The Tenth Commandment: Don’t Covet Your Neighbor’s Anything

   "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's…. thy neighbor's… thy neighbor's…well, anything…."—Exodus 20:17f

    "Keep your hands to yourself."—Your Mom

   The most compelling thing about the health-care provider debate going on in the American political process just now is the end-of-life counseling provision and the overall lack of indignation about it. The same people who gave you abortion on demand now offer you the opportunity to opt out and save the system some resources. The proponents of this part of the plan (and of this era of American history) are ethically consistent; life is a burden, without sacred meaning, and it is beneficial to those who choose to live if you choose to die.—Rick Davis, Curmudgeon

   The Hebrew Bible offers a scathing, scornful assessment of the fellow who waits at his neighbor's door to defraud him. The ancients use language like "lurk" and "loom." The idea is of the miscreant who first becomes a fellow's friend in order to rob him of something he values.

   I wonder, what is more inherently evil than a system set in place to offer some kind of affordable health care, which also includes an important provision that makes it admirable to refuse treatment, if life becomes a burden? I also wonder, how slippery is that slope? On a crowded planet do we decide a fellow is a hero if he decides to give up his spot?

   This is health care rationing risen to its logical secular conclusion. Life is a burden. It is better to die. It is, we are told again, a matter of choice, of privacy, of personal liberty. Our society now behaves as though death at the start of life is admirable, even if the creature who dies does not actually get to choose. We are being pointed to a place where we will culturally accept the death mantra at the other end of life. Once the perimeters are established, how narrow will the window of acceptable existence become?

   We naturally despise the unknown thief who breaks in on us indiscriminately to rob. The more despicable is the fellow who first insinuates himself as our friend, ingratiating himself in order to enrich himself. The robber whose face you know is a more deeply troubling fellow than the one whose face you meet on the post office wall.

   The Hebrew Bible treats these robbers with real contempt. They are the men of Sodom, who give valuable gifts in order to find out where the recipient keeps his other valuables. There intent is to break in and take back what they give and whatever else is there. They are not only thieves but contemptibly false men, worthy of scorn.

   My point is not that you have to stay hooked up to a machine long after your sentient abilities are gone. My point is actually several points, to wit:

  • Feigned cordiality for the purpose of personal aggrandizement is contemptible.
  • Persons whose actions are worthy of scorn should be scorned until they learn to change their actions.
  • Policy making institutions must be very careful about their policies.
  • Persons impacted by policy making institutions should be aware of their own convictions and how they might be influenced by stated policies.
  • A fellow who is cordial to your face and lustful of your goods is just a liar waiting to be a thief. Mark him well. He is worthy of scorn.

   The fellow who wants to steal from you privately, when confronted,  will often say, "You have made your point. Now, let's move on." He hates the light. If you continue to point at him, he cannot be effective. The last thing you should do is move on from a thief while leaving the thief in place. He will steal again. It is his nature.

   The beginning of theft is covetousness. This is why your wise mother told you to keep your hands to yourself and your eyes on your own paper.

1 thought on “The Tenth Commandment: Don’t Covet Your Neighbor’s Anything”

  1. As a former chaplain, I think that any health care system is inherently evil if it does not offer end-of-life counseling.
    For one thing, death panels already exist in our non-socialized, for-profit techno-driven health care industry. They are usually called ethics committees, but they are life and death panels. The best way to abolish them would be for everyone to have an advanced directive (living will) and make their choices ahead of time, so that some poor committee, and some poor chaplain, doesn’t have to make decisions for you.
    For another thing, there is nothing anti-life or unethical about choosing to not submit your body to the unlimited chemicals and cuttings that modern American medicine has to offer. Sometimes life is a burden, and blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

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