The most durable liberal narrative, Henry Dampier suggests, is that liberalism led to gradually improving labor standards:
The planks of this story are:
- Work-hour reduction laws
- Environmental protection laws
- Minimum wage guarantees
- Workplace safety legislation
- Mandatory unemployment insurance
- Outlawing of child labor
- Workplace-centered tax collection legislation
- Abolition of slavery, indenture, and heavily regulation of apprenticeship
- Transference of workplace training to the regulated school
- Gender equality legislation
- Banning of hiring practices that lead to disparate racial, gender, and sexual orientation impact
The trouble with this story is that it did not actually end any of these practices in the world. It simply displaced many of the older labor patterns into the third world, which is where the West shoves all the practices that it finds aesthetically and morally displeasing to make their own countries more appealing to their moral aesthetics.
On occasion, there is a temporary moral craze about labor practices overseas, but those crazes are always short-lived, because the only way that liberalism can be maintained is by shunting the necessary labor that goes into supporting it out of sight, into foreign countries.
The shunting of these labor practices overseas creates a pervasive sense of guilt on the part of those inculcated into the higher strata of liberal spirituality, but part of that guilt can be abrogated by importing more third world inhabitants into living in the purer, more moral states which they inhabit.
Making a great show of how ‘anti-racist’ and ‘tolerant’ these liberals are makes up for their denial of the unpleasant (to their sensibilities) work must go in to supporting their shining cities, which are not really all that shining at all when judged against the great cities of traditional Europe.