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INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

that. Until it is learned, Mr. Perrine will talk in vain about the divinity of man, for every day will make it more patent that his god is but a jumping-jack.

 

 

MR. PERRINE'S DIFFICULTIES.

[Liberty, July 16, 1887.]

To the Editor of Liberty:

I suppose I should feel completely swamped by the great waves of satire which have rolled over my head from all directions but the front. Still I feel able to lift my hand, and make the motion of scissors. I have had the fallacy of a part of my argument so clearly pointed out to me by another than Liberty that I did not think it would be necessary for its editor to go so far around my position as to deny the sanctity of contract in order to refute me.

Indeed, my only hope of Liberty now is that it will define some of its own positions.

I have heard a great deal of "spooks" and "plumb-lines," but I can not clearly see the reason that contract has ceased being a "plumb-line" and become a "spook," unless we have to allow that much liberty for an argument.

Will you please explain what safety there may be in an individualistic community where it becomes each man's duty to break all contracts as soon as he has become convinced that they were made foolishly?

Again, it being the duty of the individuals to break contracts made with each other, I cannot clearly see how it becomes an act of despicable despotism for the Republic to break contracts made with the Crow Indians, unless the ideal community is that in which we all become despicable despots and where we amuse ourselves by calling each other hard names.

Indeed, as I have said twice before, you seem to me to deny to others the right to make and carry out their own contracts unless these contracts meet with your approval.

I am aware now of my error in assuming that the authority of the State rested historically on any social contract, and those points which were brought in in your reply as secondary are the main objections to my position.

The true authority of the State rests, as Hearn shows in his "Aryan Household," not on contract, but on its development; a point at which I hinted, but did not clearly develop.

However, I do not feel warranted in entering with you into any discussion from that standpoint till I am able to find out more clearly what Liberty means by development. In your reply to me, you seem to think of it as a sort of cut-and-try process; this may be a Boston idea absorbed from the "Monday Lectures," but I think that it is hardly warranted by either Darwin or Spencer.

I tried in both of my letters to insist on the existence of a general line of development which is almost outside the power of individuals, and

which is optimistic. By its being "optimistic" ! mean that, on the