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   The Conscience of a Conservative
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   Chapter Six
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Chapter Six
« on: Jun 13th, 2009, 8:54pm »
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     Chapter six is entitled “Freedom for Labor”.  
     Goldwater freely concedes the need for protective bargaining and also recognizes that due to the power of larger and larger employers, the right to unionize needed legal protection. The late senator writes that these laws protecting the unions have given the unions too much power. If in fact a small group of individuals (national union leadership) are using union members’ dues to finance campaigns, this seems obviously unfair. Goldwater’s assertion that unions should be subject to the same trust-busting legislation as corporations seems to make sense. Goldwater does not say he opposes unions. He says he opposes nationally syndicated unions. I can see what he means. It does place a lot of power in a small number of hands (the union leaders as opposed to the union members) and if a whole industry can go on strike all over the U.S., the wage demands they place on industry will almost certainly be met. Greed is not a vice reserved for politicians. And so wages may be raised to unreasonable levels. Meanwhile the executives of these companies tend to make incredible salaries, which appear to justify the union demands simply by showing what avarice looks when the experts get greedy.  
     It occurs to me that simply because a person feels the unions have too much power, that person is not automatically anti-union. It’s not an all-or-nothing issue.  
     “The economic power of the large enterprises, , as compared with that of the individual employee, was such that wages and conditions of employment were pretty much what the employer decided they would be.”   -Barry Goldwater  Pages 47-48
     The only problem I see with the above statement is that it is in the past tense. In cases where employees have successfully organized, they are no longer at the mercy of their employer. But to assume that Americans no longer work for low wages in poor working conditions is absurd. Child labor laws and minimum wage laws have brought us from barbarism to a degree of civilized conduct. But I personally have worked for wages which did not support even the most modest existence.  
     “I see no reason for labor unions-or corporations-to participate in politics. Both were created for economic purposes and their activities should be restricted accordingly.”
-Barry Goldwater   Page 55
     I agree totally. But I never expect to see corporations or unions get totally out of politics. Probably their influence will only grow, since they are totally entrenched in campaigning and lobbying on all levels.  
I want to emphasize that I do not claim to stay on the topic indicated by the quote which begins each segment. Also, there will be cases where I appear to be putting words in the late Senator’s mouth. In some cases I may in fact be putting words in his mouth; arguing against a point he didn’t make and implying that he made it. I apologize. What I am doing is allowing my mind to explore the issues that arise in my mind from reading a given passage of Barry Goldwater’s writing.
« Last Edit: Jun 13th, 2009, 9:11pm by torporchair » IP Logged

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