1.04.2007

George F Will is for Slavery if at all possible


I won't debunk Will point by point about the minimum wage because there is no need. But in one passage in his ridiculous OpEd George F Will states his fondness for the good ole antebellum days.

But the minimum wage should be the same everywhere: $0. Labor is a commodity; governments make messes when they decree commodities' prices. Washington, which has its hands full delivering the mail and defending the shores, should let the market do well what Washington does poorly. But that is a good idea whose time will never come again. emphasis mine


Last I checked getting paid zero dollars was slavery. Now am I being unfair by parsing his statement literally? No, I'm not. Why? Well, because he adds clarification. He calls labor a commodity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Don't believe me? Ask a human resources manager. Ask the United States Code Title 15 Sec 17
The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce.

Just because George F Will thinks workers are chattle doesn't mean they are.

For the Christians in the crowd Smith's Bible Dictionary cites 11 verses about wages in the Bible

This verse is representative.


Malachi 3:5
And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress [1] the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.

Footnotes
[1] 3:5 oppress: or, defraud


2 comments:

Steve said...

Juan, I am a Christian and take our responsibility to the poor, both us individually and as a country, very seriously. I also disagree with Will's thesis. But saying he is for slavery is irresponsible. Just because he thinks that there should not be a governmentally legislated bottom limit to wages does not imply he is for anyone being paid that much. What's more, the institution of slavery required working for nothing because you were the property of another.

Again, I disagree with Will's analysis and think that some form of minimum wage does help to ameliorate conditions of economic injustice for the working poor. But that he thinks supply side mechanisms are the better way to accomplish such goals, or perhaps, a higher earned income tax credit (what I would probably prefer), says nothing about his preference for the days of slavery.

I am deeply concerned about the level of political discourse in our country and it bothers me immensely when Christians contribute to it. Examples abound. It can be straight up ad hominem, innuendo, or attempts like yours to wring the least charitable interpretation possible out of someone's views. And worst of all, you claim Christian ethical values as the justification for being so uncharitable. It is a self-refuting exercise in judgmentalism.

I hate it when I hear and see it on the right, no less than on the left. Christians ought to know and practice better.

Juan Vasquez said...

Where to begin... Ok first I like your site and you do seem to have a very respectful tone to your writing which I admire. I take you at your word about your concern for civil discourse, but it would be nice to see you criticize a right of center person on your page. As to whether Will deserves a charitable interpretation of course he does not. The OpEd is not full of analysis but intentionally misleading distortion, eliteism, and outright lies. That you would pull out a quote that you liked out of that OpEd without any comment on the entire piece causes me to question your judgment. As to my tone sometimes its good to be angry in public with those that are perpetuating and in Will's case also cheering for injustice. For example Jesus in the temple with the money changers. If you wanna look it up the verses are John 2: 13 - 22,Matthew 21: 12 - 13,Mark 11: 15 - 17, Luke 19: 45 - 46. There are countless examples of uncivil discourse by the prophets. My piece by comparison is relatively tame.