Tuesday, May 01, 2012

You can’t make this stuff up: reality is often stranger than fiction

Commentary by James H. Shott

A couple of items recently in the news illustrate the weirdness of some of the ideas that are put forth for serious consideration these days, and that actually gain support from some Americans.

Labor unions in Indiana are upset over the state’s recently passed right-to-work law. According to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a right-to-work law “affirms the right of every American to work for a living without being compelled to belong to a union. Compulsory unionism in any form – ‘union,’ ‘closed,’ or ‘agency’ shop – is a contradiction of the Right to Work principle and the fundamental human right that the principle represents.”

Individual freedom such as the option not to belong to a labor union was a fundamental component of the United States Constitution, but that concept has Indiana’s unionists all out of sorts. They fear the new law will cause a decline in union membership, something that is so far not supported by the data in other right-to-work states. Nevertheless, Indiana unions recently filed a suit to overturn the law. The suit cites two reasons that the law violates the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude. First, the suit complains that it requires dues-paying union members to work alongside non-dues-paying workers, terming that condition “compulsory service and/or involuntary servitude within the meaning of the amendment.”

Translation: If all workers are not forced to join the union, union workers effectively become slaves.
The second point, however, seems a fair criticism: that it is unfair to force “unions to furnish services to all persons in bargaining units that it represents, but it may not require payment for those services,” and once again they make a “slavery” connection. However, this complaint is even more foolish than the first one, since the unions asked for and received monopoly rights over collective bargaining, meaning they asked to be the bargaining agent for all workers, and were granted that status. You cannot rationally seek and accept the monopoly right to bargain for everyone, and then complain that representing non-union members effectively makes slaves out of union members.

Moreover, if we are talking about slavery, it is a far more persuasive argument that forcing workers to join the union and pay dues in order to have a job makes slaves of those who prefer not to join the union.
Next, in an irrational effort at political correctness (excuse the redundancy), the Applied Research Center (ARC) and its news site, Colorlines.com, are demonizing Americans who use perfectly proper language to accurately describe a law-breaking activity.

“Drop the I-Word” is a movement that attempts to do through distraction and demagoguery what rational thinking precludes. The “i-word” – illegals – is “a harmful slur,” according to the ARC, “a racially charged slur used to dehumanize and discriminate against immigrants and people of color regardless of migratory status. The i-word is shorthand for ‘illegal alien,’ ‘illegal immigrant’ and other harmful terms,” it says. The organization hopes that a majority of Americans will fall for this grand fraud that attempts to persuade us that the criminal act of people who sneak into the United States is really not a crime.

Somewhere in the Great Beyond George Orwell is smiling.

By accurately labeling the method willfully chosen by illegal immigrants to enter the U.S., the ARC asserts that we are denying people “basic human rights.” “No human being is illegal,” it proclaims. That may be true, but human beings can do illegal things, and sneaking into the country is one of them, thus the completely appropriate terms “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant.”

Like the Indiana unions, the ARC does identify one piece of truth: “Immigrants without documents are regularly hired as cheap, exploited labor.” But this is not a result of correctly labeling them “illegal,” it results from the failure of the federal government to stem illegal immigration by enforcing immigration laws and guarding our borders. Businesses cannot hire and exploit illegal immigrants unless they are available to be hired and exploited.

Taking this absurdity to its illogical extreme, a video posted by the radical leftist organization MoveOn.org says calling illegal immigrants “illegal” fits the definition of a hate crime and calls for the word to be banned when used in the context of immigration. Rather than discuss the pros and cons of this issue, MoveOn.org prefers to silence the opposition, or better yet, imprison opponents to keep them from challenging goofy ideas like this one.

For Indiana unionists, apologists for illegal aliens/immigrants, and others inhabiting this strange other-world, working beside non-union workers is “slavery,” and illegal aliens are not illegal. Fitting nicely into this madness is the case of a Muslim U.S. Army officer crying "Allahu Akbar" while committing the jihadi murder of 12 soldiers. He is considered to have committed "workplace violence," but an American citizen with a Tea Party bumper sticker is regarded as a "domestic terrorist."

In this bizarre world the trees are a bright orange, the sky is chartreuse, the clouds are a rich puce, and standards and definitions change with the political winds. A society in the throes of such idiocy cannot long survive.

Cross-posted from Observations


  1. Unfortunately so true! Glad you are shining a light on the I-word "Idiots"!

  2. I fear we are overwhelmed by people like them.

  3. It's the Lottery mentality too. Most of Obama's followers have magical thinking and anger issues. Come to think of it so does he!