'They are Man's,' said the Spirit, looking down upon them. 'And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.I remember watching "A Christmas Carol" as a child, and I remember my ears pricking up when the ghost said "but most of all beware the boy..."
Because why beware ignorance more than want? After all, it seemed to me that you could be ignorant and happy - in fact my hometown in rural Indiana provided many examples proving that you could indeed be thus - but it was almost impossible to feel content when you didn't have sufficient money to pay the rent or the power bill or buy enough food. I was rather newly acquainted with the last reality, and although my instinct was to trust my own experience, still, there had to be something to what Dickens was saying, or else the tale around that message would not be so exaulted in such a beloved medium at such a spritual time of year.
I must admit that I have labored, intermittently, to understand his point ever since.
And I think that the audience of "A Christmas Carol" is tempted to view ignorance as being embodied by the poverty-stricken characters of the story, consumed as they are with their petty needs, and deprived as they are of the education that could improve their condition, or indeed, as our last elections have shown, even identify those responsible for their condition.
But I have come to believe that the ignorance that spells our Doom is not the ignorance of the unfortunate, but the ignorance of Scrooge himself, and those like him. It is a self-imposed ignorance, perhaps, or perhaps one into which so much is invested that it is, ultimately, a most devout stupidity.
Much is made of the smugness of the liberal. It is said that we always behave as if we know better, as if we know what others do not. Well, I'll let all you so-called conservatives out there in on a little secret:
We do know something you do not know.
But we're not going to tell you what it is.
You may figure it out for yourselves, however, after you have been visited by 3 spirits.