By Jeffrey Lord on 8.21.12 @ 6:09AM
Are FRC, Sikh shootings, Occupy Wall Street warnings of more Leftist violence?
“I don’t have to think of an answer as to what I think their intentions are; they have repeated it….they hold their determination that their goal must be the promotion of world revolution and a one-world Socialist or Communist state, whichever word you want to use.
Now, …they….have openly and publicly declared that the only
morality they recognize is what will further their cause, meaning
they reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie,
to cheat, in order to attain that, and that is moral, not immoral,
and we operate on a different set of standards, I think when you do
business with them…..you keep that in mind.”
— President Ronald Reagan on dealing with the Communist Soviet Union, January 29, 1981
Will the 2012 campaign get violent?
The shootings at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. and the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin are a stark and bloody reminder those two groups have now joined a long and frightening list.
That list is centuries long, spans not just America but the globe, and is a blunt warning that the Left is and has always been routinely violent when not all too frequently murderous. As President Reagan noted in 1981 of the Communists running the then-Soviet Union, Leftists “reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime….”
Sometimes the target of that crime is one person, at other times a group, a religion, a class or, at its worse, an entire race.
But make no mistake.
The central driving idea of the Obama era has been, in the words of that famous 2009 Newsweek cover story, “We’re All Socialists Now”.
And violence in the name of socialism, much less anything further left on the ideological scale, has been as routine as hot weather in July. This is what the Left does.
Leftist violence is distinctly separate and apart from mass murders like those involving the movie-goers in Aurora, Colorado or former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords or, to go back in time, the shootings at the University of Texas in 1966.
The latter were the work of non-ideological mental cases. Nuts, if you will.
That was hardly the case with the shooting at the FRC in Washington, where the shooter openly declared he was motivated by his dislike of the conservative group’s “politics.” Nor was it the case with the Sikh Temple shooter in Wisconsin, a professed fan of Nazis.
Yes, the FRC shooter is alone responsible for his acts, the acts of a clearly disturbed person. This is true as well in Wisconsin. But what both Floyd Corkins (the FRC shooter) and Wade Michael Page (the Wisconsin shooter, seen here standing in front of the Nazi flag) have in common is their ideological bent.
Their left-wing ideological bent.
It’s time to say something and say it plainly. And once said to ask the inevitable follow-up.
The political Left has a horrendous record of committing acts of political violence. Or, as Reagan specifically noted, “crimes.” This record is both historic and ongoing. From the French Revolution to Occupy Wall Street, from the blade that took the head of Marie Antoinette to the bullet that wounded Family Research Center security guard Leo Johnson, violence or the threat of violence is a singularly identifying trait of left-wing movements.
The question is: will this violence occur yet again in the course of the fall presidential campaign?
And the follow-up: Will the American Left, already venomously foaming and writhing at the rise of capitalist Mormon Mitt Romney and his distinctly pro-capitalist Catholic running mate Paul Ryan, take to the streets for the specific purpose of disrupting the campaign? By whatever means necessary?
Let’s be quite specific on this history of violence, shall we? Let’s name names and cites causes.
And let’s begin this history with a 21st-century style video tour of the Left doing their typical violent thing.
There are countless examples of this kind of violent display from recent years alone. And as mentioned, it’s a huge mistake to think this urge to violence is related only to the American Left. To pick a few examples at random, here’s this clip from Leftist riots in Athens in 2012 or these scenes from the 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy or, yes, all the way back to Paris in 1968 when Leftist students launched a general strike, leaving hundreds injured.
Which is why it’s important to understand the long — very long — historical pedigree violence and murder have with the Left. It is a decided mistake to think when some terrible thing happens (like the Sikh shooting) or almost happens (the FRC shooting) that what ensues is some inane political blame game that involves tagging the American Left for behavior for which the Left is historically blameless.
This is simply historically untrue. From presidential assassinations to labor strikes to race riots to protests against this or that war or free trade, not to mention genocidal assaults on Jews, Russians, Chinese or Cambodians, the Left uses violence just as Ronald Reagan said was true of the Communists who then ran what was the Soviet Union. As a tool to commit a crime in furtherance of a cause.
Why? Why is violence so much a part of the Left’s very essence?
Arguably one could start with this bit from the 18th century’s Jean-Jacques Rousseau:
The first person who, having fenced off a plot of ground, took it into his head to say “this is mine” and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared by someone who, uprooting the stakes or filling in the ditch, had shouted to his fellow men: Beware of listening to this imposter; you are lost if you forget that the fruits belong to all and the earth to no one.
Right there, in the famous words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his Discourse on the Origins and Foundations of Inequality is the modern idea that drives Leftists to violence.
Class warfare. A disdain for private property. A bitter hatred for the rights of individuals. All these things became the underlying bedrock of all things Left. Notice Rousseau’s words: the world needs people who will go about “uprooting the stakes or filling the ditch.”
Which is to say, his suggestion of the need for physical violence.
Rousseau wasn’t the first, and certainly he wasn’t the last to express some variation of this sentiment.
But Rousseau, while born in Geneva, had the advantage of being both an 18th century man and having his words taken as gospel by the growing sentiment of rebellion that became the French Revolution. Although he died in 1778, Rousseau made it to the cusp of the Revolution, his words the philosophical underpinning for what historians generally consider the first Leftist revolution in the modern era.
And as the uprising unspooled, physical violence is exactly what transpired. The blade of the guillotine became the symbol of the early French Left.
The French King Louis 16th was beheaded. So too his wife Marie Antoinette. And on and on it went, until finally the revolutionaries turned on themselves, with the infamous revolutionary Robespierre meeting the same fate.
Violence became the sine qua non of Leftism. Without violence and murder, tied to appeals to race and class, the Left could not exist.
Down through the centuries Leftism has claimed its victims.
Three American presidents fell victim to assassins fevered by leftist beliefs. White supremacy’s passionate defender John Wilkes Booth murdered Abraham Lincoln. Anarchist Leon Czolgosz, an admirer of Socialist Emma Goldman who had plotted the murder attempt of capitalist Henry Clay Frick, killed William McKinley.
And of course the pro-Castro Lee Harvey Oswald (seen here handing out leaflets reading “Hands off Cuba,” with his Fair Play for Castro membership card here) killed JFK. (Here is the ultimate act of individual Leftist violence as captured in the famous Zapruder film — and a warning if you have never seen, the clip is both graphic and gruesome.)
The fourth presidential assassin, James Garfield’s Charles Guiteau, had no ideology to speak of other than feeling he deserved a presidential appointment. Not getting it, he shot the President, thus universally known through the decades as a “disappointed office seeker.”
The sad fact is that American presidents were the least of it on this list of Leftist violence and murder.
• The Ku Klux Klan, identified accurately by Columbia University historian Eric Foner as “a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party” and by University of North Carolina historian Allen Trelease as the “terrorist arm of the Democratic Party,” was but one chapter in a Left-leaning political party that based it’s very identity of judging Americans by skin color. And reinforcing those beliefs with violence or the threat of violence.
Slaves (as seen here in this infamous photo) could be whipped and beaten regularly when not murdered outright. And the violence that was slavery itself, like the later policy of segregation, was the backbone of the American Left (as seen in all those Democratic Party platforms from 1840-1860) until ended by the Civil War. Segregation was brutally enforced, as seen in this infamous 1963 incident in Birmingham, Alabama when Public Safety Commissioner (and Democratic National Committeeman) Bull Connor launched police dogs and fire hoses against non-violent civil rights marchers. And the violence against blacks with both lynchings (like this one) and fatal beatings (here with Emmett Till) were classic examples of the use of violence by the Left when it came to dealing with racial issues.
Only four years ago in 2008 the American people learned of the Leftist New Black Panthers carrying on this tradition of physical intimidation for racial purposes as seen here outside this Philadelphia polling place. Unsurprisingly, the Holder Justice Department refused to prosecute.
As we have written before in this space, (here and here) the tie between American progressives and white supremacy is iron clad. In American political terms, this is seen repeatedly in the Democratic Party with its insistence on judging others by skin color — and using that racial fuel to enact progressive policies.
In all the furor over Vice President Joe Biden’s racial pandering with his slavery remark, no one on the Left will admit to the obvious. In a party built on the violent racial foundations of slavery, segregation, support for lynching, a party whose liberal members and office holders were more than occasionally members of the Ku Klux Klan (Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, the late Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd etc., etc., etc.) — dividing Americans by race, using violence as needed, has long since become a progressive standard. Joe Biden reached for his chain analogy because liberals have been saying things like this for centuries in American politics. Not to mention it was Biden’s party that made certain the original chains of slavery stayed on actual African-Americans until the 1860s and that small disturbance known as the Civil War.
• Communism and Nazis: The Black Book of Communism lists 25 million victims as falling to the idea of a socialist paradise in the Soviet Union, a breathtaking 65 million in Mao’s China, a mere 1.7 million in Pol Pot’s Cambodia. Communism is violent — no news flash there.
But when it comes to Nazis, they of the mass murder of some six million Jews based on religion, not to mention who knows how many gays and disabled human beings, the attack by the Nazi loving Wade Michael Page on the Sikh Temple is a sharp reminder of just how well the American Left loves to obscure the historical truth.
Over at the Atlantic writer Conor Friedersdorf managed to write an entire piece on the Sikh shooting focused on the flatly untrue proposition that the shooting was done by a “disgruntled military veteran perpetrating right-wing extremist violence…..” (Emphasis mine.) Worse, he seemed clueless about both the leftist roots of not only the all-white Ku Klux Klan and just who actually supported white supremacy in America — but the history of the Nazis.
Right wing? A lover of Nazis and white supremacy?
Let’s go to one of Paul Ryan’s favorite economists, Ludwig von Mises. In his classic work Socialism, in which Mises dissects the Left in excruciatingly telling detail, Mises correctly says this of Nazism, the professed faith of Wade Michael Page:
The philosophy of the Nazis, the German National Socialist Labor Party, is the purest and most consistent manifestation of the anti-capitalistic and socialistic spirit of our age….The slogan into which the Nazis condensed their economic philosophy, viz., Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz (i.e. the commonweal ranks above private profit), is likewise the idea underlying the American New Deal and the Soviet management of economic affairs. It implies that profit-seeking business harms the vital interests of the immense majority, and that it is the sacred duty of popular government to prevent the emergence of profits by public control of production and distribution.
The Nazi’s were socialists, says Mises. Never better illustrated by their fervent belief in redistribution of economic resources — which is to say the quest for Lebensraum or “living space.” Concluding that Germans had been unfairly imprisoned within artificial borders, Hitler determined to do exactly what Rousseau advocated. He would go about “uprooting the stakes” that marked the borders of other countries — Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Belgium, Holland, Norway and Russia to name a few — because, in Rousseau’s words, “the fruits belong to all.”
Mises points out the obvious:
For more than seventy years (before Hitler) the German professors of political science, history, law, geography and philosophy eagerly imbued their disciples with a hysterical hatred of capitalism, and preached the war of “liberation” against the capitalistic West. The German “socialists of the chair,” much admired in all foreign countries, were the pacemakers of the two World Wars. At the turn of the century the immense majority of the Germans were already radical supporters of socialism and aggressive nationalism. They were then already committed to the principles of Nazism. What was lacking and was added later was only a new term to signify their doctrine.
He goes on to say something else that is perpetually ignored — with considerable cause — by the American Left. The National Socialists of Germany, the Nazis, took their cue on mass violence from the Russian Communists. Watching the mass exterminations of Stalin the Nazis imported the idea wholesale: the one-party political system, the secret police, the concentration camps, the execution individually or en masse of opponents and so on. Says Mises:
There was nowhere more docile disciples of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin than the Nazis were.
To the point: the Nazi-loving Sikh shooter Wade Michael Page was a devoted follower of the Left. His white supremacy not only a hallmark of the Nazi’s — but of white supremacists in America. Which is to say: progressives and leftists.
So again, the opening question.
Will the 2012 campaign get violent?
Well here’s this story out of — yes — “Occupy Tampa.” Tampa, of course, the site of the upcoming GOP Convention.
The Tampa police are already being set up. Specifically, mere days before the Convention opens the Tampa police are being accused by these Leftists. Says Occupy Tampa:
“The police conduct Friday night was completely unwarranted and in many cases, illegal.”
In other words, just like the police of Oakland in 2011 or Seattle in 1999 or Chicago in 1968 — to name but a handful of these events — the Tampa police, not to mention the citizens of Tampa, are being threatened with violence.
TheExaminer.com tells us here that “two of the 1% enclaves” in Tampa — meaning wealthy areas afraid of being targeted by Occupy-style leftist violence — are already limiting access to their neighborhoods.
And so it goes.
One could ask the question of what has become of America.
But in fact, when it comes to the conduct of Leftists in America — not to mention the world well beyond America’s borders — Americans are constantly reminded that violence is typical Leftist behavior. Whether that behavior comes from outside — or inside — America.
And with the Obama campaign doing its best to link Mitt Romney to murder and felony, one has reason to be concerned.
As Leo Johnson, the guard wounded in the Family Research Council shooting has just learned the hard way.
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
By John Corry
By Mark Steyn
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
By Mark Steyn
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
By Brit Hume
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
The American Spectator Foundation is the 501(c)(3) organization responsible for publishing The American Spectator magazine and training aspiring journalists who espouse traditional American values. Your contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Each donor receives a year-end summary of their giving for tax purposes.
Copyright 2013, The American Spectator. All rights reserved.