Monday, October 10, 2011

Raging Mobs in New York with "No Coherent Political Message"

The right wing politicians in the US want to drum up hatred for the following:

Their "sound bite" is that these are dangerous mobs wreaking violence on America's urban centres. Mobs with no clear political message. Unlike the pablum of "lower taxes so the 'job creators' can deliver yet greater wealth and entrepreneurship for America" that comes from the political right. After 40 years of dominance by the political right in the US, there are 25 million unemployed, 8 million have lost their homes due to foreclosure, kids can't get jobs, the baby boomers who lost their jobs and are nearing retirement can't get jobs and have lost their retirement savings. I don't think America can survive much longer with the kind of "success" that the political right has been delivering to the bottom 99%.

Go read material from Occupy Wall Street and We Are the 99%.

Here is cartoonist Scott Adams (Dilbert) pointing out that the right wing accusations of an "incoherent message" from the Occupy Wall Street crowd is misplaced:
When a board of directors removes a CEO for poor performance, we don't expect the board to have a specific plan for how the next CEO will run things. The board's job is to remove the underperforming CEO and start a search for a new one.

That model reminds me of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Some pundits are criticizing the protesters for not having specific demands, but I don't think that's a fair observation. The protesters are simply trying to fire the old CEO, metaphorically speaking. It's not their job to micromanage the next one.

Some politicians have branded Occupy Wall Street as a class war. But I think that misses the point too. If the economy were humming along and creating the right kind of jobs, folks would see wealth as an aspiration and not an enemy.

I see Occupy Wall Street as an effort to get rid of the system that brought us to this place. The anger is not so much about replacing politicians as it is a complaint about the nature of government and the corrupting influence of money. Our collective image of the protests is muddied by the media's fascination with the nut jobs in the crowds, allegations that George Soros is the puppet master, and references to evil bankers and capitalists. We humans like to put faces to evil, but sometimes the evil is simply the result of a mismatch between the system and the times.


Our current system of government served us well for over two hundred years. It was perfectly designed for simpler times. Now the natural complexity of issues plus the corrupting influence of money have choked out the system. We're firing on one cylinder. It's time for a new system.

In times like these, it's easy to focus on all of the bad news. But I'm not wired that way. When I see a broken system, I see an opportunity to build something new and better than can leap frog the performance of competing governments. (I'm looking at you, China.)

The Internet has come of age at exactly the time we need it to form the platform for a new system of government. A new and properly engineered government could be immune to financial corruption and more efficient at matching economic resources to opportunities. That sort of change would be enough to turbo charge the United States' economy for generations.

In a reengineered system of government, I like the idea of states operating as test sites for social and economic programs. In some ways, that's the opposite of how things are operating now. For example, the federal government is clamping down on California's state-legalized medical marijuana industry. Does that look like a government system that is worth keeping?

If you want the rich to pay more taxes, there are two ways to do it. One way is to use force, but that path leads to ruin or gridlock because the rich have plenty of force of their own. The other way is to change the system to make it worth the extra taxes. I'll gladly pay 5% more in taxes in exchange for a better system of government, under the theory that a better government will create a better economy and give me a return on my investment. And I'll believe that's possible when we have a Constitutional Convention.
It is fascinating that during "revolutionary times" a lot of ideas bubble up that have been ignored. I'm hoping something good will come. These are dangerous times. Demogogues are lurking who would love to seize the popular mood and create a new tyranny. The old forces of big corporations and billionaire right wing nuts (think Koch brothers) are lurking about wanting to seize public passions and harness them to their right wing political machine (another Tea Party with even more fanaticism?). So far, the demonstrations have been well behaved and growing. The time of trial comes when the powers that be truly feel threatened. What forces of darkness will they unleash to retain their current privileges and power?

No comments: