Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Letter on (Christmas) "Consumerism" Printed in USA Today

By Joseph Kellard

USA Today printed my letter about (Christmas) “consumerism” in Tuesday’s paper, entitling it “Buying is a virtue."

I responded to one of those interchangeable Christmastime opinion columns that have some good things to say about consumerism, but ultimately conclude that materialism is a path to being vacuous and the cure lies in religion. Hence the column’s title: "You can't buy the real gifts of Christmas."

I must thank OActivist Paul Hsieh for his suggestions and edit that improved my original draft. Anywhere, here is the printed version:

The perennial rants against Christmas consumerism fail to acknowledge man's highest virtue: production — the virtue that makes consumption possible, sustains his life and uplifts his spirit.

Productive individuals must exercise other virtuous behavior, particularly rationality, honesty, efficiency and love of hard work.When productive individuals buy cars, computers, iPhones and other material goods, they celebrate their highest virtues. And they develop well-earned self-esteem, happiness and pride.

In contrast, the stereotypical insatiable consumer is essentially a social conformist, motivated to keep up with the Joneses and who has never learned to appreciate the inseparable connection between productivity and virtue.

However, when that connection is made, consumerism is something to celebrate.

Joseph Kellard
East Meadow, N.Y.

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