Seasons of Steyn
To all our American readers, Happy Labor Day! And to all our Canadian readers, Happy Labour Day! That's what the day used to be about: putting the "u" in Labor. You can't spell labour without you, and without you and your labour this planet would be a primitive state of nature, red in tooth and claw. Consider the words of Peter J McGuire, General Secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, proposing the very first Labor Day a mere century-and-a-third ago. The new day would be an occasion, he said, to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold".
What a crazy! All the grandeur we behold comes from man and his work? What fossil fuel is he inhaling? Today, rude nature is the state we aspire to, and you can't even delve and carve a Keystone pipeline underneath it, out of sight. Labor itself, in the sense Mr McGuire used the term, is morally dubious among our elites, and, down at the other end, simply unknown. A statistic from my book After America, personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore and which help support my campaign against Nobel fraud Michael Mann's rude nature, into which I hope to be carving a hearty "up yours"...
Whoops, sorry. Where was I? Ah, yes. A quote from After America:
By 2012, one tenth of the adult population had done not a day's work since Tony Blair took office on May 1st 1997 - a decade and a half earlier. In such households, the weekday ritual of rising, dressing, and leaving for gainful employment is entirely unknown. In Ferguson, Missouri, the "conversation", as they say on MSNBC, is between the dependent class and the governing class that ministers to them and keeps them in line. If you're a convenience store owner, your low-skilled service jobs are the only labor on offer, and, for your pains, you get burned and looted by the dependent class while your 911 calls go unanswered by the governing class, both of which you fund.
Now there's a glimpse of the world to come, for those who wish to ponder it. Of course, nothing dates quicker than the future, as I suggested in this Labour Day column from Canada's National Post twelve years ago:
What comes after the cook-out? Big Government decreases social mobility, which is already in decline in America. Dependency ultimately leads to a society as rigid as that of Metropolis. The elites, as Michelle Obama did, do a little light diversity outreach for 350 grand a year; the middle classes man the Department of Paperwork; and beneath them is a vast dysfunctional underclass that, if you're lucky, is too torpid to riot too often. It's a subtler vision of hell than Fritz Lang's, but just as hellish. Here's another excerpt from After America:
What does the day after labor look like? Last year, I wrote:
On which cheery note, see you on the radio tomorrow. I'll be guest-hosting for Rush, starting at 12 midday Eastern on Tuesday and Wednesday.
from Seasons of Steyn, September 1, 2014
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A Song for the Season by Merle Travis Happy Labor Day, or Labour Day, according to taste. We'll be back with a Song of the Week bonus audio edition later this week, but in the meantime here's labor lyricized at the lower end of the register in a great Merle Travis song. This essay is anthologized in A Song For The Season: I was born one mornin' and the sun didn't shine I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine I loaded 16 tons of number nine coal And the straw boss said, 'Well bless my ...
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