Community Rises Above Inequality And Endures

todayAugust 9, 2013 1

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Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – As we grow further and further and further away from any shared theological experience.  We grow further and further away from any possible chance to be knit together as communities ever again.  I don’t think that this plays itself out until there’s anarchy.   I just think we’re in a phase right now, an epoch, and it’s our job as good Christian citizens to fix it.  You can only fix it by leading by example, as I’ve often told many callers.  Check out today’s transcript for the rest…


Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

Mike:  Megan McArdle has a great story, a great essay about this at Bloomberg yesterday, “The Inequality that Matters.”  I read this last night and I was so enthralled by it that I sent it over to AG and said: You ought to see if Ms. McArdle would be so kind as to be a guest on the program sometime to talk about this.  She wrote this, in part:



I’ve written more than once that I don’t care about inequality. I care a lot about the absolute condition of the poor…but I don’t care whether Bill Gates is living in a house that cost 19 squintillion dollars. I care whether everyone else in the country has a warm, dry abode with indoor plumbing and all the other mod cons.

road-to-independence-BH-RTIDE2-detailThat view changed while I was researching an article on late marriage. Marriage has basically followed the same path as income over the last 50 years. The college-educated have it better than ever — they are enjoying what Harvard researcher Kathryn Edin calls “superrelationships,” characterized by extremely high levels of rapport, cooperation and satisfaction. The bottom two thirds, on the other hand, are in unstable relationships that tend to break apart under stress. They typically have at least one child before they marry, experts told me, and when they do marry, it’s not to the father of their child. This is bad for the people in these relationships, and for the children they produce. [Mike: You’re damn skippy it is.]

This pattern of relationships is partly due to economic change — as more than one person told me, to people at the bottom of the income distribution, telling them to wait to have children until they’ve found a stable partner and a steady job seems about as reasonable as telling them to wait until after they’ve won the Heisman Trophy. There aren’t a lot of jobs that a high-school graduate can count on to deliver long-term, full-time employment. Why risk falling fertility to put off childbearing until after you’ve gotten to Never-Never Land?

“If you’re a guy in the inner city and you can find a job making $8 an hour, you’re a prince. If your girlfriend can pull minimum wage,” Edin told me, you’re set. But “that’s the best-case scenario because almost no one is able to work full-time, full year.”

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Almost everyone I interviewed, from conservative to liberal, viewed what’s happening to the family at the bottom as a problem. The people in these unstable families lose out on the life-improving benefits of marriage. [Mike: What’s that? What’s this marriage that you speak of? You mean Stan and Steve?] They drastically increase their financial insecurity, because of course it is more expensive to support two households than one, and the legal battles to get money for the kids are time consuming and may even discourage men facing child support garnishment orders from working.

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Conservatives have called for elites to lead on the issue — to speak out for the values that they actually practice [Mike: She’s referring directly to Charles Murray and his book Coming Apart] rather than a more libertine set of values that they claim to believe. But Kathryn Edin pointed out that with inequality at record highs, there’s not even a common cultural place for such a discussion to take place.

[end reading]

Mike:  Ladies and gentlemen, there always has been a divide between the have’s and the have not’s.  Whether the have’s were created by the government or by the elites who were able to construct vast, very profitable monopolies for themselves while those that were not part of the monopoly were out begging for crumbs, as they say, there always has been a disparity, but there wasn’t a poverty of values.  What is the missing ingredient?  I think you can look from now until the end of time for a policy prescription to fix this and you’re going to come up short.  The way and the mind of man to prescribe a legislative act that can somehow fix what is, at its core, a condition where there is a poverty in the soul.  There’s nothing a politician can do about an impoverished soul, about a person or persons who suffer from a poverty of values from never having learned the virtues.  Virtues are free to learn.  They don’t cost anything.  They may cost time.  They may cost discipline.  Indeed, time, work ethic, and discipline are virtues.  They are values.  You learn while you’re learning.  What is the glue?  What is it that then held the poor together as well as the well-to-do?

article-v-pamphlet-adYou people that are regular listeners to this show, you already know the answer to this.  I don’t need to tell you because you know what the answer is.  The only possible explanation was a sense of community.  It was community.  Whether you lived in a poor community or a wealthy community, you lived in a community.  It was that community that held those people together.  We can see this.  If you want to talk about this, there’s a great quote from Edmund Burke in today’s Pile of Prep.  I’ll read it to you.  By the way, community is then glued together by what?  Faith, churches, religions, devotion.  That’s what holds community together.  Here’s what Burke said about this, the great English statesman and the man that many considered to be the first conservative.  He wrote this paragraph I’m about to share with you in his book Reflections on the French Revolution, which was an absolutely ghastly epic in history.


To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind. The interest of that portion of social arrangement is a trust in the hands of all those who compose it; and as none but bad men would justify it in abuse, none but traitors would barter it away for their own personal advantage.

[end reading]

Mike:  Burke is pointing out that it is community that bonds people together.  It is community that provides that glue and that common shared experience.  A person of faith, whether you’re of the Catholic faith, the Mormon faith, the Orthodox Jewish faith, whatever the persuasion is, that faith acts upon someone of high worldly accomplishment in the exact same manner it acts upon someone of no worldly accomplishment, with the only difference being there’s actually more responsibility on the person of high worldly accomplishment because he is ordered by his faith and by the scriptures that inform his faith that it’s his duty to help the less fortunate, not to babysit them or be taxed or forced or compelled to do it, but to be compelled to do it by an eternal, external force.

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Ladies and gentlemen, that is what’s missing. That is what explains it. As we grow further and further and further away from any shared theological experience.  We grow further and further away from any possible chance to be knit together as communities ever again.  I don’t think that this plays itself out until there’s anarchy.   I just think we’re in a phase right now, an epoch, and it’s our job as good Christian citizens to fix it.  You can only fix it by leading by example, as I’ve often told many callers. [mocking] “I don’t know what to do, Mike.  My life sucks.  The government . . . the Congress . . . the UN . . ..”  Yeah, your government is bad.  The only thing you can try to do is exert the greatest control where you have the greatest influence, this unit we call the family.  Great family units then make great community.

Folks, those that seek, those that climb to the top of mountains to seek this sage advice of shaman and of soothsayers and what have you, you’re climbing to the top of the wrong mountain.  There is no absolution to be found at the top of that mountain.  You don’t have to climb a mountain to find what it is you seek.  You do actually have to open your mind and open your heart to it.  That is where you then find solution, where you can then find comfort and peace.  At the end of the day, government can take everything they want to take from us.  They can rob us of our riches.  They can rob us of our material goods.  They can rob us of our private property.  They can rob us of our liberties and natural rights.  They can imprison us.  They can take all these worldly, earthly things away from you, but they cannot take your soul.

End Mike Church Show Transcript



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