Socializing with Friends – – –

Jack’s guest Wednesday post –

There’s a favorite Scottish saying that goes – “we’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns” (which roughly translates as “all human beings are part of the same big family of mankind”). When laid alongside Robert Burns’ famous song “A Man’s a Man for a’ That” it pretty much sums up my political views. I would therefore describe myself as a European style social democrat.

Scotland is an odd place in terms of its mix of entrepreneurship, inventiveness, canny financial acumen and sense of shared community. That last one perhaps stems from the highland clan system – the idea of extended family. Which neatly brings us back to Jock Tamson’s bairns.

I believe that there are certain things that any civilized community should provide to its members. That would include those that have health issues or just struggle to maintain an acceptable standard of living. That shouldn’t depend on the vagaries of charitable giving, but be organized, planned and paid for through progressive taxation. Of course this requires a healthy economy that can pay people sufficient to generate the tax income to pay for it. As a Quaker I have to also say that I believe far too much tax income is spent on making war!

Just twelve miles from my hometown is the one where Adam Smith, the father of economic theory was born. His famous book “The Wealth of Nations” is popular with lots of Neo-Liberal conservatives, however they always ignore the part where he says that market forces have to work alongside a safety net to protect the most vulnerable members of society. So even good old Adam was a social democrat at heart! Of course he was part of the European Enlightenment of the early 19th century and Edinburgh was an important part of that through medical research, philosophy and political theory.

In case this sounds like an advertizing feature for the Scottish tourist industry, I should perhaps remind you that Jock Tamson’s Bairns are all of humanity – black, white and every color in between – all religions and none – – –

So there you have it. I guess some of my American friends will have had their worst fears confirmed now. I’m the socialist their parents warned them about!

Duck and cover – – –

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3 Comments

Filed under Big Stone Gap, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Socializing with Friends – – –

  1. David Carter

    Well put. I agree whole heartedly. I too ascribe to the social democratic philosophy and ideals.

  2. priscillaking

    Lots of baby-boomers were attracted to socialist ideals; I would just like to help them understand why those ideals do not work. I don’t want to hijack this blog post, but there’s a “Makers & Takers” theme at my blog that may interest anyone who really wants to know about living on a low income in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  3. priscillaking

    But hurrah for mentioning Adam Smith’s reference to market forces that help poor people…as when people feel “honor-bound” to support other people’s work (even if they “don’t need” to buy a book they buy one anyway, to show respect–all books I’ve bought new, apart from textbooks, I’ve bought for that reason).

    That sense of honor does survive in the Blue Ridge Mountains, at least in the part where I am. Basically it means that there’s no obligation to help an addict buy drugs, or to set up a system where he sells his food stamps to buy drugs and then goes to the food bank for free food…but there *is* an obligation to support good work especially if it’s likely to be otherwise poorly paid.

    I only wish more baby-boomers still felt it.

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