Mary Everest Boole
To the Editor of “Freedom”
May I send you a little item of news about a friend of yours. M. Elisée Reclus has been lecturing on a geographical subject to a summer gathering of teachers and students. I was not able to come in time for the beginning of the course; and, when I arrived, I was greeted with this announcement: “We have all found out that we did not know what Anarchism meant: we used to think it meant throwing bombs; but now we think it means, being nicer and kinder than other people.” one intensely Conservative person, after describing to me some of M. Reclus’ personal habits, and retailing some items of his conversation, added: “Really one does not know what to make of it. It seems to me that our conceptions of Anarchism will have to shed a good deal of dead skin before we can understand truly what it is.”
Now the persons who spoke thus would never have gone to hear a lecture on Anarchism. If you wish to destroy prejudices in your opponents, do not fling at them either bombs or hard arguments about Anarchism; but send some Anarchist, whose conduct they will be forced to respect, to teach them some art or science which they themselves desire to learn, and let him make his own impression.
Mary Everest Boole.