Auberon Herbert

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Auberon Edward William Molyneux Herbert (18 June 18385 November 1906) was a writer, theorist, philosopher, and 19th century individualist. A member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Herbert was a son of the 3rd Earl of Carnarvon. He was Member of Parliament for the two member constituency of Nottingham between 1870–1874.

Quotes[edit]

Westminster Gazette (1893)[edit]

Westminster Gazette, London (November 22, 1893)

  • Of all the miserable, unprofitable, inglorious wars in the world is the war against words. Let men say just what they like. Let them propose to cut every throat and burn every house - if they so like it. We have nothing to do with a man's words or a man's thoughts, except to put against them better words and better thoughts, and so to win in the great moral and intellectual duel that is always going on, and on which all progress depends.
  • Deny human rights, and however little you may wish to do so, you will find yourself abjectly kneeling at the feet of that old-world god, Force - that grimmest and ugliest of gods that men have ever created for themselves out of the lusts of their hearts. You will find yourself hating and dreading all other men who differ from you; you will find yourself obligated by the law of the conflict into which you have plunged, to use every means in your power to crush them before they are able to crush you; you will find yourself day by day growing more unscrupulous and intolerant, more and more compelled by the fear of those opposed to you, to commit harsh and violent actions. You will find yourselves clinging to and welcoming Force, as the one and only form of protection left to you, when you have once destroyed the rule of the great principles.
  • When once you have plunged into the strife for power, it is the fear of those who are seeking for power over you that so easily persuades to all the great crimes.
  • Who shall count up the evil brood that is born from power - the pitiful fear, the madness, the despair, the overpowering craving for revenge, the treachery, the unmeasured cruelty?

The Contemporary Review[edit]

  • If we cannot by reason, by influence, by example, by strenuous effort, and by personal sacrifice, mend the bad places of civilization, we certainly cannot do it by force. Force is the very weakest and most treacherous of all human implements. The history of force is the history of the continuous crumbling away of every institution that has rested upon it. — The Contemporary Review, The Ethics of Dynamite (1894)[1]
  • How, then, can the rights of three men exceed the rights of two men? In what possible way can the rights of three men absorb the rights of two men, and make them as if they had never existed. Rights are not things which grow by using the multiplication table. here are two men. If there are such things as rights, these two men must evidently start with equal rights. How shall you, then, by multiplying one of the two, even a thousand times over, give him larger rights than the other, since each new unit that appears only brings with him his own rights; or how, by multiplying one of the units up to the point of exhausting the powers of the said multiplication table, shall you take from the other the rights with which he started?

The Principles of Voluntaryism and Free Life[2][edit]

  • We voluntaryists believe that no true progress can be made until we frankly recognize the great truth that every individual, who lives within the sphere of his own rights, as a self-owner, and has not himself first aggressed upon others by employing force or fraud in his dealings with them [and thus deprived himself of his own rights of self-ownership by aggressing upon these same rights of others], is the only one true owner of his own faculties, and his own property.
  • We hold that the one and only one true basis of society is the frank recognition of these rights of self-ownership; that is to say, of the rights of control and direction by the individual, as he himself chooses, over his own mind, his own body, and his own property, always provided, that he respects the same universal rights in others.
  • State socialism is the refusal to others and the abandonment for oneself of all true human rights. Under it a man would have no rights over his own property, over his own labor, over his own amusements, over his own home and family — in a word, either over himself, or all that naturally and reasonably belonged to him, but he would have as his compensation (if there were 10,000,000 electors in his country) the one-tenth millionth share in the ownership of all his fellow-men (including himself) and of all that naturally and reasonably belonged to them and not to him.
  • Because free countries have affirmed many years ago that a compulsory church rate is immoral and oppressive, for the sake of the burden laid upon individual consciences; and in affirming this truth they have unconsciously affirmed the wider truth, that every tax or rate, forcibly taken from an unwilling person, is immoral and oppressive. The human conscience knows no distinction between church rates and other compulsory rates and taxes. The sin lies in the disregarding of each other's convictions, and is not affected by the subject matter of the tax.

State Education: A Help or Hindrance?[3][edit]

  • If must also be remembered that, unless men are left to their own resources, they do not know what is or what is not possible for them. If Government half a century ago had provided us all with dinners and breakfasts, it would be the practice of our orators to-day to assume the impossibility of our providing for ourselves.
  • Secondly, get rid of all dependence upon the central department. If you do not as yet perceive that public money can not wisely, in any shape, be taken for education, still refuse the grant that the central department offers as a bribe for the acceptance of its mischievous interference. Until individual self-reliance has grown among us, let each town administer education in its own way.

The Voluntaryist Creed[4][edit]

  • There is one and only one principle, on which you can build a true, rightful, enduring and progressive civilization, which can give peace and friendliness and contentment to all differing groups and sects into which we are divided—and that principle is that every man and woman should be held by us all sacredly and religiously to be the one true owner of his or her faculties, of his or her body and mind, and of all property, inherited or — honestly acquired. There is no other possible foundation — seek it wherever you will — on which you can build, if you honestly mean to make this world a place of peace and friendship, where progress of every kind, like a full river fed by its many streams, may flow on its happy fertilizing course, with ever broadening and deepening volume. Deny that self-ownership, that self-guidance of the individual, and however fine our professed motives may be, we must sooner or later, in a world without rights, become like animals who prey on each other. Deny human rights, and however little you may wish to do so, you will find yourself abjectly kneeling at the feet of that old-world god, Force — that grimmest and ugliest of gods that men have ever carved for themselves out of the lusts of their hearts; you will find yourselves hating and dreading all other men who differ from you; you will find yourselves obliged by the law of conflict into which you have plunged, to use every means in your power to crush them before they are able to crush you; you will find yourselves day by day growing more unscrupulous and intolerant, more and more compelled by the fear of those opposed to you, to commit harsh and violent actions, of which you would once have said 'Is thy servant a dog taht he should do these things?'; you will find yourselves clinging to and welcoming Force, as the one and only form of protection left to you, when you have destroyed the rule of the great principles.

A Politician in Trouble about His Soul[edit]

  • Contrast force and morality with each other. How can an act done under compulsion have any moral element in it, seeing that what is moral is the free act of an intelligent being? If you tie a man's hands there is nothing moral about his not committing murder.

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