The State Its Own Outlaw

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Benjamin Ricketson Tucker

The State Its Own Outlaw.

But for our firm conviction that the State is doomed by its own depravity, we should be exceptionally startled at some of the features of the anti-Mormon bill. This infamous instrument of outrage upon the rights of conscience not only provides that a person shall be punished for practicing his religion, but literally makes it a crime for him to believe that his religion is true. A wining point, however, for the Mormons, if they only knew how to utilize it, is the fact that the crime of believing that polygamy is sanctioned by God is to be punished by dismissing the religious martyr from full fellowship with the State. If the Mormons were only bright enough to accept the penalty as an honor, and be thankfully rid of fellowship with an organization composed of such thieves and bigots, they would be on the way to do humanity a great service.

Of course the State is so lost to shame and decency that it continues to tax by force those whom it by force expels from the machine; but this should all the more animate the Mormons to wage an uncompromising war of abolition upon so shameless an institution. Those who are expelled from full fellowship with the State because of their religious opinions can do no better service than to strike hands with those who are forced into fellowship with it against their will, and move for its utter abolition.

So far as being deprived of fellowship with such a State is concerned, the Mormons should immediately send a memorial to Congress, thanking it for the honor conferred, and reminding it that enforced obligation to pay taxes under such circumstances rests on the same moral basis as ordinary brigandage, and can only be tolerated so long as fate permits the victim to remain the under dog. —BENJAMIN R. TUCKER.

  • Benjamin R. Tucker, “The State Its Own Outlaw,” Liberty 1, no. 16 (March 4, 1882): 2.