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The Ultimate American Gothic Horror Story (PART IV)

Robin Alexander

Posted on February 5, 2018 09:23

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Some step with contempt over the drunk lying in the street, and some stop to help or at least offer a buck. Our dominionist might offer the charitable dollar. But what the drunk really needs is a brilliant and efficient social program like AA.

It’s a common theme in scripture that the poor constantly dwell among us (Deuteronomy 15:11; Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7; John 12:8). Profoundly and remarkably, there is no blame associated with poverty in these sources. There are always those who can’t succeed.

This is still true, even in the richest nation in the history of the world (different article). People suffer from mental/emotional/physical disabilities. Then there are the uneducated and the incarcerated. And don’t forget the multiple systemic and cultural issues that debilitate various groups. These factors intersect in a web of causes and effects; but it’s not my purpose here to unravel it. The question here: what do we do about the poor, many of whom could achieve more with the right help?

Deuteronomy finishes the verse with: “Thou shalt surely open thy hand unto thy poor and needy brother, in thy land.” This is a command from God, an obligation regarding how we treat each other. And perhaps an early, relatively unevolved social contract at the level of creeping things. Biblical texts only go so far. They accept the notion of the eternal poor, which has real value. But the only remedy — charity — doesn’t do much to affect lasting change.

For millennia we grapple with finding a better solution. In 1762 Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s social contract pre-supposes that “all” men (read people) are inherently equal. Instead of functioning as individuals with separate interests, we form a single body through agreement, directed toward the common good.

This is revolutionary (for whom “all” means white male landowners – different article). “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” shows up in 1885. Two generations later in walks FDR, and we are on a roll:

“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.”

But then, Ayn Rand:                                                                                              

“If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men need to reject.”

Reject altruism?! Well, every revolution has its counter, and dominionists are clearly allied with Rand (minus the atheism). Some folks step with contempt over the drunk lying in the street; some stop to help or at least offer a buck. Our dominionist might offer the charitable dollar. But what the drunk really needs is a brilliant and efficient social program like AA.

I’m not saying dominionists are evil; many are swayed by a promise of greatness that fills an empty void. I could say forgive them, as they know not what they do. But they are far too dangerous. And I’m sure the male hierarchy controlling them knows exactly what they’re doing.

(Part five: The thunderous conclusion where we revisit the penis quotation and explore the very real assault on the First Amendment.)

Robin Alexander

Posted on February 5, 2018 09:23

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Source: Quartz

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