Saturday, June 23, 2012

Abbott: The Cause and Cure of Anarchism

    "Anarchism...rests upon the doctrine that no man has a right to control by force the action of any other man. Anarchism is defended on historic grounds: the evils are recited which have been wrought in human history by the employment of force compelling obedience by one will to another will, as they are seen in political and religious despotism, in the subjugation of women, in every form of brigandage from that of the Italian bands to that of the Napoleonic armies. It is conceded that evils might grow out of the abolition of all government; but it is insisted that they would be insignificant in comparison with the wrongs which have been perpetrated on mankind by the authority of government. Anarchism is defended on religious grounds. Jesus Christ is cited as the first of anarchists; for did he not say, 'Resist not evil: if one take away thy coat, give him thy cloak also; and if one smite thee upon the one cheek, turn to him the other also?' What is this, we are asked, but a denial of the right to use force even in defense of one's simplest and plainest rights?"

    Lyman Abbott, "The Cause and Cure of Anarchism" in The Outlook, Volume 70 (February 1902)

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