The Corner

First Snarl of the Day

I found myself snarling at Dale McFeatters’ column in the New York Post (America’s Newspaper of Record) this morning.

McFeatters is arguing for a raise in the cap on H-2B visas, used by foreign youngsters to enter the country for seasonal work in hotels and summer resorts. These visas are, says McFeatters, “popular with employers.” I bet they are.

Meanwhile, the great old American tradition of working your way through college fades away, and more and more smart young people (a) leave college with a mountain of debt, and (b) pass on into the upper-middle-classes without ever having had any experience of low-paid drudge work.

I understand, of course, that this is just fine with lots of young people, who, like their fool parents, are insouciant about debts — even mega-debts — and would prefer, if they can’t get that summer internship at Goldman Sachs, to hang out on the beach till school starts. Ought it be just fine with Americans, though? Has the conviction that American citizens should not do drudge work really sunk such deep roots? Is “menial work” now just a synonym for “foreign accent”? What the hell do Americans think is so special about them, that they should not have to work a mop or a shovel?

Can anyone tell me how this cast of mind is good for the U.S.A.? Well, Mr. McFeatters will have a go:

These … temporary workers … make their money and go home, one hopes with good feelings about this country.

Why would anyone have good feelings about a country whose citizens are sunk so deep in decadence, they are no longer willing to wait tables or change bedsheets? I’d guess that some good proportion of those H-2B workers go home filled with contempt for us. Or worse.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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