People in the U.S. like to treat their Constitution, and its associated Declaration of Independence, like religious works of biblical importance.  Immutable.  Virtually written by the hands of gods.

Their high priests, the U.S. Supreme Court, spend a lot of time interpreting these documents for their laity.  The quibbles become land forming: Is a corporation a person?  Did the founding fathers, when they were divinely inspired to write the documents, really mean “all men”?

These are similar kinds of questions to those that priests, rabbis and imams were interpreting for the last thousand years or so from their holy writings.

But early on the U.S. realized that there were addenda and clarifications required.  Like the rabbis’ side notes in the Talmud.  And amendments (27 of them) were duly added for things like free speech, carrying guns, electing Senators, not drinking alcohol – then drinking alcohol, ending slavery, treating women like people, allowing everyone (well not everyone) to vote, presidential succession and so on.  Usually these amendments were made as a reaction to social movements or situations.

Now it is more than time for the 34th Amendment.

Everyone has the right to be an asshole, to be selfish, demand your own way, and to take advantage of others as far as the law allows.

This amendment is pretty much already in effect and articulates how many believe the world really works and has worked in the United States. It can be summed up in the words of Gordon Gekko from Wall Street, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

You can slam the door in front of an old lady, but should you?  You can cut off that car beside you, but should you? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  This issue recently came to the fore on a United Airlines flight where the Airline removed a passenger who demanded his seat.

Everyone seems to have the right to exercise this amendment and already does.  Even on United Airlines flights.

Is it a sign of the times, like drinking alcohol or women voting?

It is expressed by activities as cars hogging middle lanes because they can; direct mail, telemarketers and spammers preying on unaware consumers; or, banks ripping off customers, because they can.  Need I go on? 

So companies are training their customers to be distrustful skeptics or jerks under the commandment “Thou Shalt Exploit” according to the 28th Amendment.

Heartlessness does not need to be part of greed.  Even though it is at the core of the new U.S. administration.

Heartlessness might work fine in the short term, but it is a bad long term strategy.  Distrust eventually brings down societies.  Societies need to depend on each other to survive.  And that’s one of the downsides of thinking you are the exception.

Because when a country considers itself exceptional, why wouldn’t its citizens also consider themselves, each and every one, exceptional as well – and not needing to bend to the legal and ethical rules.  With this amendment they now have the legal right to be exceptional…and an asshole.

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