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… the eruption of unregulated capitalism into the university — billion-dollar tv contracts that make already filthy university athletics unspeakably filthier; massive, Goldman Sachs-run online for-profit tax siphons; university presidents who presided over obscene corporate bonuses; professors with outrageous corporate conflicts of interest, and so on.

Peter Beinart, in a post about Occupy Wall Street, considers the larger culture of destructive greed in America, and the growing outrage over “financial elites responsible for the global economic meltdown [who have] have almost entirely escaped justice.”

The Occupy Wall Street movement … represents a direct reckoning with the most powerful forces in American life, forces that are not voted in and out of office every two or four years. And it represents a belief that young Americans must force that reckoning by themselves. No politician will do it for them. Those instincts are exactly right, and we’ve never needed them more.


UPDATE: Legal scholar Jack Balkin writes that if the American government has become so oligarchic as to violate the Constitution’s Guarantee Clause, citizens – like the Occupy Wall Street crowd – have a right – even a responsibility – to protest this violation vociferously.

The Guarantee Clause says that the United States shall guarantee to the states a republican form of government. It says that we are guaranteed a responsive government, a government that cares about the 99 percent, not a government that is of the 1 percent, by the 1 percent and for the 1 percent.

The ideals (and the fears) of the framers are still relevant today; the wisdom of the Guarantee Clause still applies. If government no longer pays attention to the vast majority of its citizens; if the government has been hijacked by the most wealthy and powerful in the country to perpetuate and expand their wealth and power; if the agencies of government have been derailed from their constitutional obligation to “promote the General Welfare,” then we no longer live under a republican form of government, and the government we have is no longer consistent with the United States Constitution.

A broken government, unresponsive to the public, is more than a misfortune. It is a violation of our basic charter– our Constitution.

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5 Responses to “Above all, this blog has tried to chronicle…”

  1. theprofessor Says:

    Right, Pete

  2. theprofessor Says:

    Jack’s smack is the kind of leftist college-prof hyperbole that makes us into a laughingstock. Governments at all levels pour money into the pockets of the 99%–Social Security, disability, AFDC, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, housing subsidies, Pell grants, and so on and on and on and on. I keep thinking that American academia can’t discredit itself any more than it already has. Then I discover that it has excavated a new sub-basement.

  3. theprofessor Says:

    Even more from the movement that is shaking the foundations of the republic.

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    tp: I’m beginning to pick up on the fact that you’re not enthusiastic about this movement or its ideas. I myself am ambivalent, but as you see I’m exploring it.

  5. theprofessor Says:

    By all means keep exploring, UD. I am inclined to doubt that there is a pony buried under this particular big heap, though.

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