Disaffected left-wing youths in early December 2008 witnessed the shooting of one of their numbers in Athens; he was 15 years old. Two policemen were charged, one of them with manslaughter. In response, a small minority of leftist bohemians set off a maelstrom of violent provocative protests, hurting around the world their already tarnished brand of modern anarchy. Some youths were arrested for looting, some for throwing molotov-cocktails and stones at the police. If only instead of apprehending them the law could release their addresses to the property owners whose establishments they burned, stoned and vandalized. They could in turn go to their residences to write cliche graffiti, break some panes of glass and fire bomb their parents’ Prius.
Opportunities for mischief are plentiful with unemployed youth who have under-utilized educations. Their particular reputation with the new political cult of coercion is disheartening. I’ve always felt that the Left, more so than the Right, in theory, endorses, even encourages, the use of violence. Were those left-wing anarchists working hard for improved Human Rights in the world? Were they writing letters for Amnesty International about the slaughter of Caucasians in Zimbabwe and the genocide in Darfur? Not a chance. They were drinking, making love, creating havoc and in an expression, “Preoccupied in the pursuit of pleasure.” They’re hedonists with a propensity for collectivism, a belief which combines gang-rule and moral absolutism. They’re armed brigands from the upper middle-class Left who have never had a job and know only the values of the intelligentsia. To them, a work ethic has nothing to do with morality, it might even be a mark against it.
I was, in my teenage naivity, sympathetic to Marxism, after leaving my small home town, I never connected it directly to my Catholic upbringing or the belief that scoundrels often operate in packs, (and that I had a potential to become one of them). In the late sixties, I was listening to that voice inside of me which said, God was dead and I could take what I wanted if I could get enough people to agree with me – I was too afraid to do it on my own and become a private criminal. I believed that work was a form of slavery. It was the Robin Hood mentality. In my mind, the business class were Protestant leeches and the masses were exploited and almost angelic dumb work-creatures of the daytime. I thought I was an international unionist. Ha. I was one of the few among our sad group of leftists who actually had a part-time unionized job. I was a worker-scientist helping transform the world into a human paradise of communism. At that time I had one year of university to my credit. Curiously, I thought of myself as an antitotalitarian totalitarian. I was one of the informed collective and it was a powerful agent for changing the world. Phew, you can almost smell the hogwash. In 2022 I wince at such a silly youthful state of mind.
Since then, I’ve learned that anarchy is the inability to transform morals into politics, that politics is the inability to abide by natural morality. Balance is aimed between a collusion of the anarchy of politics, which is experience and history, with the politics of anarchy, which we dream about and call ideals and utopias. These are places where we can live under coercive institutions, which will always refrain from coercion. However, politics is also a form of planned chaos, the threat and use of violence by the luckless masses who are the voice of anger but nonetheless insist the law must become their own voice. Real anarchy, on the other hand, is spontaneous order and economic fellowship. It’s the desire to have a completely voluntary society. Its voice is the voice of conscience and reason spoken by dreamers who never learn, and who are always oppressed by the other angry voice of the majority. If you look Right, instead of Left, sometimes it seems that the spirit of life is state law unraveled.
Anarchy and freedom have much to do with structure and responsibility, that’s why left wing anarchy is doomed to the self-ridicule of its own youthful hedonism. Back in the sixties, one of my numbers in response to a third party question about liberty and Frederick Hayek, the famous economist-philosopher, remarked, “Don’t bother to read his works. They’re reactionary – you’re wasting your time, they've been refuted.” I hunted down The Counter-Revolution of Science then Capitalism and the Historians, and soon The Constitution of Liberty. Not long afterwards, Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies came to my attention, as did Thomas Sowell’s Marxism, Bertrand Russell’s Bolshevism, Ludwig von Mises ’The Anti-Capitalist Mentality, Eugen von Boehm-Bawerk’s The Exploitation Theory, Leop Schwartzchild’s The Red Prussian, Milovan Djilas’ The New Class, Leszek Kolakowski’s The Main Currents of Marxism and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago. That’s enough of a reading list to get anyone from the Left to the middle, even the anti-democratic rabble-rousers in Greece, who’s four day rampage, by the way, cost some $2.5 billion.
Now compare this to the truckers protest in Canada in 2022 and you get some sense of what a nonviolent protest is like: for instance nobody burned police cars or smashed businesses and looted. I am just saying. The Left have got a lot of nerve.
I remember re-reading the works of Marx and Lenin in the late nineties, decades ago now. Sometimes it all comes back to me in a rush, the denseness of those wretched books. How they tasted like Freud’s works (and Hegel’s) and came with great mental indigestion. How it was like a thick fog of coded words—but I ploughed on with the ‘enemy’s’ literature—for what if my impression so long ago had been wrong? But no, like James Joyce and Gabriel Marquez, the thick briny broth of it was bulky and depraved. No one in their world spoke the plain Churchill’s English, only the solipsist anti-romantic realism of Platonic otherworldliness with a light frosting of clear introductions and a dessert of insightful conclusions from popular leftist journalistic authors. Messianic prophets all, giving like Eliot, Kafka or Schopenhauer, a hundred thousand obscure sources, and always the plaintive Jesus, the pious Plato and the zealot Paul. How I have grown to hate these modern prophets of the etheral world and the people who have cloaked themselves in warm wishful thinking of their wicked intellectual ways. They are religions for atheists, and the world has suffered no end for their flights of fantasy, especially in the modern sense, Freud and Marx, these two apparently ‘incompatible’ philosophies. That was surely a joke as funny as that Platonism conflicts with altruism or that Protestantism is antithetical to Catholicism or Bolshevikism with fascism. Only thinkers lost to their bankrupt social-reality—which includes the entire Left—think like this and use human sacrifice as a moral ideal. Isn’t everyone tired of the retrogressive left’s partisanship of blaming economic responsibility and the merit of human-capital in the market place for all the world’s difficulties, while forgiving every perceived offended minority their mediocre achievements no matter how poor the effort or scant the results?
© 2022 - E. A. St. Amant