As I was coming of age throughout high school and college, my favorite classes were always literature and those that involved the social sciences – history, psychology, and sociology. Consequently, I always had a vague interest in the dichotomy of Left and Right as it applied to the manner in which people identified themselves. I’d very often hear many of those around me refer to themselves as a “Liberal” (growing up in Rhode Island will do that), as though this were the proper, enlightened way of viewing the world. I never much immersed myself in trying to get to the root of their way of thinking, however. They always struck me as those who were more interested in the abstractions of life rather than everyday common sense. Above all else, though, it seems to me that we were all taught that those on the Left were those who were “peaceful”, put more emphasis on “understanding” those who viewed the world differently, were those who stood on principles and ideals, and were, of course, those of true intellect. Those who were considered “conservatives” on the Right were angry, intolerant, selfish, mean, in addtion to being people who wanted to shoot others, went to church every Sunday, and were, of course, quite stupid.
As I grew and matured, I came to realize that my values – which certainly struck me as being much more aligned with what America historically represented – were decidedly conservative. As such, I often found myself troubled, because I have never been an angry, intolerant, selfish, mean person who wants to shoot people – though I do go to church. As a thinker, I spent years trying to resolve this seeming obvious contradiction.
The first decade of this century has now validated what I saw as a serious socio-political misunderstanding – one might venture to say deliberately-crafted misunderstanding – in the minds of the American populace, so much so that those who identify themselves as “Liberals” or Leftists don’t even realize what it is that they’ve been led into following. As I began to read more and more about politics and more closely to observe the behavior of those around me, one of my first observations was that those on the Left were just as intolerant, if not more so, than the people to whom they objected. It’s just that they were intolerant of the people to whom they objected. Of course, in their mind, that didn’t seem to matter, because in the end, they were right.
Time passed and my personal edification on these matters deepened, particularly in my reading up on those ideologies that we would identify as far-left. Violent demonstrations by Leftist activist groups also led me to wonder about the source of this mindset. The truths at which I arrived disturbed me, to say the least. What I was beginning to see was a much larger picture, a picture of “transformative change” that was beginning to alter the collective brainwave of this country.
“Transformative Change” – sound familiar?
One of the final pieces of the the mental puzzle that I had been putting together for several years fell into place when I figuratively looked around and wondered, “where’s all this anger from conservatives that we’re always hearing about?”
All I ever heard coming from the right flank was the sound of crickets.
I provide this context as a means for helping readers understand the events of the past couple of weeks, particularly as it applies to what is, in my mind, the flashpoint of this culture and society: the unresolved issues of the public-sector unions in this country. Before I even begin to explore the issue in some detail, there’s one irrefutable point that Liberals and Leftists everywhere will never, ever be able to explain away – even one of their heroes, the regal FDR, was intelligent enough to balk at the prospect of public-sector unions, even though they were eventually initiated during his “reign”. He very astutely saw that there was an inherent conflict-of-interest, in that there was no one else on the other side of the bargaining table. The employees in a public-sector union would be bargaining against the taxpayers, amongst whom would inevitably be their own families, friends, and neighbors. Unless, of course, you managed to get yourself on the government dole as well, which, in a sense, isn’t a whole lot different than state-sponsored welfare.
What we’re beginning to see now is the real face of the New Left in this country, and as I’ve been saying to as many people as possible over the course of the last three years or so, these ain’t “peaceful” people. This mindset is exactly in line with what has been historically consistent about far-left politics for time immemorial – when the people don’t go along with the policies, they are implemented by force, either legislatively or militarily.
This union upheaval is, in my mind, only the beginning.
As I’ve said several times before, I am not blatantly anti-union. It may seem that way, for sure, but there are several points to consider when it comes to my stance on unions:
1) the public-sector unions that began in this country during the 1930′s and 40′s were not the result of some drive for the betterment of humanity; they were the result of communist forces that had infiltrated our system of government and convinced enough people that it was the right and just thing to do for the working man.
2) ultimately, the push for unionization and collectivism was not meant to unite people in the sense of those “nice” feelings of humanity; they were meant to divide us in the longer-term, to pit us against one another, to pit our desire to have a comfortable life against the same desire of others. Look at union history and you’ll see that these forces were even responsible for developing the forerunner of Affirmative Action, when they instituted a specialized sense of “super-seniority” in order to elevate blacks over whites who had both been on the job longer and were more qualified. I know – this must make me a racist for having the gall to point that out, but if one has a hard time dealing with historical facts – which Liberals typically do – then all he has to do is to look it up. When it comes to having divided us more generally, all you have to do is to look around at what’s happening right now.
3) Much like a typical Kenseyian would think, in that government spending and stimulus packages create demand, the initial effect of the unions was extremely positive. Indeed, the unions of the 1940′s and 1950′s made the industrial forces in this country great. Much like those stimulus dollars injected into the system, however, the “adrenaline shot” is only temporary, and eventually those dollars -both actual and those allocated to the unions – begin to weigh the entire system down. It’s mathematical physics; there’s simply no way to avoid it.
4) I’m all for the unionization of and collective bargaining for those men and women who literally put their lives on the line each day by merely walking out the door to work in order to protect us: police officers, firefighters, first responders, and any occupation that has an inherent physical risk to it. Of course, there would be those who will stretch the argument in order to make nearly every occupation seem to carry an inherent physical risk, but the American people aren’t going to be so passive anymore merely for the sake of making the pains-in-the-butt go away. Look, I’m a career educator – albeit in the private sector – but I’ll be the first one to go toe-to-toe against teachers who feel that they are “entitled” to collective bargaining and outrageous perks. For what reason? Where’s the physical danger? Don’t we have have pretty strong medical and 14 weeks of paid vacation? A comfortable middle-class salary? How much more does one person need?
There’s an answer to this, of course: if you’re not satisfied with your lifestyle, you can always go into the private sector and work for yourself. There’s naturally risk with that. You may be wildly successful and live a life beyond your wildest dreams, or you may fall flat on your face. That’s the point to America. We’re free individuals. Those who’ve become hopelessly beholden to the state for a fairly lavish/easy lifestyle now feel entitled to it and are willing to fight other everyday Americans in order to keep it. These aren’t exactly risk-takers.
I’ve got news for these people: even if the unions ever took complete control of our country – if every single citizen became an employee of the state or dependent upon state handouts – the state would turn on all of us like a pack of wild dogs. Those in the ruling class of government would suddenly realize that they can’t pay for everything (as if they don’t realize this all-too-obvious fact already), would decide who gets what and who does not, and millions of people who had sworn loyalty to the big government apparatus would be thrown under the bus without a twinge of conscience. Big Unionization – which is a foundational tenet of communism – ends the same way, every single time.
The most recent developments are eye-opening to a lot of people around the country, but not to conservatives who have been screaming out loud about this potential powder keg on the horizon. We actually began to see the earliest hints of this last year, right up here in Rhode Island. The superintendent of that school district threatened to fire all teachers if the unions didn’t agree to certain concessions, which,of course, she knew that they wouldn’t; so, she followed through but under the guise of the school district’s being an abysmal failure, which it is. It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to realize that the actual reason that she attempted to clean house was that school district could no longer afford to pay the teachers. In the most up-to-the-minute events, Rhode Island is once again playing a significant role, as the mayor of Providence just recently handed out termination notices to the 1,600 city teachers in a desperate attempt to plan the city’s budget for next year.
As I said, this is only the beginning. It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. We’re about to see the mask of compassion that has for the last four decades covered the face of the Left come off, and we’re not going to like what we see, nor should we be surprised by it, assuming that one knows real history. The Left is an ideology of force. Case closed. They may cover themselves in the sheep’s cloak in order to hide their true objectives, because they know that nobody ultimately wants what they’re selling. In the end, however, the “wolf pack” lies beneath the sheep’s skin.
Case in point is the radicals of the late 1960′s, those who somehow, someway wanted everyone to believe that they were all about peace and love but were willing to blow things up in order to achieve this alleged utopia. These child-like tantrums – which are typical of the Left when they don’t get their way – were evident in the behavior of an entire generation some 40 years ago, when, after having lived a life a sheer entitlement and privilege as a result if their parents’ work ethic in the 1950′s and early 60′s, decided that assuming responsibility as an adult wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. A generation of Cadillac liberals was born. Today, we’re now witness to similar behavior, as liberal Democrats in Wisconsin literally run away when they’re outmanned in the state assembly rather than face political – some would argue adult – realities. When the measure passed the assembly, the Republicans in the room were treated like pariahs for having the temerity, maturity, and the testicular fortitude to do what must be done to save the state. Further, they followed parliamentary procedure, something with which federal Democrats apparently weren’t all that concerned when trying to ram through a political agenda that they knew would run counter to the values and desires of the American people. Naturally, there will be those who claim that conservatives and Republicans stridently opposed the measures forcibly put forth by Democrats, but at least conservatives were objecting to tactics such as bribery, the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, Deem-and-Pass, and Reconciliation.
Since the cultural conflict posed by Progressivism has been exposed and come to a head over the course of the last two-and-a-half years, more and more Americans are becoming wise to their tactics and not only are not falling for the political machinations that have typically so often worked but are also, in some sense, able to predict certain behaviors. For example, one of the questions that I posed in my previous piece centered on whether the bubbling conflict with the public unions would carry over to the construction of the Freedom Tower and the proposed Ground Zero Mosque; now, I’m forced to think of two other possibilities: how long will it be until a liberal activist, “posing” as, say, someone who might support Governor Walker in Wisconsin, shoves a fellow liberal in an orchestrated scene in order to spark the violence? I ask this merely because now that all of this is out in the open for all to see, the Left needs violence. The only real way that their concerns will end up being addressed to their satisfaction would be in a situation of mass chaos if not outright violence, a situation in which the President would be forced to intercede.
My second concern has more to do specifically with the police. It’s a pretty safe bet that the regular readers of AR are all people who have nothing but the highest regard for those in our military and our law enforcement agencies. For the past 40 years, however, the Left has had zero use for the police, simply because they were the ‘guardians on the ground”, so to speak, of everyday Western culture and because they had the guns. Now, however, I’m forced to at least consider the police as a unionized public entity in the larger fabric of all of this. If one were to ask me today with which “side” the police will work more closely, I’ll admit that the first, easiest answer is that they will merely do their job and uphold the law. I firmly believe in the ultimate honor and goodness of all police officers. I can’t help but wonder, though, should all of this become really messy, whether a few of them might have second thoughts. After what we’ve seen from the Left in this country over the course of the past two years or so, I no longer discount any possibilities.
In short, as a direct result of the wakening American people and the November elections, the Left in this country has reached the point at which it needs four things: chaos in the streets, conservatives to appear violent, those with the guns to be on their side, and public opinion aligned to their cause. There are two of those that they’ll never get; I pray that the other two never work out for them.