Anarchism and Other Essays, by Emma Goldman begins with a discussion about what anarchism really stands for. How befitting is it, as a philosophy based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.
Anarchism directs its forces against the third and greatest foe of all social equality; namely, the State, organized authority, or statutory law,—the dominion of human conduct. Just as religion has fettered the human mind, and as property, or the monopoly of things, has subdued and stifled man's needs, so has the State enslaved his spirit, dictating every phase of conduct. Also, this book mentions that law, instead of making man a whit more just, is making them more prone to finding solace in injustice. And by destroying government and statutory laws, Anarchism proposes to rescue the self-respect and independence of the individual from all restraint and invasion by authority. Anarchism, thus stands for liberation from the dominion of religion, from the dominion of property, and also from the shackles and restraint of government.
Then come the other fundamental issues with politics. Political aspirants will find their path of good intentions full of pitfalls: wire-pulling, intriguing, flattering, lying, and cheating; in fact, chicanery of every description. Or they will feel intimidated by the tyranny of a compromising majority or a stubborn minority. Or how unsettling is patriotism, as a menace to liberty.
Discussions on prostitution, women’s suffrage, marriage, love and issues of emancipation of women, bring the book to a close.