A week or so ago, Antifa and Black Lives Matter protestors marched through the District of Columbia (D.C.) chanting “Burn it down”. While this may come as a bit of a surprise, we here at The Objective Observer actually kind of, sort of agree with them, in a figurative sense, not a literal sense. To understand this position, it is important that one understand the underlying motivations behind the populous movements within the
United States and the reality of divergent political ideologies.
Populism is defined as support and concern for ordinary people. Populism ascends within countries when ordinary people feel that the bureaucracy and institutions of government no longer serve the needs of ordinary people but instead only serve the wealthy and the powerful. Quite simply stated, populism is the enemy of those in power as, throughout history, populist revolutions are what tend to overthrow the status quo, often quite violently.
Now, we must mention that populism tends to get a bad rap. Since violent populist revolutions are what tend to overthrow governments by, well, violence, it is easy for populism to be declared an evil thing. However, populism is simply the reaction of ordinary people to institutions and power structures that have failed them, institutions and power structures that have become corrupt and benefit only the wealthy and the powerful. And make no mistake, populism has taken hold in America in a number of forms.
The most obvious, current populous movement is that of former President Trump. As we explained in Why Trump is Hated it was Trump’s populist agenda in seeking to curtail and shrink the power and influence of the federal government along with his similarly populist nationalistic attitudes that earned him the everlasting enmity of power factions within the federal government and elsewhere. In short, those individuals benefiting from the corrupt institutions and power structures of the federal government were simply not going to take it lightly when someone with populist leanings threatens their power, influence and wealth. In effect, former President Trump threatened to “drain the swamp” or, in other words replace the current institutions and trappings of governmental power with a system and institutions that better served the needs of “the people”.
However, former President Trump’s supporters are not the only populist movement within the
United States. Consider that Antifa positions itself as being anti-fascist and anti-racist, if there is any real central “platform” to speak of considering how decentralized and autonomous the groups are that make up the movement. But the truth is that Antifa’s members are, by and large, anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist, and anti-state; espousing ideologies of anarchism, communism, Marxism, social democracy, and socialism. At its core, Antifa is a left-wing populous movement that has lost faith in the current institutions and trappings of governmental power, seeking to “burn it down” and replace the system with institutions that better serve the needs of “the people”.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is another left-wing, decentralized, populist movement. BLM is also strongly anti-racist, anti-authoritarian and believe that the institutions of the
United States, and specifically the police, have failed to protect blacks in America from racism, incarceration and violence. In fact, BLM believes that the very power structure currently in place within the United States institutionalizes racism and thus BLM seeks to “burn it down” in order to replace the system with institutions that better serve the needs of “the people”.
So, if populism is the enemy of the establishment, then why have those in power not taken similar measures to utterly destroy Antifa and BLM as the ones employed against former President Trump? Three reasons. First, the establishment does not consider Antifa and BLM a true threat because those organizations hold no real power, unlike former President Trump. Second, the establishment fails to properly classify Antifa and BLM correctly as populist movements and instead tends to only focus on these organizations’ stated anti-fascist and anti-racist agendas; attitudes with which people empathize. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the establishment incorrectly thinks that the political spectrum is linear.
Unfortunately, this isn’t how things actually work. The actual political spectrum is a circle where the radical left and the radical right meet one another in espousing a radical, populist ideology.
While this may seem odd and unintuitive because if viewed from a linear perspective where the radical left and the radical right appear to be polar opposites, the reality is that at some point these two groups end up having more and more in common with one another to the point where their common traits and goals dwarf their respective differences. Specifically, the radical right and radical left conjoin over being populist movements that are anti-establishment, anti-status quo and have a tendency to effect change through violence. The exact details of “what comes next” fades away in the face of the overwhelming desire to change “the system”.
When the radicalism on both the right and the left reaches critical mass, this is where unholy alliances are made and governments fall due to a simple, burning desire to have something else, anything else, than the current institutions and established power structures that are seen as unfair and untrustworthy to the vast majority of the population. Think American Revolution, the French revolution, Stalin and, well, we’re sure you can think up a few more on your own. All were populist movements that violently overthrew the existing, corrupt power structures and institutions of their day.
The scary part of all of this is that it almost becomes inevitable. As the establishment witnesses the rise of populism, what does the establishment do? The establishment seeks to hold on to power of course. And the establishment does this by glomming on to even more power, being more authoritative and wielding their influence in even grander fashion. Again, this can be seen in the end of the British Empire, the end of the French monarchy and the end of the Russian Czars among other examples. The instinctive reaction of the establishment is to increase their levels of power, influence and control in a vain attempt to “crush” the burgeoning populist movement. Inevitably, this simply leads to more populism and more rebellion.
America is likely already too far down this inevitable spiral of doom to pull out of it. We see this today with King Biden flexing the power of the federal government to sign a ridiculous number of executive orders that seek to make the federal government even more powerful and more influential, usurping power and influence from state and local governments. This is why we mock the current administration as a monarchy with King Biden sitting on the throne. Of course, King Biden does this in the name of “equity”, what the monarchy believes is the antidote to a populist disease. But it is equity by force, equity in name only and equity that can only be brought about by the federal government exerting even greater influence and power over the subjugated populace. Ultimately, this is the classic, instinctive reaction to populism that inevitably breeds more populism.
It is interesting that former President Trump, while he preached populism, he did not preach radical, utterly destroy the current institutions and power structures kind of populism. Did Trump seek to unwind decades of continued growth in the power and influence of the federal government? Absolutely. And for this he earned the eternal enmity of the establishment. But he sought to work against the system from within the system. And we applaud him for that. One might hypothesize that he saw what was coming and sought to avert disaster. Saw that D.C. had become far too powerful, corrupt, influential and intrusive in the daily lives of Americans. The system needed to be singed a bit. But Antifa and BLM, these movements have already demonstrated their violent tendencies and they make no bones about clearly stating their true intentions, “Burn it down”. Not figuratively, but literally. People should pay more attention.
For our part, we’re objective about the matter, above all else. Nothing we say or do will change the trajectory of what is to come. Thus, we are content to sit back and watch it all burn to the ground. Or not.