For some reason, I decided today to punish myself by reading redstate.com. RedState, for my Canadian readers, is a wannabe Daily Kos for the right-wing. The people who run it are the sort of Republicans who give off a sort of normal, less freepish aroma, but do not be fooled: they are actually completely loopy neocons and the like with the thinnest veneer of erudition.
The difference between them and the freepers is the recognition that you have to put on a suit to get the creamier fraction of wingnut welfare.
All economists know that when American jobs are outsourced, Americans as a group are net winners. What we lose through lower wages is more than offset by what we gain through lower prices. In other words, the winners can more than afford to compensate the losers. Does that mean they ought to? Does it create a moral mandate for the taxpayer-subsidized retraining programs proposed by Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney?
Um, no. Even if you've just lost your job, there's something fundamentally churlish about blaming the very phenomenon that's elevated you above the subsistence level since the day you were born. If the world owes you compensation for enduring the downside of trade, what do you owe the world for enjoying the upside?
This is, in a nutshell, why capitalism---whatever its merits---exists in deep opposition to democracy. What is this guy really telling the victims of trade and, indeed, the rest of us? What is the moral corollary of this logic, logic that the writer quite correctly identifies as emanating from capitalist ideology?
Be grateful that we allow you to survive.
I don't normally go after right-wing ideologues directly myself, happily preferring, as I do, what others call the circular firing squad; I have generally preferred to go after intellectually dishonest people who profess to be, in some way or another, on my side. And I can't help but feel that this sort of logic also underlies those people as well, especially the well-meaning economists and the like.
But when someone tells me, "Congrats! We are not going to kick you onto the street today," I may indeed count my blessings for myself. But I am not obliged to express any gratitude for it. If I believe that I owe gratitude for survival to something, then I believe that it is my master.
*I can say this because in real life, I have a funny name like his.