“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.”
[T. de Wyzewa in Le Figaro.]
Socialists tell us of a Greek philosopher of prehistoric times who, after having much observed and much reflected, summed up the fruit of his researches in this short phrase: “Nothing there.”
Metaphysics apparently was destined to end where it began; for the same nihilistic conclusion is reached in a little volume recently published at Leipzig, the posthumous work of Dr. Friedrich Nietsche, professor at the University of Basle, philologist, poet, musical composer, and the last of the metaphysicians.
Posthumous perhaps is not the fitting word, for Friedrich Nietsche is not dead. But better that he were, the unfortunate! Four years ago a general paralysis fastened upon his marrows, and every day he grows more unlike a man.
Every day also, for four years, his German fellow-countrymen have been more and more passing under the influence of his teaching. I do not refer to the innumerable writers who imitate or copy him. But there is not in Germany a young man of any education who has not read him, and who has not at least been disturbed by the fervor, the boldness, the implacable obstinacy of his nihilism. No one since Lensing has had so marked an effect on his country.
This is due to the fact that no one has known how to say as clearly what he had to say and with as penetrating a charm. A much profounder student than Schopenbauer of our French moralists, Nietsche has carried over into German metaphysics the precision of style and facility of reasoning of Montaigne, Pascal, and La Rochefoucauld; a student moreover of the Greek classics, he has also carried over fantasy and poesy. Continually he allies raillery to dialectic; he clothes abstract principles with a rich mantle of brilliant and unexpected images.
And no one among the German philosophers had clearer things to say, more manifestly interesting. Composer, poet, philologist, Nietsche remains before all else a metaphysician. He is the direct successor of Leibnitz, Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer, — of those who have sought the absolute beneath phenomena, the depth of depths. But he did not trouble himself, as his predecessors did, to construct a complicated system; his metaphysics is more easily comprehended; it is entirely summed up in this short phrase: “Nothing there.”
Only, instead of relying on the statement of this principle, Nietsche has endeavored to demonstrate it. He has taken by turns everything in the world that could be regarded as sure and solid, — philosophy, science, religion, morality, sentiment, action, — and with a huge laugh he has shown that all these are but chimeras.
And as he paid no heed to the logical order of his subjects, carrying his indefatigable apparatus of demolition hither and thither in obedience to his fancy, he has always succeeded in presenting the things which he desired to demolish in the light best calculated to interest his readers. He has given his metaphysical work the timely air of a pamphlet. It is by this means that he has acquired such influence over the German youth, in whom he is now inculcating the uselessness of all thought and all action, — universal nothingness.
But there will be time enough hereafter to consider Nietsche’s philosophy. I even believe that the day is near when translators, commentators, imitators will make it as popular with us as it is already in Germany and the Northern countries. To-day I simply wanted to call attention to the little volume which has recently appeared at Leipzig under this odd title: “Thus spake Zarathustra, A Book for All and for Nobody” (fourth and last part).
As this title indicates, the new volume is intended as an epilogue to a work previously published. The first three parts of “Zarathustra” appeared in 1888. At that time Nietsche’s guardian, the pastor Dehler, prevented the publication of the fourth part, doubtless deeming it more dangerous than the three others. But the pastor Dehler died recently, and at last we are in possession of the entire work.
The fourth part of “Zarathustra” is none the less Nietsche’s philosophical testament for having been I written, like the rest of the book, in 1885. Madness had already marked him for its victim, and it was with difficulty that the unfortunate man was able afterwards to outline a few chapters of the new book which he contemplated, “Depreciation of All Values.” The little volume which has just appeared is consequently the latest of the works which he succeeded in finishing; it serves as a conclusion to his favorite book; in it we must look for the definitive expression of his ideas.
Disgusted with the baseness and stupidity of men, the sage Zarathustra has retired to the desert. In the cave in which be dwells, in company with an eagle and a serpent, his only friends, he smilingly awaits the arrival of Him who is to come, the Uebermensch, the Over-Man, the representative of the new race which cannot fail to be born on the ruins of the old humanity. Suddenly Zarathustra is aroused from his dream by a cry of distress. No doubt the Over-Man is calling him! He rushes to his aid.
But no, it is not yet the Over-Man; only nine superior men, who by turns present themselves to Zarathustra imploring his pity for themselves and for humanity. And each of them is the incarnation of one of the highest ideas that have appeared among men.
First is the Prophet of Great Weariness, the pessimist, who despairingly recognizes the vanity of all things. Then come, escorted by an ass, two Kings, representing the nobility of blood and mind. Then an ungainly and talkative personage, who suffers leeches to drink all the blood from his veins that he may better observe these little animals: this is the Man of Science. And after him is an Old Sorcerer, who, in a discourse framed in Wagnerian verses, appeals to the lusts of the senses under pretext of preaching renunciation.
To the Old Sorcerer succeeds an Out-of-Work: this is the Pope. God is dead: the poor Pope no longer has any one to bless. Yes, God is dead, and here comes the very person who has killed him; the Villainous Man, the type of negation and resistance. He also presents himself to Zarathustra.
Zarathustra then meets, sitting amid a herd of cows, a handsome and very gentle young man, the Preacher of the Mountain. As men will no longer listen to him, stays with the cows. He says: “Only those who shall be like these cows will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Finally Zarathustra meets his shade, — that is, himself, or Nietsche, the representative of all that he has thought hitherto.
Such are the nine superior men who by turns implore his pity for themselves and for humanity. But Zarathustra soon sees that they are all too decrepit, too weak, not to deserve to perish with the rest. He refuses them a pity which would be fatal to the advent of Him who is to come. He contents himself with inviting them to supper and to pass the night in his cave. He makes them laugh, sings them little songs, and tells them stories of women; and the next day he dismisses them to begin again his wait for Him who is to come.
The foregoing is a brief analysis of this fourth part, which Nietsche at first entitled “The Temptation of Zarathustra.” I know no philosophical poem since Plato’s “Banquet” which can be compared with this marvellous fantasy for variety of invention, depth of symbolism, wealth of style. Charming episodes on every page: the nine meetings, the evening in the cave, the litanies of the ass, whom the nine superior men hasten to worship as soon as Zarathustra’s back is turned. It is a real masterpiece, sure of its place hence-forth in the history of German literature.
But from the philosophical standpoint, under the laughter and the poesy lies the completest expression of nihilism, or, if you like, of intellectual anarchism. Nothing in the world that deserves to live; all is error and emptiness.
I know very well that, after as before his “temptation,” Zarathustra remains full of confidence. He joyfully awaits the New Man, who must bring him truth and happiness. But, alas! this New Man shows no signs of coming.
The publisher has appended to the little volume a poem, “The Poverty of the Rich Man,” which Nietsche wrote in 1888, three years after “Zarathustra.” It is a distressing cry of anguish. Zarathustra is still waiting for his Over-Man, but now he waits with feverish impatience; he has sacrificed his life to prepare the way for him; he has isolated himself from humanity. Crazed by his vain wait, he calls a last time to the Revealer who is to come. At last he perceives hint. “Here at last is my Truth about to speak to me!” he cries. And his Truth says to him only this: “Unhappy Zarathustra!”
Without a Blow.
Both law and order pay, boy,
Both law and order pay;
They make a groove You won’t improve
For coin to flow away.
Whatever purse gets thin, boy,
Whatever purse gets thin,
The lawyers still
Can squeeze at will
The cents that are therein.
Our Senators get rich, boy,
Our Presidents grow rich;
Many a law
Brings to their maw
Monopolies and “Melt.”
Yourself you cannot rule, boy,
Yourself you may not rule;
These greedy cads
Make men like lads
And keep them still at school.
But shall the rogues thieve aye, boy?
But shall the rogues thieve aye?
Shall man depute
A grasping brute
To rule him for a day?
Up! educate and drill, boy!
Up! use your pen with skill!
Without a blow
We’ll lay them low
And spoil the spoilers’ till.
“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.
Boston. — A. H. Simpson, 202 Huntington Ave.
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.
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.
|G. A. F. de Lespinasse, Orange City, Iowa,||100 copies.|
|John Beverley Robinson, New York,||10 “|
|H. Rabinovitch, New York,||2 “|
|J. T. Small, Provincetown, Mass.,||25 “|
|Wm. H. Sylvester, Newtonville, Maas.,||10 “|
|Otto Schumm, Blytheboume, Long Island,||1 “|
|Wm. Bailie, Chelsea, Mass.,||3 “|
|T. P. Perkins, Lynn, Mass.,||2 “|
|O. P. Loomis, Brooklyn, N. Y.,||2 “|
|Chas. Lloyd Serrill, Philadelphia, Pa.,||15 “|
|Nellie Carlin, Chicago, Ill.,||5 “|
|P. S. Carlin, Milwaukee, Win.,||5 “|
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|Rose. A. Murray, Bennington, Vt.,||1 “|
|J. B. Barnhill, Flora, Ill.,||5 “|
|Sarah A. Rohrer, Loudonville, O.,||1 “|
|A. H. Simpson, Boston, Mass.,||5 “|
|F. B. Rowell, Lynn, Mass.,||1 “|
|Thomas Earle White, Philadelphia, Pa.,||10 “|
|Miriam Sunrise Nicol, New York,||1 “|
|Miriam Daniell, New York,||1 “|
|Robert Allan Nicol, New York,||1 “|
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Next Thing to a File of Liberty.
I think the suggestion as to the proposed book an excellent one; it will be next to having a complete file of Liberty.
I will subscribe two dollars, in accordance with the printed form in the issue of September 17.
Sincerely yours, T. P. Perkins.
Lynn, Mass., Sept. 22. 1892.
A Good Time to Sow Seed.
John Beverley Robinson’s suggestion that you should issue in book form a classified Selection of Liberty’s editorials struck me as being a centre shot; and, now that Dr. de Lespinasse has made his generous offer, it ought to be but a very short time before the $500 is pledged. Let the lovers of Liberty remember that now is the seed-time, and what the harvest shall be depends in a large measure upon the kind of seed that is sown.
Believing that a book of this kind would be good seed to sow broadcast over our land at the present time, I pledge myself in the sum of $25 to help along the work.
Yours very truly, J. T. Small.
Provincetown, Mass., Sept. 21, 1892.
The Democracy and Free Money.
Because I advise the friends of free money not to entrust their cause to the Democratic party for the reason that that party will ultimately ruin it by instituting new restrictions in the name of freedom, I am suspected of dishonesty. Since the appearance of my article, “Anarchy in the Forefront,” I have received a letter which closes as follows:
I am beginning to doubt whether you are really more anxious for the spread of scientific principles of government than to air your own Anarchistic formulas. You must not despair of finding something to advocate, even if we Democrats do take up free trade, free money, and — many of us — free land.
To appreciate this piece of impudence it is necessary to know that the writer is employed by the Democratic National Committee to write campaign literature in favor of the repeal of the tax on State banks; that he is the author of the pamphlet, “The Farmers and the Currency Question,” from which I quoted in my recent editorial; and that in another part of his letter he writes to me: “Don’t be so silly as to kick against a step in the direction of freedom because we find it necessary to put in a lot of rubbish about the restrictions which sales may impose on their banks.” Here this man confesses that the sentiments which he is writing for pay on one of the most vital of questions are “rubbish,” and yet he has the audacity to accuse me in the same breath of insincerity in my Anarchistic propagandism.
The letter from which I make these quotations, written on the printed letter-paper of the Democratic National Committee, is marked “Private,” but I take this method of informing its author, Mr. J. Whidden Graham, that no man can make me his confidant in any such piece of political chicanery, humbuggery, and rascality as that in which he is now engaged. As long as I supposed Mr. Graham to be using the Democratic party as a means of getting the truth before the people, I could only quietly wish him success, while not regarding his methods as the best; but when he virtually tells me that every truth which he sends out he must accompany with a lie that contradicts it, I not only refuse to be the keeper of his guilty secrets, but shall do my best to thwart him in this work, knowing that of such propagandism no good comes.
Let us look for a moment at these lies, this “rubbish.” I quote again from the pamphlet written by Mr. Graham for the Democratic National Committee.
The essential features of a satisfactory currency system are: (1) stability, that every paper dollar shall be readily convertible into coin; (2) . . . All these arrangements will be amply met by a system of banks formed under the authority of the States, and conforming to a few simple regulations. Among these should be: (1) That no bank should hare more notes in circulation than two-thirds of its paid-up capital stock; (2) that every bank must redeem its notes in coin, and for that purpose keep on deposit 25 per cent. of its outstanding issues in gold and silver; . . . (5) that no bank shall issue notes accept under the authority of the State.
Two of the principal points in the theory of free and mutual banking, as presented by Col. Wm. B. Greene, are these: (1) that bank-notes should not be convertible into coin, and that such convertibility, where paper is issued in excess of coin, is the principal cause of bank failures and financial insecurity; (2) that the banking business is more susceptible than any other to the influence of competition, for the reason that banks, if left free, require no capital of their own, but do all their business with the capital of their customers, in consequence of which competition arises with great facility.
Now both of these necessities to the success of a free currency the Democratic party, in its offer of “free” banking, specifically refuses. It insists that no bank shall do a large business unless it has a large capital, thus making competition difficult, and it insists that the bank-notes shall be convertible into coin, thus making panics and suspensions inevitable. Under such restrictions this sham free banking will fail, but, being called free banking, it will throw the discredit of the failure upon banking that is really free.
Can Mr. Graham deny that this is the Democratic programme?
Can he deny that it is likely to be carried out if the Democrats get into power?
Can he deny that the results of such a policy will be such as Col. Greene shows them to be?
Certainly he cannot.
Then who is the false friend of free money, — the man who opposes this programme to the best of his ability, or the man who lends his pen to its promotion? T.
P. S. — Since the foregoing was written, the Democracy of Massachusetts has adopted a platform in which the following phrase occurs: “We advocate the removal of the national tax upon such circulating notes of State banks as are so secured that their prompt redemption in lawful money will always be certain.” The “rubbish” is coming more and more to the front.
Freer Banking vs. Greenbackism.
Matthew Marshall’s opposition to the Democratic demand for the repeal of the prohibitory ten per cent. tax on State-bank circulation has been referred to in Liberty in a general way. But it remains to point out the rather remarkable fact that, along with certain weak and superficial objections to the proposed revival of State-bank circulation, Mr. Dana’s philosophical financier furnishes a statement of the one objection which is really fatal, fundamental, and final. Unless Matthew Marshall is a careful reader of Liberty, we are bound to credit him with the independent discovery of a very vital truth. Here is what he says:
The fundamental objection to reviving the issue of State banks to serve as currency is that our paper money is not only ample for the business needs of the country, but perilously near the limit at which any further addition to it will lead to its depreciation below par in gold, which will be manifested by premium on that metal. We are now carrying $345,000,000 in green-backs, $110,000,000 in coin notes, issued under the act of July, 1890, $173,000,000 in national bank notes, and about $410,000,000 of silver dollars and silver certificates representing dollars. This mass of intrinsically inferior money is at present at par in gold coin, because it is accepted by the government for duties and taxes the same as gold, and is redeemed in gold whenever gold is demanded for it. Fortunately these demands are as yet rarely made, and in small amounts, but the stock of gold in the treasury available for meeting them is now run down to about $118,000,000, and is likely to diminish henceforth rather than to increase.
The gold in the banks and in private hands is of no use for redemption purposes, because the banks can pay all claims upon them with legal tender notes and silver, and so can private persons. When the currency now circulating at the West and Southwest among the farmers and planters comes back to the centre, as it probably will by Feb. 1, and is reenforced by the additional coin notes issued monthly under the act of July, 1890, the strain on the treasury will become greater, and a very slight increase of the shipments abroad would compel a suspension by the treasury of gold payments, with all accompanying evils. To encourage further issues of paper money in the face of these facts is financial foolishness.
The conclusiveness of this argument will not be apparent to the average reader of the “Sun”; but no further elaboration of it is necessary to establish its substantial identity with the argument of the intelligent free-money advocates. Matthew Marshall perceives the fallacy of the promise to afford an increased volume of gold-based currency, and easily exposes the groundlessness of the promise by showing that even now the Treasury is perilously near the gold-payments-suspension evil. To be sure, Matthew Marshall’s parenthetical remark with reference to the gold “in the banks and in private hands” would seem to indicate an inadequate comprehension on his part of the point in question. But while we are at liberty to suspect, we are estopped by the lack of fuller knowledge of his position from assuming that he holds that with the gold in the banks and in private hands, provided it could all be used as a basis of circulation, a currency adequate to meet the demands of trade would be both possible and convenient. The important thing for us to note is that Matthew Marshall virtually tells those Democrats who concede the need of a larger volume of currency that the condition of being able to redeem in gold makes any increase of the currency a practical impossibility; and that these well-meaning and progressive people will profit by such exhortation may be taken for granted. Now that they have advanced as far as they have, they cannot well refuse, on discovering that freer money and banking means the dethronement of gold, to join in the demand for the genuine reform in banking which non-political radicals have long had the monopoly of urging upon the deluded farmers and laborers.
But to return to Matthew Marshall. Dissenting as he does from the proposition of the Democratic liberal left, it is interesting to know what solution of the financial problem he offers as a substitute. For it is but simple justice to him to exonerate him from the charge of Bourbonism or Danaism (a term which I propose to use, and which I humbly recommend to those who have long been at a loss how to describe the Dana habit of giving perplexing or difficult or largely theoretical questions the go-by and closely guarding against betraying a suspicion of their significance or even existence). While he tells us that the “national banks are safe for fifteen years longer at least,” — and implies that during this comfortable period no change of any kind should be thought of, he volunteers the suggestion that, when the national banks come to an end, “the currency they now furnish can easily be replaced by notes issued directly by the government.” This, if it means anything, means Greenbackism pure and simple. So this philosophical financier, this defender of individual liberty, this enemy of all paternalistic schemes and visions, is nothing at heart but a Greenbacker and State Socialist! Poor Dana! His misery can be imagined, having so long and so lovingly and proudly nursed a viper!
Seriously, Matthew Marshall’s unexpected confession or profession of Greenbackism contains a valuable lesson for us all; we have here fresh evidence of the absolute truth of the claim that the cause of freedom derives no real strength from any but the most logical, intelligent, and consistent adherents of it. Violent protestations and vehement professions count for nothing; the one thing of value is thorough appreciation and perfect grasp of the principle in all its bearings and consequences. Marshall has steadily, and with an air of great confidence and conscious superiority, opposed State Socialism in all its varieties; yet all the while he was planning the surrender of the citadel of individualism and the desertion of his own chosen cause. Nor is this extraordinary. Such is the nature of things, and such is the nature of the human mind, that sooner or later each individual is called upon to decide between complete liberty and all-pervading authority; there is no golden mean, and it is only the fools who say in their hearts (or aloud) that extremes can and should be avoided. The present transition-period may last long, but it cannot last forever; the human animal must become adapted either to perfect liberty, in a social sense, or to perfect slavery. Matthew Marshall’s turn having come, he decides for slavery. Greenbackism is only one step, but it is a long and rash step, and he who takes it is likely to traverse the whole distance. I wonder what Dana’s decision will be when his time comes.
Matthew Marshall, the State Socialist, says in conclusion:
At all events, I trust that the era of “shin plasters,” “wild cats,” “stump tail,” and all other kinds of depreciated paper money has passed away, never to return.
Truly delightful, this, in its unconscious humor. Did it occur to the writer to ask himself why he is so certain that the era of Greenbackism is necessarily free from all kinds of depreciated paper money? It certainly did not, for there is only one explanation of the confidence, and it is very suggestive. Government notes are, of course, founded on nothing but the power of taxation, — indefinite and unrestricted taxation of the “subjects.” In other words, the only reason why government fiat money cannot become depreciated is that the citizen loses his power of objection and choice, and becomes the slave of the despotic governing body. Some people may be disposed to doubt the superiority of such an arrangement even to a condition of liberty plus depreciated paper money; but Matthew Marshall is not troubled by any such doubts; indeed, his “unseemly haste” in declaring himself a Greenbacker justifies us in intimating that he would probably prefer the arrangement described even to a state of liberty with the safest currency. V. Y.
If Cleveland is defeated at the coming election, he will owe it to his cowardice, as manifested in his letter of acceptance, just as he owes his present popularity to precisely the opposite quality, as manifested in his utterances in favor of free trade during his administration. In his letter of acceptance he dodges and trims most pitifully on the issues of greatest importance in the canvass. His attitude regarding the tariff is a prolonged wriggle, and his remark that “no doubtful experiment should be attempted” in dealing with the currency leaves us entirely in the dark as to whether he would consider the repeal of the ten per cent. tax a doubtful experiment or not. The platform of his party squarely demands the abolition of this tax. Cleveland, in accepting a nomination on this platform, notably neglects to reaffirm this demand. His indefinite comments seem rather to indicate that, if a Democratic congress should pass a bill repealing the tax, he as president would veto it as a doubtful experiment.
The readers of Liberty will enjoy, I am sure, the account of Friedrich Nietsche and his latest book, which I translate from “Le Figaro” and print in this issue. I would warn them, however, against placing too much reliance on this interpretation and criticism of the German philosopher. Without knowing much about Nietsche myself, I may say that the article impresses me as an estimate of a great man formed by a much smaller one, who sees the superiority of the man of whom he writes but nevertheless does not understand him. I believe that my friend George Schumm, to whom I am indebted for the little knowledge of Nietsche that I have, could either write, or translate from other sources, a much truer account of this new influence in the world of thought. Will he not do so, and thus make Liberty the means of introducing to America another great Egoist, who, now rising into prominence in the wake of Ibsen and Stirner, is sure ere long to share their fame and honor?
As may be seen in another column, the subscription list started by Dr. de Lespinasse in response to the suggestion of John Beverley Robinson is lengthening with considerable rapidity. The orders for the contemplated book now slightly exceed two hundred copies. But a balance of nearly three hundred copies remains to be taken before the publication can be guaranteed. I heartily thank all those who have thus far responded, and urge all those who intend to subscribe to do so without delay.
A System of Difficulties.
To the Editor of Liberty:
It seems, now, to be very generally understood what Anarchy means. At least, the terms Anarchy, Anarchist, etc., are beginning to attain permanent significance in the minds of those who have investigated the subject. An Anarchist is one who advocates a limited freedom, a freedom that stops short of invasion; or, in other words, “Equal freedom” to every individual.
As might have been foreseen, the formula is found to be difficult of application. Our most logical as well as radical Anarchistic writers acknowledge that it cannot be rigidly applied to infants or to idiots and insane persons. To my mind, the same difficulty appears in attempting to apply it to any other unintelligent person, or to any person whoever who does not practically comprehend and accept it. The intelligent have always governed and will forever govern the unintelligent, whether young or old. They must do so, or be themselves governed. In one of the ablest articles on this subject that has come to my notice, it is stated that “children, because of their ignorance, are elements of inharmony, hindrances to equal freedom. . . Then, liberty being essential to growth, they must be left as free as is compatible with their own safety and the freedom of others.” Just here the writer admits that she finds a difficulty. It does not seem to have occurred to her, however, that all other ignorant persons are elements of inharmony, and that her proposed limitation of freedom applies as well to them as to children.
Anarchy, then, as above stated, includes a limitation of freedom; and, in determining the measure of this limitation, difficulties are presented. This suggests error. Difficulties are always encountered when we wander from the truth. Let us get back to nature. The fact is there is no natural limitation to freedom. Nature does not demand equality in anything. The individual is sovereign. There is no limit to sovereignty. It includes the right to do what other sovereigns regard as wrong. It includes what Anarchism denies, — the right to wage invasive war. Equal freedom is simply a conventional device to promote harmony. But what about those who do not desire harmony, who have no comprehension of its advantages?
The business of nature is to produce individuals, not harmony. She delights in discord. She proposes to her children that they do as they please, regardless of discord. She gives them one right only, — the right to be individualized; the right to work out their own destiny, each for himself. No conventional right can obliterate this natural right of selfhood. One may be over-powered, and so lose all his conventional rights; but by nature he is sovereign still.
This superlative and supreme right belongs to all from the moment of birth. The child is under no obligation to obey the parent. The parent is under no obligation to feed the child. Neither are under obligation of any kind to anybody, not even to keep the peace. This system involves no logical difficulties. Children and other disorderly persons are not entitled to be treated as equals. They need have only such conventional rights as may be accorded to them. They have the right to rebel. That is all.
It follows, of course, that Anarchy is a social fallacy; that government is essential to liberty; and that equality in freedom is impossible, except as between equals, and then only through intellectual agreement. It does not follow, however, that it will pay to tyrannize, even over the weakest and least intelligent of beings. On the contrary, it will pay well, in many ways, to recognize and respect their individuality. The question is not what we ought to do, but rather what is best, what will make us happiest. Some persons have higher notions than others as to what conduct will pay beet; but that has to be learned by experience. A. Warren.
[It is true that Anarchism is beginning to be understood, much more generally than it used to be; from this, however, it is not to be inferred that Mr. Warren understands it. It chagrins me to admit that, although he has read Liberty for years, he does not yet know what Anarchism is. Mr. Warren’s own sociological ideas, as expressed in the foregoing letter, are perfectly sound, but he has not yet learned that precisely the same ideas are held by Anarchists. Anarchy is a state in which there will be no invasion; but Anarchism does not deny the right to invade. This has been stated in these columns over and over again, as bluntly and flatly as anything can be stated. The Anarchistic movement is simply a movement to secure that intellectual comprehension of the superiority of non-invasion which, as Mr. Warren says, alone can cause Anarchy to prevail. There is no difference then between the Anarchistic philosophy and Mr. Warren’s philosophy, and no more difficulties attend the application of the one than of the other. It is not pertinent to meet Anarchists with the proposition that government is essential to liberty. In answering Anarchists it is essential to give them the benefit of their own definitions. Anarchists aim to abolish government, but they define government as the coercion of the non-invasive individual. Does Mr. Warren mean to say that coercion of the non-invasive individual is essential to liberty? I think not. — Editor Liberty.]
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.