6 votes

Is Ron Paul a Socialist Pro-Union Sympathizer?

Another example of how Ron Paul spans the imaginary divide between the 'democrips' and 'rebloodlicans,' his view on trade unions:

from http://www.ontheissues.org/2012/Ron_Paul_Jobs.htm
Right to organize; but no special benefits for unions

Q: Are unions good for America?

A: The right to unionize should be a basic right of any group. You should be able to organize. You should have no privileges, no special benefits legislated to benefit the unions, but you should never deny any working group to organize and negotiate for the best set of standards of working conditions.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan, Oct 9, 2007

So in the spirit of free association, Ron Paul is all for unions. But what about all the special favors and graft? And the sometimes exorbitant wages? Again he clarifies:

Mandated wages & unions hurt unprotected workers

Minimum wage laws & mandating union contracts (closed shop) are designed to help a small segment of workers gain economic advantage while actually hurting unprotected workers. Long term, even the beneficiaries suffer from the unemployment that excessive wage demands bring about. High wages are great, but if there are no jobs they become meaningless. In a free society with free markets, workers should always negotiate for the highest wage, while businesses should always strive for maximum profits. And if left to the market, the consumer will decide which businesses thrive, and wages must go up, not because of coercive legislation but because under the circumstances there would be competition by businesses to seek out the best workers and reward them with the best wages. Coerced union wages and dictated minimum wages grossly distort the market process and contribute to the malinvestment initiated by the Federal Reserve policy and guarantee that in the correction, wages must come down.

Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.309-310 , Apr 19, 2011

Now, why did I have to go digging around for Ron Paul's stance on labor unions? Shouldn't I have already known it after all these years? Well I did, and not from reading it or hearing it from him. I knew this would be his view exactly because of free association.

That's why I find it especially ironic that trade unions (free association) are looked down on by people on web chat forums (free association) who claim themselves to be advocates of libertarian ideals (such as free association.) A triple whammy of irony!

Oh, and about the title - those aren't my words. They're from the comments on any and all pro-union posts I've ever seen here or any other 'right-wing'-type forum or article. However, in seemingly a supreme fourth irony, it appears that the answer to our initial question is yes - Ron Paul is 'socialist' in its classical definition of 'power to the people', he's 'pro-union', and naturally he sympathizes with them.

Huh.

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interesting--

.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

socialist...power to the government

not the people.

The most pernicious political idea of modern times...

...is that government and people are one and the same; the people "rule themselves." Only through that false identity of people and government can anyone believe that absolute enslavement of the people to the government (socialism) means rule of the people.

Thanks a lot Hegel, you filthy rat

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

wow

A number of other people who understand this truth. I've been yelling this at the top of my lungs since joining this club and almost no one seems to understand it...or speak up to agree.

Then in some off hand remark I make, a number of you speak up to agree. At last! lol :)

I was first exposed to this truth by Thomas Paine's Common sense:
"SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins."

Cyril's picture

True. Indeed. Too bad nobody listened to Bastiat. :/

True. Indeed.

Bastiat denounced this insult to our intelligence - according to which,

"Government = Society"

- early on.

Did he not :

http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html#SECTION_G035

?

Too bad nobody listened to him. :/

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

If everybody were to read and undertand Bastiat...

...our problems would be solved.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

If everybody read and understood...

Our problems etc.

Don't feed the pandas. Ever.

Cyril's picture

"With if's, you could put Paris into a bottle."

"With if's, you could put Paris into a bottle."

(old proverb)

:/

Just don't shut up.

Keep opening it.

Keep carrying the light.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

You have to look at the

You have to look at the history of unions in the country.

Fact of the matter is, when the strife between unions and capital became heated, violence was the end result. And most often, it was violence of capital against the union.

That is how government wormed its way into the equation.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

"most often, it was violence of capital against the union"

That's not true.

The typical labor conflict began with the union committing a criminal act, such as seizing a factory or attacking "scabs." Business owners only used violence in response to these criminal acts: to defend themselves, their property, or their non-union employees.

For example, in the Homestead Strike, the union armed itself and besieged the factory to prevent "scabs" from entering. Eventually Carnegie hired Pinkertons to drive the strikers off. The strikers were engaged in criminal activity, and Carnegie had every right to stop them, by force if necessary (which it certainly was considering that the strikers were armed).

I defy you to show me a single example of a business owner using violence against a union where the union wasn't already engaged in criminal activity against the business owner.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

Ah, I think the issue is the

Ah, I think the issue is the difference between a criminal act and a violent act.

For example, in these labor battles, you'd have propaganda, smear tactics, and outright libel. But the government didn't get involved; they usually said "this isn't a typical situation. It is a labor-conflict. The rules are different".

This attitude really prevailed. Intimidation, death threats, etc. were ignored by the government as "part of a labor conflict".

This included sit-ins. Not attacking scabs (although defamation of scabs was allowed), to my knowledge, but when workers took over a factory and management went to the government with complaints, the government gave the same response. It was not a typical "theft of property", it was a negotiating tactic. They didn't get involved.

Sometimes, capital and labor would come to an agreement. But when capital decidedly to forcibly evict labor from their property, that is when government often stepped in. Not all the time, but very often. Generally, the idea that the businessmen would employ violence against people was considered something that crossed the line.

Anything the government did, they were criticized. Even inaction, was criticized. No way they could win.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

That's right.

Government often ignored or excused the crimes of the strikers, thereby giving people the false impression that the owners, when they finally responded with force of their own, had struck the first blow: as if they had just attacked peaceful strikers without reason or provocation. And Marxist labor historians have perpetuated that absurd myth right up to the present day.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

That is because for many

That is because for many people, just because something is criminal doesn't mean it is automatically "bad" or "striking the first blow".

Government policy often took the position that because it was a labor-owner conflict, you couldn't just apply the same rules as a normal conflict. When the strikers took over the factory, they weren't trying to steal property or engage in fraud.

Let me try and phrase it in another way. Let us say you put a sign in your yard saying, "no trespassers allowed". But then someone comes up to your door to sell you girl scout cookies. You proceed to shoot them. When the government comes after you, you cry "but they invaded my PROPERTY"! Would such an argument hold any water.

The idea being that just because someone technically violates your property rights, doesn't give you the right to do anything you want to them. For example, hiring a private army to beat them up and throw them out.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Wow...

just because something is criminal doesn't mean it is automatically "bad" or "striking the first blow".

Actually, that's exactly what it means. Assaulting non-union workers is "bad." Vandalizing private property is "bad." Trespassing is "bad."

"Government policy often took the position that because it was a labor-owner conflict, you couldn't just apply the same rules as a normal conflict."

Sure they could. The government could and should have applied the same rules to union thugs as to everyone else. Trespass is trespass, assault is assault, vandalism is vandalism - whoever you are.

Let me try and phrase it in another way. Let us say you put a sign in your yard saying, "no trespassers allowed". But then someone comes up to your door to sell you girl scout cookies. You proceed to shoot them. When the government comes after you, you cry "but they invaded my PROPERTY"! Would such an argument hold any water.

If the girl scout comes with 200 of her closest friends, who are armed with pipes and baseball bats, and they're blockading your house, refusing to let anyone in or out, assaulting your friends and neighbors, breaking windows, and making death threats, demanding you buy their cookies - then this is a proper analogy to a union strike, and you would be within your rights to use lethal force IMO.

Otherwise, if it's just a little girl scout knocking on your door, trespassing but otherwise harming no one, there's absolutely no comparison to union strikes, and obviously minimal if any force would be appropriate.

"The idea being that just because someone technically violates your property rights, doesn't give you the right to do anything you want to them. For example, hiring a private army to beat them up and throw them out."

I certainly never said that you have the right to do "anything you want" to someone who is violating your property rights. You do have the right to use whatever force is necessary to stop criminal activity (and no more). What force is necessary to remove the girl scout from your porch? Probably none. She'll probably leave when asked. What force is needed to remove 200 armed men who are determined to stay? Well, that's up to them...

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

People always have the right

People always have the right to band together and make demands of their employer. The employer has to decide for himself weather to give into the demands or risk a mass exodus of workers from his business to another.

At no point should these workers, banding together, receive special rights/privileges/protections from the government for their actions.

Unions are small communist governments unto themselves. As a business owner, if my workers ever tried to unionize and force me with the weight of government to give them more than I felt they were worth, id close my business that day and put them all out of work. I can always start a new business and I won't have my property stolen by a tiny communist government against my will. Its the owner who takes all the risks, puts up all the capitol and suffers all the loss when the thing fails. Workers should demand what they are worth, in groups if need be, but to use the government as a coercive force in negotiations is criminal in my mind.

Suppose that you are an entreprenuer that invests your own...

money to begin a business. After some time and hard work, the business starts to turn a good profit. One day, the workers begin to become unsatisfied with their pay and decide to collectively bargain. You consider their perspective, sympathize with their plight, and give them raises based upon their individual performances. While the good performers are satisfied, some of the others become jaded. Should those workers be able to force the employer to pay them more as well?

There should be no "force" applied from either side.

Workers should be free to organize and make salary and other requests, while employers should be free to accept or reject those requests.

I'm kind of on the fence about unions

They can be a good thing, but when you mix them with gov't, they become something else...

Tom Woods is very anti-union. I'm not sure I agree that unions are per se bad. I think that it's quite libertarian to say that the government should never be able to prohibit people from unionizing - however, they should not help either.

"government should [not]...prohibit people from unionizing"

I agree, but just to be clear, the government has NEVER tried to prohibit people from unionizing. That's a strawman put out there by pro-union shills.

The alleged "union busting" by the government, which the pro-union shills are always lamenting, was never about preventing workers from unionizing: it was about preventing unionized workers from assaulting "scabs," vandalizing private property, trespassing, etc.

When the unionists say that the "right to strike" is under threat, they don't mean that the government is trying to prohibit unionization, they mean the government is cracking down on their criminal activity. Because, remember, in the world of organized crime...I mean organized labor...a "strike" doesn't mean you go home and refuse to work. It means you go form a picket around the plant and beat up scabs, block trucks, break windows, make death threats, etc (aka extortion).

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

bump for why the heck not?

Also I'm working in a union shop right now and would love to hear some opinions.

Don't feed the pandas. Ever.

Is the place you work closed shop?

...

I'm really not sure - it's only part-time...

I'm a stagehand, I never signed up for anything but my check stub says I paid in a mandatory 5% union fee. There's union guys and then there's grunt workers like me. The pay is good, I'm not complaining...

Don't feed the pandas. Ever.

How would you feel about a 5% wage increase?

...

No thanks. It would increase competition for my job.

I wish they would offer the option to work for less so I would get called in more often.

Don't feed the pandas. Ever.

I guarantee Paul is for right to work laws

and there is the critical distinction.

Not to mention I am sure he is against all the influence peddling to unions and gov't interference in where factories may be located based on right to work laws.

I'm not seeing how this blurs all the lines.

You may be wrong about Ron

You may be wrong about Ron Paul supporting "right to work laws" if "the law" (your first clue there might be a problem with it) prohibits the employer from agreeing to a closed shop with a particular union.
Clearly a union should not be able to use force and neither should the company be able to use the government to regulate the formation and actions of unions. There are a lot of "laws" that restrict the rights of union action by individuals.

A Bit of a Misuse

I agree with your inference on Dr. Paul's union stance without having done any research. The free association stream of someone like you or I would no doubt automatically identify the ideology of personal liberty and non-intervention within the lexical context of "Dr. Paul", defacto - but the typical person who would identify a recognition of his name would also no doubt elicit a much different stream of conscious thought. Free association is an intricately personal mechanism. Without impartial research, the conscious mind will never have the honest truth.

Freud was one of those researchers that was as often hit as he was miss . . . a typical constituent of Hegelian slanting and social control. But I do believe there is a great deal of value in the process of free association, and I did enjoy the humor of your misuse in the context of "associations that are free" near the end. Thanks.

Hey that's funny you caught a double meaning there.

I'm pretty sure I wasn't making that connection in that case but maybe it was indeed a Freudian Slip - which for those who don't know is when you say one thing when you meant your mother. :)

Don't feed the pandas. Ever.

northstar's picture

Unions kinda suck

They often will try to get the best possible wage increase for their members. Sometimes I don't think some unions actually factor in the surrounding economic conditions for the particular skill set of workers they're trying to get more wages for. This could cause the unions to drive the business over the edge and do great harm to their members who might get laid off permanently.

About the special favors and graft, yes they do have a very bad rap in the area for sure. I doubt Ron Paul supports those traits of unions that do that.

Real eyes realize real lies

We want our country back

Every year is a year for Ron Paul!

This will not be resolved any time soon

and until there is an understanding of the difference between free market and corporatism, and an effort to correct it.

Not only must it be taught, it must be practiced, but in this corrupt world, the situation becomes even more convoluted.

"What if the American people learn the truth" - Ron Paul