The Thought Police have been out in force this week, reading the Riot Act to those with the temerity to make connections between the callous and sometimes lethal actions of ne'er-do-wells, and their unearned sources of income. One understands that the days of freedom of blog-speech may be numbered, but I'm chancing my arm anyway.
Since, as people of good will, we are all presumably moved to lament extreme outcomes such as tragic, if unintended waste of life all the way to actual loss of life; and even to deplore the often squalid lifestyles observed among those who do not work, it is surely legitimate to consider what might be the contributary factors, perhaps to see if something intelligent can be done by outside agency to minimise the problem.
Some of these may be factors such as innate personal flaws - some would say evil, or original sin - of the individuals concerned, though this is hardly a fashionable line of enquiry. If we aren't content to stop there (not least because there isn't much we can do about that), it is at least reasonable to consider economic and social factors and the part they may have had to play. At this point we are drawn to ask: if a person is in circumstances where they are being funded in a life of idleness, may this not drain away the resources of judgement and personal responsibility they would have needed to exercise routinely had they been purposefully engaged in a day-to-day working environment - instead of festering on their sofas at home ? And might a regular need to exercise these desirable faculties not have prevented them from behaving in the reckless and callous ways that have tragically resulted even in loss of life, albeit unintended, of their nearest and dearest ?
I refer, of course, to the squalid case of Hans Rausing, whom few would doubt was morally undermined by his unearned income and consequent corrosive idleness. May we say this lead to the death of his wife ? Yes, I think we may and, if moved to deplore such outcomes, we should.
So I do. Innate wickedness may exist, but it has less purchase on purposefully busy lives in constructive social contexts. We should do what we can to foster such conditions, and certainly not undermine them with our actions, political or otherwise. That's what I think.