Everybody on the right is talking about MSNBC Ranting Head Martin Bashir’s enraged Palin-bashing from the other day, but nobody seems to see the key point. ICYMI and don’t want to watch any Martin Bashir clips (smart choice!), here’s the teapot tempest: In a speech explaining the burden our enormous public debt places on future taxpayers, Sarah said that we in the here-and-now were, in a sense, imposing slavery on our children. Bashir went off on a self-righteous rant about how very awful it was (ignorant, too!) for her to trivialize true slavery by comparing it to a heavy tax burden. While righties focus on the nasty things he called for Sarah to be subjected to, and lefties focus on reassuring themselves that they’re so very much smarter than Caribou Barbie, nobody seems to be aware of the fact that this sort of “slavery” simile is practically a verbal tic among far leftists.
Let’s start with the First Lady of Socialism, Emma Goldman, who wrote: The only difference is that you [people who work for wages] are hired slaves instead of block slaves.
Too far in the past? OK, then, how about Noam Chomsky? What they call wage slavery … was not very different from chattel slavery.
Indeed, so great is the readiness of hard-core lefties to deploy the term “wage slavery” that Communpedia* posts this warning in big, bold font: Comrades: be careful with the use of this term because it can be dismissive of the actual experience of slaves. Sadly, polemics aren’t as easy as they used to be in these days of Dangerous Metaphors, not even the ritualistic bashing of greedy capitalists exploiting their workers by offering them mere money in exchange for their sweaty-browed toil.
Now, the term “wage slavery” truly is dismissive of the actual experience of slaves, for the simple reason that voluntary labor contracts were precisely what slaves aspired to. It’s a hideous inversion of truth and a grotesque offense to the memory of the enslaved to assert an equivalence between the situation they sought to escape and the one they hoped to attain through emancipation. So if Martin Bashir were really as outraged by the use of stupid slavery analogies as he claims to be, he could find enough material from his fellow lefties to fill a week’s worth of air time with denunciations. I’ll be sure to tune in if he decides to do that.
But Sarah Palin deserves no such denunciation for comparing taxation without representation to slavery. Her point was that the people who’ll have to pay off the huge debt burden we keep incurring now are mostly not able to vote on this policy, either because they’re below the voting age or haven’t even been born yet. Palin’s simile forces us to see the common aspect of both actions, namely the taking of wealth from one group of people without their consent. This does not dismiss the evil of slavery; rather, it uses slavery’s universally recognized immorality to get us to recognize the moral aspect of massive public debt.
It turns out that Chomsky has used the “slavery” analogy in this sense, too:
Chomsky went on to add that some people in Germany, who want to have anything of value in Greece, are “imposing conditions of economic slavery and psychological pressure on the Greeks.”
Pretty clearly one of the rules of engagement the left insists on is, All slavery references belong to us. Equally clearly, Sarah Palin is once again using the lefties’ tactics against them, which reliably makes them howl in outrage. Funny stuff, really, when viewed in the proper light.
Of course, Martin Bashir’s rises to the bait so spectacularly that he reveals himself to be a standout idiot even among his fellow idiots on the left. But you probably knew that already, if in fact you’d ever heard of him before.
*I have no idea why there’s no “i” between “Commun” and “pedia”. Seriously comrades, is meter just too bourgeois a part of style for you?