If it squeals like a stuck pig, there’s a good chance it’s a stuck pig.
Over the years I have grown accustomed to being called names. As readers of the MDJ will know, I have strong opinions that I forcefully express. Consequently, I invite criticism. Furthermore, as an academic, I am a conservative in a very liberal environment; hence I am surrounded by people who look askance at my views.
My usual response to censure is therefore to let it roll off my back. Trying to refute it would give it credence it rarely deserves. But recently I have been attacked in a manner that requires a rejoinder. Accusations hurled at me have been so over the top that they have ignited a firestorm of charge and counter-charge.
I do not, however, intend to address the allegations point by point. Suffice it to say that they lack substance. Instead, I plan to put these accusations into context. Those who have read the slanders precipitated by my most recent MDJ column will surely recognize that the accusers are political radicals.
And that is the point. In exposing some of the nonsense emanating from the Occupy Wall Street crowd, I have backed them into a corner. The comeback has thus been desperation. Instead of reasoned analysis, we get wild vituperation.
The explanation is simple. These radicals are peddling a brand of “reform” that is not selling very well. As self-styled revolutionaries and/or anarchists, they hope to undermine our financial system, and with it our entire society. From their perspective, theUnited Statesrepresents a fossilized despotism that deserves to be overthrown.
These folks simply don’t like us. They tell us they want to improve our way of life, but offer nothing save for shortsighted destruction. And bet on it, this summer they will be out in force, up to their familiar shenanigans. If they have anything to say about it, there will be more marches, more obstruction, and more accusations of injustice.
Some activists on the left believe that these methods push their agenda forward, but they are wrong. A majority of Americans are offended by the empty-headedness of the Occupy folk’s language and their unhygienic demonstrations. While most people appreciate idealism, they do not condone pointless disruption.
The Occupy activists are tone deaf with regard to their impact. They assume that the more they agitate, the better “educated” the public will become. This being so, they resent someone like me who steps forward to burst their bubble. As a result, they turn their ire on me as a stand-in for the market-oriented institutions they despise.
I, of course, am small potatoes. Discrediting me is merely symbolic. But then again, I need to be intimidated into silence, lest someone be corrupted by my arguments. Furthermore, because I have obviously questioned their credibility for the sake of the prestige that attacking them offers, my reputation must be destroyed in order to balance the books.
The problem is that I am too set in my ways to let the disdain of a few radicals alter my course. I know that not everyone agrees with me, but a genuine marketplace of ideas requires that even the views of conservatives can be vigorously defended.
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology