It’s been awhile since this has been up in the Labyrinth. Yesterday, when I was discussing Tom Paine with my Great Ideas students, I passed around a couple of 19th century editions of Paine’s work: the D. M Bennett collection of “major works” (edited by Calvin Blanchard) and an 1839 George Henry Evans edition of The Crisis with a list of Blanchard’s titles pasted inside the front. One of my students tracked down the current incarnation of The Truth Seeker. She wasn’t terribly impressed. So I figured it was time to get the Crisis Chapter back online so we can all be reminded what brilliant kooks are capable of.
We are in the midst of one of those awful crises, when vindictiveness, called “civil government,” stands nakedly revealed, so that all who have eyes can plainly see this horrible monster. Now’s the time to tell the truth–the whole truth–and “shame the devil.” Now’s the time to strike an effectual blow for real freedom.
Governments are triumphant monopolies of murder, robbery, swindling and all that is atrocious and detestable. Ever since the beginning, they have forced mankind to kill or prepare and hold themselves in readiness to kill each other by the thousands and even millions at a time, and by the cruelest and most destructive means that spite can devise.
All the so-called religions the world has yet “experienced” have solemnly declared that “Almighty God” upholds these governments, all the moralists that have had any practical influence have sanctioned that declaration and all the infidels and political economists have said Amen: some of the infidels most libelously substituting the word “Nature”–their miserably narrow comprehension of it–for “Almighty God.”
Whenever one of these governments gets conquered and overthrown by another of them, or by internal revolution, (events that often happen), “Almighty God,” the moralists, the infidels, and the political economists turn dead against the fallen government. Whenever rebellionists murder and steal, and devastate so magnificently that the police cannot put them down, they thereby gain “belligerent rights;” their murdering, robbing, &c., &c., &c. thenceforth considered honorable, and enterprising individuals of other nations may honorably join them. But these are not half the inducements that governments hold out to excellence in atrociousness; they punish in the cruelest and most disgraceful manner, all the scoundrels they can catch and convict, who do not attain that excellence; and they plan society so that every man and woman must try their luck at scoundrelism or pay the expenses of those who do.
The fastest of all governments is Demagoguery–swindlingly named “elective” or “free government.” The buncomest [?] demagoguery the world has ever seen–a rotted-off branch of the most abominable of monarchies–has just capt the climax: it has spawned an atrociousness far more atrocious than any before, and that cannot be surpassed. One of the principals in a million or so of murders, with robbery and devastation to match, struts flauntingly wherever he pleases, with his insignia, (as do all the principals who are not to proud to stay and associate with their fellow-citizens), and the great general who was pitted against him writes him the politest notes, signing himself “Very *** *****, your obedient servant,” while reimprisoning at hammering stone, about a hundred escaped convicts, whose crimes did not average the damage of $20. In demogogueries, the great brigands have to be sated with plunder every year; at furthest, every four years. In monarchies they are only sated once in a life time.
The legislature of a single State in the “Model” Demogoguery perpetrated more and viler corruption in the year of grace “1865,” than did the most tyrannical monarchy in the world.
But in spite of the murderers, and robbers, and swindlers, and impostors and quacks that govern mankind, liberty has gained some ground through those only possible liberators, the scientists and artists. It is now manifest destiny that these will finally rule the world, and then freedom with be a reality. It cannot be long before present government runs the length of its tether. Unless it stops in its course, such hells as the people of the United States hope they have just got through the hottest of (March, “1865”) will come in such quick succession that no one will be at all provident in guessing “it won’t come in my day.” The reins of power will then spontaneously fall into the hands of those who will abolish all vindictiveness and constraint; mankind will then be as free as the planets in their orbits; “Heaven” will be realized on earth; the earth itself will be physically changed so as to meet the case, and all through material development; through science and art–the same that has given to us the steamboat and the railroad. The great car of progress speeds on. Noiselessly but surely it will reach its destination. Wealth will then be incomparably more valuable than it now is, thousands of times more plenty, and perfectly secure to its individual owners. Machinery will do all labor that is repulsive, and be owned in shares, by the Universal Mutual Guarantee Co. “The People” will dwell in palaces, splendid as the faith-built “mansions in the skies.” All the women will be enchantingly beautiful, all the men faultless, all the children real angels. Love will be free, and universally reciprocal, “virtue” and “vice” obsolete, all constraint banished, everybody completely happy. Between desire and its object, there will intervene only the exertion requisite to impart due pleasurableness to possession. life will last until all clearly imaginable varieties of delight pall on the five senses from repetition. Sickness will be unknown. Death itself will be only a welcome, painless transit to everlasting forgetfulness.
All this is clearly preconceived, and therefore must necessarily take place. For thought is not absolute, but relative. the impossible, self-evidently cannot be conceived, even prospectively. Mentality does not transcend materiality, but functionally depends on it, objectively and subjectively. Perfection–“Heaven”–is preconceived even by common intellectual faculties; though mistakenly, in toto, as to method. Perfection, therefore, will, self-evidently, be realized. Nature–all which to or in man exists–is not, fixedly, a mere half and half of good and evil. Nature is “God” and will prove all-sufficient.
Hark ye, my fellow-citizens of the United States. You seem wholly intent on having another patch up of old government schemes and devices. That patch up won’t last fifty years; then, or probably much sooner, you’ll have a civil war a great deal worse than the present one; t will be felt both North and South. Do you think it was the enslavement of the Negro that caused this war? Pshaw! It was the enslavement of human nature that has caused all the war that has ever taken place! And human nature can’t be conquered; she is backed up, slowly but surely, by Almighty Power, by the force of all cognizable existence, marshalled by ART.
1. How much deeper in war debt has the detestable Monarchy of England run in a thousand years than the “Model Republic” has in less than a century? Professor Lewis says our war debt is not over $3,000,000,000; be he don’t reckon the state, county, city and even village war debt.
2. Wouldn’t it be perfectly true to call every “election” a Game of Caucus and Ballot Box–a Grand Raffle for the Public Treasury–a Stupendous Swindle? Are not the People mere cards of the politicians in playing that game? Do they any more than decide for this or that spoil distributor, between whom the odds is merely the difference between tweedledum and tweedledee?
3. If the State Capitol at Albany and the State Prison at Sing Sing had changed inmates in “1865,” wouldn’t a great act of justice have been done? and wouldn’t the “dear people” have gained immensely thereby? and might not this question have been fairly raised with respect to the incumbents of the Federal Capitol any time since the commencement of Andrew Jackson’s administration?
4. Were the “angels” who sang “peace on earth and good will to men” “heavenly angels” or “masked imps of hell,” judging the tree by its fruit?
5. How much more honorable is war (except war absolutely necessary in defense of most important rights) than assassination? How much more honorable is it to compel, or entice (generally by lying and intoxication) peaceful men to kill each other, and to bombard and starve women and children by the thousands, than to creep, ever so stealthily, behind your single enemy and stab only him in the back? What’s the difference between cowardice and the difference between our treatment of secessionists and State prisoners?
We are education and habituated to consider the most cruel and cowardly assassination as “honorable war!” and to submit to the most expensive and abominable oppression that can be imposed, because that oppression is magically surrounded with a make-believe of freedom.
Disdainful of Monarchies, the Great Republic sycophantically apes their religion, their law, their moralism. She even emulates their cowardice, in knuckling to generals, in crime, whilst savagely torturing and hanging comparative nothing as [?] in crime. Abolish this horrid injustice; take the lead in delivering mankind from the religious, political, and moral “Hell” in which they have always been tormented, and be the glory of the nations, whilst earth and man endure. By “whorawing” and calling ourselves a great people, and all that sort of thing, over such gross injustice, we are but preparing a volcano more dreadful than the one that has just spent its worst fury. Right is mighty and will prevail.
The distinction that is made between scoundrels under the law and scoundrels over the law; between “criminals” and officer [?] “warriors,” slaps justice full in the face, and kicks right, and honor, and mercy, and truth, clean out of court, and stinks most abominably of cowardice.
Let us pardon ALL scoundrels, beginning with the hen-roost robbers, and proceeding thence to pardon the Secessionists of every grade, and then even those scoundrels at the very bottom of the pit of scoundrelism–the UTTERLY CORRUPT, LOBBY ANOINTED LEGISLATORS. Then, let us have a new order of things; a REALLY
ARTICLE I.–All constraint shall be abolished; every man, moan and child shall be fully developed or perfected, and be so situated as to do exactly as they please.
ARTICLE II.–Congress shall make an appropriation sufficient to rear every child born in the United States, in the best manner that MATERIAL SCIENCE AND ART can devise, and similarly provide for the mothers, during their lying in.
ARTICLE III.–Supernaturalism: all that pretends to go beyond or exceed the powers or laws of nature, is henceforth and forever excluded from the domain of government.
There, Fellow Citizens, that’s just what’s got to be done, and there will only be worse and worse “Hell to pay” till it is done. Till just this is done, mankind will be worse and worse tormented by the religious, political, and moral quacks, who screen themselves behind “Divine Providence” and teach and habituate us to worship a personification of their own unsurpassable foolishness and villainy, as “Almighty God.”
“I accept this war as the providence of God,” says Hardee, Secesh General and D. D., as reported by the N.Y. Herald. Nearly all the Union Generals and D. D.s agree with Saint Hardee on this tremendous point. But just think of it; just try to think that any real “God” couldn’t or wouldn’t do what “He” wanted to do except by means of big guns and little guns and put punchers and brain splitters, and Libby prison horrors, and Shoddy, and bounty jumpers, and widows and orphans made by the hundred thousand, and a million or so of murders, including that of President Lincoln, and more than five billion dollars other damage. Why, men can do such things in that way, and the foolishest and wickedest men have done just exactly that. What’s the use of “Him”?
If the theology of General Saint Hardee and his brother theologians in the States north of Dixie be true, isn’t it the rankest blasphemy to offer those big rewards for Jeff Davis & Co., and call them murderers and fugitives from justice? Haven’t they, up to the time of their hegira, acted under the “providence of God”? What if Jeff and his colleagues should offer to surrender, and turn State’s evidence against their principal, on condition of being let off? What would Secretary Stanton, General Hardee, and our other civil and military doctors of divinity do in such a case? In “God’s” name, what could they do?
There! I’ve spoken the bold truth, and I’ll bet it will “shame the devil” and a good many of his imps; that “devil,” the only “devil” that ever was or can be–ignorance; alias Mystery; alias Foolishness; he is one of the two great Omnipresents who live on balderdash and have their thrones in the realm of nonsense; and his imps, all of them who instigate any harm worth noticing, are the parsons, politicians, and moralists. These miserable wretches are chargeable with all the woe mankind have ever endured. I wouldn’t have a thousand billionth part of their guilt resting on me, for all the gold in the universe.
ANNOUNCER OF THE RELIGION OF SCIENCE, PROFESSOR OF RELIGIO-POLITICAL PHYSICS, EXPOSITOR OF THE STATICS AND DYNAMICS OF GOD ALMIGHTY, ADVOCATE FOR THE CONSTITUTION MANIFEST IN HUMAN NATURE, AND HEAD MEMBER OF THE SOCIETY FOR ABOLISHING UTOPIA, AND HUMBUG, AND FAILURE, NO. 23 ANN STREET, NEW YORK, MAY 5, 1865, VULGAR ERA.