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Sunday, March 19, 2017

It’s Not Personal. It’s Just Business

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6: 21; 24 NIV).  


As of 2016, Trump and his businesses had been involved in more than 3,500 state and federal legal actions. Trump or one of his companies was the plaintiff in 1,900 cases and the defendant in 1,450. As plaintiff, more than half have been against gamblers at his casinos who had failed to pay off their debts…

The … bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (1992), Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009).[133][134][135] Trump said, "I've used the laws of this country to pare debt ... We'll have the company. We'll throw it into a chapter. We'll negotiate with the banks. We'll make a fantastic deal. You know, it's like on The Apprentice. It's not personal. It's just business."(

The heading for this blog is: "It's not personal. It's just business." I've been fortunate to be in the company of war veterans who testified to the fact that war can be a game until you meet your enemy face-to-face and your finger pulls the trigger that wastes the one before you and implants forever in your brain an intimate visage of the dying to haunt you and mock you from that moment on.   Anyone can grandstand and pray for the world's hungry, but without some measure of intimacy and some felt personal pain the public talk never ends in corrective action but merely feeds even more sanctimonious babble.

Like war, business and politics can become a game insulated from reality...from the pain and suffering they can inflict. We have ready terminology available--business "Sharks" and political "Demagogues" who apply the golden rule only to a minuscule circumscribed microcosm of selfless personal interest.

Let us suppose that I grew up in an insular environment.  All my life my immediate family and friends carefully taught me that in traffic I was to go on red and stop on green. One day I left my private neighborhood and headed out into traffic. I blew through several red lights and bystanders yelled after me, charging me for being headstrong--even evil. It was only a matter of time, of course, before I had that collision. I was not hurt but unfortunately the crash resulted in vehicular homicide. At trial the prosecutors would stress strongly that I had free choice and must be held accountable for my actions.  The defense would lamely counter that my best lights drew from a mental databank that was seriously flawed.

So then, we must be careful in finding others evil--whether the person at fault be a street thug or a billionaire thug. We must always remember that privilege as well as poverty can stunt individuals and result in profoundly troubling antisocial behavior.

If we do not count ourselves as thugs but insist that we have good instincts, that too can be a problem. I have never driven my car in icy conditions-- I've lived in Florida all my life. Say I find myself up north and that the roads are suddenly covered with ice. I'm driving along and my car begins to skid on the ice. I’ve been told that following my instincts could be the worst thing I could possibly do.

The saying goes that politics is always retail. That may be true, but let's go beyond that and say (like business) it is inherently personal and intimate. This would suggest requiring offspring of politicians be on the front line of any military conflict and that, likewise, the profit of a business be made contingent upon an evaluation of any and all that were hurt by that business.

Life Itself Can Be a Game

Enterprise When Freed at Last From Personal Pain

During the Nuremberg Trials, Sigmund Mazur, a laboratory assistant at the Danzig Anatomical Institute (modern Gdańsk), testified that soap had been made from corpse fat at the camp, and claimed that 70 to 80 kg (155–175 lb) of fat collected from 40 bodies could produce more than 25 kg (55 lb) of soap, and that the finished soap was retained by Professor Rudolf Spanner.

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