The many discussions I had on labor day online and off were very interesting. They always boiled down to the choice of being pro or anti-union. No other options were on the table. I, of course, offered a third option.
Let’s begin with a question. “Why did Labor Day become a national holiday?”
I’ll bet you didn’t know it was murder.
Pushed though Congress at lightning speed (Six days! Who knew Congress could work so fast?) following the deaths of union workers at the hands of U.S. Marshals and U.S. military during the Pullman Strike of 1894. Though thirty states were already freely observing the holiday, Labor Day was rushed into nationalization to appease the resulting anger. What happened?
At first, the Pullman strike was a peaceful labor walk out. The employees were facing a pay cut. President Grover Cleveland initiated the violence, deciding to use government force in the form of an injunction to force the workers to go back to work.
Can you guess why?
The US postal service would have been interrupted. To act of as if the postal service is more important than the people who use it is to act against the very people who elected Cleveland to protect them, not just their mail. Government in this form is like a deadly cancer. It breeds violence and human division and, thus, our destruction … all in the name of “greater good” (which is only ever BAD. Good is good and bad is bad. When we need to flip these on their head, we say “greater than good,” or, “worse than bad.” And it works.)
This Government intervention upped the game. A strike that was only meant to be between the private company and the employees is now only about who has the bigger gun. So unions are now are in the “get a bigger gun” business.
All in all, 13 strikers were killed and 57 were wounded. Property damage exceeded 80 million 1894 bucks!
The Pullman Company could have negotiated a win-win finding a third and better option. Instead, people were murdered and Government was grown. That is the group-think way.
In a free society, the free market naturally fluctuates. Supply and demand changes the value of our products and our labor. This is reality. If we are to aim for rationality, we must be ready and able to adjust, change, and climb up or down the ladder as we ride out the lows and fly during the highs. We can all make hay while the sun shines.
The other view that I want to share, the one that is either unknown or just never gets mentioned, is the view that unions can be great! As long as they never use government force to win. NEVER. The idea naturally follows that government can be great as well, as long as its leaders are never allowed use the force they are entrusted with against any citizen. To choose a winner in an adult conflict is to choose a loser.
This sad story about the Pullman Massacre isn’t taught in public schools. I wasn’t aware of it. I was only taught the good government stories that I later learned were not exactly the truth. The Boston Tea party story, for example (another blog for another day.)
I don’t see Government as a necessary Evil. I see it as a possibility for greatness if filled with great leaders who understand these principles and the reasons they exist. We can all have a chance to win, not just those who are most effective at using force, fraud, and murder against their neighbors.