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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Thanksgiving

I'd like to wish all my American readers a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. It seems to me an eminently sensible thing to do - to set aside a day on which to consider the good fortune one has enjoyed through the year. And we in the western world do have much to be thankful for.

Though we may not always appreciate it, and there are certainly those living in our society (and enjoying its benefits) who feel we have 'stolen' everything we have from some 'victim' of their choice, but we do enjoy a degree of freedom and security most of the world does not. Even those of us who are currently unemployed receive some support, perhaps more so in Europe than in the US, but there is still a safety net which is non-existent elsewhere.

No human society is ever perfect. No human society can ever be Utopia simply because one man's vision of heaven on earth, is another's vision of hell. Ours suits us and our belief in the freedom of the individual, in our belief that each of us is free to choose his or her religion, lifestyle and, yes, our own road to hell. We should give thanks for it and be prepared to defend it - there are many who loathe that choice and want to restrict it or suppress it.

The western societies also enjoy a greater distribution of wealth than almost any other. In most of the world the real wealth rests in the hands of 5% or fewer of any given population group, in the west that figure is higher and so is the size of the group perhaps best labelled 'Middle Income' earners. Many of the countries I have visited have a much narrower division of wealth - those who have everything and those who subsist - the middle class "middle income earners" are almost non-existent or invisible.

Yes, we have a great deal to be thankful for. We should join our American friends and give thanks for it.

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