Sunday, September 7, 2008

Beyond Class Hatred : Thoughts of an Ex Communist Voter

In 1976 I voted for the Socialist Workers Party. In 1980 I voted for Ronald Reagan. In my parents generation, the sins of Stalin brought millions of repentant communists back to their senses. My generation came around during the Cambodian genocide.

"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another." (Mao tse-Tung Quotations From Chairman Mao)

Class hatred is a dominant and recurring theme in communist ideology. It is disturbing to me as an ex communist to see the extent to which it has seeped into mainstream American political thinking. The designations of "pro labour" and "pro worker" feed a perpetual debate that seems to find no resolution.

In over thirty five years I have never been a supervisor. I have been responsible for important tasks, but I have always remained on the bottom corporate rung. Accordingly, my material success has always been moderate. The Jewish collection of ethical sayings, "Ethics of the Fathers" says "Who is wealthy? He who is happy with his portion." By this measure, I am very happy.

I have observed that there are psychological differences between business owners and their employees. I have observed two polar opposites on the psychological spectrum in the world of work. There are subtle gradations in between. On the one end is the entrepreneurial personality. He has a vision and an appetite. He is willing to risk losing money and putting in long hours with no gain in the hope of eventually achieving major gains.

On the other end of the spectrum is the company man or woman. They are willing to work hard, but they want security. They want the assurance that at the end of the week, they will get a paycheck that will have a measurable correlation to their efforts. In the best of circumstances, they will view the well being of their boss and company as being their own. They will recognise the risks that the boss takes to provide stability to others and will not resent him.

These two psychological types, the company man and the entrepreneur need each other. If a business fails, the company man is out of a job. And if the business owner can not or will not pay his worker a living wage, they will go elsewhere. Additionally, well paid workers can afford more non essential goods. Non essential goods provide essential jobs. Rare stamps, luxury cruises and gourmet food support many workers who can't afford them.

As an ex communist, I am very sensitive to the slightest whiff of class antagonism. Whether it is the talk of punitive taxes on the wealthy or the seemingly glib indifference of Rush Limbaugh to the issue of a living wage, I don't see enough people stepping back and looking at the big picture.

I want the worker's paradise promised by the Democrats. But mine is a religiously based political vision. The phrase in the Declaration of Independence "Endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights" is real to me. The Democrats purport to defend the downtrodden. Despite this, they have made war on the unborn, the most defenseless among us, through defense of legalised abortion.

They give lie to their self designation of being "pro choice" by refusing to allow tax dollars to pay for religious schools.

They oppose regressive taxes, yet see nothing wrong with forcing working people to pay taxes for public schools and tuition for their own schools.

The Democrats are privately contemptuous of the very people whose rights they purport to champion, people who cling to "guns and religion".

Meanwhile, neither the Republicans or the Democrats have an effective answer to the outsourcing of jobs over our borders and overseas. Even computer programmers must now compete with those overseas who are happy to work for five dollars an hour. Illegal immigration is winked at by liberals who see like minded voters and conservatives who see cheap workers. It all adds up to a commodity glut depressing prices. And the commodity is labour.

In American politics, the cliche is that you choose the "lesser of two evils". In 2008, I am voting for McCain. I do not see him as an "evil", although he is not perfect. His willingness to lose the "pro choice" vote has the whiff of sincerity to it.

It is very difficult to find the real Barack Obama in his speeches. But his radical friends such as Bill Ayers, photographed standing in an alley on an American flag are a disturbing contrast to the friendships formed by John McCain in a Hanoi prison.

The Republicans have been better at hearing the concerns of American workers than have been the Democrats. The Democrats purport to represent the interests of American workers yet regard their values with dismissive condescension.

I am distrustful of the Republicans. From my humble bully pulpit I intend to call them to task in the future . The Limbaugh corner of the Republican "big tent" seems aloof to my concerns. The votes of workers will I hope put John McCain over the top. And he should not forget that.

The Democrats have detached the Judaeo Christian engine from the train of American politics. They are hitching another engine in its stead. I don't know where that engine was made, or where it is going. And I don't want to find out

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now this article is good. Thanks for clarifying your views.