On Tuesday’s “Great Teach-In”, there was an assortment of books on display next to the fliers I described in Part 1. To start with a general list, here is the reasoning of Occupy, as purported by its Occupy Boston members and organizers:
1. Take This Job and Ship It: How Corporate Greed and Brain-dead Politics are selling out America by Senator Byron L. Dorgan
2. Race Traitor by Noel Ignatiev and John Garvey
3. Within Our Reach: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage by Lisbeth and Daniel Schorr
4. Economic Revolution by Kerry Power
5. Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country by William Greider
6. The Community in Urban Society by Larry Lyon
7. The Verso Book of Dissent: From Spartacus to the Shoe-thrower of Baghdad by Andrew Hsiao and Audrea Lim
8. The Activist’s Handbook by Randy Shaw
9. Voices of a People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove
10. Principles of Political Economy by John Stuart Mill
11. The Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill
With just a glance, most conservatives and Tea Partiers would shrink back from this reading list, knowing that this arrangement is radical, anti-freedom, and contains historical misinformation. Even a reviewer of the liberal UK Guardian called “The Verso Book of Dissent” a “radical selection”. Dissecting and exposing the radicalism of these texts are much more worthwhile than making generalizations, though, so here goes nothing:
1. Take This Job and Ship It
Speaking of exports rather than America’s innovations, Dorgan makes the completely false assumption that “good jobs” are getting “taken”, saying on page 3 that from 2001-2006, over 3 million U.S. jobs were outsourced to other countries. Indeed, the book title is summarized by his statement that we are “selling out the country by encouraging people to work overseas”. As Louis Carabini points out in his book, Inclined to Liberty, “there may be a relocation of people performing a given type of job, or a change in the type of job for those who live in Detroit, but it does not reduce the number of jobs” (64). In other words, the very title of Senator Dorgan’s book is completely fallacious, as it alleges that there is some reduction of jobs since many go overseas. Additionally, he takes a decidedly anti-corporatist slant by making the assumption that by making pay cuts, the “good jobs” are being “lost”. Any person with common-sense knows that the reason for the cut is in the interest of the business itself—what would people prefer: having no job if the business falls apart when it doesn’t cut back, or having a job where the pay fluctuates when the business runs into trouble? Dorgan’s assumption that these decisions of self-interest by corporations is the reason for “job relocation” isn’t even a valid argument. By the way, has anyone even heard of this Senator?
2. Race Traitor
You don’t need to go any further than page 1 to figure out that the proponents of this book are Looney Toons: the first chapter is titled, “Abolish the White Race by any means necessary”. The authors go on to explain that “being white” is a social construct that must be destroyed, and “treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity” (10). The inherent bias of these authors is particularly highlighted by their swipe at George F. Will and their statement about “the lies of Rush Limbaugh” and the “secret deals of Newt Gingrich”. Maybe if they provide some evidence for these accusations, instead of sounding like conspiracy theorists, I’d consider taking them seriously. Otherwise, it seems that the same vitriol and hate inspiring them to make those unsupported statements also justifies their stigmatization of people based on skin color.
3. Within Our Reach
The premise of Within Our Reach is that the situations of impoverished and undereducated people are due to “conditions of high-risk” that can be eliminated by government intervention and social planning. While this point does address the reality that the home a person is raised within, and the nature of a community plagued with gang violence, for example, certainly cripples a person’s ability to live freely (since they live under a level of coercion and fear), the Schorrs emphasize that government, rather than law enforcement, should take the primary role in restituting the outcome of such conditions.
The solution to disadvantage is alleged to reside in equalizing outcomes rather than opportunities, which doesn’t remove the real problem of disadvantaged people—opportunities sporadically limited by conditions of family life, the safety of a neighborhood, and an unlimited, uncontrollable amount of factors. As Thomas Sowell notes in his speech, “The Quest for Cosmic Justice”, social justice, in its attempt to create equal outcomes, “encompasses far more than any society is causally responsible for”. The circumstances, historical outcomes, and differences of individuals cannot be altered by planning—unequal outcomes, like the particular genius of one person and the absence in another, do not necessitate that people have unequal opportunities, and they are not solely created by some rectifiable aspect of society. Such a redefinition of justice places far more blame on society than it does on making a constructive opportunity for individuals, such that, in Sowell’s own experience growing up in Harlem, he was “forced…to meet standards that were harder for us to meet—but far more necessary for us to meet, as these were the main avenues for our escape from poverty.” Inequality is not unrectifiable nor is it an injustice for there to be differences. Most importantly, society itself is not the underlying condition for the differences that naturally arise in individuals and circumstances, and real justice is best served with the rule of law rather than politically-determined outcomes.
4. Economic Revolution
Power’s book is particulaly disturbing because while the cover portrays people holding the Tea Party “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, the book content is not aligned with Tea Party principles, and actually stands completely opposed. Although the author stresses the desire to “make big profits”, the opening header of the book is “greed, apathy and addiction run amok and now threatens the American Dream.” While this may sound like conservative arguments against the entitlement mentality and the hypocritical opulence of politicians condemning “the rich”, a further read indicates that this book is far from a conservative argument, and shows that the author very disturbingly says that free market capitalism should be used to bring about socialism. Power writes, “ What I am suggesting is simply that people who believe in free-market Capitalism get together and start organizing market forces in their favor for a change, to make sure that ‘what goes around comes around’, so a fair portion of the nation’s wealth ends up in their possession.” A self-avowed capitalist inherently understands that there is no fixed amount of wealth, as it is constantly being created by the market, and that goods and services are specifically made in adherence to the consumers. Yet Power proposes not only that the market forces don’t usually conform to the demands of people, but that there is also a specific amount of “national wealth” that should be redistributed. In a deceptively round-about way, this book justifies fooling capitalists into promoting socialism.
5. How the Fed Runs the Country
The inherent bias of this book, in favor of supporting Democrats and Communist class warfare, is clear: in line with OWS, the book begins by charging that capitalism and democracy are opposed (notwithstanding that our country is a constitutional republic). Taking great personal sympathy to Carter, Greider describes him fawningly as having a “gentle Georgian accent”. On the Democrat party, he asserts without question that it “was founded on the promise of prosperity for all”, which wouldn’t appear biased except for where he then says that Carter’s “stern message sounded strange coming from a Democratic President”, suggesting that Republicans are apparently the only ones who are “stern”. He also speaks of Americans in terms of the “rich and poor and middle class”, terms that are decidedly Marxist and have no applicability to the reality of uncontrollable and constantly changing vertical mobility. While this book is riddled with half-truths, the reliability of this book as an unbiased resource on banks is not likely.
6. The Community in Urban Society
Notwithstanding that the kudos to the community theories of Communists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels are subtle, the emphasis on David Harvey’s “Social justice and the city” should be a throw-back to the previously described shortcomings of Within Our Reach. The emphasis on “local and community power” in Chapter 7, the Loss and Quest for community, should also be a bit discomforting, especially when there is a particular section that deals with “Utopian-Radical quests”, another reference to the notion of effacing traditional justice with redistributions of both wealth and power.
7. The Verso Book of Dissent
According to a review in the Guardian, this book quotes four pages from The Communist Manifesto, and allegedly ends with Henning Menkell, one of the pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Gaza flotilla— where IDF forces were attacked and beaten with metal pipes by the “peace activists”….who were writing their wills, claiming themselves to be martyrs, and implying that they would die in their voyage. Israel and Egypt both offered to dock the Gaza flotilla ships and transport their aid to Gaza—but were refused by “the peace activists”. Why? Cyprus refused to let the flotilla dock. Why? Please watch the video clips I’ve attached to get a thoughtful view of the Gaza flotilla, the history of the IHH and “Free Gaza”, and think about what this particular “dissent” intended to achieve.
Beck on the “Peace” Flotilla Part 1 (MUST-WATCH)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox43rgkxHLU Beck on the “Peace” Flotilla Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfB4sDrJ61Y&feature=relmfu Beck on the “Peace” Flotilla Part 3
8. The Activist’s Handbook
The co-author of A People’s History, one of the radical books in this arrangement, was featured on the cover of The Activist’s Handbook, calling it “enormously valuable for anyone interested in social change”. What he means by “social change” can be gleaned from the book’s particular characterization of law, power, and activism. As a telling aside, the book grants praise to ACORN, the organization exposed and defamed for prostitution rackets and voter fraud, as a campaign “for developing proactive agendas and strategies”. In particular, the index alone suggests that activism for “social justice” legitimizes such crimes as creating the news and manipulating the law.
1. Don’t Respond, Strategize
2. Elected Officials: Inspiring Fear and Loathing
3. Coalition Activism: Rounding up the Usual Suspects
4. Ballot Initiatives: The Rules of the Game
5. The Media: Winning more than Coverage*
6. Lawyers: Allies or Obstacles to Social Change?
7. Direct Action: ACTing up and Sitting In
8. Agenda Setting and Action Plans
9. Activism for the Twenty-First Century
As the chapter title “winning more than coverage” suggests, the outcome of the news is more important than the truth of the news, or the amount that is told—an affront to justice and journalism itself. In terms of the book’s justification for a particular brand of “social justice activism”, Shaw makes the disingenuos statement that the only reason why free-market capitalism, “supply-side economics”, triumped under Reagan was because Democrats “did not mobilize the public to support a more equitable alternative”. Clearly, Shaw’s rationale for public support of economic policy is not based upon an actual reasoning for the merits of free market capitalism, but instead turns to the ridiculous charge that people did not choose socialism because they didn’t know of it. The “equitable” solution once again falls back to the false charge of a fixed pool of wealth and the necessity for a specific redistribution, which creates neither wealth nor prosperity.
9. Voice of a People’s History of the United States
Before assuming that this book is a legitimate, completely reliable text, first give consideration to the breakdown provided by Dr. Larry Schweikhart in his book, 48 Liberal Lies about American history. Zinn’s text is particularly high-ranking among the mainstream textbooks and the misinformation Schweikhart dissects with primary documents. Of the misinformation the Zinn textbook pushes:
Lie # 24: Abraham Lincoln only freed the slaves to beef up his troop strength (without even refuting this nonsense, can you not sense the vitriol in this kind of sentiment?)
Lie # 38: The Constitution was the creation of “elites” protecting their financial interests
In this lie, Zinn puts his bias on full display by assuming that “the Constitution…serves the interests of the wealthy elite”, even though the document applies the concept of liberty to everyone and by definition limites government power to increase the power of the people.
Schweikhart particularly points out that Zinn’s People’s History blatantly ignores critical Civil War battles and ignores military heroism entirely. The particular display of this book certainly implies that the dogma of mainstream education isn’t challenged at all by the self-proclaimed “revolutionaries” in Occupy.
10. Principles of Political Economy
John Stuart Mill, consulted as the liberal bastion for justifying wealth distribution as utilitarian “happiness”, outright dismisses the value of individual liberty, claiming that government intervention is required in instances where people are insane and incapable of “good judgment”. While this is a half-truth, he gives no argument discrediting the likewise “lack of judgment” that could reside in the anointed government officials —the deficit of good judgment could go either way. Mill also does not explain where it is that the judgments of government members have authority to intervene in a citizen’s livelihood at the whim of determining what defines a “bad judgment”. Once again tying back to the all-encompassing scope of social justice, Mill justifies tyranny with the excuse that the accumulation of “bad judgments” on the part of individuals amounts to the contributing ills of society that can be controlled and rectified by a small number of people, deemed to have “good judgment”. He also goes to great lengths to justify government interventions in family matters—though his examples of child abuse and similar crimes are rectified by the law, not by government officials—and are unrelated to the matter that conservatives raise, in which choices are limited by boundaries of the self-proclaimed “right decisions”. Rather than construing “bad judgments” to actually be variants of good judgments for different people with unique preferences, circumstances, and goals, Mill takes the social justice approach –overriding the complexity of individual decision-making such that a political elite can justify theft and the redistribution of wealth as a truly “political economy”.
11. The Subjection of Women
Mill then alleges that men “might be supposed to think that the alleged natural vocation of women was of all things the most repugnant to their nature”, implying that all men assume the worst in women. As a woman, I have to say that most women have no problem making similar assumptions about men, but it does not indicate an institutionalized subjection of a specific gender. I’ve heard more women comment during movies about how “men think below the belt” and “are thoughtless”, and yet I hear no social justice activists making any statements about stereotypes against men—and in fact, they do more to make a case for some institionalized wage gap or some other inequality between genders that has more to do with personal preference, circumstances, and chance than anything else. Once again, social justice does well to make vast assumptions on the events society is responsible for. The agenda is clearly geared towards the similar line of social justice previously described—one in which equal outcomes are sought through some specific redistribution of power. The identity politics of this charge enforces a brand of justice that punishes men, allegedly to “liberate” women, without the consideration of the flip-side biases of women against men. Regardless of whether one believes some bias is more prevalent than the other, the idea that people, rather than the law, are entitled to judge what the “problem” is under the assumption of some huge conspiratorial, societal fix against a certain gender, is far-fetched and unconstructive.
Taken altogether, the book arrangement featured at Brandeis University’s Occupy Week “Great Teach-In” reveals the objectives of “social justice” and the radicalism of OWS that inspired me to write President Lawrence.
Based upon a belief replacing law enforcement with government enforcement, social justice whitewashes all social issues, claiming them to be simply rectified by “destroying” and “smashing” vague “social constructs”—whether that be corporations, banks, “patriarchy”, or wealthy individuals. The justification disturbingly ignores traditional justice, in which circumstances and situations are judged case-by-case without an outcome in mind. Instead, this crowd prefers to decide upon the outcome and recommends the most violent means of “justice”. Vandalizing and smashing banks are among the “remedies” of OWS, as well as using violence and racism in excuses of “retaliation” and “retribution”, even when the wrong committed against them is not proven beyond anything except their own assumptions and assertions.
The rule of law is smashed in this movement, and for all of Mill’s talk about the “bad judgment” of individuals, few in the media point out that “stupid” people shouldn’t be the ones deciding whether someone should live or die, whether a bank should be attacked, whether certain people have committed crimes, and what is defined as a “crime” itself. Yet these judgments are exactly what OWS purports when they accuse all white people of commiting crimes against blacks, at the expense of case-by-case determinations of the truth in court. Reality and fairness is at stake, and Brandeis University—as a school promoting “social justice”–no doubt contributes to a legacy that is neither reasonable nor just.