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How the Right's Lame Attack on Occupy Wall St. Shows the Poverty of Conservative Ideology

The Right's response offers us a microcosmic view of everything that's wrong with conservative discourse these days.

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Another 17 percent are seniors who busted their tails during their working year, paid their taxes and are now collecting Social Security. The remaining 13 percent are students, disabled people and the unemployed. To suggest that all of these Americans are “leeches” being “subsidized” by the 51 percent who are doing well enough to pay federal income taxes right now is simply loathesome.

But it's also tragic. As  Gawker's Max Read  put it, what makes Erickson's project “so heartbreaking isn't that its contributors are enormous jerks—it's that so many of them could just as easily be writing in to We Are the 99 Percent.”

BLOCKQUOTE: Like the guy on the left, who can "barely afford" his rent. Or the "former marine" in the center who hasn't had "4 consecutive days off in 4 years." The phrase "I don't have health insurance" pops up frequently on "We Are the 53%," but not as a cry for help or an indictment of a broken system. Here, it's a badge of pride.

BLOCKQUOTE: You'd think that someone who "never had the option of parental health insurance to age 26" would see why such a policy makes sense, or that a person who used welfare and food stamps after suffering an injury and losing her job might understand better than anyone else the value of a social safety net.

As one pours through the testimonials, there's little doubt that many of these people are in fact among the 49 percent who pay no federal income taxes but don't know it (another Tumblr, “ Actually, You're the 47%,” highlights the point). After all, they get federal taxes taken out of their paychecks – they just happen to be payroll taxes.

Whether or not they pay incomes taxes, they've certainly been steam-rollered by the “New Economy.” And then, duped into what Karl Marx would have called a false class-consciousness, they're moved todefend the guy driving that steamroller. It epitomizes the modern right -- poisoned with Ayn Rand's vision of a world divided between producers and moochers, they don't want to be counted among the latter.


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