The pope, hope, and rich drunk drivers

Apparently the new pope senses a shift in the winds of culture. Perhaps he is just a good man. But he’s publicly making the argument that gets people killed: the love of money is the root of all evil.

This is a confusing phrase. We all love money. It’s the very life we lead. If we had more of it, we could be more ourselves. This is the loudest noise in the US today: money is the giver of goodness. Money is what life is about.

The obvious contradiction makes it easy for today’s cultural pundits to toss off the pope as a loony fluff. The gleefully powerful have science and history on their side. Capitalism has lifted the masses out of poverty. The mechanics of ‘marketplace’ societal control have created unprecedented prosperity. Who can argue with that?

The pope, it turns out. No-one has figured out a clear way to explain this to a middle-class American, yet, but Capitalism will work a lot better without the rich. The right-wing celebration of the wealthy is inspired by the traditionalist’s urge to worship powerful human beings, but it mistakes the owners for the institution (much like, in the old days, you could mistake the king for the monarchy). There’s nothing about Capitalism that requires the excess to flow to the happy hedonists at the top. In fact, putting money under the control of billionaires and bankers inhibits its distribution and mucks up the works. There would be far more prosperity – Capitalist prosperity –  if profits were simply handed out to employees.

Normally, we would all shrug and chuckle at the pope’s naivete. All the popular people in the nation (all the popular people in your private circle), are chained to their hope for higher income. So far, we’re all persuaded our opportunities lie with a blindly mechanical marketplace, which just incidentally necessitates the existence of an hereditary hedonist class. Morality doesn’t have anything to do with it.

Until it does. One day, rich murderers start going free because – they’re rich.

Comments are closed.