What do you call the philosophy of someone who is almost: never grateful, never satisfied, always offended by something, hates to see others get ahead, whose normal expression is either a frown or a smirk, and whose debating style is spouting slogans and shouting down any disagreement? The usual terms-leftist, progressive, socialist-really are not descriptive enough. Let me suggest a better moniker. Nearly everyone, even members of our techno generation who would only read a book at gun point or when their smartphone went dumb, is familiar with the famous character in the Dickens novel A Christmas Carol. His name became synonymous with miserly, it’s Scrooge! That constellation of sour attributes I listed is perfectly described by Scrooge-ism. Of course, not every person who leans left or progressive is a Scrooge. Are you? Look in the mirror. If your default expression is a frown or a smirk, or you can’t decide between them, you are a Scrooge-ist.
What does this mean in every day, practical terms? Let’s assign some numbers to determine where you fit on the Scrooge scale. The more points, the Scroogier you are. Do you comb the news, internet, social media looking for examples of how bad things are? When you read about devastating wildfires, or category 5 hurricanes, or a heatwave somewhere, do you immediately think “climate change”, do you reject other explanations, do you automatically condemn the usual suspects–oil companies, Republicans, greedy SUV owners? Give yourself 5 points if you checked all the boxes. If you are hiding a Hummer, Tahoe, Expedition or Dodge Ram pickup, or similar vehicle in your garage, and only drive the Prius when someone is looking, double your points for hypocrisy.
Do you inspect traditional or worship music, or only tune into Christian radio listening for any whiff of racism, sexism, homophobia, trans-exclusion or binary gender pronoun? If so, give yourself another 5 points. If you then accuse the music of whatever prejudice you think you found, and protest and rail against use of that music, give yourself another 5 points. Do you gratuitously mention (President) Trump at least a dozen times a day? Give yourself 1 point for every mention of his name, double the points if you use pejorative slurs each time. Do you accuse someone of racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, misgendering, deadnaming or trans-exclusionary daily, even if it’s shouting at the TV? That’s another 10 points, for attempted mind reading.
Now here’s the hard truth to face. You (and I) are privileged to be citizens of the United States. If you are not grateful for your privilege but spread guilt instead of gratitude, give yourself 10 points, and slap yourself upside the head. What percentage of your income do you give to charities that serve the causes or people you admire and trumpet? Subtract 1 point for each percent of income given, from your point total so far. If your total charitable giving is less than 10% of your after-tax income, add 1 point for every percent below 10 back to your point total. If you don’t give anything but spare change to charity, give yourself another 10 hypocrisy points. Do you vote in every election, including local elections, and study the voter guide to educate yourself on candidates, issues, and initiatives? If it’s no, give yourself 5 points for laziness and ignorance. Wait a second, uncle curmudgeon, I occasionally vote. Does it have to be all or none? What if I’m out of the country? I always vote via mail because I have trouble getting around, due to a stroke. What’s your excuse? Mail it in!
This was just a test sample, not the whole test, but let’s review how much of a Scrooge you are. The maximum number of points someone could get on the sample test is 87, and that’s if they mention Trump a dozen times daily, pejoratively every time, give nothing to charity, are hiding a gas guzzler in their garage, don’t vote, protest innocuous song lyrics, and aren’t grateful for their status as citizen. Wow, not someone you might want to have a beer with, especially if it isn’t a European import. Unless you are cut from the same cloth. I could easily compile another list of the foibles of conservatives. In fact, conservatives who don’t conserve what is good about our country and traditions, but seek the approval of Scrooge-ists, deserve the whole 87 points too.
So how did you do? If you scored near 87, you may adjust your attitude, rigorously examine your assumptions, and re-test. If you’d rather not, buy a white wig, a top hat, a long black coat and gather up your gold doubloons. Let your inner Scrooge out.