A common theme of the union demonstrators in Madison today was that Governor Walker is a “dictator.” This showed up on sign after sign. It sheds light, I think, on how public union members in particular, and liberals in general, think. What is going on here is that the voters of Wisconsin have elected a Republican Governor and–overwhelmingly–a Republican legislature, precisely so that they can get the state’s budget under control.
What the Democrats don’t like isn’t dictatorship, it is democracy. That is why the Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate fled the state en masse–they prevented a quorum, so that a vote they were going to lose couldn’t take place. Once again, it is democracy they are trying to frustrate, not dictatorship.
One could make the point more broadly about the organized labor movement. The unions’ top priority is to eliminate the secret ballot in union certification elections. Why? The secret ballot has been the cornerstone of American labor democracy for generations. In the early days, it was assumed that the secret ballot was needed to protect workers from possible retaliation by employers if they voted for the union. That is no longer the case. Employers now universally favor the secret ballot. It is unions who are trying to abolish it through card check legislation. Why? So their goons can threaten to beat up, or worse, any employee who won’t sign the card. The last thing labor unions want is democracy. They want thugocracy, as was on display in Madison today.
UPDATE: Via Ann Althouse, a screen grab from a video of some of today’s union protesters:
Since liberal teachers are people of unquestioned brilliance, I assume they knew they were quoting John Wilkes Booth, who also styled himself an enemy of dictatorship.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Inscription on the Liberty Bell