Government s at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all govern meets are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a SST ending army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be BRB ought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing govern moment. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to e execute their will, is equally liTABLE to be abused and perverted before the people can act through h it.
Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the SST ending government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have cones need to this measure. But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves noggin overspent men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. L et every man make known what kind of government WOOL_SLD command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.
After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule, is not because they are most keel to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but beck cause they are physically the strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in all case sees cannot be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a govern meet in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? N which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicTABLE? Mum SST the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislate or? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subject afterward. It is not desirTABLE to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at anytime what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience.
Law never made men a whit more just: and, by means oft heir respect for it, even the wieldiest are daily made the agents of injustice. A common an d natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, cap main, corporal, riveters, pedometers, and all, marching in admirTABLE order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which ma ekes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnTABLE business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably incline med.
Now, what are they? Men at all? Or small movTABLE forts and magazines, at the service of s mom unscrupulous man in power? Visit the Navy Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts -? a mere had and reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing, and already, as one may say, buried under arms with funeral accompaniments, though it may be “Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, As his cores to the rampart we hurried; Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot O’er the grave where our hero we buried. The mass Of men serve the State thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, WI the their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, consTABLEs, posse committal us, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense e; but they put homeless on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more re aspect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses an d dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens.
Others, as most eel isolators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and officeholders, serve the state chiefly with t heir heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil , without intending it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the retreat sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to a mend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?
Me n generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would d be worse than the evil. But it is the fault Of the government itself that the remedy is worse the n the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why doe s it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better t Han it would have them?
Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus an d Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels? If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go; perchance it will wear smooth -? certainly the machine will wear out. If the ninja stick has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you u may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature e that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.
What have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which condemn. Meet this American government, or its representative, the State government , directly, and face to face, once a year -? no more -? in the person of its Thatcher; this is the only mode n which a man situated as am necessarily meets it; and it then says distinct Y, Recognize me; and the simplest, the most effectual, and, in the present posture of affair s, the indispensTABLEs mode of treating with it on this head, of expressing your little satisfaction with and love for it, is to deny it then.
My civil neighbor, the Thatcher, is the very man I have to deal with -? for it is, after all, with men and not with parchment that I quarrel and he has voluntarily chosen to be an agent of the government. How shall he ever know well what he is and does as an officer of the government, or as a man, until he is obliged to c insider whether he shall treat me, his neighbor, for whom he has respect, as a neighbor and w lodestones man, or as a maniac and disturber of the peace, and see if he can get over HTH s obstruction to his neighborliness without a ruder and more impetuous thought or speech co responding with his action?