Ben Shapiro: The quest to destroy work
What happened to the 'Party of Labor'?
Last week, after spending time vacationing in the disease-ridden hellscape known as Florida, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., came down with COVID-19. It was a tragic blow to the irrepressible Instagram star, who was forced to quarantine. But then, like an extraordinarily inaniloquent phoenix rising from the ashes of the dread omicron variant, she returned to her web audience with a message for the ages.
"Welp, so it happened," she wrote, in truly Tolstoyan fashion. "Got COVID, probably omicron. As of today I am thankfully recovered and wrapping up quarantine, but COVID was no joke. For a while I've noted the term 'mild' is misleading when the bar is hospitalization and death." After dispensing with the preliminary medical advice, Ocasio-Cortez got down to business — or rather, to the business of avoiding doing business.
She explained, "The idea of forcing people to work just 5 days after symptoms start is sociopathic and 100% informed by a culture that accepts sacrificing human lives for profit margins as a fair trade."
Now, this is, to put it mildly, dumb as a box of rocks. No one is suggesting that people with significant COVID-19 symptoms ought to go back to work. And nobody is sacrificing human lives by encouraging those with waning or no symptoms to return to the office. Businesses cannot run without employees.
Fortunately for us, the brilliant, "So Fresh, So Face" congresswoman has a solution: community. And by community, she means government. And by government, she means your money. "If you've noticed," she writes, "much of the emphasis on media conversations on COVID are individualistic — if there's one lesson I think we as a country are repeating until we learn, it's that community and collective good is our best shot through our greatest challenges — way more than discorded acts of 'rugged individualism' and the bootstrap propaganda we've been spoon-fed since birth ... In a world of MEs, let's build team WE. (Blue heart emoji)"
So, what exactly is the illustrious congresswoman proposing? Presumably, that businesses pay people to stay home if they are mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic; or that the government regulate businesses into such activity; or that taxpayers pay the freight. This accords with other proposals from Ocasio-Cortez, such as her Green New Deal idea to provide "economic security to all those who are unable or unwilling to work."
And Ocasio-Cortez's message is mirrored by even higher-level politicians like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who once proposed that Americans be provided nationalized health care so that they could leave their jobs en masse, thereby freeing them to "be a photographer or a writer or a musician, whatever, an artist." In the view of the far Left, work is a bad, foisted upon unwilling individuals by a cruel and arbitrary system. If only the system could be run properly, in top-down fashion by great minds like Ocasio-Cortez or Pelosi, Americans would be freed from the tyranny of everyday life.
Of course, precisely the opposite is true. Someone, as it turns out, has to pay the bills. And what's more, Americans generally like working. They find work fulfilling. Depression rates are twice as high among the unemployed than the employed — and more than three times as high for those unemployed for more than 27 weeks. Most Americans aren't eager to spend their days locked in their apartments waiting for government checks. And they're even less eager to spend more money at the store thanks to supply issues caused by lack of production due to labor shortages.
But Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi don't have to worry about all of that. Ocasio-Cortez can always Instagram Live from her apartment or Zoom into congressional conference calls. And she never has to worry about the profit margins she spends so much time deriding; she can undercut those for others at her leisure.
Democrats used to pose as the party of labor. Now, they're increasingly the party of those who wish to avoid it at all costs.
Ben Shapiro is a nationally syndicated columnist whose work regularly appears in the Grand Forks Herald.