Richard Salsman writes in Forbes on Ochlocracy and the Menace of Government Unions:

A revealing chant can be heard from the mobs invading the state capital in Madison, Wis.: “This is what democracy looks like.” Indeed, the much-beloved “democracy” of our tumultuous times entails under-performing, over-paid state bureaucrats showering pet politicians with compulsory union dues and holding taxpayers hostage to their militant demands while the voices and votes of a handful of reasonable officeholders are nullified by others who flee the state to duck hard votes. Meanwhile, out-of state mobs of equally under-performing, over-paid bureaucrats are bused into the state, to intensify the intimidation. This is democracy — what Tocqueville called the “tyranny of the majority” and Hamilton called our “real disease.”

Technically, the demonstrations and work stoppages of state bureaucrats and the unjust laws supporting them illustrate how we’ve got an ochlocracy — government by mob rule, by the “will of the “people,” by intimidation and fueled by ignorant voters and unprincipled demagogues. Government teachers ensure that students (future voters) are illiterate and innumerate, while populist “leaders” appeal not to voters’ reason but to their passions. Sacrificed in an ochlocracy is respect for individual rights, constitutionalism, and the rule of law. Peaceful assembly, petition and persuasion are displaced by the scream, the curse, and the threat.

In a truly free country there is sanctity of contract, voluntary exchange and bargaining (whether individually or collectively), freedom of association and peaceful assembly, and the right to petition (lobby) the government for a redress of grievances. But that’s not really what’s at stake in Madison, or in the half-dozen other U.S. state capitals where a growing number of union-based mobs are accumulating while blocking streets and occupying buildings. In a free country voluntary private labor unions are perfectly fine — however misguided they may be in their Marxist-inspired perceptions of “exploitation” by “robber barons” — but no one and no group has any right whatsoever to compel others to deal with them. Compulsion can never be justified, rationalized, legitimized or legalized in any process of genuine dealing, exchanging or bargaining.

Yet for the past 75 years — since the Wagner Act was enacted in 1935 — U.S. federal law has compelled private companies to “deal” with militant unions and to satisfy their excessive, unaffordable demands. Thereafter, if union members chose to strike and leave their jobs, the law (and “law enforcement” officers) allowed such quitters to torment, intimidate and prevent other laborers from freely working in their place, and forbade firms from hiring eager replacements.

The Wagner Act — known as the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) — created a political panel, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to curb the rights of employers in bargaining with unions. Thus since 1935 the NLRB has repeatedly violated private firms’ bargaining rights, dictating to those on only one side of the “negotiating” table (firms) what are “fair” or “unfair” practices, and privileging the other side (unions), in violation of voluntary bargaining. The NLRB forces firms to “deal” with unions, allows forced membership (and dues) on workers who do not want to participate in a union, and prohibits companies from replacing or firing those who conspire to sabotage or undermine it from within.

The list is quite long of once-vibrant U.S. industries that have been inexorably drained and decimated by compulsory unionism since 1935…

Read the rest at his blog at Forbes.

Radicals for Capitalism

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