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My Take On the Occupy Movement


The Occupy Movement, if I may attempt to suggest a commonality between the individuals who make up these movements, is the instance of protestors gathering in various places (Wall Street or Oakland city hall) to express their discontent with the American economic system as it currently stands. It has been compared with the Tea Party movement, though it is generally seen as more of a "left" movement while the latter is "right" in political leanings (see my previous article for the fallacies in these labels).

But I do not wish to apply these labels because, as I hinted at above, these are collections of individuals. Some are anarcho-communists, some are typical left-statists, some carry "End the Fed" signs. There is a very wide range of beliefs among these protestors. A common problem in public discourse is the tendency for many commentators to label people in terms of groups, so I intend to do my best to avoid that. As such, it would be irrational to either fully endorse the Occupy Movement or fully discredit them. Though my thoughts are probably better stated by Anthony Gregory, I will state them here. All statism, whether progressive or neo-conservative, is frought with contradiction. I imagine that most of the protestors do not want to get assaulted by riot police, and may even oppose the police state. However, those that believe that more government intervention in the already overwhelmingly corporatist system in the U.S. is necessary and desirable should realize that they will only get more of the same in terms police subjugation, both at home and abroad. And a similar remark goes for the Tea Partiers who claim they want the federal government out of their pocketbooks: giving more power to the Department of Homeland Security and the warfare state will necessitate its need to tighten its grip over your finances. The distinction between economic and civil liberties is false, and in giving up one you are setting up the other for destruction.

However, there are good things about the Occupy Movement, just as there are good things about the Tea Party. Having a healthy mistrust of government, and its relationship with large corporations, is just that: healthy. But to maintain this health we need to avoid the misdiagnosis that lack of regulation is the culprit. It is also good to expose policemen for what they are: state thugs, not protectors or public servants.

So the idea I would like to leave with is this: we should consider others as individuals and not as groups, and also consider ideas individually on their own merits. I know of no other person with whom I agree with on every single thing, therefore there is no group (if a group can, in fact, have ideas) with which I agree on everything (and neither one with which I disagree on everything). A problem I have noticed among libertarians, which I plan to write upon later, is that of a tendency to (nearly) label someone as a "heretic" if he or she agrees with them on nearly everything but not on some thing(s). A better practice, I would think, is to emphasize common ground and increase the size of that ground through reason.

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