The Occupy movement continues its battle against the great evils of this world. A group from Occupy Boston marched to the Israeli consulate and ensconced themselves in the lobby. According to a Twitter feed chants included, “hey hey, Ho ho! Israeli apartheid’s got to go!,” “long live the intifada! Intifada intifada!,” “not another nickel! Not another dime! No more money for Israel’s crimes!,” and “Viva viva Palestina!”
The whole event illustrates the way the Occupy movement has become a forum for people to air whatever pre-existing grievance or agenda they have, even if it has nothing to do with Wall Street. And how readily a protest against bankers can elide into one against the Jewish state.
Not to be outdone, the Occupy Oakland has stormed Burger King, chanting “shut Down Burger King.” It’s easy to imagine things spreading outward from the pebbles thrown into the pond. A world without Israel, and only Palestinas! Imagine an earth freed from Burger King, chains stores, big medicine, industry, fossil fuels and the US military! It would be a world of affordable housing, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed leisure time, World Peace and laws against the ATM machines ever having zero balances.
The Occupy Wall Street was never about fixing a specific grievance. It was about articulating a world view; about ridding the world of everything anathema to that perspective while simultaneously getting it to provide everything they demanded. Nothing about it has to make sense; nothing in the relationship they have in mind has to.
The Occupy agenda will paradoxically create the very opposite of what the protesters profess to want. Instead of diverse world they will get one controlled from the top. In place of the chain store they will substitute a chain of informers who will ensure that all activity conforms to whatever notion of “fairness” politically prevails. Because if Occupy were to take over the world, each ideological group of which it consists will demand certain concessions as the fruits of victory; some sacred cows of their own. The vegans, transgenders, Palestinas, Trotskyites and whatever else have you would carve out red lines in the political and economic spheres.
As these fiefdoms increase in number society will gradually freeze up. Entry into these “sacred cow” areas will be restricted and their activities will be subsidized. Instead of being able to visit Burger King, which will no longer exist, the inhabitant of that future world will pay out a small portion of whatever food he eats to pay for the Whole Earth Wymns Cooperative down the street because it either charges less than full price for its goods or nobody buys them in the first place. And if you wanted a “Burger King”-like food product; it would be unavailable because of regulations prohibiting the sale of such substances.
Tod Lindberg at Commentary reviewed Jonathan Rauch’s book, Demoscleroris, which argues that because government has been Balkanized into different special interest programs, it has effectively lost its ability to adapt.
Taking as his departure point Mancur Olson’s classic study of political economy, The Logic of Collective Action (1965), Rauch argues here that as the share of the American economy under government control has increased, the potential benefits accruing to organizations (and their members) have soared, while the cost of forming and maintaining organizations has declined. The result is that Americans have divided themselves into ever more numerous, large, and powerful groups, each willing to exploit the power of government to advance its own claims on the nation’s resources.
A world run by Occupy, and administered by some federal spokescouncil would be one of almost complete paralysis; of rigidities instead of liberty. In a way they will get what they wanted. It is simply that they never realized what they were asking for.