Saul Alinsky is dead. So is Occupy Wall Street. Or if it’s not dead it is in the throes of dying. Alinsky taught revolution as a three act play. Act I is to gain respect. That does not happen by defecating on police cars and shutting down subway stations at rush hour.
In the first couple of weeks of OWS, the movement was seen as counterpoint to the Tea Party. It may have even been intended as such by its founders, whomever they may be. There were people with honest gripes about the lack of jobs, crony capitalism, ill conceived bailouts, and stimulus that didn’t stimulate. However, given the obsession of the OWS leadership with democracy and endless “General Assemblies” the movement never found a unified direction. You can’t steer a ship with a hundred rudders in the hands of a hundred helmsmen each with a different idea of which direction forward is.
Gradually the cross section of ordinary Americans who really did want jobs and better government withdrew. They left the tent cities to the shower-less and the anarchists whose idea of social justice is – why make it if you can just take it? This is exactly the type of behavior Saul Alinsky sought to correct. Without effective leadership they are proving to be no more than a band of useless idiots.
A combination of the success of the free market system and gradual increase of government largess has all but eliminated depression style poverty. The poverty argument no longer engenders the same level of anger when those classed as poor have cell phones and iPads, drive cars, own homes and still pay no income tax.
Today’s anger is not about poverty; it’s about riches. The Wall Street protesters are not fighting poverty; they are protesting the unequal distribution of wealth. They are protesting the fact that some people have more than they do and they want some of it. All you need to do to see why the Occupiers have less is to examine a cross section of them and compare it a cross section of Tea Party types, or upper East-side New York liberals for that matter.
All the rich want to do is keep some of their own money and pay out the rest in taxes and give some to charity. They don’t want to take money from someone else just because someone else has it. Wanting more money may be greed, but isn’t wanting someone else’s money without earning it an even greater greed? The Occupiers want someone else’s money. And they want it to they can buy the latest iPods and better cars. If they really want to end greed they should get a job.
Guy de Maupassant ends his great novel “Une Vie” with the statement “Life is never as good or as bad as one thinks.” Conservatives should understand that in politics, things are rarely as good or as bad as one thinks in the aftermath of an election.
Hat tip Paul Mirengoff
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville
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