Georgia & Henry Replogle
Egoism Vol. II. No. 2.
W. S. Bell’s address for the summer is 654 Monroe at, Brooklyn, N. Y. All personal matter should be addressed to him at that place. Orders for his handbook should be sent to Box 1678, San Francisco, Calif.
Benj. R. Tucker’s next publications will be “What’s Bred in the Bone,” by Grant Allen, and “The Rights of Women and the Sexual Relations,” by Karl Heinzen. The latter is translated from the German. These titles he speak interesting works the appearance of which we anxiously await. The price of each is 50 cents in paper cover, and $1.00 in cloth binding. Address Mr. Tucker at Box 3366, Boston, Mass.
Dr. Hall, referred to in the May number, who was arrested for the murder of a girl who died from the effects of abortion, is still in prison. So appalling is the cloud of prejudice, and prostrate the apparition worshiping community that the $50,000 bail has not been secured. He simply failed in a patient’s case, as thousands of doctor’s are doing in their treatment of other kinds of cases against the failure of which there happens to be no law.
Ambrose Bierce has written lately some of the best matter that we have seen in a daily paper outside of the “Galveston News.” He is not satisfied with the republican form of government, derides monarchies, and says Anarchists are the humorists of politics. We would read with interest Mr. Bierce’s proposition for the best order of society, and if it is one which he does not care to offer to the popular press, would gladly publish it in these columns, subject to the criticism of EGOISM’s staff. Remuneration for any contribution is of course out of the question with this paper.
At Galena, Ill., on the 1st of this month a wealthy farmer’s daughter and his farm hand suicided because the girl’s parents opposed the marriage deemed necessary for the satisfying of the sympathetic and magnetic craving which unassuaged terminated in their foolish act. Mercenary and sex prejudiced parents and inexperienced youth done the work. Wiser parents, not having previously guarded against such a contingency by furnishing the girl with the necessary approximative experience, and not desiring her to marry, would have protected her as well as possible against undesirable results and secretly allowed her marriage experience without its bonds until she learned that her love was an ungratified appetite that could be satisfied without death or marital slavery. Instead of a dead body and a life-long regret they would now at worst have no more than a young mother and a bright grandchild, and at best a grateful, experienced and happy daughter. They might not have been so respectable, but if they could not in spite of this have been happier we do not begrudge them their grief.
In Oakland a youngish man succeeded in convincing an older woman that he was the Messiah, and she was willing to board and lodge him for his distinguished company. But the sex bugaboo got into their neighbors’ bonnets, and the man was arrested on the all-purpose charge of vagrancy and thrown into prison by the sweet-scented virtue of majority brutality. Fraud that he is he is a shining example beside the crude and barbaric meddlers who believe that it is refined to mix in matters that one deems indecent. Cats, dogs, roosters, bulls, and mediocre human animals meddle in others’ sexual affairs when they get a chance.
Although the “Examiner,” of this city, is a ranting prohibitionist on personal affairs like gambling, it has recently published the best satire on that other species of legal meddling, protection, that we have read in a long time. This State offers $5 for each coyote scalp that can be captured, and an editorial writer takes this for his text and appropriates the usual protectionist argument, showing how coyote ranches will spring up on hitherto barren and unused lands, how the money paid the huntsmen will be spent for arms and ammunition, creating a demand for labor in their manufacture which will patronize the merchants and farmers, so that industry will be stimulated throughout the whole community, establishing through this tax prosperity and life where poverty and stagnation had reigned.
A sewing woman in this city finding that she could no longer support her sick mother and two children with her needle, and being offered a position in the country at $25 a month with board, accepted it after arranging with a friend to care for her mother at $10 a month. She could not take her children with her, but thought it would be an easy matter to get them into some of the many homes for children in the city. This proved no small task. She went to nine places without receiving the slightest encouragement. Finally, exhausted and despairing, she went to the last on her list, the Nursery for Homeless Children on California street. Here she received kind treatment and help regardless of religion or social connections. At each of the others in this city and Oakland they were either full, objected to her religion, would take no children whose parents were not one or both dead, or must have the children’s clothes furnished and $5 to $8 a month for caring for them. Everyone had endless red-tape and regulations to be complied with before children could be put in them at all. It was plain that the principal effort was how to keep children out rather than to relieve the distressed. It is the only business in the city in which each house cheerfully recommends and advises customers to go the other. The sex ogre too reigned at most of them, as the children of deserted women would not be received. At each place this woman was treated with indifference or contempt until she reached the Nursery for Homeless Children, where her condition was immediately appreciated and the spirit of her case entered into. She was counseled to provide for the sick mother first and do what she could for the children later, but to send them right along anyway. The matron as spontaneously manifested interest and sympathy as an own sister could have done.
It appears that EGOISM has seemed to be putting its number ten foot in it clear to the neck by editorially assuming Alfred B. Westrup’s argument on a “standard of value,” which argument has been interpreted as implying that currency is proposed that does not express a known quantity. That is, that these notes would not call for such an amount of product as would exchange for a definite quantity of some known article. This would of course not work. No one could afford to give such a quantity of products as would exchange for twenty grains of gold for a note without knowing the note would be redeemed with such a quantity of products as would then exchange for twenty grains of gold. We say gold because it is supposed under present circumstances to be the most practicable measure in which to express an order for products; any commodity costing about as much labor and maintaining about the same demand at one time as another would do as well, so long as the redeeming products were estimated by the same standard as were those given for the note. We can hardly think even now that Mr. Westrup intended to coutrovert this, though a re-reading of his argument in the light of the aforesaid interpretation strongly impresses that implication. Tak Kak’s article on “Mutual Banking,” in reply to F. K. Blue touches on this point, and “Valuation for Security,” copied from the “Galveston News,” treats it similarly only at greater length. Regarding the relative nature of value Mr. Westrup, Tak Kak, and the “News” agree, but the deduction of the latter is apparently widely different and to us satisfactory. We had been regarding Mr. Westrup’s article as directed against that position which adopting gold as a standard of value implies that it is necessarily the only basis for currency. These articles will probably bring a reply from Mr. Westrup stating his position unmistakably clear to all.
The first thing one wants to know of any writer on the money question is whether or not he is in favor of our having liberty to try and solve the problem of reducing interest. When they say that free banking will not work out in such a way as we think, I feel like replying: What is the use of saying so while liberty to make the demonstration or to fail in making it is denied? The monopoly State virtually admits that interest can be reduced or abolished. Its prohibition on free banking,—its refusal to formulate conditions with which we might be able to comply to guarantee that our experiments are to be at our own cost and not to deceive the unwary,—are sufficient confession that the monopoly money power fears we should succeed. If F. K. Blue be a libertarian why does he not put in his protest against the financial monopoly gag law? We cannot practically prove the beneficence of free banking without having liberty to try it. For the present therefore we have to be content with proving or claiming it theoretically.
Several of Mr. Blue’s queries and criticisms show that he has not sufficiently reflected upon the subject. He asks why should a note be redeemed periodically if the borrower can according to practice immediately borrow it again? I would ask him what is a loan without term? Obviously the security will deteriorate with time and a revaluation will be necessary to show whether the loan can properly be renewed in the same amount. This is a principle governing established business.
He says that gold is merely a standard like the yardstick at Washington. Now there is no prohibition on making yard measures of wood, tape, or other material; hence there is no scarcity-toll on the use of yard measures, but there is always a scarcity-toll on the use of money. At this time the drain of $50,000,000 of gold to Europe is credited with a general reduction of prices amounting to three cents on the dollar.
He asks: Why can Smith borrow 100 bushels of wheat of Jones only on condition of paying him back say 110 bushels next year? I answer, because Jones can sell the wheat for money and loan the money for 10 per cent.
The distinction between extension as a quality of one object and value as a result of objects in relation, but not inherent in gold or any other object, does not alter the necessity, in my view, for estimating by some agreed, definite mode of comparison the value of property on which a loan is made. Gold is a fair elective standard article. If I have a house and you a steamboat and both are valued by comparison with gold, both will fare alike. If a 40 per cent margin be allowed for posssible variation and the variation be 20 per cent in one instance and 25 in the other both loans will still be safe. The valuation is just as empirical as the reward of labor by sale of labor products in the market, but good enough.
Mr. Blue seems to have overlooked the mutual acceptance feature in Mutual Banking, by which each note is provided to be redeemed in products and services, and he signally fails to appreciate the effect upon relative spot and future values which would follow a greater facilitating of employment, hence production. Every product tends to decay. Increase activity in production and the securing of a market for accumulating products begins to weigh as a reason why one’s interest may be in selling rather than in holding. If houses are abundant and I own two I shall be glad to sell a house now for the cash which will pay for as good a house at a future time. Capital under liberty will be content with re placement. It is by maiming and laming production and exchange that the money monopoly in connection with land monopoly has kept the balance uneven.
Mr. Blue speaks of borrowing money as borrowing property. Mutual Banking is proposed so that we may borrow evidences of property and make these answer the same purpose as the literal circulation of that rare kind of property—coin—which is most convenient for division, preservation and delivery,—and which therefore under the regime of prohibition on currency has of course obtained an oppressive power for its owners.
The most prominent thing in approaching this sort of diversion is the overgrown inadequacy of the space that the whole of such a paper could furnish in which to properly “slash” a month’s conduct of a muddled community.
The California State board of health deprecates heart failure as a cause of death and has resolved that it, along with “fever, dropsy, childbirth, and cold shall not hereafter be recognized as a satisfactory cause of death when returned in physicians” certificates.” That is, who hereafter dies from such ailments is not legally dead and the attending physician is forced to lie about the cause of death or be liable to prosecution for allowing the body to be buried alive. Yet men of alleged intelligence vote, and prate of the wisdom and dignity of the State without laughing in each other’s faces. What a humorless race of animate mummies!
Oakland’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Children, has petitioned the board of supervisors for a monthly allowance from the people’s pocket. Not satisfied with the glory purchasable with the voluntary contributions of those who profit by privilege, the society asks for the use of the policeman’s club to plunder the disinterested citizen for amunition as well as heat its victims into court. The society, preying upon popular prejudice has acquired numbers, to these the politicians must pander, and finally the once voluntary charitable institution is squarely loaded on the producers’ backs, an exacting tyrant firmly riveted to the popular superstition, political authority. It is then safe and the whole serving community must help pay for the glory harvested by a few officials.
When reading in a late “Lucifer” the contradictory and weak aspersion of E. H. Heywood on Benj. R. Tucker and his work I thought Mr. Heywood’s confinement was deranging his mind, but when I found the matter had been published without apology or comment from “Lucifer’s” editor, and that he believes it advantageous to go from St. Louis to New York by way of the West Indies, I realized that when the mental cup is encrusted with ossified religion, more suh tile fluid will simply overflow when poured in, and that the slandering was induced by incapacity to understand mingled with a desire for revenge, so sweet to fanatical Alt-mists. Mr. Tucker has several times in discussion vanquished these thirteenth century zealots, and they cannot get over it. Besides, he has with material profit instead of sacrifice accomplished more work in their line than they probably ever will. The reason in such instances faintly recognizes the expedient method, but the preponderant and habituated emotions cannot accustom themselves to the new arrangement and resentment bubbles up whenever its work comes to the notice of the mistaken.
San Francisco has 20,000 citizens who seriously need $75,000 worth of sewer at one point as an outlet. They have paid for it in taxes many times, but Communism always has too much “general good” to dispose of to be just, and the money all went for that. Now the finance committee can contrive no way to raise the means, and those of delicate health must beat the cemetery if they can, with the odds greatly against them. But for the tax plunderer these people could have used their money in their own neighborhood and long ago had an outlet for sewage. It would be better for them even now to raise the money by subscription and put the sewer in at their own expense than wait on the government machine to spin red-tape until it is too late to do the work this season. And it will surely be forgotten by the authorities next year if allowed to run over. Nationalists could get another hint here of how a net-work of officialism could appropriate every stroke of labor for the “general good” consisting of official architectural hobbies and ambitions, while the individual would be left not only without a sewer, but with little to exercise one upon.
Few things are better calculated to disgust a person matter-of—fact enough to get from under a falling tree, than the British and American cant about gambling, generated by the baccarat scandal. Everybody with sense enough to distinguish dry from wet knows that gambling is carried on by every class of people with a stake and leisure. It is also well known that no one is forced to gamble, and that they do so with a full knowledge of the probabilities. It is not likely that anybody could believe that the Prince of Wales, having spent thirty or forty years in dissipating pleasure-seeking, did not gamble as freely as he indulged his sexual instincts. Yet each fully conscious that the other knew, howls as if the royal gamblers had been disemboweling and roasting children and mothers for their amusement. When the prince, through a political superstition, plunders his mother’s subjects of clothes-basketfuls of money and squanders it for his own pleasure it is bearable for the Britisher, but when he enters a game on a fair and equal footing both the British subjects and “democratic” Americans bite the dust before a time-honored prejudice. Even the “Examiner,” usually more or less rational on such subjects, refers to the mayor of Oakland as choosing the side of decency in vetoing a poolroom ordinance. As if there were anything sticky or stinking about gambling. Or as if it in any way invaded equal freedom. It may be foolish for some people to gamble, but when all fools are to be suppressed gamblers will be found to constitute an indiscernible minority in comparison with the rest of the globe’s “virtuous” inhabitants.
It is seldom that one can glance through a daily paper without finding several accounts of the ravages of the sex superstition. At Sacramento about the first of this month a man named Zwald, in a fit of religious frenzy, confessed to having murdered two wives. The disposal of the first victim was the legitmate fruit of monogamic monotony and its magnetic starvation. He met a woman nearly enough in his own condition and of proper temperment to spontaneously glide into the consummation of a mutual desire. But it was instinct alone and not a comprehension of the principle of freedom that dictated their conduct, and being dominated by the marriage idea and under the infatuation of new magnetism their natural impulse was to get rid of Zwald’s wife, which they did by poisoning. Their nerve fluids, however, became neutralized before the anticipated union and they went their respective ways properly satisfied, but at the useless and fearful cost of another’s life. If they had all understood the Egoistic nature of motive and individual rights, as well as something of sexual science, they would have known that the attraction would probably abate, or if it did not that there was no reason for anyone interfering and consequently none for getting rid of such an one. But “mysterious” love, “sacred” marriage, Mother Grundy and murder are a homogeneous lot and usually get to the surface where there is inherent energy enough for a demonstration. Now desperate, Zwald married for convenience a woman who proved to he a fiend at the pipe, negligent, and abusive and he strangled her to death one night while they were fighting and strung her to a beam in an outhouse, raising an alarm of suicide which passed. Thus dominated by the marriage custom he could think of pleasure with a second woman only by the death of the first, and instead of leaving the second wife he remained and was finally provoked into killing her. A rational conception of equal freedom would have allowed the two women to dispose of their own lives, and saved his without a loss of any pleasure enjoyed and a saving of all the pain endured. But mediocrity prefers respectability and murder to equal freedom.
Clara Luster, a young Jewess, for a promise of the respectable and customary price that he would support her for life by marriage, delivered the first installment of her sexual favors to Martin Quinlan, a police court lawyer of this city, and when he refused to come to time tried to shoot him. She raves about being ruined and by this unconscious pandering to Grundy has enlisted some useful sympathy. She was a working girl and with Jewish commercial instinct was undoubtedly quite willing to advance favors with the hope of catching a lawyer for a supporter. This is evident from the fact that having been fooled into a dive to work she left it as soon as she saw what was required, but when the higher price of a lawyer’s wife nibbled she was not so virtuous as in face of the dive fee. He is likely to get the worst of it in this case, as another lawyer for some reason, perhaps professional enmity, tendered the girl his services in her defense against a charge of assault to murder, and will prosecute Quinlan for seduction under promise of marriage. The girl, with the sympathy generated by tho notoriety, will probably fare as well or better than before, and the lawyer will not be so free with the marriage pension which most working girls are so anxious to bite at if only a sure catch can be made. Neither have my sympathy, but the case illustrates the commercial phase of the superstition both in the sympathy she has gathered by her wailings and the lawyer she attempted to gather with her favors. Were it not such a superstition she would not have been pregnant unless she so desired, and so desiring, ruin and the shooting would not have been thought of. Neither would it be necessary for men to offer a life pension and mutual slavery for favors that should end with the act.
At Wheatland on the night of the 12th a “respectable” mob tarred and feathered a man whose stepdaughter, on her dying bed, charged him with her ruin, which led to her suicide. Though the man’s torture was better than death the outrage of the “respectables” was just as marked. It was they and not the stepfather who supplemented the “ruin.” Had they withheld ostracism and given patronage she would have been all right. But the superstition they propagate drove her to suicide and in her absence they torture the man they unconsciously envy.
The carnivorous daily press proclaims that Sir William Gordon-Cumming’s brand new wife has an income of $60,000 a year in her own “right.” That is, somewhere in our “free” America the equivalent of an army of 360 men are rendered slaves by having to turn to her use all the savings of constant toil, counting that the average laborer gets $500 per year and can house, clothe, and feed himself on two-thirds of it. She probably does not dream that so many human lives are sacrificed to furnish her silly whim with a title and parade her as perhaps forty-second fiddle to a crumbling monarchy. No doubt the dollars seem to her as legitimately hers as the berries one gathers from his own garden. Such is the fruit of privilege; human beings toiling in ox weariness and possessing ambitions and desires that mean everything to their existence that desires can mean to consciousness, are crushed into the function of soil for others of their species and are exploited with as little thought of invasion as the farmer feels in raising a crop from real soil. This woman’s case is only one among the millions of those whose luxury and show enslaves the toilers of earth under the burning sun and in stifling shops, wallowing in the mud of mines or sweltering before furnaces. Those semi-conscious drones and these ghost-worshiping slaves move along in frog-like innocence of the ethereal web that keeps each where they are and as they are.
The Philosophy of Egoism.
Under the head of Religion Webster’s dictionary says: “As distinguished from morality, religion denotes the influences and motives to human duty which are found in the character and will of God, while morality describes the duties to man, to which true religion always influences.” Granted belief in a personal ruler, submission to his will is prudence, and prudence is Egoistic. With this conception the duty spoken of is not mysterious: it is service by a subject,—the slave’s submission to the power which he fears. He believes that the sovereign ruler has laid upon him special commands favoring his species and therefore he must treat men better than other animals. If this belief be an error, still there is no line to be drawn between the alleged duty and his interest. There is no disinterestedness or generosity in religious duty or moral duty,—or say rather in duty to God or man, for both are ultimately duty to the supposed heavenly master.
But Moralists, having gained some rational ideas of mutual relations, while unhappily ignoring the fact that these ideas are the proper foundation of willingly assumed mutual duties, fancy that they have discovered the justice of the alleged divine command or will, which is nothing but a reflection of their own thoughts, and thenceforth they fall under the hallucination of mystic Duty, independent of either calculation or pleasure. It is one task of Egoistic philosophy to analyze this notion of theirs as a confusion of ideas. They go so far in some instances as to dismiss belief in a moral lawgiver of the universe and yet remain under the same fascination to Duty as if they had him, and his will were equitable, and their servility were swallowed up in admiration of his justice. What they lack is the insight to perceive that conduct which makes for the good of the species is naturally agreeable to the feeling of each well developed individual, hence that the conception of Duty is skepticism as to spontaneity. The fixed idea of Duty unrelated to interest and not reducible to calculation, arises by abstraction and fascination like other aberrations reviewed in preceding papers. It reaches clear insanity in self-sacrifice if this occur in unreasoning ecstacy.
Of course an self-inflicted pain of some particular kind or even death is sometimes chosen in order to terminate anguish which none but the subject can appreciate. In such cases the action is Egoistic, though it may be of a terribly ignorant sort, as for example, when the cause of the pain is an imaginary object or such a real relation as is humiliating to the person’s feeling only because of irrational notions about it.
If morality be regarded from the point of view of the social utilitarian, as that course of conduct which promotes the welfare of the species, it is only necessary to repeat that the species acts as Egoistically as it can. It cheerfully sacrifices individuals to its own welfare. It has a subtle economy of means in planting Altruistic conceits in those that are willing to entertain them. When intelligence comes to recognize mutual interest this instinctive trickery of social influence will vanish, no longer seeming to be needed.
As for the virtues, such as benevolence, every observing person knows that we seek to get rid of painful impressions. Such, usually, are those of suffering in others. Many writers have pointed out how pity is stirred by the sight of wasted bodies and hearing the cry of pain, and how much weaker it is when only an ordinary description is given of the occasion; also how much more ready the poor are to help other poor people than the rich are. What has perhaps not been so generally observed is the reason for this, viz., that the rich do not feel that they are likely to need alms, while the poor, are on the edge of such need. There is quite enough in the difference of circumstances to make it instructive, although at- the same time, personal character varying in susceptibility, it is doubtless true also that those most inclined to benevolence are most likely to be poor in a society like ours, where money is supposed to grow by lending and profits are consolidated from the results of unpaid labor.
Valuation for Security.
It will occur that in emphasizing one argument there is such need of passing others by with seeming unconcern, that to some minds other truths seem slighted—truths which also need emphasizing perhaps in an equal, or it may be, for useful practical reasons, in a superior degree. The “News” aims at illustrating one thing at a time, but it is both receptive and grateful to those correspondents who intelligently extend its work and indicate useful subjects for discussion, giving their best thoughts thereon. A Boston reader speaking of the standard of value, states an undeniable truth to the effect that without a thing or things of value to which paper money can be referred and which can ultimately be got for it, such money would be untrustworthy or worthless. The “News” in a past article was discussing primary commerce and the transition to indirect exchange. No agreed standard for valuation is needed while mere barter is the rule; but it is indispensable as soon as circulating notes are issued. The vice of the greenback theory is that the notes do not call for anything in particular and so if their volume be doubled their purchasing power must apparently decline one-half. A note properly based on gold, silver, wheat, cotton or other commodity has a tangible security behind it. The one thing may be better than the other, but the principle is there in all. It is, however, a notable truth that the standard for valuation can be nothing better than an empirical one. Like mathematical quantities, value has no independent existence, but unlike mathematical quantities, value has not even existence as a quality of one object. It can not be compared to a measure of length which possesses the quality of extension in itself. Gold is assumed to vary little in relation to other things and they to vary much in relation to gold. Nobody can know how much gold does vary in the relation. The notable steadiness is in the amount of labor which will produce a given quantity and the length of time which it will last. The basis of the assumed steadiness of gold is thus found. But if the standard for use in making valuations be confessedly empirical and value an elusive quality not of things separately but of things in relation, there is a countervailing difference between a standard of length and a standard of value, which results in disposing of the objection that the standard is empirical. Why would it be a serious objection to a yardstick if it were longer or shorter from day to day? Because thus the customer would get more or less cloth than was intended. But why is that? Because the function of the yardstick is to measure for delivery as great a length of cloth as its own length. But now let us visit a bank or insurance office. We want a loan of circulating notes or a policy of insurance. The property offered as security is valued. Assume that gold is taken as the standard and that the loan or the policy is for $600 on a valuation of $1000. It is no matter in these cases if the standard varies, provided it does not vary to exceed the margin between the valuation and the obligation. The property pledged is merely security for the loan, or in the case of insurance the premium paid is a per cent of the amount insured. The amount between the valuation and the loan is established to make the loan abundantly safe. The policy is safely written through the same expedient. The empirical standard of value has a needful compensation about it which the yardstick or other measure neither has nor needs, viz., the valuing of goods does not deliver them. It is provisional. In case of default in paying back the loan the goods are sold and the same money borrowed is paid back, but the residue goes to the borrower. It is therefore an efficient compensation for the lack of an invariable standard of value, that the actual standard in any case is simply used as a means of estimating limits within which loans are safe. All danger is avoided by giving the borrower the familiar right in case of foreclosure. It is sometimes a fine thing to discover distinctions, but it is frequently a finer thing to discover whether or not the distinctions affect the question.—Galveston News.
According to the statements of Mr. A. Van Deusen in the “Twentieth Century, ” conditions down South seem to be getting rather unpleasant to the white masters of the soil. It appears that the poor ignorant and loftily despised negro is working his way up steadily, and by sa vmg and thrift is gaining a foothold as proprietor. Taking the statements of the author for true, it seems in fact probable that the ex-slave race will in the course of the next twenty-five years virtually own the soil of the South.
If handicapped by surrounding difficulties the race has made use of the personal freedom granted it, to take firm and steady root, and plant itself as owners on the soil it formerly tilled as serfs, it shows its capabilities. And if its growing influence in the political struggle for superiority begins to be a menace to the supremacy of its quondam masters and now race enemies, it only shows that nothing but freedom was necessary to bring it in due course of time to the same level with its white co-citizens.
If starting poor and intellectually inferior, with the soil in the hands of their opponents, they succeed in gaining footroom for themselves and slowly but surely oust their opponents from possession, it would seem to indicate that for the locality in question, the negroes are not the inferior race.
And has not in all ages possession of the soil given the right to govern (if indeed such aright can exist)? Why then should it be denied to the blacks? Why should not a black politician have as much right to rule as a white one? Why, if a negro pays his taxes should he not have a vote in the spending of them as well as the white man? The drift of this feeling in the white population is easily explained, this feeling that wants the negro disfranchised. If citizenship and equality were denied, it would stamp the black an inferior and prevent his rising in the social scale to a higher place than that of taxpayer to the masters who rule him. There is never any objection made to the negro’s taxpaying.
To me the black race seems to be a very valuable kind of yeomanry, because according to the writer’s statements, it keeps its holdings free and unincumbered, which does not seem to be the case with the superior white rulers.
I claim that if a negro behaves himself and pays his own way he has as much right to be here, to be a citizen, and to vote as any other human being. How he will live, spend, or save is entirely his own concern. Where does the title of the mighty Anglo-Saxon come from, that he presumes to keep a black man off the soil.
And if in a community, where the majority rule is an acknowledged and revered fact (however nonsensical and unjust it may be) the majority are black voters, and owners of, the soil in the bargain, why should they not rule the roost? Or is according to Anglo-Saxon ruling the majority only a majority when composed of Anglo-Saxons and not when of “niggers”?
The whole difficulty lies in this fact: Who shall rule? If no ruling was attempted there would be no trouble. White and black could live peaceably together if each would follow his own way and not try to apply arbitrary regulations to the other.
Continues the author: “If things were as they should be the African race should be in Africa and the Chinese race in Asia.” The same logic would return the Anglo-Saxon to Europe, and if the negroes are so thrifty as represented, they should follow the writer’s advice, buy the Anglo-Saxons out and ship them back to their native land, bag and baggage.
If the Chinese on the same principle act the same on the Pacific coast, the outlook for an Anglo-Saxon exodus toward England will become exceedingly bright. The remnant now East, which according to the same writer is slowly being ousted from business by the superior skill of the Jews, will have to follow suit, for the Latin race from the North is raising community after community of prolific Canadian French on the soil of Puritan New England, and soon the land will know the Anglo—Saxon no more.
And if by superior business skill and thrift these four so-called inferior races can drive the Anglo-Saxon out, the only way left open to him is to amalgamate with them and by intermarriage regain the stamina lost in the course of time.
But here “decency” comes in O howling Jehoshaphat! An Anglo-Saxon might possibly marry a Jewess, particularly if she possesses shekels, but a negress it would be shocking, and a Chinese would be positively “indecent.” And why is it more indecent to love a black than a white woman, a Chinese than a Jew male? What can there be indecent in the performance of a personal right? What right has your decency to drive my black love from my arms or banish my Chinese lover? Why is it that three hundred years ago intermarriage between Jews and gentiles was forbidden as indecent, while no penalty is attached to the act now?
As soon as people will cease ruling each other; refrain from meddling with things that do not concern them; not despise one another for belonging to different clans; not defraud each other from the soil that each has a right to; not interfere with each other in the making of an honest living; not fight with each other any more about who shall pay and who shall spend the taxes wrung by power out of labor’s earnings, the time will have come that negro, Jew and gentile can live together in the same land without reviling each other for the color of their skin or the length of their queues.
As long as government lasts there will be strife between races and between individuals for power.
If my Experience is less philosophical this month than usual, there is ample reason for it. I have recently sprained my mind a little and dare not turn on a full head until the swelling is reduced and the soreness leaves it. It was a sort of accident. C. P. Huntington, president of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, visited Oakland, my place of residence, and found the boys so contemptuously jumping his local trains while in motion, that it made him mad and he threatened to build a depressed track with sharp iron pickets on both sides to keep them away.
Now my contempt-breeding familiarity with depression makes me bitterly opposed to it, and after reading the president’s intention I determined to defeat it by inventing an elevated track and train that will be cheaper than his depressed one, and will attain four times the speed. (I like elevated things; wages for instance.) This cost me one night, several hours of study so intense that the next morning a goodly number of gray hairs were found in my hitherto brown and silken rim locks. This must not be repeated or my appearance will no longer belie my condition and I will be regarded as an old man before my childhood vanishes. This would be disastrous socially; for when I found the girl who became my wife I had boiling youth and her extravagant inexperience in my favor. There are now multiplying reasons why so strong-minded and able a woman should shake me, and with physical defects piling up and my passion for women abating not a jot, I find myself wrapped about some unpleasant forebodings. If, however, this mental economy in writing develops the popularity common to thought-barren productions I shall have money, and the things that it will not procure can be made at home by hand. Thus hope standing at the crack of its own brain gazes expectantly into the future waiting for a great city to rise from the sand. The “grate” at least always comes.
As stated in another paragraph, I manage to impair my digestion and beat myself out of a good deal of sleep by trying to invent things. In this I succeed to my own glowing satisfaction till a critic as much interested in making my ideas look small as I am in magnifying them, pours in some fundamental objections. I then revise, finding as a usual thing that he is only partly right. But I have a problem now that knocks the most arrogant of them silly. It is the reversing of my sight. I find that I have a powerful and penetrating hindsight, which if reversed into such aforesight would make me complete master of the situation. It would cause me to succeed upon the very occasions that I now fail, and these are so numerous that I am relentlessly impressed with the importance of solving the question at the earliest date.
If I could have seen the point twenty years ago as clearly as I now do, instead of learning to run a stationary steam engine, or later, something of the tactics of drilling type, I should have learned the millionaire trade. It is now clear to me that there is a marked advantage in being a millionaire over that of being an engineer or compositor. It is a fact that the millionaire has to be on duty just the same, but the vocation is susceptible of conforming its duties more to the variations of desire than is true of those into which I was pumped. If I had seen when growing up what I now see I should not have been so religiously virtuous as I was, and would now be considerably stronger than I am. I should also not have sold out an opportunity to do business for the purpose of going to school and left school to brake on a railroad. But I should have left, as I (lid, the railroad to keep from breaking my neck. Later I should not have been so fanatically devoted to progressive ideas as to beat myself out of their advantages. Then every day I should not be doing things that I do, and should do many things that I fail to do. A little reflection will convince the reader of the existence-wringing importance of the question, “How Shall We Reverse Our Sight.”
I have lately experienced an instance of character-photography. It was in the case of a Missouri acquaintance, J. G. Petgen. Mr. Petgen is a hard-sense German, who lives on a square mile of farm near Liberal, Mo. He is too practical to heartily share current prejudices and not quite idealistic enough to do battle for radicalism. When my mother-in-law solicited him to subscribe for EGOISM he said, “The paper is too far in advance, I cannot understand and get interested in it.” Then be illustrated: “When I go into the field or near my cattle they will follow me as long as they can see me, but when I get over the hill out of their sight they lose all interest in me and begin to browse. That is the way with the people concerning EGOISM; it gets out of their sight and they don’t care anything about it.” This illustration is so characteristic of Petgen that it impresses his personality more forcibly upon me than his photograph could. One could hardly converse with him for five minutes without hearing some such comparison.
When mossy-spined Liberal made its first Grundy charge upon Freelovers, the Lyons were the principal victims. They had in their possession some beautiful specimens of the nude in art. Among the charges brought against them was that of “corrupting youth” by allowing visiting girls to look at these pictures. The rustic howl made the air purple, but when Mr. Petgen heard about it he said, “If my girls find anything at Lyons’ house that they don’t like, let them stay away from there.” He took no further interest in the matter, and went about his own affairs as usual. Thus he lives his life on the very borders of that combination of thought and taste which would make the cramped ideas of his superstitious associates positively repugnant to him. He does not understand the ramifications and qualifying influence of Egoistic thought, yet is negatively an Egoist. His realistic comparisons extended a little further and applied to every topic would soon land him in a field with an infinitely larger life than is possible to glean from the institution worshiping mediocrity comprising his present environment. And this is true of thousands of more or less bold thinkers, who will live and die in a half-hatched condition for want of a little stirring up to the idea of getting the most possible from their flash of eternity.
This Experience is intended for “women only.” Men may sleep under it however, if they don’t kick on its complexion. It is a bedchamber secret which I wish to convey to my feminine readers. It borders not on the “obscene, ” but on the bedstead. It is a bed-sheet—a colored sheet; not that agonizing color between that of a smoked ham and a snowdrift which we of the female function succeed in boiling and bleaching out only when the sheets have evaporated, but a genuine oil painting color, such as girls and women have kitchen aprons and factory dresses made in. Such sheets can be washed so clean as not to generate cholera, without rubbing the skin off the knuckles and choking one’s self in sudsy steam when lifting them from a boiler with the bald end of a broomhandle. A year or two of this experience generated in my invent tank the idea which I now put in practice and print. My wife bought me part of a bolt of gingham painted in blue for a background and striped with white. The bolt was not an old and rusty one. To be sure, the head and nut were gone, but it had good thread and was twenty-two yards long. This she measured into sheet lengths by holding one end to her nose and reaching as far out toward the other as she could with her hand. She was built with a standard yard stick, and can measure a bolt of cloth without losing a thread. I tried it, but lost just one sheet out of four. She says my nose is too long. But upon consulting the brevity of my flannel shirt-sleeves I conclude that it is my arms that prevent my being an automatic dry goods clerk..
One Sunday, when this material had been smelled into the proper lengths, I sat me down and buoyantly began to sew the strips together in pairs and to hem them across the ends with white thread and a long time. It was with delight that I matched the stripes at the beginning of the seam and despair that I found them missing each other and traveling toward me at the end. I had always yearningly desired such spontaneous intimacy on their part, having noticed them mostly about plump female flesh, but now when they really approached me I was stung with shegrin, or a knowing smile of my wife’s which she conferred upon the wall and I absorbed from a mirror. After I had spent five hours in this way on two of the sheets, and was growing a little impatient at the procrastinating tendency the task was assuming, she laughed right out at me a great deal and tried a very little to teach me a sweeping wiggle of the hands by which she feeds the cloth on a needle-point as one does sheaves into a threshing machine. But I frankly admit that I can’t make a strip of cloth lie still on the air while I stick and tug at it as is required in sewing. Neither have I a needle and thimble so trained that I can grasp them in my hand with some cloth like a bunch of grass, and the thimble will push the needle through the cloth in stitches of geometrical evenness and with railroad speed. And I told her that if she expected to make a hemmer, tucker, and feller out of me all at once, she was getting ahead of the bandwagon. She then turned feller herself, falling into sarcasm by rejoining that if I were a Tucker my talents wouldn’t allow me to do either of the others and might even induce a change in her condition of servitude. I felt the force of this observation and a pang penetrate the thorax, landing amid my small intestines, and I looked doggedly out of the window at the local train while she gaped and seemed to realize that the truth is not on all occasions in demand. But colored sheets will save a great deal of labor and muslin.
Our George Stands On Them.
The readers of this journal have learned from an editorial paragraph printed last week that I am responsible for the contribution appearing in the preceding issue under the head of “Herbert Spencer on Nationalism”; that the ideas expressed are repugnant to “Freethought, ” which holds to Nationalism as the forlorn hope of industrial progress; and that Mr. W. N. Slocum has clearly pointed out the absurdities of Mr. Spencer’s position. The paragraph is in the nature of an apology, made necessary by the inadvertent admission into these columns of Mr. Spencer’s views with apparent editorial sanction. I did not write or inspire the apology. It is Browne’s.
Mr. Slocum affirms that Spencer wilfully or ignorantly refuses to know what Nationalism is, and that he persistently misrepresents it as what it is not. Now I have read Socialistic books and papers, listened to Socialistic orators, and conversed with professors of Socialism more or less for the past fifteen years, and it does not appear to me that Spencer has misrepresented them as to their proposed form of reconstructed society. Of course he does not agree with them about the working of the system. The central idea of Socialism is an industrial army so officered and directed as to produce the greatest results with the least amount of labor. It strikes me that such an army without officers having absolute authority would be very much like a mob. It is quite easy to draw, on the walls of the imagination, a picture of a perfect society, with men and women that have no life and consequently no volition of their own. It requires only a slight exercise of the organs of speech to say that members, actuated both by interest and pleasure, will volunteer their service; that then not to labor will be a disgrace; that under the inspiration of Nationalism emulation will take the place of competition; that labor will be wholly voluntary; that all will follow useful occupations; that fitness will determine position; that officers will be constantly changing; that the children of the highest will begin on the same round of the ladder with the lowest; and that such a thing as classes will be not only unknown but impossible. For this picture Mr. Slocum has a distinguished original to copy from; it was drawn a hundred years ago by Thomas Paine, who had as much faith in democracy as Mr. Slocum and Editor Browne have in Nationalism.
Describing America, Paine said: “There the poor are not oppressed, the rich are not privileged.” The exact opposite of this is true today. Paine goes on: “Industry is not mortified by the splendid extravagance of aconrt rioting at its expense.” Is that so? Who paid the expenses of the presidential junketers who recently exhibited themselves from Washington to San Francisco? If industry was not mortified by the “splendid extravagance” of special trains and seventy-five dollar dinners, it is due to the fact that industry was not represented on the reception committees. “Their taxes, ” proceeds Paine, meaning the American people, “are few because their government is just; and there is nothing to render them wretched, there is nothing to engender riots and tumults.” At the time Paine wrote taxes were few, the billion dollar congress had not met; when he said the government was just, Bennett and Heywood and Harman had not been imprisoned: the Chicago men had not been hanged. He was attacking the English monarchy, and endeavoring to show by contrast how much better it would be to have a republic. If somebody had told him that in a hundred years riots would be as frequent in America as they are in England; that Congress would be more corrupt than Parliament; that Americans would be called upon to submit to oppressions and impositions that Englishmen have thrown off; that the monarchy would hold the lead in literature, science, education, and general progress, as well as in the larger industries; that, in fact, the government which he aided in establishing would soon get to be rather worse than the one he attacked—if somebody had hinted these things to Paine, I have no doubt he would have been as indignant as Nationalists are when told by Spencer that their system is more potent for evil than either democracy or monarchy.
Paine was the foremost political writer of his day. He was more popular than Herbert Spencer, and not open to the charge of pessimism or of hatching things in the quiet of his library. He was much in the common walks of life, and in a position to judge the signs of the times. Still he could not forecast, with the slightest degree of accuracy, the future of the republic under democracy. He never guessed how soon public office was to become a private enterprise, nor at what an early period statesmanship would be lost in politics and degraded into an unlearned profession. ‘
It is in the line of this investigation to inquire: If the simple form of government inaugurated by Paine and his contemporaries was capable of developing the evils of the present day, what might a hundred years of so complex a system as State Socialism be expected to produce?
The battle of Freethinkers is against the privileges granted to the church by government, and this battle they are now fighting with a ray of hope to encourage them. That ray, in my poor opinion, will not be any brighter when Nationalism has multiplied the functions of the State and given us a swarm of officials to hold the balance of power.—George E. Macdonald in “Freethought” of May 30.
IT is a remarkable example of the conservative character of men that the reformers of our day, who as a class have given up the belief in the revealed word of God, who claim to believe in evolution, in the struggle for existence and in the survival of the fittest, cling yet almost to a man, to the idea of duty of man toward man, and make it the basis of all their schemes of improvement, and are loud in their condemnation of selfishness, which is really the basis of all improvement—Albert Chavannes.
THE Omaha young man who flung a chair through the canvas of Bouguereau’s famous picture of the nude, “The Return of Spring, ” was defended on his trial on his plea “I did it for the protection of woman’s virtue.” The connection was so obvious to the Omaha mind that they just naturally acquitted him, ignoring the unfortunate implication that the Omaha woman’s virtue needs that kind of protection.—Oakland Tribune.
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.