WHERE WE STAND.
[Liberty, August 19, 1882.]
Mr. B. W. Ball writes the best articles that appear in the "Index," which is not saying much, and among the best that appear in any of the weeklies, which is saying a good deal. We were the more gratified, therefore, to find him treating in a recent number the incipient, but increasing, opposition to the existence of the State. He at least is clear-sighted enough not to underrate the importance of the advent into social and political agitation of so straightforward, consistent, unterrified, determined, and, withal, philosophically rooted a factor as modern Anarchism, although his editorial chief, Mr. Underwood, declares that the issue which the Anarchists present "admits of no discussion."
But even Mr. Ball shows, by his article on "Anti-State Theorists," that, despite his promptness to discover and be impressed by the appearance of this new movement, he has as yet studied it too superficially to know anything of the groundwork of the thought which produced, animates, and guides it. Indeed this first shot of his flies so wide of the mark that certain incidental phrases indicative of the object of his aim were needed to reassure us that Anarchism really was his target. In a word, he has opened fire on the Anarchists without inquiring where we stand.
Where, then, does he suppose us to stand? His central argument against us, stated briefly, is this: Where crime exists, force must exist to repress it. Who denies it? Certainly not Liberty; certainly not the Anarchists. Anarchism is not a revival of non-resistance, although there may be non-resistants in its ranks. The direction of Mr. Ball's attack implies that we would let robbery, rape, and murder make havoc in the community without lifting a finger to stay their brutal, bloody work. On the contrary, we are the sternest enemies of invasion of person and property, and, although chiefly busy in destroying the causes thereof, have no scruples against such heroic treatment of its immediate manifestations as circumstances and wisdom may dictate. It is true that we look forward to the ultimate disappearance of the necessity of force even for the purpose of repressing crime, but this, though involved in it as a necessary result, is by no means a necessary condition of the abolition of the State.
In opposing the State, therefore, we do not deny Mr. Ball's