Yesterday Roobeedoo drew attention to a news report:
Man ‘whose throat was slit for cigarette’ named as dad who doted on his daughter
It’s not at all clear what happened. But it seems that this was an argument between two smokers. One had some cigarettes, and the other wanted one of them, and they got into an argument, and one of them wound up dead.
Putting up the price of cigarettes creates an artificial scarcity of tobacco. Some people become unable to afford them. And the only way they can get them is to beg them off people who can afford them. And if they can’t get them that way, then they’ll steal them. And if they have to steal, then they may also have to kill.
So next we’re going to see smokers killing other smokers to get their tobacco.
Is this what Tobacco Control wants? Perhaps it is. Perhaps the intention is to not only set smokers against antismokers, but also set smokers against smokers, and get them to kill each other off. After all, if they’re trying to stamp out smoking, they’re trying to stamp out smokers.
But the creation of artificial shortages of tobacco (or anything else) impoverishes people. It’s makes them poor. But of course you don’t tell them that you’re making them poor: you tell them that you’re making them “healthy”.
And aren’t “progressives” these days really just setting out to make people poor? For to raise the price of tobacco and alcohol and sugar and chocolate and meat is to impoverish people. And if the price of fuel and oil and coal and gas are also raised, to fight “global warming”, that’s a further impoverishment. And if cars are banned, and people must walk or ride bicycles, that’s yet another impoverishment.
The Gilets Jaunes protests in France began when Emmanuel Macron raised the tax on fuel in order to combat “climate change”, and thereby deliberately impoverished the French people.
For the past few centuries, progress has largely seen to entail raising the standard of living. But our new progressives now wish to lower the standard of living. We are not to have more: we are to have less. And the less we have, the more virtuous we will be. For virtue lies in poverty, not in wealth.
And the crime of Donald Trump is not only that he is a very wealthy man, but that he wants to make other people wealthy as well. Making America Great Again above all means making America rich and prosperous again.
The idea the peculiar virtue of poverty is one that is found in Christian asceticism. A few searches turned up several references, among them:
‘The poor will have the Gospel preached to them’ (Matt 11:6), we read in Scripture, precisely as one of the signs which mark the arrival of the Kingdom of God. Those who do not love and practice the virtue of poverty do not have Christ’s spirit. This holds true for everyone. For the hermit who retires to the desert; and for the ordinary Christian who lives among his fellow men, whether he enjoys the use of this world’s resources or is short of many of them.
St. Teresa Margaret could be a model for all who strive to grow in virtue. She approached the exercise of all the virtues in an intelligent and carefully planned manner. The little table in her cell contained many small scraps of paper with her resolutions carefully written out as reminders to her of her plan of action. The particulars in her practice of the virtues of poverty, chastity and obedience may not be wholly imitable for us who live outside the monastery but the motives which underlie her practices are the motives which drive us all in our spiritual lives, the desire to love and serve God and neighbor.
Pope Francis started ad libbing in Havana, and as often happens, when he speaks from the heart, confusion followed. Attending evening prayers with a group of priests, seminarians, monks and nuns, he went off script and spoke passionately about poverty…
While the pope’s unplanned comments are inspiring and moving, they could be open to misunderstanding, for he praised poverty in glowing terms. “Our Holy Mother Church is poor” the pope said. “God wants her poor as he wanted our Mother Mary poor. Love poverty as a mother…”
So if you want to know why modern progressives regard themselves as being so deeply virtuous, it is because, like Pope Francis and St Francis before him, they see virtue in poverty. And many of them are especially virtuous in that they do not selfishly seek this virtuous poverty for themselves, but instead selflessly only for other people. So it’s perfectly all right for Al Gore to jet around the world promoting the need to cut carbon dioxide emissions, and for the world to thereby be impoverished. Al Gore may not be virtuously poor himself, but he can reduce lots of other people to virtuous poverty.
And it’s the same with Michael Bloomberg and all the other virtuous millionaires, as they set out to impoverish the world by taking away its tobacco and its alcohol and its sugar and its chocolate.