Get Behind The Freeman

Will Lissner

[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 experience.

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, humbly, gratefully.


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 taxation.

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 without remuneration.

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 Publishers.