Shared values are what is too often missing in America nowadays

The post by Robert Reich today "To Serve Society" seems to me to very insightfully see the larger pattern of what is going on regarding the relationship of the individual American and America.

The tragic loss of 19 young firefighters in an Arizona wildfire, was the article's focus on people being of service to America as a whole, vs the currently dominant philosophy that, like the stealthy serpent, has taken over the country: " ... selfishness is the only honest and justifiable motive. By looking out for Number One, we accomplish everything that's necessary...." "... The magic of the marketplace can be relied on to allocate resources to their highest and best uses. Anything "public" is suspect...." "...The titans of Wall Street and the CEOs of our major corporations have put this narrow principle into everyday practice. In their view, the aggregation of great wealth and maximization of profit is the only justifiable motive. Greed is good. Eight-figure compensation packages are their due....."

I have personally seen how these forces have cost America - and probably civilization overall - at least 50 years of robust development of desperately needed resources, at a time when business-as-usual is going along like the old saw about "the clerks are selling everything like mad, but nobody is minding the store."

Something about it all also reminds me of the sign I saw in the local library, about the squabbling 2-year-old group's philosophy: "Everything I have is mine, and anything I can see is mine too."

Anyway, Robert Reich's post goes on with what is missing: "This crimped perspective misses what's most important. Shared values are the essence of a society."

If the "Number One" that we are looking out for totally, becomes our larger self that includes family and the larger whole of America and indeed civilization, perhaps that Ayn Rand-associated principle would work. Using our power to benefit our self and all of humanity, is involved.

Those 19 firefighters were being paid to do that job, true. The 20th of the team apparently did not have the tools to function adequately as a lookout to spot and figure out the implications of wind direction shifts and velocity. Although whoever was guiding the overall task needed the same info and projection skill.

Cutting brush is a hard physical work job, very close to the earth, and not often focussed on the larger picture ongoing. A very busy busy activity, nose to the grindstone kind of thing. Yet potentially very dangerous; somebody has got to be "minding the store" or chances are, there is going to be a big problem eventually.

I hope there can be some innovative R&D on both high lookout capability - perhaps using satellite optics with radar bounce wind pattern evaluation - and predictive analysis real time for dealing with such tasks, as well as innovative R&D on practical field pack emergency sheltering when being overrun by a brush fire... maybe something like the existing reflective bubble pack with a face mask and small oxygen supply, the whole being filled by foamed fire retardant deployed in seconds. Like a car's airbag rapid response thing.

But who is going to guide such R&D intelligently, and it all be paid for being done ... where does that fit in with the CEO's awarding themselves 8 figure compensation packages in total greed as purest expression of good ... what is their opinion of the 19 firefighters and their task .. hopefully something different than considering they were not making money on it all so is not their concern, and besides, plenty more sheeple are out there waiting to take their place.

How long can it all tolerate with resiliency, before the lack of somebody minding the store brings on the end of the partying.

So if some overlord is appointed by unthinking investors to "mind the store" will they not simply do it to maximize profits instead of equally maximizing value added to benefit the society, the nation, that is getting more and more like a car that is not designed and built as a whole, but instead as a bunch of nice looking parts in a heap but not designed to function as a whole car on the road, all fun to do and wealth producing for a few, but when it is time to drive the car somewhere, reality sets in.

When reality suddenly set in for those nineteen hardworking young firefighters, I can imagine it was very unpleasant to experience. Similarly, America as a whole is at risk the way things are going, for equivalent unpleasant experiences. No fun when the resource-ravishing greed-worshipping partytime runs out of game pieces.


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