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Albeit I have the sincerest liking for our warm-hearted and brilliant comrade, "X," I must confess my sympathies in the recent plumb-rule controversy have been chiefly with his opponents, our fair coadjutrix, Gertrude B. Kelly, and bold Ben Tucker.
Now that the report is gaining ground that we Anarchists are robbers and criminals, enemies to the private ownership of goods honestly acquired, and the wilful users of deceitful, equivocal, and paradoxical language, it is high time, is it not, that we declared ourselves for uncompromising outspokenness? What can we gain by any other course?
True enough, our sympathies can hardly be too broad, our hearts too warm, our hands too helpful, for those who labor, no matter how mistakenly, for humanity's weal; but it is also true that sympathies can hardly be too well directed, hearts too closely guarded against Judas-friends, and hands too firmly restrained from acts of useless and retrogressive charity. The doctrine of "love me, love my dog,"—i. e., my faults,—is a most pernicious one. Love-clarified eyes are the very ones to see, love-speaking lips the very ones to effectively rebuke, the errors of friends. I have nothing to say against courtesy and cooperation, patience and good-fellowship: rather do I applaud those time-honored and eminently practical virtues; but they must never interfere with the straight backbone and the stiff upper lip. True, we should not make our obnoxious points too prominent, need not keep our flags always flying, our war-cries pealing, but never should we rally under a false standard or give a deceitful countersign.
Our foes are many and mighty; Church and State, Capital, Caste, and Custom, are all arrayed against us, and, if we are found among those "fit" who "survive," it will be because we have proved ourselves more righteous than they, and made ourselves indispensable as truth-tellers and watchdogs of Justice.
Let us, then, so far as we may without Pharisaism or invasive discourtesy, be upright and downright, free-spoken, out-spoken, and full-spoken, shooting to the centre no matter what the target, or who stands in front.
- J. William Lloyd, “Plumb-Centre,” Liberty 4, no. 4 (June 19, 1886): 1.