Libertarians Lurk Among the Occupy D.C. Protesters


Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express, suggested to Politico today that the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators should protest against the government in the nation's capitol, rather than the corporations on Wall Street. She was a day late though, as yesterday a contingent of 99 percenters began their occupation of Freedom Plaza in the heart of Washington, D.C.

And lo and behold, spotted in the crowd were several Ron Paul 2012 signs and other indications that the Occupy D.C. mob might have a bit more of a libertarian streak than its New York counterpart.

Thomas Conway, a 41-year-old government employee from Alexandria, Virginia, was sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with "Ron Paul is my homeboy." He said he does not feel at odds with the other protesters. In fact, he believes that the desires of the Occupy Wall Street movement would actually be served best by the libertarian-leaning Republican:

"The people here and Ron Paul probably agree on 70 percent of all the issues."

Calls to end the wars overseas, corporate bailouts, and the Federal Reserve, along with other libertarian-friendly causes were in evidence as well.

These rays of hope were in no way the majority, of course. For every cardboard sign demanding justice in Guantanamo Bay, others asked for the government to pay back their student loans for them.

One young protester from Arkansas said the system was keeping him from fulfilling his dream, for example, because no one would pay for the surgery he needs on his shoulder. His dream? To become a journalist. (Writing can certainly be hard on the rotator cuff.)

While the 99 percenters seemed happy to allow Conway and his libertarian minority to march alongside them, fantasies of persuading the movement to espouse free market solutions are just that.

Read more about what Reason saw at Occupy D.C.