What do the ultra-rich know about morals? I read recently that now that Elon Musk has purchased Twitter for billions and billions of dollars, that he’s going to allow Trump back on because it’s “morally wrong” to prevent him. Heaven help us when the plutocrats start dictating morals. One of the odd things about my strange career is that I was an undecided major in college. I settled eventually on religion, but my transcript shows a restless mind. One subject that I came back to time and again was ethics. I want to know what is right. Shutting up a deranged narcissist who wants to run the country only to enhance his image of himself seems a moral no-brainer. The case was different before he was elected the first time. Now we know. Now we have a responsibility.
Those who can afford to buy the moon shouldn’t make declarations on what is moral. The church, however, has largely become irrelevant. “It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle,” a famous moralist, whose name is unfortunately forgotten, once said. The moral compass of the uberwealthy is irrevocably squewed by a massive loadstone known as personal wealth. Indeed, our very laws are made by the wealthy to protect the interests of the wealthy. They do this by courting biblicists who seem to have forgotten—what is his name again? You know, the one who seemed to have a problem with the rich?
Morality has somehow become confused with concerns about other people’s genitalia. We don’t ask what the wealthy do with theirs—it’s pretty clear what one tweeting resident of Mar-a-Lago has done with his. Ironically Protestants broke away from the Catholic Church largely because of the sale of indulgences. The idea that the rich could buy their way out of sins rankled sixteenth-century moralists into saying sola scriptura. But now they have lost even their sola. Scriptura, for its part, is unequivocal about one thing—the problem of the rich. The poor aren’t the problem. In this new gospel, however, victims are blamed while the powerful rightly rule all. The divine right of riches. The wealthy, so misunderstood; the poor are the way they are because they’re lazy. There’s no systemic cause for anyone not to have as much money as he wants (and it seems they’re generally he’s). And they have a right to say whatever they want because their word comes down from heaven, echoing out from their private space rockets to the stars.