Thursday, October 20, 2011

Left, Right and Occupy Wall Street

People are comparing the Tea Party to Occupy Wall Street. Okay. Let's do that.

Tea Party people have jobs and families.  The Occupy Wall Street crowd is peopled largely by scruffy college students and full-time radicals with no clue as to how things really work. No one gets arrested at Tea Party rallies. There is no public copulation or distribution of condoms. I don't recall a theme of anti-semitism at Tea Party rallies. Not like this woman at an L.A. Occupy Wall Street west coast spin-off. 

Tea Partiers have no record of issuing death threats to their opponents. 

Like this:

we are going to sow the kind of choas [sic] you are unequipped to deal with,” the email said. “And you’re going to find yourself in a country where you and your wealthy friends are gonig [sic] to be hunted.”
“Let me slit your throat you corporate whore ... I would slaughter your family as well if given the chance.”
Now where were we? Oh yes...No one in the Tea Party wants to destroy the foundations of the country. They want to strengthen and return to them. The Tea Party also has a coherent and focused message: stop the spending and reduce the debt. Occupy Wall Street, by contrast, is a movement without a message. If OWS has any clear message, it's "I'm silly, young, and passionate. Co-opt me!"

On that subject, on Lisa Sharon Harper and I have dueling columns for the next few weeks. This week I wrote, "Dreamers at Occupy Wall Street."

I begin with the humorous tag line, "If Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" was the anthem for the 60s protests, the anthem for Occupy Wall Street has to be Harry McClintock's "Big Rock Candy Mountain." [Follow the link to the original video of McClintock singing the song]"

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
There's a land that's fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.

I end with this surely-to-be-unheeded warning to the Evangelical left who are frantic with over-realized eschatology.

What I see in the Evangelical political left is a dangerous, and I believe unbiblical, combination of Utopian expectations for government combined with an unjustifiably optimistic willingness to empower government for this breathtaking work. They want the Kingdom of God on earth; they want shalom fully realized now through political and economic reform. But if they came into the power they would need for this, they would quickly find their own movement co-opted by opportunists and their beautiful new day turned into a nightmare.
The in my column today, "The Occupiers and the National Divide," I lament that Obama's embrace of OWS will just further deepen our national divide. "It will further radicalize the division in our country between the Friends of ’76 viewpoint of standing by our founding political tradition of limited government and the 20th century progressive vision of benevolent, centralized, technocratic oversight of all things."

Obama came to office promising "hope and change" in connection with being a "post-partisan president" who would take us beyond left and right, liberal and conservative, red state and blue state. But he meant that in the same way the the Soviet Union said they wanted world peace, by which they meant world communism. Obama wanted to make political debate irrelevant in an administrative state when everything was decided by liberal technocrats. Hence, Karl Rove today with truth, that Barack Obama is "the most rigidly ideological modern president." He doesn't actually believe in politics, the essence of which is self-government among equals.

By the way, in the column, I cite a Douglas Schoen OWS survey that revealed “nearly one-third (31 percent) would support violence to advance their agenda.” One of my students saw immediately that in the event of violence, much more than that would get caught up in the frenzy. Another WSJ article goes into the details of the survey to reveal subtleties in the data.

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