Instagram pic in Central Park, NY last Tuesday. We were wandering toward the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
We were in a hotel in Midtown Manhattan when the police broke up the two-month-old encampment in Zuccotti Park. We wouldn’t have noticed except for the news.
Here are two of my favorite opinion pieces on Occupy…
Anne Applebaum: Occupy Protesters Undermine Democracy
In New York, marchers chanted, “This is what democracy looks like,” but, actually, this isn’t what democracy looks like. This is what freedom of speech looks like. Democracy looks a lot more boring. Democracy requires institutions, elections, political parties, rules, laws, a judiciary and many unglamourous, time-consuming activities, none of which are nearly as much fun as camping out in front of St. Paul’s cathedral or chanting slogans on the Rue St. Martin in Paris.
Heather MacDonald: The Moochers of Zuccotti Park
While the number of people who commandeered Zuccotti Park was pathetically small—several hundred a night—compared with the weight of media attention lavished upon them, their sense of entitlement to take other people’s property, whether public or private, is unfortunately widespread.
11/20 update: This one’s good too.
The Occupy Wall Street movement lacks any legitimate claim to being part of the democratic tradition of civil disobedience. Disobeying a perfectly legitimate law as an expression of moral outrage at other laws makes no sense. Some call it “indirect” civil disobedience, but that is worse than a slippery slope. Can we express our moral disapproval of particular laws and claim the badge of civil disobedience by breaching any randomly chosen legitimate law? If not, how do we know which laws we can disobey as an act of civil disobedience and which we cannot?
The Occupy Wall Street movement, with an incoherent agenda that rails against income inequality and the evils of capitalism, ignores the fact that what we are practicing is not true capitalism, the version where businesses and entrepreneurs are allowed to compete on a truly level playing field to reap the rewards or be allowed to fail.