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The Social Monster

By Johann Most

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Of the part which laws and law-making will have to act in the coming social order, no sharp disagreement is necessary or even possible. The one fact, that each generation invariably considers the laws of its predecessor as gross mistakes, not to use any harder expression, throws a peculiar light on the subject. Indeed, the history of legislation must be defined as the history of the queerest errors possible.

Or do not laws against magic, heresy, and innumerable other things, which at one time were punished with barbarous cruelty while now they pass by entirely unnoticed, impress us as a sort of mental aberrations? Was it not downright insanity to use the stake, the sack, or other instruments of cruelty as means by which to find out the guilt or innocence of a man?

But can we be sure that a later generation will look with milder eyes upon our laws with their gallows and hangmen, their cells and chains? No! Buckle was right when he declared those laws the best which simply abolish former laws.There is, however, one more point in the dispute between us and our adversaries which needs a little further elucidation, the question namely whether those organizations which in the communistic society will be formed by free contracts, are likely to assume the character of centralization and federation.

We think, in accordance with what experiences has proved, that earlier or later, but under whatsoever circumstances, centralization always must lay a large amount of power in a very few hands, which circumstance again must create a kind of domination on the one side and cause a lack of liberty on the other. And we believe that once, when the social problem has been solved on the plan of communism all the world over, the idea of centralization shall present itself to the eyes of mankind as a monstrosity. Imagine a central-committee of a baker-generals sitting in Washington and prescribing to the baker-boys of Pekin and Melbourne they form and the taste of their rolls. That would be a slavery so complete as no mandarine ever dreamt of. No, all relations will regulate themselves according to practice and experience such as the no-government principle of anarchism demands it.

And here we may stop having gone over the whole ground of our dispute with those other groups of the labor-party which incline more to the right and cling more closely to tradition. One by one we have taken up the various questions of principle and tactics which form the subject of the debate, also touching upon the unfortunate character of personality which the discussion incidentally has assumed.

One by one we have demonstrated the true relation


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