Before you get mad at Wal-Mart…

More stores are starting Black Friday early this year (since when is Thursday Friday?). Wal-Mart employees in particular have made a stink about it.

Here’s the thing: They wouldn’t be open at all if they didn’t think they could make money. And the only way they can make money is if you and I shop. On Thanksgiving.

Try this: Instead of inhaling turkey with an eye on the clock, slow down and relax a little. Take a day off from chasing the latest gizmo or whatsit. Spend some time with friends and family; if you don’t have any of either, go take a walk, or play a game, or watch a marathon if your favorite show on Netflix. Do something other than shopping.

It’s easy to want to blame our culture of consumerism on the greed of Evil Corporations. Fact is, we enable them. Don’t be an enabler.

It’s Thanksgiving. Find something to be thankful about.

Also, Beastie Boys.

Greed and Envy

How did we get to the point where we think we have a right to the fruits of someone else’s labors? What is it that makes us think it’s okay to take just a little more from “the rich,” as if that will solve all our problems? What is it that makes one person look at another and think, “You don’t deserve to have that”?

Greed and envy.

Merriam-Webster defines greed as

“a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed.”

That’s all well and good, as far as it goes, until you try to define what is “excessive” or “more…than is needed.” Many folks today have come to believe that if you have a lot of money–whether earned or inherited–and you want to keep it, that constitutes greed. Millionaires and billionaires, they tell us. They need to pay more! Never mind that the taxes that are supposedly targeted at said millionaires and billionaires actually start with people earning $250,000/year…there are people out there who have more money than they need, and they don’t want to give it up.

Our friends at Merriam-Webster also define envy for us:

“painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.”

Those evil rich! They have too much! They’re greedy! They don’t deserve that money! That money should be shared with the less fortunate! And how do we go about possessing the advantages of others…”sharing the wealth,” if you will? We could steal it from them, but that would be wrong, and we don’t want to wind up in jail. The solution: We hire the government to do it for us through taxation. Taxation is legal, and we don’t get our own hands dirty. We’ll pump it into government services…you know, all the things that have worked so well for us up till now.

Where does that leave us? We have now decided that the “rich” are greedy, that they don’t deserve what they have, that we want it, and by golly we’re going to get it. There’s just one question left: How much do we take? Let’s ask Bill Whittle: