How true is the truth?
By Dr. Robert Owens
Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die. In a similar fashion everyone wants smaller budgets and lower taxes but nobody wants their services cut. Like all truisms these sound right but are they?
Consider the first one. Agnostics aren't sure whether there is a God or not consequently they say there is no heaven and pray there is no hell so they have a vested interest in remaining above room temperature. Atheists are sure there isn't any God and sure there isn't any heaven so they want to hang on as long as they can since the alternative isn't. The big rub comes when we think of believers. They know there's a God and know there is a heaven so why don't they want to die? Some believers believe there's a God and believe there's a heaven but aren't sure if they'll make it in so it makes sense they want to hang around at least long enough to earn enough points to get to where they want to go instead of any alternatives they may also believe in. The real puzzler is the believers who believe in God and believe in heaven and who also believe they know they're going to heaven. I know many people who fit into this category and without an exception none of them appear to want to die. Now if heaven is a better place and dying is the entrance fee wouldn't it make sense to want to die?
One of the principle leaders of the we know there's a God, know there's a heaven and know we're going to heaven party once said if it was up to him he'd just as soon go to a better place but since it would benefit others if he kept on keeping on he'd forgo the pleasure dying would bring and continue to live. Now a selfless choice to keep on living makes sense in that situation and I want to imagine that's what everyone fitting into this category is doing but I also imagine I should see a whole lot more "Benefiting of others" going on. So actually the saying should be, "Some people believe in heaven but for one reason or another nobody wants to die." That doesn't have the impact of the original does it?
Turning to the second truism, "Everyone wants smaller budgets and lower taxes but nobody wants their services cut." Not everyone wants a smaller budget. Most people who work for government don't. Most people who receive benefits don't. Most elected officials don't. And among those who do it usually comes down to take theirs don't touch mine. If an environmentalist wants a smaller budget they want subsidies cut from big oil but support subsidies to big ethanol. If supporters of military intervention want a smaller budget they may support cutting off the tree-huggers at the knees but they want that latest weapons systems. Then there are those who want to increase the budget dropping pearls of wisdom like, "We've got to spend our way out of this recession."
What about taxes? Doesn't everyone want taxes lowered? No, taxation without representation may have worked to stir this country to rebellion but today there are many people who don't vote yet want taxes raised higher and higher. How can this be? In America today we have certain groups of people who're essentially exempt from taxes and recipients of direct benefits and others who pay taxes and don't receive much from the government except next year's quarterly tax vouchers. The progressive tax system has achieved its goal, from each according to their ability to each according to their need.
Since people from the boomer-living-life-large-petal-to-the-metal generation are in charge budgets equate to if one is good ten is better so if the milk cow rich finance our lifestyle now how about a bigger day? Let's milk them twice, three times, how about four times as much. Problem is we want more cheese than we have milk. As the national Visa bill grows and our foreign bankers want more interest the income level it takes to be considered one of the milk cow rich keeps getting lower. The long coddled poor still don't realize that the amount they receive in their monthly dole will eventually paint a target on their wallet to help the still poorer in our globalized village. The morbidly obese welfare recipient with three color TVs and two cars is one of the wealthiest people on earth and this redistributionist plunder empire can only continue to survive with fresh victims to plunder. Have we changed our national motto to "Stand and deliver" yet?
How true is the truth? The definition of a truism is an undoubted or self-evident truth. We see from the short examination above truisms often falter when they collide with scrutiny. What about these truisms, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." They acknowledge a creator and speak of life. They acknowledge liberty and a right to pursue happiness. Milk cows don't pursue happiness they only exist to give milk and they only live as long as they do. And that's the truth.
Dr. Robert Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. © 2010 Robert R. Owens firstname.lastname@example.org
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!