Anarchy Necessarily Atheistic.

Anarchy Necessarily Atheistic.

[Liberty, January 9, 1886.]

To the Editor of Liberty:(161 ¶ 1)

If Anarchy, as you advocate it, is the abolition of all law and authority except the laws of self-government and self-restraint, and you believe that with these laws of self no man would injure his neighbor, how would such a condition of things, realizing the highest ideals of Socialism and negating all authority, differ from a society governed by the laws thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself, and affirming the authority of Christ? (1) If there is no real difference, what use in any negation?(161 ¶ 2)

But again: If Anarchy, as you advocate it, be the very highest ideal of Socialism, do you think it possible to make so great a transition as from the present condition of things to that ideal state, except by steps accomplished with more or less celerity? (2)(161 ¶ 3)

If not, why cannot all men who desire to change the present condition of things for a better one form parts of one great army, and advance as rapidly as possible towards the end? If part of the army halt when certain changes are effected, you are advanced with it so far, and part of your work is accomplished any way, and you have less to do. (3)(161 ¶ 4)

The practical question is: what shall we attack first with that amount and kind of force necessary to effect our purposes? The present system must be destroyed in detail, and a new one be supplied in detail. The job is too large to accomplish suddenly and at once.(161 ¶ 5)

Yours respectfully,

O. P. Lewis.

Bridgeport, Conn., December 3, 1885.

(1) A society negating all authority would differ from a society affirming the authority of Christ very much as white differs from black. Self-government is incompatible with government by the law, thou shalt love the Lord thy God, for the reason that this law implies the existence of God, and God and Man are enemies. God, to be God, must be a governing power. His government cannot be administered directly by the individual, for the individual, and through the individual: if it could, it would at once obliterate individuality altogether. Hence the government of God, if administered at all, must be administered through his professed viceregents on earth, the dignitaries of Church and State. How this hierarchy differs from Anarchy is needless to point out.(161 ¶ 6)

(2) No.(161 ¶ 7)

(3) Because the great majority of the men whose hearts are filled with the desire to change the present condition of things for a better one are afflicted with an obscurity of mental vision which renders them incapable of distinguishing between advance and retrogression. Professing an aspiration for entire individual freedom, they aim to effect it by enlarging the sphere of government and restricting and restraining the individual through all sorts of new oppressions. No clear-sighted Anarchist can march with such an army. The farther he should go with it, the farther would he be from his goal, and, instead of having less to do, he would have more to do and more to undo. Whenever Liberty hears of any demand for a real increase in freedom, it is prompt to encourage and sustain it, no matter what its source. It marches with any wing of the army of freedom as far as that wing will go. But it sternly refuses to right about face. Liberty hates Catholicism and loves Free Thought; but, when it finds Catholicism advocating and Free Thought opposing the principle of voluntaryism in education, it sustains Catholicism against Free Thought. Likewise, when it finds Liberals and Socialists of all varieties favoring eight-hour laws, government monopoly of money, land nationalization, protection, prohibition, race proscription, State administration of railways, telegraphs, mines, and factories, woman suffrage, man suffrage, common schools, marriage laws, and compulsory taxation, it brands them one and all as false to the principle of freedom, refuses to follow them in their retrogressive course, and keeps its own eyes and steps carefully towards the front. It knows that the only way to achieve freedom is to begin to take it. It is an important question, as Mr. Lewis says, what we shall attack first. On this point Liberty has its opinion also. It believes that the first point of attack should be the power of legally privileged capital to increase without work. And as the monpoly of the issue of money is the chief bulwark of this power, it turns its heaviest guns upon that. But it is impossible to successfully attack the money monopoly or any other monopoly or privilege, unless the general principle of freedom be first established. That is the reason why Liberty makes this principle its own guide and its test of the course of others.(161 ¶ 8)