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SARTRE / February 28, 2011

Populism, Progressives and Public Unions

The divide in the Disunited States of America opened wider with the concerted effort of progressives and teacher union’s latest escape from reality. When people lament that there is little civility left in this country, they mostly refuse to face facts. There is a pitch battle for the hearts and minds of citizens. So far the public education lobby has been winning the war. Their victory is self-evident with the sorry state of literacy much less rational ability that passes for the collective consciousness of the public. The prime directive and accomplishment of the government school system is the development of a society of fools and idiots. Here, here to the union of public thugs and sophists, who work diligently to destroy the American Nation.

The Wisconsin firmament has a fine tradition of populism. Robert M. “Fighting Bob” La Follette, Sr. is a heroic figure in state and national politics. His advocacy for some admirers would claim he was a progressive, but those who understand the distinction, know he was really a populist. Jeff Taylor writes in First Principles.

“The link between La Follette-Johnson and Taft-Goldwater can be discerned when thinking of the transitional figures in the late ‘30s/early '40s when internationalists and the mainstream press were confusing people by adopting the then-popular "liberal” and “progressive” labels. Consider the fact that new “conservatives” attorney Amos Pinchot, publisher Frank Gannett, publisher Robert McCormick, businessman Robert Wood, socialite Alice Roosevelt Longworth, aviator Charles Lindbergh, and Congressman Hamilton Fish all came out of the Bull Moose-La Follette-Borah tradition of liberal Jeffersonianism within the party.“

Fighting Bob was an inspiration battling the railroads and opposing American involvement in World War I. This iconic agrarian populist was a proponent of using government on behalf of the common people. Mr. Taylor continues with a comparison between La Follette and Robert Taft.

"Robert La Follette and Robert Taft shared hostility toward statism, plutocracy, and imperialism. Although La Follette did not earn his fame as an exponent of literal interpretation of the Constitution, during his years in the Senate he was a strict constructionist who repeatedly challenged actions on constitutional grounds.”

Just short of a century has passed from the heyday of this Wisconsin hero, but he would be turning in his grave by the conduct of the Bolshevik’s who rally in Madison to defy the public interest. The best lesson taught about teacher unions is that any absence of teaching in government schools is a good day for the children who deserve a quality education.

The Washington Examiner makes a valid point. “The Left has misread the postbailout populist sentiment all along, assuming public anger was directed at the rich. But American anger, I suspect, is directed not at some people who have money or success, but at those who profit through cronyism and their connections to power.”

The fundamental distinction between a progressive and a conservative populist is their view on government. As the current dispute spreads to Indiana and Ohio, the public employment unions are altogether oblivious to the meaning of “using government on behalf of the common people.” The patron saint of progressive liberalism warned of the danger in, “The process of Collective Bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the National Federation of Federal Employees.

Cited in the essay, Public Employee Unions Guarantee National Bankruptcy:

“In 1959, the state of Wisconsin enacted the first state statute permitting municipal employees the right to form, join, and be represented by labor organizations. Three years later, President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10988, which granted federal employees the right to join and form unions and to bargain collectively. The order established a framework for collective bargaining and encouraged the expansion of collective bargaining rights to state and local government employees.

"The Supreme Court held in Smith v. Arkansas State Highway Employees, Local 1315 (1979), (3) however, that nothing in the U.S. Constitution requires public employers to either recognize or collectively bargain with public employee unions.”

Jim O'Sullivan writes in the National Journal. “Wisconsin has done more than polarize and excite the true believers in both parties; it has served to galvanize already amped conservative populists who have increasingly discussed a "new class” of workers being forged among public employees enjoying union-rigged perks, and liberal populists who see in Madison a conservative conspiracy to end decades of hard-won rights for the working man.“

What escapes the marginal intellectual integrity of so many public employees is that government never creates wealth. All taxation is theft. Mandating government schools, paid for with public funds, teaching subversive doctrines and socialist redistribution, is a primary cause of producing the walking zombies that populate this country. The most deprived and underclass in society would be better served with a copy of the McGuffey Readers.

Results matter, even in the public sector. A substitute replacement for pampered teachers is needed. View the videos Waiting for Superman and THE LOTTERY for the real story.

The conclusion in, Teachers Unions are morally illegitimate, is to the point.

"That moral claim is being turned on its head as more Americans come to understand that teachers unions and the public bureaucracy are the main obstacles to reform. Movies such as "Waiting for 'Superman’” and “The Lottery” are exposing this to the larger American public, leaving the monopolists to the hapless recourse of suggesting that reformers are merely the tools of hedge fund philanthropists.“

With a dismal record of performance and a pattern of taxpayer extortion, the progressive sisterhood reaches out to their brothers of sleaze, who use the tactics of street hoods collecting juice for a loan shark enterprise. No wonder that when courageous politicians challenge the status quo, crazed public union fantastic’s go into full damage control mode. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is one such hero and has experience with public unions.

"Christie said in a Wednesday speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington that he is ‘reforming an education system that costs too much and does too little for our society today and our children’s future.’

"The state’s unions ‘think I’m attacking them,’ Christie said. But he said he’s not targeting their rank-and-file members. ‘I’m attacking the leadership of the unions because they’re greedy, they’re selfish.’”

This pattern of teacher employee abuse is not unique. This next example out of Allentown, Pennsylvania is a public union outrage beyond the pale.

“In pursuit of an Eagle Scout badge, Kevin Anderson, 17, has toiled for more than 200 hours hours over several weeks to clear a walking path in an east Allentown park.

"Nick Balzano, president of the local Service Employees International Union, told Allentown City Council Tuesday that the union is considering filing a grievance against the city for allowing Anderson to clear a 1,000-foot walking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park.

Balzano said Saturday he isn’t targeting Boy Scouts. But given the city’s decision in July to lay off 39 SEIU members, Balzano said ‘there’s to be no volunteers.’ No one except union members may pick up a hoe or shovel, plant a flower or clear a walking path.”

Warner Todd Huston sums up the economic reality that many “so called” civil servants still refuse to face. “It must be quite a shock to government employees all across the country that are actually losing their cushy jobs, those positions that they imagined were theirs forever. With the reality of the massive overspending by Democrats spurred by union leaders the consequences of which are finally coming home to roost, these union members that for so many decades felt entitled to their jobs are losing them.”

Public employee unions are a threat to the very foundation of the Republic. The Hill reports that Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) fired up a group of union members in Boston with a speech urging them to work down in the trenches to fend off limits to workers’ rights like those proposed in Wisconsin. “Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.” He is a disgrace and his words border on subversion.

You can support trade unions if you are so inclined, but a public union that is taxpayer funded is an abomination. Progressives need to search their souls. The alliance that should bond all populists together is the fight against the global corporatist economy that has caused the outsourcing of living wage employment overseas. Expanding government is not the answer in reversing this betrayal. True populism must be rooted in sound economic principles, based in a wealth creation private sector.

Substantially scaling back public employee jobs is a necessary step because the private sector taxpayer is broke to a large degree because of government policies. A civil service employee is, by nature, a secondary citizen. The taxes they pay come from the earnings of those who are the producers of prosperity. The La Follette tradition opposes the centralization of economic control. Woefully, governments lavish excessive pay and benefits on the public sector at the cost of the real main street economy.

BREAKING ALL THE RULES publishes SARTRE essays on Totalitarian Collectivism, Radical Reactionary, Inherent Autonomy, Global Gulag, View from the Mount, and Strappado Wrack. Contact email: [email protected]

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