Antifa and the Collectivist Way of War
Antifa storms in and out of the news, despite that fact, the Left is unable to denounce this militant band of thugs. The Left cannot denounce Antifa because Antifa embodies the very ethos of war and violence that collectivism needs to thrive on. To assail Antifa would be to attack the heart of the cancerous poison that is destroying liberty oriented societies.
Michael Oakeshott was one of the preeminent English-speaking conservative philosophers and writers of the last century. His essay “The Political Economy of Freedom” is as relevant today as when it was published in 1949 in the aftermath of the Second World War, the rise of the bureaucratic welfare state, and the dawn of the Cold War. Oakeshott offers cold insights into the reality of our now venerated New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt, Clement Atlee, and the welfare architects who shackled free society.
The aim of collectivists in free societies is not to wage a bloody revolution like the Jacobins or the Bolsheviks. As Oakeshott says, modern advocates of collectivism disintegrate the integral and wholesome reality of liberty. “We are instructed [by the enemies of freedom masquerading as advocates of freedom] to distinguish between ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ freedom, between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ freedom, between ‘social,’ ‘political,’ ‘civil,’ ‘economic,’ and ‘personal’ freedom.” By focusing on only one or two freedoms, we are distracted as we lose our other freedoms.
According to Oakeshott, liberal collectivists pose as champions of one type of distinguished freedom, while perniciously eroding and destroying all the other types of freedom. Rather than see freedom as interconnected and wholesome, let alone organic, the new collectivists see institutions as oppressive and present integral society as backward and tyrannical. The new liberal, who is a Bolshevik in all but name, therefore fronts himself as a champion of engineered liberty; which is to say that he controls what freedoms the population will be allowed to have.
Collectivism thrives on war. In fact, it needs war. Collectivism demands the mobilization of people to advance its aims. As such, it is necessary for collectivists to always have an existential threat which allows for the perpetuition of mobilized society. As Oakeshott says, “[T]he real spring of collectivism is not a love of liberty, but war. The anticipation of war is the great incentive, and the conduct of war is the great collectivizing process.”
Abraham Lincoln began to collectivize the Union during the Civil War. Rooseveltfurther collectivized the “new nation” through the “war” on the Great Depression which was superseded by the Second World War. Roosevelt was not among the greatest presidents, as we’re told, but among our most destructive. He subjugated civil society to the bureaucratic state and thrust the American economy into its perpetual war economy existence -- if there is no war for the post-Roosevelt economy, the economy will decentralize back into the hands of those it was taken from under the guise of national emergency. That is unacceptable to the collectivists. We are told that the economy would “collapse” into chaos if we decentralized it; this is precisely the trick that the collectivists employ to mask their intention.
Antifa claims to be for peace. Its purpose is war. Beyond the insurmountable evidence that this is the case, the mere fact that Antifa exists to counter an imaginary existential threat should also give away its true, bloodthirsty, and violent purpose of being. There is nothing libertarian or organic about Antifa. It is a socially engineered monster meant to act as shock troops of the final collectivist campaign for the domination of what used to be free American society. Antifa exists, as it does in Portland, above the law. Without the law to keep the peace, we are in a state of war which allows for collectivism to present itself as the new agent of order while imposing tyranny from above.
Because the Democratic Party has been controlled by collectivists ever since FDR, the patron god of the collectivists in America, and because the collectivist psyche and ideology needs war to sustain itself, the Democrats will never be able to condemn Antifa. Why? Because that would entail condemning its own philosophy of warring domination to “fundamentally transform” the United States. This is not a recent phenomenon, it is a deeply rooted one, though Antifa is the most recent manifestation of this phenomenon of collectivism.
We are told that there is a war on women. We are told that there is a war against minorities. We are told that there is a war on gays, lesbians, and the rest of the imaginary rainbow. We are told that there is a war on poor people. We are told that there is a war on decency and civility. There is a war on everything, according to the Left. And they use this prop of war to front themselves as champions of the “new freedom” which is, in reality, a front for further collectivist control.
Collectivism in America gives the illusion of continuity with the American past and make us believe that we’re growing in freedom instead of receding in freedom. Collectivists in America do not openly seek the revolutions that tear down in an uncontrollable rage like the Jacobins or Bolsheviks of old but corrode and rearrange from the inside. They wage a revolution behind the scenes, only for us to wake up and ask what happened?
Antifa may come and go. But what it represents and embodies is nothing short of the bloodthirsty and domineering ethos that possessed the Jacobins to kill hundreds of thousands to try to reorganize French society in 1789 and the Bolsheviks to slay millions in their bloodthirsty effort to reorganize Russian society. As Oakeshott says, in free societies (i.e. Anglo-American) collectivists cannot openly embrace such revolutionary tactics as they do in societies without the same longstanding and organic traditions of liberty. Instead, they slip into the system and reorganize from the inside -- slowly taking away our freedoms under the illusion of new freedoms and new progress.
Antifa’s manifesto calls for the reorganization of American society and the creation of a new man. That’s precisely what collectivists past and present have always dreamed of achieving. And collectivists need war, or, in more palatable contemporary terms, an “emergency,” to usurp power for themselves for their domineering and hateful ends. Collectivists need an imaginary enemy, like Goldstein in 1984, the “capitalists” according to Marxists, or the “Nazis” for Anti-fascists, to continue fighting their war for totalizing control over all people and society.