Gissing On Poverty

new-grub-street‘The difference,’ he went on, ‘between the man with money and the man without is simply this: the one thinks, “How shall I use my life?” and the other, “How shall I keep myself alive?” A physiologist ought to be able to discover some curious distinction between the brain of a person who has never given a thought to the means of subsistence, and that of one who has never known a day free from such cares. There must be some special cerebral development representing the mental anguish kept up by poverty.’

‘I should say,’ put in Amy, ‘that it affects every function of the brain. It isn’t a special point of suffering, but a misery that colours every thought.’

‘True. Can I think of a single subject in all the sphere of my experience without the consciousness that I see it through the medium of poverty? I have no enjoyment which isn’t tainted by that thought, and I can suffer no pain which it doesn’t increase. The curse of poverty is to the modern world just what that of slavery was to the ancient. Rich and destitute stand to each other as free man and bond. You remember the line of Homer I have often quoted about the demoralising effect of enslavement; poverty degrades in the same way.’

— George Gissing, New Grub Street

The Alamo: Why Did It Happen?

I might have added, but didn’t, that the martyrs at the Alamo had died for the right to own slaves. They didn’t want to be a part of Mexico anymore because it was against the law in that country to own slaves of any kind.

AlamoWow! I didn’t know that. Is it true? After all, the above quotation was from a work of fiction: Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut. If this was true and the word got out, Texas might have to disown their supreme monument (and Walt Disney would roll over in his ashen grave).  I wonder if Louie Gohmert knows this?

Still, I expected such a devastating truth to be expunged from history or at least buried deep inside the deepest salt mine in the country. What if Max Zorin found out?

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Moses and the Texas Board of Education

Old GloryThe recent social upheaval over the battle flag of the Armies of Northern Virginia (erroneously called the Confederate Flag) has once again revealed the politicizing of history in Texas and the criminal bowdlerizing of textbooks intended to educate the youth of the country. If you want to isolate a failure with public education, look no further than Texas.

The Washington Post published an editorial that emphasizes the danger inherent in Texas:

How Texas is whitewashing Civil War history

This Fall, Texas schools will teach students that Moses played a bigger role in inspiring the Constitution than slavery did in starting the Civil War. The Lone Star State’s new social studies textbooks, deliberately written to play down slavery’s role in Southern history, do not threaten only Texans — they pose a danger to schoolchildren all over the country.

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God is a Republican?

Another mystery to me is how the GOP is so obviously racist and at the same time claims to adhere to the strict teachings of the Christian God and Jesus Christ, whom they all accept as their personal savior (even Mitt the Mormon-boy). Reading further in Juan the Landless, Juan Goytisolo finally set me straight.

It seems that the Christians were so concerned with the immortal souls of black people, that to save them from the sin of idleness, they instituted a broad-ranging program of slavery to help keep the poor black folks from having any opportunity for getting in trouble. Slavery was the path to Christian salvation.

Now that is the type of logic we hear from the Republicans and Conservatives:  we need to take money away from the regular people and give it to the millionaires and billionaires to get the country back on track, and while we’re at it we can reduce or eliminate taxes and regulations that might interfere with the millionaires and billionaires making more money even if it requires that we remove governmental regulations designed to protect the lives of those millions of people who don’t qualify as millionaires and billionaires. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Another good idea would be to turn all those support organizations into profit centers and let the millionaires and billionaires make a nice profit on schools and prisons and welfare and medical care and social security and all those other entitlements which might otherwise allow regular people time to turn lazy and then get in trouble. This would be the Republican way and now I see it is modeled after the Christian path to salvation.

So what on the surface looks like overt racism is entirely consistent with Christian beliefs. Even Dick Cheney can sleep at night (not that we would wish this).

I guess we should be concerned about all the millionaires and billionaires that obviously are going to have a hard time getting into Heaven. Or is Heaven just a part of the scam too?