The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 42
3.—Not a Political Party
3.—Not a Political Party.
Their special object is not the government of the place, how could it I Their views do not permit any authority to exist with dictatorial power. Their province is to do away with politics, for each man is to be the only judge of his sense of right and wrong; and before this theory can ever have a thoroughly practically outcome, the body politic must be dissolved. "True freedom" can never exist, according to their definition, so long as representatives of the people are allowed to formulate laws and enforce penalties for their infringement. This is a very serious interference with the independent thinking and acting of the individual, and is even in a large measure subjugating the free exercise of the inclinations, to the wish of others; it is, in fact, imposing upon him the necessity of "recognising an authority competent to dictate to him." This, of course cannot be tolerated. Each man must dwell in "true freedom." He may not judge his neighbour, nor may his neighbour judge him. What each man thinks right is right; yet, if I conscientiously think him wrong, I am also right. Of course conviction leads to action, so that in our doings we are to be as independent and careless of our neighbours as if they did not exist, and are to persist in this course with studious indifference, so long as we are persuaded we are following what we think right. One thing which it is essential to page 9 keep in mind is that these rules are absolutely unqualified and are therefore without limit, spreading over every action in our lives of multifarious duties, and even to men of all shades of thought, and peculiarities of early and later training; that they apply with equal force to the illiterate scavenger, to the man whose life has been one long training in vice and wickedness, as to the cultured, the refined, and the virtuous—all stand on one level. So that even a community of virtuous people possesses no authority to restrain the actions of the vicious and wicked, even when the latter are represented by only one person. So that imprisonment for a violation of what the community considered a right would be in itself a violation of what the offender considered his own right, as a man who has the freedom of his will and the "courage of his opinions." Most truly, then, they are "not a political party," they being emphatically anti-political, if we are to take Mr Stout as a correct exponent of their views, and I know no more capable man.