Anarchism and American Traditions

“Anarchism and American Traditions”

by Voltairine de Cleyre

“The desire for material ease long ago vanquished the spirit of ’76. What was that spirit? The spirit that animated the people of Virginia, of the Carolinas, of Massachusetts, of New York, when they refused to import goods from England; when they preferred (and stood by it) to wear coarse homespun cloth, to drink the brew of their own growths, to fit their appetites to the home supply, rather than submit to the taxation of the imperial ministry. Even within the lifetime of the revolutionists the spirit decayed. The love of material ease has been, in the mass of men and permanently speaking, always greater than the love of liberty. Nine hundred and ninety-nine women out of a thousand are more interested in the cut of a dress than in the independence of their sex; nine hundred and ninety-nine men out of a thousand are more interested in drinking a glass of beer than in questioning the tax that is laid on it; how many children are not willing to trade the liberty to play for the promise of a new cap or a new dress? This it is which begets the complicated mechanism of society; this it is which, by multiplying the concerns of government, multiplies the strength of government and the corresponding weakness of the people; this it is which begets indifference to public concern, thus making the corruption of government easy.”

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~ by rechelon on June 5, 2008.

3 Responses to “Anarchism and American Traditions”

  1. […] in Chains flyers I made, and about 30 of the old Freedom in Chains bundled with de Cleyre’s Anarchism and American Traditions. I pitched them as “individualist literature” or “free market stuff.” If […]

  2. […] in Chains flyers I made, and about 30 of the old Freedom in Chains bundled with de Cleyre’s Anarchism and American Traditions. I pitched them as “individualist literature” or “free market stuff.” If inquired further, […]

  3. […] you’re looking for a revolutionary thing to do this Independence Day, why not put copies of Anarchism and American Traditions where it will upset the […]

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