Violence on Wall Street

Here’s a shocker for you, Fellow Reckoner. The Wall Street protests turned “predictably violent” this week, according The New York Post. One video we saw depicted protesters clashing with police in the city’s downtown financial district. Armed police on scooters were seen dragging people to the ground and cuffing them. One scooter-top cop appeared to ride right into a young protester. Then he dismounted his ride to tackle the offender for having gone to the trouble of being run over. More clashes, violence and arrests ensued.

What did the crowds do when the state’s goons began picking them off, taking them to the ground one by one? Why they whipped out their iPhones, recorded it, and posted it on the web for all to see of course. (Yes, apparently big business haters have iPhones too.)

“The world is watching!” They chanted, evoking feelings not dissimilar to those of the Arab Spring movement. “Shame on you!”

There was plenty more going on in the background we couldn’t make out. But the big picture is clear enough. Both sides are looking for trouble. Our guess is that both sides will get it. Their goals — as far as we can gather — appear to be mutually exclusive. Irreconcilable. One side stands to protect an old, crumbling façade of a broken system…the other wants to erect a new one. The protesters are not agreed on which new system they want, exactly…they just know they don’t want what they’ve got now. And why would they? What they’ve got now is stagnant or falling wages, grim and worsening prospects in the job market, piles of student loans stinking up their parents’ basements, home prices still falling and a state bank that is Hell bent on destroying their currency. What they’ve got, to employ some schoolyard vernacular, “sucks.”

These kiddies were promised the world. Instead, they got a world of hurt. Understandably, therefore, they agitate for change. They ought to be careful what they wish for. Change leads you in a different direction…but not necessarily in the direction you want to go. An Obama can look great when you’ve got a Bush in the White House. Then you get an Obama and you really begin to wonder…

But what do we know? Maybe the new system will be a worker’s paradise, a utopia for card carrying Marxists and pinko commie statists alike. And maybe your next Daily Reckoning will be delivered by a magenta plumed carrier pigeon, too…sometime in the year…never.

Your editor has no idea how this will all shake out. Presumably, violence will only beget more violence. But to what end? Will it simply be an end to yet another chapter in the state-authored saga of abuse and corruption? Or will it be the end of the whole book? We doubt the mob is ready for a new experiment just yet, one that eschews the state completely, one built on peaceful, voluntary exchanges and valuable idea sharing. Hopefully they’ll prove us wrong. Then again, they still think “profit” is a dirty word; an inauspicious start, to be sure.

Joel Bowman
for The Daily Reckoning