Friday, February 08, 2013

Makers Shrugged

Right next to City Café, Murfreesboro’s iconic dinner, is the office of the Republican Party. I was walking by the GOP HQ the other day, passing a couple of older men standing outside the office reading the You’re a Republican if… poster, and talking about Makers, Takers, and Ayn Rand. As I walked by I said, “Who is John Galt?” This is the secret password of Randians. If you don’t recognize it read Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
“Which are you,” the shorter of the two men asked, “a Maker or a Taker?”
“A Maker,” I said, explaining that I made content for books, magazines, and websites. “And you?” I asked.
“Were Makers, too,” the taller man said. “We build Nissans.”
“And yet I bet all three of us are also Takers: tax breaks, Veteran’s benefits (the shorter man wore a Vietnam Vet hat), and when we’re eligible Social Security and Medicare as well. So who are the real Takers?”
“People who just sit around and do nothing except collect checks.”
“Like the CEO of Nissan? He probably has no clue how to make a car. Or people who just make money off of money: what do they really make? The real Takers are people who get huge salaries, tax havens, and golden parachutes without producing a damn thing. After all, what did Mitt Romney actually Make?”
 “Sounds like you're a so…”
“I love Atlas Shrugged,” I interrupted so as to avoid being called a Socialist. “And I think we Makers ought to shrug just like in the book. How long do you think the real Takers would last if the real Makers stopped making their food, clothes, homes, and cars, or stopped cleaning their houses, picking up their trash, teaching their kids, trucking their goods, stocking their shelves, delivering their mail, cable, water, and electricity? If the real Makers shrugged maybe then we would value work rather than wealth in this country, and pay people for making rather than taking.”
I expected an argument, but both men just burst out laughing. I laughed with them. It was never going to happen. The real Takers have won by convincing the real Makers that they should win. What else can you do but laugh, even when the jokes on us?


Erick Reynolds said...

“People who just sit around and do nothing except collect checks.” pretty much defines the class of people who live off Wall Street, but I am sure they are not classified as "takers" in the Libertarian dictionary. Labeling is soooo subjective! The labeling semantics game is an interesting game, but dangerous. One must always ask for a definition to determine if both parties are arguing about the same thing.

Erick Reynolds said...
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Unknown said...
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Bluesman said...

I'm so glad your conversation with the "makers" took place on a public sidewalk, and, while everyone was breathing clean air, their Libertarian speech was protected by our Constitution with a strong First Amendment.

Claire said...

As someone who runs a social service agency, I recently posed the question to other directors of similar organizations. What would happen if we all "shrugged"? What would happen if all the social workers, all the teachers, all the counselors, the physical therapists, everyone who works to help the poor, the vulnerable, the disabled, kids and the elderly...what if we all said, fuck it. We're tired of the low pay, and the little or no benefits. We're tired of certain politicians dumping on us. We're tired of budget cutbacks, tired of sucking up to "high net-worth individuals" so a few more crumbs will fall off their tables and on to the laps of the programs we run. What if we said, we're tired of being the ones who keep it tied together, of being the shoulder that is cried on when things get too hard for our clients. What if we are tired of leaving messages on the Adult Protective Services voice mail because it's too underfunded for there to be a real human to answer the phone, because, after all, who gives a shit about old ladies who have lost their marbles that apparently no one else cares about either?

What if we simply, collectively, shrugged, and walked away?

Unknown said...

Excellent! I totally agree. Rand would never have liked the "Reganomics" ruining the US, and world. "Takers" taking all and not letting anyone but thier buddies have anything... but WORSE is "fixing" the system so Takers will always win. Ayn Rand, would suggest we as Makers behave more like Francisco, someone proud to do things by their own talent. But, yes, the Reganomic fixes draining the world to the rich will close traditional educational routes to greatness.