hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Dorothy L Sayers, "What Do We Believe?" & "Creed or Chaos?"

". . .Our worst trouble today is our feeble hold on creation. To sit down and allow ourselves to be spoon-fed with the ready-made is to lose our grip on our only true life and our only real selves. . ."

". . .A very able surgeon put it to me like this: ‘What is happening is that nobody works for the sake of getting the thing done. The actual result of the work is a by-product; the aim of the work is to make money to do something else. Doctors practice medicine, not primarily to relieve suffering, but to make a living — the cure of the patient is something that happens on the way. Lawyers accept briefs, not because they have a passion for justice, but because the law is the profession which enables them to live. The reason why men often find themselves happy and satisfied in the army is that for the first time in their lives they find themselves doing something, not for the sake of the pay, which is miserable, but for the sake of getting the thing done.’

I will only add to this one thing that seems to me very symptomatic. I was shown a `scheme for a Christian society' drawn up by a number of young and earnest Roman Catholics. It contained a number of clauses dealing with work and employment - minimum wages, hours of labor, treatment of employees, housing, and so on - all very proper and Christian. But it offered no machinery whatever that the work itself should be properly done. In its lack of a sacramental attitude to work, that is, it was as empty as a set of trade union regulations. We may remember that a medieval guild did insist, not only on the employer's duty to his workmen, but also on the laborer's duty to his work.

If man's fulfillment of his nature is to be found in the full expression of his divine creativeness, then we urgently need a Christian doctrine of work, which shall provide, not only for proper conditions of employment, but also that the work shall be such as a man may do it with his whole heart, and that he shall do it for the very work's sake. . ."