Calling and Revolution and Calling UPDATED

(Photo: APF/Getty)

My piece today at First Things is a little odd, I think. In some spots it is deliberately to the fore, and in others, deliberately ambiguous, and it is talking about two seemingly very different things — the Occupy Wall Street folks who know that they want something, but are not quite able to articulate what that something might be, and impossibility of nurturing a sense of “calling” in our children when we over-manage their lives, from an early age, teach that credentials are all that matters.

So, maybe I’m writing about three things!:

A sense of calling is an idea to which our children often lack an introduction. We tell students they can plot their futures based on test scores measuring information regurgitation; we have no means of measuring their imaginations or their dreams, yet is from these that their deepest and truest longings—and thus their vocations, the things they were born to do—are discovered.

Barely allowed to wander from their backyards or to play away from our social-engineering-fixated eyes—where genders are called relative and roughhousing must be nipped before things get “out of control”—our children are groomed from early ages to fit ever-narrowing norms of thought and behavior; where in all of that can they develop a sense of possibilities and callings, which often have nothing to do with control, or models or entitlement?

These are very strange days. Our youth have been brought up in an environment of parental, educational and governmental over-control, but they are demanding additional and expanded institutional supervision. They have completely digested a spoon-fed illusion that fulfillment can be compelled by some great Daddy or Teacher or Bureaucrat in the sky, who will make sure that everyone has precisely the same amount of everything. One degree equals this. Two degrees equals that. Everyone is special, so no one should have something different than anyone else.

You can read the rest here

At Instapundit: “…the federal government has been Wall Street’s partner in crime.”

Charles Cooke notes the degree/credential overplay of which I write in the piece.

Some links around the ‘net –
WSJ polls the protesters

Ed Morrissey: Thievery at OWS

James Pethokoukis: 5 Reasons why income equality is a myth and OWS is wrong

Matt Stoller: “Fight like an Egyptian”

Insty, again: “The Full Alinsky”

David Swindle: “When Boomer Culture Finishes its Suicide…”

What are you protesting? Whaddya got?

Invading the Banks: How dare you give me those loans?

Michael Ledeen: “Many Farces…”

First Things: The Jews Occupying Wall Street

Time: How the “Occupation” in Rome was hijacked

Msgr. Charles Pope: Dimminishing Virtues

Obligatory: Howard Stern Show talks to OWS

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Rhinestone Suderman

    The problem with with having some sympathy with a mob, because you’d like to see some bankers (Or whoever else you don’t like) frog-marched along in shackles, is that, for a mob, a few bankers (or whoever) is never enough. (And the politicians and bureaucrats, who are also responsible for the mess, are never frog marched alongside them—never.)

    The mob may throw us a few corrupt bankers, to win our support, and we all go, “Hooray!” Then, it starts going after the “Kulaks”, the “Counter-revolutionaries” and the religious, who are spreading “The opium of the people!” and anybody it happens not to like—and by then, it’s too late to say anything!

    The Occupy Wall Street crowd is spouting anti-semetism (blame the Jews being a favorite game of mobs), which, in a sane world, should lose them all support, whatsoever, from anybody.

    As for our current mess. . . Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac deserve a great deal of blame for it, as does Barney Frank, who backed them, and our government, which insisted mortgage companies take loans from people who couldn’t pay them; and those who claimed that bailing out the banks was a wonderful idea. And who wanted more stimulus plans. And colleges that jacked up their tuition to astronomical leves, because, after all, government loans would help students pay!

    And, maybe, just maybe, we, the voting public, deserve some blame for buying into all this nonsense, because of “Hope ‘n Change” or whatever, and supporting these programs.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    In other words, “We have met the enemy, and he is—us!”

  • jcd

    Today, these kids won’t talk:

  • Manny

    “the Occupy Wall Street folks who know that they want something, but are not quite able to articulate what that something might be”

    I see it differently. I went to school with people like this in my college days. By and large they know what they want – redistribution, either as outright communism to some, outright socialism to others, or a cradle to grave welfare nanny state just short of socialism to the rest. They either don’t want to articulate that because of how the general population at large would react or because they don’t have an internal consensus on how much of a nanny state to advocate. But mind you, the most moderate of OWS protestor is way to the left of moderate America.

  • Manny

    @Rhinestone in the first comment
    No banker did anything illegal. They followed the laws as Sen Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank put into place as a means of managing Fannie May/Freddie Mac. And by the way the laws of which Andrew Cuomo as head of HUD during the Clinton administration forced bankers to adhere to. Those three were the primary characters who insisted upon banks giving out loans to people that couldn’t afford them.

    The only legitimate grip the OWS protesters have is that once the banks got bailed out, huge bonuses from the public trough were given to a substantial number of people.

  • Annie

    All “young ppl” have access to endless founts of knowledge and wisdom via the internet! they never found “Buddhism”? Then never read about “peaceably” and “sensibly” demonstrating”?

    They don’t realize that the very professors and propagandists that have led them like little doggies to this march are earning in the hundreds of thousands — billion range?

    (believe me — I taught for years at universities and if you’re not a Che-lover you better keep quiet! I also watched firsthand as an Art History Professor CONSTANTLY and AS OFTEN AS SHE COULD praised communists (by name, not calling them communists) and pushed Marxism. Sickening!

    And now this from Rome which just breaks my heart the way this beautiful figure of Maria is shattered by these stupid, misled, destructive useful idiots (via Catholic vote):

  • jill e

    These are the kids brought up in a time where everyone got a ribbon or a trophy. Everyone was a winner – not because they actually achieved something, but purely to avoid hurt feelings and damaged self-esteem.

  • Patrick

    Thank you so much for that column! You put into words exactly how I feel at this moment as a student. Regurgitation is the only thing most professors expect; in fact, they seem to live on the intellectual vomit that students give them. It’s an ego boost that is far from needed. When opinions are taught as facts, it’s hard to convince people of an absolute truth. So far I’ve only had one good professor, and she was literally amazing–I never knew how engaging education could be. It was a breath of fresh air that I needed more desperately than I ever could have guessed.

  • deacon john m. bresnahan

    With all the anti-Semitic video and audio interviews with members of this mob I have seen (“Jewish bankers”, “rich Jews”, “kick all the Jews out of America.” This last from a L.A. “education dept. employee”.) and with the Nazi-swastika signs paraded (not on most of the mainstream media, of course)–one knows for sure the mainstream media is again at work doing Obama-Dem dirty work of covering up for them.
    Obama with his class warfare fulminations, then he and leading Dems embrace of this mob is a total immoral disgrace. They could at least, but haven’t, condemn the bigotry among many members of the mobs they incited.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Manny, I was responding to a comment the Anchoress made in her First Things article about “Greedy bankers”; I was using them as an example of the sort of unpopular people (whether their unpopularity is actually deserved, or not) revolutions like to trot out as the scapegoats, and source or all our problems. We cheer when those we don’t like get their just punishment (whether it’s actually just or not), and the revolutionaries use unpopular characters as tools to get the rest of us into the “Two minute hate!” mode, where we’ll accede to anything, and approve all sorts of atrocities, because it’s against the bad guys.

    Myself, I agree that the current crisis was kicked off by the Freddie/Fanny fiasco, and banks being forced to give loans to people who couldn’t pay them off—hnece, it’s the White House lawn, not Wall Street, the squatters should be squatting on.

    And what they really want is, yes, socialism, and distributionism.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    deacon john, yes, it is shameful that Obama hasn’t condemned the bigotry expressed by OWS, but is, instead, encouraging it, by repeatedly saying he supports OWS (which, presumably, means he supports their anti-semetism, too?)

    I wonder if all this street theater isn’t partly meant to distract us from what’s happening with Iran, Libya and the fact we’ve recently sent soldiers into Uganda.

    It may be intended to boost Obama’s presidential campaign.

  • Greta

    I got this in an email. Kind of interesting with this topic. It shows Milton Friedman talking to Phil Donahue and some students (including a young skinny Michael Moore) about various issue such as redistribution of wealth, capitalism versus socialism, fairness doctrine, dealing with the poor, etc. Wish we had a program on weekly with someone like Friedman discussing the issues in a reasonable and sound way.

    If you listen to Phil’s question, you can quickly see the liberals have been on this kick to go after the evil rich for a very long time.
    on soaking the rich again with Phil Donahue
    on Redistribution of wealth

  • Greta

    I was watching a program tonight and an African American woman made the claim that the Republican Party is against her race voting. When pushed, her proof was states requiring voters to provide a photo id with the requirement that if paying for a photo id was a problem, that one would be provided for free. I have heard this before. I do not have a clue as to how this is a racist policy as it applies to everyone. Can anyone enlighten me on this as to what I am missing? The topic was the occupy crowd and she said this was one of their issues which I have not seen. Not trying to be cute, just curious as I can’t figure this one out as a race issue. Doesn’t most states require a drivers license with photo to drive and don’t airlines require a photo ID to fly and banks require a photo id to cash a check or open an account? Arent we required to furnish ID to get a job?

  • ahem

    Apparently, most of the crowd–at least in New York–is communist.

    “Almost every organization present at OWS is explicitly communist or socialist. Almost every piece of literature being handed out is explicitly communist or socialist. I don’t mean half, and I don’t mean the overwhelming majority — I mean almost all of it. “

  • Doc

    Greta, the objection to voter ID laws is that it makes stealing elections much more difficult for Democrats. That’s it. It just can’t be stated in public. Therefore claiming it’s a race issue is just another dishonest club used to beat Republicans. It is unfortunate that Republicans cower under the blows of that club instead of pointing out the truth of the matter.

  • SKay

    Doc–exactly right. It isn’t about race, but if you have been told this enough times by your community organizer–than you begin to think it is true.
    In my state-state IDs are free.

  • LisaB

    “I wonder if all this street theater isn’t partly meant to distract us from what’s happening with Iran, Libya and the fact we’ve recently sent soldiers into Uganda.”

    Actually, I think it’s distracting the media from Solyndra and “Fast and Furious” a great deal. Those two impeachable issues were finally making it to the MSM headlines, now not so much. And I say that with much sadness knowing that the Left’s anti-war rhetoric had (and never will) nothing to do with the welfare of our troops. The Democrats I know stopped talking about the war(s) with the election of Obama. I will save this link in the event that a Republican wins the election – the MSM anti-war hype & protests will begin with an R in office.

    “It may be intended to boost Obama’s presidential campaign.”
    Even more reason to get the word out that these brats are Communist tools.