Page:Instead of a Book, Tucker.djvu/241

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Dogmatism can be justified only by the event. In its use not only does nothing succeed like success, but nothing succeeds but success. And nothing fails like failure. If Mr. Fisher, in addressing the Anarchists upon finance as if they were babies and he a giant, shall succeed in making his assumed superiority felt as a reality, he will not only be forgiven for his dogmatism, but highly respected for his knowledge and power; but if it shall appear that the ignorance and weakness are on his side rather than theirs, he will be covered not only with confusion by his error, but with ridicule by the collapse of his pretension. It is only just, however, to say that a comparison of his letter to Liberty with his letter to the Herald of Anarchy shows progress in the direction of modesty.

Already Mr. Fisher's pride has been followed by a fall. The central position taken by him at the start that government cannot affect the value of gold or any other commodity except by the slight additional demand which it creates as a consumer he has been forced to abandon at the first onslaught. If government were to allow the opening of theatres on Sunday, it would not thereby become a consumer of theatres itself (at least not in the economic sense; for, in the United States at any rate, our governors always go to the theatre as "deadheads"), and yet Mr. Fisher admits that in such a case the value of theatres would immediately rise very greatly. This admission is an abandonment of the position taken at first so confidently, and no other consideration can make it anything else. The fact that competition would soon arise to reduce the value does not alter the fact that for a time this action of government would materially raise it, which Mr. Fisher originally declared an impossibility. But even if such a plea had any pertinence, it could be promptly destroyed by a slight extension of the hypothesis. Suppose government, in addition to allowing the theatres now existing to open on Sunday, were to prohibit the establishment of any additional theatres. Then the value would not only go up, but stay up. It is hardly necessary to argue the matter further; Mr. Fisher undoubtedly sees that he is wrong. The facts are too palpable and numerous. Why, since my comment of a month ago on Mr. Fisher's position, it has transpired that the cost of making twist drills in the United States has been increased five hundred and twenty per cent. by the McKinley bill. Government cannot affect value, indeed!

In the paragraph to which Mr. Fisher's letter is a rejoinder

I said that "when government decrees that all money shall