The Facts of Life Are Conservative, Even in Zuccotti Park

by Joseph Ashby –
Peeking through Occupy Wall Street’s cloudy drum sessions, group speeches, and celebrity visits are a few rays of reality’s sunlight. These glimmers of the real world show that even the campers of Zuccotti Park aren’t immune to Margaret Thatcher’s famous declaration that “the facts of life are conservative.”

Conservatism is the natural political outgrowth from the real life experience. Humans are naturally flawed, greedy, and untrustworthy. Conservatives recognize that fact and promote the market system and divided government in order to pit one greedy person against another.

Conversely, the left continually denies and fights against human nature (inevitably losing to it). For leftists, it’s always a matter of finding the right human to rule — the disinterested regulator, the consumer-protecting bureaucrat, the messianic president, etc. That is the nature of the OWS protests: to replace one group of self-interested people on Wall Street with another group of magically not self-interested people in government. But because government isn’t magic, utopias never quite work out in real life — not even in Zuccotti Park. In one news story after another, Thatcher’s “facts of life” are on display. Let’s look at four examples.

Conservative Fact of Life: Give a man a fish, and he’ll stick around for another.
Providing for folks in need is a good thing, but handouts are dangerous tools. At any point in the giver-receiver relationship, there’s a risk of doing more harm than good. If the recipient becomes dependent or feels entitled to his benefits, his initiative atrophies like an unused muscle. Too often the receiver is left less prepared and less likely to succeed in the future. Thus long-term well-being is sacrificed in the name of short-term “help.”

The negative effects of welfare can appear quickly, as OWS recently learned. Zuccotti Park has become a hotspot for vagrants in search of free food. Protestor Lauren Digioia recently explained to reporters that OWS has “compassion toward everyone,” but that “there are rules and guidelines.” Specifically, “[i]f you’re going to come here and get our food, bedding and clothing, have books and medical supplies for no charge, they need to give back.” Digioia added, “There’s a lot of takers here and they feel entitled.”

Conservative Fact of Life: Everybody is wealthier than somebody, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to take from others.
Protestor Nan Terrie allegedly came to Zuccotti Park with a $5,500 Mac laptop (near the top 1% of portable computers, perhaps). One night after Terrie succumbed to fatigue after a long day as a kitchen volunteer, preparing meals for fellow protestors, a thief made off with the high-end computer.

“Stealing is our biggest problem at the moment,” Terrie told reporters. A problem indeed. Suddenly it didn’t matter that the computer was $2,000 more than even the most tricked out MacBook Pro available in the Apple online store. Or that scores of laptops exist at a fraction of the price (the computer I’m using to write this article was 1/10 the price of the Terrie’s stolen Mac). No, the only thing that mattered was that taking something that someone else earned was wrong. That fact holds for a college student’s electronic devices as well as a hedge fund manager’s compensation.

Conservative Fact of Life: Rugged individualism is the only sensible approach to life.
America was built by people who refused to wait around for someone else to make them a living. From the frontiersman who left everything to chase his dreams in the American West to the entrepreneurs of the Forbes 400 list, Americans who make their own way are the most successful.

It didn’t take long for protestor Peter Hogness to learn whom he could trust. Angry about empty promises regarding the protestor status in Zuccotti Park, Hogness stumbled upon true wisdom. “One thing we have learned from this is that we need to rely on ourselves and not on promises from elected officials,” Hogness told reporters.

Conservative Fact of Life: Though she’s a seductive mistress, Utopia never quite works out as a wife.
Conservative author and columnist Dr. Thomas Sowell once said that he would love to live in the kind of world envisioned by the left. In such a world we would have few inequalities, few wants, and men would act as angels, working for the common good. The problem for the left is that their vision is based on a premise that does not exist in the real world.

The longer the OWS protests last, the more they confront the real world. As money has begun to roll in from supporters (reportedly $500,000), life has only become more complicated. “F**k Finance,” said Bryan Smith when he couldn’t get access to the funds he wanted. “I hope Mayor Bloomberg gets an injunction and demands to see the movement’s books.”

When Elija Moses requested $8,000 to replace his vandalized drum set, he was turned down. “We don’t have the power for [purchases that large],” explained Finance Committeeman Pete Dutro. “They have to go to the General Assembly.”

Moses put it best when he simply said, “I’m really frustrated.” Yes, Utopia can be quite frustrating for anyone who believes it can exist. Alas, an earthly Eden does not exist, and its mortal imitations are no more than an unwieldy collection of committees, assemblies, and frustrated citizens.

It’s unlikely that these experiences will change minds among the Occupiers. (But there’s always hope — even Sowell was once a committed Marxist.) Unfortunately, once Occupy Wall Street has picketed its final bank, sung its last rendition of Cumbayá and gone home, it will take just one sentence to define the movement: “The truths of conservatism stared them in the face; sadly, they failed to notice.”

HT: American Thinker

Comments

  1. All of these comments are good on the whole, but many people are outside of this American Idealism. Rugged individualism won’t last long with American taxes and a minimum wage job for one out of seven who are below the poverty rate. This then, is not about coveteousness, but about real life. There simply isn’t enough money paid to workers in America. If there were no taxes, if a doctor visit costs 2$ as it did in our parents time as kids, -but this isn’t the 19th century where a man could go out and get a track of land and by hard work or not, at least feed his family and build a house. Whether we like it or not, a sort of socialism has descended on America since WWI or before, and there simply isn’t any money by the bottom half to pay for these things.
    When people are paid better so that a salary by a man can buy a place to live-however small, transportation, food, then we have the right to teach him about independence and rugged individualism. While this article gives a good expression of many American Ideals-the American situation is not reflected by these ideas at this time-for the bottom half. For example, while visiting Florida this year (I live in Russia) our son needed to be taken to the emergency room. We go to the doctors all the time in Russia-it is free, house calls are free 24/7, etc… But the bill for a 10 minute consultation with the doctor came to 1500 dollars. How does this article figure into this kind of real life situation that many are finding themselves in? I work for an American company, I served 4 years in the infantry, I’m college educated with B.A.-but that doesn’t mean that I have health insurance for my family, or that 10/hr is going to support us in the U.S.
    While I support these ideals, I want to live by these ideals. When the reality is just not there for a huge section of the population, I think some sympathy and balance would be helpful.
    St. Paul wrote about helping the poor, not evaluating whether or not they made the right career moves, (in fact-what careers are there anymore?), or that they are lazy. They simply helped without judging. True-if you don’t work, you shouldn’t eat. But where are the jobs?- and by working these jobs-what can be done with the salary, after the federal, state, local, school, gas as well as a monthly health care bill is paid. Not much. What choice is there then for a man in society to show his rugged individualism? These ideals listed here are American Ideals at their best, but not necessarily Orthodox ideals. They can be and maybe they can’t. In the U.S., for many-a growing many-these are not, as we seem to be slipping away from freedoms-the right to own property (90% of homes are not owned in the U.S.). In the Soviet Union property was not really ‘owned’, but Americans have given up their property to the banks and state as well in a more subtle way. Those who are rich, want the super McMansion, and those who are poor need a mortgage as the cost of living is prohibitive and aparments are unavailable or only available in crime ridden areas.
    I do hope that my comment is posted and that some real conversation comes from these types of blogs so that we can use our ideals of freedom of speech.

  2. With the passing throughout Europe and Russia of Citizen Cards and Universal Cards, I think we fail to see how very dangerous and manipulative the Elite are. These cards are supposed to replace all cards and personal data-passports, banking, etc… which can lead to complete abuse of the individual. And the will be run by an international bank. It sounds absurd, but it is happening all around us. In the Ukraine, 1 million people have marched to oppose this. So the point is that the individual will have no possiblity of exert themselves beyond the control of these cards. This needs to be understood along what is going on with these civil wars, movements, and general anarchy. Below is a link to Russo, who died weeks after this invterview talking about Rockefeller and the world masonic movement as well as the crisis and wars on terror that are to push things to complete control of the person.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nD7dbkkBIA