An Intro to the Sources of Public Unrest with Public Unions
Let me try and find a basic principle of conservative philosophy that I believe that many public union members will agree with, that human nature is fixed, that the fundamental nature of 21st Century Americans is not intrinsically different from the people of centuries past. If we today do have it better than the previous generations, it is because our predecessors developed for us through hard experience some decent ideals to live by (after living through other ones that didn’t work so well), and bequeathed to us a set of institutions capable of nurturing and growing those ideals.
But if human nature remains the same, then we know that in any era — present era included — that when you tell a certain class of people, be they royalty, guild members, corporate leaders or union members, that they have a privileged position in the governing process — and especially in appropriating resources from the general citizenry — they will tend to take more and more, until the general citizenry starts to push back. Public employee unions are no more immune to this dynamic than are any other form of human organization. And, over the past 50 years, public employee unions in the United States have been given, or perhaps taken, a privileged position in the process of dmeocratic governance.
This, more than the immediate set of fiscal particulars, is what is driving the conflict that has exploded in Wisconsin and Indiana, and is what needs to be rebalanced, in order to resolve the situation.
Now, I know that public employee union members authentically bristle at being called a “privileged class”, so I will lay out exactly what kinds of governing privilege I refer to, and especially how those privileges conflict with the foundational ideas and processes that make a democratic system work…