I do not know whether Czolgosz was
an Anarchist or not. And I do not know whether his act can be reconciled
with the philosophy of Anarchism, because I am not sure that that
philosophy, in its last analysis, does not imply non-resistance.
I admit frankly that I am not clear upon this point. But I do know
that the ethics of Anarchism can only apply, in their universal
sense, to a state of Anarchy—to a free society in which all aggression
is eliminated—because aggression denies non-resistance. As long
as there is aggression, non-resistance admits slavery; and the slave
can no more be a consistent Anarchist than the enslaver. So I say,
that this question of resistance or non-resistance, in its relation
to the philosophy of Anarchism, is, with me, an unsolved problem.
But I believe that human nature is
stronger than social philosophy. I believe that environment has
more to do with social action and with individual conduct, than
theories and ideals. If the slayer of McKinley was an Anarchist,
he struck, not because he believed in peace but because he abhorred
war; not because he loved liberty, but because he hated tyranny.
Because he knew that peace would not be established by his act—that
freedom would not come from McKinley’s death. Present conditions
made him a rebel. It was not the ideal of Anarchy that pulled the
pistol’s trigger, but the misery and wrong and crime of the existing
order, of which McKinley was the representative. Czolgosz was the
nemises [sic] which reckless wrong, clothed in official purple,
nourished and brought forth. The power that shot down defenseless
workingmen at Hazleton under the very shadow of the American flag,
and which spread death and desolation thruout [sic] the Philippine
Islands; which murdered by majesty of law and pilfered in patriotism’s
name, that power created Czolgosz. It sowed injustice; it reaped
retribution. It called forth the spirit of war and violence to be
the servant of its lust and greed; and the servant, for one moment,
turned upon its masters.
I do not think Czolgosz was insane.
His act was not an insane act. He showed none of the characteristics
of insanity. He was as sane as Brutus—as rational as Booth. We really
know nothing of the psychology of his act. We can only guess his
motive. Other alleged criminals were allowed to tell their own story,
but Czolgosz was sent to the grave unheard.
Czolgosz was not insane. Neither was
he a criminal. I cannot bring myself to approve his act. I do not
believe in violence, except in defense of human life and liberty.
And I do not think the death of McKinley has served that purpose.
We who denounce vengeance and retaliation, when done in the name
of the law, cannot consistently approve of this spirit, when resorted
to by individuals in the name of Anarchy. But I do not see that
anyone can call Czolgosz a criminal. If his deed was a crime, the
cause of it was tenfold more a crime.
And, as I have said, the cause of
Czolgosz’s act was those conditions that generated in him the spirit
of rebellion. Under Anarchy, the spirit of violence, having nought
upon which to feed, will die. Under government, which is the embodiment
of violence, there can be nothing but violence. Like is the creator