Want, Ignorance, & the Fall of Rome | Weekend Wishes

In A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Present has two waifs under its robes: Want and Ignorance. This boy and girl were Scrooge’s doom in the future he avoided. These two seem more poignant than ever.

A retired Jim Shore figurine.


Years ago I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Edward A. Frost’s Speaking of Scrooge. In it he discussed how Dickens confronted the Calvinism of the day. Calvinism was used to encourage one of the most basic conflicts within a society: rich versus poor. Calvinism centers around the idea that the chosen few are predestined to heaven, and the others are just destined to go to hell – everyone else is unworthy, a sinner.

In that era the words used to describe the poor showed the prejudice.


Considering the children who have died in detention centers and how people seeking refuge in our country have been described as rapists and bad hombres. We can’t blame a resurgence of Calvinism on the propagation of these ideas – American meritocracy lends itself to this behavior.

Speaking of meritocracy, a recent article addressed the impact of meritocracy on education in this country: education is easiest to achieve for the elite, even before budget cuts to education are considered. This brings me to the other waif lurking to kill Scrooge.


The Fault in Our Stars‘ author, John Green, said:

Public education does not exist for the benefit of students or the benefit of their parents. It exists for the benefit of the social order.

We have discovered as a species that it is useful to have an educated population. You do not need to be a student or have a child who is a student to benefit from public education. Every second of every day of your life, you benefit from public education.

So let me explain why I like to pay taxes for schools, even though I don’t personally have a kid in school: It’s because I don’t like living in a country with a bunch of stupid people.

It’s no secret that education prices are rising and that they are becoming more important to success.

In Conclusion: The Fall of Rome

Rome wasn’t conquered by an invading army. Rome fell to those it had mistreated.

Maybe we as Americans can learn from Scrooge and change our ways.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Rome’s fall was due to multiple factors. Many of them are present in the West also, not just the U.S. Laziness, the discovery that they could elect senators based on who would promise them the most goodies at public expense, completely corrupt government that continually increased its personal wealth at public expense, AND exploiting foreign labor because nobody was willing to do “menial” jobs. By the time it was over, they were barely fighting their own wars and using foreign troops in some cases. They rotted from within and were ripe for conquest.

    More to the point, it’s not the meritocracy (on its face) that’s the problem. People that work hard and are talented should succeed. If you work 20x harder at becoming a writer than I do, you should prosper more. That’s the definition of a meritocracy and the idea behind pure capitalism.

    The problem is that a handful of elites are corrupting capitalism into crony capitalism, and that yes, there is an inequality of opportunity in the meritocracy. Education is at the heart of that also, but the answer is complex. Long story short; parents, kids, teachers, and government have to all get involved and value education. At the college level, cost is a huge factor. That’s largely due to graft and mismanagement in public schools, and outright profiteering in private ones.

    There are hundreds of employees in the University of California system that make over a half million dollars a year, and that does NOT include countless perks like free housing, cars, trips all over the world for various made up reasons, free health care…

    I was personally victimized by one of those private schools also. Promises of easy jobs while tuition skyrocketed to 4x plus what I had originally took out loans for. Oversold classroom sizes, etc… When all was said and done three years later, I was out $50,000 for an Associate’s Degree that’s worthless.
    My point here is that the solution is to clean up the corruption, NOT just throw more money at problems to show you care. The corruption will just eat up that money also.

    I avoid politics on Twitter also, BUT this once I have to do something I honestly dislike and defend Trump. That 2 children died in custody is a tragedy, PERIOD. I will NOT defend that. The “Bad Hombres” and rapists is repeatedly taken out of context. Trump said that ***SOME*** NOT ALL immigrants fall into that category. Distortion and villainization is an easy way to shut down debate on a very complicated issue. I hinted at this in my “Be the Light” blog post.

    Reality is there ARE bad people coming across the border. There are ALSO a lot of GOOD people who do want to work, etc… We need a wall to keep drug smugglers, gang members and other bad people out AND an overhaul of our immigration system that allows good people easier access to the American Dream.

    Remember, the people preaching easy solutions are typically those some elites I warned about. They live in walled off mansions or gated communities. Typically, far from the problems they preach about also. Their goal is simple; keep us fighting and distracted while they run amok. In the case of the border issue; Democrats want more voters, and it’s questionable in some cases if they care if they’re legally allowed to vote. Republicans want cheap, exploitable labor for their business cronies. BOTH sides are exploiting the situation for personal gain and it’s the immigrants and poorer Americans that suffer.


    1. Thanks for reading.

      I recognize the time and energy you put into replying.

      It’s awful that you were personally impacted by corruption in a private school; you’re not alone there.

      It sounds like your opinions are very strong, as our mine, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

      All the best.


  2. alicegristle says:

    Not gonna lie – if it weren’t for a nice family and peeps keeping me sane, I could’ve grown up to be a terrorist, just for this reason. Inequality sucks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right. It’s like that saying, “there, but for the grace of god, go I”. Inequality sucks and social mobility is so difficult to achieve.

      Liked by 1 person

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