Let's see -- a life that is meager for most of us, but in which a handful of Paris Hiltons have the "freedom" to buy all gold-plated fingernails they want. Wonderful. Seriously, how self-indulgent, self-absorbed, and just plain selfish must one be to think that this is our best alternative as a society? (We're not there yet -- quite -- but it's definitely the direction the last eight years have pointed us.)
The alternatives are not, as some would have us believe, a stifling socialism versus a free-market free-for-all. We are constantly touting the "freedom of opportunity" America offers when we have so much less of it than other advanced nations -- nations whose citizens aren't sidelined by illnesses they can't afford to treat, whose workers have greater job security and benefits, and whose children follow an educational path determined by their drive and ability, not by the size of their parents' bank accounts. These countries have found an intelligent and moral middle ground. Why can't we?
The answer, in large part, is g-r-e-e-d, along with the relentless conservative p.r. campaign that reinforces and endorses it. (Note that, from the 1930s on, this country was making great strides toward decency until Reagan's barbarity promotion program largely halted our progress.)
Incidentally, in my darker moments, I really do suspect that the average conservative's vision of utopia is an America comprised of 12 mega-multi-billionaires (a group in which they inevitably imagine themselves) and 300 million peasants begging them for food and dying on the sidewalk at their feet. The chance to tell people who have no hope of landing a job (or, in this scenario, of living through the day) to get a job/life/heart transplant really gives them a self-righteous thrill.
Maybe the Rich are the Problem - Toronto Star
Spreading the Wealth Around? Why Not? - CommonDreams
LATE ADDITION: Obama the Philosopher - The Nation