By Chelsea Albers, JMI Intern and Florida State University Senior in International Affairs & Languages
If you haven’t already, check out the many online videos covering the Occupy Wall Street protests, and you will quickly discover that many of these protesters are simply unreasonable, sometimes racist and violent, wackos. (Warning: Content may not be appropriate for children!)While it is important to be aware of the extremely dangerous and hypocritical aspects of this movement, which I do not wish to justify or sympathize with whatsoever, I urge Americanot to demonize ALL the protesters involved in the Occupy Wall Streetmovement– this approach will not solve the problems that our nation is facing today. Rather, take the approach of Peter Schiff and engage the protesters in intelligent discourse that challenges their reasons for protesting and plants the seeds of liberty.Peter Schiff’s 19 minute reason.tv video changed my perception of Occupy Wall Street, or at least on how to address it. What we are truly dealing with here is a lack of understanding (1) about the real cause of the economic crisis, (2) that only free markets will save America, and (3) that capitalism is the most moral economic system in the history of civilization (if you are not convinced of this, please read The Morality of Capitalism.) I admire Peter Schiff for his ability to identify with the protesters’ cause yet clearly, and respectfully, explaining that their conclusions regarding who to blame forAmerica’s woes are incorrect.These discussions need to be taking place in Americamore frequently–and quickly please! Numerous free-market organizations are fighting to educate Americans about the economy, and countless people have been inspired by the works of libertarian thinkers such as Ayn Rand, Friedrich Hayek, and Frederic Bastiat; but the Occupy Wall Street protests demonstrate the necessity for individual citizens to personally engage in this battle of ideas. Take the time to educate yourselves, your children, and your neighbors about the true foundations of liberty and the free-market economic principles that have made Americagreat (and others as well, such as Hong Kong.)Although the clip unfortunately seems to end with Schiff failing to convince a single protester that too much government, not greedy businessmen, is the source of our problem, he has brought them one step closer to the correct conclusion. Knowledgeable and articulate individuals are the most valuable asset in the liberty movement–because we have the truth on our side, we have nothing to fear, nothing to lose, and everything to gain in starting these conversations.