Berkeley has a long history of civil disobedience and political activism, and it is a shame that some students should be deprived of taking part in proud tradition merely because there is no cause which they feel strongly about. In fact, there are a number of good reasons for getting involved in civil disobedience, even if you don’t believe in anything.
First of all, political activism can provide the perfect outlet for pent up aggression. Riots, looting, and the mob mentality provide innumerable opportunities for a quick-thinking individual to partake in or even inspire violence, allowing stressed students to blow off some steam.
One excellent tactic is to call someone “racist” or “Nazi.” The beauty of this approach is that race need not be at issue for these dreaded epitaphs to work. Racism is used so frequently that it has become synonymous with”You don’t agree with me,” and at the same time it has an ever increasing ability to stir peoples’ emotions and rouse them to action.
A sample dialogue might go something like this:
Potential Nazi : Affirmative action is no longer a viable solution to the problems with this universities admittance policies.
You : Shut up you racist!!
PN : I’m not a racist.
You : Look, he’s defending himself and his racist ideals, get him! (Bloody chaos is sure to ensue.)
The greatest part of all this is that you can walk around with a smug smile and indignant attitude for weeks to come, knowing that society, if not justice, is on your side. In these crazy times of post-modernist thought and moral relativism, rarely is the opportunity afforded for one to act truly indignant, and it would be foolish to pass up a chance to look down on the world from the dizzying height of your high horse.
But what if violence and self-righteousness is not what you are after? Well, the one common bond we have as students is that we are poor. Riots provide the perfect opportunity to get free stuff, all in the name of “fighting the establishment.” It doesn’t matter that most of our parents are the establishment, or that the establishment is paying for our education, or even that we will probably be part of the establishment ourselves someday. All that matters is that you can get a new pair of sneakers or a slick home stereo system just by throwing a rock through a window. And all in the name of truth, justice and the American way.
So the next time you see an angry assembly of social miscreants gathered on Sproul Plaza, don’t think twice about joining in. It doesn’t matter if their arguments make no sense, if they are riddled with hypocrisy and blinded by moral indignation. Don’t miss the boat just because you don’t agree, because there’s so much more to civil disobedience than merely changing things for the better. Besides, won’t “political activism” look great on your grad school application?