We've previously mentioned the trend among environmentalist activists of attempting to deface timeless works of art in order to, somehow, save the planet. In the past few months their acts of vandalism have included smearing cake on da Vinci's Mona Lisa; dousing Van Gogh's Sunflowers with tomato soup; throwing mashed potatoes at Monet's Mueles; and gluing themselves to Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring, while pouring soup on it.
These acts are deplorable. But, in one sense, we should be grateful for them. They have made plain the anti-civilizational barbarism of the environmentalist movement. They've broadcast to the world the fact that they despise the highest achievements of mankind. They always have, in fact, but regular people didn't notice as much when their ire was turned towards fracking or the Industrial Revolution. These targets were too abstract, and seemed so deeply embedded in our society that they couldn't be materially damaged by a bunch of hippies chanting about them, or even those hippies' highly remunerated lobbyists.
But there is something about striking out at timeless works of beauty which provokes a visceral reaction in people. When viewing the videos of these incidents, you can't help but notice the gasps of horror and the shouts of rage of museum-goers. It is likely that these people are of various political persuasions, and one would assume that many of them are generally sympathetic towards environmentalism. But they recognize immediately that these hoodlums are striking out at the frail beauty which Shakespeare contemplates in Sonnet 65, and they -- and everyone who sees the videos that the activists themselves are posting online -- are repulsed. Clearly what these activists are doing is beyond the pale.
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea
But sad mortality o’er-sways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out
Against the wrackful siege of batt’ring days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays?
O fearful meditation! where, alack,
Shall time’s best jewel from time’s chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O, none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
Make no mistake, these are desperate acts from members of a movement who can feel their influence diminishing as the west's energy crisis (for which they are more-than-partially responsible) worsens and winter approaches. That's why they've started including "fuel poverty" amongst their grievances. "People in fuel poverty, who have to choose between heating and eating, are not protected" said the Belgian thug who vandalized the Vermeer painting. But this is a non-sequitur. His own preferred solutions presumably do not include getting those people inexpensive and environmentally friendly natural gas. So who is to blame for fuel poverty? Not the oil and gas companies!
Now, thankfully, the masterpieces were protected from permanent damage by their plexiglass coverings, but if this trend continues, chances are they are going to succeed in destroying something permanently. And, unfortunately, our governing class can't bring itself to stand up to protestors. Some of them are even siding with barbarism -- in one instance the prosecution requested the vandals be sentenced to four months in prison, but the judge said she was "wary that too harsh of a sentence would deter future protests."
Deterring crimes, you say? Well we can't have that!
Of course, crime tends to beget crime, and there's no guarantee that these activists will stop here, especially as they see the state failing to stand up to them. In Canada we've seen environmentalists blockade trains and attack workers at a drilling site, and Leftists have made a minor celebrity of Andreas Malm, author of a manifesto entitled How to Blow Up a Pipeline. And the German government is reportedly taking very seriously reports of a “green R.A.F.,” inspired by the terrorist Red Army Faction which menaced West Germany during the Cold War, who are said to be planning acts of sabotage in the coming months.
All of which is to say, while these terrorists our weak, our governing class is weaker. And if these attacks on our civilization continue, or worsen, it is our elites who will be to blame.
Neither beauty nor truth
Trouble these troubled youth,
When either wanders into the booth
Abhor with glue, claw and tooth.