An Essay of the Man From the North

by Rivera Sun

Image via Creative Commons (CCO).

A nation built on greed is not a nation; it is just a legal framework for rape and pillage, slavery and exploitation, theft, murder, and genocide. A nation whose primary function is to protect the exclusive right of the rich to engage in those behaviors under other names has no more moral legitimacy than the lawless state that allows common criminals to run wild. Greed by any other name smells just as foul. Greed cloaked in terms of “national security” or “for the good of the economy” is just as detestable as the greed that steals toys from children and purses from old women.

Greed is not a founding principle for a long-lasting society. It is the calling card of tyrants. It heralds the end stages of empires. It is the character flaw of villains. It is the symptom of sociopaths. The greed of the rich and powerful, particularly the corporate elites, has reached such magnitude that it outstrips our ability to describe it. We have no word for a theft so massive that it robs the ecological savings of eons, enslaves seven billion people to the machinery of profit-production, and steals the future existence of millions of species, including our own. It is genocide, ecocide, and slavery all rolled into one. It steals not just resources and lives, but thoughts, dreams, hopes, happiness, freedoms, and possibilities. All of these are chained to the production of profit for a small elite.

Every aspect of our human existence is mined for profit. Our thoughts. Our insecurities. Our longings. Our desires. Our sensuality and sexuality. Our health. Our sickness. Our fear, communications, visions, charity, and all other qualities. We are mined for any shred of human existence that could generate the smallest percentage of profit for the rich and powerful. They mine our personal histories. They mine our present data. They mine our future through debt.

Mine. Mine. Mine.

This greed has no name. There are no limits to its pathology. The economic system constructed by the unbridled greed of the elites trains us to replicate its values. It is like being held under water until we learn to fight for a single breath of air. Greed is not “normal” for humanity. We are not born with a hoarding instinct. If we were born with unbridled greed we would never stop sucking at our mother’s breast until her entire lifeblood is drained into our engorged bellies. Greed is not an evolutionary sound principle. Instead, something makes most infants stop at satiation point. That something makes us human. The greed of contemporary civilization is inhumane. It makes us into monsters.

We have a name for children who behave in this way: bullies. A bully invades another child’s yard and takes all their toys. A bully patrols the playground forcing other children to pay lunchbox tolls to enter. A bully uses violence to get what they want. A bully terrorizes and intimidates to maintain their power and position. A bully refuses to share and play with others.

When bullies are lauded as the great leaders of a nation, that nation has lost all worth. When bullies are celebrated as icons, that nation’s culture has lost its soul. When bullies are empowered by law rather than constrained by law, that nation’s legal system has become the tool of tyranny.

Our nation is a land of psychotic greed and bullies. It is up to us to change it. Every moment of every day, we must draw lines in the sand – the sand of the heart, the sand of our minds, the sand of our streets and workplaces. We must push back against the behaviors that this greed-and-bully culture has violently pounded into us. We must free ourselves from these mental chains, recognizing them as the enslavements that they are. We must call a spade, a spade. We must call a bully, a bully. We must reject our culture’s hero worship of the rich and powerful. Instead, we must see these people for the depraved criminals that they are.

Every fortune is millions of hungry children. Every mansion is thousands of homeless people sleeping in the street. Every sports car is hundreds of families stretching to make ends meet. Until we see excessive wealth as a cruelty when others cannot even survive, we will be a hollow nation, vacuous of any real meaning or worth. Until we love our country enough to care for it – each and every single citizen, tree, river, animal, and plant of it; the past, present, and future of it; the heart, spirit, and soul of it – until we love our country enough to topple greed from its enshrinement in our nation’s policies and practices, we will never be able to lift our heads with honest pride. Until we stop our leaders from bullying and our bullies from becoming leaders, we will never become the nation that we are meant to be.

We will never be great. We will never be strong. We will never even be human until we have left the ways of greed and bullies behind.


Read more from The Man From The North in Rise and Resist: Essays on Love, Courage, Resistance, Politics, and Democracy from The Dandelion Insurrection

The Man From The North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection and the sequel, The Roots of Resistance. The novel takes place in the near future, in “a time that looms around the corner of today”, when a rising police state controlled by the corporate-political elite have plunged the nation into the grip of a hidden dictatorship. In spite of severe surveillance and repression, the Man From the North’s banned articles circulate through the American populace, reporting on resistance and fomenting nonviolent revolution. This article is one of a series written by The Man From the North, which are not included in the novel, but have been collected in a book of essays Rise and Resist which can be  read here

Author/Activist Rivera Sun has written twelve inspirational and hope-filled books that celebrate our human ability to create change for the better. Rivera’s writing is syndicated nationally and her articles have appeared in over one hundred journals. She speaks and teaches strategic nonviolent civil resistance inter-nationally. She was co-host for five years of several popular radio shows and can be reached through her website: