How would you answer this man?

I had a discussion today with a man who posed an interesting theory. He has been informed of many philosophies and religions throughout his life, so his position is not one which he has not seriously considered. At the risk of simplifying his reasoning, let me say many of his thoughts and you consider along with him what he is saying, and if you can or want to enter the discussion, answer my question, "how would you answer this man's allegations?'

He says he regularly steals from a grocery store in his neighborhood. It's a national chain here in Australia. His rationale is that the company makes too much money, and thus their money-making must be tainted, with greed, or with some other dirty method of making money, thus the money is not really theirs, since they have stolen it, so his sense of justice invites, no, almost demands, that someone steals the money (or product) back from them. It's Robin Hood-like.

His justification involved a comparison of two men. First was his kindly old uncle who was a humble farmer, all his life, who was worth close to a million dollars at his death. That money was distributed to the many, and he honestly earned all that money, one farm product and hard work at a time. He didn't go on vacations; he didn't live above his means...he was a simple man.

The other man in this man's comparison was Donald Trump. According to this man, Donald was a thief, who made more money than he ever could spend, and the money he made was not due to his hard work at all. He demanded from others; he made others work hard. But it wasn't earned so much as stolen money. Similar to the grocery chain.

OK, fair enough, do you have enough information to answer this man ywr?

He said that the million dollars of Mr Trump and the million dollars of his farmer uncle were equal scientifically, of course, but not equal at all, because of two things: 1) how they earned it and 2) the source of the money changed its intrinsic value, that is the Trump million was tainted.

A man should never earn more than he needs, this man averred, and what a man needed could be defined as owning one house, and perhaps another one, a distant one, for vacations. If a man made more than what he needed, there should be some sharing, some equity, some distribution of that wealth, and if that fair distribution didn't happen, then that was a clear sign of tainted, indulgent, 'dirty' money that needed to be taken, like the grocery stock to equalize the situation.

Do you have enough information to answer this man?

You may NOT use the Bible, or even the Older Testament, although he is Jewish, Bar Mitzvah and all. Just because some old Jewish man who was a power-hungry 80-year-old came up with such commandments don't necessarily translate to today's world, he says. OK, fair enough. Using only assumptions and philosophies and looking at big pictures, what would you answer this man?


Anonymous said…
Ok so this guy takes a product say worth 10$ every week from the big chain grocer assuming he never gets caught, others seeing this/encouraged by this decide i will too, soon thats 2,5,10000 so on eventually that chain grocer will say shut those stores down theres no profit, so theres the grocer workers, the shelf stackers, the check out people, the truck drivers, the farmers (the hard working one) all out of jobs. Picture it as driving on the m5 one person decides ill drive 10kmh slower than the limit, then the guy behind him has to go slower 1kph, the guy behind him another 1kph slower so on until theres traffic for miles, all because the guy in the first place cant see the chain reaction he has caused by going slower, and will likely never see the causality of his choices to others. If everyone has this same mentality and everyone stole from the crooked grocers the honest everyday people who just want to work hard to live would not be able to.
Peter Gradussov said…
I live and conduct myself in a way that aims to be true to my values. I'm not perfect i fail a lot. My aim needs correction often. I do not conduct myself according to the values of others. This is what set apart kodesh means. I live in this world but i belong to the kingdom of heaven and its values. Stealing of any kind is not one of those values. I dont have to be afraid of this world and what it dishes out. The Lord has promised to feed clothe and shelter me. All i do is seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and all else will be added
First, the mere fact that he feels the need to justify his thievery indicates that he has a moral sense which he violates when stealing. This is the problem of sin--that we do what we innately know we ought not to do. Similarly, that he compares one millionaire who worked hard for his money and honestly with another millionaire who did not, and that he justified stealing from the latter, also demonstrates a moral sense which he violates. \\

Wo his dilemma is this: is there a supreme being who holds us accountable for our persistent violations of our innate moral code? And if you say, No, there is not, then where did the innate code come from, and why does it really matter anyway?
DrDave said…
I would ask him how he would feel if a refugee from a pacific country stole your TV and sold it to send to his poor mother in Vanuatu, would he still think it a noble venture?
google said…
I fear this may be a growing Australian problem, that the average guy may think it is OK to steal. Even taken as a kind of sport. No particular justification as in the story this man has come up with but that there is a certain thrill in pinching stuff believing he can get away with it for now. Since this guy has worked out his reasons for his practice of stealing, he probably had a moral sence but in turning his back on it, I wonder if it is now too warped to mean anything to him anymore. When I say 'average guy steals' I'm thinking of the man who cheats on his tax, steals from his employer or tries to ride for free on the Public Transport system. Supermarket theft is a huge problem blamed often on the unemployed or pensioner but the statistics include in studies that stealing is done by a wide range of people, just because they can.

Popular posts from this blog

Broadway: The Book of Mormon in Australia, a review

Zechariah: The Coming King

The Sabbath, the Jews and the Lord of the Sabbath