Thursday, June 24, 2021
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Principles, not paychecks, should guide

Even in our highly relativistic age we hold some moral values to be universal.

Some things are just acknowledged to be wrong; the varieties of time, place or culture have little to do with it.

As G.K. Chesterton commented, “Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.”

One of these universal laws says we should not love money inordinately.

The Bible teaches that the love of money is the root of all evil, and warns us that where our treasure is, there also will our heart be. Indeed, many great philosophers, moralists and religious thinkers have chosen poverty and decreed the danger of riches.

Even children’s fables say the same. We all know the misery of King Midas and the loneliness of the dragon.

I imagine that most of us would agree with the honored testament of tradition.

Very few actually think that extraordinary wealth can bring happiness in and of itself.

Of course, we must seek a living, but surely we would count a man a failure who had a good job and lots of money, but had a poor relationship with his wife and children.

Family, friends, personal fulfillment, we should all agree, should not be sacrificed for material prosperity.

Yet, as we prepare to elect a president, money seems to be on everyone’s mind. Workaholism is common, business scandals no longer scandalize, and even Donald Trump has a reality TV show.

Judging from these signs of the times, we should not be surprised that the economy is one of the key issues in the coming elections. Apparently, it is still the economy, stupid.

But is this a good thing? Hardly anyone would call money the most important value in his or her life, yet mostly everyone votes as if it was.

If it were not for the war, the economy would be the primary issue, as it has been for years in American politics. This is an unfortunate indicator of the state of American society.

Take the example of abortion. It does not make sense to me for someone who believes that abortion is murder to vote for a pro-choice candidate based on the candidate’s economic policy, since a human life is infinitely more important than an economic loss.

To do so betrays a seriously unbalanced system of values.

Whichever side of the political debate we are on, we should examine ourselves to see if, as a nation and as individuals, we are making economic gains at the expense of our moral integrity.

By neglecting issues like health care, education and abortion, we are putting money before people, and this is sure to have disastrous consequences.

Let us all, then, fight against this disturbing trend, in the voting booth and in our daily life.

Mother Teresa once said that she did not work with the poorest of the poor, but that the poorest people in the world were the affluent in America.

If we want to change the country around, we must start by addressing this deep spiritual poverty on the national level by voting and on the personal level through our compassion, empathy and understanding.

As far as I am concerned, fighting greed on a personal level is far more important. If each one of us changes our basic attitude from one of selfishness to one of kindness and generosity, a better and more just political situation will surely follow.

Please remember, money does not bring happiness, love does.

For college students: as we choose a career and go out into the world, let us not abandon our deepest principles for unfulfilling material gain.

For spouses: you need not give each other many things, as long as you give yourselves to each other.

For parents: your children do not need toys, or video games, or cars, they need you.

Let us never place possessions before people. Truly, what does it matter if we gain the whole world and lose those who are closest to us?


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