Monday, November 21, 2011

Are there no workhouses?

At least Ebenezer Scrooge was a fictional character; and Jonathan Swift was using satire to make a point.

I don't think Newt has an excuse:

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called child labor laws "stupid" Friday in an appearance at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

"It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid," said the former House speaker, according to CNN. "Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they'd begin the process of rising."

"You're going to see from me extraordinarily radical proposals to fundamentally change the culture of poverty in America," he added.
You'll note the burden should fall on poor children, which puts Newt in league with Swift's narrator and Dicken's most famous character. Because what he actually says is that child labor laws should be means tested; the rich need not worry about putting their children to work. They are redeemed by the labor of their ancestors, no matter how many generations back it was. And along the way, Newt twists the word "tragic" into such a pretzel it literally no longer has any meaning. And "extraordinarily radical" apparently means the positions that made 19th century England such a shining example of compassion and enlightenment for centuries thereafter.

Shame still works, but not on our public figures. I'm not sure why that is.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post once again. Thanks for sharing this kind of informative post.