The Trouble with the “Occupy” Movement

Conservative CampusA look at what Vermont’s college students are thinking in their own words

by Gerhard Meyer, Senior, St. Michael’s College

By now, most people agree that the Occupy movement is on the way out. The major networks are not paying much attention to it, and it is no longer “cool” with most young people. There are many reasons for the decline.

I remember around the end of September seeing mysterious posters around my college with cryptic phrases like “we are the 99%”. I was curious but didn’t pay much attention. Over the next few weeks, a message was beginning to take shape. I could tell that it was socialist by nature, but many of my friends bought it.

The problem was that the Occupy movement was a psychological manipulation by a simple principle: begin with a broad statement and slowly narrow it into a liberal message. One of the main points of the message early on was that there was corruption in American corporations. Even I agree with this vague point in some cases, as some people gain financial power through deceit. While the Occupiers gained massive support with this wide rhetorical net, they began to put a socialist spin on it. Instead of blaming Obama and the Washington establishment for the bailouts and corruption, the Occupiers focused on the businesses.

It is important to note that most executives got where they are through hard work and ingenuity and their riches are their just reward. Most of the Occupiers do not know that the rich not only pay most of our nation’s taxes, but generally pay a higher percentage than the rest of us. Can you imagine if all of the rich people “occupied” us on that point?

The Occupiers blamed these leaders for the cardinal sin of greed, just for their being better-off. I was taught of another sin: envy. As empathetic citizens, we should applaud the successes of our fellow Americans. These innovators and leaders are keeping us afloat as a nation, competitive as a people, and include some of the largest donors to charitable causes. President Kennedy, a Democrat, once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” It strange that many of the people who make up the Occupy movement want just the opposite: to be able to sit around and receive benefits from their country.

Meanwhile, the movement continued to take shape. The problem with the ambiguity of the message was that it left an open door to radical and physically dangerous people. Blinded by rage and energized by the hype, the Occupiers became increasingly violent and disrespectful. It is no surprise that they began being shut down by the police.

The Occupy movement was a grand manipulation of some well-meaning people and many destructive ones. There are other solutions for people who believe that a company is truly harmful. The best is to let Capitalism take effect via boycott. Destroying company property hurts everyone in that company: yes, even the middle class employees. These are tough times. As Americans, we must not resort to fighting amongst ourselves. Instead of letting other people’s wealth and good fortune bother us, we should be uniting to solve the real problems our country faces. America is the greatest Union in the world, and united we must stand.