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‘The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?’ said Scrooge.

I gave you a rec for the always-apt Dickens quote, but there is a measure of irony here. Paul Ryan appears to be an unreconstructed Randian to whom the works of Dickens apply in full, but Romney's tendencies in that direction are strongly mitigated by his Mormon background. The Mormons learned the hard way that it is better for a community to help its poor and destitute than to rely on the tender mercies of the free market. They do a wonderful job of this, in every city, town, and rural community in Mormon country -- Utah, southern Idaho, northern Arizona, western Colorado. Even socialists could learn a thing or two from the welfare organizations operated by the mainstream Mormon Church (the splinter-group polygamists are another story entirely).

This may be the first and last positive thing I will ever write about Mormonism, a "religion" that, in its theology, caricatures religion. Still, I believe that they really do deserve great credit for having developed and preserved this system, and that it should be studied.

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