Source: Wesleyan Argus
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Anarchy”
Author(s): L., A.
City of publication: Bloomington, Illinois
Date of publication: 12 December 1901
Volume number: 8
Issue number: 8
|L., A. “Anarchy.” Wesleyan Argus 12 Dec. 1901 v8n8: p. 2.|
|anarchism (personal response); anarchism; anarchism (dealing with); anarchism (criticism).|
|Leon Czolgosz; Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.|
Where is there in all the English
language to-day a word which will stir, and fire the hearts of all true Americans,
as the the [sic] little word Anarchy? It serves to arouse, to enrage;
it acts as a battle cry. It calls those who love their country to arise and
drive out this monster; to wipe out this canker which is eating its way into
the heart of our nation, and taking away her vitality, yes, even robbing her
Anarchy is no abstract term. It is a living, moving, growing force. The word itself comes from the Greek and means “private government.” The followers wish to enjoy individual liberty. Proudhon was the first man who made any attempt to formulate in any scientific way this new idea. In his work, “What is Property?” he claims that the laws regulating property are the causes for all the social evils in existence, but he admits that to destroy the state would cause misery; while to divide would do away with the expolition of the weak by the strong, but would only reverse the evil.
Proudhon advocates contract. His plan is to have every person promise certain things, and to live up to these promises with out [sic] being bound by law, or the consequences of law. His is a very high plane; a kind of Utopian dream. He wants to do away with all money, and to give service for service, and produce for produce.
The followers of this leader are called “individualists,” and Boston is their headquarters. The United States is just as much under this ban as any of the powers. They show contempt for elections, voting and courts. They claim—
“That laws are like cobwebs, where the small flies are caught, and the great break through.”
“Laws govern the poor and the rich men rule the law.”
These individualists have one redeeming virtue: they do not advocate deeds of violence to accomplish their ends. They hope, rather, for a peaceful evolution, not by the destruction of private property, but only of state property.
On Russia falls the stigma of having given birth to the most malignant form of anarchy. These Russian anarchists called themselves “men without chiefs.” Their manifesto declared them to be against all who had, or wished to have power; such as landowners, capitalists [sic] employers and the state; and abstractions of authority, such as God and the devil. They promised aid to all who would deny laws by revolutionary acts. “We reject all legal methods.” “We spurn the suffrage called universal.” “We wish to remain our own masters.” “Nevertheless, we know that individual liberty cannot exist without association with other free comrades.” So these anarchists call themselves “the free association.” They are not willing to band together and seek a higher and better manhood, which would have higher civilization, and a natural elimination of force as a result, but they demand action at once, and will use force to gain their ends. They fail to see that—
“Who to himself is law, no law doth need,
“Offends no law and is a king indeed.”
All this is a setting forth of
the history of a people who know no God and recognize no law. They could read
the promise of failure in the Bible, were they to look, for there we are told
that, “The people who know their God shall be strong.”
Anarchy is a problem and it falls directly in the line of Sociology to solve it. Sociology can prove its speedy downfall better than any other science. The socialist [sic] can prove that the very theory which anarchy advances and advocates, has never existed and can never exist. History cannot produce a single example of complete and perfect results brought about by anarchy, even in small associations. Where is there any human being perfectly free from external authority or influence?
Anarchists believe in society. Of what is society composed if not of association and aggregation? Why is it that our police force always keeps a watchful eye on the anarchist leaders if there are not such?
Criminal Sociology has no greater problem to deal with, for anarchy is not a single crime, but all crime. It is not the breaking of the one commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” but it virtually breaks all the other nine. It covets all that others possess; it knows and recognizes no law.
Is it a disease? It is the worst kind of a disease, and malignant in its nature, spreading rapidly and giving a hereditary taint to the unhappy children, which they carry with them to dishonored graves.
If anarchy is a disease, is it worse than insanity? Is it worse than leprosy? Does it do more harm than intemperance? It is worse than any or or all of these. We have a place for our insane; they pass their wretched lives in confinement. We can put leprosy so far away from us that there is no danger of contagion. We cure our drunkards, or send them to jail when they overstep our just laws, and yet we harbor in our midst the greatest hot-bed of crime any country has ever produced.
Our nation slept, and as a thief in the night this power crept and with stealthy steps, and deadly certainty it stole away our nation’s chief, our well beloved President. And now the word “anarchy” should ring out as a battle cry, calling to these mighty free-born men of ours to avenge our wrong. There should be no division. North and South, blue and gray, should stand together in this battle against crime.
We look at them, as our minds picture them. There is our former Presdent [sic], so great, so noble and so good, leaving this world with a prayer on his lips and the glory of the hereafter shining on his face, and then we look with a shudder at the contrast when we place the murderer beside him. They are both men, but what a difference!
When Czolgosz fired that fatal shot America awoke, and already a blow has been aimed at anarchy which will wipe the dark blot from the fair face of our fair country. She has suffered, she has bled, she has wept, but underneath her mourning robes we see a glimmer of the stars and stripes, and the strong right arm of the nation is ready for action, and success is written in our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”