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February 11, 2012

Comments

svh

militantly vague.

Any grievance or mental health problem will do.

David

“Any grievance or mental health problem will do.”

And intentionally so. The lack of clarity is a license for self-indulgence and dishonesty. That’s the fuel. It’s a narcissist’s charter. Which is why the Guardian tells us that ‘occupy’ is “a new political space” where self-anointed “radicals” are “debating an alternative future for us all.” The New York Times coos breathlessly, “A new generation of leaders is just getting started.” Kalle Lasn, whose glorious dream this is, says he wants to “occupy our minds.” “It’s about antagonising people,” he says, “and slapping them around a little bit.”

Laurie Penny tells us it’s all about “community” and “counter-culture,” and that “the space is its own demand… the occupation is its own demand.” (In other words, “we can always think of some pretext to get noticed.”) We’re supposed to view ‘occupy’ as a blueprint for a socialist utopia – a “new world order,” as Laurie puts it, one that’s “trying to do something so profoundly new and exciting with politics.” And all of this is said while the catalogue of murders, rapes, stabbings, vandalism, arson, squalor and thuggery grows even longer.

Starting with an ostensible objection to cronyism, the thing has become a vehicle for whatever grievance, opportunism or psychodrama happens to be at hand. Including, naturally, demands for a more overbearing state and with it much greater cronyism, albeit with different beneficiaries. And of course there is no exit strategy. The obstructions and shanty towns are eventually removed by police and hazmat teams, prompting howls of victimhood and further self-justification. It’s all very theatrical. But at what point were the little darlings planning to clear up their garbage, pick up the excrement, apologise to the locals and go home peacefully?

It isn’t a cause in any meaningful sense; it’s a tactic, an activity. And for some, a gap year.

Trimegistus

They are general-purpose brownshirts. The movement is kept deliberately vague so that "being in the movement" is the only goal. Which means that whatever the movement leaders decide to do is what the movement is for. Principles, goals -- those would only be distractions, and get in the way.

So what is the movement for? It's so that Obama will have hundreds of people in every major city, people who've been through a year-long process of intense cult-like brainwashing, ready on the streets next Election Day.

America isn't in danger of slipping into fascism. It arrived four years ago.

David

“They are general-purpose brownshirts.”

Psychologically speaking, the ‘occupy’ dynamic has always been quite odd. The very first news item I saw, when the podpeople deliberately blocked Brooklyn Bridge for hours then blamed the police, made it clear who they are and what gets them hot. These are people whose tactics of choice are mob intimidation and shouting people down, who boast of not honouring their debts and agreements (like Karl Marx, oddly enough), and who delight in exercising collective power over others, including elderly ladies, women in wheelchairs and random passers-by.

They typically gate-crash some group of people who are by now wearily familiar with the ‘occupy’ message (such as it is) and have rejected it. The fact that the selected victims don’t care for a repeat is taken as a sign that they must be made to hear it again, and again, right in their faces, louder than before. (Because arguments are won with decibels and a hint of violence, apparently.) And so the speaker that the victims have chosen to hear is shouted down and rendered inaudible – out of spite, albeit spite disguised as righteousness.

Not just spite, of course. It’s also done to demonstrate the power of the self-preoccupied when gathered in a gang. They wish to impose their will on others. Because – whatever the fatuous rationalisations - they enjoy it. So these supposed champions of “social justice” do look a lot like totalitarian wannabees. You’d think at least some of them might notice this fact and not be chuffed about it.

Stuck-Record

“A new generation of leaders is just getting started.”

Yeah. Not like we've seen where that will end up.

Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst was on TV the other day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEsZ23aZEK4

Saddening parallels listening to the SLA activists, sympathisers and apologists in that film and comparing them to the Occupy lot. Seems like a section of society has learned nothing, and boy are they keen to try it all again.

Sam

So these supposed champions of “social justice” do look a lot like totalitarian wannabees. You’d think at least some of them might notice this fact and not be chuffed about it.

David, that's what's depressing about 'occupy' and idiots like Laurie Penny. They're so into themselves they don't see what they're actually doing and what it turns them into.

mlrosty

not honouring their debts and agreements (like Karl Marx, oddly enough)

LOL

David

mlrosty,

The funny thing is, it’s not an entirely trivial point. In terms of behaviour and psychology, I suspect Marx would have had a great deal in common with many of the occupodpeople. Marx was spoiled and endlessly subsidised by people he took for granted and didn’t repay; he had an absurd sense of entitlement and was pathologically irresponsible – forever blaming others (or “bourgeois society”) for his own childish choices and practical incompetence. He was also dishonest, ungrateful, pretentious and staggeringly narcissistic.

Sound familiar?

It’s worth looking out for Thomas Sowell’s essay Marx the Man, which details some of his rather severe personal shortcomings.

mojo

"OOps! There was a problem loading the video"

Yeah. The problem is that Vimeo sucks.

LS

"The lack of clarity is a license for self-indulgence and dishonesty. That’s the fuel. It’s a narcissist’s charter."

Perfectly put. That's where it all seems to begin.

Matt

"David, that's what's depressing about 'occupy' and idiots like Laurie Penny. They're so into themselves they don't see what they're actually doing and what it turns them into."

Actually, I suspect most of them know exactly what they're doing. Radical politics has a lot of the same appeal as a holy war: it takes evils we normally suppress and puts a stamp of approval on them, because the cause is just and the targets of that hate have been declared evil.

mojo

"I'm a thought criminal, you see. Didn't even know it m'self. Kids found it out, the clever little beggars..."

David

Sam & Matt,

“They’re so into themselves they don’t see what they’re actually doing and what it turns them into.”

“Radical politics has a lot of the same appeal as a holy war: it takes evils we normally suppress and puts a stamp of approval on them, because the cause is just and the targets of that hate have been declared evil.”

It does raise the question of the extent to which any given participant is aware of their own idiocy and malign intent. I’d guess you’re both right, in that some may have what they regard as good intentions and find themselves getting swept along with an increasingly malevolent mob. Some may find the group dynamic vile and subsequently abandon their involvement, though such things aren’t generally reported so it’s hard to gauge how often this happens.

But certain personalities are drawn very strongly to “radical” posturing precisely because it offers a justification for belligerence, intolerance and thuggishness: “Hey, I get to feel self-righteous and I get to smash stuff up! Cool.” As I’ve noted before, there are some for whom the ostensible cause – whether communist, “anarchist,” radical vegan or whatever – is almost beside the point. The Great Cause may in effect be little more than a license to behave in a certain way. When “anti-capitalists” go out of their way to smash shop windows, do they imagine society will be transformed as a result? Or is it more likely that they enjoy the thrill of vandalism and brawling with the police, or running from the police, which I’m sure is very exciting? And people who embrace one ostentatiously radical cause may shift to another, then another, even one at odds with their previous fixation. In many cases, it’s the role-play and collective dynamic that matter most. Which is why it’s possible to encounter “radicals” who loudly announce their contempt for “bourgeois” social hierarchies while manoeuvring continually to elevate their status within their own in-group.

What’s interesting to me is the mental juggling, in which people loudly assert their own righteousness - blathering about “social justice,” for instance – while, say, putting children in harm’s way, taunting women in wheelchairs or jostling elderly ladies down concrete steps. You can’t help but wonder how such people cope with the dissonance. It’s practically a recipe for losing one’s mind.

Stuck-Record

As P J O'Rourke once said something like, for some, much more fun being a rebel in the mountains, carrying a gun and looking cool with no ongoing responsibilities or ties, than it was ploughing the field day after day.

But I also think the motivation for a lot of the Occupod and Pennies is the religious external justification of rightness. Socialism is religion for Atheists. And it's just terribly convenient that your 'morality' happens to coincide with exactly what you WANT to do. Like be a parasite that doesn't wash and shouts at people. Bit like someone who REALLY wants to cut people's heads off hearing Osama Bin Laden for the first time and thinking: 'Wow. This is so cool. I just knew I was right!"

watcher

I saw something the other day that Laurie Penny was saying that the left has only independent thinkers (the phrase she also used was that it was like herding cats, which I presume she meant you can't stop lefties going off in different intellectual directions). Yet the overriding feeling is whatever their avenue of thinking the left always end up in the same desolate place and reaches the same standardised conclusions.

Whatever their supposed independence, amazingly they all actually turn out to think the same.

David

watcher,

I think you mean this. Apparently, enlarging the state and taking even more of other people’s earnings don’t count as “simple answers.” It’s a standard conceit.

twitter.com/mrleeward

"It’s much easier and nicer being the liberal promising you free things that actually cost money. It sucks to be the person telling you that nothing is free, but that’s the truth."

Um, straw man, surely. Who's saying that healthcare is free? You don't have to think that we were created and endowed with certain inalienable rights by our creator, and that among there is a right to healthcare, to also think that everyone in a civilised society should have access to healthcare, regardless of means.

David

Lee,

I suspect Whittle is referring to the term being used in much the same way it’s used in protests about “free” tertiary education. Which is to say, with great emphasis on “rights” to such, but with little acknowledgment of how it’s to be paid for in a sustainable and equitable way.

There may be several trade-offs to consider, but trade-offs and freebies aren’t the same thing.

[ Added: ]

A placard that reads “Free education is a right” (carefully omitting the word “tertiary”) will tend to prompt different lines of thought from one that reads “Someone else should pay for my degree in whatever regardless of whether the debt will ever be repaid or economically justified.” I grant you, the latter would look a little wordy on a placard but it would at least remind people of what’s involved.

Henry

mrleeward

That is an interesting formulation. Why should they have access to it, if not because of some sort of 'right'?

The issue of course is where the MASSIVE amount of money comes from to pay for that healthcare. There are any number of people who claim the 'right' to this, a right to that. And politicians exploit this for votes by telling people they DO have the right, and CAN have the healthcare.

I know this isn't the whole argument - but look at those who say the cuts aren't necessary - they're all of the left. Hence what he's saying, if I have it right

dr cromarty

to also think that everyone in a civilised society should have access to healthcare, regardless of means.

How much healthcare? How much access?
First aid?
Aspirin for myocardial infarctions or angioplasty?
1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th line chemotherapy for incurable breast cancer?
Personal care for all needs in dementia, regardless of means?
Aromatherapy for anxiety?
Psychotherapy for sex addictions?
IVF for 60 year-olds?
Sex change ops?
Breast enlargement?
Tattoo removal?

See if you keep it vague, it sounds great. Get down to specifics and its a bit tricky, mrleeward.

svh

“It’s about antagonising people,” he says, “and slapping them around a little bit.”

Occupy attracts some lovely people:

"In the Northeast 14th Avenue home, police found documentation indicating the squatting was an organized effort to victimize the elderly property owner. A handwritten letter said, in part: "The idea was that we might have a better chance at survival if the landowner was, as our research could tell, a batty old lady and her bed ridden husband.""

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/02/police-round-up-occupy-squatters-who-tried-to-take-advantage-of-elderly-couple/

David

svh,

When the founder of a movement says it’s all about “antagonising people” and “slapping them around,” we shouldn’t be too surprised at who joins in.

But hey, free stuff!

AC1

Personally I think we should de-extort the education system.

State education is an increasing failure.

watcher

AC1: Sorry to say, but the education system is mostly there as a free baby-sitting service for when they are young, and an effort to keep teenagers off the street in daylight hours as well as holding back the unemployed figures for a while.

It also, at a higher level, provides state employment for the Marxist miseries who need to do something as they have no skill other than lecturing the gullible on the benefits of totalitarianism.

So on that basis, education works quite well.

dicentra

crime can be significantly lowered only by eliminating its “root causes”: poverty, inequality and racism.

If poverty causes crime, wealth causes virtue, and the 1% must therefore be the least prone to theft, fraud, and other malfeasance.

Either that or people steal because they have the hearts of thieves and haven't yet seen their way clear to changing that fact. Socioeconomic status determines only what KIND of crime you'll engage in, not whether.

AC1

Crime is more correlated with
a) a certain personality type spread among the population.
b) perceived likelihood of getting away with it.
c) gain from activity.

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