Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Gates, Buffett and the New Social Darwinism

It is generally believed that those least able stumble, and fall to the wayside while those gifted rise to the top.

A type of selection process weeds out those unfit for success, and rewards the best, and most deserving in society.

Social Darwinism is at play it is argued, and the rich, powerful, and successful deserve their lot in life. They have either earned what they have, or perhaps inherited it from their parents who did the earning.

In any case one should not question the social order, or the devine right of authority, and nobility. They are there for a reason - they deserve it.

Luck is nothing more than wisely putting yourself in the right place, at the right time, and so even those falling into wealth, and fame, deserve what they have.

The poor also deserve their station, if not why wouldn't they work harder, and smarter, and show themselves capable to their superiors - thus finding promotion to a more successful position in life.

And for those somewhere in the middle, well keep working harder, longer, and smarter, and one day you too may find your earthly reward - have faith, and keep voting Republican.

Conservatives tend to agree with, and promote, this philosophical approach. Let the rich alone, they deserve what they have. Let the poor learn from their suffering for they surely deserve it.

Low taxes, low wages makes a wonderful world.

Yet, despite this widely held view that greed is the ultimate good, the two richest people in the world have decided that greed isn't good. They have decided that greed is only a means to an end, but not the destination itself.

Instead we see the most financially successful people of our time take retirement from the accumulation of riches, and give most of their fortunes away to the poor, and needy.

What gives? Is this even allowed? Did I miss something in the rules?

The biggest winners of the game of life have decided that living in the mansion isn't the object of the game, but instead have decided that helping out those in the poor house is the biggest victory of all.

There's certainly a lesson for us all in the actions of Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett.

I just hope the rest of us are listening.

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