Friday, May 23, 2014

The Undeserving Poor

You are no crawfish. I know a lobster when I see one. You are trying to pass for crawfish!

This morning, on Marketplace (NPR) they told the story of the British decision to spend money on a sewer system for the city of London in the reign of Queen Victoria. The advent of the flush toilet meant that the Thames River filled with human excrement, filling London with malodorous fumes and precipitating outbreaks of deadly cholera infections. 

Yet, the British parliament refused to appropriate funds for a sewer system which would alleviate the problem. The Tories argued that the poor, whose water was tainted, were poor as a result of moral turpitude, endemic immorality and defects of character and they held spending public funds, derived from taxes of the affluent, was simply supporting the depravity of the lower classes, who, in effect, deserved their suffering and discomfort.

Ultimately, Parliament, which is hard by the Thames, was so overwhelmed by the stench, they voted through the funds. Only once the nostrils of the rich were enough offended, did the infrastructure get funded. 

Does any of this sound familiar?



  1. Mad Dog,
    It does beg the question what would our infrastructure look like--our bridges, highways etc., already in poor repair-if it wasn't needed by the rich, as well as the rest of us. Most likely in such shabby shape we'd be reduced to travel on foot...Love the tea party photo...

  2. Maud,

    It's from Historyporn, which is not a porn site.
    The photo's usually have some explanation and this one simply said something like, "Young girl with her pet hawk and crawfish."
    Mad Dog