There is no doubt that poverty is degrading, and through force, legislation, moral suasion,manipulation, blackmail, soft euthanasia, and “gaming” democracy and elementary social responsibility we have gloriously succeeded in creating the scenario for economic collapse and social and political insurrection.
( Emile )Durkheim argued that economic affluence, by stimulating human desires, carries with it dangers of anomic conditions because it “deceives us into believing that we depend on ourselves only,” while “poverty protects against suicide because it is a restraint in itself.” Since the realization of human desires depends upon the resources at hand, the poor are restrained, and hence less prone to suffer from anomie by virtue of the fact that they possess but limited resources. “The less one has the less he is tempted to extend the range of his needs indefinitely.”Read More:http://www.bolenderinitiatives.com/sociology/emile-durkheim-1858-1917/emile-durkheim-individual-and-society
…Keeping up appearances. John Galsworthy. More important, at age twenty-five, he suddenly began to notice what was under his nose in this world. And what he saw shocked yet fascinated him horribly. It was classic attraction-repulsion at work. He had recently been involved with a girl whom the family thought not at all the thing. After all, Galsworthy’s mother was a woman of exquisite appearance, a good housekeeper, rider and archer; she was also a rigid, die-hard conformist from a family of small squires and third tier industrialists and was prone to a rigid, almost pathological conformism burnished by intense social class consciousness. She was unsupportable, with a knack for irritating her family to the point of frenzy simply by her mere presence in a room. She was spectacularly jealous of her older husband and his essentially, deep love of domination, bad temper and perpetual antagonism.
Quite the household. It was no wonder that Galsworthy was in statis, a stiff-necked Bertie Wooster persona who would slowly peel off layers environmental damage and psychological baggage not in the least aided and abetted by his fathers generous allowances which created a sort of dependence. In any event, the girl was guilty of having no money and she gave singing lessons and who knows what else to round out her end of months. His father sent him off to Canada, but the snow and hospitality of the colony failed to dissolve this association, though Galsworthy himself wrote, “nothing will ever come of this matter between me and Sybil, I am too vague, and she doesn’t care.”
Galsworthy visited flophouses, prowled the streets at night. He told his friends how appalling things were. They agreed. They asked: why don’t you actually do something then? For one, Galsworthy’s concern with the suffering of others was occasioned more by the pain knowledge of it gave him than by the pain experience of it gave them: This is the sensitive liberal’s position in succinct form and it is, at least, an improvement on total insensibility and the cold shoulder of non-empathy. But how profound is it? Once awakened in Galsworthy, this concern became altogether too powerful and fearful to deal with on a fundamental level.
It made, as it always does, for sentimentality. But not a deep rooted strand of concern for the human condition, but rather one of the most dreary and maudlin sort; a satirizing of the social foibles of the elite who need the poor to create a literary tension of incongruity. Let them eat cake, but we’ll tinker with their heads and manipulate them to buy Betty Crocker and instant mixes. On sale no less. Throw money at a problem but make sure the problem flowers and rises like a muffin, reinforcing existing social chasms.
It accounts for the perceptive comment Ford Madox Ford made when he saw tears in Galsworthy’s eyes on account of an anecdote about Turgenev and his peasant mistress: “suddenly I had of him a conception of a sort of frailty, as if he needed protection from the hard truths of the world… The disease from which he suffered was pity…”
And pity, a form of self-indulgence, is an artist’s worst enemy. Even at the turn of the century not all the poor were utterly miserable all the time- well documented by Henry Mayhew- , but one would never suppose otherwise on the strength of Galsworthy’s works. Joseph Conrad, later, advised him to get more skepticism into his writing, and even went so far as to suggest that Galsworthy got a sadistic pleasure.
HARRY BELAFONTE: Every opportunity I’ve had to put that before him, he has heard. I have not had a chance to put it to him as forcefully as I would like to, because he has not yet given us the accessibility to those places where this could be said in a more articulate way and not always on the fly.
But he once said something to me during his campaign for the presidency, and he says—he said, you know—I said, “I’ve heard you” —he was talking before businessmen on Wall Street here in—there in New York. And he said to me—I said, “Well, you know, I hope you bring the challenge more forcefully to the table.” And he said, “Well, when are you and Cornel West going to cut me some slack?” And I got caught with that remark. And I said to him, in rebuttal, I said, “What makes you think we haven’t?”
AMY GOODMAN: That was Harry Belafonte. Cornel West, your response, and why you’re on this tour, professor at Princeton University?
CORNEL WEST: Well, yeah, we know Harry Belafonte’s idea of brotherhood. No, Brother Tavis came up with the idea of this Poverty Tour. We’re on the tour because there has been a top-down, one-sided class war against poor and working people, that’s led by greedy Wall Street oligarchs and avaricious corporate plutocrats in the name of deregulated markets, which is a morally bankrupt policy, especially when it comes to keeping track of the humanity and dignity of poor and working people. …Read More:http://www.nationofchange.org/cornel-west-declaration-war-poor-1312991410
…The Heritage Foundation has been spreading lies to justify indifference toward poor people for three decades as part of the right-wing intellectual assault on working and poor people. Tavis and I were at Camp Forest tent city outside of Ann Arbor. They’ve been there a number of years. And in fact, they just got heat, what was it, two years ago. They’ve been there for many years. They just got heat. So, the Heritage Foundation, they ought to be ashamed of themselves, but this is part of the fightback. The Heritage Foundation supports the counter-revolution in the name of oligarchs and plutocrats. We want to be part of the fightback, and there’s millions out there who want to be part of the fightback, as the oligarchs and plutocrats attempt to squeeze all of the democratic juices out of the American social experiment.( West )