Photo: Ileana Johnson 2014
The old corn fields of my childhood where we often worked in
As a teenager, I could not work summer jobs for minimum wage in order to learn a work ethic. For starters, the communist labor system did not allow for remunerated child employment of any sort, at any age. It was not that hard work was for tractors like American smart-alecky youth say nowadays. There were no teenage jobs to be had. But we learned plenty about work ethic when we helped our families survive and maintain a meager place to live.
When school children were required to work in the fall, right before harvest time, in early spring to plant crops or throughout the year to clean and beautify the city, it was “volunteer work.” Nobody in their right mind volunteered their children to toil in the fields 8-10 hour days with no water and food. We were obligated, forced, and driven by large buses from school to the corn, onion, and potato fields to pick the crops or to the nearby vineyards to pick grapes.
The towns were clean and nobody sprayed graffiti on walls, bridges, or government buildings. Paint was expensive and did not come in convenient cans. The immediate punishment would have been harsh for such an offense. Law and order were maintained with an iron fist; the masses and their children were kept under compliant control. People were on full alert and looked around them very weary when they walked in the streets.
We did learn work ethic watching our parents struggle in poverty to pay the bills, watching the elite live well and steal the wealth of the people. We were lied to with a straight face that we owned the means of production but we were not allowed to gain anything extra, the economic police watched us with an eagle eye and an army of neighborhood paid informers. We learned quickly from adults in our family that workers “pretended to work and those in power pretended to pay them.”
It was important, my parents told me, to study hard, get excellent grades, and pass the rigorous entrance exams to college in order to become like those apparatchiks who carried around briefcases, did so little physically strenuous work, and were chauffeured while we sardined ourselves on smelly buses or trudged through mud and snow.
What adults failed to tell us was that most of those carrying around fancy leather briefcases never finished primary school. They had the gift of gab and community organizing, the gift of frightening others into submission to their will through dishonest activism that misinformed and deluded the masses into the wonders of utopian communism. This non-existent perfect society was supposed to have economic justice, gender justice, equality, and other pie in the sky promises. But only those in power actually lived the good life.
People were too blind to understand that such a utopian society cannot exist because humans are not so altruistic; they are often lazy and self-serving.
We understood on a basic level that, economically, there was no such thing as a free meal; somebody had to pay for it. And generation after generation were raised to believe that schooling set one free from the drudgery of manual labor.
People got degrees that were often education for self-satisfaction, knowing that employment might be somewhere far away in a village that time forgot. A college degree did not necessarily offer higher pay because everyone was paid the same low wages regardless of education. Nobody was allowed to get ahead legally except for the elites and their families who stole left and right without any repercussions.
The proletariat’s work ethic turned to stealing from the place of employment in order to survive. If they “acquired” extras, they traded with others who also stole from work. It was petty stealing, not the mass scale stealing like the elites engaged in.
It was not campaign donations and wise “investment” like American career politicians engage in – they go into office relatively poor and come out wealthy beyond belief. Our communist elites were people like us, with much less education, who stole with charming and mesmerizing voices that lied with finesse; then, once in power, robbed us at the point of non-stop nauseating rhetoric and goons with guns.
American youth’s summer jobs are almost obsolete now and the traditional work ethic lacks to say the least. Teenagers, experiencing consistently high unemployment rates in decades, have been replaced by illegal aliens and, in the case of adults making a “professional career” out of minimum wage jobs meant to be stepping stones for something better, and demanding a living wage, their jobs are replaced by self-serve computer terminals.
The American work ethic was legendary. People worked long hours because they knew the opportunity for advancement and prosperity was looming on the horizon. But today labor participation rates are the lowest since the Great Depression. Americans seem content to be wards of the state, on the generational welfare rolls and handicapped rolls of Social Security.
Social Security has become an entitlement for those who have never paid into it but the government told them that it is their right to claim. Stealing from others? No problem! Why work when the government is so generous? And they are not just generous to American citizens; they are generous to illegal aliens as soon as they cross the border or deplane.
Work ethic or lack thereof is championed early by parents who expect their progeny to get participation trophies and straight As whether they’ve earned them or not. Some teachers also destroy any chance that students would learn to appreciate and be proud of hard work by promoting them from grade to grade even though some of them are barely literate. If they do fail students for lack of effort and work ethic, society and parents in general come down hard on teachers for being such racists and bigots. Accusations of racism and bigotry have become weapons of mass compliance.
The malcontents of recent generations have found work in a very lucrative field, rioting for pay. And it pays quite well. The latest rioters, during the Presidential Inauguration in D.C. were paid to break windows, beat people up, scream, burn cars, overturn whatever stood in their way, and generally destroy private property they did not help create. Under the Obama’s race-baiting administration, the job of protester/rioter paid well.
Why not destroy property and block roads, preventing honest Americans from getting to work, ambulances from carrying sick people to the hospital, children from going to school? Why stay home in mom and dad’s basement when you can become king and queen of the street, hiding behind black clothes and face masks, armed with crow bars and bats? How hard can that be? It only takes the mentality of a cowardly human being without a compass, a conscience, a goal, pride, and without a healthy and productive work ethic. It is easy to destroy but so much harder to create and build.
Luckily, there are productive Americans who have a healthy work ethic. Many still volunteer. Nobody forces them to volunteer; as faithful Christians, it is their own desire to give back to the society that gave them so much opportunity for success and a good life.
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2014