Becky, over at Preemptive Karma, makes an interesting observation about Ken Lay’s courthouse steps declaration that "God has blessed me and my family enormously."
Funny how many crooks invoke God when their honesty is being questioned. And funny how they seem to overlook the obvious conclusion that the God who is "blessing" them somehow forgot to bless their victims.
Yeah, it is funny. But I think it’s also pretty easy to explain. To do so I’ll have to dig back into some of m posts from the Katrina debacle. The mindset behind Ken Lay’s statement is pretty much the same mindset that made it possible to justify the lack of response to Katrina.
These folks equate wealth and well-being (basically being middle class and up) with virtue. Quite simply, if you have the right values, you will have enough wealth to provide for your well-being, and that of your family; perhaps more. If you don’t, then you won’t. It’s really that simple.
You simply start out taking strength — economic strength in Lay’s case, but it could also apply to physical or military strength if you’re talking about nations — as a sign of moral virtue and thus of "god’s" approval. From there it’s a short walk to seeing the lack of strength — again, economic in this case, but could also be physical or military strength — as a sign of moral failure and of "god’s" disfavor. And since morality is a choice, you can disregard those whose moral weakness leads to material weakness (or poverty) and thus to disaster.
It’s not just the physically or economically strong that survive (indeed that should survive, according to this POV), but the morally strong as well, because economic strength (manifested as material well-being, and the ability to move out of harms way) implies moral strength. Thus, poverty implies moral weakness.
And there is no obligation on the part of the morally strong to save the morally weak, because moral weakness is always a choice. The poor, then, have it coming.
Lay, then, is simply repeating the same thing that Norman Vincent Peale preached to his congregation in the 50s: that they (in this case Lay and his family) were made rich by "god" because they deserved it, and that the "godly" will reap earthly rewards because "god" is on the side of the strong. In other words, he who has the gold has "god’s" favor."
And if "god" is on the side of the strong, then it stands to reason that he is not on the side of the weak, precisely because their weakness is indicative of their moral failings which caused "god" to remove his blessing from them.
So the folks who lost everything in the Enron scandal are not Lay’s victims, if you accept this point of view. They’re not even "god’s" victims. They are their own, because of their own moral failings as indicated by their economic (in this case) weakness. Thus, they are not worthy of mention by one so blessed as Lay