This has got to be one of the most tendentious, meretricious, self-contradicting, ahistorical, ill-reasoned, unsupported, disorganized, self-serving, and arrogant pieces of extended bullshit I’ve read since I last read a column by David Brooks, which was almost a year ago.
(My support group says I’m doing very well and I’m ready for my badge.)
It’s by Ira Wolfe explaining at Huffington Post why it’s your own fault you can’t find a job: you aren’t really trying because you’re one more spoiled baby in a nation of spoiled babies.
This is a typical paragraph:
Today parents drive their children to sports registration, pay a fee, purchase equipment, and organize the game. Our children -- our next generation of workers -- are carted around for practice and weekend tournaments to play soccer, baseball and you name it. For the past 30 years or more, our children weren't taught the skills we need as adults to live and work. They grew up believing every child is a winner, regardless of the effort they put into it. And the parents began to believe it too.
Wow. Never heard that one before.
Although Wolfe seems to be writing about the Millennials there, he keeps expanding his time frame and his references, so that he winds up conflating the last 80 years into a timeless present and picking on Millennials, Boomers, the Boomers’ parents generation, and the Greatest Generation as if they were the same and living side by side, facing the same problems, same circumstances, same economies, and same history together in that timeless present. Then he beats them all up with clichés and stereotypes drawn form The How to Be a Heartless Conservative Handbook. The trouble with everything is not enough individual initiative, too much government, and, of course, unions.
I’m not sure if Wolfe is aware of it, but he also manages to blame prosperity.
Boiled down, Wolfe is scolding the unemployed for not having been born into an America that disappeared over a hundred years ago, that is, if it ever existed outside the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, which, keep in mind, were written under the intellectual and political influence and with the heavy editing of Wilder’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, a founder of the Libertarian Party, which is why all the government programs and policies that kept the Ingalls family afloat out there on the prairie and in the big woods are missing or minimalized in the narratives.
Excellent nature writing though.
But I digress.
Wolfe’s post unwinds like just another chapter and verse re-iteration of the long time conservative belief---as in religious conviction---that the fact that you need help is proof that you don’t deserve help. An individual’s fate is entirely in his or her own hands and so it’s your fault you’re in the trouble you’re in. The object of such sermons is to make people who’ve been screwed by rich assholes who want all the money ashamed of themselves instead of angry at the rich assholes who screwed them.
But then he wraps up with this:
As a new world evolves with increased competition, a persistent dose of uncertainty, and complexity running rampant, the easy road to success has collapsed. Many people are finding themselves overwhelmed and under-skilled to deal with the uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of today's business environment. Technical job skill training won't fix our broken employment system if all workers -- employed and unemployed -- don't learn some basic motivational and life skills.
Until individuals assume personal responsibility for achieving their own success, government and community outreach might be the best moral and civil approach to helping get unemployed and under-employed workers back on their feet. But it will do little to help these workers acquire the skills needed to survive and thrive in this new dynamic, ever-changing world in which we live.
That sentence up there I italicized---“Technical job skill training won't fix our broken employment system if all workers -- employed and unemployed -- don't learn some basic motivational and life skills.”?
Wolfe owns a business.
Guess what it offers.