I have been watching, with a jaundiced eye, the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters, while watching the Gunwalker scandal and the other news with the one eye that is good. I remember the similar protests, or "sit-ins," or whatever they were variously called in the 1960s. I remember the so-called "Rap sessions" where students sat around in a circle sharing their ignorance with each other, and feeling smug that they were getting a better education that way. What a waste of their parents' money! But that's the point. A lot of these kids are relatively well off, or even rich, and are spending money they didn't earn on a lark. They will have great memories when they are old, and who knows, some may find love and marry.
As today, so it was in the 1960s, that people did not spontaneously arise and become a mob. Every instance of protest was invariably led by professional agitators behind the scenes. Of course Occupy Wall Street is no different. And the demands produced by the protesters of Occupy Wall Street are meant to give our students something to make them feel like they are really doing something. What pikers! For instance, look at the lousy minimum wage demand. If a minimum wage actually worked, then why not demand $100 per hour minimum? Or how about this: Uncle Benny over at the Fed could print up $100,000...no, $200,000 and send it out to each of us! Then we'd all be rich, eh...eh? Yeah, that's the ticket! But of course the organizers know that the higher they make the minimum wage, the more people will be shut out of the job market. If the minimum wage were $100 per hour, then anyone not producing a net $250 per hour, with benefits included, would not be hired. Similarly, if Keynesianism actually worked, then sending out $100, 000 to everybody would be a great idea. But everybody in Washington knows what a disaster that would be. If they know that, then they also know that they have been lying to everybody for decades.
Daniels Greenfield, of the blog Sultan Knish had a particularly pointed take on the Occupy Wall Street protesters the other day in a piece entitled Days of Rage, Hours of Opportunism. Go read the whole thing. It is instructive.
The last time I passed the Days of Rage protesters in downtown Manhattan, amid their litter of expensive camping equipment, iPhone chargers, mobile hotspots and handwritten cardboard signs, they reminded me of people who walk up to you in bars pretending that they just discovered a new brand of beer they want to share with you. Those people are plants, so are the people with torn cardboard signs surrounded by a few thousand dollars of equipment.These people call themselves the "vanguard." You won't find actual out of work "working people" at the rally. Instead, what you have is rich young people who have convinced themselves that they are the voice for the poor and downtrodden. If only the "working people" could shake themselves out of their "false consciousnesses" and realize their true power. Our intrepid vanguard of course needs to raise peoples awareness. Such are the pipe dreams of people who have never had to figure out where the next meal is coming from, whether to buy shoes for the kids or pay the mortgage, never had to eat beans and rice, or rice and beans. These soft hands have never actually handled a wrench or a screw driver, and wouldn't know a bolt from a nut.
There are people who have reason to be enraged at Wall Street, but they rarely show up at rallies. They are too busy working a second job in their seventies or sitting outside a factory that was shipped off to China. And the people who do show up at rallies invariably have nothing to do with Wall Street and are financed by billionaires who made their money, directly or indirectly, in the stock market.
What Occupy Wall Street and similar staged events around the country are intended to do is allow Obama to declare martial law and suspend elections, because otherwise the President and his party are going to have another pounding at the polls come November 2012. The unions who support this administration have seen the handwriting on the wall when they tried to recall those Wisconsin legislators. Now they have to get really dirty. So far, the protests have been relatively peaceful, but I can't help but believe that they have worse planned. Looking at Gunwalker, it is also clear that this administration has no compunction about killing people for the cause. So keep a jaundiced eye on the protests that are no doubt coming your way soon.