Radicalism goes in and out of style, but regardless of the virtues of the cause, it tends to appeal to our basest instincts.
We can complain that Muslims in general do not denounce the actions of their radical elements, but I haven’t seen many Christians denouncing the “Westboro Baptist Church” (on the other hand, when a Christian even identifies his religion he’s accused of shoving his religion down your throat). The Occupy Wall Street crowd looked like fun, a generation or two removed from the American protest heydays of the sixties, but their lack of direction soon frustrated people looking for something to protest against. A number of “Occupy” websites have been co-opted by “Anti- Zionist” and “Pro Palestinian” fronts for Al-Qaeda looking to just generally disrupt society. Anarchy isn’t that appealing in practice, somebody has to make breakfast. Only history will decide if it’s the TEA party or the Obama sheeple that will carry the name “American Taliban”, but at least their violence is only carried out in living rooms across America.
Greenpeace, which bills itself today as “The leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful direct action and creative communication”, still remains a popular magnet for well meaning fools. “Direct Action” has been redefined from it’s origin as a euphemism for assassination into a tough sounding synonym for civil disobedience. Despite the fact that the original members of the terrorist group Action Directe have been working their way through life prison sentences since 1987, their name has some appeal to pseudo revolutionary poseurs.
As much as Greenpeace would like to be bad boys, they still come in crying when they scrape their knees. Most recently, after attempting to board a Russian drilling rig in the Barents Sea, they were arrested by the Russian Coast Guard. Yes, some people see attempting to board a sovereign vessel on the high seas as piracy. You will notice a media soft spot for these little rascals in the article linked above, the fact that their arrests were predicated by an assault on Russian property isn’t mentioned until the third paragraph. The whining of these practitioners of “Direct Action” continues in the portrayal of the coast guard as being members of the FSB, wearing balaclavas. Anyone not wearing a balaclava at sea inside the arctic circle is risking reprisal by mother nature, not mother Russia. As testament to their “harsh treatment”, the members of Greenpeace complained of being held in the galley. “Harsh” treatment would be being lashed to the mast in below freezing temperatures, I’m guessing it was relatively warm in the Galley.
Not to go over the top with insensitivity, but complaining that they were “held at gunpoint”? What tools would you expect a branch of the military to use in arresting pirates? On Greenpeace’s behalf, they have stated they think they were victims of an overreaction, “The word ‘Peace’ was written on the side of our boat in large letters”. Maybe if the Coast Guard would print “Вы под арестом” on their rifle barrels the trespassers would have taken it better.
Greenpeace is not the only whining revolutionaries. During the protests in both the Middle East and New York City, police have used tear gas. This has been decried as “inhumane”. Interesting thing about tear gas, if you leave the area where it is being used, it doesn’t bother you. Much more humane than the method it replaced, cracking skulls with billy clubs.
As much fun as it looks like, revolution is best left to the professionals. The police have more tools at their disposal, and can always go a step farther than you can. It’s a serious game, and there’s no crying allowed.