“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)
The following passage is taken from Hebrew New Testament Studies http://www.biblicalhebrew.com/nt/camelneedle.htm: Jesus reflects on how hard it often is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. The riches are a distraction and hard to share if one is too attached to them. The disciples’ incredulity is that if even the rich cannot be saved, who can? But the verdict is that even the rich, not only the rich, will find it impossible to save themselves – but with God all things are possible.
“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” –John Kenneth Galbraith
Ah, isn’t the lure of aspiring to be rich, in western judo-christian religious teachings, at the crux of our belief system – that the poor and working class need to suffer the indignities of poverty and oppression by the wealthy, indeed often die downtrodden, to reap their heavenly reward (as in the heaven lay-a-way plan). The poor were sermonized to; told that their tears and toil would fulfill Jesus’ eye of needle parable, in order that their unrest could be squashed protecting the ruling wealthy class from being derided. The wealthy sat in their righteous church boxes and upon hearing the same Biblical warning passage was soothed with platitudes along the lines of with God all things were possible and that God gave blessings to those that deserved great wealth. Jesus became the cheerleader of acquiring obscene wealth, wealth acquired on the backs of foreign tribes, cultures/imperialism, and the domesticated poor, to be squandered, to be elevated, to be sacrificed for the higher power/greater good … and in so hoarding wealth and maliciously spreading lies/truths that hard work and deprivations, led to wealth and membership among the noble upper class. God graces those who hold gold!
This same premise holds forth today, i.e. tax cuts for the wealthy (as if a multimillionaire or billionaire truly notices tax payouts) the wealthy howl that their cherished gold is being taken away from them, that they must keep their wealth to retain their prestigious worth in God’s eyes. They choose to blaspheme Jesus’ messages to mollify their selfishness, i.e. dismantling worker protections and scapegoating teachers (along with nurses, beauticians and other female workers, the first pink collar class of workers) under the guise of making a profit. Six (to seven) figure bonus payouts don’t equal yearly wages of even the most highly educated and dedicated teachers – nor, for that matter, most hard working private sector professionals. The majority of Americans make between 34-55K yearly, the divide created by those teachers that realize 25K more per year are seen as piranhas, especially since property tax was the instrument for educational funding. How is it that engineers, having attended higher education programs of study for their professional degrees, who make two-thirds more income as a similarly educated teacher, is not vilified?
Stockholder define worth by profit returns, in education with its top heavy administrative layer, the product is its yearly crop of spring graduates which takes approximately thirteen years to produce. Dropouts are those products that fail to make it through quality control (credit policies and state assessments) and roughly equal less than 2% in suburban districts and greater than 6% in urban centers. If these figures were correlated against industrial models the lost product percentages would be looked at as extremely low and factored into typical running costs. Banking loss models factor in higher loss damages which are passed on to the public – why aren’t bankers vilified? Simply because the wealthy won’t allow themselves to be vilified – since they are the lions of industry they choose the segment of population to ostracize, to cull out, to offer as scapegoats to the working masses to tear to pieces. While in their frenzy (think Christians vs. lions) workers forget that they too will be segmented and offered to distract the masses (think French Revolution terrors).
So where am I going with this essay? Wealth vs. working class, unions vs. nonunion workers, public vs. private sector, haves and have-nots, heavily taxed vs. little to no taxation at all … class divide … scapegoating … corporation as citizen, union busting …redefining rape and women services … are all heavy on my mind. I am usually an optimist but I find it extremely hard not to get sucked into CNN’s scrawl of bad news, whether out of Libya, Wall Street or Providence, Rhode Island. I hate it when my fellow citizens choose to blindly follow manufactured divisive tactics and like lemmings throw themselves to the wolves (I chose to combine two concepts just to see if my readers were on their toes). I know we are mere mortals and capable of committing horrible actions against those who we perceive as our enemies – but, fellow workers, the enemy is not ourselves!