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Wall St. protesters are collectivist idealists

TimesLedger Newspapers

News reports about Occupy Wall Street and interviews with occupiers are reminiscent of double-speak. “Greed” means anyone with a lot of money must have stolen it, “social justice“ requires that the wealthy share since they have more than they need and “equality” and “fairness” mean redistribution to each according to his needs.

It is not unreasonable to conclude the misguided protesters subscribe to the collectivist ideal of the greatest good for the greatest number, which implies the “good” of the majority must be achieved by the suffering of a minority and that the benefit of one man depends on the sacrifice of another.

They are oblivious to the self-evident truths that you cannot make the poor prosperous by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity just as you cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

The inalienable rights of men as defined and protected by the U.S. Constitution are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The right of life means that man cannot be deprived of his life or property for the benefit of another man nor of any number of other men.

The pursuit of happiness means man’s right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own private, personal and individual happiness and to work for its achievement so long as he respects the same rights in others.

It means that the collective cannot decide what is to be the purpose of a man’s existence nor prescribe his choice of happiness. Henry David Thoreau warned that “If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I would run for my life.”

If we do not understand, preserve and adhere to the principles that have nurtured the “greatest good” — i.e., the highest standard of living on the planet — we will live not as free men but as serfs.

Ed Konecnik

Flushing

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