Two Cheers for the Chicago Teachers' Union
Well, well, well. So the mighty Rahmbo has met his match in the sweet-talking president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis. All that bravado, the stabbing of knives, the mailing of dead fishes, none of that seems to scare the union teachers, who decided to stay on strike Sunday.
There is something more important than saving public education for "the children." It is Barack Obama's reelection. So even as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel threatens court action to send the teachers back to work, the chances are he will do whatever it takes to get the issue out of the way for his former boss.
But I am not discouraged. The teachers' unions, and government employee unions in general, are our friends. They will do what conservatives cannot do "on our own." They will demolish big government as we know it. Why? Because the union teachers hate their jobs.
Liberals are running around these days extolling the wonder years of the 1950s. They remember when the workers had good union jobs at good wages. But Michael Barone recently poured cold water on their nostalgia.
As it happens, I grew up in Detroit and for a time lived next door to factory workers. And I know something that has eluded the liberal nostalgiacs. Which is that people hated those jobs.
That set me to thinking. Now I know why the private-sector unions did such a good job of destroying the good jobs at good wages in the unionized steel industry and have half way destroyed the jobs in the unionized auto industry. Once you have started what our lefty friends call a "movement of resistance" against some evil oppressor the movement will not rest until it has destroyed the target of its rage. Once you set up a union and teach the rank and file to hate the bosses, then you have created a monster that will not stop until it has won final victory or final defeat -- just ask Joe Soptic.
The factory workers had a perfectly good reason to be angry. The factory system turned them into mechanical robots. They hated that and so they formed labor unions to fight the system that had humiliated them. They fought and they fought, eventually inventing the weekend and the good jobs at good wages of which we have all heard tell. They even got the politicians to lend a hand by writing pro-union labor laws that tied the bosses up in red tape. But they ended up destroying those good jobs and those good wages. Because they hated those jobs and everything associated with them: the bosses, the assembly line, the foremen, Frederick Taylor, and the infernal speed-up.
The union workers ended up like the woman scorned. Nothing would satisfy them but to destroy the people that had humiliated them, even if they destroyed themselves in the process.
But, as the Frankfurt School lefties pointed out, the problem is not just the mechanical factory system, the bosses, and the unjust domination of the workers. Every system of "instrumental reason" is a system of domination, a means to dominate nature and other men. That goes for bureaucratic government just as much as the evil robber barons of the factory system. The system dominates government workers just as much as factory workers.
You and I may sit in front of our computers wondering why the Chicago teachers and the Wisconsin state workers, the California local government workers and the rest of the 20 million government workers just don't get it. Are they dumb or something? Don't they understand that there is No. More. Money?
It doesn't matter. They hate their jobs. They will keep marching and demonstrating and bullying politicians, and they will keep electing leaders like Karen Lewis, and they will keep winning themselves ridiculous pensions, and they will keep wrecking the school system, and the health care system, and the child-welfare system, until the whole thing collapses.
But what about the "little people?" What about the children in those lousy Chicago schools? What about the children neglected by the failing child welfare system? What about the ruin we call Medicaid?
Politicians like Rahm Emanuel don't care about the little people. They just care about getting elected. They don't care about debt or default the economy or the security of US embassies. They just care about the next election.
But it really doesn't matter. Let the politicians win their elections, and let the union leaders win fabulous benefits for their members right up until the moment that the government goes belly up and the voters realize that they have been had.
The problem is what comes after that. Will the man on the white horse turn the economy around and restore prosperity like Ronald Reagan, or will he ruin the country like the Kirchners ruined Argentina?
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.