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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Immoral Embrace: The Sickness Is Deep

Wage Slave
Image liftted from Patriot Acts

I am personally offended by some comments made by a Portland "newcomer," as quoted in Jon Talton's Sunday column in the Seattle Times, Check of Portland’s vitals shows signs of life. On Portland, Taz Loomans says:
...this place seems to lack a work ethic. There are too many loafers here unfortunately, too many people satisfied with doing service jobs and enjoying the time off, without developing themselves into something more.
...the key is to attract weird people who are motivated and ambitious and want to contribute to society and the economy, not weird people who are satisfied living on the edge of homelessness.

What sort of bigotry is this? Considering, first of all, that low-wage service jobs are primarily what are being offered to wage-slave Americans, that this class of worker is on the ascent, this is a remarkable observation to so glibly make. Are we now to pile on and further humiliate the working public? But let's leave that aside for the moment.

"Contribute to society and the economy" - these words have long been code for "not rely on the public welfare." It seems that it now considered polite conversation to extend this to those who, while providing for themselves, do not wish to pursue wealth ("develop themselves into something more.")

To go back to the diminished offerings to today's workers, I'd like to point out that there are very good, moral, reasons why one might voluntarily elect to accept a minimal wage. (I was going to add "and perform minimal work," but I remind myself that when I was making close to a 6-figure income I worked far less strenuously than I do now cooking for $8 dollars an hour. Indeed, it was not work at all.) Let's have a look.
  • Perhaps one has a natural avocation that is not so easily rewarded in our capitalist system and cannot be bothered to squander precious time and energy pursuing a more respected "career." (Of course, freelance writer Ms. Loomans surely understands this, so I'll assume that this would satisfy her ideas of "developing... into something more.")

  • Perhaps one is disillusioned with that hamster-wheel we call the "pursuit of success." There are very good reasons why one might come to the conclusion that there is really no enhancement of personal happiness at each incremental plateau of achievement. Because there isn't.

  • Perhaps one has awakened to the suffering of those at the bottom of the economic pyramid who serve as the foundation and the necessary support of those at the top, and do not want to participate any longer in this subjugation. At least not as a beneficiary of the system.

  • Perhaps - and this relates to the last two points - perhaps one realizes that more income means more consumption, and one wishes to resign from the activity that makes one the bane of the Earth that the average, middle-class American has become.
I do not mean to pick on Ms. Loomans - she is expressing something that is on the tips of the tongues of nearly all of us who have been educated in this abysmal social system that we find ourselves trapped in at this time in history. We acquiesce largely because we feel that if we work hard enough, if we "develop ourselves into something more," then we will rise above mere wage-slavery and become someone who contributes "to society and the economy."

We rarely ask ourselves what else we will become, once we have the whip placed firmly in our hand.


  1. Just saw a type of this on Facebook (like if you agree that your overtaxed for the benefit of those who won't work). Distasteful hardly describes my feeling.


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