Nichole Hungerford

Berkeley: The Confluence of Myopic Idealism and Reality

Posted on March 6 2010 4:22 pm
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Young, enormously privileged college students are yet again exercising their latest favored entitlement: Fomenting mass unrest and destroying property because they just don’t feel they should have to pay for the generous benefits rightfully afforded to them by their welfare state utopia.

The Berkeley “struggle” is comical. Students, undoubtedly stoked by their increasingly irrelevant, dried-up leftist faculty mentors, invoke language of a bygone era to elevate what is little more than a puerile fit over tuition hikes to something like protesting war or racial segregation. In reality, there could be no better display of bourgeois selfishness, as the Wall Street Journal notes,

“We have here the vocabulary of the peace movement, of the struggle for decent conditions for migrants and other exploited workers, and of the civil-rights movement. Yet what did the protesters demand? Peace? Human rights? No. Money. And for whom? For the downtrodden and oppressed? No. For themselves.”

Yet the predominately upper-middle class students cannot help but take the opportunity to appreciate how truly “connected to the workers” their moment of petulance makes them feel. They too, are now victims of oppressive capitalism. “All of us are united as workers, students and community members. Our movement is national and international.” Said Nancy Kato, assistant registrar at the university’s Boalt Hall in a bit of scarcely concealed New Left rhetoric. “Tax the rich and the big businesses!” She cried. One wonders what Nancy thinks the state government has been doing all this time to make California one of the highest taxing and least business friendly states.

More disconcerting is perhaps the eerily similar sentiment of the Berkeley protests to the civil unrest in European countries like Greece. Namely, when the rich are tapped out and you’ve no more capitalistic boogeymen to exploit, everyone has to shoulder the burden. The problem is, nobody wants to cut back, and nobody wants to pay.

Luckily, the government is there to make those decisions. Far from being the hapless victims of a cruelly indifferent capitalist machine, denizens of Berkeley are the witless victims of a cruelly indifferent entitlement-logged bureaucracy. Students are, in fact, learning a lesson in what welfare state “solidarity” really is. Everyone feels the pinch — the rich, big business owners, middle class families, and yes, even yuppie college kids.

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