We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A reader provided a snippet of this the other day. A longer quote, from the 1889 Brit political essay entitled "Socialism and Legislation" in The Westminster Review, Vol 125.
First, then, let us see how he would bestow increased powers and new functions upon municipal and other local authorities, with the view of increasing the enjoyment and raising the morals of the people. He points to the fact, as we have seen, that these authorities have already given to the people parks and art galleries and museums out of the pockets of the wealthy. Why, we may well ask, are they to stop there?
Personally, we may care very little for fossils and may care a great deal for Shakespeare and the opera bouffe. It is a considerable check upon my indulgence in these intellectual pastimes that I have to pay for them out of my own pocket; but why, we should like to know, should the man who wants to look at fossils, or some modern genre picture, be gratified at the public expense, while another has to pay for his seat in the theatre? If the persons who have the levying of the taxes are not to pay them, but are to benefit by the money when it is paid, we see no limit to the amount of recreation and enjoyment which may be provided by means of taxation for the poor of this country—except the bottom of the purse of the rich man. No doubt we all desire to see the lives of the poor enhanced in the way Mr. Chamberlain indicates, and no one desires it more than the poor man himself, and we can understand that having amusement provided at the public cost is a taste which grows by what it feeds on.
It is said that a man who had been shipwrecked, who had lived upon the hardest of boots and shoes and upon a very exposed raft, for we do not know how many weeks, and who was ultimately rescued, was brought to London, and introduced to some feeling journalist who, when he had got his story out of the man, asked him if he could do anything for him. Whereupon the man, who had nothing in the world, for he had, as we said earlier, eaten his boots, asked for “an order for the play.” We expect to hear a good many more demands made, following Mr. Chamberlain’s lead, for recreation at the expense of the rich. That the national resources which are necessary “to put the poor to work” should be frittered away in attempting to raise by indulgence, by amusement, by recreation, the lives of those whose first necessity is discipline, is, we think, a very questionable proposal.
That a statesman, with a due sense of his responsibility, should so far mislead the people by promises which can only, in the long run, lead to disappointment, is a bad sign of our times. Surely he must know that if the people once taste the sweets of plunder, if they begin to enjoy the unearned increment, there will be larger demands made, and that the only end to those demands will be the end of that useful milk-cow, the capitalist class. Having recreation at the expense of another can only be a temporary, a very temporary, expedient. In the first place the wealth of this country is not, by any means, so great as to enable the whole of the inhabitants to enjoy life in the way suggested, and even if it were, a time would very soon come when the person who supplied the recreation would have no more to “pay the piper” with, and then, we fear, the dancing must cease, or go on without music. But will it last even so long?
An American candidate said “Capital is sensitive; it shrinks from the very appearance of danger.” We think that it is shrinking in this country, and if capital goes beyond the seas, if it is taken to other and safer countries, we shall have the poor of this country dancing to quite other tunes than those which are being composed by their over-sanguine guides for their delectation. We shall have the poor of this country condemned to misery and starvation. They themselves cannot see this, but it behoves those who would constitute themselves the leaders of the people to take heed lest they mislead them into such ” sloughs of despond.”