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change would be directly possible. Communism must grow out of Collectivism, not out of anarchic private enterprise. That is to say, it cannot grow directly out of the present system.
But must the transition system therefore be a system of despotio coercion? If so, it will be wrecked by the intense impulse of men to escape from the domination of their own kind. In 1888 a Russian subject, giving evidence before the Sweating Inquiry in the House of Lords, declared that he left the Russian dominion, where he worked thirteen hours a day, to work eighteen hours in England, because he is freer here. Reason is dumb when confronted with a man who, exhausted with thirteen hours' toil, will turn to for another five hours for the sake of being free to say that Mr. Gladstone is a better man than Lord Salisbury, and to read Mill, Spencer, and Reynold's Newspaper in the six hours left to him for sleep. It brings to mind the story of the American judge who tried to induce a runaway slave to return to the plantation by pointing out how much better he was treated there than the free wage-nigger of the Abolitionist states. “Yes,” said the runaway; "but would you go back if you were in my place ?" The judge turned Abolitionist at once. These things are not to be reasoned away. Man will submit to fate, circumstance, society, anything that comes impersonally over him; but against the personal oppressor, whether parent, schoolmaster, overseer, official chief, or king, he eternally rebels. Like the Russian, he will rather be compelled by “necessity” to agree to work eighteen hours, than ordered by a master to work thirteen. No modern nation, if deprived of personal liberty or national antonomy, would stop to think of its economic position. Establish a form of Socialism which shall deprive the people of their sense of personal liberty; and, though it double their rations and halve their working hours, they will begin to conspire against it before it is a year old. We only disapprove of monopolists: we hate masters.
Then, since we are too dishonest for Communism without taxation or compulsory labor, and too insubordinate to tolerate task work under personal compulsion, how can we order the transition so as to introduce just distribution without Communism, and maintain the incentive to labor without mastership? The answer is, by Democracy. And now, having taken a positive attitude at last, I must give up criticizing the Anarchists, and defend Democracy against their criticisms.
Democracy. I now, accordingly, return to Mr. Tucker's criticism of State Socialism, which, for the sake of precision, had better be called SocialDemocracy. There is a Socialism—that of Bismarck; of the extinct young England party; of the advocates of moralized feudalism; and of mob contemners generally-which is not Social-Democracy, but Social-Despotism, and may be dismissed as essentially no more hopeful than a system of Moralized Criminality, Abstemious Gluttony, or Straightforward Mendacity would be. Mr. Tucker, as an American, passes it over as not worth powder and shot: he clearly indicates B democratic State by his repeated references to the majority principle, and in particular by his assertion that “there would be but one at rticle in the constitution of a State Socialistic country: •The right of the majority is absolute.'' Having thus driven Democracy back on its citadel, he proceeds to cannonade it as follows:
“Under the system of State Socialism, which holds the community responsible for the health, wealth and wisdom of the individual, the community, through its majority expression, will insist more and more on prescribing the conditions of health, wealth, and wisdom, thus impairing and finally destroying individual independence and with it all sense of individual responsibility.
“Whatever, then, the State Socialists may claim or disclaim, their system, if adopted, is doomed to end in a State religion, to the expense of which all unust contribute and at the altar of which all must kneel; a State school of medicine, by whose practitioners the sick must invariably be treated; a State system of hygiene, prescribing what all must and must not eat, drink, wear and do; a State code of morals, which will not content itself with punishing crime, but will prohibit what the majority decide to be vice; a State system of instruction, which shall do away with all private schools, academies and colleges; a State nursery, in which all children must be brought up in common at the public expense; and, finally, a State family, with an attempt at stirpiculture, or scientific breeding, in which no man or woman will be allowed to have children if the State prohibits them, and no man or woman can refuse to have children if the State orders them. Thus will Authority achieve its acme and Monopoly be carried to its highest power.”
In reading this one is reminded of Mr. Herbert Spencer's habit of assuming that whatever is not white must be black. Mr. Tucker, on the ground that "it has ever been the tendency of power to add to itself, to enlarge its sphere, to encroach beyond the limits set for it," admits no alternative to the total subjection of the individual, except the total abolition of the State. If matters really could and did come to that I am afraid the individual would have to go under in any case ; for the total abolition of the State in this sense means the total abolition of the collective force of Society, to abolish which it would be necessary to abolish Society itself. There are two ways of doing this. One, the abolition of the individuals composing society, could not be carried out without an interference with their personal claims much more serious than that required, even on Mr. Tucker's shewing, by Social Democracy. The other, the dispersion of the human race into independent hermitages over the globe at the rate of twenty-five to the square mile, would give rise to considerable inequality of condition and opportunity as between the hermits of Terra del Fuego or the Arctic regions and those of Florida or the Riviera, and would suit only a few temperaments. The dispersed units would soon re-associate; and the moment they did so, goodbye to the sovereignty of the individual. If the majority believed in an angry and jealous God, then, State or no State, they would not permit an individual to offend that God and bring down his wrath upon them : they would rather stone and burn the individual in propitiation. They would not suffer the individual to go naked among them; and if he clothed himself in an unusual way which struck them as being ridiculous or scandalous, they would laugh at him ; refuse him admission to their feasts; object to be seen talking with him in the streets; and perhaps lock him up as a lunatic. They would
not allow him to neglect sanitary precautions which they believed essential to their own immunity from zymotic disease. If the family were established among them as it is established among us, they would not suffer him to intermarry within certain degrees of kinship. Their demand would so rule the market that in most places he would find no commodities in the shops except those preferred by a majority of the customers; no schools except those conducted in accordance with the ideas of the majority of parents; no experienced doctors except those whose qualifications inspired confidence in a whole circle of patients. This is not "the coming slavery" of SocialDemocracy: it is the slavery already come. What is more, there is nothing in the most elaborately negative practical program yet put forward by Anarchism that offers the slightest mitigation of it. That in comparison with ideal irresponsible absolute liberty it is slavery, cannot be denied. But in comparison with the slavery of Robinson Crusoe, which is the most Anarchistic alternative Nature, our taskmistress, allows us, it is pardonably described as “freedom." Robinson Crusoe, in fact, is always willing to exchange his unlimited rights and puny powers for the curtailed rights and relatively immense powers of the "slave" of majorities. For if the individual chooses, as in most cases he will, to believe and worship as his fellows do, he finds temples built and services organized at a cost to himself which he hardly feels. The clothes, the food, the furniture which he is most likely to prefer are ready for him in the shops; the schools in which his children can be taught what their fellow citizens expect them to know are within fifteen minutes' walk of his door; and the red lamp of the most approved pattern of doctor shines reassuringly at the corner of the street. He is free to live with the women of his family without suspicion or scandal; and if he is not free to marry them, what does that matter to him, since he does not wish to marry them? And so happy man be his dole, in spite of his slavery. “Yes,” cries some eccentric individual; “but all this is untrue
I want to marry my deceased wife's sister. I am prepared
that your authorized system of medicine is nothing but a debased survival of witchcraft. Your schools are machines for forcing spurious learning on children in order that your universities may stamp them as educated men when they have finally lost all power to think for themselves. The tall silk hats and starched linen shirts which you force me to wear, and without which I cannot successfully practice as a physician, clergyman, schoolmaster, lawyer, or merchant, are inconvenient, unsanitary, ugly, pompous, and offensive. Your temples are devoted to a God in whom I do not believe ; and even if I did believe in him I should still regard your popular forms of worship as only redeemed from gross superstition by their obvious insincerity. Science teaches me that my proper food is good bread and good fruit: your boasted food supply offers me cows and pigs instead. Your care for my health consists in tapping the common sewer, with its deadly typhoid gases, into my house, besides discharging its contents into the river, which is my natural bath and fountain. Under color of protecting my person
and property you forcibly take my money to support an army of soldiers and policemen for the execution of barbarous and detestable laws; for the waging of wars which I abhor; and for the subjection of my person to those legal rights of property which compel me to sell myself for a wage to a class the maintenance of which I hold to be the greatest evil of our time. Your tyranny makes my very individuality a hindrance to me: I am outdone and outbred by the mediocre, the docile, the time-serving. Evolution under such conditions means degeneracy: therefore I demand the abolition of all these officious compulsions, and proclaim myself an Anarchist."
The proclamation is not surprising under the circumstances; but it does not mend the matter in the least, nor would it if every person were to repeat it with enthusiasm, and the whole people to fiy to arms for Anarchism. The majority cannot help its tyranny even if it would. The giant Winkelmeier must have found our doorways inconvenient, just as men of five feet or less find the slope of the floor in a theatre not sufficiently steep to enable them to see over the heads of those in front. But whilst the average height of & man is 5ft. 8in. there is no redress for such grievances. Builders will accommodate doors and floors to the majority, and not to the minority. For since either the majority or the minority must be incommoded, evidently the more powerful must have its way. There may be no indisputable reason why it ought; and any clever Tory can give excellent reasons why it ought not; but the fact remains that it will, whether it ought or not. And this is what really settles the question as between democratic majorities and minorities. Where their interests conflict, the weaker side must go to the wall, because, as the evil involved is no greater than that of the stronger going to the wall,* the majority is not restrained by any scruple from compelling the weaker to give way.
In practice, this does not involve either the absolute power of majorities, or “the infallibility of the odd man." There are some matters in which the course preferred by the minority in no way obstructs that preferred by the majority. There are many more in which the obstruction is easier to bear than the cost of suppressing it. For it costs something to suppress even a minority of one. The commonest example of that minority is the lunatic with a delusion; yet it is found quite safe to entertain dozens of delusions, and be generally an extremely selfish and troublesome idiot, in spite of the power of majorities; for until you go so far that it clearly costs less to lock you up than to leave you at large, the majority will not take the trouble to set itself in action against you. Thus à minimum of individual liberty is secured, under any system, to the smallest
* The evil is decidedly less if the calculation proceeds by the popular method of always estimating an evil suffered by a hundred persons as a hundred times as great as the same evil suffered by only one. This, however, is absurd. A hundred starving men are not a hundred times as hungry as one starving man, any more than a hundred five-foot-eight men are each five hundred and sixty-six feet eight inches high. But they are a hundred times as strong a political force. Though the evil may not be cumulative, the power to resist it is.
minority. It is true that as minorities grow, they sometimes, in forfeiting the protection of insignificance, lose more in immunity than they gain in numbers; so that probably the weakest minority is not the smallest, but rather that which is too large to be disregarded and too weak to be feared; but before and after that dangerous point is weathered, minorities wield considerable power. The notion that they are ciphers because the majority could vanquish them in a trial of strength leaves out of account the damage they could inflict on the victors during the struggle. Ordinarily an unarmed man weighing thirteen stone can beat one weighing only eleven; but there are very few emergencies in which it is worth his while to do it, because if the weaker man resists to the best of his ability (which is always possible) the victor will be considerably worse off after the fight than before it. In 1861 the Northern and Southern States of America fought, as prize-fighters say, “to a finish"; and the North carried its point, yet at such a heavy cost to itself that the Southern States have by no means been reduced to ciphers; for the victorious majority have ever since felt that it would be better to give way on any but the most vital issues than to provoke such another struggle. But it is not often that a peremptory question arises between a majority and minority of a whole nation. In most matters only a fragment of the nation has any interest one way or the other; and the same man who is in a majority on one question is in a minority on another, and so learns by experience that minorities have "rights which must be attended to. Minorities, too, as in the case of the Irish Party in the English Parliament, occasionally hold the balance of power between majorities which recognize their rights and majorities which deny them. Further, it is possible by decentralization to limit the power of the majority of the whole nation to questions upon which a divided policy is impracticable. For example, it is not only possible, but democratically expedient, to federate the municipalities of England in such a manner that Leicester might make vaccination penal whilst every other town in the island made it compulsory. Even at present, vaccination is not in fact compulsory in Leicester, though it is so in law. Theoretically, Leicester has been reduced to a cipher by the rest of England. Practically, Leicester counts twelve to the dozen as much as ever in purely local affairs.
In short, then, Democracy does not give majorities absolute power, nor does it enable them to reduce minorities to ciphers. Such limited power of coercing minorities as majorities must possess, is not given to them by Democracy any more than it can be taken away from them by Anarchism. A couple of men are stronger than one : that is all. There are only two ways of neutralizing this natural fact. One is to convince men of the immorality of abusing the majority power, and then to make them moral enough to refrain from doing it on that account. The other is to realize Lytton's fancy of vril by inventing a means by which each individual will be able to destroy all his fellows with a flash of thought, so that the majority may have as much reason to fear the individual as he to fear the majority. No method of doing either is to be found in Indivi