Nagging at the back of my mind for the past two months were similarities between the rhetoric and slogans coming out of the “Occupy” camps and events from the not too distant past. Then it hit me, if you reduced the thinking of the “Occupy” “movement” to its essence, its rallying cry would be “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Of course, THAT would be fair! Everyone would work to their ability and everyone would receive what they need. What a great philosophy – I wonder if anyone has actually tried to implement it?
Students of history will attribute popularization of that quote to Karl Marx from his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program, but the idea was actually first penned by the French socialist Henri de Saint Simon when he created the rallying points for Occupy in 1840:
I. Nothing in society will belong to anyone, either as a personal possession or as capital goods, except the things for which the person has immediate use, for either his needs, his pleasures, or his daily work.
II. Every citizen will be a public man, sustained by, supported by, and occupied at the public expense.
III. Every citizen will make his particular contribution to the activities of the community according to his capacity, his talent and his age; it is on this basis that his duties will be determined, in conformity with the distributive laws.
As you might remember, when this slogan was put into practice, it produced less than satisfactory results. Today the Occupy “movement” focuses on what is “fair.” They want to borrow money and then only repay it if they think it is fair. They want to reallocate resources because it is not fair that more creative, harder workers make more money. They want public resources to be spread “more evenly” even though 40%+ of Americans receive more FROM the government than they contribute TO the government.
More than a century ago, well intentioned but delusional folks got together and decided that communism/socialism was an experiment worth trying. Only problem was it actually created an Orwellian Animal Farm in which all of the animals were created equally, just some a little more equal that others.