At the outset of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the first thought in my head was: “Brace yourselves… the politicians are coming.” And sure enough, leftist politicians like Rep. Charlie Rangel have latched on to this movement to justify their ambitious socio-economic goals.
But this is not just another story of a popular movement co-opted by politicians and special interest groups. Instead, it founded itself on many false premises from the start, most notably the doctrine of “class warfare.”
Though class warfare theory is wrong on almost every level, it finds a great amount of support from America’s intellectual culture (maybe even some of your professors) and is used to spark resentment between different classes of people in order to achieve support from otherwise unwise governmental policies, as I explain in this article:
… this theory was not exploited politically in the United States until the turn of the Twentieth Century in what is now known as the Progressive Era, the same time in which these social theories were becoming increasingly popular among U.S. intellectuals. Moved by these theories and the misguided sense of altruism facilitated by them, intellectuals began pushing for political policies to match their social theories. Some politicians, moved by altruism of a different sort, realized the potential value of these theories in winning elections and achieving various kinds of socio-economic goals. By convincing those considered the poor and the middle class that they are oppressed by the upper class, shrewd politicians realized that they could create broad coalitions behind any policy they desired simply by painting the upper class as being against it – so long as no one examines the policy itself or the implications of it, then such a coalition becomes nearly unstoppable in any system which allows general rule by simple majority.
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