Mr. Kuehn and Governmentalism
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By C. F. Hunt.
With Reply by Herman Kuehn.
Mr. Kuehn admits that compulsion (government) is elemental in man. He should admit that from this comes formal government. Yet he says that in the absence of the latter man becomes good.
Mfan maims innocent pigeons because of elemental cruelty, one would think. No, says Mr. K., his education by government makes him cruel, although he inherits natural cruelty from his ancestors.
Surely individual compulsion and formal government are not the same. One might be dynamited away, but the other would remain to be evolved away.
Mr. Kuehn denies that "coercion has been used to preserve liberty," and adds: "One must have a queer concept of a liberty that can be preserved by the denial of liberty." The minority that can be deceived by such words is composed of Mr. Kuehn alone. The men of '76 used coercion, not to deny any liberty properly belonging to men, to till the ground in either the old or new world, to trade, or pursue hapiness; but only the one liberty to oppress and enslave men who were resisting and doing nothing else. This is the coercion that is for good and is justified, and under nature's plan seems necessary.
Mr. Kuehn has not shown anything in the single tax theory more than what I claimed. "We must make land common property," is writ in Progress and Poverty. In mv illustration likewise, the heirs were supposed to inherit equally, hence had a common right.
Mr. Kuehn denies the inequality of productiveness of land. If he can establish this, the single tax theory falls instantlv. He cannot establish it merelv bv supposing that the inequalities are due to industry and intelligence. Let him suppose that a dealer in Oak Park can sell as manv shoes as a department store in Chicago, and be satisfied w'th that vagary also.
The "friendly nod" in lieu of a club to check measlv, mean and trifling teamsters, is far in the future. "Ah, there." says Mr. Kuehn to the Cubans, with a friendly nod. The Cubans return the nod and quit revolting.
Mr. K. still has before him the task of showintr that the Socialist platform advocates unjust coercion. Proof as nlain as that tariff is robberv will do. Other tasks will be: Prove the unity of Nature, with further illustrations that Mr. Hunt has forgotten more than the things that have not occurred to him.
Nature is not in unison. Nature is both our friend and fvrant. "Human welfare" as the test of ricrht is admitted. Snakes noisons and our enemies must be opposed bv coercion, which is thus simply defense, necessary to preserve our welfare.
I infer Mr. K. accepts the Koreshan cosmogony. He thinks heat can travel through several thousand miles of zero weather, and below, but can not possibly travel further. Science holds that this force travels as light, not as heat, and is converted by impact. Force has many forms—light, heat, electricity, motion, life, etc., changeable by natural processes. Distance is inconceivable, but place us all in a shell and still the limitless space outside of it is not argued away. Koresh is destroyed by its own inconsistencies, and deceives only those who have a superficial knowledge of astronomy.
MR. KUEHN'S ANSWER.
1. Man is naturally decent, kindly, generous. His normal instinct of gregariousness is thwarted by governmentalism. The governmental tendency is not elemental in man, except as the governmental tendency is the outgrowth of fears that rest upon superstitions.
2. The American Indians never destroy a harmless animal except for necessary food or raiment. How much further back does Mr. Hunt want to go for the elemental in man?
3. Mr. Hunt may be right that I shall fail to convince people that it is a queer concept of a liberty that is to be preserved by a denial of liberty. Nevertheless it is a queer concept, tho no one but myself were to see it as I do. I think Mr. Hunt is mistaken. I believe that every one who is capable of a discriminating sense of humor must see that the denial of liberty is not a preservative of liberty. Mr. Hunt cites the men of '76 as having preserved their liberty by coercion. Whom did they coerce? Has Mr. Hunt some unrevealed pages of the history of that memorable struggle that tried men's souls? Surely he must have such if even he himself can be convinced that the colonists, in resisting the coercion of King George practised coercion upon King George. Even the meager war chest of the colonial forces was replenished by voluntary contributions. Mr. Hunt refers to the "liberty to oppress and enslave men." The Liberty to oppress! Isn't that sufficiently "queer?" No. Brother Hunt, the revolutionists were not fighting the liberty to oppress. They were fighting oppression.
4. There is a vast difference between the State as universal landlord and the land as common property. George saw that land should be common property, and having reached this conclusion he proceeded to show us how not to have it so. Not only do I affirm the inequality of soils, but I affirm the absurdity of Mr. Hunt's contention that because a certain piece of land does not produce as much wheat as another piece of equal area. Now Therefore the first site is below the margin of cultivation. I cited "worthless" lands about Kalamazoo that would grow nothing but weeds until Intelligence and Industry tried celerv, and swamps about Niles that are now the best mint-producing lands in the country. There was nothing of the "supposin'" about these instances, and I could multiply them a thousandfold. Instead of meeting me at Kalamazoo, Mr. Hunt beckons me to Oak Park. My celery-mint facts must indeed make Oak Park seem a convenient refuge. If Mr. Hunt can derive any comfort from his conviction that the Single Tax program is sound, if the elements of Industry and intelligence are slighted, I tender him, along with my friendly regard, the assurance of the sympathy his position compels. I do not quarrel with Mr. Hunt for having omitted all mention of the element of brotherlincss involved in the consideration of the fallacies of singe-taxery. I would dodge that factor, too, had I his end of the controversy.
5 Just as he flits from Kalamazoo to his safe haven of Oak Park, so Mr. Hunt deserts his own teamster illustration to flit to Cuba. I repeat that a friendly understanding fs to the use of crowded highways will prove more effective than any scheme of government. I have no method to urge whereby the Cuban insurrectors may be made to quite revolutin'. Perhaps the cessation of governmental oppression might do the trick. Mr. Hunt probably prefers drum-head court-martials and rapid-fire executions. Each to his taste.
6. All coercion being unjust I need go no further in the matter of the politico-socialist platform. All hindrances to the free interchange of commodities being for the purpose of depriving the producer for the benefit of the non-producer I need go no further to show that protectionism is robbery.
7. In discussing the right relationships between man and man I do not enter upon the consideration of the relationships between the man and his horse. Having found himself unable to support his contention that coercion enhances the social tranquility between man and his neighbor, Mr. Hunt runs to snakes. Come back from Oak Park, from Cuba and from snakes, Mr. Hunt, and meet the issues you yourself introduced. Perhaps when man is emancipated from his thraldom to benighted superstitions he will discover how to make useful servants of snakes, wholesome uses of what are now known as poisons and friends of his enemies. Right relationships between man and his neighbor first, and all these other things will be added unto us. The centripetal force is in constant and diametric opposition to the centrifugal. If this resistance were relaxed for a second the "hull ting" would fly apart into space or come together to a common center in a "crash of matter and a crush of worlds." It is this very conflict between these infinite forces that holds the universe in unison; in the very unison Mr. Hunt denies. This cosmic unison ought not be too difficult a gnat for a gulkt that can accommodate the camel of the oneness of Liberty and a denial of liberty.
8. Mr. Hunt finds me skeptical about heat traveling millions of miles thru intense cold, and his Now Therefore opeates to make him infer that I subscribe to the doctrine that light will travel thru some thousands or hundreds of miles of inky blackness. I think Koresh and Hunt are equally "scientific." However, I am not concerned about Cosmogony and am willing to let Mr. Hunt have the triumph of the last word; and if he is satisfied that we derive our light from the sun thru millions or thousands of miles of dense darkness it cannot matter to me. I cited astronomy for no other reason than that the scientific people of a former age were quite as sure that the earth is flat as Hunt is that liberty may be preserved by denying liberty, or that the colonists of America undertook to govern King George when they declined to be governed by him, or that the natural instinct of gregariousness is a negligible quantity in considering the question of right relationships between man and man. [p. 49]