This is What You Get When You Reduce Everything to 'Activism'

Suppose you were the President Obama, in the Oval Office, or more likely at the golf course, wondering how to save the Obola administration before Ebola flushes it down the toilet. You would think: I need someone who is a cool head in a bad situation. He would be someone that has a history of turning around failing operations. He needs to be a man that inspires trust, and he needs to be the kind of person that would be prepared to set everything aside to help his country.

“There is only one man in public life who fits the bill,” the president might say to his golfing buddy. “And that man is Mitt Romney. So what if he's a Republican and thinking of running for president? If I ask him to be the Ebola czar he will do it because he is a mensch.”

Instead, of course, the president has chosen Ron Klain to be the Ebola czar. Because for Obama the best man for the job is always a political fixer.

Really, nobody should be surprised. Joseph Schumpeter said it all when he wrote in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy that the amazing thing is that politicians do any governing at all given the demands their real job, which is winning elections.

With Obama, we are spared the amazement. He spends all his time doing politics, raising money and dividing people, and sensibly resting up on the golf course in between his exhausting fund-raising gigs. To hell with governing.

It's not surprising that this average product of an Ivy League education thinks and acts this way. The whole culture of the modern university confirms the president in his worldview. His worldview even has a name. It is called “activism.” In our government-funded secular seminaries they teach young people that the highest of callings is to become an activist and advocate for global justice as a social justice warrior.

We all know how it works. A young Ivy League graduate goes to South Chicago for a season and riles up the workers laid off from the local steel plants. A white policeman shoots a young black man and activists pour in to Ferguson, Missouri, riling up the locals against the “system.”

A universal feature of this activism culture is that after the activist has provoked the local mob into burning down the local economy, after he's bonked the local babes, after he's ginned up a local civil war, then he heads out of town, off to his next activism gig, leaving the local community in ruins.

I have a woman friend of a certain age that told me over lunch that she'd always wanted to do “activism.” Of course she did; that's what they teach bright young women in our secular seminaries these days.

The problem with activism is its notion that you can solve the world's problems with the ritualized violence of the demonstration or the peaceful protest. Really? All questions of human society are to be adjudicated by “non-negotiable” demands and shows of force on the streets?

These activists do not understand that there is always a danger that their fake civil war might turn into a real one. The real skill in politics is finding a way to create a sunshine of “consensus” out of the dark clouds of discord.

To paraphrase Marx, It is high time that people of good will should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the glory of “activism” with the truth: that “activism” is pure reaction, turning back the clock in a mindless attempt to recreate the feudal system, its great lords and its servile peasants.

Only now the great lords are the great political families and their fixers and their media courtiers. And the servile peasants are the soldiers in the Benefits Brigade looking to feed off the crumbs from the great lord's table.

In practice, activism means the graduates of our secular seminaries, the little darlings of the ruling class, going out and demonstrating on behalf of other little darlings of the ruling class: African Americans, Hispanics, Moslems, women, and gays. They call it speaking truth to power.

Something is wrong with that picture.

Back in the 1980s our lefty friends came up with a cunning label for the armed activists of Central American regimes that were battling the lefty guerrillas up in the hills. They called them “death squads.”

We are conservatives, so we need to describe regime supporters with something a little less offensive than that, but a little more pointed than the ironical “social justice warriors.”

Let's give the liberal activist enforcers of the ruling class a name that tells our fellow Americans who they really are: “liberal fascists.”

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.