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How Would They View Occupy Planned Parenthood? A Proposed Paradigm For Protest Propriety

How Would They View Occupy Planned Parenthood? A Proposed Paradigm For Protest Propriety

A recent post by Megan McArdle made some good points about how disturbing OWS’s views and behavior have become:

…this weekend, at the Americans for Prosperity dinner…Occupy DC decided that it would be a good idea to blockade the attendees into the DC convention center…

What’s more disturbing, however, is that my reading, and private conversations, have uncovered a number of people who think this is all right…

I am shocked that anyone would make this argument.  This is outrageous.  I don’t know any people on the left who would think that this behavior were “non-violent” if it were, say, aimed at abortion clinics.  It’s bad enough that many of the occupiers seem to put as little thought as possible into the space they share with many fellow citizens.  A sizeable number of them now seem to have decided that physical intimidation is a legitimate tactic with which to express their rage and frustration.

Occupy Wall Street and many other leftists tend to see their causes as the Vitally Important New Civil Rights Movement (TM) of the day, justifying the use of tactics from the tumultuous 1960’s and 1970’s in political movements in 2011.  Sometimes, they make this point explicitly (such as how gay is the new black), but other times they seem to act like they can do whatever the want because their cause is just.

As I wrote back in September, my generation seems not ti realize that civil disobedience entails opposing an unjust law by breaking it.  In doing so, the protester benefits his cause by taking the punishment to call attention to its injustice and gain sympathy.  Civil disobedience does not mean, as Team OWS and many others of my generation believe, that you can do whatever you want as long as you are sufficiently self-righteous about it.

They also seem not to understand that sit-ins and similar forms of civil disobedience were particularly appropriate during the civil right movement because not being allowed to sit certain places was a key policy they were actually protesting. Simply asserting the right to “occupy” any space, disrupt any event, block traffic, or trespass, vandalize, or defecate on any home, business, or public place is either “civil disobedience” against property rights in general, or against the very idea that laws apply to them.

Combine this with their use of numbers and political power to partially protect them from the enforcement of the law, and what we have is not civil disobedience: it is low-grade political violence against order in general.  This is not surprising coming from the anarchist OWS movement, but it should be surprising to those who believe that OWS is merely about the richest Americans having too much money.

It is vital that we as a society have views about political etiquette that treats political speech and acts the same regardless of their content.  To manipulate the right to protest to allow certain views but not others is dangerous and un-American.

Liberals like the idea of putting themselves in others’ shoes.  Popular redistributionist philosopher John Rawls proposed that everyone evaluate a distributional system as if they did not know where in the new order they would be, so I will adapt that strategy into a system for OWS-sympathizing liberals to determine which protest tactics are out of bounds.

McArdle makes an interesting point when comparing OWS to the more extreme branches of the anti-abortion movement, the most significant example of a rightist movement with a record of civil disobedience and other illegal tactics.  The left is particularly interested  in using the law against anti-abortion protesters.  In 1994, the Democrats passed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (last seen on this blog demonstrating the hypocrisy of MSA 11 supporters), which made it a federal civil rights violation (in addition, typically, to state or local crimes such as trespassing) to interfere with abortion clinics by means of sit-ins and other obstructive tactics.

Thus, I propose to liberals the following paradigm for protest etiquette:  If a hypothetical Occupy Planned Parenthood movement were to use the tactic in question, would you want them arrested?  If so they should declare the OWS tactic in question to be out of bounds.

 

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Comments

People shouldn’t whine about their rights if they’re going to sneer at the rule of law. The latter gave birth to the former.

    mthorn10 in reply to myiq2xu. | November 15, 2011 at 11:54 am

    You and I are probably not too far apart on this, but I disagree with your premise. The rule of law actually protects rights, rather than giving birth to them. Our rights come from God (“endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”) and are to be protected by the government. If our rights are only those granted by the government, they can be taken away by that same government.

“A sizeable number of them now seem to have decided that physical intimidation is a legitimate tactic with which to express their rage and frustration.”

A sizeable number of them now have been allowed to engage in physical intimidation as a legitimate tactic with which to express their rage and frustration. Seems a bit more honest, phrased that way.

A sizable number of them have always supported physical intimidation and violence. These people will go as far as they are allowed to. The dims in these city governments, and in federal government also, will rue the day they allowed this stuff to not only go on but increase to unmanageable sizes. They have created a monster and they are too inept to handle it. They do not know what to do about it. Let us hope that Mother Nature will get rid of these people with freezing rain and snow. The problem is that they will be back in the sring and we will contend with this all over again. Only if the governments take a stand and prosecute these people will it stop.

Remember the lib outcry about protest by the anti abortion people? You would have thought they were mass murderers the way the dims acted. The libs said abortion was the law and should not be protested. The hypocricy is remarkable.

Only 4 days away from the 33th anniversary of the November 18, 1978 Jones Town “Punch-a-thon”
A model for #OWS ?

Well, the Left has long ago redefined civil rights. It is an epistemology propaganda tool they love to use.

Viewing gay marriage as a civil rights issue is a fantastic example. Besides insulting black subjugation by comparing it to the right to marry, it is an irrational argument.

We do not allow cousins, siblings or children to marry either. No one would even think of calling that a civil rights issue.

This whole article turns on a demand that a student study history with particularity and pay attention to the meaning of words. It is going to be completely lost on both the supporters of this administration, and anyone associated with OWS. It’s all about the Orwell in the movement.

Recall that George Orwell described a particular type of corruption of the thinking process by the blurring of distinctions among concepts and the reduction of the actual numbers of words, as a means of disabling human thinking.

Bill Ayers would understand it, Eric Holder would forget about it, if he heard about it.

VetHusbandFather | November 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Wow, this post generally sums up what is wrong with the ‘Occupy’ movement. It’s no longer civil disobedience for a cause, but instead disobedience just because. There are a few things that the occupy movement could do to get their act together and gain support from conservatives.

1) Clean up your ‘occupation.’ Stop ‘occupying’ places just to make life difficult for others. Take the lead from the Tea Party and set up organized events that don’t put you at odds with the local community. Get over the fact that public property is not your property. The fact that you are laying claim to public property and intimidating average Americans from using that property is completely at odds with your so-called insistence that you have a right to be there.

2) Stop imagining villains, and start addressing the issues. The police are not the 1% nor do they work for the 1%, so stop imagining them as ‘pawns of the system’ or some other drivel. They are working Americans just like the rest of us. They are trying to keep you from breaking the law and interfering with business because keeping order and protecting all Americans is their job. Your ‘protests’ are turning into general lawlessness for no reason (as the Profess explains very clearly), and that forces them to respond in order to maintain order. The ‘banks’ and the ‘1-percenters’ are also not the problem. Sure there are some people that fit into those categories that are part of the problem, but your current demonization of the banks and the rich is turning your movement into a blunt political tool.

3) Eliminate extremists from your camp. Help the police capture the anarchists and the troublemakers. Right now you are harboring them, by turning a blind eye. Denounce the radical socialists and the anti-Semites. You must clearly disassociate your movement from these people in order to be effective.

4) Organize behind a clear succinct message, and get rid of the stupid demands that alienate people from your movement. Giving more power to unions, forgiving debt, and raising minimum wages will not solve the problem. The original idea behind this movement seemed to be targeting special interests and their choke hold on politics. Get behind that message without all socialism talk.

I think a large portion of tea-partiers would actually support this movement if they cleaned it up and focused it on eliminating special interests from politics. That being said, I don’t think the OWS movement will ever do any of these things.

They do not support abortion. They do not oppose abortion. They are pro-choice.

As when our society assigned dignity to all human life outside of the womb and ended slavery, it is past time to determine when dignity will be assigned to [presumed] innocent human life inside the womb. We must rule on the morality of premeditated artificial termination of human life before it has a voice to defend itself. It is a moral imperative with ramifications which exceed even that of slavery.

Invoking Rawls I see, interesting. What’s truely interesting about Rawls though it’s I’m not sure he’d be on the side of OWS. Sometimes he’s miscast as a socialist. Rawls may have been left of most of us, but he was certainly right of Marx and Company. One of Rawls biggest gifts to the right was probably the difference principle, which (if you listen closely) is being used by people like Peter Schiff all the time. “You’re better off because businesses do [X].” (Granted Rawls intended the principle only to be invoked when you reached a state of Pareto Opimiziation, which we hardly have, but whatever.)
We can’t escape the language of Rawls, but we can use it to our advantage. (Actually the Original position is as you use it is a very interesting example of that. Personally though I take issue with the fact that Rawls constantly assumed people making the choices would end up in the bottom percentage, so they’d engage in self protection. Also his lack of consideration for future generations is deplorable.)

    DinOC in reply to tsrblke. | November 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    How would the Veil of Ignorance apply to not strictly economic inequality? I was thinking that if we were to survey the damage done by alcoholism, for example, the Veil of Ignorance would lead us to Prohibition. This is done in LDS and Baptist settings, but experience suggests that it is an inappropriate response to a real problem.

[…] Read it. Occupy Wall Street and many other leftists tend to see their causes as the Vitally Important New Civil Rights Movement (TM) of the day, justifying the use of tactics from the tumultuous 1960?s and 1970?s in political movements in 2011.  Sometimes, they make this point explicitly (such as how gay is the new black), but other times they seem to act like they can do whatever the want because their cause is just. […]

[…] to be adopted by a less liberal cause — such as, say, the pro-life crowd. In other words, “#Occupy Planned Parenthood.” Even someone who’s marginally pro-choice can appreciate the hell out of that idea, and […]

[…] thought experiment for the “liberal” […]

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[…] The fact that liberals are opposed to sit-ins in front of Planned Parenthood – and have in fac…. […]

[…] Jacobson asked an interesting question concerning the liberal love of the tactics used by the Occupiers: I propose to liberals the following paradigm for protest etiquette: If a hypothetical […]

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