Anarchy and God
M : Inclosed herewith is a letter
written by myself to the New York Tribune, relating to anarchy and
As there is slight probability that
it will be used by that paper, copy is sent to you for such attention
as you may care to give it. Yours truly,
L. D . C
To the Editor of the New York Tribune:
In your leading editorial of September 16, commenting on “Anarchy
and the Law,” you close:
“‘The mills of God grind slowly, yet
they grind exceeding small.’ And exceeding small, too, will the
law at last grind those who defy and deny it, for God himself is
Some say God is love.
You say God is law.
Still others say God is the earth
and all that is.
You leave it to be inferred that had
Czolgosz been a believer in God (I do not know whether he was or
not), he would not have committed the murder.
My position, which seems to me rational,
is this: I do not believe in murder by those who do not believe
in God nor by those who do. Only a f[e]w evenings ago I was reading
that one hundred million human beings, constituted as you and I
are, have perished on this planet at the hands of those who believe
in God. We must not forget, also, that the Mohammedans hold belief
in God, and that among us Mohammedans stand for murder and rapine.
The best suggestion I can make is
to discontinue the use of the word God. That word is vague of meaning,
and to avoid misunderstanding it is better to drop it out of our
vocabulary as much as possible. If to you God is law, then, instead
of using the word “God,” you should use the word “law.”
My preference is to call the earth
and the forces of nature God. By calling the earth God, then, when
the dying President murmured, “Nearer, my God, to thee,” there was
some rational meaning to what he said. He was certainly nearer to
God by that meaning. If God is the earth, and the body of man must
return to the earth, then when laid in the grave it is nearer [to]
The words recited at the burial services,
“Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” are perfectly appropriate
and scientific. They mean that we are made out of the earth, and
return to earth. The material of the earth can also be called ashes
or dust. Earth, ashes, dust. Anybody with a little thought can gather
from these words the routine of matter as related to human life.
We are made out of the earth, and the earth in turn, to a very small
extent, is made out of us. “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust
to dust,” are true and prop[e]rly used, but are not in conformity
with other teachings of the Christian religion, as, for instance,
the doctrine of the r[e]surrection of the body.
We should believe in government and
abhor anarchy in so far as it practices murder. Without government
we would go by leaps and bounds back into barbarism. We are in barbarism
now, but not total barbarism. There has been some evolutionary progress
in human society. We do not want too much government; a small amount
will do. Was it not Thomas Jefferson, one of the found[e]rs of the
Republic, who said, “That people the least governed is the best
It is well to stop and think what
a hero Czolgosz is from his point of view. He believed that he was
doing the greatest possible good to the country by assassinating
the President. He expected that upon the firing of that shot his
liberties, his happiness and life itself would speedily come to
an end. How many are there who would b[e] willing to sacrifice their
lives to do the human race the greatest possible good of which th[e]y
know? What is written in th[e] New Testament about the crucifixion
of Jesus Christ sums up into the same kind of heroism.
Those who appear eager to link theology
with government should recall some of the evils of the union of
church and state in the Old World, and the very great step that
was taken by the founders of this government in providing for the
separation of church and state. Theology does not necessarily have
anything to do with good morals.
As the Tribune was founded by Horace
Greeley, a Freethinker, it is hoped this communication will be found
suitable for its columns. It was not intended at the outset to make
a sermon of this. However, it would please me if clergymen and priests
all over the United States could read this comment and give the
ideas some thought.
L. D. C
September 17, E. M. 301 (1901).