Henry Glasse, “Libertarian or Anarchist?” (1899)

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The term “Libertarian” in place of “Anarchist” seems to be used with increasing frequency. The newer term pleases me better because, while it emphatically denotes our cardinal principle, it admits of no misconstruction nor misunderstanding. We who have long fought under the device of “Anarchy” have naturally acquired a regard for the name and frankly accepted it with whatever stigma might attach thereto, still we must admit that the very word in itself is liable to be taken, quite honestly, in a wrong sense, while our many dishonest opponents take care to recognise no other. Anarchy is most frequently taken to mean disorder, confusion, chaos—quite the contrary of that true harmony which we affirm to spring from Freedom alone.

In face of the reaction which has now set in and which daily pretends to improve the world by the imposition of new restrictions upon every branch of the activity of the human will, and upon every tendency of the human mind to transcend the limits of the commonplace and respectable, we alone among all parties remain unaltered in our devotion to Freedom, and oppose to all laws and regulations our one demand—Liberty for each and for all ; Liberty unbounded.

And this is not because we believe that each man possessed of freedom will necessarily do what we conceive to be right; on the contrary, it is because we admit human imperfection that we refuse to acquiesce in subjection to a government either representing a minority intent on maintaining its privileges, or swayed by a majority imbued with prejudice and bent on crushing the individual will into submission to its own mediocrity.

Our motto: “An-archy—No Government,” is synonymous with Libertism, but I think the latter name is more expressive and better calculated to win the sympathies of those whose generous instincts we seek to enlist for our Cause and whose noble but wandering aspirations we seek to direct to the true path—Freedom.

Henry Glasse.

Henry Glass, “Libertarian or Anarchist?” Freedom 13 no. 134 (January, 1899): 5.


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Independent scholar, translator and archivist.