Tonight's episode of the West Wing, from what I caught (admittedly, since the writing's tanked I find it too painful to really concentrate on the show for a full hour), was about the conflict between two positions: Well-meaning, bleeding-heart "anti-traders" want to protect the jobs of Americans who have them now because they believe Americans are more important than poor people in the third world, and that having jobs today is more important than having jobs in a generation, and because they want unions to vote for them. Rational, thoughtful free-traders care about everyone's jobs everywhere and recognize that millions of Americans may need to lose their jobs to outsourcing in the short term, and it hurts them more than it hurts the unemployed, but they have the moral leadership to do the hard thing by pursuing the policies which will rain down wealth on everyone around the world in the long-term. Needless to say, no discussion of the benefits to workers around the world from "raising the floor" of wage standards and working conditions, or the threat to workers in this country and every other from a corporate race to the bottom spurred on by neoliberal trade policy designed to maximize short-term profits for transnational elites. Instead, the free-traders learned that they should respect the "anti-trade" folks because they mean well even though they're wrong, and the "anti-trade" folks learned that they're wrong. Do people really still see The West Wing as part of that ubiquitious, malignant liberal media we've all heard so much about?


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