“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.”
Problems of Anarchism.
3. — The True Function of Competition.*
When we remember that the most conspicuous aspect of competition is to be seen in the struggle for work and existence continually going on among the wage-workers, the supply of laborers always apparently exceeding the demand and so keeping wages down to an average that scarcely covers subsistence; and when the competition is not confined to one industry, but spreads itself without respect for persons throughout every class of workers who sell their labor, and in every country in which modern capitalism has arisen; when the immediate effects of machinery and all improvements in the methods of production see observed to intensify the competition of laborers with one another, mechanical invention itself proving an irresistible competitor; when the struggle reduces the skilled and the educated to the common level and adds to the uncertainties and insecurity of the wage-earners’ lot, in creasing the burden of life by the ever-present dread of failure and starvation,— is it any wonder that competition is looked upon as a monstrous evil, held up to the working classes by social reformers as the source of all their suffering and, together with the whole system of which it is a part, to be forthwith eliminated. Let us admit the fact: competition runs rampant among the toilers, and, despite the efforts of trade unions, determines the inadequate rates of wages they are compelled to accept. But before making up our minds what to do to avert these evils, we must form a clear conception of the nature of the supposed cause. What is competition, how does it arise, where is it limited, and in what manner is it confined? Is it possible to remove it if we learn its origin, or is it one of those natural forces which cannot be overcome and must therefore be reckoned with and made the best of? The effects that we observe in the presence of competition, however undesirable, do not warrant us in rubbing at it bullheaded to send it to smithereens; because further evidence is required to show that no other cause contributes to the result and to prove that competition, exclusive of all other forces, is the source of the results we deprecate.
Competition, as it exists among the mass of workers, is, with good reason, denounced and condemned. When through capitalist enterprise in the expansion of business and creation of new industries workers are in demand and competition for labor runs up wages, is it still an object of suspicion from the laborer’s standpoint? If, by such a process, wages coincide with the value of the laborer’s product, is competition his deadly enemy? When, with the accumulation of capital, competition vastly increases not only the power but the scale of production, makes wealth more plentiful, and drives the capitalists, merchants, and other traders to lower the price of all commodities, can it be denied that the result is beneficial to the wage-earners? We are told that competition among the capitalists leads also to low wages, to lying, adulteration, and all manner of deception; that it is responsible for the miserable wages of sales-girls and other women-workers in our cities that throw them by thousands on the streets to she out a living. Also it is said that competition is the parent of monopoly, that it drives the capitalists to combine, and gives us the trusts by means of which they rob the people with impunity.
But this kind of reasoning is superficial. The law of equal freedom gives every man the right to carry on his activities in any way he may choose so long as nobody else is forcibly prevented from doing likewise. His liberty to produce, to sell, and to make contracts with whomsoever among free men chooses to agree with him cannot lightly be set aside; it is the very essence of freedom’s law, which we must either reject altogether or else admit that those things are to be allowed. The right to property entails the power to dispose of it. Hence, the fundamental principle in competition we have already seen the justice of and established. Competition cannot exist without freedom; where it is assailed today, a close analysis reveals, not the evil effect of competition, but the need of more liberty.
Any theory of society that implies the downfall of competition is in the same position as moral notions that proclaim the negation of self and seek through universal unselfishness, which, they say, should be the guiding principle of each individual’s conduct, to attain social perfection. The futility of this is exemplified in the history of Christianity, which, after nineteen hundred years of experiment in reconciling the theory with individual practice, leaves the mainspring of character and conduct precisely the same as before,— that is, selfish. Egoism is demonstrably a natural, necessary, and wholly ineradicable force, which may be directed but never destroyed. Competition is simply the same force in the economic field. It is the necessary outcome of the relations of men with one another; the more pronounced it is, the freer they become. To eliminate it is neither possible nor desirable, but to direct it is within the sphere of intelligence. Like every other force that arises naturally and results from known conditions, it serves a purpose so essential and beneficial that no artificially arranged substitute can replace it or perform its work.
What essential function, then, in the social economy does competition serve? Remember, it is but a means to an end, and as such alone must be judged. That end is for each individual to find his most fitting place in society. We shall presently see that all the conditions essential to complete competition are not now fulfilled, and therefore the ideal results of its realization can neither be expected nor obtained. The individuals composing society do not yet find the sphere to which they are best adapted, or, to use an old metaphor, round men get thrust into square boles and square men wriggle in holes that are round. The right man in the right place is a worthy ideal, and the more general the action of competition the more is this ideal fulfilled. Indeed the degree in which this function is attained is the measure of the value of competition and its only justification.
If we attempt to imagine a society without competition and the attendant phenomena of supply, demand, money, and price, we most either blot out from our minds the great complex communities of modern civilization with their unconscious interdependence, or else invent some hitherto unknown mechanism which will adequately replace and fulfil the functions performed by them in the world today. Every Utopian and Communistic scheme formulated that attempts to do without the economic competitive forces replaces them by a reactionary and insufferable hierarchy, or else, like the Communist-Anarchists, ignores the necessity for any machinery to adjust economic activities to their ends, leaving the choice between a newly evolved competitive arrangement and some form of authoritarian regulation, the force of power or of numbers, autocracy or mobocracy. Any theory of society that denies competition as one of its cornerstones is bound to replace it by an artificial coercive power (it cannot be replaced by any natural un-coercive force), as do the State Socialists, or else involve itself in the same contradiction and absurdity that cripples the school of Communists just mentioned, who, while denying that competition is indispensable, believe in individual freedom, the natural outcome of which, as we have seen, is competition. For, if they proclaim liberty and ignore the need for an economic mechanism, which competition, etc., now supplies, they exalt a chaotic and unbalanced condition to the dignity of an ideal; otherwise, they must face the issue and admit the need of economic order which arises from the action of competitive forces in a state of individual freedom. In face of this economic necessity the Communists see logically compelled to either stand with the authoritarians, accept a chaotic ideal, or admit a competitive basis as the only machinery for securing economic order in a free society.
I have already indicated the need of ascertaining whether the evil effects of competition arise under all the circumstances and different phases in which its working is observed, before we can proclaim it to be the real and only cause of such evils, or attempt to cure them by its overthrow. But a little thought and unbiased inquiry at once show us that only under certain conditions is competition opposed to the welfare of the laborer, and that in its widest operation it is wholly beneficent in its effects. Every modern improvement that makes life easier and raises the condition of the masses, all the methods that facilitate wealth production and distribution, the countless advantages of this over all preceding generations of men, can be traced to the breakdown of status and privilege and consequent growth, intensity, and general comprehensiveness of competition. It is the only known antidote to social stagnation, the mainspring of industrial progress, the whip that drives slothful humanity towards general well-being and happiness. What seem its shortcomings are really traceable to its restriction through various causes. The supply of labor in channels where it appears to always exceed demand will he found to be due to removable causes maintained by special interests upheld by law and authority, and only possible because of the ignorance of the victims. The demand for labor in like manner is limited, the natural channels for adjusting the activities of the producers to their needs are by custom and law choked up, the means made subservient to class interests, and thus competition is one-sided, its benefits diminished and main purpose ignored. Institutions that maintain land monopoly, creating artificial values which without legal instrument could not exist, erect the mechanism of exchange, which becomes more and more important with the development of industry and trade, into a close monopoly, permit wealth to flow toward the idlers, and fail to apportion rewards to the value of services performed, — such institutions are the disturbing elements in the way of a rational society and must be laid bare, their precise nature and action understood, and their uselessness and vicious influence established, before intelligent reform is possible. Wm. Bailie.
* See No. 172 for preceding chapter.
A mind satisfied with the present will be careful not to trouble itself about the future.
A Radical Publication Fund.
Several weeks ago I was much surprised at receiving from Liberty’s friends in Denver, who are ever active in Anarchistic work, the sum of fifty dollars to serve as a nucleus of a fund for the more effective publication of Liberty. At that time I happened to be devising a plan for the accomplishment of the same end in a less direct way, — namely, the building up, through the cooperation of comrades, of a publishing business which would not only be immensely serviceable in itself for propagandism, but would ultimately furnish a permanent support for Liberty. Accordingly, about four weeks ago I mailed a copy of the following circular, accompanied in each case by a special letter, to nearly every person who had subscribed to the fund for the publication of “Instead of a Book,” omitting a few to whom I intended to make a more specific appeal later:
It is proposed to establish a fund for the publication of radical literature, including novels, essays, and treatises, both original and translated, dealing with the principal problems of the day in the light of individual liberty.
The plan is this.
Those desiring to cooperate for the purpose shall agree to contribute to the fund a specific amount quarterly, the minimum contribution to be $1.00 quarterly, or a trifle more than one cent a day. Those able and willing may agree to contribute a larger sum, — $2.00 quarterly, or three dollars, or five, or ten.
These payments, however, shall not be in the nature of an outright gift, but simply advance deposits for which value will be returned later in the shape of the books and pamphlets to be published. An account will be opened with each contributor by the publisher, and credit will be given as the payments are made. The publisher will be at liberty to use the fund which thus accumulates, in connection with his own capital, for the publication of works radical in thought or tendency. Whenever he shall thus publish a book or pamphlet, he will mail one copy to each contributor to the fund, and charge each contributor with one copy at the retail price. Any contributor desiring more than one copy of a particular book will be entitled to receive, with-out further payment, as many copies as he may desire, up to the limit of the amount standing to his credit.
For the first year it will not be possible to publish books very frequently, and consequently each contributor’s credit will exceed his purchases, unless he should take a number of copies. But each year there would be a greater frequency of publication than the year before; the publications of the previous years would continue to be sold to the general public; the income would thus be increased and the deficits lessened; and finally even those contributors who habitually took but one copy of each book would find that these purchases would equal or exceed their quarterly contributions. Thus every contributor would ultimately get full value for his money.
Any contributor desiring to discontinue his quarterly payments would be at liberty to do so at any time, but would not be entitled to the return of anything standing to his credit, except in the shape of books.
The inauguration of this plan is prompted by the success of the subscription for the publication of “Instead of a Book,” the idea being to generalize a method which in a specific case has proved so fruitful. The subscribers for “Instead of a Book” appear to be well pleased with the outcome, and, although the publisher will not be able to again publish hooks of so large a size at so low a price as $1.00, he expects to abundantly satisfy all his patrons. It is hoped, therefore, that each subscriber for “Instead of a Book,” and many others beside, will authorize the appending of his name to the following agreement, for as large a sum as his ability will allow.
We, the undersigned, hereby agree to pay quarterly to Benj. R. Tucker the sums set opposite our respective names in order to enable him to publish books and pamphlets radical in thought or tendency; with the proviso that we shall each receive one copy of each book or pamphlet thus published, and as many more copies as each may desire up to the limit of the amount standing to his credit.
Although there has now been abundant time in which to hear from all the persons to whom this circular was sent, the responses thus far received fall far short of my anticipations. I had supposed that out of this select list of about one hundred and seventy-five persons nearly one hundred and fifty would answer favorably, and that enough of these would pledge two dollars or three dollars each per quarter to bring the average quarterly payment up to one dollar and a half per subscriber. It will be seen below, from the subscription list as it now stands, that this average has been nearly sustained, but that the total number of subscribers, instead of one hundred and fifty, is at present only forty. The following are the pledges that have been received:
|Evald Hammar, Ogema, Wis.,||$1.00|
|Stephen T. Byington, New York,||1.00|
|Otto Schumm, Blythebourne, N. Y.,||1.00|
|C. L. Cruzan, Manor Station, Pa.,||1.00|
|W. L. Cheney, Meriden, Conn.,||1.00|
|E. Smith, Hoboken, N. J.,||1.00|
|Ellen Battelle Dietrick, Boston, Mass.,||2.00|
|Francis Lake, Dunkirk, N. Y.,||1.00|
|B. Hill, Detroit, Mich.,||1.00|
|W. G. Scott, Cincinnati, O.,||1.00|
|D. L. Haws, Pottstown, Pa.,||1.00|
|C. W. Pease, Waterbury, Conn.,||1.00|
|Sarah A. Rohrer, Loudonville, O.,||1.00|
|H. Walter Dorken, Montreal, Canada,||2.50|
|J. T. Small, Provincetown, Mass.,||1.00|
|A. B. Ronne, Hartford, Conn.,||1.00|
|Walter Cruzan, White Ash, Pa.,||1.00|
|Henry Cohen, Denver, Colo.,||1.00|
|John Shpis, Denver, Colo.,||1.00|
|E. Pettersen, Cheltenham, Ill.,||1.00|
|P. S. Carlin, Milwaukee, Wis.,||1.00|
|Thos. J. Purcell, Jersey City, N. J.||9.00|
|James Thierry, Otter Lake, Mich.,||1.00|
|Werner Boecklin, Burlington, Ia.,||1.00|
|W. Boecklin, Jr., Louisville, Ky.,||1.00|
|Wm. A. Smith, Boston, Mass.,||1.00|
|E. C. Crumbaker, Zanesville, O.,||1.00|
|E. W. Hunzinger, Port Chester, N. Y.,||1.00|
|C. L. Swartz, New York,||1.00|
|Charlotte C. Holt, Chicago, Ill.,||1.00|
|Jas. Rigby, Sr., Cambria, Va.,||2.50|
|Hugo Bilgram, Philadelphia, Pa.,||1.00|
|Walter Kleinsorge, Helena, Mont.,||1.00|
|John Grob, Austin, Ill.,||1.00|
|Wm. H. Sylvester, Newtonville, Mass.,||2.00|
|Geo. W. Evans, Dorchester, Mass.,||1.00|
|A. W. Susen, El Paso, Texas.||1.00|
|F. A. Clark, Newark, N. J.,||1.00|
|E. B. McKenzie, Boston, Mass.,||1.00|
|Pedro Larrauri, South Norwalk. Coon.,||1.00|
Here, then, instead of the annual fund of eight or nine hundred dollars for which I had hoped, there is pledged an annual fund of about two hundred dollars only. To this is to be added, as an outright donation for the first year, the fifty dollars from the Denver friends, and a few dollars from other sources. It is probable, moreover, that additional answers from the circulars will yet swell the annual pledge to three hundred dollars. But even this is a small amount, considering the magnitude of the work. I am now trying to ascertain the cause of this inadequate result. The stanch friends whose names appear above have done their part; what explains the attitude of others who are conspicuous by their absence? Not poverty surely, except in very rare cases. I should say that not more than twenty persons on the “Instead of a Book” list are so poor that they cannot lay by one cent a day for a purpose which, like this, must be near their hearts.
Is the plan, then, a poor one? Not in the opinion of those who have already subscribed; nearly all of these are enthusiastic over it. I have heard an objection from one man only. He declines to subscribe for books indiscriminately. If a separate subscription list should be started for each book to be published, he would subscribe for such of the books as he might desire! And pray who wouldn’t, if he were able? This gentleman utterly fails to understand the idea involved in the plan. It is co-operative. Here are five hundred people, say, who read radical books. Here are two books proposed for publication. One of them is desired by three hundred out of the five hundred. The other is desired by three hundred, but different three hundred. It is impossible to publish either if only three hundred of each can be sold. But if the entire five hundred will subscribe for both, then both can be published. In other words, each subscriber is asked to take the small risk of having to buy a book which he doesn’t want, in order to secure the great advantage of buying a book which he very much wants and which otherwise he cannot get at all.
But, however explicable or inexplicable, the fact remains that the list is very small. Still the nature of the plan is such that, if the faithful few are persistent and do not get disheartened by long waiting, it must ultimately succeed. We shall be able to do perhaps in five years what we could do in two if all would lend a hand.
Go ahead, then, we will. And let as many more join us now as are willing. Is it not a worthy cause? Think of it! Proudhon, Stirner, Nietzsche, Humboldt, Spooner, Warren, and many others whose works have translated or are out of print, — these to be made acceessible to all! The very mention of it would seem sufficient to secure a strong and united effort. Shall it be wanting? T.
The Legitimation League.
[“The Penman” in Yorkshire Post.]
You can find many curious things by studying the advertisements of a daily newspaper. Here is something that caught my eye in the “Yorkshire Post” on Saturday:
The Legitima League.
President: J. H. Levy, National Liberal Club, London.
Vice-Presidents: J. Greevz Fisher, Chapel-Allerton, Leeds; F. Arnold Lees, Hyde Park, Leeds; R. Pedley, Wortley.
Honorary Secretary: Oswald Dawson, Caledonian House, and Albion Walk Chambers, Albion Street, Leeds.
Treasurer: Gladys Dawson, Caledonian House.
Solicitor: Benj. C. Pulleney, Albion Walk Chambers.
Objects: To create a machinery for acknowledging offspring born out of wedlock, and to secure for them equal rights with legitimate children.
The idea seemed sufficiently singular to merit some attention from the student of human nature; but I did not feel so positively sure about it until a little further down the column I descried these interesting notices:
To all whom it may concern. — I, Oswald Ernest Dawson, of Caledonian House, Caledonian Road, in the City of Leeds, gentleman, hereby give notice that from and after the date hereof my name will be changed, and instead of the above-named style used by me I shall use and be known by the name and style of Oswald Dawson only.
Dated this 11th day of April, 1893.
Witness: G. Bailey, Albion Walk Chambers, Leeds.
To all whom it may concern. — I, Gladys Rosina Isabel, heretofore Heywood, of Caledonian House, Caledonian Road, in the City of Leeds, to hereby give notice that I have for some time past used and adopted the surname of the above-named Oswald Dawson, and that I shall continue to use and adopt the same, and that my name now is and shall be known as Gladys Dawson, and I further give notice that I shall not be known by any other name or signification whatsoever.
Dated this 11th day of April, 1893.
Witness: G. Bailey, Albion Walk Chambers, Leeds.
Cautiously and mysteriously worded as they are, these notices seemed clear enough when read in the light of the first advertisement. A League to legitimate children born out of wedlock and the treasurer of it giving notice that she has “adopted” the name of the secretary!
I immediately made up my mind that I would be one of the “All Whom It May Concern.” But first it was necessary to make some outside inquiries, that I might not go to Mr. Oswald Dawson fat of ignorance on the subject. The vice-presidents on the list were all known to me. I chose Mr. F. Arnold Lees as the first to be called upon. I selected him because he was the nearest to me.
Mr. Arnold Lees is a doctor and, I believe, the son of Dr. Lees, the well-known temperance speaker. “Will you tell me something about the Legitimation League?” I asked simply.
The Doctor hummed and hawed, and read me the advertisement through. It was kind, but needlessly kind. I had done it already. I intimated that a few further particulars would be grateful and comforting.
“Well,” he said, “I think you had better see Mr. Dawson, He knows all about it.”
I ventured to point out that the Doctor was a vice-president.
“Yes,” was his reply, “Mr. Dawson wilted me to lend my name as a medical man, and I did so, because I have known cases where the law has borne very hardly, very hardly indeed, upon natural children. And, after all, you know, they are as good as other children.”
“That depends. Are you a believer in free love, then?”
“Me? Oh, no. But I think you had better see Mr. Dawson. He holds some, yes, some rather advanced views on this matter, I believe, and I’ve no doubt he’ll tell you all about it.”
I asked Mr. Lees several other questions, but the replies somehow always got back to Mr. Dawson. I hope I do the Doctor no injustice when I say that he seemed quite relieved when I took up my hat.
The next visit was to the head offices of the League, in Albion Walk Chambers. The offices, like the League, are in the incipient stage of existence. Carpenters are at present fitting the rooms up. Across the passage are the offices of Mr. Benjamin C. Pulleyne, solicitor to the League, and a well-known practitioner. I stepped over to see him.
“Now, Mr. Pulleyne, I want you to tell me all about the Legitimation League.”
He positively laughed. “You see,” he explained, “I am solicitor to the Dawson estate, and Mr. Dawson got me to put my name down as the solicitor to the League. You had better see Mr. Dawson.”
It was my turn to smile. Everybody wanted to shunt me on to Mr. Dawson. “But you must know something about it?”
“Certainly. Mr. Dawson proposes legislation by which every woman who has a child born out of wedlock, and shall attend with the putative father before an official to be named in the Act to swear to the parentage, thus entitles the child to all the rights and privileges of a legitimate child.”
“I see. But what for? And has Mr. Dawson a personal interest in such legislation?”
“I don’t suppose he has any hopes of it affecting his own position. But I may tell you — it is no secret with him — both he and his wife do not believe in marriage, civil or religious, and those notices which are being advertised relate to that fact. You go and see him. You’ll find him a very nice fellow. He is the son of the late Mr. Thomas Dawson, you know.”
Here, then, I was on the edge of a romance, — a voluntary union such as that of George Henry Lewes and George Eliot, or that of Chopin and George Sand. With Truthful James, I asked, “Do I sleep, do I dream, or is visions about?”
I found Mr. Oswald Dawson in his pleasant residence, Caledonian House, was courteously received, and given all the information I asked for. Mr. Dawson looks older than he probably is — the result, perhaps, of dark hair and whiskers, and combative theories. Mr. Dawson has the habit I have often noticed in “advanced” thinkers of looking you suddenly straight in the face, half-defiantly, half to see the effect of his opinions upon you. But I anticipate.
“Do the other officers of the Legitimation League take an active part?” I asked.
“Well, no,” was the reply, after a moment’s hesitancy; “perhaps not. Mrs. Dawson and myself are the chief movers in the matter.”
“How do you propose to simplify the legitimation of children born of parents not married?”
“I would make it posssible, where there is money, for a system of settlement upon the unborn children of the union. Where there is no money, there is, of course, a great difficulty; but I would make the payment by the putative father as enforced by law very much more titan it is at present. If a man had formed an alliance with a woman and left her with a child unprotected and unprovided for, I should make the legal claim very much higher. At present, a putative father cannot be compelled to pay more than 7s. 6d. a week.”
“Do you expect any public support?”
“We shall see. There is, for instance, a large body of people advocating the legalizing of marriage with a deceased wife’s sister. I don’t mean to say that they have anything in common with the Legitimation League. I don’t suppose they would sympathize with anything I am attempting to do. But at the same time it is a remarkable fact that the offspring of a man who marries his deceased wife’s sister are illegitimate. If this League can bring into existence a machinery for acknowledging offspring born out of wedlock, I should suppose that such people as these would avail themselves of that law.”
“Would you object to define your own position in the matter?”
“Certainly not. Ah” — breaking off to speak to a bonny little child who stood half-timidly in the doorway — “run away, now, and ask Mamma to come.”
The child disappeared, and he went on: “Neither Mrs. Dawson nor myself believe in marriage.”
“Civil or religious?”
“In neither. We both disbelieve in the promise for life. We do not believe that the State has any concern with the relation of the sexes, in the first place; and, in the second place, we don’t consider, even if it were right for the State to interfere, that it should make the contract binding for life. If the State made divorce as easy as marriage and as inexpensive, then I don’t think we should say we objected to the institution of marriage.”
Perhaps I’m not sufficiently in touch with modern developments of thought in relation to moral questions. At any rate, I confess to feeling startled out of my usual composure, and unable to ask Mr. Dawson’s opinions about the legal and religious safeguards that a monogamist and Christian country has imposed. But there was one question that had to be put.
“I take it your religious views are ———”
“I have been a freethinker for many years.” The reply came readily and calmly.
“What would you say in the case of a married man who forms a second alliance with a second woman, unmarried?”
“It is not for me to say my neighbor shall not be a bigamist or a polygamist if he likes.”
Obviously, argument as to the evils of indiscriminate relations of this sort, even with an improved legal remedy, was out of the question with Mr. Dawson. I did not try it.
During the conversation Mrs. Dawson entered the room — a pleasant, graceful lady — and joined in the expression of her husband’s views on marriage.
Mr. Dawson does not place his hopes too high in regard to the League. “We don’t expect to be popular in this generation,” he said, referring to the movement, “nor do we expect Parliament to recognize us in this generation. We are not so much attempting to alter the law, at present, as to ripen public opinion in the matter until it is time to move.”
The late Mr. Thos. Dawson — a full length presentation portrait of whom hangs in the dining-room at Caledonian House — was, of course, a well-known Quaker. It is just possible that this fact gave the present Mr. Dawson his bias towards respectable connubiality without the ceremonial rites. For, as he pointed out:
“In past times Quaker marriages we’re illegal, and the children were illegitimate. Then an Act was passed which legitimated all Quaker children and made the marriages lawful. My late father was very active in collecting all the names of the Quakers who would be affected by the Act. The Legitimation League is going to register before the passing of an Act to legitimate the offspring of unmarried parents, and not after.”
So now you know as much — or nearly as much — as I do about the Legitimation League. It may be added that Mr. Dawson is in very comfortable circumstances, and that his peculiar views on the subject of the relation of the sexes are the outcome solely of solid conviction.
Radicalism Hidden in Official Garb.
My Uncle Benjamin:
I took a run down to Washington, D. C., last week for the purpose of seeing how the papers in some of my d ——— d (you may spell this out if you enjoy it more that way) patents were getting along, and while there I made it my business to inquire into the condition of Radicalism in the capital of our Moved country, and also find out if the morals of our statesmen were not looking up. I might quote as applying to our power-dispensing Democrats what I beard an office-seeker say, quoting the words of a lecture on “The Manners and Morals of Our Red Brethren”: “Their manners is disgusting, and they haint got no morals.” However, it is not absolutely so bad, although I did hear one disgruntled office-seeker say that it was an infernal shame that he had to go home without an office, simply because a certain cabinet officer had to keep a place for the Republican brother of his charming Aspasia. Moreover, when young ladies advertise, as one did lately in a Washington paper, that they would “like to meet a Senator or Congressman who would get them a position paying not less than $80 a month,” the modesty of the application and the smallness of the salary equally give me the shivers.
A Radical whom I met in Washington tells me that, while the Departments are honey-combed with Radicalism of every sort, yet there is among the brethren a tacit understanding to lay low and keep it in the dark. Still, I am told that there are some energetic wood-sawyers, even if no talking is indulged in. What is said is couched in such beautifully Hegelian ambiguities, that only the initiated can catch on.
I am thinking of petitioning the next Congress to appropriate money enough to inscribe over every door of every department the following quotation from Proudhon: “There is too much optimism beneath the official costume, too much subordination, too much idleness. Science demands an insurrection of thought: now the thought of an official is his salary.”
New York, May 17, 1893.
Tyranny’s Hatred of Thought.
It troubles the church people, in all countries, to think that men have eyes; they would like to be at the head of a society of blind men. But it is more honorable to be approved by men who reason than to dominate over people who do not think.
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.