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Alt text from the original comic: I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not...
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on social justice:

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This is part of Social Justice photo credit Sarah Joy on flickr
From Wikipedia: Kyriarchy is a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission.
I’ve made a very personal...
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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

crazy people and guns

Gun Wall (Photo credit: Mike Saechang)

Whoa, Nelly.

I’m no foe to moderate, reasonable limits on gun ownership… but I swear if I read one more comment about how if ‘crazy people’ couldn’t get guns, we wouldn’t need any other measures.. I will, uh, write a blog post about how many ways that statement is wrong.

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

(Greed is the second in my Deadly Sin series. The first, on Wrath, can be found here, where it unfortunately got enmeshed with the Sandy Hook Massacre).

The Dragon's Hoard

The Dragon’s Hoard (Photo credit: sbisson)

Of all the political oddities over the last several years, none has astonished me more than the Ayn Rand fan boys and the Religious Right jumping into bed together in common cause against the poor. Ew. (And sorry for the visual) I may be missing something.

After all, I’m a Unitarian Pagan who has only read every religious text I have ever been able to get my hands on.


I guess those guys worship the other Jesus. You know, the one that hung around with Roman Centurions and bought and sold businesses while complaining about those lazy Nazarenes who would do so much better if they would just try harder.

The Christian objection to greed is based on Jesus’ teachings — The real Jesus, the one who preached about helping the poor, caring for the sick, and having humility.

He had a pretty good idea there, no matter your religious persuasion.

Like most of these deadly sins, greed is an exaggeration of a state of mind that is positive and useful. Also like the others, it substitutes a positive focus with the ‘worship’ of or obsession with a particular ideal or emotion.

There is nothing wrong with saving for the future and investing and building a safety net for yourself and your family. The problem arises when your family safety net begins to resemble a dragon’s hoard.

Have you ever wondered how the heck dragons sleep on all that gold? It’s got to be incredibly uncomfortable. The same is true for those ruled by greed. This is the curse of the dragon’s gold:

If you allow yourself to be ruled by greed, you become the servant to the dragon’s gold, and it no longer serves you or anyone else.

Mitt Romney personified the end result of the deadly sin of greed when he stated without shame, and without irony, that 47% of the people of the country he was at the time seeking to lead are plotting to ‘steal his gold’. That was a paraphrase, not a quote. Deal. Greed corrupts individuals, communities, and even the entire world. Currently, roughly 40% of the world’s wealth is in the hands of billionaires, while billions of people starve. The root of this greed comes from the idea that no matter how wealthy you are, you ‘can’t afford‘ to let go of even one doubloon, one finely wrought goblet, one half melted (oops) bar of gold, lest disaster fall. Fear. The root of greed is fear.

Pay It ForwardAnd the worst of it is – greed does not contribute to happiness.

In fact, numerous studies have found that after a certain set point (which last I checked was around $70,000 per year in current dollars or roughly comfortably middle class) money does not change overall happiness.

That’s right, Joe and Jane Average.  Mr. Millionaire is not happier than you, he just has a different set of problems.

The opposite of greed is the Golden Rule, nearly universal in spiritual belief systems and belief systems based on secular humanism. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Cast your seeds upon fertile ground, and work to make infertile ground richer and more fertile. “Pay it Forward” or “The Magnificent Obsession”. Give to others. Invest in them individually, and in communities.

There are thousands of ways to express it, but the concept is simple: Be generous with others. Give more than you ‘need’ to, and allow the giving to be its own reward… You see, a portion of greed is greed for the reward that comes from giving, the pats on the back, the recognition, the gratitude of the recipient, for power over the recipient or those who depend on your gifts.

To build happiness in your life, in your family, give of your time, your energy, your money, and your compassion, without expectations. That whole without expectations part? I can’t emphasize it enough. Without expectations. You are going to be disappointed when you give.

  • Some people will misuse the resource you provide (I don’t want to count the number of times I’ve given bus passes to people only to have them trade them for cigarettes).
  • Some people will show no outward gratitude.
  • Sometimes you will be unable to see how you’ve helped anyone.
  • Sometimes you will feel like you’ve made things worse.

The time to stop giving is when you are forgetting to give to yourself. Play as hard as you work. Rest often, and renew. Treat and pamper yourself as you do others.

Another time to stop giving (to a particular person) is if you do not have the emotional energy for the relationship challenges it causes, or when the giving, because of the other person’s situation, is doing more harm than good.

And there are no easy answers here. Sometimes, the thing you need to give most to a loved one with an addiction (for example) is help with the rent and a listening ear, and sometimes the best thing you can do is cut off contact.

What is stopping you from being generous with your time, your love, your money, your friendship?

  • Are you afraid? Of what? Rejection? Acceptance? Added obligation?
  • Are you angry at the person or system?
  • Are you resentful that you never got the generosity that is now being asked of you?
  • Are you overextended? (If so, remember to give to YOU)

What are you sleeping on, holding up gathered to you like dragon’s gold, doing neither you nor anyone else any good? Isn’t it time to let it go and sleep on a softer bed?

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

In my opinion, it’s pretty disgusting that we’re still having to have this conversation about equal pay. It’s a crime and a travesty. Do I have to mention that it bugs the crap out of me that I have six years of college and make less money per year than my husband does with a trade school certification?

Equal Pay

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Combating the Death of American Education

Combating the Death of American Education

I recently read an article (linked below the fold) about the deliberate destruction of the US post secondary education system. I would go farther and say that the same people who are deliberately destroying public post secondary education are deliberately manufacturing the death of American education in general (with the exception of private schools).

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

Smart Phones

Smart Phones as Swiss Army Knife

Smart phones are an amazing investment, and even if you’re down and out and broke, if you can find a phone and plan you can afford, buy one.  They are a lifeline, an entertainment center, and a business office in one.

Every now and then someone starts that old rant about the ‘Obamaphones’ again. Part of me wants to ask whether that is kind of like a homophone, except that it sounds like the President. The other part of me wants to start a pedantic rant about how, no, that particular entitlement far predates the 45th President of the United States. But that’s neither here nor there. 

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

 Getting Rid of Welfare

Lots of people talk about how poor people ‘rip off’ the system and how money is ‘wasted’ on programs for the poor. There is a lot of emotional energy invested in these arguments, and people get loud, and start shouting over each other, and friendships end over discussions of why poor people don’t ‘deserve’ help.

So let’s not go that route. I want to ask you a question, instead. How will you benefit from getting rid of welfare? Lets imagine a world in which ‘entitlements’ for the poor in America have been eliminated, and give it about twenty years for the results to show.*

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Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.

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Rolling Jubilee

Wipe our Debt (Photo credit: Images_of_Money)

Occupy Wall Street has found a very interesting new cause to pursue, and are rolling it out on November 15th (which happens to be my dad’s 80th birthday. Happy birthday, Daddy!). They are raising money to buy up debt for pennies on the dollar and forgive it. It’s called Rolling Jubilee and there’s a good editorial by Douglas Rushkoff about it on CNN here.

Rushkoff brings up the ‘moral hazard’ issue and deals with it pretty well, simply by equating personal debt forgiveness with the business debt forgiveness that has already been done by government on a massive scale. There’s more to it than that, however.

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