Face-painting, bongos and drum circles in New York, on Wall-street, and now even on Main Street in many of America’s smaller cities. Is this a movement of outrage by average American citizens, or a modern Woodstock, where the nearest park is a microcosm of Yasgur’s farm in August of 1969? This is not to say that some people within the movement don’t have some legitimate complaints, but it is all too obvious that many of those participating in the protests have no coherent or unified theme motivating them. So many are just perpetually discontented and have jumped on the parade band wagon.
One should not entrust those who wilfully pollute the park, with saving the planet. It also occurs to me that if I am unemployed, and need a job, it can only get more difficult to find one if I’m protesting and not actively pursuing employment. To me a rally is where you meet like-minded folk, have stirring speeches, make posters, but then pick up your trash and go home or out into society to influence others.
Of course some pundits hoping to legitimize this celebration of chaos, have quickly labelled the movement as a liberal cousin of the Tea Party. But that is clearly a slur to the Tea Party, since there are actually few similarities. For example, how many people were arrested in all the Tea Party rallies nation-wide over the past Two-and-a-half years? I find it amazing that we recently had an inquisition where detractors were inspecting Tea Party rallies with a fine tooth comb, looking for isolated incidences of racism or other objectionable elements. When in comes to coverage of the “Occupy” movement, there is more than ample evidence of bazaar and hateful perspectives. Yet these are ignored as isolated occurrences, while the media goes beyond the call of duty attempting to lionize and give a patina of credibility to the movement.
The whole concept of the “1% and 99%” is the latest symbol of contemporary urban mythology. Warren Buffet may be a billionaire, but he should know better than to make the ridiculous argument he did in favor of higher taxation. If Buffet and his rich cohorts want to contribute to the nation debt, they have every right and opportunity to do it voluntarily. So why doesn’t Buffet use his influence to promote that among those in his economic circles? If Buffet is paying a smaller percentage of taxes than his private secretary, it is only because he takes a small salary, and most of his income comes from capital gains. Capital gains are currently taxed at a lower rate because the returns come from money at risk in investments, not from salaries and wages. Most likely, much of Buffet’s personal wealth is in trust funds that he can control, but which is sheltered from taxation. There is nothing in the tax-rate schedule that would allow the rich to pay less on ordinary income. Perhaps this is an argument for an entirely new tax structure, which is being currently promoted by some conservatives.
In circles among conspiracy theorists, it was sometimes asserted that the Rockefeller’s were behind passage of the federal income tax nearly a century ago. The presumption was that “John D.” already had the loopholes figured out, so it was a “hurt the competition” strategy. One only wonders if Buffet’s comments aren’t riding on the coattails of that mindset. I can’t believe Buffet really thinks the government would be able to spend money more effectively than he could direct his own assets toward philanthropy. If he actually does, he should give me his money, because I know that I can. But, after all the debating is through, how does having more tax revenue insure the federal government will spend the money more wisely than in the past? Aren’t the federal bail-outs part of what has caused the current accelerating debt problem?
Turning the page, Jim Wallis, the leader of Sojourners has offered praise for the Occupy movement. Wallis is known as a “Social Justice” Christian. The Christian social justice movement is little more than a witches’ brew of selective biblical passages quoting Jesus, coupled with collectivist economic philosophy. The finished product is an Orwellian type deconstruction of the genuine gospel message, (wherein Christ provides spiritual salvation for humanity from its fallen state), and converts it into a collective economic salvation.
Of course, one can hardly miss that the Occupy movement is entirely unbiblical in its approach, despite the support of Wallis. While Christ emphasized the duty of the wealthy to help the poor, what he never did was attempt to organize the poor to revolt against the wealthy by demanding entitlements and economic equality procured by governmental edict or otherwise. While Christ emphasized the godly act of personal philanthropy, he never entrusted the federal government with enforcing The Beatitudes. Neither should we fall for the implication that government taxation and transfer payments are the contemporary incarnations and substitutions for personal charity.
As one poster wrote irreverently, in apparent antithesis with social justice clichés attempting to channel the WWJD theme, “I didn’t know Jesus smoked dope, screamed, cursed and urinated all over his followers? These anarchists are nothing like Christ and neither is Wallis.” The problem is that while it is appropriate and legitimate to criticize greed and abuse among the wealthy, we shouldn’t loose sight of the fact that this movement is built on an edifice envy and covetousness, that ignores Christ’s admonition to get the log out of one’s own eye. Why is it that only greed is condemned, while envy is justified or ignored? We should also remember that greed is a state of the human condition that knows no economic bounds. It is a spiritual disease of rich and poor alike.
I won’t say the Occupy movement isn’t a legitimate political force. I will say that I can’t support it.