“To me, it becomes a matter of how much of your soul you are willing to sell.” (1) Not all Republicans are willing to go along with or keep quiet about the change in direction their party has taken since the 2016 election. Matt Borges, the former Ohio Republican Party chairman raised a question that is more universal than he probably realizes. How many people in America are compromising their moral principles and how long have we been doing that? What is the asking price for an American soul?
Let’s go to Grinnell, Iowa for an example of what we are talking about. Journalist Jacqui Shine in her article in The New York Times describes Grinnell as “an Iowa Gun Town.” That’s because for three generations Brownell’s, a major American firearms company, has been a manufacturer of guns and ammunition and a supplier of firearm accessories, gun parts, and gun-smithing tools. So what’s the problem? Someone will manufacture these items as long as there is a demand so why not have the good jobs and other perks in Grinnell. What perks?
Here is where the seduction comes in. When it came to how they felt about violence related to guns and having a gun manufacturer in their town, “People certainly knew that their neighbor subsidizes their quality of life, with money earned in the gun industry in a state where gun deaths run nearly neck and neck with drug overdose deaths, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.” (2) But on the other hand: “Grinnell, like many other cities, is increasingly reliant on ‘philanthropic support for parks, aquatic centers and libraries.’” (2)
And now the denial. Pastor Kirsten Klepfer of the First Presbyterian Church in Grinnell noted that nationwide about two-thirds of annual firearms deaths are suicides. “I’m ashamed, we like them when they pump our community full of money, we turn our eyes when they pump our communities full of guns.” (2)
For those of you who are feeling self-righteous at this point, alas, we will now broaden our indictment to include everyone in the Global Village. That’s right, people in Grinnell, Iowa are typical of the rest of our species. We are all being seduced and we are all in denial. How so? We are so glad you asked.
Biologist Richard Dawkins’ idea of the “meme” was to explain how ideas and behaviors replicated themselves and passed back and forth in communities. Siddhartha Gautama discovered what we could call the “super-meme” over 2,500 years ago when he had the insight that all members of our species created their own suffering and all of their own problems by creating and sharing what we today could call memes. His explanation is actually pretty simple and so is the solution. Want to know what that super-meme is? Click on the link below.
Insight # 46: People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. C. G. Jung
- “Riffing on the Big Three” in Who Am I? by Roy Charles Henry (2013), in print and on this blog.
- Peoples, Steve. “Warnings about Trump from Republicans left Behind.” The Denver Post, August 19, 2018, page 8A.
- Shine, Jacqui. “Civility and Culture Wars in an Iowa Gun Town.” The New York Times Sunday Styles, August 12, 2018, pages 1, 8, 9.