Publication information
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Source: Rural Californian
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “Cause and Cure of Anarchy”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: December 1901
Volume number: 24
Issue number: 12
Pagination: 457

“Cause and Cure of Anarchy.” Rural Californian Dec. 1901 v24n12: p. 457.
full text
anarchism; anarchism (criticism); McKinley assassination (public response); anarchism (dealing with).
Named persons
William McKinley; Johann Most.


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 in return.
     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.



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