I have been awed and inspired by the energy, commitment and passion on the streets of lower Manhattan by the large group of non contribution zeros, mainly comprised of young people that have set up camp in New York city over the past few weeks.
Why are they non contributing zeros you ask? Well for starters, they are unproductive members of society. There is nothing wrong with exercising your right to free speech by protesting, for we could not have democratic governing without it. But, the issue I have is when the protests turn violent and the citizens become non-peaceful law breakers.
When protesters decided to sit in traffic and block the Brooklyn Bridge a few days ago, while holding their “CAPITALISM IS EVIL” signs up, they probably didn’t see the regular Americans they stranded in traffic for hours. The ones with real-world concerns, business to attend to, families to go home to, etc. See thanks to the current fiscal and economic situation, a lot of these Americans are hurting badly and have a hard time paying their bills, rents, health insurance and mortgages. Ordinary people who are frustrated with the current state, but understand they still have to be productive members of society in this great nation of ours. You know what the last thing most of these hard working folks are thinking about? Smashing and bringing down the walls of capitalism.
I do sympathize with the frustration of the protesters and Americans who have lost their jobs and are being affected by the out of control spending we have seen in recent years. For one, large banks got bailed out and we, being U.S. taxpayers, didn’t. Even worse, it was with OUR money (and some borrowed from China). Many retirees and those approaching have had their retirement accounts suffer and virtually cut in half due to the banking collapse of 2008, and most have not recovered to where they were before the mess.
I will be the first to say bailing out banks and corporate handouts is NOT capitalism, but you don’t fix the mistakes of the political class, both Republican and Democrats who bailed out the banks, with protests calling for anarchy and socialist chaos. This may get you some bargaining ground in Europe, but that is not how things work in our constitutional republic.
The most ironic thing of the “Anti-Capitalist” protests is the fact that they are expressing their disdain for capitalism with the very fruits of its “evil labor.”
Apple, Facebook, and Twitter ALL started with capitalist venture capital investments. For example, Apple was started with its primary initial public offering through Morgan Stanley. Mr. Jobs and Mr. Wozniak BOTH put in $250,000 of their own earnings towards that investment and years later that business feeds and provides benefits to hundreds of employees and is a primary contributor to the business community in Silicon Valley, further allowing ancillary business to create jobs and revenue to allow people to live their lives. The innovation and corporate resources that capitalism provides is what these people seem to be protesting, and makes it mostly hypocritical. At least in the 60’s “revolution,” radicals lived what they protested. (Lived in communes, protested a market capitalism food system by turning vegan, etc.)
Another frustrating element of the protesters is their lack of a coherent message. I guess they didn’t put to use that fancy college education daddy paid for, but Marketing 1101 teaches us that a simple, clear, concise message is the most effective.
What exactly do these protesters want or stand for? Well to clear up the issue, here are some quotes that MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan got from protesters this week:
“I’d like to create peace on Earth.”
“I am choosing to no longer participate in what I perceive to be an abusive relationship…”
“Our goal to create a massive independent weapon of mass help!”
“This is our shared moment to seize prosperity.”
“We must bring an end to the global American capitalist hegemony.”
What? And if you take your knives and pitchforks and take from the rich, what’s your next move? Who makes the next Facebook? Who makes the next Apple? Without a wealth incentive, why would the farmer make any more than what he needs to eat? We already have social welfare in this country – it is bankrupt and proven to be more of a failure than one could claim about capitalism. Do you trust the guy who built your neighborhood, or would you prefer the government’s section 8 housing? Do you trust the guy who built your car, or the one designed the Amtrak and your city bus system? Would you prefer the iPhone, or the US Postal Service?
See capitalism will never be “perfect,” because man itself is not perfect. We are tainted creatures with sin, and therefor any political or economic system will be imperfect. Capitalism can only survive with a good and moral people at the reins. Capitalism itself isn’t “good” or “bad,” it just “is.” What capitalism can do is foster an environment where those with the will to succeed have a better chance of achieving their dreams.
At the heart of the Wall Street protesters unorganized message is the belief that they are entitled to “something” for “nothing.” Unfortunately, that’s not how things work in the real world. The one thing that distinguishes our great nation from the rest of the world is one very special word: Opportunity. No matter what neighborhood you were born in, what your parents were, whether born rich or poor, black or white, male or female, or how far you made it in school, we all as Americans have that one thing in common, and that is the opportunity this great country provides. Some of us will squander it, some make the best of it; some may try and fail, but many more will succeed. It’s what makes us Americans. The ability to come up with an idea, take risk, and trust God that we will succeed.
So protesters as you block traffic, hold up signs and tweet about the evils of capitalism using your iPhone, while wearing your retro high top Nike’s and Express skinny jeans in the hopes of attaining your 15 minutes of fame by seeing yourself on the local news while watching it on your Panasonic Flat Screen LCD TV that you DVR’d, remember that all of those things that make your life a little easier didn’t just happen by spontaneous combustion. They are the result of years of sweat, tears, dashed hopes, brutal competition, talent, and a drive that now allows you to enjoy such luxuries.
We live in such a technologically advanced world where we take entirely too much for granted that maybe it’s time we take a moment to realize just how good we’ve got it. Do you forget how just 10 years ago cell phones were a luxury item and the hard drive of desktop computers back then would be put to shame by the storage capacity of today’s SD cards for cameras and phones that are the size of a fingernail? So please people, all of you non-contributing zeros, let’s learn to appreciate technology, and more importantly, capitalism.
Watch this hilarious video of Louis CK from Comedy Central on Conan:
“We live in an amazing amazing world and it’s wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots”