Page:Instead of a Book, Tucker.djvu/80

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INSTEAD OF A BOOK.

it over, I am sure the chemical combination will be perfect, and the result will be the most pleasing nectar ever imbibed by suffering humanity.

S. Blodgett.

As Mr. Blodgett says, it is as proper to enforce one social convention as another "providing there is any satisfaction in doing so." But Anarchists, from the very fact that they are Anarchists, take no satisfaction in enforcing any social convention except that of equal liberty, that being the essence of their creed. Now, Mr. Blodgett asked me to define the sphere of force as viewed by Anarchism; he did not ask me to define any other view of it. To say that an Anarchist is entitled to enforce all social conventions is to say that he is entitled to cease to be an Anarchist, which nobody denies. But if he should cease to be an Anarchist, the remaining Anarchists would still be entitled to stop him from invading them. I hope that Mr. Blodgett is a good enough reasoner to perceive this distinction, but I fear that he is not.

It is true, also, that, if there are no natural rights, there is no occasion for conscientious scruples. But it is not true that there is no occasion for "other scruples." A scruple, according to Webster, is "hesitation as to action from the difficulty of determining what is right or expedient." Why should not disbelievers in natural rights hesitate on grounds of expediency? In other words, why should they be unscrupulous?

It is true, again, that Anarchism does not recognize the principle of human rights. But it recognizes human equality as a necessity of stable society. How, then, can it be charged with failing to guarantee individuality?

It is true, further, that equal liberty can be stamped out as coolly as anything else. But people who believe in it will not be likely to stamp it out. And Anarchists believe in it. It is true, still further, that there are only two standards of conduct,—right and expediency. But why does elimination of right narrow the thing down to the lowest form of selfishness? Is expediency exclusive of the higher forms of selfishness? I deem it expedient to be honest. Shall I not be honest, then, regardless of any idea of right? Or is honesty the lowest form of selfishness?

It is far from true, however, that Anarchists have no more reason to stand by their platform than ordinary politicians have to stand by theirs. Anarchists desire the advantages of harmonious society and know that consistent adherence to their platform is the only way to get them, while ordinary politicians desire only offices and "boodle," and make platforms

simply to catch votes. Even if it were conceivable that