The Age of (liberal) Activism

Many of we who think, write and speak (and meet without disturbing the peace) about important topics of the day may be described as “activists.” We do this to satisfy our need to rationally express ourselves, exercise our right to publicly speak and, maybe, contribute something positive to public discussion of social/political issues that influence our lives, liberty and property.

Yet, these critical constitutional rights face constant threats from government meddling supported by statists who demand more of it. Personal greed and selfishness largely fuel negative, irrational and foolish modern activism. Many activist groups organize fraudulent protests and demonstrations—trying to influence public opinion based on false premises and statements. They appear at all places for a plethora of causes.

For examples, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People protests for “justice,” but they create social strife destructive to the “advancement” they claim to be their purpose; the Southern Environmental Law Center joins with regional agitators in Southern States to litigate against manufacturing and energy companies that provide economic benefits to millions of people; the N. C. Coastal Federation protests (and litigates) to harass and stall a cement company from rebuilding a plant in coastal North Carolina that will benefit our regional economy; and in the city of Wilmington, N. C. a small group of local “Women Organizing for Wilmington” (WOW) protest at a state senator’s office with maliciousness because they don’t like his support of recent State legislation to reform corrupt, unpopular and unfair government policies.

Coincidentally, the same day that the Wilmington StarNews published a prominent article about local feminist activists, titled “Rebels with a cause,”( more accurately: Reactionaries without cause), a friend gave me a copy of a 2005 article by Chilton Williamson Jr. published in Chronicles Magazine titled, “The Curse of Activism.” Staff writer Ashley Withers profiled several local liberal WOW activists in her story (mentioned below in parenthetical statements). (link)

Mr. Williamson writes: in the “Age of Activism” citizens are subjected to the “unrelenting harassment of activists who refuse to leave society in peace” (one reason, I believe, many potentially worthy candidates for public office don’t show up). The press loves rabble-rousers, but rarely offers challenges to their bogus claims and outrageous comments.

(WOW activist Judi Rabak said “the legislature’s policies are those that show ‘no compassion’ for people, particularly elderly women and the poor”—a ridiculously ignorant, baseless comment.)

Williamson thinks that people who religiously consecrate their lives to demonstrations and protests have a “radical embrace of reality.”

(Lynn Shoemaker “has been a political activist her entire life” and has, for the next 62 weeks until the 2014 elections, a “commitment to seeing (Sen.) Goolsby be replaced.”)

Williamson observes that activists congratulate themselves with living full lives, but forfeit them to a “pathetic half-life.” They constrain their own humanity by being “destructive to the society in which they operate.” These people live a “miserable existence” substituting small-minded and useless bureaucratic processes for more worthy and difficult human activities that contribute value to society (raising families, for example).

(Lynn Harris, protesting on her lunch breaks said, “I’ve been fighting for women’s rights since the 1960s”—does she childishly believe the foolish notion that Sen. Goolsby wants to take them away?; his wife would not permit it, Ms. Harris.)

Activists are a “public nuisance,” with potential to be menacing. As a class, says Williamson, they are “pathetic people” and deserve pity.

(Sandy Younce “became a ‘super-protester’ this year…and was even arrested once… Younce said he will be at every protest”—we might feel sorry for him, but he could become a public menace.)

Many modern day activists are “relentlessly angry, perennially embittered, perpetually disappointed and always dissatisfied with life, writes Williamson.

(Anni Parra is a “self-described ‘angry constituent’ that inspires her to line up in downtown Wilmington with a sign”—Poor Anni. Why does anger drive her political activism?)

Activism, says Williamson, tends to splinter “large wholes into incoherent small parts, while fatally narrowing the scope of reality,” as most people see it. Activism is a form of escapism—“the self-immersion of mass-minded people in public life.”

I think Mr. Williamson quite well described the psychodynamics of the psychodrama of modern liberal, leftist activism. For those who want to briefly embrace this social disorder—or, god forbid, add to it—it can be seen at the State legislative building in Raleigh or, here in Wilmington at Senator Thom Goolsby’s office every Monday.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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