Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Class Resentment is Alive and Well

The Toronto Star, which I pretty much despise now, has an article today on Toronto's Auditor General's report around civil servants and sick days.

As always, one is subjected to the predictable troll reaction to this - Outrage! Anger! Hatred for civil servants and their good working conditions and living wages! Curse those unions for delivering on their promise to improve the lives of workers!

By the way, who are these hard-working people who have nothing else to do but sit in their cubicle and post comments at the Star? Aren't they all being whipped by the man while the bureaucrat sips his latte on their dime?

It's strange that everyone is quick to talk of abuse, but no one appears to look at the actual data in the article, such as the "outrageous" difference between public and private sector workers being a mere 3 days.

The entire reaction is premised on the idea that private sector workers aren't allowed to abuse the system as much as their public sector counterparts. Bravo trolls for revealing your implicit assumptions.

But the strangest thing is that the article is premised on the idea of abuse, but the City's own statistics place absenteeism below the national average, and a 1/2 day above the morally pure "private sector worker".

So this is really a tempest in a teapot, premised on a false "public/private" dichotomy, which, if the fincianial crisis should have taught us anything, it's that governments and the private sphere are pretty tightly bound up.

The recipe for this brew is as follows - take an extreme example, find all the people who are outraged about it, and add the statistics at the bottom that invalidate the narrative just so when someone says "where's the balance" you can point out that all the facts are there, even though your aim has been to reinforce prejudice.

If only facts were all that ever mattered. There is so much resentment buried in here, and this is perhaps the most remarkable and depressing legacy of the right over the years - why is it that people with shitty jobs complain about and rail against those with less shitty jobs before they ask why they themselves can't have a less shitty job?

I really don't get it. But if workers ever want to get it, they might want to stop smacking around their fellow workers and realise that maybe organized labour could do the same for them, as in, ensure they can be sick 3 extra days a year.

Oh boy.

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