It isn’t hard to get taken in by the cry for the rich to pay their fair share. It just seems to make sense, doesn’t it? By golly, if they aren’t pulling their weight around here, we need to put the whip to their backs (or the IRS gun to their head) and force them to cough up their dough.
The President made that very clear in his remarks the other day to garner support from the masses that we need to tax the wealthy more.
Here are some excerpts: --“It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million.” --“Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires.” --Plumbers pay a higher tax rate than a hedge fund manager. --The word “unfair” was repeated over and over; taxing the rich more would be “fairer”; everybody needs to do their part; etc.
Wow! Sounds like we need to take the rich to the woodshed, no?
But wait a second. Does it matter if he is shading this story a little bit (or a lot)?
In reflecting on the tenth anniversary of “9/11” and the Islamic terrorist attacks upon our country, I am struck by what, no doubt, others have noticed as well.
I’ve been reading a number of books of late that revisit the atrocities of Hitler’s Third Reich and have increasingly realized how familiar it all sounds: --A desire to overthrow the world and instill a dominant global force; --A hatred for Jews and a desire to wipe them off the face of the earth; --A total disregard for human life in their quest to rule the world; --The use of terror in their tactics; --The non-conventional warfare against non-combatants, including women and children; --An open air of supremacy, arrogance and boasting toward others who are not “like” them.
There are a few differences, however, and it is these differences that must be understood in the war that still rages ten years later.
First, Hitler waged war in the conventional realm. Yes, they used terror and targeted civilians by the millions, but they wore uniforms and developed standard warfare implements like tanks and planes and fought on “battle fronts” against the conventional forces of other countries.
The Islamic Reich wages war solely through terror. It does not fight conventional forces, it does not wear uniforms, it does not build tanks or planes or ships, it does not engage on battlefields. There is no “front line”. In fact, there is no line at all. There are no “rules of war”, no Geneva Convention that would seek to keep war from descending into unbounded evil and at least offer a post-war definition of “war crimes”. To the Islamic Reich, cutting off the head of a journalist with a dull blade is a divine “right” for them. Strapping bombs to babies is divinely right; or blowing up shoppers in a fruit market; or flying airplanes into city buildings to kill as many people as possible.
Fighting this kind of enemy requires a new approach to combat. It will not be won with tanks and planes and ships.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
There are times in our lives when the Lord reaches down and, like pulling a carrot out of the ground, uproots us without little advance notice. The first time that happened to me, I wasn’t too happy about it and, unfortunately, played the role of the arrogant radish, complaining and fuming as if I knew a whole lot more than the Gardener.
But, eventually, He plants us in another spot and if we can stop complaining long enough to take an honest look around, we realize that He had a very good reason for rudely interrupting “our story”.
I count nine major “uprootings” or “replantings” in my life.
So far, I haven’t handled them in a perfect way. I keep hoping that I will get to the point that I’m a happy carrot when the unexpected happens. Sometimes I think I’m getting better—but then I experience a small, minor interruption and I find that I still have a tendency to say “Hey! What’s the deal?” “Can’t You see that I have my own plans here?”
In anthropomorphic terms, I suspect God just shakes His head at me and maybe even mumbles a “When is this kid ever going to learn?”
"What should ethics in public life look like?" This is the last question in Chuck Colson’s “Doing the Right Thing” series. It is basically asking about ethics in the political arena.
Wow! Is this a loaded question or what?
There have to be a million jokes about politicians. I’m sorry to say that none of them are complimentary. That is sad, actually. Jokes are supposed to make me laugh.
These never do.
Why? Because it is a reflection of how far we have gotten away from the blueprints.
And, if we are going to talk about ethics in politics, then we have to go back to that original design.
It isn’t complex, by the way.