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Sunday, September 18, 2005

NEW! 21st Century Freedoms


The Quality of Our Intent

    In the last post I presented FDR's Four Freedoms. They have been illustrated by the late artist Norman Rockwell. A review of the Four Freedoms:
  • The first is Freedom of Speech and Expression
  • The second is Freedom of Every Person to Worship God in His Own Way
  • The third is Freedom from Want (which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings, which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants.)
  • Finally the fourth is Freedom From Fear (which, translated into world terms, means a worldwide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor...near or far.)
When we look at those old style freedoms in the face of the what I like to call the New 21st Century Freedoms, we find the ideals presented by FDR, the president from the cultured background, are considered outdated. Under the current president, we have a new set of freedoms, new but not improved. In fact these new freedoms are a throw back to nearly 100 years ago. Let's take a look. They are:
    Freedom for a privileged few.
    Jobs for those who are lucky enough to work regardless of working conditions.
    Jobs for those who will accept whatever they are paid.
    Special privilege for the deserving. (The deserving being those with money.)
    Preservation of security. (Civil liberties must be sacrificed to secure against the terror.)
    Enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress for the privileged and the deserving.
    Security for those who can afford it. If you are poor or without it is your own doing.
    Although the GDP is a modern concept which conceptualizes the productivity of a nation as the product of the whole nation, no such concept of the whole nation permeates the unequal distribution of the nation's wealth.
    While it is certainly true that the richest person is also the most dependent, for he or she has more people waiting on them, our current concept of deserving entitles the wealthy as more deserving and justifies their deserving with the premise that their reward is a just reward because they accomplished this all themselves. When nothing could be further from the truth.
    My mother had a saying that the harder you work, the less you are paid, and certainly our nation has become one that subscribes to this philosophy. Little does it matter that neither the richest or the poorest in the country could endure without the infrastructure of the whole nation, that was built and paid for by the whole nation.The rich person is considered more entitled to take a disproportionate share of the wealth.
    You may be a Bill Gates, in charge of a great corporation but your corportation could not endure one day without the public roads, the public airports, the modern public infrastructure. Yet a Bill Gates wealth is equal to the whole devastation of the whole entire city of New Orleans. Why does one person need so much wealth? Why should one person as dependent on the public infrastructure for his business to operate as anyone else be entitled to such a disproportionate share of the wealth? Fifty, sixty billion, equal to the wealth of 50,000-60,000 millionaires. Why does anyone need so much money? How can it be justifed when others have so much less?
    To paraphrase the Dalai Lama, The rich are dependent because they can do nothing for themselves. They do not grow their own food. They do not make their own house. They do not make their own clothes. They do not make the roads or the transportation. They are dependent on everyone to do these things for them, and in most cases they are incapable of it. Yet amongst the poorest of the world there are many who do grow their own food, who do build their own house, who can make their own clothes, who may have cleared or shared in the clearing of the roadway. These people truly are the self reliant. But our culture treats them like dirt and rewards the superfluous.