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From: "Objections To Anarchism," by George Barrett, Freedom Pamphlet, Freedom Press, 127 Ossulston Street, London, N.W.1., 1921.

Objections to Anarchism

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No. 1.

What will you do with the man who will not work?

First of all, let us notice that this question belongs to a class to which many others belong. All social theories must obviously be based on the assumption that men are social: that is, that they will live and work together naturally, because by so doing they can individually better enjoy their lives. Therefore all such difficulties, which are really based on the supposition that men are not social, can be raised not against Anarchism alone, but against any system of society that one chooses to suggest.

Questions 11, 12, 13 and 15 belong to this class, which are merely based on supposition. My opponents will realise how futile they are if I use a similar kind of argument against their system of government. Suppose, I argue, that having sent your representatives into the House of Commons they will not sit down and legislate, but that they will just play the fool, or, perhaps, vote themselves comfortable incomes, instead of looking after your welfare. It will be answered to this that they are sent there to legislate, and that in all human probability they will do so. Quite so; but we may still say "Yes, but suppose they don't?" and whatever arguments are brought forward in favour of government they can always, by simply supposing, be rendered quite useless, since those who oppose us would never be able to actually guarantee that our governors would govern. Such an argument would be absurd, it is quite true; for though it may happen that occasionally legislators will sit down and vote themselves incomes instead of attending to the affairs of the nation, yet we could not use this as a logical argument against the government system.

Similarly, when we are putting forward our ideas of free co-operation or Anarchism, it is not good enough to argue, "Yes, but suppose your co-operators will not co-operate?" for that is what questions of this class amount to.

It is because we claim to be able to show that it is wrong in principle that we, as Anarchists, are against government. In the same way, then, those who oppose Anarchism ought not to do so by simply supposing that a man will do this, or won't do that, but they ought to set themselves to show that Anarchism is in principle opposed to the welfare of mankind.



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