I am going to throw a reciprocal link at John Kindley at People Vs. State in part just because he was a good sport in comments recently, and in part because general antipathy to deities aside, I do like me some of that good old-fashioned gnosis. I don't much care for priests and prelates, but I do have a soft spot for mystics. In any case, I want to revisit the sewers. You know, I have always admired the ingenuity of the poor: the black dudes on my street who keep those cars running and passing inspection somehow, long after they should die; the Iraqis' goddamn genius with a generator. Now there is no moral dilemma in working to improve the material lot of the poor; the truism holds: no one should starve. But that desire to improve swiftly becomes the moralistic paternalism of the very liberalism we claim to despise. It is one thing to have compassion; quite another to pity. Insofar as there is a moral dimension, it is the inverse of the material one, and when I say that we may have to learn to be poorer, I do not mean simply that we may have to make do with fewer possessions and trips to the Whole Foods. Of course, it is likewise easy to sit in a position of privilege and edify poverty, and I don't advocate the poverty of asceticism merely for its own sake, which has always struck me as slightly juvenile. Nonetheless, the radical sensibility, truly embraced, as J-Lamb himself imagined it, requires not that you wonder how to make the poor more like you, but that you seek to become more like the poor.