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December 19th, 2008

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I am always amused when my Conservative Republican friends advocate A Christmas Carol as one of the most wonderful stories of the season.  Just about every one of them has at one point or another, XOPENEX without a prescription. XOPENEX online cod, British social thinker Thomas Malthus advocated the idea that helping the poor and feeding the starving masses would cause an increase in poor and starving masses, because they would breed to take advantage of the whole affair.  Sound like the complaints about welfare today?  Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol as an attempt to decry the whole idea.  Much of Scrooge's pre-redemption dialog directly or indirectly quotes Malthus, discount XOPENEX. Canada, mexico, india, What is Scrooge's sin for which he will face eternal damnation?  Hoarding wealth.  He honors his contracts.  He pays his employees.  He does not steal.  He simply works hard, and thinks he has the right to keep the fruits of his labor.  Tom Marley was a con-artist, XOPENEX maximum dosage, Where to buy XOPENEX, a felon, a fraud, XOPENEX pictures, XOPENEX no rx, but he says Scrooge's fate will be worse than his own.  This is a liberal book, far too liberal even for my taste, buy XOPENEX online no prescription, Order XOPENEX online overnight delivery no prescription, and no one has ever called me conservative.

What's the appeal then?  It's old.  It may be a hyper-liberal movie (I harbor no illusions that this story is encountered in text as often than it is on screen) that condemns a man for gathering wealth through hard work and modest living, is XOPENEX addictive, XOPENEX alternatives, but it's a hyper-liberal movie filmed in black and white darn it.

I must admit to a bias here.  I hate Dickens.  He disparaged knitters, doses XOPENEX work, Buy no prescription XOPENEX online, you see.  I've yet to forgive him for having the sinister Madame Defarge use the gentile and respectable art of knitting for evil in his A Tale of Two Cities.  Were he alive today he would never get a pair of hand knit socks from me.  Not even a hat.  Not even for Christmas. XOPENEX wiki. XOPENEX trusted pharmacy reviews. XOPENEX images. Buy cheap XOPENEX no rx. XOPENEX pharmacy. Rx free XOPENEX. XOPENEX steet value. XOPENEX results. XOPENEX for sale. Comprar en línea XOPENEX, comprar XOPENEX baratos. No prescription XOPENEX online. Purchase XOPENEX. Is XOPENEX safe. Australia, uk, us, usa. XOPENEX description. Online XOPENEX without a prescription. My XOPENEX experience. XOPENEX photos. XOPENEX price, coupon. XOPENEX from canadian pharmacy. Low dose XOPENEX.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jane Lebak  |  December 19th, 2008 at 8:50 am

    His sin is being uncharitable. It’s a sin of omission. Witness how he allows Bob Cratchett to suffer right in front of him by not allowing him to put more coal on the fire. He’s honoring his contracts, but he’s also taking advantage of the economy by not paying a living wage.

    There’s also the fact that he’s mean to his nephew, which bespeaks that he’s mean to everyone else around him. It wouldn’t cost him anything to be *nice* to his nephew but instead he’s nasty.

    Finally, his ex-fiance says that he worships money, that he has a single-minded focus on money to the exclusion of human feeling. This does tread into overtly sinful territory (avarice and idolatry, right? She directly uses the word ‘idol’ and Scrooge never corrects her.)

    Oh, and also, he’s never acknowledged God in decades (per the final chapter) and that in itself would be considered sinful under Christian ethics.

    It’s more than just honoring his contracts. More like, there were opportunities to share blessings and instead he demolished his humanity by honoring only the letter of the contract and isolating himself.

  • 2. Ivy  |  December 19th, 2008 at 9:17 am

    He’s uncharitable, true, but he’s a productive, hard working member of society. He lacks social charm, and piety, but damnation sounds harsh for someone who hasn’t actually done anything wrong. Could have have done more right? Sure. And then Sturgeon’s law applies. If he gave 5% of his money to charity, he could have given 10%. Had he given 10%, he could have given 15%, and on and on.

    There is no act of evil in him. He never steps over the line that separates abstaining from good with causing evil.

    There is a midrash. A young man, soon to be a groom, is arrested for a crime he did not commit, and has been fined a lot of money. The community is used to this from the local sheriff, and usually they get the money together, pay the fine (which the sheriff pockets) and go about their business. This fine is many times higher than most.

    The rabbi says their only recourse is to go to the man high on the hill and ask him. No one likes this idea, as this is a very stingy man, and a hard man, but they agree to go. The rabbi says to do exactly as he does, no matter what.

    They knock on the door, and the man answers. The rabbi explains the situation and asks a donation. The man gives him a dirty old crusty penny.

    “Thank you,” said the rabbi. “Thank you so much. A thousand blessings on you and your family. A thousand miracles shine down on you.” On and on he offers thanks and blessings.

    “Wait one moment,” the man says. “I might be able to give you more.” He goes and returns with two pennies.

    Again the rabbi thanks him profusely and blesses him abundantly. Again the man says to wait, that he might have more to give. Ultimately the rich man donates the entire fine.

    On the way back, the people with the rabbi ask how he managed to get so much money from the old miser.

    “I understood him,” the rabbi said. “When he gave the first dirty penny, he really did give all he could. Not that he didn’t have money, but that his heart was closed. I recognized how hard it was for him, how worried he was of later deprivation, and I blessed him according to the effort he put forth. That blessing strengthened him to open his heart further, and he became able to give more. At each point he really was doing all his inner strength would allow.”

    Ultimately this man does become a great benefactor of the society, and is loved and revered by the community.

    As a side note, the sheriff goes to the wedding ceremony, and on the way out he is thrown by his horse and killed. The rabbi takes the fine and returns it to the rich man, who in turn gives it to the bride and groom as a gift.

    We don’t know what Scrooge carried inside himself. He didn’t lavish upon his own wants either. He hoarded, and that sounds to me like a fear response. He might well have been doing all his courage allowed, and was “changed” only by further threats and fear. Fear of starvation in this life only overcome by fear of torment in the next.

  • 3. Jane Lebak  |  December 19th, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Damnation is harsh for someone who hasn’t done anything wrong, but he HAS done something wrong.

    1) causes frostbite to Bob Cratchett
    2) does not pay a living wage to his worker (condemned in both Judaism and Christianity)
    3) does not acknowledge God at all
    4) is nasty to his nephew and threatening to strangers (in the first chapter, he threatens a boy singing a christmas carol.)

    We do know what Scrooge carried inside himself because Dickens tells us: he carried money as his idol. The bible says “love of money is the root of all evil.” And we know he harbors pain from his father’s emotional abandonment of him as a child, although I’m not sure how that plays out in his heart as an adult.

    His comment that the poor should die and decrease the surplus population is not the statement of a businessman who is simply honoring his contracts. He views poverty as a BURDEN and poor people as shameful things deserving of death (or at least imprisonment.)

    BTW, I’m not getting where you think Jacob Marley was a con-artist, felon or fraud: they were business partners and engaged in the same business practices.

    The unanswered question of ACC is why Scrooge gets a second chance and no one else.

  • 4. Ivy  |  December 19th, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    The bit about poor dying is straight out of Principle of Population. Malthus called them “surplus population”. Dickens is using that term knowing his contemporaries would recognize the source.

    This is Dickens parodying an argument put forth by Malthus.

    “To remedy the frequent distresses of the common people, the poor laws of England have been instituted; but it is to be feared, that though they may have alleviated a little the intensity of individual misfortune, they have spread the general evil over a much larger surface”

    In other words, we keep throwing good money after bad at the poor, and we haven’t lowered the poverty rate one bit. That sounds to me, a lot like the Conservative argument against welfare, which makes Christmas Carol a liberal work, and that was the point I was making in the first place.

    I’m not saying Scrooge is a great guy, btw.

  • 5. miriam  |  December 19th, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    …What is Scrooge’s sin for which he will face eternal damnation? Hoarding wealth. He honors his contracts. He pays his employees. He does not steal. He simply works hard, and thinks he has the right to keep the fruits of his labor. …

    If I remember correctly my long-ago religious education, one’s sins and one’s good deeds are weighed on a scale at the end of life to make the judgment of what you deserve in the world to come. (IIRC, Judaism doesn’t have a hell as a place of permanent residence, but that’s not pertinent.) Anyway, what good deed can Scrooge point to that outweighs his sins? (And yes, he’s committed them, being human; he speaks ill of others, and it IS a sin to see suffering and distress and not aid it…there’s a Torah verse somewhere that says that even if you see your enemy’s donkey fallen under a burden, you should help him.)

    Can he say that being a productive member of society is a merit in the world to come? He’s honored his contracts; very well, he didn’t lie. Absence of sin, not a good deed. He employed Cratchett and enabled him to earn a living? That makes him a good cog in Adam Smith’s machine, sure. But he got his money’s worth from Cratchett (probably more than his money’s worth, considering what a shrewd operator Scrooge is). Since he claimed and received the entire reward in this world for the money he spent in it, I don’t think he can claim the money he spent as a good deed deserving reward in the world to come. He’s already gotten what he paid for.

    On the whole, though, I don’t think the World to Come is really the focus of the story. I mean, yes, Marley warns him about the punishment awaiting him in the afterlife. But most of the story is about this world – Scrooge’s life and the people in it, who he cut himself off from and lost, who might he still turn to if he wills it. Even Marley continues that theme – he came to Scrooge because he had been a friend. Scrooge isn’t reformed by seeing the ledgers and cash-boxes chained to Marley at the beginning of the tale – his punishment in the next world. He’s changed by remembering the love he used to feel for people in the past, the joy he once felt in celebrating the holiday, then seeing from the outside how he closed himself off, stopped loving. His sympathy for the pain of others is reawakened. And what finally finishes the change isn’t the threat of damnation in hell for eternity. We don’t see that. What we see is simply the most likely end for a man as cold and uncaring as Scrooge has allowed himself to become…that no one will mourn him when he dies, that the wealth he’s accumulated so jealously is plundered by thieves because no one cares enough to wake over him till he’s buried.

    He’s not scared into change by visions of devils and pits of flame. He’s scared because he finally has acquired a perspective of how his life would be wasted (no matter how rich he was) if he ends it without loving his neighbor as himself – so he opens up to the family he has left, and does his best to make up for lost time.

    Anyway, I totally agree that that old B&W live-action movie sucks. I agree with Connie Willis that the Mr. Magoo Christmas Carol is absolutely the best. Accept no substitutes

  • 6. Jane Lebak  |  December 21st, 2008 at 7:15 am

    The fact that Dickens has Scrooge quote someone doesn’t mean the character didn’t say it. As readers we’re to understand he DID say it.

    Look, Scrooge starts by telling the charity guys that the GOVERNMENT should be taking care of the poor. The charity guys point out (and so does Christmas Present) that the Government does a piss-poor job of taking care of them.

    At the end, Scrooge has decided that HE must take care of the poor. HE must pay a living wage. HE must give to charity.HE must do the caring, not the government.

    THerefore, Scrooge is himself a right-wing conservative who believes at the end that the government is the worst caregiver for the poor and that it becomes his personal responsibility, not the responsibility of government programs. And yes, he can do that while being a good businessman.

    BTW, tonight we’re watching the Muppet Christmas Carol, and later this week, my Patient Husband and I will watch the Patrick Stewart version. Pbbbbbbth! :-) (So much for black and white.)

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