October 19, 2008

Conservatism from an unexpected source

I'm reading Terry Goodkind's "The Sword of Truth" series of fantasy novels. Currently I'm reading Blood of the Fold, the third book in the series. I have no idea what Goodkind's politics are, but I found a particular passage in this book very interesting and I think it is right on the money with regard to income redistribution and welfare.

"My son," the old woman said as her eyes flicked down, indicating the girl, "and her mother, they've deserted us to stay near the palace, waiting for the gold promised. I told them to work, but they say I'm old and foolish in my ways, that they can be given more than they could earn, if they just wait there for what's owed them."

"How do they reason it's 'owed them'?"

She shrugged. "Because someone from the palace said so. Said they were entitled to it. Said all the people were. Some, like those two, believe it; it appeals to my son's lazy ways. The young are lazy nowadays. So they sit and wait, to be given, to be taken care of, instead of seeing to their own needs. They fight over who would be given the gold first. Some of the weak and old have been killed in those fights.

"Meanwhile, fewer work, and so the prices keep going up. We can hardly afford enough bread, now." Her face set into a bitter expression. "All because of a foolish lust for gold. My son had work, for Chalmer the baker, but now he waits to be handed gold, instead of working, and she grows more hungry." She glanced out of the corner of her eye at the girl, and smiled kindly. "She works, though. Helps me make my cakes, she does, so we can feed ourselves. I won't let her roam the streets, like many of the young do now."

She looked up again with a somber expression. "Them's the vermin: them who take what little we can earn or make with our hands so as to promise it right back to us, expecting us to be thankful at their kind hearts; them who tempt good people to be lazy so they can rule us like they do sheep at a trough; them who took our freedom and our ways. Even a foolish old woman like me knows that lazy people don't think for themselves; they only think about themselves. I don't know what the world's coming to."

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