Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Frank Pasquale has an interesting post on the moral authority of Occupy Wall Street. An excerpt:
In many chilling ways, old social contracts are being broken, with nothing provided in their place. Old models of cooperation between the state and the market are breaking down, as incidents ranging from prescription drug shortages to food safety failures show. The global financial system teeters on the brink of meltdown thanks to a potential "Lehman style event" that regulators still have not managed to adequately monitor, let alone circumvent. These are urgent problems that an entrenched business-government elite has addressed listlessly, if at all. (This is not meant to criticize many well-intentioned front-line personnel, just to note that revolving door dynamics for political appointees and woefully inadequate funding often render their work a mere pantomime of effective enforcement action.) Occupy Wall Street has moral authority because it is addressing these problems. Its critics ought to be joining that process.
As with many other issues, I can't help but wonder about the extent to which being Catholic should inform my view of this movement. Put differently, should my identity as a Catholic lead me to distinguish in any meaningful sense between the moral authority of the Occupy Wall Street movement versus that of the Tea Party movement? Or are my views on this more accurately captured by my choice between Fox News and MSNBC than by my embrace of Catholic social teaching? At a minimum, does CST provide us with a set of questions by which to evaluate the two movements that are not otherwise being asked?