2011-10-24

Painting Themselves Into a Corner

The CBC reports that the mayor of Vancouver is calling to meet with the "Occupy Vancouver" mob in order to figure out how to end the situation peacefully. Mayor Gregor Robertson hopes to open up a dialogue with the group to figure out a way forward. Meanwhile, the occupiers reportedly have no intention of leaving "until their message is heard."

But I think it's highly unlikely that the occupiers have any functional exit plan worth talking about. They have essentially created a situation that they are incapable of putting a stop to. Really, it's a question of methodology. For all intents and purposes, the "Occupy" hippies are essentially staging a large-scale sit-in.

Now, the methodology of a sit-in is to create a massive immovable object that makes life so inconvenient that the other party is forced to relent to the protestors' demands.

However, the occupiers have never produced any set of specific demands, nor do they have any intention of doing so. Some of them are classic hippies, some of them are transients, some of them are anarcho-syndicalists, some of them are uncategorizable leftists. The only thing they really have in common is a self-proclaimed adherence to leftist ideology.

Now, some of them may be more moderate than others. There has been a bit of blowback from those moderate protestors who insist that they are not, in fact, anti-hard-work or self-determination. They simply object to a "corrupt system."

Like all moderate leftists, however, these folks are practical nihilists. They make broad, nebulous claims like "the system is corrupt" or "banksters are corrupt" or "we need regulations" without ever making a particularly clear, specific claim. In part, this is just the classic shortcoming of moderate leftism; the modus operandi of moderate leftism is to try to get "the other side" to concede the broadest possible point and thereby score a few leftist policy points, by degrees. But the other, more important point, is that people who neither believe in ideological leftism nor ideological rightism, nor ideological libertarianism, nor outright authoritarianism are nothing more than people who believe "something," but can't really articulate what it is.

This is what I mean by "practical nihilism." In practice, they believe nothing in particular.

But back to what I was saying about painting themselves into a corner. With no list of demands, the sit-in has no conceivable end-point. The occupiers simply plan on occupying until they cannot possibly sit there any longer.

If I were the city, I would simply wait it out. If you're not sitting on the dirt protesting the system, then you're sitting in the comfort of your own home, going to work, having fun, and enjoying all the conveniences of modern life.

Clearly, those of us who do not support the "Occupy" mob have every strategic advantage. Let them protest. They will go home eventually.