While I’m not religious, I do respect that religion is very important to a lot of people, and it has a great deal of wisdom and insights into human nature. One of the more useful ones, I’ve discovered, are the Seven Deadly Sins, the categorizing of specific human failings into broad categories. The current list, according to Wikipedia, consists of wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
And of late, I’ve been seeing a lot of Pride on the left. Pride, in many varied forms — arrogance, sanctimoniousness, narcissism, hubris, and a multitude of others.
A motorist is driving his Mercedes through the protest area, slowy and cautiously. A protester deliberately stands in his way. The motorist creeps forward, honks his horn, and otherwise indicates that he wishes to pass and proceed on his way. The protester shouts (presumably curses) and begins beating on the car’s hood. The driver then steps on the gas, knocks the protester aside and proceeds on his way, while the protester is given medical attention.
The protester here was demonstrating Hubris — overwhelming pride that led to his (literal) fall. He was so arrogant in the righteousness of his cause that he thought it took priority over anything the motorist in question might be doing that his right to obstruct the motorist was unquestionable.
There was also a subconscious, prideful assumption underlying the protester’s actions that is often overlooked (because I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else, so I think it might be my own original notion). The protester who places his own body in the way of a vehicle to stop it is saying something very subtle: “I am morally superior to you, as I am putting my life at risk for my cause.” But underneath that, they are saying “I am betting my life that you, too, are a moral person, and actually will not harm or kill me even though I am opposing you and placing myself at your mercy.”
This can be a dangerous assumption — as the protester learned. Sometimes, the person being challenged has a different reaction: “This guy is saying that his right to stay unharmed trumps my right to go about my business and keep my own property safe. I gave him plenty of warnings, so screw him.”
That example is the entire Occupy Wall Street movement. The Tea Party movement played it simple: they planned their events, did all the paperwork and got all the permits, showed up, then cleaned up after themselves and went home. The Occupiers, however, didn’t bother with that. They just showed up, took over the area, and are refusing to leave. They won’t even put out a set of demands outlining what it will take them to leave. And they are insisting that their right to protest trumps any other person’s possible desires — to the point of using violence to back it up (note the riots going on in Oakland.)
This is a very, very dangerous assumption –for all parties concerned. Which I will address later.