Would the original Sam Adams have bought the “let’s-be-gaze-averting-friends-with-our-enemies” approach to fighting for freedom against those who would destroy it? At the Sam Adams Alliance blog, we learn:
The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) crowd and the tea party movement really have a lot in common. They might not realize this yet—the most “respected” and “responsible” political observers certainly do not—but they are really allies.
Both groups are responding, in their different ways, to the same problems. They not might agree totally on the solutions, but if they only gave each other half a chance, they could work together. And if they did, there’s no telling what effect they might have on American politics.
This kind of blog post unnecessarily downplays or glosses over the rabidly something-for-nothing, socialistic and anti-capitalist mentality of much of the squat-on-Wall-Street movement, features that have been well documented. Of course, many involved are simply ignorant or confused. That has always been true of anti-capitalist movements.
Yes, activists who value freedom, capitalism and profit-making, on the one hand, and activists who want to destroy these, on the other, may have much in common. They’re human beings. They may adopt some of the same message-spreading techniques (although one side seems a lot more prone to window-smashing, setting up indefinite residency in property than does not belong to them and which they are not renting, and other manifestations of contempt for property rights and other human beings). Many on both sides may oppose bailouts of large firms. Many on both sides may like coffee, iPads, sex. Etc.
But it does a disservice to the cause of freedom to treat real and stark differences in ideology, temperament and goals as if they were subsidiary matters or readily resolvable with a little stress on commonalities and communication. Capitalists can’t win battles against adamant socialists and looters by pretending that the war against capitalism, economic success and individual rights is not being waged, that we’re really all on the “same” side…and so why don’t we all get along? Defenders of freedom, capitalism and civilization can’t “work together” with those bent on destroying these. Certainly ad hoc, temporary and narrow cooperation with certain political adversaries is possible on specific political questions where there happens to be agreement (bailouts, draft, drug legalization, perhaps) and where such cooperation does not imply a relinquishing of fundamental principles. But no such ad-hoc alliances should be allowed to blur the reality of the fundamental clash, what Sowell called the “conflict of visions”; the conflict between the basic values that are at stake. You can’t “work with” someone toward goals that are the opposite of the goals of the person with whom you would supposedly be working.
In a society with any classical liberal heritage, in the interests of the destroyers of civilization to hide their true goals, both from foes and from ignorant collaborators. It’s not in the interests of the defenders of civilization, not even for the sake of a superficial comity. We can persuade some of the more open-minded denizens of the left to come over to the side of freedom, but not by disguising the depth of our disagreements with them.