Saturday, October 22, 2011

Anachronistic protesters

From Samizdata, on the Occupy Wall Street movement:

This isn't so much a political movement as a form of historical reenactment. That's why the OWS protesters are so vague about what they want - because what they want is to be camping out at a mass 1968-style protest. There's little difference between them and Civil War reenactors, except that the Civil War guys understand that it's not real and the outcome of their mock battles won't have any effect. The 1968 reenactors down on Wall Street have the quaint belief that what they're doing is real.

And from the comments:

They know so little (most of them) that they don't know the difference between reality and fiction. Which, by the way, is an indictment of our education system.

Moreover, they don't care about the difference.
I went to a university in California in the 1980s. We had the same phenomena then. People would protest for causes they knew nothing about. I'd talk to them and after establishing they knew nothing about apartheid in South Africa or whatever the cause du jour, they said that they were pursuing their business or law degrees so they could live the conspicuously consumptive young urban lifestyle; condo by the beach, a nice BMW convertible, etc.
They were protesting whatever, it didn't matter to them, so they could feel good about themselves. Sort of a variation of "I gave at the office." They gave to "the cause" while in college so they could be selfish the rest of their lives.
Of course, these people may be protesting the fact that they went deeply into debt making bad life decisions no one forced them to make, such as getting worthless degrees, expecting they'd just be handed a high-paying job requiring just as little effort as their lazy tenured professor asked of them, and now they're finding out they aren't going to live that easy, conspicuously consumptive lifestyle they imagined was theirs by right.

Now they're throwing a tantrum. But I see the selfishness part hasn't changed. They aren't protesting bailouts; they're demanding more for themselves. They want someone else to work to pay for their college loans, their credit card debt, the mortgages they want to get, ad infinitum.
In other words, they want to live like ante bellum plantation owners while someone else works to support them.

I take issue with that last sentence.  They don't want to live like plantation owners.  Many of them want to live like plantation slaves - with a "guaranteed" job that also includes 3 hots and a cot and some kind of healthcare.

The picture of the anachronistic OWS protesters came from here.  The picture of the anachronistic Civil War Reeanactors with a tank came from here. 


Dr Ralph said...

Yeah, the OWS protesters thinks it's 1968.

The Tea Party protesters think it's 1768.

Who's the real anachronism?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Great hearing from you, as always.
While the Tea Party does contain its share of goofiness, and while I expect its influence will be lessened during this election cycle (some have figured out that smaller govt. really does mean fewer Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Military giveaways) the Tea Party does have a consistent message: Smaller government.
The OWS groups, on the other hand, want to bang drums, camp out, occupy something, and protest. Something. Like in the 60's. And to demand that....

Dr Ralph said...

I'd say the Tea Party folks have a few other consistent messages, mostly scripted for them by the Koch brothers.

But enough of that: when do we find a new venue for guitar playing? We need #OccupyTheStage.

Nick said...

The Boston Tea Party led to the American Revolution. The Tea Party led to Republicans retaking the House in 2010, winning several key senate races, and retaking the majority of state legislatures and governorships.

The 1968 riots and demonstrations led to Nixon being elected president. The 2011 protests will result in......

Nick said...

Ralph, on the list of "Heavy Hitters" the Koch Brothers rank 78, behind Walt Disney Co at 75.

Of the top 140 Heavy Hitters, 26 are labor unions. 12 of the top 20 are labor unions. I don't have to tell you who they support. You already know.

Few banks or banker associations even make the list, and those that do either support Democrats more or split contributions almost evenly.