The Useless, Bored, Radicals of America, by Andrew Joppa

The Useless, Bored, Radicals of America

by Andy Joppa


(This essay was inspired in part, and adapted from, thoughts of Eric Hoffer, in his classic tome, The True Believer)


I have been asked a countless number of times why the Progressive/Socialists pursue such useless courses of action. What follows will answer that question.


It is difficult to comprehend the near fanatical choices made by most of these radicals in pursuit of their destructive Socialist agenda. So much of what they advocate, seems damaging to their own lives and futures…and that of their children or grandchildren. What are the psychological forces that creates them and their willingness, to seemingly act, against their own best interests?


Henry David Thoreau offered a major part of the explanation“If anything ails a man, so that he does not perform his functions, if he has a pain in his bowels even … he forthwith sets about reforming—the world.” Ahhh…Thoreau hits in on the nose. It is predictable that those who fail, may blame the world for their failure.


When the choice becomes one of blaming yourself or blaming others, all too many, make the self-protective choice…it was others.  This is the essence of the entire Progressive attraction; the avoidance of being the agent of your own life. Sincethey have a presumption of their own inferiority (with good reason), they seek out others for condemnation and diminishment.


Mass movements like Progressive/Socialism, harvests members who blame the world for their difficulties. They create a following not because it satisfies the desire for self-advancement, but because it satisfies people who see their lives as crumbling and empty but cannot find a worth-while purpose in their own putrid existence. When the prospect of creating an individual career doesn’t motivate them, nor create in them any real dedication toward that end, they begin to look on self-interest as something negative; something that must be driven only by greed and corruption.


Anything undertaken in the interest of the self seems to them, useless. In their view, nothing that has its roots and reasons in the self can be good and noble. To concede that the “self” has meaning, is to concede their own inferiority. This is all their easiest horse to ride. If you’re useless, make that a virtue.


Their desire is for a new life—to be reborn—or, failing this, a chance to acquire a new source of pride, confidence, hope, a sense of purpose and worth by an identification with a “holy cause.” in our modern American world, that cause is Socialism…or BLM…or both.   If they join the movement as full converts, they are reborn to a new life in a close-knit collective body. They gain confidence and purpose by identifying themselves with the efforts, achievements and prospects of the Socialist movement. Faith in a “holy cause” like Socialism (or BLM) is, to the largest extent, a substitute for the lost faith in themselves.


The less justified a person is in claiming quality for their own life, the readier they are to claim superiority for their Socialist cause. However, what looks like giving a helping hand to others is often just holding on to a diminished perception of their own value. If you take away their holy Progressive duties, their lives are meaningless. There is no doubt that in exchanging a self-centered for a selfless life they gain enormously in self-esteem. It can be identified that the vanity of the selfless, even the humblest, is boundless.  In what seems to be a contradiction, nothing satisfies their selfishness more than their professing selflessness.


These Progressive fanatics are wholly without regard for the present and future. Since they see their lives and the present as spoiled beyond remedy, they are ready to wreck both: thus, creating their recklessness and their commitment to chaos and anarchy. Their sense of freedom comes only from having escaped the burdens, fears and hopelessness of their insecure individual existence. They who clamor loudest for freedom are often the ones least likely to be happy in a free society. To a Progressive, freedom is a burden…sameness is their escape.


These frustrated Socialists, burdened by their shortcomings, blame their failure on existing restraints. Actually, their innermost desire is for an end to the “free for all.” They want to eliminate free competition and the objective testing to which the individual is continually subjected in a free society. If you can’t compete you must claim that competition is immoral. 


The more selfish a person, the more poignant his disappointments. It is the inordinately selfish, therefore, who are likely to be the most dedicated champions of selflessness. The fiercest fanatics are often selfish people who were forced, by their innate shortcomings or external circumstances, to lose faith in themselves. And, though it be a faith of love and humility they adopt, they can be neither loving nor humble.


There is perhaps no more reliable indicator of a society’s ripeness for a mass movement than the prevalence of unrelieved boredom. This truth cannot be overstated. In their earliest stages, mass movements are more likely to find sympathizers and support among the bored than among the exploited and oppressed. To a deliberate fomenter of mass upheavals, the account that people are bored stiff should be at least as encouraging as that they are suffering from intolerable economic or political abuses. When people are bored, it is primarily with themselves that creates their boredom. What would the rioters in Portland be doing if they weren’t burning and breaking things?


It is their consciousness of living an unproductive, meaningless existence, that becomes the main source of their boredom.  That is the defining essence of the Progressive/Socialist radicals. They can only relieve their boredom with destruction. The comparable creatures from the 60’s never stopped rioting…they still are.  If it all stopped, they wouldn’t exist.


Once again, my thanks to Eric Hoffer.  A longshoreman, who surpassed the contribution of any academic of his time. He offered universal and timeless truths. We see those being played out in the streets of America.

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