Georgia & Henry Replogle
Egoism Vol. II. No. 4.
EGOISM is now printed on a steam press, and is getting up in the world.
“Liberty,” of Boston, is changed from an 8-page fortnightly to a 4-page weekly. This is very desirable.
Colonel Ingersoll says one man in the right will finally get to be a majority. In this case the degree of right and that of finality will exactly correspond. If a man is very right the finality will impress him quite as seriously as the majority realization.
Lillian Harman, one of the publishers of former Fair Play, has gone to Boston to manipulate the leaden alphabet in Benj. R. Tucker’s publishing house. E. C. Walker will probably also be employed in some department of the business.
The English Anarchists have formed a Free Trade Extension League and issued a circular with a program of 12 items of governmental prohibition for the abolishment of which they will agitate. A list of subjects and lecturers will soon be issued and the work begun.
The last book published by Benj. R Tucker is “Russian Traits and Terrors,” and promises to be a critical and able analysis of that people’s characteristics as well as an authentic and startling description of the atrocities practiced by the Russian government. We have received, but not read it yet. It contains 288 pages and sells at $1.00 in cloth binding, and at 35 cents in paper cover. Address the publisher at Box 3366, Boston.
“The Rights of Women and the Sexual Relations,” by Karl Heinzen, announced in the June number, has arrived and been read. To have been written in 1852, it is remarkable for the breadth of its position as well as plainness of analysis and force of conclusion, which makes it excellent matter for propaganda work among the idealistic conservative portion of the community. But a number of monogamy-derived ideals and empirical deductions occurring like interpolations in his magnificent argument are very provoking to the radical reader who finding the author in the very jaws of a bold and consistent conclusion sees him suddenly wheel about and justify by a monogamic prejudice. Those of our readers who only tolerate the paper will be delighted with the book and should circulate it among their conservative friends. It contains 173 pages and sells in cloth for $1.00; paper cover 50 cents. Benj. R. Tucker, Box 3366, Boston, Mass.
EGOISM is glad to note the change of the Chicago “Liberal,” formerly an anti-theological paper, into the “Auditor,” a paper devoted to free money and industrial emancipation. It is edited by Alfred B. Westrup, with S. V.Westru1) business manager. Mrs. Freeman, who was publisher of the “Liberal” has severed connection with it except as a contributor. It is a 16-page monthly, printed on excellent paper with large clear type, at $1.00 a year. But for one, and a fatal error, it would be a sound and powerful propagator of Mutual Banking. This error consists in the proposition to issue currency without being denominated in some standard of value; that is, without it being understood that a note of a given denomination will be redeemed in such a quantity of products as would exchange for a definite quantity of some commodity. It is equal, as we understand it, to giving a promissory note without stating the amount to be paid. Of course Mr. Westrup will not admit this, and declares that the Mutual Bank dollar taken in lieu of current money would express how much product the note calls for. So it would, but only because the Mutual Bank dollar is measured by the current dollar and the current dollar represents a definite quantity of gold or silver. It is easy to print a note but impossible to tell what to give for it without knowing its denomination and impossible to denominate it without doing so in some definite amount of something, and the moment a definite amount of something is named it shows how much to give for the note and becomes a standard of value, a measure of valuation in exchange. This is so self-evident, and has been so clearly set forth by others, and Mr. Westrup so persistent in ignoring that he uses standard while he denies one, that we are grieved to be unable to see any other reason for such a course than that of an overmastering desire for originality and a distinctive leadership based thereon. Among thinking people it is such a well-verified fact that a thought may be original in a number of minds at the same time or at different times and therefore no one of the number he the originator, that it seems a desire for credit for originality should not tempt a mature thinker to base such credit on so preposterous a proposition. The leadership in the movement for free money will be hard to locate and will probably be credited to the farmers, and yet not one in a thousand will know who originated the idea nor even realize but that they always had it in an undefined sort of way. (This refers to their private scheme.) Warning our readers of the error propagated on this point by the “Auditor,” we would be only too glad to return in part the many favors Mr. Westrup has bestowed upon EGOISM, by inducing them to subscribe for his paper and otherwise help him agitate for freedom to issue currency. Address the business manager at 343 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill.
There is but one wisdom, even joy
And kindly wishing!
Well saith the Epicurean:—
Today be happy, for tomorrow die
Therefore today is glad perfectness of life,
Innocence, and happy-hearted laughter,
With manly earnestness of strife;
Tomorrow cometh sweet Death,
The blending with the dear brown dust,
And—how think you?—nothing after.
J. WM. LLOYD.
AN Oakland stenographer fell in love with a teacher in one of the public schools; that is, as most men are, he was impressed with the qualities in a woman desirable for the combination instrument known as wife. But the teacher had a job and was not enthusiastic. And in seeing him come out of a saloon she found an excuse for a final jilt. His desire to possess her did not cease and he allowed it to seep out in devotional verse through a paper he published. Of this he claimed she made stock to ridicule him among his and her friends, which stung him so that he annoyed her in print with trifling thrusts and editorials paralleling their differences, and finally looked up the record of her family to further retaliate. He then sought an interview but she refused. Finally an interview between him and the girl’s father was arranged by a mutual friend and they met in the stenographer’s office to talk the whole affair over and drop it. But it was scarcely begun when the men became irritated and the girl’s father emptied a five-barreled revolver into the defenseless stenographer’s body, from the effects of which he died five days later. And the herd, those sovereign rulers whose ignorance and brute force make public ethics and political science, justify the killing and it is likely the slayer will in the future go unrestrained in his methods of defending such honor as such men have. And the doctors found that the stenographer under the circumstances, died from a failure of the heart. This made the victim criminal, for such death is illegal, as the State board of health long ago so declared and will not allow physicians to return it in certificates as a cause of death. For his conduct toward the young woman the stenographer should have been subjected to some sharp derision and a severe social boycotting, but was a shining light beside the fanatical vertebrate who took such advantage to riddle him with bullets. Killing the murderer would help no one, but at his own expense he should be kept from ever repeating such an act.
Mrs. Potter, the actress, has not seen her little girl for three years, and cannot be her guardian because American law does not think an actress a proper person to rear even her own children. Mrs. Potter desires to bring up her child in her profession and make an intelligent an accomplished woman of her, but the tyrant fetich, political authority, declares that the millions of mere vertebrates who are mothers as clams are by force of their exposure, are eminently fitted to train children, while an experienced woman and intelligent artist must be fenced out like a duck with a brood of chickens from a pond. This idea of duty to society is a delightful thing when a lot of anatomical specimens want to force some one to trot their own affairs in the trail of barbaric zoography.
Those authority worshipers who manage without laughing to point to the government postal service as an illustration of their schemes of officialism, could get some pointers from the “Examiner” of August 11, and 12. It shows that under and owing to official irresponsibility it takes mail as long to reach points only 200 miles from San Francisco as is required to land it in New York city; that in other cases it takes six days to get mail from point to point only (30 miles apart, and eight days to reach another 108 miles away. In Tulare county its two principal towns are 12 miles apart and are connected by a railroad with three trains a day each way, but the mail is carried by a roundabout route that it consumes three days to cover, requiring a week to get an answer from a letter when it could easily be had in one day by carrying the mail over the direct route. In another case mail with daily papers is delayed 23 hours by forcing the stage to leave a railroad station one hour before this mail arrives, and in many other places mail is uselessly held from 12 to 18 hours. The department at Washington was long ago notified of all these facts and furnished with suggestions showing how they could be remedied. In one case the carrier was willing to put on faster service at his own expense, and even this was not allowed for some time till some big names protested. Sometimes protests were retaliated by depriving the communities of half the service they then enjoyed. The whole affair shows that a study for the worst management could scarcely outdo that of the present. No attention at all is paid to complaints not made in regular red tape form, and to these the saintly John retorts: “If the people of the Pacific Coast don’t like the way I do business let them take the business and run it to suit themselves!” A better suggestion could not well be made if they dared to do any such thing, but he well knows they dare not, and further that their groveling worship of political authority in general and a political party in particular, will insure his position, so he sneeringly taunts them. And what is true in this case is true of political authority in general; local interest, from a community to an individual, can care‘ for its own affairs better than is possible by centralized management even if it were interested, to say nothing of the cases wherein such management’s interest is at variance with that of a locality or individual that cannot retaliate. Political authority aside, if a thing does not pay the payers it can be abandoned, and if a community desires a particular kind of service it can have it by paying the cost. As it is the pay is in part or all collected and the service is unsatisfactory, yet however willing the community to pay for a better, no one dares compete. And why they should not is no more asked than why rain does not always fall to the best advantage of the crops. The people do without rain when it does not come, and with the same unquestioning resignation do without whatever government chooses to withhold. Indeed individuals will cause rain and regulate temperature at will before the masses give up the superstition of political authority—that inconceivable proposition that the government and people are one, and yet these people helplessly chew their own necks off.
Toes Unwittingly Trodden.
The wisdom of government crops out amazingly in the mayorial Oakland board of health appointment. It is the tendency of governments to shower favors on sycophants. A homeopathic physician, who could not spell, certainly owes his success to anything but his learning.
Notwithstanding EGOISM’s left hand undercut at the allopathic members, it may be inferred from its not stating to the contrary, that they know how to spell. It is a blessing to humanity that the non—speller took the infinitesimal route in conducting mankind’s steps heavenward. If he had stumbled onto the allopathic way of doing business, his success instead of a place on the board of health, by favor of an ignorant politician, might have been a prison cell for unintentional manslaughter;
Advocating alum in one column and homeopathy in the other is an inconsistency of which I did not dream EGOISM capable. Or has alum only the described results when administered in homeopathic doses? It seems not, for it is expressly stated not to use the drug (rather say mineral) sparingly.
Alum being an emetic and at the same time an adstringent, will lessen the sexual appetite. Just imagine a person thinking of the sexual act with a puking dose of alum inside and an adstringent bath outside. But if the contracting agency of the mineral acts beneficial on the sexual parts of man, as far as his propensity to commit rape is concerned, conjoinedly with the nauseating effects it has on his stomach, how will it act on the power of his brain where the contracting and nauseating effects are working in the same way? We know that a full blood supply is necessary for correct thinking.
Before the editor continues to advocate homeopathy in one column and alum in the other, I advise him to dismiss the use of alum, not because its effect on his sexual system interests me any, but because it seems to interfere materially with the use of his brain, with which I am much concerned.
I wrote the note on which the above is a criticism, to rebuke the prejudice of the allopathic board of health mentioned, and with no intention of attacking the entire school, for I supposed the prejudice confined to this particular board, perhaps. In the start I frankly confess that I know almost less than nothing about the technical difference between the two theories. The assertions only reflected my experience with and observation of their practices. It is not a prejudiced opinion that I have for, as in this case, allopathic doctors have always happened to be my friends, but in spite of this I years ago lost faith in customary doctoring. I have noticed, however, that homeopathic doctors lost almost no cases in fevers and seemed successful in treating nervous diseases, while allopathies lost many patients from fevers and succeeded but indifferently with nervous afflictions. I accounted for the difference on the grounds that both medicines were practically useless, and that the homeopathic did not kill so quickly because a weakened system could resist it more easily. This may be a little sweeping, but is a rashness that I heartily choose as a rule in life. My single personal experience with homeopathic remedies, was once when I was suffering with neuralgia, and a friend gave me some little white pills that the very thought of taking made me smile in face of the pain. However, I was soon asleep and the next morning all trace of pain was gone and there was no noticeable reaction from the medicine, and I have never been troubled with neuralgia since. In several instances before that I had been very sick with other ailments and was attended by allopathics who, I have reason to believe, (lid all in their power, but not until they gave up and quit dosing did I grow better. And this causes me to agree with Dr. De Lespinasse when he says that if this homeopathic doctor had stumbled onto the allopathic way of doing business he might be in a prison cell for unintentional man-slaughter, for I believe it takes a very smart man to administer allopathic treatment without killing the patient.
Now no one is more ready to find fault with government than myself, but if the homeopathic doctor got the place because he was a sycophant, how shall we account for the monopolization of former appointments by allopathics?
EGOISM was not inconsistent in advocating alum and homeopathy in the same number. It was unmistakably implied that the alum was to destroy the surplus life that seemed to be giving the purists so much trouble, and not a health-restoring prescription at all. And besides the two notes were written by different persons; the homeopathy by myself, “G.,” and the alum prescription by the “Manager.” As there are two editorial writers, we use the initials, “H.” and “6.,” and are not “one” and the same person, as the doctor seems to conclude, although we once went through a legal performance that is supposed to make two “one.”
It does not follow that the “Manager” had experimented with the alum upon his own person because he prescribed it. I venture that Dr. De Lespinasse does not use all his prescriptions on his own system, but goes by a theory and observation largely.
It may be said that the “Manager’s” “Experience” is not always to be taken too seriously, although he often regards some of it decidedly so.
Majority Taste Brutality.
On the 17th of last month the society for meddling in others’ affairs crushed two more victims in this city. A girl 17 years of age ran away from her mother in Oakland and came—here, where she lived with her aunt for a time, but took to leading an “irregular life.” Complaint was lodged with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Animals, and its secretary, Holbrook, immediately proceeded to help the girl’s mother treat her worse than animals are treated, by forcing her to marry a bartender whom she hated or go a year to the Magdalen Asylum. Her mother went to the bartender and threatened him with imprisonment unless he should “right” the wrong he had done the girl, and he consented to marry her. The following from the “Examiner” gives a fair idea of the barbarous and ritualistic ethics with which the community’s censors are content:
They had a hard time with Lena, who objected strongly to the marriage. In the women’s room of the prison hospital her mother and a friend, with the matron of the prison, argued and pleaded with the girl.
“But I don’t want to get married,” she whimpered in reply, “and especially to him. I don’t like him.”
“Still, you cannot hope to marry any other man, and marry you must,” argued the mother.
“Why must I marry?”
“Because, if you do not they will send you to prison for a year.”
At the word “prison” Lena gave up, and in another minute her consent had been gained.
......She wept bitterly as she placed herself at the side of the groom, who scowled and edged away from her, while Lena’s mother observing his action looked fiercely at him.
Justice Low read the marriage ceremony sharply as if to impress what he said on his odd audience. Everybody looked uncomfortable.
“Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?”
Druhm muttered something that sounded more like an imprecation than “I do.”
Lena murmured her response in a scarcely audible tone, and Justice Low hurried the ceremony to a finish.
Holbrook led the way out of the prison, Druhm shuffled after him, the bride and her mother brought up the rear, and that was all.
And this is the work of the Humane Society and of a mother and the “wisdom” of the age. This machine ethics—this military drill—this violation of every principle of spontaneity and free will is sanctioned by society, by the people we must live among and to whose barbaric instincts we are exposed in living the only share of conscious existence we shall enjoy. If we would escape the impersonal and irresponsible majority beast, we must make our tastes, or at least our habits conform to its dictation, whatever be the torture.
When it had decreed here the bartender returned to his work with the consciousness that a garnishee hangs over every dollar he can earn and that his efforts henceforth must go to benefit a person he hates. He cannot escape this slavery if he remains in the country, for it is the acknowledged business of the society that enslaved him to arrest and fine him if he fails to provide for the woman it has forced upon him. Whatever may be his ambition in maturer years, he is chained affectionately to a corpse. If he finds a congenial companion he might as well be a Hottentot for all the good it will do him. To appreciate his position more thoroughly one has only to imagine himself bound to some of the women he hates and then remember the desirability of those he is most attracted to. And it cannot be maintained that this man is only completing responsibility that he had assumed, for there was no such an arrangement either contracted or implied; the girl asked him for nothing. She was as unwilling to be imposed upon him as he was to have her. Neither party demanded anything; they were mutually done when a mutual appetite was gratified. To force them to marry was a piece of brutality as invasive as it would have been to force them to wade through fire.
The girl returned from that prison to the air and sunshine practically a slave. If she went to apartments her now husband may have had, her lot living with a person who hates her and whom she as cordially hates in return, can well be imagined by those who find monogamic life under the most favorable conditions only bearable. If she went with her mother who subdued her by the brute force of the State, to live from the hand of a hating m an her case is still little better, for whoever her unengaged affection may attach itself to, she must smother it and live without hope or she will be regarded as a prostitute and her child taken from her by her husband or by the society which enslaved her. Other women find it hard enough to accomplish a satisfactory destiny with full freedom of choice in directing it, but this one has had hers fixed against her will and must bear it. Great, ruthless, brutal society that lives life as a matter of pleasure, has set hers as a matter to be borne, and rushes heedlessly on, having enforced its taste in sex arrangement.
The mother, though the victor of so grim a triumph, is better off; she is formally acquitted by her neighbors, her opportunity for accomplishment has not been impaired, and she believes she is a benefactor in securing a part of the bartender’s earnings for her child. Yet she was an active invader, selling her daughter’s liberty for the possibility of a support and to please the girl’s worst enemies.
The justice of the peace certainly got a fee, and the “humane” society came out with the greatest slice in the glory of a “rescue” the expense of which it was enabled to saddle off on others, besides it has a possibility for more should the bartender neglect to turn over sufficient cash to the wife. And it is with this society’s officers that the active tyranny rests. The members of society at large are too much concerned with their own affairs to have made this aggression, and the position and the pay of State officers does not depend upon the number of such cases they can manufacture. But let this society’s officers fail to report a glorifying amount of business and its members will shortly leave them to earn a living and fame by the ordinary method, and so all available material is worked for all there is in it. I say available, because its work as reported by the press plainly indicates that motive, for it is at one time.generous and at another tyrannous, without discrimination. It seems the only question is what will go, and on the go all the stress is laid. If a case is to be tried before a jury every resource is exhausted to secure one favorable to the prosecution. For instance, a woman was to be tried for inducing a minor into prostitution, and the society wanting the prejudices of married men as against the idea of the desirability of prostitution probably felt by unmarried men, managed to get away with a list of eighty men before it secured a jury before which it would risk its case. Success for the society and not redress for the wronged is plainly its motive. The community is taxed to pay civil officers high salaries to attend to criminal prosecution, then allows a few meddlers to make an industry from their implied neglect, but really from enforcing majority taste upon unpopular and defenseless individuals.
This is accomplishable by the principle of majority rule. The majority feels no need to seek a social science by which to square its conduct. It is all powerful and has but to exercise its will, no matter whether equal freedom be invaded or not; it cannot be brought to account for any crime so long as it is the majority. It is also impersonal and never learns anything from experience as a majority. Therefore sycophants have but to learn and pander to its taste and they can perpetrate any tyranny they choose regardless of a well-verified application of the law of equal freedom which is at the time operative in other matters behind each variation of which there is sufficient force to make violation inconvenient. This then, makes popular taste instead of equal freedom the active standard of conduct, and no matter how correct the conduct of individuals may be when tested by science and equal freedom, it must conform to the error of majority taste if there be any persons who can afford to spend their time to bring such innovations to majority notice. And this is the function of these meddling societies. The officers are paid by the members of the society and the members find their reward in enforcing their tastes which they mistake for a standard edition of perfect conduct. Society at large having the same tastes is not cognizant of the equal freedom invading character of this meddling, and will not be until an element of equal strength to that of the active persecutors exposes their violation of the same law operating in other affairs. When a fair sprinkling of intelligent and active individuals in each community can be brought to recognize the law of equal freedom and the importance of deducing from it the rule for every social adjustment, the work of making it the one law of social life will move rapidly, and with that will disappear majority rule as ruling. It will not then cost all life is worth to discover and practice in one’s private affairs a new variation two days before everybody else adopts it.
But before this the very men who are now content with a certain amount of recognition in trade, a severely earned respectability, and the semi-compulsory fawning of wife and family dependents, will have to learn that a well-defined extension of the compromise in occupying space is the intensest virtue of social ethics, and not that of the habits of dead men.
The Philosophy of Egoism.
The suggestion has been heard that if all acts are Egoistic this term has no distinctive meaning. The same thing has often been said as to “matter” when the Materialist has affirmed that there is no “spirit,”—no opposite of matter. Matter then becomes synonymous simply with existence. The materialist replies that he is content with the conclusion that there is no alleged existence unrelated to other and known existence; none exempt from manifestation according to a regular order or subject to the inherent law of its being, to speak according to appearances. There is a regular order of succession of phenomena. The Spiritual theory asserts a break in what is popularly called “the reign of natural law,” Materialism denies such assertion and exists as a distinctive ism to deny and disprove it. This statement will indicate in part what is the proper reply when it is charged that Egoism is almost meaningless if it embrace all acts. It was believed that men acted disinterestedly. Closer examination finds the motive and the form of their interest. Thus a parallel to the progress made from the time when men believed in miracles to the time when they have learned enough of natural law to expel the former belief.
By referring to the definition already given of Egoism it will be seen that it covers a theory as well as facts. If every act of every animal were perfectly Egoistic, nevertheless the demands of intelligence would not be satisfied without understanding the phenomena, which are explained according to natural law as reactions of individual will to motives presented in circumstances. To act Egoistically is universal, but to be in part ignorant of the fact seems to be also nearly universal. The theory of Egoism has its opposite in the theory of Altruism, evidently joined to Spiritualism by ignoring and denying the necessary sequence in phenomena. (I make no allusion to modern Spiritualism, which professes to be Materialistic.)
But beyond this it can be firmly said that until the Egoistic theory is understood and has had its full influence upon character. those irrational actions will continue which are the fruit of error, illusion, fascination, fixed ideas, rendering the individual practically not an Ego,—not in the possession of his faculties,—hence there will be as there are, actions not properly Egoistic, but insane, though not generally so understood. Thus the Egoistic theory has a practical purpose. The half insane.—that is to say all worshipers, religious, political, or personal,—are to come to consciousness of their individuality and become wholly sane.
As to submissive actions performed simply under fear or hope their Egoistic character is quite clear.
Emotional Gush Not In It.
Mr. Polk, the Alliance president, has remarked that he does not blame great finzznnciers for making out of the people what the laws and the circumstances of the age allow, or words to that effect. Hereupon several papers assailed Mr. Polk, crying shame and that he is confessedly wicked enough to do what he does not condemn in others; that he would gouge the people if he were rich and controlled a bank or a railroad. How all this outcry is ignorant or dishonest. What would the organs have said if Polk had denounced capitalists for making as mueh as the law and circumstances allow? It is safe to say that they would have sneered: “Does this man say that he would not have done the same? Why denounce individuals? Mankind average the same under given circumstances.” They would, in short, have charged Polk with being a vain pretender, ignorant of himself, lacking opportunity to take advantage of others and discover his own character, or else a hypocritical demagogue, ready to do what he denounced in others more luckily situated than himself. Mr. Polk is correct in viewing individual conduct in civil relations in the philosophical manner announced by him. It would be useless to expect a correction of industrial evils by appealing to the individual generosity of capitalists. For example, it would be absurd to continue the high tariff on cotton ties and appeal to manufacturers not to charge what the market, as thus protected for their benefit, will bear; that is, what they can make out of the necessity of the planters. And so it is with questions of trade and profit. The exceptionally harsh landlord or grasping usurer is indeed placed under the ban of social disapprobation, but theories and policies of reform in government, bearing upon economic relations, contemplate a general condition the result of average conduct under certain laws and inducements. The task of the reformer is to show that some laws give unfair advantage or that such advantage is usurped and that law is needed to restrain the usurpers. Mr. Polk claims that there is in money, as now known, a power to oppress. Whether or not he individually would waive such power had he much money is not a pertinent question. Rich or poor, he is but one in millions. The law of self-interest will operate with general regularity. The men who are too scrupulous to accept 10 per cent and foreclose mortgages will not be “in it,” but others will. This is as sure as the fact that one man’s nervous susceptibility does not in the least prevent a more robust man from following the trade of a butcher. Such criticisms as those referring to Mr. Polk’s personal inclination or philanthrophy in connection with a sociological question are indicative of pitiable ignorance or worse—a sycophantic desire to enlist in the service of monopoly. The tender is made by hastening to ridicule and snarl at the honest men who avow themselves opposed to unjust privileges.—Galveston News.
One Sunday evening in July as I shuffled undulatingly over the uneven and careworu plank walks from the postoffice to the ferry I was for once a flutteringly happy mammal. The corners of my mouth were booked back over my ears and a silly smile twinkled behind them; I could hear my eyes glow and see my cheek bones crowd up for a warm; my hair flapped gaily in the breeze and my slim mustache: swung sweepingly over my shoulders like a Texas steer’s horns. Even the stoop in my shoulders pushed itself down into my chest against the back side of that joy which was smashing my windpipe and chucking my Adam’s apple up against my chin. I was oblivious to small affairs and even forgot to feel, as is my habit, whether a tuft of hair was protruding from the hole in my derby. Neither did I nervously tug at my vest in a time-tried attempt to make it cover the intermitting stature between it and my low-necked pants. The bay, hitherto an endless stretch of waste time in the absence of a tractable waist, now seemed a small affair and the enormous gang plank creaked threateningly as I strode ponderously over it from the boat to solid ground. My illy suppressed joy attracted the attention of the passengers and they seemed to think me drunk on cereal exhilaration, but my artificial stone walk and gastric breath did not tally with that generalization. I felt like a citizen and as if I was no longer the under dog of privilege oppression, propping out my ribs with philosophic wickers instead of excellent dinners and deep inhalations of champagne breeze. At home I did not, as usual, wait for the train to stop, but sprang lightly to the ground and walked broadly up our stairs just like a proprietor. With a drew-in-the-lottery expression upon my face I dashed before my wife’s mingled gaze a piece of speckled pink paper with figures and dollar signs punched in it. It was a check, a real, live check—a check on Columbian lever-press-work and a New York bank. It ordered either an old or New Yorker to fork over to my body in hard cash $50, and was, as I found the next day at the typefounder’s, a remarkably potent kind of paper and I heartily wished for a whole ream of it. In spite of my rather incoherent appearance, it caused the gentleman in charge to manifest an almost motherly solicitude for the furnishing of our office, and gave him a confidence in me worth years of ordinary unchecked acquaintance. He talked with affectionate familiarity and even offered to sell me more things than I asked for. This joy-spouting paper was purchased by G. A. F. De Lespinasse, of Orange City, Iowa, for the purpose of putting EGOISM on a steam press, and was accompanied by a subtle apology to the effect that we need feel under no personal obligation to him, as he desired to push this paper’s general line of thought on his own account, and had seized this opportunity which had been recently suggested by a paragraph of my experience with our little Columbian lever press.
This voluntary act of Mr. De Lespinasse’s fairly opens for the first time in EGOISM’s case, the question of co-operation in propaganda work. The problem for every innovating publication is how to secure a good circulation and the accompanying influence. Those who need such a paper can hardly be induced to read it, and will not buy it. Someone must always furnish it free at least until the new reader becomes interested. This is usually done partly at the publisher’s expense and partly at that of the adherents of the reform, for there is no other known way to do it. In this, “duty to the cause” plays a conspicuous and successful part, since men’s selfish proclivity is much more effectually appealed to by a big thing like a “holy cause,” than by ordinary, calculated self-interest which will not admit the possibility of another motive for conduct. The purpose of this publication being to dispel the idea of “duty” for duty’s sake, we are deprived of that most popular expedient, and as the comprehensive adherents of the philosophy are few and a little from each does not amount to much, we have had to confine the propaganda work to our own financial resources. And, indeed it must be so unless some of the few, like Mr. De Lespinasse, feel disposed to do a great deal such work at their own expense for the pleasure of spreading their ideas. Five such propagandists spending $50 a year would so cover the core of EGOISM’s publishing expenses that with the labor we now put into it and the income that would follow, it would in five years gather readers enough to be read in as many thousand families. Such an achievement would afford any Egoist who is already well fed and clothed infinitely more pleasure than would the consciousness of $250 more of property for his heirs to quarrel over when his pleasure capacity is no more.
When Dr. De Lespinasse sits with his feet on a window sill of his office reflecting, or reviews life as he rides in the cool of the evening, he can now be conscious that he has away out in lovely California $50 worth of tools constantly transmitting the ideas that he is anxious to have afloat. And I dare say it will be as satisfactory as would the thoughts of many other radicals if they realized that they are investing their money in a legacy to be left by the “old man” or “old woman” whose ideas and companionship were limited to a narrower circle by a desire for figures of a little higher denomination on the credit side of their bank account, the only real use that an unused dollar can be to its owner. This is, of course, exclusive of such reasonable reserve as might be necessary for support in declining age. Memory chiseled in living, reciprocating brain fiber is much more desirable than in piles of marble as irresponsive as the dead they represent. We want our monument while we are here to enjoy it, and are confident others will like the idea as well when they think it over. It is for this reason that we have against some reluctance on Mr. De Lespinasse’s part used his name in acknowledging his co-operation in pushing the paper. And for this reason we propose to go still farther and keep standing in our prospectus the amounts and names of as many propagandists as help push the work we are interested in the most. This is just, and eminently proper, for it shows who are standing the pressure of propaganda and how much of it; a fact that every friend of the innovation will like to know, and the means of an appreciation that every propagandist will be proud of.
As is understood by Egoists, and as is manifest in another column, this cooperation takes none of the independence from the paper, nor prevents us combatting any opinions from which we differ. We propose to run the paper as nearly to suit ourselves as our ideas of safety will permit, and if that way pleases any one so well that they are willing to risk money on it, the kite takes another leap. But such persons must always consider the possibility of being displeased with the very next issue. No one has criticised the paper so much as Mr. De Lespinasse, and no one has done one-fourth as much to push it. One woman of journalistic experience is so well pleased with it that she regularly remits a dollar upon the receipt of each number, but the $50 that puts EGOISM on a steam press is an effectual lift that must be followed by many favorable results. We shall keep standing a full list of the propaganda fund for each volume even if it becomes so large that we have to print sixteen pages to accommodate it.
When EGOISM was to be printed on a steam press we deemed it incumbent upon us to seek a slice of pleasure. I like pleasure and think it great stuff to have. So we decided to go to the seabank one Sunday, which costs two and a half individuals two and seven-eighths fares, amounting to one dollar and twenty cents a trip. On Saturday night my wife bought two-bits worth of decrepit nuts and I got fifteen cents worth of granite-ware apples and some tender steak. The next morning without a sensation of the pleasure on which I was bent, I rolled out at 4 a.m. and the front side of the bed. After finding in the dry goods box on which I hang a case, two socks that mated not in color but in having the holes on the little-toe side, I dressed and amputated mybeard with a diffident razor and fervid soliloquy. Then I dislodged my wife and her relative from bed, and they dislodged the breakfast while I prepared the lunch. We then ran down the 7:30 train rolling lively for the ferry, and were soon on the boat and well at bay. I wanted to do something becoming the occasion so I reflectively probed my ear and silently contrasted the many gliding palaces with the scene several hundred years before, when the tide hugged Goat Island in broad daylight without danger of scandal. But I noticed that my reverie caused no disturbance outside of my own rind, and my wife nudged me and said that my sock was turned down over my shoetop. I pulled it up and realized that the grandest of thoughts are very subjective in their influence. And the sun poured upon my corns. At the landing we took our lunch basket and a Howard street cable car to the beach road. Howard street is a long strip of paved sand with two iron slits near the middle over which these cars chassa between two rows of weary-countenanced houses. As we neared the Lick baths the conductor observed: “Transfert’tenth?” and I nodded with my head, whereafter he gave me three pieces of cardboard containing a statement that “drifted snow flour is the best,” and after changing cars we arrived at the depot of the beach road. It is not hard to get on its cars; all you have to do is to buy a ticket, go through a door and fall over a post, then walk through the dining hall to the back porch and throw your ticket into a vacant aquarium and a man pumps it with a handle into the waste basket and you can step right on. These are funny little cars without weatherboarding, b which as they hackle the drifting sand with one’s nose put him in mind of the tail end of a threshing machine. It was here that I discovered the significance of the remark on the cardboards that “drifted snow flour is the best,”—better than drifting sand. When we arrived at the beach I lay me on the dry sand and gazed comely upon the mysterious deep and fell into speculation on physical geography and infirmity without losing by the decline. All ill-starred people should thus gambol on sand. I like to sit on my elbows and let myself hear the brine roar and the seals sing with leathery voice and refrain from chorus.
My wife allowed her little niece to wade in the wet surf, having made her wash he feet for the purpose the night before. It looks bad and is exposing part of the skeleton outside of the closet, to take off one’s stockings before a crowd when one’s shanks are all streaked and scaly with a season’s accumulation. Anybody can wade if they are not ashamed.
The beach seems to affect the human insect like the order of equal freedom; everybody rushes up to it and not much farther. The mighty element a was the gobbler faculty into basic democracy like a great fire or battle, before which all are about equal. This is what would happen if government privilege were removed; all would stand an equal show at the beach of opportunity, and fine airs would take a drop—not of champagne. The whole country would then be as the beach now is. Here no policeman paces nor trots, and all do as they please without displeasing. Squabby women squat about like gobs of stray dough on the kitchen floor; fat men step touchily on the soft sand as though they were walking in a half trough of eggs; waspish girls walk mechanically by the surf and display such calves as would not have won the heart of Podsnap in George Macdonald’s “Sweitzer Tomato;” la dley lovers crouch spaniel-like about their awkwardly-seated sweethearts; for the moment gallant husbands, ostensibly show off to their disinterested wives the swimming qualities of psychologized dogs who seldom get knee-deep into the water; vain men strut along with fishing tackle in hand, and carry strings of fish they have bought of fishermen; splendid teams with well-fortuned drivers of democratic mien dash along the surf—made track; waxen-faced girls who ride like bags of wool make their horses flounder through soft sand with the solid track not two rods away; counterfeit cowboys with more stirrup—guard and hair than brains ride coyotishly through the crowd and long—so long for notoriety; bourgeois families bring large basketfuls of the finest victuals and noisily devour them; middle-aged men and knowing young women throw sand at each other with expressions suggestive of larger gravel; monogamy-languored couples with diagonal affection drive to the beach for a change of air, but other heirs soon give them a breeze that starts them with dark complexioned looks for their legal sepulcher, which is white on the outside only; diffident, but tortured girls in subjective mood court each other with the pitiable inefficiency 1 have observed among other stock of one sex only; the waffle man bakes waffles between crimping irons; the vender with peanuts and disappointment wades through the sand from group to group widely separated, and has plenty of peanuts left. Amid all these scenes my accumulating appetite suggests that I mix it with the lunch, and my wife and her little niece are hungry too, and at eating we are happy.
After mingling freely with her lunch my wife slept bareheaded upon the sand, and a squinty old man and his second edition daughter passing us eyed her curiously while I sat near by watching some girls chew drifting sand as they tried to read gossip. We had an umbrella along but I was so stupid that I sat like a bag of flour at a murdering and allowed the sun to cook one side of my wife’s face like a Kansas tomato in a hot wind as she lay dreaming that she was helping Olive Schreiner dream her “Three Dreams in a Desert.” And the sand blew through my mustache and I said: “It’s time to bump ourselves.” “And slowly the creature staggered on to its knees,” and I stood “close to her, and looked into” the depot and saw the train pulling out, but another was coming and soon we “came to the bank of” the bay, “and on it an old man met us, who had a long, white beard, and a” ticket punch “was in his hand, and” he let us on a boat and soon we were in Oakland, where my wife doped her face all the evening, and I reflected upon the amplitude of the room for success in the business of life—pleasure getting.
Straws in the Breeze.
ENGLAND mourns because six of her sailors were killed by the bursting of a gun while they were practicing the art of killing other men with it. It is sad, no doubt, but let us be thankful that Providence has been thoughtful enough so to order matters that when guns burst the disadvantages fall mostly to gunners.—Ambrose Bierce.
“OUR country, right or wrong” is becoming a popular war cry.—Morning Call.
It was always a popular war cry. From the earliest invention of the political boundary that rascally sentiment or its moral equivalent has been in the mouth of every anthropoid idiot sufficiently enlightened to observe that he lived in one place instead of another.—Ambrose Bierce.
A DEAD coyote is worth $11 in Mendocino county and they (the live coyotes) are increasing so‘fast that the sheep owners have called a convention to decide what is to be done. If a similar convention of the gentlemen who are raising coyotes could be called the two bodies might agree to divide the territory, or the sheepmen might sell their flocks and unanimously go to raising coyotes.—Oakland Evening Tribune.
SAN JOSE is not at all proud of one of her citizens, who had a little girl arrested for carrying away two or three blocks of wood which, having been sawed off a new fence, had fallen on the sidewalk. Fortunately the child was brought before a justice who took a humane view of the affair in dismissing the case, and a sensible view in making the complainant pay the costs. We do not know whether this was law or not, but it was a pretty fair article of justice.—Exchange.
No woman with any self-respect will continue to live with a man after she has ceased to care for him and yet her so doing is applauded by the conservative sisterhood, who live on traditions and never think for themselves, whereas if she had the courage to leave her husband and live with the man of her maturer choice—the divorce courts not being open to her—she would be indiscriminately classed with “bad women”; people who have not been taught to think are like the color-blind, to whom scarlet, cardinal, pink, cherry, and claret are all the same shade of red.—Gertrude Atherton.
THE monitor Monadnock was launched at Mare island so long ago that most people have forgotten their surprise at the fact that she would float right side up. It is now estimated that at the present rate of progress of the work on the vessel she will be ready for war in about ten years—when she will be more than that much behind the times. Since the Monadnock went into the water the Union Iron Works has launched three great war ships, two of which are now in commission. There is a lesson in this. The government could save much time and money by wiping its navy yards from the face of the earth and having all the work on its navy done by private contract.—Oakland Evening 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.