Tu-Whit! Tu-Whoo!

Tu-Whit! Tu-Whoo!

To the editor of Liberty:(12 ¶ 1)

Will you give direct and explicit answers to the following questions?(12 ¶ 2)

I certainly will, wherever the questions are direct and explicit.(12 ¶ 3)

Does Anarchism recognize the right of one individual or any number of individuals to determine what course of action is just or unjust for others?(12 ¶ 4)

Yes, if by the word unjust is meant invasive; otherwise, no. Anarchism recognizes the right of one individual or any number of individuals to determine that no man shall invade the equal liberty of his fellow; beyond this it recognizes no right of control over individual conduct.(12 ¶ 5)

Does it recognize the right to restrain or control their actions, whatever they may be?(12 ¶ 6)

See previous answer.(12 ¶ 7)

Does it recognize the right to arrest, try, convict, andp unish for wrong doing?(12 ¶ 8)

Yes, if by the words wrong doing is meant invasion; otherwise, no.(12 ¶ 9)

Does it believe in jury trial?(12 ¶ 10)

Anarchism, as such, neither believes nor disbelieves in jury trial; it is a matter of expediency. For myself, I am inclined to favor it.(12 ¶ 11)

If so, how is the jury to be selected?(12 ¶ 12)

Another matter of expediency. Speaking for myself again, I think the jury should be selected by drawing twelve names by lot from a wheel containing the names of all the citizens in the community,—jury service, of course, not to be compulsory, though it may rightfully be made, if it should seem best, a condition of membership in a voluntary association.(12 ¶ 13)

Does it propose prisons, or other places of confinement, for such as prove unsafe?(12 ¶ 14)

Another matter of expediency. If it can find no better instrument of resistance to invasion, Anarchism will use prisons.(12 ¶ 15)

Does it propose taxation to support the tribunals of justice, and these places of confinement and restraint?(12 ¶ 16)

Anarchism proposes to deprive no individual of his property, or any portion of it, without his consent, unless the individual is an invader, in which case Anarchism will take enough of his property from him to repair the damage done by his invasion. Contribution to the support of certain things may, like jury service, rightfully be made a condition of membership in a voluntary association.(12 ¶ 17)

How is justice to be determined in a given case?(12 ¶ 18)

This question not being explicit, I cannot answer it explicitly. I can only say that justice is to be determined on the principle of equal liberty of all, and by such mechanism as may prove best fitted to secure its object.(12 ¶ 19)

Will Anarchism wait till all who know anything about it are agreed?(12 ¶ 20)

This question is grammatically defective. It is not clear what it refers to. It may refer to justice in the previous question, or it may refer to Anarchism, or it may refer to some conception hidden in the recesses of the writer’s brain. At a venture I will make this assertion, hoping it may hit the mark. When Anarchists are agreed in numbers sufficient to enable them to accomplish whatever special work lies before them, they will probably go about it.(12 ¶ 21)

Will they take the majority rule? Or will they sustain a small fraction in their findings?(12 ¶ 22)

Inasmuch as Anarchistic associations recognize the right of secession, they may utilize the ballot, if they see fit to do so. If the question decided by ballot is so vital that the minority thinks it more important to carry out its own views than to preserve common action, the minority can withdraw. In no case can a minority, however small, be governed against its consent.(12 ¶ 23)

Does Anarchism mean the observance and enforcement of natural law, so far as can be discovered, or does it mean the opposite or something else?(12 ¶ 24)

Anarchism does mean exactly the observance and enforcement of the natural law of Liberty, and it does not mean the opposite or anything else.(12 ¶ 25)

If it means that all such as do not conform to the natural law, as understood by the masses, shall be made to suffer through the machinery of organized authority, no matter what name it goes, it is human government as really as anything we now have.(12 ¶ 26)

Anarchism knows nothing about natural law as understood by the masses. It means the observance and enforcement by each individual of the natural law of Liberty as understood by himself. When a number of individuals who understand this natural law to mean the equal liberty of all organize on a voluntary basis to resist the invasion of this liberty, they form a very different thing from any human government we now have. They do not form a government at all; they organize a rebellion against government. For government is invasion, and nothing else; and resistance to invasion is the antithesis of government. All the organized governments of to day are such because they are invasive. In the first place, all their acts are indirectly invasive, because dependent upon the primary invasion called taxation; and in the second place, by far the greater number of their acts are directly invasive, because directed, not to the restraint of invaders, but to the denial of freedom to the people in their industrial, commercial, social, domestic, and individual lives. No man with brains in his head can honestly say that such institutions are identical in their nature with voluntary associations, supported by voluntary contributions, which confine themselves to resisting invasion.(12 ¶ 27)

If it means that the undeveloped and vicious shall not be interfered with, it means that the world shall suffer all the disorder and crime that depravity unhindered can consummate.(12 ¶ 28)

S. Blodgett.

Grahamville, Florida.

I hope that my readers will take in Mr. Blodgett’s final assertion in all its length and breadth and depth. Just see what it says. It says that penal institutions are the only promoters of virtue. Education goes for nothing; example goes for nothing; public opinion goes for nothing; social ostracism goes for nothing; freedom goes for nothing; competition goes for nothing; increase of material welfare goes for nothing; decrease of temptation goes for nothing; health goes for nothing; approximate equality of conditions goes for nothing: all these are utterly powerless as preventives or curatives of immorality. The only forces on earth that tend to develop the undeveloped and to make the vicious virtuous are our judges, our jails, and our gibbets. Mr. Blodgett, I believe, repudiates the Christian doctrine that hell is the only safeguard of religious morality, but he re-creates it by affirming that a hell upon earth is the only safeguard of natural morality.(12 ¶ 29)

Why do Mr. Blodgett and all those who agree with him so persistently disregard the constructive side of Anarchism? The chief claim of Anarchism for its principles is that the abolition of legal monopoly will so transform social conditions that ignorance, vice, and crime will gradually disappear. However often this may be stated and however definitely it may be elaborated, the Blodgetts will approach you, apparently gravely unconscious that any remark has been made, and say: If there are no policemen, the criminal classes will run riot. Tell them that, when the system of commercial cannibalism which rests on legal privilege disappears, cutthroats will disappear with it, and they will not deny it or attempt to disprove it, but they will first blink at you a moment with their owl-like eyes, and then from out their mouths will come the old, familiar hoot: Tu-whit! tu-whoo! If a ruffian tries to cut your throat, what are you going to do about it? Tu-whit! tu-whoo!(12 ¶ 30)