A real live meeting of “Occupy Washington”

We had heard that the “Occupy Wall Street” / “Occupy Philadelphia” / “Occupy Washington” / “Occupy Peoria” movement was pretty weird, but it turns out to be much weirder than we thought, as you will see from Guy Benson’s column and video clip at TownHall.com. And remember, this is a movement that has been embraced by the New York Times, Nancy Pelosi, and the entire Democratic left.

Here is the first part of Benson’s column in which he introduces the clip—which, believe me, needs an introduction:

Having watched this clip all the way through several times, I still can’t stop chuckling. Here’s a quick primer to prepare you for what you’re about to see: The video — taken yesterday afternoon — begins as civil rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) arrives at #OccupyAtlanta, hoping to express solidarity and articulate his support with some brief remarks. Unfortunately for him, the Congressman is totally unacquainted with the gathering’s “rules,” which make the U.S. Senate look like a model of brisk efficiency. The group’s “leader” (the hippie with the bullhorn) speaks in three-second intervals so the rest of the assembled group can chant his partial sentences back at him. They’re speaking with “one voice,” you see. In order to build a consensus, they “debate” whether Lewis should be permitted to speak, or if the program should continue as planned. This quasi-vote is taken through a juvenile system of silent finger-wiggling (yes, really). The consensus shifts several times before the group settles on a conclusion: Lewis is not any more valuable than any other human being, and his request to speak is therefore denied. This decision prompts an angry outburst from Lewis supporters, who immediately earn angry jazz hands of scorn for chanting out of turn. This is seriously beyond parody… [see video].

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Paul K. writes:

The ten-minute video you linked to was well worth watching in its entirety. This is the vision of leftist governance—spending more time to decide whether Rep. John Lewis should speak than it would have taken for him to say whatever he had to say. The main leader, bearded and skinny with twig-like arms, was a cartoon of the ineffectual liberal, and the crowd, repeating his words in mindless fashion, suitably herd-like. Two couples got up and left; perhaps they just had other business to attend to, but I’d prefer to think that they became disgusted by the whole spectacle.

As far as the embarrassment and inconvenience suffered by Lewis, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. I am so tired of hearing this race man constantly spoken of with reverence. I don’t know if he is responsible for the canard that he and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus were spat upon and called “n——” by Tea Party protesters at the March 2010 rally, but he never denied it. The shameless Nancy Pelosi resorted to the lie again yesterday in defining the difference between the Occupy folks, whom she approves of, and the Tea Party, which she hates.

Richard P. writes:

I was just watching the video of the OccupyAtlanta protests. My five year old son walked up and watched over my shoulder for a minute. He then slapped his forehead and said “Those people should all go to jail.” After I stopped laughing I asked, “Why?” He said, “Because they talk like babies.”

I’m still laughing.

Ken Hechtman writes:

Yeah, I just remembered why I stopped going to anarchist meetings. In the early 1990s they started to get goofy. They took weird-looking practices that we did when there was a reason to do them and they made a religion out of it. The crowd-repetition thing was originally so the people in the back row of a big crowd in a big space could hear what was said without amplified sound. The finger-wiggling is the way deaf people clap. We started doing that because it’s a way of applauding that the speaker can just talk over. It doesn’t force the speaker to stop every few minutes and make a long meeting longer. Those things weren’t an identity badge like they are now.

Did you catch the part in the video about “Do we have a block? Do we have consensus?” That’s the Quaker Consensus Process. The anti-war movement learned it from the Quakers in the early 1960s and it’s now universal across the activist left. I hate that stuff. Stupid people think it’s more democratic than voting but it’s just so easy to manipulate. In the video, the boss with bullhorn (he’d call himself the “facilitator,” no anarchist ever admits to being in charge of anything) doesn’t want Lewis to speak. So he phrases the proposal as “Do we have consensus to interrupt the agenda and let Lewis speak?” One dissenting voice means they don’t. If he’d wanted Lewis to speak he’d have phrased it as “Do we have consensus to send John Lewis away and continue with the agenda?” One person blocking consensus then means Lewis can speak.

The worst part though is these people have no idea who John Lewis is. He’s some Democrat congressman, that’s all. Anybody who doesn’t know why John Lewis has earned the right to address any activist gathering he wants for the rest of his life has no business being in one himself.

Kathlene M. writes:

Did you read the rest of Guy Benson’s column? He quotes the following from “The People’s Document.” It’s rather telling that teachers and academics would make more than Congress and just a bit less than the President. What “The People’s Document” doesn’t explain is, if doctors and nurses earn less than teachers and academics, wouldn’t there then be a shortage of doctors and nurses and way too many teachers and academics? I guess that’s why police are also deemed worthy of earning a $36,000 salary, so that the police can keep the social order from collapsing.

Writes Benson: “The bad news? They want to mandate maximum salaries for everyone. Their scheme pegs a doctor’s top income at $28,000—$500 less than “public servant” salaries:”

New Salary Range Recommendations
Based on Concepts of Economic Sustainability and right Livelihood
Bankers $20,000
Lawyers $27,500
Realtors $25,000
Doctors $28,000
Nurses $27,500
Teachers/Librarians/Train Engineers/Bridge Maintenance/Ship Pilots, etc. $35,000
Police $36,000
Public Servants $28,500
Laborers $20,000
Other public sector $30,000
Other private sector $29,000
Technical/Research/Academic $36,000
Entrepreneurs/Business Owners $10,000 (i.e., tax breaks for corps)
Congress $30,000
President 40,000
Soldiers N/A
Defense workers $25,000
All jobs include full health benefit for worker and family, full retirement benefits, full free education for children.

October 11

Alexis Zarkov writes:

Kathleen M. writes, “What ‘The People’s Document’ doesn’t explain is, if doctors and nurses earn less than teachers and academics, wouldn’t there then be a shortage of doctors and nurses and way too many teachers and academics?” Indeed. There would certainly be such shortages as well as many others. To implement such a policy would require people get assigned to various jobs. This what’s known as a command economy. An early example of which was WWI German General Erich Ludendorff’s “war socialism.” Some historians (such as Paul Johnson) assert that Lenin copied Ludendorff for his “War Communism” in effect from 1918-1921. From this reference we get the primary features of War Communism:

  • Uncontrolled inflationary printing press finance, ultimately leading to hyperinflation and nationwide reversion to barter

  • Near universal nationalization of manufacturing; widespread nationalization of retailing

  • Stringent price controls upon and forced requisitioning of agricultural products; state monopoly on grain purchases

  • Forced labor for civilians as well as the military

As we now know, War Communism failed utterly, and Lenin was forced to abandon Communism almost completely and institute his New Economic Policy. If adopted, the agenda in the “People’s Document” would inevitably lead to an economic disaster to a dictatorship. Our young people in the “Occupy Wall Street” movement understand little about either economics or history. They come across as people with a jumble of feelings with no ability to see the implications of what they propose.

Sam writes:

I believe Voltaire once prayed, “God, make my opponents ridiculous.” I watched the video. God has answered Voltaire’s prayers on our behalf.

On a more serious note, isn’t it transparently obvious that this wasn’t about “democracy”? This was a group of losers and misfits and imbeciles, relishing and savoring the fact that for once they could wield power over someone they perceived as an “authority” figure.

LA replies:

Some people would say that that is democracy.

LA writes:

Because my computer would not play the clip smoothly yesterday, I’ve only seen the entire thing this morning. What strikes me first is, how can any human beings want to be part of such a ridiculous gathering, with the kindergarten-like repetition in which adults sound like little children, with the finger waving and all the rest of it? Did we have any notion that the left in America is this silly? That these are the people who we fear are tearing down our country? Why, they have no more substance to them than the Wizard of Oz, the little man pulling his levers behind his curtain. Which doesn’t mean that they can’t do real damage. Still, it’s a little embarrassing to realize that our opponents are not Goliath of Gath but a bunch of ridiculous children.

Second, I’m struck by the theme sounded during the “deliberations” that the congressman should not be allowed to address the assembly because “no human being is better than any other.” This is not as absurd as it sounds. It is exactly the point I have made about liberalism, that since its main object is equality, no one can be allowed to have power, because power is unequal. Therefore majority rule must be suppressed in favor of a bureaucratic procedure in which everyone is theoretically equal—or, as in this case, a congressman should not be allowed to address a meeting because that would suggest that he is a more valuable human being than others. When Lewis, a veteran of the Civil Rights movement, heard himself described in those terms and was turned away by the gathering he had come to support, did he get a glimpse of what equality really means?

If “No human being is more valuable than any other” is really a principle of the contemporary left, then, for starters, if the left came into power almost every public statue in America must be demolished, because it elevates a human being over others.

More fundamentally, the rejection of Lewis shows that liberalism is not just hostile to majority rule, it is hostile to the very concept of the individual, since, if there are individuals, some individuals will naturally be more prominent and respected than others, which violates equality. Thus liberalism, which begins with the idea of individual rights, ends by canceling the idea of the individual, because individuals are inherently unequal. Carried to its logical conclusion, liberalism is communism.

Finally, it was difficult to hear a lot of what was said. A transcript is needed of this classic “deliberation.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 10, 2011 07:33 PM | Send

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