Difference between revisions of "Civilization—Anarchy"
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The word civilization from the Latin word civitas, "a city,"—or civis, a "citizen," and signifies Government, and its effect on society. The effect of government is ignorance, falsehood, luxury, inequality, aristocracy, crime, and unhappiness. Such, then, is civilization. It is evil and progress in evil. Culture of science, enlightenment, and progress in agriculture and art, are not effects of made-Governments. They are not civilization, and have no connection with it. Born-Government is their genial soil, in which they would best flourish.
To call civilization good, and anarchy evil, is a want of reflection, and with aristocrats it is connected with a want of goodness. The advocates of law, like the advocates of religion, have got everything wrong end first. The word anarchy is derived from two Greek words a or an, "without," and arche, a "head" or "beginning." The Universe is in a state of anarchy, always was, and ever will be so. Order is a sure effect of anarchical Government, and under any other Government it is impossible. The effects of anarchy on society is visible in a hive of bees, a village of beavers, a hill of ants, a flock of wild pigeons, or geese, in their passage, and among all other animals. The story that honey bees are governed by a queen is not true. All Nature contradicts it. The social life of beasts is good. Beasts are worthy of respect. Mankind in general believe in great falsehoods and wrongs for truth and right, but beasts do not. In some kinds of knowledge they are superior to man. For my part I never kill any of them except bed-bugs and mosquitoes. I consider they have the same rights that I have. Even the trees of the forest avoid injuring each other—they put forth few or no branches that can interfere with their neighbors. Undoubtedly, it is the same with their roots. By injuring their neighbors they would injure themselves.
Nature has no straight lines for matter, nor for mind and morals. If the stars in the sky, and the trees in the woods, were to be arranged in straight row, it would be disorder to them. A river forced to run in a straight line would be in disorder.—Man-made law is straight lines for mind and morals. That moral disorder is the consequence, is attested by the social condition of every civilized and half-civilized people. The regularity of art is irregularity, when applied to Nature. To make straight rules beforehand for all future occasions, is the extreme of folly and harm. Leave it all until the occasion comes, and then everything would naturally settle itself easy and right. The attempt of man to regulate society by art, concurs with the religious idea that the Universe is a work of art from the hands of a God. If there is a God, and the Universe is his work, then there is no Nature. If there is a Nature, it proves there is no God. God and Nature cannot both be.
It is the fault of the radical reformers, that they are no radical enough. They think something must be done to regulate society, when in truth doing anything is doing too much. Any general arrangement or organization whatever by man is sure to bring evil without good, because it conflicts with the laws of order and harmony which prevail in the anarchical Universe. "Building up" has done all the mischief. Made-rules of any kind are like a board put over the top of a chimney which fills the house with smoke. To settle a bucket of riley water, it must be left alone. There is no such thing as being too radical unless a person can be too rational. No society can ever be in good condition in which are men of large capital. Under born-Governments an accumulation of great wealth by any one man would be impossible. Occupation of the land would be just what it ought to be. Every person would cultivate what he needed for a plain support, and would not in general wish for more. All would be willing he should have it. Where nobody claimed our land, there could be no disputes about it. All or nearly all would be disposed to do as they would be done by. The dispositions of mankind would be entirely different, and better than they are under made-Government. A wrong if attempted could not in general be carried out against the general sentiments of the community. Under anarchy, all would turn out cheerfully to do their part in making roads. Whatever is necessary for the people to do unitedly can be done better with out law than with it. It is to be hoped the people would have good sense enough to abolish all public schools. They are a great injury to the young. At home and alone is the place to study, and parents are the proper teachers of their children. Nobody can study well in company.
[Remainder next week.]
Jersey City, (N. J.,) Aug. 3, 1863.
For the Boston Investigator
Abolish all public schools. Children are literally schooled to death. The growing brain is tender and unable without injury to bear much labor. It needs quietude to grow and strengthen. The mind and the whole system are weakened by close attention to study in youth. In the schools of this country the minds of the young are crammed with what they are not old enough to understand. Little that is useful is taught at school or college. Napoleon said that he never learned anything at school that was ever of use to him, except mathematics. Confinement in school is violence to nature, and great injury to the health. Freedom in the open air is the place for children, and they have no business with much learning. Through the influence of the clergy, children are not allowed a day of rest from study—their brain labor is kept up in Sunday schools. To cram nursing infants with beef steak and baked beans would not be more unreasonable and injurious than the school system of the United States. Under anarchy all would be producers with no useless and injurious classes. Consequently nobody would need to work more than three or four hours a day, and parents would have leisure to teach their children, and improve their own minds by reading and reflecting. Except learning to read and write, study ought to be put off till the age of maturity, both for the sake of health, and that they may have judgment to choose their own studies, and understand them. The riper the mind, the more progress is made. Good education, of course, is of great importance, but it is a shallow opinion that education preserves virtue and freedom.
Learning makes nobody good nor free. The uneducated laboring class have the most virtue. Masters might safely educate their slaves, for they could gain their freedom no sooner by it. Even without education, anarchy would preserve virtue and freedom. Laboring people with little learning use more good sense than those who are called educated, and savages more than civilized people. No person's education is finished until death.
Luxury and show are enemies to virtue and freedom. They are ruin to any people. Human Government is their case, and anarchy or the course of Nature would abolish and prevent them. Almost everything in this country is spoiled with what is called "ornament." Whatever is added to an object only for ornament is in reality deformity. Nature adds nothing for ornament. Painted houses and papered rooms are not pleasing to persons of good mind. All beauty is plain. All truly handsome faces are plain. Beautiful flowers are plain.—Nature never changed the style of its dress. A good style is always good. Any old dress, if clean, is decent and respectable. A rich and showy one is not decent. The most respectable dress is a ragged one covered with dirt and sweat, and worn by an honest laboring man. Great principles are connected with the subject of dress.
A weekly day of rest is part of civilization, as it is enforced by law. It is unnatural and unsuitable.—No person can labor all day without injury to his constitution—to say nothing of six days. Instead of a weekly day of rest, it ought to be hours of rest every day. Healthy and strong persons who do but little labor, are injured by a day of rest, for they need labor enough for exercise every day. With regard to the religious character of the day, no line can be drawn between works of necessity and those which are not. Either all work is necessary on the Sabbath, or none is, not even "boiling a teakettle," or making a bed. It might be necessary for a poor man with a family to labor on Sunday. Anarchy would abolish a weekly day of rest, for no person would need to labor more than three or four hours a day.
Mexico is about to have a monarchy forced upon her by Napoleon. In that country a few men hold all the land. A man's land there sometimes reaches eighty miles. In some parts of the country in a week's travel, all the land on both sides of the road belongs to the church. Two brothers named Sanches own the whole State of Coahuila. Mexico needs anarchy to break up land ownership, and give the people each one a chance to take what land he needs. Monarchy, of course, will fasten the evil stronger upon them.
The world may be safely challenged for arguments in favor of the need or innocence of human law.
Jersey City, (N. J.,) Aug 3, 1863.
- Eliphalet Kimball, “Civilization—Anarchy,” The Boston Investigator 35, no. 15 (August 19, 1863): 114.
- Eliphalet Kimball, “Civilization—Anarchy,” The Boston Investigator 35, no. 16 (August 26, 1863): 122.