Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Evils of Anti-Capitalism

In the 1964 movie Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews, the super nanny enveigles the children to seek out The Bird Woman of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Michael has a tupence which is father, a banker wants him to put in a savings account.  After hearing Nanny Poppins’ song, “Feed the Bird,” the boy insists that he wants to use the money buy a small bag of crumbs for the birds from The Bird Woman.

Mr. Banks and the other bankers try to explain to the boy that if he invests the money in the bank, it will eventually help finance “ocean-going greyhounds” and so forth, and that in the end, he’ll receive more than the tupence back (that wouldn’t work today).  But Michael is stubborn, causes a scene, which causes a run on the bank.”

I was about the same age, or just slightly younger than Michael in 1964.  My mother explained the same thing to me when she opened a bank account in my own name, with Mom as the trustee.  I wanted to buy candy with my allowance.  She said I could buy the candy now, but later on, I wouldn’t have a car to drive.

“Which thing do you think is more important?” she asked.  I handed over the allowance.

“Mary Poppins” offered an opportunity for Mom to enforce the lesson of economics and thrift.  While she was sympathetic to the birds, she said Michael’s first duty was to take care of himself so no one else would have to.  She said God would take care of the birds.

Big Brother, who’d come along to see the movie, noted, “If he’d saved his money, in time he could have bought a truckload of bird feed.  Besides, all you get when you feed the birds is fat birds who can’t fly and get eaten by fat cats.”

What’s more while “feeding the birds” at Saint Paul's Cathedral might have been seen as a an act of charity in 1910 (the setting of the film) and 1965 (the year of the film), feeding the birds has become forbidden by law in the 21st century, having resulted in excessive defecation from the expanding avian population.

That was my first lesson in the importance and practicality of capitalism and economics.  I saved my money which I used for every one of my new cars and my home.  Some things, like books and music, I splurged on, but learned to balance the spending with savings in other areas.

We had some very wealthy relatives on my mother’s side.  We were the poor relations.  One of my mother’s cousins lived in “The Castle” in Bronxville.  Cousin Cynthia had an enviable collection of dolls and a horse.  I had one outfit for my poor Barbie doll.  Yet my mother said it was not polite to be envious.  There was no shame in being poor, only in wasting money.

Mom said that we should follow the example of Jesus in the Bible.  He had nothing, she said, and didn’t want anything.  Everything he needed, God (and some wealthy friends) would provide.  She said we had to play the cards dealt to us.
We’re all envious of some ability someone else has that we don’t.  We’re covetous of the belongings of those who are more successful.  Their acquisitions don’t make them evil, but our envy makes us wicked to an alarming degree.

My IQ was higher than Big Brother’s, initially, but for a host of reasons, some unfortunate, others which I can only lay the blame at my own feet, he was more successful in school.  I prided myself on my superior vocabulary, but there were still students with even greater word power.  I had the poor grace to feel resentful when I’d lose a spelling bee.  My father said the remedy was to memorize the dictionary.  I still have Dad’s 1934 Webster’s Second International Unabridged Dictionary; it’s one of my prized treasures.

Instead of nursing a spite against the rich, the Occupy Wailers might consider improving their own lots in life.  They can begin by improving their minds, starting with an economics book.  The wealthy do have an educational advantage in that they can provide their young with a classical education.  However, books on Latin and Greek, ancient history and modern, advanced mathematics and astronomy are available in the libraries.  You can also pick up books at garage sales.  Education is where it all begins.

They also might try humility.  No matter how hard some people try, they’ll never master the Greek language.  The wealthy are not to blame if someone is better suited to working in a factory than running an international corporation.  It’s not their fault if someone is more skilled as a secretary than a fashion designer.

Give the rich a break.  Sure, there are rich crooks.  But the jails are also filled with plenty of poor, petty thieves.  The wealthy, on the whole, tend to be extremely generous towards charities.  Being charitable is fine, up to a point, but at some point, we have to remember the lesson Jesus taught:  give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for life.

Like the birds of St. Paul’s cathedral, where all that do-gooding created an explosion of fat, messy birds, our bloated government entitlements will create an explosion of fat, lazy, unproductive people, who don’t reproduce enough of their own population to support them.  No flock of pigeons ever made a greater mess than the Occupy Wall Street rioters made of Zoocotti Park in New York.

Writ large, Zoocotti Park is America’s future.  Bilious, lazy pigeons looking for a hand-out, sneering at the people working for a living in the skyscrapers around them, even when they come down during break to sympathetically sing “Feed the Birds” to them.  As they gorge themselves on Media attention, the more attention they get, the worse the infestation becomes.

The problem isn’t wealthy, fat-cat capitalists; it’s lazy, Occupy Wall Street pigeons.  Thanks to our government feeding the birds, captains of industry are taking their ships of state to other shores and our jobs with them.


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