Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Posted by Ken Carman for LTS readers

Written by by David Glenn Cox

Personal responsibility is favorite rallying cry among the right wing reactionaries. It is a euphemism to justify their own wealth and to disavow the suffering of millions of others. It is not unlike Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” only it is steeped in the plantation owner’s nascent paternalism. It is the serpent which loves wealth climbing and circling the staff which hates our common humanity.

It is a corollary to the commandment of Jesus Christ who said, love one another. Theirs is the dashboard plastic Jesus preaching the gospel of profit and the mantra of personal responsibility or to love only those who are worthy of it from a genuine celluloid lighted base.

When the poor are sentenced to prison a lack of personal responsibility is to blame. When radio talk show hosts are arrested for drug possession is personal responsibility at issue? When millions of Americans lose their homes it is their lack of personal responsibility which is to blame. When school teachers are laid off from their jobs it is personal responsibility which is to blame. Those college educated teachers made poor career choices just as wounded veterans knew the possibilities when they signed up. Likewise our glorious war dead which the right wing reactionaries love to revere but will not allow their own children to participate in.

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By Ken Carman

Retired entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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Joyce Lovelace
Joyce Lovelace
12 years ago

“American workers won’t do a good days work if they can get out of it.” The paranoid Ford bugged the restrooms of his factories and employed a private police force because the epithet of personal responsibility is a shield to hide behind and not a badge of honor….

Henry Ford was also smart enough to recognize that people wouldn’t work on an assembly line for poor wages. This was at a time when most folks had the knowledge and ability to go back home and feed themselves. Getting a man to give up autonomy required a somewhat larger carrot.
Now that industry has the vast majority of people dependent on the corporate cow, there are no obstacles to to limiting wages and lowering working conditions while demanding increased production.

Joyce Lovelace
Joyce Lovelace
12 years ago

From the Amazon site for the hardcover edition of Fordlandia

Fordlandia is the story of Henry Ford’s ill-advised attempt to transform raw Brazilian rainforest into homespun slices of Americana. With sales of his Model-T booming, the automotive tycoon saw an opportunity to expand his reach further by exploiting a downtrodden Brazilian rubber industry. His vision, the laughably-named Amazonian outpost of Fordlandia, would become an enviable symbol of efficiency and mark the Ford Motor Company as a player on the global stage. Or so he thought. With thoughtful and meticulous research, author Greg Grandin explores the astounding oversights (no botanists were consulted to confirm the colony’s agricultural viability) and painful arrogance (little thought was paid to how native Brazilians would react to an American way of life) that hamstrung the project from the start. Instead of ushering in a new era of commerce, Fordlandia became a cautionary tale of a dream destroyed by hubris. –Dave Callanan

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