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Voltairine de Cleyre

  • ... it is better to study how to live rather than how to die; ... it is better to have a religion of deeds rather than a religion of creeds; ... it is better to work for humanity than for God.

    • Voltairine de Cleyre,
    • "Secular Education," in The Truth Seeker ()
  • The murderous deed of the criminal was against conscience, the torture or the murder of the criminal by the official is with conscience. Thus the conscience is diseased and perverted, and a new class of imbruted men created. We have punished and punished for untold thousands of years, and we have not gotten rid of crime, we have not diminished it.

  • [The married woman is] is a bonded slave, who takes her master's name, her master's bread, and serves her master's passion; [and] who passes through the ordeal of pregnancy and the throes of travail at his dictation.

  • Behold these idealists then, successful business men, professionals, property owners, money lenders, creeping into the social ranks they once despised, pitifully, contemptibly, at the skirts of some impecunious personage to whom they have lent money, or done some professional service gratis; behold them lying, cheating, tricking, flattering, buying and selling themselves for any frippery, any cheap little pretense. The Dominant Social Idea has seized them, their lives are swallowed up in it; and when you ask the reason why, they tell you that Circumstances compelled them so to do. If you quote their lies to them, they smile with calm complacency, assure you that when Circumstances demand lies, lies are a great deal better than truth; that tricks are sometimes more effective than honest dealing; that flattering and duping do not matter, if the end to be obtained is so desirable; and that under existing 'Circumstances' life isn't possible without all this; that it is going to be possible whenever Circumstances have made truth-telling easier than lying, but till then a man must look out for himself, by all means. And so the cancer goes on rotting away the moral fibre, and the man becomes a lump, a squash, a piece of slippery slime, taking all shapes and losing all shapes, according to what particular hole or corner he wishes to glide into, a disgusting embodiment of the moral bankruptcy begotten by Thing-Worship.

    • Voltairine de Cleyre,
    • "The Dominant Idea," Selected Works of Voltairine de Cleyre ()
  • Bread, bread, bread! No more preachers, no more politicians, no more lawyers, no more gods, no more heavens, no more promises! Bread!

    • Voltairine de Cleyre,
    • in Paul Avrich, An American Anarchist: The Life of Voltairine de Cleyre ()
  • There is no society for the prevention of cruelty to women.

    • Voltairine de Cleyre,
    • "Sex Slavery" (1890), Selected Works of Voltairine de Cleyre ()

Voltairine de Cleyre, U.S. anarchist, feminist, freethinker

(1866 - 1912)