Wednesday, September 15, 2004

On reading Tawney and getting back to basics.

Reading Tawney I came upon this splendid quote last night.

"The considerations which justify ownership as a function are
those which condemn it as a tax. Property is not theft, but
a good deal of theft becomes property. The owner of royalties
who, when asked why he should be paid £50,000 a year from
minerals which he has neither discovered nor developed but
only owned, replies "but it's Property!", may feel all the
awe which his language suggests. But in reality he is behaving
like the snake which sinks into its background by pretending
that it is the dead branch of a tree, or the lunatic who tried
to catch rabbits by sitting behind a hedge and making a noise
like a turnip. He is practising protective - and sometimes
aggressive - mimicry. His sentiments about property are those
of the simple toiler who fears what he sows another may reap.
His claim is to be allowed to continue to reap what another has sown."

Tawney, R.H. "The Acquisitive Society" 1921. Glasgow: Collins 1961. 68.

But what noise does a turnip make?

1 comment:

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Turnips sound like squashed tomatoes on a chopping block. Make of that what you will.