Antifa and the Collectivist Way of War

Saturday, August 17, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Paul Krause
August 17, 2019

Antifa storms in and out of the news, despite that fact, the Left is unable to denounce this militant band of thugs. The Left cannot denounce Antifa because Antifa embodies the very ethos of war and violence that collectivism needs to thrive on. To assail Antifa would be to attack the heart of the cancerous poison that is destroying liberty oriented societies.

Michael Oakeshott was one of the preeminent English-speaking conservative philosophers and writers of the last century. His essay “The Political Economy of Freedom” is as relevant today as when it was published in 1949 in the aftermath of the Second World War, the rise of the bureaucratic welfare state, and the dawn of the Cold War. Oakeshott offers cold insights into the reality of our now venerated New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt, Clement Atlee, and the welfare architects who shackled free society.

The aim of collectivists in free societies is not to wage a bloody revolution like the Jacobins or the Bolsheviks. As Oakeshott says, modern advocates of collectivism disintegrate the integral and wholesome reality of liberty. “We are instructed [by the enemies of freedom masquerading as advocates of freedom] to distinguish between ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ freedom, between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ freedom, between ‘social,’ ‘political,’ ‘civil,’ ‘economic,’ and ‘personal’ freedom.” By focusing on only one or two freedoms, we are distracted as we lose our other freedoms.

According to Oakeshott, liberal collectivists pose as champions of one type of distinguished freedom, while perniciously eroding and destroying all the other types of freedom. Rather than see freedom as interconnected and wholesome, let alone organic, the new collectivists see institutions as oppressive and present integral society as backward and tyrannical. The new liberal, who is a Bolshevik in all but name, therefore fronts himself as a champion of engineered liberty; which is to say that he controls what freedoms the population will be allowed to have.

Collectivism thrives on war. In fact, it needs war. Collectivism demands the mobilization of people to advance its aims. As such, it is necessary for collectivists to always have an existential threat which allows for the perpetuition of mobilized society. As Oakeshott says, “[T]he real spring of collectivism is not a love of liberty, but war. The anticipation of war is the great incentive, and the conduct of war is the great collectivizing process.”

Abraham Lincoln began to collectivize the Union during the Civil War. Rooseveltfurther collectivized the “new nation” through the “war” on the Great Depression which was superseded by the Second World War. Roosevelt was not among the greatest presidents, as we’re told, but among our most destructive. He subjugated civil society to the bureaucratic state and thrust the American economy into its perpetual war economy existence — if there is no war for the post-Roosevelt economy, the economy will decentralize back into the hands of those it was taken from under the guise of national emergency. That is unacceptable to the collectivists. We are told that the economy would “collapse” into chaos if we decentralized it; this is precisely the trick that the collectivists employ to mask their intention.

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