Michele Bachmann’s Bizarre Quote

Well thanks Michele Bachmann. When you repeat a Vladimir Lenin quote by saying “If anyone will not work, neither should he eat,” you gave the greatest gift to the Left they ever could have hoped for. If they hadn’t have gotten it free from you, they surely would have been willing to pay some Republican a million dollars to say it. Now they’re playing it up for all it’s worth, and adding to its worth a thousandfold.

It’s so valuable to them because they apply your quote not just to you but to all people who lean right, telling their minions that that’s how all Righties feel deep down inside. They’ll say and think that we all want the unemployed to starve (when in actuality we want welfare to go to the poor, not to the middle class and rich, which is where most welfare/redistribution money goes now).

Now during arguments with the Left they’ll always bring that up, and we’ll have to waste valuable debate time trying to apologize for you and explain that we have no idea how the lady from Minnesota, who happened to run for president, could have said something like that, especially given that it’s a quote from a prominent Communist.

Even more distressing, from doing a cursory Internet search, I never found an apology or retraction from you. It’s quite possible that I missed it if you did in fact issue one, but if you didn’t issue one, then it’s about time you did.

— update  – one week later —

I don’t know if Mrs. Bachmann has ever tried explaining what she meant by that, but it’s safe to say she doesn’t think that people who don’t work shouldn’t eat. She was speaking metaphorically. She meant that if you’re an able-bodied, working-age person and choose not to work but instead choose to live on welfare or charity, then you won’t enjoy the prosperity that you could have enjoyed had you worked. On welfare you’ll of course have plenty to eat, but you’d be missing out on the extra money and personal satisfaction that you’d have by putting in a good day’s work.

In the pre-modern ages, back when everyone lived in hunter-gatherer or agricultural societies, then it may well have been the case that not working meant not eating. Back then when life was nasty, brutish and short, there typically was no welfare or charity to fall back on when you didn’t go out and grow your own food. The if-you-don’t-work-you-don’t-eat saying is apparently in the Bible, and during Biblical times, when everyone had to grow or gather their own food, then that was a bitter truth that most people had to live by.

And in tough, primitive conditions, leaders sometimes made that rule, like John Smith in the Jamestown colony around 1610. Many of the settlers were city folk not used to growing their own food, so there was widespread death and starvation in those harsh conditions. Smith wanted everyone to work, so he imposed the rule that if you don’t work, you don’t eat. That prompted many of them to start working, and the conditions in the colony improved.

And yes, Vladimir Lenin designated the phrase as the first principal of socialism. Apparently it was directed at the bourgeoisie, whom he thought lived off of the labor of others.

Even so, it’s a politically terrible statement for any politician in the 21st century to be saying. Even if you’re speaking metaphorically, you’ve got a heck of a lot of explaining to do, which doesn’t sit well in today’s bumper-sticker and Twitter world of communications.