Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Saturday, May 07, 2016


On valuing "hard work"

by Tom Sullivan

During a teaser for an upcoming NPR segment last night, a well-worn phrase caught my ear in a new way.

Avik Roy had written in Forbes magazine how insightful conservatives (himself) see Donald Trump not as one of their own, but as a nationalist (emphasis mine):

One insightful way to think about the nationalist vs. conservative divide is to ponder the case of Asian-Americans. If conservative values are the values of family and hard work, then Asians are the most conservative demographic group in America. They have the highest median incomes ($66,000 vs. U.S. median of $49,800), the highest percentage of college graduates (49% vs. U.S. median of 28%), and the lowest rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births (17% vs. U.S. median of 41%).

And yet, in 2012, Asian-Americans voted for Obama over Mitt Romney by a margin of 49 points. Hispanics, by contrast, “only” voted for Obama by a margin of 44 points.

This is the deficiency—and in many cases, the hypocrisy—of nationalists who appeal to “values voters.” They claim to be celebrating hard work and family, but they make no effort to appeal to immigrants—and non-Christians—who embrace those values in greater proportion than do those whose grandparents were born here. The appeal to “values voters,” in effect, has become a coded appeal to identity politics for white people.
Yet one might deduce that if conservative values include hard work, perhaps "hard work" is itself coded language for branding non-conservatives (of whatever color) as, oh, I don't know ... takers, slackers, parasites?

Regarding hard work, define hard. What makes work "hard work"? How do we know this? Does work's hardness give it more inherent value than work that is not hard? (There seems to be some expected relationship between work hardness, median income, and conservatism.) Do conservatives have something against work that is easier? Like, say, sitting in an air-conditioned high-rise wearing an expensive suit and being paid six figures to make money manipulating money? Can we really call that hard work (or productive at all)? Do conservatives really value hard work more than easy work? Or do they simply value cleverness more? But then, valuing "family and cleverness" just doesn't have the right cachet, does it?

Come to think of it, much of the work in this town where housing costs are high are pretty poorly paid. So poorly that, as the joke goes, "There are lots of good jobs here. I know people who have two or three." Perhaps those hard workers are not clever enough?

Or is hard one of those hated, moral-relativist terms whose meaning morphs depending on who wields it?

I once wielded a jackhammer in Georgia and finished concrete in South Carolina in the summer heat. That was pretty hard work by my standards. But at pay slightly above minimum wage, my hard work wasn't valued commensurate with what you would think it would be to hear professional conservatives who don't have to do hard work proclaim how much they value it. If I'd been older and raising a family, we might have qualified for public support (funded in part by my paycheck) just to survive on my hard work.

Or do true conservatives consider taking a "handicap" acceptable only when they are on the golf course?