I was first formally introduced to the Occupy movement at a panel held by the UVU Philosophy Club last year. I sat in the back row of the library auditorium, genuinely shocked by what I was hearing. Professors and activists preached about the resurgence of socialism, avoiding consensus, and even revolution. At one point a girl next to me leaned over to her friend and whispered, “anarchy.”
Since then, the movement has become a fixation of mine. The more I am exposed to Occupy, the more passionately I oppose it. Today, while I gathered and synthesized information for this article, I even felt afraid. I look through photos of the protestors, and I read their signs and I can’t help but feel confused. I find many of their objectives and much of their moral reasoning not only flawed, but in complete odd with what I believe to be true. The Occupy movement has come to be a manifestation of serious faults that I find in our generation.
I’ve tried to organize my opposition by explaining the top five reasons I will not be joining the Occupy Wall Street movement and illustrated those reasons with the text of real signs held by the protestors themselves.
- Claiming unification, under no unified demands
- “All our grievances are connected.” “You are the 99%.”
- It’s difficult to write about flaws in the movement because there is no cohesive whole to critique. The movement is based on the idea of the 99 percent versus the one percent. They include everyone. They claim to be an army of the middle and lower classes, and yet these many groups cannot be bound into one force, one solution. I believe that scattered, leaderless groups invite unintended control.
- The undercurrent of violence
- “Eat the Rich.” “All of my heroes kill cops.”
- Many of the protestors involved with Occupy will tell you that they aspire to create a more peaceful, loving world. They call for an end to war and brotherly love and yet they vandalize buildings, spit at policemen, and hold signs urging bankers to jump from high-rises to their deaths.
- It’s polluted with sarcasm
- “Hey Wall Street, suck my debt.” “Shoot sperm, not bullets.”
- In some ways, Occupy has become an enormous party for the fringe groups of society. I see more and more interviews with Occupiers who are camped out in parks to score weed and hang out with friends rent free. I also see posters diminishing the weight of the serious topics originally addressed by Occupy, with sarcasm and childish humor. The same movement that quotes Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, also waves signs saying “1% Y U no pay taxes?”
- The glorification of socialism
- Anything bearing a hammer and sickle
- In the early 20th century, my great-grandfather fought against and then fled from Russia’s communist movement, which has been described as an extension of socialism. He came to America, because it was (and I truly believe, still is) a place where a man can earn a living by the merits of his own work. Socialism at its best is the idea of equality, of everyone being able to make it in life. Yet, the definition of socialism states: “Economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. A system of society or group living in which there is no private property.” I don’t want this for myself, and I don’t want it for my country. Socialism is about a collective, a kind of grey middle ground where everyone is okay. Capitalism promotes competition, something that forces men to work hard to earn their living.
- The undercurrent of entitlement
- “Throw me a bone, pay my tuition.” “Housing is a human right.”
- I do not respect every man equally, nor do I think every man deserves the same respect. Every human deserves exactly what they’re worth, what they’ve earned. Without the process of work and reciprocity, rewards have no value. Entitlement destroys the ideals of achievement and halts progress. If reward is handed out without work, there is no incentive to move the world forward or to go above and beyond.