Wisdom from General Zanetti:
The source of today's insanity in the political, financial, social, corporate, government and educational realms.
From a Rabbi---- “chamas” translated as a "robbery," or "violence." Onkelos (the classical Aramaic translation of the Torah) renders it as, "seizing" or "grabbing".…a crime committed through cunning or malice, a crime which human justice has not the means to pursue, a crime which only the voice of conscience could prevent.
Some present day examples of chamas::
· When the Federal Reserve debases the currency, and by extension, debases the value of everyone’s labor, that is chamas.
· When Investment Banks use high frequency computer programs to front-run trades and skim “inconsequential amounts” from millions of daily trades they process, that is chamas.
· When politicians commit our children and our grandchildren to paying our debts, that is chamas.
· When generals recommend over-priced weapons systems and then, upon retirement, go to work for the winning defense contractor, that is chamas.
· When MF Global “rehypothocates” (steals) $1.6 billion of segregated client funds and no action is taken to punish the perpetrators, that is chamas.
If allowed to root, chamas is incredibly destructive; for while the society knows “something is wrong,” that “something” is so obtuse, camouflaged, and complex it is nearly impossible to know whom to blame…much less how to rectify the situation. The result is the people ache for some modicum of justice; yet somehow they know it will never come….at least on the earthly plane. Anger, frustration, resignation, and a sense of helplessness reign.
As America rose to power, we believed differently than we do now. As a society we closed ranks against chamas. Like the word chamas, no single word can describe why we were different...better. If such a word existed, however, it would likely combine the attributes of trust, love, faith, compassion, mercy, & courage. Perhaps the words “honor” and “virtue” are close. I’ll use “honor” to make my point.
· When a loan is made based on a looking into a man’s eyes and gripping his hand in agreement, that is honor.
· When soldier says to his battle buddy, “Cover me” and, without looking for acknowledgment, rushes toward a fortified building, that is honor.
· When a corporate officer sacrifices profit to deliver a safer product to a unknown child in Africa, that is honor.
· When a teacher stays after school for hours on end to help a student understand, that is honor.
Honor vs. chamas. Men tend to stumble and struggle as they strive toward honor. Men tend to glide easily toward chamas.
Most don’t realize that in the clash between honor and chamas the combatants, battlefields, and weapons are multi-dimensional. There are no front lines. Hostilities occur unceasingly on the spiritual, mental, emotional, psychological, and physical levels. Those without some modicum of situational-awareness and understanding (oftentimes the poor, uneducated, and weak) are the easiest victims…but all are affected. The casualties are very real…as are each sides’ victories and defeats.
It is becoming increasingly clear that chamas is gaining ground in America. Previously respected professions in the world of finance, politics, medicine, economics, and education are increasingly held in contempt…and rightfully so. Trust is breaking down. As Yeats so eloquently stated, “The center cannot hold, things fall apart.”
History is clear, if these trends are not arrested , no nation can recover from this one-two punch….I don’t care how many weapons it boasts.