Regicides and Republicans
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Regicides and Republicans.
If in Germany, for example, there were a republican movement, and there were a society preaching death to the Kaiser and his officials with the view of establishing the republic, upon an arrest and trial for any violence committed by adherents of the regicidal society would not the monarchical press and tribunals seize upon the occasion to declare that, as the regicides are republicans, the republicans are regicides and their principle is to kill officials? This may serve to show the casual relation between Anarchism and bomb-throwing.
When the Southern States seceded, the Republican party declared that Democracy means secession. When Booth, a Democrat, killed Lincoln, the Republican orators and papers declared that Democracy meant assassination, and that the Democratic party must surrender its name and organization.
Those who fancy that Anarchy is compromised by what has happened at Chicago can draw the comparison.
On the day when the news of Lincoln's death was flashed to the capital of Iowa, a Republican politician entered a room where over a dozen men were at work and exclaimed: "They have assassinated the president. Now I am in favor of hanging every copperhead!" There were two Democrats present, and one of them had nerve to reply: "You would take a pretty big contract!"
The Democratic party did not disband. Republicanism is not dead by reason of its regicides or of the regicides who are not republicans. The Irish league has not renounced its object because of the incident in Phoenix Park. Free traders are not scared into becoming protectionists because contrabandists have killed revenue officers. Free traders are not required by reason to admit that the violent smuggler is a worse or even as noxious a growth as the government which makes smuggling a crime according to statute. Neither will Anarchists be frightened out of their rational consistency by clamor arising out of conflicts between the police and enemies of the present form of government or of all government, — be the case as it may. One may will an end and yet differ widely as to the means, and different persons may resort to violence with very different purposes, or no purpose that could be classed with relation to social organization.
In scientific Anarchism method is of paramount importance. No ebullitions of passion or acts of violence can really compromise the principle. Governmentalists would certainly not admit that wars and malversation of public funds settle the question whether some sort of government is necessary and useful. If the crimes of governments do not close the discussion against government, the wildest or the most ruthless acts of alleged Anarchists could never close the discussion against Anarchism, the theory of liberty and voluntary mutual assurance as the best substitute for government, alias rulership, alias tyranny. All the attacks of ignorant and starving men upon the police go to impeach government, as symptoms show the disease. Anarchism comes before the people as the science of living and letting live.
- James L. Walker, “Regicides and Republicans,” Liberty 4, no. 11 (November 20, 1886): 5.