It is always the secure who are humble.

G. K. Chesterton, 1874-1959

+ + +

As I have aged I find that life can be delightfully counter-intuitive and that: yes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Who would think when young that humility is the passage way to wisdom, contentment, peace and helpfulness?  Not many.  But it is.

When humbled one gets smarter, one’s scope increases along with one’s patience, we increase in understanding and the capacity to see blessings that were previously missed when our personal, unexamined and biased “preferences” led us.

How might we see this in real terms and in real time?

The Wall Street Journal of Friday, October 3, 2014, had an interesting lead editorial entitled “The President of Inequality” in which it recounted that a poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found a steep decline in the belief that if one works hard in the U.S. one can “get ahead.”  That decline showed a 16 percent drop of among those under 30 years of age, a 14 percent decline among women, and a 17 percent erosion among Democrats.

As the Journal pointed out, the declines were greatest among core groups who supported the seated President and, then, proceeded to share data which supports this disillusionment, data which arises during the incumbent President’s tenure.

Illustratively, median household income among middle wage earners in 2013 is still 3.9 percent below its level in 2009 when the recession subsided.  The point is this: unlike other post-recession experiences, a very larger number of Americans have not yet recovered from 2009, five years later.

The Journal’s point is this: between 2010-2013 there is essentially no change in income among the middle segment of workers (between the 40th and 90th percentile), only modest gains (2.2 percent) among the top 10 percent of wage earners, and a dreadful 5.5 percent decline among those workers falling below the 40th percentile.

The Journal goes on to establish that rather than create economic activity with the “stimulus spending” in 2009-2010, the present administration created mostly “transfer payments” in the form of Medicaid and unemployment payments, and the expansion of enrollment in food stamp and disability programs, not to mention national health care with its gigantic cost, waste and inefficiency, and an increase in taxes.

As The Journal says: ” … policies … to reduce inequality have presided over so much more of it.”  Our present Executive efforts have “reduced (economic) growth and increased inequality.”

A humble man can do great things with an uncommon perfection because he is no longer concerned about … his own interests and his own reputation, and therefore he no longer needs to waste his efforts defending them.

Thomas Merton, Monk

Absent humility, there is little good that can be done.

Shalom.

Advertisements