Occupy Thanksgiving

Words you will never see on a OWS or union protest placard:  “THANK YOU”.

At the table this Thanksgiving there will be those who give thanks. There will also be those who pull up to the table demanding more. This latter group will echo Obama’s class warfare rhetoric griping about inequities and fairness.

There are those who do not give thanks. They will be waiting for their demands to be met. They will beg for “this, that or the other thing”, bemoaning their own situation as being intolerable.  For them there is never a thought of thanksgiving even when their most dire needs have been met.  I am reminded of the historical account of Jesus healing the Ten Lepers:

 “As he (Jesus) was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (emphasis mine)

As this account reveals people will gladly seek benevolence from others but they will often do so out of the understanding that they deserve such gifts or benefits.  This is especially true if government has become the benefactor.  And because our government has deep pockets full of other people’s money these same people may certainly feel that they have “right”  to demand things from the government bureaucrats who have set themselves up as demi-gods of benevolence. These people believe that they “justly” deserve government beneficence because they feel that they are victims of society and also because the politicians they have put in office promised them “hope and change”; “hope and change” outcomes promised in terms of benefits on the barrel head in exchange for their vote.

Our U.S. Constitution provides for the protection of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The 5th Amendment offers protections to our “life, liberty, or property,” noting we cannot be deprived of any of them without due process of law. Our Constitution does not guarantee the end results under that protection.

In effect, you are promised a fence around the rose garden but not the roses themselves. I learned from my Dutch grandfather that roses require sun, rain, good soil, fertilizing, protection from frost and rabbits and substantial pruning. It takes lots of time and energy, lots of individual attention to create an American Beauty rose. Yet, some people don’t want to work that hard or to be so dedicated.  So, they ask the government for the cut roses from someone else’s garden. They do this to make their lives just a little “nicer”, a little “richer”.  But, these cut roses quickly whither and dry up and the same people are back asking for more of them.

Dismissing the U.S. Constitution’s accumulated knowledge, wisdom and Judeo-Christian roots as outmoded and not rational for today’s society, social justice advocates demand equal outcomes.  They do so by demanding that others be deprived at any cost so that others will receive the benefits they so desire.  They do not care about another’s personal property, property such as an accumulated wealth. They care solely about their own accumulated gain. They see inequity not as a summit to climb but as a lot of work and effort that can be easily circumscribed with political action.

These advocates make their demands through willing politicians like Obama, Reid , Pelosi, Barney Frank (MA), Dick Durbin (IL), etc.  These politicians campaign with promises of changing the social landscape to favor their own version of utopian socialism. They usurp the black and white meaning of our U.S. Constitution by “intuitively” reading it so as to give the government the power to mandate social change via taxation, via the commerce clause and via the politician’s own self-interest of encapsulating power via re-election.

Speaking of self-interest, capitalism is a person who out of self-interest seeks to barter or sell a good or a service to another. The ‘other’, thinking he will benefit from the exchange, makes the trade-off. The exchange is made and both parties are happy, satisfying each their own self-interest.

Utopian socialism is a one-way exchange. It is taking from Peter to pay Paul. It is depriving Peter of what he has earned, grown, protected with his life, it is taking his savings and his wealth and then giving it to Paul for no other reason that Paul may need or want the same things. This is what is now being called “social justice” but it is not justice. It does not give Peter what is due him – the right to his property. It does not give Paul what is due him – the right to pursue happiness. This exchange is more accurately described as highway robbery.

These social justice advocates presume that the U.S. Constitution meant for them to have equal outcomes or perhaps even that the Constitution is outdated, archaic and without justice as they see it.  The social justice protestors cry out “Have pity on us, government, give us what we think we need and what we so badly want. You have the means. We gave you the place of authority.”

In 1993, during a lecture titled “The Meaning of “Justice””, Russell Kirk of the Heritage Foundation said:

“In this disordered age, when it seems as if the fountains of the great deep had been broken up, our urgent need is to restore a general understanding of the classical and Christian teaching about justice. Without just men and women, egoism and appetite bring down civilization.  Without strong administration of justice by the state, we all become so many Cains, every man’s hand against every other man’s. The humanitarian fancies himself zealous for the life impulse; in reality, he would surrender us to the death impulse.  The humanitarian’s visions issue from between the delusory gates of ivory; justice issues from between the gates of horn.”

 Today’s OWS protestors plead for pity from others using lawlessness.  They are being urged on to political violence by men who should know better. They also do not seek God for their daily bread. That would require humility on their part.

Just as ten lepers were healed and only one returned to give thanks, nine out of ten of us may likely think that we deserve such a “gift” and just walk away, pleased with ourselves having pled for pity and receiving something in return for our “effort”.  The exclusion of “Thank You” from the placards of men’s lives reveals the lifting up of “MY Rights” and the idolatrous nature behind most dissent and protest. The idea of justice, “to each his own”, is being  replaced with “feed me and then ask of me virtue.”

The Greatest Disparity in our society is between those who with contentment give thanks to God and their neighbor and those who, like leeches, demand ever more and more from government and their neighbor.

  It is time to Occupy Thanksgiving without asking for anything in return. And, let us give God what is due Him:

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”   Psalm 107:1

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