When this whole “Occupy” movement started back on September 17th, the crew of kids down on Wall Street seemed like a harmless but well-meaning group of people. Yes, a lot of us poked gentle fun at them, but at the time, the original group was so small that nobody was really paying attention to what their core beliefs were.
After a month in the trenches, these kids who started out as wide-eyed idealists down with “the cause” are starting to get gobsmacked with lessons that they would most likely never have learned in classrooms filled with theoretical situations and simple, elegant solutions.
In the classroom of “Real Life”, these kids are rapidly finding out that Marxism, Socialism, Communism, and/or Anarchy aren’t all that they are cracked up to be. We can only hope that they will take away some valuable lessons from this experience.
Many of these kids who consider themselves part of “the 99%” are finding out that in their new social experiment/Utopian paradise, they have become “the 1%”. Goodness knows, they’re certainly EATING better than 99% of the population:
[L]ast night, for example, while your family of four may have been forced to resort to Hamburger Helper, thanks to Smith’s culinary magic, hordes of Occupy Wall Street protesters instead feasted on organic chicken, spaghetti Bolognese, roasted beet and sheep’s milk-cheese salad and wild heirloom potatoes.
LESSON: When people know that they are going to get things for free, a LOT of people will show up with their hand out. Eventually, rationing will have to be implemented:
They are finding out that they aren’t nearly as eager to purchase lavish things if they are expected to pay for those things themselves. If somebody else is footing the bill, they figure “the movement” can purchase whatever they may need, regardless of the cost:
[One protester] had more immediate ideas for the money as she cleaned the park pavement with a broom and dustpan Tuesday. She hoped the fund will buy her “a new broom that really sweeps.” When asked if she might buy one herself, she said, “Are you kidding? These things are expensive in Manhattan!”
LESSON: People are always more careful with money they have earned than with money that is given to them. Always.
They are finding out that there are plenty of people who are perfectly happy to take what they can get, without giving anything in return:
“It’s turning into us against them……They come in here and they’re looking at it as a way of getting a free meal and a place to crash, which is totally fine, but they don’t bring anything to the table at all. It gets really frustrating.”
LESSON: If people know that they can get something without having to work for it, they aren’t going to work for it.
They are finding out that when people don’t have a personal stake in something, they aren’t nearly as concerned with taking care of it:
“People just sit here — they think this is a vacation,” said a member of Occupy Wall Street’s sanitation team. “This is an occupation. This is not a squatters’ paradise….
LESSON: If a person isn’t personally invested in something, they aren’t going to be inclined to work hard at it.
In what is perhaps the biggest irony of all, these kids are finding out that they don’t appreciate being told they have to “share their wealth” with people who want to take the nice things that they have, any more than “the 1%” that they are protesting do:
….packs of brazen crooks within their ranks have been robbing their fellow demonstrators blind, making off with pricey cameras, phones and laptops – and even a hefty bundle of donated cash and food. [One] volunteer was furious about the thievery – and vowed to get tough with the predatory perps: “I’m not getting paid, but I’m not gonna stand for it.”
Listen, cupcake – if you have a laptop that costs $5,500, not only are you “the 1%”, you are by default the “wealthiest of the wealthy”. You should be HAPPY to give up some of what you have to those less fortunate than you. After all – at some point, you really have “enough” of a computer….
LESSON: Everybody looks like the 1% to somebody.
So now they know how it feels to be “the wealthiest 1%” of a group, as opposed to “the 99%”. All of a sudden, THEY are the ones being told that they aren’t paying “their fair share”. Somebody put it in perfect perspective for them just the other day:
Don’t think of them as thieves.
Think of them as tax collectors.
How does it feel?
Welcome to the 1%, boys and girls…..
[Cross-posted at Koch’s Tour]