First, an update about the collaboration between terrorist Brett Kimberlin and far-left agitator Neal Rauhauser, who are using the courts to attack the First Amendment rights of bloggers. If you think because you are a liberal that you’re safe, think again–Kimberlin proved last year that anyone who is critical of him will be targeted. This is no different than the waning years of the French Revolution: first the blood-thirsty mob went after their “enemies”: the monarchy and nobility. Then they went after the clergy and other “privileged” classes. Finally, they turned on each other in a fit of political infighting.
Second, when one is no longer forced to give their money to an organization, is it no surprise that that group’s membership drops dramatically? This is the real reason the teachers’ unions fought so hard against Wisconsin Governor Walker’s reforms: for all their lamenting about the ensuing plight of the hard-working teachers and their students (a plight that has been avoided, by the way, precisely BECAUSE of Walker’s reforms), what they really cared about was their bottom line. It’s as if they knew that teachers would prefer to keep their own money rather than having it garnished by the state to benefit union leadership (and the political personages/causes that the leadership chooses to support, despite what the teachers themselves would have wanted).
UPDATE: Robert Stacy McCain notes the connection to the French Revolution as well and expounds upon it, drawing from Burke’s “Reflections on the Revolution in France.”
This is the ambition of the Total State – to control every word, action and belief of its subjects — and the proclamations of altruistic purpose by which the Left justifies that ambition must be recognized as excuses and pretexts. The ostensible and publicly declared goals of radicals vary, but never their methods.
The tendencies that Burke observed in the French Revolution might easily be discerned in events nearer and more recent. The “artifices, frauds, and violences” of the contemporary Left in America are tediously familiar, and the “loose theories” to which they would “abandon the dearest interests of the public” have not gained any additional credibility by the passage of more than two centuries.
Understanding the logic of radicalism, and examining at close range the tactical application of this logic, we know the Left’s opponents cannot win by playing according to the Left’s rules.
The way it happens is this: the “progressive rebels” discard the prevailing philosophies of their “conservative oppressors,” discarding prevalent moralities as well. This creates an existential vacuum, which the rebels believe that their “more enlightened” views will fill more perfectly than those of their now-vanquished oppressors. But the transition never, ever happens as seamlessly as they expect, because, more often than not, the theorists who develop this “new and improved” ideology fail to take into account that pesky thing called human nature.
Take communism: sure, it may sound nice to share-and-share-alike, but it never, ever turns out that way on a macro scale because the idealists don’t consider the force of basic human greed. Those at the top of the proverbial food-chain, unbound by the traditional morals and ethics that were cast off in the revolution, ALWAYS reward themselves first, leaving the remnants for those who are lower to squabble over. Don’t believe me? Compare how much a public school superintendent makes compared to a teacher, including bonuses. When a school district undergoes renovations, see whose facilities are updated first.
So, eventually (maybe) realizing that their “perfect brand new” philosophies are anything but, they end up forcing their ideology to fit in the vacant hole, twisting it and turning it and tearing it to shreds, so that it little resembles in practice what it was in theory. The new laws, such as they are, are enforced with brutality and extreme prejudice. This is why EVERY Communist government quickly devolves into a privileged oligarchy lording their excesses over an increasingly impoverished and repressed majority. This is why the French Revolution, a response to a very legitimate problem, became a bloody free-for-all that claimed the lives of those who began it, along with scores of innocent people.
The people who died–and exploited/abused/murdered countless along the way–did so in the pursuit of an egalitarian ideal that cannot be achieved by fundamentally flawed human beings. It’s suicide, plain and simple.