The Downside of Liberty a link posted by one of my friends and fellow blogger Kim on her Facebook page. I adore her shares of topics that people may view as “controversial” since she has a wonderful perspective and a great group of comments, from all walks of life and the political belief spectrum.
I don’t necessarily agree with the author’s contention that the selfishness we see today is a direct result of a kick back to the “freedom” of peace, love and understanding birthed in the 1960’s. I think that as long as two human beings existed on the earth, one choose to keep what he has and get more, and the other wants to outdo or take away his partner’s possessions.
Yet a deeper problem exists in the current selfishness, to get the latest and greatest or collect the most. It has led to some horrible events in our not too distant past. Enron, Adelphia, AIG, and Behr Stearns: their motive was simple. It was not good business; it was earning the most for a few. And the few ran those companies into the ground. And never were really punished for the ‘ripple effect’ caused the country and us, its citizenry.
Personally, the Reagan years and the celebration of greed that existed in ever increasing amounts epitomized by the character Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street. “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A”. It really matters not what company you insert in place of Teldar Paper, they were all interchangeable. And, when you see corporations taking and benefitting, and their CEO’s having multiple homes and Renaissance art pieces, you want to benefit in your own life.
I look at it simply. There are so many adverts and examples of new things out there that will be sparkly and shiny and have a connotation of a status attached. You don’t even need to have the Jordache horse on your ass pocket, having a phone, a purse, a computer, a car – they all send signals to the world about who you are. And I’m not saying that if you have the ability to get those things, should you not do so. But, I do think you should question your motives.
Is it really as simple as the t-shirt slogan “he who dies with the most toys wins”? I’m seeing flashes of that same attitude in the presidential campaign speeches. You have a job; therefore it is acceptable for you to categorize someone who has been unable to find one as “lazy” or not trying. You are able to ignore the very real need of families in this country who are barely scraping by, as you cut funding to food stamp programmes, food pantries and medical programs? Because you have yours, they are not entitled to more: even when more is barely subsistence level support?
You support entities that not only do NOT provide a living wage, but also provide lesser quality goods so you can have 10 rather than 2? Where is that not being selfish?
You elect congressmen and senators that will have some of the finest healthcare provided in this country – paid for by YOU. Yet you applaud their denuding the proposals to a possible option (I say possible because they are now looking to overturn the bill in congress and the senate) which would bring the United States to parity with all of the other industrialized countries in the world? You will allow them this – when they have done little else but stalemate and stagnate, passing nearly no legislation in this term but for several bills that renamed crap after Reagan? All because you have it – so it’s not your problem?
You deny the basics to those who rely on the ideals of a government – to provide a parity and hand up to those who cannot help themselves at the moment – because you have them and they should “work harder”. If that isn’t teaching your children selfishness at the very core, I don’t know what is.
Yes, there are great things to the liberties we have (or should I say had as they are also denuding those with the National Security Acts). But, with great privilege also comes a greater responsibility. And selfishness is a far deeper problem than a kick-back result from 1967 and the Summer of Love.