Publication information

Gunton’s Magazine
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Suppression—to What Extent Feasible”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 21
Issue number: 4
Pagination: 304-05

“Suppression—to What Extent Feasible.” Gunton’s Magazine Oct. 1901 v21n4: pp. 304-05.
full text
anarchism (laws against); freedom of speech (restrictions on); anarchism (dealing with).
Named persons
Click here to view the “measure” discussed in the preceding editorial.

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 [304][305] 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.