I Recant: Confessions of an OWS Opponent

Yet, clever people fall for far more dangerous ideas of the exact same form. In Philadelphia, a group of remarkably intelligent men came together to form a government. These men had seen full-grown governments before, had in fact just freed themselves from one. Yet here they were, feeding and nourishing a small baby government, playing with it, considering it so cute and adorable that they just had to have one.

-Joshua Katz, “Don’t Buy a Tiger

My previous piece was an attempt at a polite hatchet job on the OWS movement. That was hypocritical and wrong. I apologize, more to my friends who read it and agreed than to the OWS types who (like the rest of the world) remain largely unaware of the existence of ZeroGov.

I stand by my criticism of the unfocused nature of the protests. I agree with the sentiment of frequent ZeroGov commenter mot, who wrote:

“They ask evil to protect them from evil….” That’s the old Biblical example of trying to cast out Beelzebub in the name of Beelzebub. It simply doesn’t happen.”

And I still oppose the sentiment of this young man and those like him who, rather than being upset that the fruits of their labor has been wrongly appropriated by those in power, instead demand a share of the spoils.

But these protests are, so far, spontaneous order without coercion or force (although there are some disturbing omens that the will of the many might soon be imposed on the few). Until force is used, until laws are imposed and enforced, these protesters are absolutely doing the right thing. The protesters are respectfully using and maintaining the “occupied” property. This is anarchism in action by any reasonable definition: that no person or group imposes its will on another.

I am still worried that OWS, like the Tea Party before it, will be co-opted by new or existing powers. I do not like the rumblings of a coherent demand for increased regulation instead of the removal of existing Protectionist, Corporatist and Crony Capitalist government policies. I do not like the near-complete absence of anti-war sentiment among the protesters on the Youtube videos and articles I’ve seen.

But popular anger at a system of power that has done harm, I like. Spontaneous order and cooperation without coercion, I like. And so I hope and pray that this movement does not coalesce into Soviet communism, Nazi fascism, or American imperialism. I hope that anger at the powers that be, anger at the tax collectors and Apparatchiks and banksters does not devolve into a cult of personality around the elites who make false promises.

I hope, that is, that my last essay was wrong.

2 thoughts on “I Recant: Confessions of an OWS Opponent”

  1. I’m a big fan of dystopian Sci-Fi because it aligns with what I see in the world and through history. Morpheus would ask us to “free our minds” from the illusion of what we are told is reality… or as well meaning yet deluded friends and family say is “just the way things are.” The deception runs deep while the conditioning runs deeper still.

    So when do enough people reach a collective tipping point and break free? I’ve noticed that some lovers of the status-quo, though they would probably deny being as such, are more than happy to rail against “the man” only to scurry off and hide behind his bloody cloak and rub their chain chafed wrists just so long as they get a pat on the head and a bowl of gruel. No finer example of a dog could be seen.

    I’m reminded in moments like this that most change came about not through Leviathan peacefully giving up power. As much as I despise many of the founders it should be noted they did not hold generational tea and biscuit parties to idly discuss their grievances. Inevitably there was action taken and consequences followed.

    I would love for peaceful change but even then it would have to be backed by force of arms because the Federal bully will brook no challenge unless it is too costly. And as long as they freely rob people and convince their victims that its a privilege to be raped they have nothing to worry about. When the victims claw back and bloody the bastards is when they’ll begin to listen.

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