On his radio show today, Glenn Beck once again blamed the unemployed for their joblessness. Beck told people without jobs to take a lower paying job. Beck said, “We now have people that are on unemployment, but they won’t take another job. They won’t take a job.”
Here is the audio from Media Matters:
Beck said, “You now have people and we’ve shown some of them. We now have people that are on unemployment, but they won’t take another job. They won’t take a job, because well I can’t make as much. I’m making more on unemployment. They have sold their soul to the federal government. They have sold their pride. “
Beck then recounted a story touting the conservative value of hard work with no pay, “Let me tell you this story, quickly. It‘s the story of a man who is the grandfather of a friend of mine. It was during the Great Depression. He had no work and they were building you know highways, I don’t remember what they were, but they were digging, and this guy had watched these people dig and did and dig, and he had no work, none. He finally he just blended in one day and he picked up a shovel and started to work. The foreman came to him and said, ‘What are you doing? Who are you?’ He introduced himself. The foreman said, ‘You weren’t hired. I don’t have any money to pay for you.’ The guy welled up in tears. Tears running down his cheek, and said, ‘please, please, you don’t have to pay me. I just want to work.’ When that spirit is gone the individual is crushed. When the spirit of things will not get better is gone, individual spirit is crushed.”
On the surface Beck was extolling the values of the Protestant Work Ethic, a.k.a. work as its own reward. From this perspective work is a religious experience and spiritually rewarding. Therefore, those who don’t work must do so by choice and are morally flawed. This has been the cultural argument pro-business and pro-corporate conservatives have used for generations not only against the social safety net, but also as a reason for the disempowerment of workers.
To many on the Right, the unemployed are lazy and selfish. They don’t understand that almost all the chronically unemployed are so because there are no lower paying jobs. The person who gets laid off and finds a higher paying job is a rarity. Most of the unemployed end up having to take jobs that pay less than their previous one, many times in service industry, just to make ends meet. It is hypocritical for Glenn Beck, who makes $32 million a year, to moralize against and criticize the unemployed. His wealth has shielded him from reality, along with his many delusions, and possible mental illnesses. Beck like many affluent conservatives has no idea what it is like in the real world.
Many conservatives dream of returning America to the era when management could pay workers whatever they saw fit and work them endlessly, while they disguise this dream in the language of the individual, the truth is that their ideology is concerned with stripping away the rights of the individual to further empower business and corporations. When conservatives talk about taking their country back, what they mean is that they want to take America back to an era where the haves ruthlessly exploited the have nots and were praised for their efforts. This is Glenn Beck’s America, but it isn’t mine.