What we see now, across the country, across the internet, across corporations and other places of employment, is not a push for racial equity or social justice. The petitions and other instruments of agitation people deploy to destroy leaders they do not even know, and who have never done anything to wrong them, plainly aim for exercise of power. False words and apparently moral intent disguise malice and even hate, which always underlie exercise of corrupt power.
Demonstration of power in one instance, intimidates others everywhere else. Actions the dominant group undertakes in the name of safety, make everyone else feel unsafe. They do not care about other outcomes. If they did care about racial equity and social justice, they would follow another path. Their current methods will never do anything but destroy people, and make others fear the same result. Activists’ current methods cannot possibly lead to good results.
One rightly compares current warriors and other agitators to Mao’s Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.
One rightly compares current warriors and other agitators to Mao’s Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution. These people, often young, thought they cared about workers’ rights, and other Marxist fragments in Mao’s little red book. They knew how to spout the book’s slogans and formulas, nothing more. At heart, they just wanted to kill, torture, and imprison members of their parents’ generation, on whatever pretext they could find. If Mao said, “Go purify the nation,” that was enough. They would do it.
American Maoists do not have a leader to tell them what they should do. Mob leadership is only incidental to action anyway. With the internet, mobs do not need leaders at all. Internet mobs swim like huge schools of fish, or flocks of birds. The social organism does not need leadership from strong-willed, charismatic figures like Mao. It merely needs moral righteousness, a conviction that you can force others to believe what you believe, the never-ending delusion that good intentions justify cruelty.
Where is the board of directors that declines to accept a respected leader’s resignation at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art? Where is the newspaper editor who says to petitioners who try to enforce goodthink in the newsroom, ‘You apparently misunderstand why we hired you. Find another workplace, before we dismiss you.’
Yet we do need leaders to resist mobs. Where is the board of directors that declines to accept a respected leader’s resignation at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art? Where is the newspaper editor who says to petitioners who try to enforce goodthink in the newsroom, “You apparently misunderstand why we hired you. Find another workplace, before we dismiss you.” Where is the college president who says, “You will never attack one of my faculty members, the way you have attacked Professor Jones. Pack your duffel, turn in your dorm key, check out with the registrar, and collect a refund on this semester’s tuition. Good luck to you.”
The Maoists might be surprised, but they would not stop. They have gained too much momentum over nearly four decades. Nothing succeeds like power. Yet leaders who resist can still protect the integrity of their institutions, even if they cannot stop the larger purge. They can still act to protect the reputations of good colleagues, people who have been their friends, and who have contributed a lot to institutions they both care about. People who have it in their power to decline a resignation, nevertheless do not do so. By their cowardice, they cast their lot with the Maoists, and declare allegiance to tyrants on the rise.