IT IS DIFFICULT to get a clear statement of the principles of the anarchists, as they are at war with all received principles of human government and conduct, as well as antagonistic to all religions that accept revelation or the future accountability of human beings. Some light is thrown on the fundamental doctrines of the anarchists, for which many of them are willing to give up liberty and life, by a contributor to the London "Times," who has made a study of the social creed of the anarchists, and therefore writes with a fuller understanding than the hasty political doctors who have prescribed so many remedies for the direful disease. We here reprint his summary of the anarchist belief:
"'They hold that there is no moral law, natural or revealed, and, therefore, that every individual is entitled to be a law unto himself. Granting the premise, the conclusion seems irresistible. No majority of citizens, however large, can create a moral right. It can pass municipal laws, and, subject to certain limitations, those laws may bind in conscience men who believe that all civil power is of divine ordinance. But local and temporary majorities have often made or approved laws in flagrant contradiction with the most elementary conceptions of right, while the sacredness sometimes ascribed to natural law, as that law is deduced from the moral judgments of mankind, semper et ubique, depends on the view that it emanates from the universal conscience and that the voice of conscience is superhuman.
"The anarchist rejects this view. He denies any supernatural government of the world, and, therefore, he denies, very consistently, the moral right of any power whatever to fetter his individual judgment or his individual will. All attempts to curb him in the free indulgence of his individual lusts and passions are in his eyes oppression. The fundamental laws on which society rests are to him tyrannical abuses by which the majority seek to limit the boundless license which is the birthright of every man born into this world. It is idle to tell him that those laws are supported by vast majorities. He answers that majorities, however vast, are mere synonyms for superior force, that he personally disapproves of the state of society which these laws have created and which they maintain, and that he has an innate right to assail that state by any means he chooses. His practical conclusion is appalling, but it seems to me to follow quite reasonably from his premises; and, as those premises are consciously or half-consciously held by thousands in all ranks of society, I fear that we are likely to hear more of him in the future.'
"It is clear from this that the fundamental faith of the anarchists is atheism, not only as to the supreme supernatural governing power and future accountability, but as well as to conduct in the affairs of this life, denying the moral right of any power whatever to fetter or direct his individual judgment. All atheists may not be anarchists, but all anarchists are necessarily atheists. They cut adrift from the regulation or direction of their lives by divine or human power. This makes them anarchists. Their growth in Europe, foolish and crazy as it may be held, is not so surprising, considering the centuries of oppression and wrong operating on minds restrained by no moral [R2893 : page 327] or religious sentiment; but that their creed should have followers in this country shows not only the loss of all sense of moral accountability, but the density of ignorance and passion. The principles of the Christian religion or of any other of the world's great religions constitute a complete refutation of the creed of the anarchists. They are therefore the enemies of the human race."