Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mittzilla vs. Robamadan

Watch out! Here they come – stomping and tromping, smashing and bashing... trampling Tokyo underfoot... breathing fire and noxious gases far and wide. Yes, it's those terrible twins of tyranny, Mittzilla and Robamadan – monstrous and grotesque creatures hatched in the atomic kitchen. And they're coming to your house! To stay! At least until Election Day.

So... thanks to Texas (Ron Paul's adopted home state, even though he was raised and nurtured right here in the Pittsburgh area), we now know for certain who will lose the election this fall. Oh sure, the media will be full of scare stories between now and then – Obama hanging on by a thread etc. -- but I've said before that, despite what the polls say, Obama's base is firm. At its heart are non-income tax payers, who now constitute a good half of the populace, and therefore of voters. Another way of looking at it is that the natural Democratic constituency consists of people who are on the take, who believe they're on the take (even if they aren't), or who would like to be on the take. In this era of infantile, thumb-sucking passivity and dependence on government largess, this has to include well over half the citizenry. Yes, the days of the iconic rugged individual, the self-made man, the hard-working American with potential for heroism... those days are long gone. We have become, by and large, a nation of junkies, and the pusher is the government. And if you think that's bad... well, just consider that it's still thought to be our job to bail out, economically and militarily, a good part of Europe, a good part of the Near East, and pretty much any other place on earth that “needs” our help. On demand! The miracle, in my opinion, is not that times are tough but that they aren't even tougher. If you visualize the American taxpayer in the place of Atlas, bearing the burden of at least half the world on his shoulders (quivering from fatigue), you have to wonder where all this “excess” wealth comes from. How can we afford, even for an instant, to be on the hook for half the world's economic and military problems? And yet it appears that we are – which tells me that that half of the world must be in even worse shape than we are. Or – they are smarter than we are, and are just using us the way one would use a brawny but brainless servant. (I tend to go by the latter assumption for purposes of ordinary analysis.)

So much for Obama's hard-core base. But to that you have to add the mainstream media, the unions, academia, the entertainment industry, trial lawyers, at least half of Wall Street, folk singers, mimes, virtually all government workers on all levels, NPR, PBS, the arts community, “legacy” Democratic voters (mostly white ethnics), minorities of all stripes... is there anyone I've left out? Plus – the Democrats have an added advantage that most people (but not me!) are too polite to bring up during election season – namely that they know how to steal votes. They have vast experience in this matter (think 1960, for starters), they have the infrastructure, the will, the opportunity, and the total lack of morals (not that the Republicans are all that stellar in this regard). I mean... why do you think Eric Holder, the Clown Prince of this administration, is running around complaining about various states' voter ID laws and anti-voter fraud campaigns? Is he really afraid that truly qualified voters will be barred from voting – by pot-bellied sheriffs with police dogs straining at the leash? Is it really a civil rights issue? Hell no – he's afraid that it will put a crimp in the business-as-usual of voter fraud, which the Democrats have depended on from time immemorial to give themselves an edge. In a close race – and let's face it, a lot of them have been close lately – that might be all it takes to put your man over the top.

And then we come to the Republicans, and it's been pointed out quite frequently of late that the Republican base, namely white middle-class heterosexual Protestant men, is a vanishing breed – and it is. This is the group that, rightly or wrongly, has been carrying the torch for “traditional American values” all this time. They and the mainstream parted company sometime in the 1960s, as I recall – and ne'er the twain shall meet again. Now, this group, sometimes known as WASPs or AWM (Angry White Men), and of which Mitt Romney might as well be the poster child, is feeling... a bit left out, you might say. They have seen the entire culture shift away from them, never to return... and yet they claim to exemplify core American “values” -- the same ones the Founding Fathers honored, and promoted in the founding documents. All true! And as flawed as those values (and documents) might have been, they have shown considerable durability – more than, e.g., the delusions of communism or the absurdities of the few remaining monarchies.

But here's the dirty little secret of American politics: White heterosexual Protestant men are still in charge -- but only the elite top layer.  The average AWM is angrier than ever, as witness the Tea Party movement.  They feel a real diminution of power and cultural influence -- but the elite doesn't.  The only difference is that they've had to go underground, in a sense. They exert influence through politics, business, banking, secret societies, international cartels... I mean, who makes up the bulk of “those organizations” the conspiracy theorists are always talking about? White heterosexual Protestant men, of course! Always have, always will. But their power cannot be paraded about in public as in times past – it has to be exerted in more subtle, hidden ways. But exerted it is, and will be – and make no mistake, the main difference between Romney and Obama is that Romney actually looks the part, and Obama doesn't. But no matter who wins in November, that person will be, or remain, a loyal servant of the real ruling power of this country.

So then, does it make any difference to the ruling elite who wins? Not at all. They could not care less. Oh sure, there is a bit of window dressing required to maintain the “street creds” of someone like Obama – but we see how well that has worked out so far. He is surrounded by adoring acolytes and fans wherever he goes, either within our borders or overseas. The precise formula for controlling the proletariat has to be tweaked now and then – but it all comes out the same in the end. One could ask, who are the real victims of the current economic era – I mean in the long run? Clearly, the middle class and the small businessman. And they are openly maligned and persecuted by Democrats and liberals. But are they any better off when a Republican is in the White House? Not really. What changes is the rhetoric, and the iconography, but the long-term trends continue apace. The middle class is doomed... small business is doomed... independent farmers are doomed... and no one who gets anywhere near the levers of power (or the appearance thereof) is inclined to do anything about it other than talk. (“Go back to your cabins, folks, there's nothing to worry about” -- from an officer on the Titanic.)

But if it doesn't matter to the ruling elite who wins, it certainly seems to matter to the parties and the individuals involved. Well, of course – everyone has his or her rice bowl. The elite allows politicians to play their little games, because they know that no matter the outcome, those politicians will only become more dependent on them (the elite) for support, protection, and a kind of superficial validation. If the point of American politics is to fool the American people, then the goal of the Regime is to fool politicians into thinking that (1) they're important; (2) they're doing important things; and (3) the country and its citizens need them. So... what sort of person would fall for such a naked deception? Now you have a clue as to why politicians are the way they are, and what makes them tick. They are the ultimate egoists and narcissists, with delusions of grandeur and illusions of power; the result is that they are the most malleable and most easily exploited people on earth. No one with any sense would actually put people like this in charge of anything important... and we can at least be grateful to the Regime that it, indeed, refuses to do so. Congress is an impotent Tower of Babel, the courts are hotbeds of moral chaos, and the executive branch is bloated with high-paid serfs. No one, as I've said, who depends on the American voter for their position can be said to have any real power. We say, in cases like that of John Edwards, “lo how the mighty have fallen”, but, in fact, they were never mighty – not really. They had the perks, the self-delusions, the aura of power, but when we see how easily it's stripped away we realize the truth – that these people are all made out of cardboard. They are make-believe people in power suits and expensive hairdos. The difference between John Edwards, whose name is mud, and Barack Obama, who is still considered, by many, to be The Chosen One? Hardly any. The thinnest of wafer-thin political structures is holding Obama up, and at one word from the Regime he could be like that guy in “Ben-Hur” who winds up getting dragged around the Coliseum behind a chariot. That's how tenuous these people's positions are – but I do not feel sorry for them; no, not at all! They have traded in all that is good and honorable for a mess of pottage... for a delusion... for the roar of the crowd, and they will have only themselves to blame when that roar turns into hissing, booing, and catcalls.

So as I've said, the pols are allowed to play their petty games for their own gratification and for the entertainment of the voters... and to give the media something to do during that endless 24-hour news cycle. And the pols know, on some level, that they are being used and exploited, but they don't care. They would rather give up their honor and win an election than be real men (or women). And the elite know this, and exploit it for all it's worth. I mean – lots of luck having someone who is a member of the ruling elite, and who has real power – someone like Henry Kissinger, say – run for office. Forget it! So instead they run surrogates... “faces”... people like Edwards, or Obama, or now Romney. It makes the voters happy (kind of), it makes the media happy, and it staves off revolution for another election cycle. Mission accomplished! The fact that all the pols, with precious few exceptions, are working for the same master seldom occurs to anyone – although it must be said that it occurs to more people now than it used to. But when you see that “differences” in domestic policy between the two major parties are no more than trivial tweezing at the margins... and differences in foreign policy are... well, they don't exist, actually... you have to wonder. We used to have great fun mocking the “one-party system” in Iron Curtain countries, where everyone would raise their hand on cue for whatever idea the dictator-in-charge had that day... but when you see Congress at work, is it all that much different? Wouldn't it be more efficient, in fact – more honest – if they just admitted, once and for all, that ours too is a one-party system, and started conducting business in the manner of the Supreme Soviet? We could eliminate election campaigns, too – think of what an enhancement to the quality of life that would bring! And – no more quibbling about “campaign financing”. And who knows, we might even be able to avoid ridiculous debates about things like what should be officially declared the “national mammal”.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Painting it Black

A while back, I went to an exhibition of photographs by a well-known black photographer – a Pittsburgh resident who captured countless images of black (African-American, Negro, etc. - your choice) life in the city for a number of decades. Now... the literature accompanying this exhibition, predictably, described the black community of those times with words like “vibrant”, “dynamic”, “lively”, and so on – you've heard the same words used to describe Harlem in the old days, as well as any number of other urban black communities throughout the U.S.

Now, to begin with, when's the last time you heard, or read, any of these words used to describe inner-city black communities of today? Now it's more like “blighted”, “dysfunctional”, “drug-ridden”, “single-parent (i.e., without a father) households”, “crime-ridden”, “unsafe”... with a barely-concealed additional adjective: “hopeless”. And the question that always comes to mind – mine, at least – is “what happened”? And this is particularly salient given all of the alleged “advances” that have occurred in the meantime, starting with the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965) – not to mention countless programs promoting affirmative action, equal opportunity, preferences, set-asides, minority-owned businesses, Head Start (1964), ad infinitum. (And do I need to add that the high water mark of the “urban riots” occurred after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act? The Watts riots of 1965 are usually considered to have been the first in this series, although they were preceded by Rochester and Philadelphia, both in 1964.)

So again I ask, “what happened?” Or better yet, what didn't happen? One would think that, once “equality” had been codified in federal law, people would have been satisfied to sit back and reap the benefits in a calm and orderly manner... and some did. But that doesn't explain the riots, or the apparent degradation of black communities and black culture since.

The explanations – if one can call them that – come from many quarters, and are typically divided into two main categories, which I'll call “racism” and “failure”. The “racism” theory (cherished by liberals, Democrats, the “black leadership”, NPR, PBS, the public schools, academia, etc.) focuses on what is called residual racism, or institutional racism, which is said to have persisted long after legal equality was achieved – right up to the present day, in fact. The theme is that, no matter what the law says, whites have done everything in their power to keep black people down – that there has, in fact, been a reaction not unlike what happened after the Civil War in the South. Yesterday's Klansman is today's bigoted cop and biased judge... subtle racism in hiring... discrimination in law enforcement... and so on. You've heard it all a million times, and I'm not saying it's all imaginary.

The “failure” theory (found mostly in Republican and/or conservative circles), on the other hand, contends that it's the black community itself – collectively or as individuals – that has failed to take advantage of legal equality, and for any number of reasons – passivity, the habit of being (and feeling) oppressed, a sense of entitlement, politics, hostility, refusal to “integrate”, laziness, sheer cussedness... again, you've heard it all a million times. And again, there may be more than a grain of truth to this idea.

What I think – trying to take the middle road here – is that the answer is “some of each”... but also much more. Consider, for a moment, not what measures like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act actually contained, but what they implied. The implication was that this would solve everything – that with equality before the law would follow, in short order, a change in attitude... even though those attitudes had been formed since the start of slavery in the New World and had persisted far beyond the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Black people reacted to being enslaved; no surprise! But they also reacted to the fact that, after emancipation, many other things that should have changed didn't... and this form of reaction continues to this day, despite all the “advances” of the 1960s and beyond. This is on the political side.

On the psychological side, the measures of the civil rights era and beyond seemed to imply that with equality should come not only changes in attitude and equal opportunity, but equality of outcome as well. I guess this could come under the heading of the “failure” theory, except it's much more subtle. From the perspective of many blacks, white “privilege” has always – no matter what form it takes – been at a cost to blacks. In other words, whatever advantages or gains whites have are ill-gotten, in the sense that there must (according to the narrative) be some instance of oppression and exploitation of blacks behind them – even if we're talking about, e.g., a small businessman in New England whose ancestors never owned any slaves and who hardly ever dealt with, let alone mistreated, a black person. It's not unlike the theory that all wealth is based on a crime; any advantage whites have must, by definition, be based, in some mysterious way, on oppression and exploitation of blacks – since (according to the liberal meme) life is a zero-sum game, at least economically. One man's gain is always another man's loss – therefore white gains must equal black losses; it's as simple as that. So what is the remedy for this? Not only equal opportunity from here on out, but what are called “reparations” up to, and perhaps beyond (call it “punitive damages”) the point at which blacks and whites have the same amount of prestige, social status, household income, money in the bank (or the stock market)... the same houses, the same cars... you tell me at what point this notion of “equality” would end, or be satisfied. Listening to what is referred to as the “black leadership”, I would say the answer is “never”. This is a wound that, apparently, will never heal (to which some would say, “then why bother trying?”).

Well, then – isn't it enough to just tell black people to “get over it”? I mean, after all, slavery ended nearly 150 years ago – way before anyone's living memory. Why can't these people just get organized, and suck it up, and move on? When will the “healing” begin? Et cetera. Yeah, well... it's easy to say, I suppose. Try it on some Jews whose family members died in concentration camps. But what is the alternative? Who profits from all of this continued bitterness and resentment – and I guess the answer is politicians and the “black leadership” -- not to mention the vast industry (including massive government agencies and programs) devoted to “fixing” whatever is wrong (or seems to be wrong) with the black community. So part of it, I guess, is simply the tendency of people of identify with, and function as, a group – one with historical traumas and present resentments – rather than as individuals. There is, supposedly, strength in numbers – but one wonders, in this case, if there is not also weakness in numbers. When the group has a victim mentality, who among them is brave enough to stand up and speak against it?

There is another angle to all this as well – getting back to that photographic exhibition. Black communities in that era were certainly not without their “issues”, but they did, in fact, consist mostly of intact families, had a respectable rate of employment (except, I suppose, during the Depression, when people of all races, creeds, and colors were out of work), and did not have overwhelming crime and drug problems. They were cohesive – a self-contained, sustainable culture – and were not forever at knife-points (literally or figuratively) with the larger, mostly white, community. And yes, they were separate – and yes, segregation was a fact of life, on nearly all levels. Blacks and whites lived separately, by and large, with some overlap at the borders... and they certainly “mixed” when it came to the economy and the workplace. But in an essential and profound way, blacks and whites lived in different worlds – and the blacks not only made the best of it, they figured out a way to thrive, at least culturally. This is what the photos revealed – a separate world, tantamount to apartheid, but a world nonetheless thriving, respectable, and eminently livable. You could be born, grow up, live, and die in that world and maintain your dignity and self-respect. It was, in fact, more cohesive than many white communities – which was a good survival mechanism, at the very least.

But then a funny thing happened. All of a sudden we had “integration”... “block-busting”... forced busing... and all the rest of it. Blacks and whites were being forced – by the government, through such “enlightened” programs as “urban renewal” -- down each other's throats. Did this make blacks happier, enough to balance out making whites miserable? Not that I can see. What I think happened instead was that blacks went from being first-class citizens in their own world to being second-class citizens in the larger world. The “block busting” worked both ways – white ethnics were driven out of the urban areas where they had lived for generations, but black neighborhoods were also bulldozed to make room for highways, public buildings, and “the projects”. The shack with an outhouse was traded in for the “garden apartment” -- but what was the result? Did a new day dawn? What I see is mostly alienation, resentment, and crime – crime amounting to sabotage. Was this really what the great black leaders of old, like Frederick Douglass, had in mind? Or Martin Luther King Jr., even? I can't believe it. Please note that the urban riots of the 1960s did not consist of blacks pouring out of the “ghettos” and setting fire to the white suburban neighborhoods (although this was a common, if unspoken, fear at the time). No – what was put to the torch was their own neighborhoods. Suddenly it was them against – well, the whole world, really. They joined, in a self-destructive way, in the cultural genocide. They had been robbed of one birthright – a cohesive, thriving culture and community – and handed some sort of political mutation... a form of open-air prison. And who can blame them? I'm not sure the rioters had this in the front of their minds as they stormed, ransacked, and looted – but I'm talking about causes here, not conscious thought. (And in fact, some of the more thoughtful black leaders did have some insight as to what was going on, and continue to to this day – but they were a minority within a minority.)

The biggest mistake, perhaps, that the “integrators” made was to expect that blacks would even want to be “fully integrated” into the white community – with all the psychological, sociological, and cultural displacements that implies. It was a superficial and na├»ve view, and could only be held by people who were, themselves, culturally bereft – as liberals in academics and government typically are. There are black people who are willing to cross that divide, and more power to them – but, in my experience, most blacks are not. Even a deprived and diluted state of “blackness” is preferable to becoming a stranger in a strange land. And I say this with absolutely no prejudice as to which is “preferable” -- my years in the Washington, DC area served as an ample lesson on that point, as have visits to the South. It's a particularly low form of patronization to simply assume that the heart's desire of blacks is to be as “white” as possible.

So the exhibition, while a celebration in one way, was actually more a reflection on what has been lost – but how many stopped to ask why, or how? There is an illusion of progress even among oppressed minorities, to the extent that they assume that things are “improving” no matter the evidence. Somehow, as time goes on, things must get better – which means that the things of the past, as treasured as they are in retrospect, must have been less valuable than the “rights” of the present, no matter how hollow those might turn out to be.

But I still haven't brought up the darkest side of this whole business. Not only did blacks become trapped in a world they never made, but that world proceeded to “manage” them through such, ahem, benign programs as welfare – which contributed mightily to the break-up of black families; and the whole spectrum of affirmative action/preferences/set-asides, etc. -- which caused many whites to seethe with resentment. Then we have incarceration (wildly disproportionate and based largely on minor drug offenses); “games and circuses” (e.g. basketball – not bad per se, but...); “channeled rage” (rap, hip-hop, etc.); and abortion – which some brave black leaders have “outed” as a form of genocide. And – not to get too paranoid here, but – how many believe that the deluge of drugs into black communities was, and is, simply an accident of economics and social history? No – I call it a form of management, the way the true black radicals of the 1960s were, almost to a man (or woman), eventually neutralized by means of drugs and/or incarceration (or outright summary execution by “law enforcement”). If the legislation of the 1960s opened a Pandora's box, well then, by gosh, the white community and its minions were going to deal with the result any way they knew how – and invent new ways besides. So yes, blacks are “free”, but they are kept in a cultural and psychological (even more than an economic) prison – almost entirely invented, programmed, and managed by, guess who, whites.

So despite all of the supposed privileges, benefits, and entitlements heaped upon the black community over the past 50-odd years, I say that blacks remain second-class citizens, precisely because of those “privileges” -- because those all, without exception, are based on the unspoken assumption that blacks are helpless, or at least incompetent, misguided, and foolish – and they not only need help, but will continue to need help in perpetuity. They are, in other words, handicapped – and the pity is that much of the black leadership seems to agree. The braver ones point this out, and realize that true equality – a truly level playing field – is the only way to true emancipation. But this is a politically unpopular position, to say the least – and the irony is that it's mainly the few remaining “radicals” -- like Louis Farrakhan – who take this position. What does Farrakhan want? “Separate but equal”? A return to forced, legal segregation? I think what he wants is “separate”, and quit worrying about “equal” -- let the community grow, and thrive, and take care of itself in its own way and on its own terms. Let it be its own entity, without reference to the white community or even to the “larger culture”. And this is nothing new or even especially radical – as witness any number of thriving, vibrant white ethnic communities that existed in Pittsburgh and in most other cities in the “old days”. What was wrong with that? Well – the social “planners” and theorists and levelers saw plenty wrong with it.  Cohesive communities represent a bulwark against totalitarianism, collectivism, and tyranny – and that's why they have to be done away with, by hook or crook... by way of (alleged) good intentions and, bottom-line, by force. So in that sense black communities share a grievance – perhaps the greatest one of all – with white communities. On one side you have racial, ethnic, and religious cohesion, and on the other side the state, by which I mean the government, which cares not for the old ways and old values, but only wants people to be turned into “good citizens”, which means willing servants of the regime. The beneficiaries of “block busting” wound up with a worse deal, in a way, than the victims; at least the latter were able to migrate out to the suburbs, whereas the “beneficiaries” wound up living in a newly-formed ghetto, where they form that most pathetic and servile of all entities, a “reliable voting block”. Where is the freedom in that?

Look at those photos, folks, and consider what has been lost – and then consider how it might be regained.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Why Is Anyone Surprised?

Those five mutants who were picked up for terrorist activities (intended, not actually carried out) turned out to be tight with the Occupy Cleveland group... and said group is, predictably, all in a flutter as to how to distance themselves from the alleged terrorists. Well, OK – given that the whole thing was a sting operation, which means that the “terrorists” would not have had a plan at all if they hadn't been helped along by the government... it remains that there was a plan, and they were willing participants. In fact, it reminds me of nothing so much as the anarchists of old – you know, those guys who were always pictured with long coats and bushy black beards, carrying a round black bomb with the fuse lit. That was raw material for the “Red Scare” of old (post-World War I)... and now it turns out that, with a bit of help from the makeup and costume departments, it can serve as raw materials for the current obsession with terrorism. Our home-grown terrorists, in fact, don't look all that different from white supremacists – not a coincidence, I'm sure.

But here's what I find striking. The Occupy types are shocked – shocked! -- that any of their associates would be implicated in any way in such a dastardly plot. And when you look at the Occupy movement on the surface, it seems reasonable – after all, who doesn't object, to some degree, to the many predations of Wall Street, big business, and crony capitalism? I even suspect that far more than 99% of the populace considers themselves part of “the 99%” -- i.e. the taken-for-granted, exploited, and put-upon. We do have a love affair with victim politics in this country, and even people who live high off the hog occasionally indulge in victimization claims. And it is certainly true that any number of Democrats/liberals mouth 99%-er words from their palatial mansions. But just being a 99%-er, or claiming to be one, doesn't automatically brand one an anarchist or a terrorist... right?

The important thing to remember about the Occupy crowd is not what they are against, but what they are for. The anarchists of old turned, overnight, into Bolsheviks and totalitarians. They wound up severely oppressing “the people” whom they had pretended to represent. And they were no more interested in true freedom and individual liberty than had been the czars and kings of earlier times. I will say that behind the face of nearly every self-styled “anarchist” lies the brain and heart of a totalitarian dictator. They only want to smash the state in order to install a new, even more oppressive, one in its place – with them in charge. Seek no further than the “coat-and-tie liberals” of the 1960s who have now matured into -- for all intents and purposes -- fascists.

Now... it is true that there is a significant anarchistic wing of the libertarian movement, and I suspect that they are the real McCoy... i.e., true anarchists in principle and not hypocrites with a hidden agenda. I'm not saying that their position is realistic or sustainable, mind – although they certainly deserve a lot more “air time” than they have gotten up to now. But at least they're consistent, and not driven by political relativism... which is why, I suspect, there are few if any among the Occupy crowd. Because that rag-tag group, if I'm not mistaken, consists not of true anarchists, and certainly not of true advocates of distributism – but of thinly-disguised communists, collectivists, and totalitarians. In fact, the thin disguise falls away entirely at times, as we have seen over the past few months... especially when one of them expresses a desire for the government to move in and solve all the problems the Occupy people are protesting against. Right – refusing to acknowledge that it was, by and large, the government that was responsible for the problems in the first place. So the solution for government interference in the economy is, apparently, bigger government. How can that possibly be considered anarchism? It's only anarchism to the extent that someone wants to destroy the current system – but they don't want to do that either; not really. All they want is that the current system changes priorities, and makes a shift in the people who receive privileges... and becomes more totalitarian. So, for example, the government is supposed to pay off everyone's college loans, presumably by taking money away from Wall Street. But the government and Wall Street are symbiotic; they're practically synonymous. And if the government pays off every existing college loan, how about the ones that are taken out next fall, or next week, or tomorrow? Shouldn't the government pay for those as well – which really means, shouldn't the government just send everyone to college for free? This would certainly require a bit of economic reshuffling... but I can guarantee government would only get larger, and I doubt “Wall Street” would get any smaller. Only the middle class would, as usual, wind up with a bigger bill.

So are the “Ohio Five” real, true-blue anarchists? They may think they are and act like they are, but unless they are extremely atypical of the Occupy crowd, they are anything but. The main difference would seem to be their tactics, which are, let's admit, a bit on the extreme side. How would blowing up a bridge in Ohio accomplish anything other than creating a highway version of TSA? How about a body scan every time you want to drive on the Interstate? I can hardly wait.

Another nuance in all this is as follows. The Occupy Cleveland movement says, in its indignation, that the movement is nonviolent. Well, fine – but we have all seen what happens when “non-violent” movements gain the upper hand. First comes revolt, then revolution, and then a settling of scores and an attempt to remake society that invariably involves enormous amounts of violence and coercion. Give any “non-violent” person some real political power and see how long he remains non-violent.  (See, for instance, the "non-violent" Quakers' role in "urban renewal", i.e. the forcible ethnic cleansing of urban areas.)  Even the ones who stand above the fray seem to have plenty of “lumpen proletarians” available to do their dirty work. (And how many “non-violent” political types, once in Congress, have signed on to every war, “police action”, invasion, and occupation that came their way – not to mention to the Patriot Act and other police-state measures?)

So this development at least makes it a bit more clear what the agenda of – I suspect – more than a handful of “Occupiers” is. And it's not as if the points they are making in public are wrong; it's more about the motive behind them. Many of them, I suspect, not only hate “big business” but all business... and they not only hate disproportionate distribution of wealth, but all wealth... and private property as well. Many of them have been quite explicit on this matter. But the irony remains that, while they hate the things that government has provided to the privileged few, they expect that same government to come in and clean house, and to right all wrongs, and to enact a great leveling – not only of rights and opportunity, but of outcomes on all levels. I hesitate even to call it hypocrisy – invincible ignorance might be more appropriate.