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2.28.04 Pick Your Deadly Sin

I'm trying to decide which deadly sin is worse: Lust or Greed? Which is responsible for more misery in this world?

I guess both would be defined as "wanting more than you absolutely need." Or wanting something that isn't yours or something you're not supposed to have. But I suppose that if we didn't have lust and greed in some measure, civilization wouldn't have made it very far out of the starting gate. It's in our nature to crave what we don't have - or even need (See also: Gluttony).

Today's man-on-the-street question: "Er, excuse me, if you had the power to eliminate either Greed or Lust in the world, which would it be?"

The conservatives would eliminate Lust. They are always swooning with shock over things like same-sex marriage and Monica Lewinsky. And they agonize over their own lust. How many pedophiles and fornicators join the clergy to grapple with their demon Lust? But it's okay then, because you are a clergyman now and you pray a lot and act really tortured over the whole thing. Preach, preach, preach. Lust, lust, lust.

But somehow Greed is not a problem for conservatives. A lust-obsessed TV evangelist has no problem with collecting money for fake miracles and working out his next sermon on Lust in the hot-tub with rich donors.

I'm not a conservative. Lust can be a trouble-maker, that's for sure. But Greed is the source of more far-reaching institutional evils. I know that full-blown Greed is a passion - an obsession - and yet is seems so cold, so bloodless. Where a conservative goes nuts contemplating Bill Clinton with his pants down, I go crazy every time I read about Dick Cheney and Halliburton. How rich do these people need to be?

Cheney is privatizing government, not by opening up free-market competition, but by sneaking contracts to his old fishing buddies. If that isn't bad enough, those old buddies then proceed to bilk the government for millions of dollars and give underpaid soldiers in Iraq poor service to boot.

"But!" the conservatives will retort. "He did it all without ever unzipping his fly!"

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