Moral Debts and Ethical Deficits


Our heads are filled with stories about the danger of trillions of dollars in debt and deficits, with little if any mention of the real problem they represent. It is not the debt, but what we are indebted for that threatens the future of our nation. If we owed hundreds of trillions of dollars – which may soon be the case – and every American was employed, housed, educated, cared for without question in time of ill health or economic need and safe from warfare and violence from inside the nation or out, such debt would not be any problem at all.

Borrowing today and paying back tomorrow shouldn’t mean we lavishly spend most of the borrowed money on weapons, waste, cosmetics and pets, causing us to scrimp on health, education and social life while complaining that we have too much debt. We need to control our spending on things only a minority of us actually need or really want, and begin changing priorities to satisfy the shared needs and wants of the great majority. This can’t happen under the domain of forces that mislead us into social divisions by exaggerating differences and minimizing similarities to protect a commodity culture and a perverse political order that defines minority rule as democracy.

The present renewal of the drive to dismantle Social Security and turn it over to private profiteers is one among many of the lies and distortions offered as suggested solutions for our problems which will only make them much worse. Increasing budgets for war and decreasing budgets for social service only make sense to anti-social forces which profit from divide and conquer policies that reduce Americans, especially the working majority, to special interest and identity groups whose common cause is sacrificed to competition while ruling minorities practice a lucrative socialism at their expense.

Our common condition has been ignorance for much too long and it needs to become a common cause of democracy and transformation of our economy before we are transformed by it into a totally failed society.

All people need housing, safe communities, health care, education, transportation and the time and effort necessary to pursue interests other than simply working to maintain those needs. But we are socialized to accept a lack of any and all of those things for far too many of our number, believing that those who don’t have them are simply undeserving. This divisive condition is part of the political economy that replaces citizenship with consumerism and substitutes anti-social competition for social cooperation.

When people can go to places of religious community and entertain belief in invisible forces that call for solidarity and love among humanity, and leave those places and practice competitive individualism and economic warfare amongst themselves, the society in which they practice this split personality is suffering more than a collective mental disorder. That disorder is part of the economic foundation that is taught to us as a natural order of god’s universe, except when god is being communed with at church, ashram, temple or other place of worship of the beautiful immaterial ideal in order to escape the ugly material reality. This fractured dualism makes it possible for a society to be in great debt in order to make war, create poverty and destroy the natural environment, while lacking the material and spiritual sustenance of life for a majority of the human community.

If, as many good people believe, we are all god’s children we need to stop treating some of our kin folk like excrement. The human family is dysfunctional under profit and loss rules in which family values that sound good in words about love and brotherhood turn out to be deeds of pillage, waste and murder. We cannot be ethical people practicing high minded morals in the midst of a collectively immoral economy that trashes ethical behavior with murderous attack on humans and all other parts of the natural environment.

The earth is treated as a profit making commodity and we see it erupting in gushers of oil that threaten far more than the profit margin of one petroleum company. Humans are treated as nothing more than commodities by the same system, and it cannot and should not be blamed on corporate CEOs or political and media gas bags who simply follow the systemic dictates of creating profit for some at the expense of all. That is the religion of the market under private control, creating profit for a minority and loss for the great majority. That loss is being reflected in greater numbers of personal lives as this economy suffers what is called a recession, but even more telling signs are revealed in the rapid breakdowns in life support systems that can no longer withstand the ravages of being treated like commodities rather than what they are; the substance of our lives.

Nature is our nature and not some product which we can simply market and sell at profits. When we incur massive debts in order to create massive destruction of nature, we are in process of destroying the very substance of ourselves. That cannot go on and will only be changed by a motivated and informed public that demands service to humanity – itself – before service to a commodity market. The growing global numbers who profess that another world is possible are voicing the necessity, not just the possibility. We will have that other world or we will not have any world at all. And creating that future organism is worth far more debt than anything we have incurred for this present failing mechanism.