Monday, May 23, 2016

The legacy of Capitalism

Is mused upon here.  So I'm a pack-rat.  Not because of sentimental reasons.  My wife is a sentimentalist.  She keeps things because of various emotional attachments.  I think I do so out of conditioning.  When I was growing up, my parents moved.  Not because they had to, but because they wanted to.  It was a glaring blot on an otherwise pretty impressive parental resume.  We would move into a house.  Stay a couple years.  Dad would fix it up, make some improvements, and then get bored.  Before I knew it, things were boxed up, the sale sign was in the yard, and it was off we go.

In addition to constantly being pulled away from the neighborhood kids and tossed into new areas with kids I didn't know, my parents had a tendency of tossing things when the moves came.  And that included, at times, my toys.  Not just old, worn out and forgotten toys.  Sometimes it could be the toys that were at hand, whether I was currently playing with them or not.  Boxed up, sealed, sold or given away.

Believe me, I've never let them live it down.  To this day, I remind my Mom about the awesome aluminium castle set I had when we left our house in the country and moved into Mt. Gilead, Ohio.  That was just one of many.  So I imagine it's because of that I have a tendency to hold onto things.

Nonetheless, every now and then, we'll do some spring cleaning.  Perhaps it's bad stewardship on my part, but most of what I have is the result of gifts through the years. I don't buy much for myself, apart from DVDs and perhaps and odd hobby or two (which I don't get rid of).  Other things come from presents: Birthday, Anniversary, Christmas.  So I decide to give things away rather than sell them.  Plus, my Mom and Dad were the garage sale royalty back in the day, and I remember the work that went into those things.  I'd rather give to charity.

So we had a couple old TV sets in our basement.  Not horribly old, but before the whole 'digital/flat screen' revolution.  I decided to take them to Goodwill.  Guess what.  They wouldn't take them.  I asked why.  They said they were incompatible with modern television broadcasting.  I argued that they were still compatible with all but the most recent video game systems, and they could hook up to DVD and even Blue Ray just the same!  Nope.  That does't matter.  The TVs would likely just sit and take up space since nobody will get something that only works for old games and DVDs.  With Netflix and PS4s, there just isn't a point.

Ahem.  So class, the lesson is, the legacy of Capitalism:

What the poor in America won't settle for
The legacy of Socialism:

The poor in Venezuela scrounging for food

I'm the first to criticize the abuses of Capitalism, and admit that without Christ, the end result may be no better than what Communism or Socialism produced.  Christ, not economic theories, being the source of salvation. But still, let's keep it real.  I know there are homeless people.  I've worked with them before in inner city missions.  But even then we had extensive networks of help for them based upon our country's abundant financial resources as well as mostly religious based charities.  Beyond the homeless, however, you have a class of poverty that balks at the idea of a television that does't play the latest PS4 video games.  

Compare that to poverty around the world, especially in nations that are so close to the Socialist ideal, the same ideal yearned for by the American Left, embraced by Europe, and increasingly advocated by Catholics, as well as Catholic leaders including, but not limited to, Pope Francis.  Compare and contrast.  Not that wealth equals salvation.  But we don't talk about salvation do we?  We talk about the importance of helping the poor.  I would suggest the best way to help would be reclaim Capitalism from the new paganism and get it back on track to doing what it seems to do the best.

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