We present the latest essay from Paul Merkley. Paul looks art the uptick in anarchy in the world and how it has infected the progressive element of our society. This new essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work that we have published.
Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.
– David Horowitz.
The Seduction of Anarchy.
According to our Scriptures, it was on Day One of Human History that the idea occurred to our first parents that our Creator was cheating us. To be well and truly human, Adam and Eve concluded, they had to out-fox the Creator—and escape His law (Genesis 3:1-5.) Seen in this light, anarchism (life without government) is a deeply-ingrained disposition, basic human issue.
In the Late Nineteenth Century when intellectuals reared philosophic system upon every matter of interest, young men gathered at the feet of deep thinkers who proposed ways of proceeding towards a world without government. The game plan was to cause all governments to fall by creating a situation in which every sane person would realize that he risks death for himself and all he holds dear if he holds public office. The pursuit of this noble goal caused aficionados of the anarchist philosophers to make themselves over from scholars into assassins.
We have an exact replication of this procedure today in the practice of “Islamists” everywhere in the world who become convinced that the Qur’an really means what it says, and that the best way to pave Allah’s way to triumph among us is by striking terror in all of our hearts.
The Classical Age of European Anarchism.
As long as there has been government in the world there have been assassins. Nonetheless, our standard History textbooks today provide a separate Chapter on the season of politically-motivated assassinations that began in Europe in the last decades of the Nineteenth century. Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria and several of his relatives, the Kaisers Wilhelm I, Friedrich III and Wilhelm II of Germany, the Tsars Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II of Russia, the kings Victor Emmanuel II, Umberto I and Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, various presidents of France, Queen Victoria of England, Edward VII and George V, and a long list of Prime Ministers — all survived or succumbed to assassination attempts by anarchists. Victims of this “propaganda of the deed” included U.S. President McKinley (assassinated by the proud anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, September, 1901.)
The program that drove this anarchism in its classical, bomb-throwing, days was simple: it was to create by unremitting violence a state of affairs in which no sane person would want to step forward and offer himself for office.
Simultaneously, the printing presses were turning out and widely disseminating a body of anarchist books and broadsides. Wealthy Russians were among the avid connoisseurs. According to taste, an educated man might subscribe to the version of Christian anarchism propounded by the greatest Russian author of the day, Leo Tolstoy, or to more bloody-minded versions deriving from works by Michael Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin, inter alia. The wealthiest Russian aristocrats, many of them officers of the state, held get-acquainted seminars in their parlours, where anarchist and nihilist authors provided avant-garde enlightenment and the thrill of participation in subversive thinking.
There was a moment when Czarist Russia, a total autocracy, appeared ready to follow the lead of Alexander II, the only Czar since medieval times who publicly allied himself with the cause of improvement of the lot of the common people. But his assassination by an anarchist in 1881 was taken by almost everyone as proof positive that democracy, an idea imported from Europe, was the enemy of civilization. The Czars used this lesson to draw more and more power to themselves and to cover it all with a theory of divine appointment that resulted in Russia’s reputation as the most tyrannical state in the Christian world.
Paradoxically, as the Czar’s powers and responsibilities grew, the powers and responsibilities – but not the social privileges – of the aristocrats withered away. Aristocrats retreated into routinized lives of privilege. Boredom begat curiosity about life’s most lively possibilities — and that begat a taste for lawless personal behaviour. The best salons invited anarchists and nihilists to show their wares. Worldly aristocrats made a point of loitering in the better-upholstered quarters of the criminal world. All of this is familiar to readers of Dostoievsky and Turgenev!
Progressives and Anarchists: “The Whole World Is Watching.”
Today, aficionados of anarchy agitate under the title of “Progressives”. Even the most driven Progressives do not advocate (openly at least) assassination, and that is because the experience of the First World War pretty decisively discredited assassination as a tool for advancing the Kingdom. (However: Islamists, as noted earlier, are still as much devoted to the uses of assassination as the keenest European anarchist ever was.)
It seems to me that mass public demonstrations now take the place in the anarchist agenda that assassination did in the classical age. Not having any useful statistics at hand, I will risk proposing that there has been an exponential increase in recent months of mass demonstrations everywhere in the world as well as in the total number of persons participating, and in the total number of hours invested by all major news media in covering these events.
There is, of course, a symbiotic relationship between the degree of media coverage and the degree of enthusiasm for participation in events that get televised throughout the world. “The whole world is watching,” was the siren that brought out the crowds when the world’s oldest permanent floating protest movement was inaugurated at U. of C. Berkeley in 1964.
Most of these most recent mass demonstrations, of course, have occurred in places where people have means of changing governments by orderly process of election. Brazil and South Korea come to mind. Here, the purpose was to persuade political insiders and powerful figures in the establishment to withdraw allegiance from the incumbent head of government so that someone else will be at the helm when the next election comes around. In Myanmar, brave citizens paid a high price over many years for demonstrating against an entrenched military regime, but massive media attention played a great part in leading the generals to accept the need for democratic elections, and, slowly, grudgingly to give up their monopoly of power.
A variation on this theme is seen in recent British and Italian politics. In these cases, an incumbent government called for expression of popular support for a matter of policy, only to find that the opinion polls were wrong; the head of government (David Cameron in the U.K. and Matteo Renzi in Italy) resigned, a new head of government was chosen by the same parliament, while the ruling parties stayed in place—much shaken, and contemplating defeat at the next election. Mass demonstration now occupies the place in the strategy of progressives as assassination occupied in the strategy of the classic anarchists. (“The propaganda of the deed,” they called it.) A few days ago, mobs of anarchist “students” and like-minded citizens of San Francisco Bay started up riots at U. C. Berkeley in order to shut down a speech by one Milo Yiannopoulos – an entertaining, foul-mouthed, champion of a mixed bag of things, and an admirer of Donald Trump whom a segment of the University community had declared an interest in hearing in the flesh. The cameras of the news-networks catch placards with the slogan BECOME UNGOVERNABLE – a perfect distillation of anarchism. There is also MAKE RACISTS AFRAID AGAIN, and: KILL TRUMP. (These can be seen at http://www.torontosun.com/2017/02/01/heated-protest-erupts-at-uc-berkeley-after-talk-featuring-breitbart-editor-cancelled.)
There used to be a law about openly inviting the murder of anyone. Evidently, not any more.
It is anybody’s guess how many more mass demonstrations — closing-down civilian life, shouting-down discussion, heightening fear within the public — will need to be mounted before it all BECOMES UNGOVERNABLE.