Monthly Archives: October 2017
Economics is not a religion.
In studying the current tax reform legislation being considered by our nation I realized that the Republican Party relies on “faith based” economics. It has nothing to do with facts, history, case studies or examples from other countries. It is simply the “belief” in free markets. That faith remains un-swerved by any clash with reality.
That faith gives a warm fuzzy feeling of importance… our representatives love to huff up their chests and profess their faith. But where is it really leading us? Does this free market thing have an enlightened soul of truth, beauty and love? Is it going to envelope us in a blissful prosperity with no downside? Do we even know?
The reality is that there is no such thing as a free market. A market, by its very definition, is a system of regulations. Money is highly regulated from it’s very conception.
For instance: we can’t just print our own money. If we do, they throw us in jail. That’s a regulation. The things we are allowed to buy and sell are highly regulated. We can’t buy and sell people. That’s a regulation. We can’t buy and sell murder for hire. That’s a regulation.
Our very concept of free market STARTS with regulations… regulations that we agree upon as a nation. The reality is that these are protections: a series of agreements designed to protect the regular guy. It protects us from having our daughters kidnapped and sold, and from your ex-wife deciding to eliminate you on a whim
Any idea of “free market” starts as a lie.
Arguing about free markets is nothing more than a deflection from the real issue. What we should be arguing about is what set of rules we want to make around money. Our only real question should be: How do we make a society in which human beings can flourish?
Instead of arguing about free markets let’s argue about what happens when we have particular laws in place: Who benefits? Who loses? Or the most important question of all: Does anyone know? Has this ever been tried?
Otherwise we are constantly stuck in a loop of arguing about something that does not exist, and we have no idea how deep into disfunction our representatives are willing to take us to fulfill their belief… in nothing.
We are no longer a Christian nation, and it’s our own fault. It’s not the Muslims; it’s not the blacks; it’s not the Jews or Catholics; it’s not the Hindus (who are all over the place too, you know.) Nope. It’s us. We’ve become so mean, so closed minded, so high-and-mighty, that we’ve simply handed off any kind of moral high ground. We’ve completely lost the ability to take off our sandals and enter a stranger’s house for a meal. We have turned our National Anthem into a weapon of subjugation. We pride ourselves on how deeply misinformed we can be. We worship leaders whose only God is money. We don’t care about the earth; we despise the educated; we don’t care about anyone who doesn’t fit in our box.
Yes. We’ve done it to ourselves.
It’s no wonder that young people are flocking away from the church, that our generation of home study youth are floating lost and confused through society, that our families are falling apart. All that proselytizing has driven a wedge. How many of us have a family member who won’t speak to us any longer? How deep are we willing to go into this confusion of angry righteousness that we have sown?
The world is watching us with shock and awe. We’ve driven our government to dysfunction. We live in an atmosphere of daily chaos.
So as the holiday season comes upon us, and we prepare to go to war with Christmas cards and greetings. As we prepare to sling sharp barbs of criticism and all those “Say Amen and Share” posts over how people wish to greet us, maybe we should pause. Maybe we should listen a bit. Maybe we just try to be happy for the holidays.
We’ve lost a battle for our souls. This isn’t a Christian nation any longer. It’s our own fault and no one else’s. Where are we going to go from here?
Dear angry white men,
Every blessing you have enjoyed your whole life has come because of all the rest of us. Yes, you are angry and you are not seeing what we do for you, but it’s there all the same. Maybe you lost a job when our economy crashed, or maybe you didn’t manage to get every bit of success that you once imagined, and certainly you don’t see it, but you are surrounded by goodness and beauty that our entire civilization has created for you.
You have running water available, and electricity. You have schools, and bridges, and a clean library that you can walk into. You have stores full of goods. You can go downtown and get your hair cut; you can drive your car through a line and get a meal handed to you straight into the driver’s seat. There have been mothers, and wives, and women down at the church, behind the checkout counters, and in the schools helping you your whole life. Strong workers of every kind are out there picking food, moping floors and helping silently behind the scenes. There are bus drivers and taxi drivers poised and ready each day to drive you places when you need. You can easily get someone to clean your car or mow your lawn.
You have always felt safe walking down the street.
I want to repeat that: you have always felt safe walking down the street.
There are no armed soldiers mounting the ridge over your home. Our governments function. Your city is managed by people who make sure: that water and sewers run correctly, that police are funded and trained, that schools are in session, that parks are available and clean. State officials are keeping roads safe, managing school systems, providing unemployment and state services. Our national government provides us with protected wild areas for hunting, rivers and streams are monitored so they are clean and healthy.
Yes you are angry, but look around. The rest of us are working every day so that you can have all these things… so that we can all have these things.
White nationalism is threatening to destroy democracies across the globe. Those of us who are on the other side of your anger know will happen if you destroy the systems that have brought our country such wealth. If we don’t work together we fall together. The rest of us live even more on the edge than you do, so we can envision what happens when the health and safety of our country is destroyed.
Please don’t destroy us all.
- The first reason is the most important: Being afraid of negativity is a viscous cycle that’s going to ruin you and the people around you. The minute you are “against” negativity you have allowed yourself to become negative about negativity. It’s simply madness. Every time you perceive something as negative you will have to lash out at the people around you… it’s going to piss everyone off, you will be isolated, and you’ll probably never see your own hypocrisy. Because people never see their OWN hypocrisy.
- Negativity has to exist. Without it you can’t have positivity. And even if there is some perfect future society that will eventually be created where we can all be happy… we aren’t there yet. So in today’s world you have to deal with it. Ignoring bad things does not make them go away, it just enables them to flourish.
- If you choose to avoid negativity (or pretend that you can) then you are basically retreating to your own little, insulated, happy world and leaving the rest of us to deal with the necessity of fixing our extremely broken world. You choosing not to respond to the craziness that has engulfed our society is giving more power to the crazies. Your silence is their victory.
- And finally… something directly about you: Life’s tensions make us strong (both individually and collectively). Every time a person engages honestly with the world, takes up the battle and strives for peace and justice, they become stronger. It doesn’t have to be a perfect post, or cleverest protest sign, or most Buddha-like stature… even crazy stuff like throwing a fit, being sarcastic, crying, taking a knee when you are black… even if you do it wrong, you still gain soul strength. It’s learning. It’s growth. It’s becoming a spiritual warrior.
- Actually there is a fifth reason too… we need you. Please don’t abandon everyone else because you are afraid of negativity.