Friday, July 19, 2019

Slavery without the Muss

by E.M. Cadwaladr American Thinker

A couple of years ago, I took a business trip to Coronado, California — a wealthy suburb of San Diego isolated on the far side of the bay.  I'd never been to California.  Coronado was not covered in heroin needles and human feces as parts of San Francisco and Los Angeles famously are.  It was a well groomed, pretty patch of real estate by anybody's standards.  Cool ocean breezes and gently swaying palm trees.  Beautiful houses.  Nice restaurants.  Interesting shops.  Still, I found an ugliness about it — a moral malady less obvious than street violence or an army of homeless beggars. 

What I noticed, because I am from the Midwest, where such conditions don't pertain, was that practically all the people who drove taxis, stocked shelves, waited tables, maintained gardens, cleaned hotels, or had anything else to do with non-recreational physical activity...were brown-skinned Latinos.  The people who owned the houses, ran the shops, or did anything that fell generally into the realm of "knowledge work" were overwhelmingly white or Asian. 

Do not get me wrong.  I am not about to whine the leftist whine.  I do not for a minute believe that all persons of all kinds are equal in either potential or inclination.  I have said as much.  The facts of the world and of history are plain enough to anyone with a genuinely open mind.  We are not all equal in our capacities.  But there is something deeply disturbing about visiting a place where labor is so plainly segregated along racial lines.  And it is all the worse when the people who own and run the place are so self-servingly dishonest about it.  Waving at your gardener now and then doesn't magically give you egalitarian street cred.  The contact between one human and another ought never to be made that cheap. 

What we have in California is a sea of anonymous Latino workers who, by their very numbers, drive the going price of their labor down to a minimum.  The more who are encouraged to cross the border, the more of a mere subhuman commodity they become.  Most, I think, must live in fear of losing whatever menial jobs they have and falling back on the thin resources of the government or friends.  They must be quietly desperate to please their masters.  Well, let us say — their "fully woke employers."  It is quite a system.  No ugly whips or chains are necessary — just a large pool of people willing to accept any conditions better than the wretched ones they came from.  Apparently, railing against the evils of capitalism on your patio with your well off progressive friends does not preclude the possibility of taking full advantage of Adam Smith's invisible hand of market forces.  The invisibility part is the key ingredient here.  It keeps the conscience calm and comfortable — cool in that pleasant ocean breeze that sweeps away that recurrent unpleasant odor of hypocrisy...

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