Michele Bachmann calls for guaranteed employment for all

Rights come with responsibilities, my conservative friends are always saying. And they’re right about that.

And because they’re right about that, then they must also agree with me that responsibilities come with rights.

If, for example, I am responsible for keeping the sidewalk in front of my house clear of snow in the winter, then I must also have the right to shovel that snow off of that sidewalk. It would make no sense to say that I was responsible for shoveling that snow if I were not permitted to shovel it. So the obligation entails the right to meet that obligation, otherwise any talk of such an obligation would be a perverse, Kafkaesque farce.

Which brings us to 2 Thessalonians 3:10, a verse quoted recently by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who is seeking the Republican nomination for president. It’s one part of a longer discussion in which the author rebukes those in the early Christian community who had stopped working in anticipation of Jesus’ imminent return:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.

Michele Bachmann cited this passage on Monday as a definition of “self-reliance” — “Self reliance means, if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.” It’s true that the author of 2 Thessalonians urges Christians to “earn their own living,” but the modern idea of “self-reliance” isn’t really compatible with the generally Pauline outlook of that epistle. If you told St. Paul that you were “self-reliant,” he’d have told you that you were a blasphemous, idolatrous fool.

But nevermind such quibbles, because I’m too excited by the fact that, finally, four years into America’s jobs crisis, we finally have a politician with national stature saying that every American who is able to work should be guaranteed a job. Here is Bachmann bravely saying that employment is the fundamental and undeniable right of every American who is able to work. Everyone has the responsibility to work, she said, and therefore everyone has the right to a job.

I admit, Bachmann was a bit muted on the “therefore” part, and she didn’t provide any details about how, exactly, she would ensure full employment and guarantee a job for every American in need of one. But that has to be what she meant. It’s the only logical, non-contradictory and decent possibility for what she could have meant.

Because if Bachmann was arguing that every American capable of working has a responsibility to work without also arguing that every such person has the right to a job — a guaranteed right to a job, right now — then that would make her a monstrous, illogical imbecile intent on cruelly punishing the jobless with contradictory obligations and prohibitions. That would make her a horrible, ignorant, despicable failure of a human being.

So, obviously, that can’t be what she meant. Right?

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  • So you support the “right to work” laws?  Good to know.

    Oh, those wily unions.  You have to reign them in carefully, or they’ll just take over.  They’re so scared of them here in Georgia that although I’ve never even had access to a union in any job I’ve worked, I’ve had it patiently explained to me over and over again that there’s a Right to Work law in place which protects me by allowing my employer to fire me immediately and without cause.

    Republicans own Georgia, by the way. 

  • Intersection Vic

    What’s that? Google doesn’t give any results for that or for it’s r13’d form.

  • Anonymous

    What’s that?


  • Anonymous

    People like that should have been tested on the production line, evaulated as dangerously defective, and culled before they could enter the market.  Their poor quality jeopardizes our whole brand!

    For once, I sorta agree with you on this subject.

  • geldsmaggen

    Why not guarantee employment?
    Why wasn’t that what we did in the first place instead of welfare?
    If the government is paying for these people then they should have to work for it.
    It would also maximize economic productivity. All those unemployed people is wasted labor power that if put to work would mean a greater amount of productivity in the economy and greater standard of living for all.

  •  If that’s true, then doesn’t that mean that Obama fixed the unemployment problem and they can’t say that his economic record is bad any more?