Publication information
view printer-friendly version
Source: Truth Seeker
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Insane Folly”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: 28
Issue number: 37
Pagination: 580

“Insane Folly.” Truth Seeker 14 Sept. 1901 v28n37: p. 580.
full text
McKinley assassination (personal response); anarchism (personal response).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Thomas Henry Huxley; William McKinley.


Insane Folly

     The attempted assassination of President McKinley is one of those calamitous events in the history of nations against which the wisdom of man is incompetent to provide. It is the deed of an insane criminal which no one could forefend or foresee.
     The shooting of the President by Czolgosz is paralleled by the act of a man man [sic] who, with a mind unhinged by brooding over religious subjects, is suddenly seized with homicidal mania, and commits a murder for the imagined good of his own or the victim’s soul. Such a delusion reveals a diseased brain, and undoubtedly there is a similar lesion in the case of the men who commit or attempt assassinations in the belief that they are discharging their duty to themselves and mankind.
     Czolgosz calls himself an “anarchist,” and perhaps merits the title. Certain it is that there are persons so denominating themselves who profess to believe in the beneficeuce [sic] of assassination, of all absurd political vagaries the least rational[.] Rejecting the authority of government, they themselves, in carrying out their propaganda by deed, exercise the last prerogative of government, that of taking human life—a prerogative of such doubtful tenure that governments have in many cases relinquished it. The advocate of assassination is like the follower of the Golden Rule, who, as Huxley said, can exist only in a community where he is protected from the operation of his own dogma by those who reject it.
     We do not see how anyone who justifies the act of Czolgosz could put up the most feeble defense—except the protection of the laws whose representative has been stricken down—if he were himself to be led out and shot. Shooting is his doctrine, and as a propagandist he must rejoice rather than murmur on beholding such plain evidence that he has not preached it in vain. He should congratulate himself on the spread of the doctrine among his fellows, and count that moment the proudest of his life when he sees it put in practice, even upon himself.
     It will be a fatal day to the sympathizers with Czolgosz and the approvers of his deed when the logic of homicidal anarchy becomes clear to the community; for in that day the professed advocate of murder will be lynched offhand. And his reflections, if he is given time for thought, will be akin to those of the eagie [sic] killed by an arrow winged with his own feathers.
     Nothing reported concerning Czolgosz is more easy of belief than the statement of his stepmother that he is a fool.



top of page