On Choking Your Enemies to Death

Some free writing that came out strangely focused. No idea what set me off.

I wish I could credit the standup comedian who suggested this idea I’m elaborating on. I honestly can’t find the video again (I think it’s an old special), but I remembered this idea. I will edit this with the source if/when I find it.

If you intend to punish an institution, you aren’t performing maximum damage [within the confines of the law] by setting up a boycott. In fact, (obviously) by announcing a boycott you’re providing publicity and giving partisans an opportunity to draw a line that could even benefit the institution (ex. protesting Chik-Fil-A for backing of anti-gay groups; boycott was followed by smug conservative-staged consumption drives. It was brilliant- better than the usual “make-people-feel-good-for-doing-nothing” causeway, they found a way for Southerners to eat fried chicken sandwiches in support of a cause they believe in. Holy shit.) Even in situations where no one cares to oppose you, boycotts are often ignored, and protests are usually not all that disruptive to anyone (and if it is, especially to third parties, you will be villainized).

No, if you want to perform massive damage (again, within the confines of the law), you want to find ways for the institution to burn massive amounts of capital (monetary or otherwise) just to get through the day.

Don’t try to starve your enemies. Choke them instead- they’ll feel it sooner.

Form long lines for bullshit products, purchasing and then returning them. Force the restaurant to throw away their own resources. Make it difficult for genuine customers to get what they want, they’ll go elsewhere unless they are true believers. Chik-Fil-A-style counter-protesters would only further clog the system, and they would run out of money and patience eventually. Admittedly, in the Chik-Fil-A example both sides maybe lacked enough true believers to pull that off.

What’s Occupy Wall Street’s excuse, though? They had a surplus of unemployed people with enough koolaid in them to sleep in parks. Why not sit in bank waiting rooms (while appropriately dressed) instead? Even if it hardly clogs anything in the long run, there’s at the very least an apparent goal and direction. Cycle your corruptors through to avoid loitering accusations. Find the most intensive customer services they provide and push that button all day, all while not alienating people who really would agree with you if you looked less like bizarre counter-culture/homeless folk.

Worse than disusing a thing is misusing it. If you hate something, use it and bend it out of shape. If you fervently hate government on principle for whatever reason, twist it into something that no one wants. Create loopholes and exploit them, raise expectations for weak programs and put spotlights on them, look- see how crappy this program is- it’s representative of the rottenness of the whole thing. It hurts the government and it hurts the perception of government. Make the enemy self-destruct/collapse.

If you hate them, and you have the energy, choke them with their own purchases, fill their radar and their queue lines and any service where they might expect payment and then find a way to deny them that payment. If they change their customer service it will probably disservice their actual customers. If they don’t, continue to exploit them. At least it hurts more than a mere boycott. Force them to throw away their own material, re-evaluate their own processes, expend human capital on wild goose chases, cause them to suspect their own earnest customers or constituents.

Take their free mints on the way out by the handful.