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By Joshua Dietz
While political demonstration has long been a tradition in the West, participation in the activist culture hit a frenzied pitch beginning in 2011 and has yet to abate. The Occupy Wall Street movement gave way to Black Lives Matter, The Resistance, and now the reemergence of AntiFa. Since November 5th, millions of people have gathered to protest everything from the Dakota Access pipeline, to immigration control, free speech, and reproductive rights. While you may think it wise to applaud the free exercise of democracy, I would caution against such an impulse. There are some very good reasons to be gravely concerned by this conduct. Contemporary activism is marked by a troubling combination of hysteria and violence. Let’s explore the roots of this behavior.
If Sigmund Freud were alive, he would have quite a bit to say about the behavior of these new activists. In his writings, Freud described the phenomenon of ‘acting-out’, which is not unlike the temper tantrums of a small child. Acting-out is the process of taking a difficult or unexpressed feeling and actualizing it in your behavior. Let’s return to the example of the tantruming child: Upset that his mother won’t buy him the toy he so desperately wants, he throws himself to the floor in a fit of screams and tears. While this type of conduct is to be expected of young children, what can account for the same behavior seen in fully-grown adults found at the protests?
Well, given some interesting data detailing the kinds of people who are prone to protest, I think we have our answer. Firstly, there is the anecdotal evidence from apostasies themselves. As it turns out, creating tribal, hierarchical political groups really brings out the power-lust in people. But what would attract people to such causes in the first place? The lure of a David-and-Goliath conflict bristles with excitement. Cast in the underdog role, political activism offers a sexy and deeply meaningful ‘hero’s path to glory’. When compared with the alternative offered by reality, one can hardly fault them. Jobless, sexually frustrated, and dependent on their parents, theirs is a chasm of anguish.
Interestingly, the activist and political class aren’t particularly concerned with establishing principles to guide their behavior. Whether it’s protesting the democratic process they never actually participated in, or endlessly haranguing about taxes while failing to pay their own, activists and their handlers are not troubled by inconsistency. After all, they’re simply following the lead of prominent left-wing activists like the chronically useless Bernie Sanders. For the activist, principles only matter when they are politically expedient. Take their classist approach, for example; the billionaire class are evil antagonists of the people, unless they are funding major left-wing movements. So-called ‘astroturfing’ is an awful and unscrupulous practice, except when organized by the former President Barack Obama. Advocates of social welfare are quick to remind us that the government must provide for the needy or else they will perish in horrible and unimaginable ways. But that’s only because they’re indifferent to the needs of others, themselves.
What we have in this situation is a mass of angry, disaffected people who don’t care about the causes they represent. As the saying goes, “…they simply want to watch the world burn”.
Millions of Americans have channeled their resentment and dissatisfaction into digestible narratives that were offered to them by their teachers, parents, friends, and even the larger culture. Frustrated by the seeming cruelty of the world, their rage has been harnessed by Bond-ian ne’er-do-well’s seeking to advance their own economic and political interests. Their blindness to their own motivations make them excellent foot soldiers for the truly despicable characters within society. Instead of defending the defenseless, or further innovating culture and technology, our activist cohorts are used covertly to consolidate power and advance hidden agendas.
Fueled by a sense of moral superiority, the activist considers themselves beyond reproach. They are justified in their anti-social conduct for they are admirable warriors of social justice. They are fighting fear and hatred – imagine that, fighting emotional states! Such an endeavor is practically as useless as a war on terror. And thus, the folly of activism; the least capable and the least knowledgeable are thrust to the forefront of social change.
Take my unsolicited advice: If you want to change the world, the exact wrong thing to do is to go out and perform your cosmic dissatisfaction publicly. Living a principled life, where your actions are meaningful, will have a far greater effect than all the pussy-hats in the world combined. The grandest problems you could ever hope to tackle, are inside of yourself. The journey for self-knowledge is deeper and more epic than virtually any conflict you will know in your lifetime.
People find it easier and more satisfying to publicly demonstrate against an imaginary cause, than slay the demons in their own home. Like Don Quixote, tilting at windmills, these people will not fulfill their highest potential. Rather, they will serve as pawns for the truly vile and morally repugnant contingent of society. In the words of Internet-famous Professor of Psychology, Dr. Jordan Peterson, if you are intent on ridding the world of its ills, you had better “sort yourself out!”