VIOLENCE OF THE LEFT: ITS IN THEIR DNA (4)

Leftist Violence Comes to America, a Historical Perspective

(To read previous installment, go here; to start with Part One, go here)

19th century Europe was marked by growing leftists movements, which attempted several short-lived revolutions throughout the continent. While these leftist risings failed, a new left-wing extremist movement, the anarcho-communists, grew out of them.

The word itself comes from a Greek word, anarkos, which means “without a chief.” Anarcho-communist believe that all government should be abolished along with private property, and that common ownership of the means of production in combination with a  stateless societies should be the organizing principle. To bring about such change, anarchists argued that violent actions, rather than words, were the best way to spread ideas. They called this tactic “”propaganda by the deed“”. What it meant in practice was terrorism and targeted assassinations of political leaders.

In 1881 an organization of Russian leftist/anarchists calling themselves the “People’s Will”, targeted Czar Alexander II, the “Russian Abraham Lincoln”.  Alexander, ironically, had freed the Russian serfs and reformed the Russian judicial system, introducing trial by jury.  He also granted the Russian territory of Finland greater autonomy, with plans to completely free the Finns.

That Alexander II was an enlightened ruler and gave monarchy a good face made him particularly odious to the left.

On March 13, 1881, members of the anarchist People’s Will ambushed and murdered the Czar in the streets of St. Petersburg;  throwing a bomb under the Czar’s carriage.

Again ironically, the day before his death Alexander had completed a draft creating  an elected parliament, the Duma.

 

The assassination of Alexander II was just the beginning of leftist-anarchist terror attacks and murders.

In 1905, Czar Alexander’s son and uncle of the (then) reigning Czar Nicholas II, Grand Duke Sergei, was also targeted and assassinated by the Socialist Revolutionary Party’s “Combat Organization”.

Even more despicably, in July of 1918 his widow Grand Duchess Elisabeth, who had become a nun after her husband’s murder, was also murdered by the Bolsheviks. Elisabeth, along with other members of Russian aristocratic families and her fellow nuns, was herded into an abandoned mineshaft; into which grenades were then hurled.

An observer heard them singing Church hymns to the end, even for some time after the explosions. The last thing Elizabeth did as she lay dying in the mineshaft was to bandage the wounds of Prince Ioann with her own handkerchief.

The murder of these innocent women is part-and-parcel with the obscene level of violence the left is willing to employ to gain its truly evil ends.

Anarchist assassins had a successful (from their viewpoint) run at murdering Heads of State in the last decade leading-up to and into the 20th century.

In 1894, anarchists assassinated the President of France, Marie-Francois Sadi Carnot. In 1900, King Umberto I of Italy was gunned down by an American-Italian anarchist. Then, in 1901, socialist/anarchist Leon Czolgosz, shot to death President William McKinley.

Europe’s far-left, violent ideology had come to America.

In the last decades of the 19th century, a wave of German and Eastern European immigrants came to America. They brought with them the doctrines of Marx and Engels, trade/labor unions, and anarchism.  They brought also the violence the left had exhibited in Europe.

Chicago became the epicenter of the American far-left in the late 19th century. As early as 1875 leftist education and defense organizations (Lehr und Wehr Vereine) were set-up there, and they soon spread to other cities. Members met regularly and drilled with arms. These militant leftist clubs caused a split in the socialist community, with the violent factions joining the anarchists.

The American Left held a convention in Pittsburgh in 1883, dominated by Johann Most, a German-born revolutionary who had served prison terms in a number of countries. Most had come to the United States in December 1882, and transferred his journal, Freiheit, to New York. Through the spoken and written word he became the leader of the left-wing anarchists in the United States and the leading figure of the predominantly immigrant socialists.

In typical socialist fashion the convention explained that since all institutions are aligned against him, the worker has a right to arm himself for self-defense and offense. The convention noted that no ruling class ever surrendered its privileges;  and urged organization for planning and carrying out rebellion. “Capitalists will not leave the field except by force”.

Throughout the 1880-90s anarchists were active in the incipient American labor movement and union formation, which they regarded as the ideal type of workmen’s societies. Albert Parsons, August Spies, and Samuel Fielden, all of them defendants in the Haymarket Affair Trial, had close connections with a part of the Chicago labor movement.

On May 4, 1886, Chicago was the scene of a violent confrontation between the fledgling leftist labor movement and the Chicago authorities. A labor demonstration in Haymarket Square was broken up by police. As the police moved in, anarchists hurled a bomb (one of some 50 bombs  subsequently found stored in Nepf’s Hall, a labor union facility).  About 60 officers were wounded in the incident, along with an unknown number of civilians. In all, eight policemen and at least four workers were killed. The so called  Haymarket Massacre galvanized public opinion throughout the country against anarchism and was a setback for the American labor movement.

1887 saw labor strikes and riots throughout the Mid-West and Northeastern states. Federal troops had to be called out to help local police contain the rioters. Many of the country’s railroads were shut down for long periods of time, at great cost to the economy.

The 1890s saw violent mine, factory, and railroad strikes that were only put down by Federal troops or the use of Pinkerton “detectives”. While violence was often began by the strikers (destroying owner’s property and attacking “scab” replacement workers), the response by the authorities was at times disproportionate.

Labor violence became a common theme in American industrial life.  Researchers Philip Taft and Philip Ross exhaustively documented this in their study, “American Labor Violence: Its Causes, Character, and Outcome“; concluding that America has the most historically violent labor movement in the world. A large part of the blame for this sits solidly with its Chicago far-left anarchist founders.

In the 1960s, the New Left began organizing and agitating in American cities and across college campuses throughout the country.  Violence soon manifested itself, as a myriad of small, fringe groups became active.

Here is a small sampling of ‘60s radical groups:

In 1969, Bill Ayer’s Weather Underground was founded. It grew out of the campus  radical group, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and particularly its Revolutionary Youth Movement faction. The “Weathermen’s” avowed purpose was to bring about the violent overthrow of the American government. In May 21, 1970, the Weathermen issued a Declaration of War against the United States; this following a two year campaign of bombings and instigated riots.

Aside from Ayers, its members included: Karen Ashley, Bernardine Dohrn, John Jacobs, Jeff Jones, Gerry Long, Howie Machtinger, Jim Mellen, Terry Robbins, Mark Rudd, and Steve Tappis. (Many of these are now involved with the Democrat Party; Ayer’s in particular, a former friend and supporter of Barack Obama.)

Another violent Leftist group to grow up in the turbulent 1960s was The Black Liberation Army (BLA).  A splinter group from the Black Panthers (BPP), its stated goal was one of “armed struggle”; to “take up arms for the liberation and self-determination of black people in the United States.” The BLA is credited with murdering 13 police officers (in ambush shootings) and over 60 acts of left-wing violence from 1970-1980.

In 1978, a new umbrella organization of far-left radicals was formed: the May 19th Communist Organization (M19CO). It was chiefly a combination of the Black Liberation Army and the Weather Underground. It also included members of the Black Panthers and the Republic of New Africa (RNA). They had three objectives: to free political prisoners held in American prisons, to use appropriation of capitalist wealth to fund the third stage, and to initiate a series of bombings and terrorist attacks.  From its inception to the mid-1980s, the group is responsible for over a dozen violent attacks and bombings.

In  1981 in Nanuet, New York, the group (mostly the Weathermen and BLA members) robbed a Brinks armored truck containing $1.6 million. The robbery was violent, resulting in the murders of two police officers and a security guard.

Another of these splinter radical groups was the United Freedom Front (also called the Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit), a small American Marxist organization active in the 1970s and 1980s. It was responsible for 29 known robberies and bombings, carried out from October 4, 1975, to September 26, 1984. One of the members, Thomas Manning, was convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper. It has been described as “undoubtedly the most successful of the leftist terrorists of the 1970s and 1980s”.

A notable moment in the history of leftist violence in America occurred at a Marin County Hall of Justice on August 7, 1970. There, three convicts from San Quentin Prison were on trial for murdering a guard. All three were former Black Panthers and members of other radical left-wing groups. United Feedom Front’s Jonathan P. Jackson was the brother of  “Soledad Brothers” defendant George Jackson. He planned an attack aimed at taking hostages and forcing the release of his brother and the other radicals awaiting trial.

At the courthouse, Jackson pulled weapons from a satchel he had brought into the court; and, with the help of three of the defendants, took the court hostage. The subsequent escape attempt ended in a bloody shootout. Jackson and two of his confederates were killed, as was the judge they had taken hostage. The District Attorney was shot and crippled for life.

Involved in the bloody incident was UCLA professor and communist Angela Davis. She was indicted for supplying the weapons used by Jackson in the courthouse takeover. Davis fled the state to avoid arrest; but was apprehended and arrested in New York.

In 1972, she was tried and the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The fact that she owned the guns used in the crime was judged not sufficient to establish her responsibility for the plot.

Davis subsequently became a Left-wing celebrity.

In recent years, the drum-roll of leftist violence manifest itself most clearly in the anti-capitalist, anti-globalization movement.

On November 30,1999, at the World Trade Organization’s meeting in Seattle, WA, 40,000 angryanti-capitalist leftist demonstrated in the streets.  Around noon, black-clad anarchists among the demonstrators began smashing windows and vandalizing storefronts. Other protesters pushed dumpsters into the middle of intersections and lit them on fire, closing traffic and generally disrupting all commercial activity in downtown Seattle.

Over 600 people were subsequently arrested.

Such violent demonstrations against globalization ( focusing on the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the G-8) and any other organization hateful to the left (such as the Republican Party) have become a normal facet of modern life. All follow the Seattle model, which always results in destruction of private property, personal assaults, and confrontation with police, and large numbers of arrests.

The IMF in particular has drawn the ire of the international Left. Demonstrations against the IMF have occurred in Berlin in 1988 ; Madrid in ’94; Washington, DC, in 2000 (678 arrests); and again in Washington in 2002 (649 arrests).

Labor Unions (particularly the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU) have been active in recent incidents of violence and intimidation. In May 2010, some 500 purple jacketed SEIU members arriving in buses in front of a bank executive’s home and held a raucous demonstration on his front lawn and porch. Only the banker’s 14 year old son was home, terrified by the sudden appearance of this angry mob.

File:Anarchy-symbol.svgIn the last 4 years, the Occupy Movement has staged numerous acts of violence across the country; often instigated by Black Bloc Anarchists within their movement.

Weekly, there are stories of leftwing demonstrators and incidents of violence and destruction of property. Part-and-parcel with the violent history of the Left.

The violent activities of left-wing eco-terrorist groups, such as the Animal Liberation Front, Earth First, and the Earth Liberation Front should not be overlooked. They have set fire to homes and businesses on the West Coast since 1997. They have also burned down university buildings, car lots, government offices, and ski resorts. Spiking of trees in the forests of the Pacific Northwest has led to the injury and death of loggers.

Today antifa and Black Lives Matter are only a new manifestation of a very old leftist practice: employing street violence (thinly disguised as “protest”) to intimidate their opponents and to gain power disproportionate to their numbers.

Next: Conclusions

Advertisements

VIOLENCE ON THE LEFT: IT’S IN THEIR DNA (3)

PART THREE: UTOPIAN VISIONS LEAD TO BLOODY REVOLUTIONS

(To read the previous installment, go here)

In 1792 the French liberal intelligentsia, imbibing the heady wine of Rousseau’s theories, inflamed the urban mobs against the upper classes. To be born into wealth or privilege was deemed an act of treason against “the People”.

No level of dissent was tolerated: disagreeing with the goals or bloody methods of the radical political clubs and demagogues that the revolution placed in charge, invited an  appointment with “Madam Guillotine”. Even women and children were beheaded by the revolutionary authorities (among such victims was Olympe de Gouges, an early feminist and supporter of the revolution).

By the time the Terror ended, 50,000 had died for the crime of being born into the wrong class or disagreeing with the radicals in charge.

Did this first leftist revolution, born in blood, lead to a better world?

No. It led to dictatorship.

As was to prove invariably the case, the leftist revolution in France gave birth not to utopia but to the dictatorship of Napoleon.

Whatever one thinks of Napoleon, his “glories” led to the deaths of between three and six million Europeans.  He is emblematic of what so often happens in the romanticized world of the Left: the arrival of the leftist champion on a white horse,to sweep away opposition and lead the revolutionary vanguard on to ultimate triumph. Unfortunately, all too often “utopia” is ephemeral while the dictatorship of the revolutionary leader is all too real.

In the middle years of the 19th century, Karl Marx, advancing the theories ofRousseau to the next level, putting forward the concept of “class criminal”. That economics (and the left believe that all politics are driven by economics) is a “zero sum game”. That is, if someone has more than someone else must have less. So, by extension, the wealthy are rich at the expense of the poor.

Again working from Rousseau, Marx arrived at the answer: a “classless” society  which outlawed private property, redistributing all evenly to the proletariat masses; and in which the workers owned the means of production.

The 20th century gave leftist a chance to create their versions of utopia as a wave of Marxist revolutions took power around the globe; and produced the most violent century ever.

In February of 1917 Czar Nicholas II of Russia, an authoritarian ruler to be sure, was overthrown by a revolt of soldiers and sailors; and a Provisional Government attempted to establish a democracy. Unwilling to work within a democratic framework, the communists (Bolsheviks) in October 1917 took up arms and seized power from the Provisional Government, and instituted the Soviet Union.

An authoritarian regime was replaced by a totalitarian one. This was a model that would follow as night follows day everywhere the left took power: monarchs or dictators wielding authoritarian power and often leading corrupt regimes were overthrown by bloody-minded leftist revolutionaries who then, in turn, established totalitarian regimes even more brutal and less free than that which they replaced.

In Russia opponents of Bolshevism banded together under the banner of the “Whites” to oppose the Bolshevik “Reds”.  The Russian Civil War (1917-1923) that followed claimed the lives of an estimated  9 million people. When the blood-soaked dust settled Lenin (and his successor, Stalin) began happily breaking eggs in order to create their socialist omelet.

As seen in France a century earlier, the “democratic republic” promised by the leftists led instead to dictatorship. First Lenin and then Stalin ruled Russia far more ruthlessly than had the Czar they had replaced in the Kremlin. [1]

Establishing a vast internal security and prison system, Lenin and Stalin arrested any who opposed their communist utopia. Spies and informants were everywhere, with neighbor informing on neighbor, wives informing on their husbands, and children denouncing their parents (a common theme in every leftist-controlled country). In the dead of night, the Chekisty or Cheka (State Security Police, forerunner of the NKVD and KGB)  would come. Tens of thousands were arrested for voicing anti-party opinions, in public or private.

In the gulag prisons established throughout the vast wastelands of greater Russia, millions were worked to death. In the Ukraine, the free land-owning peasants, called Kulaks, were systematically wiped out for the crime of having more land and being more productive than the state-run collective farms established by the communists. Starvation was deliberately used as a tool to bend recalcitrant populations to their will.

The result was hardly the paradise Marx promised. Instead it was a hell where men were afraid to speak and retreated instead into drink and taciturn silence. Where corruption flourished, because “all pigs are equal, but some pigs are more equal than others”[2]: the Party officials lived like the old nobility, while the “proles” lived in Spartan squalor. Where the environment, like the people themselves, was ruthlessly exploited by the crushingly oppressive state.

If history is any indicator, it is only through murder, repression, and terror that the left can ever achieve (or attempt to achieve) their goal of creating a “worker’s paradise”. 

By the end of Stalin’s time in power, the death toll reached some 51 million dead. A lot of eggs to make a very nasty tasting omelet!

The butchers bill for leftist movements in the 20th century began with Lenin and Stalin, but didn’t stop with the Soviet Union. Everywhere the Left took power, death and repression followed.

  • 80 million died in Mao’s People’s Republic of China
  • 2-3 million were killed in Pol Pot’s communist Cambodia
  • 1.6 million in North Korea
  • 1.7 million in various communist insurrections, terror movements, and      dictatorships in Africa
  • 1.5 million in Afghanistan
  • 1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe (with tens of thousands      more imprisoned)
  • 1 million in Vietnam
  • 150,000  in Latin America
  • 10,000  deaths “resulting from actions of the international Communist      movement and Communist parties not in power.”

(The death toll of victims includes executions, intentional destruction of population by starvation, and deaths resulting from deportations, physical confinement, or through forced labor.)

These numbers above are from the Black Book of Communism; edited by a team of French intellectuals. These numbers are considered on the conservative side.

Do not kid yourself: wherever the left takes power totalitarian regimes soon replace whatever came before; and executions and work/death camps follow. (“Re-education Camps” is the euphemism used by leftist for labor-prison camps. In their world-view, the left believes that one is not a leftist only because of lack of education; or because one suffers from a mental disorder. So in the old USSR, Eastern Europe, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela today opponents of the regime were/are committed to mental institutions indefinitely, as they must be insane not to be communists. Recently, leftist actor Sean Penn suggested that Sen.Ted Cruz and other Republican or Tea Party conservatives should be forcibly committed, by Presidential Executive Order, to mental institutions. Penn merely showed here his mainstream communist beliefs.)

Worse even than the repression and violence in Stalinist Russia was what Mao wrought in China.

“I don’t think we’ve yet come to grips with the horrors perpetrated by Mao,” said Roderick MacFarquhar, professor of government at Harvard University.

After overthrowing the authoritarian, corrupt, but at least semi-democratic Republic of China under Gen. Chiang Kai Chek in 1949, Mao’s communists oppressed, imprisoned, starved, and outright murdered the Chinese people for 25 years.

Mao, unlike Stalin, did not target individuals for assassination, did not directly supervise any of the killing and did not revel in it. And unlike Hitler, he did not select a whole people for extermination.

What Mao did was unleash mass movements against his rivals and the “bad classes” of society. He did in fact target segments of society for repression, which sometimes led to public humiliation of the victims and death by torture, unchecked by any legal constraints. Mao used social isolation and humiliation as instruments of mayhem. During mass campaigns, designated “enemies of the people” were hounded, tortured and broken psychologically. Many committed suicide.

“Mao was unsystematically, fanatically dangerous,” said a former well-placed Chinese official in Beijing who was persecuted and jailed as a “rightist” during the Cultural Revolution. “He was not a mass murderer, but his lunacy probably caused the deaths of more people than Stalin.” [3]

“Class Enemies” languished in Mao’s gulags, where millions were worked and starved to death; a precursor to the Killing Fields of communist Cambodia.

Communist social and economic policies (particularly forced collectivization of the peasantry) led to massive famines. Food shortages in the countryside were so great even cannibalism was seen; including parents cooking and eating their children (63 such cases are documented). During the Great Leap Forward tens of millions died because of famine caused by government policy.

Estimating the ‘butcher’s bill’ in Maoist China is difficult. But the latest scholarship puts the number upwards of 80 million dead, making Mao (and his policies) the greatest mass murderer in history.

In Khymer Rouge Cambodia in the 1970s the first thing the communists did was round-up all the educated classes in the cities, and march them to “re-education camps” in the countryside. There they were worked to death or killed outright. Their crime (aside from not being communists)? Not being peasants. That by not being peasants, they were betraying the peasants. Only laborers were legitimate in Pol Pot’s version of Maoism.

In the “Killing Fields” they turned the country into, the Khymer Rouge communists murdered a quarter of the population of Cambodia; and most of that the educated classes.

Communist revolutions swept though post-colonial Africa in the 1970s. Wherever they came, death on a massive scale followed.

In the African nation of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), a communist insurrection (supported by the Soviet Union) erupted in the 1970s. Two main factions battled the white-settler dominated government in Salisbury: ZANU, led by Robert Mugabe; and ZAPU, led by Joshua Nkomo. Murder gangs of communist thugs fanned out throughout the countryside, attacking the white-owned farms that fed the country. Men were killed, women raped and then murdered. By the time the communists negotiated a peace that put them in power, 30,000 had died.

In the subsequent years since Mugabe and the communists took power, the country has sunk into economic chaos and political terror. Most of the productive white-owned farms have been taken over by Mugabe supporters from the urban poor. Having no knowledge of farming, these now squat on the land seized, and the country starves for lack of productive farmers.

Sokwanele, a non-governmental organization has compiled details of more than 1,300 political attacks ranging from the wanton destruction of property to vicious murders. Using techniques chillingly reminiscent of those employed to quell backsliders during the “liberation” war, Mugabe’s militiamen have terrorized “enemies” of the regime. Some victims were simply beaten to a pulp. Others had their limbs hacked off or were burnt alive. One brutal technique, known as falanga, is an updated version of the bastinado: beatings administered across the buttocks or soles of the feet so hard that victims are scarred for life and sometimes unable to sit or walk again.

In neighboring Mozambique, the communist FRELIMO guerrillas took power in the wake of the disintegration of the Portuguese colonial empire. Aside from the some 50,000 civilian deaths during the insurrection against the Portuguese a further 800,000 have fallen victim to murder by the FRELIMO government and its oppressive policies since taking power in 1980.

Ethiopia, Somalia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo all experience communist take-over during the late 1970s and early 1980s. In every case gulags and killing fields followed. In Ethiopia, forced collectivization of formerly productive farmers led (as always) to famine and mass starvation.

Central and South America were likewise targets of communist revolution.

In Nicaragua, a coalition of freedom fighters calling themselves the Sandinista over threw that country’s long-time dictator, Anastasio Somoza in 1980; and a fledgling democracy was started. Within months of taking power, the communist faction drove out their coalition powers and closed down all opposition parties. Thousands were killed, arrested, or forced to flee the country.

By 1986, some 35,000 identified political prisoners had been processed though Sandinista prison camps; higher by a factor of 10 than the greatest number ever assigned to the Somoza regime. Most were arrested by DGSS security agents and sentenced without any semblance of judicial process. The Miskito Indians were particularly repressed by the new communist government.

As is so often the case, an authoritarian and corrupt regime had been replaced by a totalitarian communist regime. Instead of the corrupted ballot boxes of the Somoza Era, Nicaraguans now had only one party to vote for: the communist Sandinista.

The same story writ large was seen decades earlier in Cuba. Since taking power there Castro’s communist regime has outright killed between 9,000 – 12,000 people since 1959; and is directly responsible for the deaths of a total of 97,000 though forced imprisonment, torture, and starvation.

Che, the iconic hero of Cuba’s communist revolution, was famous for putting hundreds of military and political prisoners at a time up against the wall to be executed. Some 5,600 of the victims of Cuba’s communist murders were shot by Che’s firing squads.

“To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary…These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate. We must create the pedagogy of the The Wall! (El Paredón)” – Che

Wherever the left takes power, corrupt or authoritarian regimes are replaced with totalitarian states that routinely use indefinite imprisonment, forced re-education and labor, starvation, torture, and outright murder on a genocidal scale to achieve their vision of the “worker’s paradise”. To make the “perfect socialist man”, the left has always been willing to sacrifice millions of lives.

No ideology in history has spilled more blood than the far-left.

Next: Leftist Violence in America, a Historical Perspective

Notes:

  1. It is telling that these leftist leaders, while espousing equality of all, invariably end-up living in the palaces of the monarchs or dictators they supplant, in every bit as much luxury and splendor.
  2. George Orwell, “Animal Farm
  3. Daniel Southerland, Washington Post, July 17, 1994

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.  

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.

ASTONISHING: DEMOCRAT CALLS RUSSIAN SHENANIGANS “ACT OF WAR”.

Dem senator: Russian hacking may have been 'act of war'

Democratic Senator  Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) today stepped alarmingly into the ether when she characterized alleged Russian interference in the November election as “an act of war”.

Ok, let me stipulate for the court that I am against the Russians or any other foreign entity messing with our election process. But foreign governments have been doing that sort of thing since Persian gold “Darics” ended up in the pockets of Athenian politicians to oppose Philip of Macedon (and likely long, long before that). We certainly have gone to great lengths in the past to interfere in other nation’s internal affairs, including killing their candidates and sometimes leaders (just ask Diem of S. Vietnam or Allende in Chile; or more recently Obama trying to oust “Bibi” Netanyahu in 2015). So I don’t get too worked up when the Russians do what they can to “F” with us. Its what governments do.

What I find alarming and at the same time ironically amusing is that Democrats, for the first time perhaps since the 1960s, have their hair on fire about the threat to “global stability” and our democracy posed by Russia.
This is the same Democratic Party that fought Nixon, Reagan, and every other Republican-led effort to fight the Cold War; a time when the Russians really were trying to destroy us. We were accused by the Dems back then of being McCarthyites; of seeing “Reds” under every bed. That, despite the fact, as seen in the Alger Hiss case, the Russians were not only trying to sabotage our democracy, they had agents infiltrated in our State Department (and other places as well).
More recently (for those of you too young to remember the Cold War), in the 2012 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney got hooted off the stage when he warned that Putin’s Russia represented our greatest geopolitical rival. “The 80s want their foreign policy back”, Obama quipped scornfully.
 Remember the Russian Reset? Or Obama leaning in close to the Russian Prime Minister and assuring him (message to be conveyed to his boss, “Vladimir”) that he (Obama) would have much more “flexibility” to make concessions once the election was over??

 

No administration has been cozier or more accommodating to America’s enemies (not just Russia, a rival; but Iran, a true deadly enemy) than Obama’s and the Democrats supporting him.

Thus the irony: the ONLY time the Democrats get worked up by the Russians is when they come to think the Russians may have cost them an election! Enslaving all of Eastern Europe? No big deal. Overrunning Afghanistan? Ok, we will boycott the Olympics; but not to worry. Setting up puppet client states throughout Latin America, on our very doorstep? Hey, we do the same thing to them, so what’s the big concern?
All my life the Dems have down-played the threat from Russia (then the Soviet Union). Till they lost the one thing that REALLY MATTERS to our Democrat friends: power. Losing the election and the power of governance hits them where it hurts. Who cares about a bunch of smelly Eastern Europeans (or Cubans, for that matter; still enslaved to a communist regime imposed with Russian support)? But elections matter!
Now, a member of the same party that never wanted to fight the Cold War suggests a “hot war” may be upon us, due to Russian interference in the election. Where is this leading? What do Democrats, pounding the war drums, hope to achieve? Do they really think this is an “act of war”? If so, how do they suggest this be answered? With an act of war on our part?
No, of course not. Nobody, even a Democrat, would be that irresponsible. Which is what makes such loose talk so irresponsible. Ever so deeply adolescent, the Dems are in a temper tantrum and take no care of the words they throw around. Like a child lashing out, they merely seek to wound Trump like a child tries to wound its parent’s feelings.
This is why by comparison, even Trump at his worst seems more adult than any serving Democrat I can think of.
Thank God the adults are in charge again.

VIVA LA HAMILTON: OUR POP FOUNDER HAD THE ANSWER

SEPARATION, NOT SECESSION: GREATER FEDERALISM AND LESS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS THE ANSWER TO OUR DIFFERENCES AS A PEOPLE

 
With Trump’s election leaving unhappy Californians as nervous as a Christian Scientist with appendicitis (if you don’t get that joke, you don’t understand the oxymoron that is “Christian Science“), some here in the Golden State are calling for secession. That is, for California to leave our Union and go its own liberal way. Trump is’t their kind of President, and his vision of America not one they want to stick around for.
 
Legally speaking, I think the issue of states seceding from the Union was closed at Appomattox Court House in 1865. But I understand how my progressive neighbors feel, with the looming juggernaut that is SS Trump steaming into port. For the last eight years, I have felt like my country had disappeared right before my eyes. I didn’t recognize the vision of America being articulated by President Obama and his party; a sort of watered-down American version of Sweden. I even contemplated moving somewhere else.
 
But the answer to this swinging political pendulum that leaves the left and the right delighted or dismayed, in turns, every four to eight years is not to dissolve this difficult marriage of opposites that our Union has become. Instead, as Pat Buchanan articulates here, the problem is that we have too much power invested in a federal “nanny” government, which in trying to apply a one-size-fits-all answer to every local problem guarantees to please the few special interests and to sow dissatisfaction among the rest of us.
 
The Founders, brilliant men that they were (despite being a bunch of “dead white guys”) laid out the perfect solution. Don’t go see “Hamilton“: read him, in the “Federalist Papers“. Each state should be its own mini-nation, acting as safe-harbor for all of us to experiment on the kind of America we want to live in. One nation doesn’t mean one solution to every problem. Californians shouldn’t be forced to live like Texans; and Texans would rather die (or fight) than be forced to live in a state run like California.
 
But that’s groovy. Let a thousand flowers bloom. Let each state find its own bliss. If you don’t like what California is becoming, move. Go to the state that is doing it your way.
 
What isn’t working and will only lead to more discontent and social upheaval is for each party to try and turn the country as a whole on its axis every few years, when they gain power in Washington. If we don’t want our current  cultural war to turn into a real war, we need a certain degree of separation. Fighters, go to your corners. Separation, not secession, is the answer. 
 
Washington isn’t where our salvation as a nation lies. It is in Sacramento, and Austin, and Albany, and Tallahassee. More Federalism, less federal government. 
 
Viva la Hamilton. He was a pretty smart guy.

TRUMP THE MOST REVILED PRESIDENT-ELECT EVER? NOT BY A MILE!

THINK TRUMP THE MOST UNPOPULAR PRESIDENT-ELECT EVER? THINK WE ARE THE MOST DIVIDED WE HAVE EVER BEEN? WELL, THINK AGAIN!

With questions of Russian involvement in the election and at least one leading Democrat saying Trump’s Presidency will be “illegitimate”, many Democrats are staying away from the inaugural. Entertainers are refusing to perform. President Obama is threatening to hang around just blocks away, a constant gadfly for the new administration. Democrats are calling for an independent commission to investigate the election.
 
Has their every been a time we were more divided, or an incoming president more reviled?
 
The answer is “yes“.
 
This is nothing compared to what we have survived in years past!
 
Did you know that John Adams refused to attend his successor, Thomas Jefferson‘s inauguration? This after Jefferson supporters, during the campaign of 1800, called incumbent President Adams “hideous [and] hermaphroditical”! Andrew Johnson also refused to attend his successor, Grant‘s, swearing-in; choosing instead to stay in the White House, pouting.
 
 Questions about the fairness of this last election, with Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote but losing the Electoral College,  and shenanigans behind the scenes have nothing on the election of 1824. That year there were four candidates for the presidency, the most viable being John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams, and war hero Andrew Jackson (founder of the new Democratic Party). While Jackson narrowly won a plurality of the popular vote, no candidate won a majority in the Electoral College. The election was thus thrown onto the lap of the House of Representatives. Speaker of the House Henry Clay, one of the other competing candidates, made what was thereafter referred to as “The Corrupt Bargain“. The House elected Adams, who subsequently nominated Clay as his Secretary of State!
586f03ec45e94ed57582760ec9e29087
It would be hard to find to rivals for the Presidency who went at each other with more vitriol than did John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson in the 1828 election.
For the next four years, angry Jackson supporters reviled Adams (“selected, not elected”)  and attacked his Administration at every turn and attempting to block any legislation he proposed. In the 1828 election, Adams lost to Jackson in what might have been the ugliest election campaign ever. Adams was called a pimp by the Democrats, while Adams supporters called Jackson an adulterer, wife-stealer, and murderer (Jackson was the only President ever to have killed a man in a duel). One pro-Adams newspaper even went so far as to write, “General Jackson’s mother was a common prostitute, brought to this country by the British soldiers! She afterward married a mulatto (person of mixed white and black ancestry) man, with whom she had several children, of which number General Jackson is one!”
Not surprisingly, tempers were very high throughout the election campaign of 1828. On election day, when they learned that their candidate had won, a mob of Jackson supporters stormed the White House, forcing President John Quincy Adams to flee out the back!
Like his father before him, John Quincy Adams refused to attend his successor’s inaugural.
 
Abraham Lincoln has come to be regarded as one of (if not “the”) greatest presidents in our history. But during both his presidential runs, he was often depicted in the most disparaging ways; portrayed as everything from a rude country bumpkin to a hairy ape! Talk about not accepting the results of the election: 7 southern states up and left the Union in the first three months of his presidency, leading to the Civil War! On his way to Washington for his first inaugural in 1861, the train carrying the President-Elect was stoned by a mob in Baltimore as it passed through. 
“The Great Emancipator” was perhaps the most divisive and least popular President-Elect
in our history!
 
So bitter was Herbert Hoover towards his successor in 1932, he refused to even meet Franklin Roosevelt when the President-Elect came to tour the White House after winning the election. 
President-Elect Dwight Eisenhower didn’t trust Harry S. Truman, and his transition team was on the lookout for some dirty trick from at the passing of the baton. None came, and Truman resented  Ike’s suspicion.
Throughout the latter half of the 1960s, the country was deeply divided by the Vietnam War. At the inaugural of Richard Nixon, the “New Left” arrived in Washington in force.  A counter-inaugural ball was held. Thousands marched in the streets. A reception for Vice-President-elect Spiro Agnew  at the History and Technology Museum on the Mall was met by some 5,000 protesters, who threw horse manure at the Vice President’s guests as they arrived! Police on horseback (ironically) were brought in to break-up the protests.
Want to talk about awkward transitions?
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan rode together, with their wives, to Reagan’s inaugeral ceremony. Carter refused to talk to his successor, and the men rode to the Capital in uncomfortable silence. (“The Gipper” had no ill-feelings towards Carter afterward, in fact feeling sorry for his predecessor.)
So as we watch event unfold this week, take comfort in this fact: it could be much worse, and in fact it has been.
As we prepare for the 45 President of the United States to take the stage this week, take comfort in knowing that no matter how ugly it may-or-may-not get, its likely been worse. It could have been a nastier election, a more despised winner, and a more divided country.
With any luck, this time we can avoid a civil war…