“Though the covetous grown wealthy
See his piles of gold grow high;
Though he gather store of treasure
That can never satisfy;
Though with pearls his gorget blazes,
Rarest that the ocean yields;
Though a hundred head of oxen
Travail in his ample fields;
Ne’er shall carking care forsake him
While he draws this vital breath,
And his riches go not with him,
When his eyes are closed in death.
“Well but official dignity clothes him to whom it comes with honor and reverence! Have, then, offices of state such power as to plant virtue in the minds of their possessors, and drive out vice? Nay! …Dost not see what infamy high position brings upon the bad? … No, we cannot deem men worthy of reverence on account of their office, whom we deem unworthy of the office itself.” ~Boethius
Greed and Avarice are not Virtues
There was a time when nearly all of us understood that greed, avarice, and covetousness are undesirable. Most religions label them sins, except the poor lost souls of modern Evangelical Christianity. Yet even those who still officially condemn greed almost never criticize it when they see it all around them.
Boethius’ short “song” and the paragraphs following it seem to be mismatched. The song is about greed, while the rest is about unworthy individuals holding public office. They are not mismatched, however, if the greedy start buying their way into public office because they desire the power and honors that go with those offices.
Greed with Honors
In this time when democracies have become oligarchies instead, it should not be too surprising that the greedy can buy public offices through various types of trickery. Others choose instead to remain in the background and manipulate their handpicked politicians like puppets. The really sad thing is that so many see this is happening and do nothing to stop it. I fear it may take actual revolutions in some countries for it to end.
Boethius is correct in saying, however, that the job doesn’t make the man. If you want a good senator, you must elect a worthy person to that office. If you want a president who represents the people, you must vote for such a person, and not one who represents only himself and the other kings of avarice. Continue reading “Trickery and Manipulation by the Greedy”