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The Robots Are Coming

You may have noticed recently when a member of most incompetent, corrupt administration in history started talking trash about who does or doesn't have skills.

Yes, our old friend, White House chief of staff John Kelly, said he believes that “the vast majority of undocumented immigrantscrossing the southern border into the US do not assimilate well because they are poorly educated.” Kelly — whose boss is a sociopathic ignoramus who is historically unqualified for the job of president — went on to say that undocumented immigrants “don't have skills.”

And he did this without any sense of irony, grasp of hypocrisy, or inkling of shame.

But it wasn’t just Kelly who says undocumented immigrants are too dumb to fit into America and refuse to learn English, damn it.

Noted right-wing babe Tomi Lahren said, “people who don’t speak English or who come from poverty shouldn’t be allowed to immigrateto the United States.” She insisted that “you don’t just come into this country with low skills, low education, not understanding the language and come into our country.”

Of course, it took a journalist about nine seconds to do a little research and find out that Lahren’s ancestors did exactly that, proving that “people like Lahren continue to push a specious agendathat suggests today’s immigrants are somehow wholly different from previous ones.”

Indeed, it can be pointed out that “nativists can’t keep trying to back up their argument by saying ‘the country doesn’t work this way’ when clearly it does, and has, for their families. So why do they *really* not want these people here?”

To answer that question, let’s look again at the fabled white working class (i.e., the salt of the Earth) that forms the base of Trump’s support and the emotional underpinning for conservative thought in this country.

These non-immigrants are struggling to keep up because (in theory) Latinos have stolen their jobs, the coalmines have shut down, and the assembly line has moved to China.

And it’s supposedly going to get even worse soon, as self-driving carswill eliminate millions of jobs from truck drivers who are overwhelmingly white and uneducated.

So what has been the response to these issues?

Well, most Republicans and many Democrats have sought to assuage the fears of white working class people by telling them that their low-skill jobs are coming back (any day now!), and that they don’t have to change a thing. Nope, they don't have to take a computer class, learn a trade that’s actually in demand, or (heaven forbid) learn Spanish.

The implication, sometimes stated outright, is that too much change is happening, too fast, and we as a nation will make sure that these big mean machines don’t take anybody’s job.

So if you’re keeping track, this nation cannot accommodate immigrants who risk their lives to come here, work like demons, and often perform essential tasks that Americans don’t want to do

However, we can slow down our economy and move our entire society backward to make things a little easier for people who refuse to even acknowledge that it's the twenty-first century.


But I have a question.

Has a society — any society anywhere at any time — willfully stopped progress because the elites were afraid of how it would affect the least-skilled members of that society? I’m not being snarky. I honestly doubt this has ever happened in human history.

Remember that the Luddites failed to stop the machinesfrom taking their jobs. In fact, their doomed insurgency is only remembered today for giving us the adjective for a backward, fearful person who is terrified of technology.

Modern blue-collar workers will not fare any better. Republicans are stoking discontent among the white working class, but at best the GOP is being disingenuous about its ability to stop the acceleration of automation. At worst, Republicans are telling overt lies while laughing their asses off about the gullibility of small-town types.

Because Republicans cannot and will not stop the self-driving cars from coming. By the way, those self-driving cars will most likely “see farther and react faster, so it makes senseto bake computer control into big-rigs, to make them safer and more efficient,” thereby reducing the grim statistic that “crashes involving trucks kill about 4,000 peopleon US roads every year.”

Or we could just sabotage the computer programs and make sure big-rig drivers can continue to be less efficient while killing more people on the road. Because otherwise they might have to, you know, learn a new skill.

Sounds like a fair trade to me.

Oh, and one more thing: all those kiosksthat fast-food outlets have created to take the place of burger flippers? Well, conservatives love to imply that it’s because some cities have raised the minimum wage. But isn’t this just capitalism in action? After all, no company exec would say, “Yes, a machine can do this task more efficiently and for less money, but I really want a bored teenager to do the job.” 

Where does all this GOP concern for workers come from, all of a sudden?

I would think that conservatives — with their supposed love of the free market — would be thrilled with the idea of creating more efficient systems rather than subsidizing a low-skilled worker to do a worse job.

So again, what’s behind this sudden love for halting immigration and, while we’re at it, stopping economic and technological progress?

Well, I’ll talk more about that in my next post.


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