The two best pieces I’ve read on the “Occupy” movement come from liberal faux-rock magazine Rolling Stone, and National Review editor Rich Lowry. Rolling Stone’s Jeff Sharlet attempts to spin the movement into something positive with ‘Welcome to the Occupation,’ but in the end still concludes that it’s a directionless mish-mash. Lowry’s ‘The Left’s Homegrown Terrorists’ has some of the hardest hitting commentary I’ve seen to date — he doesn’t mince words, and the moral clarity with which he speaks cuts deep. Really deep. Put the two together and you can only conclude that when directionless malcontents get desperate they have a propensity to get dangerous and scary (e.g., Greece’s Golden Dawn Neo-Nazis).
“Twice I woke up. Once when a squat woman with dreads down to her knees shuffled by with a broom…and a second time when a deranged man, top-heavy like a bulldog, punched the air above my head, daring anyone to take a shot at him. The occupation’s security, thin-limbed men with walkie-talkies, spread their arms out like birds and surrounded him. “We love you, man,” they said, over and over, containing but never touching. Finally he fled; the scene was too strange for the conventional crazy.”
In one short paragraph we see all of Occupy. There is the “peace-love-dope” contingent — and then there is the “angry deranged man punching the air” wolf pack. He can either roam alone, or in packs of five. The common denominator is that they are all really weird. And so, for every group of directionless hippies who have no long term strategic objective or a coherent plan of action beyond “love” there is one angry malcontent. Sometimes they punch their air, and somethings they seek to destroy property, be it windows, cars, or bridges.
And that is where Rich Lowry comes in:
The Cleveland Five are a sad-sack collection of wannabe terrorists if there ever was one. The amateurish young men who plotted to destroy a bridge outside Cleveland last week give the impression of needing the attention of a guidance counselor as much as a federal prosecutor.
But there’s no mistaking the seriousness of their attempted act. They allegedly planted what they thought were live bricks of C-4 underneath a well-traveled bridge connecting two suburban Ohio communities and repeatedly tried to detonate them. …
The Cleveland Five are the pathetic sons of Occupy — rootless, underemployed, drunk on a sophomoric radicalism, alienated from the American system of democratic capitalism to the point of lawlessness. One Occupy leader told the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer that Wright — a drifter with no known address and a vaguely checkered past — struck him as altogether “stereotypical.” …
Blowing up a bridge is like smashing a window — a favorite pastime of the anarchists at Occupy protests on the West Coast — only on a much larger and more hazardous scale. The spirit of nihilistic destructiveness is the same.
As is the flouting of laws and authority. This tendency isn’t limited to anarchists but is at the heart of Occupy. Writing in The Nation, Michael Moore imagines “nonviolent assaults” (whatever that means) on Wall Street and “wave after wave of arrests” in an attempt to shut it down. The romance of confrontation with the police is more central to Occupy than any specific agenda item. The movement welcomes a “diversity of tactics,” which means accepting the masked anarchists who are delighted so long as stuff gets, in the charming words of Wright contemplating his bridge, “f–ed up.”
Rich Lowry shows us that it is much better to set off charges of intellectual explosives than it is to try and purchase them from FBI informants to blow up bridges. When he says “rootless, underemployed, drunk on a sophomoric radicalism, alienated from the American system of democratic capitalism to the point of lawlessness,” he has thrust a verbal bayonet through the heart of the movement and twisted it for good measure.
The drifting mess that is ‘Occupy’ is what you get when you build a movement on the machinations of anarchist Yalies like David Graeber, as Rolling Stone’s ‘Welcome to the Occupation’ points out.
If you lie down with dogs (and homeless men in Zuccotti Park) you will wake up with fleas. If your movement lies down with anarchists, it will wake up with ammonium nitrate residue on its fingers and face and down its pants. (Mix in a little radical Islam and you might find a non-metallic underwear bomb in there.) A better option would be to take a shower, get a job — any job — and become a productive citizen.
Long story short: It’s going to be an interesting year.
Related: Katherine Ernst takes down “Occupy” over at City Journal (You can be the judge if we’re related or not.)