Poverty & The Poor

After forty years of life on this planet here is what I’ve learned about poverty.

The situation: Person A is poor. Person B is not.

Liberals never waver from the belief that the poverty of Person A is attributable directly and solely to the actions of someone else, the other person, Person B. In plainer words, Person B is the reason Person A is poor—always and without exemption. I have many, many liberal friends and I can tell you in all the decades I’ve known them and their families, I have never once—not once—ever heard one of them say “it is his own fault he doesn’t have more” with regard to money (economic status). However, they never acquit the same person for any other shortcoming: his health, intelligence, martial arts prowess, creativity, happiness, his marriage—no, no. All those are his fault and fall under his mental auspices, personal ambition and desires… but never money. That is always someone else’s fault. As if money were some magic, unattainable fairy dust that no one has any power to gain.

Conversely, Conservatives realize that whereas this can be and is true on occasion (Person B is responsible for Person A being poor, a situation that should be immediately addressed), there is an equal chance that Person A is the reason Person A is poor—bad behavior, lack of ambition, pathological envy or laziness, self-destructive addictions and limiting tendencies. Even the most rock-ribbed Conservative (and I should know, I come from four generations of them) is eager to feed the poor, help the less fortunate, lend a helping hand in time of trouble, offer jobs, pay fair wages, and hire anyone who needs help regardless of race, ethnicity or even qualification—I’ve seen my parents and my extended family do this for literally my entire life. My father builds home for the poor, has for thirty-five years. But it is always done with the express intent of permanently improving the lives of others. The Conservative does not believe in enslaving the poor by subsidizing their mere existence, but by empowering the less fortunate to succeed and achieve on their terms, not anyone else’s, and to find whatever balance best meets their mental, emotional, and volitional needs. Some people want to be rich but guess what, some people don’t.

I have met the legitimately poor and helpless—the handicapped and mentally disabled, the gravely and terminally ill, the orphans, the widows, the abandoned, and I am proud to tell you the great efforts I, my family, many of my friends (conservative, liberal and whatever lies between), and the charities we support have taken to help them: food, money, clothes, time, construction, medication, employment, education, all of it—it’s worth it! But I have also met people who are cruel, conniving, thieving, addicted, callous, utterly envious, arrogant, elitist and racist who have created a toxic sphere of spite and poverty around them and their family not because they didn’t have options or opportunities, but because they are self-centered, abusive, ungenerous and cold.

Poverty is sometimes the absence of money and the things it can buy. Poverty is just as frequently the absence of a good heart, balanced mind, eagerness, and hard-working spirit.

You can fix the first condition with money. The second condition requires something far more valuable than printed paper or gold coins, and if you try to solve it with those instruments all you will end up with is well-financed monsters.

This is true for nations (the Middle East) and it is true for people.

This is the complex and equally simple truth of poverty.

Inside the Light

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

The Revelation 21:4

Or as Handel heard it…

Love is the Drug

My favorite part of Zack Snyder’s lush fantasy Sucker Punch is the opening theatrical production of Love is the Drug by 70’s art-rock back Roxy Music.

Visually and even philosophically (though Mr. Snyder defers all the blame that should be laid at the feet of his own crowd to others he accuses in the film) I love the otherwise dramatically empty Sucker Punch, but this production is by far the best part of the movie.

The Naive Ones

Make no mistake: you will be called naive by everyone—and I mean everyone—who stands to profit from bad behavior when you tell them they should stop or modify their outdated conduct.

Politics, film industry, music industry, municipalities, business in general operates largely by vice.  Them calling you naive is how they justify their immoral, unethical and even sometimes illegal behavior.

Their logic usualy goes something like this…

You see you are the problem. This is how the world works. You are naive to expect a higher standard. All’s fair in love and war. And they will usually make some ridiculous anecdote about lawyers (paradigms of behavior themselves) having to detach themselves from their empathy and moral impulses in order to better serve the moral aims of a client, or society at large.

You know, that old dodge and doublespeak.

Give the crippled self-ruining soul a wide berth, leave them to their many desolations, and stand your ground.

They are the naive ones for they continue to lie, cheat, steal, swindle, embezzle, murder, defraud, slander, sue, libel, plagiarize, infect, feud and fume thinking they are actually making gains. The only thing they are accumulating is scar tissue, anger, resentment, betrayal, doubt, and bitterness. Trust me, those are poisons of which a sane man desires no possession.

Be the better man. When they break they will call you; otherwise they will call you to break you.

As much as rests with you, be impregnable.

When they do chip you… simply add spackle and move on.

Taxes and Other Reindeer Games

You can always tell when something is rigged because it never remains fixed.

We’ve all fallen victim to The Liar.

One minute A is the problem, B the next. Fix those and C is suddenly the issue. Followed by D, E and F. Solve those and magically G falters. Spot weld that and damn if H, I and J just inexplicably failed.

So on and so forth.

We’ve all had to chase the carrot from people who cannot deliver: employers who endlessly have you do work on spec for the promise of profits that never come; freelancers who can never really tell you why they can never be on time, keep a deadline, update you with a phone call or email, or provide an exhaustive list of those things they ‘have to do’ but never seem to finish; the car mechanic who just keeps finding more things wrong with your car; the lawyer who needs another couple of billable hours from you…

And the government who, gosh darn it, just never seems to have enough money and just has to keep raising taxes, inventing taxes, revoking tax exemptions, adding some hidden fees, imposing clever fines, etc.

Even the most untrained person can glance at our legal and tax code and instantly recognize they are rigged against the very people they were allegedly written to protect. Written by lawyers to protect politicians and corporations.

Patently obvious.

If this is the best we can do we deserve our agony.

In the Bible there is a section called the New Testament and its makes grand claims about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Further, it prophesies He will personally set up a benevolent world government that will last for one thousand years. That’s a matter of future hope, but okay, sounds good: a government of pure justice and mercy attenuated not by arbitration or process, but personally—one on one. The law administered by an infallible, omniscient and all-powerful being. No need to worry about bribes or inadmissible evidence. No Miranda rights, no political favors, no bargains, no plea deals. No double billing, fine print, bait-and-switch, ridiculous treaties, punishing taxes, hidden fines, silly and degrading social fantasies…

Well, at the end of that Millennium Mankind revolts.

What?

Yeah, Mankind revolts against the Messiah’s beneficient reign. When I first read that as a child I was perplexed. That can’t be right: why would Mankind—the entire world—throw off a transparent, benevolent, people-before-profits fellowship?

Well the answer is in the question isn’t it?

They’ve been throwing it off for the last six thousand years. They would rather have scams, schemes, plots and ploys than honest rule. They will be damned if the Messiah expects them to play fair and love his neighbor as himself.

By their own hand they will be damned.