Evolution has given us all a great gift — our brain.
It took more than 40 million years for the first primates to develop into the modern species today. Humans have the most complex brains of any primate, but many others exhibit intellectual capacity we can recognize. What people have in common with these nonhuman primates is the ability to behave in their own self-interests.
Our democratic republic was founded on the principles of compromise and reason by men who had seen enough of the opposite types of government in other parts of the world. The Founding Fathers’ intent was to make us a special country, one that governed itself by resolving its differences between regions, economics and even religion. They adroitly, through the workings of James Madison and others, formed a separation of church and state that prevented nonelected people from making policy that controlled those who were not of that school of thought. This single position was, of course, brilliant. Those, such as Rick Santorum, who think otherwise should take a sabbatical to Iran and see how well a theocratic oligarchy works in the modern world. Our founders got it right.
George Washington is on record as saying he was very concerned about political parties and how they might destroy the egalitarian spirit embedded in electing representation of, by and for the people. This was supposed to be a people’s government, not a corporate government or a special-interest government.
Today, we see Washington’s concerns come to life. We the People have allowed corruption to weave its tentacles into all three branches of government. We have allowed political parties to create great herds of sheep-like followers of ideology that serve only those special interests who fund those parties.
The people? Well, we are left to our own devices in today’s political environment. The promise of the Constitution to look after the “general welfare” of the people has been turned into a snarling competition for taxpayer money for special interests and lobbyists who use it to bribe even more representatives into doing special-interest bidding.
We have become a nation of profit-making, not one of intellectual development and enlightenment. Profit is good. But when it becomes the singular driving engine of a society, greed, graft and corruption are the inevitable bedfellows — as witnessed by the ease in which our jobs were shipped to places paying a fraction of American wages. It took a mighty effort by the lobbies and their paymasters in corporate America to get the laws changed allowing this grab for profits above the general welfare of the people.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m for profit. It floats all our boats if it is fairly distributed to those who have earned it. It works for the people who earn their keep by allowing them to be consumers of goods and services. When they have no nondiscretionary money, they don’t consume those goods and services.
Those who retain some sort of intellectual prowess understand this basic thesis.
Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. "The Voter’s Guide to National Salvation" is a newly published e-book from Turner. You can find it at www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooks. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.