The continuing and futile OWS hullabaloo brings to mind my experiences some years ago when my friend Koki (a nickname) Novikov, a wonderful dancer I worked with in New York would invite fellow cast members for Sunday dinner to her neighborhood in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach, an enclave for many Russian/Americans and recent Russian émigrés.
During those visits I observed the unhappiness of the recently arrived Russian men. This was not the famously chronic, brooding sadness of the Russian soul, but rather, a sadness born of purposelessness. They didn’t know how to engage personal freedom. Instead of pursuing the endless options liberty offers, they seemed to be drifting aimlessly, clueless about how to handle it.
Some even expressed a fondness for the totalitarianism they left behind. Back home they knew what they could and couldn’t do and took comfort in the oppressive safety of the Soviet system -- no decisions needed to be made, no dreams to pursue, very few options available. It was all determined for them and they were satisfied robots in the Soviet system. Most said that many of their relatives and friends in Russia felt the same way.
One can’t really blame them. They had been indoctrinated in this system for generations and it was the only one they knew and understood. It’s natural that many of them would be puzzled and aimless in this new system founded on freedom.
But I can blame the clowns at Occupy Wall Street.
The permissiveness and secularism that liberalism inflicted upon the country began in the 60’s and continues destructively to this day. This liberal “culture” of “do your own thing,” “if it feels good, do it,” “if it works for you,” and “God is dead,” seeded the ground for progressivism, which is now giving us an uber-government that's whittling away our independence...and freedom. It created a cadre of elitists who know better than the people how we should live our lives.
But not without cost. The last fifty years left a residue of two generations of entitled brats who’ve become used to, and expect, the hand of government to provide for them. Our glorious American liberty has been eroded by liberal-dependency, as dictated by the government that was supposed to protect it. Instead, these generations have been sucked and suckered into the apprentice Soviet system known as the Nanny State. As that net widens, we’re in full totalitarian mode.
Many of these self indulgent OWS participants took the free ride their hard “working” parents provided for them and were free to pursue degrees in such do-your-own-thing disciplines like film criticism, classical literature, queer studies, Oprah studies, women’s studies, black studies, poetry and the ubiquitous “communications.”
In my dinosaur college days, if you were interested in such topics, you’d go to a library, the encyclopedia, or newspapers and magazines to read about them. We didn’t expect (or want) our colleges to provide degrees in such drivel. These institutions of higher learning just grabbed their ankles and dumbed down the curricula to the cultural marketplace to enroll these often ill-prepared, pie-eyed kids who thought they were getting an education. Wait ‘til their parents saw what they got for their money.
Well, now they’ve been “educated” and are having a temper tantrum on Wall Street. It’s a temper tantrum because they’re too ignorant to understand that the problem isn’t the banks or Wall Street (though they’re certainly complicit). The problem is Washington, Congress and the K-Street lobbyists. It’s the government, stupid, the government that they demand give them welfare, unending unemployment benefits, food stamps, health care, forgiveness of student loans and underwater mortgages.
Washington is where they all should be. But they’re mostly thoughtless and ignorant. I read that close to eighty percent of them never heard of Dodd-Frank, many don’t even know what the S.E.C. is, as well as many other aspects of government regulations.
Many are shocked that most employers aren’t interested in someone who understands film criticism, and my guess is that these Oprah and women’s studies majors wouldn’t deign to work retail or – the ugh word – secretarial. They’re just too good for that.
My main guess is that many of these Wall Street do-nothings have been afraid to step out on their own. They didn’t have the courage to leave Mommy, the government and the nanny state behind and settled comfortably into Washington's "free ride." (How ironic is that expression in this context!) And now they’re fearful that the government largess might dry up. So, like most brats, they’re throwing tantrums.
And they’re being enabled by like-minded OWS elders with beards, pony tails, guitars and Birkenstocks who’ve already made their money and have time to kill, or other losers and anarchists.
They’re also encouraged and praised by media elites, journalism traitors who're safe in their jobs, have connections, money, invitations to all the DC parties, and don’t have a foot in the economy’s quicksand. They drink their chardonnay, lunch in nice restaurants, do their NY Times crosswords in ink at Starbucks and tsk-tsk anyone who dares to challenge the miserable condition the Democrat congress, and especially this President, has created for America.
They watch approvingly as the OWS people morph into my unhappy Russian friends.