|Free Marriage (1900)
|Originally appearing in Free Society, September 2, 1900.|
I am an Anarchist. I believe in liberty, absolute, unlimited. I believe that every man, woman and child should be free. But I do not believe in all the absurdities garbed and masked behind the word Anarchy, as expounded by many of its professed apostles. I do not believe that Anarchy stands for unorganized chaos, or that liberty leads to planless pandemonium. I believe in social organization, with co-operation as the basic principle.
The pernicious doctrine that the family must be disrupted, in order to reach perfect and harmonious freedom under Anarchy, is too much propagated by a certain class of writers and speakers, whose prominence in our movement is a misfortune to the cause they profess to champion. I certainly do not believe in law-enforced marriage, in sex relations founded upon any kind of force, save the force of attraction, of love. I am old-fashioned and orthodox to that extent—I believe in love. I believe in the beauty of family life, and in the reality of family ties. I would rather be the sole monarch of one true woman's heart than the temporary lover of a dozen Cleopatras, whose charms are mostly second-hand, and in whose love-caresses I may see the practiced art of the refined harlot. The family is the foundation of all refinement, of all morality, of all that is noble and pure in human character and thought; and without the family society would become, 'ere the transit of two suns, a brothel, man an unchained tiger, and civilization an iridescent dream.
I believe in love and marriage—free love and free marriage—and, above all, the family life. The family constitutes the home; and without the home there can be no civilization, no order, nothing but universal chaos. The free home and the free family life must be the basis of the free commune, as the free commune must be the foundation of that free international society for which the gospel of Anarchy stands. Otherwise Anarchy is but a horrid vision of that universal chaos so frequently associated with the term by our enemies.