Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and Woodstock

Over at Powerline Steven Hayward has an interesting article comparing Occupy Wall Street to Woodstock.  He quotes Time magazine from 1969 regarding Woodstock and the language is strangely familiar to that being bandied about today.

So let’s revisit the original for a moment, and note the media propensity for glorifying whatever self-assertion reckless youth decides to throw up at the moment.  Back in 1969, Time magazine chirped that Woodstock
may well rank as one of the significant political and sociological events of the age. . . [T]he revolution it preaches, implicitly or explicitly, is essentially moral; it is the proclamation of a new set of values. . .  With a surprising ease and a cool sense of authority, the children of plenty have voiced an intention to live by a different ethical standard than their parents accepted.  The pleasure principle has been elevated over the Puritan ethic of work.  To do one’s own thing is a greater duty than to be a useful citizen.  Personal freedom in the midst of squalor is more liberating than social conformity with the trappings of wealth.  Now that youth takes abundance for granted, it can afford to reject materialism.
Occupy Wall Street is an ongoing event of significance but I can't help but think that those involved and some of those watching may be claiming more for the experience than is warranted. There is always the desire for quick and  easy social transformation and those in the midst of the energy of the moment in OWS may confuse their emotional experiences for real and lasting social change.