The Occupiers and Me

So I ran across this article on Greg Mankiw’s Blog today and it got me thinking about the Occupy movement.

I’ll admit it, when I first heard about Occupy Wall Street movement I was excited.  Part of me wanted to get involved.  I thought it was a good thing.  I even agreed with their founding principals:

  • Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy;
  • Exercising personal and collective responsibility;
  • Recognizing individuals’ inherent privilege and the influence it has on all interactions;
  • Empowering one another against all forms of oppression;
  • Redefining how labor is valued;
  • The sanctity of individual privacy;
  • The belief that education is human right; and
  •  Making technologies, knowledge, and culture open to all to freely access, create, modify, and distribute.

I mean these are the things liberty are made of, right?  However, I quickly realized that while the Occupy Movement’s intentions are the best their principals and actions are conflicting.  It’s a case of people are pissed off, but they don’t know who to blame.

My Problem with Occupiers

The whining and lack of action combined with hypocracy.  Of course that’s not ALL of them, but the vast majority fall into this category.  Consider a girl I know from high school who is now attending NYU.  She is constantly posting things on Facebook with occupy agenda.  Ironically she comes from one of the most well to do families in our high school, is studying to be a actor or film critic, and is the stereotypical “hipster”.  I wonder how many other Occupiers fall into that same category?

Change comes from the people and protest is good – that’s a fact.  So I’m not downplaying the important role that every occupier plays in the movement for the change they want, but what about the lives they live?  Its great to play the part, but what about when it comes to the things you buy, the careers you seek, and the stuff you do outside of protesting?

Like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jole – adopting children, making movies, speaking out about the ills of society with a $500,000 engagement ring on Angelina’s finger.  That is almost sickening to me.  People want to make a difference, but only when they are rich first.  Reminds me of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where morality is the last level one becomes concerned with only after taking care of themselves.  Maybe that’s just the natural order of things.

Ideological Differences

Upon further examination I think I have some basic ideological differences from the occupy movement as well.  One major difference (surprise!) is the role of Government.

I think most Occupiers are grossly out of touch with who the poor are and what it is like to be poor.  Some poor people, as unpopular as the message is, are poor for a reason.  Sure, we all like that story of the guy who worked hard and conquered adversity, but lets be honest – there is a reason that guy made it and the other’s didn’t.

I can speak from experience.  My parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles all came from the same socioeconomic background.  9.5 of 10 of us are poor, under-educated, drug addicted, and/or content with their situation.  The 1 or 2 of us that did make it out, educated ourselves, work decent jobs, work hard and aren’t living off Government assistance. We did so out of our own initiative.  There are enough programs, educational opportunities, and people out there willing to help that if one seizes the opportunity they can make it.

If you want “equality” and you advocate for MORE social programs then you are either already poor and want free stuff or have never been poor.  More social welfare programs are closer to stealing than helping.  Those are just the cold hard facts.  I’ve lived it.

Having said that I fully realize being raised in a certain environment predisposes you to certain tendencies.  People deserve a chance.  A chance to be educated and opportunities for equal success.  I think we have that and what we are missing isn’t more Government, but the need for more help from the us – the people.  This is a social condition that needs to be solved by the people.  (As highlighted in Occupies values: Exercising personal and collective responsibility; and The belief that education is human right)

The Occupiers and Me

Young people, occupier and non-occupier alike, understand change is needed.  Improvements are to be made.  Ask yourself this: how many kids have you tutored lately?  How many times have you participated in neighborhood clean-up?  Take action into your own hands and stop demanding it from the Government!  Doing a good deed is something we can all agree with.


5 thoughts on “The Occupiers and Me

  1. Rattlesnake

    I didn’t hear about Occupy Wall Street until sometime after it started, and by that time it was already clearly a radical leftist movement (if it wasn’t before), and I was therefore unfavourably predisposed to it. I’m not sure what I would think of it if I had heard of it before then.

    However, considering its name, it seems like one of its initial focuses was “corporate greed.” There was no way I would ever support anything like that, because “greed” is what fuels the economy (i.e. the desire for profit, which has innumerable side benefits, as long as it is pursued legally). Since then, OWS has devolved into a farce (and public menace) that validates pretty much every stereotype of leftists I can think of.

    Furthermore, there really was never any sort of concise goal of the movement, other than perhaps “I want free stuff.” It is not surprising that, given the young age of the average protester, that it is a very id-driven and anti-intellectual movement.

    1. Atticus Finch

      At first OWS seemed like a protest against Wall Street bailouts by the government. I thought that was a good thing. The Government should not have been in the business of bailing out banks and wall street personnel. I quickly realized it was an organization without a real goal nor much organization. Overall I’m not a big supporter…

      1. jon

        I’m going to disagree a bit about the Wall Street bailouts. I think that if it hadn’t been for some of those bailouts, along with the two TARP stimulus infusions, we might be in an economic depression right now, instead of a period of struggling but incremental recovery.

        I think the philosophy of austerity alone that dominated the thinking in the EU (up until very recently) turned Europe’s economic crisis into a meltdown.

        My biggest concern about Wall Street is that it’s come to intersect with K street. Congress now has two dependencies — 1) the electorate (which is supposed to be their only dependency), and 2) corporate campaign contributions (which overshadows #1). I think the left and the right (certainly Ayn Rand would) agree that this leads to a distortion both of the political system and the free market.

        The Wall Street bailouts were of course a distortion of the free market too – but given the economic world we live in, I think it may have been necessary in this case.

        1. Atticus Finch

          To be 100% honest I do not know for sure if the Wall Street bailouts were the right thing for the people or not (as in did it prevent a depression). The part I do not like is that Wall Street was not punished for their business practices. They do deserve to fail and to lose their jobs. On a certain level they benefited from screwing everyone, then benefited again via Government bailouts.

          Wall Street is full of business men. Every dollar they spend is an investment expecting a return on investment. That includes campaign contributions – which frightens me. Considering the billions it took to bail them out I wonder if maybe the Government didn’t go too far this time.


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