By Dr David Laing Dawson
In response to an anarchist destruction spree in Hamilton
The sixteen year old tells me he doesn’t think he should ever have to do something someone else wants him to do. He should be able to go to work when and if he wants to. He should eat lunch when he wants to, not at “lunch break like a bunch of sheep”. He should be able to come and go as he pleases. There shouldn’t be rules.
He goes on in this vein as an infant in a large male body. The egocentricity is astonishing. Sometimes it is the product of a recent failure or loss. Sometimes I can see anxiety and depression in the background. Sometimes I wonder about the parenting, and the grade 11 teacher who says to his students, “Call me Steve.” Usually it’s a phase, a brief developmental phase. The carefree egocentrism of the child bumping hard against the challenge and complexity of the adult world. The smart kid throws in a bit of existential philosophy. The not so smart kid just wants to keep his bong in his bedroom.
They have usually grown past this phase in a couple of years, developed some empathy for others, found some satisfaction and confidence in completing something and being praised for it, lost some of their fear of this big clumsy chaotic but organized world.
Some don’t grow out of this phase it seems and they become “anarchists”. They have learned enough to use that word to describe their state of mind, their second hand philosophies, without learning about the historical consequences of anarchy. They crave an absolute freedom that always breeds a terrible tyranny.
Fortunately the very concept of anarchy is antithetical to organization. Anarchists can’t get together and form a club and expand that into a movement that holds and succeeds.
At least that was not possible until Social Media. Now with social media it is possible to gather together at least a small group of “anarchists” and wreak havoc for a night.
I don’t know if the “Ungovernables” or anarchists appreciate the irony of being organized for a night of havoc, destruction, and terror. Fortunately their very rebellious nature precludes a large and persistent and successful organization.
Social media has made it possible for some very good gatherings and organizations to occur, and these can grow and flourish and stay organized and bring about positive change in our social contracts and societal rules. So I think we needn’t be horrified when a small group of so-called “Ungovernables” manage to wreak a night of havoc. No matter their rallying cry and their stated childish grievances they are just adolescents engaged in some thrill seeking vandalism.
We should simply investigate, arrest when possible, and apply our laws and our due process.