Occupy Wall Street tent cities? I’m all for it, it’s showtime. Democracy in action. You go, girls and boys. Show the world how smart you are. Make free love in the tents and keep urinating in the bushes so we can see what your ethics are really made of.
Get bizarre. Nastier the better. Make it plain to the rest of us that nincompoop political beliefs beget nincompoop behavior. Dress as outlandish as possible to show how truly unique you are. Keep standing in the picket lines in your underwear, and wear pants that show rear cleavage. Turn on, tune in, drop out, you gotta be you. While you’re at it, get more tattoos or rings on your face to demonstrate how good your judgment is by defacing yourself.
Oh, and be sure to speak poor English and use vulgarities so that no one but your fellow, highly individualistic friends understand. Turn on some music that takes no skill to create, and play it as loud as you can so everyone can appreciate it.
Yep, try to depart from the mainstream of people as far as possible, because it’s undesirable to be normal and responsible. The farther you depart the better. Be abnormal, so you can feel you’re unique. Anything goes while a person is finding himself. You’re just expressing your inner self, so it’s OK to offend others.
In fact, be rude to everyone, because it doesn’t matter what they think. Don’t worry about being polite; polite people have just copped out and caved in to the herd mentality. Shame is so yesterday.
Don’t even think about getting a job and working hard, since you need to spend as much time as possible tending to your own wants and “me time.” And ain’t it awful how you’re never offered anything but a low paying job? It’s so demeaning to folks like you, with your well-developed sense of self.
In fact, let’s encourage the OWS crowd to endorse political candidates. Candidates they find worthy could be a litmus test for candidates that sane people should oppose.
What’s that, tent-person? You say life is such a mystery? You can’t imagine why people treat you so differently? You say you’re a victim and you don’t know why employers don’t have confidence in you for the good jobs?
Well, let us leave our OWS friends to bemoan their plight. Perhaps one day they will understand one of Aristotle’s life lessons: “One’s character is the result of one’s conduct.” Maybe they’ll learn that when people deviate from social norms and social order, they literally hang a sign around their neck that reads “Treat Me Differently.”
But they should not claim victimhood when society invokes its right to shun. It is the price to be paid under the principles of human nature, like it or not. People get treated by others based on how they behave, and personal appearance suggests behavior. Good manners (and proper dress is a form of good manners) make good citizens. When people dress politely and bathe regularly they are treated politely.
How people dress and behave is a reflection of what they’re thinking inside. Outlandish behavior sends the message to the rest of the world that they reject the values built by generations before them.
Societies have a right to shun people whose behavior and conduct threatens the cohesion and social covenants of the larger body politic. Society has a right to decide when diversity (often a good thing) crosses the line to divisiveness (a destructive thing). Further, a society has a right to set standards to avoid Balkanization, the breaking up of itself into smaller and often hostile units.
The way to deal with Balkanizing behavior is not to tolerate it. We must heed what the steely-eyed and noble Captain Woodrow F. Call said in “Lonesome Dove” as he cold-cocked a bully: “I won’t tolerate that in a man.”
Demanding that people act civilly encourages them to become civil. Tolerating rude and selfish behavior allows another small piece of our civil system of values, honed over centuries, to slip away.
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