Page:Instead of a Book, Tucker.djvu/188

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

reuth. This music-drama is Madame Wagner's property, and she refuses to allow any one else to produce it. But in Austria, it seems, every copyrighted work becomes free ten years after the author's death. Next year, therefore, "Parsifal" can be performed in Austria by any one who chooses. Madame Wagner is moving heaven and earth to secure the passage of a new law in Austria in the interest of her monopoly, and it is said that she may succeed. If she does, then Austrians, like Frenchmen, Englishmen, Americans, and the people of all other nations who have chosen to make slaves of themselves, must continue to pay tribute, not only to Madame Wagner, but to hotel-keepers and railroad corporations, if they desire to witness a representation of the greatest achievement in musical composition yet attained. This situation illustrates another absurdity of property in ideas, to which attention has never been called in these columns. As long as Madame Wagner is allowed to retain her monopoly,—and really if it is rightfully her property, it ought never to be taken from her,—the price which a man must pay to see "Parsifal" is proportionate to the distance between his residence and Bayreuth. The citizen of Bayreuth pays but five dollars for the privilege which must cost a citizen of the United States from two to four hundred dollars. And this because of one woman's will and the rest of the world's lack of will. It may be replied, of course, that the same situation exists regarding many works of art and nature, and cannot be avoided,—for instance, a painting by Titian or the falls of Niagara. This is unfortunately true; but the only good reason for putting up with such a state of things is that we cannot help ourselves. We pay heavily to see Niagara Falls because we cannot reproduce Niagara Falls within walking distance of our homes. But is the fact that we must pay more for things we cannot duplicate a good reason for paying more for things that can be duplicated?—Liberty, September 24, 1892.


The recent strike at Carmaux, France, was followed by an agitation for compulsory arbitration of disputes between capital and labor. There was a lively fight over it in the French Chamber, which fortunately had the good sense to vote the measure down. Of all the demands made upon government in the interest of labor this is perhaps the most foolish. I wonder if it has ever occurred to the laborers who make it that to grant their desire would be to deny that cherished right to strike upon which they have insisted so strenuously

and for so many years. Suppose, for instance, a body of oper-