Rene Descartes’ famous line “Cognito ergo sum” does not seem to be worth anything today. Just because we think, means nothing to people, particularly our leaders. According to them, perhaps, “I consume therefore I am” or “I produce therefore I am” may seem more important. Or at least more to the point. I have a hint for you: our leaders and Descartes are all wrong.
This way of looking at things had blinded us to reality; it has convinced us that more is better . . . a bitter car, a grander home, a new TV to watch the Super Bowl. The only thing this way of thinking leads to is a life of stressful relationships with everyone, family, friends, coworkers. It has created a false competition where none is needed. In some cases, it has created hoarding, so that I have more and you have less.
According to our leaders, there is not enough of anything to go around, for all to benefit from. This begins and ends with money; but, in between, everything else is coveted. Food and housing costs are rising by the month; costs to get a higher education are rising so quickly that even community colleges are out of reach for many.
These beliefs and these practices have produced a greed unmatched in the history of mankind, including the days of Rome’s Caligula.
Our leaders spend money on war, military hardware, and more bombs. Good grief, we have more than enough nuclear weapons to destroy life on Earth 10 times over. But we need more. We don’t have enough money to feed our people justly; we lack the funds to provide healthy options for all; we cannot afford to repair our roads, build new rail lines, or expand highways to accommodate all of the new cars. And, we ration education through higher costs. I know I said this once. But, being a college professor, I empathize with my students who cannot afford to buy the books and rely on financial aid, which many times does not distribute until the third or fourth week of school. These students begin each year that far behind. The world of education seems, no, is stacked against them.
We never have enough money in this country to raise the standard of living for all, but we can give a trillion-dollar tax cut to the very wealthy. Henry Ford gave up a little of his profit to lower the cost of his cars, allowing his employees to purchase one. In the long run, this made him a very wealthy man. Not a billionaire, but a very high-living millionaire. Our billionaires have forgotten this lesson, including our president.
Jesus said that what we do to the least of those in humanity, we do to him. What we do to our poorest brothers and sisters, we do to God.
My wife and I had lunch with Muslim friends of ours yesterday. Two women who give of themselves daily. And, when they meet someone in need, they stop to help. Good Samaritans all. Yet our government looks at the color of their skins and their religious beliefs and declares them enemies of the state, willing to take what little they have and discard them like a pair of worn-out shoes.
I laugh in derision when I hear our leaders proclaim their faith, their Christianity, as they do all of these things to make it more difficult for the non-rich to survive.
Do they think that God is proud of them?