Everyone else has already said my thoughts on this OWS silliness. There is only one small part of it I want to comment on, brought to my attention by George Scoville:
With much of the nation’s attention on Occupy Wall Street and the protests that have sprung up around the country, one group taking notice is landlords responsible for the spaces where the protests happen, The New York Observer reports.
Some would like police assistance in moving the protestors out, as the Wall Street Journal noted, while others want to use the event to change the rules so that owners are given more leeway.
Privately owned public spaces, or POPS, are part of New York’s incentive zoning program, under which buildings are granted additional floor area or related waivers in exchange for providing these spaces. Zucotti Park in Manhattan is one such location.
Brookfield Properties, which owns Zucotti Park, pointed out that the plaza there hasn’t been power washed since the day before the protests began, nearly four weeks ago, the Observer reported.
The Real Estate Board of New York’s president, Stephen Spinola, told The Observer that his trade association may consider asking the Department of City Planning for new rules on the city’s POPS, perhaps allowing the private owners to close the spaces at a set time, which, he claims, would add to security and allow maintenance.
Not washed? Ewww.
Last week, I brought up Barack Obama’s speech at Loyola University, where he said that he wanted to see government “pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everbody’s got a shot.” I also noted his comments from a few years before, when he talked about making the United States a “democracy” (ie. mob rule) for the “common good.”
If you’ve followed Obama since he came on the national scene in 2004, none of this isn’t really surprising to you. But The Daily Caller has found more from the 1998 speech, comments that really highlight Obama’s commitment to government and belief in the mob mentality:
The full recording reveals that Obama saw welfare recipients and the working poor in Chicago as a “majority coalition” who could be leveraged politically.
“What I think will re-engage people in politics is if we’re doing significant, serious policy work around what I will label the ‘working poor,’” he said, “although my definition of the working poor is not simply folks making minimum wage, but it’s also families of four who are making $30,000 a year.”
During an election year, voters frequently hear politicians point to public to prove support for their agenda. In trying to push through his tax hike prospoal, President Barack Obama has noted on several occasions that most polls show that Americans believe higher-income earners should pay more in taxes. Another example would be polls that show opposition from Americans to the Citizens United ruling, which protected political speech for domestic corporations.
But should the majority rule? During the debate over ratification in New York, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, explained the problem of majorities, or, as he called it, “faction.” Madison wrote, “By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”
This is why Madison and other Founding Fathers concluded that a democracy was not consistant the idea of free society that they sought for a new nation. Instead, as Madison wrote, “A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.”
Madison went into great detail about the problem of faction in Federalist 10, which is worth a read, if you have a few moments. But one can read Madison’s missive and see clearly that the vision the he had for the United States is one that has been largely lost, especially in the last 80 years or so.
In an interview with a Middle Eastern television station, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, perhaps the most reliable Leftist vote on the Supreme Court, said that the United States Constitution should not serve as a basis of law in Egypt:
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has caused a storm of controversy by saying in a television interview that the people of Egypt should not look to the United States Constitution when drafting their own governing document because it’s too old and there are newer examples from which to draw inspiration.
“I would not look to the U.S. Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” Ginsburg said in the interview, which aired on Jan. 30 on Al-Hayat TV.
Her comments have stunned writers across the conservative blogosphere, though many major media outlets have not given much attention to it.
In the interview, she argued that the United States has the “oldest written constitution still in force in the world,” so instead “you should certainly be aided by all the constitution-writing that has gone one since the end of World War II.”
“I might look at the constitution of South Africa,” Ginsburg said. “That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary.”
Ginsberg’s comments are reprehensible for a couple of different reasons. While our Constitution is imperfect, the Founding Fathers did include a mechanism for changing it via the amendment process in Article V. This process wasn’t supposed to be easy, but the process has served us well. Ginsburg failed to note this, at least in the comments that I’ve read.
With all the uproar from Democrats and liberals over the filibuster and claims that Republicans are somehow subverting the will of the majority, David Harsanyi explains why the Founding Fathers created a republic and avoided democracy:
“[D]emocracy” isn’t only messy, it’s also immoral and unworkable. The Founding Fathers saw that coming as well. So we don’t live under a system of simple majority rule for a reason, as most readers already know.
The minority political party, luckily, has the ability to obstruct, nag and filibuster the majority’s agenda. Otherwise, those in absolute power would run wild — or, in other words, you would all be living that Super Bowl Audi commercial by now.
And if democracy is the mob — the “worship of jackals by jackasses,” as H.L. Mencken once cantankerously put it — who comprises it in our scenario? Depends how you look at it, I suppose.
Turns out, if we believe polls, that Americans changed their minds quickly and in large numbers. And history shows us that generally, unhampered one-party rule doesn’t work out for anyone.
Then again, today’s argument that the ruling party doesn’t have enough power is a reflection of a near-spiritual belief in the wonders of government, not democracy.
Harsanyi could not be more dead on.