From the print edition of The New American:
The past year’s rioting, assault, arson, and vandalism should surprise no one, for violence is the closest thing leftists have to an unchanging, ever-perpetuated tradition.
It’s July 14, 1789, and a monster is born. While the First U.S. Congress is meeting across the Atlantic, Frenchmen are storming the Bastille Saint-Antoine, a Parisian fortress used as a prison. It’s the first salvo in the French Revolution, an event that later would be portrayed (at least in U.S. government schools) as the American Revolution with a French twist. But it is nothing of the sort. It’s every bit as revolutionary, no doubt — but also largely devolutionary.
Where the Founding Fathers sought to devise a system of government with man’s nature in mind, the French revolutionaries planned to alter that nature. Where George Washington famously said, “To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian,” the French revolutionaries worked to violently de-Christianize their nation. Where our second president, John Adams, cautioned that our “Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other,” the French Revolution’s doctrines served to make the French people the “other,” seeking not just liberty but license. Where our Founders argued but negotiated (and had the occasional duel), the French revolutionaries ultimately ate not just enemies but their own, with the “Reign of Terror” claiming tens of thousands of lives, including that of their most (in)famous figure and leading voice, Maximilien Robespierre. They are the first leftists.
In fact, the political senses of the terms “Left” and “Right” originate with the French Revolution, with supporters of the king seated to the right of the president in its National Assembly and republicans (those wishing to create a republic, as they called it) situated to his left. Today, of course, rightists aren’t monarchists because monarchy isn’t the status quo — but, whatever the status quo is, rightists defend it. As for leftists, well, they’re still tearing the status quo down, which usually means tearing down civilization. And this still involves a “demolition of the Bastille,” as destroying institutions, whether physical or social fixtures, is their specialty.
We saw this with the anti-Donald Trump riots, in which often-masked miscreants looted, vandalized and burned property, and attacked the presidents’ supporters. The Antifa movement grew out of this spirit and, ironically, its members act like Brownshirts while claiming to be involved in anti-fascist action (of which the group’s name is a contraction). Then there’s Black Lives Matter, a movement whose deceit-based agitation has led to “revenge” attacks on whites and the deaths of police officers; this is enabled, of course, by a complicit left-wing media. One commentator, Los Angeles radio host Douglas V. Gibbs, even believes that the Left is “in full preparation for social and economic collapse, or a violent revolution,” as WND.com reported in January.
Whatever the case, the current unrest is no accident. Last year, James O’Keefe’s group Project Veritas, whose mission is to investigate and expose corruption, uncovered a Democrat scheme to incite violence at Trump rallies. Caught on hidden camera, Democrat operative Scott Foval outlined an operation — allegedly approved by Hillary Clinton — in which he and fellow agitators went so far as to pay mentally ill people to instigate trouble. He even unabashedly proclaimed, “We’re starting anarchy here.”
This becomes relatively easy when millions of “useful idiots” are conditioned to hate their civilization, to believe their highest calling is to effect its destruction. Today this is accomplished via attacks on Christianity and religion in general, attacks on Western tradition, economic freedom, and once-iconic American historical figures (e.g., Founders); and inculcation with “white privilege theory,” feminism, radical environmentalism, multiculturalism, moral relativism, and every other ism that strikes at Americanism. Of course, revisionist history is also deployed because, as George Orwell wrote in 1984, “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” (“The Founders were all Deists, don’t you know?!” At least, that’s what we may hear when not being told they were all secularists.) Yet this, too, is just history repeating itself.
Photo: AP Images
This article appears in the July 24, 2017, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.
A bit like the Taliban and Islamic State, the French revolutionaries sought to erase the past insofar as it conflicted with their doctrines. Unlike the Taliban and Islamic State, this meant wiping the slate clean virtually completely. So they created a Republican Calendar (which bore a resemblance to the old Egyptian solar one) designed to supplant our Gregorian calendar, thus named because it was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Their calendar started history anew, with 1789 being its first year. It included 12 months, each having three 10-day weeks that excluded the Lord’s Day. In fact, when the calendar’s chief architect, Charles-Gilbert Romme, was asked what its primary purpose was, he replied, “To abolish Sunday.”
So these republicans weren’t exactly the family-values variety. Moreover, including the attack on Christianity, they would set a pattern that would typify leftist movements to come.
• Hypocrisy: Robespierre was an ardent death-penalty foe — until he gained power and became an author of the Reign of Terror.
• Destructive government regulation: The French revolutionaries instituted price controls on food and other items.
• A movement of the rich masquerading as a revolt of the poor: Just as Vladimir Lenin hailed from a wealthy middle-class family and had a father with the bestowed status of “hereditary nobleman,” the French Revolution “began among wealthy nobles and professionals,” according to Princeton professor of French history David A. Bell.
• Advancement of perversion: The Marquis de Sade (from whose name the term “sadism” is derived) joined and influenced the revolution, providing it the theory of “revolutionary pansexualism,” says historian Professor Roberto de Mattei.
In a nutshell, the French revolutionaries were a Left that had left reason. Nonetheless, like today’s liberals they loved speaking of reason (of course, there are now cutting-edge leftists who may say it’s a Western construct); why, they even created a new national religion literally dubbed the “Cult of Reason.” History writer Geri Walton provided some detail last year:
Bringing this civic religion to fruition culminated in a celebration known as the Festival of Reason (Fête de la Raison). The first festival was scheduled for 10 November 1793. Festival fêtes were to be held in Bordeaux and Lyons, but the largest fête and ceremony was scheduled at the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Furthermore, the Bishop of Paris [who was never appointed or considered legitimate by the Vatican] and the clergy were to attend. They were to publicly renounce “their belief and functions as ministers of the Catholic Church, declaring that henceforth they would recognise no public worship but that of liberty, equality, and fraternity.”
In Paris, the cathedral of Notre Dame was renamed the Temple of Reason and turned into a theatre. The Christian altar was dismantled and an altar to Liberty was raised. The National Convention attended the celebration as a body.… The opening words were given by a Prussian nobleman who was instrumental in the French Revolution. His name was Anacharsis Clootz. Clootz declared that the Republic would contain but “one God only, Le Peuple [the People].”
During this ceremony a costumed Goddess of Reason, who portrayed liberty, was to be worshiped as girls in white Roman dress and colorful sashes circulated around her.
Not surprisingly, in typical leftist shifting-the-goalposts style, the Cult of Reason endured as the official religion for only a year or two, at which point an outraged Robespierre replaced it with his own deistic “Cult of the Supreme Being.” He then used this religious issue as a pretext for denouncing and executing radical leftist de-Christianizers not in his camp, but it would contribute to his own downfall. His cult would enjoy state-religion status for a mere month and a half — until Robespierre himself was put under the guillotine on July 28, 1794.
This theme would recur throughout leftism’s history. For example, among the approximately 20 million people murdered by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin were many old Bolsheviks whose only sin (aside from the sin of embracing Marxism) was not being new Bolsheviks. As Stalin put it, “We will destroy each and every enemy, even if he was an old Bolshevik; we will destroy all his kin, his family.” This mentality claimed even Marxist theorist Nikolai Bukharin and, most notably, Leon Trotsky, who found death the thanks he received for having engineered the transfer of all political power to the Soviets. In leftist circles, you see, it’s very hard to remain the New Man the Next Day.
One individual learning this the hard way is Evergreen State College biology professor Bret Weinstein. Despite being a Bernie Sanders and Occupy Wall Street supporter, Weinstein recently found himself accused of “racism” by a lynch mob of activist students who, as of this writing, control the campus of his Olympia, Washington, institution. His sins?
He had objected to hiring faculty based on racial quota and to a “Day of Absence” in which the rabble-rousers demanded all white faculty, staff, and students leave the campus.
Weinstein was confronted May 23 by approximately 50 students who demanded his resignation. In addition, reported the Olympian May 28, “‘They imagine that I am a racist and that I am teaching racism in the classroom,’ said Weinstein about the Evergreen student protesters. ‘And that has caused them to imagine that I have no right to speak, and that I am harming students by the very act of teaching them.’” Weinstein says that the students are threatening violence unless their demands are met. (Among other things, they want mandatory “sensitivity training” [read: brainwashing] for faculty and staff.) And in fact, Weinstein was forced to hold classes off campus after the police, who’ve been ordered to stand down, raised concerns about his safety.
Then there’s liberal commentator Juan Williams, fired by National Public Radio after admitting on an October 2010 edition of The O’Reilly Factor that he does get “nervous” when seeing people in traditional Muslim garb on a plane. Of course, the preceding were examples of men losing a space (temporarily) and a job, not their lives. But note that, generally speaking, history teaches that the Left’s murderous tendencies are commensurate not with its will, but its means.
While the French devolution set the stage, it was the 20th century that would be most punctuated by leftist violence. The Bolsheviks followed their Russian Revolution and 1918 execution of the Imperial Romanov family with the murder of tens of thousands of “enemies of the people,” including more than 10,000 Cossacks. The paranoid Stalin killed many millions during his 30-year reign, including approximately 10 million during the government-engineered (and perhaps genocidal) Ukrainian famine known as Holodomor. All told, the Soviets killed at least 20 million people.
Communist Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung, who once said, “Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy,” dwarfed this number, murdering approximately 60 million during his 31-year rule. Cambodian communist leader Pol Pot certainly lived up to his philosophy: “Better to kill an innocent by mistake than spare an enemy by mistake.” His Khmer Rouge exterminated one-fifth to one-third of their nation’s population (1.4 to 2.2 million) between 1975 and 1979. Other Marxist countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, East Germany, Cuba, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Hungary, though less prolific, also contributed to the 20th-century Marxist body count of 94 to 110 million. In North Korea, where the Kim clan has taken more than one million lives, the carnage continues to this day.
Less historically apparent (more easily revised) are the times leftism made a violent power grab but failed. Just consider the pre-Spanish Civil War Spain of the 1930s. While we hear much about the supposedly fascist forces that won the war and the Francisco Franco government that ultimately assumed power, the reality is that the Left initiated the violence. After the 1931 elections saw the creation of the leftist “Second Spanish Republic,” anti-clerical legislation was enacted; this included the nationalization of virtually all church property. In May 1931, approximately 100 churches and convents were burned with the tacit approval of the government. Partially as a result of this, what’s viewed as a center-right coalition won the Spanish elections in the fall of 1933. And here’s the part that will sound familiar: The Left wouldn’t accept this democratic determination — and responded with violence.
Consequently, a revolutionary communist/anarchist uprising was launched in 1934. It was quelled, but leftist agitation didn’t end there. And it would spark a bloody war costing half a million lives.
The leftist propensity toward violence is unsurprising. Note that German political theorist Karl Marx himself prescribed it, writing in an 1848 newspaper article that “there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.” Yet there are also deeper reasons for the Left’s any-means-necessary mentality.
One irony of Western influence on the East — something about which the Chinese often gripe — is that, the Opium Wars and Admiral Matthew Perry aside, Asians have so often voluntarily adopted the worst the West had to offer. Mao and other Eastern Reds were, of course, aping (the likely mentally ill) Karl Marx. As for the Khmer Rouge, they did likewise and also took a leaf out of the French revolutionaries’ book, nixing the traditional calendar and attempting to start history anew with their “Year Zero.” They in addition were influenced by a later French “revolutionary,” a man named Jean-Paul Sartre.
Capitalism Magazine rightly labeled Sartre, an existentialist pseudo-philosopher, “The Intellectual Henchman of Tyrants.” As the magazine wrote last year, even in France “Sartre called for violent overthrow of bourgeoisie society. During the Algerian war he supported the killing of Europeans. In his preface to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, Sartre wrote: ‘It is necessary to kill. To shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to eliminate at the same time an oppressor and oppressed.’” Capitalism further informs, “In The Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre has denied individualism — he asserts that freedom is only possible when men act collectively and that it is the moral duty of the government to impose collectivism through a reign of terror.”
Yet these visible calls to violence are less significant than the seeds that lay deeper. As Capitalism also tells us, “It is not surprising that Sartre inspired and supported tyrannical leftist regimes such as the Soviet Union, Khmer Rouge, Castro’s Cuba and others.… His existentialism is based on the principle of the meaninglessness of existence and it offers a nihilistic account of liberty — instead of freedom from the government, existentialism proposes freedom from reality. When someone denies reality, he can close his eyes to the terror and bloodshed, and become an apologist for the worst dictatorships.”
He also can justify anything. As Sartre wrote in his 1946 existentialism apologia “Existentialism Is a Humanism”:
The existentialist is strongly opposed to a certain type of secular moralism which seeks to suppress God at the least possible expense.… The existentialist … finds it extremely embarrassing that God does not exist, for there disappears with Him all possibility of finding values in an intelligible heaven. There can no longer be any good a priori, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it. It is nowhere written that “the good” exists, that one must be honest or must not lie, since we are now upon the plane where there are only men. Dostoevsky once wrote: “If God did not exist, everything would be permitted”; and that, for existentialism, is the starting point. Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist.
Sartre went on to say that “man is free, man is freedom.” Of course, he wasn’t speaking of freedom from government but from God, from any moral constraints whatsoever. He said that if God does not exist, we aren’t “provided with any values or commands that could legitimise our behaviour” — or that could delegitimize it.
In other words, “Since there’s no God, who’s to say what is right or wrong? Don’t impose your values on me!” as the stale refrains go. This is the kind of philoso-babble that has swept society and, as my regular readers know, about which I so often warn. It was expressed by German pseudo-philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who influenced the Nazis, when he insisted, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” It was articulated concisely by British occultist Aleister Crowley when stating, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” It has, in fact, been said by so many in so many ways and is so malevolently seductive that a majority now believe “morality” is all relative. And why not? The best way to justify one’s sins is with a worldview stating there are no sins. Of course, this means it can’t be wrong for a criminal on the corner to kill a man — or a criminal in government to kill one million.
Another reason leftism breeds violence is that, detached from reality, leftists develop programs that can only work if man’s nature is trumped or changed. Communism, for instance, is under Marxist doctrine a stage in which the government has melted away and people live harmoniously and voluntarily in a state of economic equality and bliss. Of course, man’s nature makes this laughably impossible. Yet note that Marx himself denied the existence of man’s nature, once writing that “the human essence has no true reality.” This is why the Soviets embraced as a state-sponsored theory Lysenkoism, which preached the heritability of acquired traits (e.g., if you render a plant leafless via plucking, its descendants will inherit that quality). The thinking is: If a physical alteration can be inherited, so can a mind alteration — then utopia can be possible. (Note that Lysenkoism’s founder, Soviet agronomist Trofim Lysenko, denounced good biologists as, among other things, “haters of people” and as “fascist.” Sound familiar? Many of them ended up dying in gulags, mind you.)
Yet equality itself — a common leftist theme — is wholly unnatural. As I wrote at the Observer in February:
Where is it witnessed in the natural world? Some species are more dominant than others, with those unsuited to survival becoming extinct. There’s variation in size, strength, speed and hardiness even within a species. Related to this, there are dominant animals and subordinate ones, examples being how one lion rules his pride, one silverback gorilla runs his troop and how chickens really do have a pecking order.
Would the family of man, somehow, be this earthly norm’s one exception? Humans display tremendous naturally-induced inequality, encompassing the brilliant and the brainless, the comely and the homely and leaders and followers. This isn’t surprising given that, even just when having one child, there is essentially an infinite number of possible combinations.
So leftists are in the position of fighting nature and, as I also wrote, just “imagine the kind of intrusiveness and bizarre control necessary to eliminate inequalities in a lion pride or brood of chickens. Is it any different with man? Endeavoring to stamp out people’s natural inequality requires an all-encompassing state that’s authoritarian enough to attempt to micromanage millions of lives and thwart nature. It also not only fails, but leaves civilization with a small group of privileged wealth-controllers in government who, as George Orwell put it, are ‘more equal than others.’”
More-equal types are always less charitable, and this brings us to another cause of their murderous spirit. No one likes having his plans ruined; it can be maddening. But what happens when your plans are so impractical, as Marxist plans (and leftist ones in general) are, that they’ll inevitably be “ruined by man’s nature”? Moreover, how will you respond to this when you believe that this nature is malleable or doesn’t exist at all?
You externalize and blame for your scheme’s failure the poor saps on whom you foisted it.
“How dare you not be good enough to make my plan work!” is the thinking (feeling). “How dare you require a profit motive to be industrious! And if you won’t become the New Man and enable the new scheme, you’ll suffer till you do — or die with the old order.” The reasoning will not be otherwise because these leftists are thoroughly invested, heart, mind, soul, and ego, in their misbegotten ideology. They can’t blame their medicine because they’re married to it, so they must blame the patient.
In reality, the Left’s godlessness and correlative moral relativism/nihilism ensure violence. After all, if you and I disagree but believe in Moral Truth, we can use it as arbiter. We can meet and say, “Alright, let’s discuss matters; maybe we’ll learn that one or both of us is wrong,” using as a yardstick that eternal guide above us, Truth. But when the only yardstick we have lies within — one’s values, as determined by his emotions, his ego — what is our recourse? You can’t change my emotions and ego and I can’t change yours, and why should I yield to you? You’re just a person, same as I.
This mentality was evidenced by the aforementioned Evergreen State College leftists. When Professor Weinstein said he wanted to have a dialogue, one “student” responded, “We are not speaking on terms — on terms of white privilege. This is not a discussion. You have lost that one.” And that’s that. Where do you go from there, but to the mat? When “Do what thou wilt” is your only guiding principle and two contrary wills meet, there is only one way to settle matters: fight.
This is why the common leftist warning, that moral “absolutism” leads to an unbending mentality begetting violence, is the precise opposite of reality. Misconceptions about Moral Truth (as advanced by Islam, for instance) can be destructive, but there’s nothing more dangerous than the misconception that there is no Truth. After all, if everything is just a matter of “perspective” and therefore mere preference, why not rape or steal? Who’s to say it’s wrong? And whether you kill one or one million, why trouble over terminating inconvenient organic robots, those soulless, chemicals-and-water entities absolutists may call children of God?
Besides, without God as the source of right and wrong, people so often play god and become that source in their own eyes, as with arch-leftist billionaire George Soros, who once said, “I fancied myself as some kind of god … creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out.” For when people conclude everything is relative, what often happens in practice is that everything becomes relative to themselves. They conform perfectly to their “moral standard” because, of course, it’s just a reflection of themselves. Since no one is a carbon copy of them, however, nobody else measures up to their “perfection.” Others thus become frustratingly flawed creatures, seen by the self-styled god as little ants, there to work, build, obey, and, when the program demands it, be unceremoniously smitten.
Photo: AP Images