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The Occupy Wall Street protests are slowly infiltrating our consciousness here at the squibix household, leading to an above-average amount of angry political discussion. Angry at other people, that is; we're pretty much in agreement amongst ourselves (though I'm not sure what Zion's position is vis-a-vis the potential inflationary dangers of vastly increased public spending and whether higher inflation might actually be a positive at this point).

At this stage my rage is still too inchoate to be neatly expressed in a blog post, but I would like to note a couple things. First, there are folks who say that, while they agree with the protestors that some things might need to change, they need to be presenting specific policy suggestions rather than the variety of aspirational demands currently being proposed. Yeah, because our congressmen would love to do something about the problems facing our country, if only they had an idea that would help! Note: that's not actually true. Also, congressmen historically have a poor record of taking policy suggestions from hippies.

Even worse are people who suggest that, if they really wanted to make a difference, the protestors would try and work through existing political channels. I don't know, volunteer for a campaign or something. They point out that in the United States it's only the government that makes the kind of changes the protestors are looking for. At least since 1775, that is. That completely misses the fact that no changes get made at all unless social pressures force the government's hand. Do you think the New Deal was enacted because politicians' hearts were bleeding for the poor? No, it was because if they didn't do something they would have had a revolution on their hands.

Not that we're ready for revolution yet; too many people are more concerned about what's on tv (or if their neighbors will be allowed to get abortions) than they are about their social and economic well-being. But protests put pressure on the system, they change the terms of the discussion, and they help crystallize a society's generalized grievances. I don't agree with everything the New York protesters are saying (nor do I think they're even speaking with a unified voice themselves) but I love that somebody is out there saying something.

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