Yes, the author of Common Sense and The Crisis – that Thomas Paine.
There is no doubt, after all, that our country is in crisis, and I think there’s a better-than-average chance that it’s gonna get some degrees worse before it starts to get better, either economically, culturally, or both.
Before I get to Paine, however, allow me to get out on the table what I see in all this Occupy stuff, which, from where I stand, is more nonsense than it is anything close to truly substantive. I will freely admit, though, that there are some legitimate issues swimming through the predominant pig sty that is beginning to spread across the country.
As I’ve said, the people involved are expressing their concerns about some legitimate issues, the most noteworthy of which is the nefarious influence of the global bankers and Wall Street. In fact, that larger issue is seemingly common ground for both the Tea Party and the Occupiers. Both sides, I think, would agree that those two economic goliaths are largely responsible for the condition in which we find America specifically and the world more generally. In fact, one could make a very solid historical argument that the age of the Robber Barrons and their lobbyists never really came to an end.
The two sides diverge, however, at one very simple point: those on the Left are arguing for MORE government in their lives; they seem to think that more government agencies and regulation will only affect those really mean rich people and not themselves. As the predominant age range of the Occupiers seems to be college and post-graduate, I feel safe in saying that this is a generation of young people who have had, for all intents and purposes, everything in their life handed to them and have been made to feel that they’re the center of the universe. While I’ll readily admit that that there are some decent people in these throngs, what might the percentage of people be in these crowds who have either earned or are willing to earn their way through life, without the expectation of any type of handouts from the government? 25%? 35%? I can only speak for myself, but I’m not willing to go much higher than that. The members of the Tea Party, on the other hand, not only lay the economic blame at the feet of the global bankers and Wall Street power brokers but also at the feet of the government. There’s no question that the federal government and big business have been in cahoots for a long, long time, reaching all the way back to the aforementioned Robber Barons. The collusion of a centralized government and big business is the very definition of fascism, and both of our political parties are equally to blame. The Tea Party’s vision of restoring our government is to reduce it back to its constitutional restraints; the Occupiers want to grow it to who-knows-what degree, simultaneously managing to keep big business out of it.
Good luck with that.
I’m willing to go out on a limb here and venture that the members of the Tea Party would be much, much more amenable to working with the Occupiers than vice-versa in order to solve our problems. To me, though, the deal-breaker would all come down to this: the members of the Tea Party want to control their own lives, find productive work, and take care of their families; the typical member of the Occupiers generally wants none of that. An extended scan of the occupied areas speaks fairly convincingly to that point.
So, all of that said, what do I see in the Occupy movement as a whole? Well, while I understand that painting people and/or things with a broad brush is usually wrong, I don’t think too many everyday Americans are going to wholeheartedly disagree with my perspective.
First off, this is, in effect, an “occupation” on our own soil; one could make the argument that this is a “foreign” occupation – of sorts, of course – something against which the “peace”-loving radical Left is always rather strident. Funny, but the recent behavior of the Occupiers in Oakland didn’t seem all-too-concerned with the notion of peace.
In all honesty, I feel bad for the smaller number of decent people in these throngs who are there merely to make their voices heard, people who have had the foundation of their lives forcibly taken from under them by politicians and big businessmen. These folks are having their voices drowned out by what is largely a group of self-styled, insecure intellectuals who are desperately, desperately trying to impress one another with the degree to which they’re all “above the fray”. There’s very few of them who have a reasonable clue about what it is that they’re protesting; not having been grounded in practical, real life will do that to a person.
Not having been parented will contribute mightily to such an outlook as well.
To the vast majority of these young people, this is simply something “cool” and “contrarian” to do, something about which they can go back to their elite universities and fist-bump with their other “in-touch” friends about how they pissed off “The Man”.
Strangely enough, more than a handful of reports have emerged that indicate that many of these people are being paid upwards of $600 per week to hold firm; ironically, that seems like capitalism. They’re also beginning to realize that there’s no such thing as free stuff, as evidenced in this nugget from the Internet:
According to news reports, the cooks down on Wall Street feel overworked and underappreciated. There are homeless people and others who are not necessarily part of the protests – although they certainly are part of the 99% – going to Zuccotti Park for a free meal. In response, they chefs are refusing to cook the gourmet food they usually serve and will only serve brown rice and other ‘spartan grub’ this weekend. For instance, they are only serving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches today.
But this all might just be me.
Couple all of this with the fact that most of these people are living like animals – garbage and unsanitary conditions not only seeming to be daily fare but are also something in which a number of these individuals (or should I say members of their collective) seem to be reveling (openly defecating on police cars is a real snapshot) – and the larger picture of the Occupy movement becomes a very disturbing, and to a certain extent dangerous, one indeed.
Second, I’d like to be able to say that I’m honestly confused by the more than a handful of requests – as expressed by some of the younger Occupiers in their various signs and in some YouTube interviews – to have college tuitions paid off. Obviously, I’m not at all surprised, but the America’s Right audience might be interested in what I have to offer on this point.
So, let’s start by getting this straight – everything was fine and dandy when these ostensible intellects graduated from high school in the blaze of look-at-me glory and gladly held their hands out and accepted the student loans that were granted to them so that they could invest in their own futures by furthering their education. When the time came, however, for them to face the reality that a banking or college loan institution was actually asking for repayment of its money in addition to the time purchased, the general American populace is supposed to sympathize with the fact that these young people don’t feel as though they should be saddled with the debt that they willingly incurred?
Here’s a tip for these alleged really smart people: the expressions of their anger might be better served by protesting outside their colleges and universities, because it is there that the cost of tuition is driven through the roof by, amongst other things, the ridiculously-high tenured salaries of their leftist-indoctrinating professors. Remember, many of these intellectual wanna-be’s “educating” our young people today are the remnants of the late-60′s; once the free-love, no-work nirvana was coming to an end, many of these people decided to become teachers and/or professors and to live the “protest life”. Further, many of them ARE Wall Street at this point.
The hypocrisy when it comes to the pervasive influence that our institutions of higher education are bringing to bear upon the Occupy movement is so thick that I’m not so certain that it could even be cut with a really, really sharp knife. The vast majority of these young people seem to take issue with the general concept of making profits. Really? Perhaps – just perhaps – they should look first to the financial profiles of the Ivy League schools themselves, where these vaunted institutions are investing their money in ways to which their very liberal soldiers would, I think, strongly object. An example of such information can be found here: http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2008/12/in_the_reporting_on_our.html
Further, it ‘d probably be fairly enlightening for quite a few people around the country to learn what’s really going on at the “elite” universities around the country, schools into which most parents who run in the high-end social circles are just dying to get their children. As someone who both lives fairly close to Brown University in addition to having educated a handful of students who’ve gone on to the Ivies – Travis Rowley (Brown graduate, author of Out of Ivy, and a conservative political activist in Rhode Island) and Dave Rufful (current undergrad at Dartmouth and member of the “Young Cons”, the conservative-rap duo who’ve been profiled on Fox News) most notably come to mind – I have pretty solid first-hand knowledge of the degree of non-education, personal degradation, and hard-left communist activism that has nearly completely enveloped these campuses. In fact, a passage from one of Travis’s recent articles might help to illustrate:
Conservative speakers are rarely invited to College Hill, and are often besmirched and disrupted if they somehow make it past the Ivy gates. Author and professor Camille Paglia once called Brown “the most viciously intolerant campus that I ever visited as a lecturer.” Student activists champion causes such as the installation of gender-neutral bathrooms, the abolishment of Valentine’s Day, and the renaming of Columbus Day. Inside prestigious university buildings, the Queer Alliance hosts depraved “naked parties” called “Sex, Power, God” and “Starf*ck.” Administrators and feminist student-groups co-host annual sex-toy workshops.
Believe me, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Should anyone be interested in learning more about what goes on at Brown, pick up Travis’s book. It’s available on Amazon, and you might be able to find it in a library.
Given that this seems to be the general tenor and makeup of the Occupy movement, I feel that one of the REAL unspoken questions to emerge from this movement – one that would have to be answered in another entire article – is simply this: WHY would parents continue to invest in their children’s futures by sending them to college in today’s America? So that they can turn out like THAT?
No, thank you.
Which – thankfully, I suppose – brings me to Thomas Paine and the weather. Much has been made about the consideration as to whether or not the Occupiers can outlast the weather, because at a certain point, their mettle is going to be tested. Ironically enough, there appears to be an unusually early nor’easter bearing down on the Northeast as of this writing. Consequently, I can’t help but think several things: 1) Global Warming (climate change?) is really out to get us, 2) God works in mysterious ways, and 3) we’re about to find out just what the self-styled “revolutionaries” are made of.
The last time America found itself in the cultural crosshairs, and severe weather played a crucial role in determining the absolute depth of the ideals of the people fighting for their way of life?
Valley Forge. George Washington, inspired by Paine’s insights, read The Crisis to his troops. The rest is history.
Valley Forge vs. Occupy Wall Street. I know where my chips are placed.