One of my favorite characters on the old TV series Giligan’s Island was the greedy rich guy, Thurston Howell, III. On one episode someone reminded him that in this country “all men are created equal.” “Created equal, yes,” Mr. Howell responded. “But once a man comes into money. . .” Never has the contrast in this country been more clear between those who waive the Bible around to justify their prejudice and greed, and those who wonder how in the hell we landed in this hand-basket.
It really wasn’t that sudden if you think about it. In spite of the moral facade that was painted across its surface from the beginning, the civil war was all about greed and conservatism. The economy of the South depended on slavery. When the South needed to find effective arguments to conserve the status quo, it most often resorted to scripture. They knew that if you can point to the Bible to support your argument, you no longer have to justify your position. What a convenient mechanism for exploiting children, blacks, women, Chinese immigrants and American Indians! My God said it was to be this way; so shut up and pick cotton! Once the country accepted the lie (cleverly communicated by implication rather than explicitly) that Jesus was a capitalist, everything that helps the rich make a buck is okay. Human beings take a back seat to greed because Jesus would have found anything more tolerable than socialism.
Like you, I really need to believe we have made progress toward becoming better human beings since then. But sadly, nothing has changed. The Orwellian tone of today’s most hotly debated issues is uncanny. If we step back and look at the big picture, there are two sides to the national debate.
On one side the mob is calling for respecting everyone’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Folks on this side believe the government should provide a safety net for the weak, the poor, and the less fortunate. They believe it is the govenment’s responsibility to take care of children and homeless and sick people when they have no place to turn. They believe the government should not only legalize but should support what appears to be the most promising scientific research that could lead to the cure of all of the most horrific diseases. They tend to believe the big rich guys are doing just fine and don’t need anyone to advocate for their interests. They prefer to advocate for the vast majority of people whose lives and livelihoods are at the mercy of the actions of the big guys. Some of them don’t believe in a god: but many of them do. Either way, they both share the belief that the government should not take a postition on personal issues of faith and conviction. By not placing their own defintion of God ahead of everything including common sense, they are free to evaluate moral questions objectively – with how they affect actual people in mind.
But alas, there is another side. This mob claims Jesus as its own. It proclaims love and its own definition of “grace” as the foundation of all that is important. They are all about love. But hate is okay too. The trick is that one must never admit the hate is directed toward people. A favorite mantra is “hate the sin, but love the sinner.” What a cute and deceitfully powerful catch phrase! Armed with this rhetorical device, this side can “love” homosexuals as long as they deny their own nature – as long as they force themselves to look and act like them. Almost as bad as gays (who are all heathens in their reckoning) are atheists and “liberals.” These are people who have committed the unpardonable sin of disagreeing with their version of reality and of moral conscience. Like gays, the liberals can be “saved” from their disgusting condition – but only by looking and acting like them. However, like Winston in George Orwell’s 1984, it is not good enough that they look and act like them. The change must be on the inside. They must actually believe it. This pre-requisit to salvation is vital to those who need to validate what they have chosen to believe by forcing its acceptance on everyone else.
Most of these people are not wealthy. But they have been conned into believeing that they may be someday. And they have “faith” that it will happen. So strongly do they believe it will happen, that they tend to proactively take the super wealthy side of almost every issue. They will tell you they don’t want poor people to die for lack of food or healthcare. They just don’t believe anyone else (even the richest people in the country) should have to pay for it. But if taxing the wealthiest people is the only way, then let them die. After all there is a greater “moral” principle involved. Capitalism trumps humanity every time. The only atheist these people respect is Ayn Rand. They can look past her mean-spirited atheism because she exemplified the most important attribute of all – placing the importance of greed (uhum “capitalism”) above all else.
Copyright © 2012, Rick D. Massey, JD