Having been what’s known as fried, between rewrite and health and cat health (Greebo is doing better, thank you) I have defaulted to my reading tier that’s one step above Disney Comics (which as some of you know are my go-to when sick/brain dead.) Yep, Jane Austen fanfic.
And I keep hearing of “our debt to society” and “Doing what we owe society” and “doing our duties to society.”
If this makes you squirm, it does me too. But here is a refreshing difference between these, which stay largely true to the regency and modern day regencies, with modern day sensibilities: they’re not talking about money. They’re not even talking about charity.
Sure, charity was part of the duties of a lady of the manor in regency England. But it usually wasn’t indiscriminate charity. There might be an organization to rescue “soiled doves” or to educate the children of the poor. But most of the charity duties of the lady began at home: among her tenants and her husband’s employees. This was just good sense, since of course, in small communities, you’d know who the deserving poor were, and who the hopeless grifters.
But that’s not included in what all this “duty to society” thing.
Your duty to society is to be involved in it. To do your part, in whatever position in life you’re involved in. Do your visiting/mingle with your peers/discuss the news of the day.
That was viewed as a duty. Charity or even paying your taxes? Not so much.
Remember, this was pre-Marx, and it was not assumed that if you had a lot of money, you must have stolen it, since the economy for Marxists is a fixed pie.
Instead, your duty was to evaluate your neighbors’ characters and try to improve whatever group you mingled with. With a view to being virtuous and compassionate yourself (and compassion often meant empathy and understanding more than money.)
It is amazing to look back on this from our day and age, when compassion, duty, etc, is all about money, and when the left side of the isle is losing its mind because the government is allowing us to keep a fraction more of the fruits of our labor.
To read them, civilization is coming apart.
Poor little materialists. To them compassion and caring has the sound of caching, and your property belongs to them by right of conquest.
It’s interesting to note — and for us introverts to remember — that being social apes, humans DO need social contact. In fact, recent studies show we need a dismaying something like 3 hours a day (though it need not be prolonged.)
It’s also interesting to note that we’ve not only found that the economy is not a fixed pie, and rich people don’t automatically owe something to the poor, but that indiscriminate charity and “help” are often counterproductive. Case in point, on a macro scale is Africa where international charity has held back native development and industry for about a century. On a micro scale, I’m sure you each know a case or two.
I wouldn’t want to live in the regency, of course. I like today’s tech, and I’m very, very fond of the greater freedom women enjoy as individuals now. (Though a woman of my age and education would always have had a certain freedom.)
However, it’s interesting to note that the models of the world we had before Marxism oozed into literally every field of endeavor were apparently more in tune with reality.
Shocking. I know.
But it tells you things can be rebuilt. We just need to erase the crazy cakes, non functional eructations of Marx from our mental map. It’s not easy, but it can be done.
Shoulder to the wheel.
Do it for the children.