Chauncey DeVega writes:
"Contemporary conservatism has surrendered to a virulent, dystopian, and pathologically hyper-individualist state of nature ...
"From the proclamations of Republican officials that the unemployed are poor because they lack spirit and drive, an Orwellian political vocabulary of 'job creators' and 'non-productive citizens' opines that poor people in America have it relatively easy (thus austerity politics ought not to be that painful) to a belief that the social safety net (basic programs such as Social Security and unemployment insurance) has destroyed the United States and made people 'lazy', contemporary conservatism has fully embraced a politics that are utterly and totally bereft of human empathy."
According to this notion, the "non-productive citizens" referenced above are "non-productive" because they are possessed by various malignant personal pathologies that inhibit their ability to "pull themselves up by their own bootstraps" and "get on with life."
Rios Montt was a lay pastor in the evangelical protestant Church of the Word. In his inaugural address, he stated that his presidency resulted from the will of God. Montt had strong backing from the United States' Reagan administration.
Most American Christians agree with this thesis - and it is precisely this way of thinking that American missionaries pushed onto Rios Montt, the one-time dictator of Guatemala (1982-1984). Montt became infused with the thought of driving poverty out of Guatemala by freeing Guatemala's population of the sins of laziness, indolence, lethargy, etc. that the missionaries held responsible for Guatemala's poverty.
Every Sunday morning Rios took to the radio to moralize against the sorry state of Guatemalan morality and to encourage his people to begin to take "personal responsibility" for their poverty - NEVER MIND THE FACT THAT THEY HAD BEEN ROBBED OF ANY WAY TO MAKE A LIVING; NEVER MIND THE FACT THAT THE GUATEMALAN PEOPLE HAD LONG AGO BEEN ILLEGALLY STRIPPED OF THEIR LAND BY MONEY-GRUBBING NORTH AMERICAN AGRI-BUSINESSES SUCH AS THE UNITED FRUIT COMPANY AND CHIQUITA BRAND; AND NEVER MIND THE FACT THAT THEIR MINERAL WEALTH HAD SIMILARLY FALLEN INTO THE HANDS OF AMERICAN MINING INTERESTS. No! - what was needed was a "moral revolution," and somehow or other money would magically "fall from heaven." [Please see our article, "The American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."]
That's what today's evangelicals believe - that is to say, that if the poor accept Christ and live by the supposed "financial principles annunciated in the Bible" they can extricate themselves from poverty.
Because prosperity and the Christian life are inextricably linked together in the minds of most present-day evangelicals, they come easily and comfortably to the notion that the reason for poverty is spiritual, and that it has LITTLE OR NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SELFISHNESS AND GREED OF THE "MEN OF PROMINENCE" with whom they have allied themselves in the Political and Economic Right.
The plain fact of the matter is, the people who comprise the American elite are individuals whose lives revolve around only one thing: the pursuit of wealth.
The plain fact of the matter is, the people who comprise the American elite are selfish, small-minded and amazingly petty individuals whose lives revolve around only one thing: the pursuit of wealth. These are people like David H. Koch of Wichita, Kansas - he is chairman of Koch Industries; David Friess, an investment banker; Charles Schwab of Charles Schwab and Company; Jerome V. Ansel of Boca Raton, President of St. Andrews Reality; Stanley Druckenmiller of New York, Managing Director of the Soros Fund (which specializes in a high stakes and risky stock activity called "hedge betting"), etc., etc. [For more names, please see our article "The Utility of Police Brutality in the Elite's War against the Poor."]
Some people, of course, will say that we are being too harsh in our condemnation of the economic elite. That certainly there is something more behind their accumulation of wealth; that some kind of "greater good" lies at the heart of what they're doing; that these people have a goal beyond the mere acquisition of earthly treasure. But they're wrong! - for the moneyed-elite, there is nothing more! This is as far as their thinking goes. Covetousness (i.e., the psychological drive to accumulate wealth) has blinded them - and what a terrible blindness it is!
The late Professor C. Wright Mills of Columbia University, whom we cite over and over again on the pages of this website, writes in his book The Power Elite:
"The pursuit of the moneyed-life is ... [the elite's] commanding value, in relation to which the influence of other values has declined, so ... [that they have] easily become morally ruthless in its pursuit ... [They have] narrowed the meaning of 'success' to big money and in these terms condemn failure as the chief vice, raising money to the plane of absolute value."
These people have no real sense of "right" and "wrong." "Right" to such people is simply that which advances their own selfish pecuniary ends; "wrong" is that which hinders them; these words possess no other meaning beyond this. Their loyalty is to themselves and to their personal enrichment, and hang all those who get in their way.
"... sell what you have and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven ..."
"... go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me ... (Matthew 19:21)
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
"But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal ..." (Matthew 6:19-20)
ring hollow to the elites.
No! - The elites aren't moved by what they consider to be the "inane sentimentality" of their Christian allies and the New Testament. They live by a code of "survival of the fittest" - i.e., Economic Darwinism. Mills writes:
"People with advantages are loath to believe that they just happen to be people with advantages. They come readily to define themselves as inherently worthy of what they possess; they come to believe themselves 'naturally' elite; and, in fact, to imagine their possessions and their privileges as natural extensions of their own elite selves."
While the elites would be loathe to admit it if only for PR purposes, most of them agree with the ideas elucidated in Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray's book, The Bell Curve - a controversial book that links the social pathologies that the United States is suffering through to low cognitive function (i.e., low IQs). They write:
"Of all the uncomfortable topics we have explored ... [one] of the most uncomfortable ones ... [is] that a society with a higher mean I.Q. is also likely to be a society with fewer social ills and brighter economic prospects, and that the most efficient way to raise the I.Q. of a society is for smarter women to have higher birth rates. Instead, America is going in the opposite direction [i.e., dumber women are having babies in disproportionate numbers], and the implication is a future America with more social ills and gloomier economic prospects."
What the elites really think - though they are unwilling to say so publicly -is that the poor should be left to "die off" so that their defective gene pool no longer contaminates the cognitive function of the nation as a whole.
And the solution they propose? -
"... the United States has policies that inadvertently social-engineer who has babies [through programs like the Food Stamp program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, etc.], and it is encouraging the wrong women ... We urge generally that these policies, represented by the extensive network of cash and services for low-income people be ended."
"The most merciful thing that the large [poor] family does to one of its infant members is to kill it."
"Fostering the good-for-nothing [i.e., the poor] at the expense of the good [i.e., the rich] is an extreme cruelty. It is a deliberate storing up of miseries for future generations. There is no greater curse to posterity than that of bequeathing them an increasing population of imbeciles."
And she went on to say that such people are -
"...human weeds, reckless breeders, spawning ... human beings who never should have been born."
NOTE: It is interesting to take note of the fact that while Christians condemn Margaret Sanger as the founder of Planned Parenthood, they embrace her social polices with regard to the poor; that is to say, the poor should be left bereft of all social aide programs that would make life more bearable. They condemn the person, but embrace all her social policies minus the ones directly connected to abortion. KILL THE MESSENGER; EMBRACE THE MESSAGE.
This brings us back to Chauncey DeVega's notions that -
"Contemporary conservatism has surrendered to a virulent, dystopian, and pathologically hyper-individualist state of nature ..."
"Contemporary conservatism has fully embraced a politics that are utterly and totally bereft of human empathy."
"Compassionate conservatives (a label that is the very definition of double-speak) are against extending basic income supports and humanitarian assistance to the neediest Americans. As recent data suggests, poverty leads to death and a diminished lifespan. When the ... Republicans stand against food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, and other programs for those displaced by the Great Recession, through actions both direct and indirect, they are in fact killing people."
Moreover, DeVega clearly sees the symbiotic relationship of the Religious Right and the Economic Right in all of this - despite the fact that two groups see the problem from different angles:
After all, what do those in the Economic and Political Right care if the Religious Right approaches the problems associated with the poor from a different angle; all they care about is that both groups - The Economic and Political Right on one side and the Religious Right on the other side - agree on the solution: That the poor should not be "coddled" with social programs such as the Food Stamp program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, housing subsidies, etc.].
NO WONDER THE POOR ARE TURNED OFF TO TODAY'S CHRISTIANITY! - a Christianity that stands in utter juxtaposition to Christ's words:
"... Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
"Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh." (Luke 6:20-21)
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised ..." (Luke 4:18)
God bless you all!
IN ADDITION, WE URGE YOU TO DOWNLOAD THE NEW ANTIPAS PAPERS, PRINT THEM OUT YOURSELF, AND STUDY THEM CAREFULLY; SHARE THEM WITH YOUR FRIENDS.
FINALLY, WE URGE YOU TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT OUT THE FLYER WE SENT TO YOU RECENTLY.
Then make copies and take these copies out to the campuses where you live; pass them out; OR if that seems too "daring" for you right now, post them on telephone poles, the sides of buildings, on campus bulletin boards; post them in union halls, in the neighborhoods of the poor and downtrodden, near employment offices, wherever you can.
Once again, we URGE you to read (or re-read):