In Defense of Scrooge

The Toronto Star: “In other words, don’t question clichés. But this is precisely what Scrooge does at the beginning of the story, when the ‘portly gentlemen’ come soliciting. Here’s their pitch: ‘At this festive season of the year, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.’ Oh? And they don’t suffer in January or February? They don’t feel hungry in July and August? Why should it not be just as ‘desirable’ to help out these wretches in those months? Why not go further, in fact? Why not make some ‘slight provision’ for the poor and destitute every single day of the year?”

Michael Levin: “If you think it is heartless of Scrooge to demand payment [from Bob Crachit], think of Sickly Sid, who needs an operation even more urgently than Tim does, and whose father is waiting to finance that operation by borrowing the money Cratchit is expected to pay up. ”

David E. Bumbaugh: “The problem with Dickens vision, of course, is that the Tiny Tims of the world must wait patiently to be discovered by the Ebenezer Scrooges of the world. What is more, they must hope that when the Scrooges stumble across them, it will be after their miserly hearts have been opened by the visitation of the Spirit of Christmas. Scrooge has the resources to save Tiny Tim, but Tim has no claim on Scrooge except whatever obligation his own redemption has laid upon the wealthy man. In the story, Scrooge learned to keep Christmas and to keep it well, and Tiny Tim was saved, but there is no suggestion that the unjust economic system was in any way altered, or that a thousand other Tiny Tims were not languishing and dying needlessly in that gray old city.”

Robert B. Reich, “Scrooge is Alive and Well in America”: “On the other hand, if you happen to work for one of those 24/7 call centers, you may have to work on Christmas Day. Security guards will be at their stations. Many convenience store operators, too. Also hospital staffs, caterers, hotel personnel, emergency repairers of all kinds, fire fighters, police officers, even the staff at Marketplace.”