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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/12/10

Ants--The Rich Man's Burden

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"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves the much higher compensation."

-- Abraham Lincoln, State of the Union message, 1861

I love Fareed Zakaria's clear eyed view of the world. His interview with, Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein was illuminating. As I watched an obviously brilliant Mr. Blankfein explain with great detail how his deals were structured, it occurred to me that while he is brilliant, that he is also oblivious to the damage that he and others in his rarified class caused. That they devastated the economy with just the seer enormity of the kind of money they were moving around was totally lost on him.

The obvious analogy that came to mind was an elephant stepping on the toes of an ant. The elephant didn't feel a thing. His response what ant? The more he talked the more convinced I became that that much economic power should never be welded by such a small group of people, when their financial brinkmanship can bring ruin to millions of others who are not even aware of the financial games being played.

Over a hundred years ago--a small (r) republican--a President worthy of the name fought against monopolies. He understood--and rightly so--the catastrophic consequences of concentrating that much wealth in the hands of anyone let alone men who are so far removed from the devastating consequences of their financial power. It took 10 years of struggle top wrest the monopolistic power from the hands of the likes of J.P. Morgan.

The proud tradition of republicanism that abolished slavery, fiercely protected individual human rights--laid out in the constitution--has vanished. It has been hijacked by intolerant, self serving, ideologues whose only purpose is to enrich themselves by selling their influence to the highest bidder. They seem to have been subverted by a small radical base that is bent on destroying this nation. They want to "drown the government in a bathtub" as one miscreant stooge put it, so that they can do as they please regardless of the consequences. Thus their mantra to deregulate everything, and privatize everything is bearing fruit, financial collapse, and concentration of wealth in the hands of a few that is unprecedented.

The inevitable drift towards concentrated wealth that has been advocated by the current crop of ideologically driven "Republicans", is a far cry and a 100+ years removed from Roosevelt's resolute steadfast stand against monopolies--that brought about a sea change--that put America on course to build a middle class that made America the envy of the world. They are the true elitist who are so far removed from the majority of decent Americans by their great wealth, they are incapable of empathy. How does one empathize with a few million ants who've been crushed? After all who wants a bunch of ants at a feast for elephants anyway?

Commentary: "The White Man's Burden"--a paternalistic--poem written by Rudyard Kipling that justified imperialism as a duty to civilize inferior races--is, I suspect not far removed from the Rich Man's attitude, that they are somehow superior by virtue of their wealth and position and that the masses of uneducated struggling humans are nothing more than a burden. Why do billionaire owners pay athletes millions while teachers are paid pittance? Why do CEO's of billion dollar banks, who produce nothing of value, earn millions in bonuses even when they bring the entire world to the brink of financial ruin? Who thinks for you? Who votes for you? The benefit of being an ant is sheer numbers. If you're tired of being trampled by elephants bite back. Do your homework--its not hard to find out whose taking money in exchange for their vote. Raise hell with you're representatives that don't represent your views. Vote out the sell outs. Take your country back. Let's rethink the paradigm. After all who carriers a bigger burden than an ant?

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I am a child of the WWII era. I have always considered myself a patriot, even when I have passionately disagreed with the policies of the government. My view is that disagreeing with the current caretakers, during any administration, is not only our (more...)
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