taxes off industry, and substituting therefor the social values given to land, you call retrogression, or rather "a remedy similar—for a part of mankind at least—to that attributed to the Nihilists, the total destruction of the existing social order, and the creation of a new one on its ruins"! This is wild talk, and is none the less so because of the use of the feeble adjective, "similar," and (he halting phrase, "at least a part of mankind," which destroy the value of the comparison for the purpose of argument, and, like the words "respect," "sympathy," "ridiculous," and "semi-barbarous," show that Liberty, the Anarchist organ par excellence, may dogmatize instead of reason, and make personal dictum or caprice the standard of right.
But there is something of more consequence than the vulnerable points in Liberty's logic, for it goes deeper. Granting that this reform does mean the creation of a new order involving losses and sacrifices to the individual for a generation, is that its condemnation? Words cannot express my astonishment at the manner in which Liberty tells its readers that the city operative cannot be tempted "to begin life as a barbarian, even with the hope that in the course of a lifetime he may slightly improve his condition," for he would be a "fool" not to prefer to this the city with its "street bands," "shop windows," "theatres," and "churches," even though he have to "breathe tainted air" and "dress in rags." Ah, it is indeed true, as you say, "man does not live by bread alone," and for that reason he prefers pure air and independence along with isolation and struggle, to tainted air and serfdom along with brass bands and hand organs, gaudy windows, and Black Crook performances. But is that " beginning life as a barbarian," no matter with implements however rude, at places however remote from the centres of pride and luxury, with fruits of toil however slow in ripening, if the persons are moved by the thought of bettering, not their own condition merely, but that of the world, of the generations to come? Have not the pioneers of freedom, the vanguards of civilization, again and again "begun life as the barbarian," so to speak? This reform, it is true, means "bread," but bread for all, though there be luxury for none. We know the advantages of city life, and for that reason we would deny ourselves those advantages in order that cities might spread and civilization expand.
We want the earth, but do not mean to run away with if, there will still be plenty of room,—yes, more than before, far more. It will be the beginning, not the end, of reform; not the last step, but a great stride forward. Socialism and Anarchism will both have a better chance then than now. If the insufficiency of the principle is proven. For it is Socialistic in asserting the common ownership of the soil and governmental control of such things as are in their nature monopolies, while it is Anarchistic in leaving all else to the natural channels of free production and exchange, to free contract and spontaneous co-operation.
T. W. Curtis.
Mr. Curtis's criticisms are based upon a series of misapprehensions of Liberty's statements, and in one instance upon something that looks very like deliberate misrepresentation.
In the first place, he misapprehends my expression of greater respect for and sympathy with the State Socialists than Henry George, seeming to think that this preference included in its sweep not only matters of doctrine, but matters of
tactics and spirit. The form of my assertion shows that I