Thursday, October 13, 2011

OWS Protesters Want Things Because They Want Them

As the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have made abundantly clear, the modern left is a motley collection of intellectually bankrupt factions loosely united by their allegiance to vague, incoherent platitudes concerning a multitude of eh, well, concerns.  Evidently, these concerns range all the way from  “greed” (it’s bad - unless you are a movie star or a rapper) to warm weather in the year 2099 (trust me, it’s horrendously bad).  Judging by their signs, chants, and effigies of bloodied businessmen with hatchets through their heads, their remedy for such perceived injustice appears to range from higher taxes to re-education camps to guillotines. However, if there is a uniting motive that can be ascertained I believe it is this: the desire to transfer unlimited power to federal bureaucrats to seize and transfer the earnings of productive individuals to non-productive individuals. 

In other words, when you step back from the hand drums, chanting and public defecation, this throng of idealists' sole motive appears to be granting the state the unlimited power to confiscate the property of others, i.e., turn the productive into sacrificial serfs of the all powerful State - a system which necessarily entails the initiation of force against innocent individuals all for the sinister crime of voluntarily producing and exchanging goods and services - goods and services which, ironically, seem to be in great demand amongst the protesters.     

Fortunately, the ultimate goal of these protests is not something many of the protesters have even bothered to consider.  In a post titled "OWS Protester Wants College Paid for Because That Is What He Wants," Charles C.W. Cooke interviews many of the protesters, and this video interview serves as a fantastic example to support my point.  He writes:
...nothing had prepared me for meeting this gentleman, who wants his college paid for because, well . . . that’s what he wants. He has perfectly articulated a sentiment I have heard repeatedly but was struggling to distill with anything like the clarity he achieved: That being that if there is something someone doesn’t like about their life, someone else somewhere should change it. And if they don’t, well then, the American Dream is dead:
The "at least your honest" award goes to this protester who rightly observes that "violence will be necessary to achieve their goals." While some may bristle at his suggestion, they should realize that he is merely stating the simple truth.  Socialism necessitates violence as it involves the seizure and control of other people's property.  Controlling the usage and disposable of other's property is tantamount to theft and a profound usurpation of individual rights whether sanctioned by "majority vote" or not - just as censorship is an infringement of individual rights whether sanctioned by "majority vote" or not. As uncomfortable as this may be for some of these protesters, they should realize that socialism is nothing more than the organized initiation of force by the state against innocent individuals.  

Although many of the protesters do explicitly understand their motives and proudly call for the state to perpetrate violence against the productive, others are justifiably unhappy simply because of the state of the economy or the injustice of government handouts. However, the latter should realize that the root cause of this economic malaise and the injustice of pull peddling are inherent to the very policies that the majority of the protesters advocate! 

In other words, the essence of socialism and its less extreme cousin, Western welfare statism, is government intervention in the economy on behalf of politicians motivated by special interest groups, all of which claim to represent the "public good." What they need to realize is that their Marxist protesting brethren are not concerned with the injustice of government favors or pull peddling per se, they are merely concerned with the current recipients of these favors and pull peddling.  They don't care that the state robs some people for the unearned benefit of others as a matter of justice, they just want the state to rob the appropriate people, which to the Marxist are the businessmen, and transfer the proceeds to the "lower class" or the earth or some other to be defined class. 

If there are honest individuals among these protesters, they should advocate for the protection of individual rights, i.e., a system in which the state protects all equally from the initiation of force and does not seek to sacrifice one group to any other group.  This system, laissez faire capitalism, most closely approximated at America's founding, does not exist, but it is the ideal.

As for the rest of the protesters, I am not concerned.  Collectivism, defined by Ayn Rand as "the subjugation of the individual to the group" for the benefit of the "common good," is a dead end.  As this bizarre and frightening video demonstrates, I don't think this group is going to take over anything anytime soon - although, if you become a "block," it appears they will do a "mic check."  

3 comments:

roadrage666 said...

Hear f%cking hear. Cogent analysis as always. Constant MSM comparisons of OWS to Tea party are absurd and infuriating. Yes, both movements are expressions of people's anger with the current system. Other than that, the two movements could not be more different. The former wants to take things away from the rest of us by force. Latter just wants to be left alone. Moreover, Tea Party directly opposes the interventionist mommy state that created this mess, while OWS (to the extent that the "movement" even has a coherent message) agitates for its endless expansion and intrusion into every aspect of life.

garret seinen said...

Good analysis Doug. The big question, who will teach the well-meaninged ill-informed protestor who truly want to support his own life, but can't find anything because the brick wall of regulation make job-creation near impossible. The media and the education system both fall flat in delivering good ideas.

Possibly, as a forgotten commenter said, separate the honest out by holding a 'job fair' on the site. Could at least hand out leaflets as to a real solution.

The real tragedy is that everyone wastes human energy on a destructive purpose.

BTW, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I miss your regular doses of reason. Cheers, gs

Doug Reich said...

Garret,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments as always.

I don't think its necessary to teach these people anything. The most important thing we can do is spread Objectivism through the culture by focusing long term on education and short term on various forms of activism.

Although your point that as society collapses and education becomes even worse the task becomes more difficult is well taken. And, my fear is that it might be too late as I look around at the scores of illiterate ignoramuses who seem in control of the so-called mainstream.

But I still hold out hope that if rational ideas become mainstream they will win out. It's been done before...