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Walker, Edwin C. 
The ethics of freedom 

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[1913] 



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WWtor^Edwin O^^*^'^^ 1849-1931. ' 

The ethics of freedom, you and the other man in the 
covenant of liberty ; an address at the dinner of the Sun* 
,^rise club, February 24, 1913. With post-discuiisioii re- 
fleetidnB^on the objections of critics. Appendix: What 
does "free speech'* include? The smoking invasion. 
We waste to-day that our children may weep tomorrow. 
By Edwin C. Walker ... [New York] B. 0. Walker, 1913. 

cover-title, 24 p. 20^". 



1. Uberty. 2. Social problems i. Title. 

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The Ethics of Freedom 

YOU AND THE OTHER MAN IN 
THE COVENANT OF LIBERTY 

An Address , at the Dinner of The Sunrise Club, Fd>niary 
24,1913. With Post-IMscussion Reflectibiis^ 
the Objections xrf Gritlca. 



App«i^: What D^es "Free Speech" Include? Tbft 
Smoking Invasion. We Waste To-day That Onr 
Cluldrcn l^ay Weep To-morrow. 

3Y EDWIN C. WALKER 



Th» conception and the facts of liberty and slavery result frorn assoc^ 
tion not illation, and the sparseness or density of population, the 
ZilMtyZ- comilexity of association, create W^^^^^^' ^ 
laws Qoverning human relations. Therefore, what the $9Mary_ mm 
rioMfZ may do is no measure of what he rightfuUj, may db whm he 
7omT^to contact with another man. The liberty of one U conAtumed 

bi/theUbertyoftheoiher. 

New Yoik: AprU 15, WW 

PubUshed by Edwin C. Walke* ■ 
844 West l^rd Street, Manhatj^ 
Price, 20 cents 




1 



YOU AND THE OTHER MAN IN THE COVENANT 

OF LIBERTY. 



The basis of this talk is the thought that the best develop- 
ment of social life is possible only where there is free play 
for individual activities, and that this free play is denied 
equally by organized and unorganized invasion, the former 
condoned by the extreme governmentalist, the latter by the 
extreme individualist, and both by the careless and indifferent 
of all classes. 

The method of this presentation is definition supported 
by copious illustration. Men and women will subscribe en- 
thusiastically to abstract principles and yet never recognize 
them when diey come face to face with omcrete facts, with 
actions, particularly their own actions. I remember that years 
ago I met a Quaker in Pennsylvania who declared himself 
strongly in favor of the complete separation of Church and 
State, and yet I soon found him vigorously defending Sunday 
laws, the exemption of church property from taxation, Bible 
in the schools, and chaplains in official places. His abstract 
platform could not stand the test of particularization, of illus- 
tration. He was not alone; and there are millions like him 
now, some of them being here to-night. 

Deep dawn within you, when you cry aloud for liberty, do 
you really mean the liberty of Jonesf (your name 

being Smith), 

What do you understand the word "liberty" to mean, for 
others no less than for yourself? 

These key questions show that you and I are confronted 
at once with the problem of definition, one usually evaded in 
stump oratory. 



2 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



Only where there are two or more persons is the ques- 
tion of liberty raised. Where there are more than one person, 

no single member of the group rightfully may decide any 
matter directly affecting one or more of the others, except 
when that power of the other or others is distinctly delegated 
to him. liie first of these truisms will not be challenged by 
anyone. But the second, altho the complement of the first, is 
continually overlooked, disregarded, or denied, and on the 
rock of this deficient vision, deficient ethic, or deficient think- 
ing the social ship is ever in danger of wrecking itself. 

Where there is but one there is neither liberty nor slavery. 
Where there are more than one there may be despotism (some- 
times called "govemmrat/' scmietimes "absolute liberty") for 
one or more and liberty for one or more or there may be 
approximate equal liberty for all. 

In a word, the conception and the facts of liberty and 
slavery result from association, not isolaticm, and the sparse- 
ness or density of population, the simplicity or a>mplexity 
of association, will create the customs, rules, and laws govern- 
ing human relations. Therefore, what the solitary man right- 
fully may do is no measure of what he rightfully may do 
when he comes into contact with another man. llie liberty 
of one is conditioned by the liberty of the other. 

Thomas Paine wrote these words in "The Crisis" : "The 
Grecians and the RcHnans were strongly possessed of the spirit 
of liberty but not the principle, for at the time they were 
determined not to be slaves themselves, they employed their 
power to enslave the rest of mankind." 

In a sense, these words ccmstitute my text. I wish to 
indicate, as clearly as t can, that we are too much like the 
Greeks and Romans of whom Paine complained ; that, while 
we do not lack the spirit of liberty, the desire to have free- 
d<Mn for ourselves, we do not have a very definite idea of the 
principles of liberty, and in our lives, whatever our social 
creeds may be, we are very apt to apply to our neighbors a 
severity in the definition of liberty that none of us would 
dream of applying to him- or herself. It is not difiicult to de- 
mand what we conceive to be our rights, but it requires some 
study to determine what are our rights and some self-control 
to recognize — in practice — the equal rights of others. It is 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



3 



quite easy to talk, to organize, to vote against the {mvilcges 

possessed by others and their deprivation of which would 
cost us nothing, probably would be to our direct advantage. 
All that the spirit of liberty impels us to do, just as it impels 
the Dyak chief to hunt for the heads of his enenues. The 
test of our knowledge, of the principles of liberty, and of our 
intention to live our knowledge, comes when we are asked 
individually to cease intruding upon the ctMnfort, safety, prop- 
erty, and health of our neighbors. Here we do not have to 
bring a majority to our way of thinking before reform can 
be accomplished; concert of action is not necessary; each of 
us, for him- or herself, can be a practicing propagandist of the 
gospel of equal liberty. 

How most if not all of us offend, in one direction or 
another, will be indicated incidentally by the illustrations that 
I present later of the definition of liberty given in die be- 
gmning. We come now to this elaboratkm. 

The kind of equal liberty possible is determined by en- 
vironment. It is not a matter of guesswork, of intuition; 
it is not indicated by the undisciplined spirit of mastership 
which sometimes expresses itself t<Miay in the demand for 
"absolute" freedom. It is to be ascertained by the activities 
of brain and tested by ethics, ethics here meaning the con- 
ception of fair play, of the nearest possible equality of 
opportunity. For equal liberty means simply fair play. 

Of course "equal liberty" does not mean equal liberty 
to invade, to rob, to tyrannize, to indulge in "self-expression" 
careless of the thus-denied self-expression of others, as care- 
less or unbalanced thinkers sometimes have said, but equal 
freedom from invasion, from robbery, from the exactions of 
tyranny. Fair play (liberty) cannot exist in the atmosphere 
of absolutism, whether the absolutism be that of Tsar, 
majority, or lawless individual outside of formal government. 

The drunken cowboy racing across the plains is legally 
free, and perhaps morally free, if none is dependent on him, 
but if he has dependents, then the community where tliey 
reside and may become public charges thru his weakness 
rightfully has something to say concerning the traffic partly 
or wholly to blame for his irresponsibility and inefficiency. 
But his condition becomes acutely the cdocem of others, 



4 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



whether he has or has riot d^^endents, if he tries to become 
a locomotive engineer, a chauffeur, or a caretaker of gasoloie 

in a factory. There his drinking habits would make him as 
distinctly a menace to property, limbs, and life as he would 
be were he defective in vision or hearing or were an epileptic, 
and to safeguard the equal liberty of others he must be denied 
such kinds of employment. If employers will not put up the 
bars against him, then the State is amply justified in com- 
pelling th«na to use sudi necessary cauticm. 

Another applicati<m: Hie man on the bronko, riding 
from mountain range to mountain range, is "absolutely" free 
only so long as he is alone; one other man riding the route 
makes his only an equal liberty. If there is only enough water 
for one at the drinking hole where they meet, there must be 
accommodation or war. So if they meet in a narrow path on 
the cliff-side. Thus rules, customs, laws arise out of society, 
and they increase in number and complesdty as the two be- 
come ten, ten hundred, ten thousand, ten million. Customs, 
habits antedate formal laws. Primitive superstitions and 
folk-ways survive, and persist thru the mutations and death 
of the great organized superstiticms that we call world religions 
and the mighty machines of secular power that we name gov- 
ernments. And always the struggle, open or disguised, is 
between the ideal of irresponsible "absolute" liberty for some 
and the ideal of responsible equal liberty for all. That is the 
issue to-day no less than it was the issue thousands and tens 
of thousands of years ago when the great ruthless egoists of 
Rome and Persia, of Assyria and Babylon and Phoenicia 
held their worlds in the holtows of their bloody hands. 

It is an ancient shibboletii of wrong that "a man may 
do as he pleases with his own,", now usually meaning his own 
property only, tho formerly his wife and children were 
included among the o&er objects of the dictum. But the 
environment is to decide here, as it does in regard to the other 
factors that go into the making or marring of equal liberty. 
The isolated farmer may bum soft coal, without a consumer, 
and if he can stand the smoke it is an individual concern. 
But the farmer become a manufacturer in the city may not 
turn into the common atmosphere those dense masses of gas 
and soot; he may not rightfully do as he pleases with his 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



own, for thereby he denies the equal liberty of his fellows. 

A man may smoke a cigar or pipe when alone or with 
otitiers who amcur, but when he does this oa the crowded 
street or in public places he has become a trespasser, a denier 
of equal liberty, one who does not understand or does not care 
what are the principles of liberty. He acts in the spirit of his 
own liberty, to do as he blazes {leases and to Gehenna with 
the equal liberty of those who prefer to sophisticate tilidr own 
air, if it is to be sophisticated at all. 

The rancher rightfully may do as he pleases with his own, 
provided: He must not turn his cattle into his neighbors' 
crops, or permit fundous weeds to grow oa his bcM'ders to 
scatter their seeds on adjacent lands, or allow the carcass 
of one of his animals to pollute the common atmosphere, or 
do a s(»re of other thin|^ that dmy the equal liberty of per- 
sons who are directly concerned. 

The householder in his own isolated home may without 
intrusion indulge in unnecessary noise at all hours of the 
day and night, let water leak down from the upper to the lower 
floors, obstruct fire-escapes, and beat rugs and carpets from the 
upper windows; but when he becomes the occupant of a flat 
or apartment where others live he can do none of these things 
wi&out intruding, without denying the equal liberty, without 
menacing the health of his neighbors; and smne of them he 
cannot do without jeoparding lives as well. 

The parent thinks he may do as he pleases with his money, 
but he uses it invasively, denying the rights of scores or 
hundreds or thousands, when he uses it to purcjiase e3q>k>sivis 
or horns, g^ves them to his children, and turns the children 
loose in the streets armed with these instruments of torture. 

The earner of a hundred or a thousand dollars may do as 
he sees fit therewith, but he must not see & to hire an in- 
cendiary to set fire to a house or bam, or use it to bribe a 
legislator to vote against a bill which is in the interest of the 
people, or for one that would spoil the people to the enrich- 
ment of the appr^riators of the common heritage. A man 
may destroy every growing thing in his own garden, but he is 
a thief or a vandal if he takes or destroys the flowers and 
shrubbery in a public park or highway. 

As already so often said, otMiditions determine whetiier 



i 



?H£ BTHiCS OF FiUSPPPM 



or not an act is invasive, is denial of equality of liberty. A 
loan walking along a lonely country ro^ ppy without offense 
etrry kis umbrcUa hoiisontaUy or his surveyor's tripod with 
"ttie dangerous sharp points preceding him. But if he does this 
on the streets of a city he is criminally negligent and justly 
subject to restraint. He may throw dov^A ^ lighte4 ni#t4> 
or 80 uoGrtinguisbed stub oi a cigar or a cigarette on a 
<^ road or a pavement or over the rail of a boat, but again 
he is criminally negligent if he does this in a room or the 
ball of a bouse or in a stable or ia tlie WOQ^ aad should 
be held responsible, if detected, loc aay untoward consequences 
resulting from his callousness. 

Says Richard T. Ely : "Such a thing as an absolute right 
of property never has existed and never will exist." And 
this is equally true, of course, of liberty. "Absolute" means 
"independent, free from limitations, dependence, or relations.'* 
As shown, liberty is not independent of conditions; it is 
limited in any case by the equal liberty of all who are in- 
volved in the stilus or transaction; it is dependent upon the 
'l^pKcity or complexity of society, and it is related, in the 
case of each man, woman, and child to the lives and activities 
of hundreds, thousands, or miUions ol o^r men, wooten, 
and children. 

Just here it should be pointed out that it is not sufficient 
to say that an action which "directly affects" another to his 
injury comes under the ban of the principle of equal freedom. 
To be thus hthilnted, it must both directly and invasively st.f^^t 
the victim. To illustrate: Two inventors are striving to de- 
vise a machine that will do a certain work better and more 
economicsdly than it is done with tJa6 existing mechanism. 
To the successful man will ccmie fame and money. It is mani- 
fest that the success of one will directly affect and injure 
the other. But there is no invasion if both have unhindered 
access to the stores of knowledge and material, if there is no 
mink play, no denial of equality of opportunity. 

To give security to all in the enjoyment of equal liberty, 
there must be protection against cunning, fraud, overreach- 
ing, not less than against physical violence. If you hold that 
it is only justice to protect the child or the cripple against the 
brute force of the degenerate or the thug, can you logically 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



t 



4«am when it is affirmed that it is also justice to protect the' 
mentally slow or credulous against the cunning of the bank- 
wrecker or the fake-mine operator? If you safeguard a man's 
bo^ly fallibility, why not his mental f^Wtity? Physique and 
brain are each a part of the man, and every argument that 
puts <Mic part of him under the guardianship of his better 
equipped associates is equally operative to put the other part 
of him tmder the same guardianship. We all recognize the 
^Jttstiae and necessity of this guardianship when he is knbecile 
or insane. Why not recognize this justice and necessity when 
he is so little short of one or the other of these spates that 
he has no defense within himself against the harpies whose 
livelihood d^ends on his helplessness? 

Now a paradox — a digression that is not a digression : 
The Anarchist, Socialist, Land Value Taxer, each tells 
the Meiiorist that he is wasting time md eneigy in the en- 
deavor to palhate the evils flowing from the denial of equal 
liberty; just take hold and carry to triumph one of these 
movements— of course which one depends on who is talking—- 
and there will be no fur to use for the Meiiorist Perhaps, 
but in the meantime are we to do no preventive or healing 
work on a somewhat less extensive scale? If we do not, what 
becomes of our heritage at the present rate of destruction? 
What of the poisoned bodies and wrecked l»rains of those now 
here? No, friends with the panaceas, your atmosphere of 
theories is too rare for me, even when the theory is so reason- 
able—with limitations— as is that of the Single Tax. Nature 
gave me a mental make-up that is at least sightly sensitive 
to facts, to tiiis-day facts, and so I am compelled to insist that 
it is not wholly foolish to require all ships to be equipped with 
wireless apparatus some years before the full establishment 
of Socialism; that it k quite excusable to liave a fdentifol 
SUf^ly of water and a good lire department and numerous 
exits from theatres and factories and schools and halls at least 
a few months before Land Value Taxation is attained. And 
good milk right now would not be wholly a calamity. (We need 
the best of health to make tiie most of whichever of these 
plans of social salvation we finally decide to accept and push 
to success). And parks and recreation piers and playgrounds 
and swimming pooOs are not unmixed evils decile the dehiy 



8 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



in the triumph of Anarchism. In a word, even if we arc 
"Radicals," it is not against the law for us to exercise com- 
mon sense, to act in the world that is here and now. Because 
Clark is going to move into a very much better home next 
Spring, it is not necessarily the height of folly for him to 
stop the hole in the roof of his present dwelling. 

Neither can we wait until all offenders, high and low, 
against equal liberty are converted, any more than you could 
wait if that member of the genus, the footpad, should set 
upM! you some dark night in a by-strect. - If possible to avwd 
the delay, you would not postpone defensive action until he 
had been reformed at some mission or died of whiskey or old 
age. It is wise to study meteorological charts and watch the 
weather bulletins and warnings, m order that you may do all 
possible to protect your crops against late frosts and other 
untoward weather manifestations, but it might be well for the 
boy at the same time to be digging the cutworms out of the 
cabbage-patch or wiring for borers in the apple trees. You pos- 
sibly may need the cabbages and apples regardless of areas of 
low or high pressure next Autumn and Winter. It would be 
ideal if civic conditions could be so greatly bettered at once that 
there would not be another drunken or otherwise reckless 
diauffeur, motorman, or teamster on the streets, but until the 
arrival of that millennial condition you had better look where 
you are going when pedestrianizing. 

In brief, there is a great necessity for taking the long 
view in the survey of social problems, for planning widely for 
the future, but before you can get to Chicago or Denver you 
must pass Peekskill and Albany and Buffalo. The enemies 
of equal liberty divide to conquer. They whip us in detail. 
The prostration of the rights of the aggregate is accomplished 
by the prostration of the rights of the units. Remember that. 

Some one has just said, "I am a Radical," in the defini- 
tion-defying tone sounded by a certain notorious politician 
when he uttered his famous, "I am a Democrat." To say that 
one is a radical does not of itself signify that one is — that re- 
mains to be seen. The assertion does not necessarily prove 
that the speaker has any clear understanding of the principle 
of equal liberty, however afire he or she may be with the spirit 
of unrestraint. To be a radical in the true sense is to be a 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



9 



seeker for root-causes, and the fierce denunciation of one cause, 
or supposed cause, of an evil does not carry conviction diat 
the denouncer has made or is qualified to make a patient, 
inclusive, and searching investigation, or even that he or she 
realizes that the Upas tree of social wrongs has many toots. 

The dicticmary d^ition of "radkar is : "Having to do 
with or proceeding from the root, source, origin, or foundation ; 
forming part of the essential nature; not accidental; fimda- 
mental." Hence, "carried to the furthest limit; thorogoing, 
unspariiig." 

In this latter, derived, sense, our friend may be a radical, 
that is to say, an extremist, and at the same time be most 
superficial and ineffective in striving to remove an evil, and this 
largely because his very extremism begets in him a fanaticism 
that makes him the poorest of diggers for the roots, all the 
roots, of that evil. That very "logical extremism^ of which 
he boasts disqualifies him for baUmced, analyticalpopai-^ed 
study. It fixes his gaze on tiie one enemy straight in front, 
and he pushes on along this line of narrow vision until he finds 
himself ambushed, surrounded by the flanking allied foes he 
did not see, that he had no scouts and skirmishers out to un- 
cover and warn him against. 

And, too, this intense zeal for the "logical extreme" of 
what he conceives to be radicalism, a zeal uninformed and 
undisciplined by wide-reaching and careful investigation, is 
very apt to make him a flagrant and persistent if unconscious 
trampler of the equal liberty of his neighbors of different 
creeds and methods. Talking the other day with a man whom 
I had had occasion to criticise for his obtrusion of his propi' 
ganda on the meetings of other parties, he said to me that 
evidently I was losing my "missionary spirit." And he added 
that of course the Socialists and the churches did not like 
such methods because they could not stand "the truth," 
but ^e Anarchists, havii^ "the truth," were prosper- 
ing by these tactics and were willing that others should 
distribute what they pleased where they pleased. Meaning 
that the Socialists should be forced by this "direct action" to 
conduct their meetings as the Anarchists voluntarily conducted 
theirs. Verily, a truly "radical" interpretation of the message 
of equal liberty ! 



10 



tHE ETHICS OF JfREEDOM 



Behold a ghost from the terrible past ! Diaphanous, at- 
tenuated, weak, yet unmistakably a ^dow-guest from tile 
battle-shamMes of Philip Spain or the torture-chambers 
of Torquemada. An over-supply of the "missionary spirit," 
plus cocksureness of possession of "the truth," always has 
played hob with the liberties of heretics and heathens and gen- 
erally wiHi their lives as well. Every bloody acre of Europe, 
the Astec ruins of Mexico, the fallen Inca temples of Peru, 
all tell us what the conjoining of the "missionary spirit'* witff 
"the truth" of which tht missionary is the custodian d6es to 
the p^ce ^d liberty and lives of those who, not having the 
said "truth," are the heaven-destined material to make the 
altar-fires that that blessed "missionary spirit" is appointed 
to kindle. 

Fre^ddm of propaganda is an essential element of equality 
of liberty; no society really is free without it, and freedom 
of propaganda means, among other things, propaganda at the 
expense of the propagandist, not at the expense of some one 
who does not accept &e teachings of this propagandist. It is 
too bad that at this late day such a statement of primary 
elements of public instruction, of what is and what is not per- 
missible in propaganda, should hare to be iteratied and re- 
iteratled^ and especially for the admonition of some woman 
suffragists and some Anarchist-Communists, women and men 
who suppose themselves to be in the front ranks of radicatisnl. 



So far, I have spoken of equal liberty only as a to-be- 
desired social condition, as an essential of peace, security, tod 
happiness, kow it is to be safe^arded after it has, in any 
particular case, been recognized as a principle, is the perpetual 
problem of human society. There are three chief method* in 
partial operation or proposed : 

1. Law. 

S. Public opinioA, acting individually and associatively ; 
thru education carried on in the family, by the school, the 
press, meetings ; thru moral force taking the form of ostradsth, 
the boycott. 

3. By waiting until all become respecters of equal rights. 
This last is the counsel of perfection, for, no matter what may 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 11 



be done by heredity and improved ^vironment, it is not con- 
ceivable that tha falliUe by aoturt eaa bMOile tnfaUibki per- 
fect, in acdofi; that w« shaU ever reach a stage where there 
will be no anti-social element. 

So it is to education and custc»n and law that we must 
tdok for help. Law, whkh i$ merely ofM^on made fetmil and 
legal, is the last resort ahd, in fact, never comes in a democ- 
racy, however imperfect, until education to a greater or less 
extent has done its work. Thus it becomes our duty to make 
that preparatory education so many-sided aad thoro that 
the laws whidi follow education will eontain the nunimum of 
error and injustice, will do all that can be done by law to 
sustain equality of liberty. 

Education is the primary, the most snportaot, the freetif 
prefer^te agency of reform and defense because it is the 
atmosphere of initiative, and because it carries less of the 
threat of force than does custom, the boycott, formal law. 
Therefore, no matter what other measures of defend of equal 
liberty we mast aikipt in crises as they occur, the fundamental 
work which underlies all and which we neglect at our peril, 
is ethical education. For, be it understood by everyone, the 
heart of ethics is equal liberty, that is, equal fteedooi of 
o^rtunity, justice. The ethical concept is the flower of the 
tree of Evolution. The physical, the mental, the ethical, this 
is the sequence in development. The man who cries for liberty 
and justice and at the same time sneers in Stiraeri^ faahkm 
at ethics, at duty and right, is King in the world of Paradox. 

Then, education, initiative, persuasion, reason — these are 
the agencies of growth that never will fall into desuetude. 

But, as until all buildings md their contents, ladttding 
humans, are firefiraof ^ and iSm careless and Hie firebug are no 
more, we must maintain expensive fire departments, so, so- 
cially, government will have a place until that far-away time, 
if such shall come, when aU wiU as earnestly try to avoid 
invading others as they defend themselves against uivasidiit 
This is true of very few now. 

The evolution of a reform: A thought in one mind, 
then in another mind, in mihy iiitnds« in minds of A tna- 
jority* in the law which that majority enacts. One stage, 
in itself, is as legitimate as the others, if the reform makesi for 



18 THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



the greater security of equal liberty. If it does not, then the. 
first stage is as illegitimate as any of the others. 

Therefore, instead of wastiiig effort in. the foolish and 
futile contention (as many of us have done in some period 
of our development) that the State, per se, is usurpation, we 
should devote ourselves to the task of separating the wheat 
fr<nn the chaff, proceeding on the solid fundamental principle 
that any defensive work the jeoparded or attacked person 
rightfully may do individually, he rightfully may do in asso- 
ciation with his fellows. 

The most vital question before the people is that of con- 
servati<Mi. It is fundamoital, because delay m^uis abnost 
immeasurable loss that cannot be compensated for by any 
amount of next-century repentance. To wait until education 
has taught aU to cease appropriating, and, much worse, de- 
stroying, is to work irreparable mischief. The far-seeing man 
and woman will work thru the agencies now in existence. 
We have been wickedly spendthrift, suicidedly wasteful; we 
are to-day. Soil, water-power, forests, minerals, birds, are 
going; in great measure, are gone. The destruction of our 
birds alone has cost us, is costing us, hundreds of millions of 
dollars every year. And still the hunters, the boys, the women 
are almost unhindered in the orgy of cruelty and economic 
extinctiod. 

Each year nearly 800,000,000 tons of our richest soil, 
600,000,000 cubic yards, are washed into the lakes, oceans, 
and gulf. And the loss increases each year as deforestation 
sweeps hillside after hiUstde, mountain sk^ after mountain 
slope. 

In all these fields some remedial and preventive work, in 
a few of them much, has been done by aroused intelligence ex-, 
pressed in law. Immensely more remains to be done, and can 
be done if we will but enlighten our igronance, arouse from 
our indifference, and, perhaps most important of all, stop play- 
ing shuttlecock with unworkable academic theories while the 
house bums down over our heads. In the minds of a great 
many of our most earnest libertarians there is operative a sort 
of Sullivan Law that rigorously disarms the man who would 
defend his liberty in a fair and orderly manner but leaves the 
invasive fhtig walking about with a portaUe arsenal 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



13 



One more observation while on this part of my theme : 
With all its very grave faults, the operation of the law is pre- 
f eraUe to that of the mob. The mob blocks the streets so 
that the firemen cannot get to the burning building ; tfie law 
sends its policemen to clear a way for the fire-fighters and 
life-savers. The mob seizes the motorman whose car has 
stmck down a child or a man who has been accused <^ assault 
and would tear him to pieces without a word of inquiry ; the 
law again sends its policemen to the rescue and so gives oppor- 
tunity for that fair investigation which is the due of everyone 
of us charged with a wrong. The mob tortures.and bums the 
N^o whom perhaps only a wild mmor has accused, and after 
he is dead makes some perfunctory inquiries regarding his 
guilt Even in the Southern States, the law is more and more 
frequently sending its sddiers to see that the person under 
suspicion has a chance for the life the mob would take from 
him without trial. In its central purpose, no fault may be 
found with a concept which would put calmness and order in 
the place of blind rage and fiendish rioting. The evil lies in 
our confusion of aggression widi defense and in the grave 
errors of administration. To those familiar with more than 
a doctrinaire theory, much improvement is manifest on every 
hand, and greater is rismg oa the horiz<m. The principle of 
liberty, of equal liberty, never before had sudi serious and 
hopeful attention. 

Of course, no man or woman can work actively in many 
reforms, for there is not time; but at least it is possible to 
know sometfiing about them and to be friendly instead of 
scornfully contemptuous when they make for the broadening 
of the domain of equal liberty. The self-praising jibe for all 
save one effort is im worthy of any serious woricer, and yet 
such jibes are much more frequently in evidence than are signs 
of intelligent interest and sympathy. Cannot we do better? 

I think I may best close with these few lines from the pen 
of Henry Russell Miller : 

"The noblest sacrifice, because the hardest, is that of the 
sincere man who gives up a part of his ideal to secure a little 
of it.'* .... 

"There are two ways of serving a reform. One is as the 
preacher, the dreamer. He is useful, because he points out 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



16 




Suggested by some criticisms of certain conteniions made &r 
supposed to have heen made in the foregoing addreu- 




POST-DISCUSSION REFLECTIONS. 



reaction" of fatmne, of charity. Prevent the effects of aridity 
by irrigation, and the "normal reaction" of charity ceases to 

a need. 

"Without invasion there is no struggle, no progress." 
But if there were no invasion there would be no ne§d of 
struggling, no need for progress, for if it is not meairt that 
the struggle is to be with invasion, the progress away from in- 
vasion, what in the name of the English language does the 
asserticHi mean? If there were no y^ow fever there would 
be no need for struggle against it. The old theological doctrine 
was that "God," sent all manner of inflictions to "test" us, to 
give us "strength" to withstand his chastisings. But if the 
inflicti(Mis had not been "sent" upon us we would have had 
no need of the strength to endure them. I have just heard die 
old theological nescience of the beneficent nature of perpetual 
evil expounded in the phraseology of modern sociology, and 
the sound was most dolorous. Imitations always are depressutip. 

Yes, the past resorted to force, to crud invasion, but be- 
cause it did are we to argue that force and invasion are the 
only, or the best, means of advance to-day ? Are science and 
reason stiU as weak as they were when men dwelt in caves aitd 
ate raw the spoils of the hunt? When I hear some arguments, 
I am tempted to think that such a supposition would be correct,, 
but then I read a work of science and realize that my pessi- 
mism was at least {Nurtly unfounded. 

Yes, many men at many times have done wrong that good 
might come — as they hoped. Is that any reason why other men 
or why women who can attain the results they seek with(mt 



16 THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



resort to the old bad methods should step backward a hundred 
or a thousand years? Continually the old fallacy crops up, 

as it has a score of times to-night, that two wrongs make a 
right. Because B stole from A, C is justified in garroting D ! 
What casuistry! 

"Human nature is just the same as it always was, and it 
will always be the same." Does that, if true, necessitate that 
we continue the methods of the Inquisition, of the Draggonades 
of Louis, of the butchermgs of Claverhouse, of the sacrifices to 
Moloch? And this that we may develop "diaracter** and 
"strength!" Save the mark! Would the utterer of this 
catch-phrase go back, if she could, to Babylon, to Europe in 
her midnight, to the Morocco of yesterday, or to the Mexico 
of to-day? 

We learn by experience, yes. And so I urged that every- 
one of us live his or her principles, put his or her profession 
*of devotion to equality of liberty into his or her daily actions. 

There was fotmd in the latter part of my paper an un- 
namahle something, something that eluded the fixing finger, 
which indicated declension, a falling away on my part. Prob- 
ably because it was there I laid special stress on the importance 
of education, initiative, persuasion, and said that force, govern- 
mental or other, in defense of equal liberty was the last resort. 
Of course there was agreement so far as legal force was in- 
volved, but gorges rose at the suggestion of the disuse of the 
"other" forms, at the denial of the right to invade. 

Shall we never be done with setting up the child as the ex- 
emplar for men and women? In the light of our knowledge 
of evolution, this idolizing of the undeveloped should be rele- 
gated to the scrap-hea^. In uterOy the babe passes tiiru noany 
of the stages of pre-humsm development. After birth, its 
growth is an epitome of primitive human evolution, modified 
by so much of the acquired knowledge of the later stages of 
human society as wise parents and other teachers are able to 
inculcate and such o^ier as it picks up in divers ways, some 
good, some bad. The child is anti-social to the extent that its 
teachers and itself fail to make part of its logic of life the social 
lessons learned by the race. The child is to be left to learn all 
by experience ? But do the exponents of the theory themselves 
act in consonance with it, fully? Could they? How long 



/ 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



17 



before the babe, wallowing in its own excreta, will, if left 
akme, learn the value to itself and to others of personal dean- 

liness? Usually the persons who talk in this way of the non- 
government of the child are among those who deprecate the 
failure to give the child a knowledge of its sex-nature and 
die dangers diat threaten it in its ignorance. But why is 
not this policy of reticence, of silence, wise if it be sound 
philosophy and prudent sociology to let the child grow up 
unguided and undiecked, unaided by the experiences and ac- 
quisitions of the race that have not beoxne parts of its 
heritage as an animal? Would you say that an adult savage, 
brought to the city, should be permitted to manifest such of 
his savage traits as are malign, anti-social, so that he may by 
the exercise gain "experience?*' No? Why, then, should 
a young savage, in a different physical but a like mental and 
moral stage of development, be permitted or encouraged to 
do what the other is prohibited dcMng? 

With the fii^t cleansii]^ the nurse gives the babe, its 
progress from primitivism to manhood or womanhood is the 
road of departure from the filth-bed of unguarded self- 
expression, its long trek studded with the mile-posts of lessons 
in civilization, in social amenity, in equal liberty. It is fed 
at every step from the accumulated stores of human knowl- 
edge and ethics. And the more it learns of the life-lessons 
of the race the better equipped it is to write new and better 
lessons for those who are to oomt after. 

We get "experience by friction." Does that make fric- 
tion good, inevitably? The engineer learns something from 
the friction of the machine he tends, but does that lead him 
to put sand on tiie 4>eari!^ that he may produce more f ricti(» 
and so learn more? On the contrary, does he not use the best 
lubricant he can find and keep on the lookout for better 
kinds? And does he not so set up his machine and operate 
it as to cause the least possible amount of f ricticm in its work^ 
ing? The social application should be apparent without in- 
struction. Social friction gives us "experience/* makes us 
''struggle,'' but our experience and struggles induce in us a 
desire to lessen the f rictk>n, not to increase it. At least, that 
is the effect when one is not too zeak>us a doctrinaire. Is 
it the argument that when the friction ceases we shall "de- 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



cay," go to the bad for lack of occupation? But if the fric- 
tion has ended, we shall no longer need that occtip^ic^ 
Ai^r Ibe f surma* isis reforested the hillside, he will not »ee4 
to spend money and time m keeping the detritus of the floods 
from covering and killing his crops nor the floods themselves 
from carrying away his fertile soil. He can devote 1m savf^ 
tee and ecieify to study and intensive cultivation. 

You say that man is still a savage beneath the terribly 
thin veneer of his civilization, and you say it with a gr^tly 
triumphant air. Well, what is the lesson you awe tryi^y %q 
s»ggsst ? Gunpowder will explode and rend and kilL Is that 
an argument for carrying flaming torches into a magazine 
filled with unheaded barrels of the composition? Granted 
that man's self-control is yet lamentably weak, that his feelings 
so easily snap &e loosely woven leash of reason— what do 
you wish us to understand? If you have the care of a man 
subject to fits of homicidal insanity will you give him a supply 
of lyddite bombs, arm him with bowie knife and aulonidtic 
IMStol, and feed his sight and imagination with fucttures and 
stories of torture and slaughter? Is it possible you are mad 
enough to suppose that because man is only partially human- 
ized that is an argument for tlie reckless handling of auiti* 
social intoxicants, for the incitement of sprees of primitive 
blood-lust, for the encouragement and stimulation of erup- 
tions of the sub-surface beast-man? On the contrary, it 
is the most solemn warning against any teachhigs or actions 
that will excite to a recrudescence of savagery, a recrudescence 
in which the inciters of it are a little surer to perish before 
the storm is spent than are those against whom it was directed 
at first. 

Certainly it is curious that so many men and women who 
are dead set against national armanent, against war among 
nations, should so eagerly spring into the arena in advocacy of 
civil war, in laudation of invasion as the seed-bed of prcgress, 
of aggression as the wet-nurse of "normal reaction," of impu- 
dent intrusion into peaceable meetings conducted at the ex- 
pense of their promoters as a vindication of the principle pf 
equal liberty. And to hear it said that a scrupulous refar^ 
on the part of each of us for the equal rights of his or her 
neighbor is likely to lead to "decay," to mental and moral stag- 



TME ETHICS OF FE£ElX>lil 



19 



nation ! Amazing ! Is it possible that these critics do not see 
where their argument leads ? That if individual aggression, in- 
vasion, is desirable, if cruel social friction is not to be avoided, 
then it inevitably follows that by so much as war among nations 
is more intrusive, more invasive, more aggressive, more pro- 
ductive of friction than are individual lapses from Idndness and 
ecNirttsy, Uien by so much is war more desirable as the stknu- 
tMor of "normal reaction," as the kindly parent of progress? 

The contention was not, as misunderstood by one earnest 
critic, that the itiinprity should submit to wrongs at the bands 
0f the majority or be scrupulous in respectii^ the rights of 
that majority, while the majority is not censured for com- 
mitting those wrongs. With only two exceptions, the invasions 
denounced are invasions committed aHke by members of the 
majority and the minority. The plea was for the careful re- 
specting of the rights of all by all. As a matter of fact, tho, 
we do expect better conduct, along thei Ime of his reform, 
from the reformer than from the man whtm aielaoas hs aa> 
sails. It certainly is foolish stuttifieatioa lor him, the man 
with the brighter light, to deny to others what he claims for 
himself. If he will not do as well as he talks, what can be 
reasonably expect of the man with the poorer Ught or no 
^t? If fpr no ^tXtr r««son, he should be too good a 
stratepst to give hiniself ^W9;3f so cheaply. 



20 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



APPENDIX 
L 

WHAT DOES "FREE SPEECH" INCLUDE? 
Editor of The Globe, 

Sir: During several numths diere has hem modi said in The 
Globe by Comrnunist-Anarchists, Socialists, ^nd others concerning the 
tittwiUingness <rf the managers of Socialist meetings to permit the 
An a r c hi s t s to sdl their publications and distribute their announce- 
ments' at these meetings. The Socialists have been charged with 
iUiberality, opposkion to freedom of speech, and with tyranny. Social- 
ist writers have denied these charges, but, for the most part, the 
defence offered has been almost as inconclusive as are the reasons 
proffered in support of the charges. Neither side has made any 
serious attempt at an analysis of the issues involved, each writing 
from the viewpoint of the interest or the supposed interest of his 
or her party. Perhaps in the hospitable columns of The Globe 
may be found room for a few suggestions of one who is outside 
of both camps, and which are called forth at this time by the le^ 
of Doctor Reitman in Saturday's paper. 

Doctor Reitman says that as the Socialists will not permit an 
Anarchist to speak on their platforms and Socialist papers wili not 
allow Anarchist ccmtributions to appear in tl^r columns, ''the Anar- 
chies are obliged to go by highways and byways where Socialists 
gatli^ and attempt to distribute their cards and literature. And 
tttvanably they are met with the same tyranny and intolerance." 

Let ns see what underlies all this. Regarding free speech, these 
are two inseparable fundamental principles : 

1. It is the right of each group to have full freedom for the 
carrjring on of its peaceable, non-invasive propaganda. 

2. It is the duty of each group to pay the cost of the carrying 
on of its propaganda. 

Derivatively, if one group is invasive in its methods, it limits 
flie freedom of another group or of other groups. If it does its 
educational work partially or wholly at the expense of another group 
or of other groups, it, to the extent that it levies tiiese fotced con- 
tributions, is not paying the cost of its own propaganda. 

The question, then, is : Eto the Anarchists thus invade the rights 
of the Socialists, thus con^ them to contribute to tiie es^ense-fund 
of the Anarchists? Accepting as true the accounts of their activities 
given by Doctor Reitman and his associates, these are precisely the 
anti-libertarian actions of which they are guilty. And I suspect— in 
some instances, I know— 4hat they do not even have the grace to ask 
permission to do these things. 

If the Anarchists have the right to go into a meeting and appro- 



THE ETHICS OF KlOiEDOM 



21 



priate a part of the puUit attention for yftbkk tiie Socialists paid 
when they hired the hall and met the expenses of advertismg 'the 
meeting, then, by a parity of reasoning, they would have the rig^rt 
to enter the office and workrooms of a Socialist newspaper, eject 
an editor or two, push some of the linotypers away from their ma- 
chines, seize other parts of the plant, and run Anarchist articles into 
the paper, to be sent out over the country, and all at the cost of the 
Socialists. 

Doctor Reitman should understand that freedom of speech is de- 
nied whai a sociefy is not permitted to conduct it own meetings at 
its own cost in its own way. This is the offense of the Communist- 
Anarchists against the Socialists. By his own account, the Anarchists, 
not the Socialists, have offended against liberty^ in these instances. 
So long as Miss Goldman and her friends are not interfered witii by 
ibk Sodalists hi the management of her meetit^, tii^r are iM»t justi- 
fied in raising against the Socialise &e cry of bigotry, tyranny, denial 
of free speech. All tiut any group can reascmably and justiy 
is tiiat it be not trespassed against in its peaceful propaganda by 
any other group or by the State acting for another group. 

Such are the primary principles of freedom of utterance by voici, 
pen, and press. 

As to the wisdom or unwisdom of the policy of refusing oppor- 
tunity for discussion on a platform or in a paper, that is an issue 
quite apart from that of the principle of the equal liberty of all 
groups and papers to adopt their own methods of work and to ask 
support from men and women who may give or refuse to give that 
si^port as their own judgment .".i^d feelinik's dictate. Perhaps the 
Socialists would do better if they opened their meetings and papers 
to free discussion; I think they would. But it is thdr right to con-, 
duct tiieir own meetings and edit thdr own papers. If th^r have 
^not thtt rigfa^ tiien tiie Anarchists have not tiie rii^ themsdlvea. 
The Sodatists become deniers of freedom of expression only whra 
they refuse to ti^ Amuxhists or to otiiers tiie liberty tiiey daim for 
themsdves. I db not understand Doctor Rdtman to charge that tiie 
Socialists have attempted to cOTtrol Amtrdrists' meetings or Mother 
Earth. The charge he does mal% convicts the Anardiists, not tiie 
Socialists. ' • • • 

Edwin C Walker. 

New York; January 26, 1913. 

IL 

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TOBACCO-DRUGGING 

Editor of The Evening Sun, ^ 

Sir: In the current discussion of tohacco-using, in The Evening 
Sun, one of your correspondents has written of its effect on the ethical 



22 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



nature. It is wdl he <«d, for that » one ol th* most apparent and 
otteom effects. Hife peeunUry and physical effects may be personal 
itntten vety lafgdy, and also, perhaps, to a considerable extent, nut- 
ters of ipecnlatioii. 

Bat the effects on character are neither in doubt nor confined 
to the iwer. As your correspondent has said, no other habit so 
Oisaetroaify corrodes the ethics and manners of the immediate victim 
and so intercfere with the comfort of the remoter victims, those who 
are brought into close relations with the user of the plant. 

That tobacco is so widely used is due to two factors, accident and 
imitation. Any one of very many other vegetables might now occupy 
the place of tobacco. But once accidentally picked upon, imitatMCi 
did the rest. As the numbers using it increase^ the induence of 
imitation is more and more felt. Few, comparatively, have the 
vigor of wall to resist doing what a great many about ihem div f or the 
i^uence of doing is posittTe, acUvdy suggestive, while the inilueace 
^iiot doing is negative, iion.«tigge8ttve. Men imitate other men, 
hoyt imitate men, and women are now mutating men. The faculties 
brought mto action hy hahit-formation are the receptive, non-resisting, 
toUowmg ones, not the originating, self-guiding, leading faculties. 

Jjkc every other drug-habit, it controls the man, not the man 
tae habit This is tiie fact, broadly speaking, and in the measure of 
the cnvmg for the drug. Of course there are partial exceptions, 
cases in^ which the smoker still thinks somewhat of the wishes and 
comfort' of others, or of certain others. While special circumstances 
may prevent his encroaching, you may know the hold the haWt has 
on his nerves if not on his will when you see him leave an assembly 
every little while to go out and lessen the tension by further in- 
dulgence. But when you see a man in a baker's shop, with food ex- 
posed on every side and the room crowded with customers, smoking 
in utter obliviousness of the emxmiity of his invasion, even fitting 
a cigar or cigarette in the face of a woman attendant or a customer; 
or when he comes into your home with a lighted dgar in his mouth 
and. with no thought of saying, "l^ your leaver" keeps on smoking, 
scatters ashes over the floor, or hjs the burning stub on a table or 
ahelf, yoi may know -tihat here is a man in whom the habit reigns 
siq^-eme, in whom all ethkal sense as regards necessary amenities 
and ccftajh ftutdamenial rights of others has been wholly killed. 

Our Kre Department affirms that a very lai^e percentage of fires 
are caused by the carelessness of smokers. They will not be careful, 
they can not be careful, they are inevitably utterly selfish, because in 
them a drug habit has deadened all sensibility to normal social reac- 
tions. How to indulge, how to temporarily appease an acquired 
craving, initiated by imitation, is the first and last and d<Mninaat 
thought, or rather, feeling. 

1^ Yof k, March 8, 1913. 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



S9 



III. 

In my Sunrise Club paper of the season of 1911-1912 one of the 
ccmtentions is that the struggle for existence, in some respects lessened 
in severity by sociok)gical devekqmient, in other respects has greedy 
increased in bitterness and gravity, and that one of tfie causes of this 
growmg fKffiadty of the fit to profve Aeir fitness is tfie reddess 
waste of nature's gratuiBes, itmt eKtravaguit use and wioton db- 
stmction. 

A recent Bulletin of The Amorican Economic Association con t a i ns 
a very thoughtful essay by Professor H. J. Davenport on "Tlie Extent 
and Significance of the Unearned Increment." What we are doing 

now with our heritage and what we (most of us) foolishly expect to 
keep on doing indefinitely with less and less work and more and more 
luxury, Mr. Davenport outlines with graphic clearness. And that we, 
some not very distant day, must put on the brakes he tersely indicates 
in the attention-compelling closing lines of the e.xcerpts I am making. 

**. . . we are to remember that, side by side with the want of 
the poor, our average standard of living is rising. We are to remem- 
ber, also, that we are the richest nation of the world — ^not merely 
as measured by the colossal wealth of our very rich; not merely by 
the flamboyant expenditure and the crass ostentation of our great 
sfieadtsn; not merefy, also, by the sheer coromon-placraess of great 
persmuU incomes and great ^r<^erty inciHnes— but also by the test 
of an extraordinary high per capita prodnc^idty of ccmtmaaUe 
wealtib. 

The truth is that no nation of the world out of all tiie past and 
no other nation of the present can rank with present Amorica dther 

in opportunities or in accomplishment in wealth production. The 
average per capita product depends in part upon the quality of the 
human being and in part upon the quality of his environment. As 
speed in running is partly a matter of the runner and partly of the 
track, so the productive output is explained by the quality of the 
farmer and partly by the qu^ty of his farm. 

• • • • • • 

"We actually produce three-fourths of the maize of the world, 
more wheat than any other country, one-third of the oats, two-thirds 
of the cotton, one-half of the iron, one-fourth of the gold, three- 
sevenths of the lead, two-fifths of the coal (and, exclusive of the 
United Kingdom, more than all the rest of the world comluned), 
three-fifths of nit copper, one*third of the zinc, three-eii^idis of the 
aluminum. 

^'That the fertility of the sdl is bdng seriously dieted, ^ for- 
ests nearing exhaustion, the gas already nearly gone, the coal in 

prospect of exhaustion in one hundred and fifty years, and the artesian 
water beginning to fail, does not matter to tiie problem. Nor does it 
concern the present analysis that every great white way in every 



24 



THE ETHICS OF FREEDOM 



American city is nightly one more chemical orgy of waste^ a crime 
of competitive advertising, for which some day thousands of human 
)>eings must shiver for months. Our enormous producticm still goes 
on. It ought to represent itself in a generally high-wage level. 
Instead of this, however, a goodly percentage of our laborers arc 
close to the margin of starvation. 

. '*It is, indeed, an extraordinary outburst of productive achieve- 
ment which we are witnessing — a combination of productive efficiency 
with favorable opportunity never paralleled in the past history of the 
race, and never to be duplicated again in all the years of the long 
future. No new continent is left to be opened. Modern science and 
virgin opportunity can never again concur." 

Reflecting upon the facts marshalled by Mr. Davenport, I am 
reminded of the prophecies to which I have listened as they dropped 
from the glib lips of the sanguine echoers of some doctrinaires' dis- 
turn that in the good time coming anywhere from three hours' to 
thirty minutes' work a day by all adults would suffice to keep the whole 
population in a state of luxury now possible only for the few 
exploiters. Why, some of these city farmers could not produce in a 
week on the best farm in the world enough to pay for the cigars and 
cocktails that they now think are necessary for their daily existence. 




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