Feeding the Dragon
Most people today realize that something is wrong with the world, but very few people consider themselves as part of the problem. These people are professionals in all walks of life, as well as hard-working people of all careers who are taxpayers and would be called “good citizens.” The fact is, by simply paying your taxes, you are helping to feed the dragon or the fallen system. Some of those taxes do go to service-oriented functions that benefit people, like new highways and social-service programs; but other taxes go to the military industrial complex and the war machine. The fallen system has also been called “the modern Babylon” by many biblical scholars in reference to the materialism of Western civilization and, now, many other parts of the world who have bought into the worst of capitalism.
Estimates are that since the beginning of the Iraq war, 2 trillion dollars have been spent. The Iraq war costs us $100,000 per minute! Thousands of Americans have died and thousands more have lost limbs. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died as well as men and women from other countries. In just one year, 2005, U.S. military spending was approximately $500 billion (and that doesn't include “combat” which likely doubles the figure). Try to get free or even low-cost health or dental care for yourself or your children, if you don't have the money. Where should those billions really be going?
I don't think that the “Great American Dream” of Americans today is the same Great American Dream of the Founding Fathers.
I recently saw a special about China. Does anyone remember seeing the movie The Last Emperor, and the great palace that he lived in? Today within that great outdoor sacred courtyard known as The Forbidden Palace, is a Starbuck's! All over China, even in the smaller cities, are other corporate fast food chains including McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken. One Chinese young man said that his dream was to be able to buy a pair of Reeboks, which are made in his country with what most of us Americans would consider slave labor, and sold in the U.S. at a cost that would take him months to earn. Even in China, he couldn't afford to buy a pair. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, the sacred spiral stairway mysteriously built inside of the Sisters of Loretto Chapel, is now privately-owned, and you have to pay to see it. The Loretto Chapel itself is now commercialized and trinkets are sold there.
ExxonMobil's profit in 2005 was $36 billion, a 43% increase from 2004, and the largest annual net income in U.S. history, according to the February 13, 2006 issue of TIME magazine. In contrast, 241 million children under the age of 14, labor at the bottom of the global economy. These children work in various industries that include textiles, agriculture, carpet-making, brick-making, and, of course, prostitution. In India some children sit for more than thirteen hours in the same position, weaving carpets. Many of them become crippled in their hands and legs. Here in America, migrants and their children work for below minimum wage in toxic fields. (Please see the documentary Stolen Childhoods, soon to show at Future Studios).
Now you might say, “What does this have to do with me, Mr. or Mrs. Good Citizen?” This question is not so easy to answer for people who are so unaware of their involvement in perpetrating a system that no longer works for the majority of people in the United States, or other so-called “democratic” and “free” nations. I guess that here in America, and in most of Western civilization, what we don't see, we aren't responsible for. It's not immediately affecting our children, or is it? Many missing children in America are being sent to child labor gangs in Mexico.
Millions of American children inflict violence on each other because of the violence they grow up with on television and in films. They see teenagers in films having sex, as if it's the normal thing for teens to do. The music industry and its “stars” perpetuate the lascivious consciousness. Other “stars” make movies where the heroes are killers, and we wonder why Columbine happens.
Every time we buy fruit picked in Mexico or in other South American countries where abusive child labor is involved, we help to perpetrate this abuse. Every time we buy clothing or any of the products produced by child labor, we help to further the abuse. There are child-protection organizations that work with companies to put a stamp of approval on many products made in foreign countries, which basically tell the buyer that this product was not made with child labor, or that the product was made paying children decent wages and decent hours. You can ask questions about where this merchandise came from by making phone calls before you even go to the store. A little research can tell you a lot.
CAPITALISM ON THE BACKS OF PEASANTS
But I don't want this article to concentrate strictly on child labor, which is a result of greed and materialism by the “good citizens” of many countries. Exploitation of the poor is a problem worldwide. In China, for instance, individuals who get an education receive a good citizen's card, and poor people who can't go to university, receive a peasant's card. The fact that capitalism has come to China hasn't helped the poor at all; it's just made it worse. The poor work in construction at very low wages to help build the new China—the new hotels, stadiums for the 2008 Olympics, and, of course, the latest McDonald's. Here in America, the poor go to community colleges; the rich go to Yale and Harvard. The poor have to make student loans that take them a lifetime to pay off (if they can get the loan in the first place). Those who go to the more prestigious colleges get the first high-paying executive jobs; those coming out of lesser prestigious colleges get entry-level positions.
The ruling elite throughout history have liked to keep the poor uneducated and poor. That's why they are called the “ruling class.” Some ethnic groups in America and Europe wouldn't think of their children becoming anything less than a medical doctor or an attorney. The craftsmen have been disappearing in America for a long time. So we are forced to buy inferior products that last a few years and break down, and inferior furniture that no longer has the look of quality or the feel of craftsmanship. “Made in America” used to mean high quality. Wal-Mart, the largest corporation in the world, which (with annual sales of around $285 billion) has the money to pay for good-neighbor commercials, carries child-labor products from countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam, and China. That's why its prices can be so low.
Some of our major car makers, like Ford and General Motors, continue to lay off workers. Foreign car makers are basically making better products, not because America isn't capable, but because corporate America has joined the greed machine. The instant-product philosophy is not just in the fast-food industry, and Americans don't want their automobiles made to fall apart in a few years. So it makes sense to buy a better-made Toyota and feed the dragon of global corporate greed, than to buy an American-made car that has to be called in for service all too often.
Let's take a look at the definition of capitalism:
“An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.”
Statistics from 2005 state that out of 691 billionaires in the world 374 were in the United States. At the end of 2004 there were 8.2 million households who had a net worth of at least one million dollars. Now, in case you don't know, a billion dollars is one thousand million dollars ($1,000,000,000). 2.5 billion people earn only one dollar per day. By 2001, the richest one percent of the world population came to hold a third of the world's wealth. As an example, the private wealth of the owners of Wal-Mart is of the same order of magnitude as the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of Bangladesh with a population of 120 million people. Here in the United States, the top one percent of households has more wealth than the entire bottom 96 percent combined. I doubt that you who are reading this belong to this rich category, because very few of those who do are concerned about changing the system. They are the dragons the masses feed. They don't read periodicals about changing the world, like this one.
However, if you are one of those few rich who obtained your money by righteous means, you can donate some of it to: Global Community Communications Alliance nonprofit organization, and our many global change projects. You can find out about it by calling (520) 603-9932 [Tubac], but I doubt if Global Community Communications Alliance will get any calls on this offer! That's the point. “The combination of ministry and mammon has provided Pat Robertson with a net worth estimated at between $200 million and $1 billion,” according to one website. Oh, yeah…praise the Lord!
Interesting facts about charitable organizations can be found on the Internet : “...One charity has stayed above all this for 137 years. The Salvation Army is unique among all U.S. charities for many reasons. Let's start at the top. Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a salary just $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization. By comparison, Brian Gallagher, President of the United Way, receives a $375,000 base salary (plus numerous expense benefits). The Red Cross President, Marsha Evans, received $450,000 (according to an article written in 2002) plus benefits...” Her salary was $651,957 fiscal year ending 6/30/03. A whopping 50% increase in one year?? “While the organization's total revenue for fiscal year ending June 2003 was $2,946,000,000. … The Red Cross, under the Liberty Fund, collected $564 million in donations after 9/11. Months after the event, the Red Cross had distributed only $154 million. The Red Cross' explanation for keeping the majority of the money was that it would be used to help 'fight the war on terror'.” How can this be justified?
The billions of people in this world are just trying to survive, feed, and clothe their children. Many of the fathers all over the world, including in America, have given up on their own dreams. They hope their children can get a good education and not have to work as hard as they have. If Mr. & Mrs. America can just be honest, they would realize that the Great American Dream has not worked for them. For their children still use drugs and become alcoholics, still seem to have no direction in life, and nine out of ten young people get divorced within three years after their marriage.
Every time you buy a video that perpetrates violence and greed, or see such a film, or watch and applaud the so-called “great” actors of today—who couldn't make a pimple on the behind of a Spenser Tracey or a Catherine Hepburn—you help to feed the dragon. Now, I like to watch pro football, and I appreciate disciplined trained athletes, but the world of professional sports pays millions of dollars to athletes, while our teachers, policemen, firemen, and so many other unsung heroes are paid much less. You are feeding the dragon when you buy sports paraphernalia with your favorite sports hero or team on it. I like to watch pro football because there is immediate justice. You do something wrong, and the referee gives you a penalty flag, but I would never pay $35 to $50 to watch a pro football game by satellite, or any other sports event. Nor would I pay the exorbitant ticket prices to see them live; I'd much rather go to the corner of any American city and watch athletes play just as well for free! I know. I grew up playing sports on those corner lots.
Now the “powers that be” are trying to stop you from being able to buy vitamins and natural products, like herbs and medicinal plants. That's because they want you to buy processed foods. Don't you really get angry when you buy one of those boxed cereals for $4 to $5, and then get just a little bit of cereal in that big box, to feed that sugar addiction? The natural nutrients have long been processed out and all you end up with is unhealthy calories with basically no real food value. You've been addicted since you were a child. Why addict your children?
And in case you haven't heard, cigarette smoking leads to cancer! I once visited a friend in the hospital who was dying of lung cancer. He had lost all his hair by chemotherapy, but still was smoking a cigarette! He had a wife and two small children. He died a week later. Why feed the dragons of the tobacco industry? Did you know that most cigarettes contain additives like sugar and even cocoa to further your addiction to them? Yeah, you have a right to kill yourself if you want, but what about the people who love you?
Most people don't realize that every time the fallen system is fed, every time you feed the dragon, the laws of God—written before any one of us was ever a walking being on this earth—go into effect. The majority of Americans don't want to know the rules of spiritual life. They are not interested in the laws of God. The old adage in their minds is, “I'm a good person.” “I don't really do anything wrong,” is their motto. The millions of good citizens in America with this motto unintentionally help to create the mess of the world we're living in.
I know, by now you're really mad at me, and you'll certainly not ever think about reading this magazine again! But it's too late, you read enough, and God will hold you accountable. So here's what I suggest. Get serious with God, get on your hands and knees and ask the Father to help you to see your own blindness, so that you can hear from God and make the changes that you need to make, so that the world you live in can change and the world your children and grandchildren will inherit can change.
There are people all over the world who are trying to make these changes. The dragon tries to keep these people from finding others who are making it. Particularly, the dragon does not want you to find or join Divine Administration, a group of approximately 100 individuals from 5 continents who all got tired of feeding the dragon at some point in their lives. There's a lot more to teach on Divine Administration—the answers to the fallen system that suppresses the majority of humankind. We definitely need a new order on this planet, but it has to be a divine new order. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
If we stop feeding the dragon, maybe there will then be enough to feed the thousands who die of hunger and abuse everyday.
About the Author
For his entire adult life, Gabriel of Urantia has been dedicated to making the world as it should be – where every man, woman, and child has food, clothing, a home, and not just subsistence-level work, but the tools and assistance to cultivate their unique gifts, talents, and dreams. As founder of one of the largest sustainable communities and ecovillages in the world with multiple artistic organizations and service programs for humankind, Gabriel is putting what some might call a "Utopian" vision into ever-expanding practical applications daily. As an author, he is one of the most unique and distinct writers of our time. His work provides wisdom, cosmic absolutes, and answers to the questions of the seeking soul.