a question which the principle of Liberty settles at once. It may be well to state the verdict boldly and baldly. Here it is: Any individual may place any condition he chooses, provided the condition be not in itself invasive, upon the doing or not doing of anything which he has a right to do or not do; but no individual can rightfully be a party to any bargain which makes a necessarily invasive condition incumbent upon any of the contracting parties. From which it follows that an individual may rightfully "extort" money from another by "threatening" him with certain consequences, provided those consequences are of such a nature that he can cause them without infringing upon anybody's rights. Such "extortion" is generally rather mean business, but there are circumstances under which the most high-minded of men might resort to it without doing violence to his instincts, and under no circumstances is it invasive and therefore wrongful, unless the act threatened is invasive and therefore wrongful. Therefore to punish men who have taken money for lifting a boycott is oppression pure and simple. Whatever may be the "common law" or the "statute law" of blackmail, this—to use Mr. Spooner's phrase—is the natural law that governs it.—Liberty, July 31, 1886.
The methods pursued by District Assembly 49 of the Knights of Labor in the conduct of the recent strike have driven Mayor Hewitt and divers other capitalistic publicists into a state of frenzy, so that they now lose no opportunity to frantically declare that one set of men must not be permitted to deprive other sets of men of the right to labor. This is a white-bearded truth, but, when spoken in condemnation of the Knights of Labor for ordering members in one branch of industry to quit work for the purpose of strengthening strikers in another branch by more completely paralyzing business, it is given a tone of impertinence more often characteristic of callow juvenility than of venerable old age. I can't see for my life whose liberty is encroached upon by such a procedure. Certainly not that of the men ordered to quit, because they joined the Knights, a voluntary organization, for certain express purposes, of which this was one, and, when they no longer approve it, can secede from it and then work when and where they please. Certainly not, on the other hand, that of the employers who thus lose their workmen, because, if it is no invasion of liberty for the individual workman to leave his employer in obedience to any whim whatsoever, it is equally
no invasion of liberty for a body of workmen to act likewise,