Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Hobo Philosopher

New Column

When Right = Wrong

By Richard E. Noble

Everyone from my generation will say that the schools that they were educated in were not the most sophisticated but at least they all learned right from wrong. I used to think that was a big cop-out. Everyone knows right from wrong. Schools should be responsible for teaching a bit more than simply distinguishing right from wrong, I once thought. But in today world and our own society, distinguishing right from wrong seems to have gotten lost somewhere.
Osama bin Ladin and his followers think that it is all right to kill civilians in any country that they understand to be at odds with their religion or philosophy. They have blown up innocent children and women who have no idea what Osama and his friends believe or think about anything. For centuries this has been considered wrong by just about everybody anywhere - even small children once knew this.
I was just reading the confessions of a political advisor. It seems he has just been released from prison and has written a book about how his advice to political candidates ended him up in the slammer. He confesses that he never thought that he was doing anything wrong. He had even consulted attorneys beforehand to assure that he wasn't doing anything illegal. He says that he only found out that what he had been doing was illegal when a jury convicted him and sent him to prison.
One of the largest accounting firms in America was recently closed down because the college graduate accountants and their bosses and supervisors didn't know an asset from a debit. It seems that they put assets in the column where the debits should have gone and the debits where the assets should have gone. Some of them said that they knew that what they were doing was wrong but Congress had passed a law saying that it was right to do what they knew to be wrong - so they did it anyway. Consequently because the Congress had declared wrong to be right no one has to go to jail. This is kind of like a mini Nuremberg Trials situation here. "I was just following orders, sir."
We have bankers and loan officers who don't know a legitimate loan from a false (lying) loan - and they are the one's who wrote up, approved and lied about these loans.
And we have Federal Reserve experts and stock brokers and analysts who can't figure out why bankers who falsified loan applications and then hid them in a batch of "real" loans and sold them to foreign investors who trusted their integrity should even be prosecuted. One TV expert said these poor bankers are being punished for simply being good capitalists. George Will says that the Democrats are just looking to blame somebody. It seems that good old George also thinks that corruption is just a positive part of capitalism and its invisible illegal guiding hand.
It goes without saying that we have politicians who don't know right from wrong - but today their constituencies don't know either. We the people keep reelecting politicians who act illegally and immorally even when their crimes are laid out before us in the newspapers and in book after book by their own people - occasionally even on the TV.
Big businessmen have always been short on character, after all they have the bottom line to consider - but they once understood that conspiring for a profit at the expense of their own country and its people was not being patriotic - and in some cases even treasonous. In today's business colleges it seems that treason is just an appendix under the chapter explaining Supply and Demand and patriotism comes under the chapter on Bankruptcy.
We used to think that monopolies were wrong. A monopoly was one big company with enough money and power to control a particular industry. A monopoly isn't a company that is so big that they can control just about anything and everything anymore - that's General Electric, CitiBank and Standard Oil. Today it is all right to control anything and everything so long as your money is coming from non-related and integrated sources. In other words you are not necessarily a monopoly just because you own all the peanut butter factories in the world. Throw in a couple of jelly and jam factories and you are not a monopoly - you are now just a conglomerate. A conglomerate can do all that a monopoly ever dreamed of and more but it is not a monopoly so whatever it does it is legal and okie dokey.
Coming closer to home it seems that we are having a new spree of virgin births among teenagers. These pregnant girls can't explain how it happened or who is responsible. All around the country their high school chums are voting these little chubby ladies Prom Queen or Coming Home Princess. How sweet.
Dead people are also resurrecting just like in Biblical times. Many dead people have revived their interest in politics - a lot of them seem to be voting in local and national elections. Obviously being dead isn't as peaceful as it used to be.
Dead people are voting, collecting Social Security, getting jobs and working, spending lavishly with their new credit cards, talking to many people in the movies and on TV. We used to call people who talked to dead people wackos and lock them up in nut houses. Now we call them movie stars, TV celebrities, inspirational authors, orators and even evangelists.
The unborn and the dead are getting lots of attention but the alive and still kicking seem to be the silent majority. I can't understand it because the unborn and the dead don't even pay taxes.

Richard E. Noble is a Freelance Writer. He has authored two books: "A Summer with Charlie" and "Hobo-ing America" which are both listed on Amazon. Most recently he completed his first novel "Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother" which will be published and on Amazon soon.