The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 27, 2014

Blindness breeds blindness

In his op-ed, “Slavery in America,” Mr. Stan Zellers ably demonstrates the bankruptcy of current conservative thought. Blinded by ideology and deafened by Ayn Randian drums pounding in his head, he is unable to distinguish liberty from servitude, compulsion from choice.  

Zellers displays his good-guy bonafides by recognizing that slavery is outlawed. He berates liberals for wearing the cloak of “social justice” and then, obliviously and identically, cloaks himself in the word “freedom.” Zellers detects a new slavery in America that he judges to be more addictive and more insidious than the old slavery.

More addictive? The Old South  had to be militarily crushed before they could quit this capitalist institution. Even then, they could not quit cold turkey. They had to substitute micro-filtered slavery-light — Jim Crow and segregation.

More insidious? Excuse me, but anyone who would find value in comparing levels of Old South Slavery and SNAP, the SSS, ACA, has withdrawn into a world of meaningless abstractions, far from any commonly shared reality. Zellers’ argument, finding an equivalence between slavery and acceptance of government benefits, is insidious because it is a false, dishonest and intended to demean. I assume Zellers would also fail to understand the unintentional racial overtones of this argument, or its possible racist appeal.    

When Zellers named this new slavery “economic servitude” I thought  I understood. Times are tough. You have to take a job that only covers necessities if you have no special bills. You have to eat. Your debt spirals. This compels you to be obedient to your employer. Accept his pay, his rules, his choices in healthcare, birth control, and more. Vote in something he doesn’t like and he leaves the state or fires you. I get it. Oops, no.

In Zellers’ mind, you are enslaved by the government that offers you unemployment insurance, healthcare options, and Social Security. Just like Congressman Paul Ryan was enslaved by Social Security after his father died, I guess. In some imaginary way you are compelled  to vote for these programs. Zellers believes nobody would ever vote for them because they might prefer America post-2008 to America post-1929.

Mr. Zellers column is really just whining about more citizens receiving government benefits. The two main causes for this are the post-WWII baby boom and the 2008 economic crash. So with no self-awareness and no sense of irony he concludes his article with a spurious quote from Milton Friedman, whose intellectual spawn, Alan Greenspan, was the only person with the authority to prevent the crash.   Greenspan, an anti-regulation ideologue, has admitted he failed to act because he did not believe that the leaders of our financial institutions would ever risk destroying our economic system for the sake of short-term profit. Way to go Milton, Alan, Stan.  Blindness breeding blindness. May God let them see.  This letter won’t.

Chris Schell,


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