The year 1 of liberty has never lasted more than a day, for after proclaiming it men put themselves t…

The year 1 of liberty has never lasted more than a day, for after proclaiming it men put themselves the very next morning under the yoke of law and authority. Indeed, for some thousands of years, those who govern us have done nothing but ring the changes upon Respect for law, obedience to authority. This is the moral atmosphere in which parents bring up their children, and school only serves to confirm the impression. Cleverly assorted scraps of spurious science are inculcated upon the children to prove the necessity of law; obedience to the law is made a religion; moral goodness and the law of the masters are fused into one and the same divinity. The historical hero of the schoolroom is the man who obeys the law, and defends it against rebels. Later when we enter upon public life, society and literature, impressing us day-by-day and hour-by-hour as the water-drop hollows the stone, continue to inculcate the same prejudice. Books of history, of political science, of social economy, are stuffed with this respect for law. Even the physical sciences have been pressed into the service by introducing artificial modes of expression, borrowed from theology and arbitrary power, into knowledge which is purely the result of observation. Thus our intelligence is successfully befogged, and always to maintain our respect for law. The same work is done by newspapers. They have not an article which does not preach respect for law, even where the third page proves every day the imbecility of that law, and shows how it is dragged through every variety of mud and filth by those charged with its administration. Servility before the law has become a virtue, and I doubt if there was ever even a revolutionist who did not begin in his youth as the defender of law against what are generally called abuses, although these last are inevitable consequences of the law itself…

Leave a comment