Sep

4

 From Steve Huntley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

In another job, with another employer, at another time many years ago, I was a union activist. I edited a union newspaper, recruited new members and promoted the union whenever I could. Then I became its grievance chairman. For 2½ years I spent 95 percent of my union-work time defending the incompetents, the lazy, the malingers and the malcontents. And they got paid the same as my fellow workers who showed up every day and gave their all to the job. What's more, I saw how union rules frustrated management innovations to improve our journalistic product. A few years later I moved on to another journalistic enterprise without a union. I saw merit pay raises given to the hard workers, no salary hikes to those who didn't or couldn't do the job, and eventual dismissal of anyone who couldn't measure up to the demands of the magazine. Thus began my journey from liberal to conservative.

When I asked my Dad how he, like Reagan, went from being a Roosevelt Democrat to a corporate Republican, his answer was much the same as Reagan's. The change came from seeing what unionism actually meant in real terms, from his Uncle who was a shop steward at Dodge Main and spending an entire afternoon sitting in the man's office while he and the other stewards played pinochle and waited for the shift change.

The older I get the more I find myself following John Morley and being "a cautious Whig by temperament, .. a Liberal by training, and … a thorough Radical by observation and experience". All monopolies are evil, but the ones that exist in law - labor unions, criminal sentencings for private conduct - are truly vicious because they can avoid the test of experience and keep playing their idle games while never having themselves to pay the costs.


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