Occupy Wall Street. Oh, sorry – #occupywallstreet. We’ll try to keep this one short and sweet. Relatively-speaking, anyway.
“What the movement is about” is perhaps up to some debate – many of the protestors have numerous different signs, messages, et al – we’ll come back to that. However, let’s focus on the rough genesis of the event, at Adbusters, to derive what the movement is supposedly all about:
We demand that Barack Obama ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington. It’s time for DEMOCRACY NOT CORPORATOCRACY, we’re doomed without it.
Let’s bounce that against a statement I know I agree with:
As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose — that it may violate property instead of protecting it — then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting at the door of the Legislative Palace, and the struggle within will be no less furious.
~Bastiat, 1850, The Law
Hrm… they sound aligned enough… Who’s not to agree with ending the influence money has over our lawmakers, anyway? If that’s what they’re protesting – we might discuss the means to the end, but I can hardly disagree with the goal. In fact, I whole-heartedly agree.
I agree so much, I will offer a suggestion: Vote for legislators that understand freedom, liberty, and the Constitution. When government is kept to it’s proper function of protecting our individual lives, property, and freedom – and facilitating us each to make our own choices – it will necessarily be smaller, and it will therefore be both less attractive and less able to be used by corporations for their aspirations of rent-seeking. Which is not to say that our lawmakers can ever “let their guard down”; businesses will always seek ways to get more for less – which is fine and good, but they cannot be allowed to do so at expense of the taxpayer or by introduction of a law that is something other than a “collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense” (Bastiat).
To say it more shortly:
To say it more lengthily: See The Law, by Bastiat.
Now – is that to say the rest of the #occupywallstreet crowd’s message is agreeable? Something tells me “not hardly” – something tells me many in that crowd do not, in fact, want law that is bounded to it’s proper purpose. Something tells me they want laws to support their own rent-seeking, if not (however altruistically) the rent-seeking of “others, who need it”. Something tells me that for many of the protestors, most of their protesting is for one or both of those purposes – whether forgiveness of loans, or taxing (or… eating) the rich, universal health-care, etc. But I’ll give them the part that they do get right – the law should not support rent-seeking by companies & corporations. The law shouldn’t support rent-seeking, period.