In my continuing adventures with my difficult person, I have been told repeatedly that I am lazy and ungrateful. This is entirely typical of the conservative mind. I am lazy because I do not want to spend a great deal of time working on a project that pays almost nothing and, if anything, makes me a less valuable commodity. I am ungrateful because the businesses involved are doing all their work (which is little) out of the goodness of their hearts.
The reality of the situation is that I am a known author with a book that has an almost mythical reputation. It will sell. And I certainly could have self-published it and made far more money than I will under the current contract. I did not want to republish the book and I was talked into it during a moment of weakness. The publisher and the distributor will make far more money than I will. But I don’t care. There are people who want the book, and now they will be able to get it. But to the conservative mind, I am being done a great service.
But note the conservative delusion. We sign contracts, but that’s all just pretense. What’s really going on is that the rich are so kindhearted that they are providing work for this miserable writer who would never make a cent if it weren’t for their largess. One has to wonder why the government had to start the WPA during the Great Depression when there were so many rich companies who exist only to make work for useless people like me.
The Conservative Mind Begins
Let me explain to you how all this got started. I got two hysterical email messages because I had submitted a book chapter where the header line listed the wrong chapter. I wasn’t pleased at the freak out. I wrote back rather more aggressively than I should have that this was the result of the publisher’s demand that chapters can only be so long, because apparently, all books have to be exactly the same and she never bothered to look at the book in the first place. And then the dam broke and I received hundreds of words of bile. So I apologized and said I had misunderstood the tone of the original email. This was responded to with many more hundreds of words of bile. The conservative mind just can’t let things go. Anger and hatred are what drive it.
This is the conservative mind. I should be grateful to my betters and be willing to work hundreds of hours on this book. And I should always be a good little boy and constantly voice my utter gratefulness that anyone in the world would be willing to publish such a poor and unprofessional writer as I. Now compare this to the liberal company I work for. When I took over managing writers, the biggest concern was that I encourage the writers. The owner of the company understands that the money he makes is a direct result of the people who work for him. He sees the employer-employee relationship as one of equality and mutual respect. And this employer pays me more in a week than I will ever make off this book.
But this isn’t just about the current situation I find myself in. If you watch Fox Business, you will see lots of people going on about how employees should put up with every kind of indignity. They should work for nothing. And if they do it just right, the employer will reward them with a good job. This is why unions are unnecessary — they presume that workers should have some kind of equality of power to employers.
The Conservative Mind’s Faux Threat
To give you an idea of just how ridiculous the conservative mind is in this case, the first email messages I received threatened to kill the project. This was supposed to make me frightened. But my position was, “Great! Let’s kill it!” But of course, the book won’t be killed because the publisher knows that the book will make money. Now I am told we can’t kill the book because people have put work in it. This is a typical moralistic argument that conservatives use against others, but would never accept when directed toward themselves. Part of the cost of doing business is paying for things that don’t work out. Newspapers of old used to assign twice as many articles to be written as were ever published. But in the modern conservative mind, they can never risk anything. It can charge extra for losses it claims will incur, but it will never allow those losses if it can use a moral stick against what it considers to be its lessers.
So you might be wondering why I being so public with my anger. Well, I’m not mentioning the publisher by name. And really: what do I have to lose? The book will be published, because despite what the conservative claims, it is being published because it will make money. None of the hundreds of words telling me how awful I am have been in the service of getting the book done. Well, not completely. I now plan to provide the finished book by next week. But the result of that will be that I’m going to do far less to improve and update the book than I was doing. The publisher has yet to read anything I’ve sent. The concern is that the headers must be right, I must provide scans of the tiny number of images in the book, and that the text must be double spaced. So the publisher will get the really important things: proper formatting.
A world with only conservatives would not be a world worth living in. And I am so looking forward to delivering the book so that my only communication will be the occasional tax document.