Noblesse Oblige – the idea that nobility carries with it obligation. The idea is as old as Tunk’s Mountain. The term is French and it means the ‘obligation of the Nobility.’ History has shown that when the Noble Class fails to share the wealth with the people, the people will ultimately revolt. The American Revolution is a pretty good example. The rise of Labor Unions and even the advocacy of Communism are other examples. People will only take so much abuse. But the fear of upheaval, fear itself, is not cause or justification for the concept of responsibility of being gifted.
“To him whom much is given, much is expected.” Where did I read that – Readers?
History is filled with examples of class struggle, some would say class warfare. The concept applies globally with nations and locally with the children of the community. At a local level the “No Child Left Behind” legislation and the “Health Care for Children” legislation are two examples of how a noble society has an obligation to the ‘least of these.’ These ideas play out logistically in a variety of manners in different States. Some ideas are more equitable than others. Complicated formulas for the distribution of education tax dollars attempt to level the playing field for our children.
The global scene is playing out a little differently. The United States of America is the most powerful and influential country in the history of man. When we think of nobility fulfilling the obligation to the less fortunate we conjure an image. We might think of church missionaries, or the Peace Corp. We think of supplying medicine to third world countries. All noble and worthy ventures.
And then we think of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. We remember who is in charge of our great wealth, in charge of the human face we present to the world. What is the immediate image we think of with Bush and Cheney. Noblesse oblige? I don’t think so.
Strutting, swaggering, blood drawing, cock-fighting, sub-human cruelty does not qualify as fulfilling the duty of wealth and power. This is not just my feeble imagery – Cowboy Diplomacy is an accepted term when describing the image of our leadership.
The shallow President Bush talked about ‘an old poster from the West that said Wanted – Dead or Alive.” Go kill Bin Laden. President Bush lives in the fabricated world of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers and John Wayne. Mr. President – those ‘Wanted – Dead or Alive’ posters were founded in the law of the land. Bench Warrants were issued by legitimate courts stating something like, “Present this person’s body to this court.” Dead or alive. That did not mean that the authorities were required to kill the bad guy. Even the Wild West was tamed by LAW. Putting oneself, and our country, above the Law violates our hard earned moral nobility.
The Cowboy Diplomacy of the current administration is a total violation of the concept of noblesse oblige. Yuk, Yuk, The White House says – that is just a bunch of French cowardice.
How embarrassing to be represented on the world stage by these Yuking Cowboys.