Friday, June 10, 2005

Factory work has always been middle class, right?

On yesterday's edition of the knee-jerk protectionist Lou Dobbs Tonight, Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, dropped the following piece of idiocy [paraphrased]: If we stay with the WTO, we're going to start seeing nothing but low-paying jobs you only need a high school diploma for. We're losing all of our manufacturing jobs, our middle class.

What a dipshit. But, it must be noted, his idiocy evinces a peculiarly American type of idiocy; Americans are ridiculously prone to conceptual naturalization. In other words, instead of asking "Why are things this way," we say "things have always been this way. It must be a law of nature." One example: those that don't have health care treat our current system as a fact of nature. In polls, they routinely communicate their concern over health care (and lack thereof), but in those same polls signal that nothing can be done.

Similarly, Sanders treats the middle class-ness of manufacturing as a natural fact. In his fucking stupid universe (and our American universe, unfortunately), manufacturing jobs are middle class jobs in the same way that bears are mammals. This is, of course, either ridiculously stupid or tragically forgetful of the long struggle by unions to win those favorable contractual terms. Rather than fight the WTO (a fight which both Quixotic and ill-informed), he should be working with the Service Workers' Union to secure a future for the American middle class.