The PJ Tatler

Aren't the Occupiers Asking to be Slaves?

Salon’s Alex Pereene penned a “New Declaration of Independence” for the so-called 99%. It’s hard to improve on Matt Welch’s take on it, which is well summed up in the title. The main thing missing from this declaration is any notion that adults have agency for their own choices. Also missing: Who the declarers are declaring themselves to be independent from. The original Declaration of Independence declared the colonies to be separated from and free of Mother England; Salon’s doesn’t seem to declare anyone independent of any entity. It’s more of a declaration of dependence, actually. Here’s what passes for part of its preamble:

What unites the outraged 99 Percent is that we have all “played by the rules,” only to learn belatedly that the game was rigged. Having been promised modest rewards for working within the system, by taking on debt or voting the party line, we find ourselves, bluntly, shit out of luck.

Perhaps they voted for the wrong party line? Perhaps debt always was a bad idea and something to be avoided? Perhaps the game wasn’t rigged so much as these folks were never equipped to play it at all.

So here’s what they want: Debt relief for the poor and students and college graduates and a more heavily subsidized higher education system, a “substantial” jobs program, a healthcare “public option,” more regulations on Wall Street, an end to the war on terrorism, repeal of the Patriot Act, action on “climate change,” an end to the drug war, gay rights, and a “fix” for the tax system so that there’s a millionaire’s bracket along with various hikes on capital gains and the death tax.

How is this indistinguishable in any way from the left’s standard dogma over the past few years? I don’t see that it is. They want another stimulus to go along with the ones that already failed, they want government-run healthcare, they want to go on pretending that the terrorists didn’t attack us and don’t want to kill us, and they want government to come down hard on banks and on energy producers, tax the rich, etc etc etc. This is pretty much the DNC’s platform, is it not? It’s the details of “hope and change.” It’s everything they have wanted to do forever, but didn’t get to when the Democrats held all the power. It’s that, plus removal of consequences for those who made bad choices resulting in personal debt. The flip side of that is that those who made responsible choices and avoided debt get to pay for the irresponsibles’ escape hatch. That’s not in the declaration, but it’s certainly implied. Somebody has to pay for it, and there isn’t enough money in all those big banks and in the accounts of the so-called 1% to pick up the tab. And then there’s the little matter of collecting what gets redistributed.

Every request for more regulations and more government subsidies is a request for more government intrusion and less individual freedom. These freebird occupiers are asking, in the end, to be slaves to the system.