This weekend was dedicated to studying for final exams. I’ll take my last, final exam today and be completely done. I’ve lived in Athens for almost a year now, and while I enjoyed my time in this interesting town and met some great people, I’m anxious to move on to bigger and better things. I’ll be moving to North Carolina to take a marketing research manager position with a research supplier.
Back to the story, I was walking to the study lab when I walked by some sort of festival/gathering/meeting. Seeing all the commotion, I was curious as to what it was all about. As soon as I strolled over, I noticed higher than usual incidences of facial hair, male pony tails, and tie-dye. The occupy movement in Athens (a liberal enclave in the otherwise conservative state of Georgia) was holding an event that was filled with tie-dye, hippies, and leftist signage.
Realizing what was going on, I went and chatted with the guy behind the Occupy Athens booth (pictured below), and actually had a very cordial chat about his movement, views, and some of the signs that were handmade and hanging through out the premises.
After leaving, I realized that many of the signs contradicted one another or the movement’s overall message, so I want to flush those out here, and get your thoughts. Please share your conclusions in the comments below.
The first is the sign directly behind the guy I chatted with. It reads “NO BOSSES, NO BORDERS, NO DEBT.” This was the sign I asked him about that led to our conversation. We chatted about the “NO BOSSES” part and got into the discussion about CEOs making more money than their subordinates. I argued that they should make more, just like people with Harvard MBAs should make more money than those without college degrees (overall, not in every case). He hesitated to agreed with the notion that people who accomplish more should reap more.
The “NO BORDERS” piece contradicts, or stands to hurt the cause they claim for which they claim to be fighting–helping the poorest Americans. Unskilled laborers are often displaced by immigrants who are willing to do their job for less money–depressing the market wages– and are easier to work with (won’t demand higher wages, days off, etc.). So is the OWS movement ignorant to the economics of the issue (very possible, as I indicated in a previous post about their economic misunderstandings), is their motive not to help the poorest Americans (maybe all poor people), do they simply want to allow additional likely Democrats into the country to eventually vote for their candidates, or something else? What am I missing? Help me reconcile this inconsistency!
Another sign which you can see part of above says “EDUCATION IS A HUMAN RIGHT.” Now if they’re just talking about grammar, middle, and elementary school, then we don’t really have much to gripe about. We already have public education in the US. If they’re talking about free college then they’re much more socialistic in nature than even I realized, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re just speaking to those lower levels of education. The picture below shows a sign that says “STOP ALL WARS.” Now if we’re are to understand education as a true “human right,” then most of our recent wars have been against countries and cultures that deny women of their “human right” of education.
Finally, the most obvious contradiction came from a sign and what was said by the speaker on stage. The sign said “HEALTHCARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT.” The speaker said “We don’t want handouts!” I don’t think this one requires much explanation. If you want free handouts, which was my impression, just say so. How else are you going to give people healthcare and not make them pay for it? Someone has to pay for it (the 53% of Americans who pay taxes)? Handing out free things (such as healthcare) and making someone other than the recipient is the very definition of a handout.
All this comes at a time when France just elected a true socialist who is willing to tax the very rich at a 75% marginal tax rate. We could be headed towards that general direction. Scary stuff! What do you think?
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