The WSJ featured an article by Matt Kibbe that compares the Tea Party to the Occupy Wall Street Movement. While there are some similarities, the distinct difference is the care the Tea Party took in ensuring that they did not hurt or destroy the the property of others. The Tea Party was also demonstrating against crony capitalism, but unlike the Occupy movement they cleaned up the spaces they occupied and in most instances left them in better condition than they found them.
Although the Tea Party and the Occupy Movement are demonstrating against crony capitalism, the end goal is different. The Tea Party is looking for independence and community, where the Occupy movement is interested in wealth distribution. While both movements will be appalled by the bonuses CEOs of bailed out companies have received for companies they have driven into the ground, the anger should be directed at governments that permitted this to happen. Shareholders make the decision on CEO pay and bonus and perhaps this is where the politician comes in.
If anything this year we have all learned to question our politicians and their so called ethics. Perhaps we should have a pure melting pot of all persuasions in order to get a fair balance. As it is, each new government derides the previous one and blames all their ills on the previous track record. Obama has done it and in the UK so has Cameron but they are not the first to do so. Accountability is what is needed. We have a pool of professional politicians. Some have been in Congress or Parliament for almost half a century. Do these people, out of touch with main street, really have our interests at heart. Some of the blame must go to the media. Hungry for power and almost always with an agenda, they support politicians just to get the favour of an interview. Objectivity has been thrown out the window. Shame on them.
This week’s flavour of the week is Herman Cain’s alleged sexual harassment by anonymous sources. Rather than concentrating on the issues and the ills of society, the media is looking for maximum numbers of hits on a so-called scoop. Agendas are driven by ratings and the media is no longer informing the public, except for the misinformation that is being spread. Whatever happened to the Walter Cronkite’s of the world?
While one can understand why Occupy Wall Street has chosen to select corporate greed, it is now clear with the Occupy Oakland actions that the movement will not stop there. It will either fizzle out or grow in strength and become more organized. No movement can address all of the worlds ills but highlighting the financial anomalies, such as big bonus payments for running companies into the ground, has not been a bad thing. It may be a wake up call for all of us to take elections more seriously, scrutinize the candidates and never again give a pass to a politician without looking into his background. The scrutiny now being given to Herman Cain should have been given to Barrack Obama as well. The world bought in on his Hope and Change Campaign, not only Americans. Despite his affiliations in the past, the media ignored it. The American media wanted to demonstrate in the worst way that racism was dead.
The lesson to be learned from this, and hopefully the media takes heed, is that all politicians need to be scrutinized. Voters must independently scrutinize candidates and not accept the written or spoken word as gospel. It may even be time to send the career politicians packing and again look at term limits. These are the folks elected by the people and they should represent them and not any particular party. We the People have to make them accountable.
Today’s western society seems focused on “must haves” whether affordable or not. Consequently people, as well as their countries, live beyond their means. A recipe for disaster.
By MATT KIBBE
My first instinct was to sympathize with Occupy Wall Street (OWS). At the time of the initial protests, I was in Italy giving a lecture on the tea party ethos to graduate students participating in the Istituto Bruno Leoni’s annual Mises Seminar. I was getting reports of OWS signs that I had often see at Tea Party protests, such as “End the Fed” and “Stop Crony Capitalism.” But something didn’t jibe. I wasn’t sure why.
The answer came from economist and Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith, who delivered the keynote address at the Mises Seminar. His lecture on Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments focused on the question “how do social norms emerge spontaneously?” Both Smiths, Adam and Vernon, argue that individual freedoms and property rights are the foundations of moral behavior. Individuals, with full ownership of their life, liberty and property, judge themselves and care about the positive judgments of others. This accountability allows for cooperation, connects a community and enables human prosperity.
“The most sacred laws of justice, therefore, those whose violation seems to call loudest for vengeance and punishment, are the laws which guard the life and person of our neighbor,” wrote Adam Smith back in 1759, adding that “the next are those which guard his property and possessions.” America’s tea partiers put it another way: “Don’t hurt other people and don’t take their stuff.”