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Occupy Wall Street: The Hypocrisy Experiment

Friday, October 7, 2011
By Dan

Nothing gets the hypocrisy flowing like a counter protest.  As Jon Stewart pointed out earlier this week, there is no shortage of hypocrisy about the Occupy Wall Street crowd on the Right.  Sean Hannity was called out for having defended free speech when it came from the mouths of retirees and small business owners calling themselves the new Tea Party, but criticizing the OWS protestors for doing (roughly) the same thing.  To be fair, not every Republican is as knee-jerk hypocritical.  To his credit, Rick Santorum expressed sympathy for the frustration of the protestors.

But the hypocrisy is flowing deep and rich on the Left.  For years the Left has been calling the Tea Party a mob, racists, snidely referring to them with a derogatory term, and even a sitting Speaker of the House comparing them to Nazis.  Now, they are reacting with umbrage when GOP politicians  and conservative pundits refer to as a “mob” a group of unemployed, disenfranchised (and miseducated) twenty-somethings who are violating laws, picking fights with cops and reporters and getting arrested. ThinkProgress (two misrepresentations in one name), even called it a “smear.” Calling 700 people who are arrested for disorderly conduct a mob is not a smear.  It’s the textbook definition of a mob: “a disorderly or riotous crowd of people.”

The Left seems to swim in hypocrisy, so it’s not surprising that they are feigning outrage.  Earlier, we pointed out liberal hypocrisy in savaging Governor Christie over his weight, then rushing to criticize Senator Scott Brown for implying no one wants to see Elizabeth Warren naked.  Similarly with OWS, liberal elites are rushing in to defend their own side when they perpetrated much worse attacks on their opponents.

The reality, of course, is that the OWS protestors have a right to protest, just as the Tea Party does.  Just because you may disagree with, or, frankly have no idea, what they want, does not mean they don’t have the right to speak. There are some telling differences, however. The Tea Party protests are usually organized, rarely is anyone arrested, and perhaps most importantly, there is a consensus demand: keep the government out of our way.

In contrast, the OWS seems to be protesting the mere existence of corporations and has trouble articulating any coherent policies they support, or even why they are there at all.  The organizer of a similar protest in California couldn’t even answer the question: “Why are we here?  We have a team working on that, and should have an answer for you tomorrow.” I’m sure that, now that Van Jones and the unions are involved, the message will crystallize.  Though I doubt many of the protestors will appreciate the help.

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3 Responses to “Occupy Wall Street: The Hypocrisy Experiment”

  1. Pip

    You can point out all the same flaws in the early Tea Party movement. They were vague. The particpants were often poorly informed, contradictory, or poor public speakers. The one group is an older generation confronted with higher costs of living, reduction in value of homes and investments, and possible job loss. The younger group is faced with high unemployment, increases in tuition over decades that erodes the value of that education, and student loans that are now impossible to discharge– no matter the circumstance. These are two groups faced with the reality of a system that cannot provide jobs or growth. A system that is in many ways was unfair when it heaped assets on to those who should have taken losses. You are either ignoring the real problem by not thinking about it, or you’re lying to us, or you’re lying to yourself. I think OWS will be swallowed up and made meaningless by establishment funding, just as was done to the Tea Party. I also disagree with your recollection of Tea Party protests. There were aggressive acts, but I do agree that appearance matters, and the Tea Party members look like less of a threat than scruffy hippies.

  2. Dan

    How, exactly am I lying to anyone? The Tea Party had a founding purpose: limited government. Every protest I saw had a clearly defined purpose: opposing fat taxes, nanny state policies, the stimulus. If you asked an individual why they were there, you may have received an odd or incoherent answer, but the organizers knew why they were there.

    I hope you are not disputing the double standard applied by most media outlets between the Tea Party and OWS. Many in the media called retirees and small business owners who got angry at orderly town hall events a “mob.” Passionately stating your position when given the floor at a meeting is not mob-like conduct. Nor is shouting down someone at a meeting. Are Obama supporters a “mob” when they shout “Yes We Can” or “Four More Years” over a disruptive member? In contrast, the media now slams politicians who call a group of unruly, disorganized law breakers a “mob.”

    You seem to imply I am being too kind to the Tea Party. Show me one mass arrest, or even a single, actual Tea Party supporter arrested at any tea party protest. In the first few days of OWS, there were massive arrests. The NYPD had to use buses to process the OWS protesters. No doubt, you will claim the NYPD is biased against the poor, calm, orderly OWS protesters.

  3. Pip

    I think most of the liberals I would have spoken to would have said the Tea Party had an incoherent message, and they would point out facts such as in areas of the country that receive more Federal money than they pay in, the people there at Tea Party rallies believed that the Federal government had to stop handing out all this money, and that they were being overtaxed, when that was not the case. I had looked at the Tea Party statement and I understand what it is that they were calling for, such as limited government. I also see a clear message in the OWS, and a large portion of the media doesn’t want to present that message because it puts in to question the fundamental trajectory of the last thirty years. So, yes, I think the Tea Party gave odd and incoherent answers as individuals and you have overlooked them, and I think many individuals in the OWS will give odd and incoherent answers and you will fixate on those. For example, TPers decrying stimulus and nanny State while they live in areas that benefit greatly from it. And quite honestly with the OWS, there are many people there who are like the TPers, clinging on, being told they will get something out of it, but in the end, what the majority of the children there from middle class families are saying is not that there is a problem with 1 percent receiving a large share, but that possibly the top 20 percent could do with more of a distribution. As to differences in arrests, I would put that down to the appearance and the age group. The Tea Party members are of an age that they have some money, they can influence politics with their voices, but much more with their campaign contributions and their ability to seat and unseat politicians. For the generation coming up behind these TPers, there is no comfortable nest egg (albeit 30 percent reduced in most cases for Babyboomers), there is significant student loans, and there are frankly not enough jobs for them. They don’t have the wealth, or the numbers to become a voting bloc. There is nothing significantly different at the outset between an OWS protest and a protest in Spain, but the mix of people in Spain at protests are varied, from young to old, poor to well off, and so on. The USA is fractured politically. We have more violence, and a more violent police force than in the more advanced countries of the world, and that plays itself out when we have protests. Our protests are fractured, and the strengths or weaknesses of those responding to their experiences is used for or agaisnt them. The weaknesses in the OWS that I have stated, and this has been used to allow for mass arrests. The protesters are naive, and they will do something stupid like following everyone into an obvious setup for arrests. From the recent clash in Oakland, it looked to me like the police have a disregard for the protestors as human beings. We all have biases known or unknown and you can read accounts of how these do change the reaction of police to otherwise identical situations. I am not stating that both groups are identical, but only that they are reacting to the same problem of a failed America. I would agree that the media misrepresented the Tea Party when they began, and I would say you are easily doing the same thing to the OWS.

    I guess I say that you are lying because you should be aware of these things, that the OWS has a message, and that the Tea Party has a message, and that you can find incoherent statements, and outright hypocrisy in both groups, but to fixate on one, and not the other, and not to look at it from outside the box that it lives in is a kind of dishonesty. I would compare your description of the OWS as a riotous crowd of people is akin to those who poked at the Tea Party as knuckleheaded racists and potential homophobes. Although, I do wonder what your reaction would be if like in the case of Tea Party founder Judson Phillips, the OWS asked it’s members to show up armed with weapons at their next rally. It would have probably given the police pause in Oakland and they may not have cracked open Scott Olsen’s head and then fired tear gas at the people who first attempted to move his body.


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