Sunday, November 02, 2008

That Religiosity Factor

The deadly combination of right wing religiosity with libertarian economics seems to have produced a real killer for America's right wing. Righteous greed has become the core of something that mercifully has brought about its own end. I guess it being Sunday, I can be allowed a little sermon.

The element of righteousness brought into greed by (Ayn) Randian ideology manifests itself in the attitude that it's right to prevent easy access to comfort. Making it a struggle to support your family was supposed to increase effort, to goad on the worker to greater effort, to increase the national well-being.

That cutoff of any individual from making a living without clawing his/her way up has achieved a real boost from the occupied White House, with its use of the national trough to reward only the richest. At the same time, salaries and benefits have been cut off. The whole attitude that the everyday person is faulty and needs to be incentivized by deprivation has been a real sop to the very rich. It gives a religious quality to wealth acquisition. By limiting the number who can achieve comfort, the superachiever gets increasingly great profits, and by making this society's goad, simple humanity gets kicked out the door to those profits.

Supposedly, this was good for our society. Wrong.

Over eight years of the religion of greed the nation has been put back into the kind of feudal relationships that kept the middle ages in darkness. When a very few can dictate their place, and essentially enslave, the majority of workers, achievement can be denied to those who can only give their hard work. When the justice system is brought into the service of power brokers, any opposition to that essential injustice can be very hazardous.

The 'moral hazard' resulting from what should be seen on its surface as wrong, that I am amused to hear now used as accusation against bad stewardship of public monies, was there all along. It is libertarian ideology that postulates greed is good, because adding to wealth of the few makes jobs and wealth for all. That has been shown to be totally wrong, but if the religious worship of wealth hadn't been generated by our government in all its policies, that moral hazard would have been obvious from the beginning.

Of course, what made the U.S. the most prosperous nation in history was the ability of anyone, everyone, to make the effort, attain comfort, and collectively raise the national prosperity. By cutting that off and insisting that only the obsessed could really get there, Randian philosophy denied access to the majority of the public.

It is good to watch the religion of greed fall, even though it has entailed a total collapse of our economy. What we see around us is the collapse that making greed into a religion has caused.

We are starting from pretty far back, but by proving greed is everything we knew by instinct and humanity it was, we are beyond a huge obstacle in the path to civilization.

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