Cause and Cure of Anarchy
CHARACTERISTICS and sentiments are largely the products
of conditions and environments. This fact is made apparent in the
differences among nationalities and classes. Abnormal and vicious
as the anarchistic sentiment is it sprang from the belief that government
is the cause of the evils from which its devotees suffer. Anarchism
is most prevalent and deeply rooted among people where governments
have been most oppressive to the peasant or lower class. It is said
not to be American, and it is not a plant indiginous [sic] to this
country, and for the reason that here is greater individual freedom,
and there has never been such oppression in the United States as
to develop the feeling that relief can only come from obliteration
of governmental authority.
There are anarchists in this country
but they are importations; only now and then has an American by
birth and rearing imbibed the sentiment. The most prolific fields
of anarchism are Italy, Poland and Russia. The governments of those
countries have for centuries been oppressive in that, the lower
classes have been taxed and kept in poverty not only to support
government, but privileged classes from which they receive no benefit
This has been and is the condition
in those countries, and there has been nothing done or even promised,
to relieve from the distresses which the poor classes have suffered
from generation to generation since the mediæval ages. The intelligent
anarchist, if there be such, doubtless thinks he is a philosopher,
but he is not. It does not seem possible that any can be so ignorant
as not to know that to assassinate one ruler does not remove government
or make it less forcible or more humane. Violence begets violence
which was shown in the much talk of all manner of vengeance upon
the assassin of Mr. McKinley. It is inevitable that when a crime
of such character, which is an assault upon the whole people of
the country, that acts will follow that make public opinion and
the presence of government more impressive.
Social necessity requires the use
of means that will preserve peace and order, and safety to life
and property. There cannot be any social condition of any value
to the human race without law and its faithful enforcement. Anarchistic
sentiments will not die out in Italy, Poland and some other nationalities
till general conditions are made more tolerable to the classes that
bear the burdens of the state and those imposed by the privileged
classes. This is not said in justification nor palliation of the
crime of assassination, whether of officials or private persons.
Organized revolution is justifiable when that is the only remedy
left, and there is reasonable prospect of its being successful.
The mistaken idea that the absence
of government will be a panacea for all or any ills is harmless
if the corollary of violence did not naturally spring from it. Were
all men a law unto themselves government would not be necessary.
To abolish all human government and law would hardly bring about
that happy condition.
Assassination of a president or other
public official is not the only anarchistic display. Every mob,
every crime is a manifestation of anarchism. Were one to burglarize
the housc [sic] of Herr Most it would only be giving him a prescription
of his own medicine.
If Italy, Poland and the countries
where anarchism flourishes should be governed on the same principles
that dominate in this country for a third of a century, anarchistic
sentiments would die out with the younger generation of the present
day for want of nutrition. This country will not be anarchistic
if the commodity is not imported, or, unless such conditions are
finally created here as have promoted the growth of anarchy elsewhere.