The End of Twinkies' Union Label
A couple of months ago, during the Chicago teachers' strike, I mildly suggested that the trouble with unions is that they are all on a journey that can end only in tears. If employees declare war on their employer, then the war can end only in the death of one or the other.
And who wants that? The union bakers -- the union former bakers -- at Hostess Brands, Inc., that's who.
Really, as the Greek philosopher George Maroutsos used to say, I should pay for the opportunity to write about this.
The union leaders up in Maine are spinning the end of Twinkies as a glorious victory:
"I think we're the first ones who have stood up and said, 'We're not going to let you get away with it,'" said Sue Tapley, the strike captain on hand Friday morning at the Biddeford plant, which employed nearly 600 people. "You can fight them. You can shut them down."
This is the union equivalent of the patriotic cult of the Fallen. Yes, your son got killed in the Battle of the Bulge, but his sacrifice was not in vain, and we will never forget his sacrifice.
So when do we celebrate our victory parade, my union friends? When all the corporations and all the jobs in the world have been destroyed?
But let us give the union faithful the benefit of the doubt. After all, capitalism is one up on humans; it started with not one, but two Original Sins. The first one was plantation slavery, invented by Venetian merchants right after the Crusades. The second one was the factory system, modeled, intentionally or not, after the gang system on the slave plantations. See here for the gory details.
To take care of the slavery thing, the Quakers of Pennsylvania started the anti-slavery movement, and the world is now a better place.
But to oppose the evils of the factory system, the workers converted the old medieval guild system into the labor union, and the Napoleonic War baby boomers invented socialism. How's that hopey-changey stuff workin' out for yer?
Something is wrong with ideas that created the worst slave states in human history, and something is wrong with a movement that, in 2012, counts it a victory to destroy an employer at the cost of its members losing all their good jobs at good wages.
Like I said, union workers hate their jobs. That is why they are willing to destroy their jobs in order to save them.
But what, at last, are we going to do about it? After all, the Marxists figured it out 160 years ago. The problem was that the "system" alienated everyone -- workers and employers. Thomas Sowell from his Marxism:
The assembly-line worker under capitalism, through "life-long repetition of the same trivial operation," has been "reduced to the mere fragment of a man" and must in future be replaced "by the fully developed individual" who is given "free scope to his own natural and acquired powers[.]" ...
Capital thus consists of "means of production that command the producer," and "the instrument of labor becomes the means of enslaving, exploiting and impoverishing the labourer."
Just between you and me, it doesn't sound like the workers at Hostess Brands, Inc. have made much progress on the "fully developed individual" front yet.
But there is hope. Modern Marxists have figured out that the problem is not just Big Business. It is also Big Government. Any big rational system is going to result in "domination," said the Frankfurt School, or "internal colonization," according to Jürgen Habermas.
The trouble with these Marxists is that they are full of wonderful ideas, but they lose the ideas in their obsession with political power. You'd think, after all the disasters of political power in the last century, they would have learned something. Not so.
Our anti-colonialist president, the one who sat at the knees of Marxists and anti-colonialists, presides over the biggest expansion of the Big Government internal-colonialist system in a generation, with ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank to reduce the U.S. to a big-government system.
What is needed is a return to trust. Humans are actually quite good at trust; that's why it takes a politician or a union leader to turn trust into suspicion.
That's what went wrong with the folks at Hostess: no trust. Workers just fired management, and management just fired the workers. Of course they did. Suspicion is everything in a unionized workplace; nobody trusts anyone. In the end you get the death of the union or the death of the corporation, or both.
Government is force; politics is division; unions are suspicion. Politicians and union leaders exist to break up trust networks and sow us-and-them mistrust. It's up to us to stop them, before they force, divide, and suspect again.
How about those negative ads, eh, Barack?
Christopher Chantrill (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.