Up with Chris Hayes continues its rant from the Left, and this morning they had one of the creators of OWS, David Graeb, who's written a book on debt. Hayes says this book has changed the way he thinks about debt. Kevin Williamson was the token Rightwing-guy. The other guests were a comedian, a professor and some other lady who does something -- I don't feel it's important to look up the names, and I can't remember them. I know Williamson from National Review.
What was interesting regarding this morning's show was the one-sided, biased approach against conservatives and Republicans. I want to make it clear that I'm neither a Republican nor a conservative, but some of the ideas I hold dear as a classical liberal/libertarian are thrown in the conservative basket and denigrated on shows like Up with Chris Hayes. The "consensus" on Hayes' show (Williamson didn't give a strong opinion) regarding OWS is that the movement is pertinent and the anger is justified. We're still not sure what the movement is about, totally, but Graeb gives a glimpse.
Graeb was not pushed by Hayes or the guests to explicate his ideas about debt as it applies to society in 2011. Graeb mainly deconstructed grand narratives regarding debt, that the old idea that we were once a barter society is false and debt has been around since society was formed, and that the idea of moral responsibility to repay debt is bogus. Graeb reduces tha grand narratives to base concerns about the rich and powerful forcing people into unsustainable debt. Graeb implied that an ancient practice of wiping the debt slate clean is a viable option. When one guest asked if wiping the debt slate clean would not cause severe tightening of lending and higher interest rates for everyone, she was ridiculed and asked what banks would to do with their money if not lend it. In other words, banks have to lend money, don't they? So, what if they lose billions? You just reset and start over.
The reduction of old grand narratives has been replaced by the Left with a new grand narrative -- the wealthy are responsible for most of our problems. The wealthy are so powerful that they force politicians to sell-out and provide the rich with advantages -- the wealthy are so powerful that they squeeze the middle class into overwhelming debt -- the wealthy are so powerful they subjugate the poor and turn them into slaves, keeping them in poverty and squalor -- the wealthy are so powerful they create wars to protect oil and other valuable resources under their control.
The comedian, Hayes and his other guests, except for the Right-wing guy, Williamson, created the impression that a majority in America have accepted the New Grand Narrative of the Evil Rich. So many questions, though, go unasked in shows like Up with Chris Hayes, like isn't it better to develope a free market and generate economic growth and new wealth? Isn't it better to limit the power of government and remove the feeding trough in DC so that rent-seeking corporations have nothing to buy? Isn't it better to create an economic environment where good jobs are available and more people are working? Isn't it better to leave finances to the free market and end the central planning of the Federal Reserve? Isn't open and free competition a better way to ensure a few protected corporations don't possess unearned power backed by government force?
This is just a guess, but, listening to many of the interviewed OWS protesters, I have a suspicion that this is about more than the powerful rich and the fact that many can't find jobs. OWS appears to be about the types of jobs available and the failure of our education system to address 21st century job market needs, and then there's a problem of unrealistic expectations. A person who loves the idea of working in the environmental industry might dream of graduating and getting a job surrounded by like-minded individuals who spend their days doing good things to save the environment, and when they find a shortage of these jobs upon graduation, they don't want to spend their days working in a factory or selling cars or driving a truck, so they wait for the correct/purposeful job. This is way too simplistic, but I don't think it's off the mark. The university environment can create a sense of purpose with so many social ideas being discussed in college, and so many new courses dealing with the environment and social justice, so it has to be a downer when someone filled with high purpose meets the real, mundane world of a job in the actual market. Protesting on Wall Street surrounded by thousands of people with the same world view is more spiritually pleasing than getting a temporary job doing something you hate until you can leverage your degree into a job you like and feel good about. Something has to be blamed, and Wall Street is an easy and fat target.
Yes, there are many problems with our crony-perverted-capitalistic system, but until we end statism nothing much is going to change. A free market in which all these active and idealistic young people can make real changes, once we demand and accomplish a limited government, is a much better way to go, rather than destroy industry, good and bad, and thereby destroying any chance of getting a good job. Not all companies are evil -- not all of the rich are evil -- but one thing is for sure, as long as we have a government which can centrally plan the economy, the problems raised by OWS will get worse -- and that's totally evil.