VIOLENCE ON THE LEFT: IT’S IN THEIR DNA (2)

Part Two: Breaking Eggs to Make Utopia

(For Part One, go here)

Since Rousseau Leftist thought has held that man is basically good, and that in his primitive state man is basically noble. That social forces, particularly civilization, have twisted man’s generous nature.  That in his “natural”, primitive state men shared all the world’s bounty in common. Rousseau felt that the concept of “private property” was the source of much of man’s evils:

“The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said “This is mine,” and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.” [1]

In this, Rousseau presaged Marx.

The political left exists in a world of their minds; a world of their own imaginings that bears only tangential resemblance to reality.  Much of leftist thinking involves ignoring or rejecting the realities of the world that is, in favor of a Utopian world they imagine is or seek to create.

But there are benefits to dreaming of a better world, so long as one sees the world in which they live with clear eyes.

“Some men see things the way they are and ask, “Why?” I dream things that never were, and ask “Why not?” George Bernard Shaw (not Robert Kennedy) brilliantly encapsulates here the thinking of those on the Left. It’s a lovely thought, and indeed, dreamers are often the vanguard of progress.

Leftism appeals to the young and the romantic because it sees and dreams of a better world than that in which we live. It sees a world in which all men live selflessly in communal harmony, as Rousseau envisioned our primitive ancestors. That if private property, the source crimes, wars, and murders, can be abolished; then so will these evils.

It is an old argument, “nature or nurture”: whether man’s character is a byproduct of his upbringing and experiences, or if man’s nature is ingrained. The Left tends to believe that man is born a tabula rasa, a blank slate. That if man is just properly educated, inculcated, and indoctrinated in correct thinking he will become the “perfect socialist man”.

But the very trait that makes leftism so attractive to young dreamers is the source of its propensity to violence.

Neurotics create castles in the sky; psychotics live in them: It is an old joke in psychiatric medicine. And as any psychiatrist will tell you, confronting the delusions of a lunatic will often elicit a violent response.

The left creates castles in the sky, and attempts to not only live in them, but to make the rest of us do so as well. When confronted by the reality of the world as it is, the reaction is often a violent rejection.

At its heart, the problem is one of man’s very nature.

Humans are not born tabula rasa, a blank slate. We have certain traits that are nearly universal in our collective natures. For example, we love our children; we prefer the company of family and friends and people like ourselves; and we are motivated most commonly and successfully to labor for our own or our family’s profit. We also are born with natures that are unique to each, giving us natural born talents and tendencies. Some are naturally more aggressive, some naturally less. Some are naturally gregarious, while others tend to melancholy. Were all men born tabula rasa, then genetically identical twins raised by the same parents would turn out as near to carbon copies of each other as is possible. But anyone who has known twins will tell you that this is far from the case.

What humans are not is ants or bees. Men do not labor selflessly for the “collective good”. While some can be educated to think such selflessness is virtue (and perhaps it is), it is not ingrained in our nature. And when such selflessness conflicts with our basic need to labor for our own or family’s profit, man will opt to labor for himself before others unless forced to do otherwise.

It is only by force or coercion that the left has ever been able to force men to live the life of the “perfect socialist man”; which is akin to that of the ant or the bee. And it is only by force and coercion that leftist regimes can create and maintain some semblance of the utopia they envision.

To the left any means is justifiable in pursuit of their better world. As they live in a world of moral relativism, there is nothing wrong in using immoral means to achieve a moral goal. In telling lies about their opponents, they advance a greater truth. No calumny or slander is too great if it destroys those that stand in their way.

What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.” (Robert Kennedy)

If in creating their utopia the left destroys men’s lives, they justify it in that they are saving mankind.

As Lenin famously said, one cannot make omelets without first breaking a few eggs.

Part 3: Utopian Visions Lead to Bloody Revolutions

NOTES:

  1.  Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. Contrary to popular opinion, Rousseau never used the term “noble savage”. However the concept and character of primitive man as the “noble savage” was alive in France from the 16th century, when first articulated by Jacques Cartier speaking of the Iroquois, and Michel de Montaigne speaking of the Tupinamba.  
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VIOLENCE ON THE LEFT: IT’S IN THEIR DNA!

The violent nature of leftism goes back to its roots in the French Revolution, and continue today.

Part One: A Tale of Two Revolutions

From its earliest roots in the bloody days of the French Revolution, the Left [1] has demonstrated a ready tendency to use political violence against its opponents.

A quick look at both the French and the American revolutions, often portrayed in popular culture as twin-sides of the same movement toward democracy, will reveal that, quite to the contrary, these were two very different political experiences.

The American Revolution was a revolution started and led by fairly well-heeled and well-educated landowners, lawyers, and clergymen. The French Revolution, on the other hand, was started by the Paris mob (the sans-culottes, the “pantless”) led by demagogic leaders who manipulated and inflamed their most base and violent passions. The American Revolution could be characterized as a “conservative” revolution which sought to preserve the traditions of self-government, individual liberties, and private property that had been a hallmark of life in the Thirteen Colonies for over a century. The French Revolution was very much a “left-wing” revolution, which sought a transformation of French society through massive redistribution of wealth and through the arrest and murder of the wealth-holding class.

The French Revolution, which has been the model (and often inspiration) for all leftist revolutionary movements since, was heavily influenced by the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, its patron philosopher. It was characterized by class hatred by the poor for those born to better circumstances. Its educated and mostly middle-class leaders declared that the very condition of being born into the aristocracy made one a criminal; a traitor against the “general will” of the mass of the French people. The French Revolution was all about class envy, the desire to destroy the wealthy and “well born”, and to produce a new order promoting the equality of all citizens. “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”.

By contrast, the American Revolution was influenced by the writings of John Locke and Adam Smith. It was all about preserving private property rights, less-government, lower taxes, personal liberty and responsibility. Their motto was “Don’t Tread On Me”. Its leaders were (mostly) wealthy or at least upper-middle class landowners and “professionals”.

The French Revolution began with a Parisian mob storming the prison/fortress, the Bastille.

Hollywood has too often portrayed this as an armed mob of patriotic (and starving) Parisians fighting their way heroically into the prison/fortress; opposed by troops within, who further inflamed the mob and earned their coming fate by firing upon “the people”.

Here is an example, in the 1958 version of Dickens immortal, “A Tale of Two Cities”:

 

This version is far from the reality of what occurred!

In truth, the garrison of the Bastille (a prison which held, literally, a handful of prisoners) put up no resistance. For hours, the mob waited outside while the governor of the prison, the Marquis de Launay, attempted to negotiate a peaceful surrender. For his trouble, he and many of his men were murdered by the mob once they were admitted; leading to the spectacle of de Launay’s head being marched through the streets on a pike! Also that opening day, the mob seized and murdered the Mayor of Paris, Jacques de Flesselles; a reform-mined civil-servant of middle-class origins, killed just on general principles!

The American Revolution began in quite a different manner: with the British attempting to forcibly disarm the Massachusetts colonial militia, sending Redcoat troops to seize the militia’s arms at Concord. What followed was anything but mob violence. Militia-men battled with Redcoats. No mobs swarmed in the streets, no British officials or “Tories” (British loyalists) were lynched.

In Revolutionary France, under the direction of Maximilien de Robespierre, the demagogic leader of the extreme Jacobins,  a “Reign of Terror” followed the establishment of a “liberal” Republic. Thousands of heads would (literally) roll in Paris and the other cities of France. Daily, the “progressive” citizens of Paris jeered, taunted, and threw garbage at victims of the Terror as they were walked from their imprisonment to the guillotine.

No one was safe. Even children were beheaded, their crime one of class, of being born into wealth or the aristocracy. Even servants of the noble houses, themselves people of no financial means, were executed by the mobs.

Lies and character assassination was then, as now, tools of the leftist agitators in the years preceding the Revolution. During the Reign of Terror many thousands were accused of the most heinous lies and subject to judicial murder. A notable example was the Queen, Marie Antoinette. A virtuous wife and mother who gave generously to the poor and even entertained the under-privileged in the Royal Palace prior to the Revolution, she was painted by the left as a selfish, greedy, and licentious wanton. During her incarceration, the Revolutionary prosecutors accused her of everything short of Devil worship (including incest!) in order to blacken her name and remove any sympathy for her amongst the people. She was subjected to a “show trial” (characteristic of later Marxist revolutions), in which she was given no chance to defend herself. The former-queen who was taken to execution in the end was a shockingly aged and broken creature; an innocent and undeserving victim of the left.

But not only “class enemies” of the left were murdered. The revolution soon consumed its own as the radical Jacobins denounced and sent to the guillotine their political rivals and sometime allies within the National Assembly. Then even the most radical leaders, like Robespierre, were in turn denounced by newer and even more extremist “leaders” and took their turn with “Madam Guillotine”.

Murder and mob violence characterized these first leftist revolutionaries’ approach to politics.

By contrast, in America following the Declaration of Independence by the duly-chosen Continental Congress, there were no wholesale murders of anyone. Military campaigns between the newly constituted Continental Army and the British Army would rage up and down the 13 Colonies. But political murder in the streets was virtually unknown[2].

American “Patriots” were arrested by the British, as were their families on occasion; and some of these died in captivity or from its result. Pro-British sympathizers were not persecuted by their Patriot neighbors, though many Tories who took up arms in support of the Crown left the country after the war ended in American victory, most relocating to Canada. But none were forced to leave, arrested, or murdered[3]. Yes, Tories were on occassion subjected to the humilation of being tarred and feathered. Unlike the leftist French leaders such as Robespierre, who orchestrated the mob violence, such Founders as John Adams denounced such practices as “barbaric”.

In summary, the divide between the Right and Left can be seen at the very inception of this political divide, with the American and French Revolutions. One a fight by the upper and middle class Americans to protect their liberty and property from British interference and confiscation. The other, the French, by the lower classes to seize the property of others and redistribute it for the “common good” (more precisely, their own).

The American (conservative) Revolution was fought against British soldiers, not against their neighbors. The French (leftist) Revolution, though it led to conflicts with foreign powers, was all about mob violence and class warfare against fellow citizens. In the former, those who disagreed with the “patriot” point of view were not attacked; and after the war, no reprisals were taken against. In the latter, any perceived opponent was in danger of being murdered by the mob or the revolutionary authorities.

A tale of two revolutions: the beginning of a political divide that continues to this day.

PART 2 Breaking Eggs to Make Utopia

 

  1. So-called because the original leftists in French politics sat on the left side of the Chamber of Deputies in the National Assembly.
  2. Though British officials in Massachusetts were, on occasion leading up to the Revolution, the targets of beatings and even being “tarred and feathered“.
  3. Contrary to what was shown on the 2008 miniseries John Adams, this ugly, humiliating practice was never fatal; as pine tar, a sticky liquid at room temperature, was used instead of scalding-hot petroleum-based tar.