by Lindy Davies

It would be sensible and charitable, I think, to afford some patience to the Georgist movement — to tolerate a measure of idiosyncracy — to refrain from harsh judgement of our displaying some, shall we say, eccentricities — perhaps even somehow learning to value, or even celebrate our, well, oddness. It cannot be denied that we bear a heavy burden. Responsibility has been thrust upon us (but certainly others might be better suited!) to acquaint civilization with a concept it must understand, in order to be saved from self-destruction. The stakes are huge, and our tangible successes pathetically small. To this group, discouragement is endemic.

Yet we ought to be heartened by precisely this fact. If the insight we’re trying to promulgate were not as important is it surely is, then it would be much easier to advance! If we have the key to boom/bust cycles and poverty amid plenty, if we can identify the fundamental source of unearned wealth and corrosive political power in the world, why — Good heavens! Would any sane person expect that to be an easy task?

Oh, we have an impressive list of foibles, but that can’t explain our low status. Were every single one of us endowed with world-class intellect, creativity and competence, we’d scarcely be better off. Other causes, promoted by far motlier gangs of bumblers, have burst dazzlingly on the scene as the Next Big Cultural Thing, only to fizzle. Our cause has neither burst nor fizzled. Somehow, decade by decade, it has persisted. Not many, never enough, but always new teams of dedicated Georgists have arisen to keep it alive, move it forward.

Every so often we hear the Mephistophelian whisper: “Maybe it’s ‘the sovereign remedy,’ but what good is that, if nobody can hear it? Let’s work for something we can actually achieve!” The single tax is good; saving the whales is good; therefore, saving the whales is the first step toward achieving the single tax, yes!? No. Saving the whales is a fine thing, but we ought to keep our eyes on the long-term prize. Along the way, it behooves us to be tolerant and patient.

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