Monday, June 23, 2008

Avoiding Hyperbole

I have just read this piece which does a decent job of stepping on one popular liberal's hyperbole, that of Barbara Ehrenreich in her popular "Nickeled and Dimed."

Some immigrants, the author writes, come from real dictatorships, so when Ehrenreich describes the lack of basic freedoms in minimum wage, service industry jobs as tantamount to living in a "dictatorship," she undoubtedly loses some of their sympathies.

The author then writes something interesting to me, that Republican platitudes about hard work -> success appeal to that same community, but it is important to dissect those claims.

By the way, hyperbole isn't only found in Nickeled and Dimed. The blogosphere, nay, perhaps even on occasion this very blog, are guilty of the same. For example, Songun Blog, which writes about "criminal capitalist Bush clique of contorted consumerist warmongering war provokers for personal profit," jumps to mind.

In the 1950s and 60s it was definitely almost true that a poor excuse for a person, born rich, would end up poor, and a hard-working son-of-a-whatever might end up on top.  And to some degree, of course, this is still true.  Maybe we'll never have religious freedom (A Muslim for President? A Hindu? A person who follows a small cult but who just happens to know more about most policy issues than most other people?  America does not have religious freedom like they have in India) but we have a great deal of economic freedom. 

What newcomers to America couldn't know, what most Americans don't know, is that this freedom has been receding for the last three decades, and as important to know, it is the policies of the Republican party to carve economic immobility into stone.

No comments: