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{Editor’s Note: This Friday Followup is a tribute to the fading rants of a movement still revered by some, mocked by others.  It was originally published in the Colorado Springs Gazette, 2011-10-12}

Some of you have probably heard of the recent “Occupy Wall Street” manifesto. The authors adopted the rhythm and style of the Declaration of Independence, admittedly a clever stunt. Here’s my take on a few of their grievances against corporate America.

“They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.”

Guess what? When ‘we” borrow money from a bank to purchase a home, if we stop making payments the house is no longer “ours”. That’s what a mortgage means. Far from being evil or cruel, the mortgage is what makes home ownership possible.

Foreclosure is what happens if you fail to keep your promises. It doesn’t matter if things happened that weren’t your fault. Homeowners aren’t the only people whose livelihood is at stake here. Banks have depositors, many of whom are exactly the kind of people that OWS claims to represent. If you’re a depositor, foreclosure makes sure your bank stays solvent.

Unless, of course, your bank gets a bailout. But keep reading.

‘They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals …” Arguably true. But how? By providing products that people want and, in many cases, desperately need.

All that has to happen to address this particular grievance is for people to stop eating animals, to buy only products that aren’t tested on animals, and to refuse to accept lifesaving medicine developed from animal testing. Of course this will make millions of people poorer, and kill quite a few too. In this case, I prefer the status quo.

“They have sold our privacy as a commodity.”

This is presumably a stab at Facebook and social networking. Listen Well, Ye of the Angry Left: My “privacy”, as you call it, does not belong to you. I have the right to do with it as I choose. I choose to trade certain parts of it in exchange for the ability to connect with people in ways my generation could never have imagined. Targeted advertisements appear on my computer screen because I permit them to, because Facebook and social networking offer tremendous value to me and hundreds of millions of online users.

Why is it that “My body, my choice” is a sacrament of the left, but “My property, my choice” is blasphemy? Facebook doesn’t sell “my” privacy. I trade some of it for something I value more. It’s an economic transaction between consenting adults. OWS, keep your morals off my wallet!

“They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.” Corporations like Current TV, which paid Keith Obermann to read your statement to an audience of millions? Media like the internet, from which I downloaded this very manifesto? Access for which I pay a monthly fee to a very profitable communications company?

“They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, “ What are they supposed to do when politicians dangle money in front of them? Say no, while their competitors say yes? While their unionized employees howl to save their jobs at any price? And which political movement believes that firms should always be allowed to fail if that’s what the marketplace dictates? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not liberalism.

But here’s the kicker: “…corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth …”. To OWS, wealth is something lying around, to be extracted from people and the Earth, and then used only with the permission of, presumably, the People’s Council of the Supremely Wise and Good-Hearted.

Wealth is created, not extracted. It is dynamic, not static. Under the right circumstances, it can and does grow. But those circumstances require people to be free to make money, to lose money, to loan money, to build homes, to lose homes, to sell privacy, and in general to do all those messy, scary things that come with economic freedom.

Without that, the poor and downtrodden that OWS claims to represent haven’t got a chance. Without that, their future is only delusion, broken promises, and stagnation. That, ultimately, is all that an infatuation with politics as the savior of humanity can ever offer.