In The Name of Freedom

Posted: February 19, 2011 in Personal Whining

OK, back on my anti-right-wing soapbox.

I don’t understand how the American Right defines freedom.  They are so passionate about it that they are willing shoot anyone that disagrees with them.  They scream about freedom at the top of their lungs, but in reality it seems to only be freedom for those people who share their own values.

Currently in Wisconsin there is a labor crises where the teachers are being threatened by legislation with having benefits rolled back and bargaining rights stripped.  This is being done by a Republican  State Legislature and Governor in the name of cutting a severe budget shortfall.

But let’s not forget some interesting facts. 1. The Budget in Wisconsin WAS balanced when the Republicans took power.  2. Public Worker Unions, and especially the teachers, have clearly stated that they are willing to postpone pay increases and even consider pay cuts during the current economic climate.

Any half blind person can see that a very right wing government in Wisconsin is trying to use the false issue of economic crisis to try to hide an overt political and ideological agenda.  The Governor is quoted as claiming that “collective bargaining is extortion”, which is at best a bit of an extreme view.  But what better opportunity to try to make such drastic changes to the labor landscape than when people are concerned about the economy?

It may be (and probably is) true that teachers’ unions in the U.S. are too powerful and may even have over-generous benefits.  (“Waiting For Superman” is a great documentary film about that problem -in the U.S., not Canada!!)  Even so, it is perfectly understandable that workers are very concerned over this legislation that would send them back to the time of the Robber Barons in the early 1900’s. People who praise Capitalism would do well to remember that employees are part of the overall market system.  Supply and demand applies to both products and resources.

As I said, right wing supporters seem to be all about freedom, as long as it falls within their values.  When it comes to freedom to have a secular school system, freedom to abortion and a right to control one’s own body, freedom of sexual preference, and, it seems, freedom to organized labor and collective bargaining, it seems to be a different story.  For many right wing politicians, freedom seems to be all about telling other people what to do.  Not only that, but it also seems to be “do as I say, not as I do”, since the condemned Democratic tactic of leaving the state to bloc legislation seems to be exactly what the Republicans did during the federal health care debates.  But, of course, in that one it was OK, ’cause they had God on their side.


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