Mike Rowe Issues Work Warning – We’re in Big Trouble if He’s Right

Mike Rowe Issues Work Warning – We’re in Big Trouble if He’s Right

According to one television personality, “work ethic” itself has succumbed to the cultural Marxism at the root of wokeness.

If anything has the power to destroy the American republic and its democratic ethos, surely this development does.

Mike Rowe, host of “How America Works” on Fox Business, appeared Wednesday on Fox News’ “The Story” to discuss and lament this latest woke controversy.

According to Fox News, Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah received substantial backlash for a year-end email to employees extolling hard work.

“There is not a lot of history of laziness being rewarded with success. Hard work is an essential ingredient in any recipe for success. I embrace this, and the most successful people I know do as well,” Shah wrote.

Some regarded those sentiments as “outrageous” or “terrible,” according to Fox.

Rowe agreed with Shah but found the backlash unsurprising.

“He didn’t get the memo that there’s a new sheriff in town and this sheriff is in charge of the words. And the words no longer mean what they used to mean. And this is a shame,” Rowe said.

That woke “sheriff” has destroyed a common value.

“Work ethic used to be a virtue,” Rowe lamented. “And by that, I mean, it was a thing that was completely apolitical. Work ethic was the thing we all aspired to because we all knew in our guts that it could help us.”

Of course, anything that helps individuals aspire and succeed poses a challenge to the woke Marxist’s “oppressor-oppressed” narrative.

“Today, that turn of phrase has become like so many other turns of phrase, a kind of triggering dog whistle of sorts,” Rowe said of “work ethic.”

“It means that if you come out in favor of work ethic, then you are de facto on the side of the greedy, rapacious capitalists who are merely trying to exploit the worker,” he added.

Indeed, with woke Marxists, everything comes down to exploitation and oppression.

One could hardly exaggerate the threat that collective hostility to work ethic would pose to American freedom.

Turned to demonic purposes, of course, the relationship between work and freedom — like the relationship between all virtues and the healthy outcomes that result — could become darkly perverted.

After all, the sign atop the entrance to the Nazis’ Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp read “Arbeit macht frei.” In English, that translates to “Work will set you free.”

Totalitarian regimes have an interest in altering or even inverting the plain meaning of language.

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Radicalism of the American Revolution” (1991), legendary historian Gordon S. Wood quoted the famous French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville, who visited the United States in the early 19th century and penned perhaps the most celebrated collection of observations about American democracy ever written.

According to a stunned de Tocqueville, in the democratic United States “every man works for his living.” Furthermore, every man thinks “that to work is the necessary, natural, and honest condition of all men.”

Indeed, the French aristocrat could not believe that Americans regarded work as “honorable.” A European gentleman, accustomed to leisure by birthright, would find nothing in American society more shocking or repellent.

Wood regarded this as a significant and often overlooked aspect of America’s republican revolution.

“We have usually not given these comments on American work by foreign visitors the attention they deserve because we have not appreciated the degree to which early-nineteenth-century Americans were overturning the ancient tradition of aristocratic leisure and leadership and celebrating in its place what [Ralph Waldo] Emerson called ‘the dignity and necessity of labor to every citizen,'” Wood wrote.

In other words, we do not merely work because we must. We celebrate work because it makes us free, not in the dark and cynical Nazi sense but as an affirmation that every individual has equal value and that no one should enjoy a lifetime of leisure by birthright.

Furthermore, Americans celebrate work because it allows us to aspire. And only free people may aspire to anything better than their present conditions.

As Wood explained, we should remember the American Revolution in part for “the real earthly benefits it brought to the hitherto neglected and despised masses of common laboring people.”

No wonder the woke tyrants want to destroy work ethic. It is, after all, one of America’s original ideals.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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