Idealism and Naïveté Surrounding the Occupy Movement

Dear Occupiers,

I know my last column about you got under your skin.  Good.  Now try this pop quiz.

As you’re put down your drums and yoga togs to get ready for the quiz, let me first offer you a book or movie recommendation.  You can get it on a Kindle or smartphone or some other device you’re all carrying in your pockets, which were produced by some of the evil corporations you accuse of excessive greed.

I’ll wait.

It’s called The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie, and it’s short novel that became a movie.  Too busy to read or watch it?  Here’s the author’s message:  idealism plus naïveté equals tragedy.

I’m talking about you.

Let’s try these four questions about the Occupy Movement and see where your idealism plus naïveté is leading you, and as a result, all of us.

Question 1: Who messed up the economy and left you, the 99%, with the worst economic conditions since the Depression?

Answer: The Democratic Party, which printed $700 billion and gave the money to states, which used the money to pay off its major contributors, the state workers’ unions, by shoring up retirement funds for state workers.

And of course the investment bankers, whose job it is to allocate capital effectively in society.  Not only did they screw up allocating investors’ money, they also screwed up allocating their own, which is why they got left holding the bag for billions of dollars of home loans gone bad.

Home loans gone bad.  On the next Geraldo.

Seriously, if you really care who the culprits are, take a look at the investment banks, which blew billions on bad home loans, and the Democrats, who printed more billions and essentially gave them to the government workers’ unions, as a thank you for their support in the 2008 Presidential campaign.

Question 2: Who is cozying up next to the Occupy Movement and wants to be your new BFFs?

Answer: The Democratic Party and the government workers’ unions.  Why shouldn’t they want to stand firm with you?  President Obama can only retain the White House with a strategy of class warfare; how nice of you to offer yourself up as sacrificial lambs.  Occupiers, without you, in 2012 there would be no Democratic Party.

Look how much you’ve already done for the Dems, by casting blame elsewhere, obfuscating the real reasons for the economic collapse, and therefore allowing the real culprits to go free.  Do you honestly believe that a bank teller in a Bank of America branch is responsible for taking down the economy and therefore should be prevented from doing her job?  Where’s the logic in keeping working members of the 99% from going to work?  Just because you’re not working, you don’t want anyone else to work, either?

Question 3: Who would be your other BFF, except for the fact that they don’t want you to find out how badly they screwed up the U.S. economy?

Answer: The investment banks.  Again, my young friends, follow the money.  Who opened the spigots?  The investment banks, who figured they could make a fortune by securitizing the streams of income from home mortgages and then selling those securities to people dumb enough to believe that people would buy those securities.  Oops–they sold them to each other.  How dumb was that?  Dumb enough that they sucked practically all the liquidity out of the U.S. banking system, which nearly took down our economy.

Corporations didn’t do that.  Greed didn’t do that.  The investment banks did it, and thanks to you, they’ll continue to get away with it.

Question 4:  How many investment bankers went to jail, or will go to jail, for their stupidity and cupidity (it means greed, not romance, children) during the Great Economic Collapse of 2008?

Zero, in part because as long as you’re pointing the finger in the wrong direction and blaming “corporate greed,” no one will be pointing a finger at them.  In fact, some of them got hired by the Democratic White House to figure out a way out of the economic mess they created — at salaries high enough to sustain their membership in the 1%.

Thanks to the craven behavior of the very people who now cravenly support you.

If you didn’t follow the answers to these questions, let alone the questions themselves, here’s my next question:  what are you doing in the street, naively protesting about something you don’t understand?

The lesson of The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie was straightforward:  idealism plus naïveté leads to tragedy.  The tragedy of the Occupy Movement is the willingness of its members to lend their energy to a cause that feels good but doesn’t withstand scrutiny.  Gordon Gekko was wrong:  greed is, indeed, bad.  But failing to grasp who benefits from your naïveté is even worse.

(Michael Levin is a New York Times bestselling author and runs BusinessGhost, America’s leading provider of ghostwritten business books.)


  1. Spyder dalton says

    Occupy yor brain bumper stickers….

  2. I think you need to look into the mirror, Mr. Levin.

    The naivete you’re displaying is outstanding, and glares so brightly I could barely read your hum-drum business as usual rant about which party and which side of the fence caused the most trouble.

    Oh, deary me. It’s this political party or that political party. The old school say it’s the left, the other half of the old school say it’s the right.

    You’ve been played for a sap and you’re picking sides….when there are no sides.

    There is only the human race, and what we need to do to get through all of the problems we’re facing; regardless of who was steering the Titanic at which point on the journey.

    The 99% movement realises this, even though other people are still catching on. This isn’t about the US, or Arabia, or even bank loans. This is about unity and change. Something the two party system is very bad at.

    Consider this the first step in the awakening: ideology is irrelevant.

  3. AD-RtR/OS! says

    Michael, you forgot to remind the OWS that Team Obama has received more campaign contributions from those “investment bankers” than all other Republicans, combined – they know who their friend in high-office is, and have made the appropriate payoff….er…contribution.

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