First I heard of such a thing, it was in an op-ed piece by Adrian McNair. I did a bit of a double-take, then wondered whether he might well be on to something.
We’re certainly enjoying a tsunami of piety throughout society. Don’t piety, an over-arching sense of the “greater” good (and a dash of Mazzolla oil) usually add up to socialism? (OK, that’s not a fair question.) Nonetheless, there’s seemingly a creepy acceptance of big brother-ism as a supposed antidote to, shudder, capitalism, free markets and, increasingly, business itself.
A recent CBC piece covered the ongoing Wall Street ‘sit-in’, taking great care to describe it as a “movement”, as distinct from a simple “protest”. The foundation of this supposed movement was not articulated beyond a generalized unhappiness with the current financial system. I mean, isn’t it a bit unfocused to protest free market capitalism itself?
That’s not to say there’s not quite a bit to discuss on the subjects of “fair” taxation rates, income disparity, regulation of the financial markets, moral hazard and a host of other subjects highlighted by the recent and ongoing financial crisis. But is capitalism itself the baby to be ejected with the bathwater?
I’ve read that individual and collective liberties are seldom wrested from the resisting hands of the population but rather surrendered meekly with little fuss. I shudder at the thought we’re actively and willingly urging their surrender.
It’s downright easy to parade the venality and rapaciousness of Wall Street as the embodiment of the evils of capitalism, but is the solution to a faulty “system” might not end up being quite what all the “occupation” folks are hoping for. With speech ever-increasingly constrained and political correctness in full court press, re-writing the economic playbook might leave us just about where George Orwell warned us about.