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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Random thoughts on the OWS claims

Just a few random thoughts that have been passing through my mind as I see what's being shared back and forth among people I know, both left and right of the political spectrum, about the OWS protests.  Funny thing is, I've been away from home a lot and not keeping up with my usual news routine, so almost all of this is stuff that's fallen in my lap, so to speak, when I check my facebook, emails and the few blogs I manage to squeeze a visit in.

Question.  Those going around saying, "I am the 99%", do you really believe there even *is* a 99%?  I've been looking through the site, reading the placards, and watching a few youtube videos.  You know what?  You're not part of any 99%.  First, your representation of a 99% vs a 1% is a false dichotomy.  Most of the groups you claim are part of the 1% aren't, and your definition of what the 99% is has no basis in reality.  By your definition, I'm one of the 99%, yet I don't know anyone who fits your description, including the people who've lost their jobs, etc, nor do you represent me or my views.  You are not the 99%.  If you're liberal, you are part of a roughly 50%.  If you are unemployed, you are part of a 20% (US) or 9% (Canada).  If you've lost your home, you're part of a US national average of less than 3%.  It's the same with health insurance, debt, etc.

The 99% is an illusion.

To those of you complaining about bailouts, do you not realize that it was the government that did the bailing out?  Did you know that some companies tried to refuse bailout money, but had to take it anyways?  As for those that did take the bailout money, if you have someone offering you millions of dollars, wouldn't you take it, to?  I totally agree that there shouldn't have been any bailouts, but you're aiming your rage at the wrong target. 

Oh, and while we're at it, how is it that when the Tea Party folks complained about the bailouts, it was a bad thing, but now that you're against the bailouts, it's a good thing?

For those who think that capitalism is the problem, just what do you think of when you picture capitalists?  It seems to me that what you're actually talking about is crony capitalism, which is fake capitalism.  You seem to think capitalism consists only of big banks, big corporations, big companies.  You know what capitalists really look like?  Check out the next street food vendor you see, selling out of a truck, with lines of people eager to indulge in their delicious offerings. Those are capitalists.  Think of that small, family owned bookstore or convenience store in your neighbourhood.  Those are capitalists.  Think of your favourite coffee shop or tea place.  Even if it's a franchise, they are still owned or run by individuals who have invested time and money to provide you with a place to sit, enjoy a hot beverage and get free wi-fi.  Those are capitalists.

So when you say you want to destroy capitalism, say goodbye to your favourite book store, your grocery store, your coffee shop.  Say goodbye to your laptops and cellphones and tablets.  Say goodbye to street vendors and those funky little boutiques where you get your hipster clothes. 

To those who say you want socialism, have you spent any time looking at history?  Every single society that has gone the socialist route has failed, or is in the process of failing right now.  At best, socialism is expensive, and is incapable of paying for itself for long, as we are seeing in Greece.  At worst, it eliminates personal freedoms, individual rights and leads to the sort of death and destruction we've seen in the likes of Stalin, Lenin, Mao and Hitler, and continue to see now in North Korea and China.  This is not to say some things considered socialist do not have value; just as communism can use capitalist principles and make money, democracies and use socialist principles with some success.  The difference is, one is forced and controlled by the government while the other is chosen by the citizens and the government is acting on their behalf.  If you want a fully socialist society, say goodbye to democracy, freedom and individual rights.

Another question I have for OWS supporters.  Those of you who went on and on about how the Tea Party were just shills for big business (ignoring the fact that the Tea Partiers were against crony capitalism and bail outs) and that they were all astroturfed by the Koch brothers and so on.  Why are you so content to ignore the fact that the OWS is astroturfed, complete with paid protesters?  If you're so upset about corporate corruption (and rightly so), why are you not equally upset about union corruption, and union money funding OWS?

While in the same vein, how is it that you're so upset because some people got pepper sprayed, or a police officer apparently punched a protester, but you aren't upset when protesters are violent?  Why is it okay for the protesters to break the law, while you expect the police not to do anything about it? 

For those who think this "movement" is big in any way, you might want to get a look at this.

Click on it for a larger size.  You see that tiny little smudge on the right?  That's you.

For those of you with your trite little saying on your placards (and those sharing photos of some of the "best" ones), did you misrepresent things on purpose, or are you really that detached from reality?  And let's not forget how incredibly self-centred and spoiled some of your "demands" are.  I gotta tell you, some of you folks haven't just gone off the deep end.  You've been there a while and are doing the backstroke.

To those of you going on about how great the OWS is now, but were against the Tea Party protests in the past, please explain this.

Tea Partiers got the proper permits for their demonstrations. There were no arrests, no violence, no drug use, and when they were done, they left the areas they used in better shape than when they started.  They had a clear message, stated it, then went home to their lives and jobs.

The OWS folks are occupying private property illegally, their mess has gotten so bad I'm starting to wonder when the cholera outbreak will start, there have been many arrests, they've broken a number of laws, there is rampant drug use, noise, public sexual activity, while freeloading off of donations for about a month now and vow to continue even longer.

How is it that the Tea Partiers are the bad guys, but the OWS folks are the good guys?

Oh, and a lot of those "rights" you are demanding?  They're not rights.  They're privileges.  You don't have a "right" to a job.  You don't have a "right" to own a home.  You don't have a "right" to an income.  You don't have a "right" to have someone else pay for your medical care, your tuition, your mortgage, and so on.  Yes, times are tough and it's hard to make ends meet.  Yes, it's good to have a safety net for those truly in need.  They still are not rights.  I am also at a loss as to how OWS will in any way improve circumstances for anyone.  You're protesting the wrong place.

I've got other questions and observations, but I'll save those for another post.

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