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Gladstone, William Ewart - Removing threats - Avoiding dependence

Identifier

026857

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

People on benefit, or people who let others do their thinking for them may not realise that this is a threat to themselves and others. 

Dependence on others for money and handouts as well as ideas makes one extremely vulnerable, one can be manipulated and used extremely easily. 

But dependence on others can also result from artificially low wages, in other words, near slavery employment.  Poverty is not very conducive to spiritual experience.

In the same way, dependence on the Government for education and the sort of education system we now have which requires a child to sit and simply remember dubious ‘facts’ is not a test of intelligence but a test of memory.  There is every reason to help children read and write, but ultimately it is then far better to teach children how to learn and find out, observe and then verify.  Brain washing is easy, the imparting of damaging ideas all too easy.

Even in Gladstone’s time he recognised the dangers. 

Dependence as opposed to independence of thought of income and of education is one of the biggest dangers we face today.

It is worth adding that Gladstone lived what he believed, his sincerity was absolute:  One of the Gladstones' neighbours observed that "He and his devoted wife never missed the morning service on Sunday... One Sunday, returning from the altar rail, the old, partially blind man stumbled at the chancel step. One of the clergy sprang involuntarily to his assistance, but retreated with haste, so withering was the fire which flashed from those failing eyes."

A description of the experience

Speech at the opening of the Reading and Recreation Rooms erected by the Saltney Literary Institute at Saltney in Chesire (26 October, 1889), as quoted in "Mr. Gladstone On The Working Classes" in The Times (28 October 1889), p. 8

But let the working man be on his guard against another danger. We live at a time when there is a disposition to think that the Government ought to do this and that and that the Government ought to do everything.
There are things which the Government ought to do, I have no doubt. In former periods the Government have neglected much, and possibly even now they neglect something; but there is a danger on the other side.
If the Government takes into its hands that which the man ought to do for himself it will inflict upon him greater mischiefs than all the benefits he will have received or all the advantages that would accrue from them. The essence of the whole thing is that the spirit of self-reliance, the spirit of true and genuine manly independence, should be preserved in the minds of the people, in the minds of the masses of the people, in the mind of every member of the class.
If he loses his self-denial, if he learns to live in a craven dependence upon wealthier people rather than upon himself, you may depend upon it he incurs mischief for which no compensation can be made.

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Gladstone wrote on 16 July 1892 in autobiographica that
"In 1834 the Government...did themselves high honour by the new Poor Law Act, which rescued the English peasantry from the total loss of their independence".

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On 11 December 1891 Gladstone said that:
"It is a lamentable fact if, in the midst of our civilisation, and at the close of the nineteenth century, the workhouse is all that can be offered to the industrious labourer at the end of a long and honourable life. I do not enter into the question now in detail. I do not say it is an easy one; I do not say that it will be solved in a moment; but I do say this, that until society is able to offer to the industrious labourer at the end of a long and blameless life something better than the workhouse, society will not have discharged its duties to its poorer members".

On 24 March 1892 Gladstone said that the Liberals had:

...come generally...to the conclusion that there is something painful in the condition of the rural labourer in this great respect, that it is hard even for the industrious and sober man, under ordinary conditions, to secure a provision for his own old age. Very large propositions, involving, some of them, very novel and very wide principles, have been submitted to the public, for the purpose of securing such a provision by means independent of the labourer himself....our duty [is] to develop in the first instance, every means that we may possibly devise whereby, if possible, the labourer may be able to make this provision for himself, or to approximate towards making such provision far more efficaciously and much more closely than he can now do.

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Gladstone supported the London dockers in their strike of 1889. After their victory he gave a speech at Hawarden on 23 September in which he said:

"In the common interests of humanity, this remarkable strike and the results of this strike, which have tended somewhat to strengthen the condition of labour in the face of capital, is the record of what we ought to regard as satisfactory, as a real social advance [that] tends to a fair principle of division of the fruits of industry"

The source of the experience

Gladstone, William Ewart

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Suppressions

Reducing threats

Commonsteps

References