Ethical Quote Of The Week: CNN’s Mike Rowe

In this case, it’s unfair to Mike Rowe’s brilliant and measured rebuttal to MSNBC’s race-baiting talking head Melissa Harris-Perry’s latest ethics pollution to just quote a brief paragraph or two, so I’m going to quote virtually  his entire Facebook post.

Rowe, the man’s man star of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” show and now CNN’s “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” was responding to Melissa Harris-Perry’s dressing down of a guest who referred to new House Speaker Paul Ryan as “hard-working.” This woman’s mission in life seems to be to make it impossible for white people to speak, since she is meticulously eliminating all words and phrases as either racist, homophobic, misogynist or insensitive. (Donald Trump should send her a bonus, for this kind of thing is what is driving his support) In her latest assault, she said this:

“I want us to be super careful when we use the language “hard worker.” I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall, because it is a reminder about what hard work really looks like. But in the context of relative privilege, when you talk about work-life balance, the moms who don’t have health care aren’t called hard workers. We call them failures. We call them people who are sucking off the system.”

Rowe’s diagnosis of Harris-Perry’s world-view was this:

Melissa Harris-Perry appears to be put off by the suggestion that “hard work” is too often linked with success. She doesn’t like the fact that many hard-working individuals have not enjoyed the same measure of success as Speaker Ryan, who was being acknowledged on her show for his excellent work ethic. ..To me, it sounds as though Melissa is displaying images of slavery or drudgery in her office to remind herself of what hard work really and truly looks like. That’s a bit like hanging images of rape and bondage to better illustrate the true nature of human sexuality. Whatever her logic might be, it’s difficult to respond without first pointing out a few things that most people will find screamingly obvious. So let’s do that.

First of all, slavery is not “hard work;” it’s forced labor. There’s a big difference. Likewise, slaves are not workers; they are by definition, property. They have no freedom, no hope, and no rights. Yes, they work hard, obviously. But there can be no “work ethic” among slaves, because the slave has no choice in the matter.

Workers on the other hand, have free will. They are free to work as hard as they wish. Or not. The choice is theirs. And their decision to work hard, or not, is not a function of compliance or coercion; it’s a reflection of character and ambition. This business of conflating hard work with forced labor not only minimizes the importance of a decent work ethic, it diminishes the unspeakable horror of slavery. Unfortunately, people do this all the time. We routinely describe bosses as “slave-drivers,” and paychecks as “slave’s wages.” Melissa though, has come at it from the other side. She’s suggesting that because certain “hard workers” are not as prosperous as other “hard workers,” – like the people on her office wall – we should all be “super-careful” about overly-praising hard work.

I suspect this is because Melissa believes – as do many others – that success today is mostly a function of what she calls, “relative privilege.” This is fancy talk for the simple fact that life is unfair, and some people are born with more advantages than others. It’s also a fine way to prepare the unsuspecting viewer for the extraordinary suggestion that slavery is proof-positive that hard work doesn’t pay off.

Obviously, I don’t see the world the same way as Melissa, but we do have something in common. Like her, I keep a picture on my office wall.

That’s me, squatting next to the most disappointing toilet I’ve ever encountered, preparing to clean it out with a garden trowel. I keep it there to remind me of what happens when you need a plumber but can’t find one. It’s also a nice reminder that a good plumber these days has a hell of a lot more job security than the average news anchor. (With respect.)

Talk about some people being born with more advantages than others: I am thoroughly envious of Mike Rowe. I couldn’t do his job (or fix a toilet) in thousand years, but he could obviously do mine. He’s fit, great looking, funny and can write. And he didn’t have typos. Moreover, I learn, he’s an opera singer. Life is so unfair. Why does he get to be Mike Rowe, and I get to be bald, obscure ethicist blogger with a defunct theater company?

As for Harris-Perry, this is one more example of the kind of Bizzaro World thinking that makes me wonder: How did she get this way? How could any college hire her as an an instructor? How could any responsible network allow someone with such a racialized view to host a regular program? What kind of American listens to her far, far left, Marxist, hateful, divisive, angry and irrational opinions and thinks, “Wow! This woman is so perceptive!,” as she seethes with resentment and bias, as shown when she and her like-minded guests mocked Mitt Romney for having a mixed race grand-child. How ill must our nation be that someone like her can acquire enough viewers to allow her to keep her job? And how did they get that way?

Well, a guy who shovels fish guts and fixes toilets just cleaned her clock, and that’s the real America.

33 thoughts on “Ethical Quote Of The Week: CNN’s Mike Rowe

  1. “.. What real work looks like”. Hell, I worked twice as hard as a kid, and I didn’t get to sing any cool workin’ songs.

      • Funny thing is, I’m probably the closest thing to a former slave she’s likely to meet. My parents actually pulled us out of school (dictated by this weird Catholic offshoot cult-Veronica Lueken-that they got involved in), and I ended up splitting and stacking cordwood from dawn to dusk, 6 days a week;. 3-4 cords a day, with 3 other kids, with splitting mauls, for the “privilege” of eating crappy food in a summer cottage with no running water, and little electric heaters we’d huddle around when we actually had electricity.

        • I fear you are right. Unbridgeable on the whole. I know individual people can and do reason things out with a positive world view and without being influenced by the Melissa Harris-Perry’s of the world.

          There are, however, too many people who don’t believe that sincere or good people are motivated and act to make the world a better place. When they listen to MHP she exploits that disbelief and confirms their bleak view. She also probably converts a few people who are searching for answers. It’s deeply harmful.
          Angry people are not usually reasonable or just. I struggle with negativity, and it’s energy draining, bleak, and sad. We don’t need more of that in the world.

          • A negative and godless universe is where these people dwell. Those like MHP see themselves as elites amid a crowd of lesser beings. When they then see their words disregarded and themselves unlauded, they chalk it up to evil. To their worldview, it can be nothing less.

          • The irony is, the left, at the same time, operates on the unqualified belief in the unwavering good intentions of central planners, and the positive motivations of everyone in the hive, happy to forego any hope of living beyond their basic needs, regardless of their effort. I suppose this is why the bloodbaths eventually follow. “If only everyone would just cooperate with my vision. Im trying to remain positive, people!”

  2. I’m trying to wrap my mind around colliding paradigms. Does that explain why Paul Ryan was condemned as not a true conservative?

    • He was and is viewed with doubt as to his commitment to the party platform. This was due to his words and actions in regard to a number of important issues, to include immigration and the national debt. After the huge disappointment of John Boehner, many grassroots Republicans were hoping for a committed Speaker with the courage to stand up to Obama. maybe he will yet prove to be such. We’ll soon know.

  3. The terms are unrelated anyway…

    Someone who does “hard work” isn’t necessarily a “hard worker” nor is a “hard worker” someone who necessarily does “hard work”.

    This is just more race-grievance mongering and victim-status seeking drivel.

    Mike Rowe is spot on.

  4. I’m trying to understand the thinking of Melissa Harris-Perry. Her father according to Wiki was the first Dean of African-American studies at the University of Virginia. Her mother who was white, taught at a community college while working on her Ph.D. Mellissa didn’t exactly have an “up from slavery” background. What makes this woman so resentful of Paul Ryan?

    • She was radicalized by her teachers and education, presumably, and fell into this hostile, racial world view that is so jaundiced that fairness and rationality is filtered out. She is essentially crippled by ideology.

    • Black Father & White Mother, which pigeonholing demographic suits her; is she a “White Black” or “Black White?” My money’s on the latter, as the former is de facto EVIL!

      Harris-Perry called the Black police officers that were involved in the Freddie Gray incident ” ‘white African-Americans.’ If they weren’t part ‘white’ ” I seriously doubt the fatal injuries that were done to Mr. Gray would have occurred.”

      A noticeably stunned Juan Williams, (lifelong civil rights proponent & dyed-in-the-wool Democrat) could only stammer “Wh…wha…say what, Melissa?”

      “I said,” followed Harris-Perry, “that these three so-called ‘black’ Baltimore cops that have been charged in killing Freddie Gray must have a substantial amount of white blood in them, their ancestry and within their upbringings. It’s just not possible for black police officers to commit such an act on another African-American without their having a large amount of European ancestors…that is, being ‘white African Americans’. Clearly this is the case, Juan, as it was with George Zimmerman. Won’t you agree?”

      Call me crazy, but it appears the ‘real’ privilege is that which is being regularly accorded racist minority media types who doggedly advance a belief system whose Holy Grail is “White = EVIL.”

      I wonder, is it my ‘privilege’ that allows me to post this?

        • “Williams quickly responded,’Melissa,this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever…what you’re saying is the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard!

          “No race has a monopoly on abusing their authority! These cops didn’t —as I believe— rough-handle Freddie Gray to the point of severing his
          spine because they were ‘white African-Americans’!

          “They injured (Gray) however they did because they were probably poorly trained, probably over-worked, over-stressed, and lost control of how to professionally conduct themselves as police officers, and abused their power!

          “The three black cops’ race has nothing to do with…”

          “Juan, come on, you can’t be serious!” interrupted Harris-Perry. “…Juan, seriously, are you an African-American or a ‘white African-American’ ? Because to be frank, sir, right now you’re sounding more like a ‘white African-Amer…”.

          • Forgot to add: “It’s just not possible for black police officers to commit such an act on another African-American without their having a large amount of European ancestors…that is, being ‘white African Americans’.”

            Leave occupation (police officers) out of it, does ‘having a large amount of European ancestors’ explain that perpetrators of Black-on-Black crime are inclined to that type of behavior because they suffer from this ‘bad blood?’

            If so, are we on the cusp of a whole new, if horrendously twisted & convoluted, ‘victim group’ and an attendant legal representation niche market?

        • You missed it, because it didn’t happen (though, as toxic as MHP is, it’s incredibly easy to believe that it happened). The whole story is satire, made up by a website very similar to The Onion.

          At the end of the ‘article’, it claims:
          UPDATE: Melissa Harris-Perry, upon being re-informed that she is half-white, formally submitted her resignation as a news anchor and host on MSNBC Friday afternoon in teary-eyed disgrace. Harris-Perry has released no public statement on her resignation from MSNBC as of yet.

          • Thanks Chris. That site, now that I’ve seen it, avoids The News Nerd treatment from me because it leaves SO many clues up front that it’s a satire site that it (barely) can be accorded credit for trying to warn the overly trusting. Barely. It’s stories, like this one, are too close to plausible. It should have an unambiguous “This is a satire site” disclaimer: NO, I don’t think “Humor+Politics=Power” qualifies. As it happens, one headline in the crawl “Obama insists ISIS “Just a JV team” as ISIS occupies White House” would have done it for me and I assume Paul, but the MHP fake is exactly as stupid as the things she says all the time.

            “Duh” has stopped publishing, to which I say “GOOD!” I hate these sites with all my soul. To those who pick up on the clues, they allow smug ridicule; to those who don’t, they just waste time. Unless a satire sit makes it impossible to make this mistake by content or disclaimers they are unethical.

  5. Harris-Perry is clearly ideology driven and has exactly zero training or schooling in human anatomy, genetics, DNA or any other branch of science dealing with humanity. The only difference between ‘black’ and ‘white’ blood is that black blood can contract sickle cell anemia, and that is more of a survival trait than most would suspect. Sickle cell anemia is an unfortunate side-effect of immunity to malaria.

    • “The good news is, you never have to worry about chloroquine-resistance when you make a pilgrimage to the Motherland again”.

  6. Jack, you surprised me; I would have thought you knew Mike Rowe was a singer before I ever knew. Some years ago, I saw him in one episode (I think it was “Dirty Jobs”) where he sang the national anthem at a minor league baseball game. THAT was a rendition worth listening to!

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