On Goodness

Few people today understand the technical revolution that the invention of the postage stamp produced. In many ways, stamp invention had as great an effect on 19th Century communication and commerce as computers and electronic communication has had on ours. Ease of contact facilitated business and social interaction. Business was enhanced. Newspapers and book readership increased as it became cheaper to deliver texts to readers. Social barriers fell as the lower classes could communicate with relatives and have access to employment and commercial opportunities that had been denied them. And the inventor of the postage stamp was fully aware of the social benefits of his ingenuity. Rowland Hill was a passionate progressive who fought for the betterment of the middle classes throughout his life. Opposed to slavery (and remember a prominent part of the Conservative agenda in the pre-1860 period was the rights of private property which included the right to own other human beings) and dedicated to free public education (another conservative bugaboo), our hobby was founded by a technological and progressive giant who used his talents to make the world a better place rather than just for personal gain. My favorite quote from Rowland Hill is “we can do more good by being good than in any other way”. Call it the doctrine of works or self actualization or whatever you want. The paradox of life and of the holiday season is that we get far more out of giving than getting.

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