Republicans-cum-Tea Party are taking pot shots at the Wall Street occupiers. Eric Cantor calls them a “mob.” Herman Cain said that attacking Wall Street is attacking capitalism, and that “capitalism” made America great. He’s got it backwards; America made capitalism great.
It wasn’t always. Capitalist ship owners made fortunes shipping Africans to these shores, selling them to other capitalists who forced them to work in fields making themselves new fortunes. Hitler’s capitalists built cannons, fighter planes. extermination camps, and made Zyklon B gas to murder millions. China saved itself by putting capitalism to work so efficiently its economy is predicted to pass ours in this decade. Communist countries that tried to eliminate capitalism are gone except for one starving tyranny—North Korea. It is clear that capitalism is a powerful tool and that it can be used well or badly.
Banks, not all, I hasten to add, have been misusing capitalism, subverting it in ways that are a serious threat to our nation. The peaceful protests in Zuccotti Park, and in over 70 other American cities, could turn ugly if the criminal abuses by banks are condoned by whoever makes it to the White House in 2012. Up to now they’ve remained peaceful despite a brutal mace attack, and a continuing threatening police presence.
All the occupiers really want is acknowledgment that Wall Street has been running amok, and will be made to obey the law. It’s a wake-up call. If it goes ignored, or if, God forbid, a Tea Party troglodyte somehow captures the White House, what transpires might well resemble events in Syria or Egypt. And after the dust settles, the U.S.A., consumed by cancerously aggressive and conscienceless banking and trading policies, will discover that it is no longer the world’s greatest, or even the richest democracy.