by Linda Brady Traynham
(Editor’s Note: I know this ain’t a secession topic, but Linda talks cleverly and entertainingly about economics and restoring productivity, which is a common sense topic I like. And I love smart chicks. Many of us learned these lessons as children of the 50s and 60s. She hearkens back. )
Of course not. Some marriages are fine unions, although others range from boring to miserable. I am passionately fond of fresh spinach, small English peas, tiny baby lima beans, the colour only Americans refer to as “British Racing Green,” malachite, prasiolite, lavishly-adorned Christmas trees, lush pastures (what little I remember of them), and my green eyes. Yeah. Those about cover it. Do I think that Unions, or, going back, Guilds, were ever a good idea? No. Why not? Because the original idea was to restrain competition. In time this morphed into restraining competition and extortion theoretically for the benefit of union members, but actually to line the coffers of top union officials. The effect is continued restraint of trade and competition, labor and “benefits” that cost far more than they are worth, driving business owners under or off to Myanmar, and a great many useful idiots who provide free labor for political campaigns and vote as told to. “But Mrs. Traynam! What about the children?!” Don’t try my patience. Children make very poor workers. Parents are expected to house and feed them and their “work” is learning principles and some sort of trade or knowledge that will enable them to support themselves when they grow up.
There used to be a very simple system that worked beautifully. If the boss didn’t think you were worth what he paid you he said, “You’re fired,” and if you didn’t like the work conditions or the salary you said, “I quit.” What could be easier than that? The real difficulties began with the Industrial Revolution, replacing men with machines (“Dear Lord, she’s a Luddite!”), the notion that all children should be “educated,” and those who have been trying ever since to destroy the “middle” class which emerged, feeling that serfs, tenant farmers, a few inkeepers/grocers/artisans, the nobility, and landed gentry are ample social classes. Life was really quite simple up until about 1825, you know! In general one was born to a position or learned a trade from one’s parents or through apprenticeships. Stable boys who worked hard for years became Heads of stables in time; the tweeny worked her way up to second upstairs housemaid and had hopes of becoming the Housekeeper. Anyone who did not work hard and do acceptable work was “turned off without a character,” and getting a job without a reference was very difficult. One of the most disastrous results of the Industrial Revolution was increased jobs and work, which led to rising populations…for whom there were fewer jobs, between machinery and the “lower orders”, “getting ideas above their stations,” as the elites warned would happen.
We’re going through this again as jobs are exported to areas where the indigenous cannot even imagine an “average” wage of $22/hour. The Statists tried, debasing the schools, but the product they turned out at such great expense is too ignorant to do even the simplest jobs and thinks it is “entitled” to “free” food, housing, medical care, television sets, and so forth. Even a hundred years ago the average “middle class” family employed two servants–and ladies did not work outside of their homes. How many households are there in the USA, anyway? Precisely why shouldn’t all those Dolists living very well be cleaning houses and office buildings, delivering the mail (80% of the cost of losing 9 billion dollars a year), picking up trash along highways, and so forth? By what right are people paid lavishly just for breathing and existing? Very few of them are; they are lazy, unmotivated, truculent, pig-ignorant, and of the bizarre notion that their opinions are as good as those who produce. Most of them have never even known anyone who had a job.
One of my friends in Tacoma was a very fine Kindergarten teacher before her children were born. She was not obliged to work, but her children grew up and she liked little kids and teaching, so she went back to work…and had a real epiphany which led her to run for the Legislature. She was the Minority Whip the last I heard of her, since she lives in a state controlled almost totally by Democrats. Such a simple thing…the first day she asked the children what they wanted to do and several replied “Draw.” How wonderful! Creative, get them accustomed to the idea of school, put those new boxes of Crayolas and colored pencils to use…lead into cutting with scissors and paste work over the first week…So, Gigi told them to get out their Crayons. Shuffling while some of them work out what “Crayons” are. She handed out sheets of brightly-colored paper, and the children just looked at her. Gigi started over: “What do you want to do?” “We want to draw.” “Well…there is construction paper, and you have pencils and crayons, so start drawing.”
“We can’t draw. We’re too young.”
“No, no, it’s really easy and fun! Take out a Crayola and make a mark on your paper and…”
Eventually, Gigi understood what they were trying to tell her, because she was about the only person in the room who didn’t understand. What they wanted to “draw” was Welfare checks. They had no idea why they were in school. What did that have to do with “drawing?” They were glad to explain it, although at a loss to understand how she could fail to understand. Everybody they knew “drew.” They thought that everybody got a check from the government, and their only question was why some people got bigger checks than others. Surely that must explain why the school busses took them through areas that had better houses than theirs–and far worse ones. “Why do some people get more money than others, Miss Gigi?” Talk about trying to explain corporate income taxes and EPA rules to a grapefruit. A far better question twenty years ago was, “Why does anyone get a government check from the government for not doing anything, Miss Gigi?”
Why did I get my first summer job? Certainly not because my parents required it or the money. I did it because I was given two rules: 1. If you want a car next year when you are sixteen you must earn/save half the price; and 2. If you do not have a real job that pays money you are scut labor and you will spend the summer doing all of the housework and laundry. I found those compelling arguments. By the end of the summer I had saved enough, at a dollar an hour, and got my car.
Why did my son get his first job the day he was 16, and why has he never been without one since (with one exception, when I insisted being graduated summa cum laude was more important) for more than a week? Not because we needed his earnings or wanted him to, and he had a generous allowance, although we picked up extraordinary expenses for Proms and such. Andrew worked to support two hobbies: girls and upgrading his cars. He didn’t even have to pitch in half to get his first car–which he still has here at the ranch.
This is a cultural gap so broad it is like trying to explain it to the dog–and even the dogs know they are rewarded for guard duties and loving us. Very simple: you work in order to be able to pay for things you want, or to avoid doing something you would dislike. For newbies, I’ve told readers before I could stay home from school any time I wanted to…but unless I were confined to bed, on medication, any day I was not at school doing my job, I was demoted to housemaid. What does not feeling well have to do with not getting the work done? Given a choice of (usually, blush, cramps) and sitting at my desk learning, which I loved, or feeling just as bad and mopping floors I really did not have any difficulty working out where my best interests were.
Hmm. I see we aren’t about to get to the way the Greens have destroyed America. If those soft of heart and mind insist there has to be a “safety” net, can we not agree that those who get something for “nothing” be obliged to do something? It doesn’t even have to be yard work or cleaning windows, sure to upset the Hispanic vote which does those under the table for $20/hour. I’ll be satisfied if they are required to sit still in a gym or auditorium two four-hour sessions a day watching videos on Sumeria, Buckminster Fuller and the Geodesic dome, instruction in basic reading and third grade math, or how to carve Ostrich egg shells without being given shells or an X-acto knife. Once a day explain that the price of eating is working, and until they think of something they would prefer that pays better or are willing to learn a trade the hard way (carry bricks, watch the brick layer, and ask questions) their “work” is being bored. The “job” is to learn to show up, on time, bathed and dressed neatly in $8 scrubs, and to learn to sit still and to complete tasks adequately. No talking. No radios. No books unless they want to upgrade to remedial reading. No gum. An hour off for lunch–which they provide or pay for themselves. Until they have learned the simple lessons I have outlined and to speak English they have no economic value. The sooner they learn that, the better off they will be, and we will be. It’s a very obvious concept going back to the Jamestown colony: “If you don’t work you don’t eat.” Period. End of sentence. All of YOU know this. Who taught you and how?
Linda Brady Traynham is a writer and rancher in Texas, and is married to Charles, who looks like Robert Mitchum.