Sunday, November 10, 2013

Greed is Their Argument

I am beginning to believe that for many people greed must be their most basic motivator. I find it virtually impossible to understand what is going on without assuming that greed is virtually the most basic element. Take, for example, the situation with Iran. The relationship between the U.S. and Iran has festered for at least forty years. The U.S., with apparently no Middle East policy apart from that of Israel, has been threatening to attack Iran for years, an attack that would set off yet another war in the Middle East, perhaps worse than ever before. Now it seems there is a reasonable chance that war might be averted, that diplomacy might actually win out. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this long standing animosity could be overcome and an agreement reached without going to war? At least I think it would be great. But there are those,, Israel especially, but also the Saudis, who are doing everything they can to prevent a diplomatic solution. The alternative of course will be a war. What is their motive for preferring war to peace in this particular case? It does have a religious element, with the Saudis being predominately Sunni while Iran and its ally Syria are Shiite. But Sunnis and Shiites have managed to live together for a long time. So it’s basically about who will control the Middle East, the oil markets, and so on. In short, it’s about greed. And of course there is no end to the greed of the Israelis, intent upon stealing as much land and water from the Palestinians as possible, resisting all international calls to stop, thumbing their noses at International Law as well as common decency. 

The supposed fear of an Iranian nuclear bomb is nothing but a red herring dragged across the real problem of maintaining Israeli and Western European hegemony in the Middle East. They don’t care how many Iranians and others may suffer and die to get their way. Greed, as usual, wins out.

Similarly, how do you explain the Republican efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare? It is true that some of their resistance is a result of their outright hatred of President Obama (he’s Black, you know), but it also has to do with wanting to protect the profits of Insurance Companies that make their ill-gotten gains from preying on the sick and dying. There is no reason Insurance Companies should have anything whatsoever to do with health care. The motive here is just plain greed.

And why do International Corporations demand and receive massive tax breaks they do not need? They employ legions of lobbyists to make sure they receive this largess, stash their money overseas without paying any taxes, contributing basically nothing to our economy. Greed is their only argument. And really, why should CEO’s be making millions of dollars while those who work for them are lucky to make a pittance and live in or near poverty. There is no explanation for this other than Greed, Greed that seems to know no bounds.

Why do Republicans oppose anything and everything that might possibly benefit the Poor and the Middle Class: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unions, food stamps, minimum wages, child care, any form of welfare? Obviously they oppose such things because they might cut into the profits of billionaires and corporations. In other words, they oppose them for just plain greed.

Curiously, greed does not seem to characterize all people, perhaps even most people. Not everyone seeks to make as much money as possible, living lives more modestly on their salaries, content to just make a decent living, own a home, send their children to college. They do not become nurses, teachers, mechanics, professors, poets, or candlestick makers because they want to become as rich as possible. But for some, even many, greed apparently becomes infectious. They want and seek more and more and seemingly are never satisfied. Some years back a man won 300 million dollars or so on the lottery. When asked what he wanted to do with his money he replied he wanted to become a billionaire! And so it goes. I wonder if all children are born greedy and have to be enculturated out of it, or if they are born without greed and have to be taught to be greedy? As not all people are greedy I suspect the latter may be closer to the truth than the former. But perhaps greed is similar to a bad seed that just occasionally occurs. Probably not, I think there may be a secret Republican school that teaches Greed 101. Their credo is probably something like “I got mine, you get yours.” Or maybe “Them as has, gets.” I have many faults, but happily, naked greed is not one of them.

 “The point is, there is no feasible excuse for what are, for what we have made of ourselves. We have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality, dividends before decency, fanaticism before fairness, and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others” 

 Iain Banks

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