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The Uncomfortable Absence of Safety

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The right-wing nut cases who constitute the militias and the other previously listed far right domestic movements from which the vast majority of our terrorists spring, are often times the same people who have been most seriously harmed economically by the unscrupulous practices of Big Business in terms of their lives and livelihoods. They're the small businessman who was put out of business by Wal-Mart or Home Depot. They're the factory worker whose job and factory was shipped to China, or India, or Mexico. They're the construction worker who can't find a job because all the major contractors are bidding union costs on labor, hiring illegal immigrants at half price, and pocketing the difference.

And yet these individuals, many of whom are church goers, cannot bring themselves to blame the major corporations who are at the heart of their problem. This is due in part to the pernicious influence of John Calvin and his "Doctrine of the Elect," on so much of the psyche of the America. It is a subject that I first touched upon five years ago in my December 2004 article "Madness," for, and then republished January 29, 2009, here at

Calvin's doctrine is one--borrowing here from "Madness"--which says that the eternally saved are predestined to prosper on Earth and be welcomed in Heaven. This idea has long been used by the rich to justify their greed and inhumanity to the less fortunate. Or to quote John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (from Ron Chenrow's book Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.; 1998; p, 46), "I believe the power to make money is a gift from God to be developed to the best of our ability for the good of mankind. Having been endowed with the gift I possess, I believe that it is my duty to make money and still more money, and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience"[my ledgers are] sacred books that guide decisions and saved one from fallible emotions."

This is a doctrine that stands in broad contradiction to the one espoused by Jesus of Nazareth in his Sermon on the Mount, not to mention the Works of Corporeal Mercy expressed by Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica. John Calvin's essential doctrine is this: that those who are poor are not among the Elect and are destined for the pits of Hell, so we may ignore their problems, for they are the problems of the already damned. This form of materialism has lead to a society best described by British author John Berger: "The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing."

So, these right-wing, potential domestic terrorists feel guilt, because they are not among those blessed with prosperity by God. They have somehow been weighed in the balance and found wanting. It cannot be the fault of the rich (except of course the rich Christ-killing Jews and God-denying liberal atheists, who got their wealth by selling their souls), for they are "God's elect." It must be the Devil and his left-wing henchmen, using the "mud people," and their desire for equality, to drag all of the good right-wing white folk down to their level.

This is the lie that they have been taught their entire lives, by right wing demagogues from Father Coughlin and Strom Thurmond, to Karl Rove and Glen Beck. It's not the white right-wingers fault, or the fault of the rich corporate owners who sent all of the good paying jobs overseas in the interest of one extra cent of profit per share. No, it is the fault of all of the lefties and "mud people" who have ever demanded that the status quo be changed, so that America might become a place where we could find, "liberty and justice for all."

The only way to end domestic terrorism is by renewing the American Dream. All Americans must come to understand that a white mechanic in Queens has much more in common with the black mechanic in Harlem, than he does the white stockbroker in Manhattan. We have to cease permitting the rich from playing off one group of Americans against another. We must strip the rich of their excess political power by taking their money out of the electoral equation. We must re-establish our manufacturing base in order to make certain we have decent jobs for future generations of Americans. We must also provide affordable, comprehensive, universal health care for all Americans so that our industries are no longer at a disadvantage when competing with other western democracies.

Ultimately, we must restore hope and dignity, to places that have not seen their light in many years. We cannot allow our circumstances to become worse, because I am not certain our nation would survive such a tragedy.

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Richard Girard is a polymath and autodidact whose greatest desire in life is to be his generations' Thomas Paine. He is an FDR Democrat, which probably puts him with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in the current political spectrum. His answer to (more...)

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