Blogger-SMS | Déjà Vu ~ Times

Beyond the Mark

In the culture of affluence to which we have become accustomed, we hear great indignation expressed against the idle poor and the bleeding-hearts who would take hard-earned, deserved wealth from the industrious rich and redistribute it to those who, with even a modicum of effort, could achieve the American dream if they would just get off their duffs!

BUT in the déjà vu of rich and poor throughout history, we seem strangely blind to the fact that redistribution has ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS been MORE upward than downward—a redistribution toward concentrated wealth that has far more to do with creating the gulf between rich and poor than idleness or industrious effort ever did.

Take the example of Ahab & Jezebel acquiring the vineyard of Naboth (Old Testament, 1 Kings 21); the “one, little ewe lamb” parable that condemned a king (Old Testament, 2 Samuel 12); the historical and current plunderings of great and small Empires; the monopolies of British mercantilism, et al.; the feudal estates of feudal lords; the cotton, sugar, tobacco, etc. plantations; the industrial factories and sweatshops; the government favors and subsidies to big-business; the secret insider tradings; the simultaneous stock puffing-and-dumping schemes; the credit-card fee-and-interest stings; the financial-adviser frauds; the Enron/Worldcom types; etc., etc., etc. The list is endless.

Whose collective labor, reduced to its lowest possible compensation through enshrined market-forces, has helped enrich the powerful? Free-marketeers are passionate that “industrious,” rich individuals should not be deprived of the fruits of their labor, yet turn a blind eye to that very deprivation by power-lords of the fair fruits of other’s labors. They deny their blindness by alleging that fair is whatever the market will bear while taking great pains on a global basis to ensure that it will bear the minimum or maximum possible—whatever favors the concentration of wealth.

Power is an aphrodisiac for many and even scant investigation uncovers an endless déjà vu of wealth accretion through avarice and exploitation of the less powerful. Redistribution UPWARDS; ever, ever upwards!

The abuse of power was a great concern of the founding fathers who strove to bind the powerful by the chains of the Constitution. But commerce continually claims that it has no need of constraint. Natural market-forces have natural constraints, they intone. But money loves power and power money, so we have come to our present state of affairs, where collectives of money and power have taken up a form of “civilized” plundering through lobbyists and other contrived means, all the while crying to high heaven that “socialism” is the monster of frightful mien. It reminds one of those masterful diversions where a cry of fire to the west of town covers for a bank heist to the east.

If the pundits and commentators on American values would study more history and less “enriched” rhetoric, they might begin to focus on the mark. As it is, the poor[1] take the heat, while the powerful take the money and run—under cover of diversion; or if questioned, under claim of meritocracy and/or entitlement.

Christ, Himself, marked the poor for our compassion and the rich for chastisement and warning. Somehow, in our sophistication, we seem to have it reversed. And then we wonder why revolutions happen! They happen when justice can no longer stand as idle witness to the hubris, egotism, and injustice of oppressive power-lords. But, alas, in the déjà vu of power swings, nothing much seems to change except the names of the new elites as they take turn justifying the gulf between rich and poor. Even in communistic/socialistic schemes, the gulf prevails, in the midst of privilege and passionate denial.

How about we begin to explore the source and tributary waters for all that concentrated wealth? And discover the blessings of irrigation upon parched lands?
[1] whether laboring or incapacitated or idle by choice or circumstance