Dickens was a Communist?

A friend of mine posted this as his facebook update:

I re-read A Christmas Carol not long ago and was surprised that such a piece of political hack work should have won such a place in so many people’s hearts. Of course there is a political message in much of Dickens, but this goes all the way into simplistic, caricatured propaganda. Scrooge was merely a capitalist, investing in a business and providing employment, yet is compelled by that most odious tactic–guilt mongering–to redistribute the earnings that were rightfully his. Lenin would have loved this story. So, add that to all the other deceptive myths and fables at this time of year.

I guess I agree.

Dickens’ story would have been better if Crachit had organized with the other workers, lynched Scrooge, and redistributed his wealth – thus terrorizing the other factory owners into a realization that if they didn’t get in line, they’d be next.

Ok, or maybe they formed a union and demanded a living wage and profit sharing or something like that. That would be less of an interesting read than the streets of London running red with the blood of the greedy capitalist pig, Scrooge.

Update: Another friend emailed me with this one:

My version of A Christmas Carol would involve a medley of other writings: the Bastille set on fire and Count Monte Cristo distributing the wealth of the late Jean Valjean – the true entrepreneur of his era – among the Miserables. Then Scrooge would go Around the World in 80 Days to recover his fortune, but not before a Connecticut Yankee sold his bike, bearing King Arthur’s signature – on eBay.

3 Responses to Dickens was a Communist?

  1. David Eoll says:

    ” the earnings that were rightfully his.”

    Rightfully. Well… there’s the problem. Rights are ultimately arbitrary. Communists and Capitalists have always agreed on one thing: Wealth should belong to those who create it. The disagreement has always been: Who does the actual creating?

    • CPlatt says:

      I don’t think the principle that you own the fruits of your labors is “arbitrary.” Private ownership is at the heart of capitalism, and has proved to be a very useful motivator. I think that makes it a bit more than “arbitrary.”

      • jdgalt says:

        We all agree that you own the fruits of your labor. The issue between capitalism and communism is, are owners of capital (for example a car factory) entitled to credit for enabling production? Communism said no, the state should simply seize the factory and give them nothing. Of course the results can be seen in Russia’s economy today: all their industry is obsolete, because nobody invested in it.

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