Vol. VIII.
<No. 34.

[Unedited]

“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.

Now that the Cherokee strip is to be opened, it is alleged that certain favored persons have concocted a scheme under which they will be able to appropriate the most valuable lands in the strip, and to secure farming claims and town sites as soon as the strip shall be offered for sale.

Referring to a remark of the editor of the “Open Court,” to the effect that the ethical-culture workers often use the term justice but never take the trouble to define it, the “Conservator” says: “Nor is it [justice] the only term which the friends of ethical culture, using, do not too sharply define. Definition may ruin as well as make sense and sobriety.” This is a curious confession. Either the teachers use words without attaching to them any clear ideas themselves, or they are unwilling that their listeners shall attach clear ideas to their terms. In either case, nothing will ever come of their efforts. Science without clear definitions is impossible; only theologians and metaphysicians dread the application of scientific methods to their systems. Would Mr. Traubel advise Tyndall to dispense with definitions, on the ground that physical science would be ruined by them? If ethical culture is not scientific, what title has it to our respect?

Comrade Lloyd erroneously supposes that by law is necessarily meant written law. Common law is not written, but it is law whenever it is enforced. Under trial by jury the principle which leads twelve men to a unanimous verdict, and the corollaries of that principle, constitute the laws, whether these are written or unwritten. As a matter of practice it would undoubtedly be found advantageous to leave most of them unwritten. Nevertheless I conceive that a voluntary association for self-defence would find it natural and desirable to specify in advance, in a broad way, the nature of the offences against which its members were combining, in which case such declaration would constitute their code, — a code not cast-iron, but elastic, a guide rather than a binding formula, an aid but not an order to the juryman, and a danger-signal to the invader. Such is the law which Liberty defends. My friend Trinkaus thinks that the accepted definitions of the word law imply its enactment by arbitrary authority, and that its use by Anarchists, like the use of the word right, is therefore objectionable. The dictionaries certainly give some color to his claim, and I am inclined to think that it is not without foundation. Personally I am not fond of the word. But when Liberty champions editorially the just enforcement of just law, it uses the word law in the sense above indicated.

“The scene in the Senate chamber,” writes the Washington correspondent of the New York “Sun,” “when Mr. Stanford spoke in favor of his great scheme for having the government furnish the farmers with all the money they want at two per cent interest, taking their farms as security, and while Mr. Peffer was airing his Alliance views on the general currency question, was novel and striking, if not highly impressive. The California Senator was, as he usually is when speech-making, serious and deliberate, if slightly impracticable. A group of Republican Senators paid Mr. Stanford the compliment of listening to him for awhile, but the Democrat side of the chamber was almost deserted. Many of the Senators were in attendance at the meeting of the National Committee up town, and others were chatting in the cloak room. Almost as soon as the whiskered Kansas statesman arose nearly everybody fled except Mr. Stanford. Mr. Peffer having listened to him, he felt obliged to listen to Mr. Peffer, and for a long time was his only listener. Before the successor of Mr. Ingalls had been on his feet ten minutes the galleries were as empty as the Senators’ chairs, and at one time there were only six Senators all told in the chamber. Mr. Peffer is not an orator, but he has all the assurance of a Demosthenes. He borrowed standing room in the centre of the Republican side of the chamber, and read his words of wisdom from printed slips in a high nasal voice that permeated the vacant space like a chill.” Congressmen are on hand only when something is to be stolen from the people and voted to monopolists. They do not care to discuss the question in which working classes are interested, except before election.

The efforts of the “Law and Order Society” to stop the sales of Sunday newspapers are, of course, vigorously resented by the publishers of the papers. To the enforcement of the other provisions of the Sunday laws they offer no objection; they merely ask that the clause concerning papers be disregarded. To disguise this contemptible attitude, some of them profess to follow “public opinion” in the matter. Thus, the New York “Times” says: “It is not necessary, in order to condemn such an effort, to go into the general question of Sunday laws. It is necessary only to point out that there is not an American city where the prohibition of the Sunday traffic in newspapers is sustained by public opinion. That is a conclusive reason why no effort should be made to enforce the legal prohibition, where it exists, although it may be of service in suppressing Sunday traffic as to which the public supports the prohibition of the law, and may therefore properly be left on the statute book. An effort to enforce the Sunday laws indiscriminately and in all their rigor would be likely to result in the repeal of those laws.” If an effort to enforce the Sunday laws would be likely to result in their repeal, then it is plain that none of the prohibitions of the law is warmly supported by the public. If the public is in favor of Sunday laws provided the clause relating to papers is omitted, there is nothing to prevent the lawmakers from amending them in accordance with this popular attitude. The newspapers do not desire the repeal of the Sunday laws, and their motive is probably the same as that which prompts preachers to demand the suppression of Sunday papers. The newspapers compete with the churches, while the theatres and saloons compete with both. The newspapers cannot safely ask for the closing of the churches; so they oppose the opening of the theatres, saloons, and concert halls.

An English writer, Henry Rose, has published a book on “The New Political Economy,” which is chiefly devoted to a study of the economic teaching of Carlyle, Ruskin, and Henry George. Mr. Rose has extravagant praise for “the judicial way in which [these three new economists] recognize the respective and reciprocal provinces of Individualism on the one hand, of State control on the other,” and he goes on to say: “They have, indeed, in this matter, struck the happy mean of sobriety and reason. What but the highest perfection of the individual — of every individual — do they seek? And who have more powerfully pleaded for that measure of liberty on which individual perfection depends? But to the conception of individual freedom to do right they add the individual obligation to coöperate with society for the general good.” The logical inference from the statements is that Carlyle, Ruskin, and George agree, in the main, as to the reforms needful at the present time and the principle by which the reformers’ action should be governed. Unless the views of the three “economists” mentioned coincide, it is manifestly absurd to speak of them as if they were a unit. If there are differences between them, they cannot all have struck “the happy mean of sobriety and reason.” Now the simple fact is that no living being knows or can possibly find out what the political principles and practical proposals of Ruskin and Carlyle are. Carlyle and Ruskin, no doubt, have great merits; but consistency, scientific precision, and steady lucidity are not among them. They never knew the meaning of liberty, of individualism, or of socialism, never suspected the existence of scientific sociology or scientific political ethics. To class Carlyle with economists, old or new, is perfectly preposterous. Ruskin has a wonderful insight into some economic problems, but he has no system. Henry George, on the other hand, has certain definite proposals and views, which, with all their worthlessness, are at least tangible and clear. In his single-tax Ruskin takes no stock; hence, if the single tax is the “happy mean,” Ruskin has not struck it. Ruskin, like George, is a free trader; but free trade is surely not the happy mean, since there is no State control about it. It is true that George, Ruskin, and Carlyle are in complete accord as to the propriety of allowing the individual “the freedom to do right,” but in this they have the cordial support of all mankind. Was any sane man ever opposed to the recognition of the freedom “to do right”? The question is, what is right? and it is perfectly safe to say that neither Carlyle, Ruskin, George, nor Mr. Rose could offer a scientific answer to this question. The person who can answer it, will never talk about the “happy mean between individualism and State control.” Mr. Rose thinks that the orthodox political economists need preaching to, which is true to some extent. But the new economists and their expositors need, not preaching, but lessons in the elements of political science and logic.

Anarchy.

Translated from the German by Harry Lyman Koopman.

Ever reviled, acccursed, — ne’er understood,

Thou art the grisly terror of our age.

Wreck of all order, cry the multitude,

Art thou, and war and murder’s endless rage.

Oh, let them cry! — To them that ne’er have striven

The truth that lies behind a word to find,

To them the word’s right meaning was not given,

They shall continue blind among the blind.

But thou, O word, so clear, so strong, so pure,

That sayest all which I for goal have taken,

I give thee to the future! — thine secure,

When each at last unto himself shall waken.

Comes it in sunshine? In the tempest’s thrill?

I cannot tell . . . but it the earth shall see! —

“I am an Anarchist!” — “‘Wherefore?’” — “I will

Not rule, but also ruled I will not be!”

John Henry Mackay.

“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.

A New Book Given Away With Each Renewal. — Payment of subscriptions and of renewals is required in advance. The names of subscribers not heard from within two weeks after expiration of subscription are removed from the list. But to every subscriber who sends his renewal for one year, accompanied by the cash, so that it reaches the publisher not later than two weeks after it is due, will be sent, postpaid, any book published in the United States that the subscriber may select, provided that its retail price does not exceed 50 cents if published by Benj. R. Tucker, or 25 cents if published by any other publisher. This is a permanent offer, and enables every promptly-paying subscriber to get a new book each year free of cost. But only one book will be given at a time, no matter how low the price of the book selected.

Is Anarchy Approaching?

An interesting report of a meeting of the Patria Club appears in the New York “Times.” The subject for discussion was the tendency toward Anarchy, and Mr. D. G. Thompson, the Spencerian sociologist, was the principal speaker. He is reported to have spoken, in part, as follows:

If government is to be for the people it must also be by the people, and hence it cannot, if successful, in the nature of things, be much above the general level of intelligence or morality. Nor, upon the idea of democracy, ought it to be. But even if this be admitted, it by no means precludes us from striving for better conditions; it only goes to the question of methods, upon which it has a most important bearing. If democracy be ultimately successful and work out its own theory perfectly, it will inevitably pass into anarchy. But if it be true, and I think it is, that the cure for the evils of liberty is more liberty, the need of individual security after a little while becomes paramount.

In the United States, if I read the signs correctly, the sentiment of allegiance to a sovereignty, though the sovereign be the people, has almost reached its vanishing point; while the disposition, I might say determination, to make and use a government for the accomplishment of private ends is so prevalent and so inveterate as to be alarming. From such a change in the idea of the functions of government has resulted a degradation in the importance allowed to official station. This loss of character, which has made the post of honor a private station, does not arise principally from an increasing depravation of morals, political or other, but more from a feeling of security which deems the good or bad administration of particular offices of small moment.

I believe the lines of practical effort to lie in the direction of abolishing as fast as it is safe to do so all legislation for the benefit of particular individuals or classes of persons, to reduce to its minimum municipal interference with personal liberty, to insist with increasing stringency that officials are public servants, to be held to the same standards of duty as any private employee to his employer.

There is something to be considered of more far-reaching importance than laws or any form of political government. The Patria Club has been established on a platform of greater value than any which Republicans or Democrats will frame. Its chief principle, the importance of educating character, is one on whose comprehensive and thorough application depends national salvation.

As our country grows older we shall find the true meaning of the inculcation of patriotism to be not so much inspiring youth with devotion to the American flag and American forms of government as in teaching the necessity of a more perfect understanding of an adaptation to the conditions of social life in general.

To epitomize, the ideal of the perfection of democracy as a form of government merges in that of a situation where there is no government at all. In the United States conditions are such that the prevailing apathy of large numbers of the most intelligent people regarding politics, and the consequent low standard of political action and administration, are symptomatic of a movement in progress toward a point where government shall cease because unnecessary. If this be so, the course to be pursued is not to multiply but to diminish as far as possible the activities of government, to limit its sphere, to reduce its functions, insisting all the while that a public officer is an agent and servant of all who pay for his services.

It will probably be conceded that the editors of an Anarchistic organ are more interested than Mr. Thompson in the social and political tendencies which may be regarded as evidence that the Anarchistic leaven is working in the mass of civilized mankind, and are more likely to discern the signs of any turn favorable to their hopes and aspirations. But we are bound to confess that we fail to find any cause for felicitation in the facts referred to by Mr. Thompson. He does not read the signs correctly, and it is simply astonishing that he should consider the low standard of political practices symptomatic of a movement toward Anarchy. The low standard of political morals, instead of being the result of the prevailing apathy of large numbers of intelligent men regarding politics, is the cause of apathy. It is true that the sentiment of allegiance to a sovereignty has almost reached its vanishing point; but in the general political corruption which has caused and accompanied the decadence of the sentiment of allegiance, and in the predominant disposition to use political power for private ends, there is certainly no promise of the advent of that social state which rests on sentiments and habits of a radically different kind. Surely the difference between the disposition to respect the liberty of others while insisting on one’s own like liberty, and the disposition to consider one’s interests as independent of others’ interests, is too plain to need any elaborate exposition. For a state of Anarchy (in our, not in Mr. Thompson’s sense) men are needed whose determination not to be ruled is accompanied by an equally strong dislike of aggression or the exercise of tyranny. Those who only object to aggression when they are the victims of it, and who only demand liberty for themselves, are not the men we naturally think of in connection with Anarchistic statics or dynamics. They neither desire a state of equal liberty, nor would they aid in maintaining it if it were brought about in spite of their opposition. They are Archists, not Anarchists.

There is more than one contradiction in Mr. Thompson’s statement of the case. The notion of the divine origin of government, he avers, has been superseded by that view of it which accounts for the prevalent disposition to convert it into an agency of injustice and a tool of monopoly. Now such a condition is manifestly not calculated to inspire confidence or generate a sense of security. Yet Mr. Thompson tells us that the loss of political character arises principally from a feeling of security which deems the good or bad administration of particular offices of small moment. But the question is not as to the administration of “particular offices,” but of the theory and practice of all government. How can the citizen feel secure and indifferent when his liberty and property are at the mercy of a corrupt and unprincipled confraternity of monopolists and their hirelings? How can the large numbers of intelligent people remain apathetic and indifferent in the presence of so much invasive and fatal interference with men’s interests and activities? The need of individual security being paramount, legal aggression must be resisted even more rigorously than the aggression of the private, unofficial criminals, and whether the criminals of the unofficial class are decreasing or not, the crimes of organized governments are certainly not diminishing. That which Mr. Thompson attributes to a sense of security is due in reality to a feeling of helplessness. The reform of the political methods seems an impossible task, and there are but few to whom the overthrow of our political oligarchy does not present itself as a dream and utopia. All that can be said is that the imbecility and venality of democratic governments cannot but tend to undermine the whole fabric of authority and teach men to appreciate the advantages of freedom. Everything that injures the cause of government necessarily improves the chances of Anarchy, and, in this sense, the degradation of politics is an encouragement to the champions of freedom. But such facts or tendencies cannot be said to be symptomatic of a movement toward Anarchy. The progress of Anarchism is determined by the amount of intelligent understanding and spontaneous respect for the principle of political justice, — equal liberty. There is at present a very limited amount of the sentiment of justice and a still more limited amount of intelligent recognition of the principle. It is doubtful whether even the large numbers of intelligent men who are beginning to treat current politics with scornful indifference can be counted among the truly progressive elements of society. However admirable their intentions, the men who are blind to the deeper wrongs of governments, and who quarrel with the politicians simply because they are disgusted with the palpable and vulgar forms of fraud, are not likely to perform valuable service in the struggle for emancipation. Vague talk about honesty, faithful discharge of assumed functions, and loyalty to the people, is futile.

Equal liberty is the law of true society, and it is impossible to violate it without generating evil and condemning civilization to dissolution. Let this be realized, and the advent of Anarchy will be assured, not necessarily the Anarchy of Mr. Thompson, who seems to use the term as a synonym for a millennial condition of society, but the Anarchy for which we work, the reign of simple justice and equity. Instead of saying, with Mr. Thompson, that, if it be true that millennial Anarchy is approaching, the course to be pursued is to diminish as far as possible the activities of government, we put it the other way: It is necessary to diminish the activities of government and gradually establish a condition of perfect individualism, which is Anarchy, in order to secure happiness and insure future advance in the direction of social perfection. V. Y.

Thought and Things.

It is the tendency of the mind to expend the smallest amount of energy in offering an explanation for any subject with which it is confronted. This fact is especially striking in the world of conceptions which offers but symbols with which to operate. Symbols being but ideal substitutes for feelings, the mind, instead of going through the laborious process of reducing its symbols to their sensuous elements, is very prone to move along the less difficult path of dialectics.

This view is pointed out by the history of philosophy. In its earliest stages all was metaphysics. There seemed to be no consciousness of the fact that the true function of language was to facilitate the exchange of sensuous impressions. The whole development of philosophy consists in the increased use of words which picture, so to speak, the movements in the universe.

An instance of this gradual harmonization between the flow of thought and the movement of things is given in a survey of the attempt to account for the origin of species. A retrospect at the facts of history gave early thinkers no data for a solution of the question. Science in general existed in such small quantities that, in venturing out in the unrecorded past, philosophy deserted the world of sense, which caused it to assume a purely metaphysical character. As the phenomena of the universe came gradually to be gathered and systematized, thought, by a regressive method, unraveled the unrecorded phenomena, thereby bringing into closer relations the flow of thought with the movement of things. Evolution then became a recognized process in nature.

An analogous condition can be seen in the movement of today which intends to adjust the unbalanced state of society. There is that same lack of correspondence between thought and things. Social phenomena being by nature multitudinous and complex, it is very easy to understand why speculators abandon the sensible world to indulge in the mists of dialectics. As a result a multitude of theories exist. It would be surprising if this were not the case. In a stage of intellectual development in which correct thought is the exception and not the rule, it follows that theories of a subject are numerous in proportion as it is complex.

The different plans for social improvement can be divided into two general classes: Those that intend to bring a social millennium cataclysmically, and those that conceive changes as the result of gradual modifications.

Those who have but a partial understanding of how social structures have undergone modifications in the past, and those who know what a multiplicity of events must take place in order to effect any further changes, know the folly of catastrophism. It consists of the same overlooking of facts; of allowing a combination of words that do not reflect the movement of things to do service for those that have a sensible basis.

Let it be understood that these words are not intended to justify all our present social conditions. Much exists which hampers the progressive movement of society. But this fact offers no satisfaction to catastrophists. The elimination of cumbrous elements would only allow society to move more rapidly along lines prescribed by its organization. William Trinkaus.

Socialism and the Lexicographers.

Liberty is informed that the Collectivists expect to prove their claim to a monopoly of the name Socialism by reference to the Century Dictionary as an indisputable authority. They will find that the Anarchistic Socialists are not to be stripped of one-half of their title by the mere dictum of the last lexicographer. If the dictionary-makers were in substantial agreement in making Socialism exclusive of Anarchism, the demand that Anarchists should cease to call themselves Socialists might be made with some grace. But that there is no approach to unanimity among them on this point will be seen from the following definitions of Socialism taken from various cyclopædias and dictionaries, for the compilation of which Liberty is largely indebted to the industry of Comrade Trinkaus.

Stormonth’s Dictionary of the English Language.

That system which has for its object the reconstruction of society on the basis of a community of property, and association instead of competition in every branch of human industry; communion.

Worcester.

The science of reconstructing society on entirely new bases, by substituting the principle of association for that of competition in every branch of human industry.

In the various forms under which society has existed, private property, individual industry and enterprise, and the right of marriage and the family have been recognized. Of late years, several schemes of social arrangement have been proposed, in which one or all of these principles have been abandoned, or modified. These schemes may be comprehended under the general term Socialism.

Allgemeine deutsche Real-Encyklopædie.

The body of teachings, developed into a system, which aim at removing the evils of existing society by the establishment of a social order based on a new distribution of wealth, labor, and industry, and thereby creating the lasting welfare of all, but especially of the classes without capital, within a general grand development of humanity.

Globe Encyclopædia.

A term which is practically synonymous with Communism, though, strictly speaking, there is a distinction between the two words, which is explained in the article Communism.

Communism means the negation of private property; it describes a society in which the land and instruments of production would be held as joint property and used for the common account, industry being regulated by a magistrate, and the produce being publicly divided in equal shares, or according to wants, or on some other principle of distributive justice.

Socialism does not necessarily involve the abolition of private property, it merely insists . . . that the land and instruments of production should be the property of the association or government.

Webster.

A theory or system of social reform which contemplates a complete reconstruction of society, with a more just and equitable distribution of labor.

Encyclopædia Americana.

Socialism, in general, may be described as that movement which seeks by economic changes to destroy the existing inequalities of the world’s social conditions. . . . Into all Socialistic schemes the idea of governmental change enters, with this radical difference, however; some Socialists rely upon the final abolition of existing forms of government and seek the establishment of a pure democracy, while others insist upon giving to government a paternal form, thus increasing its function, instead of diminishing it.

Encyclopædia Britannica.

A new form of social organization, based on a fundamental change in the economic order of society. Socialists believe that the present economic order, in which industry is carried on by private competitive capital, must and ought to pass away, and that the normal economic order of the future will be one with collective means of production and associated labor working for the general good. [The “Britannica,” in the same article, cataloguing the varieties of Socialism, includes in the list Anarchism, of which it calls Proudhon the acknowledged father.]

Meyer’s Konversations-Lexicon.

Literally a system of social organization, commonly a designation for all those teachings and aspirations which contemplate a radical change of the existing social and economical order, in favor of a new order more in harmony with the requirements of the general welfare and the sense of justice than the existing order.

Sanders’s Würterbuch der deutscher Sprache.

A system according to which civil society is to be founded on the community of labor and the proportional distribution of the product.

Johnson’s Universal Cyclopædia.

Socialism holds an intermediate position between pure Communism and simple coöperation. Unlike Communism, it does not advocate the absolute abolition of property, but aims simply at a more just and equitable distribution of it. Every man according to his capacity, and every capacity according to its work, is the great maxim laid down by Saint Simon, and to carry out this maxim is the great goal of all Socialistic movements.

Chambers’s Encyclopædia.

The name given to a class of opinions opposed to the present organization of society, and which seeks to introduce a new distribution-of property and labor, in which organized coöperation, rather than competition, should be the dominating principle.

American Cyclopædia.

The doctrine that society ought to be organized on more harmonious and equitable principles. Communism and coöperation are its principal divisions or varieties. Communism and Socialism are sometimes used as synonymous; but generally the former term refers to the plans of social reform based on, or embracing, the doctrine of a complete community of goods. Cooperation is understood to be that branch of Socialism which is engaged exclusively with theories of labor and methods of distributing profits and which advocates a combination of many to gain advantages not to be realized by individuals. Viewed as a whole, Socialistic doctrines have dealt with everything that enters into the life of the individual, the family, the church, or the State, whether industrially, morally, or spiritually.

Universal Cyclopædia.

A system which, in opposition to the competitive system at present prevailing, seeks to reorganize society on the basis, in the main, of a certain secularism in religion, of community of interest, and in coöperation in labor for the common good.

Blackie’s Modern Cyclopædia.

The name applied to various theories of social organization, having for their common aim the abolition of that individual action on which modern societies depend, and the substitution of a regulated system of coöperative action. The word Socialism, which originated among the English Communists, and was assumed by them to designate their own doctrines, is now employed in a larger sense, not necessarily implying Communism, or the entire abolition of private property, but applied to any system which requires that the land and the instruments of production shall be the property, not of individuals, but of communities, or associations, with the view to an equitable distribution of the products.

Lalor’s Cyclopædia of Political Science.

An analysis of this word may be reduced to this: In every human society, whether it advances or retrogrades, modifications more or less profound are always going on, modifications which are more or less perceptible, and which, with or without the knowledge of such society, act upon its economy. Apparently such a society remains the same; but in reality it is daily affected by changes of which it becomes entirely conscious only after time has fixed them in the habits and customs of the people, and marked them by its sanction. This is the course of civilizations which are being perfected, or which are declining. The honor of a generation is to add something to the inheritance it has received, and to transmit it improved to the generation which comes after it. To employ what has been acquired as an instrument of new acquisition, to advance from the verified to the unknown; such is the idea of progress as it presents itself to well-ordered minds. But such is not the idea of the Socialists. In their eyes, the situation given is a false one, and the process too simple. Reforms in detail do not seem to them worthy of attention. They have plans of their own, the first condition of which is to make a tabula rasa of everything that exists, to cast aside existing laws, manners, customs, and all the guarantees of personal property. It seems to them that we have lived thus far under the empire of a misconception, which it is urgent should cease; our globe, according to them, is an anticipated hell, and our civilization a coarse outline only. What is the remedy? There is only one, — to try the treatment of which the Socialists hold the secret. That treatment varies according to the sect. There are Socialists with mild remedies, and Socialists with violent remedies; the only difficulty is in the choice. But with all their differences, there is one point on which they agree, — the formal condemnation of human societies as they are at present constituted, and the necessity of erecting on the ruins an order of things more conforma-able to the instincts of man and to his destiny here below.

Century Dictionary.

Any theory or system of social organization which would abolish, entirely or in great part, the individual effort and competition on which modern society rests, and substitute for it coöperative action, would introduce a more perfect and equal distribution of the products of labor, and would make land and capital, as the instruments and means of production, the joint possession of the members of the community.

Littré’s Dictionary of the French Language.

A system which, subordinating political reforms, offers a plan of social reforms. Communism, Mutualism, Saint-Simonism, Fourierism, are Socialisms.

Poitevin.

A political doctrine tending to establish égo ’itaire association as the basis of government.

Dictionary of the French Academy.

The doctrine of those who desire to change the condition of society and reconstruct it on an entirely new plan.

Cassell & Co.’s Encyclopaedic Dictionary (1887).

Scientific Socialism embraces:

(1) Collectivism: An ideal Socialistic state of society, in which the functions of the government will include the organization of all the industries of the country. In a Collectivist State every person would be a State official, and the State would be coextensive with the whole people.

(2) Anarchism (meaning mistrust of government and not abandonment of social order) would secure individual liberty against encroachment on the part of the State in the Socialistic commonwealth. They are divided into Mutualists, who hope to attain their ends by banks of exchange and free currency, and Communists, whose motto is, “From every man according to his capacity, to every man according to his needs.”

From this interesting assortment of broad-gauge and narrow-gauge definitions the Anarchists can glean as much encouragement as the Collectivists. None of them are authoritative. The makers of dictionaries are dependent upon specialists for their definitions. A specialist’s definition may be true, or it may be erroneous. But its truth cannot be increased or its error diminished by its acceptance by the lexicographer. Each definition must stand on its own merits. With this remark as a preface, I offer once more the definition of Socialism which I printed in these columns nearly two years ago, and am willing to leave it to the reader whether it meets the requirements of a scientific definition more or less satisfactorily than the definitions in the dictionaries:

“Socialism is the belief that the next important step in progress is a change in man’s environment of an economic character that shall include the abolition of every privilege whereby the holder of wealth acquires an anti-social power to compel tribute.” T.

No Law?

In Liberty for Jan. 2 the associate editor criticises the “Salt-Bellamy” idea of Anarchism. The article is most able and excellent, and there is only one comment I would make on it.

Is it not true that “Anarchists desire a state of ‘no law,’ and desire it here and now”?

Mr. Yarros says it is not, but I had always supposed that it was.

I admit that “just laws justly enforced” are not directly antagonistic to or necessarily condemned by Anarchism: but are they not indirectly opposed to, and opposed by it? — are they not clogs, hindrances, absurdities?

Two working methods are proposed by which Anarchists are to obtain that justice which men now seek in the courts, — one the expedient of arbitration, the other the trial by jury.

No one will maintain that laws are necessary for arbitrators. These men, chosen by the disputants and by each other, mutually listen to the testimony, examine the evidence, compare the alleged invasions with their ideal conceptions of equal liberty, or the principle of justice, and give sentence in accordance with that ideal.

If the accused refuses to arbitrate and the plaintiff refuses to forgive, trial by jury has place. The jury, we are told, are to judge both the law and the evidence. Certainly, if law is used, but why is law more necessary here than in a simple case of arbitration? Of what use is the law? If the jury judge the law, with what do they weigh and measure it? Obviously by the standard of justice which each juror carries in his own mind, — by the principle of equal liberty. This is always the final test, no matter how many laws may be compared. Then why not apply this principle at first, directly to the matter in hand — the evidence — and waste no time on laws? What can laws do but confuse the issue by distracting the attention of the jurors from the matter of invasion or no-invasion, to stupid and unprofitable discussions as to whether this particular formula of words means thus and so, or something else. Throw out laws, and you throw out all chances of pettifogging. You save time. You gain force and certainty by directing the thoughts of all, and concentrating them, upon the principle of justice and its bearing on this particular case. After all is said and done, the Anarchistic jury is obliged to decide everything with reference to this one principle, and this alone.

Is it correct to speak of a formula, which I am free to set aside or ignore if it conflicts with my liberty, as a law? If I am not thus free to ignore it when it conflicts with my liberty, is it just, is it Anarchistic?

I conclude therefore that “just laws” are no laws at all.

Even if they are laws, they are unnecessary.

If unnecessary, they interfere with the operation of justice — are negatively Archistic.

Therefore Anarchism is no-law.

Of course I have nothing to say against the quotation by advocates, during the trial, of the opinions of eminent jurists on judicial questions. The opinion of an eminent student of justice is no more a law than the opinion of an eminent physician on some pathological question is a law.

There are only two questions to be settled in an Anarchistic court: Has liberty been invaded? and, if so, how shall the wrong be righted? J. Wm. Lloyd.


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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.