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Source: Truth Seeker
Source type: magazine
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: “A Respectful Suggestion”
Author(s): Wheeler, George B.
Date of publication: 26 October 1901
Volume number: 28
Issue number: 43
Pagination: 682

Wheeler, George B. “A Respectful Suggestion.” Truth Seeker 26 Oct. 1901 v28n43: p. 682.
full text
McKinley assassination (public response: criticism); anarchism; presidential assassinations (comparison); law.
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; James A. Garfield; Thomas Jefferson; George B. Wheeler.
The text of the first paragraph below is identical to that found in a Kate Austin letter to the editor published in the Baltimore American (28 September 1901). Click here to view Austin’s letter.

The text of the second paragraph below is similar (and sometimes identical) to that found in a Moses Harman editorial published in Lucifer, the Light-Bearer (5 October 1901). Click here to view Harman’s editorial.


A Respectful Suggestion

To the Editor of The Truth Seeker.
     I respectfully suggest that the individuals who are now crying loudly for the enactment of repressive laws to suppress the Anarchists should first study their literature, in order that they may discover that there is no call for this bloodthirsty cry of extermination that is being so pitilessly urged against unoffending men, women, and children. It is true Anarchy aims to abolish government, not by killing rulers, but by developing the thought in the minds of men that government is not necessary; that there is room enough on earth for men to dwell in peace and plenty without standing armies, police, jails, and scaffolds. The Anarchist propaganda is not a message of blood, but of peace; it appeals to reason, to human sympathy. Study their literature, and it will be found that there is no connection between Czolgosz’s act and the philosophy of Anarchy. It is cruel and inhuman to hold all Anarchists responsible for the act of one of their number. The slayer of Garfield claimed he had a mission from God to kill the President, but did the world at large hold Christianity responsible for that bloody act? No. Yet it is common for Christian men and women to declare they are doing God’s work. The upholders of government cannot kill the ideal of Anarchy by hanging its teachers or by persecuting its adherents. If the theory of Anarchy has no rational basis, reason is the only weapon that will demolish it. Likewise with government, force can never destroy it; only the power of human thought, which has slowly demolished the false dogmas of the past, can make a breach in the wall of the government. Humanity has nothing to fear from the development of the mind. Laws are the creations of fallible men. Therefore there is nothing sacred about the law that one should fear to criticise or investigate. If a law will not bear criticism then there is something wrong about that law.
     In conclusion, I would like to ask how many of your readers know that the author of the Declaration of Independence was an Anarchist. He found it impracticable to adopt the highest and best in the science of human government at that time. The world of mankind was not yet ripe for the highest and best. Anarchy as defined by the Century Dictionary is: “A social theory which regards the union of order with the absence of all direct government of man by man as the political ideal; absolute individual liberty.” Jefferson’s great maxim was, “That government is best which governs least,” but the privileged classes—the political leaders, the clergy and the lawyers—have taken good care to make it impracticable if not impossible.

    Chicago, Ill, Oct. 14, E. M. 301.  


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