Center for a Stateless Society » Anarchism and American Traditions


Thomas Jefferson (Anarchism and American Traditions):

“The spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become
corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may become persecutor,
and better men be his victims. It can never be too often
repeated that the time for fixing every essential right, on a legal
basis, is while our rulers are honest, ourselves united. From the
conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then
be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support.
They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded.
They will forget themselves in the sole faculty of making money,
and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their
rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at
the conclusion of this war, will be heavier and heavier, till our
rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.”

I have been mistaken up to this point, to some extent, there were a few “founding fathers” who truly desired a government and society where the individual remained a free entity, and thus in control of his or her own destiny: among them were Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry. But they, unfortunately, believed they could recreate the government they had left behind in England into this new form of government. Like so many others before them, they could not comprehend that government itself was, and still is, the problem. Government, on the grand, despotic scale, can never be changed so it operates for the good of the individual, the people: a silk purse can never be made out of a sow’s ear.

I encourage everyone to read the following short text; it is only twelve pages in length. It was written in 1908, by Voltairine de Cleyre, and yet it perfectly describes the American government and society today:

Anarchism and American Traditions
C4SS | @c4ssdotorg</a

“The revolution is the sudden and unified consciousness of these traditions, their loud assertion, the blow dealt by their indomitable will against the counter force of tyranny. …

We, the Anarchists, point to them and say: If the believers in liberty wish the principles of liberty taught, let them never entrust that instruction to any government; for the nature of government is to become a thing apart, an institution existing for its own sake, preying upon the people, and teaching whatever will tend to keep it secure in its seat.” —Voltairine de Cleyre, Anarchism and American Traditions

Available as an ebook (PDF).

Available as a ready-to-print zine (PDF).

Source: Center for a Stateless Society » Anarchism and American Traditions


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