The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Occupy Wall Street, Suddenly Realizing They’re Not Winners After All


The final Morning Jolt of the week examines latest rattle in the engine of the Herman Cain campaign, Andy Stern’s love letter to Chinese management of the economy, and some much-needed lighter notes to close out the week . . .

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Are Still Waiting for Their Participation Trophy

Ah, our end-of-the-week levity. A lot of folks on the Right have enjoyed an off-color rant from Adam Carolla, a comedian and former television talk show host, ripping into the Occupy Wall Street protests. A clean version can be found at The Blaze; in the below excerpts, I’ve cleaned up it a lot:

“We’re now dealing with the first wave of participation-trophy, ‘my fecal matter doesn’t stink,’ empowered, I feel so good about myself, everybody-gets-a-trophy, everybody’s-a-winner [badword]s . . . This has been going on for about twenty-five years.

. . . We created a bunch of [badwording] self-entitled monsters. People are so far out of it in what they expect and what is realistic and what the rules should be for them and for the other guys. I want my Most Valuable Player trophy . . .

They think the world owes them a living . . . They grew up and it’s fine if you grow up in this little snow globe of a life where everything is awesome and there are no losers. But then you get into the real world and you realize, ‘I’m a [badwording] loser,’ you’re not doing well and you’re not making much money and no one’s giving you a participation trophy. Instead of looking in the mirror and going, ‘Why am I not doing better?’, you find somebody who’s got more stuff than you and say, ‘Hey, man, what do you need all that stuff for?’ This is what’s going on. They’re feeling shame. They’ve been shamed by life, because they haven’t been prepared for life.

The real world doesn’t care how pretty you are or what you do, all those lies told to you by your parents about how special you are. In the real world, you’re just peon number twenty-seven who’s putting in an application. And your plan is to put a rock through my window. That’s your plan!

It is envy and shame, and there’s going to be a lot more of it.

At Hot Air, Tina Korbe is greatly amused, and finds an echo of the argument in an unusual place:

This is indispensable audio just as Leon Cooperman’s open letter to President Obama is required reading — for both very similar and very different reasons.

First, the fundamental similarity: Both Carolla and Cooperman invite the United States (Carolla addressing the OWS protesters, Cooperman addressing the president) to be again what it once was — not merely a land of opportunity, but a land in which ordinary people rejoice at the opportunity of others and seek not to tear down but to build up. Both Carolla and Cooperman expose the corrosive and corrupting influence of envy, which, as C. S. Lewis once said of pride, “gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.” Perhaps the better way to phrase it would be to say envy “gets no pleasure out of having something unless it was first had by and then taken from the next man.” Both Carolla and Cooperman prophesy the inevitable outcome of an envy-eaten society — an impoverished economy and culture, in which no one is so prosperous as he could be.

Now, the fundamental difference: Whereas Cooperman conveys a tone of stern and sober disappointment, Carolla sinks all-too-often into crass-and-brash. But the disparate styles reveal that, whoever the messenger, whatever the method of delivery, truth is truth. And the truth is, both the president and the Occupy Wall Street protesters have bought into the lie that success is a zero-sum game, that the more someone else has of it, the less another can achieve. But, in the United States at least, there need not be a limit to how much we accomplish in the way of creating prosperity and a rich, supportive culture.

Adam Carolla: Who would have thought such a great advocate for the old-fashioned American values of hard work and discipline and individual responsibility would come from The Man Show?

Tags: Occupy Wall Street


Subscribe to National Review