G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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In America, we’re bipolar on jobs. On the one hand, our public policy is concerned with jobs, jobs, jobs. Presidents and other politicians are weighed based upon how many jobs they can “create”. Amid culture wars and the increasingly-extreme poles of our pols, the economy and jobs becomes the go-to point of contention for the prestige press.
Anyway, America is a hard-working country relative to other nations. And if you listen to the media we’re in a sort of jobs crisis. But when my neighbor, over the weekend, expressed her sympathy at my having to trot off to work – I was in my uniform and she let out an “Aww I’m sorry you gotta go to work” – I thought about what her statement said about how we view work in America.
It was just a one-off exchange. But it does expose something I’ve criticized left-leaning people for (if my neighbor is liberal or not, I don’t know) and it’s something that’s been discussed by Christopher Lasch in the books of his that I’m reading. Leftists and progressives have a strange relationship with work and jobs. On the one hand, they enjoy the idea of jobs. They laud the working man and claim to be his friend. But on the other hand, they despise actual work and the components that are required to sustain a workplace i.e. managers and rules. They abhor the bourgeoisie lifestyle.
This could also get back to Charles Murray’s argument in Coming Apart. Did people in 1960 express sympathy for people trotting off to work? How did conversations like that go? Were they the same then as we are today? The fact that people have the privilege, even in these rough economic times, to lament jobfulness tells me that we’re not as bad off as advertised.