"In a world where inequality of ability is inevitable, anarchists do not sanction any attempt to produce equality by artificial or authoritarian means. The only equality they posit and will strive their utmost to defend is the equality of opportunity. This necessitates the maximum amount of freedom for each individual. This will not necessarily result in equality of incomes or wealth but will result in returns proportionate to service rendered." - Laurance Labadie
"Even now men's minds are filled with devices which are expected to at least bring equality nearer,—devices such as the taxation of inheritances and the taxation of large incomes; all bungling attempts to remedy by legislation the ills which are the outcome of previous legislation. . . . It is only when we begin to understand that the borrower does not pay freely,—that he is compelled by a monopoly, backed by rifles, to pay what he must,—that we begin to see the cause of inequality, and to understand the remedy . . . ." - John Beverley Robinson
"But there is no equality of opportunity under existing laws and customs. In the race for wealth, which the economist seems as unable to define as to guide, the toiler is most heavily handicapped in the very start." - Joshua K. Ingalls
"Some people are averse to competition and allow the words 'co-operation' and 'humanism' to drool from their mouths, apparently meaning thereby a large blob of protoplasmic homogeneity that lacks all individuality. It is not individuals and their liberty that concerns them, but rather some sort of well greased squirming mass that would seem to be analogous to the brains from which such amorphous 'ideas' emanate." - Laurance Labadie
"The philosophy of Anarchism has nothing whatever to do with violence, and its central idea is the direct antipodes of levelling. It is the very levelling purpose itself projected by republican institutions against which it protests. It is opposed, root and branch, to universal suffrage, that most mischievous levelling element of republics. Its chief objection to the existing State is that is is largely communistic, and all communism rests upon an artificial attempt to level things, as against a social development resting upon untrammelled individual sovereignty. Sifted to its elements, the government of the United States is nothing but a mild form of State Socialism. The true Anarchist indicts it largely on this very ground. He is opposed to all manner of artificial levelling machines. How pitiful the ignorance which accuses him of wanting to level everything, when the very integral thought of Anarchism is opposed to levelling!" - Henry Appleton
"While distribution is admitted to be grossly inequitable, its reduction to exact equality would help very little, as defenders of capitalism quite correctly point out. The basic defect in our present system is that it hampers production. While modern machinery and methods: have made possible a productivity fifty times that of hand labor, the worker is not very much better off than the poverty-stricken wight of Burns' time.
"Compared with what could be produced if privileges did not interfere with economics, the present system is poor and most inefficient.
"If the problem were no more than the distribution of this meager amount, it would mean very little benefit to each individual.
"As demonstrated in the preceding pages, the advantage of economic liberty will be that industry will work at full capacity, instead of at only a fraction of it, and to bring about equitable distribution of that is worth the effort." - Clarence Lee Swartz
"The dream of the ages, the equality of all men, financially as well as politically, is then no dream, but a cold mathematical fact; to which the hypothesis of free production and exchange necessarily leads.
"It is true that neither free production nor free exchange yet exists; nevertheless all the tendencies of the progress of the world are toward such a condition of freedom." - John Beverley Robinson
"This talk about 'ransoming' millionaires would be monstrous and barbarous, did it not point to a vague consciousness of the truth that vast fortunes are not, as a rule, compatible with justice in political and social life, and that millionaires are the product of monopolies, special legislation, privileges, and other forms of legal injustice." - Victor Yarros
"All mankind craves for freedom, but most of the people have sought to gain freedom by subjugating others, or by restricting all alike. They have not learned that they cannot be free while they are holding others, or while they seek to restrict the freedom of others. No one desires to be injured, and yet no one can be secure from injury as long as he injures others. We all wish to be free from injury. I crave for freedom. I see that others want the same condition, and I know that my freedom can be made secure only by the freedom of all others. I know of no other ideal but Anarchy that, if really would secure freedom to me and to all others, therefore I am an Anarchist." - Henry Addis
"It is assumed then that existing conditions and inequalities obtain from the operation of the laws of trade. Nothing could be further from the fact. They are the results of barbaric custom, of class domination and legislation, and are upheld by no natural law of trade or natural law of any kind yet discovered; and the wrongs of which the landless laborer so justly complains are wrongs inflicted and sustained by statutes regarding the tenure of land which have no basis in reason, and will be found to be destitute of any justification in the science of morals." - Joshua K. Ingalls
"In doing away with interest, the cause of inequality in material circumstances will be done away with; the frightful scene of overfed luxury and of helpless destitution that now shocks us will disappear." - John Beverley Robinson
"But nearly all the positive legislation, that has ever been had in this country, either on the part of the general or state governments, touching men's right to labor, or their right to the fruits of their labor, or their rights of contract . . . nearly all has been merely an attempt to substitute arbitrary for natural laws; to abolish men's natural rights of labor, property, and contract, and in their place establish monopolies and privileges; to create extremes in both wealth and poverty . . . ." - Lysander Spooner
"There are two ways, and only two, of effecting the distribution of wealth. One is to let it distribute itself in a free market in accordance with the natural operation of economic law; the other is to distribute it arbitrarily in accordance with statute law. One is Anarchism; the other is State Socialism. The latter, in its worst and most probably form, is the exploitation of labor by officialdom, and at its best is a regime of spiritless equality secured at the expense of liberty and progress; the former is a regime of liberty and progress, with as close an approximation to equality as is compatible therewith. And this is all the equality that we ought to have. A greater equality than is compatible with liberty is undesirable. The moment we invade liberty to secure equality we enter upon a road which knows no stopping-place short of the annihilation of all that is best in the human race. If absolute equality is the ideal; if no man must have the slightest advantage over another,—then the man who achieves greater results through superiority of muscle or skill or brain must not be allowed to enjoy them. All that he produces in excess of that which the weakest and stupidest produce must be taken from him and distributed among his fellows. The economic rent, not of land only, but of strength and skill and intellect and superiority of every kind, must be confiscated. And a beautiful world it would be when absolute equality had been thus achieved! Who would live in it? Certainly no freeman." - Benjamin R. Tucker
"The most arduous labor under our mixed economics is usually the poorest paid, while often the light and trivial, and even the hurtful, is frequently rewarded with a fabulous income.
"The only qualification ever associated with the universal admission of these statements is, that all have equal opportunity, and that since some work up from poverty to wealth, and take the great prizes in the business lottery or race, all can do so, and if any fail, it is their own fault! Economists do not attempt to deny the inequalities of present division. They merely explain in a superficial way how the inequality comes about, without reference to the fundamental cause, or even suggesting ay change in the system which produces it, unless it be to apply a little more of the same thing—special legislation and class rule." - Joshua K. Ingalls
"Under free conditions there would be nothing to prevent every man from engaging in the occupation for which he was best fitted. So that, guided by self interest, nearly everyone would sooner or later find himself engaged in the most congenial occupation. This would inevitably result in a great increase in the standard of ability in every occupation. Men who are to-day considered as possessing extraordinary ability, would find themselves but little in advance of the rank and file of men in their vocations. The eminent success achieved by some men to-day is largely due to the fact that they are the right men in the right place. When all artificial restrictions are removed, selfishness will impel every man to find the right place for himself. So, while free competition may not produce absolute equality of ability, it will tend to reduce to a minimum the inequalities of wages received by men of different kinds of ability. Thus the economic rent of intellect, like the economic rent of land, would have a perpetual tendency to decrease under freedom, and for the same reason, namely, each individual would be put to his highest use, thus reducing the inequality between them." - Francis D. Tandy
"Egoist's argument that free competition will tend to distribute rent by a readjustment of wages is exactly to my purpose. Have I not told him from the start that Anarchists will gladly welcome any tendency to equality through liberty? But Egoist seems to object to reaching equality by this road." - Benjamin R. Tucker
"Competition is natural to man. Every blow aimed at competition, is a blow aimed at liberty and equality; for competition is but another name for that liberty and equality which ought to exist in every manufacturing and commercial community." - William B. Greene
"With our inequitable division, and the disorganized methods of distribution which it begets, the number of traders becomes sadly disproportionate to the number of actual producers; and since those despoiled are chiefly those who perform the most useful labor, the smart and shrewd seek the more indirect methods of obtaining wealth. And just here the principle of competition, which political economists seem to think ought to reconcile the wealth producers to starvation, does not work with facility, for no one can do a business at a loss, and hence society has to support numbers to do the work which one might do." - Joshua King Ingalls
"I am not so enamored of absolute equality that I would sacrifice both hands rather than one finger." - Benjamin R. Tucker
"It is folly for any parties to hope any longer to delay the general emancipation and natural equality of the race. The ostrich, who hides his head in the sand, while his body is exposed to the huntsman, does not exhibit a more fatal self-conceit than those who expect that rank, name, money, political power, or jesuitical craft can any longer exempt them from the great, the harmonious destiny of humanity." - Josiah Warren
"Liberty will abolish interest; it will abolish profit; it will abolish monopolistic rent; it will abolish taxation; it will abolish the exploitation of labor; it will abolish all means whereby any laborer can be deprived of any of his product; but it will not abolish the limited inequality between one laborer’s product and another’s. Now, because it has not this power last named, there are people who say: We will have no liberty, for we must have absolute equality. I am not of them. If I can go through life free and rich, I shall not cry because my neighbor, equally free, is richer. Liberty will ultimately make all men rich; it will not make all men equally rich. Authority may (and may not) make all men equally rich in purse; it certainly will make them equally poor in all that makes life best worth living." - Benjamin R. Tucker
"Service being the primary title to property, we will now notice its assumed rights in the form of profit, rent and interest, which may be termed the monopoly basis of wealth. Since products are distributed to consumers through wages, rent, interest, and profits, or dividends; and since the warmest partizans of capital admit that the wages-class, under the present regime, do not get any more than they earn,—the elements of inequality we are in search of must be concealed in the distributing agencies now to be examined. . . . Even the noble desire to help others is sin if it assumes to give what one does not honestly own. The world needs justice, not benevolence . . . ." - Ezra Heywood
"But the first of all equities is not equality of material well-being, but equality of liberty; and if the contract places the former equality before the latter, it will lead to serious results, for it logically necessitates the arbitrary levelling of all material inequalities, whether these arise from differences of soil or differences of skill. To directly enforce equality of material well-being is meddlesome, invasive, and offensive, but to directly enforce equality of liberty is simply protective and defensive. The latter is negative, and aims only to prevent the establishment of artificial inequalities; the former is positive, and aims at direct and active abolition of natural inequalities." - Benjamin R. Tucker
"But even the science of economists starts upon the ground that the real laws of trade tend constantly to equilibrium, or to a mean ratio, i.e., to the elimination of profit and the exchange of commodities at cost of production. 'Free competition,' it is claimed, can alone secure, and will constantly tend to secure, equitable exchanges. Why, then, should indispensable labor more and more be compelled to exchange itself for what itself has created, at a great and greater disadvantage? This is a question it makes no effort to explain, and, so far as the prominent writers are concerned, seems to be deemed unworthy of attention. Of course no process of exchanging equivalents could have produced the disparities we notice. No fair trade could have placed the values which each of two parties contributed wholly in the hands of one. . . . [T]here is no equality of opportunity under existing laws and customs. In the race for wealth, which the economist seems as unable to define as to guide, the toiler is most heavily handicapped in the very start." - Joshua K. Ingalls