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Cornell University Library

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.T89 1897

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http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924030333052

^\5 /C?"!

INSTEAD OF A BOOK

By

a Man

Too Busy to Write One

A FRAGMENTARY EXPOSITION OF

PHILOSOPHICAL ANARCHISM

CULLED FROM THE WRITINGS OF

TUCKER

BENJ. R.

Editor of Liberty

Liberty,

Not

the Daughter, but the

Mother of Order.

Proudhon

SECOND EDITION

BENJ.

R.

NEW YORK
TUCKER,
K

Publisher

Foy always in thine

eyes^

O Liberty !

Shines that high light whereby the world

And though

is

saved;

thou slay us, we will trust in thee.

John Hay.

In abolishing rent

and

interest^ the last vestiges

of old-time slavery the Revolu^

sword o/ the executioner^ the seal 0/ the magistrate,,


club 0/ the policeman^ the gauge 0/ the exciseman^ the erasing-kni/e 0/ the

tion abolisH.es at one stroke the

the

department
kar

clerks all those insignia

of Politics^ which young Liberty grinds beneath

heel*

Proudhon.

a:o tb.e

iHicmorg
OF

My Old

Friend and Master

JOSIAH

WARREN

Whose Teachings were My


I

First Source of Light

Gratefully Dedicate this Volume

CONTENTS.
PAGE

Preface,

How Far They Agree and


Wherein They Differ,
The Individual, Society, and the State,
The Relation of the State to the Individual
State Socialism and Anarchism

Contract or Organism, What's That to

Us

of the State,
Misinterpretation of Anarchism,
Mr. Levy's Maximum,
Resistance to Taxation

34

Puppet for a God,


Mr. Perrine's Difficulties,
.

Where

We

Tu-Whit

Stand,

Tu-Whoo

38

......

A
In
'

62
63
65
67
72
75
78

.81

82
89
98
99

1O3
105
115
116
116
118

Back Town Heard From,

Form a Reply,

43
46
50

.61

........

40

52
55
58

Rights and Duties Under Anarchy,


More Questions,
Mr. Blodgett's Final Question,
Trying to Be and Not to Be,
My Explanation,
Plea for Non-Resistance'
Liberty and Aggression,
Rule or Resistance Which ?
The Advisability of Violence
Mr. Pentecost an Abettor of Government,
The Philosopher of the Disembodied,
The Woes of an Anarchist,
The Moral of Mr. Donisthorpe's Woes,
L'Etat est Mort Vive I'^tat
Voluntary Co-operatioti,
L'Etat, C'est I'Ennemi,
A Libertarian's Pet Despotisms,
Defensive Despotism,
Still in the Procrustean Bed,
Pinney Struggling with Procrustes,

ig
21

.31

The Nature

ix

120

In Reality a Surrender

122
125
126

Fool Voters and Fool Editors,

Ergo and Presto,

Contents.

VI

tAGS

The Right

of

.129

Ownership

Individual Sovereignty Our Goal,


.
Abolition and Its Nine Demands,
Anarchistic,
Compulsory Education Not
Relations Between Parents and Children

..

New

Compulsory Education and Anarchism,


Children Under Anarchy,
Not a Decree, but a Prophecy,
Anarchy and Rape,

.......

An

Unfortunate Analogy,

The Boycott and Its Limit,


A Case Where Discussion Convinced,
A Spirit More Evil Than Alcohol

A Word

........
.........

About Capital Punishment,

No Place for a Promise,


On Picket Duty,
Money and Interest,

"Who

Somebody ?"
Reform Made Ridiculous,
is

the

Defence of Capital,
"The Position of William,"
Capital's Claim to Increase,
.
A Baseless Charge,
Another Answer to Mr. Babcock,
Attention, " Apex !"
Usury,

of William,"

.......
.........
........
........

Economic Hodge-Podge,
An Unwarranted Question,
An Alleged Flaw in Anarchy,
Shall the Transfer Papers be Taxed ?
Money and Capital,
To-day's View of Interest,
.

To-day's Excellent Fooling


Government and Value,

The Power

of

Government Over Values,

Free Trade in Banking,


Currency and Government,

The Equalization

of

Wage and

Product,

False Idea of Freedom,


Monopoly, Communism, and Liberty,
Pinney His Own Procrustes,
Ten Questions Briefly Answered,
A Standard of Value a Necessity,

Necessity or a Delusion

Anarchy's

New

Ally,
Superstition,

Which

Mr. Bilgram's Rejoinder,


Free Money,
Free Money First
StoD the Main Leak First,

.....
.....

........

Economic
Book That is Not Milk for Babes,
State Banking Versus Mutual Banking,

i75
i77

.183

Apex or Basis,
"The Position

150
152
I53
I54
156
I57
158

I79
180
181

131
133
134
136
143
'44
146
i49

.....

186
i8g
189
190
191
J99
200
208
209
212
215
217

220
222
223
227
235
237
245
246
248
252
253
256
259
260
262
265
268
269
273
274

CGHTENTg.

An

Vli

.......

Indispensable Accident

Leland Stanford's Land Bank,


Mutualism in the Service of Capital

Edward Atkinson's Evolution,

Greenbacker in a Corner
Free Money and the Cost Principle,
Proudhon's Bank,
Why Wages Should Absorb Profits,
A Great Idea Perverted
On Picket Duty,
.

Lanb and Rent,

.......
.......

"The Land for the People,"


Basic Principles of Economics Rent,
Rent Parting Words,
Property Under Anarchism,
Mere Land No Saviour for Labor,
Henry George's " Secondary Factors,"
:

The

State Socialists and Henry George


Liberty and the George Theory,
Criticism That Does Not Apply
Land Occupancy and Its Conditions,
Competitive Protection,
Protection, and Its Relation to Rent,
Liberty and Land,
Rent, and Its Collection by Force,
The Distribution of Rent,
Economic Rent,
Liberty and Property,
/
.
Going to Pieces on the Rocks,

"Simplifying Government,"

On

Picket Duty

Socialism,
'Socialism

What

It Is,

.......

Armies That Overlap,


Socialism and the Lexicographers

The Sin of Herbert Spencer,


Will Professor Sumner Choose?
After Freiheit, Der Socialist,
State Socialism and Liberty
On Picket Duty

Communism,
General Walker and the Anarchists

Herr Most on Libertas,


Avoiding the Issue,
Herr Most Distilled and Consumed,
Should Labor be Paid or Not ?
Does Competition Mean War.?
Competition and Monopoly Confounded,
Still

On

Picket Duty,

Methods
The Power of Passive Resistance
The Irish Situation in 1881
The Method of Anarchy,
Theoretical Methods,

PAGE
276
278
281

282
284
286
287
289
290
292
297
299
300
304
309
313
314
315
316
322
324
326
328
333
337
339
343
348
351
352
353
359
361
363
365
370
371
375
377
378
381
383
393
397
401
403
404
406
407
409
411
414
415
417

vni

CONTENTS.
PAGB

Seed Planted,

The "

Home Guard

"

Heard From

Colonization,
Labor's New Fetich,
Mr. Pentecost's Belief in the Ballot,
Principle of Social Therapeutics,

The Morality 6f Terrorism,


The Beast of Communism,
Time Will Tell,
The Facts Coming to Light,

.,....
.

.434

Liberty and Violence,


Convicted by a Packed Jury,
Why Expect Justice from the State ?
The Lesson of the Hour
Convicted for Their Opinions
To the Breach, Comrades
On Picket Duty,
!

Miscellaneous,
The Lesson of Homestead
Save Labor from Its Friends

......

Atheistic,

Fable for Malthusians


Auberon Herbert and His Work,
Solutions of the Labor Problem,
Karl Marx as Friend and Foe,
Do the Knights of Labor Love Liberty
Play-House Philanthropy,
Beware of Batterson
A Gratifying Discovery,
Cases of Lamentable Longevity,
.

On
Index,

Picket

Duty

...

........
........

Spooner Memorial Resolutions,

453
455
457
459
461
463
465'

...

435

439
442
444
446
447
448
449

.451

Is Frick a Soldier of Liberty ?


Shall Strikers be Court-Martialled?
Census-Taking Fatal to Monopoly,

Anarchy Necessarily

420
421
423
424
426
427
428
429

469
472
476
480
4S3
487
489
"490

491
493
497

PREFACE.

"iNSTEAEk of a b(3ok !" I hear the reader exclaim, as he picks up this


volume and glances at its title " why, it is a book." To all appearance,
;

yes

essentially, no.

It

is,

to be sure, an assemblage within a cover of

but this alone does not constitute


printed sheets consecutively numbered
A book, properly speaking, is first of all a thing of unity and
a book.
symmetry, of order and finish it is a literary structure, each part of which
To satisfy such a standard
is subordinated to the whole and created for it.
it is not a structure, but an afterthougnt,
this volume does not pretend
a more or less coherent arrangement, each part of which was created
almost without reference to any other. Yet not quite so, after all ; otnerwise even the smallest degree of coherence were scarcely possible.
The facts are these. In August, 1881, I started in Boston, in a very
Its purpose was to
quiet way, a little fortnightly journal called Liberty.
contribute to the solution of social problems by carrying to a logical conto aid in what Proudhon had called
clusion the battle, against authority,
"the dissolution of government in the economic organism." Beyond the
opportunity of thus contributing my mite I looked for little from my exBut, almost before I knew it, the tiny paper had begun to
periment.
exert an influence of which I had not dreamed. It went the wide world over.
In nearly every important city, and in many a country town, it found
some mind ripe for its reception. Each of these minds became a centre of
influence, and in considerably less than a year a specific movement had
sprung into existence, under Proudhon's happily chosen name. Anarchism,
Since that time,
of which Liberty was generally recognized as the organ.
through varying fortunes, the paper has gone on, with slow but steady
growth, doing its quiet work. Books inspired by it, and other journals
which it called into being, have made their appearance, not only in various
parts of the United States, but in England, France, Germany, and at the
Anarchism is now one of the forces of the world. But its
antipodes.
I
literature, voluminous as it already is, lacks a systematic text-book.
have often been urged to attempt the task of writing one. Thus far,
;

ix

pfefiFACfi.

however, I have been too busy, and there is no prospect that I shall evet
be less so.
Pending the arrival of the man having the requisite time,

means, and ability for the production of the desired book,

it

has been de-

termined to put forth, as a sort of makeshift, this partial collection of my


writings for Liberty, giving them, by an attempt at classification, some

semblance of system

the thought being that, if these v\rritings, scattered


and everywhere, have already influenced so many
minds, they ought in a compact and cumulative form to influence very
many more.
The volume opens with a paper on " State Socialism and Anarchism,"
which covers in a summary way nearly the entire scope of the work.
Following this is the main section, "The Individual, Society, and the
In
State," dealing with the fundamental principles of human association.
the third and fourth sections application of these principles is made to the
two great economic factors, money and land. Iii these Uwo sections,
moreover, as well as in the fifth and sixth, the various authoritarian social
;

in bits here, there,

go counter to these principles are dealt with, namely,


Greenbackism, the Single Tax, State Socialism, and so-called " Com-

solutions which

munistic Anarchism." The seventh section treats of the methods by


which these principles can be realized and in the eighth are grouped numerous articles scarcely within the scheme of classification, but which it
;

has seemed best for various reasons to preserve.


to the whole the readers are indebted to

Henry Cohen, of Denver, Colo.


The matter in this volume is largely

my

For the elaborate index


Tandy and

friends Francis D.

controversial.

This has frequently

necessitated the reproduction of other articles than the author's (distin-

guished by a different type), in order to

make

the author's intelligible.

volume thus made must be characterized by many faults, both of style


and substance. I am too busy, not only to write a book, but to satisfactorily revise this substitute.
With but few and slight exceptions, the
articles stand as originally written.

Much

they contain that

is

personal

and that would not have found its way into a book specially prepared.
It would be strange, too, if in writings covering a period
of twelve years there were not some inconsistencies, especially in the
terminology and form of expression. For such, if any there be, and for
all minor weaknesses, I crave, because of the circumstances, a measure of
indulgence from the critic. But, on the other hand, I challenge the most
searching examination of the central positions taken.
Undamaged by
and

irrelevant,

the constant fire of twelve years of controversy, they are proof, in my


judgment, against the heaviest guns. Apologizing, therefore, for their
form only, and full of faith in their power, I offer these pages to the
public INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

B."R. T.

STATE SOCIALISM AND ANARCHISM


HOW FAR THEY

AGREE, AND WHEREIN THEY DIFFER.

STATE SOCIALISM AND ANARCHISM:*

HOW FAR THEY AGREE, AND WHEREIN THEY DIFFER,

Probably no agitation has ever attained the magnitude,


number of its recruits or the area of its influence, which has been attained by Modern Socialism, and at
the same time been so little understood and so misunderstood,
not only by the hostile and the indifferent, but by the friendly,
and even by the great mass of its adherents themselves. This
either in the

unfortunate and highly dangerous state of things

is due partly
to the fact that the human relationships which this movement if anything so chaotic can be called a movement aims
to transform, involve no special class or classes, but literally all
mankind; partly to the fact that these relationships are infinitely more varied and complex in their nature than those
with which any special reform has ever been called upon to-

* In the summer of 1886, shortly after the bomb-throwing at Chicago,


the author of this volume received an invitation from the editor of the
North American Review to furjjish him a paper on Anarchism. In refew days later the author response the above article was sent him.
ceived a letter announcing the acceptance of his paper, tfie editor volunteering the declaration that it was the ablest article that he had received
during his editorship of the Review. The next number of the Review bore
the announcement, on the second page of its cover, that the article (giving
its title and the name of the author) would appear at an early date.
Month after month went by, and the article did not appear. Repeated
Finally, after nearly a
letters of inquiry failed to bring any explanation.
year had elapsed, the author wrote to the editor that he had prepared the
article, not to be pigeon-holed, but to be printed, and that he wished the
matter to be acted upon immediately. In reply he received his manuscript
and a check for seventy-five dollars. Thereupon he made a few slight
changes in the article and delivered it on several occasions as a lecture, after
which it was printed in Liberty of March 10, 1888.

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

deal; and partly to the fact that the great moulding forces of
society, the channels of information and enlightenment, are
well-nigh exclusively under the control of those whose immediate pecuniary interests are antagonistic to the bottom
claim of Socialism that labor should be put in possession of

own.
Almost the only persons who may be said to comprehend
even approximately the significance, principles, and purposes
of Socialism are the chief leaders of the extreme wings of the.
Socialistic forces, and perhaps a few of the money kings them-,
It is a subject of which it has lately become quite
selves.
the fashion for preacher, professor, and penny-a-liner to treat,
and, for the most part, woful work they have made with it,
exciting the derision and pity of those competent to judge.
That those prominent in the intermediate Socialistic divisions
do not fully understand what they are about is evident from
the positions they occupy. If they did if they were consistif they were what the French call conseent, logical thinkers
quent men, their reasoning faculties would long since have
driven them to one extreme or the other.
For it is a curious fact that the two extremes of the vast
army now under consideration, though united, as has been
hinted above, by the common claim that labor shall be put in
possession of its own, are more diametrically opposed to each
other in their fundamental principles of social action and their
methods of reaching the ends aimed at than either is to their
common enemy, the existing society. They are based on two
principles the history of whose conflict is almost equivalent to
the history of the world since man came into it; and all interits

parties, including that of the upholders of the existIt


ing society, are based upon a compromise between them.
is clear, then, that any intelligent, deep-rooted opposition to
the prevailing order of things nftist come from one or the
other of these extremes, for anything from any other source,
far from being revolutionary in character, could be only in the
nature of such superficial modification as would be utterly
unable to concentrate upon itself the degree of attention and
interest now bestowed upon Modern Socialism.
The two principles referred to are Authority and Liberty,
and the names of the two schools of Socialistic thought which
fully and unreservedly represent one or the other of them are,
respectively. State Socialism and Anarchism.
Whoso knows
what these two schools want and how they propose to get it
understands the Socialistic movement. For, just as it has
been said that there is no half-way house between Rome and

mediate

STATE SOCIALISM AND ANARCHISM.

Reason, so it may be said that there is no half-way house between State Socialism and Anarchism. There are, in fact,
two currents steadily flowing from the centre of the Socialistic
forces which are concentrating them on the left and on the
right; and,
ties

if

Socialism

that, after this

is

to prevail,

movement

it is

among

the possibili-

of separation has been

com-

pleted and the existing order has been crushed out between
the two camps, the ultimate and bitterer conflict will be still
In that case all the eight-hour men, all the tradesto come.
unionists, all the Knights of Labor, all the land nationalizationists, all the greenbackers, and, in short, all the members of the
thousand and one different battalions belonging to the great
army of Labor, will have deserted their old posts, and, these
being arrayed on the ojie side and the other, the great battle
will begin.
What a final victory for the State Socialists will
mean, and what a final victory for the Anarchists will mean,
it is the purpose of this paper to briefly state.
To do this intelligently, however, I must first describe the
ground common to both, the features that make Socialists of
each of them.
The econoinic principles of Modern Socialism are a logical
deduction from the principle laid down by Adam Smith in
the early chapters of his " Wealth of Nations,"
namely, that
labor is the true measure of price. But Adam Smith, after

stating this principle most clearly and concisely, immediately


abandoned all further consideration of it to devote himself to
showing what actually does measure price, and how, therefore,
wealth is at present distributed. Since his day nearly all the
political

economists have followed his example by confining

their function to the description of society as it is, in its inSocialism, on the contrary,
dustrial and commercial phases.
extends its function to the description of society as it should
be, and the discovery of the means of making it what it
should be. Half a century or more after Smith enunciated
the principle above stated, Socialism picked it up where he
had dropped it, and, in following it to its logical conclusions,
it the basis of a new economic philosophy.
This seems to have been done independently by three different men, of three different nationalities, in three different
languages: Josiah Warren, an American; Pierre J. Proudhon, a
Frenchman; Karl Marx, a German Jew. That Warren and
Proudhon arrived at their conclusio'hs singly and unaided is
certain; but whether Marx was not largely indebted to Proudhon for his economic ideas is questionable. However this may
be, Marx's presentation of the ideas was in so many respects

made

INSTEAD OP A BOOK.

own that he is
That the work of

peculiarly his
originality.

fairly entitled to the credit of


this interesting trio should have

been done so nearly simultaneously would seem to indicate


that Socialism was in the air, and that the time was ripe and
the conditions favorable for the appearance of this new school
So far as priority of time is concerned, the credit
of thought.
seems to belong to Warren, the American, a fact which
should be noted by the stump orators who are so fond of deOf the
claiming against Socialism as an imported article.
purest revolutionary blood, too, this Warren, for he descends
from the Warren who fell at Bunker Hill.
From Smith's principle that labor is the true measure of
price
or, as Warren phrased it, that cost is the proper limit of

these three men made the

that
following deductions
fhe natural wage of labor is its product; that this wage, or
product, is the only just source of income (leaving out, of
course, gift, inheritance, etc.); that all who derive income from
any other source abstract it directly or indirectly from the
natural and just wage of labor; that this abstracting process
interest, rent, and profit;
generally takes one of three forms,
that these three constitute the trinity of usury, and are simply
different methods of levying tribute for the use of capital; that,
capital being simply stored-up labor which has already received
its pay in full, its use ought to be gratuitous, on the principle
that labor is the only basis of price; that the lender of capital
is entitled to its return intact, and nothing more; that the only
reason why the banker, the stockholder, the landlord, the manufacturer, and the merchant are able to exact usury from
labor lies in the fact that they are backed by legal privilege, or
monopoly; and that the only way to secure to labor the enjoyment of its entire product, or natural wage, is to strike down
price

monopoly.
It must not be inferred that either Warren, Proudhon, or
Marx used exactly this phraseology, or followed exactly this
line of thought, but it indicates definitely enough the fundamental ground taken by all three, and their substantial thought
up to the limit to which they went in common. And, lest I may
be accused of stating the positions and arguments of these
men incorrectly, it may be well to say in advance that I have
viewed them broadly, and that, for the purpose of sharp, vivid,
and emphatic comparison and contrast, I have taken considerable liberty with their thought by rearranging it in an order,
and often in a phraseology, of my own, but, I am satisfied,

without, in so doing, misrepresenting


particular.

them

in

any

essentia,!

'

STATE SOCIALISM AND ANARCHISM.

It was at this point


the' necessity of striking down monopoly
that came the parting of their ways.
Here 'the road
forked.
They found that they must turn either to the right
or to the left, follow either the path of Authority or the path
of Liberty.
Marx went one way; Warren and Proudhon the
other.
Thus were born State Socialism and Anarchism.
First, then. State Socialism, which may be described as the
doctrine that all the affairs of men should be managed by the
government, regardless of individual choice.
Marx, its founder, concluded that the only way to abolish
the class monopolies was to centralize and consolidate all in-

dustrial

and commercial

interests, all

productive and distribu-

one vast monopoly in the hands of the State.


The government must become banker, manufacturer, farmer,
carrier, and merchant, and in these capacities must suffer no
competition.
Land, tools, and all instruments of production
must be wrested from individual hands, and made the property
of the collectivity.
To the individual can belong only the
products to be consumed, not the means of producing them.
tive agencies, in

man may own his clothes and his food, but not the sewingmachine which makes his shirts or the spade which digs his
potatoes.
Product and capital are essentially different things;
the former belongs to individuals, the latter to society. Society
seize the capital which belongs to it, by the ballot if it
can, by revolution if it must.
Once in possession of it, it must
administer it on the majority principle, through its organ, the
State, utilize it in production and distribution, fix all prices by
the amount of labor involved, and employ the whole people in
The nation must be transits workshops, farms, stores, etc.
formed into a vast bureaucracy, and every individual into a State
official.
Everything must be done on the cost principle, the
people having no motive to make a profit out of themselves.
Individuals not being allowed to own capital, no one can employ another, or even himself. Every man wiirbe a wage-reHe who will not
ceiver, and the State the only wage-payer.
work for the State must starve, or, more likely, go to prison.
Competition must be
All freedom of trade must disappear.

must

wiped out. All industrial and commercial activity must


be centred in one vast, enormous, all-inClusive monopoly.
utterly

for monopolies is monopoly, y


Such is the economic programme of State Socialism as
adopted from Karl Marx. The history of its growth and
In this country the parties that
progress cannot be told here.
uphold it are known as the Socialistic Labor Party, which pretends to follow Karl Marx the Nationalists, who follow Kari

The remedy

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

through Edward Bellamy ; and the Christian


follow Karl Marx filtered through Jesus Christ.
What other applications this principle of Authority, once
adopted in the economic sphere, will develop is very evident.
It means the absolute control by the majority of all individual
conduct. The right of such control is already admitted by the
State Socialists, though they maintain that, as a matter of fact,
the individual would be allowed a much larger liberty than he
now enjoys. But he would only be allowed it he could not
claim it as his own. There would be no foundation of society
upon a guaranteed equaUty of the largest possible liberty.
Such liberty as might exist would exist by sufferance and
could be taken away at any moment. Constitutional guaranThere would be but one article in
tees would be of no avail.
the constitution of a State Socialistic country " The right of
the majority is absolute."
The claim of the State Socialists, however, that this right
would not be exercised in matters pertaining to the individual
in the more intimate and private relations of his life is not
borne out by the history of governments. It has ever been the
tendency of power to add to itself, to enlarge its sphere, to encroach beyond the limits set for it and where the habit of
resisting such encroachment is not fostered, and the individual
is not taught to be jealous of his rights, individuality gradually
disappears and the government or State becomes the all-in-all.
Control naturally accompanies responsibility. Under the system of State Socialism, therefore, which holds the community responsible for the health, wealth, and wisdom of the
individual, it is evident that the community, through its majority expression, will insist more and more on prescribing the
conditions of health, wealth, and wisdom, thus impairing and
finally destroying individual independence and with it all sense
of individual responsibility.
Whatever, then, the State Socialists may claim or disclaim,
their system, if adopted, is doomed to end in a State religion,
to the expense of which all must contribute and at the altar of
which all must kneel a State school of medicine, by whose
practitioners the sick must invariably be treated a State system
of hygiene, prescribing what all must and must not eat, drink,
wear, and do a State code of morals, which will not content
itself with punishing crime, but will prohibit what the majority decide to be vice
a State system of instruction, which will
do away with all private schools, academies, and colleges a
State nursery, in which all children must be brought up in
common at the public expense; and, finally, a State family,

Marx

filtered

Socialists,

who

STATE SOCIALISM AND ANARCHISM.

with an attempt at stirpiculture, or scientific breeding, in


which no man and woman will be allowed to have children if
the State prohibits them and no man and woman can refuse
to have children if the State orders them.
Thus will Authority achieve its acme and Monopoly be carried to its highest
power.
Such is the ideal of the logical State Socialist, such the
goal which lies at the end of the road that Karl Marx took.
Let us now follow the fortunes of Warren and Proudhon, who
took the other road, the road of Liberty.
This brings us to Anarchism, which may be described as
( the doctrine that all the affairs of -men should be managed by individuals or voluntary associations, and that the State should be

\ abolished.

When Warren and


justice to labor,

Proudhon,

came face

in prosecuting their search for


to face with the obstacle of class

monopolies, they saw that these monopolies rested upon Auand concluded that the thing to be done was, not
to strengthen this Authority and thus make monopoly universal, but to utterly uproot Authority and give full sway to
the opposite principle. Liberty, by making competition, the
They saw in competition
antithesis of monopoly, universal.
the great leveller of prices to the. labor cost of production.
In this they agreed with the political economists. The query
then naturally presented itself why all prices do not fall to
where there is any room for incomes acquired
labor cost
otherwise than by labor; in a word, why the usurer, the reThe answer was
ceiver of interest, rent, and profit, exists.
found in the present one-sidedness of competition. It was
discovered that capital had so manipulated legislation that unlimited competition is allowed in supplying productive labor,
thus keeping wages down to the starvation point, or as near it
as practicable; that a great deal of competition is allowed in
supplying distributive labor, or the labor of the mercantile
classes, thus keeping, not the prices of goods, but the merchants' actual profits on them, down to a point somewhat
approximating equitable wages for the merchants' work; but
that almost no competition at all is allowed in supplying capital, upon the aid of which both productive and distributive
labor are dependent for their power of achievement, thus
keeping the rate of interest on money and of house-rent and
ground-rent at as high a point as the necessities of the people
thority,

will bear.

On

discovering this, Warren and Proudhon charged the


economists with being afraid of their own doctrine.

political

lO

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

The Manchester men were accused of being inconsistent.


They believed in liberty to compete with the laborer in order
.

to reduce his wages, but not in liberty to compete with the


Laissez faire was very
capitalist in order to reduce his usury.
good sauce for the goose, labor, but very poor sauce for the
gander, capital.
But how to correct this inconsistency, how
to serve this gander with this sauce, how to put capital at the
service of business men and laborers at cost, or free of usury,

that was the problem.


Marx, as we have seen, solved it by declaring capital to be
a different thing from product, and maintaining that it belonged
to society and should be seized by society and employed for
Proudhon scoffed at this distinction
the benefit of all alike.
between capital and product. He maintained that capital and
product are not different kinds of wealth, but simply alternate
conditions or functions of the same wealth; that all wealth
undergoes an incessant transformation from capital into product and from product back into capital, the process repeating
itself interminably; that capital and product are purely social
terms; that what is product to one man immediately becomes
capital to another, and vice versa; that, if there were but one
person in the world, all wealth would be to him at once capital and product; that the fruit of A's toil is his product, which,
when sold to B, becomes B's capital (unless B is an unproductive consumer, in which case.it is merely wasted wealth,
outside the view of social economy); that a steam-engine is
just as much product as a coat, and that a coat is just as much
capital as a steam-engine; and that the same laws of equity
govern the possession of the one that govern the possession of
the other.
For these and other reasons Proudhon and Warren found
themselves unable to sanction any such plan as the seizure of
capital by society.
But, though opposed to socializing the
ownership of capital, they aimed nevertheless to socialize its
effects by making its use beneficial to all instead of a means
of impoverishing the many to enrich the few.
And when the
light burst in upon them, they saw that this could be done by
subjecting capital to the natural law of competition, thus bringing the price of its use down to cost,
that is, to nothing beyond the expenses incidental to handling and transferring
it.
So they raised the banner of Absolute Free Trade; free
trade at home, as well as with foreign countries; the logical
carrying out of the Manchester doctrine; laissez faire the
universal rule.
Under this banner they began their fight
upon monopolies, whether the all-inclusive monopoly of the

STATE SOCIALISM AND ANARCHISM.


State Socialists, or

the various class monopolies that

tt

now

prevail.

Of the latter they distinguished four of principal importance the money monopoly, the land monopoly, the tariff monopoly, and the patent monopoly.
First in the importance of its evil influence they considered
the money monopoly, which consists of the privilege given by
the government to certain individuals, or to individuals holding certain kinds of property, of issuing the circulating medium, a privilege which is now enforced in this country by a
national tax of ten per cent, upon all other persons who attempt
to furnish a circulating medium, and by State laws making it
It is claimed
a criminal offence to issue notes as currency.
that the holders of this privilege control the rate of interest,
the rate of rent of houses and buildings, and the prices of
goods, the first directly, and the second and third indirectly.
For, say Proudhon and Warren, if the business of banking
were made free to all, more and more persons would enter into
it until the competition should become sharp enough to reduce
the price of lending money to the labor cost, which statistics
show to be less than three-fourths of one per cent. In that
case the thousands of people who are now deterred from going
into business by the ruinously high rates which they must pay
for capital with which to start and carry on business will find
If they have property which they
their difficulties removed.
do not desire to convert into money by sale, a bank will take
it as collateral for a loan of a certain proportion of its market
value at less than one per cent, discount. If they have no
property, but are industrious, honest, and capable, they will
generally be able to get their individual notes endorsed by a
sufficient number of known and solvent parties; and on such
business paper they will be able to get a loan at a bank on
Thus interest will fall at a blow.
similarly favorable terms.
The banks will really not be lending capital at all, but will be
doing business on the capital of their customers, the business
consisting in an exchange of the known and widely available
credits of the banks for the unknown and unavailable, but
equally good, credits of the customers, and a charge therefor
of less than one per cent., not as interest for the use of capiThis
tal, but as pay for the labor of running the banks.
facility of acquiring capital will give an unheard-of impetus
to business, and consequently create an unprecedented demand
a demand which will always be in excess of the
for labor,
supply, directly the contrary of the present condition of the
Theii will be seen an exemplification of the
labor market.
:

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

12

words of Richard Cobden that, when two laborers are after


one employer, wages fall, but when two employers are after one
Labor will then be in a position to diclaborer, wages rise.
tate its wages, and will thus secure its natural wage, its entire
Thus the same blow that strikes interest down will
product.
send wages up. But this is not all. Down will go profits also.
For merchants, instead of buying at high prices on credit,
will borrow money of the banks at less than one per cent.,
buy at low prices for cash, and correspondingly reduce the
And with the rest
prices of their goods to their customers.
will go house-rent.
For no one who can borrow capital at one
per cent, with which to build a house of his own will consent
Such is
to pay rent to a landlord at a higher rate than that.
the vast claim made by Proudhon and Warren as to the results
of the simple abolition of the money monopoly.
Second in importance comes the land monopoly, the evil
effects of which are seen principally in exclusively agricultural
This monopoly consists in the enforcecountries, like Ireland.
ment by government of land titles which do not rest upon
personal occupancy and cultivation. It was obvious to Warren
and Proudhon that, as soon as individuals should no longer be
protected by their fellows in anything but personal occupancy
and cultivation of land, ground-rent would disappear, and so
usury have one less leg to stand on. Their followers of to-day
are disposed to modify this claim to the extent of admitting
that the very small fraction of ground-rent which rests, not on
monopoly, but on superiority of soil or site, will continue to
exist for a time and perhaps forever, though tending constantly
to a minimum under conditions of freedom.
But the inequality of soils which gives rise to the economic rent of land, like
the inequality of human skill which gives rise to the economic
rent of ability, is not a cause for serious alarm even to the
most thorough opponent of usury, as its nature is not that of
a germ from which other and graver inequalities may spring,
but rather that of a decaying branch which may finally wither
and fall.
Third, the tariff monopoly, which consists in fostering production at high prices and under unfavorable conditions by
visiting with the penalty of taxation those

who

patronize pro-

low prices and under favorable conditions.


The
evil to which this monopoly gives rise might more properly be
called misusury than usury, because it compels labor to pay,
not exactly for the use of capital, but rather for the misuse of
duction

at

capital.
The abolition of this monopoly would result in a
great reduction in the prices of all articles taxed, and this

'

STATE SOCIALISM AND ANARCHISM.

13

saving to the laborers who consume these articles would be


another step toward securing to the laborer his natural wage,
his entire product.
Proud hon admitted, however, that to
abolish this monopoly before abolishing the money monopoly
would be a cruel and disastrous policy, first, because the evil
of scarcity of money, created by the money monopoly, would
be intensified by the flow of money out of the country which
would be involved in an excess of imports over exports, and,
second, because that fraction of the laborers of the country
which is now employed in the protected industries would be
turned adrift to face starvation without the benefit of the insatiable demand for labor which a competitive money system
would create. Free trade in money at home, making money
and work abundant, was insisted upon by Proudhon as a prior
condition of free trade in goods with foreign countries.
Fourth, the patent monopoly, which consists in protecting
inventors and authors against competition for a period long
enough to enable them to extort from the people a reward
enormously in excess of the labor measure of their services,
in other words, in giving certain people a right of property for
a term of years in laws and facts of Nature, and the power to
exact tribute from others for the use of this natural wealth,
which should be open to all. The abolition of this monopoly
would fill its beneficiaries with a wholesome fear of competition which would cause them to be satisfied with pay for
their services equal to that which other laborers get for theirs,
and to secure it by placing their products and works on the
market at the outset at prices so low that their lines of business would be no more tempting to competitors than any
other lines.
The development of the economic programme which consists in the destruction of these monopolies and the substitution for them of the freest competition led its authors to a
perception of the fact that all their thought rested upon a
very fundamental principle, the freedom of the individual, his
right of sovereignty over himself, his products, and his affairs,
and of rebellion against the dictation of external authority.
Just as the idea of taking capital away from individuals and
giving it to the government started Marx in a path which
ends in making the government everything and the individual
nothing, so the idea of taking capital away from governmentprotected monopolies and putting it within easy reach of all
individuals started Warren and Proudhon in a path which ends
in making the individual everything and the government nothIf the individual has a right to govern himself, all exing.

14

iNSTEAt) OF A BOOK.

ternal government is
abolishing the State.

tyranny.

Hence

the

necessity of

This was the logical conclusion to


which Warren and Proudhon were forced, and it became the
It is the
fundamental article of their political philosophy.
doctrine which Proudhon named An-archism, a word derived
from the Greek, and meaning, not necessarily absence of
The
order, as is generally supposed, but absence of rule.
Anarchists are simply unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats.
They believe that " the best government is that which governs
least," and that that which governs least is no government at
all.
Even the simple poHce function of protecting person and
property they deny to governments supported by compulsory
taxation.
Protection they look upon as a thing to be secured,
as long as it is necessary, by voluntary association and cooperation for self-defence, or as a commodity to be purchased,
like any other commodity, of those who offer the best article
at the lowest price.
In their view it is in itself an invasion
of the individual to compel him to pay for or suffer a protection against invasion that he has not asked for and does
not desire.
And they further claim that protection will become a drug in the market, after poverty and consequently
crime have disappeared through the realization of their

economic programme.

Compulsory taxation is to them the


and passive, but organized,

life-principle of all the monopolies,

resistance to the tax-collector they contemplate, when the


proper time comes, as one of the most effective methods of
accomplishing their purposes.
Their attitude on this is a key to their attitude on all other
questions of a political or social nature.
In religion they are
atheistic as far as their own opinions are concerned, for they
look upon divine authority and the religious sanction of
morality as the chief pretexts put forward by the privileged
classes for the

exercise of

human

authority.

" If

God

ex-

Proudhon, " he is man's enemy." And, in contrast


to Voltaire's famous epigram, " If God did not exist, it would
be necessary to invent him," the great Russian Nihilist,
Michael Bakounine, placed this antithetical proposition: "If
God existed, it would be necessary to abolish him." But
ists," said

although, viewing the divine hierarchy as a contradiction of


Anarchy, they do not believe in it, the Anarchists none the
less firmly believe in the liberty to believe in it.
Any denial
of religious freedom they squarely oppose.
Upholding thus the right of every individual to be or select
his own priest, they likewise uphold his right to be or select
his own doctor.
No monopoly in theology, no monopoly in

STATE SOCIALISM AND ANARCHISM.

15

medicine.
Competition everywhere and always
spiritual
advice and medical advice alike to stand or fall on their own
merits.
And not only in medicine, but in hygiene, must this
principle of liberty be followed.
The individual may decide
for himself not only what to do to get well, but what to do to
keep well.
No external power must dictate to him what he
^
must and must not eat, drink, wear, or do.
Nor does the Anarchistic scheme furnish any code of morals
" Mind your own busito be imposed upon the individual.
ness " is its only moral law.
Interference with another's business is a crime and the only crime, and as such may properly
be resisted. In accordance with this view the Anarchists look
upon attempts to arbitrarily suppress vice as in themselves
crimes.
They believe liberty and the resultant social wellbeing to be a sure cure for all the vices.
But they recognize
the right of the drunkard, the gambler, the rake, and the
harlot to live their lives until they shall freely choose to abanr
don them.
In the matter of the maintenance and rearing of children
the Anarchists would neither institute the communistic nursery
which the State Socialists favor nor keep the communistic
school system which now prevails. The nurse and the teacher,
like the doctor and the preacher, must be selected voluntarily,
and their services must be paid for by those who patronize
them.
Parental rights must not be taken away, and parental
responsibilities must not be foisted upon others.
'Even in so delicate a matter as that of the relations of the
'sexes the Anarchists do not shrink from the application of
their principle.
They acknowledge and defend the right of
any man and woman, or any men and women, to love each
other for as long or as short a time as they can, will, or may.
To them legal marriage and legal divorce are equal absurdities.
They look forward to a time when every individual, whether
man or woman, shall be self-supporting, and when each shall
have an independent home of his or her own, whether it be a
separate house or rooms in a house with others; when the love
relations between these independent individuals shall be as
varied as are individual inclinations and attractions; and when
\
the children born of these relations shall belong exclusively to
V_the mothers until old enough to belong to themselves.
Such are the main features of the Anarchistic social ideal.
There is wide difference of opinion among those who hold it
Time forbids the
as to the best method of obtaining it.
treatment of that phase of the subject here. I will simply
call attention to the fact that it is an ideal utterly inconsistent
;

10

iKfSTEAb O^ A bo6k.

with that of those Communists who falsely call themselves


Anarchists while at the same time advocating a regime of
Archism fully as despotic as that of the State Socialists them-

And it is an ideal that can be as little advanced by


the forcible expropriation recommended by John Most and
Prince Kropotkine as retarded by the brooms of those Mrs.
Partingtons of the bench who sentence them to prison; an
ideal which the martyrs of Chicago did far more to help by
their glorious death upon the gallows for the common cause
of Socialism than by their unfortunate advocacy during their
lives, in the name of Anarchism, of force as a revolutionary
agent and authority as a safeguard of the new social order.
The Anarchists believe in liberty both as end and means, and
are hostile to anything that antagonizes it.
I should not undertake to summarize this altogether too
summary exposition of Socialism from the standpoint of Anarchism, did I not find the task already accomplished for me by
a brilliant French journalist and historian, Ernest Lesigne, in
the form of a series of crisp antitheses; by reading which to
you as a conclusion of this lecture I hope to deepen the impression which it has been my endeavor to make.
selves.

"
"
"

There are two Socialisms.

One
One
" One
" One
" One
" One

is
is

communistic, the other solidaritarian.


dictatorial, the other libertarian.

metaphysical, the other positive.


dogmatic, the other scientific.
is emotional, the other reflective.
is destructive, the other constructive.
" Both are in pursuit of the greatest possible welfare for
is

is

all.

" One aims to establish happiness for


each to be, happy in his own way.

all,

the other to enable

" The first regards the State as a society siii generis, of an


especial essence, the product of a sort of divine right outside
of and above all society, with special rights and able to exact
special obediences; the second considers the State as an association like any other, generally managed worse than others.
" The first proclaims the sovereignty of the State, the
second
recognizes no sort of sovereign.

"One wishes all monopolies to be held by the State; the


other wishes the abolition of all monopolies.
" One wishes the governed class to become
the governing
class
the other wishes the disappearance of classes.
" Both declare that the existing state of things
cannot last.
" The first considers revolution as the indispensable
agent of
;

STATE SOCIALISM AND ANARCHISM.

I7

evolution the second teaches that repression alone turns evolution into revolution.
" The first has faith in a cataclysm.
" The second knows that social progress will result from the
;

free play of individual efforts.


" Both understand that we are entering

upon a new historic


phase.
" One wishes that there should be none but proletaires.
" The other wishes that there should be no more proletaires.
" The first wishes to take everything from everybody.
" The second wishes to leave each in possession of his own.
" The one wishes to expropriate everybody.
" The other wishes everybody to be a proprietor.
' The first says
Do as the government wishes.'
" The second says
Do as you wish yourself.'
" The former threatens with despotism.
:

'

'

"
"

The latter promises liberty.


The former majies the citizen the subject of the State.
" The latter makes the State the employee of the citizen.
" One proclaims that labor pains will be necessary to the
birth of the new world.
" The other declares that real progress will not cause suffering to any one.
" The first has confidence in social war.
" The other believes only in the works of peace.
" One aspires to compiand, to regulate, to legislate.
" The other wishes to attain the minimum of command, of
regulation, of legislation.
" One would be followed by the most atrocious of reactions.
" The other opens unlimited horizons to progress.
" The first will fail; the other will succeed.
" Both desire equality.
" One by lowering heads that are too high.
" The other by raising heads that are too low.
" One sees equality under a common yoke.
" The other will secure equality in complete liberty.
" One is intolerant, the other tolerant.
" One frightens, the other reassures.
" The first wishes to instruct everybody.
" The second wishes to enable everybody to instruct himself.
" The first wishes to support everybody.

"
"
"
"

The second wishes to enable everybody


One says
The land to the State.
The mine to the State.
:

to support himself.

',

iMSTEAfi OP A fi002.

"The tool to the State.


" The product to the State.
' The other says:
" The land to the cultivator.
" The mine to the miner.
" The tool to the laborer.
" The product to the producer.
"
"
"
"

There are only these two Socialisms.

One is the infancy of Socialism; the


One is already the past; the other is
One will give place to the other.

"

other is its manhood.


the future.

To-day each of us must choose for one or the ether of


these two Socialisms, or else confess that he is not a Socialist."

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY. AND


THE STATE.

RELATION OF THE STATE TO THE INDIVIDUAL.*


[Liieriy,

November

15, 1890.]

Ladies and Gentlemen: Presumably the honor which you


have done me in inviting me to address you to-day upon " The
Relation of the State to the Individual" is due principally to the
fact that circumstances have combined to make me somewhat
conspicuous as an exponent of the theory of Modern Anarchism,
a theory which is coming to be more and more regarded as
one of the few that are tenable as a basis of political and social
life.
In its name, then, I shall speak to you in discussing this
question, which either underlies or closely touches almost every
practical problem that confronts this generation.
The future

of the tariff, of taxation, of finance, of property, of woman, of


marriage, of the family, of the suffrage, of education, of invention, of literature, of science, of the arts, of personal habits, of
private character, of ethics, of religion, will be determined by
the conclusion at which mankind- shall arrive as to whether
and how far the individual owes allegiance to the State.
Anarchism, in dealing with this subject, has found it necessary, first of all, to define its terms.
Popular conceptions of
the terminology of politics are incompatible with the rigorous exactness required in scientific investigation. To be
sure, a departure from the popular use of language is accompanied by the risk of misconception by the multitude, who persistently ignore the new definitions; but, on the other hand,
conformity thereto is attended by the still more deplorable alternative of confusion in the eyes of the competent, who would
be justified in attributing inexactness of thought where there is
inexactness of expression. Take the term "State," for instance,
with which we are especially concerned to-day. It is a word
* An address delivered before the Unitarian Ministers' Institute, at tlie
annual session held in Salem, Mass., October 14, i8go, at which addresses on the same subject were also delivered by Rev. W. D. P. Bliss,
from the standpoint of Christian Socialism, and President E. Benjamin
Andrews, of Brown University, from the standpoint of State regulation.

22

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

But how many of those who use it have


is on every lip.
any idea of what they mean by it? And, of the few who have,
how various are their conceptions! We designate by the term
" State " institutions that embody absolutism in its extreme
form and institutions that temper it with more or less liberality.
We apply the word alike to institutions that do nothing but
aggress and to institutions that, besides aggressing, to some exBut which is the State's essential
tent protect and defend.
function, aggression or defence, few seem to know or care.
Some champions of the State evidently consider aggression its
principle, although they disguise it alike from themselves and
from the people under the term " administration," which they
wish to extend in every possible direction. Others, on the contrary, consider defence its principle, and wish to limit it acStill others
cordingly to the performance of police duties.
seem to think that it exists for both aggression and defence,
combined in varying proportions according to the momentary
interests, or maybe only whims, of those happening to control
Brought face to face with these diverse views, the Anarit.
chists, whose mission in the world is the abolition of aggression
and all the evils that result therefrom, perceived that, to be
understood, they must attach some definite and avowed significance to the terms which they are obliged to employ, and esSeeking,
pecially to the words " State " and " government."
then, the elements common to all the institutions to which the
name " State " has-been applied, they have found them two in
number: first, aggression; second, the assumption of sole authority over a given area and all within it, exercised generally
for the double purpose of more complete oppression of its subThat this second elejects and extension of its boundaries.
ment is common to all States, I think, will not be denied, at
least, I am not aware that any State has ever tolerated a rival
State within its borders; and it seems plain that any State
which should do so would thereby cease to be a State and to be
considered as such by any. The exercise of authority over^
That the first
the same area by two States is a contradiction.
element, aggression, has been and is common to all States will
probably be less generally admitted. Nevertheless, I shall not
attempt to re-enforce here the conclusion of Spencer, which is
that the State had its origin
gaining wider acceptance daily,
in aggression, and has continued as an aggressive institution
from its birth. Defence was an afterthought, prompted by necessity; and Its introduction as a State function, though effected
doubtless with a view to the strengthening of the State, was
really and in principle the initiation of the State's destruction.

that

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

23

Its growth in importance is but an evidence of the tendency of


progress toward the abolition of the State.
Taking this view
of the matter, the Anarchists contend that defence is not an
essential of the State, but that aggression is.
Now what is aggression? Aggression is simply another name for government.
Aggression, invasion, government, are interconvertible terms.
The essence of government is control, or the attempt to control.
He who attempts to control another is a governor, an
aggressor, an invader; and the nature of such invasion is not

changed, whether it is made by one man upon another man, after


the manner of the ordinary criminal, or by one man upon all
other men, after the manner of an absolute monarch, or by all
other men upon one man, after the manner of a modern democracy. On the other hand, he who resists another's attempt to control is not an aggressor, an invader, a governor,
but simply a defender, a protector; and the nature of such resistance is not changed whether it be offered by one man to another man, as when one repels a criminal's onslaught, or by one
man to all other men, as when one declines to obey an oppressive law, or by all other men to one man, as when a subject
people rises against a despot, or as when the members of a
community voluntarily unite to restrain a criminal. This distinction between invasion and resistance, between government
and defence, is vital. Without it there can be no valid philosophy of politics. Upon this distinction and the other considerations just outlined, the Anarchists frame the desired definitions.
This, then, is the Anarchistic definition of government:
the subjection of the non-invasive individual to an external
will.
And this is the Anarchistic definition of the State: the
embodiment of the principle of invasion in an indi^^dual, or a
band of individuals, assuming to act as representatives or
masters of the entire people within a given area. As to the
meaning of the remaining term in the subject under discussion, the word " individual," I think there is little difficulty.
Putting aside the subtleties in which certain metaphysicians
have indulged, one may use this word without danger of being
misunderstood. Whether the definitions thus arrived at prove
generally acceptable or not is a matter of minor consequence.
I submit that they are reached scientifically, and serve the
purpose of a clear conveyance of thought. The Anarchists,
having by their adoption taken due care to' be explicit, are entitled to have their ideas judged in the light of these definitions.

Now
exist

comes the question proper


What relations should
between the State and the individual ?
The general
:

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

24

method of determining these is to apply some theory of ethics


In this method the
involving a basis of moral obligation.
The idea of moral obligaAnarchists have no confidence.
tion, of inherent rights and duties, they totally discard.
They look upon all obligations, not as moral, but as social,
and even then not really as obligations except as these have
If a man makes
been consciously and voluntarily assumed.
an agreement with men, the latter may combine to hold him
but, in the absence of such agreement, no
to his agreement
man, so far as the Anarchists are aware, has made any agreement with God or with any other power of any order whatThe Anarchists are not only utilitarians, but egoists
soever.
in the farthest and fullest sense.
So far as inherent right is
concerned, might is its only measure. Any man, be his name
Bill Sykes or Alexander Romanoff, and any set of men,
whether the Chinese highbinders or the Congress of the
United States, have the right, if they have the power, to kill
or coerce other men and to make the entire world subservient
Society's right to enslave the individual and
to their ends.
the individual's right to enslave society are unequal only beThis position being subcause their powers are unequal.
versive of all systems of religion and morality, of course I
cannot expect to win immediate assent thereto from the audience which I am addressing to-day; nor does the time at my
disposal allow me to sustain it by an elaborate, or even a summary, examination of the foundations of ethics.
Those who
desire a greater familiarity with this particular phase of the
subject should read a, profound German work, " Der Einzige
und sein Eigenthum" written years ago by a comparatively unknown author. Dr. Caspar Schmidt, whose nom de plume was
Max Stirner. Read only by a few scholars, the book is buried
in obscurity, "but is destined to a resurrection that perhaps
will mark an epoch.
If this, then, were a question of right, it would be, according to the Anarchists, purely a question of strength.
But,
fortunately, it is not a question of right
it is a question of
expediency, of knowledge, of science, the science of living
together, the science of society.
The history of humanity
has been largely one long and gradual discovery of the fact
that the individual is the gainer by society exactly in proportion as society is free, and of the law that the condition of a
permanent and harmonious society is the greatest amount of
individual liberty compatible with equality of liberty.
The
average man of each new generation has said to himself more
" My neighbor
clearly and consciously than his predecessor
;

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE

STATE;.

25

not my enemy, but my friend, and I am his, if we would


but mutually recognize the fact. We help each other to a
better, fuller, happier living
and this service might be greatly
increased if we would cease to restrict, hamper, and oppress
each other. Why can we not agree to let each live his own
life,neither of us transgressing the limit that separates our individualities ? "
It is by this reasoning that mankind is approaching the real social contract, which is not, as Rousseau
thought, the origin of society, but rather the outcome of a long
is

social experience, the fruit of its follies and disasters.


It is
obvious that this contract, this social law, developed to its
perfection, excludes all aggression, all violation of equality of
Considering this contract
liberty, all invasion of every kind.
in connection with the Anarchistic definition of the State as
the embodiment of the principle of invasion, we see that the
State is antagonistic to society ; and, society being essential to
individual life and development, the conclusion leaps to the
eyes that the relation of the State to the individual and of the
individual to the State must be one of hostility, enduring till

the State shall perish.


" But," it will be asked of the Anarchists at this point in
the argument, " what shall be done with those individuals who
undoubtedly will persist in violating the social law by invading
The Anarchists answer that the abolition
their neighbors ? "
of the State will leave in existence a defensive association, resting no longer on a compulsory but on a voluntary basis, which
will restrain invaders by any means that may prove necessary.
" You really
" But that is what we have now," is the rejoinder;.
want, then, only a change of name ? " Not so fast, please.
Can it be soberly pretended for a moment that the State, even
as it exists here in America, is purely a defensive institution ?
Surely not, save by those who see of the State only its most
palpable manifestation, the policeman on the street-corner.
And one would not have to watch him very closely to see the
Why, the very first act of the State, the
error of this claim.
compulsory assessment and collection of taxes, is itself an aggression, a violation of equal liberty, and, as such, vitiates
evary subsequent act, even those acts which would be purely
defensive if paid for out of a treasury filled by voluntary conHow is it possible to sanction, under the law of
tributions.
equal liberty, the confiscation of a man's earnings to pay for

protection which he has not sought and does not desire ? And,
this is an outrage, what name shall we give to such confiscation when the victim is given, instead of bread, a stone, inTo force a man to pay for
stead of protection, oppression ?

if

26

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

the violation of his own liberty is indeed an addition of insult


to injury.
But that is exactly what the State is doing. Read
the " Congressional Record "; follow the proceedings of the
State legislatures
examine our statute-books ; test each act
separately by the law of equal liberty,
you will find that a
good nine-tenths of existing legislation serves, not to enforce
that fundamental social law, but either to prescribe the individual's personal habits, or, worse still, to create and sustain
commercial, industrial, financial, and proprietary monopolies
which deprive labor of a large part of the reward that it
would receive in a perfectly free market. " To be governed,"
-ys^ Proudhon, " is to be watched, inspected, spied, directed,
Taw-fiHden, regulated, penned up, indoctrinated, preached at,
checked, appraised, sized, censured, commanded, by beings
who have neither title nor knowledge nor virtue. To be governed is to have every operation, every transaction, every
movement noted, registered, counted, rated, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, refused, authorized, indorsed, admonished, prevented, reformed, redressed, corrected.
To be governed is, under pretext of public utility and in the
name of the general interest, to be laid under contribution,
drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, exhausted, hoaxed, robbed
then, upon the slightest resistance,
at the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified,
annoyed, hunted down, pulled about, beaten, disarmed, bound,
imprisoned, shot, mitrailleused, judged, condemned, banished,
sacrificed, sold, betrayed, and, to crown all, ridiculed, derided,
outraged, dis honored.^ And I am sure I do not need to
-poirrt ouits^ou the existing laws that correspond to and justify nearly every count in Proudhon's long indictment.
How
thoughtless, then, to assert that the existing political order is
of a purely defensive character instead of the aggressive State
which the Anarchists aim to abolish
This leads to another consideration that bears powerfully
upon the problem of the invasive individual, who is such a
bugbear to the opponents of Anarchism. Is it not such treatment as has just been described that is largely responsible for
his existence ?
I have heard or read somewhere of an inseription written for a certain charitable institution:
;

And
filled

" This hospital a pious person built,


first he made the poor wherewith to

But

fiU't."

SO, it seems to me, it is with our prisons.


They are
with criminals which our virtuous State has rnade what

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

2J

they are by

its iniquitous laws, its grinding monopolies, and


the horrible social conditions that result from them. We
enact many laws that manufacture criminals, and then a few
that punish them.
Is it too much to expect that the new
social conditions which must follow the abolition of all interference with the production and distribution of wealth will in
the end so change the habits and propensities of men that our
jails and prisons, our policemen and our soldiers,
in a word,
our whole machinery and outfit of defence, will be superfluous ? That, at least, is the Anarchists' belief.
It sounds
Utopian,''but it really rests on severely economic grounds.
To-day, however, time is lacking to explain the Anarchistic
view of the dependence of usury, and therefore of poverty,
upon monopolistic privilege, especially the banking privilege,
and to show how an intelligent minority, educated in the principle of Anarchism and determined to exercise that right to ignore the State upon which Spencer, in his " Social Statics," so
ably and admirably insists, might, by setting at defiance the
National and State banking prohibitions, and establishing a
Mutual Bank in competition with the existing monopolies, take
the first and most important step in the abolition of usury and
of the State.
Simple as such a step would seem, from it all
the rest would follow.
half-hour is a very short time in, which to discuss the
relation of the State to the individual, and I must ask your
pardon for the brevity of my dealing with a succession of considerations each of which needs an entire essay for its development.
If I have outlined the argument intelligibly, I
have accomplished all that I expected. But, in the hope of impressing the idea of the true social contract more vividly upon
your minds, in conclusion I shall take the liberty of reading
another page from Proudhon, to whom I am indebted for
most of what I know, or think I know, upon this subject.
Contrasting authority with free contract, he says, in his " General Idea of the Revolution of the Nineteenth Century "
" Of ths distance that separates these two regimes, we may
judge by the difference in their styles.
" One of the most solemn moments in the evolution of
the principle of authority is that of the promulgation of the
Decalogue. The voice of the angel commands the People,
prostrate at the foot of Sinai:
"Thou shalt worship the Eternal, and only the Eternal.
" Thou shalt swear only by him.

"

Thou

tithes.

shalt keep his


I

holidays,

and thou

shalt

pay

his

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

28
"

Shalt

"
"
"

Shalt not

Thou
Thou
Thou
Thou
" Thou
" Thou

honor thy father and thy mother.


kill.

shalt not steal.


shalt not commit adultery.
shalt not bear false witness.
shalt not covet or calumniate.

the Eternal who has


is alone sovereign,
alone wise, alone worthy; the Eternal punishes and rewards.
It is in the power of the Eternal to render you happy or
"

For the Eternal ordains

made you what you

are.

it,

and

it is

The Eternal

unhappy

at his will.
" All legislations

have adopted this style; all, speaking to


man, employ the sovereign formula. The Hebrew commands
in the future, the Latin in the imperative, the Greek in the
infinitive.
The moderns do not otherwise. The tribune of
the parliament-house is a Sinai as infallible and as terrible as
that of Moses; whatever the law may be, from whatever lips
it may come, it is sacred once it has been proclaimed by that
prophetic trumpet, which with us is the majority.
"
"
"

Thou
Thou
Thou
Thou

not assemble.
not print.
not read.
"
respect thy representatives and thy ofificials,
which the hazard of the ballot or the good pleasure of the
State shall have given you.
" Thou shalt obey the laws which they in their wisdom shall
have made.
" Thou shalt pay thy taxes faithfully.
"And thou shalt love the Government, thy Lord and thy
God, with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all
thy mind, because the Government knows better than thou
what thou art, what thou art worth, what is good for thee,
and because it has the power to chastise those who disobey its
commandments, as well as to reward unto the fourth generation those who make themselves agreeable to it.
" With the Revolution it is quite different.
" The search for first causes and for final causes is eliminated from economic science as from the natural sciences.
" The idea of Progress replaces, in philosophy, that of the
Absolute.
" Revolution succeeds Revelation.
" Reason, assisted by Experience, discloses to man the laws
of Nature and Society; then it says to him:
" These laws are those of necessity itself.
No man has
made them; no man imposes them upon you. They have been
shalt
shalt
shalt
shalt

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

29

gradually discovered, and I exist only to bear testimony to

them.
" If you observe them, you will be just and good.
" If you violate them, you will be unjust and wicked.
" I offer you no other motive.
" Already, among your fellows, several have recognized that
justice is better, for each and for all, than iniquity; and they
have agreed with each other to mutually keep faith and right,
that is, to respect the rules of transaction which the nature
of things indicates to them as alone capable of assuring them,
in the largest measure, well-being, security, peace.
" Do you wish to adhere to their compact, to form a part of
their society ?
" Do you promise to respect the honor, the liberty, and the

goods of your brothers ?


" Do you promise never to appropriate, either by violence,
or by fraud, or by usury, or by speculation, the product or the
possession of another ?
" Do you promise never to lie and deceive, either in justice,
or in business, or in any of your transactions ?
" You are free to "accept or to refuse.
" If you refuse, you become a part of the society of savages.
Outside of the communion of the human race, you become
an object of suspicion. Nothing protects you. At the slightest insult, the first comer may lift his hand against you without
incurring any other accusation than that of cruelty needlessly
practised upon a brute.
" On the contrary, if you swear to the compact, you become
All your brothers enter
a part of the society of free men.
into an engagement with you, promise you fidelity, friendship,
In case of infraction, on their part or
aid, service, exchange.
on yours, through negligence, passion, or malice, you are responsible to each other for the damage as well as the scandal
and the insecurity of which you have been the cause this responsibility may extend, according to the gravity of the perjury
or the repetitions of the offence, even to excommunication and
to death.
"The law is clear, the sanction still more so. Three artithat is the whole social contract.
cles, which make but one,
Instead of making oath to God and his prince, the citizen
swears upon his conscience, before his brothers, and before
Humanity. Between these two oaths there is the same difference as between slavery and liberty, faith and science, courts
:

and

justice,

usury and labor, government and economy, non-

existence and being,

God and man."

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

30

OUR

PURPOSE.*

[Liierty,

August

6, 1881.]

Liberty enters the field of journalism to speak for herself


because she finds no one willing to speak for her. She hears
no voice that always champions her she knows no pen that
always writes in her defence she sees no hand that is always
Many
lifted to avenge her wrongs or vindicate her rights.
claim to speak in her name, but few really understand her.
Still fewer have the courage and the opportunity to consistently fight for her.
Her battle, then, is her own to wage and
win.
She accepts it fearlessly and with a determined spirit.
Her foe, Authority, takes many shapes, but, broadly speaking, her enemies divide themselves into three classes
first,
those who abhor her both as a means and as an end of progress,
opposing her openly, avowedly, sincerely, consistently, universally
second, those who profess to believe in her as a means
of progress, but who accept her only so far. as they think she
will subserve their own selfish interests, denying her and her
blessings to the rest of the world
third, those who distrust
her as a means of progress, believing in her only as an end to
be obtained by first trampling upon, violating, and outraging
her.
These three phases of opposition to Liberty are met in
almost every sphere of thought and human activity. Good
;

representatives of the first are seen in the Catholic Church


and the Russian autocracy of the second, in the Protestant
Church and the Manchester school of politics and political
economy of the third, in the atheism of Gambetta and the
socialism of Karl Marx.
Through these forms of authority another line of demarcation runs transversely, separating the divine from the human
or, better still, the religious from the secular.
Liberty's victory over the former is well-nigh achieved.
Last century Voltaire brought the authority of the supernatural into disrepute. The Church has been declining ever since.
Her teeth
are drawn, and though she seems still to show here and
there vigorous signs of life, she does so in the violence
of the death-agony upon her, and soon her power will
be felt no more. It is human authority that hereafter
is to be dreaded, and the State, its organ, that in the future
Those who have lost their faith in gods
is to be feared.
;

* Liberty's salutatory.

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

31

it in governments
those who have ceased to be
Church-worshippers only to become State-worshippers those
who have abandoned pope for king or czar, and priest for preshave indeed changed their battle-ground,
ident or parliament,
but none the less are foes of Liberty still. The Church has
become^an object of derision the State must be made equally
The State is said by some to be a " necessary evil " it
so.
must be made unnecessary. This century's battle, then, is
with the State
the State, that debases man the State, that

only to put

woman

the State, that corrupts children the State,


that trammels love the State, that stifles thought the State,
the
the State, that limits credit
that monopolizes land
State, that restricts exchange the State, that gives idle capital
the power of increase, and, through interest, rent, profit, and
taxes, robs industrious labor of its products.
How the State does these things, and how it can be prevented from doing them. Liberty proposes to show in more
Enough
detail hereafter in the prosecution of her pupose.
to say now that monopoly and privilege must be destroyed,
opportunity afforded, and competition encouraged. This is
Liberty's work, and " Down with Authority " her war-cry.

prostitutes

CONTRACT OR ORGANISM, WHAT'S THAT TO US?


[Liberty^ July 30, 1887.]

Some very interesting and valuable discussion is going on


London Jus concerning the question of compulsory

in the

versus voluntary taxation.


communication from F.
passage occurs:

In the issue of June 17 there

W. Read,

in

is

which the following

taxation proposal really means the dissolution of the


constituent atoms, and leaving them to recombine in some
way or no way, just as it may happen. There would be nothing to prevent the existence of five or six "States" in England, and members of
" might be living in the same house
The proposal is.
all these " States
the minds of those who proit appears to me, the outcome of an idea in
pound it that the State is, or ought to be, founded on contract, just as a
It is a similar idea to the defunct " original conJoint-stock company is.
It was thought the State must rest upon a contract. There
tract " theory.
had been no contract in historic times it was therefore assumed that there
been a prehistoric contract. The voluntary taxationist says there

The voluntary

State into

its

had

never has been any contract; therefore the State has never had any ethical
The explanation of the
basis ; therefore we will not make a contract.

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

$i

I believe, is that given by Mr. Wordsworth Donisthorpe,


the State is a social organism, evolved as every other organism
is evolved, and not requiring any more than other organisms to be based
upon a contract either original or contemporary.

whole matter,
viz., that

The idea that the voluntary taxationist objects to the State


precisely because it does not rest on contract, and wishes to
substitute contract for it, is strictly correct, and I am glad to
see (for the first time, if my memory serves me) an opponent
grasp it.
But Mr. Read obscures his statement by his previous
remark that the proposal of voluntary taxation is " the outcome of an idea
that the State is, or ought to be, founded
on contract." This would be true if the words which I have
italicized should bfe omitted.
It was the insertion of these
words that furnished the writer a basis for his otherwise
groundless analogy between the Anarchists and the followers
The latter hold that the State originated in a
of Rousseau.
contract, and that the people of to-day, though they did not
make it, are bound by it. The Anarchists, on the contrary,
deny that any such contract was ever made declare that, had
one ever been made, it could not impose a shadow of obligation on those who had no hand in making it; and claim the
The position
right to contract for themselves as they please.
that a man may make his own contracts, far from being
analogous to that which makes him subject to contracts made
by others, is its direct antithesis.
It is perfectly true that voluntary taxation would not
necessarily " prevent the existence of five or six States in
England," and that " members of all these States might be
But I see no reason for Mr. Read's
living in the same house."
exclamation point after this remark. What of it ? There are
many more than five or six Churches in England, and it frequently happens that members of several of them live in the
same house. There are many more than five or six insurance
companies in England, and it is by no means uncommon for
members of the same family to insure their lives and goods
against accident or fire in different companies.
Does any
harm come of it ? Why, then, should there not be a considerable number of defensive associations in England, in which
people, even members of the same family, might insure their
lives and goods against murderers or thieves ?
Though Mr.
Read has grasped one idea of the voluntary taxationists, I fear
that he sees another much less clearly,
namely, the idea that
defence is a service, like any other service ; that it is labor both
useful and desired, and therefore an economic commodity sub.

'

'

'

'

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

and demand that in a free market


commodity would be furnished at the cost of production;

ject to the law of supply


this

33

competition prevailing, patronage would go to those who


furnished the best article at the lowest price; that the production
that,

and sale of this commodity are now monopolized by the State;


that the State, like almost all monopolists, charges exorbitant
prices; that, like almost all monopolists, it supplies a worthless,
or nearly worthless, article that, just as the monopolist of a
food product often furnishes poison instead of nutriment, so
the State takes advantage of its monopoly of defence to furnish
invasion instead of protection ; that, just as the patrons of the
one pay to be poisoned, so the patrons of the other pay to be
enslaved ; and, finally, that the State exceeds all its fellowmonopolists in the extent of its villany because it enjoys the
unique privilege of compelling all people to buy its product
"
whether they want it or not.
If, then, five or six " States
were to hang out their shingles, the people, I fancy, would be
able to buy the very best kind of security at a reasonable price.
And what is more, the better their services, the less they
would be needed so that the multiplication of " States " in;

volves the abolition of the State.


All these considerations, however, are disposed of, in Mr.
Read's opinion, by his final assertion that " the State is asocial
organism." He considers this " the explanation of the whole
matter." But for the life of me I can see in it nothing but
another irrelevant remark. Again I ask: What of it ? Suppose
the State is an organism, what then ? What is the inference ?
That the State is therefore permanent ? But what is history
but a record of the dissolution of organisms and the birth and
growth of others to be dissolved in turn ? Is the State exempt
from this order ? If so, why ? What proves it ? The State
an organism ? Yes so is a tiger. But unless I meet him when
I haven't my gun, his organism will speedly disorganize.
The
State is a tiger seeking to devour the people, and they must
Their own safety depends upon it.
either kill or cripple it.
But Mr. Read says it can't be done. " By no possibility can

the power of the State be restrained." This must be very disappointing to Mr. Dbnisthorpe and Jus, who are working" to
restrain it.
If Mr. Read is right, their occupation is gone. Is
he right ? Unless he can demonstrate it, the voluntary taxationists and the Anarchists will continue their work, cheered
by the belief that the compulsory and invasive State is doomed
to die.

iNSTEAt) OP A BOOK.

34

THE NATURE OF THE STATE.


YLiberty^ October

Below
W. Read
tract or

is

reprinted from the

to the editorial in

22, 1887.]

London Jus

the reply of F.

No. 104 oi Liberty, entitled "Con-

Organism, What's That to

To the Editor of Jus :


Sir, Referring to Mr. Tucker's

Us

criticisms

"

on

my

letters in

Jus

deal-

ing with Voluntary Taxation, the principle of a State organism seems to


I will therefore deal with that first,
be at the bottom of the controversy.
Mr. Tucker asks whether
although it comes last in Mr. Tucker's article.
the State being an organism makes it permanent and exempt from dissoBut cannot Mr. Tucker see
Certainly not
I never said it did.
that dissolving an organism is something different from dissolving a colIf the people of a State had
lection of atoms with no organic structure ?
been thrown together yesterday or the day before, no particular harm
would come from splitting them into numerous independent sections but
when a people has grown together generation after generation, and century after century, to break up the adaptations and correlations that have
been established can scarcely be productive of any good results. The
tiger is an organism, says Mr. Tucker, but if shot he will be speedily disQuite so; but nobody supposes that the atoms of the tiger's
organized.
should the atoms of the
body derive any benefit from the process.
body politic derive any advantage from the dissolution of the organism of
which tiey form a part ? That Mr. Tucker should put the State on a level
with churches and insurance companies is simply astounding.
Does Mr.
Tucker really think that five or six " States " could exist side by side with
the same convenience as an equal number of churches ? The diflSculty of
determining what " State" an individual belonged to would be practically
insuperable.
are assaults and robberies to be dealt with ?
Is a man
to be tried by the " State "of which he is a citizen, or by the " State " ot
lution.

Why

How

"

the party aggrieved ? If by his own, how is a police officer of that " State
to know whether a certain individual belongs to it or not ? The difficulties
are so enormous that the State would soon be reformed on the old lines.
Another great difficulty would be that the State would find it impossible to
make a contract. If the State is regarded as a mere collection of individuals, who will lend money on State security ?
The reason the State is
trusted at all is because it is regarded as something over and above the individuals who happen to compose it at any given time
because we feel
that, while individuals die, the State remains, and that the State will honor
even
if made for purposes that are disapproved by those
State contracts,
who are the atoms of the State organism. I have, indeed, heard it said
;

would be a good thing if the State did find it impossible to pledge


but good credit seems as useful to a State as to an individual.
Again, is it no advantage to us to be able to make treaties with foreign
countries ? But what country will make a treaty with a mere mass of individuals, a large portion of whom will be gone in ten years' time ?
But apart from the question of organism or no organism, does not history show us a continuous weakening of the State in some directions, and
that

it

its credit;

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

35

a continuous strengthening in other directions ? We find a gradual disappearance of the desire " to furnish invasion instead of protection," and, as
the State ceases to do so, the more truly strong does it become, and the
more vigorously does it carry out what I regard as its ultimate function,

some against the aggression of others.


in conclusion as to restraining the power of the State.
restraint I mean legal restraint.
For instance, you could

that of protecting

One word

Of

course by
not
deprive the State of its taxing power by passing a law to that effect. The
framers of the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland tried to
restrain the power of the State to disestablish the Irish Church
but the
;

What Individualists are tryIrish Church was disestablished for all that.
ing to do is to show the State that, when it regulates factories and coal
mines, and a thousand and one other things, it is acting against its own
When the State has learned the lesson the meddling will cease.
interests.
If Mr, Tucker chooses to call that restraining the State, he can do so; I
F. W. Read.
Yours truly, etc.,
don't.
,

In answer to Mr. Read's statement (vt^hich, if, with all its


it were true, would be a valid and final answer to
the Anarchists) that " dissolving an organism is something
different from dissolving a collection of atoms with no organic
structure," I cannot do better than quote the following passage from an article by J. Wm. Lloyd in No. 107 of Liberty :
implications,

It appears to me that this universe is but a vast aggregate of individuals;


of individuals simple and p-rimary, and of individuals complex, secondary,
tertiary, etc., formed by the aggregation of primary individuals or of inSome of these individuals of
dividuals of a lesser degree of complexity.
a high degree of complexity are true individuals, concrete, so united that
the lesser organisms included cannot exist apart from the main organism;
while others are imperfect, discrete, the included organisms existing fairly
In the former class are
well, quite as well, or better, apart than united.
included many of the higher forms of vegetable and animal life, including
man, and in the latter are included many lower forms of vegetable and animal life (quack-grass, tape-worms, etc.), and most societary organisms,
governments, nations, churches, armies, etc.

Taking this indisputable view of the matter, it becomes


clear that Mr. Read's statement about " dissolving an organism " is untrue while the word organism remains unqualified
by some adjective equivalent to Mr. Lloyd's concrete. The
question, then, is whether the State is a concrete organism.
claim that it is not. If Mr. Read thinks that
I judge that his error
the onus probandi is upon him.
That sociarises from a confusion of the State with society.
ety is a concrete organism the Anarchists do not deny ; on the
Consequently they have no incontrary, they insist upon it.
They know that its life is intention or desire to abolish it.
separable from the lives of individuals that it is impossible to
destroy one without destroying the other. But, though society

The Anarchists

it

is,

cannot be destroyed,

it

can be greatly hampered and impeded

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

36
in its operations,

composing

it,

much

and

it

to the disadvantage of the individuals


its chief impediment in the Staie.

meets

If it should
State, unlike society, is a discrete organism.
be destroyed to-morrow, individuals would still continue to
Production, exchange, and association would go on as
exist.
before, but much more freely, and all those social, functions
upon which the individual is dependent would operate in his
The individual is not related
behalf more usefully than ever.

The

to the State as the tiger's

paw

is

related to the tiger.

Kill the

and the tiger's paw no longer performs its office; kill the
As
State, and the individual still lives and satisfies his wants.
for society, the Anarchists would not kill it if they could, and

tiger,

could not if they would.


Mr. Read finds it astounding that I should " put the State
on a level with churches and insurance companies." I find his
astonishment amusing. Believers in compulsory religious systems were astounded when it was first proposed to put the
church on a level with other associations. Now the only astonishment is at least in the United States that the church
But the political superis allowed to stay at any other level.
stition has replaced the religious superstition, and Mr. Read is

under its sway.


I do not think " that

five or six States could exist side by


side with " quite " the same convenience as an equal number
In the relations with which States have to do
of churches."
there is more chance for friction than in the simply religious
sphere.
But, on the other hand, the friction resulting from a
multiplicity of States would be but a mole-hill compared with
the mountain of oppression and injustice which is gradually
heaped up by a single compulsory State. It would not be
necessary for a police officer of a voluntary " State " to know
'

'

what " State " a given individual belonged, or whether he


belonged to any. Voluntary " States " could, and probably
would, authorize their executives to proceed against invasion,
no matter who the invader or invaded might be. Mr. Read
will probably object that the " State " to which the invader
belonged might regard his arrest as itself an invasion, and
proceed against the " State " which arrested him. Anticipation of such conflicts would probably result exactly in
those treaties between " States " which Mr. Read looks upon
as so desirable, and even in the establishment of federal
tribunals, as courts of last resort, by the co-operation of the
various " States," on the same voluntary principle in accordance with which the " States " themselves were organized.
Voluntary taxation, far from impairing the " State's " credit,
to

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

37

would Strengthen it. In the first place, the simplification of


functions would greatly reduce, and perhaps entirely
abolish, its need to borrow, and the power to borrow is gener-

its

proportional to the steadiness of the need.


It
usually the inveterate borrower who lacks credit.
In the
second place, the power of the State to repudiate, and still
continue its business, is dependent upon its power of comIt knows that, when it can no longer
pulsory taxation.
borrow, it can at least tax its citizens up to the limit of
In the third place, the State is trusted* not berevolution.
cause it is over and above individuals, but because the lender
presumes that it desires to maintain its credit and will thereThis desire for credit will be stronger in
fore pay its debts.
a " State " supported by voluntary taxation thaii in the State
which enforces taxation.
All the objections brought forward by Mr. Read (except
the organism argument) are mere difficulties of administrative detail, to be overcome by ingenuity, patience, disThey are not logical difficulties, not
cretion, and expedients.
ally inversely

is

difficulties of principle.

They seem "enormous"

to

him

but

so seemed the difficulties of freedom of thought two centuries


What does he think of the difficulties of the existing
ago.
regime ? Apparently he is as blind to them as is the Roman
All thesd
Catholic to the difficulties of a State religion.
" enormous " difficulties which arise in the fancy of the

objectors to the voluntary principle will gradually vanish


under the influence of the economic changes and well-distributed prosperity which will follow the adoption of that
This is what Proudhon calls " the dissolution of
principle.
government in the economic organism." It is too vast a subject for consideration here, but, if Mr. Read wishes to understand the Anarchistic theory of the process, let him study that
most wonderful of all the wonderful books of Proudhon, the

"Idee Generale de

la

Revolution au Dix-Neuvieme Siecle."

true that " history shows a continuous weakening of


the State in some directions, and a continuous strengthening
At least such is the tendency, broadly
in other directions."
speaking, though this continuity is sometimes broken by
This tendency is simply the progress of
periods of reaction.
evolution towards Anarchy. The State invades less and less,
and protects more and more. It is exactly in the line of this
process, and at the end of it, that the Anarchists demand the
abandonment of the last citadel of invasion by the substituWhen this step
tion of voluntary for compulsory taxation.
" State " will achieve its maximum strength as a
is taken, the
It

is

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

38

protector against aggression, and will maintain

it

as lor^g as its

needed in that capacity.


If Mr. Read, in saying that the power of the State cannot
be restrained, simply meant that it cannot be legally restrained,
his remark had no fitness as an answer to Anarchists and
voluntary taxationists. They do not propose to legally reservices are

They propose to create a public sentiment that will


impossible for the State to collect taxes by force or
in any other way invade the individual.
Regarding the State
as an instrument of aggression, they do not expect to convince
it that aggression is against its interests, but they do expect to
convince individuals that it is against their interests to be invaded. If by this means they succeed in stripping the State
of its invasive powers, they will be satisfied, and it is immaterial to them whether the means is described by the word
"restraint" or by some other word.
In fact, I have striven
in this discussion to accommodate myself to Mr. Read's
phraseology.
For myself I do net think it proper to call
voluntary associations States, but, enclosing the word in
quotation marks, I have so used it because Mr. Read set the
example.
strain

it.

make

it

A MISINTERPRETATION OF ANARCHISM.
[Li6e7-ty,

March

8,

1890.3

One

of the most interesting papers that come to this office


the Personal Rights Journal of London.
Largely written
by men like J. H. Levy and Wordsworth Donisthorpe, it could
not be otherwise. Virtually it champions the same political
faith that finds an advocate in Liberty.
It means by individualism what Liberty means by Anarchism.
That it does
not realize this fact, and that it assumes Anarchism to be
something other than complete individualism, is the principal
difference between us.
This misunderstanding of Anarchism
is very clearly and cleverly exhibited in a passage which I
copy from a keen and thought-provoking lecture on " The
Outcome of Individualism," delivered by J. H. Levy before
the National Liberal Club on January lo, 1890, and printed
in the Personal Rights Journal of January and February
is

we

are suffering from a poison, we find it advantageous to take


9 second ppison, which aqts as an antidote to the first. But, if we a,x%
If

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

39

we limit our dose of the second poison so that the toxic effects of
both combined are at the minimum.
If we take more of it, it produces
toxic effects of its own beyond those necessary to counteract, so far as
possible, the first poison.
If we talce less of it, the first poison, to some
extent, will do its bad work unchecked.
This illustrates the position of
the Individualist, against the Socialist on the one side and the Anarchist
on the other. I recognize that government is an evil. It always means
the employment of force against our fellow-man, and
at the very best
his subjection, over a larger or smaller extent of the field of conduct, to
the will of a majority of his fellow-citizens. But if this organized or regularized interference were utterly abolished, he would not escape from
aggression. He would, in such a society as ours, be liable to far more
violence and fraud, which would be a much worse evil than the intervention of government needs be.
But when government pushes its interference beyond the point of maintaining the widest liberty equally for
all citizens, it is itself the aggressor, and none the less so because its
motives are good.
wise,

Names aside, the thing that Individualism favors, according to the foregoing, is organization to maintain the widest
liberty equally for all citizens.
Well, that is precisel)' what
Anarchism favors. Individualism does not want such organization any longer than is necessary. Neither does Anarchism.
Mr. Levy's assumption that Anarchism does not want such
organization at all arises from his failure to recognize the
Anarchistic definition of government.
Government has been
defined repeatedly in these; columns as the subjection of the
The subjection
non-invasive individual to a will not his own.
of the invasive individual is not government, but resistance to
and protection from government. By these definitions government is always an evil, but resistance to it is never an evil or
Call such resistance an antidote if you will, but
a poison.
remember that not all antidotes are poisonous. The worst
that can be said of resistance or protection is, not that it is an
evil, but that it is a loss of productive force in a necessary
It can be called an evil only in the
effort to overcome evil.
sense that needful and not especially healthful labor can be
The poison illustration, good enough with
called a curse.
Mr. Levy's definitions, has no force with the Anarchistic use
of terms.
Government is invasion, and the State, as defined in the last
issue of Liberty, is the embodiment of invasion in an individual, or band of individuals, assuming to act as representatives or masters of the entire people within a given area. The
Anarchists are opposed to all government, and especially to
From
the State as the worst governor and chief invader.
Liberty's standpoint, there are not three positions, but two
one, that of the authoritarian Socialists, favoring government
:

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

40

the other, that of the Individualists and Anargovernment and the State.
is true that Mr. Levy expressly accords liberty of definiand therefore I should not have said a word if he had

and the State

chists, against

It
tion,

simply stated the Individualist position without misinterpreting


But in view of this misinterpretation,
the Anarchist position.
I must ask him to correct it, unless he can show that my
criticism

is

invalid.

may

add, in conclusion, that very probably the disposition


of the Individualist to give greater prominence than does the
Anarchist to the necessity of organization for protection is
due to the fact that he seems to see less clearly than the Anarchist that the necessity for defence against individual invaders is largely and perhaps, in the end, wholly due to the
oppressions of the invasive State, and that when the State
falls, criminals will begin to disappear.
I

MR. LEVY'S
\Liberty-,

MAXIMUM.

November

i,

1890.]

" Whatever else Anarchism may mean, it means that State


coercion of peaceable citizens, into co-operation in restraining
the activity of Bill Sikes, is to be condemned and ought to be
Anarchism implies the right of an individual to
abolished.
It
stand aside and see a man murdered or a woman raped.
implies the right of the would-be passive accomplice of agIt is true the Anarchist may
gression to escape all coercion.
but also he may
voluntarily co-operate to check aggression
Qud Anarchist, he is within his right in withholding
not.
such co-operation, in leaving others to bear the burden of
resistance to aggression, or in leaving the aggressor to triumph
Individualism, on the other hand, would not
unchecked.
only restrain the active invader up to the point necessary to
restore freedom to others, but would also coerce the man who
would otherwise be a passive witness of, or conniver at, aggression into co-operation against his more active colleague."
The foregoing paragraph occurs in an ably-written article
by Mr. J. H. Levy in the Personal Rights Journal. The writer's
evident intention was to put Anarchism in an unfavorable light
by stating its principles, or one of them, in a very offensive
way.
At the same time it was his inte^ition also to be fair,
;

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

4I

that is, not to distort the doctrine of Anarchism,


and he has
not distorted it.
I reprint the paragraph in editorial type for
the purpose of giving it, as an Anarchist, my entire approval,
barring the stigma sought to be conveyed by the words " accomplice " and " conniver." If a man will but state the truth
as I see it, he may state it as baldly as he pleases
I will acThe Anarchists are not afraid of their principles.
cept it still.
It is far more satisfactory to have one's position stated baldly
;

and accurately by an opponent who understands it than in a


genial, milk-and-water, and inaccurate fashion by an ignoramus.
It is agreed, then, that, in Anarchism's view, an individual has
aright to stand aside and see a man murdered. And pray, why
not ? If it is justifiable to collar a man who is minding his
own business and force him into a fight, why may we not also
collar him for the purpose of forcing him to help us to coerce
a parent into educating his child, or to commit any other act
of invasion that may seem to us for the general good ?
I can
It is true that Mr.
see no ethical distinction here whatever.
Levy, in the succeeding paragraph, justifies the collaring of
the non-co-operative individual on the ground of necessity. (I
note here that this is the same ground on which Citizen Most
proposes to collar the non-co-operator in his communistic enterprises and make him work for love instead of wages.)
But
some other motive than necessity must have been in Mr.
Levy's mind, unconsciously, when he wrote the paragraph
which I have quoted. Else why does he deny that the nonco-operator is " within his right " ? I can understand the man
who in a crisis justifies no matter what form of compulsion on
the ground of sheer necessity, but I cannot understand the
man who denies the right of the individual thus coerced to
resist such compulsion' and insist on pursuing his own independent course. It is precisely this denial, however, that Mr.
Levy makes otherwise his phrase " within his right " is
meaningless.
But however this may be, let us look at the plea of necesMr. Levy claims that the coercion of the peaceful nonsity.
Necessary to what ? Necessary,
co-operator is necessary.
answers Mr. Levy, " in order that freedom may be at the
maximum." Supposing for the moment that this is true,
Is the absolute maximum of
another inquiry suggests itself
freedom an end to be attained at any cost 2 I regard liberty as
the chief essential to man's happiness, and therefore as the
most important thing in the world, and I certainly want as
much of it as I can get. But I cannot see that it concerns me
;

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

42

much whether

the aggregate amount of liberty enjoyed by all


is at its maximum or a little below
as one individual, am to have little or none of this ag-

individuals
it, if I,

added together

If, however, I am to have as much liberty as others,


and if others are to have as much as I, then, feeling secure in
what we have, it will behoove us all undoubtedly to try to

gregate.

attain the maximum of liberty compatible with this condition


of equality.
Which brings us back to the familiar law of
equal liberty, the greatest amount of individual liberty comBut this maximum of
patible with the equality of liberty.
liberty is a very different thing from that which is to be attained, according to the hypothesis, only by violating equality
of liberty. For, certainly, to coerce the peaceful non-co-operator is to violate equality of liberty.
If my neighbor believes
in co-operation and I do not, and if he has liberty to choose
to co-operate while I have no liberty to choose not to co-operate, then there is no equality of liberty between us.
Mr.
Levy's position is analogous to that of a man who should
propose to despoil certain individuals of peacefully and hon-

estly acquired wealth on the ground that such spoliation is


necessary in order that wealth may be at the maximum.
Of
course Mr. Levy would answer to this that the hypothesis is
absurd, and that the maximum could not be so attained
but
he clearly would have to admit, if pressed, that, even if it
could, the end is not important enough to justify such means.
To be logical he must make the same admission regarding
;

own proposition.
But, after all, is the hypothesis any more absurd in the one
It seems to me just as
case than in the other ? I think not.
impossible to attain the maximum of liberty by depriving
people of their liberty as to attain the maximum of wealth by
In fact, it seems to me that
depriving people of their wealth.
in both cases the means is absolutely destructive of the end.
Mr. Levy wishes to restrict the functions of government
now, the compulsory co-operation that he advocates is the
chief obstacle in the way of such restriction.
To be sure,
government restricted by the removal of this obstacle would
no longer be government, as Mr. Levy is " quick-witted
enough to see " (to return the compliment which he pays the
But what of that ? It would still be a power
Anarchists).
for preventing those invasive acts which the people are practiIf it should attempt to
cally agreed in wanting to prevent.
go beyond this, it would be promptly checked by a diminution
The power to cut off the supplies is the
of the supplies.
most effective weapon against tyranny.
To say, as Mr. Levy
his

Ttt I^JDlViDtJAL, SOCIETY,

AND THE STATE.

4^

does, that " taxation must be coextensive with government


It is government (or, rather,
is not the proper way to put it.
the State) that must and will be coextensive with taxation.
When compulsory taxation is abolished, there will be no State,
and the defensive institution that will succeed it will be
steadily deterred from becoming an invasive institution
through fear that the voluntary contributions will fall off.
This constant motive for a voluntary defensive institution to
keep itself trimmed down to the popular demand is itself the
best possible safeguard against the bugbear of multitudinous
He
rival political agencies which seems to haunt Mr. Levy.
says that the voluntary taxationists are victims of an illusion.
The charge might be made against himself with much more
reason.
chief interest in Mr. Levy's article, however, is excite^
by his valid criticism of those Individualists who accept voluntary taxation, but stop short, or think they stop short, of
Anarchism, and I shall wait with much curiosity to see what
Mr. Greevz Fisher, and especially Mr. Auberon Herbert, will
have to say in reply.
On the whole. Anarchists have more reason to be grateful to
Mr. Levy for his article than to complain of it. It is at least
an appeal for intellectual consistency on this subject, and as
such it renders unquestionable service to the cause of plumb-

My

line

Anarchism.

RESISTANCE TO TAXATION.
[_Liberiy,

To

the Editor

of Liberty

March

26, 1887.]

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
It seems to
reasons, so far as- they are public property, for that action.
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 bid any one follow who was trying to live square with the
I

truth, so far as

we may know

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
It

without violence to our

own

reason, and,

if

neeessary, people a desert

ItiSTEAt)

44
island for ourselves

OF A B60K.

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 tbey 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 is as much a part of the right 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 government
implies tp violently substitute the end of development for its beginning.

my main points of objection, and hope that you


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.
Frederic A. C. Perrike.
Yours truly,
7 Atlantic St., Newark, N. J., November ii, 1886.
I

think that these are

will

Mr. Perrine's criticism is an entirely pertinent one, and of


the sort that I like to ansyv^er, though in this instance circumThe gist
stances have delayed the appearance of his letter.
of his position -in fact, the whole of his argument is contained in his second paragraph, and 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 noncontracting 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 prsviously-enjoyed right to prevent
him from reaping these benefits. Now, voluntary association
necessarily involving the right of secession, any seceding mem-

THfi INDIVIDUAL, gOCIETY,

AND THE

StATE.

4^

ber 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 to-day
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 " 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 lie 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
;

*A

writer for Liberty

philosophy of Egoism.

who

has devoted

much

space to exposition of the

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

46

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
we will "comreverence.
will bow to it when we must
promise with existing circumstances " when we have to but
at all other times we will follow our reason and the plumb-line.
all

We

A PUPPET FOR A GOD,


\_L,ibei'ty,

To

April

9, 1887.]

the Editor

of Liberty :
Please accept my thanks for your candid answer to my letter of November II, 1 886. It contains, however, some points which do not seem
to me conclusive.
The first position to which I object is your statement
that voluntary association necessarily involves the right of secession ;
hereby you deny the right of any people to combine on a constitution
which denies that right of secession, and in doing so attempt to force
upon them your own idea of right. You assume the case of a new State
attempting to impose its laws upon a former settler in the country, and
I agree with you, but have I not as
say that they have no right to do so
much reason for assuming a State including no previous settler's homestead and voluntarily agreeing to waive all right of secession from the
vote of the majority ? In any such State I claim, then, that any member
becoming an Anarchist, or holding any views differing from those of the
general body, is only right in applying them within the laws of the ma;

jority.

Such seems

me

to represent the condition of these United States ;


there is very little, if any, record of any man denying the right of the
majority at their foundation, and, in the absence of any such denial, we
are forced to the conclusion that the association and the passage of the
majority rules were voluntary, and, as I said before, resistance to their
government beyond the legal means by an inhabitant is practically denying the right of the others to waive the right of secession on entering
into a contract.
The denial of any such right seems to me to be irrato

tional.

Of

none

of this applies to the Indians, who never did and


into the government.
I do not, however, think that
their case invalidates the argument.
In the second place, I object to your quotation of my phrase, " grand
race experience," as grandiloquent.
If we have anything grand, it is
this " race experience "
denying its grandeur, you either deny the grandeur and dignity of Man, or else, as you seem to do, you look back
fondly to some past happy state in some " Happy Valley " of Eden from
which man has been falling till now he can say, "All the evils with which
mankind was ever afflicted were products of this ' grand race experience.' "
It does indeed seem to me to be to you a " spook " and more :
an ogre. The Devil going about devouring all good, rather than, as it
seems to me, the manifestation of Divinity, the divinity of Man, which

never

course,
will

come

The iNDivibUAt,

sociEtY,

And the state.

4f

has produced, not alone the evil in us, but has produced us as we are,
with ail our good and ill combined.
It is the force which is as surely leading us up to Anarchy and beyond
as it has led us from the star-dust into manhood.
It is the personification of our evolution, and, while no man may either advance or retard
that evolution to any very considerable extent, still it seems to me that
much more can be accomplished by acting with it than across its p^th,
even though we may seem to be steering straight towards the harbor for

which

it is

tacking.

The other night I attended a meeting of the Commonwealth Club of


New York City, and there listened to the reading and discussion of a
paper by Mr. Bishop, of the Post, on the effects of bribery at elections,
concerning the amount of which Mr. Wm. M. Ivins had given so many
startling figures at an earlier meeting.
Mr. Bishop recited the long list
of party leaders, and characterized them in their professions and practices.

The whole unsavory story, only too


him in his belief that the government

familiar to us all, did not daunt


is a part of the true curve of development, but only incited the proposal of a remedy, which consisted in
substituting the State for the party machine in the distribution of the
ballots and in the enactment of more stringent bribery and undue influence acts, in fact, a series of laws similar to those English laws of Sir
Henry James, which are in force there at the present time and which
seem to act to a certain extent beneficially.
In closing, after recognizing the difficulty in passing any reform
measures, he quoted Gladstone's memorable appeal to the future for his
vindication, claiming a common cause with all reformers and with Time,
which is fighting for them.

The reading of this paper was followed by an address from Mr. Simon
Sterne, advocating the minority representation of Mill, and one by Mr.

who appealed for an open ballot.


Immediately Mr. Ivins rose, and, after showing that no open ballot
could be free, as even asking a man for his vote is a form of coercion,
proceeded on the lines of Mr. Bishop's closing quotation to show that
the reform then proposed was but a link in the long chain which is leading
Turner,

us irresistibly onward that not in State supervision, or in minority representation, or in any measure at present proposed, was there an adequate
solution of the problem, but that they were each logical steps in progprogress which may end in a State Socialism or in Anarchy or
ress,
in what not, but at any rate in Tie End which is right and inevitable.
We cannot any of us turn far aside the course of this progress, however
we may act. We can but put our shoulder to the wheel and give a little
push onwards according to our little strength. Except at great epochs,
the
the extremists diminish their effect by diminishing their leverage
steady, every-day workers who strive for the right along the existing
lines purify the moral tone of the times and pave the way for those great
revolutions when the world seems to advance by great bounds into' the
;

future.

Should we not, then, strike hands with these men of the Commonwealth Club, and, burying our differences of ultimate aims, if differences
exist, work in and for the present?
I sat at that dinner with Republicans and Democrats, Free Traders and
Protectionists, all absorbed with the one idea of advancement and working
for that idea with heart and soul. Their influence will be felt, felt not only
now, but in the future, even the future of a happy Anarchy; reaching out

iMstEAb OF A eoOK.

48

after and touching that state before some of its more uncompromising
adherents.
When the days are ripe for a revolution, then let there be no compromise; the compromise will come in spite of us.
But to fly against the
wall of an indolent public sentiment is folly, while each man, Anc.rchist
or not, can do something towards the purification of the existent order of
things, or at least should withhold the hand of hindrance from earnest
workers in that field.
Frederic A. C. Perrine.
7 Atlantic Street, Newark, N. J., April i, 1887.

When I said, in my previous reply to Mr. Perrine, that voluntary association necessarily involves the right of secession,
I did not deny the right of any individuals to go through the
form of constituting themselves an association in which each
member waives the right of secession. My assertion was
simply meant to carry the idea that such a constitution, if any
should be so idle as to adopt it, would be a mere form, which
every decent man who was a party to it would hasten to violate and tread under foot as soon as he appreciated the enormity of his folly.
Contract is a very serviceable and most
important tool, but its usefulness has its limits no man can
employ it for the abdication of his manhood. To indefinitely
waive one's right of secession is to make one's self a slave.
Now, no man can make himself so much a slave as to forfeit
the right to issue his own emancipation proclamation.
Individuality and its right of assertion are indestructible except
by death. Hence any signer of such a constitution as that
supposed who should afterwards become an Anarchist would
be fully justified in the use of any means that would protect
him from attempts to coerce him in the name of that constitution.
But even if this were not so
if men were really
under olbligation to keep impossible contracts, there would
still be no inference to be drawn therefrom regarding the rela;

tions of the United States to its so-called citizens.


To assert
that the United States constitution is similar to that of the

hypothesis

is

an

extremely wild remark.

Mr. Perrine can

readily find this out by reading Lysander Spooner's " Letter


to Grover Cleveland."
That masterly document will tell him
what the United States constitution is and just how binding

on anybody. But if the United States constitution were


a voluntary contract of the nature described above, it would
still remain for Mr. Perrine to tell us why those who failed
to repudiate it are bound, by such failure, to comply with it,
or why the assent of those who entered into it is binding upon
people who were then unborn, or what right the contracting
parties, if there were any, had to claim jurisdiction and sovit is

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

40

ereign power over that vast section of the planet which has
since been known as the United States of America and over
all the persons contained therein, instead of over themselves
simply and such lands as they personally occupied and used.
These are points which he utterly ignores. His reasoning
consists of independent propositions between which there are
no logical links. Now, as to the "grand race experience."
It is perfectly true that, if we have anything grand, it is this,
but it is no less true that, if we have anything base, it is this.
It is all we have, and, being all, includes all, both grand and
base.
I do not deny man's grandeur, neither do I deny his
degradation; consequently I neither accept nor reject all that
he has been and done. I try to use my reason for the purpose
of discrimination, instead of blindly obeying any divinity, even
that of man.
should not worship this race experience by
imitation and repetitipn, but should strive to profit by its mistakes and avoid them in future.
Far from believing in any
Edenic state, I yield to no man in my strict adherence to the
theory of evolution, but evolution is "leading us up to Anarchy " simply because it has already led us in nearly every
other direction and made a failure of it.
Evolution like nature, of which it is the instrument or process, is extremely
wasteful and short-sighted. Let us not imitate its wastefulness
or even tolerate it if we can help it let us rather use our
brains for the guidance of evolution in the path of economy.
Evolution left to itself will sooner or later eliminate every
other social form and leave us Anarchy.
But evolution
guided will try to discover the common element in its past
failures, summarily reject everything having this element, and

We

straightway accept Anarchy, which has it not.


Because we
are the products of evolution we are not therefore to be its
On the contrary, as our intelligence grows, we are to
puppets.

be more and more its masters. It is just because we let it


master us, just because we strive to act with it rather than
across its path, just because we dilly-dally and shilly-shally
and fritter away our time, for instance, over secret ballots,
open ballots, and the like, instead of treating the whole matter
of the suffrage from the standpoint of principle, that we do indeed "pave the way," much to our sorrow, "for those great
revolutions " and " great epochs " when extremists suddenly
Great epochs, indeed
Great disasters
get the upper hand.
But how ?
rather, which it behooves us vigilantly to avoid.
By being extremists now. If there were more extremists in
evolutionary periods, there would be no revolutionary periods.
There is no lesson more important for mankind to learn than
!

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

go

Until it is learned, Mr. Perrine will talk in vain about


the divinity of man, for every day will make it more patent
that his god is but a jumping-jack.
that.

MR. PERRINE'S DIFFICULTIES.


\_Literty,

To

the Editor

July

i6, 1887.]

of Liberty
suppose I should feel completely swamped by the great waves of
satire which have rolled over my head from all directions but the front.
Still I feel able to lift my hand, and make the motion of scissors.
I have had the fallacy of a part of my argument so clearly pointed out
to me by another than Liberty that I did not think it would be necessary
for its editor to go so far around my position as to deny the sanctity of
contract in order to refute me.
:'

Indeed,

own
I

my

only hope of Liberty

now

that

is

it

will define

some

of

its

positions.

have heard a great deal

of

"spooks

"

and " plumb-lines," but

can^

not clearly see the reason that contract has ceased being a "plumbline " and become a " spook," unless we have to allow that much liberty
for an argument.
Will you please explain what safety there may be in an individualistic
community where it becomes each man's duty to break all contracts as
soon as he has become convinced that they were made foolishly ?
Again, it being the duty of the individuals to break contracts made
with each other, I cannot clearly see how it becomes an act of despicable despotism for the Republic to break contracts made with the Crow
Indians, unless the ideal community is that in which we all become despicable despots and where we amuse ourselves by calling each other
hard names.
Indeed, as I have said twice before, you seem to me to deny to others
the right to make and carry out their own contracts unless these contracts meet with your approval.
I am aware now of my error in assuming that the authority of the
State rested historically on any social contract, and those points which
were brought in in your reply as secondary are the main objections to

my

position.
true authority of the State rests, as

The

Household," not on contract, but on


I

its

Hearn shows in his " Aryan


development a point at which
;

hinted, but did not clearly develop.

However, I do not feel warranted in entering with you into any discussion from that standpoint till I am able to find out more clearly what
Liberty means by development.
In your reply to me, you seem to think
of it as a sort of cut-and-try process
this may be a Boston idea absorbed from the " Monday Lectures," but I think that it is hardly warranted by either Darwin or Spencer.
I tried in both of my letters to insist on the existence of a general line
of development which is almost outside the power of individuals, and
which is optimistic. By its being "optimistic"! mean that, on the
;

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

principle of the survival of the fittest, our present condition is the best
that it is possible for us to have attained.
You do not deny man's divinity, " neither do you deny his degradation"; from what has man been
degraded ? You do not accept an Edenic state then what do you mean
by " man's degradation "?
;

The idea of development which admits of a degradation and which


expects Liberty's followers to arrest the " wasteful process " which has
already made trial of everything else, and is now in despair about to
make the experiment of Anarchy is something so new to me that I must
ask for a more complete exposition of the system.
Frederic A.

Newark, N.

C.

Perrink.

J.

Mr. Perrine should read more carefully. I have never said


it is " each man's duty to break all contracts as soon as
he has become convinced that they were made foolishly."
What I said was that, if a man should sign a contract to part
with his liberty forever, he would violate it as soon as he saw
the enormity of his folly.
Because I believe that some promises are better broken than kept, it does not follow that I think
it wise always to break a foolish promise.
On the contrary, I
deem the keeping of promises such an important matter that
only in the extremest cases would I approve their violation.
It is of such vital consequence ti at associates should be able
to rely upon each other that it is better never to do anything
to weaken this confidence except when it can be maintained
only at the expense of some consideration of even greater importance.
I mean by evolution just what Darwin means by it,
namely, the process of selection by which, out of all the
variations that occur from any cause whatever, only those are
preserved which are best adapted to the environment. Inasthat

much as the variations that perish vastly outnumber those


that survive, this process is extremely wasteful, but human inI am perfectly willing
telligence can greatly lessen the waste.
to admit its optimism, if by optimism is meant the doctrine
Optithat everything is for the best under the circumstances.
mism so defined is nothing more than the doctrine of necessity.
As to the word "degradation," evidently Mr. Perrine is. unaware of all its meanings. By its derivation it implies descent
from something higher, but it is also used by the best English
writers to express a low condition regardless of what preceded
it.
It was in the latter sense that I used it.

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

52

WHERE WE
[Liberty,

August

STAND.
19, 1882.]

writes the best articles that appear in the


which is not saying much, and among the best that
appear in any of the weekHes, which is saying a good deal.
We were the more gratified, therefore, to find him treating in

Mr. B.
" Index,"

W. Ball

a recent number the incipient, but increasing, opposition to the


existence of the State.
He at least is clear-sighted enough
not to underrate the importance of the advent into social and
political agitation of so straightforward, consistent, unterrified,
determined, and, withal, philosophically rooted a factor as
his editorial chief, Mr. Underwood, declares that the issue which the Anarchists present
" admits of no discussion."
But even Mr. Ball shows, by his article on "Anti-State Theorists," that, despite his promptriess to discover and be impressed by the appearance of this new movement, he has as yet
studied it too superficially to know anything of the groundwork
Inof the thought which produced, animates, and guides it.
deed this first shot of his flies so wide of the mark that certain incidental phrases indicative of the object of his aim
were needed to reassure us that Anarchism really was his target.
In a word, he has opened fire on the Anarchists without inquiring where we stand.
Where, then, does he suppose us to stand ? His central
argument against us, stated briefly, is this Where crime exists,
Who denies it ? Certainly not
force must exist to repress it.
Liberty; certainly not the Anarchists.
Anarchism is not a
revival of non-resistance, although there may be non-resistants
The direction of Mr. Ball's attack implies that
in its ranks.
we would let robbery, rape, and murder make havoc in the
community without lifting a finger to stay their brutal, bloody
work. On the contrary, we are the sternest enemies of invasion of person and property, and, although chiefly busy in
destroying the causes thereof, have no scruples against such
heroic treatment of its immediate manifestations as circumstances and wisdom may dictate.
It is true that we look forward to the ultimate disappearance of the necessity of force
even for the purpose of repressing crime, but this, though involved in it as a necessary result, is by no means a necessary

modern Anarchism, although

condition of the abolition of the State.


In opposing the State, therefore, we do not deny Mr. Ball's

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

We

53

proposition, but distinctly affirm and emphasize it.


make
war upon the State as the chief invader of person and property, as the cause of substantially all the crime and misery
that exist, as itself the most gigantic criminal extant.
It manufactures criminals much faster than it punishes them.
It
exists to create and sustain the privileges which produce economic and social chaos. It is the sole support of the monopolies which concentrate wealth and learning in the hands of
a few and disperse poverty and ignorance among the masses,
to the increase of which inequality the increase of crime is
directly proportional.
It protects a minority in plundering
the majority by methods too subtle to be understood by the
victims, and then punishes such unruly members of the majority as attempt to plunder others by methods too simple and
straightforward to be recognized by the State as legitimate,
crowning its outrages by deluding scholars and philosophers
of Mr. Ball's stamp into pleading, as an excuse for its infamous existence, the necessity of repressing the crime which
it steadily creates.
Mr. Ball, to his honor be it said, during anti-slavery days,
was a steadfast abolitionist. He earnestly desired the aboliDoubtless he remembers how often he was
tion of slavery.
met with the argument that slavery was necessary to keep the
unlettered blacks out of mischief, and that it would be unsafe
Mr. Ball in those
to give freedom to such a mass of ignorance.
days saw through the sophistry of such reasoning, and knew
that those who urged it did so to give some color of moral justification to their conduct in living in luxury on the enforced
He probably was wont to answer them sometoil of slaves.
thing after this fashion: "It is the institution of slavery that
keeps the blacks in ignorance, and to justify slavery on the
ground of their ignorance is to reason in a circle and beg the
very question at issue."
To-day Mr. Ball -again to his honor be it said is a religHe earnestly desires the abolition, or at least
ious abolitionist.
frequently he must
the disappearance, of the Church.
meet or hear of priests who, while willing to privately admit
that the doctrines of the Church are a bundle of delusions, argue that the Church is necessary to keep the superstition-ridden
masses in order, and that their release from the mental subjection in which it holds them would be equivalent to their precipitation into unbridled dissipation, libertinism, and ultimate
Mr. Ball sees clearly through the fallacy of S,ll such logic,
ruin.
and knows that those who use it do so to gain a moral footing
on which to statid while collecting their fees from the poor

How

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

54

who know no better than to pay them. We can fancy


him replying with pardonable indignation: " Cunning knaves,
you know very well that it is your Church that saturates the
people with superstition, and that to justify its existence on
fools

the ground of their superstition is to put the cart before the


horse and assume the very point in dispute."
Now, we Anarchists are political abolitionists. We earnestly
Our position on this quesdesire the abolition of the State.
tion is parallel in most respects to those of the Church aboliBut in this case Mr.
tionists and the slavery abolitionists.
takes the side of the tyrants
Ball^
to his disgrace be it said
against the abolitionists, and raises the cry so frequently raised
against him: The State is necessary to keep thieves and murderers in subjection, and, were it not for the State, we should
all be garroted in the streets and have our throats cut in our
As Mr. Ball saw through the sophistry of his opponents,
beds.
so we see through his, precisely similar to theirs, though we
know that not he, but the capitalists use it to blind the people
to the real object of the institution by which they are able to
extort from labor the bulk of its products.
answer him as
he did them, and in no very patient mood: Can you not see
that it is the State that creates the conditions which give birth
to thieves and murderers, and that to justify its existence on
the ground of the prevalence of theft and murder is a logical
process every whit as absurd as those used to defeat your
eftorts to abolish slavery and the Church ?
Once for all, then, we are not opposed to the punishment of
thieves and murderers; we are opposed to their manufacture.
Right here Mr. Ball must attack us, or not at all. When next
he writes on Anarchism, let him answer these questions
Are not the laboring classes deprived of their earnings by
usury in its tlijee forms, interest, rent, and profit?
Is not such deprivation the principal cause of poverty ?
Is not poverty, directly or indirectly, the principal cause of

We

crime?
usury dependent upon monopoly, and especially upon
the land and money monopolies ?
Could these monopolies exist without the State at their back ?
Does not by far the larger part of the work of the State consist in establishing and sustaining these monopolies and other
illegal

Is not

results of special legislation

Would not

the abolition of these invasive functions of the


State lead gradually to the disappearance of crime ?
If so, would not the disappearance of crime render the protective functions of the State superfluous ?

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

55

In that case, would not the State have been entirely*


abolished ?
Would not this be the realization of Anarchy and the fulfilment of Proudhon's prophecy of "the dissolution of government in the economic organism "?
To each of these questions we answer: Yes. That answer
constitutes the ground on which we stand and from which we
We invite Mr. Ball to meet us on ft.
refuse to be drawn away.
and whip us if he can.

TU-WHIT

TU-WHOO!

{Liieriy, October 24, 1885.]

To

the Editor

of Liberty:
Will you give direct and
I certainly will,

explicit

wherever

answers to the following questions

the

questions

are

direct

and

explicit.

Does Anarchism recognize the right of one individual or any number


what course of action is just or unjust for

of individuals to determine

others

if by the word unjust is meant invasive; otherwise, no.


Anarchism recognizes the right of one individual or any number of individuals to determine that no man shall invade the
equal liberty of his fellow; beyond this it recognizes no right

Yes,

of control over individual conduct.

Does

it

ever they

recognize the right to restrain or control their actions, whatbe ?

may

See previous answer.


Does it recognize the
wrong doing ?
Yes,

if

right to

arrest, try, convict,

by the words wrong doing

is

and punish

for

meant invasion; other-

wise, no.

Does

it

believe in jury trial

Anarchism, as such, neither believes nor disbelieves

in jury

* In this series of questions the word " State " is used in a sense inclusive of voluntary protective associations, whereas in all other parts o:"
Attention is called
this volume it is used in a sense exclusive thereof.
to this inconsistency in terminology, in order to prevent misunderstand,ing.

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

56
trial; it is

to favor
If so,

For myself,

a matter of expediency.

am

inclined

it.

how

the jury to be selected

is

Another matter of expediency. Speaking for myself again,


think the jury should be selected by drawing twelve names
by lot from a wheel containing the names of all the citizens
jury service, of course, not to be compulin the community,
I

sory,

though

rightfully be made,

may

it

a condition of

membership

if

should seem best,

it

in a voluntary association.

Does it propose prisons, or other places of confinement, for such as


prove unsafe ?

Another matter of expediency. If it can find no better instrument of resistance to invasion. Anarchism will use prisons.
Does it propose taxation to support the tribunals of justice,
places of confinement and restraint ?

and these

Anarchism proposes to deprive no individual of his property,


or any portion of it, without his consent, unless the individual
is an invader, in which case Anarchism will take enough of his
property from him to repair the damage done by his invasion.
Contribution to the support of certain things may, like jury
service, rightfully be made a condition of membership in a
voluntary association.

How

is

justice to be

determined

in

a given case

This question not being explicit, I cannot answer it explicitly.


I can only say that justice is to be determined on the
principle of the equal liberty of all, and by such mechanism as
may prove best fitted to secure its object.
Will Anarchists wait

This question
what " it " refers

till all

who know anything about

it

are agreed

grammatically defective.

It is not clear
refer to justice in the previous
question, or it may refer to Anarchism, or it may refer to some
conception hidden in the recesses of the writer's bra:n. At a
venture I will make this assertion, hoping it may hit tne mark.
When Anarchists are agreed in numbers sufficient to enable
them to accomplish whatever special work lies before them,

they

will

is

to.

It

may

probably go about

it.

Will they take the majority rule


in their findings

Inasmuch

Or

will they sustain

a small fraction

as Anarchistic associations recognize the right of


may utilize the ballot, if they see fit to do so.

secession, they

If the question

decided by ballot

is

so vital that the minority

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

57

thinks it more important to carry out its own views than to


preserve common action, the minority can withdraw.
In no
case can a minority, however small, be governed against its
consent.

Does Anarchism mean the observance and enforcement of natural law,


so far as can be discovered, or does it mean the opposite or som.ething
else ?

Anarchism does mean exactly the observance and enforcement of the natural law of Liberty, and it does not mean the
opposite or anything

else.

If it means that all such as do not conform to the natural law, as understood by the masses, shall be made to suffer through the machinery of
organized authority, no matter under what name it goes, it is human
government as really as anything we now have.

Anarchism knows nothing about " natural law as understood


by the masses." It means the observance and enforcement by
each individual of the natural law of Liberty as understood
When a number of individuals who understand
himself.
this natural law to mean the equal liberty of all organize on a
voluntary basis to resist the invasion of this liberty, they form a
very different thing from any human government we now have.
They do not form a government at all they organize a rebellion
For government is invasion, and nothing
against government.

by

and resistance to invasion is the antithesis of governelse


ment. All the organized governments of to day are such beIn the first place, all their acts are
cause they are invasive.
indirectly invasive, because dependent upon the primary inand, in the second place, by far the
vasion called taxation
greater number of their acts are directly invasive, because directed, not to the restraint of invaders, but to the denial of
freedom to the people in their industrial, commercial, social,
No man with brains in his head
domestic, and individual lives.
can honestly say that such institutions are identical in their
nature with voluntary associations, supported by voluntary
contributions, which confine themselves to resisting invasion.
;

If

with,

it
it

means
means

that the undeveloped and vicious shall not be interfered


that the world shall suffer all the disorder and crime that

depravity unhindered can consummate.


S.

Blodgett.

Grahamville, Florida.
I

hope that ray readers will take in Mr. Blodgett's final asJust see what
all its length and breadth and depth.

sertion in
it

says.

It says that

of virtue-

penal institutions are the only promoters


example goes for

Education goes for nothing

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

58

public opinion goes for nothing social ostracism


competition
freedom goes for nothing
goes for nothing
goes for nothing increase of material welfare goes for nothing;
health goes for
decrease of temptation goes for nothing
nothing approximate equality of conditions goes for nothing
all these are utterly powerless as preventives or curatives of
immorality^
The only forces on earth that tend to develop
the undeveloped and to make the vicious virtuous are our
Mr. Blodgett, I believe,
judges, our jails, and our gibbets.
repudiates the Christian doctrine that hell is the only safeguard
of religious morality, but he re-creates it by affirming that a
hell upon earth is the only safeguard of natural morality.
Why do Mr. Blodgett and all those who agree with him so
persistently disregard the constructive side of Anarchism ? The
chief claim of Anarchism for its principles is that the abolition
of legal monopoly will so transform social conditions that ignorance, vice, and crime will gradually disappear.
However often

nothing

this

may be

stated

and however

definitely

may be

it

elabor-

Blodgetts will approach you, apparently gravely unconscious that any remark has been made, and say " If there
are no policemen, the criminal classes will run riot."
Tell
them that, when the system of commercial cannibalism which
rests on legal privilege disappears, cutthroats will disappear
with it, and they will not deny it or attempt to disprove it, but
they will first blink at you a moment with their owl-like eyes,
and then from out their mouths will come the old, familiar
hoot " Tu-whit tu-whoo If a ruffian tries to cut your throat,
what are you going to do about it ? Tu-whit tu-whoo "
ated, the

RIGHTS AND DUTIES UNDER ANARCHY.


[

Liberty^

December

31, 1887.]

Old
its

readers of this paper will remember the appearance in


columns, about two years ago, of a series of questions pro-

pounded by the writer of the following letter and accompanied


by editorial answers- To-day my interrogator questions me
further this time, however, no longer as a confident combatant, but as an earnest inquirer.
As I replied to him then according to his pugnacity, so I reply to him now according to
;

his friendliness,

THE Individual, sociEtv, AND the State.

59

To

the Editor of Liberty :


Will you please insert the following questions in your paper with your
answers thereto, and oblige an ethical, political, and humanitarian student ?
1. Do you, as an Anarchist, believe any one human being ever has the
right to judge for another what he ought or ought not to do ?

The terms of this question need definition. Assuming,


however, the word " right " to be used in the sense of the
which the principle of equal liberty logically places upon
might, and the phrase "judge for another "to include not
only the formation of judgment but the enforcement thereof,
and the word " ought " to be equivalent to must or shall, I answer Yes. But the only cases in which a human being ever
has such right over another are those in which the other's
doing or failure to do involves an overstepping of the limit upor^
limit

just referred to.


That is what was meant when it was
said in an early number of Liberty that " man's only duty is
to respect others' rights."
It might well have been added that
man's only right over others is to enforce that duty.

might

2.

Do you

number combined ever have such a

believe any

right

Yes.
The right of any number combined is whatever right
the individuals combining possess and voluntarily delegate to
it.
It follows from this, and from the previous answer, that,
as individuals sometimes have the right in question, so a number combined may have it.
3.

Do you

believe one, or

any number, ever have the right to prevent

another from doing as he pleases

Yes.
This question
swers taken together.

is

answered by the two previous an-

4. Do you believe it admissible, as an Anarchist, to use what influence


can be exerted without the aid of brute force to induce one to live as

seems

to you best ?
Please explain what influence, if any, you think might be employed in
harmony with Anarchistic principles.

Yes.
The influence of reason the influence of persuasion ;
the influence of education the
the influence of attraction
influence of example the influence of public opinion the influence of social ostracism ; the influence of unhampered economic forces the influence of better prospects and doubtless
other influences which do not now occur to me.
;

Do

you believe there is such a thing as private ownership of prop5.


erty, viewed from an Anarchistic standpoint ?
If so, please give a way or
rule to determine whether one owns a thing or not.
Yes.

Anarchism being neither more nor

less

than the prin-

ciple of equal liberty, property, in an Anarchistic society,

must

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

6o

accord with this principle. The only form of property which


meets this condition is that which secures each in the possession of his own products, or of such products of others as he
may have obtained unconditionally without the use of fraud
or force, and in the realization of all titles to such products
which he may hold by virtue of free contract with others.
Possession, unvitiated by fraud or force, of values to which no
one else holds a title unvitiated by fraud or force, and the possession of similarly unvitiated titles to values, constitute the AnBy fraud I do not mean
archistic criterion of ownership.
that which is simply contrary to equity, but deceit and false
pretence in all their forms.
6. Is it right to confine such as injure others and prove themselves unIf so, is there a way consistent with Anarchy to
safe to be at large ?
determine the nature of the confinement, and how long it shall continue ?

Such confinement is sometimes right because it is


Yes.
sometimes the wisest way of vindicating the right asserted in
There are many ways conthe answer to the first question.
sistent with Anarchy of determining the nature and duration
of such confinement.
Jury trial, in its original form, is one
way, and in my judgment the best way yet devised.
7. Are the good people under obligations to feed, clothe, and
comfortable such as they find it necessary to confine ?

make

In other words, it is allowable to punish invaders by


But, if the "good " people are not fiends, they are
not likely to defend themselves by torture until the penalties
of death and tolerable confinement have shown themselves

No.

torture.

destitute of efficacy.
ask these questions partly for myself, and partly because I believe
others have met difficulties on the road to Anarchism which a
rational, lucid answer would remove.
Perhaps you have been over this ground many times, and may feel impatient to find any one as much in the dark as I, but all would-be reformers have to keep reiterating their position to all new-comers, and I trust
you will try and make everything clear to me, and to others who may be
as unfortunate as myself.
S. Blodgett.
I

many

Grahamville, Florida.

Time and space are the only limits to my willingness to answer intelligent questions regarding that science whose rudiI profess to teach, and I trust that my efforts, on this
occasion, may not prove entirely inadequate to the commendable end which my very welcome correspondent had in view.

ments

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

MORE QUESTIONS.
\

To

[Ltierty, January 28, 1888.]

the Editor

of Liberty :
thank you for your courteous treatment of

my questions in your issue


31, and, as you express a willingness in this direction, I will
follow in the same line, and trust you will still think my questions are pertinent and proper.
Do you think property rights can inhere in anything not produced by
the labor or aid of man ?
You say, " Anarchism being neither more nor less than the principle of
equal liberty," etc.
Now, if government were so reformed as to confine
its operations to the protection of "equal liberty," would you have any
quarrel with it ? If so, what and why ?
Will you please explain what "jury trial in its original form " was ?
I
never knew that it was ever essentially different from what it is now.
I

of

December

S.

Blodgett.

I do not believe in any inherent right of property.


Property
a social convention, and may assume many forms.
Only
that form of property can endure, however, which is based on
the principle of equal liberty.
All other forms must result in
misery, crime, and conflict.
The Anarchistic form of property
has already been defined, in the previous answers to Mr. Blodgett, as " that which secures each in the possession of his own
products, or of such products of others as he may have obtained
unconditionally without the use of fraud or force, and in
the realization of all titles to such products which he inay hold
by virtue of free contract with others."
It will be seen from
this definition that Anarchistic property concerns only prodBut anything is a product upon which human labor
ucts.
has been expended, whether it be a piece of iron or a piece of
land.*
If " government " confined itself to the protection of equal
liberty. Anarchists would have no quarrel with it
but such
protection they do not call government.
Criticism of the Anarchistic idea which does not consider Anarchistic definitions
is futile.
The Anarchist defines government as invasion, nothing more or less.
Protection against invasion, then, is the
opposite of government. Anarchists, in favoring the abolition
of government, favor the abolition of invasion, not of protecis

* It should be stated, however, that in the case of land, or of any other


material the supply of which is so limited that all cannot hold it in unlimited quantities, Anarchism undertakes to protect no titles except such as
are based on actual occupancy and use.

INSTEAD OF A BOOK,

62

tion against invasion.


It may tend to a clearer understanding
if I add that all States, to become non-invasive, must abandon
first the primary act of invasion upon which all of them rest,
the collection of taxes by force, and that Anarchists look upon the change in social conditions which will result when
economic freedom is allowed as far more efficiently protective
against invasion than any machinery of restraint, in the absence of economic freedom, possibly can be.
Jury trial in its original form differed from its present forms
both in the manner of selecting the jury and in the powers of
the jury selected. It was originally selected by drawing twelve
names from a wheel containing the names of the whole body
of citizens, instead of by putting a special panel of jurors
through a sifting process of examination and by its original
powers it was judge, not of the facts alone, as is generally the
case now, but of the law and the justice of the law and the extent and nature of the penalty.
More information regarding

this matter

may be found

in

Lysander Spooner's pamphlet,

" Free Political Institutions."

MR. BLODGETT'S FINAL QUESTION.


[Liberty, April 28, 1888.]

To

the Editor

of Liberty

I have one more question, and it does not occur to me now that I shall
want to trouble you further in this way.
You say: " I do not believe in any inherent right of property. Property
is

a social convention."

Now, does Anarchism recognize


to regard social conventionalities

the propriety of compelling individuals

S.

Blodgett.

Grahamville, Florida.

Readers who desire to refresh their minds regarding the serquestions which the above includes should consult Nos.
iiSandiiy. The answer to the first question in No. 115 is
really an answer to the question now put.
There I said that
the only compulsion of individuals the propriety of which Anarchism recognizes is that which compels invasive individuals
to refrain from overstepping the principle of equal liberty.
Now, equal liberty itself being a social convention (for there
are no natural rights), it is obvious that Anarchism recognizes
the propriety of compelling individuals to regard one social
convention.
But it does not follow from this that it recognizes
ies of

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

63

the propriety of compelling individuals to regard any and all


social conventions. Anarchism protects equal liberty (of which
property based on labor is simply an expression in a particular
sphere), not because it is a social convention, but because it is
equal liberty, that is, because it is Anarchism itself. Anarchism may properly protect itself, but there its mission ends.
This self-protection it must effect through voluntary association, however, and not through government; for to protect
equal liberty through government is to invade equal liberty.

TRYING TO BE AND NOT TO


{Liberty, June

To

the Editor

9,

BE.

i838.J

of Liberty:

do not write this with the idea that you will publish it, for the tardiness
with which you inserted my last question indicates that you do not care for
any more of me in your paper. You are too good a reasoner to not know
that, if it is proper to interfere to compel people "to regard one social
I

it is not improper to force another, or all, providing there is


satisfaction in doing so.
If " there are no natural rights," there is no
occasion for conscientious or other scruples, providing the power exists.
Therefore there is no guarantee that there will be even as much individuality permitted under Anarchistic rule as under the present plan, for the
principle of human rights is now recognized, however far removed we may
The " equal liberty" "social conbe from giving the true application.

convention,"

any

There
vention " catch-phrase can be stamped out as coolly as any other.
that of right and that
are but two views to take of any proposed action,
and as you have knocked the idea of right out, the thing is
of expediency,
narrowed to the lowest form of selfishness. There certainly can be no
more reason why Anarchists, who deny every obligation on the ground of
right, should be consistent in standing by the platform put forward when
weak, than that ordinary political parties should stand by their promises
made when out of power.
It sounds nice, but when
I called " equal liberty "a "catch-phrase."
we criticise it, it is hollow. For instance, "equal liberty " may give every
opportunity
to
take
freely
from
the
same cabbage patch, the
one the same
same meat barrel, and the same grain-bin. So long as no one interferes
with another, he is not overstepping the principle of "equal liberty," but
when one undertakes to keep others away, he is, and you can only justify
the proscription by saying that one ought to have liberty there, and the
others had not, that those who did nothing in the production ought not to
have " equal liberty " to appropriate. But if nobody has any "natural
"
equal liberty
rights," then the thief not only does not interfere with the
You have done well, considering
of others, but he does them no wrong.
your opportunity, but your cause is weak. You are mired and tangled in
Still, I see a ray
the web you have been weaving beyond material help.
of hope for Anarchism.
Just unite with the Christian Science metaphyAs I have looked
sicians, and the amalgamation will be an improvement.

'

'

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

64
it

am sure the chemical combination will be perfect, and the result


be the most pleasing nectar ever imbibed by suffering humanity.

over, I

will

S.

Blodgett.

As Mr. Blodgett says, it is as proper to enforce one social


convention as another " providing there is any satisfaction in
doing so." But Anarchists, from the very fact that they are
Anarchists, take no satisfaction in enforcing any social convention except that of equal liberty, that being the essence of
their creed.
Now, Mr. Blodgett asked me to define the sphere
of force as viewed by Anarchism he did not ask me to define
any other view of it. To say that an Anarchist is entitled to
enforce all social conventions is to say that he is entitled to
cease to be an Anarchist, which nobody denies.
But if he
should cease to be an Anarchist, the remaining Anarchists
would still be entitled to stop him from invading them. I hope
that Mr. Blodgett is a good enough reasoner to perceive this
distinction, but I fear that he is not.
It is true, also, that, if there are no natural rights, there is
no occasion for conscientious scruples. But it is not true that
there is no occasion for " other scruples."
A scruple, according to Webster, is " hesitation as to action from the difficulty
of determining what is right or expedient."
Why should not
disbelievers in natural rights hesitate on grounds of expediency ? In other words, why should they be unscrupulous ?
It is true, again, that Anarchism does not recognize the
principle of human rights.
But it recognizes human equality
as a necessity of stable society.
How, then, can it be charged
with failing to guarantee individuality ?
It is true, further, that equal liberty can be stamped out as
coolly as anything else.
But people who believe in it will not
be likely to stamp it out. And Anarchists believe in it.
It is true, still further, that there are only two standards of
conduct, right and expediency.
But why does elimination
of right narrow the thing down to the lowest form of selfishness ? Is expediency exclusive of the higher forms of selfishness ? I deem it expedient to be honest.
Shall I not be
honest, then, regardless of any idea of right ? Or is honesty
the lowest form of selfishness ?
It is far from true, however, that Anarchists have no more
reason to stand by their platform than ordinary politicians
have to stand by theirs. Anarchists desire the advantages of
;

harmonious society and know that consistent adherence to


their platform

is

the only

iticians desire only offices

simply to catch votes.

way

to get them, while ordinary pol-

and "boodle," and make platforms


Even if it were conceivable that

THE INDIVIDOAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

65

hypocrites should step upon the Anarchistic platform simply


for their temporary convenience, would that invalidate the
principle of Anarchism ?
Does Mr. Blodgett reject all good
principles the moment they are embodied in party platforms

by

political tficksters

General opportunity for all to take freely from the same


cabbage patch is not equal liberty.
As was happily pointed
out some time ago by a writer for the New York Truth
Seeker, whose article was copied into Liberty, equal liberty
does not mean equal slavery or equal invasion. It means the
largest amount of liberty compatible with equality and mutuality of respect, on the part of individuals living in society,
for their respective spheres of action.
To appropriate the
cabbages which another has grown is not to respect his sphere
of action.
Hence equal liberty would recognize no such conduct as proper.
The sobriety with which Mr. Blodgett recently renewed his
questions led me to believe that he did not relish the admixBut the exquisite touch of
ture of satire with argument.
irony with which he concludes the present letter seems to inIf so, let him say the word, and he shall
dicate the contrary.
The author of " Tu-Whit Tu-Whoo
be accommodated.
is not yet at his wits' end.
!

MR. BLODGETT'S EXPLANATION.


[Liberty, Aug-.

4, t888.]

To the Editor of Liberty:


I was honest in the questions I asked concerning the foundation on
which Anarchism is aiming to build. I had thought considerably on the
matter, and read in Liberty as it came in my way, and while the ideal
was fair to look upon, it seemed to me one must have a loose method of
reasoning to suppose its practical realization possible. I also found that
those of my acquaintance who favored the idea reasoned from the standpoint of an imaginary, instead of a real, humanity, which left their arguments on the subject of no practical value.
I
I desired to see .what showing you could give, if put to the test.
was ready to become an Anarchist, if Anarchism could be made to appear sensible, though I own I believed you would make the failure you
You have
have. In one thing I have been disappointed and pleased.
had the manliness lo face the dilemma in which you found yourself, and
I will
published my last question, and my summing-up, subsequently.
give you credit for straight work, and this is more than I expected to be

able to do.

Instead of a

66

When

Boolt.

wrote my last, I thought I was done, whether you published


I should have stopped there, if you had not published it,
or, if you had published it, and simply made comments thereon, no matter what those comments might have been
but the challenge and threat
bring me out once more.
I will say on that, that I never thought of
Tu-Whoo " and
finding fault or being displeased with your " Tu-Whit
that I do " relish the admixture of satire with argument " on fitting occasions.
I am as much at home in a sea of controversy and irony as a
fish is in water, so there is no occasion for your holding up out of sympathy for me. Just give me the intellectual thumps when you feel like it
and can, and j'ou need take no pains to have them sugar-coated.
And now for a fe\* words on your last remarks. You accept my statement that it is as proper to enforce one social convention as another, proI find the difference between
vided there is any satisfaction in doing so.
an Anarchist and a Governmentalist is nothing here.
If there is any
it

or not, and

difference in the action of the two, it is not a difference in the principles


which control it. There might be a difference in method, and a difference
in the Mind oi social conventions which they wish to enforce.
On both
of these points I suppose I should have some sympathy with Anarchists
like you.
But when we prevent another from doing as he otherwise
would, we govern him in that particular, and I see no advantage in denying it, or in trying to find another term to express the fact.
In my
judgment it is better to not attempt to beat around the bush, but to state
plainly the social conventions and rights (for such as me who believe in
rights) we wish to enforce, and such restrictions as we wish to free the
world from, and fight it out above board and on that line.
You say "opportunity for all to take freely from the same cabbage
patch is not equal liberty." If all have opportunity to take freely, I do
not know how any one can have any greater liberty, and if all have all
there is, it looks to me "equal."
And further; I maintain that "equal
slavery " is equal liberty.
It is impossible to make one's slavery complete
and no matter how small an amount of liberty is left, if the same
amount is left for all, it is " equal liberty."
Equal does not mean much
or little, but to be on a par with others.
"Equal liberty" is not the
phrase to express what you are after, and you will have to try again, or
let it go that your ideas are either muddled or inexpressible.
It is also puzzling to know what you mean by " invasion."
It cannot
be you mean invasion of rights, because you claim there are no
rights to invade.
But perhaps you are having in view some " social convention " to be invaded.
In any case, "equal invasion" Is "equal liberty."
Suppose you do not " respect another's sphere of action," that
want of respect does not limit his liberty it is not necessary for him to
respect yours, and that leaves "equal liberty" in that direction.
I am glad I opened this question as I did, for I think I get from
what you have written a clue to your bottom feelings on it and if I do,
we are not so far apart In aim as would appear, and I recognize that you
may be of value in the reform world.
I certainly hope that you may
assist in loosening the grip of Government prerogatives relating to matters purely personal.
Here we can work together.
S. Blodgett.
;

am

not conscious that I have shown any special courage


my discussion vi'ith Mr. Blodgett perhaps this
is because I am unconscious of having been confronted with
any dilemma. If I have been as badly worsted as he seems
I

or honesty in

THE INDIVIDUAL,

SOCIETY,

AND THE STATE.

67

it is fortunate for my pride and mental peace that


do not know it. The " difference in the kind of social conventions which they wish to enforce " is the only difference I
is quite
claim between Anarchists and Governmentalists

to suppose,
I

difference enough,

-,t

in fact, exactly equal to the difference be-

tween liberty and authority. To use the word government as


meaning the enforcement of such social conventions as are
unnecessary to the preservation of equal liberty seems to me,
not beating around the bush, but a clear definition of terms.
Others may use the word differently, and I have no quarrel
with them for doing so as long as they refrain from interpret" Opportunity for all
ing my statements by their definitions.
to take freely from the same cabbage patch is not equal liberty," because it is incompatible with another liberty,^the
liberty to keep.
Equal liberty, in the property sphere, is such
a balance between the liberty to take and the liberty to keep
that the two liberties may coexist without conflict or invasion.
In a certain verbal sense it may be claimed that equal slavery
is equal liberty; but nearly every one except Mr. Blodgett
realizes that he who favors equal slavery favors the greatest
amount of slavery compatible with equality, while he who
favors equal liberty favors the greatest amount of liberty comThis is a case in which emphasis is
patible with equality.
everything.
By " invasion " I mean the invasion of the individual sphere, which is bounded by the line inside of which
liberty of action does not conflict with others' liberty of
action.
The upshot of this discussion seems to be, by his
own confession, that heretofore Mr. Blodgett has miscon-

ceived the position of the Anarchists, whereas now he underIn that view of the matter I concede his victory
stands it.
for in all intellectual controversy he is the real victor who
gains the most light.
;

A PLEA FOR NON-RESISTANCE.


[Liberty, February^ii, 1888.]

To

the Editor

of Liberty :

to the teaching that the infliction of injury upon


aggressors is compatible with the principle of equal liberty to all.
force
First, with an argument which is no argument, yet which has its
minds
to those who have observed the growth of new ideas in their own
how there comes first a revulsion against what is, then strong setitiment
until longin favor of the opposite, and l&st only, and often not then
I

must take exception

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

68
after,

perhaps never, comes the possibility of rational justification of the

sentiment.

Now, it is a matter of observation that liberty interpreted to include


non-resistance meets with quick.welcome in many minds that are looking
for better things, while liberty interpreted to mean our own liberty to
compel others is to the same minds an unintelligible formula.
And the reason of it would seem to be this, that while the right to
defence, and, if you will, to offence too, is equal to the power and the
desire to defend or to offend, it has no more to do with the actions proper
to man in a social state than the right of cannibalism, which undoubtedly
also exists, when, having no other food, a man must feed on his companion or die himself. Saving that in this case, with the exercise of this
right to eat him, a social condition with him no longer exists
it is a revulsion to a state of warfare.
Who is to judge of where the right to equal liberty is infringed? If
each one is judge, why may not the pickpocket say, " You have right to
imprison me for picking your pocket, 1 claim that as my natural liberty
and I willingly grant you the liberty of picking mine In return if you
can.
The right to pick pockets is co-extensive with the power to pick
pockets, and you are committing an aggression in imprisoning me, rather
than I in picking your packet."

There is a difference between resistance and retaliation, and between


resistance and anticipatory violence.
Resistance may consist in barring
a door, or raising a wall against an armed attack, or on behalf of others
we may resist by interposing our own person to receive the attack.
But when the attack is done and past, when the violence is over, when
the murder perhaps is committed, by what right of resistance do we assume to retaliate in cold blood?
Do we assume that a man who has killed once will kill again ? Such

an assumption

is wholly unjustifiable.
be admitted that such an one is more likely to kill a second
we kill him on a possibility that lies wholly in the future?
Shall we say that he places himself outside of society, declares war
upon it, and society in return makes warfare upon him and exterminates
him ? Who then is to judge of all the rest of us whether we are sufficiently socialized to be permitted to exist ?
If each is to retaliate where
he conceives himself attacked, we remain in our present state of warfare.
Furthermore, if I see one coming in a threatening attitude, with drawn
revolver, shall I shoot first and kill him if I can ?
Doubtless I may, and take the chances of his killing me but, in doing
so, I cease to admit that he is an associate
I join battle with him
I accept the fortune of war.
Briefly, the argument may be expressed thus: In a social state no individual can be regarded as outside the pale of society for any cause.

Or, if
time, do

it

Society must embrace all.


He that takes pleasure in aggression is either undeveloped or a reversion to a former type, or his apparent aggression is really an attempt to
resist what he conceives to be an injury to himself.
In any of these cases counter-violence is wrong,
namely, it does not
accomplish its purpose.
If the aggressor thinks he is injured, the reasonable course is to explain and apologize, even though no injury was meant.
If the aggression be prompted by the mere pleasure of aggression,
the delight in violence oi a past type, the reasonable course is to regard
the aggressor asa diseased man, on a par with a lunatic, or dehriutn iK-

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

69

mens

Confine him, but as medical treatment. Bind him, witlj


patient.
no personal hatred of him in the ascendant. And, in confinement, so
far from torturing him, treat him asare treated, or as ought to be treated,
all sick and infirm, with the best food, with the best lodging, with kindness, with care, with love.
This, I say, is rational treatment.
It seems to me that the theory you advocate can

produce nothing but

what we see now.

The people at large, for that purpose, if for no other, a voluntary association, hanged the Chicago men. The people believed with undoubted
sincerity that they were in danger from violence on the part of the victims.
They investigated the justice of their belief by means which they
thought adequate. They resisted by retaliatory violence.
can you by your principles blame them ?
It seems to me, too, that the simple proposition is that to compel by
violence is to govern, and that Anarchists, who protest against govern-

How

ment, should begin by saying

We

will

govern nobody.

We

will

do no

violence.
to print this, I ask one thing
Ma*ke no verbal criticisms.
not a Christian, nor a teleologist, nor a moralist, and any slips of
construed
to
mean
not
be
that
I am.
Another thing I
language must
Do not refute me in the same issue. Perask, subject to your approval.
haps I am wrong. If so, I wish to change my opinion. You, I assume,
are as ready to change yours.
But it will take a little time for either of us.
If

you care

am

John Beverley Robinson.

my

silence for a fortnight could help


If I could see that
either Mr. Robinson or myself to a change of opinion, I would
But it seems to me that, if
certainly grant his last request.
either of us is open to conviction, such would be the very
I change my opinion when an arcourse to delay the change.
gument is opposed to it which I perceive to be valid and conIf it does not seem to me valid at first, it rarely
trolling.
seems otherwise after mere waiting. But if I try to answer it,
I either destroy it because of its weakness, or cause, its strength

to be made more palpable by provoking its restatement in anI should think the same must hold in
other and clearer form.
Mr. Robinson's case, if he is writing his mature thought; if he
is not, I should advise him to let it mature first and print it
There is, no doubt, something to be said in favor
afterwards.
of allowing intervals between statements of opposing views,
but solely from the reader's standpoint, not from that of the
Such a plan encourages thought and compels the
disputants.
reader to frame some sort of answer for himself pending the
But in the conduct of a journal
rejoinder of the other side.
this consideration, important as it is, is not the only one to be
thought of. There are others, and they all tell in favor of the
First, there is the consideration
Bnetho(J of immediate reply.

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

70

of space, one third of which can generally be saved by avoidSecond,


ing the necessity of restating the opponent's positron.
there is the consideration of interest, which wanes when a disThird, there is the
cussion is prolonged by frequent delays.
consideration arising out of the fact that every issue of a paper
It is
is seen by hundreds of people who never see another.
better that such should read both sides than but one.
Mr. Robinson's other request that I make no verbal
am I to avoid
criticism
is also hard to comply with.
a verbal criticism when he makes against Anarchists a charge
of inconsistency which can only be sustained by a definition
He says that the
of government which Anarchists reject ?
If it is,
essence of government is compulsion by violence.
then of course Anarchists, always opposing government, must
But Anarchists do not so define
always oppose violence.
government. To them the essence of government is invasion.

How

why should Anarand determined not to be


invaded, not use violence against it, provided at any time
violence shall seem the most effective method of putting a
From

the standpoint of this definition,

chists, protesting against invasion

stop to

it ?

not the most effective method, insists Mr. Robinson in another part of his article " it does not accomplish its
Ah here we are on quite another ground. The
purpose."
claim no longer is that it is necessarily un-Anarchistic to use
violence, but that other influences than violence are more
Exactly that is the gospel
potent to overcome invasion.
which Liberty has always preached. I have never said anything to the contrary, and Mr. Robinson's criticism, so far as
His article
it lies in this direction, seems to me mal a propos.
Mr.
is prompted by my answers to Mr. Blodgett in No. 115.
Blodgett's questions were not as to what Anarchists would
find it best to do, but as to what their Anarchistic doctrine
I confined my
logically binds them to do and avoid doing.
attention strictly to the matter in hand, omitting extraneous
Mr. Robinson is not justified in drawing infermatters.
ences from my omissions, especially inferences that are antagonistic to my definite assertions at other times.
Perhaps he will answer me, however, that there are certain
circumstances under which I think violence advisable.
These
Granted but, according to his article, so does he.
circumstances, however, he distinguishes from the social state
But so do I.
The question comes
as a state of warfare.
upon what you are to do when a man makes war upon you.
Ward him off, says Mr, Robinson, but do not attack him in

But

it is

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

turn to prevent a repetition of his attack. As a general policy,


I agree
as a rule without exceptions, I dissent.
Suppose a
man tries to knock me down. I will parry his blows for a while,
meanwhile trying to dissuade him from his purpose.
But
suppose he does not desist, and I have to take a train to
reach the bedside of my dying child.
I straightway knock
him down and take the train.
And if afterwards he repeats
his attack again and again, and thereby continually takes my
time away from the business of my life, I put him out of my
way, in the most decent manner possible, but summarily and
forever.
In other words, it is folly for people who desire to
live in society to put up with the invasions of the incorrigible.
Which does not alter the fact that with the corrigible it is not
only good policy, but in accordance with the sentiments of
highly-developed human beings, to be as gentle and kind as
;

possible.

To

describe such dealing with the incorrigible as the exerour liberty to compel others " denotes an utter misconception.
It is simply the exercise of our liberty to keep
others from compelling us.
But who is to judge where invasion begins ? asks Mr. RobEach for himself, and those to combine who agree, I
inson.
Not at all ; a war
answer.
It will be perpetual war, then ?
I am well aware that there is
of short duration, at the worst.
a border-land between legitimate and invasive conduct over
But it
which there must be for a time more or less trouble.
It has been narrowing ever
is an ever-decreasing margin.
since the idea of equal liberty first dawned upon the mind of
man, and in proportion as this idea becomes clearer and the
new social conditions which it involves become real will it
contract towards the geometrical conception of a line. And
then the world will be at peace. Meanwhile, if the pick-pocket
continues his objectionable business, it will not be because
of any such reasoning as Mr. Robinson puts into his mouth.
He may so reason, but as a matter of fact he never does. Or,
The normal
if he does, he is an exceptional pick-pocket.
pick-pocket has no idea of equal liberty. Whenever the idea
dawns upon him, he will begin to feel a desire for its realization and to acquire a knowledge of what equal liberty is.
'Then he will see that it is exclusive of pocket-picking. And
I have
,S0 with the people who hanged the Chicago martyrs.
I
never blamed them in the usual sense of the word blame.
charge them with committing gross outrage upon the principle
When
of equal liberty, but not with knowing what they did.
cise of "

they become Anarchists, they will realize what they did, and

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

tj2

do SO no more. To this end my comrades and I are trying to enlighten them concerning the principle of equal liberty.
But we shall fail if we obscure the principle by denying or
concealing the lengths to which, in caseof need, it allows us
to go lest people of tender sensibilities m"ay infer that we are
in favor of always going to such lengths, regardless of circumwill

stances.

LIBERTY AND AGGRESSION.


[Liberty, February

My dear Mr.

2, 1889.]

Tucker:

Liberty has done me a great service in carrying me from the metaphysical


speculations in which I was formerly interested into a vein of practical
thought which is more than a mere overflow of humanitarianism whichjs
as closely logical and strictly scientific as any other practical investigation.
In spite of certain small criticisms which it would be petty to dwell upon,
paper that I have seen. I
it is the most advanced and most intellectual
esteem it most highly.
The particular matter upon which we have exchanged letters the quesis still in my mind, but it is hard for me to find
tion of non-resistance
Perhaps it is even premature.
time to write anything for publication.
Of course 1 see very clearly that economically Anarchism is complete
question
as
to
force
or no-force at all: but the imwithout including any
portance of preaching one or the other as a means of obtaining or perpetuating Anarchy has not diminished in my mind.
People invariably feel, if they do not ask; " How are you going to accomplish it?" And I think the question is valid.
In every definition of liberty, or of aggression, there is a reference to a
certain limit beyond which liberty becomes aggression. How this limit is certainly determinable I have never seen any one attempt to show. As a matter
of fact, the history of liberty has been a record of the continual widening of
Once there was a time when religious heterodoxy was regardthis limit.
ed as an aggression, not vainly I think you will admit when you remember how much our actions are influenced by our predisposing theories.
When it was commonly thought, even by transgressors themselves, that
nothing but the acceptance of certain dogmas prevented all men from becoming transgressors, it was not unreasonable to " resist the beginnings."
So now when multitudes of good people regard the maintenance of the
State as essential to the preservation of security, it is no wonder that they
should easily be inflamed against those who openly antagonize the State.
Formerly to think heterodoxy was regarded as an aggression. Afterwards
thought was freed, but speech was limited. To speak of the forbidden
thing was then an aggression, and still is to some extent.
What is the line? Where is the limit? Thought and speech can both
be absolutely free. Thinking or talking cannot really hurt anybody.
But when we come to actions, where are we to stop?
That this line which separates liberty from aggression should be drawn
seems to me essential to the working of the Anarchistic principle in actual
;

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

73

As an illustration, you and Egoist in the last issue of Liberty


consider each the other an aggressor in a certain case.
Is not government really a bungling attempt, but perhaps the best we
could do up to this time, to settle the question, roughly and arbitrarily,
between parties who each regarded themselves as within their right and
the other as the aggressor ?
So it would appear to me. Even the land laws and other laws which
seem primary are, I think, only secondary. I am not profoundly versed
in the history of law, but I am inclined to think that statutes and the
generalizations of common law have sprung from the collocation of many
individual decisions, each decision being the best that could be arrived at
under the circumstances of the time.
If this is at all a fair description of what is,
that is, if law is a rough attempt to draw the line between liberty and aggression, and not a conscious
deliberate fraud committed by the privileged upon the oppressed (and I
think the notion of the State being " a conspiracy " is as empty as the parallel notion of some of our secularist friends that the Church is a conspiracy of priests),
if the State is the result of attempts to determine the
limit of liberty, no theory that dispenses with the State is complete unless
it otherwise defines that limit.
The essence of aggression, the reason that it is forbidden, is that
Pain, even when caused by, or a concomitant of, properly
it causes pain.
limited liberty, is in itself a wrong,
an antagonist of personal or social
progress.
If aggression were uniformly pleasant, it would be regarded as
practice.

commendable.
So that if in the exercise of my liberty I give pain to anybody, in so far
If I bathe naked before
as I give pain I am committing an aggression.
one who is shocked by such exhibition, doubtless his prudery is unjustifithat, however, does not alter the fact that I have deliberately injured
him, I have committed an aggression.
In trying to logically define this limit, I have cast about in various directions.
At one time it seemed that individual liberty included a right to
" You
all non-action. That is, that people have a right to say to any one
are injuring us by your proceedings you must stop "; but that they have
no right to say " It is essential to our happiness that you should do this
or that."
I am not sure that this is not a correct idea, but the statement lacks
precision, and I have not so far been able to attenuate it.
The best thought that I have yet had is that what is called " non-resistance " is the true guide. A better word would be "non-retaliation," yet
even that is not quite right.
At the bottom there is a feeling that no one attacks another nowadays
If a man attacks me, I immediately conclude that I have injured
for fun.
If I could " paralyze him
him, or that he thinks that I have injured him.
by a glance " or otherwise " resist " him without injuring him, I should
hardly call it resistance. Usually, however, there are but two courses open.
One a timely apology; the other a counter attack. If I adopt the latter
and disable him or kill him, the question of who first aggressed is undetermined. I have assumed an aristocratic attitude of impeccability sociality
does not exist.
As for those who take pleasure in aggression, it is an evanescent type.
They are hospital subjects, reversions to an ancestral type, certainly not

able

responsible individuals.
Briefly, the question of what constitutes aggression can be settled only
by compact between individuals. In order to arrive at an understanding

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

74

and form the compact, the opinion of the one that thinks he is encroached
upon must be final if it cannot be removed by argument, that is, by
changing his convictions.
If any action is persisted in which any one conceives to be an aggression
upon him, it virtually is an aggression and the friend of liberty is compelled to recognize it as such and to recede, rather than to inflict injury in

continuing his course.


I do not regard this as final, but I
that you will seize my idea.
clearly logical demarcation essential.
Sincerely yours,
John Beverley Robinson.
York, January 25, 1889.
67 Liberty Street,
I trust

think

some

New

While I should like to see the line between liberty and


aggression drawn with scientific exactness, I cannot admit
that such rigor of definition is essential to the realization of
If, in spite of the lack of such a definition, the
Anarchism.
history of liberty has been, as Mr. Robinson truly says, " a
record of the continual widening of this limit," there is no
reason why this widening process should not go on until Anarchy becomes a fact. It is perfectly thinkable that, after the
last inch of debatable ground shall have been adjudged to one
side or the other, it may still be found impossible to scientifically
formulate the rule by which this decision and its predecessors
were arrived at.
The chief influence in narrowing the strip of debatable land
is not so much the increasing exactness of the knowledge of
what constitutes aggression as the growing conception that aggression is an evil to be avoided and that liberty is the condiThe moment one abandons the idea that he
tion of progress.
was born to discover what is right and enforce it upon the rest
of the world, he begins to feel an increasing disposition to let
others alone and to refrain even from retaliation or resistance except in those emergencies which immediately and imperatively
require it.
This remains true even if aggression be defined
in the extremely broad sense of the infliction of pain ; for the
individual who traces the connection between liberty and the
general welfare will be pained by few things so much as by the
consciousness that his neighbors are curtailing their liberties out
of consideration for his feelings, and such a man will never say
to his neighbors, " Thus far and no farther," until they commit acts of direct and indubitable interference and trespass. The
man who feels more pained at seeing his neighbor bathe naked
than he would at the knowledge that he refrained from doing
so in spite of his preference is invariably the man who believes in aggression and government as the basis of society and
has not learned the lesson that "liberty is the mother of order."
This lesson, then, rather than an exact definition of aggres-

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOClEtY, AND THE

StAtfi.

i?5

sion, is the essential condition of the development of Anarchism.


Liberty has steadily taught this lesson, but has never
professed an ability to define aggression, except in a very
general way.
We must trust to experience and the conclusions therefrom for the settlement of all doubtful cases.
As for States and Churches, I think there is more foundation than Mr. Robinson sees for the claim that they are conspiracies.
Not that I fail to realize as fully as he that there
are many good men in both whose intent is not at all to oppress
or aggress.
Doubtless there are many good and earnest priests
whose sole aim is to teach religious truth as they see it and
elevate human life, but has not Dr. McGIynn conclusively
shown that the real power of control in the Church is always
vested in an unscrupulous machine ? That the State originated in aggression Herbert Spencer has proved. If it now
pretends to exist for purposes of defence, it is because the
advance of sociology has made such a pretence necessary to
its preservation.
Mistaking this pretence for reality, many
good men enlist in the work of the State. But the fact remains that the State exists mainly to do the will of capital and
secure it all the privileges it demands, and I cannot see that
the combinations' of capitalists who employ lobbyists to buy
legislators deserve any milder title than " conspirators," or that
the term " conspiracy " inaccurately expresses the nature of
their machine, the State.

RULE OR RESISTANCEWHICH?
\_Liherty^

December

26, 1891.]

To

the Editor of Liberty:


Do you think that it is accurate to say, as Liberty has said recently,
that Anarchism contemplates the use of police, jails, and other forms of
force? Is it not rather that Anarchism contemplates that those who
wish these means of protection shall pay for them themselves while
those who prefer other means shall only pay for what they want ? (i)
Indeed, the whole teaching that it is expedient to use force against the
invader, which, as you know, I have always had doubts about, seems to
me to fall when Egoism is adopted as the basis of our thought. To describe a man as an invader seems a reminiscence of the doctrine of
natural depravity.
It fails to recognize that all desires stand upon a par,
morally, and that it is for us to find the most convenient way of gratifying as much of everybody's desires as possible. To say that a certain
formula proposed by us to this end is "justice," and that all who do not
conform to it all who are " unjust" will be suppressed by us by violence, is precisely parallel to the course of those who say that their for;

INSTEAI) OF A BOOK.

76

mula for the regulation of conduct is the measure of righteousness, and


that they will suppress the " unrighteous " by violence.
(2)
As I absorb the Egoistic sentiment, it begins to appear that the fundamental demand is not liberty, but the cessation of violence in the obtaining of gratification for desires.
By the cessation of violence we shall obtain liberty, but liberty is the
end rather than the means. (3)
demand liberty," say the Anarchists. "Yes, but we see no
reason why we should forego our desire to control you, by your own
canons, if you are Egoists," replies the majority. " Truly," we answer,

"We

"but we point out

to you that it is for your advantage to give us liberty."


present we are satisfied of the contrary; we are satisfied that you
wish to upset institutions that we wish to preserve," say they.
do, indeed," we reply, "but we will not invade you, we will not prevent
you from doing anything you wish, provided it does not tend to deter
us from uninvasive activities."
think," concludes the majority,
" that in attempting to destroy what we wish to preserve you are invading us " and how are we to establish the contrary except by laying
down a practicable definition of invasion one by which it can be demonstrated that using unoccupied but claimed land, for instance, is not invasive.
(4)
No, it seems to me that no definition of invasion can be made; that it
is a variable quantity, like liberty itself.
When you said, some time ago, that liberty was not a natural right,
but a social contract, I think you covered the case.
If, however, liberty
is a matter of contract, is not invasion, which is the limit of liberty, also
a matter of contract? (5)
What Anarchism really means is the demand for the rule of contract,
rather than for the rule of violence.
" As Egoists, we Anarchists point out to you, the majority, that the
pleasure of mankind in fighting for the sake of fighting is rapidly declining from disuse.
point out further that from any other point of
view fighting is not to the interest of anybody; that desires can be gratified and the harmonization of clashing interests attained much more
" That is true," the majority replies, for,
pleasurably without fighting."
though the majority really enjoys fighting for the fun of it, it has got to
a point where it will not admit that it does, and to a point where it
clearly perceives the costliness of the amusement.
" We propose then," the Anarchists continue, " not to settle differences by violence but to reach the best agreement that we can without
violence.
We propose this with the more confidence that you will accept
it, because you yourselves are beginning to admit
that the condition of
existence for men is not the former ascetic suppression, but the gratification of desires.
therefore propose that you shall at once cease to
repress by violence conduct which is not against your interests and which
you now suppress only on account of a surviving belief that you are
called upon to suppress it for the interest of the doers.
Following that,
we shall make other demands for the cessation of violence."
But, of course, in proposing contract instead of violence, it follows
that we abjure violence as a principle
we become what I think it is fair
to call non-resistants.
That is to say that, although we do not guarantee
our actions should our fellows refuse to accept our proposal of the system
of contract, we do not for a moment suppose that such possible reversions
to violence are a part of the new system of contract. (6)
We must hold, as Egoists, that the gratification of the desires of

"At

"We

"We

We

We

H INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

'j^

is no more subject to "moral" condemnation than our


actions, though from our point of view it may be regrettable
and
that by just as much ^s we permit ourselves to use violence to repress
it, by just so much we fortify the continuation of the present reign of
violence, and postpone the coming of the reign of contract.
Therefore
it is that I call myself a non-resistant and regard non-resistance as the
necessary implication for an Egoist who prefers contract to violence.
When I say non-resistance, I must explain that, so to speak, I do not
mean non-resistance, that is to say, I mean resistance by every means

"criminals"

own

except counter-violence.

The editorials that have recently appeared in Liberty signed by Mr.


Yarros have had to me a strongly moralistic flavor, as indeed it is
inevitable they should have, from his avowed views
I thinlj Pentecost's
views more in conformity with Egoism. By the way, I should be glad
if Mr. Yarros could explain the moralistic position more clearly in
or if you and he could have a discussion of the merits of the
Liberty
matter.
John Beverley Robinson.
67 Liberty Street, New York, December lo, 1891.
;

(i) I think it accurate to say that Anarchism contemplates


anything and everything that does not contradict Anarchism.

The

writer

whom

Liberty criticised

had

virtually

made

it

appear that police and jails do contradict Anarchism. Liberty


simply denies this, and in that sense contemplates police and
jails.
Of course it does not contemplate the compulsory support of such institutions by non-invasive persons.
(2) When I describe a man as an invader, I cast no reNor do I assert for
flection upon him; I simply state a fact.
a moment the moral inferiority of the invader's desire.
I only
declare the impossibility of simultaneously gratifying the inThat
vader's desire to invade and my desire to be let alone.
these desires are morally equal I cheerfully admit, but they
cannot be equally realized. Since one must be subordinated
to the other, I naturally prefer the subordination of the invader's, and am ready to co-operate with non-invasive persons
to achieve that result. I am not wedded to the term "justice,"
nor have I any objection to it. If Mr. Robinson doesn't like
" instead.
it, let us say " equal liberty
Does he maintain that
the use of force to secure equal liberty is precisely parallel to
the use of force to destroy equal liberty ? If so, I can only
hope, for the sake of those who live in the houses which he
builds, that his appreciation of an angle is keener in architecture than it is in sociology.
(3) If the invader, instead of chaining me to a post, barricades the highway, do I any the less lose my liberty of locomotion? Yet he has ceased to be violent. We obtain liberty,
not by the cessation of violence, but by the recognition, either
voluntary or enforced, of equality of liberty.
(4)

We are to establish the contra,ry by persistent inculcation

INSTEAD OP A BOOK.

of the doctrine of equality of liberty, whereby finally the


majority will be made to see in regard to existing forms of
invasion what they have already been made to see in regard
namely, that they are not seeking
to its obsolete forms,
equality of liberty at all, but simply the subjection of all
Our sense of what constitutes invasion
others to themselves.
Additional experience is
has been acquired by experience.
Though we still draw the
continually sharpening that sense.
line by rule of thumb, we are drawing it more clearly every
day.
It would be an advantage if we could frame a clear-cut
generalization whereby to accelerate our progress. But though

we have

it

not,

we

still

progress.

Suppose it is what then ? Must I consent to be trampled


upon simply because no contract has been made ?
(6) So the position of the non-resistant is that, when nobody
" We are all Socialists now," said
attacks him, he won't resist.
some Englishman not long ago. Clearly we are all non-resistI know of no one who
ants now, according to Mr. Robinson.
proposes to resist when he isn't attacked, of no one who proposes to enforce a contract which nobody desires to violate.
I tell Mr. Robinson, as I have told Mr. Pentecost, that the believers in equal liberty ask nothing better than that all men
should voluntarily act in accordance with the principle. But
it is a melancholy fact that many men are not willing so to
act.
So far as our relations with such men are concerned, it
Shall we consent to
is not a matter of contract, but of force.
be ruled, or shall we refuse to be ruled ? If we consent, are
we Anarchists? If we refuse, are we Archists? The whole
question lies there, and Mr. Robinson fails to meet it.
(s)

THE ADVISABILITY OF VIOLENCE.


[LiSer^ji,

January

16, 1892,]

of Liberty :
When you preach passive resistance, is it not precisely the same thing
as what is commonly called non-resistance?
When William Penn (or was it Fox ?) refused to take off his hat for the
but, as he made no attempt to
Icing it was certainly passive resistance
punch the king's head, it is accounted as quite compatible with the
Friends' non-resistance tenets, (i)
I do not think that any practical difference exists between passive reYet you urge that in emergency violence
sistance and non-resistance.
Why? In what emergency? If violence is as a
must be resorted to.
matter of principle advisable in certain cases, why not in other cases?

To

the Editor

*M6 INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

7$

Why

not embrace the advocacy of violence of the Communists through-

out?

(2)

Intelligible enough as a political measure, Anarchism halts as a system


of philosophy as long as it includes violence at all.
To people who
think government exists to suppress robbery, it is sufficient to point out
that government exists by robbery, and to enlarge upon the advantages
that might be expected to follow the establishment of freedom of mem-

bership in political societies. (3)


But all this involves no question as to what constitutes invasion.
It is
simply stated that each shall take such measures as he prefers to protect
himself, and that each shall determine for himself what protection is.
If, however, we go further, and lay down a formula, however defensible
the formula may be and say that we will by violence enforce that formula, whether it be the formula of equal liberty or any other formula, I
must maintain that the action is precisely parallel to the course of everybody in the past and present who have compelled others to regulate their
conduct in accordance with other formulas, alleged to be moral, and held
to be as irrefragable as you now hold the formula of equal liberty to
;

be. (4)

"Do not pick people's pockets to make them pay for protection they
don't want," is good enough as far as it goes.
It may perhaps be well to go no further.
But if we have to go further and ask, What is protection ? or. What is
invasion ? the complement of protection, the only reply you can give is
that invasion is infringing upon equal liberty.
Until some method is devised by which we can tell whether a given act
does infringe upon equal liberty the definition is vain. (5)
For instance, in a state of liberty Mr. Yarros prints a book.
You
copy it. He organizes a society for the suppression of pirates and imprisons you.
Your friends organize and a battle ensues.
You will doubtless say that you would not advocate violence under such
circumstances to either side. I again ask. Why not ? (6)
Investigate your own principles and you will find that the recognition
of equal hberty rests upon the recognition of contract as supplanting vioAlthough we may think it wise among cannibals to become cannilence.
although when forced to it we may degrade ourselves to
bals ourselves
let us at least recognize that the state of affairs when every
use violence
one shall do as he pleases can only occur when all lay aside violence and
Let us at least recognize that it is for us to totally
appeal only to reason.
abjure violence as a principle of action; and if we at any tirne deem ourselves compelled to do violence let us admit that we do it under protest and
;

not from principle.

(7)

John Beverley Robinson.


(i) The chief difference between passive resistance and
passive resistance is regarded by its
non-resistance is this
champions as a mere policy, while non-resistance is viewed by
Believers
those who favor it as a principle or universal rule.
in passive resistance consider it as generally more effective
than active resistance, but think that there are certain cases
believers in non-resistance conin which the opposite is true
sider either that it is immoral to actively resist or else that it
:

is

always unwise to do

so.

INSTEAD OF A idO^.

^O
(2)

when
it

Because violence, like every other policy, is advisable


will accomplish the desired end and inadvisable when

it

will not.

system of
(3) Anarchism is philosophical, but it is not a
philosophy.
It is simply the fundamental principle in the
The believers in governscience of political and social life.
ment are not as easily to be satisfied as Mr. Robinson thinks;
The considerations upon
and it is well that they are not.
which he relies may convince them that government does not
exist to suppress robbery, but will not convince them that
abolition of the State will obviate the necessity of dealing
violently with the other and more ordinary kinds of government of which common robbery is one. For, even though
they be led to admit that the disappearance of the robber
State must eventually induce the disappearance of all other
robbers, they will remember that effects, however certain, are
not always immediate, and that, pending the consummation,
there are often serious difficulties that must be confronted.
(4) If Mr. Robinson still maintains that doing violence to
those who let us alone is precisely parallel to doing violence
to those who assault us, I can only modestly hint once more
that I have a better eye for an angle than he has.
As long as nearly all people are
(5) Not so, by any means.
agreed in their identification of the great majority of actions
as harmonious with or counter to equal liberty, and as long as
an increasing number of people are extending this agreement
in identification over a still larger field of conduct, the definition of invasion as the infringement of equal liberty, far
from being vain, will remain an important factor in political
progress.
(6) Because we see no imperative and overwhelming necessity for an immediate settlement of the question of copyright, and because we think that the verdict of reason is
preferable to the verdict of violence in all doubtful cases
where we can afford to wait.
(7) It seems that there are cases in which, according to Mr.
Robinson, we may resort to violence.
It is now my turn to
ask, Why ?
If he favors violence in one case, why not in all ?
For my part, I
I can see why, but not from his standpoint.
don't care a straw whether, when Mr. Robinson sees fit to use
violence, he acts under protest or from principle.
The main
question is Does he think it wise under some circumstances
to use violence, or is he so much of a practical Archist that
he would not save his child from otherwise inevitable murder
by splitting open the murderer's head ?
:

I'HE iNDiviDtJAL, Society,

and the state.

MR. PENTECOST AN ABETTOR OF GOVERNMENT.


[Lzl)erty,

Because

November

claim and teach that Anarchism justifies the apmen and condemns force only
when applied to non-invasive men, Mr. Pentecost declares that
the only difference between Anarchism on the one hand and
Monarchism or Republicanism on the other is the difference
between the popular conception of invasion and my own. If
I were to assert that biology is the science which deals with
the phenomena of living matter and excludes all phenomena
of matter that is not living, and if Mr. Pentecost were to say
that, assuming this, the only difference between the biological
sciences and the abiological is the difference between the popular conception of life and my own, he would take a position
precisely analogous to that which he takes on the subject of
Anarchism, and the one position would be every whit as
The limit besensible and every whit as foolish as the other.
tween invasion and non-invasion, like the limit between life
and non-life, is not, at least in our present comprehension of
But does it follow from this that init, a hard and fast line.
vasion and non-invasion, life and non-life, are identical ? Not
The indefinite character of the boundary does no
at all.
more than show that a small proportion of the phenomena of
society, like a small proportion of the phenomena of matter,
still resist the respective distinguishing tests to which by far
the greater portion of such phenomena have yielded and by
which they have been classified. And however embarrassing
in practice may be the reluctance of frontier phenomena to
promptly arrange themselves on either side of the border in
obedience to the tests, it is still more embarrassing in theory
to attempt to frame any rational view of society or life without recognition of these tests, by which, broadly speaking,
Some of the most manidistinctions have been established.
fest distinctions have never been sharply drawn.
If Mr. Pentecost will view the subject in this light and follow out the reasoning thus entered upon, he will soon discover
that my conception or misconception of what constitutes invasion does not at all affect the scientific differentiation of
Anarchism from Archism. I may err grievously in attributing
an invasive or a non-invasive character to a given social phenomenon, and, if I act upon my error, I shall act Archistically; but the very fact that I am acting, not blindly and at
I

plication of force to invasive

'

14, 1891.]

mSTlEAb OF A 6C0K.

82

hap-hazard, but in furtherance of an endeavor to conform td


a generalization which is the product of Jong experience and
accumulating evidence, adds infinitely to the probability that
I shall discover my error.
In trying to draw more clearly the
line between invasion and non-invasion, all of us, myself included, are destined to make many mistakes, but by our very
mistakes we shall approach our goal. Only Mr. Pentecost and
those who think with him take themselves out of the path of
progress by assuming that it is possible to live in harmony
simply by ignoring the fact of friction and the causes thereof.
The no-rule which Mr. Pentecost believes in would amount
in practice to submission to the rule of the invasive man.
No-rule, in the sense of no-force-in-any-case, is a self-contradiction.
The man who attempts to practise it becomes an
abettor of government by declining to resist it.
So long as
Mr. Pentecost is willing to let the criminal ride rbughshod
over him and me, his " preference not to be ruled at all " is "
nothing but a beatific revelling in sheerest moonshine and
Utopia.

THE PHILOSOPHER OF THE DISEMBODIED.


[Liberty^ June

8,

1889.]

Connected with

the Massachusetts branch of the National


Suffrage Association is a body of women calling itself
the Boston Political Class, the object of which is the preparation of its members for the use of the ballot.
On Thursday
evening, May 30, this class was addressed in public by Dr.
Wm. T. Harris, the Concord philosopher, on the subject of
State Socialism, Anarchism, and free competition.
Let me
say, parenthetically, to these ladies that, if they really wish to
learn how to use the ballot, they would do well to apply for
instruction, not to Dr. Harris, but to ex-Supervisor Bill Simmons, or Johnny O'Brien of New York, or Senator Matthew
Quay, or some leading Tammany brave, or any of the " bosses "
who rule city. State, and nation ; for, the great object of the
ballot being to test truth by counting noses and to prove your

Woman

opponents wrong by showing them to be less numerous than


your friends, and these men having practically demonstrated
that they are masters of the art of rolling up majorities at the
polls, they can teach the members of the Boston Political Class

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

83

a trick or two by which they can gain numerical supremacy,


while Dr. Harris, in the most favorable view of the case, can
only elevate their intelligence and thereby fix them more hopelessly in a minority that must be vanquished in a contest where
ballots instead of brains decide the victory.
But let that pass. I am not concerned now with these excellent ladies, but with Dr. Harris's excellent address
for it
was excellent, notwithstanding the fact that he intended it
partly as a blow at Anarchism.
Instead of being such a blow,
the discourse was really an affirmation of Anarchism almost
from beginning to end, at least in so far as it dealt with principles, and departed from Anarchism only in two or three
mistaken attempts to illustrate the principles laid down and
to identify existing society with them as expressive of them.
After positing the proposition that the object of society is
the production of self-conscious intelligence in its highest
form, or, in other words, the most perfect individuality, the
lecturer spent the first half of his time in considering State Socialism from this standpoint.
He had no difficulty in showing that the absorption of enterprise by the State is indeed a
" looking backward,"
a very long look backward at that communism which was the only form of society known to primitive man
at that communism which purchases material
at that
equality at the expense of the destruction of liberty
communism out of which evolution, v/ith its tendency toward
individuality, has been gradually lifting mankind for thousands
of years
at that communism which, by subjecting the individual rights of life and property to industrial tyranny, thereby
renders necessary a central political tyranny to at least partially secure the right to life and make possible the continuance
The lecturer took the
of some semblance of social existence.
position that civil society is dependent upon freedom in production, distribution, and consumption, and that such freedom
is utterly incompatible with State Socialism, which in its ultimate implies the absolute control of all these functions by
Therefore
arbitrary power as a substitute for economic law.
Dr. Harris, setting great value upon civil society, has no use
Neither have the Anarchists. Thus far,
for State Socialism.
then, the Anarchists and this teacher of the Boston Political
Class walk hand in hand.
Dr. Harris, however, labors under a delusion that just at this
As we follow his argument
point he parts company with us.
;

further,

we

be true. The philosophy of society,


coextensive with a ground covered
namely, the family, civil society, the State,

shall see if this

he continued

in substance, is

by four institutions,

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

and the Church. Proceeding then to define the specific purposes of these institutions, he declared that the object of
the family is to assure the reproduction of individuals and
prepare them, by guidance through childhood, to become reathat the object of civil society is to enable
sonable beings
each individual to reap advantage from the powers of all
other individuals through division of labor, free exchange,
and other economic means that the object of the State is to
protect each individual against aggression and secure him in
his freedom as long as he observes the equal freedom of others
and that the object of the Church (using the term in its broadest sense, and not as exclusively applicable to the various
religious bodies) is to encourage the investigation and perfection of science, literature, the fine arts, and all those higher
humanities that make life worth living and tend to the elevation and completion of self-conscious intelligence or individuality.
Each of these objects, in the view of the lecturer, is
necessary to the existence of any society worthy of the name,
and the omission of any one of them disastrous. The State
Socialists, he asserted truthfully, would ruin the whole structure by omitting civil society, whereas the Anarchists, he asserted erroneously, would equally ruin it by omitting the State.
Right here lies Dr. Harris's error, and it is the most vulgar of
that of treating the ideas of others from
all errors in criticism,
Dr.
the standpoint, not of their definitions, but of your own.
Harris hears that the Anarchists wish to abolish the State,
and straightway he jumps to the conclusion that they wish to
And this, too, in spite
abolish what he defines as the State.
of the fact that, to my knowledge, he listened not long ago to
the reading of a paper by an Anarchist from which it was
clearly to be gathered that the Anarchists have no quarrel with
any institution that contents itself with enforcing the law of
equal freedom, and that they oppose the State only after first
defining it as an institution that claims authority over the nonaggressive individual and enforces that authority by physical
force or by means that are effective only because they can and
will be backed by physical force if necessary. Far from omitting
the State as Dr. Harris defines it., the Anarchists expressly favor
such an institution, by whatever name it may be called, as long
and certainly Dr. Harris would
as its raison d'etre continues
not demand its preservation after it had become superfluous.
In principle, then, are not the Anarchists and Dr. Harris in
agreement at every essential point?-- It certainly seems so.
I do not know an Anarchist that would not accept every
;

division of his social map.

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

85

Defining the object of the family as he defines it, the


Anarchists believe in the family
only they insist that free
competition and experiment shall always be allowed in order
that it may be determined what form of family best secures
;

this object.

Defining the object of civil society as he defines it, the Anarchists believe in civil society ; only they insist that the freedom of civil society shall be complete instead of partial.
Defining the object of the State as he defines it, the Anarchists believe in the State only they insist that the greater^part,
if not all, of the necessity for its existence is the result of an
artificial limitation of the freedom of civil society, and that
the completion of industrial freedom may one day so harmonize individuals that it will no longer be necessary to provide
a guarantee of political freedom.
;

Defining the object of the Church as he defines it, the Anarchists most certainly believe in the Church
only they insist
that all its work shall be purely voluntary, and that its discov;

eries and achievements, however beneficial, shall not be imposed upon the individual by authority.
But there is a point, unhappily, where the Anarchists and Dr.
Harris do part company, and that point is reached when he
declares or assumes or leaves it to be inferred that the present
form of the family is the form that best secures the objects of
the family, and that no attempt at any other form is to be tolerated, although evidence of the horrors engendered by the
prevailing family life is being daily spread before our eyes in
an ever-increasing volume th-at the present form of civil society is the embodiment of complete economic freedom, although it is undeniable that the most important freedoms, those
without which all other freedoms are of little or no avail, the
freedom of banking and the freedom to take possession of unoccupied land, exist nowhere in the civilized world that the
existing State does nothing but enforce the law of equal freedom, although it is unquestionably based upon a compulsory
tax that is itself a denial of equal freedom, and is daily adding
to ponderous volumes of statutes the bulk of which are either
sumptuary and meddlesome in character or devised in the interest of privilege and monopoly and that the existing Church
carries on its work in accordance with the principle of free
;

competition, in spite of the indubitable fact that, in its various


fields of religion, science, literature, and the arts, it is endowed
with innumerable immunities, favors, prerogatives, and licenses, with the extent and stringency of which it is still
unsatisfied.

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

86

All these assumptions clearly


of theory, and not of practice.

show that Dr. Harris is a man


He knows nothing but disem-

bodied principles. Consequently, when the State Socialist


proposes to embody a principle antagonistic to his, he recognizes it as such and demolishes it by well-directed arguments.
But this same antagonistic principle, so far as it is already embodied, is unrecognizable by him. As soon as it becomes inNo matter what shape
carnate, he mistakes it for his own.
it has taken, be it a banking monopoly, or a land monopoly, or
a national post-office monopoly, or a common school system,
or a compulsory tax, or a setting-up of non-aggressive individuals to be shot at by an enemy, he hastens to offer it one
hand, while he waves the flag of free competition with the
other.
In consequence of its fleshly wrappings, he is constiFor this
tutionally incapable of combating the status quo.
reason he is not an altogether competent teacher, and is liable
to confuse the minds of the ambitious ladies belonging to the
Boston Political Class.

THE WOES OF AN ANARCHIST.


{Liberty, January 25, 1890.]

Sir :

That barrel-organ outside my window goes near to driving me mad (I


What am I to do ? I cannot ask the
I was before).
State, as embodied in the person of a blue-coated gentleman at the corner,
because I have given notice that I intend to move on
to move him on
In other words, I have given the
the said blue-coated gentleman himself.
Ask the organ-grinder politely to carry his melody
State notice to quit.
elsewhere ? I have tried that, but he only executes a double-shuffle and
Ought I to rush out and punch his head ? But,
puts out his tongue.
firstly, that might be looked upon as an invasion of his personal liberty
might
punch mine and the last state of this man would
and, secondly, he
be worse than the first. Ought I to move out of the way myself ? But I
cannot conveniently take my house with me, or even my library.
I tried
I took out my cornet, and, standing by his side, executed
another plan.
a series of movements that would have moved the bowels of Cerberus.
The only effect produced was a polite note from a neighbor (whom I respect) begging me to postpone my solo, as it interfered with the pleasing
harmonies of the organ. Now Fate forbid that I should curtail the happiness of an esteemed fellow-streetsman.
What then was I to do ? I put
on my hat and sallied forth into the streets with a heavy heart full of the
difficulties of my individualist creed.
The first person I met was a tramp
who accosted me and exposed a tongue white with cancer, whether real
It nearly made me sick, and I really do not
or artificial I do not know.
think that persons ought to go about exposing disgusting objects with

mean madder than


;

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

87

a view to gain. I did not hand him the expected penny, but I briefly
very briefly expressed a hope that an infinite being would be pleased to
consign him to infinite torture, and passed on. I wandered through street
after street, all full of houses painted in different,shades of custard-color,
toned with London fog, and all just sufficiently like one another to make
one wish that they were either quite alike or very different.
And I
wondered whether something might not be done to compel all the owners
to paint at the same time and with the same tints.
At last I reached
a place where the road was rendered impassable by a crowd which had
gathered to listen to an orator who was shouting from an inverted tub.

He was explaining that many years ago Jesus died to save sinners like us,
and therefore the best thing we could do was to deprive the publicans
of their licenses without compensation.
I
ventured to remark that,
although this might be perfectly true, still I wanted to get into the
country along the common highway, and that the crowd he had coUecled
prevented me from doing so.
He replied that he knew my sort, whatever that may mean but his words seem to have acted like magic on his
hearers, for, although I did at last elbow my way through the throng, it
was not without damage to the aforementioned hat. It was a relief to reach
the country and to sit down by a stream and watch the children gathering
blackberries.
I was, however, surprised to find that the berries were still
pink- and far from ripe.
"Why don't you -wait till they are ripe?" I
" Coz if we did there would be none left by then," was the someasked.
what puzzling reply. " But surely, if you all agreed to wait, it could be
managed," I said. " Oh yes, sir," responded a little girl, with a pitying
laugh at my simplicity, "but the others always come and gather them
;

just before they are ripe."


I don't quite know who the others are, but
surely something ought to be done to put a stop to this extravagant haste
and ruinous competition. The result of the present system is that nobody
gets any ripe blackberries.
I mentioned the subject to an old gentleman
who was fishing in the rivulet; " Exactly so," said he, "it is just the
same with fish. You see there is a close season for salmon and some
sorts
but those scoundrels are steadily destroying the rest by catching
I supthe immature fish, instead of waiting till they are fit for anything.
pose they think that they will not have the luck to catch them again, and
I admitted the force
that a sprat in hand is worth a herring in a bush."
and beauty of the metaphor, and proceeded on my journey.
Beginning to feel hungry, I made tracks for the nearest village, where
few hundred yards from the houses I
I knew I should find an inn.
observed a party of hulking fellows stripping on the bank with a view to
a plunge and a swim.
It struck me they were rather close to the road,
but I nevertheless thought it my duty to resent the interference of a policeman who appeared on the scene and rather roughly ordered the fellows
" I suppose," said I, " that free citizens have a right to wash in a free
off.
;

But the representative of law and order fixed upon me a pair of


boiled eyes, and, without trusting his tongue, pointed to a blackboard
I guessed his meaning and went on.
stuck on a post some little way off.
When I reached the inn, I ordered a chop and potatoes and a pint of
bitter, and was surprised to find that some other persons were served
Presently I observed one
before me, although they had come in later.
" Excuse me, sir," said I, "but
of them in the act of tipping the waiter.
you are bribing that man to give you an undue share of
that is not fair
attention.
I presume you also tip porters at a railway station, and per"Of course I do; what's that to you?
haps custom-house officers?"
I had evidently
Mind your own business," was the reply I received.
stream."

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

88

made myself unpopular with these gentlemen. One of them was chewing
a quid and spitting about the floor. One was walking up and down the
room in a pair of crealsing boots, and taking snuff the while and a third
was voraciously tackling a steak, and removing lumps of gristle from his
mouth to his plate in the palm of his hand. After each gulp of porter, he
;

seemed

to take a positive pride in yielding to the influences of flatulence

a series of reports which might have raised Lazarus. My own rations


appeared at last, and I congratulated myself that, by the delay, I had been
spared the torture of feeding in company with .^olus, who was already
busy with the toothpick, when to my dismay he produced a small black
" There is, I believe,
clay pipe and proceeded to stuff it with black shag.
a smoking-room in the house," I remarked deprecatingly "otherwise I
would not ask you to allow me to finish my chop before lighting your
I
pipe here; don't you think tobacco rather spoils one's appetite?"
thought I had spoken politely, but all the answer I got was this, "Look
'ere, governor, if this 'ere shanty ain't good enough for the like of you,
you'd better walk on to the Star and Garter." And, awaiting my reply
with an expression of mingled contempt and defiance, he proceeded to
emphasize his argument by boisterously coughing across the table withI am not particularly squeamish, but
out so much as raising his hand.
To all practical
I draw the line at victuals that have been coughed over.
stolen.
I looked round for sympathy,
purposes, my lunch was gone,
The gentleman
but the feeling of the company was clearly against me.
in the creaking boots laughed, and, walking up to th^ table, laid his hand
upon it in the manner of an orator in labor. He paused to marshal his
thoughts, and I had an opportunity of observing him with several senses
at once.
His nails were in deep mourning, his clothes reeked of stale
His face
tobacco and perspiration, and his breath of onions and beer.
was broad and rubicund, but not ill-featured, and his expression bore the
stamp of honesty and independence. No one could mistake him for
other than he was,
a sturdy British farmer.
After about half a minute's
" I'll tell you what it is, sir," he
incubation, his ideas found utterance.
said, " I don't know who you are, but this is a free country, and it's
market day an' all." I could not well dispute any of these propositions,
and, inasmuch as they appeared to be conclusive to the minds of the
company, my position was a difficult one.
''I do not question your
rights, friend," I ventured to say at last, "but I think a little consideration for other people's feelings.
eh?" "Folks shouldn't have feelings that isn't usual and proper, and if they has, they should go where
their feelings is usual and proper, that's me," was the reply
and it is not
without philosophy. The same idea had already dimly shimmered in my
"
own mind besides, was I not an individualist ?
You are right, friend,"
said I, " so I will wish you good morning and betake myself elsewhere."
"Good morning," said the farmer, offering his hand, and "Good riddance," added the gentleman with the toothpick.
As I emerged from the inn, not a little crest-fallen, a cat shot across
the road followed by a yelping terrier, who in his turn was urged on by
two rosy little boys.
"Stop that game," I shouted, "what harm has
pussy done you?"
The lads did stop, but the merry twinkle in their
eyes betokened a fixed intention to renew the sport as soon as old Marplot was out of the way.
But the incident was not thrown away on a
" It is of no
pale man with a long black coat and a visage to match.
use, my dear sir," said he, shaking his head and smiling drearily, " it is
the nature of the dog to worry cats and it is the nature of the boys lo
urge on the dog we are all born in sin and the children of wrath.
l
in

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

89

used to enjoy cat-hunts myself before I was born again. You naust edueducate before you can reform. Mark my words, sir, the
" The school-board " I ejacuschool-board is the ladder to the slcies."
lated " you do not mean to say you approve of State-regulated education ? May I ask whether you also approve of a State religion
a State
" The two
church?" I thought this was a poser, but I was mistaken.
things are not in pari materia,'^ replied the Dissenting minister (for
there was no mistaking his species); "the established church is the upastree which poisons the whole forest.
It was planted by the hand of a
deluded aristocracy. The school-board was planted by the people." " I
do not see that it much signifies who planted the tree, so long as it is
planted; but, avoiding metaphor, the point is this," said I emphatically
"is one fraction of the population to dictate to the other fraction what
they are to believe, what they are to learn, what they are to do? And I
do not care whether the dictating fraction is the minority or the majorThe principle is the same despotism." The man of God started.
ity.
" What !" he cried, "are we to have no laws? Is every man to do that
which is right in his own eyes ? Are you aware, sir, that you are preaching Anarchy ? " It was now my turn to double. " Anarchy is a strong
expression," said I, most disingenuously; "all I meant to say is that
cate, sir,

the less the State interferes between man and man, the better
surely
you will admit that ? " And now I saw from my interlocutor's contracted
brow and compressed lips that an answer was forthcoming which would
knock all the wind out of me. And I was right. "Do you see that
house with the flags on the roof and that sculptured group over the en" I see the
trance representing the World, the Flesh, and the Devil?"
house, but, if you will pardon me, I think the group is intended for the
Three Graces." The parson shot an angry glance at me he knew well
enough what the figures were meant for but even the godly have their
sense of grim humor.
He continued "That is the porch of Hell and
there at the corner yawns Hell itself: they are commonly called Old
but we prefer to call
Joe's Theatre of Varieties, and the Green Griffin
them by their right names " " Dear me !" I said, somewhat appalled by
the earnestness of his manner, "are they very dreadful places?"
I was
beginning to feel quite " creepy," and could almost smell the brimstone.
"
But, without heeding my query, he continued
Are we to look on with
folded hands, while innocent young girls crowd into that sink of iniquity,
listen to ribald and obscene songs, witness semi-nude and licentious
dances, meet with dissolute characters, and finally enter the jaws of the
Green Grifiin to drink of the stream that maddens the soul, that deadens
the conscience, and that fires the passions?" Here he paused for breath,
and then in a sepulchral whisper he added " And what follows ? What
follows?" This question he asked several times, each time in a lower
key, with his eyes fixed on mine as though he expected to read the
answer at the back of my skull on the inside. " I will tell you what fol"the end is Mrs. Fletcher's."
lows," he continued, to my great relief
There was something so grotesque in this anti-climax that I gave sudden
vent to a short explosive laugh, like the snap of the electric spark. I
could not help it, and I was truly sorry to be so rude, and, in order to
avoid mutual embarrassment, I fairly bolted down the street, leaving my
;

teacher transfixed with pious horror. To a denizen of the village, doubtlong association had imbued the name of Mrs. Fletcher with a lurid
connotation, like unto the soothing influence of that blessed word Mesopotamia, only in the opposite direction.
the happy man of fiction " with a pocket
I was now in the position of
less,

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

po

money and a cellar full of beer" only my cellar was nine miles
and my money was inconvertible, to all practical intents and purposes.
There was no other inn I dare not try the Green Griffin, and I did not
know the way to " Mrs. Fletcher's." I wanted to get back to town. " Is
there a railway station anywhere near here?" I inquired of a baldheaded man, who was removing flower-pots from his front parlor win" Railway station ? " he repeated with a snigger, " not much
dow-sill.
"And pray why not?" I
how should there be a railway station?"
"You may well ask," replied the bald-headed man "if you
asked.
knew these parts, you would know that half the land between here
and town belongs to Lord Brownmead and he opposed the bill which
full of

off

the
out

Company brought

into Parliament

so of course the lords threw

it

and refused the concession that is why there is no railway station.


I wonder
That is why you and I may walk or creep or go in balloons.
:

his lordship or his lordship's ancestors ever allowed the high road to be

Why

should not you and I grub our way underground, like


good enough for us, 1 suppose. Railway station, indeed !"
And down came a flower-pot with a crash, just to accentuate the absurd" Lord Brownmead belongs to the Liberty and Propity of the idea.
erty Defence League, you know, and he says no one has a right to interfere with his liberty to do what he likes with his own land. Quite right
quite right," he continued in the same tone of bitter irony, " nothing like
I had always
liberty and property " This was an awkward dig for me.
believed in liberty, and I was thinking of joining Lord Brownmead's
"
Perhaps there is a tramway or some other sufficient means
association.
of rapid communication," I suggested, "in which case it may be that a
" Perhaps there is," sneered
railway is not imperatively necessary."
only there isn't, don't you see, so
the little man, " perhaps there is
and if you prefer walking or paying for a fly, I am
that's where it is
You have my full permission, and Lord
sure I have no objection.
Brownmead's too only mind you don't take the short cut by the bridle-

made.
moles?

It is

path, because that is closed.


It appears it is not a right of way.
It is
Don't forget." I did not want the irascible little
private, quite private.
man to take me for a toady, so I merely asked why there was no tramhe shouted, and I began to fear physical argument,
way.
' why ? because Lord Brownmead and the carriage-folk say that tramways
cut up the road and damage the wheels of their carriages
that's why.
Isn't it a sufficient reason for you ?
lower ten thousand must walk,
for fear the upper ten should have to pay for an extra coat of paint at
That's reasonable, isn't it?" " I do not know
the carriage-builder's.
that it is, my dear sir," I replied, " but after all you know we have a
right to use the common road in any way for v^hich.it was originally intended.
They can do no more.
And it does seem to me that a tramway monopolizes for the benefit of a class (a large class, I grant you)
more than its fair share of the common rights of way.
Ordinary traffic
is very much impeded by it, and the rails do certainly cause damage and
annoyance to persons who never use the public vehicles.
Trams may
be e.xpedient, friend, but they certainly are not just."
I thought this
wound
would have
up the little man for at least another quarter of an
hour, but who can read the human mind ? Not another word did he utter.
I fancy my last remark had satisfied him that I was a Tory or an aristocrat
or one of the carriage-folk, and consequently beneath contempt and outside the pale of reason.
After an awkward pause, I ventured to say:
" Well, thank you, I wish you good morning," but even that elicited no
response, and I walked slowly off, feeling some slight loss of dignity,

"Why?"

'

We

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

$1

presently ascertained that coaches ran every two hours from the Green
Royal Oak in London, a fact which the bald-headed man
had maliciously (as I thought) concealed from me.
The line had been
established, as the barman of the Griffin told me, by Lord Brownmead
himself some years ago and was maintained at considerable loss for the
benefit of his tenantry and his poorer neighbors
and, as some people
" Somethought, to make amends for his opposition to the tramway.
times," added the barman, "his lordship drives hisself, and then,
lor !"
There could be no doubt from the gusto with which the last
words were pronounced that this individual derived a more tangible joy
from these occasions than mere sympathy with the honored guest who
occupied a seat on the box next the distinguished whip and I accordingly slipped half a crown into^his hand a propos de boltes. He expressed
no surprise whatever, but just as the coach was about to start, I found
myself the pampered ward of a posse of ostlers, grooms, and hangers-on,
who literally lifted me into the envied seat and evinced the most touching concern for my comfort and safety.
My knees were swathed in rugs
and the apron was firmly buckled across to keep me warm and dry,
without any effort on my part, and as the leaders straightened out the
traces and Lord Brownmead cracked the whip, half-a-dozen pair of eyes
" looked towards me," while their owners drank what they were pleased
to call my health, but which looked to me more like beer. As we dashed
down the high street, a little man with a bald head cast a withering
glance at the coach and its occupants, and, when his eyes met mine, his
" / thought so."
expression said as plain as words
I soon forgot him,
and fell to reflecting on the curious circumstance that it should be in the
power of a few potmen and stablemen to sell a nobleman's company and
conversation for the sum of half a crown.
Yet so it undoubtedly was.
And yet, after all, it is hardly stranger than that these same potmen and
millions more of their own class should have the power of selling to the
highest bidder a six-hundred-and-seventieth part of kingly prerogative.
The divine right of kings is just what it ever was, the right of the
strong to trample on the weak, the absolute despotism of the effective
Only to-day, instead of being conferred in its entirety on a
majority.
single person, it is cut up into six hundred and seventy little bits, and
sold in lots to the highest bidder, by a ring of five millions of potmen
I

Griffin to the

and their like.


Such is the new democracy, I thought, and I might possibly have built
up an essay on the reflection, when I was suddenly roused from my
" I beg your pardon," said I, " I
reverie by a grunt from the box-seat.
" Fine bird," repeated his lordship
did not quite catch what you said."
in a louder grunt, and jerking his thumb in the direction of a distant
"Begin to-morrow capital prospect," he continued. " Begin
coppice.
what ? " I asked, a little ashamed of my stupidity. " October to-morrow,"
he replied "forgotten, eh?" "Oh, ah yes, of course, October the ist,
pheasant-shooting, I see," I replied, as soon as I caught his meaning.
" Done any good this season, sir?" he went on. "Good, how? what
good ? what in ? I don't quite understand," said L " Moors, moors," exer?"
er
plained Lord Brownmead " grouse, sir, grouse are you
"Oh, I see, " I hastened to reply "you mean have I shot many grouse
no.
I have not been to Scotland this year besides, I am
this season
short-sighted and do not shoot at all." A man who did not shoot was
hardly wortli talking to, and a long silence ensued. At last our Jehu took
" Fish I suppose can't hunt all the year round." I replied
pity on me.
that I did not care for fishing, and that I had no horses and could not af:

iNstfiAD OF A Book.

^i

My last
I was fast becoming an object of keen interest.
admission was followed by a series of grunts at intervals of about half a
minute, and at last with a zeal and earnestness which he had not yet exhibited, and in a louder key than heretofore, Lord Brownmead turned
upon me with this query " Then what the doose do you do to kill time,
dammy ? " I explained that I should have no difficulty in killing double the
" Out of the 24 hours," said I,
quantity of that article, if I could get it.
" which is the usual allowance in a day, I sleep 7, I work 7, I spend
about 2 over my meals, and that only leaves 8 for recreation." "Ay,
That's just it, dammy."
ay, but what do you mean by recreation, sir?
"Oh, sometimes 1 go to the theatre, sometimes to some music-hall then
I go and spend the evening with friends, and all that sort of thing."
that's
"Balls, eh?" " No, I am not fond of dancing. " " Ha, humph
better the tenth don't dance, you know never went to a prancing party
" Then last night Iwent to the Agricultural Hall to hear
in my life."
Mr. Gladstone," I continued. " Eh ? what ? Mr. who ? Be good enough
He's an undernot to mention that man's name in my presence, sir.
ground fellow, sir, an underground fellow." I was evidently on thin ice
" Pretty country this,
so, in order to turn the conversation, I remarked
my lord." " Pretty country be damned !" was the amiable response '' it
" Inis not like the same country since that infernal bill was passed."
deed
What bill is that?" Lord Brownmead cast upon me a look of
" What bill do you suppose, sir? Are you a foreigner?
ineffable scorn.
I should like to feed that fellow on hares and tabbits for the rest of his
"
life, sir."
Has the Hares and Rabbits Act done much harm ?" I inquired.
" Done much harm ? Has it revolutionized the country ? you mean has
it ruined the agriculturist ? has it set class against class? has it turned
honest farmers into poachers and vermin ? See that spire in the trees
over there ? Well, that poor devil used to live on his glebe he has about
fifteen kids, all told he used to have rabbit-pie every Sunday. And now
there isn't a blessed rabbit in the place." I presumed he was speaking
of the pastor and not the steeple, so I expressed sympathy with one who
was so very much a father under the melancholy circumstances. " Still,"
said I, " the rabbits used to eat up a good deal of the crops, I am told."
" Nonsense, sir, nonsense don't believe it," growled his lordship
" they never ate a single blade more than they were worth and if they
did, the devils got it back out of their rents."
Most of my companion's
neighbors appeared to be devils of one sort or another, but I think he
was referring to the farmers on this occasion. " The devils have all got
votes, sir, that's what it is they've all got votes.
I remember the time
when a decent tenant would as soon have shot his wife as a rabbit. The
fact is, we are moving a deal too quickly; downhill too, and no brake
on." I did not wish to express agreement with this sentiment, so I
merely said " I believe you are a member of the Liberty and Property
DefenceLeague ? " "Very likely very likely if it is a good thing, got
ford to hunt.

Yes, I think my secretary


^0 a year. He said they were going to block this
Tenants' Compensation Bill, or something or other. Good society, very;
ought to be supported by honest men." " Then would you not give a
" Com"
tenant compensation for unexhausted improvements ? " I asked.
pensation " bawled Lord Brownmead " compensation for what? Good
God
If one of those fellows on my town property put up a conservatory, or raised his house a story, or built a new wing, do yo'u suppose at
the end of his lease he would ask for compensation ? He would think
himself mad to do it,
mad, sir. And why should the country be different

up

to counteract that
did put me down for

underground scoundrel.

Ttt tisrblVibyAL, SoctETY,

AND tHe state.

93

from the town ? eh ? The devils go into the thing with their eyes open, I
suppose.
A bargain's a bargain, isn't it? What do they mean by
compensation? I'd compensate them.
Clap them into the stocks.
That's what they want.
Depend upon it, sir, " he added, lowering his
voice to a husky whisper, "the old man is an unscrupulous agitator, and
if I had my way, I would lock him up.
If he's loose much longer, he
will ruin the country.
Whoa, Jerry, steady my pet damn that horse "
We were now drawing up at the Royal Oak, and, to say the truth, I was
not altogether sorry to get out of the atmosphere of fine, old, crusted
toryism, and walk along the street among my equals.
And yet, there
was about the man a rugged horror of mean meddling and State coddling
"
which one could not but respect.
A bargain's a bargain." Well, that
is not very original
but it argues a healthy moral tone.
The rabbit-pie
argument struck me as rather weak, but, take him for all in all, I have
met politicians who have disgusted me a good deal more than Lord
;

Brownmead.
It was now dusk, and the evening papers were out.
I stopped to read
the placards on the wall, giving a summary of the day's news.
There
was nothing very new. "Three children murdered by a mother."
" Great fire in the Strand." " Loss of the Seagull with all hands." On
looking into the details to which these announcements referred, I found
that the mother of the children was a widow, who had insured the lives
of her little ones in the London and County Fire Office for ;^io each,
and had then pushed them into a reservoir.
Her explanation that
they had fallen in while playing would no doubt have met with general
acceptance but for the discovery of marks of violence on the neck of the
eldest daughter, who had evidently struggled resolutely for life.
Other
evidence then cropped up, which made it certain that the children were
The editor of the paper expressed himself to the
victims of foul play.
effect that no insurance company ought to be allowed to insure the lives
of children, thus putting temptation in the way of the poor.
Oddly
enough, the fire in the Strand seemed to have resulted from a similar
hairdresser had insured his fittings
motive and a similar transaction.
and stock for ;f 150 and then set fire to his shop. Commenting on this,
to
say about the iniquity of tempting people to
the editor had nothing
commit arson, but he thought the State should see that all buildings in a
provided
with concrete floors and asbestos paint and
were
public street
The Seagull, laden with coals
that muslin curtains should be forbidden.
for Gibraltar, had gone down within sight of land, off Holyhead, before
It appears she had been insured in the
assistance could be obtained.
Liverpool Mutual Marine Association for double the value of hull and
cargo.
One of the crew had refused to go, on the ground that she was
unseaworthy, and he was sentenced to fourteen days' imprisonment under
The editor was of opinion that, although he
the Merchant Shipping Act.
had been justly sentenced, still, he thought, this fearful fulfilment of his
prognostication would have such an effect on the minds of the public
that his further incarceration would be highly inexpedient, and might lead
He was further of opinion that marine insurance ought to be
to rioting.
entirely prohibited, except when undertaken by underwriters " in the usual
way." This article, I have since heard, made a great sensation at
Lloyd's, and four thousand copies of the paper were gratuitously distributed in the neighborhood of the docks both in Liverpool and London.
committee-is being formed for the purpose of urging Parliament to
make all marine policies void, except those which have been made " in
he usual way." It is obvious that the crew of the Seagull have not died

iNSTEAD OF A BOOK.

^4

They have perished in the cause of an ancient monopoly. The


public indignation at their cruel fate is being used as a handy hook on
which to hang all " newfangled systems of marine insurance which have
not stood the test of time, and which have hardly yet seen the light of
in vain.

day."
I had reached my own door when I was attracted by a shout and the
wrangling of many angry voices round the corner of the street. Running
round, I saw the debris of an overturned dog-cart. Several persons seemed
to be engaged in an animated debate in a small circle, while the crowd
played the rdle of a Greek chorus. The disputants appeared to be a young
gentleman of mettle, in a high collar and dog-skin gloves, a broken-down
solicitor's clerk, the usual policeman, and a workman in corduroys.
It
was easy to explain the construction of the group. The " masher" was

owner of the ill-fated dog-cart


the workman was the
charge of the traction-engine, which was lying quietly at the
side of the road with a red lamp at each side.
The clerk was "the man
in the street," the vir pietate gravis called in as arbitrator by both disputants and the policeman was there as a matter of course. When I reached
the spot and worked my way to the inner circle, the debate had reached
this stage
"I tell you, any well-bred horse would shy at a god-forsaken
machine like that your people had no right to leave it there. I will
make them pay for this." Workman "Well, them's my instructions;
here's my lights all a-burning, and you shouldn't drive horses like that
They'll shy at anything, and it ain't safe."
in the streets of London.
Masher " I beg your pardon, I tell you any horse would shy at that:
and what is more, I believe traction-engines are unlawful in the streets I
know I have heard so." Clerk " Well, I can't quite say, but I think
so.
I know elephants are not allowed to go through the streets without
a special license in the daytime, because our people had a case in which
a man wanted to ride an elephant through the city and distribute colored
leaflets, and the Bench said that"
Policeman "Traction-engines
we don't want to know about elephants which way was
isn't elephants
you coming when your horse caught sight of this engine ? That is what
" Straight up King Street, constable, and this fellow
I want to get at."
was fast asleep near the machine." " No. I warn't fast asleep didn't I
" Oh, yes, you woke up, but you never gave any
ketch 'old of the 'orse ? "
warning; why didn't you shout out. Beware of the traction-engine?"
" What for? ain't you got no eyes?
I to be shouting all day? What
is there worse about this 'ere engine than about a flappin' van ?
Eh ?
policeman, what is there worse, I say?" Policeman (firmly) "That's
not the question. The question is. Was your lamp burning? " " A course
they was a-burnin' ain't they a-burnin' now?"
Clerk (soothingly)
" They were burning." Policeman (treading on clerk's toes) " What do
you want here? Be off. What have you got to do with it ? Off with
you.
Now, sir," turning to the owner of the broken dog-cart, "was this
man asleep on dooty?" "Well, I cannot exactly swear he was asleep,
"
but
(contriving to slip something into the expectant hand of the officer),
" but I am sure he was not awake not wide awake."
" Thank you,
sir"; turning to the watchman, "you see where you are now; I shall
"
" You
report you asleep on dooty."
But I warn't asleep, I tell you."
was : didn't you hear the gentleman say you wasn't awake ? " This was
the conclusion
there was a slight and sullen murmur in the crowd
but
it died away.
The incident was at an end law was vindicated justice
was done. Yes, done, and no mistake
But I left without any clear idea
as to the right of an engine-owner to the use of the common roads. The
obvious.'y

the

watchman

in

Am

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

95

story of the elephant seemed germane to the issue, but it was nipped in
the bud.
I went home, swallowed my dinner not without appetite, and
set forth in search of entertainment.
There was a good deal of choice. There always is in London, except
on Sundays and even then there is the choice between the church, the
public-house, and the knocking-shop.
There were the brothers Goliah,
and the infant Samuel on the high rope, and Miss Lottie Luzone, the
teetotautomaton, and John Ball the Stentor Comique, and the Sisters
Delilah, and Signor Farini with his wonderful pigeons, and the Tigertamer of Bengal, and the Pearl family with their unequalled aquatic feats,
and I don't know what else. While I was dwelling on the merits of these
rival attractions, I heard a familiar voice at the door:
"Come on, old
fellow come to the National Liberal
Stewart Headlam is going to open
a debate on the County Council and the IVIusic-halls.
will have a high
old time.
Come and speak." As a rule, 1 fear the Trocadero or the
Aquarium would have prevailed over the great Liberal Club as a place of
after-dinner entertainment
but on this occasion I had a newly-aroused
interest in all such questions as the one about to be discussed.
So I put
on my hat and jumped into the hansom which Jack had left at the door.
En passant, you may have noticed that this is the second lime I have
recorded the fact that " I put on my hat." English novelists are very
" He put on his hat and walked out of the
careful about this precaution.
room." " He wished her goodbye, and, putting on his hat, he went out
as he had come in."
There is never a word said about the hero's top-coat
or his gloves, no matter how cold the weather may be, but the putting on
of the hat is always carefully chronicled.
Now, there is a reason for this.
It is a well-established principle of English common law that, whenever
a public disturbance or street mlUe or other shindy takes place, the representative of order shall single out a suitable scapegoat from among the
crowd.
In case of a mutiny in the Austrian army, I am told, it is usual
But here in merry Engto shoot every tenth man who is chosen by lot.
land the instructions are to look round for a man without a hat.
When
found, he is marched off to the police station with the approval of all conSome few months since the
cerned.
It is part of our unwritten law.
principle was actually applied in a cause ce'llbre by the magistrate himself.
journalist summoned no less a personage than the Duke of Cambridge
for assault. The facts were not denied, and the witnesses were all agreed,
when succor came from an unexpected quarter. " Is it a fact, as I have
seen it stated in the papers," asked the worthy stipendiary, " is it a fact,
There was no gainsaying
I ask, that the plaintiff was without a hat ? "
this.
The prosecutor was hatless at the time of the alleged assault. That
settled the matter
and the Commander-in-chief of the British Army left
the court (metaphorically speaking) without a stain on his character.
However, as I have said, I put on my hat, and off we drove to the con" National " was first
ference-room of the big club with the odd name.
used as a political term by the late Benjamin Disraeli to signify the
"Liberal"
patriotic as opposed to the cosmopolitan and anti-national.
was first used in a political sense about 1815, to denote the advocates
of liberty as opposed to the " serviles " who believed in State-control.
And yet the members of the club avowedly uphold State-interference in
all things, and dub the doctrine of laissez faire the creed of selfishness.
Still the building is a fine and commodious one, and what's in a name,
;

We

after all

When we
was

in the

reached the political arena, Mr. Headlam, who is a Socialist,


middle of a very able individualistic harangue. Indeed, 1

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

g6

have never heard the case for moral liberty better stated and more
I was anxious to hear
courageously advocated than on this occasion.
what the censor party might have to say. I half-expected to see some
weary ascetic perhaps an austere cardinal rise in his place and wade
I was
through some solemn passages from the sententious Hooker.
agreeably disappointed when a chirpy little Scotchman with a,n amusing
brogue and a moth-eaten appearance started off with prattle of this kind
" Gentlemen, there's no one loves liberty more than me. But we've got
to draw a line at decency, you see.
I've been elected to sit on the
Council and to see that that line is drawn at the right place. That is
my duty, and my duty I mean to do. Everything which is calculated to
And
bring a blush to the cheek of a pure maiden must be put down.
there's another thing
I say that music-halls where intoxicating liquors
is sold must be put down.
We are not going to tolerate places what incites to fornication and drunkenness.
But at the same time we are no
foes to liberty,
that is, liberty to do right, and that's the only liberty
worth fighting for, depend upon it." Mr. McDoodle slapped his knee
with emphatic violence and sat down.
"I should like to ask the last
speaker," said a thin gentleman in a back row, "whether it is altogether
consistent for a State which has repealed every statute penalizing fornication itself to keep up a lot of little worrying measures for the purpose
of penalizing conduct which may possibly lead to fornication.
In other
words, fornication is perfectly legal, but a song likely to lead to fornication is illegal.
Is this consistent?"
"Allow me," shouted a stout
man with a loud voice " perhaps, being a lawyer, I know more about
these matters than Mr. McDoodle possibly can.
The gentleman who
asks the question is in error.
His major premise is false. Fornication
in this country is a misdemeanor, by 23 and 24 Vict. c. 32."
"Pardon
me," replied the voice in the back row, " I also am a lawyer, and I say
that the Act you refer to does not make fornication a misdemeanor
it
refers only to conspiracy to induce a woman to commit the sin
that is
a very different matter." "I don't see that it is," replied the stout man,
" for what is a conspiracy but an agreement to do wrong? Very well,
then, an agreement between a man and a woman to do wrong is itself
a conspiracy. And since they cannot commit this sin without agreement (if they do, of course it comes under another head), it follows that
" Not at all," rejoined the lawyer at the back, " not at all
I am right."
I fear your ideas of conspiracy are a little mixed.
If you will consult
Stephen's Digest of the Criminal Law, which I hold in my hand, you
will find these words
provided that an agreement between a man and
a woman to commit fornication is not a conspiracy.' I suppose Mr.
Justice Stephen may be taken to know something about the law." Chairman (coming to the rescue) " I think, gentlemen, we are getting off the
lines.
Perhaps Mr. Gattie will favor us with a few words ?" "I confess, sir," responded that gentleman, " I confess I am in a difficulty.
Are we discussing whether indecency is wrong or not? Or is the question before the meeting whether Mr. McDoodle and his coadjutors are
the proper persons to act as ceiisores morum?
My own views on these

'

that indecency, when properly defined, is wrong;


McDoodle and his friends are not competent to define it, nor to
suggest means for suppressing it
and, finally, that the State had much

three points are these

that Mr.

better leave the settlement of the question to public opinion and the common sense and common taste of the people." A whirl of arguments,
relevant and irrelevant, followed his speech, which contained references
to a pretty wide field of State-interferences, showing their invariable and

THE INDlVIDUAt, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.


inevitable failure all along the line.

One

apoplectic

little

97

man was loudly

to his question " whether we were going to allow


the street in a state of complete nudity."
That is

demanding an answer

people to run down


what he wanted to know. Some one replied that in this climate the
danger was remote, and that the roughs would provide a sufficient deterrent.
Some one else wanted to know whether it was decent to hawk
the Pall Mall Gazette in the streets, and a very earnest young man inquired whether his hearers had ever read the thirty-sixth chapter of
Genesis, and whether, if so, it was calculated to raise a blush to the
cheek of virtue. A wag replied: "There is no cheek about virtue^"
And so the ball was kept rolling. And we left without having formed
the faintest idea as to whether the State should interfere with the amusements of the people or not whether it should limit its interference to
the enforcement of decency and propriety
what those terms signify for
the practical purpose whether in any case it should delegate this duty to
whether it should itself
Jocal authorities, and, if so, to what authorities
take the initiative, or leave it to persons considering themselves injured
whether such alleged injury should be direct or indirect, and, in either
case, what those expressions mean.
However, a good deal of dust had
been kicked up, and even the most cocksure of those who had entered
the lists went out, I doubt not, with a conviction that there was a good
deal to be said on all sides of the question.
That, in itself, was an unmixed good.
Walking home, in the neighborhood of Oxford Circus, a respectable
young woman asked if I would be good enough to tell her the nearest
way to Russell Square. She had hardly got the words out of her mouth,
when a policeman emerged from a doorway and charged her with solicitation, asking me to accompany them to the station and sign the
charge-sheet.
Not being a member of the profession, of course the
young woman had neglected to " pay her footing"; hence the official
Old hands had with impunity accosted me at least a dozen times
zeal.
I ventured to remonstrate, when I was myself
in the same street.
charged with being drunk and attempting a rescue, and I should certainly have ended my day in a State-furnished apartment, had not another keeper of the Queen's peace come alongside and drawn away my
accuser, whispering something in his ear the while.
I recognized the
features of an old acquaintance with whom I have an occasional glass at
;

the Bottle of

Hay on my way home from

the club.

reached home at last, and the events of the day battled with one anFreedom, order order, freedom.
other for precedence in my dreams.
Which is it to be? When I arose in the morning, I tried to record the
previous day's experiences just as they came to me, without offering any
dogmatic opinion as to the rights and the wrongs of the several cases
" I will send them," I said, " to the orgari of philosophic
which arose.
Anarchy in America, and, perhaps, in spite of their trivial character,
What
they may be deemed to present points worthy of commeiit. "
a pity it is that we cannot put our London fogs in a bag and send them
by parcel post to Boston for careful analysis
I

Wordsworth Donisthorpe.
London, England.

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

98

THE MORAL OF

MR. DONISTHORPE'S WOES.

{_Liberty,

January

25, 1890.]

The

reader of Mr. Donisthorpe's article in this issue on


of an Anarchist " may rise from its perusal with
a feeling of confusion equal to that manifested by the author,
but at least he will say to himself that for genuine humor he
For myself I have
has seldom read anything that equals it.
read it twice in manuscript and twice in proof, and still wish
that I might prolong my life by the laughter that four more
Mr. Donisthorpe ought to
readings would be sure to excite.
write a novel.
But when he asks Liberty to comment on his
woes and dissipate the fog he condenses around himself, I am
at a loss to know how to answer him.
For what is the moral
of this article, in which a day's events are made to tell with
equal vigor, now against State Socialism, now against capitalism, now against Anarchism, and now against Individualism ?
Simply this, that in the mess in which we find ourselves, and
perhaps in any state of things, all social theories involve their
difficulties and disadvantages, and that there are some troubles
from which mankind can never escape. Well, the Anarchists,
despite the fact that Henry George calls them optimists, are
pessimistic enough to accept this moral fully.
They never have
claimed that liberty will bring perfection they simply say
that its results are vastly preferable to those that follow au"

The Woes

Under liberty Mr. Donisthorpe may have to listen for


some minutes every day to the barrel-organ (though I really
think that it will never lodge him in the mad-house), but at
thority.

least

he

will

the evening
est

have the privilege of going to the music-hall in


whereas, under authority, even in its most hon-

and consistent form, he

will get rid of the barrel-organ

only

expense of being deprived of the music-hall, and, in its


less honest, less consistent, and more probable form, he may
lose the music-hall at the same time that the is forced to endure the barrel-organ. As a choice of blessings, liberty is the
greater
as a choice of evils, liberty is the smaller.
Then liberty always, say the Anarchists.
No use of force, except
against the invader
and in those cases where it is difficult to
tell whether the alleged offender is an invader or not, still no
use of force except where the necessity of immediate solution
is so imperative that we must use it to save ourselves.
And
in these few cases where we must use it, let us do so frankly
and squarely, acknowledging it as a matter of necessity, without
at the

THE INDIVIDUAL,

SOCIETY,

AND THE STATE.

99

seeking to harmonize our action with any political ideal or constructing any far-fetched theory of a State or collectivity having prerogatives and rights superior to those of individuals and
aggregations of individuals and exempted from the operation
of the ethical principles which individuals are expected to
observe.
But to say all this to Mr. Donisthorpe is like carrying coals to Newcastle, despite his catalogue of doubts and
woes.
He knows as well as I do that " liberty is not the
daughter, but the mother of order."

L'ETAT EST

MORT VIVE L'ETAT

[Liberty^

May 24,

1890.]

To the Editor of Liberty :


Hooks-and-eyes are very useful. Hooks are useless eyes are useless.
Yet in combination they are useful. This is co-operation. Where
you have division of labor and consequent differentiation of function
;

and, eventually, of structure, there is co-operation.


Certain tribes of
ants have working members and fighting members.
The military caste
are unable to collect food, which is provided for them by the other members of the community, in return for which they devote themselves to the
defence of the whole society.
But for these soldiers the society would
perish.
If either class perished, the other class would perish with it.
It
is the old fable of the belly and the limbs.
Division of labor does not always result in differentiation of structure.
In the case of bees and many other insects we know that it does.
Among mammals we have the well-marked structural division into males
and females, but beyond this the tendency to fix structural changes is
very slight.
In races where caste prevails, the tendency is more marked.

Even in England, where caste is extinct, it has been observed among the
mining population of Northufnbria. And the notorious short-sightedness
of Germans has been set down to compulsory book-study.

As a general rule, we may neglect this effect of co-operation among


human beings. The fact remains that the organized effort of 100 individuals is a very great deal more effective than the sum of the efforts of
100 unorganized individuals. Co-operation is an unmixed good. And the
Ishmaelitic anarchy of the bumble-bee is uneconomic.
Hostility to the
principle of co-operation (upon which society is founded) is usually attributed by the ignorant to philosophical Anarchists.
While Socialists
never weary of pointing to the glorious triumphs of co-operation, and
claiming them for Socialism. Wherever a number of persons join hands
with the object of effecting a purpose otherwise unattainable, we have
what is tantamount to a new force, the force, of combination: and
the persons so combining and regarded as a single body may be called
by a narrie, any name a Union, an Association, a Society, a Club, a
Company, a Corporation, a State. I do not say all these terms denote
precisely the same thing, but they all connote co-operation.
I prefer to

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

lOO

use the word Club to denote all such associations of men for a common
purpose.
Let the State be now abolished for the purposes of this discussion.
How do we stand ? We have by no means abolished all the clubs and
companies in which citizens find themselves grouped and interbanded.
There they all are, just as before. Let us examine some of them. Stay
there are a number of new ones, suddenly sprung up out of the debris
;

of,

the old State.

Here are some eighty men organized

in the form of a cricket-club.


not pitch the ball as they like, but only in accordance with
rigid laws.
They elect a king or captain, and they bind themselves to
member is told off to field at long-on, although
obey him in the field.
He must obey the despot.
he may wish to field at point.
Here is a ring of horsemen. They ride races. They back their own
horses.
Disputes arise about fouling, or perhaps the course is a curve
and some rider takes a short cut. Or the weights of the riders are unAll such
equal, and the heavier rider claims to equalize the weights.
matters are laid before a committee, and rules are drawn up by which all
the members of the little racing club pledge themselves to be bound.
The club grows other riding or racing men join it or adopt its rules.
At last so good are its laws that they are adopted by all the racing fraternity in the island, and all racing disputes are settled by the rules of the
Jockey Club. And even the judges of the land defer to them, and refer
points of racing law to the Club.
Here again is a knot of whalers chatting on the beach of a stormy sea.
Each trembles for the safety of his own vessel. He would give someHe
thing to be rid of his uneasiness.
All his eggs are in one basket.
would willingly distribute them over many baskets. He offers to take
long odds that his own vessel is lost. He repeats the offer till the long
odds cover the value of his ship and cargo, and perhaps profits and
time. " Now," says he, " I am comfortable.
It is true, I forfeit a small
percentage but if my whole craft goes to the bottom, I lose nothing."
He laughs and sings while the others go croaking about the sands, shaking their heads and looking fearfully at the breakers. At last they all
follow his example, and the net result is a Mutual Marine Insurance Society.
After a while they lay the odds, not with their own members
and the risk being over-estimated (naturally at
only, but with others
But now difficulties arise. The capfirst), they make large dividends.
tain of a whaler has thrown cargo overboard in a heavy sea.
The owner
claims for the loss.
The company declines to pay, on the ground that
the loss was voluntarily caused by the captain and not by the hand of
God or the king's enemies and that there would be no limit to jettison,
if the claim were allowed.
Other members meet with similar difficulties,
and finally Rules are made which provide for all known contingencies.
And when any dispute arises, the chosen Umpire, whetherjitbe a mutual
friend, or an agora-full of citizens, or a department of State, or any other
person or body of persons, refers to the common practice and precedents
so far as they apply.
In other words, the Rules of the Insurance Society are the law of the land.
In spite of the State, this is so to-day to a
considerable extent
I may say, in all matters which have not been

They may

botched and cobbled by statute.


There is another class of club springing out of the altruistic sentiment.
An old lady takes compassion on a starving cat (no uncommon sight in
the West End of London after the Season).
She puts a saucer of milk
pnd some liver on the doorstep. She is soon recognized as a beti^f^gtresg

THE INDIVIDUAL,

AND THE STATE.

SOCIETY,

lOI

and the cats for a mile round swarra to her household. The saucers increase and multiply, and the liver is an item in her butcher's bill.
The
strain is too great to be borne single-handed.
She issues a circular appeal,
and she is surprised to find how many are willing to contribute a fair share,
although their sympathy shrivels up before an unfair demand. They are
willing to be taxed pro rata, but they will not bear the burden of other
people's stinginess. " Let the poor cats bear it rather," say they. " What
is everybody's business is nobody's business.
It is very sad, but it cannot be helped.
If we keep one cat, hundreds will starve
so what's the
use ? " But when once the club is started, nobody feels the burden the
Cats' Home is built and endowed, and all goes well.
Hospitals, infirmaries, alms-houses, orphanages, spring up all round.
At first they are
reckless and indiscriminate, and become the prey of impostors and ablebodied vagrants. Then Rules are framed the Charity Organization Society co-ordinates and directs public benevolence.
And those rules of
prudence and economy are copied and adopted in many respects by those
who administer the State Poor Law.
Then we have associations of persons who agree on important points of
;

science or politics.
They wish to make others think with them, in order
that society may be pleasanter and more congenial for themselves.
They
would button-hole every man in the street and argue the question out
with him but the process is too lengthy and wearisome.
They club together and form such institutions as the British and Foreign Bible Society,
which has spent seven million pounds in disseminating untruths all over
have the Cobden Club, which is slowly and sadly dying
the world.
have scientific soof inconsistency after a career of merited success.
cieties of all descriptions that never ask or expect a penny reward for all
their outlay, beyond making other people wiser and pleasanter neighbors.
Finally, we have societies banded together to do battle against rivals on
the principle of "Union is strength." These clubs are defensive or agThe latter class includes all trading associations, the object of
gressive.
which is to make profits by out-manoeuvring competitors. The former
or defensive class includes all the political societies formed for the purpose of resistinjg the State, the most aggressive club in existence. Over
one hundred of these " protection societies " of one sort and another are
now federated under the hegemony of the Liberty and Property Defence
;

We

We

League.

Now we

have agreed that the Stat3 is to be abolished. What is the reHere are Watch Committees formed in the great towns to prevent
and to insure against burglars, thieves, and like marauders. How they
neither do I know the limits
are to be constituted I do not clearly know
Here again is a Mutual Inquest Society to provide
of their functions.
sult ?

for the examination of dead persons before burial or cremation, in order


Here is a Vigito make murder as unprofitable a business as possible.
lance Association sending out detectives for the purpose of discovering and
lynching the unsocial wretches who knowingly travel in public conveyHere is a journal supported
ances with infectious diseases on them.
by consumers for the advertisement of adulterating dealers. And here
again is a Filibustering Company got up by adventurous traders of the
old East India Company stamp for the purpose of carrying trade into forHere
eign countries with or without the consent of the invaded parties.
is a Statistical Society devising Rules to make it unpleasant for those who
evade registration and the census, and offering inducement to all who furWhat sort of organization (if any) will be
nish the required information.
formed for the enforcement (not necessarily by brute-force) of contract?

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

I02

Or will there be many such organizations dealing with different classes of


contract ? Will there be a Woman's League to boycott any man who has
abused the confidence of a woman and violated his pledges? How will it
try and sanction cases of breach of promise ?
Above all, how is this powerful Company for the defence of the country
against foreign invaders to be constituted ? And what safeguards will its
members provide against the tyranny of the officials ? When a Senator
proposed to limit the standing army of the United States to three thousand, George Washington agreed, on condition that the honorable member
would arrange that the country should never be invaded by more than two
Frankenstein created a Monster he could not lay. This will
thousand.
be a nut for Anarchists of the future to crack.
And now, to revert to the Vigilance Society formed for lynching persons who travel about in public places with small-pox and scarletina, what
Suppose they dub every
rules will they make for their own guidance ?
unvaccinated person a "focus of infection," shall we witness the establishment of an Anti- Vigilance Society to punch the heads of the detectives
who punch the heads of the " foci of infection"? Remember, we have
both these societies in full working order to-day. One is called the State,
and the other is the Anti- Vaccination Society.
The questions which I should wish to ask, and which I should wish Mr.
Herbert Spencer, Mr. Auberon Herbert, Mr. Benjamin Tucker, and Mr.
Victor Yarros to answer, are chiefly these two
1. How far may voluntary co-operators invade the liberty of others?
And what is to prevent such invasion under a system of Anarchy?
2. Is compulsory co-operation ever desirable ?
And what form (if any)
should such compulsion take ?
The existing State is obviously only a conglomeration of several large
societies which would exist separately or collectively in its absence
if the
State were abolished, these associations would necessarily spring up out of
its ruins, just as the nations of Europe sprang out of the ruins of the Roman Empire. They would apparently lack the power of compulsion. No
one would be compelled to join against his will. Take the ordinary case
of a gas-lit street. Would a voluntary gas-comimittee be willing to light the
street without somehow taxing all the dwellers in the street ?
If yes, then
there is inequity.
The generous and public-spirited pay for the stingy and
mean. But if no, then how is the taxing to be accomplished ? And where
If you compel A to pay for lighting the street
is the line to he drawn ?
when he swears he prefers it dark (a householder may really prefer a dark
street to a light one, if he goes to bed at sunset and wants the traffic to be
diverted into other streets to insure his peace)
then you will compel him
to subscribe to the Watch fund, though his house is burglar-proof
and to
the fire brigade, though his house is fire-proof
and to the prisons as part
of the plant and tools of the Watch Committee
and, it may logically be
urged, to the churches and schools as part also of such plant and tools
for the prevention of certain crimes.
Moreover, if you compel him to subscribe for the gas in the street, you
must make him pay his share of the street itself (paving, repairing, and
and if the street, then the highway
cleansing)
and if the highway, then
the railway, and the canal, and the bridges, and even the harbors and lighthouses and other common apparatus of transport and locomotion.
Personally, as an individualist, I would not compel a citizen to subscribe
to common benefits, even though he necessarily shares them.
But what I
want the four lights of Anarchy above-named to tell me is
How are we
to remove the injustice of ^llowingj one man to ?njoy what another ha?
:

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

103

My

questions are quite distinct. Thus an army under the system


of conscription is a case of compulsory co-operation
a band of brigands
case
of
voluntary
co-operation.
a
I hate both.
is
I would join a voluntary association directed against either or both.
Neither do I put these
questions in order to cast doubts on the feasibility of Anarchy at the present time.
I ask merely for information from those wrho are, in
opinion, best able to give it.

earned?

my

Wordsworth Donisthorpe,
London, England,

VOLUNTARY CO-OPERATION.
\Liberty,

May

24,

1890.]

It is questionable whether Herbert Spencer will relish Mr.


Donisthorpe's classification of him as one of four lights of
Anarchy. I think he would be justified in putting in a disclaimer.
No doubt Anarcliy is immeasurably indebted to Mr.
Spencer for a phenomenally clear exposition of its bottom
But he entertains heresies on the very questions
truths.
which Mr. Donisthorpe raises that debar him from recogniHis belief in compulsory taxation and
tion as an Anarchist.
his acceptance of the majority principle, not as a temporary
necessity, but as permanently warranted within a certain
sphere, show him to be unfaithful to his principle of equal
liberty, as Mr. Donisthorpe has convincingly demonstrated in
I am sure that his
his recent book on " Individualism."
answers to Mr. Donisthorpe's questions would widely differ
from any that Mr. Yarros or myself could possibly make.
When it comes to Auberon Herbert, the community of
thought is closer, as on practical issues he is pretty nearly at
one with the attitude of Liberty. But I fancy that Mr. Donisthorpe would have difficulty in driving all three of us into the
same corner. Before he had gone far, the ethical question of
the nature of right would arise, and straightway Mr. Yarros
and myself would be arrayed with Mr. Donisthorpe against
Mr. Herbert.
As one of the two remaining " lights of Anarchy " appealed
to, I will try to deal briefly with Mr. Donisthorpe's questions.
" How far may voluntary co-operators invade
To his first
Not at all. Under this
I answer
the liberty of others ? "
head I have previously made answer to Mr. Donisthorpe, and
as to the adequacy or inadequacy of this answer he has as yet
made no sign. For this reason I repeat my words. " Then
:

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

I04

No use of force, except


liberty always, say the Anarchists.
and in those cases where it is difficult to
against the invader
tell whether the alleged offender is an invader or not, still no
;

use of force except where the necessity of immediate solution


And
is so imperative that we must use it to save ourselves.
in these few cases where we must use it, let us do so frankly
and squarely, acknowledging it as a matter of necessity, without seeking to harmonize our action with any political ideal
or constructing any far-fetched theory of a State or collectivity
having prerogatives and rights superior to those of individuals
and aggregations of individuals and exempted from the operation of the ethical principles which individuals are expected
to observe." This is the best rule that I can frame as a guide
To apply it to only one of Mr.
to voluntary co-operators.
Donisthorpe's cases, I think that under a system of Anarchy,
even if it were admitted that there was some ground for
considering an unvaccinated person an invader, it would be
generally recognized that such invasion was not of a character to require treatment by force, and that any attempt to
treat it by force would be regarded as itself an invasion of
a less doubtful and more immediate nature, requiring as such

be resisted.
But under a system of Anarchy how is such resistance to
be made ? is Mr. Donisthorpe's second question. By another
band of voluntary co-operators. But are we then, Mr. Donisthorpe will ask, to have innumerable bands of voluntary cooperators perpetually at war with each other ? Not at all. A
system of Anarchy in actual operation implies a previous
education of the people in the principles of Anarchy, and that
in turn implies such a distrust and hatred of interference that
the only band of voluntary co-operators which could gain support sufficient to enforce its will would be that which either
entirely refrained from interference or reduced it to a minimum. This would be my answer to Mr. Donisthorpe, were I
to admit his assumption of a state of Anarchy supervening
upon a sudden collapse of Archy. But I really scout this assumption as absurd. Anarchists work for the abolition of the
State, but by this they mean not its overthrow, but, as Proudhon put it, its dissolution in the economic organism. This
being the case, the question before us is not, as Mr. Donisthorpe supposes, what measures and means of interference we
are justified in instituting, but which ones of those already
to

we should first lop off.


answer that unquestionably the
existing

And
first

to this the Anarchists


to go should be those

th^t interfere niost fuR^fii'n^nt^P}' ^ith

a,

fr^^

mwket, and

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

I05

economic and moral changes that would result from


would act as a solvent upon all the remaining forms of

that the
this

interference.
" Is compulsory co-operation ever desirable ? " Compulsory
co-operation is simply one form of invading the liberty of
others, and voluntary co-operators will not be justified in resorting to it
that is; in becoming compulsory co-operators
any more than resorting to any other form of invasion.
"
are we to remove the injustice of allowing one man

How

what another has earned ? " I do not expect it ever


But I believe that for every dollar
to be removed altogether.
that would be enjoyed by tax-dodgers under Anarchy, a thousand dollars are now enjoyed by men who have got possession
of the earnings of others through special industrial, commercial, and financial privileges granted them by authority in
violation of a free market.
In regard to the various clubs referred to by Mr. Donisthorpe as based on an intolerance that is full of the spirit of
interference, I can only say that probably they will cease to
pattern after their great exemplar, the State, when the State
shall no longer exist, and that meantime, if intolerant bigots
choose to make petty tyranny a condition of association with
them, we believers in liberty have the privilege of avoiding
to enjoy

their society.

stand

it

Doesn't Mr. Donisthorpe suppose that we can


can ?

as long as they

L'ETAT, C'EST L'ENNEMI.


{^Liberty.,

February

26, 1887.]

Dear Tucker
Since the occasion wiien you so arbitrarily side-tracked me in the edicolumns of Liberty,* certain notions of self-respect in connection
with your attitude towards me have bid me pause whenever I attempted
torial

* The writer of this letter, Mr. Henry Appleton, was one of Liberty's
original editorial contributors, and remained such for five years.
At ths
end of that time he publicly took a position not in harmony with that of
of
great
importance,
and
it
became
on
a
point
necessary
that
the paper,
At the same time he was corhis editorial contributions should cease.
dially invited to freely make use of the other departments of the paper
He never availed himself of this invitafor the expression of his views.
tion further than to write the above letter, which, with the editor's reply,
is included in this volume because, in spite of the personal nature of the
contrgversy, important questions of principle are also dealt with,

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

Io6

my

to state
present position, and wherein I feel that I have outgrown the
partial methods by which you seek to deal with existing social maladjustI did send a communication to the Truth Seeker, but Macdonald,
though he had just published your communication, chose to even out-do
your side-tracking method of discipline by dumping me out of his columns altogether. But, lest I should be suspected of sneaking out of the
ranks through cowardice, policy, or some other unworthy consideration,
I will waive my own personality in behalf of right thinking, and state
my case as fully as space and the magnitude of the subject will permit.
Every subject dealing with radical reform has two main terms, viz.,
its basic philosophic statement and its resultant protest.
The basic
statement, or affirmation, of our propaganda is the Sovereignty of the Individual, around which the whole science of Individualism is built,
conditioned by liberty and the cost principle, (i) Its protest is aimed at arbitrary force which ignores individual consent, and the label which you
borrowed from Proudhon by which to designate it is "Anarchism."
Fully at one with Josiah Warren's grand affirmation, I was as fully at
one with the righteousness of your protest, and, paying little regard as
to whether you grabbed the beast of authority by the head or the tail,
pulled off my coat and went in with you to haul him out of his hole.
Whether this business was called Anarchy or not was to me, for the time
being, of little account, being sure that it was righteous and telling

ments.

business.

But few numbers of Liberty\i&& appeared, when the esteemed personal


whom I had induced to subscribe for it all had me by the collar
" Well, allowing that your protest is all right,
with this one question
what have you to substitute for the existing order?"
"Why," I replied, "the order contemplated grows out of the science
of Individualism, the corner-stone of which is our basic philosophic affirmation."
" Oh, yes, I see," replied a Judge of the United States Circuit Court
"then you and Tucker belong to an order of social scientists who put
their protest ahead of their affirmation, and thus propose to move society
tail-end-to. Where is your constructive side ? Give us that, and the protest, which is simply its logical deduction, will take care of itself."
I replied to him and others that the paper was small and new, but that
the constructive end would certainly be held up on a level with the protesting.
So I set to work, and for a long time was bent upon making
every article of mine bear upon our philosophy. I think a review of the
first volume of Liberty will show that nearly every article explaining its
philosophy and method was from my pen. (2)
But the temptation to fight and kick and scratch and bite, instead of
educate and construct, was constantly after me. Many a resolve did I
make to leave the fighting department to you, and attend strictly to the
proved too weak, till finally a well-developed
educational, but, alas
habit of personal sparring, countering, dropping to avoid punishment,
etc., resulted in something akin to outright "slugging," when the profriends

prietor of the ring put me outside the ropes, while Sister Kelly flung after
me the taunt of compromise, and Brother Lloyd cried out : Is this a free
fight

? (3)

Now,

friend Tucker, these not very enviable experiences were the remistake in the beginning of your work, and one which

sult of one fatal


a truly scientific

propagandist should never

victim to.
It is that you
projected your propaganda from the protest rather than from the basic
The affirmation is primarv. the protest is secondaffirmation of Liberty.
fall

TMe individual, society, and the stAtE.

io^r

Though

the protest logically leads back to the affirmation, the


always the unnatural one of walking backwards. If you develop
your propaganda logically from step to step, as projected from your affirmation, the protests go along with it and are always fortified in the
ary.

process

is

accompanying philosophical base of supplies. Meanwhile education and


construction are the natural work in hand. But if you start out by deploying recklessly ahead with your protest, the process of walking backwards to your base of supplies is so unnatural, and the temptation to
fight instead of construct so great, that you soon fight yourself so far
away from your supplies that the objector naturally cries out on every
side
"Well, what have you behind you, whither would you lead us, and
what shall protect us when you get there ? " You must therefore take
every individual recruit back to your philosophical commissary department, where you do not take it with you. (4)
As to the term Anarchism, I have grown to be convinced that it is
partial, vague, misleading, and not a comprehensive scientific complement of Individualism. If it means a protest against the existing political State, then I am, of course, an Anarchist.
You say that it means
more, and includes a protest against every invasion of individual right.
But this is merely a convenient assumption, not warranted by its etymology, which is purely of political origin. Proudhon, from whom you
borrowed it, used it only when speaking of political application of government. Most, Parsons, and Seymour base their protest against the
existing political State on Communism, their model of social order.
You base yours on voluntary co-operation of individual sovereigns, your
model. Now, if Anarchism is merely a protest against the existing State,
then, as friend Morse truly says, you have no more right to say that they
If you
are not Anarchists than they have to say that you are not one.
are all Anarchists, and become such from principles in direct antagonism
to each other, then who is an Anarchist and who is not, and what relia:

bility attaches to

it

as a scientific protest

? (5)

Moreover, every man has the right to be understood. If you stretch


the scope of Anarchy beyond the political sphere, then it plainly comes
the very opposite of what Individualto mean without guiding principle,
ism logically leads to. Anarchy means opposed to the archos, or politiIf you take
cal leader, because the motive principle of politics is force.
the arckos out of politics, he becomes the very thing you want as an IndiIt will not do, then,
vidualist, since he is a leader by voluntary selection.
to stretch the scope of Anarchism beyond political government, else you
It must, therefore, stay within the boundaries
defeat your own purpose.
of politics, and, staying there, is only a partial and quite unscientific term
to cover the whole protest which complements Individualism. (6)
When I am asked if I am an Anarchist, the person who asks it wants to
know if I am the kind of person he thinks I am, one believing in no
guiding principle of social administration. In duty to myself I am obliged
This is the eternal mischief which follows from defining one's
to say no.
self through his protest, rather than his affirmation. It is a position which
everyone owes to himself to keep out of, where the protest is deduced
from a philosophical system. All the Protestant sects define themselves
by their affirmations and not by their protests, and so should all scientific
The protest is none the less strong yea, far
systems of sociology.
stronger when carried along as a complement to the principles which
the creature usurping the domain
create it, rather than as a main term,

of

its

creator. (7)
Individualist,

As an

find the political State

a consequent rather than

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

10

an antecedent. By making your protest your main term, the State must
be made antecedent, which it is not. If you thinlc the State the efficient
cause of tyranny over individuals, I take it you are beclouded in a most
radical delusion, into which I coiald easily turn a flood of light, had 1 not
already encroached -too much on your space. The State is a variable
quantity,
expanding just in proportion as previous surrenders of individual sovereignty give it material.
The initial cause is, however, the surrendering individual, the State being only possible after the surrender.
Hence the individual is the proper objective point of reform. As he is reformed, the State disappears of itself. (8)
This subject is so rich in thought that I could fill the whole edition of
Liberty, and then not have said half that is still pertinent to what I have
begun. Having already spent too much of my life in fighting and trying
to pull things around by the tail rather than by the head and heart, I propose to spend the remainder of it in constructive educational work. Fighting with tongue and pen is simply a process of spiritual killing, differing
from other killing only in method. While there is so much pressing constructive work to be done, I prefer to leave the fighting line of propaganda
to those whose temperament and constitution make them better fighters
than builders. So go on kicking up the Anarchistic dust at the tail end of
the beast of despotism, but pardon me if, having been a reform tail-twister
all my life, I am trying to get a little nearer the head and horns of the
beast and finish up ray work on that end.
Unnatural government inevitably follows unnatural conditions, and mere
scolding and kicking and protesting to all eternity will never change this
stern law of nature by v/hich she secures self-preservation.
That diseased
form of social administration known as the State belongs in nature to that

diseased condition known as centralization, in place of localization. New


York and other cities, the places where the State chiefly draws its material
for rent, usury, and individual slavery in general, are ulcers on the face of
this planet.
Localize their populations over the soil, with individuals
not only claiming, but utilizing, their right to the soil and other means of
sovereignty, and nineteen-twentieths of the State in this country would
cease to be.
Yet thousands of miserable servile wretches in New York
will go to labor meetings and shout, " The land belongs to the people !"
while they cannot be coaxed or whipped out of this stinking nest of usury
and political corruption, though you should offer them plenty of good
land for nothing.
In fact, large tracts across the river in New Jersey can
be had for next to nothing, the young men of those sections preferring to
let their fathers' homes and lands rot and run to waste in order to crowd
into New York with the rest of the vulgar herd, with future visions of duplicated Jay Goulds in mind. I say that, until we can get more manly and
sober incentive into individuals, the New Yorks and Chicagos will press
and stink themselves into such intolerable political corruption and general
demoralization that the merciful torch alone can rid humanity of them.
To cry Anarchy in such communities is futile, unless you cry it in its worst
sense, and that is already .well-nigh realized.
Yet, friend Tucker, you have always treated with contempt my proposal
to warn individuals to get out of these cities and colonize on the soil, under conditions that alone make voluntary government possible. You say
great cities are blessings, and that the proper thing for these low-motived,
noisy wretches who cry in labor meetings, "The land for the people " is
You seem possessed with the unfortuto stay right here and fight it out.
nate delusion that natural government is possible in this crowded hole,
the
rich
sleep
in
brown-stone
where even
stalls, and the surroundings of
!

tHft INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY,

AND THE STATE.

169

great masses of the people are more than beastly.


So long as industry,
commerce, and domicile are centralized, the necessary conditions of individual sovereignty are physically impossible, while usury is invited, and
the patched-up fraud which goes by the name of government becomes the
necessary arrangement for holding the diseased conditions together, pending the inevitable day when fire and dynamite will come to remove these
social ulcers, in order that the general body social may survive. I sincerely
hope you will look into these matters more seriously, and insist on localization, the social expression of Individualism, (g)
The name Liberty, so artistically inscribed on your editorial shingle, expresses neither the affirmation nor the protest of our system, but is simply

an auxiliary term between them.

think

it

unfortunate that your paper

was not named "The Individualist," and I have in mind a name even
Had our propaganda been started on the cennearer the centre than that.
tre from the first, we should probably have been far along in the constructive educational work, rather than come to whipping about in the tanglebrush of misunderstanding. But it is probably all for the best, and, whatever may be the mistakes of its pioneers, the new structure is bound by
and by to take definite shape and avert the social suicide which the existing order

is

so rapidly precipitating. (10)

Henry Appleton.

The foregoing article has been in my hands some time, the


pressure on these columns having compelled its postponement.
To this delay of several weeks in publication, however, I am
the more easily reconciled by the fact that its writer had
himself affected its timeliness, nearly as much as was possible,
by a delay of several months in its preparation. The " arbitrary side-tracking " of which he complains, and out of which
it grows, occurred last August, and, if his defensive protest
seems at all stale in February, it should be remembered that
But
it would not have charmed by its freshness in January.
principles never grow old, and, looked at in their light, Mr.
Appleton's words are as wise or as foolish to-day as they ever
were or ever will be.
Speaking exactly, all voluntary acts are arbitrary, inasmuch
as they are performed in the exercise of will, and in that sense
of course the " side-tracking " of Mr. Appleton was an arBut in no objectionable sense was it arbitrary, in
bitrary act.
no sense was it despotic. Mr. Appleton having announced
that the principal object for which he and I had so long editorially co-operated had become to him a secondary and comparatively trivial object, it should have been evident to him,
as it was to me and to nearly everybody else, that our co-operAfter such a
ation in future could not be what it had been.
Instead of
declaration, my act became a matter of course.
being despotic, it was almost perfunctory. He took the side
I but officially registered his course.
track himself
I appreciate the spirit of condescension and self-abasement
;

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

tid

which has

finally

permitted Mr. Appleton to continue con-

troversy with so unworthy an antagonist as myself and to


place himself on a level with that inferior race of beings who
write for Liberty non-editorially, and in this obliteration of
self I feebly emulate him by consenting to let him fill these
columns with his defence or explanation after he had ignored
the invitation which I had extended him to do so long enough
to ascertain that he could not procure its publication else-

where.
After these preliminaries, I may proceed to consider Mr.
Appleton's arguments, numbering the points as I deal with
them, to avoid the necessity of repeating the statements
criticised.

(i) I do not admit anything, except the existence of the


To say that the
individual, as a condition of his sovereignty.
sovereignty of the individual is conditioned by Liberty is
simply another way of saying that it is conditioned by itself.
To condition it by the cost principle is equivalent to institutan attempted fusion of
ing the cost principle by authority,
Anarchism with State Socialism which I have always understood Mr. Appleton to rebel against.

To bear out this statement Mr. Appleton would have


prove himself the author of nearly every article that appeared in the first volume of Liberty, whereas, as a general
thing, he wrote but one article for each number.
Nine tenths
of the editorial matter printed in Liberty has been written to
explain its philosophy and method. It is true that Mr. Appleton has used the words philosophy and method oftener than
any other writer, but mere repetition of the words is neither
philosophical nor rationally methodical. I am far from saying
here that Mr. Appleton's articles were not philosophical
I
am only insisting that their philosophical character was not
due to the use of the word philosophy, and that others which
used the word less frequently or not at all were quite as phil(2)

to

osophical as

his.

Whatever fighting Mr. Appleton has done in Liberty, he


has done of his own motion. It has always been his privilege
to use these columns as freely as he chose (within certain
limits of space) for " constructive educational work " on the
(3)

He has written as he pleased


basis of individual sovereignty.
on what subjects he pleased, with seldom even a suggestion
from me. In any conflict with me he has always been the
attacking party.
(4) It is true that the affirmation of individual sovereignty
is logically precedent to protest against authority as such.
But

THE INDlVlDtAt, SOCIETV,

A^iJ

THE STATE.

til

To protest against the invasion of individual sovereignty is necessarily to affirm individual sovereignty.
The Anarchist always carries his base of
supplies with him.
He cannot fight away from it. The
moment he does so he becomes an Archist. This protest
contains all the affirmation that there is. As I have pointed
out to Comrade Lloyd, Anarchy has no side that is affirmaNeither as Anarchists
tive in the sense of constructive.
nor what is practically the same thing as individual sovereigns have we any constructive work to do, though as progressive beings we have plenty of it. But, if we had perfect
liberty, we might, if we chose, remain utterly inactive and still
be individual sovereigns. Mr. Appleton's unenviable experiences are due to no mistake of mine, but to his ownfolly in
acknowledging the pertinence of the hackneyed cry for construction, which loses none of its nonsense on the lips of
a Circuit Court Judge.
(5) I have asked friend Morse whether he ever made the
statement here attributed to him, and he says that he never
did.
But I scarcely needed to ask him. He and I have not
kept intellectual company these fifteen years to the end that
he should so misunderstand me. He knows perfectly well
that I base my assertion that the Chicago Communists are not
Anarchists entirely on the ground that Anarchism means
(Whether this
a protest against every form of invasion.
definition is etymologically correct I will show in the next
paragraph.)
Those who protest against the existing political
State, with emphasis on the existing, are not Anarchists, but
In objecting to a special form or method of inArchists.
vasion, they tacitly acknowledge the rightfulness of some
other form or method of invasion. Proudhon never fought
he fought the institution itself, as
any particular State
necessarily negative of individual sovereignty, whatever form
His use of the word Anarchism shows that he
it may take.
considered it coextensive with individual sovereignty. If his
applications of it were directed against political government,
it was because he considered political government the only
invader of individual sovereignty worth talking about, having
no knowledge of Mr. Appleton's " comprehensive philosophy,"
which thinks it takes cognizance of a " vast mountain of government outside of the organized State." The reason why
Most and Parsons are not Anarchists, while I am one, is because their Communism is another State, while my voluntary
It is a very easy matter to
co-operation is not a State at all.
One question will
tell who is an Anarchist and who is not.
in practice they are inseparable.

12

INSTEAD OF A

KOOii.

always readily decide it. Do you believe in any form of imIf you do, you are
position upon the human will by force ?
not an Anarchist. If you do not, you are an Anarchist. What
can any one ask more reliable, more scientific, than this ?
(6) Anarchy does not mean simply opposed to the archos,
or political leader.
Now, arche,
It means opposed to arche.
in the first instance, means beginning, origin.
From this it

comes to mean a first principle, an eletnent ; then first place,


supreme power, sovereignty, dominion, command, authority ; and
finally a sovereignty, an empire, a realm, a magistracy, a governmental office. Etymologically, then, the word anarchy may
have several meanings, among them, as Mr. Appleton says,
without guiding principle, and to this use of the word I have
never objected, always striving, on the contrary, to interpret
in accordance with their definition the thought of those who
so use it.
But the word Anarchy as a philosophical term and
the word Anarchist as the name of a philosophical sect were
first appropriated in the sense of opposition to dominion, to
authority, and are so held by right of occupancy, which fact
makes any other philosophical use of them improper and confusing.
Therefore, as Mr. Appleton does not make the political sphere coextensive with dominion or authority, he cannot
claim that Anarchy, when extended beyond the political sphere,
necessarily comes to mean without guiding principle, for it may
mean, and by appropriation does mean, without dominion, without authority.
Consequently it is a term which completely and
scientifically covers the individualistic protest.
(7) The misunderstandings of which Mr. Appleton has been
a victim are not the result of his defining himself through his
protest, for he would not have avoided them had he defined
himself through his affirmation and called himself an Individualist.
I could scarcely name a word that has been more
abused, misunderstood, and misinterpreted than Individualism.
Mr. Appleton makes so palpable a point against himself in instancing the Protestant sects that it is really laughable to see
him try to use it against me. However it may be with the
Protestant sects, the one great Protestant body itself was born
of protest, suckled by protest, named after protest, and lived
on protest until the days of its usefulness were over. If such
instances proved anything, plenty of them might be cited
For example, taking one of more reagainst Mr. Appleton.
cent date, I might pertinently inquire which contributed most
those who defined themselves
to the freedom of the negro,
through their affirmations as the Liberty Party or as Colonizationists, or those who defined themselves through their protests

THfi INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY,

AND THE

STATE.

Ilj

as the Anti-Slavery Society or as Abolitionists.


Unquestionably the latter.
And when human slavery in all its forms
shall have disappeared, I fancy that the credit of the victory
will be given quite as exclusively to the Anarchists, and that
these latter-day Colonizationistp, of whom Mr. Appleton has
suddenly become so enamored, will be held as innocent of its
overthrow as are their predecessors and namesakes of the overthrow of chattel slavery.
(8) It is to be regretted that Mr. Appleton took up so much

space with other matters that he could not turn his " flood of
light " into my " delusion " that the State is the efficient cause
of tyranny over individuals
for the question whether this is
a delusion or not is the very heart of the issue between us.
He has asserted that there is a vast mountain of government
outside of the organized State, and that our chief battle is
with that I, on the contrary, have maintained that practically
almost all the authority against which we have to contend is
exercised by the State, and that, when we have abolished the
State, the struggle for individual sovereignty will be well-nigh
over.
I have shown that Mr. Appleton, to maintain his position, must point out this vast mountain of government and tell
us definitely what it is and how it acts, and this is what the
readers of Liberty have been waiting to see him do.
But he
no more does it in his last article than in his first. And his
only attempt to dispute my statement that the State is the
efficient cause of tyranny over individuals is confined to two or
three sentences which culminate in the conclusion that the
initial ca.n%e: is the surrendering individual.
I have never denied it, and am charmed by the air of innocence with which
;

this substitution of initial for efficient is effected.

Of

initial

causes finite intelligence knows nothing


it can only know
causes as more or less remote. But using the word initial in
the sense of remoter, I am willing to admit, for the sake of
the argument (though it is not a settled matter), that the
Mr. Appleton
initial cause was the surrendering individual.
doubtless means voluntarily surrendering individual, for compulsory surrender would imply the prior existence of a power
But the State, havto exact it, or a primitive form of State.
ing come into existence through such voluntary surrender,
becomes a positive, strong, growing, encroaching institution,
which expands, not by further voluntary surrenders, but by
exacting surrenders from its individual subjects, and which
contracts only as they successfully rebel. That, at any rate, is
what it is to-day, and hence it is the efficient cause of tyranny.
The only sense, then, in which it is true that " the individual
;

INSTEAD

114

Ol?

A BOOK.

the proper objective point of reform " is this,


that he must
be penetrated with the Anarchistic idea and taught to rebel.
But this is not what Mr. Appleton means. If it were, his
criticism would not be pertinent, for I have never advocated
is

any other method of abolishing the State. The logic of his


position compels another interpretation of his words,
namely,
that the State cannot disappear until the individual is perfected.
In saying which, Mr. Appleton joins hands with
those wise persons v/ho admit that Anarchy will be practicable when the millennium arrives.
It is an utter abandonment of Anarchistic Socialism. No doubt it is true that, if
the individual could perfect himself while the barriers to his
perfection are standing, the State would afterwards disappear.
Perhaps, too, he could go to heaven, if he could lift himself
b}' his boot-straps.
(9) If one must favor colonization, or localization, as Mr.
Appleton calls it, as a result of looking " seriously " into these
'matters, then he must have been trifling with them for a long
time.
He has combatted colonization in these columns more
vigorously than ever I did or can, and not until comparatively
lately did he write anything seeming to favor it.
Even then he
declared that he was not given over to the idea, and seemed
only to be making a tentative venture into a region which he
had not before explored. If he has since become a settler, it
only indicates to my mind that he has not yet fathomed the
real cause of the people's wretchedness.
That cause is State
interference with natural economic processes.
The people are
poor and robbed and enslaved, not because " industry, commerce, and domicile are centralized,"- in fact, such centralization has, on the whole, greatly benefited them,
but because
the control of the conditions under which industry, commerce,
and domicile are exercised and enjoyed is centralized. The
localization needed is not the localization of persons in space,
but of powers in persons, that is, the restriction of power to
self and the abolition of power over others.
Government
makes itself felt alike in country and in city, capital has its
usurious grip on the farm as surely as on the workshop, and
the oppressions and exactions of neither government nor
capital can be avoided by migration.
L'Etat, c'est I'ennemi.
The State is the enemy, and the best means of fighting it can
only be found in communities already existing.
If there
were no other reason for opposing colonization, this in itself

would be

sufficient.

do not know what Mr. Appleton means when he calls


Liberty an auxiliary term between the afifirmation and the
(10) I

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY^ AND THE STATE.

15

of our system, and I doubt if he knows himself.


expresses practically the same idea as " The Individualist" and is a much better name for a paper I think most
persons will agree.
If, " had our propaganda been started on
the centre from the first, we should probably have been far
along in constructive educational work," and if, assuming, that
we are not far along in it, it is " probably all for the best,"
then it is probably all for the best that our propaganda was
not started on the centre, assuming that it was not so started
and in that case what is all this fuss about ? Optimists should
never complain.
protest

That

it

A LIBERTARIAN'S PET DESPOTISMS.


\_Liberty^

January

i,

1887.!

" There is nothing any better than Liberty and nothing any
worse than despotism, be it the theological despotism of the
skies, the theocratic despotism of kings, or the democratic
despotism of majorities
and the labor reformer who starts
out to combat the despotism of capital with other despotism
no better lacks only power to be worse than the foe he encounters." These are the words of my brother Pinney of
the Winsted Press, Protectionist and Greenbacker,
that is,
a man who combats the despotism of capital with that despotism which denies the liberty to buy foreign goods untaxed
and that despotism which denies the liberty to issue notes to
Mr. Pinney is driven into this inconcirculate as currency.
sistency by his desire for high wages and an abundance of
money, which he thinks it impossible to get except through
tariff monopoly and money monopoly.
But religious despottism pleads a desire for salvation, and moral despotism pleads
a desire for purity, and prohibitory despotism pleads a desire
Yet all these despotisms lead to hell, though all
for sobriety.
and Mr. Pinney's
these hells are paved with good intentions
The above extract shows that
hells are just as hot as any.
he knows Liberty to be the true way of salvation. Why,
then, does he not steadily follow it ?
;

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

Il6

DEFENSIVE DESPOTISM.
{Lii>eriy,

January

22, 1887,]

Mr. Pinney, editor of an exceedingly bright paper, the Winsted Fress, recently combated prohibition in the name of
Thereupon I showed him that his argument was
Liberty.
equally good against his own advocacy of a tariff on imports
and an exclusive government currency. Carefully avoiding
any allusion to the analogy, Mr. Pinney now rejoins " In
brief, we are despotic because we believe it is our right to defend ourselves from foreign invaders on the one side and
Yes, just as despotic as the
wild-cat swindlers on the other."
:

who believe it is their right to defend themselves


from drunkards and rumsellers. In another column of the
same issue of the Fress I find a reference to a " logical Procrustean bed " kept in Liberty's office to which I fit my friends
and foes by stretching out and lopping off their limbs. It is a
subject on which the dismembered Mr. Pinney speaks feel-

prohibitionists

ingly.

STILL IN

THE PROCRUSTEAN
{^Li&erty,

February

BED.

12, 1887,]

me regarding the logic of


the principle of liberty, Mr. Pinney of the Winsted Fress says
Continuing

his controversy with

There is no analogy between prohibition and the tariff the tariff proIt is
hibits no man from indulging his desire to trade where he pleases.
simply a tax. It is slightly analogous to a license tax for the privilege of
;

selling liquor in a given territory, but prohibition, in theory


tice, is an entirely different matter.

if

not in prac-

This is a distinction without a difference. The so-called


prohibitory liquor law prohibits no man, even theoretically,
from indulging his desire to sell liquor it simply subjects the
man so indulging to fine and imprisonment. The tax imposed
by the tariff law and the fine imposed by the prohibitory law
share alike the nature of a penalty, and are equally invasive of
Mr. Pinney's argument, though of no real validity in
liberty.
any case, would present at least a show of reason in the mouth
;

of a

"revenue r^fprmer"; but, coming

froni

one who scorns

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

II

the idea of raising revenue by the tariff and who has declared
explicitly that he desires the tariff to be so effectively prohibitory that it shall yield no revenue at all, it lacks even the

appearance of logic.
Equally lame is Mr. Finney's apology for a compulsory

money

system.

As for the exclusive government currency which we advocate, and


which Mr. Tucker tortures into prohibition of individual property scrip,
there is just as much analogy as there is between prohibition and the
exclusive law-making, treaty-making, war-declaring, or any other powers
delegated to government because government better than the individual
can be intrusted with and make use of these powers.

much, I agree and in this I can see a good reason


Pinney, who started out with the proposition that
" there is nothing any better than liberty and nothing any
worse than despotism," should oppose law-making, treatymaking, war-declaring, etc., but none whatever why he should
How much " torfavor an exclusive government currency.
ture " it requires to extract the idea of " prohibition of individual property scrip" from the idea of an ^''exclusive government currency" our readers will need no help in deciding, unless
the word " exclusive " has acquired some new meaning as
unknown to them as it is to me.
But Mr. Pinney's brilliant ideas are not exhausted yet. He
continues
Just as

why Mr.

Government prohibits the taking of private property for public uses


Therefore, if we fit Mr. Tucker's Procruswithout just compensation.
tean bed, we cannot sustain this form of prohibition and consistently opThis is consistency run mad, " analpose prohibition of liquor drinking
ogy " reduced to an absurdity. We are astonished that Mr. Tucker can
be guilty of it.
!

So am I. Or rather, I should be astonished if I had been


But I haven't. To say nothing of the fact that
guilty of it.
the governmental prohibition here spoken of is a prohibibion
laid by government upon itself, and that such prohibitions can
never be displeasing to an Anarchist, it is clear that the taking
of private property from persons who have violated the rights
of nobody is invasion, and to the prohibition of invasion no
Mr. Pinney has already
friend of liberty has any objection.
resorted to the plea of invasion as an excuse for his advocacy

and it would be a good defence if he could estabBut I have pointed out to him that the pretence that
the foreign merchant who sells goods to American citizens or
of a

lish

tariff,

it.

the. individual

who

offers his I

Q U

are invaders

is

as flimsy

Il8
as

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

the prohibitionist's pretence that the rumseller and the

drunkard are invaders. Neither invasion nor evasion will reIf he has no more effective
lieve Mr. Pinney of his dilemma.
weapons, what[he dubs " Boston analogy " is in no danger from
his assaults,

PINNEY STRUGGLING WITH PROCRUSTES.


\Liherty,

March

12, 1887.]

It is the habit of the wild Westerner, whenever he cannot


answer a Bostonian's arguments, to string long words into long
sentences in mockery of certain fancied peculiarities of the
Boston mind. Editor Pinney of the Winsted Press is not
exactly a wild Westerner, but he lives just far enough beyond
the confines of Massachusetts to enable him to resort to this
device in order to obscure the otherwise obvious necessity of
meeting me on reason' s ground. His last reply to me fruitlessly fills two-thirds of one of his long columns with the

buncombe referred to, whereas that amount of space,


duly applied to solid argument, might have sufficed to show
sort of

one of us

in error.

Whatever the

characteristics of

Boston

intellect, generically speaking, in the particular

Bostonian with
whom he is now confronted Mr. Pinney would see, were he a
student of human nature, an extremely hard-headed individual,
about whose mind there is nothing celestial or supermundane
or aesthetic or aberrant, and whose only dialectics consists in
searching faithfully for the fundamental weakness of his adversary's position and striking at it with swift precision, or
else, finding none such, in acknowledging defeat.
But human

nature at least, Boston- human nature being a puzzle to Mr.


Pinney, he mistakes me for a quibbler, a disputatious advocate,
and a lover of logomachy. Let us see, then, by whom lo-

gomachy was

first

employed

in this discussion.

In an unguarded moment of righteous impatience with the


folly of the prohibitionists Mr. Pinney had given utterance
to some very extreme and Anarchistic doctrine.
I applauded
him, and ventured to call his attention to one or two forms of
prohibition other than that of the liquor traffic, equally repugnant to his theory of liberty and yet championed by him.
One of these was the tariff. He answered me that " there is
no analogy between prohibition and the tariff the tariff oro;

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.


hibits no
pleases."

IltJ

man from

indulging his desire to trade where he


Right here logomachy made its first appearance,
over the word " prohibit." I had cited two forms of State interference with trade, each of which in practice either annoys
it or hampers it or effectively prevents it, according to circumThis analogy in substantial results presented a diffistances.
culty, which Mr. Pinney tried to overcome by beginning a dispute over the meaning of the word "prohibit," a matter of
only formal moment so far as the present discussion is con'

cerned.
He declared that the tariff is not like the prohibitory
liquor law, inasmuch as it prohibits nobody from trading
purely nominal distinction, if even that;
where he pleases.
consequently Mr. Pinney, in passing it off as a real one, was
guilty of quibbling.
But I met Mr. Pinney on his own ground, allowing that,
speaking exactly, the tariff does not prohibit, but adding, on
the other hand, that neither does the so-called prohibitory
that both simply impose penalties on traders, in
liquor law
the one case as a condition, in the other as a consequence, of
Hence my analogy still stood, and
carrying on their trades.
But no. Mr. Pinney, in
I expected it to be grappled with.
the very breath that he protests against quibbling, insists on
his quibble by asking if prison discipline is, then, so lax that
convicted liquor sellers can carry on their business within the
walls, and by supposing that I would still think prohibition
did not prohibit, if the extreme penalty for liquor selling were
decapitation.
I do not dispute the fact that a man cannot
carry on the liquor business as long as he is in prison, nor can
Mr. Pinney dispute the fact that a man cannot sell certain
foreign goods in this country as long as he cannot raise the
money to pay the tariff and while I am confident that decapitation, if rigorously enforced, would stop the liquor traffic,
I am no less sure that the effect on foreign traffic would be
equally disastrous were decapitation to be enforced as a tax
upon importers. On Mr. Pinney's theory the prohibitory

liquor laws could be made non-prohibitory simply by changThe absurdity


ing the penalties from imprisonments to fines.
of this is evident.
But, if I were to grant that Mr. Pinney's quibble shows that
there is no analogy between a prohibitory liquor law and
a revenue tariff (which I do not grant, but deny), it would
still remain for him to show that there is no analogy between
a prohibitory liquor law and such a tariff as he favors, one so
high as to be absolutely prohibitory and yield no revenue at all,
^QX else admit his inconsistency in opposing the former and

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

I20

not the latter.


He has not attempted to meet this point, even
with a quibble.
One other point, however, he does try to meet. To my
statement that his position on the abstract question of liberty
involves logically opposition to government in all its functions

he makes this answer

Between puritan meddling witli a man's domestic affairs, and necessary


government regulation of matters which the individual is incompetent to
direct, yet which must be directed in order to secure to the individual his
rightful liberty, there

is

a distance

sufficiently large to give full play to

our

limited faculties.

But who is to judge what government regulation is "necessary " and decide what matters " the individual is incompetent
The majority ? But the majority are just as
to direct " ?
likely to decide that prohibition is necessary and that the individual is incompetent to direct his appetite as that a tariff is
necessary and that the individual is incompetent to make his
own contracts. Mr. Pinney, then, must submit to the will of
His original declaration, however, was that
the majority.
despotism was despotism, whether exercised by a monarch or
This drives him back upon liberty in all things.
a majority.
For just as he would object to the reign of a monarch disposed
to administer affairs rationally and equitably simply because
he was a monarch, so he must object to the reign of a majority,
even though

its

a majority.
and authority,
tempt.
it is

administration were his ideal, simply because


Mr. Pinney is trying to serve both liberty
and is making himself ridiculous in the at-

A BACK TOWN HEARD FROM.


{Liberiy,

August

13,

1887.]

The Winsted Press makes a long leader to ridicule the


Anarchists for favoring private enterprise in the letter-carryIt grounds its ridicule on two claims,
first,
ing business.
that private enterprise would charge high rates of postage,
and, second, that it would not furnish transportation to outof-the-way points. An indisputable fact has frequently been
cited in Liberty which instantly and utterly overthrows both
Its frequent citation, however, has ha,d pQ
pf these claims.

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

121

upon the believers in a government postal monopoly.


do not expect another repetition to produce any effect upon
the Winsted Press; still I shall try it.
Some half-dozen years ago, when letter postage was still
three cents, Wells, Fargo & Co. were doing a large business in
carrying letters throughout the Pacific States and Territories.
Their rate was five cents, more than three of which they expended, as the legal monopoly required, in purchasing of the
United States a stamped envelope in which to carry the letter
intrusted to their care.
That is to say, on every letter which
they carried they had to pay a tax of more than three cents.
Exclusive of this tax, AVells, Fargo & Co. got less than two cents
for each letter which they carried, while the government got
three cents for each letter which it carried itself, and more than
three cents for each letter which Wells, Fargo & Co. carried.
effect
I

On

cost every individual five cents to send


and only three to send by the government. Moreover, the area covered was one in which immensity of distance, sparseness of population, and irregularities of surface made out-of-the-way points unusually difficult
of access.
Still, in spite of all these advantages on the side
of the government, its patronage steadily dwindled, while that
of Wells, Fargo
Co. as steadily grew. Pecuniarily this, of
course, was a benefit to the government.
But for this very
reason such a condition of affairs was all the more mortifying.
Hence the postmaster-general sent a special commisHe fulfilled his duty and
sioner to investigate the matter.
reported to his superior that Wells, Fargo & Co. were complying with the law in every particular, and were taking away
the business of the government by furnishing a prompter and
securer mail service, not alone to principal points, but to more
points and remoter points than were included in the government list of post-offices.
Whether this state of things still continues I do not know.
I presume, however, that it does, though the adoption of twoIn either case the fact
cent postage may have changed it.
In view
is one that triumphs over all possible sarcasms.
of it, what becomes of Editor Pinney's fear of ruinous rates
of postage and his philanthropic anxiety on account of the

the other hand,

by Wells, Fargo

&

it

Co.,

&

dwellers in

Wayback and Hunkertown ?

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

122

IN

FORM A REPLY,

IN REALITY

[Liberty^ September

A SURRENDER.

lo, 1887.]

Appreciating the necessity of at least seeming to meet the


indisputable fact which I opposed to its championship of government postal monopoly, the Winsted Press presents the following ghost of an answer, which may be as convincing to
the victims of political superstition as most materializations
are to the victims of religious superstition, but which, like
those materializations, is so imperceptible to the touch of the
hard-headed investigator that, when he puts his hand upon it,
he does not find it there.
The single instance of Wells, Fargo & Co., cited by B. R. Tucker to
prove the advantage of private enterprise as a mail carrier, needs fuller
explanation of correlated circumstances to show its true significance.
As stated by Mr. Tucker, this company half a dozen years ago did a
large business carrying letters throughout the Pacific States and Territories to distant and sparsely populated places for five cents per letter,
paying more than three to the government in compliance with postal
law and getting less than two for the trouble, and, though it cost the
senders more, the service was enough better than government's to secure the greater part of the business.

This restatement of my statement is fair enough, except


it but dimly conveys the idea that Wells, Fargo & Co.
were carrying, not only to distant and sparsely populated
that

places, but to places thickly settled

were beating the government there

and easy of access, and


a fact of no little

also,

importance.
i. Undeveloped government service
Several facts may explain this
a new country, distant from the^ seat of government.
:

in

Here the ghost appears, all form and no substance.


" John Jones is a better messenger than John Smith," deWinsted Press, " because Jones can run over
clares the
stony ground, while Smith cannot." " Indeed !" I answer
" why, then, did Smith outrun Jones the other day in going
from San Francisco to Wayback ? " " Oh that may be explained," the Press rejoins, " by the fact that the ground was
stony." The Press had complained against the Anarchistic
theory of free competition in postal service that private enterprise would not reach remote points, while government
does reach them. I proved by facts that private enterprise
;

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.


was more successful than government

123

reaching remote

in

What

sense, then, is there in answering that these


points are distant from the government's headquarters and
that it had not developed its service ?
The whole point lies
in the fact that private enterprise was the first to develop its
service and the most successful in maintaining it at a high
degree of efficiency.
points.

2. Government competition which kept Wells


monopoly prices.

&

Fargo from charging

If the object of a government postal service is to keep


private enterprise from charging high prices, no more striking
illustratiori of the stupid way in which government works to
achieve its objects could be cited than its imposition of a tax
of two (then three) cents a letter upon private postal companies.
It is obvious that this tax was all that kept Wells,
Fargo & Co. from reducing their letter-rate to three or even
two cents, in which case the government probably would
have lost the remnant of business which it still commanded.
This is guarding against monopoly prices with a vengeance
The competitor, whether government or individual, who must
tax his rival in order to live is no competitor at all, but a
monopolist himself. It is not government competition that
It should
Anarchists are fighting, but government monopoly.
be added, however, that, pending the transformation of gov!

ernments into voluntary associations, even government competition is unfair, because an association supported by compulsory taxation could always, if it chose, carry .the mails at
less than cost and tax the deficit out of the people.
3. Other paying business which brought the company into contact with
remote districts and warranted greater safeguards to conveyance than
government then offered to its mail carriers.

Exactly.

What does

it

prove

Why,

that postal service

and express service can be most advantageously run in conjunction, arid that private enterprise was the first to find it out.
This is one of the arguments which the Anarchists use.
4.

difference of

two cents was not appreciated

in

a country where

pennies were unknown.

Here the phantom

attains the last degree of attenuation.

Mr. Pinney will call at the Winsted post-ofifice, his postmaster will tell him what common sense ought to have
taught him that of all the stamps used not over five per
cent, are purchased singly, the rest being taken two, three,
If

I^jSteAd

124

oi*

A 6O0K.

CalifornianS
a hundred, or a thousand at a time.
are said to be very reckless in the matter of petty expenditures, but I doubt if any large portion of them would carry
their prodigality so far as to pay five dollars a hundred for
stamps when they could get them at three dollars a hundred

five, ten,

on the next corner.


These conditions do not exist elsewhere in this country at present.
Therefore the illustration proves nothing.

Does it not prove that private enterprise


Proves nothing
outstripped the government under the conditions that then
and there existed, which were difficult enough for both, but
extraordinarily embarrassing for the former ?
!

We know that private enterprise does not afford express facilities to


sparsely settled districts throughout the country.
The express companies cover
I know nothing of the kind.
They charge high rates to
practically the whole country.
The governpoints difficult of access
but this is only just.
ment postal rates, on the contrary, are unjust. It certainly is
not fair that my neighbor, who sends a hundred letters to
New York every year, should have to pay two cents each on
them, though the cost of carriage is but one cent, simply because the government spends a dollar in carrying for me one
It
letter a year to Wayback, for which I also pay two cents.
may be said, however, that where each individual charge is so
small, a schedule of rates would cause more trouble and expense than saving in other words, that to keep books would
be poor economy. Very likely ; and in that case no one
would find it out sooner than the private mail companies.
This, however, is not the case in the express business, where
parcels of all sizes and weights are carried.
;

No more would
do

it

than

it

it

it

mail

facilities.

remarkable exception only proves

private enterprise can and will do so much, why doesn't


now? The law stands no more in the way of Adams Express
did in the way of the Wells & Fargo express.

the rule.

But,

if

This reminds me of the question with which Mr. Pinney


closed his discussion with me regarding free money.
He desired to know why the Anarchists did not start a free money
system, saying that they ought to be shrewd enough to devise
some way of evading the law. As if any competing business
could be expected to succeed if it had to spend a fortune
in contesting lawsuits or in paying a heavy tax to which its
rival was not subject
So handicapped, it could not possibly
succeed unless its work was of such a nature as to admit the
!

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

125

widest range of variation in point of excellence. This was


the case in the competition between Wells, Fargo & Co. and
the government. The territory covered was so ill-adapted to
postal facilities that it afforded a wide margin for the display
of superiority, and Wells, Fargo & Co. took advantage of this
to such an extent that they beat the government in spite of
their handicap.
But in the territory covered by Adams Express it is essentially different.
There the postal service is so
simple a matter that the possible margin of superiority would
not warrant an extra charge of even one cent a letter. But I
am told that Adams Express would be only too glad of the
chance to carry letters at one cent each, if there were no tax
to be paid on the business.
If the governmentalists think
that the United States can beat Adams Express, why do they
not dare to place the two on equal terms ? That is a fair question.
But when a man's hands are tied, to ask him why he
doesn't fight is a coward's question.

FOOL VOTERS AND FOOL EDITORS.


[Liierly,

Uncle Sam

carries

August

4,

1888.]

one hundred pounds of newspapers two thousand

miles for two dollars, and still pays the railroad three times too much for
An express company would charge twenty dollars for the
mail service.
same service yet some people don't know why all express stockholders
are millionaires and the people getting poorer.
In fact, some people
don't know anything at all and don't want to.
It is very unfortunate
The Anti-Monopolist.
that such people have votes.
;

Yes, Uncle Sam carries one hundred pounds of newspapers


two thousand miles, not for two dollars, but for one dollar,
pays the railroad more than its services are worth, and loses
about five dollars a trip.
Yes, an express company would charge twenty dollars for the
same service, because it knows it would be folly to attempt to
compete with the one-dollar rate, and therefore charges for its
necessarily limited business such rates as those who desire a
guarantee of promptness and security are willing to pay.
Uncle Sam nevertheless continues to carry at the one-dollar
rate, knowing that this is a good way to induce the newspapers
to wink at his villainies, and that he can and does make up in
two ways his loss of five dollars a trip, i, by carrying one
hundred pounds of letters two thousand miles for thirty-two

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

120

and forbidding anybody else to carry them for less,


although the express companies would be glad of the chance
and, 2, by taking
to do the same service for sixteen dollars
toll from all purchasers of whiskey and tobacco at home, and
of various other articles from foreign countries.
And yet some people don't know why the thousands of
officeholders who are pulling away at the public teats are getIn fact, some
ting fat while the people are getting poorer.
people don't know anything at all except_, as Josh Billings said,
" a grate menny things that ain't so."
It is very unfortunate
that such people are intrusted with the editing of newspapers.
dollars

ERGO AND PRESTO


ILiierty, July

7,

1888.]

In Henry George may be seen a pronounced type of the


He
not uncommon combination of philosopher and juggler.
possesses in a marked degree the faculty of luminous exposition of a fundamental principle, but this faculty he supplements with another no less developed, that of so obscuring
the connection between his fundamental principle and the
false applications thereof which he attempts that only a mind
accustomed to analysis can detect the flaw and the fraud. We
see this in the numerous instances in which he has made a
magnificent defence of the principle of individual liberty in
theory, only to straightway deny it in practice, while at the
same time palming off his denial upon an admiring follow-

Freedom of trade is the surest


ing as a practical affirmation.
guarantee of prosperity ergo, there must be perfect liberty of
banking presto ! there shall be no issue of money save by the
government. Here, by the sly divorce of money-issuing from
banking, he seems to justify the most ruinous of monopolies
by the principle of liberty. And this is but an abridgment of
the road by which he reaches very many of his practical conHis simplicity and clearness as a philosopher so win
clusions.
the confidence of his disciples that he can successfully play
They do
the rSle of a prestidigitator before their very eyes.
For
not notice the transformation from logic to legerdemain.
a certain distance he proceeds carefully, surely, and straightforwardly by the method of ergo; and then, when the minds
of his followers are no longer on the alert, presto ! he suddenly
shouts, and in a twinkling they are switched off upon the track
;

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

127

of error without a suspicion that they are not still bound direct
for truth.
It is this power to prostitute a principle to the furtherance of its opposite, to use truth as a tool of falsehood,
that makes Mr. George one of the most dangerous men among
all those now posing as public teachers.
One of the. latest and craftiest of his offences in this direction was committed in the Standard of June 23 in a discussion of the copyright problem.
correspondent having raised
the question of property in ideas, Mr. George discusses it
elaborately.
Taking his stand upon the principle that productive labor is the true basis of the right of property, he argues through three columns, with all the consummate ability
for which credit is given him above, to the triumphant vindication of the position that there can rightfully be no such
thing as the exclusive ownership of an idea.
No man, he says, " can justly claim ownership in natural
laws, nor in any of the relations which may be perceived by
the human mind, nor in any of the potentialities which nature
holds for it.
Ownership comes from production.
It
cannot come from discovery. Discovery can give no right of
ownership.
No man can discover anything which, so
to speak, was not put there to be discovered, and which some
one else might not in time have discovered. If he finds it, it
was not lost. It, or its potentiality, existed before he came.
It was there to be found. ... In the production of any material thing
a machine, for instance there are two separable
the abstract idea or principle, which may be usually
parts,
expressed by drawing, by writing, or by word of mouth and
the concrete form of the particular machine itself, which
is produced by bringing together in certain relations certain
quantities and qualities of matter, such as wood, steel, brass,
brick, rubber, cloth, etc.
There are two modes in which labor
goes to the making of the machine, the one in ascertaining
the principle on which such machines can be made to work
the other in obtaining from their natural reservoirs and bringing together and fashioning into shape the quantities and
qualities of matter which in their comlaination constitute the
concrete machine.
In the first mode labor is expended in disIn the second mode it is expended in production.
covery.
The work of discovery may be done once for all, as in the
case of the discovery in prehistoric time of the principle or
But the work of production is reidea of the wheelbarrow.
No matter
quired afresh in the case of each particular thing.
how many thousand millions of wheelbarrows have been produced, it requires fresh labor of production to make another

Instead of a book.

128

one.
The natural reward of labor expended in discovery is in the use that can be made of the discovery without interference with the right of any one else to use it.
But
to this natural reward our patent laws endeavor to add an artificial reward.
Although the effect of giving to the discoverers
of useful devices or processes an absolute right to their exclusive use would be to burden all industry with most grievous
monopolies, and to greatly retard, if not put a stop to, further
inventions, yet the theory of our patent laws is that we can
stimulate discoveries by giving a modified right of ownership
in their use for a term of years.
In this we seek by special
laws to give a special reward to labor expended in discovery,
which does not belong to it of natural right, and is of the nature of a bounty.
But as for labor expended in the second of
these modes, in the production of the machine by the bringing together in certain relations of certain quantities and qualities of matter,
we need no special laws to reward that.
Absolute ownership attaches to the results of such labor, not
.

by special law, but by common law. And if all human laws,


were abolished, men would still hold that, whether it were a
wheelbarrow or a phonograph, the concrete thing belonged to
the man who produced it. And this, not for a term of years,
but in perpetuity. It would pass at his death to his heirs or
to those to

whom

he devised

it."

The whole

of the preceding paragraph is quoted from Mr.


George's article. I regard it as conclusive, unanswerable. It
proceeds, it will be noticed, entirely by the method of ergo.
But it is time for the philosopher to disappear. He has done
his part of the work, which was the demolition of patents.
Now it is the prestidigitator's turn. It remains for him to justify copyright,
that is, property, not in the ideas set forth in
a book, but in the manner of expressing them.
So juggler
George steps upon the scene. Presto! he exclaims "Over
and above any labor of discovery expended in thinking out
what to say, is the ' labor of production expended on how to
say it." Observe how cunningly it is taken for granted here
that the task of giving literary expression to an idea is labor
of production rather than labor of discovery.
But is it so ?
Right here comes in the juggler's trick we will subject it to
the philosopher's test.
The latter has already been quoted
" The work of discovery may be done once for all
but the
work of production is required afresh in the case of each particular thing." Can anything be plainer than that he who does
the work of combining words for the expression of an idea
saves just that amount of labor to all who thereafter choose

'

'

'

ttit Individual, society,

AkD the state.

ti^

to use the same words in the same order to express the same
idea, and that this work, not being required afresh in each
particular case, is not work of production, and that, not being
work of production, it gives no right of property ? In quoting
Mr. George above I did not have to expend any labor on " how

what he had already said. He had saved me that


I simply had to write and print the words on fresh
sheets of paper.
These sheets of paper belong to me, just as
the sheets on which he wrote and printed belong to him.
But
to say "
trouble.

the particular combination of words belongs to neither of us.


He discovered it, it is true, but that fact gives him no rignt to
it.
Why not ? Because, to use his own phrases, this combination of words " existed potentially before he came"; "it
was there to be found "; and if he had not found it, some one
else would or might have done so.
The work of copying or
printing books is analogous to the production of wheelbarrows, but the original work of the author, whether in thinking
or composing, is analogous to the intfention of the wheelbarrow and the same argument that demolishes the right of the
inventor demolishes the right of the author. The method of
expressing an idea is itself an idea, and therefore not appro;

priable.

The exposure is complete. But will Mr. George acknowledge it ? Not he. He will ignore it, as he has ignored similar
exposures in these columns of his juggling with the questions
The juggler never admits an
of rent, interest, and money.
exposure.
It would be ruinous to his business.
He lies low
"
till the excitement has subsided, and then " bobs up serenely
and suavely to hoodwink another crowd of greenhorns with
the same old tricks.
Such has been juggler George's policy
heretofore such it will be hereafter.
;

THE RIGHT OF OWNERSHIP.


{Liberty,

August

2, 1890.]

To the Editor of Liberty :


Will you permit tne to aslc you for the definition, from an Anarchistic
standpoint, of the " Right of Ownership " ? What do you mean to convey when you say that a certain thing belongs to a certain person ?
Before directing my attention to the study of the social question, I had
a rather confused notion of the meaning of this term. Ownership appeaKedlomea kind of amalgamation of wealth with the individual. This
conception could, of course, not be sustained in an analysis of the social

INSTEAD OP A Book.

t^Q

question and the distribution of wealth. For some time I could not
obtain a cleir notion as to what the term, as popularly used, really signifies, nor could I find a satisfactory definition in any of the books I had at
command. The writers of dictionaries content themselves with quoting
a number of synonyms which throw no light on the subject, and the writers on Political Economy seem not to bother themselves about such trifles.
They need no solid foundations for their theories since they build their
castles in the air.
It is said that ownership is the " exclusive right of
possession," but this explanation fails to meet the inquiry of him who can
nowhere find a satisfactory explanation of the import of the term "right."
It is clear that a radical distinction exists between possession and ownership, though these concepts are in a measure related to each other.
It
seems reasonable, therefore, to expect to find a clue by examining the distinction that exists between the possessor and the owner of a thing. And
this examination is not difEcuIt.
The owner of a thing which for some
reason is in the possession of some one else may demand its return, and,
if it is not returned willingly, /Ae aid of the law can be invoked.
This
leads to the conclusion that the right of ownership is that relation between a thing and a person created by the social promise to guarantee
possession.
This is the only definition that appears satisfactory to me. But it implies the existence of a social organization, however crude it may be.
It
implies that a supreme power will enforce the command
"Thou shalt
not steal." And in the measure in which this social organization gains
stability and in which this social power gains a more universal supremacy, the right of ownership will assume a more definite existence.
Now I can perhaps repeat my question in a way to be better understood.
Has Anarchism a different conception of the right of ownership,
or is this right altogether repudiated, or is it assumed that out of the
ruins of government another social organization, wielding a supreme
power, will arise? I can at present see no other alternative.
:

Hugo Bilgkam.

In discussing such a question as this, it is necessary at the


put aside, as Mr. Bilgram doubtless does put aside, the
intuitive idea of right, the conception of right as a standard
which we are expected to observe from motives supposed to be
When I speak
superior to the consideration of our interests.
of the " right of ownership," I do not use the word " right " in
In the thought that I take to be fundathat sense at all.
mental in Mr. Bilgram's argument namely, that there is no
right, from the standpoint of society, other than social expediency I fully concur. But I am equally certain that the
standard of social expediency that is to say, the facts as to
what really is socially expedient, and the generalizations from
those facts which we may call the laws of social expediency
exists apart from the decree of any social power whatever.
In accordance with this view, the Anarchistic definition of the
right of ownership, while closely related to Mr. Bilgram's, is
such a modification of his that it does not carry the implication which his carries and which he points out.
From an Anstart to

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

I3I,

archistic standpoint, the right of ownership is that control of a


thing by a person which will receive either social sanction, or
else unanimous individual sanction, when the laws of social
expediency shall have been finally discovered. (Of course I
might go farther and explain that Anarchism considers the
greatest amount of liberty compatible with equality of liberty
the fundamental law of social expediency, and that nearly all
Anarchists consider labor to be the only basis of the right of
ownership in harmony with that law but this is not essential
to the definition, or to the refutation of Mr. Bilgrara's point
against Anarchism.)
It will be seen that the Anarchistic definition just given
does not imply necessarily the existence of an organized or instituted social power to enforce the right of ownership.
It
contemplates a time when social sanction shall be superseded
by unanimous individual sanction, thus rendering enforcement
needless.
But in such an event, by Mr. Bilgram's definition,
the right of ownership would cease to exist.
In other words,
he seems to think that, if all men were to agree upon a property standard and should voluntarily observe it, property would
then have no existence simply because of the absence of any
institution to protect it.
Now, in the view of the Anarchists,
property would then exist in its perfection.
So I would answer Mr. Bilgram's question, as put in his
concluding paragraph, as follows Anarchism does not repudiate the right of ownership, but it has a conception thereof
sufficiently different from Mr. Bilgram's to include the possibility of an end of that social organization which will arise,
not out of the ruins of government, but out of the transformation of government into voluntary association for defence.
;

INDIVIDUAL SOVEREIGNTY OUR GOAL.


[Liberty, June

i8go.]

7,

In an unsigned article in the Open Court (written, I suspect


by the editor) I find the following
When Anarchists teach the sovereignty of the individual, we have to
:

inform them that society is an organized whole. The individual is what


he is through the community only, and he must obey the laws that govern
The more voluntary this obedience is, the
the growth of communal life.
But
better it is for the community as well as for the individual himself.
if th? indivi(Jual 4oes not voluntarily obey the laws of the comrounity, gq-

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

132

ciety has a right to enforce them.


of the individual.

There

is

no such thing as sovereignty

True, there is no such thing and we Anarchists mean that


there shall be such a thing.
The criticism of the Open Court
vi^riter is doubtless valid against those Anarchists who premise
the sovereignty of the individual as a natural right to which
society has no right to do violence.
But I cannot understand
its force at all when offered, as it is, in comment on the declaration of " a leading Anarchist of Chicago " that the goal of
progress is individual sovereignty.
Anarchism of the " natural right " type is out of date. The
Anarchism of to-day affirms the right of society to coerce the
individual and of the individual to coerce society so far as
either has the requisite power.
It is ready to admit all that
the Open Court writer claims in behalf of society, and then go
so far beyond him that it will take his breath away.
But, while admitting and affirming all this, Anarchism also
maintains (and this is its special mission) that an increasing
familiarity with sociology will convince both society and the
individual that practical individual sovereignty that is, the
greatest amount of liberty compatible with equality of liberty
is the law of social life, the only condition upon which human beings can live in harmony. When this truth is ascertained and acted upon, then we shall have individual sovereignty in reality,
not as a sacred natural right vindicated,
but as a social expedient agreed upon, or we will even say
as a privilege conferred, if the Open Court writer prefers the
word as tending to tickle the vanity of his god. Society. It
is in this sense that Liberty champions individual sovereignty.
The motto on our flag is not " Liberty a Natural Right," but
" Liberty the Mother of Order."
It is to be hoped that the Open Court writer will note this
before again giving voice to the commonplace twaddle about
Nationalism and Anarchism as extreme opposites both of
which are right and both wrong. Anarchism is exactly as extreme, exactly as right, and exactly as wrong, as that " ideal
state of society^ " which the Open Court writer pictures,
"a
state in which there is as much order as possible and at the
same time as much individual liberty as possible." In fact.
Anarchism finds itself exactly coextensive with the idea which
" Wherever a nation is developing
its critic thus expresses
in the line of progress, we shall always notice an increasing realization of these two apparently antagonistic principles,
liberty and order,"
;

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

NEW ABOLITION AND

ITS

33

NINE DEMANDS.

[Liberty^ January 25, 1890.]

The New Abolition Party, nominally of the United States,


but really limited at present (pending the time when it is to
"sweep the country like a wave '") by the walls of the Individualist office at Denver, started out with eight demands
and,
taken as a whole, very good demands they were. Lately it
has added a ninth just why, I don't know, unless New Abolition was jealous of Liberalism and bound to have as many
demands. This explanation seems hardly reasonable, because
in the case of Liberalism nine does not seem to have proved
However this may be,
a magic number for demand purposes.
it is certain that the ninth demand is a square contradiction of
some of the most important of its eight other demands, notably
The ninth demand is for " collective
the fifth and seventh.
mamtenance and control of all public highways, waterways,
;

railways, canals, ditches, reservoirs, telegraphs, telephones,


ferries, bridges, water works, gas works, parks, electric plants,
etc., to be operated in the interest of the people." The seventh
demand is for "immediate and unconditional repeal of all
forms of compulsory taxation." The fifth demand is for
" immediate and unconditional repeal of all statutes that in
any way interfere with free trade between individuals of the
same or of different countries." Suppose that Mr. Stuart (the
father of New Abolition) and I live on the same side of a
river.

to

have a boat; Mr. Stuart has none. Mr. Stuart comes


" How much will you charge to row me across
says

me and

the river? "

"

Ten

cents," I answer.

" It

is

a bargain, " says

Mr. Stuart, and he steps into the boat. But up steps at the
same time the New Abolition party in the shape of a policeman (and it will have to take that shape, because in these matters a demand without a blue coat on its back and a club in
" See here!
its hand is an ineffective demand) and says to me
Don't you know that the New Abolition party,
stop that
which at the last election swept the country like a wave,' inundated your row-boat with the rest by instituting the collecIf you attempt
tive maintenance and control of all ferries ?
to row Mr. Stuart across the river, I shall confiscate your boat
And then, addressing Mr. Stuart,
in the name of the law."
" So you may as well get out of that
the policeman adds
^oat and take the ferrj^-boat which the New Abolitionists have
:

'

'

'

"'"

134

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

already provided." " Officer, you are exceeding your duty,"


hotly replies Mr. Stuart " I have made a bargain with Mr.
Tucker, and, if you were at all qualified for your post, you
would know that the New AboHtion party demanded, in the
platform upon which it swept the country like a wave,' the
immediate and unconditional repeal of all statutes that in any
way interfere with free trade.' " " Yes," I say, hastening to put
in my oar (I use the word metaphorically, not referring at all
to my boat-oar), " and you would know too that this same triumphant party demanded tlT,e immediate and unconditional
So I should like
repeal of all forms of compulsory taxation.'
" Oh
you're a couple of
to see you confiscate my boat."
tom-noodles, way behind the times," retorts the policeman
" tlie demands of which you speak were numbered five and
;

'

'

'

but the demand in regard to ferries was a ninth and


demand, which invalidated all previous demands that
Mr. Stuart, being a law-abiding citizen
conflicted with it.''
and not one of those " Boston Anarchists " who do not believe in the State, sorrowfully steps from the boat inwardly
cursing his political offspring, takes the government ferry-boat
an hour later, and gets across the river just in time to lose
the benefit of a lecture by a " Boston Anarchist " on " The
Fate of the Individualist Who Threw a Sop to the Socialistic

seven

later

Cerberus."

COMPULSORY EDUCATION NOT ANARCHISTIC.


[Lil}eyty,

August

6,

1892.]

PUBLIC-SCHOOL teacher of my acquaintance, much interested in Anarchism and almost a convert thereto, finds himself under the necessity of considering the question of compulsory education from a new standpoint, and is puzzled by it.
In his quandary he submits to me the following questions

1. If a parent starves, tortures, or mutilates his child, thus activelyaggressing upon it to its injury, is it just for other members of the group
to interfere to prevent such aggression ?
2. If a parent neglects to provide food, shelter, and clothing for his
child, thus neglectiifg the self-sacrifice implied by the second corollary of
the law of equal freedom, is it just for other members of the group to
interfere to compel him so to provide?
3. If a parent wilfully aims to prevent his child from reaching mental
or moral, without regard to physical, maturity, is it just for other mepir
^er? pf the ^roup to interfere to prevent such aggression ?

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

I35

4. If a parent neglects to provide opportunity for the child to reach mental maturity,
assuming that mental maturity can be defined, is it just

for other

members

of the group to interfere to compel him so to provide ?


7/ it be granted that a knowledge of reading and writing z.,, of
making and interpreting permanent signs of thought is a necessary iMvvation of maturity, and if a parent neglects and refuses to provide or accept opportunity for his child to learn to read and write, is it just for
other members of the group to interfere to compel the parent so to pro5.

vide or accept?

Before any of these questions can be answered with a straight


yes or no, it must first be ascertained whether the hypothetical
parent violates, by his hypothetical conduct, the equal freedom,
not of his child, but of other members of society. Not of his
child, I say
why ? Because, the parent being an independent, responsible individual, and the child being a dependent,
irresponsible individual, it is obviously inequitable and virtually impossible that equal freedom should characterize the relations between them.
In this child, however, who is one day
to pass from the condition of dependence and irresponsibility
to the condition of independence and responsibility, the other
members of society have an interest, and out of this consideration the question at once arises whether the parent who impairs
the conditions of this child's development thereby violates
the equal freedom of those mature individuals whom this de;

velopment unquestionably affects.


Now it has been frequently pointed out

in Liberty, in dis-

cussing the nature of invasion, that there are certain acts vthich
all see clearly as invasive and certain other acts which all see
clearly as non-invasive, and that these two classes comprise
vastly the larger part of human conduct, but that they are
separated from each other, not by a hard and fast line, but by
a strip of dark and doubtful territory, which shades off in
either direction into the regions of light and clearness by an
imperceptible gradation.
In this strip of greater or less obscurity are included that minority of human actions which
give rise to most of our political differences, and in the thick
of" its Cimmerian centre we find the conduct of parent toward
child.

We cannot, t_hen,
by parent

clearly identify the maltreatment of child

as either invasive or non-invasive of the" liberty of

In such a difficulty we must have recourse to


third parties.
the policy presented by Anarchism for doubtful cases.
As I
cannot state this policy better than I have stated it already, I
quote my own words from Liberty, No. 154
" Then liberty always, say the Anarchists.
No use of force,

except against the invader

and

in those cases

where

it is diffi-

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

136

whether the alleged offender is an invader or not, still


no use of force except where the necessity of immediate solution is so imperative that we must use it to save ourselves.
And in these few cases where we must use it, let us do so frankly
and squarely, acknowledging it as a matter of necessity, without seeking to harmonize our action with any political ideal or
constructing any far-fetched theory of a State or collectivity
having prerogatives and rights superior to those of individuals
and aggregations of individuals and exempted from the operation of the ethical principles which individuals are expected
cult to tell

to observe."

In other words, those of us who believe that liberty is the


great educator, the " mother of order," will, in case of doubt,
give the benefit to liberty, or non-interference, unless it is
plain that non-interference will result in certain and immedicete
disaster, if not irretrievable, at any rate too grievous to be
borne.
Applying this rule to the subject under discussion, it is evident at once that mental and moral maltreatment of children,
since its effects are more or less remote, should not be met
with physical force, but that physical maltreatment, if sufficiently serious, may be so met.
In specific answer to my questioner, I would say that, if he
insists on the form of his questions, " Is it just ? " etc., I cannot
answer them at all, because it is impossible for me to decide
whefher interference is just unless I can first decide whether or
no there has already been invasion. But if, instead of " Is it
just ? " he should ask in each case, " Is it Anarchistic policy?
I

would then make reply


1.

2.

3.

4.
5-

as follows :
Yes.
Yes, in sufficiently serious cases.

No.
No.
No.

RELATIONS BETWEEN PARENTS AND CHILDREN.


\_Liberiy,

September

3,

1892.]

The wisdom of acts is measured by their consequences.


The individual's measure of consequences is proportionate to the circle
His horizons may lie so near that he can only measure
of his outlook.
at short range.
But, whether they be near or far, he can only judge

THE INDIVIDUAL,

SOCIETY,

AND THE STATE.

137

of consequences as approximately or remotely touching himself.


His
judgment may err his motive remains always the same, whether he be
conscious of it or not.
That motive is necessarily egoistic, since no one deliberately chooses
misery when happiness is open to him. Acts always resulting either indifferently or in furtherance of happiness or increase of misery, one who
has power to decide and intelligence to determine probable consequences
will certainly give preference to the course which will ultimately advance
;

own

happiness.
of equal freedom, " Every one is free to do whatsoever he
If I fail
wills,*' appears to me to be the primary condition to happiness.
to add the remainder of Herbert Spencer's celebrated law of equal freedom, I shall only risk being misinterpreted by persons who cannot understand that the opening affirmation includes what follows, since, if any
one did infringe upon the freedom of another, all would not be equally
his

The law

free.

Liberty without intelligence rushes towards its own extinction continand continually rescues itself by the knowledge born of its pain.
Intelligence without liberty is a mere potentiality, a nest-full of unhatched eggs.
Progress, therefore, presupposes the union of intelligence and liberty
Freedom to act, wisdom to guide the action.
Equal freedom is the primary condition to happiness.
Intelligence is the primary condition to equality in freedom.
Liberty and intelligence acting and reacting upon each other produce
growth.
Thus growth and happiness are seen to be, if not actually synonymous,
almost inseparable companions.
Where equal freedom is rendered impossible by disproportion in degrees of development, the hope of the higher units lies in the education
of the lower.
Children, because of their ignorance, are elements of inharmony, hindrances to equal freedom. To quicken the processes of their growth is
to contribute towards the equalization of social forces.
Then, liberty being essential to growth, they must be left as free as is
compatible with their own safety and the freedom of others.
For the enunciaJust here arises my difficulty, which I freely admit.
tion of this principle is the opening of a Pandora's box, from which all
things fly out excepting adult judgment.
Who shall decide upon the permissible degree of freedom ? Who shall
adjust the child's freedom to its safety so that the two shall be delicately,
flawlessly balanced ?
The fecundity of these questions is without limit. Of them are born
controversies that plague all the unregenerate alike, whether they be
philosophers or the humblest truth-seekers.
Their faith in rulership
Christians escape this toilsome investigation.
simplifies all the relations of life. Their conduct need not be consistent
with equal freedom, since obedience, not liberty, is the basis of their
ually,

ideal society.

Reluctantly I admit that during infancy and to some extent in childhood


others must decide what is for a child's welfare.
The human babe is a pitiably helpless and lamentably ignorant animal. It does not even know when it is hungry, but seeks the maternal
breast as a cure-all for every variety of physical uneasiness therefore
the mother or nurse must inevitably decide for it even the quantity of
;

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

138

nourishment it may safely receive and the length of time that may intervene between tenders of supplies. That these judgments are far from

known. One mother of five living children confessed


to me that she had lost one child, starved it in the process of learning
that her lactation furnished a substance little more nutritious than water.
Grown older, the babe does not know the danger of touching a redThe
hot stove.
should it know?
It is without experience.
mother's impulse is to rescue the tender, white baby-hand.
Is she wise
If the child is to have
in interposing this restraint?
I think she is not.
bayoneted sentries always on guard between it and experience, it can
only grow surreptitiously. I say " bayoneted " advisedly, since the
hand interposed between the baby and the stove not infrequently eminfallible is well

How

phasizes its power with a blow which gives more pain than the burn
would have given, while its value as experience may be represented
by the minus sign.

The theory that it is the duty


young children, and of

of parents to provide for the needs


children to obey their parents, and,
in their age, to support them, is so generally accepted that I shall rouse
a storm of indignation by asserting that there are no duties.
While a cursory glance at the subject may seem to show a denial of
equal freedom in the refusal of a parent to support his child, a more
careful study will reveal the truth that, so long as he does not hinder the
activities of any one nor compel any other person or persons to undertake the task which he has relinquished, he cannot be said to violate the
law of equal freedom. Therefore his associates may not compel him to
provide for his child, though they may forcibly prevent him from aggressThey may prevent acts they may not compel the perforing upon it.
mance of actions.
It will, perhaps, be well to anticipate at this point a question sure to
be asked during the discussion.
Is it not aggression on the part of parents to usher into existence a
child for which they are either unable or unwilling to provide?
Much may be said in reply.
In any association differences of opinion would arise as to
First
whether it was aggression or not these differences would imply doubt,
and the doubt would make'forcible prevention, even if practicable, unof their

justifiable.

Second

This doubt would be strengthened by consideration of the fact

that no one could be able to predict with certainty nine months previous
to the birth of a child that at the time of its birth its parents would be unable to provide sustenance for it.
Third It would be further strengthened by the knowledge that death
is always open to those who find life intolerable, and, so long as persons
seek to prolong existence, they cannot properly complain of those who
thrust it upon them.
young babe does not question whether the milk
it feeds upon flows from its mother's breast or from the udder of a cow,
and should it, with dawning intelligence, feel disturbed in mind or distressed in body by reason of its relations towards its environments, it will,
by then, have learned the art of dying.
And now, having opened a gulf which swallows up duty, shall I be able
to allay the consternation of those who have substituted the worship of
this for their repudiated worship of another unsubstantial God ?
It has seemed to me that, generally speaking, people's love for their
children is in inverse proportion to their love of God and duty. However
this may be,
and I will admit that, although parallel and pertinent, it is
:

THE INDIVIDUAL,

SOCIETY, ANfi

THE STATE.

l^^

hot directly in the line of inquiry I am pursuing, there is still left to us


the-certainty that increasing intelligence will more and more incline individuals to face the consequences of their own acts ; not for duty's sake,
but in order to help establish and preserve that social harmony which will
be necessary to their happiness.
Even in the present semi-barbarous condition of parental relations it is
exceptional, unusual, for parents to abandon their children, and the two
distinct incentives to such abandonment will be removed by social evolution, leaving the discussion of the obligation of parents to care for their
children purely abstract and rather unprofitable, since no one will refuse
to

do

so.

The two motives

to which I refer are poverty and fear of social obloMarried parents sometimes desert their children because they lack
abundant means of subsistence unmarried parents occasionally not only
desert their offspring, but deny them, in order to escape the malice of the

quy.

unintelligent who believe that vice is susceptible of transmutation into


virtue by the blessing of a priest, and virtue into vice by the absence of
the miracle-working words.
Recognition of the law of equal freedom would nearly remove the first,
render the second more endurable, and finally obliterate both, leaving
parents without motive for the abandonment cf offspring.
That parents usually find happiness in provision for the welfare of their
young is well known. Even the habits of the lower animals afford evidence sufficient to establish this position, and, for convenience, postulating
it as a principle, I shall proceed to examine how far parents defeat their
own aim by unintelligent pursuit of it.
Food is the first, because the indispensable, requisite to welfare, but unintelligent and indiscriminate feeding results in thousands of deaths annually and sows seeds of chronic invalidism in millions of young stomachs.
Clothing also is considered indispensable, and is so in rigorous climates,
but the primary object of covering the body, which is surely to make it
comfortable, is usually almost wholly forgotten in the effort to conform to
accepted ideals of beauty,
ideals often involving peculiar departures from
natural forms.
Shelter is a necessity which is often accompanied by such over-zealous
inhospitality to fresh air as places choice between in-door and out-door
life in uncertain balance.
But the sturdiest pursuits and the dreariest defeats and failures are found
in educational endeavors.
The child comes into an unknown world. His blinking eyes cannot
decide which is nearer, the lighted taper on the table or the moon seen
through the window. He does not know that a Riverside orange is larger
than the palm of his tiny hand until he has learned the truth by repeated
efforts to grasp it.
He has all things to learn: ideas of dimension, weight,
heat, moisture, density, resistance, gravitation,
all things in their interrelations and their relations to himself.
And what bungling assistance he
receives in the bewildering path through this tangle of truth
He learns that God sends the rain, the hail, and the snow down from
the sky ; that his little sister was brought from heaven by an angel and
deposited in a doctor's pill-bags.
The tie of relationship between her and
himself remains a mystery. Anthropomorphism lurks everywhere. The
unseen hand moves all things. He asks many questions which his teachers
cannot answer, and, unwilling to confess their ignorance, they constantly
" God did it," as if that were an answer.
reiterate

INSTEAB OP A BOOK.

5(46

Turning from unsuccessful inquiries concerning natural phenomena,


perhaps the child perceives, in a dim way, his relations with the State, and,
as God posed before him in the realm of philosophy and science, so do all
replies to his questionings now end in omnipotent government.
"Why does no one prevent the man with a star from clubbing the other

man ? "

" Because he

"

Who

is

a policeman."

said that a

policeman might strike people?"

"The government."
" What is the government ? "
" The government is
my son, you will learn when you are older."
"Who pays the policeman for clubbing the other man?"
" The government."
"Where does the government get the money?"

"You

will learn

when you

are older."

Usually at the age of six years, or even

earlier,

child's

education

is

practically abandoned by its inefficient parents and intrusted to the church


and the State.
The State uses money robbed from the parents to perpetuate its powers
of robbery by instructing their children in its own interest.
The church, also, uses its power to perpetuate its power. And to these
twin leeches, as "Ouida" has aptly designated them, to these self-interested robbers and murderers, are the tender minds of babies entrusted
for education.

Herbert Spencer has shown that the status of women and children improves in proportion to the decline of militarism and the advance of industrialism.
The military spirit is encouraged in multifold ways by both church and
State, and little children and women, in their pitiable ignorance, assist in
weaving nets that shall trip their own unwary feet and those of other
women and children that follow them.
spirit of subordination is inculcated by both church and State, which
contemplate without rebuke the brutalities of authority, excepting in
some cases of extraordinary cruelty, and teach the helpless victims that
it is their duty to submit.
The most commonplace tenets of the sepowers would seem absurd
and outrageous if expounded to an unprepared adult mind and stripped
of all those devices of language by which the various promptings of
shame, good nature, ignorance, or deceit impel us to soften the truth.
Say to such an one
" Slurder by the State is laudable ; murder by an individual is criminal.
" Robbery by the State is permissible robbery by an individual is a
serious offence against the person robbed and also against public wel-

fare.

"Assault of the parent upon his child

is

justifiable; assault of the

upon the parent is intolerable."


He would not look upon you with

child

child, attributing the

own

the simple confidence of a puzzled


apparent incompatibilities to the feebleness of his

understanding.

But

bewildering social sophistries, flowing into his


that appeal to his trust, and presented with ambiguities of language that serve to increase its difficulties, must appear hopeless labyrinths of mystery.
Thus at every step from infancy to adult life the progress of the child
is checked by the incapacity of those who desire to advance its welfare.
to the child these

mind from sources

tHE iNblVlDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

I4I

Inherited tendencies and the training which they themselves received


incline parents to become inexorable masters and to commend most the
conduct of that child which is easiest enslaved.
Parents beat their children, elder children beat younger brothers and
sisters, and the wee ones avenge their wrongs vicariously by beating their
dolls or their wooden horses.
Through individual revolts against the general barbarity, revolts of
increasing frequency and power, humanity gradually evolves above actual
application of its savage principles.
But these revolts against savagery,
when led by emotion, often result nearly as disastrously as savageryitself.

Reason must be the

When

basis of all enduring social growth.


reason shall have learned to rebel against inequalities in liber-

and when this mental rebellion shall have become quite general,
then will people have passed beyond danger of relapse into savagery.
Then parent and child shall not be master and slave, a relation disThere
tasteful to reasoning people, but they shall be friend and friend.
will be no restraints imposed except such as are absolutely necessary,
and these will not take the form of blows and will be removed as early as
ties,

possible.

of such restraints as I mean are


Detention from the brink of a precipice or an open well or the track of
a coming locomotive, or of one child from striking another.
Parents who recognize the fundamental principle of happiness through
freedom and intelligence will, generally speaking, achieve results proportionate to the degree of their success in harmonizing their lives with
The greater their intelligence the higher perfection will
this principle.
they reach in the interpretation and application of the law of equal freedom, and in preparing their children to attain harmonious relations with
their environment.

Examples

SUPPLEMENTARY.

How

make

liars of children :
It would seem, and
I have said that infants have all things to learn.
would be, superfluous to repeat a fact so well known, were it not true
children
with
so much more knowledge than
that most people credit little
to

I have heard, not


they could possibly have acquired in the given time.
once but many times, mothers accuse young children of falsehood when
apparent
misstatements
were
that
the
due in part to the
believed
I fully
little ones' weak grasp on the language which they attempted to speak,
and partly to misinterpretation of facts. Even grown-up people do not
look upon the simplest incident from exactly the same point of view yet
they expect from mere babes perfection of accuracy, and, being disappointed in this unreasonable expectation, accuse them of falsehood, and
not infrequently worry them into admitting faults which have, in reality,
no meaning to their dim understandings. But after lying has come to
;

have meaning, the little mind becomes indifferent to truthfulness, finding


that punishment falls the same, whether it inspire truth or falsehood.
Thus the child is made a liar by its parents' ignorant endeavor to' teach
regard for the truth.
But worse mistakes are made by those parents whose daily conversaWho has
tion with their children furnishes examples of untruthfulness.
not been frightened into obedience by tales of a bogie-man, a Chinaman,
a black man, or a Santa Claus with his rattan, stories which do triple
injury by fostering cowardice, class hatred, and lying?
it

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

142

7*15 teach a child to steal


Allow him no
Carefully lock away from him all fruits and sweets.
money for personal expenses. If you miss anything, accuse him of
having taken it. If you send him out to make purchases, count the
change with suspicious care when he returns. If he has lost a few pennies, accuse him of having spent them for candy.
If you never buy
candy for him, this will teach him a means of supplying himself, and
probably your next accusation will be true.
scold them and
Strike children and they learn to strike each other
they learn to quarrel
give them drums and flags and uniforms and toy
guns and they desire to become professional murderers. Open their
letters, listen to their conversations with their young friends, pry into
their little secrets, invade their private rooms without knocking, and you
make them meddlers and disagreeable companions.
I have said that it is not the duty of children to obey their parents or
to care for them in old age.
The following facts bear on this position
The life of a child is usually merely incident to the pleasure of its
parents, and is often an accident deeply deplored by both.
Even when
conception is desired, it is still for the pleasure of the parents. If it were
possible, which it is not, to conceive of a life given solely for its own
happiness, its parents taking no pleasure either in the sexual relation or
in the hope of offspring, the child could incur no responsibility by the
opinions or the acts of its parents.
After its birth the child does not say
" Give me food clothes, and shelter now in exchange for food, clothes,
and shelter which I will give you in your old age," and, could he make
such a contract, it would be void. A man cannot be bound by proihises
he made during his infancy.
The question of obedience I pass, since highly-evolved parents cannot
be obeyed, because they will not command.
On careful thought ihe removal of the idea of duty will be seen to be
less startling than it must at first appear to those who have accepted without question the dogmas of authority.
Mr. Cowell has called my attention to the fact that the love which most people have for their parents or
foster-parents is evidence that few wholly lack lovable attributes. During
the long years of familiar companionship between parents and child ties
are usually formed which cannot be broken while life lasts, not ties of
duty but of affection these render mutual helpfulness a source of pleasure.
If they be lacking, a self-respecting parent would choose the shelter
of .in almshouse rather than the grudging charity bestowed by his child
under the spur of a behef in duty.
;

Clara Dixon Davidson.

tHE INDlVlbtjAL, SOCIETY,

AiSft)

THE

STATfi.

143

COMPULSORY EDUCATION AND ANARCHISM.


[Li/terty,

September

3,

1892.]

To the Editor of Liberty


While reading your lucid editorial on the above topic, some thoughts
occurred to me which I venture to offer in the hope that they may serve
to supplement what you have said in dealing with your scholastic friend's
well-put queries.
I cannot help thinking that he had in mind a very un-Anarchistic condition of things when he formulated the questions.
Why is compulsory
education in vogue to-day? For whom is it intended? If society had
been composed of well-to-do people having all the comforts, advantages,
and opportunities of civilization that some only enjoy at present, would
the idea of statutory compulsion in the bringing-up and education of children ever have been thought of, much less put into force ? Are such legal
regulations applied, practically, to the classes superior in fortune to the
majority, in whose interest (?) the regulations are supposed to be made?
I find myself dropping into the interrogative style, like our friendly
inquirer, and while in it would like to ask him, thoiigh not wishing to
usurp the functions of a father confessor, if he had not in view, perhaps
vaguely and even unconsciously, when thinking over the matter that he
embodied in the five points, a typical wage slave, underpaid, uneducated,
unrefined, the victim of compulsory restrictions and stultifying law-made
conditions, a man or woman without intelligence, whose narrow mental
scope and abnormal moral nature are the result of circumstances produced by invasive tyranny, in short, parents whose unfilial instincts
and unsocial acts are the direct outcome of ages of legal oppression. To
such persons only could the assumptions underlying the questions apply.
If our friend apprehends clearly the drift of the queries above arid
consequently answers them to our mutual satisfaction, he will then, I
imagine, discard his third, fourth, and fifth questions as imnecessary and
inapplicable to a truly Anarchist condition of society.
It seems to me
unwise to attempt to apply Anarchistic principles to one case of social
relations, itself arising out of other relations, without at the same time
tracing that case to its sources and there defining the bearings of the
whole in relation to perfect liberty, Anarchy. I would not turn aside
to condemn some kinds of compulsory interference which are really attempts at ameliorating the conditions that more inimical invasion has
brought about, but would rather strike straight at the previous and more
Hence I agree with the
vital violations of the law of equal freedom.
editor when he answers No. No, No, to the last three problems, not only
on the grounds he lays down, but also because I believe that the economic emancipation which would result from the adoption of Anarchy
as a basic method in Society would speedily solve all such problems by
relegating them to the Museum of Curiosities of the Ante-Revolution.
On grounds of sentiment, of sympathy, feeling, and humanity, which
would probably be stronger and more generous under equal liberty than
now, I would not hesitate to act in the circumstances supposed in the
first and second questions, though such action would certainly not be dictated by the mere theory of Anarchism, but would be no more a violation
of it than would a refusal in such cases to interfere.

144

INSTEAD OF A

BOOIC.

of an adoption of Anarchy would be, howto minimize the possibility of unsocial conduct of the character
Fraternally yours,
under discussion, if not to abolish it altogether.

The undoubted tendency

ever,

William Bailie.

CHILDREN UNDER ANARCHY.


{Liberty,

September

3,

1892.]

Nearly the whole of this issue of Liberty is devoted to the


important question of the status of the child under Anarchy.
The long article by Clara Dixon Davidson has been in my
desk, unopened, for several months.
On examining it the
other day, I was surprised and delighted to find that a woman
had written such a bold, unprejudiced, unsentimental, and
altogether rational essay on a subject which women are especially prone to treat emotionally.
I am even shamed a little
by the unhesitating way in which she eliminates from the
own diffiproblem the fancied right of the child to life.
culties, I fear, have been largely due to a lingering trace of this
superstition.
The fact is that the child, like the adult, has no
right to life at all.
Under equal freedom, as it develops individuality and independence, it is entitled to immunity from
assault or invasion, and that is all.
If the parent neglects to
support it, he does not thereby oblige any one else to support
it.
If others give it support, they do so voluntarily, as they
might give support to a neglected animal there is no more
obligation in the one case than in the other.
I also welcome as important Comrade Bailie's contribution
to the discussion.
In one view the question of the status of
the child under Anarchy is a trivial one, trivial because the
bugbears that surround it are hypothetical monsters, and because such ugly realities as do actually confront it are put to
rout by the new social conditions which Anarchy induces.
Even at present comparatively few parents are disposed to
abuse or neglect their children, and in the absence of poverty
and false notions of virtue their number will be infinitesimal
and may be safely neglected. The question is one that vanishes as we approach it.
The chief value of its discussion is found in the light which
it throws on the matter of equal freedom.
Hence I am glad
that it was brought forward by my friend the school-teacher,
whose questions I answered in No. 232, and who now rejoins
with the following letter

My

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.


To

the Editor

14^

of Liberty

gather from your editorial that it is Anarchistic policy for neighbors


to interfere if a parent is about to chisel off the third finger of its child's
left hand, even if he proposes to secure a well-healed stump.
I think I
know you well enough to say that it is not Anarchistic policy for neighbors to interfere if the parent, otherwise sane, proposes to treat his own
finger so.
Now, where is the criterion of these two cases ? Why should
the child's physical integrity be of more importance to neighbors than the
father's ?
Do we not recognize some substitute for or remnant of the law
of equal freedom, restraining the parent's absolute control over the mind,
body, and life of his child ? " Not for the child's sake," primarily, because all sane altruism is rooted in egoism but it is Anarchistic policy to
recognize and defend the child's right to physical integrity, in extreme
I

cases.

Again.uhe reason why we draw the line of Anarchistic policy at interference with any but physical maltreatment is, if I am correct, that noninterference will result in disaster, too grievous to be borne, which will be
an invasion of the equal freedom of adult neighbors, all this only in the
On this ground is laid down the general
case of physical maltreatment.
rule that mental and moral maltreatment of children by parents should not
It seems obvious to me that
be met by neighbors with physical force.
this rule cannot be -thus justified in considering the case of physical maltreatment instanced above, and the following case of mental-and-moral
maltreatment A parent, with the intention of ruining his child's future,
surrounds it with temptations to debauchery such as will assuredly render
This seems to
it imbecile, if it survives to the normal age of maturity.
me more harmful to adult neighbors than even such mutilation as an eye
put out.
To put my thesis most directly, I claim (I) to state the law of eqal
freedom as follows
Every individual has a right to and must expect the results of his own
nature.
Every individual must refrain from invading his neighbor's rights.
Cor. I
Cor. 2. Every child has a right to such sacrifice on the part of its parent
as will enable it to arrive at maturity.
And I claim (II) that it is Anarchistic policy to use physical force to
prevent transgressions of either corollary of this law, where such transThe Egoistic basis of enforcing
gressions are clear and unmistakable.
Cor. 2 is, as your editorial implies, the fact that its violation will result in
shouldering off upon others some unwelcome consequence of the parents'
(propagative) conduct.
It is not always possible to apply the theoretical deductions of science;
but that need not deter her devotees from trying to state and prove, as
completely as possible, the results of science. Here we are, confronted
by the " Cimmerian darkness" of one of the most important problems in
If the statement of Cor. 2 above is not accurate, I ask you,
social ethics.
as my first instructor in this subject, to tell me where it is inaccurate, and
why if it is accurate, it furnishes a basis for the relation between Family
and Society as firm and clear as the Law of Equal Freedom does for Society alone. And we can set ourselves calmly to write down the particular
equations that represent the several phases of child-guardianship.

G.

My

friend misapprehends me.

third parties

is justifiable, it is

When

w.

K.

the interference of
not so because of the superior

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

i46

importance of the child's physical integrity as compared with


that of the parent who mutilates himself, but because the child
The man who mutiis potentially an individual sovereign.
lates himself does not impair equal freedom in the slightest,
but the parent who mutilates his child assaults a being which,
though still limited in its freedom by its dependence, is daily
growing into an independence which will establish its freedom
on an equality with that of others. In this doubtful stage the
advisability of interference is to be decided by necessity, since,
so far as we can see at present, it cannot be decided Ijy principle.
It is necessary to stop the parent from cutting off his
child's finger, because the danger is immediate and the evil
certain and irremediable.
It is not necessary to prescribe the
conditions of virtue with which a parent shall surround his
child, because the danger is remote (it being possible perhaps
in time to induce the parent to change his course), the evil is
uncertain (the child often proving sufficiently strong in character to rise above its conditions), and the results are not
necessarily permanent (as later conditions may largely, if not
entirely, counteract them).
In the former case, physical force
must be met with physical force. In the latter case, it is safer
and better to meet moral (or' immoral) force with moral force.
I am afraid that my friend is not yet a sufficiently good Anarchist to appreciate the full significance of Proudhon's declaration that Liberty is the Mother of Order, and the importance
of securing education through liberty wherever practicable
instead of through compulsion.
I do not think that my friend's formulas are capable of sciWhen he tells me that " every individual
entific treatment.
has a right to and must expect the results of his own nature,"
he lays down a proposition too vague for the purposes of science.
I do not know what the words mean, and in any case I
deny the alleged right. An individual has a right to the results
of his own nature if he can get them; otherwise, not.
Apart
from this right of might, no individual has a right to anything,
except as he creates his right by contract with his neighbor.

NOT A DECREE, BUT A PROPHECY.


\Libcrty, April 28, 1S88.]

Have

made a mistake

himself tripped

At any

in

my

rate, I

Anarchism, or has the editor of Liberty


must challenge the Anarchism of one

THE INDIVIDUAL,

SOCIETY,

AND THE STATE.

I47

sentence in his otherwise masterful paper upon "State Socialism and


Anarchism." If I am wrong, I stand open to conviction. It is this:
" They [Anarchists] look forward to a time
when the children born
of these relations shall belong exclusively to the mothers until old enough
to belong to themselves."
Now, that looks to me like an authoritarian statement that is in opposition to theoretical Anarchy, and also to nature.
What is the matter
with leaving the question of the control of those children to their two
allowing them to decide whether
parents, to be settled between them,
both, or only one, and which one, shall have control?
I may be wrong, but it seems to me extremely un-Anarchistic to thus
bring up an extraneous, authoritarian, moral obligation, and use it to
stifle an instinct which nature is doing her best to develop.
.

I would like to know whether the editor of Liberty momentarily forgot


his creed that we must follow our natural desires, or if I have misunderstood his statement, or misapplied my own Anarchy.
Paternal love of offspring is, with a few exceptions, a comparatively
late development in the evolution of the animal world, so late that there
are tribes of the order of man, and individuals even among civilized nations, in whom it is not found.
But the fact that it is a late development
shows that it is going to develop still more. And under the eased eco-

nomical conditions which Anarchy hopes to bring about, it would burst


forth with still greater power.
Is it wise to attempt to stifle that feeling
it would Ije stifled
by the sweeping statement that its object should
belong to some one else ? Maternal love of offspring beautifies the
woman's character, broadens and enriches her intellect. And as far as I
have observed, paternal feeling, if it is listened to, indulged, and developed, has an equally good, though not just the same, effect upon the
man's mind. Should he be deprived of all this good by having swept out
of his hands all care for his children, and out of his heart all feeling that
they are his, by being made to feel that they "belong exclusively to the

as

mother"? It seems to me much more reasonable, much more natural,


and very much more Anarchistic, to say that the child of Anarchistic
parents belongs to both of them, if they both wish to have united control of it, and, if they don't wish this, that they can settle between themselves as to which one should have it.
The question is one, I think, that
But if some unusual occasion were to
could usually be settled amicably.
arise when all efforts to settle it amicably were to fail, when both parents
would strongly desire the child and be equally competent to rear it, then,
possibly, the fact that the mother has suffered the pain of child-birth
might give her a little the stronger right. But I do not feel perfectly
sure that that principle is right and just.
I would like to know if Mr. Tucker, upon further consideration, does
not agree with me.
F. F. K.

I accept F. F. K.'s challenge, and, in


archism of the sentence objected to, I
language in vjrhich it is phrased to any
authority in English, for the discovery

defence of the Anoffer to submit the


generally recognized
of any authoritarian

meaning possibly therein contained. F. F. K. seems to misunderstand the use of the word "shall." Now, it may be
ascertained from any decent dictionary or grammar that this

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

148

auxiliary is employed, not alone in the language of command,


but also in the language of prophecy. Suppose I had said that
the Anarchists look forward to a time when all men shall be
honest.
Would F. F. K. have suspected me of desiring or
The
predicting a decree to that effect? I hardly think so.
conclusion would simply have been that I regarded honesty as
destined to be accepted by mankind, at some future period, in
Why, then, should it be inferred
the shaping of their lives.
from similar phraseology in regard to the control of children
that I anticipate anything more than a general recognition, in
the absence of contract, of the mother's superior claim, and a

on the part of defensive associations to protect any


other claim than hers in cases of dispute not guarded against
by specific contract ? That is all that I meant, and that is all
that my language implies.
The language of prophecy doubtless had its source in authority, but to-day the idea of authority is so far disconnected from the prophetic form that philosophers and scientists who, reasoning from accepted data, use
this form in mapping out for a space the cours? of evolution
are not therefore accused of designs to impose their sovereign
wills upon the human race.
The editor oi Liberty respectfully
submits that he, too, may sometimes resort to the oracular
style which the best English writers not unfrequently employ in
speaking of futurity, without having it imputed to him on that
account that he professes to speak either from a throne or
from a tripod.
As to the charge of departure from the Anarchistic principle, it may be preferred, I think, against F. F. K. with much
more reason than against me. To vest the control of anything indivisible in more than one person seems to me decidI perfectly agree that parents must be
edly communistic.
allowed to " decide whether both, or only one, and which one,
shall have control."
But if they are foolish enough- to decide
that both shall control, the affair is sure to end in government.
Contract as they may in advance that both shall control, really
no question of control arises until they disagree, and then it is
a logical impossibility for both to control. One of the two will
then control or else there will be a compromise, in which case
each will be controlled, just as the king who makes concessions governs and is governed, and as the members of a democracy govern and are governed. Liberty and individualism
refusal

are lost sight of entirely.


I rejoice to know that the tendency of evolution is towards
the increase of paternal love, it being no part of my intention
to abolish, stifle, or ignore that highly commendable emotion.

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

149

influence in the future upon both child and parent


and better than it ever has been in the past.
Upon the love of both father and mother for their offspring I
chiefly rely for that harmonious co-operation in the guidance
of their children's lives which is so much to be desired.
But
the important question, so far as Anarchy is concerned, is to
whom this guidance properly belongs when such co-operation
has proved impossible. If that question is not settled in advance by contract, it will have to be settled by arbitration, and
the board of arbitration will be expected to decide in accordance with some principle. In my judgment it will be recognized that the control of children is a species of property, and
that the superior labor t'tie of the mother will secure her right
to the guardianship of her children unless she freely signs it
away. With my present light, if I were on such a: board of
arbitration, my vote would be for the mother every time.
For this declaration many of the friends of woman's emancipation (F. F. K., hqwever, not am'ong them) are ready to
abuse me roundly. I had expected their approval rather. For
years in their conventions I have seen this " crowning outrage," that woman is denied the control and keeping of her
children, reserved by them to be brought forward as a coup de
grace for the annihilation of some especially obstinate opponent.
Now this control and keeping I grant her unreservedly,
and, lo! I am a cursed thing
I

expect

its

to be far greater

ANARCHY AND
{Liberty,

March

RAPE.

10, 1888.]

With a plentiful sprinkling of full-face Gothic exclamation


points and a series of hysterical shrieks, the J^ournal of Unitei,
Labor, organ of pious Powderly and pure Litchman, rushes
upon Liberty with the inquiry whether "Anarchy asks liberty
Liberty is thus questioned simply because
to ruin little girls."
it characterized those who petitioned the Massachusetts leg''
age of consent " to sixteen
islature for a further raise of the
The answer
as " a bevy of impertinent and prudish women."
Anarchy does not ask liberty to
shall be direct and explicit.
ruin little girls, but it does ask liberty of sexual association
with girls already several years past the age of womanhood,
equipped by nature with the capacity of maternity, and even
acknowledged by the law to be competent to marry and begin

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

15

the rearing of a family.


To hold a man whose association
with such a girl has been sanctioned by her free consent and
even her ardent desire guilty of the crime of rape and to subject him to life imprisonment is an outrage to which a whole
font of exclamation points would do scant justice.
If there
are any mothers, as the y^ournal of United Labor pretends, who
look upon such an outrage as a protection against outrage,
they confess thereby not only their callous disregard of human
rights, but the imbecility of their daughters and their own responsibility for the training that has allowed them to grow up
" Has Liberty a daughter ? " further inquires the
in imbecility.
y^ournal of United Labor. Why, certainly; Order is Liberty's
daughter, acknowledged as such from the first. " Liberty not
the daughter, but the mother, of Order." But it is needless to
raise the." age of consent" on account of Liberty's daughter.
Order fears no seducer. When all daughters have such mothers and all mothers such daughters, the 'yoiirnal of United
Labor may continue to jegard them as the " worst of womankind," but the powers of the seducer will be gone, no matter
what may be fixed as the " age of consent." Because Liberty
holds this opinion and expresses it, Powderly and Litchman
profess to consider her a " disgrace to the press of America."
Really they do not so look upon her, but they are very anxious
to win .popular approval by pandering to popular prejudices,
and so they took advantage of the opportunity which Liberty's
words gave them to pose as champions of outraged virtue
while endeavoring to identify Anarchism with wholesale rape
of the innocents.

AN UNFORTUNATE ANALOGY.
{Liberty,

November

5, 1887.]

A QUESTION has arisen in England whether the public have


a right of access to the top of Latrigg in Keswick Vale, the
public claiming such right and certain landowners denying
It is probable that the claim of the public is good, but, as
it.
I am not informed regarding the basis of the landholders'
title in this particular case, it is not my purpose to discuss the
The London Jus, however, has discussed the matter,
matter.
and I refer to it only to expose an inconsistency into which
It seems that Mr.
that journal has fallen.
Plimsoll, who
champions the claim of the public, has made this declaration

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.


"

What

Not

151

Parliament has given Parliament can take away."


Jus j and it imagines a case.

rightly, declares

Suppose Parliament grants a life-pension to a distinguished general


suppose the next Parliament, being of another color, rejects the grant, will
Mr. Plimsoll pretend that in such a case Parliament would have the right
to take it away?
Not he no honest man could think so for a moment.
Private persons do not consider themselves entitled to take back that
which they have given to others, even without any consideration whatever.
;

True, so far as private persons are concerned. But private


persons do consider themselves entitled to take back that
which has been taken from them and given to others. If the
body politic, or State, which compels A to belong to it and
aid in supporting it, pledges a certain sum annually to B, and,
to meet this pledge, forcibly collects annually from A a proportional part of the sum, then A, when he becomes strong
enough, may not only decline to make any further annual
payments to B, but may take from B all that he has been
compelled to pay to him in the past. To-day, to be sure, A,
as soon as he acquires power, generally vitiates his claim
upon B by proceeding to pledge others in the same manner
in which others, when they were in power, had pledged him.
But this fact, being accidental rather than essential, has no
logical bearing upon the question of A's right to recover from
B.
It follows, then, that private, persons cannot be held to
the pledges of an association which forces them into its membership, and that Parliament, which represents the will of a
majority of the members of such an association, and of a
majority which necessarily varies continually in its make-up,
stands on a very different footing from that of private persons
fn the matter of observing or violating contracts.
But suppose the position of Jus that they stand on the
same footing to be granted. What has Jus to say then ?
This,
namely, that it finds itself in sympathy with Mr. Plimsoll and the people of Keswick in their desire to enjoy the
that it believes the right of
beautiful scenery of Latrigg
way to such enjoyment was originally theirs and that the
sooner they recover it, the better. But how ? It has already
denied that " what Parliament has given Parliament can take
away " so it finds itself obliged to pick its way around this
difficulty by the following devious path

If Parliament has given away to private persons that which ought to


have been retained in public hands for the public use and benefit, with or
without sufficient (or any) consideration, then lei the Natipn keef faith
Q,nd buy it back.
.

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

152

The italics are mine. Bearing them in mind, let us return


Do
to the analogy between Parliament and private persons.
private persons, then, consider themselves entitled to buy back
that which they have given to others, on terms fixed by themThat the
selves, and whether the others desire to sell or net ?
private person who gives a thing to another and afterwards
compels the latter to sell it back to him is less a thief than he
would have been
tion

is

if

he had taken

back without compensaI know, either in


more can be said of such a
it

a principle unrecognized, so far as

law or in political economy.


No
robber than that he shows some considetation for his victim.
Then, if Parliament and private persons stand on the same
footing, whence does Jus derive the right of Parliament to
forcibly buy back what it has given away ?
Jus is a fine paper. It maintains certain phases of Individualism with splendid force and vigor.
But it continually puts
itself into awkward situations simply by failing to be thorough
in its Individualism.
Here, for instance, it denies the right of
the State to take from the individual without compensation
what it has given him, but affirms the right of the State to
compel the individual to sell to it what it has given him. In
a word, Jus is not Anarchistic. It does not favor individual
liberty in all things.
It would confine interference with it
within much narrower limits than those generally set by
governmentalists, but, after all, like all other governmentalists,
it fixes the limits in accordance with arbitrary standards prescribing that interference must be carried on only by methods
and for purposes which it approves on grounds foreign to the
belief in liberty as the necessary condition of social harmony.

THE BOYCOTT AND


^Liberty December
^

London Jus

ITS LIMIT.

3, 1887.]

does not see clearly in the matter of boycottit says, " has a perfect right to refuse to
hold intercourse with any other man or class from whom he
chooses to keep aloof. But where does liberty come in when
several persons conspire together to put pressure upon another
to induce or coerce him (by threats expressed or implied) to refrain also from intercourse with the boycotted man?
It is not
that the boycotted man has grounds of legal complaint against
His complaint is
those who voluntarily put him in Coventry.

ing.

"

Every man,"

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

153

against those who compel (under whatsoever sanction) third


Surely the distinction is specific."
persons to do likewise.
Specific, yes, but not rational.
The line of real distinction
does not run in the direction which Jus tries to give it. Its
course does not lie between the second person and a third
person, but between the threats of invasion and the threats of
ostracism by which either the second or a third person is coerced or induced. All boycotting, no matter of what person,
consists either in the utterance of a threat or in its execution.
A man has a right to threaten what he has a right to execute.
The boundary-line of justifiable boycotting is fixed by the
B and C, laborers, are entitled to
nature of the threat used.
quit buying shoes of A, a manufacturer, for any reason whatever or for no reason at all. Therefore they are entitled to
say to A " If you do not discharge the non-union men in
your employ, we will quit buying shoes of you." Similarly
they are entitled to quit buying clothes of D, a tailor. There" If you do not co-operate
fore they are entitled to say to D
with us in endeavoring to induce A to discharge his non-union
employees, that is, if you do not quit buying shoes of him,
we will quit buying clothes of you." But B and C are not
Hence they are not
entitled to burn A's shop or D's shop.
that they will burn his shop unless he disentitled to say to
charges his non-union employees, or to D that they will burn
Is it not
his shop unless he withdraws his patronage from A.
clear that the rightful attitude of B and C depends wholly
upon the question whether or not the attitude is invasive in
itself, and not at all upon the question whether the object of it
:

is

or

D?

A CASE WHE.RE DISCUSSION CONVINCED.


'{Liberty, February.ii, 1888.]

One word as to boycotting itself. Jus war> some weeks ago taken to
" The line
task by the Boston Liberty for incorrectly defining the term.
of distinction," says Liberty, "does not run in the direction which yj
Its course does not lie. between the second person and a
tries to give it.
third person, but between the threats of invasion and the threats of ostracism by which either the second or a third person is coerced or induced.
All boycotting, no matter of what person, consists either in the utterance
man has a right to threaten what he has
of a threat or in its execution.
a right to execute. The boundary-line of justifiable boycotting is fixed by
the nature of the threat used." This seems reasonable enough, and.
until we s?e the contrary proved, we shall accept this view in preference

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

154

At the same time, we are


to that which we have put forward hitherto.
not so absolutely convinced of its soundness as to close our eyes to the
The doctrine
fact that there may be a good deal said on the other side.
That which may not be illegal or even wrong in
of conspiracy enters in.
one person becomes both illegal and morally wrong in a crowd of persons.

-Jus.

Liberty would be unfair to Jus if it should not present


the evidence of that journal's fairness by printing its handsome acknowledgment of error regarding boycotting. Jus still
thinks, however, that something may be said on the other side,
and declares that there are some things that one person may
rightfully

do which become

illegal

and immoral when done by

There
a crowd.
I should like to have Jus give an instance.
are some invasive acts or threats which cannot be executed by
individuals, but require crowds
or conspiracies, if you will
for their accomplishment.
But the guilt still arises from the
invasive character of the act, and not from the fact of conspiracy.
No individual has a right to do any act which is
invasive, but any number of individuals may rightfully " conspire" to commit any act which is non-invasive.
Jus acknowledges the force of Liberty's argument that
may as
properly boycott C as B.
Further consideration, I think, will
and B combined may as
compel it to acknowledge that
alone or B alone.
properly boycott C as may

A SPIRIT MORE EVIL THAN ALCOHOL.


\_Liberty^

August

13, 1887.]

The authority of learning, the tyranny of science, which


Bakounine foresaw, deprecated, and denounced, never found
blunter expression than in an article by T. B. Wakeman in
the August number of the Freethinkers' Magazine in which
the writer endeavors to prove, on scientific grounds alone,
that alcohol is an unmitigated evil, a poison that ought never
to be taken into the human system.
knowledge of chemistry and physiology is too limited to enable me to judge of
the scientific soundness of the attempted demonstration but
I do know that it is admirably well written, wonderfully attractive, powerfully plausible, important if true, and therefore worthy of answer by those who alone are competent to

My

answer
see

it

and,

if

it

if it

can be answered. Such an answer I hope to


weigh it against Mr, Wakeman's

arrives, I shall

THE INClVIUtJAL, SOCIETY,

ANE)

THE STATE.

155

argument, award a verdict for myself, and act upon it for myself,
if I am allowed to do so.
But it is plain that, if Mr. Wakeman's party gets into power,
no such privilege will be granted me. For, after having asserted most positively that this " verdict of science " can be
made so manifest that it will become a "personal prohibition
law, which no person in his senses would violate any more than
he would cut his own throat," in which case its compulsory enforcement will be entirely unnecessary except upon persons out
of their senses, Mr. Wakeman goes on to say that it is the duty
of the lawyers (of whom he is one) to see to it that the manufacture, sale, and use of alcohol as a beverage shall be out-

lawed, proscribed, and prohibited just as arsenic is, and that,


Rather
like arsenic, it shall be sold only as a labelled poison.
a summary way, it seems to me, of cramming science down the
throats of people who like a glass of claret better
"Ah "
some reader will say, " you forget that this compulsory abstinence is only to be enforced upon people out of their senses,
probably hopeless sots who are a public danger."
This consideration possibly would afford a grain of consolation, had not Mr. Wakeman taken pains in another paragraph
to leave no one in doubt as to the meaning of the phrase " in
his senses."
It is not applicable, he declares, to any drinker
of alcohol who claims to " know when he has enough," for
" that very remark shows that alcohol has already stolen away
his brains."
His position, then, is that the law of total abstinence will enforce itself upon all men in their senses, for no
man in his senses will drink alcohol after hearing the verdict
of science
but that men who drink alcohol, however moderately, are out of their senses, and must be " treated, by force
if necessary, as diseased lunatics."
Was any priest, any pope, any czar ever guilty of teaching
a more fanatical, more bigoted, more tyrannical doctrine ?
Does Mr. Wakeman imagine that he can restore men to
their senses by any such disregard of their individualities ?
Does he think that the way to strengthen the individual's
reason and will is to force them into disuse by substituting for
them the reason and will of a body of savants ?
In that case I commend him to the words of Bakounine
"
society which should obey legislation emanating from a scientific academy, not because it understood itself the rational
character of this legislation (in which case the existence of
the academy would become useless), but because this legislation, emanating from the academy, was imposed in the name
such
of a science which it venerated without comprehending,
I

INSTEAt) OP A BOOK.

J56

would be a society, not of men, but of brutes. It


a second edition of those missions in Paraguay which
submitted so long to the government of the Jesuits. It would
surely and rapidly descend to the lowest stage of idiocy."
The mightiest foe of the human mind is not alcohol, by
any means. It is that spirit of arrogance which prompts the
conclusion of Mr. Wakeman's essay, and which, encouraged,
would induce a mental paralysis far more universal and far
more hopeless than any that science will ever be able to trace
a society

would be

the spirit of alcohol.

,to

A WORD ABOUT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.


{^Liberiy,

August

30, 1890.]

Since the execution of Kemmler, I have seen it stated repeatedly in the press, and especially in the reform press, and
even in the Anarchistic press, that that execution was a murder.
I have also seen it stated that capital punishment is
murder in its worst form. I should like to know upon what
principle of human society these assertions are based and
justified.

they are based on the principle that punishment inflicted


compulsory institution which manufactures the criminals
is worse than the crime punished, I can understand them ahd
But in that case I
in some degree sympathize with them.
cannot see why fa//^a/ punishment should be singled out for
emphatic and exceptional denunciation. The same objection
applies as clearly to punishment that simply takes away liberty
as to punishment that takes away life.
The use of the word capital makes me suspect that this denunciation rests on some other ground than tnat which I have
But what is this ground ?
just suggested.
If society has a right to protect itself against such men as
Kemmler, as is admitted, why may it not do so in whatever
way proves most effective ? If it is urged that capital punishment is not the most effective way, such an argument, well
sustained by facts, is pertinent and valid.
This position also
I can understand, and with it, if not laid down as too absolute
But this is not to say that the society
a rule, I sympathize.
If

by

which

inflicts capital

an offensive act.
to any defensive act.

is

punishment commits murder.

The term cannot be

And

Murder

applied legitimately

capital punishment,

however

in-

tHE
effective

it

IHDiViiDtlAL, SOCtETV,

AND

THfe STATE.

may be and through whatever ignorance

it

I^^

may be

a strictly defensive act,


at least in theory.
Of
course compulsory institutions often make it a weapon of
offence, but that does not affect the question of capital punishment /^r se as distinguished from other forms of punishment.
For one, I object to this distinction unless it is based on rational grounds.
In doing so, I am not moved by any desire
to defend the horrors of the gallows, the guillotine, or the
resorted

to, is

They are as repulsive to me as to any one.


the conduct of the physicians, the ministers, the newsThese horrors all tell
papers, and the officials disgusts me.
most powerfully against the expediency and efficiency of .capital punishment.
But nevertheless they do not make it murder.
I insist that there is nothing sacred in the life of an invader,
and there is no valid principle of human society that forbids
the invaded to protect themselves in whatever way they can.

electric chair.

And

NO PLACE FOR A PROMISE.


\_Lideriy,

November

12, 1892,]

Promise, according to the common acceptation of the term, is a


binding declaration made by one person to another to do, or not to do, a

According to this definition, there can,


certain act at some future time.
I think, be no place for a promise in a harmonious, progressive world.
Promises and progress are incompatible, unless all the parties are, at all
times, as free to break them as they were to make them and this admission eliminates the binding element, and, therefore, destroys the popular
meaning of a promise.
In a progressive world we know more to-morrow fhan we know to-day.
for, all coercion
Also harmdny implies absence of external coercion
being social discord, a promise that appears just and feels agreeable
when measured with to-day's knowledge may appear unjust and become
disagreeable when measured with the standard of to-morrow's knowledge ; and in so far as the fulfilment of a promise becomes disagreeable
or impossible, it is an element of discord, and discord is the opposite of
;

harmony.
HoLSTEiN, Iowa.

H. Olerich, Jr.

equally true, my good friend, that the non-fulfilis disagreeable to the promisee, and in so
far it is an element of discord, and discord is the opposite of
harmony. You need noi: look for harmony until people are
disposed to be harmonious. But justice, or a close approximation thereto, can be secured even from ill-disposed peoI have no doubt of the right of any man to whom, for a
ple.

But

ment

it is

of a promise

158

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

consideration, a promise has been made, to insist, even by


force, upon the fulfilment of that promise, provided the promise be not one whose fulfilment would invade third parties.
And if the promisee has a right to use force himself for such
a purpose, he has a right to secure such co-operative force
from others as they are willing to extend. These others, in
turn, have a right to decide what sort of promises, if any, they
When it comes to the determiwill help him to enforce.
nation of this point, the question is one of policy solely; and
very likely it will be found that the best way to secure the
fulfilment of promises is to have it understood in advance
But as a matter of
that the fulfilment is not to be enforced.
justice and liberty, it must always be remembered that a
promise is a two-sided affair. And in our anxiety to leave the
promisor his liberty, we must not forget the superior right of
the promisee.
I say superior, because the man who fulfils a
promise, however unjust the contract, acts voluntarily, whereas the man who has received a promise is defrauded by its nonfulfilment, invaded, deprived of a portion of his liberty against
his will.

ON PICKET DUTY.
Bullion thinks that " civilization consists in teaching men
to govern themselves and then letting them do it."
very
slight change suffices to make this stupid statement an en" Civilization
tirely accurate one, after which it would read
consists in teaching men to govern themselves by letting them
do it." Liberty, August 20, 1881.

People in general, and the governmental Socialists in parthey see a new argument in favor of their
beloved State in the assistance which it is rendering to the
ticular, think

suffering and starving victims of the Mississippi inundation.


Well, such work is better than forging new chains to keep the
people in subjection, we allow but it is not worth the price
The people cannot afford to be enslaved
that is paid for it.
for the sake of being insured.
If there were no other alternative, they would do better, on the whole, to take Nature's risks
and pay her penalties as best they might. But Liberty supplies
another alternative, find furnishes better insurance at cheaper
The philosophy of voluntary mutualism is universal in
rates.
its application, not omitting the victims of natural disaster.
;

THE ^DIVIDUAL,

AND THE STATE.

SOCIETY,

i^()

Mutual banking, by the organization of credit, will secure the


greatest possible production of wealth and its most equitable
distribution
and mutual insurance, by the organization of
;

do the utmost that can be done to mitigate and


equalize the suffering arising from its accidental destruction.
risk,

will

Liberty, April

1882.

i,

as the principle that " one man


not a little better." Anarchy may be
defined as the principle that one government is as bad as
another, if not a little worse.
Liberty, May 12, 1883.

Democracy has been defined


as

is

'

good

as another,

if

In a lecture in Milwaukee a short time ago Clara Neyman


of New York said that "if women could have the right to
vote, they would devise better means of reform than those lof
narrow prohibition."
there would be nothing
Yes, indeed
narrow about their prohibition it would be of the broadest
kind, including everything from murder to non-attendance at
church. Liberty, May 12, 1883.
;

Eighteen men and women who had been punished once for
the crimes they had ever been convicted of committing,
and against whom there was no shred of evidence of having
committed any new crime, or of harboring any intention of
committing any new crime, were taken into custody by the
New York police on Thursday, August 6, on no pretext whatever save that these persons had the reputation of being professional pick-pockets, and that it was the part of prudence
to keep such characters in jail until after the Grant obsequies,
when they might be arraigned in court and discharged for
That is to say, eighteen
want of evidence against them.
persons, presumably innocent in the eye of the law, had to be
deprived of their liberty and kept in dungeons for four days,
in order that some hundreds of thousands of people, half of
them numskulls and the other half hypocrites, might not be
obliged to keep their hands on their pocket-books while they
shed crocodile tears at the grave of one of the foremost
abettors of theft and plunder which this century has produced.
And the upholders of governments continue to prate of the
insecurity that would prevail without them, and to boast of
all

the maxim, while thus violating it, that " it is better that
ninety-nine guilty men should escape than that one innocent

man
"

should suffer."

Whenever

Index, "that

it

the

Liberty,

August

15, 1885.

proposed," writes W. J. Potter in the


voluntary system for religion shall be

is

INSTEAD OP A BOOK.

6o

adopted and trusted wholly, there are many timid folk who
start up with the warning that religion would be imperilled.
Such people do not appear to have much confidence in the
power of religion to maintain itself in the world." By similar
reasoning, how much confidence does Mr. Potter, who would
prohibit people from reading literature that does not satisfy
his standard of purity, who would prohibit people from drinking liquors that do not satisfy his standard of sobriety, who
would compel people to be charitable by making them pay
taxes for the support of alms-houses and hospitals, and who
would compel people to be learned, and still other people to
pay the expense of their learning, how much confidence, I
say, does Mr. Potter appear to have in the power of purity,
temperance, benevolence, and education to maintain themselves in the world ?
Mr. Potter should learn of Auberon
Herbert that " every measure to which a man objects is a
Church-rate if you have the courage and the logic to see
it."
Liberty, September 12, 1885.

" No man who puts any conscience into his voting, or who
acts from proper self-respect," says the Boston Herald, " will
consider himself bound to support a dishonest or unfit can-

didate merely because he was fairly nominated by the maBut the Herald believes that every man
who puts any conscience into his conduct, or who acts from
proper self-respect, should consider himself bound to support
and obey a dishonest or unfit official merely because he was
fairly elected by the majority of his countrymen.
Where is
the obligation in the latter case more than in the former ?
" Our country, right or wrong," is as immoral a sentiment as
" our party, right or wrong."
The Herald and its mugwump
friends should beware of their admissions.
They will find
that the " divine right to bolt " leads straight to Anarchy.
'

'

jority of his party."

Liberty,

September

12, 1885.

To the Czar of Russia is due the credit of applying practically to taxation the reductio ad absiirdum.
Heretofore all his
subjects have enjoyed at least the highly estimable privilege
of praying for their rights free of cost.
Any morning any of
them could put in as many petitions as they chose to Alexander himself or any of his ministers for relief from any
grievance whatsoever.
Now, however, this state of things is
no more. The last liberty of the Russian has been taken from
him. The right of petition has been made the subject of a tax.
Before the aggrieved citizen can make his grievance officially

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETV, AND THE STATE.

l6l

known, he must pay sixty kopecks into the treasury of His


Imperial Nibs for the purchase of a stamp to put upon his
document.
Other sovereigns have taxed every other right
under the sun, but it was left for Alexander III. to tax the
right to demand your rights.
No citizen of Russia can now
ask his " dear father " to let him alone without paying sixty
kopecks an ask. This is the act of a notoriously cruel despot.
See now how much wiser the policy of a reputedly benevolent
one,
Pedro of Brazil. He also is the author of a novelty
in taxation.
No Brazilian husband, who, becoming suspicious
of his wife, detects her and her lover in flagrante delicto, can
hereafter legally establish such discovery until he has first
poured into the State's coffers a sum slightly exceeding two
This is a use of tyranny that almost indollars and a half.
Bleeding domestic tyrants is better
clines me to wink at it.
business than political tyrants are wont to engage in. If there
Pedro. Liberty,
must be a tax-gatherer, I shall vote for
November 14, 1885.

Dom

Dom

The latest piece of governmental infernalism is the proposiIt


tion to raise the " age of consent " to eighteen years.
sounds quite harmless, and belongs to that class of measures
which especially allure stiff-necked moralists, pious prudes,
" respectable " radicals, and all the other divisions of the
" unco guid."
But what does it mean ? It means that, if
a girl of seventeen, of mature and sane mind, whom even the
law recognizes as a fit person to be married and the mother of
a family, shall love a man and win his love in return, and if
this mutual love, by the voluntary and deliberate act of both
parties, shall find sexual expression outside of the " forms of
law " made and provided by our stupid legislatures, the man
may be found guilty of committing rape and sent to prison for
twenty years. Such is the real nature of this proposition,
whatever attempts may be made to conceal it beneath the
garments of sentimentalism and moralism. It is an outrage
on manhood, and on womanhood not only an outrage, but an
insult. And yet it is put forward in the interest of young girls'
As if it were possible to more
Honor, forsooth
honor.
basely dishonor a woman already several years past the age at
which Nature provided her with the power of motherhood than
by telling her that she hasn't brains enough to decide whether
and in what way she will become a mother \Liberty, April
I

17, 1886.

In these days of boycott trials a great deal of nonsense


being talked and written regarding "blackmail." This

is
is

INSTEAD OP A BOOK.

l62

It
a question which the principle of Liberty settles at once.
may be well to state the verdict boldly and baldly. Here it
is
Any individual may place any condition he chooses, provided the condition be not in itself invasive, upon the doing
or not doing of anything which he has a right to do or not do
but no individual can rightfully be a party to any bargain
which makes a necessarily invasive condition incumbent upon
any of the contracting parties. From which it follows that
an individual may rightfully " extort" money from another by
" threatening " him with certain consequences, provided those
consequences are of such a nature that he can cause them
"
without infringing upon anybody's rights. Such " extortion
there
are
circumstances
is generally rather mean business, but
under which the most high-minded of men might resort to it
without doing violence to his instincts, and under no circumstances is it invasive and therefore wrongful, unless the act
threatened is invasive and therefore wrongful. Therefore to
:

punish men who have taken money for lifting a boycott is


oppression pure and simple. Whatever may be the " common law " or the " statute law " of blackmail, this to use Mr.
Spooner's phrase is the natural law that governs it. Liberty,
July 31, 1886.

The methods pursued by District Assembly 49

of the Knights

Labor in the conduct of the recent strike have driven Mayor


Hewitt and divers other capitalistic publicists into a state of
frenzy, so that they now lose no opportunity to frantically declare that one set of men must not be permitted to deprive
of

men of the right to labor. This is a whitebearded truth, but, when spoken in condemnation of the
Knights of Labor for ordering members in one branch of industry to quit work for the purpose of strengthening strikers
in another branch by more completely paralyzing business, it
is given a tone of impertinence more often characteristic of
callow juvenility than of venerable old age.
I can't see for
my life whose liberty is encroached upon by such a procedure.
Certainly not that of the men ordered to quit, because they
other sets of

joined the Knights, a voluntary organization, for certain express purposes, of which this was one, and, when they no
longer approve it, can secede from it and then work when and
where they please. Certainly not, on the other hand, that of
the employers who thus lose their workmen, because, if it is
no invasion of liberty for the individual workman to leave his
employer in obedience to any whim whatsoever, it is equally
no invasion of liberty for a body of workmen to act likewise,

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

163

even though they have no grievance against their employer.


then, are deprived of their liberty ?
None. All this
outcry simply voices the worry of the capitalists over the
thought that laborers have learned one of their own tricks,

Who,

The policy of District Assembly


the art of creating a corner.
49 (whether wise or foolish is another question) was simply
one of cornering labor, which is much easier to justify than
cornering capital, because the cornered labor is withheld from
the market by its rightful owners, while the cornered capital
withheld by men who never could have obtained
through State-granted privilege to extort and rob.
is

March

it

except
Liberty,

12, 1887.

All the indignation that is rife over the decision of Worcester shoe manufacturers and Chicago master builders to employ only such men as will sign an agreement practically,
excluding them from their unions is very ill spent. These
employers have a perfect right to hire men on whatever conditions the men will accept.
If the latter accept cruel conditions, it is only because they are obliged to do so.
What thus
obliges them ?
Law-sustained monopolies. Their relief lies,
then, not in depriving employers of the right of contract, but
in giving employees the same right of contract without cripLiberty, May 28, 1887.
pling them in advance.

Judge McCarthy, of the Pennsylvania supreme court, having


to pass upon the question whether, under the Pennsylvania
liquor law, licenses should be granted in a certain county, decided against granting them because he was opposed to the
" When laws are
law, saying in the opinion which he filed
passed that seem to conflict with God's injunctions, we are
not compelled to obey them." I'll warrant that that same
judge, were an Anarchist, arraigned before him for the violation of some unjust statute, to claim that he followed either
God's injunction or any other criterion of conduct in his eyes
superior to the statute, would give the prisoner three months
:

extra for his impudence.

Liberty,

September

10, 1887.

The Providence People lays it down as one of three " fundamentals " that " every child should be guaranteed a free complete education, physically, mentally, morally, and industriWhat is a complete education ? Who's got one that he
ally."

can guarantee

Who,

if

he had one and nothing

else,

could

Even if he
afford to impart it to another free of charge ?
could afford to, why should he do so ? Why should he not be
paid for doing so ? If he is to be paid, who should pay hina

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

164

except the recipient of the education or those upon whom


the recipient is directly dependent ?
Do not these questions
cut under the " fundamental " of the People?"
Is it, then, a
fundamental, after all ? Liberty, December 3, 1887.

Not content with getting the " age of consent " raised from
ten to thirteen, a bevy of impertinent and prudish women
went up to the Massachusetts State House the other day and
asked that it be raised again, this time to eighteen. When a
member of the legislative committee suggested that the age
be placed at thirt5'-five, since the offence aimed at was as
much a crime at thirty-five as eighteen, the petitioners did
not seem to be terrified by his logic.
Evidently these ladies
are not afraid that their consent will ever be asked at all.
Liberty, February 11, 1888.

At the end

of a protest against the addition, of the higher


education to the curriculum of the public
schools, the Winsted Press says: "The common district
school, thoroughly well conducted, is good enough for common folks. Let the uncommon folks have uncommon schools
and pay for them." True enough; but, if common folks
should not be made to pay for uncommon schools, why
should uncommon folks be made to pay for common schools ?
Liberty, April 28, 1888.

branches

of

New Jersey court has decided that the will of a citizen


of that State, by which Henry George was given a large sum
of money for the circulation of his books, is invalid on the.
ground that the bequest is not educational or charitable, but
intended for the spread of doctrines contrary to the law of
the land.
Probably the judge who rendered this decision
thinks regarding the determination of economic truth, as Mr.
George thinks regarding the issue of money, the collection of
rents, the carrying of letters, the running of railroads, and
sundry other things, that it is " naturally a function of government." And really, if Mr. George is right, I do not see
why the judge is not right. Yet I agree that Mr. George has
correctly branded him as an " immortal ass."
Liberty, May
26, 1888.

A California friend sends me. a copy of the Weekly Star of


San Francisco containing an article which, if a tenth part of
it be true, shows that city and State to be under the pestilent
control of a band of felons.
At the end of the article the
writer, regardless of the fact that

this state of things

is

the

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

165

direct outgrowth of the government of man by man, proposes


to add to the powers of this government the exclusive management of the telegraph system, of the banking system, and
of corporate enterprises, as wefl as a vast new field of judicature.
To this political servant, who has not even the grace to
hide in the earth the talent intrusted to him, but insists on
using it as a scourge upon mankind, the editor of the Weekly
" Thou hast been unizx'CcdvX over a few things
Star says
I
:

make

thee ruler over many things." I am not surprised


to find from another column of the same paper that the editor looks upon Anarchists as pestilent mischief-makers and
noisy blatherskites. Liberty, July 7, 1888.

will

Colonel Ingersoll has recently promulgated the theory that


the husband should never be released from the marriage contract unless the wife has violated it, but that the wife should be
allowed a divorce merely for the asking.
Presumably this is intended for chivalry, but it really is an insult to every self-respecting woman.
It is a relic of the old theory that woman is
an inferior being, with whom it is impossible for a man to
treat as an equal.
No woman worthy of the name and fully
understanding the nature of her act would ever consent to
union with a man by any contract which would not secure his
Liberty, August 18, 1888.
liberty equally with her own.

The theoretical position taken by Henry George in regard


to competition is that free trade should prevail everywhere except in those lines of business where in the nature of things
competition can exist only partially if at all, and that in such
lines there should be a government monopoly^ Yet in a recent
speech in England he declared that it was not quite clear to
him whether the sale of liquor should be free or monopolized
by the government. Mr. George, then, if honest and logical,
must entertain a suspicion of the existence of some natural restriction upon competition in the sale of liquor.
Will he be
No, he will not and for the reaso good as to point it out ?
son that his professed criterion is simply a juggler's attempt to
;

conceal under something that looks like a scientific formula


his arbitrary method of deciding that in such a channel of enterprise there shall be free trade, and in such another there
Liberty, February 2, 1889.
shall be none.

The allopathic physicians of Massachusetts, having worked


in vain for several years to obtain a legal monopoly of the
practice of medicine, have concluded that a sure half loaf is
better than a steadily diminishing slice, and so have gone intQ

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

66

partnership with one or two factions of the "quacks" to


prevent all other " quacks " from following their profession.
This year the allopaths have taken the homoeopaths and eclectics into the ring, and by thfs political manoeuvre they hope
to secure the valuable privilege which they are aiming at, on
the plea which privileged classes always make,
that of protecting the masses.
The battle is being stubbornly fought at
the State House, and at a recent hearing before the judiciary
committee Geo. M. Stearns of Chicopee, who appeared for
the " quacks," made one of the wittiest, keenest, and most uncompromising speeches in favor of absolute liberty in medicine that ever fell from a lawyer's lips.
It is a pity that some
of his clients who followed him were not equally consistent.
For instance. Dr. J. Rhodes Buchanan, who is a sort of quackin-chief, in the course of a long argument made to convince
the committee of the right of the patient to choose his own
doctor, declared that he would favor a bill which would make
treatment of cancer with a knife malpractice
The old story
again.
In medicine as in theology orthodoxy is my doxy
and heterodoxy is your doxy. This " quack," who is so outraged because the " regulars " propose to suppress him, clearly
enough aches for a dictator's power that he may abolish the
regulars.
He reminds one of those Secularists whose indignation at being compelled to pay taxes for the support of
churches in which they do not believe is only equalled by the
delight which they take in compelling church-members to pay
taxes for the support of schools to which they are opposed.
And yet there are good friends of Liberty who insist that I, in
condemning these people, show an inability to distinguish between friends artd foes. The truth is that, unlike these critical comrades, I am not to be blinded to the distinction between
friends and foes by a mere similarity of shibboleth.
Liberty,

February

23, 1889.

While justly censuring the centralized authority which is the


essence of the scheme upon which the Topolobampo colony
is founded, the Chicago Unity says nevertheless that, since
we are privileged to stay away, " Mr. Owen's plan is in this
respect a great improvement on Nationalism, or other forms of
State Socialism, which would oblige all citizens, though directly
in opposition to their own convictions and wishes, to submit
This is very true
but I wonder if
to the new despotism."
Unity realizes that among these " other forms of State Socialism " which oblige all citizens to submit to their despotism in opposition to the citizens' wishes, and to which there;

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

167

Owen's plan, hideous as it is, is in this respect supeproperly to be classed the existing United States government. Liberty, May 16, 1891.

fore Mr.
rior, is

The original patent of the Bell Telephone Company expires


" From personal tests in Boston," says an exin March, 1893.
pert in this matter, " I know they have practical instruments
that are one hundred per cent, better than those in use now.
They are keeping these instruments in reserve to meet the
competition of the future. The Western Union Telegraph
Company is doing the same thing."
paper called the Canal

Dispatch, commenting on this, indignantly complains that


" some of the glorious and useful instruments of the nineteenth century are lying under lock and key as the fruit of
'
free competition.' "
This indignation is righteous, but misdirected.
It is not free competition that is keeping these improvements locked up, but that form of monopoly known as
property in ideas.
As the expert points out, as soon as the
patent expires and competition arriv es, the improvements will
be brought to light. Liberty, May 16, 1891.

In an article justifying the prohibition of the liquor traffic,


" According to the
the Atlantic (Iowa) Investigator says
Anarchistic theory, the government has no right to prohibit
anything, but only has the right to interfere where a wrong has
been done, and then only to make the wrong-doer repair damages."
I know not the source whence \ht Investigator &^x\\&^
this notion of Anarchism, but it is certainly a mistaken one.
As to government. Anarchism holds that it has no business to
do anything whatsoever or even to exist but voluntary defensive associations acting on the Anarchistic principle would
not only demand redress for, but would prohibit, all clearly
invasive acts. They would not, however, prohibit non-invasive
acts, even though these acts create additional opportunity for
For instance, they would
invasive persons to act invasively.
not prevent the buying and selling of liquor, even though it be
true that some people are invasive when under the influence
The Investigator has failed to grasp the Anarof liquor.
chistic view.
It makes the dividing line of Anarchism run
between prohibition of injury and compulsory redress, whereas
Anarchism really includes both. Its dividing line runs in an
entirely different direction, and separates invasion from noninvasion.
Let the Investigator try again, Liberty, May 30,
1891.
:

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

l68

The editor of the Arena longs for the " era of woman
because, when it arrives, States being woman-governed instead
of man-governed, the " age of consent " will be placed at
Pointing to the example set in this respect
eighteen years.
by Kansas and Wyoming, the States which come nearest to
" All the
being woman-governed, he says in rebuking italics
other States trail the banner of morality in the dust before the dicMr. Flower supposes himself to be an
tates of man's bestiality."
individualist, and sometimes writes in favor of individualism
But I am curious
in a way that commands my admiration.
to know by what rule he applies the theory of individualism,
that he can bring himself to violate and deny the individuality of the girl who wrote " The Story of an African Farm,"
by favoring a law which would send to prison for twenty
years, as guilty of rape, any man with whom she might have
freely chosen, at the age when she began to write that book,
Had Olive Schreiner lived in
to enter into sexual relations.
civilized Wyoming instead of semi-barbarous South Africa,
and had she chosen to practise the theories which she favors
not however
in her book, she would indeed have been raped
by the lover of her choice, but by the women who deny her
the right of choice, and by the men like B. O. Flower, who
glory in this denial
raped, not of virginity, that paltry,
tawdry, and overrated gewgaw, but of liberty, that priceless,
matchless jewel, which it is becoming fashionable to despise.
:

Liberty,

August

i,

1891.

For one I shall shed no tears if the New York law forbidding the publication of accounts of executions is rigorously
Much as I
enforced and its violators severely punished.
value the liberty of the press, yes, because I value it, I should
like to see the knife of authority buried to the hilt in the tenderest part of the ordinarily truckling newspapers of New
York and then turned vigorously and mercilessly round. Perhaps, after that, Comstock laws, anti-lottery laws, and other
similar legal villainies would no longer be made possible by
the subservient hypocrites who cry out against oppressions
only when victimized themselves.
For some time past the
New York Sun has been violating law with boasting and defiance, and yet, because in Tennessee a forcible attempt has
been made to prevent the employment of convicts in the
mines, and because in Kansas an Alliance judge has disobeyed
the decree of the supreme court, it solemnly declares that to
disregard law " is resistance to the will of the people, except
in the case of an unconstitutional statute, which is really no

THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

169

The exception here entered by the Sun to save


skin does not avail for that purpose. Who is to decide
whether a statute is unconstitutional? The supreme court,
the Sun will answer. But is the Sun prepared, in case the
supreme court declares the law regarding executions constitutional, to condemn its own course in violating the law ?
I
think not.
But then it must allow to the Tennessee laborers
and the Kansas judge the same liberty that it claims for itself.
If the " higher law " doctrine is good for anything, it is good,
not only against legislatures, but against supreme courts. On
the other hand, if it is good for nothing, the Sun should take
its own advice to other law-breakers, and, instead of violating
the law regarding executions, should go to the ballot-box and
get it repealed.
But the Sun will not be thus heedful of consistency. That jewel is not prized by hogs. The 6'z^m is a hog,
an organ of hogs, an apologist for hogs ; and I shall not grieve
to see it butchered like a hog.
Liberty, August i, 1891.

la>v at all."
it's

own

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a very clever man on its


editorial staff. His editorials are far above the ordinary literary
level of the journalist, are often sensible, and always show a
decided inclination to serious consideration of the subjects with

which they deal, and to independent and original thought.


But occasionally his originality carries him too far. Witness
the following original discovery, which he gave to the world
unpatented in a recent editorial against woman suffrage: " Nobody who is not an Anarchist in theory, if not in practice, ever
pretended that suffrage was a natural right
but from the
Anarchist point of view that suffrage is a natural right, you
can just as easily argue, as Anarchists do, that property is robbery.' "
If this editor had ever investigated Anarchism, of
course he would know that most Anarchists do not believe in
that not one of them considers suffrage
natural rights at all
that, on the other hand, they all agree on the
a natural right
central proposition that rule is evil, and on the corollary that
Anarchism is as
it is none the better for being majority rule.
Liberty, August
hostile to the ballot as peace is to gunpowder.
;

'

29, 1891.

the people of Massachusetts know that their


this year punishing with imprisonment
Such
for life every criminal or pauper who has the syphilis.
To be more specific, the law provides
is the astounding fact.
that any inmate of a State penal or charitable institution who,
at the expiration of his term of imprisonment, shall be afflicted
I

wonder

if

law-makers made a law

170

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

with syphilis shall not be discharged, but shall be detained in


the institution until cured. As syphilis is seldom cured, this
means in most cases life-imprisonment. Hereafter, in Massachusetts, only the rich and the law-abiding are to be allowed
Liberty, August 29, 1891.
to have the syphilis and liberty too.

certain class of littirateurs are raising their voices against


the " degradation of literature " which they see in the advertisement by the newspapers of " Mr. Howells's $10,000 novel."
The question occurs to me if literature suffers no degradation from Mr. Howells's receipt of f 10,000 for the right to publish his novel serially, how can it be injured by the announcement of the fact ? That the whole business is degrading to
literature I have no doubt, but the real source of the degradation is the State-created monopoly which enables Mr. HowAnd yet in the eyes
ells to put such a price upon his work.
of these offended 'litterateurs it is this monopoly that uplifts
It is creditable to their instincts, though not to
literature.
their reason, that, having obtained for literature " the proud
reward to which it is entitled," they are ashamed to let the
Liberty, November 7,
public know the amount of this reward.
:

1891.

There has been a law on the Pennsylvania statute books


since 1885 prohibiting the manufacture and sale of butterine.
Under the decisions of the United States courts, however, producers outside tfie State are able to ship their goods into the
An increasing
State and sell them in the original packages.
number of dealers buy these packages, open them, and retail
from them in violation of the law. So prevalent has this
practice become that the Pennsylvania butchers, who used to
sell their fats to the butterine factories, and now have to sell
them in Holland much less advantageously, are taking advantage of it to prosecute the guilty parties in the hope of securMeanwhile the dear and
ing a repeal of the obnoxious law.
protected people, instead of eating sweet and wholesome butterine, are forced to eat strong butter, for which they pay a
monopoly price to the protected farmers and dairymen. The
people are protected in the right to be robbed, and the
farmers and dairymen in the right to rob. All these protecThe only protection which honest
tions should be wiped out.
people need is protection against that vast Society for the
Creation of Theft which is euphemistically designated as the
Liberty, May 14, 1892.
State,

The individual,

soCietV,

and the StATE.

Talk about bloodthirsty Anarchists


the editor of the American Architect

Listen to

171

this.

It is

" So far
speaks.
as principle goes, we would like to see any interference with
the employment of a man willing to work, any request or demand- direct or indirect/or the discharge of a faithful workman, or any attempt at coercion of a workman, by threats of
any sort, to leave his work, punishable with death." Here
we have Archism in full flower. If John Smith politely asks
Jim Jones to discharge or not to employ industrious and faithful Sam Robinson, kill him.
Such is capitalism's counsel to
the courts.
If it should be acted upon, I hold that the people
would have better cause to charge the Architect editor with
conspiracy to murder, find him guilty, and dynamite him,
than had the State of Illinois to find a similar verdict against
Spies and his comrades and hang them.
I wonder if the
Architect editor would be willing to see his principle carried
out impartially. Fancy, for instance, the electrocution of
Col. Eliot F. Shepard for blacklisting an industrious and
faithful Fifth Avenue stage-driver on account of his use of
profane language and asking the superintendents of horse-car
lines not to employ him.
If incendiary counsel shall bring on
a bloody revolution, the chief sin thereof will lie upon the
capitalists and their hired advocates, and bitterly will they pay
the penalty.
In these modern days there are many Foulons,
some of whom may yet eat grass. Liberty, May 21, 1892.

who

In the State of New York an unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide is punishable as a crime. It is proposed that Anarchists of foreign birth shall not be allowed to become citizens.
Attorney-General Miller wishes suffrage to be made compulsory by the disfranchisement of all who neglect to use the
ballot.
The New York Health Inspectors, when on a fruitcondemning expedition the other day, after seizing a push-cart
full of green peaches turned it over to two messenger-boys, in
(^nsequence of which some fifty urchins had a feast and possibly several funerals.
A government that gives away the
germs of disease which it will not allow others to sell a government that insists on disfranchising people who will not vote;
a government that refuses to naturalize people who refuse to
be naturalized ; a government that refuses life to people who
refuse to live,
well, for a good farce such a government is
certainly a good farce.
Liberty, August 13, 1892.
;

Another monopoly is threatened. At present, as is well


known, Wagner's " Parsifal " can be performed only at Bay-

llsrSTEAt)

1|?2

OF A BOOK.

reuth.
This music-drama is Madame Wagner's property, and
But in Ausshe refuses to allow any one else to produce it.
tria, it seems, every copyrighted work becomes free ten years
after the author's death. Next year, therefore, " Parsifal " can

be performed in Austria by any one who chooses. Madame


Wagner is moving heaven and earth to secure the passage of a
new law in Austria in the interest of her monopoly, and it is
said that she may succeed.
If she does, then Austrians, like
Frenchmen, Englishmen, Americans, and the people of all
other nations who have chosen to make slaves of themselves,
must continue to pay tribute, not only to Madame Wagner,
but to hotel-keepers and railroad corporations, if they desire
to witness a representation of the greatest achievement in
musical composition yet attained.
This situation illustrates
another absurdity of property in ideas, to which attention has
never been called in these columns. As long as Madame Wagner
is allowed to retain her monopoly,
and really if it is rightfully
her property, it ought never to be taken from her,-- the price
which a man must pay to see " Parsifal " is proportionate to
the distance between his residence and Bayreuth.
The citizen of Bayreuth pays but five dollars for the privilege which
must cost a citizen of the United States from two to four
hundred dollars. And this because of one woman's will and
the rest of the world's lack of will.
It may be replied, of
course, that the same situation exists regarding many works of
art and nature, and cannot be avoided,- for instance, a painting by Titian or the falls of Niagara.
This is unfortunately
true
but the only good reason for putting up with such a
state of things is that we cannot help ourselves. We pay heavily to see Niagara Falls because we cannot reproduce Niagara
Falls within walking distance of our homes.
But is the fact
that we must pay more for things we cannot duplicate a good
reason for paying more for things that can be duplicated ?
Liberty, September 24, 1892.

The recent strike at Carmaux, France, was followed by an


agitation for compulsory arbitration of disputes between capiand labor. There was a lively fight over it in the French
Chamber, which fortunately had the good sense to vote the*
measure down. Of all the demands made upon government
in the interest of labor this is perhaps the most foolish.
I
wonder if it has ever occurred to the laborers who make it
that to grant their desire would be to deny that cherished
right to strike upon which they have insisted so strenuously
and for so many years. Suppose, for instance, a body of opertal

fHfe lisrbivibuAL, society, anjd

the state.

i(/j

atives decide to strike in defence of an interest which they


deem vital and to maintain which they are prepared and determined to struggle to the end. Immediately comes along
the board of arbitration, which compels strikers and employers to present their case and then renders a decision.
Suppose

the decision is adverse to the strikers.


They are bound to accept it, the arbitration being compulsory, or suffer the penalty,
for there is no law without a penalty.
What then has become of their right to strike ? It has been destroyed. They
can ask for what they want a higher power immediately decides whether they can have it
and from this decision there
is no appeal.
Labor thus would be prohibited by law from
struggling for its rights.
And yet labor is so short-sighted
that it asks for this very prohibition
Liberty, November 19,

1892.

MONEY AND

INTEREST.

"WHO

IS

THE SOMEBODY?"

[Liberty,

"

Somebody

August

1881.]

6,

gets the surplus wealth that labor produces

Who

and

the Somebody ? " Such is the


problem recently posited in the editorial columns of the NewYork Truth. Substantially the same question has been asked
a great many times before, but, as might have been expected,
this new form of putting it has created no small hubbub.
Truth's columns are full of it other journals are taking it up
clubs are organizing to discuss it the people are thinking
about it students are pondering over it. For it is a most momentous question. A correct answer to it is unquestionably the
first step in the settlement of the appalling problems of povTruth, in selecting
erty, intemperance, ignorance, and crime.
it as a subject on which to harp and hammer from day to day,
shows itself a level-headed, far-sighted newspaper. But, important as it is, it is by no means a difficult question to one
who really considers it before giving an answer, thougtl the
variety and absurdity of nearly all the replies thus far volunteered certainly tend to give an opposite impression.
What are the ways by which men gain possession of propNot many. Let us name them: work, gift, discovery,
erty ?
gaming, the various forms of illegal robbery by force or fraud,
usury.
Can men obtain wealth by any other than one or
more of these methods ? Clearly, no. Whoever the Somebody
may be, then, he must accumulate his riches in one of these
ways. We will find him by the process of elimination.
No at least not as laborer
Is the Somebody the laborer ?
"Its premises exclude
otherwise the question were absurd.
him.
He gains a bare subsistence by his work no more.
We are searching for his surplus product. He has it not.
Is the Somebody the beggar, the invalid, the cripple, the
discoverer, the gambler, the highway robber, the burglar, the
None
defaulter, the pickpocket'^ or the common swindler?
The aggregate of
of these, to any extent worth mentioning.
wealth absorbed by these classes of our population compared

does not consume.

is

177

-mSTEAD OF A

I7S

DOC!i:.
^

with the vast mass produced is a mere drop in the ocean,


unworthy of consideration in studying a fundamental problem
of political economy.
These people get some wealth, it is
true ; enough, probably, for their own purposes: but labor can
spare them the whole of it, and never know the difference.
Then we have'found him.
Only the usurer remaining, he
must be the Somebody whom we are looking for; he, and none

But who is the usurer, and whence comes his power ?


There are three forms of usury interest on money, rent of
Whoever is in
land and houses, and profit in exchange.
receipt of any of these is a usurer. And who is not ? Scarcely
.any one.
The banker is a usurer the manufacturer is a
usurer; the merchant is a usurer; the landlord is a usurer; and
the workingman who puts his savings, if he has any, out at
interest, or takes rent for his house or lot, if he owns one, or
exchanges his labor for more than an equivalent, he too is a
usurer.
The sin of usury is one under which all are concluded,
and for which all are responsible.
But all do not benefit by
it.
The vast majority suffer. Only the chief usurers accumulate: in agricultural and thickly-settled countries, the landlords;
in industrial and commercial countries, the bankers.
Those
are the Somebodies who swallow up the surplus wealth.
And where do the Somebodies get their power ? From
monopoly.
Here, as usual, the State is the chief of sinners.
Usury rests on two great monopolies, the monopoly .of land
and the monopoly of credit. Were it not for these, it would
disappear.
Ground-rent exists only because the State stands
by to collect it and to protect land-titles rooted in force or
fraud.
Otherwise the land would be free to all, and no one
could control more than he used.
Interest and house-rent
exist only because the State grants to a certain class of
individuals and corporations the exclusive privilege of using
its credit and theirs as a basis for the issuance of circulating
currency.
Otherwise credit would be free to all, and money,
brought under the law of competition, would be issued at
cost.
Interest and rent gone, competition would leave little
or no chance for profit in exchange except in business
protected by tariff of patent laws. And there again the State
other.

has but to step aside to cause the last vestige of usury to


disappear.
The usurer

is the Somebody, and the State is his protector.


the serpent gnawing at labor's vitals, and only
liberty can detach and kill it. Give laborers their liberty, and
they will keep their wealth. As for the Somebody, he, stripped
of his power to steal, must either join their ranks or starve.

Usury

is

MONEY AND INTEREST.

I79

REFORM MADE RIDICULOUS.


[Liieriy, September 17, 1881.]

One of the most noteworthy of Thomas Jefferson's sayings


was that he " had rather Hve under newspapers without a
government than under a government without newspapers."
The Czar of Russia proposes to make this alternative unnecessary by estabHshing a national weekly journal to be distributed
gratuitously in every village, whose carefully-concocted news
paragraphs, severely-sifted political items, and rose-tinted editorials shall be read aloud on Sundays by designated offiThis absurd proposa:l is
State Convention of the Massachusetts Greenbackers, who desired that the
government should add to its functions that of the collection
of news to be furnished gratuitously to the daily journals.
And this again is no more absurd than some of the proposals
actually endorsed by a majority of the delegates to the same
convention, nearly all of whose measures and methods, in
cials to the

assembled multitudes.

no more absurd than that

fact, are quite of a piece

of a delegate to the

with those of the aforesaid Czar.

For instance, one of the resolutions adopted (and we grieve


to say that it was introduced by no less a person than our
excellent and earnest friend, J. M. L. Babcock of Cambridge)
asks the legislature to compel all corporations to distribute their
profits in excess of six per cent, among their employees in the
Saying nothing of the fact
that this resolution seriously offends liberty by denying that
the equitable distribution of property which the labor movement seeks must result, not from legislative enactment, but
from the free play of natural laws, it also offends equity by
admitting that capital is entitled to a portion of labor's
product, and that the producer is entitled to exact a profit
Yet we are told that only one man in
from the consumer
that whole convention had the brains and the courage to rise
from his seat and proclaim the great truth that, if labor can
claim anything, it can and should claim all. What wonder
that this half-hearted, half-headed Greenback party excites
among intelligent people no sentiment higher than that of a
Mr. Babcock's resolution would take
pity akin to contempt
the labor movement off of its basis of right, .and degenerate it into an unprincipled scramble for spoils by which the
Take the half -loaf who will we shall
strongest would profit.
iiever cease to reiterate that the whole loaf rightfully belongs
proportion of the scale of wages.

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

l8o

who

wheat from the soil, grind it into flour,


and not the smallest taste of it to the
sharpers who deceive the unthinking masses into granting
them a monopoly of the opportunities of performing these
industrial operations, which opportunities they in return rent
back to the people on condition of receiving the other half of
to those

and bake

it

raise the

into bread,

the loaf.

A DEFENCE OF CAPITAL.
\_Liberty,

My

dear

October

i,

1881.]

Mr. Tucker

Am

do you " grieve " at a difference of opinion between us ?


I
to be bribed to agree with a valued friend by the fear that he will grieve
Liberty, I should say, imposes no such burden on freedom
if I do not?
of thought, but rather rejoices in its fullest exercise.
I did not know that the "no-profit" theory had become so well established, or so generally accepted, as to render ridiculous any proposition not based upon it.
Yet that is the only point I understand you to urge against the measure
But I never could see that labor, in its unequal struggle for
I proposed.
Whatever contributes
its rights, gained anything by extravagant claims.
to production is entitled to an equitable share in the distribution.
In the
production of a loaf of bread (the example which you set forth in a magnificent paragraph), the plough performs an important, if not indispensable
service, and equitably comes in for a share of the loaf.
Is that share to be
a slice which compensates only for the wear and tear? It seems to me
that it should be slightly thicker, even if no more than "the ninth part of
a hair." For suppose one man spends his life in making ploughs to be
used by others wfio sow and harvest wheat. If he furnishes his ploughs
only on condition that they be returned to him in as good state as when
taken away, how is he to get his bread ? Labor, empty-handed, proposes
to raise wheat but it can do nothing without a plough, and asks the
loan of one from the man who made it. If this man receives nothing more
than his plough again, he receives nothing for the product of his own labor,
and is on the way to starvation. What proportion he ought to receive is
another question, on which I do not enter here it may be ever so small,
but it should be something.
Capital, we will agree, has hitherto had the lion's share
why condemn
a measure which simply proposes to restore to labor a portion at least of

Why

what

it is

entitled to

say nothing on the theory of " natural laws," because


you to suggest that point only to waive it.
Cordially yours,
I

J.

M.

L.

understood

Babcock.*

* It should be stated that a few years after the date of this discussion
Mr. Babcock abandoned the position here taken, became a thoroughgoing opponent of interest, and has remained such ever since.

MONEY AND INTEREST.

j8l

"THE POSITION OF WILLIAM."


[From Ruskin's Letters to

What

you

Workmen.]

British

" wages,"

practically, is the quantity of food which the


possessor of the land gives you to work for him. There is, finally, no
" capital " but that. If all the money of all the capitalists in the whole
call

world were destroyed the notes and bills burnt, the gold irrecoverably
buried, and all the machines and apparatus of manufactures crushed,
by a mistake in signals, in one catastrophe and nothing remained but
the land, with its animals and vegetables, and buildings for shelter the
poorer population would be very little worse off than they are at this instant
and their labor, instead of being "limited" by the destruction,
would be greatly stimulated.
They would feed themselves from the
animals and growing crop heap here and there a few tons of ironstone
together, build rough walls round them to get a blast, and in a fortnight
they would have iron tools again, and be ploughing and fighting, just
as usual.
It is only we who had the capital who would suffer
we
should not be able to live idle, as we do now, and many of us 1, for instance should starve at once but you, though little the worse, would
none of you be the better eventually for our loss or starvation. The
removal of superfluous mouths would indeed benefit you somewhat for
a time but you would soon replace them with hungrier ones and there
are many of us who are quite worth our meat to you in different ways,
which I will explain in due place also I will show you that our money
is really likely to be useful to you in its accumulated form (besides that,
in the instances when it has been won by work, it justly belongs to us),
so only that you are careful never to let us persuade you into borrowing
You will find a very amusing story, exit and paying us interest for it.
plaining your position in that case, at the one hundred and seventeenth
page of the " Manual of Political Economy," published this year at
Cambridge, for your early instruction, in an almost devotionally catechetical form, by Messrs. Macmillan.
Perhaps I had better quote it to you entire it is taken by the author
" from the French."
" There was once in a village a poor carpenter who worked hard from
morning till night. Oneday James thought to himself, 'With my hatchet,
saw, and hammer I can only make coarse furniture, and can only get the
pay for such. If I had a plane, I should please my customers more, and
Yes, I am resolved I will make myself a
they would pay me more.
plane.'
At the end of ten days James had in his possession an admirable plane which he valued all the more for having made it himself.
Whilst he was reckoning all the profits which he expected to derive from
the use of it, he was interrupted by William, a carpenter in the neighborWilliam, having admired the plane, was struck with the
ing village.
advantages which might be gained from it. He said to James
" You must do me a service; lend me the plane for a year.' As might
be expected, James cried out, How can you think of such a thing, William? Well, if I do you this service, what will you do for me in return?'
" W. Nothing. Don't ywx know that a loan ought to be gratuitous ?

'

'

'

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

l82

"/. ' I know nothing of the sort but I do know that if I were to
!end you ray plane for a year, it would be giving it to you. To tell you
ihe truth, that was not what I made it for.'
" W. Very well, then I ask you to do me a service; what service do
you ask me in return ?
"J. First, then, in a year the plane will be done for. You must
therefore give me another exactly like it.'
" W. That is perfectly just. I submit to these conditions. I think
you must be satisfied with this, and can require nothing further.'
"/. I think otherwise. I made the plane for myself, and not for you.
I have made the plane for
I expected to gain some advantage from it.
if you merely
the purpose of improving my work and my condition
return it to me in a year, it is you who will gain the profit of it, during
I am not bound to do you such a service withthe whole of that time.
Therefore, if you wish for my plane
out receiving anything in return.
besides the restoration already bargained for, you must give me a new
plank as a compensation for the advantages of which I shall be deprived.'
"These terms were agreed to, but the singular part of it is that at the
end of the year, when the plane came into James's possession, he lent it
recovered it, and lent it a third and fourth time.
It has passed
again
Let us examine this little
into the hands of his son, who still le.nds it.
The plane is the symbol of all capital, and the plank is the symstory.
bol of all inteiest.
If this be an abridgment, what a graceful piece of highly-wrought literI take the liberty of abridging it a
ature the original story must be
;

'

'

'

'

little

more.

James makes a plane, lends it to William on ist of January for a year.


William gives him a plank for the loan of it, wears it out, and makes
another for James, which he gives him on 31st December. On ist January he again borrows the new one and the arrangement is repeated
continuously.
The position of William therefore is that he makes a
plane every 31st of December, lends it to James till the next day, and
pays James a plank annually for the privilege of lending it to him on that
evening. This, in future investigations of capital and interest, we will
call, if you please, " The Position of William."
;

You may not at the first glance see where the fallacy lies (the writer
of the story evidently counts on your not seeing it at all).
If James did not lend the plane to William, he could only get his gain
of a plank by working with it himself and wearing it out himself. When
he had worn it out at the end of the year, he would, therefore, have to
make another for himself. WilViam, working with it instead, gets the
advantage instead, which he must, therefore, pay James his plank for;
and return to James what James would, if he had not lent his plane,
then have had not a new plane, but the worn-out one.
James must
make a new one for himself, as he would have had to do if no William
had existed and if William likes to borrow it again for another plank,

all is fair.

to say, clearing the story of its nonsense, that James makes a


plane annually and sells it to William for its proper price, which, in
kind, is a new plank.
But this arrangement has nothing whatever to do
with principal or with interest.
There are, indeed, many very subtle

That

is

conditions involved in any sale


I will explain that value to you

one which modern

one among which

is the value of ideas;


the course of time (the article is not
political economists have any familiarity with deal;

in

MONEY AND INTEREST.

183

in), and I will tell you somewhat also of the real nature of interbut if you will only get for the present a quite clear idea of " The
Position of William," it is all I want of you.

irigs

est

CAPITAL'S CLAIM TO INCREASE.


\_Lil/erty,

October

i,

1881.]

Liberty's strictures, in her last issue, upon the proposal of


the Massachusetts Greenbackers, adopted at their Worcester
convention, to ask the legislature to compel all corporations
to distribute their profits in excess 'of six per cent, among the
employees in proportion to their wages has stirred up Mr.
J. M. L. Babcock, the author of that singular project, to a defence of it. And in defending it against Liberty, he is obliged
to do so in behalf of capital. It seems a little odd to find this
long-time defender of the rights of labor in the rSle of champion of the claims of capital
but we remember that he is one
who follows the lead of justice as he sees it, take him where it
;

may.
Before proceeding to the main question, he gives us two
settle.
First, he very pertinently asks why we
" grieve " at his course.
We answer by taking it all back. As
he says, Liberty should rejoice, rather than grieve, at the honest

minor points to

exercise of the right to differ.


When we hastily said otherwise, we said a very foolish thing.
Yes, worse than that
in
so far we were false to our own standard.
Mr. Babcock has
Liberty's sincerest thanks for recalling her to her own position.
May he and all never fail to sharply prod us, whenever they
similarly catch us napping *
Second, he assumes that the profit idea cannot be ridiculous
(as we pronounced it), since its converse is not well established
or generally accepted.
To say that the no-profit theory is
not well established is to beg the principal question under
discussion
to say that, because the theory is not generally
accepted, the few friends that it has are not entitled to ridi;

* Reading this paragraph eleven years later, I am inclined to regret


So few are the manifestations of good nature in my poI wrote it.
lemical writings, that I can ill afford to disown any of them; but it really
seems that on this occasion I tried a little too hard to be fair. The
grief for which I thus apologized was over the fact that Mr. Babcock
held ;ni opinion in favor of injustice,
not over the fact that, holding such
an iipinion, he gave expression (o it,
that

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

184

cule the position of its enemies is not in accordance with the


nature of ideas or the custom of Mr. Babcock.
How often
have we listened with delight to his sarcastic dissection and
merciless exposure to the light of common sense of some
popular and well-jiigh universal delusion in religion, politics,
finance, or social life
He is in the habit of holding ridiculous all those things, whoever supports them, which his own
reason pronounces absurd. And he is right in doing so, and
wrong in saying that we ought not to follow his example. So,
while it is clear that on the first minor point Mr. Babcock has
the better of Liberty, on the second Liberty as decidedly has
the better of Mr. Babcock.
Now to the question proper. Labor, says our friend, never
gains anything by extravagant claims.
True and no claim
is extravagant that does not exceed justice.
But it is equally
true that labor always loses by foolish concessions
and in
this industrial struggle every concession is foolish that falls
short of justice. It is to be decided, then, not whether Liberty's
claim for labor is extravagant, but whether it is just. "Whatever contributes to production is entitled to an equitable share
in the distribution " Wrong
Whoever contributes to production is alone so entitled.
What has no rights that Who is
bound to respect. What is a thing. Who is a person. Things
have no claims they exist only to be claimed.
The possession of a right cannot be predicated of dead material, but
only of a living person. " In the production of a loaf of bread,
the plough performs an important service, and equitably comes
in for a share of the loaf."
Absurd
A plough cannot own
bread, and, if it could, would be unable to eat it.
plough is
a What, one of those things above mentioned, to which no
rights are attributable.
!

Oh

" Suppose one man spends his life in


to be used by others who sow and harvest
wheat.
If he furnishes his ploughs only on condition that
they be returned to him in as good state as when taken away,
how is he to get his bread ?" It is the maker of the plough,
then, and not the plough itself, that is entitled to a reward ?
What has given place to Who. Well, we'll not quarrel over
The maker of the plough certainly is entitled to pay for
that.
Full pay, paid once
no more. That pay is the
his work.
plough itself, or its equivalent in other marketable products,said
!

but we

see,

making ploughs

equivalent being measured by the amount of labor employed


But if he lends his plough and gets only
in their production.
his plough back, how is he to get his bread ? asks Mr. Babcock,
much concerned. Ask us an easy one, if you please. We give

MONEY AND INTEREST.

185

this one up.


But why should he lend his plough ? Why does
he not sell it to the farmer, and use the proceeds to buy bread
.of the baker ? See, Mr. Babcock ? If the lender of the plough
" receives nothing more than his plough again, he receives nothing for the product of his own labor, and is on the way to

plough, let him


can he expect
to receive anything for the product of his own labor if he
refuses to permanently part with it ?
Does Mr. Babcock propose to steadily add to this product at the expense of some
laborer, and meanwhile allow this idler, who has only made a
plough, to loaf on in luxury, for the balance of his life, on the
strength of his one achievement ?
Certainly not, when our
friend understands himself.
And then he will say with us
that the slice of bread which the plough-lender should receive
can be neither large nor small, but must be nothing.
To that end we commend to Mr. Babcock the words of
his own candidate for Secretary of State, nominated at the
Worcester convention, A. B. Brown, editor of The Republic,
who says " The laborers of the world, instead of having only
a small fraction of the wealth in the world, should have all
the wealth. To effect this all monopolies should be terminawhether they be monopolies of single individuals or
ted,
majorities,'
and labor-cost must be recognized as the measure
and limit of price." If Mr. Brown sticks to. these words, and
the Greenbackers to their platform, there is going to be a
But lest Mr.
collision, and Mr. Brown will keep the track.
Brown's authority should not prove sufficient, we refer Mr.
Babcock further to one of his favorite authors, John Ruskin,
who argues this very point on Mr. Babcock's own ground,
except that he illustrates his position by a plane instead of a
Mr. Babcock may find his words under the heading,
.plough.
" The Position of William," immediately following his own
letter to us.
If he succeeds in showing Mr. Brown's assertions
to be baseless and Mr. Ruskin's arguments to be illogical, he
may then come to Liberty for other foes to conquer. Till
then we shall be but an interested spectator of his contest.
starvation."
starve.

Who

Well,
cares

if

the fool will not


It's his

own

'

sell his

fault.

How

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

l86

A BASELESS CHARGE.
[Liberty, October

My

dear

15, 1881.]

Mr. Tucker :

in this discussion whether my position is


The question at issue must be settled, if settled
otherwise.
at all, on its own merits ; and no prejudice either for or against capital
can affect the argument. Let us burden it with no irrelevant matter.
My question was simply this Is a man who loans a plough entitled in
equity to compensation for its use and if not, why not?
But, until it is
This question (I say it with all respect) you evade.
answered, no progress can be made in this inquiry, It is no answer to
He doesnot sell it he loans it, as he
say, "Let him sell his plough."
has a natural right to do. Another borrows it, as he has a natural right
Is it just to pay for its use ?
to do.
I repeat
You gain nothing when you say, "Let him sell"; for. if I followed
you there, it would only be to present the same question substantially in
another form. You might then suggest another alternative, until we
" swung round the circle," and came back to the first.
So let us save
time and meet it at once. If it cannot be met where I proposed it, I do
If your theory will not bear
not see that It can be answered anywhere.
an application to the example I stated, what is it good for ? I have never
seen a good reason why the plough-maker is not entitled to pay for the
use of his plough.
You refer me to certain "authorities," Brown and Ruskin. I do not
bow to authorities on questions of this nature and I supposed you did
Brown's proposition, which I
not.
I ask for a reason, not a name.
Ruskin is
affirm as stoutly as he does, does not answer m'y question.
He concludes that the case he examines is one of sale
equally remote.
and purchase. That is not the case I stated at all. If there be an
answer to my question, I am sure you are capable of stating it.
It

is

entirely immaterial

"odd "or

Yours

cordially,
J.

M.

L.

Babcock.

We have no wish to vyaste these columns in repetition but


this charge of evasion is a serious one, which can be thoroughly examiried only by reviewing ground already traversed.
One of the objects that we had in view in beginning the
publication of this journal was the annihilation of usury.
If in our first direct conflict with a supporter of usury we have
been guilty of evasion, we are unfitted for our task, and ought
to abandon it to hands more competent. But we unhesitatingly
;

plead " not guilty."


Mr. Babcock argued that the man who makes a plough and
lends it is entitled to a portion of the loaf subsequently produced in addition to the return of his plough intact. He now
asserts that we answered this by saying, " Let him sell his
plough." No, we did not. On the principle that onlv labor cw

MONEY AND INTEREST.

187

be an equitable basis of price, we argued in reply as follows:


" The maker of the plough certainly is entitled to pay
for his
work. Full pay, paid once no more. That pay is the plough
itself, or its equivalent in
other marketable products, said
equivalent being measured by the amount of labor employed
in their production."
True or false, this answer is direct and
tangible
in no sense is it evasive.
Then Mr. Babcock asked
this other and distinct question: " If he furnishes his ploughs
only on condition that they be returned to him in as good
state as when taken away, how is he to get his bread ? "
We
replied that we did not know,' and that, if he was such a fool
as to do so, we did not care.
Nothing evasive here, either
on the contrary, utter frankness.
Touched a little, however,
by Mr. Babcock's sympathy with the usurer thus threatened
with starvation, we ventured the suggestion that, instead of
lending his plough to the farmer, he might sell it to him, and
thus get money wherewith to buy bread of the baker.
This
advice was gratuitous, we know
possibly it was impertinent,
also
but was it evasive ? Not in the least.
Finally, thinking that Mr. Babcock might agree, as we do,
with Novalis that a man's belief gains quite infinitely the moment another mind is convinced thereof, we called his attention to two other minds in harmony with ours on the point
now in dispute, A. B. Brown and John Ruskin. But not as
authorities, in Mr. Babcock's sense of the word.
Still, Mr.
Brown being Mr. Babcock's candidate for Secretary of State,
and party candidates being supposedly representative in things
fundamental, we deemed it not out of place to cite a proposition from Mr. Brown that seemed to us, on its face, directly
contradictory of Mr. Babcock. To our astonishment Mr. Babcock accepts it as not inconsistent with his position, at the
same time declaring it irrelevant. Argument ends here. If
we hold up two objects, one of which, to our eyes, is red and
the other blue, and Mr. Babcock declares that both are red,
;

it is

The

useless to discuss the matter.


One of us is color-blind.
ultimate verdict of mankind will decide which.
In quot-

ing from Mr. Ruskin, however, we did not ask Mr. Babcock to
accept him as authority, but to point out the weakness of an
argument drawn from an illustration similar to Mr. Babcock's.
Mr. Babcock replies by denying the similarity, saying that
Ruskin " concludes that the case he examines is one of sale
and purchase." Let us see. Ruskin is examining a story told
by Bastiat in illustration and defence of usury. After printing
Bastiat's version of it, he abridges it thus, stripping away all
mystifying clauses:

INsteaB of a book.

i88

James makes a plane, lends it to William on ist of January for a year.


William gives him a plank for the loan of it, wears it out, and makeS
On ist
another for James, which he gives him on 31st December.
January he again borrows the new one and the arrangement is repeated
continuously.
The position of William, therefore, is that he makes a
plane every 31st of December
lends it to James till the next day, and
pays James a plank annually for the privilege of lending it to him on
;

that evening.

Substitute in the foregoing " plough " for " plane," and
" loaf " or " slice " for " plank," and the story differs in no
essential point from Mr. Babcock's.
How monstrously unjust
the transaction is can be plainly seen. Ruskin next shows how
this unjust transaction may be changed into a just one
:

James did not lend the plane to William, he could only get his gain
by working with it himself and wearing it out himself. When
he had worn it out at the end of the year, he would, therefore, have to
If

of a plank

make another

for himself.
William, working with it instead, gets the
advantage instead, which he must, therefore, pay James his plank for;
and return to James what James would, if he had not lent his plane,
then have had not a new plane, but the worn-out one.
James must
make a new one for himself, as he would have had to do if no William
had existed and if William likes to borrow it again for another plank, all
is fair.
That is to say, clearing the story of its nonsense, that James
makes a plane annually and sells it to William for its proper price,

which, in kind,

is

new

plank.

from the former,


having " nothing whatever to
do with principal or with interest." And yet, according to
Mr. Babcock, " the case he examines [Bastiat's, of course] is
one of sale and purchase." We understand now how it is that
Mr. Babcock can charge us with evasion. He evidently conceives his method of meeting a point to be straightforward. If
it be so, certainly ours is evasive.
If, on the other hand, our
course has been straightforward, evasion is too mild a term for
his.
It is better described as fiat misstatement
purely careless, of course, but scarcely less excusable than if wilful.
Again we invite our friend to a careful examination (and
refutation, if possible) of the arguments advanced.
It is this latter transaction, w^holly different

that

Ruskin pronounces a "

sale,"

Money

ajstd

interest.

ANOTHER ANSWER TO
{Liiertyy

November

189

MR. BABCOCK.

12, 1881.]

Mr. Tucker
In your issue of October 15, I notice a question by J. M. L. Babcock,
and, although you have answered it, yet I beg to give my answer. The
" Is a man who loans a plough entitled in equity to
question is this
compensation for its use ?" My answer is, " Yes." Now, then, what of
it?
Does that make something for nothing right? Let us see. We
must take it for granted that the loaning of the plough was a good business
transaction.
Such being the case, the man who borrows the plough must
give good security that he will return the plough and pay for what he wears
out.
He must have the wealth or the credit to make the owner of the
plough whole in case he should break or lose the plough. Now, I claim
that this man, having the wealth or credit to secure a borrowed plough,
could transmute that same credit or security into money, without cost,
and with the money buy a plough, were it not for a monopoly of money.
For a monopoly of money implies a monopoly of everything that money
will buy.
If the people should give to landholders, as a right, what they now
give to bondholders as a special privilege
why, you might loan ploughs
for a price, but the price would not include a money cost, as is inevitable
under our present monetary system.
Letnis remember that an individual transaction under a system of monopoly does not represent nor illustrate the truth as it would be under a
natural or just system.
Again, superficial ideas do not always harmonize with the central truth.
Briefly, but truly yours,
:

Apex.

ATTENTION,
{^Liberty,

My

dear

"

November

APEX

"
!

26, 1881.]

Mr. Tucker:

just to say that " Apex " is in error in supposing he has anquestion.
It appears by his own comment that his "Yes"
means that the plough-lender is entitled to pay for the wear and tear of
Is he entitled to pay for its use?
I marvel that he
the plough.
I asked
should overlook the distinction, for I had been careful to mark it in
my first statement. When the question as I put it is answered in the
But I
affirmative, I shall be ready to answer the other, "What of it?"
am still left to the mournful impression that my question is not'answered.

Allow me

swered

my

Yours

cordially,
J.

M.

L.

Babcock.

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

100

USURY.
[Liberty^

November

26, 1881.]

Paying money for the use of money a great and barbarous wrong. It
No one man can use money. The use
is also a stupendous absurdity.
Therefore, as no one
of money involves its transfer from one to another.
man can use money, it cannot be right and proper for any man to pay for
The people do use money consethe use of that which he cannot use.
quently, they should pay whatever the money may cost.
Money is necessarily a thing which belongs to society. This is one of
For
the great truths of civilization which has been generally overlooked.
this whole question of the rightfulness of interest turns on the question,
'
What is money ? " So long as the people shall continue to consider
money as a thing of itself objectively why, there is no hope for humanity.
All wealth is the product of labor, but no labor can produce money.
is

'

There can be no money

until some wealth has been produced, because


a representative of wealth.
credit in circulation.
is a form of credit
It is not a thing of
The great object of money is to exchange values. Now, value
substance.
is an idea, and money is used to represent, count, and exchange values.
The symbol or token of money is not the money itself. Therefore, as
money is not a thing of substance, and cannot wear out, it is and ever
must be a great wrong and an utter absurdity to give wealth for the use of

money is
Money

an

idea.

In equity compensation implies service or labor, and as money does not


cost labor, why, labor cannot justly be demanded for its use.
But let us look at it practically. The people use money ; the people
furnish the money and, if the cost of issue is paid, there can be no other
;

expense. The great difficulty touching this whole matter is a barbarous


misconception of the nature of money and a more barbarous disposition
to monopolize power and rob the weak.
For let us ask who pays the
great tax of interest? Not those who have and handle the money not
those who use the money but the poor, the weak, the ignorant, the dupes
We can illustrate this by a fact of to-day. If five or
of the ruling class.
more men liaving one hundred thousand dollars, and no more, organize
and establish a national bank, just so soon as their bank is in operation
they have the use and income of one hundred and ninety thousand dollars.
Now, is it not clear that, this company having got ninety thousand dollars
for nothing, somebody has lost that amount?
For, if one man gets a
dollar that he has not earned, some other man has earned a dollar that he
has not got. That is as certain as that two and two make four.
If all men could use their own credit in the form of money, there could
be no such thing as interest. Yet, to put this idea into practice, there
must be organization and consolidation of credit. Commercial credit, to
be good, must be known to be good. A man's credit may be good to the
extent of a thousand dollars, but, that fact not being generally known, he
must, as things are, exchange his credit for that which is known to be
good, and pay a monopoly price for the privilege of using his own credit

in the

form

of

money.

Let us remember that no man can borrow money, as a good business


transaction, under any system, unless he has the required security to make
the lender whole in case he should lose the money.
What a stupendous

MONEY And iNTEREST.


wrong
it

is this

that a man having credit cannot use

and pay a monopoly

own

price,

which

is

I9I
it,

but must exchange

really for the privilege of using his

credit!

And

again, he cannot pay this himself, but must compel the poor man
the latter must pay this interest in the enhanced
this tax
price of goods.
I wonder if the people will always be thus blind and
stupid
So long as business men, as such, and laborers shall continue to permit the few shrewd moneyed men to monopolize commercial credit
that is, money just so long will it be hard times for business and
labor.
What we want now is the organization of credit on a just and
equal plan.
William B. Greene solved this whole matter and summed
to

work out

it

up

in

two words

"

Mutual Banking."

APEX OR

is

what we want.
Apex.

BASIS.

[Liberty, December

" Apex " says

That

10, 1881.]

a barbarism to pay interest on money.


That is
another way of saying that a state of society in which wealth is not
universalized is barbarous, since, in our present stage of evolution,
those who have no capital of their own will be glad to borrow from
those who have, and to pay interest for the use of the capital.
For it is really capital that is borrowed, and not money, the latter
being only the means for obtaining the former, as money would be
We see
worthless if it could not be exchanged for the capital needed.
already that, as the loanable capital of a country increases, the rate of
interest diminishes, and when the accumulated wealth of the world becomes large enough no one will pay interest.
But to denounce the payment of interest to-day, and (if it could be
done) to forbid the man of ability; but lacking means, borrowing the
capital he needs, or, in other words, using his credit, would not tend to
but, on the other hand, it
universalize wealth and so destroy usury
would discourage the production and accumulation of capital, since one
of the principal incentives to that production is the use of capital to inIt is obvious that, unless
crease production and add to one's wealth.
[he use of capital added to the productiveness of labor, no one would
wish to borrow, and no usury could be had. It should not be forgotten,
in considering this question, that, in the laSt analysis, reducing things to
their simplest, individualized form, the possessor of capital has acquired it
by a willingness to work harder than his fellows and to sacrifice his love
of spending all he produces that he may have the aid of capital to
For example, two men work side by
increase his power of production.
one consumes all he produces, the other saves part of his product.
side
In time the latter has saved enough to enable him to build or buy a tool
by the aid of which he accomplishes four times as much work as before,
and is able to go on adding to his accumulation. The one who has not
saved, seeing the advantage of the use of capital, naturally desires to
obtain the same benefit for himself but, not liking to save and wait until
he can create capital, he proposes to borrow a portion of the capital of
that

it is

INSTEAD OP A BOOK.

igi

By means

of this borrowed capital he can quadruple h's


very willing to give a part of his increased product lo
Would he not be a mean sneak
befriended
him.
who has
if he were not glad to do so ?
By the use of the borrowed capital he is
not only enabled to pay for the advantage gained, but, by his greater
power to produce, he can, in a short time, buy his own tools and no
longer be forced to borrow.
Although our present system of business is vastly complicated, and
we sometimes seem to borrow money merely, the actual transaction being
kept out of sight, yet the case supposed is the real basis of all just payment of interest. I believe there will be a state of society in which
money will not be necessary, but that state cannot be built up by commencing at the top. We must build from the foundation, understanding
things as they are as well as knowing how they ought to be.
The question is asked and it is a very important one, and, simple as
What is money? It would
it is dt bottom, a complex one as it stands
simplify this matter very much if all would agree to call coin, or money
having value as merchandise, money, and paper, or representative
the other.

product, and

is

the neighbor

money, currency, or notes. It is plain that the representative money is


that which must be and is principally used in this country and in all commercial countries.
Coin money derives its real value in exchange, and
as a measure for the exchangeable value of other products, from the
fact that it costs labor to produce it
and, although government laws
may foolishly try to make it pass for more than its cost value, they
never succeed in doing so. No government ever has succeeded in overriding natural law, though they may and often do obstruct the operations
;

of Nature's laws to the great detriment of Nature's children.


The simplest form of representative money, or currency, is furnished by Josiah Warren's labor note, which was substantially as follows
(I

quote from memory)

For value received,


or ten pounds of corn.

I promise to pay

bearer, on

demand, one hour's

labor,

Josiah Warren.

Modern

Times, July

4, 1852.

So long as it was believed by his neighbors that the maker of such


notes always had the corn on hand with which to redeem them (since
their redemption in labor would rarely be practicable or desirable), they
would pass current in that locality and, in fact, such " labor notes "
did pass to a limited extent at Modern Times.
Interesting as that experiment was, and showing clearly, as it does, the principle at the basis
of all good currency, it could not be extended so as to satisfy the needs
of a great commercial country, or, safely, of a large neighborhood.
But a currency, to be good, must possess precisely the qualifications
and qualities of that labor note, with the addition of a guaranty, universally recognizable, that the notes actually do represent solid wealth
with which they will be redeemed on demand. Now, there is one thitig,
and only one, that government can rightfully or usefully do in the way
of interference with the currency, the ebb and flow of which is governed
by natural laws altogether out of the reach of State or national governments and that is to issue all the notes used foi currency on such
terms that it shall be universally known truly to represent actual, movable capital (not land, which is not properly in the true sense, and which
cannot be carried off by any one wishing a note redeemed), pledged for
;

MONEY AND INTEREST.

19;J

redemption. There should be no monopoly, but any and every person complying with the terms should be furnished with the national note.
Of course, no one who had not the requisite capital could procure these
notes, and rightly so, because notes made by those who have no capital
would swindle the people. And, as our government has no property or
capital, except the necessary tools for carrying on the affairs of the
nation, and as government should have no debts and no gold and silver
accumulated, it is obvious that it cannot properly make a good note beyond the amount which could be redeemed in payment of taxes. And,
as taxes ought to be diminished and ultimately abolished, there is no valid
basis for a government note to be used as currency.
Neither will Mutual Banks answer any good purpose if the notes are based on land.

its

Basis.*

The remarks

that follow are not intended to debar "

Apex "

from answering his opponent in his own time and way, but
simply to combat, from Liberty's standpoint, such of the positions taken by "Basis" as seem to need refutation.
The first error into which " Basis " falls is his identification

money with

capital.
Representative money is not capital
only a title to capital.
He who borrows a paper dollar
from another simply borrows a title. f Consequently he takes
from the lender nothing which the lender wishes to use unless,
indeed, the lender desires to purchase capital with his dollar,
in which case he will not lend it, or, if he does, will charge
for the sacrifice of his opportunity,
a very different thing from
usury, which is payment, not for the lender's sacrifice, but
for the borrower's use; that is, not for a burden borne, but for a
benefit conferred. Neither does the borrower of the dollar take
from the person of whom he purchases capital with it anything
which that person desires to use for, in ordinary commerce,
the seller is either a manufacturer or a dealer, who produces
or buys his stock for no other purpose than to sell it.
And
thence this dollar goes on transferring products for which the
holders thereof have no use, until it reaches its issuer and
final redeemer and is cancelled, depriving, in the course of its
journey, no person of any opportunity, but, on the contrary,

of

it is

* It is interesting to note that " Basis," abandoning later the theory


of interest maintained by him in the above article, took the initiative in
the formation of a society for the abolition of interest, and now considers
such abolition essential to the solution of the social problem.
f Nevertheless, to everybody but the issuer, representative money is
capital to all intents and purposes, because it will procure capital.
But
to the issuer it is not capital, because he issues it against security belonging not to himself but to the borrower, would not be able to issue it were
it not for such security, and therefore parts with nothing in issuing it.
Now the idea that money is capital does not sustain the position of
" Basis," unless it be taken to mean that money is capital to the issuer.

INSTEAD OP A BOOK.

194

serving the needs of all through whose hands it passes. Hence


borrowing a title to capital is a very different thing from
borrowing capital itself. But under the system of organized
credit contemplated by " Apex " no capable and deserving
The so-called
person would borrow even a title to capital.
borrower would simply so change the face of his own title as
to make it recognizable by the world at large, and at no other
expense than the mere cost of the alteration. That is to say,
the man having capital or good credit, who, under the system
advocated by " Apex," should go to a credit-shop in other
words, a bank and procure a certain amount of its notes by
the ordinary processes of mortgaging property or getting
endorsed commercial paper discounted, would only exchange
known only to his immediate friends
his own personal credit
and neighbors and the bank, and therefore useless in transfor the bank's credit, known
actions with any other parties
and receivable for products delivered throughout the State,
or the nation, or perhaps the world. And for this convenience
the bank would charge him only the labor-cost of its service
in effecting the exchange of credits, instead of the ruinous
rates of discount by which, under the present system of monopoly, privileged banks tax the producers of unprivileged
So that "Apex" really
property out of house and home.
would have no borrowing at all, except in certain individual
and, therefore, when " Basis,"
cases not worth considering
answering " Apex," says that " it is really capital that is
borrowed, and not money," he makes a remark for which there
is no audible call.
The second error commited by " Basis " he commits in
common with the economists in assuming that an increase of
capital decreases the rate of interest and that nothing else can
The facts are just the contrary. The
materially decrease it.
rate of interest may, and often does, decrease when the amount
the amount of capital may inof capital has not increased
crease without decreasing the rate of interest, which may in
and so far from the univerfact increase at the same time
salization of wealth being the sole means of abolishing interest,
the abolition of interest is the sine qua non of the universalization of wealth.
Suppose, for instance, that the banking business of a nation
is conducted by a system of banks chartered and regulated by
the government, these banks issuing paper money based on
If now a certain number of these
specie, dollar for dollar.
banks, by combining to buy up the national legislature, should
secure the exclusive privilege of issuing two paper dollars for

MONEY AND INTEREST.

igc

each specie dollar in their vaults, could they not afford to, and
in fact, materially reduce their rate of discount ?
Would not the competing banks be forced to reduce their
rate in consequence ? And would not this reduction lower the
rate of interest throughout the nation ? Undoubtedly; and yet
the amount of capital in the country remains the same as

would they not

before.

Suppose, further, that during the following year, in conseto business and production by
this decrease in the rate of interest and also because of
unusually favorable natural conditions, a great increase of
wealth occurs. If then the banks of the nation, holding
from the government a monopoly of the power to issue money,
should combine to contract the volume of the currency, could
they not, and would they not, raise the rate of interest thereby ?
Undoubtedly and yet the amount of capital in the country is
greater than it ever was before.
But suppose, on the other hand, that all these banks,
chartered and regulated by the government and issuing money
dollar for dollar, had finally been allowed to issue paper beyond their capital based on the credit and guaranteed capital of
that their circulation, thus doubly secured,
their customers
had become so popular that people preferred to pay their debts
in coin instead of bank-notes, thus causing coin to flow into
the vaults of the banks and add to their reserve
that this
addition had enabled them to add further to their circulation,
until, by a continuation of the process, it at last amounted
that by levying a high
to eight times their original capital
rate of interest on this they had bled the people nigh unto
death that then the government had stepped in and said to
the banks: "When you began, you received an annual interest
you now receive nearly that
of six per cent, on your capital
rate on a circulation eight times your capital based really on
the people's credit therefore at one-eighth of the original rate
your annual profit would be as great as formerly henceforth
your rate of discount must not exceed three-fourths of one per
Had all this happened (and with the exception of the
cent."
last condition of the hypothesis similar cases have frequently
happened), what would have been the result ? Proudhon shall
answer for us. In the eighth letter of his immortal discussion
with Bastiat on the question of interest he exhausts the whole
and " Basis " cansubject of the relation bf interest to capital
not do better than read the whole of it. A brief extract, however, must suffice here. He is speaking of the Bank of France,
which at that time (1849) ^^^ actually in almost th^ same

quence of the stimulus given

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

196

Supposing, as we have just


situation as that described above.
done after him, a reduction of the rate of discount to threefourths of one per cent., he then asks, as we do, what the
result would be.
These are his words in answer to Bastiat,
the " Basis " of that discussion
:

The fortune and

destiny of the country are to-day in the hands of the


Banli of France.
If it mould relieve industry and commerce by a decrease of its rate of discount proportional to the increase of its reserve
in other words, if it would reduce the price of its credit to three-fourths
of one per cent., which it must do in order to quit stealing,
this reduction would instantly produce, throughout the Republic and all Europe,
incalculable results.
They could not be enumerated in a volume I will
confine myself to the indication of a few.
If, then, the credit of the Bank of France should be loaned at threefourths of one per cent., ordinary bankers, notaries, capitalists, and even
the stockholders of the bank itself would be immediately compelled by
competition to reduce their interest, discount, and dividends to at least
one per cent., including incidental expenses and brokerage. What harm,
think you, would this reduction do to borrowers on personal credit, or to
commerce and industry, who are forced to pay, by reason of this fact
alone, an annual tax of at least two thousand millions ?
If financial circulation could be effected at a rate of discount representing only the cost of administration, drafting, registration, etc., the interest charged on purchases and sales on credit would fall in its turn from
six per cent, to zero,
that is to say, business would then be transacted
on a cash basis there would be no more debts. Again, to how great a
degree, think you, would that diminish the shameful number of suspen;

sions, failures, and bankruptcies?


But, as in society net product is undistinguishable from raw product,
so in the light of the sum total of economic facts CAI'ITAL is undistinguishable from PRODUCT.
These two terms do not, in reality, stand for
two distinct things they designate relations only. Product is capital
there is a difference between them only in private
capital is product
economy; none whatever in public economy. If, then, interest, after
having fallen in the case of money to three-fourths of one per cent.,
that is, to zero, inasmuch as three-fourths of one per cent, represents
only the service of the bank, should fall to zero in the case of merchandise also, by analogy of principles and facts it would soon fall to zero in
the case of real estate
rent would disappear in becoming one with liquidation.
Do you think, sir, that that would prevent people from living
in houses and cultivating land ?
If, thanks to this radical reform in the machinery of circulation, labor
was compelled to pay to capital only as much interest as would be a just
reward for the service rendered by the capitalist, specie and real estate
being deprived of their reproductive properties and valued only as products, d^s things that can be consumed and replaced, the favor with
which specie and capital are now looked upon would be wholly transferred
to products
each individual, instead of restricting his consumption,
would strive only to increase it. Whereas, iX. present, thanks to the restriction laid upon consumable products by interest, the means of consumption are always very much limited, then, on the contrary, production would be insufficient ; labor would then be secure in fapt a? wdl as
;

in right,

'

MONEY AND INTEREST.

jgj

The laboring class gaining at one stroke the five thousand millions, or
thereabouts, now taken in the form of interest from the ten thousand
millions which it produces, plus five thousand millions which this same
interest deprives it of by destroying the demand for labor, plus five
thousand millions which the parasites, cut off from a living, would then
be compelled to produce, the national production would be doubled and
the welfare of the laborer increased fourfold.
And you, sir, whom the
worship of interest does not prevent from lifting your thoughts to another world,
what say you to this improvement of affairs here below?
Do you see now that It is not the multiplication of capital which decreases
interest, but, on the contrary, that it is the decrease of interest which
multiplies capital?

Now,
service,

this reduction of the rate of discount to the bank's


and the results therefrom as above described, are pre-

cisely vi^hat would happen if the whole business of banking


should be thrown open to free competition. It behooves
" Basis " to examine this argument well
for, unless he can
find a fatal flaw in it, he must stand convicted, in saying that
" when the accumulated wealth of the world becomes large
enough, no one will pay interest," of putting the cart before
;

the horse.

"Basis " is in error a third time in assuming that "Apex "


wishes to " forbid the man of ability, but lacking means, using
his credit."
It is precisely because such men are now virtually prohibited from using their credit that " Apex," and Ztderty with him, complains.
This singular misconception on the
part of " Basis " indicates that he does not yet understand
what he is fighting.
The fourth error for which " Basis " assumes responsibility
is found in his statement that " in the last analysis the possessor of capital has acquired it by a willingness to work
harder than his fellows and to sacrifice his love of spending all
he produces that he may have the aid of capital to increase
liis power of production."
A man who thoroughly means to
tell the truth here reiterates one of the most devilish of the
many infernal lies for which the economists have to answer.
It is indeed true that the possessor of capital may, in rare
cases, have acquired it by the method stated, though even
then he could not be excused for making the capital so acquired a leech upon his fellow-men. But ninety-nine times in
a hundred the modern possessor of any large amount of capital has acquired it, not " by a willingness to work harder than
his fellows," but by a shrewdness in getting possession of a
monopoly which makes it needless for him to do any ri?a/work
at all
not by a willingness " to sacrifice his love of spending
ail he produces," but by a cleverness in procuring frprn the
;

198

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

government a privilege by which he is able to spend in wanton


luxury half of what a large number of other men produce.
The chief privilege to which we refer is that of selling the
people's credit for a price.
" Basis " is guilty of several other errors which we have not
space to discuss at length.
He supposes that to confine the
term money to coin and to call all other money currency would
simplify matters, when in reality it is the insistence upon this
false distinction that is the prevailing cause of mystification.
If the idea of the royalty of gold and silver could be once
knocked out of the people's heads, and they could once understand that no particular kind of merchandise is created by
nature for monetary purposes, they would settle this question
in a trice.
Again, he seems to think that Josiah Warren based
his notes on corn.
Nothing of the kind. Warren simply took
corn as his standard, but made labor and all its products his
basis.
His labor notes were rarely redeemed in corn. If he
had made corn his exclusive basis, there would be no distinction in principle between him and the specie men.
Perhaps
the central point in his monetary theory was his denial of the
idea that any one product of labor can properly be made the
only basis of money.
To quote him in this connection at all
is the height of presumption on the part of " Basis."
charge
that his system, which recognized cost as the only ground of
price, even contemplated a promise to pay anything "for value
received," he would deem the climax of insult to his memory.
"Basis," in donning the garments of Josiah Warren to defend
the specie fraud, has " stolen the livery of heaven to serve the
" Basis " is wrong, too, in thinking that land is not
devil in."
a good basis for currency.
True, unimproved vacant land,
not having properly a market value, cannot properly give value
to anything that represents it
but permanent improvements
on land, which should have a market value and carry witlf
them a title to possession, are an excellent basis for currency.
It is not the raw material of any product that fits it for a basis,
but the labor that has been expended in shaping the material.
As for the immovability of land unfitting it for a basis, it has
just the opposite effect.
Here "Basis" is misled by the idea
that currency can be redeemed only in that on which it is based.
But this fertile subject has taken us farther than we intended
to follow it.
So here, for the present, we will quit its company, meanwhile handing over " Basis" to the tender mercies
of "Apex," and heartily indorsing almost all that "Basis"
says at the close of his article concerning the true duty of
government, as long as it ?hall exist, regarding the currency.

MONEY AND INTEREST.

ipp

"THE POSITION OF WILLIAM."


[Liiirty^ October

John Ruskin,

13, 188S.]

first of his "Fors Clavigera" series of


workmen, opened what he had to say about
interest by picturing what he called "the position of William."
Bastiat, the French economist, had tried to show the nature
of capital and interest by a little story, in which a carpenter
named James made a plane in order to increase his productive
power! but, having made it, was induced by a fellow-carpenter
named William to lend it to him for a year in consideration of
receiving a new plane at the end of that time besides a plank
Having fulfilled these conditions at the end
for the use of it.
of the first year, William borrowed the plane again on the
same terms at the beginning of the second, and year after year
the transaction was repeated to the third and fourth generaRuskin disposed
tions of the posterity of William and James.
of this plausible story in a sentence by pointing out that the
transactions of William and James amounted simply to this,
that William made a plane every 31st December, lent it to
James till ist January, and paid James a plank for the privilege of thus lending him the plane overnight.
Ruskin called this " the position of William," and, though
he threw down the gauntlet right and left, he never could find
an economist rash enough to undertake to dispute the justice
At last, however, one
of his abridgment of Bastiat's tale.

in the

letters to British

F. J. Stimson has discovered the fallacy in


" the position of William," and confidently tells the readers of
the Quarterly Journal of Economics that it lies in Ruskin's
tacit assumption that the plank which William paid James was
the only plank which the plane had enabled him to make
during the year. Mr. Stimson is so proud of this discovery
that he puts it in italics, but I am unable to see that it shows
anything except Mr. Stimson's failure to get down to the kernel

has appeared.

of the question at issue.

which is
If Ruskin made the assumption attributed to him,
improbable, he did so because he knew perfectly well that the
number of planks which the plane enabled William to make
ought in equity to have had no influence upon the plane's selling or lending price, always provided the number was great
enough to make it worth while to have manufactured the plane
If Mr, Stimson were half the economigt
in the first place.

20O

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

that Ruskin is, he would know that, in the absence of monopoly, the price of an article worth producing at all is governed,
not by its utility, but by the cost of its production, and that
James consequently, though his plane should enable William
to make a million planks, could not sell or lend it for more
than it cost him to make it, except he enjoyed a monopoly of

the plane-making industry.


The fallacy in "the position of William " remains undiscovPerhaps a few more such failures to discover it as Mr.
ered.
Stimson's may convince the people that there is no fallacy
On the whole, the original policy of
there to be discovered.
James's friends was the safer one, to ignore " the position of
William " on the ground that his champion, Mr. Ruskin,- is not
an economist, but an artist.

ECONOMIC HODGE-PODGE.
[Liierty, October

8, 1887.]

It will be remembered that, when a correspondent of the


Standard signing " Morris " asked Henry George one or
two awkward questions regarding interest, and George tried
to answer him by a silly and forced distinction between interest considered as the increase of capital and interest considered as payment for the use of a legal tender, John F. Kelly
sent to the Standard a crushing reply to George, which the
latter refused to print, and which subsequently appeared in
No. I02 of Liberty. It may also be remembered that George's
rejection of Kelly's article was grounded on the fact that since
his own reply to " Morris " he had received several articles on
the interest question, and that he could not afford space for
the consideration of this subordinate matter while the all-important land question was yet to be settled.
I take it that the land battle has since been won, for in the
Standard of September 3 nearly three columns almost the
entire department of "Queries and Answers " in that issue
are
given to a defence of interest, in answer to the questions of
two or three correspondents. The article is a long elaboration of the reply to " Morris," the root absurdity of which is
rendered more intangible by a wall of words, and no one
would know from reading it that the writer had ever heard of
the considerations which Mr. Kelly arrayed against his position. It is true that at one or two points he verges upon them,

MONEY AND INTEREST.

20I

but his words are a virtual admission of their validity and


hence a reduction of interest to an unsubstantial form. He
seems, therefore, to have written them without thought of Mr.
Kelly for, had he realized their effect, he could not assuming his honesty have prepared the article, which has no
raison iTHre except to prove that interest is a vital reality
apart from money monopoly.
On the other hand, assuming
his dishonesty, the suspicion inevitably arises that he purposely smothered Mr. Kelly's article in order to subsequently
juggle over the matter with less expert opponents.
Unhappily 'this suspicion is not altogether unwarrantable in view
of the tactics adopted by George in his treatment of the rent
;

question.

The matter seems, too, to have taken on importance, as it is


now acknowledged that " the theory of interest as propounded
by Mr. George has been more severely and plausibly criticised
than any other phase of the economic problem as he presents
it." When we con>sider that George regards it as an economic
law that interest varies inversely with so important a thing as
rent, we see that he cannot consistently treat as unimportant any " plausible " argument urged in support of the theory
that interest varies principally, not with rent, but with the
economic conditions arising from a monopoly of the currency.
But, however the article may be accounted for, it is certainly
before us, and Mr. George (through his sub-editor, Louis F.
Post, for whose words in the " Queries and Answers " department he may fairly be held responsible), is discussing the inWe will see what he has to say.
terest question.
It appears that all the trouble of the enemies of interest
grows out of their view of it as exclusively incidental to borrowing and lending, whereas interest on borrowed capital is
itself " incidental to real interest," which is'" the increase that
This
capital yields irrespective of borrowing and lending."
increase, Mr. George claims, is the work of time, and from
this premise he reasons as follows:
The laborer who has capital ready when it is wanted, and thus, by
saving time in making it, increases production, will get and ought to get
some consideration, higher wages, if you choose, or interest, as we call it,
just as the skilful printer who sets fifteen hundred ems an hour will
get more for an hour's work than the less skilful printer who sets only a
thousand. In the one case greater power due to skill, and in the other
greater power due to capital, produce greater results in a given time; and
in neither case is the increased compensation a deduction from the earn-

ings of other men.

this analogy a fair one it must be assumed that


a product of labor, that it can be bought and sold, and

To make
skill is

202

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

that its price is subject to the influence of competition ; otherwise, it furnishes no parallel to capital.
With these assumptions the opponent of interest eagerly seizes upon the analogy
as entirely favorable to his own position and destructive of
Mr. George's. If the skilful printer produced his skill and
can sell it, and if other men can produce similar skill and sell
it, the price that will be paid for it will be limited, under free
competition, by the cost of production, and will bear no relation to the extra five hundred ems an hour.
The case is precisely the same with capital. Where there is free competition
in the manufacture and sale of spades, the price of a spade
will be governed by the cost of its production, and not by the
value of the extra potatoes which the spade will enable its
purchaser to dig. Suppose, however, that the skilful printer
enjoyed a monopoly of skill. In that case, its price would no
longer be governed by the cost of production, but by its utility to the purchaser, and the monopolist would exact nearly
the whole of the extra five hundred ems, receiving which hourly
he would be able to live for the rest of his life without ever
picking up a type.
Such a monopoly as this is now enjoyed
by the holders of capital in consequence of the currency
monopoly, and this is the reason, and the only reason, why
they are able to tax borrowers nearly up to the limit of the
advantage which the latter derive from having the capital. In
other words, increase which is purely the work of time bears a
price only because of monopoly. Abolish the monopoly, then,
and what becomes of Mr. George's " real interest " except as
a benefit enjoyed by all consumers in proportion to their consumption ? As far as the owner of the capital is concerned, it
vanishes at once, and Mr. George's wonderful distinction with it.
He tells us, nevertheless, that the capitalist's share of the
results of the increased power which capital gives the laborer
is " not a deduction from the earnings of other men."
Indeed
What are the normal earnings of other men ? Evidently what
they can produce with all the tools and advantages which
they can procure in a free market without force or fraud. If,
then, the capitalist, by abolishing the free market, compels
other men to procure their tools and advantages of him on less
favorable terms than they could get befpre, while it may be
better for them to come to his terms than to go without the
capital, does he not deduct from their earnings ?
But let us hear Mr. George further in regard to the great
value of time to the idler.
!

Suppose a natural spring free to all, and that Hodge carries a pail of
water from it to a place where he can build a fire and boil the water.

MONEY

ANt) iNTEkfiST.

26^

Having hung a kettle and poured the wate into it, and arranged the fuel
and started the fire, he has by his labor set natural forces at work in a
certain direction
and they are at work for him alone, because without
his previous labor they would not be at work in that direction at all. Now
he may go to sleep, or run off and play, or amuse himself in any way that
he pleases and when an hour a period of time shall have elapsed,
he will have, instead of a pail of cold water, a pot of boiling water. Is
there no difference in value between that boiling water and the cold
water of an hour before ? Would he exchange the pot of boiling water
for a pail of cold water, even though the cold water were in the pot and
the fire started? Of course not, and no one would expect him to.
And
yet between the time when the fire is started and the time when the water boils he does no work.
To what, then, is that difference in value due ?
Is it not clearly due to the element of time?
Why does Hodge demand
more than a pail of cold water for the pot of boiling water if it is not that
the ultimate object of his original labor the making of tea,for example
is nearer complete than it was an hour before, and that an even exchange
of boiling water for cold water would delay him an hour, to which he will
not submit unless he is paid for it? And why is Podge willing to give
more than a pail of cold water for the pot of boiling water, if it is not
that it gives him the benefit of an hour's time in production, and thus increases his productive power very much as greater skill would ? And if
Podge gives to Hodge more than a pail of cold water for the pot of boiling water, does Podge lose anything that he had, or Hodge gain anything
No. The effect of the transaction is a transfer for a
that he had not ?
consideration of the advantage in point of time that Hodge had, to Podge
who had it not, as if a skilful compositor should, if he could, sell his skill
to a less skilful member of the craft.
;

We

economic Hodge-Podge.
from beginning to end by the
neglect of the most important question involved in it, namely, whether Hodge's idleness during the hour required for the
It
boiling of the water is a matter of choice or of necessit)'.
was necessary to leave this out in order to give time the credit
Let us not leave it out, and see what
of boiling the water.
will come of it.
If Hodge's idleness is a matter of necessity,
it is equivalent, from the economic standpoint, to labor, and

The

will

look a

little

into this

illustration is vitiated

A storecounts as labor in the price of the boiling water.


keeper may spend only five hours in waiting on his customers,
but, as he has to spend another five hours in waiting for them,
he gets paid by them for ten hours' labor. His five hours'
idleness counts as labor, because, to accommodate his customers, he has to give up what he could produce in those
Likewise, if Hodge,
five hours if he could labor in them.
when boiling water for Podge, is obliged to spend an hour in
idleness, he will charge Podge for the hour in the price which
he sets on the boiling water. But it is Hodge himself, this
disposition of himself, and not the abstraction, time, that
gives the water its exchangeable value. The abstraction, time,

insteaB of a

S04

IBOOK.

truly at work when Hodge is bringing the water froiti the


spring and starting the fire as when he is asleep waiting for
the water to boil
yet Mr. George would not dream of attributing the value of the water af^er it had been brought
from the spring to the element of time. He would say that it
was due entirely to the labor of Hodge. Properly speaking,
time does not work at all, but, if the phrase is to be insisted
on. in economic discussion, it can be admitted only with some
The services of time are
such qualification as the following
venal only when rendered through human forces when rendered exclusively through the forces of nature, they are gratuiis as

tous.

That time does not give the boiling water any exchangeable
value becomes still more evident when we start from the
hypothesis that Hodge's idleness, instead of being a matter
of necessity, is a matter of choice.
In that case, if Hodge
chooses to be idle, and still tries, in selling the boiling water
to Podge, to charge, him for this unnecessary idleness, the
enterprising Dodge will step up and offer boiling water to
Podge at a price lower than Hodge's, knowing that he can
afford to do so by performing some productive labor while
waiting for the water to boil, instead of loafing like Hodge.
The effect of this will be that Hodge himself will go to work
productively, and then will offer Podge a better bargain than
Dodge has proposed, and so competition between Hodge and
Dodge will go on until the price of the boiling water to Podge
shall fall to the value of the labor expended by either Hodge
or Dodge in bringing the water from the spring and starting
the fire.
Here, then, the exchangeable value of the boiling
water which was said to be due to time has disappeared, and
yet it takes just as much time to boil the wa.ter as it did in
the first place.
Mr. George gets into difficulty in discussing this question of
the increase of capital simply because he continually loses
sight of the fact that competition lowers prices to the cost of
production and thereby distributes this so-called product of
capital among the whole people. He does not see that capital
in the hands of labor is but the utilization of a natural force
or opportunity, just as land is in the hands of labor, and that
it is as proper in the one case as in the other that the benefits
of such utilization of natural forces should be enjoyed by the
whole body of consumers.
Mr. George truly says that rent is the price of monopoly.
Suppose, now, that some one should answer him thus
You
misconceive you clearly have leasing exclusively in mind,
:

UoneY and interest.

205

and suppose an unearned bonus

for a lease, whereas rent of


leased land is merely incidental to real rent, which is the
superiority in location or fertility of one piece of land over
another, irrespective of leasing.
Mr. George would laugh at
such an argument if offered in justification of the receipt and.
enjoyment of unearned increment or economic rent by the
landlord.
But he himself makes an equally ridiculous and
precisely parallel argument in defence of the usurer when he
says, in answer to those who assert that interest is the price of

monopoly " You misconceive you clearly have borrowing


and lending exclusively in mind, and suppose an unearned
bonus for a loan, whereas interest on borrowed capital is
:

merely incidental to real interest, which is the increase that


capital yields, irrespective of borrowing and lending."
The truth in both cases is just this, that nature furnishes
man immense forces with which to work in the shape of land
and capital, that in a state of freedom these forces benefit
each individual to the extent that he avails himself of them,
and that any man or class getting a monopoly of either or

both will put all other men in subjection and live in luxury
on the products of their labor. But to justify a monopoly of
either of these forces by the existence of the force itself, or to
argue that without a monopoly of it any individual could get
an income by lending it instead of by working with it, is
equally absurd whether the argument be resorted to in the
case of land or in the case of capital, in the case of rent or in
the case of interest. If any one chooses to call the advantages
of these forces to mankind rent in one case and interest in the
other, I do not know that there is any serious objection to his
doing so, provided he will remember that in practical economic
discussion rent stands for the absorption of the advantages of
land by the landlord, and interest for the absorption of the
advantages of capital by the usurer.
The remainder of Mr. George's article rests entirely upon
Several new Hodge-Podge combinations
the time argument.
are supposed by way of illustration, but in none of them is
there any attempt to justify interest except as a reward of
time. The inherent absurdity of this justification having been
demonstrated above, all that is based upon it falls with it.
The superstructure is a logical ruin it remains only to clear
;

away the

dSbris.

Hodge's boiling water is made a type of all those products


of labor which afterwards increase in utility purely by natural
forces, such as cattle, corn, etc.; and it may be admitted that,
if time would add exchangeable value to the water while boil-

INSTEAD OP A BOOK.

206

it would do the same to corn while growing, and cattle


while multiplying.
But that it would do so under freedom
Starting from this, however, an
has already been disproved.
attempt is made to find in it an excuse for interest on products
which do not improve except as labor is applied to them, and
even on money itself. Hodge's grain, after it has been growing for a month, is worth more than when it was first sown
therefore Podge, the shovel-maker, who supplies a market
which it takes a month to reach, is entitled to more pay for
his shovels at the end of that month than he would have been
had he sold them on the spot immediately after production
and therefore the banker who discounts at the time of production the note of Podge's distant customer maturing a month
later, thereby advancing ready money to Podge, will be entitled, at the end of the month, from Podge's customer, to
the extra value which the month's time is supposed to have
added to the shovels.
Here Mr. George not only builds on a rotten foundation,
but he mistakes foundation for superstructure.
Instead of
reasoning from Hodge to the banker he should have reasoned
from the banker to Hodge. His first inquiry should have been
how much, in the absence of a monopoly in the banking
business, the banker could get for discounting for Podge
the note of his customer
from which he could then have
ascertained how much extra payment Podge could get for his
month's delay in the shovel transaction, or Hodge for the
services of time in ripening his grain.
He would then have
discovered that the banker, who invests little or no capital of
his own, and, therefore, lends none to his customers, since the
security which they furnish him constitutes the capital upon
which he operates, is forced, in the absence of money monopoly, to reduce the price of his services to labor cost,
which the statistics of the banking business show to be much
less than one per cent.
As this fraction of one per cent,
represents simply the banker's wages and incidental expenses,
and is not payment for the use of capital, the element of
interest disappears from his transactions.
But, if Podge can
borrow money from the banker without interest, so can Podge's
customer therefore, should Podge attempt to exact from his
customer remuneration for the month's delay, the latter would
at once borrow the money and pay Podge spot cash.
Furthermore Podge, knowing this, and being able to get ready money
easily himself, and desiring, as a good man of business, to suit
his customer's convenience, would make no such attempt. So
Podge's interest is gone as well as the banker's. Hodge, then,

ing,

MOMfeV

AND INTERES*.

iof

the only usurer left.


But is any one so innocent as to
suppose that Dodge, or Lodge, or Modge will long continue to
pay Hodge more for his grown grain than his sown grain, after
any or all of them can get land free of rent and money free
of interest, and thereby force time to work for them as well
as for Hodge.
Nobody who can get the services of time
for nothing will be such a fool as to pay Hodge for them.
Hodge, too, must say farewell to his interest as soon as the
two great monopolies of land and money are abolished.
TAe
rate of interest on money fixes the rate of interest on all other
capital the production of which is subject to competition, and when
Is

former disappears the latter disappears with it.


Presumably to make his readers think that he has given due
consideration to the important principle just elucidated, Mr.
George adds, just after his hypothesis of the banker's transaction with Podge
the

Of course

there is discount and discount.


I am speaking of a legitimate
economic banlcing transaction. But frequently bank discounts are nothing
more than taxation, due to the choking up of free exchange, in consequence of which an institution that controls the common medium of exchange can impose arbitrary conditions upon producers who must immediately use that common medium.

The evident purpose of the word " frequently " here is to


carry the idea that, when a bank discount is a tax imposed by
monopoly of the medium of exchange, it is simply a somewhat common exception to the general rule of " legitimate
economic banking transactions." For it is necessary to have
such a general rule in order to sustain the theory of interest
on capital as a reward of time. The exact contrary, however,
Where money monopoly exists, it is the rule that
is the truth.
bank discounts are taxes imposed by it, and when, in consequence of peculiar and abnormal circumstances, discount is
not in the nature of a tax, it is a rare exception. The abolition of money monopoly would wipe out discount as a tax
and, by adding to the steadiness of the market, make the
cases where it is not a tax even fewer than now.
Instead of
legitimate, therefore, the banker's transaction with Podge,
being exceptional in a free money market and a tax of the ordinary discount type in a restricted money, market, is illegitimate if cited in defence of interest as a normal economic
factor.

In the conclusion of his article Mr. George strives to show


that interest would not enable its beneficiaries to live by the
But he only succeeds in showing, though in
labor of others.
a very obscure, indefinite, and intangible fashion, seemingly

2o8

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

afraid to squarely enunciate it as a proposition,


that where
there is no monopoly there will be little or no interest.
Which is precisely our contention. But why, then, his long
article ?
If interest will disappear with monopoly, what will
become of Hodge's reward for his time? If, on the other
hand, Hodge is to be rewarded for his mere time, what will
reward him save Podge's labor ? There is no escape from this
dilemma. The proposition that the man who for time spent
in idleness receives the product of time employed in labor is
a parasite up on the body industrial is one arhich an expert
necromancer like Mr. George may juggle with before an audience of gaping Hodges and Podges, but can never successfully
dispute with men who understand the rudiments of political

economy.

AN UNWARRANTED QUESTION.
{Liberty^ October j8, 1890.]

AuBERON Herbert, in his paper, Free Life, asks me how I


" justify a campaign against the right of men to lend and to
borrow." I answer that I do not justify such a campaign,
have never attempted to justify such a campaign, do not
advocate such a campaign, in fact am ardently opposed to
such a campaign. In turn, I ask Mr. Herbert how he justifies
his apparent attribution to me of a wish to see such a campaign instituted.
It is true that I expect lending and borrowing to disappear,
but not by any denial of the right to lend and borrow. On the
contrary, I expect them to disappear by virtue of the affirmation and exercise of a right that is now denied,
namely, the
right to use one's own credit, or to exchange it freely for another's, in such a way that one or the other of these credits
may perform the function of a circulating medium, without
the payment of any tax for the privilege.
It has been repeatedly demonstrated in these columns that the exercise of such
a right would accomplish the gradual extinction of interest
without the aid of force, and the nature of this economic
process has been described over and over again.
This demonstration Mr. Herbert steadily ignores, and the position itself
he never meets save by a sweeping denial, or by characterizing

as unphilosophical, or by substituting for it a


of his own creation and then knocking it down.

it

man

of straw

M6NEY AND INTEREST.

i6^

The Anarchists assert that interest, however it may have


originated, exists to-day only by virtue, of the legal monopoly
of the use of credit, for currency purposes, and they trace the
process, step by step, by which an abolition of that monopoly
would gradually reduce

interest to zero.

Mr. Herbert never

stops to analyze this process that he may find the weak spot
in it and point it out he simply declares that interest, instead
of resting on monopoly, is the natural, inevitable outcome of
human convenience and the open market, and then wants to
know how the Anarchists justify their attempt to abolish in;

terest

by

force.

Mr. Herbert were to maintain (as I suppose he


does maintain) that freedom in the domestic relation would
gradually lessen and perhaps abolish licentiousness, and I
" Oh, no, Mr. Herbert, you are unwere to answer him thus
philosophical
prostitution does not rest on the compulsory
marriage system, but is the natural, inevitable outcome of
human convenience and desire how do you justify, I should
It is

as if

right of men and women


to traffic in the gratifications of the flesh ? "
In such a case
Mr. Herbert, I imagine, would say that I had studied his
teaching very carelessly. And that is what I am forced to say
of him, much against my will.
If it be true that interest will exist in the absence of monopoly, then there is some flaw in the reasoning by which the
Anarchists argue from the abolition of morfopoly to the disappearance of interest, and it is incumbent upon Mr. Herbert
to point this flaw out, or else admit his own error.
It is almost
incredible that an argument so often reiterated can have escaped the attention of so old a reader of Liberty as Mr. Herbert, but, lest he should plead this excuse, I will state that it
is most elaborately and conclusively set forth in the pamphlet,
" Mutual Banking," by Col. Wm. B. Greene.
If, after mastering the position, he thinks he can overthrow it, I shall be glad
to meet him on that issue.
like to

know, a campaign against the

AN ALLEGED FLAW
{^Liberiy^

To

November

IN ANARCHY.
29, 1890.]

the Editor

of Liberty :
I have not what I wrote
sorry if I have misinterpreted Liberty.
before me, but I do not think I could have had the slightest intention of imputing to Liierty a FORCE campaign against interest but I believed (am I
I

am

tNSTfiAB Of a BOOK.

4l6

that I had seen both interest and rent denounced in Liberty as


It was to this 1 was
objectionable and opposed to the interests of society.
My own position is that interest is both
referring as a moral campaign.
mora! and useful, and often more than anything e^se a chance of a better
If workmen would give up punching the head of
future to workmen.
capital, and, instead of that little amusement, resolutely combine for the
purpose of investing in industrial concerns, so as gradually to become the
part-owner of the industrial machinery of the country, whilst they no
longer remained wholly dependent upon wages, but partly upon wages,
partly upon the return 'of invested money, I believe the great problem of
our time would be approaching its solution.
As regards rent, I think that all Anarchists, including even sober-minded
The doctrine of use-possession seems
Liberty, use force to get rid of it.
Even if it suits certain persons to sell me
almost framed for this purpose.
a hundred acres, and it suits me to buy it, and it suits other people to rent
it from me,
as I understand. Liberty would not sanction the proceeding.
We are all of us, in fact, to be treated as children, who don't know our
own interests, and for whom somebody else is to judge. You may reply
that under the Anarchist system no action would be taken to prevent such
an arrangement only that no action would be taken to prevent the tenants
from establishing themselves as proprietors and ignoring their rent owed
Good but then how do you justify the fact that there is a proto me.
posed machinery (local juries, etc.) to secure the possessor who holds
under use-possession in his holding and to prevent his disturbance by
somebody else? Put these two opposed treatments together, and it
means to say that a certain body of men have settled for others a form in
which they may hold property, and a form in which they may not. The
desires and the conveniences of the persons themselves are set aside, and,
as in old forms of government, a principle representing centralization and
Is this Anarchy ?
socialistic regulation obtains.

wrong ?)

AuBERON Herbert.

Mr. Herbert's disclaimer is of course sufificient to establish


the fact that he did not mean to charge me with an attempt to
But I must remind him that
prohibit lending and borrowing.
the charge which he made against me he made also at the
saine time against his correspondent, Mr. J. Armsden that
Mr. Armsden interpreted it as I did and protested against its
application to himself (though gratuitously allowing that it was
justly applicable to me) ; and that Mr. Herbert made rejoinder, if my memory serves me, that he had misunderstood
Mr. Armsden. Now, I cannot see why Mr. Herbert should
not admit in the same unqualified way that he misunderstood
me, instead of suggesting that I misunderstood him. But this
I am satisfied to call it a case of
is of little consequence
mutual misunderstanding.
To avoid such misunderstanding in future, however, is of
and to that end I must further remind Mr.
real importance
Herbert that, when I use the word right, I do so in one of two
senses, which the context generally determines,
either in the
moral sense of irresponsible prerogative, or in the social sense
;

MONEY AND INTEREST.

211

Mr. Herbert, knowing that I am an


of accorded guarantee.
Egoist, must be perfectly aware that it v/oiild be impossible
for me to enter upon a moral campaign against any special
right in the sense of irresponsible prerogative, for it is the
Egoistic position either that no one has any rights whatever or
what amounts to the same thing that every one has all
rights.
But it would be equally impossible for me to enter
upon a moral campaign against a right in the sense of accorded
guarantee, unless it were a case where I should consider myself
justified, if it seemed expedient, in turning that moral campaign into a force campaign. For I could have no objection
to any accorded guarantee save on the ground that the thing
guaranteed was a privilege of invasion, and against invasion I
am willing to use any weapons that will accomplish its destruction, preferring moral weapons in all cases where they are
effective, but willing to resort to those of physical force whenSo Mr. Herbert is now duly cautioned not to
ever necessary.
charge me with maintaining, against any right whatever, a campaign which anything but expediency makes exclusively moral.
To go now from the general to the particular. I could not
engage in any sort of campaign against the right to lend and
borrow, because I do not consider that right a privilege of in-

If, however, lending and borrowing should disappear


Tasion.
in consequence of the overthrow of that form of invasion
which consists of the monopoly of the right to issue notes as
currency, that is not my affair.
It is the contention of the Anarchists that lending and borrowing, and consequently interest, will virtually disappear when
banking is made free. Mr. Herbert's only answer to this is
Does he mean by
that he considers interest moral and useful.
this that that is moral and useful which will disappear under
Then why does he favor free competition ?
free competition ?

Or does he deny that interest will so disappear? Then let him


disprove the Anarchists' definite and succinct argument that
In my last article, to which his present article is a
it will.
reply, I strongly invited him to do this, but as usual he ignores
Nevertheless he and all his Individualistic
the invitation.
friends will have to meet us on that issue sooner or later, and
he may as well face the music at once.
Now, a word about rent. It is true that Anarchists, including sober-minded Liberty, 'do, in a sense, propose to get rid of
ground-rent by force. That is to say, if landlords should try
to evict occupants, the Anarchists advise the occupants to
combine to maintain their ground by force whenever they see
But it is also true that the
that they can do so successfully.

212

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

Individualists, including sober-minded Mr. Herbert, propose


" Even if it suits certain persons
to get rid of theft by force.
to sell me " Mr. Herbert's overcoat, " and it suits me to buy it,
and it suits other people to rent it from me as I understand,"
are all
Mr. Herbert " would not sanction the proceeding.

We

of us, in fact, to be treated as children, who don't know our


own interests, and for whom somebody else is to judge." The
Anarchists justify the use of machinery (local juries, etc.) to
adjust the property question involved in rent just as the Individualists justify similar machinery to adjust the property quesAnd when the Individualists so adjust
tion involved in theft.
the property question involved in theft, this " means to say that
a certain body of men have settled for others a form in which
they may hold property and a form in which they may not,"
regardless of " the desires and conveniences of the persons

themselves."
Yes, this is Anarchy, and this is Individualism. The trouble
with Mr. Herbert is that he begs the question of property altogether, and insists on treating the land problem as if it were
simply a question of buying and selling and lending and borrowing, to be settled simply by the open market.
Here I meet
him with the words of his more conservative brother in Individualism, Mr. J. H. Levy, editor of the Personal Rights
Journal, who is trying to show Mr. Herbert that he ought to
call himself an Anarchist instead of an Individualist.
Mr.
Levy says, and I say after him " When we come to the question of the ethical basis of property, Mr. Herbert refers us to
the open market.'
But this is an evasion. The question is
not whether we should be able to sell or acquire in 'the open
market " anything which we rightfully possess, but how we
:

'

come

into rightful possession.

they do most emphatically,

how

And,
is

if

men

this to

differ

on

this, as

be settled ?"

SHALL THE TRANSFER PAPERS BE TAXED


[Liberty,

August

i8, 1888.I

Editor of Liberty :
During the past six months I have read your paper searchingly, and
greatly admire it in many respects, but as yet do not grasp your theory
Can you give space for a few words to show from your
of interest.
7'c the

standpoint the fallacy in the following ideas?


Interest I understand to be a payment, not for money, but for capital
which the money represents that is, for the use of the accumulated
;

MONEY AND INTEREST.


As

213

limited, while human wants are infinite,


always be a demand for more than exists.
The simplest way of solving the difficulty would, therefore, be to put the
social capital up and let open competition settle its price.
Added accumulation means greater competition to let it, so that its price will be lowbecome
nothing
so long as
year.
But
can
that
price
ever
ered year by
men have additional wants that capital can assist to fill ? Yet Mr. Westrup advocates a rate of interest based on the cost of issuing the money,
Is "stored labor" so plenty
that is, allowing nothing for the capital.
as to be cheaper than blackberries ?
For illustration, A has |i,ooo worth of land, buildings, etc., in a farm,
but sees that he can use $1,500 worth profitably. So he places a mortgage of $500 on the place and invests it in more property. Now to say
that he should have that additional property merely for the cost of issuing the paper which represents it during the transfer would be like saying
that, when he bought his house, he should have it merely for cost of the
paying nothing for the house itself.
the deeds, etc.,
transfer papers,
In a line my query is Where do your definitions of interest and disYours truly,
count on money diverge?
J. Herbert Foster.

wealth of the race.


it

that

would appear that there

is

will

Meriden, Connecticut.

Discount is the sum deducted in advance from property


temporarily transferred, by the owner thereof, as a condition
of the transfer, regardless of the ground upon which such
condition is demanded.
Interest is payment for the use of property, and, if paid in
advance, is that portion of the discount exacted by the owner
of the property temporarily transferred which he claims as
payment for the benefit conferred upon the other party, as distinguished from that portion which he claims as payment for
the burden borne by himself.
The opponents of interest desire, by reducing the rate of
discount to cost, or price of burden borne, to thereby eliminate from discount all payment merely for benefit conferred.
But they are entirely innocent of any desire to abolish payment for burden borne, as it certain-l'y would be abolished in
the case supposed by Mr. Foster, were A to obtain his extra
$500 worth of property simply by paying the cost of making
A certainly could not thus obtain it
out the transfer papers.
under the system of credit proposed by the opponents of interHis obligation is not discharged when he has paid over
est.
to the man of whom he buys the property the $500 which he
He still has to discharge the
has borrowed on mortgage.
mortgage by paying to the lender of the money, at the expiration of the loan, in actual wealth or valid documentary claim
upon wealth, the $500 which he'borrowed. That is the time
when he really pays for the property in which he invested.
Now, the question is whether he shall pay simply the $500,

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

214

which

is

at the

time he

full value of the property


the investment, or whether he shall also
pay a bonus for the use of the property up to the time when
he finally pays for it. The opponents of interest say that he
should not pay this bonus, because his use of the property has
imposed no burden upon the lender of the money, and under
free competition there is no price where there is no burden.
They declare, not that he should not pay the $500, but that
the only bonus he should pay is to be measured by the cost of
making out the mortgage and other documents, including all
the expenses incidental thereto.
The only reason why he now has to pay a bonus proportional to the benefit he derives from the use of the property is
found in the fact that the lender of the money, or the original
issuer of the money, from whom the lender procured it more
or less directly, has secured- a monopoly of money manufacture and can therefore proportion the price of his product to
the necessities of his customers, instead of being forced by competition to limit it to the average cost of manufacture.
In
short, what the opponents of interest object to is, not payment
for property purchased, but a. tax upon the transfer papers
and the very best of all arguments against interest, or payment for the use of property, is the fact that, at the present
advanced stage in the operation of economic forces, it cannot
exist to any great extent without taking this form of a tax
upon the transfer papers.
Shall the transfer papers be taxed ? That is the question which Liberty asks, and Mr. Foster has already answered
it in the negative by saying that open competition should be
But when this open compeleft to settle the price of capital.
tition is secured, it will be found that, though there may be no
limit to the desire for wealth, there is a limit at any given
time to the capacity of the race to utilize capital, and that the
amount of capital created will always tend to exceed this
capacity.
Then capital will seek employment and be glad to
lend itself to labor for nothing, asking only to be kept intact,
and reimbursed for the cost of the transfer papers. Such is
the process by which interest, or payment for the use of prop'
erty, not only will be lowered, but will entirely disappear.

supposed to represent the

made

MONEY AND INTEREST.

MONEY AND
\Liberty,

215

CAPITAL.

December

i,

1888.]

To the Editor of Liberty :


attentively Mr. Westrup's farther statement on mutual
I have read
banking, but fail to see wherein he touches what is to my mind the vital
point.
He says that the system " would not be making use of capital
Then I cannot see how it would anthat belonged to some one else."
swer its purpose. The bank itself has no capital save the pledges advanced by borrowers, and if they take out no more than they put in, they
make no gain, but are merely to the expense of the transaction. On
the other hand, if they do take out more, some one else must have put it
They do not increase their wealth by using their own property as a
in.
It is only when some one
basis on which to make advances to themselves.
else accepts it as a pledge on which to advance his property that they
have made a gain. And if there is no one to be paid a dividend but " the
same borrowers," that some one else will go unpaid.

The borrower's object is to get the use of additional capital, not of the
money that represents it during the transfer. If he gets it, "some one
[else] is deprived of the use of that much wealth," as two cannot use the
same property at the same time. Our farmer worth $1,000, who borrowed $500 and invested it, found at the end of the transaction that he
had at his disposal $1,500 worth of property. Now, where did the last
$500 worth come from ? Like all created things, its ownership vested
the farmer was not that creator, or he would not
rightfully in its creator
have had to borrow it. The bank, in issuing a volume of circulating me;

dium, neither increased nor diminished the aggregate wealth of the counIt did not
It engaged in no "productive" industry.
try appreciably.
In fact, Mr. Westcreate 500 dollars' nor 500 cents' worth of property.
create
additional
value in
represents
what
it
did
in
rup's rate of interest
making out the transfer papers, a fraction of one per cent, of the $500.
If, then, neither the bank nor the farmer created it, is it not clear that
they " made use of capital that belonged to some one else " ?
The distinction between owning property and merely having the use of
it has been pointed out to me, but appears largely verbal, for the only
value of property is the use thereof. At any rate, it seems clear that our
farmer gets the use of $500 worth of properly so long as he pays the expense of keeping $500 of circulating medium afloat. He uses his $1,000
worth of property as a guarantee to the producer of the $500 of value
that the latter shall receive back his property intact, but with no payment

for use.
If I have understood correctly the reply to my former letter, this is
However,
but I do not see that Mr. Westrup coincides.
Liberty's idea
" open to conviction " and await further
if I am in error, I trust I am
;

light.
J.

Herbert Foster.

Mr. Foster's difficulty arises from the futile attempt, v\'hich


others have made before him, to distinguish money
from capital, the real fact being that money, though not capi-

many
tal in

a,

material sense,

is,

in the

economic sense and

to all in-

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

2l6

and purposes, the most perfect and desirable form of


it is the only form of capital which
at any time almost instantly procure all other forms of

tents

capital, for the reason that


will

capital.

Practically speaking, that

man

has capital

who

holds

an instantly convertible title to capital.*


If this be true, then Mr. Foster's claim that mutual banking involves the " making use of capital that belongs to some
one else " falls immediately. Does he mean to say that, when
the borrower of a mutual bank's notes goes into the market
and buys capital with them, he is thereljy keeping the seller
out of his capital ? If so, then Mr. Foster, when he pays his
butcher cash for a beefsteak for his to-morrow's breakfast, is
keeping his butcher out of his capital. But does either he or
his butcher ever look at his conduct in that light?
If that is
being kept out of capital, then is the butcher only too glad to
be thus deprived. He keeps a shop for the express purpose
of being kept out of his capital, and he feels that it's very
hard lines and a very dull season when he isn't kept out of it.
He knows that, when he sells a beefsteak to Mr. Foster for
cash, he parts with capital for which he has no use himself
and gets in exchange a title convertible whenever he may
choose into such capital as he has use for, and he knows further that he greatly benefits by the transaction.
The position
of Mr. Foster's butcher is precisely parallel to that of the
manufacturer of machinery who sells a plough or a press or
an engine to a borrower from a mutual bank. Clearly, then,
Mr. Foster's sympathy for this manufacturer is misplaced.
Of course the position which I have just taken does not
hold with notes that will not command capital, that is, that
are not readily received as money.
But that is not the point
under dispute. When Mr. Foster shall question the solvency
of mutual money, I will meet him on that point also.
For
the present ray sole contention against him is that the man
who exchanges a material value for good money is not thereby
kept out of his capital.

* This paragraph on the surface seems contradictory of the position


taken on a previous page in answer to " Basis." And in form and
terms it does contradict it. But a careful reading of both passages, in
connection with the accompanying explanatory sentences, will show that
there is no inconsistency between them.

MONEY AND INTEREST.

21

"TO-DAY'S" VIEW OF INTEREST.


[Lz'deriy,

July

26. 1890.]

When

I saw the word " Interest " at the top of an article in


a recent issue of To-day, I said to myself: This looks promising ; either the editor of To-day is about to remove the
basis (so far as his paper is concerned) of Mr. Yarros's vigorous criticism upon journals of its class that they fail of influence because they neglect to show that individualism will redress economic grievances, or else he has discovered some

Anarchist economics and is about to save us


further waste of energy by showing that economic liberty will
not produce the results we predict from it. Fancy my disappointment when, on reading the article, I found it made up,
seven eighths, of facts and historical remarks which would be
more-interesting if less venerable, but which, though pertinent
as throwing light upon the conditions under which interest
arose, prevailed, and fluctuated, have not the remotest bearing upon the arguments of those who dispute the viability of
one-sixteenth, of the assertion of an economic
interest to-day
truism, equally without significance in connection with those
arguments and, one-sixteenth, of the assertion of an economic
error, which assertion betrays no familiarity with those arguments (although it is within my knowledge that the editor of
To-day possesses such familiarity in a considerable degree),
and which error can be sufficiently refuted by stating it in a
vital flaw in the

slightly different form.


I do not care a copper
The irrelevant facts I ignore.
whether interest was twelve per cent, in Aristotle's time or
whether Catholicism and Mohammedaneighteen in Solon's
ism were united in their aversion to it whether Jew or ChrisThe modern opponents of
tian has been the greater usurer.
;

interest are perfectly willing to consider facts tending to refute


their position, but no facts can have such a tendency unless
first, facts showing that
they belong to one of two classes
interest has generally (not sporadically) existed in a community in whose economy money was as important a factor as it is
:

with us to-day and in whose laws there was no restriction


upon its issue; or, second, facts showing that interest is sustained by causes that would still be effectively, invincibly
I do
operative after the abolition of the banking monopoly.
not find any such facts among those cited by To-day. The
Possession of encycloarray is formidable in appearance only.

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

2l8

paedic knowledge is a virtue which Spencer sometimes exaggerates into a vice, and a vice which some of his disciples too
seldom reduce to the proportions of a virtue.
To the economic truism I will give a little more attention,
Here it is " The existits irrelevancy being less apparent.
ence of interest depends, of course, primarily upon the existence of private property." I call this a truism, though the
word " primarily " introduces an element of error. If we are
to inquire upon what interesi J>rimari'fy depends, we shall start
upon an endless journey into the realm of metaphysics. But
without entering that realm we certainly can go farther back
in the series than private property and find that interest
depends still more remotely upon the existence of human
beings and even of the universe itself.
However, interest
undoubtedly depends upon private property, and, if this fact
had any significance, I should not stop to trifle over the word
" primarily."
But it has no significance. It only seems to
have significance because it carries, or seems to be supposed
to carry, the implication that, if private property is a necessary
condition of interest, interest is a necessary result of private
property.
The inference, of course, is wholly unwarranted by
logic, but that it is intended appears from a remark almost
immediately following " Expectations have been entertained
:

become zero but this stage


probably be reached only when economic products become
common free property of the human race." The word "probably " leaves the writer, to be sure, a small logical loophole
of escape, but it is not expected that the reader will notice it,
the emphasis being all in the other direction.
The reader is
expected to look upon interest as a necessary result of private
property simply because without private property there could
be no interest. Now, my hat sometimes hangs upon a hook,
and, if there were no hook, there could be no hanging hat
but it by no means follows that because there is a hook there
must be a hanging hat. Therefore, if I wanted to abolish
hanging hats, it would be idle, irrelevant, and illogical to
declare that I must first abolish hooks.
Likewise it is idle,
irrelevant, and illogical to declare that before interest can be
abolished private property must be abolished.
Take another
illustration.
If there were no winter, water-pipes would never
freeze up, but it is not necessary to abolish winter to prevent
this freezing.
Human device has succeeded in preventing it
as a general thing.
Similarly, without private property there
would be no borrowing of capital and therefore no interest
but it is claimed that, without abolishing private property, a
that

will

it

[interest] will eventually

MONEY AND iNTERESt

610

device namely, money and banking will, if not reprevent the necessity of borrowing capital as a general thing, and therefore virtually abolish interest
though
interest might still be paid in extraordinary cases, just as
water-pipes still freeze up under extraordinary conditions.
Is
That is the only question.
this claim true ?
This claim is met in the single relevant sixteenth of Tothat already referred to as an economic error.
day's article,
But it is met simply by denial, which is not disproof. I give
the writer's words

human

stricted,

The most popular fallacy upon the subject now is that the rate of interest can be lowered by increasing the amount of currency.
What men
agencies of production, and
really wish to borrow usually is capital,
money is only a means for the transfer of these. The amount of currency can have no effect upon the abundance of capital, and even an increase in the abundance of capital does not always lower the rate of
interest; this is partly determined by the value of capital in use.

This paragraph, though introduced with a rather nonchalant


seems to have been the objective point of the entire article.
All the rest was apparently written to furnish an occasion for
air,

voicing the excessively silly notion that " the amount of currency can have no effect upon the abundance of capital." As
I have already said, to show how silly it is-, it is only necessary
to slightly change the wording of the phrase.
Let it be stated
"The abolition of currency can have no effect upon the
thus
abundance of capital." Of course, if the former statement is
But the latter is manifestly absurd,
true, the latter follows.
and hence the former is false. To affirm it is to affirm that
currency does not facilitate the distribution of wealth for if
it does, then it increases the effective demand for wealth, and
hence the production of wealth, and hence the abundance
It is true that " an increase in the abundance
of capital.
An
of capital does not always lower the rate of interest."
extra horse attached to a heavy load does not always move
If the load is heavy enough, two extra horses will
the load.
be required to move it. But it is always the tendency of
the first extra horse to move it, whether he succeeds or not.
In the same way, increase of capital always tends to lower
interest up to the time when interest disappears entirely.
But though increased capital lowers interest and increased
currency increases capital, increased currency also acts directly
in lowering interest before it has increased the amount of
capital.
It is here that the editor of To-day seems to show
unfamiliarity with the position of the opponents of interest.
the
It is true that what men really wish to get is capital,
:

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

220

agencies of production.
And it is precisely because money
" a means for the transfer of these " that the ability to issue
money secured by their own property would make it unnecessary for them to borrow these agencies by enabling them to
buy them. This raises a question which I have asked hundreds of times of defenders of interest and which has invariably proved a "poser."
I will now put it to the editor of
To-day.
A is a farmer owning a farm. He mortgages his
farm to a bank for $i,ooo, giving the bank a mortgage note
for that sum and receiving in exchange the bank's notes
With
for the same sum, which are secured by the mortgage.
buys farming tools of B. The next day B
the bank-notes
uses the notes to buy of C the materials used in the manufacin
ture of tools.
The day after, C in turn pays them to
exchange for something that he needs. At the end of a year,
after a constant succession of exchanges, the notes are in the
hands of Z, a dealer in farm produce. He pays them to A,
who gives in return fi,ooo worth of farm products which he
has raised during the year. Then A carries the notes to the
bank, receives in exchange for them his mortgage note, and
Now, in this whole circle of
the bank cancels the mortgage.
If so,
transactions, has there been any lending of capital ?
who was the lender? If not, who is entitled to any interest ?
I call upon the editor of To-day to answer this question.
It
is needless to assure him that it is vital.

is

"TO-DAY'S" EXCELLENT FOOLING.


{^Liberty.,

August

i6, 1890.]

my

criticism of its article on interest


an exhibition of dust-throwing. In
the art of kicking up a dust the editor is an expert. Whenever he is asked an embarrassing question, he begins to show
He reminds one of the clown at
his skill in this direction.

To-day's rejoinder to

is

chiefly remarkable as

circus

the

when "stumped" by

the

ring-master to

turn a

double somersault over the elephant's back. He prances and


dances, jabbers and gyrates, quotes Latin forwards and Greek
backwards, declaims in the style of Dr. Johnson to the fishwife, sings algebraical formulae to the music of the band,
makes faces, makes puns, and makes an excellent fool of himself

and when at the end of all this enormous activity he


between the elephant's legs instead of leaping over

slyly slips

MONfiY

AMD MXERESf.

fit

his back, the hilarious crowd,

if it does not forget his failure


to perform the prescribed feat, at least good-humoredly forgives it.
But I am not so good-natured. I admit that, as a
clown, I find the editor interesting, but his performance, appropriate enough in a Barnum circus ring, is out of place in
the economic arena.
So I propose to ignore his three pages
of antics and note only his ten-line slip between the elephant's
legs, or, laying metaphor aside, his evasion of my question.
I had challenged him to point out any lending of capital in
a typical banking transaction which I had described.
He responds by asking me to define capital. This is the slip, the
evasion, the postponement of the difficulty.
He knows that,
if he can draw me off into a discussion of the nature of capital,
there will be an admirable opportunity for more clownishness,
since there is no point in political economy that lends itself
more completely to the sophist's art than this. But I am not
I stick to my question.
In regard to the
to be turned aside.
notion of capital the editor of To-day will find me, so far
as the immediate question at issue is connected with it, the
most pliable man in the world. I will take the definition, if
he likes, that was given in the previous article in To-day.
There it was said that money was one thing and capital another ; that capital consists of the agencies of production,
while money is only a means for the transfer of these that
what men really want is not money, but capital" that it is for
and that this interest,
the use of capital that interest is paid
this price for the use of capital, lowers, generally speaking, as
capital becomes plentier, and probably cannot disappear unless abundance of capital shall reach the extreme of common
Now I have shown (at least I shall so claim until
property.
my question is answered) that in the most ordinary form of
transaction involving interest namely, the discounting of
there is absolutely no lending of capital in the sense
notes
in which capital was used in To-day's first article, and the
consequence, of course, is that that defence of interest which
regards it as payment for the use of capital straightway falls to
But if the editor of To-day does not like the
the ground.
view of capital that was given in the article criticised, he may
He may make a defitake some other; I am perfectly willing.
Whatever it may be, I, for the time being
nition of his own.
and for the purposes of this argument, shall say " Amen " to it.
And after that I shall again press the question whether, in the
transaction which I described, there was any lending of anyAnd if he shall then answer, as a paragraph
thing whatever.
in his latest article indicates, " Yes, the bank lent its notes to
;

INSTEAB OP A BOOK.

224

farmer," I shall show conclusively that the bank did


nothing of the kind. If I successfully maintain this contention, then it will be demonstrated that the interest paid in the
transaction specified was not paid for the use of anything
whatever, but was a tax levied by monopoly and nothing else.
Meantime it is comforting to reflect that my labor has not
been entirely in vain.
As a consequence of my criticism
of To-day's article on interest, the editor has disowned it
(though it appeared unsigned and in editorial type), characterized it as "trivial" (heaven knows it had the air of gravity !), and squarely contradicted its chief doctrinal assertion.
This assertion was that " the amount of currency can have no
effect upon the abundance of capital."
It is contradicted in
" Evidently money is a necessary element in the
these terms
the

existing industrial plexus, and increase of capital is dependent


upon the supply of a sufficient amount of money." After this
I

have hopes.

GOVERNMENT AND VALUE.


\Liherfy.,

May

i6,

i8gi.]

In a letter to the London Herald of Anarchy, Mr. J.


Greevz Fisher asserts that " government does not, and never
can, fix the value of gold or any other commodity," and cannot even affect such value except by the slight additional demand which it creates as a consumer. It is true that government cannot fix the value of a commodity, because its influence is but one of several factors that combine to govern
But its power to affect value is out of all proportion to
value.
the extent of its consumption.
Government's consumption of
commodities is an almost infinitesimal influence upon value in
comparison with its prohibitory power. One of the chief factors in the constitution of value

is,

as Mr. Fisher himself states,

and as long as governments exist, utility is largely dependent upon their arbitrary decrees. When government prohibits the manufacture and sale of liquor, does it not thereby
utility

reduce the value of everything that is used in such manufacture and sale ? If government were to allow theatrical performances on Sundays, would not the value of every building
that contains a theatre rise ?
Have not we, here in America,
just seen the McKinley bill change the value of nearly every
article that the people use ?
If government were to decree

MONEY

ANiD INTEREST.

22^

plates shall be made of tin, would not the value of tin


of china fall ?
Unquestionably. Well, a
precisely parallel thing occurs when government decrees that
all money shall be made of or issued against gold or silver
these metals immediately take on an artificial, governmentthat

all

rise

and the value

created value, because of the new use which arbitrary power


enables them to monopolize, and all other commodities, which
are at the same time forbidden to be put to this use, correspondingly lose value. How absurd, then, in view of these
indisputable facts, to assert that government can affect values
only in the ratio of its consumption
And yet Mr. Fisher
makes this assertion the starting-point of a lecture to the editor
of the Herald of Anarchy delivered in that dogmatic, knowit-all style which only
those are justified in assuming who
can sustain their statements by facts and logic.
!

THE POWER OF GOVERNMENT OVER VALUES.


[Liberty^ June 27, 1891.]

To

the Editor of Liberty


In reference to your remarks

upon my recent contribution to the London Herald of Anarchy, dogmatism of manner must often be adopted
to avoid verbosity ; it is not necessarily an assumption of infallibility.
The action of governments with regard to gold is not truly analogous
in its economic effects to the prohibition of theatrical performances on
Sunday. In the last-named case, or in any similar case which we may
suppose, the effect is to diminish demand and to prolong or retard consumption. Thus, if we were prohibited from wearing shoes, boots, etc.,

on Sunday, or if every seventh person were prevented from using them,


then boots which now wear out in six months would last seven months,
and we may suppose theatres which now last seven years or seventy would
The immediate effect of opening theathen be worn out in six or sixty.
tres on Sunday would probably be to increase their value very greatly;
l)ut eventually others would be built, and competition would reduce the
The residual enhancement of value would be
previously enhanced value.
that resulting from the increased expense of producing the last increment
number
of
theatres
which
the market in its altered circumstances
in the
There is good reason to doubt whether this would be apcould support.
If the
preciable in the cases taken of articles of considerable durability.
government could reduce the consumption of food-stuffs, such as wheat,
and simultaneously of all substitutes, by one-seventh, it would be a very
different matter.
But in the case of gold the interference of governments in the present
day has little effect in increasing consumption. They do not collect it to
consume it, but simply to sell it. In this country, beyond specifying this
metal as the vehicle of value in contributing to the revenue, the interference appears to be limited to a restriction of the liberty of citizens to ex-

INStEAD OF A BOOK.

224

Bank-notes
change promises of delivery of gold to bearer on demand.
(or bills, as they seem to be called in your country) may only be issued by
certain bankers, and by them only in a certain complex relation to the
amount of gold they hold. But this is only a restriction in form, and not
in quantity, because checks, drafts, and promissory notes other than to
bearer on demand are issuable in unlimited quantity, subject to certain
taxes from which the other notes are not wholly exempt and are transWhat has this to do with the consumption of
ferable without further tax.
gold? Next to nothing!
Now there is no legal obstacle, nothing, in fact, whatever except the inconveniences of bulk, fluctuation of value, and other inherent defects, to
prevent the introduction and circulation of promises of wheat, cotton, oil,
This would not have any material effect upon
iron, or other commodity.
Specthe consumption, production, cost, or value of these commodities.
futures " tend on the whole to steady values and to
ulative sales of
diminish the frequency aud the intensity of gluts and famines.
Gold and silver are not used (in the sense of being consumed) by their
They are merely conveyed, transferred, and exchanged more
circulation.
frequently.
The fact that they are so often bought by people who do not
themselves require to use them is not unique.
Every merchant does the
same with the commodity to which he devotes his attention.*
The peculiarity is that the trade in gold is familiar to every one. The
portability, divisibility, and recognizability of this substance force it upon
the attention of every one who avails himself of the services of others.
The production and circulation of contracts for its future delivery are not
unique.
This is also done in the case of many other commodities. In both
and in both there is
cases there is a very great convenience and economy
avery appreciable danger. Any such writings of individualists as may in
any way give the impression that the free circulation of mutual indebtedness, miscalled " mutual money," will be free from this element of
danger are pernicious.
Freedom to incur and to exchange debts is exceedingly desirable, but rather because they will encourage, purify, and
chasten the spirit of enterprise than that they will in themselves bring
very noticeable economic gain.
Apart from the wear and tear involved, neither the government nor any
one else consumes one ha'penny worth more of gold by reason of its adoption in taxation and commerce as the most usual vehicle of value.
Its use
for this purpose may cause the world to hold a larger stock than it otherwise would; but this is in every way a benefit, because it steadies its Value.
If the metal were neglected, as platinum was until recently, then famine
and glut might be observed. This would greatly lower the utility of gold
as an intermediate exchange commodity, and would not help us to devise a
It would throw upon every trade, including those who sell their
substitute.
own labor, a burden of doubt and uncertainty in estimating its fluctuaThe evil that government does by collecting needless millions is
tions.
immeasurably greater than by its so-called maintenance of the gold stan-

'

'

dard.

Yours

78

Harrogate Road, Leeds, England.

respectfully,
J.

Greevz Fisher.

""Division of labor originates in people making something they do not


It is further facilitated by selling this for one special
commodity which is not directly wanted.

themselves want.

MONEY

An) INTERESl'.

225

Dogmatism can be justified only by the event. In its use


not only does nothing succeed like success, but nothing succeeds but success. And nothing fails like failure. If Mr.
Fisher, in addressing the Anarchists upon finance as if they
were babies and he a giant, shall succeed in making his
assumed superiority felt as a reality, he will not only be forgiven for his dogmatism, but highly respected for his knowledge and power but if it shall appear that the ignorance and
weakness are on his side rather than theirs, he will be covered
not only with confusion by his error, but with ridicule by the
It is only just, however, to say
collapse of his pretension.
that a comparison of his letter to Liberty with his letter to
the Herald of Anarchy shows progress in the direction of
modesty.
Already Mr. Fisher's pride has been followed by a fall.
The central position taken by him at the start that government cannot affect the value of gold or any other commodity
except by the slight additional demand which it creates as a
consumer he has been forced to abandon at the first onslaught.
If government were to allow the opening of theatres on Sunday, it would not thereby become a consumer of theatres itself
(at least not in the economic sense; for, in the United States
at any rate, our governors always go to the theatre as " deadheads "), and yet Mr. Fisher admits that in such a case the
value of theatres would immediately rise very greatly. This
admission is an abandonment of the position taken at first so
confidently, and no other consideration can make it anything
The fact that competition would soon arise to reduce
else.
the value does not alter the fact that for a time this action of
government would materially raise it, which Mr. Fisher origBut even if such a plea had
inally declared an impossibility.
any pertinence, it could be promptly destroyed by a slight exSuppose government, in addition
tension of the hypothesis.
to allowing the theatres now existing to open on Sunday,
were to prohibit the establishment of any additional theatres.
Then the value would not only go up, but stay up. It is
Mr. Fisher
hardly necessary to argue the matter further
undoubtedly sees that he is wrong. The facts are too palpable
and numerous. Why, since my comment of a month ago on
Mr. Fisher's position, it has transpired that the cost of making
twist drills in the United States has been increased five hundred
and twenty per cent, by the McKinley bill. Government cannot
affect value, indeed!
In the paragraph to which Mr. Fisher's letter is a rejoinder
I said that " when government decrees that all money shall
;

INSTEAD OP A BOOK.

226

be made of or issued against gold or silver, these metals immediately take on an artificial, government-created value, because
of the new use which arbitrary power enables them to monopolize."
Mr. Fisher meets this by attempting to belittle the
restrictions placed upon the issue of paper money, as if all
vitally necessary liberty to compete with the gold-bugs were
even now allowed. Let me ask my opponent one question.
Does the law of England allow citizens to form a bank for the
issue of paper money against any property that they may see
fit to accept as security
said bank perhaps owning no specie
whatever the paper money not redeemable in specie except
at the option of the bank; the customers of the bank mutually
pledging themselves to accept the bank's paper in lieu of gold
or silver coin of the same face value
the paper being redeemable only at the maturity of the mortgage notes, and
then simply by a return of said notes and a release of the
mortgaged property, is such an institution, I ask, allowed by
the law of England ? If it is, then I have only to say that the
working people of England are very great fools riot to take
advantage of this inestimable liberty, that the editor of the
Herald of Anarchy and his comrades have indeed nothing to
complain of in the matter of finance, and that they had better
turn their attention at once to the organization of such banks as
that which I have just described.
But I am convinced that
Mr. Fisher will have to answer that these banks are illegal in
England; and in that case I tell him again that the present value
of gold is a monopoly value sustained by the exclusive monetary privilege given it by government.
It may be true, as Mr.
Fisher says, that just as much gold would be used if it did not
But that has nothing to do with the
possess this monopoly.
question.
Take the illustration that I have already used in
this discussion when I said:
"If government were to decree
that all plates shall be made of tin, would not the value of
tin rise and the value of china fall?"
Now, if the supply of
tin were limited, and if nearly all the tin were used in making
plates, and if tin had no other use of great significance, it is
;

quite conceivable that, if the decree prohibiting the use of


china in making plates should be withdrawn, the same amount
of tin might continue to be used for the same purpose as
before, and yet the value of tin would fall tremendously in
consequence of the admitted competition of china. And similarly, if all property were to be admitted to competition with
gold in the matter of representation in the currency, it is possible that the same amount of gold would still be used as

MONEY AND INTEREST.

227

money, but

its value would decrease


notably,
would fall,
that is to say, from its abnormal, artificial, government-created
value, to its normal, natural, open-market value.

FREE TRADE IN BANKING.


]_Liberty^ July ti, 1891.]

To the Editor of Liberty

much

to be regretted when Liberty is wounded in the house of her


This is caused by those who regard liberty as a panacea for every
ill, or perhaps it would be better to say who regard the inevitable vicissitudes and inequalities of life as evil.
There is no more philosophical
reason for believing that all men can be equal, rich, and happy than for
believing that all animals can be equal, including, of course, that they
should all be equal to men.
Freedom is exceeding fair. It is by far the most excellent way. Under
liberty the very best possible results in every department of human activity, including commerce, will be obtained.
But it won't make fools successful.
One of its recommendations is that folly will more surely be
remedied by getting its medicine than by the grandmotherly plan of proIn many cases cure is better than prevention.
tection in all directions.
Little burns, we may be sure, save many lives, (i)
It seems to be a fashion novfadays amongst reformers to rail at our
existing systems of currency and to regard government interference here
The truth,
as greater and more pernicious than in many other matters.
however, is that there is scarcely anything which more completely illustrates the powerlessness of government to establish code in opposition to
custom than the unvarying failure of unsound currency enactments, and
the concomitant dwindling of monetary law into a mere specification of
truisms, a registration of established practice, or a system of licensing
certain individuals to carry on certain kinds of trade.
But all these are
evils not perculiar to the money trade, nor do they here produce more injurious results than in the cases of priests, doctors, accountants, lawyers,
engineers, and other privileged faculties. (2)
Schemes to bring about the abolition of interest, especially when the authors promulgate this as a necessary consequence of free trade in banking,
Low rates of inare pernicious, and in their ultimate effect reactionary.
terest depend upon the magnitude of the mass of capital competing for investment rather than upon the presence or absence of the really trifling interference of governments with the modes in which debt may be incurred.
What is called free trade in banking actually means only unlimited liberty
to create debt. It is the erroneous labelling of debt as money which begets most of the fallacies of currency-faddists, both coercionary and liberaIt is

friends.

tionist. (3)

The principal error of the former is that they advocate schemes for the
growth and preferential marketing of government debt. The ignis fatuus
of some of the latter is a vision of people both using their property and
pledging it at the same time (4) while some go so far as to dream of
Thus we have Mr. Alfred B.
symbolical money of indefinite value.
^estrup contributing " Citizens' Money" and " The Finangial Problem,
;

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

228

both of which tacitly attempt to expound a method to enable every one to


get into debt and keep there. (5)

The introduction to the first-named essay seems by implication to assert


that the price of gold is too high, though no attempt is made to show how
displacing it from currency would reduce the price as long as its cost and
utility remain what they now are
while the author himself appears to
think that money can be made very much more plentiful and yet maintain
its value, although he is contending that this value depends upon monopoly or scarcity.
The last-named essay plainly assumes that by some such
;

scheme poverty can be abolished. (6)


Banking is not the only financial operation
feres.

which government

inter-

In the case of insurance companies, benefit societies, limited

liabil-

in

corporations, partnerships, trusts, insolvencies, and hundreds of other


is continually interfering.
Most of this interference is
well meant. Most, if not all, of it is actually injurious in itself, apart from
the waste, the jobbery, and the imbecility of officialism it involves. These
concomitant evils, though far greater than those directly resulting from
the interference, had better for the time being be left out of sight.
Their
treatment belongs to the general subject of liberty, and they only incidentally pertain to the financial interference of government, as they do to all
its other interference.
Ignoring then the saving in cost, the immediate
effect of the total abstention of government from its protection of the public from financial folly and roguery would be that a great crop of fresh
schemes, bargains, and arrangements would offer themselves to those desirous of entrusting any of their wealth to the management of others.
very large proportion of these schemes possibly the majority would be
unsound. (7)
Amongst the unsound, unless its expounders grievously
misrepresent it, would undoubtedly be found such mutual banking as is
He is altogether on a wrong tack. His
proposed by Mr. Westrup.
whole talk is about money; but this term in his mouth means indebtedness,
trust, credit, paper instruments binding some one to deliver something.
Now, credit is not a representative of wealth, as Mr. Westrup so constantly declares.
Mr. Westrup's money is a representative of a promise
or debt.
It may in many cases, as a matter of history, show that
has
but it does not guarantee that B has precertain
wealth
to B
entrusted
served it, and still less does it assure the holder that B can at call deliver or
replace the borrowed articles, or any equal number of similar articles, or
an equivalent value in some other articles. (8) As Mr. Donisthorpe insists
" There is [at each moment]
in his " Principles of Plutology " (p. 136);
ity

ways government

a certain amount of every valuable commodity in existence, neither more


nor less nor can it be increased by a single atom though the whole population suddenly, as if by inspiration, began craving and yearning for it."
(9) Again, what is there to show that any necessity exists, as Mr. Westrup asserts, for enabling all wealth to be represented by money ? If I give a
man a loaf for sweeping my door-step, the loaf does not represent the
work, nor does the work represent the loaf. All we know is that I desire
the sweeping more than I desire the loaf, and the laborer desires the loaf
more than his ease or idleness. If I give a guinea for a hat, this guinea
does not represent the particular hat or any hat. It does not represent it
while in my possession before the exchange, nor in the hatter's possession
it does not merely represent value.
after the exchange. Gold is valuable
The value represents an estimate of the comparative labor necessary to
produce the last increment needful to replenish the stock of gold at a rate
equivalent to its consumption, this consumption depending upon the
comparative utility of gold in relation to jts owq value and that of other
;

MONEY AND INTEREST.


commodities.
of bringing as

Or at a given hat-shop
much more gold to the

229

represents an estimate of the cost


place as equivalent to the cost of

it

bringing another hat to the shop. (10)


Mr. Westrup's fallacious analysis of commerce dogs his steps in every
process of his reasoning. The gravest evils of the interference of government in monetary matters are little more than its cost and the deadening
influence of fancied protection. The reform which monetary liberty would
secure would not include any redistribution of the products of labor. This
depends partly upon the possibility of the laborer possessing the skill of a
speculator and of a producer and exercising both at the same time, and
partly upon the enormously disproportionate share of taxation which he
has to bear. These and many other evils, in so far as they are increased
by government, depend not upon arbitrary money, but upon the arbitrary
alienation of the substance of the citizen.
It is a most trivial incident that
the plunder is nominally priced in and redeemed by one commodity. The
evil is that it should be taken.
The forna makes but an infinitesimal difference.

Mr. Westrup would do well to ask himself these questions, and, in answering them, to assign the grounds upon which he proceeds in arriving
at the conclusions. (11)
1.

ing

2.

Would the value of gold be (a) increased (i) reduced by mutual bankAnd what percentage ?
Is gold the only commodity produced and bought by people who

don't want to consume it?


3. Would gold lose its pre-eminence as the commodity the value of which
is most correctly estimated, and which it is therefore safest to buy at market
value when disposing of our own or our purchased produce ?
4. What has the rate of interest to do with the net or residual increment
of wealth remaining as a surplus after maintaining the population ? Is
this less in the United Kingdom where interest is low than in the United
States where interest is high ?
5. How could legislation maintain the value of gold if it became as
abundant as copper ? Would the volume of money then be greater than
now ? Would the rate of interest be affected by this alteration apart from
the changes due to the act of transition from the present state of dear gold
to the supposed state of cheap gold ?
6. How is the voluntary custom of selling preferentially for gold
a monopoly ? Are cattle a monopoly where used as a medium of ex-

change

What analogy

is there between a law to require the exclusive consumption of hand-made bricks and any laws specifying that the word
Dollar in a bond shall imply a certain quantity of gold ? Does any government force anyone to consume gold in preference to any other commodity? Does government consume gold in constructing its offices and
defences, or does it merely swap it off for other commodities ? Is all silver
or gold in the United States delivered to government as fast as made,
or does government purchase it in the open market ?
7.

Yours,
78

etc.,

Harrogate Road, Leeds, England.

J.

Greevz Fisher.

Pending the arrival of any answer Mr. Westrup may desire


to make to the foregoing criticisms upon his pamphlets, for
>yhich purpose the cplumns of Liberty are open to him, I take

230

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

comments as well as answers to Mr.


Fisher's questions.
(i) I know of no friend of liberty who regards it as a
panacea for every ill, or claims that it will make fools successful, or believes that it will make all men equal, rich, and
perfectly happy. The Anarchists, it is true, believe that under
liberty the laborer's wages will buy back his product, and that
this will make men more nearly equal, will insure the industrious and the prudent against poverty, and will add to human
happiness.
But between the fictitious claims which Mr.
Fisher scouts and the real claims which the Anarchists assert
it is easy to see the vast difference.
(2) I do not understand how "the unvarying failure of
unsound currency enactments " makes the interference of
government with finance seem less pernicious. In fact, it
drives me to precisely the opposite conclusion. In the phrase,
" concomitant dwindling of monetary law into a mere specification of truisms," Mr. Fisher repeats his attempt, of which I
complained in the last issue of Liberty, to belittle the restricWhen he has
tions placed upon the issue of paper money.
answered the question which I have asked him regarding the
English banking laws, we can discuss the matter more intelliMeanwhile it is futile to try to make a monopoly seem
gently.
less than a monopoly by resorting to such a circumlocution as
" system of licensing individuals to carry on certain kinds of
trades," or to claim that the monopoly of a tool not only
common but indispensable to all trades is not more injurious
than the monopoly of a tool used by only one trade or a few
trades.
(3) It is true that if the mass of capital competing for
investment were increased, the rate of interest would fall. But
it is not true that scarcity of capital is the only factor that
keeps up the rate of interest ? If I were free to use my capital
directly as a basis of credit or currency, the relief from the
necessity of borrowing additional capital from others would
decrease the borrowing demand, and therefore the rate of
And if, as the Anarchists claim, this freedom to use
interest.
capital as a basis of credit should give an immense impetus to
business, and consequently cause an immense demand for
labor, and consequently increase productive power, and'consequently augment the amount of capital, here another force
would be exercised to lower the rate of interest and cause it to
Free trade in banking does not mean only
gradually vanish.
unlimited liberty to create debt; it means also vastly increased
9,bility to meet debt: and, so accompanied, the liberty tQ
the liberty of offering some

MONEY AND INTEREST.


create debt is one of the greatest blessings.
to label evidence of debt as money. As Col.

23
It is

not erroneous

Wm.

B. Greene well
said: "That is money which does the work of the tool money."
When evidence of debt circulates as a medium of exchange, to
all intents and purposes it is money.
But this is of small consequence. The Anarchists do not insist on the word " money."

Suppose we

call such evidence of debt currency (and surely it


currency), what then ? How does this change of name
affect the conclusions of the " currency-faddists " ?
Not in
the least, as far as I can see. By the way, it is not becoming
in a man who has, not simply one bee in his bonnet, but a
whole swarm of them, to talk flippantly of the "fads " of men
is

whose

lives afford

unquestionable evidence of their earnest-

ness.
(4) Mr. Fisher seems to think it inherently impossible to use
one's property and at the same time pledge it.
But what else
happens when a man, after mortgaging his house, continues to
live in it ? This is an actual every-day occurrence, and mutual
banking only seeks to make it possible on easier terms, the
terms that will prevail under competition instead of the terms
that do prevail under monopoly.
The man who calls this
reality an ignis fatuus must be either impudent or ignorant.
Unfortunately it is true that some believers in mutual banking
do " dream of symbolical money of indefinite value," but
none of the standard expositions of the subject offer any such
fallacy ;,and it is with these that Mr. Fisher must deal if he
desires to overthrow the mutual banking idea.

(5)

Mr. Westrup's method,

if

understand

it,

would not

" enable every one to get into debt and keep there," but rather
to get into debt and out again, greatly to the advantage of the
borrower and of society generally. Mr. Westrup does not
contemplate the issue of bank-notes against individual notes
that never mature.
" no attempt is made to
(6) Mr. Fisher, in his remark that
show how displacing gold from currency would reduce the
price as long as its cost and utility remain what they now are,"
is no less absurd than he would be if he were to say that no
attempt is made to show how displacing flour as an ingredient
of bread would reduce the price of flour as long as its cost and
The utility of flour conutility remain what they now are.
sists in the fact that it is an ingredient of bread, and the main
utility of gold consists in the fact that it is used as currency.
To talk of displacing these utilities and at the same time keeping them what they now are is a contradiction in terms, of
which Mr. Fisher is guilty. But Mr. Westrup is guilty of nq

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

232
contradiction at

much more

all in

claiming that

money can be made very

and yet maintain

its value at the same


time that he contends that the present value of money is due
to its monopoly or scarcity.
For to quote Colonel Greene

plentiful

again:
All money is not the same money.
There is one money of gold,
another of brass, another of leather, and another of paper and there is
a difference in the glory of these different kinds of money. There is one
money that is a commodity, having its exchangeable value determined by
the law of supply and demand, which money may be called (though somewhat barbarously) merchandise-money; as, for instance, gold, silver, brass,
bank-bills, etc.: there is another money, which is not a commodity,
whose exchangeable value is altogether independent of the law of supply
and demand, and which may be called mutual money. ... If ordinary
bank-bills represented specie actually existing in the vaults of the bank,
no mere issue or withdrawal of them could effect a fall or rise in the value
of money: for every issue of a dollar-bill would correspond to the locking-up of a specie dollar in the banks' vaults and every cancelling of a
dollar-bill would correspond to the issue by the banks of a specie dollar.
that is, by the issue of bills
It is by the exercise of banking privileges
purporting to be, but which are not, convertible that the banks effect a
It is this fiction (by which
depreciation in the price of the silver dollar.
legal value is assimilated to, and becomes, to all business intents and
purposes, actual value) that enables bank-notes to depreciate the silver
Substitute verity in the place of fiction, either by permitting the
dollar.
banks to issue no more paper than they have specie in their vaults, or by
effecting an entire divorce between bank-paper and its pretended specie
So long
basis, and the power of paper to depreciate specie is at an end.
as the fiction is kept up, the silver dollar is depreciated, and tends to
emigrate for the purpose of travelling In foreign parts but, the moment
the fiction is destroyed, the power of paper over metal ceases.
By its
intrinsic nature specie Is merchandise, having its value determined, as
but, on the contrary, paper money is, by
such, by supply and demand
its intrinsic nature, o^ merchandise, but the means whereby merchandise
ought
always to be commensurate in quantity
and,
as
such,
is exchanged,
with the amount of merchandise to be exchanged, be that amount great
;

Mutual money is measured by specie, but is in no way


or small.
ASSIMILATED TO IT AND THEREFORE ITS ISSUE CAN HAVE NO EFFECT
WHATEVER TO CAUSE A RISE OR FALL IN THE PRICE OF THE PRECIOUS
METALS.
;

This is one of the most important truths in finance, and


When he says
perfectly accounts for Mr. Westrup's position.
that money can be made very much more plentiful and yet
maintain its value, he is speaking of mutual money; when he
says that the present value of money depends upon monopoly
or scarcity, he is speaking of merchandise money.
(7) As sensibly might one say to Mr. Fisher, who is a stanch
opponent of government postal service, that " the immediate
effect of the total abstention of government from its protection of the public from the roguery of private mail-carriers

MONEY AND INTEREST.

233

would be that a great crop of fresh schemes would offer themselves to those desirous of intrusting any of their letters to
others to carry.
A very large proportion of these schemes
possibly the majority would be unsound." Well, what of it ?
Are we on this account to give up freedom ? No, says Mr.
Fisher.
But, then, what is the force of the consideration ?
(8) Mr. Westrup's money not only shows that A has given

B a conditional title to certain wealth, but guarantees that this


wealth has been preserved.
That is, it affords a guarantee so
nearly perfect that it is acceptable.
If you take a mortgage
on a house and the owner insures it in your favor, the guarantee against loss by fire is not perfect, since the insurance company may fail, but it is good enough for practical purposes.
Similarly, if B, the bank, advances money to A against a mortgage on the latter's stock of goods, it is within the bounds of
possibility that A will sell the goods and disappear forever, but
he will thus run the risk of severe penalties; and these penalties, coupled with B's caution, make a guarantee that practically serves.
To be sure, Mr. Westrup's money does not
assure the holder that the bank will deliver the borrowed articles on demand, but it does assure him that he can get similar
articles or their equivalents on demand from any customers of
the bank that have them for sale, because all these customers
are pledged to take the bank's notes; to say nothing of the fact
that the bank, though not bound to redeem on demand, is
bound to redeem as fast as the mortgage notes mature.
(9) I perceive the perfect truth of Mr. Donisthorpe's remark, but I do not perceive its pertinence to the matter under
discussion.
(10) Nor do I detect the bearing of the truisms which Mr.
Fisher enunciates so solemnly.
They certainly do not establish the absence of any necessity for enabling all wealth to be
represented by money. This necessity is shown by the fact
that, when the monetary privilege is conferred upon one form
of wealth exclusively, the people have to obtain this form of
wealth at rates that sooner or later send them into bankruptcy.
(11) I conclude by answering Mr. Fisher's questions.
value of gold would be reduced by mutual banking,
because it would thereby be stripped of that exclusive moneThe percentage of
tary utility conferred upon it by the State.

The

this reduction

can

tell

no one can

tell

in advance,

how much whiskey would

fall in

unrestricted competition in the sale of it.


Neither gold nor any other commodity

any more than he


if there were

price
is

bought by people

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

234

who

don't want to

consume

it.

Gold

consume
is

it

or in

in process of

some way cause others


consumption when

it is

to
in

use as currency.

Mutual banking might or might not cause gold to lose its


pre-eminence as the most thoroughly constituted value. If it
should do so, then some other commodity more constantly demanded and uniformly supplied would take the place of gold
It certainly is unscientific to impart a
as a standard of value.
factitious, monopoly value to a commodity in order to make
its

value steady.

Other things being equal, the rate of interest is inversely


proportional to the residual increment of wealth, for the reason
that a low rate of interest (except when offered to an already
bankrupted people) makes business active, causes a more universal employment of labor, and thereby adds to productive
capacity.
The residual increment is less in the United Kingdom, where interest is low, than in the United States, where
But in
interest is high, because other things are not equal.
either country this increment would be greater than it now is
if the rate of interest were to fall.
If gold became as abundant as copper, legislation, if it chose,
could maintain its value by decreeing that we should drink
If the value were maintained, the volonly from gold goblets.
ume of money would be greater on account of the abundance of
This increase of volume would lower the rate of interest.
gold.
A voluntary custom of selling preferentially for gold would
not be a monopoly, but there is no such voluntary custom.
cattle are used voluntarily as a medium of exchange,
they are not a monopoly but where there is a law that only
cattle shall be so used, they are a monopoly.
It is not incumbent on Anarchists to show an analogy between a law to require the exclusive consumption of handmade bricks and any law specifying that the word Dollar in a
bond shall imply a certain quantity of gold. But they are
bound and ready to show an analogy between the first-named
law and any laws prohibiting or taxing the issue of notes, of
whatever description, intended for circulation as currency.
Governments force people to consume gold, in the sense that
they give people no alternative but that of abandoning the use
When government swaps off gold for other comof money.
The
modities, it thereby consumes it in the economic sense.
United States government purchases its gold and silver. It
can hardly be said, however, that it purchases silver in an open
market, because, being obliged by law to buy so many millions
each month, it thereby creates an artificial market.

Where

MoNEV AND Interest.

235

CURRENCY AND GOVERNMENT.


[Lz'derf^j
7*1?

tie Editor

There

August

15, i8gi.]

of Liberty :

not the slightest analogy between allowing theatres to be


silver or iron to be sold on the same
Currency is only buying and selling; it is not consumterms as gold.
ing. The customary adoption of gold as currency and the endorsement
of this custom by edict involves only a very insignificant increase in its
consumption. Most other commodities waste much more than gold in
the processes of stocking, marketing, and distributing from points of
production to points of consumption. An admission that if government
allowed an increase in the consumption of theatres it would raise the
price, in no way affects any known proposal or enactment in regard to
gold as currency, because currency laws have so Utile effect upon the
consumption of gold. There are laws which possibly affect the value of
There are such as prohibit mixing them freely
the precious metals.
in all proportions, producing utensils or other articles of consumption.
Thus, if the removal of the present restrictions should lead to a larger
consumption of silver in culinary articles, this would slightly raise the
is

consumed on Sundays and allowing

price of silver.

But what

is

the use of pursuing a false analogy? If government simply

facilitated the sale of theatres, how would that affect their price in the
comparison of the effects of facilitating consumption does
market?
not illustrate the effects of facilitating exchanges. It is in the power

government to alter the values of the precious metals enormously


within the areas of their dominion by prohibiting their importation or
exportation or by duties or bounties. It will be time enough to discuss
They are not analogous to the
these matters when they are proposed.
attempts to fix the value of silver by the schemes of the bi-metallists,
and they have still less analogy to the statutes which are supposed to
determine the value of gold, but which, as a matter of fact, do nothing of
To state that one-fourth ounce of gold shall exchange for onethe sort.
fourth ounce of gold is simply to cumber the statute book with a
"chestnut." No government ever does stipulate "that all money shall
be made of or issued against gold or silver," and it is in supposing
What is called
that it does so that some of our comrades get wrong.
money in the above sentence means a bond or promise to deliver coin.
There is nothing to prevent any one from issuing bonds or promises to
deliver something else, such as petroleum, pig-iron, wheat, lard, and so
on. If you promise delivery of petroleum on demand or at a date named,
you only discharge your bond by legally tendering the petroleum as
To prevent it would disThe law of England allows this.
specified.
W'hat is prohibited is the production and issue of
organize all trade.
notes in one particular form, namely, promises to pay gold to bearer
It is a most vicious equivoque to call such instruments
on demand.
money, and to exclude checks, drafts, bills, notes, whether drawn for
gold, silver, iron, lard, or even labor.
Space prohibits (even when a condensed statement, which will be misnamed dogmatism, is employed) showing that even under our truck laws
no one is prohibited from using or taking as a payment, flour, bread,
meat, calico, boots, and so on.
of

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

536

The analogy as to an enactment that all plates should be made of tin is


equally misleading and unsound.
Government does not enact that all
marketable articles shall be made of gold, or that all articles capable of
being sold for future delivery shall be made of gold.
There is no benefit
to this argument in confounding acts which would seriously affect consumption with acts which have little or no such effect. The gold embodied in coins is marketable stock; it is not in consumption, as the tin
would be if it had a monopoly in plate production.
want plates to
use; we carry coin always to sell.
It is not withdrawn from the market so
as to raise its price, but is constantly brought afresh to market so as
equally to lower it.
Besides this, the illustration assumes and implies
that for gold there is no other use of great significance but coin-making.
If this were so, then the Westrups, the Tarns, and the Tuckers would
have the argument all on their own side. The fact is, however, that the
gold mines are not kept open to supply coin, but to supply the arts.
There is yet another fallacy in our comrades' position. It would be no
monetary disadvantage if the facts really were as they suppose. If gold
were twice as dear, or twice as cheap, its merchants would make just the
same profit, bankers and financiers would not lose or gain neither would
anybody except the producers and consumers of gold. Grocers' profits are
not affected by the price of sugar, but the growers and users are both
vitally concerned.
There would seem to be nothing whatever in English law to prevent
the establishment of a bank without any specie issuing inconvertible paper,
which the customers mutually agree to accept at par value, but there is
little likelihood such a scheme would be workable.
It would tax the
powers of a very clever master of legal or Anarchical phraseology to specify upon the notes the responsibility of each customer and to preserve the
power of these customers fulfilling their agreements. Before one could
vise such notes to buy a breakfast or a railway ticket there would have to
be a rather involved and tedious disquisition upon economics. No Anarchist would propose to embody such arrangements in a statute like our
limited liability laws.
Such notes would therefore be simply of the nature
of mortgage bonds, for which there would possibly be a market and a
price.
The price would probably be below rather than above par.
Free trade in gold and in credit is desirable.
Its desirability is proportionate to the restrictions which exist, but these are not very great or
field
The
for their discussion opens only when our comrades'
grievous.
present mists have rolled away.
But they bear no comparison with acts
purchase
by
government of great quantities of silver, acts for
for the
repairing worn gold coin at public expense, and, above all, acts for tariffs
designed to hamper trade and acts for raising public revenue in general.

We

Let our comrades in Liberty, Egoism, and The Herald of Anarchy rise
more vital matters when they touch upon the economics of coercion.
The evils of coinage are greatly overstated, and to them are attributed
effects with which they have no connection.
J. Greevz Fisher.
tp

78

Harrogate Road, Leeds, England.

Mr. Fisher's article, printed above, is nothing but a string


of assei-tions, most of which, as matters of fact, are untrue.
The chief of these untruths is the statement that in exchang-

What is consumption ? It is
ing gold we do not consume it.
the act of destroying by use or waste.
One of the uses of
gold and under the existing financial system its chief use is

kONEY ANC INTEREST.


to act as a

^37

medium

of exchange, or else as the basis of such a


In performing this function it wears out in other
words, it is consumed. Being given a monopoly of this use or
function, it has an artificial value,
a value which it would
not have if other articles, normally capable of this function,
were not forbidden to compete with it.
And these articles
suffer from this restriction of competition in very much the
same way that a theatre forbidden to give Sunday performances suffers if its rival is allowed the privilege. Mr. Fisher
may deny the analogy as stoutly as he chooses it is none the
less established. This analogy established, Mr. Fisher's position
falls,
falls as surely as his other position has fallen
the
position that government cannot affect values, which he at
first laid down with as much contemptuous assurance as if no
one could deny it without thereby proving himself a born fool.
So there is no need to refute the rest of the assertions. I will
simply enter a specific denial of some of them. It is untrue
that gold is not withdrawn from the market to raise its price.
It is untrue that the gold mines are kept open principally to
supply the arts. It is untrue that, if gold were twice as dear
or twice as cheap, bankers would not lose or gain
the chief
business of the banker is not to buy and sell gold, but to lend
it.
And I believe it to be untrue though here I do not
speak of what I positively know that English law permits
the establishment of such banks as Proudhon, Greene, and
Spooner proposed. Mr. Fisher certainly should know more
about this than I, but I doubt his statement, first, because
I have found him in error so often
second, because nine out
of ten Massachusetts lawyers will tell you with supreme confidence that there is no law in Massachusetts prohibiting the
use of notes and checks as currency (yet there is one of many
years' standing, framed in plain terms, and often have I
astonished lawyers of learning and ability by showing it to
them) and, third, because I am sure that, if such banks were
legal in England, they would have been started long ago.

medium.

THE EQUALIZATION OF WAGE AND PRODUCT.


\L{beriy^

To

the Editor

One does
of liberty

keep

of Liberty

August

22, iSgi.]

not lay oneself open to a charge of disloyalty to the principles


by guarding against extravagant hopes. It seeras necessary to
mind before saying a word against any anticipations formed

this in

238

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

by ardent and able advocates of liberty like yourself. It is a hyperbole


(possibly open to misconstruction) to imply that some advocates of liberty
regard it as a panacea for every ill.
It therefore is a great advantage
when its expected benefits are clearly defined as in your issue of the nth.
You believe that under liberty the laborer's wages will buy back his product.
This is fortunately a definite issue. It implies that if there be a
naked producer or a commodity the complete production of which, including all the outlay needful for its delivery to the consumer at the very
moment when he needs to consume it, occupies time and demands the
empolyment of wealth in material, sustenance of producer, and tools, of
none of which this producer is possessed, this pauper producer shall retain
the full value of his product notwithstanding his partial dependence upon
some one who provides the necessaries for his production in anticipation
of his fruition. Is not this a fair and correct interpretation of your phrase?
and supposing it to be so, does it not show that you expect too much?(i)
The facilitation of credit and the so-called circulation of debts as a substitute for currency, together with all schemes for mutual banking or
schemes for the more rapid development of commerce, imply that valuables shall be temporarily placed at the disposal of others than their owners who meanwhile sustain a privation and also take a serious risk, but
that these owners shall obtain no recompense beyond the bare return of
their valuables unimpaired. (2)
If a complex and therefore intricate
scheme or calculation results in producing something out of nothing it
opens a suspicion that there is some concealed flaw in the train of thought.
Credit without remuneration, debt without cost, unlimited or very plentiful money without depreciation, are the desired and hoped results of the
new schemes. It is most important to distinguish between demanding
Unliberty to try these schemes, and pledging liberty to their success.
fortunately it does not appear to be sufficient to call attention to this distinction.
Ardent friends will often unite the cause of the fad with that of
There are faddists who
the principle unless the fad itself be destroyed.
avoid this pitfall. (3) Thus there are some who advocate a reform of
spelling, but as advocates of freedom decline to make even that hoped
success of reformed spelling, or its hoped rapid progress under a free system of education, a plea or prop for arguments to emancipate teaching
from government restriction, or for enforced alienation of citizens' property for its support.
Teaching ought to be free not because it is argued
that spelling would be reformed and the reform would be good, but simply
that the reform may get a chance and if good may succeed.
So government restriction on banking and credit ought not to be repealed because
Westrup's or Greene's finance would prevail and bless the people, but so
that this and any other device may be tested and if good succeed. (4)
As against the scheme itself the contention is that wealth originates
solely in production, and that with plentiful production the wealth of the
poor will increase even though the Wealth of some rich people is vastly,
and, as it is thought, inordinately increased.
But this banking scheme
does not add to production. (5) It is but a scheme for destroying one
source of income of the rich or appropriating it to the poorer producer.
Without any attempt at deduction experience dictates the induction that
the chances are in favor of the man with a special faculty for successful
financial operations rather than of students of principles.
The man who
can actually value a horse, a house, a crop of wheat, is more useful in pursuing his function as a speculator than a student who can ably analyze
the components of value by prolonged and tardy research.
The trader
helps society most and at greater risk, so those of them who succeed have

MONeV and

iNtfillESl'.

230

the greater gain, and it is probably cheaper to society to pay this figure
for the organization of commerce than dabble in amateurish schemes.
The experience of co-operation both its successes and its failures seem
to point in this direction in this country. (6)
Government interference in finance has broken down whenever it has
done serious violence to sound economical principles. At present it does
not do so. It needlessly coins some metal. This is in England unaccompanied with the gross error of buying and hoarding increasing quantities of a metal whose production has been greatly cheapened of late.
Apart from the silver folly of your government the residual evils of government coinage are infinitesimal, and they are not commercial. They
are confined to the loss arising from carrying on a productive or distributive process by government under monopoly rather than by free individuals in combination or separately under the economic control of competition.
Here they end. It is pure fancy unsupported as yet by evidence or true analogy that they interfere with the movements of the
metal, or materially coerce the markets into using an inferior commodity
as its most reliable and most fluent investment, (7) There is not the
slightest use for the purposes of this argument in comparing a law enforcing the use of golden drinking-vessels with any laws connected with
the use of gold as currency.
true analogy would be found in studying
Such a law would not demonetize
the effect of monetizing iron by law.
gold unless it were much more tyrannical in its mode of prescribing iron
as a legal tender than our present law is in prescribing gold. (8) All government income, borrowings, taxes, postage, school pence, court fees,
all government outlay in wages, war material, grants to localities, payment of interest upon debt and all accounts, court verdicts, official valuations, bankrupt statements, and so on, would be in terms of iron.
But
I should be free to promise future delivery, or acceptance of gold, or to
sell my services or my products for gold as I now am to promise to give
or take iron at an agreed time and place or to hire myself for iron or for
board and lodging or any other mode of recompense I can get any one
Now it is quite likely the first effect of this would be
to agree upon. (9)
to raise the price of iron and thereby lower the value of gold in comparison with iron, coal, and other economic components of the value of iron.
But both
It is also quite likely it would stimulate the production of iron.
of these effects would combine to maintain a larger stock of iron hanging
This would steady value,
as a buffer between producer and consumer.
but it would also in time counteract the first temporary effects of the supposed monetization of iron, and neither price nor production would continue to be excessive with the sole exception of the small increase of
consumption from wear and tear of coins. It would not in all probability
displace gold as the money in the market, because government, instead
of doing as it now does, registering, and taking praise for the best monetary substance, would attempt to monetize an ill-adapted commodity, a
task beyond its strength, and would sustain defeat as it has often done

when debasement or

other anti-economic schemes were undertaken.


utility of gold consists in the fact that it is
used for currency, then your general position is impregnable. But that
this is not sound is somewhat implied by Greene, who recognizes gold
and silver as merchandise. "Specie is merchandise having its value determined, as such, by supply and demand." The words " as such " may
simply imply " therefore " or may imply an idea on Greene's part that
But what evithe value of specie as money was otherwise determined.
dence have we that the very frequent resale of gold called its monetary
If

as

you assert the main

iNSTEAD OF A

^4^

fe60IC.

is effectual in altering its price (wear and tear excepted) ?


Every time gold is bought in or gathered in taxes the tendency is to put
up the price, and every time it is thrown into market or spent by government in outlay it tends to lower its value. These operations do not constitute a monopoly.
Any one can buy and any one can sell gold coin.
There is no monopoly in the matter. The monetary privilege is not a
monopoly, and it grows in the open market, not in the fancied forcinghouse of government. Greene alleges (in small caps) that mutual money
would neither raise nor lower the price of specie. You hold that it
would be tangibly reduced by mutual banking. Which is correct ? (lo)
Comparing the reduction in value you anticipate with one which might
arise in the price of whiskey if there were unrestricted competition 'in the
sale of it, you overlook the fact that there is unrestricted competition in
the sale of gold bullion and specie.
Moreover, though we cannot tell by
what amount the price of whiskey would be reduced by unrestricted competition, we can tell of what the fall would consist.
It would be limited
to such relinquishment of profit as would be forced upon the dealers by
competition.
If consumption increased, it might raise the price by its
effect upon marginal or residual production yielding a diminished return,
or it might be lowered by cheapening production by remunerating economic employment of capital. This is a false and inapplicable analogy.
It is no more correct to say that gold is in the process of being consumed
when it is in use as currency than to say that the inevitable waste or deterioration of commodities on the road from producer to consumer is
economically an act of consumption, (ii) Production is not complete
until the commodity reaches the hands of a person who applies it lo the

circulation

direct gratification of some personal craving.


The waste of gold in the
function of currency is part of the cost which the consumer has to repay
when that coin has been converted into a consumable product which he
purchases.
The only exception is that this cost may fall upon some other
product when the less waste of gold is voluntarily substituted for the
waste of any other commodity if one seeks to transport to a distant marIt is as if one temporaket mere value irrespective of its embodiment.
rily needed a certain weight to steady a machine, but was indifferent as
to whether it was embodied in stone, iron, or gold, all of which he happens to have in stock, but which he can subsequently consume or sell
unimpaired, and whose employment for this purpose only infinitesimally
deteriorates the ponderable and does not impoverish his trade stock because it does not withdraw the ponderous article from inspection or sale.
It is not correct to reply to a monetary question by pointing out that
government might keep gold as dear as it now is even if it were as cheaply
produced as copper, by decreeing that we should drink only from gold
goblets.
If this could have such effect it would be inapplicable to this
discussion, because it would be decreeing consumption while currency is
But it would fail, because of the
not consumption, but only marketing.
Only by buying up the metal at the desired value
durability of substance.
No purchases of gold with gold would
could the value be maintained.
Silver, copper, wheat would have to be used to buy up
alter its value.
gold at the value it was desired to maintain, and of course no government would have the strength for this. (12) It must be remembered that
miners would be sellers at cost. The United States government raises
If it tipped it in mid-ocean
the price of silver now while it is a buyer.
When it becomes a
it would then consume it in an economic sense.
The fact that there is a possibility the law
seller the price must fall.
may change at any moment even now keeps the price from rising as it

MoNfiV AJjb mTERESt.


Would

i4t

the silver were immediately consumed or destroyed instead of


Surely it is a very palpable error to say that when government sells or spends gold it consumes it in an economic sense. If I
swap a horse for a cow and kill and eat the cow, do I consume the horse?
(13) I took the horse from the market when I bought it, and I return it to
the market when I offer to sell it.
The question of the metal has demanded so much elucidation that debts as commodities and as currency
must wait a future communication.
J. Greevz Fisher.
78 Harrogate Road, Leeds, England.
if

being hoarded.

(i) No, this is not a correct interpretation of my phrase,


because it >is based upon a conception of the term product
If a laborer's product is
seriously differing from my own.
looked upon as the entirety of that which he delivers to the
consumer, then indeed Mr. Fisher's point is well taken, and
to expect the laborer's wages to buy back his product is to
expect too much. But that is not what is ordinarily meant by
a laborer's product. A laborer's product is such portion of
the value of that which he delivers to the, consumer as his
own labor has contributed. To expect the laborer's wages to
buy this value back is to expect no more than simple equity.
If some other laborer has contributed to the total value of the
delivered article by making a tool which has been used in its
manufacture by the laborer who delivers it, then the wages
of the laborer who makes the tool should also buy back Ms
product or due proportion of value, and would do so under
But his portion of the value and therefore his wage
liberty.
would be measured by the wear and tear which the tool had
suffered in this single act of manufacture, and not by any supposed benefit conferred by the use of the tool over and above
In other words, the tool-maker would
its wear and tear.
simply sell that portion of the tool destroyed in the act of manufacture instead of lending the tool and receiving it again accompanied by a value which would more than restore it to its
Mr. Fisher's interpretation rests, furtheroriginal condition.
more, on a misconception of the term wages. When a farmer
hires a day-laborer for a dollar a day and his boai-d, the board
and when I say
is as' truly a part of the wages as is the dollar
that the laborer's wages should buy back his product, I mean
that the total amount which he receives for his labor, whether
in. advance or subsequently, and whether consumed before or
after the performance of his labor, should be equal in market
value to his total contribution to the product upon which he
bestows his labor. Is this expecting too much ? If so, might
I ask to whom the excess of product over wage should equit;

ably go ?
(2)

Every man who postpones consumption takes a

risk.

If

Instead of a book.

S4*

he keeps commodities which he does not wish to. consume,


they may perish on his hands. If he exchanges them for
gold, the gold may decline in value.
If he exchanges them
for government paper promising gold on demand, the paper
may decline in value. And if he exchanges thera for mutual
money, this transaction, like the others (though in a smaller
degree, we claim), has its element of risk.
But, as long as
merchants seem to think that they run less risk by temporarily
placing their valuables at the disposal of others than by retaining possession of them, the advocates of mutual money
will no more concern themselves about giving them recompense beyond the bare return of their valuables unimpaired
than the advocates of gold and government paper will concern
themselves to insure the constancy of the one or the solvency
of the other.
As for the " something out of nothing " fallacy,
that is shared between God and the Shylocks, and, far from
being entertained by the friends of free banking, is their
special abomination. " Credit without remuneration " shrieks
Mr. Fisher in horror. But, if credit is reciprocal, why should
there be remuneration ? " Debt without cost "
But, if debt
" Unlimited or very
is reciprocal, why should there be cost ?
plentiful money without depreciation "
But if the contemplated addition to the volume of currency contemplates in
turn a broadening'of the basis of currency, why should there
be depreciation ? Free and mutual banking means simply
reciprocity of credit, reciprocity of debt, and an extension of
Mr. Fisher has been so inveterate a
the currency basis.
drinker of bad economic whiskey that he has got the economic jim-jams and sees snakes on every hand.
(3) In applying it to his own views also, Mr. Fisher takes
the sting out of the word "fad." But it was and is my impression that he originally applied it to the views of the free
money advocates, not in the playful spirit in which all independent men call themselves "cranks," but in the contemptuous spirit "in which they are given that appellation by the
mossbacks. And it was natural enough. In finance, Mr.
Fisher is a mossback.
Contempt for contempt, that's fair,
!

isn't it

(4) It has been repeatedly stated in these columns that .we


ask nothing but liberty.
Given liberty, if we fail, we will subNevertheless, with Mr. Fisher's permission, we will
side.
continue to put in our best licks for liberty in those directions
which seem to us most promising of good results. Meanwhile we accord to Mr. Fisher the privilege of rapping away
for spelling reform so lohg as he does it at his own expense,

MONEY AND INTEREST.

243

is not the case at present.


(My readers may not see
the point, but Mr. Fisher and my printers will.)
It is the especial claim of free banking
(s) This I deny.
that it will increase production.
To make capital fluent is to
make business active and to keep labor steadily employed at
wages which will cause a tremendous effective demand for
goods.
If free banking were only a picayunish attempt to
distribute more equitably the small amount of wealth now produced, I would not waste a moment's energy on it.
(6) Here we have a very good reason why I should continue to debate with Mr. Fisher rather than form a banking
partnership with Mr. Westrup. Very likely the banking firm of
Westrup, Tucker & Co. would come speedily to grief. But I
am none the less interested in securing the greatest possible
liberty for banking so that I may profit by the greater competition that would then be carried on between those born with
But what about Proudhon, Mr. Fisher ?
a genius for finance.
He was no amateur. He could value, not only a horse, but a
railroad, the money kings utilized his business brains, his
Manual for a Bourse Speculator served them as a guide, and,
when he started his Banque du Peuple, it immediately assumed
such proportions that Napoleon had to construct a crime for
which to clap him into jail in order to save the Bank of
France from this dangerous competitor. Amateur, indeed
(7) On the contrary, there is an abundance of evidence.
The suppression of Proudhon's bank was a coercion of the
market. And in this country attempt after attempt has been
made to introduce credit money outside of government and
national bank channels, and the promptness of the suppression
has always been proportional to the success of the attempt.
The champions of
(8) Here Mr. Fisher becomes heretical.
gold are proclaiming with one voice that the monetization of
silver will prove the demonetization of gold.
But this is no freedom at
(9) Just as free, and no more so.
all.
I tell Mr. Fisher again that it is a crime to issue and circulate as currency a note promising to deliver iron at a certain
I know that it is a crime in this country, and I believe
time.
that the laws of England contain restrictions that accomplish
virtually the same result.
(10) There is no contradiction between my position and
Greene held, as I hold, that the existing monopoly
Greene's.
imparts an artificial value to gold, and that the abolition of
But he
the monopoly would take away this artificial value.
also held, as I hold, that, after this reduction of value had
been effected, the variations in the volume of mutual money

which

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

244

would be independent of the price of specie. In other words,


this reduction of the value of gold from the artificial to the
normal point will be effected by the equal liberty given to
other commodities to serve as a basis of currency; but, this
liberty having been granted and having taken effect, the issue
of mutual money against these commodities, each note being
based on a specific portion of them, cannot affect the value of
any of these commodities, of which gold is one. It is no answer to the charge of monopoly to say that any one can buy
and sell gold coin. No one denies that. The monopoly complained of

is this,

that only holders of gold (and,

in this

coun-

government bonds) can use their property as currency


or as a basis of currency.
Such a monopoly has even more
effect in enhancing the price of gold than would a monopoly
try, of

that should allow only certain persons to deal in gold.


The
price of gold is determined less by the number of persons dealing in it than by the ratio of the total supply to the total demand. The monopoly that the Anarchists complain of is the
monopoly that increases the demand for gold by giving it the
currency function to the exclusion of other commodities. If

my

whiskey illustration isn't satisfactory, I will change it. If


whiskey were the only alcoholic drink allowed to be used as a
beverage, it would command a higher price than it commands
now. I should then tell Mr. Fisher that the value of whiskey
was artificial and that free rum would reduce it to its normal
point.
If he should then ask me what the normal point was,
I should answer that I had no means of knowing.
If he should
respond that the fall in whiskey resulting from free rum "would
be limited to such relinquishment of profit as would be forced
upon the dealers by competition," I should acquiesce with the
remark that the distance from London to Liverpool is equal
to the distance from Liverpool to London,
(ii) It is Mr. Fisher's analogy, not mine, that is false and
inapplicable.
The proper analogy is not between gold and'
the commodities carried, but between gold and the vehicle in
which they are carried. The cargo of peaches that rots on its
way from California to New England may not be economically
consumed (though for my life I can't see why such consumption isn't as economic as the tipping of silver into the Atlantic
by the United States government, which Mr. Fisher considers
purely economic), but at any rate the wear of the car that
carries the cargo is an instance of economic consumption.
Now the gold that goes to California to pay for those peaches
and comes back to New England to pay for cotton cloth, and
thus goes back and forth as constantly as the railway car and

MONEY AND

INTEREST.,

24S

exchange equally with the railway car and wears


out in the process just as the railway car wears out, is in my
judgment consumed precisely as the railway car is consumed.
That only is a complete product, Mr. Fisher tells us, which is
in the hands of a person who applies it to the direct gratification of some personal craving.
I suppose Mr. Fisher will not
deny that a railway car is a complete product. But if it can
be said to be in the hands of a person who applies it to the
direct gratification of some personal craving, then the same
facilitates

can be said of gold.


(12) I did not mean to say for a moment that a government
could carry out such an arbitrary policy of fixing values to an
unlimited extent without a revolution, but only that as far as
the attempt should be made, the economic result, pending the
revolution, would be as stated.
And if the horse were then
(13) Yes, to a trifling extent.
to be used to buy a sheep, and then to buy a dog, and then to
buy a cat, and then to buy a cigar, until finally he could not
be sold for enough oats to keep him from falling in his tracks,
it is my firm conviction that the horse in that case would be
economically consumed in fulfilling the function of currency.

A FALSE IDEA OF FREEDOM.


[Liberty, .February 26, 1887.]

once more to the Winsted Press and its


editor.
It is lamentable to see so bright a man as Mr. Pinney
wasting his nervous force in assaults on windmills. But it is
his habit, whenever he finds it necessary or thinks it timely to
say something in answer to free-money advocates, to set up a
windmill, label it free money, and attack that.
An instance
of this occurs in a scolding article on the subject in his issue
"We had a
of February 17, as the following sentence shows
I

MUST

refer

little

taste of this free

banking,
issues."

currency in the days of State wildcat

when every little community had its State bank


The italics are mine, used to emphasize the substi-

How

tution of the windmill State for the giant Freedom.


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. The unfairness and absurdity of Mr.
Finney's remark become apparent with the reflection that the

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

246

English work relied upon by the friends of free


money, Colonel Greene's "Mutual Banking," was written expressly in opposition to the then existing State banking system, years before the adoption of the national banking system.
Mr. Pinney wouM not fall back upon this idiotic argument if
he had a better one. That he has none is indicated by his
saying of free money, as he says of free trade " In theory the
scheme is plausible. In practice it would probably be an abomMr. Finney's old conservative, cowardly, Calvinination."
istic refuge
When driven into a corner on a question which
turns on the principle of Liberty, he has but one resort, which
amounts practically to this " Liberty is right in theory everywhere and always, but in certain cases it is not practical. In
but in
all cases where I want men to have it, it is practical
those cases where I do not want men to have it, it is not pracWhat Mr. f inney wants and does not want depends
tical."
upon mental habits and opinions acquired prior to that theoretical assent to the principle of hberty which the arguments
of the Anarchists have wrung from him.
principal

MONOPOLY, COMMUNISM, AND LIBERTY.


March

[Liberty,

26,

1887.]

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 banlcs were an instituThey were no more a government institution than

tion of the State.

MONEY AND INTEREST.

247

a railroad company that receives its charters from the State and conits 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.
is

ducts

What refreshing audacity


Pinney knovv's 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 theu 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
if he does know
this, he is not competent to discuss finance
" very near a resort to wilful falseit, it was a quibble and
hood " 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
Therefore he
his advantages over the laborer who has none.
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
This is Mr.
in its owner's hands for business purposes."
Finney'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 thato 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
biraself a State SQgialist at once.

"

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

248

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 fiatmoney delusion) that the economic beneiits 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
sufificient 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.

PINNEY HIS OWN PROCRUSTES.


{Liberty^ April 23, 1887.]

Having exhausted

the resources of sophistry, and unable


longer to dodge the inexorable and Procrustean logic of
Pinney the anti-Prohibitionist, Pinney the Protectionist has
subsided, and is now playing possum in the Procrustean bed
in which Pinney the anti-Prohibitionist has laid him.
But
Pinney the Greenbacker evidently hopes still, by some fortunate twist or double, to find an avenue of escape yet open,
and thus avoid the necessity of doing the possum act twice.
Accordingly, in his Winsted Fress of April 7, he makes several frantic dashes into the dark, the first of which is as fol*
lows
:

Our

first

objection to free

money was

that the great variety of issues,

coupled with a questionable security, would limit circulation to local circuits and subject the bill-holder to harassing uncertainty as to the value
of currency in his possession and to constant risk of loss.
To illustrate
this defect we mentioned the experience of the people with the old State
bank bills, which experience, disastrous as it was, did not offer a fair parallel, simply and solely because it was not disastrous enough, the b^nks \)%-

MONEY AND INTEREST.

249

ing limited and regulated in a measure by Statelaws and machinery to


enforce contracts. Our Boston Procrustes thereupon plunged straight into
trouble by denying the similitude, because forsooth the old banks were
incorporated institutions not perfectly free to cheat their creditors, forgetting that, in so far as they differed from free banks, the difference in point
of security, scope of credit, etc., was in our favor.

That is one way of putting it. Here is another. Free moneyadvocates hold that security is one (only one) essential of good
money, and that competition is sure to provide this essential,
competition being simply natural selection or the survival of
the fittest, and the fittest necessarily possessing the quality of
security.
But they have never held that it was impossible for
monopoly to furnish a temporally secure money. It may or
may not do so, according to the prescribed conditions of its
existence.
Pending the universal bankruptcy and revolution
to which it inevitably will lead if allowed to live long enough,
the national bank monopoly furnishes a money tolerably well
But the old State bank monopoly furnished a
secured.
money far inferior in point of security, not because it was a
for it was not,
not because the conditions of
freer system,
its existence were less artificially and compulsorily prescribed,
but because the conditions thus prefor they were not,
scribed were less in accordance with wise business principles
and administration. The element of competition, or natural
selection, upon which the free money advocates rely for the
supply of a money that combines security with all other necessary qualities, was just as much lacking from the old State
bank system as it is from the present national bank system.
Therefore, to say of the State banks that, " in so far as they
differed from free banks, the difference in point of security,
scope of credit, etc., was in their favor " is to beg the question
entirely ; and accordingly, when Mr. Pinney, as sole proof of an
assertion that free money would be unsafe money, offered the
insecurity of .the old State bank bills, I informed him that
there was not the slightest pertinence in his illustration,
whereby I plunged, not myself, but Mr. Pinney into trouble.
To get out of it he performs a double which eclipses all his
Finding that he must deal in some way
previous evolutions.
with my statement that the monopoly of money inheres in the
compulsory conditions of its issue, chief among which are
the government bond basis in the national bank system and
the specie basis in the old State bank system, he asks

How then about your free banking? Are there not any "compulsory
conditions?" Free bank notes can be issued only by those who have
government bonds, or specie, or property of some sort, we suppose, so
tjiere

are your ''compulsory conditions," enforced

by the

business law

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

250

of self-preservation (fjr State law is not to be mentioned in Anarchist


ears), and " the monopoly inheres in these compulsory conditions."
Behold, then, the new monopoly of those who have property
I

To

In the first place,


absurdity there are tvi'O ansv^fers.
" notes can be
it is not true that under a free banking system
issued only by those who have property of some sort."
They
can be 'issued and offered in the market by anybody who
desires.
To be sure, none will be taken except those issued
by persons having either property or credit. But there is no
monopoly of issue or the right to issue, no denial of liberty.
If Mr. Pinney should claim that this answer amounts to
nothing because issue is valueless without circulation, I shall
then remind him of my previous statement that the circulation
of an abundance of cheap and sound money benefits those
who use it no less than those who issue it, and tends to raise
the laborer's wages to a level with his product,
a point which
he carefully avoids in his last article, because he knows that
he cannot dispute it, having frequently maintained the same
thing himself.
But, in the second place, Mr. Finney's argument that the
possession of property is a necessary condition of the issue
and circulation of money, and that therefore free money is
as much a compulsory monopoly as that of the government
which prescribes the possession of a certain kind of property
as a condition of even the issue of money, is precisely on a
par with in fact, is a glaring instance of the reasoning
resorted to by those friends of despotism who deny political
and social liberty on the ground of philosophical necessity.
The moment any person, in the name of human freedom,
claims the right to do anything which another person does
not want him to do, you will hear the second person cry
" Freedom
Impossible
There's no such thing.
None of
us are free.
Are we not all governed by circumstances, by
our surroundings, by motives beyond our control ? Bow, then,
to the powers that be "
Boiled down, the argument of these
people and of Mr. Pinney is this " No one can do as he
this

Therefore you must do as we please." It needs


only to be stated in this bald form to be immediately rejected.
Hence I shall attempt no further refutation of it. Mr. Pinney
will please bear in mind hereafter that, when I use the word
monopoly, I refer not to such monopolies as result from natural evolution independent of government, but to monopolies
imposed by arbitrary human power. He knew it very well
before, but he must dodge, and this was the only dodge left.
Let the reader note here, however, how his double un(Ji(J
pleases.

MONEY AND

iNTERESl'.

25

him.
He Says .that under free banking the condition of a
secure basis for money would be " enforced by the business
law of self-preservation," exactly the opposite of his original
charge that free money would be unsafe.
But he is not yet done with this twaddle about " compulsory
conditions."
Read again
:

Mr. Tucker cannot see that there is any difference in principle between
a law which absolutely prohibits the sale of an article, and a law which
taxes the seller of that article.
The tax is a "compulsory condition "
which prohibits till it is complied with. The possession of property is
another compulsory condition which prohibits free banking till it is complied with. Therefore there is no difference between absolute prohibition
of free banking and the monopolistic condition that practically prohibits
a man from being a free banker unless he can put up the security.

Mr. Pinney seems unable to disUtter confusion again


tinguish between disabilities created by human meddlesomeness
and those that are not. The law which prohibits a sale and
the law which taxes the seller both belong to the former class
the lack of property belongs to the latter, or rather, it belongs
It is true that the
to the latter when conditions are normal.
lack of property which at present prevails arises in most cases
out of this very denial of free banking, but I cannot believe
that even Mr. Pinney would cap the climax of his absurdity
by assigning as a reason for the further denial of free banking
a condition of affairs which has grown out of its denial in the
The number of people who now own property, and the
past.
amount of property which they own, are sufficient to insure
us an abundance of money as soon as soon as its issue shall
be allowed, and from the time this issue begins the total
amount of property and the number of property-owners will
steadily increase.
To my objection to his government money monopoly that
it would be Communistic robbery to mortgage all the wealth
of the nation to secure all the money of the nation, Mr. Pinney
can only make answer that the possibility that the government
would foreclose the mortgage that is, increase taxation
!

would be very remote. As if any possibility could be considered remote which is within the power and for the interest
of lawmakers to achieve, and as if it were not the end and aim
of government to tax the people all that it possibly can
!

Instead op a book.

252

TEN QUESTIONS BRIEFLY ANSWERED.


[Liberty^

May

i6, i8gi.]

asked by the Mutual Bank Propaganda of Chicago


to answer the following questions, and takes pleasure in complying with the request.
" I. Does the prohibitory tax of ten per cent, imposed by
Congress on any issue of paper money other than is issued
by the U. S. Treasury limit the volume of money ? If not,
why not ?
Liberty

Yes.
" 2.

is

Whence

did the State originally derive the

what the people should use

dictate

From

as

'

right

'

to

money ? "

power.

its

" 3. If an association or community voluntarily agree to use


a certain money of their own device to facilitate the exchange
of products and avoid high rates of interest, has the State the
right to prohibit such voluntary association for mutual ad-

vantage

Only the
"

right of might.

Do

not restrictions as to what shall be used as


"
interfere with personal liberty ?
4.

money

Yes.
"

Has

the question of free trade in banking i.e., the


all interference on the part of the State with
making and supplying money ever been a matter of public
discussion ?
Yes.
" 6. What effect does the volume of money have upon the
rate of interest ?"
5.

absence of

I suppose the intention is to ask what effect changes in the


volume of money have upon the rate of interest. Not necesbut any arbitrary limitation of the volume of
sarily any
money that tends to keep it below the demand also tends to
;

raise the rate of interest.

" 7. Can the business of banking and the supply of money


be said to be under the operation of supply and demand
where the State prohibits or restricts its issue, or dictates what
"
shall be used as money ?
Inasmuch as they often are said to be so, they evidently
can be said to be so, but whoever says them to be so lies.
" 8. Is there such a thing as a measure or standard of value ?
If so,

how

is it

constituted, and what

is its

function

MOMEV AND iNtERESt.

2^;^

There is such a thing as a measure or standard of value


whenever we use anything as such. It is constituted such
either by force or by agreement.
Its function is implied in
its name
measure of value. Without the selection, deliberate or accidental, conscious or unconscious, of something

money is not only impossible, but unthinkable.


" 9. What becomes of the standard or measure of value
"
during suspensions of specie payment ?
Nothing. It remains what it was before. Certain parties
have refused to pay their debts that's all.
" 10. Are you in favor of free trade in banking, including
"
the issue of paper money ? If not, why not ?
Yes.
as a standard of value,

'

'

'

'

A STANDARD OF VALUE A NECESSITY.


\_LzhertVi

June

13,

1891.]

Readers of Liberty will remember an article in No. 184 on


" The Functions of Money," reprinted from the Galveston
News. In a letter to the News I commented upon this article
as follows:
I entirely sympathize with your disposal of the Evening Post's attempt to belittle the function of money as a medium of exchange but
do you go far enough when you content yourself with saying that a
;

standard of value

is highly desirable ?
Is it not absolutely necessary ?
posible without it? If no standard is definitely adopted, and
then if paper money is issued, does not the first commodity that the first
note is exchanged for immediately become a standard of value? Is not
the second holder of the note governed in making his next purchase by
what he parted with in his previous sale? Of course it is a very poor
standard that is thus arrived at, and one that must come in conflict with
other standards adopted in the same indefinite way by other exchanges
occurring independently but almost simultaneously with the first one
above supposed. But so do gold and silver come in conflict now.
Doesn't it all show that the idea of a standard is inseparable from money ?
Moreover, there is no danger in a standard. The whole trouble disappears with the abolition of the basis privilege.

Is

money

The News

printed

my

letter,

and made the following

re-

joinder:
It will occur that in emphasizing one argument there is such need of
passing others by with seeming unconcern that to some minds other
truths which also need emphasizing perhaps in
truths seem slighted,
an equal, or it may be, for useful practical reasons, in a superior degree.

254

INSTEAD OP A BOOK.

The News alms

at illustrating one thing at a time, but it is both recepand grateful to those correspondents who intelligently extend its
work and indicate useful subjects for discussion, giving their best thought
thereon.
A Boston reader, speaking of the standard of value, states an
undeniable truth to the effect that without a thing or things of value to
which paper money can be referred and which can ultimately be got for
The News in
it,
such money would be untrustworthy or worthless.
a past article was discussing primary commerce and the transition to
indirect exchange.
No agreed standard for valuation is needed while
mere barter is the rule but it is indispensable as soon as circulating
notes are issued.
The vice of the greenback theory is that the notes do
not call for anything in particular, and so, if their volume be doubled,
their purchasing power must apparently decline one-half.
A note properly based on gold, silver, wheat, cotton, or other commodity has a
tangible security behind it.
The one thing may be better than the
other, but the principle is there in all.
It is, however, a notable truth
that the standard for valuation can be nothing better than an empirical
one.
Like mathematical quantities, value has no independent existence,
but, unlike mathematical quantities, value has not even existence as a
quality of one object.
It cannot be compared to a measure of length,
which posesses the quality of extension in itself. Gold is assumed to
vary little in relation to other things, and they to vary much in relation
to gold.
Nobody can know how much gold does vary in the relation.
The notable steadiness is in the amount of labor which will produce a
given quantity and the length of time which it will last. The basis of the
assumed steadiness of gold is thus found. But if the standard for use in
making valuations be confessedly empirical and value an elusive quality
not of things separately, but of things in relation, there is a countervailing difference between a standard of length and a standard of value,
which results in disposing of the objection that the standard is empirical.
Why would it be a serious objection to a yardstick if it were longer or
shorter from day to day ? Because thus the customer would get more or
less cloth than was intended.
But why is that? Because the function
of the yardstick is to measure for delivery as great a length of cloth as
length.
its own
But now let us visit a bank or insurance office. We
tive

want a loan of circulating notes or a policy of insurance. The property


offered as security is valued. Assume that gold is taken as the standarci,
and that the loan or the policy is for $600 on a valuation of $1000. It
is no matter in these cases if the standard varies, provided it does not
vary to exceed the margin between the valuation and the obligation. The
property pledged is merely security for the loan, or, in the case of insurance, the premium paid is a per cent, of the amount insured.
The
margin between the valuation and the loan is established to make the loan
abundantly safe. The policy is safely written through the same expedient. The empirical standard of value has a needful compensation about
it which the yardstick or other measure neither has nor needs,
viz., the
valuing goods does not deliver them.
It is provisional.
In case of
default in paying back the loan, the goods are sold and the same money
borrowed is paid back, but the residue goes to the borrower. It is therefore an efficient compensation for the lack of an invariable standard of
value that the actual standard in any case is simply used as a means of
estimating limits within which loans are safe.
All danger is avoided by
giving the borrower the familiar right in case of foreclosure. It is sometimes a fine thing to discover distinctions, but it is a frequently a finer
thing to discover whether or not the distinctions affect the question.

MONEV

Aisic

Interest.

255

While not hesitating for a moment to accept the News's


explanation that, when hinting that a standard of value is not
indispensable, it was speaking of barter only, I may point out
nevertheless that there was a slip of the pen, and that the
words actually used conveyed the idea that something more
than barter was in view. Let me quote from the original
article
It is

medium of exchange is absolutely necessary to all


barter.
standard of value is highly desirable, but peras much as can be safely asserted on that question.

manifest that a

trade

beyond

haps

this is

It seems to me a fair interpretation of this language to claim


the meaning that in trade beyond barter it is not sure that a
standard of value is absolutely necessary. And this interpretation receives additional justification when it is remembered
that the words were used in answer to the Evening Post's
contention that, in comparing the two functions of money, its
office of medium of exchange must be held inferior to its
office of

measuring values.

However, the

JSfews

now makes

it

sufficiently clear that a

standard of value is absolutely essential to money, thereby


taking common ground with me against the position of
Comrade Westrup. Still I cannot quite agree to all that it

comment upon

the Westrup view.


admission that a measure of value differs from a measure of length in that the former is empirical.
but then, what is extension ? Is not
True, value is a relation
the relation of an object to space ? If so,
that a relation also,
then the yardstick does not possess the quality of extension in
itself, being as dependent for it upon space as gold is dependent for its value upon other commodities.
But this is metaphysical and may lead us far
therefore I do not insist, and
p'ass on to a more important consideration.
Second, J question whether the News's " countervailing
difference between a standard of length and a standard of
value " establishes all that it claims. In the supposed case
of a bank loan secured by mortgage, the margin between the
valuation and the obligation practically secures the noteholder against loss from a decline in the value of the security,
but it does not secure him against loss from a decline in the
value of the standard, or make it impossible for him to profit
by a rise in the value of the standard. Suppose that a farmer,
says in

First, I

question

its

having a farm worth $5000 in gold, mortgages it to a bank as


security for a loan of $2500 in notes newly issued by the bank
With these notes he purchases implements
against this farm.

iNSTEAfi OF A fiOOK.

25^

from a manufacturer. When the mortgage expires a year


later, the borrower fails to to lift it.
Meanwhile gold has
declined in value.
The farm is sold under the hammer, and
brings, instead of $5000 in gold, $6000 in gold.
Of this sum
$2500 is used to meet the notes held by the manufacturer who
took them a year before in payment for the implements sold
to the farmer.
Now, can the manufacturer buy back his
implements with $2500 in gold ?
Manifestly not, for by the
hypothesis gold has gone down.
Why, then, is not this
manufacturer a sufferer from the variation in the standard of
value, precisely as the man who buys cloth with a short yardstick and sells it with a long one is a sufferer from the variation in the standard of length ? The claim that a standard
of value varies, and inflicts damage by its variations, is perfectly
sound but the same is true, not only of the standard of value,
but of every valuable commodity as well. Even if there were
no standard of value and therefore no money, still nothing
could prevent a partial failure of the wheat crop from enhancing the value of every bushel of wheat.
Such evils, so far as
they arise from natural causes, are in the nature of inevitable
disasters and must be borne.
But they are of no force whatever as an argument against the adoption of a standard of
value.
If every yardstick in existence, instead of constantly
remaining thirty-six inches long, were to vary from day to day
within the limits of thirty-five and thirty-seven inches, we
should still be better off than with no yardstick at all.
But it
would be no more foolish to abolish the yardstick because of
such a defect than it would be to abolish the standard of value,
and therefore money, simply because no commodity can be
found for a standard which is not subject to the law of supply
;

and demand.

A NECESSITY OR A DELUSION,WHICH?
[Liberty^ June 27, 1891.]

To

the Editor

of Liberty :
It is not only a delusion, but a misuse of language, to talk of a "standard of value." Give us a standard of pain or pleasure, and you may
convince us that there can be a "standard of value." I am well aware
of the difficulty of discussing this question, even with so precise an editor
as Mr. Tucker but since he has called in question the views presented
in my pamphlet, I feel called upon to lay before the readers of Liberty
some additional arguments to show the correctness of what Mr. Tucker
has honored me by calling " the Westrup view."
;

MONEV AND INTEREST.

2^7

Let US Consider for a moment the practical workings of a Mutual Bank,


as near as we can foretell them.
The incentive to organize a Mutual Bank is the opportunity of borrowing money at a very low rate of interest and no additional expense. This
desideratum is not confined to a few individuals, but is well-nigh universal.
It follows, therefore, that the starting of a bank will draw to it
a large number of people, embracing producers and dealers in almost,
perhaps all, commodities. One of the conditions in obtaining the notes
(paper money) of the Mutual Bank is that they will be taken in lieu of
current money without variation in the price of the commodities by those
who borrow them. This condition is just, and will be readily acquiesced
At the very outset of the Mutual Bank, then, we
in without a murmur.
have ^at least dealers in most of the ordinary commodities who will
accept its money in place of current money. This certainty of its
redemption' in commodities at their market-price in current money
guarantees

its circulation.
Strictly speaking, the Mutual

Bank does not issue the money it simply


and is the custodian of the collateral pledged to insure its return.
It is the borrowers who both issue and redeem.
The transaction between the bank and the borrower is of no interest to
the public previous to the issue of any of the money by the borrower.
Neither is it concerned with the transaction between the borrower and the
bank after the former has redeemed a\\ the money he borrowed.
furnishes

it

Discussing theories is far less important than efforts to put in practice


such momentous reforms as the application of the mutual feature to the
supply of the medium of exchange. If Comrade Tucker really desires the
establishment of Mutual Banks, it seems to me he would naturally discuss
Let him point out wherein the
the practicability of such institutions.
above forecast is unsound. Let him show the necessity for a " standard
perhaps I may become conof value " and suggest how to introduce one
verted.
I shall most surely acknowledge my error if I am convinced, but
I have no time or inclination to discuss any abstract theory about a
"standard of value." The one question that seems to me of importance
If it is not practicable, why is it
is the practicability of the Mutual Bank.
not so ? If it is, why waste time and space in discussing whether the first
or the second or any other commodity exchanged becomes the " measure
or standard of value " especially as "the whole trouble disappears with
;

the abolition of the basis privilege."

Alfred

B.

Westrup.

Mr. Westrup's article sustains in the clearest manner my


contention that money is impossible without a standard of
Starting out to show that such a standard is a deluvalue.
sion, he does not succeed in writing four sentences descriptive of his proposed bank before he adopts that " delusion."
He tells us that " one of the conditions in obtaining the notes
(paper money) of the Mutual Bank is that they will be taken
in lieu of current money." What does this mean ? Why, simply
that the patrons of the bank agree to take its notes as the
In other
equivalent of gold coin of the same face value.
words, they agree to adopt gold as a standard of value. They
will part with as much property in return for the notes as they

258

INSTEAD

OS'

A BOOK.

in return for gold. And if there were no such


the notes would not pass at all, because nobody
would have any idea of the amount of property that he ought
The azw// with which Mr. Westrup
to exchange for them.
gives away his case shows triumphantly the puerility of his
raillery at the idea of a standard of value.
Indeed, Comrade Westrup, I ask nothing better than to disAll the work that I
cuss the practicability of mutual banks.
have been doing for liberty these nineteen years has been
directed steadily to the establishment of the conditions that
alone will make them practicable. I have no occasion to show
Such necessity is althe necessity for a standard of value.
ready recognized by the people whom we are trying to convince of the truth of mutual banking. It is for you, who deny
And in the very moment
this necessity, to give your reasons.
in which you undertake to tell us why you deny it, you admit

would part with


standard,

it

without knowing

it.

It

would never have occurred

to

me

to

I regard
discuss the abstract theory of a standard of value.
But when you, one of the most conit as too well settled.
spicuous and faithful apostles of mutual banking, begin to bring
the theory into discredit and ridicule by basing your arguments in its favor on a childish attack against one of the
simplest of financial truths, I am as much bound to repudiate
your heresy as an engineer would be to disavow the calculations of a man who should begin an attempt to solve a difficult
problem in engineering by denying the multiplication table.

recognize Mr. Westrup's. faithful work for freedom


and the ability with which he often defends it. In
fact, it is my appreciation of him that has prevented nie from
I did not wish to throw any obcriticising his error earlier.
stacle in the path or in any way dampen the enthusiasm of
But when I see that admirable
this ardent propagandist.
paper, Egoism, of San Francisco, putting forward those writings of Mr. Westrup which contain the objectionable heresy ;*
and when I see that other admirable paper, The Herald of
Anarchy, of London, led by his or similar ideas to advocate
the issue of paper bearing on its face the natural prices of all
commodities (!); and when I see Individualists holding Anarchism responsible for these absurdities and on the strength of
them making effective attacks upon a financial theory which,
when properly defended, is invulnerable, it seems high time
to declare that the free and mutual banking advocated by
I fully

in finance

Proudhon, Greene, and Spooner never contemplated for


* Egoism later saw
ard of value.

its

error,

and recognized the necessity of a stand-

MONEY AND INTEREST.

259

moment

the desirability or the possibility of dispensing with a


standard of value. If others think that a standard of value is
a delusion, let them say so by all means; but let them not say
so in the name of the financial theories and projects which the
original advocates of mutual banking gave to the world.

ANARCHY'S NEW ALLY.


[Z/^^r/jj',

June

18, 1892.]

Natural science and technical skill, which have revolutionized so many things, may yet revolutionize political economy, and in a way little dreamed of. It has long been known
The
that the water of the ocean contains gold and silver.
percentage of these metals, however, is so very small that at
And as a matter
first thought it hardly seems worth noticing.
of fact little notice has been taken of it, but principally for
the reason that the extraction of the metals by any advanNow
tageous method has been deemed an impossibility.
comes the Fairy Electricity, whose wand has already achieved
so many wonders, and promises us a new miracle, which,
though possibly less strange in itself than some others, will be
more far-reaching in its results than all the telegraphs and
telephones and railways imaginable. She proposes, by stretching long series of iron plates across channels and through
various parts of the seas and ocean and running an electric
current though them, to precipitate the gold and silver from
It is estimated that one-half of
the water upon these plates.
one horse power is all that is needed for the purpose, and that
it will consequently be possible to get gold in this way at a
cost equal to but one per cent, of its present value.
But where does the revolution in political economy come
Does the connection seem remote to
in ? some one may ask.
you, my thoughtless friend ? Then think a bit and listen.
Every ton of sea-water contains half a grain of gold and a
Has that an insignificant sound ?
grain and a half of silver.
We shall find that, at
If so, let us appeal to mathematics.
the rate of half a grain of gold and a grain and a half of silver
to each ton of sea-water, the entire seas and oceans of the
world (I take the figures from a scientific journal) contain
As
21,595 billion tons of gold and 64,785 billion tons of silver.
good fish in the sea as ever were caught ? I should say so,
Why, this means, to speak at a venture,
an(J much better
!

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

26o

is several billion times as much gold in the water as


has been extracted from the land up to date.
Now, if this
gold can be taken from the water, as is claimed, at the rate of
a dollar's worth for a cent, soon it will be scarcely worth its
"
weight in good rag-paper. The much defamed " rag baby
will be a very aristocratic personage beside it.
In that case
what will become of " the metal appointed by God in his goodness to serve as the currency of the world"? Would it be
possible to more thoroughly revolutionize political economy
than by dethroning gold ? And could gold be more effectually
dethroned than by reducing its value to insignificance ? Its
monetary privilege would disappear instantly and of necessity,
and the era of free money would dawn, with all the tremendous blessings, physical, mental, and moral, that must follow in
its wake.
As Proudhon well says: "The demonetization of
gold, the last idol of the Absolute, will be the greatest act of
the revolution of the future."
All hail, then. Electricity
On with your magnificent work!
Lend a hand, you believers in dynamite; we offer you abetter
saviour
This good fairy is carrying on a " propaganda by
deed " that discounts all your Ravachols. Success to her
May she force gold, the last bulwark of Archism, to become,
through offering itself for sacrifice on the altar of Liberty, the
greatest of Anarchists, the final emancipator of the race
Money, said Adam Smith, in one of those flashes of his intellectual genius which have so illuminated man's economic
path, money is " a wagon-way through the air."
If Electricity
shall make of this wagon-way a railway, it will be the most
signal, the most useful of her exploits.

that there

ECONOMIC SUPERSTITION.
\Liherty^

August

13, 1892,]

of my editorial of a few weeks ago, forecasting the


probable increase in the supply of gold through its extraction
from the ocean and the consequences thereof. Comrade Koopman writes me " If this is so, every craft that sails the ocean
blue will carry an electrical centre-board to rake in the gold
I am afraid, though, that the governments
as it sails along.

Apropos

betake themselves to platinum (I believe Russia tried it


once) or some other figment, and so postpone their day of
But what a shaking-up a gold deluge will give
reckoning.
will

MONEY AND INTEREST.

26

them if it come
I hope we may be there to see."
If the
present adherence lo gold were anything but a religion, there
would be some ground for Comrade Koopman's fears. But,
so far as the people is concerned, it is only a religion.
To
uproot the idea that gold is divinely appointed to serve as the
money of the world is to destroy the godhead. In vain, after
that, will the priests of plutocracy propose a change of deities.
The people will say to them " If you lied when you told us
that gold was God, you are lying now when you place platinum
on the celestial throne. No more idolatry for us
Henceforth all property shall stand on an equality before the Bank.
In demonetizing gold we monetize all wealth." The Anarchists are fighting the old, old battle,
the battle of reason
against superstition.
In the earlier phases of this battle,
science, after a time, re-enforced the philosophers and gave the
finishing stroke in the demolition of the theological god.
Perhaps it is reserved for science to similarly re-enforce the
Anarchists in their task of smashing the last of the idols.
Of
this, however, I am not as hopeful as I was.
A fact has lately
come to light that fills me with misgiving. No sooner is it
proposed to begin the extraction of gold and silver from the
ocean by the new and cheap method than a man pops up in
England to say that he patented this method a year or two
ago.
If his patent is valid (and I see nothing to the contrary),
this man is virtual owner of the entire 21 billion tons of gold
and 64 billion tons of silver which the ocean contains. All
the priests and bishops and archbishops and cardinals of
" Nearest, my God, to
finance must kneel' to him as Pope.
Thee," will be his hymn henceforth, or rather till some luckier
individual shall discover a still cheaper way of securing the
ocean's treasures and thereby become Pope in his stead.
This
one perfectly logical and appalling possibility ought to be sufficient in itself to sweep away as so much cobweb all the sophistry that has ever been devised in support of property in
ideas.
Gold, after all, is not the last of the idols in mental
property it has a twin. And my remaining hope is that science,
with its new discovery, may do double duty as an iconoclast,
and destroy them both at one fell stroke.
'

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

262

A BOOK THAT

IS

\Liberty,

NOT MILK FOR BABES.

November

23, 1889.]

The most

important book that has been published this year


from the press of the J. B. Lippincott Company, of Philadelphia.
It is a little volume of something over
a hundred very small pages, printed from very large type.
For
ten years to come it probably will be read by one person
where "Looking Backward" is read by a thousand, but the
economic teaching which it contains will do more in the long
run to settle the labor question than will ever be done by
" Looking Backward," " Progress and Poverty," and " The Cooperative Commonwealth " combined.
Its title is " Involuntary Idleness
An Exposition of the Cause of the Discrepancy Existing between the Supply of, and the Demand for,
Labor and Its Products." The book consists of a paper read
at the meeting of the American Economic Association in
Philadelphia on December 29, 1888, by Hugo Bilgram, the
author of that admirable little pamphlet, " The Iron Law of
Wages," with which most readers of Liberty are familiar. I
am strongly inclined to hail Mr. Bilgram's new work as the

comes

to Liberty

best treatise on money and the relation of money to labor


that has been written in the English language since Colonel
William B. Greene published his " Mutual Banking."
The author prefaces his essay with a very convenient and
carefully prepared skeleton of his argument, which I reproduce here, since it gives a much better idea of the book than
any condensation that I might attempt

The aim

of the treatise is to search for the cause of the lack of employis obviously due to the observed fact that the supply of com-

ment, which

modities and services exceeds the demand, although reason dictates that
supply and demand in general should be precisely equal.
The factor destroying this natural equation is looked for among the conditions that
regulate the distribution of wealth,

i.e., its

division into Rent, Interest,

and Wages.
The arguments evolved by the discussion of the Rent question, which
of late has excited much public interest, being unable to account for the
apparent surfeit of all kinds of raw materials, the topic of rent is eliminated by assuming all local advantages to be equal.
At first an examination is made of the relation of capital to the productivity of labor, and that of interest on capital to the remuneration for
labor, showing that high interest tends to reduce the productivity of, as
Low wages being also concomitant
well as the remuneration for, labor.
with a scarcity of employment, it is inferred that a close relation exists beVween the economic cause of involuntary idleness and the law of Interest,

MONEY AND INTEREST.


Following

this clue, the

263

two separate meanings of the ambiguous word

'

Capital" are compared, showing that money, which can never be used
in the act of production, cannot be capital when that term is used in its
concrete sense and since capital is capable of producing a profit only when
the same is used productively, the fact that interest is paid for moneyloans, when that which is loaned cannot be used productively, must be traced
to an independent cause.
The usual argument that with money actual
capital can be purchased is rejected, because money and capital would not
be interchangeable if their economic properties were not homogeneous.
This compels a search for a property inherent in money that can account
for the willingness of borrowers to pay interest on money-loans.
It is then shown that interest on money-loans is paid because money
affords special advantages as a medium of exchange, and the value of this
property of money is traced to its ultimate utility, or, in other words, to
the increment of productivity which the last addendum to the volume of
;

money

affords

by

facilitating the division of labor.

Returning to the question of interest on actual capital, i.e., the excess


of value produced over the cost of production,
the question as to what
determines the value of a product leads to the assertion that capital-profit
must be due to an advantage which the producer possesses over the marginal producer.
This is found to be due to the interest payable by the
marginal producer on money-loans.
An ideal separation of the financial from the industrial world reveals a
tendency of the industrial class to drift into bankruptcy by force of conThose who are at the verge of
ditions over which they have no control.
bankruptcy being the marginal producers, others who are free of debt will
reap a profit corresponding to the interest payable by the marginal producers on debts equal to the value of the capital they employ hence the
rate of capital-profit will tend to become equal to the rate of interest payable on money-loans, and the power of money to command interest, instead of being the result, is in reality the cause of capital-profit.
The inability of the debtor class to meet their obligations increases the
risk of business investments, and the accumulation of money in the hands
of the financial class depriving the channels of commerce of the needed
medium of exchange, a stagnation of business will ensue, which readily
accounts for the accumulation of all kinds of products in the hands of the
producers and for the consequent dearth of employment. The losses sus-

tained by the lenders of money involve a separation of interest into two


branches, risk-premium and interest proper, and considering that the
risk-premiums equal the sum total of all relinquished debts, the law of
interest is evolved by an analysis of the monetary circulation between the
debtors and creditors.
This analysis leads to the inference that an expansion of the volume of
money, by extending the issue of credit-money, will prevent business
stagnation and involuntary idleness.
The objections usually urged against credit-money are considered and
found untenable, the claim that interest naturally accrues to capital is disputed at each successive stand-point, and in the concluding remarks an
explanation is given of the present excess of supply over the demand of
commodities and service, confirming the conclusion that the correction of
this abnormal state is contingent upon the financial measure suggested.

Admirably accurate as the foregoing is as an outline, it conveys only a faint idea of the beautifully calm, logical, and
convincing way in which the argument is worked out and sus-

INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

264

tained.
It seems impossible that any unbiased mind should
follow the author's reasoning carefully from the start to the
finish and not accept the conclusion which he reaches in common with Liberty, namely, that our financial legislation is the
real seat of the prevailing social disorder, and that the only
way to secure remunerative employment to all who are able
and willing to work is to abolish the restrictions upon the

money.
Moreover, the author not only establishes the strength of
his own position, but throws numerous and powerful sideHe shows the inadelights upon the weaknesses of others.
quacy of Henry George's theory as an explanation of enforced
issue of

idleness, the futility of protection, tariff reform, factory acts,

and anti-immigration laws as measures of relief from stagnacommerce, and the absurdity of the fiat-money theorists and all who hold with them that the value of money is
dependent upon its volume. If Mr. Lloyd, who lately proposed the use of communistic credit-money, will get Mr. Bilgram's book and carefully read pages 64-77 inclusive, I think
he will be satisfied of the unsoundness of any credit-money
system that does not specifically assure the ultimate redemption of each note by value pledged for its security.
Having thus declared my high appreciation of this book, I
may add a word or two by way of criticism. The policy of
the author in abandoning what he himself considers the true
definition of the word capital and adopting the definition
generally sanctioned by the economists is of very questionable
utility.
It is true that he does not allow this confessed misuse of a word to vitiate his argument, but it forces him nevertheless to separate capital from money
and thereby he
strengthens the hold of the delusion which is exploited so
effectively by the champions of interest,
namely, that in an
exchange of goods for money the man who parts with the
goods is deprived of capital while the man who parts with
the money is not.
If Mr. Bilgram had used the word capital
to mean wjiat he thinks it means,
all wealth capable of
bringing a revenue to its owner, he would have deprived
his opponents of their favorite device for confusing the popution of

la:r

mind.

But this is a question of words only.


ence of idea between Mr. Bilgram and

It

involves no differ-

Liberty.

point, however, there is substantial disagreement.


Bilgram proposes that the government shall carry

sumably monopolize, though


business of issuing money, it

on (and pre-

not clearly stated) the


hardly necessary to say that

this
is

On another
When Mr.

is

MONEY AND INTEREST.

goes with him in his economy,


at least three valid reasons,
others also, why the government should do

Liberty cannot follow him.

but not in his

and doubtless

26^

politics.

It

There are

nothing of the kind.

government is a tyrant living by theft, and thereno business to engage in any business.
Second, the government has none of the characteristics of
a successful business man, being wasteful, careless, clumsy, and
First, the

fore has

short-sighted in the extreme.


Third, the government is thoroughly irresponsible, having
it in its power to effectively repudiate its obligations at any
time.
With these qualificatious Liberty gives Mr. Bilgram's book
enthusiastic welcome.
Its high price, $i.oo, will debar many
from reading it but money cannot be expended more wisely
than in learning the truth about money.
;

STATE BANKING VERSUS MUTUAL BANKING.


\Liberty^

February

15,

1890.]

To

the Editor of Liberty :


In view of the favorable criticism which "Involuntary Idleness" received at your hands, I gladly accept the invitation to state my reasons
for advocating governmental management of the circulating medium,
rather than free banking.
My studies have led me to the conviction that mutual banking cannot
Redeprive capital of its power to bring unearned returns to its owner.
ferring to my exposition of the monetary circulation between the financial
and the industrial group, and the inevitable effects flowing from the power
of money to bring a persistent revenue, it follows that a normal condition
can only be attained if interest on money loans is reduced to the rate of
risk, so that, in the aggregate, interest will just pay for the losses incurred
by bad debts and this desideratum will not result from mutual banking.
The members of such banks must no doubt be in some way assessed to
defray the expenses and losses incurred by the banking associations, and
these assessments are virtually interest payable for the loan of mutual
money. While these rates are lower than the current rates of the moneylenders, the mutual banks will be more and more patronized, which will
have a depressing effect on the current rate of interest. But the increase
of membership will cease as soon as the current rate has adapted itself to
the rate payable to the mutual banks.
We must now assume that the assessments of the mutual banks are in
substance equitably distributed among their members otherwise. Such
banks cannot compete against others who have adopted the more
These assessments must obviously cover not only the
equitable rules.
expenses of the banks, but also occasional losses and that such losses
should be assessed in proportion to the rate of risk attached to the
;

266

INSTEAD OF A BOOK,

security each "borrower " offers for the faithful redemption of his obligation requires here no explication.
But other outlays, such as the making
of the notes, together with all the attending expenses, must also be
paid by the members of the mutual banks, and this increases the interest
Convirtually payable by the borrowers beyond the rate of risk.
sequently competition will be incompetent to lower the current rate of
Money-lenders will therefore still be
interest to this desirable point.
able to obtain an income from the mere loan of money, and capital v\ill
continue to return interest to the wealthy.
The germ of the inequitable
congestion of wealth will still linger after the introduction of mutual

banking.

At this point the question arises as to who should pay for that part of
the expenses of the financial system that relates to the production of the
money tokens. The answer is not difficult when it is considered that
the benefit of the medium of exchange accrues to those who use it.
They should