Liberty Vol. IV. No. 17.
Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
The Science of Society. By Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Cost the Limit of Price: A Scientific Measure of Honesty in Trade as One of the Fundamental Principles in the Solution of the Social Problem.
The Political Theology of Mazzini And The International.
By Michael Bakouine, Member of the International Association of Working-People.
Pinney Struggling with Procrustes.
The Economists and the Labor Problem.
Proudhon and the Woman Question.
“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.
The Knights of Labor have bought a mansion in Philadelphia as permanent headquarters for their high-salaried officials, which is so elegantly fitted out with Wilton carpets, stained-glass windows, mirror-lined walls, old gold satin hangings, plate-glass windows, solid marble wainscoting, etc., that John Swinton calls it. “a palace for the rulers of the order.” In the same issue of his paper that contained its description my eye fell also upon a letter on high life in Washington headed “The ‘Splendid Extravagance’ of Our Elected Servants.”
Dr. Loretta M. Hammond of Kansas City, in an address delivered before the Socialistic Labor Party of that place, quoted the motto which stands at the head of Liberty’s editorial columns, and attributed it to “Proudhon, the celebrated French jurist.” If both were still alive, I don’t know which would feel the greater horror, Proudhon, the jurist, at being held responsible for such a sentiment, or its real author, a mush greater and more celebrated man, Proudhon, the Anarchist, at having his words identified with the State-Socialistic doctrines upheld by Dr. Hammond in her address.
Preacher Pentecost says: “If the despairing laborer kills somebody once in a while whom he thinks is standing in the way of his getting his rights, or turns Anarchist by and by, he is to blame and must be punished, of course, but this infernal system that is crushing him by inches is more to blame.” Must be punished for turning Anarchist, eh? That is, he must be killed or imprisoned for believing and saying that the infernal system is infernal and has no right to exist, and the infernal system must inflict the punishment. Brother Pentecost seems to be a fool. Certainly he knows nothing at all about Anarchy.
“The true artist,” says J. Wm. Lloyd in another column, “cares more for his art and his pleasure in it than for its ulterior object.” This is the old, idealistic, reactionary doctrine of “art for art’s sake,” which has been combatted successfully by men as distinct in type as Ruskin, Proudhon, and Tchernychewsky. That the artist’s first care, well as every other man’s, is his own pleasure I do not deny, but his superiority in his profession is directly proportional to the degree in which he is absorbed by the object of his art instead of by his technical power of execution. Literary expression is an art, and Mr. Lloyd is a literary artist, but I think he will find, If he will examine himself, that, in writing, his first thought and pleasure are not in the perfection of his sentences rhetorically, but in the truth of them,— that is, in their ultimate utility in achieving the objects dearest to him. And this is one of the principal reasons why he is so good an artist and writes so well.
Comrade Lloyd’s song, “The Anarchists’ March,” printed elsewhere, will bear more than one reading; in fact, it cannot be appreciated in less than half a dozen. In consequence of the peculiar metre, the rhythm eludes one at first; but when this is once grasped and the reader gets into the swing, he is more and inore struck by the strength and beauty of the song. Mr. Lloyd wrote the words to fit the music of a Finnish war song. Of this music he says, in a letter to me: “It is full of bugle-notes and the steady roll of the drums, and to me is one of the grandest things I ever heard,— with just enough passion to be strongly stirring, and yet possessing, as its strongest characteristic, an inspiration of deep, steady, unconquerable enthusiasm, making it thoroughly typical of our glorious movement.” I have heard the music, and find Mr. Lloyd’s words no exaggeration; consequently, in accordance with a suggestion made by him, it is my intention to publish the music and English words together, in sheet form, within a month or two.
Old readers of Liberty who remember Comrade Michael Hickey’s report a number of years ago in these columns of the birth of Anarchy in the County Kerry, Ireland, will learn from his letter in this number that the phenomenal agitation then so auspiciously begun has not gone back, but steadily forward. That two young couples in an Irish village should utterly ignore Church and State in the matter of their sexual relations, and live together without even the precaution of an “autonomistic marriage,” and that in this course they should receive the countenance and support of a hundred young people of the neighborhood in defiance of the pulpit boycott ordered by the parish priest, reveals the almost magic power of the Anarchistic idea when once it has gained a serious foothold of the mind. One thing, however, I cannot understand,— namely, why a hundred young people sufficiently rid of superstition to be able to exercise so marked a degree of independence of ecclesiasticism should all have been at church when the priest launched his anathema. Such people are not supposed to be regular in their devotional exercises. Did they have warning of what was coming and so attend church purposely to resent the priest’s impertinence? Or is their presence to be accounted for otherwise? Will Comrade Hickey please explain?
A new paper has been started in England entitled “Jus: A Weekly Organ of Individualism.” It represents the Liberty and Property Defence League,— an organization consisting principally of British noblemen and formed to resist overlegislation, maintain freedom of contract, and combat Socialism,— an organization, in short, which the State Socialists and the Communists dismiss with a sneer as bourgeois. Bourgeois or not, I find much in it that commands my warm approval. In fact, if it shall prove true to its principles, and if its propaganda is to be conducted on the strict line of liberty without mental reservations, all Anarchists must, I think, consider it a more valuable paper than any of the four principal Socialistic journals of England,— “Justice,” “The Commonweal,” “The Anarchist,” and “Freedom.” My misgivings about it are mainly two. The first arises out of the character and station of its backers, so seldom does any good come out of the capitalistic Nazareth. The second relates to its position on the fundamental question of government. Like Spencer, it has little or nothing to say about the most disastrous invasive and restrictive features of government, such as the money and land monopolies, and, again like Spencer, it deals with government simply as invasive from the extent of its sphere and not as invasive in its constitution. In other words, it seems to claim that there are some things which must be done by the body politic, and that these things all people I must be compelled to join in doing. Or, more briefly still, it admits compulsory taxation, between which and State Socialism there is no logical stopping-place. These comments should be qualified by the statement that I have seen but one issue of the paper, No. 8, and that my criticism is founded more upon what is omitted than upon what is said. Perhaps it will be dissipated by more intimate acquaintance. At any rate, it is a pleasure to commend a journal so plucky in its tone, so free from sentimentalism, so ably written, and so well printed. It has twenty-four small pages, and can be had for a year by sending $1.50 to “Editor of Jus, 4 Westminster Chambers, London, S. W., England.” I advise every reader of Liberty to subscribe for it.
Tune: Björneborgarnes Marsch (Finnish War Song).
I. The Advance.
Forward! sons of Liberty,
From polar snows, from tropic sands, from crowded streets, from Nature’s wildness,—
March, O march to mukc men free,
And bear the joys of Freedom’s sway o’er land and sea.
Back! back! cruel tyrant band —
The day has come, your night is done, and Freedom’s joyous sun, with mildness,
Shines for all in every land,
And Freedom’s song, in pulsing waves, shall beat each strand.
Grand is the hope and aim that it us quivers;
Strong in its freshness like a wind from rivers.
Oh! On! Onward then with joy.
Let every heart with courage, strength, and pride beat high.
Wisdom by Justice man delivers;
Reason and Kindness plead, and noble hearts respond.
On, then! On! all who hate a slavish bond
Till white-clad Peace shall reign o’er Earth with olive wand.
II. Advance And Contest.
Charge on! sons of Liberty;
For press and pen and poet’s song, the teacher’s speech and Nature’s voices
Soon shall straighten every knee,
And Freedom’s breath shall stir the leaves on every tree;
Come down! kings from every throne;
The end has come, your crimes are done, and knowledge, while the Earth rejoices,
Freeth all in every zone,
And tocsin bells shall triumphs ring where slaves now moan.
Grandly the music all the world is filling:
Stirring the pulses with its joyance thrilling.
Forward fearlessly, ye brave!
And haste the day when none shall bind and none enslave;
Grasp ye this time while hearts are willing;
Strike for the Jubilee and loosing-time of all:
Tired are men of wormwood and of gall,
Of tears, despair, and pain, and labors ’neath the thrall.
III. Vigilance After Victory.
Watch now for your Liberty!
You giant race, ye noblemen, ye free-born kings and Nature’s bravest,
Sleep not, guard from treachery
These sacred rights and dues ye won so manfully:
Ever, in the days gone by,
Did tyrants shrewd, by force and fraud and tempting bribe, win what ye harvest.
If ye keep a sleepless eye,
A fearless heart, and ready hand them to defy —
Heroes, behold the Glory-rays adorning.
Flowers and dew-drops fair on Freedom’s morning.
Proudly, gladly, pace ye on,
And taste the bliss and triumph grand your arms have won.
Wisdom on guard gives ceaseless warning,
Never again with fear must earnest hearts despond;
Lead on, ye brave, till there is no beyond,
And gentle Peace broods over Earth with yearnings fond.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
The Science of Society. By Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Cost the Limit of Price: A Scientific Measure of Honesty in Trade as One of the Fundamental Principles in the Solution of the Social Problem.
Continued from No. 94.
The preface of a book is always the last thing written, and generally the last thing read. The author is safe, therefore, in assuming that he is addressing, in what he says in this part of his work, hose who are already familiar with the book itself. Availing myself of this presumption, I have a few observations to make of a somewhat practical nature in relation to the effects upon the conduct of the Individual which the acceptance of the principle herein inculcated should appropriately have.
At the first blush, it seems as if the Cost Principle presented the most stringent and inexorable law, binding upon the conscience, which was ever announced,— as if no man desiring to be honest could continue for a day in the ordinary intercourse of trade and pursuit of profit. The degree to which this impression will remain with different persons, upon a thorough understanding of the whole subject, will be different according to their organizations. There are powerful considerations, however, to deter any one from making a martyr of himself in a fruitless effort to act upon the true principle wile living in the atmosphere, and surrounded by the conditions, of the old and false system.
In the first place, it is impossible, in the nature of things, to apply a principle, the essence of which is to regulate the terms of reciprocity, where no reciprocity exists. The Equitist who should attempt to act upon the Cost Principle in the midst of the prevailing system, and should sell his own products with scrupulous conscientiousness at cost, would be wholly unable to obtain the products of others at cost in return; and hence his conduct would not procure Equity. He would at most obtain the wretched gratification of cheating himself knowingly and continuously. There is not space in the few pages of a preface to enter into a fundamental statement of the ethical principles involved in the temporary continuance in relations of injustice forced upon us by those upon whom whatever of injustice we commit is inflicted. The question involved is the same as that of War and Peace. A nation desirous of being at peace with all mankind, and tendering such relations to the world, may, nevertheless, be forced into war by the wanton acts of unscrupulous neighbors. Notwithstanding the over-strained nicety of the sect called Friends, and of non-resistants in such behalf, the common sentiment of enlightened humanity is yet in favor of resistance against unprovoked aggression, while it is at the same time in favor of Universal Peace,— the entire cessation of all War. In like manner, the friends of Equity, the acceptors of the cost principle, do not in any case, so far as I am aware, propose beggaring themselves, or abandoning any positions which give them the pecuniary advantage in the existing disharmonic relations of society, from any silly or overweening deference even for their own principles. They entertain rational and well-considered views in relation to the appropriate means of inaugurating the reign of Equity. They propose the organization of villages, or settlements of persons who understand the principle, and desire to act upon it mutually. They will tender intercourse with “outsiders” upon the same terms, but, if the tender is not accepted, they will then treat with them upon their own terms, so far as it is necessary, or in their judgment best, to treat with them at all. They will hold Equity in one hand and “fight” in the other,— Equity for those who will accept Equity and reciprocate it, and the conflict of wits for those who force that issue. It is not their design to become either martyrs or dupes; martyrdom being, in their opinion, unnecessary, and the other alternative adverse to their tastes.
Still any view of the practical methods of working out the principle which may be here intimated is of course binding upon no one. I state the spirit in which the principle is at present entertained, so far as I know, by those who have accepted it. Every individual must be left free, whether as an inhabitant of the world at large, or of an equitable village, to act under the dictates of his own conscience, his own views of expediency, his own sense of what he can afford to sacrifice in order to abide by the principle rather than sacrifice the principle instead; or, in fine, of whatever other regulating influence he is in the habit of submitting his conduct to. He must be left absolutely free, then, to commit every conceivable breach of the principles of harmonic society. He who is in no freedom to do wrong can never, by any possibility, demonstrate the disposition to do right; besides, whether the absolute or theoretical right is always the practical or relative right, is at least a doubtful question in morals, which each individual must be allowed to judge of solely for himself,– as of every other question of morals and personal conduct whatsoever,– assuming the Cost. Hence, even in the act of infringing one of our circle of principles, the individual is vindicating another,– The Sovereignty of the Individual,– and in the fact of his differing from another, from the majority, or from all others, in the moral character of an act, he is merely illustrating another of the same circle of principles,– namely, Individuality.
It is found to be the most puzzling of all things to those who commence to examine these principles, beset as they are by the fogs of old ideas, that a social reorganization should be proposed without any social compact, the necessity of which has been alike and universally conceded both by Conservatives and Reformers. An illustration may render the matter clear. We do not bring forward a System, a Plan, or a Constitution, to be voted on, adopted, or agreed to, by mankind at large, or by any set of men whatsoever. Nothing of the sort! We point out certain principles in the nature of things which relate to the order of human society; in conforming to which mankind will find their affairs harmonically adjusted, and in departing from which they will run into confusion. The knowledge of these principles is science. It is the same with them as with the principles of Physiology. We teach them as science. We do not ask that they shall be voted upon or applied under pledges. Men cannot make or unmake them. So far as he knows them, and cordially accepts them as truths, he will be disposed to realize them in act. The human mind has a natural appetite for truth. If there are obstacles in the way of their realization, those obstacles will differ with the circumstances of each individual, and the Individual can alone judge of them. Those circumstances may change tomorrow, and then his capacity to act will change. His own appreciation of the subject may change likewise. There is Individuality, therefore, in his own different states at different periods. The man must be bound by no pledges which imply even so much as that he will be himself the same, in any given respect, at any future moment of time. It is the evil of compacts that the compact becomes sacred and the individual profane,— that man is held to be made for the Sabbath and not the Sabbath for man.
Hereupon there is based the claim that these principles constitute in the appropriate and rigid sense The Science of Society. It is the property of science that it does not say “By your leave.” It exists whether you will or no. It requires neither compacts, constitutions, nor ballot-boxes. It is objectively true. It exists in principles and truths. If you understand and conform, well; if not, woe be unto you. The consequences will fall upon you and scourge you. Hence the government of consequences is itself scientific, which no man-made government is. Men have sought for ages to discover the science of government; and lo! Here it is, that men cease totally to attempt to govern each other at all! That they learn to know the consequences of their own acts, and that they arrange their relations with each other upon such a basis of science that the disagreeable consequences shall be assumed by the agent himself.
The Cost Principle
Preliminary. — The Nature and Necessity of a Social Science.
1. The question of the proper, legitimate, and just reward of labor, and other kindred questions, are becoming confessedly of immense importance to the welfare of mankind. They demand radical, thorough, and scientific investigation. Political Economy, which has held its position for the last half century as one of the accredited sciences, is found in our day to have but a partial and imperfect application to matters really involved in the production and distribution of wealth. Its failure is in the fact that it treats wealth as if it were an abstract thing having interests of its own, apart from the well-being of the laborers who produce it. In other words, human beings, their interests and happiness, are regarded by Political Economy in no other point of view than as mere instruments in the production or service of this abstract Wealth. It does not inquire in what manner and upon what principles the accumulation and dispensation of wealth should be conducted in order to eventuate in the greatest amount of human comfort and happiness, and the most complete development of the individual man and woman. It simply concerns itself with the manner in which, and the principles in accordance with which, men and women are now employed, in producing and exchanging wealth. It is as if the whole purposes, arrangements, and order of a vast palace were viewed as mere appendages to the kitchen, or contrivances for the convenience of the servants, instead of viewing both kitchen and servants as subordinate parts of the system of life, gayety, luxury, and happiness which should appropriately inhabit the edifice, according to the design of its projectors.
2. Hence Political Economy is beginning to fall into disrepute as a science (for want of a more extended scope and a more humanitarian purpose), and is liable even to lose credit for the good it has done. The questions with which it deals can no longer be regarded as an integral statement of the subject to which they relate. They are coming to be justly estimated as a part only of a broader field or scientific investigation which has but recently been entered upon; and as being incapable of a true solution apart from their legitimate connections with the whole system of the social affairs of mankind. The subject-matter of Political Economy will, therefore, be hereafter embraced in a more comprehensive Social Science, which will treat of all the interests of man growing out of their interrelations with each other.
3. A criticism somewhat similar to that here bestowed upon Political Economy is applicable to Ethics. It has been the function of writers and preachers upon Morals, hitherto, to inculcate the duty of submitting to the exigencies of false social relations. The Science of Society teaches, on the other hand, the rectification of those relations themselves. So long as men find themselves embarrassed by complicated connections of interest, so that the consequences of their acts inevitably devolve upon others, the highest virtue consists in mutual concessions and abnegation of selfhood. Hence the necessity for Ethics, in that stage of progress, to enforce the reluctant sacrifice, by stringent appeals to the conscience. The truest condition of society, however, is that in which each individual is enabled and constrained to assume, to the greatest extent possible, the Cost or disagreeable consequences of his own acts. That condition of society can only arise from a general disintegration of interests,— from rendering the interests of all as completely individual as their persons. The Science of Society teaches the means of that individualization of interests, coupled, however, with cooperation. Hence it graduates the individual, so to speak, out of the sphere of Ethics into that of Personality,– out of the sphere of duty or submission to the wants of others, into the sphere of integral development and freedom. Hence the Science of Society may be said to absorb the Science of Ethics as it does that of Political Economy, while it teaches far more exactly the limits of right by defining the true relations of men.
4. The Science of Society labors indeed under a serious embarrassment from the fact of its comprehensiveness. The changes which the realization of the principles it unfolds would bring about in the circumstances of society make it differ from matters of ordinary science, in the fact of its immediate and complicated effects upon what may be termed the vested interests of the community. It is difficult for men to regard that as purely a question of science which they foresee is a radical reform and revolution as well. Still there are few persons who do not recognize the fact that there is some subtle and undiscovered cause of manifold evils, lying hid down in the very foundations of our existing social fabric, and which it is extremely desirable should be eradicated by some means, however much they may differ with reference to the instrumentalities through which the amelioration is to be sought for. The demand for a thorough investigation of the subject, and a settlement upon true principles of the relations of labor and capital especially, has come up during the last few years with more prominence than ever before, both in Europe and America, and has given rise to the various forms of Socialism which are now agitating the whole world. The real significance and tendency of Socialism are stated in No. I of this series of publications, entitled, “The True Constitution of Government, in the Sovereignty of the Individual, as the Final Development of Protestantism, Democracy, and Socialism.
5. Indeed, the inquiry into social evils and remedies has not been generally viewed in the light of a science at all, and Reform of all sorts has become distasteful to many among the more intellectual portion of the community, for the reason that it has not hitherto assumed a more strictly scientific aspect. Neither querulous complaints of the present condition of things, nor brilliant picturing of the imagination, nor vague aspirations after change or perfection, satisfy those whose mental constitution demands definite and tangible propositions, and inevitable logical deductions from premises first admitted or established.
6. There is another portion of the community who object to the investigation of all social questions upon nearly opposite grounds. They assume that the moral and social regeneration of mankind is not the sphere of science, but exclusively that of religion,– that the only admissible method of societary advancement is by the infusion of the religious sentiment into the hearts of men, and the rectification thereby of the affections of the individual, and through individuals of mankind at large.
7. If this proposition be reduced to this statement,– that, if the spirit of every individual n a community is right, the spirit of that community, as an aggregate, must be right likewise,– the assertion is a simple truism; but society demands a form as well as a substance, a body no less than a soul; and if that form or body be not a true outgrowth and exponent of the spirit dwelling within, it is affirming too much to say that such a society is rightly constituted. It is the province of science or the intellect to provide the form in which any desire is to be actualized. What Substance is to Form, the Love or Desire is to the intellectual conception of the modes of its realization. Religion deals with the heart or affections; in other words, with the love or desire, which makes up the substance or inherent constituent quality of actions. Science which is born of Wisdom deals with the Forms of action, and teaches that such and such only accord with a given Desire and will eventuate in its realization. The development of the Love or Desire is first in order and first in rank; that of the corresponding Wisdom is nevertheless equally indispensable to the completeness of all that is good and true, in every department of rational being.
8. To illustrate, let us suppose a nation overrun by foreign armies, and its very existence as an independent people threatened, while merely a feeble, heartless, and unorganized resistance is offered. A few patriotic and wise men assemble to consult upon the prospects and the necessities of their country. Immediately a dissension divides them in regard to the cause of their repeated failures to arrest the progress of the enemy. One party asserts that it is a want of military skill, that their country is entirely destitute of the knowledge of tactics and castrametation, which if understood, would be amply sufficient to enable them to display their whole strength, and to make the most desperate successful defense. The other party assumes opposite ground. They affirm that the fault is a want of patriotism among the people. They cite abundant instances to prove that the inhabitants care very little by whom they are governed; that they are, in fine, destitute of that spirit of devotion which is the essence or substance of warlike prowess. Thus divided in views, and jealous upon either side, they waste their time and grow mutually embittered toward each other. At length, after tedious discussions and a long series of acrimonious recriminations, they arrive at the solution in the fact that both parties are right. The people are both destitute of patriotic devotion and of military science. Which, then, is the first want, in order, to be supplied? Clearly the former. Still both are equally essential to the organization of a complete defense. Having accorded in this view, they first disperse themselves as missionaries over the whole country, preaching patriotism. By exciting appeals they arouse the dormant affections of the people for their fatherland, and alarm them for the safety of their wives and little ones. Their efforts are crowned with success. They witness the rising spirit of indignation against the invaders, and of martial heroism on all hands. It spreads from heart to heart,, and throbs in the bosoms of the men, and even of the women and children. At this point, a new evil displays itself. Fathers, husbands, and sons desert their ripening crops and their unprotected families, and rush together, a tumultuous, unarmed mob, clamorous for war. Confusion and distress succeed to apathy. The danger is increased rather than lessened. Famine and pestilence threaten now to be added to the fury of conquerors incensed by irritating demonstrations of a resistance powerless for defense. Then arises the demand for military science. At this point it is the part of the wise men who control the destinies of the people to abandon their missionary labor and assume the character of commanders and military engineers. Preaching is no longer in order. The men who from over-zeal persists in inflaming the minds of the populace, however well-intentioned, may prove the most deadly enemy of his country. Organization, the forming of companies, the drilling of squads, and the construction of forts are now in demand. Desire, the substance, subsists, demanding of Science the true Form of its manifestation.
9. What Patriotism is to the Science of War for the purpose of defense, the religious sentiment of Love is to the true Science of Society. The hearty recognition of human brotherhood, and the aspiration after true relations with God and man, are, at this day, widely diffused in the ranks of society. Christianity has produced its fruit in the development of right affection far beyond what the religious teachers among us are themselves disposed to credit it for. The demand is not now for more eloquence, and touching appeals, and fervent prayers to swell the heart to bursting with painful sympathies for suffering humanity. The time has come when preaching must give away to action, aspiration to realization, and amiable but fruitless sympathetic affections to fundamental investigation and scientific methods. The true preachers of the next age will be the scientific discoverers and the practical organizers of true social relations among men. The religious objection to Social Science is unphilosophical.
10. There is another form in which this objection is sometimes urged by those who claim to understand somewhat the philosophy of progress. They affirm that, if the disposition to do right exist in the Individual or in the community, that disposition will inevitably conduct to the knowledge of the right way; in other words, that Wisdom is a necessary outgrowth of Love; and hence they deduce the conclusion that we need not concern ourselves in the least about discovering the laws of a true social order. The premise of this statement is true, while the conclusion is false. Taken together, it is as if one should assert that the sense of hunger naturally impels men to find the means of subsistence, and hence that no man need trouble himself about food. Let him sit down, quietly relying upon the potency of mere hunger to provide the means of the gratification of his appetite.
11. The very fact of the Socialist agitation of our day, and the continued repetitions in every quarter of the attempt to work out the problem of universal justice and harmony, are the very outgrowth in question of the indwelling desire for truer social relations, and never could have arisen but for the previous existence of that desire. The religionist who denies or ignores this inevitable sequitur from the spirit of his own teachings, is like the insane head that first wills and then disowns the hand that performs.
To be continued.
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. 94.
“And who can, even in a society founded on more just bases than the present society,— who can convince a man educated only in the theory of rights that he ought to keep in the common path and occupy himself with the development of the social design? Suppose he revolts; suppose that, feeling himself the stronger, he says to you: ‘My tendencies, my faculties, call me elsewhere; I have the sacred, inviolable right of developing them, and I place myself at war with all.’ What answer can you give him from the point of view of his own doctrine (that of rights)? What right have you, even being the majority, to impose on him obedience to laws which do not accord with his desires, with his individual aspirations? What right have you to punish him when he violates them? Rights are equal for all individuals: the social community cannot create a single one. Society has more power, but no more rights, than the individual. How, then, will you prove to the individual that he ought to blend his will with the will of his brothers in Country and in Humanity? By the executioner? By the prison? So have done all societies which have ever existed. But this is war, and we wish peace; this is tyrannical repression, and we wish education.
“Education, we have said; and this is the grand word which includes our whole doctrine. The vital question of our century is a question of education. It is not a question of establishing a new order of things by violence; an order of things established by violence is always tyrannical, even when it is better than what it replaces ; it is a question of overturning by force the brutal force which today opposes every attempt at amelioration, and then of proposing to the consent of the nation thus made free to express its will [a fiction!] the order which appears the best [to whom does it appear so? to Mazzini and to his disciples.], and finally of educating men of all kinds [the unfortunates!] so that they may become developed and act in conformity with this order.
“With the theory of rights we can revolt and overturn obstacles [this is something and even much], but not establish, in a strong and durable manner, the harmony of all the elements which compose a Nation. With the theory of happiness, comfort being assigned as the principal aim of life, we shall make egoistical men, worshippers of matter, who will bring the old passions into the new order, and corrupt it in a few months. We must, then, find a doctrine superior to the theory of rights, which guides men towards good, which teaches them constancy in sacrifice, which attaches them to their brothers without rendering them independent either of the idea of a single man or of the force of all. This principle is that of Duty. It is necessary to convince men that, children of one God, they ought to execute here below, on this earth, one and the same Law; that each of them ought to live, not for himself, but for others; that the aim of his life is not to be more or less happy, but to make himself better by making all the others better; that to combat injustice and error for the good of his brothers is not only a right, but a duty... [It is precisely this duty which I am fulfilling now with reference to Mazzini.]
“Italian laborers, my brothers! Understand me rightly. When I say that knowledge of their rights is not sufficient for men in order to accomplish an important and durable amelioration, I do not ask you to renounce these rights I only say that they are but consequences of duties fulfilled, and that we must commence with the duties to arrive at the rights; and when I say that, in assigning happiness, well-being, material interests, as the aim of life, we run the risk of making egoists, I do not mean that you ought not to think of them; I say that material interests, sought alone, and considered not as means only, but as end, always Lead to this deplorable result.... Material ameliorations are essential, and we will light to obtain them; but not because it is of sole consequence to man that he-W well fed and lodged, but because the consciousness of your dignity and your moral development will be impossible so long as your permanent duel against misery shall continue. You work ten and twelve hours a day [either Mazzini is very badly informed, or it does not enter into the economy of his propaganda to appear to know I that the greater part of the Italian proletariat work from fourteen to fifteen hours a day]: how can you find time to educate yourselves? [To let yourselves be educated. Mazzini always speaks of moral education, never of mental instruction and development, which he disdains, and which, like all theologians, he must dread.] The most fortunate among you earn hardly enough to support their families. How I could they find the means to educate themselves?” etc., etc. All that follows proves that Mazzini knows perfectly well the miserable situation of the Italian laborers; he even finishes by saying to them:
“Society treats you without a shadow of sympathy: where could you learn to sympathize with society? You need, then, a change in your material conditions to make it possible for you to develop morally; you need to work less to be able to devote a few hours of your day to the progress of your soul [Mazzini will never say to the development of your mind through science]; you need such reward for your work as will enable you to accumulate savings [in order to become individually rich,— that is, to become in your turn bourgeois exploiters of the labor of others. The economic thought of this poor great theologian, Mazzini, goes no farther; he would like all laborers to become bourgeois, rich and isolated individuals; and he does not comprehend that individual fortunes, even the greatest, are consumed and melt away very quickly when they do not find the means of reproducing themselves, and even of increasing, by the exploitation of the labor of others. Individual riches, hereditary property, constitute precisely the bourgeoisie, and preserve and develop themselves only by the exploitation of the misery of the proletariat. To wish that all proletarians should become bourgeois is to wish that the bourgeois should find no longer at their disposal workingmen forced by hunger to sell them at the lowest possible price that collective work which fertilizes their capital and their property; it is to wish that all the bourgeois should be alike ruined in a very short I time; and then what would ensue? All being equally poor, each remaining isolated in misery and reduced to working for himself, entire society would be ruined, because isolated work is hardly sufficient to nourish a savage tribe. Only collective work creates civilization and riches. This truth once comprehended and admitted,— and he must be a great barbarian in social economy who does not admit it,— there remain only two possible forms of property or of exploitation of social wealth: the present bourgeois form,— that is, the exploitation of this wealth, the product of collective labor, or rather the exploitation of collective labor, by privileged individuals, which is the only true sense of that individual and hereditary property which the generous and popular General Garibaldi takes the attitude of defending today; or the new form, which we sustain against the bourgeoisie and against General Garibaldi himself, because it is the sole and supreme condition of the real emancipation of the proletariat, of all the world,— the collective ownership of the wealth produced by collective labor. But I restore the floor to Mazzini]:
“You need a reward which will tranquillize your soul in regard to the future and which will give you the possibility of purifying it, above all, of every sentiment of reaction, of every impulse of vengeance, of every thought of injustice towards those who have been unjust towards you. You should, then, seek this change, and you will obtain it [if they obtain it, it will be only by their own efforts, by the use of their own organized force, and not by the aid of a few dozen Mazzinians, who will be able to do nothing but paralyze or mislead their efforts; but you should seek it as means, not as end; you should seek it from a sentiment of Duty, not alone as a Right; you should seek it to make yourselves better, not alone to make yourselves materially happy....
“To make yourselves better,— that is what should constitute the aim of your life. You cannot even make yourselves, in any constant and secure way, less unhappy except by making yourselves better. Tyrants would rise by thousands among you, if you fought only in the name of material interests, or of some social organization or other. It matters little that you change organizations, if you yourselves remain infected with the passions and egoism which reign today: organizations are like certain plants which sometimes are poisonous, sometimes remedial, according to the operations of the one who administers them. Good men make all bad organizations good, and bad men make good ones bad.”
* * *
I stop here to establish the profound and completely theological ignorance of Mazzini in everything relating to the social nature of man. Moreover, this ignorance is entirely natural and even necessary. As a theologian, Mazzini must think, and he really does think, that all morality descends on human society from on high, by the revelation of a divine law; whence it follows that society has no inherent or immanent morality,— that is, that, considered apart from this divine revelation, it presents absolute immobility, a mechanical aggregation of human beings without any bond of solidarity between them, for Mazzini ignores and repels as blasphemy natural solidarity,— an unorganized mass of egoists. The moralization of this unhappy human society depends then, according to Mazzini, on the religious and moral amelioration of the individuals of which it is composed, independently of all the real conditions of their existence, and of the organization, political as well as economic, of society. What is of most importance is that the superior men and classes who are called to govern society, a nation, should be profoundly religious and moral. Then all is saved, thinks Mazzini,— for these men and these classes administer to the multitude the religious and moral education which will moralize them in their turn. This is not more difficult than that, and one can understand perfectly that, with this theory, Mazzini, notwithstanding his undeniable preference for the republican form, can say without moving a muscle, and without even suspecting the frightful and fatal sophism contained in his words, that good men can make a bad social organization excellent, and that, on the other hand, bad men can make the best organization in the world frightful, it being accepted that the goodness or the wickedness of men is entirely independent of the organization of society and dependent solely on their individual religion.
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.
Pinney Struggling with Procrustes.
It is the habit of the wild Westerner, whenever he cannot answer a Bostonian’s arguments, to string long words into long sentences in mockery by certain fancied peculiarities of the Boston mind. Editor Pinney of the Winsted “Press” is not exactly a wild Westerner, but he lives just far enough beyond the confines of Massachusetts to enable him to resort to this device in order to obscure the otherwise obvious necessity of meeting me on reason’s ground. His last reply to me fruitlessly fills two-thirds of one of his long columus with the sort of buncombe referred to, whereas that amount of space, duly applied to solid argument, might have sufficed to show one of us in error. Whatever the characteristics of Boston intellect, generically speaking, in the particular Bostonian with whom he is now confronted Mr. Pinney would see, were he a student of human nature, an extremely hard-headed individual, about whose mind there is nothing celestial or supermundane or aesthetic or aberrant, and whose only dialectics consists in searching faithfully for the fundamental weakness of his adversary’s position and striking at it with swift precision, or else, finding none such, in acknowledging defeat. But human nature — at least, Boston human nature — being a puzzle to Mr. Pinney, he mistakes me for a quibbler, a disputatious advocate, and a lover of logomachy. Let us see, then, by whom logomachy was first employed in this discussion.
In an unguarded moment of righteous impatience with the folly of the prohibitionists Mr. Pinney had given utterance to some very extreme and Anarchistic doctrine. I applauded him, and ventured to call his attention to one or two forms of prohibition other than that of the liquor traffic, equally repugnant to his theory of liberty and yet championed by him. One of these was the tariff. He answered me that “there is no analogy between prohibition and the tariff; the tariff prohibits no man from indulging his desire to trade where he pleases.” Right here logomachy made its first appearance, over the word “prohibit.” I had cited two forms of State interference with trade, each of which in practice either annoys it or hampers it or effectively prevents it, according to circumstances. This analogy in substantial results presented a difficulty, which Mr. Pinney tried to overcome by beginning a dispute over the meaning of the word “prohibit,” — a matter of only formal moment so far as the present discussion is concerned. He declared that the tariff is not like the prohibitory liquor law, inasmuch as it prohibits nobody from trading where he pleases. A purely nominal distinction, if even that; consequently Mr. Pinney, in passing it off as a real one, was guilty of quibbling.
But I met, Mr. Pinney on his own ground, allowing that, speaking exactly, the tariff does not prohibit, but adding, on the other hand, that neither does the so-called prohibitory liquor law; that both simply impose penalties on traders, in the one case as a condition, in the other as a consequence, of carrying on their trades. Hence my analogy still stood, and I expected it to be grappled with. But no. Mr. Pinney, in the very breath that he protests against quibbling, insists on his quibble by asking if prison discipline is, then, so lax that convicted liquor sellers can carry on their business within the walls, and by supposing that I would still think prohibition did not prohibit, if the extreme penalty for liquor selling were decapitation. I do not dispute the fact that a man cannot carry on the liquor business as long as he is in prison, nor can Mr. Pinney dispute the fact that a man cannot sell certain foreign goods in this country as long as he cannot raise the money to pay the tariff; and while I am confident that decapitation, if rigorously enforced, would stop the liquor traffic, I am no less sure that the effect on foreign traffic would be equally disastrous were decapitation to be enforced as a tax upon importers. On Mr. Pinney’s theory the prohibitory liquor laws could be made non-prohibitory simply by changing the penalties from imprisonments to fines. The absurdity of this is evident.
But, if I were to grant that Mr. Pinney’s quibble shows that there is no analogy between a prohibitory liquor law and a revenue tariff (which I do not grant, but deny), it would still remain for him to show that there is no analogy between a prohibitory liquor law and such a tariff as he favors,— one so high as to be absolutely prohibitory and yield no revenue at all,— or else admit his inconsistency in opposing the former and not the latter. He has not attempted to meet this point, even with a quibble.
One other point, however, he does try to meet. To my statement that his position on the abstract question of liberty involves logically opposition to government in all its functions he makes this answer:
Between puritan meddling with a man’s domestic affairs, and necessary government regulation of matters which the individual is incompetent to direct, yet which must be directed in order to secure to the individual his rightful liberty, there is a distance sufficiently large to give full play to our limited faculties.
But who is to judge what government regulation is “necessary” and decide what matters “the individual is incompetent to direct”? The majority? But the majority are just as likely to decide that prohibition is necessary and that the individual is incompetent to direct his appetite as that a tariff is necessary and that the individual is incompetent to make his own contracts. Mr. Pinney, then, must submit to the will of the majority. His original declaration, however, was that despotism was despotism, whether exercised by a monarch or a majority. This drives him back upon liberty in all things. For just as he would object to the reign of a monarch disposed to administer affairs rationally and equitably simply because he was a monarch, so he must object to the reign of a majority, even though its administration were his ideal, simply because it is a majority. Mr. Pinney is trying to serve; both liberty and authority, and is making himself ridiculous in the attempt.
Samples of Georgism.
Henry George says in his paper that the bill making it unlawful for a congressman to be a railroad attorney “ought to be passed, and public opinion should demand the passage of a similar bill in every State legislature.” In the same issue of the “Standard” Mr. George shows that the saviours of society, to which class the lawyers belong, have no respect at all for the law. He tells us that a lot of club men attended a cock fight in a Fifth Avenue mansion, in defiance of law; that the congressmen rushed through a cable railway bill for the benefit of a pool in which they are interested, although the law says a congressman shall not vote on matters in which he is financially interested; that the national banks are suspected of loaning money illegally; that New Jersey legislators are resorting to revolutionary tactics; and that, “when a big office is in view, the respect of the political saviours of society for law and order loses all restraining power.” Mr. George also says of a bill in the New York legislature prohibiting combinations to increase the price of food products: “Similar laws already exist, and no addition to their number can do any good so long as any political party remains in power that looks to the money of the wealthy men and corporations for its hope of success.”
It is evident that Mr. George knows that men cannot be made honest by law, and that the law-making class is the first to ignore statutory prohibitions and commands when it can find pleasure or profit in so doing. Then why does he say the railroad attorney bill ought to be passed? The railroad attorneys would find a way to evade such a law, and he knows it. He knows, too, that it doesn’t make any difference what political party is in power. Mr. George is not consistent, and I doubt if he has any desire to see the defects in his political theories, or to acknowledge any truth that his followers would not relish. He would rather be Henry George than be right.
Going to Pieces on the Rocks.
Some of Henry George’s correspondents have been pestering him a good deal lately with embarrassing as to what will become, under his system, of the home of a man who has built a house upon a bit of land which afterwards so rises in value that he cannot afford to pay the taxes on it. Unable to deny that such a man would be as summarily evicted by the government landlord as is the Irish farmer in arrears by the individual landlord, and yet afraid to squarely admit it, Mr. George has twisted and turned and doubled and doged, attempting to shield himself by all sorts of irrelevant considerations, until at last he is reduced to asking in a rejoinder if this argument has not a “great deal of the flavor of the Georgia deacon’s denunciation of abolitionists because they wanted to deprive the widow Smith of her solitary ‘nigger’, her only means of support.” That is, Mr. George virtually asserts that the claim to own a human being is no more indefensible than the claim of the laborer to own the house he has built and to the unincumbered and indefinite use of whatever site he may have selected for it without dispossessing another. The editor of the “Standard” must have been reduced to sore straits when he resorted to this argument. With all his shuffling he has not yet escaped, and never can escape, the fact that, if government were to confiscate land values, any man would be liable to be turned out of doors, perhaps with compensation, perhaps without it, and thus deprived, maybe, of his dearest joy and subjected to irreparable loss, just because other men had settled in his vicinity or decided to run a railroad within two minutes’ walk of his door. This in itself is enough to damn Mr. George’s project. That boasted craft, Land Nationalization, is floundering among the rocks, and the rock of individual liberty and the inalienable homestead has just made an enormous hole in its unseaworthy bottom which will admit all the water necessary to sink it.
Keep in the Swim.
One of the most important rules of life which Anarchists can put before themselves is, Keep away from one another. Although the injunction is to be construed, not rigorously, but in a comparative way. One frequently meets with the proposition from some enthusiastic Anarchist that it would be pleasant profitable, and a great example to the surrounding community for a number of Anarchists to get together, live near one another, form a sort of revolutionary, cooperative circle. However pleasant and beneficial such a scheme might be to those directly concerned, to the cause in general it would certainly be most harmful. The best thing for the spread of Anarchy and for making people look upon it with consideration is for Anarchists to keep somewhat aloof from one another. That is, they should not attempt, in the least, to segregate themselves, but should mingle as much as they possibly can with the rest of the community. And they should endeavor not to provoke criticism or remark, or cause themselves to be pointed out as a distinct and peculiar race. Neither is it necessary, or even well, for them to make ostentatious parade of their beliefs. It is needful for them to be perfectly sure in their own minds just what they believe, just, what principles they accept and what reject, and thereby regulate their actions to the satisfaction of their own consciences. It does not seem to me the proper or the right thing to preach Anarchy — or anything else — in and out of season. When there is the slightest chance of doing any good by speaking, or when to keep silence is denying your faith, speak. At other times it seems to me better not to say too much. Why? Because this is the only way in which one can make one’s words of any weight in favor of beliefs that are now regarded by the majority of people with horror. They can be made to regard those beliefs with the consideration they would accord to any other new theory only by seeing the sane and upright lives and quiet, unostentatious demeanor of people who live by those principles and with whom they constantly associate.
As far as I have personally known the believers in Anarchy, they have lived after this style. But as our numbers increase, even slowly, the temptation will come more and more to draw away from the world a little, to get together and cooperate in some way. And it is a temptation, in whatever way, shape, or form it comes, to be put sternly aside. For with the very slightest drawing away from the rest of the community, we lose just that much chance of converting somebody, or of inclining the community to look graciously upon our theories.
Mingle with the rest of the world just as much and as widely as possible, do not make yourself conspicuous on account of Anarchistic beliefs, but talk Anarchy directly when it will do good and indirectly — that is, against more law, politics, injustice, interference with personal rights, and so on — whenever appropriate, and live as nearly as possible, but not ostentatiously, an Anarchistic life; these, I think, are the ways in which the average Anarchist can be of the most benefit.
F. F. K.
The methods pursued by District Assembly 40 of the Knights of Labor in the conduct of the recent strike have driven Mayor Hewitt and divers other capitalistic publicists into a state of frenzy, so that they now lose no opportunity to frantically declare that one set of men must not be permitted to deprive other sets of men of the right to labor. This is a white-bearded truth, but, when spoken in condemnation of the Knights of Labor for ordering members in one branch of industry to quit work for the purpose of strengthening strikers in another branch by more completely paralyzing business, it is given a tone of impertinence more often characteristic of callow juvenility than of venerable old age. I can’t see for my life whose liberty is encroached upon by such a procedure. Certainly not that of the men ordered to quit, because they joined the Knights, a voluntary organization, for certain express purposes, of which this was one, and, when they no longer approve it, can secede from it and then work when and where they please. Certainly not, on the other hand, that of the employers who thus lose their workmen, because, if it is no invasion of liberty for the individual workman to leave his employer in obedience to any whim whatsoever, it is equally no invasion of liberty for a body of workmen to act likewise, even though they save no grievance against their employer. Who, then, are deprived of their liberty? None. All this outcry simply voices the worry of the capitalists over the thought that laborers have learned one of their own tricks,— the art of creating a corner. The policy of District Assembly 49 (whether wise or foolish is another question) was simply one of cornering labor, which is much easier to justify than cornering capital, because the cornered labor is withheld from the market by its rightful owners, while the cornered capital is withheld by men who never could have obtained it except through State-granted privilege to extort and rob.
M. Harman and George S. Harman, publishers of “Lucifer,” were recently arrested, and are now under bonds for trial, on a charge of circulating obscene literature, the specific literature in question being an article which appeared in “Lucifer” many months ago. Inasmuch as no indications have yet come to the surface of any intention on the part of the Harmans to set up a defence involving abandonment or compromise of the Anarchistic principle now wantonly violated in their persons, Liberty cordially counsels cooperation with them in all well-considered methods of offering passive resistance to the State in its consummation of this particular act of invasion and outrage.
Preacher Pentecost of Newark, speaking of the troubles of labor, says: “It looks as if there will be a dark day if no relief comes. What is the remedy? Nobody knows. There is not a man on this green earth who knows the remedy?” Mr. Pentecost is very much mistaken. I know the remedy, and so does every Anarchist. It is Liberty.
Mr. Lloyd’s Right-About-Face.
I do not imagine that any long reply is needed to Comrade Lloyd’s last article directed against my position. The readers have doubtless observed how painfully he struggled and tried to appear to be keeping up the tight with the same rigor and confidence with which he plunged into it, although in reality he completely surrendered his original stronghold and not only allowed me to subjugate it and bring it under the dominion of logical reasoning, but actually placed himself at my side. For my part, I assure my good friend that the thought of his being under any obligation to me for any slight service my humble effort at giving his very bright intellect an impulse in the direction of sound philosophical reasoning may have rendered him never was considered serious or consequential, and that, fully expecting him to perceive his error and correct it after the same was pointed out, I was not in the least surprised at the evidence of the marked progressive change in his ideas furnished by his second reply to me. Indeed, I should have been much more likely to be surprised if he had taken the other course and had persisted in maintaining the original view and defending it against me. I think it extremely unfortunate that Mr. Lloyd felt the necessity of obscuring the issue and confusing it by the introduction of some irrelevant matters, for his apparently innocent and charming talk about “missing links” culminated in a grossly unjust charge that I favor dynamite as a means of reforming society,— a monstrosity which, if really held by me, would unquestionably reveal an alarming lack of sense and brains in my spiritual ego. This injustice could not have been intentional on Mr. Lloyd’s part, but, on the other hand, it is equally improbable that he could no misconceive my position as to honestly believe that I propose to force Anarchy down the throats of the people while ninety-nine of every hundred cling to authority and neither know nor desire the new life.
What, originally, was the issue between us? A brief review of the discussion may fittingly and appropriately constitute the main part of my closing argument. It will be remembered that in the course of a criticism of E. C. Walker’s superficial and thoughtless talk about the beauties of Neo-Malthusianism, I expressed the opinion that the State must be overthrown and equality of opportunities, coupled with the liberty of exercising and improving them, secured to the people before any real progress can be made possible in either their material or intellectual existence; that no general and permanent cure is within our reach, and that nothing can be done in the here and the now except work of a destructive nature. This revolutionary language was more than my gentle, vice-reforming, and purity-and-morality-loving comrade could stand. He determined to fight me. In direct opposition to my views, he took the ground that Liberty, like charity, should begin at home, that vice must first he thoroughly reformed, that the invasion of others is not half as outrageous a crime as the unpardonable sin of self-invasion, and that our first step to freedom is the reforming away of our personal habits. All these assertions resting upon no more solid basis than one old, much-abused truism, I ventured to question the wisdom of my adversary’s policy in engaging in a battle without examining the weapons to be used, and I showed hint how entirely unfit his were for use in modern warfare. My endeavor to make him a better fighter and more than penny-wise seems to have proved even more successful than his grandmother’s exertions, for there is no trace of those happy sayings and profound moral teachings in his last reply. He admits that not “all men must be reliably wise before freedom can be realized,” but that a sufficient number of self-emancipated ones must cooperate for self-protection before anything of a practical nature can be done, which I never denied, though I do not agree that this number must constitute a majority or even an equality. Still claiming that a cure can be commenced under the present conditions, he, however, explains that the cure consists in “learning to state social problems correctly.” In short, he now finds only a difference of methods between us, and alleges that I favor violence, while he preaches education and peaceful means. To comment on this I hardly need to say much. It is sufficient to remind Mr. Lloyd that such an inference is not warranted by the facts. I merely insisted upon the absolute necessity of abolishing the State and changing the conditions of social and industrial relations in order to create the opportunities of individual improvement and societary progress. When a strong and intelligent minority, standing on Anarchistic ground, opens fire on the Archistic minority,— for the large mass of the people are purely passive and follow the victorious side,— there will be a short struggle and a decisive conquest for Liberty. What we now need is the conversion of tills intelligent minority, and, though probably not yet one-hundredth of what it must be on the day of the battle, we are now on its ere, and, if Comrade Lloyd and others only stick to the plumb-line and do some helpful work rather than talk silly and sentimental stuff about vice-reform, this minority will be very rapidly with us.
Anarchy in the County Kerry.
My Dear Mr. Kelly:
It being almost an age since I had the pleasure of writing to you, I look upon myself as a very bad correspondent. I shall not be so neglectful in future.
Yours of the 8th and the first number of Liberty’s “Proudhon Library” duly received. I have also to return most sincere thanks for mailing so many copies of Liberty regularly every fortnight, Ruskin’s “Letters to Workingmen,” Fowler’s admirable “Sun,” etc.
The true state of affairs in Ireland cannot, as you say, be learned from the distorted pictures drawn in newspapers by priests and parliamentary humbugs. These “guiding” (?) luminaries would fain make the world believe that they can lead the people ad arbitrium along the time-worn ruts of constitutionalism forever; but, believe me, a reaction has set in, and, if I am not very much mistaken, a period will be put to this organized band of self-interested dictators,— shameless, brazen, self-constituted, axe-griuding parasites, who feed fat upon whatever can be snatched from the omnivorous maw of landlordism.
Natural laws and the force of circumstances have reduced rents in Ireland by nearly fifty per cent., and very likely these agencies will continue at work until no margin will be left for the payment of one penny of this odious tribute.
The “No-Rent Manifesto” (through inability to pay) has been raised at Glenbeigh in the County of Kerry, Mitchels-town in the County of Cork, and some other places. I know cases where rents have been reduced by seventy-five per cent., and farmers, for the reasons already given, could not pay and allowed themselves to be evicted. It is to be hoped that these valiant and copperless “No-Rent Manifesto” patriots, like ᴁsop’s hares and asses, may he turned to some good account.
The affair of Dr. McGlynn being captured by George and getting himself “suspended” will be utilized by the author of “Progress and Poverty” in helping to advertise his latest tissue of chattering nonsense. I am very glad that you have throttled the politico-romancer’s “plan” so completely in the columns of Liberty.
I felt very sorry to see how Henry Appleton thought fit to break away — meteor-like — from his Anarchistic brothers. Perhaps he may see in the distance something more beautiful than Anarchy,— something that the great Proudhon could not conceive! It is to be hoped that “Honorius” (X) will once again fall into line with renovated energy. Seymour of London has turned his penny-whistle, nicknamed “The Anarchist,” against us. I have not seen your article published against him at the time.
But in vain doth Liberty invoke
The spirit to vile bondage broke,
Or lift the neck that courts the yoke.
Walker’s ease is the worst of all. He has ignominiously capitulated before the majesty of that greatest of criminals,— “law.” I thought no truly great and good man ever went to prison who was not improved by it, but it is to be regretted that Walker outside and Walker inside prison walls are not synonymous terms. I am happy to tell you that the couple who joined hearts and hands here some time ago with out the high permission of Church or State are in flourishing health and as happy as possible, and another pair have made a similar venture and with equal success. The parish priest, of course, came out in an altar speech vomiting fire and brimstone, and warning “his flock” to hold no intercommunication with such God-forsaken wretches. About one hundred young men and several young women left the church in a body, which completely spiked his ecclesiastical artillery.
At an eviction which took place in this district recently an inspector of police picked up a few copies of Liberty, folded them carefully, and put them into his packet. I have been placed under arrest myself several times for being suspected of taking part in “Moonlighting.” Sergeant McDonagh, then stationed at Mount Collins, County Limerick, charged me with shooting at a landlord man named Fitzgerald, but failed to convict. This McDonagh it was who arrested P. N. Fitzgerald of London.
All the books, pamphlets, etc., entrusted to me have been carefully distributed among Liberty’s friends. Hoping you’ll convey to the editors of Liberty an expression of our unbounded confidence in them, I beg to remain,
Brosna, County Kerry, Ireland, January 27, 1887.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 94.
“Wooden soldiers!” quizzed the jovial Irishman, showing his white and laughing teeth, which could bite as well. “He will not break them, however, before we have destroyed ours,— the infernal Mob, the Ancient Britons, the whole set, all the rest of the goods which King George will send us.”
The tardy were still coming in, arriving from a great distance, and Treor presented them to the Bunclodyans who did not know them; they made room for them by the fire, gathered about them, and almost piled themselves up on each other.
They especially crowded around the people from the barony of Shemaker. Accustomed from their childhood to hunt game in the marshes and sea-birds in the rough season, the skin of their tanned faces and hands, their caps, which fell over their eyes, and their thick beards gave them a savage appearance which rather frightened the women. They were extraordinary shots, from whom the English would hear before long, and Treor cited instances of their marksmanship which surpassed in skill anything imaginable.
Paddy finished his distribution.
“A violin, Mr. Treor!” cried a rosy-cheeked boy, offering the instrument to the old man and begging him to play, since he knew so well, with his magic bow, how to make them sing.
“Another time!” he responded, counting his guests with a glance.
And, finding every one present, he invited his granddaughter to lead away the children, who were at first refractory, having begun their games, covered tables and chairs with their toys, and organized matches.
Vainly the young girl held out to them the favorite sin of children of their age, gluttony, the enticing promise of a good repast: a roast goose — lean and tough — and cakes of all kinds, dry, frosted, with cream, fruit tarts, which awaited them in the other room, where they could amuse themselves more comfortably, running, shouting, raising Cain, and disturbing no one else.
They declared they were not hungry, and one of them stated the reason why he had no appetite.
Had not Mr. Treor just said in the church what is repeated every day,— that in Ireland more than half the people do not eat?
“Well!” concluded the child, “we have just eaten supper; let the goose and the cakes be given to those whose stomachs are pinched.”
They yielded, however, and, when they had disappeared, the host said:
“Now we only lack Sir Harvey.”
“Here he is!” said the agitator, appearing and greeting the assembly.
And they bolted the door, while the groups stepped back respectfully that he might advance.
But, though very dignified, he was at the same time very simple.
Familiarly, he offered his hands that they might take them. Many hesitated, recalling his crucifixion, which he seemed no longer to remember; and, when they explained to him the reason of this abstention, he said:
“Yes, the sores are still a little sensitive, but one does not stop at suffering so slight when it is a question of grasping friends’ hands; and I ought to retain the memory of this torture only to punish the author, remembering that any of my brothers might have endured it in my place, and also to thank the devoted woman who cared for me and whose dreadful grief afflicts me as profoundly as if ties of close relationship united us.”
He looked for Edith, who, having followed the troop of little ones, was with them in the other room; but he interposed when they started to disturb her; in the midst of these little ones, won by their contagious gayety, she doubtless forgot for an instant her overwhelming misery; so he immediately asked for news of the country.
“Excellent. The enthusiasm in the cause of the rebellion only grows. Their sole fear was that it might not be restrained till the signal for the explosion.”
And Harvey, applauding, informed them that they would not have to wait long for this signal. The English had just suffered a formidable repulse in the neighborhood of Dublin, and in the very outskirts of the rebellious city. In consequence of the defeat, under the shock of the surprise and the anguish, they comprehended that the insurrection of the capital was the fire to the powder whose train would shortly flame from one end of the country to the other; and they feared lest they might be unable to recross the sound, especially as at that very time a French fleet had been sighted, borne over the ocean by a favorable wind to the aid of United Ireland.
“Long live France!” cried Paddy.
What imprudence! They hushed him, notwithstanding each one’s wish to imitate him in the joy which they all felt over the news, rousing in their souls an impatient eagerness for the contest.
But they checked all manifestation,— partly through deference, not to interrupt Harvey, and partly through curiosity to learn the rest.
“A complete fleet,” continued the agitator: “fifteen three-deckers, twenty frigates, six transport-ships, and fifteen thousand men to land.”
“Which means assured, indisputable, glorious victory, with what we shall ourselves do.”
“Hoche commands the expedition.”
“In that case, Ireland is free,” said several at once, tossing their caps in the air.
“And the landing-place?” asked some one.
“The bay of Cork.”
“And Newington here!” murmured Edith.
She stood like a statue of dark despair framed in the doorway between the two rooms, nd spoke so loud that she would have been heard if a warm murmur of satisfaction had not been raised at the very moment, at the news that the landing of the brave Frenchmen would take place in the vicinity and at the thought of being favorably situated to assist them, the first to welcome the soldiers and sailors of the friendly Republic, and also the first to use gun and pike in their company.
Their tongues began to unloose, the enthusiasm could no longer be pent up; they exchanged nervous grasps of the hand, there were gleams in the eyes which saw at the horizon, coming under full sail, the expected vessels, and their joy overflowed when Bagenel Harvey’s information was completed with the date when the French forces would set foot on Irish soil.
“Day after tomorrow, according to the calculations!” said he, amid cheers which they could no longer restrain and which no one thought of checking.
Even Harvey was pleased with this frenzy; it seemed to him necessary on the eve of decisive hostilities, and, far from recalling them to circumspection, he did not fear to excite them still more.
“Bravo!” he exclaimed. “So far I have enjoined upon you a barren resignation, in order to deceive the enemy, lull, its vigilance to sleep, and impose a check upon its cruel practices, upon its ferocity. High hearts now, and your hands on your swords, on your guns; a pike in the hands of a patriot is worth a hundred times the most unerring weapon handled by a hireling, even though an intrepid defender of an unjust cause.”
“We are ready!” they cried on all sides.
“The English soldier fights against you in obedience to the impious order of chiefs who are the rascally lackeys of an imbecile king,” continued the agitator; “he fights for the satisfaction of beastly instincts excited in him by the leaders of those troops of brigands which pillage your dwellings and lust after your wives and your daughters.
“Yours it shall be to recover the soil of which the thieves have dispossessed you. Formerly you reigned as masters over this corner of the earth where you were born; it nourished you; now you are slowly dying in it of want, when famine does not mow you down on the stones of the highways, there to lie unburied, the prey of unclean birds and loathsome beasts. Water this soil with the blood of the spoilers; there will spring up an abundant harvest to surfeit the appetite which has been accumulating during the centuries in which your stomachs have clamored with implacable hunger!”
The applause redoubled, though more soberly expressed in order not to interrupt the orator, who continued:
“No, do not delude yourselves with the thought that the oppressor ever will be moved to pity. Pity would disturb his digestion. He hastens it by hunting through your meagre harvests, trampling without restraint in fruitful seasons upon the growing ears. One does not find fortune in a horse’s footsteps; under the hoofs of theirs lies ruin!”
All had suffered continually more or less from these excesses of the unters, who, in a gallop of their whole band over a field anxiously cultivated, ravaged the hope of harvests and left them a prey to absolute privation, constraining them, that they might not die, to expatriate themselves to beg in the cities, to exile themselves in England where their daughters, their sisters, were hired as servants, unless, little by little, receiving no wages, they finally sank into the mire.
Harvey knew how to touch a sensitive chord, as bitter tones of assent proved to him together with the contractions of faces growing wild, and he resumed his speech, passing in review the whole of the facts and monstrous deeds of these daily tyrants, retracing the picture of their crimes, recapitulating the series of cruelties with which they had soiled themselves more recently, and portraying in advance all the horrors, all the ignominies, of which they would be guilty in the near future, if they were not finished with at once, if they were not reduced to powerlessness to injure, if death, which walked by their side as a docile servant, were not forced to turn its blows against them without pity, without remission, until the sigh of the last one should be exhaled in the wind of the trumpets sounding deliverance.
Hurrahs broke forth, filling the house, and Paddy went out to look about in the neighborhood, returning to advise them to hush their clamors which were reverberating to the devil and which must have already excited the suspicions of the soldiers if, sitting at the tables before their own feasts, the noise of their jaws chewing the food, and of their glasses falling on the table, had not prevented them from hearing.
Edith shrugged her shoulders. Fine precautions when the Duke, in his secret nook, was not losing a word of what was said aloud. Or even in an undertone. What a pity! And she treated Paddy with a kind of disdain at the thought that he should search outside, and that his scent did not reveal to him Newington’s hiding-place. An enemy, in the very midst of them! Is he not to be smelt, then, like a wild beast?
At the same time she shivered with fear whenever Neill or any one else approached too near the hiding-place, or looked in that direction; and she conceived the idea of going to station herself in such a way as to conceal it; but then, might not this, on the contrary, draw their attention in that direction? She abandoned her project; moreover, she would have lacked the strength to execute it. Her stiff legs would not move, and her arms, when she tried to stir them, would not separate from her body, which seemed to be fastened to the floor.
Was paralysis seizing her, then? No locomotion, no movement; would dumbness follow? She tried to pronounce a word and did not succeed, her jawbones rusted, her cheeks rigid, and in her seemingly metallized palate her tongue petrified and heavier than an ingot of lead.
And at that very instant a remorse more tormenting than ever seized her, urged her to keep silence no longer, to reveal the presence of the dreadful spy.
Sir Harvey was now giving instructions; King George’s regiments, in a hurried march, doubling, tripling their rations, travelled day and night, by foot and horse, and, in seized vehicles,— carriages or wagons,— were being transported from a hundred different points, north, east, west, and south, towards the bay of Cork to drive back the landing troops. Artillery rolled along all the roads to be ranged in batteries on the heights commanding the harbor and to bombard the relief ships, dismast them, and sink them with their garrisons.
Well, then, it was important to take possession of these heights, as quickly as possible, without delay, to guard them, to fortify them, and, behind the improvised ramparts, to annihilate, as fast as they approached, regiments of the line, foot-soldiers, cavalry, artillery, all the reinforcements.
“Yes, yes, at once, let us go!” said all, with one voice.
“Good!” said Harvey, “let us separate; in half an hour, re-enter quietly your several houses; then a general rendezvous, by groups, at the oak of the Virgin.”...
“Silence!” imposed the hollow voice of Edith.
Stammering, the widow brought out the word in two fragments, her mouth distorted, and, with a superhuman effort, loosening her arms, which opened by jerks, and then only half way.
To be continued.
My good “father in Israel” and Anarchism, Edgeworth, makes me the subject of gentle criticism in No. 89.
Yes, Father Lazarus, I would indeed moralize all things if I could, for, with me, to moralize simply means to cause to produce more happiness. To that you cannot object, for I think I am safe in claiming you and all reasoning Anarchists as disciples of endemonism. Therefore I would certainly like to “show how virtuous, how evolutionary, how Anarchistic, it is to moralize passion and” — there I stop; it may or it may not be, according to circumstances, all these, to “not multiply.”
Considered merely as an economical question, I take very little interest in fewer children. Be they more or less, the “system” will grind them equally fine. I am not sure but “more and better children “ would be as good a war cry as any, were such a consummation possible; but more brats, merely, may, and probably will, mean only more beggars, more slaves, more fools, more “hands” for the masters. One sound, clear-headed, daring, self-free man is worth more as an evolutionary and revolutionary factor than myriads of these. Yarros does well to call me “penny-wise,” if not “pound-foolish,” for, could I but moralize the pence of passion, I should feel safe that the pounds of population would moralize themselves,— would be already moralized.
You claim, comrade, that constraint aiming at development of greater faculty is not self-restraint. Why not? As I understand it, that is just what self-restraint means,— the constraint (acting through self) of superior attraction upon self, in such a manner that inferior faculties are repressed, or ignored, in order that more fitting facilities may develop. If I repress fear in order to develop courage, I use self-restraint, do I not? Even so do I, when I repress passion in order to be a greater “artist in love.” You will not deny that the artist, the sculptor, when he moulds the bronze and chisels the stone, puts restraint upon the metal and the marble. And, when the artist and the marble are both parts of one self, that restraint becomes self-restraint, even though aiming at development. In the popular acceptation, self-restraint always means restraint of some self-function not conducive to happiness, in order that some other self-function more conducive to happiness — that is, more moral — might have greater development. If more conducive to happiness, more developing, then necessarily more for liberty for the individual, more evolutionary, more Anarchistic. I contradict not your billy-goat and bull witnesses; vegetarianism is conducive to both passion and prolificacy, I think.
I would not make youth ashamed of its passions; I would merely make it ashamed of ignorant, unhappiness-producing passion, just as I join Miss Kelly in trying to make Anarchists ashamed of bombs as agents of moral revolution.
“Artists in love,” — that is a “happy saying,” worthy of my classic grandmother. That is just the keynote of my ideal harmony, exactly what I wish to produce; but if a man would be an artist, he must be able to stop his brush when he reaches the penciled margin, not daub paint across the whole canvas; and that ability to stop means cultured self-restraint, means moralized passion.
A man makes a poor artist whose sole desire is to make his art produce food; and, likewise, a man makes a poor lover whose sole desire in love is to make that love beget offspring.
The true artist cares more for his art and his pleasure in it than for its ulterior object.
Why do you speak of “venal love”? You are too indiscriminate. Love cannot be bought or sold. It positively refuses to flow in the channels of trade. Yon play into the hands of the marriageists, for, if love can he transferred, like merchandise, marriage vows are valid. Passion is love in the rude: Love is moralized passion.
Passion is begotten of natural selection, looking to the maintenance of the race; love is of artificial culture, looking to the perfection of the individual. Passion is the wild orange, bitter-sweet; love is the orange perfected,— thornless, luscious, abounding in fragrance and fruit. Love, you will observe, according to this definition, is not passion prevented, but passion purified.
In the hierarchy of evolution, Reason ranks above Instinct and Love ranks above Passion, yet each higher rests upon the lower as it basis. Grant Allen does Well to show that “fall in love” is better stirpiculture than that of Sir George Gampbell, but that is not because Cupid knows so much, but because the stirpiculturists, as yet, know so little. When Knowledge comes, Impulse submits to guidance.
Alter to laissez-faire comes voir pour prévoir. Sex-passion is so much raw material from which it is the business of the happiness-desiring artist to evolve the ever more beautiful and joyous Love.
Is it not possible that the disciples of Noyes, of Alpha and Diana, are not all sexual dyspeptics and ascetics? Is it not possible that some of them are epicures, disdaining, with refined appetite, the raw food and coarse table-habits of savages?
I believe in love-making as a fine art.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
Grahamville, Florida, December 1, 1886.
The Economists and the Labor Problem.
Below are given the concluding paragraphs of an excellent article by H. M. Bearce of Boston, which recently appeared in the Boston “Herald”:
If the conservative classes in this country are not yet prepared for any radical reform, they ought, at least for their own peace and safety, to stop aggravating the sufferings of the laboring poor, and cease to create monopolies or to stain the statute books with special class legislation. It is not enough to urge that the wages of labor have been advanced during the last thirty years, even it such be the fact. During the same period the concentration of wealth has been going on, larger fortunes have been piled up, and stocks, goods, and lands are held in relatively fewer hands than ever. There is a wider gulf between the rich and the poor than there was thirty years ago. As yet nothing has been demonstrated, unless it is the necessity of patience and forbearance among all classes, until the economic principles which would reconcile conflicting elements are discovered and applied. This is the dictate of good sense and wise statesmanship. Yon cannot combine men in masses for any purpose which they believe to be wrong. It would be a mistake to imagine that the conservatives or the reformers desire what is not right. The one class desires order, the other delights in peace. The masses are patient under their burdens if they feel any hope, or see any prospect of relief or amendment. The peril on either side arises from ignorance. Intelligence would save either side from fatal mistakes. The uprising in all parts of the country among the toiling masses is something more than the signs of a temporary discontent. It means that there is danger ahead: it means that a radical change in our industrial system is impending; it means social revolution. What gives: birth to revolution? What but the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few, and the tendency to poverty and crime on the one hand, and to luxury and corruption on the other. Are not these conditions becoming with us more general and more exasperating every year? The old method of treating the symptoms of revolution was to repress it by force; but revolutions thrive all the better under this treatment. When multitudes demand redress for their wrongs, Gatling guns are no answer to their complaints, and for every man hanged for political offences a hundred thousand rise to take the stand for which he died. There is far more disposition on the part of the ruling classes than on that of the people to resort to violent methods in times of serious agitation. The injudicious use of force has often aggravated the disorder it was desired to avert. The application of force to any revolutionary agitation only tends to intensify it and inspire it with more fiery purpose. A revolution never stops. Every slight cause fans the flame, and at the merest trifle the conflagration breaks out, as the publication of two pamphlets proved to be the torch that kindled the devastating fires of the French revolution. If the impending revolution is to be peaceful, all sections of society must look the situation fairly in the face and intelligently seek, without intolerance or violence, for the solution of the problem. Our national history furnishes an instructive and pregnant example. The slave power plunged the country into a fearful and destructive war to save an unnatural and inhuman institution. The agitation which ended in the emancipation of the slaves was nursed and fed by acts of violence more than by the appeals of the Abolitionists. Such outrages as the fugitive slave act, the murder of Lovejoy, the brutal and cowardly assault on Charles Sumner, the hanging of John Brown, only hastened the overthrow of slavery. If the slaveholders had seen that a monopoly to sustain which they were compelled to subjugate the political power of the country was a monstrosity which the natural operation of economic laws was sure sooner or later to sweep away, and had refrained from violence, outrage and rebellion, a time would have come for peaceable emancipation, with compensation for their liberated slaves. In the mere wantonness of power they lost everything by the destructive methods they adopted for their salvation. The power of monopoly, by which a private fortune of two hundred million dollars can be rolled up in two generations, may choose the same path which led the slave power to destruction, but it is doomed to extinction, as that was, by the action of the same economic forces. It remains to be seen if it will profit by the example.
The philosophy of the current school of economists suggests no solution of the problems now vexing our economic relations. The earnest questioner looks to them in vain for any sensible remedy for admitted evils, and turns from them with a feeling akin to despair as he sees that all the boasted labor of great minds in this field of inquiry is utterly barren of good results. The reason is that political economy (so-called) has been constructed on the basis of false social system. It is a futile attempt to formulate rules by which machinery hopelessly deranged may be smoothly run. The machine must be reconstructed, or it runs to its own destruction. A theory of social economy which takes no account of the principles of justice and equity can only lead to confusion, and false conditions of social life can never work out results of social harmony.
To these dismal failures in the study of economics there is one remarkable exception,— I refer to the works of the great Frenchman, Proudhon. He exposes the fallacy and destructiveness of the current school, and claims to show that social equilibrium can be established by peaceful methods. His motto is: “Reforms always, Utopias never.” He repudiates Communism and all that is akin to it; he undertakes to show how the obstacles that separate producer and consumer may be removed: in a word, he elucidates in an exhaustive manner every phase of sociology.
His works in French are in the Public Library, to the number of about thirty volumes; but, though not one of them is without its special interest, the substance of his philosophy may be found in three or four. The French reader will find it profitable to read them in the following order (I give the titles in English): “System of Economical Contradictions,” two volumes: “Solution of the Social Problem”; “General Idea of the Revolution of the 19th Century.” But in the French language these works are not accessible to the great body of readers; I learn, therefore, with much pleasure that Mr. Benjamin R. Tucker of this city, who a few years since translated “What is Property?” Proudhon’s first great work, is now doing a great public service by translating into English all the works of this great thinker. Mr. Tucker is issuing his translation in “The Proudhon Library,” a publication issued monthly, beginning with the most important volumes. The value of this service is to be measured by the fact that Proudhon has thrown more light on the social problems now vexing this country than any other writer. He said his philosophy would find acceptance in America sooner than in any other country.
Truth and Belief.
In No, 93 of Liberty there occur the following words written by Miss Kelly: “When .... lapse ... the Tak Kaks into the denial of all truth and justice.”
In reply to this suggestion, let me offer the following from Stirner, page 117: “If an era lies enmeshed in an error, there are always some who derive advantage from it, while the others bear the injury resulting. In the middle ages the error was universal among Christians that the Church must have supreme power on earth. The hierarch believed not less in this ‘truth’ than the laity, and both were stuck fast in the same error. But the hierarchs had the advantage of the power which it gave, and the laity suffered the injury of subjection. As the saying is, we learn wisdom by suffering; and so the laity at length became wise, and no longer believed in the medieval ‘truth.’ A similar relation occurs between the middle class and the working class. Burgher and workman believe in the ‘truth’ of money. Those who do not possess it believe in it not less than those who do possess it, and so the laity like the priests.”
On page 40 of Stirner, read: “Why is an irrefragable mathematical truth — which, according to the usual understanding of words, might be called even an eternal one — not a sacred truth? Because it is not a revealed truth, or not the revelation of a higher being.”
Following this is a clear explanation how “revelation” is not confined to theology, but the ideal and general “man” becomes the object of worship, as a higher being than the individual man, and the source of so-called truths, rights, and ideas to be held sacred.
Nobody fears that mathematical truths will not maintain themselves without help of my veneration. If even science has its intolerance, it must be that it has its hypotheses which demand devout behavior, respect, not doubt. I value all the truth I know, but I value it simply as my possession. Instead of denying it, I use it as my own. I will give at another time a few words on justice, which will be as plain.
Proudhon and the Woman Question.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Your publication of the “Proudhon Library” gives me most intense pleasure. Its value to our cause will be immeasurable if it only reaches one-tenth of the sale which I ardently hope for it. To the question often asked - “What must we read, what must we do, in order to understand Anarchy, live Anarchy?” - we have up to the present been able to reply only in the general terms of “Read Spencer, read Buckle, read Clifford, read the world’s history, look around you in the society of today, and you cannot fail to see everywhere that universal liberty, equality of rights, individual responsibility, are the moving principles of societary progress; that only in so far as they are guaranteed of practicalized in the society healthy.”
But I discovered long ago that most minds are unfortunately so constituted that, in order to have them see that a thing is just that thing and nothing else, it must be labeled, and labeled in large letters too. Spencer and Buckle failed to label their works Anarchistic, and so the professors and teachers of universities and colleges give them freely into the hands of their students, without any fear of their corrupting influence. And judging from my experience with college students and graduates, the confidence of the professors is not misplaced, for there is hardly one student in a hundred who does any independent thinking on social matters, or finds it in the least incumbent upon him to carry out an idea to its logical conclusion. By the working-classes, again, the ideas of these writers fail to make themselves appreciated, owing to the general distrust which the people entertain of abstract ideas, and especially of the idea of liberty, which they never hear invoked except when some governmental measure looking to their amelioration is promised, and because no definite solution of the problem of poverty by means of liberty is given by either of them. Therefore I hail with delight the advent of Proudhon. Lacking neither the honesty and vigor of intellect of Buckle, nor the scope and breadth of mind and sarcasm of Spencer, he has a knowledge of economics which neither of them possesses, and is consequently enabled to show the proletariat liberty, not as a vague and beautiful abstraction, but a real, actual thing, upon the knowledge and possession of which their comfort and happiness depend.
Wonderful and great as is the “Economical Contradictions,” I am quite impatient to have it finished, in order that you may bring out the “General Idea of the Revolution.” Familiar as I was from Spencer with the idea of voluntary cooperation superseding and dispensing with compulsory cooperation, this book was still a marvel to me in the wonderful clearness and force with which it demonstrates how the organization of credit negatives the State. It alone, in my estimation, is worth to any thinking person the whole price you ask for the “Library.”
Some time ago a State Socialist asked me how I could say anything in favor of Proudhon, a man who had no regard for the rights of woman, who was scarcely willing to admit that she was a human being. While admitting all this, still I think that unconsciously Proudhon has done more for the rights of women than most of those who howl loudly for them. That Proudhon succeeded in emancipating himself from so many of the prejudices of his country is to me the strongest proof of his genius. As France in his time was, and still is, a strongly military country, that he should have attained to the consistency he did in his ideas of liberty is truly marvellous. With society organized as Proudhon wishes it, on an industrial basis, with the subjection of man to man done away with, the subjection of woman to man cannot continue. “Look where we will, we find that just as far as the law of the strongest regulates the relationships between man and man does it regulate the relationships between man and woman. To the same extent that the triumph of might over right is seen in a nation’s political institutions is it seen in its domestic ones. Despotism in the State is necessarily associated with despotism in the family.” (Spencer — “Social Statics.”) Proudhon’s invaluable work in behalf of the social revolution places him, whether he desires it or not, in the foremost ranks of the emancipators of woman. The greater emancipation includes the lesser, for, as Sir Henry Maine says, the enfranchisement of woman is but one of the phases of the individualistic movement.
It will probably be conceded by all who have paid any attention to our subject that the civilized societies of the West, in steadily enlarging the personal and proprietary independence of women, and even in granting to them political privilege, are only following out still farther a law of development which they have been obeying for many centuries. The society which once consisted of compact families has got extremely near to the condition in which it will consist exclusively of individuals, when it has completely assimilated the legal position of women to the legal position of men. In addition to many other objections which may be urged against the common allegation that the legal disabilities of women are merely part of the tyranny of sex over sex, it is historically and philosophically valueless, as indeed are most propositions concerning classes so large as sexes. What really did exist is the despotism of groups over the members composing them. What really is being relaxed is this despotism. Whether this relaxation is destined to end in utter dissolution — whether, on the other hand, under the influence of either voluntary agreement or of imperative law, society is destined to crystallize in new forms — are questions upon which it is not not material to enter, even if there were any hope of solving them. All we need at present note is that the so-called enfranchisement of women is merely a phase of a process which has affected very many other classes, the substitution of individual human beings for compact groups of human beings as the units of society — Early History of Institutions.
Thus we see, as I have frequently tried to urge upon the advocates of woman’s rights, that there is, properly speaking, no woman-question, as apart from the question of human right and human liberty.
The woman’s cause is man’s — they rise or sink
Together,— dwarfed or god-like — bond or free.
Yours very truly,
Gertrude B. Kelly.
A Question for the Woman to Answer.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Your Liberty is now one of my most cherished periodicals. Anarchism has been the ideal to which I have long unconsciously been looking forward, and I find your exposition of its doctrines so clear, so forcible and convincing, that, although but recently “born again,” I am now full grown.
I do not wish to intrude upon your valuable time to the extent of expecting a personal reply, but, if you deem it worthy of notice, I wish you would answer the following query (in Liberty):
Your views on marriage I cannot wholly accept because, under the present social conditions, the heavy burden of an unlawful relation would fall upon the woman almost exclusively. Now, if you loved a woman, could you subject her to the social ostracism which she must inevitably endure, for the maintenance of a theory? Would it not be better, all things considered, “to do as they do in Rome”?
Very truly yours,
Charlotte C. Holt.
330 Michigan Ave., Chicago, February 4, 1887.
[The form in which Mrs. Holt puts her question denies Anarchy at the start, because it presupposes woman as an instrument in man’s hands to be disposed of at his will, thus depriving woman of her individual sovereignty. As I indicate in the heading, the question is properly one for the woman to answer. But, granting Mrs. Holt’s hypothesis that the woman were subject to my will, I should feel that I was pursuing a much less inconsiderate course in causing her to suffer the social ostracism which is so often the penalty of independence than in exposing her to the ten-fold worse evils and indignities of matrimonial bondage. Under none but the most extraordinary circumstances would I consent to the latter course, even if the woman desired it. And such desire on her part would be inversely proportional to her independence, bravery, intelligence, and foresight. — Editor Liberty.]
 Bakounine here, as in some other places in his writings, slips into the hands of the Communists, and becomes to that extent an authoritarian. Collective labor is nothing but labor in which two or more individuals cooperate, dividing their tasks, and there is no reason in equity or in anything else why their joint product (or a monetary value equivalent to it) should not be apportioned among them in the ratio of their respective contributions to the common task. Such will be the case when the usurious elements that now enter into the price which the laborer has to pay for products shall be eliminated by perfect liberty in banking and exchange, thus avoiding the necessity of attempting to eliminate them by collective ownership at the expense of liberty. — Publisher’s note.