“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.
There died last week at the Home for Aged Men in Boston one of the most faithful and intellectually-consistent Anarchists that I have ever known. When I name him, Joseph H. Swain, but few will recognize him outside of the circles in which he has worked for the last twenty years, part of the time in San Francisco, and part of the time in Boston, his native city. But the few who knew him will testify that he was tried and true. He never failed to see the truth clearly, and never flinched from accepting it. I think I never met a man more free from prejudice. With these great qualities he would have done a great work had it not been for weaknesses of character that nullified his strength. Chief among these were the fatal habit of procrastination, a lack of resolve to begin the work that lay next his hand, and, whenever he did begin, an over-scrupulousness regarding petty details in its performance. His friends and comrades will cherish his memory faithfully and affectionately, but more because of what he was than because of what he did. During the last two years of his life he was very feeble physically. About a year ago he read “My Uncle Benjamin.” No book ever gave a man more deep and real delight. I never saw him afterward that he did not speak of it with glowing enthusiasm. Knowing that his own death was near, he found especial comfort in the concluding chapter, which describes the beautifully natural and even jovial death of Minxit. If Claude Tillier could know what joy he gave to the otherwise joyless end of this admirable old man’s life, he would deem himself sufficiently rewarded.
An important vote was taken in Congress last week on a bill to repeal the ten per cent. tax on State-bank notes. This proposal has the approval of many orthodox financial papers, and such opposition to it as exists is remarkably mild and uncertain. The bill was defeated, of course, but not finally. The House committee on banking and currency has a substantially similar bill under consideration, which will probably be acted upon during the present session. The Alliance congressmen have given renewed assurances of incapacity and ignorance by voting against the bill, on the ground that the chances for the realization of their sub-treasury scheme would be diminished under a State-bank-currency system. Next to free banking and free currency, the repeal of the tax on State-bank notes must appear a highly desirable reform to all opponents of monopoly, it being clearly a step towards that complete decentralization of banking which competition would bring about. It is perfectly true, of course, that, if the repeal of the law should actually entail the miseries and evils which some of the financial Bourbons still predict will be the inevitable outcome of the measure, there might be another reaction in favor of federal monopoly, — a reaction which might prove fatal to the free-money idea; but when we consider that the predictions are conceived in prejudice and blind fear of change, and that the increment of freedom contemplated by the bills before the House would simply disappoint its friends by proving inadequate without furnishing any real ground for opposition on the part of its enemies, we are justified in entertaining the hope that State-bank notes will pave the way to private-bank and mutual-bank notes.
“Gelding’s Nae Better Than ’Tis Ca’t.”
To the Editor of Liberty:
Your timely and forcible criticism of Henry D. Chapin’s plea for the perpetual sequestration of the “unfit,” and of the editor of the “Popular Science Monthly” for admitting that plea to the columns of his magazine, directs our attention to similar infamous proposals made by alleged Liberals and the publication of these proposals in supposed-to-be radical journals.
What a psychological study we have in the person of the editor who, himself the victim of popular ignorance, prejudice, and vulgarity concerning all things pertaining to the relations of the sexes, prints in his paper, supposedly the advocate of liberty and of sane and scientific methods for the improvement of human society, an article in support of the proposition that the “seducer” should be castrated (of course woman is and always must be a legal minor, needing the guardianship of the ever infallible State), and likewise the bigamist and polygamist and the father of the family deemed too numerous by his never-mistaken neighbors. Think of such a monstrous incitement to Statocratic and mobocratic savagery given publicity by such a man in such a paper and without one word of comment or criticism! Every intelligent person knows what to expect from the moralists when once their unreasoning anger is aroused and their attention directed to a new instrument of torture or destruction or to an old one brought from the dead and damned past and put into their eager hands.
As to the writer of this article, who is he that he presumes to suggest the most atrocious punishment for the man living in bigamous or polygamous relations? And the women in the case? Are they to go scathless? If so, why? Is it on the presumption that they do not know their own minds? How highly such women must appreciate such a compliment so delicately bestowed!
What shall be said regarding the editor who in the manner indicated becomes a partner with his contributor in foolishness, to call it by the mildest possible term? “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.” There are some utterances that would never pass the lips and some articles that would never appear in the paper of an ordinarily prudent man. Such a man would think at least twice before jeopardizing that which is priceless, either the possession of himself or others. But some men are not ordinarily prudent. There are men in the Liberal ranks who cannot count on the fingers of both hands the number of persons in whom they are interested who would be disastrously affected by the practicalization of the idiotic suggestion or demand here criticised. Not many of them, happily, are so simple as are a few. E. C. Walker.
A Rare Chance.
By the kindness of two old friends I have lately come into possession of a treasure which many will covet, — namely, a complete set of Liberty, unbound, from the first number to the present, and two sets of the first three volumes of Liberty bound in half morocco red. Each of these two sets consists of two books, the first and second volumes of the journal being bound together and the third volume separately.
These books were given to me to be used for the benefit of Liberty. I propose therefore to sell them to the highest bidders. The eighth volume of Liberty will end on August 13, 1892. Up to that date I will receive bids from any who choose to send. Until that time the bids will be kept an absolute secret. No bidder will know the amount of any bid but his own. On August 13, the highest bidder will be given his choice between a complete unbound set of the entire eight volumes of Liberty or one of the two bound sets of the first three volumes of Liberty. The next to the highest bidder will be given his choice of the two remaining lots, and the third lot will go to the third bidder. In case of a tie each party to the tie will be given a chance to bid again.
The first four volumes of Liberty were exhausted long ago. The first volume has been sold repeatedly for $10, and I have had to refuse offers of $20. To the best of my knowledge and belief there are not more than fifteen copies of the first volume in existence, and of the second, third, and fourth volumes not more than thirty copies each. No one need fear to invest money in these volumes, as the value is sure to double and triple. Fifty years hence a complete set of Liberty will doubtless command a very high price. Whoever has money to spare can afford to bid high on this occasion. On the other hand let no one refrain from bidding because he cannot afford to bid high. Nothing is certain, and who knows that a bid of ten or even five dollars might not secure one of the three lots? It costs nothing to bid, and when a chance costs nothing, it is better to take it than leave it, even if it’s but one in a million.
I live to love, I love to live,
But love than life is stronger,
And now my love is dead, I’d give
My life to live no longer.
“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.
Private Banking: A Distinction.
Brief reference was made in the newspapers some time since to the decision of the South Dakota Supreme Court, whereby the right of the State Legislature to prohibit private banking was denied, and a law passed to regulate the business of banking was declared unconstitutional. The interest and importance naturally attaching to the ease would seem to justify more extended notice of it.
The facts are as follows:
In March, 1891, the Legislature passed an act for the organization of State banks. The act prescribed the manner of conducting the banking business, specified the powers of the banking corporations, and rendered it unlawful for any one to transact a banking business without first complying with the provisions of the act. In September of the same year, the State’s Attorney filed an information against a certain person charging him with carrying on the business of banking “by discounting and negotiating promissory notes, bills of exchange, drafts, and other evidences of debt, by receiving deposits, by buying and selling exchange, coin, and bullion, by loaning money on personal property,” without having complied with the provisions of the banking act. A demurrer was interposed, on the ground that the information did not state facts sufficient to constitute a public offence, and that the law under which the information was filed was unconstitutional.
The Attorney General contended (1) that the privilege of banking is or maybe made by the Legislature a franchise, and that the Legislature has the power of conferring it upon such as it may deem proper, and of excluding all others from the exercise of the privilege; and (2) that, if the privilege of banking is not and cannot be made a franchise, then the Legislature, by virtue of the police power vested in the State, may regulate the business and exclude all persons from conducting it except in the manner prescribed by law. On the other hand, the counsel for the defendant contended (1) that only the banking privilege proper, namely, the privilege of issuing bills or paper credit designed to circulate as money, constitutes a franchise, while the exercise of the incidental powers of banking specified in the statute is a right belonging to the citizens generally and not a franchise; and (2) that, under the police power vested in the State, the Legislature may regulate, but it cannot prohibit a business or occupation not necessarily offensive or injurious to the community.
In deciding the case in favor of the defendant, the Supreme Court elaborately deals with the questions involved, but its grounds and conclusions may be summarized thus: 1. A franchise is a special privilege conferred by the government upon an individual or corporation which does not belong to citizens of the country generally by common right. 2. At common law the business of banking in all its branches was open and free to all, and did not constitute a prerogative of the sovereign. 3. The only banking privilege that is made a franchise in this country is the privilege of issuing bank notes intended to circulate as money, which, since the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, has been vested in the national government, and, when not exercised by it, could be exercised by the several States. 4. It is not a constitutional exercise of power to deprive the citizens of the right to carry on the business of banking other than that of issuing bills or paper credit designed to circulate as money, which was not a franchise at common law and has not been made such by the State or National Constitutions. 5. The business of banking, not being necessarily offensive or injurious to the community, the Legislature cannot, under the police power, prohibit citizens from engaging in it. 6. The act of the Legislature, in so far as it prohibits such banking, is in conflict with the provision of the federal Constitution which declares that no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges of citizens of the United States, and also with the provision of the State Constitution which declares that all men are born equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, such as enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring and protecting property, and the pursuit of happiness.
Logically and legally, the decision is doubtless without a flaw. But the student of political and ethical science cannot fail to be struck with the utter rottenness of the foundations of present societies as revealed in judicial disquisitions on the “rights of men.” While the judges eloquently and warmly plead for our inherent rights, fundamental liberties, essential prerogatives, and so forth, they are in reality far from suspecting that there are natural social laws which constitution-framers, no less than legislators clothed with a little brief authority, cannot violate without becoming tyrants. Provided a law consists with the provisions of the National and State Constitutions, no question of its propriety is ever raised. Our “inherent” rights turn out to be, after all, simply the privileges granted by constitution-makers and ratified by the majority of legal voters. We have abandoned the notion that kings and duly-elected representatives can do no wrong; but that constitutions ratified by the “effective” majority can be less than perfect, has not yet dawned upon the legal mind. The source of right and wisdom is no longer the Legislature, but the Constitution. In the case under discussion, the so-called “incidental powers of banking” are left to the citizen by the constitutions, and hence the right of the legislators to alienate them is denied. But the right to issue bills or paper credit intended to circulate as money, which was equally recognized under the common law, is negatived by the constitutions, and hence all propositions about men’s right to the pursuit of happiness, inherent and fundamental prerogatives, and essence of political freedom, are tacitly dismissed as irrelevant or meaningless. Yet every consideration urged against legislative prohibition of the exercise of the “incidental powers of banking” can be applied with equal force to the question of the exercise of the “banking privilege proper.” If the Legislature may not prohibit anything not necessarily offensive or injurious to the community, why may constitutions impose such prohibitions? If men are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it is clearly as wrong to deprive them of any right by the method of constitutional provision as by any other method.
That judges, as judges, should ignore this aspect of the problem is natural and proper; but, as thinkers and citizens, judges might, in common with other inquirers, pay some attention to first principles of political life and seek for an explanation of the paradox which they are compelled to proclaim daily. V. Y.
Bursting a Bubble.
There is a type of reformer which is common to nearly all the phases of the ever-growing social and industrial movement of the time. He believes he has a mission, and that self-sacrifice is its primary condition. He judges the importance and success of his work by the amount of heroic self-abnegation which, he imagines, it calls upon him to undergo. If he is not continually parading before his followers, or those he wants to become his followers, the extent of the sacrifices he has made for the cause, and which it is necessary for the cause that he should make, he is, with more show of modesty, exhorting them to prepare for the inevitable and indispensable acts of personal sacrifice and self-immolation which every struggling and righteous cause demands of its votaries, upon which it feeds and grows, and by which alone it lives and attains its goal.
He is in the Socialist and Labor movements. The Anarchist movement is not without him. To take his part he has foregone many social enjoyments, braved pecuniary loss, thrown up a multitude of advantages, faced all the risks and borne all the penalties that Society (the monster) imposes on courage and independence. His time he gives freely to the good work of his choice. And for every such personal sacrifice he believes that somebody reaps an advantage. The workingmen, the people, are benefited. The movement spreads, the cause grows apace, — which is the same thing. His profound belief in individual suppression, exemplified in his own work and in his appeals to others, would lead the disinterested observer to consider the voluntary enslavement and sacrifice of each identical with the complete emancipation and assertion of all, — indeed, the true and only way to accomplish that desirable end.
As witness, he calls History, from Socrates and Christ to the most recent victims in our own day; and the theory is complete.
Believe not, reader, that the picture is overdrawn, or aught set down in malice; rather it is the result of observation and experience. And you will have no difficulty in locating it from your own.
That these reformers fully accept and believe in the theory we need not pause to question. That the theory is unsound and the whole principle false, misleading, and mischievous we shall now endeavor to prove. The man who takes up a certain position and pursues a certain course in a matter of public policy and general principle, whether he styles himself a reformer or not, if he is honest, is simply following the bent of his mind, the desire of his ambition, and the line of conduct which gives him the most pleasure. Neither the law nor the opinion of his neighbors — society — calls upon him to strike out such a course, for the social organism always resents being meddled with; nor, if he is sane, will he take it up to make a living. Yet we find men under these circumstances who actually believe that the course they have chosen, with its self-denial, sacrifice, and suppression, will ultimately save mankind, reclaim and revolutionize the world.
To abstain from brandy and champagne when I have a natural distaste for all alcoholic beverages may seem an heroic act of self-sacrifice — while you know not of my aversion. To withdraw from the inanities of conventional society, to shun its unmanly follies, when I detest its hypocrisy and despise its luxuries, may prove me a saintly martyr; but only to those who cannot conceive my view. In reality I am just a self-assertive, wilful mortal, doing that which it seemeth to me good to do. I can only claim that I posses courage enough to do as I please.
It is true that what appear to be acts of self-sacrifice are often deeds of permanent value and good to mankind. But the spirit which engenders such performances is not born of self-abnegation, but rather of the most perfect assertion of individuality. How, then, are the clamorers for self-sacrifice to prove either its existence or utility? A man may act boldly by opposing tyranny or by asserting and upholding individual rights (erroneously called public rights), and he may suffer for his temerity; but, if it is done in the interests of others, and not at all on his own behalf, without being just the thing he took pride and pleasure in doing, — which is the position taken up by the class of reformers we are criticising, — who will have felt the benefit of his sacrifice, and where must he look for his reward? If he is in the wide movement for economic and social reform, assuredly he will be wise in not looking to the workingmen for recompense or recognition, nor need he expect them knowingly to feel the benefits which he believes to accrue from his sacrificial course of action. If he measures his work by its apparent good to others or expects others to see any benefit to them in his conduct at all, then is he doomed to sad and grievous disappointment. Still, such must be the nature of the hopes cherished by those who make a living calvary of their lives, and who fondly believe that the people’s welfare depends largely on the disinterested and unselfish conduct of individuals.
After hugging this idealistic notion for a time, they often begin to have an inkling of their very great mistake. Slowly, as the first fire and enthusiasm burns to embers and the dreamland they are soaring in recedes and fades away before the grim reality, dimly the cold truth forces itself upon them, that the world cares nothing for their sacrifices, that the people thank them not, nor even show the least sign of gratitude to their self-constituted benefactors. The ideal vanishes, hope for the future, for the regeneration of mankind, is shattered, faith in progress lives no more. These are the consequences of a false theory, a mistaken view of the individual’s relation to others. But sometimes the outcome is better. The idealist, in finding the reality, loses not hope and retains his faith in the future. He recognizes that with himself alone he must reckon his loss and gain. If he seems to make a sacrifice for the principles he has at heart, he knows now that it is not so, that whatever he does gives him more pleasure and peace of mind than would any other course have done. He sees at last that it is both unnecessary and useless to lead a life of continual and conscious personal sacrifice; and how much more so to render up life itself on the same phantom altar. When truth has spread thus much of her crumbs before his hungry soul, he is ready to take up the real work of reform, to find his place in the vanguard of the army of progress, with truth alone for his guiding light.
We can now take a more general view of the consequences and the futility of this gigantic, ancient error. It is not to our purpose to occupy space in tracing it back to Abraham, and the bloodthirsty Jahveh of Judaism, to show its survival, through Christianity, in the orthodoxy of to-day. But, while the Early Church was watered by the blood of its martyrs, it would be a mistake to credit its triumph to the self-sacrifice which persecution produced. Those early adherents to the despised doctrines of the Nazarene, slaves, laboring men, the outcast, and the oppressed, were filled with the courage of aggressive self-assertion. They were brave enough not to suppress themselves, or permit others, though they were the powers that be, to stifle them. They asserted themselves. They believed in their right to do so; their bodies were overcome by invasive tyranny, but their spirits were free and could not be suppressed. Theirs was no sacrifice* for in their dying they lived. Their last moments, as the victims of blind ignorance and brute force, were the happiest in all their lives. It was not a sacrifice, but a perfect realization of the individual. Nor was it this spirit, but its opposite, that produced the hybrid monster, born of corrupt and decaying Paganism and cringing, compromising Christianity grown respectable and athirst for power, which is still the greatest menace to liberty of thought in existence.
The fiendish brutalities committed by that monster through every century of its power upon all “protestants” were borne by the latter, not because they believed in sacrifice, though sacrifice was the corner-stone of their religious faith, but in the defence and assertion of individuality, of liberty of thought.
So that the gains to humanity through the Reformation, in itself but the transference of authority from a living man to a dead book, are not in any way due to deliberate or conscious self-sacrifice. Passing over all intermediate ground, let us lake the most striking example of the present century in order to estimate the value of sacrifice to progress. Russian Nihilism has lavished incomparably the most unsparing and heroic sacrifices upon the furtherance of its aims of which modern times furnish an instance. Whether those aims in themselves were worth such a vast expenditure of life and energy is a question outside our present inquiry. And for the same reason we must eliminate the question of the expediency of force as a weapon of reform. Now I have yet to learn that the power and forces which that movement set itself to oppose and conquer are one single Cossack’s mule weaker than before the holocaust began. And I doubt if it is a cock-stride nearer its goal. That it has accomplished a great deal beyond its original purpose I gladly admit. But that purpose is as far off as ever, and what has been gained might possibly have been attained in another way.
The case of Ireland might be cited, — the untold sacrifices made by her sons at home and abroad for generations. Yet who will assert to-day that she is better off in consequence, or that she is really any nearer the attainment of her hopes?
We may return now to our beneficently unselfish reformer, and ask him where shall we find the fruits of his sacrifices, which he makes in the interest of the downtrodden masses. If it is only through a confusion of terms and by a misuse of words that he asserts his belief in self-sacrifice, then let him cast aside the misnomer and talk no more of self-abnegation when he is doing the very thing he at that time likes best of all others. Let the reformer who honestly believes in making himself subservient to others’ good, scrutinize more closely, discover the error, live, not for others who are no better off thereby and who don’t thank him for his pains, but for himself, for the expansion of his personality, an object surely incompatible with self-suppression, and everybody will reap the benefit, and the world will be the richer by his presence therein.
The revolution cannot, will not, come in a lump. We must insist, this time and every time, that, besides being a general question concerning all, it is also and more particularly an affair of the individual. Each must answer for himself, and be responsible only to himself. Then, no matter what he does or what part he elects to play, there will be no more disappointment, shattered hopes, and dark despair.
Humanity is too mighty and vast to rely on any individual for its salvation. The individual is of too great consequence to be bound down, stifled and enslaved, either morally or materially, in the name of the ponderous, impervious, soul-less mass.
Self-effacement is a mere incident in the evolution of freedom, a matter of expediency rather than principle. This is written, not to befog our subject, but in the hope of rendering it more plain and clear. Burke has most truly pointed out that clearness is the enemy of enthusiasm. But I prefer to sacrifice enthusiasm, shadowy, vague, and undefined, in the interest of truth, to cast away all illusions, however elevating and soothing to the mind, in order to cling to the reality, earthy and commonplace though it be, to abide always by the knowable and the known.
Many people take pleasure in deluding themselves, it is so much easier to deceive one’s self then others, and to this class we must relegate those who, from the pedestal of their own disinterested superiority, fling themselves on an altar labelled the cause, the people, or humanity. It must by no means be inferred from the nature of these remarks that we counsel mean, selfish indifference as the path for the individual to pursue. Such a course is utterly impossible to the earnest, thinking, feeling man or woman who sees the misery, slavery, injustice with which the world is filled; who hates hypocrisy and tyranny and oppression; who longs for the beauty of happy lives led by a free, intelligent people; who loves truth and liberty. If we cannot perforce right the wrongs, nor hope to realize and see the condition of things we believe possible, the nearest approach to that happiness we shall find in working toward that end. And we shall be the happier if we know that our striving and struggling is not wasted, that our work is in the right way, our efforts the most effective. This is why we must be willing to discard enthusiasm, vain hopes, false theories, belief in rapid transformations, and a quickcoming millennium. Not to die, but to live, not to suppress, but to realize and expand, should be our endeavor. Far be it from me to sneer at the efforts that have been made, and will, I trust, continue to be made, through pain and suffering and burning toil, to make things better, to fight the oppressor, to combat prejudice and lies. Only let us be sure that we attain our object, and with the least cost, that the veil of illusion will not be pulled from our eyes, to reveal the uselessness and inexpediency of our methods. There is no glory in defeat or in suffering, unless when they are the certain and inevitable steps to victory. And though there may be a sublime satisfaction in contemplating the patience, endurance, heroism, and unselfishness displayed in hopeless conflicts with brutal rascality and despotism, or in weary struggles against murderous, inevitable conditions, yet it were much better and more reasonable to gain the point by some other means. Nature takes the line of least resistance; all reformers would do well to follow her example. We would then have heard the last of voluntary martyrs and saviours.
I had intended to illustrate, with a few incidents from the lives of famous martyrs and pioneers of liberty, the two views which, in my opinion, may be taken of the attitude of the individual to the subject under consideration. But to avoid the risk of burdening this paper with material which may be done without. I shall content myself by stating in brief the two ideas.
Stripped of all its traditionary tinsel and idealism, the story of the best-known of the numerous Saviours of the seed of Adam, the artisan agitator who was executed by Pilate as a dangerous and seditious demagogue, reveals a man who, instead of loving martyrdom and courting the sacrifice of himself as a ransom for others, was aggressively ambitious, inordinately self-loving, yea, self-worshiping and desperately tenacious of life. It was not willingly nor with pleasure that he became a victim of the revolution he inaugurated. He would have taken more kindly’to the diadem of a king than he did to the crown of thorns. Yet I verily believe that all the reformers since then till this hour who have pinned their faith to the sacrificial idea looked to him as the arch embodiment of the juggernaut morality.
There was a certain man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. Though he is universally accepted as the greatest example of patient endurance under unmerited suffering and unjust treatment, though he had a character to maintain in having an unflinching confidence and belief in the justice and the reality of his God, yet he was anything but satisfied with the predicament in which, as the champion of patience and faith, he was so unceremoniously placed. Judging by his vigorous cursing and rather impatient imprecations, he didn’t altogether relish the trying ordeal.
These two citations will. I trust, bring out what I mean in regard to one of the types, one of the two views that I have spoken of. It is this. That personal suffering and sacrifice neither give pleasure nor the desire to endure self-immolation to some of the highest characters, however great the purpose in view or the cause involved.
The second view illustrated by another type of men (idealists and enthusiasts, if you will) lies in the fact that there are characters who delight in personal suffering and sacrifice for an impersonal end. Men who thirst for an opportunity to do, to suffer, and to die for an idea, who derive their most supreme happiness from such a course. It matters not just here whether the spirit is born of enthusiasm, idealistic and visionary. Such an idea has possessed many a champion of the right, of liberty and truth, ere now. Two of the most notable whose names occur to me at this time are Robert Emmet, the Irish patriot, and Louis Lingg, the revolutionary Anarchist.
The fact is, the objects and means of happiness pursued by men are as diverse as their characters are different. No man voluntarily adopts a course of conduct, especially a man of strong ideas and emotions, which does not give him more personal satisfaction than any other he has the chance to follow. To put the idea into a conventional form and express it in language both ancient and trite, there is nothing desired so much by the striving soul as to feel the inward peace of a good conscience. William Bailie.
The Price of Love.
I loved him; he had made more sweet
The wine of Life for me;
I loved him, but the price of Love
Was loss of Liberty.
He liked me not for what I was.
Or what I hoped to be;
He had an ideal self, and gave
It me as livery.
I wore it, was his lackey, dumb
For his dear sake one year,
And then the dread of losing him
Was lost in larger fear.
“You love me not; I am the peg
On which you would suspend
Yourself; a glass to mirror you.
An adjunct, not an end.
You have a gilded cage, with seed
And water set for me;
I droop and pine; how can I sing,
With birthright to be free?
You worship your own image; I
Am needed but for shrine;
See, for your sake, I starve my soul,
Equal with yours, divine.”
He smiled, remote, amused, as one
Upon Olympus set,
And answered: “Why think silly thoughts?
Kiss me, and then forget.”
To him one day I said: “Anew
Let’s fashion marriage.” He
Regarded me as mad.
The price Of Love was Liberty.
He loves me not, nor ever did,
Methinks; nor can I cry.
Since I belong no more to him,
But have my Liberty.
And yet I can conceive a Love
That seeks not to possess,
That is itself, and lets you be
Yourself, not more nor less.
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.