Ebeneezer Scrooge as role model

As I come within spitting distance of my 70th birthday, now 13 months away, I increasingly am convinced that the ruling class of this world, like all sociopathic criminals, is always looking for ways to decrease the surplus population.

The phrase is from Ebeneezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Representatives of a charity approach Scrooge, saying, “a few of us are endeavoring to buy the poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth” for the holidays. The then-miser asks if the prisons, workhouses and Poor Laws have been shut down.

“I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there,” Scrooge said.

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Much as our political betters have decided Nineteen Eighty-Four has a happy ending — Winston Smith finally loved Big Brother, after all — I think they also forget that Ebeneezer Scrooge was in need of reform, and in fact becomes a good man in the end. They seem hellbent on decreasing the surplus population as fast as they can.

Weapons of mass destruction, gain-of-function viruses, and sketchy vaccines and magic pills proliferate in the hands of not very subtle bullies who manipulate people into believing the most amazing lies, the biggest lie being that their top priority is protection of the people.

When we left Scrooge, he had become “as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old City knew, or any other good old city, town or borough in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them, for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed, and that was quite enough for him.”

We should aim to be more like the reformed Ebeneezer Scrooge, who “lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle ever afterward; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us.”

In seeking more information about what might be described as “the Total Abstinence Principle” in 1843, I mostly found commentators who concluded Dickens was making a pun on Scrooge having “no further intercourse with Spirits” (get it? Spirits? Abstinence?), but I did find one site, easierwithpractice.com, a “bank of knowledge,” that suggested the Total Abstinence Principle might refer to “abstinence from being bitter, mean-spirited, angry, dour, greedy, grasping, self-centered and unforgiving.” 

That’s a Total Abstinence Principle I could get behind.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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