Friday, September 03, 2010

Cancer?! Are You Sure It's Cancer?

Ed and I have been having one hell of a time debating politics on facebook. As part of my pledge to not spill my political seed (as it were) on the dusty ground of facebook, I report here parts of an exchange (with edits) that held my attention for far too many hours this week:

Ed writes:

The US government is a lethargic, cancerous growth that continues to sap the vitality out of the country via taxes and is one of the most inefficient allocator [sic] of resources that exists.

To which the GTL replies:

If our government is a cancer, then the Constitution is the original mutated cell itself. I reject this, in the strongest possible terms. I believe, as the Preamble instructs us both, that the purpose of our government is to always strive toward a more perfect union, without corruption, which protects the welfare of all, and in which any one individual is equal in the eyes of the law to any other.

There is nothing cancerous about the Constitution.

If you think the government is a cancer, then you obviously must not agree that our nation has an exceptional destiny in the world. Remember, the United States of America is not a piece of land (the land was here first). It is not the people (there is no special American "race" or "gene"). The one and only thing that makes our nation great is the government for which the founding fathers devised the blueprint, with its emphasis on individual rights and the rule of law, the system of checks and balances, and the guarantee of equality.

With all due respect, and I mean that sincerely Ed, that kind of inflammatory rhetoric will only convince impressionable types that government cannot be fixed or improved, or worse, that it shouldn't be improved as a matter of principle. Once again, I reject this view, principally because the Constitution itself, in its Mission Statement - The Preamble -- seems likewise to reject it.

The cancer is greed, not government
. Your favorite book does not say, "inefficient, bureaucratic government, with its expensive entitlement programs that discourage free markets and individual initiative, is the root of all evil." No. The Bible quite presciently (given how small an amount of money actually existed in ancient times) identifies the love of money as the root of all evil.

And so we know what evil looks like. And no one loves money more than those who choose to make the pursuit of tremendous loads of it their life's work. And the Mecca of those who put money first is Wall Street.

I KNOW you meet lots of people in your line of work about whom you must have serious moral and ethical concerns. I, on the other hand, know only a handful of investment bankers, venture capitalists, insurance executives, etc. Nevertheless, though the sample is small, they all say the same thing, with only slight variations:

Fuck the government.

Fuck the poor.

If I don't want to share I don't have to.

They acknowledge the failure of supply-side "Voodoo" Reaganomics, but want it to continue because it benefits them and their class.

And they all vote Republican.

Are you in, or are you out? With the Rich, or with the rest? Jesus chose his side. What side will YOU choose?

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