The Hare and the Hunter
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THE HARE AND THE HUNTER
When, among the little phalange who bear their hearts high, and whom the idea of liberty has touched with its wing, one is found who, thanks to individual circumstances, feels at a given moment tremble within them [with] a lively energy the sentiments of human dignity rebelling against the cowardice imposed by society on the individual; when rid of the age-old prejudices from a contemptible education which give to me the idolatry of strength and success, on of them rises up threatening against power and wealth; when finally weary of being implicitly an accomplice of the iniquities, he strikes at the head or at the belly of the social body; and when separating from those who perform or support these iniquities, he haughtily casts, like a bloody challenge, his head at society, then the careless, spineless crowd, forced to think, barks stupidly.
Each time that one of these great rebels, feeling the magma of final wrath seethe within them, has struck those who represent Authority, the sheepish herd of the proletarians works to sustain it, joining the chorus with its masters and educators, has almost always cast the anathema on him.
The recent execution of Canovas  has provoked this phenomenon. The unconscious multitude whose intellect remains stuck in the inextricable lakes of morality and cannot free itself from ancestral instincts, has once again reeled off the platitudes used in such cases.
To hear them, the anarchists are monsters, who without regard for positions, ages, or sexes, strike at random the “innocent” and the “guilty.”
We are commonly accused of not respecting the neutrality of those who do not want to take part in the age-old quarrel between liberty and authority.
But who do you call innocent? What do you mean by neutrality?
What! You, voters, slavish souls who feel the need of fetters and chains, and not content to choose masters for yourselves, claim to impose them on us, you are innocent and neutral?
If you renounce your rights, your liberty, your happiness, so be it; but if, not content to be wretched and unhappy, you claim to oblige us to be equally so, do not say to us that you are neutral!
And all you taxpayers who pay informers who spy on us, the police and gendarmes who stop us, the judges who condemn us, the executioner who executes us, is that neutrality? What? You bribe people to nous rob us of our life and liberty, and you say that you are innocents?
I know well that you will perhaps say that the Government forces you to pay taxes. But then if you want to be able to plead your neutrality, why don’t you enforce that neutrality on the Government?
The Government does not hear that one is neutral. It pitilessly strikes those who do not want to support it, and if we sometimes do as much, why condemn us and absolve it?
You must be for us or against us, for liberty or for authority, and if you choose the latter party as you have up to the present, don’t come to complain anymore when you receive some blows in the struggle.
Before there were anarchists, before there were men conscious of their rights and resolved to make them respected, there was an authority that degraded and enslaved men.
It is thus authority and its more or less conscious disciples “who have begun” the struggle by violating the imprescriptible rights of individuals, and when one of them finally rises up to enforce them, his act, whatever it may be, has not been an attack, but a legitimate defense.
Yes, whatever is said by the sinister hunters that are called “directors” and the imbeciles who echo them, it is not the anarchist hare who started it.
Spanish prime minister Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, killed by Michele Angiolillo.—Translator.