Rush Limbaugh: “Not replaceable” — but steelworkers, teachers, nurses and everyone else can go eff themselves
The irreplaceable Matt Taibbi takes on radio sportscaster (that’s Sports. Caster.) Colin Cowherd, who uses a silent NFL players protest as an opportunity to trash the union movement generally and to declare (seriously) that, Simon Cowell and Rush Limbaugh excepted, “everyone’s replaceable.”
Almost everyone who has a job is economically “replaceable,” but shit, outside an Ayn Rand novel, there’s more to it than that. Does it make economic sense to fire the auto worker who mangles his hand in the factory machinery and bring in a younger guy with all his fingers? How about the secretary who refuses to fuck the boss, isn’t she replaceable? Couldn’t we put her ungrateful ass out on the street and bring in another, hotter girl to do the same job at the same price? How about a teacher who refuses to pass his failing students on to the next class? How about the worker on the oil rig who complains about his company’s safety procedures? The aforementioned steelworker who gets a little too old and becomes too much of a liability to the company health plan? The government civil servant who turns whistleblower?
Yes, Colin, you spoiled little fuckhead, we can replace all of these people. After all, you’re right, none of them are truly valuable, at least not like Simon Cowell or Rush Limbaugh, anyway.
But we don’t always replace them, because some people in our past spent generations fighting to push us up above the level of savages. Unions aren’t perfect, and they don’t always pick the right causes to fight for, but they have to exist precisely because the vast majority of workers are replaceable, which is to say not special, which is to say vulnerable. Not that Cowherd would have any reason to know this, but that’s what a “job” is, as opposed to what he and I both have, careers — a job always involves shelving your own personal creativity and ambition to at least some degree, in order to push someone else’s idea along for a while.