Margaret Sanger, "No Gods," Jul 1914.
Source: " The Woman Rebel, July 1914, p. 40. Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Collected Documents Series C16:0554."
From the dawn of civilization man made the gods in his own image and likeness. He crouched before the creature of his imagination and the incarnations of his spirit; before idols of wood and stone, of flesh and blood. Often he became heartily ashamed of his creations.
Before the conventional lies of Society and the superstitions of Science, democracy is now on its knees, offering its daily happiness at the shrines of petty idols, vainly struggling to rise unashamed, fearless and free. The State, the Flag, Law, Justice, Progress, Precedent and Large Families each in turn receive the service and homage of the masses.
In this country the social position of woman has undergone a remarkable change. The rich man places his wife on a pedestal and serves her with docility in order that she may be admired, and he, envied. He has raised her to the rank of queen. This deified woman is one of the new idols at whose feet plundering plutocracy lays the shining gold wrung from the sweat and blood of the toiling long-suffering masses.
But the rich woman is not happy. Her sensibilities have been crushed, and her mind impoverished by her parasitical position. Working women do not realize these facts. While man gazes upon his idol with admiration and desire, the woman worker tamely follows the beaten path. Instead of seeking elsewhere for a free and joyous existence, she struggles in competition to attain or to imitate that costly and dependent life which involves dresses, diamonds and expensive dinners. The prizes are few and the victims many.
Plutocracy makes it its business to support the priesthood. The common people must have "gods" to keep them in subjection. And so, before the vision of the workers is flashed the ideal of a grossly material existence, and by appeals to vanity and worldly ambition, the free slaves of society are lured into the domain of the lower senses. And, for the reason that civilization is what it is, working women are taking the same wrong turn, missing the ideal and forgetting that one ever existed.
The road of Happiness lies open to all, but it will not be found until we workers cease to immolate ourselves on the alter of man-made idols. For beneath the cruelty and the filthy cynicism of our commercial system, we women workers are being dehumanised. Our womanhood is being shamefully destroyed. The woman rebel wants to destroy the tyranny. The priests and profit-mongers want to destroy the womanhood.
This silly subjugation by woman to the conduct and habits of man; this surrender and supplication to his gods, is all part and parcel of the programme of the master class. Working women even more than men share in the idolatry which throws fictitious glory on the "defenders of country"; the soldier and marine. Romantic liars in the press sedulously foster the idea that the military or naval serf as a type possesses in battle--Courage, Patriotism and Chivalry.
The truth is, as was recently shown at Vera Cruz, that the marine's nerves go to pieces after three hours under fire, and that he prefers food to fighting.
The only logical cure for all this is our assertion of a human ideal. If we do not strike the fetters off ourselves we shall be knocked about until we forget the fetters. To our society apologists, and to their plausible excuses for modern oppression, the only adequate answer is--we have done with your civilization and your gods. We will organize society in such a way as to make it certain for all to live in comfort and leisure without bartering their affections or their convictions. Let us turn a deaf ear to the trumpet-tongued liars clamoring for Protection, Patriotism, Prisons, Police, Workhouses and Large Families. Leave them to vomit their own filth and let us take the good things mother earth daily offers unheeded, to us her children.
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project