A reader of this blog, who goes by the name "Rely on the Prize", posted this as a comment. A brilliant description...
"I agree that people are angry, and those of us used to the norms must heed this unrest, and realize what it means. However, so should the supporters analyze the protests. I had a two hour discussion with my liberal wife last night about Occupy Wall Street, because I have a hard time understanding it. I said "honey, even the hippies in the 70's had an end goal in mind - they wanted the US out of Vietnam." I can relate to that - I want us out of Iraq and Afghanistan...but that isn't what they're protesting. I could support and end to the Fed and the unmonitored, pseudo governmental, yet privately controlled system it upholds...but that isn't what they're protesting. I would even support a rally against oversized, monopolistic banks (10 banks controlling ~80% of American capital is not a good idea)...but that's not what they're protesting. The fact the banks paid back their TARP money makes you wonder why the ire is aimed at these banks. Why not rally at the doors of GM? I would DEFINITELY support the protests if they marched their asses to Washington and protested the contributing factors to our financial woes. Banks paid back TARP, but what about Obama's $787 BB spending bill, the $410 BB omnibus spending bill, and now another $400 BB spending (er...jobs) bill? Government does not create jobs or value, and the last three years pretty well hammered that point home...but that's not what they're protesting.
They are protesting against capitalism and the free market, and I cannot support such a protest. I am just as angry that a century of covert politics resulted in the pseudo socialist system currently in place in America, but the answer is not totalitarian government, as these protesters are manipulated into thinking. Look at the signs - the protesters are being used by the unions demonstrating they can direct an angry mob. The unions want a stronger government...so long as they have a seat at the table. The problem is that such goals are all hogwash in the end.
Strong central government works only in a completely homogeneous society. Marx himself wrote the only way his system would work is if EVERYONE was so fed up with their current system they willingly gave their independence to the commune. If you accept that a diverse society will always have differing opinions (and should), then you must accept that strong centralized forms of governance, such as socialism and communism, will never work. The ridiculous irony is the misguided protesters are aiming for the wrong thing. They want individualism. They want to do what is cool. They want to celebrate the power of the people. The system that gives the most power to the people is free market capitalism. The free market is based on the collective opinions of the entire population when they each place a value on everything around them. Rather than ceding your individual power (and right) to decide what everything is worth to a "superior," capitalism gives those infinite choices to ALL OF US. Power to the people indeed - by simple definition there CANNOT be anything more democratic than the free market.
History shows us there are essentially two ways to organize - centralized power or distributed / individualized power. If Occupy Wall Street had clearly stated goals (that make sense - their website states a "living wage" as a clear demand...I don't have the time to decry the ignorance of paying people for breathing...what does a pay cut mean?), I would support every goal that limits central power and actually does give that power to the people. From what I can discern, these protesters are rallying for stronger central power, in the form of Soviet flags, "support socialism" signs, and union participation at all levels.
I agree with Scott that the American dream is cracking, but it is because we are confiscating We The People's power...and these protesters are willingly delivering their souls, their individual choice, to a very devious group of manipulators who are all too eager to claim this independence in the name of stronger central government. A central government controlled by the very few who are truly behind these protests and this anger."
Thany you "Rely on the Prize". If you agree with this, I urge you to forward to your friends and facebook friends. It is the best encapsulation of this I have read yet...