Dumb, impatient street theatre jerks want to be all badass and relive the 60s (till it gets cold out). Like the “anti-war Left” these guys have the intelligence and the attention span of fruit flies. They are deeply unserious.
Update: A reader makes an interesting point: “If there are no ends, can one justify the means?”
True, sort of. What is remarkable about the OWS ninnies is that they really don’t have a clue what they want, many of them. Many of them are just there for a vague sense of “involvement” and to feel all badass and socially aware. The sort of violence they advocate is not so much ordered toward “change” as toward having the thrill of having “been there” when the big scene went down. In short, the good end being sought (for we always act, whether in an ordered or disordered way toward some good end) is the pleasure of exercising power. The problem is, such an end, pursued in a disordered way, is virtually a guarantee of evil and can only achieve something good by sheer accident–like a terrorist who inadvertantly kills a mugger by shooting randomly into a crowd. And even then, the terrorist is still willing to do evil, even if God brings some mitigated good (safety from the mugger) out of the evil act.
Updateder update from a reader:
I’ve been down to the protest a few times and I’m participating in the Demands working group. I thought I’d offer some thoughts.
First, OWS is not pursuing violence as a whole. I can’t speak for Occupy Los Angeles, but at OWS, anybody can just start talking to the crowd — there is absolutely no mediation of this outside the General Assembly — and so it’s very difficult to call this sort of thing typical.
It’s true that much of OWS is a mishmash if far-left causes and groups. There’s a strong anarchist presence, lots of communists, socialists, and hippies — but that is not even the bulk of it. Most people are there, in my experience, because they were told they’d get a good job if they went to college, and there aren’t any out there anymore, or because they got laid off when their company started to fail, but the executives got their bonuses anyway. Most of the people there are smart enough to recognize that something is very wrong, and most of them don’t advocate violence.
My work with the Demands working group has been centered on advocating for achievable goals. We really are working on a list of concrete demands and proposals. Yes, there’s a faction advocating for setting huge, ideological demands that will never be met as an excuse for an uprising, but this isn’t representative. Those people are loud and visible, but let’s recognize there is truth to Nixon’s line about a silent majority — the bulk of the people gathered in the square, and even the bulk of the people on the Demands working group, want redress for grievances, not violence, and I think you’re being a little short-sighted in assuming otherwise.
Hell, one of the major decisions the General Assembly has taken is to avoid making big ideological statements beyond listing grievances so that this *won’t* be an extremist movement, and I’ve been urging my moderate-to-liberal friends to show up and be heard so that a cooler, less extreme tone will prevail. What we need at these protests are working class schmoes. We need intelligent, reasonable people who can see the problem and don’t think violent revolution is the only answer. What we need are some bleeding Chestertons in the crowd to drown out the Trotskies.
I agree that it’s incoherent right now, but building consensus takes time. I want to be there to help the consensus develop away from violence. This is what involvement is. This is democratic participation.