Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rich conservatives need to get their priorities straight

Greed and Jesus: Conservatives and the Rich
Just Don’t Get It

Cognitive dissonance is a person’s brain trying to decipher two contradicting realities. An example of this is often seen in an abusive relationship, where the man/woman obviously understands there’s abuse from their significant other, yet they love them anyway. Often their brain will then develop excuses for such action. It’s their fault or the other person has just been under a lot of stress. The reality is their brain simply cannot accept two different realities that contradict, so it creates another. This is never more prevalent than when it comes to conservatives and Christianity, the benchmark for which their entire movement is based. Still, they push policies that contradicts much of what Jesus taught.

Their entire economic policy states that we need to give more to those that have in order for the rest of us to enjoy the windfall of their generosity through increases in revenue. Let that sink in for a second. An economic policy based upon this notion: “If we feed greed more it will then benefit the rest of society.” When has greed ever benefited a society? So what does the Bible say about greed? “He that loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loves abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10) It becomes a driving obsession to acquire still more. Once the acquiring has happened, then comes the need to protect what has been acquired. This is selfishness and it is sin, as it is written: “There was a man all alone, he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. 'For whom am I toiling', he asked, 'and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?' This too is meaningless – a miserable business!”(Ecclesiastes 4:8)

Once the greed-driven have acquired and protected everything in sight, they begin to covet still more. They are not satisfied with all they have; their eye is on all that they don’t have, as it is written, “Then Jesus said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”. (Luke 12:15) This coveting begets more greed, the greed begets more selfishness, and the selfishness begets more coveting and so on to madness. “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.” (Ecclesiastes 5:12) By this point, there is no room left for God. Money is now the master of the house, as it is written, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)

Seems pretty straight forward. Greed is perpetual, and it feeds on itself, generating ever increasing amounts or degrees of greed and selfishness. The more one has the more they want. Isn’t that what we’ve seen in the last 30 years? Isn’t this what “Trickle Down Economics” has given us? In the last 30 years the Top 1% has grown exponentially, never more so than in the last decade. Yet what has it brought us? Economic failure caused by a cadre of millionaires crying out that they need even more. Many of the same businesses that proved in the 90′s, even with higher taxes, that they could yield historic growth are now fighting a return to those very same tax levels. They now claim economic prosperity isn’t obtainable at those “job destroying” levels of taxation. The fact is, they’re right. Their economic prosperity cannot be sustained at a higher level of taxation. The more we fed into this myth of Trickle Down Economics, the more lower taxes benefited them, the more they expect to expand their greedy nature. To raise their taxes would mean their giant profits would probably be taken down to just, well, big profits.

This isn’t about these businesses making profits, they can easily do that, but they want larger profits. What they had in the 90′s is no longer good enough, they want more. Of course it’s impossible to return to the very same tax rates that brought us the best economic growth in our history, because then their greed would have to return to a lower level, and as the Bible says, greed is perpetual and never ends. We gave them more and now their solution to fix our problems? You guessed it, they want even more! Isn’t that exactly what the Bible warns will happen? Did we not have wealthy Americans in the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s? The answer is yes, they just weren’t as wealthy. Trickle Down Economics was the catalyst for the acceptance of greed. It gave those with the most more and any mention of taking it back is met with a horrific depictions of economic Armageddon.

Does it make any sense? Why would we face economic disaster by returning to tax rates that had no problem making millions of Americans a lot of money? The answer is simple: Greed. We’ve gave them access to reach unheard of levels of wealth. We’ve allowed them to see year to year profit as insufficient; they want larger profits. Success for next year is based on beating the success of last. As the Bible says, it is perpetual and never ending. How does this make any sense? Jesus warned that money is the root of all evil, and the apostle Paul wrote that the “love of money” is the cause of all evil. The Bible states repeatedly that greed leads to madness. Yet here we sit with one of the two most powerful political parties, in the strongest nation on earth, supporting an idea that we need to support greed or else face economic destruction.

And there you have it, cognitive dissonance. The reality is that exactly what the Bible said would happen did happen. Yet their political ideology completely contradicts the realities we’ve seen and those the Bible supports. They preach Christian values at the same time they advocate a policy that says giving into greed will benefit our society. They vehemently denounce abortion while advocating war and conquest, resulting in 1.2 million civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan alone since 2001. So unborn babies get a great deal of attention in churches, but once you're born, you're screwed. The human brain simply can’t handle two conflicting realities, so it creates one of its own. The more we allowed the wealthy to have, the more they asked us to give. We did this to the detriment of our economy. If trickle down economics works, shouldn’t their success and our success mirror one another? As they gain, we gain. However, that isn’t what happened. The more they’ve gained, the more they wanted, and they've made sure they took it from everyone else.

Think of a small fishing boat. If weight is equally dispersed it’ll stay buoyant and afloat. But what if the weight shifts more forward or backwards, what happens? The boat becomes unstable. Now imagine if suddenly all the weight is shifted forward, what would happen? Simple – the boat will suddenly suffer instability, capsize then sink. As our nations’ wealth rushed to the Top 1% in the last decade, that’s exactly what happened, our boat capsized then sank. Does this contradiction between faith and political ideology suggest that conservatives believe Jesus supported greed? It looks to me like they believe he condemned homosexuals and demeaned women, and considered the poor as lazy people seeking a handout. So why not perpetuate the belief that He would have supported greed? Don’t let the Bible scriptures sway your views, it’s much easier to simply allow yourself to give into and concoct a delusional reality.

What conservatives have done is a complete distortion of the Christian faith. The so-called “prosperity gospel” doesn’t even fit into the very nature of what Jesus lived and died for. Every economic stance they support benefits the wealthy. How does it make any sense to have a portion of American society that pushes themselves as the Christian majority, the party of values and decency, and yet their entire economic stance contradicts what the Bible and Jesus says about greed? What conservatives claim to follow isn’t Christianity at all, and it sure doesn’t emulate Jesus. Remember what Jesus said about that, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required”, meaning those who have the means to make a difference should do so unselfishly. Yet, to a conservative this is essentially “socialism”. It’s allegedly unfair. But isn’t Christianity about giving, loving, and helping those who cannot help themselves? These are the principles I try my best to live by as a Christian.

But I’m neither Republican or Democrat. I'm neither liberal nor conservative because I think there are good points to both sides. On one hand I could be considered conservative because I am in favor of small government and free enterprise. But I could also be considered liberal because I'm a firm believer in universal healthcare (no, not Obama-care because it seems woefully inadequate to the task), free higher education and a $12.00 per hour minimum wage. You know that the two-party US political monopoly lacks faith and morals. They envy the rich, and all of that rhetoric the “good” Christian Republicans use against people, yet none of it is true. Yet there they sit, a walking contradiction. A party who supports faith in God above anything and policies that favor greed over everything.

The Jesus I worship is a man who we should all strive to become because he is the Son of the Living God. Jesus was a man who didn’t judge, who stood for those who couldn’t stand for themselves, who never felt slighted or that life was unfair. Jesus was wary of people who spoke of God on their lips but lacked true faith in their hearts. He was a man who embraced everyone, even those who disagreed with him. A man who personified everything mankind should be. As for those conservatives, who knows what man they worship. If the policies they support are reflective of the faith they follow, it sure isn’t Christianity and that man sure wasn’t Jesus.

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