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October 12, 2011

Comments

rjmadden

Wow.

I don't think he's smiling because he's happy.

David

“I don’t think he’s smiling because he’s happy.”

No, I shouldn’t think so.

And I can’t help wondering what our bewildered youngster did next. Did he go home to rethink his worldview, or just carry on protesting as if nothing had happened?

Anna

I think he makes a compelling case for not paying for his own college education.

Why waste the money?

rabbit

We are all driven by self interest. But in free enterprize, this is recognized and channeled into prosperity for all. In socialism it results in a destructive hypocrisy.

Stuck-Record

Socialism: "It's just what I want".

Great. A political philosophy reduced to five words.

BTW, see the nerves in his eyes when someone questions his (until then unquestioned) worldview.

David

Stuck-Record,

Exactly, the dynamic is fascinating. Smiley Guy starts off sufficiently adamant to walk around with a placard demanding other people’s money, then, when challenged, he starts blathering and gulping water with increasing desperation. When asked why other people should be forced to pay for his tuition, of which he will be the primary beneficiary, he looks genuinely puzzled, as if the idea had never crossed his mind. By the end of the clip, the poor kid is rather deflated and resorts to saying, “It’s just my opinion… because it’s what I want” – as if opinions are somehow valid by default and don’t require any argument – any at all - to support them. His conception of “fairness” apparently goes no further than believing that he should get free stuff because, well, he likes free stuff. That’s ‘free’ in the sense that someone else had to pay for it instead, regardless of their own priorities and whether they wished to or not.

JuliaM

It'd be nice to think this video would change a few minds, but I think we can see that they're pretty much immune to any inconvenient facts.

dr cromarty

"Because I think these billionaires are getting all this money out of greed, errmm, they're exploiting people, because of their class, like lower class people, middle class people.." "How do they do that?" "How do they do that? I guess it has to do with the government as well..."

Can you tell me any significant difference between his line of argument and that of Miss South Carolina in 2007? http://youtu.be/lj3iNxZ8Dww

It's like listening to one of those Chris Morris Speak-Your-Brain vox pops. Words just tumbling out without any cogency.

Wm T Sherman

Wingnuts keep showing video of these protestors from the unrepresentative moronic fringe. Thousands of them by now.

merc

Our free thinking socialist betters in action. Amazing.

David

Wm T Sherman,

“Thousands of them by now.”

Quite. While I doubt that Smiley Guy could be regarded as The Voice of the broader movement (which seems to include just about every conceivable grievance of the left), he does articulate an assumption that’s significant and remarkably common. I suppose it’s the assumption that covetousness is a virtue and, somehow, the opposite of greed. As if greed were something that only rich people, or richer people, could be accused of. And I doubt Smiley Guy is the only protestor to believe that their economic woes can be solved by the punitive taxation of “the rich,” despite all evidence to the contrary.

Karen M

Do you know your twinkles from your down twinkles?

I can summarize all of that with a more familiar gesture. Jesus Christ...

sk60

Do you know your twinkles from your down twinkles?

I'm concerned that thousands of these people are walking the streets without carers.

David

And remember, these bright young things have been educated.

I use the term loosely.

rxc

It seems to me that when Marx developed his socialist concepts, he was at least trying to be logical and rational. It was an attempt to be as "scientific" as possible in ordering human affairs. Unfortunately, it is difficult to be really scientific in these affairs because human interactions are so unpredictable and messy. Which is why socialism does not work.

But I wonder what Marx would have made of these "arguments" made in the name of advancing the social system he pioneered...

Rob

People like this need to be all over the news bulletins, 24x7. The public need to see students incoherently demanding that they get free stuff paid for by taxpayers.

Stuck-Record

Oh My. This one is a doozy. Or something.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=539_1318434275

David

Stuck-Record,

“Get them the fuck out of here!
This is ours!
This is Liberty Plaza!

I find his ideas compelling and wish to subscribe to his newsletter.

TDK

Two points

1. Here's an account of the Chicago occupation by someone not on the left

http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/25232.html

His interesting insight is that the demonstrators are two types.

It appears to be composed of at least two major groups. There is an older group of experienced activists, who have experience at organizing and leading protests. These people are orthodox leftists. There is a certain hard quality to their eyes which you can see right away. These people are generally engaged in the same kind of protest they and their predecessors have been doing for 50 years. It is the same old thing and they could do it in their sleep.

The other group seems to be a large, young and energetic but poorly educated group of kids who have spent their lives on a path to “college” on borrowed money, then a “job.” Now they are facing the derailment of the entire vague program they have always lived by, and they know they owe a lot of money and don’t know what to do now or do next.

This group of kids seem to be educable, and to have some good instincts. But, they have for now fallen into malicious hands.

That's true of the UK too. There is a whole lot of unemployment of youth in the UK. These people have never had their self esteem challenged and they are ripe for this sort of narcissistic movement. Speking of which

2. According to the Evening Standard, there is set to be a UK demo/occupation on Saturday.

David

Perhaps we can look forward to another rational, thoroughly objective report by our favourite cargo cultist.

rjmadden

Great piece on OWS by George Will:

"Government of the sort progressives demand — supposed “experts,” wiser than the market, allocating wealth and opportunity by supposedly disinterested decisions — is not just susceptible to corruption, it is corruption. It is political favoritism with a clean (even green) conscience."

His summary of OWS confusion:

"Washington is grotesquely corrupt and insufficiently powerful."

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20111013/OPINION02/710139987

JuliaM

And now the philosophy lecturers are getting in on the act:

It's a little like the scene from Truffaut's version of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, where individuals memorise banned books and wonder around repeating them, except this time its collective and immediate: like the game of Chinese whispers but with shouting instead of mumbling, and direct communication rather than mishearing and incomprehension.

Get that? No mishearing or incomprehension!

David

Julia,

“Occupy Wall Street protests are reclaiming the psychic space,” says Nina Power. And, hey, with her track record, who are we to doubt her?

I notice Ms Power also wants her readers to believe that those of us who find the protestors by and large confused and unserious are being “repressive.” By finding such people ridiculous, because they are, we – that’s thee and me - are indulging in “state domination.” Presumably, only evil people would find the videos above amusing.

It’s getting chilly in here. Throw another kitten on the fire. No, the lame one.

Luke

The level of ignorance and immaturity is absolutely astonishing. I mean, this fully-formed human appears to be an adult, but is actually stuck in abject adolescence. He is the perfect product of the modern American university: a morally repugnant, unthinking, entitled, propaganda-spewing societal leech who is allergic to work and actual thought. All he can do is criticize and whine, but he does so from a perch of perfectly selfish narcissism.

Shouldn't someone step up and do this kid a favor and teach him how to be a man?

WTP

@dr cromarty "Speak-Your-Brain vox pops. Words just tumbling out without any cogency."

I believe the clinical term for this is "diarrhea of the mind".

JuliaM

"And, hey, with her track record, who are we to doubt her?"

Ah, I thought her name rang a bell!

"By finding such people ridiculous, because they are, we - that's thee and me - are indulging in 'state domination'"

So, no speaking truth to Dr Power ? ;)

David

Ba-dum tisshhh.

Stuck-Record

Dr Power? Wasn't he in a short run comic from DC's failed Post-modern series from the 80's? You know, the one with Captain Dialectic and the League of Central Planning.

wayne fontes

Scroll down for the last member of the 99%.

RickC

Thought all of you might want to see this: http://the53.tumblr.com/.

It's in response to the photos and commentary from the 99%. Awesome.

David

Julia,

“Get that? No mishearing or incomprehension!”

What I find interesting about the emergence of these ‘repeat-after-me’ robo-collectives is the combination of smugness and obliviousness. There doesn’t seem to be much self-awareness or testing of ideas, which may explain the participants’ belief that they’re radical, innovative and unassailably righteous. They describe what they’re doing as “consensus decision making,” but did any of these people arrive with views dramatically at odds with those of the collective? Would such views be tolerated and tested in good faith? Based on what we’ve seen, that seems rather doubtful.

And don’t these “collectives” appeal to a certain, rather unpleasant, kind of psychology? Aren’t the groups self-selecting and made up of people who find groupthink (and group power) intoxicating, and who then congratulate themselves for agreeing with their own opinions?

Stuck-Record

RE the Occupy Portland Day5 video.

Why have these geniuses had to invent a way for crowds to express approval and disapproval?

Thumbs up? We've had this really cool feature, for about the last few hundred thousand years, called our mouths. They are obviously not keen on, you know, people speaking.

Sam

and who then congratulate themselves for agreeing with their own opinions

Spot on.

You can't be part of the 'robo-collective' and have a serious debate with opposing views. That's why they do it.

witwoud

The hand signals merely add to the impression of a kindergarten class. In addition to 'twinkles' and 'down twinkles,' perhaps they should consider the 'rainbow' (man, what you're saying is sooo beautiful) and the 'teapot' (can we have a tea break please?)

Stuck-Record

Do they have a special signal to say, "May I go to the toilet, please?"

Horace Dunn

"Do they have a special signal to say, "May I go to the toilet, please?"

Probably no need for that. This lot behave as though they're still in nappies.

Brian H

Do you know your twinkles from your down twinkles?

My parents and grandparents made it through some really tough economic times. They didn't demand money from other people and they definitely would not have fucked about with 'twinkles'.

ErisGuy

Given who and what Portland, Oregon is, who could be opposed to OWS/Portland wrecking the place by imposing social justice? It's only what they all wish for, want for, work for, and deserve.

David

“…and they definitely would not have fucked about with ‘twinkles’.”

No, I can’t imagine my own grandparents seeing much merit in it either. But this is what a great deal of leftist thinking does. It encourages neoteny and propagates unrealism.

[ Added: ]

I can’t help thinking this is rather symbolic:

Tom Hintze, 24, was volunteering in Zuccotti Park last week. “Just now there was a big UPS delivery,” he said. “We don’t know where it comes from. It just appears, and we eat it.”

RickC

“We don’t know where it comes from. It just appears, and we eat it.”

Eloi?

JuliaM

'Soylent Green! IT'S PEOPLE!!'

WTP

I just watched the second video again (I have deep seated issues that drive me to hurt myself) and I have a "Clarifying Question": Is not the use of the "C" hand sign designating a "Clarifying Question" a bit Anglo-centric and thus, um...wrong?

Rafi

"Washington is grotesquely corrupt and insufficiently powerful."

OWS in a nutshell.

And remember, these bright young things have been educated.

That's what's scary.

David

That’s what’s scary.”

As dozens of videos here and elsewhere have shown, anti-capitalist, anti-free market, class war sentiment is pretty much a default mode among the protestors. The “rich” are being told to “pay their fair share,” though the terms “rich” and “fair” aren’t often clearly defined, or defined at all, and leftwing millionaires are apparently exempt. (Will Paul Krugman’s impressive residence be surrounded by protestors? Or Michael Moore’s? Or George Kaiser or George Soros? I suspect not.)

Regarding fairness, I don’t have current US figures to hand, but I’d guess this is still relevant:

“The nearby chart shows that the top 1% of taxpayers, those who earn above $388,806, paid 40% of all income taxes in 2006, the highest share in at least 40 years. The top 10% in income, those earning more than $108,904, paid 71%. [...] Americans with an income below the median paid a record low 2.9% of all income taxes, while the top 50% paid 97.1%.”

In other words, the top 1% earned 22% of the nation’s income, but paid 40% of the nation’s income tax. That’s a pretty steep disparity. So, the question remains: if the rich aren’t paying their fair share even under this lopsided scenario, how much tax would “the rich” have to pay before it becomes fair?”

The more credible objection – the one that might have found the protestors some common ground with Tea Partiers, libertarians, classical liberals and others - is cronyism, not capitalism or free markets. But what many of the “Occupiers” want is more cronyism, albeit with different beneficiaries and an even more bloated and coercive government. The protestors say they want “social justice,” but “social justice,” as conceived by their predecessors, led directly to this, which helped create the very problem they complain about.

John D

This one is a doozy.

Guess who has a trust fund?

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/opposite-sides-of-the-protest-come-together-briefly/

He has "a calling greater than getting a job and making money".

Priceless.

Col. Milquetoast

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/10/13/mayor-michael-bloomberg-says-zuccotti-park-will-be-cleaned-up-friday/

There’s a lot of stuff we wouldn’t have to clean up if the city provided basic human rights, like a Port-A-Potty,” said demonstrator Gene Wagner. “If you would’ve given us a Port-A-Potty 30 days ago, we would’ve maintained it ourselves.

Somehow I question how well the movement would have maintained it. They could have rented their own Port-A-Potty, brought plastic bags for waste, transported away their own waste, organized pilgrimages to adequate facilities or organized a poo collection committee (visualize dog owners picking up after their pets as NYC law requires).

I'm reminded of a friend's mother who used her experience at Woodstock as an example of how wonderful the world could be. I suggested that needing the National Guard to fly in food, water, and Port-a-potties implied her ideal society had some fundamental problems but she assured me that I misunderstood "That's how it SHOULD be! The squares should take care of the free spirits!"

dicentra

Why have these geniuses had to invent a way for crowds to express approval and disapproval?

Because it's silent. They don't want applause or voices drowning out the speaker or perhaps the occasional brilliant one-liner from the crowd.

From THAT perspective, that of keeping a bit of auditory order in the midst of chaos, it's not a bad idea, but it still looks like kindergarten.

Brian H

They don't want applause or voices drowning out the speaker

I wonder if they'll be just as respectful to people who don't make the right noises.

Right noises being left noises.

David

“I wonder if they’ll be just as respectful to people who don’t make the right noises.”

Well, it’s twinkles and ponies one minute, but spitting, hangings, and running Jews out of the country the next.

So hey, it could go either way.


[ Added: ]

Incidentally, the multimillion dollar bill for all these “occupations” – excluding income lost by local businesses but including police overtime, cleaning and property repairs - will be picked up by… well, guess.

This must be the “social justice” we hear so much about.

AC1

excluding income lost by local businesses?


http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2011/10/16/occupy-london-fail/

The occupiers show that Capitalism is working!

Anna

Incidentally, the multimillion dollar bill for all these “occupations”... will be picked up by… well, guess.

Naturally.

"Demands are disempowering since they require someone else to respond," said Gabriel Willow, a protester strolling past a sleeping-bag pod of young adults in the park last Monday. "It's not like we couldn't come up with any, but I don't think people would vote for them."

Because people would realize all this "free" stuff has to be paid for by them.

Jenny Adams

Although a lot of the people involved with this issue are primarily there as attention seekers, it is obvious the education should not be reserved for the rich. I don't know whether we as a civilization can understand that social in-equality is destroying us. There are so many bright people who never get the chance to learn only because they were unfortunate enough to be born to the wrong financial class of people.

WTP

Jenny, education is available for free. It's right here on the internet, if you look for it. The education bubble is about to burst and leave a lot of people scratching their heads wondering what happened to all of their minions.

AC1

The teaching credential bubble/system will burst very soon.

Maybe then people will start LEARNING.

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