John Livingston

“Self Interest” vs “Selfish Interest”

There is a difference between “self-interest” and “selfish interest”. The difference can be found in the word “selfness”. Today we are watching captains of industry, leaders in academia, our Ecclesiastical leaders in The Church(s), and special interest corporate lobbyists like IACI/IMA/IHA, and the CofC proceed in their own “selfish” interests. Does IACI now control our Legislators and Governor, and together do they all fail to recognize that difference? Who is supplicant and who is benefactor in that relationship and who represents the citizens of Idaho?

C. S. Lewis in MERE CHRISTIANITY addresses this issue in ways that leaders in our state and country are failing to address:

Some maintain that Mark 8:35-36 is Lewis’s most quoted passage of scripture. Jesus appeals to self-interest as a motive for self-denial, saying, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” We are being encouraged to truly “save” our lives and not “lose” our lives or “forfeit” our soul. The appeal is to our own self-interest. It is not in our self-interest to be selfish. Rather, self-denial is in our self-interest. Working hard to develop a skill in a trade or studying to work in a profession, or sacrificing for a family business or ranch, or sacrificing to be a good mother or father are all included in the category of self-interest. Denying oneself today for the benefits of tomorrow is selfless and not selfish. It is certainly NOT SELFNESS.

John Mackay the former head of Whole Foods opined in 2014 that” Humanity has been lifted by business and yet it has been completely hijacked by its enemies who create a narrative that business is selfish, and greedy, and exploitative.” Capitalism has been the tool that has lifted the vast majority of the masses out of grinding poverty, yet critics describe capitalism as evil and “selfish”. We get capitalism and corporatism mixed up. One is based on “self-interest” and benefits all of society—buyer, seller, worker, investor, and entrepreneur. The other is materialistic and is based on “selfness” and “selfish interest” and only benefits the commissar-bureaucrats in government and their symbiotic corporatist brethren CEO’s and politicians. What happens when businesses, and governments “lose their souls” for their own “selfish desires” is what we are seeing in Republican Idaho politics today?

What has happened in Idaho over the past 40 years has been that the corporatist lobbyists and their symbiotic patrons in the legislature and the Governor’s office have usurped the power of citizens, voters, parents’, school aged children, and in my business— medicine. Over the years special interests are having more power over public policy and the laws that are enacted than WE THE PEOPLE. The IMA/IHA/IACI, contributes to campaigns of legislators and the Governor in numbers that the conservative citizens cannot match individually. The politicians receiving those campaign funds are charged with regulating the very industries from which they are receiving money. Is my individual legislator going to listen to me when I contribute to their campaigns or listen to IHA/IMA when they each contribute $5000 plus each hospital in the State contributes $5000, plus each CEO and CFO contributes $5000, and then retired CEO’s, CFO’s Board members etc. contribute large amounts. Can we say who is participating in selfness, selfishness, and selfish interest? The politician or the contributor? Who benefits from the financial contribution? Lobbyists act as agents to distribute assets (money) to political campaigns and they act to marginalize the impact of individual voters.

When our Governor vetoed SB 1381 the “Coronavirus Pause Act” he did so with a statement that included the words “I am a lifelong advocate of limited government and SB 1381 expands government into the private sector”. Does he lack all sense of self awareness, or has he been part of the corporate collusion and corruption in our state for so long that he doesn’t realize the folly of his logic and the premise for his veto? Since when do corporate interests become more important than individual rights? SB 1381 was a means to stop the corporate-government intrusion into the employer-employee relationship that is spelled out in a contract. To prove that point the exempt entities in the bill are those organizations that CONTRACT with the Federal government for health care services—CMS, Medicaid and Medicare. The contract should define the relationship and not an executive order or a fiat from a public health district.

And the legislators that allowed for the “Emergency Order” to last for over 60 days? Who is financing their campaigns? And why not have our “outstanding media investigative reporters” look into how much extra money was available to State Agencies and the large hospital systems while the “Executive Order” remained in place? And where was our Attorney General in all this?

Was Mr. Wasden advising our Governor and Legislators about how to prolong the executive order so that all involved would receive campaign funding by the special interests that benefited from the executive order?

Corruption doesn’t have to be illegal to cause great damage, but if allowed to continue it eventually does become illegal—in every sense and case in history. Is individual “self-interest” in Idaho taking a back seat to materialistic corporatism and selfish interest? For an answer to that question just look at the accomplishments of this legislative session:

  1. Grocery tax relief? Fluff.
  2. Property tax relief? Fluff
  3. Income tax relief? Fluff
  4. Audits for government agencies that distribute more than $100million in transfer payments? Not even addressed. If JFAC were a corporate board they would be investigated by the SEC, for not auditing costs before setting budgets. $4.2billion of Medicaid outlays with no audits! Never addressed!
  5. Parents rights in K-12 education? Fluff
  6. Critical Race Theory (CRT) There is a difference between curriculum and pedagogy in education that needs to be addressed. $5million out of the education budget for (CRT) Fluff. Look what Florida and Texas are doing.
  7. Crises Standards of Care (CSC) yet to be voted on but placing an Ombudsmen in the Governor’s office to mitigate disputes between providers and patients is draconian and gives huge power to the large hospital systems. The Gov. won’t veto that, because his office wrote the ombudsman language into the bill, once again showing the corporatist selfish interest taking precedence over patient individual rights. Look what Florida and Texas have done with (CSC).

If every Constitutional Christian Conservative gave 10 hours to candidates that we support between now and the May primary, and then again in the fall for the general election, we might have a chance. We will never be able to match the cash that the RINOs will raise. By working hard and supporting conservatives in our districts and Statewide we can make some inroads. If we keep fighting with ourselves the “Romney—Bush—Kasich—Ryan—Little” wing of the party will win big.

Did you hear that Romney is coming to Idaho to campaign for Brad! —Not? Idaho voters are Trump voters, but the RINOs don’t want you to find out who they really are. They are more like chameleons—”old country lizards” than RINOs.

The election comes down to the “self-interest of individuals and families vs corporate “selfish-materialistic” interests.

Let’s get to work.

One reply on ““Self Interest” vs “Selfish Interest””

Great article: well-written and clearly logical. I’m believing that “getting started” has two imperatives:
1. Throw the bums out (unless they have earned prison sentences), and
2. Compare the real accomplishments/ status quo to the backgrounds of the candidates running for election.
For the first time in year’s, I KNOW I’m getting involved in our next election!
Thank you for your vision and your questions,
John M. Wheatley

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