Historical Reprints Philosophical American Sycophant : And Other Essays

American Sycophant : And Other Essays

American Sycophant : And Other Essays
Catalog # SKU1879
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Ambrose Bierce


American Sycophant

The Shadow on the Dial
And Other Essays

Ambrose Bierce

No one can put to words what is wrong with the USA in such simple simplicity and common sense, as does Ambrose Bierce!

His writings should be pre-requisites for all bureaucrats and politicians.

I favor mutilation for anarchists convicted of killing or inciting to kill-mutilation followed by death. For those who merely deny the right and expediency of law, plain mutilation-which might advantageously take the form of removal of the tongue. Why not? Where is the injustice? Surely he who denies men's right to make laws will not invoke the laws that they have wickedly made!


The Shadow On The Dial
The Game Of Politics
Some Features Of The Law
Industrial Discontent
Crime And Its Correctives
The Death Penalty
Emancipated Woman
The Opposing Sex
The American Sycophant
A Dissertation On Dogs
The Ancestral Bond
The Right To Work
The Right To Take Oneself Off


THERE is a deal of confusion and uncertainty in the use of the words "Socialist," "Anarchist," and "Nihilist." Even the '1st himself commonly knows with as little accuracy what he is as the rest of us know why he is. The Socialist believes that most human affairs should be regulated and managed by the State-the Government-that is to say, the majority. Our own system has many Socialistic features and the trend of republican government is all that way. The Anarchist is the kind of lunatic who believes that all crime is the effect of laws forbidding it-as the pig that breaks into the kitchen garden is created by the dog that chews its ear!

The Anarchist favors abolition of all law and frequently belongs to an organization that secures his allegiance by solemn oaths and dreadful penalties. "Nihilism" is a name given by Turgenieff to the general body of Russian discontent which finds expression in antagonizing authority and killing authorities. Constructive politics would seem, as yet, to be a cut above the Nihilist's intelligence; he is essentially a destructionary. He is so diligently engaged in unweeding the soil that he has not given a thought to what he will grow there. Nihilism may be described as a policy of assassination tempered by reflections upon Siberia. American sympathy with it is the offspring of an unholy union between the tongue of a liar and the ear of a dupe.

Upon examination it will be seen that political dissent, when it takes any form more coherent than the mere brute dissatisfaction of a mind that does not know what it wants to want, finds expression in one of but two ways-in Socialism or in Anarchism. Whatever methods one may think will best substitute for a system gradually evolved from our needs and our natures a system existing only in the minds of dreamers, one is bound to choose between these two dreams.

Yet such is the intellectual delinquency of many who most strenuously denounce the system that we have that we not infrequently find the same man advocating in one breath, Socialism, in the next, Anarchism. Indeed, few of these sons of darkness know that even as coherent dreams the two are incompatible. With Anarchy triumphant the Socialist would be a thousand years further from realization of his hope than he is today. Set up Socialism on a Monday and on Tuesday the country would be en fête, gaily hunting down Anarchists. There would be little difficulty in trailing them, for they have not so much sense as a deer, which, running down the wind, sends its tell-tale fragrance on before.

Socialism and Anarchism are the two extremes of political thought; they are parts of the same dung, in the sense that the terminal points of a road are parts of the same road. Between them, about midway, lies the system that we have the happiness to endure. It is a "blend" of Socialism and Anarchism in about equal parts: all that is not one is the other. Everything serving the common interest, or looking to the welfare of the whole people, is socialistic in the strictest sense of the word as understood by the Socialist Whatever tends to private advantage or advances an individual or class interest at the expense of a public one, is anarchistic. Cooperation is Socialism; competition is Anarchism. Competition carried to its logical conclusion (which only cooperation prevents or can prevent) would leave no law in force no property possible no life secure.

Of course the words "cooperation" and "competition" are not here used in a merely industrial and commercial sense; they are intended to cover the whole field of human activity. Two voices singing a duet-that is cooperation-Socialism. Two voices singing each a different tune and trying to drown each other-that is competition-Anarchism: each is a law unto itself-that is to say, it is lawless. Everything that ought to be done the Socialist hopes to do by associated endeavor, as an army wins battles; Anarchism is socialistic in its means only: by cooperation it tries to render cooperation impossible-combines to kill combination. Its method says to its purpose: "Thou fool!"

Softcover, 8¼" x 5¼, 205+ pages

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