Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Beware them both!

“Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,” said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, “but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?”

"Checking out my skirts, eh?" said the saucy Spirit.

"Dude! Claw!"

“It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,” was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. “Look here.”

From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

“Oh, Man! look here. Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost.


They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude. Scrooge had seen juvenile delinquents before, but these took the biscuit. They looked like a couple of Grade-A creeps.

“Spirit! are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.

“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers."

"'Appealing' is not the word I---"

"This boy is Politics," shouted the Ghost. "This girl is Entitlement. These desiccated beasts are that which look appealing in the daylight, the guardians and providers of happiness, but in truth they appear as you see them now. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And bide the end!”

"Wait---Politics and Enwhotlement?"

"Politics," said the Spirit, with strained patience, "and Entitlement."

"No, sorry, I don't understand."

"Look," said the Spirit, "it's very simple. Technology and free trade will help alleviate much of the suffering from poverty and want that plagues mankind, but they also sow the seed of destruction. People will come to think only of material goods, adhere to consumerism, deny the soul, and ultimately demand their needs be met by the actions of the state. All kinds of ills follow. The devaluation of work, destruction of social order, Entitlement thinking, see? You're a businessman, consider macroeconomics. Christmas Yet-to-Come would tell you himself, but he never says anything."

"It's rather pleasant that people will be starving in the streets less," mumbled Scrooge.

“But that's the point,” said the Spirit. "Because of these two brats, all that misery will come round again. Only this time instead of people rioting because they have no bread, they will riot because they have no free education, no government guarateed Xboxes."

"No---what?"

"Never mind. Not sure myself."

"Well, now, Spirit, I hardly think your predictions need be so dire," said Scrooge. "And even if they were, is that anything I can fix? I thought you just wanted me to be a nicer guy."

"Look, you asked about the kids," said the Spirit. "I wasn't the one that brought them up. No wonder YtC doesn't bother engaging in conversation."

"Now, about those Xboxes..."

The bell struck twelve.
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