Monday, February 20, 2012

Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party by Mike Shaner

Mike Shaner
February 20, 2012

Over the last half century America has experienced several half-assed freedom movements. It started in the 50's with the beat movement lead by Kerouac and Ginsberg. This evolved into the Hippie movement, which had a degree of success with its strong anti-war message. The problem is the flower children weren't actually protesting against the government, only for a change of government policy. They were like spoiled children who demanded absolute freedom and total security at the same time. The two ideas are incompatible.  Fast forward to today and we see history repeating itself.

The Tea party movement and the Occupy movement were both conceived with pure intention. They have more in common than either side would like to admit. Oh, one group is made up of older people and the other of young, but they both share(d) a common theme of liberty. However, through naivety or evolution, both groups also share the same quicksand faults. In a way, both seem to be saying: "we like to be fucked, we just want to be fucked a certain way." They both claim to want liberty, but it's a grotesque twisted definition of liberty.

The Tea Party movement of today has become little more than a mirror of the old guard Republican Party, even drifting so far into establishment territory as to align themselves with the Michele Bachmann's and Rick Santorums of the world. On some fronts even Mitt Romney is competing for the Tea Party vote. There is nothing anti-establishment about any of these monsters. They are a breed the tea party was hatched to slay. In a sense, the infant Tea Party, the one filled with Constitutions and “Don't Tread On Me” armor is gone.  Only bitter dwellings of long abandoned hope remain in what could have been a true liberty movement. The old were unwilling to admit that government is the disease. You cannot replace one cancer with another that is temporarily more convenient. The Tea Party of today is not so much about freedom and the Constitution as it is about imposing a so-called "conservative" brand of tyranny.

Most Tea Partiers now support the inept war on drugs; many cringe at the thought of changing our foreign policy to one of peace and friendship. Some are even ok with the patriot act, and a few would even tolerate Obama-care as long as the title is changed to Romney-care. They seem to be saying: "I don't use drugs nor should anyone else, so don't allow it. I have nothing to hide and anyone who does should be monitored, so continue the patriot act. I don't want to be forced to purchase a good or service but if I must it damn well better be a Republican doing the forcing. In essence, I want my liberty protected but not liberty in general."

The occupy movement is sadly the same. They are more like the old hippie movement in a way. They are rightfully angry and want change, demand change, but they are unsure or wrong about where change should begin. The problem with hippies and with occupy is that they want to move out of the house, but they still want the folks to pay their bills. They are right about getting out of the house, but the man who pays the bills is the man in charge, so the type of freedom they advocate for is nothing but an illusion. The tragedy here is that maybe both groups would rather have the illusion than the real thing. Occupy is right to protest the bailouts, income disparity, and corporatism. They are just wrong in their solution. They are attacking the corporations. Are big corporations evil? Probably. Can they be trusted? Certainly not, but attacking Wall Street for accepting government money is like attacking the stranger who had a one night stand with your attractive wife; it was wrong of him, but most men in his place would do the same thing. The person to blame is the one who had the responsibility, the one who made the vow. In the case of the cheating wife, she is to blame. Attacking the stranger will not prevent her from cheating again with someone else. Leave her. In the case of bailouts, it is the government. Most people will accept a ton of money when it is offered. To stop it from happening again, we must place our anger in the right direction, namely the federal government. Leave her. She is a whore who will always sell herself to the highest bidder. Government is a whore, no matter how much she promises to change or how hard you wish for it she will never have virtue. She will always be a whore and her agents will always be thieving pimps.

Occupiers, like their hippie forefathers and tea party opposites miss the basic premise of the problem. Changing the system will not work. Moving from one whore to the next will result in nothing but more heartache and possibly a flaming case of the clap. We cannot replace corporatism with socialism or communism because the government would still be in charge of distributing the funds. The pimps will still hold the key. The income disparity will grow larger, and the public chains will tighten. They are right to move out of the house, but they must pay their own way. End the corporatism and be free. Serving no master sometimes leads to struggle. Isn’t  is better to struggle in liberty than to be comfortable in servitude.

Tea Partiers must do the same. You cannot have economic freedom and social tyranny. Live your life the way you see fit and let others do the same. If they can control your neighbor’s behavior they can control your pocketbook. A perfect government cannot exist. A good government cannot exist. The only legitimate government is self-government. Tea Partiers and occupiers are both half right. It is a shame they will not come together and join with the liberty movement to make a whole.