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Charles Dickens' Christmas Charol

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I have to admit, I actually felt very sorry for poor Ebenezer Scrooge.

That the Three Ghosts could emotionally blackmail him  into sharing his wealth. :rolleyes::dough:

Michael Marriott takes on this horrifically evil book.

Kudoes!

I felt sorry for him too, he was probably treated like that his whole life. And to have all those Muppets following you around...

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A big thumbs up. Excellent article! I have always viewed "The Christmas Carol" as little more than a socialists screed against those who are achievers and producers!

Didn't we just have a thread about A Christmas Carol?

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Didn't we just have a thread about A Christmas Carol?

For the regulars, perhaps this topic has been done to death. But remember, not everyone checks every single thread that exist. People come & go on these boards all the time. That's the nature of it.

And yes, someday soon, someone will ask about what happened to Eddie Willers again.

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For the regulars, perhaps this topic has been done to death.  But remember, not everyone checks every single thread that exist.  People come & go on these boards all the time.  That's the nature of it.

And yes, someday soon, someone will ask about what happened to Eddie Willers again.

The other thread is in Aesthetics here. Only seven days ago.

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*** Mod's note: Merged with earlier topic. - sN ***

I have not read the original Dickens story since I was young, but today on AMC they played the George C Scott version of " A Christmas Carol ". As it always is now, I cannot view movies without putting a lens on the philosophic roots of the film.

My question is simply; do you think there is a redeemable message in " A Christmas Carol " and is Scrooge a miserable bastard? Or is Dickens ( Known to be a passionate Socialist ) spreading a sick message of Anti-Greed, Anti-businessman propaganda?

Edited by softwareNerd
Merged topics

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Well, the over-all message of the story was NOT that rich should be forced into providing for the poor, but rather that one can find happiness in CHOOSING to give to those who you feel are deserving of what you could give them. Scrooge wasn't made as the villain because he was rich, but because he was a penny-pinching, corner-cutting coot who treated his employees like dirt. His only happiness in life came from hanging on to every cent he made, even if it meant much worse conditions for himself and for his employees. He didn't like making money, he just liked keeping it. So I would hardly call him an Objectivist character.

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I also have not read the original "A Christmas Carol", but I happened to see "The Muppet Christmas Carol" a while ago, and that film is indeed a monstrous attack on productivity, and material achievment in general. In a sequence of flashbacks, Scrouge is portrayed as having been exceptionally intelligent and self-motivated from a very young age. In one scene, as I recall, he is (implicitly) criticized for standing up to an irresponsible employer who squanders his firm's wealth on revelry.

In the film, Scrouge becomes bitter after being abandoned by the love of his life, who leaves him because he is 'too' focused on his career. Her actions are clearly portrayed as being rational. Later in life, he is shown not as a cruel tyrant, but a strict man who expects competence from his employees (this is of course implicitly equated with tyranny).

I was surprised to find that the film (obviously meant for young audiences) is a philosophically elloquent condemnation of productivity. I suspect that previous interpretations of the story had mainly attacked straw men (it's not that we're against businessmen in general, but look at how cruel and depraved this particular one is). Not so with "The Muppet Christmas Carol". In fact, I think the director of this film managed to capture the essence of the story perfectly.

Tenzing Shaw

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*** Mod's note: Merged with earlier topic. - sN ***

Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" is one of the most beloved stories in Western civilization.

It has been represented in so many versions, translated into so many languages, and enjoyed for several generations, including ours. Walt Disney has now recreated the story in 3D animation and thousands or millions of children and parents are flooding the theaters.

I believe that "A Christmas Carol" deserves our attention as Objectivists. It is usually presented as one of the most inmoral characterization of altruism ever. Others may think it just speaks about generosity and benevolence. For some it has the germ of British socialism. For others it is just a call to mitigate the inevitable byproducts of capitalism.

Maybe it is a mix of many things.

I cherished A Christmas Charol for many years, but after I discovered reason and freedom, I regard it a very toxic product with which, however, we must deal every Christmas season.

Maybe we can still rescue some true insights from it. Perhaps we can't. But I would like you to tell me your opinion.

marleyvisitsscrooge.jpg

Edited by softwareNerd
merged topics

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It was bad philosophically, like most Dickens' works. However, I always enjoy the first parts, where Scrooge is still a jackass. The best interpretations, of course, are the ones with Scrooge McDuck.

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From the viewpoint of an Objectivist, what can we say about Scrooge?

Is Scrooge really a wealthy businessman?

Could we think of him as a successful businessman?

What are Scrooge's values?

Does Scrooge love what he does?

Charles Dickens makes an effort to present Scrooge as a lonely man, and specially as a man that has chosen loneliness over love since his youth.

Ayn Rand's Howard Roark is also a lonely man. But what are the fundamental differences in the nature of both characters?

largescrooge.jpg

Charles Dickens also makes an effort to present Scrooge as an skeptic. Scrooge considers "humbug" the very ghost of Jacob Marley when confronted with him. (Which, funny enough, is a paradoxical way to present a man that denies reality by denying the supernatural appearance that sits before his eyes).

Was Scrooge an skeptic? Is Dickens mocking at reason and upholding mysticism?

Or was Scrooge blind to his own lack of purpose and values?

How connected with reality was Scrooge?

Please let me know your thoughts.

Here is a link to the on-line full version of the Book

A Christmas Charol by Charles Dickens

Edited by Hotu Matua

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Scrooge is a caricature, not a person or even a character. He's often portrayed as cold, distant, perpetually angry, without an ounce of empathy or sympathy for anyone or anything. His purpose is to accumulate wealth for no reason other than to have more of it. I mean, that's just ridiculous.

Even so, in the end he's revealed as someone who actually cares most of all what other people think of him, a second-hander. Why? The sequence that convinces him to "mend" his ways is what he's show by the ghost of Xmas future. Where Scrooge finds out people don't care about him and never did, they're glad he's gone, they steal his property, coulnd't care less where he's buried, etc etc, oh, and that Tiny Tim is dead.

In other words he cannot be taken seriosly as a fictional character. He's the fictional equivalent of a straw-man in a debate.

Oh, if I thought I saw a ghost, my first reaction would also be that I'm hallucinating.

I do like the scene where he throws out the men seeking charitable donations from him. Scrooge asks something like "are there no orphanages, no work houses?" meaning governemnt financed poverty relief. I know Dickens intended to show Scrooge's heartlesness, but he also shows that when government takes over such things, individuals are less likely to contribute to charities that help the poor.

Oh, well. If the work is public domain by now, we can modify it for an Objectivist view. In such a mod, Scrooge would be the hero, but who'd be the villain?

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I think all the characters in "A Christmas Carol" are pretty awful. Scrooge is a caricature used to inspire hate against solitary achievers, making them into curmudgeons who have 0 empathy. And then there are the begging masses, who feel that Scrooge owes them something. But why exactly does he? Well of course, blank out.

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Scrooge is a caricature, not a person or even a character. He's often portrayed as cold, distant, perpetually angry, without an ounce of empathy or sympathy for anyone or anything. His purpose is to accumulate wealth for no reason other than to have more of it. I mean, that's just ridiculous.

Oh, well. If the work is public domain by now, we can modify it for an Objectivist view. In such a mod, Scrooge would be the hero, but who'd be the villain?

Why would Scrooge need to be made into anything good? If anything, it could be "rewritten" to better emphasize that *only* valuing money rather than the work it represents isn't a good thing. I don't think it's an entirely ridiculous character. Yes it is ridiculous that a person would *only* care about money, but I'm sure there are real people with such a mindset.

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Yes it is ridiculous that a person would *only* care about money, but I'm sure there are real people with such a mindset.

Can you name one? Or even one that comes close?

I knew a man who was very well off, maybe even a millionaire, but he lived a very frugal life. He drove small, compact cars (and I mean he drove himself, no hired driver), and he clung to them for years, going as long as a decade before buying a new one. I don't know where he lived or where he ate. But he had friends, he looked after his family and he was, as far as I knew him, a nice man and a gentleman. Miles removed from Scrooge.

I can't think of anyone else who comes close.

Oh, you hear stories about misers who live in ratty old houses, eat measly meals and hoard their money. Bu those are probably urban legends.

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I have to admit, I actually felt very sorry for poor Ebenezer Scrooge.

That the Three Ghosts could emotionally blackmail him into sharing his wealth. :stuart::dough:

Michael Marriott takes on this horrifically evil book.

Kudoes!

There's no doubt this was one of the most evil books I ever had the misfortune of reading. Scrooge indeed represents the most persecuted minority in the US today: big business. This horrible, evil book just sowed seeds of anti-capitalist fervor in the ranks of the so-called intellegentsia and media, and could have been indirectly responsible for the social fascist Obama getting elected.

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I see Scrooge as a very pathological character.

Dickens, as D'kian has stated, draw a singularity, an almost impossible character, a freak. A straw man.

To start with, Dickens provides no evidence of the success of Scrooge as a businessman. It is much more likely that Scrooge was a failed businessman, bittered by having forsook love AND fortune altogether. It can't be otherwise. To be a successful banker, Scrooge must have had an open, charismatic personality.

Imagine his office with just a single clerk after so many years. How many clients or deals could he possibly handle with just one clerk?

Scrooge was relatively poor, utterly failed, and mentally ill. His obsession with money was as abnormal as any other addition to sex, drugs, TV, videogames, religion, etc.

I would like to see A Christmas Carol rewritten by an Objectivist. :stuart:

Imagine, for example, a different story: Scrooge is an altruist, has lived just for others, has forsaken his projects and values for others, specially around Christmas season.

One day, he receives the visit of series of three ghosts (Roark, Rearden, Galt) who take him to different Christmas days of his life, showing him how he has been a phony, empty man. How his apparent benevolence has been driven by hate to happy and successful men. They will show him how he has wasted years in a life of self-immolation and that now he will be buried and forgotten as the rest of men. His life was only his responsibility and happines should have been his first pursuit.

At some point Scrooge would awake from his dream, and start a new life of egoism. Even when already old and physically weakened, he would start his own new projects, working out, spending his own money at his leisure, enjoying life and even finding a partner and rediscovering sex.

He would start being hated by parasites around him, but he would be, at last, free and happy.

Is anyone of you interested in giving it a try?

Edited by Hotu Matua

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