October 29, 2011

“A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us, pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny; that we will uphold the principles of self-reliance, self-discipline, morality, and, above all, responsible liberty for every individual that we will become that shining city on a hill.”   *Ronald Reagan* 

I performed an experiment with the local “Occupy” group in my town. I got to know several of the campers, interviewed them about their grievances–which were mostly employment related–and embarked on a quest to help point these potential fishers to waterholes where they might catch a fish for themselves. I delved a little deeper into the skill sets of some of the occupiers and began a proxy job search for them, taking into account distance, transportation, and job histories. I created a neat binder and labeled it “Local Job Listings,” tucked some pens and pads of paper into the pockets, and placed printouts of current job openings into the binder. I took the binder down to the occupation headquarters, which consisted of an Easy Up, a table, stacks of cardboard, and cans of paint,  and showed some of the more permanent protesters what I had done.

Every other day for about a week I printed off more job listings and took them down to the courthouse, placed them in the binder and touched base with the occupiers. I spoke to one fellow who said he has some horticultural skills. I needed some trees pruned on my property so I got his cell number. I called him three times and received no response, even though I was willing to pay $300 for the service. The last time I went to add more listings to the binder it was under a stack of placards. It looked like it had not been touched.

The experiment had an outcome that I did not fully expect: The individuals milling about, whining, protesting, planning their civilly disobedient activities, griped about employment and their own dreary circumstances, but they took no interest in actually correcting those circumstances with their own action. They wanted temporal security in whatever form it may take; money, education, housing, healthcare, food, without lifting a finger of their own. They wanted the “other,” through the force of government, to take care of their needs and quiet their mewling complaints. The “Occupy” movement presents a conundrum for America.  There are individuals in cities and towns across the country who amass to complain. Their complaints range from grumblings about the injustices of Capitalism, to toxic accusations against Jewish people of “controlling Wall Street,” and “oppressive practices in American corporations.” Occupy is a massive group gripe in which individuals are being transformed into the “useful idiots,” of the Soviets.  “Useful idiots” is a title, which is believed to have been used by Vladimir Lenin, to characterize Western journalists, authors,  and show-biz types who sympathized with the goals of Communism. Here it is applicable to a protest culture who have few common goals, little self-discipline, and no grounding in the principles of liberty and personal responsibility, but who are good at complaining, living in urban squatter’s camps, and enduring for days at a time without washing. The rank and file of the Occupy groups has been deceived into believing that their protest activities are productivity.

As I hung out with some of the local occupiers I observed that they structured their days with meetings, at which they would plan future meetings, marches, and street corner demonstrations. They had a hierarchical system under which the most vociferous and assertive of the group would call the ranks to order, drone on in chants which were then echoed by the rest, assign certain people to address the media, and order the less appealing, usually the homeless hangers-on who haunted the periphery of the lawn, to stay away when reporters and people with cameras showed up. They craved structure and meaning, and so constructed for themselves an ersatz corporation in which they, the workers, felt industrious but in fact produced nothing at all. In this was one answer to why no one, apparently, took advantage of the help I had given for them to seek employment. This WAS their employment. Activism was their substitute life. If the Occupy effort failed, it was the failure of the group. If their complaints fell upon deaf ears, then it was the deaf who were to blame, not the foolishness of the message.  

They had found their purpose, which was systematic bellyaching,  and their message, which was an incoherent mantra of “poor me.” When I picked up my binder, apparently unused from the time I took it down to the occupation HQ, I felt a sense of deflation. I had really hoped that the idea of gainful employment, of acting instead of being acted upon by “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” would take hold. But the more I examine the Occupy crowds, as they grow more radical, more violent, less restrained and, in a way, more honest, the less credit I can give them for being people who actually want to solve their own problems.

The movement comports itself like some massive, ailing, multi-cellular organism awaiting an all powerful panacea to sweep away the disease which vexes it. They want “collective salvation,” the mythical salvation that happens simply because the cause of the group is virtuous. There is no collective salvation, temporal or economic. Until the individuals that make up the Occupy movement break away and begin to act for and in behalf of themselves, their dissatisfaction will never be eased. Their lives will never be lived. Occupy Wall Street and its off-shoots are symptomatic of a pervasive spiritual disorder. Attrition will inevitably shrink the movement. The curious will be disappointed, perhaps disgusted and will ultimately reject what they see and hear from the protesters. The armchair radicals will eventually find the lie, that this is a movement of action, so repugnant that they too will return to their homes and jobs. The discontented who are seeking genuine answers to real questions will turn away, and continue their searching among the sane. But the hard-core Marxists, racists, anti-Semites, Anarchists, and the incorrigibly hostile will remain to burden communities, encumber law enforcement, defile private property, and stew in their chosen, pointless, vocation of perpetual blubbering. The Occupy movement is not a collective effort to reclaim the American dream. It is, for each individual invested in protest, a personal fiasco.                            By Marjorie Haun  10/28/2011

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  1. Great piece and sorry you were disappointed. Your analysis of who they really are is right on unfortunately. Let’s hope this doesn’t spread.

    Great Job,


    • Reagangirl

      Thank you very much. It is a great disappointment. It is not a victory for patriotic-minded people at all. There is an entire class of Americans who have relinquished the power over their own lives. This bad news for everyone.

  2. John Frantum

    Our society is entirely depenent on the virtue of it’s people, not on “fairness”, as many occupiers seem to believe. When the majority lose their virtue, society will crumble. I am thankful that these people do not represent the majority….yet.

  3. Jeffrey F. Cochran

    First of all thank you Marjorie for making such an effort to help those who really need to work…one well paying tree trimming job could have and may still be the begining of a business for someone…word of mouth is a powerful advertiser.
    It’s their own faults they did not make any attempts to hit a lick and make their own way in this world….
    Most certianly can relate to your thoughts and feelings of deflation…it sort of is who the occupiers are…they don’t produce anything productive what they do produce is chaos mayhem and bad thoughts and feelings….had some interactions with their kind a few years ago….they don’t like me…
    I wonder do you think they will ask for cream cheese to go on their bagels as they board the boxcars?
    Probably so…..
    Secondly your writing skills are phenomenal….of the things you have written I’ve read you take me there.
    Your article really sheds a light on the occupiers further confirms suspicions of the whole movement….they are part of an orchestrated movement that is antiAmerican if not unlawful…..nodding time for bed !

    • Reagangirl

      Thank you Jeff. This was written a couple of weeks ago and the Occupy Movement has become even more militantly about “taking” from the earners with the use of force. It is evolving into a form of madness. I believe, ultimately, that is what the engineers and supporters of OWS want, dissolution of the civil society.

  4. David Urbanek

    Good analysis, Marj.
    When we were very young, there was the movement they called women’s lib. One of the leaders of this movement caught a lot of crap when she said women shouldn’t be allowed to be supported by their husbands, because it gave them an eternal ‘out’, and made them weaker. It was a radical statement, to be sure, but one with a basis in truth. Too many women were contented to be dependent on their husbands, as long as they were well taken care of, rather than equal partners. In many ways, being a wage earner is the same sort of ‘out’. People are not expecting their employers to take care of them, as if they have some moral obligation to do so. Our employers have the obligation to pay us value for value, nothing more. Same goes for government, I think. The first step in fixing government is to fix citizenship.
    So many seem to want to protest, but in my experience, though, change comes from work. I’ll bet that 10 people who show up at their local city counsel meetings and take on necessary tasks would have a hundred times more influence on government than 10,000 protesters picketing the building. Just saying.

    • Thanks! I agree about the direct contact with local government officials and retail politicking. I’m an activist at every level of politics. Direct pressure gets the quickest results.

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