It is in the heart of every revolution, in the mind of every Humanitarian; it is attacked by every dictator, scorned by every politician; it is held in animosity by the enemy of the people; held as the most sacrilege by every tyrant and the most sacred by every freeman -- it is the dream of a lover while they sleep, tossed and tumbled over their heart's desire -- it is the dirt under the fingernails of a worker, writhing with pain that their labors can feed their family -- it has been taught by philosophers, it has been revered by wise men... it is sought by the heart and cherished with memories by the mind: it is liberty.
Some have argued that it is the presence of others that limits our freedom; that it is the various wants of each man that create conflict, which lead to fighting and wars. In heeding to our natural instincts of survival and domination, mankind has erected torture chambers, built prisons, put bondages on the legs of individual thought, put chains on the hands of free inquiry. Every new method of persecution and oppression has not been left undone, left alone. It has been the taste of mankind to seek wealth and glory, whether it leads others to lives of misery and vice or not. So, it has been the argument of every philosopher, of every statesman, that the presence of many men, and therefore, the presence of many interests, has been the greatest obstacle to liberty. To some extent, my reasoning ability must consent to this argument, that it has some merit, that to some extent, it is true. But to tell half the story, would be as much a lie as distorting it. A man would be a slave if he were alone. Deprive any person from the society of their fellows, and they will know what true pain is. For no man can be free, when he knows that he cannot stimulate the emotions of another, by exciting passions of either lust or affection, by interesting another in stories and legends of times past. If a man were to speak his heart, were to utter the memories his mind had collected, and if there were no one to hear him, then he would be truly a lone. The philosopher will call him free, but he would still be a slave to pain. The statesman will call him in liberty, but he would be in the shackles of loneliness and depression. There are few individuals who would prefer life without their lovers over death with them. So, it must be true... the man who lives with nothing but his reflection, may very well be cursed to a miserable life. Just as the man who lives with thoughtless and brutish persecutors, will be cursed to a similar life.... liberty, therefore, is neither the presence nor lack of presence of persons, but your relationship to them. It is this which cannot be denied, as it fulfills the premises of reason and it serves the honesty of compassion.
Mankind has lost his freedom by being without company, and being in the company of those who had the intention to exploit him. The greatest evils of the world could be solved if brotherly love were instituted in place of competition, if charity was the virtue of the heart that was followed, instead of the vice of domination being obeyed. What, then, can be said of the liberty of women? As long as the Roman Empire existed and Europe dissolved into Western civilization, women have been regarded as inferior. The right to vote, something which has been enjoyed by men for centuries, has only been acquired in this nation in this past century. The wages between women and men have been unequal, despite their equal capability of productivity. In the mind of every intellectual, of every thinker and philosopher -- except those who have arduously followed the path of truth -- there has been a dogma, a social idea, that women have an inferior sort of emotion, that their thoughts are less valuable, that their affectionate is cheap, that their love is dirty. They have been made the whores of humanity, not on their own account, but on the account of their oppressors. Half of the human species has been cursed with this injustice, to be regarded as wholly inferior, in every aspect: emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. They have relied on the "scientific nature" and popularity of their understanding, just to give this sort of cruelty an aura of legitimacy. I will say this, though... Every woman ought to be free, from want, from misery, from slavery, from everything that may inhibit true independence.
The society of men has been ruled sometimes by savagery, other times by domination -- one is regarded as civilized and the other not so, but in both cases they operate on brutality, cruelty, and a totally disrespect for the humanity of others. One may be called primitive, and the other may be called advanced, but both may as well be as lost to the understanding of compassion or goodness as the other. A society may best be judged by the method it so decides to rear its children. As the older generation teaches the younger generation, they are deciding whether their minds shall soar freely and their hearts shall genuinely follow their own desires; or they are deciding whether they are creating filler for their cemeteries, whether they are creating fodder for their prisons, whether they are creating targets for iniquity and injustice -- if a society treats its children brutally and harshly, without regard for development or kindness, the generation will grow up, and on their last breath, they will wonder why they did not follow their dreams, why they did not seek out that horizon that was shining just beyond their thoughts... but, they may wonder in vain. And what do we do in our society? We force them into schools, but the proper term may be prison. And how would you define prison? As a place you are coerced into staying, without any consent on your part? If that is a just description, then the schools in our world are nothing different than prisons, and it is their intent to form the social attitudes of children in such an atmosphere, that perhaps one day they will obediently abide by every unjust law, every decrease of their wages, every oppressive military coup. If you were to gather up all children, aged seven to seventeen, and if you were to ask them if they felt that they were treated unjustly, the answers you would receive would run the gamut. The younger ones, with less exposure to prison life, would find greater injustice in it, but since they were more impressionable, they would be more docile and accepting. The older ones, with more exposure to prison life, would find lesser injustice in it, but since they may be more intelligent -- their reasoning faculties damaged by schooling -- they may find more injustice in it. So, we have the condition of the children of our western nations: imprisoned, without hope, without dreams. Since the children have no souls, the nation is the epitome of a slave state.
How mankind has treated his own species, how the husband has treated his wife, how the parents have treated their children, these are all signs that perhaps injustice will prevail before justice can be sustained -- perhaps the battles we fight for liberty and independence will be remember forever in the hearts of every kind person... so that when they look at the stars in a night sky, they can be sure that as they sleep, they will wake to a world that does not discriminate, a world that will not ask them to sacrifice their hopes so that they can survive. And those mornings that they wake, the future generations, with only the faintest memory of those dreams, of lovers, of family... they will truly know that life is a blessing and death is a curse. But, in all of the emancipations which have been engaged in, one large group has been left out of the liberation: the creatures of the world. They have, more or less, been treated cruelly. Their persecutors will argue whatever they can, relying on the same words of those who have oppressed men, women, and children. "They are stupid, and have no rights!" -- "They cannot live autonomously!" -- "They are inferior!" Every lie which has been botched against the fragile face of the woman is now thrown against that of the animal. As they argue against the rights of other species, they are but echoing every voice to oppose abolitionism. As the animals are herded, to move into slaughterhouses, to be executed, their pains of agony verbally expressed are no different than those of a slave being whipped. Yet, while human slaves have only been in the millions, the animals slaughtered every year has been numbered in the billions! These creatures, whom science have finally recognized as having their emotions and their own society, not unlike human society, their lives are destroyed, because they have the unfortunate genes which made their flesh taste good to humans. No man of heart will say they are to be without our pity, and no man of thought will say they are to be without liberty. The creatures of this planet must be recognized as having rights. And this ideal must be enforced, just as men and women risked their lives to liberate slaves, just as husbands gained the courage to treat their wives with respect, just as parents gain the sanity to offer only affection and gentleness to their children. The animals of the world must be liberated. There can be no justice while there are some suffering at the merciless exploits of another.
It may have once been argued by a military advisor, that those who are the strongest have the greatest success of being the oppressors, and those who are the weakest have the strongest chance of being the oppressed. The history of civilization will prove this thesis to be true. It can be seen the countless examples. First, it was man, the stronger gender of the human species, which has more physical strength than woman. And he was the first oppressor. But then justice came; man realized that it was wrong to subject women to slavery, and women realized that it was wrong to be coerced into a life of dependence -- together, the woman realized the independence of being free, and the man discovered the duty of living a noble life. Then there are children, physically weaker and brought up to be mentally submissive, who are put into submission of their elders. In only a few countries, they have been liberated from dangerous factory conditions. In only fewer countries, if any, they have been allowed to pursue a free education. But much of the western world resides in ignorance, as it believes that force is equal to learning, that coercion is equal to education, that slavery is the same thing is knowledge. Finally, we come to the last class of the oppressed, those whose opinion have been given the smallest The creatures of the world, often times deprived of their natural habitat, and then selectively bred until they met the needs of their oppressors. It has been argued by scientists of ages past, that animals have no emotions, that they are devoid of meaning, that they are not in any way worth anything. This view has been upheld by theologians and philosophers. But it has been these same people who oppressed the female part of mankind, and it has been these same people who have oppressed the younger generations of the human species. We find that cruelty has been a distinct part of prejudice, and nothing can make us feel so sure of this than how the minds of thinkers have defended the injustices of society.