“Vox Populi; Vox Anon; the voice of the people is the voice of anonymous; WE ARE LEGION” — Anonymous, 10/9
In recent weeks, much has been made of the mindless rabbles known as the Occupy Wall Street movement. They have claimed, at different times, that they are “what democracy looks like,” a “liberal Tea Party” and that they speak for the 99 percent of Americans who aren’t “millionaires and billionaires.” In reality, one must stretch the truth for any of these claims to be remotely factual. They are nothing but mindless mobs — and the mob is demonic.
The OWS method has been extolled by several national figures — including dear leader — for being a movement that is properly holding Wall Street accountable for their actions and their greed. In the first place, it ought to be pointed out that Occupy Wall Street is in fact not organized — they pride themselves on not having centralized leadership — and have not yet produced concrete national demands or stated that they intend to be a participant interest group in next year’s elections. If a large group of leaderless protestors without a common goal except to disrupt rich people’s lives as much as possible by occupying their front lawns and harassing them at work don’t qualify as mobs, one must ask what does qualify. Furthermore, this makes them drastically different from the Tea Party, which possessed all three of these qualities before the 2010 Elections and now.
The other major problem, besides lack of leadership, with the OWS movement and a major reason they ought not to be given any legitimacy is their lack of any legitimate demands. It ought to be made clear that if these protestors were protesting against crony capitalism — most notably the Troubled Asset Relief Program — even Tea Party conservatives would be supportive of them. (Of course, considering that TARP passed through Congress with the majority coming from the Democratic Party — including a certain junior Senator from Illinois — this demand would, rather ironically, contradict their ubiquitous goal of reelecting the president.) Instead, the OWS movement has chosen to make demands that fall into two camps: generalities and irresponsible impossibilities. On the one hand the OWS movement — including our very own Occupy SB — constantly screams for wealth to be redistributed through force. On the other hand, they demand that the government annul all their student loan debt now in response to a temporary downturn in the economy. They are not only asking government to do what ought not to be done — letting them off the hook for their own choices — they are in fact calling for what our Constitution, inspired by John Locke’s theories on property and limited government, says can never be lawfully done and which will inevitably lead to descent into anarchy and the tyranny of the mob.
These “counterrevolutionaries” have indicated very clearly that they are not interested in resolving their grievances through the system our republic relies on to survive and that they are against the principles our great nation extols. For that reason alone, not to mention their Marxist rhetoric, they ought to be shamed and shunned by all who still believe in America’s promise and a free economy.
Daily Nexus conservative columnist Jeffrey Robin thinks the leaderless mob is sort of like a headless chicken, just capable of speech.
In Response, Left Said:
This is a scathing gross mischaracterization of Occupy Wall Street that indicates Mr. Robin has not spent much time reading news coverage or legitimate commentary on the movement. The use of the “straw man” fallacy, as seen in Mr. Begakis’ column last week, is overwhelming: a “[demonic] mindless mob” of “Marxists” to say the very least. To call OWS a “mob” discredits all conceivable popular protests; to call them Marxists is an incredible exaggeration akin to suggesting all critics of illegal immigration are Nazis, or that anything slightly left-of-center is by definition communist. Furthermore, they hardly claim to be or support what he says they do. Many have vehemently rejected the label of “liberal Tea Party.” Few, if any, have supported full forgiveness of student loan debt (one crazy protestor’s unilateral, rogue “list of demands” notwithstanding).
Progressive taxation is not “wealth redistributed through force.” Though tax evasion is a crime which entails police involvement, this is yet another gross exaggeration — and the label “redistribution” ignores the fact that they are, if anything, calling for millionaire taxes and social services, not across-the-board equal pay, land reform, or collectivization. Nothing about peaceful protest contradicts the Constitution or the ideas of John Locke, and while they are neither revolutionaries nor “counterrevolutionaries,” even if they in some parallel universe were, this would seem to support the idea of the social contract. Dissent is patriotic, and equality of opportunity is entirely in line with American ideals. While I do not wholeheartedly stand with the movement at this point in time, to commit these blatant “straw man” and “no-true-Scotsman” fallacies is disingenuous and intellectually bankrupt.
— Daily Nexus liberal columnist Geoffrey Bell