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It should not be controversial for Catholics

It should not be controversial for Catholics November 29, 2012

…that a giant corporation with the resources to pay a just wage should not keep a huge percentage of its workforce submerged below the poverty line and forced on to the dole at taxpayer expense, all while the execs who force us all to subsidize Walmart reap absurd salaries as they defraud their workers and us.  This is one of those “sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance things”.  Only it doesn’t involve sodomy (except in a metaphorical sense) and so, when I noted this on my FB page, I was met with a giant chorus of excuse makers for Walmart from the Thing that Used to be Conservatism. Turns out entitlements and Federal subsidies are *great* when its a giant corp getting them and any attempt to talk about just wages was really socialist, and utopian, and pro-abortion, and judgmental, and mean, and liberal, and “social justice” Catholicism not *real* Catholicism (which recognizes only abortion and subsidiarity as the sole legitimate subjects for conversation). (“Subsidiarity” in that particular universe of discourse, does not mean “The people closest to the problem should typically handle it with an eye to the common good” but rather, “Ayn Rand was right! Screw the state. Unrestricted capitalist self-interest will magically bring goodness to the world and if the weak get trampled by the strong, well ‘if you have no education or skills, you are not worth much so get an education! Low wage jobs are for students, hs and college, part time and second jobs. Anyone making a career out of a low paying no skills job deserves what they get.'” As one of my readers put it.) What few had to say was that, no matter how you slice it, Walmart is defrauding its workers of a just wage.

A couple days later, I noted this:

The response was again immediate. The source of the graphic was ritually impure. The exec was an Obama supporter. I was secretly pro-abortion. I hate success. Sure the Church’s teaching is right in some vague ideal sense, but it’s impossible (even though Costco was living it out). People are “free” to work for Walmart or not.  (If they prefer starving, that’s up to them.) Etc. blah blah. The bottom line remained: Walmart was mysteriously sacrosanct. Any call for it to actually abide by the Church’s teaching on just wage was not only utopian, but actively evil.

I remarked on how weird it was to hear all the excuses for this and somebody asked if I thought everybody defending Walmart was irrational. I replied, “The problem is not irrationality. The problem is lack of interest in a serious injustice and a deep desire to defend the status quo. If I went to a prolife meeting and everybody spent the whole meeting saying that trying to stop abortion is utopian, and I’m probably a warmonger if I oppose abortion, and besides Planned Parenthood does a lot of good things too, and sure abortion is sad but poor people bring it on themselves and shouldn’t expect anybody to care about their plight and besides they freely choose their predicament and also don’t forget that there are a lot of things worse than abortion etc. blah blah, I would get the distinct impression that such a “prolife” group wasn’t super interested in anything but lip service to the Church’s teaching on the unborn. I get that same impression here from people who pay lip service to the Church’s teaching on just wages.”

Here’s reality: Walmart is freely choosing to treat its workers the way it does. The rubbish that its workers, living in a down economy, often uneducated and unable to find any other work are equally “free” to work there or not is BS. Walmart has thousands of employees over a barrel and is functioning according to the pagan ethos that the strong do as they will and the weak suffer what they must. It is the ethos of slavery and that is what is being defended–by Catholics who should know better. It need not be so, as both Costco and this gentleman demonstrate:

Retiring grocer, 70, gives stores to his employees — for free Joe Lueken, seen below, is transferring ownership of his three stores as a thank you. “My employees are largely responsible for any success I’ve had, and they deserve to get some of the benefits of that,” Lueken explains. “You can’t always take. You also have to give back.”

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