Instead Of A Book, By A Man Too Busy To Write One : Part 01, Chapter 51 : On Picket Duty

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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.)
• "But 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." (From : "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin R. Tu....)
• "...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." (From : "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin R. Tu....)
• "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." (From : "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin R. Tu....)

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Part 01, Chapter 51

On Picket Duty.


Bullion thinks that civilization consists in teaching men to govern themselves and then letting them do it. A very slight change suffices to make this stupid statement an entirely accurate one, after which it would read: Civilization consists in teaching men to govern themselves by letting them do it.Liberty, August 20, 1881.(52 ¶ 1)

People in general, and the governmental Socialists in particular, think they see a new argument in favor of their beloved State in the assistance which it is rendering to the 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 that is paid for it. The people cannot afford to be enslaved 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, and furnishes better insurance at cheaper rates. The philosophy of voluntary mutualism is universal in its application, not omitting the victims of natural disaster. 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 risk, will do the utmost that can be done to mitigate and equalize the suffering arising from its accidental destruction.—Liberty, April 1, 1882.(52 ¶ 2)

Democracy has been defined as the principle that one man is as good as another, if 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.(52 ¶ 3)

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 of narrow prohibition. Yes, indeed; there would be nothing narrow about their prohibition; it would be the broadest kind, including everything from murder to nonattendance at church.—Liberty, May 12, 1883.(52 ¶ 4)

Eighteen men and women who had been punished once for all 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 want of evidence against them. That is to say, eighteen 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 the maxim, while thus violating it, it is better that ninety-nine guilty men should escape than that one innocent man should suffer.Liberty, August 15, 1885.(52 ¶ 5)

Whenever it is proposed, writes W. J. Potter in the Index, that the voluntary system for religion shall be adopted and trusted wholly, there are many timid folk who start up with the warning that religion would be imperiled. 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.(52 ¶ 6)

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 candidate merely because he was fairly nominated by the majority of his party. But 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.—Liberty, September 12, 1885.(52 ¶ 7)

To the Czar of Russia is due the credit of applying practically to taxation the reductio ad absurdum. 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 known, he must pay sixty kopecks into the treasure 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 to ask. This is the act of a notoriously cruel despot. See now how much wiser the policy of a reputedly benevolent one, Dom 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 dollars and a half. This is a use of tyranny that almost inclines me to wink at it. Bleeding domestic tyrants is better business than political tyrants are wont to engage in. If there must be a tax-gatherer, I shall vote for Dom Pedro.—Liberty, November 14, 1885.(52 ¶ 8)

The latest piece of governmental infernalism is the proposition to raise the age of consent to eighteen years. It 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 the 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’ honor. Honor, forsooth! As if it were possible to more 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 17, 1886.(52 ¶ 9)

In these days of boycott trials a great deal of nonsense is being talked and written regarding blackmail. This is a question which the principle of Liberty settles at once. It 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 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 is generally rather mean business, but there are circumstances 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.(52 ¶ 10)

The methods pursued by District Assembly 49 of the Knights of Labor in the conduct of the recent strike have driven Mayor Hewitt and divers other capitalistic publicists into a state of frenzy, so that they now lose no opportunity to frantically declare that one set of men must not be permitted to deprive other sets of men of the right to labor. This is a white-bearded truth, but, when spoken in condemnation of the Knights of Labor for ordering members in one branch of industry to quit work for the purpose of strengthening strikers in another branch by more completely paralyzing business, it is given a tone of impertinence more often characteristic of callow juvenility than of venerable old age. I can’t see for my life whose liberty is encroached upon by such a procedure. Certainly not that of the men ordered to quit, because they joined the Knights, a voluntary organization, for certain express purposes, of which this was one, and, when they no longer approve it, can secede from it and then work when and where they please. Certainly not, on the other hand, that of the employers who thus lose their workmen, because, if it is no invasion of liberty for the individual workman to leave his employer in obedience to any whim whatsoever, it is equally no invasion of liberty for a body of workmen to act likewise, even though they have no grievance against their employer. Who, then, are deprived of their liberty? None. All this outcry simply voices the worry of the capitalists over the thought that laborers have learned one of their own tricks,—the art of creating a corner. The policy of District Assembly 49 (whether wise or foolish is another question) was simply one of cornering labor, which is much easier to justify than cornering capital, because the cornered labor is withheld from the market by its rightful owners, while the cornered capital is withheld by men who never could have obtained it except through State-granted privilege to extort and rob.—Liberty, March 12, 1887.(52 ¶ 11)

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 employes the same right of contract without crippling them in advance.—Liberty, May 28, 1887.(52 ¶ 12)

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 law, saying in the opinion which he filed: When laws are 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.(52 ¶ 13)

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 industrially. What is a complete education? Who’s got one that he can guarantee? Who, if he had one and nothing else, could afford to impart it to another free of charge? Even if he 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 him 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.(52 ¶ 14)

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 thirty-five, since the offense aimed at was as much a crime at thirty-five as at eighteen, the petitioners did not seem to be terrified of his logic. Evidently these ladies are not afraid that their consent will ever be asked at all.—Liberty, February 11, 1888.(52 ¶ 15)

At the end of a protest against the addition of the higher branches of 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.(52 ¶ 16)

A 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.(52 ¶ 17)

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 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 well as a vast new field of judicature. To this political servant, who has not even the grace to hide in the earth the talent entrusted to him, but insists on using it as a scourge upon mankind, the editor of the Weekly Star says: Thou hast been unfaithful over a few things; I will 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.(52 ¶ 18)

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 equally with her own.—Liberty, August 18, 1888.(52 ¶ 19)

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 so good as to point it out? No, he will not; and for the reason 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 shall be none.—Liberty, February 2, 1889.(52 ¶ 20)

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 into 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 homœopaths and eclectics into the ring, and by this political manœuvre 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 pitty that some of his clients who followed him were not equally consistent. For instance, Dr. J. Rhodes Buchanan, who is a sort of quack-in-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 malpractise. 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 equaled 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 and foes. The truth is that, unlike these critical comrades, I am not to be blinded by the distinction between friends and foes by a mere similarity of shibboleth.—Liberty, February 23, 1889.(52 ¶ 21)

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 to the new despotism. This is very true; but I wonder if 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 therefore Mr. Owen’s plan, hideous as it is, is in this respect superior, is to be classed the existing United States government.—Liberty, May 16, 1891.(52 ¶ 22)

The original patent of the Bell Telephone Company expires in March, 1893. From personal tests in Boston, says an expert in this matter, I know they have practical instrument 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. A 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 arrives, the improvements will be brought to light.—Liberty, May 16, 1891.(52 ¶ 23)

In an article justifying the prohibition of the liquor traffic, the Atlantic (Iowa) Investigator says: According to the 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 the Investigator derived 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 noninvasive acts, even though these acts create additional opportunity for invasive persons to act invasively. For instance, they would not prevent the buying and selling of liquor, even though it be true that some people are invasive when under the influence of liquor. The Investigator has failed to grasp the Anarchistic 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 non-invasion. Let the Investigator try again.—Liberty, May 30, 1891.(52 ¶ 24)

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 eighteen years. Pointing to the example set in this respect by Kansas and Wyoming, the States which come nearest to being woman-governed, he says in rebuking italics: All the other States trail the banner of morality in the dust before the dictates of man’s bestiality. Mr. Flower supposes himself to be an individualist, and sometimes writes in favor of individualism in a way that commands my admiration. But I am curious 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, to enter into sexual relations. Had Olive Schreiner lived in civilized Wyoming instead of semi-barbarous South Africa, and had she chosen to practice the theories which she favors in her book, she would indeed have been raped; not however 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 1, 1891.(52 ¶ 25)

For one I shall shed no tears if the New York law forbidding the publication of accounts of executions is rigorously enforced and its violators severely punished. Much as I 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 parts 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 oppression 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 law at all. The exception here entered by the Sun to save its own 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 Sun 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 1, 1891.(52 ¶ 26)

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 natural rights at all; that not one of them considers sufffrage a natural right; that, on the other hand, they all agree on the central proposition that rule is evil, and on the corollary that it is none the better for being majority rule. Anarchism is as hostile to the ballot as peace is to gunpowder.—Liberty, August 29, 1891.(52 ¶ 27)

I wonder if the people of Massachusetts know that their law-makers made a law this year punishing with imprisonment for life every criminal or pauper who has the syphilis. Such is the astounding fact. To be more specific, the law provides that any inmate of a State penal or charitable institution who, at the expiration of his term of imprisonment, shall be afflicted 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 to have the syphilis and liberty too.—Liberty, August 29, 1891.(52 ¶ 28)

A certain class of littérateurs 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 $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. Howells to put such a price upon his work. And yet in the eyes of these offended littérateurs it is this monopoly that uplifts literature. It is creditable to their instincts, though not to their reason, that, having obtained for literature the proud reward to which it is entitled, they are ashamed to let the public know the amount of this reward.—Liberty, November 7, 1891.(52 ¶ 29)

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 the State are able to ship their goods into the State and sell them in the original packages. An increasing 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 securing a repeal of the obnoxious law. Meanwhile the dear and 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 their right to be robbed, and the farmers and dairymen in the right to rob. All these protections should be wiped out. The only protection which honest people need is protection against that vast Society for the Creation of Theft which is euphemistically designated as the State.—Liberty, May 14, 1892.(52 ¶ 30)

Talk about bloodthirsty Anarchists! Listen to this. It is the editor of the American Architect who speaks. So far 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—for 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.(52 ¶ 31)

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 disenfranchisement of all who neglect to use the ballot. The New York Health Inspectors, when on a fruit-condemning expedition the other day, after seizing a push-cart full of green peaches turned it over to two messenger-boys, in consequence 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 disenfranchizing 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.(52 ¶ 32)

Another monopoly is threatened. At present, as is well known, Wagner’s Parsifal can be performed only at Bayreuth. This music-drama is Madame Wagner’s property, and she refuses to allow any one else to produce it. But in Austria, 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.(52 ¶ 33)

The recent strike at Carmaux, France, was followed by an agitation for compulsory arbitration of disputes between capital and 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 operatives decide to strike in defense 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.(52 ¶ 34)

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Chronology

November 30, 1896 :
Part 01, Chapter 51 -- Publication.

February 20, 2017 19:03:59 :
Part 01, Chapter 51 -- Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

March 19, 2019 13:16:22 :
Part 01, Chapter 51 -- Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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