Power in Everyday life, Religion, and Politics – Things On My Mind Series, #7

Minimum Wage

I’m often interested in what people ignore or don’t see that is right before them. Although it has been disproven with data again and again, people persist in believing that most minimum wage workers are teenagers looking for extra spending money. In reality, the vast majority of minimum wage workers are adults, the vast, vast majority women–many single mothers.

In addition to the quantitative data readily available, all one has to do is go on an excursion. You’ll see that most of the people working at convenience stores, restaurants, and other retail centers are absolutely not teenagers. This seemingly invisible phenomena is even more pronounced during the academic school year.

My experience working for minimum wage occurred from March 2003 to August 2005 when I worked at the local Chick-fil-A. I had a great many fun times and learned a lot, but made $5.15 an hour and received a number of pay increases but never made more than $6.00 an hour. $5.15 was the federal minimum wage from 1997 until 2007. I didn’t think about it much at the time. In my case, I worked to have something to do. Only in recent years, I have realized how unfair this compensation rate was. On a regular day (about 4-5 hours), my sales would be around and or over $1000, and I only received around $15-20 of that after taxes.

And, clearly, minimum wage should be at least $25 an hour so people can survive! As everybody knows or could easily know, that’s what it was in the 1960s when inflation is factored in. 

The Ark Myth

The Ark Myth of Western Tradition is not supported by evidence. There are numerous articles and videos that explain why in clear, thoughtful detail. One reason I find particularly important and interesting is that in order to flood the entire planet, the Ark would have been so high in the air as to require oxygen tanks for all of the people and animals in order to survive. (And how did they get animals that only existed half-way around the world?!) Additionally, the Ark Myth centers around the creation of rainbows.

One of the problems with the entire Ark Myth is that it violates all laws of science–biology, chemistry, geology, physics, zoology, etc. Let’s look at rainbows. Rainbows are a function of physics — such a “change” in physics and other basic laws of how the universe operates would create untold magnitudes of chaos. Essentially, without the forces that cause rainbows, there never would have been people.

Given this, I have been thinking about what the Ark Myth actually represents and symbolizes – the purpose it actually serves to those who follow Christian theism. One of these might be that the Ark Myth suggests that religion can selectively defy laws of the universe without consequence. Another might be that humans too can selectively defy laws of the universe without consequence, as there is no way Noah lived almost one thousand years and no way he and his family could do anything the Myth says.

As people grow more critical of the Ark Myth specifically and religion in general, some people are wanting to enhance its power (and “credibility”), as evident in Ken Ham’s Creation Museum, which has all kinds of basic historical problems, even without considering other issues, and has cost tax payers millions of dollars.

People are too afraid of science.

The Function of Laws

Another thing that has been on my mind is the dynamics and functions of laws.

As Dan Paradis has said:

Patriarchy is when you can break the law in front of a room full of protesting women, and they’re the ones who get arrested.

Laws are broken often. Most of what happens is seemingly illegal. From the minor (cars blocking the sidewalk and cars with illegally dark tenting, e.g.) to the major (insider trading and underpaying workers, e.g.).

What, then, is the actual purpose of the law?

My working “answer” is as follows:

This nation’s ideals about freedom only apply to the very, very privileged, as we are shown again and again. Many of us are excluded. It took me a long time to understand how such laws could be so clearly ignored until I framed it as, what I have called, “rhetoric of implied exclusion.” Very privileged people don’t see any contradiction because when they talk about “free speech” it by default only includes other privileged people. And often, the “rhetoric of implied exclusion” applies another way – to the laws created. The very privileged are often exempt unless it works to their advantage.

And, as announted in one of the most recent SCOTUS rullings, warrents are, effectively, no longer required. This will only serve to hurt the already very poor and non-White.

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda