Failure of Ministry: You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it (Part I)

Yah, I know. Not one single entry since December. What a loser. I’m still trying to get my ‘blog-mojo’ in gear – still looking for that convergent level of awareness and willingness to make this a weekly habit. Work interferes, you know?

I have been doing some reading and just came across this bit of Christian rhetoric:

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931 – 2005

With all due respect to the late Dr Rogers, his statement fails on two points.

First point of failure:Definition

Thanks to the GOP/Tea Party of late, the definition of socialism has devolved into rote histrionic hate list of so-called “liberal” public policies. Socialism, Capitalism – these are different forms of economics. Period. And this may come as a shock for some – entitlements are not exclusive to socialism, no more than free markets are to capitalism.

Consider the fact that all economics have symbiotic relationships with the people they serve. It follows then that a vibrant economic system depends upon the existence of a free society populated by healthy people who want to interact within the economy. Therefore, the healthier society, the more vibrant the economics, the greater potential for growth and wealth.

Even an ardent socialist such as myself must admit that the wealthiest nations on the planet became wealthy because of capitalism. Bar none – Capitalism grows economies like no other system. It creates markets, it meets demand, and it reaps tremendous profits and tax revenues. But here’s something that Dr Rogers fails to mention. ALL successful industrialized nations support a healthy socialistic infrastructure: public institutions and operations that help raise the standard of living by offering broad benefits to the society at large. Name them: airports, sports arenas, roads, freeways/highways, bridges, military, public schools (including colleges and universities), unemployment insurance, welfare, social security, unions, collective bargaining – all of these activities are firmly rooted and wholly supported by socialism.

Are there any living examples of totally pure free market capitalism? Certainly not among the major industrialized nations. Most definitely not stocks and commodities. Certainly NOT bonds and foreign exchanges (currencies). I’ve heard some traders (cynically) say that the only example of truly free market capitalism is in the pornography and porno trade. But even then… only marginally.

We regulate our “free markets” for good reason. After the debacle of 2007 and the ensuing Great Recession, one might assume that even more regulations ought to be in the wings (a debate for another time). Meanwhile, among our proud socialistic institutions, which one is truly an entitlement? The many sports arenas that major municipalities sponsor through bonds and public money?  Would anyone go so far as to expect to degree without working at one of our proud colleges and universities? And can anybody truly say that poor people in this country really do not deserve at least some help?

On this next point is Dr Roger’s second and greatest failure. See next post: “Failure of Ministry: You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it (Part II)”


Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

Contrary to the popular view of history, there have been three world wars. The Napoleonic War was the first, true global conflict. It was so massive that it involved a whole series of wars that spanned nearly 23 years. The massive epoch of violence consumed millions of lives, wiped out the treasuries of many countries, erased kingdoms, and changed geopolitical lines forever. Historians of the day considered it the greatest war humankind had ever seen.

Napoleon left behind a ravaged Europe; embittered and raw with emotion – ethic and political – that bubbled under the veneer of civil society and produced an era of stark nationalistic bluster. The great monarchs raised armies of burnished brass and terrible weapons as they fooled themselves and their compatriots into believing that their cause was the most righteous. One day, a match went into the power keg when a young Serbian assassinated a visiting Austrian archduke. Thus began World War I. More lives were destroyed as the conflagration drew an even wider swath of destruction than ever before. Once again, historians would come to call this the greatest war ever fought.

During the postlude of the ‘war to end wars,’ the war dogs never quite went back to their kennels. Instead, they were allowed to corner the Germans and Austrians on the battlefield of international diplomacy and forced a so-called negotiated settlement that saw the vanquished nations branded as the “initial aggressors” of the war and therefore culpable for its massive cost. Then they assessed an onerous economic legacy that lasted nearly two generations and helped breathe life into the Nazi movement. World War II, which was more massive the previous two put together, included the Japanese monarchy, which had a different purpose for expanding its territories and matched the other Axis nations with murderous fervor. Fiery battles ringed the civilized centers of the globe and nearly destroyed Europe and parts of Asia. It was, and still is, the most horrific war ever endured by humankind.

One of the not-so-brilliant solutions that came out of the WWII was the disposition of millions of Jews who were left homeless. Unable to reclaim their mother countries, the Jews sued a guilt-ridden international community for an Israeli homeland where defenseless Palestine then laid. Raw feelings of the displaced refugees – who also now have no home – have since spawned religious purpose and now fuels blind fanaticism and regional rebellion. Once again, people left with nothing and having nothing, vie for war and suck up the harsh rancor of destruction and death. Only one question remains unanswered, how much greater World War III will be in comparison to its harbingers?

N’est stupide que la stupidité, Bonaparte?

Farewell Tom

Tom DeLayPoor Tom DeLay. His legacy is a certain brand of ultraconservative Texan politico, susceptible to pitiable insight, arrogant oversight, near-sighted ambitions, and general myopia. I’m certain he sees his accomplishment worthy of praise. I’m sure that there are quite a few fellow ultracons who share that view. But as these gadflies of history die off, what will fill the void? Compromise? Willingness to reach across ideological boundaries? OMG… statemanship?

UPDATE – Wikipedia’s first paragraph says it all:

Thomas Dale “Tom” DeLay (born April 8, 1947) is a former member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Texas’s 22nd congressional district from 1984 until 2006. He was Republican Party (GOP) House Majority Leader from 2003 to 2005, when he resigned because of money laundering charges in connection with a campaign finance investigation. He was convicted in January 2011 and sentenced to three years in prison but is free on bail while appealing his conviction.

Pause for a Cause

Abbie As far as causes are concerned, one must always be concerned about PR. I’m not so sure that the pro-immigration protesters did themselves any good by wrapping themselves up in the Mexican flag. At least the Yippies had the good sense to wear American colors – damn commies. It kinda pisses me off tho – I have to admit. You can’t toke a harmless weed in your own damn home, but the Mexicans want a new law to let illegal trespassers traverse around the fucking country like they own the damn place. Is that right? Abbie? Are you listening?

Blog Bias?

I’m being asked to write for blogs as a PR activity. Well… it’s good money and I’m a good little prostitute… so off I go. But I think that blogs are turning some PR practitioners and marketers into tech junkies and making them lazy (especially a particular unnamed firm). Blogs still cannot compete with good-old fashioned ink (or video). People still turn to traditional news sources for their facts.

Yet, blogs do serve a purpose and I disagree with the growing suspicion (of some cynics) that blogs may threaten critical thinking of the public-at-large. They also worry that over saturation from blog-debates could harm the credibility of traditional news sources and – God forbid – taint public discussion with erroneous speculation (oh, you mean like Rush Limburger, Ann “blowhard” Coulter, et al?).

Blogs have made nitwits like Limbaugh and Coulter irrelevant by extending public debate to anybody with some bandwidth and a server. Of course there is some junking up to deal with, but now the selection is so diverse and the scope so deep that just about every opinion and point of view under the sun is fully represented and broadly explored. It reminds me of the gaggles of soapbox orators that once adorned the entrances of county fairs across the nation, spouting rhetoric and reason to gawking crowds. But oh what a selection of soapboxes – pro and con ad nauseum – all at one time, 24/7/365 and no shooting. The emerging “blog-slog” is as a healthy byproduct of democracy and our growing lust for ‘watchdog’ transparency? And we could use a whole heck of a lot more transparency at all levels of governance these days.

PIC_sharp_edges_21.jpgAt any rate, blogging is a far less insulting demonstration of the 1st Amendment than the talkshow hacks of the previous media age – ala Limbaugh and Coulter whom I think presented a far dire threat to civic debate. If anything, blogs encourage critical thinking and they help enlarge our constitutional entitlement for free speech. And you know what? If any one of those blog-nabobs becomes the least bit myopic or irrelevant there will always be plenty more soapboxes to gawk at.