Instead Of A Book, By A Man Too Busy To Write One : Part 02, Chapter 14 : An Alleged Flaw in Anarchy

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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.)
• "The evil to which this [tariff] 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 capital." (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....)
• "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....)

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Part 02, Chapter 14

An Alleged Flaw in Anarchy.

[Liberty, November 29, 1890.]


To the Editor of Liberty:(66 ¶ 1)

I am sorry if I have misinterpreted Liberty. I have not what I wrote before me, but I do not think I could have had the slightest intention of imputing to Liberty a force campaign against interest; but I believed (am I wrong?) that I had seen both interest and rent denounced in Liberty as objectionable and opposed to the interests of society. It was to this I was referring as a moral campaign. My own position is that interest is both moral and useful, and often more than anything else a chance of a better future to workmen. If workmen would give up punching the head of 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.(66 ¶ 2)

As regards rent, I think that all Anarchists, including even sober-minded Liberty, use force to get rid of it. The doctrine of use-possession seems almost framed for this purpose. Even if it suits certain persons to sell me 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 to me. Good; but then how do you justify the fact that there is a proposed 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 socialistic regulation obtains. Is this Anarchy?(66 ¶ 3)

Auberon Herbert

Mr. Herbert’s disclaimer is of course sufficient to establish the fact that he did not mean to charge me with an attempt to prohibit lending and borrowing. But I must remind him that the charge which he made against me he made also at the same 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 is of little consequence; I am satisfied to call it a case of mutual misunderstanding.(66 ¶ 4)

To avoid such misunderstandings in future, however, is of real importance; and to that end I must further remind Mr. 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 of accorded guarantee. Mr. Herbert, knowing that I am an Egoist, must be perfectly aware that it would 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 whenever necessary. So Mr. Herbert is now duly cautioned not to charge me with maintaining, against any right whatever, a campaign which anything but expediency makes exclusively moral.(66 ¶ 5)

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 invasion. If, however, lending and borrowing should disappear 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.(66 ¶ 6)

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 that he considers interest moral and useful. Does he mean by this that that is moral and useful which will disappear under free competition? Then why does he favor free competition? Or does he deny that interest will so disappear? Then let him disprove the Anarchists’ definite and succinct argument that it will. In my last article, I strongly invited him to do this, but as usual he ignores the invitation. Nevertheless he and all his Individualistic friends will have to meet us on that issue sooner or later, and he may as well face the music at once.(66 ¶ 7)

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 that they can do so successfully. But it is also true that the Individualists, including sober-minded Mr. Herbert, propose to get rid of theft by force. Even if it suits certain persons 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, Mr. Herbert 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. 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 question involved in theft. And when the Individualists so adjust 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.(66 ¶ 8)

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. And, if men differ on this, as they do most emphatically, how is this to be settled?(66 ¶ 9)

From : fair-use.org

Chronology

November 30, 1896 :
Part 02, Chapter 14 -- Publication.

February 20, 2017 19:13:47 :
Part 02, Chapter 14 -- Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

March 19, 2019 14:00:49 :
Part 02, Chapter 14 -- Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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