Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

   We were taught in Civics, freshman year of high school, that the Constitution created an experiment, in which individual States could experiment with variations of law. Out of all the experimentation would come improvements, along with some failures.

   One dynamic of the Constitutional Convention that was overlooked was the competition between the States. After all, that was a significant reason for Hamilton’s, Madison’s, and the other delegates’ departure from the charter they had received, from Congress, to amend The Articles of Confederation. Congress had not authorized scrapping the Articles and creating something new.

   The actions of the individual States, though, had played a big part in why the Articles needed to be fixed in the first place. Individual States placed tariffs on goods. There was no common currency.

   His a couple of buttons on the control panel of the WABAC machine and we arrive in the present. Governor Daniels pitches Right to Work ("RTW") legislation as a means by which Indiana can attract businesses to locate here. MoreJobsIndiana, the website for the not-for-profit corporation, The Indiana Opportunity Fund (incorporated 12/29/11), that is a big backer of the legislation, says "Right to Work is a common sense measure that will make Indiana more competitive as we compete for jobs from across the country and around the world."

   How does RTW make Indiana more competitive? Corporations—"Corporations are people, too, friend"—are motivated by one thing: profit. By law, for-profit corporations owe a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to make profits. By example, corporations behind ALEC—the acronym of the not-for-profit that drafted the legislation upon which Indiana’s proposed legislation was modeled—such as Exxon/Mobil, Duke Energy, and Koch Industries, amongst others, are not known for aspiring to help human beings (other than shareholders). So the goal is not to give "Hoosier workers additional freedom to choose whether or not to join a union." The goal is to compete in the marketplace.

   To some degree we compete for jobs "across the country." But jobs in manufacturing, increasingly, have gone overseas. In Vietnam, the minimum wage is about One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) per year. Vietnam, China, and other countries with lots of available labor and low wages have seen manufacturing relocated there from these United States. So what RTW really seeks is American groups to be able to compete with workers in those countries.

   Other factors those countries have in common are rule by dictatorship and absence of unions. Wait—that’s wrong. There are labor unions, but they are controlled by the State and generally side with management (also the State) in disputes. And please do not argue China is a communist country. It is a Mao-ist State. Mao was a Mao-ist ("What is good for me is good for China.") In other words, he was a solipsist. He picked Communism as an ideology to tout because it was convenient as a means of obtaining arms when he was trying to gain power. He had 15 or 16 palaces. At the Hotel Metropole, in Hanoi, the wealthy are dropped off at the entrance from their Bentleys and Mercedes.

   Maybe Vietnam won, and we lost, the Vietnam War. (They call it the American War.) But it was not in the way we thought. Their one percent were able to whip workers into line to be more competitive in the world marketplace than the one percent in the United States.

   Ah! I love the smell of competition in the morning! It reminds me of victory!

   Rick Santorum was right, but in such a wrong way, when he argued the other day that, in the United States, we have no classes. Rather, we have eliminated the middle class. Our economy is headed down the road described by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., in Player Piano.

   Once again, I would remind the reader that next Saturday’s Show will discuss the RTW legislation before the General Assembly. We also will discuss the effect of the end of collective bargaining rights for Indiana public employees since Governor Daniels with the stroke of a pen ended collective bargaining for Indiana public employees on his first day in office in 2005. How could he do that when Governor Scott Walker had to go through the Wisconsin legislature to try to do the same? Governor Evan Bayh enabled the Governor of Indiana to do just that.

   The Show is at Big Hat Books, 6510 Cornell in Broad Ripple, directly across from the Monon Trail and just north of 65th Street. We start at 11 a.m. Come and be a part of the audience. We will announce or guest panelists.

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Comment by Kurt Lorey on January 12, 2012 at 7:38am

That's it. You get the official sideways, squinty-eyed look of disbelief on that lame attempt at a rewrite. One, you (used to be) talking about Vietnam, not the People's Republic of China (PRC), and two, your editing skills fall short of a total Mulligan on your comments above (see seguing from (now) writing about China, yet finishing with the original remarks about Hanoi).

Better stop there, before I really get my snark on. rofl

Comment by Mark Small on January 12, 2012 at 6:37am


I did not say Ho Chi Minh was a Mao-ist. The current government in China is based on Mao-ism, i.e, grabbing for one's self all one can get. Sorry if there was a mis-impression there.

And Paul: (1) Vietnam came in because its workers are the ideal of the people pushing RTW---workers getting crap wages w/o any rights or abilities to protest and (2) Vonnegut because, well, you have to read "Player Piano."

Comment by Paul K. Ogden on January 11, 2012 at 10:48am

How in the world did you work Vietnam and Kurt Vonnegut into a discussion of RTW?  I think you're rambling again.

Comment by Kurt Lorey on January 11, 2012 at 8:53am

Who told you Ho Chi Minh was a "Maoist"?

Marxist-Leninist, but not Stalinist or Maoist. And, certainly more pragmatic than dogmatic. But, most of all, anti-colonialist. Communism was an attractive alternative to the prevailing politics of the West, both philosophically and economically.


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