Re: capitalist religion

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sat Jul 21 2001 - 04:36:10 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote:
> Daniel Ust writes
> > I've also noticed poor people who become rich or just not poor partly
> > through frugality and remain frugal. So, there does seem to be a character
> > component.
> We say that people who have succumbed to Benjamin Franklin's maxims
> "have good character". But it's a war of memes, and sadly, the
> memes that were prevalent in discourse a hundred years ago no longer
> all. If you raise up Horatio Alger as an example, it's only an
> example to be ridiculed now. Today we hear very little publicly
> except excuses for misbehavior, "she had post-partem depression",
> "he may have shot at the President, but he's innocent because he's
> insane", "he grew up in a ghetto, so who can blame him", and so on.

I disagree with this characterization. One hears a great deal
besides "excuses for misbehavior". There are many reasons for
misbehavior, but they are not excuses nor are they
inescapable. Why over-generalize? It doesn't make what you
want to display stronger.

> Now I am *NOT* disputing that these may be (or may not be) *correct*
> explanations; what I am criticizing is that the old maxims of personal
> responsibility are being abandoned. Every call to feed the

I disagree. We are simply putting responsibility in context and
understanding what is at work besides just uncaused choice (if
there is such a thing). The knowing that you can choose, the
power to choose is something many do not yet realize in their
own life. Some of them can be helped to realize it. All could,
I believe, if there was time and room enough. One thing we can
do is make the time and the room and tools to help reknit
people. If we wish to help that is.

> to provide a "safety net", to provide medical care free for everyone,

I have been homeless (in my late teenage years). I was
certainly mistaken about many things but I was not deserving of
simply having people turn their back completely. If enough had
not provided a small safety net I might well not be here.
Please consider that when you think on these things.

> to guarantee that if you are struck in a roadway you'll be provided
> for whether or not you have made provisions, and so on, all weaken
> the memes that help people in the long run.

No. The memes that help the individuals and the groups and the
communities are ones that include caring for and taking care of
one another to the extent we can. Rampant individual darwinism
did not get us here alone and it is certainly not sufficient or
even livable for what is to come.

- samantha

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