Georgia & Henry Replogle
Egoism Vol. II. No. 11.
My Teaspoon,—Stirring the Universe!
This is the first number of EGOISM that has been issued since May. One more number closes Vol. II.
Although J. W. Sullivan, of the “Twentieth Century,” has discovered that the average citizen is a narrow, prejudiced, unteachable mental protozoan, he still prays for a closer representation of that biped’s foetal-inculcated judgment in political authority. Reflecting upon the matter from the standpoint of one who is not the guardian of Mr. Sullivan’s hobby, he could easily conclude that an ignorant fanatic’s indifference is to the intelligent of the community worth tons of his ballot wisdom.
The Freethinkers who have labored in this vicinity, prominent among whom were the publishers of “Freethought,” and W. S. Bell, will be gratified at a little incident which lately occurred in an Oakland schoolroom of eight to twelve-year-old peace-torturers. The morning song was of God and angels, at which some undevout boy laughed. The teacher then asked as many as believed in God and angels to hold up a hand. Only three or four girls could assume so much. The teacher now asked the scoffing boy if he believed in God; whereupon without answering, he asked her the same, and she admitted that she did not. The work of the day was then resumed without further comment.
A Mr. Van Ornum, in Chicago, who is a People’s party candidate for congress and claims to be an Anarchist, proposes to reach the Anarchistic goal by the election of a majority in one house to be always on hand to vote No, on every proposition. He asserts that under these circumstances “they can’t collect a tax, evict a tenant, foreclose a mortgage, collect a debt, keep men off the land, or oppress any one.” We fear it would not be a very ideal Anarchistic society in which a debt could not be collected. And how all this should result from an inactive congress with present statutes not repealed is not at all clear to us, but even if it were possible, we would suggest to Mr. Van Ornum that as much can be accomplished several weeks before such an intelligent majority can be drummed up, by employing private protection for life and property, and simply refusing to pay taxes. A minority of citizens actively refusing to pay taxes and giving the good reasons for so doing would soon create a public sentiment that would make statutes a dead letter without paying congressmen to sit for negative voting. Such a plan however, has the drawback of furnishing no pasture for political aspirants.
The People’s party is scaring the old parties out of their wits, and the social question is discussed by monopolists of all sizes with a personal interest. It is amusing to listen to their puzzled expressions and note the primariness of their conceptions of the subject. And all this ripens such an opportunity for the propagation of Anarchism as has never before existed in this country. These people are anxious to hear anything that can down the People’s party, and Anarchistic argument alone can do that. If Anarchists were able to push their literature now they could get an effective hearing where it has hitherto been utterly impossible to secure the least notice. A half dozen papers, in as many strong People’s party centers, taking up and weekly discussing from the Anarchistic standpoint the issues of that party and distributing the papers by the thousands could before election day win the active sympathy of multitudes with dollars to put into the work. But unfortunately comparatively nothing will be done. EGOISM cannot appear often enough to make an impression, and “Liberty,” while issued weekly, is too small to contain the variety of phases and quantity of detail necessary to set the question comprehensibly before the popular mind. A few hundreds of dollars now spent for paper and presswork would yield thousands a little later. Thus the game passes by while the powderhorn is empty.
The literary fodder-cutter now acting as chief editor of the “Twentieth Century,” characterizes Walt Whitman a “picturesque humbug” and charges him with making his living the past thirty years by affecting the “airs and mannerisms supposed by him” to belong to the untutored genius, Nature’s own child, and on shameless trading on his record as nurse in army hospitals. Whether Walt asked or accepted aid on his hospital record we do not know, and whether it was shameless to do so after losing his health through his sympathy for the suffering of men breathing their last, thousands of miles from the solicitous faces of those felt a necessity even to their well moments, we leave to the susceptibilities of cast-iron hitching posts, but of this word thresher’s innuendo that Walt “affected” and “supposed” there is a word. It is easily comprehensible how a mere letters-bag, a person depending altogether on others’ mental mastications for even his thought, could not conceive that another might really desire to do differently from the rest of the world, and would thus conclude affectation the only possible definition of such conduct. But the broad, deep, detailed, and faithful description of life, thought, being, that constitutes the charm of Whitman’s verse, and the response it found where it found it, are irrefutably conclusive that he not only knew Nature’s genius, but appreciated it as he sang it. And if the editor with “twenty years’ experience” had enough originality about him to do something else than make chop-feed from modern curiosity and the dry straw of contradictory old philosophers, he would not thus expose his intellectual insipidity with a magnificent stroke that is the despair of his most ardent critic. It is hoped that all those “radicals” who cannot support the few advanced papers that really champion their cause, and “cannot do without” the “Twentieth Century,” will fill up on its editorial sentiment in this instance and in those in which it sneers with so elevated a nostril at sexual freedom.
One More Song!
Full of bold, bright music
The music of he of the glad eyes, the quick
step, the brave brow, the laughing lips,
the frank look, the true word;
The music of the free man.
A song of daring thoughts, of high hopes:
of fearless faith;
A song of youth;
Of lilac skies, flakes of gold, and sunrise
over the purple hills,
A song of morning;
A song of children playing in the warm
sand, spattering the water with bare
A song of seals sport-ing in the surf, with
soft, loving eyes, barking like dogs;
A song of bright peaks, thunder, and the
long, quivering lightning;
A song of dark waves, racing with the west
wind, beating the rocks with a white
A song of sea gulls;
A song of brilliant courage;
A song of innocent love;
A song of red flowers;
A song of white birds against a blue sky;
A song of a rock in the great sea which is
always the same,
Whether the waves waste themselves upon it,
Or foam at its feet;
Whether the ice arms it with glittering mail,
Or the sun blisters it with angry heat;
Whether the rain weeps over it,
Or blue skies smile lovingly;
Whether the birds scream hoarsely about it,
Or come to it for rest and protection;
It is always there,
Calm, strong, beautiful:
“I am a rock, I have foundations, I believe
I stand alone, or I stand with you, but I
I am not troubled, I do not change—trust
—J. WM. LLOYD.
My Teaspoon,—Stirring the Universe!
The Homestead trouble has been a most impressive illustration of the labor problem with all its factors and intricacies. On the one hand poses government-intrenched privilege with its autocratic hauteur and cool adaptation of means to ends, and on the other despoiled though powerful labor, in aimless awkwardness and a cloud of blind folly and useless brutality. The former sophistically standing for the right of private property, while really denying it. The latter apparently denying it while blindly contending for it in vaguely contending for its own. Under the terms of existing alleged social contract—statute law—the Carnegie company was the owner of the property and had a right to do what it desired with it. Under the terms of equal freedom, the only terms of social contract that can receive universal intelligent assent, the Carnegie company could not assume the ownership of the property, and the men were justifiable in defending their own so far as it was their own. And while this is the broadly just view, and the unconscious source of all spontaneous sympathy, it is also somewhat hypothetical and accurate adjustment under that idea practically impossible under the circumstances, even if it had in that light been claimed, which it was not. While the property does not rightfully belong to the Carnegies, neither does it all be; long to these particular workmen, but is in justice inextricably owned by all the partly unpaid laborers who have anything to do with the Carnegie steel product from its raw, earthed state until it is worn out. And this case is typical of the whole labor question; it is plain enough that a class is absorbing the surplus product of labor, but nobody knows just where his own is nor the exact amount of it, and though it might seem that changing it from the exploiting class to the exploited one would be safely just, it would nevertheless not be so. The gradations from the common laborer to the banker and land lord, are so gradual and their incomes so interlinked with the personal skill and labor of each individual that a justly accurate class line cannot be drawn at any point; and it is all the result of an alleged social compact that all have at least allowed. Therefore for one party to attempt to draw such a line by violently seizing or controlling, contrary to the terms of this contract, a property which it only partly owns, is little better than to change hands in banditti titleship, and sets a precedent tending to make it impossible for any one to hold what is even rightfully his own, in presence of a force sufficiently strong to seize it; especially when definite and scientific ideas of just ownership are generally not even broached. The only way practicable then, and at the same time in harmony with the fulfillment of contract so necessary to social stability, is to search out and remove the causes of unequal industrial opportunity in the social compact and thus stop privilege exaction, trusting to labor’s superior fitness for the new conditions, to gradually draw away from the former privilege holders their surplus while they are adapting themselves to livelihood by production. With the immense fortunes that State privilege has made possible, this would not result in ideally accurate adjustment, but it would be incomparably nearer it than any possible arbitrary line, and would maintain the principle of good faith in fulfillment of fair contract, which cannot be dispensed with at any price less than all that life and liberty means. So since accurately representative control was in the Homestead case impossible, and since the Carnegies got and held the property by even the unsocial terms of a social contract which labor had tacitly agreed to and not striven to change, it would have been the part of good faith and reliable citizenship as well as material expediency, for the men to have resisted and subjugated the company by every passive means possible, and the while set about amending the great and unjust social contract and eliminating the trick by which the bunco dealer did them up. As it is they have not only deprived themselves of the opportunity to make war by the only rational method, but have by their savagery in the treatment of prisoners placed: themselves on a level if not below the Chicago police. However foolish, to fight armed and resisting Pinkertons till they are dead is heroically admirable, but; when they surrender under promise of protection, to allow them to be knocked down, clubbed, beaten, and stoned as they were at Homestead, is an outrage and a breach of confidence too dishonorable for even Bandit Frick himself. Even women, the much vaunted incarnation of mercy and tenderness, were ardently on hand to inflict their quota of torture upon the defenseless prisoners they had not even helped capture. And illustrative of the high-handed indifference to principle with which a little power always rides, a thing for which I have always cursed the capitalistic press, I note not a word of censure or condemnation from the labor or People’s party press for this useless savagery. I stand for labor first and last, and if nothing but fight or the perpetuation of its unequal privilege will do capital, I of course hope that labor may come out on top, but I am too anxious for its good reputation to allow such acts as the treatment of the Homestead prisoners to go without unqualified rebuke.
Aside from the personal interests of the men who have sacrificed everything in the conflict, the Homestead battle proper, has had a beneficial effect 011 the social question. It was a good object lesson on the failure of force as a means of accomplishing anything for labor, and will probably replace the mercenary Pinkertons with the patriotic militia, and thus teach these laundried dudes something while it exposes to labor its real enemy, the State.
As for Frick and Berkman, I have no use for either. I am sorry for Berkman, the fanatic and fool, while I hate Frick, the tyrant; he without provocation invades and causes hundreds of peaceable and inoffensive people to suffer; Berkman, electing himself where he is not nominated, punishes the tyrant and suffers the consequences of his acts himself, and of the two, is the most desirable citizen, although neither is desirable. Once education has reduced the Berkman idea, the Fricks will soon be working for a living.
Once in a long while even the radical world is treated to something desirable. In the last number EGOISM announced the exposure and downfall of C. R. Bennett, the Comstock of the Pacific coast, and now rejoices to note the collapse of a twin Moralistic and invading institution, the Humane Society at Oakland. The private affairs of the citizen will once more be left to go to the bad under his own management, :and quarreling neighbors will no longer be enabled ‘to revenge themselves upon each other by sending in charges of cruelty to something or other by neglect, and thus subject the loathed antagonist to “investigation” by the legal meddling society. And scandal will no longer be official, but must stand or fall upon its own merits. Unmarried mothers will have only their poverty and incident misery to contend with :since this Altruistic monster can no longer snatch their children from their arms. But the society’s death was unfortunately not due to any opposition or public censure of its work. Oakland is too much dominated by the superstition of Moralism for that. The society just fell to pieces from inherent cussedness. Its officious and meddlesome secretary got his accounts in such a shape as could be explained only by admitting embezzlement of funds sent him to pay for the care of children he managed to get hold of for glory and shove upon others’ care for nothing. And, finding the outside world too small for his smelling instinct, he began operations on the members of the society, but characteristic of tyrannous institutions, it would not take its own medicine at all, and he was sued for and convicted of libel which is the last heard of him. Several creditors of the society are now anxious to learn who is responsible for its debts. And thus we bury another of liberty’s enemies; may it forever stay put!
Populists! and why not! Why should the daily press sneer this word. Do the old parties admit then, that they are not now and never were for the people. Do they not uphold the idea of government by and for the people. What! do they confess that all their talk for years about the interests of the people was only hypocritical cant with which to secure office to’ serve the autocracy that feels so secure that it sneers this word at the People’s party. Or, is it a non-committal flirtation of the prostitute press bidding for liaison with the blushing youth in case its pot-bellied and wine-seared old lovers are worsted in the future. In either case it is a timeserving sycophant that can never be used in attaining the people’s political freedom, for it will already be attained when that mercenary is ready. Its espousal of the People’s party cause would not be in that direction. A real people’s party is an impossibility; party excludes the people, the people means the whole people. There is, however, such a principle as a people’s polity, which really means what the People’s party would like itself interpreted to mean. But this lies in the other direction, and would cause the whole people to voluntarily seek a reply from unvarying social principles to guide their conduct, instead of consulting the greatest number of ignorant and disinterested wills to anticipate what they might be forced to do under an utterly improbable contest. Here there is no spoil, no office, no advantage, no interest except security, and for that there is but one party—the people. Real Populists are scarce.
A Few Words More.
You show good generalship in attacking your opponent’s weakest point. When I said your “folly and crime in having a wife,” was “five thousand per cent” worse than your other delinquencies, if you had not been more prudent than brave, you would have expended the main part of your surplus ammunition in that quarter. I am glad, for your sake, that you were only joking when talking about your “wife.” But you hardly make due allowance for the stupidity of your readers. Your better way, in future, will be to adopt Artemas Ward’s plan, and say, by way of explanation, “This is a joak,” or, “This is carkasm.”
But you still seem to be half in earnest, and think it is nobody’s business if you do have a wife, and parade the fact. Would you claim the right to hold chattel slaves and parade the fact without interference or criticism? You would have just as good a right as to “hold” a wife. Do you say you do not “hold” her—that she is free to go or stay, and claim and hold half the real estate and “portable property”? Then she is not a wife, but a free woman. Every man can abolish marriage on his own land, and if he is a manly man he will do it.
I am not much interested in discussing the conscience question. I simply did not know whether, as you would use terms, a conscience was part of your outfit. I believe in justice, and that people have a right to do whatever they please without interference, so long as they do not trespass.
Why do you make special objection to Monogamy? It is no worse than Polygamy. No right-minded person will see any essential difference between these two phases of the same system of wife ownership.
You have a heresy that would “possibly shock even Mr. Barry.” Now I am curious, unworthy as curiosity is. Do you mean that you will have six wives instead of one, as soon as you can afford it? Well, I have no more objection to six wives than to one.
Having written a little for over sixty different publications, within the past forty years, advocating the most offensive doctrines, and signing my full name to every line I ever wrote, and not now being afflicted with the mildest form of indigestion, as a consequence of prejudice evoked, I naturally feel a healthy contempt for such as lack the “sand” to vouch for even diluted heresy. But you have avowed an earnest purpose, something worthy of accomplishment. I respect your motives, and withdraw my criticism.
MANY WORDS MORE.
Evading the enemy’s strong point may be good generalship in military contests, but it will hardly go in intellectual controversy, since such evasion must result in anything except victory, which consists in attacking and defeating your opponent’s strong point. And, really, I have not been impressed with the necessity for prudence in Mr. Barry’s case, feeling as I do, a confidence in my position equaled only by his own in himself. Neither am I superstitious, so that I may be terrorized with the word-ghost, “brave.” That I am not brave, means to me that I am not foolhardy, and that thought pleases me. If one expose himself uselessly to danger, he is simply foolish; if there is danger to dread, but danger of a greater dread if risk is not taken, then he flees from the greater dread, which is easy; if there is no danger and he retreats, he simply errs in judgment. Cowardice is the preserver of the species; we fight for life only from fear of death.
I touched on Mr. Barry’s marriage criticism so lightly because almost every number contains at least a short article if not a long dissertation on the marriage evil, and the paper’s position is therefore so generally understood that it seemed—ridiculous to do otherwise than gently intimate that the “wife” monotony was, intended for a “joak.” But Mr. Barry with all the confidence of the innocent, persists in evoking a knowing smile from the older readers as he heroically strives to make me confess and expose myself to them. He has just discovered the city and is rushing about the streets to show its inhabitants what he has found.
It would of course, be ridiculously inconsistent for me, a champion of the equal freedom compromise, to claim a right to hold either a wife or a slave. But whose business is it indeed, if any one has a “wife” and even sincerely parades the fact. If she were such in the philistine sense even, and still were satisfied, on what grounds would Mr. Barry interfere. Personally I abhor the idea, but there is a marked difference between appreciating even a regular “wife” and holding the same, so much difference that to interfere in the former case would be the same infringement of equal freedom that holding would be in the latter. Anyone may criticise in any case, as much as he likes if in so doing he does not make a noise about others’ premises which projects unusually into their quiet. But if he forcibly disturbs their arrangements, he invades just as legalists do by breaking in upon the mutual arrangements of Freelovers. And like the legalist, he does it in obedience to a concept of theological absolutism instead of doing it as a spontaneous expedient in the compromise of social existence. He does so because he has not taken the trouble to appreciate that mathematical equal freedom is the rule because it pleases men more generally, rather than because it is mathematical. Therefore in cases where less accurately divided benefits are satisfactory to the parties really concerned, the social compromise is just as well served, for satisfaction constitutes successful compromise and such compromise is the social law. Interference, where one is himself not invaded, can be a social act only on the grounds of carrying out a contract with the invaded to ‘co-operate in repelling invaders. This contract may be instantaneous and by the appeal of a look only, but it must exist in sense, if interference be not a risk of invasion. Otherwise, it pal-takes of the nature of authoritarian regulation instead of libertarian defendment. So much on the right to interfere Where tastes differ.
And why should I give a sexual partner half of the property when we quit. Perhaps two-thirds, or only one-fourth of it is the result of her efforts, and I may desire a nice division. In my case if I left all accumulations to her, I would leave little that is mine; I have consumed as fast as I have produced, which might easily be true of a woman living with a “manly man,” whatever that may mean.
My chief objection to monogamy is that it exists rather abundantly, while polygamy does not, or is at least less conspicuously brought to my notice.
Since Mr. Barry has so little war to make upon the conscience idea, the “Manager” and editors’ heresy on things married, may not so paralyze him as I suspected. We regard the popular conception of love, including that of the average Freelover, as a superstition—a superstition with equal freedom infringing proclivities or irrational adaptation of means to pleasurable ends, just like other superstitions. It is a kind of clam analysis of a very clam-bounded faculty. The sexual faculty being the original and most spontaneous one, effects at once a prestige and a mystery concerning itself that has fathered all the regulation and ways to do about it that the undisciplined imagination of a budding mentality could suggest for an aping mediocrity to maintain. It is yet felt too important to let alone and altogether too sacred to analyze, so it is still vaguely speculated about and forced into the wake of a verdant idealism old or new. All the devotees in its superstitious aspect are ever very busy and under a heavy responsibility getting their god properly worshiped. Some find this centripetal titillation so superlatively important that the supposed author of the universe must consecrate its initiation. Others, who sneer at the idea of so widespread an interest, feel complacently sure that at least the attention and sanction of their own country about equals the size of the occasion. Then there is a disgusting variation of the superstition which, spurning the aforementioned vagaries, parades its Asiatic crudity by postulating conditions of intellectual adoration, doctrinal agreement, and statuesque indifference to all charms except those of one person, as the divine method by which this omnipotent, inscrutable impulse can be loftily enough exercised. Ah, human larva, how great thy smallness! However, there is yet at least problematical hope, when we remember that the function was at one stage of evolution so intensely all-absorbing that serious contemplation of it actually burst the victim visibly in two. But ages of familiarity with the matter has made the microbic chastelet so callous that the body will hold nicely together under any pressure of the thought, though much ado is yet regarded necessary and there are no social principles or logic that may not be thrown to the winds when this strobilaceous emotion is to be dealt with. The great majority are ready each to mutually enslave a fellow being and themselves for life to satisfy its unfathomable claims. A few, more idealistic than the latter, have renounced that majority’s iron-clad bond without throwing off its proclivities or understanding the whyfore of liberty, and thus torture all the coloring out of their blood at forcing themselves to allow sexual companions the freedom with others that their ideal dictates, while they still crave all the jealous regulating instincts of ownership.
A superstition is a belief based on a guess at an unfathomed question, and being in its very nature the incarnation of irrationality, must result in irrational conduct. It follows, then, that such conduct is the direct fruit of a superstition, and that the origin of conduct may be determined by its rationality. Happiness is the sane purpose of life, and consists of pleasure; the more intense and continuous the pleasure, the greater the happiness. It then follows that the adaptation of means to the greatest plea sure is the only rational conduct, and that conduct not conforming to that requirement is in that degree irrational and rooted in a superstition—a mere guess at a mystery. The superstitious character of a conception of love which believes itself the special concern of a superstition-conceived being is obvious to those at least who are convinced there is no such being. And the inadaptation of means to the most pleasurable ends or the irrationality of conduct resulting from such a conception is not wanting when we note that whatever the conditions of inharmony or even brutality, cruelty, and slavish wretchedness, there is no idea of escape from “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” No less conspicuous, if even more common, is the superstitious basis of the irrational conduct accompanying the conception of love which substitutes the State for God and reaps either the enforced maternity, drudgery, magnetic dearth, soured, spiceless, pleasureless waste, or the divorce publicity, social ostracism, tearing of children from mothers, and the alimony plundering of legal monogamy. Then if even less subjected to invasion, at best no better is the other adaptation of means to pleasurable ends in the conduct of that conception which seeks for the rustic and childish ideal of non-existent intellectual and philanthropical loftiness till the fire of youth and the glow of its passion has been smothered by nunnish celibacy or dissipated by monkish vices. And if less disastrous, still superstition-tainted is the conduct of those love vassals who torture their complacency with spontaneous jealousy in attempting the realization Of an ideal whose terms they do not comprehend. And now even Mr. Barry, evidently dominated by an overshadowing regard for the love idea as such, bows his head by unconditionally assuming that sexual courtesies imply equal ownership of the property in conjunction with which they are exercised. Finally, in all, the one undefined idea of preeminence—the conception that love is something above us and to be served instead of serving as a means of pleasure,—this emotion-ghost, is the constant factor and foundation of both the irrational and the equal freedom-infringing conduct in every case.
This is our “heresy on things married;” we want no conditions of the marriage superstition whether the form exists or not. We feel so analytically familiar with the generative impulse that it no longer perceptibly rends us into two pieces. So we spell sexual love with a lower-case initial “l,” just as we would begin the spelling of any other propensity or sentiment with a lower-case letter. And while we detest the marriage idea because of its slavery and inconvenience, we are yet not so dominated by the idea of formal allegiance to the opposite as to go to the trouble and expense of formal divorcement. We like to just wobble along and enjoy the cool shade, or the warm sunshine, or a palatable meal, or the roar of the ocean and the sea-breeze or the refreshment of a sound sleep, or the clearly-put logic or delicate word painting of our comrades’ compositions in print or in private communication, or the magnetism and persons of the congenial when their presence and other circumstances will permit, or the gratitude for favors bestowed, whether in protection against public meddling with private pleasures or carrying a parcel for the weary comrade. In short, we like to be free—the masters of pleasure and the slaves of none of its means. We strive for the equal deed to secure the greatest non-interference, and for the rational act to get the most pleasure possible from the opportunity.
To the general rule that everybody likes the credit of being extraordinary, Mr. Barry is no exception. If he had not been in such a hurry to recount his valor, he might have reflected long enough to see the difference in danger between writing for papers published by others, while one is farming for a living, and publishing a paper arrayed against the interests and prejudices of a class upon whose local members one must depend for opportunity to labor for bread and the support of that paper. It was not risky for Markland and O’Neill to write prejudice-evoking matter “for publications,” but how about Moses Harman, the publisher. He may stew in prison while the brave O’Neill amuses himself manufacturing jealousy-hatched domestic tragedies on a steamer at the expense of his Catholic wife, by feigning an attempt to drown one of their children.
And what does Mr. Barry mean by a “lack of ‘sand’ to vouch for even diluted heresy.” If he means to insinuate that EGOISM’s heresies are not the most fundamental, all-inclusive, unswerving, and ultra radical of anything now published, except the same sentiment in New York “Liberty,” I am prepared for a great surprise, or to make some lively reading showing him that he does not know what he is talking about, gray as his hairs may be.
The following extracts are garbled from John Henry Mackay’s report of the placing of a slab on Max Stirner’s grave and a memorial tablet on the house in which the great Egoist spent his last days. We received Mackay’s circular, but before we could have it translated “Liberty” came containing it complete, and we have taken advantage of that paper’s labor in printing some of the most interesting portions from its translation for the benefit of those of our readers who may not take the parent:
Engaged for some time in the collection of the almost hopelessly scattered materials for a biography of Max Stirner, I found a notice about three years ago which gave me a clue to the spot where Dr. Caspar Schmidt was laid to rest June 28, 1856. My friend, Mr. Max Hildebrandt of Moabit, in fair weather and foul a faithful co-operator in my work, looked up the spot, and we secured the grave, which was completely neglected and threatened with entire destruction, for another thirty years.
When I myself came to Berlin in the beginning of the present year, chiefly with the desire of bringing my investigations into Stirner’s life to a close, I was informed of the cordial willingness with which Mr. Carl Muller of Zehlendorf, the owner of the house in which Max Stirner spent the last two years of his life, had consented to the putting up of a memorial tablet.......
On April 1 I was able to report in the advertising columns of the “Vossische Zeitung” the receipt of 393.16 marks. By far the larger part of this sum is due to the great and lively interest with which Dr. Hans von Bulow supported my enterprise. Without his active co-operation it could never have been carried out in this way.
The putting up of the memorial tablet at the house 19 Philipp Street, N. W.. took place May 14. The tablet bears the inscription in gilt letters: “In diesem Hause lebte seine letzten Tage Max Stirner (Dr. Caspar Schmidt, 1806–1856), der Schopfer des unsterblichen Werkes: ‘Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum. 1845.’” [In this house lived his last days Max Stirner (Dr. Caspar Schmidt, 1806–1856), the author of the immortal work: ‘The Individual and his Property. 1845.’”]......
One July 7 the slab was placed on the grave. Since that day grave 53 of the ninth row of the second division of cemetery II of the Sophia Society, 32 Berg Street, has been marked by a granite slab, which bears as sole inscription, in large gilt letters, the name “Max Stirner.”
Besides the time and expense of attending to all this, Comrade Mackay has had to pay more than a tenth of the principal cost himself. There has been no response to our call of last May for this fund, and indeed, owing to hard times we have ourselves not forwarded our mite, though we shall yet. If any reader is “moved” it is still not too late to donate something to the shortage. We anxiously await the appearance of Mackay’s biography of Stirner. Who has read “The Anarchists” will appreciate what is in store on Stirner.
An Altruistic Romance.
CLARA DIXON DAVIDSON.
“It is greatly against my inclination that I am about to flog you,” said Mr. Moralz to his son Ido, striking his stinging whip into the tender flesh. “I do so because I love you more than I do myself; because I am willing to perform a disagreeable duty for your sake. I shall bruise your body and save your soul.”
“Never mind about my soul,” said Ido; “I prefer a whole body.”
“Your foolish preferences have no weight with me; I know my duty and shall perform it,” replied Mr. Moralz, while blows descended harder and faster.
“But listen to reason,” pleaded Ido, writhing under the torture.
“Duty knows no reason,” solemnly replied Mr. Moralz.
“But I am willing to absolve you from your duty.”
“No one can do that; my conscience drives me to its performance.”
“What if you ignore your conscience?”
“Then, my son, I shall suffer torments.”
“And you prefer tormenting me to being tormented yourself? Duty may have no reason, but you have a little, after all.”
I am having the politics this fall. So on the free local train and the 9th of August, I went to hear Gen. James B. Weaver, the other people’s party candidate for president, speak at the Oakland tabernacle and the rest of us. When I arrove I swarmed blandly up the stairs of the tabernacle shelf, and with piercing insight and huckle bones sat me upon a just but unyielding bench directly beside and above the platform, that I might see the edge of the speaker’s remarks and imbibe knowledge fresh and warm from the nest. The other patients were largely of the semi-middle class predominating in elderly men with unthached scalps of capillary expression. There was also a goodly tinge of brown-visaged, callous-handed labor with its ox-eyed guilelessness and faded raiment. And as I benignly gazed upon these goodly-intentioned men I got a flutter in my left corner and my swallow stumbled and I was religious for a moment and wanted to brandish my trunk and other baggage in the arena and spatter the attention with deep, gutteral sounds and large round bellows pointing out the true route to the root of all evil, and combatting the bat solution that would that day be proposed for their relief. But I was on the bench not the program, and my safety damper is also not yet rusted out, so I dropped my throbber down on my other liver and saw labor once more supplicate before the authoritarian ghost.
There were lots of women present, some of whom seemed palpitatingly desirable for other than political purposes, and many of whom I would rather embrace than an opportunity. Prohibition was like a torturing felon, on hand, and grinned with its gums in toothless glee as it contemplated the promising power with a policeman’s club to inculcate spineless coffee and scriptural mottoes at fifteen cents a pair.
I now caught and on the bench rolled into the great unknown a large flea, whereupon the people applauded lustily at my feet, and I noticed General Weaver walking in. His head does not seem so vast to me as it did when I as a green currencyist blushingly submitted to his bosom my maiden voteling. He also shows unmistakable evidences of aging, both by bleaching plumage and by a sawhorse gait of standing with out-pointing toes. A now wealthy second-hand furniture man with a sticky affability and the party’s candidacy for congress, just happened to be chosen chairman of the meeting and just happened to have a speech all written up for the occasion. He was a Lyon and told a bushy tale of crushing monopolies, gesticulated while be hunted for the place in his manuscript, and announced that Weaver and himself had twice responded to their country’s call—once to bare arms! This time however, I noticed they had their sleeves down and seemed more comfortable. He then with unaffected pride and brand new bearing introduced General Weaver, and as the latter unfolded all the bipeds stamped uproariously and split the second-hand atmosphere with clouds of cheers from unscrubbed breaths.
And this sea of mammalian trunks, shirt-fronts, beards, chins, and cheek bones set with rat, cat, and rabbit eyes playing at deliberation, was tasseling State Socialism in all its heavily-shaded political verdure, swaying in the breeze of a rudderless emotionalism; where were they who sowed in this community the seed for so promising a crop. Did they, protruding from hard-boiled shirts, bend broad smiles into their toil-hardened faces and frame themselves in the large windows of an elegant chair car and ride to Fresno to meet and parade the standard-toter of the movement. Not conspicuously. Nor did they sit on the stage in large-frocked coats and conscious familiarity with the great leader, but in a corner of the great audience, and after the meeting had to slide out behind the house to get even one of the candidate’s mingled recognitions as he left the grounds. The receptacle of this privilege due the fathers or the movement was, in fateful irony, the rich manipulator of second-hand furniture, a vocation thriving upon the last material exploitation of stricken poverty—paying to destitution junk prices for its goods and selling it to hardscrabble just a little lower than the cost of new; a Christian who, within, the past year was one of two Christian firms monopolizing the auction business of the city through high license, and who tried his best to prevent a now fellow partyman getting a free license by petition, being too poor to pay the money-bags’ ransom for it. And this is a typical illustration of the whole authoritarian farce playing at industrial emancipation. It also brings to my willing and tanned ears the sweet echoes of a prophetic soul when in bagging clothes full of the ravenous fleas that used to attend the K. of L. meetings I warned these selfsame ignored sowers that they would not be the directors even of their plan with all its errors, but were laboring to place the weapon of authority in the hands of enemies. I further predicted that by the time their theory went into pumping statistics to determine how many kittens and potatoes should be planted they would themselves be Anarchists. This is budding so gratifyingly that I can report fully one-third and the strongest third at that as practically in the Anarchistic camp, and potatoes are still planted by guess, while the cats amid an enthusiastic applause equaled in point and torture only by that of the political meeting, are still deciding for themselves the size of their silence-piercing crop.
General Weaver’s speech, though able and overwhelming as against the trail scratching of the pot-bellied old parties, was nevertheless painfully void of his old-time energy, consecutive argument, and merciless logic. He is carrying his campaign principally on emotional traffic and free silver reinforced by appeals to convenient superstitions. He works God, religion, duty, and conscience like mules in fall plowing, and sweeps the board with Woman’s Rights. The latter is not one of the unmatched boards of the platform and is not promulgated as such, but the full benefit of slotted enthusiasm is secured by firing a theatrically-accomplished female speaker, who works the subject and subjects for all there is in them. She also inoculates in one corner of the male sternum a pain which is a cross between an impulse and a regret and causes the victim to sympathize with the party for an excuse to shake the hand of she eloquence, while she leans back in imperial good nature and puts up her paw. Mr. Weaver is protected from the public idea of possible assaults from this woman by carrying a—wife and perhaps other astringents. He declared the inalienable rights of man prerogative him to alter or abolish governments, and that the injury of one is the concern of all. I have a long time believed that something might prerogative man to abolish governments if he had sense enough, but it is new and clear tome now, how under State Socialism all would be very much concerned in injuring one if he resisted its dictation. The general, notable among other things, made a few non-committal drives at science, avowed his belief in the current bible, declared that the existence of corporations is treason against God, and retired amid prolonged applause and the rudimentary politicians who like empty crocks jostled noisily about the stage.
Then a large school-made girl with a pod of ancient oak hair on the back of her head, gazed amiably at the rafters and with agonizing pumping of the shoulders and virtuously motionless abdominal muscles, sang “Star Spangled Banner.” When she had subsided, a woman with a graceful one-seated carriage and made voice was introduced. There was no squeak in her manner. She spoke infirm, measured tones about eighteen inches long, and with a theatrical poise and deliberation that made her speech distinguishable from profundity only by its generalizing indefiniteness. Even this was at first so sweepingly put that I repented the impression of affectation that her first sentence gave me. She declared that “there is a great disturbance among the planets which affects the earth with quakes, cyclones and the like, and reacts upon the human mind, ruthlessly sweeping away its loudest superstitions! Now this idea of its taking something about like an earthquake or cyclone to disturb popular stupidity, and that superstitions are the trouble, was so in harmony with my conception of the matter that I at once hoisted my ears and cocked my attention like a dog peering into a rat-hole. I felt that I should have to pare down the newly-grown bunion on my “catch on” which is so rapidly convincing me that woman will probably never be a first-class man, even though she should attain a position more enviable. She led with masterly skill to Woman’s suffering with ballot, and was applauded with the wildest tracheal trumpeting of the occasion. In enumerating the capabilities of woman, she made the witty hits that in medicine, deploma in hand, woman could kill or cure as satisfactorily as man, and that the only place occupied by him that she cannot till, is with a whisky flask in each hip pocket getting votes on election day. Now I differ from her and think her idea one of woman’s stupidities. I am quite certain that right here some women miss their most available opportunity for attaining political influence. They could control all the votes on hand and engender new ones besides. Even I would crowd around to observe a flask unloaded from a pocket thus hipothetically located. The speaker then assured the men that disfranchised woman is in no way responsible for the deplorable conditions which their political muddling has brought about, and for this I was proud of her. But soon she thanked God that she lived in this age, and kindly volunteered his and the women’s services to help straighten things up; declared that they were going to establish the Christianity of Jesus Christ; that it was a religious movement and seemed that day like a good old-fashioned Methodist revival; that “we all have religion today, thank God,” and slopping still more hopelessly over, wound up in owl-dozing attitude with an invocation that ended in the concluding remarks of her address in such a way that I could not discover the last quotation marks. All this was loudly applauded, and I was ungrateful that she had evidently not been in one of the superstitions-sweeping earthquakes or cyclones mentioned in the front end of her declamation. With the resulting disgust returned my reason, and, I saw once more the trained parrot performing gravely for a time, then with rising circulation rushing into a hysterical floundering in the bog of emotionalism like a herd of swine. And here I had for a moment been proud of her because she was a woman and I like their magnetism and shape.
Now a young man with a high-heeled collar and cool, unconscious bearing unostentatiously sang from the man you script, an original solo exuberantly flattering Weaver right in presence of himself. Then a man with statesman coat tails whom I heard perform on the people’s prejudices last Labor day, arose and announced that the tabernacle mottoed as it was for religious services, was most appropriate for this occasion. And soon the class-meeting was closed and a rush made for the candidate. He, however, made his escape to a carriage outside, where each great constituent, hat in hand, introduced his important self and shaking his leader’s hand stepped aside without the possibility of being again recognized from the Devil’s off ox so far as the aspiring candidate was concerned. And a devoted people had once more come to its own rescue.
As I viewed the prospect: the mental incomplexity that incessant toil had stamped upon many of the faces before me; the single-emotioned prejudice that marked nearly every countenance; the appeal even to powerless woman; the currying of favor with almost every current superstition; the silly flattery that the candidate must stomach; the awkwardness of green hands managing the meetings; the barrels of gold behind the opposition; when I noted all this, I felt really sorry for Mr. Weaver. It reminded me so forcibly of our own difficulties in running a paper to educate the inhabitants of the earth: no capital save as we can plunder it from our backs and bellies; either worked all but to death, or idled crazy; no acquaintance with letters except the proprietorship of a presented dictionary; so short of type that words must often be selected to suit the proportion of letters in the cases, and finally the paper issued only as we can earn the money among philistines. Altogether, we are a humor-provoking lot, and if the day of small things is not to be despised, then Mr. Weaver and ourselves ought to be appreciated like regular honeymoon with its comb filling ready to sling.
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.