The Nihilistic Revolution of "Occupy Wall Street"

by | Nov 2, 2011

CNN online reports: “Occupy Wall Street protesters might say they represent 99% of the nation, but there’s a growing number of Americans who are making it clear they are not part of the dissident crowd. They call themselves the 53%…as in the 53% of Americans who pay federal income taxes. And they are making their […]

CNN online reports: “Occupy Wall Street protesters might say they represent 99% of the nation, but there’s a growing number of Americans who are making it clear they are not part of the dissident crowd. They call themselves the 53%…as in the 53% of Americans who pay federal income taxes. And they are making their voices heard on Tumblr blogs, Twitter and Facebook pages devoted to stories of personal responsibility and work ethic. The number originates in the estimate that roughly 47% of Americans don’t pay federal income tax, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The 53 percenters stress the fact that they are paying the taxes that support the government assistance the protesters say they want.”

This is the answer to the nihilists who are currently, and quite literally, urinating on Wall Street.

When people tell you they support Occupy Wall Street, ask them two questions. One, do they pay taxes? If not, then why are they so ungrateful to those who do? Two, if they do pay taxes, then why don’t they voluntarily send in more? By what right do they force others to pay more in taxes for government to mess up more of the economy than it already does? If taxes and the government “services” created by taxes are so great, and so much better than what the free market would deliver, then they should be willing to hand over at least half of what they own, for their own personal benefit if nobody else’s. Yet these advocates of Big Government often contribute little or nothing in taxes.

This whole nihilistic movement known as “Occupy Wall Street” rides on the premise that the vast majority are suffering at the hands of the tiny minority who do make a lot of money. This assumes that government is the source of all strength, virtue and economic growth. In fact, just the opposite is true. Aside from serving the very important function of maintaining order and protecting private property (neither of which the New York City government is doing with Occupy Wall Street protesters, by the way), government is actually the cause of the upheaval in the economy this movement is against.

What’s self-evidently true is that government and the private sector are teamed in a partnership blending regulation, subsidies, political pull and profit. Almost nobody likes the results. The solution, it would seem, lies in one of two areas. One, get government out of the private sector, and return government to its limited function of simply being a policeman in protection of life and private property, and also for upholding voluntary, private contracts. The second option is to literally socialize or nationalize the entire private sector and let government run the entire show. How well has this second option worked out in Cuba, and North Korea? How well did this second option work out in Soviet Russia? Or the earlier version of Communist China?

The evidence is overwhelming. Government interventionism is wrong, and it does not work. We have to go one way or the other. This unstable partnership of government and business cannot stand.

The reason I call the Wall Street movement nihilistic is because it stands for absolutely nothing, other than destruction for its own sake.

The movement is certainly against a lot of things. It’s against Wall Street, which is the movement’s way of saying it’s against profit, capitalism and private property. They even act out this abhorrence of private property by treating it the way that they do, camping out on the streets of New York and elsewhere.

But what are they for? Not Obama. Nobody would claim to be for Obama these days, although surely most if not all of these protesters will vote for him. They’re certainly not for Republicans, even though it’s not all that clear what Republicans stand for, either. They’re not for a limited government, free market system. So we must assume that they’re for … you guessed it, even more redistribution of wealth and more nationalization of private property than Obama has already implemented or is attempting. To these protesters, Obama hasn’t been socialist enough.

The only way to fight back against Occupy Wall Street is morally. That’s why those who talk about the “53 percent” are right on the mark. People who claim to be part of the “99 percent” who are victims of “Wall Street” are actually unproductive idiots lumping themselves together with productive individuals. It’s up to productive individuals to say, “Wait a minute. Don’t lump me with you. I work and I pay taxes. You don’t work and you don’t pay taxes; or, if you do, you’re supporting those who do not.”

None of this is to imply that you establish your legitimacy by paying taxes. Your legitimacy, in the sense of your individual right to be left alone and free from force, should be honored and respected by everyone.

Our government increasingly ignores this natural right in favor of sacrificing the productive for the sake of those unwilling or unable to be productive.

Now that’s something to protest.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at:

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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