Greed masked as altruism

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“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open…” — Luke 8:17

“Tell the truth and stand your ground, don’t let the bastards get you down” — Kris Kristofferson

From the Bible to modern times, the effort to confront the more negative side of human nature is a never-ending battle. The overall viability of any great society can be determined by the character of its citizens and those who they choose to elect into leadership roles. The lessons of history teach that fundamental shifts in a society’s overall moral character lead to divisions that can sow the seeds of change. Positive or negative. Any society can and does reflect moral, immoral, or amoral values. History also teaches that social disintegration leads to regime change, often through violence.

There is now a new normal narrative in many media reports, implying without much conscious thought; that a new paradigm of change in social norms has transformed America. At the core of new normal thought is the concept of amoral decision-making by policy makers and leadership as opposed to decision-making based on morality.

An example would be that given the demand by consumers for the legalization of marijuana, and now other drugs, government can generate a revenue stream from a practice once considered a vice and detrimental to the overall well-being of citizens, and thus the country.

Another example would be the issue of technology. Leadership has a constitutional duty to uphold all of our rights. In a Jan. 19, 2020, article, The New York Times reported that a tech startup company owned by Australian Hoan Ton-That has marketed an app called Clearview. This is in use by law enforcement and by anyone who cares to purchase it. A person with this app can take a cell-phone picture of anyone, anywhere, and retrieve every database image of that person. The issue of drones that can fly anywhere has been left unresolved and the silence of our legislators is deafening. It really is the money, honey.

Mark Galli penned an editorial Dec. 19, 2019, in Christianity Today, titled “Trump Should Be Removed from Office.” If you are unfamiliar with the article and you value intellectual honesty you should read it. It is an example of an individual who put his faith above the crowd. The crowd that demands a win at any cost, because the alternative is unthinkable. It’s about the Supreme Court, stupid. What do you think that the Democrats will do with the Supreme Court hanging in the balance?

Over the Christmas holiday there was a car in a parking lot that had a sign taped to the window that read, “Keep your Theocracy out of my Democracy.” Reading that sign I thought about how the United States is a republic with a system of checks and balances to sustain a free people. When the Constitution was written, it was understood that morality was a fiber of our existence. It is what separates us from other species. In the wild, it is primal strength that determines the pecking order. In a free and just society, it is our morality, our intellect, and our abilities that keep us free. I will choose to believe the Supreme Court should be about which laws are constitutional versus ones that are not. Congress has a history of passing laws that violate the constitution.

The increasing polarization of the court by political parties may be the greatest threat of all. The other two branches of our government are increasingly dysfunctional and have been for quite some time. Our morality is being tested.

As a people, one of our greatest strengths has been the ability to recognize that greed and lying are symptoms of an ill person that eventually result in self-destruction. The problem today is that greed and lying have become an acceptable pathway to success, and to hell with the collateral damage to our society.

There is no shortage of people, businesses, government agencies and nonprofits, telling Americans how much they care. Caring has become the new brass ring of opportunism. Volunteerism used to mean that one performed a task out of a desire to do good; to contribute your time, labor, or money to an endeavor one thought worthwhile, at no monetary compensation.

Oh, but it is so much smarter if you can get paid for it.

I once read a story that the actor Paul Newman started a charitable organization that had a stellar reputation for extremely low overhead costs. One of his daughters thought she should get paid for her work with the organization. As I recall the story, Newman conveyed to her in no uncertain terms that if she wanted a job, she should go get one.

Amen.

Valerie Maez writes from Lewis, Colo.

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From Valerie Maez.