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Extreme Wealth is a cause of insanity?

By Henri - Posted on 26 June 2017

Extremes of behavior are not very sane, they are outliers of human drives run amuck. Extremes of sexuality are abhorred in most cultures and societies. Rightly so because they cross boundaries that society needs in order to allow most people to take comfort in a shared environment. Extremes of fame, fortune and ignorance are equally questionable as being emblematic of the problem with any human need or desire when it is pushed beyond what a social system can support. Of these all ignorance is the least forgivable in a democratic society and the least punished of all extremes. It is about to be punished with the greatest loss of all.

Yes diversity is important and valuable. However, on the extreme edge of any behavior or any social value, however well intentioned, there lies a vast potential for madness. There is a reason that all cultures value and enforce moderation as part of how they support civilization. Moderation allows us to live together in relative peace and comfort. Extreme wealth is grossly immoderate and empowers the human capacity for self will run riot. Extremes of diversity can also damage the very society that values its tolerance more than its integrity.

Yes people need and must tolerate one another’s varied coping mechanisms. Life is not livable in any excessively narrow definition of what is accepted human behavior. But the common boundaries we place on human social behavior with laws and cultural values are also important. That is a real function of any state or culture or civilization, getting the boundaries right. Flexible boundaries are more inclusive, but at some point they must become firm and solid. Thus far and no farther is a wise and important statement that any society must embrace or perish in a welter of conflicting values.

Regardless of its dedication to diversity, or its inclusive support for variety in human values our society needs boundaries that work for most of the people most of the time. That includes all social behavior. It does not include race, religion or speaking your mind which have a special protection due to their importance in a democracy. Our Constitution sets those aside. The right to own property is likewise enshrined in protection under the law that we accept as supreme in our system of laws. Regardless of those rights, moderation is enforced most of the time by social rewards and punishments.

Moderate religious differences are easy to manage. If a religion asks its followers to kill those of a different faith, its rights both to freedom to worship and freedom of speech will come under scrutiny and be curbed. Moderate differences in race and gender identity are also now accepted but older social rules still have great power in how we cope with those differences. The moderation in curbs on free speech seem to have reached beyond their limits for now. Politically correct rules for social conduct are under assault not just by our President but by millions of his followers.

Ownership is now once again a question that needs to come under some scrutiny. How much power those with huge wealth are allowed to wield is coming under increasing question. That seems to be due to ill-conceived shifts in how far that power moves our body politic. We have elected a government of, by and for the billionaires and it reeks already of excesses. Their apparent desire to remake our system to better suit their desires is now being tested.

Extreme ownership does not come to those who do not value the power it generates. One of the attributes of people who achieve that level of power is that they seldom if ever concern themselves with their impact on the people who get in their way. Thus empowering them further with political power has always had consequences undesirable to the rest of the body politic. We have generally been skeptical of appointing those folks to positions that alter our government too much at any one time.

This is an experiment that will end badly, history tells us that over and over again. The only real problem is that we could really lose our democracy in this bargain. Trump is only a symptom of how far we have gone away from a society that held the rich at arm’s length from the power we have invested in our government. He is a genuine case of power drives that have taken him beyond democracy and toward dictatorship or even worse Imperial power wielded in our name. If the people of this nation do not reject him and his imperial drives we will lose all of our rights. One sliver at a time or all in one fell coup, it matters little once they are gone.

Democracies have not had a long shelf life in human history. Their fate has been to achieve power only to have it snatched away from the people and vested in the power drives of imperial leaders. You might ask yourself if Rome or even Great Britain were really great for most of the people who inhabited their time and place. Only the leadership prospered from their Imperial power. Think on that as you watch this experiment play out on the world stage. Empires are not kind or gentle masters and the servants of no one except the few who wield their immense power over human life and human values.

This is the true choice of boundaries we are faced with enforcing today. Can we curb the Imperial drives of a now dangerously powerful media figure who would be emperor. Will we, the people of this nation, the nation that we made great, sell our greatness for an empty suit pocket? A hole in cloth full only of lies and worthless promises? This nation was built on the dreams of common people. Will we give it to the emperor who runs madly through the streets, naked of empathy empty of truth and full of lies of the glory to come?

Let’s not! That would be a tragedy for the whole world of humans, black and white and yellow and brown and all of the shades between. All of the Creators that humans ever have worshipped would weep. All of the children who have the dream of a better world somewhere in their heart would weep. You too will wail and weep and gnash your teeth if that is what you allow this would-be-emperor to do to our democracy. We can never be a democracy and an Empire at the same time. If we give up the one for the other there will be no going back. Ponder that thought for a day or two, I’ll be back!