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Ethan Couch: An Example of the Pathology of Wealth

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Every now and then an event happens that illustrates a specific sickness in our society. For instance, the Trayvon Martin case, when George Zimmerman was able to take a young man's life and walk, put our racism on full display.

Now we have Ethan Couch, the 16 year old from Ft. Worth, Texas who killed four people and seriously injured several others and will walk away from this tragedy with a slap on the wrist.

In the Couch case, it's because his family has enough wealth to not only create this irresponsible child, but also to re-enforce his pathology.

He is a victim of an illness that is destroying this country and the democracy we all love to brag about. It's, in Chris Hedges' words, "the pathology of wealth." A pathology manifest in our adulation of the super rich; allowed by the unexamined belief that our day will come and we will join their ranks. Why? Because we still believe in an American dream that's been dying for the last four decades.

Meanwhile, while we wait, the country is taken over by corporations who own the government and bend its actions to their own will -- supported by corporate media conglomerates who manage the news in a way that we only see and hear the propaganda that maintains the façade -- maintained by the billions of dollars of political bribes euphemistically called contributions so politicians do the bidding of the wealthy -- defended by an activist Supreme Court of appointees who know who their friends are.

But how long can this façade stay in place when there are symptoms so obviously pathological as this hapless child who kills and mains others and is shamelessly protected by his family's wealth?

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This is not his first time. He has been caught in a criminal act before, which confirms Mr. Hedges' comment, that the poor get one chance but the wealthy get as many chances as they need. And if you still don't believe that, check out C student, drunkard, and draft dodger, George W. Bush's many chances to succeed before he was appointed president of the United States by the Supreme Court.

After all, when you have enough money, your value as a human goes up and other human beings become disposable. Don't believe me? Read about how the Republican party is working to eviscerate social programs so the 1 percent can keep more of their taxable money and corporations can continue to enjoy government subsidies and hide their profits in tax shelters.

The most revealing aspect to the Couch incident is that it demonstrates how this ideology, i.e., the pathology of wealth is being taught to children. Here is a child who has killed people while in a drunken stupor whose punishment will include rehabilitation in a California facility that will cost his father $450,000 per year.

This pathology has even broader and deeper ramifications. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee is a good example of what I mean. "It has jurisdiction over environmental, energy, and science policy, but its Republican leadership is largely made up of climate deniers. Specifically, 17 out of 22 Republican members, or 77 percent, deny that climate change is occurring or that humans are the cause, despite overwhelming support from the scientific community that says otherwise. This probably comes as a relief to the fossil fuel industry, which altogether has given the Republican members of the committee $3,418,079 in career contributions."

So 16 year old Ethan Couch, outrageously obvious as a tragic victim of his parents' wealth, is simply the canary in the mineshaft.

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The whole human race is in danger of annihilation because of the pathology of wealth, but the fossil fuel industry continues to purchase its own politicians to be sure we don't harm their profitability as they accelerate our demise.

But don't worry. Someday, we'll all be billionaires and enjoy the privileges we deserve.

Robert De Filippis

 

Author, columnist and blogger with a long career in business management, management consulting and executive coaching. I am a certified ontological coach. I've studied clinical therapeutic practices in Gestalt psychology and am a Certified Birkman (more...)
 

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Ethan Couch: An Example of the Pathology of Wealth

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The way I see it, sir: you (all) will be stripped ... by Ad Du on Monday, Dec 16, 2013 at 1:00:19 PM
I think Ad Du is right.  It's gone so far bey... by Derryl Hermanutz on Monday, Dec 16, 2013 at 2:56:24 PM
It's well and good to point out that wealth allows... by Robert S. Becker on Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 at 10:15:37 AM
Sorry Robert, I need a bit more meat on this one. ... by Robert De Filippis on Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 at 10:59:36 AM
That some rich people do go to jail and that our j... by Robert S. Becker on Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 at 11:36:31 AM
Much clearer to me now. My problem, not yours. But... by Robert De Filippis on Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 at 2:11:58 PM
Your main thesis (and Madoff etc) notwithstanding,... by Robert S. Becker on Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 at 2:13:14 PM
Maybe there is hope. And maybe some of us are... by Bob Davey on Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013 at 10:05:56 PM
Thanks for the details. I stand corrected on my ge... by Robert De Filippis on Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 at 9:07:40 AM
Hey, we have to keep each other honest, though you... by Robert S. Becker on Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 at 9:35:11 AM
This is encouraging.... by Robert De Filippis on Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 at 10:14:32 AM
In a democratic society, bowing down to the wealth... by Joy Zocco on Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 at 11:45:12 PM
If religion were a thing that money could buy The... by David Chester on Tuesday, Dec 24, 2013 at 11:13:21 AM