Instead of a book - Benjamin Ricketson Tucker - PDF ebook

Instead of a book

Instead of a book -  Benjamin Ricketson Tucker
Benjamin Ricketson Tucker


by a man too busy to write one: a fragmentary exposition of philosophical anarchism.


From the introduction:

"Instead of a book !" I hear the reader exclaim, as he picks up this volume and glances at its title; " why it is a book." To all appearance, yes; essentially, no. It is, to be sure, an assemblage within a cover of printed sheets consecutively numbered; but this alone does not constitute a book. 

A book, properly speaking, is, first of all, a thing of unity and symmetry, of order and finish; it is a literary structure, each part of which is subordinated to the whole and created for it. 

To satisfy such a standard this volume does not pretend; it is not a structure, but an afterthougnt, a more or less coherent arrangement, each part of which was created almost without reference to any other. Yet not quite so, after all; otner- wise even the smallest degree of coherence was scarcely possible. The facts are these. 

In August 1881, I started in Boston, in a very quiet way, a little fortnightly journal called Liberty. Its purpose was to contribute to the solution of social problems by carrying to a logical con- clusion the battle, against authority, — to aid in what Proudhon had called "the dissolution of government in the economic organism." 

Beyond the opportunity of thus contributing my mite, I looked for little from my ex- periment. But, almost before I knew it, the tiny paper had begun to exert an influence of which I had not dreamed. It went the wide world over. In nearly every important city, and in many a country town, it found some mind ripe for its reception. Each of these minds became a centre of influence, and in considerably less than a year a specific movement had sprung into existence, under Proudhon's happily chosen name. Anarchism, of which Liberty was generally recognized as the organ. 

Since that time, through varying fortunes, the paper has gone on, with slow but steady growth, doing its quiet work. Books inspired by it, and other journals which it called into being, have made their appearance, not only in various parts of the United States, but in England, France, Germany, and at the antipodes. 

Anarchism is now one of the forces in the world. But its literature, voluminous as it already is, lacks a systematic textbook. I have often been urged to attempt the task of writing one. Thus far, however, I have been too busy, and there is no prospect that I shall ever be less so. Pending the arrival of the man having the requisite time, means, and the ability for the production of the desired book, it has been de- termined to put forth, as a sort of makeshift, this partial collection of my writings for Liberty, giving them, by an attempt at classification, some semblance of the system; the thought being that, if these writings, scattered in bits here, there, and everywhere, have already influenced so many minds, they ought in a compact and cumulative form to influence very many more. The volume opens with a paper on " State Socialism and Anarchism," which covers in a summary way nearly the entire scope of the work. 

Following this is the main section, "The Individual, Society, and the State," dealing with the fundamental principles of human association. In the third and fourth section's application of these principles is made to the two great economic factors, money and land. Iii these Uwo sections, moreover, as well as in the fifth and sixth, the various authoritarian social solutions which go counter to these principles are dealt with, — namely, Greenbackism, the Single Tax, State Socialism, and so-called " Com- munistic Anarchism." 

The seventh section treats the methods by which these principles can be realized; and in the eighth are grouped nu- merous articles scarcely within the scheme of classification, but which it has seemed best for various reasons to preserve. For the elaborate index to the whole, the readers are indebted to my friends Francis D. Tandy and Henry Cohen, of Denver, Colo. 

The matter in this volume is largely controversial. This has frequently necessitated the reproduction of other articles than the author's (distin- guished by a different type), in order to make the author's intelligible. A volume thus made must be characterized by many faults, both of style and substance. I am too busy, not only to write a book but to satisfactorily revise this substitute. With but few and slight exceptions, the articles stand as originally written.

Much they contain that is personal and irrelevant, and that would not have found its way into a book spe- cially prepared. It would be strange, too, if in writings covering a period of twelve years there were not some inconsistencies, especially in the terminology and form of expression.

 For such, if any there be, and for all minor weaknesses, I crave, because of the circumstances, a measure of indulgence from the critic. But, on the other hand, I challenge the most searching examination of the central positions taken. Undamaged by the constant fire of twelve years of controversy, they are proof, in my judgment, against the heaviest guns. Apologizing, therefore, for their form only, and full of faith in their power, I offer these pages to the public.

Some contents:

The Individual, Society, and the State, 11
The Relation of the State to the Individual 21
Contract or Organism, What's That to Us ? . . . .31
The Nature of the State, 34
A Misinterpretation of Anarchism, 38
Mr Levy's Maximum, 40
Resistance to Taxation 43
A Puppet for a God, . . ...... 46
Mr Perrine's Difficulties,. 50
Where We Stand, . . . 52
Tu-Whit! Tu-Whoo ! . . 55
Rights and Duties Under Anarchy, 58
More Questions, .61
Mr Blodgett's Final Question, 62
Trying to Be and Not to Be 63
My Explanation, 65
A Plea for Non-Resistance' 67
Liberty and Aggression, ........ 72
Rule or Resistance — Which? 75
The Advisability of Violence 78
Mr Pentecost an Abettor of Government, . . . . .81
The Philosopher of the Disembodied, 82
The Woes of an Anarchist, 89
The Moral of Mr Donisthorpe's Woes, 98
L'Etat est Mort ; Vive I'^tat ! 99
Voluntary Cooperation, 1O3
L'Etat, C'est I'Ennemi, 105
A Libertarian's Pet Despotisms, 115
Defensive Despotism, 116
Still in the Procrustean Bed, 116
Pinney Struggling with Procrustes, 118
A Back Town Heard From, 120
In Form a Reply, In Reality, a Surrender 122
 Fool Voters and Fool Editors, 125
Ergo and Presto, 126

the book details :
  • Author: Benjamin Ricketson Tucker
  • Publication date:1897
  • Company: Benjamin Ricketson Tucker
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