I have watched with concern the activities in numerous cities across the nation as non-violent protests have turned violent and parts of cities look like war zones. Here are some of my observations.

When you peel back the thin veneer of civilized behavior, what you find underneath is a simmering anger and hatred without obvious cause. The problem is that these folks have been raised without a clear understanding of human nature. They are taught to be polite, be nice, love everyone, accept differences, don’t bully, don’t litter, recycle, and the like. The world should rejoice in their being a part of it, and life should be abundant goodness without struggle or pain, but it isn’t, which makes them angry.

This group is a product of a philosophy, including parenting, that is all about self-esteem of the child. Such a rearing removes the basic moral foundation that used to underpin our society. Without a fixed version of God, moral imperatives, good vs. evil, and our own fallibility, we have created a generation that believes only in the Self as the determinant of all that is right, wrong, or good. Couple this with the extreme delayed adolescence of early twenties and you get a crowd that desperately wants to fit in and be popular, but needs a group to reinforce one’s beliefs.

A hallmark of late adolescence is the rejection of parental figures and all they stand for as a way of establishing Self. Even if a child was raised with a religious foundation, many children decide to become agnostic or atheist somewhere around the age of fifteen, even if only for awhile. Teenage rejection of authority can extend beyond parental figures to all authority figures, thus a disdain of laws, law enforcement, large corporations, and generally the activities of a civilized society. That energizes protesters to block streets, scream and curse at people in public places, steal, destroy, assault and do anything that is not expected in proper society.

I think there are three types of protesters. The first group is mainly college-age students who flock to like-minded friends. The group dynamics lead the pack into performing some actions that individually they might refrain from, particularly destruction of property and physical violence. The relative anonymity of the group gives each member a sense of purpose, of belonging, and a shield against individual responsibility. These are the Earnest Ones.

The second group members are likely a bit older, and are veterans of other groups, particularly the Occupy movement. They are leaders to the students, as they have been through this before. They are often linked to advocacy networks such as Ad Busters, BLM, Its Going Down, and the like, who feed the group with appropriate spray-paint slogans, Marxist literature, and may indeed bankroll their equipment needs. They have created an identity as an Agitator leader.

The third group consists of true provocateurs, dedicated Anarchists whose goal is far beyond justice and peace, and even beyond communism. They include members who want the total destruction of the United States as it exists, and elimination of our laws, our economy, and our nation. These people look forward to a war they think they can win with the other two groups. They intend to be leaders of the New World Order. They are committed to a one-world government where all wealth would be distributed, there would be no personal property, everyone would be free to travel, to seek their purpose, and to exist without having any constraints. Capitalism is seen as evil, but these intellectuals can’t articulate who will perform jobs that keep cities functioning, absent a fascistic government who assigns workers based on communist principles.

The good news is that most twenty-somethings mature. The knee-jerk rejection to authority lessens, the school of hard knocks leads to modification of behavior, and the need to hold down a job, get spending money, and make life decisions leads to less thoughtless action. That need for pink hair, face tattoos, and expletive-laden conversational style fades. The first group will move into typical middle-class life. The second group may go into education in order to pass along their wisdom to the next generation of protesters. The third group may either go to jail or into Congress……