“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.
Tricks Without Treats
It is somewhat understandable how many people fall for the trickery of those greedy people trying to buy public office. We see ads all the time that seek to convince us that the expensive pair of shoes is so much better than the cheaper pair. Marketers tell us that the expensive car will make us so much happier than the less expensive models. This has placed a belief in our minds that the expensive thing is better, therefore the greedy billionaire must be the best candidate for the office.
Another form of trickery used by those folks is to dig up dirt on the other candidates, and then publicize it with gross exaggeration. And if there is no real dirt to find, just make some up. Find some sleazy person willing to lie to make a few bucks to claim evil deeds on the part of the competition.
There is probably only two solutions to the trickery of the greedy. One is revolutionary wars. That will result in the death of many, and may not always work. This is not the bet choice.
The other way is for us to awaken our spiritual faculties and start using them. The spirit and soul operate different from the body and brain. The trickery of the greedy works well on the brain-mind, but not on the soul. The mind doesn’t know truth, it only has beliefs. Those beliefs can be manipulated and have been for centuries. The awakened soul knows truth. It doesn’t just have opinions about it. It doesn’t have theories about it. It doesn’t get advice from greedy preachers on it. It simply know thew truth. Trickery doesn’t work on it. As we develop our spirit and souls, and let the soul rule rather than the ego, things will change. That solution can be achieved without a great deal of violence and death. Let us hope that is the way we decide to end the trickery of the greedy.