Anarchism aims to establish an ideal state of society based on the “golden rule,” in which all distinctions of castes and privileges are abolished, and in which each individual is expected to labor spontaneously for the welfare of himself and the community. Mutual interests and due respect for each other are the only forces deemed necessary in their social relationship, i. e., each will be a law unto himself.
Admitting that such a society could not be inaugurated under the present state of affairs, its advocates are endeavoring to awaken the people to the fact that government creates disorder, and that freedom is the remedy, in which humanitarian work they are greatly handicapped by the misrepresentations of a mercenary press.
Yet, despite its defamations, the scales are gradually falling off the eyes of the intelligent people, who are beginning to recognize the merits of a society which has only the welfare of mankind at heart; and it is only a question of time when the multitude will “evolute” into the full light of reason and justice.
In property as such, Anarchism sees the greatest source of evil, strife and corruption. All governments protect individuals and corporations in the unlimited accumulation of property at the expense of the mass of the toilers, thus fostering greed and avarice and arousing ambitions which lead to wars for personal and national aggrandizement, regardless of the misery it entails upon the people. Recognizing the evil of unrestrained accumulation and monopolization of wealth, as exemplified in the constantly increasing demoralization of society as at present instituted, Anarchism repudiates property in land and natural resources, as well as ownership of the means of production, i. e., such as are not required for the needs and comforts of the individual. In this sense, Proudhon, the founder of Anarchism, declared that “property is robbery.”
A person can occupy only one house, can sleep only in one bed, etc., etc., hence in a free society there is no incentive to accumulate things and withhold them from others. And with the incentive gone, temptation disappears, and with it nine-tenths of all the crimes now perpetrated in civilized countries.
By holding more than any one requires for his own necessities, he robs others of what they may be in need of.
The most essential transformation, then, which society will have to undergo before the ideal state is attained, is the abolishment of all legalized property, society recognizing the right of such property as one requires for his own use. In short, monopoly must cease, and the individual be free to produce and consume as he sees fit, each performing such labor as he or she is best adapted for.
Education is the means thru which this ideal state is to be attained. Once property and its prop—government— are abolished, the temptation for wrongdoing, such as stealing, exploiting each other, etc., etc., will cease and the necessity for government terminates.
There is nothing visionary or Utopian in such an ideal state of society. It is due to the fatal mistake of our forefathers, who sanctioned the unlimited accumulation of lands and chattels, and protected the holders in their possession, that strife and warfare has been the lot of man. But for this almost irretrievable
error, the very aims and objects sought for by Anarchism would have been established long ere this and be in vogue now.
There will always be different factions in the fields of science and philosophy unless some ground is discovered “upon which all branches may converge as from their common root,” to paraphrase one of Herbert Spencer’s ban mots. Yet a failure to discover such converging point would by no means be an obstacle to an ideal state of society. Science and philosophy have never alienated brothers; have never shed a drop of blood, and will give zest to life when man is free to act as he was by nature designed to do.
Philosophy, however, should not be confounded with religion, its ally in some respects. While religion in itself is generally a harmless self-deception, it has become in the hands of ambitious and unprincipled men a mighty engine of persecution and oppression. “Dressed in the livery of Heaven” it has vied with the State in drenching the earth with human gore. With sanctimonious mien it has perverted true morality until every walk of life is reeking with corruption. A comparison with heathen countries will bear me out in this. Worshipping Mammon more than God or man. religion wears its priestly robe “to serve the devil in.”
A compatible alliance with the different socialistic factions would be difficult to conceive; for so long as the incentive to strife and corruption remains in the form of money and property, so long will brother be pitted against brother and faction against faction. Self-seeking will ever be the order of the day under a so-called co-operative socialistic system. Nothing but the total abolishment of governmental systems and the substitution of principles based on the precept “each for all and all for each” will establish an equilibrium of social forces that will forever insure “peace and good will to man on earth.”
Socialism and Communism are regarded by some as the “stepping stones” to an ideal state, as a “half way station” between despotic and self-government. But how could Socialism, as understood now, which asks for more government, and imposes greater restrictions upon the individual in some respects, be a “half way station?” Even if it were, why stop there, seeing that it is full of snares and pitfalls of all kinds? Why not “make” for the final haven of mankind at once, not tarry on the way?
While Anarchists consider themselves subject to existing laws and customs, they would, nevertheless, consider themselves false to their principles and derelict to their duties if they relaxed their efforts to bring about the changes needed to insure a state of society based on right and justice to all, and thus terminate the carnival of crime now rampant everywhere.
Slowly but surely has been the progress of Anarchism. Its true aims and objects are beginning to illumine the mind of man. Its advance may be likened to the early dawn before the break of day. Ere long the sun of righteousness will arise in all its glory and shed its lustrous rays over the face of “mother earth,” dispelling the mists of ignorance and superstition, and the noxious vapors of avarice and oppression under which humanity is suffering. Man’s innate love of freedom will assert itself; the goddess of liberty will break the chain the Church and State have forged around him, and he will walk forth a free man. The comprehension by the masses of the principles of Anarchism would be synchronous with its recognition as the real savior of mankind.
Free Society 10b no. 18 (May 10, 1904): 2.