Instead Of A Book, By A Man Too Busy To Write One : Part 06, Chapter 09 : Mr. Pentecost’s Belief in the Ballot

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1897

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(1854 - 1939) ~ American Father of Individualist Anarchism : An individualist Anarchist, Tucker (1854Ð1939) was a person of intellect rather than of action, focusing on the development of his ideas and on the publication of books and journals, especially the journal Liberty: Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "But although, viewing the divine hierarchy as a contradiction of Anarchy, they do not believe in it, the Anarchists none the less firmly believe in the liberty to believe in it. Any denial of religious freedom they squarely oppose." (From : "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin R. Tu....)
• "If the individual has a right to govern himself, all external government is tyranny. Hence the necessity of abolishing the State." (From : "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin R. Tu....)
• "...Anarchism, which may be described as the doctrine that all the affairs of men should be managed by individuals or voluntary associations, and that the State should be abolished." (From : "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin R. Tu....)

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Part 06, Chapter 09

Mr. Pentecost’s Belief in the Ballot.

[Liberty, January 19, 1889.]


I certainly admire Hugh O. Pentecost. He is a growing and a fair-minded man. His Twentieth Century, now published weekly in an enlarged form, is doing a useful work. He already accepts Anarchy as an ultimate, and the whole tenor of his writings is leading him on, it seems to me, to a casting-off of his devotion to the single-tax movement and to reforms still more distinctly State Socialistic, and to a direct advocacy of Anarchistic principles and methods. It is because I believe this that I feel like reasoning with him regarding a vital inconsistency in his discourse of January 13 on Ballots or Bullets? in which, moreover, the tendency referred to is marked.(143 ¶ 1)

After laying it down as a principle that force is never justifiable (and, by the way, I cannot accept so absolute a denial of force as this, though I heartily agree that force is futile in almost all circumstances), he goes on as follows: If it is not justifiable for the establishment and maintenance of government, neither is it justifiable for the overthrow or modification of government.… The intellectual and moral process of regeneration is slower than force, but it is right; and when the work is thus done, it has the merit of having been done properly and thoroughly. So far, excellent. But mark the next sentence: The ballot is the people’s agency even for correcting its own evils, and it seems to me a social crime to refrain from its use for regenerative purposes until it is absolutely demonstrated that it is a failure as an instrument for freedom.(143 ¶ 2)

Now, what is the ballot? It is neither more nor less than a paper representative of the bayonet, the billy, and the bullet. It is a labor-saving device for ascertaining on which side force lies and bowing to the inevitable. The voice of the majority saves bloodshed, but it is no less the arbitrament of force than is the decree of the most absolute of despots backed by the most powerful of armies. Of course it may be claimed that the struggle to attain to the majority involves an incidental use of intellectual and moral processes; but these influences would exert themselves still more powerfully in other channels if there were no such thing as the ballot, and, when used as subsidiary to the ballot, they represent only a striving for the time when physical force can be substituted for them. Reason devoted to politics fights for its own dethronement. The moment the minority becomes the majority, it ceases to reason and persuade, and begins to command and enforce and punish. If this be true,—and I think that Mr. Pentecost will have difficulty in gainsaying it,—it follows that to use the ballot for the modification of government is to use force for the modification of government; which sequence makes it at once evident that Mr. Pentecost in his conclusion pronounces it a social crime to avoid that course which in his premise he declares unjustifiable.(143 ¶ 3)

It behooves Mr. Pentecost to examine this charge of inconsistency carefully, for his answer to it must deeply affect his career. If he finds that it is well-founded, the sincerity of his nature will oblige him to abandon all such political measures as the taxation of land values and the government ownership of banks and railroads and devote himself to Anarchism, which offers not only the goal that he seeks, but confines itself to those purely educational methods of reaching it with which he finds himself in sympathy.(143 ¶ 4)

From : fair-use.org

Chronology

November 30, 1896 :
Part 06, Chapter 09 -- Publication.

February 21, 2017 17:35:58 :
Part 06, Chapter 09 -- Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

March 19, 2019 16:25:57 :
Part 06, Chapter 09 -- Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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