The talk of pale, burning-eyed students, anarchists and utopians all, over tea and cigarettes in a locked room long past midnight, is next morning translated, with the literalness of utter innocence, into the throwing of the bomb, the shouting of the proud slogan, the dragging away of the young dreamer-doer, still smiling, to the dungeon and the firing squad.
Anarchists are extreme libertarian socialists , "libertarian" meaning the demand for freedom from prohibition, and "socialist" meaning the demand for social equality . ...Complete freedom implies equality, since if there are rich and poor, the poor cannot be permitted to take liberties with riches. Complete equality implies freedom, since those who suffer restrictions cannot be the equals of those who impose them.
We are not utopians, we do not “dream” of dispensing at once with all administration, with all subordination. These anarchist dreams, based upon incomprehension of the tasks of the proletarian dictatorship, are totally alien to Marxism, and, as a matter of fact, serve only to postpone the socialist revolution until people are different. No, we want the socialist revolution with people as they are now, with people who cannot dispense with subordination, control, and "foremen and accountants".
The idea of direct action against the evil that you want to overcome is a kind of common denominator for anarchist ideas and anarchist movements. I think one of the most important principles of anarchism is that you cannot separate means and ends. Anarchism requires means and ends to be in line with one another. I think this is in fact one of the distinguishing characteristics of anarchism.
Transcendentalism is, we might say, an early form of anarchism. The Transcendentalists also did not call themselves anarchists, but there are anarchist ideas in their thinking and in their literature. They were all suspicious of authority. We might say that the Transcendentalism played a role in creating an atmosphere of skepticism towards authority, towards government.
There are some troubles from which mankind can never escape .... have never claimed that liberty will bring perfection; they simply say that its results are vastly preferable to those that follow from authority .... As a choice of blessings, liberty is the greater; as a choice of evils, liberty is the smaller. Then liberty always says the Anarchist. No use of force except against the invader....