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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Meaningful work? Define "meaningful"!

New Harmony, a utopian attempt; depicted as pr...
New Harmony, a utopian attempt; depicted as proposed by Robert Owen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A primer on economics, history, and the conflation of idealism with wishful thinking, all in a two-page blog post!

Related source » Meaningful Work: 'via Blog this'
[This related source is recommended in its entirety.]

“It was painful, for example, to see an internationally renowned scholar say that what low-income young people needed was "meaningful work." But this is a notion common among educated elites, regardless of how counterproductive its consequences may be for society at large, and for low-income youngsters especially. […] In the real world, many things are done simply because they have to be done, not because doing them brings immediate pleasure to those who do them. […] Some of our more Utopian intellectuals lament that many people work "just for the money." They do not like a society where A produces what B wants, simply in order that B will produce what A wants, with money being an intermediary device facilitating such exchanges. Some would apparently prefer a society where all-wise elites would decide what each of us "needs" or "deserves." The actual history of societies formed on that principle -- histories often stained, or even drenched, in blood -- is of little interest to those who mistake wishful thinking for idealism. At the very least, many intellectuals do not want the poor or the young to have to take "menial" jobs. […] People who lack the skills to take on more prestigious jobs can either remain idle and live as parasites on others or take the jobs for which they are currently qualified, and then move up the ladder as they acquire more experience. […] Telling young people that some jobs are "menial" is a huge disservice to them and to the whole society. Subsidizing them in idleness while they wait for "meaningful work" is just asking for trouble, both for them and for all those around them.” [emphasis added]
— Thomas Sowell, May 29, 2012 (

Thomas Sowell is a wise man. But more than that, he can express his wisdom in words that even "progressive" liberals could understand, if they were only capable of suspending temporarily their delusions of infallibility. But, as serious people the world over know all too well, they can't, not even long enough to read Thomas Sowell's post with their insufferable intolerance put on hold for a few minutes.

The liberal left's fundamental flaw is its inability to differentiate between idealism and wishful thinking. When otherwise intelligent (and, in many cases, well meaning) people imbue naturally idealistic youth with wishful thinking in the guise of idealistic goals, they condemn the gullible idealists to a lifetime of misunderstanding, dependency on government handouts (in return for their votes), and, ultimately, disappointment with their lot in life.

Among the worst aspects of our nation's education systems is that those who presume to teach the young are themselves ignorant of basic concepts, such as economics, history, ethics, law, and others, all of which concepts are necessary if one is to succeed in the real world.

Post 1,822 Meaningful work? Define "meaningful"!
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