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Some thoughts about conservative Christianity and Occupy Wall Street

Ever read The Browser [1]? If not, you should. It’s the best aggregator around. I run across articles there that I wouldn’t see otherwise. It happened to me today. I stumbled upon an essay by someone named Steve Almond, who writes about conscience and the Occupy Wall Street movement.  [2] Almond is a democratic socialist who believes in OWS. I am a Christian conservative who is deeply skeptical about OWS, but who strongly believes that things have gone seriously wrong with our society, especially with the commanding position Wall Street holds over our collective fate. But I don’t know what to do about it. Almond is, unsurprisingly, in favor of OWS. In fact, I disagree with most of his essay. But this small section got to me:

The movement is called Occupy Wall Street. It’s not called  Destroy Wall Street. Or Burn Wall Street. The protestors want to be physically present. They want the traders who work on Wall Street to face the human consequences of their machinations. And they, the protesters, also want the chance to gaze upon the traders:

As in Psalm 52:

Behold the man! He did not take God as his refuge, but he trusted in the abundance of his wealth, and grew powerful through his wickedness.

When I read that, I was immediately reminded of one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever heard. I told it on my old blog, but I have many different readers now, so I’ll repeat it. It was told to me by a friend who worked for many years high up in Wall Street, and I’ll never forget it. His story begins around 2003 or 2004, when the global economy was booming. The investment bank for which he worked brought its top people to a highly exclusive resort for an annual meeting. He said this place was unspeakably luxurious, and all the bankers had the run of the place. People were ordering Cristal Champagne (which costs hundreds of dollars per bottle) virtually by the six-pack, sent up to their rooms. That was the kind of working holiday they were on, and my friend was smack in the middle of it, enjoying himself.

One night he came down to the cocktail hour, and saw before him a spread of opulence that would have made Caesar blush. Rich food, vintage Champagne, rare Scotches, and more of it than anybody could possibly imagine, and all his banking colleagues having the time of their lives. Suddenly my friend had a terrifying epiphany. “I realized that we had lost our minds. All this money had made us crazy,” he later told me. “And that’s when I knew that this was going to end very badly.”

For my friend, that moment was a turning point in his life. It scared him so badly that he returned to the practice of his Jewish faith, which he had discarded. He later left the bank, worked in high finance for a few years longer, and ended up moving all his investments to safe harbor before the crash. What my friend understood in that moment was what all the great religions teach: that you cannot serve both God and Mammon. That great wealth makes you see the world falsely. That it corrupts one’s judgment, and one’s soul.

It’s not that all rich people are bad. Certainly not! My friend is wealthy, but the diligent practice of his faith has given him firm moral grounding, and a proper perspective on it. It brought him back down to earth.

As I recalled that story today, I began to think about what my own Christian faith tells me about how to think about Wall Street and the common good. Here is what I came up with, for now; I invite you to read on, and help me think through this:

Cards on the table: I am a Christian, and a conservative, in that order. My Christianity is Orthodox, and it is what is often called “conservative.” It is incomparably more important to me to be a faithful and obedient Christian than it is for me to be a good conservative. It happens, though, that I find that my religious convictions more often than not put me in the camp of conservatives in our culture, at this time. It is not always an easy fit. My book “Crunchy Cons” basically emerged out of my beginning to think more deeply about my religious convictions, and integrating them into a more comprehensive worldview, which I found put me off the Republican Party reservation in certain basic ways — usually related to economic issues. I came to realize that I had been a neoconservative but because of my religious convictions, had come to be more at home in traditionalist conservatism.  [3] This has deepened in the past few years. I am basically a Tory. It’s definitely a minority position on the American Right.

Anyway, I should say too that I don’t believe that God has a political plan. One can be a good Christian as a socialist. One can be a good Christian as a monarchist. One can be a good Christian as a Republican or a Democrat. One almost certainly cannot be a good Christian as, say, a Nazi or a Communist, because what those political theories require one to believe is antithetical to Christian truth. My point is simply that it’s not easy to discern a particular political program from the Gospels, only general principles. In most cases, there will probably be tension between our political party and our faith convictions. There ought to be. Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world. As soon as we think we can use politics to create heaven on earth, we lay the groundwork for the corruption of faith, and far worse. Personally, I believe that in this time and place, the most natural political orientation for a serious small-o orthodox Christian is on the Right, but I do believe it’s vulgar and borderline blasphemous for a political party to claim Christ.

And yet we cannot be serious about our faith and act as if it had no political implications. No one can take the Bible seriously and believe that the truths it teaches have nothing at all to do with how we order our common life. There is the matter of human dignity, and justice. The Bible has much to say about the poor — and what it has to say about the rich is not very complimentary, to put it mildly. I believe the free market, for all its flaws, is the economic system that is not only the fairest, but is also the economic system that best conforms to our human dignity. But the market must be seen not as an end, but as a means to an end, which is the common good. Pope John Paul II, in his encylical Centesimus annus [4], said this well:

Returning now to the initial question: can it perhaps be said that, after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress?

The answer is obviously complex. If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy”, “market economy” or simply “free economy”. But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative.

By this standard, I cannot see how a system that allows so many people who work in finance to grow so spectacularly rich while so many others struggle to get by can be reconciled with Christian truth. But honestly, that is the least of my concerns about Wall Street now (by “Wall Street,” I mean the financial sector in general). What I find far more worrying is the power these men have to control by their actions the fate of the nation. No, I’m not talking about conspiratorial nonsense. I’m talking about the fact that because our political system has given them so much freedom to do what they want to do, our fates are tied to theirs in ways that are incredibly unjust and harmful to the common good. We all know about “too big to fail.” Ever thought about what that means? It means that TBTF institutions cannot be allowed to be responsible for their actions, because if they fail, they take all of us down with them. Wall Street, broadly speaking, has immense power, but no responsibility. Alessandro Rastani [5]may or may not have been real, but he’s telling the truth about global finance: these men don’t care about their countrymen, they only care about making money for themselves and their clients. That is their prime directive.

Look, I’m not saying that everybody who works in finance is Evil, or that the financial sector is inherently wicked. That would be untrue and flat-out stupid. Nor am I saying that Rich People Are Bad. I know some fairly wealthy folks, Christians who are among the most compassionate and generous people in my life (because, like my Jewish friend, they are well-grounded in their faith, and understand in their marrow what wealth means, and the responsibility that comes with it.) I do not sit around worrying that Lloyd Blankfein and his Goldman Sachs team are raking in tens of millions in salary, and I am not. I’m grateful for what I have, though I think it is absolutely fair to question whether or not a society can withstand such gross inequity of distribution over the long term. I am far more concerned, though, about the commanding role the way they make their money has in our economy. For one: What are they creating? For another: are they creating so much moral hazard for the entire country with the risks they are allowed to take that we are all put in intolerable jeopardy? For a third: are they making their piles of money in an honest, straightforward way — or are they taking advantage of people? I know sincere, hard-working Christians in the finance industry, even in New York. But I’ve heard from some of them a great deal of concern about where this is all going. None have put it to me as starkly as my Jewish friend did, but they all think, more or less, that insane amounts of wealth sloshing around Wall Street has made the people who handle it and generate it morally unhinged. The rest of us are an abstraction to Wall Streeters — but they cannot really be an abstraction to the rest of us, because the decisions they make, and the reckless morality they live by, affects all of us profoundly. As Christians, we know, or we ought to know, from Scripture what great wealth can do to people. Why so many of us think that the money and power on Wall Street, and that Wall Street exercises through its Washington cronies, is of no proper moral concern to us, as followers of Christ? Do we really believe that the God who said through the Prophet Isaiah, “What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor?” is satisfied to have his people remain indifferent to the Wall Street mandarins, or even to defend what they do?

It is hard for many American Christians, especially we conservatives, to think of Christian morality as applicable to money. Personal sins — lust, immorality, the usual — we understand. But we shy away from thinking in a Christian way about money, and the way our society is structured economically. I wonder: Do we Christians not fear a reckoning in all this? I am reminded of the following account from a book of stories about Father Arseny [6], a Russian Orthodox priest who was thrown into the gulag by the Bolsheviks for his faith. At one point, he was dragged into an argument among prisoners about who was responsible for the curse of Communism coming to Russia. He told the men:

“You say that the Communists have arrested the believers, closed churches, trampled on faith. Yes, it does look that way, on the surface, but let us look into this more deeply, let us glance at the past. Among us Russian people many have lost the faith, lost respect for our past, we lost much of what was precious and good. Who is at fault? The authorities? No, we are at fault ourselves, we are only reaping what we ourselves have sown.
“Let us remember the bad examples set by the intelligentsia, the nobility, the merchants, and the civil servants. We in the priesthood were the worst of them all.

“Children of priests became atheists, and revolutionaries, simply because they had seen in their families lies and a lack of true faith. Long before the revolution priests had already lost the real right to be the shepherds of their people, of their conscience. Priesthood became a profession. Many priests were atheists and alcoholics.

“From among all the monasteries of our land, only five or six were real beacons of Christianity. … Others became communities with almost no faith in them. What could the people learn from such monasteries? What kind of example was set?

“We did not raise our people right, we did not give them the basis of strong faith. Remember all this! Remember! This is why the people were so quick to forget all of us, their own priests; they mainly forgot their faith and participated in the destruction of churches, sometimes even leading the way in their destruction.

“Understanding all of this, I cannot point a finger at our authorities, because the seeds of faithlessness fell on the soil which we ourselves had prepared. And from there comes the rest: our camp, our sufferings, the wrongful deaths of innocent people. …”

He was an innocent man, and a good priest, but he surely spoke the truth to a great degree. In Father Arseny’s view, the curse of Bolshevism, and the persecution of the Church, came upon Russia in part because the priests who had been given so much responsibility failed so miserably. You could say the same thing about the Tsar and his government, and the aristocrats of the pre-Revolutionary era. Don’t misread me: what followed the old order was far, far worse. The point is simply that corruption in high places, even if it involves the breaking of no law, can have terrible, unforeseen consequences, not only for the corrupt, but for everyone.

And so we come to the Occupy Wall Street movement. I have not been impressed by the things I’ve seen and read about them. I don’t know for sure, but I doubt very much that I would be at home with that crowd. Some of the quotes I’ve read from those people are obnoxious and offensive. Many more are just foolish. I don’t look to OWS for any relief, except comic.

But I have to say, I am impressed by this line from Almond’s piece: “They want the traders who work on Wall Street to face the human consequences of their machinations.” Maybe the way they’re calling Wall Street out is silly, pointless, and foolish in a thousand ways. But at least they are there. Where are the Christians? Where are we conservative Christians, who claim to really believe what Scripture says, and look down on liberal Christians for picking and choosing what they want to believe on sexual morality to suit their desires? Do we not have a blind spot when it comes to wealth? Why does the immense power Wall Street wields over the fate of the nation because of its wealth not trouble us enough to bear public witness? Why does it not trouble us much at all? It troubles me, but I don’t know what to do about it. This won’t do.

In that sense, I’ll give Occupy Wall Street its due, as a guilty Christian bystander. There’s a tale about Billy Graham, possibly apocryphal, in which he met a stuffy Anglican prelate on one of his first crusades in England. The story goes that the bishop sniffed to Graham, “Sir, I must say that I do not approve of the evangelism you do.” Graham supposedly replied, “Sir, I prefer the evangelism I do to the evangelism that you do not do.” Quite.

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28 Comments To "Some thoughts about conservative Christianity and Occupy Wall Street"

#1 Comment By TTT On October 13, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

I wonder if a brave president would ever revive the beautiful Biblical tradition of a jubilee. Massive debt forgiveness–a clean start for all. To satisfy the scolds, I’m even willing to pre-compromise and say it could just be 50% debt forgiveness on student loans and upside-down mortgages. The total figure would likely be trivial compared to the financial sector jubilee that was forced upon us, and it would help people who actually need it.

#2 Comment By Ben On October 14, 2011 @ 12:29 am

This might be a little rambling. I’m glad to see these questions being raised, but sometimes they feel overwhelming. How’s it going to go over with God when we’re asked to explain why we used technically that was produced basically by slave labor? The cell phone issue is “hot” right now, but what exactly will you say? And on and on and on…It seems like there are thousands of things like this in our world today that aren’t really addressed from a Christian perspective.

What worries/frustrates me is that as Americans we (think) we have answers to these questions. If you ask someone why we let millions of people in the world starve, they’re immediately going to attack the word “let” and the argument goes from there. I don’t think, from what I believe, that God makes the same political, social, ideological, philosophical distinctions that we make. I rarely see this discussed on Christian blogs. If you want to really feel depressed, Google something like “the 10 big issues facing Evangelicals”. People are still, more or less, debating music in church.

If you’re a Christian, the punch in the gut is knowing that Christianity does indeed provide answers for what ails us.

#3 Comment By Stephen Porter On October 14, 2011 @ 12:52 am

I have to agree with the idea that we on the right need to be careful to avoid exonerating or condoning Wall Street’s behavior here. Our approach must be balanced and this problem is too complex to have one scapegoat. I appreciate how many are beginning to talk about the distinction between capitalism and what’s being termed “Crony Capitalism” to describe the perversion of the market that has occured because of the incestuous relationships between members of the government and powerful Wall Street players. The reason pure capitalism works so well is it allows great freedom while still providing direct consequences for behavior. “Reap what you sow” is an integral part of how the market works. Cheating customers and behaving corruptly or dishonestly will only provide success for a short time, but the in the end it leads to destrution…unless someone interferes. I do not believe any of these companies were “To big to fail.” That failure was the direct result of bad decisions and it should have beeen allowed to take its course. Whenever natural consequnces are frustrated, it only serves to inflate their eventual impact. But too many in power were invested in covering their role in the problem and in protecting their personal allies. You are absolutely right to point out that this was not a failure of Capitalism, it was a moral failure.

#4 Comment By John E On October 14, 2011 @ 7:55 am

Are there useful models in the Catholic tradition of Social Justice and the preferential option for the poor?

#5 Comment By BasilNova On October 14, 2011 @ 8:20 am

Man, I am so glad I found your blog, Rod. {thanks mr. sullivan}

#6 Comment By sdb On October 14, 2011 @ 8:30 am

John E,
There are, but it isn’t clear how to translate those to a secular republic. Here is an interesting review of Skeel’s “Making Sense of the New Financial Deal” (the original article is available at the link):

[7]

#7 Comment By John E On October 14, 2011 @ 9:04 am

Thanks, sdb!

#8 Comment By Angela On October 14, 2011 @ 9:08 am

Thanks for this post. It is one of those weighty ones. I know daring to consider some of the questions you ask opens my heart.

I am very glad I found this blog too.

#9 Comment By Lapsed Catholic On October 14, 2011 @ 9:11 am

Amazing, thought-provoking piece, but as a lapsed Catholic, libertarian; I might sarcastically, but respectfully ask you to tell me something I do not know. Faith is an amazing concept. When recognized and employed at the personal level, it often produces benevolence, compassion and harmony. But the other side of the sword of faith enables profiteers and pimos to herd the like minded into pens, where they are exploited and led to financial/social slaughter. To wite; the individual recognizes the value of faith, but the high priests and money changers recognize the value of dogma. In short, I would offer that faith itself is both a blessing and a curse; it is both disease and cure.

#10 Comment By Charles Cosimano On October 14, 2011 @ 11:02 am

Interesting. Of course the weakness in the notion of “calling them out” is the pressuposition that they would even care. What happens when you are dealing with a force to whom none of any of the things you are concerned about matter and really do not care if you like it or not?

#11 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On October 14, 2011 @ 11:22 am

Rod,

I love this piece, and it reminds me again of one of the things I most love about your writing, the tendency you have to see the good in people you disagree with politically. This is not a gift I particularly have (charity towards my political/religious opponents), so I especially admire how you display it in spades.

As much as I like it, I don’t want to sing the praises of this piece too much, precisely because I’m afraid I might slide into a bit of triumphalism for my own ‘side’. I’m glad, of course, that you are conceding that your side has a lot to learn about economic morality from the left. In turn, I’m going to try and reflect a bit more about what my side has to learn from you. Because as you say, neither side has the monopoly on Christ.

#12 Comment By Ron On October 14, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

Sir, there is a great deal of common sense and humanity in what you say. If not “OccupyWallStreet,” then what? For Christians, I mean.

Sojourners Magazine is calling Christians to “Send a letter to your local paper explaining your ideas for a moral economy.” Here’s the link: [8]

You know, probably, that a month before the London Riots, there were marches on Whitehall. 9,000 people marched, to the general indifference of pretty much everyone. As one rioter put it, “I guess you’ve gotta break some glass.”

I disagree with breaking glass, but I also have to wonder, “Where were we Christians? Why did it go this far? Don’t we have some responsibility to the voiceless?”

#13 Comment By Brett On October 14, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

I have not been impressed by the things I’ve seen and read about them. I don’t know for sure, but I doubt very much that I would be at home with that crowd. Some of the quotes I’ve read from those people are obnoxious and offensive. Many more are just foolish. I don’t look to OWS for any relief, except comic.

Now you know how those of on the left have felt about the Tea Party/Birther movement over the last two years.

#14 Comment By Alexander Patico On October 15, 2011 @ 10:29 am

Dreher said, “my religious convictions more often than not put me in the camp of conservatives in our culture, at this time. It is not always an easy fit.” I could say the same thing, just substituting “progressives” for “conservatives.” Perhaps we are both “recovering partisans” who are working on having our Orthodox Christianity take precedence over any earthly affiliation. There is plenty of silliness on both ends of the spectrum, from those who demand “zero taxes” to those who ask for “zero budget cuts.” One this is certain: we will do better if caring for others becomes paramount — that’s the message of Matthew 25. The abortion debate will not go away because we take better care of pregant women, new mothers and young children, but it would be a huge improvement. Disagreement over sexual issues will not disappear by our simply treating homosexuals like human beings, but it would be an advance. Economics will not suddenly become crystal-clear by financiers having the kind of “aha” or “oh,no” moment that Dreher cited, but it’s a start.

#15 Comment By John Teeling On October 15, 2011 @ 11:28 am

First time to your blog. Wow! I am impressed by you, Rod. I am a christian and I stand with citizens of the United States against oppression. Jesus Christ occupies my heart, my life. We occupy the space we are, while we live. How shall we then live with the the time and space which God has given? As for me and my house, we shall occupy the land with His Light and with His Love. May God bless you!

#16 Pingback By Spirituality & Occupy Wall Street: Leaders at the scene | The Alternative Mainstream On October 16, 2011 @ 9:14 am

[…] or the “pro-business at all costs” approach of the self-styled Objectivists. He wrote an essay in the American Conservative in which he reflects on the Occupy Wall Street movement and the implications of the unbridled, […]

#17 Pingback By More On Occupy Wall Street and The Tea Party – Randy Thomas On October 17, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

[…] What The Wall Street Protesters are So Angry About.” Rod Dreher has two excellent posts: Some Thoughts On Conservative Christianity and Occupy Wall Street and OWS as a Projection of Our Own Desires. Filed Under: Current Affairs Tagged With: Advice, […]

#18 Comment By John On October 19, 2011 @ 2:34 am

Rod,

I dont know if you look at the comment responses or not, but let me say this. Yours is the first intellectual response to the corruption on wall street that i have heard that i can agree with. However, why do you not address the innate immorality of the capitalistic system? The basic nature of capitalism is a glorification of greed and the celebration of inequity, not to mention capitalism relies upon exploitation of resources and is inherently unstable and unsustainable. Lastly, do you not think that we as christians (observant catholic here) ought to have a radical rather than a conservative perspective? After all, Christ repeatedly informed his followers of our responsibility to sacrifice ourselves for our neighbors and to give away all that we have and follow him. Those christians that justify wealth and strive to hang onto it are failing to live up to the call of christ. It would seem to me that christ’s economic message is as radically non conservative today as it was in his own time.

#19 Pingback By What Would Jesus Occupy, Part 2 | The Alternative Mainstream On October 19, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

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#20 Comment By Christine On October 20, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

Dearest Mr. Dreher, Your words moved me so deeply. Your insight is powerful. My very dear friend and fellow admin at The Movement to Restore Unity shared your article with me and I am most grateful. Your wisdom and insight give me hope that, we may find a way to overcome our current state. Sorry if I lack the words right now to persuade, but my heart and soul asks you to open a line of conversation. Most sincerely, Christine Tuttle

#21 Comment By Rev. Gunnar On October 20, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

First, let me say thank you. I appreciate your thoughtful post and enjoyed your perspective. Although I tend to understand myself “left of center” I have this odd blending of progressive and conservative theology in my walk with Christ.

Having said that, I agree with your thoughts. I too think we need to claim how we have sinned through omission and commission. Jesus calls us to be so much more than we have been, even as a church. It reminds me of the words of the Good Friday Hymn: Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?

#22 Comment By Michael B Williams On October 20, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

You bring up many valid points in your spiritual soul searching. Christianity, Muslim, Jew, Hindi all believe in the Golden Rule, Respect Life. The problem we are facing today is politics and government were meant to be separate from religion. We say that it can’t be because it was Christian faith was the basis for the Constitution. Theologists will argue that these beliefs are across the boards and zealots will say they don’t go far enough. Thomas Jefferson is quoted often because the society that existed in the colonies was thought to be idyllic before the crown demanded her due, and it did not convert value of skills and goods fairly to the crown’s monetary system thus collapsing the American economy and starting the First Revolutionary War. When we try to put a price on the value of a man’s labor vs. another man’s skill in the markets which does equate to gambling, vs another’s goods and yet another’s ability to find resources, the value system becomes fragile because one exaggerates the value of one’s skill to trade robbing value from the man who must let it go just to survive and selling it to another who needs it to survive, one lessens the value of both. When you ask why Communism? Look at the Jihad, look at the Fundamental Christians and Crusades. Communism wasn’t the solution. But pure capitalism short changes many who are in desperation. There can only be fair markets when health is not a concern, when homesteads are not threatened, and when food is not in short supply. If one must worry about those, there can be no fair production.

#23 Comment By Jeff Huston On October 21, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

Rod, you say “I don’t know what to do about it”, but I think the totality of your point provides the answer: The Church in America needs to be much better, truer disciples in making Kingdom Come on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Thank you for this. Amen.

#24 Pingback By Spirituality & Occupy Wall Street: Leaders at the scene « The Jefferson Tree On October 21, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

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[…] What The Wall Street Protesters are So Angry About.” Rod Dreher has two excellent posts: Some Thoughts On Conservative Christianity and Occupy Wall Street and OWS as a Projection of Our Own Desires. Share this:EmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

#28 Comment By Rose Gaskin On December 15, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

Thank you for writing this. I believe we as technological beings have lost touch with our humanity and with that our spirituality also. Many because of recent poverty and unemployment have had the time to stop the fast paced technological world and use critical thinking. When examples are world wide of individual people who stood up and said “enough is enough. I demand you see me! I demand you see the human race and respect its rights to freedom and dignity. ” As a country I have witnessed the worship of the all mighty dollar reign over the simplest human dignity.
I am afraid, afraid for my children and grandchildren to live in a world so oppressive to human dignity for a dollar. I am a daughter of the American Revolution. I have had members of my ancestry and current fight in every war and police action this country not for this government but to defend the Constitution which has before enacted the best “human/civil rights” policies in this world. My family has ever experienced fighting for that even before this was a country. I am also a registered descendant of the Cherokee peoples. I take honor in that heritage. I also take honor in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.I am a patriot of this country.
I am however ashamed of my current government. “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain This government deserves nothing from me or mine as it has not represented me in it in perhaps the past 20 or so years.

In many cases exampled in media and speech, honestly, I feel the politicians have lost touch with the realities of life for the average citizens in these United States. They have drank the kool-aid so to speak and have given of all their reason to the “party” line and in that have lost all compassion for anything in life that is not a “party” issue.
I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789

Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind.
-Thomas Jefferson to James Smith, 1822.
In that, these “rich” politicians ,have lost common sense when dealing with the “common man” . I feel no representation of myself in my government it is a big useless horse and pony show.in my life that is exclusively geared toward the rich and powerful, which is NOT me. I feel these absurdities of reason are threats to all our Constitution and all our lives and rights. I am screaming as loud as I can through Occupy which I have found a collective voice in “Hey Y’all your emperor is naked”. My truth and thing is like the parable of “The Blind men and the Elephant” [10]
I may not know the whole truth and I am still searching for truth in my life but I accept my truth is not finite or absolute in it is lacking whole, I think the government should realize also theirs is not and accept or at the very least do not stand on absolute so as to include other truths of humanity and its struggle for dignity and survival.
The privatization of our military and prison systems also very much concerns me as it probably and surely does the rest of the world. I just do not believe that war and imprisonment of human beings should ever be “monetarily profitable” for anyone as opposed to the horrid cost .to humanity.
I am a simple person with simple needs and a grandmother from Alabama. I felt touched by your blog in that you accept you don’t have all the answers but are willing to look beyond yourself to seek answers. If more people in and out of government simply reached out in their humanity to others then perhaps we all could come closer to a “good, equal, humble” human answer. I appreciate you at least “get it” in hearing the voices of the huddled masses of Occupy. That there are human voices crying out to be heard over the roar of money. Hear the humanity!!! Occupy humanity!!!