Friday, December 22, 2017

Living for Dollars

Charles Dickens visited the U.S. in the 1840's and much of his perspective on our culture was woven into his novel Martin Chuzzlewit. Some 175 years later, here is the sickness that still drives our worst selves. What would happen if rich people and rich corporations (hey, Apple, you listening?) refused the tax breaks the Rebpugnaticans are offering them and continued to contribute to the common good? Wouldn't that be something?

Meanwhile, here is Dr. Dickens showing us our unhealed illness, how small, indecent, morally and spiritually bereft we have become because we keep passing the cancer of rampant consumerism down the line.

Read it and weep.

"Martin was anxious to hear the conversation of the busy gentlemen...It was rather barren of interest, to say the truth; and the greater part of it may be summed up in one word. Dollars. All their cares, hopes, joys, affections, virtues, and associations, seemed to be melted down into dollars. Whatever the chance contribution that fell into the slow cauldron of their talk, they made the gruel thick and slab with dollars. Men were weighed by their dollars, measures gauged by their dollars; life was auctioneered, appraised, put up and knocked down for its dollars. The next respectable thing to dollars was any venture having their attainment for its end. The more of that worthless ballast, honor, and fair-dealing, which any man cast overboard from the ship of his Good Name and Good Intent, the more ample stowage-room he had for dollars. Make commerce one huge lie and mighty theft. Do anything for dollars!" 
                                               —From Martin Chuzzlewit: Charles Dickens

PS And before heading to Macy's today to buy the kiddies more things they don't need, consider creative gifts like a gift certificate of time to bake cookies together, make music together, hike in the woods and climb trees together, put on plays together, make things from the cardboard boxes the gifts came in together. And don't forget write letters to Congress together.                 

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