Right-to-Work Laws Are, Indeed, Libertarian

Every time Right to Work is in the news, a civil war breaks out among libertarians about whether it is consistent with libertarianism or not. On one side are folks like me who think that right-to-work laws are a modest advance for worker freedom because they exempt workers from having to pay mandatory union dues as a condition of employment in unionized companies. On the other is my best friend Sheldon Richman—who has long argued that such laws advance government, not liberty; Gary Chartier—who believes they violate the freedom of contract; Kevin Carson—who declaimed that I was only “half right” when I wrote that a union lawsuit alleging that Indiana’s right-to-work law was tantamount to slavery was stupid; and my colleague J.D. Tuccille—who is disappointed that Michigan has “inserted itself into the marketplace to place its thumb on the scale in the never-ending game of playing business and labor off against one another.”

But before I go into the points of disagreement between the two camps, let me just briefly note the areas of agreement.

To the best of my knowledge, none of us (with the possible exception of Carson) buys the liberal argument against these laws most recently made by Michael Kinsley that abolishing dues encourages freeloading and prevents the provision of a “collective good.” That assumes that there is only one optimal arrangement everywhere and always that maximizes total worker good: a monopoly union representing all workers.

Like Tuccille, I can certainly imagine joining a union under certain conditions (heck, there have been workplaces where I’ve been tempted to start my own unionization drive). There is absolutely nothing wrong with unions or collective bargaining. But there is also absolutely nothing wrong with the extreme opposite: Individual workers representing themselves and striking their own deals with employers. In fact, virtually all salaried workers do that—even in unionized companies—and, I don’t think, it is possible to argue that the sum total of their welfare has been diminished because they don’t have the equivalent of the UAW representing them.

One reason is that even in a quasi-free market such as ours there is enough competition for labor that employers do not maximize their profits by low-balling their employees or having them work insane hours in Steinbeckian conditions. In fact, individualized representation allows employers to customize remuneration packages based on individual merit—which redounds to everyone’s benefit because it gives all workers an incentive to boost productivity and income. One-size-fits-all contracts with uniform raises and benefits for all conceivably depress the income of excellent workers as much as they raise it for mediocre workers. In any case, if freedom to negotiate individual contracts works for salaried workers, there is no reason to believe that, in principle, it wouldn’t work for wage workers.

Nor is there any disagreement among libertarians that the 1935 Wagner Act ­—a.k.a. the National Labor Relations Act—is an abomination, which unduly restricts the contractual freedom of both companies and labor. The act not just severely restricts the means that both sides can deploy to extract the best possible deal from the other—employers are barred from, for example, asking prospective employees to sign yellow-dog contracts promising not to join unions and unions are barred from engaging in secondary boycotts or wild cat strikes. It also mandates a single workplace arrangement whereby only one union has the legal monopoly to represent all workers in negotiations. Once the government certifies this union, workers have to pay dues to it and employers have to negotiate with it in good faith.

Although Wagner affected both sides, it was widely regarded as having given Big Labor undue powers in the workplace—over both employers and workers—leading to all kinds of excesses on the part of union bosses. This prompted the passage of the Taft Hartley Act in 1947, which gave states the option of passing right-to-work laws to limit labor.

But whether states should exercise this option is where the agreement among libertarians breaks down. Richman has pointed out that many major libertarian thinkers such as Milton Friedman and likely Ludwig von Mises opposed right to work laws (although F.A. Hayek regarded closed shops as singularly awful). Why? Because whether Wagner mandates closed shops or right-to-work laws forbid them, either way employers or workers don’t call the shots. “A ‘union shop’ agreement between an employer and a union commits the employer to ensuring that the new hires join the union within a specified period,” insists Chartier. “Righ-to-work laws ban union-shop agreements.”

So nothing short of scrapping the Wagner Act is any advance for liberty, they claim.

That, however, is not the right way to think about right-to-work laws because—forgive the cliché—it makes the best the enemy of the good. To oppose all reform that does not deliver total freedom in one fell swoop is a recipe for policy paralysis. Right-to-work laws are desirable because, although they are partial, they are still pareto-optimal: By limiting the powers of union bosses, they leave employers no worse off and workers somewhat better off.

As David Henderson has pointed out, there are few employers who would actually choose to create a labor monopoly in the workplace by requiring all employees to join one union—hence any threat to employer freedom under right-to-work is theoretical, not actual. Even Friedman doubted that employers in a competitive labor market would ever find it profitable to offer the closed-shop option. Business might have been willing to go along with such an arrangement in exchange for labor peace at the time of Wagner. Since then, however, Big Labor has used its monopoly privileges to turn auto companies, for example, into giant entitlement enterprises with massive legacy costs that have made it impossible for them to compete without taxpayer largesse. Hence, right-to-work laws prohibit an option that employers are unlikely to exercise in practice.

But in fact right-to-work poses even no theoretical loss of employer freedom. Wagner mandated closed shops and right-to-work laws ban closed shops. At best, employers are equally constrained under both scenarios. However, by making dues payment optional, right-to-work laws vastly increase the freedom of workers, giving them more power to hold union bosses accountable for waste and corruption. This is something that no one ­—libertarian, liberal or conservative—ought to pooh-pooh.

Another reason libertarians oppose right-to-work laws is that by remedying the worst labor excesses spawned by the Wagner Act, they defuse the political pressure to repeal the act. Richman quotes Percy L. Greaves Jr., a Ludwig von Mises student who became an ardent opponent of these laws after initially helping Sen. Robert A. Taft draft them:

If they (right-to-work laws) are passed in a large number of states, they will temporarily relieve the present uneconomic evils that exist in federal labor laws. They will allay the fear among those people who see and comprehend the dire results now flowing from present union activities…Actually, it might be both better economics and better expediency to let present laws go their limit, so that people might soon learn how bad they really are.

In other words, the sooner we go to hell, the faster we can come back. Or, to quote Lenin: “the worse it is, the better it is.” That of course under-estimates the capacity of people to put up with hell. It assumes that the worse things get, the more people are motivated to change them. That, however, is far from clear.

In fact, what generally happens is when things are so far gone, people lose their capacity to imagine a different—a better—world. Witness the politics of public schools: In their century-or-more of existence, they have failed in every possible way: they are exorbitant, abysmal and even abusive. Yet even now they have more defenders—indeed, die-hard devotees—than detractors. The only realistic hope for change is not a widespread privatization revolution but the nascent school choice movement that incrementally diverts public school dollars to parents and concretely demonstrates the upside of a freer alternative. (It is no coincidence that many of the same libertarians such as Richman who oppose school choice, also oppose right-to-work laws.) By the same token, there is every reason to believe that by applying the brakes to our journey toward Wagner’s unfree hell, right-to-work laws won’t consign us to eternal purgatory, as their opponents fear, but shorten the distance to a world of perfect labor freedom.

One last point: While most libertarian thinkers who oppose right-to-work do so because they don’t think it sufficiently diminishes Wagner’s fundamental unfairness toward business, Carson opposes it because he believes that it will increase the unfairness toward Big Labor. In his view, in our corporatist economy, the fundamental role of the state is to guarantee privilege for an economic ruling class. Hence, Wagner would never have become law if it hadn’t served business interest more than labor interest. “Many employers favored the industrial unionism model promoted by Wagner because — in return for a grievance process, seniority and productivity-based wage increases — it secured industrial peace in the workplace, allowing management to deal with a single bargaining agent…” And by taking away the few organizational tools that Wagner put at Big Labor’s disposal, right-to-work will presumably tip the scale even more in business’ favor.  

Carson’s work on the whole is hugely salutary for checking what he has dubbed the “vulgar” tendency among libertarians to regard business as the victim—“the persecuted minority”—that is at the mercy of an overzealous state hell-bent on controlling it through onerous regulations and mandates. And I have no doubt that without business’ support, Wagner would not have become law. But it doesn’t follow therefore that Wagner, passed during the heyday of the labor movement, empowered business more than labor. Indeed, Wagner basically handed labor cartelization rights to consolidate its negotiation power against employers. But employers did not get similar cartelization rights against labor. The UAW, for example, represents all autoworkers during contract talks with Detroit’s (formerly) Big Three automakers. But it would be illegal for the automakers to band together and “collude” against the UAW.

I am not a labor historian and hence it is impossible for me to judge the accuracy of the counter-narrative that Carson offers to the conventional one that business had to basically be dragged kicking and screaming to go along with Wagner. But, at least on the surface, that narrative fits the facts better than Carson’s.

Editor's Note: This post has been modified for clarity.

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  • Ted S.||

    Woohoo! Another article on right-to-work!

    Now that the election is over, is this the new 47%/Ron Paul Newsletters topic?

  • Randian||

    Better than another Newton thread.

  • Ted S.||

    Would that be Fig Newtons or Juice Newton?

  • entropy||

    Needs moar pot legalization threads!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Who's up for starting a commenter union?

  • Sevo||

    Only if I collect the dues!

  • BarryD||

    Only if I can force everyone to join and pay me dues!

    Come to think of it, we need a United Commenters Union, not just for Reason, but for all Internet sites (like the United Auto Workers), so that, in order to comment anywhere on the Internet, someone would have to pay ME monthly dues!

    Or, it could be the Cocksucker's Union, because the name of an extortionist nationwide union need not have anything to do with what the union actually does, or whom it represents. See the Teamsters.

    So in order to comment on the Internet, you have to be a card-carrying Cocksucker, and pay ME for the privilege!

    Eat your heart out, Andy Stern (you fucking cocksucker).

  • ||

    Or, it could be the Cocksucker's Union, because the name of an extortionist nationwide union need not have anything to do with what the union actually does

    It need not in principle, but in this case I think it captures it quite nicely.

  • Bruce Majors||

    I thought that was what Disqus was?

  • SugarFree||

    Who doesn't want to be in the commenter's union? Before you answer, remember that I have STEVE SMITH'S pager number.

  • ||

    Do I get to be a goon?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Don't you mean: "Will I get to be paid to be a goon?"

  • ||

    SHUT UP BAKEDPENGUIN

  • ||

    SHUT UP WARTY

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    SHUT UP DANNY DEVITO

  • ||

    SHUT UP ROSIE ODONNELL

  • SugarFree||

    Warty goons for the sake of the gooning. To suggest otherwise to insult him.

  • BakedPenguin||

    To suggest otherwise [is] to insult him.

    Exactly, SugarFree. Exactly.

  • robc||

    OT question for Baked: When Tebow leads the Jets to a playoff victory, do I get another 6 pack?

    Rubbing in winning that bet last year will never get old. Never.

  • ||

    If the Jets actually give Timmy the chance, I'll buy you the six pack. Because they aren't going to. It's starting to bug me that I follow the Jets at this point. When I lived in NYC, I couldn't have cared less about the Jets. Just like the Mets. Yet now I actually care about their games. This is wrong and disturbing.

  • Robert||

    Damn, now that you've written that, I might start watching Jets games on TV again. After a few years coaching football, I practically stopped being able to watch football games for enjoyment any more. I'll watch video clips, maybe even entire games if there's a coaching angle; I'll watch games in our division for scouting purposes; at the bar, a televised game over the shoulder of someone will catch my eye from time to time -- but then, so do commercials. But not games per se. I'm like, what good is it if I can't correct their form? Same thing happened to my friend Will deVito re baseball & basketball after he'd coached them a while.

  • Bill||

    It seems that what influences who the NY Jets quarterback is at any given time (and this goes back decades) is which one is the "cutest". This explains a lot.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Too bad I missed the ACC championships. We could have bet on that. (I went to FSU).

  • tarran||

    This union: does it have meetings?

  • SugarFree||

    Popcorn!

  • nicole||

    SF, you're the one who said you didn't want to ever meet any of us anyway.

  • SugarFree||

    It's not that I would want to meet any of you, just that I'll never go to a publicly arranged meet-up. I've been shot, set on fire and drowned... I'm not eager to get stabbed by one our obsessed stalker-trolls.

  • ||

    It's kind of obnoxious that you won't give me the chance to do you physical harm. You're very selfish.

  • SugarFree||

    Your crushing boorishness and noxious woppitude harm me enough as his.

  • ||

    The only thing that I like more than causing you physical harm is to see your typos. They are a true pleasure that you provide inadvertently. You can't help it.

  • SugarFree||

    woppitude = WOP attitude. Did you go to the gym today? Is your spray-tan flaking off? How's the laundry situation?

  • nicole||

    Sug, psst, you actually did have a typo in there. But some of us are gracious about these things.

  • SugarFree||

    I blame the diabeetus.

  • SugarFree||

    Actually, I cannot see my own typos. I never have been able to proofread my own work. As I read, my brain fixes them. As long as my comments get past spellcheck, they will persist.

    Yes, yes... explains so much about me blah blah.

  • ||

    That explains so much about you. Blah blah.

  • nicole||

    I never have been able to proofread my own work. As I read, my brain fixes them.

    That's quite normal

  • SugarFree||

    That's quite normal

    Yes, but doing it to the point that I often leave out verbs isn't. It's not so bad here, but anything longer than a comment and it gets horrific.

  • ||

    I have tennis later. Fuck you. At least I can spell.

  • ||

    Drowning's not the right word for when you fall asleep in a vat of pudding, you idiot.

  • Bill||

    Like Mary? I imagine her as Kathy Bates in Misery.

  • ||

    I'll only attend meetings if they involve liquor or drugs.

  • ||

    SHUT UP HUGH

  • ||

    As the acting president of No-Episiarchs Local 880, I suggest you fuck off before some unfortunate accident befalls your family.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Union forever!

  • ||

    SHUT UP WARTY

  • Hugh Akston||

    Okay, so now we need to draft our list of unreasonable demands that are sure to drive Reason.com into the ground.

    First: raise the quota of The Prisoner references to one every hour.

  • ||

    I AM NOT NUMBER, I AM A FREE MAN

  • ||

    YOU FORGOT THE LINK MORON

  • #45||

    I am both.

  • SugarFree||

    I'd like to get bathroom breaks.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You're thinking too small. We'll have you moved into the bathroom permanently.

  • SugarFree||

    But I'd really like to go to the bathroom.

  • Drax||

    NO MORE CANADIANS

  • Randian||

    Mandatory Lobster Girl once per week.

  • Almanian.||

    1) Remove the word limit on posts, but have a Reason Staffer assigned to delete any commenters we (the Union) determine to be Mary Stack.

    2) Rotating banners of made up good deeds performed by Reason Union members ("Sponsored UNICEF Mission to Feed 3 Million Children in Africa - Warty"; "Stopped Canadians Entering the US Singlehandedly - Almanian". And so on.

  • SugarFree||

    One person each day has the ability to ban anyone for 24 hours. The person is never told in advance.

  • Brett L||

    Oooh. I like this.

  • ||

    So if we keep banning the same person over and over, they'll never get a turn at the ban stick? I'm in.

  • robc||

    As David Henderson has pointed out, there are few employers who would actually choose to create a labor monopoly in the workplace by requiring all employees to join one union—hence any threat to employer freedom under right-to-work is theoretical, not actual.

    Sports leagues.

    Without collective bargaining, things like drafts would be impossible. As would salary caps.

    Teams would get in bidding wars for HS/College players. See the "bonus baby" era of baseball.

  • Christina||

    I'm not sports nut, so forgive my ignorance, but this seems like a status quo bias to me. Why are drafts preferable to other methods of hiring? Why should I support wage maximums? Why should I care about bidding wars?

  • Christina||

    *a sports nut

  • ||

    Teams would get in bidding wars for HS/College players.

    GOOD.

  • robc||

    I dont disagree, Im saying its why the owners prefer a closed shop.

    A non-union member could cause problems for the continuance of anti-free market actions by the owners.

  • Christina||

    Again, I'm operating with limited knowledge on the subject, but aren't all the major sports leagues exempt from anti-trust laws? How does that work? Also, how in the world does the NCAA get away with forbidding payments (beyond scholarships) to college players?

  • Brett L||

    Want to be part of the NCAA revenue sharing? Don't pay your players. Want to be part of the NCAA TV and radio contracts? Don't pay your players. Want to be able to participate in an elimination tournament to make the school even more money? Don't pay your players. While I don't believe the NCAA has an antitrust exemption, it is in the definite interest of everybody except the athletes. The athletes are even arguably acting in their own best interest given the current setup, as the NCAA is often the only ticket to the pros if you aren't ready to go at 18.

  • Christina||

    So the NCAA is another cartel that gets special dispensation from the government?

  • Brett L||

    So the NCAA is another cartel that gets special dispensation from the government?

    No, it just is the dominant force. The NAIA is another (smaller) college athletic association any college (including NCAA members) can join. In that manner, they are not a cartel. No university is forced to (a)have athletics programs or (b)join the NCAA. But doing (a) without (b) you will find it difficult to find any opponents.

  • BarryD||

    Colorado president: "There are very good reasons our student-athletes can't be paid."

    Cartman: "Now when we sell their likeness for video games, how do we get around paying our slaves.

    President: "Student-athletes."

    Cartman: "Student ath-o-letes? Oh, that is brilliant, Suh!"

    Cartman: "If any government agency listening in on this conversation they should know we're not talking about slave ownership. [whispering] Alright, sir, how do you get around not paying your slaves?"

    “I ain’t arguing. If they got paid then how would we make all that money, right?”

  • ||

    Also, how in the world does the NCAA get away with forbidding payments (beyond scholarships) to college players?

    You kinda answered your own question, at least via the arguments the NCAA and their apologists dole out. The scholarships and "free education" are the payments; nevermind that for some of these kids, they are marketable from junior high school on.

  • Randian||

    I'm sure I have a tiny little lonesome tear for people who get to play a game and go to college for free.

    Oh...wait, no I don't.

  • BarryD||

    Randian, you write, "they get to go to college for free" as if that's something of value.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    How about a tear for the athlete that gets injured and permanently disabled and so gets immediately dropped from their athletic scholarship because they can't play? And maybe doesn't even have (school sponsored) major medical insurance?

  • robc||

    but aren't all the major sports leagues exempt from anti-trust laws?

    Nope. Just Major League Baseball.

  • prs130||

    without collective bargaining, sports leagues might be exposed to antitrust scrutiny when they agree to conduct the draft. In a world free of labor law and antitrust scrutiny, sports leagues could easily institute a draft. In a world with both, player drafts get a pass from antitrust scrutiny (they would otherwise be considered a group boycott) because the players unions agree to the draft as part of the CBA. And labor law supersedes antitrust law, as set forth in J. Goldberg's opinions in Pennington (1965) and Jewel Tea (1965). In other words, antitrust violations are not scrutinized if they are agreed to by employees' unions.

  • Invisible Finger||

    The owners can draft and sign league affiliation agreements about how their federation will operate without the existence of a player's union.

    The fact is most sports leagues have tried NOT handcuffing their teams until AFTER players unions have been formed; they generally tried handcuffing the players first. At that point, any agreement amongst the teams becomes subject to union approval.

    I've been thinking the NHL should dissolve and 2 new leagues should form. The new leagues could draft any operating rules they want - any player who wants can sign on to play. And if they want to butt-in and later form a union to prevent changes to the league operating rules, then the league(s) can dissolve again.

  • prs130||

    "any agreement amongst the teams becomes subject to union approval..."

    this is true. more importantly, said agreement are exempt from antitrust scrutiny precisely because they have been adopted as part of the CBA. Brown v. Pro Football, 518 U.S. 231 (1996). More recently, Clarett v NFL, 369 F.3d 124 (2d Cir 2004).

  • robc||

    Why are drafts preferable to other methods of hiring?

    For the owners, to avoid bidding wars.

    They sell it as "competitive balance", which is somewhat true.

  • Rasilio||

    Generally speaking while each individual team desires to acquire as many of the best players as possible so as to secure a championship from a league persepctive this is not desirable, a league with only one or two competitive teams and then a large mass of teams who cannot hope to compete would not stay in business because the games would not be interesting.

    A draft mechanism gives poor teams at least a theoretical way of improving by giving then access to the best players before the better teams could sign them.

    Basically drafts make sense if you view the league as a whole as the "corporate entity" and not the indiviual teams

  • robc||

    a league with only one or two competitive teams and then a large mass of teams who cannot hope to compete would not stay in business because the games would not be interesting.

    The Scottish Premier League says Hi.

    And with newco Rangers now in League 3, the Premier League only has 1 competitive team.

  • BarryD||

    This isn't always the case.

    The San Diego Chargers got their cronies on the City Council to sign a ticket guarantee contract between the city and the team, some years back. The city's taxpayers would pay the team for any unsold seats in the stadium.

    Well, the team management turned out to be pretty good at business. They figured out pretty quickly that, if attendance didn't matter to their bottom line, there was no reason to pay high salaries to high-level players who would take the team to the playoffs.

    So they didn't. The team sucked, the football fans in the city (many of whom had supported the ridiculous subsidy) were pissed off that their taxes were paying for a big loser they didn't even want to watch, and the owners laughed all the way to the bank.

  • ||

    A sports league is not an industry; it's a bunch of tiny businesses under one huge corporate umbrella. The only reason PA's and such exist is because the corporate sponsor (NHL,NFL, MLB, etc) need the appearance of competition in order to foster rivalries and sales. While an individual franchise is in the business of winning, the parent league is in the business of promoting ticket sales and entertainment.

  • califernian||

    As David Henderson has pointed out, there are few employers who would actually choose to create a labor monopoly in the workplace by requiring all employees to join one union

    Oh please. No one woudl CHOOSE to agree to anythign that costs them anything if they can help. Employers would CHOOSE to pay workers almost nothing. But they can't. They have to negotiate. This is a ridiculous point to make.

  • BarryD||

    Uh, they couldn't pay workers any less than it would take to induce them to show up, and beyond that, it would not be to the employer's advantage to pay people less than it would take to motivate them to do a reasonably good job.

    Unions aren't even part of that equation.

  • Robert||

    Drafts and salary caps exist without collective bargaining. They're just imposed unilaterally by the league. The hiring and bargaining is still done on an individual basis. So maybe you don't understand what collective bargaining means in this context.

  • Bill||

    Isn't it true though, that without gov't sanction of the sports cartels (I think their is a better word) that you would have competition and more teams and leagues would exist, so more players would get to play and salaries might drop as well.

  • Curtisls87||

    This is interesting to me. As I understand this, players of the Detroit Lions, Tigers, and Pistons could eschew their respective players unions, now. (well, possibly not in baseball, since it is protected by the feds from anti-trust laws).
    Imagine at the next NFL draft, the Lions first round pick declines citing the states new right-to-work laws and says, hey, I'm open for negotiation with anyone. I would almost pay money to see that.

  • Christina||

    ...Wagner would never have become law if it hadn’t served business interest more than labor interest. “Many employers favored the industrial unionism model promoted by Wagner because — in return for a grievance process, seniority and productivity-based wage increases — it secured industrial peace in the workplace, allowing management to deal with a single bargaining agent…” And by taking away the few organizational tools that Wagner put at Big Labor’s disposal, right-to-work will presumably tip the scale even more in business’ favor.

    IIRC from my American economic history class, FDR and the Progressives in general were very much about promoting Big Business over small businesses, hence the policies were pretty much all designed by big business interests to fuck with small, upstart competitors. So it's no wonder large manufacturers were fine with the government enshrinement of labor cartels (as I prefer to call unions), since they were at a distinct advantage when dealing with them.

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...the policies were pretty much all designed by big business interests to fuck with small, upstart competitors.

    That line could be used with pretty much any business regulation.

  • Christina||

    It is, under the name "regulatory capture."

  • Almanian.||

    1) Why are the Congress/Union hands smashing a bunch of smelt together?

    2) NEEDS MOAR LABELZ!

    OH! This isn't Friday Funnies! My bad!

  • Brett L||

    More laws = less liberty beyond a basic set that protect people from force, fraud, and abrogation of contract. I would place RTW beyond this, even if it does attempt to change the constraints on parties in a contract in the interest of "balance" or "fairness". RTW is pretty antithetical to "Free Markets", just slightly less so than requiring labor and management to sit down at a table and hammer out a contract that neither may want because the labor has a union.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Reason going even further left again. What a surprise.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Oh, never mind. Just read the headline again.

  • ||

    You're such a dumbass.

  • Randian||

    What? Where?

  • Proprietist||

    It should go further Left. Libertarians have milked all the libertarianism out of the Right we possibly could to limited success. Now we should go target the Left for their regressive, corporatist policies and prove how libertarianism is better for the ends they claim to desire. The fact that the Left has little to no interest in libertarianism is because anti-statists continually fail to confront Left-wing policies using their own premises and language and continue to ally with the Right.

    In a libertarian society, voluntary community and cooperative action would be required to adequately replace the current functions of government, yet we keep rejecting any concept of voluntary collectivism and thus failing to address the Left's points about how the elderly, orphans/foster kids, the mentally and physically disabled, etc will be taken care of.

  • ||

    Alright, for our first sacrifice ambassador, I recommend the Tulpa. God speed, and may you rest in peace.

  • Bill||

    I see that going the same way as Chancellor Palpatine.

  • BarryD||

    What's voluntary collectivism?

  • Bruce Majors||

    Soylent Green is people.

  • TomD||

    (The NLRA) also mandates a single workplace arrangement: a closed shop.

    This keeps popping up for some reason in various stories around here, and it's not accurate.

    Federal labor law does not mandate a closed shop. It does allow a "union shop" -- a type of contract in which every employee must pay union dues. However, federal law does not mandate such a contract.

    A right-to-work law simply bans such contracts.

  • TomD||

    For instance, Shikha, there already are open shops in your state of Michigan. They existed long before last week's RTW legislation was passed. They were never banned.

    The only difference now is that EVERY workplace in Michigan has to become an open shop.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The fact that the NLRA and the DOL exist is a good enough reason for right to work laws to also exist.

  • BarryD||

    Right.

    If we can successfully push for a repeal of all other labor laws, I'm sure it will be really easy to repeal RtW at the same time.

    Until then, RtW is the real-world alternative to government-enforced theft from individuals by large unions.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Especially given that most unions are in the government sector.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Nice article Shikha. Well done.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    She's too close to the reality-based community; this is very suspicious. She needs to be purged.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Maybe if there were a libertarian writers' union....

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Right to work laws are not libertarian in an otherwise free market. Right to work laws are libertarian in a market where companies are forced by law to deal with unions.

    Right to work laws are not libertarian because they are "a modest advance for worker freedom because they exempt workers from having to pay mandatory union dues as a condition of employment in unionized companies."- that's Tony talk.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    By Tony talk I mean arguing for positive rights, not that Tony would argue for right to work laws.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Where is Tony? Did he end up in a river with concrete footware?

  • BarryD||

    What's a unionized company?

  • OldMexican||

    Right-to-work laws are desirable because, although they are partial, to be sure, they are still pareto-optimal: By limiting the powers of union bosses, they leave employers no worse off and workers somewhat better off.


    ANYTHING that helps the cause of freedom to inch its way forward is GOOD.

  • NL_||

    Unions can be formed over the opposition of equityholders to monopolize their supply of labor; union elections are certified by the DOL to give unions special governmental powers; unions regulate the labor supplied to companies within their jurisdiction; unions collect taxes called dues. Unions are governmental agencies in all but name, so the normal rules that might apply when considering the rights of a private party are not in play.

    If a company agrees to work with a truly private union by contract, then of course closed shop ought to be allowed by contract. But in the current system, labor unions pressure workers to support forcing unionization on companies by government force.

    As a practical matter, it's unrealistic to think many people would agree to closed shop aside from privately held companies run by people with ideological commitments, or from companies in regions or industries where the skilled workers are unionized and it would be difficult to train non-union replacements. But even in the latter case, the temptation to join a nonunion company that paid higher wages (but saved money by having fewer "work rules" and avoiding the onerous liability of multiemployer plans) would probably break voluntary unions.

    Without coercion, there tends to be little value to unionizing.

  • NL_||

    I should note that the main thing right to work laws accomplish is allowing workers to stop paying the taxes (dues and fees) collected by the government agencies (certified unions) that have been established over them. It's properly seen as a form of tax rebellion, at least from the perspective of workers.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    True, the government deciding what is a union is also gay from a right to assemble perspective.

  • OldMexican||

    Another reason libertarians oppose right-to-work laws is that by remedying the worst labor excesses spawned by the Wagner Act, they defuse the political pressure to repeal the act.


    But like Shikha says: What pressure? Most people haven't even heard of the Wagner Act, they simply assume Unions require the protection of government as a matter of moral necessity because that is what their unionized, tax-fed leech of a middle-school teacher taught them.

    In fact, it can be argued that once the benefits of RTW are felt and known, then the realization that there is such a thing as the Wagner Act will come as something quaint but absurd, like one of those old Blue Code laws.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    If only this issue could be played as a way to bargain the elimination of both right to work laws and Wagner style union dickery.

  • Obese American||

    DENTAL PLAN!

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Lisa needs braces?

  • SugarFree||

    "These pre-date stainless steel, so you can't get them wet."

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Shut up. You're interrupting my train of thought.

  • SugarFree||

    "I'm beginning to think that Homer Simpson is not the brilliant tactician I thought he was."

  • califernian||

    To oppose all reform that does not deliver total freedom in one fell swoop is a recipe for policy paralysis.

    The problem for people who supposedly hold principles is that once you start down the road of supporting this kind of "reform" you become just another member of the rabble all voting on just exactly HOW the government should intrude.

    It's a losing game, all the way down.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I stopped worrying about things like that and now I just want government to be as shitty as possible for everyone so that whatever is going to happen we can get over with as fast as possible.

  • califernian||

    now that I can totally understand and even respect. Not kidding.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    +1

  • Bruce Majors||

    Nuclear war? If you stick to currency collapse I might go with you.

  • PapayaSF||

    There is one other reason that RTW laws are an advance for liberty, as imperfect as they might be from a purist libertarian perspective: they help defund the Democratic Party, which is a major threat to liberty. (Yes, the GOP has dirty hands here as well, but I find them less obnoxious overall.)

    The iron-clad connection between unions (especially public-worker unions) and Democrats is also the major cause of the bankruptcies and impending bankruptcies of so many cities and states. Those bankruptcies are not going to advance the cause of liberty.

  • ||

    It's also worth noting that the fastest path to a repeal of Wagner might be to derive the unions of their funding, and thus their political clout.

    So, even if you believe that the only correct path is a complete repeal of the NLRA, RTW laws are a rational *tactical* move towards that goal.

  • PapayaSF||

    Indeed.

  • Bill||

    The fact that the southern states have done very well with right to work, with businesses flocking there, employees doing just fine is reason enough.

    Now you have some northern, formerly heavy union states considering it.

    Seems like it works just fine.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Disagree. When the state (or State) collapses, we need to be able to provide an alternative, and to be able to provide an alternative, the state (or State) must collapse.

  • T o n y||

    This is still an expression of a preference for how workplaces should be run, and advocacy of the government stepping in to enact your preference. Not libertarian.

  • Randian||

    I fail to see how. And I fail to see how it is any way disanalogous to gay marriage licensing.

  • T o n y||

    I don't get the repeated comparison to gay marriage. The way the issues are similar is that they involve contracts. Contracts necessitate state enforcement. RTW tells employers and unions that they aren't allowed to enter a specific kind of contract. It's a type of contract libertarians may not like, but that shouldn't mean they get to endorse forcing their preference on all businesses in a state. If anything, favoring RTW restrictions is like favoring discrimination against certain types of couples in access marriage contracts.

  • Randian||

    Sorry, you fail. Not surprising.

  • T o n y||

    Well you've convinced me.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I don't get the repeated comparison to gay marriage. The way the issues are similar is that they involve contracts.


    Exactly. So what exactly is the problem?

    In the case of forced unionism, employers are forbidden to enter into a contract with individual workers. Under RTW laws, they can contract with either unions or individual workers.

    With Gay Marriage, gays were NOT allowed to enter into a marriage contract. Now they can, at least in some states.

    They pretty much look like equivalent things to me.

    If anything, favoring RTW restrictions is like favoring discrimination against certain types of couples in access marriage contracts.


    That's not the case, and you're equivocating. It is precisely the Wagner Act that makes it MANDATORY to DISCRIMINATE against workers that do not want to join a union. RTW removes that State-forced discrimination, not unlike the CRA 1964 eliminated the State-forced discrimination of blacks.

  • T o n y||

    employers are forbidden to enter into a contract with individual workers

    Because they've forbidden themselves. No employer is forced into an arrangement with a union at the point of a gun. That's why it's called negotiation. RTW just hobbles the union side with the use of government force.

    It is precisely the Wagner Act that makes it MANDATORY to DISCRIMINATE against workers that do not want to join a union.

    No it didn't.

  • califernian||

    The Wagner act, and every single law related to the employer/employee relationship shoudl be repealed. That goes without saying.

  • Sarah Conner||

    "No employer is forced into an arrangement with a union at the point of a gun."

    Jackbooted statists and many others don't understand that government is a gun, do they?

  • Bill||

    It's a bit like forbidding gay group marriages where everyone has to marry everyone at a certain company if you want to marry someone of the same sex.

    Or something.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Randian,

    And I fail to see how it is any way disanalogous to gay marriage licensing.


    You have to understand that Tony here believes he can be more popish than the Pope when it suits his narrative.

    You and I understand that anything that helps the cause of liberty inch one step forward is good, doesn't matter if it is the repeal of a law or a new law that invalidates a previous but worse law.

  • Randian||

    The sockpuppet basically admits on a daily basis that his expressed preferences are not in any consistent and are practically random and arbitrary, so I shouldn't be surprised.

  • Randian||

    The sockpuppet basically admits on a daily basis that his expressed preferences are not in any consistent and are practically random and arbitrary, so I shouldn't be surprised.

  • T o n y||

    You, the ultimate moral absolutist, becoming a pragmatist willing to use government force to suit your ends? What could possibly cause this sudden change of heart? The fact that corporate lobbies and their politician and pundit shills endorse it, and you're nothing but one of their useful idiots with the face-saving pretense of being some kind of principled anarchist?

  • Randian||

    Well you've convinced me.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    You, the ultimate moral absolutist, becoming a pragmatist willing to use government force to suit your ends?


    Government force? My, my - are we redefining terms again, Tony?

    What RTW laws do is allow employers and employees to tell the union bosses to go fuck themselves. Where's the force there?

    The fact that corporate lobbies and their politician and pundit shills endorse it[...]


    Interestingly, when given the option, formely-unionized workers prefer NOT to unionize. I guess they're all pundit shills as well!

  • T o n y||

    Oh, so you just don't know what you're talking about.

    Government telling people they can't negotiate certain terms in a contract is a restriction of freedom by the government. That's not always bad imo (you shouldn't be able to negotiate people's lives in contracts), but in this case we're talking about a blatantly obvious corporate favor corporate lobbyists and Republican politicians have openly fought for for the purpose of diminishing union power, and hence the Democratic party's power.

    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you just don't know what you're advocating.

  • califernian||

    Government telling people they can't negotiate certain terms in a contract is a restriction of freedom by the government.

    But you advocate this all the time, in practically every context. You are being disingenuous here.

  • XM||

    Yes, companies have limitations on negotiations and contracts. You can't hire or reject someone on the basis of their race or religious affiliation. Not unlike how a business shouldn't be allowed to fire you for quitting a union or offering contracts only to union workers. A baseball player sign with the team as FA if he's not represented by an agent.

    Why would any corporation hire a group of protected individuals who can just walk out of their job if they feel their pay is low? Or demand that everyone gets paid the same wage, regardless of performance? Do you see union workers in small Asian noodle houses? Ethnic markets?

  • Bruce Majors||

    Is there any evidence that multinationals or other large corporations favor RTW laws? Do they donate to the National RTW committee?

  • BarryD||

    The scorched earth libertarian mindset (if it gets really bad, like North Korea bad, then and only then we can make it better!) ignores another thing... We don't live forever! If I live through a really terrible 25 years, or a really good 25 years, or maybe just the best we can do 25 years, I'll still be 25 years older.

    Keynes may have been using this to justify some real shit, but he was right about one thing: "In the long run, we're all dead."

  • Sidd Finch||

    Right-to-work laws are desirable because, although they are partial, to be sure, they are still pareto-optimal: By limiting the powers of union bosses, they leave employers no worse off and workers somewhat better off.

    By this logic, the absence of RTW laws is also Pareto optimal. The workers are somewhat worse off but the union bosses are better off.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Sidd Finch,

    By this logic, the absence of RTW laws is also Pareto optimal. The workers are somewhat worse off [sic] but the union bosses are better off.


    Please become familiar with the concept of Pareto optimal outcomes and then come back and read what you wrote.

    Shikha's proposition is 100% valid.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Shikha's proposition is 100% valid.

    And so is mine. In both cases, someone is worse off.

  • Randian||

    She said "no worse off" and you said "The workers are somewhat worse off"

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Sidd Finch,

    And so is mine. In both cases, someone [sic] is worse off.


    WHO is made worse off in Shikha's scenario, Sidd?

  • Sidd Finch||

    Right-to-work laws are desirable because, although they are partial, to be sure, they are still pareto-optimal: By limiting the powers of union bosses, they leave employers no worse off and workers somewhat better off.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Sidd Finch,

    You HAVEN'T answered the question, Sidd. Limiting the power of the union bosses (an undue power given to them by the government) does not mean they lose property, life or liberty. That's one.

    TWO, your proposition is NOT Pareto optimal. Again, I urge you t read what that means before you continue looking like a buffoon. In Shikha's scenario, EMPLOYERS are made better off as they win more freedom and the workers, at least, not worse off as they continue to have their jobs and the dues added to their salaries. In YOUR scenario, both EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES continue to be WORSE OFF precisely because Union bosses continue to mooch off both. Yours is NOT Pareto optimal.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Limiting the power of the union bosses (an undue power given to them by the government) does not mean they lose property, life or liberty.

    Have you gone mad? How do you think union bosses make, or take, money if not by their power?

    TWO, your proposition is NOT Pareto optimal.

    If mine isn't (it isn't), then neither is Shikha's. From the first paragraph in Wiki

    Given an initial allocation of goods among a set of individuals, a change to a different allocation that makes at least one individual better off without making any other individual worse off is called a Pareto improvement. An allocation is defined as "Pareto efficient" or "Pareto optimal" when no further Pareto improvements can be made.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Sidd Finch,

    Have you gone mad? How do you think union bosses make, or take, money if not by their power?


    Oh, really? That would make anti-theft laws non-Pareto optimal since it would make thieves worse off.

    You seem to like being a buffoon, Sidd.

    without making any other individual worse off


    You're not making the union bosses worse off by taking away their power to thieve, you nincompoop. Like I said above, they still keep their own property, their liberty and their property.

    Just like anti-theft laws and devices do not make thieves worse off.

  • Sidd Finch||

    That would make anti-theft laws non-Pareto optimal since it would make thieves worse off.

    Only situations, not laws, can be Pareto optimal.

    You're not making the union bosses worse off by taking away their power to thieve

    They're sure spending a lot of time and money lobbying against those laws. Why do you suppose that is?

    You seem to think Pareto improvement means "thing Old Mexican likes" in exactly the same way liberals think a market failure is anything they don't like.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Here's another little nugget from Wiki.

    For instance, if a change in economic policy eliminates a monopoly and that market subsequently becomes competitive and more efficient, the monopolist will be made worse off. However, the loss to the monopolist will be more than offset by the gain in efficiency. This means the monopolist can be compensated for its loss while still leaving a net gain for others in the economy, a Pareto improvement.

  • ||

    It's an interesting problem. I think closed shops are pareto suboptimal, since they prevent individual workers from negotiating for a separate pay increase. RTW laws don't so much make you pareto optimal as they do permit you to *potentially* move closer to a pareto optimal solution. To use the language of machine learning, it's like closed shops are like a local optima rather than a global optima, and the RTW laws get you out of the local optima. But they also bias the solution in certain ways (which they have to do to get you out of the local optima), and might lead to another sub-optimal (if better) position.

    Of course there's also the larger question of what is optimal from a long-term whole economy perspective. Obviously, the closed shop agreements between the UAW and the big three automakers have contributed to the long-term decline of the big three. Once Japanese cars entered the market consumers quickly shifted (in a pareto optimal direction) away from cars made by the UAW cartel.

    You can map out the bargains in different ways. You can draw a circle around just unions, employees, and employers. But you might get a different solution if you draw the circle around unions, employees, employers and consumers as well.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I think closed shops are pareto suboptimal, since they prevent individual workers from negotiating for a separate pay increase.

    If individual workers negotiated higher pay the employers would be worse off -- not a Pareto improvement.

  • Bill||

    We will use pareto in this case, and you can use Pareto. pareto, Pareto, let's call the whole thing off.

  • ||

    That assumes that there is only one optimal arrangement everywhere and always that maximizes total worker good: a monopoly union representing all workers.

    Agree. The problem with collective bargaining is that it overrides the possibility for individualized merit pay and competition amoung employees for better pay. That because of that it tends to discourage individual initiative. Everyone has noticed this. In union companies it is not encouraged to be more productive than other employees, to make them "look bad". This is so well known it has become a cliche.

    This might work well in a factory situation where everyone works at the same pace on an assembly line and follows identical procedures, but it doesn't work well in a job where innovation counts and people work independently. Individual employees who are more talented and creative often feel stifled in union environments because they can't get ahead, due to seniority, and aren't allowed to exercise any creativity or initiative.

    So a non-union environment is likely to the benefit of some employees who would fare better if they were allowed to negotiate separately for better pay. Union membership might benefit the average employee, but be bad for the top 5% of employees who would really excell if they were freed to do so.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    As another example of "the perfect is the enemy of the good" thinking among libertarians, you could have mentioned Thomas Szasz's opposition to medical marijuana laws on the grounds that they strengthen, not weaken, the paternalistic role of physicians as legal gatekeepers to medicine. Let's ask recreational tokers in Washington and Colorado whether their medically using brethren made it harder or easier to be vindicated in the ballot box. I'm willing to bet they would disagree with Szasz (God rest his soul).

  • ||

    Precisely. medical marijuana laws weaken the stigma against weed and amek it more likely to be fully legalized.

    Similarly, RTW laws weaken the power of unions and make the Wagner act more likely to be repealed (not less).

    I don't think I've ever seen "worse is better" actually work as a political strategy. It's more like a morale boosting tool for the politically demoralized, not a real strategy.

  • Robert||

    I think Dave Kahn said it worked against a particular banking regulation, in the sense that consistent enforcement of it led to changing it sooner.

  • BarryD||

    It wasn't a political strategy, though. It just happened that way.

    Pol Pot's rule of Cambodia ended fairly quickly, because killing a few million people didn't endear him to anyone. Does that mean that we should encourage our political adversaries to slaughter a few million people, because that will help us get rid of them?

    I mean, it worked in Cambodia!

    "Worse is better" is the dumbest thing some libertarians have come up with, I think.

  • Bill||

    I grok that!!

  • Bill||

    amek that is. I grok it.

  • Ahoy||

    "Wagner mandated closed shops"

    No, it didn't! It mandated negotiation with the NRLA certified union, not closed shops. Closed shops are a bargaining chip in the mandated negotiating process. If you're going to oppose right-to-work, fine, but please don't misrepresent this important detail.

  • BarryD||

    It mandated negotiation with the NRLA certified union, which as a result of that mandate, quickly forced the "closed shop" model on businesses.

    Of course, the union has no real costs like the company does. The negotiation is not exactly a meeting of equals, if it's mandated.

  • Proprietist||

    RTW laws are not libertarian because the state should not have the power to interfere with contracts between employers and unions. I agree that we need to also repeal any and all mandatory unionization and mandatory collective bargaining laws, but right-to-work goes too far in the opposite direction.

    Some here have compared with gay marriage. However, the right-to-work equivalent of gay marriage would be like the state saying "we're fixing marriage discrimination by saying all marriage, even private marriages, is banned." That the parties can't even make an internal, private contract by law.

  • Sevo||

    Proprietist| 12.17.12 @ 5:00PM |#
    ..."but right-to-work goes too far in the opposite direction."...

    Nope. They don't go far enough in the right direction but they do go in the right direction.

  • Patriot||

    In the metaphor private marriage would already be banned. It is illegal to make a union the Wagner wouldn't apply to. This is like saying that if the fedgov took over marriage made a law that forced the state to grant certain benefits to married couples, and states couldn't ban it because it is "private."

  • BarryD||

    "the state should not have the power to interfere with contracts between employers and unions"

    Why?

    Why should the state enforce contracts between, say, GM and the UAW, when the contract impacts individual workers not a party to the contract except by force?

    There's the rub. We're not talking about some local grass-roots organization of workers who want to negotiate with their employers as a group. We're talking about a national or multi-national group, granted special powers by Federal law, forcing individuals to pay them dues, and preventing employees from negotiating directly with their employers if they so choose.

    Can we please talk about unions as they actually exist, not some mythical idea of what unions are and what they do?

  • Proprietist||

    If GM agrees to accept UAW-only workers, that should be their prerogative, and workers that want to work for GM but don't want to join UAW are out of luck. GM should not be forced by law to accept UAW at all, but right-to-work actually blocks the UAW from negotiating labor exclusivity with GM.

    If employment and labor are voluntary concepts, GM, the UAW and the workers should be able to organize (or disorganize) internally without any government interference one way or another.

  • BarryD||

    "GM should not be forced by law to accept UAW at all, but right-to-work actually blocks the UAW from negotiating labor exclusivity with GM."

    Individual liberty trumps the "right" of GM to negotiate with UAW to force individuals to pay UAW.

    What is UAW? Why does UAW have any place at the table, unless employees voluntarily choose to have UAW negotiate on their behalf?

    You forget that there are actual individuals here, with fundamental rights. UAW is nothing but a construct resulting from Federal legislation. It has no natural rights. Zip. How can any organization have the natural right to represent me without my consent?!?

    Individual employees have rights, company shareholders do, also. The UAW does not have any right to negotiate anything, except as the voluntarily-chosen representative of individuals.

    Government "interference" to protect the natural rights of individuals is the ONLY justifiable government interference. Laws against trading in stolen goods interfere with the free market, from one perspective. But I don't hear anyone complaining about that, because stolen goods were acquired by violating the natural rights of a third party -- just like unions do when membership is forced.

  • Patriot||

    Whatever happened to libertarianism? Power corrupts, it seems, and "The Party of Principal" has given up most of its principals to appeal to the brainwashed new generation. Have you guys ever wondered why the vast majority of you are less than thirty? Reason magazine has been out since 1968. Whatever happened to the older generation? My father was part of that generation, back when libertarians opposed anti-discrimination law as much as they opposed the war on drugs. Back when Steven Jay Gould was the "nazi" rather than Charles Murray. Back when sleeping with five guys in one week wasn't "individualism" and criticizing it wasn't "collectivism." Back when gay marriage was not a valid reason to vote Democrat, and "personal responsibility" didn't stop at the bedroom door. What we have now is a shallow libertianism that thinks that "gummint" is responsible for all the problems of society, and that personal behavior can never be criticized. How can this really compete with liberalism?

  • BarryD||

    There's a Party of Principal?

    That's good, because the two major parties are the parties of Interest. Interest paid on the National Debt, the Principal of which we don't even touch.

    What does that have to do with the hair on your asshole, again, though?

  • Sevo||

    Patriot| 12.17.12 @ 6:37PM |#
    "Whatever happened to libertarianism?"

    How about addressing the issue? Forget the true Scott argument; you made a claim, I called you on it. Let's hear you defend it.

  • BarryD||

    Who is Scott?

  • Proprietist||

    As society became more culturally relative, so did libertarians (who were probably already moreso than most). People can still be socially conservative and libertarian at the same time, just like one can be politically correct and anti-capitalist and still be libertarianism at the same time. As long as there's no government coercion or private party force or fraud involved, however individuals choose to organize themselves socially and economically is compatible with libertarianism. We can agree to disagree about how we choose to live, what we value or even which party we vote for based on certain reasons, but we're all on the same team.

  • Patriot||

    I don't see how someone could be "anti-capitalist" and still libertarian, unless you use a definition different from that that 99% of us use. The problem is that there are logical contradictions when one believes in political correctness and Libertarianism. One can be, I see a lot of it here, but it is as a whole incompatible with Libertarianism. If libertarians accept the liberal tripe on race, they will be called on to explain why the average net worth of whites is twenty times that of blacks, and why they defend a system that leads to that result. If they accept the liberal idea that there is nothing wrong with divorce, they will be called to explain why it should result in financial difficulty for the people involved. Say a woman is in an unhappy relationship, and she wants welfare so she can get out of it. The libertarian will have to explain why she should suffer without ever criticizing her actions. If libertarians accept the notion that children have a "human right" to be accepted by society, then they will have to explain why my free speech rights trump that. Besides, who votes based on what they think of the government? Who votes based on monetary policy? People vote because of culture and race. If we offer no culture, no ideas other than "gummint bad," we shouldn't expect much support.

  • Patriot||

    edit:
    If libertarians accept the notion that GAY children have a "human right" to be accepted by society, then they will have to explain why my free speech rights trump that.

  • Sevo||

    Patriot| 12.17.12 @ 9:39PM |#
    "edit:
    If libertarians accept the notion that GAY children have a "human right" to be accepted by society, then they will have to explain why my free speech rights trump that."

    Uh, yeah. No. Maybe.
    WIH are you posting about? GAY children? Is that children of gay parents? Someone who identifies as gay at some age?
    WIH is your point?

  • Patriot||

    As a scientist, though not in that field, I trust what mainstream science has to say about the matter, that gay children are gay from a young age. The liberals like Obama supporter Godwin think that gays have a human right to be accepted by society. That's why, in Europe the have hate speech laws applying to gays. Did you read Godwin's article about how when an mentally unstable illiterate homosexual child commits suicide, it's the school's fault for not giving him enough special treatment? That's the kind of thing accepting liberal idea leads to.

  • Sarah Conner||

    This is the argument being seen more often now: libertarian means whatever we wish it to mean. This, along with the false terms "left libertarian" and "right libertarian" combine to make the term libertarian effectively useless as a descriptor.

    Co-option seems to be the order of the day; libertarian can't be it's own thing, it has to be a combination of the things we have gerrymandered into our exiting left-right paradigm.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Libertarians have power that could corrupt them?

  • Max||

    What nonsense. Opposition by Libertarians to right to work was from the beginning, affirmed by Rand and Friedman, and enshrined in the Ur-document of modern Libertarianism, Gilson's Libertarian Platform.

    The correct approach is automatic choice of unions as attorneys. We must stop repeating right-wing talking points and put forward the Libertarian case.

    See Gilson's article on unions at www.libertarianinternational.org and the news on how Libertarians are revolutionizing them in its work groups and zines.

  • Sarah Conner||

    Meanwhile, people are still getting their paychecks jacked by union bosses.

  • An0nB0t||

    And your response is to entrench the state into private affairs to an even greater extent than it already is.

    How's the short game working out for you?

  • Sarah Conner||

    Exactly as well as your long game is working out for you.

  • uythsb||

    Merry Christmas

  • attractions guide||

    Yes, this law is very indeed.

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