26 | SAGA I/26: Reasons for quitting politics

The final demolition of my commitment to politics was carried
out by my friend F. A. Voigt, a journalist of German origin on
›The Manchester Guardian‹ and a devout Christian. Through our
conversations and to a lesser extent by his somewhat uncongenial
book Unto Caesar [1938], he put into my head four basic ideas
which have proved ›seminal‹ in that they have been growing in me
ever since:

[1] He mistrusted power as something intrinsically evil
and believed that as such it must corrupt without fail. Power
should be defined, I thought, as the ability to disregard the wishes
of others. This has led me to the conviction that no man is good
enough to be another man's master. My sympathies with anarchists
have never been in abeyance since those days, though they began
sometime before. Now and then I have wanted to dedicate these
Memoirs of mine to the memory of Sacco and Vanzetti whose
judicial murder on April 23rd, 1927 had helped to propel me
towards the CP. I can still hear ringing in my ears the sound of the
newspaper boys in the Hohestrasse in Cologne shouting: Sacco-
Vanzetti ermordet
and still feel what I felt then as if it were

[2] As a corollary Voigt showed me that any political
movement which uses violence to enforce its ideals is bound to
produce the very opposite of what it had intended to do. This was
made clear from the English Revolution, from the French ...