Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Without a coherent metaphysics...

... nightmares like this are the result.

This flyer, posted on the first-floor noticeboard nearest to Melancholicus’ office, is the first evidence that yours truly has found of an organised anarchist movement at the university.

It is not a surprise; all forms of extreme left-wing ideological nonsense will inevitably proliferate at such institutions, particularly among young students left so devoid of a solid philosophy of being by their modern upbringing that they resemble nothing so much as a blank slate, ready to be written on at will by every fanatical idealist who wants to change the world.

In Britain and other western countries, university campuses are fertile recruitment grounds for the jihadis for precisely the same reason.

Anarchism has been defined (in the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics) as “the view that society can and should be organized without a coercive state”. That such a notion is fundamentally and absolutely unworkable where human beings are concerned should be self-evident. The key word being ‘should’.

But, alas, this truth does not appear to be self-evident, for anarchism has a long history and shows no signs of abating yet. Thankfully its adherents have always been a fringe movement; God forbid that they should ever be in a position to realise their social and political goals. There may be much to deplore in contemporary government, in Ireland as elsewhere, but there is much to be thankful for too. Shall we sweep away government itself simply because its powers have been abused? It reminds Melancholicus of a graffito he saw sprayed over a road sign while driving back to Dublin last Sunday. The legend read “End corrupt state”. This could be interpreted simply as a call for the ending of governmental corruption. It is more likely an anarchist slogan calling for the eradication of government itself.

What fools.

Their hideous—and it is truly hideous—error proceeds from a peculiarly obnoxious heresy, namely the idea that man is perfectible by and through himself. According to the anarchist view, if society were free from the meddling interference and sometimes oppressive presence of the state, the lives of ordinary folk like you and me would be much the better off.

But consider for a moment life without government. There would be no laws and no police. Perhaps the anarchists wouldn’t see any problem with that, but the implications are terrifying.

Without law, without government, who among us could sleep soundly in his bed? Sweep away the government and society becomes a free-for-all in which bullies, gangsters and other criminals would rule by sheer force, and there would be no-one to protect the weak and the vulnerable from the depredations of the strong. The numbers of robberies, assaults, rapes and murders would skyrocket. That is a sobering thought for our licentious age, in which our contemporaries are not renowned for their restraint or self-control.

So government may be corrupt, but let us give government the benefit of the same laws that exist to keep us all safe from one another. The anarchist desire to sweep away all government reminds one of a scene in Robert Bolt’s A Man For All Seasons on the life of St. Thomas More. More’s future son-in-law, William Roper, is a hot-headed young idealist—much, we might suppose, as any hot-headed (but similarly thoughtless) young man seduced by the rhetoric of the anarchists. Roper is so zealous for his ideals that he would lay low all the laws of England to go after the devil. This is More’s inspired reply:

“When the last law was down and the devil turned round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat. This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, man’s laws, not God’s, and if you cut them down—and you’re just the man to do it—do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I would give the devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.”

Give me socialism any day of the week over anarchism, and that’s truly saying something.

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