Humans are Made for Striving

Humans have two basic needs.  They need enough to eat and enough to do. 

Work is now the organizing principle of a reasonable life,  whether you like it or not Mr. Tuttle.  Humans are made for striving, at least since that mishap in the garden. 

The organizing principle of a reasonable life until recently used to be getting enough to eat.  With 90% or more of the population directly involved in growing food, having enough meaningful work to do was not a practical concern. 

We now live in a culture where  sociologists tell us that poverty causes obesity.  The solution is distributism

Don’t get your britches in a bundle Mr. Tuttle.  There need not be anything coercive about distributism.  People love working for themselves.  People hate being cubicle wage slaves.  Gardening is the #1 popular past time in the country.  Why? Because people crave peas?  Or because people are natural distributists?

Peace and prosperity to all in the new year.

-Harry Dexter White

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One response to “Humans are Made for Striving

  1. Mr. White:

    Well, a real subversive in our midst; this should be interesting.

    To begin, I might as well concede that something akin to Maslow’s Heirachy of Needs could be used to describe the general “organizing principles” exhibited in much of human society…”since that mishap in the garden”, as you say. Of course, that conveniently ignores the point of “that mishap”, which we might recall was an issue of moral imperative, not the need to eat a particular variant of apple.

    If we then found ourselves grubbing infinitely harder outside that particular garden, well, I suspect that wasn’t intended to (and did not, in fact) change the moral imperatives that we were truly “made for”. I can only imagine that such striving must be a good, perhaps necessary, remedial therapy for a people that might well be inclined toward obesity in poverty. So, in this regard at least, I can agree that work, like the food it should produce, is a basic and practical obsession.

    My particular concern with coercion, of course, derives from the unfortunate fact that so many are as likely to take those peas from their neighbor than to grow them for themselves or, reasonably enough, trade for them something of equal value. Ostensibly, a distributist such as yourself would share that concern, where such theft – either of the means of production or the produce itself, would reflect among the most corrupt of human impulses, however it might be rationalized.

    In the context of this blog, then, I am reminded of George Washington’s oft quoted observation that “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. Government is force; like fire it is a dangerous servant — and a fearful master.” Thus, while I might be inclined to embrace many distributist ideals on a personal level, I remain wary of most, if not all, political solutions to the human condition, which, I would contend, reflects more a deficit of spiritual health than of material wealth.

    As a result, I must believe that the laissez faire / libertarian approach to economic and political governance is, naturally, the least offensive to the very same free will proposition proffered in that original garden. To the extent that Distributist ideals might be achieved within that limited context, that is to say freely and on an individual basis, then I say, “go for it”.

    Of course, I support the stringent proscriptions against centralized authority (now generally ignored) in our Constitution, as adherence to those laws would effectively limit the sort of institutional theft of property and the means of production that Distributists, such as you claim to be, would typically decry. Where I cannot follow would be along any socialist-tainted avenue that might either limit the freedom to dispose – however unwisely – of one’s own property or penalize those that might acquire it, for whatever purpose. Rather, I would leave to the human race as much freedom to choose a reasonable (and charitable) life as might be possible.

    H. Tuttle

    “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.” —Thomas Sowell

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