Monday, January 03, 2011


Look, I'm not defending any New York City sanitation workers who shirked work during the recent blizzard by calling in sick -- the New York Post breathlessly reports that approximately 700 sanit workers called in sick on Monday and Tuesday, twice as many of the department's 6,000 employees as would normally do so. And I'm certainly not defending the plow crew that (again according to the Post) bought beer on the job and refused to plow. (Though I question whether it's physically possible for four sanitation workers to, in the Post's words, "get blitzed" on two six-packs of beer; mildly buzzed and unable to drive safely, but blitzed? Really? I wouldn't get "blitzed" on three beers, and I weigh 140 pounds.)

However, it strikes me as quite odd that right-wingers are disgusted by this. Aren't these the same folks who keep telling us that Ayn Rand is the most profound philosopher of modern times and that, according to her teachings, universal selfishness is the key to paradise on earth?

These sanit workers are reportedly upset at budget cuts, in a city that's awash in Wall Street cash. It's being reported that some who did come to work chose to worked slowly as a protest of cuts and demotions. Aren't they just "going Galt"? Aren't they just withholding their productive capacity because they believe it's in their self-interest to do -- and isn't every person's self-interest all that matters?

Or, to put it in non-Rand terms, aren't they people that the whole society depends on, and aren't they simply taking advantage of that fact by doing whatever the hell they want and assuming their union contract will protect them from having to suffer consequences -- you know, the way Wall Streeters assume that our dependence on the financial system allows them to get away with anything?

I know, I know -- in imagining a "going Galt" strike by capitalists, Ayn Rand was flipping the script; disgusted by organized labor, she asked lefties and organized workers how we'd like it if the tables were turned. She wasn't really saying that utopia is a place where everyone gets to play the selfishness card; she was saying that only capitalists should be able to do that. (You know -- kind of the way modern right-wingers believe every aggrieved right-wing group should be able to play the Martin Luther King card, but black people shouldn't.)

Well, in any case, it's amusing that wingers are angry at this. It's amusing that this right-wing blogger declares,

The la[i]ssez-faire attitude among many public sector workers who have no fear of losing their jobs, is precisely part of the problem.

"Laissez-faire attitude"? That's a bad thing now?

No comments: