By Ismael Hernandez
Freedom & Virtue Institute
What the “Occupy” movement demonstrates is not the internal contradictions of capitalism but the contradictions of its enemies. They are marching for “liberation” from personal responsibility and the realities of freedom, while sipping on a good latte; cursing Steve Jobs while texting on their iphones. Yes, the “rich” are the target as envy lurks in the human heart but the marches are a good opportunity for oblivion and sedation.
Are there good people suffering who are marching there? Of course! These people are caught up in the whirlwind of an orchestrated movement designed with ideological intentions but promising utopian “liberation” from…whatever. ‘Useful innocents” they are, as economist von Mises called these “confused and misguided sympathizers” lured by radical dreams. It is indeed a promiscuous mingling of interest but one spearheaded by the ideologues.
Manufactured by known radicals, it is sold as a spontaneous uprising, fed in part by wealthy kids bored in affluence, that gives some an opportunity for engagement, a cathartic moment where some can atone for the sin of success and others express the sadness of its lack. But again, they can always go back to the mantra of the “one percent super-rich” and keep the party on.
They are marching for categorical solutions to the reality of existence, even as there are none. But the hope and the promise of security in numbers and the warm embrace of a collectivist tsunami is tempting; especially when you are hurting. That is what evil movements do, incite the passions, offer fuzzy promises of a utopian future of equality, a space to demand everything as a right, and the certainty of a clear enemy: the rich. Comforting but misleading.
Yes, “our” money should go to build roads, repair infrastructures, create jobs, we are told. The phantom expectation is fascinating as it is such expanded role of government the one that inevitably links corporatism with government interventionism. The lofty goals of security in claiming “rights” and “entitlements” contradicts the real world of diminishing returns but it surely sounds right!
The greatest corporation of all, the government, appears as the hated savior. The behemoth is rightfully condemned for bailing out corporations but regrettably supported to expand its reach even more, just not for “them.” The unholy alliance that crony capitalism offers, that of the losers in the free economic exchange tied at the hip of the State, has a master head: big government. The new master is then transformed into an evil god that cannot deliver man from his condition. In tragic despair, and not cognizant of his value, man conceives himself as a helpless victim of a government structure he hates, but still worships. ‘The System’ becomes both the source of our problems and the locus of our hopes. Despair then, deep and ingrained, becomes a penetrating state of existence and a powerful political force. As we can see, the perennial search for solutions from above speaks of the power and the decadence of the politics of despair.
What we need is real economic freedom, with a government that recedes to the background where special interests (corporations, unions) cannot benefit from its power. We need markets ruled by real competition and a government that understands it limited place in society.