Just the other day I was verbally assaulted with socialism.
Per my usual workday I was taking the morning commuter into downtown Chicago. As I stand in the train’s vestibule I visit with my fellow travelers. Our conversations run the gamut of silly to bordering on the unspoken: politics, religion and money.
Well, just as I mentioned, I was slimed by socialism.
As I was talking with my friends a guy comes into the vestibule to wait out the rest of the ride. He was apparently eager to get off the train and light up a smoke.
Wearing a chartreuse tee-shirt of a union pipefitter (seen around Chicago) and with a pack of smokes in his one breast pocket, this guy proceeded to let us know that he arrived.
One of our group asked him where he worked and what he did. (We usually try to engage everyone who ‘visits” the vestibule.)
The guy mentioned that he was working in a building downtown “putting in 24” pipe.” He spoke with the raspy demonic-sounding voice of a heavy smoker.
Then, without prompting and like striking flint, he said, “I hate corporate America. I hate the rich, highly paid CEOs. Who needs gold toilet seats?!” “You think union workers get paid a lot. You should see what they take out of my paycheck!”
“OK?” I said to myself. Well, here we go again: typical union griping, now on a Thursday morning.
I have heard the same sort of discontent (putting it nicely) from union postal workers, train conductors, teachers, electricians, plumbers, service workers-from all of them. And, whether the gripe is about pay grade, work time, pecking order, vacation time, labor management (a partial list of complaints, to be sure) I have heard it all. Union people have left their destiny in the hands of others in hopes of being insured against unhappiness. Guess again. Socialism takes regular drawdowns on your account of happiness.
I have heard the same sort of morbid discontent as campaign vote pandering. It slips off the politician’s tongues (here paraphrased) as “zero sum anthropogenic poverty caused by the rich and CO2”, “…limited pie…”, “…we need unlimited government…”, and (verbatim) “Fair share; the 1%”.
All such materialism driven policies enacted to “unionize” society, in my estimation, reduce life to a boring unromantic dystopia. In other words these politicians want you to, “go drink your 1984 Victory Gin and be happy. We will take care of you. Do what you were told with what we gave you. There is no romance in Socialism so don’t even think of love, only of sex.” (Hah, imagine Hollywood under socialist financial constraints! Morally, Hollywood is already dependent on the lowest common cultural denominator.)
I decided not to talk to the union guy unless others broached a response and decided to go there. I could tell by his demeanor that this guys’ mind was probably as darkened as his lungs must be.
He went on to speak about his working on and off again depending on … when work is made available to him…through the union. Months would go by until he got a call.
Then he spoke of his heart’s desire: “My precious!”-The long awaited-for pension. With wide-eyed craving he spoke of his retirement: “Only six more years of this stuff left.”
Unions have a unique way of making people ache for the ring of retirement. I’ve seen it firsthand. It comes, I believe, from the on and off nature of union work along with boredom and plenty of worrisome smokes in between, a situation this guy and others let others control. Socialism is losing control of your life while waiting for the day you can retire and live off your meager pension and then, likely, smoke and drink yourself to death within a short time. Union-Socialism Roadkill. I’ve seen it over and over.
At this point I wanted to ask him who runs his pension and ask if it was invested in something more than a saving account making 0.01% interest or a CD making 0.09 % interest. Or, was his pension invested in equities and bonds, more appreciable (and risky) financial vehicles.
One could easily figure that the “highly paid” union lords control his pension (and get their cut) and that the union pension fund itself is managed by outside financial managers who manage stock and bond purchases of the union’s pension fund.
The “highly paid” overseers of his pension as fiduciaries must look at the composite financials of companies with stock and bond offerings to determine the best option to apply to a conservative pension, to have it grow while minimizing risk.
Obviously this union guy knew pipe fitting and welding. But he did not know finances let alone how to find work on his own. He, instead, left others in charge of providing him work and with overseeing his “precious” pension.
Right then and there I wanted to say to this guy that when you leave your life in the hands of others they will charge you for their effort, including “highly paid” labor leaders (e.g., Richard Trumka).
Union treasuries—filled by dues paid by union members—not only fund programs benefiting union members and their families. The money also pays six-figure salaries and benefits for labor leaders and their top staffs, and provides tens of millions of dollars for Democratic causes and candidates.
Here’s the arrogant and petty AFL-CIO union thug Richard Trumka with his “two minutes hate” directed at Gov. Scott Walker who is dropping out the 2016 presidential race:
“Highly paid” CEOs are charged with managing a company so as to make its value grow and to make its stockholders happy with the company’s prospects for future earnings. The company’s worth must appreciate in value. And when a company’s stock appreciates in value many people benefit. This includes employees who receive stock as a bonus. Pension funds invested in such a company’s stock also grow in value. Somehow I think any such statement to him would not meld with his union-socialist-collectivist way of life. He would go into Elizabeth Warren override.
I left out is this: companies run by “highly paid” CEOs hire people and pay them to function within the company. Together CEOs and the people make the company profitable or otherwise. The people are free to stay or move on depending on their satisfaction with any number of things including pay, management, location, etc. “Highly paid” CEOs increase value. Collectivist governments, socialist governments and unions depreciate value-especially, your value, via coercive egalitarianism.
Those of us in the Kingdom of God must not take the wide way that is offered to us either by a self-described socialist such as Bernie Sanders or by a self-described “Christian” magazine called Sojourners using the banner of “social justice.”
Government is not altruistic. Government could never hit the moving “socially just” target without being totally controlling. Government can never offer a hurting person what a Good Samaritan can-one on one help. Government is impersonal, indifferent, insouciant.
And, as we have seen, redistribution of our wealth, filtered through the labyrinth of government funnels, distributes only fractional amounts of money to people government cannot even begin to keep track of and large amounts just to make bureaucracy function. Socialism burgeons while you diminish.
The unions, the Collective, Progressives, liberal “Christians” and even Pope Francis want “Social Justice”. What is this carrot on a stick dangled in front of us?
I have written elsewhere about this subject before. When I have I’ve turned to the parable of the Good Samaritan to make the point that we need to be involved in one another’s lives personally (like our Savior) and NOT via the million degrees of separation known as bureaucratic “Social Justice.”
The Rev. Robert Sirico, “American Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the Acton Institute”, provides us with clear-cut insight into the bureaucratization of “good intentions” versus the personification of good (good becoming man):
“The Marxist political analysis that remains popular (if now usually disguised) in many universities and even seminaries, tends to pit the poor against the rich—it’s all about class warfare and alienation. The alternative vision that I have been trying to paint in these pages is beautifully distilled in the parable of the Good Samaritan, a story that has held a persistent fascination for the religious and non-religious readers alike. Of course, like all parables, its primary meaning is Christological and moral, rather than political. But it’s also possible to discern other messages in this story.
In Luke’s Gospel, a Samaritan man (someone on the margins of Jewish society in this period) stops to help a man who was beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. When the Samaritan comes upon him, he helps the beaten man from his own resources. Even when the Samaritan has to delegate the care to the man for a time to an innkeeper, he promises to pay the innkeeper back. The Samaritan was on the scene to see and understand the fallen man’s specific needs—he was the man’s “neighbor”—and he went about meeting those needs. From this standpoint, the Samaritan might be justly described as the principle subsidiary in action. Notice, too, that he would have been hard-pressed to meet the needs of the injured man if he hadn’t first possessed enough personal wealth to hire services of the innkeeper. Lady Thatcher’s memorable insight about this text is to the point: “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well.”” (emphasis added)
Passage from “Why Smart Charity Works—and Welfare Doesn’t”, “Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for the Economy” by Rev. Robert Sirico
Rev. Sirico recommends reading “Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass” by Theodore Dalrymple. I have read it and recommend it as well.
It’s “1984” all over again…
“Within the book [George Orwells’1984], the purpose of the Two Minutes Hate is said to satisfy the citizens’ subdued feelings of angst and hatred from leading such a wretched, controlled existence. By re-directing these subconscious feelings away from the Oceanian government and toward external enemies (which probably do not even exist), the Party minimizes subversive thought and behavior.” (emphasis added)
“Ostensibly, [Emmanuel] Goldstein serves as a convenient scapegoat for the totalitarian regime in Nineteen Eighty-Four, and justifies its surveillance and elimination of civil liberties.”
Union members, as with so many others of the media-collectivist-“It takes a village…” persuasion make use of the “Goldstein Effect”, a term coined by legal scholar Cass Sunstein.
As mentioned above the effect is a means of scapegoating but it is also a means of psychological distraction and redirection.
The subverted thinking of the union member as revealed in my anecdote above is directed with anger at the “highly paid CEOs” and therefore away from the ”highly paid’ labor leaders and away from the “highly paid” Big Brother candidates those “highly paid” labor leaders support. The “enemies” generalized and amorphous existence is a product of the media’s PC Ministry of Truth, the collective’s means to larger-than–life vilification.
[The] “Goldstein Effect”, [is] described as “the ability to intensify public concern by giving a definite face to the adversary, specifying a human source of the underlying threat.”