Monday, August 25, 2008



Brought up in the Socialist movement, I had been taught to think of evil as a consequence of bad social conditioning.
For these being the cause of human wretchedness were also the cause of human wickedness.
Poverty, Shaw, my teacher, had insisted with unmatched force and incomparable eloquence, was the supreme sin - if only it because it was the source of all the others.
If poverty was the root of all evil, money was the source of all virtue.
'Money', wrote Shaw, 'is the most important thing in the world. It represents health, strength, honour, generosity, and beauty, as conspicuously and undeniably as the want of it represents illness, weakness, disgrace, meanness, and ugliness.'

And the moral ? That evil is due to bad social conditions.

Now you can reform bad social conditions by Act of Parliament, substituting comfort, cleanliness, security, and financial competence, for discomfort, dirt, insecurity, and want.

Therefore, presumably, you can make men virtuous, or at any rate as virtuous as makes no matter, by Act of Parliament.

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