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dualist or Communist Anarchism : consequently these systems, as far as the evils of majority tyranny are concerned, are no better than the Social-Democratic program of adult suffrage with maintenance of representatives and payment of polling expenses from public funds -faulty devices enough, no doubt, but capable of accomplishing all that is humanly possible at present to make the State representative of the nation; to make the administration trustworthy; and to secure the utmost power to each individual and consequently to minorities. What better can we have whilst collective action is inevitable? Indeed, in the mouths of the really able Anarchists, Anarchism means simply the utmost attainable thoroughness of Democracy. Kropotkine, for example, speaks of free development from the simple to the composite by the free union of free groups"; and his illustrations are “the societies for study, for commerce, for pleasure and recreation " which have sprung up to meet the varied requirements of the individual of our age. But in every one of these societies there is government by a council elected annually by a majority of voters; so that Kropotkine is not at all afraid of the democratic machinery and the majority power. Mr. Tucker speaks of “voluntary association,” but gives no illustrations, and indeed avows that “ Anarchists are simply unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats.” He says, indeed, that " if the individual has a right to govern himself, all external government is tyranny”; but if governing oneself means doing what one pleases without regard to the interests of neighbors, then the individual has flatly no such right. If he has no such right, the interference of his neighbors to make him behave socially, though it is “external government," is not tyranny; and even if it were they would not refrain from it on that account. On the other hand, if governing oneself means compelling oneself to act with a due regard to the interests of the neighbors, then it is a right which men are proved incapable of exercising with out external government. Either way, the phrase comes to nothing; for it would be easy to show by a little play upon it, either that altruism is really external government or that democratic State authority is really self-government.
Mr. Tucker's adjective, “voluntary," as applied to associations for defence cr the management of affairs, must not be taken as implying that there is any very wide choice open in these matters. Such association is really compulsory, since if it be foregone affairs will remain unmanaged and communities defenceless. Nature makes short work of our aspirations towards utter impunity. She leaves communities in no wise “ free” to choose whether they will labor and govern themselves. It is either that or starvation and chaos. Her tasks are inexorably set: her penalties are inevitable: her pay. ment is strictly “payment by results.” All the individual can do is to shift and dodge his share of the task on to the shoulders of others, or filch some of their “natural wage” to add to his own.
If they are fools enough to suffer it, that is their own affair as far as Nature is concerned. But it is the aim of Social-Democracy to relieve these fools by throwing on all an equal share in the inevitable labor im.
posed by the eternal tyranny of Nature, and so secure to every individual no less than his equal quota of the nation's product in return for no more than his equal quota of the nation's labor. These are the best terms humanity can make with its tyrant. In the eighteenth century it was easy for the philosophers and for Adam Smith to think of this rule of Nature as being “natural liberty" in contrast to the odious and stupid oppression of castes, priests, and kings—the detested“ dominion of man over man.”
But we, in detecting the unsoundness of Adam Smith's private property and laisser-faire recipe for natural liberty, begin to see that though there is political liberty, there is no natural liberty, but only natural law remorselessly enforced. And so we shake our heads when we see LIBERTY on the title-page of Mr. Tucker's paper, just as we laugh when we see The COMING SLAVERY on Mr. Herbert Spencer's “ Man and the State."
We can now begin to join the threads of our discussion. We have seen that private appropriation of land in any form, whether limited by Individualist Anarchism to occupying owners or not, means the unjust distribution of a vast fund of social wealth called rent, which can by no means be claimed as due to the labor of any particular individual or class of individuals. We have seen that Communist Anarchism, though it partly—and only partly-avoids the rent difficulty, is, in the condition of morals developed under existing Unsocialism, impracticable. We have seen that the delegation of individual powers by voting; the creation of authoritative public bodies; the supremacy of the majority in the last resort; and the establishment and even endowment, either directly and officially or indirectly and unconsciously, of conventional forms of practice in religion, medicine, education, food, clothing, and criminal law, are, whether they be evils or not, inherent in society itself, and must be submitted to with the help of such protection against their abuse as democratic institutions more than any others afford. When Democracy fails, there is no antidote for intolerance save the spread of better sense. No form of Anarchism yet suggested provides any escape. Like bad weather in winter, intolerance does much mischief; but as, when we have done our best in the way of overcoats, umbrellas, and good fires, we have to put up with the winter; so, when we have done our best in the way of Democracy, decentralization, and the like, we must put up with the State.
The Anarchist Spirit. I suppose I must not leave the subject without a word as to the value of what I will call the Anarchist spirit as an element in progress. But before I do so, let me disclaim all intention of embarrassing our Anarchist friends who are present by any sympathy which I may express with that spirit. On the Continent the discussion between Anarchism and Social-Democracy is frequently threshed out with the help of walking-sticks, chair-legs, and even revolvers. In England this does not happen, because the majority of an English audience always declines to take an extreme position,
and, out of an idle curiosity to hear both sides, will, on sufficient provocation, precipitately eject theorists who make a disturbance, without troubling itself to discriminate as to the justice of their views. When I had the privilege some time ago of debating publicly with Mr. G. W. Foote on the Eight Hours question, a French newspaper which dealt with the occasion at great length devoted a whole article to an expression of envious astonishment at the fact that Mr. Foote and I abstained from vilifying and finally assaulting one another, and that our partisans followed our shining example and did not even attempt to prevent each other's champions from being heard. Still, if we do not permit ourselves to merge Socialism, Anarchism, and all the other isms into rowdyism, we sometimes debate our differences, even in this eminently respectable Fabian Society, with considerable spirit. Now far be it from me to disarm the Anarchist debater by paying him compliments. On the contrary, if we have here any of those gentlemen who make it their business to denounce Social-Democrats as misleaders of the people and trimmers; who declaim against all national and municipal projects, and clamor for the abolition of Parliaments and County Councils; who call for a desperate resistance to rent, taxes, representative government and organised collective action of every sort: then I invite them to regard me as their inveterate opponent-as one who regards such doctrine, however sincerely it may be put forward, as at best an encouragement to the workers to neglect doing what is possible under pretext of waiting for the impossible, and at worst as furnishing the reactionary newspapers in England, and the police agents on the Continent, with evidence as to the alleged follies and perils of Socialism. But at the same time, it must be understood that I do not stand here to defend the State as we know it. Bakounine's comprehensive aspiration to destroy all States and Established Churches, with their religious, political, judicial, finan. cial, criminal, academic, economic and social laws and institutions, seems to me perfectly justifiable and intelligible from the point of view of the ordinary "educated man," who believes that institutions make men instead of men making institutions. I fully admit and vehemently urge that the State at present is simply a huge machine for robbing and slave-driving the poor by brute force. You may, if you are a stupid or comfortably-off person, think that the policeman at the corner is the guardian of law and order—that the gaol, with those instruments of torture, the treadmill, plank bed, solitary cell, cat o' nine tails, and gallows, is a place to make people cease to do evil and learn to do well. But the primary function of the policeman, and that for which his other functions are only blinds, is to see that
you do not lie down to sleep in this country without paying an idler for the privilege; that you do not taste bread until you have paid the idler's toll in the price of it; that you do not resist the starving blackleg who is dragging you down to his level for the idler's profit by offering to do your work for a starvation wage. Attempt any of these things, and you will be haled off and tortured in the name of law and order, honesty, social equilibrium, safety of property and person, public duty, Christianity, morality, and what not, as a vagrant, a thief, and a rioter. Your soldier, ostensibly a heroic and patriotic defender of his country, is really an unfortunate man driven by destitution to offer himself as food for powder for the sake of regular rations, shelter and clothing; and he must, on pain of being arbitrarily imprisoned, punished with petty penances like a naughty child, pack-drilled, flogged or shot, all in the blessed name of “discipline," do anything he is ordered to, from standing in his red coat in the hall of an opera house as a mere ornament, to flogging his comrade or committing murder. And his primary function is to come to the rescue of the policeman when the latter is overpowered. Members of Parliament whose sole qualifications for election were £1000 loose cash, an “independent” income, and a vulgar strain of ambition; parsons quoting scripture for the purposes of the squire; lawyers selling their services to the highest bidder at the bar, and maintaining the supremacy of the moneyed class on the bench; juries of employers masquerading as the peers of proletarians in the dock; University professors elaborating the process known as the education of a gentleman; artists striving to tickle the fancy or flatter the vanity of the aristocrat or plutocrat; workmen doing their work as badly and slowly as they dare so as to make the most of their job; employers starving and overworking their hands and adulterating their goods as much as they dare : these are the actual living material of those imposing abstractions known as the State, the Church, the Law, the Constitution, Education, the Fine Arts, and Industry. Every institution, as Bakounine saw, religious, political, financial, judicial, and so on, is corrupted by the fact that the men in it either belong to the propertied class themselves or must sell themselves to it in order to live. All the purchasing power that is left to buy men's souls with after their bodies are fed is in the hands of the rich; and everywhere, from the Parliament which wields the irresistible coercive forces of the bludgeon, bayonet, machine gun, dynamite shell, prison and scaffold, down to the pettiest centre of shabby-genteel social pretension, the rich pay the piper and call the tune. Naturally, they use their power to steal more money to continue paying the piper; and thus all society becomes a huge conspiracy and hypocrisy. The ordinary man is insensible to the fraud jūst as he is insensible to the taste of water, which, being constantly in contact with his mucous membrane, seems to have no taste at all. The villainous moral conditions on which our social system is based are necessarily in constant contact with our moral mucous membrane, and so we lose our sense of their omnipresent meanness and dishonor. The insensibility, however, is not quite complete ; for there is a period in life which is called the age of disillusion, which means the age at which a man discovers that his generous and honest impulses are incompatible with success in business; that the institutions he has reverenced are shams; and that he must join the conspiracy or go to the wall, even though he feels that the conspiracy is fundamentally ruinous to himself and his fellow-conspirators. The secret of writers like Ruskin, Morris and Kropotkine is that they see the whole imposture through and through, in spite of its familiarity, and of the illusions created by its temporal power, its riches, its splendor, its prestige, its intense respectability, its unremitting piety, and its high moral pretension. But Kropotkine, as I have shewn, is really an advocate of free Democracy; and I venture to suggest that he describes himself as an Anarchist rather from the point of view of the Russian recoiling from a despotism compared to which Democracy seems to be no government at all, than from the point of view of the American or Englishman who is free enough already to begin grumbling over Democracy as “the tyranny of the majority” and “the coming slavery." I suggest this with the more confidence because William Morris's views are largely identical with those of Kropotkine : yet Morris, after patient and intimate observation of Anarchisin as a working propaganda in England, has definitely dissociated himself from it, and has shewn, by his sketch of the communist folk-mote in his News from Nowhere, how sanely alive he is to the impossibility of any development of the voluntary element in social action sufficient to enable individuals or minorities to take public action without first obtaining the consent of the majority.
On the whole, then, I do not regard the extreme hostility to existing institutions which inspires Communist Anarchism as being a whit more dangerous to Social-Democracy than the same spirit as it inspires the peculiar Toryism of Ruskin. Much more detinitely opposed to us is the survival of that intense jealousy of the authority of the government over the individual which was the mainspring of the progress of the eighteenth century. Only those who forget the lessons of history the moment they have served their immediate turn will feel otherwise than reassured by the continued vitality of that jealousy among us. But this consideration does not remove the economic objections which I have advanced as to the practical program of Individualist Anarchism. And even apart from these objections, the Social-Democrat is compelled, by contact with hard facts, to turn his back decisively on useless denunciation of the State. It is easy to say, Abolish the State; but the State will sell you up, lock you up, blow you up, knock you lown, bludgeon, shoot, stab, hang-in short, abolish you, if you lift a hand against it. Fortunately, there is, as we have seen, a fine impartiality about the policeman and the soldier, who are the cutting edge of the State power. They take their wages and obey their orders without asking questions. If those orders are to demolish the homestead of every peasant who refuses to take the bread out of his children's mouths in order that his landlord may have money to spend as an idle gentleman in London, the soldier obeys. But if his orders were to help the police to pitch his lordship into Holloway Gaol until he had paid an Income Tax of twenty shillings on every pound of his unearned income, the soldier would do that with equal devotion to duty, and perhaps with a certain private zest that might be lacking in the other case. Now these orders come ultimately from the State-meaning, in this country, the House of Commons. A House