Rights of “Occupy” Crowd Violated

The First Amendment specifies that “Congress” shall make no law interfering with the right of citizens “peaceably to assemble.” The Bill of Rights of the State of New York contains no such provision. I have no legal training but I deplore admitting that it sounds to me as if the city police of New York faces no constitutional impediment when it orders the “Occupy” movement to stop camping on that private park where they have been for weeks.

I deplore this reading of the law because I believe, by instinct, and possibly by a common misreading of the Constitution, that the right of all and any Americans to assemble is central, absolute and all too often stepped on by local authorities and by petty tyrants. All too often, I see locally or, indirectly, everywhere through the national press, the nuisances crowds create used to interfere radically with what I take to be the right of assembly.

Whenever this happens, it disturbs me that many of my fellow conservatives seem to buy the authorities’ reasoning. Here, locally, in Santa Cruz, the reasons local power gives to begin dismantling the “Occupy” encampment are fire risk and public health. The way I understand it, this does not make moral sense to me. I don’t like the “Occupy” crowd, I have expressed why in previous postings.

But my dislikes have nothing to do with my understanding of the guarantees under which we live. Or they should have nothing to do with this understanding. Continue reading

“Occupy ….”: An Unintended Experiment in Libertarianism

The Occupy movement is, among other things and a little paradoxically, another experiment with libertarian ideas. One crucial question is this; Who performs services we have come to consider necessary when no one has taxing authority?

The Occupy encampment in Santa Cruz displays about forty tents. As I have said before, it would be foolish to deduce any sort of precise estimate of the actual population of campers from this figure. (“Woman’s Mind; The Mysteries of Occupy….”). You can’t even assume that there is one camper per tent. Some campers go home and leave their tent behind when it gets cold at night.

Whatever the case may be, in the course, of twenty-four hours, there is enough human traffic to necessitate access to a toilet. The county authorities may have discouraged the use of country building toilets or else, the campers took it to heart to demonstrate that they are responsible and self-sufficient. At any rate, there is, or there was, on the camping site a Porta-Pottie-type booth sitting (so to speak ) on a trailer. The trailer itself is, or was, hooked to a pick-up truck. For five days, there was a big hand-painted sign on the booth saying, “Dump ride needed.” I think five days is too long to wait unlike someone had the foresight to make th request well in advance of objective need. I am not expert but I don’t think the capacity of the contraption much exceeds five days even of light use. Are you with me?

To go back to my original question about libertarianism, of course, I believe that in time someone would offer the dumping service for pay. With a multiplication of sites in need, the service delivery would become more efficient and cheaper. Competition would arise, insuring a fair price (There is no other definition of “fair,” I think.) However this non-authoritarian, market response would require that someone, or some ones, pay the honey-dippers’ bill. And if you passed the hat around, there would be a chance that only the richest, or only the individuals with the most sensitive noses, or with the greatest concern for hygiene, would contribute.

And, here you go, with the “free rider problem,” the single most common justification for the existence of coerced payments that is, for taxes. Note that the last sentence in the last paragraph above points to an especially vexing implication of the free rider problem. It’s the likelihood that the virtuous would end paying the fare of the moral swines that oink among us.

Woman’s Mind; The Mysteries of “Occupy;” the Libertarian Side of the Movement; Syrians

My wife of more years than she cares to remember just told me calmly that I had “low standards” in “women and in food.” It seems that she thinks I could have done better than her. Makes me think because, by and large, I trust that woman’s judgment. Got to take a second look at myself. As far as the food is concerned, she had a conflict of interest when she made the statement. Recently, she bought some expensive rice than I am not allowed to eat because, she says I “would not appreciate it.”

I keep learning about those fascinating creatures. It’s never boring, not ever or not yet! Feminists will maintain with a straight face that this kind of stuff never happens, that it’s all in my mind. Normal women, on the other hand, don’t even raise an eyebrow at this kind of story. “Been there, done it,” their impassiveness seems to say. (And, contrasting feminists with normal women was not a slip of the tongue. I barely ever have those. If you follow my musings, you will realize that I am coldly calculating.)

I keep an eye on the “Occupy Santa Cruz “ street site. (See my posting on this: “Occupy Wall Street, and Santa Cruz, and Democrat Electoral Desperation,” from October 11) I noticed today that there were three times more people there at 11 AM than at 10 AM. Why would that be? As a far as I know this differential showing corresponds to no major work schedule.

Another source of puzzlement: There are more “Occupy” tents than there are ever occupiers present on the site where all the signs are stored or shown. Some of the tents can shelter more than one person. How can this be? Do some tent dwellers go to their job in the morning and come back in the evening to demonstrate against inequality and against the corporations by sleeping in a tent? Too many unanswered questions. Continue reading

Occupy Wall Street; Don’t Attack Grandma: The New Class Struggle

Behind the verbal incoherence, behind the posturing, behind the bad children’s tantrum, behind the trash, behind the grotesque self-regard of those who would borrow $120,000 to earn a degree in “German Studies,” there may be legitimate resentment in the “Occupy” movement. It’s true that it’s difficult to get from the demonstrators an answer to a straight question that does not make you laugh or cry, or both. However, you may not have to await their answer to understand.

To the extent that you can trust television cameras at all, they seem to show largely demonstrators between their mid-twenties and their mid-thirties. That would be people born between 1975 and 1985. Those cohorts had only known ease and prosperity until 2008. They were brought up by easy-going parents who sent them, or allowed them to attend schools that nurtured self-indulgence more than intellectual curiosity. I have two children near the younger edge of these age groups. I am guilty too. When they were playing soccer, they never heard anything from coaches except “Good try.” I remember clearly one little kid ( not one of mine, God forbid!) garnering this very accolade after he had marked a goal against his own team. (Would I make this up?) These American cohorts were not in any way prepared for a world where jobs are difficult to get because companies are not hiring and where the jobs you get don’t pay well because companies don’t have to pay well since they won’t invest in you for the long-term because there is no long-term they can see. Continue reading