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.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Yet more about Wisconsin

One thing that needs to be pointed out about the fuss over Gov. Scott Walker's reforms in Wisconsin: Prior to the reforms, people had union dues withheld from their pay whether they wanted to be members of the union or not. So, as of early 2011, the membership of the Wisconsin chapter of AFSCME (the main public-employee union) was over 60,000. When the compulsion to contribute to the union via withheld dues was ended, the numbers fell — and by February of this year was less than 30,000. (For the exact numbers, see this page.) This means that the majority, at least of those public employees who were under AFSCME, left when they got a chance. They were certainly not voluntarily contributing their dues. Was such coercion fair? I would say no! (The union representing the teachers, according to data from the same source, didn't quite lose as much of a share of its membership, but from a starting membership of 17,000 lost about 6,000 — more than a third.)

Clearly, in many states, the union membership that there is gains numbers from coercion — union-shop contracts, legal in most of the states, which make people join a union, whether they want to or not, in order to keep their job. We really ought to have a national right-to-work law, which would outlaw such contracts, though that will never happen as long as the unions own the Democratic Party; and the Senate, at least, cannot act unless over 60% can be mustered on one side of a question.

And even many people who belong to unions see Scott Walker's role as positive. He actually got 38% of the votes cast by union members in the recall election! That means that almost 2 out of every 5 union members agreed that reforms such as Gov. Walker's were a good thing. That's just looking at union members, who would appear to be a sample biased against any action that weakens organized labor.

These are amazing facts. It certainly means that organized labor is losing the support of the workers it claims to represent. And that is a good thing.

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