Harry Reid is seeing anarchists, again

Melanie E. Wilcox Contributor, The Dartmouth Review
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Sen. Reid (D-NV) should be thanking his lucky stars that he studied government in college instead of history, or else he would’ve flunked out. That is, assuming his professor was not fully enamored with academia’s far-left orthodoxy, which may be an unreasonable assumption in today’s academy.

In a Friday interview on KNPR, the Senate Majority Leader said:

“Who is the Tea Party? Well, understand, when I was in school, I studied government, among other things, and prior to World War I and after World War I we had the anarchists. Now they were violent — you know, some say that’s what started World War I, the anarchy moment — but they were violent. They did damage to property and they did physical damage to people.”

He continued, “The modern anarchists don’t do that — that’s the Tea Party. But they have the same philosophy as the early anarchists: They do not believe in government. Anytime anything bad happens to government, that’s a victory to them. And that’s what’s happened. We have absolute gridlock created by a group of people who represent few Americans. But it makes it extremely difficult to get things done.”

It’s not the first time the Majority Leader has tried to tar the Tea Party with the anarchist label. Mr. Reid defines an “anarchist” as someone who “does not believe in government.” By that definition, he should be attacking certain radical libertarians, not conservatives, since most conservatives do, in fact, believe in government. Even conservatives’ skepticism of government is nothing radical. According to a recent Gallup poll, 81 percent of Americans ‘never, or only some of the time’ trust government. At one point, Congress’ approval rating hit record lows at 10 percent, which just slightly beat Americans’ approval of Fidel Castro, according to the Washington Post. If skepticism of government makes one an anarchist, than Reid and his Senate colleagues must be the last non-anarchists in the country keeping the faith.

All jokes aside, there were indeed anarchists during that time, and there are now. There have always been anarchists — people who want to abolish the government. But despite suggesting anarchists started World War 1, Reid fails to name a single group of anarchists. Who is he referring to?

One assumes he means the Black Hand, since this Serbian nationalist secret society initiated WWI by assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. This gang of Slavic malcontents did whatever it took to stifle Austro-Hungary’s influence in Europe and free southern Slavs from Habsburg rule. Members of the Black Hand had to sign forms pledging their allegiance to the movement — hardly an anarchist thing to do — even if it meant giving up their own lives.

While a few members of the Black Hand may have demonstrated anarchism in the traditional sense, the binding principle of the group was nationalism above all else, and its members included republicans and even monarchists. What’s more, they adopted their methods from radical left-wing terrorist groups, including the Russian People’s Will and the Chinese Assassination Corps.

The People’s Will inspired a peasant’s revolution in Russia and promoted democratic and socialist reforms. The terrorist organization responsible for murdering Tsar Alexander II counted Vladimir Lenin’s older brother among its ranks. Lenin himself, along with Leon Trotsky, questioned Russia’s leadership and took over in the October Revolution with the Bolsheviks.

Like the People’s Will, the Chinese Assassination Corps, its Asian neighboring counterpart, used suicidal terrorist attacks to overthrow the Manchu Qing dynasty, along with the Chinese Socialist Society and other left wing organizations. The point: all groups used similar attacks and influenced one another to promote their own agendas of revolution, a central tenet of anarchism.

There are plenty anarchists today in the United States, and they’re not part of the Tea Party. If Mr. Reid was being honest, he would have said that the real anarchists in America today are those in Occupy Wall Street, a violent, left-wing, radical group that has been advocating for a world revolution, since that’s the only thing they can agree on. Although the liberal media have often claimed the Tea Party has a violent streak, the number of arrests, thefts, murders, and rapes at Occupy rallies far outstrips anything under the Tea Party’s watch.

Most Democrats in office at least tacitly supported them. In 2011, Nancy Pelosi notoriously said, “God bless them for their spontaneity. It’s young, it’s spontaneous, it’s focused and it’s going to be effective.” Because OWS’ message matches that of Democratic officials, Mr. Reid does not consider them an anarchist group.

According to Mr. Reid, anarchists are those who question the validity of their government. This means that the Founding Fathers who rejected the rule of a British king must have been anarchists. The Cubans who fought against Fidel Castro are anarchists. And now, Mr. Reid says that the Tea Party is full of anarchists.  And, if you don’t agree with Senator Reid’s ideology, apparently, you are also an anarchist.