Slaves, Servants, Workers And Children

The mental architecture of anyone with authority seems to go more or less like this: being unwilling to recognise that your inferiors in power have legitimate interests different from your own, you are obliged to posit that their interests coincide with yours. Their remarkable reluctance to sacrifice themselves to the pursuit of your interests must therefore be “explained”, and the explanation that makes you feel good is that these Others are lazy. Your own freedom from the vice of laziness is demonstrated by your own vigorous pursuit of these your own interests that they are so wickedly neglecting.

We meet this paradigm above all in the slaveowner, who regards as moral turpitude the deficient zeal of his chattels for breaking their backs to make him rich. So too in that lightly disguised slaveowner whom we call a captain of industry, continually complaining of lazy and unproductive workers who have the temerity to be sickened by their working conditions and to desire adequate remuneration for their labour. Where economic theory would suggest purchasing extra commitment on the free market, that is, rewarding the labour, in the real world the industrialist often prefers coercion and/or manipulation of the total social environment. People of his own class, he thinks, respond best to opulent reward incentives while people of the subject class respond best to fear; on the plantation, the lash, in our society economic insecurity.

So, too, the harsh mistress of the household, who cannot understand why her servants like to take the weight off their feet once in a while. Yet again, the teacher, who regards failure to drink deep of his instruction as laziness, because that saves him having to ask how good that instruction actually is. And finally, the parent, who regards his offspring as lazy for not cheerfully performing all manner of services for him and for not devoting every waking hour to his schoolwork. The question here being evaded is the same as is being suppressed by the schoolteacher, the mistress of the household, the industrialist and the slaveowner: why on earth should he?

Posted on February 4, 2011 at 10:31 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: PARENTAL STATUS TECHNOLOGY, Hugo Grinebiter's Schooldays

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