May 01, 2005

May First

Happy May Day, you commie bastards. In appreciation of May Day, I'd like to offer one of my favorite philosophical takes on labor: the pro-market ideology of the antebellum Republican Party. This was known at the time as "Free Labor" which has nothing to do with the price or with socialism, and everything to do with capitalism and anti-slavery.

To put it simply, they believed that there was NO conflict of interest between labor and capital; they argued that with enough work eventually everyone could (go West and) start his own business to become rich; it was their strong belief that money and success were wonderful things and that the hard-working would receive monetary rewards. In other words, they were the bourgeois-capitalist ideologues of the mid-1800s.

A great book that really covers this essentially middle-class, irrepressibly-American worldview is Eric Foner's Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War. So stick one to the comrades and buy Foner's excellent political/historical overview of a tragically under-comprehended subject.


Blogger JuniorCouncilor said...

I thought you might be somewhat interested to note that the Catholic Church did a similar thing to what you are doing. The Church instituted today as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker in order to promote the Church's vision of the ideal worker and social order, as opposed to that of the communists. At Mass today, Father especially noted St. Joseph's silence: Not a word he actually spoke is recorded in Scripture. This is in clear opposition to the constant agitating of the communists. Far be it from them to be peacemakers; class warfare is their hearts' desire.

Thought you might find that interesting; I did.

May 01, 2005 10:45 PM  

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