It has always been a fascination when I read about pensions — especially forced pension payments from those who are made to pay as a requirement of their continued employment, with some paying over $800 a month into State “pension” coffers — and how those workers are demonized by the Far Right who believe public servants and private pensioners are somehow taking advantage of those who do not pay into a pension program. Pensions are not payoffs or welfare. Pensions are earned investment money entrusted to public or private equity.
Tag Archives: morality
Five Thirty Eight is a new website that uses data quantification to make qualitative evaluations of our human lives. A recent article concerning people really only wanting to date themselves captured my attention.
How many of us live to be defined by our possessions? How many of us find value only in what we have achieved and won and coveted? I wrote about this nagging issue of human governance on November 22, 2006 — “Worthy of History: Only Expensive Things Survive” –
The perversion of the historical accuracy of how our ancestors lived, and how we currently live, is created by preserving only expensive possessions — tokens, icons, valuables – and in the purposeful construction of indestructible architectural monuments used by the privileged few.
History is skewed by this preservation technique because it only pretends to tell future generations how people actually lived. When we visit museums we are only seeing what the powerful majority of the culture of that time deemed important enough to save and pass down.
We only get to know what they thought was worth saving and inevitably those things are the expensive, the pretty, the unique and the tokens of the wealthy. Even pioneer and Native American museum dioramas are idealized with hardy items and the most beautiful things. The ordinary is forsaken for the power of the inherent value in the preservation of the perceived best.
We live in a risky world where few things seem to matter. A handshake is no longer enough of a guarantee of friendship or a promise for a business deal. A country’s reputation in the world doesn’t matter if individual selfish interests are more important than a right example and proper behavior.
Where once we wanted to live the American Dream and to own the best and to be the brightest — we have now been beaten down by the ridicule of those elected to serve us, and by punishing economic times that sap our passions — we are now fine with just getting by, living paycheck to paycheck, and buying things are just “good enough” to get us by into the next reckoning moment of despair.
This steep decline in expectation and excellence is never grand or proper when it becomes the defining mantra of a country and its people. A return to excellence and moral leadership takes money, empathy, dedication, and education.
His was a life of bricks and the skillful hands to lay them, fast and capable hands as adept as machines. His was a history thrown with gale force at walls and buildings all over town, a long constructive life of making things to last. Everywhere now in his decline were the monuments of his having passed that way, standing in red clay and mortar, signs of a man’s existence no less expressive than those of whatever poet you might wish to mention.
Tony Kushner is a well-known playwright, and his latest success was found in writing the screenplay for the movie — Lincoln — starring Daniel Day-Lewis. With each chit comes a chipping, and Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney is rightly angry that Kushner intentionally changed history to add fake drama to the movie by deciding to invent two members of the Connecticut congressional delegation who voted against the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to end slavery. In actuality, all four members of the Connecticut representatives voted for ending slavery. Why would Kushner so deliberately skew what really happened?
When I was in eighth grade, there was a large poster hanging on one of the walls with the image of Michael Douglas on it and a long speech about greed. I had no idea what it was or why his face was on it but it was an interesting speech, albeit one that went against everything we were taught in school. The speech taught that greed was good and important. We were taught in school that greed was bad and that sharing with others was good and important.