"I heard one of these protesters said he was there because 'Capitalism was taking over Wall Street' -- like it hasn't been Capitalist for over two hundred years! What an idiot!"Well I'm assuming this guy isn't an economist any more than he might be a historian, and I'm assuming he got the information about what the "typical" loony-left and ignorant protesters are from some artisanal propaganda source like Fox News.
Yes, of course, there were protesters baring their breasts and preforming other charming acts having little to do with constructive criticism of laissez-faire Capitalism. While I'm the last person to discourage such acts, I'm also the last person to believe that this kind of New Yorky opportunistic revelry has anything to do with the reasons more qualified critics like Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz would lend support by their presence: reasons having to do with Wall Street practices, their relationship to the market crash, the credit crunch and the dire state of the world economy -- subjects the people who script and sculpt the news would rather mock, would rather have you mock, than discuss intelligently.
For someone who suffered through the late 1960's as an adult, the techniques political enterprises use to dismiss well grounded movements hold no novelty. I remember quite well how anyone openly questioning the benefits and reasons for maintaining an unwinnable war in Southeast Asia was told to "get a job" and had his personal hygiene questioned as well. Easier to dismiss someone, albeit clad in Brooks Brothers attire and obviously gainfully employed, as a silly, radical and stupid "hippie" than to answer disturbing questions as why killing peasants, bombing millions and stifling free elections was preventing the 'lights of freedom from going out in America' as was wrongly claimed by the Right. Then, as now, the real struggle was to keep the lights of reason off and it was fought with the same kind of smugly simplistic and fatuous fallacies the powerful always use to crucify the good.
But the dishonest selection of unrepresentative examples and illuminating them as "typical" is ancient and not the property of right wing extremists. It's the sort of thing our foul species does to advance our cults and parties that want to keep us in squalor and ignorance and the occupation of Wall Street isn't about the irrational or Communist inspired hatred of freedom or free markets, as you know, or you wouldn't have read this far. It's about corruption and the lack of rules and oversight that promotes private exploitation of free markets to the detriment of all. The occupation of Wall Street is just another station of the cross where the sidewalks are filled with mockery and abuse.
That unwitting clowns are flopping about in over-sized shoes, honking horns and mocking, is inevitable, given the well-fed smugness of the stupid. Their invisible rulers are very good at making them eager participants in their degradation and suffering; but failure isn't inevitable. It's tempting for old-timers like me to opt out of the circus, but perhaps there's hope, unlikely as it may seem, that enough people can be made to see how they're protecting the practices of the looters, pillagers and vandals on Wall Street and in Washington to do something about it. There's hope, but I'm not yet ready to bet on it.