Wherefore Art Thou Democracy?

Ya know when I read this stuff every day I gain some sense of what a battered spouse might feel like. I can begin to understand why people give up hope. Or what a slave may have felt like in the pre civil war south. LINK

Steve Benen posted this over at the Washington Monthly yesterday.

TAKING UNION BUSTING TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL…. With several new Republican gubernatorial administrations, public sector workers are facing an onslaught unseen in many years. But in Wisconsin, the GOP’s war on unions is almost hard to believe.

Citing Wisconsin’s gaping budget shortfall for this year and even larger ones expected in the years ahead, Gov. Scott Walker proposed a sweeping plan on Friday to cut benefits for public employees in the state and to take away most of their unions’ ability to bargain.

The proposal by Mr. Walker, a Republican who was elected in November after pledging that he would get public workers’ compensation “into line” with everyone else’s, is expected to receive support next week in the State Legislature, where Republicans also won control of both chambers in the fall.

The prospect left union leaders, state and local employees and some Democrats stunned over the plan’s scope and what it might signal for public-sector unions in the state.

On Thursday, the newly-elected Republican governor said he would refuse to negotiate with unions, and on Friday, Walker said he’s contacted the Wisconsin National Guard, making sure they’re prepared to respond to a protracted labor dispute, doing some of the jobs union members currently do.

Even by GOP standards, the scope of Walker’s union-busting efforts is striking. We’re talking about a governor effectively stripping nearly all government workers of their collective bargaining rights, and then trying to break the backs of unions themselves.

Mr. Walker made several proposals that will weaken not just unions’ ability to bargain contracts, but also their finances and political clout.

His proposal would make it harder for unions to collect dues because the state would stop collecting the money from employee paychecks.

He would further weaken union treasuries by giving members of public-sector unions the right not to pay dues. In an unusual move, he would require secret-ballot votes each year at every public-sector union to determine whether a majority of workers still want to be unionized.

And in case that wasn’t quite enough, Walker then added that union members would no longer be allowed to negotiate for better pensions or health benefits at all.

The governor is working with a newly-elected Republican-led legislature, and he’s expecting lawmakers to pass his anti-union plan quickly.

In December, after Walker deliberately rejected federal funds to improve Wisconsin infrastructure and create thousands of jobs, I wondered whether this is what state voters had in mind on Election Day. I’m wondering the same thing now.

—Steve Benen 8:30

With each passing day Americans are being deprived of any right to be active participants in the various aspects of commerce and finance. As we see here government is pursuing a direction which effectively eliminates negotiated labor contracts.

This mirrors the majority of contracts businesses have devised and offer to consumers. This bestows upon one party to an agreement all the power to set the terms for that agreement.

This erases any notion of the existence of equality between citizens.

I once thought that an inherent feature of democracy was equality. Apparently that paradigm isn’t at all what I thought. Or is it being changed to reflect something entirely different? Which isn’t democracy at all.


19 thoughts on “Wherefore Art Thou Democracy?

  1. cmaukonen

    Those on the left flat out refuse to accept that what we are dealing with on the right are not people who are open to rational and reasonable discussion. We are dealing entirely with an emotional issue. Where they want an America that was in the early 1950s. And America that isOf, By and For upper class Whites Only.

    It is a hatred for anything that gives anything to Non Whites period. Are just as single minded about this as a Taliban suicide bomber.

    This kind of mind set is not new in this country. On the contrary, there were people in the military that felt the same way about communism and the Soviet Union and wanted to instigate a nuclear war with them even it it meant that most of the planet would be uninhabitable. They did not care as long as All Communists Were Destroyed.

    They consider most laws they do not agree with as government intrusion and want to do away with them. It is a race & class war.

        1. Wow C. I didn’t know anyone who was happy JFK was shot. Nor has the idea ever crossed my mind. How can a child be happy his or her president or anyone at all was shot and killed? Something is very wrong there.

          Like I said, I give up.

          1. cmaukonen

            This was in Port Charlotte Florida. A Lily White Southern town that was mostly upper class. With Houses on canals and or a gulf coarse.

  2. cmaukonen

    This is a reply to TPC above.

    Oh it has nothing to do with that. Not about cluelessness or perception of drawing the lucky straw. It’s a lot more primitive than that. They feel their culture and lives and livelihood threatened. They feel personally threatened by those who are not part of their Tribe. It is very much a tribal situation.

    Here is an example. When I was living up in Cleveland with my aunt and uncle, they lived in an area that was for a long time a white blue collar neighborhood on the west side. Older homes built in the 1920s.

    But as the factories closes and the jobs disappeared, people move out and latinos began to move in. My aunt was very upset about this. It was a threat to the original culture there. She would complain about them “Not taking care of their houses and working on the cars in front etc.” Forgetting that the original people did pretty much the same. Their kids working on their cars etc. Not all the lawns looked that good. The difference was that the Tribe was being invaded.

    And I would here pretty much the same when some Rich snooty family would move into some middle class area.
    or some blue collar family moved into some upper class area.

    And now with all the changes and the the economy tanking, people have become even more protective of their culture. Their tribe as it were because it is one of the last things that gives them emotional security.

    The left likes to hold up the banner of FDR and his programs. The CCC and WPA and all. But they forget that he did these things in a non threatening manner to the white population because minorities, for the most part, were excluded. And they were not seen by those who were still well off ans a threat of any kind.

    Those of us on the left do not think or act in a tribal manner. We tend to be very independent. This in and of itself is seen as a threat to a lot of people. Look back at the youth of the 1960s and 1970s with the long hair and beards and clothes. All very anti-establishment and seen as a threat to the cultural tribes. What is truley ironic though is that those of us who were part of that were behaving in a tribal manner as well so THAT was seen as a major threat. From another tribe.

    You have to admit the human species can be quite fascinating at times.

    1. Can I just be of the tribe of people?

      We can’t even provide food, clothing and shelter for all the people of this earth. We have to take care of the basics and then if we want to worry about all this other stuff we think we need, then ok. I have much less than I once had and it’s better this way. Having stuff and even power ain’t what it’s cracked up to be. It just complicates your life.

      1. cmaukonen

        Oh I am not saying we should be anything. No, not a bit of it. What I am saying is our behavior is like that of tribal societies in many ways. Except those of us on the very left politically. We tend to be much more independent in our personal and inter personal lives.

        Of course we like to refer to these tribes as communities and/or countries etc. The term tribe makes people feel uncomfortable but behavior wise there is not much difference.

          1. cmaukonen

            Well you see that’s the problem. People get this picture of what a tribal society is and that in and of itself is a caricature.

            There are many definitions of a tribe.

            D.N Majumdar defines tribe as a social group with territorial affiliation, endogamous with no specialization of functions ruled by tribal officers hereditary or otherwise, united in language or dialect recognizing social distance with other tribes or castes. According to Ralph Linton tribe is a group of bands occupying a contiguous territory or territories and having a feeling of unity deriving from numerous similarities in a culture, frequent contacts and a certain community of interests.
            L.M Lewis believes that tribal societies are small in scale are restricted in the spatial and temporal range of their social, legal and political relations and possess a morality, a religion and world view of corresponding dimensions.

            Not all of them necessary mean refer to a primitive group.

  3. I guess C, I prefer a broader view of this which is less dependent upon the localized associations you refer to. These associations limit us in our global interactions making it more difficult to gain the understandings we need to address global problems which we’re all subject to.

    We have this condition where the finite resources at our dispoasl are going to be an increasingly contentious element of the global social construct. It’s an absolute necessity that we find a way to address this to avoid a global social calamity. The present construct assures that such a calamity is in our future. We can’t operate within the framework of a contest for resources. Or in one based upon political or religious differences. Such frameworks assure that we’ll all lose.

      1. There are social scientists and persons in the scientific community in general who understand this. Unfortunately, our politicians are clueless.

        Look at the crop we just elected to congress. Their very transparent goal is to consolidate, rather than distribute, as much of the available wealth as possible. This stands in direct conflict with the direction we should be taking. The direction they’ve chosen is sure to escalate the conflict. This will lead to the calamity I refer. Within the political there is zero recognition of the interdependence which in fact exists between people and between nations. They’ll end up killing us all before it’s done. You can see this plain as day.

  4. In thinking more about this C we have this insane barrier of ideological rigor to overcome which has gained strength in all quarters. This rigor, at the moment, defines our path. At the most basic level it erases any opportunities we may have ever had for peace. Some are trying to bring this into focus but the forces allied against this thinking hold all the power and are increasing that power every day.

    Here in the U.S. and worldwide we have this horribly flawed logic being followed which is captive to this ideological rigor.

    Maybe it’s in our nature that everything we do, no matter what, is invariably reckoned in terms of winners and losers. I suspect this is a holdover from the natural world from which I’m convinced we’ve evolved. We need to move away from this to a far more cooperative state of being if we hope to survive. The kill or be killed perspective has to be put to rest. For the world, that isn’t a workable paradigm.

  5. I can’t help but notice the contrast between the ideas I’ve spoken of here and the summary of ideas expressed at the CPAC conference which concluded this weekend. The two are light years apart. We have a long way to go.

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