At heart, Oakland's occupiers and worthless political class want to live as beneficiaries of a prosperous Western society without making any contribution to the productivity necessary to sustain it.
..."I don't "stand with the 99%," and certainly not downwind of them. But I'm all for their "occupation" continuing on its merry way. It usefully clarifies the stakes. At first glance, an alliance of anarchists and government might appear to be somewhat paradoxical. But the formal convergence in Oakland makes explicit the movement's aims: They're anarchists for statism, wild free-spirited youth demanding more and more total government control of every aspect of life – just so long as it respects the fundamental human right to sloth. What's happening in Oakland is a logical exercise in class solidarity: the government class enthusiastically backing the breakdown of civil order is making common cause with the leisured varsity class, the thuggish union class and the criminal class in order to stick it to what's left of the beleaguered productive class. It's a grand alliance of all those societal interests that wish to enjoy in perpetuity a lifestyle they are not willing to earn. Only the criminal class is reasonably upfront about this. The rest – the lifetime legislators, the unions defending lavish and unsustainable benefits, the "scholars" whiling away a somnolent half-decade at Complacency U – are obliged to dress it up a little with some hooey about "social justice" and whatnot.
But that's all it takes to get the media and modish if insecure corporate entities to string along. Whole Foods can probably pull it off. So can Ben & Jerry's, the wholly owned subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch corporation UniLever that nevertheless successfully passes itself off as some sort of tie-dyed Vermont hippie commune. But a chain of stores that sells shirts, ties, the garb of the corporate lackey, has a tougher sell. The class that gets up in the morning, pulls on its lousy Men's Wearhouse get-up and trudges off to work has to pay for all the other classes, and the strain is beginning to tell.
Let it be said that the "occupiers" are right on the banks: They shouldn't have been bailed out. America has one of the most dysfunctional banking systems in the civilized world, and most of its allegedly indispensable institutions should have been allowed to fail. But the Occupy Oakland types have no serious response, other than the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement by government-funded inertia.
America is seizing up before our eyes: The decrepit airports, the underwater property market, the education racket, the hyper-regulated business environment. Yet, curiously, the best example of this sclerosis is the alleged "revolutionary" movement itself. It's the voice of youth, yet everything about it is cobwebbed. It's more like an open-mike karaoke night of a revolution than the real thing. I don't mean just the placards with the same old portable quotes by Lenin et al, but also, say, the photograph in Forbes of Rachel, a 20-year-old "unemployed cosmetologist" with remarkably uncosmetological complexion, dressed in pink hair and nose ring as if it's London, 1977, and she's killing time at Camden Lock before the Pistols gig. Except that that's three-and-a-half decades ago, so it would be like the Sex Pistols dressing like the Andrews Sisters. Are America's revolting youth so totally pathetically moribund they can't even invent their own hideous fashion statements? Last weekend, the nonagenarian Commie Pete Seeger was wheeled out at Zuccotti Park to serenade the oppressed masses with "If I Had A Hammer." As it happens, I do have a hammer. Pace Mr. Seeger, they're not that difficult to acquire, even in a recession. But, if I took it to Zuccotti Park, I doubt very much anyone would know how to use it, or be able to muster the energy to do so.
At heart, Oakland's occupiers and worthless political class want more of the same fix that has made America the Brokest Nation in History: They expect to live as beneficiaries of a prosperous Western society without making any contribution to the productivity necessary to sustain it. This is the "idealism" that the media are happy to sentimentalize, and that enough poseurs among the corporate executives are happy to indulge – at least until the window smashing starts. To "occupy" Oakland or anywhere else, you have to have something to put in there. Yet the most striking feature of OWS is its hollowness. And in a strange way the emptiness of its threats may be a more telling indictment of a fin de civilization West than a more coherent protest movement could ever have mounted.