main strength of the argument for State Socialism and Communism has always resided in the claim, till lately undisputed, that the permanent tendency of progress in the production and distribution of wealth is in the direction of more and more complicated and costly processes, requiring greater and greater concentration of capital and labor. But the idea is beginning to dawn upon minds—there are scientists who even profess to demonstrate it by facts—that the tendency referred to is but a phase of progress, and one which will not endure. On the contrary, a reversal of it is confidently looked for. Processes are expected to become cheaper, more compact, and more easily manageable, until they shall come again within the capacity of individuals and small combinations. Such a reversal has already been experienced in the course taken by improvements in implements and materials of destruction. Military progress was for a long time toward the complex, requiring immense armies and vast outlays. But the tendency of more recent discoveries and devices has been toward placing individuals on a par with armies by enabling them to wield powers which no aggregation of troops can withstand. Already, it is believed. Lieutenant Zalinski with his dynamite gun could shield any seaport against the entire British navy. With the supplanting of steam by electricity and other advances of which we know not, it seems more than likely that the constructive capacity of the individual will keep pace with his destructive. In that case what will become of State Socialism and Communism?" It behooves their advocates not to be so cock-sure as they have been heretofore of the correctness of this major premise of all their arguments.
But Herr Most may claim that in this reasoning the element of speculation and uncertainty is too large to warrant the placing of any weight upon it. Very well, then; simply reaffirming my own confidence in it, I will let it go for what it is worth, and consider at once the question whether large concentration of capital for production on the large scale confronts us with the disagreeable alternative of either abolishing private property or continuing to hold labor under the capitalistic yoke. Herr Most promises that, if I will show him that the private property régime is compatible with production on the large scale without the exploitation of labor, he will stand by the side of Libertas in its favor. This promise contains a most significant admission. If Communism is really, as Herr Most generally claims, no infringement of liberty, and if in itself it is such a good and perfect thing, why abandon it
for private property simply because the possibility of the