George Monbiot, the man who inspired the moniker “moonbat” was treated to a dose of real life. He set out to be part of the Occupy Movement, to reach out to repressed people such as the Travelers of the UK and, instead, was mugged by reality. It is classic.
A group of us had occupied a piece of land on St George’s Hill in Surrey, 70 miles from where we now sat. In 1649, the Diggers had built their settlement there, in the hope of establishing a “common treasury for all”. Our aim had been to rekindle interest in land reform. It had been going well – we had placated the police, started to generate plenty of public interest – when two young lads with brindled staffordshire bull terriers arrived in an old removals van.
Everyone was welcome at the site and, as they were travellers, one of the groups marginalised by the concentration of control and ownership of land in Britain, we went out of our way to accommodate them. They must have thought they had died and gone to heaven.
Almost as soon as they arrived they began twocking stuff. A radio journalist left his equipment in his hire car. They smashed the side window. Someone saw them bundling the kit, wrapped in a stolen sleeping bag, into their lorry. There was a confrontation – handwringing appeals to reason on one side, pugnacious defiance on the other – which eventually led to the equipment being handed back.
They wound their dogs up, making them snap and snarl at the other occupiers. At night they roamed the camp, staffies straining at the leash, cans of Special Brew in their free hands, shouting “fucking hippies, we’re going to burn you in your tents!”
We had no idea how to handle them without offending our agonised liberal consciences. They saw this and exploited it ruthlessly. Eventually the police solved the problem for us. Most of the cars parked at a nearby attraction had had their windows smashed and radios stolen, and someone had followed their lorry back to our site. As they were led away, my anarchist beliefs battled my bourgeois instincts, and lost.
Well what do you know? People suck and they suck, not because the system made them suck. They suck because they suck. It is the natural state of mankind to suck. Everybody is born to suck. A few people rise above it, but most people suck. If you are someone who has infinite faith in humanity, you are doomed to a life of disappointment. Why? Because people suck.
“Nothing straight shall ever be constructed from the crooked timber of humanity”
That is Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant from his Idea for a General History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose written in 1784. I like that quote because to me, it is the very core of the conservative mind. Conservatives universally believe that humans are imperfectable, that human nature is unchanging that that ignorance and weakness are the constant companions of humanity. In other words, people suck.
This belief is the basis for the Judeo-Christian concept of original sin. The Fall of Man has resulted in a general depravity of all of the descendants of Adam. The most extreme view of original sin is that, as sinners, humans are utterly depraved in nature, lack the freedom to do good, and cannot respond to the will of God without divine grace.
A similar non-religious view is held by many anthropologists. Humans, they are argue, are evolved and programmed to – like all species – to survive long enough to breed and pass on their genes to the next generation and for little else. The Selfish Gene, a book on evolution by Richard Dawkins, published in 1976, describes human evolution as a genetic process that also creates “selfish” replication that also models human culture. Human evolution is inherently selfish and, thus, so is human culture. Altruism, in other words, is just a subtle and sophisticated form of selfishness.
Letists like Monbiot want desperately to believe that people do not, in fact, suck. When they put this belief in practice, they get lessons like Monbiot received above. The money quote was this…
“We had no idea how to handle them without offending our agonised liberal consciences. They saw this and exploited it ruthlessly.”
Does this not define every liberal fool you have ever met? It takes a pretty hard thump on the head before a liberal ever lets reality transcend ideology.