By Thomas L. Knapp
“These are anarchists, these are not protesters,” US president Donald Trump said on July 20th, defending his decision to unleash Department of Homeland Security hooligans on anti-police-violence demonstrators in Portland. Anarchist-bashing — referring to “radical left-anarchists” in Minneapolis, “ugly anarchists” in Seattle, etc. — has become a consistent Trump campaign theme since May.
Does Trump have any idea what an anarchist is? Or is he just hoping that frequent repetition of a word he associates with widespread fear and loathing will get an increasingly hostile American public back on his side?
It’s somewhat amusing that Donald Trump considers the word “anarchist” an insult, or that he fancies himself morally fit to insult anarchists.
He’s got a lot of nerve, that guy. He’s a head of state. Or, in more accurate English, a second-rate mafia don, chieftain of an overgrown street gang with delusions of grandeur.
Trump and his type — the “leaders” of political governments — murdered hundreds of millions of innocent victims in the 20th century and are already off to a bang-up start in the 21st.
Trump and his ilk steal more wealth, destroy more property, and kill more of the people they claim to serve in any given week than all the anarchists in history combined. Then they try to shift the blame onto their victims and onto the anarchists who stand up for those victims.
Gangsters like Trump (and his 44 predecessors) aren’t morally qualified to shine a Black Bloc rabble-rouser’s Doc Martens, let alone criticize the ideological anarchists who daily expose the protection racket called the state.
Anarchism comes in many flavors, but at root it’s a simple concept: It calls for the absence of rulers.
Note that second “r.” Not an absence of rules, but of charlatans who empower and enrich themselves and their cronies on the false claim that they serve society by enforcing rules.
Nineteenth century anarchist Lysander Spooner exposed the American version of that racket, incidentally prophesying the arrival of Trump:
“[W]hether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain — that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”
Not all who hear themselves called “anarchists” resemble the remark or deserve the praise, but high praise it is indeed. Anarchists are defenders of freedom and opponents of the death cult known as the modern state.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.
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