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On Steve Jobs, Roseanne Barr, and the Wall Street Mob

I got a double shock Thursday morning when I turned on my radio. 

“Steve Jobs has passed away,” I heard a DJ remark. “That’s a shame.”

Yes, it is a shame. I was saddened to hear that.

I was equally shocked as I turned the dial and heard something even more deadly. It was a comment from actress/comedienne Roseanne Barr, literally calling for the death of certain wealthy Americans.

“I do say that I am in favor of the return of the guillotine and that is for the worst of the worst of the guilty,” said the comedienne, who did not appear to be joking. “I first would allow the guilty bankers to pay, you know, the ability to pay back anything over $100 million [of] personal wealth because I believe in a maximum wage of $100 million.”

Joining her comrades in the “Occupy Wall Street” protest in Manhattan, the celebrity prattled on, pressing for a modern made-in-America version of Mao’s and Pol Pot’s re-education camps: “And if they are unable to live on that amount of that amount then they should, you know, go to the re-education camps and if that doesn’t help, then being beheaded.”

Roseanne’s Robespierre-like sentiments seemed especially cruel in light of the death of Steve Jobs. Consider: Jobs was worth billions of dollars. Would he be exempt from what the bloody French revolutionaries once termed the National Razor? Jobs was a not banker, but he was obscenely rich, which, truth be told, is the ultimate sin in the minds of Roseanne and the zealots.

Sure, sure. I hear the criticism: Come on, Kengor, Roseanne Barr is a crackpot.

Well, indeed, that’s apparently the case. But Roseanne’s rant against the rich seems a fitting apotheosis to the anarchical madness on display on Wall Street and elsewhere by the “Days of Rage” gang.

To be sure, I doubt the marchers would be willing to escort American bankers to the chopping block. That said, they and Roseanne share some crucial, unifying commonalities. First and foremost, they are united by an utter, unhealthy contempt for wealthy people, and would be happy to take as much money from the wealthy as humanly possible. Moreover, en masse, they demonize a faceless enemy. “The rich” is a handy caricature for whatever assortment of injustices these people believe ails them.

And that brings me back to Steve Jobs.

In fact, Steve Jobs was among “the rich.” It is the likes of Jobs that have given these folks the pleasures and creature comforts they enjoy minute to minute. These alleged oppressed masses issue their talking points from the cell-phone world that capitalism and the likes of Jobs have given them.

There is something comically ludicrous about a throng of ranting, raving, raging college kids slurping Starbucks and staring into I-phones while angrily protesting the very system that made it all possible in the first place. Even the mob’s ability to turn out the mob is made possible by this system. The children are spurning the mother that gave them birth.

Well, Steve Jobs existed. As co-founder and CEO of Apple, he changed the world for the better. The Wall Street “occupiers” are exploiting the technology that he helped create.

What the Wall Street horde and Roseanne do not understand is that in America people generally get rich by providing a product or service that people want. Sure, there are exceptions. Some get wealthy by promulgating vice instead of virtue—witness the porn industry’s parasitical attachment to Jobs’ technology industry. Some are rich because they inherited the money—witness the Kennedy family. By and large, however, “the rich” earn their riches through the consent of millions of citizens who voluntarily purchase products and service through their own free will. That is called the free market; it is the opposite of the command economy.

The failure of young people to know the difference is yet another failure of this nation’s horrendous educational system, and especially our bankrupt universities—bankrupt, that is, morally, certainly not financially. The universities that have mis-educated the mob charge far higher fees than any Bank of America ATM.

Roseanne and the mob do not understand this country and its market system. Neither is perfect, nor are the wealthy people they produce. You are, however, free here—and free to keep the wealth you earn.

Steve Jobs understood. May he rest in peace.

[Editor’s note: This article first appeared at American Thinker.]


Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. He is also co-author (with Patricia Clark Doerner) of The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan's Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007).
  • George @ Convert Journal

    How exactly did Roseanne pick the $100M figure? Why not $250M or $500,000? What might be the social justice principal upon which this is based?

    According to http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/actors/roseanne-barr-net-worth/ her personal net worth is estimated at $80,000,000. Oh, now I understand. At $80M or $90M you are just one of us common folk, but if you have more than those with $80M, you are the obscenely rich. Typical liberal thinking.

    Perhaps Roseanne and the Wall Street horde need to be sent to a re-education camp.

  • noelfitz

    Jesus Christ also had some critical views about the rich.

    • florin

      But Jesus Christ did not demand that the rich give to others – He mandated sharing but He did not tell the law to force others to share. I have worked in the ‘system’ of welfare and have seen so many, many generations of families on the receiving end of welfare become atrophied in a sense, never realizing their full potential because being perpetually on welfare, while being able but unwilling to work, kept them down and addicted. There are those who do need to be on welfare but I have found many who do not need to be on welfare and yet choose to continue to receive handouts. And there are many rich who give generously to charity in secret…such as Frank Hanna. I have worked with women who are not married but deliberately have one baby after another so as to receive more checks. This is, obviously, not always the case but I have encountered this situation so many times…charity cannot be forced. Each of us is called to give freely as much as we can, to share with the least of our brothers and sisters – but the Government should not be forcing people to give – that is dangerous and not in keeping with the teachings of Jesus.

  • Theodore Kobernick

    I strongly disagree with your attitude toward Americans demonstrating in large groups. First of all, these persons exercising their First Amendment right of Freedom of Assembly, should not be characterized as either a “mob” or a “horde”.

    If you think today’s demonstrators are “ludicrous”, just think what a laugh we could have when a bunch of White Americans dressed up as Indians, and dumped a valuable cargo of tea into Boston harbor.

    Another source of hilarity might the “Bonus March” on Washington D.C., May-July 1932. The Depression’s biggest laugh, when MacArthur’s soldiers drove the poor wretched veterans from their tents.

    Then there were the Watts riots — a city on fire.

    Demonstrations against the Viet Nam War, that resulted in us getting out of Viet Nam.

    Of course it would be bad form to laugh at pro-life demonstrators being thrown into Atlanta’s jails, or civil rights “freedom marchers.”

    One point of your article is right on: Barr is a dangerous fanatic. But the Americans who risk injury at the hands of the police are not a source of merriment. Just because they are not yet organized, and their aims are all over the spectrum, is no reason to despise them. It is when seriously disaffected people believe their society has an attitude of “Let them eat cake,”; then is the time when Robespierres and Barrs rise up and go to the fore.

    Civil violence is the worst harm a society can do to itself. If you are a person with a cool head, you will try to understand why these fellow Americans are so upset. Clearly, in our degenerated society, some of their concerns are valid. And we might do better to come along side them (figuratively), and join in an effort to set things right.

    p.s. Noelfisk is right about Jesus Christ. James had a word about the rich.

  • Exactly right, Theodore K. I would add that Dr. Kengor is way off base with his stereotype: “First and foremost, they are united by an utter, unhealthy contempt for wealthy people…”

    An elementary Christian principle is to distinguish between the sin and the sinner, and hate the former only. Should we not hate the irresponsible way that the 1% have played fast and loose with the economy? Should we not indeed despise the way they have paid for elections and politicians so as to convert our republic into a plutocratic oligarchy?

  • GuitarGramma

    Mr. Struble, on what do you base your opinion that “1% have played fast and loose with the economy”? That opinion is also a sterotype.

    Here is a fact: The three richest people in America are Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Larry Ellison. All three have provided jobs for countless Americans and have also helped many of those employees to grow wealthy, too. Not one of them is in the banking industry. And not one of them works on Wall street.

    Not one of these three men has bought or paid for an election. Not one of them has run the economy into the ground. Not one of them has played fast and loose with the economy. They all worked hard, took risks, and two of them created products of value upon which we Americans are more than a little dependent.

    One more thing we must all keep in mind: The top 1% of all wage earners paid close to 40% of the income tax revenue to our government. And that doesn’t even begin to examine the income taxes paid by the employees of these men.

    Why should we hate what they do? They are manning the engines that drive our economy, and I for one salute them.

  • noelfitz

    Congratulations to all who contributed respectfully to this topic.

    It is healthy for different views to be advocated robustly and with charity.

  • florin

    Roseann Barr, like Michael Moore, is extremely wealthy. They both benefit tremendously from capitallism while excoriating it…shameless hypocrites!!!

    • noelfitz

      Oh dear I spoke too soon about those “who contributed respectfully to this topic”, as I read now that Roseann (sic.) Barr and Michael Moore are considered shameless hypocrites.

      • florin

        So, mr. noelfitz – you determine what is a respectful comment? Perhaps disagreeing with you is disrespectful? I have seen and heard both Moore and Barr denigrate others..Moore said he’s sorry that’s he’s forced to make so much money…they both gained their wealth through a system despise – and want to take from others wealth made gained in the same way – that, mr. noelfitz, is hypocritical. And Jesus did not claim that making money is evil…He clearly said that the LOVE of money is evil…

        • noelfitz

          Florin,

          thanks for your reply.

          I accept your point completely and was thinking about it beforeI sent my post.

          I hope you did not find my post disrespectful. It was not intended to be so.

          One could go into details about the comments of Jesus, Mary and James about the ‘rich’. I enclose a few quotes.

          “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

          The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Mt 19:24.

          The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.

          The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Lk 16:22–23.

          he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

          The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Lk 1:53.

          But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

          The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), 1 Ti 6:9–10.

          Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.

          The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Jas 1:9–11.

  • florin

    I did not find your post ‘disrespectful’ mr.noelfitz, I found it to be condescending. Again, those points in scripture that you keep mentioning refer to those who ‘love’ money…and this goes also for those who love themselves and their will more than God and His will. Money is not, in itself, evil. (By the way, having worked as a volunteer for so many years, I have very little money.) I worked for many, many years in Haiti and then in Calcutta with Mother Theresa and what I learned was that even the poor can ‘love’ money and envy those who had even just a tad bit more than they did. When I first went to Haiti to work with the poor, I was met by a wonderful Priest, Father Ouellette – he drove me around Port-au-Prince in his jeep and he told me that many of those begging on the streets were not the poorest because, Father said, the poor have a sense of respect which keeps them from asking for hand-outs. During my many years in Haiti, I found that to be true. What I am saying is that an inordinate love of anything other than God is what leads to evil. We are called to be stewards of our ‘gifts’ – not just material gifts but perhaps, more importantly, ‘spiritual’ gifts…a charism. A humble speaker/writer/worker for Christ who perhaps gathers a huge base of fans can be tempted to use his gift for his own fame and glory rather than for God’s glory. Power and fame can corrupt – and one need not be wealthy for that to happen. I believe Christ’s message is not against one group of people or one type of sin – but rather He is urging us to use our gifts, whatever they are, for His glory. It is possible that if Obama has his way we will see forced redistribution of wealth in our country and that is not the message that Jesus gave – He calls each of us to develop the gifts He gave us in order to reach the full potential of our being in Him…

  • Theodore Kobernick

    Florin, you are hitting the nail on the head when you say that any number of worldly concerns can take our attention from Jesus and things of the Lord. In the parable of the sower, the seed falling on the rock is choked by worldly cares; and in Luke 21 Jesus warns us not to get immersed in the cares of this life. Nevertheless, I wish you had not characterized Noelfitz’ comment as condescending. You can see from his earlier comment that he endeavors to be polite and respectful: he does not hammer his views home (as I often do).

    Money is a tough issue. Contrast it to cigarettes. I quit smoking in an instant, forty years ago. No problem: I do not NEED tobacco. After bypass surgery I followed my doctor’s instructions, gave up one of my favorite foods – eggs. I miss eggs, but don’t NEED them. All or nothing is a piece of cake (metaphorically). But in today’s society, I NEED money. But the questions are, how much of it do I NEED, and what kind of effort should I make to obtain it? And how should I use it?

    Here in CL we find frequent discussions of the political views of money. Here’s an insight from Aristotle. “Wealth and freedom are the grounds on which the oligarchial and democratical parties respectively claim power in the state.”
    Aristotle, Politics Book III, Ch 8, 1280

    He also discussed the right use of money – neither profligate nor stingy. “Virtue, then, is a kind of moderation, at least having the mean as its aim. . . . excess and deficiency belong to vice, but moderation to virtue.” Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics BOOK B, 5, 26

    We, however, are not Aristoteleans, but Christians, and we look for guidance to the Bible. In the New Testament we find something not present in Aristotle: the issue of mere POSSESSION of wealth. Personally, I identify with the NT issue, because I have come to find that everything I own, owns a piece of me. These possessions exert an unexpected power.

    Matthew 6:24 is correctly “ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (KJV) Unfortunately, modern translators have found it necessary to render “mammon” as “money”, in order that the modern reader might understand. However, this translation omits the demonic aspect of money. “Material wealth can also be personified as a demonic power, Mammon (mamonas)” The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, v.2, p 829. Jesus intentionally personified money as demonic, drawing men away from God.

    Beginning at Matthew 19:16 is the description of the young man who WANTED eternal life, who had obeyed the commandments, but still lacked something. We all recall that Jesus told him to sell everything he owned, and give it to the poor. “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” This sad event inspired Jesus to say how hard it was for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

    I Timothy, beginning at 6:5, is a good, though brief, disquisition on the relationship between money and the godly person. St. Paul knows that it is very tough to have money and be godly.

  • florin

    Theodore, although Jesus did say it would be ‘hard’ for a wealthy person to get into heaven, He did not say it was impossible but rather that ‘everything’ is possible for God. As for the rich young man…perhaps the rich young man went away sad knowing that he would, indeed, be giving up everything he had in order to follow Jesus and in his humanity, that perhaps saddened or even frightened him. Popes live in palaces but are not owned by them; paupers could live in huts and be owned by them…the fact of being wealthy does not condemn one nor does the fact of being poor make one a humble servant of God.

  • Mary Kochan

    I believe that God does draw closer to the poor because — IN GENERAL — they are more consciously dependent upon Him. HOWEVER, there isn’t anyone reading this who thinks we should not help the poor. The pertinent question is not about poverty, but about POWER. Our government is grabbing more and more POWER and this is dangerous to our freedom, espceially to our first freedom, freedom of religion. Our government is very willing to make give all kind of lip service about “the poor” as long as that allows them to gain more power. Unfortunately we have a lot of “useful idiots” around who buy into the idea that the government means what it says and they are willing to give more and more power to the government becuase it makes them feel virtuous as though by doing so they have actually “helped the poor.”

  • florin

    I’ve been thinking about this and I just don’t believe that getting government deeply involved in our lives helps all the poor and disadvantaged long term. We in the U.S.A. have given trillions to the governments of third world countries and it rarely reaches or helps the poor. Even in a developed country like Italy millions were sent to help the victims of the earthquake in the south of Italy but the money never reached the victims..or very litte of it did. I know, as Mary says, that all of us want to help the poor but it’s important to understand what that means – giving handouts without responsibility of any kind helps no one. Helping people learn a trade is good – and helps that person to develop personally and contribute to society and to his/her family. Mother Theresa used to say that instead of giving a man a fish, teach him to fish so he can help himself. Mandating charity is rarely good because people will often resent being mandated to give and could then resent those who receive what is given. I was thinking about the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Jesus could have ordered the crowd sitting before Him but He did not…something about Him must have inspired His listeners so that a boy got up and went to Jesus and OFFERED what he had – just a few loaves and fishes and from that offering, all were taken care of. If Jesus had shouted out: “You all better take what you have and give some of it to your neighbors” – perhaps the miracle would not then have occurred. But when the government wants to make people dependent upon them, that is very dangerous because there’s always a price to pay. A Pastor does not get up on Sunday and tell his people that someone is there to speak on behalf of a mission and the parishioners had better give or else – no, the missionary speaks of the need of his people and pleads for help and usually people respond generously. Would Jesus prefer someone who refused to work while telling others who worked hard for a living to take their earnings and give to the person who refuses to work? I don’t think so. What about those who cannot work? As Christians, we are to help them from our hearts. Parishes and families are there to help those in need and most Parishes and families I know do that – if the government gets too involved, then they will make demands that, as Christians, we cannot assent to. There are those men and women who have come from very poor homes and backgrounds but who have worked long and hard to make something of themselves and, in the process, have become wealthy and have also created jobs for others who, if they work as hard, can also become wealthy – it’s not about the wealth so much as using the talents God gives us, becoming all we are meant to become and, if we do it God’s way and for Him and His glory, then you can be sure the wealth achieved will be used God’s way – not by force but out of charity.

  • Theodore Kobernick

    Teach a man to fish . . . Is generally regarded as an old Chinese proverb. You attribute the words to Mother Theresa. Perhaps she might have said them. But look at her actual ministry: she was freely giving and freely ministering to dying persons who would never become economically productive citizens.

    Your praise of the wealthy is hard to fit into my Christian world view.

    You fulsomely praised Bill Gates and Microsoft. What you do say is basically correct. But what you omit is how Microsoft, after it was already rich and successful, used “Vaporware” to harm its competitors. Vaporware is the derisive label computer people (of whom I am not one) used to describe the software that Microsoft would announce just when a competitor was scheduled to release a new product. The Vaporware announcements had the effect of getting software buyers to delay getting the competitor’s product, anticipating something better from the software giant of the world. But the announced product didn’t appear, didn’t appear, didn’t appear, and at last was released still full of bugs. Praiseworthy, only in a world of cupidity, greed.

    We go into the Bible, and discover that Jesus ben Sirach has a wonderful section headed “Let us now praise famous men” (Sirach 44:`1) The long list of men who served God cites the rich garments of the Aaronic priesthood, but includes mention of only one man who amassed gold: Solomon.
    By the name of the Lord God, which is called the Lord God of Israel, thou didst gather gold as tin and didst multiply silver as lead. Thou didst bow thy loins unto women, and by thy body thou wast brought into subjection. Thou didst stain thy honour, and pollute thy seed: so that thou broughtest wrath upon thy children, and wast grieved for thy folly. So the kingdom was divided, and out of Ephraim ruled a rebellious kingdom. (Sirach [or Ecclesiasticus] 47:18-21)
    In ben Sirach’s view, the wealthy Solomon came to a bad end, and ruined God’s kingdom on earth.

    You are indeed correct to point out that Jesus said it is POSSIBLE for a rich man to be saved – but it’s harder than getting a camel through the eye of a needle.

    What does James have to say regarding the rich? “But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?” (James 2:6) Oh, but that’s nothing, compared to what he writes in his fifth chapter:

    Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!
    Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. (James 5:1-5)

    I’m sure you want your readers to follow Jesus’ teachings in matters relating to salvation and damnation. Just to clarify what you probably meant, we all do well to listen to Jesus speaking for himself
    But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
    Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
    Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
    The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
    Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘ Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’
    Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’
    Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:31-46)

    Certainly the government cannot be counted upon to feed the poor, or to employ the poor. But neither can the moneymen be relied on in this matter. You maintain that 1% of taxpayers pay 40% of taxes. Does this mean that the 1% get paid 40% of the nation’s income? Or just 25%? Government and capital have combined to bring us a monstrous unemployment situation – a situation where hard work and diligence often will NOT be rewarded. I fear that your economic model tends toward early Malthusian. We don’t need Malthus – or Obama – or Goldman Sachs. We need a revival among Christians.

  • goral

    The discussion has once again become skewed towards class envy and warfare, and that’s just the way the mob and the mobsters like it. The mobsters, of course, being Barr and Moore, hypocrites and vipers to the third power. They deem themselves the equalizers for, and champions of the disadvantaged.

    “And one out of the multitude said unto him, Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me.
    But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” Luke 12:13,14

    Jesus shied away from this dispute, how is it that these overpaid and overrated socialist snobs know better?

    “But when he, (John the Baptist)saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Mat 3:7

    These liberal parasites have to latch on to a cause otherwise their conscience won’t let them sleep.

    Like Mary said, it’s not about the money or wealth or equality, it’s about power. The power to judge and tax and redistribute.
    Those who want to give this power to the gov’t are the poorest of the poor in understanding.
    The gov’t only knows how to tax, assist and enslave.
    By it’s very nature, it can do no better.

  • GuitarGramma

    Mr. Kobernick,

    I admit to having to look up the word “fulsomely” in the dictionary. Do I understand you correctly, that my praise of Bill Gates offends you and is unctuous? If so, I am sorry. I did not mean to offend.

    If anyone has a “right” to be jealous of Bill Gates, it’s probably me. I am roughly his age, and have a Computer Science degree from 1977, about the time he started Microsoft. I suppose I could say, “How dare Bill Gates be so much more successful and wealthy than I? Those riches should have been mine!” But, raised in an age of feminism, I’ve spent a lifetime striving NOT to be a victim or develop a victim mentality.

    Instead, I admire Bill Gates for his brilliance (though not his choices of charities). Do you know what computers were like before Windows was released? They consisted of a solid color screen with difficult to read words, and required highly technical and unforgiving commands to be entered. The very existence of Catholic Lane is due to Bill Gates’s invention of Windows.

    And, as a computer person, I’m afraid that I have the sad duty to tell you that it was a *Microsoft* engineer who coined the term “Vaporware” to describe an operating system which never made it off the design board. It’s true that Bill Gates has been lampooned with some “Golden Vaporware” awards, but the description you give above is not quite kosher.

    I have no idea how you pulled Malthus out of my admiration for Gates, Buffett, and Ellison. All three of them, in fact, have rewarded hard working employees quite handsomely. None of them are perfect, but all of them have been good for the American economy.

    One final point: It was florin, not I, who mentioned that Mother Theresa liked to “teach a man to fish,” and florin worked directly with Mother Theresa, so s/he should know what Mother said.

  • Theodore Kobernick

    Dear GuitarGramma:

    I do remember the DOS computers. In fact my first computer was a “Trash-80.” I actually wrote a useful program in their Basic. I’ve got nothing against Bill Gates: I was objecting to someone uncritically lionizing him in a Roman Catholic publication — for reasons that had nothing to do with godliness or the Church.
    My reference to early Malthus had nothing to do with what you wrote. Someone else wrote a comment that seemed to have a Malthusian view of the poor and unemployed.
    Thank you for the information that florin worked with Mother Theresa. I would be pleased to learn florin’s gender. Am I wrong to think that Mother Theresa was admired and loved for her unstinting ministry to “the least of these” rather than for teaching people how to earn a living?

  • Mary Kochan

    The government is about to force the closure of most Catholic charities, schools, hospitals, etc. and you guys are arguing over vaporware….

    Seriously. A few Catholics can holler that our freedom is going out the window but Christians are too busy playing scriptural checkers against one another to prove charitable superiority to even notice.

    But I’ll try to holler once more:

    IT ISN’T ABOUT CARING FOR THE POOR; IT IS ABOUT FREEDOM. IF WE KEEP OUR FREEDOM WE WILL FIGURE OUT HOW TO HELP THE POOR. BUT FIRST LET’S FOCUS ON KEEPING FREEDOM AND THAT MEANS NOT BEING DUPED INTO GIVING THIS GOVERNMENT ANY MORE POWER BECAUSE OF SOME PHONY SOCIAL JUSTICE CRAP THIS BABY KILLER, MURDER-EXPORTING GOVERNMENT SPOUTS. MONEY = POWER. SOMEBODY — ANYBODY — PLEASE TELL ME WHAT ABOUT THAT YOU DON’T GET!!!

  • There have been wealthy saints, like St. Katharine Drexel, the “richest nun in the world.” But show me a wealthy saint, and I will show you how she was really poor. In St. Katharine’s case, she devoted her life and her wealth to the service of God. After she devoted her life to God, “Her wealth was now transformed into a poverty of spirit that became a daily constant in a life supported only by the bare necessities” (www.vatican.va).

    In America, anyone who wants to become wealthy is free to do so. All you need is a good idea and the willingness to work hard. There is no cause for envy of our fellow Americans, as we all have the same opportunity.

    But the dangers of wealth are many. Unless you are really prepared to be poor before God, the words of Jesus will apply, “Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation” (Luke 6:24). The safest course for those of us who are determined to have Heaven at any cost, is to allow God to make us materially poor so that we can be truly spiritually poor.

    Money is power, but it does not have the power to save. For most people it is a barrier and not a help. If the government is intent on making the Church poor, maybe that is ultimately a good thing. With poverty comes humility, the power to see things as they actually are. I think our scandal- and vice-ridden Church could use some humility.

  • florin

    I believe you are right Prairie Hawk – I believe the government is intent on making the Church poor so they will have the power over all who depend on them since the Chuch might not have the means to help as many as before funding would be cut. But I have been saying for a long time that the Church should take no more money from the Government – the Government is trying to make the Church permit abortions in Catholic hospitals and same-sex education in Catholic schools. They will, at some point, demand that Catholic Priests perform same sex marriages. And if we are taking the Government’s money then they are going to demand more and more of us. Most Parishes in my area – of all denominations – are very good about helping the poor short term and long term. One of the first things Obama did when he came into office was to take away vouchers from poor families in Washington – so poor children that were thriving in good schools were forced to go back to poorly run public schools. Obama voted against the Born Alive Infant Act which mandated care for infants who survived abortion – because he said that if he would admit that the infant who survived the abortion was human with a right to live, then he would have to admit that the baby in the womb was also human…so he supports infanticide. This is who is running our government. We have the government taking our money and using it as they see fit – often on ridiculous projects or giving it to their friends’ companies…not always but often power corrupts and we see the corruptions in this particular government being hidden away by the media – and they too – the media – misuse their power to inform by manipulating or hiding the truth…so, as Prairie Hawk says, ultimately it would be a good thing for the Church to receive no money from the Government – and I believe that the Church should not wait for the government to cut funding to them – they should refuse the funding themselves.

  • goral

    No need to shout, dear Mary, I heard you the second time. How about if we have more institutionalized help for the poor than we have institutionalized abortion and abuse of power? Won’t that put us in the plus column of the caring ledger?

    Gosh, even Bill Gates is an American institution.
    Vaporware, is what’s going to happen to his soul if he doesn’t change his mind about going to church. The last I checked, he still thinks it’s a “waste of time”.

    Speaking of checks, I love your term, “playing scriptural checkers”. We can always find a verse that buttresses our checkered thinking.

    Speaking of thinking, if anyone thinks that the mob on Wall St, (which includes the “investors”) is about anything other than political power then I pose the same question a German Coast Guard mate posed to a call from a sinking ship –
    What are you (s)inking about?

  • Mary Kochan

    Goral, amazing. You tell me I don’t need to shout that our freedom is leaving and then you make a post with not the slightest indication that you heard me on that.

    What are you talking about, Goral? You are talking about Bill Gates. You are talking about whether we can get on the caring side of the ledger through some adjustment in government policy.

    This would be the government that is on the verge of telling tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Catholics that they either have to violate God’s law or they may not make a living and you don’t even seem to be conscious that it is happening.

    Maybe this will make my point: http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2011/10/catholics-may-soon-find-the-practice-of-their-faith-illegal-in-the-us/

    • If you follow the Integrated Catholic link be sure to also read the comments by Bishop Aquila of Fargo, who is predicting in so many words a new persecution by the state in the U.S. Aquila is one to watch, he has done a great job teaching and administering faithfully here in eastern N.D. and word is we may be losing him to a larger diocese at some point.

      I once met him at Sam’s Club obviously hiding out in an old pair of sweatpants. What gave him away was no matter how hard he tried to go rough, he was followed everywhere by a clean-cut seminarian who was pushing the cart. As I was leaving the store I saw him buttonholed by a group of lay women. Ah, the perils of the episcopacy!

  • Mary Kochan

    So, PH, understanding that what we are talking about here is ordinary Catholics losing their jobs, perhaps their entire livelihoods, and possibly being charged with federal crimes, are you still sanguine about the romantic idea of a poorer church?

    • Remember that Jesus promised us, in this life, material goods and persecution to accompany them. I believe we are due for a time of persecution that will purify the Church.

      It will hurt. There’s nothing romantic about that.

      • And, Mary, you can call me an incurable romantic, and I promise I will not take offense. Stargazing and reading fantasy novels were two central pastimes of my youth. There are worse ways to go! 🙂

  • goral

    Read my post, Mary, as tongue in cheek. I am entirely in agreement with you.
    What’s amazing is that you took me verbatim and seriously
    Mayday! mayday! We are sinking! We… are… sinking!

  • florin

    You know Goral, I have a feeling that you are absolutely delighted to be goading Mary…I could say more but won’t because some things don’t merit more than a brief response…

  • goral

    Thank you Florin for your comments, I am in agreement with them including the brief one.
    When one looks at a rotated “G” rather than the face, the words can loose the intended effect.
    The good lady has my apologies and my support.

  • fishman

    I have observed that often people ‘feel’ before they ‘understand’. That can be dangerous, because when one is ‘feeling’ something , they can easily be manipulated into a false understanding.

    I think the protesters are ‘feeling’ something that is correct. There are certain reasons to be very weary of mega corporations , which have become inherently anti-competitive by their shear size and are excising undue influence on our political system.

    Part of the reason for our current fiscal problems are the influence of corporations like fanny-Mae on banking laws.

    Another good example is the fact that every time Micky mouse has been ready to go out of copyright the copyright law has been changed.

    There are many other examples of such as rampant abuse of the patent system and legal system (ex: the DMCA) , by powerful corporate interest influencing our governors to act , not in the best interest of society but in the best interest of the mega corporations destroying competition and small businesses.

    so the ‘feel’ something is wrong.

    The problem is that in steps the ‘socialist’ with a solution. Rather then fix the problem of too little competition giving a single group too much power, by increasing competition. The socialist proposes destroying the mechanism by which power is gained entirely, with the false assumption that government is a better broker of wealth the free enterprise, which in theory should be true , if you can eliminate free choice and free will, which most socialist claim do not exist anyway because there is no such thing as God.

    In any case I have the distinct impression this group will not solve the problem unless they can be educated to understand it.