Would Calvin have Occupied Wall Street?

Would even liberal Lutherans say this of Martin Luther?

The cause of demonstrators involved in the “Occupy Wall Street” movement would have been supported by John Calvin, the 16th century church reformer who helped shape modern-day Protestantism, says the General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC).

“I am sure he would have been in the streets of New York or London with a placard,” says Setri Nyomi of the French lawyer and theologian who wrote extensively about social and economic justice.

Nyomi makes his comments in a lecture delivered Tuesday at Princeton Theological Seminary in the United States. The Ghanaian theologian and Princeton graduate is delivering three lectures this week on the role of the church in the 21st century.

“Calvin expressed opposition to all forms of social oppression resulting from money”, Nyomi says. “Today, it is the global economic systems and practices that have more sophisticated forms of effects.”

Nyomi believes Calvin’s words resonate with life today. “The church of the 21st century needs to align itself with voices of justice … even if it means being out there in the streets,” he writes.

via John Calvin would have been in the Occupy Wall Street movement, says Reformed church leader | Bringing together 80 million Reformed Christians worldwide.

HT: Jordan Ballor

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Well, Luther was no fan of bankers, that’s for sure, but given his social conservatism it’s hard to imagine him ‘occupying Wall St’. Calvin was was more ‘progressive’ on matter such as charging interest, and is often portrayed as the spiritual father of capitalism (although scholars still argue about this). I think the historical Reformer who would be most likely to be found occupying Wall St is Zwingli, and therein lies a lesson!

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Well, Luther was no fan of bankers, that’s for sure, but given his social conservatism it’s hard to imagine him ‘occupying Wall St’. Calvin was was more ‘progressive’ on matter such as charging interest, and is often portrayed as the spiritual father of capitalism (although scholars still argue about this). I think the historical Reformer who would be most likely to be found occupying Wall St is Zwingli, and therein lies a lesson!

  • Spaulding

    I think this is another case of projecting ones own personal political agenda, and the social gospel onto historical religious or theological figures to give legitimacy to their claims that it is what God would want.

  • Spaulding

    I think this is another case of projecting ones own personal political agenda, and the social gospel onto historical religious or theological figures to give legitimacy to their claims that it is what God would want.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    There’s probably a strong element of that here, Spaulding. But at the same time, we want to be wary of a historicism that posits a strong disconnect between the religio/ethical thinking of past eras and our own, as though Luther et. al. have nothing to say to us relevant to contemporary issues.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    There’s probably a strong element of that here, Spaulding. But at the same time, we want to be wary of a historicism that posits a strong disconnect between the religio/ethical thinking of past eras and our own, as though Luther et. al. have nothing to say to us relevant to contemporary issues.

  • Kirk

    @Spaulding

    Yes, that is very true. But why waste time on that? We’re on a Lutheran blog. I say we dedicate the rest of the day to calling Calvinists heretics!

  • Kirk

    @Spaulding

    Yes, that is very true. But why waste time on that? We’re on a Lutheran blog. I say we dedicate the rest of the day to calling Calvinists heretics!

  • SKPeterson

    I’m reminded of the attempts by the old East German communists to make Luther one of their own. Granted, they had to selectively excise his condemnations of the Peasant’s Rebellion, but they made the attempt. Perhaps poor, old John Calvin is getting the same treatment.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m reminded of the attempts by the old East German communists to make Luther one of their own. Granted, they had to selectively excise his condemnations of the Peasant’s Rebellion, but they made the attempt. Perhaps poor, old John Calvin is getting the same treatment.

  • Abby

    “Would even liberal Lutherans say this of Martin Luther?”

    Luther was a writer. Not a “marcher/occupier.” He might have written up a pamphlet on the subject and then go have a beer with his friend and “let the word do its work.” He might have some words about it around his dining room table with students. I’m not sure he would even preach about it since his main concerns were all centered on Christ by “Grace–Faith–Scripture” alone. That’s the extent of how I hear Martin Luther presented. Others might know more of his involvement with the Princes regarding civil issues.

    Isn’t what the “occupiers” are doing “law” based? I see no forgiveness expressed or grace extended. Maybe they should attempt to “serve” the “wall-streeters” — now that would be shocking! Give them free coffee with the donations they’re collecting. Give them a tract listing their concerns. :)

    Martin Luther King, Jr proved better that peaceful demonstrations go a lot farther. Now, I could see Calvin–if he would be so inclined–doing something along those lines. Speaking of Martin Luther King, Jr–where are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton? Wouldn’t they be sympathetic here?

    Social justice can be made to be an idol. And can be made to be a gospel “add-on.” Which would be law then, would it not? It is better to serve from freedom rather than law. Anything forced by law can become crooked. If the heart wants to serve from love because it knows God’s heart toward us and that He came to serve us sacrificially, then our service is a relection of God to His people.

  • Abby

    “Would even liberal Lutherans say this of Martin Luther?”

    Luther was a writer. Not a “marcher/occupier.” He might have written up a pamphlet on the subject and then go have a beer with his friend and “let the word do its work.” He might have some words about it around his dining room table with students. I’m not sure he would even preach about it since his main concerns were all centered on Christ by “Grace–Faith–Scripture” alone. That’s the extent of how I hear Martin Luther presented. Others might know more of his involvement with the Princes regarding civil issues.

    Isn’t what the “occupiers” are doing “law” based? I see no forgiveness expressed or grace extended. Maybe they should attempt to “serve” the “wall-streeters” — now that would be shocking! Give them free coffee with the donations they’re collecting. Give them a tract listing their concerns. :)

    Martin Luther King, Jr proved better that peaceful demonstrations go a lot farther. Now, I could see Calvin–if he would be so inclined–doing something along those lines. Speaking of Martin Luther King, Jr–where are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton? Wouldn’t they be sympathetic here?

    Social justice can be made to be an idol. And can be made to be a gospel “add-on.” Which would be law then, would it not? It is better to serve from freedom rather than law. Anything forced by law can become crooked. If the heart wants to serve from love because it knows God’s heart toward us and that He came to serve us sacrificially, then our service is a relection of God to His people.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    In the words of Thomas Sowell, “I protest lots of things, but never get arrested.” While Calvin or Luther might have protested, they would probably have done so without the illegal activity and histrionics of the Occupy crowd. Now Müntzer on the other hand…

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    In the words of Thomas Sowell, “I protest lots of things, but never get arrested.” While Calvin or Luther might have protested, they would probably have done so without the illegal activity and histrionics of the Occupy crowd. Now Müntzer on the other hand…

  • DonS

    As Spaulding said @ 2, this is nothing more than political projection of one’s own shallow beliefs. For one thing, social oppression in the 16th Century was real. The lower classes had no opportunity then, as they do now, if they actually apply themselves instead of sitting in tents in a park and whining about other people having more stuff than they do.

    It is insulting and slanderous to any of these historical figures to make such unsupported and self-serving predictions about what they would have done in our coddled age.

  • DonS

    As Spaulding said @ 2, this is nothing more than political projection of one’s own shallow beliefs. For one thing, social oppression in the 16th Century was real. The lower classes had no opportunity then, as they do now, if they actually apply themselves instead of sitting in tents in a park and whining about other people having more stuff than they do.

    It is insulting and slanderous to any of these historical figures to make such unsupported and self-serving predictions about what they would have done in our coddled age.

  • michael henry

    Calvin was obedient, trustworthy and law abiding. The so-called ows has proven to be less than any of those things. So I think the question is false because in order to be on the same caliber, Calvin would have to have been rude, law-breaking, a destroyer of private property, be openly for overthrown of established order, and generally act criminally and without any sound reason.
    It’s almost as if we would laud a bank robber who says, “but hey, I’m frugal with my money”. The so called ows has no validity on any grounds other than post modern chaos.
    With all due respect to Pr. Henderson, although his point is true, in this instance the example is so hollow nothing of what he rightly says would even stick.

  • michael henry

    Calvin was obedient, trustworthy and law abiding. The so-called ows has proven to be less than any of those things. So I think the question is false because in order to be on the same caliber, Calvin would have to have been rude, law-breaking, a destroyer of private property, be openly for overthrown of established order, and generally act criminally and without any sound reason.
    It’s almost as if we would laud a bank robber who says, “but hey, I’m frugal with my money”. The so called ows has no validity on any grounds other than post modern chaos.
    With all due respect to Pr. Henderson, although his point is true, in this instance the example is so hollow nothing of what he rightly says would even stick.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Weren’t there Catholics killed by Calvinists somewhere? I am not talking about the state killing Catholics, rather a protestant (Calvinist) church killing catholics. Someone knows. I just can’t remember the exact details of what I heard.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Weren’t there Catholics killed by Calvinists somewhere? I am not talking about the state killing Catholics, rather a protestant (Calvinist) church killing catholics. Someone knows. I just can’t remember the exact details of what I heard.

  • mendicus

    This piece fascinates me because of a guy I know who has a PhD from PTS. A self-described socialist, he claims that OWS is “holy” because the people have come together for the sake of helping the poor, and therefore are gathered in Christ’s name.

    It amazes me that such a bright individual can be so wrong on so many levels.

  • mendicus

    This piece fascinates me because of a guy I know who has a PhD from PTS. A self-described socialist, he claims that OWS is “holy” because the people have come together for the sake of helping the poor, and therefore are gathered in Christ’s name.

    It amazes me that such a bright individual can be so wrong on so many levels.

  • steve

    Princeton graduate? You don’t say.

  • steve

    Princeton graduate? You don’t say.

  • SKPeterson

    SG – My initial guess without digging out the books would be in Zwinglian Switzerland. Perhaps those who followed Muntzer, as well.

    If you go to the Thirty Years’ War, everyone was killing everyone, so there’s a very good possibility that Calvinists were killing Catholics.

  • SKPeterson

    SG – My initial guess without digging out the books would be in Zwinglian Switzerland. Perhaps those who followed Muntzer, as well.

    If you go to the Thirty Years’ War, everyone was killing everyone, so there’s a very good possibility that Calvinists were killing Catholics.

  • Bert Lloyd

    Luther would tell the occupiers to get a job which will contribute to your brother and sisters in a most positive by being able to help those who are truly in need. He would also preach the gospel the Financial demigods calling them to repentance.

  • Bert Lloyd

    Luther would tell the occupiers to get a job which will contribute to your brother and sisters in a most positive by being able to help those who are truly in need. He would also preach the gospel the Financial demigods calling them to repentance.

  • Tom Hering

    Martin Luther, On Trading and Usury, 1524:

    Of the companies I ought to say much, but that whole subject is such a bottomless abyss of avarice and wrong that there is nothing in it that can be discussed with a clear conscience. For what man is so stupid as not to see that companies are nothing else than mere monopolies? Even the temporal law of the heathen forbids them as openly injurious, to say nothing of the divine law and Christian statutes. They have all commodities under their control and practice without concealment all the tricks that have been mentioned; they raise and lower prices as they please and oppress and ruin all the small merchants, as the pike the little fish in the water, just as though they were lords over God’s creatures and free from all the laws of faith and love …

    … How could it ever be right and according to God’s will that a man should in a short time grow so rich that he could buy out kings and emperors? But they have brought things to such a pass that the whole world must do business at a risk and at a loss, winning this year and losing next year, while they always win, making up their losses by increased profits, and so it is no wonder that they quickly seize upon the wealth of all the world, for a pfennig that is permanent and sure is better than a gulden that is temporary and uncertain. But these companies trade with permanent and sure gulden, and we with temporary and uncertain pfennigs. No wonder they become kings and we beggars!

  • Tom Hering

    Martin Luther, On Trading and Usury, 1524:

    Of the companies I ought to say much, but that whole subject is such a bottomless abyss of avarice and wrong that there is nothing in it that can be discussed with a clear conscience. For what man is so stupid as not to see that companies are nothing else than mere monopolies? Even the temporal law of the heathen forbids them as openly injurious, to say nothing of the divine law and Christian statutes. They have all commodities under their control and practice without concealment all the tricks that have been mentioned; they raise and lower prices as they please and oppress and ruin all the small merchants, as the pike the little fish in the water, just as though they were lords over God’s creatures and free from all the laws of faith and love …

    … How could it ever be right and according to God’s will that a man should in a short time grow so rich that he could buy out kings and emperors? But they have brought things to such a pass that the whole world must do business at a risk and at a loss, winning this year and losing next year, while they always win, making up their losses by increased profits, and so it is no wonder that they quickly seize upon the wealth of all the world, for a pfennig that is permanent and sure is better than a gulden that is temporary and uncertain. But these companies trade with permanent and sure gulden, and we with temporary and uncertain pfennigs. No wonder they become kings and we beggars!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well Tom (@15), surely that is just another writing of Luther’s that we must toss on the trash heap, along with the one about the Jews. Every good, conservative Christian knows that laws or teachings against usury are anti-free-market, and therefore communist, and therefore sinful. I mean, it’s not like God ever prohibited usury or had anything to say about the rich oppressing the poor.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well Tom (@15), surely that is just another writing of Luther’s that we must toss on the trash heap, along with the one about the Jews. Every good, conservative Christian knows that laws or teachings against usury are anti-free-market, and therefore communist, and therefore sinful. I mean, it’s not like God ever prohibited usury or had anything to say about the rich oppressing the poor.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    John (@7) mentioned “the illegal activity and histrionics of the Occupy crowd”.

    Sorry, but if you’re only capable of characterizing the Occupy movement in terms of “illegal activity”, then I assure you that the histrionics are not limited to just the Occupy people.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    John (@7) mentioned “the illegal activity and histrionics of the Occupy crowd”.

    Sorry, but if you’re only capable of characterizing the Occupy movement in terms of “illegal activity”, then I assure you that the histrionics are not limited to just the Occupy people.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@8):

    For one thing, social oppression in the 16th Century was real.

    Sorry, but that’s too much, coming from you. You complain and complain and complain about government overspending. You clearly must be aware that no small amount of government spending comes from their being in bed with Big Business. You know, bailouts? Anyone? And you complain about the impacts this government spending will have on you, your family, our nation, and its future.

    Is all your whining therefore predicated on a falsehood, as well, Don? Why don’t you just suck it up and take it on the chin like you want the Occupiers to do?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@8):

    For one thing, social oppression in the 16th Century was real.

    Sorry, but that’s too much, coming from you. You complain and complain and complain about government overspending. You clearly must be aware that no small amount of government spending comes from their being in bed with Big Business. You know, bailouts? Anyone? And you complain about the impacts this government spending will have on you, your family, our nation, and its future.

    Is all your whining therefore predicated on a falsehood, as well, Don? Why don’t you just suck it up and take it on the chin like you want the Occupiers to do?

  • Tom Hering

    Well, Todd (nice to see you back), it’s not as if Luther was a modified Socialist: in favor of private property and the small merchant, but against the companies and financiers; in favor of government-run welfare programs (supported by taxes if need be), and against socio-economic Darwinism; probably supportive (if he were alive today) of OWS’s call for greater economic justice, but definitely against some of the actions of some of the protesters.

  • Tom Hering

    Well, Todd (nice to see you back), it’s not as if Luther was a modified Socialist: in favor of private property and the small merchant, but against the companies and financiers; in favor of government-run welfare programs (supported by taxes if need be), and against socio-economic Darwinism; probably supportive (if he were alive today) of OWS’s call for greater economic justice, but definitely against some of the actions of some of the protesters.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 18:

    Yes, you’re right. I hate the consortium of Big Government and Big Business, which does more to damage the economic prospects of the poor and middle class than any other modern social force, in my opinion. And I do complain about it. Often.

    Of course, you understand that my comment was not to say that there is no present social oppression. It was, rather, to say that current social oppression, particularly in America, is nothing, compared to the social oppression that existed in the still-medieval 16th Century. At least those in the OWS movement have the opportunity to improve their lot, if they get to work and earn their own way instead of camping in a park and whining that they need to be given more of other people’s stuff.

    Is all your whining therefore predicated on a falsehood, as well, Don? Why don’t you just suck it up and take it on the chin like you want the Occupiers to do?

    I’ve got no problem with the Occupiers asserting their rights of free speech, any more than I have a problem with Tea Partiers doing the same. It’s American and I love it. But, I am encouraging them to do what I do — suck it up, while complaining, and work to improve their lot in life. Camping in the park, mooching off of others, and jamming up the traffic of hard working folks just trying to commute through the city is not the answer.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 18:

    Yes, you’re right. I hate the consortium of Big Government and Big Business, which does more to damage the economic prospects of the poor and middle class than any other modern social force, in my opinion. And I do complain about it. Often.

    Of course, you understand that my comment was not to say that there is no present social oppression. It was, rather, to say that current social oppression, particularly in America, is nothing, compared to the social oppression that existed in the still-medieval 16th Century. At least those in the OWS movement have the opportunity to improve their lot, if they get to work and earn their own way instead of camping in a park and whining that they need to be given more of other people’s stuff.

    Is all your whining therefore predicated on a falsehood, as well, Don? Why don’t you just suck it up and take it on the chin like you want the Occupiers to do?

    I’ve got no problem with the Occupiers asserting their rights of free speech, any more than I have a problem with Tea Partiers doing the same. It’s American and I love it. But, I am encouraging them to do what I do — suck it up, while complaining, and work to improve their lot in life. Camping in the park, mooching off of others, and jamming up the traffic of hard working folks just trying to commute through the city is not the answer.

  • DonS

    And tODD, as Tom says, it is definitely nice to see you back.

  • DonS

    And tODD, as Tom says, it is definitely nice to see you back.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 15 Woo hoo, very cool quote, Tom. I am sharing that one with my family.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 15 Woo hoo, very cool quote, Tom. I am sharing that one with my family.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Thanks guys, but let’s not get all emotional here, okay? ;)

    Of course, I have a vested interest in engendering as much conversation here as possible, as I am boooooored. Meanwhile, the rest of you are quite likely done discussing on this site for the weekend. Fie! ;)

    Tom (@19), maybe it’s the lack of sleep, but I’m confused by all the (potential) sarcasm here. We’re in agreement, right? I think so.

    DonS (@20), I accept your reading of your earlier comment:

    Of course, you understand that my comment was not to say that there is no present social oppression.

    But that’s really not the obvious reading of your comment (@8) that:

    For one thing, social oppression in the 16th Century was real.

    Don’t you think a plain reading of your statement is that social oppression in the 21st Century is fake?

    It was, rather, to say that current social oppression, particularly in America, is nothing, compared to the social oppression that existed in the still-medieval 16th Century.

    Okay, but then I’ll just point out that the oppression you feel from the statist tendencies of modern social democracies are also nothing compared to the absolute monarchies, etc., of bygone centuries. Does that mean that I should therefore dismiss your frequently stated concerns as well? Or should we all keep our considerationss largely in the modern context in which we all live, because who cares if things were worse in the past? They’re still bad now, and we all want to address the current problems.

    At least those in the OWS movement have the opportunity to improve their lot, if they get to work and earn their own way…

    Yes, that is the theory, though I think it’s naive that such is true for everyone. I might accept that everyone can “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps” if we assume that everyone possesses enough money, or intelligence, or skill, or is born and raised in the right situation (or some combination of the same), but such things are gifts that we’re not in control of. (You might argue that you can earn money with intelligence, etc., but that just reduces the list of required attributes by one — the rest are still out of our own control. And many people are simply born into money.)

    Look, I’m in no way defending the over-the-top nature of some Occupiers’ antics (notably, the stuff that echoes around the right-wing mental space). But there really are legitimate grievances to be considered here, and there really are people who need society’s help. When I hear (as I have hear, to some degree) people characterizing the whole affair as silly (or even, bizarrely, illegal), it smacks more of people who simply wish to sweep the whole movement out of their minds without considering what is being said.

    I’ve got no problem with the Occupiers asserting their rights of free speech…

    Glad to hear it. Many “conservatives” seem to believe that there is no such thing as a legal right to assembly.

    I am encouraging them to do what I do — suck it up, while complaining, and work to improve their lot in life.

    Don, I don’t actually know you, but I’ve picked up a few tidbits on your life here and there, and I feel pretty safe in saying that it’s a whole lot easier for you — given your situation in life — to “suck it up” and “work to improve” things than it is for others. You’re very blessed. You have a lot more than others, in many ways. Please don’t forget this. Praise God for it, sure, but don’t forget that not everyone else was given such things.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Thanks guys, but let’s not get all emotional here, okay? ;)

    Of course, I have a vested interest in engendering as much conversation here as possible, as I am boooooored. Meanwhile, the rest of you are quite likely done discussing on this site for the weekend. Fie! ;)

    Tom (@19), maybe it’s the lack of sleep, but I’m confused by all the (potential) sarcasm here. We’re in agreement, right? I think so.

    DonS (@20), I accept your reading of your earlier comment:

    Of course, you understand that my comment was not to say that there is no present social oppression.

    But that’s really not the obvious reading of your comment (@8) that:

    For one thing, social oppression in the 16th Century was real.

    Don’t you think a plain reading of your statement is that social oppression in the 21st Century is fake?

    It was, rather, to say that current social oppression, particularly in America, is nothing, compared to the social oppression that existed in the still-medieval 16th Century.

    Okay, but then I’ll just point out that the oppression you feel from the statist tendencies of modern social democracies are also nothing compared to the absolute monarchies, etc., of bygone centuries. Does that mean that I should therefore dismiss your frequently stated concerns as well? Or should we all keep our considerationss largely in the modern context in which we all live, because who cares if things were worse in the past? They’re still bad now, and we all want to address the current problems.

    At least those in the OWS movement have the opportunity to improve their lot, if they get to work and earn their own way…

    Yes, that is the theory, though I think it’s naive that such is true for everyone. I might accept that everyone can “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps” if we assume that everyone possesses enough money, or intelligence, or skill, or is born and raised in the right situation (or some combination of the same), but such things are gifts that we’re not in control of. (You might argue that you can earn money with intelligence, etc., but that just reduces the list of required attributes by one — the rest are still out of our own control. And many people are simply born into money.)

    Look, I’m in no way defending the over-the-top nature of some Occupiers’ antics (notably, the stuff that echoes around the right-wing mental space). But there really are legitimate grievances to be considered here, and there really are people who need society’s help. When I hear (as I have hear, to some degree) people characterizing the whole affair as silly (or even, bizarrely, illegal), it smacks more of people who simply wish to sweep the whole movement out of their minds without considering what is being said.

    I’ve got no problem with the Occupiers asserting their rights of free speech…

    Glad to hear it. Many “conservatives” seem to believe that there is no such thing as a legal right to assembly.

    I am encouraging them to do what I do — suck it up, while complaining, and work to improve their lot in life.

    Don, I don’t actually know you, but I’ve picked up a few tidbits on your life here and there, and I feel pretty safe in saying that it’s a whole lot easier for you — given your situation in life — to “suck it up” and “work to improve” things than it is for others. You’re very blessed. You have a lot more than others, in many ways. Please don’t forget this. Praise God for it, sure, but don’t forget that not everyone else was given such things.

  • Tom Hering

    Todd, we agree. Sorry about the sarcasm.

  • Tom Hering

    Todd, we agree. Sorry about the sarcasm.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You’re very blessed. You have a lot more than others, in many ways. Please don’t forget this. Praise God for it, sure, but don’t forget that not everyone else was given such things.”

    This likely describes many of us. It certainly describes my situation. Does it also describe the OWS crowd up until recently who can see that their future is downhill not uphill in terms of social status? I mean, would they be attacking capitalism, or seeking socialism, if recruiters were lined up to hire them with their newly minted degrees and pay them $100k?

    Okay, fine.

    Now for oppression.

    What does this mean?

    When you consider that in absolute terms, the typical bottom quintile person in the US suffers from low status not deprivation of his needs. I mean are there any folks who cannot get out of the bottom quintile if they are blessed with enough health, motivation, etc? I mean, not really. At this point what holds people back is not an unfair system, but a fair system. It is fair that the least able and least hard working end up at the bottom. Now matter how prosperous a country becomes, there will still be a top quintile and a bottom quintile, and there will still be complaining by some who want to move up but can’t. That is not oppression. That is fairness. At this point, we should be considering the conditions for those in the bottom quintile in absolute terms of standard of living. If we do that, we find that conditions are so good for the bottom quintile, that they are actually growing in number. The bottom quintile here is so high in absolute terms, that folks come from other countries so they can join it.

    Okay, fine. What about OWS. They seem to be people who see themselves as deserving a higher social rank than they have. Well that is the problem with defining yourself based on the standards of this world. I am guessing that those folks all got vaccines as kids and they look pretty healthy, so real and true suffering is not their problem. They suffer from envy. I mean what if they compare themselves to the third world? Then they would have to say that capitalism has been very very good to them, because there is enough wealth to tax.

    Tangentially related is a new book on education:

    The Educational Lottery by Steven Brint

    http://lareviewofbooks.org/post/12835528594/the-educational-lottery

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You’re very blessed. You have a lot more than others, in many ways. Please don’t forget this. Praise God for it, sure, but don’t forget that not everyone else was given such things.”

    This likely describes many of us. It certainly describes my situation. Does it also describe the OWS crowd up until recently who can see that their future is downhill not uphill in terms of social status? I mean, would they be attacking capitalism, or seeking socialism, if recruiters were lined up to hire them with their newly minted degrees and pay them $100k?

    Okay, fine.

    Now for oppression.

    What does this mean?

    When you consider that in absolute terms, the typical bottom quintile person in the US suffers from low status not deprivation of his needs. I mean are there any folks who cannot get out of the bottom quintile if they are blessed with enough health, motivation, etc? I mean, not really. At this point what holds people back is not an unfair system, but a fair system. It is fair that the least able and least hard working end up at the bottom. Now matter how prosperous a country becomes, there will still be a top quintile and a bottom quintile, and there will still be complaining by some who want to move up but can’t. That is not oppression. That is fairness. At this point, we should be considering the conditions for those in the bottom quintile in absolute terms of standard of living. If we do that, we find that conditions are so good for the bottom quintile, that they are actually growing in number. The bottom quintile here is so high in absolute terms, that folks come from other countries so they can join it.

    Okay, fine. What about OWS. They seem to be people who see themselves as deserving a higher social rank than they have. Well that is the problem with defining yourself based on the standards of this world. I am guessing that those folks all got vaccines as kids and they look pretty healthy, so real and true suffering is not their problem. They suffer from envy. I mean what if they compare themselves to the third world? Then they would have to say that capitalism has been very very good to them, because there is enough wealth to tax.

    Tangentially related is a new book on education:

    The Educational Lottery by Steven Brint

    http://lareviewofbooks.org/post/12835528594/the-educational-lottery

  • Tom Hering

    sg, OWS is about the greed and avarice of the few, who have ruined the economy for the many (but not for themselves) and have done it in league with the government. What’s the point of trying to make it about the protesters’ personal failings? What level of personal righteousness do the protesters have to reach before they have a right to condemn the unrighteousness in the world?

  • Tom Hering

    sg, OWS is about the greed and avarice of the few, who have ruined the economy for the many (but not for themselves) and have done it in league with the government. What’s the point of trying to make it about the protesters’ personal failings? What level of personal righteousness do the protesters have to reach before they have a right to condemn the unrighteousness in the world?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What level of personal righteousness do the protesters have to reach before they have a right to condemn the unrighteousness in the world?

    Hey, I hear you. However, people go camp out in protest when they are personally affected. Just saying. I doubt they would be out there if they could get high status jobs themselves.

    anyway,

    OWS is about the greed and avarice of the few, who have ruined the economy for the many (but not for themselves) and have done it in league with the government.

    How do the protesters perceive they accomplished that? Are the protesters angry that unqualified buyers got cheap loans on nice houses and then defaulted? What exactly did the few do to ruin the economy? And what exactly would the protesters like to see changed? This is the real problem. The actions that could actually address these concerns are probably not at all what the protestors want to see done. We can’t all just be high status. We can’t have our needs met without someone doing the work to meet them. The thing is the future was mortgaged. Now the bill is due. However the younger generation doesn’t want to pay the bill, rather they want to get at least as good a deal as their parents got, but that isn’t possible. Wall Street is part of the problem but some of the blame rests with all of us for wanting what cannot be.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/24/opinion/l-i-m-spending-my-children-s-inheritance-485295.html

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What level of personal righteousness do the protesters have to reach before they have a right to condemn the unrighteousness in the world?

    Hey, I hear you. However, people go camp out in protest when they are personally affected. Just saying. I doubt they would be out there if they could get high status jobs themselves.

    anyway,

    OWS is about the greed and avarice of the few, who have ruined the economy for the many (but not for themselves) and have done it in league with the government.

    How do the protesters perceive they accomplished that? Are the protesters angry that unqualified buyers got cheap loans on nice houses and then defaulted? What exactly did the few do to ruin the economy? And what exactly would the protesters like to see changed? This is the real problem. The actions that could actually address these concerns are probably not at all what the protestors want to see done. We can’t all just be high status. We can’t have our needs met without someone doing the work to meet them. The thing is the future was mortgaged. Now the bill is due. However the younger generation doesn’t want to pay the bill, rather they want to get at least as good a deal as their parents got, but that isn’t possible. Wall Street is part of the problem but some of the blame rests with all of us for wanting what cannot be.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/24/opinion/l-i-m-spending-my-children-s-inheritance-485295.html

  • Tom Hering

    “Are the protesters angry that unqualified buyers got cheap loans on nice houses and then defaulted?”

    Are you angry that mortgage lenders set their reps up in 7-11 stores, in low-income neighborhoods, in order to hook lots of unqualified buyers? Knowing they could sell all those debts to someone else? Or that in my town, in those years, GMAC was selling houses in lower-income neighborhoods for 0% down? Do you think that was predatory?

    “The actions that could actually address these concerns are probably not at all what the protestors want to see done.”

    I would criticize OWS for not shouting as loudly about corruption in government as they do about greed on Wall Street. The two are connected.

    “Wall Street is part of the problem but some of the blame rests with all of us for wanting what cannot be.”

    Absolutely. We’ve all been sold on “buy now, pay later” (which includes the false promises of the education system).

  • Tom Hering

    “Are the protesters angry that unqualified buyers got cheap loans on nice houses and then defaulted?”

    Are you angry that mortgage lenders set their reps up in 7-11 stores, in low-income neighborhoods, in order to hook lots of unqualified buyers? Knowing they could sell all those debts to someone else? Or that in my town, in those years, GMAC was selling houses in lower-income neighborhoods for 0% down? Do you think that was predatory?

    “The actions that could actually address these concerns are probably not at all what the protestors want to see done.”

    I would criticize OWS for not shouting as loudly about corruption in government as they do about greed on Wall Street. The two are connected.

    “Wall Street is part of the problem but some of the blame rests with all of us for wanting what cannot be.”

    Absolutely. We’ve all been sold on “buy now, pay later” (which includes the false promises of the education system).

  • Grace

    Newt gets it RIGHT AGAIN!

    Gingrich to Occupy Wall Street: “Go Get a Job Right after You Take a Bath”

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/gingrich-occupy-wall-street-go-get-job-right-after-you-take-bath_609253.html

  • Grace

    Newt gets it RIGHT AGAIN!

    Gingrich to Occupy Wall Street: “Go Get a Job Right after You Take a Bath”

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/gingrich-occupy-wall-street-go-get-job-right-after-you-take-bath_609253.html

  • Grace

    “Occupy” has nothing to do with John Calvin or Martin Luther. These people are lazy, they don’t have jobs because they would rather get whatever they can for nothing. This is reminiscent of the Bolshevik’s.

    Occupy Oakland Calls For Shutdown Of ALL West Coast Ports
    By Dan Gainor
    November 19, 2011

    “Vandalism, violence, burning and shutting down the nation’s fifth busiest port weren’t enough for Occupy Oakland. On Friday, the General Assembly for the group voted unanimously for “a coordinated shutdown of ports on the entire West Coast on December 12.”

    According to a statement from Occupy Oakland, this move is in “response to coordinated attacks on the occupations and attacks on workers across the nation.” “We call on each West Coast occupation to organize a mass mobilization to shut down its local port.

    http://cnsnews.com/blog/dan-gainor/occupy-oakland-calls-shutdown-all-west-coast-ports

    Read the rest, it includes Los Angeles and Longview Washington.

    – - Does this define itself as “treason” OR and out and out “revolution” against our country?

  • Grace

    “Occupy” has nothing to do with John Calvin or Martin Luther. These people are lazy, they don’t have jobs because they would rather get whatever they can for nothing. This is reminiscent of the Bolshevik’s.

    Occupy Oakland Calls For Shutdown Of ALL West Coast Ports
    By Dan Gainor
    November 19, 2011

    “Vandalism, violence, burning and shutting down the nation’s fifth busiest port weren’t enough for Occupy Oakland. On Friday, the General Assembly for the group voted unanimously for “a coordinated shutdown of ports on the entire West Coast on December 12.”

    According to a statement from Occupy Oakland, this move is in “response to coordinated attacks on the occupations and attacks on workers across the nation.” “We call on each West Coast occupation to organize a mass mobilization to shut down its local port.

    http://cnsnews.com/blog/dan-gainor/occupy-oakland-calls-shutdown-all-west-coast-ports

    Read the rest, it includes Los Angeles and Longview Washington.

    – - Does this define itself as “treason” OR and out and out “revolution” against our country?

  • Tom Hering

    Gingrich looking down his nose at OWS protesters because they lack simple virtues? And doing it at something called a “family forum”? Too funny! :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Gingrich looking down his nose at OWS protesters because they lack simple virtues? And doing it at something called a “family forum”? Too funny! :-D

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Are you angry that mortgage lenders set their reps up in 7-11 stores, in low-income neighborhoods, in order to hook lots of unqualified buyers?

    Sure. I am also angry that those reps were using those folks to get a name signed on the line because as soon as they had that, they could sell the loan to Fannie or Freddie at a tidy profit. Had they not been able to do that, they would have had no reason to offer high risk loans.

    I would criticize OWS for not shouting as loudly about corruption in government as they do about greed on Wall Street. The two are connected.

    Yeah, exactly, even codependent. Gov’t gives special deals to big business that smaller or less politically connected businesses and individuals can’t get.

    The frustrating this is that kicking out the Dems won’t change that because the Republicans are as bad if not worse.

    The OWS and tea parties are similar in that each realizes its party of choice can’t be trusted. It is like health care. The deal we got (forced to buy overpriced insurance from private companies) is worse than what we have now and worse than single payer government health care. We got the worst of both worlds.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Are you angry that mortgage lenders set their reps up in 7-11 stores, in low-income neighborhoods, in order to hook lots of unqualified buyers?

    Sure. I am also angry that those reps were using those folks to get a name signed on the line because as soon as they had that, they could sell the loan to Fannie or Freddie at a tidy profit. Had they not been able to do that, they would have had no reason to offer high risk loans.

    I would criticize OWS for not shouting as loudly about corruption in government as they do about greed on Wall Street. The two are connected.

    Yeah, exactly, even codependent. Gov’t gives special deals to big business that smaller or less politically connected businesses and individuals can’t get.

    The frustrating this is that kicking out the Dems won’t change that because the Republicans are as bad if not worse.

    The OWS and tea parties are similar in that each realizes its party of choice can’t be trusted. It is like health care. The deal we got (forced to buy overpriced insurance from private companies) is worse than what we have now and worse than single payer government health care. We got the worst of both worlds.