egwithpoBeing outspoken and having opinions that went against the social norms caused  Emma Goldman to be labeled as “exceedingly dangerous” and was known as one of the two most dangerous anarchist in the United States (Jewish Women’s Archive).  In an article titled Anarchism: What It Really Stands For, Goldman discusses what anarchism really means.There were many misconceptions about her and her beliefs at the time and Goldman believed that those misconceptions were deliberately produced to confuse ordinary citizens (Cummings 422).  Goldman believed that violence and ignorance were connected. She said:

How is the ordinary man to know that the most violent element in society is ignorance; that its power of destruction is the very thing Anarchism is combating?” (Cummings 422)

Ignorance, in Goldman’s philosophy, keeps ordinary citizens from seeing the beauty of anarchism. And those with knowledge are purposely withholding it from them. She goes on to explain:

Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think….Rather than go to the bottom of any given idea, to examine its origin and meaning, most people will either condemn it altogether, or rely on some superficial or prejudicial definition of non-essentials”. (Cummings 422)

Goldman makes a very good point here.  Many people condemned her and her movement without even finding out what she believed in.  They more willing to listen to media hype than to listen to the Goldman herself.  She and her associates become modern day witches.
Today, media hype causes the same kind of situation.  There is so much information out there, but how much of that really causes us to think deeply about an issue?   Is what we see on the news helping us to become informed citizens?


Cummings, Michael S. “Anarchism: What it Really Stands For (1907)”.  American Political Thought. 7th ed. Los Angeles: Sage, 2015. 421-428. Print.
Jewish Women’s Archive. “Emma Goldman.” (Viewed on April 6, 2015) <>.

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