The Internet Monk
"the power of opinion, the phenomenon of speech, the impact of truth"
A Webjournal and News Review by Michael Spencer
Rebels Without A Clue
by Michael Spencer
In Quebec, McDonald's took down their Golden Arches and removed their logo, in fear that the World Trade protestors would destroy the establishment. Mcdonald's, you see, is frequently a target of these activists, as is Starbucks, the gourmet coffee chain. In Seattle and D.C. both were targets of window smashing. It says a lot about these activists that they can't identify Mcdonalds without a logo, and they hate expensive coffee.
I am really trying to understand these people. I've spent a few hours reading their web sites. I have listened to their "leaders" explain their point of view on television. I've looked up a couple of fairly intelligent, granola-types in my neighborhood and had them explain it all to me. But I have to admit defeat. I still do not get it. I hear the words, but once we get past sentences to paragraphs, the glue isn't holding. I do not understand what these people are griping about. I am beginning to suspect that, like the onion, once you peel this thing, there's nothing there. (And it smells bad.)
Try to imagine people with the global economic views of Pat Buchanon, but not nearly as articulate and looking like refugees from that awful Costner movie, The Postman. (minus the horses) Pro-marijuania. Anti-Macdonalds. Pro-Abortion. Lots of PETA. Anti-Starbucks. Lots of conspiracy theories. Using the word paradigm a lot. Love to wear handkerchiefs over their face as if they were major criminals. Amused by large puppets. Likely to be granted degrees from universities underwritten and paid for by the corporate jobs of their capitalist parents. Concerned with indigenous peoples (unless they are still in the womb.) Acting far less civilized than most indigenous peoples. And did I mention incoherent?
No, no. I'm not that shallow. I know there is something serious going on here. There must be. Best I can tell, some of these people really don't like free trade. Free Trade apparently brings with it ONLY EVIL!! (Pronounce e-vile) Roads! Cars! People! McDonalds! Starbucks! Colleges! Protestors! (wait...) It seems that these people are somewhere between Rousseau's noble savage idea and the UnaBomber's anti-technology manifesto. I have to say, for their part, it looks like many of them are living out that noble savage bit as best they can.
May I insert here, a quote from one of those products of commercialized civilization, the sage P.J. O'Rourke?
"The liberal is continually angry, as only a self-important man can be, with his civilization, his culture, his country and his folks back home. His is an infantile world view. At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats."
Sound familiar? What we are seeing in the streets of Quebec is the future of liberalism. Let me unpack that for you.
No coherent agenda. Just a collection of causes and victim groups screaming for camera time. No moral basis for their moralistic outrage. In other words, standing in mid-air, jumping up and down. Class envy on a grand scale with no brighter solution than kill the rich. Despising capitalism for exploitation of the poor, but stupidly assuming that something between gunpoint socialism and anarchy will yield peace, freedom and prosperity. Uh-huh.
If these people weren't skipping so many classes, they might sneak in enough of the history of civilization to explore the following thesis: Free markets bring more good things than bad things. But your flags down for a minute, boys and girls and repeat after me. Free markets bring more good things than bad things. Pollution, ugly buildings, economic bullying- yes, guilty. Free Markets bring them all. But, at the same time, free markets bring democracy, education, higher standards of living, a reduction in regional conflicts, a spreading middle class. These are good things. You people may not see the value of a house with running water, but it is a good thing.
Elsewhere in this website, I have explored the dark side of these protests, particularly among the anarchist wing. And the violent tendencies of these groups are serious business, working against their own agenda and taking up ridiculous amounts of public money to protect leaders from the unruly mobs. Still, the overriding impression these groups leave is cluelessness. These are people with too much time, too many wrong ideas, nothing appealing to offer and a tiresome message. Free trade is an idea that will eventually outflank all its critics. Better to work on how to direct the energies of a free market in the most positive direction rather than act as if the free market revolution can be stopped by goons armed with fruit.