« PreviousContinue »
Thursday, August 7, 1890.
Published weekly by J. MORRISON-FULLER, at 3 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass. SUBSCRIPTION, $2.00 PER YEAR.
NOTICE THE WORKS OF HERBERT SPENCER. Subscribers will receive FREE (to the amount of their subscription) any of the Works of Herbert Spencer they may select. Authorized Edition.
A physician who, after many years of study, has gained a competent knowledge of physiology, pathology, and therapeutics is not held criminally responsible if a man dies under his treatment; he has prepared himself as well as he can, and has acted to the best of his judgment.
Similarly, the legislator whose measures produce evil instead of good, notwithstanding the extensive and methodic inquiries which helped him to decide, cannot be held to have committed more than an error of reasoning. Contrariwise, the legislator who is wholly or in great part uninformed concerning these masses of facts which he must examine before his opinion on a proposed law can be of any value, and who, nevertheless, helps to pass that law, can
no more be absolved if misery and mortality result than the journeyman druggist can be absolved when death is caused by the medicine which he ignorantly prescribes.
Price 5 Cents.
Devoted to the record of the facts and considerations which show that Individual Liberty is good for the people of the United States: And that, therefore, Legislative Regulation is injurious for them.
IN MEDIAS RES.
Going back to July 18th, the consideration of the Sundry Civil was resumed in the Senate, having already occupied six days, and
this was continued on the 19th when the bill was read the third time and passed. The appropriations are about $5,000,000 more than were carried by the bill as it came from the House, making $33,500,000 in all.
On Monday, July 21st, the bill for the transfer of the revenue-cutter service to the Navy Department was debated until the soi distant revenue, otherwise Tariff and Manufacturers' Protective Bill was called up at two o'clock as the unfinished business. But on the fol
lowing day the session was spent on the Indian Appropriation Bill, which was taken up again on the 23d and 24th, when it was passed without division.
On the 25th, the bill for transferring the custom cutters to the navy having been debated for a while, the consideration of the Tariff Bill was resumed. This debate, inter
rupted by the passage of many pension bills
and the District of Columbia appropriation, has continued to the date of writingAug. 2d.
On July 18th the so-called Originalpackage Bill and the Bankruptcy Bill were made the order of the day until completed. The former was debated on that and the following day, and on July 22d, when a substitute for the Senate Bill was passed,
The latter was then taken up, resumed on the 23d and 24th, when it was also passed, 117-84.
On July 25th, the Sundry Civil Appropriation Bill came up with Senate amendments increasing the total by over five million-in all of which increases non-concurrence was recommended by the committee. The bill also carried a rider affecting the occupation of arid lands-two fifths of the entire area of the United States. The debate on this was continued to date of writing, Aug. 2d, interrupted only by the adoption of the committee's report on the District of Columbia appropriation, which now goes to the President.
THE WISDOM OF OUR RULERS. Mr. Aldrich said in debate in the Senate, and as if in argument, relative to the advantages of the aggressive tariff, that of" cotton cloth, where the duty is three or four cents a square yard . . . the price here is low anywhere. I suppose (said this illustrious legislator) that will answer the Senator's suggestion."
This is too monstrous a perversion of the facts to pass unnoticed. Even if it were true that cotton cloth is as cheap here as anywhere, what would that prove? Merely that the aggressive tariff has succeeded in cutting American consumers out of the immense advantages they have of nearness to the supply of raw cotton, the possession of unsurpassed skill and unrivalled machinery.
But the statement is not true. So far is it from the truth that this very American cotton, said to be as cheap here as any cotton is anywhere, this identical product of New England factories, is sold elsewhere cheaper than it is sold at the very doors of the producers! Mr. Alfred Wallace found these goods selling in the Aru Islands for less than they are sold in the stores of Boston. He says:
"One of the most surprising things connected with Aru was the excessive cheapness of all articles of European or native manufacture. We were here two thousand miles beyond Singapore and Batavia, which are themselves emporiums of the "far East," in a place unvisited by, and almost unknown to, European traders; everything reached us through at least two or three hands, often many more; yet English calicoes and Amer
an cotton cloths could be bought for eight
The natives of this
shillings the piece. out-of-the-way country can, in fact, buy all these things at about the same money price as our workmen at home, but, in reality, very much cheaper, for the produce of a few hours' labor enables the savage to purchase in abundance what are to him luxuries, while to the European they are necessaries of life."
Since that was written, now over twenty years ago, cotton cloths have become cheaper here; but so have they, without doubt, become cheaper in the Aru Islands. In another place, Mr. Wallace speaks still more strongly, to the same effect, saying, if I remember rightly, that Connecticut prints were sold to the Aru savage- more than fifteen thousand miles from the factory, by sea voyage cheaper than they were sold to the factory workman himself in the Connecticut villages. There is other and corroborative evidence from different parts of the world by other observers all competent to see and to speak.
If the time has come when the only requisite for argument in the United States Senate is an unlimited capacity for falsehood, we may well stand aghast. Nor is the word falsehood a whit too strong to apply to the case of this man who poses before the Senate and the country as the expert on tariff legislation.
The objections to the proposed rule for cutting off debate in the Senate are objections of principle rather than on the score of utility. There is little chance that a subject will become any clearer after being debated in the Senate as at present composed. The frankness with which Senators confess their ignorance of, and incapacity for dealing with, the questions on which they must take action is truly refreshing, and even when they do not openly confess their ignorance their speeches frequently bear witness of it as loudly as words can.
The Senate is not pre-eminently a representative body, and unless it can fulfil the functions of a deliberative body, it might as well be abolished. It may be said that it must always be harder to get bad legislation through two Houses than through one, but the force of this is diminished when it is remembered that there are two Houses instead of one to originate bad legislation. It would
seem desirable that there should be one deliberative body in the Government, and if the Senate could fill the place of one satisfactorily, there might perhaps be a sort of division of labor between it and the House by which measures in the interest of the party would be the chief concern of the latter, while measures in the interest of the country would be cared for chiefly by the former. But a great improvement in its composition would be necessary before this would be possible.
Complaints are frequent against the Congressional Record that it does not accurately represent the course of debate, that it does not contain what the members said, and that it contains things which they did not say, moreover, that the practice of having printed in it long extracts, and sometimes entire articles from newspapers and magazines, has become an abuse. The principal use of the Record is to give an accurate report of what is done in Congress; what is said is just now of comparatively little importance. If the speeches which are made in the Houses are any worse than those contained in the Record, they certainly ought to be revised before being given to the world. The debates as they are printed are not very imposing, and a proper desire not to appear too ridiculous in the eyes of other na ons scems to be a sufficient excuse for making some changes from the words actually uttered. This does not amount to falsification, as is charged by some, because every copy of the Record contains a notice respecting the privilege members have of revising their remarks. It is rather inconvenient to have speeches taken out of their place in the discussion and strung along in the Record weeks after the questions which called them forth have been disposed of; but this is perhaps unavoidable. As to the quotations from books, periodicals, and private letters, they are usually the most valuable and interesting part of the publication.
The President of the United States and his postmaster have been up to a pretty business. They have been constituted the supervisors of the morals of the people, and lest all ordinary means should prove quite inadequate to serve their capacities for meddling, a vast post-office means of communication between
individuals has been placed at their disposal. With an arrogance that would be incredible did it not appear before our very eyes, the President writes to Congress that the time has come to use the post-office for suppressing lotteries. Did the people realize what power for meddling they placed in the hands of their delegated representatives when they gave them control over the post-office? Do they realize now that they are about to be covertly and insidiously tyrannized over by their Congress and President, that part of their daily lives is about to be placed under the regulation of the Executive department of the Government?
The postmaster, who happens to be a dealer in habberdashery, has been constituted a censor of morals also, and, having regard for the splendid classical acquirements of the past and present incumbents of that office, he has been judiciously selected to supervise literature. A few days ago an order issued from the bureau of censorship of the press that a book of Count Tolstoi should not be received for cheap transmission through the mails. Now, there is no use quibbling about this thing. The notion of Wanamaker as the censor of our reading and morals is a conception to break the immobility of the dullest mind. But here we have it. Of course, it is unconstitutional. Here interference with the freedom of the press. To proscribe the transmission of literature at the cheapest possible rates is to exercise a censorship of our reading, or there is no such thing as censorship. But let that pass. Is it not the most monstrous burlesque that the people of this country, when they go to the polls to pass upon questions of pressing and profound importance to their political welfare, should also have to consider that they are voting for men who are to sit in judgment over the æsthetic or ethical quality of their literature? The crass stupidity of this performance is beyond comprehension. The whole fault lies with the post-office: out with it!
The feeling in favor of nullification, of rebellion, which the "original-package" decision called out in Kansas, shows that those who have the highest reverence for laws disagreeable to other people, and who are the readiest to enact and enforce them, are by no
"No nation ever endured, without bloodshed and revolution, the infamous frauds and dastardly crimes concocted and committed with impunity by the Southern Democracy. In the fulness of time and tardily, when these frauds smell to heaven and those crimes cry trumpet-tongued for retribution, the Federal Government, that power born of patriotism, baptized by fire, and christened an indivisible union, is about to call a halt. It is about to teach the world that in a free land there is for fraud a check, and for political slavery, emancipation; that for the wrong there is justice, and for assassins, retribution. At such a time and in a case whose merits involve the very existence of the Government and the integrity of the principles upon which it was founded, let that 'Halt!' be called with no wavering or faltering. Let it ring out like a bugle blast, warning crime and fraud everywhere that the star of the rebellion has set in illuminable night, cheering the wronged and oppressed everywhere with the brightness soon to dawn. Let us have no modification. It is not a matter of revenge. It is only justice - that grand, inviolable justice for which tens of thousands of brave men died. Let there be no equivocation; no bated breath or whispering humbleness.' Too long have we been spit upon and spurned. Each month adds new crimes, each week another outrage, each day and hour shows us that the old spirit lives, and that it is working out its ends insolently, defiantly, successfully, unhindered and unchecked."
Matthew Arnold called attention to the literary jugement saugrenu. Here is an instance of absurd political judgment. An error of judgment in politics is likely to be attended with more important practical results than an error in literature. Men who think and write in this way are not fit for free government, not fit even for the sorry pretence of free government which now prevails in this country. The first feeling appealed to on reading such a paragraph is the feeling for the ludicrous; but it is not altogether a laughing matter that there should be in the country a large number of men, having the right to vote, capable of arriving seriously at a political judgment, so impudently, ignorantly, ridiculously, grotesquely absurd as this.
The catch-cry of the party which wishes to do its own registration and its own counting, all over the country, is for a free ballot and an honest count. Think of such a cry coming from a party which stole the Presidency in 1876, and bought it in 1888, which has, during this present session of Congress, stolen two United States Senators, and secured a working majority in the House by the methods pursued.
Changes are being made all along the line of the Aggressive Tariff Bill from ad valorem to specific duties. The insidious design and the vicious effect of this alteration is too obvious for exposition. Nominally the change is made for the purpose of preventing frauds, and under-valuation in general; because it is evidently easier to weigh goods accurately than to appraise their value. But the real object, and the real effect, is to make these tariffs, even where the present specific equivalent substituted for the valuation duty, far more prohibitive of importations, and therefore far more aggressive on the American consumers of domestic products. For it is a notorious fact that does not admit of a moment's blinking, that articles of manufac ture the world over are undergoing a steady and, indeed, very rapid decline in value. But they do not decline in weight perceptibly. So that duties which might to-morrow, by a decline in European prices, permit foreign competition with domestic manufacturers, and thus force down their prices, are adapted, by their so-called specific character, to continue prohibitory long after improvements in production should have lowered the domestic price, and have actually lowered the cost of production; every cent of which aggressive profits accrues to capitalists.
An illustration of Congressional wisdom is to be found by placing in juxtaposition the two tariff bills of the present session. By the substitution of specific for valuation duties, the process of appraisal and assessment of tax at the custom-houses is about to be very considerably simplified, and the work connected with that service much diminished in amount and importancc. Yet so obtuse is this Congress, so overwhelming is the tendency toward officialism and bureaucracy, that at this same session a bill has been passed establishing a new and more important branch of the
What chance is there of the advantages of democracy being realized so long as the notion still prevails that legislators are elected to rule? This notion, so prevalent among the individuals elected to various legislative bodies and acquiesced in by the voters in general, is the symptom of the real defect, namely, the want of clear ideas on the subject of politics and of democracy. It is no exaggeration to say that the only genuine and permanent advantage which the practice of democracy can confer is the checking of minorities more vigorous than scrupulous. There are various theories of democracy, but only one that will stand the test of investigation. If all legislation except that backed by the majority – by those who have the power-is prevented, so much is gained, so much credit must be allowed democracy. It is a sad but certain fact that even this democracy, far different from that offered for sale to American citizens, more efficacious in proportion as it is less pretentious, is not realized at present. The actual working of the House of Commons in England tends to realize the good there is in democracy more than the constitutional and fixed-tenure representative system of the United States. To many persons the contrast suggests the desirability of change in our political machinery; to us the comparison suggests the reflection that no machinery can accomplish political reform. The fault lies with the intelligence and character of the people, and the remedy will never be applied elsewhere than where the fault lies. Under our system the benefits of democracy or the curse of partisan intrigue may alike prevail. Under any system the character of a people will come out. Now the question is whether we can outlast a period already fifty years long during which all the evils and few, if any, of the benefits of democracy have been
realized. After "industrial development" has been discovered to be an ignis fatuus, like so many other schemes that have shone too brightly not to flicker soon and finally sputter out into utter darkness, then sound views of politics may again prevail.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis., July 18, 1890. EDITOR, TO-DAY:
I have received some copies of your magazine, from which I infer that you have heard my name and probably know that I am an Anarchist. Your publication belongs to a numerous and increasing class; it talks Anarchism the way M. Jourdain talked prose. The exordium to No. 5 is Anarchism pure and simple. But though you talk very good prose there, you do so without knowing it, and consequenly, sometimes drop into poetry. In the article on Government and Industry, you say that "governments sprung from the physical necessity of securing the lives of citizens and their possessions against the encroachments of foreigners." But in the same article you show that governments, instead of attending to this necessity, have been constantly occu pied in helping some to take from others first land and then what else they had. These propositions do not, if I may be allowed the expression, gee. Meditate awhile on the latter, and you may perceive that the reason governments do not attend to the necessity whence you say they sprang is that they sprang from no such thing, but from the desire of most people to live at the expense of others. A young man recently sent ten cents to a concern which promised a receipt for living without work. The method proved to be "Catch suckers, as we do." This is the exact attitude of government towards its subjects. "You all want to rob each other. We use that desire to rob all of you." In the article on Strikes and the Workingmen, you quote with apparent approbation a passage to the effect that increased wages would do harm by diminishing capital unless the workingmen should save what the capitalist formerly saved. Here again you drop into poetry. Saving does not increase capital, but diminishes it. If a shoemaker saves by denying himself tobacco, the producers of tobacco have a penny less for every penny he saves. But the less the tobacco men have the less boots and shoes they will buy. Thus saving produces poverty all around. The very individuals who grow rich by it are not so rich as they would be if no one did it. Accordingly those countries where saving is most rigorously practised, China, for example, are the poorest of all civilized countries. On the other hand, where everybody thinks himself entitled to the best, as in the better days of America, invention is stimulated and capital increases. It is not saving but invention which creates capital. The first capital may probably have been a sling which some savage made out of a rabbit skin. There was no saving here, only invention. True, he might have thrown the skin away, or he might have made a mitten of it. But it was