A higher form of human life was within reach - even a higher type of human being - but only once humanity had been purified by violence. This faith in violence flowed into many later revolutionary currents. Nineteenth-century anarchists such as Nechayev and Bakunin, the Bolsheviks Lenin and Trotsky, anti-colonial thinkers such as Frantz Fanon, the regimes of Mao and Pol Pot, the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red Guard in the 1980s, radical Islamic movements and neo-conservative groups mesmerised by fantasies of creative destruction - these highly disparate elements are at one in their faith in the liberating power of violence. John Gray

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