Publication information
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Source: Independent
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “John Turner Again”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 24 December 1903
Volume number: 55
Issue number: 2873
Pagination: 3083-84

“John Turner Again.” Independent 24 Dec. 1903 v55n2873: pp. 3083-84.
full text
anarchism (laws against).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz [misspelled below]; Emma Goldman; William McKinley; Leo Tolstoy; John Turner.


John Turner Again

We have allowed the Anarchist, John Turner, to defend himself in our columns, and we have criticised the law. But there is something to be said on the other side. It is a law not directed against the liberty of citizens, but against foreigners, limiting their right to enter this country. Doubtless we have the international right to exclude any class of people we regard as likely to be an injury to us. Who they are is a matter of judgment, good or bad. Under this right we exclude some diseased people, paupers, lunatics, men who have a job engaged, and Chinese. The law also provides:

     “That no person who disbelieves in or who is opposed to all organized government, or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization entertaining and teaching such disbelief in or opposition to all organized government, or who advocates or teaches the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or officers, either of specific individuals or officers generally, of the Government of the United States or any other organized government, because of his or their official [3083][3084] character, shall be permitted to enter the United States or any territory or place subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

This law may or may not be wise, but it is beyond question that John Turner is one of those whom it excludes. It is not a law that affects residents of this country, whether voting citizens or not. They can lawfully preach all the academic Anarchism they choose, so long as they do not advocate assassination. If there is one dram of reason for excluding an honest artisan who has a job, there is a ton of reason for excluding one who declares his desire and aim to overthrow the government under whose protection he proposes to live. The law was passed when an Anarchist fool, inflamed by Anarchist speeches, had just killed President McKinley. We have seen Anarchists come here to plot in New York and Paterson the murder of European sovereigns. The class is dangerous; the crime of Czolgocz simply expands the teachings of Emma Goldman. She did not tell Czolgocz to kill the President; she put the fire in his bones. Yet we would admit workmen with a job, and Chinese, and Anarchists who incite no murder. A President or a King may be killed, but that is a risk of the profession, and shutting out Tolstoy would not prevent our native and imported Anarchists, in far greater numbers, from talking or doing their will. The law is at most an unwise exercise of undoubted right against what are somewhat “dangerous characters” so long as they stick to theory, and very dangerous when they carry it into practice.



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