Writing in the Wall Street Journal opinion pages, Shelby Steele argues that the American left is now consumed by hate because, “lacking worthy menaces to fight, it is driven to find a replacement for racism.” He’s wrong. The truth is that the left, American or otherwise, has always been consumed by hate.
The essential program of the Left is revolution, and revolution is an engine of violence and destruction fueled by hate, envy, and greed.
This was true when that first Whig rebelled against his King and Father. It was true when the Jacobins stained the streets of Paris red with blood during the Terror. It was true when the Bolsheviks murdered the Tsar-Martyr and his wife and children. And it was true when Soviet NKVD officers shot this author’s great-grandfather and tortured his grandfather.
The objects of the Left’s hate, no matter what form it takes or in which country it rears its ugly head, are always the same: Tradition, Morality, Beauty, and Hierarchy (or, to perhaps to sum it up in a single word, God). In the Western context, the Left’s great enemy is traditional Western civilization, Christian in character, feudal in nature.
This is the root of the contemporary Left’s barely-concealed hatred for white people. That hate is not driven by some theory of Darwinian racialism, but by a fundamental loathing of whites’ civilizational inheritance and that which it represents. That was always the American Left’s enemy.
Steele might laud the Left’s resistance against racial segregation in the South, but it’s also worth noting that practically every contemporary conservative at the start of the Civil Rights Movement identified the movement with communist subversion immediately. It’s not hard to see why.
The Civil Rights Movement was not a particular concern of moderate Democrats or even the moderate Left, but largely the sole preserve of southern black activists connected to the Communist Party, Marxist Jewish activists from the North, and radical college students who more often than not used it merely as an excuse to riot.
As Buckley showed in his 1965 debate with James Baldwin at the Cambridge Union, the Left’s arguments against racial segregation in the South were based purely on emotional appeal and made little to no sense with regards to logic, Tradition, or Law.
The fact is that the Left has never once sought to combat “worthy menaces”, indeed Leftism itself is the unrivaled menace of history. The Left has sought only to tear down the True and the Beautiful — it knows only how to destroy.
From the French Revolution to the Russian Revolution to the Spanish Civil War to the Cultural Revolution in China to the Killing Fields of Cambodia to the Cuban Revolution to Antifa thugs causing havoc on the streets of America, the history of the left is written in blood. It is hatred and violence in political form.
Concluding his op-ed, Steele asserts that “[f]or the American Left today, the indulgence in hate is a death rattle.” It might be the death rattle of its grip on politics and culture, but if Steele thinks the Left is on the verge of fading into irrelevance he is sorely mistaken.
Leftism has been with us in one form or another since Lucifer fell from Heaven, and it won’t go away anytime soon. We who value Truth and Beauty must be ever vigilant lest the guillotine return.
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