Ben Shapiro Thinks Public Servants Are Useless Parasites
Every now and then, conservatives say the quiet part out loud.
It’s the part that reminds you how they really feel about people who have committed themselves to public service rather than making gobs of money.
They look down on them.
We know they can’t stand teachers, for instance.
They say things like “those who can, do…and those who can’t, teach,” because everyone knows teaching is for losers who couldn’t make it trading derivatives or running a fossil fuel company.
They claim to love police, but really, they don’t.
They only like law enforcement officers when they’re rounding up the usual suspects, targeting Black folks or undocumented migrants or Muslims or progressive protesters outside the White House.
But let an officer stop one of them for reckless or drunk driving, and they’ll be plenty eager to remind the cop who pays their salary.
Because as public servants, cops, too, are suckers in the eyes of most conservatives.
And God forbid one of them tries to stop a right-winger from breaking into the Capitol. Then they go from selfless public servants to agents of the Deep State worthy of a flagpole to the face.
Although almost everyone is cynical about politicians, conservative antipathy for this bunch is uniquely vicious
It’s not just the occasional illegality or unethical behavior of politicians that bothers them. It’s the very notion of public service they find troubling.
Ben Shapiro’s attack on John Fetterman isn’t about ideas. It’s far more vicious than that
So consider Ben Shapiro’s recent video critiquing John Fetterman, the Democratic Senate candidate from Pennsylvania (and current Lieutenant Governor), who leads in the polls against the Republican, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of things about Fetterman that one can find troubling. If you’re worried about his spotty health — something Ben mentions — so be it.
If you disagree with his policy positions, which Ben also rattles off, albeit in an oversimplified way, again, that’s fine.
And if you’re disturbed, as I am, by the fact that when he was mayor of a small Pennsylvania town in 2013, he pulled a gun on a young Black man he falsely believed had fired a weapon, you are more than justified in feeling that way.
But although Ben mentions this last incident, it isn’t the basis of his critique of Fetterman.
How could it be? For Ben Shapiro to be disturbed by racial profiling would be like Jeffrey Dahmer being grossed out by Anne Rice’s novels because vampires drink blood.
No, for Ben, the big problem with Fetterman, other than the fact he’s “weird looking,” is that he’s a “career useless person,” as he put it on Twitter.
And what makes Fetterman useless?
According to the video (which I won’t embed, as I’d rather not subject you to seven minutes of Shapiro’s high-pitched nasal droning), it’s the fact that he’s never done anything “of actual economic value for another human being.”
Instead, according to Ben, Fetterman “leeched off his parents” while working in “public service.”
In short, Fetterman has never worked in the private sector as a job creator.
Because those are the only people who count in the mind of Ben Shapiro and others like him.
This is why Fetterman, like Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Bernie Sanders, are “career useless people,” according to Shapiro. They only worked as elected officials or academics (in Obama’s case), meaning they don’t count.
This is a thing with conservatives
Right-wingers tend to do this: to divide the world into useless and productive people. It’s their social Darwinism kicking in.
And it’s not something that manifests only in the obvious ways. It’s not just something they say about poor people, the homeless, or those on public assistance.
They also think this way about those who work but not in the “right” kind of jobs.
So, for instance, in 2010, Rush Limbaugh smeared those working in the non-profit sector, calling them “lazy idiots” who are no different from “rapists in terms of finance and economy.”
Likewise, Ann Coulter has said that the nation’s largest labor federation represents “useless” workers — including kindergarten teachers — rather than “men who have actual jobs.”
The modern right believes that if you’re a teacher, work for a non-profit (maybe a community clinic, a food pantry, the United Way, or whatever) or as a social worker, elder care worker in a hospice, or even on an auto assembly line (but belong to the UAW), you are useless.
Whose lives matter?
CEO lives matter.
Never mind that the non-profit sector contributes about $1.4 trillion to the national economy and represents about 10 percent of all businesses and employment in the U.S.
To conservatives, all those workers should be selling their labor to a profit-seeking executive selling products.
Even then, if they don’t run the company, the right will still see fit to dis them, as Ted Cruz did this week by suggesting “slacker baristas” — private sector employees, mind you — were too busy taking bong hits to pay off their student loans. Thus, their need for loan forgiveness.
Basically, if you’re not rich, you don’t count to conservatives.
Here’s what Ben Shapiro is calling useless activity in the case of John Fetterman
As for Ben Shapiro, what he doesn’t tell you about John Fetterman is revealing.
Namely, it reveals some of the activity Ben apparently thinks is useless.
For example, while Fetterman was originally on a path Shapiro would have approved of — to take over his father’s successful insurance business — while studying for his MBA, his best friend died in a car accident.
It was a formative event that caused Fetterman to rethink his life goals.
First, he connected with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America to work with kids, ultimately mentoring an 8-year-old boy whose mother was dying of AIDS and whose father had already succumbed to the disease.
As he explains it, volunteering led him to think about things like economic unfairness and the randomness of life’s lottery — why he, for instance, had been born with financial security while those he worked with were born into poverty.
Wanting to use his advantages to help others, after obtaining his MBA, Fetterman joined up with Americorps, which sent him to Pittsburgh to teach students getting their GEDs.
During this time, he also worked in insurance risk management but ultimately decided public service was his passion. So after moving to Braddock — a small suburb of Pittsburgh — initially to work with GED students, Fetterman ran for mayor and served in that capacity for thirteen years. He also founded the city’s youth program and launched a non-profit which helped fix and save blighted properties in Braddock.
Yes, as Shapiro points out, Fetterman received money from his father to subsidize his public service work because the job as mayor was a part-time, barely-paid position.
To Shapiro, this means Fetterman sponged off his parents.
I suppose a cynic could view it that way, but it’s a telling formulation.
If Fetterman had inherited his dad’s business and assumed his father’s insurance accounts upon his father’s death, how would that be any different?
In both cases, Fetterman would have been handed something by his family.
But to the right, inheriting money or a business is OK.
On the other hand, receiving money from one’s family so that you can actively work with or help others who have less is “useless” activity, even parasitical.
Why is it wrong for someone with access to wealth to use their wealth to help others? Or to make it possible to work with others directly and improve conditions in the community?
When did public service become a bad thing?
It says a lot about conservatives, none of it good, that they view public service so negatively.
Granted, some people get into politics, run for elected office, or participate in some other form of public service for all the wrong reasons, just as there are people who get into the practice of law or any number of private sector careers for the wrong reasons.
But by and large, people who go into public service — whether elected office, non-profit management or as volunteers, mentors, or in some other capacity — genuinely want to serve the community’s interests. To make things better.
To suggest those motivations make one “useless” is a sad commentary on the state of American political discourse.
It’s the kind of rhetoric that can only further turn us against one another as Americans.
There are no “useless people,” least of all those who have spent their adult lives trying to make the world a better place.
Mock them if you will. But in doing so, you tell us more about yourself than you do about those you would have us judge.
This post was previously published on An Injustice!
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The post Ben Shapiro Thinks Public Servants Are Useless Parasites appeared first on The Good Men Project.