Why can people become unreasonable, rebellious and destructive?

Rebellion is part of growing up

2 girls protesting for free energy
The “normal” form of protest

It is normal that in our youth we rebel against the the structures which have been imposed on us by our parents and our immediate environment. It is part of the developmental process and it is necessary to begin our own personal journey of individuation. If this rebellion persists and reaches levels of real violence as opposed to the “normal” teenage hassles, we need to ask ourselves what the reasons are for it, especially when property and people are wilfully damaged.

The “fashion” of “fighting” against the “establishment” began in the late 60ies, at least in Germany, where I grew up. The demonstrations in Berlin ended in shootings, providing to the political left some hero for further use in their ideological war against the state and all people who were suspected of holding power. The radicals pretended to be cool and tough by shouting slogans, burning flags, sometimes cars, and by fighting with the police. But, then and now, are they really what they pretend to be?


The Story of my Ex – Fighting Against (what?)

In the early 70ies I was newly married to a young man who was lucky enough to already earn good money as an architect. But his head was still full of these strange ideas and beliefs which he had picked up in University: the need to “fight against the establishment” and for the “proletariat”. Being the son of medical doctors, he himself actually was part of the “establishment” that he pretended to be fighting against by – stealing! Stealing from the office, from restaurants and hotels and in bookshops – where he finally was caught by the police. You should have seen this “righteous” man when he came home and confessed what had happened. No hero anymore fighting for the oppressed, but trembling with fear of being punished and of his future career being impacted by being sentenced.

The temptation to act out the erroneous beliefs

Nobody was really damaged greatly by his deeds, it was first of all the ethical component in his thoughts and behavior. My warnings had been dismissed for years that stealing was just not right, even when a bookshop has an owner who earns some money by selling books, or even when a boss gets more money than a young employee. His black-and-white thoughts created his arguments to justify his own misbehavior and he extracted a strange “right” out of the income-difference – and “Class difference”, of course, – to damage others. It even seemed to be his duty to do so, in order to “help the lower classes”, the same shallow arguments which we hear today, again.  Well, no, these were only rationalisations for a game which he should have played in earlier times, as a boy at home, but not as an adult in society.


Why do people adhere to fascinating, but wrong ideas?

So what makes people believe such weird things and act with extreme radicalism against property and people without any sign of recognition that what they are doing is WRONG, unless they are caught and convicted, and maybe not even then? They are not at all interested in helping the people which they pretend to fight for. They are acting out – dangerously – what they have missed in their own childhood and youth.


Very interesting in this regard is the conversation of Stefan Molyneux with an ex-Antifa fighter who openly talks about his story, his upbringing, his attraction to the radical left. He describes the culture and the actions there and his long journey to arrive to the understanding that they were, by no means, justified and “right” as he had been willing to believe before, and for so many years.


Boys Need Fathers

Boys need the guidance of men when they grow up. Boys coming from families without fathers or with dysfunctional fathers are much more likely to become extremist “heroes” than those who had fathers to teach them to be men.

a men swinging a boy in the air
Fathers and their sons

The liberation of women – which I really appreciate – and the subsidies of the state for single moms have created a situation where many women prefer to raise their children without their fathers. And that is a bad idea, at least as regards the psychological health of the children, males and females alike. I don’t say that a woman needs to stick with the father of her children no matter what, as it was for such a long time. What I DO say is that – understandably – women in their new freedom exaggerate in egocentrism and don’t properly consider the psychological needs of their children. They actually continue adhering to the very traditional belief that only the material needs are important to be met in a child’s life – while they are thinking to be very progressive and evolved. Not reall


The Fatherless Generations

3 soldiers with hands up
After the war how to live now?

Coming back to my ex-husband. He was born in the first years of WWII, no fathers around and the mothers busy finding ways to survive. His father came home from war, but probably, as all people of that generation, unable to elaborate his own tragic experience. So the physical presence of a father in the house was not a guarantee for the children to have a “father” who would play the role they needed for their healthy development. A whole generation grew up fatherless and so they didn’t learn what is “right and wrong” in life, the classical role of fathers. Children need to know where the boundaries are. When they haven’t learned that when young they have a lot of problems in adult life which we could roughly describe as either depression or aggressivity and violence.


What Steve Reports About Antifa

That’s what connects the stealing of my ex-husband with the Antifa terrorists and the Social Justice Warriors: they have never learned to find their rightful place in society and they are full of illusions about themselves, the world and their power to do whatever they want to do.

Colored Spiral: The Levels of Development
The Levels of Development

In terms of “Integral Theory” or “Spiral Dynamics”: they are stuck in the “red” egocentric warrior stage. They haven’t learned to adapt to society – which is a necessary stage in the growing-up process – and so they never could transcend it and grow out of it into a person who has integrated the rules, without being any longer totally conditioned by them. In other words: they never have grown into a true rational stage where they would be able to properly decide what to do and what not. Instead they use rational language to justify their irrational behavior. This phenomenon is called “rationalization”. It means roughly that: you find a string of arguments after the fact to make your actions appear “right”, but you didn’t think your behavior thoroughly through before you acted it out.


Missing or unhealthy stages in personal development: the reason for disaster.

If it is the ultra right or the ultra left or any other group ready to use violence against objects, animals and people, they basically are children in their psychological development and their belonging to the group gives them what they lacked otherwise. They do everything to belong and to be valued in that group, hence the absurd violence in speech and action of the individuals. Their behavior is the response to what they didn’t get in childhood: belonging and recognition as a human being. It is as easy as that to understand, but surely not to handle and heal.


True Rationality Allows Freedom of Choice

a scale
The possibility to chose: seeing both sides clearly and the weight and impact they have for the future

For those who actually have succeeded in arriving at the rational stage of their personal development, like the guy named Steve in the above interview, it is possible to understand what is going wrong in the group and to find a way out. This certainly is very difficult and often dangerous because fundamentalist radicals don’t joke and bully and damage those whom they label “traitors°. History is full of evidence of that.

Congrats to Steve that he managed to get out of the group prison and to spread the word and inspire others to follow his steps – for their own personal good and for that of our society which has enough trouble with many other things apart from crazy dangerous never grown up children.

PS.In a future post I will try to outline the difference between men and women in their path to radicalism. The lack of the father seems to be more important in the boy’s socialisation, while women have still other dragons to slay.