Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Matt Taibbi helping the Palinization of America...?

So Matt Taibbi gets all "hail the working poor, us elites don't really work!" over David Brooks here. Several liberals in my Twitter feed were jumping for joy at Taibbi's put-down of Brooks. I wasn't too pleased, but I couldn't put my finger on it till this morning.

Taibbi's thesis apparently is that only the proletariat do "real" work. Only if someone puts in 80 hours/week on a demolition crew or other shitty manual labor, can it be called "real" work. The others - writers, intellectuals who generate ideas, pursue "work" that they love - aren't worth shit.

Not to go all John Galt, but this is a romanticization of manual labor that is completely unnecessary and even dangerous. If what I do as a scientist - a lot of writing, and yes, some of the research, things I actually love to do - is not "real" work and all these liberal commentators and yes, intellectuals push it accordingly - the results of my labors aren't going to be appreciated by the layman/proletariat, who only respect the fruits of real hard work. And who do you think produces reports on climate change? So-called "ivory-tower" intellectuals (including climate modelers!)

One of the annoying left-right divides in the US is anthropogenic climate change, which has become highly politicized, and it is quite frustrating that most GOPers (as represented by their Senators and Congressmen) believe humans don't contribute to climate change. Part of the reasoning stems from a lack of respect for climate scientists - "they are only in it for future funding!" And folks like Matt Taibbi - who romanticize "real" work - only help make the case against the intellectual labors of climate scientists stronger (among other creative/intellectual endeavors.)

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