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I am sitting here wondering how many words I need to use on what seems like the bleeding obvious. Right now in Great Britain, our prime minister, David Cameron, is facing protests from many church leaders about benefit cuts. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/27-bishops-slam-david-camerons-3164033

He has responded by saying that he is giving unemployed Britons “new hope and responsibility” by cutting their benefit payments and claims his welfare reforms are part of a “moral mission” for the country.

Actually there is nothing good about work as such; the morality of hard work is inevitably touted by those who benefit from it most, i.e whoever is reaping the profit.

Why not steal? Many of the landed aristocracy are descended from thieves, war criminals and panderers. Who says the land is theirs? They do, according to laws their forefathers made to protect themselves. Our laws were designed to protect the privileged few, and evolved in order to safeguard trade and property, which requires a certain level of popular contentment. People don’t need to be well off - they just need to be in a position of safe survival. Harsh penalties only work if the pay-off isn’t worth the risk, and desperate people will risk anything, because they have nothing left to lose.

As a pyramidal society, we frown on trade as theft, because theft at the top encourages theft at the bottom, and theft at the bottom destabilises the top, leaving less to steal.

Trade may grow through outright theft, but not consistently. It creates instability, and ruins tax collection. Trade gains more stability from exploitation; and for that, trade needs honest people who will take anything because they must, and who also believe it is their duty to work however bad the conditions.

We are trained to be honest; just as well, as life would be unbearable otherwise. But greed seems to trump honesty in business and is applauded for doing so. And if greed trumps honesty, we can be sure that desperation trumps both.

English literature is full of examples of poverty, the real background to the story of Great Britain. Moll Flanders was a popular prostitute/thief/heroine created by Daniel Defoe. She says the obvious most plainly:

‘For a little relief I had put off my house and took lodgings; and as I was reducing my living, so I sold off most of my goods, which put a little money in my pocket, and I lived near a year upon that, spending very sparingly, and eking things out to the utmost; but still when I looked before me, my very heart would sink within me at the inevitable approach of misery and want. Oh let none read this part without seriously reflecting on the circumstances of a desolate state, and how they would grapple with mere want of friends and want of bread; it will certainly make them think [...] of the wise man's prayer, 'Give me not poverty, lest I steal.'

Let them remember that a time of distress is a time of dreadful temptation, and all the strength to resist is taken away; poverty presses, the soul is made desperate by distress, and what can be done?’ (Moll Flanders - Daniel Defoe 1722)

True in 1722, true now. Desperate people will do anything. And making them desperate has no moral value at all.


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(Deleted comment)
Feb. 24th, 2014 11:34 pm (UTC)
Fantastic quote, I had never heard it before! Thank you my dear x
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