Herd instinct

Sunday, March 8
When Bobby Green, pastor at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, was 11, he went fishing with his father and four brothers. They caught 51 crappie; he caught 30 of them. A neighbor saw the stringer and asked, “Who caught these?” Bobby’s father responded, “We did.” Frustrating answer to an 11-year-old who had caught more than the others combined.

Later, in violation of their father’s instructions, Bobby and his brother loaded a hay wagon nine high instead of seven. It tilted in a creek and half the hay was drifting away when the landowner approached, fuming. “Who did this?” he yelled. Bobby’s father responded, “We did.”

The story has relevance to the increasing friction between America’s economic classes. The rich — those with capital — used their ingenuity in past decades to create astonishing wealth. Some of that wealth helped those without capital. That same capitalist class caused much of our current mess, by investing recklessly and sharing too little.

The capitalists’ temptation was to overstate their value when things were good. “They” created prosperity, not “we.” Those without capital tend to overstate capitalists’ blame now. It’s “their” fault, not “ours.”

In truth, our economic system functions only with all classes. The rich can only produce if others will consume. The masses cannot consume unless the rich produce.

Bobby closed with a snippet from the movie, “Ice Age.” Manny the mammoth risks his life to save a member of his misfit herd, Diego the saber-toothed tiger. Why did he do it? Diego asks.

“Thats what you do in a herd,” Manny responds. “You look out for each other.”

Rewards in a capitalist system are unequal, but each of us has an indispensible role. Now would be a good time to look out for each other.

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