God and the State

Feb 11, 2015

One work was not completed when others were already under way. “My life itself is a fragment,” he said to those who criticised his writings. Nevertheless, the readers of “God and the State” certainly will not regret that Bakunin’s memoir, incomplete though it be, has been published. The questions discussed in it are treated decisively and with a singular vigor of logic. Rightly addressing himself only to his honest opponents, Bakunin demonstrates to them the emptiness of their belief in that divine authority on which all temporal authorities are founded; he proves to them the purely human genesis of all governments; finally, without stopping to discuss those bases of the State already condemned by public morality, such as physical superiority, violence, nobility, wealth, he does justice to the theory which would entrust science with the government of societies. Supposing even that it were possible to recognize, amid the conflict of rival ambitions and intrigues, who are the pretenders and who are the real savants, and that a method of election could be found which would not fail to lodge the power in the hands of those whose knowledge is authentic, what guarantee could they offer us of the wisdom and honesty of their government? On the contrary, can- 7 -we not foresee in these new masters the same follies and the same crimes found in those of former days and of the present time? In the first place, science is not: it is becoming. The learned man of to-day is but the know-nothing of to-morrow. Let him once imagine that he has reached the end, and for that very reason he sinks beneath even the babe just born. But, could he recognize truth in its essence, he can only corrupt himself by privilege and corrupt others by power. To establish his government, he must try, like all chiefs of State, to arrest the life of the masses moving below him, keep them in ignorance in order to preserve quiet, and gradually debase them that he may rule them from a loftier throne.

The Algonquin Legends of New England

John Wilson
Jan 24, 2015

"A brilliant collection of stories from the folklore tradition of the Algonquin (Algonquian, Algonkin) peoples of North America, in particular, as the subtitle tells us, of the “Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot tribes”. The collection presented in the book is a result of the collecting efforts of folklorist Charles G. Leland and from Rev. Silas T. Rand, a Canadian Baptist clergyman who was the first to record the legend of Glooskap. It is this legend, with its many chapters, which takes up the majority of the book. The central character is a giant of a divinity named Glooskap, who “grows to a more appalling greatness than Thor or Odin in his battles”, and whose name literally means Liar, because it is said that when he left earth he promised to return but has never done so. In addition to Glooskap, a large proportion of the book is dedicated to “The Merry Tales of Lox, the Mischief-Maker”, a character, as Leland explains in his introduction, who ranges “from Punch to Satan, passing through the stages of an Indian Mephistopheles and the Norse Loki, who appears to have been his true progenitor”. Also, Throughout the book are scattered a set of wonderful illustrations (some featured below), presumably copied from tribe members themselves, though no information is given on this. - See more at: http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/the-algonquin-legends-of-new-england-1884/" - Public Domain Review


Dec 26, 2014

After the conquest of the South Pole by Amundsen, who, by a narrow margin of days only, was in advance of the British Expedition under Scott, there remained but one great main object of Antarctic journeyings—the crossing of the South Polar continent from sea to sea. When I returned from the Nimrod Expedition on which we had to turn back from our attempt to plant the British flag on the South Pole, being beaten by stress of circumstances within ninety-seven miles of our goal, my mind turned to the crossing of the continent, for I was morally certain that either Amundsen or Scott would reach the Pole on our own route or a parallel one. After hearing of the Norwegian success I began to make preparations to start a last great journey—so that the first crossing of the last continent should be achieved by a British Expedition. We failed in this object, but the story of our attempt is the subject for the following pages, and I think that though failure in the actual accomplishment must be recorded, there are chapters in this book of high adventure, strenuous days, lonely nights, unique experiences, and, above all, records of unflinching determination, supreme loyalty, and generous self-sacrifice on the part of my men which, even in these days that have witnessed the sacrifices of nations and regardlessness of self on the part of individuals, still will be of interest to readers who now turn gladly from the red horror of war and the strain of the last five years to read, perhaps with more understanding minds, the tale of the White Warfare of the South. The struggles, the disappointments, and the endurance of this small party of Britishers, hidden away for nearly two years in the fastnesses of the Polar ice, striving to carry out the ordained task and ignorant of the crises through which the world was passing, make a story which is unique in the history of Antarctic exploration.

A Short History of the World

H. G. Wells
Aug 16, 2013

THE story of our world is a story that is still very imperfectly known. A couple of hundred years ago men possessed the history of little more than the last three thousand years. What happened before that time was a matter of legend and speculation. Over a large part of the civilized world it was believed and taught that the world had been created suddenly in 4004 B.C., though authorities differed as to whether this had occurred in the spring or autumn of that year. This fantastically precise misconception was based upon a too literal interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, and upon rather arbitrary theological assumptions connected therewith. Such ideas have long since been abandoned by religious teachers, and it is universally recognized that the universe in which we live has to all appearances existed for an enormous period of time and possibly for endless time. Of course there may be deception in these appearances, as a room may be made to seem endless by putting mirrors facing each other at either end. But that the universe in which we live has existed only for six or seven thousand years may be regarded as an altogether e of 239,000 miles. Earth and moon are not the only bodies to travel round the sun. There are also the planets, Mercury and Venus, at distances of thirty-six and sixty-seven millions of miles; and beyond the circle of the earth and disregarding a belt of numerous smaller bodies, the planetoids, there are Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune at mean distances of 141, 483, 886, 1,782, and 1,793 millions of miles respectively. These figures in {3} millions of miles are very difficult for the mind to grasp. It may help the reader’s imagination if we reduce the sun and planets to a smaller, more conceivable scale.


Aug 14, 2013

In presenting to the public the series of Text Books of Art Education, of which this volume is a part, it is desired to state briefly the aims and purposes of the plan upon which the series is based. It is not necessary to review the history of art education in public schools, nor to present argument for the introduction or retention of drawing as an important study. These questions have been exhaustively treated, and need no fresh discussion. The school that does not offer to its community some kind of systematic art instruction is today an exception. Education along specific lines should conform to the philosophy which is accepted as fundamental in general educational work. The educational principles adhered to in these books are, therefore, in accord with the psychological laws of child development which are endorsed by the leading educators of the present time, and the effort has been made to work out in these books a series of lessons that shall be not only educationally sound and artistically correct, but at the same time adapted in the different stages to the child's ability to comprehend and his power to express. With this end in view, the lessons in the Text Books of Art Education have been divided into three groups which may be known as the Observational or Objective Group, in which the study of things is the aim; the Subjective Group, in which the study of principles or laws of beauty is the aim; and the Creative Group, in which the application of accumulated knowledge and ability is the aim. In furthering the work of the first group, the topics so familiar to the art teacher of our modern schools are treated—landscape, plants, life, and still life. In the second group are presented the principles of perspective, of industrial drawing, of color harmony, and most important of all, the principles of pure design. In the third group are placed creative exercises in composition, in decorative design, and in many forms of manual training. While the same division of work is kept throughout the course, the manner of presentation differs greatly in the different years. In the primary grades, the work is largely objective in its character. Children are taught to see and to do. In the intermediate grades, the children are introduced to the principles of arrangement, Balance, Rhythm, and Harmony, which have been adopted as the working basis of this series of books, and in the light of which the subjective and creative work of the upper grades is planned. As the work progresses through the different years, the subjective and creative sides are more and more emphasized, and the study of objects is felt to be merely a means necessary to an end. All through the series, there is a definite, logical progression, so that in schools where these ideas are put into practice, there should be no ground for the complaint that the work of the intermediate and grammar grades falls below the work of the primary grades, in general excellence. These books are the outgrowth of years of experience in practical fields of work. They have been prepared with a keen appreciation of the obstacles which have confronted the art teacher in public education, and with an intimate knowledge of the child mind, in its various stages of development. Never before has an attempt been made to put into the hands of children a text of lessons in art. The illustrations serve the double purpose of illuminating the text and of furnishing the children with standards of work in the various mediums. For the Theory of Color Relations used in these books, special acknowledgment is due to Dr. Denman W. Ross, of Harvard University. The lessons in design are preparatory to the fuller exposition in the upper books of Dr. Ross's principles of arrangement—Balance, Rhythm, and Harmony.

Noam Chomsky - Understanding Our World

Noam Chomsky
Jul 29, 2013

Chomsky is one of the best-known figures of the American left although he doesn't agree with the usage of the term. He has described himself as a "fellow traveller" to the anarchist tradition, and refers to himself as a libertarian socialist, a political philosophy he summarizes as challenging all forms of authority and attempting to eliminate them if they are unjustified for which the burden of proof is solely upon those who attempt to exert power. He identifies with the labor-oriented anarcho-syndicalist current of anarchism in particular cases, and is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. He also exhibits some favor for the libertarian socialist vision of participatory economics,[1] himself being a member of the Interim Committee for the International Organization for a Participatory Society.[2] He believes that libertarian socialist values exemplify the rational and morally consistent extension of original unreconstructed classical liberal and radical humanist ideas in an industrial context.[3] Chomsky has further defined himself as having held Zionist beliefs, although he notes that his definition of Zionism would be considered by most as anti-Zionism these days, the result of what he perceives to have been a shift (since the 1940s) in the meaning of Zionism (Chomsky Reader). Chomsky is considered "one of the most influential left-wing critics of American foreign policy" by the Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers.[4] Source: Wikipedia

Not protest but direct action: anarchism past and present

David Goodway
Jul 26, 2013

Fifty to sixty years ago anarchism appeared to be a spent force, as both a movement and a political theory, yet since the 1960s there has been a resurgence in Europe and North America of anarchist ideas and practice. Britain nowadays must have a greater number of conscious anarchists than at any previous point in its history. In addition there are many more who, while not identifying themselves as anarchists, think and behave in significantly anarchist ways. The last fifteen years has also seen the rise of the anti-globalization or anti-capitalism movement. At a series of international meetings of the key organizations that determine the global economic order - notably, the World Trade Organization at Seattle in 1999, the G8 at Genoa in 2001 and most recently the G20 in London in 2009 - minorities of self-professed anarchists have gone on the rampage, capturing the attention not just of the civil authorities but of the world's press, radio and television. To this extent the anarchists have announced their return as a significant disruptive presence, once again inspiring anxiety among governments and police chiefs. Anarchists themselves disdain the customary use of 'anarchy' to mean 'chaos' or 'complete disorder'. For them it signifies the absence of a ruler or rulers in a self-managed society, usually resembling the 'co-operative commonwealth' that most socialists have traditionally sought, and more highly organized than the disorganization and chaos of the present. An anarchist society would be more ordered since the political theory of anarchism advocates organization from the bottom up with the federation of the self-governed entities - as opposed to order being imposed from the top down upon resisting individuals or groups. This is a long-established way of looking at things, with not just a distinctive but an impressive intellectual history. Yet the media and other commentators (including many who should know better) insist on employing 'anarchists' and 'anarchism' as smear words unworthy of rational consideration. The French anarchists' cult of dynamite in the 1890s had much to answer for the exceedingly negative image throughout the twentieth century. Now, in contemporary Britain, recent anarchist mayhem on the streets leads to a lazy, or frightened, association of all violent actions with 'anarchists', such as the unrelated student demonstration of November 2010 or the widespread urban rioting of August 2011, neither of which had any identifiable anarchist component.

Common Sense

Thomas Paine
Jan 24, 2013

Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour; a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason. As a long and violent abuse of power, is generally the Means of calling the right of it in question (and in Matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the Sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry) and as the King of England hath undertaken in his OWN RIGHT, to support the Parliament in what he calls THEIRS, and as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination, they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretensions of both, and equally to reject the usurpation of either. In the following sheets, the author hath studiously avoided every thing which is personal among ourselves. Compliments as well as censure to individuals make no part thereof. The wise, and the worthy, need not the triumph of a pamphlet; and those whose sentiments are injudicious, or unfriendly, will cease of themselves unless too much pains are bestowed upon their conversion. The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. Many circumstances hath, and will arise, which are not local, but universal, and through which the principles of all Lovers of Mankind are affected, and in the Event of which, their Affections are interested. The laying a Country desolate with Fire and Sword, declaring War against the natural rights of all Mankind, and extirpating the Defenders thereof from the Face of the Earth, is the Concern of every Man to whom Nature hath given the Power of feeling; of which Class, regardless of Party Censure, is the AUTHOR. P.S. The Publication of this new Edition hath been delayed, with a View of taking notice (had it been necessary) of any Attempt to refute the Doctrine of Independance: As no Answer hath yet appeared, it is now presumed that none will, the Time needful for getting such a Performance ready for the Public being considerably past. Who the Author of this Production is, is wholly unnecessary to the Public, as the Object for Attention is the DOCTRINE ITSELF, not the MAN. Yet it may not be unnecessary to say, That he is unconnected with any Party, and under no sort of Influence public or private, but the influence of reason and principle.

Freedom's Battle

Mahatma Gandhi
Jul 18, 2012

After the great war it is difficult, to point out a single nation that is happy; but this has come out of the war, that there is not a single nation outside India, that is not either free or striving to be free. It is said that we, too, are on the road to freedom, that it is better to be on the certain though slow course of gradual unfoldment of freedom than to take the troubled and dangerous path of revolution whether peaceful or violent, and that the new Reforms are a half-way house to freedom. The new constitution granted to India keeps all the military forces, both in the direction and in the financial control, entirely outside the scope of responsibility to the people of India. What does this mean? It means that the revenues of India are spent away on what the nation does not want. But after the mid-Eastern complications and the fresh Asiatic additions to British Imperial spheres of action. This Indian military servitude is a clear danger to national interests. The new constitution gives no scope for retrenchment and therefore no scope for measures of social reform except by fresh taxation, the heavy burden of which on the poor will outweigh all the advantages of any reforms. It maintains all the existing foreign services, and the cost of the administrative machinery high as it already is, is further increased. The reformed constitution keeps all the fundamental liberties of person, property, press, and association completely under bureaucratic control. All those laws which give to the irresponsible officers of the Executive Government of India absolute powers to override the popular will, are still unrepealed. In spite of the tragic price paid in the Punjab for demonstrating the danger of unrestrained power in the hands of a foreign bureaucracy and the inhumanity of spirit by which tyranny in a panic will seek to save itself, we stand just where we were before, at the mercy of the Executive in respect of all our fundamental liberties. Not only is Despotism intact in the Law, but unparalleled crimes and cruelties against the people have been encouraged and even after boastful admissions and clearest proofs, left unpunished. The spirit of unrepentant cruelty has thus been allowed to permeate the whole administration.