This Fall, we will be electing, from a
self-limiting pool of 2 candidates, the President of the United States. We will
either choose the Republican "Greed Gone Wild" candidate or the
Democratic "We Do Greed Right" incumbent. The difference between them
is that one, in the name of personal liberty, wishes to free greed from the
shackles of guilt while the other wants to refine greed in order to make it
more socially acceptable. What the two candidates will have in common is that
both want to oversee a greed-driven economy. And less we pretend that we are
not complicit here, for most of us, our vote will be determined by who we think
will best help us obtain or maintain our Fantasy
Island lifestyle. That lifestyle is rightly called a fantasy
because the island we wish to live in is both severed from the real world and
unsustainable. And our lifestyle can be rightly called an island because it is
based on living in an isolated bubble rather than with the rest of the outside
Why do we tolerate a greed-driven economy with the baggage that it brings? It is because, as I am told by my fine fellow flaming fundamentalist friends who feverishly favor their own religious selfishness, greed is real. Greed is as much a part of man's nature as war--this is said with a disingenuous obliviousness to the connection between the two. So since greed is a fixed cost, we might as well try to harness it for mankind's good and our own pleasure. But what is missing from this shamelessly warm embrace of greed is a recognition of greed's inseparable companion: WAR. And war is, in an age of a technologically-driven inevitable proliferation of WMDs, a real threat to everyone's existence.
To get an idea of how central war has been to our country's existence, consider the Occupy Wall Street link on war lists most of our major conflicts--they did neglect to mention conflicts like the Korean War as well as other attacks such as the coups in Iran (1953), Guatamala (1954), and Chile (1973) as well as our terrorist war against Nicaragua during the 1980s. Historian, William Blum, has documented over 50 American interventions into other countries, since WWII, with the majority of those conflicts either interfering with a democratic process or overthrowing a democratically elected government. We can easily link our propensity to fight with greed in a couple of ways; war both provides profits for those American companies that provide goods and services that enable war and it can make the economic conditions in other lands more favorable to American companies.
Though statistics on our war years support the Biblical link between greed and fighting as described by chapter 4 of Jame's Epistle, one does not have to scapegoat war to show that greed kills. Just look up the statistics on how many Americans go without healthcare and a sufficient amount of food, or count the millions of Americans who were made homeless all because of the greed of some of our nation's financial institutions. Their avarice makes an early death inevitable for some of our fellow Americans. We should also note that today's greed will be causing tomorrow's shortages. Today's greed is causing the number of diminishing resources to increase. This can cause many to die early deaths as they either do without or they become victims of wars fought over resources.
However, greed can take away life in another way than through war and deprivation. That is right! Greed is a triple threat. Greed is giving us a world replete with growing ecological problems. Placing a higher priority on immediate profits while ignoring the growing number of ecological problems is an artist who is painting a dark ominous future for ourselves and our loved ones. The dilemma we find ourselves in is that as we fight to ensure that we have an "adequate" supply of fossil fuels, our use of these fuels is shortening our days on earth.
Certainly greed has enabled us to create colossal centers of wealth which many of us have enjoyed; but we have to ask ourselves whether greed is to our economy what a demon was to a fortune teller in Acts 16:6ff. In that story, some wealthy men exploited the possessed state of a woman because they could profit from her ability to see the future. Their sole concern was their wallet. They did not care at all for the source of their fortune. In our country, greed is producing great wealth for a number of people who, in turn, show no concern for those who incur the costs of their selfishness.
The second paragraph of The Declaration Of The Occupation Of New York City both identifies the problem with greed and gives the solution in one sentence. It says, "As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members" and " but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power." We should note here that greed doesn't mind the cooperation of a selected group of people, of those who help one hoard goods for themselves. That is not the kind of cooperation mentioned here. The cooperation called for here involves solidarity with as many people as possible..
The other part of the first sentence describe a current grim reality. Generally speaking, corporations, some of which operate as economic gangs, seek treasure regardless of what it costs others. Part of pursuing their pot of gold includes making impotent our democratic way of life. So one way by which we can give ourselves a fighting chance to survive is to restore that democratic process. To do that, we must insist that corporations must seek our consent to do anything that has any possible negative impact on our lives and that of our neighbors. And to do that, we must not only vote for those candidates who will stand against any corporate exploitation of our democratic system, a.k.a, certain third party candidates, we must constantly and publicly speak out to let our elected officials know.our demands--this is what the Occupy Movement is about.
Greed kills. And as it takes the lives of our neighbors and threatens our own, we can choose to join one of three groups. We can join those who embrace greed either partially or wholeheartedly, we can join the enablers of greed by remaining silent, or we will join the resistance by working and speaking out against greed and its effects.