In my last post, Lies, Lies, Liar, I suggested (okay, I ranted from the rooftops) that it’s up to us to change the system—to stick it to the man, as it were. Turns out there are some unexpected good Samaritans who are way ahead of me on that.
Occupy Wall Street. Remember them? Those sleeping bag-wearing stumblebums who occupied not only Wall Street, but every shop and park for miles around; those self-centered trash-dropping, student-loan-owing namby-pambies who lit out for home as soon as the temperature dropped?
Well, they’re back, and they seem to have cleaned up their act. A lot. The Occupy people have expanded operations to not one, but at least two missions to help others who are down on their luck. Being Occupy, they have political goals that they want to achieve, but they are putting their money and their time where their mouths are.
According to Interoccupy.net/occupysandy,
Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street, 350.org, recovers.org and interoccupy.net.
And what’s really cool is that they are organized. No small potatoes effort, here. Go to their website, and you will see lists of exactly what they need (legal assistance, tetanus shots, and pediatric masks, among other things), to what they don’t (diapers, bleach and clothing). The organizers saw a need, and jumped in to help. Exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from conservatives who know the value of personally assisting a neighbor, but these are the left-wing vanguard of the liberals. Kudos to them.
And, if that’s not enough, an offshoot of the Occupy movement, called Rolling Jubilee (rollingjubilee.org) is busying itself buying up debt and discharging it. Not for individuals, so don’t go stand in line just yet, but purchasing debt on the secondary market for pennies on the dollar, and then telling the lucky debtors that they no longer owe that obligation.
While Occupy Sandy is just good, clean neighbor helping neighbor, Rolling Jubilee has an ulterior motive: to alert the world to predatory lending practices. Its mission to rid the world of millions of dollars owed is just a drop in the bucket of the total debt riding around out there, but it is the concept of halting the multi-trillion dollar loan industry that is the real goal.
Rolling Jubilee’s backers are united in their belief that loans are forced onto those who can least afford to pay them back, let alone the accompanying fees and associated costs, due to those unfortunates’ lack of ability to acquire even the basic necessities of life in any other manner. Occupy’s manifesto, The Debt Resistor’s Operations Manual, offers tips and answers to managing and getting out of debt, and resisting those predatory loan practices in the future.
What is most fascinating about both of these movements is that, even though Occupy Wall Street was founded on the belief that the federal government needed to interject itself further into the banking and corporate world, in order to restrict their never-ending subjugation of the masses, even these ultra-liberals have discovered that Big Brother don’t know all. Big Brother cannot be all things to all people. Big Brother needs an assist from private folks every now and then.
If both the extreme left and the extreme right have determined that even massive federal intrusion into every aspect of our lives still won’t solve all of our problems, there is hope yet that someday we all might get the point that centralized planning is not the ticket. That we will finally understand that, while there are a few things which we need a governmental authority to do or to enforce, it is not in our best interests to constantly rely on experts from afar to know what is best for our little burg, especially when those experts are generally not able to accomplish what is necessary in a timely, efficient manner, even when they are able to figure out the right thing to do.
The Feds may have a role in an ultimate oversight capacity, or as arbiter of competing interests, but to encourage them to get involved in our everyday affairs is not only an waste of resources and a drag on productivity, but an exercise in futility. A government that is large enough to deal with a hurricane Sandy quickly is a government which costs much much more than we have been feeding it to date. And a government that is embedded in the field of passing out loans is a government that makes lending money a one-size-fits-all venture, where everyone is eligible, regardless of their ability to repay—which in effect means that the taxpayers end up on the hook for loans that never should have been made in the first place.
In both cases, removing accountability to some far off office in Washington removes personal responsibility as well, while increasing the cost of all goods and services. There will always be a role for private citizens and private industry, which even the far left has now tacitly acknowledged. Recognizing that fact, let’s set about to cogently and logically decide how far we want government to intrude into our lives, rather than crying out for another law in the heat of every disaster or emotional turmoil.
Government governs for a long time after its initial mandate has been authorized. Let’s take a step back and think about where we want to that authority to begin, because we sure don’t seem to have a handle on where it all ends.
Image courtesy of digitalart/freedigitalphotos.net