The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Organized labor - part of why I'm a Republican!

There is a union — the Bakery and Confectionery Workers' union — which has a large headquarters building in Kensington, Maryland. Back in 2000, I remember passing that building, on the bus, almost every day; on Election Day, I actually had to walk by that building en route to my polling place. And there was, on the side of the building, a gigantic Gore sign. I used to say that that sign was an almost-daily reminder of why I had to support Bush. This year, the shennanigans of the Wisconsin Democrats in their State Senate, similarly, remind me of why my loyalty has to be to the Republican Party.

I don't mean to say that organized labor cannot be right about anything. And I don't mean to say that they are worse than, say, Muammar Qaddafi or his ilk. But I think that a large amount of the damage that has been done, over the past few decades, to the United States has been due to organized labor. And the Democrats' fealty to organized labor makes them my political enemies.

I remember when New York City had eight newspapers. When one of them folded, there were seven remaining, but three of those seven, because of economic hardship, wanted to merge. The unions opposed this merger because some jobs would be lost, and went on strike for a whole year; in the end, the merged company published for a few months after the strike ended, but went under quickly, and more jobs were lost as a result than would have been if the original merger plans had been allowed. And we have seen recently how both Chrysler and the once-mighty General Motors had to go through a bankruptcy; obviously, they could not compete with foreign companies. Some people have pointed to foreign automakers' use of labor at wages no American could live on, but it is funny: Toyota makes cars in the USA with American workers, but makes a profit while the workers receive wages they seem to be able to live on.

Unions like to prevent workers from being judged on the quality of their work: workers' pay is to be based on seniority, not merit, which means there is incentive for workers not to do their best. They also require firing to be on a seniority basis, so when a company has to downsize, it can't keep the best workers, but must keep the longest-serving. In general, unions treat the workers they represent as interchangeable parts, and this makes it impossible for a company to try to use them where they can best fit in.

People say that the Republicans are in just as much fealty to "big business" as the Democrats are to organized labor. Funny: both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are Democrats. It seems that both parties have policies that attract some "big business" types. But big labor is solidly behind the Democrats. They know who will do their bidding. And that's a big part of the reason I'm a Republican.

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