Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and The Tea Party

I've been following the Occupy Wall Street situation lightly lately, and I think there are portions of this blog post that have some significance.

The best part is the venn diagram near the bottom. I think that true freedom lovers (of which some Tea Parties are not), should be reaching out to the OWS crowd to attempt to bring them to a better understanding of the consequences of centralized power. I commented on the above post, and in that comment I suggested that people read two different books by very different authors.

1) The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank
I also began a review of this book in the past but failed utterly to complete it.

2) The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek
I am still reading this book, but even the introduction(s) deal directly with the topic at hand.

In The Wrecking Crew, he talks about the noble bureaucrats that went to D.C. to make a great government work, but that evil people (he claims that this is just how conservativism works) have gone through and appointed people to these positions to benefit corporations and other entities.

My response to the whole of this novel is "How could you imagine that it would work any differently when you concentrated so much power in one appointed office?" I think it really comes down to the flawed notion that anyone in Washington D.C. can be "accountable to the people". They are too far away and too secretive to ever trust with any power.

In the introduction to The Road to Serfdom, F. A. Hayek begins to address exactly this premise, especially the one that was rampant in Europe in the early 20th Century. In the early 20th century, many nations attempted various forms of socialism. It was a philosophy whose time had come. Unfortunately, it suffered from exactly the dangers outlined in The Wrecking Crew. "The People" set up a powerful central government that could take care of directing the economy, setting wrongs back to right, and generally helping people. Unfortunately, as it is inevitable to happen, ruthless and evil men came to power (in different ways and to different results in the various countries), and the results were disturbing. In Germany, it gave rise to Hitler, Italy, Musolini, and Russia, Stalin.

The things that these countries had in common were that the people were convinced that they would benefit from central control of the economy. I think this is the core fallacy that some (many?) in OWS are falling prey to. If more can have their eyes opened to history, and the fact that this is not a new idea, nor an untried one, we can convince them that they are correct that there is a problem in America, but that the solution is slightly different than they may have imagined.

I'd like to reach out to OWS people locally to attempt to establish common ground and find out which Presidential candidate they'll be supporting this time around.

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