Suppression—to What Extent Feasible
Another measure which ought to be adopted is the prompt
suppression both of publications and meetings in which government
as such is assailed and its destruction by violent methods
or murder of its representatives advocated. The classification is
perfectly distinct, and there need be no danger of tyrannical interference
with freedom of speech, as would certainly be the case if power
were given to local authorities or the courts to suppress any publications
or meetings which in their judgment were dangerous to public welfare.
So far as the expression of views in regard to forms and methods
or the modification of government is concerned, there should be
the largest freedom, but to attack government per se and
urge the assassination of public officials is an entirely different
thing. It is of the same essential nature as a declaration of war
by a foreign power, and the nation should put itself on a tentative
war basis, as it were, with reference to the anarchist propaganda.
Because these men, as a group, are not literally bearing arms is
not a vital point; neither are the executive officials of a government
with whom we are at war. But that government is the director and
planner of the measures of force used by the military, and in the
same sense anarchist societies are the devisers and instigators
of the murderous assaults upon public officials or the plots laid
for overthrowing governments. If we do not go to the length of imprisoning
them, we can at  least deprive
these voluntary outlaws of their power for evil, so far as that
power comes from tongue or pen.
This is no time for sentimental concern
about “liberty” for those who want only the liberty to destroy.
A measure of suppression of the sort advocated could not be used
against any propaganda which did not attack government as such and
demand its overthrow; therefore, there need be no alarm that it
would interfere with the free expression of any opinions which sought
to modify or change the character of our policies or even institutions
by peaceful methods.