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Anarchism, True and False

Henry Appleton – Anarchism, True and False

Liberty, Vol. 2, No. 24, September 6, 1884, Whole No. 50

There seems to be no end of those singularly ordered minds who can conceive of no radical system of reform except something is to be torn down, ripped up, blown to pieces, or annihilated after some terrible fashion. These persons will have it that the Anarchist is a mere destructionist, – that he is bent upon levelling down all existing institutions. They see blood in his eye and dynamite in his boots as they sadly inquire: “Well, what do you propose to substitute in their place, after you have levelled down all existing institutions?”

The philosophy of Anarchism has nothing whatever to do with violence, and its central idea is the direct antipodes of levelling. It is the very levelling purpose itself projected by republican institutions against which it protests. It is opposed, root and branch, to universal suffrage, that most mischievous levelling element of republics. Its chief objection to the existing State is that it is largely communistic, and all communism rests upon an artificial attempt to level things, as against a social development resting upon untrammelled individual sovereignty. Sifted to its elements, the government of the United States is after all nothing but a mild form of State Socialism. The true Anarchist indicts it largely on this very ground. He is opposed to all manner of artificial levelling machines. How pitiful the ignorance which accuses him of wanting to level everything, when the very integral thought of Anarchism is opposed to levelling!

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