Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens *****

A close second to Great Expectations as my favorite Dickens novel, I thought I'd re-read this gem since it's been at least 14 years since I have previously.  A couple things struck me this time, one being the horrible conditions in France for the poor at the time of the revolution.  If you really consider it for a moment, how bad would it truly have to be for a people that had never known another system of government other than monarchy to decide that they didn't care what they got, they just couldn't stand living the way they were anymore.  I know that Dickens wrote with a bit of British bias about the French, especially since England was scared to death at the time that it's populace would rise up against King George also.  I'm sure the average English peasant wasn't treated that much better than the average French one, though. 
Another observation is that the horrible inequality of the haves & the have-nots can be deadly.  It's hard not to compare, just a little, to what is going on in the US right now with the rich getting so much richer while the people with the least are treated more harshly all the time.  The debate as to whether the rich should be taxed more becomes pretty moot when the "huddled masses" are angry & downtrodden.  One quote stuck with me:
Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms.  Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.
No, I don't think we're on the verge of an anarchistic revolution.  But I do think that our politicians need to remember why a certain government benefit is called Social Security--it keeps our society secure. 

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