Instead Of A Book, By A Man Too Busy To Write One : Part 01, Chapter 50 : No Place for a Promise

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1897

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(1854 - 1939) ~ American Father of Individualist Anarchism : An individualist Anarchist, Tucker (1854Ð1939) was a person of intellect rather than of action, focusing on the development of his ideas and on the publication of books and journals, especially the journal Liberty: Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
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Part 01, Chapter 50

No Place for a Promise.

[Liberty, November 12, 1892.]


A 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 certain act at some future time. According to this definition, there can, 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.(51 ¶ 1)

In a progressive world we know more to-morrow than we know to-day. Also harmony implies absence of external coercion: for, all 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 fulfillment of a promise becomes disagreeable or impossible, it is an element of discord, and discord is the opposite of harmony.(51 ¶ 2)

H. Olerich, Jr.

Holstein, Iowa.

But it is equally true, my good friend, that the non-fulfillment of a promise is disagreeable to the promisee, and in so far it is an element of discord, and discord is the opposite of harmony. You need not look for harmony until people are disposed to be harmonious. But justice, or a close approximation thereto, can be secured even from ill-disposed people. I have no doubt of the right of any man to whom, for a consideration, a promise has been made, to insist, even by force, upon the fulfillment of that promise, provided the promise be not one whose fulfillment 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 will help him to enforce. When it comes to the determination of this point, the question is one of policy solely; and very likely it will be found that the best way to secure the fulfillment of promises is to have it understood in advance that the fulfillment is not to be enforced. But as a matter of 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 fulfills a promise, however unjust the contract, acts voluntarily, whereas the man who has received the promise is defrauded by its non-fulfillment, invaded, deprived of a portion of his liberty against his will.(51 ¶ 3)

From : fair-use.org

Chronology

November 30, 1896 :
Part 01, Chapter 50 -- Publication.

February 20, 2017 19:02:25 :
Part 01, Chapter 50 -- Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

March 20, 2019 08:01:43 :
Part 01, Chapter 50 -- Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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