Criminal Enemies of Social Order or The Propaganda of Anarchy is a speech given in debate of the League of Nations in congress during the onset of the Russian Revolution.
If the authority of the courts should be destroyed — if their carefully determined decrees are arbitrarily and without investigation, merely upon suspicion and general belief, set aside — if recourse is to be had to blackmail or for terrorism, sabotage, dynamite and murder — if the doctrines of direct action, are the Bolshevist and the IWW — the weak are the ones who will suffer in any such decision. I venture to say that with all the imperfections of human nature from which we cannot escape under any system the wit of man ever devised, and with all the mistakes the mind of man, however well intentioned, may sometimes make, there is not a state nor a city between the two oceans in this great republic where an honest laborer, seeking protection or justice, cannot find a judge who will zealously guard his rights, his liberties, his property, his life, with the shield of the law against the hand of the despoiler.
Tear down the courts and the law, and there is left the spectacle of a bloody tyranny — of ignorance, avarice, cruelty, imposing their brute will upon all who differ with them or stand in their way. We see that spectacle in Russia today, and those who are writhing there in the gratification of their lawless desire for power are the counterparts and co-workers against law and established government with the authors of these resolutions and other propaganda of murder, assassination, revolution, direct action, sabotage and anarchy which is stalking through the land.
The greatest issue that confronts not only the American people, but the western world, is the suppression of this arrogant, insolent, and tyrannical movement. Its leaders must be subjected to the will of the government. The intellectual vagaries of benign but irrational visionaries, the abysmal ignorance of masses of its innocent human tools, and the murderous instincts of avowed criminal enemies of social order, are the materials with which it works. Many of its parts are not conscious of their connection with one another. But it all moves as a cohesive and coordinate whole on the lever which is worked by the master criminals of mankind. Their proposed prey is the human and of material accumulated wealth of the world. It is an astounding occurrence. And to us, awakened from our long dream of peace, seems difficult of conception.
These conspirators against the peace and happiness of mankind have taken the gifts of God, the intelligence that has come with civilization, the inventions of science, the products of modern art, and turning them into instruments of destruction, have made war on their own creator. The good gifts, which were put into the hands of man for good, have been perverted to evil. It is as though they had eaten of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and that they will hear the voice of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day and saying to this: “Adam, cursed is the ground for thy sake, and in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” It is as though again, the man be driven out, and again be placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubim and a flaming sword which shall turn every way. So keep the way of the tree of life.