so healthful, helpful, manly, and virile, — can hardly be over-valued or praised enough. We are too close to this great man yet to appreciate him; but he wrote of the bases of things, he wrote for all time, and the future will comprehend him. Ingersoll did well to call him “the brother of mountains,” but the phrase is hardly sufficient. He is a mountain, a continent, a world, a universe, and he can hardly be said to have exaggerated when he called himself “a Kosmos” and “a God.” But nothing that we know, imagine, or have heard described, is without impersonation, and Walt was sometimes mistaken and inconsistent. Two of these lapses need notice. Continually identifying himself with the universe, he sometimes forgot he was an egoist. From the outlook of the universe there is no evil, but from the standpoint of the individual there is nothing which may not assume the relation of evil. As he himself puts it —
Nothing out of its place is good, nothing in its place is bad, but because of this relativity of evil he is moved to make the curious mistake of denying its existence, not perceiving that it is precisely in its relativity, and nowhere else, that it does exist.
Or if there is evil, he affirms that “it is just as important as anything else.” and there, also, affirms a half-seen truth. Evil is important, and how — simply in this, that it gives strength to the man who resists it. Vice, crime, ignorance, and physical hardships are all evil, and are all valuable merely because by resistance to them man becomes virtuous, just, wise, and manly. Walt seems never to have exactly comprehended this, and in his large charity felt that he had not only to include the victim of vice but vice itself, not only the criminal but the crime. The motive was a large and noble one, and the attempt in a certain way does him credit, but it is more to his credit that it so largely failed. As regards crime the failure was complete. With all his identifications he never was able to identify himself with a tyrant, a sneak-thief, a cut-throat, or a ravisher. The most he can do is to place himself at the bar for sentence, but that means sympathy with the man, and not his crime. In fact, when we remember that crime means the invasion of someone’s liberty, the attempt of such an one as Walt Whitman to celebrate it becomes laughable. It was like trying to turn himself inside out. But he had set himself to “make the poem of evil also,” “to be the poet of wickedness, also,” and something had to be done. At last he makes a bold break, at the point of least resistance, and we hear:
Give me now libidinous joys only!
Give me the drench of my passions! Give me life coarse and rank!
To-day, I go consort with nature’s darlings — tonight too,
I am for those who believe in loose delights — I share the midnight orgies of young men,
I dance with the dancers and drink with the drinkers.
The echoes ring with our indecent calls.
Here was success indeed, but from the standpoint of sane egoism it cannot be called creditable. To the egoist self-injury is the unpardonable sin, and the only sin, and here was an egoist celebrating his own rot. When we read such words —
The shapes arise! . . .
The shape of the pill-box, the disgraceful ointment box, the nauseous application, and him or her applying it, . . .
The shape of the shamed and angry stairs, trod by sneaking footsteps.
The shape of the sly suttee, and the adulterous unwholesome couple.
The shape of the gambling board with its devilish winnings and losings,
The shape of the slats of the bed of a corrupted body, the bed of the corruption of gluttony or alcoholic drinks, . . .
A drunkard’s breath, unwholesome eater’s face, venerealee’s flesh,
Lungs rotting away piecemeal, stomach sour and cankerous.
Joints rheumatic, bowels clogged with abomination.
Blood circulating dark and poisonous streams.
Words babble, hearing and touch callous,
No brain, no heart left — no magnetism of sex;
. . . . . . . . . .
The wretched faces of ennuyees, the white features of corpses, the livid faces of drunkards, the sick-gray faces of onanists,
and we see that the poet who enquires:
Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body? or the fool that corrupted her own live body?
describes one of those fools in himself.
It is plain, then, that if Walt could sometimes, and momentarily, celebrate the beginnings of vice, he could not even for a moment celebrate the results; and not in all the bibles can be found any such eloquent, terrible picture of those results as in the lines above quoted.
Now hear him when the egotist was sane in him:
If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred,
And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of manhood untainted, . . .
You! do you not see how it would serve to have eyes, blood, complexion, clean and sweet?
Do you not see how it would serve to have such a body and soul that when you enter the crowd an atmosphere of desire and command enters with you, and every one is impressed with your personality?...
This man was of wonderful vigor, calmness, and beauty of person, . . .
He drank water only — the blood showed like scarlet through the clear-brown skin of his face, . . .
I henceforth tread the world, chaste, temperate, an early riser, a gymnast, a steady grower.
But it is unnecessary to proceed. This man whose tastes were so pure and simple, whose manhood was so loving and complete, who was so intoxicated with the human body, “natural and nonchalent,” its health and beauty, and the glow and glory of its clean, free sex, could only by violence make himself the chanter of “libidinous joys” and the “drench” of the passions which rot manhood from the surface to the core.
Another lapse is even more striking, though it occurs but seldom. How Anarchistic Walt was I need not try to prove. I should have to quote two thirds of his work. But is it not a strange commentary on human illogic to hear a man who could write —
Fall behind me. States!
A man, before all — myself, typical, before all,
invoke, in another place — “a shrill song of curses on him who would dissever the Union,” and thereby; deny secession, that most sacred of individual rights. And here and there, elsewhere, that old prejudice of patriotism makes him blind to the logic of world-citizenship.
But when he chants —
I swear I am for those that have never been mastered! . . .
For those whom laws, theories, conventions, can never master,
we forgive him instantly, and when he adds —
By God! I will accept nothing of which all cannot have their counterpart on the same terms,
we are compelled to love him.
Although Walt calls himself “one of the roughs,” by a natural law of attraction he drew to himself the gentlest and most refined natures, and we are not surprised to find among his friends and admirers such names as Emerson, E. C. Stedman, John Burroughs, Tennyson, George Eliot, and Edwin Arnold. But his roughness was all on the surface, it was like a hairy breast, broad and sunburned, but full of the warmest and tenderest love. No saint or saviour ever preached a love so broad, charitable, and inclusive as he.
Gentle and genuine, rugged and stately as an elk of the wilderness, and as completely natural, his was one of those rare and typical natures which enthuse and inspire men for all time merely by the power and picturesqueness of their personality.
He was, and will always be, one of the natural leaders.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
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.