When they start iterating their demands, that is when you know they are being used as a front group. They are what we can safely call “useful idiots.” I would still assume they are best ignored, but for the fact that our current president trained operatives to engage in this type of public disturbance as a career. (See particularly pp. 212-226 of Radical in Chief, by Stanley Kurtz, the section on “Hitting the Banks.”) It seems to be a parallel universe when a sitting president sympathizes with, and even identifies with, street protestors making demands for the overthrow of our freedom and free market systems.
A couple of times this week, I mentioned “thou shalt not covet” as one of the civilizing principles. Consider, then, whether the demands of these protestors can qualify as civilizing or are likely to do the opposite.
- Demand 1: Restoration of the living wage…raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hour.
- Demand 2: Institute universal single payer healthcare and ban private insurers from the market.
- Demand 3: Guarantee a living wage regardless of employment.
- Demand 4: Free college tuition.
- Demand 5: Force an end to fossil fuel use and force use of alternative energy.
- Demand 6: Spend $1 Trillion on infrastructure now.
- Demand 7: Spend $1 Trillion on ecological restoration and also decommission all American nuclear power plants.
- Demand 8: Amend the US Constitution to create equal gender rights.
- Demand 9: Open borders—anyone can travel, live, and work anywhere.
- Demand 10: Bring American elections to international standards, with both impartial and party observers.
- Demand 11: All debts forgiven—across the planet.
- Demand 12: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.
- Demand 13: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.
They end with this prophecy:
These demands will create so many jobs it will be completely impossible to fill them without an open borders policy.
…which is why the soviet term “useful idiots” applies, although the useful part may be questionable.
Oddly, what I'd understood was the main demand, raising corporate tax rates, is missing from their list. But, taking them at their word, let's look at what they say they want in exchange for removing themselves from the streets.
First, minimum wage. The stated purpose of minimum wage is purportedly to keep employers from unfairly exploiting the laborer. But in reality it prevents the contract between willing employer and willing employee from taking place. An employer must do without labor that doesn’t bring in enough business success to pay for the worker. This means that efficiency and effectiveness are absolute necessities. So beginning, entry-level, untrained workers cannot be afforded. So they are not hired. Demanding a minimum wage freezes out willing employees, increasing unemployment, especially among those at the beginning of their work life. Teenagers, high school dropouts, non-college graduates are not going to be making a living wage; they will be making no wage.
As for $20 an hour, since that includes almost every job in fast food, every beginning clerical job, dental and medical assistants, day care workers, non-commissioned retail workers, food-service workers, and a myriad of other jobs people do to gain experience, or to carry them over while they get more education, will be outlawed. Employers who can’t afford to pay $20 an hour for work that doesn’t bring in that much to the business will be unable to hire. And in many cases, those businesses will shrink way below market demand, or will disappear entirely.
Next, socialized health care. We know, from the boondoggle that is Obamacare, and from the inefficiencies and even cruel deprivations of care in countries with socialized medicine, that this is the absolute opposite direction we should be taking. Why are college students clamoring for it—unless someone indoctrinated them and put them up to it? Most college students would otherwise be content to risk lack of coverage during their young and healthy years, assuming they will be able to afford coverage later through employment.
About “guaranteed wage,” I’m not sure what they mean. It is either that you get a certain wage regardless of the type of work you do, or you get a certain wage regardless of whether you work. But where does it come from? If an employer doesn’t get the necessary work to bring in profit with which to pay wages, the employer must replace the unproductive worker(s) or go out of business. If a person isn’t even employed, the assumption, then, is that government will confiscate money from workers to bequeath it unearned to nonworkers of the government’s choosing. I’m thinking another word for this is slavery. These unenlightened protestors, then, are demanding enslavement of productive workers. Which would I rather have: a bunch of young people endlessly complaining on the city streets, or giving in to enslavement? If it’s only those two choices, I’m certainly not going to give in to slavery.
If all college tuition is free, then you can assume the value of a college education will be what you paid for it. (Somewhat like a high school diploma.) If there is no cost, then who will pay to do the educating? Again, productive workers enslaved by these young non-producers. There’s the other question of, who decides who gets a better education, one that prepares one for productive work in society? Merit and money do that now, but the protestors think that’s unfair somehow.
As for the demands for spending while shutting down industries, these are leftist rants that exemplify the lack of training in critical thinking that these student protestors are receiving. If you eliminate the use of energy resources we now have, you eliminate the means to produce new ideas. The country would be forced to a standstill, not because there is no way to innovate, but because these tantrum throwers want something that doesn’t yet exist to come out of thin air, rather than out of market demand.
As for an equal rights amendment, that didn’t fly several decades ago, for good reason. One is that it was written in a way that disallowed noticing gender differences. This would be harmful to women, who are different. If it cannot be noticed that you get pregnant and have children, then you have a much harder time making a living (or raising a family) in competition with people who cannot have children or choose not to. So families, the basic unit of civilization, are discriminated against, and women are particularly harmed. It just so happens that elimination of family is a goal of the behind-the-scenes organizers of these protests. In addition, it should be noted that laws currently in place give advantages in all but the hardest physical labor settings to women and minorities, so that the real object of discrimination is white males. So, unless these protestors are white males, why are they making this demand?
As for free and fair elections—I’m in favor of that. Laws are already on the books to allow independent and party-affiliated observers. See my pieces on poll watching here and here. The difficulty is getting enough volunteer observers to thwart the underhanded practices of the backers of these protesters. So I’m not sure why this demand is being made, but I am sure I don’t trust their motives.
Remove sovereignty and eliminate all debt—I’m combining these, because they are equally ignorant. If there are no borders, then there is no way to enforce laws, no sovereign authority. All of the above demands would be null and void, because there would be no one to force businesses to hire workers at a set wage, nor to collect taxes to pay the trillions demanded for infrastructure and free health care and free college tuition. Oh, and if you outlaw the ability to recoup debts owed, then money no longer has meaning, and you’d be lucky to have some kind of barter exchange. You certainly couldn’t gather capital to build a house or start or expand a business.
Sign up for a union—that’s already possible. What is rarely possible is to work in certain jobs without signing up with the heavy-handed union. And while unions claim to be for workers, they are certainly not for future workers. They want to maintain perks for current workers, regardless of ability and merit, while blocking out any currently unemployed workers or workers coming into the field. So, since this demand removes freedom and opportunity from workers, why is it on this list? Oh, yeah, because after the several days of purposeless shouting, the unions got involved in supporting (co-opting?) the protests.
In the end, is there any chance that meeting these demands would bring about greater freedom, economic prosperity, or better living conditions? None.
But I don’t know whether the protesters should be completely ignored. Similar groups as early as 1983 forced banks to lower lending standards, which directly led to the housing bubble collapse of the past few years. It was a slow but inevitable outcome. What we must not do is give in to any demands now that interfere with our freedom and prosperity in the future.
* I don't know who to credit with this photo. I got it from a friend on Facebook, who got it from someone, last name Rose, location Austin. But I don't know if that is the creator or just someone who passed it along. Anyway, kudos to whoever made it.