Anarchy a Crime, Not a Disease
IN the spirit which eliminates the individual responsibility of
the assassin and throws the whole blame on society lies the real
Great as is the danger to which society
is exposed from anarchism, it is less serious than that which arises
out of the temper of society toward the anarchism which it dreads.
Everywhere there is a tendency among
those who live and thrive by pleasing the multitude to palliate
anarchy, to tolerate it, to represent it as a disease for which
those who suffer from it are not responsible, but for which society
is responsible because it has not dealt with them more friendly.
That blessed word “environment” leaps readily to the lips. That
is, nobody is responsible. The Anarchist who stabs a ruler is not
a criminal but an unfortunate; he is made what he is not by his
own wicked heart but by the wickedness of society toward him and
his class; his crime, which, of course, was really no crime at all,
was rendered inevitable by circumstances over which he had no control.
Anarchism is not a disease but a crime,
and a crime of the most infamous nature.
“What is property? Property is robbery,”
said Proudhon. The germ of all the evil is in that. “Whoso hateth
his brother is a murderer.” Hatred is murder in the germ. Similarly,
whoso coveteth his brother’s goods is an Anarchist. Covetousness,
the desire to possess what is not our own, lust of property, envy
of the man who has more than we have—this is anarchy in germ. For
thoughts, sooner or later, translate themselves into deeds, especially
when they are dominating and overmastering thoughts, thoughts that
seize us, and sway us, and possess us, and reign over us. And this
is the case with the Anarchist whose one thought is hatred. These
men think—a little, and then they act.
Sometimes one person enunciates ideas
and another carries them into effect. The man who murdered the Shah
had been coached by another Anarchist, named Volette, who, “after
having initiated him in the ideas of Bakunin, led him gradually
towards the propaganda by force.” Could anything be more significant,
more conclusive, as to the vital relations existing between these
enemies of society?
The ideas of Bakunin which he imbibed
from Proudhon are still living and active, the idea that property
is robbery, that a property-owner is a robber, that to rid society
of such robbers is a meritorious deed, while the murder of the statesman
who represents the present social order is not a crime, but a glorious
deed of heroism which entitles a man to martyrdom’s brightest crown.
These are the ideas which are fermenting
in the minds of all Anarchists alike, exciting their brains, inflaming
their passions, imbruting and dehumanizing them, and making them
veritable wild beasts among men.
The Anarchists who were hanged in
Chicago, the murderer of Canovas, the murderer of President Carnot,
Sipido, who fired at the Prince of Wales; Bresci, the murderer of
King Humbert; and Salsou, who attempted to assassinate the Shah;
all these are in that devil’s apostolic succession which begins
with Rousseau and Proudhon and Bakunin, and which has continued
down to the present time.
One-half of the world is terrorized
by anarchism; the other half pooh-poohs it with contempt. But too
often contempt is only another name for blindness or insanity. However
we look at it, the spectacle of anarchy springing at the throat
of government and of the rulers of the most democratic countries
in the world being afraid to grip it and grapple with it is not
a pleasant one.
Both in the United States and England,
people who profess to understand the signs of the times, people
who have much to lose themselves, and who are the trustees of the
rights and liberties of millions of men and women, who confide in
them, calmly sleep on over the slumbering volcano, from the mouth
of which ominous rumblings are sometimes heard.