Tuesday, March 05, 2013

All about nothing

By Carl

I really got nothing today, so I'm just going to whine.

I'm frustrated, because the world that should be shaping up by all rights and by all evidence seems to be taking forever to move forward even a little.

The obstructionist tactics of those who oppose this great evolution in thinking are desperate and silly, and will only delay the inevitable, costing any number of avoidable costs. These changes will come, to be sure, but in the meantime, people who could benefit from them are starving and homeless, jobless and helpless.

This saddens me. God gave us a world to protect, to steward, and we have dropped the ball badly.

Footprints on Mars. Cleaner skies and water. All people living the dream of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," just as our Founders demanded, pledging their lives, sacred honor, and fortunes to achieve. Freedom meant more to them than money.

We've lost that ideal. We've lost the American dream. It's been warped into the shabby British saying, "I got mine, Jack."

That's not freedom. That's slavery. That's what conservatives want us to hold onto, to be enslaved to our wallets and bank accounts.

This all makes Jesus' life that much more poignant, if you think about it: he demanded his disciples give up all worldly things, that God would provide. Imagine how Jesus would react to this latest craze of tallying up dollar bills? I can't help but think He'd not be too pleased.

Too, our Founding Fathers might have a go at us for this attitude. Ben Franklin was all about saving pennies. I wonder how he'd feel about the squanderings all of us, but particularly the wealthy, commit in the name of "freedom."

And it's hard to opt out of it. Sure, we all know stories of the guy who clips coupons and buys second hand suits, and still has a rotary phone, but it takes dedication and stamina and let's face facts: who wants to live like that? I'm sure for every success story like that, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of people who tried and realized, "This isn't for me."

There's nothing wrong with that. The fault lies in our stars, literally. We worship celebrities who have no competitive advantage over us beyond a slightly better physiognomy and much less shame. We treat rich people like rock stars, as if someone having a bigger bank account will confer some boon upon us.

Oh, they might but like the guy who scrimps and saves, for every single one who benefits from largesse of those eating at the table, there are tens of millions fighting for the crumbs scattered about the floor.

This is trickle-down economics. There has to be a better way.

I've often written of the confluence of Marxism and capitalism, at least as proposed by Adam Smith originally. Today, I'm more convinced than ever that this is the direction we need to move in. No more corporations. No more "Too big too fail." No more shirking responsibility off onto society when things go bad, but when things are good, suddenly everything is "Mine! Mine! Mine!"

I have no problem with claiming what's rightly yours, but that includes mistakes and you get to have yours only after you've paid fealty to the things that got you to the point of earning serious coin: the society around you. This means if you're going to have layoffs, you're going to think long and hard, because those workers are basically your partners, either in the workplace or in the community. If you're going to pollute, you're going to be the one to clean it up, and not pay some fine to the town. And so on.

That's freedom, and it comes with the acknowledgement that you owe a debt to society that never ends. Indeed, all money is debt. It's just comes in a form that can be easily traded.

We have to stop deluding ourselves and start informing ourselves and each other. This is the future coming at us, and none of us has ever been there before. We should have our eyes open.   

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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