Disaffected left-wing youths in early December 2008 witnessed the shooting of one of their numbers in Athens; he was 15 years old. Two policemen were charged, one of them with manslaughter. In response, a small minority of leftist bohemians set off a maelstrom of violent provocative protests, hurting around the world their already tarnished brand of modern anarchy. Some youths were arrested for looting, some for throwing molotov-cocktails and stones at the police. If only instead of apprehending them the law could release their addresses to the property owners whose establishments they burned, stoned and vandalized. They could in turn go to their residences to write cliche graffiti, break some panes of glass and fire bomb their parents’ Prius. Opportunities for mischief are plentiful with unemployed youth who have under-utilized educations. Their particular reputation with the new political cult of coercion is disheartening. I’ve always felt that the Left, more so than the Right, in theory, endorses, even encourages, the use of violence. Were those left-wing anarchists working hard for improved Human Rights in the world? Were they writing letters for Amnesty International about the slaughter of Caucasians in Zimbabwe and the genocide in Darfur? Not a chance. They were drinking, making love, creating havoc and in an expression, “Preoccupied in the pursuit of pleasure.” They’re hedonists with a propensity for collectivism, a belief which combines gang-rule and moral absolutism. They’re armed brigands from the upper middle-class Left who have never had a job and know only the values of the intelligentsia. To them, a work ethic has nothing to do with morality, it might even be a mark against it.
I was, in my teenage naivity, sympathetic to Marxism, after leaving my small home town, I never connected it directly to my Catholic upbringing or the belief that scoundrels often operate in packs, (and that I had a potential to become one of them). In the late sixties, I was listening to that voice inside of me which said, God was dead and I could take what I wanted if I could get enough people to agree with me – I was too afraid to do it on my own and become a private criminal. I believed that work was a form of slavery. It was the Robin Hood mentality. In my mind, the business class were Protestant leeches and the masses were exploited and almost angelic dumb work-creatures of the daytime. I thought I was an international unionist. Ha. I was one of the few among our sad group of leftists who actually had a part-time unionized job. I was a worker-scientist helping transform the world into a human paradise of communism. At that time I had one year of university to my credit. Curiously, I thought of myself as an antitotalitarian totalitarian. I was one of the informed collective and it was a powerful agent for changing the world. Phew, you can almost smell the hogwash.
Since then, I’ve learned that anarchy is the inability to transform morals into politics, that politics is the inability to abide by natural morality. Balance is aimed between a collusion of the anarchy of politics, which is experience and history, with the politics of anarchy, which we dream about and call ideals and utopias. These are places where we can live under coercive institutions, which will always refrain from coercion. However, politics is also a form of planned chaos, the threat and use of violence by the luckless masses who are the voice of anger but nonetheless insist the law must become their own voice. Real anarchy, on the other hand, is spontaneous order and economic fellowship. It’s the desire to have a completely voluntary society. Its voice is the voice of conscience and reason spoken by dreamers who never learn, and who are always oppressed by the other angry voice of the majority. If you look Right, instead of Left, sometimes it seems that the spirit of life is state law unraveled.
Anarchy and freedom have much to do with structure and responsibility, that’s why left wing anarchy is doomed to the self-ridicule of its own youthful hedonism. Back in the sixties, one of my numbers in response to a third party question about liberty and Frederick Hayek, the famous economist-philosopher, remarked, “Don’t bother to read his works. They’re reactionary – you’re wasting your time, they've been refuted.” I hunted down The Counter-Revolution of Science then Capitalism and the Historians, and soon The Constitution of Liberty. Not long afterwards, Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies came to my attention, as did Thomas Sowell’s Marxism, Bertrand Russell’s Bolshevism, Ludwig von Mises’ The Anti-Capitalist Mentality, Eugen von Boehm-Bawerk’s The Exploitation Theory, Leop Schwartzchild’s The Red Prussian, Milovan Djilas’ The New Class, Leszek Kolakowski’s The Main Currents of Marxism and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago. That’s enough of a reading list to get anyone from the Left to the middle, even the anti-democratic rabble-rousers in Greece, who’s four day rampage, by the way, cost some $2.5 billion.
© 2017 - E. A. St. Amant