The Viper’s Hiss
The leading Anarchistic
paper in this country is “Die Freiheit,” published in New York by
the notorious Johann Most. Its editorial upon the assassination
of the President shows a cold-blooded venom utterly incomprehensible
to men educated in freedom-loving, law-abiding America. It says:
“Are the Americans going crazy
from an epidemic of excitement? Have they also excited the other
half of the world from Li Hung Chang to the Roman gorilla mummy,
from the Czar and the Turk to the last Salvation Army nymph?
Everybody who reads the so-called newspapers or instruments
of sensationalism must be asking this question. Everybody is
thinking the end of the world must be coming. Such a witches’
Sabbath as was enacted by the American press after the attack
on McKinley in Buffalo is entirely new to us. It is of such
a character that it cannot be gaged [sic] as an absolute
reflection of the public opinion, but wholly and thoroughly
a hypocritical business transaction, characteristic of the spiritual
poison mixers of this country.
“The people far and wide have
shown themselves, so far as we can conceive ourselves, wholly
indifferent. Only the press, Church and political priests have
given vent to idiotic howls of anger. Wherever these prostitutes
are seen their faces show cynical grins and doggish depravity.
O tempora, O mores! These shootings occur all the time among
cowboys, 5,000 or 6,000 times a day, and the County Sheriffs
and the local papers hardly take any notice of the matter, and
since it has been said year after year that all citizens of
this country are equal, there is no difference between a President
and a street cleaner and no excuse for all this noise and nonsensical
“Everybody is told to wear a mourning
band on his hat and to speak in mournful phrases. This is not
only done at the death of prominent politicians, but also at
the death of corrupt fakirs who are at the head of the labor
organizations. Those who have no special interest in this matter
show themselves quite indifferent.
“The shooting affair is now made
an excuse for the general persecution of Anarchists. The assailant
is reported as having said that he is an Anarchist, and that
he was inspired by the speeches and writings of Emma Goldman.
These are only the assertions of the police, for no person outside
of the police and Government employees was allowed to come near
the prisoner, and now to establish a connection between this
man and Emma Goldman they are moving heaven and earth. Literary
detective reporters surround every so-called Anarchist like
flies around a carcass. Whenever a crowned or uncrowned person
of prominence is assassinated the entire sulphurous [sic]
band of the police and the newspaper mob come together and discover
a conspiracy, but every time this bubble bursts sooner or later.
“All this sensational twaddle
is middle age romanticism only fit for idiots. Notwithstanding
all this the conspiracy swindle is dished up over and over again.
In Buffalo, Pittsburg [sic] and Chicago a number of arrests
have been made and more are threatened. Full-blooded cranks
speak of the general arrest of all Anarchists in all States,
and say they should either be kept under lock and key or deported.
“It was said that there was a
plot to assassinate the President. Notwithstanding all the excitement
no one has yet discovered a plot, and it will be necessary to
release all those who have been arrested, which will make the
politicians, Government and press ridiculous. Assassinations
are not especially Anarchistic. We rejoice that Mr. Czolgosz
is not a foreigner, but a native.”
This reveals a depravity,
a lack of understanding of American feeling and spirit, and utter
contempt for it that the worst felon in our penitentiaries could
hardly display. The felon, while excusing his own crime, or condemning
the methods by which he was landed in prison, yet recognizes the
vital necessity of laws, officials and other safeguards of society.
“Die Freiheit,” on the other hand,
openly lauds crime because it is crime, and denounces all those
who condemn it as liars and hypocrites. “Die Freiheit’s” editors
and readers believe—or assume to believe—that all other men are
as vile as they, and only condemn crime because of the consequences
The horror and grief over the murder
of the President are due to the fact that he was in the highest
degree the representative of America and American institutions.
He was shot down for no other reason. Wm. McKinley, the man, was
not in issue any more than any other peaceful, law-abiding man.
It was the President of the United States—the individual who, according
to carefully-elaborated forms and rules, had been selected out of
80,000,000 Americans as their Chief Executive, servant, representative
and exponent. The assassin, with malevolent presumption, tried to
strike a mortal blow at every American institution when he shot
the President of the United States, for the President is the consummation
and embodiment of all of them.
Eighty million Americans ardently
desire that their country shall be governed in one particular way.
They are ready at any moment to make the uttermost sacrifices—even
of their lives—to maintain that particular form of Government. A
little knot of twisted, depraved Anarchists try to frustrate this
wish of tens of millions by foully murdering the man selected by
them to carry out their ideas.
Johann Most is no more a part of America
and Americans than a rattlesnake lurking amid the rocks on which
a church is built is of the congregation singing praises to God