Liberty Vol. IV. No. 18.
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.
Monopoly, Communism, and Liberty.
Inconsistency of Governmentalists.
“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.
Besides the article by Tak Kak which appears elsewhere, I have another article from him in reply to John F. Kelly’s “Morality and Its Origin.” It is very long, and I could not find room for the whole of it in this issue; so, rather than divide it, I hold it over for the next.
I am at a loss to understand the opposition of Anarchists (?) to the Pinkerton men on the ground that they constitute a private police force. As a private police — that is, protective — force, the Pinkerton men exemplify Anarchism: it is only as a private army of invasion that they become objectionable and Archistic. Nothing could show better than such criticism how ignorant certain so called Anarchists are of the fundamental principle of Anarchism.
The New York “Truth Seeker” says that Aveling and Liebknecht “have no more sympathy with the opinions of such gentlemen as Benjamin R. Tucker and Henry Appleton than they have for the teachings of the Communist of Judea.” Bless you, Macdonald, not half as much! The teachings of Aveling and Liebknecht bear a very close resemblance to those of the Communist of Judea, and are diametrically opposed to those of Appleton and Tucker.
In the fifth of his sermons on the land question the reverend Pentecost of Newark dealt a very severe blow at the reform he was advocating. Supporting Henry George’s proposition to tax land values, he said that, if it were carried out, probably not ten men in his church would be affected to the extent of a penny. If Mr. Pentecost told the truth, either his church is a very extraordinary one, or Henry George’s plan utterly fails to secure justice to labor. Protestant congregations are not apt to be recruited exclusively or even principally from the proletariat; as a general thing, three fourths of the members subsist, not on the wages of labor, but on the income derived from capital. If, then, out of Pentecost’s doubtless bourgeois church, not more than ten members will be affected in their incomes by the taxation of land values, where is the enormous increase in the wages of labor to come from? No reform that does not strip capital of its income and make the price of labor the only means of support is adequate to the solution of the social problem.
The New Haven “Workmen’s Advocate,” official organ of the Socialistic Labor Party, prints the following: “A Boston paper publishes the Anarchists’ March. As might be expected, the alignment is very uneven, each member of the ‘guard’ keeping his own time and whistling his own tune and marching in any direction regardless of his neighbor. Fun, though.” The “Advocate,” when it said this, had had no opportunity of seeing its contemporary of the same date, the Denver “Labor Enquirer,” another organ (not official, but very prominent) of the Socialistic Labor Party, in which appears the poem referred to, but under the head, “The March of the Workers.” What does the editor of the “Workmen’s Advocate” think about the alignment of the workers? Are they having “fun,” too, “each keeping his own time and whistling his own tune”? Or has the unevenness suddenly become to him divinest harmony? On the other hand, by what rule of right or decency does Burnette G. Haskell, editor of the “Labor Enquirer,” print this poem over the signatura of J. Wm. Lloyd, its author, but with a title quite other than that which Mr. Lloyd chose, without giving his readers a word of information to that effect or doing anything to take the responsibility of this change upon himself? In the past I have convicted this man of lying. Since then the world’s not grown honest, nor has he.
Resistance to Taxation.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I have lately been involved in several discussions leading out of your refusal to pay your poll-tax, and I would like to get from you your reasons, so far as they are public property, for that action. It seems to me that any good object could have been better and more easily obtained by compromising with the law, except the object of propagandism, and that in attaining that object you were going beyond the right into paths where you could not hid any one follow who was trying to live square with the truth, so far as we may know it.
It seems to me that we owe our taxes to the State, whether we believe in it or not, so long as we remain within its borders, for the benefits which we willingly or unwillingly derive from it; that the only right course to be pursued is to leave any State whose laws we can no longer obey without violence to our own reason, and, if necessary, people a desert island for ourselves; for in staying in it and refusing to obey its authority, we are denying the right of others to combine on any system which they may deem right, and in trying to compel them to give up their contract, we are as far from right as they in trying to compel us to pay the taxes in which we do not believe.
I think that you neglect the grand race experience which has given us our present governments when you wage war upon them all, and that a compromise with existing circumstances as much a part of the rigid as following our own reason, for the existent is the induction of the race, and so long as our individual reasons are not all concordant it is entitled to its share of consideration, and those who leave it out do, in so far, wrong.
Even granting strict individualism to be the ultimate goal of the race development, still you seem to me positively on a false path when you attempt — as your emphatic denial of all authority of existing governments implies — to violently substitute the end of development for its beginning.
I think that these are my main points of objection, and hope that you will pardon my impertinence in addressing you, which did not come from any idle argumentative curiosity, but a genuine search for the truth, if it exists; and so I ventured to address you, as you by your action seem to me to accept the burden of proof in your contest with the existent.
Frederick A. C. Perrine.
7 Atlantic St., Newark, N. J., November 11, 1886.
[Mr. Perrine’s criticism in an entirely pertinent one, and of the sort that I like to answer, though in this instance circumstances have delayed the appearance of his letter. The gist of his position — in fact, the whole of his argument — is contained in his second paragraph, and it is based on the assumption that the State is precisely the thing which the Anarchists say it is not,— namely, a voluntary association of contracting individuals. Were it really such, I should have no quarrel with it, and I should admit the truth of Mr. Perrine’s remarks. For certainly such voluntary association would be entitled to enforce whatever regulations the contracting parties might agree upon within the limits of whatever territory, or divisions of territory, had been brought into the association by these parties as individual occupiers thereof, and no non-contracting party would have a right to enter or remain in this domain except upon such terms as the association might impose. But if, somewhere between these divisions of territory, had lived, prior to the formation of the association, some individual on his homestead, who for any reason, wise or foolish, had declined to join in forming the association, the contracting parties would have had no right to evict him, compel him to join, make him pay for any incidental benefits that he might derive from proximity to their association, or restrict him in the exercise of any previously-enjoyed right to prevent him from reaping these benefits. Now, voluntary association necessarily involving the right of secession, any seceding member would naturally fall back into the position and upon the rights of the individual above described, who refused to join at all. So much, then, for the attitude of the individual toward any voluntary association surrounding him, his support thereof evidently depending upon his approval or disapproval of its objects, his view of its efficiency in attaining them, and his estimate of the advantages and disadvantages involved in joining, seceding, or abstaining. But no individual today finds himself under any such circumstances. The States in the midst of which he lives cover all the ground there is, affording him no escape, and are not voluntary associations, but gigantic usurpations. There is not one of them which did not result from the agreement of a larger or smaller number of individuals, inspired sometimes no doubt by kindly, but oftener by malevolent, designs, to declare all the territory and persons within certain boundaries a nation which every one of these persons must support, and to whose will, expressed through its sovereign legislators and administrators no matter how chosen, every one of them must submit. Such an institution is sheer tyranny, and has no rights which any individual is bound to respect; on the contrary, every individual who understands his rights and values his liberties will do his best to overthrow it. I think it must now be plain to Mr. Perrine why I do not feel bound either to pay taxes or to emigrate. Whether I will pay them or not is another question,— one of expediency. My object in refusing has been, as Mr. Perrine suggests, propagandism, and in the receipt of Mr. Perrine’s letter I find evidence of the adaptation of this policy to that end. Propagandism is the only motive that I can urge for isolated individual resistance to taxation. But out of propagandism by this and many other methods I expect there ultimately will develop the organization of a determined body of men and women who will effectively, though passively, resist taxation, not simply for propagandism, but to directly cripple their oppressors. This is the extent of the only “violent substitution of end for beginning” of which I can plead guilty of advocating, and, if the end can be “better and more easily obtained” in any other way, I should like to have it pointed out. The “grand race experience” which Mr. Perrine thinks I neglect is a very imposing phrase, on hearing which one is moved to be down in prostrate submission; but whoever first chances to take a closer look will see that it is but one of those spooks of which Tak Kak tells us. Nearly all the evils with which mankind was ever afflicted were products of this “grand race experience,” and I am not aware that any were ever abolished by showing it any unnecessary reverence. We will bow to it when we must; we will “compromise, with existing circumstances” when we have to; but at all other times we will follow our reason and the plumb-line. — Editor Liberty.]
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. 95.
Science — the rigid, exact, thorough, and inclusive Science of Society — is the only reliable guide to harmonic relations among men. Neither the ardor of piety, nor the sentiment of brotherhood, nor the desperate devotion of generous enthusiasm, nor the repressive force of a rigid morality, offers any adequate remedy for the existing evils of humanity. All these may be necessary, indispensable, nay, infinitely higher in rank or sanctity, if you will, than the other. But love must have its complement in Wisdom. To divorce them is to be guilty of “partialism,” just where it is of the utmost importance that the movement shall be integral and complete.
12. Possibly this statement may enlighten some minds in relation to the existing misunderstanding between the religionists and the Socialists. The former insist upon the spiritual element, the whole of what is requisite to a true development of society. Abstractly, the religionist may be said to be the nearest right, inasmuch as substance is prior to form; but practically, and with reference to the present wants of society, the Socialist is nearer the truth. The spiritual element exists already, at least in embryo. The aspiration after better and truer relations is swelling daily, bursting the bands of existing institutions, and demanding knowledge of the true way,— an organized body of the Christian idea of human brotherhood which the living soul may enter, and wherein it may dwell. But neither without the other is complete.
13. So powerful is becoming the sentiment of right that, unless the demand so created be followed by a complete discovery of the methods of its gratification, there is abundant danger that justice as a blind instinct may prove more destructive than organized oppression. As in the case of the misdirected or ill-directed patriotism in the illustration above, so every right sentiment and affection, without its complement of wisdom, is liable to become pernicious instead of beneficent in its action. If the love the mother bears her child leads her to feed it to excess on candies and comfits, to confine it in close, warm rooms, and guard it from contact with whatever may test and develop its powers of endurance, far better that she loved it less. She needs, in addition to love, a knowledge of Physiology. The Science of Society is to the Community what Physiology is to the Individual; or, rather, it is to the relations of the Individual with others what Physiology is to the relations of the Individual,so to speak, with himself.
14. In the same manner the knowledge on the part of the laboring classes or their friends that they are under an oppressive and exhausting system of the relations of capital and labor does not amount to a knowledge of the true system, into which, when known, it should be their object to bring themselves as rapidly as possible. To discover that true system, by any other means than by long years, perhaps long generations, of fallacious and exhausting experiments, must be the work of genius, of true science, profound fundamental investigations, or any other name you choose to bestow upon that faculty and that process by which elementary truths are evolved by contemplating the nature of a subject.
15. The Socialist agitations of the present day are, therefore, eminently dangerous, as much so as the most violent reactionist ever imagined them, unless Science intervenes to point the way to the solution. Religion, nor the dictates of a stringent morality, will ever reconcile men who have once appreciated their inherent, God-given rights, to the permanency of an unjust system by which they are deprived of them. Mere make-shifts and patched-up contrivances will not answer. False methods, such as Strikes, Trades’ Unions, Combinations of Interests, and arbitrary regulations of all sorts, are but temporary palliations ending uniformly in disappointment, and often in aggravation of the evils sought to be alleviated. A distinguished writer upon these subjects says truly: “Establish tomorrow an ample and fair Scale of Prices in every employment under the sun, and two years of quiet and the ordinary mutations of Business would suffice to undermine and efface nearly the whole. No reform under the present system, but a decided step out of and above that system, is the fit and enduring remedy for the wrongs and oppressions of Labor by Capital. And this must inevitably be a work of time, of patience, of genius, of self-sacrifice, and true heroism.” In other words, it is the province of Science to discover the true principles of trade as much as it is to discover the laws of every other department of human concerns, and that discovery is an important part of the still more comprehensive Science of Society.
16. If, then, some profound philosopher, whose high authority could command universal belief, were to step forward and announce the discovery of a simple principle, which — adopted in trade or business — would determine with arithmetical certainty the equitable price to be charged for every hour of time bestowed upon its production and distribution, so that labor in every department should get precisely its due reward, and the existing inequalities in the distribution of wealth, and the consequent poverty and wretchedness of the masses, be speedily alleviated and finally removed; and if, in addition, the principle were such that its adoption and practical consequences did not depend upon convincing the intellects or appealing to the benevolence of the wealthy classes, but lay within the compass of the powers of the laboring men themselves; if, still further than this, the principle did not demand, as a preliminary, the extensive cooperation, the mutual and implicit confidence, the complicated arrangements, the extensive knowledge of administration, and the violent change in domestic habits, some one or other of which is involved in nearly every proposition of Socialism, and for which the laboring classes are specially disqualified; if, in one word, this simple principle furnished demonstrably, unequivocally, immediately, and practically, the means whereby the laboring classes might step out from under the present system, and place themselves in a condition of independence above that system,— would not this announcement come in good time; would it not be a supply eminently adapted to the present demand of the laboring masses in this country and elsewhere?
With some misgivings as to the prudence of asserting such a faith, in limine, I state my conviction that such a principle has been discovered and is now in the possession of a small number of persons who have been engaged in practically testing it, until its regulating and wealth-producing effects have been sufficiently, though not abundantly, demonstrated.
17. Josiah Warren, formerly of Cincinnati, more recently a resident of Indiana, is, I believe, justly entitled to be considered the discoverer of the principle to which I refer, along with several others which he deems essential to the rectification of the social evils of the existing state of society.
The principle itself is one which will not probably strike the reader, when first stated, as either very profound, very practicable in its application, very important in its consequences, and perhaps not even as equitable in itself. It requires thought to be bestowed on each of these points. You will find, however, as you subject it to analysis, as you trace it into its ten thousand different application, to ownership, to rent, to wages, etc., that it places all human transactions, relating to property upon a new basis of exact justice,— that is, it has the perfect, simple, but all-prevailing character of a Universal Principle.
The question as to the method of commencing to put the principle in operation is a distinct one, and only needs to be considered after the principle itself is understood. I have already observed that it has been and is now being practically tested with entire success.
18. This principle, put into a formula, is thus stated: “Cost Is the Limit of Price.”
The counter principle upon which all ownership is now maintained and all commerce transacted in the world is that “Value is the limit of price,” or, as the principle is generally stated in the cant language of trade, “A thing is worth what it will bring.” Between these two principles, so similar that the difference in the statement would hardly attract a moment’s attention unless it were specially insisted upon, lies the essential difference between the whole system of civilized cannibalism by which the masses of human beings are mercilessly ground to powder for the accumulation of the wealth of the few, on the one hand, and on the other, the reign of equity, the just remuneration of labor, and the independence and elevation of all mankind.
19. There is nothing apparently more innocent, harmless, and equitable in the world than the statement that a “thing should bring what it is worth,” and yet even that statement covers the most subtle fallacy which it has ever been given to human genius to detect and expose,— a fallacy more fruitful of evil than any other which the human intellect has ever been beclouded by. (130.)
20. Value has nothing whatever to do, upon scientific principles, as demonstrated by Mr. Warren, with settling the price at which any article should be sold. Cost is the only equitable limit, and by cost is meant the amount of labor bestowed on its production, that measure being again measured by the painfulness or repugnance of the labor itself. (61, 65.)
Value is a consideration for the purchaser alone, and determines him whether he will give the amount of the cost or not. (132.)
21. This statement is calculated to raise a host of objections and inquiries. If one purchaser values an article more highly than another, by what principle will he be prevented from offering a higher price? How is it possible to measure the relative painfulness or repugnance of labor? What allowance is to be made for superior skill or natural capacity? How is that to be settled? How does this principle settle the questions of interest, rent, machinery, etc.? What is the nature of the practical experiments which have already been made? Etc., etc.
22. These several questions will be specifically answered in this treatise upon “The Cost Principle,” except the last, which will be more satisfactorily replied by a work embodying the “Practical Details” of twenty-four years of continuous experiment upon the workings of this and the other principles related to it, and announced by Mr. Warren, which work Mr. Warren is now engaged himself in preparing for the press. These “Practical Details” will relate to the operations of two mercantile establishments conducted at different points, upon the Cost Principle, to the education of children, to social intercourse, and, finally, to the complex affairs of a village or town which has grown up during the last four years, under the system of “Equitable Commerce,” of which the Cost Principle is the basis. This work upon “Practical Details” will contain, I may venture to affirm, from a personal knowledge of its characters, a body of facts profoundly interesting to the philanthropic and philosophic student of human affairs. It must suffice for the present allusion to assert that there is no one of the circle of principles embraced by Mr. Warren under the general name of “Equitable Commerce,” or by myself under the name of “The Science of Society,” which has not been patiently, repeatedly, and successfully applied in practice, in a variety of modes, long before it was announced in theory,— a point in which it is thought that these principles differ materially from all the numerous speculations upon social subjects to which the attention of the public has been heretofore solicited.
23. The village to which I have referred is situated in the State of Ohio. It contains as yet only about twenty families, or one hundred inhabitants, having a present prospect of a pretty rapid increase of numbers. I will call it, for the sake of a name by which to refer to it, Trialville, stating at the same time that this is not the real name of the village, which I do not venture to give, as it might be disagreeable to some of the inhabitants to have the glare of public notoriety at so early a day upon their modest experiment. It might also subject them to visits of mere curiosity, or to letters of inquiry, which, without their consent, I have not the right to impose upon them. Another village upon the same principles is being organized in the vicinity of New York.
Under the sobriquet of Trialville I shall have occasion, however, to refer to the operations at the former of these villages, which have so far proved successful in a practical point of view that it is deemed, on the part of those most interested in this movement, to be a fitting time, now, to call the public attention more generally to the results. The publication of these treatises is in fact the beginning of that effort, which, if the intentions of those of us who are engaged in the enterprise do not fail of realization, will be more and more continuously and urgently put forth from this time forward. We believe that we have a great mission to fulfill,— a gospel of glad tidings to proclaim,— a practical and immediate solution of the whole problem of human rights and their full fruition to expound. While, therefore, we cannot and would not entirely conceal the enthusiastic feelings by which we are prompted in this effort, still, lest it may be thought that such sentiments may have usurped the province of reason, we invite the most cautious investigation and the most rigid scrutiny, not only of the principles we propound, but also of the facts of their practical working. While, therefore, I do not give the real name or exact location of our trial villages to the public at large, for the reasons I have stated, still we are anxious that all the facts relating to them shall be known, and the fullest opportunity for thorough investigation be given to all who may become in any especial degree interested in the subject. The author of this work will be gratified to communicate with all such, and to reply to such inquiries as they may desire to have answered, upon a simple statement of their interest in the subject and their wish to know more of it. The real name and location of our trial towns will be communicated to such, and every facility given for investigation.
Arrangements are contemplated for organizing other villages upon the same principles, and establishing an equitable exchange of products between them. It is not the object of the present work, however, to enter into the history or general plan of the movement, but simply to elucidate a single principle of a new science embracing the field of Ethics and Political Economy.
24. It will be appropriate, in this preliminary statement of the subject, to guard against one or two misapprehensions which may naturally enough arise from the nature of the terms employed, or from the apparently disproportionate importance attached to a simple principle of trade.
The term “Equitable Commerce” does not signify merely a new adjustment of the method of buying and selling. The term is employed, by Mr. Warren, to signify the whole of what I have preferred to denominate the Science of Society, including Ethics, Political Economy, and all else that concerns the outer relations of mankind. At the same time the mutual interchange of products is, as it were, the continent or basis upon which all other intercourse rests. Society reclines upon Industry. Without it man cannot exist. Other things may be of higher import, but it is of primary necessity. Solitary industry does not supply the wants of the individual. Hence trade or the exchange of products. With trade intercourse begins. It is the first in order of the long train of benefits which mankind mutually minister to each other. The term “commerce” is sometimes synonymous with trade or traffic, and at other times it is used in a more comprehensive sense. For that reason it has a double appropriateness to the subjects under consideration. It is employed therefore in the phrase “Equitable Commerce,” to signify, first, Commerce in the minor sense, as synonymous with “trade,” and secondly, Commerce in the major sense, as synonymous with the old English signification of the word, “conversation,”— i.e., human intercourse of all sorts,— the concrete, or tout ensemble, of human relations.
25. I will here show that these investigations take in the whole scope of Commerce in the major sense, after which I will return to the particular consideration and elucidation of the single principle, “Cost Is the Limit of Price,” which does, indeed, chiefly or primarily relate to Commerce in the minor sense, although the modes in which it affects Commerce in the major sense are almost infinite.
26. According to Mr. Warren, the following is The Problem to Be Solved in all its several branches:
“The proper, legitimate, and just reward of labor.”
“Security of person and property.”
“The greatest practicable amount of freedom to each individual.”
“Economy in the production and uses of wealth.”
“To open the way to each individual for the possession of land and all other natural wealth.”
“To make the interests of all to cooperate with and assist each other, instead of clashing with and counteracting each other.”
“To withdraw the elements of discord, of war, of distrust and repulsion, and to establish a prevailing spirit of peace, order, and social sympathy.”
27. And according to him, also the following Principles are the means of the solution:
“The Sovereignty of Each Individual.”
“Cost the Limit of Price.”
“A Circulating Medium, Founded on the Cost of Labor.”
“Adaptation of the Supply to the Demand.”
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. 95.
Our opinions, our convictions are equally opposed to Mazzini’s. First, we do not believe in the existence of any Divinity whatever, other than that which has been created by the historic fantasy of men. Consequently for us there can be no divine revelation from on high, all religions having been only revelations of the collective mind of men, in proportion as it has developed in history, to itself, through this false divine prism. Not believing in God, we can no more believe in the intellectual and moral existence of human individuals outside of society. Man becomes man only in the bosom of society and only because of the collective cooperation of all men, whether present or past. This is a truth which forms the basis of all our socialistic beliefs and which I shall, therefore, try to develop and prove fully in its time and place. Today I can only state the principle. And the first consequence of this truth is this,— that neither religion, nor morality, nor even thought can be peculiarly and exclusively individual. The greatest men of history, the most sublime geniuses, the greatest philosophers or prophets, have always received all the contents, all the foundation of their religion, of their morality, and of their thought, from this same society of which they form a part and to which they seemed to bring it spontaneously or from on high. It is this accumulated treasure, the product of the collective labor, material, intellectual, and moral, of all past generations, elaborated anew and transformed slowly, in a manner more or less invisible and latent, by the new instincts, the aspirations, and the real and manifold new wants of the present generations, which always forms the contents of the revelations or discoveries of these men of genius, who add only the formal work of their own brains, more capable than others of seizing and classifying the details in a larger whole or in a new synthesis. So that we may say with as much reason as justice that the men of genius are precisely those to whom society always gives more than to others, and, above all, more than it receives in return. Even the misfortunes and persecutions which it has lavished upon them with great generosity hitherto have been transformed for them into benefits, because it is more than probable that, if it had accorded them gratitude, respect, riches, power, and authority during their lives, it would have made tyrants of them and transformed them into wicked and stupid privileged persons.
From the truth which I have just laid down as a principle flows another consequence as important as the first,— that all religions and all systems of morality which prevail in a society are always the ideal expression of its real, material situation, that is to say, of its economic organization first of all, but also of its political organization, the latter being, moreover, nothing but the legal and violent consecration of the former. Christ, who was quite a different sort of socialist from Mazzini, since he has declared that it was easier for a great rope — others say for a camel — to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into his Paradise,— Christ himself has said: For where your treasure is, there is your heart also! and he has tried to transfer human treasures into heaven, but he has not succeeded. He has succeeded so little that the Church itself, this divine institution which has no other aim, if we may believe the Christian theologians and Mazzini himself, than to assure the road to heaven to all believers, was hardly officially established before it found nothing more pressing to do than to monopolize all the treasures of the earth, which it has justly considered as instruments of power and enjoyment. During the fifteen centuries which have passed since the miraculous conversion of the very depraved and very great Emperor Constantine down to our time, have not all the Christian churches — Roman Catholic. Byzantine-Greek, Byzantine-Russian, Protestant — displayed by turns the most fanatical fury in the preservation and increase of the holy property and riches of the Church?
Fifteen centuries of experience! Should not such a solemn and memorable failure made by the most ideal religion in the world suffice, therefore, to prove to us the inconsistency of all abstract idealism on this earth, its absolute incompatibility with the fundamental conditions of human society? What will Mazzini do, then, with his new idealism, with his eclectic medley of traditions fallen into disuse and of Platonic absurdities revived, a sort of abortion which has neither the merit of the logical rationality of the metaphysicians, nor that of the material brutality of the positive religions, and which, at the same time that it revolts thought, does not even give to the superstition of the masses and to this need of believing in miracles which yet lives in feminine souls the nourishment afforded them by spiritualism or even Mormonism,— religions as new as Mazzini’s and much more positive?
* * *
Man, like everything which exists, is matter. His soul, his mind, his thoughts, his morals are products of it, and he cannot make abstractions of them with impunity. Every time that he attempts it, he falls back again, and with grievous consequences to himself. His pretended immateriality is always transformed, when it comes to action, into brutality, bestiality, negation of humanity. All that he can, all that he should do, is to humanize matter as much in himself as outside of himself, and he humanizes it by rendering it always more and more favorable to the complete development of his humanity by means of work, science, and the education which he gives himself under the direction of this last combined with the historical experience of life. It is well understood that, when I speak of historic man, I speak always of collective man, of society, since the individual man, considered outside of society, has never had a history, for the simple reason that as man but little developed as thinking animal, or even as capable, of pronouncing a few words, he has never existed; for — I repeat it again — the animal called man becomes really man only in society and by the cooperation of all society. Individual liberty itself is a product of this collective work, material, intellectual, and moral, of all the world.
What is Humanity? It is animality endowed with the faculty of abstraction or of generalization, or of the highest known degree of intelligence; a faculty equally material, since it is the action of an entirely material organ called the brain, which, far from being exclusively peculiar to man, is manifested, more and more developed, in the ascending series of the animal species, from the most formless animate being up to man. But in man alone it reaches this power of abstraction which permits him to lift himself by his thought not only above all the things that surround him, but also above himself, as real, living, and sentient being. It is by virtue of this faculty that by a slow historic labor which develops his mind, man is enabled to successively grasp things as a whole and sense the general and constant laws which manifest themselves in their relations and development. And it is in applying to his life and to his social relations the natural laws which he so discovers that he succeeds in perfecting, little by little, his primitive animality and in transforming it into humanity.
Humanity is, then, animality transformed by a progressive thought and by the progressive application of this thought to life. For animal life itself is not at all as brutally material as the theologians, the consistent idealists, and Mazzini himself are induced to believe: animals whose whole existence is concentrated exclusively in the two-fold passion of digestion and reproduction belong to the most inferior species. But in the species more developed in intelligence, in those which approach man, you will find the germs of all the passions of man, without an exception; you will find in them the love of children, the religious sentiment, sacrifice, the social passion, patriotic devotion, and even a beginning of scientific curiosity. Doubtless the care for the stomach and sexual love play a dominant role, but do they not play a role, if not as dominant, at least excessively important, in the human world itself?
To sustain themselves animals, as individuals, must eat, and, as species, must propagate. That is the first, the real foundation of life, common to all species of animals from the most inferior, inclusively, up to man. All the other faculties and passions can be developed only on condition that these two primordial needs are satisfied. This is the supreme law of life from which no living being can escape.
This law, which Mazzini must attribute to his God and which we attribute to no one, because we do not believe in laws ideally predetermined and because what we call natural laws constitute, in our eyes, only general and constant resultants of an infinity of actions and reactions which real things exercise incessantly, all on each and each on all,— this law transforms the animal kingdom into a perpetual tragedy, of which nature, or at least our earth, still continual to be the bloody theatre. This is the mournful struggle for life. All the animal species exist only by destruction. There are some, it is true, who are content with destroying the vegetable species. But there are at least as many others which can live only by devouring animate and living beings. These are the wild beasts, the carnivora, which are neither the least developed nor the least intelligent, since it is just these which, by their organization, approach nearest to man, and since man himself, an omnivorous animal, is the most ferocious and the most destructive of all.
* * *
Such is then in its reality the law of nature. It is an indefatigable and incessant devouring of each other: it is life which, in order to continue to be life, kills and devours life. It is an assassination without mercy and without truce. Before this bloody fact which no one can deny, we really cannot understand how Mazzini, so jealous of the glory, wisdom, justice, and loving kindness of his God, can attribute to him the preestablishment of this law and the creation of this world! Only a Divine Tiberius, a ferocious monster endowed with supreme power, could have created it. And how inconsistent, farther, is the attempt of Christian theology to explain this fact, which becomes monstrous as soon as it is attributed to any author whatever, by a fall of all nature, which was, they pretend, the necessary consequence of original sin. The explanation is doubtless absurd, but at least proves that they have felt the contradiction that exists between the inherent cruelty of the natural world and the infinite goodness of their God. For Mazzini even this contradiction does not exist. It must be added, also, that he never deigns to observe the earth, but seeks the proofs of his God in the starry heaven which is so far, far away that it appears to him absolute and perfect.
The history of man in nothing else than the continuation and development of this animal struggle for life. There is, in the animal kingdom, which includes man, this law,— that the numerical increase of a species is always determined by the question of the means of subsistence. Every species increases indefinitely till it has attained the limit when this quantity ceases to be proportional to the number of individuals who compose it; then the more feeble individuals, forced to yield their pittance to the stronger, die of hunger. What happens among individuals of the same species occurs in the same way among different species. The stronger supplant, eliminate the weaker. . . .
Is not this same fact repeated and reproduced even today in the history of human societies? There is, however, in this respect, an enormous difference between man and the other animal species. Among some of the latter intelligence reaches such a degree of development that, in anticipation of the future,— of winter, for instance,— they store up provisions. But no other animal species that I know has yet had the idea of making the earth yield, by artificial means, by cultivation,— that is, by the application of natural laws either to labor or to the struggle for life,— more than it yields naturally. Man alone has had this thought, and he could get it only through this power of abstraction, of generalization, which has enabled him to perceive, to verify, and to know again successively the constant processes of development of-real things, otherwise called the laws of nature, by means of positive science, commencing with the so simple and imperfect observations of primitive societies and continuing to the most complicated combinations of the present scientific systems.
It is in and by this that the human world began to separate itself definitively from the animal world. Alone among all the living species on this earth, the human species has a history in the sense of the progressive development of an actual society. In the rest of the animal world there is also a history, but it is manifested exclusively by the physiological and, as it were, simply material development of the species and races, by the production of new species and races, while each species considered separately, as long as it exists, hardly progresses, living today as it lived a thousand years ago.
Man alone, thanks to his two precious faculties, thought and speech, which are so far inseparable that one cannot say really which is first, each implying the other,— one of which recognizes nature and its laws, while the other transmits to generations to come, as an accumulated treasure, all the discoveries and all the experiences of past centuries,— thanks to these two magnificent faculties, man alone has a history.
At first he lived, scattered in little societies over the earth, like a brutal and ferocious beast, living on the natural fruits of the earth, and mingling in his meals uncooked vegetables and fruits with the flesh of animals, including that of men. He recognized so little the human character of his neighbors belonging to other tribes that he ate them whenever he could. Cannibalism, we know, was the point of departure of human civilization. The first men lived chiefly by hunting and war, war itself being only a hunt for men.
Much later we find the man-shepherd. This is already an immense step forward. He does not yet cultivate the ground; but he already cultivates different species of animals, which he has learned not only to subdue but to tame, by transforming somewhat their nature, by means of his dominant intelligence and will, and on whose flesh and milk he feeds, while their skins serve him for clothing.
Later we find him a farmer. Man becomes sedentary and begins to have a country. With this phase of his economical development are connected, among most of the peoples known to history, some facts as well religious as political, and which are not its first cause, as Mazzini claims, but, on the contrary, its result, expression, and, as it were, ideal consecration. These facts are the worship of the tombs of the fathers, the constitution of the patriarchal right and of property in the person of the head of the family, the patriarchal government of the ancients, slavery.
The hunting people had no need of slaves, knowing only the noble works of hunting and fighting, which a part of our civilized society still considers as a prerogative of men well-born. It would even have been impossible for them to support slaves, for hunting is never excessively productive, and hunting peoples, as we see them today in the deserts of Africa and America, often find themselves reduced to death by starvation. In this first phase of human barbarism, women are the natural slaves on whom brutal and ferocious man throws all the burden of work which his miserable household requires. Consequently he does not make slaves, he kills his enemy and eats him.
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.
Monopoly, Communism, and Liberty.
Pinney of the Winsted “Press” grows worse and worse. It will be remembered that, in attacking the free money theory, he said we had a taste of it in the day of State wildcat banking, when every little community had its State bank issues; to which I made this answer: “How could State bank issues be free money? Monopoly is monopoly, whether granted by the United States or by a single State, and the old State banking system was a thoroughly monopolistic system.” This language clearly showed that the free money objection to the old State banks as well as to the present national banks is not founded on any mistaken idea that in either case the government actually issues the money, but that in both cases alike the money is issued by a monopoly granted by the government. But Pinney, not daring to meet this, affects to ignore the real meaning of my words by assuming to interpret them as follows (thus giving new proof of my assertion that he wastes his strength in attacking windmills):
It is apparently Mr. Tucker’s notion that State banks were an institution of the State. They were no more a government institution than is a railroad company that receives its charter from the State and conducts its business as a private corporation under State laws. . . . For purposes of illustration they answer well, and Mr. Tucker’s effort to lessen the force of the illustration by answering that they were institutions of the State, because they are called for convenience State banks, is very near a resort to wilful falsehood.
What refreshing audacity! Pinney knows perfectly well that the advocates of free money are opposed to the national banks as a monopoly enjoying a privilege granted by the government; yet these, like the old State banks, are no more a government institution than such a railroad company as he describes. Both national and State banks are law-created and law-protected monopolies, and therefore not free. Anybody, it is true, could establish a State bank, and can establish a national bank, who can observe the prescribed conditions. But the monopoly inheres in these compulsory conditions. The fact that national bank notes can be issued only by those who have government bonds and that State bank notes could be issued only by those who had specie makes both vitally and equally objectionable from the standpoint of free and mutual banking, the chief aim of which is to secure the right of all wealth to monetization without prior conversion into some particular form of wealth limited in amount and without being subjected to ruinous discounts. If Mr. Pinney does not know this, he is not competent to discuss finance; if he does know it, it was a quibble and “very near a resort to wilful falsehood” for him to identify the old State banking system with free banking.
But he has another objection to free money,— that it would enable the man who has capital to monetize it, and so double his advantages over the laborer who has none. Therefore he would have the general government, which he calls the whole people, “monetize their combined wealth and use it in the form of currency, while at the same time the wealth remains in its owners’ hands for business purposes.” This is Mr. Pinney’s polite and covert way of saying that he would have those without property confiscate the goods of those who have property. For no governmental mask, no fiction of the “whole people,” can disguise the plain fact that to compel one man to put his property under pawn to secure money issued by or to another man who has no property is robbery and nothing else. Though you leave the property in the owner’s hands, there is a “grab” mortgage upon it in the hands of the government, which can foreclose when it sees fit. Mr. Pinney is on the rankest Communistic ground, and ought to declare himself a State Socialist at once.
Certainly no one wishes more heartily than I that every industrious man was the owner of capital, and it is precisely to secure this result that I desire free money. I thought Mr. Pinney was a good enough Greenbacker to know (for the Greenbackers know some valuable truths despite their fiat money delusion) that the economic benefits of an abundance of good money in circulation are shared by all, and not reaped exclusively by the issuers. He has often clearly shown that the effect of such abundance is to raise the laborer’s wages to an equivalence to his product, after which every laborer who wishes to possess capital will be able to accumulate it by his work. All that is wanted is a means of issuing such an abundance of money free of usury. Now, if they only had the liberty to do so, there are already enough large and small property-holders willing and anxious to issue money, to provide a far greater amount than is needed, and there would be sufficient competition among them to bring the price of issue down to cost,— that is, to abolish interest. Liberty avoids both forms of robbery,— monopoly on the one side and Communism on the other,— and secures all the beneficent results that are (falsely) claimed for either.
Inconsistency of Governmentalists.
The fact that persons of more than ordinary intelligence and honesty are deluded into the acceptance of governmental remedies for social evils is often at first sight very disheartening to the Anarchist, but on further reflection he may find in it some solace, for, if the principles of liberty are true, they must ultimately triumph, and no permanent injury can be done them by the most earnest and honest advocacy of their opposites. As Mill says, there is no keener intellectual enjoyment than the holding of certain opinions as true, after we are sure that we have seen and examine*, all the arguments that may be brought to bear against them. This enjoyment is one that is wholly lost by all those who would wish to set any limit whatsoever to free discussion. Another fact, and one of great practical importance, is that errors being upheld by persons both honest and intelligent are more likely to be carried to their logical consequences, and hence made more easily demonstrable that they are errors, thus leading in the end to the gain of the cause of truth.
I was led into these reflections recently by reading Annie Besant’s report of the Fabian Conference. She says:
It is a most extraordinary thing that people who are in favor of the nationalisation of the raw material should be against the nationalisation of the means of production. Men who are Socialist in their aspect to the one remain Individualistic in their aspect to the other. They illogically refuse to apply to capital the arguments which they hold valid as against private property in land; and I notice a curious tendency among Radicals who are strongly in favor of the nationalisation of land to lose their tempers when they are pressed with their own arguments applied to capital, and to take refuge in denunciation and the free use of uncomplimentary epithets, instead of relying on reason and sound logic.
Mrs. Besant is perfectly right as to the state of inconsistency in which the minds of most people are. They see no reason why we should not have liberty to settle this question, and authority to settle that, according as it may suit the whim of the moment. They have no idea of a deep underlying principle to which they are bound to conform all their acts. There are unfortunately very few of those “slaves to an idea” whom Tak Kak so much despises (though I notice that he himself is a slave to the idea that he must not be slave to an idea). But Mrs. Besant herself is not quite consistent. Why should we draw the line at the nationalisation of the means of production any more than at that of the land? Why exempt the manufactured articles? This line Kropotkine, lining still more logical than Mrs. Besant, refuses to draw. In the series of articles on “Expropriation” now running through “Le Révolté,” he argues logically and fairly that it is nonsense to confine the idea of capital to raw material and the means of production, but that expropriation must begin with the manufactured articles; that houses, and clothing, and food, are as much a necessary part of the laborer’s capital as the raw material upon which to work; and that his need of them implies his right to use them. Are you prepared to go that length, Mrs. Besant? If you are not, you are only a very little more logical than your Radical friends.
Kropotkine must get the prize for consistency so far, but even he will not stand a very severe test. He has a wholesome fear of the State, as he well ought, from his experience in France and Russia, but he has no conception of justice without some State arrangement to carry it out. He will have the citizens go down into the streets and divide up the expropriated goods after the revolution. What these indefinite citizens are (I suppose some ghostly affair, like Communistic Anarchy), how they will differ from a State, and who is to decide what are the “needs” of the different people, I have not yet been able to make out.
It is very curious that a man of Kropotkine’s ability fails to see that there is no necessity for this expropriation which he contemplates; that all that is necessary is to cease to support the present system, which will then die for lack of nourishment; that what is called capital, even the most solid portions of it, could not exist a year, unless it were constantly renewed and revivified by labor; that expropriation, however just it may be, would “not pay.”
One of the most frequent charges brought against Anarchists is that they have no conception of the unity and solidarity of the human race; that each one wishes to act, as if he alone existed in the world; that they entirely deny that we are our brothers’ keepers. Rather a strange charge to be brought by those who are constantly making and dreaming of artificial devices for keeping men and women from devouring each other, while we are so convinced that the interests of all human beings are so bound together that no artificial bond is needed, that all artificial restraints tend to push them apart (by dividing their interests) instead of keeping them together. We, and we alone, are true believers in the unity of the human race, and it is for this reason, as Proudhon says, that we look not to an organization of society, but to an organization of the economic forces for the establishment of peace upon earth.
Gertrude B. Kelly.
Enslavement to Ideas.
I fear I cannot share Miss Kelly’s regret that there are “few of those slaves to an idea whom Tak Kak so much despises.” And that for two reasons. First, because it is not true. Ah! This world would not be the vale of tears and grief that it now is if there were “few slaves to an idea” in it. Unhappily, Carlyle was right; the fools constitute an overwhelming majority, and the few stray voices of thinking and independent beings are drowned in the tumult and howl of the superstitious masses. Second, because these slaves to an idea cannot be too much despised. Miss Kelly entirely misunderstands Tak Kak, and her use of the word slave is entirely unjustifiable. Those who “hold certain opinions as true, after having seen and examined all the arguments that may be brought to bear against them,” and who experience that keen intellectual enjoyment of which she speaks, are hardly to be classified with the slaves to an idea. But those who accept laws, ideas, and beliefs without examination and understanding, and who obey external regulations only because “thus saith the Lord,” or thus our fathers taught us, are wretched slaves of the most pitiable kind. Not only are they strangers to that “keen intellectual enjoyment,” but they fail to enjoy the use of their reason and faculties altogether. Physically we are all slaves, and our bodily chains can never be broken till we gain spiritual freedom. When a sufficient number of people have, like us, liberated their souls, slavery in all its forms will be abolished.
A Defence of Spencer.
To the Editor of Liberty
A few weeks since Victor Yarros spoke of Herbert Spencer as a loyal servant of the bourgeoisie. This is, I think, a great mistake. Though Spencer has not done all we could wish, yet what he has done he has done well. In fact I know of no English-writing person who has done so much to advance our cause as he.
The expression “loyal servants of the bourgeoisie” has, besides, the savor of cant, and cant is our deadliest enemy. The bourgeoisie not being a well-defined class like the feudal aristocracy with class traditions and class instincts, but a mob ever varying in composition, and the fractions of which exploit each other as they do the proletariat, it has as a class no paid agents, and it can develop no loyalty in anyone. Consequently the phrase “loyal servant” can mean only, if it mean anything, that the person to whom it is applied profits by the maintenance of the conditions under which the bourgeoisie thrives,— that he is himself bourgeois,— and therefore seeks to maintain those conditions. Now it is not true of Spencer that he either profits to any great extent by existing conditions, or that he seeks to maintain them. No one has pointed out in sharper language than he the existing commercial corruption, no one has traced it more clearly than he to its causes, and few have more definitely pointed out the remedies. On one point, the management of corporations, he has distanced all others, for he has clearly demonstrated that the evils complained of, and which are usually made the pretext for the demand for the absorption of the corporations by the State, are, when not produced directly by State interference, the result of the adoption of State methods — majority rule and unlimited contracts — inside the corporations.
The difference between the professed Anarchist and Spencer is simply that Spencer has not taken the last step of demanding the abolition of the State; and that he has not done so is no doubt largely caused by the circumstances in which he is placed. The demand, however, follows so logically from his reasoning that we may count him with us. Let us examine his position a little. He wishes to retain the State: 1, for protection from foreign enemies; 2, to administer justice in civil disputes; 3, to prevent or redress criminal aggression.
Now, his first reason for the retention of the State begs the question, for it is at most but a reason for retaining a State, or, as he himself puts it, as long as nations retain the habit of burglary, it will be necessary for each nation to maintain a defensive force to resist such burglary. But as the plea of the Anarchist is for the abolition of the State, and hence of international burglary, the argument is no good against him: in fact, it simply amounts to telling him that he will not have Anarchy before it comes, or that the State and Anarchy are incompatible. It is exactly the same reason that is used in favor of the maintenance of the vast standing armies of continental Europe.
As to the second reason, Spencer will scarcely say that the State has any right to interfere, except it be called in by at least one of the parties to the dispute. In fact, he limits the State’s interference to the enforcing of contracts, and the right to make contracts necessarily implies the right to abrogate them, both parties consenting. Where both parties to the dispute are not desirous of State intervention, it must be obvious that the State has no greater right to interfere than has any individual, except in so far as, being stronger, its interference may be more effectual. Where both parties are willing it becomes a case of ordinary arbitration, and any third party in whom the disputants have trust can do equally as well as the State. In fact, Spencer himself has shown that the latter method is the better, and that it tends to replace the action of the State. He has demonstrated that the State’s action in such cases is costly and imperfect, while that of private individuals or voluntary organizations is rapid and cheap. And in the case that one of the parties to a dispute refuses to submit the case to arbitration, there is sufficient power in voluntary protective organizations to bring him to terms. Take the ease of a merchant accused of not living up to his contracts. If a jury of his fellows of good reputation report that he has refused to defend himself, and that, so far as the evidence they can procure shows, he is guilty, the punishment following through loss of trade is more severe than any the State is likely to inflict.
There remains the case of direct aggression on life and property, and the prevention of this is certainly by far the best reason alleged for maintaining the State. But, after all, payment for protection from crime is a species of insurance, and I fail to see any good reason why one should be compelled to join one insurance company rather than another. If it be not the business of city government to tax the citizens in order to procure a water supply so as to be able to protect them from fire,— and Spencer says it is not,— how can it be the business of the same government to tax the citizens for the maintenance of a police force to enable it to repress fire-raisers? And here we come to the root of the matter. Spencer’s general position is that the Stale has not the right of positive regulation, while it has that of negative regulation, meaning by the latter term the prevention of aggression. Now, is or is not taxation positive regulation? When we bear in mind that the individual citizen has practically no voice in determining how much he shall pay, nor how his money shall be expended, the reply cannol be doubtful. The State takes from the individual — I speak of the State performing its “legitimate” functions only — what it thinks necessary and expends it as it thinks advisable for his protection. Evidently here is no contract, here is no exchange of services, a giving of so much for so much; here is only positive regulation. The State insists on rendering its services and sets its own pay. And if it do not do this; if the individual citizen has the liberty of choice; if he is to pay for protection only as he pays for other things,— then Anarchy is here and the State is dead. And that Spencer really wishes to kill the State by making taxation impossible there is some reason to believe. Take his proposal to make all taxation direct, direct taxation having, as he says, the advantage that it is difficult to collect when small in amount and practically impossible when large. Or take his recent utterance in regard to majority rule, that the majority has the right to decide what the joint action shall be in those cases in which the minority admits the necessity of joint action,— that is to say, the majority may rule the minority when majority and minority are at one.
The foregoing paragraphs were written before No. 95 of Liberty came to hand. In that I was surprised to find it stated that Spencer has not denounced the land and money monopolies. Surely this must have been written in temporary forgetfulness of the facts. It is true that Spencer has said nothing in favor of mutual banking, that he does not oven know anything about it; but nevertheless he has denounced the monopoly of the issuance of money most vigorously, and it is not his fault if mutual banking does not exist. Spencer may not be an Anarchist, but when our posterity undertakes to make up the roll of those to whose labors it will owe Anarchy, Spencer’s name will stand with those of Condorcet, Humboldt, Buckle, and Proudhon, and it will be neither the last nor the least.
John F. Kelly.
[Mr. Kelly states me a little too emphatically. I did not quite say that Spencer has not denounced the land and money monopolies; I said that he has little or nothing to say about them. As Mr. Kelly puts it, my criticism of Spencer covers his past; but it was my intention to refer only to his present attitude, and my words, though perhaps lacking precision, do not necessarily reflect upon any but Spencer’s more recent utterances. I could not have meant otherwise, for, when writing the passage in question, I had distinctly in mind Spencer’s admirable essay against the money monopoly to which Mr. Kelly refers. But this, good as it is, only partially excuses Spencer; in one view, indeed, its very excellence aggravates his subsequent offence. Knowing the importance of the matter, he should have dwelt upon it longer and returned to it oftener. But he has simply contented himself with stating on one or two occasions — with much force and lucidity, it is true — a portion of the truth about money and the liberty of its issue. This is contained in one of the least known of his books, and most of those who may be said to be tolerably and intelligently familiar with his philosophy are entirely unaware that he has written anything on the question of banking. If he had cared to give it a prominence proportional to its importance, he could and would have done so by that method of varied iteration of which he is so superb a master, and which he values so highly as a means of inducing the acceptance of newly-discovered truths by reluctant minds. When any truth is particularly dear to Mr. Spencer’s heart, you will find him turning it over in a thousand ways, exhibiting it in every possible light, and marshalling all the resources of his vast research in its support. But not so with free banking. That subject he has long neglected, and doubtless many think that he looks upon his once-expressed opinion as part of a crop of intellectual wild oats. To a degree, then, it is Mr. Spencer’s fault that free banking does not exist, and that degree is proportional to the influence upon which Mr. Kelly very properly insists in his behalf. So, in spite of my admiration, and my desire to think absolutely well of him, suspicion of his motive, of his honesty, of his bravery, forces its way into my mind, and I am tempted to echo the opinion expressed by Gertrude B. Kelly, in a masterful criticism of Spencer which once appeared in these columns, that, “when Mr. Spencer was younger,” he was “probably more honest,” and that “in the near future men will wonder how Mr. Spencer, ‘the philosopher’ of the nineteenth century, could have allowed his devotion to the bourgeoisie to cloud his morality,” though I cannot, go as far as she does in asserting that “Mr. Spencer comes to the assistance of the landowners and capitalists in general with all the arguments in his power, even if the views now expressed are totally opposed to those expressed before he was captured by the bourgeoisie.” With these comments on that portion of Mr. Kelly’s letter which particularly calls for answer from me, I leave the rest to Mr. Yarros to answer when and as he pleases, congratulating him on having called forth such an accurate, analytical presentation of Mr. Spencer’s attitude towards the State as Mr. Kelly has given, and one which, in view of what Mr. Spencer may be supposed to know, better warrants criticism than defence of him. — Editor Liberty.]
My dear Mr. Tucker:
Manifestly a sort, of reversed Midas, all the gold I have hitherto touched has speedily dissolved, and what I have most earnestly striven after in almost every instance vanished beyond my reach. Indeed, I have so long camped with defeat that I doubt whether I could ever feel comfortable in the company of victory. I fear I am so made that I shall forever train with the defeated. And so may it be. I will not bewail it. But while I am beginning to resign myself to my fate,— that of a lone wanderer with nothing but his ideal and some friends and fellow-thinkers scattered over the earth to cheer and sustain him in an unfriendly world well-nigh bereft of all ideals and fatally immersed in a “mere property career,” — I hope there is something better in store for you and your great enterprises, Liberty and now also “The Proudhon Library,” and that in your ease the high spiritual rewards that always accompany the serviee of a noble cause will not want their material counterpart. In the prosecution of your journalistic and literary enterprises I sincerely wish you the most abundant success. Your essential work has my unqualified approval. In exalting, like Jesus, the Quakers, Emerson, and some other characters in whom the race flowered, the spontaneous element in man above fixed institutions, religious, political, or of whatever nature, and proclaiming the supreme excellence of liberty as a solvent of social ills and as the condition precedent to the perennial regeneration of human society, you, together with other Anarchists, are working, “not for an age, but for all time.” Among the eminent thinkers and writers who proceeded on similar lines, who clearly recognized the utter futility and crime of politics and all arbitrary interference in the work of social reform, and who with great eloquence and power placed before the world the new hope there is for it in the spontaneous and natural agencies of liberty, the Frenchman Proudhon, so far as I am able to judge, is unexcelled. I cannot but congratulate you upon your undertaking the translation and publication of his complete works. It is true we have Herbert Spencer and Emerson, but Proudhon did his work in his own characteristic way, different from and often surpassing theirs, and for one I hold there is room for him in English. Let me assure you of my hearty cooperation in this your new enterprise. I have already urged the “Proudhon Library” upon a number of friends, and shall continue to bespeak for it the favor of others. Of course you are to place me on your list as a subscriber. It grieves me not to be able to support your enterprise more largely.
St. Paul, Minnesota.
Dear Mr. Tucker:
In my “Pen Pictures of the Prisoners” I find that my free, otf-hand style, intended for private information and afterwards printed with my consent, contains some references which have been misinterpreted. In saying Neebe “was on bail before trial, and not having a knowledge of the future — remained!” I did not intend to insinuate that he would not have stood his ground had he known. In the bare statement of fact I meant no reproach upon a character of undaunted courage and proved honor. To no one has Neebe ever expressed a word of regret.
From my remarks about friend Parsons some, to my surprise, have drawn the inference that, if he had “known the situation,” he also would not have returned. As I stated, his own sense of duty impelled him to return. That, in his innocence, he may have believed it was to an acquittal is a reflection on the Court and jury rather than on him. As I said, he “came back because honor demanded it,” and, if I had added, as I believe, “would do the same thing again,” probably none would have misunderstood my meaning.
Dyer D. Lum.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 95.
They looked at her, perplexed and agitated; without vexation at her strange and untimely interruption, when such a grave crisis was at hand, but not without a keen anxiety, so strongly was the expression of an intense will affirmed on her lifeless face, as well as in her eyes as dark as caverns.
“Silence! Why?” asked Treor, with solicitude, believing, for his part, in a mental derangement easily conceivable.
“Because. . . ,” said the poor woman, with unheard-of difficulties, tearing out the syllables, “because”. . . .
They positively hung upon her lips, suffering to see her exert herself in such a way, the veins swollen on her yellow forehead, her lips compressed like those of a mask in antique tragedy.
“Because?” gently asked Marian, who had come in.
But no other sound passed between her clenched teeth; she doubtless could not speak, and so abandoned this struggle against the obstacle which closed her jaws, and her expressive eyes veiled themselves under their heavy, swollen lids, burned by tears shed daily, without respite.
“Come!” said Treor’s granddaughter; and she tried by coaxing to lead her; away among the children. But Edith, extending her arm with a sudden push, drove her away.
“No!” said she, in a harsh tone, lifting her eyelids and showing a transformed face, painful in its expression to the point of paroxysm.
Harvey stepped towards her and questioned her. What was it then, that she felt? What preoccupation was crossing her mind? if she had a reason why they should be quiet, well, let her give it!
“Leave me!” she said, lowering her head and hiding her face, on which was now painted extreme confusion, followed suddenly by fright at the visions passing before her.
In truth, in a cloud of blood which blinded her, was heaped up a great pile of corpses. Stretching as far as the eye could reach, covering the entire country, the plains, the mountains, and the faces of the dead, turned toward her, looked at her reproachfully.
Through this funereal litter of all the males, young, middle-aged, old, armed for deliverance and massacred by Newington’s forewarned soldiers, wives, sisters, daughters, mothers wandered inconsolable, embracing with frenzy, in the madness of their grief, those whom they recognized, and hurling maledictions till they themselves expired. exhausted by the horrors of a dreadful agony.
Alone, the widow of Arklow remained standing in the sea of blood which mounted to her knees, and then to her breast, and she contemplated her work while the ravens feasted, croaking her name and thanking her for this banquet of flesh which she offered them; and Arklow, risen from his grave, disowned her; and her Michael, renouncing the benefit of the treason which assured him existence, killed himself by the side of his comrades, refusing to look at her, from fear that he might be suspected of connivance.
“No! no! no!” she articulated energetically, exciting their curiosity like an enigma.
Horrified at the carnage of which she had had a glimpse, at these hearts of mothers or wives broken by her odious selfishness, she repented, decided that these abominations should not be committed, resolved in suffer alone the death of a son and to rejoin him immediately in the tomb.
Concentrating all her powers, tottering, she succeeded in detaching herself from the door, in taking a few steps, supported by Harvey and Treor, and, designating the hiding-place where the Duke was trembling with rage, she said, answering at last, the question of a few moments before:
“Because,— because my Lord Newington is there.”
“In my house!” cried Treor. “Nonsense!”
“I brought him in!” said the widow.
“She is wandering!” exclaimed several at once, filled with commiseration.
“It is the truth!” said the Duke, putting aside the curtain which concealed him, and springing out of his hiding-place, with no pallor in his cheeks, but proud, speaking in a loud voice, disdainful, with defiance on his crafty lips, his arms crossed, not dreaming of having recourse to his weapons, notwithstanding the cries of death which rose, notwithstanding the circle which narrowed around him.
“He promised to pardon my child!” explained Edith, in a hollow voice, to those a hundred leagues from supposing her guilty of such an act.
The mothers present comprehended her, nevertheless, and pitied her, while trembling at the thought of the consequences if her treason had been continued to the end.
Under the broadside of furious looks, of insults, for having imposed such a bargain on an unfortunate woman, so tried, on a brain weakened by the assassination of her husband, the burning of her hut, and the captivity of her son; before menaces flung in his face, and clenched fists two inches from his nose, the Duke maintained a hold front, eyeing by turns the nearest and most furious assailants, enveloping them in an insulting scorn which exasperated them.
In their hands, their prisoner, he dared them; certain of them, intimidated, lowered their eyes; he still appeared formidable. Free, commanding his soldiers, warning them of the announced attack, surely not one of them would escape.
Consequently it was the part of prudence to suppress him.
“To death! to death!” they vied with each other in repeating.
“Or let him sign the order to release Michael!” said a woman.
Newington sneered; a hand was stretched out to seize him; he grasped it, and twisting it between his powerful fingers, he brought the aggressor, whose suffering made him lose heart, to his knees; then they would have thrown themselves on the Duke, if Treor and Harvey had not checked their fury.
“No execution without trial!” said the agitator.
“Justice and its pomp and paraphernalia!” sneered the Duke. “A court, witnesses, a summing-up, a sentence. My God! all these formalities waste precious time, and during the delays the prisoner, the accused, the condemned stands a chance of being rescued and revenged. I answer you that, for my part, I would not stand upon so much ceremony.
“Do not tempt us,” said Treor; but he went on in the midst of continual mutterings which grew ever louder:
“Of all those who are here, whose faces I have seen, whose voices I know, the furious ones, not one, I swear to you, will lead a long life. Very short, on the contrary, at the end of a rope. Clear the way, then, that I may escape, you blackguards! Or else strangle me as soon as possible, set your fangs in my throat, you dogs of rebels. . . . if yon can!”
“Duke, no provocation! . . . . We hold you in our power, and your bravado will not awe us!” said Treor.
“To death! We wait too long!” murmured the greater part of the assembly, feverish, thirsting for vengeance, and Newington, in the crowd, driven to the wall, hastily pulled his pistols from his belt, pointed them in front of him, with finger on the trigger, and admonished them not to defy his dogs: they would bark and bite at the same time!
They were not afraid, but prepared for a new rush; several Bunclodyans forced a passage, claiming the perilous honor of arresting the rascal; Paddy Neill, in the front rank, prepared to leap upon him; but once more the agitator restrained this outburst, and, placing himself between his own and the Duke, lowered the weapons which they drew from their pockets or from under their cloaks.
“I beg you, my friends, appease your just wrath and renounce your right of retaliation, which is so just, but the use of which would dishonor you before posterity and before history! The man most guilty — and the Duke of Newington answers to this description; all the iniquities he carries on his conscience — even the man most guilty spare until you have tried him.”
“He was tried long ago!” interrupted voices.
“Not regularly, not in his presence, not when he could defend himself, explain himself. To order such cruelties as those for which he will remain accountable to you, perhaps his lawyer would argue that this man is insane.”
They recognized the justice of the sentiment expressed by Harvey; but also its unseasonableness, and at such a juncture reason was on Newington’s side when he spoke, a few minutes before, of the precious time wasted in formality.
While establishing a court, or even while promptly questioning the prisoner and consulting as to his fate, unless they should juggle the ceremony and make a show, a mockery, of it, the Britons, the Infernal Mob, the castle, would have plenty of time to invade the house, overturn the chief justice, his assistants, and the witnesses, and take away the accused, whom it was important, moreover, first to disarm, and who probably would not submit to this operation with a good grace, without using his effective means of defence, and, before giving them up, would break the heads of more than one of those who should attempt to lay hands on him.
“To death! to death! then,” they cried now, without consenting to let Harvey expatiate longer, who saw it was useless to resist.
And in spite of his sense of justice, of his horror of summary executions, in which, often, mobs in their blindness attack the innocent, he decided that the case of Newington was exceptional, and that he merited the torments inflicted by him on so many of the Irish, and the death which he lavished on others.
He felt that, in a state of war, necessity set aside law, and that the Duke living, even at the bottom of a dungeon, would constitute a danger. Still, he hesitated to abandon him to the vindictiveness of the company: one against all,— such disproportion shocked his delicate sense of honor.
Suddenly the sound of a distant report changed his intentions.
To be continued.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Labor “troubles” are the inevitable concomitants of our present social system and their frequency is not to be wondered at. A settlement of a strike is no sooner arrived at in our district than we hear of another strike occurring elsewhere. An exciting scene took place a few days ago at a place called Bulli, in Now South Wains, there the colliers are now on strike. It appears that a number of “blacklegs,” as they are called, had been sent for, to take the place of the strikers. About thirty-five of them landed one morning and were being conveyed to the mines in a wagon drawn by an engine, when they were met by a crowd of more than a hundred women, who were standing on the railway, directly in front of the engine, and who positively refused to remove. The result was that the train had to come to a standstill, when the wretched women, seizing their opportunity, instantly docked around the “blacklegs,” and besought them to return rather than take the bread of other men. One poor woman, carrying an infant in her arms, caught one of the men by the arm, and, pointing at the child, asked him if he was going to take the bread out of its mouth. This caused the man to feel much affected, and, the sympathy spreading, nearly the whole of the men returned to Sydney. The women next visited some of the mines, and persuaded many of the “blacklegs” to desist from their labors. A large number of police has been gathered together in the district, and the miners have held meetings to consider what steps to take. New arrivals are continuing to appear, and are persuaded and threatened not to remain, while summonses for intimidation are being taken out against the miners in great numbers. How the affair will be settled remains to be seen. Another trouble has occurred at Geelong, there being a lock-out of the tanners and curriers, whose hours of labor have been increased from eight to nine hours per day, the eight-hour system being the prevailing one in this colony. Unfortunately, in all these disputes, the idea of self-employment seems to be the last thing to enter the workers’ heads.
Fortunately, the laboring classes of New South Wales are vigorously protesting against the system of State-assisted immigration which prevails in that colony, although unfortunately they ask for State-aid to nearly everything else. A public demonstration was held a few days ago, when resolutions were passed condemning the system, and thanking Mr. John Norton for the zeal and truthfulness which he has shown in relating the real state of the Australian labor market to the English people.
Some little sensation was caused in this loyal colony of Victoria last month, by an M. P. named Bailes stating in Parliament that the people did not want any more royalty in this country (the Prince of Wales was contemplating a visit to us). He was willing, he said, to remain loyal to the Queen, but he hoped that, when Her Majesty died, they would witness the extinction of monarchy in Great Britain. At any rate, the character of the Prince of Wales was such as to not make his presence here very welcome. The result of this confession was that the press went into loyal ecstasies, severely rebuked the wayward M. P., and he, like a true coward, withdrew his remarks, and humbly apologized. Such is the material of which our “statesmen” are made. Principles should always be sacrificed rather than office,— so they appear to think.
As a proof that our public men are not all characterized by this contemptible servility, I may mention the fact that Mr. W. W. Collins, the popular Freethought lecturer, does not hesitate to publicly proclaim himself an “intellectual Anarchist” (presumably employing the adjective “intellectual” to distinguish himself from the “propaganda by deed”); and a few weeks ago he delivered a lecture in Melbourne, entitled “God and the State,” which, although partly a résumé of Bakounine’s celebrated work, was chiefly devoted to the question of the separation of, rather than the destruction of, Church and State. Mr. Collins, however, stated that he held the views of Bakounine, and that eventually republicans would have to attain to that position.
The new Licensing Act, which I referred to some time ago, is already proving the bungle which many anticipated, and is helping to sow Anarchistic seeds. For instance, the “Argus,” the Melbourne Conservative organ, in an article on this question, deplores “the patient endurance and resignation of the public” in submitting to such a law, speaks of Parliament as “the arch mischief-maker, Parliament,” and wonders that the people who have to pay fines arising out of the regulations of the Shops Act do not “indulge in the immortal luxury of breaking somebody’s head.” The article was called forth by an immense number of publicans being summoned for Sunday trading and jovially throwing down the five pounds fine as soon as called upon. The writer goes on to make the startlingly truthful admission that “in every Anglo-Saxon community it has become an axiom that mere ‘offence-making’ laws, which run distinctly counter to the moral sense and the common sense of the community, ought to be repealed. Laws against murder, theft, and violence are effective throughout the greater portion of the empire, because every one approves of the conviction of murderers, thieves, etc., and the convicted criminal is detested by ninety-nine citizens out of a hundred.” To this unusually rational article the “Daily Telegraph,” the unflinching advocate of loyalty and piety, retorted the following day that, “if the publican has a ‘moral and indefeasible right’ to vend his beer on Sunday, everyone else has a ‘moral and indefeasible right’ to do whatever he pleases on that day”; and it adds: “No journal with any pretence to public respect has any right to preach the doctrine that, because a citizen does not like a particular law, he has a right to break it. . . . If the law is bad, a good citizen will try and mend it: but, until it is mended, he will keep it,”— which is tantamount to saying that to be an unmitigated fool constitutes one a good citizen. The “Daily Telegraph” then proceeds to ask a few questions which I think no Anarchist will have any difficulty in answering in the affirmative: “A freetrader may think protective duties bad; has he therefore a right to turn smuggler, defraud the customs, and yet pretend to be an honorable man? If a person objects to the stamp duties, has he therefore ‘a moral and indefeasible right’ to cheat the post-office? All the estates of the realm, the two houses of parliament, and the Queen’s representative have joined to enact a certain law; but the publicans, since that law touches their pockets, openly declare they will not obey it! And our contemporary pats them affectionately on the back, declares they are right, and announces that they do not forfeit any respect on that account! That is teaching which, if carried into effect everywhere, would dissolve all law, and reduce society into a mere distracted chaos.” Of course, the writer of the foregoing cannot conceive that the dissolution of “law” involves the dissolution of chaos also (if the expression may be allowed). But the climax was reached by the “Age” of the following day in criticising the two preceding articles in splendid style. After remarking of the “Argus” that “it becomes difficult to distinguish its Conservatism from Anarchism,” and blaming the “Daily Telegraph” for seeming “to err on the other side in setting up law as something superior to individual conscience,” it analyzed the latter’s statement that a good citizen will observe a bad law. “This dictum,” said the “Age,” “is opposed to the best teachings upon social ethics. No enlightened man can suffer the State, any more than the Church, to become a conscience for him, and coerce him to obedience to a law which he condemns. If, after deep consideration, and upon what appears to him to be sufficient grounds, a brave, a conscientious man conceives an edict of the State to be an evil, he will openly defy it, and take the consequences. His conduct, in thus acting, may prove, as history shows such conduct to have frequently proved, a letter act of citizenship than submission. . . . It may be laid down as a rule that all who desire to earn a reputation for good citizenship will obey the laws; but there is no rule without exception, and the burden of discerning the exception rests on the individual. . . . Defiance of law is not a thing to encourage on slight grounds, but there are times when it may become a duty for the noblest and best.” It is only lately that such radical ideas have been so freely and plainly promulgated in our local papers; and it shows a tendency cheering to reformers, in addition; to the foregoing, I may mention that the “Age” inserted, a few days ago, a letter from myself, entitled: “Cooperation and Anarchism”; this is quite a new departure in Victorian journalism.
Intended to inform you of the further progress of the Melbourne Anarchists’ Club; but that must be held over till another time, together with a few other notes of interest.
David A. Andrade.
South Yarra, Melbourne, Australia, January 24, 1887.
Stirner on Justice.
On page 79 of his book, entitled “Der Einzige mid Sein Eigenthum,” Stirner speaks of the insidious revival of sacred ideas and their domination, as that men are taught to regard themselves as railed to devote themselves, to renounce their own wishes in favor, for example, of family, country, science, etc., and to be faithful servants of the same. “Here,” he says, “we strike the immemorial craze of the world, which has not yet learned to dismiss priestcraft. To live and to labor for an idea is proposed as the high calling of man, and according to the fidelity of its fulfillment his human worth is measured. This is the domination of the idea, or priest-craft. Robespierre, for example, and St. Just, etc., were thorough priests. Thus St. Just exclaims in a speech: “There is something terrible in the sacred love of country, it is so exclusive that it sacrifices everything to the public interest without pity, without fear, without human regard. It hurls Manlius over the precipice; it sacrifices private inclinations; it conducts Regulus to Carthage, casts a Roman into the chasm, and places Marat in the Pantheon as a sacrifice to his devotion.”
“A add of countless ‘personal’ profane interests stands opposed to these advocates of ideal or sacred interests. No idea, no system, no sacred cause is so great that it should never be outweighed and modified by these personal interests. Even if in times of rage and fanaticism they are momentarily silent, yet they soon come uppermost again by the ‘sound sense of the people.’ Those ideas do not completely gain the victory till, and unless, they are no longer hostile to personal interests, i. e., till, and unless, they satisfy egoism.
“The man who is crying chestnuts before my window has a personal interest in a brisk side, and if his wife or anybody else wishes as much for him, this as well is a personal interest. If, on the other hand, a thief were to take away his basket, there would at once arise an interest of many, of the whole city, of the entire country, or, in one word, of all who abominate theft: an interest wherein the person of the chestnut-vender would be indifferent, and in its place the category of ‘one who is robbed’ would appear in the forefront. But here, too, it might still all be resolved into a personal interest, each participant reflecting that he must aid in the punishment of the thief because, otherwise, unpunished stealing would become general and he also would lose his possessions. There are many, however, from whom such a calculation is not to be presumed. Rather, the cry will be heard that the thief is a ‘criminal.’ Here we have a judgment before us, the act of the thief receiving its expression in the conception ‘crime.’ Now the matter presents itself in this way: If a crime should work not the slightest damage either to me or to any of those for whom I take concern, yet nevertheless I should be zealous against it. Why? Because I am enthused for morality, filled with the idea of morality. I run down what is hostile to it. . . . Here personal interest comes to an end. This particular person who has stolen the basket is quite indifferent to my person. I take an interest only in the thief, this idea, of which that person presents an example. Thief and man are in my mind irreconcilable terms, for one who is a thief is not truly man. He dishonors man, or humanity, in himself when he steals. Departing from personal concern, we glide into philanthropy, which is usually misunderstood as if it were a love toward men, to each individual, whereas it is nothing but a love of man, of the unreal conception, of the spook. The philanthropist bears in his heart, not tous anthropous, men, but ton anthropon, man. Of course he cares for each individual, but merely for the reason that he would like to see his darling ideal realized everywhere.
“Thus there is no idea here of care for me, for you, or for us. That would be personal interest and belong in the chapter of ‘earthly love.’ Philanthropy is a heavenly, a spiritual, a priestly love. Man must be established in us, though we poor devils be brought to destruction in the process. It is the same priestly principle as that famous fiat justitia, pereat mundus. Man and justice are ideas, phantoms, for love of which everything is sacrificed: therefore the priestly minds are the ones that do sacrifice. . . .
“The most multiform things can belong and be accounted to man. Is his chief requisite deemed to be piety, religious priestcraft arises. Is it conceived to be in morality, the priestcraft of morals raises its head. Hence the priestly minds of our time want to make a religion of everything; a religion of freedom, religion of equality, etc., and they make of every idea a ‘sacred cause,’ for instance, even citizenship, politics, publicity, freedom of the press, the jury, etc.
“In this sense what is the meaning of unselfishness? To have only an ideal interest, in face of which no consideration for the person counts anything!
“The hard-headed worldly man resists this, but still, for thousands of years, he has always so far succumbed that he must bend his stilt neck and ‘revere the higher power.’ Priestcraft repressed him. When the worldly egoist had shaken off one higher power,— for example, the Old Testament law, the Pope of Rome, etc.,— a seven-fold higher one was prescently over him, for example, belief in place of the law; the transformation of all laymen into clergy, instead of a special clerical order, etc. It has been with him as with the man possessed of a devil from whom he no sooner thought himself free than seven devils entered into him.”
In the foregoing extract it will be seen that the author puts himself in the place of the average man at the point where the generalization “crime” becomes a snare for the multitude. I offer this fragment as an egoistic contribution to that justice which remains to be constituted.
Mr. Morse Explains.
You asked me if I had said to Appleton that you were waging war merely against the existing State, and I replied “no.”
I am surprised to find in the taxi of his letter no statement of that color. He seems not alone to fail in so reporting me, but to bring no such charge against you himself. It is his own opinion of the meaning of Anarchism that limits it to political barriers, not yours. He admits that you say it “means more and includes a protest against every invasion of individual right.” But, for himself, he is convinced that “it will not do to stretch the seope of Anarchism beyond political goverment.” When he writes, “Now, if Anarchism is merely a protest against the existing State,” he is reaffirming his own opinion as to what the word, etymologically regarded, and by what he thinks was Proudhon’s restricted use of it, ought to mean. He is not saying what you mean, but what you should mean, to be, in his opinion, a true Anarchist. He then attempts a quotation from me to support the same view of the case.
I volunteer this explanation. But I might have contented myself by saying that I have never had anything to say about Anarchism being merely a protest against the existing State, or otherwise.
Appleton has got his own ideas and mine mixed. I simply remarked to him on one occasion that I did not see why Most, Parsons and Co. had not as much right to define the word Anarchism as you have. Instead of insisting upon any particular definition myself, it was immaterial to me what definition was etymologically or Proudhonically correct. The meanings of words change and often come to convey quite other than their original thought. They come to mean what people make them mean. For myself I do not care to make this disputed term stand for one thing or another. I do not for my own purpose have occasion in any way to appropriate it, and should not be unwilling to see it pass out of your vocabulary.
In all of which I am a heretic, yet.
Very truly yours,
[If Mr. Appleton’s last article were to be considered alone, the paragraph in it containing a reference to Mr. Morse could be interpreted as Mr. Morse interprets it. But considered in its relation to Mr. Appleton’s preceding article, which Mr. Morse perhaps has forgotten, my own interpretation is much the more rational. In his first article Mr. Appleton’s complaint was, not that I used a narrow name to cover a broad idea, but that I was fighting for a narrow idea. I answered him that I was fighting for Anarchism, and that Anarchism, as defined in Liberty, was equal in breadth to what Mr. Appleton prefers to call Individualism. In view of this, Mr. Appleton’s paragraph in his last article is properly summed up as follows: “You say Anarchism is broad in its meaning. But this is a ‘convenient assumption’ [convenient for what, except to avoid the charge that I am fighting for a narrow idea?], not warranted by etymology or by Proudhon. Etymology and Proudhon both make it narrow. Now, if it is narrow and does not necessarily include a protest against authority per se, you, as friend Morse says, have no more right to say that Most, Parsons & Co. are not Anarchists than they have to say that you are not one.” Now, to me this amounts to a charge that I am really fighting for a narrow idea, but that, when called to account for it, I “conveniently assume” that my flag covers a broad idea; and that, inasmuch as Most, Parsons & Co. and I are really fighting for the same narrow idea, I have no right to question their Anarchism. If this interpretation is correct, Mr. Appleton does charge me with “waging war merely against the existing State,” and cites Mr. Morse as of the same opinion. Hence the form of my question to Mr. Morse, which, however, he has not stated quite correctly or fully. I first asked him if he had ever said that I was waging war merely against the existing State, he replied that he had not, and inquired why I asked. I answered that I asked because Appleton had written an article in which he quoted him as saying that, if Anarchism meant war against the existing State, I had no more right, etc. Thus Mr. Morse was given the statement made by Mr. Appleton, and, if he had remembered the conversation correctly, he would have had no occasion for surprise on reading Mr. Appleton’s article. When I had explained why I asked, Mr. Morse still said, as he says now, that he had never said such a thing, and that Mr. Appleton had mixed things up. As to the right of Most, Parsons & Co. to use the word Anarchism in accordance with any definition they may choose to give it, I willingly concede it. But it is equally my right to dispute the accuracy of their definition, and say that they are not Anarchists. To illustrate: I have often heard Mr. Morse use the term “transcendentalism” and defend the doctrine for which that word stands. Now, any positivist has a right to put forth positivistic ideas under the label of transcendentalism, but, if any one were to do so, that Mr. Morse would complain, and assert that such person was not a transcendentalist. Mr. Morse does not like the term Anarchism, I know, but his opposition to it is of a general nature, arising out of his opposition to labelling doctrines at all,— an idea which logically involves the entire disuse of language. As I do not agree with him in this, I cannot accomodate him by dropping the word Anarchism from my vocabulary for such a reason. But, on the other hand, he is not at all a heretic, for, while it is a part of the Anarchistic creed that persons not of Anarchistic ideas should not call themselves Anarchists, it is no part of it that persons holding Anarchistic ideas must call themselves Anarchists under penalty of being disfellowshipped. — Editor Liberty.]