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.
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.