This is rather heavy subject matter for me compared to my typical musings about fractional reserve banking, foreign intervention, corporatist bail-outs, war crimes, and overall government failure.
Not for any intellectual gravity of the subject at hand, #Occupy(insert city/province/idea/street here), but because I now feel compelled to write a critical commentary on the #Occupy protesters themselves, at least the good number who have gotten their statist faces and voices on camera and not even just the apparatus that spawned them.
I have reserved judgment to see how it evolved locally, but have since been disappointed by many of the voices I've heard.
In every instance, I side with the People on the street, even when unpopular, against the seemingly obvious shared enemy: any and all authority backed by force.
But when an enemy goes unidentified or more authority is offered as an answer, I'm out. And at this point, I have a few thoughts to share.
Please don't think I'm ignoring the few "End the Fed-ers" and "Bring the Troops Home Now-ers", you know, the actually productive participants whose answers would produce results that differ from the status quo.
But at this point, I still see a bigger problem with the other 99% of people involved in the protests, who are calling for more taxes, than the enemy they claim: "the 1%" (described by participants as those who "control the wealth" and "corporate greed").
Though I have seen a couple of the protesters who are talented and driven enough to possibly one day become a part of that 1%, and I can't help but wonder if the opportunity presented itself, if they would stick to those "anti-profit" guns. Just listen to Michael Moore stammer over the same question he's gotten for 10 years; 'You make a lot of money, do you really think capitalism is the problem?', and you will start to see where that road leads.
It seems there are fewer and fewer people who understand that no one has ever been forced to buy a Pepsi, a gallon of gas, or a pair of Adidas at the threat of being caged.
But Americans are threatened with that and worse annually, just because they used their skill and time to create wealth for themselves. And if you were to resist being caged, you would be killed. No amount of good intentions can mitigate this fact.
Believe me, this isn't written by some rich guy, or soul-less profiteer. Just a person who has done a lot of reading about the history of governments and markets, who gets up and goes to work every morning to support his family. I like to think these are well-thought out, hopefully coherent, and informed opinions from a "slightly lower than middle class" American.
But, on a basic level; how far gone is the American tradition that people now protest against their perceived authorities (profit seekers), to have the real authorities (government) extract more resources from their neighbors? [Presumably to just give it to the protestors, thus making them the despised 1%]
Who protests for more authority?
What kind of protest is endorsed by the man in the highest seat of authority?
A shallow one if you ask me.
Because these protesters can easily defeat their perceived authorities (profit seekers) by simply not buying their products, and persuading their friends to do the same (hell, they could get their friends to sleep on the sidewalk, they could get them to give up their shelltoes).
But they still do not see why there are fewer and fewer choices left to them for the products they want and need. And it's because the real authorities (government) is used by their perceived authorities (profit seekers) to keep out their potential competition, or at least to make it really hard for others to enter "their" market that they tell us is "free".
So, I cannot support, endorse, or even (after this piece) acknowledge a "movement" guided by mob rule and teenage angst, who are willing to use billy-clubbed force to achieve their supposedly well-intentioned goals.
I say that because I get the impression that the protesters feel that if they could only use the same billy-clubbed jackbooted badges, that were (just days ago) beating them, on the rich in order to feed the hungry, house the poor, and care for the injured, then it would be hunky-dory to many in the tents.
Instead, force should just be "turned off". And people sleeping in tents in Downtown ought to help spread that message, a tent isn't the most easily defended position, tactically.
Stop the madness. Recognize that the use of aggressive force is immoral. Whether by a common street thug, by a government, or even when wielded by 51% of a populace.
Protesting for more forceful theft by those with badges and robes will not gain this libertarian's support. And it frankly baffles me that those youngsters have bought it, I thought better of them than that, I guess.
I understand that investment banks are very greedy, indiscriminate, and seem to be in control. But the executives at Goldman-Sachs can't force you to do anything until they start writing the laws, which explains the GS revolving-door at the Treasury.
So, it seems to me that #Occupy will fade into memory sooner than later; I base this on the fact that it is not driven by knowledge, understanding, and Principle; but by sophomoric, unfocused, rudimentary anger. Anger fades and can be neutralized, though if directed correctly can be a very useful emotion.
The actual thieves, murderers, and tyrants in government and the private Federal Reserve monopoly should be named and tried; any ultimate goal short of that is probably not worth the time.
And personally, I won't support the use of force against those engaged in voluntary transactions, anywhere. Even Wall Street.