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But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why Many Christians Don't Occupy

Of course, the many Christians here refer to conservative American Christians, American Fundamentalists to be precise. My informal research tells me that conservative Christians from other nations are more politically liberal than their American counterparts. But try to get a conservative American Christian to join the Occupy movement is like trying to get a rabid American football fan to buy season tickets to watch soccer.

Why is there such resistance by conservative American Christians to occupying? After all, aren't those in the occupy movement trying to speak out for those in need and against those enslaved to greed? Why would any conservative American Christian not want to join a group that tells us that our future depends on how well we cooperate with each other? And why would any American Christian not want to join a group that promotes a more participatory democracy than what we have now?

Lately, some writers from the Left have attributed the political convictions of American conservative Christians to their faith. They feel that those who believe in Creation over Evolution or in a world where God works miracles as being incapable of working for Social Justice unless such Christians leave their faith. The problem with this line of reasoning is that there are conservative Christians who also promote Social Justice and support more liberal and even Leftist views. The majority of such Christians, however, are not American. And perhaps, this gives us a hint why many conservative American Christians are not occupying today. The reason for why they are not occupying is not because of their faith but because of something else. But what would that something else be?

When one is raised as a conservative Christian in America, there are certain associations made with the faith. One such association is made between American patriotism and Christianity. We, that is those who are conservative American Christians, have been taught since when we were in the womb, that our nation was founded as a Christian nation by Christian Founding Fathers. Therefore, the American way, at least back when America was a Christian nation, is the Christian way and to criticize our Founding Fathers is to ridicule God and to protest against this Christian nation of ours is to attack the Gospel.

We should note that to reconcile our nation's history with the notion that America was ever a Christian nation places enormous demands on one's logical skills. The genocide and ethnic cleansing of the America's indigenous people and our nation's abuse and persecution of Blacks, both up through and after the Civil War, along with our emerging empire and use of dictators as proxy rulers over other countries, make it problematic to reconcile our history with the Beatitudes. And even when our history is partially acknowledged by the conservative American Christian, there is an emotional disconnect that protects such a Christian from the dissonance that should arise. That is, we might acknowledge some of the abuses in the past, but we can still call ourselves a Christian nation and a "city on the hill" without batting an eye. In the end, what the patriotic American Christian is saying to the world is that, despite the evidence, we must feel good about ourselves. We demand our Constitutional right to self-exalt.

And what goes for American Patriotism, goes for Capitalism. After all, since Capitalism is our economic system and we are a Christian nation, Capitalism is God's preferred economy. We supplement this reason with some common sense. For we reason that since the greatest prosperity in the history of the world has been enjoyed by Americans and we practice Capitalism, Capitalism must be God's economy. Such an argument has a point. That is, we, in the nation, have experienced some of the greatest prosperity in the history of the world.

But there is a problem lurking in the shadows. For just as we must acknowledge the high level of prosperity we have enjoyed, we must also ask a very damning question. That question is, when in the history of Capitalism, has it prospered without exploiting large numbers of people? Many times those who were exploited were hidden from the view of most Americans though their invisibility does not contradict the fact that they were exploited.

And what has caused the Occupy Movement to emerge now is the fact that a too big to deny percentage of Americans have now become victims of capitalism. As a result, we have the current Occupy movement. This movement is challenging American Patriotism by opposing the wars and is challenging Capitalism by insisting that people and their needs have priority over profits. Thus to suggest that being patriotic and practicing capitalism has spread more evil than good is to try to Occupy the Gospel because of the close association many conservative Christians have made between it and both patriotism and capitalism.

But there is still another reason why conservative American Christians have not occupied yet. That is because the Occupy movement is seen as a protest movement that does not respect authority. From an early age, conservative American Christians were injected with spiritual steroids when being taught to respect authority, exclusively from Romans 13 of course, so that we not only learned to respect authority, we worshiped it. We see authority figures as our saviors. To challenge the authorities, as it states in Romans 13:1ff, is to challenge God himself because it is God who has put in charge every authority figure.

A side effect of our hyper regard for authority can be seen in our preference for labels over concepts and thus for credentials over reason. For example, we have taught to so respect our conservative teachers that we now have great difficulty in distinguishing between between conservative theologies and conservative politics and between liberal theologies and liberal politics. As a result, we tend to uncritically accept the tenets of conservative politics, not because it is biblical, which it is not, but it has the conservative label. Likewise we will automatically reject, and have a phobic reaction to, liberal and leftist policies because of the label. This knee-jerk acceptance of whatever is conservative and rejection of whatever not conservative enables authoritarianism. And just as self-exaltation is the reason why we equate American patriotism and capitalism with Christianity, so self-interest is the reason why we have a hyper regard for those in authority. That self-interest tells us to be good little boys and girls so that those in charge will reward us rather than spank us. And perhaps, it is a desire to remain children that leads us to authoritarianism's embrace over the self-rule that the Occupy movement has been practicing. It is the desire to spend more time playing than making responsible decisions, to spend more time enjoying our trivial pursuits than being bogged down with the serious issues of life and how we will be with one another that causes us to prefer rule by elites than autonomy.

Why most conservative American Christians won't occupy isn't because of their faith, it is because of the extra ingredients added to their faith. And thus to include them in the occupy movement requires that we learn how to exorcise those extra ingredients without attacking their faith.

19 comments:

Iambic Admonit said...

I agree with your discussion of the founding of this country. The founding of this country was no more "Christian" than the wide variety of people who founded it -- which is to say, a very great variety! There were some serious Christians who yet committed atrocities; there were many Deists, etc. There were also some serious Christians who behaved as such. But to say this was a "Christian nation" is to misread history.

Anonymous said...

I like that you explain the lack of conservative American Christian involvement in the Occupy movement as a function of ideas associated with their faith instead of their actual faith. The inability of many Christians to distinguish between their faith and ideas traditionally associated with their faith but not necessarily always/ever in agreement with that faith is something that has bothered me about conservative American Christians for quite some time. It's nice to see someone else differentiates between the faith and other ideas commonly linked to that faith

CW said...

“…aren't those in the occupy movement trying to speak out for those in need and against those enslaved to greed?”

No, they’re not. Those that actually have a purpose - other than the silly “wanting to make a difference” excuse – are there to try and force everyone in this nation to live as socialists or communists. They want to steal the property that belongs to others and cloak this theft under a veil of “anti-greed.” They have no right to decide who is being too greedy, or to presume to take anyone else’s property or control behaviors that are legal. They are worse than the folks they protest against.

“Why would any conservative American Christian not want to join a group that tells us that our future depends on how well we cooperate with each other?”

Occupation, harassment, intimidation, vandalism, mob-rule, lawbreaking… Is this your idea of “cooperating” with each other? That’s too funny.

“…why would any American Christian not want to join a group that promotes a more participatory democracy than what we have now?”

And “democracy” apparently means that one group of people shall dictate to all the others how they should behave.


Maybe conservative Christians don’t participate in the mob because they have a conscience and don’t believe it’s right to get your way through bullying, harassment and intimidation. Maybe they don’t want to be associated with the senseless destruction of other people’s property and interference with the rights of others to use and enjoy public spaces (or in some cases, their own private property!). Maybe that’s why.

Curt Day said...

CW,

You wrote the following:

"Occupation, harassment, intimidation, vandalism, mob-rule, lawbreaking… Is this your idea of “cooperating” with each other? That’s too funny."

In actuality, occupation in the public square is a constitutional right and is far more legal that the wanton destruction of property that those participating in the Boston Tea Party did.

Vandalism is charge made by those who haven't been there. Those occupying Zuccotti Park have made concerted efforts to keep the park clean and to protect what's there. And that is despite the problem caused by the NYPD trying to channel homeless people from around the city to the park.

Democracy is as much mob-rule as the Republic is The Mob Rules. And in our country, regardless of the political party in power, you have the Mob ruling.

But something else must be said. Most decisions are made by consensus and that gives more voice to the individual. In addition, what they have there is a participatory democracy. And it is in such a democracy that you have more freedom. Not the freedom to enjoy trivial pursuits. But the freedom to determine how we live together in community and the direction of the community. Note that ruling by consensus eliminates the tyranny of the majority.

As for lawbreaking, again compare the nonviolent civil disobedience of those at Zuccotti park with the wanton destruction of those participating in the Boston Tea Party or those who used violence to enslave Blacks or those who ethnically cleansed American Indians from the land.

Finally, the real bullies are those who use physical violence and the law to steal money and opportunities from the 99%. I believe you have the charges backwards.

P.S.--As for your first statements, they are mere ideologically based attacks for which you showed no substantiation. If you would like to discuss those charges in detail, let me know.

CW said...

>>“…occupation in the public square is a constitutional right and is far more legal that the wanton destruction of property that those participating in the Boston Tea Party did.”

And will the protestors peacefully leave when their permits expire? We’ll see.

>>“Vandalism is charge made by those who haven't been there.”

Zuccotti Park is not the only places where these protests are taking place. There have been numerous news reports of vandalism. Are those made up? Are they staged as part of some wide-spread conspiracy?

>>“Most decisions are made by consensus and that gives more voice to the individual.”

That statement makes no sense at all. The notions of ‘decision by consensus’ and ‘the voice of the individual,’ are completely contrary to each other.

>>”Note that ruling by consensus eliminates the tyranny of the majority.”

Again, you make no sense. A consensus is when everyone agrees. I don’t agree with what OWS is doing or with the goals you claim they have. I don’t know anyone else who agrees with it either. Read just about any other post on TH. So how does that qualify as a “consensus?” If you had consensus you wouldn’t need this “occupation.”

The Boston Tea Party was a protest against gov’t tyranny. OWS bears no resemblance to that whatsoever (notice that they aren’t marching in D.C.). It’s a bunch of people who’ve decided they will be the arbiters of what greed is and who’ve taken it upon themselves to police the sin of greed. But what gives them this right? How about if I decide that I am entitled to start policing the sin of envy?

>>”the real bullies are those who use physical violence and the law to steal money and opportunities from the 99%.”

Give me an example of this violence you speak of.

Curt Day said...

CW,
Again, it is the public square. So the Constitutional question is not whether they will leave when their permits expire, the Constitutional question is do they need permits in the first place?

Again, regarding the vandalism, before you can charge the protesters with vandalism, you have to see who is committing the vandalism. I have been there twice and have seen the organized effort to protect the flowers that are there and to keep the park clean. So when you talk about reports of vandalism, you will have to provide more specifics with regards to what the vandalism was and whether it was the protesters or those from the outside who did the vandalism.

BTW, the statement that decision by consensus strengthens the voice the individual makes perfect sense. Since decision by consensus means that you can have no blocks to pass a proposal. That means and individual, from the whole group, can block a proposal. And the decision is made by those attending the GA. I was in a meeting where I could have blocked a proposal and that was the first day.

You're right, the Boston Tea Party and the Occupation at Zuccotti Park bear resemblance except for the fact that both are opposing oppression. They take care of the property at Zuccotti park and do not destroy property on their marches. As for the Tea Party, the tea thrown overboard was privately owned and yet you excuse that because the British gov't was oppressive.

Finally, regarding violence, we have a veteran who is currently hospitalized and who had been in critical condition because of either a tear gas canister or a rubber bullet hit him in the head. The police have used batons, thrown punches, put on handcuffs so tight that those arrested still had no feelings in the hands days after the the arrest, macing, and alike make up part of the physical violence.

The economic violence can be seen in the fact that more and more families cannot afford food because of how the commodities are sold by Goldman Sachs, or the exorbitant interest rates charged for loans or telling people that they have to have mortgage sized loans to have a chance to get a job only to withhold money that would provide jobs after they graduate. We could include the outsourcing as well.

CW said...

>>“…the Constitutional question is do they need permits in the first place?”

The point of having public spaces – paid for and maintained with the people’s tax money – is so that EVERYONE can use and enjoy them. If OWS has “the right” to camp out there indefinitely, so do I and so does everyone in the country. OWS is selfishly interfering with the rights of other people to also use that space. The Constitution does not say anything about protecting anyone’s right to take over public spaces.

>>”I have been there twice…”

Have you been to all the protest sites, Curt? Did you not see the news coverage of the vandalism occurring in Oakland:

“Occupy Oakland skycam of bloc vandals smashing windows of Local Business (Watch Full Video)” http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1694299/pg1

“Leftist publication Mother Jones took to Twitter to call for pictures of graffiti in cities and towns across America,…” http://bigjournalism.com/pjsalvatore/2011/10/22/mother-jones-calls-for-ows-vandalism/

>>“I was in a meeting where I could have blocked a proposal and that was the first day.”

Do you agree then that you don’t have my consensus or the consensus of conservatives?

>>”…the Boston Tea Party and the Occupation at Zuccotti Park … both are opposing oppression.”

Not true at all. The protestors are not required to work for anyone they choose not to work for or buy products (except if Obamacare isn’t repealed). They are free to make their own choices in life but they seek to limit others’ ability to make choices. THEY are the ones who seek to oppress.

>>”…the tea thrown overboard was privately owned and yet you excuse that because the British gov't was oppressive.”

Apples vs. Oranges. The point is, the Boston Tea Party was a gov’t protest, whereas the OWS is a protest against capitalism and the legal behavior of private individuals. Those are entirely different.

>>…regarding violence,…”

My observation of the news coverage indicates that when the police get rough with the protestors, it’s because they are refusing to observe the law. If you have evidence to the contrary – then show it. People who get hurt in the course of breaking the law get zero sympathy from me. Either the law applies to them as it does to everyone else or we are ALL free to do whatever we please, in which case I’m sure there are some folks who would like to re-claim our public spaces by whatever means necessary. It’s always the same with people of the OWS mentality though – they think they should be above the law while everyone else should respect the rights of the OWS’rs.

>>”The economic violence…”

You originally claimed there was “physical” violence. Now you’re going to change it to “economic” violence. No matter. They’re both hogwash.

Food prices have risen because of the weakening dollar and that’s because of the way our Federal Reserve plays with our money system and because we have trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities that is mostly the result of open-ended entitlement promises. So once again, OWS is protesting at the wrong place. If they are having trouble affording food because of rising prices, they should be protesting in D.C.

As for the cost of college, how about doing an analysis of what’s causing the rise in costs? The universities are famously run by liberals. Let’s see what the trend has been for administrative costs, teacher’s salaries, labor, etc. and let’s find out who absorbs the cost of unpaid student loans?

Regardless of the answer, though, college isn’t free. SOMEONE has to pay that bill. Who – other than the person who benefits from that education with a better-paying job – should pay, pray tell?

Curt Day said...

If you have been to the protest sites, you will see that we do not interfere with other people in the park. And we meet not for the accumulation of resources like those at Wall Street; rather, we meet to express grievances as is allowed by the Constitution.

See, you are not really interested in discussing things. You just to discredit with one accusation after another. You want to accuse them of things so that we ignore what they said. So you focus on the violence of a few in Oakland while ignoring the peaceful protests of the the overwhelming majority. And you accuse OWS of oppressing when really they are providing a model where no one is oppressed.

In the meantime, you say nothing about the consolidation of wealth by those on Wall Street even though their garnering of so much wealth means deprivation for many others. And they use their consolidation of wealth to buy our gov't and you say nothing. At the same time, Corporation's manufacture of goods and/or the lifestyle they sell to us is killing the environment.

But those with wealth and power get a free pass from you. And I have seen that before on the Townhall blogs. People who are conservatives more strongly defend the privileges assumed by Corporations than they defend the Constitution and country.

At the same time you assume that the breaking of any law gives police permission to use disproportionate violence with impunity. I have already listed the abuses practiced by police and I have seen some of them. And you just wave your hand and call it hogwash. Likewise, the declaration of the occupation of New York City has cited some of the economic violence and you, without dealing with the details, call it hogwash. You have a pretty easy job to do.

Finally, the weakening of the dollar started with Bush because his military spending was drastically raising the debt. But also, it is not the only reason for rising food prices. GS and its commodities trading has played a major role in increasing food prices. In addition, forcing our subsidized food products on the markets of smaller countries has destroyed the capacity of food. That makes such countries very vulnerable when prices rise.

Yes, someone has to pay for college. But society pays much more for ignorance than it ever could for education

CW said...

On the “occupation” and the right to protest:

>>“…we meet to express grievances as is allowed by the Constitution.”

First, it’s your own group that dubbed this an “occupation.” That term was chosen because it has the connotation of militant harassment to it. What if I or someone else decided to “occupy” the space right in front of your home? Wouldn’t my presence there day after day feel like harassment to you at some point? Please don’t try and pretend that the point of OWS is not harassment and intimidation. You don’t need to camp out somewhere for weeks or months just to "express a grievance."

Secondly, having the right to protest and BEING right to protest are two different matters. I have the right, I guess, to protest in front of your home if I don’t like the things you blog about. But would I be right to do so? You are a free citizen exercising your freedom of speech. For me to try and interfere with that by harassing you in front of your home would be the wrong thing to do, morally (and I would never do it). Likewise, capitalism is a legal practice in this country and the people who work on Wall Street or who manage corporations are citizens of this country the same as you. The “occupation” is intended to harass, bully and intimidate citizens who are exercising their freedom under the Constitution.

One test of whether something is right or wrong, Curt, is to ask yourself: would it be okay if everybody did it? So much of the leftist agenda requires that they be allowed to behave differently than everyone else. Please ponder that for a moment.


“See, you are not really interested in discussing things.”

If you mean am I interested in pretending that the OWS folks have legitimate grievances, no – I’m not. Their grievance is clear and simple: they don’t like capitalism. They would prefer a socialist or communist style of gov’t. Well, that’s too bad. I disagree and I believe they’re misguided, to put it kindly. There is nothing they could say that could possibly change my mind. Moreover, I assert that it is my right, under the Constitution, to engage in free market enterprise and the OWS crowd has no right to interfere with that. In terms you will understand – they do not have my consensus. (btw, you never answered my question on that).

CW said...

On WS “oppression:”

>>”…you accuse OWS of oppressing when really they are providing a model where no one is oppressed.”
What is this mythical “model” you speak of? How am I not being oppressed when you seek to deprive me (and everyone else) of my Constitutional right to engage in free market capitalism?

>>”…you say nothing about the consolidation of wealth by those on Wall Street even though their garnering of so much wealth means deprivation for many others. And they use their consolidation of wealth to buy our gov't and you say nothing.”

Such thinking is based upon the FALSE notion that the wealth of this nation is limited to one big pile of money somewhere and some people are scooping it up before others can get any. That is the only way to explain what you said, and it’s untrue.

Labor, intelligence, talent and creativity are some of the biggest drivers of wealth. This should make leftists happy as these are renewable resources. Virtually everyone is born with the ability to use one or some combination of those attributes to produce wealth, thanks to capitalism which allows people to trade these things for what they need and might otherwise not be able to produce on their own. Furthermore, they can enhance their ability to create wealth through education and experience.

As I’ve noted before, the OWS folks are free – any time they want – to combine their resources and start businesses that would compete with WS corporations. They could run those businesses as they please and would own 100% of the income that is produced (less taxes, of course), to divide equally in accordance with their stated goal of economic equality. They could run those businesses “democratically” if they wanted to.

But they don’t. Why? Why? Why?

Because it’s HARD. It requires REAL sacrifice – physical, mental and financial. They can’t be bothered with that. So they paint signs and they “occupy” in order to intimidate others into giving them that which they are unwilling to sacrifice for. It’s shameful.

>>”…Corporation's manufacture of goods and/or the lifestyle they sell to us is killing the environment.”

No one is forcing you to buy a lifestyle. If you live in a home, that’s YOUR choice, and you own the cost to the environment for that. If you own a car, that’s YOUR choice, and you own the cost to the environment for that. If you travel, that’s YOUR choice, and you own the cost to the environment for that. If you own a t.v., a computer, a microwave, a refrigerator, or any other appliance or electronic devise, that’s YOUR choice and you own the cost to the environment for that. Excuse my crudeness but stop pretending that your own poop doesn’t smell. I hate that expression but it’s the best way to make this point.

CW said...

continued...

>>”But those with wealth and power get a free pass from you. …conservatives more strongly defend the privileges assumed by Corporations than they defend the Constitution and country.”

That’s like saying people who take the subway get a free pass from me.
Merely having wealth or power is not illegal or immoral and it does not necessarily imply that anyone did anything wrong, so I have no right NOT to give them a pass. I don’t like Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Rosie O’Donnell and other entertainers who insult and disparage conservatives like me. Therefore, I generally don’t go to their movies or shows so that I don’t contribute to their wealth. That is a legitimate exercise of my rights. But do I try and prevent them from making movies or t.v. shows? No! I acknowledge their right to do so. See Curt – that’s the difference between you and I. I understand that rights apply to everyone – poor OR RICH. I don’t think I am entitled to decide who deserves what based upon my own arbitrary likes and dislikes. If I did, Michael Moore would be sweeping floors at McDonalds right now. But I will defend even Moore’s right to the money he earned.

As for power, once again there is legitimate power and illegitimate power according to the Constitution. Barak Obama is president. I don’t like it but I don’t dispute his legitimacy and I will try and deprive him of that power through the legitimate process of electing someone else. On the other hand, some of the things he’s done are an abuse of power, and where I feel that is the case I will say so and support efforts to undo what he’s done.

CW said...

Regarding police brutality:

>>”I have already listed the abuses practiced by police and I have seen some of them.”

You conveniently didn’t bother telling me what behaviors of the protestors led to those actions by the police, and what amounts to disproportionate violence is a matter of opinion. Probably everyone at that protest has a camera or cell phone with which to record any police brutality, so if they have legitimate claims they can address those with the police or in court. This is just one more example of how leftists want a different standard of behavior applied to themselves. They want to behave any way they please but be treated with kid gloves by the police.

>>”…the declaration of the occupation of New York City has cited some of the economic violence and you, without dealing with the details, call it hogwash. You have a pretty easy job to do.”

Simply calling something “economic violence” doesn’t make it a reality. I’ve been over the whole “social justice” thing with you many times, debating it with you at length point by point, over and over, so to suggest that I take the easy way and just ignore is a false and unfair accusation against me.

CW said...

Food prices and college expenses:

>>”…forcing our subsidized food products on the markets of smaller countries has destroyed the capacity of food.”

Food is like any other product, Curt, in that rising prices and the promise of increased return on investment should encourage more people to either get into that market or grow their own food. As that happens, prices will come down. But as your statement above implies, what we need to fear most is gov’t interference in that natural process. So once again, you’re protesting the wrong people in the wrong place.

>>”Yes, someone has to pay for college. But society pays much more for ignorance than it ever could for education.”

When people are required to assume responsibility for themselves, this ALWAYS benefits society. By making people responsible for their own welfare, they are motivated to acquire the skills, education and experience necessary to provide for themselves and their families. By making them responsible for the cost of their own education, they are more likely to decide carefully about what their best options are, and maybe they will choose trade schools or careers like sales that don’t require a college degree. This reduces demand in the education system and keeps costs down for everyone else. If they do choose college, they are likely to be serious students and carefully choose their courses – that benefits society. And if they are required to pay the bill, they are likely to focus on careers that make it worthwhile and to be serious about getting and keeping a good job. That helps society.

On the other hand, when society at large is required to pay the bill, there is zero incentive for people to seriously consider career alternatives besides college. What the heck – it’s “free,” right? And why not study fun but useless subjects like “Queer Musicology” (offered at UCLA) or “The Science of Harry Potter,” (offered at Frostburg University). And hey, after four, five or six years, why not just work at Burger King? After all, someone else (like Curt’s daughter and grandchild) will be paying back that student loan and someone else (like my two children) will foot the bill for my healthcare and whatever else I might need but can’t afford because I CHOOSE to work at Burger King.

Your statement above does something very typical of leftists – it provides a false choice (either society pays for people’s college or society will be uneducated). The third option is that people will pay for their own education and society can flourish as a result. This will happen naturally if and when people are allowed to suffer the consequences and reap the rewards of their choices.

Curt Day said...

As I said before, you are here to distract from the issue by making one accusation after another. What is that issue? It comes from the second paragraph from the declaration of the occupation of New York:

"As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members"

When I first quoted this, you focused on whether OWS was practicing what they were preaching. I would say yes though I would just as easily say not perfectly. But your problem is not how well OWS follows that principle, your problem is with the statement itself. This is evidenced by your calling Democracy "mob rule" or when you went on about how food prices were merely the result of the devaluing of the dollar and should also allow a return on investment without any acknowledgment of the effects of the high price of food for our fellow Americans or our gov't's attempts to destroy the food making capacity of other countries.

You well represent the view of James Madison when, in the Constitutional debates, feared that a democracy where everyman could vote would allow for agrarian reforms demanded by the people.

All of the other stuff you write denies the realities of life. People are directed by media and the status quo to want certain things because success and prestige have been associated with them. Certainly it is an individual's choice to accept that or not, but when the major players in society tell the people this is what it means to be successful, the odds are that the majority of the people will choose what they are told to.

The point being is this, if our future depends on our cooperation, then our job is to examine our way of life and our different systems to determine if they are advancing our future or sealing our doom.

Is capitalism, with its emphasis on competition and maximizing profits, hurting our future if it depends on cooperation?

Is a lifestyle based on consumption and the hoarding of resources hurting our future if it depends on cooperation?

Are foreign policies that are based on domination and thus violence hurting our future if it depends on cooperation?

Is the rule of the status quo where gov't officials are paid for by those with power hurting our future if it depends on cooperation?

I have already answered many of your questions such as the latest one on police violence so you rephrase the question. But the most important issue isn't the character of OWS which I have witnessed in person and you haven't, the issue is whether our future depends on cooperation? And, if you think that you and your group can provide a better example, then do just that. But don't distract from the issue. The issue is whether our future depends on cooperation.

Curt Day said...

As for your specific complaints against OWS, I will address some here. When I made the comment about police violence against OWS, I made the point that the mere breaking of laws does not give the police to act with a disproportionate amount of force. That is to remove the police from accountability and to share a characteristic that those who practiced Fascism, like Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and others practiced. BTW, the police violence I cited was practiced against those at OWS, not those at OO. OWS has neither practiced violence nor destroyed property.

As for your comment about OWS pooling resources to start their own businesses, is that your advice for all unemployed people? BTW, many OWS people are unemployed while others have jobs. In addition, it sweeps under the rug the system in which one does start their own business. Go back to the education-debt catch 22 students found themselves in. They were told that without a college education, they could not get a meaningful job. But for many kids, they had take on mortgage-sized debts just to get the "required" education only to find that such an education no longer secures a job.

Your accusations of intimidation and so forth are the real hogwash here. And again, they are meant to distract from the real issue of whether our future depends on our cooperation. Your notes about them not willing to sacrifice implies that they have yet to make any sacrifices. That is an accusatory assumption. I have seen kids go through school. Kids who succeed, sacrifice a lot. They know what hard work and sacrifice is.

But for you, rather than listen, you want to make accusations. The accusations excuse you from both listening and critically assessing this capitalist system that you are so fond of. And again, not all occupiers, even at OWS, are socialists. Some are against neoliberal capitalism.

But those things don't matter to you because you have a fetish for making accusations about people you have not observed in person.

Finally, yes, those with power and wealth get a free pass from you. You have no criticism for the system Wall street has carved at. You have no criticism for the system that makes food too expensive for more and more people. You have no criticism for those who hoard wealth to the detriment of others. You give them a free pass just as you give the police a free pass for their disproportionate use of force.

To those with power and wealth, you give a free pass assuming that their current state is well-earned. You don't question how that wealth was made and how many were harmed in the making of that wealth. And you certainly don't demand that they cooperate with others. And that is the problem between us.

CW said...

Curt I:

You have a very funny understanding of what “democracy,” “cooperation” and “consensus” mean. Democracy is where everyone gets one vote, and the majority wins. It is NOT when a group of people representing a small fraction of a country “occupy” space in an effort to force people to do what they want. Forced cooperation is nothing more than coercion. And I asked you before, how can you claim to have consensus when I and nearly all conservatives disagree with your agenda and your tactics?

>>“…our job is to examine our way of life and our different systems to determine if they are advancing our future or sealing our doom.”

There is no such thing as “our” way of life. Each of us is an individual and each of us chooses to live differently. It is not your job to make judgments about the way others choose to live as long as they are within the law. Nobody died and made you king. If I make a piece of art and someone wants to pay me $10 million for it of their own free will, how I choose to spend that money is none of your business.


>>“The issue is whether our future depends on cooperation.”

Okay, then let me address that issue. The definition of cooperation is: “The act of working together to achieve a common goal.” This is NOT what you or anyone with OWS is doing. Instead, you want to force everyone to work together to achieve YOUR goal. That’s a big difference. Did you teach your children that the definition of cooperation is when they force others to go along with what they want? That’s what you’re teaching them now by your actions, and that’s shameful.

We already have a system that revolves around cooperation. It’s called the Constitution. If you and your OWS friends would like to change the Constitution, there’s a process for that, and you need to follow that process just like the rest of have to. THAT is what cooperation looks like, and YES, OUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT.

CW said...

Curt II:

>>”…rather than listen, you want to make accusations.”

I’ve read every word you’ve written here, Curt, and responded almost sentence by sentence. “You don’t listen!” is what people say (teenagers mostly) when they can’t get people to agree with them.

>>”… you have a fetish for making accusations about people you have not observed in person.”

Seems to me you are the one making accusations.

>>”… You don't question how that wealth was made and how many were harmed in the making of that wealth. And you certainly don't demand that they cooperate with others. And that is the problem between us.”

You’re right, Curt. I don’t presume to the self-anointed queen judging whether each of my fellow citizens has rightfully earned what they have according to my personal standard. We have laws – enacted by the citizenry at large to address stealing, fraud, labor practices and a million other things that deal with wealth. If I feel that someone is wrongly taking from someone else, I would contact my elected representatives and see about enacting a law through the process that is designed for that, because that is how things work when the spirit of cooperation truly exists.

No, I do not DEMAND that people "cooperate" with me.

Curt Day said...

CW,
It is you who have the "funny" idea of the democracy that is occurring at OWS. Their GA was never intended to represent the country. Their GA is for representing those in their community. They encourage other occupations to run their own GAs and be independent of the OWS GA.

WHy would you think they were suppose to represent the whole country?

Now for the cooperation part. What is the goal for OWS? Much of it has to do with the abuse that the corporate world has visited on the rest of the country and the world. It has to do with wealth buying gov't so that laws could be written to favor them or so that regulations are not enforced. Your view that OWS is trying to force their view on everybody is as incorrect as your view that their GA was trying to represent the country.

When they say that our future depends on cooperation, they are not applying that to just how individual corporations/institutions are working in our current system, they are applying that to the whole system. They are asking the question of whether we can continue with our neoliberal capitalistic system and live in cooperation. They are applying critical thinking in analyzing, not just individuals, but the system as a whole. Likewise, we can ask if a country's dependence on domination for determining its foreign policies is compatible with cooperation.

Those at OWS are simply asking broader questions than you give them credit for.

Now I wouldn't say that you don't listen, but I would say that you are bent on being critical on every point regardless of the fairness and accuracy of your criticism. And your response of claiming that I say "you don't listen" is just another example. You offer criticism but do not take feedback seriously. Rather, you want to criticize everything, valid or not, to discredit.

Finally, we have laws. But to imply that laws should not be critically thought about and disobeyed when the laws are used as a shield to injustice is to move to fascism. I am not saying that you are making such an implication. I will allow you to answer that question for yourself. Just realize that being legal does not imply that one is moral.

Anonymous said...

Curt Day: Thanks! I did not know there were any among the fundies who had not turned to "making idols" of the small points of their organized religion, in order to reassure themselves of their own superiority towards everyone else in the world.

As if salvation is privilege, not pure plain grace. As if being a child of God means that you are arrogant royalty who can reject all the peasants in the field.

As if Christianity is not about the sacrifice of Christ for everyone equally, from the whore to the gay to the prim and proper.

As if their faith is not about a relationship with the Creator-God who made absolutely everything and loves all of it with full heart.

Thanks!