THE LESSON OF HOMESTEAD.
[Liberty, July 23, 1892.]
Regarding methods, one of the truths that has been most steadily inculcated by this journal has been that social questions cannot be settled by force. Recent events have only confirmed this view. But when force comes, it sometimes leads incidentally to the teaching of other lessons than that of its own uselessness and becomes thereby to that extent useful. The appeal to force at Homestead affords a signal example of such incidental beneficence; for it has forced the capitalistic papers of the country, and notably the New York Sun, to take up a bold defence of liberty in order to protect property. Now, all that Anarchism asks is liberty; and when the enemies of liberty can find no way of saving their own interests except by an appeal to liberty, Liberty means to make a note of it and hold them to it.
Listen, therefore, to the New York Sun preaching the gospel of liberty. The passages here quoted are fair samples of its editorial columns for the last fortnight:
If a man has labor to sell, he must find some one with money to buy it, or it is of no more use to him than unused capital is to Mr. Carnegie. If the man does not like the price offered, he can reject it. If the buyer does not like the price asked, he has the same liberty. Neither is obliged to accept the bargain, though both are under the same law which forces men to take what they can get. If the laborer does not want the work longer than he contracted to give it, he can throw it up, and the employer has the same right to dispense with the laborer. The workman can choose his employer, and the employer can choose his workmen. No law can take away that right from either. The workman can refuse to work and the employer to hire. Such is liberty.
There are a good many fools and there are not a few scoundrels in the United States; but, even if the scoundrels could persuade the fools that violence is a friend of the workmen, the great majority of the American people, heartily despising the scoundrels and pitying the fools, would stand up … for the right of every citizen to enjoy his own property and select his own employees; for the right of every citizen to work for whom he chooses, and to belong or not to belong to a labor organization, as he chooses. By whatever folly or violence these rights are attacked, they are invincible while the present idea of civilization lasts.