Thursday, June 21, 2012

OWS: The New Revolutionaries

Last week there was a conference in Oakland, CA, on how to stop child sex-trafficking. It was protested by Occupy Wall Street (language warning for link, which shows pictures of some of the protest signs).
If there’s one issue that unites Americans of all political stripes, it’s the sexual enslavement of children. Whatever our opinions on other issues, we all agree that sex trafficking and the prostituting of children is an outrage and a tragedy. Thus, conference attendees included liberal, moderate and conservative politicians; progressive nonprofit organizations; law enforcement groups; religious leaders; and (according to the conference Web site) “social services, medical providers, mental health, education, probation, and community-based organizations.” In short: Everybody. 
Everybody, that is, except Occupy Wall Street, who somehow found a way to oppose the abolition of child sexual slavery. In order to justify this seemingly incomprehensible and repugnant position, the Occupiers performed some of the most amazing moral gymnastics you’ll ever encounter.
HT: Gene Veith

Moral gymnastics maybe, not not particularly amazing. G.K. Chesterton described this very attitude when he talked about the modern revolutionary:
But the new rebel is a Skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in the way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces by the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then writes another book (about the sex problem) in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, and then curses Mrs. Grundy because they keep it. As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is a waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie, and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie. He calls a flag a bauble and then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they are practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being in infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.
I think that sums it up pretty well.
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