Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Beck Looks Down His Nose

Four-and-a-half years old, and still relevant.

In January, 2006 a post appearing on conceptualguerilla.com argued that "right-wing ideology" could be capture in the simple phrase "cheap labor." Among the applications of this principle are the following:

•Cheap-labor conservatives don’t like social spending or our “safety net”. Why. Because when you’re unemployed and desperate, corporations can pay you whatever they feel like – which is inevitably next to nothing. You see, they want you “over a barrel” and in a position to “work cheap or starve”.

•Cheap-labor conservatives don’t like the minimum wage, or other improvements in wages and working conditions. Why. These reforms undo all of their efforts to keep you “over a barrel”.

•Cheap-labor conservatives don’t like unions. Why. Because when labor “sticks together”, wages go up. That’s why workers unionize. Seems workers don’t like being “over a barrel”.

It's no coincidence that this post is now making its way across liberal/progressive blogs. One of the finest exemplars of the cheap labor philosophy is America's favorite rodeo clown, Glenn Beck (video, below, and text from Crooks and Liars).

You have the 99ers. Have you heard of the 99ers? Oh, there they are. The Democratic Socialists of America. The 99ers. These people, some of which, frankly, I bet you'd be ashamed to call them Americans.

They think that 99 weeks on employment benefits just aren't enough. Last week they went down to Wall Street and they protested. 99er Connie Kaplan asked, "Are you going to tell us, President Obama and Congress, that our lives are not worth saving?"

Connie, here's an idea, I'll save your life. Don't spend your remaining money on travel to get to a protest, go out and get a job. You may not love the job. Work at McDonald's. Work at two jobs. There's been plenty of times in my life where I've done jobs that I've hated, but I had no choice.

Two years is plenty of time to have lived off your neighbor's wallet.

Awww, stop being so mean, these people are just regular people. Really? Are they really just regular people? She looks normal, doesn't she? (points to woman holding sign) Yes, there she is.

These aren't regular people. These are Workers of the World Unite, these are SEIU people, AFL-CIO, the Democratic Socialists of America -- that's not regular people. They're socialists and anti-capitalists.

Do you remember seeing this photo on The Drudge Report last week? (From sign) "A job is a right." By the way, here's the union label, right there. No. A job is not a right. In the former Soviet Union, it was a right. In Venezuela, it's a right, but not here.

How many weeks of unemployment are enough? Really? If 99 weeks is not enough, how much is? Is it 100, is it 200, is it a lifetime?

When you get past Beck's fantasies about the Democratic Socialists of America and Venezuela, you get: Get a job. Awww, stop being mean, these people are just regular people. I bet you'd be ashamed to call them Americans. A very wealthy and privileged man, Beck looks down on rank-and-file Americans. The tipoff: he denies they are "regular people"- to him, they are not.

We are used to lack of compassion from the far right, a trait which matters little to their acolytes, and which some of them probably grasp as a badge of honor for themselves. But the elitism is startling. And it can only be hoped that some of his listeners recognize that the difference between the Americans Glenn Beck ridicules and themselves is simply the possession of a job.

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