Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Age of Moral Subtraction

When I mention the old town square as a guide or an ideal with which to judge the present, I do so only as an example as in a touchstone. The old American Town Square was a bunch of crackers standing around the cracker barrel at the general store and gossiping about their neighbors looking for those who did not conform.

My parents did not grow up in a free country. They had to register as Republican under the old Philadelphia political machine in their youth for fear that your employer would check the voter registration files and fire you if you were a deviant, a Democrat. My father said that you registered Republican and then crossed your fingers that there were no hidden mirrors in the voting booth to see you mark “x” next to FDR on the ballot etc.

My recollection is that my parents in many social and political issues toed the line with the local Republican instrument of consensus and standard of conformity of that local Party Line – The Evening Bulletin - a defunct newspaper in Philly. That was in the old days before the Democratic machine replaced the GOP mechanism of social order.

I do not want to live in that past society of minor concessions to the rights of man. That indefinable essence of things past would seem to be the ideal that the ignorant are ranting and raving about in the present. “I want my America back!”

We all compromise in life, tell little white lies, say things to not offend and or say or do things that are downright stupid and do not many times get challenged in the process.

I do not want to go back to those old days of the American Ideal. It is when the GOP abandoned the morality of fiscal responsibility, when in power or as watchdog on the Dems, is when that party ceased to exist except in name only. In this modern global age the Dems seem to be nothing more than stooges for lobbyist money.

Indeed, in the age of computers, why can’t we all vote on issues of national importance from the comfort of our bubbles and see how that works out. Perhaps it is time to outsource all the jerks in Congress! Save on the Health Care plan, pension plan etc. Somebody had to pay our national debt eventually.

Which brings me to the concept of the great Moral Subtraction of our age. It is an economic as well as social formula.

I am indirectly talking about Constantine when he bought the first bishops and they subtracted the “thou shall not kill” from the moral equation in favor of the military equation. Christians in order to be socially acceptable and part of a new state religion had to kill for the emperor god in the Army. The morality of war passed onto the judgment of the Church which usually agreed with the political thugs in charge. Somehow, one day Christians had an asterisk next to the “thou shall not kill” commandment. You subtract moral from the formula and substitute a consensus conforming opinion to offset the original divine message of the Jesus guy.

It is no different today than it was back then. The morals that once had some precedent in our government, religions and capitalist system got swept away, subtracted, somewhere along the recent timeline. Humanity got turned into a commodity to be sliced, diced, outsourced and made a profit from. Humanity was entitled to FDR type social programs but nobody bothered to tax for or balance a budget to pay for those human services. The same goes for the military pitbull.

The little guy in the little business is being asked to forgo healthcare for employees because somewhere along the timeline health care became a commodity for profit. And following the “new atheists” rule to respect one’s right to religion but to openly criticize the stupidity and superstition of some parts of religion, nobody has criticized the sacred cow, the religion of capitalism for a long time on this side of the Atlantic.

Religions can give money to political parties, Employers can outsource, Wall Street can cheat and charge large fees but nobody, least of all in Congress, dares to criticize the great moral subtraction that has taken root in all our lives in this fast paced secular age.

Don’t blame the secularists. They are more than likely the only humanists left in the decayed land of “everybody does it” (lies, steals, cheats). Maybe it is a good thing that the people work not for dignity and daily bread but solely for the bonuses of CEOs, bishops, and lobbyists’ funds for Congressmen to keep getting reelected and doing nothing useful for the present or future of the nation. It is a grand delusion. Is it not?

I am not here to preach. I merely observe. Some might want to put the golden rule into the center of a secular culture. That secular culture still needs moral backbone and fortitude from the population in general and of every known persuasion, race and ethnic mix.

I can still hear my eighth grade nun’s almost daily platitude which is part of my secular formula for living.
Right is right if nobody is right. Wrong is still wrong even if everybody is wrong.
Humanity needs to be put back into all religious, political and economic equations.

Without humanity being the center of the human race’s moral formula in dealing with all aspects of life on this planet, something is missing from the bottom line – Everything is missing.