Tuesday, November 8, 2011


by Bob Ward

The gatherings of malcontents in cities across the nation have been called “protests” by the participants and by the media.  A more accurate term would be “tantrums.”

These so-called “protesters” have been vague about what they want but the main complaint seems to be that some people are wealthy and others – specifically, them – are not.  They claim that this is somehow “not fair.” They resemble a three year old who cries, kicks the chair and holds his breath because he thinks his brother’s piece of pie is bigger than his. The main difference is that the Occupiers don’t hold their breath.

The image fits because of the infantilism revealed by their complaints and their stated objectives.  Frequently their statements reveal a failure to understand what they are saying. For example, a Pasadena City College student was quoted in the Austin American Statesman. “The banks,”  he complained, “are here to steal from us. Everybody is in debt, whether it’s medical bills, or school or loans.”

This guy considers it stealing if someone who lends you money expects you to pay it back, when, in reality, to borrow money and not pay it back would be stealing. But apparently they don’t consider it  stealing because, they are entitled to whatever they want and the rest of us have a duty to supply it. 

Accordingly, among their “demands” is the abolition of all debt – worldwide. We can only wonder if the people making that demand realize that every individual, business or institution that has lent money would simply lose the amount of the loan. That loss would include the money belonging to the bank’s depositors who are not the much-maligned one percent but are ordinary working people trying to build a nest egg by saving something out of their paychecks.

And we have to wonder if they realize it would put an end to the business of lending money thereby making  it nearly impossible for anyone to buy a home or a car or to attend a college unless he first saves up the money himself. To be fair, they did anticipate that last item by demanding free college so borrowing money to go to college would not be necessary – someone else would pay for it.

It would be a lot easier to save the kind of money that would make borrowing unnecessary if another of the demands on “The Collective” website were granted: a $20 an hour minimum wage and guaranteeing everyone a “living wage” employed or not.  Of course there is the problem of where a business would get the money it takes to pay such a wage and the answer comes immediately – it would have to raise the price of the goods or services it sells so high that $20 an hour wage would not be enough to live on.

But then, we already knew that consequences are not the protesters’ long suit.

And they want an end to immigration controls so that anyone can go anywhere “to work and live.”   This would certainly result in most people – from all over the world – going to places where the demand for a living wage – whether employed or not – has been satisfied.

What all this comes down to is a desire – backed up by threats and sometimes the fact of destructive  behavior – to have every need, desire and whim be accommodated while assuming no responsibility and contributing nothing. In other words, they want everything to be as it was when they were three years old and nothing was demanded of them beyond basic toilet training. In fact, there are indications they are now rejecting even that responsibility.

Some people may wonder where such unreal attitudes come from and how anyone could live in the real world for 20 years or more and not realize how wrong, unfair and unworkable such demands are. One answer is the welfare state we have cultivated for several decades. The historic link between work and reward has been severed by governmental policies as well as the popular culture. 

And we should not overlook President Obama’s contribution to this culture of entitlement, this attitude that if somebody won’t give me what I want, they are evil. The fact is that generating this kind of hostility toward anyone who is wealthy is the only thing Obama did professionally before being elected to the Illinois legislature.  His only real job was that of “community organizer” which is a euphemism for rabble rouser.

Nurturing resentment is the only thing he knows how to do and he hasn’t stopped doing it just because he’s in the White House.

And as long as he holds that office we can expect more of this kind of infantile outbursts.  

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