More Questions.

More Questions.

To the Editor of Liberty:(14 ¶ 1)

I thank you for your courteous treatment of my questions in your issue of December 31, and as you express a willingness in this direction, I will follow in the same line, and trust you will still think my questions are pertinent and proper.(14 ¶ 2)

Do you think property rights can inhere in anything not produced by the labor or aid of man?(14 ¶ 3)

You say, Anarchism being neither more nor less than the principle of equal liberty, etc. Now, if government were so reformed as to confine its operation to the protection of equal liberty, would you have any quarrel with it? If so, what and why?(14 ¶ 4)

Will you please explain what jury trial in its original form was? I never knew that it was ever essentially different from what it is now.(14 ¶ 5)

S. Blodgett.

I do not believe in any inherent right of property. Property is a social convention, and may assume many forms. Only that form of property can endure, however, which is based on the principle of equal liberty. All other forms must result in misery, crime, and conflict. The Anarchistic form of property has already been defined, in the previous answers to Mr. Blodgett, as that which secures each in the possession of his own products, or of such products of others as he may have obtained unconditionally without the use of fraud or force, and in the realization of all titles to such products which he may hold by virtue of free contract with others. It will be seen from this definition that Anarchistic property concerns only products. But anything is a product upon which human labor has been expended, whether it be a piece of iron or a piece of land.[6](14 ¶ 6)

If government confined itself to the protection of equal liberty, Anarchists would have no quarrel with it; but such protection they do not call government. Criticism of the Anarchistic idea which does not consider Anarchistic definitions is futile. The Anarchist defines government as invasion, nothing more or less. Protection against invasion, then, is the opposite of government. Anarchists, in favoring the abolition of government, favor the abolition of invasion, not of protection against invasion. It may tend to a clearer understanding if I add that all States, to become non-invasive, must abandon first the primary act of invasion upon which all of them rest,—the collection of taxes by force,—and that Anarchists look upon the change in social conditions which will result when economic freedom is allowed as far more efficiently protective against invasion than any machinery of restraint, in the absence of economic freedom, possibly can be.(14 ¶ 7)

Jury trial in its original form differed from its present form both in the manner of selecting the jury and in the powers of the jury selected. It was originally selected by drawing twelve names from a wheel containing the names of the whole body of citizens, instead of by putting a special panel of jurors through a sifting process of examination; and by its original powers it was judge, not of the facts alone, as is generally the case now, but of the law and the justice of the law and the extent and nature of the penalty. More information regarding this manner may be found in Lysander Spooner’s pamphlet, Free Political Institutions.(14 ¶ 8)

14 n. 1. It should be stated, however, that in the case of land, or of any other material the supply of which is so limited that all cannot hold it in unlimited quantities, Anarchism undertakes to protect no titles except such as are based on actual occupancy and use.