Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Santa's List Myth

I'm sure most of us know the story about the morbidly obese man who doles out gifts and trinkets around this time of year -- each and every year. It's about this same time when people start discussing and debating the various myths that encompass the secularized Christmas holiday.

While most folks concentrate on the quantum physics angle of the jolly elf and his team of flying Cervidae, I want to focus on the list.

As the story goes, St. Nick tabulates this never-ending list of who's been naughty and nice -- according to legend, he checks it twice -- so we are all need to be "good for goodness sakes".

The mistake that most Americans seem to make is that they draw a parallel between the words "nice" and "good" when, in actuality, the true parallel that this Claus fellow obviously is making is between the words "naughty" and "good".

Under the capitalist system, nice guys (and gals) finish last. When capitalism is fused with fundamentalist Christianity, the word good takes on a whole different meaning that what you or I might suppose. People who are rich and powerful are good. People who are poor and powerless are bad.

Consequently, since the American ethos is about being #1, it stands to reason that being naughty -- the opposite of nice -- will lead to a good result and, thereby, the naughty people are the good people.

Taking this one step further, the story of Santa Claus makes it clear that being "good for goodness sake" equates to behaving in a ruthless (i.e., naughty) manner by squashing everyone under the weight of our mighty boot on the road toward power and wealth (i.e., goodness).

A recent article posted on Common Dreams underscores the fact that many capitalists have understood this connection far longer than most of the rest of us. To wit,
The richest 2 percent of adults in the world own more than half the world's wealth, according to a new study released by the Helsinki-based World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University. The study's authors say their work is the most comprehensive study of personal wealth ever undertaken. They found the richest 1 percent of adults owned 40 percent of global assets in the year 2000, and that the richest 10 percent of adults accounted for 85 percent of the world's total. In contrast, the assets of half of the world's adult population account for barely 1 percent of global wealth.
Something to think about as you enjoy a cup of nog with the family.

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