Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Knee-Jerk Or Plain Jerk?

Local "useful idiot" and more-or-less newspaper columnist Dan Carpenter, practicing hypocrisy while decrying it. His target du jour of the day is our local Fraternal Order of Police, a fairly ordinary policeman's union and at least a little less whiny than most public employee's unions,* but Dan just can't stand 'em -- among other peeves, he fumes they won't stay bought and even worse, they have the temerity to do what unions supposedly collect dues for, stand up to management on behalf of their membership on matters of working conditions and discipline. Tsk, clucks Dan, and we're so dweadful mean to the pure & innocent teacher's unions whilst lettin' the jack-booted thugs do whatever they want--

Of course, crime is trending down, while schools are graduating "citizens" who don't know who Adolph Hitler or Thomas Jefferson were (but suspect they might have been contemporaries) and can't find Idaho on a map, much less Iraq. I don't know about you, but real-world results tend to influence my opinions.

What bugs Dan is, the officer who fatally stuck motorcyclists the other day while possibly drunk has an attorney who is doing his job, defending his client; Dan would not deny this to the worst of thugs but hey, po-leece are diff'rent. Look, if I were High and Low Justice, I'd'a thrown the guy into a pit of wolves or maybe bears; but that's not how it works in the U.S.A. and that's a good thing.

Oh, I forgot; Our Correspondent also "...kinda wish[es] FOP would apply its muscle and zeal to, say, gun control...." When the group that represents Actual In-The-Street Officers does not endorse victim disarmament, you'd think that would be a message to clever fellows like Dan, a telegram that police in general are not so much bothered by law-abiding gun-owners. You'd be wrong; he can't hear anything over the noise inside his own head. The battle lines are drawn and whatever you even slightly approve of, he loathes. --And he loathes knee-jerk reactionaries most of all. Mirror, sir?
* You will not find me talking about labor organizations very often. While they can be -- and often are -- a source of high prices and outsourced jobs (our local GM stamping plant, for instance), in my direct experience one only finds unions at employers that have at some time in the past treated workers poorly. The legacy of mutual mistrust is often impossible to undo, even with the best of goodwill and it's a mess with plenty of stink and blame left over for whoever puts an oar in. Workin' cops were, for years, not paid especially well while being fed a lot of guff about honor and public respect an' the thin blue line; none of it untrue but it's thin gruel at dinner time and even thinner to feed widows and orphans, so it's no surprise a lot of them ended up with unions. Good or bad, we're kinda stuck with it now, unless you know something about watching the watchmen that I have overlooked.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Ah, Danny boy...such a tool.

Thank you, Bobbi, for reading him so I don't have to.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Meanwhile, it should be noted that Matt Tully continues his obsession with Mitch Daniels and his unlikely Presidential bid.

Ed Foster said...

I do disagree somewhat about unions. I won't knock the skilled tradesmen, who essentially have medieval guilds. They train their successors without government interference, and considering what plumbers often have to face, they're probably worth what they charge.

Likewise carpenters and electricians, at least as long as the state has a Right To Work law to provide a little competition for what would otherwise become cartels.

A great cliche I hear often is "Well, the damned unions have gone too far in recent years, but I'd like to think that, if it were 1908, I'd be out there on the picket line with Gompers".

Total B.S. The reason most unskilled laborers back then had a minimal paycheck was twofold. First, they were unskilled, as most people were in those days.

Secondly, we had unlimited immigration, and immigrants in those days were a suprisingly elite bunch of people. Half of all the people who came to Ellis Island were turned around and sent home, as too short, too weak, too sick, or too stupid to become Americans.

Combine the capitalist pressure to provide the lowest possible price with unlimited labor supplies, and through simple competition you get a wage level that provides subsistence but not much more.

Employees who starve can't manufacture or buy goods, so the bar was set low, but not impossibly so. I know of no American famines, but lots of class hatred brought over from eastern and southern Europe, piggybacked on virulent socialism. It was the founding stone of the modern Democratic Party, which is still most heavily supported in the same urban areas it was strongest in a century ago.

And it's propaganda is still often spouted by the minions of the same corrupt political machines in power then.

How many union employees are there in IBM? None, because IBM folks make good money.

Unionism is a vulture spouting pseudo-marxist cant, that feeds on distressed businesses, ones that are just barely viable. And it usually eats them.

Screw every last one of them, and the (no doubt) stolen horse they rode in on.

Ed Foster said...

O.K., one modification.

My oldest son is an inner-city police detective, and he wouldn't clip his shield on in the morning without a strong union to protect him from the politicians who would cheerfully throw him to the wolves for a moment's worth of positive media coverage.

But I do think that is about the only exception I can think of, and results from the unnatural distortion caused by a really corrupt political culture (Hartford's mayor is headed to jail, and there's plenty more where Dirty Eddie came from).

Chuck Pergiel said...

Your footnote, Roberta, about unions sounds about right to me.

Ed Foster's comment about half the immigrants to Ellis Island being sent back is a big surprise to me.

Ed Foster said...

Charles, the return rate varied widely over time and by group, and I should also say it also includes (was composed predominantly) of people who couldn't cut it here and left voluntarily.

The most desperate groups, like the Irish,came in at the 10% to 20%return range, the Italians in the mid 30's, Eastern Europeans and various ethnicities from the Turkish Empire had the highest rate of return.

I suspect it was a combination of finding out the streets were not really paved with gold and the competition fierce, plus the availability of a fallback position in the old country.

The return rate for Swedes skyrocketed after the potato famines of the 1880's ended, and Swedish immigration to the U.S. virtually ended after the establishment of the welfare state in the early 1920's.

The carrot and the stick. I find it interesting that the most desperate European groups, like the Jews and the Irish Catholics, people who had nothing to return to, no security net at all but what they provided for themselves through extended family and faith based groups, became the wealthiest and best educated people in the country, rising well above the natives in only 3 or 4 generations. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

We could learn much from Canada on the subject of immigration (though not much else). Their qualifications are severe and ruthlessly competitive, while ours, even when we choose to impose them, encourage the importation of warm bodies for ever dwindling manual jobs.

Google up the states with the lowest rate of highschool graduates, then the states with the highest number of foriegn born. They're virtually identical.

Immigrants are displacing low income Americans, forcing them on to welfare rather than giving them the chance to compete and grow. They are being denied the same chance our grandparents and great grandparents had to learn the virtues of work ethic and planning.

When was the last time you saw a 7-11 opened by a Cracker or a Black?

Look at modern day Sweden, indeed most of Westewrn Europe, and you'll see it's not race that produces welfare recipients, it's the lack of both the above mentioned carrot and stick.

In any culture, exceptional individuals will always rise above the ruck, as entrepeneurs or commisars, but if you want to move most of the crowd, it's a multi-generational effort that combines both pulling and pushing.