Vol. IX.
<No. 50.>


“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.”

John Hay.

On Picket Duty.

The papers tell us that twenty Wesleyan students and professors “have formed a Citizenship Club, to study practical politics.” Liberty suggests Richard Croker for the position of chief instructor.

So far Liberty’s typographical reform has met with next to no serious adverse criticism. Some have commended it and some have commented upon it without committing themselves, while only one reader has expressed emphatic disapproval. The way of the reformer, in some things at least, is not so hard, after all.

Liberty takes pleasure in reprinting the editorial from the Chicago “Times” in which Professor Sumner is rebuked for his shallow optimism and cavalier treatment of reform. It is hardly necessary to say that for the “Times’s” talk about the remorseless laws of trade and competition, Liberty does not assume responsibility. The natural laws of trade and competition are all right; the matter is entirely with the laws of Congress with reference to trade, competition, etc.

Not the least among the debts which England owes to Gladstone, observes the New York “Evening Post,” is that he restored a temper of seriousness to Parliament. Whereas Palmerston and Disraeli would indulge in flippant and mischievous and impertinent jokes, and decline to be serious, Gladstone never could or would laugh a great question away or play politics as a game. “He put an end to government by joke.” Well, it is very fortunate for government that he did. In this day and generation it would be rather risky to attempt to govern by joke in the sense intended (for real government by joke merely, without prisons, gallows, and bullets behind the joke, would be a decidedly inoffensive institution); the fear of bombs tends to check cynicism in governments. Nobody would dare to say today, “Let the people eat grass.”

Our grandmother, the State, has been getting curious and ingenious advice with regard to the solution of the troublesome question of bomb arguments. Elsewhere the original suggestion of the London “Hospital” will be found in a paragraph reproduced from its columns. It would have the State adopt the plan which families have been known to pursue when it was deemed proper to get rid of a recalcitrant member. But what would be the result of arresting and looking up all avowed revolutionists and believers in propaganda by deed [the “Hospital” speaks of Anarchists, but it really means dynamiters, of course]? Why, that secret societies and underground organs would take the place of open propaganda. Another result would probably be that the physicians especially identified with the scheme would be given a taste of dynamite. Are those physicians who are “looking for preventive measures” prepared for that?

How robust the “Nation’s” professed individualism is, may be gathered from its treatment of the government postal monopoly. The post-office, it tells us, is one of the things which private enterprise would not engage in at all, because it would not be profitable. This is of course a perfectly gratuitous assumption. A real libertarian would demand a competitive postal service even if he had to put up with inferior arrangements than those made by the government; but the semi-individualists ought at least to insist upon some evidence of the incapacity of private enterprise before submitting to the suppression of competition and freedom in this line of activity. As a matter of fact, there is considerable evidence that the postal service would pay in private hands. Besides, it is obvious that a vast business in which the inefficient and unintelligent government loses only $7,000,000 would certainly yield a handsome profit to an enterprising and progressive private undertaker.

Editor Hudspeth, of the “Western Laborer,” who once attempted to reconcile Populism with the principle of equal freedom (indeed, to base the former upon the latter), has made another great discovery. “The postal question,” he tells us, “is settled, because the postal system is run by and for the people. Thus can all other economic questions be settled, the land question included.” The postal question is settled only in the sense that it is not a political issue at present. No party sees any political capital in it, and the newspapers have conspired to preserve profound silence upon it because they profit by its present management. In no other sense is it settled. Being run by the government, — “by and for the people,” — it is inefficient, backward, and disorganized. The deficit this year is said to be seven millions. A hundred improvements have been suggested, but no idea of adopting any of them is entertained. I presume it is true that all other economic questions can be settled “thus,” but how will the deficit be met then? Now it comes out of the pockets of those who are engaged in private enterprises. But when the government manages and mismanages everything, losing on all its undertakings, “the land question included,” who will make good the losses? There’s but one way out of the difficulty, — to make us all accept starvation — wages, I was about to say, but there would be no such servile thing as wages under State Socialism; there would be “reward for service” — so, starvation reward for service. Remembering that even now the post-office employees are a hard-worked and under-paid class, we may form an idea of what our pay would be under the new order of things.

Certain discriminating observations which “Puck” made editorially some months since on the subject of Anarchism had led me to expect better things from it than are found in its editorial in the issue of March 28. In enumerating the classes of agitators, — the progressive Republican [meaning the logical Republican who, consistently applying the Protectionist principle, becomes a State Socialist], the man disgusted with an idle congress, the man wanting cleaner politics, and the man who reads editorials in daily papers and dispenses with independent thinking, — the writer says: “Thus far, happily, the Socialist-Populist-Nationalist-Anarchist forms a noisy but insignificant minority. But he will continue to exist and to make noise until we stamp out the Republican heresy that the United States government should turn the whole country into one vast alms-house. And this heresy cannot be stamped out until the Democratic party — the only party regarding it as a heresy — comes to a better understanding of its duty and opportunity.” Now “Puck” knows better than to believe that the Anarchist proposes to turn the whole country or any part of it into a vast alms-house. Knowing better, why does it darken counsel by lumping the Anarchist with the Populist and Nationalist? Then, as to the Democratic party being the proper and sole opponent of the heresy referred to, pray, who is the Democratic party? Dana, Hill, Gorman, Brice, are Democrats, yet they warmly espouse the “heresy.” The younger Democrats (and they are not many or powerful) like Harter, Johnson, and a few others, doubtless believe in free trade, but they are also in favor of the single-tax, as a recent vote indicated, and Single-Taxers must certainly belong, in “Puck’s” view, to the “noisy but insignificant minority.” Who, then, is going to stamp out the heresy of Protection and save the country? “Puck” had better ask for leave to withdraw and reconsider.

“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.

Are We Fit for Freedom?

In his “Reminiscenses of the Late Professor Tyndall,” Spencer, in referring to the former’s well known political Toryism and belief in despotic government, makes the following statement:

Divergent as our beliefs and sentiments were in earlier days, there has been in recent days mutual approximation. A conversation with him some years since made it manifest that personal experience had greatly shaken the faith he previously had in public administrations, and made him look with more favor on the view of State-functions held by me. On the other hand, my faith in free institutions, originally strong (though always joined with the belief that the maintenance and success of them is a question of popular character), has in these later years been greatly decreamed by the conviction that the fit character is not possessed by any people, nor is likely to be possessed for ages to come. A nation of which the legislators vote as they are bid, and of which the workers surrender their rights of selling their labor as they please, has neither the ideas nor the sentiments needed for the maintenance of liberty. Lacking them, we are on the way back to the rule of the strong hand in the shape of the bureaucratic despotism of a socialistic organization, and then of the military despotism which must follow it; if, indeed, some social crash does not bring this last upon us more quickly. Had we recently compared notes, I fancy that Tyndall and I should have found ourselves differing but little in our views concerning the proximate social state, it not of the ultimate social state.

With Professor Tyndall’s alleged political evolution few will be concerned, but the incidental confession we have from Spencer, — that his faith in free institutions has been greatly lessened, — is so significant that a careful consideration of its implications and source is in order.

Spencer has frequently protested against generalizations based on insufficient data, but a more rash and unscientific generalization than this with reference to the unfitness of the people for liberty, it is difficult to conceive. Though England is what Spencer has more particularly in mind, it is plain that his condemnation involves all the other nations. We are all declared to be unfit for free institutions, and we are told moreover that we are not likely to possess the fit and necessary character for ages to come, for, remembering Spencer’s masterly refutation of the “heroic” theory of progress, we cannot admit for a moment that even a small minority is ripe and fit for freedom when the people at large are so backward and inert. Of course, there is nothing inherently improbable in such an assumption. It is not impossible that we are all treated according to our deserts, and that the right work for us to do is not to struggle for social reform, but to fit ourselves for a better social state by self-criticism and self-improvement. This doctrine is not new, but it has never been countenanced by the scientific sociologist or evolutionary philosopher. After all that we have learned about the value of liberty as a school of preparation for liberty, as a method and means as well as a goal, as a factor in social dynamics as well as a condition in social statics, we cannot well reconcile ourselves to the Buddhist doctrine of contemplation, self-perfection, and self-discipline. We know that the cure for the evils of liberty is found in greater liberty, that independence cannot be developed under coercion, and that to fit ourselves for liberty we must live and move in it. To be told now that “personal government” is to be our “proximate social state” is tantamount to telling us that we shall be deprived of the opportunity to fit ourselves for liberty. Thus we are in a vicious circle.

Doubtless Spencer’s answer would be that facts are facts, and that since we have shown ourselves incapable of maintaining and appreciating the degree of freedom that we have enjoyed; since we have surrendered our privileges, neglected our opportunities, and actually suffered political, economic, and social tyranny to reduce us to utter helplessness, retrogression is inevitable. Assuredly there is no room for liberty where no comprehension of it is manifested and no desire or need for it experienced. Our tame submission to the political boss and to the walking delegate, Spencer asserts, can only end in the triumph of State Socialism or military despotism.

Now Spencer’s facts, even if they were really as he represents them, would not warrant his inferences. Assume that in ordinary party politics the voter does submit to the dictates of the boss, and that the legislator is rifled by the caucus instead of by his own ideas of right and wisdom. This would be deplorable, and would naturally make for evil and reaction. But are there no other facts in politics to more than counterbalance these? Is not independence, repudiation of party ties, growing on every side? Is not contempt for politicians increasing, and faith in party promises and legislative wisdom diminishing? Isn’t politics rapidly declining in popular respect and becoming the synonym of trickery, corruption, and fraud? Has not politics become the pursuit of the small, unscrupulous, and insignificant? This fact is now widely recognized by the press and public, and legislative bodies inspire neither confidence nor respect. So far as this goes, the gain is on the side of liberty. The party machine is powerful simply because parties are chiefly maintained for and by spoils, but this very circumstance tends to discredit political machinery with intelligent men. There is absolutely nothing in contemporary politics to shake one’s belief in the fitness of the people for free institutions.

On the other hand, taking an evolutionary view of the matter, how does Spencer account for the existence and growth of the Individualist movement, which, on the whole, is certainly making for progress? (I do not refer to the alleged individualism of Liberty and Property Defence Leagues, which have been aptly described as striving for liberty to maintain their privileges and monopolies, but to the healthy and sincere individualism of men of principle.) What does Spencer think of the rise and development of the Anarchistic movement? Does this rejection of all invasive practices point to lose of faith in liberty? Unfortunately, Spencer does not comprehend the philosophical basis of Anarchism, but some of his adherents do, and they know that Anarchism is more Spencerian than Spencer, more consistently libertarian.

But the “working classes,” the trades unions, the walking delegates! Aren’t the liberties of a nation in danger of total extinction when the “workers surrender their right of selling their labor as they please”? Yes, indisputably, under certain conceivable conditions this would necessarily follow. Conceivable conditions, but not present and actual. Trades unions are entirely voluntary organizations, and hence it is not even true that they surrender their liberty to sell their labor as they please. Is combination, coöperation, a surrender of individual freedom? The principle of trade unionism is essentially sound, both economically and ethically, and it is astonishing to hear from Spencer that to form a voluntary association to sell labor with the greatest advantage is a surrender of liberty. Is it a surrender of liberty for merchants to agree to sell goods to the best advantage? The only element of truth in Spencer’s charge is that trades unions are frequently unwise and despotic in their treatment of outsiders (of course, their own internal government may be unwise, but it cannot be “despotic,” since there is no compulsion in joining or remaining), that they resort to violence and invasive means. This, however, does not argue unfitness for liberty; it only demonstrates that trades unions are human institutions. Having to fight organized, State-supported monopolies, finding themselves reduced to the necessity of accepting inequitable terms through prior violations of equal freedom on the part of the governing power, they cannot always exercise sufficient self-restraint to keep within the bounds of legitimate resistance. Instead of indulging in futile denunciations, we ought to labor to remove the factors which render legitimate resistance on the part of trades unions more and more ineffectual and unsuccessful. Labor cannot, merely by refusing to work, compel the payment of equitable wages. Owing to monopoly, to violations of equal freedom, capital has labor at its mercy. Remedy this state of things, give labor opportunity, access to natural media and freedom of credit, and there will be no occasion and no inclination to resort to violence. Legitimate resistance would then be adequate.

There was a time when these truths were clear to Spencer, when even the French terror did not shake his belief in the fitness of the people for freedom, when he realized that monopoly is responsible for the coercive methods of labor organizations. If he now utterly misses the true explanations of many phenomena in the economic world, we must regretfully recognize in the fact the inevitable penalty of ill-health and old age. Y.

Pledges and Politicians.

During the recent discussion of the Wilson bill in Congress, Tom Johnson, of Ohio, made a speech which created a sensation; he complained that the reductions in the tariff proposed by the Wilson bill were not sweeping enough, and said that if he had the drafting of a tariff bill, he would abolish all duties, and make arrangements for the sale of the custom houses. Mr. Johnson then explained that he was in the steel business, and showed how the proposed reduction of fifty per cent. in the duty on steel rails would still leave that industry amply protected.

To a question asked him by a Republican member, Mr. Johnson made answer that as long as Republicans made bad laws he would take advantage of the opportunity offered in business, but as a matter of principle he must oppose them in Congress.

He then scolded the Democrats for not keeping the pledge made in the platform of 1892 to greatly reduce the tariff.

To half-educated students of economics this speech and the speaker’s subsequent action in voting for a single-tax amendment to the bill will make it seem that he is furthering measures in Congress which will diminish his large income, and perhaps they will want to do homage to him as the “model of all civic virtues.”

He does not deserve it. Mr. Johnson would continue to receive a large income, even if we had free trade and the single tax, because money would still bear interest.

There was another plank in the Democratic platform which, if carried out, would make it possible to abolish interest; it is the one that promises the repeal of the ten per cent. tax on banks of issue.

It is strange that Mr. Johnson, who is so anxious to have an indefinite promise like the tariff plank fulfilled, should oppose the repeal of the bank tax, which was promised in such def site language that there could not be two opinions regarding the meaning.

Mr. Johnson has failed more signally in consistently carrying out the pledges of his party than did the tariff tinkers whom he took to task. And his efforts to impoverish himself have so far been unavailing.

Henry Cohen.

The State Divided Against the State.

The governor of Colorado has the right to appoint and discharge the members of the Denver Fire and Police Board. Last spring he discharged two of his own appointees for incompetence. The matter was contested in the courts, and the supreme court upheld the governor. But the men whom he appointed to fill the vacancies thus made, proved worse than the first, for they sold out to the Republican “gang” in addition to their other crimes. When the governor decided to discharge them, they called out the police force for protection, the Republican sheriff appointed several thousand deputies to assist, and the district court issued an injunction restraining the governor from using force. At this the governor called upon the militia, and subsequently upon the Federal troops, to execute his order. But the Republicans were in possession of the field. On the housetops, at every window, and scattered among the spectators, were men armed with Winchesters, revolvers, and dynamite, ready to fight the troops. After three days of excitement it was decided to await the decision of the courts. At length the supreme court decided that the governor had the right to discharge the members of the Board, but not to use force to oust them. Further developments are anxiously awaited.

Talk about voluntary protective associations fighting among themselves! What is the matter with this? If it is necessary to call out the army to discharge two dishonest officials now, we may expect a civil war every time a street-car conductor is discharged under State Socialism. The revolutionist might take lessons from the State, and learn how to make “propaganda by deed” effective. F. D. T.

Some reformers think there is a point where all radical schools converge, and many days and nights are spent in trying to discover it. Such a point cannot be found in social reform, but politics has been more fortunate. A citizen of Pennsylvania wrote to a number of government officials at Washington, suggesting to them a reduction of their salaries as a remedy for the existing depression. Mr. Reed, of Maine, thought it was very cheeky to ask a man to reduce his own pay. Mr. Carlisle said, issuing bonds would make times better, and Mr. Johnson assured the gentleman that the single tax, and not a reduction of salaries, was the remedy for hard times. Whatever difference of opinion there may be between the different politicians, they “can all work together” in drawing their salaries in full.

A weekly paper calling itself “Liberty” has just been started in Worcester, Mass. I would not mind this cribbing of my name, if my ideas had been cribbed along with it. But the paper in question is not only a stupid sheet filled mostly with plate matter, but it takes as a motto: “Obey the law and remember your sacred ballot.” It seems to be an organ of authoritarian trade-unionism. In view of this fact; and whereas the Communist periodical, “La Revue Anarchiste,” has lately changed its name to “La Revue Libertaire”; and considering that ninety-nine out of every hundred people who pretend to believe in liberty really believe in authority and are constantly advocating authoritarian measures, — for these reasons, I say, I expect to receive immediately a letter from E. C. Walker counselling me to abandon the name Liberty. Usage has decided that liberty means authority, and therefore the word must straightway be discarded from the vocabulary of — of whom, Mr. Walker? I am at a loss for a designation of ourselves. All the words have been stolen from us, and you want to submit to the steal. Why are you a non-resistant here, and not elsewhere?

An Inspiring Absurdity.

[Chicago Times.]

Under the title, “The Absurd Attempt to Make the World Over,” Prof. W. G. Sumner, of Yale College, contributes to the current “Forum” an article which explains why political economy bears the name of “the dismal science.”

Sumner’s article is prepared to controvert one by Edward Bellamy on the Socialistic system, which the latter, although not its originator, has done much to popularize. The “Times” does not believe in the Bellamy theory as a whole, but it holds even Bellamy, with his extreme and probably impracticable views, a better citizen, a better friend to humanity, than the well-paid professor of political economy who sits in his cozy study and preaches that it is absurd to try to make the world over, — i. e., it is folly to struggle against the remorseless laws of trade, industry, and taxation which are breeding millionaires, criminals, paupers, anarchists, and despair.

Perhaps from the scholarly seclusion of a college it is impossible to discern the tendency of the industrial, social, and economic laws as they stand on the statute books today. The stories of the mines, of the sweaters’ dens, of the iron mills, do not penetrate thither. A college professor may comfortably pooh-pooh the statement that under existing industrial conditions the chance for any manual laborer to give his children a decent education and a fair start in life, or to acquire independence, is less than it was of old. Nobody will answer him. His students dare not, and the theory that all knowledge is concentrated in the mind of a professor of political economy deters others who only know what they see in streets and workshops. Of course, the trouble with the manual laborers is that they want to be fed green-turtle soup with a gold spoon. Mr. Bounderby told us so years ago in one of Dickens’s immortal novels. There are many Mr. Bounderbys occupying chairs of political economy in colleges today.

It is absurd to try to elect honest aldermen. So the giver and taker of bribes will say when some particularly heinous case of boodling starts a storm of public indignation. It is absurd to try to secure work for the idle, bread for the hungry, education for the ignorant, justice for all, — for that would be making the world over. To this cynical doctrine of non-resistance and impotence Prof. Sumner and his kind are welcome. There are plenty who will hold with the “Times” that honor, honesty, and justice are not absurdities, and that the power of the current of social industrial, and economic reform is only increased by the efforts of mercenaries and conservatives to damn it.

Are Anarchists Lunatics?

[London Hospital.]

That Anarchists as a matter of fact are lunatics, is as obvious to common sense as that a dog is mad when he rushes at friends and foes indiscriminately, and with frantic teeth endeavors to tear them to pieces. The point of our question is this: Are European jurists prepared to pronounce Anarchists technically insane; and will legislatures enact statutes for their certification and restraint? The medical mind foresees an epidemic of Anarchism in the near future, and its natural instinct is to look about for preventive measures. The only preventive measures of any avail to avert severe epidemics of contagious diseases in cattle have been the killing of the infected cattle in the very earliest stages of the malady. In the cape of human beings the very early detection of cases and their prompt isolation have alone been efficient. Our first business is to secure the enactment of a statute or statutes declaring Anarchists and inciters to Anarchy “insane.” When that has been done, competent investigators must be set to work to find out every possible British or foreign Anarchist or inciter to Anarchy which our own country may harbor. These must then all be locked up in one or more criminal lunatic asylums, and there medically treated until such as are capable of cure are thoroughly cured; the remainder will be kept under restraint for life. Can we induce any leading member of Parliament to take this matter up, and to get his bill through before Anarchism attains to epidemic dimensions in our own country? We would fain insure the locking of the stable door before the steed is stolen, and not, as in France, after.

The Measure of Influence.

[Paul Harden.]

At the restricted banquet of life individual merit is almost nothing; the individual in himself is of too little consequence to be entitled to one of the plates so strictly numbered. No one is admitted except in his capacity as representative. There one represents so many ancestors, so much capital, so many voters, so many admirers, or a certain degree of success.

To Insure Their Dependence.

[Chamfort and Vauvenargues.]

Women are married before they are anything, in order that they may never be anything.

“The garden of the laws is full of ironical plants, of unexpected Mowers and by no means its slightest charm is this subversion of the natural order, whereby appear at the end of stems and branches fruit just the opposite of that which is promised by the essence of the tree or bush. The apple-tree bears figs, and the cherry-tree medlars: plants yield sweet potatoes, and hollyhocks salsify. It is delicious.” Séverine.

The Beauties of Government.

The readers of Liberty are urgently invited to contribute to this department. It is open to any statement of facts which exhibit the State in any phase of its fourfold capacity of fool, meddler, knave, and tyrant. Either original accounts based upon the writer’s own knowledge, or apparently reliable accounts clipped front recent publications, are welcome.

The State Can’t Cut Across Lots.

To the Editor of Liberty:

You can find a post-office arrangement very near New York, similar to the English case noted by you under the head of “Beauties of Government.”

On Long Island, about six miles from Brooklyn, is a small town called Woodhaven. Adjoining and merging with it is another, still smaller, called by the absurd name of Ozone Park. Each has a separate post-office; but letters from New York intended for people in Ozone Park, if directed to Woodhaven, are sent back to Brooklyn and thence to Ozone Park, losing twenty-four hours for a distance of half a mile or so.

Another interesting method is this: At a certain suburban hamlet, mails from New York arrive thrice a day, — at 8 a. m., 10 a. m., and 5 p. m., or there-abouts. If you inquire at the New York post-office when the mails for this hamlet close, they will give you five different closings, among them one at 1 p. m. and another at 2 p. m. Now, if a letter with a quick delivery stamp on it is mailed in time for the 2 o’clock closing, it will arrive at 5 and be delivered at 5.30 well enough; but, if mailed in time for the 1 o’clock closing, it is sent to an intermediate point and held there until the next day. If no quick-delivery stamp is used, the letter is held quite rationally, and not sent out until the 2 o’clock departure. E. D. R.

A Case of Practical Politics.

[New York Sun.]

Lancaster, March 15. — Peter Nauman, David Moyer, George Becker, Abraham Hernhey, Jacob N. Engleess, and Amos R. Strickler, who compose the school board of Rapho township, were arrested this morning on charges of conspiracy and bribery. It is charged that the members accepted the bribes from text-book agents and elected one of their number treasurer of the board with the understanding that he would divide with his fellow-members.

[Compulsory education is urged as a function of government on the ground that it makes good citizens and thereby is protective of person and property. It is to be presumed that the members of this school board are men of education. Perhaps the property of the tax-payers would have been as safe in the hands of men who never saw a school-house.]

Justice for the Poor.

[New York Evening Post.]

The Chicago “Herald” has been exposing the methods of the police justices in that city, whom it charges with “gathering in the blood money of the poor and unfortunate.” These officers are appointed from the list of civil justices and receive $2,500 a year for doing what is termed police work, — that is to say, holding court at some police station every day until noon. There is nothing in the law regulating their appointment which gives them the right to compress their duties into the few hours of the morning, but they assume it for “business reasons.” Being civil as well as police justices, various avenues for enriching themselves by due legal process are open to them. For instance, the civil justices are allowed to charge one dollar for signing every bail bond, and they are often found sitting at night in the police stations on the occasion of raids on disreputable houses. Troops of unfortunates are brought before them, and in each case where bail is secured for the prisoners the police justice receives a dollar. Instances are known where justices holding court in this fashion have “earned” from $75 to $100 an evening. The business in bail bonds of all kinds is very profitable in a justice’s court. Every continuance of a police case involves a new bond and a new fee, and there is almost no limit to the extortion that may be practised if an understanding exists between the magistrate and an attorney. The “Herald” shows that the procedure of the justice’s courts in Chicago is burdened with a complicated fee system that is simply ruinous to poor litigants. Whether it be the suit of a money-lending shark, an ordinary action for debt brought by a small tradesman, a case of replevin, or one of assault, a bill of charges for entering suit, serving the summons, and for the fees of the justice, constable, and witnesses is incurred, which impoverishes the losing litigant and enriches the court officers. The “Herald” cites many cases of rapacity and extortion, and calls for a reform in the procedure. It alleges that some of the civil-police justices enjoy incomes from salary and fees of between $15,000 and $20,000 a year.

The Seizure a Matter of Course.

[New York Sun.]

Columbia, S. C., March 13. — Governor Tillman and the Internal Revenue Department are clashing on the liquor question. Collector Townes recently notified the governor that whiskey seized by the dispensary was liable to seizure under the United States statutes, and Governor Tillman told the collector that, if he attempted to seize liquor confiscated by the dispensary, he would go to the courts and, if they decided against him, he would still seize it and dump it into the streets. The governor declared that Townes, who is what is known in State politics as a Conservative, or anti-Tillmanite, was acting under instructions from political enemies of Tillman in Washington.

[When the courts have decided which thief may steal the liquor, who will protect the owner of the liquor?]

Ethics as Expounded from the Bench.

[Philadelphia Press.]

New York, March 14 — A few months ago, in proceedings for divorce brought in one of our courts, a young man who had been named as co-respondent took the witness stand and testified that the offences charged, implicating himself and the wife of another, were committed. He was a man who had been accustomed to those social relations which wealth and culture can give in this city. But after he thus testified he was cut in his clubs, the doors of society were closed to him, and he is now a miserable recluse. Such Punishment did not come to him because he had confessed to immorality, but because it was esteemed as despicable a thing as a man could do not to protect even by perjury the honor of a woman whose name had been involved with his own.

A few weeks ago, in another proceeding for divorce, all the parties being of fairly good standing, the co-respondent, in the face of the most convincing evidence, swore that the charges were untrue, and that he scarcely knew the woman. For doing that he was rebuked by Judge McAdam, who declared from his place on the bench that it was a greater sin to come into the court-room with a lie in the heart and to commit perjury than it was even to commit the sin upon which proceedings for divorce might be justified. Yet that co-respondent, though rebuked by the judge, was forgiven and even praised by his associates and friends, and, although the divorce was obtained, he has not lost caste by reason of it.

Yesterday, before Judge Van Wyck, another divorce proceeding was brought, and the co-respondent in that case, upon the witness stand, testified that he had been properly named as co-respondent, and that the husband was justified on that account in bringing his application for divorce. Nevertheless the learned judge rebuked this witness, going so far as to say that he would not believe under oath a man sustaining such relation to a divorce case as that witness did, who gave such testimony of admission as he confessed, and the judge added that he would always require more proof than the mere confession of a co-respondent.

[As it is not to be supposed for a moment that the judicial guardians of the public morals could fundamentally disagree as to the simple matter of lying, it must be assumed hereafter that it is the duty of a co-respondent to tell the truth, and that it is the duty of the jury not to believe him if he does. However, there is nothing in this apparent contradiction that should prevent a jurist who makes the ridiculous claim that ignorance of the law is no excuse from claiming also that there is no excuse for ignorance of the law.]

Discretion a Virtue Unknown to the State.

[New York Sun.]

Three street-sweeping machines caused a lot of discomfort to persons who were in Broadway last night between Twenty-second and Thirty-fourth streets. The sweepers drove up and down between 10 and 11 o’clock, when the thoroughfare was crowded with people coming from the theatres, and raised such a cloud of dust that those who smelt in time hastily sought shelter in the side streets.

Those who didn’t have a change to get out of the way freely expressed their disapproval of Street Cleaning Commissioner Andrews’s way of doing things.

The drivers of the machines said that they expected to have been preceded by sprinkling carts. The sprinklers failed to appear, but the drivers were obliged to obey orders and sweep the streets.

[When the Six Hundred were ordered to charge at Balaklava, it was “theirs but to do and die.” So it is with the New York street-sweepers. As for the pedestrians, it is theirs but to fly or die. Some servants of the State have the semblance of living creatures, but they are really nothing but machines. If one of them should do so unmechanical a thing as to consider conditions, immediate discharge would follow.]

The State a Pimp.

[New York Sun.]

St. Louis, March 3 — A special from the city of Mexico says that a terrible state of affairs has been proven to exist in the public dormitories of that city, provided by the indigent by charity. The police have discovered and raided a disorderly house in which the ten inmates were all girls from 8 to 15 years of age, who said they had first fallen into vice while receiving shelter at the free lodging houses.

The Police and the Publicans.

[London Personal Rights.]

The “News of the World” has an important article on the working of the present licensing law, from which we make the following extract: — The decision in the ease of Sharpe v. Wakefield has put it in the power of a policeman earning a pound or two a week, aided by a sympathetic bench, to swear away a licence worth thousands of pounds, on the allegation of a trivial offence or the simple assertion that the house is “not wanted.” “I am interested,” said a gentleman with whom we discussed this matter in the course of our inquiries, in a brewery and public-houses, and I say to my tenants, ‘You must square the police.’ I cannot afford to take any risks in connection with property worth thousands of pounds, because the mew on the beat have not their daily allowance or a present at Christmas. There is,” our informant continued, “great esprit de corps among the police, and if the mew on a beat, pacing up and down for hours at a stretch, are not treated by the publicans, it is natural that their fellows should make it hot for the stingy people. And they do make it hot for them. Why,” he added, “there is a public-house in C———” [name of place given], “the licence of which, worth a couple of thousand pounds, was refused the other day, and the only offence alleged against the holder was that he had been once convicted, and then of such a trivial offence that the magistrates only fined him 5s. In another case, at P———, which is now the subject of appeal, the policemen asserted that the publican had served a man who was drunk, and several respectable residents swore that he was not drunk. Yet the police-man was believed. The police are adepts at getting up evidence, and at giving evidence, and the licensing law is so elastic that the most trivial breaches may be magnified into great offences. Besides, the Sharpe v. Wakefield decision gives magistrates power to take away a license on the simple ground that the house is ‘not necessary,’ or that it is misconducted, and such misconduct may be of the most trivial character. No person is fit to be trusted with such power over a man’s livelihood or over property, valued at thousands of pounds, belonging to other people.

The Jails Need Paving.

[New York Sun.]

A natural outcry of indignation is raised in England against the action of the magistrate who committed a child six years old to the Holloway jail for taking part in the larceny of a few pieces of gas pipe from an old stable. Such outrages often happen under England’s infamous system of petty magistrates. The people are naturally joining in “Mr. Bumble’s” cry that the law is a hass.”

[If the State has its way, its prisons, which are the hells of earth, will soon rival the infernal regions in their pavements of infants’ skulls.]

Victims of the Drag Net.

[New York Sun.]

Paris, March 6. — Examining Magistrate Meyer and Judge Rapines completed the examination of 106 Anarchists yesterday, comprising nearly all the Anarchists who have been arrested recently. Of the whole number examined thirty-four were held for further examination or trial and the others were released for want of evidence sufficient to justify their detention.

[But let a bomb, thrown in the Chamber of Deputies, inflict a few scratches on the spectators, and a great howl will arise against the bomb-thrower for causing the innocent to suffer with the guilty.]

The Attitude of Intellectual France.

The following letter from a Paris correspondent was published in the New York “Evening Post” under the heading, “Anarchy’s Apologists.” No comment is needed to impress upon readers the significance of the story told by the not too friendly and impartial observer. The correspondent’s estimates upon the merits and tendencies of the works of the authors he describes are naturally colored by his own views of things. The sole interest lies in his facts and forced admissions.

A sort of round-robin, protesting in favor of a condemned Anarchist, has just been signed by some hundred men of letters and artists in Paris — all more or less young and distinguished. The cable despatches to America have shown too little understanding of the actual situation in France to suppose they will pay any proper attention to such a fact.

Nearly two weeks ago Jean Grave was tried, under the new press laws, for circulating his book on “Dying Society and Anarchy,” which is charged with containing incitements to murder and revolt. Grave is a self-educated man of undoubted talent, both as a thinker and a writer. He received his literary training on the “Révolte” and other early Anarchist periodicals of Elisee Reclus and Prince Kropotkin. His career as a theoretical Anarchist goes back, therefore, a dozen years and more, when Anarchy was beginning to appear boldly in Geneva and had already got into hot water with the French courts at Lyons. He has lately been editor of the “Revoke,” a serious review, which is supposed to be subsidized by Reclus, and which I hear is to reappear soon in spite of recent confiscations.

The book, for which Grave has now been sentenced to two years imprisonment, is no new production. For over a year it has been sold freely on the book-stalls, bound up in a violent-red paper cover. The new popular edition, in blue, cheap and small, had been smuggled over from Belgium. The book first came out before it had become so plain as now that criminal Anarchists do nothing but apply brutally the ideas learned from the writings of theorists. M. Clémenceau then declared it one of the strongest critical works known to him. Even the staid “Journal des Débats,” which, like most of the old-fashioned news-papers, has quite lost its bead in the present conjuncture, spoke of the work in terms of respect. The passages read in court preach fanatically the irrepressible crisis, — the violent revolution that must come before the final death-blow can be given to society as it is. It is useless to explain that this does not justify the throwing of bombs among a crowd of innocent people. Practical Anarchists will always give the reply of Léauthier: “The starving poor are also innocent.” I am not sure that this brilliant sophism itself la not from the work of Grave.

During the trial, four personages prominent in the world of letters came forward to testify to Grave’s high character, mental and moral. The first was Prof. Elisée Reclus, who considers Jean Grave “a man absolutely remarkable, of whom it can be said that he never lied.” Octave Mirbeau is one of the best-known writers on the Boulevard press; it is he who wrote the preface to the book of Grave, whom he declared before judges and jurymen to be “an apostle of noble and lofty ideas, that enjoys a great authority in our world.” Paul Adam, one of the leaders of the young writers for the theatre, spoke of him as “one whose book I should be proud to have written.” Bernard Lazare, who is a popular writer on the “Figaro” and other papers, testified that Grave is “a writer of rare merit, of whom I am proud to be the friend.”

This fourfold witness did not convince the jury, who are now stigmatized as ignorant bourgeois. The signers of the round-robin, referring to the testimonials given in court, now declare that “they unite with all their hearts in these noble words and protest against the condemnation.” I have taken the pains to go carefully through the list of names, to see what currents of literature are represented by this remarkable declaration of independence of all the old ideas of law and order.

There is scarcely one name which is generally known to the English-reading public. This is partly because English and American knowledge of French literature is never strictly contemporaneous, but from ten to twenty years behind times. Thus Paul Bourget, who is still one of the young generation of French writers according to the American press, is in France one of the generation that is passing by, like Daudet, or, at least, is ripe for the Academy, like Zola. In fact, it is said that he will be a candidate for the seat left vacant by Maxime du Camp. Zola was asked, but declined to sign the protest in favor of Grave. He gave as a reason that such a manifesto was not in harmony with his ideas. To this malicious tongues have added that Zola is nowadays regardful of what the Academy will think of him. In 1889, when Lucien Descavee, the author of a fetching military novel, ‘Sous-Offs,’ and a signer in his turn of the present protest, was hauled up before the courts, Zola, Bourget, Georges Ohnet, Edmond de Goncourt, and dead Théodore de Banville got him off by a protestation similar to the one just signed. Another reason for our ignorance of the younger writers (although several are of the generation of Zola) is that the new revolutionary literature cannot be transported decently into the intellectual territory of English readers. Some of these writers, of course, won their laurels, and especially their money, long before Ibsen was known in France.

Jean Richepin, whose name heads the list (so far as it has a head), is the most striking as a personage and beat known as a writer. His first book, ‘The Song of the Ragamuffins,’ landed him in prison; and the title of his chief poems, ‘Blasphemies,’ hardly prepossesses in his favor. It is he who accompanied Sarah Bernhardt when she horsewhipped Marie Colombier. No one doubts his intense literary talent, not even those who most deplore the direction he has chosen to give it. Catulle Mendès is an erotic poet, whose opera librettos show his knack of writing melodious verse. He is perhaps better known in America than the others, and he has talked bravely before now of the defence of honor which even literary men would undertake when the breakup of society should come. No one would suspect him of direct sympathy with Anarchy, any more than another signer, Armand Silvestre, who is old enough to have been a class-mate of President Carnot, at the École Polytechnique. The latter is deservedly known as the “grandson of Rabelais,” though he has also tried his hand at sentimentally toured poetry, which does not escape being sensual. Last year he wrote the libretto to Gounod’s drames sacrés, and he is the chief author of Izeyl, which Sarah Bernhardt is now playing. He is also an inspector of fine arts in the government. His share in the round-robin would at first blush give the idea that the whole thing is a gigantic farce. But it certainly is meant seriously. Perhaps these celebrities are secretly afraid, as Aurelien Scholl openly acknowledged when he was reproached for contributing money to the Anarchist soup-conferences. He protested that he was only trying to protect himself, — something which the Paris police seemed unable to do for him. The signature of the Deputy Clovis Rogues, who is fond of displaying the red flag of the Commune in season and out of season, excites no surprise. But people ask what Maurice Barrès, the ex-Boulangist deputy and apostle of the cult of the Ego, is doing on the list.

The writers I have so far named, with another signer of the protest, Jules Renard, the novelist (“Poil de-Carotte”), were chosen by Dr. Byvanck, of the University of Leyden, in his notable book, ‘A Hollander in Paris in 1891,’ as best representing the newest literary spirit of France. But among the signers there are many others who long since made their successful appearance before the Parisian public. There are several of the best-known theatrical critics of the Boulevard press, and a full representation of the Chat Noir humorists. There are novelists who have made a certain success of uncanny stories, which are one-half ugly realism and half gruesome fantasy, in the style of Poe. Jean Lorrain is a ghastly romancer, whose new play “Yanthis” has just been running at the government theatre of the Odéon. Paul Alexis, the most faithful of the disciples of Zola, has had one play already stopped by the censor, while another was a slow failure last year at the Vaudeville. Gabriel Mourey has translated poems of Swinburne into French and, in company with Paul Adam, has just failed as a playwright in a Socialist piece on the “autumn” of life, love, Christianity, and civilization.

Georges Street is a musical composer, who has a piece now running at the Opéra-Comique. Then there are four neo-impressionist painters, not to speak of Ibels, who has long illustrated Anarchist sheets with the powerful crude designs which he openly declares represent his personal convictions. A number of journalists attached to prominent papers, from the “Justice” of M. Clemenceau to the anti-Jewish “Libre Parole” of Edouard Drumont, also sign the protest. Then there are scattering writers of practical psychology, among others Ramon, whose ‘Psychology of the Professional Military Man’ brought him also before the courts recently for anti-patriotism. Mme. Marie Huot, the leading anti-vivisectionist in France and sworn enemy of Pasteur, with her husband, deserves a line apart. There are nine editors of various defunct anarchist periodicals which made more or less pretension to high and disinterested literature; several of these have themselves known the way of exile or of prison. There are a few Belgian poets and artiste of the new school, mildly contemplative of misery and bomb explosions, which Mr. Howells has praised in Maeterlinck. Stuart Merrill, the Franco-American poet of precious French verses, signs with the rest. There is one lawyer of note, Jean Ajalbert, a writer of the Boulevard press and the personal choice of Valliant to defend him at his trial. Finally there is a great number of signatures from the uneasy jeune école — would-be writers for the stage, poets more or less decadent, young reviewers, musicians, designers, and professional men of an artistic turn of mind.

It is not enough to say of a document thus signed that it is simply an unmeaning protest against government interference with the liberty of the press. It really shows a deep-seated uneasiness — a drifting away from all old moorings on the part of a large number of the brightest minds of France. And, doubtless, it also shows a certain sympathy with the ideal of Anarchy in its free love and freedom from law. As significant signatures as any, perhaps, are the names of Adolphe Retté, the decadent student-poet who cried for Anarchy, and Jean Carrère, the student who was wounded in the university riots of last year. I see that the American press finds it difficult to appreciate this educated aide, as it may be called, of French Anarchy. Yet it is this which gives its dangerous character to the movement.

The Liberty of Egoism.

[From the German of E. Horn in Freie Buhne.]

1. — I.

Liberty is power, says Stirner, is might. But what is might here? Might is faculty, and faculty has its root in the will. That we can will is our liberty; but that we cannot always do as we will is our want of liberty. A great deal has been written and said concerning free will; some deny it, some affirm it. This seems to me as if one should speak, for instance, of a rocky cliff. The cliff is rock, and the will is liberty.

To assert the will is to act. Without deed, no will. But whether the deed succeeds is a matter for itself; it does not affect the will; that remains what it is, and renews tomorrow the effort in which it failed today. It is not necessary that it should always succeed — if I only act! But action requires objects and tools; the latter are my physical and mental powers. Failure is explained by the difficulty of the former and the inadequacy of the latter. Here are the barriers of my faculty, not of my volition. If I am conscious of this, I shall not complain of my want of liberty, but, if at all, only of my imperfection. But to complain is unwise, says Epictetus. Rather should I seek to understand the true nature of things and to increase my powers; then the barriers will fall. I shall not, of course, reach after the stars or dash my head against the wall; the really impossible is no barrier to me.

In these barriers there is no compulsion. This I feel only when a foreign force controls me and a foreign will seeks to assert itself through my action. Against this I revolt, and only when the foreign will has become my own by virtue of my insight, only then shall I not submit myself, but still act in liberty. To do good in consequence of free insight is true virtue, and to act independently true egoism.

Liberty is dominion, says Nietzsche. Let us admit it! Who shall govern? I. Who am I?

And what shall I govern, or rather, what can I govern? That which I know. First of all, I know myself; consequently self-consciousness directs me to self-control. But myself I know only in antithesis to another: can I govern this also? Yes, if it is not already possessed, — that is, as self-conscious as I am. Men, consequently, who are worthy of the name I cannot govern, because above all others this devolves upon each one himself. As I can teach one only through the understanding which is in him, so I could also govern him only through the will which is in him; but then he is nevertheless a sovereign. Besides myself, therefore, I can govern only that which cannot govern itself, — that is, animate and inanimate nature. But every person whose self-consciousness is aroused will decline foreign government.

Liberty is consequently self-government and self-control. The former is the subjective, the latter the objective side of sovereignty. Its law-code is very simple: reason represents it, — that is, logical thought. From Aristotle we have the sentence: Scire est per causas cognoscere; we might parallel it by Velle est per causas agere. Action according to cause and effect only warrants the coherency of my conduct; in it lies the unity of personality and the security of autonomy.

Others shall not govern me, I will be my own master; for, if I am not, I come under the dominion of others. Just get drunk, — that is, relinquish your self-control; there is also an end to your self-government, and boys make sport of you. Only he can be autonomous who bridles himself.

But what do I govern in me? If I am the object, what becomes of the subject? The ego is consequently capable of analysis. I govern my body, — taliter qualiter, but nevertheless. Consequently it is not essential to the ego; it is an accident. I govern my instincts and passions for the sake of my self-determination; so far as they are rooted in the body, this comes under the above. My feelings, — that is, I do not allow feelings of pleasure and pain to cause me to act contrary to reason. What can still be governed in me? I am master of my conduct, however, only when I am conscious of my conduct, — that is, when I act logically. But in this I am also master of my reason, as I make use of it. Am I then superior to my thoughts? They come and go, but I seize them, I command them and put them on paper here. But in itself ideation, like feeling, is a passive state; solely active, manifesting my being, realizing myself, and asserting my existence, I am only in volition. What still remains, therefore, of the ego from which I cannot escape? The will. Can I also govern my will? No; for, if I posit it as the object, the subject disappears. My will, that is I. I — will — sovereignty — liberty — life.

The question of free will is futile. The will itself, that is the only liberty of man. In treating of a determinability of the will the will is always confounded with action or individual volition. The end at which the will alms and the modus agendi, these are determinable by rational means. But that I act and strive after an end is my liberty.

Am I still superior to my will? Can I make use of it? No, that’s meaningless. I act because I am, and I am because I act. Only where I am wholly thrown back on my own resources, where I rest within myself, where I am wholly I, am I free; but this is the case where I will. My will, that is I, that is my liberty, my absoluteness. All else, including also individual aspirations, are relations. But relations bind.

My will is the expression of my existence; it becomes visible in the manifestation of being, which is identical with the struggle for existence. The question: Must I act? is synonymous with: Must I live?

The will is always present — not the will to live, it is rather itself life, — that is, energy. But it requires aims, objects, in order to assert itself, to express its individuality.

I am attracted by some aim. What does that mean I What are final causes to me? My imagination anticipates the result of an action, it promises pleasure, I consider whether and how I can achieve it, then my will appears on the surface or it does not appear: accordingly I act or do not act.

Pleasure is the food of the will; for the value of every pleasure lies in this, — that it maintains and intensifies activity. But activity is will, is life. It is consequently for its own sake that the will seeks pleasure. But pleasure beckons not only at the end; it begins even with the first step and becomes keener the nearer the end, until it finally reaches its culmination. Then it breaks off, and a new aim allures me.

The will is energy, but strength grows by exercise; consequently the will grows richer by asserting itself. Richer in what? In will. It never consumes itself, but draws ever anew on itself; it is the true perpetuum mobile. Its manifestation is at the same time enjoyment; expenditure and income coincide; the will is self-enjoyment, and to enjoy life is to enjoy one’s self.

As man has become through birth and education, so he must act; for that is his being, his being, his ego, his individuality. In this manifestation of his being, in self-realization and self-revelation, lies his life’s pleasure and also his life’s task. If we call this egoism, then I believe that egoism is the axis of all “ethical culture.”

I consume myself by realizing myself. Compared with this highest pleasure, all other sensual and spiritual pleasures fade away; they are merely means to an end. For this reason the will remains master of the pleasure. If this becomes its own end, without passing into action, the will dies from excess. Then man no longer lives, but vegetates like the cabbage-head in the field. With the will goes liberty, autonomy, self-determination. To be the master of pleasure is self-control (Tolstoi’s first step of morality).

Liberty! Do you now know what liberty is? You clamor for it. I tell you: Be free; for you are free! No other liberty can come to you except that which you carry within you. You are you, an ego, a will, wholly for yourselves, resting within yourselves; what more do you want? Is that not liberty enough? Of what more, then, do you want to be free?

Others shall not govern you. Well, it lies with you: govern yourselves and be sovereigns; no other will then get you in his power; you are nearest to yourselves. But so you are: as against those above you, you prate and declaim about liberty, because you think not-to-be-ruled is part of it, Anarchists that you are! — and, as against those below you, you exercise force, because you seek liberty in the dominion over others, despots that you are! But how now, if those on top will not listen to you and those below will not be governed? Then continue a slave, Anarchist! Then tremble, despot! How can you be free, if, in order to be free, you have need of others? Liberty is not outside of you; this kingdom of heaven is within you!

It is time that many people come to see this, so that they may no longer chase after a phantom. For a hundred years the good have been seeking liberty with the political lantern, and do not see the forest for so many trees. They think liberty is back of the barriers, because the manifestation of their being meets with barriers. But just remove them when, lo! new ones arise.

“He who, instead of the activity of the spirit which moves hidden in his depths, knows and sees only its outward show; who, instead of contemplating himself, continually gathers from far and near a picture of only the outward life and its changes: he remains a slave to time and necessity; what he meditates and thinks bears their impress, is their property, and never, even when he imagines he is contemplating himself, is it permitted him to enter the sacred realm of liberty” (Schleiermacher). Therefore do not frequent the taverns of the world, but remain at home with yourselves; then you are self-conscious and free!

Nor is it anything except self-consciousness to which, after wandering far astray, men rise; they only describe it by other names, — now human dignity, now the libertarian ideal. Many are still sleeping who see liberty in the middle-class competitive struggle for property. But the cock has crowed, and it is beginning to dawn.

If the will is my liberty, what, then, is the meaning of my want of liberty? It is the condition of liberty, and is included in the will. This sounds paradoxical, but it is not. All individuality signifies limitation; consequently also all individual volition is limited. If I always could as I would, I should not aspire to anything. The Almighty has no aspirations; to him the conception of liberty does not apply; the boundless cannot act. And the omnipotent person would die of ennui as well as he who is impotent.

My want of liberty, that is the object of my will. No will without deed, but no deed where there are no obstacles to be overcome. These obstacles curtail your liberty? Lazy fellow! They are the very guarantee of your life; for to live is to strive, to work. You are only in so far as you act; and therein precisely consists your liberty, — that you assert yourself as against, those obstacles! Only will strongly; that is, be strongly what you are! Your manifestation of being is your struggle for existence.

Sunt certi denique fines — I know that, but should I therefore complain? Therefore precisely I have an individual being, and all being is individual. I console myself and pride myself that I aspire after greater things than I can accomplish. Who can do more than I? “Much lives that is mighty, but nothing is mightier than man.”

The problem of the freedom of the human will ought not henceforth to trouble anyone. My will is not free, it is rather my whole freedom. As soon as I have recognized this, I no longer seek liberty, I shall neither beg for it nor steal it from others; for I have it. The self-conscious is the free.

So-called civil liberty reveals itself thus as something wholly inconsequential. If the citizen were free in my sense, he would also have the liberty which he wants; but servility deserver no liberty.

2. — We.

Alone immediately I find myself, me, the free, the self-conscious, the particular individual and owner, as Stirner says. So resting within myself I cast about me, an aspirant as against nature and against other persons. Both are to me objects and therefore also resistances of the volition. To test my selfhood as against them, to assert myself, I take to be the foundation and purpose of my life. I I will no longer, I am no longer. But, as long as I will, I am.

Nature appears to me as heterogeneous, strange, puzzling, terrible; men appear to me as homogeneous, as of the same essence. The former I seek to explore and put in the service of my will; with the latter I harmonize if they are of the same kind as I, — that is, if will meets will. But revenge is the regulator of the conflicts of the will. Are the other people of the same kind as I, — that is, free, sovereigns? I make a test, and, if I find such, I recognize them as myself, and say: We the free.

We pride ourselves on our liberty, and this pride is our morality: we are on “yonder side of good and bad.”

For morality, — what is it? Nothing surely except the mode of living together, of the intercourse of men. There are consequently very many moral systems, and Bastian’s Ethnology will surely yet give us the only true “moral teaching” as descriptive morals. How men have acted and do act we can learn by studying their past conduct; how they will continue to act we can infer from their — that is, our — character, which is selfishness. But who tells us, and who has a right to tell us, how we shall act? Is there a need of “morality” in this sense? Nietzsche justly makes of this morality itself a problem.

Slaves receive precepts of conduct; the free is his own lawgiver. Each one learns of his “ethical destiny” immediately through his “conscience” — is Flchte’s opinion, and Sommer, in controversy with Wundt, erects thereon a plausible philosophy of life. All “moral systems” presuppose the unfree, and because liberty is in such a plight today, — St. Manchester has betrayed and sold it, — the unbelieving world prates so much about ethics.

We the free have no need of “morality.” Our mutual respect and recognition is only the result of our pride, — that is, the appreciation of our own ego, — and the principle of our conduct is selfishness. Of course, not selfishness as commonly understood, which seeks pleasure at the expense of others; rather the selfishness which aims to realize itself in positive work, or — as Redd Gabler says — “to order life according to its idea.” “Each shall do that which only he shall and only he can do, and which, if he does not do, will certainly remain undone in this standing community of individuals” (Fichte) — with this consciousness the free is imbued. The free is the good, because he is true, brave, high-minded, temperate; for lying, cowardice, baseness, extravagance do not agree with the inner liberty. The free govern themselves, because each individual is his own sovereign. This does not preclude the election by them of a primus inter pares, but they dispense with the guardianship of “governors” and “proprietors.” Outward, politico-social liberty is only the reflection of inner, personal liberty. Inner liberty demands Anarchy. We the free are Anarchists,* because we are sovereigns and do not require the government of others. Not overmen are we; we only do not wish to be undermen.

Not all men are free in our sense. For ages slavery has existed on the earth, and slavery produces a servile spirit which transmits itself. But all are destined for liberty. What is the relation of the free to the unfree? He does not recognize them as his equals; they are beneath him. He uses them, if he does not ignore them; for be has no need of them. See, Tolstoi makes his own shoes! He does not share their feelings. They receive from him their “good” and “bad,” — a thing unknown to the free. He treats them with pride, as all his conduct betrays a proud spirit. He might say of himself: Odi profanum volgus et aces, but he does not say it. For the more he esteems himself as the free, the more he slights those who are not what by their human form they ought to be, — the unfree, the cowardly, the base. Here meet the great contempt and the great pity.

We the free are the pure egoists, such as Stirner demands. And it is precisely this egoism which unites us, paradoxical as it may sound. Our socialism is only an extended egoism; for what we concede to one another in the shape of honors and rights returns to each individual (Nietzsche, “Jenseits von Gut und Böse”). We love our neighbors really as ourselves. Is this Christian command not traceable to egoism as the primum movens?

But what becomes then of the task of humanity? Aye, what becomes of it? Where is it? Who sets it? What is its name? We must labor for the common-weal, we must espouse the cause of progress — who thinks so? Each labors, thinks, and creates as the spirit moves him. Life is not, as Dühring writes, “essentially an epitome of sensations, feelings, and emotions,” but essentially activity, will, manifestation of being, self-realization of the individual. Whether this is instinctive or conscious is immaterial; for the unconscious as the conscious sense “is only a part of that force which guarantees the unity of things.” This from Dühring is true also of the work of the individual: “But also in the domain of social formations the creative forces actually have not the form of conscious ends; they are rather efficient causes, which impel the formations whose meaning reason never grasps at once.” So the free works in accordance with his nature, because he must — or what is the same thing with him — because he will. The pressure of life impels him, and the will is his life. It is possible that his thoughts and deeds work a benefit to mankind; experience teaches that this has often been the case. But “to espouse the cause of progress” is nevertheless a postulate a posteriori and wholly incapable of generalization and extension to all men. And “the common-weal,” says Stirner justly, “is not my weal; but I want my weal.” In the so-called common-weal everybody, not only the thief and the beggar and all the unfree, but also the free himself, seeks his weal. Therefore it is neither a virtue nor a duty to work for the common-weal. Nevertheless this work will not remain undone; the common egoism of the unfree as well as the nobler egoism of the free will see to that. But the saying: Aliis inserviendo consumor is folly if I am not myself benefited thereby. —

We the free, — there is still another bond which unites us besides that inner bond of mutual respect and recognition; it is that of our common dependence on nature in respect to the struggle for existence, and our common need of it in regard to the manifestation of being.

That dependence we share with all living creatures, but the free, the proud, revolt against it, and in their displeasure consume themselves when sickness compels them to inaction. Therefore all their thinking and striving is directed toward lessening this dependence, — that is, toward exploring nature and placing it under their dominion. Science is a matter of free spirits. The food instinct compels indeed also the unfree to work upon nature, but the free do not aim merely at securing material prosperity; to them nature with all its manifestations, including human society, is rather the objective point for the realization of liberty; they work indeed also in order to live, but also because they live. Their will demands an object upon which it may spend itself. And the free knows what he wants. So it is not alone the distress of life, but also the joy of creating which unites the free spirits. We the free are the true Socialists, and we solve the social problem as far as it may be solved. Our sense of liberty, our pride, revolts at the sight of social misery and human helplessness, but our love of knowledge and our love of work search for relief. For the misery of men is the enemy of their liberty, because in the long run it leads to paralysis of the will. But this is to be considered as on a par with death. If we combat misery, we combat the want of liberty and make men of men.

But the free whom I have in mind, where are they? They are among all classes of society — virtually, but also actually. They are not indeed the men of “wealth and culture,” not the upper ten who today constitute the so-called “State,” nor am I in search after Nietzsche’s masters who are unfree because — even as the word implies — they need slaves. But they exist, the free, Gutzkow’s knights of the spirit, scattered among the masses of the unfree. The task is to gather them, they will meet, events will bring them to the surface, and they will build the future.

Today — paradoxical as it may sound — there is no liberty in the State; bureaucracy rules, and the bourse, the statute-book, and the money-bag, fortified and protected by laws in the multiplicity of which wisdom is made foolish. The more laws men give themselves the less free they are, and vice versa. The statute-book rules, — that is, the dependence of the living spirit on the dead letter. The money-bag rules, — that is, the material sense which seeks the wealth and the worth of life not in a sum of deeds, but in a sum of pleasures. “A mighty stream of beer,” exclaims Antonius von der Linde, “washes all idealism from Germany.” And things threaten to become rather worse than better; for a new despotism is rising with the promise of superseding the others.

Aetas parentum pejor aris tulit

Nos neguiores, nox daturos

Progeniem vitianorem.

The cause of the free does not prosper today, but they remain quiet and abide their time.

What changes the time? Absolutism. Our bourgeoisie has long deserved it, and the rising elements need a strong arm that they may not cast out the devil by Beelzebub. All progress hitherto has proceeded from exemplary persons. Of such an one there is again need, in order that, by the example of this free spirit, this aspirant, people learn to bethink themselves of their liberty, of their will, and become what they must be — the free.

This will not happen so very soon. It is possible, because better, that the dregs of the prevailing want of liberty will first be destroyed in a forty years’ wandering in the wilderness. But then the free will gather, and their number will increase under the influence of absolutism. So the good will prosper and the evil decline; for the evil is the want of liberty. Then a new constitution will appoint the king as primus inter pares; and then may those be unfree and slaves who have it not in them to be free, — that is, men. But the free will then say:

Wir haben Recht and Mecht allein,

Was wir setzen, des gilt gemein,

Wer ist der uns sollt meistern?

A Gratuitous Assumption.

[New York Nation.]

Col. T. W. Higginson, in a recent lecture before the Nationalist Club in Boston, is reported by the Boston “Herald” to have spoken of an old claim, “now kept up by the New York ‘Nation,’” that “what is done by the public is never so well done as by private capital, which has been exploded over and over again.” No such claim was ever made by the “Nation.” If Col. Higginson had substituted “hardly ever” for “never,” he would have come somewhat nearer the truth. The post-office illustration which he used will do him no good. The “Nation” has always said that some things were better done by Government than by individuals, and especially things which individuals would not do at all because they would not pay; and the post-office is one of these. No private company would undertake to cover the United States with post-offices any more than to maintain military roads, because the returns would not meet the expenses. The Government this year is $7,000,000 out of pocket in carrying on the post-offices. In New York city, however, we could get a much better postal service from an express company than we get from the Government. All service is apt to be bad in establishments where it is not necessary that the income should meet the outgo.

Government Financiering.

[General Trumbull In the Open Court.]

In the early settlement of Marbletown, old Washington Griggs and his three sons cultivated a farm and a blacksmith’s shop together in the edge of the timber near the village, and whenever any of the neighbors met him and said, “How are you, Uncle Wash?” he candidly replied, “Well, I ain’t a complainin’, me and the boys is makin’ money”; and this was literally true, but it was counterfeit money they were making, for old Wash had a private mint in the garret, as the officers discovered when they came to search the place. I suspect that Uncle Wash and his boys, when they came out of the penitentiary, moved over to Nebraska, for I see by the papers that a private mint has been started there, and that the anonymous firm that owns it in some undiscovered place has coined about half a million silver dollars, and put them into circulation “to relieve the tightness of the money market,” Whether the Nebraska mint is owned by the firm of Griggs & Sons or not, the partners in the business are “makin’ money” after the plan of Griggs, excepting that they use a different material. The Nebraska coiners make genuine silver dollars, like those the Government coiners make, and exactly the same in weight, quality, and appearance. They can afford to be as honest in this matter as the Government itself, and coin fifty cents’ worth of silver into a dollar, taking the other fifty cents for “seigniorage,” and making a fair profit. The Government is hunting for the Nebraska coiners to punish them for infringing on its exclusive right to make dishonest money, and this illogical proceeding is borrowed from the ancient practice. For centuries the kings of England were in the habit of adulterating the coin and pocketing the “seigniorage” as their own. When a private citizen did the same thing he was hanged, but the king never was.

Some time ago a correspondent wanted me to tell him what the “seigniorage” was that the Government intended to coin into silver dollars, and I answered that in my opinion it was moonbeams, but since then a better definition has been found, and Mr. Hewitt, of New York, describes it as a “vacuum.” To coin a vacuum into silver dollars worth fifty cents a piece, and then redeem then in gold dollars worth a hundred cents a piece, is a financial feat never equalled since Aladdin’s lamp was lost. It is the logical folly of the “legal tender” system. Once allow Government to declare gold, silver, or anything else a legal tender in payment of debts, and the way is opened for wild-cat finance unlimited. All a man has to do now when he lows in a trade is to add his loss to what he expected to gain, and coin them both into dollars, for such is the plan of Congress. We bought in round numbers 140,000,000 ounces of silver, for which we paid 128,000,000 dollars, and, according to the present price of silver, we lost 96,000,000 dollars by the trade; but, if we had coined the silver into dollars of the present weight, it would have made 180,000,000 dollars, and so the difference between the 128 millions that we paid for the silver, and the 180 millions that we might have coined it into, makes a vacuum of about 54 millions. This vacuum we now propose to coin into imaginary money, issue it as legal tender, and in this way get back the 38 millions that we lost and something more besides. If the dishonest legal tender principle were abolished altogether, Congress could not perform fantastic tricks with money; the finances of the country would soon be on a natural and scientific foundation, and coinage would be free.

Don’t keep Liberty to yourself, share it with others!

Twitter share Reddit share Facebook share Google+ share Tumblr share

Liberty’s Library

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.