“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.
Henry George’s “Standard” has reluctantly given up the ghost. For some years it has been a very wheezy organ of a most asthmatic cause.
“The class of ‘protected gentlemen’ to which Messrs. Carnegie and Frick belong appear to be, of all human beings, the most impressed with the awful sanctity of their individual right to do as they please with their own.” Though finding it in an authoritarian article utterly unworthy of a Democrat and a son of a Democrat, I must credit Chauncey F. Black with this pithy and pointed sentence. It expresses very neatly and forcibly the truth that I have lately been trying to drive home, — that the Fricks and the Carnegies seek to enjoy property and liberty by depriving others of liberty and property.
Evidently the scientists do not propose to allow the Spiritualists, Theosophists, and Occultists a monopoly of the privilege of talking nonsense. I notice that men of established scientific reputation, in speculating upon the nature of the ether, announce their conception of it as a continuous body filling all space and in a state of vibration. It would be impossible to give utterance to a more patent absurdity, to frame a more glaring contradiction in terms. How is it possible for a body filling all space to vibrate? Where would it find room to do so? A body filling all space would be absolutely motionless, as a matter of necessity. Is science to be discredited by its devotees?
The capitalistic newspapers are very fond of telling us that there are no class distinctions in this country; that here there is no cause for complaint, because all are equal before the law. I call the attention of the owls who edit these papers to the course of the health authorities of New York in regard to the passengers on the vessels now in quarantine on account of the cholera. The frantic request of the cabin passengers to be placed on a separate vessel has been granted. Now, this action either increases or diminishes the chances of an epidemic. In the former case, of course it is utterly unjustifiable. In the latter case, it is justifiable and commendable; but the fact is thereby established that it would equally contribute to safety to place the well steerage passengers on a separate vessel also. Yet not a word do we hear about them and their possible fate. They are left in the thick of the danger, to die of fright if not of the pest. Why? Simply and solely because they are poor, while the cabin passengers are rich. No class distinctions, indeed! There are plenty of them on every hand, easily visible to all but the owl editors, who can see only at night, when, before sleep if not before the law, all men are more or less equal.
The New York “Sun” has no sympathy with the criticism frequently passed upon Congress that it debates and deliberates eternally but rarely legislates. This, in the “Sun’s” eyes, is a congressional virtue. It regards Congress as properly a great talking-machine, where all sorts of opinions may be ventilated, and when it sees these clashing opinions neutralize each other and thus result in non-action, it is inclined to applaud rather than condemn. Congress is useful only as a safety-valve; as a law factory it is a nuisance. So far, so good; the “Sun” here, as in the Homestead matter, takes Anarchistic ground up to a certain point. But also, as in the Homestead matter, it does not take such ground until after that part of the mischief has been done which favors the interests of the brotherhood of thieves. As long as Congress devoted itself to the enactment of statutes bestowing privileges on capital, the “Sun” did not depreciate its legislative function. But when labor, instead of demanding the destruction of these privileges as it ought, foolishly calls for the enactment of new statutes giving it privileges also, the “Sun” straightway discovers that the sole duty of Congress is to talk. It is a discovery that would have been timelier at an earlier date. Nevertheless it is indisputably Anarchistic, and as such the Anarchists rejoice at it, while viewing the discoverer’s motives with something more than suspicion. From this distrust of its sincerity the “Sun” can relieve itself only by taking the single consistent course that lies open to it, — namely, by insisting that it is the duty of Congress, not only to make no new laws, but to repeal all the laws that it has made hitherto. After which Liberty will unite with the “Sun” in championship of Congress against those who complain of it for talking only, always provided that it does its talking at its own expense instead of taxing working-people to pay for its expenditure of wind.
Liberty once had occasion to hold up to somewhat merciless ridicule the etymology insisted upon by Mr. C. S. Griffin, a Communist-Anarchist who, desiring to wed Anarchy to force, declared that the term was derived from the words anti and archy and therefore meant “against government.” He scouted the idea that it was derived from an and archy, because, he said, “an means one,” and therefore Anarchy, so derived, would mean Monarchy. At that time I thought it scarcely possible that Mr. Griffin’s luminous learning could ever be paralleled. I was mistaken. The editor of the “Colliery Engineer” of Scranton, Pa., a rather pretentious technical journal devoted to mining engineering, must be accorded philological rank beside Mr. Griffin. In an editorial berating Anarchists in the usual slashing style, he too sheds the light of his vast research upon the vexed linguistic problem to which the political use of the word Anarchy has given rise. “The name given to the doctrines of this worse than criminal class,” he writes, “is derived from the Greek, — a, private, arche, government, — and its literal meaning is private government. This shows its direct opposition to our American popular government ideas. But the term Anarchist is in a sense a misnomer, for the followers of the doctrines of Anarchy profess to believe in no government.” Isn’t this delicious? The ignoramus had probably heard at some time that the word Anarchy was built by prefixing the Greek a privative to archy, and, supposing privative to mean private, he reached the conclusion that Anarchy literally meant private government and stored up this precious bit of science for future use. Opportunity arriving, he has brought it forth. The name of this scholar ought to be given to the world. I find from the pages of the “Colliery Engineer” that it is edited by Thomas J. Foster, Rufus J. Foster, and Alexander Dick. Of this trio the two who are not guilty should hasten to put in a disclaimer freeing them from the immortality which Liberty hopes to fasten upon this exhibition of asininity.
In Robes of Anarchy.
Truth came to me full oft in varying dress,
And still she stood revealed in loveliness;
To her alone I bowed; we two were wed;
I vowed to love her living, aye, or dead.
Ah, great pure Soul! O Sun to which I turn,
With hair of dazzling gold and eyes that burn!
I knew you ever in each fresh disguise;
Betrayed you were by splendor of those eyes.
At last, not trim-clad as your wont, I see
You in wind-driven robes of Anarchy.
Men sneer and scorn, “Is this your Spouse?” but I
Am proud to be your Mate, though all deny.
Shame with her paint-pots white and red may take
The cheeks of those for canvas who unmake
Their vows; not mine on this score. Lead on;
I follow fast, yea, if it be alone.
No blue-leaved laurels round a man’s vain head
You bind, Truth, if his fleet feet win with speed;
O’ertaken, you reward with cold embrace;
Death crowns the Racer who outruns the Race
“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.
New York. — Samuel McWhinney, 2361 Eighth Ave.; Justus H. Schwab, 50 First Street.
Philadelphia. — Henry Heyne, Corner of Tenth and Market Streets.
Detroit. — Herman Reif. 94 Gratiot Ave.
Chicago. — Geo. A. Schilling, 85 Washington Street.
Denver. — Henry Cohen, 1239 Welton Street.
Canton, O. — Standard News Co.
London, England. — A. Tarn, 124 Temple Chambers; C. Attersoll, 44 Ellington Street, Barnsbury.
Melbourne, Australia. — D. A. Andrade, 213 Russell Street.
Testing a Critic by His Own Standard.
Says the “Personal Rights Journal,” editorially: “‘Except’ is a dangerous word for an Individualist; for either the exception is capable of being established as a general principle, and thus ceases to be a mere exception, or it is incapable of being thus set up, and is an arbitrary and dogmatic attempt to exclude principle from some particular nook or corner in which an institution of privilege has been lodged.” These wise words of caution are addressed to the editor of “Free Life,” who certainly needs to be reminded of the lesson they carry; but it is a source of keen amusement to me to reflect that the grave defender of consistency and fearlessness teaches me the very “word” which I find it necessary to employ in correcting a lapse of his own, — an error of the same kind, though not of the same degree, as that of which “Free Life” is guilty. I refer, of course, to the “Personal Rights Journal’s” support of compulsory taxation, which, as the editor himself has tacitly admitted, cannot be logically deduced from the law of equal freedom, but must be acquiesced in as an unavoidable “exception” to the general and rigid rule of “no force save against force.” It is plain that, after positing such a principle as this last, it is logically impossible to admit compulsory taxation of non-aggressive persons except as a frank and deliberate exception. That the editor of the “Journal” is firmly convinced that there is ample justification and imperative necessity for the exception is doubtless true, but totally irrelevant. The editor of “Free Life” is not apt to introduce exceptions to his principles on trivial grounds; his “except” is also due, no doubt, to a sincere belief that his principles cannot successfully be applied to the case with reference to which he seeks to provide the exception. His notions and sentiments, however, are cruelly and calmly disregarded by the editor of the “Journal,” who can see nothing in an except but “an arbitrary and dogmatic attempt to exclude principle from some particular nook or corner in which an institution of privilege has been lodged.” Can he, then, blame us for being equally severe with him and declining to recognize any force in his plea for an exception? His principle is, “no force save against force”; and we are bound to charge him with inconsistency when he declares in favor of invading the liberty of the non-aggressive person by his scheme of compulsory protection, — bound to pronounce him guilty of an “arbitrary and dogmatic attempt to exclude principle” from the corner in question. For, surely, if words have any meaning at all, the formula, “no force save against force,” implies the right of the non-invasive person to ignore the State and set about protecting his legitimate freedoms in any way consistent with the general freedom.
Will the editor of the “Journal” allege that I beg the question in assuming that the individual who refuses to recognize the State is non-aggressive, inoffensive? To anticipate this possible line of defence, it is but needful to adduce the consideration that, in relations between one adult and another, aggression, or invasion, is necessarily active. The man who remains passive is necessarily non-aggressive; to say that a passive man aggresses, or uses force, is an absurd contradiction in terms. The law, I am well aware, repudiates this distinction, and punishes purely passive men for failure to resist criminal acts of others; but it hardly needs pointing out that this is done in consequence and furtherance of the very principle the validity of which we call in question. The law does not concede the right to ignore the State, and assumes the consent of every individual to discharge the “duties of citizenship.” Hence it would be manifestly improper to appeal to the law for a decision on a question relating to first principles of social co-existence. What the law does, is one thing; what it ought to do, and what we ought to get it to do, is quite another thing.
Perhaps, to eliminate chances of misinterpretation, it may be well to explain that, in calling upon the editor of the “Personal Rights Journal” either to relinquish the principle of “no force save against force” and duly join the ranks of avowed empiricists, or else to retract his “except” and determine to take no farther interest in “arbitrary and dogmatic attempts to exclude principle” from this or that corner, I do not intend to prescribe any definite and fixed line of immediate political action. Whether he deems it wise to put forth voluntary taxation as a practical issue or not, is immaterial. With his idea of proximate ends I am not now concerned. The question is not one of practical polities, but of philosophical and scientific politics, or rather of ethical and social science. What the Anarchists are after is an unmistakable declaration from the Individualists that the right to ignore the State is a logical deduction from the law of equal freedom, from the principle of no force save against force. Those who subscribe to this position are Anarchists, philosophical Anarchists; while those who withhold their assent are clearly not Anarchists; and the interesting point to settle is whether they are philosophical and consistent, or otherwise.
I cannot do better than conclude by quoting the sentence following the one I have used as a text for the above. “For our own part,” the editor of the “Personal Rights Journal” goes on to say, “we have an unswerving faith in the French proverb which may be roughly Englished: ‘It is but the first step which costs anything’; or, in other words, it requires but a single contradictory instance to destroy a universal proposition.” Admirable, but strange and incongruous on the lips of a believer in equal liberty who yet claims to find a theoretical justification for compulsory membership in the political body. V. Y.
An Ignorant Cobdenite.
A writer in the August “Westminster Review,” in referring to that truly marvellous discovery of certain “scientific” protectionists that “trade between nations is illegitimate if it runs along parallels of latitude, but legitimate along meridians of longitude,” remarks that “we seem to be listening to economical absurdities worthy of Ruskin himself.” The writer is as ungrateful as he is ignorant. Ruskin is to be debited with many fallacies and absurdities, but to the critical student of his thought it is easy to prove that Ruskin’s fallacies spring front religious, political, or ethical prejudices and fancies. So far as economic principles are concerned, Ruskin’s grasp and penetration are perhaps unequalled. He is certainly misled by pet notions into vehement advocacy of uneconomic as well as unnatural arrangements or institutions; but the superstructure is not the foundation. It is perfectly safe to challenge the writer or any other detractor of Ruskin to adduce a single instance of an error or defiance of correct economic principles on the part of the latter. With reference to this particular ease of free-trade versus tariffs, no writer can be mentioned who has done more valiant service for the cause of common sense and freedom than Ruskin. His defence of free trade, far more brilliant in style than Bastiat’s, has the additional merit of being profound and utterly free from such shallow assumptions as vitiate the “Economic Harmonies.” Nothing can be found in the extensive literature on the subject to match the “dialogue” which Ruskin appends to one of his essays, and which, if men were rational, would be regarded as the final settlement of the controversy. It is impossible to express in polite language the feelings aroused by the spectacle of an author of an indifferent piece of writing in favor of free trade presuming to assign Ruskin’s rank in economic discussion and to sneer at his “absurdities.” V. Y.
A Singular Misunderstanding.
I have been shown a postal card from an English Socialist, who, though he claims to have read Liberty a long time, writes as follows regarding it: “I cannot understand Liberty. How can they reconcile the fact of private ownership and perfect freedom? It seems to me that, if a section monopolize land and means of production, the remainder cannot be free. I read Mackay’s Anarchists’ some twelve months ago and derived a great deal of good from its scathing criticism of modern society, but could not agree with the conclusions he drew. They are most unwarrantable. Mackay’s ideal seems to be complete laissez faire and the gospel of getting on at all costs.” I am reluctant to believe that this gentleman, who, I am told, is very “cannot understand Liberty,” but it is evident that he does not. Where, during his long reading of this paper, did he ever find a declaration in favor of the monopoly of land and the means of production by a section? Regarding land, it has been steadily maintained in these columns that protection should be withdrawn from all land titles except those based on personal occupancy and use. Does this bear any resemblance to monopoly by a section? Regarding the means of production, Liberty has constantly deplored their monopoly by a section and has sought the causes thereof. It has found these causes in the banking privilege chiefly, and in the patent and tariff privileges secondarily. It has shown the economic processes whereby these privileges result in the monopoly of capital, and the way in which capital would flow into the hands of labor, were these privileges abolished. Until this English Socialist has pointed out the flaw in Liberty’s demonstration of the cause and cure of monopoly of capital, it does not become him to represent the paper as an advocate of monopoly of capital. How “reconcile private ownership and perfect freedom”? Pray, how reconcile perfect freedom with anything but private ownership? If the laborer who creates wealth cannot keep it if he chooses or cannot exchange it for the wealth created by another laborer who is willing to exchange, is he free? It is nonsense to claim that he is. Mackay’s ideal, it is true, is complete laissez faire. Laissez faire means “Let do.” Does this English critic, who claims to have “gone forward towards Anarchist-Communism,” believe in not letting people do? T.
Dear Mr. Tucker:
Permit me to acknowledge and reply to your stage whisper briefly aloud. You were kind enough to endorse and supplement my remarks upon enthusiasm. I desire to applaud and supplement your utterance. We are quite agreed in praising enthusiasm and in condemning fanaticism. Ardent zeal, or surplus force, the love force, may be dangerous if it is expended in animality and tyranny, as in the gorilla and in those human beings whose forms and habits revert to previous ape-like types. But we must not therefore forget that it may be the motor power in the elevation and freedom of man, if directed by a strong brain and good will to all.
You mention the danger to society from the fanatic, but you do not mention the danger from the Bore. Each persecutes poor Humanity by his own method. Again, this determination you speak of is by no means invariably admirable. If there is, on the one hand, a risk of fickle folly in one species of enthusiast, — the man who abandons any mine before exhausting it, — there is, on the other hand, an equally disastrous possibility of your quiet persistent man of the deep currents continuing to mine in a hopeless groove. Perhaps on the whole there is more to be said for the person who shows a capacity for growth and progression in leaving standpoint after standpoint than there is for the man who never quits his theory, but clings to it long after it has been disproved, as Prof. Owen, for example, clung to his scientific fallacy in classification.
In regard to the needlessness of singing the praises of enthusiasm I may point out that Mr. Bailie in his recent article, “Bursting a Bubble,” appeared to think that enthusiasm must be discarded (instead of being directed) in order to work well. Enthusiasm, or force, as a biological fact, is not an opponent of truth, and cannot be discarded, though it may be transmuted. If it is to be discarded, there is but one means to that end, — asceticism, which I can scarcely think Mr. Bailie would advocate.
Recently it has become fashionable for young gentlemen to be blasé. This the New York “Sun” stated in bald terms a few days ago: “The enthusiast is seldom a cad . . . never a gentleman,” — a luminous sentence which expresses and helps to mold the enervated youth of to-day. But if I must defend myself from you, a giant, sir, let me hide behind a giant, and bid you fight a man your own size. Michael Field, the dramatist, has thought it so important to defend and praise enthusiasm that he has written a long classic drama thereon entitled “Callirrhoë.”
Proverbs approved by centuries have gained a passport through all mouths. It seldom occurs to us to cry Halt! and examine the credentials of illustrious sayings; nevertheless I have a suspicion that folly sneaks into many an ear arrayed in robes of wisdom. “Still waters run deep”; yes, but not always; shallow waters run still also, deep waters are not always still. Niagara makes a little sound, we are told; and we must compel the saying to back from its universal statement, and say: “Some still waters run deep.” When it loses its pretensions, we reply: Very good, some deep waters are noisy and turbulent with superabundant energy.
Wasted force, my utilitarian friends might say, — those friends who dislike to see children playing and set the wind to grind their flour. To some of us there is joy in the sound of the strength of idle waters, pleasure in looking at the child’s idle play and in hearing the wanton winds. Who shall say that joy is not necessary to man? Energy cannot be wasted. There is a circle of economy about us which we cannot escape.
“Hell is paved with good intentions.” True again, but so also is heaven; let us then look further for the difference in the ways. Hell is paved with discarded good intentions or with those crushed by adverse forces. Heaven is paved with good intentions which developed into good action or at any rate molded the life with great love into good of itself. This saying, however, does not seem to me to bear immediately on enthusiasm. Intentions, good or ill, are not necessarily enthusiastic; and, while one readily admits that most evil springs from lack of imagination and poverty of reason, one is drifting away from the matter in hand.
The enthusiasm which must not foam and bubble, the fiat beverage which you prefer because you have noticed its steadfastness, does not seem interesting, and it may also work for coercion or liberty and is not good in itself. If life is intense and healthy, it can afford to be exuberant, and yet can accomplish more than the “partially alive.”
A student pored over his books with concentration towards a prize, alternating his study with regulated sport in the gymnasium, but he came out second to a fellow who leapt and danced, laughed and sang and raced three parts of his time and read the fourth. Enthusiasm was thought by the first to be adverse to his aim; in the other, it was an unconscious and crude outcome of superior vitality, which did not interfere with the end easily attained by the strong.
In conclusion, Mr. Mentor, let me say your whisper was unnecessary. One could not in a few verses exhaust all that might be said on enthusiasm, but you must not, on that account, assume that I need to be reminded that an enthusiast may be a strong devil as well as a smart angel.
There was a certain yeoman who wore a resplendent purple velvet patch upon his fustian to mark the sacred spot where he had been kicked by a “live lord.” Some, like myself, who have been
“kicked until they can feel whether,
A shoe be Spanish or neat’s leather” —
will appreciate the delicacy of your mental kicking; and besides, are we not always too happy when we of the common herd come in contact with a lordly foot?
[I can gather no more from my friend’s argument than that she protests against the general rule on account of the exceptions. But exceptions do not invalidate rules; they invalidate principles only, and I had laid down no “Still waters run deep” is an expression, not of an absolute truth, but of a strong prevailing tendency. That this tendency does not prevail in every instance cannot warrant, however, the substitution of the less for the greater, the exception for the rule. I do not accept, then, the amended proposition that “some still waters run deep,” but will admit, if desired, the following modification: “Still waters generally run deep,” — which is sufficient for my original purpose. If this is true, it behooves us to be especially cautious in trusting the noisier currents, — like Niagara, for instance (to use my friend’s hasty illustration), which is a very shallow stream, capable by itself of nothing but ruin (and beauty). To leave metaphor, the point I wished to make was that quiet persistence is generally born of the growth that comes from knowledge and reason. If the person who goes from standpoint to standpoint is really growing, you will generally find that he becomes quieter and more determined as he grows; if, on the other hand, he is not growing, but merely flitting, he becomes noisier with every hop. There never was a better example of controlled intensity than Proudhon, the following sentence from whose writings expresses my own view: “I have derived more peace from the knowledge of the truth than anger from the feeling of oppression; and the most precious fruit that I could wish to gather from this memoir would be the inspiration of my readers with that tranquillity of soul which arises from the clear perception of evil and its cause, and which is much more powerful than passion and enthusiasm.” — Editor Liberty.]
A Defender of Capital.
[Henry Maret in Le Radical.]
In an interview related by the “Figaro,” M. Schneider [the Carnegie of France], who seems not to know much about Socialism, does not believe that society is possible without interest on money. It is curious to see how easily people believe in the necessity of things to which they are accustomed. I once knew a young person, charming in her ignorance, who, never having been outside Montmartre, had the greatest difficulty in the world in accepting the idea that the houses of Paris do not continue to the end of the earth.
Numerous societies have existed in which money did not bear interest. In these societies any interest whatever was called usury, and, when M. Schneider gets indignant at this word, I confess that I scarcely understand his indignation. Where does usury begin? At what rate do I cease to be an honest man and become a usurer? Does not everybody try to get the most that he can for his money? Then one man is as good as another, and whoever touches a sum due, not to his labor, but to his money, is a usurer.
M. Schneider imagines that, if money did not bear interest, its possessors would put it in their safes and go to look at it every morning. I do not believe anything of the sort, for the excellent reason that they would be obliged to spend it in order to live. Immense fortunes are made solely and precisely because money bears interest, and, if money did not bear interest, there would be (I will leave it to the laborers) no fortunes large enough to permit any one to fold his arms and contemplate them. When, then, M. Schneider points us to the rajahs piling up gold and precious stones, he forgets that the rajahs have this gold and these precious stones only because they have ground down laborers, and not because they have labored. Therefore the comparison is not at all applicable to a society in which such things do not happen.
But then, just as my young person, who had always seen houses, could not believe that there were fields without houses, so M. Schneider cannot conceive of a society without immense fortunes. “There is no difference,” he says, “between private capital and what you call social capital. Here is a million, I build a factory, my million passes from my hands, I have used it to pay my laborers; my private capital has become social capital.”
“No,” they answer him, “for you still have it in the form of your factory; and this factory, built by your laborers, will belong to you alone.”
M. Schneider admits it, and it is this that he calls the life of capital. It seems to me especially the easy life of the capitalist. “But,” he exclaims, “let one of my workmen put aside twenty sous every day; he will leave a small sum to his son. There will be a capital, which his son will increase. Perhaps it is the beginning of a great fortune. Do you think such gain ill-gotten?”
Undoubtedly, from the day that the parvenu son begins to profit by the product of his father’s labor in exploiting the labor of another. We know very well that it is impossible for the workman to save anything if he has a family; and we have little fear of his prospective great fortune. But, supposing it to come, it will be as iniquitous as the others. It is necessary to be somewhat straightforward in the consideration of this matter. Now, you are not ignorant of the fact that a great fortune was never acquired by labor or economy. To dazzle the workman’s eyes with this hope is equivalent to promising him paradise. And moreover, I repeat, were this hope to be realized, its realization would necessarily be achieved at the expense of others. What the Socialists want is not that Peter or James may succeed in getting very rich, but that everybody may have his share of existence, as everybody has his share of the sun.
An Example of Nationalism.
[American Artisan, Tinner, and House Furnisher.]
In the “New Nation” of July 30 Mr. Bellamy thus comments upon the startling occurrences at Homestead: “We believe that the country is about entering upon a new phase in industrial evolution, of which the principle of the right to employment is to be the dominant note and of which the logical issue must be the establishment of general public control of industry as the only way to make good that right. May the day hasten when it shall be recognized that the first and greatest duty of the State is to guarantee the livelihood of the people!”
These sentiments reflect the writer’s earnest desire to ameliorate the condition of the workers, but to us they appear only as the baseless fabric of a dream whose poetry would all disappear at the first attempt to set in motion the machinery necessary to carry out the programme. The State would, we fear, be a harder task-master than Mr. Carnegie and Mr. Frick rolled into one. We have only to turn to a recent scandalous incident in the Frick-Amalgamated Association imbroglio for a sample of the methods likely to be followed in case personal liberty of action — which includes the right to go hungry if the individual be dissatisfied with the terms offered for his labor — should be superseded by all-encompassing State interference with and regulation of industrial affairs.
It would be difficult to point out an institution in whose organization and maintenance the principles of Nationalism are better illustrated than in that of the military body known as the State militia. It is a creature of the State, the embodiment of authority, made by the State and supported by the commonwealth. One of its members, in sympathy with the Homestead locked-out men, who thoughtlessly betrayed the fact, was quickly made to feel the iron grip of authority wielded by the power to which he had surrendered his right of personal liberty. He was subjected to bodily torture and personal humiliation of a type which for cruelty and ingenious malevolence has no parallel except in the records of the Inquisition. The State did not even extend to him the courtesy of a cut-and-dried court-martial trial. It was a case of the mailed hand of authority striking down the individual who had been deluded into parting with his right to manage his own affairs, including his tongue. Liberty gave him the privilege of expressing himself according to his sympathies. What Mr. Bellamy fondly regards as the prospective healer of all the common people’s wounds, the State, in its might and majesty doomed him to the rack for forgetting that he had parted with his freedom.
If the State, acting merely as a guardian over threatened interests in which it had no direct concern, thus descends to tyranny, what may be expected of it in the event of Mr. Bellamy’s dream becoming a reality?
A Forced Sale.
Fraud found a trade for centuries
In making props for man,
Who knew not Statecraft’s mysteries,
And, sighing, signed the plan.
But, now man finds lie might be free,
His crutches enervate,
Fraud opens fire from land and sea,
And makes him buy the State.
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.