Saturday, February 19, 2011

Teacher’s Union: A Confusion of Terms

A passage from Frédéric Bastiat’s The Law entitled, “A Confusion of Terms”:

“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.
We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

Before laughing at the notion of modern socialists’ concerns about religion in our secular age, or making the argument that the new ‘state religion’ could be equated to ‘environmentalism’, let’s get to the point of this passage. As a free people, just because we believe that the government should NOT run every institution of our life, does not mean we object to those institutions’ existence. Yet this is the false accusation that we constantly here cast towards conservatives, particularly in the area of education, which we can plainly see Bastiat’s age struggling with as well.

Now in thoroughly explaining that, I refer you to the following: “Unionized teachers outnumber other government workers and run the schools in every state; why do we keep on accepting their decades of miserable results?”
“It's the Teachers, Stupid!” by Jack Curtis

“Adam Smith prophesied when he wrote The Wealth of Nations, saying of professors in 1776:

If the authority to which he is subject resides in the body corporate, the college, or university, of which he himself is a member, and in which the greater part of the other members are, like himself, persons who either are, or ought to be, teachers; they are likely to make a common cause, to be all very indulgent to one another, and every man to consent that his neighbor may neglect his duty, provided he himself is allowed to neglect his own.

Professor Smith didn't have to see teachers' unions to comprehend featherbedding.”

And if Franklin Roosevelt were here today to see what has sprung up in Madison, WI and spreading to other cities, he’d have very strong words to say about that!
“FDR vs. Wisconsin Teachers” by Quin Hillyer

“Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government.
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. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of pubic 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.”

If we’re honest about this, we should be able to admit that from top down, Obama, union leaders, teachers, all are substantially wrong and out of line to respond in such a manner against a governor’s intent to legitimately control his state’s budget through all sectors, including public. And to leave schools closed and children out indefinitely in the pursuit of some grand progressive movement that wants the government to pay for entire pensions instead of the individuals contributing themselves, is it really no wonder that “teacher” in and of itself becomes a confusing term?

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