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The Age of the Welfare State Smashup It Will Take a Moral Movement, Girls

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The End of the Twinkies Union Label

by Christopher Chantrill
November 20, 2012 at 12:00 am

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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 only end in tears. If employees declare war on their employer then the war can only end 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 the 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 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 that sat at the knee 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 US 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 blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Postmodernism

A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy


Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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