Publication information
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Source: Commoner
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Cure for Anarchy”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Lincoln, Nebraska
Date of publication: 20 September 1901
Volume number: 1
Issue number: 35
Pagination: 2

“The Cure for Anarchy.” Commoner 20 Sept. 1901 v1n35: p. 2.
full text
McKinley assassination (personal response); anarchism (dealing with); government; anarchism (laws against); anarchism (causes).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Victor Hugo; Thomas Jefferson; William McKinley; Pericles.


The Cure for Anarchy

     It is natural that the wanton and brutal assassination of the President at Buffalo should lead to a discussion of ways and means for driving anarchy out of the United States, and it is important that the subject should be dealt with in a broad and comprehensive way. Czolgosz had no personal animosity; he was not seeking revenge for any wrong that the administration had done him; he was aiming a blow at the government of which Mr. McKinley was the official head. No considerable number of the American people can have any sympathy with the murderer or with those who entertain his views in regard to government. That there should be laws giving all possible protection to our officials everyone will concede; the only question open for discussion is how to apply an effective remedy. The suppression of anarchy is only a temporary relief: we should seek not merely the suppression but the permanent eradication of anarchy. Stealing can and should be suppressed by law; but stealing cannot be eradicated until people are convinced that it is wrong to steal. So, anarchy can and should be suppressed by law, but it cannot be entirely eradicated until all are convinced that anarchy is wrong. Free government, springing as directly as possible from the people and made as responsive as possible to their will, is the only permanent and complete cure for anarchy. The arbitrary governments of the old world have tried suppression but have not succeeded. They have lessened anarchy just in proportion as they have extended civil liberty and participation in the government.
     Stern measure must be invoked for the suppression and punishment of every manifestation of the anarchistic spirit, but beyond this remedy there must be education. All must be taught that government is an absolute necessity and that our form of government is the best ever devised. Then our government must be made as good as intelligence and patriotism can make it.
     There is in every human heart the love of justice and to this love of justice every government should appeal. Victor Hugo described the mob as the human race in misery. No government can afford to make its people miserable—not even a small part of its people. Let a man believe that he is being justly treated by his government and he will endure almost anything, but let him feel that he is being unjustly dealt with and even a slight wrong will rankle in his bosom.
     In a government deriving its powers from the consent of the governed men will endure much because they hope for a remedy at the next election. Jefferson understood this and among the things urged in his first inaugural address was “a jealous care of the right of election by the people—a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution, where peaceable remedies are unprovided.”
     A man is never dangerous so long as he has hope of relief from an evil, whether fancied or real, but when despair takes the place of hope he becomes a menace to society because he feels he has nothing to lose.
     While we are legislating to prevent any manifestation of the anarchistic spirit on American soil, we should avoid those things which breed anarchy. Partiality in government kindles discontent; the exaltation of money above human rights, the fattening of a few at the expense of the many, the making of artificial distinctions between citizens and the lessening of the sacredness of human life—all these in their full development encourage the anarchistic spirit. We cannot give full protection to our officials merely by passing laws for the punishment of those who assault them; neither can we give them adequate protection by closing our gates to those known to advocate anarchy. These remedies, good as far as they go, are incomplete. We can only bring absolute security to our public servants by making the government so just and so beneficent that every citizen will be willing to give his life if need be to preserve it to posterity. When Pericles sought to explain the patriotism of his countrymen who fell in battle, he described Greece and then added: “It was for such a country then that these men, nobly resolving not to have it taken from them, fell fighting, and we their survivors may be well willing to suffer in its behalf.”
     We shall fail to do our full duty as citizens unless we bend every energy toward the reform of every governmental abuse and the enactment of such laws as are necessary to protect each citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and to restrain every arm uplifted for a neighbor’s injury.



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