Most visitors to St. Petersburg in Russia usually find their way there. The Church of the Spilled Blood is an exotic example of Tsarist architecture. More importantly, it memorializes the assassination of Alexander II by an anarchist in 1881.

Anarchism reached a high point during the latter part of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Lest it be forgotten, World War I was triggered when an anarchist murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.

Although anarchism may seem exotic in contemporary America, it is making a resounding comeback. Indeed, it has gone mainstream in a big way. Not long ago we saw it in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Here, young radicals sought to undermine capitalism by tearing out its beating heart.

Anarchists are against all authority. They believe that if they can kill those at the top of the social pyramid, everyone else will be free of oppression. The rest of us will accordingly be able to live our lives unfettered by exploitation and tyranny. As the successors of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, anarchists believe that we humans are inherently loving and therefore will live in harmony once allowed to do so.

At first glance, this conviction might seem at odds with socialism, which demands that the means of production be controlled by the government. But this leaves out Karl Marx’s belief that socialism would inevitably be followed by the withering away of the state.

So what does this have to do with us? The answer is simple: Today’s democratic socialists have a strong anarchistic bent. They, too, both want to build up the government and to topple it down. This might seem like a contradiction to clear-headed souls, but the radical’s heads are filled with ideological mush.

Consider what is happening at our southern border. Many left-wing Democrats are arguing that virtually anyone who wishes to enter the United States should be able to do so unimpeded. This has even been depicted as a “human right.”

Others, including most of the Democratic presidential aspirants, have declared themselves in favor of decriminalizing what had been illegal entry into the United States. They want no barriers to interfere with non-citizens who are only attempting to improve their condition and that of their families.

Nor do they want people to be detained if they are undocumented. However they cross the border, they are to be immediately released. This includes unaccompanied children. They, too, must be set free on our streets to go where they will, when they will.

Then, if people are adjudicated as having broken our laws, they are not to be deported. This is said to frighten them and their children; hence they must remain unmolested. Indeed, the so-called sanctuary cities intentionally make it difficult for the federal government to enforce its laws.

When you add this up, it is a direct assault on the concept of law. In the name of compassion, the radicals have decided that legally enacted statues must be flouted. They don’t seek so much to change these laws as to have them disregarded. They intend to decide which regulations to respect and which to ignore.

This is a prescription for — guess what? — anarchy. If people can do whatever they want with respect to immigration, why wouldn’t the same apply to other aspects of society? In fact, the radicals do make this assumption. They feel justified in breaking whatever laws they dislike.

Antifa is a prime example of this attitude. These thugs believe they are saving society when they pummel conservatives on the street. Although they claim to be fighting fascism, they are really promoting anarchism. They are, in this sense, a law unto themselves.

To some, these developments seem amusing. They are dismissed as young people going overboard. In reality, they are a threat to organized society and our mutual well-being — including that of the activists. These insurgents are essentially holding a knife to our throats in the name of freedom.

But anarchy is not freedom. It never was and never will be. However much it may be lauded, it leads to what Thomas Hobbes called a war of all against all. Without shared rules that are reliably enforced, anyone is free to do whatever they want to anyone else.

Modern government has brought us the benefit of social stability. The radicals, in their unenlightened idealism, wish to snatch this away from us. The insanity occurring with respect to our border is merely a symptom of their misunderstanding of what allows societies to function.

Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus of sociology at Kennesaw State University.

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