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Rednecks and generals

When I was just a knave, the redneck preachers in our corner of Arkansas preached against gambling because, so they claimed, it promoted a “something for nothing philosophy.”  The idea was that if you create a society of getting without earning then you’ll teach people to be helpless.  They become mentally disabled because they believe what’s false (that there is such a thing as “free stuff”), and therefore they become dependents for life.  And with dependency came debauchery as sure as, well, death and taxes.  My redneck forebears had no trouble discerning a connection between sin and the dole.

I think we can all agree that’s been vindicated, though maybe not like they expected.  It seems we have certain generals who have grown accustomed to lots of privileges.  People salute them, stand up ramrod straight in their presence, and call them “sir” a lot.  Generals get a great many perks with all those stars on their uniforms.  And in a strange way, getting has gotten detached from working for them, too.  They don’t get perks in proportion to what they build or accomplish.  They get stuff and privileges and all manner of ego strokes in proportion to their rank.  It’s all got to do with how many people are beneath them.

Maybe even the redneck preachers would be surprised to learn how right they were in sizing up the cussedness of human nature.  They respected the military, after all, but maybe that’s only because the waywardness of other famous generals hadn’t caught their attention.  Whatever.  They were still right.

And if smart men like Petraeus and Allen can go like oxen to the slaughter in their own little entitlement society, what’s to be said for the tens of millions who have sold themselves way cheaper?

May God make us eager to earn our keep, to be content with what we have, to eat our own bread with singleness of heart, and to be thankful to the Lord whose grace and providence sustain us every hour.

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