AFTER "FREIHEIT," "DER SOZIALIST."
[Liberty, April 28, 1888.]
The first criticism upon Libertas came from the Communists by the pen of Herr Most. That I have answered, and Herr Most promises a rejoinder in Freiheit. Meanwhile there comes an attack from another quarter,—from the camp of the State Socialists. In their official organ, Der Sozialist, one of its regular writers, J. G., devotes two columns to comments upon my paper, "State Socialism and Anarchism." Under the heading "Consistent Anarchists" he first institutes a contrast between the Anarchists and the Communists who call themselves Anarchists, which is complimentary to the former's consistency, logic, and frankness, and then proceeds to demolish the logical Anarchists by charges of absurdity, nonsense, and ignorance, ringing about all the changes on these substantives and their kindred adjectives that the rich German vocabulary will allow. Now, I submit that, if the Anarchists are such ignoramuses, they do not deserve two columns of attention in Der Sozialist; on the other hand, if they merit a two-column examination, they merit it in the form of argument instead of contemptuous assertions coupled with a reference to Marx's works which reminds one very much of the way in which Henry George refers his State Socialistic critics to "Progress and Poverty." To tell the Anarchists that they do not know the meaning of the terms value, price, product, and capital, that economic conceptions find no lodgment in their brains, and that their statements of the position of the State Socialists are misrepresentations, is not to answer them. An answer involves analysis and comparison. To answer an argument is to separate it into its parts, to show the inconsistency between them, and the inconsistency between some or all of them and already established truths. But in J. G.'s article there is nothing of this, or next to nothing.
The nearest approach to a tangible criticism that I can find is the statement that I attribute to Marx a conception of the State entirely foreign to the sense in which he used the term; that he did not believe in the old patriarchal and absolute
State, but looked upon State and society as one. Yes, he re-
- A German edition of Liberty that was published for a time under the Latin title, Libertas.