There Go Those “Damned Christians” Again

Mark Cuban recently stated to Yahoo News, (a leftist member of the internet drive-by media) that he would be a Republican if only they would drop their “dogma and conformity first” shtick that keeps the party split in two parts.

I had to read the article twice to see if he was referring to social conservatives, or as most readers at Yahoo News call them, “those damned Christians.” I’m not sure, since Cuban never mentioned Christians, but imputed everything the anti-pious Left has been saying about Christians for years to the GOP. But no greater untruth exists than that the Christian wing of the GOP controls the GOP platform and agenda. That Christians still make up 60% of America but are banned from the Democrat Party and are in the crosshairs of the GOP Party elites should tell you a little about the mess the whole country’s in right now, including Mark Cuban’s somewhat idealized notion of free markets and business, as he’s known it since the 90s.

It is true that Mark Cuban, like Donald Trump, is a capitalist, and he believes in chasing money the old fashioned way, by hard(er) work, creativity, vision and ingenuity. But that is only half the formula for the marvel that had been the American economy since the Founding. The real GOP on the other hand, and not those “damned Christians,” like most lawyers, are like carrion, waiting to pick at the spoils of other men’s sweat. There has scarcely been a really great corporation that wasn’t first built on the rolled up sleeves and vision of a man, then, at the end of his generation handed over to mountebanks like Skilling and Fastow (anyone remember Enron?) to kill it, then dismember it. Unless political avarice is the GOP’s dogma I doubt they have one…which works back into why I think Cuban is simply uneducated about any natural familial relationship between his brand of capitalist and the Republican Party, as currently constructed.

But his undereducated views also speak to an entire generation of capitalists out there, since the 1980s, who were never taught to connect the dots to that great expanse of renewable wealth called America, just waiting to be grabbed, and the moral and ethical foundations upon which it all has been built.

I just mentioned Jeff Skillings and Andy Fastow, of Enron, still serving time, also about Marc Cuban’s age; the same generation of business grads from the 1980s. What separates Cuban from Skillings & Fastow is that they built nothing. Cuban built his from scratch. Skillings & Fastow represent the far larger portion of that generation, for they wanted wealth (and power) but were unwilling to spend the 20-30 years in getting from point A to point Success. They let Ken Lay do the heavy lifting all those years, while they were still in knee pants, and in truth, they lacked that “vision” thing Cuban lauded altogether. Their vision ended at their amassed wealth. Most of that generation lacked Cuban’s vision.

Because Cuban has misjudged his own generation, simply because he and they were never taught the dots that connected his wealth back to the Founding and the broader moral principles which underlay American business up into the 1990s, he’s clearly a little confused about the real cause and effect…for you see, the amoral bottom-line analysis that came out of American business schools led American business, in the hands of men like Skillings and Fastow, toward a greater and greater alliance with government. We see that with the sweetheart relationship between Wall Street and Washington today.

Today that’s called crony capitalism, but in another time it was called “fascism.”  And yes, that is the face of the modern GOP establishment, Mr Cuban, and “those damned Christians” had nothing to do with it, except maybe stomp their feet, which you seem to think is the most annoying aspect of the social conservatives.

Let me tell you about the generation of captains of industry before yours. I was in a Fortune 500 company in the 1980’s. I was intimate with both generations, the outgoing ethical moralists, in their 60s, and the incoming grab-what-you-can wunderkind, then in their late 30s-early 40’s. Although I doubt if more than half the senior managers attended church (or synagogue) regularly, just from the way they talked, they still wore their ethics on their sleeves…and showed it in everyday conversation, from hundreds I sat in on. I think only one of them came from affluent roots, they worked hard to become captains of industry (Manufacturing, tens of thousands of employees, dozens of factories). And they all shared a code, a moral code, and spoke of the “company” as “we” and “us” continuously, compared to the new generation of MBA’s, a half-generation younger than myself, who spoke almost exclusively about “me” and “the numbers.”

I can only suggest Marc Cuban do his own personal study. Start with Larry Schweikart’s Patriots History of the United States. Seems you could use a good history lesson about how all the dots in the American free market foundation are connected.

For once those dots become disconnected, the entire foundation begins to crumble. That ethics and morality are no longer taught is intentional, replaced by codes and laws (systems that can be gamed) the purpose has been to disconnect that foundation so that it will crumble. (This was not unintentional, as Marc Cuban will see in his lifetime.) America was founded in such a way so that each generation would pass onto the next and then the next generation the key elements of the culture…both social and business. This is called reciprocity, a key element of the constitutional blueprint. Reciprocity appears in the Bible in the Book of Mark (go figure) as “love thy neighbor as thyself.” “Reciprocate with thy neighbor as you would have your neighbor reciprocate with you.” Obviously, it worked and has for generations.

But as we also know one doesn’t have to abide by this rule if he’s only interested in building your own house and getting. Historically those houses crash and burn with no legacy. If they can become rich, and they only hope to pick the winning side when the whole system crumbles. Again, fascism institutionalizes and protects moral failure, but only so long as it can survive, which historically, is a very short period of time.

A common morality had laid as a foundation of the  American business base for generations. As a wealthy man Marc Cuban can simply scoot off to New Zealand if our economy comes tumbling down here, but if he cares about those future generations, he must accept this simply “damned Christian” dogma as something that is “survival enhancing” (a scientific term) to the whole enterprise. For you see, on the matter of the shoulders we all stand on, Darwin agrees with God about that common morality. Either you respect and honor those shoulders, or you pee on them.

As a student, Marc Cuban was given a free pass, a detour, around the rite of passage that every entrepreneurial generation in America has had to undergo to keep this legacy alive. And his generation has done a poor, poor job of perpetuating anything. His confusion about who runs the Republican Party is proof aplenty.

Those Damned Christians

Obviously Mark Cuban gets his news, political opinions and current history from leftwing magazines. They have been preaching so long that evangelical Christians run the party that it has become a fact, only, at no time since Reagan have Christians of almost any stripe…Catholic, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Baptist ever been allowed to come in the front door at the White House, or RNC Headquarters.  They’ve given the same left-hand of fellowship (a little Baptist lingo) Obama extended to Netanyahu and the Dali Lama…you know, coming in and out of the kitchen help’s rear entrance.

I’m inclined to want to ridicule Cuban a little about this, but thought better of it as Glenn Beck, Captain Kneepants and Erick Erickson have made the mockery dinghy a little crowded. Instead, I’ll extend a little Christian charity, and hope that he can fill some dead space between his understanding of political and moral history in America and its reality. It isn’t complicated…just one dot after another, then the (reciprocal) handshake with his free market past, then hopefully America’s free market future can be made whole. But if that occurs it will not be because of the Republican Party Establishment but because of the down-to-earth, day-to-day common sense morality carried on for eight generations by those “damned Christians.”

I’m not selling Christian dogma here, in fact, almost no Christian does that in an in-your-face manner, and we never have. But I am selling business morality as part of the hard-rock foundations of business, from the earliest industrial magnates to small town green grocers have employed for over 250 years. Practicing and non-practicing Jews always knew this to be so. Likewise the Asians. There were boundaries to business conduct, beyond the law, that, quite frankly, were universal…until the 80s, when some smart people learned to game the system and the law…if only they could erode those ethical foundations. Mark Cuban was a part of that generation, and maybe as a callow young 23 year old grad at IU, he wasn’t paying that much attention to the shoulders he was standing on. Most of us weren’t at that age.

Now he knows better.

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