Georgia & Henry Replogle
Egoism Vol. II. No. 10.
It turns out that Herbert Spencer is capable of the rankest prejudices, just like very ordinary mortals. A letter in “Liberty” from a Mr. Frederick R. Burton, proves that Spencer condemned Proudhon without having read a line of his writings, and, as if to leave no doubt of his unqualified prejudice, declares he never shall. Thus tumble the great before the analytic eye of the unknown layman.
After a few weeks’ suspension, “Liberty” is now issued from New York, P. O. Box 1312. It appears in a new dress of larger type, a change that will be hailed with delight by many of its readers. The subscription price has been raised to two dollars a year, while the paper remains a weekly of four pages. Its editor remarks that “few people care to read journals which tell the truth, and as a consequence the privilege is costly and very precious.” Further, he believes that the readers of the paper “sufficiently appreciate it to be willing to pay two dollars annually to help it in its struggle for existence.” Owing to engagements at a distance from the office of publication, Victor Yarros can no longer perform the duties of associate editor, but will contribute with reasonable frequency.
John Henry Mackay, author of “The Anarchists,” has discovered the grave of Max Stirner and the house in which he spent his last, days. Mr. Mackay desires to erect a grave stone and memorial tablet, and solicits donations to that purpose. Max Stirner was the Proudhon of Egoism, and a plain monument erected by the hands of strangers would be a very effective way to call attention to the idea, as well as gratifying in the way of passive defiance of a Moralistic cant no less active now than when Stirner wrote. Since EGOISM is the most accented exponent of the philosophy in the world, it would not be unreasonable for Mr. Mackay to expect at least a square lift from its readers. We will contribute something on our own account, and will gladly acknowledge in these columns any amounts that others may forward us to send with it. As an expression of gratitude the mark cannot, of course, reach Stirner, but it gives us an opportunity to say “I,” before men.
Ambrose Bierce getteth there to EGOISM’s delight in the following: “I am in receipt of a kind invitation to join the Theosophical Society, whose main object, it appears, is ‘the practical realization Of Universal Brotherhood.’ I must be excused—that is about the last thing that I could wish to bring about. Universal brotherhood, if it means anything, means (for me) a closer relation between me and the rest of the race. As a considerable majority of the rest of the race happens to be made up of knaves, dunces and savages, I am not seeking that kind of relations with it. The Society may tickle its ears with fantastic phrases babbled in gorgeous dreams until it is drunken with words, but I shall not join the debauch. ‘The universal brother, as I know him, has ever manifest in the manner of him an invitation to be slapped ‘on the back and addressed as ‘old feller’—to the which love-feast I am deeply disinclined. In the circumstance that many of us are descended from the same species of apes, I find a sufficiently near approach to universal brotherhood to satisfy my highest and holiest aspirations for spiritual gregariousness.”
If the chief of police of this city were a German, his late grand “April fool” on the wrong end of the month might be accounted for on the hypothesis that Germans sometimes get things in an unfamiliar language wrong end before, but since the chief’s name smacks of tubers, no theory save that of magnificent stupidity can account for his action. On the night of April 30 he had every available man on his force concealed about the banks and millionaire residences of the city lying in wait for a shower of bombs predicted no doubt, by the inspiration of mince pie which the chief’s salary can furnish. He could feel it in his bones that the “anarchists” of the world would rise in their might that night and get a start for May day, and he wouldn’t be caught napping and lose the opportunity of his life to be heard of outside the offices of local monopolists and of beer tables. So all night long the smooth-fingered warriors kept awake and quivered and shivered in the fog while the demon Anarchist slept comfortably first on one side then on the other as he dreamed of Mutual Banks and one-half of one per cent interest till the distant-sounding cry of the newsboys’ “all about the ‘anarchists’” brought him back to the realization of privileged metal, a sensational press, and gullible mammals, and he wondered if a dreamograph had been invented and sprung upon him to aid the authority-priests in making capital even of his dreams. Then with intense curiosity he read of the valorous deeds at the ghost battle which probably left the blue—coat underwear in good sanitary condition, and he smiled a derisive, yet satisfied smile as he realized the enemy thus hacking away at its own throat according to the plan of his campaign. It had exposed the ignorance and childishness of State prestige, and this is his weapon and victory. The chief and his men should join the militia and play war in the day time at a summer resort, it is accompanied by less loss of sleep and does not provoke a smile on the carved figures of the keystones and cornices.
Mount Walt Whitman.
Nay, it cannot be, for the mountains do not
They say he is dead, but the difference does
For he is a mountain,
A great, gray rock,
Rugged, alone, forever;
And the mountains endure, sublime, motion-
less, and fixed before us;
They touch the sky, and we must see them,
and we cannot forget.
Have you ever considered how marvelous a
With its white head among the stars,
Its foundations broad as the bases of all
Deep as the center of the world’s heart;
A witness of all, and of the order of all,
Surveying the centuries, and the scratches
man makes in the surface of things, and
the coming and going, like shadows, of
Familiar with the red whips of the lightning,
and the deep-throated thunder;
With night, and the great tempests, and
the wide winds of destiny;
The changing worlds of vapor, the awful sol-
itudes under the stars, and the white,
mysterious movings of moonlight:
Full of great voices, solemn music, sweet
songs, and the embracing silences of the
The roar of avalanches, the screams of ea-
gles, the melody of falling streams, the
love-whistle of little birds nesting by the
The blue tarns among the gray rocks (the
wild fowl know them) girt with green
pines, placid, reflecting like mirrors:
Rich with mines of the white ore and the
Iron for strength, and coal for heat,
And radiant, glittering gems:
With slopes and valleys where vines grow,
and flocks feed, and hamlets nestle:
And over all, and with all, always the free
air and the wide view.
Ah, Walt, Walt, poet of Nature, comrade of
Other poets have been Olympian,
But you are Olympus itself.
—J. WM. LLOYD.
March 28, ’92.
When the jury in the ease of the bomb-thrower in Paris was intimidated from imposing the death penalty lest the prisoner’s friends should blow its members up, the people, faithful followers of Herbert Spencer that in this regard they were, raved and denounced it unqualifiedly. They wanted to put into practice the great philosopher’s proposition of sacrificing the individual to the preservation of the species, but fortunately for the individual, represented in the personeity of the jury, he was doing the counting himself, and as teneted by Tak Kak, did not count himself out. It was also an all around fine illustration of the beauties of proxy representation; showing the people how they cannot, against the interests of the proxy, get what they want, and showing the proxy that really representing people who know what they want, is not an office to be desired. And the protruding deduction from it all points definitely to the individual as the permanent factor both to be preserved and to assume his own responsibility, if the species is to be preserved in any sense except in that incomplete one characterizing the operations of the unintelligent elements.
The editor of the New York “Truth Seeker” after citing the most conclusive evidence that Freethinkers will not organize, does not relish the correct conclusion of a Christian paper that Freethinkers have not love enough of human kind to sacrifice for their fellow men, and he desires to see the charge disproven. If it had not been so impossible for him to conceive what EGOISM was published for when it appeared, he could now with a master’s assurance concur with his Christian critic and demolish him with the irrefutable argument that Freethinkers are rational in such refusal to sacrifice, in that they inculcate by practice the just principle of each doing his own sacrificing and thereby working out his own salvation without the absurd and repulsive idea of vicarious atonement. It is at least discernible, that after more than a thousand years of sacrifice preaching by Christians, the world has not seriously loved its kind yet save as the kind has been loved by each loving himself in a more or less utilitarian manner. And it is conspicuously possible that the religious and primitively-conceived sacrificial principle is slightly off, and that the solution of “human kind” loving lies in the justification of self-loving, as against the blind impulse of sacrifice-demanding. In other words, Egoism is the logical conclusion of rational ethics, just as Anarchism is that of religious liberty, and the logic of events will yet force the reluctant “Truth Seeker” to accept the doctrines of a minority it loves to chide because that minority’s deductions are too comprehensive for the dough-brained herd to assimilate at a glance. And in an eternal fitness of things, behold the “practical” Freethought editor mourning because Freethinkers are not as slavishly dominated by the superstition of sacrifice to man, as Christians are by the superstition of sacrifice to God. It appears that it is a matter between Christian and Freethought editors as to which ghost, instead of ghost or no ghost, as one might expect with rationalists on one side of the controversy. Whatever trembling editors may say, let the Freethought laity follow the rationalistic premise to its logical conclusion even though it lands the laity in the Egoistic camp; there its position is impregnable to both Christian and Freethought editors.
C. R. Bennett, the sweet-scented secretary of the Society for the Prevention of Vice, and the Anthony Comstock of the Pacific coast, has run aground at last. About three years ago by passing for an unmarried man he worked himself into the confidence of a young church sister to an extent that resulted in her becoming pregnant, a matter he had reduced by the shortest route. The girl having now learned the little lesson to the end was, it seems, ready to abandon an amusement so expensive to her, but Bennett was loth to lose the reward of his labors just as they were well finished, and persisted. When she finally positively rejected his further advances, he persecuted her by threatening to prove her a public woman or prostitute, averring that he could prove anything he wanted to. Thus he started scandal that at last lost her a situation at typewriting, and she was driven to the verge of suicide, whereupon her mother having gained her confidence, revealed affairs to the father, and the pious ghoul was exposed and silenced. But it was found to be too late for retaliation by law, and Bennett is free. His wife says this is not his first offense, that an orphan girl living with them in New York met a similar fate, and then there is the probable long list that has not been made public. But for the dense sexual ignorance and inexperience to which girls are subjected by the popular superstition, I should have little sympathy for a girl fool enough to be affected by such a repulsive cobra as Bennett. It being impossible now to prosecute him, his society will probably do everything in its power to cover the matter up and put the girl in the lie, and once more the rich and the powerful will have washed over their blunder with the blood of the weak. Could she and her parents penetrate the sexual superstition and realize that her conduct would have been within her right without the excuse of seduction, and that there are intelligent people and desirable companions in easy reach who would respect and sustain her in such a course, this crossway to prospective social annihilation could be the threshold to a life that scorns the rarest prizes of the philistine society that tramples her. But herself a victim of the sexual superstition that crushes her, she will kiss its feet as she disappears in the bog of unanalyzed institutions, and the history of ages will have repeated itself.
Since EGOISM’s last appearance the “Twentieth Century” has changed hands and closed its career as a more or less consistent Anarchistic paper. It was sold to the Humboldt Publishing Company. For more than a year and a half F. C. Leubuscher had been the sole proprietor and publisher, Hugh O. Pentecost editing the paper on a salary. Mr. Pentecost now retires, but J. W. Sullivan is retained associate editor with Joseph Fitzgerald, who takes Mr. Pentecost’s place. Mr. Fitzgerald brings with him “the resources of twenty years’ experience at editorial work,” and an abundance of literary furniture in the shape of quoted phrases, parenthesized explanations, and technically italicized foreign words which will bore his readers. His editorials evince an appreciable sense of the ridiculous and a ready wit which will atone for much technical sin. But what is most to be regretted is the sexual superstition and authoritarianism betrayed in an editorial defending presumably an old maid meddler in the sexual relations of a “community” said to be located at Santa Rosa in this state. It is charged that these people indulge in “lewdness,” “orgies,” and “wallowing,” whereupon the new editor declares that, “if any government, national, or state, or any agency of whatever kind, being invoked puts an end to such a state of things” he has no tears to shed. That is, he sanctions the most flagrant violation of equal freedom if others exercise it in nonconformity to a taste induced by his physical condition or appropriated from among his grandmother’s ideas. If the people complained of have energy to expend in any kind of debauchery or in any other way that does not invade, there is no reason why they should not do so as freely as men engage in the “tug of war,” football, wrestling, prize fighting or any other mutual contest in which energy is wasted. It is not complained that the “orgists” invade others’ premises or force them to take part, and so long as this is true they are immeasurably less dangerous as citizens than the archistic editor who winks at mob violence even, for he says, “any agency of whatever kind.” There are already plenty of journals voicing such sentiment, and the “Twentieth Century” is not original. Furthermore, unless the new editor learns as fast as the former one did he will dishearten a progressive constituency which cannot be expected to advance in the same direction from its present intellectual meridian that a crawfish does from its own front.
Hugh O. Pentecost had previously entered the law profession and had to drop the editorial work to meet the exactions of the other vocation. He declared it a sweet relief to retire to private life, but I dare say he will want to mix in again when time shall have definitely and clearly posited his sociological ideas. But however this may be, he retires with EGOISM’s admiration and heartiest wish for his future welfare. He did much good work that would as yet remain unaccomplished if there had been no Hugh O. Pentecost.
A Communist’s Logic.
J. H. Morris, the somewhat sore of the two soaring editors of the Portland Communist paper, “Freedom,” is mad at me for suggesting that he should know more about social science than he does. I can appreciate his position, for I have been there myself; one feels resistlessly ugly when his emotions have had a little war dance lacking in coherence, and a spectator points out the fact. Mr. Morris’s strongest though somewhat irrelevant arguments against my position consist in stating that EGOISM does not appear very often and that it is filled with a low order of mechanical wit. I heartily concur with his deduction that it is issued too infrequently, but insist that “low” and “high,” like blasphemy and holiness, depend upon certain superstition, and his use of the term exposes a superstition as persistently and helplessly as an unveiled face exposes a sty on the eye of beauty. And as for the mechanical character of the paper’s wit, it is probably the only feature that has enabled the skimming Mr. Morris to understand some part of the matter published in it. But the critic is himself guilty of an admirable little breach of the same kind. He says that I evidently consider myself, “Mr. Tucker, and Proudhon the holy trinity, that shall steer (or bull) the race into better things.” This is of course absurd, inapplicable, and without point except in the mechanical effect of the words, but it gives me a gleam of hope for the man’s ultimate deliverance from the dreamland of communistic indefiniteness. However, this slender thread shines through a long tunnel of gobbler pride and semi-intellectual confusion. Criticism will have to penetrate the backbone, now alone affected, and reach the intellectual lobe, so as to discipline the bubbling desires into an adaptation of means to ends in the creation of ideals. He will then discover that the statutory dam is the only artificial foe of liberty and industrial freedom, and that a change-of-heart gospel admonishing abstention from competition is not only no part of an effective program, but that it is positively idiotic.
Having stood on EGOISM’s financial distress and machine-made wit, Mr. Morris argues:
We are agreed that government is a force to maintain special privileges. But government may exist in more forms than one. The basic principle of the social structure is competition, and upon that the present government exists. Under his ideal, Egoism says the basis will remain the same, but instead of the State as a (so-called) protector of the right of the individual he proposes that contracts be let to competing “protective associations.” Bitter as he is against Communism, he here proposes a little of it.
To say that the present government exists on competition, is about as accurately descriptive of it as to say that it exists on pumpkins or its sympathy for its victims. Contemporaneous with it exist pumpkins and competition along with monopoly and many other things, but government, so far from existing on competition, exists upon its opposite—monopoly. It monopolizes the prerogative of the citizen to dispose of invaders by the local jury system; it monopolizes his prerogative of determining for himself what kind of credit he shall accept and give; of deciding in local council what shall constitute a title to land; of determining who shall materialize mental impressions and use them; of determining what uninvasive tastes he shall exercise; of selecting a man to plead his cause when on trial, and even of choosing the carrier of his communications. Remove this monopoly and allow the citizen to compete with the government in any or all these, and see how it exists on competition. The present social order is the result of a half-breed Communism and competition constituting an order which reaps most of the evils of Communism with few of the advantages of real competition. It is communistic in granting power to create privilege, and competitive in forcing the disfranchised to compete for opportunity to labor, but it is no more a truly competitive than a communistic social order, and to so characterize it betrays an ignorance of the nature of competition that places such an advocate beyond the pale of notice save as a subject to illustrate collectivist folly to those more receptive and less bombastic.
Before proceeding to Mr. Morris’s only attempt to fairly face my argument, I must expose his absurd assumption that I am inconsistent regarding Communism when I propose protective associations. Mr. Morris’s motto, “From each according to his ability, and to each according to his present need” [italics mine], is my definition of Communism, and “association” no more implies this obligation and distribution than it implies its exact opposite. In fact not so much, as associations generally, distribute and tax on competitive principles. A combination for protection would necessarily award the highest wages to the rarest skill or most repugnant labor, and there would be no “to each according to his present need” about it, and therefore no Communism. This holds good and is the principle I keep in view when and wherever I refer to associations. Now let my critic stay by his own definition, and he will give no opportunity to sport with his reckless argument on this point.
Standing up like a little man, but with only the shadow of short information for a weapon, he says of labor owning under equal opportunity:
If the idea remains intact that a man is entitled to all he can get, at physical labor with equal opportunities the strong man would soon accumulate more than the weak, and I see nothing to prevent his hiring a greater army of “protectors”—corresponding exactly with the Pinkerton thugs—and using them to oppress his weaker neighbor. Then the stronger could easily unite and divide up the earth and make vassals of those unable to protect themselves. By this means the physically strong would be better able to become monopolists than under the present system. And it seems to me this would be the natural outcome of Egoism’s ideal, for when men have a community of interests, whether for good or bad purposes, nothing is more natural than a community of efforts.
If it had not been easier for Mr. Morris to call me an egotist than to read and digest “Free Political Institutions,” he would not have been caught with this groundless argument. That treatise proposes and successfully defends a plan which must effect an ideal administration of justice, making anything like the suggested Pinkerton thugdom impossible. It consists of putting the administration of the law of equal freedom in the hands of local juries chosen by lot, which shall determine the penalty as well as judge the evidence, thus trying each case on its own merits. Such an administration would nail all aggressive acts of “protectors” as promptly as complaints were made, for by that plan the “weak” are as likely to sit in judgment as the strong, and their “community of interests” would not fail to do its work. And, making a closer analysis of Mr. Morris’s objection, let us assume that some men can produce even twice as much in any activity as others, one such must give at least half his labor to pay even the poorest producer for robbing, or the proposed hired robber will produce on his own hook, it being as good pay and a safer occupation. And even if the robber should choose to rob for the same remuneration assured by production, it would not pay his employer to hire him, for he could rob only weaker men who produce less than the strong employer pays, and there would be a loss instead of a gain. Besides, resistance is about as effective through modern means in the hands of the physically weak as in those of the strong, so that in the absence of governmental superstition, none except idiots could be imposed upon, and these would make a representative communistic society, which to prevent the individual being deprived of his own, proposes to take it itself. Finally, since an interest consisting of the gratification of sympathy, is the only factor that could maintain a social order in which the strong would give up their surplus earnings to the weak and indolent, it is certain that such kind of interest would much sooner maintain each in his own production. Or in other words, it is easier to cause the strong not to rob the weaker, than to cause the weak to rob the stronger, as would be true of, “From each according to his ability, and to each according to his present need.”
I do not wish to be understood as seriously assuming it a debatable question that the strong men in a community which has abolished the State would rob the weaker ones, but have argued at this length to emphasize its absurdity and to expose the tenacity with which a Communist will cling to even the shadow of a defense of his emotion-born “social science.”
Bad logic, however, is not Mr. Morris’s only sin; in his zeal to make me appear ridiculous, he affords to resort to absolute falsification. In a previous reply I argued at considerable length and emphasized that Egoists, including myself of course, do not wish to withdraw from society in the comprehensive sense of the word. But in face of this, he says:
Egoism says he “will not mix” with his fellows. Then, as one man could not build a steamboat or bridge a large river, when he wanted to cross he might be seen astride a log, with a pole for an oar, paddling across. I also suspect that he would be found living in a bark hut or a cave. An “association” might build a bridge or a boat, but that is “communism”—his ideal has already fallen. Of course the association would own the means of crossing, and the rest of the community would continue to cross on their own private logs or pay tribute. Some people would call that monopoly. Now why not apply a little common sense just here? The whole community want a bridge; there is a community of interests, why not of efforts? Why should they not combine and build a bridge that would serve man and beautify the landscape for ages?
I have already shown that association‘and competition are compatible, and a boat or bridge would be easily possible without destroying my ideal. And I can see no reason why the rest of the community should not use their private logs, rather than be hogs and wish to cross at others’ expense. If any one could think such association means monopoly, it must be some one like my critic, who cannot tell the difference between monopoly and competition. For so long as the association does not prevent the rest of the community building a means of crossing, it cannot be said to monopolize such crossing. There is no reason why the whole community should not build a bridge if it wants to, but there is good reason why any part of it should not help if it does not wish to, and also why it should pay for using the bridge even “according to its present need.”
Now that I have shown the irrelevance, the shallow analysis, and the misrepresentation of Mr. Morris’s effort, it may be justly observed that his characterizing me in his reply as nonsensical and weak-minded, was a little early and not too becoming.
A Curious Critic.
The writers for EGOISM are, in the main sound, and show an abundant ability. Why, then, can they not exhibit a little more manhood? In the first place if they are anybody, and ever expect to amount to anything, let us know who they are. Who is the “Manager”—the man with the wife? “H,” I take it, is David Hume, Associate Editor. Then why not say so? And “Tak Kak” is a personage of importance. Why does he skulk? Names are for convenience. Why inconvenience and annoy us by keeping your important selves to yourselves?
But the most reprehensible of all, by five thousand per cent, is the “Manager’s” folly and crime in having a “wife,” of which high misdemeanor he seems in no way ashamed. He knows that marriage is not only a supreme humbug, but the blackest of barbarisms. If he has a “wife.” he is married. And if married, and publicly parading the fact, he throws his influence in favor of this diabolism. With his intelligence (I will not charge him with having a conscience), it is surprising that he can digest his food and sleep soundly, while engaged in a business so unmeritorious.
Mr. Barry is interestingly humorous, but nevertheless, if I did not know the contrary through other means, I should by the uncontrollable curiosity evinced believe his anatomy to be semi-mesially divided, despite the “i” in his name. It cannot make the slightest difference in the convenience, what name is signed to matter so long as one is signed at all, and I take it that the annoyance experienced, is the same kind that is felt by the worldly philistine when he is troubled about the sexual relations of Freelovers, and my sympathy is not dominant.
If by “exhibiting manhood” Mr. Barry means the blind, Salvation Army zeal which leads most radicals to give the enemy every advantage of them in the way of financial boycott, we unblushingly confess a lack of it. We have to get employment from people who would carry us out with iron tongs and lash us with flesh ones if they knew us to be the publishers of EGOISM’s doctrine. As it is, we are enabled to pick off here and there some of the enemy’s men with its own ammunition, and gradually, very gradually, work up a subscription list that will furnish rations allowing our names to be “bravely” flaunted to the gaze of an admiring public. Rest assured that people vain enough to spend most of their earnings in saying their say, are vain enough to do it over their names the moment they believe they can afford it. If the most of the radicals were not so narrow that they will not support a paper a little more consistent than they take the trouble to be in their thought, and most of the rest so much like their orthodox neighbors that they are entirely indifferent, we could ignore the philistine with ideal unconcern. But things are thus and will still be after this, and so long as we must sustain the paper ourselves while we drink at the creek of local patronage we cannot afford the luxury of being identified with it, and Mr. Barry will have to go it blind unless I privately reveal to him a great name with an unvarnished tale.
And as for the “Manager,” he tries, vainly it seems, to write ridiculous matter, and is sometimes not in dead earnest. “Wife,” is with him a term of convenient irony which describes a legal fact. He is married in letter, and will probably remain so while it affords no greater than present inconvenience. His real heresy on things married would possibly shock even Mr. Barry. But I fail to see why the “Manager’s” undevout conduct in parading his marriedness should disturb either his or anybody else’s intelligence. If he or they had a conscience, such as described by Tak Kak, wherein one is dominated by a sense of wrong followed by no consequences, one might get it in the stomach like a mince pie, but well verified intelligence has no such notion, and could not therefore be disturbed by it. Mr. Barry’s implication that it could and should, reveals a wooly scalp among the stove wood that fain would slyly expose the “Manager” to the prejudice of those who boast of conscience or the faculty whose supposed function it is to look out for others’ interests exclusively. But in so doing Mr. Barry refutes the latter claim, for he does not look out for the “Manager” but for his own notion and the annihilation of the “Manager’s” idea. He does not see that such annihilation would bring any undesirable consequences, and thus illustrates that the concept conscience, is either a rule of expediency or a superstition, the violation of which would be followed by no tangible consequences.
My experience since last number has once more been a a checkered one. Its background is of a meltingly-tender green, striped both ways later with broad streaks of deep blue. I have lately tried to start an advertising paper that should be self-supporting from the first. The hope was to make enough money out of it to relieve the radicals of the country of EGOISM’s financial burden, but alas, the plans of men and other mice don’t always go, and the subscriptions will have to continue. I wrote up as variable a description of what I see on the local trains as I could, then I selected from George Macdonald’s Observations his “Schweitzer Tomato,” and some from my own Experience, and sat them in type from which I pounded some proofs with an upholstered planer and a bob-tailed shoe hammer. I then worked two weeks on a job from which I realized $55 that I paid out for the engraving of a heading which was of such novel design that my wife couldn’t read it when it came. Now as I meant to make a great hit with the heading itself, this was relentlessly exasperating, and I immediately squandered four hits altering letters which she insisted didn’t help it one bit. I secretly wanted a divorce and sole charge with my large right foot.
Now the thing that makes the newspaper man’s life bag at the knees and gap in the seat is that he can’t have everybody’s advertisement at the bottom of a reading column or next to reading matter at least. Here I had hatched out an idea that would take the exacting merchant by storm and cause him to submit and fold up like a girl who is willingly being kissed. I made the “dummy” for an 8-page paper with its first page solid reading matter, so that it would look like any other magazine. On the other pages I pasted the matter so that the advertising spaces were sandwiched at equal distances in the reading matter, occurring in each instance between the beginning and the end of an intensely interesting sentence. Reading matter above, below and on the side of the advertisement l—who could resist. Even my skeptical wife became enthusiastic and gave me a dollar to buy a stewed shirt in which to solicit.
With this snowy, rustling garment full of hopeful uncertainty, and an armful of carefully-pasted “dummies” I walked with a made-up nonchalance into the establishment of the most progressive advertiser in Oakland, and upon inquiring for his whereabouts was motioned to his private office. Having run the gauntlet of gilded clerks, I was in the presence of the brainy proprietor and at ease. He listened attentively to my very modest request to read all of the first and second pages so as to get at the nature of the matter and the effect of the advertising, which was illustrated in one of the spaces by the announcement in large type that ten thousand copies would be distributed in Oakland. I then volunteered to call again the next morning, and glode out feeling like a great genius who has easily invented something for which there is to be a great demand. I had little difficulty in getting my “dummies” out, although some merchants refused to look at either me or my scheme. In retaliation for this I gloated over the sheriff’s sale notice I should soon see at each of their doors.
The next morning I called upon my first man and found his office filled with smoke. It flashed upon me that his enthusiasm over my enterprise had become so warm that it had set fire to my “dummy,” but it was only a cigar afire which he was vainly trying to blow out by suction. It can’t be done. He had looked my plan over carefully and approved of it, and would certainly take space in the paper—if he hadn’t put out his apportionment of advertising money in advertising in the local trains, which be regarded as a better method than any that a paper could furnish. I felt a coolish vacancy far inside my new shirt as I swept mildly out, but I kicked myself into perseverance and the establishments of the men who had no advertisements in the local trains. Surely they could offer no excuse. And they didn’t—they simply did not want to advertise now. Some had not had time to look at the paper, and others still, said they did not advertise in that way, a point on which I agreed with them, since such a plan had in my knowledge never before appeared. I now grew desperate and hung on many days, till my shirt became tear-stained under the arms and had my vest pattern photographed on its bosom, but no order resulted. I found that a few men advertise to attract customers; that some advertise only to extend themselves politically and socially, and that the majority do so from a sense of duty, for which a very small amount of poorly displayed space suffices.
Once more I find myself ignored, crushed, and trodden down by a clam-minded world. I alone can properly appreciate my genius, and shall try to get a job of heaving coal and let the mercantile interests of the community go to...; I don’t care if the goods are never sold.
One Sunday in April the People’s Free Lyceum of this city was to discuss the question, “What is Philosophical Anarchy.” I was curious to hear what would be said and the manner thereof, and on that morning when the house was cleaned up and my wife turned out on the park, I mowed my jaws, transferred the polish from my coat collar to my shoes, and rode on the boat and cars to the meeting while I delicately wiped my nose with a large milk-colored silk handkerchief which I found upon a day. In a sharp wind and due time I arrived at the hall and found it wearing a carpet along with the air I used to experience at seance rooms in the days when I was satisfied to let my information all ooze in via my wishes, and from the sympathetic hands of pretty feminine sitters. My chair was still mellow when a little girl with more devotion than experience tried to sell me a pamphlet by my friend W. N. Slocum, but he had previously imparted his ideas to me as we seated type on “Freethought,” and I was not curious nor a nickel poorer.
The hall was soon filled with people only a few of whom had worn the hair off the upper corners of their foreheads against sociological problems. A good-natured man with a white tie and a nicely-fitting black suit and mustache was chosen chairman, and the mill was set a grinding. My friend H. C. B. Lowell, one of the editors of former “Enfant Terrible,” championed our cause. He executed his plan of battle well, but his plan was not the one I should have pursued. He was in the affirmative and took the negative ground of proving that majority rule is inexpedient and a social failure because it defeats equal freedom, whereupon it follows that Anarchism is the correct social principle. My plan would be to state the necessity of equal freedom and present Anarchism as a consistent expression of it, showing where Anarchistic principles are acknowledged in the existing social order and where their exercise is abridged, along with the results. Then I should show the difference between State Socialism and Anarchism and show that majority rule and proxy representation, the absurd and tyrannous practice of the existing social order, is the principle of State Socialism, and that the local jury system, as proposed by the pamphlet “Free Political Institutions” disposes of every pretext for majority rule and proxy representation. Indeed, the State Socialists drove the question to this point once, but no speaker seemed to know of this clincher, and they tallied a point when they asked, “How will you administer equal freedom?” and were not explicitly answered. Unable to longer restrain myself at this point, I followed the detestable example set at these meetings of breaking in upon the speaker with, “By the local jury system,” which the State Socialists applauded as a great witticism, and which our men failed to catch onto. It might be asked why I did not come to the rescue, if I knew so much. The question is pertinent and the answer forthcoming: I am built with an oral safety-damper, so that I cannot become a martyr from radical utterances at public meetings. I am often aware of what I think, when seated, but the moment I rise before an audience the damper drops and my mind is all shut off except the consciousness that I am before a congregation of countenances who are expecting me to say something. And my mind being void of thought, I sit down upon the spring that brought me to my feet. This spring is, indeed, the test of talent at these meetings. The nimblest man gets the floor. My friend H. W. Youmans declares it the most orthodox conception he ever heard of, to draw the line on free speech at rheumatism, as he here witnessed. The most unmitigable nuisance at these meetings in this regard, is a bantam-mannered jesuit, one Patrick Healy. He sits lashing his sides with his attitude and springs to his feet at the close of every speech, whether he has a point or not. I understand he has been a reader of “Liberty” for years, and has, if I remember aright, elicited some compliments from its editor, but he declared once and again and again that philosophical Anarchism means the destruction of society and that the latter can never exist without government. I fear that if my sociologic master had attended that meeting he would have come away a very much discouraged man upon witnessing the incompleteness with which his carefully-stated social science is absorbed by men whom he has believed strong and consistent Anarchists. Even H. Boyer, who could not afford to disentangle EGOISM’s ideas, believes that “there are Anarchists and Anarchists.”
In addition to Mr. Cowell’s principal effort, George Cummings made a good reply to some criticisms of Anarchism, and Clara Dixon Davidson, one of the editors of former “Enfant Terrible,” put in a few sharp hits. Then a student from Stanford University, who is a reader of this paper, nailed a number of Collectivist absurdities. A man who claimed to have never before heard of philosophical Anarchism, made some meritorious remarks which indicated that there is a considerable number of people in the skilled and professional classes ripening for the scientific sociological conception if it were presented to them by careful exponents.
In the discussion one or two of the State Socialists spoke soberly and seemed willing to appeal to the logical faculty alone, but the rest appealed to the emotions only or resorted to the politicians’ trick of working horselaughs on surface criticisms. Others were content with emissions of personal abuse. Notable among these was a sharp-featured old he maid with snaky lisp and spiteful inflection, who elaborated on the proposition that Mr. Cowell was crazy. Then there was another with a swallow-tailed mouth about which he wore an intensely Prince Albert coat, who competed with Mr. Healy for the floor and devoted his time to demolishing the straw men he manufactured from a misstatement of Mr. Cowell’s words. A man with a threadbare scalp and pelvic susceptibility declared that it is one’s duty to defend his wife, mother, daughter, or sister, but not his son, father, or brother. Mothers-in-law were not catalogued in either list. He also averred that bomb-throwing is bad taste, to say the least. He was not without a redeeming trait, however, for when he was hissed for some fogy remark, he retaliated with the sarcasm, “Serpents and geese alone hiss.” He omitted prejudice. While another was speaking, the acting usher arose and asked some men at the door to come to the front for seats, whereupon the speaker, hearing the voice of a known opponent, supposed he had asked a question, and indignantly shouted: “Wait till I’m through, you are always putting in when there is opposition argument!” Then, intensifying the ridiculous into the indescribable, he mistook the spontaneous burst of laughter that followed for an applause of his rebuke. Any one breaks in whenever he likes, and he and the speaker have a little parenthetical discussion, after which the latter proceeds with his remarks. The sessions last three hours and are the ideal of “Free Communism,” with the exception that the speakers are limited to a certain time.
For those who like to hear themselves advocate, and for the fanatically devoted these meetings are a fount of ecstatic delight, but I fail to see much other use for them. If some individual were engineering them, and would select the ablest from both sides allowing each set to arrange as to who should elaborate on and emphasize particular points in their doctrine, such meetings could be made interesting and somewhat profitable, but as it is, they are a kind of Socialistic cat fight where the same Thomases go every Sunday for a little promiscuous bout accented with the same squalls and spits all around. At the best, public debate is a relic of the arena of physical combat, and addresses the emotions too much for the best deductive results. It is not like print, where one can return and ponder over and analyze a new suggestion and still be in plenty of time for the next sentence, which stays put all day.
Like any plug, this meeting finally stopped. Then iron-featured State Socialists with inflexible notions and large quids of tobacco strode sternly out, while their champions with an esthetic air and flaming neckties looked neither to the right nor to the left as they floated heroically into the “cannibalism of competition” below; unassuaged combatants with “clinchers” so newly-born that they carried parturitive odors, sallied upon each other with the same old result; pathetic Collectivists with doughy countenances and proselyting proclivities approached and yearningly allowed their tender solicitude to melt upon and run down over hardheaded Anarchists who refused to yield to public argument. A girl with a sailor collar bone and an intellectual waste observed that “us Socialists should hold our meetings separate and not waste time debating with Anarchists.” Then I extravagantly wiped my nose with my silk handkerchief and sagely departed. On the ferry I saw a State Socialistic champion sitting near the music feeling refined, and then drop a coin in the contribution box as he dreamed of the day when the pressure of a button should inject enough State music into his altruistic soul to put him to sleep in his room. And thus reform goes merrily on while you wait.
I wish to call the attention of my almost numberless female patrons to a bright new feature in domestic economy which I have added to the inside door casing of our pantry with three large screws. It is a tin flour sack, with a lid above and below, and a wire fly screen in the bottom to keep the flies from blowing the nice fresh flour. Then there is a crank—two at the bottom when I wind out the flour of the family. This is not, I hear, unusual at extractions of that pink little bud.
Straws in the Breeze.
Keep money out of marriage copartnership—matrimony, acrimony, alimony.—Texas Siftings.
It makes no difference how worthless a man is, his mother thinks it no sacrifice to delude the best girl in the world into marrying him.—Exchange.
“Law is liberty.” asserts one of our exchanges. This being true then the more we can have of it the better, and we should emulate Russia. The most that statesmen and thinkers have ventured to claim for law in the past, is that it is a “necessary evil.” Liberty and intelligence make a people.—Herald, Bertram], Neb.
THE NUDE IN LITERATURE—Our generation needs to learn that ignorance is not innocence, and that knowledge is not only not guilt, but is not provocative of guilt. The evil facts of life and of human nature are known to every human being who has passed beyond infancy. Such knowledge enters the mind through gates which no precaution can close, and such knowledge becomes evil only when its possessor is taught to lie about it by pretending ignorance.
It is the function of literature to reveal, to describe, to depict the facts of human character and human life. The question is whether it shall depict them truthfully or shall disguise, pervert, and falsify them with the ready-made clothing of conventionality; whether it is better for literary art to tell the truth or to tell lies; whether it is better to present hideous things as they are or to hide their hideousness beneath some false pretence, and thus, perhaps, to make things alluring which should be repulsive.
The attitude of the public toward this matter is strangely inconsistent and incomprehensible. Classic literature, English and other, is not only tolerated, but admired, and held up to the writers of our time as an example for imitation, and yet that which mainly distinguishes classic literature from the literature of our time is the greater unrestraint with which the writers of classic literature handled the facts of human nature for artistic and moral purposes—G. C. Eggleston in New York World.
A Cheap Ranch.
One of EGOISM’s subscribers offers at the reasonable figure of $1500 the raw cloth for a good California home for a farmer or frult groweror both. It consists of 80 acres of valley and hill lands; the hills are more or less wooded with fine live and white oak enough for 2000 cords of wood. The other land lies in level plateaus ranging one above another; thelower one being about 10 feet above the level of Carmel river, a creek running beside it, and the others 20 and 30 feet above. The soil is an excellent one, being a dark loam (not “dobe”), and considerable of the tractis ready for the plow, in five, ten, and fifteen acre lots. It is well watered, and In as good climate and fruit growing belt as the state affords, and has a new five-room house, a barn and wagon shed. At present its nearest market is 16 miles away, which Is its only objectionable feature, however, it hes on a constantly-traveled road. The party now holding it bought 160 acres and finds he has more than he can handle alone, hence this low price. For further particulars address EGOISM, Box 1678, San Francisco.
EGOISM’S PRINCIPLES AND PURPOSE.
EGOISM’s purpose is the improvement of social existence through intelligent self-interest. It finds that whatever we have of equal conditions and mutual advantage is due to a prevalence of this principle corresponding with the degree and universality of individual resistance to encroachment.
Reflection will satisfy all who are desirous of being guided in their conclusions by fact, that as organization itself is a process of absorbing every material useful to its purpose, with no limit save that of outside resistance, so must the very fact of its being a separately organized entity make it impossible for it to act with ultimate reference to anything but itself. Observation will show that this holds good throughout the vegetable and animal kingdoms, and that whatever of equality exists among members of a species or between different species has its source and degree in the resisting capacity, of whatever kind, which such member or species can exert against the encroachment of other members or species. The human animal is no exception to this rule. True, its greater complexity has developed the expedient of sometimes performing acts with beneficial results to others, but this is at last analysis only resistance, because it is the only means of resisting the withholding by others from such actor’s welfare that which is more desirable than that with which he parts. If, then, (he self-projecting faculty of mankind is such that it will in addition to the direct resistance common to the less complex animals, diplomatically exercise present sacrifice to further extend self, and it being a fact that equality depends upon equal resistance, diplomatic or otherwise, what are its chances in an absence of enlightenment in which the individuals of the majority so far from intelligently using this resisting power in their own behalf, do not even believe that they should do so? The result of a general conception so chaotic, would naturally be what we find: the generalization from the practical expediency of certain consideration for others, crystallized through the impulse of blind selfishness into a mysterious and oppressive obligation, credit for the observance of which gratifies the self-projecting faculty of the simple, while the more shrewd evade its exactions, and at every step from the manipulation of the general delusions of religious and political authority to the association of sexes and children at play, project themselves by exchanging this mythical credit for the real comforts and luxuries of the occasion, which the others produce. Thus in addition to the natural disadvantage of unequal capacity, the weaker are deprived through a superstition, of the use of such capacity as they have, as may be seen in their groping blindness all about us.
To secure and maintain equal conditions then, requires a rational understanding of the real object of life as indicated by the facts of its expression. It is plain that the world of humanity is made up of individuals absolutely separate; that life is to this humanity nothing save as it is something to one of these; that one of these can be not-hing to another except as he detracts from or adds to his happiness; that on this is based the idea of social expediency; that the resistance of each of these individuals would determine what is socially expedient; that approximately equal resistance makes it equality, and on such continued and a universal resistance depends equality. This can leave no room for any sane action toward others but that of the policy promoting most the happiness of the acting Ego. Therefore EGOISM insists that the attainment of equal freedom depends upon a course of conduct-replacing the idea of “duty to others” with expediency toward others; upon a recognition of the fact that self-pleasure must be the final motive of any act; thus developing a principle for a basis of action about which there can be no misunderstanding, and which will place every person squarely on the merit of his or her probable interests, divested of the opportunity to deceive through pretension, as under the dominance of altruistic idealism. It will maintain that what is generally recognized as morality is nothing other than the expediency deduced from conflicting interests under competition; that it is a policy which, through the hereditary influence of ancestral experience, confirmed by personal experience, is found to pay better than any other known policy; that the belief that it is something other than a policy—a fixed and eternal obligation, outside of and superior to man’s recognized interests, and may not be changed as utility indicates, makes it a superstition in effect like any other superstition which causes its adherent-s to crystallize the expediency adopted by one period into positive regulations for another in which it has no utility, but becomes tyrannical laws and customs in the name of which persecution is justified, as in the fanaticism of any fixed idea.
Another part of its purpose is to help dispel the “Political Authority” superstition and develop a public sentiment which would replace State interference with the protection for person and property which the competition of protecting associations would afford. Then the State’s fanatical tyranny and industry crushing privilege would torture the nerves of poverty-stricken old age or pinch tender youth no more. The most disastrous interference of this monster superstition is its prohibition of the issuing of exchange medium on the ample security of all kinds of property, which at once would abolish speculative interest and practically set all idle hands at productive labor at wages ever nearing the whole product until it should be reached. The next interference is by paper titles to vacant land instead of the just and reasonable one of occupancy and use, which with the employment that free money would give, would furnish all with comfortable homes in a short time, and thereafter even with luxuries from like exertion. Following this is its patent privilege, customs robbery, protective tariff, barbarous decrees in social and sexual affairs; its brutal policy of revenge, instead of restitution, in criminal offenses, and finally its supreme power to violate the individual, and its total irresponsibility.