Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day: Good and Evil.

I know a fellow Catholic who is very firm in his faith, but far more firm in the faith of his labor union. Around this time of year he likes to flood social media with memes like this:

Sponsored by the United American Unfireable
Government Workers Who Retire at 50

Well, it turns out that the history of child labor laws is a good deal more complicated than his union would like us to think, and it had more to do with social welfare organizations than with the bonhomie or labor unions. England's 1802 Health and Morals of Apprentices Act of 1802 was inspired by doctors seeing alarming outbreaks of "putrid fever" in 1784. The 1833 Factory Act was a result of public outcry and not unionized labor action, which had been outlawed until a short time earlier. Where trade unions fought child labor, it was because they didn't like the cheap competition of child workers.

Regardless of their motives, and despite their long history of ties to both international communism and organized crime, I'm not going to further impugn labor unions on this, their import and largely ignored holiday. I know that to many people like my friend, it's always 1911 and the Triangle Shirtwaist fire has just happened. When it comes to moral choices that cause his union and his church to be on opposite sides, he leans to the union side every single time.

But that is not my main point today, that being: memes are a stupid way to wage an argument, and probably the main reason we're seeing so much public idiocy and even violence. You have one image and five seconds to describe your opponent's intentions, so you have to make him look like the very devil himself. Propaganda posters have done this for generations, but thanks to the Internet they are everywhere. And as we know, when it comes to fighting evil, anything goes. On our streets today, anything does.

At some point, if we want to save our civilization, we're going to have to choose to engage with intelligence and civility. In other words, we're screwed.

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