By Mencken’s Ghost
Feb. 22, 2011
President Obama has announced that he is going to put Wisconsin teachers in charge of your transportation.
I fibbed. Actually, he announced the waste of zillions of dollars for high-speed rail, which would result in basically the same thing--that is, with your transportation being controlled by public-sector unions that have the same greed, manners, work ethic, and Marxist ideology as unionized Wisconsin teachers.
Imagine what that would be like. On second thought, you don’t have to imagine. Just look at the union extortion and obscene wages and benefits of unionized transportation workers, er, featherbedders, in New York City. Better yet, look at the frequent work stoppages and resultant chaos caused by unionized transportation Reds in France. Liberté, égalité, fraternité!
The new National Center for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona will be kept busy when unions control transportation. As can be seen in Madison, Wisconsin, unionized civil servants are not very civil.
Speaking of the University of Arizona, I was there over the weekend to visit my son, who is an engineering student. It takes about two hours to drive the 115 miles from my house in Scottsdale to the campus in Tucson.
The speed limit much of the way on Interstate 10 is 75 mph. By comparison, high-speed rail might average 100 mph if a line is built between Phoenix and Tucson. But advocates of high-speed rail do not count the time it would take to drive to a train station, find a place to park, walk to a train platform, and wait for a train, which might not show up if the operators are in a snit. Nor do advocates count the extra time and expense at the other end of the trip in renting a car or finding some other means of transportation after arrival. They also don’t mention the joy of lugging luggage to and from the train.
Of course, the real agenda behind Obama’s plans for high-speed rail is not convenience or energy conservation. It is union employment and government control.
To digress, it’s ironic that the National Center for Civil Discourse will be at the University of Arizona, where political discourse, as with most universities, is so far to the left that it is 100 miles from the ideological center, figuratively speaking, or one hour by high-speed rail, not counting the time it takes to get to and from the train station. Students receive so much leftist indoctrination that it seems as if my son is majoring in social justice, diversity, and “building community” instead of engineering. Such leftist nostrums simply disguise the real objective of achieving even more collectivism and redistribution, both of which depend on the government using coercion against politically-disfavored races, economic classes, and political ideologies. Then the leftists wonder why their victims are not civil. Memo to puzzled leftists: cause and effect.
Returning to the subject of unionized Wisconsin teachers, I’ll close with the following excerpts from a letter about public-sector unions written by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Hmm, to parrot the uncivil discourse of union demonstrators, FDR must have been a jack-booted, right-wing, fascist, Republican extremist.
All Government employees should realize that the
process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted
into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when
applied to public personnel management.
The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.
Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.
A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.
“Mencken’s Ghost” is the nom de plume of an Arizona writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.