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The Scourge of Scrooge

Charles Dickens’ book ‘A Christmas Carol’ could only have been written in a Protestant culture. Its portrayal of a miser, who lives in the cold and dark, eating the cheapest food, despising his fellow-men and any joyful festivity as ‘humbug’, is the portrayal of the Calvinist and the Lutheran.

In the recent English language, shaped by such Protestantism, there are many words for miserly, a word that unsurprisingly comes from the word misery, meaning pitiful. So we have: mean, tight, stingy, tight-fisted, avaricious, niggardly, economical, grasping, money-grubbing, even scroogish... And it is this modern English-language Protestant culture, taken to its logical extreme in the USA, which is at the foundation of modern Capitalism.

Scrooge is the killjoy, whose workaholic motto is anti-pleasure and whose sole aim is to accumulate money. A hater of Christmas and any other ‘Catholic’-seeming festal joy, he does not want people to have Christmas Day off (and many do not in the USA), to take pleasure, and feels guilty at even the concept. This is he who has never read the first chapter of the Book of Genesis: ‘And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good’ (Gen 1, 31). Scrooge is he who puts salt in his porridge instead of sugar, so that it will taste bad. He does not know how to enjoy the natural pleasures of God’s Creation.

It may seem to many that we are talking of the past. Such Protestant culture is surely largely dead - and good riddance. Only now, we have the other extreme – the anti-Scrooge hedonism of ‘Mammonmas’ and do as you want. By reaction to the past, the slogan of today’s post-Protestant and indeed anti-Protestant, secularist culture is: ‘Enjoy’.

This may be the case of popular secular culture in the Western world, but it is not the slogan of the ruling elite. The ruling elite is not the politicians, not the governments, but those who govern our puppet governments, that is, it is the financiers, economists, accountants and banks – most of them by culture never-Christian, anti-Christian or ex-Christian, and yet who can always supply money for astronomically expensive - and indebting - wars.

In the last thirty years or so, such financiers have come to dictate ever more the conditions which are imposed on us by politicians. The world is thus ruled by the short-term views of these glorified accountants. Having enslaved the world to debt – which Scrooge would never have engaged in himself, but which post-Protestant society loves – the financiers impose on us their vision. And that vision is of slavery to debt.

The fact is that we still live in a Dickensian world. Not that there are orphans literally starving to death on the streets of the Western world (though spiritually they most certainly are), or children worked to death in the factories of the Western world, but there are in great swathes of Asia, Africa and Latin America. And so amid the relative material plenty of most in the Western world at Western Mammonmas, most still suffer from the scourge of Scrooge – from the material and spiritual tyranny of the financiers of modern Capitalism. And that is the only real humbug.

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