We must not sell our humanity

Photo: Jeremy hunsinger / Flickr Capitalism isn’t inherently evil, but if it becomes our only priority we’ll lose a lot of wonderful things, like art, honesty, and our respect.

Photo: Jeremy hunsinger / Flickr
Capitalism isn’t inherently evil, but if it becomes our only priority we’ll lose a lot of wonderful things, like art, honesty, and our respect.

David Moe
Sun City, Calif.

We have created a god in America called capitalism, and if we continue to worship it, we will lose our humanity.

We are being encouraged to eliminate the humanities in our schools and colleges (music, art, poetry, philosophy, etc.) and teach only those subjects that help us make money (business, accounting, sales, etc.). The advocates of this shift use the old argument that you have to teach young people to make a living any way they can. “Success is the objective, even if they have to cheat, lie, or whatever.” Donald Trump, a candidate for president, recently said that the solution to the Middle East is to “get control of those oil fields and bomb the hell out of them.” I think we tried that in North Vietnam.

I grew up with this philosophy. My father went to business school and had no appreciation for the arts. He thought it was foolish to study art, poetry, music, theatre. The objective of school was to learn reading, writing, and accounting, take business courses, and learn how to make money. He wanted me to drop out of college and work for an insurance company and make lots of money. I eventually did that and spent most of my life in the middle of capitalism.

I am not anti-capitalism, but I am against capitalism that attempts to eliminate the humanities, to degrade our soul. What evidence do we have that this is happening? Listen to the news. People make money by human trafficking, selling body parts, manipulating elections, and the list goes on and on. Prejudice, hatred, deceit, and murder are the result.

Look at our sports news. Professional athletes make millions of dollars a year and should be role models for our youth, yet think nothing of cheating to win a game. As Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning isn’t everything, it is the only thing.” Success is the objective at any cost.

We have politicians who want to eliminate food stamps because “those lazy people should find a job and work like I do.” I once read a book that said, “I wouldn’t want to live within 100 miles of a city when they cut off the food stamps.” I have worked with street people and from my experience, most of them would love to work, but can’t hold a job due to mental illness, alcoholism, drug addiction, or a combination of these.

There is nothing wrong with business courses or business schools, but they do have a narrow focus. Accounting is a wonderful profession, but I have learned from my experience that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” When our humanity is lost, we will be lost as a nation, because we will lose our respect around the world.

David Moe was born in Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1964 and received his M.A. degree from San Francisco State University in 1975. He spent four years in the Navy and 32 years in the insurance business. He is married to his wife, Thordis, and they have two daughters and four grandchildren. They now live in Sun City, California.

This article originally appeared in the June 26, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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