Sunday, January 11, 2009

A virtue of losers

According to Dr Alan White in the Guardian Review, this is how Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, a man who had lost all sympathetic feeling for his fellows, saw kindness - as a virtue of losers. Scrooge was of course redeemed and reabsorbed into life and its networks of reciprocity by the hand of a sort of God, a sort of God (be it God or Marx) that, says Dr White, we are lacking today.

But surely all human virtues are truly virtues of losers. We all eventually lose everything - forever. Isn't it this that makes them virtues in the first place? Isn't it only because we are born losers that any kind of morality is possible? If we depend on God or Marx to compensate our losses, can we ever be said to act virtuously at all?

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