In a way I wish I could be more sympathetic with the Occupy movement. I finished a three part article on the Occupy thing in my local paper, and I’ve read a lot of crap on the net about their various activities around the country, but nothing I’ve read to this point has really explained what they’re stirred up about or why they are willing to get their heads busted and spend a night in a cell with Bubba. According to one source the Occupy movement is directed against economic and social inequality, and to a point the YouTube videos and newspaper articles bear this out with talk about them being the 99%, corporate greed and corrupt capitalists, but the people speaking the loudest for these mobs all look like recently unemployed yuppies and waanabe throwbacks to the anti-Vietnam war protesters of the late 60′s. Their inarticulate yammering borders on hysteria and whatever the message is that they are trying to get across seems far too vague amidst the flying rhetoric, the babble of the crowd, and the and the juvenile property damage wrecked by the lunatic fringe that has attached itself to them. In Oakland the crowd was chanting “End Capitalism;” that message came through loud and clear, but what didn’t compute in my mind was the why of it. What would it really mean to end capitalism? If we ended capitalism what would we base our economy on afterwards? How would ending capitalism make the economic situation of the people in this country more equitable? My gardener is a capitalist. He mows my yard and I pay him to do it, it works for him and it works for me. If we do away with capitalism would he be mowing my yard for free, or would I be paying him and mowing my yard myself? I suppose I might be a bit dense on this point and I would like somebody to draw me a picture of what this would look like or give me a diagram of how it would work because I just don’t get it.
I suppose that, deep down, I think these Occupy people are nothing more than a bunch of idiots. The whole thing reminds me of the rabid-dog gun control crowd who want to prohibit a machine for the actions of its operator. Corporations are nothing more than companies. They provide services for which people choose to pay. The whole idea behind them is to make a profit, and the amount of profit they make is directly proportional to how many people desire the service they provide and are willing to pay for it. Where is the evil in that arrangement? If nobody were willing to pay for the service that a company was selling then how long would they remain in business? It doesn’t matter how big a company is or how much money they have now. Bank of America, Capital One, Chase Manhattan, how long would any of them last if it were not for the people who chose to do business with them? The fact is that many of the people who are out there bellowing the loudest have checking accounts and credit cards through the companies they are targeting and that sort of detracts from the credibility of the whole show. The real question should be is the problem rooted in the banks and the big corporations or is it in the government officials and elected representatives who secretly take their money in exchange for passing laws that benefit the banks and the big corporations unfairly, and at our expense? If this is the case, and I am fairly certain that it is, then ridding ourselves of capitalism, the one thing that has made this nation a land of prosperity and achievement for all, would be like shooting ourselves in the foot before a race. Why not fix the corruption in government, eliminate the laws they have passed to keep us all screwed to the floor and leave well enough alone? I don’t like Bank of America any more than the next guy, but I am not about to cut my throat over it.
Why is it the Occupy crowd, as educated as they claim to be, can’t figure out that destroying capitalism and turning the big corporations into victims is not the brightest way to go when focusing on corruption seems like such an easy way to fix things up? Personally, I think that they know, but since it isn’t in line with their agenda they aren’t bringing it up. Besides it’s easy to get everyone fixated on the corporations and giving them a target keeps them from seeing the real villains.
The Occupy crowd claims that they represent 99% of the people but I suspect they represent far fewer. Aside from the perpetual joiners who leap onto every cause that wanders by, the crowds occupying the current protest sites around the country seem to be heavily weighted with college students, recent graduates, and characters wearing SEIU t-shirts. This explains a lot more than the rhetoric they’re spouting for dissemination through the news media, but whether or not is it something that you or I would normally support is something else. The colleges and universities in this country were long ago taken over by the extreme left and the curriculum offered is slanted to support their political views. The students are graded more on their ability to assimilate those views than they are on the absorption of actual knowledge. Degrees in mathematics, hard science and engineering have been declining for more than thirty years while graduates with degrees and even doctorates in ethnic studies, sociology, political science, and Hispanic Culture have soared. These are people that have taken out high interest rate educational loans over a period of four to six years while they pursued what amounts to the most worthless educational experience imaginable and thirty days after they finally graduate they find that they have absolutely no marketable skills that any employer is looking for. and as an added bonus, they are $175,000 in debt that they can’t pay off, and even if they filed for bankruptcy their educational loans won’t be discharged. It’s hard to imagine the joy of being 23 years old and starting your adult life with no job and $175,000 in debt. But is that a good reason for destroying the foundation of our nation’s economic system?
Honestly speaking, I suspect that rather than 99% of our society, the Occupy crowd actually represents about 43%. 43 is the percentage of Americans who are partially or completely reliant on financial assistance from state or federal government to meet their basic human needs. 43% of the nation is receiving some form of food stamps, housing subsidies or clothing allowance from the government and this number is growing very fast. This is the segment of American society most threatened by cuts to entitlement programs and without the ability to raise the tax money needed to pay for these programs, that threat is closer to becoming a reality and the amplitude of vocal outrage increases. But is that a good reason for destroying the foundation of our nation’s economic system?
When we hear the chants and speeches coming from the Occupy protestors are we actually hearing something that constitutes a legitimate complaint or are we letting our own displeasure with the current elected representatives lead us into agreeing with something that is completely unworkable. It’s easy to sympathize with the underdog, the poor family that has been psychologically conditioned to rely on others for their basic human needs, but do we really think that destroying our own way of life is going to help them. Wouldn’t it make more sense to strengthen the economy by eliminating the corrupt practices enshrined by crooked politicians and kick-starting the free market so that jobs were available? Rather than draining what little money the American middle class still might have to pay for the food, clothing and shelter of those who are either unable or unwilling to care for themselves, wouldn’t it make more sense to start cutting these programs back and wean these people off the public dole so that they could care for themselves and take some responsibility for their own lives?
With the 2012 Presidential Election coming up it is unlikely that you will hear anything of this nature proposed by the candidates from either party. If they want to get elected they will sympathize and pander to anyone listening. Unfortunately that is not going to solve the problem, and if we don’t solve it, it is going to get worse. The Occupy protestors might be a mass movement, but they do not represent the American people. If we really want to see a solution to the problems we face we need to quit listening to the guy with the degree in Hispanic Studies and start listening to the voice of common sense, otherwise we just keep losing and the other side will just keep taking.