Some Considerations by the Way

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"The Anti-Lottery law is an outrageous piece of tyranny."
BENJ. R. TUCKER, in Liberty.

A wishes to keep a lottery, and does.

B wishes to buy a lottery ticket and does.

But here come C, D, E, F, and G: - "Gentlemen, lotteries are wrong. You have no right. You must quit."

Says A, "I claim the right to sell."

Says B, "I claim the right to buy."

Replies C (speaking for all the others), "We have made no contract with you recognizing the right. Wherefore have you it?"

Cries A, "It is my natural right as an individual. As the transaction is between B and myself alone, and it concerns you no more than my buying of a cow would, by what reason do you interfere? How are you a party to the contract?"

Says C, "Your cow has wicked horns, and and a bad temper. Our lives are placed in jeopardy."

"But," says B, "if I keep that cow to myself, on my own domain, and you keep away, you won't get hooked."

"Ah!" exclaims C, "but your example may persuade me to buy bad-tempered cows with horns; or, my boy may be led astray; therefore, we will have none of it nowhere - on your premises, or off; you have no premises for that matter unless I contract that you have. B shall not buy. A shall not sell. The cow shall die."

Say A and B doggedly, "Who then are you, good gentlemen" -

C, D, E, D, and G, in chorus: "We are egoists, and that is right which we think is for our interest, advantage; that suits our taste, liking. Abd such shall be your law."

"You beastly tyrants!" shouts Tucker.

"Hey there, - brother egoist?"

And C, D, E, F, and G laugh loud and long.

A, B, C D, E, F, and G are about to retire but B. R. T. calls them back.

"I am not through with you gentlemen. You think you have got me, I suppose, because I called a certain act 'tyranny,' and do not believe in natural right, but hold that 'justice,' as a conception, exists, like truth, independent of contract. But justice as a binding fact exists only as we agree to adopt it. In other words, it is 'only a social deal.' "

C: - You say with us, do you not, that there is nothing binding in this conception of justice? We are under no obligation to to give heed to the sentiment unless we have adopted it by contract or agreement?"

B. R. T.: - "Yes."

C: - "If I am under no obligation to deal justly, wherefore do you denounce me?"

B.R.T.: - "Nor do I. I only described your act. I said it was 'outrageous tyranny.' That is the sort of act I hold it to be."

C: - "But why outrageous?"

B. R. T.: - "It outrages and denies the law of equal freedom."

C: - "But there is no such law - no such right - unless it has been agreed on. 'I may understand what justice is, but I am not bound to do it.' I quote your own words. If I am not bound to do a thing, there is nothing 'outrageous' in my not doing it. To keep to the case in hand. There was no law of freedom for A and B to carry on the lottery business: no natural right. They have no right breathe even unless I or others contract to let them. N, B. R. T.; you must cease using terms that imply obligation, - that attach odium any one for whatever act. 'Nothing binds me to do aught or to refrain from doing, except the penalty of violation of contract or the disadvantage of an abandonment of contract.' Again I have quoted your own words."

B. R. T.: - "I have said nothing about moral obligation. A rattlesnake is not morally bound not to bite. There is odium attached to it, however; if I don't say its action is outrageous, I may say it is devilish, and I may go for that snake to exterminate it.

C: - "Yes, but to the snake you make no appeal, but at once apply physical force. This, in dealing with reasonable beings (such as men are supposed to be), you, as an Anarchist, decline to use. You reason with and persuade. Persuade to what? To your reasoning - based on what? On experience as to which is the better way? Ah! but your experience must be as convincing as fire that will straightway burn, or water that will drown. And then, you have no cause for getting excited if I choose, according to my own sweet will or taste, not to heed your admonition. I have not contracted that fire exists; therefore it does for me not exist."

B. R. T.: - "Try it, and find out for yourself, then."

C: - "I will. Ah! but it does exist, feel its bite. I agree then. A contract could have nothing to do with it."

A: - "Let me interpose. I also exist, - exist as a separate, independent individuality. By my nature I demand, need, must have, to be myself fully, liberty; the right to maintain myself in liberty and happiness so far as I can, without infringing on the same right in all other human beings. You deny me the right because there is no contract. But you may make the same mistake as you have made with the fire. My right does not depend on your recognition; you may indeed prevent me from exercising it, as you might put out fire with water; but under the law of equal freedom, which exists and continues to exist whether you subscribe to it or no, and which will eventually grind your opposition to powder, you are, by deeper and stronger cords than your will-force can destroy, bound by it."

B. R. T.: - "I deny God; therefore I deny all obligation which I have not contracted; and then all that binds me is fear or dislike of the consequences which might follow a refusal to abide by my contract."

B: - "Your God, then, is consequences."

B. R. T.: - " Yes, I might agree to that proposition."

S. H. Morse