The Occupy Wall Street movement began as a peaceful protest against alleged unfairness inherent in our economic and political systems. Although I generally disagree with the protestors regarding the solutions to the problems, I think they were right to bring to light the cozy and unjust relationship between big businesses and the federal government.
Unfortunately, whatever message the occupiers are trying to advance has taken a backseat to the general mayhem that has unfolded throughout the country. In New York, so many sexual assaults were being reported that the occupiers set up a special “females only” tent area. Furthermore, the organization has decided to handle the issues internally. Sexual assault and rape are some of the most heinous violations of an individual, and the prevention and prosecution of such offenses is a legitimate use of government power. The refusal to go to the police with such information should be considered an outright rejection of society and its laws.
The rejection of civil society has continued in Oakland. What was originally going to be a general strike turned into an occupation of the Port of Oakland, where the occupiers held port workers hostage into the wee hours of the morning. Businesses in downtown Oakland had windows shattered. In DC, old women were thrown down stairs outside of an Americans for Prosperity event, and attendees were assaulted as they left the Washington Convention Center.
The people around Wall Street we should be sympathetic towards are the small business owners who livelihoods have been jeopardized. Numerous food carts and restaurants in New York have had business decline sharply, with some even having to lay people off. In San Diego, Occupiers splattered a food cart with blood and urine after it stopped giving out free coffee and hot dogs. While the stench around the actual campsites may be different, these actions reek of an entitled mob, eager for more while shirking any responsibilities. Many at Occupy Wall Street are professional protestors, preferring complaining to producing anything of value.
While many within the liberty movement have looked for commonalities with the Occupy movement, the willingness and even eagerness to use violence to advance their cause should trouble any liberty-minded individual. By using force to advance their political ideology, the Occupy movement has eliminated any distinction between themselves and the powers they are protesting. While freedom includes the liberty to do what you wish with your person and property, it also includes the responsibility to refrain from damaging the property of others.
The Occupy Movement, with its lack of a coherent message, seems to be more concerned with destroying lives than effectively enacting political change. Any libertarian who would condone this violent method of seeking change at the cost of innocent bystanders does so not out of a desire to see the world improved, but out of a desire to see a perverse revenge inflicted upon those we feel have wronged us.Published in