February 11, 2014


In defense of not working If anything, we need a nation of free agents unafraid to bail on a lousy job  (Matt K. Lewis, 2/11/14, The Week)

I have long opposed ObamaCare for a variety of reasons. Of course, that doesn't mean that every aspect of it will be pernicious. But instead of acknowledging any possible salutary outcomes, my fellow conservatives have generally assumed the worst -- that people would take advantage of this to sit on the couch and play video games. The truth is that a lot of hardworking Americans might actually benefit from this one component of a bad law.

Conservatives believe that work is a good thing, and, indeed, we cannot disconnect the spiritual and psychological benefits of a good day's work from our policies. Sitting around the house won't give you fulfillment or happiness that you get from accomplishing a goal. But guess what? Neither will working a horrible job.

This quote, from Studs Terkel's book Working might help us remember:

This book, being about work, is, by its very nature, about violence -- to the spirit as well as to the body. It is about ulcers as well as accidents, about shouting matches as well as fistfights, about nervous breakdowns as well as kicking the dog around. It is, above all (or beneath all), about daily humiliations. To survive the day is triumph enough for the walking wounded among the great many of us. [Working]

There is also an argument here about increasing mobility. The American dream is about your children having opportunities you didn't. I'm a product of that.

Just as I don't want men and women to be servants of the state, putting them in thrall to their employer for the sake of health insurance isn't my idea of a good society idea, either. Ideally, we would have a free-agent nation where more Americans are afforded the opportunity to pursue their dreams and exploit their God-given talents.

My guess is that at least some of the people who are now able to work less without losing their employer-sponsored health care will go on to do much bigger and better things than they would have by just continuing to grind out 40-plus hours a week in a job they didn't like. Some, I suspect, will invent things and create jobs that wouldn't have otherwise existed.

Posted by at February 11, 2014 6:26 PM

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