Quote of the moment: Charles Dickens, on Tea Party and Republican Party budget cuts


This is mostly an encore post, unfortunately made more urgent recently.

What is the driving motivation of Republican budget cuts in Texas, Wisconsin, and the rest of the nation?

Quote of the moment:

Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.

– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, Stave 1

I thought of that line of Dickens’s when I read of this celebration of darkness, ignorance and calumny. Although, with the recent renewing of Limbaugh’s contract, it may no longer be true that his particular brand of darkness is cheap.

Still, it remains dark.

Scrooge meets Ignorance and Want, the products of his stinginess (drawing by John Leech, 1809-1870)

Scrooge meets Ignorance and Want, the products of his stinginess (drawing by John Leech, 1809-1870)

I was reminded of this post from three years ago by a discussion at What’s Wrong With the World (commented on earlier at the Bathtub, here), in which the principal protagonists appear to me to be wholly ignorant of the New Deal, the progressive movement and progressive ideals, and much more of U.S. history, law, and events.  In effect, I thought, that discussion was fueled by that ugly, mean little boy, Ignorance.  The angel warned Scrooge, “but most of all beware this boy [Ignorance], for on his brow I see that written which is Doom.”

(More about the drawing below the fold)

Drawing by John Leech (1809-1870), to illustrate Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Work in the public domain (available at WikiSource)

Speaking of darkness, a longer excerpt from Dickens’s story:

‘Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,’ said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, ‘but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?’

‘It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,’ was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. ‘Look here.’

From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

‘Oh, Man! look here. Look, look, down here!’ exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

‘Spirit! are they yours?’ Scrooge could say no more.

‘They are Man’s,’ said the Spirit, looking down upon them. ‘And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!’ cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. ‘Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And bide the end!’

‘Have they no refuge or resource?’ cried Scrooge.

‘Are there no prisons?’ said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. ‘Are there no workhouses?’ The bell struck twelve.

Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost, and saw it not. As the last stroke ceased to vibrate, he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley, and lifting up his eyes, beheld a solemn Phantom, draped and hooded, coming, like a mist along the ground, towards him.

A Christmas Carol, Stave 3

About these ads

14 Responses to Quote of the moment: Charles Dickens, on Tea Party and Republican Party budget cuts

  1. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    The debate is not about law.

    The Universe operates upon law.

    The debate is about the RIGHT of a man to impose himself upon another man – and call such imposition “law”.

    Like

  2. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    That’s right. You have your own, creator-endowed right to fail to follow reason.

    Blahblahblahb – sadly, your irrational mind-set make you believe your irrational understanding is reason.

    In the land of folly of Ed, it is dangerous to be wise.

    But that does not change the fact that your view, that government does not provide value,

    Not one bit.

    The best thing government does is nothing.

    is at odds with each and every one of our founders, and almost everyone else who thinks about government.

    It matters not how many are on the side of truth – even if it is only one, the truth is the truth.

    Washington knew

    He “knew” nothing.

    He “believed”

    it would take a national government, larger than the states meeting under the Articles of Confederation, to open the Ohio Valley

    Yep, no doubt.

    Centralize the violence so to overwhelm who ever occupied the land in front of them, and kill who ever resisted it.

    You may believe contrary to good sense and national history.

    History is a fact.

    The justification of evil to accomplish some lofty goal is still evil.

    Like

  3. Ed Darrell says:

    ..and, by the way, no Constitution has ever given me my rights.

    You need to read the first line of Jefferson’s little ditty called the “Declaration of Independence” ….

    That’s right. You have your own, creator-endowed right to fail to follow reason.

    But that does not change the fact that your view, that government does not provide value, is at odds with each and every one of our founders, and almost everyone else who thinks about government.

    Washington knew it would take a national government, larger than the states meeting under the Articles of Confederation, to open the Ohio Valley and incorporate it into American commerce (Washington had several thousands of acres out there he wanted sell for profit, and his attempts to build a national road or national canal had been stymied by state politics, so he knew first-hand that national government could offer value). All of those I mentioned, including especially Abraham Lincoln, thought the federal government had a duty to provide “internal improvements” to promote commerce and travel — it was in his administration that the process to give away great tracts of land to railroads was developed, to promote a transcontinental railroad.

    You may believe contrary to good sense and national history. The Constitution protects your right to not follow the smart crowd, your right as you say, not endowed by the Constitution. But you need to read the next few lines of the Declaration. Your rights exist without law, but they are not protected without law. Governments are established among men to protect those rights, Jefferson wrote — the same Thomas Jefferson who shared with Washington the view that there should be an American nation that spanned the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and who hesitated not long enough to sneeze to use his government authority to double the size of the nation in a deal with Napoleon. That government protection of rights, all by itself, should be valuable — even and especially to you.

    Like

  4. Black Flag® says:

    Jim

    The only systems that have proven effective and at least modestly just historically are either capitalism, restrained by moderate socialistic impulses…or socialism, restrained by moderate capitalistic impulses.

    In other words, you believe fascism is the only successful “ism”.

    The Libertarian utopia is Somalia.

    Of course it isn’t – no more than N. Korea is socialists utopia.

    We can -however- compare.

    Without a government Somalia had the lowest international phone rates in the world; access to fresh water for pennies a gallon; fresh food widely available for a small price.

    With government, they had nearly no phones, lack of water and a lack of food.

    Further you misunderstand “freedom”.

    Freedom does not make you rich nor poor.
    It doesn’t make you healthy or sick.
    It doesn’t make you happy or sad.
    It doesn’t stop earthquakes or tornadoes.

    It is does not cure human suffering.

    You are just … free.

    but they seem to be doing just fine with their reverse mix of Socialist-Capitalism. The two can coexist and the tension is healthy.

    The fallacy of the socialist mindset is that they believe their economic parasitic policies have no economic impact.

    However, all “mixed” economies exist after the long tail of success of a Free market economy has achieved the “turn at the neck” of its exponential growth.

    Any attempt at a mixed economy before the neck undermines this exponential growth, and forces the economy into the stagnation and collapse. (Example, Russia)

    Thus, the only examples that can exist is one where the “mixed” economy is substantially introduced after a long success of a Free Market economy.

    Thus, we see in modern economies that started substantially as “Free” market, and after a few centuries became infiltrated with “Planned” market philosophies.

    Socialist political advocates claim that a Mixed Economy is sustainable, and they are partly right – however, they claim the wrong reason.

    They claim the Mixed economy is “successful” on the merits of their political parasitic action all under the guise of “human welfare” – that is, on the “success” of violent redistribution of wealth.

    But fundamentally this is completely untrue.

    Their policy is entirely regressive– straight line regression into stagnation, where Free Market policy is exponentially positive.

    Thus, applying a linear regression to an exponentially positive curve causes the curve to flatten away from the optimum – that is the curve of the neck is less straight up and more flat.

    As long as the resulting curve is still positive, the “mixing” is sustainable – albeit at a far lower prosperity to society than if no Socialist parasitic economics was introduced.

    But applying human action, again, to the “Mixed” scenario a serious problem arises

    The advocates of “mixed” policies continue to see these as successful as society continues to prosper.

    As these advocates believe it is their policy which is creating the success (instead of understanding it is degrading it), they demand more of their policies as time goes by.

    Here is the fundamental point and problem:

    Where Free Market policy advocates have refused the use of force/violence as part of their policy regime, the “Mixed” policy advocates demand more force/violence as part of theirs.

    Where one policy group refuses violence while another policy group demands the increases of its use will accelerate the application of “Mixed” scenarios in replacing Free Market scenarios until the exponential growth of Free Market scenarios is completely undermined.

    The system then degrades completely to a collapse.

    This outcome was highlighted in the Noble prize winning concepts of Hayek, what he called fatal conceit – that those that advocate for the use of force to “correct” what they see as market failures undermines society because of their conceit and ignorance.

    Like

  5. Jim says:

    Hi Flag!

    You say, “North Korea is doing great too”.

    Nope. This is why Marxism, like Libertarianism, are doomed to fail. The only systems that have proven effective and at least modestly just historically are either capitalism, restrained by moderate socialistic impulses…or socialism, restrained by moderate capitalistic impulses.

    The Libertarian utopia is Somalia. The Marxist utopia is, as you very astutely point out, is North Korea. Or Cuba. Or the former USSR…etc.

    The ideal? Well, for the USA…I would suggest the USA ca. 1938-1981. The rich got and stayed rich. The middle class prospered. The poor at least had a shot at becoming middle class. Would it work in Austria or Norway or New Zealand? I dunno…but they seem to be doing just fine with their reverse mix of Socialist-Capitalism. The two can coexist and the tension is healthy.

    Cheers!

    Jim

    Like

  6. Black Flag® says:

    Arg, sorry …

    The SECOND line of his little ditty…

    :)

    Like

  7. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    ..and, by the way, no Constitution has ever given me my rights.

    You need to read the first line of Jefferson’s little ditty called the “Declaration of Independence” ….

    Like

  8. Black Flag® says:

    Rousseau
    Liberty, he wrote, was not to be found in any form of government.

    It was, he wrote, in the hearts of free men.

    He described laws as “always useful to those who own and injurious to those who do not.” And such laws, he wrote, “give the weak new burdens, the strong new powers and irretrievably destroy natural freedom.”

    Like

  9. Black Flag® says:

    Ed,

    A view completely contrary to the views of Ben Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, James Knox Polk, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and almost every other American who ever lived.

    opps, take out Tom – he was no fan of government.

    But my crowd,
    Thomas Jefferson
    Lysander Spooner
    Henry David Thoreau
    Voltaire
    Lock
    Newton

    But you have a Constitutional right not to follow the smart crowd

    My crowd more then out-matches your band of murderers.

    Like

  10. Ed Darrell says:

    Government does not provide economic value – it is an economic parasite.

    A view completely contrary to the views of Ben Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, James Knox Polk, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and almost every other American who ever lived.

    But you have a Constitutional right not to follow the smart crowd.

    Like

  11. Black Flag® says:

    Dickens outlook was badly skewed by his childhood trauma when the government put his father and their whole family into debtor’s prison, and his books are full of the exploits and times of characters suffering in debt.

    Of course, being on the side that borrowed, he was very sympathetic to those that spent more than they earned, and very harsh to those that supplied the wealth to those who had none and needed it.

    He never considered that the lender could have said “no” in the first place…..

    Like

  12. Black Flag® says:

    North Korea is doing great too.

    Like

  13. Ellie says:

    I hear Somalia is nice this time of year.

    Like

  14. Black Flag® says:

    Government does not provide economic value – it is an economic parasite.

    To cut government means to improve the economy.

    If you do not like the dark, stop funding government.

    Like

Play nice in the Bathtub -- splash no soap in anyone's eyes.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,271 other followers

%d bloggers like this: