A summary of ‘The Forgotten Man’ by William Graham Sumner written in 1883.
‘A’ is for the Agent of Special Humanitarian or Philanthropic Interest. A represents those humanitarians and philanthropists that are charitable with other people’s capital (i.e. money, property, labour).
‘B’ is for Bureaucracy, or government in general; lawmakers, agencies, and Gov’t executives.
‘X’ are the shiftless ‘poor and weak’; the imprudent, the negligent, the impractical, and the inefficient, or they are the idle, the intemperate, the extravagant, and the vicious.
Say A or B observes something that seems to him/her as wrong, from which X is suffering. A and B will put their heads together to create a Law or Regulation to remedy that evil to help X. In passing this Law/Regulation, they also determine what C shall do for X, or in a slightly better case, what A, B, and C shall do for X, without C’s consent or even consultation, where C would more often than not find a cure without passing additional laws.
Whenever A and B put their heads together to decide what A, B and C must do for X, there is never any weight on A and B. They consent to it and get to make the Law without the advice or consent of C. There is rarely any pressure on X because he/she can seek to evade it if he/she pleases. The weight of the Law/Regulation is on C.
Now, who is C?
‘C’ is for the good Citizen, the Forgotten Citizen. C is the simple, honest labourer, ready to EARN his or her own living by productive work. C is forgotten by A and B because he or she is independent, self-supporting, asks no favors, and makes no noise when he or she is in need.
C must make his or her living out of the capital of the nation. The greater the capital, the better living he or she can make, but for every bit of capital wasted on the shiftless, the idle, or the government, the same is taken from the capital available to the independent and productive labourer.
While C is overlooked in the decision making processes of A and B, I appeal to everyone to first think of C whenever X is mentioned. How would C remedy X’s problem? If you want to meet C, attend the next Tea Party in your area.