the following question, which I asked him á propos of his promise: "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 latter's existence without the exploitation of labor has been demonstrated? To declare one's willingness to do so is plainly to affirm that, exploitation aside, private property is superior to Communism, and that, exploitation admitted. Communism is chosen only as the lesser evil." Herr Most knew that it would never do to admit that Communism curtails liberty. Yet he could not answer this question without admitting it. So he prudently let it alone.
But what, then, does he say in his three-column article?
Well, for one thing, he tries to make his readers think that I offered my incidental remarks, rather suggestive than conclusive, regarding the likelihood that the Communists' position being based on a supposed necessity of great combinations in order to produce on the large scale, might soon be undermined by the tendency, of which symptoms are beginning to appear, towards a simplification and cheapening of machinery,—he tries to make his readers think, I say, that I offered these remarks as a necessary link in my argument. "On such grounds," he says, "we are expected to believe," etc., giving no hint of my express declaration that I offered this idea for what it was worth and not as essential to my position.
Nevertheless it is not easy to see why he should regard this thought as so utterly chimerical, when he finds it so easy, in order to show Communism to be practicable, to assume that the time is not far distant when wealth will be so abundant that individuals will not think of quarrelling over its possession, but will live as birds do in their hemp-seed. Of the two hypotheses the latter seems to me the more visionary. Certainly great strides are yet to be taken in labor-saving, and I do not doubt at all that a state of society will be attained in which every sound individual will be able to secure a comfortable existence by a very few hours of toil daily. But that there will ever be any such proportion between human labor and the objects of human consumption as now exists between bird labor and hemp-seed, or that land and other capital will ever be superabundant in the same sense that water, light, and air are superabundant, is inadmissible. If, however, the means of life shall ever become so utterly divorced from human toil that all men look on all wealth as air is now looked
upon, I will then admit that, so far as material enjoyment is