A Rallying Cry?

January 28, 2009

I have heard many rallying cries lately, on blogs, YouTube, websites and via email, for protest and even revolution. 

 “Why aren’t people in the streets?” many ask. 

 Specifically, after recent events in Iceland, the frustration of many with our national complacency has grown. 


Specifically, this was brought to my attention.


In the commentary, the blogger writes:


…the above six-minute rant could become a rallying call for the growing, “I’m not going to take it anymore” disaffected.


I wouldn’t hold my breath.


Look around us.  As long as there are 1) things to buy and 2) work to be had, so that people can keep paying for the things they already have, there will be no interest in protest, let alone revolution.  So far, despite a torrent of adverse economic news, there are both.  Any trip to the mall or local shopping district can erase any notions that we are far from business-as-usual.  While traffic may be down in incremental terms, and shoppers are clearly not spending as much money, it is clear that habits, and most importantly expectations, remain unchanged.


But to take it a step further – remember that our revolution did not occur due to some spontaneous uprising of ‘the people’.  Our revolutionary forefathers were our best and brightest, in many cases our most wealthy – those with the most to lose.  Many were offered deals and compromises by the crown.  It would have been far more convenient for them to compromise and maintain both comfort and the status quo which, while increasingly adverse, still afforded them a fine standard of living.


No, they rose up out of principal more than necessity.  They rose up with a broad philosophical view of how different a country could be, imagined what life could be like cut off from the ties of authoritarianism (the monarchy) on the political side, and central banks (the Bank of England) on the economic side.  And they were willing to lay it all on the line to achieve it.  They were true patriots – those who embraced not the state, but the character of the people and therefore of the American individual.


Where are our best and brightest today? 


“People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they? People feared coal, they feared gas-powered engines… There will always be ignorance, and ignorance leads to fear. But with time, people will come to accept their silicone masters.” -Bill Gates


“We’ve got to put a lot of money into changing behaviour.” -Bill Gates 


“Gold gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.” -Warren Buffett 


“I am quite serious when I say that I do not believe there are, on the whole earth besides, so many intensified bores as in these United States. No man can form an adequate idea of the real meaning of the word, without coming here.” –Warren Buffett

“The Unites States has got some of the dumbest people in the world. I want you to know that we know that.” –Ted Turner


“Once again, victims of disaster have turned to the UN and the international community in their time of need. The world needs the UN’s leadership in these times, and the UN needs the world’s support. We are communicating with the UN and its agencies to learn where UNJ Foundation funds may be of great assistance to the UN’s relief efforts.” –Ted Turner


“I think there will be linkages between the U.S. and Europe and I think there will be linkages between the U.S. and Asia; that is probably a little further off.” –John Thain (former Merrill Lynch CEO)


“Regulators are in the best position to regulate when they are intimately knowledgeable about the activities they are regulating.” –John Thain


“I think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.” –Barack Obama


“It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” –Barack Obama


“A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no question about it.” –George W. Bush


“I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.” –George W. Bush


“The idea of a terrorist in the middle of one of our cities with a nuclear weapon is very real and that we have to use extraordinary measures to deal with it.” –Dick Cheney


“Globalization is not something we can hold off or turn off… it is the economic equivalent of a force of nature – like wind or water.” –Bill Clinton


“We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society.” –Hilary Clinton


“I’m going to be so much better a president for having been at the CIA that you’re not going to believe it.” –George H.W. Bush


“Out of these troubled times; our fifth objective – a new world order – can emerge: a new era – freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South, can prosper and live in harmony.” –George H.W. Bush


“The world can therefore seize the opportunity to fulfill the long-held promise of a New World Order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind.” –George H.W. Bush


“We are not going to achieve a new world order without paying for it in blood as well as in words and money.” –Arthur Schlesinger, Jr






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