Which is precisely the problem with Occupy Wall Street.
I’m not saying that these people don’t have anything to be upset about. I’ve been unemployed for almost three years, now, so I can assure you I’m every bit as upset as they are. But what they’re doing about it is nothing short of insane.
Every movement needs to be considered legitimate in order to be taken seriously. This will only happen if the adults are in charge of it. When a mob of unruly, feral children are in control, all they’re going to do is make fools of themselves. And give those who don’t want to listen to them anyway a convenient excuse not to bother with them.
I was only seven years old when the Sixties ended, but I was a pretty astute and observant kid. And I can remember, even then, being mystified at the behavior of people who — in so many ways — made so much sense. Did they ENJOY being derided and ignored? Or did they somehow need the feeling of victimization it gave them?
If they were only speaking for themselves, that would be different. But they have chosen to take up the cause of a great many very vulnerable and marginalized people. People who are suffering. They owe it to those people to think about something more important than they own self-indulgence.
I am embarrassed to have the cast of Lord of the Flies claiming to speak for my rights and my concerns. It’s only giving those who attack those rights, and ignore those concerns, a legitimate-seeming excuse to do so. As if they really needed one.
Youthful enthusiasm is terrific. But young people, left to their own devices, inevitably seem to destroy the movements in which they become involved. They simply lack the wisdom and emotional maturity necessary to shape it and make sense of it, much less to communicate it effectively to others.
In the Sixties, those who could have served as the grownups in the room largely chose to be passive spectators. Then they used the bad behavior of the young as an excuse for their passivity and cowardice. In many cases, it was not much more than laziness. Truth got all jumbled together with error, and the whole thing went merrily to hell on a bobsled.
So much for “progressive social change.” A lot of good managed to be accomplished in spite of this. But because it was mixed together with so much craziness, a lot of what was accomplished has turned out NOT to be good.
Grownups need to get involved in shaping societal change. As a libertarian, with very different ideas from those of many of the OWS crowd, I intend to do exactly that. There is a lot in their vision that would be disastrous, if it were to be realized. But if I’m going to complain, then I must help lead the way to a better solution.
Back in the Sixties, older people only seemed to get involved so they could screw coeds, make money or become famous just for fame’s sake. There were a few who were sincere, but not many. In any case, not nearly enough.
Who are the older people we see involved in the OWS movement? Thus far, many of them look a lot like this guy…
Come on, people. Get involved. Stop making asinine comments about “youthful idealism” and start acting like adults.
The first order of business may be getting some of these kids housebroken. From the look of things, in their fun little gypsy camps, they have yet even to master basic potty skills.
I have come to believe that there is a better way. And as I rededicate myself to serious blogging here, I hope to spell that out in much greater detail. The modern libertarian movement was born in the late Sixties, as an alternative to the mayhem the Left was causing among the young. They had the answer then. And we have it now. It is more urgent than ever that we make our voices heard over the din.