Bud Hill: A greed-based society
April 9, 2009
I used to write the occasional editorial for SON usually in response to something noteworthy from someone else. But the recent political drivel has turned the editorial pages of SDN into a damp Kleenex at the end of flu season ” hardly worth the blow.
Though the editorial subjects seem political, their substance isn’t about life or liberty but the pursuit of “property” (John Locke) disguised as “happiness.” The more accomplished writers the more hidden the spin: I worked hard for it; I deserve it; and no one has a right to take what’s mine!
The most hideous form of greed is that which is enmeshed in the self-righteous pursuit of happiness that translates into the accumulation of stuff (“he who has the most toys in the end wins”). The catalytic converter in this New Republicanism within neo-democracy is a manifest destiny based upon a GNP translatable only in terms of affluence, convenience and comfort.
Three and a half trillion plus $769 billion when combined with a credit card “currency” transferable into the frozen “assets” of increased savings will provide a framework for an economy that will bring with it enough of a financial amnesia to forget about past bonuses and the AIGs and Enrons of yester year.
Like evolution, pushing the consequences of debt and deficit into the far distance land of tomorrow’s tomorrows will secure the necessary pseudo-psychosis of consumer confidence to exchange our future for a present day reprieve. I wonder how long it will be before bumper stickers reinvent themselves on the back of half-milliondollar RVs from “I’m spending my grandchildren’s inheritance” to something a little less abrasive?
This society has sold its soul in the pursuit of stuff, at the expense of its progeny, while seeking to scapegoat whoever represents it politically or economically. Don’t like what I’m saying? Wonder if I have the right to say anything at all? Want to do something about it?
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Why don’t you divest yourself, at least in your thinking, of all the stuff you have that provides you the comfort and convince you feel entitled to? Who are you now? Where do your securities come from … your insecurities? The way out?
After the Civil War was over and the South had lost. The greatest general to have fought in the Civil War was quoted as saying: “All ground is level at the foot of the cross.” His name didn’t start with U.S. and he was never elected president nor did his face find itself on green back currency. He pretty much lived out the rest of his life in anonymity. But history vindicated him. And, so do I. His name was Robert E. Lee.
Right now the battlefield of the next generation finds itself on level ground. The question is will we gather there together in the equality of a common cause or will we pack our carpetbags with stuff and get ready to pitch our wares in hopes of selling refrigerators to the next generation of Eskimos immigrating out of Alaska or Mexico?