The moral principle of revolutions is to instruct, not to destroy.
Thomas Paine, First Principles of Government, 1795
Thomas Paine’s words, written 217 years ago, capture the core purpose of the Occupy movement.
The movement, at its heart, instructs us to honor one another and to ensure that government policy and our justice system reflect that ethic. It asks us to return to our founding principles.
Wealth, Power and Privilege:
Wherever people gather there will be unequal distributions of wealth, power and privilege. In terms of social policy, people either tend to side with those who already have these advantages, thus perpetuating the imbalance, or they wish to lessen the disparity.
There are many philosophical justifications for favoring the wealthy and powerful. The Gospel of Wealth, Social Darwinism, Manifest Destiny, God’s Will and “trickle-down economics” are but a few of the rationales. All of these philosophies assert the inherent superiority of those who are wealthy, powerful and privileged by appropriating God, Destiny, Darwinism or Capitalism in a profoundly self-serving manner.
These rationalizations are a sign of pathological narcissism, i.e., the overvaluing of oneself and the undervaluing of others springing from greed, insecurity, fear and the lust for power. This approach to life asserts, “I will take what I want, any way I can, and I don’t care about the consequences to others.” It represents the law of the jungle, not the law of a civil, democratic society.
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