Why are mega rich conservatives having such a hard time accepting this pope's public displays of true Christianity?
A caveat here: I'm not arguing that Christianity's teachings are true. I'm claiming that the pope's actions demonstrate a true representation of its teachings.
John Kenneth Galbraith gave us a possible answer when he wrote, "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
On a secular level, this selfishness is obvious by their worship of the morally bankrupt philosophy of Ayn Rand. But as Paul Ryan so aptly proved, she can be discarded as easily as his switch to the philosophy of St. Thomas during the presidential election cycle. One simple declaration rids the conservative mind of any historical facts.
But modern conservatives have made a decade's long program
of cornering the values market and holding themselves up as the champions of
determining right from wrong in
Now they are being embarrassed by Pope Francis' deconstruction of modern revisionist Christianity to illuminate what Jesus' teachings really mean.
I was educated in Roman Catholic institutions from grade one through university. And I recognize everything Pope Francis is saying and doing from my earliest recollections of my religious education.
He is saying and doing nothing new. If there is anything new, it is the revisionist versions of Christianity, revisions that are the perfect example of those exercises in moral philosophy to reach justification for the excesses of selfishness that permeate our world of unfettered capitalism.
Capitalism is an inanimate system and by being so it is not, per se, what promotes this moral sickness. It is the intellectually dishonest personal ruminations and fungible ethics of its captains. In other words, it is how a potentially healthy economic system is being abused.
I've written many times of the demise of healthy capitalism when Milton Friedman was granted the status of hero with his 1970 paper relieving the corporate executive of any responsibility other than to his shareholders. Intentional or not, it signaled the end of concern for employees, customers, society at large and the environment.
It's an obvious effort in cognitive dissonance reduction to search for moral justification for this kind of selfishness. And that is a hopeful sign. Because there is no dissonance to relieve in the minds of the truly mentally ill.
Regardless of what the Supreme Court said, corporations are not people but the executives who run them are. That's the good and bad news!
Good, because it offers hope that capitalism and the conservatives who promote and defend it in its current form, can change it.
Bad, because the personal rewards of keeping it as it is, counteract any attempt to make that change.
So as Pope Francis continues his efforts to bring us back to real Christian teachings, most conservative minds will make every attempt to deny them.