Taken From "The Egoist: An Individualist Review." Formerly "The New Freewoman."
No. 1. Vol. I. Thursday, January 1st, 1914.
THE concepts with which one age will preoccupy itself, and in which it will invest its surplus emotional heat have shown themselves to be so essentially casual as to be now a matter for mirth rather than wonder with its successors. The subject of an age's master Passion round which its interest rages will be anything accidental and contingent which will serve: stand the heat, that is, and last out until enthusiasm- tires. The amount of genuine enthusiasm which Athanasius, Arius and their followers were able to cull from the numerical problems in the concept of the Trinity was-incredible though it may seem-equal to that which this age culls from the figures of the football scores. The Crusaders who were so concerned about the possession of the Tomb of Christ looked forward to finding as much diversion and profit as a Home Ruler expects to get from the possession of a Parliament on Dublin Green. It is only from a distance that these dead dogs look; so determinedly dead. Nearer to, one would swear the body had stirred; and we who are so near to an age when the mere mention of "Universal Law" would produce Lyrical intoxication, "All's love, All's law," a very swoon of security, do not purpose here to break in upon the belated obsequies of that dead or dying concept. As the sport of the ribald and the mockers "Universal law" is the perquisite of the youth of 1950, not of 1915. And we will not here trespass on the future.
The reference in the title of this article is limited to statutory law, a prosaic and earth-bound branch which not even Apollo himself could have strung to the Lyrical note, and it must be allowed that however excellent a run "Universal Law" as a symbol and idealised concept may have been accorded by a generation now settled in its obesity, its society representative, so to speak, with which we are here concerned, has never been in too high esteem. The increase in its bulk and scope of application, which oddly enough, grows rapidly alongside something called the "Liberty of the people" have proved matters for complexity even when they have not created indignation and alarm. Visions of those not the least penetrating, have seen in the steady advance of the statutory law a devastating plague in which the parchment of thc politicias has seemed as capable of devouring the spirit of the people as a swarm of locusts devouring green grass. Proudhon writing in 1850 on the subject says:
"Laws and ordinances fall like hail on the poor populace. After a while the political soil will be covered with a layer of paper, and all the geologists will have to do will be to list it, under thc name of papyraceuos formation, among thc epochs of the earth's history. The Convention, in three years one month and four days, issued eleven thousand six hundred laws and decrees; the Constituent and Legislative Assemblies had produced hardly less; the empire and the later governments have wrought as industriously. At present the ' Bulletin des Lois ' contains, they say, more than fifty thousand; if our representatives did their duty this enormous figure would soon be doubled. Do you believe that the populace, or the government itself, can keep its sanity in this labyrinth?"
And yet, while no one would care to dispute these facts or deny they had significance, it is the libertarian interpretation of them which provides the clue to the mystery why the gospel of liberty carries with it so little conviction. The Libertarian creed has no "bite" in it; "Liberty" remains the "beautiful and ineffectual angel." In its devouter moments common speech will accept the gospel, but common sense invariably slips past it. While not wishing to hurt its feelings, so to speak, it refuses to have any serious dealings with it. Now common sense is quite prepared to be serious about statutory law, even where it is suspicious of it. It is willing to hear law described as a threatening power and will think out ways and means of cutting its claws: but "liberty" it does not discuss. The discussion for and against the "principle of liberty" appears similar to a discussion on the ultimate and eternal implications involved in the "principle" in which one wins or loses a game of patience: or the principle of that popular child's game where one "arranges" either to tread on every chink in the pavement or to avoid treading on every chink. "You do, if you do, and don't if you don't."
It is however only when one gets at the temper behind law and realises its permanent nature that it becomes apparent why discussions concerning liberty are more or less frivolous diversions, and nothing makes law more clear than considering it under that form of "government" which has promoted its luxuriant growth-democracy.
A law means that "state" support is guaranteed on behalf of an interest which has obviously already sufficient power to command it. This law has a reverse side to it which implies a "state" guarantee to repress another interest or interests, too weak to command its support. Democracy, putting aside its alliterative and rhetorical jargon, means just the quickening of the pace at which these alliances of the State with owners of "interests" are put through. Representation of people is an impossibility. It is intended for platform purposes only, but representation of interests is a very real thing, one which can be judged with precision as to its efficacy or no. An "interest" is the particularised line of fulfilment which the accomplishment of a willed purpose takes. At points it breaks into and clashes with other interests: and at these points it becomes necessary for their owners to fight the situation out.
These are the precise points where rhetoricians and moralists try to work in their spoof. The people have "a right to" protection from invasion of their interests, and owners of "interests" should "respect" each other's interests. The "liberty" of each and all "should" be "respected." One "should" repress one's interest when likely to interfere with another's.
The fact to be borne in mind is that whether one "should" or "should not," the strong natures never do. The powerful allow "respect for others' interests" to remain the exclusive foible of the weak. The tolerance they have for others' "interests rests" is not "respect" but indifference. The importance of furthering one's own interests does not leave sufficient energy really to accord much attention to those of others. It is only when others' interests thrust themselves obtrudingly across one's own that indifference vanishes: because they have become possible allies or obstacles. If the latter, the fundamental lack of respect swiftly defines itself. In face of opposition to a genuine interest, its owner respects neither "his neighbour's ox, his ass, his wife, his manservant, his maidservant, nor anything that is his." Not even his opinions. One has only to think what jolly old proselytisers the world's "great" men have been to realise what "respect" they have for their neighbour's interests. What each has been concerned for has been to see his will worked upon any soul or body upon which his whim or purpose has seen fit to direct it. Their success has been proportional to the unformedness of the characters with which they have had immediately to deal.
If it is borne in mind that genuine "interests" are things which are never abandoned: that smaller interests are sacrificed ("sacrifice " being a word which has no meaning apart from an audience: it means a virtue, i.e. something likely to win the applause of an audience, for an act which did no audience look on we should do as a matter of course) for a bigger interest as we should "sacrifice" small change of, say, eight half-crowns for a guinea, we can clear "democracy" of its bluff and remove the complexity which the multiplicity of statutory laws creates. They are seen to be two names for one phenomenon. Democracy is government, i.e. per persuasion by compulsion exercised from a largely increased number of centres. Multiplicity of laws indicates the detailed channels through which it is effected. It is too vague to say that democracy represents the liberty of the people: rather one would say democracy represented the increase in the number of people who are prepared to take liberties (i.e. per persuade by personal violence), with the people who refuse assistance in the furthering of the audacious ones' interests. It is the increase in the number of those who have the courage and ingenuity to become in an open and unequivocal fashion the tyrants we all are subtly and by instinct. It is part of the human trend towards explicitness. If "democracy" had no "believers"-no followers whose voices break with Lyric intoxication at mention of it, its clean swash buckling character would be in no danger of being misunderstood. As it is, we are seldom permitted to view it, save through the veil of brotherhood, love and what not, as it steps forward like a mincing lady with a Clergyman on the one hand and a Wizard on the other: Liberty and the State, companions not chosen in stupidity.
It is not by accident for instance that Democracy and Liberty preach in pairs. Liberty is as necessary to Democracy as the second blade is to a pair of shears. Democracy boldly affirms government: Liberty whispers "Don't govern." Liberty plays 'Conscience with a task to't.' It is the ghostly spirit the moralists would have the meek always carry inside their waistcoats: it plays the policeman inside the man. Unfortunately for the meek, it is only on them that Liberty is able to impose. Those who can govern, i.e. forward their own interest to the detriment of those who let them, will govern. Those who feel no stomach for "governing" will espouse the gospel of liberty. That is why to those who already have, shall be given and from those which have not shall be taken away that which they have. The cry for "liberty" is the plea for the substitution of melodrama for drama in life: the life according to concept in place of life according to power. It is the hoisting of the white flag followed by an attempt to claim victory in virtue of it. It is the request that the powerful should refrain from taking liberties with the weak because they are afraid to take liberties with the powerful. That is what Libertarians have in mind when they speak of conduct which "should" be "non-invasive," not minding that it is scarcely possible to live a day in a community of two without being "invasive." We are one another's daily food. We take what we can get of what we want. We can be kept out of "territory" but not because we have any compunction about invading. Where the limiting line falls is decided in the event, turning on the will, whim and power of those who are devoured and devourers at one and the same time. Life is feasting and conflict: that is its zest. The cry for peace is the weariness of those who are too faint-hearted to live.
So Liberty remains the foible of the poor in spirit, who monopolise most of the virtues. The plain man (a rarer person alas! than is imagined) does not trouble to stretch the irregular canvas of his life to fit into the framework of the moralists' concepts. When Liberty whispers "Do not be so unbrotherly, so rude, so wicked as even to desire to govern," it is in a deaf ear, and it is this plain person whom Democracy's other companion, the State, must deal with.
The State is the National Repository for Firearms and Batons Company Ltd. It is owned, directed and exploited by State's men whose main qualification is to preserve the State's charter granted to it by the people, the chief terms of which are: The State cannot be dissolved; it can do no injury sufficiently serious to justify retaliation or attack; it can get as much money as it thinks safe out of the people; and use it to defend such "interests" as it seems "good" to the State's men to make an alliance with. The charter was no doubt granted when the "people" were being put by dexterous directors of the State under the hypnotic influence of "law and order": and in this state of trance they have been lying-in the main-ever since. Occasionally there seems to be a hint that common intelligence might return to the people when they will waken up: whereupon a "great" statesman will arise and with a few skilful passes of the hand bring them back under the influence of "law and order"-other people's law and order: he will pacify the unrest. It is the existence of this chartered state which makes "democracy" into a bludgeoning menace. It is the existence of the State which makes the rapid increase of "democratic" law a danger where French leave would be a sport. The difference between the two is the difference between the lists in a tournament and a slaughter-house. To empower a state after the fashion of a modern "civilised" state, and then leave it free to ally itself with interests already powerful is not merely for the lamb to lift its neck to the blade: it is to fashion the knife and drop it ostentatiously at the butcher's feet. A modern "poor" citizen appears so unmitigatedly a fool in his attitude towards the "state" that he suggests he is not merely a fool but is a knave in addition. One of an awestruck crowd of toilers, who when they are not licking their wounds in gaol for not minding their manners, are performing forced labour to feed and fatten-their governors, he fashions elaborated weapons of offence in quantities and allows them to be handed over-to those who dare govern: use them, to wit. They dream of heaven, toil, starve and are penalised: then lisp of liberty. All the same, they seem able to stand it. If these things have a lesson to teach, the meek at any rate have not learnt it.
However, the "flux of things" is in no way concerned to "teach." It defines itself more often than not before our intelligence can claim to have deserved it, and the modern democratic state is making its nature very clear indeed. Already it begins to look like the effigy of a stout and stupid old lady, twitching and lurching as though badly taken with hysteria and St. Vitus' dance. Without any organic living principle in itself it is at the mercy of every interest which cares to tweak at it. It is part of the jargon of "democracy" that the "state" is run in the interests of all: that before it, all interests are "equal," and though obviously they are not, every "interest" is quite ready to make what little it can out of the possibility. We all pay the piper so we all call a tune, and the chorus which results becomes so mixed in the long run that skilled "readers" are unable to decipher the score. The multiplicity of interests "protected" defeats its own ends. The very swelling in the volume prevents the guarantee of state protection from proving effective. A state which protects too many interests becomes like an army which fights on both sides: no use to either, and no credit to itself, and the falling into discredit of the "State" is tantamount to the change of statutory law into French leave; individual will and whim.
Moreover, nature will out, life is too short to spend overmuch attention on an institution which will serve a "statesman's " immediate purposes more if he practises a certain fine carelessness. Even successful politicians can have so much straightforward honesty in their natures as to be unmoved by the fierce necessity to practise hypocrisy which the mock heroic pose of the "State" demands. They cannot be diverted from their genuine interests: so we get a defalcating "reform" governor, the achievements of Tammany Hall, a Chancellor who accepts tips from the Stock Exchange, and a speculating Lord Chief Justice. It gives one a warmer respect for one's kind, but it is the death-knell of the State. To be sure the State dies piecemeal: for the spectators a tedious way of dying. To die-for the State-is to be found out: for its mouthpieces and component parts, individuals all, so to act as to be understood. The "noble democrats" who stand for "clean government" are wretched spoil-sports. They point to the parts from which the cover has slipped and say: it is corrupt: it must be washed: we are the men to do it. Except that they are serious, they are like the funny man in the pantomime who requests the plain-visaged female to take off her mask. They imagine that with Mr. Hilaire Belloc for instance as Prime Minister, we should feel happier in our insides. One would just as lief have Sidney Webb or Herbert Samuel, or Mr. Asquith. For choice, it would fall out to be the kind which would exist between Mrs. Webb sending a blue paper ordering us to take our food in lozenge form and demanding statistics how many times a day we washed: and Mr. Chesterton hesitating before granting us a dog-licence uncertain whether our secret imaginings were such as could be described as sound and British, such as the virgin Mary could whole-heartedly endorse. Of the two most people would prefer to swallow the Webb lozenge.
The growth of an interest in clean government would be the overcasting of a brightening sky. The will to govern is beginning to reveal itself as the inborn ineradicable force: and welcome or unwelcome is the form in which power inevitably makes itself manifest. Its trappings slip from it and it is seen stark for what it is. Of its ephemeral attendants, "Liberty" and the "State," Liberty is feeble and faded and the hypnotic passes upon which the State depends for its privileged position as failing to work. Respect is gone from it, and without it democracy becomes individual caprice: the first and final basis of the will to govern. When all these veils are being rent what unsportiveness to reintroduce confusion as clean government! A mystery-play where life offers high drama!
Taken From "The Egoist: An Individualist Review." Formerly The New Freewoman.
No. 1. Vol. I. Thursday, January 1st, 1914.
THERE is a game children formerly used to play which was a sort of Black Magic adapted for the nursery. The juvenile mystificator gathers his audience-of babes-and proceeds something like this: "Think of a number, double it, halve it, add-say- - nine, subtract five, take away the number first thought of" and the clairvoyant triumphantly announces the accurate result-four. It was Mr. Steven Byington's* way of treating the relationship of men to things which dug from our memory this
*See Correspondence: THE NEW FREEWOMAN December 1sth.
forgotten infantile amusement. His elaborate, meticulously careful arguments-"notably cautious" as he himself would say-on human affairs seem to us to be shaped precisely on this plan. He sets out to deal with men and things and from the discussion he abstracts-men. He accuses us of dealing with abstractions: and we do make it our business to deal with an abstraction which Mr. Byington has committed. He has abstracted from his discussion on men and things-men. From a situation which turns on human temper, he abstracts the temper. The difficulties arising out of the inequalities of human capacity he turns into a question of mathematics, as in the matter of interest.
The solemn disputations concerning interest, labour and capital could not exist were not their existence protected by this sort of unconscious verbal trick: the practice of which is not limited to Mr. Byington but is in quite general use. On the face of it, it is left to be presumed that the discussion is on human affairs: then immediately the discussion is cut off from all things human. The incalculable human temper is accepted as given-a stable quantity. The fact that it varies, grows, and springs up apparently out of nothing on impulse: all that is ignored. It is indicated by a fixed number or a definite quantity: and it is neither, and an elaborate pile of argument is built up on these false fixed quantities, whose accuracy can be judged as Mr. Byington says of calculations as to the accuracy of the principle of interest, "like any other mathematical problem." If the "worker" forgets the role assigned to him and behaves like a human being instead of a mathematical quantity and hits someone-or goes on strike, the discussionists "revise their estimates"-there has been a "slight inaccuracy:" then results will be "valuable" when they get the "given quantities" more precisely! It is a process calculated to make one feel very tired.
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It is mainly due to those persons of splendid loquacity but of small sense, the political economists, that we have these absurd static concepts to which has been accorded the absolute quality of real entities -Labour, Capital, Interest, with their initial capitals and fictitious problems. Relative in themselves, their so-called problems are the old human problems which make the drama of life-initiative and shiftlessness, audacity and timidity. The economists whose bias and sympathy is towards initiative and audacity would reduce shiftlessness and timidity to a system: make it permanent and rigid like a mathematical sequence, the better to be worked upon. Those whose leanings are towards the timid and shiftless would make audacity and wilfulness into an intolerable crime. So the "problems" for the discussionists vacillate between the oracles of a pseudo science and the impassioned outbursts of melodrama. It is not a question whether discussionists are talking of concrete things while we speak of abstract; nor whether we have a leaning for the dynamic in things while they like static and dynamic mixed. It is a question, in our opinion, whether writers on these subjects know what they are talking about at all. Persons who talked of lightning as though it were cotton-wool we should say didn't: and persons who speak of the inter relations of individuals in terms applicable to the fixed quantities of mathematics we should say like wise did not. "Labour unrest" (another piece of slang on its way to become a settled idea; is a matter of temper: not of social arrangement. The poor will cease to be poor when they refuse to be: the downtrodden will disappear when they decide to stand up: the hungry will have bread when they take it. What will happen after is a matter for chance and circumstance, but the single audacity even, will have served its moment, and its effects will not easily be obliterated. One thing is certain: that in the event of the Dublin strikers helping themselves to bread (which is the action Mr. Byington criticises) so many consequences would have defined themselves in Dublin that the situation which ultimately would have to be considered by merchants with grain to sell in Chicago, would be very different from that of starving-men supplying themselves with food merely. The difference would represent that which exists between life and mathematics. The second can be calculated and foretold: the first is to be taken in faith, and the event, however it befals, to be met with spirit-the most concrete thing we know, as Mr. Byington will allow: more concrete than boots or statistics.
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How subtly human temper has been undermined by accepting concepts as realities is made clear by the manner in which the discussionists have dealt with a matter like "interest." As Mr. Byington himself uses "interest" as his illustration he will be ready to accept it in illustration of ours.
Bastiat, Henry George and Mr. Byington think interest "right," and it would be a rash person who would say it was "wrong," for it is as wrong as it is right, as right as it is wrong: wrong and right having no meaning save in the sense of accuracy, and accuracy applied to the "principle" of interest is pointless. The man who can extort interest is smart or fortunate; the man who has to pay it is unlucky or an inferior. It makes no difference when borrowing at an interest is erected into a system so that the exertions of the labouring world are set in motion financed with interest-paying money: the character of the operation is not changed. The workers,-stupid and heavy, are without gumption and the "capitalist" is smart enough to know it, and makes use of them for his own benefit. Right and wrong have no relation to either side. As long as the procedure can be put through it is "right": when it can be so no longer, both parties will naively come to the conclusion that it is wrong. We will not bore our readers with the solemn, meticulously scrupulous pyramid of proof which Bastiat and Henry George pile up to attest the righteousness of "interest." It will be enough to quote their more salient points:
"One carpenter, James, at the expense of ten days' labour, makes himself a plane, which will last in use for 290 of the 300 working days of the year. William, another carpenter, proposes to borrow the plane for a year, offering to give back at the end of that time, when the plane will be worn out, a new plane equally as good. James objects to lending the plane on these terms, urging that if he merely gets back a plane he will have nothing to compensate him for the loss of the advantage which the use of the plane during the year would give him. William, admitting this, agrees not merely to return a plane, but, in addition, to give James a new plank. The agreement is carried out to mutual satisfaction. The plane is used up during the year, but at the end of the year, James receives as good a one, and a plank in addition. He lends the new plane again and again, until finally it passes into the hands of his son, ' who still continues to lend it,' receiving a plank each time. This plank, which represents interest, is said to be a natural and equitable remuneration, as by giving it in return for the use of the plane, William ' obtains the power which exists in the tool to increase the productiveness of labour,' and is no worse off than he would have been had he not borrowed the plane; while James obtains no more than he would have had if he had retained and used the plane instead of lending it."
Oh weary William! Bastiat thinks the "rightfulness" of his action needs explaining and he explains it in the grand manner. We think William best explains himself! Not so Henry George. He works up William's propensity for borrowing planes and giving planks exceedingly well, and finds that irrepressible plank-giving arises not from "the power which exists in tools to increase the productiveness of labour" as per the weighty conclusion of Bastiat, but from "the power of increase which the reproductive forces of nature give to capital." "Interest" is not an arbitrary, but a natural thing: ... the result ... of laws of the universe which underlie Society. It is therefore just." (No less!)
"If I plant and care for a tree until it comes to maturity, I receive, in its fruit, interest upon the capital I have thus accumulated-that is, the labour I have expended. If I raise a cow, the milk which she yields me morning and evening is not merely the reward of the labour then exerted; but interest upon the capital which my labour, expended in-raising her, has accumulated in the cow."
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Accumulated in the cow! Milk! Misdirected nourishment of offspring the "interest"-taker has probably already come to the conclusion it is "right" to assimilate as veal. How naturally the constant repetition of a trick played on a slow-tempered beast has established itself! It is illustrative of a "law of the universe" even-therefore just. This really satisfyingly clever trick has been repeated so often that the victim appears to be as convinced of its "right"-ness as we who play it. What is the bovine "look" expressive of save the inner assent to the miscarrying process-to the proposition "Born to fill the milk-pail: born to be milked." And the true "worker" expression-if one notices it-is a replica of the bovine one. It says, "Born to be worked; born to make planks; born to be financed; born to be organised, domesticated, fed, stalled, stimulated to work unduly until working is a necessity: a seeker of work searching for the hand that will drain away the stimulated working energy. There is no mistaking the serving expression: dumb with its craving for the treatment which will enable it to offer of its best.
But let us not malign the born "worker" nor yet the cow. Cows to be sure are little sensitive even to touch, little resentful of "handling" as would be a thoroughbred mare, a doe, a tigress with cubs; but even among cows there can be "unrest."
There was a cow-of authenticated tradition-who went definitely into revolt, struck for better conditions, demanded-like the workers-some of the "better" things of life. She was unmistakeably better-class and yearned for the wider culture: she had the aesthetic sense. She blankly refused to give up her milk-the accumulated interest-unless there was music during the draining process: not any music: one song and one singer. Only for "How beautiful upon the mountains" was she prepared to negotiate. (What would you think of that, Mr. Murphy?) She was successful and twice a day the melody was forthcoming, and the "interest" poured forth. We knew the singer, but not alas! that very superior cow: she had already been translated to a higher sphere, but as Mr. Byington, who, we gather, has a respect for English trade unionism, will be glad to know, has since returned to Great Britain as a spirit specially dedicated to the task of inspiring the words and actions of Trade Union Leaders; a sphere of usefulness for which she is peculiarly fitted, having but so recently passed through the soul-stress of a domesticated worker's agitation. With psychic intuitiveness she feels what her fellow-servers on the human plane need.
It is worth while noting for the benefit of those who are interested in the curious in human nature that the soul of this cow actively engaged in its insoi-rational duties has been photographed. At the recent conference of delegates in the Memorial Hall to consider the Dublin strike, at the outset of the proceedings a man with a camera saw the soul of the afore said cow descending upon the leaders who adorned the platform. They were just about to break forth into the anthem "How beautiful upon the mountains," their faces already wearing the expression of contented bliss, when the man with the camera snap shotted them, and produced a picture which should last not for a day but for all time. Should our American friends doubt, this masterpiece may be seen in an issue of the "Daily News" of that date or the following. The stranger seen sitting in the rear of the picture biting his finger-nails and ill at ease in this barn-yard is Mr. Larkin. He looks a wild man out of place among these happy domesticated brethren. And so he was, he having a tale to tell-could he but have found the words for it-which was other than that of those who seek to make servitude comfortable.
* * *
Mr. Larkin is supposed to have been discredited by this gathering of Trade Union delegates. It is a great mistake in our opinion. The congress was the redeeming stroke of luck which enabled him to cancel out the brotherly-love slush of his missionary journey. In his great meetings he tried to convert audiences which while not having a fraction of his spirit had the phrases which could have voiced it far handier, and he talked down to what he considered his audiences' level; and he placed it a little too low. At the congress he was on the defensive and had to show the real quality: a fact for which those who do not care to see vital power smothered by the sheer mass of the stupid cannot be too grateful.
* * *
The recent strikes show signs of breaking up-- failures rather more than less. And failures, we ask Mr. Byington to allow, because the "Strike" has been erected into an idea instead of being kept in its proper place as the name of a simple action of a negative kind. A "strike" connotes nothing beyond stopping work. Workmen do it regularly every night, only then, not being lured away from common sense by conceptual high-falutin-ness, they call it unceremoniously "knocking-off." They do not speak of that, in awed tones or debate its "rightness" and "wrongness," or talk of "conducting" it in a manner which is "mature" and representative of the "survival of the fittest." It is the idealisation of a simple act which in the "strike " makes men talk and act as though they were bewitched. "To conduct_ a strike"! One might as well "conduct" a sleep or a pause. It is not the "strike" which the strikers' opponents are at all likely to fear. It is its termination by definite action. It is inaction which has killed the recent "strike" efforts. What form the requisite definite action should take the strikers must judge for themselves. They know best what they stand in need of to make their defiance effectual.
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The suggestion that the present Government imprisoned Larkin and then released him because they were afraid of him, while they allowed Sir Edward Carson to remain at large because they were totally unconcerned regarding him, is too grotesque to warrant any comment beyond the mere statement that the correct interpretation is precisely the opposite. It is depressing to think that sensible people give so acquiescent an ear to interpretations of news issued by a commercialised press. Its news may be tolerably accurate, but its opinions are discredited in advance. In connection, however, Mr. Byington might note an item of news: although for months arms have been imported into Ulster to such an extent that now the gentlemanly "rebels" are amply supplied, the proclamation prohibiting the importation of firearms into Ireland was not issued until the "Citizen Army" in Dublin took to daily drilling. It shows at least that the Government understands that the Dublin ragamuffins might be dangerous- under certain conditions. "Government" is as sensitive as a barometer to the sort of pressure which is capable of affecting itself.
Mr. Byington on "ideas" we regretfully leave until a later issue, as also our hoary wrangle with Mr. Tucker concerning Proudhon's "style."
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At a meeting of shareholders of THE NEW FREE WOMAN LTD. called to discuss the advisability of changing the title of "The New Freewoman" to "The Egoist" held at Oakley House, Bloomsbury Street, London, W.C., on Dec. 23rd, a unanimous vote was given in favour of the change. From this issue on, "The New Freewoman" will be referred to as THE EGOIST.