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Video Confirmation: The Occupy Movement is About Fears Not Facts

John on October 7, 2011 at 11:35 am

Lots of Occupy Whatever clips floating around today. Seems pretty clear that it’s not hard to find people at these events who can’t begin to articulate why they are there (though there are plenty who can):

In keeping with what I wrote last night, I’m not going to mock them for not knowing. In fact, I think this clip confirms what I said last night. This isn’t about facts and logic, it’s about fear. It’s like a kid who can’t sleep because “There’s something in the closet.”

“What’s in the closet?”

“A monster.”

If you start laughing at this point, that isn’t going to help. It’s actually counter productive. So is asking pointed questions like “Is it fangy or tentacled?” For the child, the question only confirms that the fear is justified, whatever is in the closet is bad news.

The only thing to do at this point is to carry the child back in the room, examine the closet to verify there are no monsters and then tuck them in and tell them not to worry. Sure as an adult you know there’s no monster in the closet but the child needs reassurance. Part of reassurance is factual (check the closet) but part is tone (You’ll be okay, go to sleep now). I believe conservatives can win the case on the facts (nope, corporations are not monsters) but that won’t matter if they get the tone part wrong. And we’re starting to see that.

Okay, this example may sound pretty condescending to the OWS people, but it’s meant as a point about the nature of fear, not an exact analogy. I’m not saying they are children (though let’s face it, most are young and some are pretty naive). And I’m not saying they have no reason to be afraid. Facing personal debt and having no job prospects in the next 5 years isn’t a night terror, it’s a reality for a lot of these students. So let’s just admit they have some genuine reasons to be worried about their future. And again, conservatives should get that. We’re worried too. These monsters exist. It’s just that, for our perspective, beating up Wall Street isn’t the solution, it’s actually making the problems worse.

So getting back to the principle which I think holds for real fears as well as imaginary ones. It’s facts and tone. If we don’t handle this right, we’re going to be up all night (including election night) regretting it.

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