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November 5 2008





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Political buttons for local Democratic Party senatorial candidate Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral, hang from a cardboard poster promoting Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in San Juan, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Puerto Ricans are voting Nov 4 to elect a governor, as well as a nonvoting representative in the U.S. Congress, mayors and legislators, although they can't vote for a new president of the United States.
(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

POLITICS AND GREED

By Ross Barton



As a Calvinist (Presbyterian),blaming greed for the recent debacle on Wall Street and various other crises makes sense to me. John Calvin built his belief around the Biblical concept of the “depravity of man.” Man is sorry, good for nothing, and left to his own devices will do or be nothing outside of his selfishness.

Sound harsh? In the Christian faith, Jesus said it long before John Calvin. Read the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and read what Jesus did and said. Everything from throwing the money changers out of the temple to the Sermon on the Mount was built around decrying the self-centered nature of man (mankind). Without getting into the religious notion of how to counter man’s depravity, I’ll just stick with the idea that this is simply the way it is. Examples are everywhere.

The sad case of Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska is an example. Here is a guy, 84, who has had a distinguished career and suddenly he ends with a corruption conviction. Why would Stevens risk all for a few measley bucks? Selfishness (depravity of man)!

We only have to look at our present financial crisis to see unadulterated greed. The very idea that Wall Street, making money hand over fist, could police itself is absurd. It is easy to understand the Stevens of the world and Wall Street if you start with the “depravity of man” concept.

What do we do about it is the real question? How do you counter greed? Basically, I don’t think you can. Self-interest is too strong (depravity of man). We have to legislate against it, pass laws that watch the “till” and ensure those like Stevens know that if they get caught and they will, jail is in their future.

A present example are those who brought about the financial crisis who have not been nailed and should be. The “depravity of man” should be the realism of how we police ourselves. It is just who we are.




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