"For years, I never doubted the truthfulness of what I was taught. This is not surprising considering that virtually anything will make sense if it's all you know." ~ Robert Kirby
Jay Leno recently interviewed Rush Limbaugh. It was a very good interview and I was reminded of how generally likable Rush can be.
As Rush spoke, I began to listen critically in ways I would never have thought to do 15 years ago when I was a Dittohead. It is not that I completely disagree with him, but it is clear to me now that he only tells half a story. This is something I never caught when he, and those who share his views, were all I listened to.
Here is an example of when he presents half a story:
RUSH: The economic pie is growing. It's not a zero-sum game. Just because somebody has $800 million doesn't mean somebody lost it. It means the market produced it. It's none of my business what they make, Jay. It's certainly none of yours, and it's certainly not Barack Obama's what anybody makes.
To me, this is how one would fail to get a true perspective. Rush presents a true statement... to a degree. He wants capitalism to be viewed favorably, so the example he gives is when capitalism is working at it's best. But corporations and shareholders pockets are not lined ONLY when the pie grows. They are also lined when they use their positions of power to strong arm workers into sweatshops. They are lined when perfectly healthy companies are gutted to make a quick buck. They are lined when they use their bank of lawyers to avoid paying their obligations.
Leno attempted to bring this up, stating that HOW one makes money is important.
RUSH: No, no, it's not. If you believe in the capitalist system, then you have to erase from your whole worldview what does somebody need. It's not about need. Capitalism is not about need. It's about providing; it's about growing; it's about opportunity; it is about doing whatever you want to do.
Rush accurately points out here that capitalism has no conscience... and it doesn't want you to have one either. This is where I agree with Leno. How we make money does matter.
I was in my late teens when I went with my parents to visit my cousins in California. We decided one evening to go over the boarder to Tijuana, Mexico. There are street vendors everywhere in Tijuana in addition to the stores. Many items were to be haggled over, rather than having a set price.
Toward the end of the evening, I had some money burning a hole in my pocket and there were some necklaces I had been eyeing. An old lady was sitting on a blanket stringing such necklaces by the side of the road. I asked her how much she wanted for two. I don't remember how much they were, but I remember that it was a decent price. However, never wanting to miss a potential bargain, I offered her half. She shook her head, but I knew it was late and I figured I could get her to realize that some money was better than no money. After some haggling and my threatening to walk away, she sighed and took my money. I strutted away, jewelry in hand ... victorious.
Amidst the noise and bustle as I looked for my family, a small voice spoke in my heart:
"To you it was a game, to her it was food for her family."
My heart froze as this insight grew. It was as if the breath were being taken from me. I ran back to where the old lady had been, but she had already packed up for the night. I stood there starting at the empty spot by the side of the road. Shame washed over me.
To me, the few dollars here or there were less than nothing. To her, it was her lifeblood.
It matters Rush.... it matters.