The media is ignoring a growing threat to civil society on the left: the strange resurrection of the dangerous dogma known as anarchism. Simply put, anarchism is the belief that human beings are basically and intrinsically good and all authority is evil and corrupting.
It can also lead to violence such as the riots in Seattle on May 1, when a mob roamed through the city’s downtown attacking police and destroying property. The crowd, composed largely of anarchists, threw rocks, firebombs, metal pipes, and fireworks at police. Such riots have become a yearly event in Seattle, where mob members attack everything from the federal courthouse to McDonalds.
The members of the mob were mostly anarchists, radical leftists who believe that they have a moral right to destroy property, violate the law, and engage in all kinds of criminal behavior. Their shenanigans are ignored by the media, but as some shop keepers in Seattle learned, they are no laughing matter. The anarchists believe that it is perfectly all right to walk up to a family-owned business and smash in the window or set it on fire as an “act of protest.”
What Is Anarchism Anyway?
The difference between anarchism and libertarianism is that libertarians believe that the government is overreaching and generally undesirable, but that other sources of authority, such as the church, are acceptable. Anarchists believe that any form of organized authority is evil and should be destroyed.
The belief is based on the idea, disproved by thousands of years of history, that human beings are basically good. Instead, all corruption is caused by government or society’s rules; crime could simply be eliminated by eliminating the rules and the authorities that enforce them. Anarchists reject the Christian notion of original sin and the traditional belief that government has a God-ordained role to police human behavior. Taken to its logical outcome, anarchism teaches that utopia will result if we simply destroy all organized authority.
The resurgence in anarchism should bother us because anarchists also believe that property is evil. French radical Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the father of modern anarchism, actually wrote that “property is theft.” Any property right sanctioned by the state is wrong, according to this school of thought, so anybody has a moral right to steal or smash anybody else’s property.
In fact, anarchists believe that they have a moral right to steal or destroy other people’s property. Anarchist ideology partially inspired the Occupy movement, whose members claimed that they had a right to take over public and even private property for their own use.
The FBI thinks anarchists are a threat; the agency has been investigating them and conducting surveillance of some of their activities. Yet even the interest from the FBI hasn’t convinced the media that there’s a threat here.
Anarchism and Civil Unrest
The danger from anarchism is that it could become the basis of widespread violence and civil unrest like we’ve seen in Europe in the past year. Anarchists in Greece and Britain have been able to mobilize thousands of unemployed young people, mostly students, for violent clashes with police.
There is some evidence that their beliefs are spreading here in the U.S. as well. At Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, anarchist activity got so blatant that the local newspaper complained about it. The Olympian reported that anarchists even took the camera of a guest at one of their meetings and smashed it.
Although the media ignored it, last year’s Occupy protests were a pretty blatant attempt by anarchists to ferment violent revolution in the United States. In the past, such movements have often degenerated into terrorism, including bombing and assassination.
The most frightening aspect of anarchism is the way in which the academic and media elites are embracing it. The grand old man of the American Left, Noam Chomsky, used to call himself a Marxist; he now calls himself an anarcho-syndicalist and a libertarian socialist (in other words, an anarchist). It isn’t clear if Chomsky has actually embraced anarchism or not. He might have just switched his terminology because his old line of thought, Marxism, wasn’t selling anymore.
The real danger from anarchists, though, isn’t from window smashing students or arrogant old college professors. Instead, the true danger will come from highly educated and technologically savvy anarchists who believe that they have a moral right to bring down society. The cutting edge of these individuals is the organization Anonymous, which has launched cyber-attacks on companies and individuals it doesn’t like.
Unfortunately, the media has done a very poor job of analyzing Anonymous and its motivations. Notice how reporters never actually explain why Anonymous is attacking anybody or anything. Instead, the mainstream media seems to be deliberately covering up the group’s motivations. If neo-Nazis were doing the same thing, I’m sure we’d hear all about their foul beliefs.
What V Really Means and Why You Should Be Scared by It
The real inspiration for Anonymous and much of the rebirth in anarchism comes from, of all things, a comic book called V for Vendetta (which was also made into a very bad movie). In the original comic book, the hero frees England from Fascism by blowing up the Houses of Parliament. This bible of the modern anarchist movement teaches that to achieve liberty you must destroy symbols of democracy.
Judging by the pictures of Anonymous and Occupiers that appear on TV and online, they are huge fans of V for Vendetta. Those individuals often wear masks modeled on that worn by the character in the movie and the comic book. Yet the media ignores this, possibly because V for Vendetta has made a pile of money for AOL-Time Warner, which owns both DC Comics (V for Vendetta’s publisher) and CNN.
Anarchist entertainment is inspiring real violence here in the real world, and nobody seems to be paying attention. Worse is yet to come, because it won’t be long before the cyber warriors figure how to wreck real havoc, such as shutting off power grids or sabotaging public utilities.
Anonymous has already hacked major credit card companies. What happens if they figure out how to shut down the banking system? They could create chaos and cause a lot of suffering. Just imagine what would happen if millions of Americans went to the grocery store and found out that their debit and credit cards didn’t work. Anonymous might claim that preventing average people from buying food for their families is a justifiable tactic needed to promote revolution.
The Danger and How It Could Threaten You
The big danger in today’s world is that there are now thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of angry and alienated young people out there. Many of these young people have no jobs, no money, and no future. Such individuals are highly receptive to any message that fuels their anger and frustration. The economic downturn and the huge numbers of Americans with college degrees who cannot find work provide a ready-made army for the anarchist leader.
Anarchism appeals to these young people, because they know that they’ve been lied to by government, academia, and the media. They’ve been deceived by authority so long that they don’t believe anything it says and will listen to any message that says authority is evil. Instead of a healthy distrust of authority, they have fear and hatred that has been stoked by the media.
It isn’t hard to see a mass anarchist movement developing in America today and launching a two-pronged attack on society. The first prong will be traditional rioting and protests like we’ve seen in Seattle; this could shut down cities and lead to wide-spread property damage. This could really hurt average people, because police could be so busy dealing with the rioters that they wouldn’t have the resources to deal with day-to-day crimes like burglary and robbery. Regular criminals could loot entire neighborhoods because the cops are downtown battling the rioters.
The other, which is potentially more worrisome, is widespread cyber-attacks. An anarchist that figured out how to shut down the power grid or turn off Visa’s electronic payment system could post that knowledge on line for anybody to see. This could lead to thousands of cyber-attacks from all sorts of radicals, leading to chaos, which is what the anarchists really want.
A violent dogma that justifies terrorism is now spreading unchecked in America, and the media is helping to promote it. People that value the safety and security of their families need to take a look at the growing popularity of anarchism before it spins out of control.