A collection of everything carrying the Gospel of Might is Right—The Philosophy of Power.
Gospel of Might is Right—The Philosophy of Power
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A Chicago man
Puts the Actual Ethics of Capitalism Into Verse.
A Chicago man who rejoices in the name of Ragnar Redbeard, has published a volume of verse entitled “Might is Right.” The verse (which is printed in prose form) is not devoid of merit—especially of energy—as may be judged from the following extract, which expresses more frankly even than Kipling, if not so artistically, the practical rule of conduct of the “law and order” prating capitalist class:
“Might was Right when Caesar bled upon the stones of Rome; might was right when Joshua led his hordes o’er Jordan’s foam; and might was right when German troops poured down through Paris gay. It’s the Gospel of the ancient world, and the logic of to-day.
“Behind all kings and presidents, all government and law, are army corps and cannoneers to hold the world in awe; and sword-strong races own the earth and ride the conqueror's car, and liberty has ne'er been won except by deeds of war.
“Might was right when Gideon led the ‘chosen’ tribes of old, and it was right when Titus burnt the temple roofed with gold: and might was right from Bunkers Hill to far Manilla Bay. By land and flood it's writ in blood—the gospel of to-day.
“Cain’s knotted club is scepter still; the ‘rights of man’ is fraud; Christ’s ethics are for creeping things, true manhood smiles at ‘God;’ for might is right when empires sink in storm of steel and flame, and it is right when weakling breeds are hunted down like game.
“Then what’s the use of dreaming dreams that ‘each shall get his own’ by forceless votes of meek-eyed thralls who blindly sweat and moan? No! a curse is on their cankered brains, their very brains decay! Go trace your fate in the iron Game—the logic of to-day.
“The Strong must ever rule the weak, is grim primordial law; on earth’s broad racial threshing floor the meek are beaten straw. Then ride to power o’er foemen’s necks’, let nothing bar your way; if you are fit you'll rule and reign, is the logic of to-day.”
In THE WORKER, (New York) December 22, 1901.
The plunderers say that “in economic affairs the only way to get a fair share is to be prepared always to fight, and when necessary to fight for it.” What say the producers? Speaking for them, and with the warrant of a rapidly extending organisation based on a true conception of the struggle, the Industrial Workers of the World says the workers cannot win out by reliance upon golden rules and books of law; that so long as they depend on Christ’s ethics or sentimental mouthing’s about the “Rights of Man,” so long will they remain the beaten straw on the threshing floor of a ravaged and exploited world; so long as our class is a dreamer of dreams and puts its faith wholly in “forceless votes,” so long will they be objects of the scorn and contempt of those who wield “Cain’s knotted club,” and ride the “Conqueror’s Car.” The “advance” to a realisation of the “brotherhood” is measured by the backward march from Christ to Roosevelt. The latter, occupying the most exalted position in the nation, serves the interests of the economically strenuous by prejudicing the case of workingmen in advance of public trial. And we have no business to whine about it. It is in accord with the Logic of to-day, the Gospel of the Strong. The tyranny of the Strong can be overcome only by the working class powerfully
enough organised on the field of industry to do what the plunder-patriots have done: “Take and hold the means whereby we live,” which means are the work of our hands and brains supplementing the work of our class throughout the bloody centuries of the past. —U.S. “Industrial Worker’s Bulletin.”
People, (Sydney) 23 May, 1908.
Might was Right when Abel fell
Beneath the club of Cain;
’Twas right when David used his power
The Hittite’s wife to gain,
And Might was Right on Calvary,
As Pirate’s soldiers sung
Their ribald taunts as ’twixt two thieves,
The Man or sorrows swung.
Might was Right when Gideon led
The chosen tribes of old,
And it was right when Titus burnt
Their temples roofed with gold;
And Might was Right when empires sank,
In storms of steel and flame,
And it was right when craven breeds
Were hunted down like game.
Behind all thrones and governments,
Religions, faiths and law,
Loom gatling-guns and gallows-trees
To hold the world in awe;
For sword-strong races own the earth,
And subject races bleed
That Might may ever have the right
To fashion cult and creed.
It’s Might that beats the toiling slaves,
The power to shoot and stab,
To shield with barricades and guns
The lily-livered scab:
For Might is Right when master minds
Control the right to live,
And weakling breeds must take the crumbs
The masters choose to give.
The strong must ever rule the weak,
Is evolution’s law,
And ’neath the flail of poverty
The meek are beaten straw,
Possessing power, but lacking pluck,
They toil from morn till night,
But liberty has ne’er been won,
Except by deeds of might.
Then what’s the use of dreaming dreams,
Of mouthing freedom’s hymn?
The power to wield the knotted club,
The courage fierce and grim,
That tramples opposition down,
And loughs at gods and laws,
Alone can crown with victory
The fight for freedom’s cause.
Truth, (Perth) 16 February, 1918.
AN INTERESTING POSSIBILITY,
By way of disproving the assertions of “the other side” that Labor blew out its brains when Hughes and Holman wore expelled by the A.L.P. executive, two or three literary geniuses within the fold have written brochures on proletarian tactics and theory that have been submitted to the Board of Censors for their imprimatur.
According to I.W.W. standards Donald Grant's “Through Six Gaols” is a masterpiece. But, now that he has been selected to carry Labor’s banner as a senatorial candidate his colleagues deem it unwise to push the book in the country districts lest it should frighten away tho cocky votes.
In the Red circle there are. fewer restrictions, and. tho Labor Council’s secretary issues manifestos periodically full of fire and fury and poison gas, to promote class consciousness and tho civil war theory. Meantime, Jacob, of the Viking strain, sings sagas regarding the torpedoing of the shipping industry, and chants that “might was right when Nelson won in Trafalgar Bay. It was the gospel of the ancient world and is the logic of to-day.”
But should Fuller, the Nationalist knight, and his cavaliers defeat Lang and his Leninite allies, and the new Government put into execution the election threat to deport all foreign-bred, strike leaders, then tho tyranny of the dominant party will be tho lament of the scuttlers and sabotagers. The “might is right” axiom will then most surely be condemned as being based on capitalist ideology.
Singleton Argus, 23 May, 1925.
And the Hawk's Chickens.
FRANK GROGAN'S SERMON.
Frank J. Grogan, well-known to Gundagai as a horse buyer, a horse seller, and teller of interesting stories, lets himself loose, and he writes:
Might was right 1925 B.C. Might is right 1925 A.D. From the cradle to the grave it is a case of the survival of the fittest. One baby grabs another baby's lollies. One nation grabs territory from another nation. Why? Because it is the unalterable law of nature. The hawk eats the chicken. England took Australia from the blacks by might. Nobody questioned England's right to hold Australia, why? Because might is right. Organised labour of unionism is might. The Arbitration Court recognises might because might is right.
Might at the ballot-box, or might in a big war, or might in the Arbitration Court, is the logic of to-day. The sooner the landowners recognise this, and join up with some union or Association that represents, and will fight for their interests the better for themselves.
If they want to protect themselves against such impossible things as building fly-proof lavatories with automatic closing lids for their employees then they must unite, and create might, because might is right to-day, and will be to-morrow, and the next day.
The Gundagai Independent and Pastoral, Agricultural and Mining Advocate,
30 November, 1925.
Editor El Paso Herald:
The Christian people of the earth especially condemn the use of force, so does the Socialist party, but I have yet to find a single existent nation that was not founded by force and unlimited throat cutting.
To use the language of Isaiah, not only Zion but every nation on earth “has been built with blood.”
I cannot see how nations can be built otherwise. I cannot see how even a national party can exist without force. The poet says that “force governs all organic life” and inspires all right and wrong.”
Might was right when Gideon led his chosen tribes of old, and might was right when Titus burnt the temple roofed with gold.
Might was right from Bunker Hill to far Manila Bay. Highland and flood it wrote in blood the gospel of today.
Did not labor use force to get the day on the railroads?
Did not the supreme court of the United States jump to it and find that the law that Woodrow Wilson had signed during the campaign was constitutional when force was
The Socialist party can kick me out of the party if they want to, but they will have to use “force” to do it, and if they have the “might,” they are right and if they haven’t I am right.
Just because I did not want to go to Europe to lick “Kaiser Bill” is no sign I don't have to go. I wanted to make him come over here for a fight, but “might” decreed otherwise, and now I, like J. Ogden Armour am willing to bet my life and the life of the nation that we can lick him on his own ground, and I am one Socialist who is willing to let the president and the army direct the job and cut out all congressmen and red tape.
An economic theory may be left to lawyers and congressmen: we have lived under “capitalism” in the past and we can exist a little while yet, even if most workingmen are poor and poor financiers, but war must be met with sworded might, so that there will
some of us be here to fight over our theories in economics. I say, bet it all on the U. S. armies, the navy and the president. Cut out congress and make the president a real kaiser until be end of hostilities. When the world cools off is time enough for democracy.
S. L. Hughes. County chairman Socialist party. El Paso county, Tex. (Local 1003 meets every Sunday at 3 p. m. at 2914 Myrtle avenue. Stay away if you are afraid. The Socialists say I am too hot headed to be a leader.)
El Paso Herald, August 22, 1917.
Might is Right when Long-Bell builds
A hell ’round every earth;
Might is Right when Kirby starves
His peons off the earth;
And Might was Right when Deitz Became
Wolfe Weyerhauser’s prey—
’Tis the logic of the Ancient World,
And the Gospel of Today.
Might is Right when children die
By the thousands in the mills,
When jeweled hands reach down and take
The gold their blood distills;
And Might is Right when maidens give
Their love-dreams up for pay—
’Tis the logic of the Ancient World,
And the Gospel of Today.
And, so, O Hosts of Toil, awaken!
O workingmen, unite!
And by the Might of Folded Arms,
In GENERAL STRIKE sweep ’way,
The fang-law of the Ancient World,
The Gospel of Today!
The Lumberjack Vol. 1. No. 10. March 13, 1913.
Contained in the report of the Labor delegation which visited the Ruhr was the following passage:—
"We are not competent to express an opinion on the legal aspect of the situation, but we submit that if the
occupation of the Ruhr is legal, then might is right."
Somehow it seems that it is. There is only one way to argue with might, and that is to become might, and make might right, right in the working of it instead of trusting to the theory. For the workers this has a special significance, and Ragnar Redbeard put it this way:
The strong must ever rule the weak,
is grim Primordial Law,
On earth's broad racial threshing
floor, the Meek are beaten straw;
Then ride to Power o'er focmen's neck,
let NOTHING bar your way.
If you are FIT you'll rule and reign,
is the Logic of To-day.
Daily Standard, June 19, 1923.
By HAROLD LORD VARNEY
Probably the most pitiable figure in the world today is Woodrow Wilson. He returns to us from Paris, a beaten, repudiated man. All his programs have been shattered. All the magnetic, enticing phrases which gave such loftiness to his figure, in the days of the war, have shrivelled into ashes of contempt.
There is something epic and colossal about this collapse of Wilson. For the height he fell from was sublime. William Marion Reedy, in writing of Wilson’s trip to Paris, several months ago, phrased it most felicitiously. “Wilson is as one who dwells on a high mountain,” he wrote. “A mountain of pure ideals. He is above the world and its’ petty futilities. He moves in sublimer atmosphere, and he dominates all beneath.” In other words, Wilson, in the popular belief of a few months ago, represented the idealistic, as opposed to the sordid—in international politics. He stood for principles, not for materialism. His figure stood out, in the mind of the world, as the personal embodiment of political IDEALISM.
And now he has fallen. Like a gutted, stricken ship, he staggers home from Paris—discredited and despised. He who went to Europe to rebuild the world from his cold ideal “mountain,” has been laughed into oblivion. His defeat has been crushing and utter. Not even one small crumb of victory has been saved for him from the ruin. His Fourteen Points were all tabled. His anti-Imperialism was blotted out in the most arrogant imperialistic debauch known to history. His Self-Determination faded into Mandatories. Even his Democracy—his slogan of the war—gave way to a hideous Plutocracy. Wilson went to Paris to match Right against Might: but Might beat him. He opposed Idealism to Materialist Diplomacy, and his Idealism was crushed and extinguished.
All Liberalism is mourning now at Wilson’s fall. In the world of bourgeois, idealistic reformers, Wilson was the “white hope.” Paris was to bring the Millenium— (of shop-keepers!). The League of Nations was to be a covenant of lofty, spotless Right— (whatever that may mean). All those muddled minds who had looked to words, and to thin ideals, and to quibbling formulas, as their political varities, were plunged in despair with Wilson, when Liberalism was expunged from the Peace Treaty. The New Republic is sobbing. The Manchester Guardian is dumb. The Wilson “Socialists” are stricken. For Paris has given the lie to their belief.
Poor Wilson! Literature has his counterpart. Don Quixote, we remember, also had his “ideal” of what the world should be, and he rode out sublimely to realize it. But when he tried to battle the wind-mills, he found that all the power of nature was against him, and he fell. And Wilson with his Liberalism, fighting Materialism in a world which will always be Materialist—seeking to introduce ideals in the No-Man’s Land between the trenches of class struggles—is but the pitiful Don Quixote of our age. He is battling natural law: he is attempting to dike back the natural forces of the ages, and he has perished in the struggle.
This significance of his defeat, is not the personal one. For Wilson is but one of Many Don Quixotes. It is not so much Wilson—it is Idealism itself which has been mortally wounded at Versailles. No longer can we speak of Justice and Right ruling the world. No longer can we invent sweet-sounding phrases to decorate our wars. With a ruthless hand, the diplomats of Paris—the Clemenceaus, the Orlandos and the Georges—have stripped away the rag of illusion. There are no more ideals. We see clearly now, and we know that the world is but a sordid battle ground of economic brigands. That war is but a struggle for a market. That history has been a vicious circle and it has whirled us round and round, in an eternal swine-trough of Materialism. But revolutionists do not mourn the wreck of Paris. We know that the Peace Conference did the true thing—it followed economic law. It was not Wilson who represented the spirit of the age at Paris—it was Clemenceau or Orlando, or Lloyd George. These followed the law of their class. And since their class was the dominant economic class, they re-made the world by making it “safe for profits.” They possessed the might: therefore they sanctified their deeds with the halo of right. And so it has always been.
Ideals are pale things in this world of cold, ruthless materialism. Idealism in politics never was. We, who are revolutionists, know that the crimes of this age will only be ended by Might. The criminals of this age who have written the Paris treaty, will only be mastered by those who are economically stronger. All the ideals in the universe will not budge them. But a class organization will sound their doom. Labor must fight capital by the same weapons. They on top and we below—both are materialists. We want the world, not because we love justice, but because we love ourselves. We fight revolutions not for Idealism but for self-interest. Such is the law of life. Why, like Wilson, pretend that it is otherwise?
The power of the I. W. W. comes from our realization of this materialism. We are not fogged by illusions of right and wrong. We do not bow at the shrine of tender phrases. Might is right. Let us learn the lesson, and organize until we are the mightiest.
The Big Union Monthly Vol. 1, Issue 4. 1919-06
“Might Makes Right.” This is the cruel creed of kings, the argument of thrones. Their defense is the reeking sword. Unjust governments are based on bayonets. The coat-of-arms of every imperialistic government should show a naked spear impaling a human heart, and decrees issuing from the bloody lips of cannon.
If physical might makes right, then man should be subject to the brutes and beasts of earth. The eternal God set His seal of condemnation upon that doctrine, when He gave to man “dominion over the fowls of the air and beasts of the field.” Infinite Wisdom did not make the mastodon monarch of creation, though in brute force he had within his sinews the strength of a thousand men.
Right and wrong are eternal opposites. Man cannot make right wrong, God cannot make wrong right.
Light and darkness, good and evil, justice and injustice wage relentless war. The opposing generals are Right and Wrong. This mighty conflict commenced at the birth of time. It will last until “time shall be no more.”
Somebody asked Lincoln whether he was not anxious to have God on his side. He replied that he was more anxious to be on the Lord’s side.
To be on God’s side of a question we must get on the right side. It may be unpopular. The crowd may all be on the other side, as in the days of Lot and Noah. But the flood and the destruction of Sodom is proof positive that it does not always pay to be with the majority, unless the majority is right.
Brute force has ever been the doctrine of kings and wild beasts. In the jungle it is the logic of the lions, the argument of elephants. In the seas it is the philosophy of leviathans. It is the accepted creed of the earthquake, the volcano, the lightning and the storm.
Lightning can kill a Gladstone, the lion rend a Livingston, and Vesuvius bury with molten logic a Pliny, but these cannot rule a nation, carry civilization to a continent, or read the handwriting of God on tables of stone and weigh the planets in their orbits.
The Republican Party in the Philippines, and England in the Transvaal are the grand exponents of the gospel of Might. They may prevail, but it will be victory for wrong, the triumph of brute force.
While I abhor, detest and repudiate the infamous and infernal doctrine that “Might Makes Right,” on the other hand I believe that Right is Might.
Right was Might when the stripling David faced Goliath of Goth.
Right was Might when Arnold Winkelried cast himself upon the Austrian spears in the name of liberty.
Right was Might when the people of England wrung from King John the Magna Charta.
Right was Might when Leonidas and his Spartans fell at Thermopylae, and, by their death, saved Greece from the chains of slavery.
Right was Might when Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death!” After seven bloody years it prevailed at Yorktown.
Right was Might when Christ stood before Pilate and heard him boast of the power of Rome. From that hour the Roman power waned and the power of right increased, until today Rome is only a memory, while the simple name of Jesus, with his sublime ethics, is the most potent factor in this world.
I believe the Boers and Filipinos are right in their contentions for self-government ant independence, but we must wait to see the finished picture before we can judge. Complications may arise that will force England to abandon the Boer war to save the British Empire. I believe the American people will repudiate the imperialistic policy of William McKinley, and that the Democratic Party will triumph in 1900 and save the Monroe doctrine, the constitution, the declaration of independence, the emancipation proclamation, the Fourth of July and the Ten Commandments. True to its founder, the party of Jefferson will then proclaim peace, liberty and independence to the Isles of the sea.
For more than a century this republic has been a power in world politics. American ideas have made conquest of the world. American principles have been more potent than armed hosts. The doctrine that “all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” like an invisible hand, has torn the bars from prison windows and poured upon helpless victims of tyranny a flood of light and hope. That sublime doctrine, like an army with banners, has circled the earth, conquering and to conquer, leaving in its wake no drop of innocent blood, no blasted hopes, no ruined homes. The moan of widows and wail of orphans did not mingle with the shouts of victory. Its message was “peace and good will to men.” Along its shining path men stood erect, with godlike form, and smiled, while on their foreheads fell the golden dawn of the new age brotherhood.
“All governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed!” Words of light and life! A truth immortal! An idea worthy of a god! This song of Right and Reason was set to music by the great Jefferson. The sea has sung them to all its golden shores, the winds whisper them to the eternal stars and the lightnings write them in fire on the skies. Thus heralded and emblazoned, they have been a menace to every tyrant on earth. Kings saw and heard, and in them read their doom. Crowns trembled, thrones tottered and fell before this omnipotent idea.
This truth made France a republic, overthrew kingcraft in Brazil, tore the American diadem from the brutal brow of Spain and made the American continent a glittering galaxy of republics.
Truth is mighty, ideas are omnipotent. Shall we abandon eternal principles for the sword? The present Republican administration has cast to the dogs great truths and has returned to the proposition that “Might Makes Right,” and that governments do not derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
It is the repudiation of these principles that has taxed the people to conduct a war of conquest and greed. It was defiance of the constitution that sent fifty-five gunboats and battleships and 75,000 soldiers to shoot to death self-government in the isles of the Pacific seas. It is imperialism that has made a target of the Declaration of Independence, and, under the direction of Gen. Otis, is shooting it to pieces in the Philippine islands. It has devastated those fair islands, shed rivers of blood, and made countless women widows and thousands of children orphans.
It is said that opposition to imperialism means the death of Democracy. Then let it die fighting for the rights of man. Better to perish in such glorious cause than to triumph with that damnable doctrine that “Might Makes Right.” —Windle’s Gatling Gun, Chicago, Ill.
The Twice A Week Messenger, Saturday, Mar 9, 1901.
That Is the Opinion of a Member of The Mail Staff, Who Has Evidently Been Studying the Election Returns.
[Written for the Mail by Will Davis.]
After all, might is right. This sort of a doctrine may not be popular, but no truer axiom was ever given to the world. You can’t get away from it nor around it. It is a fact. It is just as true as that night and day follow each other. From the very beginning of all existence—human or brute—the battle begins, and the weak succumbs to the strong; the life germs do battle with each other to determine by actual strife which shall be the favored one and earn the right to bring forth the perfect being. The biggest and the strongest is generally the winner. There may be exceptions, of course, but it is the inevitable trend of life and being that the biggest and the strongest shall be the victor.
And it is right that this should be so; it is the inexorable law of all time. That the majority shall rule is only another way of putting it. Whether Roosevelt is the proper man to be the President of these United States is not the question at all, when you come right down to it; but a majority of the people—and it was a whopping big majority—declared for Roosevelt; the people in the minority—what few there are—have nothing to say in the matter. They must stand for it. The people in the minority can’t say: “Well, you fellows who want Roosevelt can have him; we will have Parker for our President.” No; the majority has elected a President for the minority as well as for itself. There’s where might—in the shape of numbers—wins again.
It must always be so. If the minority starts a revolution, kicks over the traces and begins raising a rough house the majority gets in and administers a beating to the nervy but injudicious little minority. I thing something of that character was tried not so very far back, and the side with the most might won. Then there was might in the shape of numbers and cannon and other arms. The fact that the North won doesn’t of a necessity prove that the North was right, but might made it so. The other side may have been right, but the South is not now in a position to say so and make the declaration hold. Suppose the South had won that four-year strife? Wouldn’t we of the North have had to accept the slave doctrine as the right thing? Wouldn’t the North and the South have become united again just as they are now? Wouldn’t we have shaken hands across the bloody chasm, just as we do now? Wouldn’t the bloody shirt have been waved as it is now occasionally? And wouldn’t the South have been declared right in its doctrines?
Of course; there is no gainsaying it. The side which wins is always right, and might makes it so.
You bet your life it does!
What makes the poll-tax right? The might of the majority in the Legislature. We don’t any of us like it, but we pay it—when we can’t get out of it. Few will stand up and declare that the poll-tax, which costs as much too collect as it amounts to, is a good thing. But we have to pay it because a majority—the might—will not rise and demand it be abolished. It will be knocked out and the knocking of it out declared to be right, just as soon as a majority of some Legislature submits to the people a constitutional amendment for that purpose. It can’t be done by the minority, which is usually the Democratic representatives.
Now let us go a little further. When two countries go to war, what do they do? Each gathers all the soldiers it can muster, all the cannon it can get its hands on, all the rifles and swords and six-shooters and howitzers and dynamite guns that it can procure; it begins the manufacture of powder in large quantities, instructs its soldiers in the placing of mines so that the soldiers of the other side may be blown up and destroyed; it renovates its battle-ships, torpedo-boats and torpedo-boat destroyers, furnishes them with more powder and shot and explosive shells and prepares to do all its power so sweep the other country from the face of the earth. All this comes under one head: MIGHT.
Perhaps ’way back in the musty history of the past there may have been a few civil scraps on the basis that the side that was right was sufficiently well armed and accoutered to whip the other fellow. I never was much of a historian, but I can’t just now call to mind that the army armed with this flimsy weapon of right unbacked by might, ever copped any prizes.
Remember this: The side with the most arms and the most men may not win, but not because the cause of the other side was right. The apparently weaker side sometimes has might in another form than men and arms. Might may be in the shape of brains and intellect and courage. It is might, nevertheless. Napoleon came pretty near speaking the truth when he said the Lord was on the side with heaviest artillery, but he wasn’t entirely right. I don’t believe the Lord has anything to do with these matters. The Lord does not interfere with natural consequences. In the very nature of things they cannot be disturbed.
As I said before, might may be in the shape of brains in the skull of the General. It is not to be thought of that material might can win without intellectual might to direct it. But what I wanted to get at is that in preparing for war no country strives merely to equal its opposing country in the matter of arms and equipment; it strives to excel it; in other words, to amass more might. If it were a question of right as a fundamental principle, this gathering of might would be unnecessary and foolish, wouldn’t it? When the side with the bigger army tackles the fellow with the smaller army no country raises a cry of “Coward” and says the bigger fellow isn’t playing fair in tackling a fellow smaller.
Suppose that I should get into a quarrel with Charles Bertrand, the little mite of a man who assists in directing the destinies of Hale’s. It isn’t likely to happen. Of course not.
But suppose it should and during an altercation the lie should pass and he should commit an act of war by stamping on my foot or punching me as hard as he could reach. Then suppose that I should stoop—I’d have to, of course—and hit him between the eyes with my fist and lay him out. I would be pointed out as a bully and a coward and earn the disregard of all my friends for tackling someone smaller than myself. The provocation would not excuse me.
And yet suppose that some little South American republic, with no more men than enough to fill a good-sized North American hotel, should commit an act of war against Uncle Sam—a grievous act of war. What would be the result? Uncle Sam would send a fleet of ships and a lot of troops down there and mop the earth with the aforementioned republic. In sending the ships he wouldn’t send three because the other fellow only had three. He’d send ten or a dozen, and of soldiers about a hundred to one. Would Uncle Sam be called a coward and told to tackle somebody his size? Not much. I didn’t hear anybody announcing that doctrine from the housetops when Spain was tackled by your Uncle Samuel.
But between man and man a fellow must only tackle a fellow of his size—or larger. If he is insulted by a smaller man he must stand and take it. If two men “double-bank” another they are both cowards, and yet it has been the rule among nations from time immemorial.
Sure, Mike, might is right, on the basis that “whatever is, is right.”
The Evening Mail, Fri Nov 11, 1904.
(By Oscar Ameringer.)
I am a proletarian. That is a landless, toolless worker who works four fifths of his time for a boss in order that I may have the opportunity to work one-fifth of the time for myself. I do not do so for the fun of it, but because I have to. I’d much rather keep the whole product of my labor. But the things with which I produce wealth are the private property of my boss. Without their use I cannot live at all. Even a poor living is better than no living. Hence I turn over to my master four fifths of the wealth I produce. I do this with joy in my heart, because I must or starve to death.
Now comes Socialism. It promises me the whole cheese through the common ownership of the cheese factory. The whole cheese looks good to my hungry eyes. Therefore, I say, “Socialism is right.”
The present owner of the cheese factory begs to differ. The ownership of the cheese factory gives to him the whole cheese, minus the one fifth which is set aside for my maintenance while I make the cheese. The major portion of the cheese looks as good to my beloved boss as it does to me. Socialism endangers his strangle hold. Therefore, he says, “Socialism is wrong.”
Any person of ordinary horse sense can see from the above that Socialism is both right and wrong. This may look contradictory to some folks, but it isn’t. A thing may be right today and wrong tomorrow. Or it may be right and wrong at the same time. Or it may look right to some people and wrong to others. So you see there is something wrong about wrong, and right don’t seem to be altogether right, or not quite right, or not right at all times or in the eyes of certain people. All this is as clear as mud.
For instance, it is right for a chicken to eat grasshoppers. But the grasshoppers entertain an entirely contrary notion on this subject. It is also right for the early bird to catch the worm. But it is safe to presume that the worm is bitterly opposed to the concept of right harbored by the early bird.
A coyote may also eat chickens without losing caste among his brethren. But judging from the amount of indignant noise arising from the chicken coop this action is bitterly condemned by the fowls.
It is even so among other animals called humans. There was a time when the best people, the pillars of church and state, owned slaves or traded in slaves. Nowadays we say slavery is a wrong. But it was not wrong prior to 1863. And the undesirable citizen who raised his voice against the institution of slavery in those days had a good chance to be hanged by a committee of the leading citizens.
Yes, the world does change, and our own conception of right and wrong changes it. “But,” you say, “Is there no right or wrong in this sinful world?” Oh, yes, oodles and oodles of it. Whatever is against the strongest class in society is wrong. In other words, “might makes right.”
At the present writing my boss belongs to the strongest class. Hence the cheese belongs to him by right—by right of might. It is the only right that has any standing in court—because the courts also belong to the strongest class. The cheese I made is not my cheese. Should I take that cheese, notwithstanding, I would be condemned by law. Morality, the interpretation of religion and law, follows the strongest class in society even as the tail follows the dog. The tail don’t wag the dog. It expresses the sentiment of the dog.
Someday the working people will become the strongest class in society. When that day comes my boss will lose the cheese I made. For I will belong to the strongest class.
I am right because I am right.
This is the economic interpretation of the actions of men. This is the scientific view of life. It is the true conception of life because it is borne out by the recorded facts of life and by the 6,000 years of known history. Therefore the Socialist who tries to prove the justice of Socialism by a religion or a morality arising out of the institution of a semi-barbarous people is a muddlehead of the first order. The beneficiary of the present system which he seeks to convert with such arguments will laugh at him. Because whenever religion interferes with business we cut religion. On the other side the victim of the system needs no moral arguments to convince him that four-fifths of the cheese is preferable to one-fifth. What he wants to know is how to get it. Show him, and he’s your man! —Exchange.
Miner’s Magazine Published by Western Federation of Miners, Vol XIII, No 502, Thursday, Feb. 6, 1913.
We'll fight, and still we'll fight,
Spite Freedom's right;
For Might makes Right, so we but smite
And get the lion's share.
We'll fight, and still we'll fight,
Spite Reason's light;
For Might makes Right; though cravens might,
We never shall despair.
We'll fight, and still we'll fight,
Spite Honor's plight;
For Might makes Right, so we delight
To speak what's faul all fair.
We'll fight, and still we'll fight,
Spite Heaven's might;
For Might is Right in our sight,
We such our faith declare.
The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore Maryland) Tue, Feb 21, 1899.
BY MARY MORRISON.
Stir the embers, feed the flames.
Heeding neither moan nor cry.
Life Is but a raging fire.
Sweeping to eternity—
On and on, forever on.
Goading, driving, day by day.
Lust and greed for power and gain,
Over human hearts hold. sway.