There is much talk of “frustration” in the air. It’s said to be the unifying force behind the contradictory statements and demands of the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Even President Obama claimed to understand the protesters’ frustration, when he improbably offered himself as a sympathetic figure.
According to Obama, the protests express “the frustrations that the American people feel, that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across Main Street… and yet, you’re still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into this problem in the first place.”
Of course, Obama himself is a paramount example of “the same folks who acted irresponsibly.” The biggest firm on Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, was the second-largest contributor to his 2008 campaign, exceeded only by the political generosity of the University of California. Goldman Sachs gave plenty of money to Obama’s opponent, John McCain, as well – such bets must be hedged – but they gave Obama over 400% more.
Countrywide Financial Corporation, one of the subprime mortgage weapons of mass destruction, donated even more money to Obama’s campaign than they did to Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT). Obama and Dodd worked hard to implement the legislation that created the subprime meltdown. Furthermore “community organizers,” including Barack Obama personally, used the Community Reinvestment Act to pressure banks into handing out risky loans, and lined up low-income borrowers to receive them.
It was a fairly straightforward case of corruption: Big Business paying big bucks to politicians, who used the power of Big Government to distort the free market. And yet, the Occupy Wall Street bunch only seems interested in protesting and criticizing the Big Business end of this destructive “partnership.”
It’s unsurprising, but ironic, to see these protests become demonstrations against capitalism. The Big Government-Big Business “partnership” culminates in the system of government known as fascism, in which government places all the orders, and a favored band of crony businessmen fills them. Free-market capitalism is the only reliable defense against fascism.
The grim horrors that leap to mind when the word “fascism” enters a conversation are side effects of the central economic model. They come to pass because fascism relies on a power dynamic prominently displayed in the subprime mortgage crisis and its Occupy Wall Street aftershocks: in the corrupt “partnership” between Big Government and Big Business, the latter takes all the blame, allowing Big Government to use its failures as demands for greater power.
It’s a downward spiral that begins with smiling politicians in business suits promising to build bridges to the future with smart “investments”… and ends somewhere darker, in a time when all pretense of voluntary “investment” is abandoned, and choice can no longer be tolerated because it fuels resistance.
Big Government is very good at escaping blame. Chris Dodd is finally out of Congress, but his co-conspirator in the House, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), remains in power, and will probably stay there until he chooses to retire. His power only increased after the subprime crisis. It remains the official position of the entire Democrat Party that no government official bears a scrap of responsibility for the subprime disaster. They are remarkably thorough and unwavering in their insistence on this point, and much of the media is happy to oblige them. You can find thousand-world liberal screeds on the “root causes” of Occupy Wall Street that do not mention Frank, Dodd, Obama, ACORN, or the Community Reinvestment Act even once.
For the most part, the protesters appear willing to go along with the Democrats’ version of events. They don’t seem very interested in assigning anything like equal blame for our financial troubles (or anything else bothering them, such as high unemployment) to the government. Instead, they seek to reward the political class by agitating for greater government power, believing the mega-State will reward them by protecting them from corporate predators and market reversals.
They’re only setting themselves up for even greater frustration in the future. The story will always play out the same way: Big Government will hatch doomed schemes to fulfill its vote-buying promises, and line up convenient private sector scapegoats to take the blame when they don’t work out. The frustration of dependent voters nourishes Big Government, because it knows it can keep their anger focused on its private-sector “junior partners.”
As long as you believe that your fate is determined by shadowy corporate forces, Big Government will stand ready to take advantage of your fear and hopelessness. The acolytes of the biggest borrower, lender, consumer, landowner, and employer on Earth will try to convince you their enterprise is the only one that isn’t to blame for your troubles. It’s no surprise that they spend so much time cultivating useful hatreds.
Statism is the most “frustrating” imaginable environment to live under. Its lesser forms will frustrate you into poverty, while its more extreme manifestations will frustrate you into a shallow grave. Its citizens become perpetual supplicants to the overlords of re-distribution.
It is far better to be a disgruntled customer under capitalism than a desperate beggar to the State. Who takes, confiscates, forbids, compels, and regulates? Who has spent the last few years forcibly “transforming” your life, in areas ranging from energy consumption to health care? Who has been handing billions of dollars of your money to cronies who couldn’t win voluntary investors? Who interferes in each and every one of your willing transactions, from the purchase of a home to acceptance of employment? Who is obstructing your attempts to work freely with your neighbors in pursuit of mutual prosperity?
Diminish their power, reclaim your freedom, and you’ll have an end to “frustration.” Defund the ten thousand things our government should not be doing, and require them to do a better job of ensuring their erstwhile Big Business “partners” deal fairly and honestly. What is “corruption” if not the use of government power to further private interests… and how can corruption be avoided when it’s impossible to tell where private interests end, and government begins?
Liberty most certainly does not come with a guarantee of universal individual success… but the fighting chance afforded to free men and women is far preferable to standing bewildered amid the ruins of broken promises, and looking for someone to hate.