True Civilization : Chapter 05 : Organization and Co-operation
(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 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.)
• "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.)
• "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.)
309. ORGANIZATION and Clanship are both prompted, in some respects, by similar motives - the universal desire for sympathy, the need of mutual assistance, and other expected benefits. But while clanship, with its usual concomitants, is more destructive to the very ends proposed than any external enemy could prove, organization without these concomitants, and in accordance with the great primitive laws, may enable us to realize more than Utopians ever dreamed of.
310. OF SYMPATHY. Such is the instinctive yearning for sympathy with our kind, there is no cost too great to pay for it.
311. It is so pleasant to coincide with those around us, and we are so wretched when in continuous collision with the feelings, tastes, or opinions of others, it is not surprising that we often fall in with customs and fashions without examination, and go with whatever current is running rather than array ourselves hopelessly against them.
312. A poor young woman stole a fashionable bonnet, for the sake of appearing at church in the mode. She was arrested and sent to prison, and her self-respect destroyed for life, because her desire for the sympathy of her kind was stronger or more directly present to her than the fear of the prison! Does not this instinctive propensity also explain that which otherwise remains without explanation? The word "Glory," what does it mean but the public sympathy or notice that one gets by a public act ? The incendiary who set on fire the Temple of Ephesus, in order, as he said,," to immortalize himself," was contented to get even that degree of "Glory " which followed from giving the public an " event" to talk about. His name was necessarily in many mouths, and that was enough to tempt him to the crime, as he could get "glory" in no other way.
313. The devotees of India, who will hold one hand straight up above their heads, and never change its position during life, or fold both across their breasts, and keep them so for years; or Simon Stylites who remained on the top of a high naked column for thirty years, day and night, exposed to all weathers; and the devotees who voluntarily suspend themselves on hooks stuck through the flesh of their sides, and allow them. selves to be suspended high in the air and swung around for hours, exposed to public gaze, all, probably, are or were actuated by similar motives to the one under contemplation.
314. Perhaps this explains the subtle fascination there is in the news of calamities - the destruction of life and property. They make everybody talk with each other; they find themselves, for the moment, on the same plane - the starved sympathies are fed.
315. The uncultivated girl, in Bulwer's " Last Days of Pompeii," is made to say, " Oh, pray the gods send us a criminal for the lions to tear, or the holidays will be good for nothing."
316. Even hostility and persecution for unavoidable differences of opinion probably arise from this same desire for "Unity," "Harmony'" or Sympathy. This may explain the involuntary repugnance to even needed innovations or improvements; -the tardiness in adopting them, and even the persecution of them; the spirit is, perhaps, the same - the desire for general sympathy, commonly called " Unity " or " Union." Probably this is the explanation of the pertinacity with which it is insisted on that " the Union must and shall be preserved," though compulsion is directly against the great principle that gave rise to it, and stabs all union to the heart! The same impulse prompts thousands to join any movement, or noise of any kind, without much conscious design, or to do anything which feeds this natural yearning for sympathy or companionship. The misfortune is that this beautiful tendency to general sympathy is unregulated - wild - erratic -blind. It has no durability, and can have none till it is reconciled to universal diversity or INDIVIDUALITY. After such reconciliation, difference cannot disturb it.
317. What else can explain the omnipotence of public opinion where there is no opinion? Yet it holds, -as it were, all the governments in the world between its thumb and finger, and in its hand the destinies of the race.
318. When we find ourselves on the immovable plane for the preservation of life, property, and happiness, this sympathetic element, a thousand- fold stronger, will work for instead of against true civilization.
319. 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.
320. Far be it from me to attempt to conquer this greatest of all sources of human happiness, or to place one unnecessary obstacle in its way. The great problem is, How can this great, universal Divine desire for sympathy be harmlessly exercised to its full satisfaction, and continue undisturbed?
321. The solution of this problem would be the greatest boon on earth to man.
322. Pigs, Bees, Fishes, Ants, etc., being probably nearly alike, intellectually, can live in comparative peace and sympathy, having but few subjects to dispute about; but just in proportion to culture or expansion of the feelings, tastes, and intellects is the necessity and the tendency to take more room; so that each person, like a planet,* can move in his own orbit without disturbing others. This is DISINTEGRATION.
323. In closely entangled interests, as in all " communism," there is a necessity of agreement and conformity, and some must be more or less pained by the collisions of opinions, tastes, wishes, etc., between them. Not, perhaps, any more at the sacrifices required of one's self than from perceiving that others make sacrifices for us. One or the other is inevitable, just in proportion to the number or magnitude of the interests held in common.
324. Let us illustrate: In a certain town in Indiana there was, in 1841, a schoolhouse built by neighborhood subscription. The subscribers, however, as might have been expected, soon began to differ about the choice of a teacher; but there was no room to differ within the combined interest. Only one party could possibly have its way. The very best of reasons and arguments were furnished on both sides, and "irresistible logic " showed how right and how wrong both parties were; but none of the arguments had any other effect than to make the breach between them wider and wider; for, whereas they differed about only one thing at first, they differed about twenty things in as many minutes of disputation. Difference took them by surprise! They, like " communities," had calculated on "unity" of opinion, and difference became a disturbing and unmanageable element in the "Union."
325. Meeting after meeting was had, and dispute after dispute roused, by degrees, a hostile feeling on both sides, so that, although both parties were " professors of religion," one man rushed at his antagonist with a huge club, but was in his turn subdued by an overpowering force," and the meeting broke up in anarchy." That night some one, seeing no better means of " putting an end to the war," set the valuable house on fire, and it was burned to ashes. The root of the whole of the trouble was " communism," or Union" of property in the schoolhouse.
326. An habitual watchfulness to preserve the conditions necessary for Freedom to differ would have admonished them not to have had the schoolhouse in partnership, at least until they had first ascertained that there could not, in the nature of things, be a difference of opinion between them on an important point where it would be necessary to agree. Nothing short of absolute, unchangeable truth or primitive laws furDish such security for permanent agreement or coincidence.
327. Had there been no "Union" of property in the schoolhouse, and had the teacher acted on his individual responsibility with his patrons, the difficulty and destruction would not have occurred, whatever diversity there might have been between the parties. But having taken the first erroneous step in communism of property, if it had been fashionable in the neighborhood to have referred the case to judicious tribunals (as proposed in the first chapter) who understood the philosophy of the difficulty, these tribunals might, perhaps, have given such advice as would have averted all the trouble.
328. ANOTHER CASE. In the house of a friend, where I was staying, I heard, in a room next to my own, two girls disputing and crying for a long time. Passing by their door I learned that they had some playthings in common! Mary said that Annie wouldn't let her handle the cups and saucers, though their " governess told them that they must be accommodating to each other."
329. "Yes," replied Annie, sobbing, " but she meant that you must be accommodating as well as me, and when I want to put up the things you ought to let me." Here was another " Union "! Both were really distressed to find themselves quarreling, and I said to them, " Don't blame yourselves nor each other, girls; the fault is not in either of you ; it is in having your playthings in common. There should be only one owner to one thin,-. Whatever was given to you should have been given to one or the other, or divided between you. I advise you at once to divide your things between yourselves, and that each should sacredly respect the absolute right of the other to control her own in any manner whatever, and not to set up any demand on each other to be any more " "accommodation" than she is at the time. Such a demand is a partial denial of her right of control over her own,which not only makes you disagreeable companions to each other, but raises disputes that never can be settled by words."
330. There is a fatal error lying at the bottom of Communism or " Unions," but it is unseen, overlooked in the irresistible yearning for the harmony and repose, or sympathy, which is supposed (but never realized) to result from them.
331. At a place called Brush Creek, in Michigan, there was a meeting- house built by subscription among the neighbors, who happened to agree in that one particular idea, that a house of worship was necessary. It was built of logs, in the loghouse fashion, and locked together at the corners. It was no sooner built than their coincidence was at an end, for there was immediately a difference among them with regard to the doctrine that should be advocated there. Here, as usual, diversity took them by surprise, and it being a disturbing element under the circumstances, it was looked upon as an " enemy, and each strove to conquer it in himself and in his opponents. They did not know that diversity was any part of Divinity, but they looked upon it as a proof of perversity, or the workings of the old virus of original depravity, and supposed that in warring against each other they were vindicating 66 unity; "for to admit of schism and diversity unrebuked was to encourage disintegration, which would " inaugurate universal confusion." So the parties contended with each other till they had exhausted all their resources, and destroyed all their " Union," and one man was so exasperated at the crude attempts to put him down, that he went home and got a yoke of oxen, hitched a chain to one of the logs in the side of the house, tore it out, and dragged it home for firewood, as his share of the communistic property!
332. Is it necessary to add that-but for communism, or 16 Union," the case never would have occurred? But having committed the blunder of getting into communism, or " Union," had the case been referred to an intelligent and disinterested neighborhood-council before building the house, it probably never would have been built on the communistic principle; but having committed this first mistake, it had become too late to exercise the right of individual ownership over one log, because this could not be done without doing greater violence to the same right of the other owners, whose property was seriously injured thereby. Had there been a clear idea among them of what the absolute right is, they would all have seen that they were equally partners in a blunder in forming the " Union," and not a violent word would probably have been spoken, and they would have talked only of individualizing or disintegrating their claims to the property. Different expedients might have been suggested, such as one party buying the other out, or some individual buying the whole out. A disinterested neighborhoodtribunal might, no doubt, have suggested some mode less destructive than the one adopted, and if not accepted the " government " might, with propriety, have " intervened," and prevented the unnecessary violence done to the building, and restrained the man from taking the log out, but at the same time require him to be paid for his trouble in putting it in.
333. In this case the " government," seeing that the exercise of right had been rendered impossible by the ',.Union " of the property, would restrain the persisting in its exercise in the particular form adopted by the desperate man, and might have required him to take an equivalent for his log, over which lie could exercise his right of ownership without damaging the other parties.
334. This makes the government, as a last resort, a final umpire to decide between expedients when the right has been rendered impossible, but it does not rise above absolute human rights, and it is rendered safe by being dependent on the voluntary action or sovereign will of those who are required to execute any decision.
335. ANOTHER CASE. Two men were left joint heirs of one house; one wanted to sell it, and the other was opposed to selling it. They argued and disputed till they grew hot, and then one carried the case to the courts, and kept it there till more than the price of the house had been consumed in litigation, but all without decision, for the " precedents " and statutes were silent on the subject, and nothing could be done outside of "precedents" and "statutes." Finally, desperation took the case in hand; -one party sawed the house in two from top to bottom, and moved his part away! Not a dollar would have been spent in litigation, and no feeling of desperation or enmity would have arisen, if both parties had known at first that disintegration was the remedy required; or had they referred the case to a neighborhood council called for the purpose (not elected to judge the case before it occurred), who were not trammeled by unbending precedents, statutes, and wordy forms, and who were not biased by the prospect of votes for office, or a large fee for making trouble, they might have given advice founded on a knowledge of the root of such difficulties, and most likely the parties would have been saved their quarrels, their expenses, and the desperate remedy resorted to. The whole originated in Communism of property - Disintegration was the end of it, as far as an end could be put to it; but the enmity arising out of it may have continued for years, or until each party may have learned the philosophy of the trouble.
336. In 1848 a friend presented himself suddenly before me, five hundred Miles from his home, and said, "You are surprised, no doubt, to see me here, but you cannot be more surprised than I am to find myself here. I have left home probably forever, with nothing but what you see upon me. I have left everything - money, clothes horses, farm, and now throw myself upon the world to begin it anew. I am ashamed to tell you the cause, but I must. I will, if it is only in justice to you who have labored so much to show us the cause of such serious disturbances, and which is so strikingly illustrated in my own case."
337. I desired him to rest himself and take his leisure, and in more composed moments to explain; and he afterwards gave me the following statement: -
338. "My wife and I were setting out a row of onions in the garden, when she remarked that I had set them crooked. I replied, I No matter, they are well enough; I but she said that, as we were foreigners, the neighbors were all the time criticizing our farming and gardening, and she wanted everything to look so as to defy their criticisms. I replied that I would not trouble myself to silence them; for the spirit of faultfinding, when it. existed, as it did in that neighborhood, would always find some excuse for venting itself, and if we did not rise above it, we should enthralled ourselves to it. But she was not inspired with my philosophy, and insisted. I became a little irritated, and made some reply that brought from her an allusion to an old sore between us, that I felt to the quick, and replied with severity: to which she retorted - with such biting provocation, that, before I knew what I was doing, I had thrown a billet of wood at her, which fortunately did not hit her; but, alarmed and disgusted at my own conduct, as well as at her, I rushed out of the house, and here I am."
339. Now this was all in consequence of a communism or a " Union " of responsibility in a row of onions!
340. A common remark in such cases is, " They ought to be on their guard against offending each other."
341. Perhaps they were on their guard, and the guard was not strong enough; at any rate, they had both heard that injunction from their childhood, and it had had all the effect that it could have in the case. Present civilization has nothing else to say that is any more to the purpose.
342. Had the husband or the wife had the responsibility of the garden Individually, the case never would have occurred. At the request of both, I gave such counsel as induced him to return home, where he remained till the death of the wife.
343. The fundamental error of communism has been sufficiently illustrated, one would think, in this generation to render a few hints sufficient for our present purposes. But all the failures and ruin that have been so prominently before the public in the last forty years seem not to have taught the radical defect in its principle.
344. Communists, like moths flitting round a lamp, seem to learn nothing from their burnt, disabled, and prostrate companions, and never know that the flame can kill till it is too late to profit by the knowledge; and the opposers, while they can reason like philosophers against the principle of communism, will advocate exactly the communistic principle in their political " Unions, organizations, confederacies and other combined interests.
345. What is called conservatism has all the time been entirely right in its objections to communism, and in insisting on individual ownership and individual responsibilities both of which communism annihilates; conservatism has also shown wisdom in its aversion to sudden and great changes, for none have been devised that contained the elements of success.
346. The antagonism of interests, supposed by communists to be inherent in Individuality, is not inherent in, but only incidental to, it; which antagonism is completely neutralized, and all. the co-operation and economies aimed at by communism grow naturally out of the principle of Equivalents, or simple justice! And the same principle, by compensating only for COST, opens all primary land, waters, minerals, spontaneous fruits, and all other natural wealth, free from all price, thus meeting the common-property idea half-way, but in the sense in which water in a river is now common: that is, while every one may take what he can use without price, when he has once got it into his possession, no other person must have any claim upon it without the owner's consent, or confusion would follow So, though the property or wealth is common to all, there is no communism or joint ownership between any.
347. I have labored to exhibit the hidden, subtle, fundamental cause of so many painful disappointments in communistic combinations, both social and political, which have ended so disastrously for many of the best of men and women, who were willing to sacrifice everything for the 46 Unity " or " harmony " of the race, and also to suggest to careful readers the unexposed root of our present political anarchy, and many of the most painful conflicts and disappointments of life. Let us be disappointed no more; let us be sure that we have got the right germ before we plant our seed.
348. Let us proceed to examine our germs of true or harmonic organization.
349. A man wants to raise a house; he cannot do it alone, and invites his neighbors to help him. They are willing to do so, either from sympathy, for the enjoyment of the companionship of the occasion, or for pecuniary compensation, or without any particular conscious motive. Whether they are moved by one motive or another, their movement is voluntary, and the raising of the house is the point of coincidence between them -the object which brings them together, and which gives rise to the co-operation between them.
350. Twenty men assemble on the ground, but they can do nothing, if the whole twenty undertake to give directions.
351. Even two cannot do so, without leading directly to confusion and counteraction. Primitive or Divine law does not tolerate anything more or less than INDIVIDUALITY in any lead. Who should be the lead on this occasion but he who takes the risks and bears all costs ? He may prefer to delegate his function, but may with propriety resume it at any moment.
352. Ten men are requested to lift a timber; they all get ready to do so, but they cannot lift together till some word or sign is given. Select three of the wisest or most experienced of the company to give that word or sign, and confusion would result, but let only one (Individual), though a mere child, give the word, and the timber moves.
353. This I understand to be the philosophy of leadership, and also of Monarchy and despotism. But why have they proved so destructive of the ends proposed by them ? It is because of the unconscious attempt to unite or combine the lead and the deciding power or sovereignty in one person ! Let us see.
354. The twenty men had each a mind and a motive of his own to help at the raising, and though the motives were different, this difference did not prevent their coinciding or co-operating action in that one individual thing to be done. The owner of the house did not undertake to decide that these men should help him! Each decided for himself supremely (sovereignly) that he would help, and these coinciding, individual sovereign decisions only wanted a lead, and all was well.
355. I repeat that the great error has been in the attempt to combine the lead and the deciding or sovereign power IN ONE PERSON! instead of recognizing the deciding power where divine law has irrevocably fixed it, in every individual of the race ! DISINTEGRATION of these two elements must rectify this fatal error before there can be any security for persons or property, and before any government can perform its legitimate function as illustrated in the first chapter.
356. Coincidence must be had before anything requiring the co-operation of numbers can be properly done. It is on this account that diversity of views or motives has been looked upon and treated as an evil, because it tends to neutralize the desired "Unity" of action. Therefore, as intellectual culture and expansion give rise to this dreaded diversity, culture is looked upon as dangerous, and the expression of opinions adverse to the governments are forbidden and punished with heavy penalties or cruel deaths. Thus order becomes converted into chaos by trampling the end under foot in pursuit of the means! The professed end is security and protection of person and property, and the means adopted destroy both!
357. These penalties inflicted for diversity are practical acknowledgments that the deciding power is inevitably fixed in, and inseparable from, each individual, who is therefore presented with an assortment of evils to choose from and decide upon! If he desires to disobey orders, he may calculate the value of his life to himself or others, his repugnance to pain and death, his chances of escape, and on these calculations he decides for himself (sovereignly) at last. Where, then, does the sovereign power rest ?
358. The sovereign power (or the instinct of selfpreservation) can never be wrested from the multitude, nor from a single Individual -it is "INALIENABLE; " and to make the attempt to alienate it is one of the most fatal political fallacies ever attempted. And a fallacy equally fatal is that of supposing that this deciding power can successfully be vested in a majority over a minority, or over a single person.
359. Common soldiers suppose, when they enlist in the regular service, that they put themselves thenceforth, for a specified time, under the commands of their officers, with whom rest all deciding power as to their movements ; and this power is supposed by officers and-men to be absolute, unqualifies and final, and either would stare at calling the idea in question.
360. A company of regulars in Scotland were on the march towards the river Clyde. At the edge of the stream, the soldiers, rather than walk in and be drowned, halted without waiting for the order to halt, which was entirely contrary to the contract and the discipline. Officers and men were both taken by surprise with the fact that the deciding power was not with the officers - that it had suddenly made its appearance in an unexpected quarter; the instinct of self-preservation (or self- sovereignty) had suddenly assumed its sway, like an irresistible third party, and annulled the contract of "unqualified obedience to orders," contrary to discipline and to the previous understanding and intentions of both parties!
361. Thereupon a little storm cloud (no bigger than a man's hand) arose between men and master; but when they begin to debate, good-by to the dried-herring subordination. The instinct of self-preservation does not always wait to consult "precedents nor interpretations of constitutions, the I right of rebellion ' " nor authorities of any kind. It is its own authority, from which all others are derived.
362. In these states, the institutions are supposed to place all deciding power in the hands of certain men appointed to wield it; yet this same instinct is now at work in every breast in the nation, and every one is involuntarily debating or deciding in his own mind and feelings, according to his conditions, and there is no coincidence among any large portion of us. The deciding power is not in the men appointed to wield it, nor even have they got the exclusive Individual lead.
363. 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. We may delegate the leading function often with advantage, but it is folly, blindness, self-deception, and may be ruin, to commit ourselves unqualifiedly to implicit and unhesitating obedience to any personal lead for a single hour.
364. For true order and civilization, then, let us realize that, though any successful lead must be an Individuality, this lead should be only a lead, like the child at the raising - one individual function by itself, and no attempt should be made to combine it with the deciding or sovereign power.
365. The most perfect lead would be that which was best adapted to the particular occasion for it; and as every occasion may be peculiar in itself, no one personal lead may be equally adapted to various occasions. A child might lead the lifting of the timbers of the house, but could not lead in the framing of it. The president of a railroad company may lead its affairs very satisfactorily, but. might not be equally adapted to lead a child in the study of music.
366. A very common mistake is made in taking it for granted that, because a man has shown great capacity to lead in one direction or department, he is, therefore, most likely to prove a good lead in other directions! The contrary is most likely to be the fact, inasmuch as that the more time he has spent in qualifying himself for one function, the less he would have to bestow in others; as illustrated by the very profound Conchologist who thought that the beans in his garden had come up " the wrong end first."
367. The most effectual lead is not necessarily always a person. It may be a thing, an idea, or a principle. A clock or a watch leads or " governs " the movements of many of us more than men do. But two clocks which should differ widely from each other would neutralize the lead, and make only confusion. If they harmonized with each other, one would be superfluous. But a plurality of men to lead any one move ment, having more elements of diversity within them than unintellectual clocks, are more likelt than they to differ, and lead to confusion.
368. Primitive nature insists on an Individuality in a personal lead, and it is in vain for us to contend against it.
369. A single man may lead the whole race, as is already demonstrated by the inventor of railroads, of steam power, etc.; but if he undertakes to decide that the public shall patronize or follow him, he will find himself at once in conflict with the third party - a divine law, from which, sooner or later, he will be obliged to retire.
370. The sphere of lead may harmlessly extend over the whole earth; but the sphere of sovereignty cannot harmlessly be extended beyond the person, time, property, and responsibilities of the one person who exercises that sovereignty.
371. What, then, is invasion?
372. If you come into my house, against my will, this is an invasion of my property certainly; but if you have heard screams within, and calls for help, and you have come in to restrain me from invading the life of an inmate, though it be my own child, you have made a justifiable and legitimate choice of evils in violating my right of property to prevent me from violating greater rights. If I would have my absolute rights of property and person held inviolate, I must observe and hold sacred all the rights of others.
373. Commodore Ingraham did not invade anybody when he protected Costza from oppression. If he invaded a political jurisdiction in protecting Costza, it was a justifiable choice of evils.
374. Though John Brown went into Virginia to relieve slaves from oppression, if he had compelled any slave, by fear or force, to join him against his will, this would have been oppression or invasion of the slave. This personal sovereignty should be above all other considerations.
375. A nation consists of all the individuals in it. An Army which has entered a Nation to protect even one individual from oppression, and has committed no unnecessary violence in doing so, has made a justifiable choice of evils. This idea is already sanctioned in the protection by a whole Nation rendered to any one of its members in any part of the world.
376. When Clanship or political systems are outgrown, and every individual is recognized as a sovereign member of the party of the whole, the same idea becomes only extended when the whole of the race should protect one member of the race from invasion.
377. The kings of Dahomey may not always enjoy undisturbed repose " upon a throne of their enemies' skulls " while those enemies are only the weak and cruelly oppressed rebellious subjects.
378. We have seen that the lead and the decidingor sovereign power are two very distinct elements; that for true order, they must be disintegrated from each other, the one having unlimited scope, and the other confined to the person, time, property, and responsibilities of one Individual.
379. Beyond this individual sphere no one, no number of men have a right of absolute sovereignty. We all have a right to sympathize with the distressed in any part of the world with but not against their consent or will.
380. I speak with decision, because, after forty years' study and experiments on these subjects, I have arrived at decisions for myself, and because I think the reader will prefer it as the most convenient language for him as well as for me, and because I think be will prefer the assurance which is afforded by placing myself under the responsibility of definite and positive assertions, rather than that I should give out vague hints and throw the responsibility of conclusions upon him. And after and in the midst of continuous reiteration of the sovereign right of every individual to decide for himself, he will not suspect me of attempting to decide for him against his consent.
381. While the deciding or sovereign power is understandingly left undisturbed where it really is (in the heart or head of every Individual for himself), it matters but little who undertakes to lead. He who most addresses himself to the largest coincidence or most pressing wants of the time will have the most followers.
382. Coincidence between the lead and the sovereign powers is like the locking of the cars together the whole move.
383. How to get this coincidence is the great problem of organization and movement.
384. In the raising of the house, the twenty men coincided for that one specific, Individual performance; but if the owner had asked the men to help him in future, without specifiying what help he wanted, no thoughtful man would have consented. The proposition would have been too general, too indefinite; this has been the radical fault of all organizations! The remedy is to Individualize the occasions for cooperation, leaving every one free to render or withhold his assistance, according to his individual views of the individual case now present in hand.
385. The establishing a lead for the particular occasion of raising the house, and the men placing themselves in position ready for lifting, was the organization, and the giving the word and lifting were the co- operation.
386. Suppose, now, that one man at the timber is informed that his house is on fire; he suddenly abandons the organization and the co-operation to rescue his family and preserve his property! Who censures him? Yet he has risen, so to speak, above the organization, above the institution, - broken his contract.
387. The organization was well adapted for the occasion for it - for the object it had in view, but beyond that it had no applicability, and to insist on the man fulfilling his contract under the new circumstances would be simply absurd and useless. But we will consider this farther by and by.
388. We see that Primitive or Divine law demands Individuality in a lead. This lead is sometimes a man, sometimes a woman, a child, or a thing; it is also sometimes an idea. This latter has always been practically admitted by those who have attempted to generalize the experience of mankind into axioms, rules, written statutes, or (so called) laws, Constitutions, etc. They intended these ideas as points of coincidence to lead or force the people into certain modes of action.
389. But in all these there has been the same fatal error-DEFECTIVE GENERALIZATION.
390. A rule (or "law") which may be good for the case in which it originated may not apply to any other case as well. New cases give rise to other rules which conflict with the first; which conffict, like that of the two different clocks, destroys the power of either to lead.
391. Then, again, arises (from the inevitable Individuality of different minds) the different interpretations of the same rules or generalisms. Witness the different interpretations of the Constitution of the United States and all other constitutions.
392. They are liable to so many different constructions, that this diversity not only neutralizes their power to lead, but they become positive elements of antagonism and violent dissensions and mutual destruction, because their latent faults are too subtle for ready detection. They would be harmless and might be beneficial if there was no attempt to combine in them the sovereign power. To remedy this fatal defect, the word " shall" should be expunged, and the word may substituted.
393. Conscious of this defect to some extent, the makers of some of these verbal institutions have provided that the ultimate or final interpretation of them shall rest in the supreme Courts; the practical working Of which is to concentrate a coercive power in one person over the destinies of millions,* which is a return to Despotism, and in the worst form, because it is disguised and hedged round with bewildering fictions and formulas!
394. The Constitution of the United States (socalled) contains a great many formulas and generalizations, the whole being intended to lead to prosperity, security, and freedom. The unavoidable difference in the interpretations of the instrument, being provided for only in a form which gave the monopoly of the interpreting and enforcing power into a few hands, has led to the sudden check of all prosperity - has rendered all persons and property in the States as inse. cure as possible, and instead of Freedom, they are at this moment under the most unqualified despotism that exists on the earth !
* Witness the Dred Scott Decision.
395. The Declaration of American Independence embraces a great universal fact, or Primitive or Divine law, intended to act as a point of coincidence for the co-operation and harmony of all mankind; but the same instrument also displays other features more prominent and more striking to common observation, while the germinal, central idea of the whole instrument lies bidden within its well-chosen phraseology, like the life-giving germ of the seed, beyond the external eye, and cognizable only by the penetrating mental vision.
395. The Declaration of American Independence embraces a great universal fact, or Primitive or Divine law, intended to act as a point of coincidence for the co-operation and harmony of all mankind; but the same instrument also displays other features more prominent and more striking to common observation, while the germinal, central idea of the whole instrument lies bidden within its well-chosen phraseology, like the life-giving germ of the seed, beyond the external eye, and cognizable only by the penetrating mental vision.
396. Even there, in that sublime effort of virtue and genius, there is that plurality of elements, which, like the plurality of men, neutralize each other as a lead according to its noble design.
397. Struggling through centuries with such subtle difficulties and obstructions, the best minds have been bent on simplifying Hence arose the formula, "Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you;" and Christendom rejoiced in the apparent supply of their greatest ethical want. The men or women of mature culture and experience and of delicate sympathies, who take pleasure in the pleasure they confer, and share the pain they are obliged to inflict, will interpret and apply this formula in a harmless and even a beneficent manner. They are careful not to inflict unnecessary pain on others nor to require sacrifices of them without pecuniary or moral compensation.
398. While those who are indifferent to the painthey inflict, or under the influence of an ill-digested theory (though well intended), and who are satisfied with mere Logical consistency, might excuse themselves, by this formula, for insisting on sharing or distributing the property of others, on the ground that the owners would be glad to have the same done for them, if the cases were reversed !
399. The same rule which at first sight appears to promise the point of coincidence required, and which in some cases leads to very desirable results, furnishes, by a different application, the excuse or warrant for the denial of all rights of property, would stop all stimulus to industry, foresight, and economy, and, which followed out, would lead to universal confusion, poverty, starvation, and violence.
400. The ancients, centuries ago, saw this inherent defect in all verbal laws and formulas, and came to the conclusion that none could be constructed by man that could regulate human intercourse; and they abandoned the attempt to construct them, and vested all power in one person within each certain district of country called a nation, which was a return to primitive des, potism.
401. A person was thought to be the " Unit" of coincidence as well as the Individual lead required; which, being a living organism, could adapt itself to the peculiarities (or individualities) of persons and events as each case arose: but it was soon seen that this " unit " was one day one thing, and another thing another day--that the very possession of the delegated power so intoxicated or bewildered the despot (though before a very good person), as to procure for him the titles of " The monster," " The cruel," " The mad," The scourge," etc.
402. To remedy these long-suffered evils, the originators of the Catholic Church, also seeing the hopelessness of constructing any successful formulas, laws, or constitutions, adopted the human "unit" not only as a lead, but as a final, deciding, sovereign power or " umpire of peace," over all persons within their organization, and beyond which umpire there was to be no appeal, no dispute; -viewing him as a father, papa, or pope, and investing him with the power to rescue the smitten and abused subjects of the intoxicated despots from obedience and from the oath of loyalty, and to protect them from insane violence; and, to secure themselves from similar violence and oppression, they selected a man for the Papa whom they considered more than man - one who was inspired by Divine influx, and they seem to have supposed that this divine influx came from a personal existence which was all perfection, and who would always inspire the papa to do exactly right.
403. Here was the point of failure. There is no coincidence between men as to what constitutes perfection, and though it now appears that the idea of an influx or inspiration from intelligent beings, above or beyond or outside of the human organism, was a true one, it seems not to have been clearly understood.
404. It appears that the influx came from beings once human, but in a second stage of existence, analogous to that of the butterfly from the grub (now called spiritual existence). That in this state there is no sudden leap to perfection, and that many spiritual inspirations or communications to us are no nearer to coincidence than our own opinions and theories are. And, moreover, that the most humble, even children, are more likely to become recipients of this inspiration than a man or men set apart for the purpose, because, being less embarrassed by cares and anxieties, they are more in that state of repose required as a condition necessary for the influx or communications.
405. This was probably soon known to the intelligent portions of the priesthood and laity; but such were the exceeding difficulties of their undertaking, and the crudity of the people they desired to benefit, and the immense and incalculable good promised to the race by the abolition of wars and a universal point of " unity " or coincidence, their whole aim seems to have been to attain this end, even by means that shock us to think of, on the ground that such means were the least of evils presented to them from which to choose.
406. Humanity is to-day without an umpire - without a principle - without an idea - without a policy - without a lead that can command the assent of any considerable number of intelligent men or women, or even the general assent of the uncultivated and careless; but all society (so- called) is exposed, unprepared, unassisted, and Undefended, to the mere spirit of reckless adventure, corruption, quackery, and desperation.
407. A point of universal coincidence and co-operation which would naturally lead the race out of its chaos, is DOW, more than ever before, the great consideration.
408. If it is the work of man, it can be overthrown by man, and would, therefore, be liable to disappoint or ruin all who might build upon it. It must be indestructible, or it would be destroyed. It must be an Individuality, or it cannot lead, except into confusion. It must be an individual idea (not a plurality) that, notwithstanding the infinite diversity of minds, motives, and conditions, it will be sure to coincide with the instinctive action as well as with the natural understanding of all people. Is not the great fact of SELFSOVEREIGNTY such a unit?
409. Even the denial of it illustrates and confirms it.
410. Opposition to it is as harmless as would be the pelting a beggar with gold! Dissent itself not being antagonistic, but coinciding with it, who can avoid being in harmony with it practically, whatever he may be theoretically ?
411. Here, then, we have a harmonic warrant for FREEDOM TO DIFFER - a point never otherwise attained in human. affairs!
412. Here we have the " umpire of peace," the " last appeal," the " end of disturbing disputes "!
413. I may have a neighbor who is an old line Presbyterian, and who goes every Sunday to hear what I consider destructive theories; but, holding his sovereignty as sacred, I offer no obstacle other than acceptable counsel. If I have anything in his way, I will hasten to take it out of the way. My public duty towards the Catholic and every other persuasion is the same. I have no issue with either till an attempt is made to enforce assent or conformity from me or others. And my duty towards all political creeds and theories is precisely the same. They are all entitled to forbearance till some attempt is made to enforce them on the unwilling. This attempt is an encroachment upon the great sacred right of self-sovereignty - an attack upon the Divine law of Individuality, and will always beget resistance and war.
414. I do Dot expect very extensive, immediate coincidence in these conclusions but while the absolute sovereignty of every one (within his own sphere) is sacredly respected, there will be no serious collision on this point.
415. FREEDOM TO DIFFER. Freedom for you to do (at your own cost or within your own sphere) what I may consider wrong, foolish, or inexpedient, is the vital principle of peace and all progress; for your experiments may prove that you are right!
416. The "Reformation was based upon this great idea, but the Reformation will not be complete till it is clearly understood that each and every person is necessarily invested with an Individuality of his or her own, that, like the countenance of its possessor, is " in. alienable ; " and therefore that we cannot build theories requiring and depending on conformity or uniformity of reasoning, without constant liability to conflict, confusion, and disappointment.
417. For true order and progress we must preserve at all times and in all things FREEDOM TO DIFFER in word and in act, and thus approach co- operation by degrees instead of by any violent or sudden leap.
418. No matter how perverse any one may be, he never can get outside of the propensity to have his own way.
419. This point of coincidence once universally understood, there can be no outsiders, no foreigners, no hostile tribes or Clans, no political party, except " the party of the whole" !
420. The foundation for universal co-operation is now theoretically laid. In order to preserve harmony in progress, there must be freedom to differ in all things where difference is possible.
421. Therefore let us avoid all commitments to anything like what are commonly called organizations leading to Clanship. Our organization will not consist of subordinating* rules or any other external formulas but will exist in the understanding, internally, in fact and in spirit, while the external will consist of simply Correspondence or COMMUNICATION with each other, and that which naturally and spontaneously flows from it.
422. Having submitted our point of coincidence to the last and severest tests, and found it only confirmed as a sublime truth, we will begin to cluster around it other truths to aid that and each other in the complete solution of the problem of true civilization.
423. We bring, then, the principle of Equivalents with its beautifully beneficent power to harmonize our pecuniary interests- to neutralize the destructive power of unregulated competition - to make the interests of the individual harmonize with the interests of the public.
101. 424. We will bring our Equitable money into competion with common money, which will equalize power in the pecuniary sphere. Self-sovereignty in all departments, especially in the military, will equalize and restore back to each individual his legitimate share of the governing power, and (to the mind's eye) Equilib. rium begins to emerge from chaos.
424. We will bring our Equitable money into competion with common money, which will equalize power in the pecuniary sphere. Self-sovereignty in all departments, especially in the military, will equalize and restore back to each individual his legitimate share of the governing power, and (to the mind's eye) Equilib. rium begins to emerge from chaos.
425. The great elements of discord and repulsion being withdrawn or neutralized, and every new clustering truth becoming a new harmonizer, the long-stifled yearnings for sympathy with our kind will begin to expand, and the danger is that we may rush together into disastrous entanglements, unless preserved by constant, watchful regard to the fatal errors of Clanship and Communism.
426. As all unmixed or pure truths harmonize with each other, all minds filled with these only will necessarily harmonize; and expectations founded on them will not be likely to end in disappointment.
427. The coincidence or harmony of Nations will necessarily arise from that of 1ndividuals.
428. The sovereignty of every Individual in his or her own sphere, places all mankind upon the only possible plane of political Equality. All being sovereigns, none can be less, none more. This is beautifully illustrated at every assembly of kings and emperors. Each one is admitted by all the others to be supreme within his own sphere of jurisdiction. The supremacy of each constitutes the equality of all, while anything less than the supremacy of either would constitute so much political inequality between them, and any attempt of either, or of the majority, to subordinate any one of them, would at once become an element of war.
429. -No nation or tribe can, without direct violation of this great regulating principle, dictate laws or policies to any other, nor attempt to invade or subdue or plunder a single individual of the race.
430. Counsels, advice, deliberation, communication, Equitable commercial exchanges may at once commence, and forever continue to increase, mutually enriching and blessing each other, - without doing violence to any class, party, or person.
431. Here are the means of harmonizing the nations! Instead of mutual destruction from the wild promptings of unregulated instinct, we shall have mutual protection, prompted by an enlightened and regulated self- interest, harmonizing with universal interest, and giving rise to universal sympathy. The theme expands under our gaze, but with such dazzling splendor that the unaccustomed eye cannot dwell upon it.
* Those rules, laws, or institutions, which demand obedience against the inclination of the subject, subordinate or enthralled man; while those rules, laws, or institutions to which conformity is understandingly and cheerfully rendered, may be said to be subordinate to man, and with them, man is free. In present civilization institutions are above men; in true civilization man will be not under but within institutions or above institutions.
From : Anarchy Archives
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