It seems to me that Dickens had it right. We live in a bipolar world. Your life and the lives of your children depend on good fortune and the world in which you live. It is either the best of times or the worst of times:
It is the age of wisdom, it is the age of foolishness, it is the epoch of belief, it is the epoch of incredulity, it is the season of Light, it is the season of Darkness, it is the spring of hope, it is the winter of despair.
And that is why, at Christmas, my thoughts always return to A Christmas Carol. Scrooge was the arch-typical Neo -Conservative. Dickens knew him well. But he also knew that redemption was in each person's grasp. And that is why, at the end of the tale, Scrooge
became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
After all, the point of life is not to have everything, but to have enough -- and to make sure that others have enough. That is not the attitude of our present masters. But Scrooge -- and Christmas -- remind us that there is always hope for a better world.