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“Terror is nothing more than speedy, severe and inflexible justice; it is thus an emanation of virtue; it is less a principle in itself, than a consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing needs of the patrie.”
– Maximilien Robespierre, 1794
The Rage of the Left and the Coming Terror
In 1989, France marked the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. It was a strained celebration, for even its most ardent apologists were compelled to admit the bloody and sordid nature of much that the Revolution encompassed. The guillotine remains its most enduring symbol.
The revolutionary leaders called for freedom, equality and brotherhood, and then proceeded to kill anyone deemed to stand in the way of these noble ideals, eventually murdering one another in the paroxysm of a brutal power struggle. (See: “The 14 Bloodiest, Most Brutally Horrific Moments of the French Revolution”.)
In 1989, Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev went to Paris to participate in the bicentennial celebration and said, “The spirit of the French Revolution has always been present in the social life of our country.” As columnist Charles Krauthammer then observed: “Few attempts at ingratiation have been more true or more damning.”
The bloodbath and horrors of communism have much in common with the bloodbath and horrors of what is now called “The Terror.” The Bolsheviks and the French Revolutionaries both relied on political assassination, domestic spying, denunciations and imprisonments, show trials and the criminalization of all dissent. Both terrorized the populace while committing their crimes in the name of “the People.” Tyrants always claim a democratic mandate.
The French Revolution’s Committee for Public Safety condemned to death almost 17,000 people in one year. (See: “Reign of Terror”.) This is a negligible body count when laid against the tens of millions that have been sacrificed on the altar of communism. We prefer to think that men such as Robespierre and Stalin are creatures of bygone eras and that conditions no longer allow for such horrors to be perpetrated. Perhaps, we should think again.
The Pope and the Antifa
Pope Francis has been called the new leader of the global Left. He has not demurred from the acclimation. He has been flatteringly featured in publications that can hardly be considered supportive of Catholic teaching, such as Rolling Stone. He has been praised by leaders of the pro-abortion movement, such as Hillary Clinton. Those who favor unrestricted Muslim immigration in the West and open borders feel they have a friend in Francis, and they are seldom disappointed.
But those who favor traditional Church teaching, including the indissolubility of marriage and the norms for receiving the sacraments, have felt the sting of the Pope’s rebuke and been subjected to personal insult. He does not answer dubia — questions concerning his positions; he denigrates the questioners. The ad hominem attack is his default mode. (See: “Now Francis Targets ‘Rigid’ Youth: But what does “rigid” mean? And why does Francis never tell us?”.)
Pope Francis acts more like a politician courting a constituency than the Vicar of Christ propagating a timeless teaching (See: “An Interview with George Neumayr, Author of The Political Pope”). His tactics are those of a candidate trying to undermine his opponent by character assassination. Missing from the voluminous homilies, speeches, interviews and press conferences of this pontiff is reasoned argument for his positions. (See: “The Laity Roar While the Cardinals Meow: The Catastrophe that is Amoris Laetitia”.) He relies on caricature, invective and vague “gospel” imperatives, which have an elasticity that can be adapted to most any circumstance.
Francis denounces “populism” as dangerous and fascistic whenever he disagrees with the “people.” Otherwise, he defends popular fashions in morals and ideology, often opposing the “living” reality of the times to the outmoded intransigence of traditional doctrine. He is with you so long as you are with him. We have never had a Pope who is so divorced from the normal exercise of his office and so eager for the approbation of the ruling classes, that is, the globalist Left. (See: “For 2017 More of the Same: Leftist Politics Wrapped in the Language of Catholic Piety”.)
Meanwhile, the Left with which the Pope has aligned himself has suffered some setbacks, and it is not taking them well. Donald Trump has won the presidency of the United States; a “conservative” has been appointed to the Supreme Court. The unholy alliance of the “deep state” with its political masters is being exposed. The intelligence community is now known to be corrupt and untrustworthy. Democrats still control the media, but are hemorrhaging popular support. They appear more and more like generals without an army.
In Europe, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. French nationalism is rising. Poland and Hungary are resisting Muslim immigration. And the narrative of current events is no longer tightly controlled by the propaganda arm of globalism — that is, the major news outlets — but is coming into public view, in factual and unedited form, from a growing number of information sites via the Web.
The Left has not, until recently, been called upon to defend itself. The ruling elites were protected from hard questioning by a supportive media that vilified anyone who subjected their positions to scrutiny. The media, like the Pope, resorts to the ad hominem attack as a matter of course. But their credibility is greatly diminished and the media’s fairness and accuracy are now being subjected to a scrutiny they have never before had to face. The control of the Left, which appeared so formidable for so long, is now unravelling.
The late John Vennari once memorably said that logic and liberalism cannot co-exist in the same head. Traced to its principle, a liberal position tends to fall apart from lack of coherence, internal contradiction or a collision with obvious facts. That Islam is a “Religion of Peace” is an example of a patently absurd liberal position; yet, every globalist, from George Bush to Angela Merkel to Pope Francis, has repeated this absurdity with the apparent expectation that it will be believed — or that people will fear to contradict the claim because the media will discredit and destroy anyone who dissents. (See: “America Magazine Frets over Catholics’ Lack of Love for Islam”.) Facts, for the Left, are irrelevant. It is the narrative that is important, and the narrative can be shaped to suit the needs of the moment.
The Left is demonic in that its position is that of Lucifer: it wants to usurp the prerogatives of the Creator and refashion the world according to its likes and dislikes. It reverses Our Lord’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and says, “Not Thy will, but mine be done.” And it uses whatever tool is at hand to smash the natural order that stands in its way. Muslim immigration is just a tool for smashing what remains of European Christian culture. Transgenderism is a tool for smashing what remains of traditional sexual morality. Entitlement programs are a tool for smashing what remains of personal self-reliance. And all of this destruction is done in the name of compassion, of mercy. To oppose globalism is to be mean, bigoted, un-Christian. (See: “Pope Francis Suggests Donald Trump Is ‘Not Christian’”.) It is to build walls instead of bridges. It is to invite finger wagging and invective from the Pope.
And while the Pope is vilifying the Left’s opponents daily at the Casa Santa Marta, mobs of masked “protesters” are appearing in cities across America and Europe. They are called the Antifa – for anti-fascists. It is a bit of Orwellian Newspeak from the Left’s Ministry of Truth. The Antifa disguise their faces, shout obscenities, beat people up, hurl trash cans through windows, set cars on fire, block traffic and shout down anyone who would say anything with which they disagree. They oppose free speech, freedom of assembly for any group they dislike, and are prepared to use violence if they don’t get what they want. The Antifa are, in short, fascists. (See: “What is ‘Antifa’? And why is the media so reluctant to expose it?”.)
In Berkeley, they enjoy the protection of the University administration, the mayor and the police. (See: “WOW! BERKELEY MAYOR Who Allegedly Told Police To ‘Stand Down’ Is Part Of Antifa Terrorist Facebook Group”.) We are asked to believe that the police force is no match for this rabble and therefore cannot guarantee the physical safety of conservative speakers, such as Ann Coulter. How stupid does the Left think the public is? There is collusion on a growing scale between the Left, the street mobs they incite and direct and the parts of the government they still control. That the Left is turning to orchestrated violence is a sign of things to come. If they cannot succeed through electoral politics, they will try to assert their will through social disruption, through fear, and then blame the chaos and bloodshed on the victims, the so-called fascists who had to be opposed for the sake of freedom and justice.
Just how far will the Left go to regain the power they have temporarily lost? This remains to be seen. One thing is apparent, however: civil discourse is no longer on the table. This is a struggle for raw power in which every outrage against decency is being justified in the name of “saving our democracy.” Network television programs now feature obscene rants against Trump and Republicans as a matter of course. The foulest language and fiercest hatred is countenanced as “entertainment.” It appears probable that the situation will only grow worse, for recent history shows that once the bar of decency has been lowered, it is never raised again. We can only descend at this point to ever more repulsive and brutish behavior on the part of the media in support of the Left.
The Long View and What We Can Expect
There is a professor in Berkeley named George Lakoff. He specializes in something called “cognitive linguistics.” Lakoff has long aspired to a role in politics, having offered his services to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He is now counseling the Left on how it should regroup in light of the Trump victory. What he urges is what he calls “framing” the debate through the use of metaphors — that is, inventing appealing names for repellent things. (See: “Moral Politics (book)”.)
His premise is that of the elite class: most people are too stupid to know what is in their best interest. The direction of their lives is best left in the hands of their intellectual and moral superiors, i.e. Lakoff and the Left. Hobbled by a nominal democracy, however, the smart people are compelled to manipulate the obtuse proletariat. Lakoff says this can best be done by using words that bypass reason and reach the unconscious, for reason is wasted on the masses. (See: “The Framing Wars”.)
Conservatives supposedly believe in what Lakoff calls the “Strict Father” model of the family, which he describes as authoritarian and cruel; it is opposed to the goodness and light of what he calls the “nurturant parent” model, favored by the benevolent Left. Lakoff wants the Left to use language to move people from the authoritarian model of the family to the nurturant parent model. But Lakoff’s strategy requires patience. It is also seen by some on the Left as academic theorizing that may or may not hold good in the real world. Meanwhile, the Left is opting for the fascism of the Antifa. It is trying to shut down the opposition through suppressing free speech. But Lakoff’s approach may also be tried.
Lakoff wants Democrats to stop using terms such as “federal regulations” and to talk instead about “protections.” He suggests the word “taxes” be replaced by the word “investments.” The media is always amenable to offering what help it can to “progressives,” for whom Lakoff is a self-appointed strategist, so we are likely to hear more linguistic legerdemain in the near future. The Associated Press Style Book has long used its power to push the Left’s agenda. The AP forbids the use of “pro-life” and “pro-abortion,” allowing only the term “pro-choice.” Most every newspaper and news outlet uses the AP as its usage guide. The media are likely to become the linguistic arm of the Antifa.
We should be alert to the fact that the Left is regrouping and a new language is being invented for presenting its agenda. Meanwhile, we can expect the street violence and the media assault against Trump to continue unabated. The public may tire of the turmoil and decide that Trump is too divisive a figure, a claim which the media will amplify in every way as the next election cycle approaches. If and when the Left manages to defeat its opposition, it will exercise power with an unprecedented ruthlessness. It has already discarded civil discourse and adopted the position that anyone who opposes them does not deserve a hearing, as their opponents are presumed to be motivated by racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, religious bigotry and consummate evil and stupidity of every description.
Their opponents are deemed hateful, and why should hateful people be given any quarter? Why should such deplorables be allowed to speak, or even exist? The brigades of the Antifa will be let loose, aided by all the apparatus of the government and media. The spirit of Robespierre, the patron saint of the Left, will be triumphant. How bloody will it get? It is beyond present imagination, for we find it difficult to accept possibilities that are deeply repugnant to us. But we have history as a guide.
All of the above takes into account only the human factors that shape events. There is the overarching power of Providence that can intervene at any time in unforeseen ways. We have a Pope who has sided with the Left and is trying to convince, even compel, Catholics to support the globalist agenda. The doctrinal patrimony of the Catholic Church is endangered by Francis’ alliances. No human power can effectively oppose his politicization of the Faith. Where do we turn?
Our Lady of Fatima said, “Only I can help you.” Perhaps the time is coming when the whole world will realize the truth of Her words.