I was not alone in this extension of good will. John Sexton at Verum Serum was also ready to extend them the benefit of the doubt:
Already there are signs that OWS is starting to mature. I saw a video recently of a speaker at one event (I don’t recall where) who gave a fairly good political sermon on bondage in Egypt and freedom under Moses. It was a bit forced for my taste, but it was also fairly coherent by OWS standards. I don’t think OWS is there yet, but I think they’ll get there if they don’t self-destruct by starting a riot.
Even Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks saw a glimmer of hope that these protestors might not be idiots:
My first instinct was to sympathize with Occupy Wall Street (OWS). At the time of the initial protests, I was in Italy giving a lecture on the tea party ethos to graduate students participating in the Istituto Bruno Leoni’s annual Mises Seminar. I was getting reports of OWS signs that I had often see at Tea Party protests, such as “End the Fed” and “Stop Crony Capitalism.”
And, much like Sexton, Kibbe warned that the path OWS could lay out, would be destructive to their cause.
In contrast OWS, whose ranks represent a small fraction of total tea party protestors, has struggled to maintain civility or to even identify a unifying sense of purpose in their uprising.
At Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, there is stealing, property damage and arrests often provoked by protestors wanting conflict with the police. Real people—not members of the so-called 1%—are being hurt as their small businesses are impacted and their property destroyed.
So, it appears that all of our hopes have been dashed. From threatening to stab reporters in the neck, to blatant anti-semitism, to very odd group chanting, Occupy Wall Street appears more and more to be devoid of the ideological passion I’d hoped they’d have, and leans more towards the childish, tantrum throwing, entitlement expecting rioters that we had become familiar with through the protests in Europe these last few years.
As Sexton warned above, rioting would be the quickest way to derail any legitimacy, and the OWS crowd has decided that’s precisely the path they will take.
Of course the narrative that the OWS crowd might has some control issues will be heard almost exclusively on the right. The national media will exist primarily to defend against that concept.
But I think it’s safe to say that this is not the movement we’ve been waiting for. This is not the movement that will push the left further left as we push further right to help differentiate the parties in a way that might actually cause moderates to make a real decision for once.
I patiently wait for worthy adversaries in the arena of ideas. This movement is not them.