Occupy Protesters vs. Santorum

Some protesters got into Santorum’s face in South Carolina:

That was painful to watch.

Rick Santorum strikes me in many ways as a bad person with dangerous ideas. He thinks in unnervingly authoritarian and bigoted ways. And the combination of his arrogant and idiotic ideas and overgrown jock demeanor in speaking and debating makes him seem to me like a classic douchebag.

But these protesters are so juvenile, self-righteous, threatening, bullying, and, most of all, unhinged that they made me actually feel for the guy for one brief glittering moment. Not shrewd at all. Not tasteful at all. Not civil at all. Not democratic at all. No good at all.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • danielrudolph

    Ugh. Does this accomplish anything other than making them feel like they did something?

  • laurentweppe

    At least the guy who glitterbombeb Gingritch did it with style.

  • mandrellian

    This kind of embarrassing childishness is precisely why I rarely attend this kind of public action. That being said, the behaviour of law enforcement at these things all-too-often doesn’t inspire confidence or command respect either.

    It raises a bit of a niggle: every time I see footage of a protester hurling abuse into a cop’s face or screaming as they resist the arresting officers, the question “now, who _really_ looks like they have their shit together?” pops up and answers itself. It doesn’t matter if or how strongly I agree with the protest’s aims, I think about how this shit looks to the opposition: “that goddamn hippy looks insane, I don’t even wanna know what he’s protesting”. However, no: I’m not anti-protest, anti-march, anti-public action. I just wish *everyone* who attended would make a conscious decision to show some freaking class if they happen to get close to a cop. Unless you’re specifically protesting about law enforcement, the cops aren’t the target of the rally. Focus on the target. Don’t let the evening news turn the focus of the story on screaming hippies/hipsters being dragged away by pissed-off cops who should be out arresting rapists and poor people; make it about what YOU want. The less fighting and abuse, the less excuse for cops to start pepper-spraying and tasing and indiscriminate arrests, the more airtime for soundbytes from the protest’s spokespeople.

    If you’re going to one of these things to get into a fight or abuse a cop, you are *doing it wrong*. Yeah, even if you do nothing wrong you might get arrested – so prepare for the possibility. Don’t carry anything illegal (or even sharp! People have been jailed for nail scissors). Go quietly and show a little dignity if you get pinched. Make yourself familiar with your basic legal rights before you even decide to go. In a relatively free country like Oz, you’ll probably be let go in a few hours. As it’s nearly impossible for cops to identify instigators of violence straight away, a lot of the time cops starting making bulk arrests just to clear the streets and break the crowd’s momentum (and maybe grab a badguy – drift-net policing!). If you get scooped, don’t panic. If you get to make a call, you should ideally have a pre-arranged contact person who knows where you are.

    TL;DR – think about how your behaviour in public, should it be recorded (and you should assume it will), is going to reflect on your movement’s aims, methods and personnel. I’m not saying “don’t protest” or “don’t get angry” (because you should be angry about a great many things our governments do and continue to allow), I’m saying “protest smarter”. The media shows what it wants so don’t give them anything that the opposition (frequently the people who own the media or are owned by it) will use as ammo.

  • Dunc

    Remember that the media filters this kind of thing – protests which fit the established media narrative (i.e. that they’re all a bunch of crazy hippies) get covered, protests which don’t, don’t. Never make the mistake of assuming that what you see in the media is an unbiased sample.

  • grung0r

    No good at all.

    But Daniel, over on Butterflies and Wheels you said:

    Thinking in dualistic good and evil terms is false, destructive, and childish. Nothing is all evil and nothing is all good.

    Surely, given this view, there must have been SOME good in what the occupy protesters where doing, right? Or is it only improper to state things in seemingly dualistic terms when defending theocracies, theocrats, and theological apologists?

    • grung0r

      Or is it only improper to state things in seemingly dualistic terms when defending theocracies, theocrats, and theological apologists?

      Correction: it should be attacking, not defending, theocracies etc.


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