2011-10-14

"Occupy EVERYWHERE!"

The title of today's blog post comes from a comment from today's CBC.ca news story about the so-called Occupy Wall Street "movement." Someone who calls himself/herself "Phobos06" opines:
Occupy EVERYWHERE!
The people UNITED
WILL NEVER be defeated!!
Well, the "occupation" has been going on for a long time. From what I can tell, it largely consists of leftists repeating leftist slogans. It is not appreciably different from any other leftist protest, at least as far as I can see.

Protest and the Rejection of Reason
Protest culture is a little odd to begin with. A protest pretty much boils down to showing up and "demanding" what you want, then going home. What is absent from such a thing?

Well, for one thing, there is no dialogue. Protest culture (in North America) has a tendency to throw around words like "dialogue" and "education" and "awareness," but they never really exercise it. What they do instead is show up in a big group and start making demands. This isn't a dialogue, it's throwing your weight around.

A dialogue is when two or more parties meet and openly discuss an issue, arguing in favor of their own individual points of view, with the intention of persuading those who disagree.

Protests, though, involve no attempt at persuasion. Persuasion is beside the point. These "Occupy Wall Street" folks, for example, don't really care whether they win "banksters" over to their cause. That isn't the point, that isn't the objective. The objective is to demonize banks and attempt to get some leftist redistribution policies implemented.

So it's not an argument, it's a display of force. They can call it "peaceful," of course, because they haven't (yet) attacked anyone. But if force isn't the objective, then why are they using intimidation tactics? What is more intimidating than an uncontrollable mob? If force isn't the objective, why is there no dialogue?

Who is attempting to win me over to their side? Thus far, the only person who kind of empathizes with this movement, who has made any attempt at engaging me in persuasive, rational dialogue, is faithful Stationary Waves reader CH, who only partially sympathizes with the OWS mob.

Writing about the non-aggression principle, Ayn Rand said, "Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins."

An angry mob is a display of brute force that packs all the punch of violent threat. OWS protesters cannot claim to be peaceful unless and until they choose to disperse and engage in voluntary - and persuasuve - dialogue.

Ayn Rand also said, "It is not the advocates of science and reasons using their bodies to block traffic on a public thoroughfare."

Protest and Laziness
I am not one of those people who believes that anyone struggling to make ends meet is just a lazy person who can't find a job.

On the other hand, I do believe that protest is advocacy for the lazy. All they have to do is show up, and they have magically "done their part to affect change." To this day, the 60s protest culture continues to credit themselves for the end of the Vietnam War. This kind of delusion is incomprehensibly juvenile and dismissive of the real political effort it took to overcome a governmentally entrenched military-industrial complex and force them out of an ongoing operation.

Sorry, folks, but it does not just come down to showing up and screaming a little. Real work has to get done in order for anything in the world to happen. You don't get credit just because you asked for other people to do the work you wanted to have happen.

A brilliant example of the inherent laziness is found in a quote from that same CBC article. Upon hearing the news that a scheduled park cleaning had been postponed so that the protesters could continue without disruption, one protester declared: "It shows when people work together, you really can make a difference and make justice happen[.]"

This poor fellow genuinely believes that his sitting in one place made a difference in the world. The fact that the only difference he made was the temporary interruption of janitorial services seems to elude him.

Probably, though, it does not elude him. Instead, he just doesn't want to admit to himself that his protest is directionless and futile. Any evidence that "it's working" is important evidence in favor of his actions. If he ignores this evidence, then he calls his entire belief system into question.

Protesters can never do this. For one thing, it weakens the protest. For another thing, it would mean they have to get up off the ground and do something else. Neither of these things is particularly pleasant.

Protest and Partying
Of course, the real objective of a protest is to have a party. Anyone who has ever spent a lot of time around political protests (such as myself, living in a major world capitol city) understands that for the protesters, it's a lot of fun. Everyone gets together and sits around on the ground and tells jokes, sings songs, shares food, etc. They laugh and have a good time. They scream and chant a little, and then they go back to having a good time.

It's not a movement, it's a party.

And indeed, it's a party in every sense of the word. Drug use is pervasive at these events. Please don't waste my time disagreeing with me on this. I have been there and seen it with my own two eyes. My firsthand evidence is worth more than your principled objection. Perhaps the next time I find myself in such a crowd, I will snap a few photos of the drug use and post them on my blog to prove my point.

Things Left Unsaid
Many media outlets have pointed out that the OWS events have no specific demands. I completely disagree. I think it is unnecessary for OWS to state their demands, since they are well understood. OWS was created and organized by AdBusters. We know this - it's on the AdBusters website.

Furthermore, we all know what AdBusters stands for. They stand for socialism. I don't think I'm being particularly controversial in saying so.

They don't have any specific policy demands, per se, because socialism is a fairly fuzzy idea. There are a lot of different kinds of socialism (scientific communism, Christian socialism, guild socialism, syndicalism, to name a few...), and it is highly unlikely that everyone in the OWS crowd agrees on which one to demand. In fact, it's pretty much impossible to get all socialists to agree on specific policy objectives because their unanimity disappears in details.

Anyone who has ever watched a group of bureaucrats implement a new policy can attest to this. There is a lot of negotiation, a lot of arguing, a lot of winners and losers, and so on. This is the nature of socialism, though. If you try to plan a society's every move, then you will inevitably run into more disagreements than agreements. Love socialism or hate it, this inherent attribute to socialism is unavoidable.

But at any rate, all socialists agree on socialism in general. Whenever there is any war protest, or economic protest, or policy protest, or John Stewart protest, or leftist protest of any kind out there, the specific objective always remains unsaid but universally understood.

What they want is socialism. They want the entire world to adopt their way of life - by force, if necessary. This way of life involves small-scale production with the protesters at the helm and everyone else doing the actual grunt-work. It involves fewer motor vehicles and more recycling. It involves governmental control of more than what government currently controls. It involves wealth redistribution and social welfare policies.

These are the goals. No one has to make any demands. We all know what they're after.