Bill Murchison

Isn't there a familiar ring to this song? Of course, it's the tune humanity sings without prompting in times of stress. The tumbrels roll toward the guillotine, and Madame Defarge's needles click incessantly.

Greed -- like pride, envy and anger -- is a theological offense, curable only by repentance and amendment of life. It is the story that rarely gets told. We, meaning humanity, blame systems from feudalism to capitalism that reward work, talent and sometimes just plain ol' luck. No system has done more to spread success and opportunity than has free market capitalism. Instinctively, we know that, but then we get in a snit when something in the system goes awry. Because we're unhappy, we want revenge on our supposed betrayers and traducers. Always a quantity of politicians is available to encourage that embarrassing sentiment.

Outsized rewards such as bank chieftains and NFL quarterbacks take home from the office are the price of a system that, with relatively little government direction, sets those rewards. What's the "right" reward with which to accommodate Peyton Manning? Possibly the Obama administration could set up a Bureau of Compensation to decide.

While we wait expectantly for that healing event, we might give thanks for the opportunity with which a free economy has endowed the hard working, the creative and the visionary. Yes, the fundamentally greedy, too, I'm afraid. In a land of true and lasting liberty, you make room for all.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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