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Published on February 17th, 2012 | by William Dahlgreen
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We've never loved the rich. Now we hate the poor. We used to resent them at the top because they filched what was theirs at the bottom. Now we hate them at the top because they filch what's ours, but so do the poor, so we hate them too.

Some paint this as symmetry. We're all right with wealth when its earned, and same goes for poverty too. But the rich don't earn their millions, so tax away. And the poor earn every penny they don't have. So by God, don't give them anything, they're the laziest bunch around.

This is greed masked as reason. It's true, we care about responsibility. We say the bankers don't deserve bonuses, what have they done to earn them? We say the poor don't deserve benefits, they just sit around all day. But there's asymmetry here too.

With the rich, we pick and choose. Hester, we hated. Philip Green, we bought his clothes. Some smashed up his shops, most would have smashed up the smashers. In opinion polls, we back taxing millionaires. But not because they're idyll, or capitalist. It's because we're capitalist, and they've got the fat we feed on. There's no principle here.

With the poor, we don't discriminate. No one cares who has worked hard, needs benefits sincerely, like most. There's no benefit of the doubt, just benefits and doubt. Worse: there's just malice. They're all responsible for all. Responsible for upbringing, culture, class. Responsible for what can't be blamed. A contradiction, of sorts. There's no reason here either.

We don't hate poverty, we hate the poor. We hate them because they're weak. And we don't reward weakness, we're Britain. We say that they will work their way from poverty, the good, strong ones. Cut off the benefit and they'll cut off their chains. Stop watching telly and start making money. But the hand that feeds has been bitten. Employers are poor too.

Our attitudes are illogical. And illogic is famed for disaster. The money we'll take from the rich, we'll only keep for ourselves. For we believe the poor have only themselves to blame, while factors that breed poverty don't matter. The weak will weaken while our disgust strengthens. It'll be heat or eat, meet rent or hit the street, move to the ghetto or the shelter. We'll take from the rich and keep from the poor, 'til there are no poor, no more.  

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Take From the Rich, Keep From the Poor, ‘Til there are no Poor, no More

We’ve never loved the rich. Now we hate the poor. We used to resent them at the top because they filched what was theirs at the bottom. Now we hate them at the top because they filch what’s ours, but so do the poor, so we hate them too.

Some paint this as symmetry. We’re all right with wealth when its earned, and same goes for poverty too. But the rich don’t earn their millions, so tax away. And the poor earn every penny they don’t have. So by God, don’t give them anything, they’re the laziest bunch around.

This is greed masked as reason. It’s true, we care about responsibility. We say the bankers don’t deserve bonuses, what have they done to earn them? We say the poor don’t deserve benefits, they just sit around all day. But there’s asymmetry here too.

With the rich, we pick and choose. Hester, we hated. Philip Green, we bought his clothes. Some smashed up his shops, most would have smashed up the smashers. In opinion polls, we back taxing millionaires. But not because they’re idyll, or capitalist. It’s because we’re capitalist, and they’ve got the fat we feed on. There’s no principle here.

With the poor, we don’t discriminate. No one cares who has worked hard, needs benefits sincerely, like most. There’s no benefit of the doubt, just benefits and doubt. Worse: there’s just malice. They’re all responsible for all. Responsible for upbringing, culture, class. Responsible for what can’t be blamed. A contradiction, of sorts. There’s no reason here either.

We don’t hate poverty, we hate the poor. We hate them because they’re weak. And we don’t reward weakness, we’re Britain. We say that they will work their way from poverty, the good, strong ones. Cut off the benefit and they’ll cut off their chains. Stop watching telly and start making money. But the hand that feeds has been bitten. Employers are poor too.

Our attitudes are illogical. And illogic is famed for disaster. The money we’ll take from the rich, we’ll only keep for ourselves. For we believe the poor have only themselves to blame, while factors that breed poverty don’t matter. The weak will weaken while our disgust strengthens. It’ll be heat or eat, meet rent or hit the street, move to the ghetto or the shelter. We’ll take from the rich and keep from the poor, ’til there are no poor, no more.  

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About the Author

William Dahlgreen

Will is a postgraduate student at the University of Manchester, reading for a Master’s degree in Political Theory. A paper he wrote last year was accepted by the Manchester Centre for Political Theory, for a presentation at their conference of world-leading philosophers. He was the youngest and only pre-PhD contributor. During the university funding crisis he ran a Social Sciences Forum where 300 students, staff and members of the public debated and celebrated their subjects with a panel of renowned professors. Will wants to relate the ‘big questions’ of political philosophy to real-world issues. He believes philosophy gets too abstract because it’s isolated from the public, and real-world issues get muddled and full of rhetoric when they’re isolated from philosophy. He feels they ought to be combined and that this is the best way to engage the younger generation – everyone cares about their freedom; too few know that’s what politics is about.



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