< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: Child Labor and the Liberal Intelligentsia

Monday, August 01, 2005

Child Labor and the Liberal Intelligentsia

Matthew Igelesias, against his usual habit of constructive contributions and intelligent insights, has laid an egg so rotten we all may choke on its fumes. Josh Marshall, horribile dictu, seems to approve the stench. Now to be fair, both are talking mostly about the argument that sweatshops in the third world--as bad as they are--still offer a step up from misery to poverty. That's an issue in its own right, arguable perhaps on the "if not cake then at least crumbs" principle. But both writers at least refer to child labor in the same general category, even if they don't explicitly approve it. Josh allows as how sweatshops might not be OK, though, if perpetuated by violence. But in any case we're left with an implicit, look the other way, endorsement or at least toleration of child labor as some kind of alternative to misery. O tempora, O mores-- the perfidy of liberals trying to polish their tarnished economist credentials.

That it should be necessary to point out that child labor is violence, that it destroys health, maims, and kills--that this should need saying is all the evidence we needed for the utter corruption and disgrace of our nation's public discourse.

C'mon, guys, say it isn't so. I can't wait to apologize for misuderstanding you.