Beware This Boy.

In A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens uses the ghost of Christmas Yet To Come to introduce Scrooge to twin allegorical children, Ignorance and Want.  They appear sordid and animal-like, and Scrooge is warned

“This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

ImageIn Dickens’ time, the ignorance of the boy may have been taken quite literally, in an education sense, given that fully half of London’s children were unable to attend school of any kind. All the more hands to work the mines and factories.

Today the Boy is still with us – in a far more universal sense.

He has grown.

He inhabits the halls of Congress.  He serves in state senates, school boards, and on councils in regrettably-influential think tanks.

He is still Ignorance, yet he is an educated adult.

He proclaims fact without evidence.  He brings about change to suit his long-seated notions.

He has a hard time unlearning, and will rarely pause to examine his motives, his zeal, or the totality of his understanding, however small that may be.

Beware this boy.


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