Anarchists Deserve No Sympathy
ANARCHISTIC crimes are invariably manifestations of a perverted
conscience. The perversion of conscience means the highest degree
of depravity which humanity is capable of. An individual of perverted
conscience doing wrong and yet believing to be doing right is far
more depraved than an individual who commits an offense although
his conscience tells him that he is doing wrong.
There is a tendency among many sentimentalists
and other persons who are not Anarchists, but to some extent sympathize
with their vague theories, to consider men who are suffering severe
punishment for anarchistic crimes as martyrs of their conviction.
That is decidedly a perversion of ethical principles and of sound
logic. A martyr of his belief or conviction may hold opinions or
ideas at variance with those of his time or surroundings, but he
must not violate the foundations of moral ethics and propriety.
If he commits or preaches murder, arson, perjury, or other crimes
against human society he forfeits the claim to martyrdom and becomes
a common criminal. Martyrdom presupposes an ethical basis and is
incompatible with an overt perversion of conscience.
The fact that constancy and readiness
of decision and action, as manifested in virtuous deeds, are founded
in the character of an individual does not detract from the merit
of dutiful and moral actions; neither does the fact that constancy
and readiness of decision and action, as manifested in vice, are
founded in the character of an individual lessen that individual’s
responsibility for its immoral or criminal actions. This perfectly
logical rule finds a direct application in determining the responsibility
of persons who have committed anarchistic crimes. The circumstance
that the individual committing such a crime possesses a peculiarly
developed character savoring criminal tendencies only increases
that person’s guilt and proves its dangerous nature.
The argument that anarchistic crimes
are not crimes in an ordinary sense and, therefore, must be judged
from an entirely different ethical standpoint is illogical and does
not deserve serious consideration. Anarchistic crimes are offenses
in the same sense and meaning as all other crimes against life and
property, and, like the latter, should be punished according to
the recognized principles of the theory of retribution upon which
our system of law is based. It is the duty of society to protect
itself, and that duty becomes absolutely imperative in the case
of anarchistic crimes which represent one of the most dangerous
manifestations of a perverted conscience.