We Are the Change
By Richard Girard
I am going to start by quoting from my 30 November 2012 OpEdNews article "Crass Materialism :"
"Noted economist John Maynard Keynes stated in the book Essays in Persuasion(1931; chapter 5, 'The Future'), 'For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still.' Keynes also argued that the 'love of money,' and all of the other vices associated with greed would have to continue until the world's economy has grown enough to satisfy human wants and provide the potential for removing poverty from the economic equation.
We can no longer afford to wait a century from when Keynes made his statement, now less than fifteen years away. If we do, there may be no civilization left from which to 'remove poverty;' only the impoverished dregs of what was once a scientifically advanced human culture, fighting over the remaining scraps. As Socrates observed two-and-a-half millennia ago, 'Wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires. All wars are undertaken for the acquisition of wealth; and the reason why we have to acquire wealth is the body, because we are slaves in its service.' (Quoted from Plato's Phaedo, section 65c--66e.) With almost nothing left, the survivors may be fighting for everything with nuclear weapons.
Our materialistic society is proving destructive of humanity's best interests. Whether you wish to use the free market materialism of the Austrian and Chicago Schools of Economics, or the dialectic materialism of Karl Marx's Communism, neither is providing the answers we need for our future survival. When you put things ahead of people, it will always prove destructive of the needs of humankind--both individually and collectively--and of the dignity of the human race itself. Marx at least had a noble motive behind his ideas: the opportunity for everyone to fully develop their human potential. The followers of von Mises, von Hayek, and Friedman simply desire to create a world in which social Darwinism was codified, and a permanent class system of rich and poor established.
Materialism in any form is easy to sell to the average person, even one who imagines himself to be deeply spiritual, whether the faith is in God or in some amorphous, inexplicable future. These are the reasons the spiritual descendants of John Calvin--and to some extent Martin Luther--use the beliefs of 'predestination" and "the elect' to such devastating effect upon their sheep-like Fundamentalist followers. If you are not wealthy, it is because you are not right with God."
"You say you want a revolution,
Well you know,
We'd all want to change the world;