In Victorian times, prats in top hats and tails would pull silly faces of righteous indignation while sending little boys up chimneys or down t’ pit for tuppence a week – if that much. This was considered to be promoting a nobel moral virtue, it seems, called the ‘work ethic.’
And today this claptrap persists in slightly altered forms, carried on by the right. You only have to read certain right-wing rags and you will see that they think they hold to the highest moral standards – this chirping on about ‘hard-working’ people and how the ‘work-shy’ are such moral slobs.
But where did this principle come from and by what authority was it established? It seems to me that it was dreamt up out of thin air – a petitio principii – and treated as if it is gospel by a bunch of arrogant, self-righteous knows-it-alls who in fact know nothing and are themselves the worst of moral slobs.
After all, an employment contract is supposed to be a quid pro quo, a bargain in which two sides are meant to put something attractive on the table to exchange. The worker puts hard work on the table and in return, the employer is supposed to put a decent living wage on the table. If he doesn’t do that, he is the one with the questionable morals.
The ‘work-shy’ don’t exist in the huge numbers that some would have us believe; it is often those tight-fisted slave-driving employers and their mealy-mouthed apologists with their meanie-mum wage who are the moral slobs.
They splutter on, wearing their cheap masks, about ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘taking responsibility.’ Since when was agreeing to enrol for slavery ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘taking responsibility?’ If the wage doesn’t pay the bills, wouldn’t that be failing to take responsibility? But let’s attach no blame to these innocents – the slave driver, aided and abetted by endless oppressive governments, deserve it all. Their smug, squalid and squeamish play-acting does not impress me one jot.
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.