October 09, 2011
Of Course — Dwarf Tossing!

Where to begin?

Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, filed a bill this week to bring back “dwarf tossing,” the barbaric and dangerous barroom spectacle that was imported from Australia and thrived briefly in Florida before it was outlawed in 1989.

“I’m on a quest to seek and destroy unnecessary burdens on the freedom and liberties of people,” Workman said. “This is an example of Big Brother government.

“All that it does is prevent some dwarfs from getting jobs they would be happy to get,” Workman said. “In this economy, or any economy, why would we want to prevent people from getting gainful employment?”

I suppose there are the obvious observations: In the midst of what is a Depression in all but name, this is what a (nominal) public servant decides to focus on??? Just how many jobs does Workman think this move is going to create? Are there a lot of little people clamoring for this particular remedy? Did it not perhaps occur to Mr. Workman that maybe — just maybe — the “jobs they would be happy to get” are the same jobs the rest of us would be happy to get? Y’know — the ones that pay decently and offer benefits, like our parents’ jobs generally did in a bygone age?

But apart from the WTF quality of this particular proposal, there is something deeper. Namely that Mr. Workman and his fellow Republicans consistently see “freedom” in terms of the crassest exploitation. That Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad government is preventing the free market from exploiting dwarfs! Surely there is no other word for this but Tyranny. And just as surely it must be as beneficial to dwarfs to be exploited as it is for those who would exploit them!

Or children, for that matter — as the various state-level proposals from our Republican friends to do away with child-labor laws demonstrate.

So dwarfs opting to be tossed — that’s Freedom! Of course, if these same individuals were to decide to congregate outside Mr.Workman’s office to demand decent jobs and real economic fairness, I have no doubt that he would waste no time in denouncing them as un-American. Such is the compassion of today’s conservatives.


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Posted by Kurt Weldon at October 09, 2011 01:39 PM
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Yes, I think it always helps to clarify the way people give two meanings to "freedom": 1) the freedom of individuals as individuals to control their own lives, or 2) the freedom of masters to be unquestioned masters in their own businesses, households and other hierarchies.

This seems clearest in the case of domestic abuse, where an abuse victim's right to the equal protection of the laws invokes (1) but impairs (2). But it also does seem applicable to abusive employment, doesn't it?

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on October 9, 2011 10:29 PM

Next: legalizing cock fights, dog fights and bare knuckle boxing. I've been in Florida, they already have all of those, just not legally.

Posted by: evil is evil on October 10, 2011 7:22 AM

I sympathize with your plight about the Amanda Knox story, even though I did find it slightly interesting for reasons other than the "wicked foreigners abuse innocent American" trope. I have had the same feelings about a certain celebrity family in particular for some time -- I won't actually say which ones because it's possible you may not have heard of them yet and it might only cause you more torment. Suffice to say, they are almost always referred to in the plural. I struggled for months, perhaps years, to not know who they are. I have no real idea why I was obsessed with not wanting to know about them in particular, since there are many, many people worthy of not being known about. Alas, it has seeped in gradually so that I have lost the battle and now pretty much do know who they are.

Posted by: Tim on October 10, 2011 12:31 PM

Sorry, that was obviously supposed to go on OHollern's post below.

Posted by: Tim on October 10, 2011 12:55 PM
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