At a family dinner the other night, the subject of the protests against austerity measures in Greece and elsewhere was brought up. The person who brought it up predicted that a worldwide depression was going to happen soon because “the Greeks are going to default on their debts and drag the rest of us down with them.” He went on to inform the captive audience at the dinner table that the reason for this unmanageable level of debt is that the Greeks (and other Europeans) want all kinds of free handouts from the government but are “too lazy” to work more than 30 hours a week. He then began to mock the mandated 30-hour work week in some countries:
Imaginary worker who just can’t get enough of toiling away for the boss-man: “But I want to work more.”
Boss-man: “Nope, sorry, you’re only allowed to work 30 hours.”
This little bit of fantasy theater was followed by a tedious paean to the glorious American work ethic, which is what has allowed us to stay “ahead” of all those latte-sipping Euro-bums all these years.
Somebody, perhaps sensing that they were being fed a pre-fab line of bullshit, said, “Is it because they’re lazy, or is it something else?”
“Oh, it’s because they’re lazy,” the instigator (and his wife) shot right back.
At this point I had to chime in: “Who wants to work 40 hours a week? I don’t. And who decided that we have to work 40 hours anyway? It wasn’t the workers.”
The conversation more or less fizzled out after that, but it occurred to me later (of course) that what I should have asked was: “It wouldn’t by any chance have anything to do with the banker-thieves crashing the financial system with their pyramid schemes, would it?” But then again, maybe it was better to not ruin the simplistic “narrative” that it’s us against the lazy Greeks, and that Wall St. isn’t giving us the shaft, too.
Posted by Joe on October 19, 2012
Two bumper stickers that I’ve seen recently:
Every abortion stops a beating heart
Mean people make little mean people
Now, assuming the driver of the car sporting the first sticker is a conservative (a longshot, no doubt), I think it would be helpful to point out to this person that Hellfire missiles stop beating hearts, too, with the crucial difference that Hellfire missiles often stop several beating hearts at once, so they’re arguably worse than abortions, if what we’re actually concerned with is the loss of human life. Of course, the moral outrage of conservatives tends to be somewhat selective, with the lives of the “innocent” ranking higher than those of the post-natal variety. As George Carlin put it: “Before you’re born, we love you; after you’re born, fuck you.”
The second sticker is a variant of the old “Mean people suck” sticker, and I’m going to assume, in spite of its ostensibly politically neutral message, that this one belongs to a liberal. Why? Because, seriously, who but a liberal would even think such a whiny, crybaby thought, much less drive around advertising it on the back of his car? (Also, the fact that it was on the back of a Prius pretty much guarantees that we’re talking about a liberal, since no self-respecting conservative would be caught dead driving a car that got more than 12 mpg highway.) These are the people who write letters to NPR telling about how “offended” they were by a particular story—for having the gall to entertain views that were an outrage to their delicate, infinitely refined sensibilities (in other words, views they disagree with)—and who would apparently like to see the world turned into a giant daycare center, where everyone is wet-nursed to death and the mean kids have to sit in time-out.
Posted by Joe on July 13, 2010
This is a little old, but I happened to (re-)stumble upon a link to it today and thought I’d mention it because, aside from being flat-out ridiculous, it provides a perfect illustration of why a lot of conservatives, in spite of any rhetoric to the contrary, have no interest in defending personal freedom (actually, not only have no interest in defending personal freedom, but are actually hostile to the notion).
Here’s the comment I left there which pretty much sums up my feelings on both the silliness of the author’s argument and on the broader issue of policing personal behavior:
I think what libertarians really need to do is reconsider their association with conservatives (at least the kind who hold views like the ones expressed here). There’s so much wrong with this article it’s almost mind-boggling, but I’ll just start by echoing Dan Patrick’s comment about whether tradition provides moral validation for an activity. Slavery had a rich tradition in western “civilization” for millennia. Should we bring that back? How about torture? Oh, wait, nevermind. (Also, you might want to rethink how this argument applies to marijuana, since it’s only been illegal in the U.S. since 1937.)
But of all the ridiculous ideas expressed here, perhaps the most absurd is the notion that in order to protect our freedoms the government must “enforce social order”—by preventing people from smoking a plant that makes them inclined to sit around, laugh, and eat junk food. Do I need to point out the irony here? You talk about the left’s dream of a nation of zombies, so drug-addled that they’re unable to resist indoctrination. But what’s the right’s dream? A nation of bright-eyed, enthusiastic drones eager to put the shackles on themselves?
The latter scenario sounds a bit scarier to me. Almost enough to make me want to roll up a doob and take a few tokes of the daemon weed.
(Via Rad Geek.)
Posted by Joe on June 9, 2010
I’m pretty sure there’s no act of (U.S., that is) state violence that some “conservative” douchebag won’t excuse. Then again, we are “at war” and this Awlaki character was a bad man:
Anwar al-Awlaki, a purportedly American-born Islamic cleric, who is now operating in Yemen, ministered to the 9/11 hijackers, inspired the Ft. Hood assassin, probably directed the would-be Christmas bomber, and is believed to be orchestrating and recruiting for violent jihad operations against the United States.
Other diabolical deeds Awlaki probably directed or is believed to have orchestrated: the earthquake in Haiti, the Holocaust, the assassination of JFK, and the crucifixion of Jesus. (By the way, I like the attempt to casually brush aside Awlaki’s U.S. citizenship–’cause, you know, this is the only possible legitimate objection one could have here.)
Posted by Joe on April 8, 2010