THE UNPOPULAR REVIEW
VOL. II, NO. 3
Published Quarterly at 35 West 32d Street, New York, by
HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY
Unsocial Investments A.S. Johnson A Stubborn Relic of Feudalism The Editor An Experiment in Syndicalism Hugh H. Lusk Labor: "True Demand" and Immigrant Supply Arthur J. Todd The Way to Flatland Fabian Franklin The Disfranchisement of Property David McGregor Means Railway Junctions Clayton Hamilton Minor Uses of the Middling Rich F.J. Mather, Jr. Lecturing at Chautauqua Clayton Hamilton Academic Leadership Paul Elmer More Hypnotism, Telepathy, and Dreams The Editor The Muses on the Hearth Mrs F.G. Allinson The Land of the Sleepless Watchdog David Starr Jordan En Casserole Special to our Readers—Philosophy in Fly Time—Setting Bounds to Laughter (A.S. Johnson)—A Post-Graduate School for Academic Donors (F.J. Mather, Jr.)—A Suggestion Regarding Vacations—Advertisement—Simplified Spelling
The "new social conscience" is essentially a class phenomenon. While it pretends to the role of inner monitor and guide to conduct for all mankind, it interprets good and evil in class terms. It manifests a special solicitude for the welfare of one social group, and a mute hostility toward another. Labor is its Esau, Capital its Jacob. Let strife arise between workingmen and their employers, and you will see the new social conscience aligning itself with the former, accepting at face value all the claims of labor, reiterating all labor's formulae. The suggestion that judgment should be suspended until the facts at issue are established is repudiated as the prompting of a secret sin. For, to paraphrase a recent utterance of the Survey, one of the foremost organs of the new conscience, is it not true that the workers are fighting for their livings, while the employers are fighting only for their profits? It would appear, then, that there can be no question as to the side to which justice inclines. A living is more sacred than a profit.
It is virtually never true, however, that the workers are fighting for their "living." Contrary to Marx's exploded "iron law" they probably had that and more before the trouble began. But of course we would not wish to restrict them to a living, if they can produce more, and want all who can't produce that much to be provided with it—and something more at the expense of others.
It may be urged that the employer's profits also represent the livings of a number of human beings; but this passes nowadays for a reactionary view. "We stand for man as against the dollar." If you say that the "dollar" is metonymy for "the man possessed of a dollar," with rights to defend, and reasonable expectations to be realized, you convict yourself of reaction. "These gentry" (I quote from the May Atlantic) "suppose themselves to be discussing the rights of man, when all they are discussing is the rights of stockholders." The true view, the progressive view, is obviously that the possessors of the dollar, the recipients of profits and dividends, are excluded from the communion of humanity. Labor is mankind.
The present instance is of course not the only instance in human history of the substitution of class criteria of judgment for social criteria. Such manifestations of class conscience are doubtless justified in the large economy of human affairs; an individual must often claim all in order to gain anything, and the same may be true of a class. Besides, the ultimate arbitration of the claims of the classes is not a matter for the rational judgment. What is subject to rational analysis, however, are the methods of gaining its ends proposed by the new social conscience. Of these methods one of wide acceptance is that of fixing odium upon certain property interests, with a view to depriving them immediately of the respect still granted to property interests in general, and ultimately of the protection of the laws. It is with the rationality of what may be called the excommunication and outlawing of special property interests, that the present paper is concerned.
In passing, it is worth noting that the same ethical spirit that insists upon fixing the responsibility for social ills upon particular property interests—or property owners—insists with equal vehemence upon absolving the propertyless evil-doer from personal responsibility for his acts. The Los Angeles dynamiters were but victims: the crime in which they were implicated was institutional, not personal. Their punishment was rank injustice; inexpedient, moreover, as provocative of further crime, instead of a means of repression. On the other hand, when it appears that the congestion of the slum produces vice and disease, we are not urged by the spokesmen of this ethical creed, to blame the chain of institutional causes typified by scarcity of land, high prices of building materials, the incapacity of a raw immigrant population to pay for better habitations, or to appreciate the need for light and air. Rather, we are urged to fix responsibility upon the individual owner who receives rent from slum tenements. Perhaps we can not imprison him for his misdeeds, but we can make him an object of public reproach; expel him from social intercourse (if that, so often talked about, is ever done); fasten his iniquities upon him if ever he seeks a post of trust or honor; and ultimately we can deprive him of his property. Let him and his anti-social interests be forever excommunicate, outlawed.
In the country at large the property interests involved in the production and sale of alcoholic beverages are already excommunicated. The unreformed "best society" may still tolerate the presence of persons whose fortunes are derived from breweries or distilleries; but the great mass of the social-minded would deny them fire and water. In how many districts would a well organized political machine urge persons thus enriched as candidates for Congress, the bench or even the school board? In the prohibition territory excommunication of such property interests has been followed by outlawry. The saloon in Maine and Kansas exists by the same title as did Robin Hood: the inefficiency of the law. On the road to excommunication is private property in the wretched shacks that shelter the city's poor. Outlawry is not far distant. "These tenements must go." Will they go? Ask of the police, who pick over the wreckage upon the subsidence of a wave of reform. Many a rookery, officially abolished, will be found still tenanted, and yielding not one income, but two, one for the owner and another for the police. The property represented by enterprises paying low wages, working men for long hours or under unhealthful conditions, or employing children, is almost ripe for excommunication. Pillars of society and the church have already been seen tottering on account of revelations of working conditions in factories from which they receive dividends. Property "affected by a public use," that is, investments in the instrumentalities of public service, is becoming a compromising possession. We are already somewhat suspicious of the personal integrity and political honor of those who receive their incomes from railways or electric lighting plants; and the odor of gas stocks is unmistakable. Even the land, once the retreat of high birth and serene dignity, is beginning to exhale a miasma of corruption. "Enriched by unearned increment"—who wishes such an epitaph? A convention is to be held in a western city in this very year, to announce to the world that the delegates and their constituencies—all honest lovers of mankind—will refuse in future to recognize any private title to land or other natural resources. Holders of such property, by continuing to be such, will place themselves beyond the pale of human society, and will forfeit all claim to sympathy when the day dawns for the universal confiscation of land.
The existence of categories of property interests resting under a growing weight of social disapprobation, is giving rise to a series of problems in private ethics that seem almost to demand a rehabilitation of the art of casuistry. A very intelligent and conscientious lady of the writer's acquaintance became possessed, by inheritance, of a one-fourth interest in a Minneapolis building the ground floor of which is occupied by a saloon. Her first endeavor was to persuade her partners to secure a cancellation of the liquor dealer's lease. This they refused to do, on the ground that the building in question is, by location, eminently suited to its present use, but very ill suited to any other; and that, moreover, the lessee would immediately reopen his business on the opposite corner. To yield to their partner's desire would therefore result in a reduction of their own profits, but would advance the public welfare not one whit. Disheartened by her partners' obstinacy, my friend is seeking to dispose of her interest in the building. As she is willing to incur a heavy sacrifice in order to get rid of her complicity in what she considers an unholy business, the transfer will doubtless soon be made. Her soul will be lightened of the profits from property put to an anti-social use. But the property will still continue in such use, and profits from it will still accrue to someone with a soul to lose or to save.
In her fascinating book, Twenty Years at Hull House, Miss Jane Addams tells of a visit to a western state where she had invested a sum of money in farm mortgages. "I was horrified," she says, "by the wretched conditions among the farmers, which had resulted from a long period of drought, and one forlorn picture was fairly burned into my mind.... The farmer's wife [was] a picture of despair, as she stood in the door of the bare, crude house, and the two children behind her, whom she vainly tried to keep out of sight, continually thrust forward their faces, almost covered by masses of coarse, sunburned hair, and their little bare feet so black, so hard, the great cracks so filled with dust, that they looked like flattened hoofs. The children could not be compared to anything so joyous as satyrs, although they appeared but half-human. It seemed to me quite impossible to receive interest from mortgages upon farms which might at any season be reduced to such conditions, and with great inconvenience to my agent and doubtless with hardship to the farmers, as speedily as possible I withdrew all my investment." And thereby made the supply of money for such farmers that much less and consequently that much dearer. This is quite a fair example of much current philanthropy.
We may safely assume that, however much this action may have lightened Miss Addams's conscience, it did not lighten the burden of debt upon the farmer, or make the periodic interest payments less painful, and it certainly did put them to the trouble and contingent expenses of a new mortgage. The moral burden was shifted, to the ease of the philanthropist, and this seems to exhaust the sum of the good results of one well intentioned deed. Do they outweigh the bad ones?
So, doubtless, there are among our friends persons who, upon proof that factories in which they have been interested pay starvation wages, have withdrawn their investments. And others who, stumbling upon a state legislature among the productive assets of a railway corporation, have sold their bonds and invested the proceeds elsewhere. It is a modern way of obeying the injunction, "Sell all thou hast and follow me." And not a very painful way, since the irreproachable investments pay almost, if not quite, as well as those that are suspect.
It is not, however, impossible to conceive of a property owner driven from one position to another, in order to satisfy this new requirement of the social conscience, without ever finding peace. Miss Addams put the money withdrawn from those hideous farm mortgages into a flock of "innocent looking sheep." Alas, they were not so innocent as they seemed. "The sight of two hundred sheep with four rotting hoofs each was not reassuring to one whose conscience craved economic peace. A fortunate series of sales of mutton, wool and farm enabled the partners to end the enterprise without loss." Sales of mutton? Let us hope those eight hundred infected hoofs are well printed on the butcher's conscience.
And the net result of all these moral strivings? The evil investments still continue to be evil, and still yield profits. Doubtless they rest, in the end, upon less sensitive consciences. Marvellous moral gain!
We are bound to the wheel, say the sociological fatalists. All our efforts are of no avail; the Wheel revolves as it was destined. Not so. Our strivings for purity in investments, puny as may be their results in the individual instance, may compose a sum that is imposing in its effectiveness. How their influence may be exerted will best appear from an analogy.
It is a settled conviction among Americans of Puritan antecedents, and among all other Americans, native born or alien, that have come under Puritan influence, that the dispensing of alcoholic beverages is a degrading function. This conviction has not, to be sure, notably impaired the performance of the function. But it has none the less produced a striking effect. It has set apart for the function in question those elements in the population that place the lowest valuation upon the esteem of the public, and that are, on the whole, least worthy of it. In consequence the American saloon is, by common consent, the very worst institution of its kind in the world. Such is the immediate result of good intentions working by the method of excommunication of a trade.
This degradation of the personnel and the institution proceeds at an accelerated rate as public opinion grows more bitter. In the end the evil becomes so serious, so intimately associated with all other evils, social and political, that you hear men over their very cups rise to proclaim, with husky voices, "The saloon must go!" At this point the community is ripe for prohibition: accordingly, it would seem that the initial stages in the process, unpleasant as were their consequences, were not ill-advised, after all. But prohibition does not come without a political struggle, in which the enemy, selected for brazenness and schooled in corruption, employs methods that leave lasting scars upon the body politic. And even when vanquished, the enemy retreats into the morasses of "unenforcible laws," to conduct a guerilla warfare that knows no rules. Let us grant that the ultimate gain is worth all it costs: are we sure that we have taken the best possible means to achieve our ends?
In the poorer quarters of most great American cities, there is much property that it is difficult for a man to hold without losing the respect of the enlightened. Old battered tenements, dingy and ill lighted tumbledown shacks, the despair of the city reformer. Let us say that the proximity of gas tanks or noisy railways or smoky factories consign such quarters to the habitation of the very poor. Quite possibly, then, the replacement of the existing buildings by better ones would represent a heavy financial loss. The increasing social disapprobation of property vested in such wretched forms leads to the gradual substitution of owners who hold the social approval in contempt, for those who manifest a certain degree of sensitiveness. The tenants certainly gain nothing from the change. What is more likely to happen, is a screwing up of rents, an increasing promptness of evictions. Public opinion will in the end be roused against the landlords; the more timid among them will sell their holdings to others not less ruthless, but bolder and more astute. Attempts at public regulation will be fought with infinitely greater resourcefulness than could possibly have been displayed by respectable owners. Perhaps the final outcome will be that more drastic regulations are adopted than would have been the case had the shifting in ownership not taken place. There would still remain the possibility of the evasion of the law, and it is not at all improbable that the progress in the technique of evasion would outstrip the progress in regulation, thus leaving the tenant with a balance of disadvantage from the process as a whole.
The most illuminating instance of a business interest subjected first to excommunication—literally—and then to outlawry, is that of the usurer, or, in modern parlance, the loan shark. To the mediaeval mind there was something distinctly immoral in an income from property devoted to the furnishing of personal loans. We need not stop to defend the mediaeval position or to attack it; all that concerns us here is that an opportunity for profit—that is, a potential property interest—was outlawed. In consequence it became impossible for reputable citizens to engage in the business. Usury therefore came to be monopolized by aliens, exempt from the current ethical formulation, who were "protected," for a consideration, by the prince, just as dubious modern property interests may be protected by the political boss.
Let us summarize the results of eight hundred years of experience in this method of dealing with the usurer's trade. The business shifted from the control of citizens to that of aliens; from the hands of those who were aliens merely in a narrow, national sense, to the hands of those who are alien to our common humanity. Such lawless, tricky, extortionate loan sharks as now infest our cities were probably not to be found at all in mediaeval or early modern times. They are a product of a secular process of selection. Their ability to evade the laws directed against them is consummate. It is true that from time to time we do succeed in catching one and fining him, or even imprisoning him. For which risk the small borrower is forced to pay, at a usurer's rate.
Social improvement through the excommunication of property interests is inevitably a disorderly process. Wherever it is in operation we are sure to find the successive stages indicated in the foregoing examples. First, a gradual substitution of the conscienceless property holder for the one responsive to public sentiment. Next, under the threat of hostile popular action, the timid and resourceless property owner gives way to the resourceful and the bold. The third stage in the process is a vigorous political movement towards drastic regulation or abolition, evoking a desperate attempt on the part of the interests threatened to protect themselves by political means—that is, by gross corruption; or, if the menaced interest is a vast one, dominating a defensible territory, by armed rebellion, as in our own Civil War. If the interest is finally overwhelmed politically, and placed completely under the ban of the law, it has been given ample time to develop an unscrupulousness of personnel and an art of corruption that long enable it to exist illegally, a lasting reproach to the constituted authorities.
Suppression of anti-social interests by the methods in vogue amounts to little more than their banishment to the underworld. And we can well imagine the joy with which the denizens of the underworld receive such new accessions to their numbers and power. For in the nature of the case, it is inevitable that all varieties of outcasts and outlaws should join forces. The religious schismatic makes common cause with the pariah; the political offender with the thief and robber. Such association of elements vastly increases the difficulty of repressing crime. The band of thieves and robbers in the cave of Adullam doubtless found their powers of preying vastly increased through the acquisition of such a leader as David. The problem of mediaeval vagabondage was rendered well-nigh incapable of solution by the fact that any beggar's rags might conceal a holy but excommunicated friar.
Let us once more review our experience with the usurer. As an outcast he offers his support to other outcasts, and is in turn supported by them. The pawnbroker and the pickpocket are closely allied: without the pawnshop, pocketpicking would offer but a precarious living; without the picking of pockets, many pawnshops would find it impossible to meet expenses. The salary loan shark often works hand in glove with the professional gambler; each procures victims for the other. The "hole-in-the-wall" or "blind tiger" provides a rendezvous for all the outcasts of society. "Boot-legging" is a common subsidiary occupation for the pander, the thief and the cracksman. Where it flourishes, it serves to bridge over many a period of slack trade. Franchises whose validity is subject to political attack, bring to the aid of the underworld some of the most powerful interests in the community. The police are almost helpless when confronted by a coalition of persons of wealth and respectability with professional politicians commanding a motley array of yeggs and thugs, pimps and card-sharpers.
Let us suppose that the developing social conscience places under the ban receipt of private income from land and other natural resources, and that a powerful movement aiming at the confiscation of such resources is under way. It is superfluous to point out that the vast interests threatened would offer a desperate resistance. The warfare against an incomparably lesser interest, the liquor trade, has taxed all the resources of the modern democratic state—on the whole the most absolute political organization known. In no instance has the state come out of the struggle completely victorious; the proscribed interest is yielding ground, if at all, only very slowly. What, then, would be the outcome of a struggle against the vastly greater landed interest? Perhaps the state would be victorious in the end. But for generations the landed interest would survive, if not by title of common law, at least by title of common corruption. And in the course of the conflict, we can not doubt that political disorder would flourish as never before, and that under its shelter private vice and crime would develop almost unchecked.
We should disabuse ourselves of the notion that the will of a mere majority is absolute in the state. The law is a reality only when the outlawed interests represent an insignificant minority. Arbitrarily to increase the outlawed interests is to undermine the very foundations of society.
The trend of the foregoing discussion, it will be said, is reactionary in the extreme. There are, as all must admit, private interests that are prejudicial to the public interest. Are they to be left in possession of the privilege of trading upon the public disaster—entrenching themselves, rendering still more difficult the future task of the reformer? By no means. The writer opposes no criticism to the extinction of anti-social private interests; on the contrary, he would have the state proceed against them with far greater vigor than it has hitherto displayed. It is important, however, to be sure first that a private interest is anti-social. Then the question is merely one of method. It is the author's contention that the method of excommunication and outlawry is the very worst conceivable.
We are wont to hold up to scorn the British method of compensating liquor sellers for licenses revoked. It is an expensive method. But let us weigh its corresponding advantages. The licensee does not find himself in a position in which he must choose between personal destitution and the public interest. He dares not employ methods of resistance that would subject him to the risk of forfeiting the right to compensation. He may resist by fair means, but if he is intelligent, he will keep his skirts clear of foul. If his establishment is closed, he is not left, a ruined and desperate man, to project methods for carrying on his trade illicitly. On the contrary, the act of compensation has placed in his hands funds in which he might be mulcted if convicted of violation of the law. And if natural perversity should drive him to illegal practices, he would not find himself an object of sympathy on the part of that considerable minority that resent injustice even to those whom they regard as evil-doers.
There can be little doubt that by the adoption of the principle of adequate compensation, an American commonwealth could extinguish any property interest that majority opinion pronounces anti-social. We may have industries that menace the public health. Under existing conditions the interests involved exert themselves to the utmost to suppress information relative to the dangers of such industries. With the principle of compensation in operation, these very interests would be the foremost in exposing the evils in question. It is no hardship to sell your interest to the public. Does any one feel aggrieved when the public decides to appropriate his land to a public use? On the contrary, every possessor of a site at all suited for a public building or playground does everything in his power to display its advantages in the most favorable light.
And with this we have admitted a disadvantage of the compensation principle—over-compensation. We do pay excessively for property rights extinguished in the public interest. But this is largely because the principle is employed with such relative infrequency that we have not as yet developed a technique of compensation. German cities have learned how to acquire property for public use without either plundering the private owner or excessively enriching him. The British application of the Small Holdings Acts has duly protected the interests of the large landholder, without making of him a vociferous champion of the Acts.
Progressive public morality readers one private interest after another indefensible. Let the public extinguish such interests, by all means. But let the public be moral at its own expense.
A revolting doctrine, it will be said. Because men have been permitted, through gross defect in the laws, to build up interests in dealing out poisons to the public, are they to be compensated, like the purveyors of wholesome products, when the public decrees that their destructive activities shall cease? Because a corrupt legislature once gave away valuable franchises, are we and our children, and our children's children, forever to pay tribute, in the shape of interest on compensation funds, to the heirs of the shameless grantees? Because the land of a country was parcelled out, in a lawless age, among the unworthy retainers of a predatory prince, must we forever pay rent on every loaf we eat—as we should do, in fact, even if we transformed great landed estates into privately held funds? Did we not abolish human slavery, without compensation, and is there any one to question the justice of the act?
We did indeed extinguish slavery without compensation to the slave owners. But if no one had ever conceived of such a policy we should have been a richer nation and a happier one. We paid for the slaves, in blood and treasure, many times the sum that would have made every slave owner eager to part with his slaves. Such enrichment of the slave owner would have been an act of social injustice, it may be said. The saying would be open to grave doubt, but the doctrine here advanced runs, not in terms of justice, but in terms of social expediency.
And expediency is commonly regarded as a cheap substitute for justice. It is wrongly so regarded. Social justice, as usually conceived, looks to the past for its validity. Its preoccupation is the correction of ancient wrongs. Social expediency looks to the future: its chief concern is the prevention of future wrongs. As a guide to political action, the superiority of the claims of social expediency is indisputable.
In the foregoing argument it has been deliberately assumed that the interests to be extinguished are, for the most part, universally recognized as anti-social. Slavery, health-destroying adulteration, the maintenance of tenements that menace life and morals, these at least represent interests so abominable that all must agree upon the wisdom of extinguishing them. The only point in dispute must be one of method. It is the contention of the present writer that when even such interests have had time to become clothed with an appearance of regularity, the method of extinction should be through compensation. By its tolerance of such interests, the public has made itself an accomplice in the mischief to which they give rise, and accordingly has not even an equitable right to throw the whole responsibility upon the private persons concerned.
Interests thus universally recognized to be evil are necessarily few. In the vast majority of cases the establishment of interests we now seek to proscribe took place in an epoch in which no evil was imputed to them. At first a small minority, usually regarded as fanatics, attack the interests in question. This minority increases, and in the end transforms itself into a majority. But long after majority opinion has become adverse, there remains a vigorous minority opinion defending the menaced interests. A hundred years ago the distilling of spirituous liquors was almost universally regarded as an entirely legitimate industry. The enemies of the industry were few and of no political consequence. Today in many communities the industry is utterly condemned by majority opinion. There is, however, no community in which a minority honestly defending the industry is absolutely wanting. Admitting that the majority opinion is right, it remains none the less true that adherents of the minority opinion would regard themselves as most grievously wronged if the majority proceeded to a destruction of their interests.
Where moral issues alone are involved, we may perhaps accept the view that the well considered opinion of the majority is as near as may be to infallibility. But it is very rarely the case that the question of the legitimacy of a property interest can be reduced to a purely moral issue. Usually there are also at stake, technical and broad economic issues in which majority judgment is notoriously fallible. Thus we have at times had large minorities who believed that the bank as an institution is wholly evil, and ought to be abolished. This was the majority opinion in one period of the history of Texas, and in accordance with it, established banking interests were destroyed by law. It is only within the last fifteen years that the majority of the citizens of that commonwealth have admitted the error of the earlier view.
In the course of the last twenty-five years, notable progress has been made in the art of preserving perishable foods through refrigeration. There are differences of opinion as to the effect upon the public health of food so preserved; and further differences as to the effect of the cold storage system upon the cost of living. On neither the physiological nor the economic questions involved is majority opinion worthy of special consideration. None the less, legislative measures directed against the storage interests have been seriously considered in a large number of states, and were it not for the difficulties inherent in the regulation of interstate commerce, we should doubtless see the practice of cold storage prohibited in some jurisdictions. Those whose property would thus be destroyed would accept their losses with much bitterness, in view of the fact that the weight of expert opinion holds their industry to be in the public interest.
What still further exacerbates the feeling of injury on the part of those whose interests are proscribed, is the fact that the purity of motives of the persons most active in the campaign of proscription is not always clear. Not many years ago we had a thriving manufacture of artificial butter. The persons engaged in the industry claimed that their product was as wholesome as that produced according to the time-honored process, and that its cheapness promised an important advance in the adequate provisioning of the people. We destroyed the industry, very largely because of our strong bent toward conservatism in all matters pertaining to the table. But among the influences that were most active in taxing artificial butter out of existence, was the competing dairymen's interest.
It is asserted by those who would shift the whole burden of taxation onto land that they are animated by the most unselfish motives, whereas their opponents are defending their selfish interests alone. Yet a common Single Tax appeal to the large manufacturer and the small house-owner takes the form of a computation demonstrating that those classes would gain more through the reduction in the burden on improvements than they would lose through increase in burden on the land. Let it be granted that personal advantage is not incompatible with purity of motives. The association of ideas does not, however, inspire confidence, especially in the breasts of those whose interests are threatened.
Extinction of property interests without compensation necessarily makes our legislative bodies the battleground of conflicting interests. Honest motives are combined with crooked ones in the attack upon an interest; crooked and honest motives combine in its defense. Out of the disorder issues a legislative determination that may be in the public interest or may be prejudicial to it. And most likely the law is inadequately supported by machinery of enforcement: it is effective in controlling the scrupulous; to the unscrupulous it is mere paper. In many instances its net effect is only to increase the risks connected with the conduct of a business.
When England prohibited importation of manufactures from France, the import trade continued none the less, under the form of smuggling. The risk of seizure was merely added to the risk of fire and flood. Just as one could insure against the latter risks, so the practice arose of insuring against seizure. At one time, at any rate, in the French ports were to be found brokers who would insure the evasion of a cargo of goods for a premium of fifteen per cent. At the safe distance of a century and a half, the absurd prohibition and its incompetent administration are equally comic. At the time, however, there was nothing comic in the contempt for law and order thus engendered, in the feeling of outrage on the part of those ruined by seizures, and in the alliance of respectable merchants with the thieves and footpads enlisted for the smuggling trade.
It is a common observation of present day social reformers that an excessive regard is displayed by our governmental organs for security of property, while security of non-property rights is neglected. And this would indeed be a serious indictment of the existing order if there were in fact a natural antithesis between the security of property and security of the person. There is, however, no such antithesis. In the course of history the establishment of security of property has, as a rule, preceded the establishment of personal security, and has provided the conditions in which personal security becomes possible. Adequate policing is essential to any form of security. Property can pay for policing; the person can not. This is a crude and materialistic interpretation of the facts, but it is essentially sound.
How much personal security existed in England, five centuries and a half ago, when it was possible for Richard to carve his way through human flesh to the throne? The lowly, certainly, enjoyed no greater security than the high born. How much personal security exists in the late Macedonian provinces of the Turkish Empire, or in northern Mexico? It is safe to issue a challenge to all the world to produce an instance, contemporary or historical, of a country in which property is insecure and in which human life and human happiness are not still more insecure. On the other hand, it is difficult to produce an instance of a state in which security of property has long been established, in which there is not a progressive sensitiveness about the non-propertied rights of man. It is in the countries where the sacredness of private property is a fetich, that one finds recognition of a universal right to education, of a right to protection against violence and against epidemic disease, of a right to relief in destitution. These are perhaps meagre rights; but they represent an expanding category. The right to support in time of illness and in old age is making rapid progress. The development of such rights is not only not incompatible with security of property, but it is, in large measure, a corollary of property security. Personal rights shape themselves upon the analogy of property rights; they utilize the same channels of thought and habit. One of the most powerful arguments for "social insurance" is its very name. Insurance is recognized as an essential to the security of property; it is therefore easy to make out a case for the application of the principle to non-propertied claims.
Some may claim that the security of property has now fulfilled its mission; that we can safely allow the principle to decay in order to concentrate our attention upon the task of establishing non-propertied rights. But let us remember that we are not removed from barbarism by the length of a universe. The crust of orderly civilization is deep under our feet: but not six hundred years deep. The primitive fires still smoke on our Mexican borders and in the Balkans. And blow holes open from time to time through our own seemingly solid crust—in Colorado, in West Virginia, in the Copper Country. It is evidently premature to affirm that the security of property has fulfilled its mission.
The question at issue, is not, however, the rights of property against the rights of man—or more honestly—the rights of labor. The claims of labor upon the social income may advance at the expense of the claims of property. In the institutional struggle between the propertied and the propertyless, the sympathies of the writer are with the latter party. It is his hope and belief that an ever increasing share of the social income will assume the form of rewards for personal effort.
But this is an altogether different matter from the crushing of one private property interest after another, in the name of the social welfare or the social morality. Such detailed attacks upon property interests are, in the end, to the injury of both social classes. Frequently they amount to little more than a large loss to one property interest, and a small gain to another. They increase the element of insecurity in all forms of property; for who shall say which form is immune from attack? Now it is the slum tenement, obvious corollary of our social inequalities; next it may be the marble mansion or gilded hotel, equally obvious corollaries of the same institutional situation. Now it is the storage of meat that is under attack; it may next be the storage of flour. The fact is, our mass of income yielding possessions is essentially an organic whole. The irreproachable incomes are not exactly what they would be if those subject to reproach did not exist. If some property incomes are dirty, all property incomes become turbid.
The cleansing of property incomes, therefore, is a first obligation of the institution of property as a whole. The compensation principle throws the cost of the cleansing upon the whole mass, since, in the last analysis, any considerable burden of taxation will distribute itself over the mass. The principle is therefore consonant with justice. What is not less important, the principle, systematically developed, would go far toward freeing the legislature from the graceless function of arbitrating between selfish interests, and the administration from the necessity of putting down powerful interests outlawed by legislative act. It would give us a State working smoothly, and therefore an efficient instrument for social ends. Most important of all, it would promote that security of economic interests which is essential to social progress.
A STUBBORN RELIC OF FEUDALISM
There is a persistent question regarding the distribution of property which is of peculiar interest in the season of automobile tours and summer hotels. Most thinking people acknowledge a good deal of perplexity over this question, while on most parallel ones they are generally cock-sure—on whichever is the side of their personal interests. But in this question the bias of personal interest is not very large, and therefore it may be considered with more chance of agreement than can the larger questions of the same class which parade under various disguises.
The little question is that of tipping. After we have squeezed out of it such antitoxic serum as we can, we will briefly indicate the application of it to larger questions.
Tipping is plainly a survival of the feudal relation, long before the humbler men had risen from the condition of status to that of contract, when fixed pay in the ordinary sense was unknown, and where the relation between servant and master was one of ostensible voluntary service and voluntary support, was for life, and in its best aspect was a relation of mutual dependence and kindness. Then the spasmodic payment was, as tips are now, essential to the upper man's dignity, and very especially to the dignity of his visitor. This feudal relation survives in England today to such an extent that poor men refrain from visiting their rich relations because of the tips. In the great country-houses the tips are expected to be in gold, at least so I was told some years ago. And in England and out of it, Don Cesar's bestowal of his last shilling on the man who had served him, still thrills the audience, at least the tipped portion of it.
Europe being on the whole less removed from feudal institutions than we are, tipping is not only more firmly established there, but more systematized. It is more nearly the rule that servants' places in hotels are paid for, and they are apt to be dependent entirely upon tips. The greater wealth of America, on the other hand, and the extravagance of the nouveaux riches, has led in some institutions to more extravagant tipping than is dreamed of in Europe, and consequently has scattered through the community a number of servants from Europe who, when here, receive with gratitude from a foreigner, a tip which they would scorn from an American.
In the midst of general relations of contract—of agreed pay for agreed service, tipping is an anomaly and a constant puzzle.
It would seem strange, if it were not true of the greater questions of the same kind, that in the chronic discussion of this one, so little attention, if any, has been paid to what may be the fundamental line of division between the two sides—namely, the distinction between ideal ethics and practical ethics.
An illustration or two will help explain that distinction:
First illustration: "Thou shalt not kill" which is ideal ethics in an ideal world of peace. Practical ethics in the real world are illustrated in Washington and Lee, who for having killed their thousands, are placed beside the saints!
Second illustration: Obey the laws and tell the truth. This is ideal ethics, which our very legislatures do much to prevent being practical. For instance; they ignore the fact that in the present state of morality, taxes on personal property can be collected from virtually nobody but widows and orphans who have no one to evade the taxes for them. So the legislatures continue the attempt to tax personal property, and a judge on the bench says that a man who lies about his personal taxes shall not on that account be held an unreliable witness in other matters.
Or to take an illustration less radical: it is not in legal testimony alone that ideal ethics require everybody to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—that the world should have as much truth as possible; and if the world were perfectly kind, perfectly honest and perfectly wise (which last involves the first two), that ideal could be realized. For instance, in our imperfect world a man telling people when he did not like them, would be constantly giving needless pain and making needless enemies, whereas in an ideal world—made up of perfect people, there would be nobody to dislike, or, pardon the Hibernicism, if there were, the whole truth could be told without causing pain or enmity. Or again, in a world where there are dishonest people, a man telling everything about his schemes, would have them run away with by others, though in an ideal world, where there were no dishonest people, he could speak freely. In fact, the necessity of reticence in this connection does not even depend on the existence of dishonesty: for in a world where people have to look out for themselves, instead of everybody looking out for everybody else, a man exposing his plans might hurry the execution of competing plans on the part of perfectly honest people.
Farther illustration may be sufficiently furnished by the topic in hand.
In the case of most poor folks other than servants, what to do about it has lately been pretty distinctly settled: the religion of pauperization is pretty generally set aside: almsgiving, the authorities on ethics now generally hold, should be restricted to deserving cases—to people incapacitated by constitution or circumstance from taking proper care of themselves.
Now is tipping almsgiving, and are servants among the deserving classes?
How many people have asked themselves these simple questions, and how many who are educated up to habitually refusing alms unless the last of the questions is affirmatively answered, just as habitually tip servants?
Is tipping almsgiving? Not in the same sense that alms are given without any show of anything in return: the servant does something for the tipper. Yes, but he is paid for it by his employer. True, but only sometimes: at other times he is only partly paid, depending for the rest on tips; and sometimes the tips are so valuable that the servant pays his alleged employer for the opportunity to get them. Yet I know one hotel in Germany, and probably there are others, there and elsewhere, where the menus and other stationery bear requests against tipping. But in that one hotel I know tipping to be as rife as in hotels generally: the customers are not educated up to the landlord's standard. And here we come to the fundamental remedy for all questionable practices—the education of the people beyond them. But this is simply the ideal condition in which ideal ethics could prevail. Meanwhile we must determine the practical ethics of the actual world.
The servant's position is different from that of most other wage-earners, in that he is in direct contact with the person who is to benefit from his work. The man who butchers your meat or grinds your flour, you probably never see; but the man who brushes your clothes or waits on your table, holds to you a personal relation, and he can do his work so as merely to meet a necessity, or so as to rise beyond mere necessity into comfort or luxury. Outside of home servants, the necessity is all that, in the present state of human nature, his regular stipend is apt to provide; the comfort or the luxury, the feeling of personal interest, the atmosphere of promptness and cheerfulness and ease, is apt to respond only to the tip. Only in the ideal world will it be spontaneous. In the real world it must be paid for.
And why should it not be—why is it not as legitimate to pay for having your wine well cooled or carefully tempered and decanted, as to pay for the wine itself? The objection apt to be first urged is that it degrades the servant. But does it? He is not an ideal man in an ideal world, already doing his best or paid to do his best. You are not degrading him from any such standard as that, into the lower one of requiring tips: you are simply taking him as he is. True, if he got no tips, he would not depend upon them; but without them he would not do all you want him to; before he will do that, he must be developed into a different man—he must become a creature of an ideal world. You may in the course of ages develop him into that, and as you do, he will work better and better, and tips may grow smaller and smaller, until he does his best spontaneously, and tips have dwindled to nothing. But to withdraw them now would simply make him sulky, and lead to his doing worse than now.
Another objection urged against tips is that they put the rich tipper at an advantage over the poor one. But the rich man is at an advantage in nearly everything else, why not here? The idea of depriving him of his advantages, is rank communism, which destroys the stimulus to energy and ingenuity that, in the present state of human nature, is needed to keep the world moving. In an ideal state of human nature, the man with ability to create wealth may find stimulus enough, as some do to a considerable extent now, in the delight of distributing wealth for the general good; but we are considering what is practicable in the present state of human nature.
Another aspect of the case, or at least a wider aspect, is the more sentimental one where the tip is prompted as reciprocation for spontaneous kindness.
But in the service of private families, as distinct from service to the general public or to visitors it is notorious that constant tipping is ruinous. Occasional holidays and treats and presents at Christmas and on special occasions are useful, as promoting the general feeling of reciprocation. But from visitors the tip is generally essential to ensuring the due meed of respect. Yet we can reasonably imagine a time when it may not be; and even now, for the casual service of holding a horse or brushing off the dust, a hearty "thank you" is perhaps on the whole better than a tip.
Considering the morality of the question all around—the practical ethics as well as the ideal, the underlying facts are that no man ought to be a servant in the servile sense, and indeed no man ought to be poor; and in an ideal world no man would be one or the other. Just how we are to get a world without servants or servile people, is perhaps a little more plain than how we are to get Mr. Bellamy's world without poor people, which, however, amounts to nearly the same thing. At least we will get a less servile world, as machinery and organization make service less and less personal. Bread has long been to a great extent made away from home; much of the washing is also done away in great laundries, and organizations have lately been started to call for men's outer clothes, and keep them cleaned, repaired and pressed. There is a noticeable rise, too, in the dignity of personal service: witness the college students at the summer hotels, and the self-respecting Jap in the private family. These influences are making for the ideal world in relation to service, and when we get it, no man will take tips, and nobody will offer them.
But in our stage of evolution, the tip, like the larger prizes, is part of the general stimulus to the best exertion and the best feeling, and is therefore legitimate; but it, like every other stimulus, should not be applied in excess, and the tendency should be to abolish it. The rich man often is led by good taste and good morals to restrain his expenditure in many directions, and there are few directions, if any, in which good taste and good morals more commend the happy medium than in tips. Excess in them, however, is not always prompted by good nature and generosity and reciprocation of spontaneous kindness, but often by desire for comfort, and even by ostentation. But all such promptings require regulation for the same reason that, it is now becoming generally recognized, the promptings of even charity itself require regulation.
The head of one of the leading Fifth Avenue restaurants once said to the writer, substantially: "We don't like tips: they demoralize our men. But what can we do about it? We can't stop it, or even keep it within bounds. Our customers will give them, and people who have too much money or too little sense, give not only dollar bills or five dollar bills, but fifty dollar bills and even hundred dollar bills. We have tried to stave off customers who do such things: we believe that in the long run it would pay us to; but we can't."
When all the promptings of liberality or selfishness or ostentation are well regulated, we will be in the ideal world. Until then, in the actual world, it is the part of wisdom to regulate ideal ethics by practical ethics—and tip, but tip temperately.
* * * * *
And now to apply our principles to a wider field.
The ideal is that all men should have what they produce. The ideal is also that all men should have full shares of the good things of life. These two ideals inevitably combine into a third—that all men should produce full shares of the good things of life. But the plain fact is that they cannot—that no amount of opportunity or appliances will enable the average day laborer to produce what Mr. Edison or Mr. Hill or even the average deviser of work and guide of labor does. Then even ideal ethics cannot say in this actual world: Let both have the same. That would simply be Robin Hood ethics: rob the man who produces much, and give the plunder to the man who produces little. Hence comes the disguising of the schemes to do it, even so that they often deceive their own devisers. What then do practical ethics say? They can't say anything more than: Help the less capable to become capable, so that he may produce more. But that is at least as slow a process as raising the servant beyond the stage of tips. Meantime the socialists are unwilling to wait, and propose to rob the present owners of the means of production, and take the control of industry from the men who manage it now, and put it in the hands of the men who merely can influence votes. These men certainly are no less selfish and dishonest than the captains of industry, and are vastly less able to select the profitable fields of industry, and organize and economize industry; whatever product they might squeeze out would be vastly less than now, and it would stick to their own fingers no less than does what the politicians handle now. Dividing whatever might reach the people, without reference to those who produced it, could yield the average man no more than he gets now. That's very simple mathematics. One of the saddest sights of the day is the number of good people to whom these facts are not self-evident.
In no state of human nature that any persons now living, or the grandchild of any person now living, will witness, could such conditions be permanent. Their temporary realization might be accomplished; but if it were, the able men would not be satisfied with either the low grade of civilization inevitable unless they worked, or with being robbed of the large share of production that must result from their work. The more intelligent of the rank and file, too, would rebel against the conditions inevitably lowering the general prosperity, and they would soon realize the difference in industrial leadership between "political generals" and natural generals. Insurrection would follow, and then anarchy, after which things would start again on their present basis, but some generations behind.
But I for one do not expect these experiences, especially in America: for here probably enough men have already become property holders to make a sufficient balance of power for the preservation of property. If not, the first step toward ensuring civilization, is helping enough men to develop into property holders, and continue property holders, which general experience declares that they will not unless they develop their property themselves.
AN EXPERIMENT IN SYNDICALISM
During the last twenty years New Zealand has tried many social and economic experiments; these experiments have been made by her own Legislature, and her own people; and as a rule they have been remarkably successful: during the last few months she has had the experience of a new one conducted by strangers, and made at her expense. Fortunately there is reason to believe that this one will be found to have resulted in benefit to New Zealand and its people, while it may prove of service to older and larger countries. It is probable that the most widely known of New Zealand's experiments is that which aimed at doing justice to employers and employees alike by the substitution for the Industrial strike of a Court of Arbitration, fairly constituted, on which both Workers and Employers were equally represented. This law has been branded by the supporters of the usual Strike policy with the name of "Compulsory Arbitration," the object being to discredit it in the eyes of the workers, as an infringement of their liberty. The title is unfair and misleading. Unlike most laws, it never has been of universal application either to Workers or Employers, but only to those among them that chose to form themselves into industrial Unions, and to register those Unions as subject to the provisions of the Statute. The purpose of the Statute was an appeal to the common sense of the people, by offering them an alternative method of settling disputes and securing that fair-play for both parties which experience had shown could seldom be secured by the strike. The law, which was first introduced in 1894, had gradually appealed both to workers and employers, as worth trying, and before the close of the last century it had rendered the country prosperous, and had attracted the attention of thoughtful people in many other parts of the world to the "Country Without Strikes." Efforts were made in several countries to introduce the principle of the New Zealand Statute, but with very little success, as it was generally opposed both by workers and employers:—the workers feeling confident they could obtain greater concessions by the forceful methods of the strike, and the employers suspecting that any Court of Arbitration would be likely to give the workers more than, without arbitration, they could compel the employers to surrender.
In the mean time the statutory substitute for the strike continued to succeed in New Zealand. Nearly every class of town workers, and some in the country, had formed Unions, and registered them under the arbitration law. With a single trifling exception, that was speedily put an end to by the punishment of the Union with the alternative of heavy fine or imprisonment, the country was literally as well as nominally a country without a strike. And it was something more than that: its prosperity increased year by year, and its production of goods—agricultural, pastoral, and manufactured—increased at a pace unequalled elsewhere. Yet the prosperity was most apparent in its effect on the conditions of the workers: under the successive awards of the arbitration court, wages had steadily increased until they had reached a point as high as in similar trades in America, while the cost of living was very little more than half the rate in any town in the United States. To all intelligent observers these facts were evident, and could not be concealed from the workers in other countries, especially in Australia, as the nearest geographically to New Zealand and commercially the most closely connected.
The effect, however, on the workers of Australia was not what might have been expected. Attempts had been made by some of the State Legislatures to introduce arbitration laws more or less like the New Zealand statute, but with very partial success. From the first these laws were opposed by the leaders of the Labor Unions, who naturally saw a menace to their influence in the fact that they became subject to punishment if they attempted to use their accustomed powers over their fellow unionists. The example of New Zealand was lauded in the Australian Legislatures and newspapers, and even in the courts, till at last a feeling of strong antagonism was developed among the more advanced class of socialistic Labor men, and it was decided by their leaders to undertake a campaign in the neighboring Dominion against the system of settling industrial questions by courts, and in favor of substituting the system of strikes, with their attendant power and profit to the Labor leaders. The first steps taken were sending men from Australia or England on lecturing tours through New Zealand, to create dissatisfaction with the Arbitration Courts by representing them as leaning to the side of the employers, and ignoring the claims of the workers. When this had gone on for about a year, workers of various classes were induced to cross from Australia, and join the Unions in New Zealand, for the purpose of influencing their fellow unionists to disloyalty towards the system under which they were registered. These men were generally competent workers and clever agitators, and many of them soon obtained prominence and official position in the Unions. As was natural, a good many of these new-comers were miners—either for coal or gold—and many of them joined the miners' union at the great gold mine known as the Waihi, from which upwards of thirty million dollars worth of gold had been dug, and which was still yielding between three and four million dollars a year. There were nearly a thousand miners employed there, and all of them were members of a Union that was duly registered under the Arbitration statute.
There had been several questions in dispute between the miners and the owners, and these had been referred to the Arbitration Court some time before the arrival of the new Australian miners. The result, while it favored the Union in some respects, favored the Company in others, and this fact was used by the new-comers to convince the older hands that the Court had been unfair, and that they could secure much better terms for themselves if they would cease work, and so inflict immense loss by permitting the lower levels of the mine to become flooded. After a few months the Union decided to take advantage of the provision of the law which enabled any registered Union to withdraw its registration at six months' notice. When the time had expired, the Union repeated the demand which had been refused by the Court, and on the refusal of the Company to agree, a strike was at once declared, and the whole of the miners ceased work. This had the effect, within a very short time, of rendering all the deeper levels of the mine unworkable. Close to the mine was a prosperous little town occupied chiefly by the miners and their families, most of the houses being the property of the mining company, and the men continued to occupy the houses while the strike was in progress. Other miners were found who were ready to take their places, but the men in possession refused to move out, and threatened with violence any miners that should attempt to work the mine. The men who had been prepared to work, finding this to be the position, withdrew. As there was no actual violence shown, there seemed to be a difficulty in the way of any interference by the Government: so several months passed, during which the mine lay idle while the miners on strike continued to occupy the houses and pay the very moderate rents demanded from employees of the company. This they were able to do partly from their savings, partly from the sympathetic contributions from Australia, and partly by some of the miners having scattered over the country and got work on the farms, and throwing their earnings into the common fund.
After repeated appeals by the mine-owners to the Government, an arrangement was made that the Company should employ miners willing to become members of a new Union registered under the Arbitration statute, and that the Government should send a police force sufficient to protect these in working the mine, and also to enforce the judgment of the local court in dispossessing the occupants of the houses belonging to the Company. An attempt was made by the strikers to defy this police force and prevent the new Union from working the mine; but when most of the new unionists had been sworn in as special constables, and a number of the militant strikers had been arrested, the others saw that they could not continue the struggle, and within a week or two abandoned the district, giving place to the members of the arbitration Union in both the mine and town.
Thus the first strike organized by the "Federation of Labor" in New Zealand resulted in a failure, but the miners thus defeated and driven from the little town that had been their home, in many cases for a good many years, were naturally embittered by their failure, and became an element of mischief in other districts, and especially in the coal mines, to which they turned when they found it hard to obtain employment in any of the gold mines.
The Australian Federation of Labor and its branch in New Zealand fully appreciated the fact that their first attempt to establish a system of Unionism opposed to the one recognized by the law, having proved a failure, it was necessary either to give up the attempt altogether or to make it more deliberately and on a much wider scale. The method they adopted was one that did credit to their foresight and determination. The Australian Federation is, and has always been, highly socialistic in its policy, and latterly its leaders have adopted and preached syndicalism, as promising to give the workers the control of society. New Zealand, alone among self-governing countries, having struck at the very root of their policy by trying to substitute a statute and a Court for the will of the associated workers, was a very tempting country for syndicalism. An island country which, owing to climate and soil, was specially suited for the production of all kinds of agricultural wealth beyond the needs of its own people, must depend on free access to the ports of other countries. This, it seemed plain, could be prevented by well managed syndicalism. It would be only necessary to organize the seamen who worked the vessels that kept the smaller harbors of such a country in touch with the larger ports at which the ocean going ships loaded and unloaded; and to organize also the stevedores at the larger ports. The bitterness of feeling that had followed the destruction of the Waihi Union, and the loss to its members not only of a good many months of good wages but of the homes they and their families had occupied for years, was a valuable asset in such a campaign. At first, of course, some of the working classes blamed the agents of "The Federation of Labor" who were responsible for the disastrous strike, but it was not difficult to turn attention from the past failure of a single strike, to the certain success that must attend a great syndical strike that would involve all the industries of the country. Most, indeed nearly all, of the disappointed Waihi strikers were ready to join with enthusiasm in carrying out the plans of The Federation, and removed to the places where they could be most effective in preparing the way for what they looked upon as a great revenge. Thus they either joined the old Unions at the principal ports, especially Auckland and Wellington, or formed new Unions, no longer registered under the Arbitration statute, but openly affiliated to The Federation of Labor, which had been established in New Zealand, but was really a branch of the Australian Federation. The four principal ports of New Zealand, indeed the only ports much frequented by the large export and import vessels, are Auckland, Wellington, Lyttleton, and Dunedin, the two first named being in the north island, and the other two in the south. Auckland is considerably the largest city in The Dominion, containing at least 25,000 more inhabitants than Wellington, which is not only the capital of the Dominion, but also the great distributing centre for the South island and the southern part of the North island, at the southern extremity of which it is situated. The remarkable situation of Auckland, on a very narrow isthmus about a hundred and eighty miles from the northern point of the country, is no doubt largely responsible for the growth of the city, which is the chief centre of the young manufactures of the Dominion, and the largest port of export for almost all the country produces, except wool and mutton, which are mainly raised in the South island. Thus it happens that Auckland and Wellington are at present the chief shipping ports of the Dominion, and it was to them that the Federation of Labor turned its chief attention when its leaders had definitely decided to undertake the campaign of syndicalism against the system of arbitration which had prevailed for sixteen years.
There had already been formed Unions of Waterside Workers and Seamen at each of these ports; but they were in all cases registered under the arbitration law, and of course subject to its penalties against both officials and members in cases of any breach of the statute. The Federation's agents proceeded to collect the members of these unions who were in any way dissatisfied with the existing awards of the Arbitration Courts, and to form them into new Unions outside the statute. They had little difficulty in persuading the men that the new Unions would be free to act in many directions that were barred to the members of the old Unions. A good many of the men were thus persuaded to resign their membership in the existing Unions, and as they were very often the most active members, they gradually persuaded others to leave with them. There was nothing either in the law or custom of the ports to prevent unionists and non-unionists working together on the wharves or the coasting vessels; so within a comparatively short time the members of the new Federation Unions were more numerous than those that clung to the older ones. When this became the case, the officials of the new Unions approached the shipping companies with proposals for an agreement between them and the Federation Unions in some respects more favorable to the employers than the arbitration award under which the older Unions were working, and in this way gained a position which enabled them to undermine the old Unions, till they either died out for want of members or withdrew their registration, and at the end of their six months' notice merged their Unions in those of The Federation. The Federation's plans had been so carefully prepared that there was little or no suspicion on the part of the employers or of the public generally as to the true meaning of the movement. It was evident, of course, that it indicated a revolt against the arbitration law, but as the new unions appeared ready to give the employers rather better terms than the old ones, many reasons were found by employers for defending what began to be called the "Free Unions." In this way things had gone on at the shipping ports for about two years from the failure of the gold miners' strike at Waihi, before anything happened to open the eyes of the public to the real meaning of what The Federation of Labor had been doing. In that time the new Unions at each of the principal ports of the country had quietly obtained the entire control of the hands at waterside and local shipping, as well as of the Carters Unions. The time had arrived when the syndicalists believed themselves able to compel the public to submit to any demands they might see fit to make.
The occasion finally arose, as might have been expected, at Wellington, where the Federation of Labor had established its head-quarters. There was no definite dispute between the employers and workers, but for a few weeks there had been an uneasy feeling in relation to the Waterside Workers who, it was said, were growing more lazy and slovenly in handling cargo on the wharves and piers. A meeting had been called by The Federation to discuss some grievances of the coal miners at Westport, from which most of the coal landed in Wellington is brought. The meeting was called for the noon dinner hour, and a number of the waterside workers engaged in discharging cargo from a steamer about to sail, at once went to the meeting, and did not return to work in the afternoon. The shipping company at once engaged other men to finish their work, and when the men came back some hours later, they found their places filled up. The new men belonged to the same Union, but the men dispossessed demanded that the new ones should be dismissed at once. When the company refused the demand, the men appealed to the Council of the Federation, who at once called on the Waterside Workers and Seamens Unions at Wellington to cease work. Within a few days the position looked so serious that the Premier invited both parties to a conference, at which he presided in person, in the hope of bringing about an agreement to refer the matters in dispute to an arbitrator to be mutually agreed upon. The officials of The Federation, however, said there was nothing to submit to an arbitrator: they had made a demand, and unless it was complied with by the shipping company and the Union of merchants at Wellington who were in league with the Company in victimizing the men who took part in the meeting in aid of the Coal-miners, the strike must go on. The Merchants and Shipping Company's Unions pointed out that what had been done was in direct opposition to the terms of the formal agreement signed less than a year before, and they refused to have anything more to do with the Federation on any terms. The conference thus ended in an open declaration of war. The time had evidently come for the Federation of Labor to make good the assertions so often made by its lecturers and agitators, of its power to force the rest of the community to submission. It would be difficult to imagine a more favorable position for carrying such a policy into effect: New Zealand, it must be borne in mind, is a country without an army. For some years past, it is true, a system of military training for all her young men between eighteen and twenty-five has been enforced by law, but except for training purposes, there is no military force in the Dominion, either of regulars or militia; and it is now forty-five years since the last company of British soldiers left its shores. Law has been maintained, and order enforced, by a police force under the control of the Government of the Dominion, and while the force is undoubtedly a good and trustworthy one, its numbers have never been large in proportion to the population. This year the entire force throughout the country is very little more than 850, which includes officers as well as men. It can hardly be wondered at that the officials of The Federation of Labor were convinced that, if they could arrange a general strike of the workers, the police force would be powerless to deal with it. On the failure of the attempt of the Premier to bring about a settlement between the parties by arbitration, the Federation proclaimed a general strike of all Unions affiliated to themselves throughout the country, and of all other Unions that were in sympathy with them in their policy of giving united Labor the control of society. The order to cease work was at once obeyed, as a matter of course, by all the Federation Unions, which practically meant all the workers engaged on vessels registered in the Dominion and trading on the coast, all workers on wharves and piers, carters in the cities, and coal miners throughout the country. The appeal for sympathetic assistance from Unions unconnected with the Federation was largely successful in the chief centres, though it was, of course, a direct defiance of the arbitration law under which they were registered. It has since been discovered that in nearly every case it was brought about by the unprincipled scheming of the secretaries, assisted by a few of the officials, who called meetings, of which notice was given only to a selected minority, and at which the question of joining a sympathetic strike was settled by a large majority of those present, but in fact in many cases a small minority of the whole membership. The sympathetic strike of Arbitration Unions was mainly confined to the cities, and Auckland, as the largest city, was the most affected by it. In Auckland the members of practically every Union ceased work, somewhere about ten thousand persons going on strike simultaneously.
The result during the first days of the strike seemed likely to confirm the expectations of the Federation orators. Industry was practically dead. At every port vessels lay at anchor, having been withdrawn from the wharves before they were deserted by their crews, and the wharves were in the possession of the Waterside strikers. The streets of the cities were empty, and a large proportion of the stores were closed, partly owing to want of business, and partly from fear of violence in case they kept open. These first few days in both New Zealand and Australia were days of triumph for the Federation leaders but the triumph was a short-lived one. The Government of the Dominion did not interfere, indeed, but the public, through their municipal authorities, did. The people of New Zealand have throughout their history been accustomed to manage their own affairs, and within four days of the declaration of war by the syndical Federation, steps were taken to meet the emergency. At Auckland and Wellington it had been evident from the first that the small police force available could not safely attempt to cope with the main body of strikers, or do more than prevent acts of aggressive violence to the citizens and their property. The local authorities, however, had confidence in the general public, and at Auckland, and afterwards at Wellington, the Mayor of the city appealed to the public to come forward as volunteers to maintain law and order, by acting as Special Constables. In both cities the appeal was responded to readily, nearly two thousand young men coming forward at Auckland in twenty-four hours, and upwards of a thousand at Wellington. These were at once sworn in as special constables, and armed with serviceable batons, while all the fire-arms and ammunition for sale in the city was taken charge of and withdrawn from sale by the municipal authorities. In this way the maintenance of order was fairly provided for, and the temporary closing of all licensed hotels by order of the city magistrates removed the danger of riot as the result of intemperance.
There had been some rioting in Wellington, though with little serious injury, but there was nothing that could be called a riot in Auckland. The Federation Unions waited, under the impression that time was on their side, owing to the impossibility of doing anything or getting anything done without the help of the associated workers. This had been the basis of their scheme, but like all such schemes it failed to take into account the instinct of self-preservation on the part of the people outside the Unions. As long as the strike leaders could point to the fleet of vessels lying idle in the harbor, the mills silent, and the street railroads without a moving car, and almost deserted by carts, it was easy for them to persuade their followers that complete victory was only a matter of days, or at most of weeks; they had not remembered that there were others besides themselves and their fellow townsmen interested in the question of a paralyzed industry. The trade that has been making the people of New Zealand increasingly rich during the last twenty years has been mainly derived from the land. Small holdings and close settlement have been the rule, and the rate of production has been increasingly rapid. The exports—mainly the produce of the land—have grown in proportions quite unknown in any other country, and the farmers knew that the prosperity of the country, and most directly of all the workers on the land, depended on the freedom and facilities for shipment of their ports. It was the workers on the land, accordingly, that came to the rescue, and solved the industrial problem. An offer was made by the President of The Farmers' Cooperative Union to bring a sufficient number of the members into the cities to work the shipping and to prevent any interruption of the work by the men on strike. The offer was at once accepted by the municipal authorities at Auckland and Wellington, and within two days fully eighteen hundred mounted farmers rode into Auckland, and nearly a thousand into Wellington, all prepared to carry on the work and protect the workers. Their arrival practically settled the question. New Waterside Unions were formed at every port, and registered under the provisions of the Arbitration Statute; such of the country workers as were able to do so, enrolled themselves as members of the new Unions; the wharves and water fronts were taken possession of and guarded by the special constables enlisted in the cities, while the streets were patrolled by parties of the mounted volunteers. Within twenty-four hours of their arrival, some of the vessels in harbor had been brought to the wharves, and the work of unloading them was begun.
At first there were many threats of violent opposition on the part of the strikers, and crowds assembled in the principal streets and in the neighborhood of the wharves; but these were dispersed before they became dangerous, by the mounted constables, and a proclamation having been issued by the mayor calling attention to the fact that collections of people that obstructed traffic in the streets were contrary to law, the police and mounted constables cleared the streets, and forcibly arrested any persons who attempted opposition. Within two or three days, at each of the principal cities, new Unions of seamen and of carters had been formed and registered under the arbitration law, and those members of the old Federation Unions who were not enthusiastic, and began to see that the assurances of success were not likely to be realized, began to resign and apply for admission to the new Unions. After about two weeks the Council of The Federation of Labor, recognizing the failure of the sympathetic strike, invited the Unions that were not connected with them to declare the strike at an end, and tried by confining the strike to their own members, to maintain a solid front, which, with the help of the Australian Federation both in money for the strikers and in refusing to handle any goods either from or for New Zealand, they still hoped would carry them to at least a compromise, if not to the victory they had expected. The hopes of the Federation of Labor were not realized. Within a week or two a large proportion of the members of their own Unions, seeing their places filled, and their work being done, not by free labor, which they might hope to deal with, but by new Unions, whose members would be entitled, under the arbitration law, to preference and many other privileges, began to desert and to seek admission to the Arbitration Unions that had taken their place. For a time this was fiercely denied by the Federation officials, but as the days went on, and business of every kind was resumed in the cities, the groups of strikers at street corners and around the Federation head-quarters dwindled away; the hotels were reopened, the shops and stores were busy, the mills were at work, and even the coastal steamers were manned and running, and the federationists were forced to admit that they were hopelessly defeated. For a time they still hoped that the Australian Boycott might save them from absolute disaster, and the Labor Ministry of New South Wales tried to help the Federation by making an appeal to the New Zealand Government to arrange an arbitration to settle the dispute between The Wellington Waterside Workers and the merchants and shipping companies. The absolute refusal of the New Zealand Government to recognize The Federation of Labor, or to interfere with the new Unions under the Arbitration Act that had taken their place, finally settled the question, and completed the defeat of the strikers. The officials of the Federation declared the strike at an end, and the Australian Federation announced that the boycott was also at an end.
* * * * *
At first sight it may seem that, after all, the experiment in syndicalism was on a small scale, and that its lesson can hardly be of great value to a country like America. A little consideration may correct such a misapprehension. New Zealand was deliberately selected by the Syndicalists as a test case, for two reasons. In the first place it was the only country that had for years adopted a policy of justice according to law for both workers and employers, and from the syndicalist's point of view it was therefore the only country that seriously attacked their own policy by showing that it was unnecessary. In the second place New Zealand was the only country with a population of British origin that could be dealt with practically by itself. With the aid of an Australian boycott it seemed as if her people must be helpless in the hands of the Federation. The result proved to be not only the defeat of the principle of lawless syndicalism, but the destruction of the industrial association that represented it in the country. No compromise was accepted, and except it may be in name, no Union attached to the Federation of Labor remains at work. The question, of course, suggests itself: What was the reason? Minor reasons may be found, no doubt, to account for failure where success was so confidently expected; but there can be little doubt that the real cause is the policy pursued by the Legislature and people of New Zealand for the last twenty years. Syndicalism, like all plans for the over turn, or reform, as their advocates would perhaps prefer to call it, of existing institutions, depends for success on the existence of wrongs by which part of the people is impoverished, while another, and very small part, has more than enough. The workers of our own race, at any rate, have enough common-sense to understand, at least when they are not hysterically excited, that imaginary wrongs are not a sufficient reason for great sacrifices. New Zealand's legislation has not created an ideal society, it is true; but for twenty years it has proceeded step by step in the direction of righting the wrongs of the past, and giving opportunity to that part of its people that needed it most, on the single condition that they would use it, and respect the rights of others. To such a people, increasing steadily, year by year, in all that makes for well-being, the wild denunciations, and if possible wilder promises, of paid agitators can have little attraction. It may be possible by careful generalship to stir a small section of such a people to the hysterical excitement of an industrial war, but the mass of the people would be certain to resent it, and the movement will be doomed to a speedy collapse.
Other countries have been less enlightened and less fortunate than New Zealand in their legislation, and perhaps still less fortunate in the administration of the laws passed for the betterment of the masses of their people. They have done little to convince the great majority that they are aware of the wrongs that have been done that majority in the supposed interest of the small class of the over rich. They have not provided opportunity for those who hitherto have had none, nor have they even provided a reasonable alternative for industrial warfare. Had they done these things in the past, or were they even to begin honestly to provide for them in the future, they might confidently expect that the reign of industrial warfare, which exasperates their people, and retards the prosperity of their nation, would be as easily and effectually suppressed as the experiment of the Syndicalists has just been in New Zealand.
LABOR: "TRUE DEMAND" AND IMMIGRANT SUPPLY
A RESTATEMENT OF THE ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF IMMIGRATION POLICY
Recent historians and economists have been showing that it was anything but pure and unadulterated sense of brotherhood that prompted many of our forefathers' fine speeches about opening the doors of America to the down-trodden and oppressed of Europe. Emerson, fifty years ago, in his essay on Fate noted the current exploitation of the immigrant: "The German and Irish millions, like the Negro, have a great deal of guano in their destiny. They are ferried over the Atlantic, and carted over America, to ditch and to drudge, to make corn cheap, and then to lie down prematurely to make a spot of green grass on the prairie." Indeed it would not be hard to show that there was always a real or potential social surplus back of our national hospitality to the alien.
The process began long before our great nineteenth century era of industrial expansion. Colonial policies with regard to the immigrant varied according to latitude and longitude. Most of the New England colonies viewed the foreigner with distrust as a menace to Puritan theocracy. New York, Pennsylvania, and some of the Southern colonies were much more hospitable, for economic reasons. That this hospitality sometimes resembled that of the spider to the fly is evident from observations of contemporary writers. That it included whites as well as negroes in its ambiguous welcome is equally evident.
John Woolman writes in his Journal (1741-2): "In a few months after I came here my master bought several Scotchmen as servants, from on board a vessel, and brought them to Mount Holly to sell." Isaac Weld, traveling in the United States in the last decade of the eighteenth century, noted methods of securing aliens in the town of York, Pennsylvania: "The inhabitants of this town as well as those of Lancaster and the adjoining country consist principally of Dutch and German immigrants and their descendants. Great numbers of these people emigrate to America every year and the importation of them forms a very considerable branch of commerce. They are for the most part brought from the Hanse towns and Rotterdam. The vessels sail thither from America laden with different kinds of produce and the masters of them on arriving there entice as many of these people on board as they can persuade to leave their native country, without demanding any money for their passages. When the vessel arrives in America an advertisement is put into the paper mentioning the different kinds of people on board whether smiths, tailors, carpenters, laborers, or the like and the people that are in want of such men flock down to the vessel. These poor Germans are then sold to the highest bidder and the captain of the vessel or the ship holder puts the money into his pocket."
These may be, it is true, extreme cases of the economic motive for immigration. But they are quite in line with eighteenth century Mercantilist economic philosophy. Josiah Tucker, for example, in his Essay on Trade, 1753, urges the encouragement of immigration from France, and cites the value of Huguenot refugees. "Great was the outcry against them at their first coming. Poor England would be ruined! Foreigners encouraged! And our own people starving! This was the popular cry of the times. But the looms in Spittle-Fields, and the shops on Ludgate-Hill have at last sufficiently taught us another lesson ... these Hugonots have ... partly got, and partly saved, in the space of fifty years, a balance in our favour of, at least, fifty millions sterling.... And as England and France are rivals to each other, and competitors in almost all branches of commerce, every single manufacturer so coming over, would be our gain, and a double loss to France."
The obverse side of the case appears in British hindrances to the free emigration of artisans during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Laws forbade any British subject who had been employed in the manufacture of wool, cotton, iron, brass, steel, or any other metal, of clocks, watches, etc., or who might come under the general denomination of artificer or manufacturer, to leave his own country for the purpose of residing in a foreign country out of the dominion of His Britannic Majesty. Recall the difficulty early American manufacturers encountered in introducing new English improvements in cotton manufacture; a virtual embargo was laid upon the migration of either men or machinery. Recall, too, an expression of American resentment in our Declaration of Independence at this English attitude: "He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose, obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands."
On the whole, the economic motive seems to have been uppermost in the minds of both those who fostered and those who opposed foreign immigration into the United States, up to, say, 1870. Likewise in perhaps more than ninety-nine of every hundred cases the economic motive holds in the mind of the present day immigrant, or his protagonist. Escape from political tyranny or religious persecution, at least since the revolutionary period of 1848, has operated only as a secondary motive. The industrial impulse is all the more striking in the so-called "new immigration" from the Mediterranean and South-Eastern Europe. The temporary migrant laborer, the "bird of passage," roams about seeking his fortunes in much the same spirit that certain Middle Age Knights or Crusades camp followers sought theirs. This is in no way to his discredit. It is simply a fact that we are to reckon with when called upon to work out a satisfactory immigration policy. At least its recognition would eliminate a good deal of wordy sentimentality from discussions of the immigration problem.
Professor Fairchild discovered that three things attract the Greek immigrant. First and foremost, financial opportunities. Second, corollary to the first, citizenship papers which will enable him to return to Turkey, there to carry on business under the greater protection which such citizenship confers. There is a hint here to the effect that mere naturalization does not mean assimilation and permanent acceptance of the status and responsibilities of American citizenship. Third, enjoyment of certain more or less factitious "comforts of civilization."
But the Greeks are by no means untypical. The conclusion of the Immigration Commission as to the causes of the new immigration is that while "social conditions affect the situation in some countries, the present immigration from Europe to the United States is in the largest measure due to economic causes. It should be stated, however, that emigration from Europe is not now an absolute economic necessity, and as a rule those who emigrate to the United States are impelled by a desire for betterment rather than by the necessity of escaping intolerable conditions. This fact should largely modify the natural incentive to treat the immigration movement from the standpoint of sentiment, and permit its consideration primarily as an economic problem. In other words, the economic and social welfare of the United States should now ordinarily be the determining factor in the immigration policy of the Government."
This delimitation of the immigration problem to its economic aspects led the Immigration Commission to recommend a somewhat restrictionist policy. That they were not without warrant in so delimiting it is evident from the utterances of such ardent opponents of restriction as Dr. Peter Roberts and Max J. Kohler. The latter, writing in the American Economic Review (March, 1912) said: "In fact, the immigrant laborer is indispensable to our economic progress today, and we can rely upon no one else to build our houses, railroads and subways, and mine our ores for us." Dr. Roberts' plea is almost identical.
What a glaring misconception of the whole economic and social problem is here involved will appear if we add a clause or two to Mr. Kohler's sentence. He should have said: "We can rely upon no one else to build our houses, railroads and subways, and mine our ores for us at $455 a year; for workers of native birth but of foreign fathers would cost us $566, and native born White Americans $666 a year." (See Abstracts of Rep. of Immigr. Comm. vol. i., pp. 405-8.) These are the facts. This is the social situation as it should be stated if a candid discussion of the problem is sought.
Now what are the economic arguments for restricting somewhat the tide of immigration? Several studies of standards of living among American workingmen within the past ten years have shown that a large proportion of American wage earners fall below a minimum efficiency standard. Studies of American wages indicate that only a little over ten per cent of American wage earners receive enough to maintain an average family in full social efficiency. The average daily wage for the year ranges from $1.50 to $2. One-half of all American wage earners get less than $600 a year; three-quarters less than $750; only one-tenth more than $1,000.
Take in connection with these wage figures the statistics for unemployment. The proportion of idleness to work ranges from one-third in mining industries to one-fifth in other industries. In Massachusetts, 1908, manufacturers were unemployed twelve per cent of the working time. Professor Streightoff estimated three years ago that the average annual loss in this country through unemployment is 1,000,000 years of working time. Perhaps one-tenth of working time might be taken as a very conservative general average loss. But the worst feature of the whole problem is that, in certain industries at least, the tendency to seasonal unemployment is increasing. Ex-Commissioner Neill in his report on the Lawrence strike said: "... it is a fact that the tendency in many lines of industry, including textiles, is to become more and more seasonal and to build to meet maximum demands and competitive trade conditions more effectively. This necessarily brings it about that a large number of employes are required for the industry during its period of maximum activity who are accordingly of necessity left idle during the period of slackness." (Senate Document 870, 62d Cong., 2d sess., 1912.)