Browsing Herbert Read By Tag : morality

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I Anarchism, the no-government system of socialism, has a double origin. It is an outgrowth of the two great movements of thought in the economic and the political fields which characterize the nineteenth century, and especially its second part. In common with all socialists, the anarchists hold that the private ownership of land, capital, and machinery has had its time; that it is condemned to disappear; and that all requisites for production must, and will, become the common property of society, and be managed in common by the producers of wealth. And in common with the most advanced representatives of political radicalism, they maintain that the ideal of the political organization of society is a condition of things where the functions o... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

The history of human thought recalls the swinging of a pendulum which takes centuries to swing. After a long period of slumber comes a moment of awakening. Then thought frees herself from the chains with which those interested--rulers, lawyers, clerics--have carefully enwound her. She shatters the chains. She subjects to severe criticism all that has been taught her, and lays bare the emptiness of the religious political, legal, and social prejudices amid which she has vegetated. She starts research in new paths, enriches our knowledge with new discoveries, creates new sciences. But the inveterate enemies of thought--the government, the lawgiver, and the priest--soon recover from their defeat. By degrees they gather together their scattered forces, and remodel their faith and their code of laws to adapt them to the new needs. Then, profiting by the servility of thought and of character, which they themselves have so effectually cultivated; prof...


(Originally published in the Contemporary Review, and then reprinted as a pamphlet by Benjamin R. Tucker, 1884) An Anarchist on Anarchy by Elisée Reclus “It is a pity that such men as Elisée Reclus cannot be promptly shot.” – Providence Press To most Englishmen, the word Anarchy is so evil-sounding that ordinary readers of the Contemporary Review will probably turn from these pages with aversion, wondering how anybody could have the audacity to write them. With the crowd of commonplace chatterers we are already past praying for; no reproach is too bitter for us, no epithet too insulting. Public speakers on social and political subjects find that abuse of Anarchists is an unfailing passport to public favor. Every... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

All Things Are Nothing To Me All Things Are Nothing To Me What is not supposed to be my concern! First and foremost, the good cause, then God's cause, the cause of mankind, of truth, of freedom, of humanity, of justice; further, the cause of my people, my prince, my fatherland; finally, even the cause of Mind, and a thousand other causes. Only my cause is never to be my concern. Shame on the egoist who thinks only of himself!" Let us look and see, then, how they manage their concerns - they for whose cause we are to labor, devote ourselves, and grow enthusiastic. You have much profound information to give about God, and have for thousands of years "searched the depths of the Godhead," and looked into its heart, so that you can doubtless tell us how God himself attends to "God's cause," which we are called to serve. And you do not conceal the Lord's doings, either. Now, what is h...

BOOK IV OF THE OPERATION OF OPINION IN SOCIETIES AND INDIVIDUALS CHAPTER I OF RESISTANCE Having now made some progress in the inquiry originally instituted, it may be proper to look back, and consider the point at which we are arrived. We have examined, in the first place, the powers of man as they relate to the subject of which we treat; secondly, we have delineated the principles of society, as founded in justice and general interest, independently of, and antecedent to, every species of political government; and, lastly, have endeavored to ascertain the fundamental conditions which must belong to the most rational system of government. We might now proceed to investigate the different objects of government, and deduce the inferences respecting them which are pointed out to us by the preceding reasonings. But there are various miscellaneous considerations which, tho...

ADVERTISEMENT. The author has not failed to make use of the opportunity afforded him by the Third Edition, to revise the work throughout. The alterations however that he has made, though numerous, are not of a fundamental nature. Their object has been merely to remove a few of the crude and juvenile remarks, which, upon consideration, he thought himself able to detect, in the book as it originally stood. JULY 1797.

Introduction by the Russian Editor "ETHICS" is the swan song of the great humanitarian scientist and revolutionist-anarchist, and constitutes, as it were, the crowning work and the résumé of all the scientific, philosophical, and sociological views of Peter Alekseyevich Kropotkin, at which he arrived in the course of his long and unusually rich life. Unfortunately, death came before he could complete his work, and, according to the will and desire of Peter Alekseyevich, the responsible task of preparing "Ethics" for the press fell upon me. In issuing the first volume of "Ethics", I feel the necessity of saying a few words to acquaint the reader with the history of this work. In his "Ethics" Kropotkin wished to give answers to the two fundamental problems of morality: whence originate man's moral conceptions? and , what is the goal of the moral prescriptions and standards? It is for this reason that he subdivided his w...


From Elisée Reclus , Evolution and Revolution, London: W. Reeves, Seventh Edition EVOLUTION AND REVOLUTION By Elisée Reclus THESE two words, Evolution and Revolution, closely resemble one another, and yet they are constantly used in their social and political sense as though their meaning were absolutely antagonistic. The word Evolution, synonymous with gradual and continuous development in morals and ideas, is brought forward in certain circles as though it were the antithesis of that fearful word, Revolution, which implies changes more or less sudden in their action, and entailing some sort of catastrophe. And yet is it possible that a transformation can take place in ideas without bringing about some abrupt displacements in... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


The counterfeiters and poisoners of ideas, in their attempt to obscure the line between truth and falsehood, find a valuable ally in the conservatism of language. Conceptions and words that have long ago lost their original meaning continue through centuries to dominate mankind. Especially is this true if these conceptions have become a common-place, if they have been instilled in our beings from our infancy as great and irrefutable verities. The average mind is easily content with inherited and acquired things, or with the dicta of parents and teachers, because it is much easier to imitate than to create. Our age has given birth to two intellectual giants, who have undertaken to transvalue the dead social and moral values of the past, espe... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


A Free Man's Worship by Bertrand Russell A brief introduction: "A Free Man's Worship" (first published as "The Free Man's Worship" in Dec. 1903) is perhaps Bertrand Russell's best known and most reprinted essay. Its mood and language have often been explained, even by Russell himself, as reflecting a particular time in his life; "it depend(s)," he wrote in 1929, "upon a metaphysic which is more platonic than that which I now believe in." Yet the essay sounds many characteristic Russellian themes and preoccupations and deserves consideration--and further serious study--as an historical landmark of early-twentieth-century European thought. For a scholarly edition with some documentation, see Volume 12 of The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russe... (From : Drew.edu.)

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