Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Prodigal Idiot

This isn't another big anti-religion rant, but I never liked the story of the Prodigal Son. I never got the lesson there. In fairness, if you asked my brother, I would be the one who would "waste his substance with riotous living" while he would tend to the crops, or whatever, so maybe I'm bias.

For those unfamiliar, the story goes like this; A guy has two sons. The younger, petulant one demands his inheritance, even though his father isn't dead yet, and goes off and parties like a rock star, blowing every penny. He hits a low point while he's looking after the pigs and decides to return home and beg for his father's forgiveness. Even if his dad says, "Screw you! You're my slave forever now, punk," at least it's better than smelling like pigs. So, he goes back and his Dad welcomes him with open arms, even slaying the good, ol' fatted calf, (that older brother has been looking after all this time) to celebrate the homecoming. All is well.

EXCEPT - older brother gets a little peeved. "What's up, Dad?" he asks. "I've been hanging out here helping you out for years, and then you roll out the red carpet for this deadbeat." And Dad says, "yeah, but this guy was dead to us, and now he's back. Lost, but now he's found. Like that song."

Well, I don't buy it. I know the idea is repentance and all that, but where was the incentive to be the good guy who stayed home to help out? Where's the benefit to doing the right thing, rather than living like an idiot? The end result is that the idiot gets the fatted calf, anyway.

Apply this logic to modern society. People who have spent unwisely for years and racked up enormous debt, or bought homes they couldn't afford, or whatever, or companies who spend $20,000 so their employees could fly somewhere for lunch, are getting helped out and bailed out. the government is cooking up that fatted calf for them and everyone is happy. Meanwhile, some ordinary Joe, who has tried to work hard to pay his debt and pay his school loans, is getting no help at all. Where's his bail-out? Where's his fatted calf?

In the belly of the Prodigal Idiot, that's where.

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