This is the start of an article by Roger Kimball.
Denis Diderot, model of the French Enlightenment that he was, gave memorable expression to that movement’s inveterate anti-clericalism. “Man will never be free,” said the energetic Encyclopédiste, “until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”
They don’t talk much about kings and priests, but the civilization-hating anarchists of the Black Lives Matter movement would applaud Diderot’s sentiments. Although they sometimes wrap their destructive actions in fine-sounding rhetoric about justice and anti-racism, what they are really about is hate.
Recapping Thursday’s madness, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany noted that “A federal agent’s hand was impaled by planted nails, another federal agent was shot with a pellet gun, leaving a wound deep to the bone, and tragically, three federal officers were likely left permanently blinded by the rioters using lasers pointed directly into their eyes.”
No wonder Brooks Brothers, Nike, Uber, and practically every other wretched business you have ever dealt with are falling all over themselves to proclaim their solidarity with Black Lives Matter and committing to end “systemic racism” in the United States.
How to explain the mind-boggling disjunction between the violent savagery of the BLM crusaders, on the one hand, and the nauseating spectacles of frightened though congratulatory self-abasement by the white elite, on the other? Are the latter pleased by the news emanating from Portland and similar enclaves of vicious woke sentimentality?
Please don’t talk to me about the violent career criminal George Floyd. As I have noted repeatedly, the violence engulfing various Democratic-controlled cities has nothing to do with Floyd’s demise. “The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25,” I wrote in early June “is merely the pretext for the violence. The cause is hatred.”
Let me end with the penultimate para which sums it up.
You might think that thugs rampaging through the streets of our cities are imperfect representatives of any “enlightened age.” In fact, ignorant though they are, they are proud and legitimate progeny of that echt Enlightenment figure Karl Marx, whose abiding passion was hatred of the civilization that created him and whose legacy was tyranny, immiseration, and death—wrapped up, naturally, in sweet-sound bulletins about the brotherhood of man and the ultimate emancipation of human aspiration.
Malice and hatred is what brings the masses to the streets, and all the better since they can pretend to do what they do for only the most noble reasons they can conjure. Reptilian and repulsive, but what is there to defend ourselves with?