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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Anarchism: its Origin and Aim. — A Lecture Delivered in Wellington by J. D. Findlay, LL.D

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Anarchism: its Origin and Aim.

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Dunedin Printed at the Evening Star Job Printing Works, Bond Street


Anarchism: its Origin and Aim.

A Lecture Delivered in Wellington by J. D. Findlay, LL.D.

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It is a familiar saying that "it has taken all the past to make the present," but this profound truth owes what currency it has rather to its paradoxical expression than to any general appreciation of its significance. The roots of things hidden in the past escape attention, and oftentimes what is deemed the original invention of to-day is in its main essentials as old as Aristotle. Of nothing is this truer than of systems of thought. Human thought, like human nature, is a growth, and doctrines which appear to the less observant to be the creation of this decade or the last are but the lineal descendants of the philosophies of hoary antiquity. I premise this because I hope to make what I have to say forcibly illustrate it. My first purpose is to trace

The Origin of Anarchism.

First, then, what, shortly put, is this Anarchism whose history we seek? It is that doctrine which declares that men can and should live according to the law of nature alone; that the curse of the race has been our human laws and institutions, whose fruit is seen in all the world's deep misery and woe; and that no remedy for this widespread wretchedness exists but the annihilation by all means fair or foul of all established rule and external authority. Such is the cardinal tenet of the Anarchist; and if it seems to many but the crazy product of delirium let it be remembered that it counts among its advocates writers of such ability in literature and science as Kropotkine and Elisée Reclus—that for its sake men have readily—nay, cheerfully—laid down their lives, and that notwithstanding a repression almost as fierce and thorough as that directed against Christianity under the early Roman Emperors it nevertheless grows and spreads like a cancer, threatening the very life of the body politic. Now, let me say here that I am not concerned to-night with Socialism, but with Anarchism. The two doctrines differ as the poles—the one aims at the further development and elaboration of our social system; the latter at its overthrow and destruction. With this distinction kept in view, I first proceed with the consideration of the origin of Anarchism. To trace its roots, it seems to me that we must turn to Ancient Greece, the home of the intellectual fathers of the world. Among all the teachings of the early Greeks, none, perhaps, has so profoundly influenced the development of the law, morals, and institutions of mankind as the Greek conception of Nature. With them the fundamental idea conveyed by the word phusis (Nature) was the manifestation of some primordial law, the operation of some great single principle. It was the chief mark of the Greek mind to search "through all it felt and saw and reach the law within the law." From Thales, the father of Greek speculation, up to Zeno the struggle still was to find the En kai pan—the one in many, the enduring and unchangeable. In the Stoic's conception of Nature there are two elements—first, primordial matter, or the passive element, from which all things are formed; and secondly, an active element which forms things out of matter. This is Reason or God; this active element so forming things gives to matter the laws which govern it. Hence Reason is the great creative law of the world. But the operation of this principle was not confined to the physical world only, for with the Stoics at least it embraced the conduct, thoughts, and observances of men. Everything physical, psychological, and moral is subject to this great general law; and, if man would know it, his one rule of life is this: "Live harmoniously with Nature." To follow this rule man must cultivate and employ fortitude, self-control, and all the other cardinal virtues, and hence in so far as any law or custom dictated the observance or performance of these virtues it was deemed to be consistent with Nature's rule. Tested by this touchstone, it was believed that her last code might be discovered, and such a system of laws and institutions established as might again produce that golden age of which the poets, from Hesiod downwards, have delighted to sing. From the Sophists to the Stoics the distinction between natural law and the laws of men was a favorite subject for disputation and inquiry, and wherever imperfections and unfairness were found that indicated that the origin of the inequable law was man and not Nature. But the influence of this Greek conception has been exerted in later ages, chiefly through a Roman medium. When Greece became the page 2 vassal of Rome the philosophy of the Stoics was enthusiastically embraced, at least in theory, by the Roman lawyers. The main features of this law of Nature were supposed to be simplicity, harmony, justice, equality, and all these features stood out in striking contrast with the complex ceremonial and formalities, the class distinctions, and brittle formulæ of the civil law. Ulpian, the Roman jurist, is but employing the moral ideal of the Stoics when he declares: "Quod adjusnaturale, attinet omnes homines aequales sunt," that by Nature's law all men are equal—a doctrine, let me say by the way, the misconception of which has done more harm in modern times and produced more absurd and dangerous nonsense than any other maxim in existence. With the Romans, then, this jus naturale, or law of nature, became the ideal law. The pattern for all law made by men and the growth of this doctrine among them led the jurists to identify in theory, at any rate, their jus gentium, or the simpler and more equitable part of their law with the lost code of nature. Whatever part of their law had the features of simplicity, justice, and equality they began to declare was but part of natural law, and in framing all that system of law which the prætor or Roman magistrate erected upon the original civil law he was supposed to be guided by this ideal jus naturale. It does not appear that they contemplate any past condition of the race—any early state of nature in which man lived subject to this beneficent code of hers. That contemplation appears to have been almost exclusively confined to the poets; but the contemplation of this ideal and perfect law afforded the Romans a test and a paragon, by the aid of which they made their system the finest in the world. Passing from the age of Justinian to later times it is interesting and essential to my purpose to show the influence of this theory of the law of nature upon the minds of the French lawyers. When about the year 1250 anno domini the scientific study of Roman law spread from Bologna over Western Europe, France was cursed with a confusion and diversity of laws and customs that perhaps existed in no other country in the world; and the French lawyers, hopeless of any reform of this tangle of theirs, turned with delight to the Roman view of the law of Nature. The virtues of this ideal law with its simplicity and uniformity were contrasted sharply with the vices of French law proper. The former's supposed opposition to class distinctions and the equality and perfect fairness which were deemed its leading features were the subject of passionate laudation and admiration by the French jurists, especially those of last century. But, following the Roman method of treating this natural law, they did not attempt to speculate upon or contemplate the actual state of human life in which this law prevailed. All these glowing panegyrics of theirs, however, served to lead up to and introduce that counterpart of the theory—the natural condition—the golden age in which this natural law held sway.

The Influence of Rousseau.

The transfer of regard from the laws of Nature to the state of nature was, considering the circumstances I have referred to and the imaginative and speculative character of the French mind, a step, if not inevitable, at least natural. It was Jean Jacques Rousseau born at Geneva on the 28th June, 1712, that strange compound of weakness and strength, ignorance and knowledge, baseness and nobility, who affected this transfer. It is not within the limits of of my subject to say anything of the life of this strange man—one of the most unique characters in history—of whom it has been said "he formed a new social system and a new order of man," and the influence of whose writings upon the minds of his countrymen was summed up by Napoleon in the phrase "that without Rousseau there would not have been a Revolution." In his 'Discourse on Inequality,' written in 1753, he sets himself to inquire into the origin of inequality among men, and as to whether it is authorised by natural law. In answering this question he ascribes to an imaginary state of nature all the virtues previous writers and thinkers ascribed to natural law. In his wanderings amid the woods at St. Germaine (whither he had gone to think out his thesis) he tells us: "I sought for and found the image of primitive ages of which I boldly traced the history. I confounded the miserable falsehoods of men and comparing artificial men with the state of nature I dared to show them in their pretended improvement the real source of their miseries." Rousseau was not the first writer who had employed an assumed state of nature upon which to base a social dogma. Hobbes has his state of nature and so has Locke, although theirs differ, as I shall shortly show, widely from that of Rousseau. But, unlike him, Hobbes and Locke never claimed for their assumptions any previous existence in fact, nor attempted to prove that this hypothetical condition was ever an actuality by an appeal to history. It was characteristic of such a mind as Rousseau's to proceed upon the credo ut intelligem principle, and first erect his theory into a passionate creed, and then claim to have proved its truth by the most audacious assumptions of fact, scraps of unreliable history, and absurd prehistoric traditions. Such are the means by which he boldly declares he has established man's pristine condition of innocence and happiness, and shown how the race has fallen from its earthy paradise to its present perdition. I need not trouble you with the features of this primitive condition. Man, as described by Rousseau, in this earliest state is not so much a savage as a brute, seeking his food like an animal, possessed of no language, sleeping under the shelter of trees, mating with a female and leaving her again as do the beasts of the field. page 3 This, he tells us, is the first home of simplicity, innocence, and felicity, in which man was happier and more moral than his so-called civilised descendant of to-day. Rousseau's Golden Age is not, however, this first stage, but that midway between what I should call the brute stage and our present fevered unrest—realism: that condition of barbarism in which the savage has his hut, his own wife or wives, his dress of wild beast skins, and his ornaments of feather?, shells, and teeth; such a condition as probably the Maoris enjoyed when we came to these islands and taught them how to move the spirit's inner deeps by rum and true religion. This is the state in which man's lot was happiest, healthiest, and best. Independent, self-reliant, earning his own livelihood, uncurst by capitalist, landlord, or tax-gatherer. The true fall of man was from this state, and the road to our present misery lay through the development of language, of industries, of the modern form of the family, and finally of property. The growth of society and the growth of human wretchedness have moved on with equal step, and all our ghastly extremes of wealth and poverty are but the bitter fruit of so-called social progress. High above all other instruments on social evil stands the institution of property, chief source of all our suffering. "He was the true founder of society," says Rousseau, "who first enclosed a plot of land, and, claiming it as his own, found fools enough to believe him." With this institution grew inequality, dishonesty, strife, and misery. It has been the very upas tree of social life. Thus, then, we see the old theory of natural law giving birth to a philosophical state of nature, and leading to the idea of a past that was never present. Hut the most important development of this last-mentioned theory yet remains to be described. Rousseau necessarily conceived this natural condition as unpolitical, and to account for the creation of the state he invokes

The Doctrine of the Social Contract,

a doctrine which, although proceeding upon a gratuitous hypothesis, has yet profoundly influenced modern political conceptions. This is his picture of the birth of society—the transition from the natural to the social order of things: "Pressed by necessity the rich to defend themselves conceived the most ingenious plan which ever entered the human mind—namely, that of employing on their own behalf the very forces that attacked them, and of turning their enemies into defenders." "Unite with us," they said to the poor, "to secure the weak from oppression, to restrain the ambitious, to assure to each the possession that belongs to him. In a word, instead of turning our strength against each other let us place ourselves together all under one supreme power which governs us according to wise laws, which defends all members of the association, repels common enemies, and preserves us in everlasting concord." "All hasten under the yoke in order to secure freedom—such was the origin of society and of laws which, for the benefit of a few ambitious men, subjected henceforth all mankind to servitude and slavery." This theory, fanciful as it is, lies at the very root of Anarchism. It was the creed of Marat, Danton, and Robespierre; the major premiss to those bloody conclusions which produced the Revolution. Rousseau did not originate the theory, and a short sketch of its origin and development may be both interesting and requisite to our inquiry. The fiction of the social contract began with Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher of the seventeenth century, with whom also begins the whole modern school of political theory. His capital advance upon previous writers was to clearly mark the distinction between policy and legality—between what ought to be and what is positive law, and it was first essential to his doctrines that he should establish the absolute power of the sovereign body. To set up a supreme lawgiver, whose decrees, be they (measured by an ethical standard) just or unjust, were nevertheless the law of the land and binding upon its people. To do this he invented the theory of

The Social Compact.

In his remarkable work, 'The Leviathan,' published in 1651, he assumes a state of Nature preceding the existence of society, in which all men are equal, but in a condition of constant war and constant fear of violence. Unlike the halcyon days Rousseau pictures, pre-social times, in Hobbes's view, were marked by misery, dread, and bloodshed. There was no supreme power to preserve order, protect the weak, or punish the wrongdoer. The remedy for this intolerable condition was the institution of a supreme power, and this remedy involved the surrender by each of such natural rights as were inconsistent with the exercise of sovereignty. But the surrender of these natural rights must be voluntary, and hence Hobbes supposes the formation of a mutual agreement between each person living in this state of nature and a person or body of persons chosen to fill the post of sovereign, whereby an unlimited power and discretion for the common weal is granted by the people to the governing body. From this hypothetical contrast Hobbes deduces the principle that no man may attempt to change the form of government, since this would be a breach of his original agreement. No subject can dissent from the institution of sovereignty without thereby ceasing to be a member of the community and remitting himself to his original state of war, while every sovereign is irresponsible, for the control given him is irrevocable, and no one can justly complain of the exercise of the authority he himself has given to his agent. This imaginary contract was introduced not to correctly explain the creation of society, but to originate and justify supreme power, and prove that rebellion was a gross breach page 4 of man's natural duty to keep his promise. Hence (as we shall see) this so-called apostle of "Divine right" and "passive obedience" employs the fiction of the social compact for purposes the very antithesis of those Rousseau had in view. But before this speculative chimera reached the French father of the revolution it had passed through the hands of John Locke, one of the most eminent and valuable English political writers of his century. In his essay on 'Civil Government' he bases his theory upon the hypothesis of the social contract. He, like Hobbes, began with a state of nature; but he conceives its features differently. It is not, in his view, an intolerable condition of war—a condition of utter lawlessness, fear, and rapine; for the law of reason exists, which teaches all mankind who will but listen to its dictates, that as they were all born equal and are by nature independent, no one should injure or destroy another's life, limb, liberty, or estate. These are, strangely enough, almost the very words of the text from which the Anarchist of to-day preaches. The reign of this natural law would, if undisturbed, result in universal peace, harmony, and happiness. But even in the supposed state of nature the law of reason is heard and widely obeyed, nor does any state of war arise until men refuse to listen to Nature's voice or violate her mandates. While Hobbes employed the fiction of the social compact to generate absolute power and inculcate passive obedience, Locke employs it to establish constitutional government and justify in certain cases disaffection and rebellion. His work is, in fact, an elaborate apology for the Revolution of 1688. With this aim he strives to show that all the fundamental rights of man were antecedent to the formation of Government, and that there existed in a state of nature a natural right of property in one's person, and in those things with which he has mixed his labor. These natural rights are observed as far as the law of reason is obeyed, but to prevent and punish disobedience a common judge, armed with authority, is necessary. It is important to observe, then, that in Locke's view man in a state of nature is already enjoying certain rights, and any social compact is necessary only for certain limited purposes. Men give up, he says, much of their natural rights to the governing body, but they do so conditionally, and not absolutely, as Hobbes contends. The condition is that the power thus parted with shall be exercised strictly for the good of the whole community, and anything done by the sovereign foreign to that object is, as lawyers would say, ultra vires and void. Hence it has been said that Locke employed his conception of the original contract to show not merely that constitutional government was justified by the law of nature, but that it was the only form of government so justified. And now I return to Rousseau. With the writings of both Hobbes and Locke he was familiar, and his celebrated essay 'Du Contrat Social,' published in 1762, is based upon what he borrowed from these English writers. Already in Locke's essay the tendency to treat the state of nature as subject to the law of reason is clearly seen, and in Rousseau that tendency reaches its furthest limit. With him the sovereign is not a privileged person or body of persons, but the collective body of the people themselves, and sovereignty but the exercise of their general will. The right of sovereignty residing in each is inalienable, and hence no such delegation of supreme power as Hobbes and Locke refer to is possible. There can be no separation and independence between the subject and sovereign parts of a State, for the people are at once subjects and sovereign. We have seen in Hobbes how this social contract was employed to serve the ulterior object of establishing supreme and irresponsible power; in Locke to serve the object of justifying constitutional government; and now in Rousseau we see it engaged to create a sovereign power, and yet leave each party to the contract as free as he was before. There is in Rousseau, as in his predecessors, a contract entered into by each man living in the state of nature; but it is entered into (in Rousseau's view), not with any particular person or body of persons, but with the whole community, and results merely in a surrender to the community of certain rights. The general will is the supreme power, which will itself compel obedience to its dictates, and there is no king or ruler of the people but the people. Thus we see how this fiction of the social contact first served Hobbes to erect and justify a sovereign body, and finally served Rousseau to justify its destruction. The former tells us that in the state of nature true liberty has no place; the latter that man was originally free, and has undergone enslavement by the form of our society. The bearing of such conclusions as those of Rousseau upon modern Anarchism are not hard to trace. His conception of the origin of society is the chief principle of

The Anarchists' Gospel.

It was but its logical conclusions, the victim of Charlotte Corday's dagger ex-pressed, when he declared "that society was founded upon mutual agreement, and that if sufficient reason for determining that agreement existed it should be dissolved." "The bonds of society," said Marat, the comrade of Danton, and the most hatefully notorious of the butchers of the French Revolution, "are now dissolved, and the state of nature has come back in which each man has a right to take what he can, and the rich must make way for the poor." And Brissot but applied the principles of Rousseauism when he declared "La propriete exclusive est une vol dans la nature." The gospel of Jean Jacques has been correctly summarised as follows:— page 5
1.All men are born free, politically equal, and good, and in a nature remain so; consequently it is their natural right to be free and their duty to be good.
2.All men being equal by natural right, none can have any right to encroach another's equal right. Hence no man can appropriate any part of the common means of subsistence—that is to say, the land or anything which the land produces—without the unanimous consent of all other men. Under any other circumstances property is usurpation, or, in plain terms, robbery.
3.Political rights, therefore, are based upon contract—the so-called right of conquest is no right, and property which has been acquired by force may be taken away by force.

These were the texts of the rhetorical nonsense that inebriated and inflamed the minds of French proletariat in 1789 and urged them on to blood and anarchy. I need not go into any critical examination of these principles. Should my reader be curious to see how this stuff looks beneath the surgical knife of common sense, you cannot do better than read Jeremy Bentham's Specimens of a Criticism of the French Declaration of Rights'—that "sort of institute and digest of Anarchy," as Edmund Burke calls it. But much of this essence of Rousseauism is familiar to all. Not only is it the creed of the Anarchist, but largely the accepted doctrines of shallow thinkers, who are more attracted by the grandiloquence of a phrase than the force of an argument. Books but repeating these same notions set in a weary waste of words have, during the last decade or two, fallen upon us from the Press "thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks in Vallam-brosa," and half the ultra-socialistic literature of our day is but Rousseauism veiled by bombastic, windy phraseology—"Liberty," "Fraternity," "Equality." Magic words! What cart-loads of rhetorical confectionery have been made out of you. Well may Bentham exclaim: "Alas, how dependent are opinions upon sound. Who shall break the chains which bind them together? By what force shall the associations between words and ideas be dissolved—associations coeval with the cradle—associations to which every book and every conversation gives increased strength. The language of plain, strong sense is difficult to learn; the language of smooth nonsense is easy and familiar. The one requires a force of attention capable of stemming the tide of usage and example; the other requires nothing but to swim with it." I think I have succeeded in showing how first the early Greek view of the law of nature passed to Rome, and there, employed for practical purposes, impressed itself on Roman law and Roman thought. Again, in later years imported into France, it gathered strength and authority until the time of Rousseau, when its counterpart, the state of nature, yet but dimly contemplated, is brought out into vivid prominence and made man's perfect state even as her law is perfect. And accompanying this development since the time of Hobbes went on that of the social compact until Rousseau formulated his fantastic system by an alteration and continuation of both these theories. This legacy of visionary speculation he bequeathed to posterity, and to-day it is the gospel of the Anarchist and the avowed warrant for the use of the bomb and the dagger.

Rousseau's Disciples.

Rousseau, however, is rather the grandfather than the father of modern Anarchism, for it is his children who are more immediately connected with the present movement. Joseph Pierre Proudhon is its acknowledged parent. He was born at Besançon on January 15, 1809, and died there on January 19, 1865. The child of parents sunk in hopeless poverty, he felt in his early years all the bitterness of the old world struggle for existence. The vicissitudes of his childhood doubtless engendered that hostility to society that found in later years vehement expression in his writings and made his nature the natural soil for the seed of the Genevese theorist. His youthful talent gained for him the assistance of some friends, and by their aid he got a moderate education, to which he added in after years by self-instruction, becoming in time both a linguist and a scholar. In 1840 appeared his famous work, bearing on the title page the question: "(Qu'est ce que la propriete?" to which the first page of the treatise replies "C'est le vol" [it is robbery]—a doctrine borrowed immediately from the maxim (I have quoted) of Brissot, one of the leaders of the party of Girondists who figure so prominently in the French Revolution. Proudhon's main arguments are that labor is the sole just ground of individual possession, and that all labor ought to be rewarded equally. In 1841 and 1842 he published further treatises more vigorously advocating these views, and so vehemently bitter and revolutionary became his tone that he was prosecuted for his writings, but acquitted. The rest of his life was sedulously devoted to the spread of anarchical propaganda, and a stream of revolutionary theses flowed from his pen. He violently attacks almost every social and legal institution in existence, and, while he shows an utter absence of scientific judgment, he displays that fatal literary gift with which Nature seems to have endowed so many of his countrymen as a compensation for want of sense. The writings of Proudhon were widely circulated in his own lifetime throughout much of Western Europe, and stimulated and fed in many minds the flame of social discontent and revolution. Greatly, however, as Proudhon promoted the modern movement of Anarchism, its spreads and its vitality are more largely due to Michael Bakunin than to any other writer or agitator of this century. He was a Russian, born in 1814 at Torschok, and the descendant of an illustrious aristocratic family. After serving in the page 6 Russian Army for a time be visited Western Europe, and in France met Proudhon, by whose writings be was deeply influenced. This was in 1847. Two years later he was sent to Siberia for his connection with certain disturbances in his own country, but succeeded in effecting his escape. Thenceforth he lived in exile, chiefly in that early home of continental revolutionists, Switzerland, and set himself with a zeal and a determination, bora, perhaps, of an implacable revenge, to diffuse the damnable doctrines of his creed. In 1869 he formed the social Democratic Alliance, which died in the year of its birth. After leading a rising at The Hague in 1870, and actively promoting in every direction his wild anti-social theories, we find him expelled from the 'International' in 1872 by Marx and his party in that great struggle between Socialist and Anarchist, which cost the 'International' its existence. I have not space to trace more fully the features of this strange career. By tongue and pen he unceasingly diffused the principles of his doctrines in Spain, Italy, and France, and gave it a vitality and intensity which to-day produces Santo and his brethren. His system is simplicity itself. In a word it aims at annihilation of all external authority, and is avowedly a declaration of war against every social institution. The race has tried all forms of Government from monarchical to democratic, and the unceasing cry of human misery has proclaimed them each a failure. The tyranny of many is no better than the tyranny of one, and man's enslavement is as bitter in republic as under an autocracy. Perish all your artificial systems which have erected a pernicious power to keep a man a slave. It matters not whether external authority emanate from God or man, from an absolute sovereign or from universal suffrage, it is the true root and source of all our wretchedness and woe, and must at any cost be utterly destroyed. In his 'Dieu et l'etat' he declares:—"Man's true liberty consists solely in this: that he obey the laws of Nature and obey them because he has himself recognised them as such, and not because they have been imposed upon him externally by any foreign will whatever, be it human or divine, collective or individual." In a word, man's true and only governor is the voice of reason within him, and all assumption of external power is but the usurpation of tyranny. This is the Stoic's view run mad—an apotheosis not so much of Rousseau's state of nature as of his natural law. It was the teaching of Zeno that men should strive to rise above the fever, the frets, and the pettiness which belong to the world of passion, prejudice, and ignorance, and reach the serene air of that intellectual life whose ideal is perfect harmony with Nature. The Greeks fully recognise that this high aim was far beyond the full attainment of the mass of men, that it was but an ideal which they could at most by self-control hope to get nearer to, just as we deem the perfect life of Christ a divine example which we can but feebly follow. "The perfect man who springs hereafter up from Nature" may be able to listen to the voice of reason, and, hearing it, obey, but the day of his era is still tar off. It is the fundamental blunder of Proudhon and Bakinun and their disciples that they treat that distant day as already come, and suppose and declare that human nature here and now would, in the absence of all external law and authority, be found almost Christ-like in its love of order and in its justice, morality, and truth. I hope and trust that as the "great world spins for ever down the ringing grooves of change," we are slowly nearing that millennium, but no one but a dreamer or a fool can believe that if every external restraint disappeared man's many imperfections would vanish, and each of us be a perfect law unto himself. Yet this is but a plain statement of the main doctrine of Anarchism—"ascertain Nature's laws, obey them, and obey no others," is the proclamation. To further the recognition of these laws let scientific knowledge be diffused among the people. "No provision for their enforcement is requisite, for once a man realises what a law of Nature dictates he must obey it, since that very law is part of his own nature." Thus no need exists for political organisations or social institutions. As Proudhon puts it, "the government of man by man in every form is oppression, and the highest perfection of society is the union of order and Anarchy."

The Objects of the Anarchist Movement

avowedly include the complete abolition of classes, the enjoyment of absolute freedom, the fullest satisfaction of man's wants per-mitted by the limits of Nature's productiveness, and due consideration for the wants of others. Capital is declared to be the common inheritance of humanity, and ought to be at the disposal of all, so that no one should be excluded from it, and none seized of part of it to the detriment of the rest. Let there be bread for all, science for all, work for all, independence and justice for all, while the fullest equality is demanded as the essential condition of freedom. No Government is to be tolerated, and in place of all external and administrative control there must be substituted voluntary agreements perpetually open to rescission. You will recognise in all this the identity of much of the Greek conception of the Stoic's law of nature, but as a social system nothing could be more unlike Aristotle's view of the State's functions. He does not begin with a fanciful figment like the social compact but the actual conditions of human society as upon close investigation he found them. In direct opposition to the Anarchist's view he declares that man was born to be a citizen, and that man's true state of nature is society—so far so, that he pronounces the State not only natural and necessary to man but prior to individual man, since he cannot live a complete and tolerable life page 7 apart from it. "As for equality, he says it is idle to talk of equality as good for its own sake—an equality of pinching poverty would not help us much. The aim should be to equalise men's wants." But to return to Anarchism. I have outlined the aims, and the means employed to promote those aims you learn daily in the newspapers. Bakunin states the duty of the Anarchist plainly and boldly. Let him, he in effect declares, set himself steadfastly to destroy by every possible means this cursed growth we call society. In pursuit of this end he must be influenced by no private interests, no personal feelings, no sentiments of religion, patriotism, or morality, but let him be ruthless, relentless, dauntless in the work of unceasing destruction. Tins is his mission, and, let the means be fair or foul, the glorious aim of the welfare of the race will justify and commend it. Once destroy every vestige of external government and with man's complete emancipation the millennium will come. So assured, these blind enthusiasts would hasten on the wheels of human progress by the bomb, the pistol, and the dagger. I do not say that these means are approved by such men as Kropotkin or Elisée Reclus, nor have I space to give the different shades of opinion among the advocates of Anarchist themselves. It is sufficient for my purpose that the aims and means I have stated reflect the view of all the pronounced and active Anarchists of these times. With most of us our special wonder is how theories so mad and brutal find acceptance; but remember that no teaching or doctrine will readily take root unless it fall in with the prepossessions of those to whom it is addressed.

The Portent of the Times.

And what are the features of these times in Europe?—a growing sensitiveness to social evils, begetting an impatience of all slow, natural remedies. On the one hand an eager search for short cuts to the millennium, and a readiness to dose the body politic with every nostrum that political charlatans and speculative dreamers can; devise. This marks the greater class of present discontents. On the other hand we see among another class a blank despair of any help from legislative panaceas; a conviction deep as that despair that all the misery of the race must but increase and intensify with the extension of government and the further organisation of society. Amid both these classes men will be found whose views are prompted by no sordid aim; who see the pain, the sorrow, and want—the lifelong lot of millions—who, as Ruskin has it, "have not been born into life, but damned into it," and, touched by what they see, seek some heroic remedy, be it what it may. Again, there is the host of disappointed ones—the failures, the beaten competitors in life's race, who have been soured and embittered against society as it is. Among these are found many sensitive souls, who possess all the requisites of material success except that of self-assertiveness and audacity, that count for so much in the struggle, and who see loud-mouthed impudence filled with good things, while modest merit is sent empty away. Then there is the countless army of the toilers and the moilers of the earth, who have to labor late and early for such a recompense as just keeps body and soul together, and who behold from the midst of their pinching poverty the wasteful extravagance of the idle rich. Among these the diffusion of education prompts the question of whether the exasperating extremes they see are the inevitable work of nature's laws, or but the fruit of this great growth, our present society. With the very best of us interest smooths the way to faith, and it is not to be wondered at that the multitude, made up of the classes I have mentioned, should be disposed to believe and embrace any specious doctrine or scheme that promises to bring them from their weary wilderness to a land flowing with milk and honey. These, if not worthy discontents, have at least some reason for their grudge against our social system, but there yet remains to mention that horde of idle loafers who form the dregs of every State (the "bilge water," as Cicero calls them), and whose degradation and poverty are but the wages of their own intemperance and idleness. These, in every thickly-populated country, are, and always have been, a constant menace to law and order. The standing army of the plunderer, revolutionary leader, and the Anarchist, just as to-day they follow Bakunin and zealously commend his proposed subversion of society and redistribution of the world's goods, so some 2,000 years ago, in the days of Cicero, they followed Catiline, the conspirator, in his designs to overthrow the Roman State. Does not this free translation of the Latin of Sallust sound as if written of to-day? He is speaking of the revolution Catiline attempted. "The spirit of social disaffection was not confined to those alone who took an active part in the revolutionary movement, for the whole of the lowest classes, from a sheer desire for a new order of things, favored the schemes of Catiline. This was but in keeping with their general character, for in every State those who have nothing are the natural enemies of those who have much, and the rabble everywhere will follow the agitator. They dislike the established order of society and long for a revolution. Dissatisfied with their own lot, they are eager for a general redivision of things. Amid disorder and sedition they can live without anxiety, for the beggar can sing in the presence of the highwaymen." These, however, we have always had with us, and their hostility is no new thing, nor much concerns us at the present moment. It is the other classes previously mentioned who form the real danger to our modern State, and from which are drawn those mad enthusiasts who sell their lives for the fancied good of their fellow-men. And now let me say page 8 in conclusion that whatever repulsive form they take, these wild social movements of our day are in large measure but the fruit of the growing altruism of human nature. Our increasing sensitiveness to the evils of our system, and deepening sympathy for the sufferings of the poor, prompts an impatience of experience and a revolt against Nature's own slow methods. No one can regret the growth of philanthropic zeal, but to it nevertheless is largely due the machinations of the Anarchist, as well as the Utopias of the ultra-Socialist. Zeal for the promotion of the general good we have in abundance, but misdirected zeal is often worse than apathy. It is but a phase of the present social mood that he who preaches patience prompts but indignation, while he who proclaims some visionary heroic remedy for our ills is hailed as a deliverer. Much, doubt less, can be and is being done by social and legislative reform; but the lesson, it seems to me, that most needs teaching just now is that the fundamental requisite of both individual and national prosperity and advancement is self-reliance; that each must honestly do the best he can for himself before he asks the aid of the Government Unfortunately, the disposition to invoke the help of Hercules before we have really tried what putting our own shoulder to the wheel can do is a rapidly growing one, which is but fostered and encouraged by all the sentiment and passion that in these days is masquerading in the garb of philosophy. For what ultimate end these tendencies are making it is impossible to say. The future of the race is hidden in the mists that lie across the path, and in these, according to our disposition, we will see shapes that promise joy or travail. In the growth of Anarchism many hear the voice of Chaos "rising monstrous loud and inarticulate," and see the death of society as a living organism drawing near. But he who has an ear for the still, small voices and eternal intimations that come across the temporal clamor of the present will embrace that larger hope in human things which, notwithstanding many presages of ill, yet doubts

. . . not through the ages one increasing purpose runs,

And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns.


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