Thursday, October 27, 2011

re OWS

Recently, this note was sent out-of-band:
An awesome article by Matt Taibbi, well worth the time to read. When anyone asks what the hell the Occupy Wall Street people are about, this tells it "like it is".

My reply was:
I agree that the ire against brokenness in the system is genuine, and not merely the sour grapes of jealous also-rans. My concern is that the movement, while capable of articulating its displeasure, has not seemed able to propose a remedy. I therefore fear that the movement will end up like the Tea Party, co-opted by persons capable of harnessing their energy for some orthogonal purpose. The Tea Party began as a leaderless movement of people dissatisfied with government, too -- and now look at it.
This isn't to say that nothing done under the name of the Tea Party is good, but it is no longer about restoring representation, bringing government to heel, and introducing a fiscal conservatism long denied Americans by either party. It's taken on a distinct right-wing social cast and appears aligned with extremists within the Republican Party – a party which has just destroyed its "small government" and "fiscal conservatism" branding by presiding over some of the most significant budgetary imbalances in our lifetimes while growing both the size of government and its scope of intrusion into everyday life. The injection of social conservatism strikes me as being at distinct odds with the seemingly libertarian cast the Tea Party movement had at its inception.

While the relation between Republicans in Congress and the Tea Party candidates elected into their midst on the Republican ticket may not be entirely warm and cozy, there's no question that Tea Party candidates are neither Democrats nor Independents. Elected "Tea Party" candidates seem to view their mandate as bringing a no-compromise position on issues that anger their voter base – thereby imperiling business-a-usual vote-swapping operations in Congress – but they don't seem to be proposing the sort of radical change that would be reflective of serious effort to control the problems that seem so connected to the concerns that gave rise to the Tea Party in the first place. Perhaps it is the fate of OWS to pose as a mirror to the Tea Party, sharing an anger at the establishment but supporting a more Democratic-leaning brand of uncompromising, government-skeptical extremism.

Might not be a bad thing, all in all, but it would not set the ship aright either.

The question is: what will?

My proposals all involve changes of a scale that make them politically unlikely, so I've kept their details largely to myself.

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