Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Common Good

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T he phrase, the common good, is everywhere these days.  My wife brought home a container of eggnog and on the side, in the self-promotion copy, there it is:  even the dairy farmers are using ringing phrases such as The Common Good. The commercial use of the phrase took me aback. True the dairy farm is an organic farm.  The use of the word Organic is certainly code for liberalism.  A liberal farmer is almost a contradiction of terms.  The usual farmer is one who feels that paying taxes is a form of socialism or communism, and those who believe in that stuff are thieves who are trying to pilfer money from the farmers pocket.

But now, this commercial use of the phrase opens the door for corporations to use the phrase which we have taken as our shibboleth for liberalism.  But if John Boehner can claim that he speaks on behalf of the American people, and it is a stretch to think that this might have even a grain of truth, I worry that banks can claim that they too, are working for the Common Good, even though it is all too apparent that the banksters are working for their own individual self-interest and to that end feel entirely free to be the ones who are actually lifting the farmer's wallet.  Come to think of it, Fox News has made such an issue of this Common Good thing that no right winger would ever use it for any reason.

If you think that my statement about the thievery of banks is too un-generous, consider that the farmers of North Dakota formed their own state bank.  Why?  Because the banks were too aggressively giving the farmers a raw deal over too long a time. Check it out.  Banks will steal anything not nailed down.      

I first came to be introduced to the phrase one night at dinner at a restaurant, on a recent visit  to Rome, Italy with 2 Jesuits.  Quite liberal Jesuits, at that.  Obama had just been elected.  Europeans were giving us, my wife, Marian and me, thumbs up, because they loved the idea of Obama as president. We all were euphoric.   My brother, Jim, the other Jesuit, got us settled in our rooms in the 17th Century pallazzo Papal owned Jesuit residence.  Then he and his fellow, Jesuit, David, took us out for dinner at one of those sublime little bistros just around the corner, in Rome.  In the course of conversation it became apparent that in America, as well as the rest of the world, Capitalism has failed us miserably.  These are the death throes of a corrupt crony capitalism.  And the reason, it also became all too crystal clear,  was, or is greed, or overweening self interest.  "Where's mine?" and "what will happen to me?" are the whimper and whine of the self-absorbed.  
As the light dawned on me that the paradigm was worn out and a new paradigm is needed, I groped for a word or phrase.  David, the Jesuit from Scotland, handed the phrase to me.

"The Common Good," David said, "is what you are looking for." He said it simply and quietly. But as I was ready to hear it, perhaps for the first time, he might as well have been shouting it from the roof top.  The Common Good thundered into my ear.  And has never left.      

But now, that it is being bandied about in the interests of commerce, what is to stop the evil corporations, indeed, all of Wall Street, from using the phrase.  To draw the unsuspecting in.  The old fable of the wolf in sheep's clothing.  They lie about everything else, so why would they not lie about the use of this phrase.

We will have to, at some point define the term--- narrowly.  To please the critics.  Though clearly many Republicans dislike the phrase.  There is a video on YouTube where the Republicans on Fox News immediately yell "Socialism!" at the mention of The Common Good!  But, on the other hand, let them yell their loudest.  I am a socialist.  A Democratic Socialist.  People without morals, without ethics, who are utterly devoid of real humanity are not worth listening to.  Indeed they only listen to each other.  Truth is that which is so.  That which is not truth is not so.  So---Who would not say these beings are self-destroying ciphers and liars?  They not only are against the common good, but they are against everything that is decent and wholesome.  Like the Bush regime, they will lie, steal and murder anyone who should be so unlucky as to get in their way.  Is this not the way of the Anti-Christ?

At the very least, are they not The Hollow Men T.S. Elliot warned us about?

I am sorry to have to say this,  but the truth is I put these videos on the page in precisely the reverse order.  So if you watch the last one first and the fist one last they will make more sense.




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