Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Can't Believe I am saying this..Ann Coulter may have a point

Let me be clear, I don't normally agree with anything Ann Coulter says. I personally dislike her but I fully acknowledge she has a right to her opinion and often makes intelligent arguments but also at times makes what I think are completely baseless statements. Regardless, for once I am finding myself agreeing with her to some degree..Let me explain.

In a recent piece for, a conservative website, Ms. Coulter challenged the perception being spread across the net and media that the wave of "Occupy Wall Street" protests (and the many Occupy "insert city name/street name" protests spawned from it) is similar in function (though obviously not idea-wise) to the early Tea Party protests. She also discounts many of the protesters assertions that their protests are just like the Boston Tea Party of over 200 years ago (in that, breaking the law for a good cause is OK and should be celebrated).

Firstly, she makes a good point about the difference in tactics between the "Occupying" protesters and the Tea Party protests of years ago. For one, the Tea Party protests always had permits and there were never any major conflicts with police/law enforcement agencies that ended in arrests (none that I know of actually).

Secondly, when one watches videos of interviews with the Occupying protesters that they do give off a "hippie-like" attitude. Now I personally don't have much problem with that but you didn't really ever get that "vibe" from the early Tea Party protests/rallies. So while she may be right about how "hippie" these protests look, I don't see how relevant that is to how meaningful these protests are.

Thirdly, while the Tea Party has never really had a truly unified leadership and therefore is a bit fractured, they do have a general set of beliefs and complaints: Federal government is too big and is spending too much of our money. The same can not yet be said by the "Occupying" protests. For one, they have been going on at some level for more than two weeks and they still have no general beliefs. The only belief that everybody there seems to agree on is that the rich are screwing everybody over and is too influential in the government.

Another big problem with the "Occupying" protests is they were original started by a Canadian activist group Adbusters. And while Canada isn't exactly a far-away land, the fact that a foreign organisation started this protest movement doesn't sit that well with many, including myself. Not that I don't trust our polite neighbors to the North, just prefer they keep their politics to themselves and let us set up our own protest movements thank you very much!

And then there's the comparison made by some interviewed that their protests (and their now rather constant clashes with police) are no different than the actual Boston Tea Party. The problem is, as Ms. Coulter points out, that event was not as celebrated in its day as it is today in America. At the time, the event was seen as going too far by many of Americans, including several Founding Fathers. So in that way I supposed the two events are similar, they were both controversial in their day but whether these "Occupying" protests will be as celebrated decades from now is hardly certain.

Now as you might have expected, I didn't agree with everything in Ms. Coulter's recent article.

For one, the title of her piece, "This is What a Mob looks like" is I think a pretty misleading one. Oddly enough, there is apparently no real conclusive definition of a "mob". Most just state it as a crowd of people, and nothing more. To me, a mob is a group of people who menace others in an attempt to advance some kind of purpose. A mob doesn't necessarily have to violent (at which they are more like a riot). However the biggest reason I don't see these people as being a "mob" is a mob generally has the support of the majority, hence the phrase "mob-rule" in which the majority are pushing their beliefs strongly against those who disagree with them. In fact the term Ochlocracy (Greek phrase of mob rule) is described as being the "rule of the general public" and differs from true democracy (rule of the people) in that ideology is heavily injected in it's actions. Technically, the "Occupying" protests don't see to have a majority of Americans supporting them and instead are something of a minority movement so far.

Ms. Coulter went further when she was on FoxNews during the last few days in which she stated that these protests were much like the marches that proceeded previously revolutions such as the Nazis rise to power, Fascists rise in Italy, and Anti-Czarist forces at the beginning of the Russian Revolution and can only lead to one thing: totalitarianism. She does have a point that when Fascists rose to power in Germany and Italy, they were a minority element in their respective countries. However to compare these protesters to fascists in Europe in the 20's and 30's I think is not only far-fetched, it's downright hateful. Criticize these people all you want, but until they start preaching for racial purity and start carrying arms to intimidate their opponents, no such comparison is warranted and is just shows Coulter's hatred of the left-side of the political spectrum which ironically enough makes her just as bad as any protester denouncing Conservatives for being "evil" and "corrupt". More importantly, permits or not, these people are within their constitutional right to speak out against what they see as "evil" in America, in this case corporations.

And in that sense, these protests and the Tea Party do have something in common. Both movements are speaking out for something they believe in, and are well within their rights to do so. The differences are the Tea Party has a more coherent message and rarely if ever clashed with local law enforcement.

So at the end of the day, Ann Coulter does make some good points about the incoherent message of the "Occupying" protests and about how different this movement is compared to the Tea Party. However she takes this criticism too far when she compares her fellow American citizens to Nazis and Fascists of the 20's and 30's and proves to be as hypocritical as the people she is criticizing.

I will soon post my own response to the Occupying Wall Street movement ..Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment