Wednesday, March 18, 2009
All Materialsm-No Heart
I am in my second week among the Socialist Scandinavians and have some reflections. First, living here is comfortable. Everything that the government does is designed to make sure that the streets, public services and environment are clean, tidy and orderly. The trains run on time and many creature comforts are available to the masses.
There are few material differences between the rich and poor. Most homes are the same size small apartments and most cars are newer models from Japan and Germany or Sweden. Most people dress informally in jeans and few seem obviously poor.
Young people are placed in clean, orderly schools and old people into clean orderly retirement homes. Not many people seem to work hard or break a sweat about anything.
The pay is low and the taxes are high. Good producers are punished with even higher taxes so no matter how smart, how clever or successful you are the government makes sure you do not have much conspicuous wealth.
Everyone pays at least 40% taxes to the Federal Government. Then, everyone pays 25% Value Added Tax or VAT on everything that is purchased. A Coke is about $3.00 as is a bottle of water and 25% of that is tax. So, poor people must pay 1/4 of their income on sales' tax when they purchase food, clothing, train tickets, etc.
Is this the future of America? Probably. It seems to have created a huge "leisure class" of bored, tired, robots with little excitement, drive or energy. People are isolated from close interaction and the secular humanistic ideals do not seem to lead people to lives of anything but quite desperation.
Few are involved in caring for others of caring for anything outside themselves. Selfishness and narcissism are rampant and many are bored with too much stuff. I am constantly reminded of the passage that says, "Give and it shall be given unto you; pressed down, shaken together and placed into your lap."
Many of the older, retired pensioners are engaging in drunken orgies with films of themselves on Facebook throwing up and having sex. Anything for a momentary thrill to break out of boredom.
The last part of I CO 13 ends like this: "These three remain; faith, hope and love and the greatest is love."
Here it seems to be: "Faith in the government, hope that the economy stays strong and love the technology".
This society might be summarized as "Clean, orderly and technically healthy with no heart, no soul and no love". Thank God the committed Christians here are praying, witnessing and reaching out to others to they can find a reason to live for something other than food, clothing, shelter and public transportation.