Friday, December 4, 2009

Philip K. Dick

"I was reading Deuteronomy last night, and some of the notes by Rabbi Hertz, who is the late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire. Deuteronomy goes back to pre-literate days among the Jews; it actually was formulated before they had a written language. I 10586thought, My God, the injunction in the Torah -- in Deuteronomy -- about caring for the needy, caring for the sick, caring for the poor, caring for the helpless, caring for the disadvantaged, are built into this thing which is maybe 3,000 years old, and has worked for 3,000 years.

"And now we're hearing that kids don't get hot-lunch programs, and the elderly don't get social security, and everybody will have to get by on his own. We're not seeing the clock turned back to 1912, before the graduated income tax was enacted; we're seeing it turned back to Imperial Rome, where I think it was Seneca who said, "There's no use giving food to the starving. It'll just prolong their miserable lives." Rabbi Hertz quotes him. The Roman attitude was that being hungry, poor, and sick, you deserved to die anyway. Aristotle, Plato, Virgil, Seneca and all of these people, don't even include it as a virtue -- they actually include it as a vice, that you would help the needy. We're now seeing a return to the old imperial system of, "Let the disadvantaged sink to the bottom, let 'em die." This is so tragic and so inhumane. "

Philip K. Dick, interviewed by John Boonstra, June 1981

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