My View From The Country

Dissecting The Fringe Elements

With good information and some effort, we can work with and win to our side the majority of these groups’ supporters.

The longer I study the fringe elements in this country, and the leaders who drive these activist groups, the more obvious it becomes that we’ll never be able to address the concerns of all the players. However, we can address the concerns of most of their supporters, who mostly are driven by pure motives even if they aren’t armed with accurate information.

I think that, with good information and some effort, we also can work with and win to our side the majority of these people because they’re truly concerned about the environment, food safety, animal welfare and the like. Dealing with the leadership, however, is a different matter.

It’s amazing to me that the rhetoric of the leadership is almost universal – it’s anti-big business, anti-big bank, anti-big oil, anti-big food. These folks are more than anti-establishment, they’re against anyone deemed to have any power, or who has achieved any success in the current system.

Initially, I thought it was envy combined with immense ego that drove this fervor and tendency to consider anyone holding a contrary view as inherently evil. And, one can detect some of that in their opinions.

But, increasingly, it appears the populist views of the leadership of these groups are designed to manipulate others more than drive an agenda. They’re truly convinced that the elite are part of a massive conspiracy that controls all the levers of power and manipulates them to their benefit. As a result, they believe the current political and economic systems must be completely revamped.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has made the phrase “99%ers” famous as a reflection of its views, but the membership isn’t all cut from the same cloth. We must understand and exploit the major disconnect between the leaders of these groups and their followers. That is that the followers, in most part, aren’t opposed to the majority of the values and beliefs that our society has been based on. Rather, they’re merely worried about effecting positive change within the system.

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.

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Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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