Sunday, February 27, 2011


Idealism gone Mad

I am unhappy about the attempt in Wisconsin to crush public employee unions.  I'm unhappy because it looks like the start of an attack on all labor unions.  In effect, the governor of Wisconsin and his allies intend to restore the relations between labor and management that prevailed in 1880.  I know that Governor Walker is popular among Republicans.  However, I can't believe that nearly all Republicans support his draconian views of labor unions and the rights of workers.  I believe and will continue to believe until someone proves me wrong that a majority of Wisconsin residents and Americans generally believe that workers should have the right to collective bargaining.

I know that many sincere and kind-hearted people believe that public employees shouldn't have the right to strike.  If the firemen go on strike, who will put out the fires?  The argument is advanced that the same restriction shouldn't apply to workers in non-governmental organizations like auto plants and steel mills.  If Ford is shut down by a strike we can buy our cars from Toyota or GM.  We have only one fire department, one police department, etc., and we can't allow those services to be shut down by a labor dispute.

There is a reasonable argument on the contrary, which I won't discuss here.  My point is that Governor Walker's stand is supported by some idealistic people in addition to his cronies who simply want a labor force with no union and a high enough rate of unemployment that workers will accept starvation wages and abysmal working conditions just to have a job.  I am concerned about the idealists.  Like idealists everywhere they have their heroes and they occasionally support really bad policies and proponents of these policies that seem to fit with their ideals.  My hope is that these idealists will realize the negative implications of Governor Walker's proposed legislation and will join those of us who oppose his plan to destroy the public employees' unions.

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