This is what Adam Smith said: “All for ourselves and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”
How do we get rid of them?
By making ourselves sacred.
People in the Occupy Movement will not need much explanation. They have discovered that the only coherence left to their movement is the reward that comes to us by serving others: see, for instance, reports from http://interoccupy.net/blog/occupy-sandy-new-jersey-needs-your-help-now/. Eat your heart out, New York Timex and Wall Street Journal.
But let me explain for the benefit of others who might be reading on.
Let me explain first how certain people become masters of mankind. I have already given you the answer in a nutshell:
1. These are people who do not pay sufficient taxes on the land and natural resources that are under their exclusive control;
2. These are people who have arrogated to their exclusive privilege the power “to coin money and its value thereof” that belongs to We the People;
3. These are people who, while not always meeting the obligation to pay standard minimum wages, appropriate to their exclusive benefit the blessings of capital appreciation;
4. These are people who covet the tools, such as the fishing boat, the machinery, the plant that others have created and do all in their powers to acquire control of them for their exclusive benefit.
It might seem an impossible dream to right these wrongs. This is not a dream; it is a must-do reality. And, if it is a dream, it is a possible dream.
We do not need to unseat the masters of mankind from their positions of power. We only need to unseat them from their positions of privilege, by asserting our economic rights. We need to reduce and/or control their power.
We have to do two things. First, we have to become consciously aware that all people are sacred. Then, we have to pierce our dreamlike ignorance of economics — about which I have already written extensively and about which I still have a few things to say. Just one point. Have your professors of economics ever told you of Adam Smith’s vile maxim about the masters of mankind?
Yes, be careful. Not all masters of mankind are evil. Some are those who have lost their way, many misguided by modern economic theory. We have to show them how to be sacred, by us being consciously sacred and thereby, as Dr. Peter J. Bearse pointedly observes, become role models for the masters.
For the sacred, the spiritual is in all of us. The poet sees the sacred in a blade of grass. Some scientists have joined the chorus, having discovered that the sacred is inherent in everything. And those who have not yet made such a discovery may be helped by my essay on the equivalence of matter to energy and to spirit.
Such knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. To practice it is to experience the joy that comes only from loving ourselves, loving our neighbor, and loving Life, Nature, God (Evolution, anyone?).
By such daily practices, we all win. We all become equally invincible: We live in a city of sacred men and women. Such a city has been a work in progress here in America ever since the gleam in Governor Winthrop’s eye.
The struggles left will be aesthetic, psychological, intellectual, and political.
Oh, yes! Equality does not require equality of material or intellectual means. How impossible; how boring would that be.
To be equal does not mean to be identical. To be equal means that everyone has the same rights—granted and asserted by varying degrees of moral and political stamina.
Carmine Gorga is president of The Somist Institute. He is the author of The Economic Process (2002, 2010). He blogs at http://www.a-new-economic-atlas.com and http://www.modern-moral-meditations.blogspot.com.