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130 Sell all you have, and … NO! [2 Jan 2022]

Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me."

Matthew 19:21 GNT

The wrong way!

In this quotation, Jesus contrasts spiritual and material values. The reader is encouraged to favor spiritual riches. However, the desire for riches, in heaven or on earth, is blatant selfishness. Possibly the writer who recorded the teaching assumed that people are selfish, overlooking more noble human motivations. Jesus is describing the perfection path from the imperfect end and addressing one who is beginning, not completing, the happiness journey.

Humans can do better than the choice stated above. First, cooperation is a better motivation than enrichment. Second, there is a better model of distribution. This article focuses on a higher level of behavior. At the completion of the perfection path, there is no need for motivation or for private property.

An ideal

Let's take the positive stance and hope that those who have accumulated riches have learned the skill of handling them. Although some people stumble on riches or steal them, it is more common that people with money have talent in using it. Step 1: Take confidence in your own management skill or learn to manage.

Gold is where you find it. By applying your own wealth to the appropriate needs, you will manage it better than strangers could manage it for you. You will make the effective decisions that government is too conflicted to make. Step 2: Keep the control personal and local.

Of course, you seek training and advice as needed. That is fundamental to management. As a human, you are a member of the family that we are discussing. Being in the family positions you well for evaluating its needs. Step 3: Exercise conscience and judgment in your choices.

Popularity--no

Politicians try to fake consensus. They often think that dispensing more campaign funds will change outcomes in their favor. Instead of teaching best principles, they encourage blind following and pander to popularity. Whipping up popular sentiment based on money rather than reason prevents achieving a good outcome. Although it appears as if uninformed repetition inevitably leads to belief by the masses, flooding the media does not transform opinion into fact. The public must discern whether it is being influenced or educated.

If we are not together in our thinking process (if we are unclear why we do what we do), we are not ready to act. Instead of letting one faction force its will on all other factions, we need to find rational balance. Wise government does not force conscientious citizens to violate their principles. Instead, citizens sharing a belief are obligated to unite to implement it for the benefit of the whole. The diversity of beliefs provides for addressing the range of human needs. One person supports abortion services while another supports funding the arts. Each person promotes something with enthusiasm. There will be oppositely directed efforts, as there are people with opposite needs. The volunteer spirit thrives because it is more nuanced and localized than forced conformity.

Gridlock--no

A society split into two parts is in trouble. Government by coalition is safer than a two-party system because every party must remain friendly to every other party to build up good will for coming together on the next issue. When people think "you against me" instead of "we," they are squandering energy on disagreement that should be spent on building bridges. A government in gridlock is a barrier to progress. In a diverse, multiparty system, collaboration replaces warring camps.

Implementing the ideal

We have said that blindly giving away money to the poor invites squander and is not effective. Benefits come through prudent management. While individual judgment is key to success, good management cannot be autocratic. It must involve cooperation of parties. Like minded benefactors enrich each other with complementary ideas. They call for active participation by the beneficiaries who must want the benefit they are offered. A consortium of donors will move more slowly than a single individual, but with the right mix of participants it has a broader perspective. Too much size and diversity make the group vulnerable to gridlock. At one extreme is selfish control. At the other extreme is gridlock. Between those extremes, you are encouraged to pick your size and implement your project!

One scenario is that Mr. Wealthy gives Mr. Smart a lot of money and a new university appears. This places a burden on Mr. Wealthy to be dreaming an acceptable dream. The collective wisdom of like-minded advisors addresses a wider range of choices to be made. Consensus proposals are broadly appealing.

Another scenario is that several "rich men" combine sufficient power to complete a project. Here the "acceptable dream" is that the coalition must not be a cabal imposing an unrealistic dogma. A new university is not a blessing if it is a factory stoking extreme behavior and unrest like a political party imposing its will on the whole populace.

Finally, it is vital to connect properly with the audience. Pouring money into a destitute neighborhood can be importing foreign thinking that is beyond what the locals can absorb. If individual lives are upset too suddenly, the beneficiaries don't see or want the benefit. A typical funding pattern is (a) a visionary invites (b) collaborators who front enough resources to bring a project in reach of (c) the community where smaller donors are necessary to complete the task. The target population must be included so that it feels its participation in the success.

This article arises in a period when acrimony and contention (trying to "win") have crippled government. The very word is becoming hated. This proposal shifts attention to private, individual human beings. It asks them to take stock of the unlimited power they possess to bring about good results without waiting for "government" to be healed. I am begging you: go out, collaborate, and get the necessary tasks done!

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