Liberty Vol. IV. No. 13.
Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
A few weeks ago Alexis Vanderbeck, who was then employed in a mine in Washington Territory, subscribed for Liberty. On receipt of the first number he passed it around among his fellow-miners. His employers found it out and forthwith discharged him, and he was obliged to seek work in another territory. These mine owners see farther and deeper than the law-befuddled officials of Chicago. They know that ideas are far more dangerous to them than bombs.
Dr. Aveling said in New York the other night that the American upper classes were the worst bred people he ever met. Perhaps I have never moved in circles far enough “up” to enable me to realize this, but thus far among Americans I have seldom failed to get a direct answer to a direct question, and my personal experience extended to the Anglicized Celt, Dr. Aveling, before I ever met a man who would publicly put thirteen questions in the mouth of a man who never asked them.
The “Easton Labor Journal” takes a squint towards Anarchy in a leader favoring atercracy, a word “taken from two Greek words which signify ater, without, and cratos, government.” The writer, however, has got no firm grasp of the idea which no fancies that he is championing, for he would change government into administration and then draft citizens to serve without pay into administrative capacities, just as the government now drafts men to do military service. He is evidently on the right track, but such a provision is not at all consistent with his ideal society, in which “all authority and all cracies will be superseded by liberty and Solidarity.”
In the next issue of Liberty will appear a letter from Charles T. Fowler, the author of a work which E. C. Walker has characterized as “in many respects the best Anarchistic work produced in America,” taking substantially the same attitude towards Mr. Walker’s present championship of legal marriage as that occupied by Warren, Lloyd, Yarros, “Tritogen,” and nearly all the Anarchists of brains, consistency, and consequence. The citation of supposed authorities is in itself no argument; but when real arguments have been advanced, and when Mr. Walker, with the partial opportunity which he has had, and Mr. Harman, with unlimited opportunity, have failed to answer them with arguments, it is fair to cite, in support of Liberty’s position, the names of those whom Walker and Harman have always pointed to as the clearest exponents of Anarchy.
John Swinton lately gave expression to a profound “Thought” in his “Paper,” to this effect: With the present means and methods of production, and the marvellous progress in mechanical science, how happy and contented our life would be under the sun, if a plan for perfect and rational organization of Industry were devised! It appears, then,that happiness is within our reach,— only a plan is lacking; and the “Thought” that we are so near and yet so far from it naturally makes my sympathetic friend despondent and melancholy. How much sadder he would become if he comprehended the truth that not, even a “plan” is needed for our salvation! All that we need is industrial freedom, and the only thing that stands between men and the Ideal is artificial restraint and the curse of lawmaking. Paraphrasing, then, Mr. Swinton’s words, I say: With the present means and methods of production and exchange, how easily and beautifully everything would settle itself to our full satisfaction if but the shackles would be taken off and free play granted to the existing industrial forces!
From the stories and hints of the newspapers it seems pretty nearly established that Alexander III. is a fit subject for a lunatic asylum. We must remember that not one-tenth of what is going on in that hell on earth, the Russian empire, chances to find its way into the press, and that the press is likely to be unusually discreet in such a matter and resist the temptation of serving its patrons with an exceptionally sensational piece of news for the sake of law and order and the blessings of government. Those who delight in singing the praises of our civilization and the progress of the nineteenth century will do well to dwell a second upon the trifling, though somewhat vexatious, fact that the lives and fortunes of ninety millions of sane people are at the mercy of a dangerous madman. By the way, our Russian friends, the Nihilists, should rot allow any scruples that they may have in regard to the punishment of an irresponsible person to interfere between Her destructive majesty, the dynamite bomb, and her candidate. Though occupying an elevated; position on the question of Right, we are not adverse to a compromise with Expediency on this particular point and quite ready to spare this individual. Force should be the last resort, but in Russia all other resorts-vanished long ago.
“There is nothing any better than Liberty and nothing any worse than despotism, be it the theological despotism of the skies, the theocratic despotism of kings, or the democratic despotism of majorities; and the labor reformer who starts out to combat the despotism of capital with other despotism no better lacks only power to be worse than the foe he encounters.” These are the words of my brother Pinney of the Winsted “Press.” Protectionist and Greenbacker,— that is, a man who combats the despotism of capital with that despotism which denies the liberty to buy foreign goods untaxed and that despotism which denies the liberty to issue notes to circulate as currency. Mr. Pinney is driven into this inconsistency by his desire for high wages and an abundance of money, which he thinks it impossible to get except through tariff monopoly and money monopoly. But religious despotism pleads a desire for salvation, and moral despotism pleads a desire for purity, and prohibitory despotism pleads a desire for sobriety. Yet all these despotisms lead to hell, though all these hells are paved with good intentions; and Mr. Pinney’s hells are just as hot as any. The above extract shows that he knows Liberty to be the true way of salvation. Why, then, do is he not steadily follow it?
“Lucifer” prints a communication from Rudolf Weyler which it prefaces with the statement that it was sent to me for publication in Liberty, but that I, while not positively rejecting it, would give no assurances of its appearance. The facts are these. Some months ago Mr. Weyler lent me a very good article of a general nature, which I accepted and intended to print as soon as a convenient opportunity offered. After my criticism of E. C. Walker, he sent me a second article taking exception to my views. Four or five days later, not having heard from me, he wrote to inquire what disposition I intended to make of his articles. I do not remember exactly how I reacted myself in reply, but in substance I said that I could not print his second article until numerous other articles which had been long waiting had appeared, and that his first article would be good at any time, as it would keep indefinitely. If I do not report myself accurately, Mr. Weyler is at liberty to print the letter which I sent him. But whatever I said, the little hot-box flew into a passion, and demanded the return of both articles, adding that, if they would keep, he might as well do the keeping. They were returned, and now one of them appear in “Lucifer” to exhibit me as the “high-priest of Gag”!
In “Lucifer” of December 10 appeared the following: “Mr. Tucker made no less than seven attacks, by himself and Mr. Yarros, upon Mr. Walker in one number of Liberty, but he had not even one line of space to spare to tell his readers that the reason Mr. W. did not appear in self-defence against the editor’s previous diatribes was because his articles had been confiscated by the sheriff. Mr. Tucker had been apprised of this fact, but he was determined that his readers should not be. Truly Mr. Tucker seems to be the very high-priest of — Gag!” Let us look into this. The first intimation given me that Mr. Walker and Mrs. Harman were not allowed to write for the press from their prison occurred in the letter from Mrs. Harman which appeared in the last issue of Liberty. It is true that that letter reached me just in season for the previous issue which contained the seven attacks. Why did I not print it then? Because to the letter was appended a postscript saying that it was not for publication, but adding, in a sentence which passed the sheriff as entirely harmless but which concealed a meaning that he little dreamed of, a remark which was meant to convey to me the idea that this appended instruction not to publish was to be disregarded. It was an exceedingly neat device, and I enjoyed it hugely, only thinking it the greater pity that a girl thus fertile in resource should he utilizing it to so little purpose. Then this thought occurred to me: If I print this letter, the sheriff may see it, realize that he is the victim of a trick, and strip the prisoners of their remaining privilege of writing private letters. Therefore, instead of printing the letter, I placed at the head of the “On Picket Duty” department a notice “to a correspondent,” which was probably mysterious to other readers, but which told Mrs. Harman that her letter was held over until I could consult with her friends. Then without delay I wrote to Mr. Harman, telling him what bad happened, expressing my fear of endangering the prisoners’ privileges, and asking his advice. In his reply he thanked me for the interest I had thus shown, and said that he thought the publication of the letter would do the prisoners no harm. Accordingly the letter appeared in the very next issue of Liberty, and its readers were informed that Mr. Walker and Mrs. Harman could not write for the press. And for taking these precautions in the interest of the prisoners I am charged with a determination to conceal facts from my readers and labelled “the high priest of Gag!” It is painfully evident that “Lucifer” has not only surrendered, but means to conceal its surrender behind a policy of barefaced and ungrateful lying.
The Political Theology of Mazzini And The International.
By Michael Bakouine, Member of the International Association of Working-People.
Translated from the French by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 90.
All this is possible and even very probable. Yet Mazzini remains none the less a statesman recognized and reputed as such by all Europe.
He cannot fail to see what all the world sees today, some with joy, others with terror,— the growing power of the International. This power, as an established fact which no sane person can longer deny, is imposed henceforth in a most imperative manner on the conviction of the most serious, at the same time as on the most stubborn, minds of Europe. Statesmen of almost every country are immensely preoccupied with it today, and among them, with them, against us, Mazzini himself. All his recent writings prove it, doubtless in spite of himself.
Why, then, does he deny this power? Why does he promise the youth and the Italian laborers its speedy dissolution? Can he himself believe it? I have put to myself and very seriously debated in my own mind this question. I at first hesitated, uncertain whether I ought to suspect Mazzini’s intelligence or his good faith. For a long time I could not decide between these two equally distressing suppositions. And yet one of them, if not both together, must be true, since the power of the International is a fact as positive and patent as is, alas! the public negation of this power by Mazzini. This uncertainty was painful to me, for, in spite of all the religions hallucinations of the prophet, my respect for the practical intelligence and the good faith of the great Italian patriot was profound and sincere.
But the last articles which he has just published in “La Roma del Popolo” (Numbers 29, 30 and 31) have forced me to recognize that, if his great intelligence, perverted by theology, takes a considerable part in the errors which he believes it his duty to propagate, it is incontestable also that in the furious polemical crusade which he has undertaken against the International Association of Working People, he lacks sincerity and good faith. I shall prove it in analyzing his articles.
No one will dare to accuse him of falsehood, but of pious larceny, yes. A great writer and consummate politician, Mazzini is a master in that manipulation of language which is very evidently calculated to instil into the minds of his numerous readers certain judgments, certain estimates of facts, conforming to his views, without positively expressing them and still less proving them. Moreover he never descends to proofs, to that real verification and comparison of things and of facts which constitutes, in our opinion, the only solid foundation of all positive knowledge and of all serious judgment. This method doubtless appears to him much too material, too brutal, and, above all, it would embarrass him considerably in the demonstration of the errors which he wishes to propagate. He prefers the easier method of ingenious allusions and hazardous affirmations. That is what he calls, in opposition to the critical method, the synthetic method. It is that of all theologian.
Mazzini never appeals to free thought; he takes good care not to arouse it in his audience. This would be a witness and a judge far too troublesome. His great care, on the contrary, is always to lull it to sleep, as much in himself as in others, by the poetic harmony of his language, of his mystical fantasies, and of his sentimental reasoning. His logic is not that of thought, as with pure metaphysicians, and still less that of facts, as with the materialistic or positivistic thinkers; it is not even the brutal and frank logic of the absurd, as with theologians by profession; it is a logic of sentiment, powerful in its fervor, but as uncertain and vague as the Ideal which forms its object, and masking with a remarkable skill, behind the appearances of a delusive liberalism and of a false rationalism, its fanatical worship of the absurd and of authority.
Mazzini is a great artist. He knows the generous sentiments of youth, and of a part of the Italian proletariat which he has so powerfully aided in forming, and for forty years he has known how to draw from this magnificent instrument whatever sounds he wished. But in politics the name of art is prestidigitation, for forty years Mazzini has been the great prestidigitator of Italy.
Understand, there are two kinds of prestidigitators. There are the common statesmen, whose interested, personal ambition, foreign to any ideal, asks nothing better than to avail itself of all ideas and of all possible sentiments, to gain its ends more promptly. Such was the great Napoleon, the leader and true founder of the modern political school; such were, and are after him, naturally each in his own way, the Napoleon Thirds, the Cavours, the Bismarcks, the Thiers, the Gambettas, and, not forget the small fry, the Jules Simons, the Jules Favres, the Trochus, the Keratrys, the Picards.... But there are also, at rare intervals, in history, political prestidigitators of a kind infinitely superior and incomparably more noble and pure: these are the sincerely religious statesmen like Mazzini. These deceive people in deceiving themselves; they are strangers to the vulgar inspirations in intrest, vanity, and personal ambition, and, if they magnetize and abuse the masses, it is never with a view to their own glory, but with a view to the triumph; of an adored ideal, of their God.
There is one thing in common between these two categories of statesmen, otherwise so different and even so completely opposite,— it is that both, although actuated by quite contrary motives, equally deceive the popular masses and oppress them, when they have the power, by imposing on them tendencies which have nothing in common with their spontaneous aspirations or their real needs.
Alas! history tells us that the masses have lent themselves only too readily up to this time, never weary of playing this unhappy role of instrument at the disposition of the first artist who deigns to make use of it. It tells us also that tiny have always paid very dear for this generous, but blind, confidence. And we set, in truth, that, in spite of the lofty deeds of so many skilful and illustrious enchant in spite of all these Messiahs and all these Saviours, the real situation of the proletariat remains in the highest degree deplorable. It is not ameliorated, it has grown worse.
But here is the proletariat of Europe and of America beginning, at last, to perceive this also. Everywhere, in all countries, we see the masses awakening, stirring, agitating, and putting their heads together, defiant of all their saviours, tutors, and past leaders, and more and more resolved to take into their own hands the direction of their own affairs. And as they are collectivists as much by position as by nature, they tend to create today an immense collective force, by organizing in solidarity among themselves across the political frontiers of States.
Such was the real, the sole cause of the birth of the International, and such is also the secret of its present power.
But this the mind of Mazzini, so profoundly religious, absolutely refuses to comprehend. Idealist to the marrow of his bones, revealer, statesman, he always imagines that one can still impress today upon the hearts and imaginations of the people, as on a blank page, anything that, one. wishes. This false idea is the basis of all his hopes, but also the permanent cause of all his disappointments. “Multitudes, as well as individuals,” he pretends, “are essentially” capable of being educated,” and doubtless this is why, although forty years of abortive efforts ought to have sufficiently proved to him the profound incompatibility which exists between the living and real nature of the Italian nation — the least religious of any in Europe, excepting always the people of Russia — and the mystical idealism of which he has made himself the Mesiah and apostle, Mazzini does not yet despair of converting it. But this is also the reason why he dreads, more than he is willing to admit, the disastrous effects of the socialistic and materialistic propaganda, the more threatening as it is infinitely better suited to the national genius of the Italians than his own. This is why he has declared this war to the death against us, not recoiling even from the horrible danger of seeing himself sustained, in the furious struggle which he has excited against us, by the arbitrary and violent acts of a government which be detests, as much as an heir, more or less legitimate, can detest his rich relative who shows himself in no hurry to die.
I well know that Mazzini professes in theory the greatest respect for the people. In his celebrated formula, “Dio e Popolo,” he even accords them the second place after God. Mazzini respects the people as much as a theologian can respect anything outside the God, as much as an idealist in general is capable of recognizing and appreciating a living reality.
Moreover, between the theologians and the idealists the difference is not great. The theologian is the idealist consistent and sincere, and the idealist is the theologian hesitating and ashamed. Both of them, moreover, agree in the worship of the absurd in theory and in that of authority or discipline, appointed from above, in practice; the absurd being the consecration of this discipline, which in its turn is the guaranty of all privileges; with this difference, as I have just said, that the theologians have the courage and the ostentation of the absurd, while the idealists vainly try to give it an appearance of rationality. Theology, then, is only the heroic and violent display of that historic disease of the mind which is called, in general, idealism; a disease which, long prepared by the Pantheistic religions of the East, as a metaphysical theory, dates from the first Greek philosophers and especially from Plato, but which Christianity alone has introduced officially, as a practical, dissolvent element of life, into the social and political organization of nations. The essential nature of this disease is to seek and to love in the real world, in society, in men, in things, only itself,— either its own interest, or its personal thought,— not their real nature, but the reflection of a preconceived ideal, which is, in reality, nothing but the worship of himself by the individual, who adores himself in the absolute or in God.
Mazzini, who proscribes and who abhors individualism, but who, on the other hand, proclaims and adores idealism, does not even suspect that idealism is the spiritual father of individualism.
Mazzini, moreover, never says the Absolute: he says “God.” And he is a thousand times right, for, from the moment that one is an idealist or a spiritualist, he must, under penalty of inconsistency, recognize himself a theologian, and, when one is a theologian, he must have the courage to proclaim it before the whole world. He must have the holy audacity of the absurd. The Absolute is an equivocal term invented by the metaphysicians who endeavor to establish an impossible golden mean between reason and religious faith, between scientific truth and theological fictions, between the real world and the God-phantom.
But, although actually a phantom, once taken from nothingness and placed on his throne by the belief of the faithful, God becomes a proud and jealous Master. He does not suffer himself to be denied, or even simply concealed, under any circumstances or pretexts whatsoever. So we have seen the republican Mazzini conceal at times the flag of the Republic, but never the flag of God. For love of Italian unity, necessary and sole instrument, according to him, for the propagandism and realization of the new divine law in the world, he could consent to covenant or, at least, to treat with the Pope and the kings; but to covenant with ungodly persons,— what do I say? — to merely observe a truce of tolerance toward republican, ardent, devoted, generous, but atheistical, youth, for love of the Italian Republic, that he can not, that he will not do. Better retard a hundred years the advent of the Republic, for the Republic without God would be the triumph of the Italian people, real and living, and not that of the Mazzinian Italy, privileged throne of his God.
The religious hypocrites, the Tartuffes, have well said, there is no transaction or compromise with God. From the moment that his existence is proclaimed, he wishes to be everything, to invade everything, and to absorb everything. If he is, everything must disappear; he is alone, and alone he wishes to fill the heart of his subjects, whose existence even, strictly, would be already in contradiction with his being; so of all known religions Buddhism appears to me the most consistent, since its worship has no other object than the progressive annihilation of human individuals in the absolute nothing, in God. It is certain that, if God had a real existence, neither the world nor, consequently, the believers would ever have existed. He alone would be the sole Being, the absolute recluse. But as he exists only in the imagination and simply through the faith of the believers, he has been forced to make them this important concession,— to suffer them to exist also, by the side of him, in spite of logic,— and this is one of the fundamental absurdities of theology. So he makes them pay very dear for this forced and single concession, because he immediately demands of them that, annihilating themselves continually in him, they shall seek and find their existence only in him and shall adore only him, which is to say that they must break all human and terrestrial solidarity to adore themselves in him, God is egoism idealized: he is the human Me lifted to an infinite power.
This refined egoism, this adoration of self in any ideal whatsoever,— the adoration of God, in a word,— produces effects so much the more maleficent and cruel because, in men sincerely religious, it has no consciousness of itself: they believe they are serving God in satisfying their own desires and in satisfying all the world, including themselves, to their dearly-loved fancies, to the ardent hallucinations of their own minds. I speak only of sincere believers, for the hypocrites do not deceive themselves, but make use of religion as a very convenient mask to hide their infamous game, and as a pretext to sacrifice others, never themselves.
These religious hypocrites, always allied, more or less, with political hypocrites. — see Versailles, see all the present governments of Europe,— have doubtless done immense harm to human society. But the harm which the sincere believers have done and still continue to do is not less. In the first place, without these last, the power of the hypocrites, whether religious or political, would have been impossible. Hypocrites have never founded any religion; they have contented themselves with exploiting those religions which the sincere believers have founded. The ardent sincerity of the latter has always served as a passport to the criminal hypocrisy of the former. This is our prime grievance against the sincerely religious.
These men may be divided into three categories: first, the violent and furious believers; second, the loving believers; and, third, the routine, or machine, believers. This last category constitutes the immense majority of believers. Irresponsible because they are destitute, of all power of reflection, believing through tradition, through ignorance, through custom, they form the thick of Panurge in their respective churches, and at the same time a terrible instrument of reaction, when blood is wanted,— see Saint-Bartholomew,— in the hands of the hypocrites and the violent and furious believers.
Above the flock, and by the side of the hypocrites, always sharing the power and the control with those last, rises the terrible group of the fanatical and furious believers. Purer because infinitely more sincere, they are at the same time more maleficent and much more ferocious than the hypocrites. Humanity is unknown to them; burning with an ardent zeal for their God, they despise it, hate it, and ask nothing better than to exterminate men by thousands, by tens and hundreds of thousands. There are such religious demoniacs in the Assembly of Versailles; not many, the majority of that Assembly being composed of hypocrites or fools, but there are some. Such were the people who in the Middle Ages and later soaked the earth in blood in the name of their so-called God of mercy and love. They established the Inquisition and the order of the Jesuits. Torquemada and Loyola were sincere Christians, but rather violent. Moreover, we find them as well in Protestant churches as in the Roman Catholic church; Luther, Melancthon. Calvin at Geneva, Knox in Scotland, were of this number. And even today the societies of the pietists in Germany, of the Momiers in Switzerland, of the holy propagators of the Bible in England, as well as the Society of Jesus, are full of them. Savonarola, that hero and, after Dante, that inspirer of Mazzini, would have become a terrible persecutor, if, instead of being burned, he had triumphed. All these men, these heroes of religion, have burned and are burning with an ardent and exclusive love for their God, and, terribly consistent, they ask nothing better than to burn and exterminate all that appears to them heretical and profane,— that is, human,— for the greater glory of their God: Celestial Master, “Father and Teacher,” as Mazzini says.
To be continued.
The Science of Society. By Stephen Pearl Andrews.
The True Constitution of Government In The Sovereignty of the Individual as the Final Development of Protestantism, Democracy, and Socialism.
Continued from No. 90.
But the principle of Democracy does not stop here. Government still interferes, even in these United States, in some instances, with the social and political status of the Individual, as in the case of slavery, with commerce, with the title to the soil, with the validity of private obligations, with the treatment of crime, and, finally, with the marriage and parental relationships of the citizen; and it is obviously an incongruous fact that it interferes with all these, in many instances at least, to the great annoyance of the citizen, who, according to our political theory, is himself the sovereign, and consequently the voluntary fabricator of that which annoys him. To the philosophical mind there is that in this incongruity alone which predicts the ultimate emancipation of the citizen from the restrictions of legislation and jurisprudence, in every aspect of his existence. Accordingly, there is another whole third of the domain hitherto occupied by Government which is at this moment in dispute between it and the individual. The whole of that legislation which establishes or tolerates that form of human bondage which is called slavery is at this moment undergoing the most determined and vigorous onset of public opinion which any false and tyrannical institution of Government was ever called upon to endure. The full and final abolition of slavery can not but be regarded, by every reflecting mind, as prospectively certain. Such is the fiat of Democracy; such is the inevitable sequitur from the Democratic premise of inherent political rights. Government interferes, again, to regulate commerce; but what is the demand of Democracy in relation to that? Nothing short of absolute free trade. Democracy says to Government, Hands off! Let the Individual determine for himself when, and where, and how he will buy and sell. Does any one doubt that Democracy will, in the long run, have its own way in relation to this matter as well, and that, tariffs, and custom houses, and collectorships, and the whole lumbering paraphernalia of indirect taxation, which fences out the intercourse of nations, will he looked back upon, in a generation or two, in a light akin to that in which the police system of Fouché, the passport system of the despotic countries of Europe, and the censorship of the press are now regarded by us? Government still interferes to control the public domain; but already an organized and rapidly augmenting political organization is demanding in this country a surrender of this whole subject to the Individual Sovereigns who make the Government, and who need the land. Nor are the modest pretensions of Land Reform, which as yet touch only the public domain, likely to end at that. The very foundation principles of the ownership of land, as vested in individuals and protected by law, can not escape much longer from a searching and radical investigation; and when that comes, the arbitrary legislation of Government will have to give place to such natural and scientific principles regulating the subject as may be evolved. Land Reform, in its present aspect, is merely the prologue to a thorough and unsparing, but philosophical and equitable agrarianism, by means of which either the land itself, or an equal participation in the benefits of the land, shall be secured to the whole people. Science, not human legislation, must finally govern the distribution of the soil. Government, again, interferes with contracts and private obligations. But already the demand is growing loud for the abolition of the usury laws, and a distant murmuring is overheard of the question whether good faith and the maintenance of credit would not be promoted by dispensing with all laws for the collection of debts. Both the statesman and the citizen have observed, not without profound consideration, the significant fact that the fear of the law is less potential for the enforcement of obligation than commercial honor; that the protest of a notary, or even a whisper of suspicion on Change, is fraught with a cogency which neither a bench warrant nor a capias as satisfaciendum ever possessed. Government still deals with criminals by the old-fashioned process of punishment, but both science and philanthropy concur in pronouncing that the grand remedial agency for crime is prevention, and not crime. The whole theory of vindictive punishment is rapidly obsolescent. That theory once dead, all that remains of punishment is simply defensive. Imprisonment melts into the euphemism, detention; and, while detained, the prisoner is treated tenderly, as a diseased or unfortunate person. Nor does Democracy stop at that. Democracy declares that liberty is an inalienable right, the inherent prerogative of the Individual Sovereign, of which there is no possible defeasance, even by his own act. Democracy therefore claims, or will claim when it better understands the universality of its own pretension, either such conditions of society that criminals shall no longer be made, or else that some more delicate method of guardianship shall be devised which shall respect the dignity with which Democracy invests the individual man.
When the battles which are thus already waged in these various departments of human affairs between Government and the Individual shall have been finally fought and won, the domain of Government will have shrunk to the merest fragment of its old dimensions. Hardly any sphere of legislation, worthy of the name, will remain, save that of the marriage and parental relations. These are subjects of great delicacy, and form, ordinarily, an insuperable barrier to the freedom of investigation in this direction. It is in connection with these subjects that men shrink with dismay from what they understand to be the programme of Socialise principle of either Protestantism or Democracy. There is that, both in one and the other, which, carried simply out to its logical and inevitable conclusion, covers the whole case of marriage and the love relations, and completely emancipates them from the impertinent interference of human legislation. First, what says Protestantism? Why, that the right of private judgment in matters of conscience is paramount to all other authority whatsoever. But marriage has been, in all ages, a subject eminently under the dominion of conscience and the religious sense. Besides, is one of the best recognized principles of high-toned religionism that every action of the life is appropriately made matter of conscience, inasmuch as the responsibility of the Individual toward God is held to extend to every, even the minutest thing, which the Individual does. No man, we are told, can answer for his brother. This, then, settles the whole question. It abandons the whole subject to the conscience of the Individual. It implies the charge of a spiritual despotism, wholly unwarranted, for any man to interfere with the conscientious determination of any other with regard to it. Nor can it be objected, with any effect, that this rule only applies when the determination of the Individual accords with, and is based upon, his own conscientious conviction, for who shall determine whether it be so or not? Clearly no one but the Individual himself. Any tribunal assuming to do it for him would be the Inquisition over again, which is the special abhorrence of Protestantism. Such, then, is the Protestant faith. But. what, let us inquire, is the Protestant; practice? Precisely what it should be, in strict accordance with the fundamental axiom of Protestantism. Every variety of conscience and every variety of deportment in reference to this precise subject of love is already tolerated among us. At one extreme of the scale stand the Shakers, who abjure the connection of the sexes altogether. At the other extremity stands the association of Perfectionists, at Oneida, who hold and practise, and justify by the Scriptures, as a religious dogma, what they denominate complex marriage, or the freedom of love. We have, in this State, stringent laws against adultery and fornication; but laws of that sort fall powerless, in America, before the all-pervading sentiment of Protestantism, which vindicates the freedom of conscience to all persons and in all things, provided the consequences fail upon the parties themselves. Hence the Oneida Perfectionists live undisturbed and respected, in the heart of the State of New York, and in the face of the world; and the civil government, true to the Democratic principle, which is only the same principle in another application, is little anxious to interfere with this breach of its own ordinances, so long as they cast none of the consequences of their conduct upon those who do not consent to bear them.
Such, then, is the unlimited sweep of the fundamental axiom of Protestantism. Such its unhesitating indorsements, both theoretically and practically, of the whole doctrine of the absolute Sovereignty of the Individual. It, does not help the matter to assert that it is an irreligious or a very immoral act to do this, or that, or the other thing. Protestantism neither asserts or denies that. It merely asserts that there is no power to determine that question higher than the Individual himself. It does not help the matter to affirm that the Scriptures, or the law of God, delivered in any form, have determined the nature and limits of marriage. Protestantism, again, neither denies that proposition nor affirms it. It merely affirms, again, that the Individual himself must decide for himself what the law of God is, and that there is no authority higher than himself to whose decision he can be required to submit. It is arrogance, self-righteousness, and spiritual despotism for me to assume that you have not a conscience as well as I, and that, if you regulate your own conduct in the light of that conscience, it will not be as well regulated in the sight of God as it would be if I were to impose the decisions of my conscience upon you.
In general, however, Government, “still interferes with the marriage and parental relations. Democracy in America has always proceeded with due deference to the prudential motto, festina lente. In France, at the time of the first Revolution, Democracy rushed with the explosive force of escapement from centuries of compression, point blank to the bull’s eye of its final destiny, from which it recoiled with such force that the stupid world has dreamed, for half a century, that the vital principle of Democracy was dead. As a logical sequence from Democratic principle, the “legal obligation of marriage was sundered, and the Sovereignty of the Individual above the institution was vindicated. That the principle of Democracy is, potentially, still the same will appear upon slight examination. Democracy denies all power to Government in matters of religion. No Democratic Government does, therefore, or can base its interference with marriage upon the religious ground. It defines marriage to be, and regards it as being, a mere civil contract. It, justifies its own interference with it upon the same ground that it justifies its interference with other contracts,— namely, to enforce the civil obligations connected with it, and to insure the maintenance of children. But here, as in the case of ordinary obligations, if the conviction obtains that different conditions of society will render the present relations of property between husband and wife unnecessary, and secure, by the equitable distribution and general abundance of wealth, a universal deference on the part of parents to the dictates of nature in behalf of children, Democracy will cease to make this subject an exception to her dominant principles. A tendency to change these conditions is already shown in the passage of laws to secure to the wife an independent or individual enjoyment of property. Already the observation is made, too, that children are never abandoned among the wealthy classes, and hence the natural inference that the scientific production, the equitable distribution, and the economical employment of wealth would render human laws unnecessary to enforce the first, mandate of nature,— hospitality and kindness toward offspring. The doctrine is already considerably diffused that the union of the sexes would be, not only more pure, but more permanent, in the absence, under favorable circumstances, of all legal interference. But whether that be so or not is not now the question. I am merely asserting that the inevitable tendency of Democracy, like that of Protestantism, is toward abandoning this subject to the sovereign determination of the Individual, and that Democracy in this country will attain, only more leisurely, the same point to which it went at a single leap, and from which it rebounded, in France.
It is far less obvious, judging from the practical exhibition which it has hitherto made of itself, that the essential principle of Socialism is, equally with that of Protestantism and Democracy, the Individual Sovereignty. Indeed, Socialism has been attacked and resisted more vigorously than from any other cause in consequence of an instinctive perception that the measures hitherto proposed by it sap the freedom of the Individual. The connected interests and complicated artificial organization proposed by Fourier, and the renunciation of independent ownership contemplated by Communism, have been severely criticised and denounced, and the most so, perhaps, by those who are the most thoroughly imbued with the Protestant and Democratic idea of Individuality. To understand this apparent discrepancy we must distinguish the leading idea of Socialism from the method proposed by its advocates. The two are quite distinct from each other, and it may be that Socialism has mistaken its measures, as every human enterprise is liable to do.
To be continued.
“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.
After many years’ waiting and preparing of the way, I am about to attempt the execution of a purpose which I have had steadily in view ever since I first became an Anarchist,— the translation into English and publication of Proudhon’s complete works. In 1873, when, by the kind advice of Colonel William B. Greene, I began an examination of Proudhon’s writings, I knew no more about the thought of the great French philosopher and economist than Herbert Spencer knew about it when he made bold to criticise it in his “Social Statics.” In fact, I shared with nearly all people in America and England the misinformation regarding him that, having once said that “property is robbery,” he was therefore a Communist and a most ferocious one. But, thanks to Colonel Greene, I read Proudhon’s discussion with Bastiat on the question of interest, and then the famous “What is Property?” and great indeed was my astonishment at finding in them, but presented in very different terms, the identical ideas which I had already learned from Josiah Warren, and which, evolved by these two men independently, will be as fundamental in whatever social changes henceforth come over the world as has been the law of gravitation in all the revolutions in physical science which have followed its discovery,— I mean, of course, the ideas of Liberty and Equity. Moreover, as I continued in my reading, I found that Proudhon had not, like Warren, confined himself to the bare elucidation of the principles, but had discussed in their revolutionary light nearly every subject touching the welfare of mankind, bringing to this herculean work a mastery of style, a skill of dialectics, and a wealth of learning entirely beyond the limits attainable by the simple and untutored, though wonderfully lucid, mind of Warren.
However it may be with other kinds of wealth, no one will dispute, I think, that the satisfaction derived from the possession of knowledge — especially newly-discovered knowledge — is proportional to the degree in which its owner can make others share it. Naturally, then, my first thought, was: “What a pity that these unparalleled researches of Proudhon in the realm of sociology should remain a sealed letter to the English-speaking race!” And I said to Colonel Greene: “Why don’t you translate ‘What is Property?’” His answer was: “Why don’t you?” A mere boy, the thought of my competency for such a task had never occurred to me. But, the suggestion thus deposited in my mind. I turned it over and over and enlarged upon it, until I reached a determination that I could spend my life in no worthier, more helpful, more congenial pursuit than the enrichment of English literature by “inbodying in it at least an approximate equivalent of the entire product of a master mind in French literature. “What work nobler,” asks the editor of Herr Teufelsdröckh’s biographical documents, “than transplanting foreign thought into the barren domestic soil; except indeed planting thought of your own, which the fewest; are privileged to do?” Not belonging to the privileged few, I enthusiastically took my place in the second rank and published “What is Property?”
It received a great deal of attention from the press, was read, and is read more and more, by thinking people in all classes of society, can now be found in most of the principal libraries and institutions of learning, and has exercised a marked influence upon the mind foremost in the revolutionary movement. Nevertheless, it did not find a market sufficient to justify me in following it, with the other works. Reluctant to abandon my design, it occurred to me that I might create a market; that, by presenting the basic thought of Proudhon in simpler shape and applying it to the events uppermost in people’s minds, I might not only directly spread the truth, but arouse an interest to know it in its (as yet) best estate,— the works of Proudhon.
And I started Liberty. It proved to be the very thing, and more. It began directly, not only to accomplish my purpose regarding Proudhon, but to do an invaluable work of its own. Minds here, there, and everywhere were interested, attracted, and won, and the best elements of the progressive schools gradually gathered around it, until now if has, not a very large, but a growing, enthusiastic, earnest, and intelligent body of supporters. These have testified their interest in Anarchistic literature, and the time seems to have come to try them with the works of Proudhon and to push once more my original design.
Accordingly I shall issue on January 1, 1887, the first number of a monthly periodical to be called the “Proudhon Library,” its purpose being the publication of an English translation, in parts of sixty-four pages each, of the entire works of P. J. Proudhon, including his voluminous and very valuable correspondence. A number will be issued on the first day of every month, and, as fast as each work is completed, I will hind it, for such subscribers as will return all the numbers, handsomely and at a trifling cost. The bound volumes will he uniform in every respect with “What is Property?” and there will be not far from fifty in all, averaging four or five hundred octavo pages each. The subscription price is fixed at three dollars a year,— a rate which will enable the subscribers to get the complete works, bound, for nearly fifty dollars less than they would have to pay if they should wait till the completion of each volume before buying it.
The first work to appear will be that wonderful product of the human intellect entitled: “System of Economical Contradictions: or, the Philosophy of Misery.” It consists of two volumes, which will constitute the fourth and fifth of the series. “What is Property?” is the first, and the second and third will appear later, A descriptive, circular, giving fuller details of the project and a list of the works, has been mailed to every subscriber to Liberty, and any other person may receive one by applying for it. I confidently expect every reader of Liberty to subscribe for the “Proudhon Library,” and all of them who are pecuniarily able, to put their names down for two, three, five, ten, or more copies. If they do this, the enterprise will be an assured success and an immense impetus will be given to the Revolution. It will he a great help to me in the work if all who can will sent the money promptly.
The publication in English of these fifty volumes, in which the great French Anarchist discusses with a master’s mind and pen nearly every vital question now agitating the world, covering the fields of political economy, sociology, religion, metaphysics, history, literature, and art, not only is a great event in literature, but will mark an epoch in the Social Revolution which is now making all things new. Of this Revolution, in fact, Proudhon’s works constitute almost an encyclopaedia. “Nothing has escaped the great thinker,” said Michelet, in reference to them. Can the people of America — the country in which Proudhon is said to have expected his ideas to be first realised — afford to remain in ignorance of them? I think not. What do you think, reader? If you, too, think not, will you help to make them known?
Benj. R. Tucker.
The Colin Campbell Suit.
A discussion is going on about the propriety of publishing in the newspapers the reports of the Colin Campbell divorce suit, and many heads of families have expressed the opinion that the publication should not be made. For one thing, they are afraid that innocent girls will get had ideas about married life. The report of the trial will certainly give them all idea of some of its dangers. The so-called purists do not appear tor reflect upon what is the reason or cause of the publication. Here is a wife who finds her husband diseased. She tells him that she cannot consent to relations which poison her health. Under Anarchy her decision would be the law of the case. He could have no rights over her person. But under statute law this man is licensed to persecute this woman.
The statute provides for a public trial, so that a court and jury may determine whether the woman shall be again free from the disgusting individual whom she has taken for her husband without knowing of his disease. The law invites him to attempt to prove her relations with other men as a reason why she shall not go free of him! Hence the reports. They spring out of the trial. The law arranges for a public washing of dirty linen, and then the admirers of statute law are shocked at the publication of the testimony and cross-examinations, which nothing but the law has made necessary. If the so-called purists want to abolish such publications, let them abolish the laws providing for divorce suits, and substitute a simple recognition of the natural and inalienable right of every individual to govern himself or herself in sexual relations.
Beecher, the Anarchist.
Henry Ward Beecher says a great, many true things, but he also talks much nonsense. That is because he takes more pains to he smart than to be accurate, and talks with the most assurance of things concerning which he knows least. He recently treated Plymouth church to a discourse, on labor which was a bewildering imbroglio of ideas and pure ignorance. His misinformation on the subject of Socialism is as extensive as any able editor’s, and the density of his stupidity when talking about Anarchy is unequalled. Like all the rest of the pulpiteers and newspaper editors, he confounds every revolutionary doctrine with State Socialism. Take this ridiculous statement for example: “Socialism is a skin disease, and nothing but Anarchy disguised. Its aim is to accomplish everything through the government.” It would be laughable, were it not so discouraging, to hear a man of Beecher’s intelligence and with his opportunities to acquire correct information accusing Anarchy of conspiring with the State or seeking its aid. The very derivation and absolute meaning of the word ought to teach him better than that.
I After this lucid statement of the aim of Anarchy, Mr. Beecher says:
The Anarchist wants society devastated and then have it spring up anew. It would be a benevolence to imprison these crazy people, who are as much outside the pale of humanity as the wolf and bear. It is not culpable to exterminate them.
How he can reconcile his two statements is beyond my comprehension. Both being absolutely false as well as contradictory, no reconciliation is necessary, however. The simple explanation that the man doesn’t know what he is talking about is sufficient. But if Mr. Beecher would take the trouble to learn the meaning of Anarchy and ask some real Anarchist what he wants or hopes to accomplish, he would avoid making a fool of himself, and I trust would also avoid speaking falsely. He could learn readily that Anarchy does not aim to accomplish anything through the government, and that no Anarchist wants to devastate society. Anarchy demands that government shall cease devastating society and let society reform itself on a natural basis. The Anarchist wants to abolish injustice, poverty, ignorance, and crime. Mr. Beecher says such a person is no better than a ravaging wolf and ought to be exterminated. If that be so, Mr. Beecher is no better than a wolf and ought to be knocked in the head. Why, the disturbing, turbulent fellow said in that same sermon: “I want equality for everybody...Absolute individualism is the one great thing to be desired, because it begets intelligence and forms the basis of society.” Absolute individualism, Mr. Beecher! that is rank Anarchism. As an Anarchist, I ask for nothing more. If I ought to be exterminated, what right have you to live? You say I and those who believe as I do are crazy and unfit to live, because you imagine that we do not agree with you, but you see we do agree. Cease muddling the minds of people, Brother Beecher. Climb down from your pulpit and join the Anarchists, the Absolute Individualists, who want, equality of opportunity for everybody. Let us all be exterminated together.
Drawn by the Magnet, Anarchy.
When S. P. Putnam, the travelling lecturer and secretary of the American Secular Union, who, with a zeal worthy of a better cause, spread far and wide the nine-demands-agitation during the out-going administration of 1886, visited the home of “Lucifer” and observed the all-absorbing interest which the light-bearers seemed to take in their unpopular work, he expressed surprise and regret that such heroic warriors should insist on separating themselves from the central column, which is making gigantic strides to victory, and engage in a hopeless light, which can but end in martyrdom, for the sake of trifling “side issues”, which “may or may not tend to the general progress.” How much “more for man’s advancement, both ideally and practically,” it is to tax churches than to abolish usury and legal privilege! It is not unreasonable to assume that since that time the Valley Falls reformers have considerably risen in the estimation of the Secular Union, for the work of Simplification of Ceremonies habitual on the solemn occasions when two adult fools are shut, up forever in the cage of marriage to make life an intolerable burden to each other is scarcely less noble, grand, and progressive a work than that for any of the nine demands. But, on the other hand, we begin to perceive a marked tendency on the part of the theological Anarchists to give more and more attention to the “side issues” which they have heretofore scornfully neglected. Are we to explain this phenomenon by the law of compensation, and see in it the hand of a merciful providence? If so, let the pessimistically-inclined Anarchist be consoled. The loss is more than counterbalanced by the gain.
The fact to be mentioned first is that Mr. Wakeman has been seized with so strong a craving for some real reform work that, he, lively and with youthful vigor, jumps over the blocks in the political path that would at any other time be considered as insurmountable obstacles to further advance. Watching Mr. Wakeman as be serenely and calmly stood on the Fatherhood-of-God platform and determined to stick to Henry George in spite of his tricky ways and suspicious silence on the subject, of the nine demands, the idea occurred to us that the bull and the red shawl may be expected to be reconciled one of these days. Of course, our gratification would be much more intense, had he brought over this ardor and activity to the An-archistic side of the fence, but, Mr. Walker’s idea of the logical order of progress having been properly assimilated, we can clearly see bow the Henry George movement, and the platform of the new party are going to boom immensely the No-State movement. When the time is ripe for the third of Mr. Walker’s stages, the Fatherhood of God will be dropped overboard in the close embrace of the Brotherhood of Man, and behold the birth of Anarchy!
However, for those that are not given to metaphyseal speculation and who cannot see any method in Mr. Walker’s madness, there are more tangible and direct indications of progress. The recent utterances of Colonel Ingersoll unmistakably show that the centre of gravity of his reflections had been carried over from the theological realm into the politico-social. Jonah and the whale are to be given a rest, and our modern Jonahs, who have nothing to swallow, but who are in danger of being swallowed by the monster of monopoly, are more looked after. In his Lay Sermon and the published interviews on the labor topics, though full of contradictions, as the reader will judge from the few samples which the editor of Liberty elsewhere displays, he yet takes very radical ground and gives some excellent advice. Without being aware of it, he favors the Socialistic Cost principle, the Anarchistic occupying-ownership land theory, and “dissolution of government in the economic organism.”
So the world moves.
Who are the Cowards?
The extreme of impudence is revelled by Mr. Harman when he insinuates that Tucker, Yarros, and Lloyd “say a hundred wolds against the (to them) apparent slight welding of Walker and Harman to one word against the bitter persecutions and imprisonment to which they are subjected,” because “that is safer just now.” “The State,” he adds, “will not hold that as treason, because it is aid and comfort to it.” Note, first, the egregious assumption and misrepresentation hidden away in the words “the (to them) apparent slight yielding. He must know — for we have stated it explicitly and repeatedly — that the yielding, instead of being to us apparently slight, seems to us like utter surrender. If he had wanted to be fair, lie would have said: “the (to them) apparent enormous yielding, though the yielding in question is really very slight, if it exists at all.” But in saying this he would have sacrificed the point of his paragraph, and he must make his point. This, however, is not the worst feature of his impudence. That consists in hinting that the thought of our own safety keeps us from siding with the prisoners against the State, whereas in truth our sole complaint is that the prisoners surrendered to the State at the first gun instead of making a battle with the State in which we could have fought by their side. It is precisely because the prisoners themselves are giving “aid and comfort” to the State (though the stupid State doesn’t know it and persecutes them just the same) that we refuse them aid and comfort. And because we insist on a battle and protest, against surrender, we are cheekily told that we are “fair-weather Anarchists”!
The plaintive wail of the editor of “Lucifer” that Lloyd, Tucker & Co. are exhibiting cowardice in attacking Walker and Harman when they are in jail and cannot reply is based on the mistaken idea that the question at issue is one of persons instead of principles. It also ignores the fact that Mr. Walker himself made it a question of principles. If his appeal for aid had been entirely personal, Lloyd, Tucker & Co. would have done all that they could to protect him against the State. But he has gone to jail professedly in vindication of a principle, though really, as it seems to us, in violation of a principle. If it is true that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” his imprisonment is the most effective of arguments in support of his erroneous position and is liable to mislead many people by telling upon their sympathies. Are we, then, simply because he is allowed to offer no other argument, to abstain from all effort to prevent these people from being misled? Are we to be branded as cowards if we do not desist from the discussion of principles and of Mr. Walker’s conduct as a self-constituted exponent of principles? Absurd! As well say that we should not discuss the theory of the Social Contract, because Jean Jacques Rousseau is in his grave!
Powderly’s instructions to the Chicago Knights of Labor to collect no more money for the condemned men at Chicago and to return the money already collected must be instructive, if not interesting, reading to those who were so angry with me some months ago for denouncing the Knights of Labor as an authority-ridden organization. In what respect is this act less arrogant and arbitrary than the suspension of Father McGlynn for his support of Henry George? As the New York “Sun” says: “It seems a queer thing in this country for a gentleman with spectacles to set up as a positive lord over the minds and thoughts of thousands of intelligent and self-supporting men, and to tell them whether they may or may not bestow a little alms upon a few poor wretches who are trembling on the brink of the grave.” Yet this act is but the legitimate and inevitable flowering of a plant rooted in authority, and every one whose vision extends beyond the end of his nose ought to have foreseen it from the first.
E. C. Walker indignantly declares that “marriage or the sex-union of men and of women is something with which neither the State nor so-called Anarchists have anything to do.” Just so! I have been saying so all along. Why, then, did not Mr. Walker keep his sexual relations to himself instead of appealing to Anarchists to concern themselves therein?
The Replogles’ Reasons.
Your criticism on our holding shares in the Credit Foncier of Sinaloa is timely, and seems logical so far as any information you, or the public, may have on the matter. But of a private nature we have reasons that we deem sufficient to make this seeming contradiction to our general ideas. Also, we could afford to sign the “Principles” for the same reason that you cannot refuse to remain on this State-monopolized planet. We know of nothing more promising in some respects, and its worst features are as good as those you must abide by in the States. Besides, its people are certainly quite as susceptible to progress as the masses outside.
Now, as regards the assertion of “Equity” on Philbrook, you will find your quotation in Comrade Moore’s “Principles of Life” instead of “Equity.” In No. 8 of that paper will be seen our opinion, in part, of him. We do not feel conscious of our feline nature at all. Though we are here where the “Catskill Mountains,” we have not even your desire to destroy Anarchistic mice or “rats.”
We hope to carry our share of the west end of the cause on the Pacific, while you and the royal friends do so in the east. Yours fraternally,
Poughkeepsie, New York, November 21, 1886.
[The English in which the foregoing is couched is scarcely up to the standard set for these columns, but it would be hardly fair to refuse the writers the privilege of replying to my criticism of them. The information upon which I based the criticism was the official information given to the public by the Sinaloa leaders themselves in the declaration of principles. If the Replogles have had private information which contradicts public information,— that is, for instance, if they have been given any assurances by Colonel Owen or his friends that their tyrannical propositions regarding marriage are simply exoteric, and that the Credit Fonder is to be esoterically a free love community,— this simply means that the Replogles have entrusted their welfare to the keeping of a band of hypocrites. The difference between their consent to sign “Our Principles” and my consent to remain on this State-monopolized planet is marked. They voluntarily lend their influence to, and assume a share of responsibility for. a thoroughly compulsory social system, whereas I remain on this planet to fight the monopoly of it and vindicate my claim to enjoy my share of it undisturbed. If we assume the social principle of equality of opportunity, neither the State, nor society as a whole, has any right to monopolize the planet to my exclusion, and, if it attempts to do so, it is my right to stay here and defend myself against it. But any special society voluntarily formed has a right to acquire by proper methods its share of the planet,— that is, as much as its members can actually use,— and there live under an arbitrary regime. Now, of two things one: either the individual who enters such society accepts its arbitrary regime sincerely, and then he is not as true to Liberty as the individual who stays outside and fights Authority; or else he accepts it insincerely and intending to resist it, and then his entrance into it is manifestly improper and dishonest. If the Replogles go to Sinaloa, they must choose between the horns of this dilemma. — Editor Liberty.]
A Very Palpable Hit.
Newspapers desiring to interview him on the land reform question, Henry George declines. “I am perfectly willing to answer these questions for the ‘Sun,’ but to do so world be equivalent to writing an article, and I want pay for it. I am no longer a candidate. I make my living by writing.” As to the propriety of this, it is the reformer’s own business; but we protest against his getting more than one dollar a day for it. For he gladly sold the same views for one dollar a day ten years ago, and the difference between that and what he can get today is “unearned increment,” — that is, it is increased value resulting from increased popular interest; therefore, as he says of land, it is not his at all, but “belongs to the people whose presence has caused the increase.”
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 90.
He was transfigured. His features, in general simply correct and wearing a pleasing expression, now became of that true radiant, beauty which grand sentiments produce, and Treor’s granddaughter submitted to the invincible charm of this metamorphosis.
“Yes, I desert my camp!” he repeated. “The Duke has several times reproved my inaction. He invited me to take part on one side or the other, and, when I urged upon him conciliatory measures, he mocked at my desire for peace, which — I am sure, for his mocking smiles declared it — he looked upon at bottom as mere cowardice!
“Well! I will enter the struggle; I will lead your troops to battle for the vindication of their rights, although they do not lack heroic chiefs, for the example of my desertion will strengthen the confidence which it is necessary for them to place in their good cause.”
His exaltation was increasing, but its very excess frightened Marian, and she reflected that, in reality, justice, devotion to Ireland took only second rank in this display of enthusiasm in favor of their side. The love which he felt for her was the real motive of his fine fervor, his resolutions, which perhaps he would regret in the future.
She was not so innocent that she had not understood the hints, in the conversations of the Bunclodyans, of the empire which the beautiful Duchess exercised over Richard; and without imagining that between Ellen and him matters went so far as incestuous adultery, she felt that Sir Richard would find difficulty in extricating himself from this influence.
Perhaps it would need only a word, a sign from Lady Newington later to make of him, when they believed him definitively gained to the Irish cause, a renegade for the second time; and Marian did not dare to assume such a responsibility.
Seeing her all at once lose the animation which flushed her face and made her eyes glisten, Sir Richard guessed the change which was working in her and that she refused his generous decision, taken so freely, with an enthusiasm above suspicion, and even without having weighed the reward with which his conduct would be crowned.
He wished to doubt, however, and, full of anguish, interrogated Marian.
“Remain neutral,” she said to him with, effort, with regret, “content yourself with palliating, in the measure of your influence, the horrors of the savage war which they make on us. This is all which it is allowable for us to accept.”
And, without waiting for her to furnish him the least explanation in support of her words, he flew into a passion. In vain, in order to soften her words, she tried to say that both of them would be suspected, and that she would be accused of lukewarmness and of thinking more of her love than of the cause, in bringing Sir Richard among them.
Seized with a fit of mad grief, he uttered the frightful phrases of an insane man:
“Since my devotion is refused, well! I will carry it elsewhere. Ah! Marian, I shall have, some day, the spectacle of your love for some hero of your party”,...
“I shall never love anyone,” she said.
“A vow? All women perjure themselves. I say that you will love some one of your people who will bear himself heroically, whose bravery will excite applause, whose name will be transmitted in history, covered with famous laurels. Well, every Irishman is transformed for me today into an abhorred rival whom I must kill. From this time forward I declare a pitiless war upon them all. The handsomest, the youngest, the bravest especially! Bad luck to them!”
What a transformation for Marian!
Notwithstanding her silence, just before, when Richard questioned her to discover if she still loved him; notwithstanding her affirmation that their past was dead, quite dead, forever buried with its dead brothers, and that the future would see them strangers to each other,— she still kept in her heart the same tender passion as before.
Her vow to the league of the United Irishmen simply bound her to renounce hopes certainly entertained formerly,— and on this point she would not compromise,— but it did not at all invalidate a love born long years before, at a time when a young girl’s heart is first awakened.
During the interval that had elapsed since that epoch, it had developed freely, and had taken deep root, always strengthened by the generous attitude of Sir Bradwell so far, up to this moment even; and Richard’s fury shook her painfully, producing in her a commotion which stunned her, torturing her soul and wounding all its tenderness.
Would she be forced to despise him, to hate him? Or could she preserve for him feelings of which he showed himself unworthy?
In that case, it would be she who would deserve contempt. My God! Had not her unhappiness yet reached the limit of the possible?
No, Richard was only under the dominion of a new fit of passion which would disperse. Only an instant before, moved by frightful and unreasoning anger, had he not suddenly made amends and at once asked her pardon? In a second, the same sudden change would humble him before her, repentant, saddened, like a child filled with remorse for a fault.
She looked at him.
Alas! his countenance did not change, and his vague and enlarged pupils betrayed a continuance of his madness. Then she recalled having often seen him in old times wandering gloomily and aimlessly across the fieds, with dishevelled hair, and a fixed look that was now directed towards the clouds and now straight on into the immensity of the plains, and that occasionally he would be talking in a very loud voice.
Neither the rain nor the sun disturbed him; neither the water which flooded him nor the head of the leaden star turned him aside from his course or his ecstasies, for the spectators declared his mind upset, explaining the fact by his birth in a year especially marked by dramatic events, massacres without number, and continual conflagrations.
A famine, the previous year, had decimated the country and emaciated spectres, strolling skeletons, circulated slowly through the streets, dragging after them their sufferings and the want which tortured them; the Duchess, Richard’s mother, very compassionate, had been revolutionized by these pitiable, hideous pictures, and had taken into her system the germ of the nervous malady to which she succumbed later, after having communicated to her son an unhealthy susceptibility, combatted, it is true, by a dread of the paternal temperament which he had doubtless inherited.
So Marian, with a breaking heart, tried to calm him in a friendly and gentle way. Amicably and gratefully, she recalled to him his generous interference when he arrived upon the scene of the barbarities of Gowan and his gang, of the revolting extortions of the Britons. She cited his discussions (of which she had been informed) with Sir Walpole, the sleek, glittering officer, the bickerings and quarrels they had had together and which often just escaped degenerating into challenges.
This was why she did not cherish malice at his menaces; she would not keep even the memory of them. Oh, no! No more would he, moreover,— and she well knew that he would continue to conform his acts to those of the past, and explicitly deny, by his future conduct, the blasphemies which he had just uttered!
But this peaceful overture did not act at all on Bradwell as she had hoped. Neither the suavity of the young girl’s voice, nor the kindliness of her words, melted the exasperation into which he had fallen and from which his morbid mental state would not permit him to extricate himself easily.
He was wrongly accused of insanity; but all the causes cited by the witnesses of his fantastic ways and of the intermittent incoherence of his ideas and his actions had had really the fatal influence which they pretended on his brain, in which inexplicable fits of violence succeeded exemplary feelings of charity.
Excesses in goodness as well as in evil struggled for the victory in his character, and Lady Ellen had contributed not a little to unbalance him by the unreasonableness of her always unsatisfied passion and the deadly refinements with which she stimulated the satiety and the ardor of her lover.
So that, pushed to an extreme point, he lacked the elasticity necessary to reaction.
“Richard,” said Marian, “it is over, is it not, your wickedness?”
“If you retract your desperate never,” he answered, roughly and imperatively. And as she kept still that she might not excite a new crisis, he interpreted her silence as a negative, and in a transport less exalted than the previous one, but not less categorical as to conclusions, he said:
“Well! you will have forced me to it: I entered your father’s house as a friend; I leave it an irreconcilable enemy; I came imploring the favor of a hope; I go away promising you surprises that will terrify you.”
He was wandering; he surely would not keep his diabolical promises. Nevertheless, Marian held him back that he might not leave after this abominable imprecation, and that his voice, when he were no longer there, might not resound under this roof in such a diabolical tone; but harshly and roughly, positively disowning her, he called on her to let him go away.
Already, dragging her after him, he had reached the door, when it was suddenly opened, and some one entered who imposed silence and, with his extended hand, stopped Bradwell, bent on his intention of departure.
It was Father Richmond, the priest of Bunclody.
“I have been wandering about my profaned church,” said he, “awaiting Treor. who is repeating his sacrileges; I recoiled before the scandal of again turning the ungodly out of the sanctuary; I am waiting, outside, to reprimand them, as is my right, in the name of the Most High whom they are outraging, whom they are defying with impunity, but who will soon chastise them, wre cannot doubt.”
“And what do you wish of us?” asked Sir Bradwell, drily.
“I walked some distance away,” the priest resumed, tranquilly, “and I was praying. Thus I overheard your dispute. After my orisons, I thought that perhaps my ministry could be exercised usefully here, and here I am.”
He paused, sanctimoniously watching Marian and Richard by turns to see what chance of success was reserved for his intervention; and seeing that both, extremely puzzled, were waiting for him to speak, he said:
“The wrong is on your side, Marian, and it is you whom I blame.”
Although much astonished, she did not reply, thinking only of the result to be reached,— the restoration of Bradwell to reason,— and the priest resumed:
“It is you whom I blame, Marian, because you will be responsible for the miseries with which he will overwhelm your country, for he will fulfill his menace. He will fulfill it, I tell you, because I remember his childhood and know that he possesses, by the side of the tender qualities which he inherits from his deceased mother, in an equal degree the excessive passion of Lord Newington, his wild and blood-thirsty anger.”
Marian was weeping, with her face in ner hands.
“Moreover,” concluded the priest, “the infernal sin has exalted the bad instincts in his soul and weakened the good ones.”
“Sir!” said Bradwell, knitting his bushy eyebrows in a sinister fashion and biting savagely his pale lips.
He asked himself what the curate was coming at; but the placid countenance of the holy man, like the limpid clearness of the lakes, more inscrutable than a blank wall, completely eluded his examination. Father Richmond, shivering with cold turned to the fire, warming his blue hands and his feet benumbed in the camp shoes which smoked in the blaze of the fire-place.
“Yes! yes! yes! It is you, Marian,” repeated he for the third time, “it is you who will bear the weight of the responsibility, for if sin inflames the faults of Sir Bradwell, his bad tendencies which there is reason to fear, it belongs to you to combat them, to annihilate them by your happy influence.”
“Me!” said Marian, trembling.
“Yes,” replied Richard, approving the priest, whom he supposed to concur in his opinion.
The priest made his customary pause, by which he thought to give more force to his arguments; then he went on, pointing with his fingers which were losing their numbness, to the heavens through the roofing:
“God appears to have selected you for this role. He has placed you as the guardian redeeming angel with the face of the angel of the persecuted, placed by the side of Sir Bradwell as well as the sentinel of the bad.”
“Exactly!” said the lover of the Duchess, looking at Marian with his clear eyes, in which joy beamed with re-awakening hope, with confidence in the effect of this word of the priest, who was touching the dangerous point from winch he had recoiled.
“I call no names!” continued Sir Richmond, stretching by turns before the flames his thin legs like spindles; “but you will understand of whom I speak. Marian, who is this demon whose pernicious empire you, by divine appointment, are called upon to combat.”
Save at the Spigot and Spill at the Bunghole.
I am afraid I hit Mr. Yarros’s noggin a harder whack than I intended. It must have made him see stars; for what does he do, when he picks himself together, but go right off and hit my grandmother, Really, comrades, I don’t like that. I’m a good-natured fellow, and I know that Donnybrook is rather a lax place, but fighting grandmothers is against all precedent, and, in the name of chivalry, I protest. Such procedure curiously reminds me of the Mohammedan curse: “May your face be turned upside down, and jackasses dance on your grandmother’s tombstone” As to whether friend Yarros is trying to capsize my countenance by a process of inverted argumentation, or is desirous of executing an asinine waltz on the tomb-slab of my grandmaternal ancestor, or neither, I am not clear; but his third-floor-back kind of tactics makes me, suspicious. But — merely remarking parenthetically that my grandmother was a woman of thoughtfulness and good sense, that she was the mother of Caleb Pink, whose granny-wisdom even Miss Kelly approvingly quotes, and that she died before teaching me any “happy sayings” — I will drop this, for something about Mr. Yarros’s doctrines makes me fear he never had a grandmother, and so he has my sympathy.
About the time he assaults my grandmother he gives me a back-handed whack about “truisms.” What’s wrong about Rising truisms, comrade? What are truisms, anyway? Undisputed truths, I take it. Well, in the first place, outside of mathematics I know of no such truths; everything is deified or disputed; and, in the second place, if there are such truths, they are just what should he used at all times. They are the bones to which all muscles should attach; the solid, immovable foundations on which all logical structures should rise.
Now, it is a sad and, to me, remorseful evidence of Mr. Yarros’s headache and general mental muddlement that he commences his reply to me by using several of these truisms himself, all in a heap. First, by mentioning my foolishness (grandmother’s not to blame for that, I didn’t know anything when I was born); secondly, by quoting a truistic proverb; and then by making an “almost axiomatic statement,” which rectly, they, according to your own dictum, have them “half is a very good definition of what passes for truisms.
Then he gets a teleological and theological streak, and find the State the “cause of causes,” the Great First Cause, so to speak, of all “poverty and degradation.” That’s a “find,”, indeed tantamount to “raising the devil,” I should say. But, good comrade, I fear you’ve missed it.
Now, let me state the case. The real disease is social conflict, injustice. It is chronic and all-prevarding. It has many forms and diverse symptoms. The state is one of these forms,— a tumor, a fungus, an exerescence upon the body social; a sort of morbid remedial effort against bacteria, which, however, favors them and is kept up by them. Poverty and degradation are two of the symptoms. The causes are many, and laminated one above the other. The proximate cause is criminality, below that lies ciciousness, and below all others ignorance — the “cause of causes.” Here then, Dr. Yarros, is the tap-root of society’s diseases. Teach your patient, therefore liberty and justice, in both their practical and ideal forms and principles, and you will see the a cure go on that will astonish you.
Owing to its diseases, society is deformed, covered with warts, pimples, blotches, the biggest of which is the State, and needs to be reformed. The first step in that reform is the liberating education I have just mentioned, and the second is its vigorous and courageous application. And under, or rather in, Anarchy this education cannot be made compulsory, neither can its application. All we can do is to educate ourselves, reform ourselves, defend ourselves; except so far as other freely consent to be educated, reformed, and defended by us, or our example. As soon as a man becomes intelligent in liberty, he will instinctively, as well as rationally, reform away his vices because of their self-injurious: and comprehending that injury to others is invariably injurous to self, he will cease to commit crime because of its inseparable viciousness. (And man can never be made to abandon crime till they do perceive this.) He will then thoroughly understand liberty, both personal and social, and, no matter where it is not, and to defend it where it is. He is self-centred and, so to speak, selfistically unselfish,— a typical Anarchist, Individualist, and Autonomist, and one who cannot be otherwise.
Of course I do not mean that all men must be reliably wise and virtuous before social freedom can be realized. But there must be a sufficient number of these self-emancipated ones to cooperate together for mutual protection, before anything can be done of a practical nature against external government. And I believe that number must constitute a majority, or, at least, an equality, before Society (with a big S) can enjoy any assured freedom.
I do not say “the people have nobody but themselves to blame for their wretched condition.” They have nature to blame. It is not “natural depravity,” but natural ignorance, that is tit the bottom of all this poverty, vice, and crime. It is because men were ignorant enough to think crime beneficial (and the way nature placed aboriginal man, and the way “civilization” places modern man, it certainly was, and is, in various low, narrow ways, beneficial, though injurious at the same time) that they became criminals. And growth in that mistake male them think organized crime (war, government, etc.) less criminal than unsystematic crime, and made them think, moreover, when they held out their hands to support these governments, that the handcuffs snapped upon them were muffs to keen their fingers warm.
Governments did not swoop down from heaven, nor steam up from hell, ready made; they grew, they evoluted, and are among the legitimate products of humanity’s blear-eyed, misguided scrambles after happiness. When the Pithecanthropi fought and quarelled, in the forests of eld over their nuts and their amours, the germs of monopoly had taken vigorous root; and when the Missing Link grabbed some weaker Link by the seruff of the neck, and made him pick berries for his captor’s mouth, the joy which started from his semi-lunar ganglion, and vibrated his soon-to-be-omitted caudal appendage, was precisely the same feeling the usurer has when he gets some poor devil in a snap and rakes in the shekels he never earned.
But I cannot echo your rash assertion, Mr. Yarros, that, if the State is not such a Beelzebub as you have pictured, we, therefore, “have no case against it.” Have I no case against a tumor because, forsooth, it is not self-caused? In itself it is now a cause of pain and disease, an impediment, a deformity, and a perverter of nutriment. Have I not a rigid to study, wish, and work for its removal; to apply refrigerants, astringents, pressure, the ligature, the actual cautery of the knife,— whatever may seem most wise and efficient? And have I not a right to require the hands that do that work for me to be skilful, the nerves that guide them intelligent and firm, the agents pure and efficient, the instruments strong and keen? This is a point that you “carefully evaded,” Mr. Yarros.
I do claim that a remedy can be applied, and a cure commenced, under “existing conditions.” Even now those really desirous of learning what liberty and justice are have a fairly good chance to do so, and to teach others the same. At any rate the learning and teaching can be and are done. And when people have thus learned to state social problems corectly, they, according to your own dictum, have them “half-solved”. Even under existing conditions every man can say: “I will not willingly invade myself, nor others, nor will I willingly permit others to invade me!” When enough men have said that, Mr. Yarros, as earnestly as you and I would say it, the battle will be fought, the State will be dead, and you and I will be also, I fear.
“Let us think of nothing else till we kill this lion”; while I say you must think of something else first, or the lion will only killl you. You were tempted by the clamor of the Communists till you were ready to reprove Tucker for passive philosophy. The inevitable tendency of your view is to dynamite, while I see nothing in dynamite — for many a long a day least — but the power to blow out of human brains what little sense is now there. If you doubt toy Anarchism, good comrade, I will say to you, as Tucker has just said, in substance, to these Communists: “Judge me by my fruits.”
J. Wm. Lloyd.
P.S. — After writing out the above, I once more picked up my Liberty and read Miss Kelly’s “A Time to Beware of Passion,” which I had before overlooked, and was naturally pleased at her agreement with my idea that the destruction of ignorance is our real point d’appui. And if I have any influence among my comrades, allow me to second her eloquent appeal to beware, at this critical time, of the vice of passion,— it vice which so easily transforms into crime.
An Oratorical Crazy Quilt.
Colonel Ingersoll gave a “Lay Sermon” before the New York congress of the American Secular Union, which was a most extraordinary patchwork of wit, wisdom, and folly. To use an Ingersollian figure, it was starred with gems and marred with bolts. Here are some of the gems:
A civilized man will never want anything for less than it is worth; a civilized man, when he sells a thing, will never want more than it is worth; a really and truly civilized man would rather be cheated than to cheat. And yet, in the United States, good as we are, nearly everybody wants to get everything for a little less than it is worth, and the man that sells it to him wants to get a little more than it is worth, and this breeds rascality on both sides. That ought to be done away with.
No man should go an inch with a party,— no matter if that party is half the world and has in it the greatest intellects of the earth,— unless that party is going his way. No honest man should ever turn round and join anything. If it overtakes him, good. If he has to hurry up a little to get to it, good. But do not go with anything that is not going your way; no matter whether they call it Republican, or Democrat, or Progressive Democracy,— do not go with it unless it goes your way.
There is only one good, and that is human happiness; and he only is a wise man who makes himself happy. I have heard all my life about self-denial. There never was anything more idiotic than that. No man who does right practises self-denial. To do right is the bud and blossom and fruit of wisdom. To do right should always be dictated by the highest possible selfishness. No man practises self-denial unless he does wrong. To inflict an injury upon yourself is an act of self-denial. To plant seeds that will forever bear the fruit of joy is not an act of self-denial. So this idea of doing good to others only for their sake is absurd. You want to do it, not simply for their sake, but for your own; because a perfectly civilized man can never be perfectly happy while there is one unhappy being in this universe. Do right, not to deny yourself, but because you love yourself and because you love others. He generous, because it is better for you. He just, because any other course is the suicide of the soul. Whoever does wrong plagues himself, and, when he reaps that harvest, he will find that he was not practising self-denial when he did right.
It is an insanity to get more than you want. Imagine a man in this city, an intelligent man, say with two or three millions of coats, eight or ten millions of hats, vast warehouses full of shoes, billions of neckties, and imagine that man getting up at four o’clock in the morning, in the rain and snow and sleet, working like a dog all day to get another necktie! Is not that exactly what the man of twenty or thirty millions, or of five millions, does today.
No man should be allowed to own any land that he does not use. Everybody knows that — I do not care whether he has thousands or millions. I have owned a great deal of land, but I know just as well as I know I am living that I should not be allowed to have it unless I use it.
And here are some of the blots,— italics mine wherever they occur:
Certain privileges have been granted to the few by the government, ostensibly for the benefit of the many; and whenever that grant is not for the good of the many, it hould be taken from the few,— not by force, not by robbery, but by estimating fairly the value of that property, and paying to them its value; because everything should be done according to law and in order.
Only a few years ago morally we were a low people,— before we abolished slavery,— but now, when there is no chain except that of custom, when every man has an opportunity, this is the grandest government of the earth. There is hardly a man in the United States today of any importance, whose voice anybody cares to hear, who was not nursed at the loving breast of poverty. Look at the children of the rich. My God, what a punishment for being rich! So, whatever happens, let every man say that this government, and this form of government, shall stand.
What remedy, then, is there? First, the great weapon in this country is the ballot. Each voter is a sovereign. There the poorest is the equal of the richest. His vote will count just as many as though the hand that cast it controlled millions. The poor are in the majority in this country. If there is any law that oppresses them, it is their fault.
This is no country for Anarchy, no country for Communism, no country for the Socialist. Why? Because the political power is equally divided.
I am not an Anarchist. Anarchy is the reaction from tyranny. I am not a Socialist. I am not a Communist, I am an Individualist.
A Right Which Mr. Walker has Acquired.
The lieutenant of police, Piédegrue, while on his rounds, perceives an individual who, gun in hand, is beating a turnip field.
“Say, my friend,” cries the vigilant guardian, “just show me your hunting permit, if you please.”
“My permit, lieutenant? But I am not hunting,” says the other.
Then, in a confidential tone, he adds:
“You see, I fully believe that my wife is deceiving me. I have reason to think that she is here, in this field, with a young fellow of my acquaintance. If they are here, I will kill them.”
“To do that,” declares the imperturbable Piédegrue in his potent serenity, “you will have to show me your marriage certificate!”
The Lucifer Match.
Dear Comrade Tucker:
I write to explain my position with regard to this marriage of our Kansas comrades. I fool that I must do this, painful as the job is, as otherwise what I have said in their favor will be misunderstood as unconditional approval. Have just mailed an article of similar tenor to “Lucifer” with request for immediate publication. I felt an intense sympathy for these two when first attacked, because they were to me as personal friends, because they were persecuted, and because I understood them to be suffering defiantly and heroically for the principles of radical Anarchism.
On the first two points my sympathy hangs undisturbed, but on the last — I fear there is no point there.
In this remote corner mails come only three times a week, and “Lucifer” is sometimes quenched by the wayside and fails to appear altogether. So in the early days of the trial I was a good deal in the dark. But I was foolishly, wilfully blind too, refusing to take the meaning of much that I read, because I thought that I knew my friend and that the types had belied him. I sent a letter of applause; I sent a poem to Lillian: I sent my mite of money. But as my vision cleared, I wrote to them once and again, and even a third time, suggesting a more radical course. But I did not know their circumstances,— perhaps they were compelled to compromise,— and so I did not urgently persuade. I, with you, would have considered a forced compromise, under protest, as excusable.
But, when I read with blank astonishment that they claimed to have “violated no law of Kansas,” and asserted that their attitude had not bee one of “defiance to law as law,” I broke down. I could no longer doubt that they were in fact claiming to be law-abiding and law-respecting parties, legally married, and injured merely by some contradiction in the law. At least, this was the impression they seemed trying to make. Against such compromising and equivocation I must, of course, protest.
I feel positive, however, both from her printed words and the tone of her private letters to me, that Lillian went into the affair with a brave, defiant spirit, and would have ably and cheerfully seconded her mate in any act of devotion to principles. But a girl of sixteen, however womanly, can hardly be expected at such a time to combat the policy of her father and lover. I believe her to be in spirit a true heroine, capable of anything courageous.
But I cannot, yet feel that there has been any conscious defection on the part of Mr. Walker. His fatal trip was in asking advice of the enemy. Instead of consulting the Oracle of his Ideal, instead of looking into the library of his own logical brain for right charts of conduct, he consulted the lawyers. And those hucksters in all damnable lies and equivocations had soon so muddled him with their legal magic and mulled ale that he forgot both himself and his cause. Whispering to him all the time: “It is the same thing; there is no change; we are only demonstrating that, the court is making a fool of itself,” they whittled, and shaved down, and greased his convictions till they easily slipped into the pliant snare of legal marriage.
So he has hugged to himself the delusion that he could humbug the law into committing suicide by declaring his form of marriage legal; not perceiving that, if that python ever did swallow his nuptials, it would be after squeezing all the liberty out of them. For our good comrade is so desperate a reformer that, I verily believe, when the “gentleman in black” tells him he is wanted, and takes him to that unfloored abysm where all Lucifer matches are made, he will so earnestly take it into his benevolent pate to indoctrinate that “Father of us all” with the charms of Autonomism, Malthusianism, etc., that said sooty proprietor will vote him the biggest bore in Brimstone Lake, and send him to Heaven for a rest. Even so he is now trying to reform the line.
As a devout Spiritist, I am solemnly of the opinion that Comrade Walker has been “obsessed.” He being a stubborn and faithless materialist, and spiritually unguarded, certain diakka, legal spirits, that hover within the precincts and limbos of the law, have easily infested him, and are bewitching him to his damnation. By all means let him consult some competent medium, and have these daimons exorcised with all needful abracadabra and incantations.
I am against the law. Laws are the voice of government, the expression of arbitrary and tyrannical wills. Regarded as a collection of advisory precepts and commentaries on justice, the common law may be all right, but when enforced because it is late, it is no better than statute law. Away with everything but the defendment of equal liberty; that is all-sufficient.
I am sorry that Walker fooled with the lawyers; that he shriveled his noble soul to tho requirements of their thimblerig; that he did anything but manfully proclaim his right and demand instant release. Appeals to the law are infra dig in Anarchism. But, Comrade Tucker, our good brother in the Church of the Rebellion is not lost; h has simply “fallen from grace”; he “didn’t go for to do it”; he has merely made a bad mistake, and, when the fog clears out of his head, will own it and be with us as staunchly as ever.
I cannot join with you in advising none to aid him. Let people criticise, and advise, and stipulate the use their money shall be put to; but let them help him, for he needs it and is worthsaving. He is at close quarters with the Beast. What matters it if he does not hit it in the right, place, or forgets to hit it at all? If he had not defied it in the first place, he would not now be in its clutches: and, when his wind and his wits return, he will throttle it again with a will.
I tell you, Comrade, E. C. Walker is a noble man, and will yet justify all my confidence in him.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
Grahamville, Florida, November 14, 1886.
[I was considerably astonished when I saw the first indications of Comrade Lloyd’s inclination to endorse Walker’s incomprehensible position, but I felt sure that he was too good an Anarchist to persist in that direction after fairly viewing the whole situation. This excellent letter shows that I was right. I desire to point out to him, however, that, Mr. Walker having seen fit to pursue, in the name of freedom, a course antagonistic to freedom, it is impossible to help him personally without aiding him to injure the cause and make it a fit subject of ridicule. If, in the first place, Mr. Walker, instead of defiantly declaring there would be no compromise, had simply said: “I find myself forced, in order to avoid persecution, to enter upon a course not in accordance with the Anarchistic idea, and in this emergency I personaly ask for the help of my friends,” Liberty would have stoood by him, and could have done so without injuring the cause; but when he says, as he substantially does: “In my contract with Lillian Harman I disclaimed legal marriage; in this matter there shall be no compromise; I claim that this contract was a legal marriage; I claim that I have entered the institution of marriage by one of the doors acknowledged by the law; in order to vindicate the principle of freedom I have placed myself in an institution where I cannot live otherwise than monogamically, however much I may wish to; to establish liberty I have tied myself to a woman and a woman to me so that nothing can separate us except death or the State; I have surrendered no right; if we can only fix this as the status of all men and women who contract to live together, the first step in reform will be achieved; to accomplish this I am suffering persecution; come, then, all ye liberals of whatever school, rally to the defence of liberty!” — when Mr. Walker, I say, gives utterance to this maudlin jumble of contradictions, it is folly to talk of helping him simply. Whoever puts money in Mr. Walker’s purse, stipulate as he may the direction in which the money shall be spent, only enables Mr. Walker to apply other money to the objectionable use,— in other words, joins him in doing mischief. Mr. Walker, in his intentions, may be nobility personified, but, whether he is or not, he is today a practical enemy of liberty, and to help him is to help authority. I fancy, however, that Mr. Lloyd is not as much in favor of helping Mr. Walker now as he was when he wrote the above letter, and that his confidence in him is rapidly approaching the vanishing point. His confidence in the entire staff of “Lucifer,” indeed, must have suffered a severe shock when that paper, after declaring in one issue that it doubtless cost Mr. Lloyd great pain to be forced to criticise his old friends in order to remain true to his ideas, exclaimed in the next (referring to him): Et tu, Brute! and asked him if his course was prompted by considerations of personal safety. — Editor Liberty.]