The City of Oakland suffered a black eye when its attempt to rout the Occupy Oakland not only failed to move the protest, it managed to create the first martyr, an antisemitic ex-Marine who hates the Marines with an abiding passion. I’m sorry that Oakland made the effort. If I were in charge, I would let the Occupy people stay as long as possible. The benefits of their continued presence in any given City are twofold.
First, in one of those great ironies, the occupiers are learning that their principles work well in theory, but fail completely in fact. My personal favorite story in this genre involves the food situation at OWS:
The Occupy Wall Street volunteer kitchen staff launched a “counter” revolution yesterday — because they’re angry about working 18-hour days to provide food for “professional homeless” people and ex-cons masquerading as protesters.
Two of my favorite writers commented on the lessons that those youngsters enthralled with the Leftist world of unicorns and fairies are learning from this little run-in with reality. First, James Taranto:
In truth, the Obamavillians are learning why Obama is wrong–why socialism doesn’t work. A society that makes a virtue of dependency ultimately encourages freeloading and grifting. The instinct to prevent it is a healthy one. A lot has been written about the similarities and differences between Obamaville and the Tea Party, and here is one: Whereas the latter arose out of the instinct to reward self-reliance and discourage dependency, the former is having it awakened by an encounter with the real world.
Ace has his own take on the lessons the OWS crowd is learning.
Lessons of social evolution, part 8: Sharing of resources only works within a small group with some natural connection (such as familial bond) or other emotional/personal fondness for each other. Sharing of resources generally only works for a brief period of time — the natural resentment towards Takers can only be briefly suppressed — and usually during special occasions (such as communal feasts).
Being expected to share with individuals outside of one’s kin group quickly produces resentment, and soon after, a codification of the principle of private property, which is, of course, the right to exclude others from the use of one’s property as one deems fit.
Or, to put both more simply the conclusions that Taranto and Ace draw: a conservative is a liberal who is mugged by reality or, in this case, has to share food with grifters. The longer the encampments exist, the more the denizens will see that their Socialist dream is just that — a dream.
The encampment’s continued existence might also help make non-resident sympathizers realize that these protesters aren’t romantic heroes. If you want to protest in America, you use the ballot box. The protests are for show, not for real political effect. As it is, having people defecate on doorsteps seems to be making OWS’s neighbors — all of whom claim to support OWS — a bit hostile to the movement.
The growing and instinctive revulsion against the movement probably holds true for the San Franciscans, most of whom are ordinary working stiffs, who have to walk by overflowing PortaPotties near the Embarcadero. It turns out that the protesters were able to rouse themselves sufficiently to order PortaPotties, but hadn’t figured out that they needed to be emptied. I’m sure that the random piles of vomit, feces, and used tampons surrounding the protest area aren’t so exciting either.
As for the public health issues,, it’s important to remember that the people at these protest sites are there voluntarily. If the filth, vermin and discomfort become too much, they can leave. This is true even if infectious diseases start spreading within the confines of these Obamavilles. Unlike concentration camp inmates, or the people trapped by war in refugee camps, nothing stops these residents from moving on.
Filth and potential disease risks notwithstanding, I have too admit that I don’t feel that bad (at least not yet) for the nearby residents, because they’ve embraced social and financial policies that provided the perfect breeding ground for these anarchist protests. Chicago? San Francisco? New York? All relentlessly blue politically. As I noted above, even the Zuccotti Park homeowners have, so far, been paying lip service to the protesters’ virtues. Now, these seem voters/taxpayers/tuition payers are getting to see the real world effect of their ideology. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap, right?
If you think I’m overstating the effects of revulsion and disenchantment on any but the truest of true believers, think about the effect a visit to Haight Ashbury during the summer of love had on George Harrison. Remember that the Beatles, with the best will in the world, supported and advanced the whole hippie movement, which they thought was a step in the ultimate fulfillment of human kind. The Beatles were therefore very excited about visiting Haight, which they thought would be the apex of the hippie movement, filled with peace, love and harmony. What Harrison saw, instead, were “bums.” There wasn’t any flower power. There were just pathetic addicts wallowing in filth:
I went there expecting it to be a brilliant place, with groovy gypsy people making works of art and paintings and carvings in little workshops. But it was full of horrible spotty drop-out kids on drugs, and it turned me right off the whole scene. I could only describe it as being like the Bowery: a lot of bums and drop-outs; many of them very young kids who’d dropped acid and come from all over America to this mecca of LSD.
It certainly showed me what was really happening in the drug culture. It wasn’t what I’d thought – spiritual awakenings and being artistic – it was like alcoholism, like any addiction. The kids at Haight-Ashbury had left school and dossed out there, and instead of drinking alcohol they were on all kinds of drugs.
Harrison gave up LSD after seeing the Haight:
That was the turning-point for me – that’s when I went right off the whole drug cult and stopped taking the dreaded lysergic acid. I had some in a little bottle (it was liquid). I put it under a microscope, and it looked like bits of old rope. I thought that I couldn’t put that into my brain any more.
I, who grew up fairly near the Haight, never took drugs for precisely the same reason. These people weren’t romantic, they were disgusting.
Perhaps many of today’s play-acting radicals will give up Socialism after spending some time in their Occupy [pick a city] socialist paradise. After all, if news reports are true, these People’s Parks aren’t just figuratively mugging liberals with reality, they’re really mugging them, and raping them too* (not to mention the masturbation that keeps people warm on a cold morning). So let’s keep these Occupies going as long as we can. They’re the liberal petri dish we’ve been waiting for.
*Don’t give up on that link, which may well return a denial of service or some other dead page. Because it is a pithy, easy-to-read summation of the ugly side of OWS, it’s been under constant attack from liberal hackers. If you find yourself completely unable to get through, go to Gateway Pundit, which has been consistently document the complete societal breakdown in the Obamavilles.