Page:Instead of a Book, Tucker.djvu/152

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



cult to tell whether the alleged offender is an invader or not, still no use of force except where the necessity of immediate solution is so imperative that we must use it to save ourselves. And in these few cases where we must use it, let us do so frankly and squarely, acknowledging it as a matter of necessity, without seeking to harmonize our action with any political ideal or constructing any far-fetched theory of a State or collectivity having prerogatives and rights superior to those of individuals and aggregations of individuals and exempted from the operation of the ethical principles which individuals are expected to observe."

In other words, those of us who believe that liberty is the great educator, the "mother of order," will, in case of doubt, give the benefit to liberty, or non-interference, unless it is plain that non-interference will result in certain and immediate disaster, if not irretrievable, at any rate too grievous to be borne.

Applying this rule to the subject under discussion, it is evident at once that mental and moral maltreatment of children, since its effects are more or less remote, should not be met with physical force, but that physical maltreatment, if sufficiently serious, may be so met.

In specific answer to my questioner, I would say that, if he insists on the form of his questions, "Is it just?" etc., I cannot answer them at all, because it is impossible for me to decide whether interference is just unless I can first decide whether or no there has already been invasion. But if, instead of "Is it just?" he should ask in each case, "Is it Anarchistic policy?" I would then make reply as follows:

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes, in sufficiently serious cases.
  3. No.
  4. No.
  5. No.


[Liberty, September 3, 1892.]

The wisdom of acts is measured by their consequences.

The individual's measure of consequences is proportionate to the circle of his outlook. His horizons may lie so near that he can only measure at short range. But, whether they be near or far, he can only judge