Get Behind The Freeman
[Reprinted from The Freeman, November 1937]
One thing needs to be said, even at the risk of boring the reader
with the obvious. The paper is not a revival of the old Freeman nor an
attempt at it. If it takes its standards from the old Freeman,
it does no more than any journal of opinion since the days when that
model of periodical journalism made its weekly appearance.
The traits that marked the old Freeman are gone. The gallant
enthusiasms that brightened its pages are translated by our times into
fear, 'bitterness, last-ditch determination.
With a new world war many times more horrible threatening, with a new
great depression -many times more disastrous impending, with
totalitarianism driving out the last remnants of freedom in one new
nation after another and with poverty reaching blacker depths and
brutalizing mankind, there is no time for the easy grace with which it
spun out its words, its phrases. Nor is there spirit for the literary
charm which made each paragraph in the weekly a pleasurable
These things are gone. But the old Freeman is with us still, and ever
will be as a challenge to think through the intellectual chaos of our
day; as a dare to stand up without quavering for the principles of
justice and liberty for which men have fought desperately - and gaily
died; as a guide to that era, certain, to come, when human values will
be restored to favor and man will be resurrected from the mass of men.
The challenge we accept. The dare we take. The guide we follow,
The purpose of The Freeman is to interpret the social and
economic events of the day from the viewpoint of a Free Economy.
In a world permeated with monopolistic thought - which finds
expression politically in various forms of centralized power, socially
in the subjugation of 'the individual, and economically in the
tendency of wages and interest to the minimum of a mere existence -
there is need for a publication that assays the news with the
touchstone of freedom.
But The Freeman has no political ideology, no propagandist
purpose. Its objection is education - education in the philosophy of
Henry George, which has been aptly described as the philosophy of a
free exchange of goods, services and ideas.
From the writings of this greatest of socio-economic thinkers we have
learned that the persistence of poverty in the midst of plenty arises
from privilege, and that the greatest and most pernicious privilege is
the private ownership of the earth. The simple, just and efficient way
to destroy this privilege is to collect the rent of land for the needs
of society. This will make unnecessary our system of iniquitous
This reform, readily suggesting itself from the study of the laws
governing the distribution of wealth, is not offered as a panacea. It
is offered as the only means of destroying involuntary poverty and the
fear of poverty. With man freed of these shackles such other reforms
as are found necessary for the improvement of social conditions will
be found easier to accomplish. While poverty persists no reform in our
social or political order can have any lasting effect, and the longer
poverty does persist the greater will become the danger of the
collapse of our civilization.
Our daily history is replete with instances demonstrating the
soundness of Georgist philosophy and the fundamental errors in the
prevailing monopolistic political economy. The analysis of these
instances will therefore be the policy of this publication. In these
analyses wrong thinking, rather than personages or political parties,
shall be attacked. The purpose of The Freeman will be to
direct correct thought, because:
Social reform is not to be secured by noise and shouting;
by complaints and denunciation; by the formation of parties, or the
making of revolutions; but by the awakening of thought and the
progress of ideas. Until there be correct thought, there cannot be
right action; and when there is correct thought, right action will
follow. -Henry George.
Thus, The Freeman, a product of the Henry George School of
Social Science, takes its place in the movement for mass education for
economic justice. In order to reach a greater number of people its
price has been set as low as production costs permit. All of its
editors and contributors freely volunteer their services for this
worthy cause, and a considerable amount of clerical work is done
The publishers intend that these columns shall be the media for the
public expression of the best thought of the Georgist movement.
Therefore, they cannot be the forum of any one individual, no matter
how brilliant; or any small group, no matter how devoted. The
Freeman is a serious student of the social sciences whose name is
legion and whose locale is our whole sub-continent. The ranks of The
Freeman's makers are still open to recruits - and ever will be.
But to make the paper self-supporting, which it must be, a minimum of
six thousand subscriptions is necessary. Each graduate, each friend of
the school is therefore urged to solicit subscriptions - not only to
make The Freeman possible, but also to widen the scope of its
influence. Get behind The Freeman. -The Editors and