The Perfect Anarchist

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The Perfect Anarchist

Editor of Reedy's Mirror:

Apropos of your "reflections" on conscription, may I mention one thing that the divine government cannot conscript—the mind of man.

Thus, I myself seceded from the United States and from all other governments long before the war began. I am not strong enough to make good my secession in practice, but I am held by force only, as a tributary, as a slave,—not as a willing associate.

After this confession of "disloyalty," let any government just try to make me "loyal" by force. Let them require me to take any oath of allegiance: I will gladly say the words, for I have no mind to be a martyr; but I shall remain alien in spirit, antagonistic in thought, bent upon destroying the government that enslaves me as soon as I am able.

That is what governments get by conscripting bodies, when, with all their haughty omnipotence, they are unable to conscript minds. All the soldiers and policemen and jailors in the world cannot have the slightest control over my mind: it is stronger than they all.

If any governments wants me as a willing member, it must offer its services, leaving me free to accept or decline as I may choose. But any government that docs this ceases to be a government, and becomes a free society, such as the world has not yet seen, but such as is building now in Russia, where the heaven on earth that the future holds for us has begun to attain embodiment from its cloud forms of the past.

John Beverley Robinson.

Ann Arbor, Mich., Jan. 15, 1918.


  • John Beverley Robinson, “The Perfect Anarchist,” Reedy’s Mirror 27, no. 4 (January 25, 1918): 53-54.