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Government by mob rule

March 10, 2011

IWW demonstration in New York, 1914

Jerry Pournelle had an interesting close to a post of his about the Wisconsin State Legislature issue: “Those who call for revolution seldom end up in charge when the revolution is ended.”

I don’t like 99% of what the President and Congress have done in the past three years. Should I go to Washington, join a mob and demand President Obama step down? I’m just about as disgusted/disappointed/PO’d with the Illinois governor. Should I do the same thing in Springfield? Maybe my mob will clash with the pro-governor mob. Maybe the mob with the most people standing wins.

Maybe that mob is the one with the most people on the public dole, because they don’t have to show up to work every day to pay their mortgages or feed their families…

I’ve said before that, at least as far as teachers are concerned, I think there is some good in allowing collective bargaining at the local level. I don’t think that gives them the right to leave their jobs, with pay, to demonstrate in Madison. I also don’t think it gives them the right to do over $ 7 million in damage to the Wisconsin State House.

I still think that public schools – which were intended to be locally run – and state or Federal jobs are apples and oranges. For those of you who remember when President Reagan faced down the air traffic controllers, it’s a pretty good example of why striking public employees can be a serious problem. Striking air traffic controllers held the country, and a significant portion of the economy, hostage. That doesn’t even include the safety issues. Most Federal or state jobs are not as as critical as air traffic control, of course, but I still understand the principle.

In any case, while many Americans are cheering that mobs are calling for Quadaffi’s ouster, there is no equivalent in what’s going on in Wisconsin, or Ohio, or Indiana. And, while I agree that the Q is a crazy bastard who shouldn’t be in charge of an ice-cream stand, let alone a country, the principle of the thing that we should understand here is that we should use the rule of law in the US to change things…not mob rule. Maybe there is no other way in a country without a tradition of individual rights, rule of law, and democratic principles – that’s a debate for another day – but here, we shouldn’t be doing stupid stuff like demanding the governor resign. He was elected by the people of Wisconsin, a majority of the legislature is carrying out what they were elected to do, and the minority should man up, go back to Wisconsin and do their duty. There are ways for them to make their cause to the people of Wisconsin in a legal and safe manner. And – in a way that doesn’t make teachers look like complete idiots. I mean, come on, you guys – I’m really embarrassed to say I’m a public school teacher if I’m going to be identified with this kind of stupidity.

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