Conservative media don’t understand rights, either
By Mencken’s Ghost
March 2, 2011
Click. I turned on a liberal radio station. There, a news announcer referred to what is happening in the Wisconsin legislature as “union busting” and “overturning collective bargaining rights.”
Click. I turned it off.
Click. I turned on a conservative radio station. There, a news announcer referred to what is happening in the Wisconsin legislature as “union busting” and “overturning collective bargaining rights.”
Click. I turned it off.
Click. I turned on liberal CNN and heard the same words. Click. I turned it off.
Click. I turned on conservative Fox News and heard the same words. Click. I turned it off.
I feel as if I’m a character in the book 1984 and some central propaganda ministry is controlling the media.
Whether the news outlet was conservative or liberal, no one referred to the events in Wisconsin as stopping union overreach or giving taxpayers the same power as unions.
How does it happen that every news outlet across the fruited plain uses the same words to describe a news event? When reporters were in journalism school, did they learn to copy each other’s homework and to cheat on tests?
Apparently, they did not learn the difference between positive rights and negative rights, or the difference between natural rights, constitutional rights, legal rights, reciprocal rights, and invented rights. Nor did they learn the history of the American labor movement and the genesis of the Wagner Act, the National Labor Relations Act, or the Davis-Bacon law.
What, exactly, is learned in journalism school? How to write simple declarative sentences and check sources? See Spot run. See Spot bite man. See reporter check the spelling of man’s name. See reporter get a headache from thinking so hard.
The fact is that before there was one labor law in the United States, people had the right of free association–or at least most people did after slavery was ended. They could form an association and take the collective action of withholding their labor or engaging in a work slowdown in order to wring concessions from an employer. And their employers could either cave in or fire them and hire replacements.
Whatever happens in Wisconsin, that right will still exist. No one is going to “bust” the National Education Association. Teachers will still be able to be members of the NEA and will not be dragged out of their homes in handcuffs and forced at gunpoint to show up at the neighborhood schoolhouse.
Incidentally, if you’re a masochist, take a tour of the NEA’s website (NEA.org). Particularly nauseating are the neo-Marxist keynote addresses at the NEA’s annual conventions.
What the Wisconsin demonstrators really want, of course, is a “right” that comes at the expense of others–namely, from taxpayers who don’t sit at the bargaining table. In other words, using the convoluted conventional definitions of “positive” and “negative” rights, the demonstrators want a positive right. They want to use the force of government to stick taxpayers, or society, with the cost of their pay and benefits, but they don’t want to give taxpayers the same right of charging union members for their pay and benefits.
Unfortunately, the demonstrators get the last laugh, whatever the outcome in Wisconsin.
Look closely at the videos of the demonstrating teachers. Read their protest signs. Listen to their vitriol. Observe their physical appearance. Note the incongruity of them saying that they are professionals deserving of respect while they behave and think like United Auto Workers. Imagine their underlying values, their political ideology, and their party affiliation.
Now kiss your innocent, trusting children goodbye as they leave the house to catch the school bus to the local public school, where they will be subjected to such thinking for 12 years. Then if they go on to college, they will be subjected to similar thinking for four more years from a predominately leftist professoriate.
And if they major in journalism, they’ll copy the work of others and graduate without knowing squat about rights.
“Mencken’s Ghost” is the nom de plume of an Arizona writer who can be reached at email@example.com.