Intermarkets' Privacy Policy
Support


Donate to Ace of Spades HQ!





Recent Entries
Meteor Open Thread | Main | Revealed: Batman Wasn't Gay After All
February 15, 2013

Lady Pelosi: Cutting Congressional Pay Would Reduce the "Dignity" of the House of Lords, I Mean, Citizen Legislators

I wrote yesterday about the transfer of power between Lautenberg and Booker, cracking that a smooth transfer of noble power had been executed, with the Signet Ring and Senatorial Scepter to be formally transferred at St. John's sometime round next Hallows.

Nancy Pelosi helps make this point.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she opposes a cut in congressional pay because it would diminish the dignity of lawmakers' jobs.

"I don't think we should do it; I think we should respect the work we do," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. "I think it's necessary for us to have the dignity of the job that we have rewarded."

Several points on the words used:

"Respect." She insists, straight off, on respect. Respect is, in a democratic, egalitarian system, not demanded and not owed due to status, but rather freely conferred due to achievement. Lady Pelosi demands "respect" not for Congress' performance -- the threat of a pay cut arises entirely due to its failure to perform -- but simply because the Status of Congressmen grants it.

It doesn't. Not in America.

"We." "I think we should respect the work we do." I can't help but note that this first "we" in this sentence, first person plural, is being used in a rather odd sense, second personal plural, you. That's not the same use as the Royal We, but we have seen these games with pronouns before, and We Are Not Amused.

"It's necessary." Aristocrats are fond of conceiving of their unearned and unwarranted privilege as being "necessary" for the smooth functioning of society; when their privileges are questioned, they don't say "But I like my unearned privileges," they instead claim that their privileges somehow better the lives of the peons. You see, they're not being selfish; they're thinking of the soft-brained illiterates on whose behalf they labor so heroically.

The lower lot, you see, need the structure of a society with firm strata so they can know their place. And thus they need those in the upper strata to have these privileges. It's necessary. She's just thinking about the common man, you know. That's all Lady Nancy ever thinks about.

"Dignity." Dignity is related to dignified, which expressly once meant-- and still does mean -- "having the air of a dignity," that is, of a worthy person whose worthiness is conferred by official position within a society.

And "dignity" itself comes from the feudal system:

early 13c., from Old French dignite "dignity, privilege, honor," from Latin dignitatem (nom. dignitas) "worthiness," from dignus "worth (n.), worthy, proper, fitting"

And while I can't prove the etymology, I'd posit dignity is related to the word "distinction" -- as in a badge of honor (as given on the battlefield) or, in the case of the nobility, the social investiture of superiority in a class.

"Rewarded." But you haven't been "rewarded" a perpetual gift; you've instead been hired for a job, a job in which the employers may see fit to increase and -- note this well -- decrease your compensation, depending on your performance. Lady Nancy, however, sees it as the former.

It should be noted that in previous centuries offices were purchased and carried with them benefits. For example, a rich-but-untitled nobleman in France could purchase some office -- say, Postal Inspector General -- and that office carried with it certain privileges otherwise restricted to the nobility.

This idea of perpetual gifts -- once Knighted, you cannot be unknighted, short of treason -- is entirely anti-American. We do not "reward" our civil servants, as Louis Capet did, with permanent social position and "dignities." We give them jobs -- at which they serve at our pleasure -- with the terms of employment changeable by the employer.

This is exactly what distinguishes a class position from a job -- you can lose your job, you can have your pay cut. You are not entitled to the job; you haven't been rewarded it, you've been hired for a hitch.

It is necessary for social fluidity that not only can people advance in status, but that they can also decline in status. If a status, once attained, cannot be lost -- even for nonperformance of the job that brought it -- then it's not a job, it's a 17th-century royal office sold on the open market to the second sons of noblemen, like a colonelcy.

Back in the day, the military office of colonel was in fact freely sold. One bought a "colonelcy." The aristocrat just had to pay the crown and pay to equip the troops under his command, and bang, with no actual military background or ability to lead men into battle, he became a colonel. With all the "dignities" that office came with.

Conservatives are the retrograde ones? And Lady Pelosi, pronouncing upon her dignities, rewards, and Right to Rule, is the progressive?

Pull the other one.


digg this
posted by Ace at 01:27 PM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
qdpsteve: "AOP, some of those could be really funny. Back ..."

Inspector Cussword: "The police don't have to let the rest of the city ..."

qdpsteve: "otho, I think it ended in the 1970s. I saw a qu ..."

Alberta Oil Peon: "Does anyone here remember a line of Marvel comics ..."

otho: " Does anyone here remember a line of Marvel c ..."

qdpsteve: "Inspector, I like your way of thinking. :-) ..."

Inspector Cussword: "The NYPD should start by not patrolling 30 Rockefe ..."

qdpsteve: "Joke I found at Twitter: "An atheist, a vegan, ..."

junior: "Because I am a sucker where Appleseed is involved. ..."

Angus mac Bogus: "406 Story Idea: Senile Ent with chainsaw kills sap ..."

qdpsteve: "AOP, it could be. ..."

qdpsteve: "Does anyone here remember a line of Marvel comics ..."

Recent Entries
Search


MuNuvians
Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
News/Chat
Archives
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64