The German poet Holderlin wrote, We are a sign that no one reads. Philosopher Martin Heidegger used this quote to argue that what we aim at in our lives can show what is missing in our world. If faith is lacking, then individuals will tend to seek faith, in causes, comrades, leaders or ideas. If originality is lacking, they will rush to whatever promises to be new.
From the start of the 1900s, artists and writers feared that all the great themes had been tapped out. So they turned to new things, things which promised an unforeseen turn in human creativity. Dadaism, Expressionism, Bauhaus and more all flourished for a few short years, the dreary years between the wars. They turned to ‘new’ things because the carnage of the Great War made it seem as if all the old themes and ideals had been tapped out. What came in their place was the ‘Lost Generation’ myth of Hemingway and Remarque, and the reflections of Junger. The West longed for something to stand in the place of old liberal certainties, and turned to nonsense. Their lives aimed at permanent values, even as they embraced temporary ones.
So to today, our actions point toward things. But this is especially true of the Left. Their embrace of newly radical groups is more than a sign of there desperation. Antifa, the most dangerous and radical group in America today(apart from BLM) points to something in the Soul of the Left, which the Left seems to be wholly unaware of.
Radicals require a foe. Since their desire is the fundamental alteration of the social ecology in which we live, they must define themselves in opposition to something. For a long time, these radicals were in the minority. British radicals like Godkin and Shelley and French radicals like Gracchus Babeuf, and his Conspiracy of Equals, were not purveyors of ideas which were taken as normal. But today, their ideas are almost assumed as being true.
Who questions that we can make the world truly just? Who questions whether tampering with life itself is wise or not? Who questions whether equality is the summum bonum of life?
The reason for radicals change in something is that the Left has won. They have enjoyed a victory so broad it is difficult to remember a time when they were not winning. In the ealry 50s, conservative scholar Russell Kirk intended to call his great work The Conservative Route, and was only convinced otherwise by publisher Henry Regnery. Even today, the American Right has moved towards the Left on a score of social issues from welfare to gay marriage.
As ANTIFA makes claims of oppression, they make them with police forces standing by to ensure their safety. Not to stop them, but ensure their safety. If Trump were to take military action in order to shut protests down, liberals would say it is an infringement on their rights as Americans. In that hypothetical scenario, they would be right.
However, we shift back to liberal logic. ANTIFA members are the ones trying to shut down free speech. Like Nazis, they try to bully their political opposition into silence and chase them off with threats and physical abuse. We saw it at Berkley University in California.
Antifa, as an element of the Left, shares its need for a foe, an enemy. Its members need someone to hate. Without knowing it, they have adopted Carl Schmitt’s view of politics, which is that politics is the definition of who is the friend and who is the foe. This simple dichotomy, applied within our own society, is leading Antifa to assault those who don’t side with them.
Their chosen foe is something they call ‘fascism.’ I cannot say what it is they oppose, their websites don’t make it clear what they mean by fascism. Fascism, with a capital-F, has not existed in the West since the end of WWII. And yet Antifa fights on, as if they are Allied soldiers storming Omaha beach.
Antifa acts as if a resurgent American fascism is on its way to throw us back to an era of meanness, racism and cruelty. Antifa cannot accept that its own side of the political ideology has won, and is continuing to win. When Antifa commits its acts of criminality, the news media cover it sympathetically. Democrats have, largely, been unwilling to denounce Antifa’s violence. Because Antifa, Democrats and the media share a common fear of American Right’s darkness. But to return to the Left in general.
The general victory of the Left over its foes has left it in a hard spot. It can’t truly win. No, it can win, it has won. What it can’t do is to do what winners do, and get on with life. Because that would mean that the acme of social change has been reached, justice and equality are now the reality, and we can stop constantly tearing things down. But this would be to steal away the Left’s purpose for being, to destroy what is and make the world as they wish it. Burke knew, ‘something they must destroy, or they feel themselves to have no purpose.’
Because the Left cannot win, it cannot stop. Proverbs 30 says, 4 things there are that are never satisfied: the grave, an empty womb, dry land and a fire. I would estimate the heart of the Left, which is the heart of all men, as being another thing, which is never satisfied.
Until the Left is become masters of the universe, they will never cease. They seek a world of perfect justice, control and power. But they will never have it. What is missing from this perverse worldview, what is not there that Leftists words and deeds seek?
God. And because they would replace Him, the libido dominandi, the will to power, will never be satisfied.