It has been observed in the last couple days that while many are quick to claim that there are “extremists on both sides,” it appears that recently the overwhelming majority of violent incidents are perpetrated by right-wing extremists. Naturally most of these people seem to be unhinged, given that they’re seeking to murder someone they’ve never met, but somehow craziness keeps finding right-wing ideology to be more hospitable.
What relatively few people are asking is why this imbalance exists. Is it because right-wing ideology is inherently more violent than left-wing? I don’t think that the history of international communism bears that conclusion out. Indeed, it seems to me that the reason leftists are so non-violent right now isn’t that leftists have no one they want dead — rather, they are relatively non-violent because they are so radically hopeless as to have moved past the phase where you do crazy, desperate things like assassinating opponents. For despite its obvious intuitive appeal, assassination has always struck me (other than in a unique case like that of Hitler) as an “underpants gnome” type of strategy:
- Kill this one person
- (something something)
So radical is the despair of the left that arguably the most prominent leftist in the world, Noam Chomsky, devotes all of his energy to stating, in the clearest and most unemotional way possible, all the reasons that we are well and truly fucked.
Now from a common-sense perspective, it does seem that the appeal of right-wing ideology for crazy people indicates that there is something questionable about right-wing ideology. Yet I wonder if on a deeper level, the fact that there don’t seem to be left-wing crazy people nowadays stands as a kind of testament to the hopelessness of the left: not even crazy people believe left-wing goals to be achievable.