The United States Of Greed And Bullies

| Educate!

Above Photo: By Anirvan via Flickr

A nation built on greed is not a nation; it is just a legal framework for rape and pillage, slavery and exploitation, theft, murder, and genocide. A nation whose primary function is to protect the exclusive right of the rich to engage in those behaviors under other names has no more moral legitimacy than the lawless state that allows common criminals to run wild. Greed by any other name smells just as foul. Greed cloaked in terms of “national security” or “for the good of the economy” is just as detestable as the greed that steals toys from children and purses from old women.

Greed is not a founding principle for a long-lasting society. It is the calling card of tyrants. It heralds the end stages of empires. It is the character flaw of villains. It is the symptom of sociopaths. The greed of the rich and powerful, particularly the corporate elites, has reached such magnitude that it outstrips our ability to describe it. We have no word for a theft so massive that it robs the ecological savings of eons, enslaves seven billion people to the machinery of profit-production, and steals the future existence of millions of species, including our own. It is genocide, ecocide, and slavery all rolled into one. It steals not just resources and lives, but thoughts, dreams, hopes, happiness, freedoms, and possibilities. All of these are chained to the production of profit for a small elite.

Every aspect of our human existence is mined for profit. Our thoughts. Our insecurities. Our longings. Our desires. Our sensuality and sexuality. Our health. Our sickness. Our fear, communications, visions, charity, and all other qualities. We are mined for any shred of human existence that could generate the smallest percentage of profit for the rich and powerful. They mine our personal histories. They mine our present data. They mine our future through debt.

Mine. Mine. Mine.

This greed has no name. There are no limits to its pathology. The economic system constructed by the unbridled greed of the elites trains us to replicate its values. It is like being held under water until we learn to fight for a single breath of air. Greed is not “normal” for humanity. We are not born with a hoarding instinct. If we were born with unbridled greed we would never stop sucking at our mother’s breast until her entire lifeblood is drained into our engorged bellies. Greed is not an evolutionary sound principle. Instead, something makes most infants stop at satiation point. That something makes us human. The greed of contemporary civilization is inhumane. It makes us into monsters.

We have a name for children who behave in this way: bullies. A bully invades another child’s yard and takes all their toys. A bully patrols the playground forcing other children to pay lunchbox tolls to enter. A bully uses violence to get what they want. A bully terrorizes and intimidates to maintain their power and position. A bully refuses to share and play with others.

When bullies are lauded as the great leaders of a nation, that nation has lost all worth. When bullies are celebrated as icons, that nation’s culture has lost its soul. When bullies are empowered by law rather than constrained by law, that nation’s legal system has become the tool of tyranny.

Our nation is a land of psychotic greed and bullies. It is up to us to change it. Every moment of every day, we must draw lines in the sand – the sand of the heart, the sand of our minds, the sand of our streets and workplaces. We must push back against the behaviors that this greed-and-bully culture has violently pounded into us. We must free ourselves from these mental chains, recognizing them as the enslavements that they are. We must call a spade, a spade. We must call a bully, a bully. We must reject our culture’s hero worship of the rich and powerful. Instead, we must see these people for the depraved criminals that they are.

Every fortune is millions of hungry children. Every mansion is thousands of homeless people sleeping in the street. Every sports car is hundreds of families stretching to make ends meet. Until we see excessive wealth as a cruelty when others cannot even survive, we will be a hollow nation, vacuous of any real meaning or worth. Until we love our country enough to care for it – each and every single citizen, tree, river, animal, and plant of it; the past, present, and future of it; the heart, spirit, and soul of it – until we love our country enough to topple greed from its enshrinement in our nation’s policies and practices, we will never be able to lift our heads with honest pride. Until we stop our leaders from bullying and our bullies from becoming leaders, we will never become the nation that we are meant to be.

We will never be great. We will never be strong. We will never even be human until we have left the ways of greed and bullies behind.

  • rgaura

    In Buddhist philosophy, generosity is the greatest perfection! If we meet the needs of children with empathy and generosity, they will grow up to be responsible and responsive members of society. We need to face the fact that our much vaunted western civilization is tainted with war, greed, and abusive childrearing practices. It is time to consciously clean up our collective act. Great article, Rivera!

  • Steven Berge

    I think there is an argument for greed being natural. The squirrel hides more nuts than it can eat. Also, people want to put something away to insure their future and the future of their kids. Just like we make extreme violence illegal, we could make extreme greed illegal. President Roosevelt instituted a form of that when he put the top tax rate at 90%. That rate was only on the amount of income over a very generous amount though. It is rarely observed that those were the most prosperous times in the entire history of the country. A wealth tax would be a better way to equitably fund the government. Until we stop wealth from owning the government though, it ain’t gonna happen. Anti corruption initiatives are squashed with lightning speed, because they don’t want to loose their control. We must fight the mother of all problems.

  • Jon

    I love this controlled rage against injustice. Given this: “When bullies are empowered by law rather than constrained by law, that nation’s legal system has become the tool of tyranny.” we may find new avenues of rebellion.”

  • Doña Susy

    Another metaphor of our present culture comes to mind–that of a parasite that feeds off a host, with no benefit to the host. Parasites eventually drain the life of the host to the point of death. Unless the host can cleanse itself of the parasite and regain its strength before it’s too late, it will die. Once there are no more hosts available, the parasite, too, must die.