Moral Debts and Ethical Deficits

Our heads are filled with stories about the danger of trillions of dollars in debt and deficits, with little if any mention of the real problem they represent. It is not the debt, but what we are indebted for that threatens the future of our nation. If we owed hundreds of trillions of dollars — which may soon be the case — and every American was employed, housed, educated, cared for without question in time of ill health or economic need and safe from warfare and violence from inside the nation or out , such debt would not be any problem at all.

Borrowing today and paying back tomorrow shouldn’t mean we lavishly spend most of the borrowed money on weapons, waste, cosmetics and pets, causing us to scrimp on health, education and social life while complaining that we have too much debt. We need to control our spending on things only a minority of us actually need or really want, and begin changing priorities to satisfy the shared needs and wants of the great majority. This can’t happen under the domain of forces that mislead us into social divisions by exaggerating differences and minimizing similarities to protect a commodity culture and a perverse political order that defines minority rule as democracy.

The present renewal of the drive to dismantle Social Security and turn it over to private profiteers is one among many of the lies and distortions offered as suggested solutions for our problems which will only make them much worse. Increasing budgets for war and decreasing budgets for social service only make sense to anti-social forces which profit from divide and conquer policies that reduce Americans, especially the working majority, to special interest and identity groups whose common cause is sacrificed to competition while ruling minorities practice a lucrative socialism at their expense.

Our common condition has been ignorance for much too long and it needs to become a common cause of democracy and transformation of our economy before we are transformed by it into a totally failed society.

All people need housing, safe communities, health care, education, transportation and the time and effort necessary to pursue interests other than simply working to maintain those needs. But we are socialized to accept a lack of any and all of those things for far too many of our number, believing that those who don’t have them are simply undeserving. This divisive condition is part of the political economy that replaces citizenship with consumerism and substitutes anti-social competition for social cooperation.

When people can go to places of religious community and entertain belief in invisible forces that call for solidarity and love among humanity, and leave those places and practice competitive individualism and economic warfare amongst themselves, the society in which they practice this split personality is suffering more than a collective mental disorder. That disorder is part of the economic foundation that is taught to us as a natural order of god’s universe, except when god is being communed with at church, ashram, temple or other place of worship of the beautiful immaterial ideal in order to escape the ugly material reality. This fractured dualism makes it possible for a society to be in great debt in order to make war, create poverty and destroy the natural environment, while lacking the material and spiritual sustenance of life for a majority of the human community.

If, as many good people believe, we are all god’s children we need to stop treating some of our kin folk like excrement. The human family is dysfunctional under profit and loss rules in which family values that sound good in words about love and brotherhood turn out to be deeds of pillage, waste and murder. We cannot be ethical people practicing high minded morals in the midst of a collectively immoral economy that trashes ethical behavior with murderous attack on humans and all other parts of the natural environment. The earth is treated as a profit making commodity and we see it erupting in gushers of oil that threaten far more than the profit margin of one petroleum company. Humans are treated as nothing more than commodities by the same system, and it cannot and should not be blamed on corporate CEOs or political and media gas bags who simply follow the systemic dictates of creating profit for some at the expense of all. That is the religion of the market under private control, creating profit for a minority and loss for the great majority. That loss is being reflected in greater numbers of personal lives as this economy suffers what is called a recession, but even more telling signs are revealed in the rapid breakdowns in life support systems that can no longer withstand the ravages of being treated like commodities rather than what they are; the substance of our lives.

Nature is our nature and not some product which we can simply market and sell at profits. When we incur massive debts in order to create massive destruction of nature, we are in process of destroying the very substance of ourselves. That cannot go on and will only be changed by a motivated and informed public that demands service to humanity — itself — before service to a commodity market. The growing global numbers who profess that another world is possible are voicing the necessity, not just the possibility. We will have that other world or we will not have any world at all. And creating that future organism is worth far more debt than anything we have incurred for this present failing mechanism.

Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears online at the blog Legalienate. Read other articles by Frank.

13 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. franco_american1962 said on June 25th, 2010 at 8:54am #

    “If we owed hundreds of trillions of dollars — which may soon be the case — and every American was employed, housed, educated, cared for without question in time of ill health or economic need and safe from warfare and violence from inside the nation or out , such debt would not be any problem at all.”

    You say tomatoh, I say tomahto…And what are “we” looking to solve? This Utopian vision kind of reminds me of what Karl Popper alludes to in his book “The open society and its enemies”. I don’t think I like the “unintended consequences” of such an imposed cradle to grave-and bleak-social landscape. Keep clicking those heels while uttering, ” theres no place like home…”

  2. bozh said on June 25th, 2010 at 9:20am #

    I do not think a biker, cosa nostra, or washingtown can owe money. It is always the other way around: others owe them money.
    If u don’t pay back, u’r very lucky to escape with just one broken leg! People owe money to washingtown gang.
    They can pay it back the easy or hard way. But the money owed to washing city will be paid back or there will be a lot of them going to iraq, iran, afgh’n, korea to do some service for the gang. tnx

  3. bozh said on June 25th, 2010 at 9:32am #

    Yet another piece that does not even postulate the first cause let alone posits it.
    And if one refuses to posit the first cause for indebtness or warfare, i can’t see how that can elucidate the situation or lead to a suggestion ab what to do about wars and debt!
    And the first cause for all ills that befall us on internt’l and interpersonal levels is……
    No, it is not that we are evil or incompentent but that we become that way! But how-why…….? tnx

  4. bozh said on June 25th, 2010 at 9:40am #

    Aah, how bankers and other gangsters love debt; and thereafter run to swiss banks laughing. And we say: aren’t banksters so smart; they make money for all us out of fat air; while never ever putting up a drop of sweat.
    How wonderful! tnx

  5. bozh said on June 25th, 2010 at 9:47am #

    Yes, banksters used to make money from thin air, but now the air is much heavier and fatter; thus the profits are now much fatter than they used to be. And no chance of ever getting thinner! tnx

  6. MichaelKenny said on June 27th, 2010 at 11:23am #

    I see this article as “blowback” from Wall St’s failed attack on the EU and the euro. When they attacked Greece and Latvia, it never dawned on the banksters that Americans would look at the lurid version of events in those countries presented to them and think “hey, the US is even more indebted than them. Doesn’t that mean that we’re going to have things even worse than Greece and Latvia when the chickens come home to roost?”. That also explains, I think, why the Wall St gurus are now howling and screeching that the EU should do anything it likes except reduce its debt. If Americans start wanting the same thing, then the unwinnable wars are the obvious first target for cuts and will lead to the kind of reasoning that Mr Scott engages in in this article.
    By the way, have you noticed how the the word “bankster” has disappeared from articles now that they’ve “done the right thing” by attacking the EU? Spinmeisters at work!

  7. bozh said on June 27th, 2010 at 11:40am #

    A good idea ab banksters attack on euro and some lands. And US banksters profitting from it and europeans paying for it.
    But europeans are not dumb. If it is true that US enriched self by the attack on euro they can do s’mthing ab it! tnx

  8. mary said on June 28th, 2010 at 12:05am #


    Instructions on leaving the Titanic. I see no mention of women and children first. Only bankers and fat cats first. Steerage must await their fate below decks. Insufficency of lifeboats reported. Panic and confusion ensue.

  9. mary said on June 28th, 2010 at 4:02am #

    That link has been taken down. It was the draft communiqué.

    This is the final version for what it’s worth.–final-g20-summit-communique-text

  10. mary said on June 28th, 2010 at 4:07am #

    I looked at a few other links on the Toronto Star and saw that the heavens opened, subways were flooded, cars were set on fire and the grim apparelled riot police were kept busy. Portents of things to come? I bet our Zionist supporting friend Stephen Harper was not best pleased with these aspects of the weekend.–union-subway-station-dvp-major-downtown-roads-closed-due-to-flooding

    and others.

  11. Mulga Mumblebrain said on June 28th, 2010 at 5:15am #

    Harper is the future, mary-in fact he is the present and the recent past as well. Harper is like all Rightwing political pathocrats in that he is an apparatchik in a system that is designed to fool the serfs into thinking that they have some control over or say in their lives when they are, in fact, expendable cogs in a neo-feudal system where all real power belongs to an infinitely evil and predatory elite.
    One would imagine(I know I do), that the prime responsibilities of an ethical ruling regime in any decent polity would be, amongst others, to ensure a decent life for those living, respect for the beneficient achievements of the past and a determination not to repeat its mistakes, and an absolute resolve to maintain the planet’s human habitability and thereby ensure our descendants’ future.
    Well, of course, we know that the pathocratswho wield power in market capitalist societies exhibit none of these features, and, indeed, display the exact opposite tendencies.They give no thought to the future beyond the next election and its concomitant party donation season, they are fiercely determined to oversee as great an increase in equality as is tolerable by the serfs, and they are indifferent to the achievements of human culture, most probably through crude ingnorance and base philistinism. Naturally this type of psychologically toxic and spiritually poisonous creature exhibits certain character traits-absence of human empathy,indifference, if not outright hostility, towards others, hatred of others according to various prejudices,manifested in racism, xenophobia, religious hatred,misogyny and class hatred-that their fathers and their fathers’ fathers back throughout history also displayed. I see that, in the UK , the Tories, although quickly displaying their true pathocratic features with savage, uber-Thatcherite attacks on the proles, are having a jolly time lying through their teeth concerning it. Following that other great Rightwing politician, Hitler, they see the efficacy of the ‘Big Lie’, which Adolph recommended as a device. Tell a really big lie, he asserted,rather than a little one, because the common man,for whom lying is a serious business and which troubles his conscience when he indulges in it, will scarcely credit that anyone would be so audacious or lacking in scruple as to tell such a whopper.This feeling is a trap when dealing with psychopaths without a conscience, as we are rapidly learning that Osborne, Cameron and Clegg are. Of course it always was a preposterous lie that Cameron or Osborne,both hereditary plutocrats, would entertain any future for the proles but one of renewed Thatcherite class hatred and revenge, but they displayed admirable determination in keeping up the pretence until power was won, and the neo-feudal project could recommence with real, undisguised, relish at the prospects.
    With the continuing, accelerating,global ecological crisis, resource depletion, economic implosion under debt and the crumbling of the Yankee Reich all coming together with dire consequences, the prioritisation of class war and social viciousness tells us all we know on earth and all we need ever know about the Right. They are not only vicious, cruel, contemptuous and violent, but stupid,ignorant and destructive as well. For centuries they have destroyed, pillaged and desecrated the planet and humanity, but, now, finally, they are achieving their inescapable apotheosis, and are destroying humanity, hence themselves, in one final orgy of malevolence.

  12. mary said on June 28th, 2010 at 6:04am #

    Spot on. Their days are numbered as are those of their little ‘state’ in the Middle State. It will be dumped as and when these gangsters accept that they can no longer support it financially or militarily. Israel’s current international isolation is dangerous for all of us. Whenever they are threatened and/or feel insecure, they usually start one of their killing sprees. Just hope they don’t set off a conflagration with Iran.

    Harper has also had agents provocateurs at work in Toronto apparently as in Quebec before. Remember to always study the boots.

    We have had a huge amount of BBC bilge from Mark Mardell (‘our man in Washington;) and the odious Nick Robinson who is embedded with Cameroon and who participated in the pre -election hype that put Cameroon into government. It has been totally excrutiating ranging from little snippets about Obomber giving Cameroon a ride in the Presidential helicopter to how cold the beer was that they shared.

    Meanwhile we hear today that one of his Tory toads is going to have all those who receive Incapacity Benefit retested in the Autumn. They will have to prove that they are unable to work. There might be some scroungers amongst the number (after all look at the MPs and their expenses) but where are the jobs if they are found to be capable of work. More and more this country is resembling the Third Reich in the late Thirties.

  13. franco_american1962 said on July 2nd, 2010 at 10:44am #

    “When people can go to places of religious community and entertain belief in invisible forces that call for solidarity and love among humanity, and leave those places and practice competitive individualism and economic warfare amongst themselves, the society in which they practice this split personality is suffering more than a collective mental disorder”

    Once I can wrap my head around this deconstructed mish-mash, I might be able to better respond. Oh, economic warfare (of the classes) and competitive individualism: Ah, yes, the stuff over which the Utopian-statists nash their teeth! As far as the author’s last sentence, referencing to the Third Reich, that is like two brother’s fighting. Whether one talks of national socialism, or international socialism (communism), both share in a common political foundation: socialism.