On Picket Duty

The latest accession to the ranks of the Whitman imitators is George D. Herron. At this stage, as a rule, the good writer becomes indifferent, and the indifferent intolerable.

When a regular writer for the so-called Anarchist-Communist paper, Le Libertaire,, defines Anarchy as a society in which there will be the minimum of Communism and the maximum of individualism, I begin to believe that some good will come out of Nazareth, after all.

Another hen has been sitting on a duck's egg. President Hall, of Clark University, who used to believe in coeducation, no longer believes in it, experience having convinced him that it hinders marriage. The fact that coeducation has a tendency to discourage marriage tells against it in quite the same way that the ability to swim tells against a duckling.

Austrian courts have decided that marriages between Catholics and persons of no particular creed are invalid. From an Anarchistic point of view, not a bad idea. Anything that makes it more difficult for freethinkers to secure wives will have a tendency to make freethinkers free lovers also. At present too many of them are bigoted authoritarians in their view of sexual relationships.

When Judge George Gray was asked a few weeks ago to serve on the board of arbitration to settle the local differences between the Alabama coal operators and the miners, it was announced with a great flourish, first, that he could not accept, and, a little later, that he had decided to accept, though he must sacrifice his vacation to do so. He made the sacrifice, and got four thousand dollars for his job. Such opportunities for sacrifice are coveted by not a few. Arbitration is certainly a good thing for some.

One of Liberty's subscribers, Dr. M. W. Wilcox, of Guthrie, Okla., is justly indignant over the declaration of C. L. James in Free Society that Proudhon was a Catholic and that Bakounine was not a materialist. But why pay the slightest attention to the statements of a man who discovered some time ago that Karl Marx was an Anarchist? When, in addition to these three items of biographical misinformation, Mr. James shall have confided to the world that Stirner was an altruist, that Schopenhauer was an optimist, that Ibsen favors the subjection of women, that Henry George was not a traitor, that William Jennings Bryan is a gold-bug, that Theodore Roosevelt is no actor, and that he himself is an honest man, he will have placed to his discredit at least ten whacking lies, and perhaps then we will make a cross.

Theodore Roosevelt, whom Tom Reed admired chiefly because of his rediscovery of the Ten Commandments, has also discovered that Anarchy is now, as it always has been, the forerunner of tyranny. Of course, as long as progress is effected, as for a long time it must be, by a series of reactions between liberty and authority, it will be true that Anarchy is the forerunner of tyranny, and that tyranny is the equally forerunner of Anarchy. Anarchy is the forerunner of tyranny in precisely the same sense that the liberty acquired by the negro in 1863 has proved the forerunner of peonage and lynching. But Roosevelt has rather damaged his reputation as a Columbus by discovering further that mob violence is simply one form of Anarchy. This is just the reverse of the truth. Mob violence is simply one form of Archy, and the army violence for which Roosevelt stands is simply another form of Archy. The two are very close relations, whereas Anarchy belongs to quite another family. The only Anarchistic form of co-operative violence is that of voluntary co-operation for defence. Mob violence is voluntary co-operation for offence, and army violence is compulsory co-operation for offence and defence.

In the labor injunction case of certain telegraph operators against the Western Union Telegraph Company, Judge Rogers, of the United States Circuit Court, sitting in St. Louis, decided that the company has the absolute right to dismiss employees because they belong to the union, or for any other reason; that a like right exists on the part of the employee to sever his relations with the company for any cause, or without cause; that there could be no conspiracy to commit a lawful act; and that the company had the right to maintain a list on which might be placed the name of discharged employees and the cause of discharge, which list might be given to others, provided its contents were truthful and its circulation honest. This is perfectly sound doctrine, and, although nominally rendered against laborers, is really a great victory for labor, if it shall know how to take advantage of it. But I am curious to see what Mr. Hugo Bilgram will think about it. Unless he shall denounce this judicial upholding of the blacklist with the same vehemance that he exhibited in his denunciation of Liberty's upholding of the boycott, it will be a fair inference that his opposition to the boycott is nothing more than the expression of an employer's bias. But, if he does denounce the court's decision, it will be plain that at least one court in the United States understands liberty better than Mr. Bilgram understands it.