The protestors of Occupy Wall Street are the wrong messengers with the wrong solutions to a real problem. The weird combination of anarchists, drifters, and socialists tenting in a park are angry bird brains hurtling themselves against perceived pigs on Wall Street, but this is no game. If protestors on the right or the left undermine civic order, the damage will be hard to repair. There is “no app” in the store to fix a broken Republic.
The protesters offer no solutions, have contradictory demands, and allow anti-Semite rhetoric to float about too freely in their midst. Ugly forces from the last century, including fringe communist and fascist groups, have been attracted to the protests.
As always it is the private property of middle class apartment owners and small shop keepers that suffers. These protestors are heavily credentialed, but lightly educated, and appear mostly to resent not getting their own bailout, not the graft itself.
Many openly advocate socialism as if the twentieth century never happened. Government redistribution of wealth would rob from the thieves to give to new thieves. In the process, it would destroy the productive in favor of the parasites.
The mayor of New York often preoccupied with policing the eating habits of Gotham should end the unsanitary and unsafe conditions now.
And yet a Christian must feel sympathy and solidarity, if not for the overindulged protesters themselves, for the unemployed and poor in the nation. New Yorkers of an earlier time, such as Theodore Roosevelt, would have known this balance.
Nobody would have occupied Theodore Roosevelt’s New York: not the parasitic types in the park or the parasitic people in City Hall or Albany. educated, and appear mostly to resent not getting their own bailout, not the graft itself. He would have cleared the park and then turned his bully pulpit on the plutocrats, but within Constitutional bounds.
Roosevelt knew big business needed to be checked by a strong government, but that a strong government needed watching as well. If men were angels, there would only be liberty. Since men are not angels, there must be laws. The powerful in the public and private sectors check each other. Ideally, this allows the rest of us to enjoy liberty with justice. Sometimes the system fails. Roosevelt knew it, but I saw it happen.
My grandfather gave the best he had to a big chemical company, but they would not give him a simple mask when he had to cut asbestos. Nobody protected him from an abusive corporation and the small settlement my grandmother received at his death did not pay for years without him.
Most suffering today from injustice and unfair business practices need better leaders than the great unwashed throng in New York City.
Businessmen can kill as surely as any other kind of tyrant. Liberty is lost when too many citizens abuse freedom for profit. The sickening calculation that my grandfather’s life was worth less than immediate gain mocked the patriotic platitudes the company routinely issued.
There is no greater enemy of our economic liberty than the immoral businessman.
My grandfather did not die because of free markets, but because the wicked cared more for profits than for human life. Too often in West Virginia the state politicians were subservient to their corporate overlords and union bosses were quiet as long as their own pockets were lined.
Big government, media, education, and religion sometimes shuffle the same bad men from one institution to the others.
The last decade saw our economy sacked by barbarians in our midst. Both political parties cooperated in creating a system of laws and regulations that ensnares the average citizens while profiting the plutocrat and the politician.
Big government proved as corruptible as big business and graft provided the looters and moochers in our centers of power with wealth. When the reckoning came, big government bailed out big business, big unions, and bigger states and left the rest of us in a weaker republic.
President Obama fails to lead. His proposals put borrowed money in the hands of Obama’s political friends.
Republicans repeated many of the same errors and evils when they had power: the party of small government partied on government funds. They enriched, regulated, and deregulated a different set of friends and donors.
And yet it is easy to forget that all these decisions were made by people. “Wall Street” did not steal, people did. “Washington” takes no graft, men and women do. Is Main Street, the university, or the church in any position to judge?
We the people made this mess. Immorality, indulgence, and overspending are not just found on Wall Street. We have run up public and private debts and weakened family structure through public policy and private behavior. Republicans and Democrats have written laws and regulations to favor friends and freeze out political enemies, but we vote them into office and demand small favors ourselves.
A basically sound people can face down evils foreign and domestic and leave liberty under law for their children. My grandfather’s generation did just that and we have been healthier, richer, and wealthier than they were as a result. Unless there is a revival of duty, honor, and morality, then the Republic cannot stand. If there is such a revival, then we cannot fail.
We are all in this together as Americans. We have been piggish and spent too much of our children’s inheritance, but there is still time for us to change. Wall Street, Washington, and my street need ethical people.
Today I pray that in my own small way I can become one of them.
John Mark Reynolds | Oct 21, 2011 10:18 AM