True Civilization : Chapter 03 : Probing Civilization
(1798 - 1874) ~ Early American Individualist Anarchist Publisher and Writer : Equally notable as an inventive genius, a social philosopher, and a peaceful revolutionist, Josiah Warren stands forth, by descent, by his practical, all-round talents, by the force of an earnest life's work, as an American of the sturdy pioneer type whose brawn and brains have formed the true foundation of the republic. (From : William Bailie Bio.)
• "It is not till after long and painful experience and study that we discover that the precedents, traditions, authorities, and fictions upon which society has been allowed to grow up, do not coincide with each other, nor with the great unconquerable primitive or divine laws." (From : "True Civilization," by Josiah Warren.)
• "It is worse than useless, it is calamitous, to legislate as if it were possible to divest ourselves of this involuntary instinct of self- preservation or self-sovereignty, and those who accept or act on such pledge commit as great an error as those who give it, and all contracts to this effect being impossible of fulfillment are null and void." (From : "True Civilization," by Josiah Warren.)
• "Primitive nature insists on an Individuality in a personal lead, and it is in vain for us to contend against it." (From : "True Civilization," by Josiah Warren.)
101. The primitive, uncultivated undeveloped mall finds himself abroad among Lions, Tigers, Hyenas, Orang-Outangs, Gorillas, Reptiles, and insects, all making war -- (no -- not making war -- they have not sunk so low), but from the unregulated instinct of self-preservation, and the pressure of conditions, all preying upon each other.
102. The same instinct prompts them to herd together, for mutual protection against outside aggression. Having once formed a tribe or clan, Clanship becomes looked upon as the warrant for safety, and all outside of any particular clan or tribe become, by degrees, ranked as enemies, aliens, or foreigners, to be weakened, conquered, or exterminated; and he who proves most expert in the work of murder or of plundering the outsiders, is considered the one most fit to secure and administer peace, justice, and true order within his own tribe, and is at once proclaimed as the great Matiambo, Moene, Chief, King, or President of the tribe or clan.
103. 'There being, as yet, no constitutions, no legislatures nor Courts to regulate the internal affairs of the Clan, this great Matiambo is, they think, a necessity, and it is equally a necessity, that, having a Matiambo, every one should render unhesitating obedience to his will, or all would be "anarchy and confusion."
104. Thus these poor primitive creatures reason. There is no fault in the Logic and therefore there is no fault seen in the results. The Matiambo becomes drunk with power of which he knows not the true use. He may become crazy with vanity or with embarrassing cares, and they see him in the streets with drawn sword in his hand, cutting off the heads of whomsoever he meets* to test the "loyalty" of his subjects! Loyalty even to a crazy savage being the highest virtue known, and disloyalty punished with the most wanton barbarity. Thus the Matiambo proves a more destructive enemy than all the foreigners put together could prove, if each one was left; to defend himself: but horror-stricken as the poor barbarian subjects may be, and trembling in every limb (for no one knows whose turn may come next), as a kind of propitiatory offering they break out in chorus: --
Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!
Hurrah for Hug-ga-boo-jug!
Hurrah for Hug-ga-boo-joo!
The king of the world is the great Hug-ga-boo.
Hurrah for the son of the sun!
Hurrah for the son of the moon!
If he ever dies, he will die too soon.
Buffalo of Buffaloes, Bull of Bulls,
He sits on a throne of his enemies' skulls,
And if he wants more to play at foot-ball,
Ours are at his service -- All, all, all.
Hug-ga-boo-jug -- Hug-ga-boo-joo!
The king of the world is the great Hug-ga-boo.
105. By such explosions of patriotism these poor victims of clanship attempt to prolong their miserable existence.
106. But these are barbarians! Civilization has never yet unfurled her liberating and exalting banner! We have had this banner in the breeze for many centuries. We kill only those who belong to the wrong clan, or those who rally under the wrong nag! and those who won't think and do right, and who refuse to join in our chorus. -- O God! enough of this sickening parallel. We are at this moment in the midst of barbarism. Civilization has made no advance ill the political sphere beyond the most crude and savage tribes. It has made little progress except in mechanism. Take that away, and what should we exhibit as civilization? Even in mechanism the arts of destruction have gone beyond those of preservation; and the best military commander is announced, without blushing, to be he who can most adroitly mislead, deceive, entrap, and kill his fellow-men, who are at least his equals in every view of manhood and worth ! And these are the model precedents and model men held tip for imitation by the coming generations! and such they will be unless a countercurrent gets in motion.
107. No people can ever rise above this barbarian level as long as they unhesitatingly follow any leaders without thinking where they are going. We want a Luther in the political sphere -- and another in the financial sphere, -- another in the Commercial, --another in the educational sphere, to rouse the people to use their own experience. Now is the day and the hour, while there is no man, nor any idea, nor principle before the public that can command general confidence, and while the want is so pressingly felt for something to rely and repose upon.*
108. A correct stand taken now on the firm and secure ground of universal principles, even by a few humble men and women, may result in unspeakable blessings to the future race and even to the present generation as well as to themselves immediately.
109. We must have a new civilization or give up the idea altogether, and honestly acknowledge that barbarism is the inevitable normal condition of man.
110. What is here to be proposed will work; no violence to any party, or class, or nation, no harm to any persons or properly. Every step is self-regulating and confers only benefits to all concerned. Each successive step leading to greater and greater benefits, and no proposition requiring even a violent change of habits.
111. The progress of civilization thus far is fitly illustrated by Charles Lamb's account of the progress of the invention of "Roast pig," and perhaps he intended it for that purpose. The story is somewhat modified to adapt it to the "meridian" of 1862.
112. Once upon a time, there lived, out of town a woman and her little son, in a log house. The boy had a little pet pig that used to share his dinner and his bed at night. One day, the mother and son were absent some hours, and when they returned, they found that their cabin had been burned down. The boy looked around for his pig, but not finding it, went sorrowfully to poking among the ashes to divert his mind from his troubles, and ran Iris fingers into something so hot that he involuntarily thrust them into his mouth to cool them; and he found himself rather pleased shall otherwise with the taste that he found there, and he ran to his mother to let her taste his fingers. Then they both went to explore among the ashes for the explanation of the agreeable taste. After clearing away a while, they found the remains of the poor pig; that explained all. They took the remains out of the ashes and secretly ate of them till they were all gone, and then the mother (being a genius) conceived the bright idea of building another cabin and putting another pig into it and setting that on fire; and she continued to do so till the neighbors, seeing a fire so often in that direction, naturally began to be curious and to inquire into the cause. By some means they found out the secret, and that it furnished something good to eat, and so began to try the experiment themselves; and the pow-wows made no objection. So the custom of building cabins and putting a pig in each, and then setting it on fire, spread, in the course of fifty years, over a space of ten miles round! At this period, some labor-saving genius suggested that there was no need of building complete finished cabins -- that it would answer just as well, after hewing the logs square and straight, to pile them up without locking their ends; but this was at once rebuked as an "innovation" -- it was not according to "precedent." "One innovation would lead to another." "Toleration of the first would only lead to boldness and continuous innovation that would never stop short of "universal Anarchy." That, in fact, toleration of the first would be the "inauguration of universal confusion." Thereupon, the labor-saving genius found his cabin surrounded with the zealous "preservers of order," ready to tear him to pieces as soon as they could get into his cabin. While they were endeavoring to get in, he slipped into a hole under the matting, which hole led out into the woods, while the preservers of order were watching every outlet of the hut.
113. He was never heard of afterwards, but it was supposed that he made his escape to another neighborhood, and there introduced his innovation. And this mode of roasting pigs prevailed in that neighborhood or tribe for some sixty or seventy years; when another innovator appeared and proposed to kill the pig before roasting him; but this was immediately denounced as such an unfeeling and horribly cruel proposition towards the poor pig: and this innovator, also, had to escape for his life, and introduce his improvement where both innovations were unknown as such but were supposed to be the true, orthodox way of getting roast pig.
114. Both innovations, along with the original invention, spread over this neighborhood in seventy or a hundred years, when some other innovator proposed to clean the pig before roasting him; and also that there was no need of hewing the timbers, nor getting them all of one length, nor of putting them together in the form of a house. He said that, with all duo deference to the fathers, he did not see why the same quantity of logs piled up around the pig so as to enclose him would not answer as well as to build them into the form of a house.
115. Now the people just about that time had learned by tradition something of the history of roast pig, and of the persecution of those who bad risked their lives in bringing to their doors that savory blessing and they were then agitating the idea of erecting a monument to the memory of their benefactors. But the idea of the monument was suddenly dropped, and nothing was heard but "virtuous" denunciations against such "sweeping end wholesale innovations." They would be the "inauguration of universal confusion," and this innovator, like all the rest, was obliged to fly for his life; but where he went, or what course roast pig took after that, is unknown; but it is supposed that he, too, introduced it with his innovations into the country to which he fled, and that in the course of four thousand five hundred years, seven calendar months, and two days, which have elapsed since that time, the process of roasting pigs has progressed to what we now have, and, except mechanism, it has been the grand achievement of the civilization of this day.
116. Clanship is the worst feature of barbarism. As soon as different tribes are formed, each member prefers, or is compelled to profess to prefer, his own clan or tribe to all others, on pain of being murdered as a "traitor." His motto must be, like that of Daniel Webster, My tribe, my whole tribe, and nothing but my tribe! That of Daniel Webster was, "My country, my whole country, and nothing but my country!"
117. This spirit arrays all tribes, clans, and countries against each other; and hostilities once commenced between them, they are increased and perpetuated for retaliation or revenge, and excused as "terrors to evildoers." In this way it becomes equivalent to a death-warrant to belong to any clan or party; and yet, if one belongs to none, but wishes to discriminate and do justice by acknowledging the right that there may be among either party, then all parties are against him; for, say they, "whoever is not for us is against us."
118. Our present internal war is of barbarian origin. It grows directly out of clanship, or tribeism. One portion of the tribe (or nation) wanted to form a tribe or nation by itself, but the other portion undertook to prevent them. They said that the "fathers had said that the tribe should remain one and inseparable now and forever." That the fathers had spoken, and that it was the duty of all of us to obey.
119. Yes, replies the other party, "and the fathers have said another thing too -- they said that whenever the government of a tribe was not satisfactory to the governed, they have a right to 'alter or abolish it.'"
120. But, replies the first party, "you must take the mode prescribed by the constitution." But, says the second, "we don't choose to be ruled by your constitution -- it is no longer our constitution. It does not suit us -- we propose to have one of our own. "But, says the first party, "you must get a majority of the tribe to consent to that." But, says the second, "we do not consent to ask leave of your majority; and if you insist on that, you deny all right of political freedom, which is a direct return to barbaric government, or to the right of the strongest.
121. To this, the first party replies that to permit disintegration without the consent of the majority is to "inaugurate universal confusion."
122. Now, reader, just pause a moment. Had there been no Clan or "Union" formed at all, or had it continued no longer than the occasion for it, this war would never have arisen, -- other disturbances might have come from other causes, but never from this.. But, to preserve this clanship unbroken, and retain all its members in peaceful repose, the advocates of "unbroken Union" abruptly refuse to negotiate with the receding party (who offer compensation for what they must take with them), thereby finally denying their right to become a separate parley, and pronouncing the final word that the Union recognizes no two parties who can negotiate with each other; which is equivalent to saying that the political Union (or clanship) is more sacred than persons, or property, or freedom, or any other inalienable human right. Thus completely destroying the last vestige of union between the parties, and forcing both into hostile attitudes, and both prepare to destroy each other.
123. Now are heard the wails of distress from all quarters. The papers are filled with accounts of brutal violence on both sides -- villages burning -- men hanging -- ferocity let loose in every horrid shape and form. The heated passions on both sides become more and more ferocious, -- a curious way to promote "Union"! A frenzy of rage sweeps over the land while I write. The last step of despotism has been taken by both governments. Freedom of action and speech are annihilated in "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Even these written words may prove the death-warrant of the writer. Nothing but the clamor of war and the fear of prisons and violent deaths, smother, for the moment, the low moan from desolated hearths and broken hearts from the depths of the hell we are in!
In the mean time, where is the "Union"?
124. Reader, let us pause a moment to reflect that all this is the natural and inevitable result of clanship! If the clan or "Union" had never been formed, or bad it continued no longer than was agreeable to the parties to it, this war would never have occurred.
125. I take up some of the papers nearest at hand, and I read that one man is nailed to a tree -- absolutely crucified and left, gagged -- starving to death for several days; not for any of his own acts, but for the acts or theories of his clan or party! Immediately the cry of "revenge" is heard -- not against the particular perpetrators of the horrid deed, but against the party or clan to which he belongs! -- the innocent portions of whom are more likely to suffer for the crime than the perpetrators of it. Thus clanship, annihilating all individual responsibility leaves rapacity and cruelty unrestrained.
126. Again I read, "Ten thousand men killed and wounded, but a much larger number on the enemy's side. The town of S--- in ashes; N--- is threatened; the village of B--- in flames within sight, and old men, children, and women screaming frantically, and running in all directions!"
127. The blood boils, the brain is on fire when the corpse of a dear son, a father, or husband is found on the field, or amid the ruins of once peaceful homes. Frenzy and despair take possession of some, and a desperate spirit of revenge inspires other women who will soon be mothers; of the children born in the midst of these horrors, many will be stillborn, others wholly or partly idiots, others with an uncontrollable hereditary disposition to shed blood -- to destroy whatever or whoever comes in their way. Thenl come more wars, murders, and violence beyond computation ! What then, is the prospect for the next generation and their descendants! Let it be observed that, before displaying such shocking prospects, the preventive has been already presented in the first chapter. Let us see if the preventive is really there.
128. When one party first proposed to disintegrate itself from the political "Union" (clan), if the other portion had said, according to the Declaration of Independence, "As the right of any people to alter or abolish any government is absolute and 'inalienable,' of course, you have the whole of the deciding power in your own hands. We can have no voice in the matter unless you desire it as counsel. We think it would be a dangerous and difficult expedient for both parties; but this opinion we submit only as advice. If you decide on leaving us, we have some forts, mints, and other communistic property to divide, but we anticipate no difficulty in regard to that. Each party, or both together, can call councils of the best-balanced minds to deliberate on the subject and suggest the best modes of adjustment, and we dare say that this will not be difficult."
129. Would not this mode, or rather this great principle, having been applied in the right time, have prevented all these horrors and this destruction?
130. What is the reply to this? Is it what we see in the newspapers? -- that it would "encourage disintegration and be the 'inauguration of universal confusion'?" That the war is "to preserve the nation as a nation and the 'Union' unbroken?" These statements, uniformly insisted on, even by the executive himself, prove decidedly and fully that the war has been inaugurated and prosecuted merely to preserve clanship, as I have stated, for nationality is no more or less than clanship, and clanship is the worst feature of barbarism. I do not accuse any one of intentional wickedness nor of wantonness or indifference to the horrors that surround and involve us; on the contrary, I see the whole to be a lamentable mistake, the unavoidable result of a blind reverence for precedents, for legal technicalities and formal institutions, instead of for the deep underlying principles which gave rise to the institutions. Now look at the results! If we are now in civilization, what is barbarism ?
131. Let us, in imagination at least, have done with clanship, and converse as two individuals disintegrated from all party or partial trammels.
132. A--- says, "I can find no fault with the proposition you make with regard to the councils of deliberation or reference, and feel happy to think that the great idea underlying our institutions is not forgotten or ignored, but that it even instructs us what to do in the greatest and most difficult trial. But wily do you think that an immediate separation would be a bad expedient for both of us?"
133. B--- replies, "First on account of the geographical interlockings of our interests which may be very difficult to disentangle suddenly. Then there is your slave system. The right of self-sovereignty in every human being, which gives you the supreme right to leave us without asking our leave gives to your slaves the same right to leave you, and also gives to every man, woman, and child the same supreme right to sympathize with an 1 assist the distressed or oppressed whereever they are found as the greatest and holiest mission of life; and this might lead to new disasters for which we have no preventive or remedy provided. You have been born under the system, and your habits make you entirely dependent upon slaves. I do not blame you for the circumstances under which you were born; I hardly know which of the two classes is most enslaved, or most to be pitied, slaves or masters.
134. "The principle upon which you claim the right to secede from us is perfectly unassailable it is the 'inalienable' right of self-sovereignty but it extends farther than you may have contemplated it. It is a full and complete warrant for any one of your citizens to place himself above all your legislation, above the whole confederacy, and appeal to the world for protection: and having asserted the principle in your own favor, you cannot successfully deny it to others. Properly and fully understood, it is the great and final solution of all political, and I may say all strife among men; but it might work disastrously among an ignorant population, without preparation.
135. "I cannot say what others may do, and, as you know, I cannot dictate to others, without denying their right to think; and decide for themselves; but while I assert the right of freedom to all slaves, black and white, I will exert myself to foresee and prevent, as far as possible, all unnecessary violence to you from slaves or from any other source."
136. A--- asks, "Is this the philosophy of your party? If it is, I belong to it, in the 'Union' or out of the 'Union.'"
137. B---, "I cannot speak for a party, but only for myself positively, and of probabilities with regard to other individuals as far as I know them. No other person is in any way pledged to or responsible for anything I may say or promise."
138. A---, "But what shall be done with the constitution ? "
139. B--- , "I do not know what others may do with it -- my constitution is within me. The right of self-sovereignty in every individual is my constitution."
140. A---, "Really, this is rather a new view to take of politics, but it is in perfect accordance with the spirit of all constitutions. I find myself in union with you at any rate; on that principle there never can be secession et all. There can be no secession from the freedom to secede!"
141. B--- ," I am exceedingly happy to come to this understanding with you, and at a future time, if you desire it, I will present to you some thoughts regarding a practical and easy mode of emerging from all slaveries of all colors."
142. A--- , " I shall be happy to listen."
143. B---, " Adieu for the present, and if you fear any sudden wanton violence from any quarter, let me know it immediately: we have ;a force already drilled and disciplined, whose sole aim it. is to prevent or restrain all wanton violence towards ANY person or property, without regard to tribe, clan, class, sect, color, or nation."
144. Reader, if this course had been taken at the first intimation of a wish to withdraw from what is called the "Union," what would probably have been our condition now compared to what it is? Yet no compromise has been made of human rights, but on the contrary the fullest vindication of them has been maintained from the beginning to the cud: but because this course was not pursued, we are committed to unlimited mutual destruction.
145. The two great clans are not only disintegrated, but hostile; and neighbors, families, and the dearest friends are not only disintegrated, but made enemies to each other from natural and unavoidable differences of opinion and politics, because there is no central idea, no principle known round which they can rally and agree, and in no party has FREEDOM TO DIFFER been practically established as a regulating thought. Self-sovereignty is the central idea or principle required.
146. Having overlooked the necessary regulator, what is there left for us, as self-respecting men, but to frankly acknowledge the blunder, and make all lint' reparation in our power not inconsistent with tire regulator itself.
147. 1 would gladly turn now from the sickening, fainting patient before us, but must probe a little farther.
148. Clanship, by destroying individual responsibility, enables the crafty criminal to escape, and expose the innocent of his tribe to retribution. Six men are hung on one tree for daring to be of the other party, and those who hung them belonged to the party professing to be contending for Freedom! Others are forced to expose their lives and die fighting against the party of their choice! They must do this or be shot by order of their rulers!
149. Reader, which party do you think it was that hung these men for a difference of political preferences? Which party is it that forces men, with "inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," to fight against their own wills or be shot? Which party is it that murders men for taking flown a flag, or preferring one flag to another? Which party is it that professes to be fighting for Freedom?
150. Oh, what questions to ask in the nineteenth century of Christian civilization! And what a position to place one in who undertakes to answer them!
151. He must reply, It is both parties! and that both profess to be contending for Freedom!
152. Both claim to be contending for self-preservation! That is nothing new, but that all the powers of both parties should be bestowed in destroying instead of preserving life, property, and Freedom can be accounted for only by the blind readiness with which the present imitates the past, without any reference to the inevitable consequences that are sure to follow. Which party is it that does not suppress the freedom of action, of speech, and of the press and punish with imprisonment or death an honest avowal of an opinion in favor of the opposite party ?
153. Which party is it that does not treat as treason, punishable with death, the admission of a single point wherein the opposite party may be right, as "giving aid and comfort to the enemy"? In other words, which party is it that does not threaten to punish with death that single item of justice? Who would ever think of introducing quell monstrous rules if they were new? But they are found among the "precedents," the "usages of governments!" "the laws of war," "the laws of nations," and are therefore blindly followed though they lead the very leaders into the ditch or over the precipice. This blind repetition of barbarism must be criticized and stopped, or one continuous round of mutual murder and destruction will continue to the end of time.
154. The flanging of these men and the desolating of their families was in strict logical accordance with the barbarian "laws of war," which are an ever-ready excuse for every wild and shocking atrocity that rapacity, revenge, or wantonness may prompt. The "laws of war," say these barbarians, put all the members of a tribe (nation) in hostility with each other! and when at war we may properly " do all the harm we can to our enemies." Both parties take their texts from the same authorities. 'The "laws of war," "military necessity," the laws of nations, are constantly in the mouths of both parties as excuses for all their barbarian acts, and yet, when one commits an atrocity in strict accordance with these admitted axioms, the other party forthwith talks of revenge!
155. If one party is more humane or more civilized than the other, it acts less in accordance with these "laws of war ;" and if one individual is more civilized or humane than the rest of his party, or both parties, he is not at home in either; on the contrary, for his beautiful humanitary feelings, for his high sense of honor, justice, and discrimination, he has two chances of being murdered, where blind, headlong party ferocity has only one!
156. And so it has always been under all political systems or codes, as illustrated by the case of General Patkul, who was broken on the wheel by order of Charles XII., of Sweden, under a charge of "treason," for attempting, by pacific negotiations, to bring about a cessation of hostilities between his country and its antagonist. The humanity of Patkul did not show sufficient loyalty to Charles's "authority"!
157. There are no " laws of war," "nor laws of nations," nor military necessities, nor laws of men, that ought to command a moment's respect or attention, unless they tend to diminish suffering instead of increasing it: and true civilization will discard everything, that prompts or excuses any unnecessary violence to any person or property.
158. The fatal tendency of an unquestioning readiness to follow precedents may possibly have led to the shocking ease of crucifixion mentioned; perhaps it was prompted by the common blunder as a "terror to evildoers," perhaps the horrid thought was first suggested to the perpetrators by the precedent so painfully familiar to all Christendom.
159. A similar atrocity was perpetrated in the French Revolution A young woman only for being of the other party, a fact over which she had no control, was also crucified. Her feet were spiked to the ground, wide apart, and she was made to stand by a tree, to which she was bound, and a slow fire was placed and kept under her till she died in the most excruciating torture.
160. Now that the race is so far sunken, either by hereditary propensities, or by a continuous, unhesitating copying of the past, what can we do better than to step up at once above these horrid precedents and authorities, and interfere to prevent all unnecessary and wanton violence? This was probably the original design of making laws, as it is celled, and trial by jury, etc., but they have all failed; for barbarism and insane violence reign triumphant throughout the misnomer of civilization.
161. Did human beings ever commit any other blunder so great as that of forming themselves into clans or nations? When the passions or propensities have possession, the intellect sleeps, and responsibility being annihilated, there is nothing too horrible to expect. I venture the assertion that there is but OIIC way to emerge from this otherwise endless chaos of misery and degradation; that is, directly to bestow all practicable energies in the direction indicated in the first chapter, and to solicit the cooperation of all persons, without regard to party, sect, theories, sex, or nation, to consider in leisure and in calmness the basis of true civilization.
162. Clanship can exist among fishes of one kind among ants, bees, and other insects, and among the crude clans of men, who like ants, bees, or dried herrings on a stick, have no individual development, but who are all alike. When the mental eyes they had have been punched out by barbarian power in the process of stringing them on the stick of subordination or loyalty: and if no intellectual expansion were possible, clanship would continue to desolate the earth; but just in proportion to intellectual expansion, individuality makes its appearance, and begins to conflict with the dried-herring subordination, and naturally gives rise to the first steps indisintegration or the commencement of true civilization!
163. Fortunately for us, external force cannot limit nor suppress ideas. Take a hundred persons as completely "unitized," and as destitute of ideas as dried herrings, and place them within a building having iron wells three feet thick, and guarded by a thousand men, ideas may find their way among them that can liberate them from that condition, or destroy them.
164. A savage who has for half a lifetime eaten with his fingers out of the same dish with twenty others, all obstructing each other's movements, conceives, perhaps, the idea of a wooden paddle or a pointed stick to use in the communistic dish -- but it's not " the fashion "! It is not " according to precedents"! It is not what "the fathers intended"! But he may say to himself, " I am not one of the fathers, -- I am another person. I don't see why I should not have my way as well as they, provided I do not put the fathers, nor anybody else, to any inconvenience."
165. Now as soon as he begins to reason in this way, a prospective good-by to the dried-herring subordination, to Loyalty, and the Hug-ga-boo chorus, for true civilization has begun. He may be obliged to fly from his clan or country, but that itself forces upon him the individual dish -- the conveniences of which will not be willingly resigned, and the example of which might prove as contaminating as roast pig.
166. The germ of true civilization is now fairly planted and perhaps it expands so far that he sees that a separate sleeping apartment would be more agreeable to all in a hot climate than sleeping in one nest with twenty or thirty others, like a litter of pigs; but then this would be " disintegration," and might not be permitted by the "majority," for it is "isolation" and "selfishness," and not according to the "precedents" and "best authorities;" "society has a right to the society of all its members." " Well," says the savage, "I will not then be a member of any society -- I will be an individual."
167. Now a piece of ground is wanted to stand his house upon. This possession of a piece of land disintegrated, individualized from the communistic domain, has been considered one of the greatest and most indispensable features of civilization, and so it is. But beyond this, society has attained little or nothing by the way of adjustment.
168. A barbarian strolling, upon the beach, perhaps in search of tortoises, accidentally picks up a little shell that is rather new to him, and he shows it to another savage, who, for the sake of the novelty, offers to give him for it the beaver which he has just caught, and the exchange is made; and so, like the progress of roast pig, the second owner of the shell, when his curiosity its satisfied, gives it to a third person for a tortoise-shell. A ship arrives on the coast in search of tortoise-shells, and gives this savage beads, nails, and a hatchet for his shell. Immediately every savage abandons his hunting of beavers and every other pursuit for the hunting of tortoises; in the course of which they find more of the little shells, and give them the name of "cowries." One "cowry" once having purchased a beaver, this "precedent" is accepted as "authority " for the "market-price" of a beaver; so as many "cowries" as each finds, so many beavers he considers himself "worth," and, by degrees, as this "roast pig" progresses, these "cowries" are given and received for ivory, fish, etc., and become a circulating medium, or money. But, in making these exchanges no reference whatever is had to the time or trouble in procuring either the "cowries" or the articles exchanged for them; it being altogether a matter of accident, no calculations can be made. There is no basis for calculation; but the "cowries" prove very convenient; for they enable each one to confine his attention and preparations to one particular pursuit, and to exchange its products for all the things he needs, instead of being obliged to do everything for himself to disadvantage. By only catching Beavers and giving them for "cowries," he can procure fish, tortoise-shells, ivory, muskrats, moccasins, mats, spears, etc., which is an immense saving of time and trouble to him. Others, seeing this, imitate his example, and as the accumulation of "cowries" affords a prospect of everything needed, the pursuit and accumulation of "cowries" becomes the rage of all; shell every savage abandons his beaver-hunting, or his fishing, his musk-rat traps, etc., and all rush to the hunt for "cowries." They get a large supply, but there is nothing to buy with them! There are no fish caught, no muskrats, no mats made, no ivory found, no mellons raised. The ship has carried away all the tortoise-shells, and the "cowries" are comparatively worthless!
169. One old cunning savage, seeing the general thoughtless rush for "cowries," had taken advantage of it and "bought up" all the fish, musk-rats, ivory, mats, spears, nails, etc., against their return. He now has all in his own power, for "whoever feeds can govern," and he demands the whole of their cowries for the few supplies that they are obliged to have to supply present necessities; and the population give him all the cowries they have gathered alone, the whole coast for months, in exchange for a few necessaries which they could have made for themselves in as many hours. They feel that they are wronged, but do not see where the wrong is.
170. The next day the cunning old savage's house and sheds are set on fire for revenge, and no one being disposed to help him, they and all their contents are consumed -- "cowries" and all, and he is reduced to beggary; but no one relieves him. The cowries have all been collected for miles along the beach and he can get none: he is not qualified to make mats, nor spears, nor nails, nor to catch beavers, and he wanders about a miserable and despised savage, having made himself miserable by overreaching his fellow-savages.
171. There has been no improvement upon that crude and barbarous money to this day of the Christian era, 1862, unless it is in substituting little bits of copper, or other comparatively worthless metals with the semblance of a man's head or some animal upon them, instead of the "cowries," as a circulating medium.
172. Bank-notes, promising to pay these bits of metal on demand, if they were not the means of defrauding as well as of deluding the public, would be an improvement upon metals, as being more convenient of carriage, and costing less trouble in many ways; but, being, as they are, the means of innumerable and constant frauds and delusion, they are barbarian money barbarized. All the crudity in principle remains, with intentional frauds added.
173. No reference whatever is had to the comparative trouble that anything costs the one who first obtains or produces it, but whoever stumbles in his rambles upon a lump of any of these metals, has, forthwith, according to the size of the lump, a demand upon every product and service under the sun!
174. There being no principle known for the regulation or adjustment of the quantity of these metals, which should be given in exchange for any service or commodity, the whole is left to accident, or else to some, like the cunning savage, to take advantage of the necessities of others, and a general scramble ensues to get the advantage or to escape being overreached. In this general strife, those with the longest purses, or the most cunning, or who are most unscrupulous and false, prevail. Those who have few or no cowries and the less crafty are trodden under foot, and ground to powder and what is called society has blundered on into a universal scramble for the largest possible accumulation of " cowry " metals, as offering the best among poor chances of security against the general rapacity.175. In this melee the instinct of self-preservation in each one is almost wholly bent On keeping uppermost, instead of being crushed below. Political power and money are the principal means of attaining ends, and these are therefore pursued with unscrupulous desperate ration.
176. A little money (by usury) "makes more," but it takes from those who have less,, till those with less have none to take. Then woe to those who are found in such ranks. Nobody will be found there who can avoid it. Driven to work for whatever money-holders choose to give, they take the pittance rather shall starve, and starve when they cannot get the work or the pittance. Then who that can avoid it will belong to the ranks of starved, ragged, abused, insulted labor? Whoever can avoid it will do so, and the burdens fall upon the weak who have no means of escape.
177. This is the origin of all Slaveries. They all grow out of the fact that civilization has not yet proceeded far enough to discover what would be a proper, legitimate, equitable compensation or price even for a barrel of flour!
178. When the masses are silenced by weakness, the conflict becomes intensified between the few who have monopolized money and the governing or political power. 'The mass become mere ciphers to be placed by the sides of these figures, only to increase their magnitude and power in their contests with each other. The right of might is the only umpire known or acknowledged, and conquest becomes the object of all.
179. Looking at causes, and understanding the instinct of self-preservation, who wonders at the miser? Who wonders at the borders of black or white slaves? Who wonders at burglary, highway robbery, thefts, frauds, bribery, and corruption in office? or at the general distrust of man in his kind? or at the extremes of waste and walls that are so often found face to face?
180. Seven thousand dollars of public money was spent by a few political wire-workers in a mock funeral of a bribed lawyer, -- bribed to uphold a policy that has brought this horrid war upon us, although at the time of this hypocritical parade multitudes of boys and girls -- some of them of marriageable age -- in rags and tatters, not half clad, shivering with cold, were swooping away the snowy mud that the hypocrites might pass comfortably, and occasionally, with an imploring look, holding out their hands with, "Please, sir, give me a penny to get something to eat." -- I can proceed no further. Any one can extend the picture for himself to any magnitude by consulting any of the newspapers of the day.
181. The two great elements of power are the governing (military) force and money.
182. The equilibrium of the governing power has already been suggested in the first chapter; but until a principle is found and accepted which can harmoniously regulate compensation for labor (or regulate prices), and establish an equilibrium of the money power, we can hardly assert that civilization has fairly commenced.
From : Anarchy Archives
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