February 2, 2006

Finding Brian C. Jones' Outrage

Carroll Andrew Morse

Brian C. Jones of the Providence Phoenix is troubled by the lack of anger in response to the recent layoffs announced by Ford Motor Company…

As the Ford “restructuring” announcement was unfolding this week, I read the Associated Press stories on the Internet, digested the New York Times’ substantial package, viewed PBS’ long discussion on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and listened dutifully to National Public Radio’s programming, including bits of On Point, Tom Ashbrook’s always-remarkable morning program….

Nobody’s really mad, it seems, just resigned….What I wanted to hear from somebody, somewhere — from a factory worker, an academic, even a Wall Street analyst — is that this is an emergency, both for the economy and the American soul.

Instead, there was preposterous babble, including some analyst’s observation that there is nothing wrong, in fact, with auto-building in America: The jobs lost by the Big Three are being absorbed by the Toyota, Honda, and other foreign produces — which are expanding their American factories. And if you are an investor looking for a good stock market buy in the industry, log onto the Internet or call your broker and buy shares of those companies; who cares where they have their corporate headquarters? There are no losers.

This is simply crap.

American conservatives, believe it or not, share at least one part of Jones’ concern. Right-leaning commentators use the uncomplimentary term "post-patriotic business elites" to describe business leaders who believe that it doesn’t matter who owns the auto factories, or any other factories, so as long they keep pumping out their products. If you prefer a more colorful but less descriptive term, call them "Republican Marxists" who believe that economic forces are all that matter and that it doesn’t matter how much foreign companies own in America, so long as competent managers stay properly focused on their bottom lines.

If you accept that post-patriotic elitism is a problem, you have the answer to this question asked by Jones…

Where is a note of concern — that these jobs have defined the American way of life? Where is any note of respect for what unionized autoworkers have represented as a standard to be honored and emulated? Instead, what respect they’re accorded is put in sort of a museum-like context, describing autoworkers as being like some Indian tribe that had it good on the prairie long ago, but times change and so what?
Respect for unions is absent because of a sense that it is not just management who has entered their post-patriotic phase. Union leadership seems to have gone PP on the country too. In the same way that business leaders can put their company’s profits before patriotism, union leadership seems to put its narrow interests before any concern for America as a whole.

In fact, union leaders seem to have other things on their minds than even the good of their members. Here is pollster John Zogby on the subject of how well union leaders represent their workers…

I asked voters whether the AFL-CIO spoke for them when they went to the polls. The answers produced a real surprise: Among unionized likely voters, just 27% said the AFL-CIO spoke for them all or most of the time.
If union workers don’t believe that union leadership representing their interests, then how is it reasonable to expect non-union Americans to associate protecting unions with protecting America’s best interests?

I realize that this unfairly blames union workers for the errors of union management. But if you can’t trust the union to look out for you because they’re too busy with their own political agenda, and you can’t trust management to look out for you because they’re just trying to maximize profits (and taxpayers can’t trust public-sector unions because they're just trying to grab as much of the budget as possible), then the result is a world of every-man-for-himself. And once people have bought into an every-man-for-himself ethic, it’s hard to get them outraged over what happens to anybody else.

That’s why, contrary to Jones’ opinion, outrage is not the first step to fixing the problems he sees. The changes that Jones wants, a focus on helping others receive "good products and fair wages", cannot begin until people view life in terms larger than their own narrow economic self-interest. Too many members of our post-patriotic commercial elites and our post-patriotic union leadership are doing nothing to help build any such wider vision.

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I do have a problem with the down fall of the American Auto Industry. I own 2 Jeep Grand Cherokee's. I personnaly own American made vehicles since I am a Sales Man and can not expect my customers to buy My Made In America products if my largest purchase next to my Home is not made in America and Profits do not stay in America. To the Conservatives on the BLOG. Are there Tariffs on Rice we sell to Japan and The rest of Asia. Are we able to sell American Beef without tariffs in Asia? If all these things are not fair then why do Real Patriotic Americans By Asian Vehicles? Pres. Bush on his state of the Union the other night Said that we need to conserve on fuel by looking to alternative gas products so we are not as dependant on Middle east oil. Corn switch grass (ALL AMERICAN GROWN)Maybe the conservatives should talk the talk and walk the walk. I purchased a pellet stove 4 months ago to reduce my use of Fuel Oil. I have used 400 gallons at $2.39 per gallon and 35 - 40 lb bags of pellets at $229.00 per 50 bag pallet. I used 1000 gallons fuel last heating season. I already can hear the gas guzzling comments for the 2 Jeeps I own. I use 3 oz. Acetone per 20 gallons gasoline to give me a 20% fuel efficiency increase. Do your part now.

Posted by: Fred on the Blog at February 2, 2006 7:26 PM

Fred on the Blog:

You'll be heartened to know that I have a Jeep Liberty on order (gotta love the name).

This will be the first "American" vehicle I've purchased (other than an old Plymouth Reliant we got from my mother when she stopped driving). So, let's say my first "new American" vehicle.

The MAIN reason I chose it is because it offers a diesel option. So I will have 4wd but with good mileage (owners are reporting 26-28 highway, with an occasional 30) AND the option down the road of biodiesel / biodiesel mix.

Now, if only I could think of a way to make wood pellets work with my forced hot water system!

Posted by: Tom W at February 2, 2006 7:56 PM


I agree with you that the America knowingly participates in trade practices that are unfavorable and should impose similar tariffs on those countries who do not treat us equally.

However, alternative fuels in cars is not the place to start. Hydrogen & Ethanol fuels take an enormous amount of energy to produce the fuel. Some reports state that it consumes 70% more energy to produce than it generates when used as a fuel. **I just can't take my can of corn nibblets and put it into my gas tank** It would be better to switch our energy production to nuclear, coal, wind & hydo sources away from oil & natural gas. Furthermore if we want to end our dependence on mideast oil we need to look to domestic sources in Alaska, Canada (close enough), and offshore in CA & FL.

I am the proud owner of a Toyota Camry. It's my 2nd favorite car next to the Nissan Pathfinder that I owned. I have had 2 FORDs (Fix On the Road Daily and I mean it) which did even come close the value of my "rice burners".

The American auto industry needs to produce vehicles that people actually want to buy. Simple marketing, people will pay for perceived quality, benefits, etc.

Posted by: TCC3 at February 3, 2006 9:01 AM


I am glad to see you support a country with your second largest purchase besides your home of residence(Which I hope is America, But with the internet you might actually live in Japan) You purchased a fine atuomobile. At least when i go to sleep at Night I know I support my country first with my money. But it is your money and as a conservative I believe you can spend your hard earned AMERICAN dollar better than I can. Good luck with you Toyota. How many miles? My 96 Jeep currently has 211,535 miles as of today and NO RUST. Must be the GOOD OLD AMERICAN construction with American Steel. Not sheet metal to make the car less expensive.

Conservitively Yours,
A Real American Conservative
Fred on the Blog

Posted by: Fred on the Blog at February 3, 2006 7:22 PM

The silence is just so excellent especially Since I know a bunch on the blog own Asian cars I guess it must be a Gut Check time and see if you should really be voting for Chafee in the Primary. You know it is no fun without a little banter. As you can see Tom W. responded first since( We of The anti RINO group know )he is just left of a Libertarian. That is probably just were my political belief's are also. Carroll Andrew Morse thank you for the great article which has quieted the crowd.

Posted by: Fred on the Blog at February 3, 2006 10:04 PM

Fred on the Blog:

I'm not sure if I like being called "just to the left" of anything! ;)

I prefer to describe myself: "Libertarian as to government; conservative as to personal values."

In other words, I want government out of my wallat AND out of my life.

Posted by: Tom W at February 4, 2006 11:35 AM


I sleep very well at night.

I have 75K on the Camry. It's only a 2000 model.

As far as the primary, I am definately not voting for Chafee and am not a RINO. I am a conservative capitalist.

Posted by: tcc3 at February 4, 2006 5:06 PM


Good to hear it

Tom W.

You might be right I must of misspoke I would not like that either I apologize

Posted by: Fred on the Blog at February 4, 2006 7:53 PM

Fred on the Blog:

Apology accepted.

After all, those of us on the right REALLY ARE the "tolerant" ones ... as opposed to the FPC (Fascist Politically Correct) crowd.

Posted by: Tom W at February 4, 2006 11:28 PM