Saturday, January 26, 2008
I've been reading a bunch of George Orwell recently, and seeing this, one of my favorite songs, reminded me of his essay about Charles Dickens. It's a very long essay, but it really comes down to the fact that Dickens' mantra was basically "It would be a better world if people were less beastly to eachother." Orwell points out that this is not as simplistic as it appears.
Which loops me back around to Billy Bragg. "Between the Wars" is one of my favorite songs because, at heart, it's about human decency. "For theirs is a land with a wall around it and mine is a faith in my fellow man," was written 20-odd years ago, but given what we're doing on our southern border, still works. The lines about raising a family in times of austerity are also still moving. "Not for the iron fist but for the helping hand" is as good of a rallying cry as I've heard in a while, and at least, I think, as good of a basis for a political philosophy as Dickens' mantra.