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Phillipic against toil

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From Change we can believe in to It was like that when I got here. It’s not so great a leap, really. Who thought the ocean’s level was rising disastrously in June of 2008? Who believed that Obama’s seeing off the Hillary juggernaut would stop it? No one and no one. We have simply gone from optimistic nonsense to a fatalistic nonsense. Now, instead of a Bright New Tomorrow we are offered a Bleak Repetitive Today.

If you’re willing to put in the work, the idea is that you should be able to raise a family and own a home; not go bankrupt because you got sick, because you’ve got some health insurance that helps you deal with those difficult times; that you can send your kids to college; that you can put some money away for retirement.

That is as sound a bargain today as it was all those times in history when it has been proffered. Von Bismark was not the first and Obama will not be the last to do so. There are many, many, many reasons why this project cannot succeed, even on its own modest terms but putting those objections aside we can state with high confidence, even if it COULD be so, the equitopia where all are equal but a few are in charge, is a sentence of eternal toil for you and all your posterity.
Toil was part of the original sentence for the Original Sin. Eden poured out dew and fruit. Outside, not so much. Toil was man’s lot. Is that merely work? No. Toil is hard work. Isn’t that something we’ve been told to revere? Whether it is Mitt Romney, Barack Obama or any major leaguer, all the blah-blah is about “those who work hard and play by the rules.” Whether in office or scrambling for one, each and every one wants you to know, they acknowledge and respect your hard work and that they also are “hard at work for the American people”; a bit of cornpone from the well-mined Clinton strategies. And there’s nothing wrong with a little hard work, right? A little hard work never killed anybody. Yes, perhaps a little has not. But a lot certainly has. It wouldn’t be too much to argue that most humans in history have died of toil, certainly more than animal attack or even violence. Toil is as much a blight on humanity as disease or warfare and makes both worse. This is so plain that we can be certain  those who extol it are not on line to perform it. The encomia are fraudulent.
Romney’s resume’ basically consists of a modest electoral career in Massachusetts and various successes in business. He offers No Apology. Hey, I worked hard and played by the rules and made lots of money. What’s wrong with that? Perhaps nothing, sir, but before saying so we must have a look at those rules and figure out what is meant by “hard”. Certainly it doesn’t mean harvesting asparagus or even maple syrup. Mitt, son of a governor and business magnate, did not quite come over in steerage. His hard day’s work may have started early and gone late but it was spent at a desk or perhaps a trading floor. Lunches might be working lunches but they were lengthy and lavishly appointed; certainly they were often catered. For Obama hard work has a similar aspect but on a much, much larger budget to which he lays a much more tenuous claim. As with this election, during the last one we also heard how hard all these mucky-mucks had worked, were working and would work for the American people and did we ever buy it. Why, they would be hauling water to your outhouse if that’s what it takes! Thanks fellers. Ah, we’ll let you know.
I dispute and reject the sanctity and value of hard work and that is what we are now explicitly, if duplicitously being promised. Hard work never got anyone anywhere, we can confidently pronounce, if by hard work we mean shutting up, doing what one is told and keeping your head down in wait of those choice bennies. No, no, no and no.  The promise is of an engorged TSA payroll, a police force for every post office and an AG inspector for every preschool; a proliferation of bridges to nowhere and high-speed trains to the past. It is a promise of make-work that pays; and has medical/retirement equal to anyone else’s. It is a promise that ALL labor of whatever sort will have the same result for the laborer. Accomplished how? By taxing/taking from the Haves and giving to the Have Nots. What is not given outright is instead forcibly discounted by removing the threats of foreclosure and bankruptcy. The jiggering of mortgages is much of what landed us in the pickle barrel so more jiggering is the solution. The costs are to be covered by fees on future mortgages? Fine. As for medically induced bankruptcies, these are to be made moot with compulsory insurance that covers everything. Very well but the costs are STILL going up. A family policy with all mandates is in the neighborhood of $1500 a month now. The reforms will reduce this through “efficiency”? That term needs a strict definition. To forestall bankruptcy in a few we preemptively bill everyone; a recipe for nothing but more work for someone, somewhere and medicine that is a cold monolith.
One thing that seems to be missing is any requirement for the lowest Have Nots even to show up for muster to gain their parcels but we will put that army of total dependents aside. Instead let’s address those noted so obliquely at Super Bowl halftime, of all places, by Clint Eastwood of all persons. He praises Detroit as an inspirational success story. The hard workers have made a comeback. And it was from hard work. Only that hard work was not sweaty multitudes hammering steel ingots into Pontiacs. Where we “came together” to help out Detroit was in musty meeting rooms and at toney retreats where the owners of the auto industry assets; the bondholders, were shorn of their property in violation of the law; where decades of losses were illegally passed forward to be used today; where the unions were given the keys to the factories and the passwords to the accounts and where their massive, fraudulent pension claims that brought the factories to the brink in the first place were removed from those corporate shells that THEY now command and placed on the public ledger. Now the New Genii have replaced the old, busted money-bags types. Management and design? Ah, I’ve only got a GED but I could do it, it’s not so hard. The results? GM is at record profits. Genius indeed! Hardly working but we’re working hard. Of course it would be tough even for the unions to fail to profit with their debts forgiven, their designs subsidized, their sales compelled and taxes forgotten. Clint tells us that the world is hearing the roar of our engines! Have you ever heard the roar of a Volt? Yes, it is impressive.
But none of that is the fruit of hard work. The unionists make sure of that. A little hard work never killed anybody but why take the chance? is the unionist motto. How do we know? Because they refuse to expose themselves to the normal terms of employment the rest of us endure and defend that privilege with violence. To even suggest that they might consider altering their decrepit work rules, compensation or benefits was enough to have them shut down the Motor City entire. No one mentions that. These are the hard workers, after all, although the robots build the cars. They are the virtuous caste, built from necessity at a time when the industrial bandits held their lives and toils cheap. And certainly the bandits abused their power when they held it but we see that the unionists, their scorched earth negotiations notwithstanding, abuse their powers as well, applying a vengeful discipline they would never stand themselves and that is considered a crime when laid on hard workers at large.
Still none of this is the result of hand-blistering toil. It is the work of arbitrators and fixers; the uber-class in any society but these pampered thugs DO NOT PRODUCE. They fight over production. They distribute production. So the more of an administrative state you have, the more fixers you have as compared to ACTUAL hard workers. The hard workers support the fixer-class which oddly is construed of the same people who tell them what to do when they are willing to put in the work. As fixers multiply hard workers find their work expanding but not it’s compensation as THAT is sternly capped. Work that increases without recompense… is toil; a biblical judgement made real.
Even these calculations understate the poverty and desperation implicit in the promise of houses, food, cars and retirement for all who will labor (and honestly, any who won’t). We must also account for the end of progress. Recall, (if the program succeeds) there is the same material benefit for all. The imperative of want is removed and this is the advertised virtue. But the reward for improvement is also removed. This was the great stumbling block to the Soviet agrarian reforms; no one would produce more than the next fellow because, you know what? They are just going to confiscate it anyway. If hunger is your enemy socialism is not your friend. In the same way, if toil is your enemy, and it is mine, then what you want to raise and praise is not the daily plodder but rather the irksome, lazy wretch who is too good to work hard. The answer to the Hammer and Sickle is, what’s a sickle? Understand, it was those too lazy to gather that first conceived to sow. It is those too lazy to sow who invented the hoe. He who was too lazy to hoe invented the plow. He who was too lazy to plow, invented the tractor. Only if we are to close the Patent Office, as they did in the Gilded Age because everything worth inventing was invented, can we propose to reward hard work at the expense of invention, innovation and fostering the insanities that have raised man from the mud into the skies. Only a conviction that man has either reached as far as he will or that he has already reached further than he should can support such depravity. We will be, like the Soviets and North Koreans, a society frozen in amber; our dynamic flow choked off into increasing pressures and tension. Except we will not have an American example to demonstrate what is possible since that was us. Innovative America will have died in a sclerotic episode quite poorly understood and in any case drowned under admonitions on hard work.
As they say, it’s what makes you free.

 

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