Sunday, 15 July 2018

Setting you free

I feel ashamed. Yesterday I mocked a young person’s dream when I quote-tweeted his offering that in the future, the robots will do the work while everybody gets to live a life of leisure. His was in response to a declamation by a trans comedian that work was not a moral duty, but that everybody deserved “basic human rights to food, water, shelter, and health care (among other things) whether or not you work.” One wise response came from a healthcare worker explaining that in order for ‘her’ to enjoy those human rights others would indeed have a moral duty to work. TouchĂ©.

Where do these people come from? Sure, there are artists and performers and great thinkers without whom our lives may be less rich and therefore deserve, perhaps, an indulgence to free them from the bounds of common toil. But then again, there have been many examples of cultural greatness who have sprung from the working masses and plenty of high profile artists and writers earn a handsome living from the commercialisation of their talents.

No, on balance I think it’s fine as it is. If you didn’t work, what would you do? Most people haven’t the imagination or the ability to apply themselves to acquire new skills at a level which is its own reward. Those who do so despite their other life commitments, of which work is generally the most important, are to be admired. Imagine though, if the field were flooded with people desperate to find validation for their existence. A world of no-work would be like ‘reality’ television in real life. The horror.

The devil, they say, finds work for idle hands to do. If you want a concrete example of that just look at politics; an artificial Westworld where nothing is necessarily real and people play out scripted lives over and over again, presumably in the hope that this time it will work out better. Can you imagine if many more people were persuaded that politics was a worthwhile way of spending your days?

But what about the robots? Fritz Lang’s Metropolis was released in 1927 and we still don’t have that return to serfdom, so beloved of the left’s ideologues; the supposed enslavement of the masses to the whim of the cruel and wealthy elites. Seriously, look around you. You have the best living standards, the greatest freedoms and the biggest opportunities of any population that has ever lived on this island. It is precisely because of those freedoms that you have the ability to complain about it all the time.

With few exceptions, those who make the most of the opportunities will be those who do so through work. Don’t look for reasons not to graft; graft harder. Don’t bleat on about human rights and how – somehow – others must procure them for you; grab them for yourself. Be better, work harder, get good. Keep learning, keep improving and then employ those same efforts in your non-working lives. You want the freedom to do as you wish? You gotta work, bitch.

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