On Picket Duty

The Boston Anarchists’ Club will hold a meeting on Sunday, February 10, at which Victor Yarros will deliver an address on The Individual, Society, and the State. The hour and the hall will be announced in the Sunday Notice columns of the Boston Globe and Herald of February 9 and 10. Not only members, but the general public, are cordially invited.

The Denver Arbitrator seems to occupy a position exactly similar to that held by the late American Idea. As, however, critical thought and scientific method, rather than sentiment and vague aspiration after the ideal, predominate in the former, there is greater hope of its following to their logical conclusion the Spencerian principles which it steadfastly advocates. In order to arrive at Anarchism it only needs to study the writings of that most sincere and intelligent of Spencer’s disciples, Auberon Herbert.

The New-York Sun is proud of the fact that Pope Leo personally thanked Charles A. Dana for the good work of his paper. Alas! that the idealist of the Brook Farm has sunk so low as to pride himself on the compliments of that king of impostors and human enslavers, the pope. What would his former fellow-dreamers and gentle reformers have thought of the good work which now so pleases Pope Leo as to induce him to forgive and forget Mr. Dana’s youthful sins against the authority of the infallible Church-State combination?

If I understand the Denver Arbitrator’s latest explanation of its attitude regarding decision by majority, it favors it simply and only as a practical method of procedure in voluntary associations, and never as a method of compelling unwilling minorities which are observant of the principle of equal liberty. In that view of the matter no Anarchist has any quarrel with the Arbitrator. It is my impression that majorityism has not always been kept within this limit in the editorial declarations of that journal. But never mind the past. If the limit is carefully observed in the future, Liberty will be satisfied.

Writing of the votes of the women in the recent Boston school election, C. L. James says that the statement of the Truth Seeker that the motive moving the women was the attempt of the Romanists to control the schools in the interest of the Catholic church is a refutation of the old assertion of the lord of creation that the women are the special victims of priestcraft, and their votes will be against intellectual liberty. Perhaps the former assertion would refute the latter, if it were true. But as a matter of fact what the women were fighting was the attempt of the Romanists to prevent the Protestants from controlling the schools in the interest of the Protestant church; which proves that the lord of creation was right in this instance, for the women showed themselves the victims of Protestant priestcraft, and their votes were cast against intellectual liberty.

The theoretical position taken by Henry George in regard to competition is that free trade should prevail everywhere except in those line of business where in the nature of things competition can exist only partially if at all, and that in such lines there should be a government monopoly. Yet in a recent speech in England he declared that it was not quite clear to him whether the sale of liquor should be free or monopolized by government. Mr. George, then, if honest and logical, must entertain a suspicion of the existence of some natural restriction upon competition in the sale of liquor. Will he be so good as to point it out? No, he will not; and for the reason that his professed criterion is simply a juggler’s attempt to conceal under something that looks like a scientific formula his arbitrary method of deciding that in such a channel of enterprise there shall be free trade, and in such another there shall be none.

A right theory of the functions of money, writes Robert Ellis Thompson in the Irish World, is of the first necessity for understanding the controversy between protection and free trade. This is an important truth, first expressed, I think, by Proudhon. It is precisely because Mr. Thompson does not understand the money question that he is a protectionist. Supposing that State control of money is a foregone conclusion, he sees as a logical result of this false premise that the State must also control the balance of trade. That his premise may be doubted does not seem to have occurred to him. The most extreme free trader, he says, opposes free trade in money. Evidently he is unaware that the extremity of free trade is not to be found in the New York Evening Post. The Anarchists are the extreme free traders, and they, to a man, favor free trade in money, most of them, in fact, recognizing it as a necessary condition of free trade in products. For, as Mr. Thompson truly says, it is the height of folly for a country to exchange industrial power for industrial products. In the absence of a tariff, the tendency would be to just that sort of exchange, provided the State should continue to deprive all products, save one or two, of the monetary function, and therefore of industrial power. Mr. Thompson, supposing this restriction of the monetary function to be necessary and wise, clings very sensibly to the tariff. He would have the State hem in industrial power and bar out industrial products. Of two wrongs he tries to make a right. The simpler way, involving no wrong at all, is to give industrial power to industrial products by endowing them with the monetary function, and then strike down all commercial barriers whatsoever.