Wednesday, November 09, 2011

#Occupy Zimbabwe

The irony of the Occupy Wall Street (and other iterations) has been well documented. They decry Wall Street and Corporations yet are more than willing to film and promote their actions using iPhones (made by the biggest corporation in the world), computers and other forms of technology. Up to now I have hesitated to tackle this topic but I just read an excellent blog post by Frank Turk of the Pyromaniacs blog.

Mr. Turk writes an "Open Letter" to the Occupy movement that does a great job of pointing out just how inconsistent–and silly–the movement is when you consider the wealth of the poorest parts of America with the rest of the world. He even uses data and graphs to back up his point. This one is particularly good:

The circles show the income levels and life expectancy of different countries. America is way up on the far upper right of the graph which means that we are rich and healthy compared to the rest of the world. The black line is our "poverty" line. 80% of all Americans live above that black line. Compared to the rest of the world we are rich...really rich.

Mr. Turk goes on to call this movement exactly what it is. It is not about any injustice. It is about greed.

That's right: the problem is not that "they" are greedy - whoever "they" are (the bankers, the capitalists, the stock traders, but apparently not the movie moguls, the actors, the politicians and pop stars) -- but that we are greedy. We want things we didn't earn, and we can't imagine that we might have to live on less than we think we are entitled to. We certainly couldn't live on what the average Englishman lived on in1800, and may God forbid we have to live on what the average Russian or South African lives on today. There was a time when we would say it isn't "fair", but today we say it's actually an injustice -- as if "justice" has anything to do with us getting something we didn't actually earn.

The one thing that Mr. Turk does at this point of the letter is to subtly change from writing to the protesters (using the language of "I" and "you") to writing to all of us in America (using the language of "we"). The greed isn't just a problem for those protestors. It is not just that they don't have all that the Jones have; the problem is for all of us.

We are all greedy. And that is sin.

We all have things that we think that we need that we really don't need. Having things and luxuries are not sinful in and of themselves.

Rather the problem is when we start to define poverty and need based upon how many luxuries one can or cannot afford.

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