and appreciation a state of social existence resembling that of the bees and the ants, though how this is to be reached through the entire and unchecked development of every human creature, no matter what his propensities or passions may happen to be, he does not explain. We will not be governed, he cries; but should this not also mean we have no wish to govern? Like Elisée Reclus, he aspires toward the so-called perfect state of society—the state of things, as painted by them, which the unillumined intellect can but look upon as most outrageously and abominably dull, not to say tyrannical. Where in their human anthill or hive would be the place for such distinguished and brilliant intelligence as their own? Not even by the help of Richter's delicious skit. The Social Democratic Future, can one realize what a society founded upon absolute equality would become. Equality, says Prince Kropotkine, is equity; but he forgets that his models, the bees, destroy one class of their number, and that the ants are as warlike as the Zulus. In the model society of Reclus and Kropotkine the person who has the largest number of moral habits is the superior, if one may use such a word when the fact is no longer supposed to exist. They hold that the immensely large proportion of humanity, if left uncontrolled, would act in a manner useful to their fellow-creatures. It is only the fatal effects of war and religion which have warped them from this tendency. This wonderful faith in the ultimate goodness of humanity is exceedingly touching. Both Reclus and Kropotkine would be willing to risk trying the experiment of removing all restraint from the actions of mankind, and it is this perverted, childlike faith that makes such good men dangerous to society as at present constituted. Leave men entirely free, they say; fear not their passions. In a society entirely free they offer no danger; yet in the same breath they say: "Defend your own liberty, do not let yourselves be enslaved. Oppose your social passion to the antisocial passion of your antagonist. The great causes of deprivation—capitalism, religion, law, government—must cease to exist. The source of morality is the conviction of one's own strength. Life can only exist on condition of spreading and growing. Be strong; overflow with passionate and intellectual energy, and you will shed over others your intellect, your love, your power of action. Behold to what all moral teaching is reduced when freed from the hypocrisies of Oriental asceticism!" "Fallen cherub to be weak is miserable," says Milton's Satan. "Every one," says Kropotkine, "has his ideal, and to act in disaccord with this ideal is to be wretched. Make the good of humanity your ideal, and morality follows as a matter of course." Such are the ideals of these studious dreamers—a dreamer's ideals, and realizable only in a dream.
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/420
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.