Playing the Indian Card

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Camel. Needle's Eye. Got It?

Timothy Eaton: A Saint of the Church of Prosperity

Let’s not, after all, eat the rich, shall we? The linked infographic is not, as advertised, proof that rich people are unethical; any more than crime stats prove that black people are unethical, or IQ stats that they are stupid. It is proof that on average a rich person is somewhat less likely to behave ethically than a poor person. It says nothing about individuals, let alone individual acts.

But the statistical correlations should come as no surprise. It’s all in the Bible, after all: blessed are the poor. It simply stands to reason that, if you are more interested in your own welfare and less in that of others, you are more likely to get ahead than someone who is less interested in his own welfare and more in that of others. You are obviously more inclined to take the necessary steps to make this intention a reality.

It follows, though, that in ethical terms, and in the social and material world, the cream does not rise to the top. Contrary to Calvin and the “gospel of prosperity,” behaving morally and maintaining strict personal principles is not going to reward you either materially or socially—though the reputation for these, as opposed to the reality, might.

Nor should it. If by doing the right thing you were always doing right by yourself, there would be no opportunity to be moral in the first place. The best man and the worst scoundrel would always do the same.

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