Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Complete and Utter Ignorance of American History

Jeff Carter demonstrates his lack of knowledge about the tenth (or so) greatest novel in the English language. For him to write about The Grapes of Wrath in this way is breathtakingly stupid. Their "migration" to California brought them, in the novel, death, heartbreak, loss, and exploitation by employers. I don't know--perhaps Carter thought he was dealing with an Ayn Rand piece.

This "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality is perpetrated time and again by people who think that they can convince Americans that the problem is some moral failing amongst those who are out of work right now. You see, if you don't start "brainstorming" or  if you don't "move to where the jobs are," then everything is your fault. If you don't uproot yourself and abandon your home, it's your fault. Let's not forget that most people cannot leave their homes; they're underwater in their mortgages. In and of itself, this is a structural problem that isn't going to get fixed until someone comes up with an improvement on the reforms carried out in the 1930s--reforms that will keep people in their homes. Along with that has to come a jobs program in places that are devastated by job losses.

What are we supposed to do? Abandon one third of the entire country?

The Great Depression was caused by the structural problems in the American economy. It was not, as many believed at the time, caused by the wrath of God or by the sins of the economically displaced. Over and over again, this period of American history has been misinterpreted by people with an ideological bent.

And isn't it odd that a conservative would talk about moving to where the jobs are as a solution for America's problems when millions of Latin Americans have "moved to where the jobs are" and have gotten a bellyful of heartache and intolerance for it?

The American economy is broken, and it has been broken by a process that turns a blind eye towards greed and economic exploitation. Jobs have gone overseas or disappeared completely. This is a structural problem, and there used to be a time when the government would work with businesses in order to realign these structural problems. This is not about raising taxes, or cutting regulations, or protectionism. It's about adapting to the reality of the 21st Century. People need to be retrained for jobs that will form the key core of a new resurgence in a new American economy.

Hating the government is not the solution because the government is an essential component of economic growth and regulation. But that's all conservatives have to offer. If something is wrong, it's because of a moral failing or the government. The real answer simply couldn't be the easiest one--America's economy needs to be restructured.

Oh, and for laughs, check out this homage to The Grapes of Wrath. Whiskey Fire applies the dancing leprechauns.

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