Allow me (won't you?) to jabber nonsensically on about POVERTY.
Let me first say the obvious. I'm rich. I'm typing to you on a fairly high-tech computer (yes, its a Celeron, but its a computer, dangit!). And, as you are reading this on a warmly glowing CRT or LCD screen yourself, you're rich too! How fantastic, isn't it?
First off, the term "rich" is an annoyingly relative word as I have probably just demonstrated...I imagine most readers reading that would recoil and say, "I'm not RICH, I'm middle class" or "I'm just a student, I eat ramen noodles for Pete's sake". But my point is, everyone tends to think that THEY are not rich, but that people who make more than them are. The man who makes $100,000 a year will consider himself middle class while a millionaire to him is rich. The man who makes $30,000 a year will think of himself as far from rich, but to him the $100K earner is a rich man. And the man in rural Africa that lives on subsistence farming will certainly think a man who makes 30,000 US dollars in a single year is rich indeed.
America is a rich nation. Look at our nation's poor. They tend to have television sets. Many have automobiles. Starvation in America is more linked to the disease of anorexia than famine...how strange that would seem to the people of five centuries ago! Overeating and its ensuing obesity is more of a health risk to America's poor than malnutrition and starvation.
People in America, regardless of income level, can general achieve a relatively (compared to most other nations and civilisations past) high standard of living. How do you think that was accomplished? To me it is the triumph of free enterprise and capitalism. What has communism done for its poor? Where would our poor be today if we had adopted communism? Better off? I doubt it. But I'm eluding the point I wanted to make...
Basically, in the centuries past when the poor could barely survive, I could sympathize with the proponents of communism. I still feel that communism actually made people worse off (as proved by early colonial experiments) but the intent was noble. But now, socialism and communism as applied in this country can not claim such a noble goal. The concept of equality is the only thing left. "He has it, I want it, its not fair". And make no mistake, from screwed up tax structures (an inevitable result of politicians consistently hiking taxes on the "rich" and lowering taxes on the "poor"...always popular with the ignorant masses) to every form of entitlement that goes beyond simple provision of food to the poor, it is a sort of modular, piece by piece communism. I can at least respect the goals of helping the poor survive, but now that that is hardly a concern, the nobility is lost, and communism/socialism/leftism are completely bankrupt...bereft of good intentions, without historical success, and devoid of sound logic. Obviously nobody calls it communism anymore, but the entitlement/equality side of liberalism continues to thrive on two things...the guilt of the wealthy and the envy of the unwealthy. But it ultimately helps neither.
It seems like it may be about time to brew again...winter is an excellent time for that. The tapwater for immersion chilling is ice cold, the house temps are great for ale fermentation, and with the chilly weather its much more pleasant huddling over a boiling, steaming kettle for an hour or two.