Learning from Charles Dickens….
When Dickens wrote the Christmas Carol, Britain’s Parliament was dominated by faction that believed in an economic philosophy we now describe as “trickle down economics.” As far as I’ve been able to discern, the mid-1800s is the first time this economic philosophy was put into effect, more than a century before it was tried again during the Reagan administration.
It failed Britain’s working class as well as the many thousands of Irish who perished during the potato famine – just as it failed during Reagan and Bush 2.
Without a strong working class, the twin evils of ignorance and want are set loose upon the world, causing hunger, ignorance and want of basic necessities…and far too much misery for those who want to work and care for their families.
Most of us are far too young to remember conditions during and prior to the Great Depression. But the early scenes of Dickens “Christmas Carol” offer a brief glimpse into the conditions facing working class people, then and now. Do you remember poor houses? “Old folks homes” where seniors were warehoused and forgotten? Children removed from their poor families to be given away to families thousands of miles away, potentially as nothing more than indentured servants. Likely not. But conditions then were not pretty; they were far away from the United States we know today.
Is that the America to which we wish to return? An era of broken families, of hunger and want, of neglected and forgotten seniors?
Yet, much of the recent Tea Party/GOP rhetoric would have the U.S. return to that earlier, Dickens’ era.
Dickens was the probably the premier social commentator of his time, along with Jonathan Swift. However, this country appears to have forgotten the lessons of these early social commentators.
Earlier generations learned from their past: the Great Depression era programs saved many families – and seniors – from the prospects of workhouses, family destruction, and old folks warehouses.
I do not think the TEA/GOP know whereof they speak. And for that I am heartily ashamed.