I’d like to draw attention to this post by erynn999 concerning an Aboriginal community which, due to a collapse in their fishery this year, has not enough money to buy heating oil. In the winter. In Alaska.
Some of the comments she read in response included statements that the people should just move, or they should get off welfare.
In response to such comments, Erynn wrote this post, which was angry — and I think righteously so.
Self-reliance may well be a heroic virtue — but poor bashing is not. Generosity and hospitality are the Celtic values that should be applicable here. Self reliance as a virtue has nothing to do with blaming the poor for their situation, nor with leaving them alone to die in the winter.
Self reliance cannot be practiced by those who lack the material means to do so, and certainly cannot be practiced by those who have had their livelihood taken away from them, whether by fate (the collapse of a fishery) or by colonial conquest (as in the case of almost all Aboriginal people on this continent).
But those who cannot be self-reliant for lack of the material means are not therefore un-virtuous, nor deserving of scorn. They are un-fortunate, in the sense of one whose fortune turned out for the worse: and they are deserving of our generosity. What miserly and cold hearted people would we be, if we withheld that generosity!
CRs, druids, and celts of this day and age need to find new ways to be heroic. Perhaps one way to do this would be to expand the cirlce of honour: where once the values of generosity and hospitality were intended for one’s family and tribe, and the occasional stranger who happens upon your door, now it should be extended to the whole of humanity. Might this be the new heroic?
Let not rich gifts or great treasures blind you to the poor in their suffering.
— The Testament of Morann.
Do not refuse to share your meat; do not have a niggard [greedy person] for a friend.
— Fionn MacCumhall.
It is riches you love,
Not men; as for us, when we lived,
It was men we loved.
— The Lament of the Old Woman of Baere.