I'm not a nihilist, pessimist, airy-fairy idealist, or someone who blindly thinks every table of every money changer needs to be overturned. But I do think a love and obsession for money in a rarefied strata, way beyond even most millionaire's experience and perceptual range, is behind the calculated and collaborative machinations of what I'll call the 5D Club. I base this on a hunch from a lifetime of reading world history, with my primary focus lately on America.


The 5 D's: 1) Disaster, planned or unplanned, capitalized on for the gains of a few. Check from ancient to contemporary history texts for numerous examples. Whether a natural disaster or an unnatural conflagration (wars, police actions, humanitarian interventions, etc.); whether a stock market crash or panic or a precipitous drop or gradual recession; whether a manufactured crisis by pushing panic buttons under every kind of metanarrative--just consider that money plays significant roles behind the scenes.


2) Destabilization, that is, keep workers in line in a gazillion and one ways, even bargaining in good faith under the pretense of fairness, whether it be a safer working environment, better wages, health care, whatever, but knowing full well that economic conditions will eventually favor the rich. Then in ways, both unforeseen and foreseen, the most elite rich will bear down with a vengeance, though using every means of persuasion that their paternal ways are for the good of all. Does anyone really think labor unions could win out indefinitely against such unconscionable and powerful undercurrents of exploitation? Watch the 2019 Oscar-winning documentary, "The American Factory," and ponder the possibilities.


3) and 4) Dumbing down. Let me be clear, Americans are not predisposed naturally to low intelligence, but many of them, yes, are of varying mental capacities, just as some people are of varying physical capacities. As a personal example, though I was a good athlete during my youth, I couldn't pole vault to save my soul. Same with mental capacities. Again, picking on myself, I confess to a near math phobia. Well, the 5D Club is possibly not too keen on, let's say, 80 to 90 percent of Americans being not only astute observers of their ways and means, but also resistant to their shaking the political establishment and "Making America Greater," not just "Great Again."


5) Disparity--meaning the Great Divide between the rich and poor--must be maintained all over the world to keep the money flowing and, alas, the War Machine operating at full capacity everywhere deemed necessary on the planet and as long as partisan extremists serve their bidding or, worse, are under their spell.


On this last "D" I think Lincoln's 1864 letter to his friend Colonel F. Elkin conveys an early warning. Keep in mind that the War Department had paid out $250 million between June 1863 and June 1864, alarming the president about a "corporate upsurge of power and influence."


"As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at the moment more anxiety than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless."


I can't help wondering that when Jesus looked at both sides of the coin, he might have also been teaching us that one can value money with a moral conscience, but can overvalue money if lacking moral clarity.


R.J. Holmes, Hays, is an occasional contributor to Hays Daily