Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Got Mine - A Conservative Worldview

(cross-posted at The Smirking Chimp)

My kids are big fans of the 'Blue Collar Comedy Tour', and especially of Larry the Cable Guy, a comedian so conservative that he named his daughter Reagan (I kid you not.) They have Tivo'ed several of the shows and so I hear a lot of it from the living room. Most of the time I tune it out, but one bit of Larry the Cable Guy's caught my attention. He was extolling the virtues of Wal-Mart, and deriding liberals who don't like Wal-Mart because they pay their employees so little. His advice to those weenies who don't like how employees are treated at Wal-Mart is - "Don't work at Wal-Mart!"

Those four words (or five, depending on whether Wal-Mart is one word or two) sum up the basic precepts of conservative philosophy.

You'll hear conservatives say, "If you don't want to work at Wal-Mart, then get an education and work hard and you won't have to." Pull yourself up by your bootstraps; put your nose to the grindstone; have some self-discipline. The old 'personal responsibility' routine.

What that does not address is the question, "If I don't work there, then who else should be working there?"

In other words, a job that pays so little that a full-time worker is still below the poverty line and is eligible for welfare is fine and dandy - as long as it's not me working there?

That's the essence of the conservative worldview: as long as I've got mine, I don't care if you have yours. The idea of everyone pursuing his or her own self-interest, then by the invisible hand, the self-interest of all will be maximized, or in the parlance of the Eighties, "Greed is good!" - is the one-size-fits-all answer to poverty, to injustice, to inequality. But what it boils down to in real life is "I've got mine." The idea that every person that works full-time is due enough compensation to support themselves, let alone a family, doesn't even enter into the calculation. It's okay for other people to be underpaid, overworked, taken advantage of. All that matters is - it's not me.

This is why conservatism just plain doesn't work - at least for the kind of society we say we want as Americans. There has to be some kind of consideration for more than just 'me and mine'. The place we're at right now - teetering on the brink of an economic collapse that could easily become a depression, embroiled in a grotesque, bloody occupation with no end in sight, pretending to be 'liberators' with no concern as to whether the country we're occupying wants us there or not, with a Vice-President who doesn't care how many Americans object to the war (apparently the two-thirds of Americans who say it's not worth fighting are merely exhibiting 'fluctuations in opinion', like toddlers who don't like apple juice today, but loved it yesterday), with the largest divide between rich and poor since the robber barons of the Gilded Age - is a place that conservatism, with its selfish, childish and short-sighted "I got mine" has brought us to.

And eventually, my conservative friends, even you may find yourself holding the short end of the stick. You may end up being the one treading water while someone else roars away to safety in the speedboat, oblivious to your cries for help. The policy of "I got mine" only leads to fewer and fewer people who have "got theirs" and more and more people who get next to nothing. Sooner or later, you'll be one of the latter. It's just a matter of time.

If you don't object to the mistreatment of your brother or sister, what will happen when it's your turn? Maybe you'll end up competing with Larry the Cable Guy for that swell greeter job at Wal-Mart.

How uniquely American.

13 comments:

Yoga Korunta said...

The dog-eat-dog group would do well to read Barbara Ehrenreich's Bait and Switch. Folks, we've paid our dues.

Alicia Morgan said...

Yes, we have indeed. Overpaid, even.

Comrade Kevin said...

We are masters at cutting off our nose, to spite our face.

info said...

Have you had enough of petitions, rallies, and protests that have not worked? The Republican party and their conservative members appears insulated from the public and unresponsive to the public. However their contributors do not appear insulated from the public and can collapse under pressure to a withering telephone campaign threatening mass boycotts of their products until they get their friends at the GOP to do what we want.

Would you and your organization consider joining these telephone campaigns and spreading the word to your membership, and fellow progressive groups in your newsletter? I have created these campaigns to peacefully take back America. After you have made these phone calls please send me email to info@democratz.org with the subject CALLED.

I plan to bring this message to as many Democratic Clubs around the United States of America as I can.

Thank you.

http://www.democratz.org

Get as many people to make these phone calls.

Call congressional contributor and war contractor General Electric
Corporation at 800 386 1215 or 203 373 2211 and tell the person who
answers, that you want the GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt to get Bush to end
the war in Iraq and then Bush resign with Cheney and until that
happens you will not buy any GE products and that you will tell your
friends about this. Then call a local appliance store that sells GE
appliances and tell the person you will not buy any GE products
from their store until they can convince the GE CEO to convince
George W Bush to end the war and then resign with Cheney.

Call congressional contributor Rite Aid Pharmacies at 800 325 3737 and
tell the person that you want the Rite Aid CEO to get the congress
and the President to enact HR 676 single payer universal health care
and repeal Medicare Part D and place the drug benefit in Medicare Part
B covering 80% of the cost of drugs with no extra premiums, no extra
deductibles, no means tests, no coverage gaps, and remove the
means test for Medicare Part B and until that happens, you won't buy
ANYTHING from Rite Aid.

Call congressional contributor Wendy's restaurants at 614 764 3553
and tell the person in that you want their CEO to get the congress
and the President to enact a $10/HR MIN. WAGE into law and until this
happens you will not go to a Wendy's Restaurant.


Call your local Exxon/Mobil gas station and tell the manager that you
will not get your car repaired there, nor will you buy gasoline there
until their parent company sets their price so that they can sell you
gasoline for $1.75 a gallon. Then only do business with other gas
stations. We will no longer stand for $3 a gallon gasoline.


Kentucky Residents:

Call General Electric Appliances Corporation in Louisville at
502 452 4311 and other appliance stores that sell GE products
and demand that they get Senator Mitch McConnell to get an
end to the Iraq war and for Bush and Cheney to resign and until
that happens you will not buy any GE refrigerators, stoves,
televisions, dishwashers, ovens, lightbulbs, etc. Get as many
Kentucky residents to make these phone calls.


After you make these calls you can also call Mitch McConnell's office
and tell his office that you have called GE in Lousiville and won't
buy their products until Mitch McConnell gets an end to the war and
gets Bush and Cheney to resign.


General Electric Appliances
9500 Williamsburg Office Plaza
Louisville, KY 40222
USA

tel: 800 626 2000
tel: 502 452 4311
502 452 4313

info said...

Alicia

I listened to your singing on your main web site. I really enjoy your singing. You sing and rock very well.

weeeeeeeooooooooooooooo

http://www.democratz.org

The Liberal Democratic party of the United States.

"We shall put Republiklan party economics on the very ash heap of history as we put communism."

info said...

Alicia

I just read more about you. You mention you worked with The Nelsons, Delaney Bramlett, Peter Tork and Chick Negron. Very cool.

You show talent in many areas. So, when do you run for office ? LOL

If Sonny Bono could do that, so could you.

You eat fire? Whoah.

Good morning.

info said...

Oooops Chuck Negron

Mathman6293 said...

What scares me is that young people are taking the conservative view. Kids that have nothing and don't value their education.

physioprof said...

Alicia, you are so right about this. One thing the right-wing has really been amazingly effective at is tricking vast numbers of people into voting against their own financial interests. One trick they employ to good effect is a form of three-card monte based on "social conservatism" I explained a few months ago:

http://physioprof.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/three-card-monte/

Here's an excerpt:

And while these sad pathetic fucks are diverted by the “social conservatism” shill in the right-wing three-card monte game that has been the explicit program of the Republican Party for 30+ years, the corporate oligarchs are busy robbing them (and, unfortunately innocent bystanders like you and me) totally fucking blind and recreating a feudal state where they are lords, and the rest of us, including the stupid deluded shits (the Republican “base”) that fell for their scheme into serfs.

Distributorcap said...

This is why conservatism just plain doesn't work - at least for the kind of society we say we want as Americans.

sad to so many people do want the Neocon/Conservative/Fundie type of society -- but for all the wrong reasons

and Alicia, i will correct you -- the GOOPers do have a medical policy for universal coverage

it is called DON'T GET SICK

you know if one thing ever happened to their lot in life ( like a Katrina type hurricane hitting the homes of McConnell, Rumsfeld etc) they would be first line for the dole out

it is quite sad that god trumps everything for these people, even a better life for their kids

Alicia Morgan said...

Comrade - I kep trying but I still have a big ol'honker...

Info - I'm so glad you're taking action! And thanks for all the phone #s and the ...info!

mathman - yes, even with all the 'pinko professors' out there indoctrinating impressionable kids with liberalism. I'm hoping this election will bring up a discussion in families abo


ut why things are as screwed up as they are, and how it happened. I talk to mine about it for sure.

physioprof - when decent people turn their consciences over to someone else, and give them authority, not because they deserve it but simply because of their position as an authority, this is what happens. We need to strengthen our muscles of disobedience - something the right wing is incapable of.

D-cap - it's like the 'Musician's Dental Plan' - chew on the other side!

info said...

Hello Alicia

Thank you. Please circulate the information far and wide and encourage people to make those phone calls. We can end the occupation and war in Iraq. Perhaps someone can get the word to John Mellencamp.

I notice you make cartoons. You might want to sell some of them on t shirts and mugs and more at http://www.zazzle.com

I have a Hunchback of John McCain t shirt at http://hunchback.democratz.org

and a store at http://store.democratz.org where I have a lot of political products.

Thank you.

Jolly Roger said...

Yes, the wingtard mantra is always the same. It's funny as hell to hear a brain-addled failure like Chimpy advocate it though. That idiot couldn't keep a Wal-Mart job.

If ever anyone needed proof of the disdain the wingtards have for ordinary Americans, Cheney's "they volunteered for it" should be all the proof you need of how they really feel about the average American.