Page:Instead of a Book, Tucker.djvu/145

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
129
THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.

to use the same words in the same order to express the same idea, and that this work, not being required afresh in each particular case, is not work of production, and that, not being work of production, it gives no right of property? In quoting Mr. George above I did not have to expend any labor on "how to say" what he had already said. He had saved me that trouble. I simply had to write and print the words on fresh sheets of paper. These sheets of paper belong to me, just as the sheets on which he wrote and printed belong to him. But the particular combination of words belongs to neither of us. He discovered it, it is true, but that fact gives him no right to it. Why not? Because, to use his own phrases, this combination of words "existed potentially before he came"; "it was there to be found"; and if he had not found it, some one else would or might have done so. The work of copying or printing books is analogous to the production of wheelbarrows, but the original work of the author, whether in thinking or composing, is analogous to the invention of the wheelbarrow; and the same argument that demolishes the right of the inventor demolishes the right of the author. The method of expressing an idea is itself an idea, and therefore not appropriable.

The exposure is complete. But will Mr. George acknowledge it? Not he. He will ignore it, as he has ignored similar exposures in these columns of his juggling with the questions of rent, interest, and money. The juggler never admits an exposure. It would be ruinous to his business. He lies low till the excitement has subsided, and then "bobs up serenely" and suavely to hoodwink another crowd of greenhorns with the same old tricks. Such has been juggler George's policy heretofore; such it will be hereafter.

 

 

THE RIGHT OF OWNERSHIP.

[Liberty, August 2, 1890.]

To the Editor of Liberty:

Will you permit tne to aslc you for the definition, from an Anarchistic standpoint, of the "Right of Ownership"? What do you mean to convey when you say that a certain thing belongs to a certain person?

Before directing my attention to the study of the social question, I had a rather confused notion of the meaning of this term. Ownership appeared to me a kind of amalgamation of wealth with the individual. This

conception could, of course, not be sustained in an analysis of the social