“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 is apparently with approval that the “Voice” quotes from Byron the following sentiment: “I wish men to be free, as much from mobs as kings, — from you as me.” This hardly seems in place in the columns of an organ of prohibition, whose real platform is: “I wish men to be free, from kings, but not from mobs, — from you, but not from me.”
To be confined in prison seems to have produced much the same effect upon Moses Harman as that to be noticed in Hugh O. Pentecost since the latter has confined himself to the practice of law. Mr. Pentecost has become a Tammany Democrat and Mr. Harman is espousing Single-Taxism. These two men, who formerly held progressive ideas, should congratulate themselves upon being so nearly together in retrogression.
Egoistic and altruistic are, properly, antithetical adjectives which, in philosophy, characterize, not the nature or the consequences or the secondary motive of conduct, but the fundamental motive. To wrest the word altruistic from this usage and make it characterize conduct in itself or its immediate motive is mischievous. The needless use of a word in two meanings tends to develop the habit of reasoning from correct premises in which the word is used in one sense to false conclusions in which it is used in the other sense, — a practice which is unscientific, confusing, and, in the present instance, Spencerian.
How fond some people are of whipping the devil round the stump! Here is the editor of the Keokuk “Chronicle,” for instance, who champions the cause of labor and, in a eulogy of General Butler, tells us that his hero “grew wealthy, not by exploiting the poor, but by catering to the vanity of the rich.” As if it were possible to grow wealthy otherwise than by exploiting the poor! I am not afflicted with Butlerphobia and have no desire to denounce the unique character that has just disappeared for usurious practices in which nearly all, myself included, are participants; but I seriously object to an abandonment of the fundamental principle of the labor movement in an effort to make it appear that this highly successful plunderer was less a thief than the rest of us. To say that General Butler got rich by catering to the vanity of the rich is simply another way of saying that the rich are thieves and that General Butler was their “fence.”
Problems of Anarchism.
4. — Progress and Individual Conduct.
Not only do ideas conform to existing conditions and opportunity for their realization, but they correspond to modes of life that have already been passed through. The idea arising out of the latest conditions of existence is frequently at variance with the conception covering the same ground which originated in a former and dissimilar state. Hence we continually meet with views the most contradictory on questions of principle, about which there could be no dispute if the natural phenomena underlying the matter were in their order of development thoroughly known and understood. What are the tendencies of present political and economic growth and their relation to the individual? To these questions I believe a rational and not uncertain answer should and can be given, despite the confusion and almost hopeless disagreements among the professors.
It has been shown that the ideas of political and religious liberty have grown and continue to expand in men’s minds, that they do so in conformity to a natural want common to all life, and that the principles corresponding to these aspirations are exemplified, in fact, in the great intellectual movements and social tendencies of modern times. We can go a step farther now, and say that such needs and ideas necessarily develop and become more imperative as the opportunity for their growth, the conditions favorable to their realization come into existence. The one is complementary to the other; the growth of the former hastens the extension of the latter, and conversely, till the aim is fully realized. Progress then moves ever more rapidly; at every step it quickens its pace.
If we are to accept the conclusions of the critics of capitalism, — that is, the existing economic condition of society, — we must believe that economic liberty is more impossible now than in pre-capitalistic times. Wage-slavery is merely the modern phase of chattel slavery. Individual freedom is violated by present economic arrangements even more than it was in previous states. These critics, while apparently agreeing with modern science as regards the order of man’s development, nevertheless take pretty much the same attitude as J. J. Rousseau and the older schools of Communists, who in one form or another held that man began in a perfect state of natural liberty, equality, etc., and that he had somehow strayed away from this free and happy condition, to which it was right and proper he should, as quickly as need be, return.
A variation on the tune of the Garden of Eden. Communists and others who on economic grounds today attack society of course repudiate the above method of criticism and talk evolution in order, it would seem, to keep up with the fashion. We must see now if the belief in evolution together with the facts through which it speaks will warrant us in classifying capitalism as an economic retrogression: determine whether personal freedom has advanced or been retarded in the economic process. A bugbear here meets us, about which something must be said before we proceed. Individualism, as it is made to appear in Socialistic writings, is a dreadful monster, a thing accursed, a criminal of the blackest dye. Now it is useless to pretend that this whole essay, dealing chiefly with individual sovereignty, is not open to all the objections which are commonly laid to the door of the much-berated creature, individualism. Here we are tempted into a moral disquisition, for in truth economics, unless looked at by the light which natural ethics can shed upon the subject, remains barren and avails nothing.
The good angel opposing individualism is, we must infer, in general collectivist Socialism, in its narrower sense mutual aid, ethically altruism. Thus taken egoistically some truths will at this point not be out of place. Egoism implies perfect individualism. They are two sides of the same thing, which grows according as the conditions are more or less favorable. Mutual aid, coöperation, collective effort, often conduce to egoistic satisfaction, to individual welfare. Perfect individualism therefore implies those kinds of conduct. Such conduct is altruistic. The individual freely pursuing his own welfare is led to act for the good of others, to conduct which is altruistic. To whatever extent this latter is carried, it necessarily has its origin in self-satisfaction. Moreover, it is inseparable from any form of social life, which could neither exist nor be of any advantage without it.
Altruism, unless it is spontaneous and voluntary, has no ethical value. Every kind of conduct, and more especially the ideas from which it springs, is determined by the conditions under which life is carried on. The mode of life most favorable to altruism is precisely that which secures the highest degree of egoism or individualism. As consideration for others always arises in the first instance out of regard for self, and as causes determine effects and not conversely, so, if the aim be the good of others or altruism, then individualism — the condition out of which it arises — must be given the fullest opportunity for development.
The Socialistic attack on individualism as an economic factor will be dealt with at more length later on. At present I desire to point out simply that, as I understand it, there is not necessarily any antagonism between complete individualism and general happiness, that the one can be attained only in proportion as the other becomes possible. Nor do I infer that individual conduct without restraint is always beneficial to others. But to suppress the individual in the supposed interest of others is really where the danger lies. Neither do I deny that a knowledge of the laws which govern conduct, irrespective of the individual will, would prove of service to each in regulating his actions toward others; but conformity to such laws is not a matter of obligation, except in so far as consequences render it so. Natural law from a moral standpoint enjoins nothing, enforces nothing, carries no obligation. When stated and its consequences known, the individual is free to disregard it, but only temporarily, as a man may risk an injury or even his life to accomplish some greater end. For it is impossible to traverse natural sequences continuously without suffering or death somewhere ensuing. Hence after all nature is absolute, the highest conduct is that which most closely conforms to her requirements; while there is no mutt, there is still the highest satisfaction for each and all to be derived from that conduct which is best. In this spirit alone do we formulate right and wrong, what is beneficial and what is injurious, and point out the laws of social health. Such is the method and aim of this inquiry. There remains but one remark to add on the above head. The good and truly moral conduct or mode of life is that which is the spontaneous expression of individual desires and activities, free from feelings of obligation or conscious regard for consequences. And this spontaneously natural conduct under favorable conditions — that is, freedom — tends ever to become the best for self and others.
After this digression, we can resume the inquiry into capitalism. Wm. Bailie.
“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.
We, the undersigned, hereby agree, in case Benj. R. Tucker shall decide to publish in book form a compilation of articles written by him for his paper, Liberty, to purchase of him, at the rate of one dollar each, the number of copies herewith set opposite our respective names, and to pay to Benj. R. Tucker one-half the amount due for these copies whenever he shall call for it, and the balance on the appearance of the book.
|Previously Acknowledged||593 copies.|
|Stephen Downie, Glasgow, Scotland||2 “|
|Tak Kak||1 “|
|Frank D. Blue, Terre Haute, Ind.,||3 “|
The Nude in Artists.
In “Scribner’s” for December Will H. Low and Kenyon Cox devote several pages to a discussion of “The Nude in Art.” However far above ordinary mortals the artist may be, the former are nevertheless entitled to the enjoyment of the beautiful, and should not be deprived of that pleasure merely because there are some people — albeit artists — who believe that the veil of secrecy should be securely drawn about certain things in nature, — who believe that there are, in this respect, privileges which artists enjoy that should not be granted to the general public. It is because of the evident existence of such beliefs, and their palpably deleterious effects, and only because of them, that I am constrained to criticise the utterances of persons upon a subject of which they, it is to be presumed, know everything and I know nothing.
Mr. Low does admirably in claiming for artists the right to draw and model the nude form in all its aspects and in the most realistic manner; but in his concluding paragraph he strangely contradicts what he previously says, and, indeed, renders much of it absolutely meaningless. He gravely informs the public that there are “manifestations” of the study of the nude with which it “has nothing to do; and the exhibition outside of a school of an avowed study from the nude is a mistake.” I shall not risk making myself ridiculous, even in the eyes of the goody-goodies, by asking why; that question is answered before it is asked. The reason is that the nude is “gross.” By implication we are reminded that the public has no business with the physician’s dissecting table; but the fact that, when the public requires the services of a surgeon, it is brought into intimate contact with an exact “manifestation” of the dissecting table seems to be lost sight of. When, in the minds of at least Mr. Low’s “juries of painters,” the nude is no longer gross, the managers of art exhibitions will not have to be careful “that what they admit to their walls is beyond cavil or dispraise from any point of view of morality,” Comstockian or other.
In Kenyon Cox’s contribution there is more to praise and less to criticise. Such utterances as his cannot fail to elevate art — if art need elevation — and — what is necessary — to assist people to form a clear and pure conception of the nude human form.
But Mr. Cox deals, in part, with a subject which Mr. Low does not discuss, — drapery; and sundry observations of his thereupon cause several very pertinent questions to arise. He remarks that drapery may be used for ornament, but not for covering; that in ideal art it is used, or dispensed with, for purely artistic reasons, and has nothing to do with the propriety of clothing. If this be true, why is it that drapery is, when employed at all, almost invariably used in such a manner as to suggest covering? And, in the absence of drapery, why are positions and attitudes chosen which are clearly and plainly indicative of concealment or an attempt at it? Even when the “drapery” consists of but a leaf, do “ideal art” and the requirements of ornament demand that it be devoted exclusively to one certain and peculiar part of the human figure? There seems to be something radically inconsistent between Mr. Cox’s theory and the almost universal practice of painters and sculptors. Of course there are a few exceptions to this practice, but these exceptions, where they exist, are rarely to be found among the works of modern artiste; the old masters must be accorded that honor.
There is another thing, — and Mr. Cox recognizes it and indirectly alludes to it, — the fact that the nude form of a woman is very rarely, and that of a man but little more frequently, either in marble or on canvas, depicted true to nature. Mr. Cox enthusiastically praises realism, tempered, of course, with a necessary amount of idealism; he says that every artist takes from nature all that he can get: does an artist do this when he misrepresents the human form or reproduces it in a mutilated condition? To be sure, Mr. Cox maintains, and with reason, that realism is not necessarily truth to nature, and I can readily conceive how and why his “alteration or arrangement” would be justifiable, as a matter of art; but that certain parts of the human form should be omitted from a representation of it is as utterly incomprehensible as would be the absence of grass from a picture of a meadow.
Despite the fact that Mr. Cox takes a broader view of the subject than does Mr. Low, he agrees with the latter in the allegation that there are reasons for the use of the nude model in preliminary study, but not for the depiction of the naked figure as a subject of completed art, thereby virtually annulling the larger part of what he says in behalf of a wider appreciation of the nude as a subject for painting and sculpture. Surely we have in these artists “manifestations” of the nude, — the barest of naked hypocrisy in the unclothed minds of embryonic tyrants. When will mankind in general, and artists in particular, discover the ethics of art? C. L. S.
— “In his first book,” writes Henry George, the well-known plagiarist, referring to Herbert Spencer, the great philosopher and reformer, “written when he believed in God, in a divine order, in a moral sense, and which he has now emasculated, he does appear as an honest and fearless, though sometimes too careless a thinker. But that part of our examination which crosses what is now his distinctive philosophy shows him to be, as a philosopher ridiculous, as a man contemptible, — a fawning Vicar of Bray, clothing in pompous phraseology and arrogant assumption logical confusion so absurd as to be comical.” This passage more than justifies my prediction. George has written himself down an ass, — not an immortal ass, but just simply an ass, who will not even be remembered for his asininity. Asses come and asses go; but the fame and influence of such towering personalities as Spencer remain and abide with us forever. I wonder what the sentiments are of those Single-Taxers who are not hypnotized by this clown and pigmy, George, who has so long posed as a leader and thinker. It is high time to end the farce.
— Edward Atkinson is one of the contributors to a symposium on the question of land tenure in the “Voice.” This is the way he starts out: “The indefeasible possession of land is admitted to be essential to its productive use both by the advocates of the single tax upon land as well as by all others, except Anarchists and Communists, who are too insignificant to be counted or considered.” Ordinarily such arrogant and ignorant assumptions as this find no impediment in their mischievous path and breed confusion unchecked. But in the present instance a curious coincidence deprives the Atkinsonian falsehood of its sting and force, and places the presumptuous guide in a very unfavorable light. To the same symposium the writer of these lines contributes a statement of the Anarchistic solution of the land problem, from which it of course clearly appears that Anarchists are among the firmest upholders of the principle of private property in land. The reader’s feeling after comparing the two utterances may be imagined; and it is safe to say that he will never again be tempted to bank on Atkinson’s representations. But will the lesson be treasured up by the disgraced pretender?
— “Nothing is better established,” says the New York “Evening Post,” “than that crime is intimately related to the conditions of life in any country, so that it increases in hard times and diminishes in prosperous years.” I reproduce this for the benefit of two different and indeed antagonistic schools of reform. There are some firm adherents of the principle of equal liberty who question the scientific value of the prognostications of Anarchists with regard to the disappearance of crime under a régime of equal opportunities and freedom. That justice will tend to diminish crime is by these regarded as merely a “pious opinion.” It is therefore pertinent and pleasing to call their attention to the fact that their scepticism and pessimism spring from ignorance of well-established truths. The other school I have in mind is composed of those who are so puzzled and pained by the cold and sober statement that an Anarchistic society is not necessarily insured against crime and penal institutions, — that Anarchist principles do not proscribe the infliction of all manner of penalties on actual offenders. These are too superficial to grasp the true significance of the statement and comprehend not only that which it says but also that which it does not say. They at once jump to the disappointing conclusion that Anarchistic conditions possess no crime-preventing and evil-diminishing virtues whatever; that, according to us, Anarchism will effect no real improvement in the conditions of men. To open their eyes to their miscomprehension of our position, it ought to be sufficient to show that even the editor of the “Post” is aware of the intimate relation between crime and the distribution of wealth. Is it reasonable to suppose that we do not even go as far as Mr. Godkin?
— It is amusing to follow the contradictory comments of financiers, politicians, and orthodox economists with reference to our present financial muddle. The Silver Conference has naturally failed in the ludicrous attempt to raise, artificially, the price of a commodity which is not superior to at least a hundred others as a basis for circulation; the Republican “patriots” and Democratic silverites quietly ignore the frantic appeals and demands for the repeal of the Sherman silver law; and the suspension of gold payments seems near at hand. The volume of paper and silver, according to the latest figures, has swollen to over $1,000,000,000, and is increasing $4,000,000 a month; while the gold in the treasury has decreased to $122,000,000. “The nation will lose its standard of value,” is the tearful lament. That would indeed be a calamity, for without a standard of value primitive and crude methods of exchange are alone possible. But why should we be threatened with such a loss? Why cannot gold continue to discharge the function of standard, unit, or measure of values? Surely it has not lost those qualities which fit it for the office; nor have I heard of any great depreciation of gold in consequence of any sudden discovery of inexhaustible gold mines. Does any one, then, object to gold as a standard of value apart from such considerations? If so, why does the yardstick fail to excite the opposition of the same turbulent elements? The truth is, of course, that the partisans and worshippers of gold are responsible for the ignorant clamor against it in its rôle of measurer of values. Both sides being blind, the followers have risen against their guides, determined to change places. Relinquish the fatuous notion of making gold the basis of circulation, — a function which has absolutely nothing in common with that of measuring values, — and the clamor will subside. By all means let us insist upon “sound” and “honest” money; but what has honesty to do with the condition of gold redemption? We do not want gold, and many of us manage to get along for years without the sight of it; but we do want credit notes to be based on actual values, be it gold, silver, iron, hats, or shoes; and we will not take notes based on nothing. Assure us of full reward for our services in commodities, the only things we actually desire, and your money will certainly be sound and honest. Gold in the rôle of measurer of values is entirely welcome; gold as a basis of currency is a delusion and a snare, and this imposition will not be tolerated much longer. Distinguish, gentlemen, and discover the simplicity of the problem and the easy practicability of the solution. V. Y.
It is stated in “Lucifer” that the Anarchists of Topeka are “with” the Populists of Kansas in their efforts to organize the House of Representatives of that State, when a majority of the members of that body are Republicans. If this statement be correct, what I have for some time suspected is proved true, — that there are no Anarchists in Topeka.
“I am no Anarchist,” writes Kate Field; “I realize that when merchants make contracts they should be fulfilled.” Why, Kate, you are as ignorant as a — as a — as a political economist.
Poetry for the Counting-Room.
I send you herewith some verses I have lately perpetrated, — the first, I believe, that I ever allowed to be published. Pray do not print them unless you can truly say that you would rather do so than not; for it is a fact, I believe, that few rhymesters are capable of sanely judging their own productions.
The provocation (aside from the fact that I have lately bought a new type-writer) is this. In a certain corporation work-room that I know of, there hangs, well-displayed, upon the wall (presumably for the cheering of the young men there employed, who have been known to express dissatisfaction with their wages), the following quatrain, supposed to be by J. G. Whittier:
Do well thy work:
It shall succeed
In thine or in another’s day;
And if denied the victor’s mead,
Thou shalt not lack the toiler’s pay.
Now these lines in their way, are excellent; one can hardly find any fault with them, except that “the toiler’s pay” so securely promised is a somewhat indefinite quantity, and not warranted large enough to bring up a family of any particular size. And yet, as I looked at them (as I did pretty often), I could not help thinking that the directors might be, and probably were, in need of some advice, in brief and easily-comprehended form, on the other side of the question. Hence these lines, which, I venture to suggest, would not be wholly inappropriate for the decoration of their place of meeting. Any well-disposed person, of sufficient audacity, is hereby authorized to bring the matter before them.
“What’s sauce for the goose a sauce for the gander.”
Pay well your help:
so shall you fill
Them and their children with content.
Though dividends may dwindle, still
You may, perhaps, get one per cent.
But though your profits all should flee,
Can trifles thus your peace destroy?
Have they who’ve paid all bills, and see
Their “nest-eggs” safe, no cause for joy?
Then cease to prey on others’ need
(To such extent as heretofore);
Small matter if the wolf should feed
A few rods nearer to your door?
T. P. Perkins.
Lynn, Mass, January 20, 1893.
A Jury Locked Up for Disobedience.
[New York Sun.]
Corinth, Miss., Jan. 21. — The case of Marion Jobe against the Memphis and Charleston Railroad Company, for damages, has been pending in the Circuit Court here for several days. Judge Houston charged the jury to find for the railroad, but the jury gave judgment for Jobe for $2000. The jury was ordered by the court to retire and reconsider. After being out an hour, they still declared for Jobe. They were ordered out four times, but were immovable. They were finally ordered locked up, and there they are yet.
[H. W. Fawcus In Newcastle Chronicle.]
It is quite true, as Mr. Chamberlain says, that the doctrine of individualism was once the stock-in-trade of the Liberal party, though now somewhat discarded by them, and entirely by Governmentalists of the progressive type engendered in town and county councils of which we hear so much. If I had to say in a word what was the difference between them and the present-day individualists, I should say that they believe in collective action, we in individual: they believe in monopoly and protection, we individualists in free trade and competition. They believe in restricting contract, we in freedom of it. This is our economical position. Our historical position is that as the divine right of the king and then that of the nobles had to go, so the divine right of the majority to rule their fellows will have to go, being based on no more reason than the others, and the sovereignty of man over himself and over no one else will have to succeed. The rule of man over man will have to come to an end, and in its place we shall have to have a voluntary association for suppressing the criminal tendencies in some people to govern others, — that is, to use violence to them. To people who refrain from this, no one has any right to use any weapon but persuasion. We do not propose to destroy government by violence, but by subjecting all the functions it exercises to competition, and as long as it survives under this condition, it will be because it is the fittest, and when it is shoved on one side, it will be because we are better served by private enterprise, and there need be no regret at its disappearance.
Anarchism in Scotland and Ireland.
Dear Mr. Tucker:
Enclosed is a two-dollar note. One dollar is for Liberties received; the other is half payment for two copies of your prospective book, for which you will please to enter me. It may interest you to know that there are many men and women in both Scotland and Ireland — the latter place I have been in for some months past — who are taking more than a passing interest in the philosophy of Individualism.
Personally I was much pleased, and so were the few other Anarchists of Glasgow, with the open way in which you dealt with the conniving Democrat, Mr. Graham, by at once exposing his double dealing and striking a death-blow to the Popish idea of observing a one-sided secrecy where crime is involved.
Our friend, Albert Tarn, was in Glasgow last summer for a few weeks. He delivered several lectures, and addressed a number of out-door meetings. With the exception of a few unbrotherly expressions by our fraternalist friends, the Communists, his utterances were well-received.
Glasgow, Scotland. January 1, 1893.
Too Independent for a Juror.
[New York Sun.]
The trial of Antonio Morello, jointly indicted with his wife, Constanza, for the killing of Francesco Mele, a one-armed organ-grinder, in Mulberry Street on the evening of December 4, was begun yesterday in the General Sessions before Recorder Smyth. Joseph Stern of 749 Broadway was sworn as a talesman. Recorder Smyth asked him:
“Would, you accept the law relating to this case, as laid down by the Court, without attempting to question the correctness of the Court’s statement of the law?”
“Well,” responded Stern, “I would listen to what the Court had to say, and then I would see about it.”
“What did you say your business was?” asked Recorder Smyth.
“Wholesale clothier,” answered Stern.
“Well,” said Recorder Smyth, “you had better go and attend to your clothing business. I will excuse you for the term.”
Well, I Should Hope Not.
[Boston Labor Leader.]
Benjamin F. [sic] Tucker says that the average man is the biggest of all fools. Which may be regarded as a delicate implication that our Anarchistic friend does by no means consider himself as an average man.
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.